Written by: Brad Dykens from Online World of Wrestling
FIP turned over a new leaf and presented a star-studded card with one new fresh face joining the roster. It all began with the recently heeled out Steve Madison taking down the debuting Jay Fury in the opening match. Good to see Madison getting some much needed character development ( 4 / 10 ). The Heartbreak Express were prepared to leave early due to not having any opponents but Antonio Banks stepped up to the plate and challenged HBE member Phil Davis (the small one) while Sean Davis (the less small one) reeked havoc at ringside during the whole match. Despite the interference, Banks impressively achieved victory ( 6 / 10 ). C.M. Punk unveiled the newest members of The New Dawn, his best friend Colt Cabana (who conveniently faces Homicide later), and the menacing Samoa Joe. Joe destroyed his skinny opponent in mere seconds ( 2 / 10 ), but it took a little more effort before beating his second opponent – Rainman ( 6 / 10 )! I think they are reprising the storyline from ROH in 2002 when Steve Corino brought in Samoa Joe as an enforcer for his group but Joe was there to do his job and wasn’t 100% loyal to the faction. I’ll keep my eye on this one.
Vordell Walker, who they are billing as some kind of Florida MVP, wrestled Jared Steel to another victory in a good match ( 7 / 10 ). I like Jared Steel but his gimmick is all wrong – he shouldn’t be wearing shiny ring gear – when I look at him I think of Bradshaw from his APA days. Steel IS from Texas so it’s not like he couldn’t pull it off.
The next match involved Tony Mamaluke (who they acknowledged would be appearing on PPV at ECW One Night Stand in two weeks) getting a victory over “The Texas Treat” Don Juan. Mamaluke carried Juan to a decent match ( 6 / 10 ). I would much rather see Don Juan bring in his Texas Treat partner Chris Marval and join the tag team division.
The New Dawn (C.M. Punk & Azrieal) was in search of becoming #1 Contenders for the Tag Team titles in a match against Sal Rinauro & Spanky. Samoa Joe showed up and attacked Spanky sending him to the hospital, so they were taken out of the match. Roderick Strong & Jerrelle Clark showed up to take their place and had a dynamite match with the New Dawn but came up short in their bid for #1 Contendership giving Punk & Azrieal a shot at the tag team championships at some point down the line ( 8 / 10 ). A funny little storyline they have going on is that C.M. Punk has adopted a wheel-chair bound “fan” named Mr. Milo Beasley, who accompanies them to the ring for matches. Beasley sits in his chair cheering on The New Dawn, but when the referee’s back is turn he leaps out of his chair and gets a few shots in. Mr. Milo is actually long time Florida wrestler Naphtali, whose “hippie” image is very distinct and unmistakable.
The main event featured a tough defense of the FIP championship with Homicide taking on the debuting Colt Cabana. I’ll be absolutely honest; it was extremely bizarre to watch Colt Cabana portray a heel like a fish out of water. In my opinion he is a natural babyface and you can’t help but cheer for that lovable guy! The barrel-chested challenger was a cross between “Iron” Mike Sharp and Stan Hanson with his plain black drunks and brash attitude. I was mesmerized by Cabana’s portrayal of a bad guy and very impressed with his astonishing ability to adapt to any environment. This was more than a year before their brutal feud in Ring of Honor, but Homicide and Cabana delivered a perfect main event to end a pretty successful night of FIP matches ( 9 / 10 ).
Final Thoughts: I have a newfound respect for Colt Cabana having seen his performance as a bad guy here in FIP.