Written by: Brad Dykens from Online World of Wrestling
It was my grand obsession for Ring of Honor that first attracted me to Full Impact Pro. Everyone knows that FIP is the sister-promotion for ROH. They have traditionally used a lot of the same wrestlers, but have developed a unique environment for their promotion. This DVD featured an increased volume of ROH content and had the makings of a small inter-promotional rivalry.
A couple of babyfaces hit the ring for the very first match of the night. Sal Rinauro managed to defeat the Canadian Cougar, who is a masked Tony Kozina. It’s funny for me to watch a guy wrestling in an American promotion with a Canadian gimmick and actually get cheered. It’s unique and would be equivalent to a Russian wrestler working as a babyface in the eights, it hardly ever happens! Nice competitive match to start the show and probably a tad better than the average opening contest ( 6.5 / 10 ).
American Dragon came out with his manager Dave Prazak and traded insults with several of the Orlando fans. American Dragon, who was wearing flip flops, said he was defending the ROH World title that night so Prazak’s services won’t be needed. Dave Prazak then cut a promo challenging Homicide to come back to Full Impact Pro and told him to be careful.
Twenty year veteran Alex Porteau took the challenge of relative newcomer Seth Delay in another babyface vs. babyface match-up. Like I said in my last review it’s so great that FIP is keeping a guy like Porteau on the roster. He is still in great shape and can still wrestle a good match. Seth Delay’s lack of experience was totally exposed when he tried a dive over the top rope when Porteau wasn’t watching, and thus failed to catch Delay, who landed flat on his back on the wooden gym floor with no protection. Talk about crash and burn — ouch! A minute later Delay took a back-flip and over-rotated and landed on his face. Ouch! At this point I’m sure he was a bit shaken up, but like a true professional he finished the match — even though he was pinned after thunderous power-bomb ( 6 / 10 ).
The next match was a four-way fray between Ryan Drago, Kenny King, Chasyn Rance and Korey Chavis (finally a heel!). I thought for sure Chavis would steam-roll through his three young opponents, due in part to his lovely manager So-Cal Val. Chavis made the first two eliminations but it was Chasyn Rance who survived this fast-paced elimination style contest ( 7 / 10 ). So-Cal Val screamed “I’m not paying you to lose, Korey!” and walked out on Chavis after the match. Kenny King clearly should have won WWE Tough Enough the year he was a contestant. He has proved to have way more potential than Jackie Gayda and Linda Miles (pfft) ever did.
In a match that I was highly anticipating from the moment I saw the line-up, ROH/FIP star Davey Richards took on Dragon Gate’s Shingo Takagi. I am a huge mark for both guys and admittedly had high expectations going into it. Now THIS was ROH-style wrestling. I hope the 100 or so fans who were there understand just how lucky they are to be witnesses to two of the best talents out there kicking each others ass for the enjoyment of the fans. Shingo had his arm raised in the end but it was the fans who got to see the match in person and on DVD who were the winners ( 8.5 / 10 ).
Somewhere along the way, within the pile of FIP DVD’s which I did not see, the tag team known as the Miracle Violence Connection (or is it Collection?) had a falling out. The members were Steve Madison and Erick Stevens and between then and now, they went from best buddies to bitter enemies. Steve Madison got busted open early in the match and the announcers played it off as a gusher even though it was barely a trickle of blood. Eventually there was a ref-bump and Chasyn Stevens interfered and helped Madison scored the victory ( 7 / 10 ). I think this was the beginning of a faction known as YRR because after the match Chasyn Rance said they were “Young, Rich, and Ready!”
So-Cal Val came out with her Heartbreak Express team for a little promo time before their match. Sean Davis was wearing these hilarious over-sized sun-glasses shaped like hearts and I couldn’t help but chuckle when Val proclaimed them as the World’s Sexiest Tag Team. I’ll give them one thing, Val is sexy. The Heartbreak Express vowed to regain the FIP Tag Team titles back and requested a warm-up match fight now.
The Heartbreak Express defeated The Masked Fipper #13 and Super FIP Machine in your basic squash match. The Super FIP Machine shattered Superstar Sean’s record of being the fattest man in FIP history. Seriously, one of his legs was bigger than So-Cal Val.
Ring of Honor officially took the stage as American Dragon defended his ROH World championship against long-time ROH fan-favorite Colt Cabana. Cabana had recently lost a match to Dragon in less than five minutes at an ROH show, and you’d think Cabana would learn his lesson but he was still doing his usual goof-ball routine. Over time, the match got a little more serious. Colt Cabana actually pinned American Dragon but the referee realized that Dragon’s foot was on the rope and restarted the match. A minute later, Dragon pinned Cabana and the referee failed to notice Cabana’s foot on the rope. Despite the protest of a second referee, American Dragon was declared the winner and retained his ROH World championship! ( 8 / 10 ). It was a fantastic match and a treat to watch.
Next up the ROH World Tag Team titles were defended by Austin Aries (normally a heel in FIP) and Roderick Strong (normally a babyface in FIP) against the team of Jay Fury and Roderick Strong – I’m not sure if they would have been my first choice. By the end of the match, Fury and Clarke proved to me why they were chosen. They stuck in there with the ROH champs and even came extremely close to winning, but fell short in the end ( 7.5 / 10 ).
Final Thoughts: The southern fans don’t know how to react to the ROH style of wrestling; it really shows how special the ROH fans are in the Northeast to be such an integral part of the product with how they react emotionally to the action in the ring.