Written by: Brad Dykens from Online World of Wrestling
I skipped four FIP home releases so when I popped in my “Strong vs. Evans” I felt somewhat out of touch. Homicide is still the Champion, but you can sense that streak is coming to an end; And The Heartbreak Express is still dominating the Tag Team division with their more-confident-with-every-passing-minute valet So-Cal Val. Lenny Leonard was replaced as ring announcer by some guy named Vic Slowhand — now that’s a funny name!
There was quick segment featuring Colt Cabana and Sal Rinauro challenging Steve Madison and Erick Stevens to a match but nobody came out so Sal and Colt promised to get their match before the night was over.
Jack Evans then showed up and hyped his #1 Contenders match with ROH Generation Next stable-mate Roderick Strong in the main event of this appropriately titled DVD “Strong vs. Evans.” Before Evans could make his last remark, a wrestler named Angel Armoni showed up and challenged Jack Evans to a match with his main event spot on the line. Is it possible this DVD could be changed to “Strong vs. Armoni” — I don’t think so. Angel Armoni tried to use a foreign object so Roderick Strong came out to tell the referee, the weapon was discovered and Evans won the match to keep the main event in tact ( 6 / 10 ). Angel Armoni is a 15-year veteran I’m looking forward to seeing more.
The Heartbreak Express (still Tag Team Champions) showed up with their valet So-Cal Val, who has a new bodyguard named Kory Chavis. My first thought was, “Wow he could be Rainman’s twin!” – I was aware that Kory Chavis existed but I had no idea, until now, that he and Rainman were the same guy. So-Cal Val’s trio of wrestlers took on the team of Chasyn Rance, Seth Delay and Benny Blanco. The match ended with Rance and Delay scoring a double pinfall on the Tag Team Champions, thus putting themselves in line for a future title shot ( 6.5 / 10 )!
Colt Cabana and Sal Rinauro called out Steve Madison and Erick Stevens again but the call was not answered
The next match featured FIP high flyer Jerrelle Clark taking on Austin Aries, who was accompanied by his fellow DP Associates Mr. Milo Beasley and American Dragon. I’m actually really interested to see Beasley, who is actually an independent wrestler named Naphtali, drop the wheel-chair gimmick and step into the ring — some day maybe. I’m not sure why Clark’s tag team partner Jay Fury stayed in the locker room but Clark sure could have used him at ringside to keep an eye on American Dragon. Dragon shoved Clark off the top rope and Aries nailed a brain-buster to win an otherwise fantastic match ( 7 / 10 )!
Jay Fury showed up after the match and said he was sick and tired of American Dragon interfering in all of their matches (well, why wasn’t he out there during match then?) and challenged Dragon a match on the spot. Dragon accepted and Austin Aries stayed at ringside while Jerrelle Clark was helped backstage. Mr. Milo Beasley got in on the action, by jumping out of his wheel-chair and putting Fury in it. Beasley then did a somersault senton off the ring apron ring on top of Fury’s head; Fury was supposed to fall backwards in the chair but failed to get the momentum and instead took the brunt of Beasley’s weight on his neck which looked sick as hell. The average human being would legitimately need a wheel-chair after a move like that but Fury got up and kept wrestling. It was like dejavu all over again when Austin Aries interfered and helped American Dragon win the match ( 6.5 / 10 ). Dragon proved once again that he is the Best Wrestler in the World, making Jay Fury look like a million bucks.
Colt Cabana and Sal Rinauro decided to get ringside seats and wait for Steve Madison and Erick Stevens to arrive
Black Market (Murphy & Machete) destroyed the Masked Fippers #9 and #10 in a total tag team squash match ( 2 / 10 ). I can’t wait to see the Tag Team Champion Heartbreak Express wet their pants when they are challenged by these two guys. They are all-business when they are in the ring; Heck, they even wear ties! Machete demanded that FIP give them some competition next time!
Dave Prazak claimed that Jimmy Rave didn’t have to wrestle tonight because there was no competition for him. Enter Tony Mamaluke — oh yes, the lovely Mrs. Mamaluke was sitting in the front row again! Jimmy Rave stalled for several minutes before getting in the ring to face the Sicilian Shooter. Tony Mamaluke made Jimmy Rave tap out to win the best wrestling match of the night ( 8.5 / 10 ).
Colt Cabana and Sal Rinauro got to be fans again, sitting at ringside getting emotionally involved in the match. As they were clapping for Mamaluke, Steve Madison and Erick Stevens snuck in the back door and attacked them from behind! Their match was immediately started out as a street fight slowly morphed into a tag team wrestling match. Steve Madison used a steel chain to knock out Colt Cabana (the Randy Savage/Tito Santana spot) and win the match for his team ( 7.5 / 10 ). Cabana and Rinauro challenged Madison and Stevens in separate singles matches next month when they’re back in Crystal River.
The main event simply had to be seen to be believed. It was definitely one of the best matches in FIP history and certainly the stiffest. It single-handedly made this DVD worth the price of purchase. Roderick Strong won by submission with a back-breaking Stronghold to put Jack Evans out of his misery ( 9.5 / 10 ).
Final Thoughts: Roderick Strong would of course go on to challenge Homicide for the FIP title on the 1/14 show in Philadelphia. It was turned into a three-way with American Dragon, who walked away with the FIP championship. The title change was due to Homicide suffering a shoulder injury. It has to be noted that Homicide held the FIP title for well over a year, a feat that is virtually unheard-of in professional wrestling.