Written by: Brad Dykens from Online World of Wrestling
Full Impact Pro was back in Crystal River for what would prove to be one of the bloodiest nights in FIP history. They also set a company attendance record with about 500 fans taking in the action. The show kicked off with some heated commentary from The Heartbreak Express, who were slated to face Black Market in the “Cage of Pain” later that night. The HBE was accompanied by the arrogant and confident Lacey (a replacement for So-Cal Val). They were then joined in the interview area by the debuting “Sweet & Sour” Larry Sweeney, a man who many fans (including myself) seriously love to hate. I haven’t seen a lot of Sweeney in action but what I’ve seen always makes me want to see more. He’s an all-around great talent and is destined for greatness in the wrestling business. Some of you may remember him as the guy who portrayed ‘Nick Hogan’ during a parody on RAW making fun of “Hogan Knows Best.” Larry Sweeney’s open challenge was accepted by crowd-favorite Jerrelle Clark, whose talents were brought to the surface by the skills of Sweet & Sour. Sweeney picked up the first of what I can only hope will be many victories in an FIP ring ( 6.5 / 10 ).
While Larry Sweeney celebrated his successful debut with the lovely Lacey, Allison Danger made her way out to ringside and challenged Lacey to a match and before you knew it Lacey and Danger were engaged in combat – SHIMMER style! Late in the match, Larry Sweeney distracted the referee while big Sean Davis delivered a devastating avalanche on Allison Danger in the corner! Lacey easily picked up the victory and poor little Allison was stretchered off to the hospital to have Sean’s stink surgically removed ( 6 / 10 ).
There was more than one FIP debut on this night, as Chikara-based super stars Gran Akuma and Hallowicked made their first appearances taking on DP Associates, Delirious and SHINGO, in exciting tag team action. It took some botched interference by DP Associate Austin Aries to give Akuma and Hallowicked the upset victory over Dave Prazak’s monsters ( 6 / 10 ). Delirious was pissed at Aries, so one of them (hopefully Delirious) should be turning babyface very soon. Davey Richards came out and wanted a title shot. Steve Madison came out and wanted a title shot. American Dragon came out and wanted a title shot. FIP World Champion Roderick Strong came out and accepted Steve Madison’s challenge – Erick Stevens came out and chased Madison around the ring and eventually back to the dressing room. Roderick Strong then set up American Dragon and Davey Richards in an impromptu match starting immediately!
It was a slow and methodical match-up between two of the elite members of the ROH and FIP roster – Bryan Danielson and Davey Richards. You can tell American Dragon really has a lot of fun embracing the southern style by using the crowd-reactions to enhance the quality of the match. Dave Prazak’s botched interference led to Danielson tapping out and giving Richards the victory ( 7 / 10 ). Short match – plus very strange for Danielson to give up so quickly. I guess he’s saving himself for his big match with Homicide at Ring of Honor’s “Final Battle.”
Steve Madison bought the services of Austin Aries for one night to soften up Erick Stevens. The night of tainted victories continued as Steve Madison returned late in the match to knock out Erick Stevens with a set of brass knuckles to help Austin Aries win the match ( 7 / 10 ). Erick Stevens has come a LONG way since I first saw him. I’m very impressed with his progress.
The YRR faction consisting of Salvatore Rinauro, Chasyn Rance, and Kenny King with their gHOThic valet Daffney Unger continued their reign of dominance in FIP with another victory over Colt Cabana, Seth Delay and Jerrelle Clark ( 5.5 / 10 ). The match was way too long but the kids in the audience ate it up from bell-to-bell.
Next up was Roderick Strong’s defense of the FIP Heavyweight title against the “Modern Miracle” Steve Madison. As I cringed at the thought of Steve Madison carrying the torch for FIP, I was delighted to see half-way decent match highlighted by a Gibson-driver by Strong to retain the belt ( 7 / 10 ). The YRR tried to help their former leader, Steve Madison, but Seth Delay and Erick Stevens took care of them!
This show seemed like it’s been purposely below expectations to set up the brutality of the Cage of Pain main event between bitter rivals, the Heartbreak Express and Black Market. This was the feud that put FIP on the map and they set out to finally settle their differences in the most extreme environment possible. A classic mesh steel cage was erected around the ring, which was filled with weapons such as chairs, tables, chains, and light tubes. Sean Davis lost an insane amount of blood as usual. Anyone who knows me knows I hate garbage hardcore wrestling but I do admit that it can be entertaining if it’s built up properly. This is what the HBE/Black Market feud was leading towards and it was more than just violence for the sake of violence. Allison Danger returned from the hospital to prevent Lacey from getting involved in the match from ringside. The match ended with Black Market super-bombing the bloody Sean Davis through a table covered with thousands of thumb-tacks ( 9 / 10 )! This entire feud has been done very well and this match was no exception.
Final Thoughts: This show was all about the main event. It was an excellent hardcore wrestling match which meant something in the end and everything made complete sense. Good job by all.