Written by: Brad Dykens from Online World of Wrestling
The YRR took advantage of some pre-show interview time to run their mouths about several of their enemies, most notably Erick Stevens, who was scheduled to face YRR leader Steve Madison in a Dog Collar match the following night in Crystal River. Before the former Miracle Violence Connection partners would go to war, Stevens was forced to wrestle the “Hired Gun” Brent Albright tonight. After a brief brawl which included the YRR (with Daffney) and Black Market (with Allison Danger), the opening match got underway between Seth Delay and Kenny King.
Seth Delay defeated YRR member “The Natural” Kenny King ( 3.5 / 10 ). Yawn.
Claudio Castagnoli made his debut in Full Impact Pro. Gosh, it’s great to see Double C doing his popular “HEY!” babyface gimmick – he’s in a league of his own as far as professional wrestling goes. DP Associate Shane Hagadorn was Claudio’s opponent, so the wheelchair-bound Mr. Milo Beasley was lurking around ringside shouting encouragements at Hagadorn. Castagnoli was predictably victorious in this, his debut, match in FIP ( 5.5 / 10 ).
The Heartbreak Express came out and put over the Black Market as their toughest opponents ever, citing the brutality of the Cage of Pain match the previous month. Sean Davis said the fans showed them respect last month and thanked them, saying they would wrestle tonight even though they were not 100%. Pennsylvania-based IWC wrestler Shiima Xion (pronounced She-mah Zion) made his debut appearance and said he had heard a lot about the Heartbreak Express and added that they didn’t look like much. The HBE challenged Shiima Xion to find a partner to wrestle them so Xion literally dragged poor little Pelle Primeau out to the stage from behind the curtain.
The Heartbreak Express defeated Shiima Xion and Pelle Primeau in a glorified squash match that went a few extra minutes so everybody could earn their paycheck ( 5 / 10 ). Xion fed his unwilling partner to the wolves, but as usual, Pelle fought with a lot of heart and determination. Pelle took the pinfall, but after the match the Heartbreak Express solidified their babyface status by putting over little Pelle and invited him to party with them (the highest compliment). Sean Davis also made some kind of challenge to Xion for the following night in Crystal River but I couldn’t quite hear the details of the proposition.
Up until this point in the show, I had been bothered by this annoying little punk voice constantly screaming in the audience. I mean it’s great that you have fun at a wrestling show but gezz, be cool kid. I don’t know if it was a guy or a girl but they were seriously hindering my ability to concentrate on the matches. That SAME annoying voice had gotten on my nerves before, on a recent Ring of Honor DVD that featured Jack Evans. It wasn’t until Mr. Evans popped out from behind the curtain that I put two and two together and realized this Evans-mark was either traveling with Jack or stalking him. Anyway if this annoying fan ever reads this review, I want him/her to know that they annoy me. ANYWAY. Jack Evans returned to FIP for the first time since his awesome encounter with Roderick Strong at “Strong vs. Evans” exactly one year ago. Jack said he was DONE with DP Associates (I forgot he was with them) and Dave Prazak came out to distract Evans while DP Associates Shingo Takagi and the returning Jimmy Rave attacked him from behind. Roderick Strong made the save and they set up a tag team match for later on.
Gran Akuma, who made a deep impression on the fans last months during his debut weekend with FIP, went up against YRR member Salvatore Rinauro in an evenly matched contest. Rinauro didn’t come alone, as he had his “Oral Support” Daffney at ringside with the other members of the YRR – Steve Madison, Kenny King, and Chasyn Rance. Akuma was no match for the combined forces of the YRR and he fell victim to the numbers game giving Sal Rinauro the win ( 6.5 / 10 ). The entire YRR attacked Gran Akuma after the match until Black Market and Allison Danger made the save.
This morphed directly into a tag team match featuring YRR members Steve Madison and Chasyn Rance going up against Black Market members Joey Machete & Shawn Murphy. The YRR’s Daffney was being carefully watched at ringside by Allison Danger. Fans watched with delight as the YRR got their butt kicked from post to post, but somehow the punk heels turned things around and managed to score the upset victory over Black Market ( 7 / 10 ). This feud is far from over.
Jimmy Jacobs also made his debut with FIP, apparently following the love of his life (Lacey) to Florida – even though she wasn’t even booked on the show this month. “Sweet & Sour” Larry Sweeney, who happens to be aligned with Lacey in FIP, interrupted and turned Jacobs into a babyface by default. It’s been ages since I saw Jimmy Jacobs work as a good guy. Both of these guys are solid experienced performers with bright futures. Late in the match, Sweeney knocked Jacobs out with a foreign object (the Savage/Santana spot from 1986) on his way to stealing a victory and keeping his three-match winning streak alive ( 7.5 / 10 ).
The “Gun For Hire” Brent Albright appeared in FIP for the first time having been hired by the YRR to take out Erick Stevens before his Dog Collar match with Steve Madison the following night. There was a lot of stalling by Albright before the match; that kind of stuff translates really well live but is kinda boring if you’re watching on DVD. I find Albright doesn’t work very well with a lot of smaller guys since returning to the independent circuit, however, he had surprisingly good chemistry with FIP fan favorite Erick Stevens. Late in the match, Stevens hit the TKO finisher but Albright kicked out after two. Albright fought back and hit a high velocity suplex to win the match ( 7.5 / 10 ). That could hardly be considered “taking out” the intended target. The YRR showed up and restrained Erick Stevens while Steve Madison wrapped his hand with a chain and punched him in the head twice before the Black Market made the save. Erick Stevens got on the mic and hyped the Dog Collar match for the following night in Crystal River.
The main event was the most ROH influenced match I’ve ever seen in FIP. It was FIP Champion Roderick Strong and Jack Evans against DP Associates Jimmy Rave and Shingo. Extremely high-speed, fast-paced and hard-hitting contest which saw the team of Strong and Evans have their arms triumphantly raised for a spectacular victory ( 8.5 / 10 ).
Final Thoughts: Wow! so many new and returning faces to kick off 2007! Big effort by all four men in the main event. They actually raised thee bar a little bit. The show was noticably lacking star-power but everybody else picked up the slack nicely.