Have you ever seen a card with such a ridiculous collection of talent that you decide that you just HAVE to watch it? Well that’s this show. All in the same building we have: Hector Guerrero, Mike Graham, the Heartbreak Express, New Jack, Gangrel, Kid Romeo from the dying days of WCW, David Young from the early days of TNA, and a man named Big Wood, whose greatest fame at this point probably comes from being featured in the occasional story on the Bryan and Vinny Show about their old wrestling days.
The canvas is painted to look like an American flag. That’s new. They also had a big video screen. The show is taking place in what I assume is actually a high school gym, but they’ve done a great job disguising it and it looks pretty good. This feels like a much bigger production from the later Gabe-booked FIP.
HECTOR GUERRERO vs. AARON EPIC - 4.25/10
They had a nice little young babyface vs. wily veteran heel match. Hector won cleanly but showed Epic respect after the match.
THE HEARTBREAK EXPRESS vs. THE HELLRAIZERS (Axis & Python) (w/Mikey Gold) - 3.75/10
Sean Davis is not as rotund as I’m used to seeing him and doesn’t talk in as whiny a voice, making him much more palatable. This was only a few matches into both of their careers, and seeing the Heartbreak Express as babyfaces was total mindf*ck. The match started off well but tapered off fairly quickly and became very blah by the end.
Thunderbolt Norton vs. Kahagas vs. Dagon Briggs (w/Se7en) - 4.25/10
Se7en is Dagon Briggs’ wife, not Kevin Thorne or Dustin Rhodes. With so many people from random points in history on this show, I figured it was best to clarify that. You might know her has Fluff Dupp from TNA.
They did stuff. It was fine until the finish, which I’m not sure Norton understood. The ref’s cadence was a little fast, which was the first bit of weirdness. Then Norton attacked Kahagas and then went after Briggs as if the match was still going on. Kahagas got his Singapore cane and attacked both men, at which point the referee raised his hand.
JAISON MOORE vs. STEVE MADISON (w/Steve Keirn) - no rating, good segment
Keirn and Madison both cut heel promos before the match. Madison’s was pretty darn good. He is disdainfully of “cruiserweights” and “light heavyweights” and is going to shed that label from himself tonight by dominating Moore.
They let Moore get some moves in to show off that he was faster than Madison (even though they roughly the same size), then Madison cut him off with a clothesline, hit some power moves, and got the win. A great little establishing segment.
After the match, Mike Graham wandered out to ringside in his gear and holding a microphone. He cut a promo that I couldn’t hear very well because some fans were yelling a lot. I assume he challenged Madison to match because we wound up with…
MIKE GRAHAM vs. STEVE MADISON (w/Steve Keirn) - 5.75/10
It’s possible that no one else heard Graham’s promo, either, as Madison left the ring. Then the bell rang, and the ring announcer told us (in an extremely southern accent, with an excitement level of about 4/10) that “Mike Graham has challenged Steve Madison to a match. The referee has called for the bell. The match is on,” and Madison went back to the ring. This was very weird.
They hit one of my big pet peeves, which is doing a “use the ropes for extra leverage” spot when the physics of it so obviously doesn’t make sense. In this case we had a half crab being applied… and then Madison took his hand off of Graham’s knee to reach out and grab the rope with it. Not only is grabbing the rope clearly not adding any extra leverage in this case, but taking your hand off of the knee results in you actually applying LESS pressure on the hold. You don’t get some sort of extra damage bonus just because you’re making contact with the rope! It’s not magic!
Other than that one spot, though, I LOVED this match, which is not the reaction I was expecting to have when started out with the up-and-comer who the promotion seems to be trying to push seeming to be unable to get any sort of offense on the fifty year old fart from a bygone era without cheating. This was about eight minutes of a few holds and some strikes, but it absolutely FLEW by and never once felt boring. This was one of those matches where you watch it and you can totally see how some people could have thought that pro wrestling was real, even with the showboating. EVERYONE needs to watch this match.
KID ROMEO vs. BIG WOOD - 6.25/10
Big Wood is a very fat gentleman who does a lot of gyrating. He moved a lot faster than I was expecting him to. Kid Romeo moved as fast as I was expecting him to as well, but he was a short but ripped dude with a reputation as a Cruiserweight, so it’s not as impressive. They told a very good story with the size discrepancy between the two. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of this match was ruined by the ending, which saw another jacked dude get into the ring, climb up to the top rope and hit a missile dropkick, all without the referee even batting an eyelash. I don’t care that Kid Romeo ducked and the interloper hurt the guy he was trying to help. It should still have been a DQ, or at the very least the referee should have tried to stop this man as he was climbing the turnbuckles.
DAVID YOUNG vs. VAMPIRE WARRIOR (w/Luna Vachon) - 2/10
As you might have guessed by Luna’s presence, this Vampire Warrior is David Heath/Gangrel. He still got to use the Brood music. I forgot how much I loved that music. For those who don’t know who David Young is, he is a name from the early days of TNA. So early, in fact, that he is the answer to the trivia question “who was the first challenger for the X-Division Title?”
They started off telling what looked like it could turn into a decent story, which was Young having to fight his way out of a very deep hole early on due to a chairshot to the head by Luna. After taking quite the beating by Gangrel and always kicking out and getting cut off again and fighting back, it finally looked like he was about to start the big comeback… and then the Hellraizers from the second match ran in for the DQ (apparently interference is a DQ this time, even though it wasn’t in the previous match). Vampire Warrior, Luna, the Hellraizers, and Mikey Gold all posed together. Amazingly, the fans cared about this enough to boo loudly and chant “you suck!” at them, so good for these guys for getting the crowd to care.
Mike Awesome vs. Justin Credible vs. New Jack - 4.5/10
This was apparently originally scheduled as a regular singles match between Awesome and Credible, but Bill Alfonso came out and said that it would now be a hardcore match, with New Jack added in. He was wearing an FIP shirt, so maybe he’s the commissioner?
They hit each other with a weapons and stuff. The match only went five minutes. It was pretty good for the time it got, but it takes exceedingly special circumstances for a five-minute main event to not be bullsh*t, and this random show didn’t even come close. Awesome won, pinning Justin. Justin and New Jack had been trying to work together and blamed each other for their plan failing, leading to a short post-match brawl.
This was a wacky show and not even remotely close to being good (or even passable), but I can’t quite bring myself to say that I didn’t enjoy it. It was short enough that it didn’t drag, the they told little stories in each match, the atmosphere was decent enough, and that Mike Graham vs. Steven Madison match has REALLY stuck with me. I doubt I’ll be watching any more FIP from the pre-Gabe era, but I will certainly be looking up some Mike Graham matches on YouTube, and that is absolutely not the plan I was anticipating having coming out of this show.