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DVD Review: FIP "Stronger Than Ever" (5-25-07), with Necro Butcher-Strong, Jay Briscoe vs. Tyler Black

Jan 3, 2008 - 10:53:58 AM

By Chris Vetter

Full Impact Pro, the sister promotion of Ring of Honor, returned to Inverness, Fla., on May 25, 2007, for "Stronger Than Ever." This was an excellent show with four standout matches. The crowd here, in this giant gymnasium, is perhaps 150 fans.

FIP stresses old school booking, with no backstage segments. The DVDs are manufactured by the same group that makes ROH discs. These shows have good lighting and solid editing. FIP in 2007 is SO much better than its infancy in 2004 & 2005.

Back on commentary is the usual team of Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak, with Prazak playing up his heel role. Commentary is done in post-production, but I really like that when Prazak is at ringside, he isn't doing color.

To the ring!

(1) Steve Madison defeats Jerrelle Clark at 7:58.
Good match. Madison is described as still being a member of the YRR, but he walked to the ring by himself. They opened with an intense tieup, some good reversals, and they had a standoff, and this looks like a face-face matchup. Jerrelle hit a crossbody block for a nearfall at 2:00, and he slowed Madison down with a headlock on the mat. Madison hit a back suplex. Prazak talked about all the wrestlers that will debut in FIP later on tonight, and Leonard added that FIP is the place to be. Madison hit a second-rope kneedrop on the face. (I see that the referee is PJ Drummond, a Chicago guy who likely drove down with some of the wrestlers debuting here.)

Clark hit a nice hurricanrana at 5:30. Madison hit a punch to the gut, and he made a cover with his feet on the ropes, which was really the first hint of cheating. Madison went for a move off the ropes, but Clark got his feet up to block it. Clark hit a flying forearm and a nice dropkick, then a back suplex. Jerrelle went for a handspring-back-moonsault, but Madison got his knees up to block it. Jerrelle went for a sunset flip, but Madison blocked it, sat down on Jerrelle's chest, and scored the pin.

* The YRR of Sal Rinauro & Kenny King & Chasyn Rance, with Rebecca Bayless, appeared on the ramp. (No sign, nor any mention, of SoCalVal.) The YRR want to celebrate Madison's win. However, Madison got on the mic and said he was tired of taking shortcuts, and he's not into being a member of the YRR anymore. Madison went to walk away, but the remaining YRR members attacked him from behind, hit some stomps, then a spike piledriver on the stage!

(2) Jimmy Rave (w/Dave Prazak & Mr. Milo Beasley) defeats Trik Davis at 11:02.
This is Trik's FIP debut; he wrestles regularly for AAW in the Chicago area, has appeared on a couple of ROH shows, and he's definitely improved since I first saw him in 2004. The bell rang, and Rave immediately rolled to the floor and stalled. They traded mat reversals, and Rave hit a cheap shot and bailed. Rave hit a deep armdrag, so Rave bailed again at 3:00. Rave hit a spear, sending Trik to the floor. Prazak hit some stomps on Trik. Milo Beasley got up out of wheelchair and hit a flip dive off the apron onto Trik on the floor at 6:00.

Rave slammed Trik against the guardrail. In the ring, Trik hit some punches to the gut, but Rave hit some blows to the back, and he choked Trik in the ropes. Milo also choked Trik, and the kids in the crowd were irate! Trik fired back with a second-rope crossbody block and some running back elbows, then a hurricanrana at 8:30, and he was fired up. Rave had a sloppy Superkick attempt, as Trik was slow to block it. Rave got a rollup with his feet on the ropes for a nearfall, then a quick swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall.

Trik fired back with a missile dropkick, a Rolling Thunder kneedrop for a nearfall, a headscissora takedown, and a Lungblower to the chest, then he applied a Triangle Choke! Good sequence. Prazak pulled the referee to the floor before Rave could tap out! Trik seemed to think he had won, and he stood up in the ring. Rave quickly jumped Trik, applied the Heel Hook, and Trik tapped out. Solid match, but there were a couple blown spots. My guess is this was a first-time-ever meeting, as they didn't have a great feel for what they wanted to do.

* Prazk got on the mic and said that Delirious would win the Florida Heritage Title later on, and he would melt it down into a golf club.

(3) Danny Daniels defeats Rex Sterling and Damien Wayne at 6:38.
Excellent, quick action. All three are making their FIP debuts. Sterling has red hair in a short crewcut, and he wore red & black pants. Wayne is a bit taller, muscular, and bald, and he wore black pants. I've seen a lot of Daniels in the Chicago area, and he's short, bald, and wore his "DD" singlet. Daniels & Wayne jumped Sterling and chopped him, and Sterling bailed. Wayne hit a nice back suplex on Daniels. Sterling hit a top-rope crossbody block on Daniels for a nearfall. Daniels dove to the floor on Wayne at 2:00.

Sterling hit a flip dive onto Daniels. Wayne hit a powerbomb on Sterling onto the ring apron! OUCH! In the ring, Wayne hit a hangman's neckbreaker, then a guillotine legdrop on Sterling as Rex was tied in the Tree of Woe! Daniels got back in the ring and hit a German Suplex on Wayne for a nearfall. They did a tower spot in the corner, with Rex getting tossed across the ring, and they were all down at 4:30, and the crowd chanted, "FIP!"

Wayne hit a nice Mafia Kick on Daniels. Sterling hit a clothesline on Wayne. Daniels hit a nice overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Sterling, and they were all down again. Sterling hit a stunner on Daniels for a nearfall. Wayne hit some HARD chops on Sterling, then a brainbuster! Wayne missed a top-rope elbowdrop. Daniels shoved Wayne to the floor. Daniels then immediately hit a Tombstone Piledriver to pin Sterling. Fans chanted, "Please come back!" NOW THAT, is how you make your mark in a debut!

* Marek Brave & Tyler Black walked out on the ramp. Black got on the mic, annoyed that they were introduced as one of the best tagteams in the Midwest. Black declared they are among the best in the world, and are better than the Briscoes. The Briscoes came out and said they were ready for a fight. Marek got on the mic, and he pointed out that he is not in his gear, and he has an elbow injury. So, they agreed to a singles match of Tyler Black vs. Jay Briscoe.

(4) Tyler Black defeats Jay Briscoe at 11:54.
Very good match. They had an intense lockup and they traded armholds. Leonard wondered how this singles match would determine which is the better tagteam. Black hit a nice headscissors takedown. Jay hit a shoulder tackle and a headscissors takedown for a nearfall, then some chops. Jay hit a nice dropkick and some bootscrapes in the corner, then a basement dropkick to the head. Jay applied a Stretch Plum submission hold at 3:00. Black hit a back suplex for a nearfall, and they traded chops.

Black hit a senton, and he jawed at the crowd, as he choked Briscoe in the ropes. Black hit a nice snap suplex for a nearfall at 6:00, and he yelled at the referee. Black hit a nice kneedrop on the head for a nearfall, and he was frustrated. Jay fired back with a swinging neckbreaker, a stunner, and a Mafia Kick fora nearfall, then some chops. Black hit a running forearm, a running kneelift, and Jay fell to the floor. Black then hit a flip dive to the floor, and they were both down at 9:00.

Black hit a springboard clothesline into the ring for a nearfall, but he couldn't hit his Unibomb/small package driver. Jay hit a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall. Prazak described Black as a "rising star." Jay hit a bodyslam, then a second-rope Gordbuster and a decapitating clothesline for a believable nearfall at 11:00, and Jay was shocked he didn't get the win. Suddenly, Marek Brave hopped on the ring apron, and he grabbed Jay's ankle. This allowed Black to hit an enziguri, and hit the Unibomb, for the pin! Black left the ring with Jay's tag title belt! Very good match.

* The YRR came back out onto the stage. Kenny King got on the mic and said he doesn't know what a bunkhouse match is, and he called off the match. However, The Heartbreak Express (Sean & Phil Davis) attacked them, and the match was underway!

(5) Kenny King & Sal Rinauro & Chasyn Rance (w/Rebecca Bayless) defeat Sean & Phil Davis (w/Lacey) & Sean Waltman at 12:12.
So, this started out as two-on-three, as they brawled on the floor. Sean gave Sal a bodyslam on the floor, and Phil hit a bodyslam on Rance. Sean hit a chairshot on King's back, then one on Rance's head. Sean dropped a plastic table on Sal, and he slammed a trash can on Sal at 3:00. King hit some stomps on Phil. The Heart Break Express got in ring for the first time at 4:30, but Lacey dropped to her knees and hit low blow uppercuts on the Davises! "Lacey is a turncoat!" Leonard shouted.

Rance hit some chairshots on both Phil & Sean. Sean had a bloody forehead, and Sal bit on it. King hit some repeated spin kicks to Sean's chest. Sal got a broom, mockingly using it to "clean up the ring," then he hit Sean with it at 8:00. Prazak laughed that the HBE can't keep a woman around (as So Cal Val turned on them just a month ago!) Sal hit a cookie sheet on Phil's head. Bayless kissed Sal.

Suddenly, at 10:00, Sean Waltman hit the ring, and he hit some clotheslines, a Bronco Buster on Sal, and an X-Factor faceplant on King for a nearfall. Rance hit some forearm shots on Waltman. Waltman missed his second Bronco Buster attempt. Phil went to the top rope, but Lacey crotched him. The YRR then hit a team Spike Piledriver to pin Phil. Fairly basic stand-up brawl. I was disappointed that Waltman was in this match for barely more than two minutes.

* Steve Madison ran to the ring to save the HBE from any further beating. Davis got on the mic and declared that this war is not over.

* A commercial aired for FIP's "New Year's Classic" DVD.

* Mark Briscoe got on the mic, and he called out Marek Brave, saying that Marek showed earlier he isn't really hurt. (Prazak was quite hilarious during the next match, questioning why Mark would hit Marek's arm when Marek has already made it clear he was injured.)

(6) Mark Briscoe defeats Marek Brave at 12:36.
Good match. Briscoe dove to the floor, hit some stomps, and they brawled on the floor, with Mark hitting a bodyslam. In a nice spot, briscoe hit a moonsault off the guardrail onto Marek on the floor! Briscoe hit a catapult doublestomp into the ring. Briscoe hit a Londonsault dropkick in the corner. Marek snapped Briscoe's throat on the top rope. Brave hit a springboard dropkick that sent Mark to the floor. Marek then hit an ASAI moonsault off the apron to the floor at 3:00. They traded chops on the floor, then in the ring. Marek slowed Briscoe with a headlock, then he hit a clothesline, a bodyslam, and he jawed at the crowd.

Marek stayed in charge with a hard kick to the face at 6:30, and he choked Briscoe, then he hit a sideslam for a nearfall, and he was frustrated he couldn't put Mark away. Briscoe fired back with a spin heel kick. Marek stretched Briscoe on the mat. Mark hit a second-rope diving forearm and some karate thrusts, then a springboard kick for a nearfall at 9:30. Briscoe hit a top-rope moonsault for a nearfall. Marek hit a (Castagnoli) Waterslide, then his cool spear-into-a-Northern Lights suplex for a nearfall.

Brave hit a swinging faceplant for a nearfall. Briscoe hit his springboard corkscrew frogsplash for a nearfall and a bodyslam. Tyler Black came to the ring and grabbed Mark's ankle. However, Jay Briscoe ran to the ring and he brawled with Tyler. Mark picked up Marek Brave and hit the Cutthroat Driver for the pin. Good match, but a step below Jay-Tyler.

(7) Erick Stevens defeats Delirious (w/Prazak & Beasley) at 18:28.
Good match. Delirious, as usual, went crazy at the bell, then he hugged Prazak. Leonard pointed out that Stevens beat Delirious in the "Battle of the Belts" tournament in March. Delirious rolled to the floor and stalled. The crowd taunted Delirious. They finally tied up at 3:30, but Delirious dove for the ropes for a 'timeout.' They tied up on the mat. Stevens hit a sideslam, but Delirious cowered in the ropes at 6:00. Delirious hit a basement dropkick, but he couldn't apply a Figure Four leglock. Stevens hit a bodyslam and an elbowdrop. Delirious bit Stevens' arm! Stevens hit a bodyslam, and he shook out the pain in his arm, then he hit some chops.

Delirious fired back with his rapid-fire elbowshots to the base of the neck and a standing neckbreaker at 10:00. Prazak and Delirious were clearly not getting along, as Prazak was ordering Delirious to work over a different body part. Delirious hit a basement dropkick to the back of the head, then a headbutt. Delirious hit a spine kick for a nearfall, and Leonard pointed out that was the first cover attempt of the match! The crowd rallied for Stevens, who got up and hit some forearms and chops, and he was fired up! Stevens hit a full nelson swinging slam for a nearfall at 12:30, then his running Choo Choo slam in the corner and a shoulder tackle for a nearfall. Delirious fired back with the Panic Attack/running knee.

Delirious missed a move off the top rope, and he pretended he hurt his knee. Delirious couldn't hit a German Suplex. They traded forearm shots. Delirious then hit the German Suplex with a bridge for a nearfall. Prazak yelled at Delirious to "stay on him!" Delirious couldn't lock on the Cobra Clutch. Stevens hit a nice powerslam for a nearfall at 15:30, but he couldn't hit the Dr. Bomb/gutwrench powerbomb, as Delirious got to the ropes. Delirious hit a running boot on the apron, then a flip dive off the apron to the floor. Prazak was now openly YELLING and arguing at Delirious to do certain things better.

In the ring, Delirious hit the Shadows Over Hell backsplash for a nearfall, and he applied the Cobra Stretch, but Stevens reached the ropes at 17:30. Delirious hit an enziguri. Stevens hit a German release suplex, then a decapitating clothesline! Stevens hit the Dr. Bomb for the pin. Good match; it started a bit slow, but it picked up nicely.

* Prazak was upet at Delirious, and he slapped the top of Delirious' head. "Get back to the locker room, you idiot!"

* Roderick Strong walked to the ring and declared that he is a fighting champion, and the next match would be no DQ and no countouts! There must be a winner!

(8) Roderick Strong defeats Necro Butcher at 12:32 to retain the FIP World Heavyweight title.
Good brawl. They immediately brawled on the floor, and Prazak predicted there would be a title change. Strong peeled off Necro's shirt, and they traded chops. Necro shoved Strong into some empty chairs, and he choked Roderick with a plastic bag. Strong hit a bodyslam on the floor at 2:00. Strong whipped Necro into the wall, and they traded more chops. Strong stomped on Necro's exposed ankle (Necro wasn't wearing shoes or boots!). Strong then Pillmanized Necro's ankle in a chair at 4:00!

Necro got up and hit some straight right punches to Roderick's jaw! OUCH! Necro whipped Roderick into the rows of empty chairs, then Necro began tossing chairs down onto Roderick! This was intense! Strong put a garbage can over Necro's head, and Roderick nailed a hard Mafia Kick at 6:00, and fans chanted, "FIP!" Strong hit a suplex onto a vertical (i.e., still standing) guardrail! OUCH again! They got in the ring for the first time, and Strong hit some chops and blows to the back. Necro hit a short-arm clothesline for a nearfall, but he sold pain in his left arm. Necro hit a series of punches and chops. Necro nailed a top-rope Rana for a nearfall at 9:00.

Necro hit a swinging neckbreaker and a chairshot to the head. They fought on the ring apron. Strong dropped Necro back-first on the apron (it wasn't quite a back suplex. They clearly had another spot in mind involving some chairs on the floor, but they skipped it.) Back in the ring, Necro hit another short-arm clothesline, and he set up the chairs in the ring. Strong hit a running Mafia Kick, a half-nelson backbreaker on top of two open chairs, and he applied the Boston Crab. Strong switched up the move and turned it into a Stronghold, and Necro tapped out!!! WOW. Good, hard-hitting brawl.

* Leonard stressed that it was the Stronghold that put Necro away. Necro and Strong shook hands as the show ended.

Final thoughts:
DVD runs 2 hours, 15 minutes.

WOW, this was a REALLY good FIP show. I scored four matches at "three stars or higher," and I just don't think that's happened too often before. FIP definitely continues its hot streak in 2007 with another outstanding show.

Best match goes to that main event. While I generally like to see some sort of build-up to a street fight (this match should be the blowoff to a feud, not the first match), I guess I'm ok with it here, just because Necro Butcher is such a wild, uncontrollable monster in matches like this. Make no mistake, this was a HARD HITTING match. Strong was really covering up on the floor as Necro whipped chair after chair at his skull. This was intense stuff. Unlike most other death match wrestlers, I think Necro blends his style really well with some of the ROH-style wrestlers.

Second-best goes to Tyler Black vs. Jay Briscoe. Those two had a seamless match, as they looked like they'd been in the ring against each other numerous times before. ROH fans who have questioned Black's quick trip up the roster need to see this match to see why Tyler quickly earned some respect.

I'll give third-best to Marek Brave vs. Mark Briscoe. It was a step below the other match, but I liked it alot. I was disappointed Marek didn't hit his nice Reverse Rana, but his spear-into-a-Northern Lights suplex is impressive. Delirious-Stevens was really good from about the six-minute mark on. I'm a huge Delirious fan, but I think he just stalls a bit too long when he's a heel. Stevens' offense is still fairly basic, but everything he does, he really does well.

The three-way of Daniels-Wayne-Sterling was sharp. Wayne looks like he's ready for the ROH roster now. I think I need to see a full singles match from Sterling to see more of his offense, but he was solid from what I saw.

The other matches were fine. I'm bored with the YRR, and I wish the announcers had at least acknowledged what happened to So Cal Val. Is she gone, because she's under TNA contract? Again, she was on the show just a month earlier, and I think an explanation was needed. I still don't like the Heart Break Express as faces, as they are soooo great at drawing heel heat.

This DVD is a definite thumbs up. No, it's not on par with the best ROH releases of the year, but this is definitely one of the better FIP shows I've seen. Purchase this DVD at for $15.

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