FIP Everything Burns 2017
January 8, 2017
The Ivy Astoria Event Center
Tampa, Florida

Watch: FloSlam

This was a very important night for Full Impact Pro (FIP), as their first show of the new year was the start of a whole new era for the promotion. For those who might have missed the news, it was announced late last year that FIP was going to undergo a booking change, and with that, an entirely new philosophy.

We got various indications in the weeks prior to the show that FIP was going to be a lot more edgy and out-of-control. It was going to be like the wild west, where anything and everything could happen. We got further clarification of how this new FIP was going to work, as the commentators explained that, from this point on, all matches in FIP would have no DQs and no count outs. I was very curious when all of this news came out. I had actually never watched an FIP show before (from any of its prior eras), and they had a good list of talents for this first show of 2017. Now that all of WWNLive’s main promotions are under the FloSlam banner, I decided to give the new FIP a shot, just to see what they were going to do, and this is was the result….

Get The Contract Fight For All

In the buildup to this show, what this match was actually going to be was left a little ambiguous. All we knew was that a bunch of people were participating, and the winner would get a shot at Fred Yehi’s FIP World Heavyweight Title later that night.

My initial guess was that this was going to be a Contract on a Pole Match. Now that’s far from the most popular stipulation match in pro-wrestling, but I figured that with so many people involved (pretty much everyone on the roster who wasn’t booked in one of the title matches later on the show), we would at least get an entertaining spotfest as everyone fought for the contract.

What we got was not what I was expecting at all. The iPPV opening with a random woman standing in the ring with the contract. Then, the camera panned back, and we saw all of the participants brawling into the building from (I guess) the front door.

Billy Barboza is the first to get into the ring, but is met by Su Yung, who spits red mist into this face. She then uses a kendo stick to keep anyone else from getting in the ring, but doesn’t take the contract. Teddy Stigma then gets into the ring, wielding a two-by-four wrapped in barbed wire, and has a standoff with Su Yung, who decides to dive to the outside onto everyone else. Stigma then seems to flirt with the woman holding the contract for a few seconds before he finally takes the contract.

To call this a “match” would honestly be an insult to those who genuinely care about their craft. I have no idea what this was supposed to be, and it made absolutely no sense at all. Why was this woman just standing in the ring with the contract? Why did these guys just start brawling through (presumably) the front door? Was Su Yung even part of this match? If so, then why didn’t she just grab the contract after she spit red mist in the face of Billy Barboza? What was the point of all this? Here was one of the rare cases where an “Object on a Pole” match actually would have been preferable to what we ended up getting. To put it simply, this was just nonsensical garbage, and a shitty way to decide a #1 Contender.

Alex Rudolph def. Billy Barboza (with Weevil Whitaker)

This match was set up after Alex Rudolph interrupted a promo from Billy Barboza (who still had the red mist on his face) and Weevil Whitaker (who possesses the “Book of the Greatest Moves of All Time”), who were complaining about the first “match”, (correctly) calling it a travesty. The match wasn’t much, and I really don’t remember that much from which, on this show, might be a good thing. Rudolph got the relatively quick win, and there’s not much else to say beyond that. *

Uncle John’s Friends

We then got into (arguably) the most frustrating part of the show, as a new stable in FIP emerged.

First, there was supposed to be a tag team match with Sammy Guevara & Dezmond Xavier against Sami Callihan & Dave Crist. Darby Allin interrupted before the match could begin, asking all four of them if they knew “Uncle John”. This led to Callihan & Crist jumping Guevara & Xavier, who later confirmed that they knew “Uncle John”. Then, we were going to see a triple threat match between AR Fox, Jason Cade & Jason Kincaid, but they were interrupted by Darby Allin, Sami Callihan & Dave Crist.

Once again, Allin asked the three participants if they knew “Uncle John”, which led to AR Fox jumping Cade & Kincaid, later confirming that he did, indeed, know “Uncle John”. It was at this point when one of the commentators asked if we were actually going to see a wrestling match tonight, which just gives you an idea of how stupid this all was.

Finally, we got a women’s match between Priscilla Kelly (who I’ve heard good things about) and Aria Blake. The match lasts just under three minutes with Blake winning on a roll up. Priscilla Kelly cuts a promo saying she’s upset about losing the match, but then says she know “Uncle John”, and attacks Blake as the new stable comes back out to cause more chaos, proclaiming themselves “Uncle John’s Friends”. They’re soon interrupted by Jason Cade, Sammy Guevara, Jason Kincaid, & Dezmond Xavier, who call for an Eight Man Tag later that night.

This whole thing was just incredibly frustrating. You have to understand that before all of this madness started, we have a massive three minute clusterfuck that made zero sense, and a short match between two guys who most people probably had never heard of unless you’re a hardcore FIP follower. We then got two matches that never even took place, and a women’s match that lasted under three minutes.

The show was (maybe) forty minutes in, and we had probably seen less than ten minutes (if that) of actual wrestling. That’s reminiscent of Immortal-era TNA. I honestly don’t understand the reasoning behind having those two matches not take place. If you want to put together a new heel stable (and I personally don’t mind the group of names making up this new stable), that’s fine, but did we really need to do a bait-and-switch with two matches?

I understand that this new FIP is supposed to be chaotic and out-of-control, but it just felt so unnecessary. Plus, if you wanted to set up that eight-man tag for later on, again, that’s fine, but there were so many better ways to do it than how it was done here.

This whole part of the show was just so infuriating on so many levels. While it was definitely bad, what made this so irritating was that there were better ways to get to the ultimate goal that they were trying to get to, which was the eight-man tag that we saw later.

Secondly, I have to talk about this stable name. Uncle John’s Friends sounds so stupid. Now, if this “Uncle John” is going to be revealed later, then I can understand the reasoning behind the name, but if he’s just going to be some ambiguous, mysterious figure that never gets revealed (similar to Sister Abigail in WWE), then it’s completely pointless.

They would have been better off if Sami Callihan just said he was reforming the D.U.F. (which would actually fit in this “new” FIP). Again, this new stable name is so dumb, and it’s formation was equally stupid.

Austin Theory def. Anthony Henry (with Amber Young)

While this was our first actual match on the show, it was interrupted by even more random crap, although thankfully, it didn’t completely destroy or overtake the match. Dontay Brown came out before the match began, and flashed a stack of $100 bills, saying that he was betting on Austin Theory to win. He then asked if Amber Young was willing to be on her man, Anthony Henry, to win, which she was. Brown promised to collect after the match when Austin Theory won. The match itself was relatively good. Both guys were impressive the night before in the first episode of the new Style Battle promotion, and they had another solid outing here. I hope that both continue to get bookings in FIP, and potentially Evolve, because I think they could be guys that can become future mainstays if WWE signs up more talents from Evolve. While the match was good, we got a crap finish, as Dontay Brown and Amber Young argued at ringside. This distracted Henry, with allowed Theory to win with a rollup with his feet on the ropes. ***¼

After the match, Dontay Brown tried to collect from Amber Young, but she he no money. Brown then seemed to imply that they settle their debt via sexual favors, which led to Young slapping him. I can’t believe we actually got an angle in 2017 involving implied sexual favors, yet here we are. At the same time, I’m actually a little intrigued by the idea of storyline where someone is gambling on wrestling matches. However, in practice, it completely detracted from the match.

FIP Florida Heritage Title
Martin Stone def. Jon Davis

Oh look, it’s Jon Davis! It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a match of his. Davis seemingly fell off the face of the earth when he stopped getting used in EVOLVE a few years ago, but I guess he’s been wrestling a lot in FIP since then. Thankfully, he’s no longer doing those long, ten minute entrances where he just stared at people in the crowd.

Martin Stone has been wrestling a lot on the Southeast independents after having a tenure in NXT as Danny Burch. (Stone will be competing in WWE’s UK Championship Tournament next weekend, as Danny Burch, so good for him)

As for this match, I thought it was pretty solid throughout, though it was hampered early on when Stone stopped the match twice to cut promos where he complained about Davis was wrestling him, adding that he wanted to have a technical wrestling match. Both guys did a fine job here, and while it was by no means outstanding, I thought it was good. The new rules of FIP came into play here, as Stone went out and got a large chain from the purse of a woman sitting in the crowd (why she would have a chain that big just sitting in her purse, I have no idea). He then used the chain on Jon Davis a few times, and ultimately scored the victory via knockout. I thought the finish did a decent job of further establishing that there are no rules in this new FIP, while also getting over that knockouts (not answering the ten count) can happen, though it basically means that every man in FIP going forward can technically be seen as a Last Man Standing match. ***¼

FIP World Tag Team Titles
The Hooligans def. Drennen & Parrow

Drennen was formerly known as Eddie Graves, if that name rings a bell. This was a match that fully took advantage of this no rules atmosphere in FIP. What we got was a pretty entertaining hardcore brawl. Drennen & Parrow were fine, for the most part, but I thought The Hooligans really shined here. I haven’t seen them in a long time, so I’m a bit unfamiliar with their transformation into Hillbillies, but they’re still a very solid tag team. Chairs, tables, and an assortment of other weapons were used in this one, and in the end, The Hooligans retained their titles. If you’re not into hardcore brawls, this match might turn you off, but for what it was, I thought it was perfectly fine. To this point, it might have been the best thing on the show. ***¼

FIP World Heavyweight Title
Fred Yehi def. Teddy Stigma

Teddy Stigma won whatever that shmoz was earlier in the night to earn this title shot, while Fred Yehi is coming of a thirty-minute time limit draw the night before at the Style Battle premiere against Anthony Henry. This was another very solid match, but I can’t say it surpassed the previous three matches, in terms of match quality. We saw some good wrestling for a few minutes before weapons got involved. One thing that I do like about this new FIP is that it’s putting people like Fred Yehi & Martin Stone in situations that are outside of their comfort zone. They’re two technical wrestlers, but they’re now being thrown into a scenario where there are no rules whatsoever. Stone was able to use the new rules to his advantage, and ultimately, so did Yehi. Despite being slammed onto a bunch of bottle caps, Yehi was able to come back, and eventually got the win with a Koji Clutch assisted by a two-by-four wrapped in barbed wire. Again, this was another solid match on this show after a very rocky start. ***¼

I should mention that, between a lot of the matches, we got words from the two hosts of the show briefly talking about what they had just seen before introducing the next match. The one guy kept swearing over and over again, I guess to show how “edgy” FIP was. In reality, it just came off so forced. He also took shots at Okada vs. Omega and Dave Meltzer giving the match six stars, which I’m sure got a laugh out of some people.

AR Fox, Darby Allin, Sami Callihan, & Dave Crist (with Priscilla Kelly) def. Jason Cade, Sammy Guevara, Jason Kincaid, & Dezmond Xavier (with Aria Blake)

We finally got to our main event of this first show in the new era of FIP. Now, while all of the stuff that led to this match was complete crap, the match itself was incredibly entertaining. It was a brawl right from the beginning, and quickly turned into a wild spectacle, with bodies flying all over the place. We saw crazy dives over the ropes, tower of doom spots onto everyone else on the floor, and even dives off of a second level (I’m honestly not sure where they were) in the building. We even got a seven man simultaneous kip-up spot, which was really cool to see. After all of the crap that happened earlier involving all of these guys, I just wanted to watch a match that was fun and had a ton of MOVEZ, and that’s exactly what we got here. The only complaint I have is that it felt like the finish came out of nowhere. We kept seeing big move after big move, and then AR Fox just hit his finisher and won the match for Uncle John’s Friends. It was a little anticlimactic, but again, that’s my only complaint I have. This was easily the match of the night, in my opinion. I can see some people not liking this as much, but personally, I enjoyed it a lot. ***½

Final Thoughts

The first forty minutes (or the first third, depending on how you want to categorize it) was quite possible the worst start to a wrestling show (that wasn’t on TV) I’ve ever seen. You had whatever that contract match was, two matches that were under five minutes, and two matches that didn’t even take place.

There was also the “Uncle John’s Friends” bullshit that dominated the first part of the show. Anthony Henry vs. Austin Theory did seem to be the turning point of the show (starting to go from bad to good), though it had a fuck finish and led to an angle implying that a woman pay off her debts with sex.

From there, the show was actually not too bad from an in-ring perspective. There were a couple of good matches, and a main event that I found to be very entertaining, despite all of the crap that led to the match taking place.

To say that this was one of the strangest wrestling shows I’ve even seen would be an understatement. I have mixed feeling on the “new FIP” as a whole. While I felt they did a good job of getting over the fact that all matches going forward will have No DQs and No Count Outs, it naturally brings up the question of why people don’t just interfere in matches right from the start (especially with this new stable).

Some of the “edginess” on the show felt natural, but other times it felt incredibly forced, such as the host of the show (I guess that’s who he was) saying swear words for the sake of saying swear words. Personally, the biggest issue I had with the show was with the booking, particularly in those first forty minute or so.

I’ve seen a lot of people describe what this new FIP was going to be, and what it ended up being, as “ECW-esque”, but honestly, after those first forty minutes, I was genuinely wondering whether Vince Russo was booking this show. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not, but Vince Russo is probably the last person you should draw inspiration from when you’re booking a wrestling show. The fact that one of the announcers asked on the broadcast whether we were actually going to see wrestling matches on this show just encapsulates how bad those first forty minutes were.

To be fair, the second half was fine, and parts of this new “car crash” approach to FIP were ok, but if we see more of what saw in those first forty minutes (which were reminiscent of WCW from 2000 or some of the worst Russo stuff from TNA) on future shows, then this new FIP is going to fail. I might consider checking out a future show, depending on the card, but as of right now, I seriously doubt whether I’ll watch FIP again after this show. Check out the second half of this show, particularly the main event, but avoid those first forty minutes like the plague, unless you want to see just how bad it really was.