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*** Official FIP DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
March 26, 2005 - BRING THE PAIN - Sebring, Florida

FIP rolled into Sebring with their engines roaring loudly for an big show featuring two huge main events. The night started with Dave Prazak introducing his newest protégé Ryze, the 7' oriental guy who I raved about back at New Year's Classic. He's still just as impressive in victory over the Masked FIPper (a masked gimmick created to give students anonymous ring time) but is going with the storyline that he is sympathetic to his opponent while Prazak is hell-bent on a post-match demolition! ( 2 / 10 ) WWE should sign and mold Ryze while he's still young.

Insane Dragon made his case for a rematch with ROH World Champion Austin Aries, but was instead placed in a #1 Contenders match with Roderick Strong and lost his opportunity. Roderick Strong beat Insane Dragon in a surprisingly good match ( 7 / 10 ). Strong will challenge for the ROH World title later on in the show.

Erick Stevens took on Don Juan, or as I like to call him "the worst ladies man gimmick in the history of pro-wrestling." The highlight of the match was when it was over, and Don Juan picked a very cute (and obviously planted) female fan out of the crowd and convinced her to go home with him. I give the match a 3/10 but I give the girl a 9/10 with a one point penalty for having bad taste in men.

I have been very hard on Sean and Phil Davis in previous FIP DVD reviews. Collectively known as "The Heartbreak Express", I have heard a ton of good things about them but I have yet to really "get" their gimmick. So far their storyline is that they lose every single match, but they have somehow convinced themselves that they are undefeated. Okay, that's funny for five seconds but where are you taking me with this? On this night, The HBE fell to the team of Aaron Epic & Kahagas. Epic doesn't really look like he belongs in a wrestling ring but Kahagas is unique and I hope he goes places. ( 5 / 10 )

The mid-card was stuffed with three average bouts featuring Steve Madison vs Tony Kozina ( 4 / 10 ), Jared Steele vs Evan Starsmore ( 3 / 10 ), and Vordell Walker vs Masada ( 6 / 10 ). As you can see I enjoyed the latter of the bunch the most. But then it was time for your semi main event. If there's one good thing I can say for FIP it's that their main events consistently deliver.

ROH World Champion Austin Aries faced the challenge of ROH stable-mate Roderick Strong in a hard-fought battle for supremecy. I kept feeling like I was watching an ROH match with the sound turned down, as it was the same routine except with 5% of the fan attendance. I still feel really bad for specific wrestlers beating the hell out of themselves just for a measly crowd of 30 or 40 fans. Thank God for DVD sales! ( 8 / 10 )

As bad as I felt for Aries and Strong, C.M. Punk and American Dragon worked the same style of match for 40+ minutes with major strong style influence. I mean they smashed and stretched each other the entire time and managed to get the subtle Sebring crowd off their butts for a little rowdiness. What an incredible two out of three falls match this was, with Punk working over Dragon's leg, and Dragon working over Punk's arm. Punk used the figure four to submit Dragon for the first fall, then Dragon made a comeback and scored a surprise roll up to even the odds. The final fall was just as enthralling but you don't REALLY expect me to tell you who wins do you? ( 9 / 10 ).

Final Thoughts: Sometimes portions of my reviews come off very negative, but I want readers to know that I really enjoy watching FIP DVDs -- otherwise I wouldn't take the time to write these reviews. Yes, it's true, sometimes there are some pretty bad matches but each and every wrestler on the roster has my absolute respect for stepping into a wrestling ring. I subscribe to the theory that a wrestling show shouldn't be a card full of main events, but rather a series of matches, some involving less experienced wrestlers, to contribute to the slow build towards the main event. That's an old school mentality that is lost in todays wrestling market and FIP does a fairly good job of doing that.

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