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*** Official FIP DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
August 5, 2005 - HEATSTROKE (NIGHT #1) - Crystal River, Florida

Night #1 of a huge FIP double-header began with the Ring Crew Express defeating FIP Tag Team Champions Jimmy Rave and Fast Eddie Vegas in a Non-title match. Dave Prazak has repeatedly dodged championship matches for his team, citing that the fans were not worthy of seeing a title match, but after losing to Dunn & Marcos they will certainly be forced to put their belts up in the near future. One scary moment during this match occurred when the top rope snapped, sending Dunn falling backwards onto the mat. It looked bad but Dunn was okay, but the rest of the match was fought without a top rope. The Ring Crew Express recovered and scored the upset victory over the champions ( 7 / 10 ). The remaining matches were wrestled with only two ropes, as they moved the bottom rope up to replace the broken top rope. Very strange visually but I was kind of disappointed that the Ring Crew Express didn't try to fix the ring themselves!

The four-way Fray involved Roderick Strong, Jay Fury, Jerrelle Clark and the recently liberated Azriael. After Azriael and Strong were eliminated, it became a rematch from one of the previous shows between Jerrelle Clark and Jay Fury. These two guys really work well together and put on a great match. Jerrelle Clark won the match respectfully hugged Jay Fury afterwards ( 6.5 / 10 ).

The next match was by far the best wrestling match of the night and featured two of my favorite wrestlers in James Gibson and Tony Mamaluke. Steve Madison came out first and claimed he scared Gibson back to his job with the WWE, only to have Gibson sneak up behind him. Madison turned tail and ran out the door despite the fact that he's been calling Gibson out for months! Tony Mamaluke came out and had the match of the night with James Gibson ( 9 / 10 ).

Adam Pearce made his debut with FIP and it appears he is also the newest member of DP Associates. He assumed he would be steamrolling through Sal Rinauro but the man from Salifornia scored and upset victory with a surprise inside cradle! ( 5 / 10 ) Pearce was a sore loser and attacked Rinauro after the match and was joined by Samoa Joe until Spanky made the save leading to a hard-fought match between Samoa Joe and Spanky which ended with Joe winning by choke-out ( 7.5 / 10 ).

Some additional thoughts: Dave Prazak is the best play-by-play man in independent wrestling but he has to choose between announcing and being the manager of champions. In FIP he is the leader of DP Associates and is usually involved in three or four matches per card, thus abandoning Lenny Leonard in the booth. Leonard is good, but he needs someone else in the booth with him. If Prazak is going to continue being an active manager, then FIP needs to find a new play-by-play man; or at least someone to sit in his seat when he's at ringside guiding his clients.

The Heartbreak Express tried their best but once again came out on the losing end against Antonio Banks and his partner-of-the-week Rainman. Banks won the match and got high fives from his partner, who quickly turned heel and knocked Banks out! ( 5 / 10 ). Will the Heartbreak Express ever win a match? Will Antonio Banks ever keep a friend longer than 20 minutes? Will Rainman explain his actions? I don't know, I guess I'll have to keep checking out the DVDs.

I was under the impression that last months shows would be C.M. Punk's final FIP appearances before heading to WWE. But between then and now, C.M. Punk had captured the ROH World title and extended his stay on the independent circuit. WWE granted him a few extra months before debuting so I guess he still has a few FIP appearances left in him after all. Punk took on his trainer "Crazy" Ace Steele in an intense match-up which ended when Samoa Joe interfered and helped Punk get the tainted victory ( 8 / 10 ).

All of Steve Madison's victories lately have earned him a shot at the FIP Heavyweight title, currently held by the "Notorious 187" Homicide. Even though Madison brought Erick Stevens out as his "insurance policy", I didn't believe for one second that he would capture the championship but I will admit this was the best Steve Madison match I've ever seen ( 7 / 10 ). James Gibson showed up after the match and took out some of his frustrations on Steve Madison.

Final Thoughts: Attendance was incredible for this show. Every seat had a butt on it and there were people standing in the back. Lots of kids keeping the atmosphere loud. There was one particularly good looking female fan in the front row that was kind of distracting. Good luck keeping your eyes off her!

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