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*** Official FIP DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
December 17, 2004 - FLORIDA RUMBLE - Lakeland, Florida

The show started with a bang with the first ever Florida Rumble featuring 19 of FIP's finest talent. This was your basic Royal Rumble rules match except instead of waiting two months for your title shot, the winner would receive his golden opportunity on the same night in the main event. The announcers said that the order of elimination would set up a series of matches for the night, but they didn't explain exactly how so it was kind of pointless. The Florida Rumble was exciting as promised, with C.M. Punk pulling a "DiBiase" and basically buying his way to being the 19th and final entrant, only to last 3 seconds before getting dumped. Spanky outlasted all others to win the Rumble and secure a shot at Homicide's FIP title later on.

For months I have heard about the great new tag team known as The Heartbreak Express, and somehow I had never actually seen them in action. They challenged the first two eliminated wrestlers to a tag team match. I admit, they were pretty interesting, but I was somewhat disappointed in the match for some reason. I expect a lot more out of the Heartbreak Express in future Full Impact Pro DVDs.

The rest of the under-card included a series of average matches, including Antonio Banks vs Erick Stevens, Mike Shane vs Kahagas, Vordell Walker vs Azriael, Fast Eddie vs Sal Rinauro, Jimmy Rave vs Steve Madison, and Roderick Strong vs Jerrelle Clarke. Out of all of those matches, I was most impressed by the Strong vs Clark match -- they put on a stellar performance in a face-vs-face encounter. I also enjoy watching Antonio Banks work, and I'm continually surprised by Mike Shane. Lord knows why WWE is wasting Mike and his brother Todd with that stupid Gymini gimmick. If Todd Shane is anywhere near as talented as Mike, they could be very credible WWE Tag Team champions.

The pre-main event featured the leader of the New Dawn (heel) faction, C.M. Punk taking on James Gibson. I can't say enough about both of these guys, they are two of my all-time favorites. This match was no exception, even though it paled in comparison to their ROH battles. Homicide successfully defended his FIP championship against Spanky in the final match of the night. Homicide is traditionally a heel wrestler, with his gangster tendencies you would think he would be hated in the Sunshine State. FIP goes against the grain and books Homicide as a babyface Champion and it is a great decision. Homicide a great Champion because he has good matches with a variety of people and brings out the best in all challengers.

Final Thoughts: I don't know if I'm just used to the rabid ROH crowd or what, but FIP is really brought down by the absence of great attendance. You take a big name promotion with top quality independent wrestlers into these small towns and you get a lackluster atmosphere riddled with lame chants from drunken losers with nothing better to do. What goes on inside the ring deserves more than what these fans can give back in return. DVD Rating: 7/10

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