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*** Official FIP DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
February 11, 2005 - NEW DAWN RISING - Lakeland, Florida

It was a night of out of control madness that started with regular FIP commentator and owner Mark Nulty taking over the ring announcing duties from Lenny Lenard for the night. Nulty looks nothing like how I imagined, but that's neither here nor there, and I'm not here to review Mr. Nulty -- even though he's a really super nice guy.

The show started out on a bad note with my least favorite wrestler in the World, LaDuke Jakes destroying a jobber named Evan Starsmore ( 1 / 10 ). Next up we had The Heartbreak Express continuing their unfortunate losing streak taking on the team of Frankie Capone & Marcus Dillon, collectively known as Double Deuce. I'm still expecting more out of the HBE team but I have to admit they are slowly but surely growing on me. The funny thing about their current FIP gimmick is that they keep losing but in their minds they are somehow still undefeated. The match was average and nothing jumped out at me ( 5 / 10 ).

On the last show, Antonio Banks had earned the opportunity to challenge for the FIP title on a "Do or Die" ROH show in New Jersey. He put that title shot on the line against his mentor Scoot Andrews. Banks retained his title shot but there was some tension from Andrews after the match ( 6.5 / 10 ). I know that Scoot Andrews is some kind of legend in Florida but I have never really gotten into his matches; Antonio Banks, on the other hand, has caught my attention and I'm enjoying his stuff each time I see him.

With ROH World Champion Austin Aries in town for the FIP double-shot, there was an open contract for an ROH World title match the following night. Vordell Walker survived a 6-Man Gauntlet match which included Steve Madison, Sal Rinauro, Roderick Strong, Rainman and Azriael. I hate these kinds of Gauntlet matches because it really isn't a fair concept for everyone involved, I would much rather see an even playing field with a 6-WAY Elimination or even a Royal Rumble type match ( 6 / 10 ). The best match in this series would have to be Roderick Strong vs Azriael ( 8 / 10 ).

Jerrelle Clark agreed to leave FIP for 60 days if he could not defeat DP Associate Fast Eddie Vegas in a 1-on-1 match -- but if Clark DID win, then he would be granted 5-minutes with Dave Prazak. Clark did, in fact, win this very entertaining match but was robbed of his reward when Prazak claimed an injured and sent in my least favorite wrestler of all time LaDuke Jakes as his replacement ( 8 / 10 ).

C.M. Punk vs Puma: Now these are the types of matches I live for. I am HUGE fans of both of these guys and they put on a fantastic match together despite the lack of storyline ( 8.5 / 10 ). C.M. Punk, who is the leader of the New Dawn, brought out a long-haired fellow in a wheel chair, who he claimed was a fan who was turned-away because the night club they were doing the show in did not have wheel chair access. In reality the long-haired fellow was Florida wrestler Naphtali, and I kept thinking he was going to jump out of his wheel-chair in the middle of the match but it didn't happen that way. Not sure where THAT storyline is headed.

The main event was a big high profile tag team match between four of the industries most valuable players. FIP Champion Homicide teamed up with ROH Champion Austin Aries to take on Rocky Romero & American Dragon [this was during his bald head and bushy beard phase]. They did some great back-and-forth stuff with lots of action and fun things going on until Dragon made Aries tap out to Cattle Mutilation ( 8 / 10 ). Homicide took the opportunity to point out that since the ROH Champion took the fall, then the FIP championship was more prestigious. I hope that comment leads to something.

Final Thoughts: Not sure why they called this DVD "New Dawn Rising", usually when they name a DVD after a wrestler or faction they are a big focus of the show. Not this time, oh well. DVD Rating: 7.5 / 10

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