On Friday night, I attended Full Impact Pro Wrestling’s Declaration of Independence show at the Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida and here are some thoughts on the show. There might be some things on the show that I do not cover, but I want to focus on certain things that stood out to me.
Before I get into thoughts on individual portions of the show, I want to do the traditional PPV/iPPV Should I buy the replay of the show. For the $14.99 price that the Video on Demand is listed on the FIP page of WWNLive.com, I would definitely recommend ordering the show. I think the three title matches alone are worth the price of the show. The Four Way Match was very good and there were a number of good performances by the other wrestlers on the show.
--My Favorite Match on the Show: While there were some good matches early in the show, I thought that there was something missing from the matches that would have put them in this category. There were two matches that could have earned this title and I will talk about the one that just missed out next. My favorite match on the show was the Zero 1 International Junior Heavyweight Championship between Jonathan Gresham and Lince Dorado.
After seeing Gresham’s match against Tommy Taylor at Establish Dominance in March, I was hoping for a similar style against Dorado. This match had a lot of similarities to Taylor/Gresham with a slow progression in the early part of the match to get the crowd to react to the high impact moves instead of having to deal with a rapid fire series of high spots a few minutes into the match. There was a lot of work on body parts that worked for me.
Over the last five weeks, I have seen Lince Dorado wrestle three times in three different type of matches (Fray at Evolve 20, versus AR Fox at Evolve 22, and Friday night against Gresham) and in each match, Dorado was able to showcase different styles and each time his work was spectacular.
I think one reason why I liked this match so much is because it is not what you would expect from a wrestler like Dorado who is known more for a fast paced, Lucha style and to see him work a deliberate pace for most of the match only showcases his talent instead of being someone you expect to see do spot after spot. I think some in the crowd were confused by what they were seeing because of the pacing of the match, which I think may affect the way the match comes off on Video on Demand.
When I watch Gresham in the ring, I wish he could have faced Bryan Danielson during his time in FIP because of the way that Gresham works body parts and submissions.
If you see either man advertised on a show in your area, you should definitely check it out.
--The One that Just Missed Being Match of the Night: If there was no Gresham/Dorado Match on the show, the FIP World Heavyweight Title Match between Jon Davis and Trent Barreta would have been the match of the night. While some may criticize the finish with one referee making the three count for Barreta only to have the second referee make the match a disqualification, this was a match between two men who battered each other for almost twenty minutes.
These two men wrestled on the Dragon Gate USA Saturday show at WrestleCon when Samuray Del Sol was held off the show and it felt like something was missing. In the three months since that match, everything that a fan might have felt was missing in New Jersey was found for the match in Ybor City.
The way that Barreta took Davis’ offense made me enjoy this match even more. The way that Barreta hit the turnbuckles on Davis’ Irish whips was perfect and Barreta did a great job to sell the damage done to his back. From where I was sitting in the building, the sound of Davis’ power bomb to Barreta on the apron made you think that he broke Trent in half. If they had finished the match with a count out at that time, it would have made sense.
With Barreta’s history in FCW, he has a strong following in the Tampa area and they did a great job in this match of doing what they needed to get the rest of the crowd to embrace Barreta. I think Gabe made a great comparison on Twitter between Trent and James Gibson because once they left the WWE, you could see the real talent of these men without the confines of the WWE style.
This match also helped build Davis because he is facing someone who is the same size as him so when he hits his power moves, it looks more impressive. I was hoping with all of the work that Davis did on Trent’s back that he would have used a bear hug or torture rack type move.
As I mentioned, the finish was something that some might use to slightly diminish their thoughts on the match, and I am one of those people (but it is not enough to take away from what they did to build to that point and it should give us another match between these two men which you cannot complain about).
The clothesline that Davis gave the first referee was because the referee was standing behind Trent and was simply out of position and could not avoid the clothesline. I thought the referee might have been down a little too long only to recover miraculously to make the three count, but it was well done for that type of sequence (a 1.2 on the Hebner Scale). The clothesline to the second referee looked like it did more damage.
While both referees were out, they set up the finish with Barreta pinning Davis and the count being made by the first referee (who I assume did not call for the disqualification despite almost being decapitated by Davis, was hit by incidental contact and not an intentional act by Davis [unlike the second one]). You had a feeling that something would impede Trent’s celebration. With the number of masked wrestlers on the show, I was thinking that when the second referee went down that they would put a referee shirt on one of the wrestlers without their masks since most people don’t know who they are and he could come out and make the count.
--The Bravados Might Have Won the Tag Titles but did Sugar Dunkerton leave the Show with the Best Prize?: I was a bit surprised that the Bravados won the FIP Tag Titles in the Triple Threat Match, but since they are part of The Scene and it makes sense based on the storyline of Larry Dallas wanting to get his titles back in hindsight it is not a huge surprise.
The promo before the match by the Bravados set the tone for the match and I think it would have received a better reaction if some of the usual fans of FIP shows were in attendance who were already card carrying members of the Bravado Bandwagon. It did a good job of getting the crowd to hate the Bravados and made Sugar Dunkerton and Aaron Epic the ‘tweeners’ of the match despite the fact that Dunkerton and Epic borrowed the tag title belts after their match at the last show.
The match had a good mix of comedy, frenetic action, and a good story. Would the two teams of challengers work together to make sure the champions did not retain, and if so, how long before that alliance is discarded because both teams want to be champions. There was a funny bit during the match when Dunkerton, Epic, and the Bravados were on the floor and they agreed to work together and then re-enter the ring for a four on two advantage but it ended up that Dunkerton was the only man to enter the ring on the count of three.
When the pace of the match picked up, it was not something that made you get inundated with move after move after move to make you forget what happened, but there was a good pacing that built to the use of the ladder. I liked that after the first ladder was used, the Ben Dejos wanted ‘the bigger one’ and it set up a number of moves that got the crowd into the action.
Having Dunkerton get pinned by the Bravados allows for the former champions to complain that they did not get pinned and sets up future matches, potentially using all three teams. The use of Trina Michaels at the end of the match is an example of a heel manager knowing what to do in a situation where their team is in danger of losing. She used her feminine wiles to distract Dunkerton and let her men get the victory.
What happened after the match made sense with one of the two teams that lost but not with the other. The Ben Dejos were angry with Trina costing them the titles, but was she really the reason why they lost since they were not involved in the pinfall. The ladder shot to the Bravados showed their frustration at losing the titles, but it came off as a heel move. At least they didn’t say ‘Aw shucks, we lost’ with a smile on their faces. I did think that Dunkerton and Epic had a legitimate beef with Trina because Dunkerton took his eyes off the price and onto Trina to cost KOA the match. After taking the title belts from the Ben Dejos at the last show, Dunkerton moved up in the world and borrowed Trina from the Bravados. (If you do not already follow Sugar Dunkerton on Twitter, you should check out his posts from last night and I thought he won with his comment comparing what he did last night to everyone else).
--Was There a Love Connection in the Four Way Match?: With the announcement of the Four Way Freestyle Match and the participants, it piqued my interest. The return of Amasis to FIP was one positive. A new wrestler debuting in FIP has usually been a positive so I was looking forward to seeing what Latin Dragon would do. Adding Maxwell Chicago, who is an icon in Ybor added to my interest. The final piece in the puzzle was the debuting Jessicka Havok and you had four corners of interest from me.
The one thing that I was looking forward the most to was the interaction between Maxwell and Jessicka. There was one thing I was hoping for that did not happen during the match (and it was something that I was discussing with a few people before the show) and that was to have Maxwell thinking about chopping Jessicka, but due to her physical features, he could not chop her. He decides to cover his eyes so he does not see the chop but then he either misses the chop or Jessicka pulls one of the other wrestlers in front of Maxwell and he chops them (that part was someone else’s idea)
It did not look like they held back on Jessicka and she dished it out as well as she took it. Since I could not hear the commentary, I don’t know if the Shine Title Tournament next Friday was brought up (available on WWNLive.com) but I would assume that Lenny discussed it at some point.
I wonder if they will expand the Jessicka/Maxwell storyline into Shine because there could be some interesting stuff that could develop.
--The Crowd: Before I get into some random thoughts about the rest of the show, I wanted to address the crowd. I don’t know if it was the fact that it was part of a long holiday weekend or the fact that a lot of the regular and more vocal fans were not at the show, but the crowd was definitely not a representation of the action that took place in the ring. I do not know how it translated to the online viewing experience, but I think there were two matches that would have benefitted from a vocal and enthusiastic crowd to give the home audience a better appreciation of those matches. The matches I thought that were hurt from the crowd were the Gresham/Dorado and Davis/Barreta matches. While both of these matches were my favorites on the show, I think they could have been taken to a different level.
Another thing that I have noticed, and not just from this crowd is that when weapons are used, there is a predilection for a ‘We Want Tables’ Chant. In the tag title match, after the first ladder was used, Cruz told Rios to ‘get the bigger one’. Instead of a crowd wanting to see the reveal of the big ladder, there was a ‘We Want Tables’ chant. At least it has not devolved into the ‘What’ (and I thank a lot of wrestlers and announcers who are starting to realize that it is a fan crutch that hurts the product)
--Other Thoughts on the Show:
I thought this was Kenneth Cameron’s best performance since his debut with the company.
Derek Ryze has to have a very high threshold for pain based on the last two matches I saw from him. He got destroyed by Brian Cage at Evolve 22 and he took a beating from David Starr on this show.
I enjoyed the Caleb Konley versus Shane Strickland match. It might take some time for people to look past his involvement with The Scene but he is showing a different style in the ring and a different attitude. Now that The Scene have regained the tag titles, does Caleb get a partner to challenge The Bravados or does he continue to distance himself?
If you are an Elite Subscriber, I will have an audio post game for Declaration of Independence.