Hey guys, back again for another edition of the Independent Run Down and this week the spotlight is on this weekend’s FIP show which will feature three big championship matches including the next chapter in the feud which has taken the wrestling world hostage, Roderick Strong vs. Erick Stevens.
As I just mentioned, this weekend’s show will feature the next chapter of the Stevens/Strong saga. The eyes of the independent world are on this match because the brutality of the feud is about to enter a whole new league when these two warriors do battle in a Dog Collar match. If you’re unfamiliar with the Stevens/Strong feud or are familiar with the feud and need a brief recap because of the amount of action they’ve brought to the table has been overwhelming then have no fear because I’m about to recap their feud in FIP which has even transitioned into ROH.
Brief back story between Strong and Stevens is that Stevens was trained by Strong and both were good friends until their friendly rivalry escalated into pure hatred. This saga began well over a year ago on March 10, 2007 at FIP’s Battle of the Belts. The show was a tournament between eight top wrestlers in FIP to see who would become the new Florida Heritage Champion. On this night, the finals came down to two friends, Roderick Strong and Erick Stevens. Needless to say these two men tore down the house that night with a match that will go down as one of the very best in FIP history. The match was a friendly match between teacher and student, no animosity was shown by either man at the time. Stevens would concur the teacher on this occasion and win the Florida Heritage Championship. Now, these two wouldn’t do battle in FIP until February of 2008 but during that time, this rivalry was taken to ROH and that’s where the feud took off.
In 2007, faction warfare broke out in ROH, lines were drawn and sides were chosen. Roderick Strong formed the No Remorse Corps along side Rocky Romero and Davey Richards. Opposite Strong, Austin Aries formed the Resilience along side Matt Cross and none other than Erick Stevens. Strong and Stevens would do battle in tag team matches over the course of the next several months but in November of 2007 at ROH’s third PPV Man Up, Strong and Stevens would meet again in a one-on-one match. This time the match wasn’t for a title but faction superiority. The match was brutal and hard hitting affair which saw Strong come out on top and even the series between himself and Stevens. Strong and Stevens would do battle for a final time in 2007 at ROH’s Final Battle 2007 in December of that year. This time, like the first match, a title was at stake but this time Strong’s FIP Heavyweight Championship was on the line. The intensity was turned up for the match as these two would again have another brutal and hard hitting match. Stevens was able to go up 2-0 in title matches against Strong and 2-1 in the overall scheme of things as he captured the FIP Heavyweight Championship.
The feud would make its way back to where it begin in February 2008 at FIP’s Redefined event. The match would be for the FIP Heavyweight Championship and the match exceeded the hard hitting nature and brutality of their past matches. The match took the feud to a whole new level because near the end of the match, Strong became a desperate challenger and went to grab the championship belt to use but he engaged in a struggle with the ring attendant which led to Strong inadvertently striking Stevens with the championship belt after he won the struggle with the ring attendant. This led to the side of Stevens’ head being busted open then subsequently being counted out thus losing the FIP Heavyweight Championship. This feud would return to ROH later in the month at it’s 6th Anniversary Show as Strong and Stevens met in a triple threat match along with Necro Butcher which saw Strong retaining the FIP Heavyweight Championship.
Strong and Stevens were booked to go one-on-one at ROH’s Supercard of Honor III event but the hatred between these two men just boiled over and they ended up just brawling instead of having an actual match. Much blood was shed from the chest of Strong and head of Stevens. Nothing was settled in this match but the feud was made personal in this match because after Strong gained the upper hand and knocked Stevens out, the No Remorse Corps made their way to the ring and they shaved the trademark mohawk of Stevens. Stevens was raped of his identity, making this feud about much more that just a title. This feud was now about respect, pride, and honor. These two would bring the feud back down to FIP at the Dangerous Intentions 2008 event which saw them battle in a Last Man Standing match. The match was described as “a brutal match that went the Crystal River National Guard Armory.”
Strong would go on to defend the title against Stevens again but in a triple threat match against Go Shiozaki at ROH’s A New Level. The feud would reach a whole new level of brutality at ROH’s Respect Is Earned II PPV taping when Stevens and Strong did battle in a Fight Without Honor. Any loyal reader of the Pulse has likely read what Pulse Glazer said about the match and the sheer brutality of the match with what he called a “a brutal game of anything you can do I can do better using everything from tables to ladders to chairs.” And now the time is upon us and it’s time for Stevens and Strong to go to war one more time, perhaps for the last time. The last time Stevens went to war in a Dog Collar match it resulted in one of the bloodiest FIP matches ever and despite Strong having the upper hand in the feud, I give the slight edge to Stevens because of his experience in Dog Collar matches. Also, I believe Stevens will win this match because if he doesn’t, this entire feud will be basically one big squash in favor of Strong. Finally, I don’t see this being the feud ender. I think there will be one more FIP encounter between this two but what kind of match? I believe a Loser Leaves FIP for 60 days would be the appropriate way to end the feud. Stevens wins the match and Strong leaves for 60 days. This allows Stevens to carry the company on his own and allows Strong to return after 60 days fresh as a face since FIP and ROH storylines coincide.
Another big title match on this show is Kenny King and Jason Blade defending the FIP Tag Team Titles in a 2 out of 3 Falls match against Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black. This has been a small rivalry building since Redefined when Black defeated Blade in singles competition. The two teams would eventually meet at In Full Force 2008 where King and Blade would retain the titles. Jacobs and Black have managed to get one more shot at the gold and they came into the match with a lot more momentum than they did in the first match. Since their first shot at the gold, Jacobs and Black have captured the ROH Tag Team Titles and the PWG Tag Team Titles. This in my mind makes them the favorite coming into the match and I believe they will make it three for three in chances to win tag gold as they become triple champions.
The final title match on the show will feature Sal Rinauro defending the Florida Heritage championship against the debuting Joey Ryan. This should be an interesting match to say the least and I’d be shocked if it wasn’t a heel tactics duel between the two men. Rinuaro will likely retain due to Ryan appearing like a one shot deal. The final announced match on the card is Nigel McGuinness against Go Shiozaki in a non-title match. It should be interesting to see if these two are able to mesh on this occassion because their Respect Is Earned II match hasn’t received much praise due to their inability to mesh well. I expect Nigel to win but with it being non-title, Shiozaki could pull out the upset.
That about wraps everything up for the FIP show and don’t forget to head over to ROHWrestling.com or FullImpactPro.com for more info on FIP shows along with purchasing new DVDs from FIP. Recently two new shows were released from FIP including Unstoppable 2007 which features Roderick Strong against Claudio Castagnoli in a 2 out of 3 Falls match and Unfinished Business 2008 which featured Roderick Strong against Austin Aries.
Now, I hate to end this week’s edition on a sour note but there was an incident which I recently had the chance to watch which I’d like to address. Last month, IWA-MS held the Royal Weekend of Death which included the Queen of the Death Matches and the King of the Death Matches. At the Queen of the Death Matches, a unknown wrestler known as Mike Levy wanted a spot in the tournament and it was granted to him by Ian Rotten. His opponent was Mickie Knuckles and during the course of the match Levy stiffed Mickie several times (causing Mickie to get a huge lump on her forehead). Mickie returned the favor by pretty much beating the holy hell out of Levy. Personally, I felt that Mickie was in the right in this situation because she was being stiffed and there wasn’t anything wrong with giving Levy a receipt. However, Ian Rotten didn’t feel the same.
When the match ended, that’s when anarchy began and pro wrestling was delivered a severe black eye. After the match, Ian sent Tank and Devon Moore to the ring. They proceeded to continue to beating on Levy. Both Tank and Moore double stomped Levy’s head onto a ladder wrapped in barbed wire. Then, Moore would go on to deliver a kick to Levy’s face. After Levy rolled to the outside, he was beaten with weapons by Ian and Ian’s son. As Levy tried to make his way to the back, he was further assaulted by the likes or Rollin Hard and Mad Man Pondo.
The after match antics of Ian Rotten (for those of your who don’t know who Ian Rotten is, he’s known for his fame in ECW…oh wait, that was Axl Rotten) and his backyard crew were a disgrace to the brand of professional wrestling. But as bad as this incident was, there was a bit of comedy. You had people like Devon Moore yelling at Mike Levy to sell when this untrained backyarder can’t sell himself. That’s not even taking into account that this is a DEATH MATCH tournament. What kind of selling could possibly come into play during this type of tournament? The after match antics of these circus acts was horrible and made me ashamed to be a wrestling fan because of the amount of unprofessionalism that was shown by everyone. What was done to Levy post-match was nothing short of criminal battery.
However, Ian Rotten claims this was all a work. Do you people know why? Ian claims this is a work because he doesn’t want to be arrested, sued, or even have child protective services called on him for letting his son participate in such a beating. Ian Rotten and his group of misfit backyarders showed exactly why they will never amount to anything in this wrestling business and that’s because they lack professionalism. I’m calling upon my fellow wrestling fans who are currently reading this column to boycott attending future IWA-MS events and purchasing future IWA-MS events on DVD. I’m asking this because what was done to Levy was appalling and shouldn’t be condoned.
Ian Rotten you proved why you are the scum of the earth and you backyarders showed that you’re on the same path. I say this to you Ian and you backyarders, karma’s a bitch. Karma has already visited Mickie and it’s coming for everyone else involved in this disgusting act. I hope karma visits you the hardest Ian and I hope it visits you in the form of IWA-MS dropping in attendance and forcing you to close down the doors of Mid South for good.
That pretty much wraps up everything I want to say about the incident. Oh yeah, if you’re curious about this incident, don’t waste your money on Ian’s crummy promotion, head over to YouTube and check it out.
Tags: fip, Other, ROH