Wednesday , 20 August 2014

FIP: Ascension 2014 Review

Ascension

Ascension on March 15th, 2014 in Orlando, Florida


Opening Match: Gary Jay vs. Aaron Epic

They trade counters on the mat and find themselves at a stalemate. Jay snaps off a hurricanrana and connects with a flying double stomp. He adds a basement dropkick. Epic ties him up in the ropes and connects with a kick to the face. Epic takes control until Jay hits a flatliner on the apron. Jay lands a dive to the floor. In the ring, Epic hits a liger bomb. Jay responds with a headlock driver and japanese armdrags Epic into the turnbuckles. Jay hits a springboard flatliner for the win at 7:55. Commentary acted like this was a show-stealing match. I thought it was a decent opener that allowed both men to showcase themselves but could have used more time. I’m hoping the duration of matches is not a problem on this show like it was on last night’s event. **¼


Match #2: Kennedy Kendrick vs. Josh Hess

Kendrick hits a russian leg sweep and connects with a short-arm lariat. Hess sneaks in a quick rollup to no avail. Hess hits a twisting neckbreaker but one of Mister Saint Laurent’s girls distracts him. Kendrick connects with a running yakuza kick for the victory at 2:10. So Kendrick, the dominant new FIP star, needed interference to beat Hess, who Larry Dallas buried on the last show? Makes sense. ½*


Match #3: Jack Gallow vs. Earl Cooter

Gallow hits a spinebuster and grounds Cooter. Cooter snaps off a hurricanrana but they collide in the middle of the ring after some miscommunication. Gallow connects with a gamengiri and a lariat. Cooter kind of lands a flying crossbody. They trade forearms. Gallow tries to dead-lift Cooter into a powerbomb but drops him. Gallow punts Cooter from the apron. Cooter sends Gallow over the top rope with a fireman’s carry throw. Cooter almost misses Gallow on a dive. In the ring, Gallow hits an overhead suplex and follows with a german suplex for the win at 6:58. This was a disaster. Cooter received some offense because the perception is that the crowd loves him, but this would have been better served as a squash match for Gallow. The action was incredibly sloppy and no benefited from this one. DUD


Match #4: David Starr and JT Dunn vs. Evan Gelistico and Pierre Abernathy

Dallas makes fun of Gelistico and Abernathy on commentary after praising Jay in the opener. The Submission Squad hold onto a wristlock on Dunn while tagging in and out. The Juicy Product connect with stereo basement dropkicks on Gelistico. Gelistico hits a sit-out powerbomb on Starr and tags out. Dunn connects with a flying double stomp on Abernathy and lands a dive to the floor onto Gelistico. He drapes Gelistico over the guardrail and hits a guillotine leg drop. In the ring, the Juicy Product lay out Abernathy with some double team offense. Abernathy sends Dunn into a go 2 sleep variant from Gelistico for a nearfall. The Juicy Product connect with stereo roaring elbows on Gelistico for the victory at 6:23. Much like the opener, this was a decent showcase for both teams but there’s only so much you can do in six minutes. The Juicy Product looked great this weekend and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them back in FIP. **½


Match #5: Blake Edward Belakus vs. Chasyn Rance

Rance lays in a few forearms and throws Belakus to the canvas. Belakus sends him into the corner and hits a shoulderbreaker. Belakus applies a fujiwara armbar but Rance reaches the bottom rope. Rance misses a springboard crossbody but runs into a palm strike. Mister Saint Laurent crotches Belakus on the top rope. Josh Hess enters the ring to help Rance jump to the top rope. Rance and Hess start arguing about what to do. Rance lays him out with a powerslam. Belakus hits a gourdbuster for the win at 5:54. Another short match with nothing significant happening. Considering that this was the last match before intermission, this card is severely lacking. *½


Match #6: Maxwell Chicago vs. Saso Rivera

Rivera stays in control early on. Chicago somehow hurricanranas him out of the corner. Rivera misses a corner yakuza kick. Larry Dallas’ girl distracts Chicago, allowing Rivera to hit a front slam. Rivera lands a splash for the victory at 3:54. Why did this match need to happen? Why did Rivera need help to win? More questions than answers here, folks. ¼*


Match #7: Aaron Solo and Jason Cade vs. Eddie Graves and Teddy Stigma

Stigma attacks Cade from behind to start the match. Cade snaps off a headscissors on Graves and connects with a spin kick. Stigma low bridges Cade to the floor and the Savages isolate him. Cade creates an opening with a dropkick on Graves and makes the tag. Solo hits a neckbreaker on Stigma and adds a powerslam. Stigma responds with a running suplex out of the corner. The Savages follow with a double team neckbreaker on Solo. A woman runs through the crowd and attacks Trina Michaels at ringside. Solo lariats Graves for a nearfall. The woman turns out to be Leva. The Savages run through the crowd chasing her. Solo and Cade win via countout at 10:54. This has been the most underwhelming undercard I’ve seen in quite some time. The one match that does receive some time ends in a countout. I don’t even know what to say about this match. It was fine but the finish was just deflating. They seem to be building towards the Savages against Los Ben Dejos. **


Match #8: FIP Florida Heritage Title: Lince Dorado © vs. Biff Busick vs. Gran Akuma vs. Timothy Thatcher

Busick lands a dive to the floor onto all three of his opponents. In the ring, Dorado tries a dive but Busick uppercuts him in midair. Dorado hurricanranas Busick to the floor but Thatcher stops him from diving. Dorado connects with a knockout kick on Thatcher after escaping a fujiwara armbar. Akuma now stops Dorado from diving once again. He traps Dorado in a surfboard and transitions into a pin attempt for a nearfall. Dorado hurricanranas Akuma off the top rope. He lands three consecutive dives to the floor onto his opponents. He follows with an asai moonsault onto Thatcher and Akuma. Back in, Busick fights off a reverse hurricanrana from Dorado and hits a dragon suplex. Thatcher hits a gutwrench suplex on Busick and locks in a fujiwara armbar. Akuma breaks the hold. He hits a rolling death valley driver on Thatcher. Dorado connects with a double missile dropkick on Akuma and Busick while hitting a senton on Thatcher on his way down. Akuma hits a lungblower on Dorado. Busick stares down Akuma and they trade strikes. Busick hits a half nelson suplex on Thatcher. Dorado hits a springboard reverse hurricanrana on Busick to retain his title at 10:56. The action was fluid and felt like it was building to something, separating this contest from the rest of the card to some extent. However, this wasn’t a four corner survival where tags were needed, so the action stayed at a high pace for all eleven minutes. Honestly, it felt like they were just reaching a crescendo when the finish happened. A fun mix of personalities and styles led to an entertaining match, but this card needed something major. ***


Match #9: CZW World Heavyweight Title: Drew Gulak © vs. Roderick Strong

They battle over a knucklelock and Strong applies a stranglehold. He bridges back, putting his knees into Gulak’s back. Gulak rolls through into a stranglehold of his own. Gulak tries a couple of quick rollups to no avail. Strong hits a rope-assisted butterfly backbreaker. The action goes to the floor where Strong rams Gulak back-first into the apron. In the ring, Strong takes control, working over the back and midsection. Gulak fights back with a lariat off the top rope. He follows with a northern lariat and a fisherman suplex. Gulak starts to target Strong’s left leg. Strong blocks another flying lariat with a dropkick. He connects with a charging knee strike and hits a half nelson backbreaker over his bad knee. He’s slow to cover. Gulak escapes a gutbuster and applies an ankle lock. Strong escapes and synchs in the Stronghold while stomping the back of Gulak’s head. Gulak reverses back into the ankle lock to retain his title at 18:13. Another solid title defense for Gulak. The body part work that both men did throughout the match prevented their opponent from performing some significant offense and they never forgot about the body part work down the stretch. I also liked that the finish was more of Gulak catching Strong off-guard with a submission as it’s a clean finish that leaves room open for a rematch. Having CZW World Title matches felt a bit out of place on these shows, but Gulak managed to be the most enjoyable part of the weekend. ***½


Overall
: Once again, the usual suspects deliver but the undercard left a lot to be desired on Ascension. There’s such a disparity between the type of match that wrestlers like Earl Cooter, Maxwell Chicago, and Josh Hess are expected to have versus Roderick Strong, Drew Gulak, and Biff Busick that it makes you want to just skip to the main events on these shows and ignore the fluff matches. I understand what FIP has become and five dollars for the live viewing is modest enough, but there is real potential for these shows to be much more enjoyable if the cards focus on quality rather than quantity. Nine matches felt like way too much on Ascension and I cannot give a recommendation solely for the two main events.

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About Ryan Rozanski

Ryan Rozanskii has been a professional wrestling fan since he was six years old. His first memory of it comes from witnessing Scott Hall win a sixty-man battle royal at WCW World War 3. Of course, that was before alcohol became a problem for Scott. Speaking of alcohol, Ryan is a youngster…not even old enough to consume alcoholic beverages. However, Ryan has used swear words to describe how much he loves Pro Wrestling Ponderings. That is something he’ll never try again, due to the risk of possibly being grounded by his parents. Some people compare Ryan to Butters from South Park. Currently, that comparison has yet to have any legitimacy.
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