After January’s make-over started badly and recovered, we’re giving FIP another shot with their latest show, Ascension. Konnor or Viktor need not apply.

Trevin Adams is opening the show with MSL, but before they can get a word in edgeways, they’re interrupted by Drennen and Parrow wrecking the set, and the entire front row. There’s a referee, and we’re underway with an impromptu match…

Drennen & Parrow vs. Two Un-Named Men
Parrow dumps one jobber into the buckles with a fallaway slam, before the second tries to mount a comeback, before he’s flattened by a Code Breaker and a lariat for the win. DUD.

What is it with this new FIP starting with matches designed to confuse? After the match, Drennen smashes one of the jobbers repeatedly with a chair, before the other is dumped into a handily assembled crew on the floor. Drennen takes the microphone and tells everyone they’re on notice. Since this is FIP, there has to be a swear, and Drennan asks if we’re “fucking ready?” We’re going to have the sweary ring-announcer again, aren’t we?

This on-demand video feed has a LOT of pixellation and stuttering. Considering the Style Battle on-demand from the same venue had no issues on the same machine and connection, this says a lot.

Timothy “I learned how to swear” Barr and Kacy Lennox take over as the event hosts, and after a swear from Timmy, he clears the ring of chairs as we awkwardly wait the next match… but in the middle of Austin Theory’s entrance, Darby Allin and Sami Callihan interrupt from the rafters. Callihan calls Theory a “number one draft pick”, like his trainer AR Fox, before taking issue with the fact that Theory has a contract with WWN, but Fox doesn’t. Callihan asks Theory if he knows Uncle John, and that leads to Fox sneaking into the ring and dropping Theory with a big kick. Sammy Guevara comes out to make the save, before he issues a challenge for the main event. The camera misses Darby Allin falling off the balcony, and that’s our scheduled match scratched off.

Moving on then… back to our hosts, and we have a five-way “freestyle” featuring the Black and Brave academy. I wonder if there’ll be beatboxing?

Eddie Machete vs. Jackson Kelly vs. Connor Braxton vs. Alex Taylor vs. Xander Killen
This may be a pain in the arse to follow. Xander Killen tells the crowd at the start that Taylor missed his father’s funeral to be here “because he loves wrestling”… I said this in my Style Battle recap, but that does nobody any favours.

Taylor superkicks everyone as he apparently rejected the offer of sympathy, before launching into an indyriffic pinning sequence with Killen, getting some early near-falls back and forth as my feed stutters and pixels badly again. It recovers as Eddie Machete dumps Killen with a belly-to-belly superplex,before we move to Connor Braxton giving everyone a spinebuster… including almost the referee.

Killen breaks that flow with a headscissor takedown to Braxton, but he gets distracted yelling at Braxton, which just allows Jackson Kelly to kick him in the arse, before moonsaulting off the apron to the floor. Taylor topes onto that pile, then a somersault plancha from Machete (who gets a Gillberg chant) leads to Connor Braxton’s big spot – a hoverboard dive! Well, he went on the hoverboard, threw that to the outside, then threw himself into the pile. Well, that’s new.

Killen steps up on Kelly and Taylor before landing an Asai moonsault as everyone stays outside – and then he turns heel by threatening to kill Taylor “because your dad’s dead”. Classy. Xander fights off Machete, but gets caught with an enziguiri in the corner as we move into a Tower of Doom spot. Machete pops back up and drops Braxton with a curb stomp as the parade of moves resumes – Taylor drops Machete with a release Tiger suplex, before Killen hits the Eat Defeat. A headlock driver is blocked by Braxton, who then catches a springboard DDT attempt and hits a suplex/cutter for the win. That finish looked a little off, but a perfectly fine five-way trainee match. ***

Braxton barely gets time to celebrate as Weevil Whittaker and Billy Barboza enter the ring. Oh good, it’s the guy who has the book of wrestling moves. My sound and picture are massively out of sync now, but Whittaker seems to insinuate that the moves we just saw don’t hold a candle to the stuff that Barboza can do.

This is really indy right now, and everyone leaves the ring as they’re sick of Weevil and Billy parading themselves. I’m guessing they’re playing the bodyguy thing for laughs, since Barboza has the skinny-fat look to him, and thank God Dan Barry is out for the save. Barry notes that their book of moves didn’t have a decent promo in it… and after Barry takes a massive shot at Whittaker, this eventually morphs into a match.

Billy Barboza vs. Dan Barry
Barry starts with an armbar and a slow snapmare takedown as he mocks Barboza’s book of moves. Next up is a hammerlock that gives way to a takedown as Barry uses Barboza’s fingers to flip everyone off. Barry catches Barboza in the Axel Dieter Jr special as he rattles through some submissions as Weevil Whittaker is brought into the ring as Barry goes to chop him. Weevil sells it like death, but that just allows Barboza to come back into things with some stomps for just a one-count.

A pendulum backbreaker gets Barboza a near-fall, but after Billy goes for “Greatest Move Ever #22”, Barry comes back with clotheslines and a spinebuster. Whittaker’s kicked off the apron, which almost leads to Barry getting schoolboyed for the win, but he comes back with a roll-through into a short DDT before a wrist-clutch Samoan driver gets him the win. Perfectly acceptable graps – the Barboza gimmick may be pretty crappy, but it at least creates a platform for guys to outsmart him like Barry did here. **¾

After the match, Barboza attacks Barry with a low blow before he and Whittaker stagger to the back.

Oh joy, we’re back with our hosts, and Timothy Barr instantly wins me back over. Not for going through one segment without swearing, but for chiding the “one-fall”ers in the crowd.

Caleb Konley vs. Jason Cade
Konley looks to end things early, but can only get a one-count from a roll-up, as a follow-up wristlock is escaped after some see-saw kip-ups.

Cade heads to the outside, but that proves to be unwise as Konley lands a tope before Cade returns the favour as Caleb gets sent into the bar. Another tope doesn’t knock him back so far, before Cade hits a somersault plancha onto the Impact Wrestling guy on the outside.

Back inside, Konley slingshots Cade into the bottom rope, before he stomps him on the apron. He follows up outside, shoving Cade into the ring post before leaping into him with a knee off the apron as Cade was trying for a Shiranui on the apron. They brawl outside as Cade’s thrown into some sound gear, before he shoves a garbage bin into Konley… who again takes over when they return to the ring.

Cade gets an elbow up to block a charge in the corner, before a Russian legsweep takes Konley into the turnbuckles. A running knee and a dropkick sets up Konley for a Northern lights suplex that rolls through into a double stomp for a near-fall, as a ripcord high knee and a Blockbuster off the ropes gets Cade another two-count.

Cade looks to set up for a Pedigree, but he lands on his feet after a backdrop out, only for Konley to come back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for another two-count. The pair go back to trading strikes, until a series of superkicks from Cade and a back heel kick leaves both men laying. Konley’s back up first as he tries for a superplex, but Cade floats over and eventually kicks Konley into the ropes for a double-stomp.

Konley takes a ‘rana into a supporting column outside the ring, before he almost pops-up Cade into the balcony. A superkick from Cade ensures he continues his offence, but he’s caught with a Northern Lights slam onto a chair near the bar. Somehow, Cade gets back to his feet to beat a ten-count, using a fan to pull himself up, before Cade throws some chairs at Konley, who overcomes that to dump Cade onto the apron with a back suplex.

Yet again returning to the ring, Konley tries to suplex Cade back in, but Cade hits a shoulder charge before slingshotting himself into the ring and into a Destroyer that almost wins the match. A springboard off the ropes into a Codebreaker, then an Ace Crusher takes down Konley, but his attempt to hit a springboard ‘rana is caught, as Konley plants him with a Samoan driver off the top, and that’s enough for the win. Pretty good stuff here, the FIP “no DQ” rule allowed for a little too much action outside the ring, but this was the best thing on the show so far. ***½

Back to Timothy and Kacy, and unfortunately he’s remembered he has to swear… and he’s still ragging on the Omega/Okada match from a month earlier. Apparently what we saw was “fucking wrestling” and that’s enough for Barr to demand the creation of a “seven star system” from Dave Meltzer. Okay, this was bad on the first show, but now I guess Barr’s character in this segment is a star-rating Twitter troll?

Again, if he wasn’t so straight-laced during the Style Battle show 24 hours earlier, I’d be just writing this off as a bad character; but this just comes across as so forced and put-on.

Dynamite DiDi vs. Aria Blake
Or DiDi Dynamite, as Kacy Lennox calls her. Japanese-style for the extra stars!

Blake takes down DiDi at the start, then floats over for a jack-knife pin for an early two-count, before they go to a test-of-strength as DiDi gets powered down by Aria, only to return the favour. A spinning heel kick takes DiDi into the corner as Blake follows with a snapmare and a couple of kicks for a near-fall.

Blake springboards out of the corner for an armdrag, before a headstand legscissors is broken up. Nevermind, DiDi gets kicked to the outside, but she hits a forearm to prevent a tope from Aria, and that’s where the the comeback seems to start. A kick from Blake is caught and turned into a weird stretch as Blake’s own foot is used to kick her own head, before DiDi folds her in two for a near-fall.

DiDi rebounds off the ropes before a leaping kick knocks down Blake for a near-fall – and judging by the crowd booing, that jump perhaps wasn’t intentional. She takes Aria into the corner and sets her up for a Shattered Dreams… and she connects with a kick there before some running hip attacks in the corner. That’s still only good enough for a near-fall, as Blake cuts off the offence with a German suplex.

Some more kicks, then a Shining Wizard get a near-fall after some more pixellation, before a backfist takes down Blake for a near-fall. DiDi moves Blake into the middle of the ring for a roll-through into a double stomp, again for a two-count, but Blake comes back with a backslide with a bridge for another two-count as they exchanges pins at a rapid pace.

Blake gets caught in a fireman’s carry, before she slips out into a reverse DDT, and that’s the match. Pretty decent, with maybe a few slips here and there, but this wasn’t too bad for this level of a show. **½

After the match, Darby Allin and AR Fox appear in the balcony as they call back to last month’s Uncle John stuff. Darby asks Aria if she knows Uncle John, and in somes Sami Callihan… but Sammy Guevara, Tracer X and Austin Theory come out to make the save before things can get too heated. Guevara’s fed up of Uncle John, and after Darby calls Uncle John (rather quickly, I might say), we now have a six-man main event.

We’ve got the hosts back, and Timothy Barr’s trying to convince us that the last match was “match of the year”. He also “never knew that girls could wrestle until tonight”, and he’s continuing to dig himself a deeper hole. Well, it’s not like he had any credibility…

Dante Brown is out next to make our chauvinism slightly less blatant. From the last show he’s apparently got a debt to collect after he bet on Anthony Henry (who lost last time out). Brown calls out Amber Young and her “loser boyfriend”, and I’m guessing the unspoken debt here is that Young has to sleep with Dante?

Out comes Henry, Young and that wXw over-dub, and Brown reintroduces himself for the hell of it. He’s “still waiting to collect”, and Brown doesn’t like “renegers”. Which he pronounces in exactly the way you shouldn’t. Brown puts a $10,000 bounty on the heads of Henry and Young, and as soon as he says that, Eddie Machete comes out to attack Henry from behind. Henry lands a straight right, as Connor Braxton tries his luck, but he too is out-fought. Billy Barboza low-blows Henry, but Dan Barry comes out… and it looks like he’s the man who wants the bounty, as Dan has another impromptu match!

Anthony Henry vs. Dan Barry
Barry delivers a short DDT to Henry as the bell rings, but Henry catches a charge in the corner and dumps Barry to the outside, where a low-pe knocks him into the bar.

Trevin Adams on commentary notes that Henry was in the finals of Style Battle 24 hours earlier – but doesn’t mention how he was on the verge of not competing after an attack that proved to be irrelevant window dressing by the end – just as Henry hits a Drive-By style dropkick onto Barry and some chairs.

Barry takes over by dragging Henry onto the apron, before he’s whipped back into it as a backdrop puts Henry onto the apron, then down for an F5 into the ring post. Henry’s knee gets wrapped around the ringpost, as the post is used to assist a Cloverleaf, before finally a chair is wrapped around Henry’s knee.

Henry fights back with forearms, as he ends up getting lifted onto the apron then hung up in the ropes courtesy of a dropkick by Barry, who then pulls him back into the post to wrench away on that knee some more. A chair’s thrown at Henry’s knee, but he comes back in the ring with a snap German suplex off the ropes before Barry’s again dropped with an enziguiri.

A knee breaker follows, as does a couple of Dragon screws as Henry tries to set up for a submission, locking in an inverted figure four. Barry reaches the ropes, but of course, there’s no breaks in FIP, so he drags himself out of the ring to break the hold. Henry follows him out and lays into him with forearms before using a chair for a knee breaker, only to take too long in climbing the ropes as Barry crotches him before grabbing a kneebar back in the ring.

After releasing the hold, Barry gets another short DDT for a two-count, before that wrist clutch driver is attempted… but Henry rolls out and hits a spinning back kick and a snap German, before a brainbuster gets a near-fall. From the kick-out, Henry goes for a Texas Cloverleaf, but he can’t hold it in as the knee gives way, before he dumps Barry with a Vertebreaker for the win! Pretty good match, and for once the injuries from last night played into a match! Shame that Dante Brown didn’t seem too bothered about the bounty being uncollected… ***¼

After the match, a mystery woman runs through the crowd and attacks Amber Young before Henry throws her off. Apparently the woman, who got paid off by Dante, was called Neelah – or “that woman who held the contract in the confusing match that started the last FIP show – and that’s the end of the bounty storyline? O-kay…

More sweary Timothy Barr, as he’s trying to get a hashtag going with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. He flips off a fan who’s just yelling, and we’re onto our next match – a rematch from the last show!

FIP Florida Heritage Championship: Jon Davis vs. Martin Stone (c)
This is a rematch after Davis lost by knock-out last time, and Davis starts by grabbing a chain from a ringside attendant – in a callback to how Stone won last month. The chain’s thrown at Stone, and he takes the invitation to punch Davis… who ducks and lands a powerbomb and a German suplex, before finally decking stone with a lariat for an early two-count.

They head outside for some brawling around the ring, ending with Stone taking a chokeslam onto the apron. Davis takes Stone to the bar for a drink and some chops, before they return to the ring as a massively delayed vertical suplex takes down the champion. Unfortunately this crowd were more interested in booing than counting along…

A bridging German suplex gets Davis a near-fall, as they again go outside for some more brawling, featuring some chops that ended with Davis chopping a supporting column. Stone rebounds with European uppercuts, before he launches Davis into the stage. A slam onto a chair on the floor follows next for Davis, as Stone takes control, dumping Davis with a DDT onto the chair.

Eventually the referee starts counting down the fallen Davis, who beats the count only to get battered some more by Stone. A corner charge does get avoided, but Stone lands a missile dropkick to knock down his challenger, and we get some more pixellation and buffering as he takes Davis into the corner once more.

Davis shrugs off a forearm smash before he gives Stone a Flatliner into the corner, only to miss with a moonsault off the middle rope. Regardless, Davis lands a spinebuster, before he’s sent out onto the apron as Stone peppers him with uppercuts as he was trapped. A superkick off the apron knocks Davis to the outside, but Stone keeps on top, grabbing a chair as he looks for a DDT, only to get slammed onto the chair instead.

The pair trade kicks and strikes until Davis replies with a forearm and an Ace Crusher… but Stone popped back up and ran into a big boot and an enziguiri. This time it’s Stone who has to beat the standing ten count, but he suckers in Davis into a schoolboy – and despite being in the ropes – the three-count is made as Stone retains. This was a shade better than their last outing, but I’d much rather that they didn’t use this title to show the rule changes… perhaps someone lower down the card could have won with a roll-up in the ropes? ***½

FIP World Heavyweight Championship: Brian Cage vs. Fred Yehi (c)
This is a pretty big test for Fred Yehi, who launches into Cage at the bell with forearms and chops, only to be thrown to the outside… where he tried to club away at Cage’s feet.

A leaping crossbody is caught by Cage, who uses him for some curls as he nonchalantly throws him over his head, before easily biel throwing him across the ring. Yehi uses an armbreaker to get some time, but a short arm clothesline flips him inside out as Cage getrs a near-fall from that.

Cage catches Yehi out of the corner with a sit-out Fly Swatter for a two-count, before the champion tries for a Blockbuster, only for Cage to counter it into a Northern Lights suplex for a near-fall. It’s all Cage from here, until he misses a moonsault off the middle rope, and that’s where Yehi comes back with some chops, as some stomps and a leg sweep take down Cage for a couple of basement dropkicks.

Yehi gets a two-count after that flurry of offence, before he unwisely tries for a German suplex, which gets turned into the GMSI from Cage (a pumphandle sit-out facebuster) for another two-count. A superplex is countered as Yehi drops Cage’s arm across the top rope, and now he gets that German suplex before rolling backwards into a near-fall as the champion almost retained. Cage comes back with a swinging side slam, but again Yehi kicks out at two, before he goes back to the stomps and clubbing strikes to Cage’s feet and knee.

A discus lariat from Cage and a series of powerbombs lead to a F5 as Cage looks to take the knock-out win. Yehi gets back up, and just takes a bucklebomb and an over-the-knee powerbobm as the champion is just getting ragdolled. Another suplex, this time a deadlift superplex, gets Cage a two-count, so he goes for another one, only for Yehi to counter into a back cracker.

Yehi lands a lungblower as he ducks a lariat, sending Cage into the ropes… and then the champion makes full use of the no rope break rule, tying up the challenger with a Koji clutch for the eventual submission. An incredible outing as Yehi overcame a much bigger challenger whilst making full use of the unique FIP rules. ****

The crowd are chanting “that was awesome”, so that means Timmy Barr’s going to give this a bazillion stars in his next obnoxious segment, doesn’t it?

Uncle John’s Friends (Sami Callihan, Darby Allin & AR Fox) vs. Austin Theory, Tracer X & Sammy Guevara
The babyfaces are out with Aria Blake, which instantly has me sensing “heel turn”, especially since another of Uncle John’s Friends from last time – Priscilla Kelly – not being here.

Everyone unloads on each other as the match immediately spills outside, before Callihan rushes in to dump Guevara with a big boot. Sammy counters a powerbomb with some kicks before knocking Callihan to the outside with a dropkick, only for AR Fox to land an enziguiri as he slid into play. Fox continues with a springboard wheelbarrow bulldog off the ropes, before he misses a roundhouse as Austin Theory ends up knocking Fox with a roll through into a dropkick.

Darby Allin rushes in and hits a springboard monkey flip to Theory, then a shoulder tackle/headbutt, before Tracer X’s springboard lariat knocks down Allin. The interchanging chaos continues as Callihan knees Tracer in the ropes, before Guevara swaps in with a knee strike, only to get caught with an electric chair Snake Eyes. A blocked German suplex ends with Guevara hitting an across-the-turnbuckles tope to the guys on the floor, only for Callihan to kick his head off from the apron seconds later.

Darby Allin does his coffin drop off the top rope after using AR Fox as leverage to springboard up, and of course, it’s Fox’s turn next… but Tracer’s tornado DDT takes him out, before a corkscrew senton to the outside wipes out the rest of the match. Fox finally gets his dive in, by way of an imploding senton to the floor. Austin Theory gets thrown onto a chair as Fox walks across a bar and hits a flip cannonball into Theory as the match descended into more brawling.

Callihan looks to whip Tracer into a bar, but he ducks under as Guevara leaps over into a forearm smash, with Tracer returning the favour moments later. Darby Allin takes a TKO onto the bar, as Tracer and Theory go after Callihan, but it ends up with the faces on the stage before they pull up Callihan for some badly-lit fighting. They play rope a dope on the edge of the stage, before Callihan just boots Theory in the head, as Guevara leaps from the ring to the stage for a superkick. Fox does the same, but he gets a superkick, as Allin completes the transition from ring to stage.

Allin takes a back body drop off the stage into the pile underneath, as Theory looks to follow up with a tope con hilo off the stage. Yep, these guys are all insane. Back in the ring, Fox fights out of a Fireman’s carry, before Theory comes back with a cross-legged over-the-knee neckbreaker, as the youngster then superplexes Darby Allin onto Fox for a near-fall.

Theory and Callihan swap forearms, before Austin rolls into the ring and gets caught with a death valley driver into the corner for another two-count. Guevara breaks that up and dumps Callihan with a uranage before he goes full Rock with an attempt at the People’s Moonsault… but Fox cuts him off, only to get caught with a spinebuster as he succeeds anyway with a standing shooting star legdrop.

Allin flips back in and gets a near-fall on Guevara, only to be caught with a slingshot uranage by Tracer for a near-fall. The insanity continues: AR Fox’s brainbuster on Tracer gets a two-count, before a series of strikes leaves everyone laying. Fox catches a rewind rana and hangs up Tracer for a big boot before he springboards off the middle rope into a tombstone, as Allin piles on with a Coffin Drop off the top rope for another near-fall.

Uncle John’s Friends slowly get thrown to the outside, as Allin gets left to catch two forearms from Guevara and Theory, before a double stomp and a Theory Driver (torture rack Blue Thunder Bomb) leads to a Guevara shooting star press for another near-fall. Guevara’s thrown to the outside, which leaves Theory alone with Fox and Callihan to take some bicycle kicks.

Theory tries to come back, but he takes a Lo Mein Pain from Fox, before the Fox Catcher with a neckbreaker gets the win for Uncle John’s Friends. A really good, chaotic main event, with perhaps a touch too much in terms of ridiculous spots outside the ring, but this was a good way to establish the new group and get the youngsters over in the process. ***¾

What Worked: The “new” rules are slowly sinking in, and that’s creating the perfect playground for chaotic, insane matches – if called for. We also didn’t have a show ruined by a new act (“Uncle John’s Friends”), but I still insist they could have been debuted better last time out.

What Didn’t: Can we cool it with the “edgy” feel here? Or at the very least, get a different ring announcer who isn’t blatantly putting on the act and deliberately trying to troll the very niche crowd it attracts.

Thumbs: Up – much, much better than the first show. Yes, this had a confusing opening match, but as long as you can get past the “edgy” pretence, then you’ve got a really good show on your hands here.