From the moment I saw C.M. Punk in Ring of Honor's first Death Before Dishonor show, I've been a huge fan. Punk's heel persona of a straight edge wrestler who thinks he is better than everyone else in the locker room because of the choices he makes in life was something I found to be greatly entertaining. A jackass with a superiority complex who can actually back up his words in the ring. I have been lucky enough to have had several opportunities to meet and talk with Punk at ROH shows in Chicago as well as the first WrestleReunion in Tampa, Florida, and always found him to be a very intelligent guy to talk to about wrestling.
That very same C.M. Punk, the indy darling who hit it big with a WWE contract and featured role on ECW television, has eight of his matches in Full Impact Pro featured on a new DVD from Big Vision entitled: Best of C.M. Punk volume 1. For those of you who have never seen FIP, it's a little hard to describe. The phrase I like to use is this; it's like Ring of Honor, but it's not. FIP shares many of the wrestlers that ROH uses and both promotions are booked by current Wrestling Observer Awards "Booker of the Year" winning Gabe Sapolsky.
FIP has an old school mentality and features strong workrate in the ring, especially when it is someone such as C.M. Punk versus another good worker like Homicide or James Gibson. I've always thought the production values for FIP were well above average for an indy fed and this DVD produced in association with Big Vision Entertainment takes the already high standards up a notch.
Here are the eight full matches contained in the DVD:
CM Punk vs. Vordell Walker (First Round FIP Hwt. Title Tourny - Emergence Night 1 - Tampa, FL - 09.24.04)
2 - Homicide vs. Joshua Masters w/CM Punk (First Round FIP Hwt. Title Touny - Emergence Night 1 - Tampa, FL - 09.24.04)
3 - C.M. Punk vs. Justin Credible (Second Round FIP Hwt. Title Tourny - Emergence Night 2 - Tampa, FL - 09.25.04)
4 – C.M. Punk vs. Rainman (Semi-Finals FIP Hwt. Title Touny - Emergence Night 2 - Tampa, FL - 09.25.04)
5 - C.M. Punk vs. Homicide (Finals FIP Hwt. Title Touny - Emergence Night 2 - Tampa, FL - 09.25.04)
6 – C.M. Punk vs. Dan Maff (Fallout Night 1 - Tampa, FL - 11.12.04)
7 – C.M. Punk vs. Homicide (FIP Hwt. Title - No DQs - Falls Count Anywhere)
Fallout Night 2 - Tampa, FL - 11.13.04 8 – C.M. Punk vs. James Gibson (The Florida Rumble - Lakeland, FL - 12.17.04)
There are also extended highlights of A.J. Styles vs. Homicide, Azrieal w/C.M. Punk vs. Rainman, and the Florida Rumble.
All of these matches come from the first year of FIP where the crowds were relatively small and very quiet. You get to hear Punk trash talk the crowd in a lot of the matches, which is pretty fun because Punk is such a great shit stirrer, but more on that later. Like I said earlier, you can't go wrong with the matches against Homicide and Gibson, especially the second Homicide match that spilled over into a local strip club. Seriously. This might be the greatest match of all time, especially the reactions of the strip club patrons and the strippers themselves.
The running time of the main feature is well over two hours and one of the things that sets FIP apart from the crowd is the fact that the wrestlers have a little interview with FIP announcer Lenny Leonard before each match. Some notes on the main feature: I have to say I was really surprised to see Dan Maff on a DVD, especially in a company that employs Homicide. I would love to see a blood feud between those two in Ring of Honor. Punk's character in FIP is a slightly tweaked version of his ROH gimmick and he is the leader of a group called The New Dawn. Speaking of surprising, it was a nice surprise to see James Gibson in a match as I haven't seen him at all since he left ROH to go back to WWE. I regularly miss SmackDown, but I also don't remember even reading anything about Gibson lately and for all I know he was part of the massive cut backs a couple weeks ago.
BONUS FEATURES: This is where the DVD earns its money and then some. First of all there are two matches straight from Ring of Honor. The first is Punk vs. Bryan Danielson from ROH Reborn: Stage 1 with special guest referee Ricky "The Dragon Steamboat) and the second match is Punk against Roderick Strong from The Future is Now. Both of these matches kick all sorts of ass.
Next up was my favorite part of the DVD, A Look Back at C.M. Punk in IWA-Mid South. This was worth the price of admission alone as it is an over 40 minute highlight reel (produced by Dave Prazak no less) that has tons of highlights of C.M. Punk in IWA Mid South. Where to even begin when describing the great stuff here. The promos that Punk shoots on the IWA Mid South fans are truly must-see material. There was a classic line that went, "I'm not even holding a microphone you dumb bitch!" that makes no sense out of context, but it still has me laughing thinking about it. In several instances Punk just went completely off on the poor fans that showed up to watch wrestling and all I could only wish that WWE would let him do the same thing to ECW fans.
There are highlights of all sorts of matches and feature a veritable "who's who" of the indy wrestling world in the early 2000s era including: Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Christopher Daniels, Colt Cabana, Nigel McGuinness, A.J. Styles, Delirious and Chris Hero. That's right, Rey Mysterio (unmasked no less) and Eddie Guerrero. Just amazing stuff. This was during the part of Eddie's career when he was let go from WWE and was proving himself all over again. The highlight reel briefly covers the feud between Punk and Hero, but it was so friggin' great that I'm dying to see some more IWA Mid South. There was a small section with the Second City Saints and even a small glimpse at Delirious Punk which reminded me of the Hulk Machine and the Piper Machine of the 80s. I couldn't recommend this more as I totally marked out at least 25 times.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: This is a must have DVD for any fan of C.M. Punk, if only to check out the IWA Mid South career retrospective. The matches in FIP could be tough to watch to someone who has only watched WWE as the small crowds can suck the life out of a match at times. I guarantee that after watching the DVD you'll have a better understanding of why so many people love the character of C.M. Punk as there is just something to his promos, wrestling ability, and gimmick that are completely original. Punk and Jack Evans are the only two wrestlers since the Hardy Boyz broke out during the WWE Attitude Era that I can use that description for. Well, them and THE BOOGEYMAN of course. CLICK HERE to get your copy of The Best of C.M. Punk: volume one.
Other reviews of interest:
Punk: The Final Chapter - Punk's final Ring of Honor show in his hometown of Chicago.
DVD Buying Guide - A look at all the upcoming wrestling DVDs
And if this DVD interests you, why not check out Best of C.M. Punk in Ring of Honor?!
BONUS COMIC BOOK PLUG~!
I figured from now on we are going to start spreading the comic love around here. Let's start off with my favorite book in the last months, the Marvel Zombies hardcover.
Oh God is this book friggin' incredible. What makes the entire series stand out are the jaw droppingly cool covers by Arthur Suynam which take classic Marvel Comics covers from the past and reimagines them with zombie characters. The hardocover contains all of Suydam's covers, including the reprints, along with the original covers they were based on. I would have bought this book if it just contained these covers, so the rest is gravy.
What is the rest? A fantastic story featuring the Marvel Zombie universe, which is basically an Earth in which all the super heroes and villains were infected with a flesh eating virus and ate everyone on the world except each other. Desperate for more food, the zombies get excited when the Silver Surfer arrives on their planet, scouting a new food supply for his master Galactus. The subplot with the Black Panther must be seen to be believed and Robert Kirkman's riotous script earned him the title "writer of the year" in my book.
GET THIS BOOK, NOW~!~! Click Here to get it!
Derek Burgan can be seen wasting
everyone's time with wrestling DVD and comic book reviews over at Wrestling Observer and the world famous
Wrestling Enjoyment Index at Figure Four Weekly online~! Don't forget about his
Opinion Pieces at World Wrestling
Insanity and goofiness
at WrestleCrap as well. Whew! Derek can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Derek Burgan can be seen wasting everyone's time with wrestling DVD and comic book reviews over at Wrestling Observer and the world famous Wrestling Enjoyment Index at Figure Four Weekly online~! Don't forget about his Opinion Pieces at World Wrestling Insanity and goofiness at WrestleCrap as well. Whew! Derek can be reached at: email@example.com
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).