Tuesday, September 25, 2012

ROH Final Battle 2005 Review

Here's my review of Final Battle 2005. I was able to view this via ROHWrestling.com

ROH Final Battle 2005
Edison, New Jersey 12/17/05

1.) Jimmy Rave vs. Milano Collection AT: ***

This was a pretty decent opener. While he hasn't proven to have really great matches in ROH, all of his matches have proven to been good.

2.) Azrieal vs. Colt Cabana: **

Heard from many people that booker Gabe Sapolsky wanted to make this guy Azrieal into the next Roderick Strong. Where he got that idea I don't know, because Azrieal is NO Roderick Strong. This match was OK, nothing special.

3.) ROH Pure Title – Nigel McGuinness vs. Claudio Castagnoli: ***

This was a good match, but again, most of Nigel's 2005 title defenses were not really outstanding, just ok. Again however, I REALLY like how Nigel was booked as Pure Champion: using the rules of the Pure Title Match to cheat his way to victory. This match was a perfect example of that booking, and it worked (I thought).

4.) Alex Shelley vs. Steve Corino: **1/4

This is the second year in a row that Alex Shelley & Steve Corino have faced each other in a match at Final Battle (They were in a Tag Team match as opponents at Final Battle 2004). This was kind of just there. Nothing really special about this match.

After the match Homicide tries to kill Corino with Drano but Cabana makes his save, only to get Drano poured down his throat by Homicide. I actually like how The Rottweilers used these every day items as part of their gimmick. It further pushed their thug image, I liked it......made them stand out.

5.) Four Corner Survival – Jay Lethal vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Samoa Joe: ***3/4

This was a VERY good four corner survival. You had Daniels & Joe (who've been having their feud), Daniels & Whitmer (who have their history from the early ROH days), and after the previous show, Joe & Lethal. Everything just really came together and made for a great Four-Corner Survival Match

6.) Davey Andrews vs. Ricky Reyes: DUD

Yeah.....Reyes just squashes another student. Aries & Strong make the save and called out the Tag Team Champs for their match.

7.) ROH Tag Team Titles – Tony Mamaluke & Sal Rinauro vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong: ***1/2

Finally the reign of Mamaluke & Rinauro is over!! This was actually a good match. Funny how Rinauro & Mamaluke's best matches as champs were their last two defenses. It was a nice match though. Aries & Strong as champs is definitely a step up. 

8.) ROH World Title - Bryan Danielson vs. Naomichi Marufuji: ***3/4

This is another Open Contract Title Match with Marufuji making his ROH Debut. This turned out to be a pretty good match. Marufuji is a great talent, and it furthered established Danielson's Title Reign.

9.) GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title – KENTA vs. Low Ki: ****3/4

I think this is the first time the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title was defended on US soil. WOW, what this match great. What a way for KENTA to make his ROH Debut. He and Low Ki put on a great match, and it was an awesome way to close the show.

Overall: 8.5/10

This was a pretty good show. The first half was a little shaky with Cabana/Azrieal & Corino/Shelley, but everything else was good to great. A great way to end 2005 and it served as a preview for the future as Marufuji & KENTA would become more involved in the ROH product in the future.

ROH Steel Cage Warfare Review

Here is my review of ROH's penultimate show of 2005

ROH Steel Cage Warfare
New York, New York 12/3/05

1.) Dunn & Marcos vs. Jason Blade & Kid Mikaze: **

Ok. Could have done without it. Don't know much about either of these two teams (except I think Dunn & Marcos were Tag Champs once) but they gave me no real reason to care.

2.) Top of the Class Trophy Match - Davey Andrews vs. Pelle Primeau: ½*

Ricky Reyes comes out and kills the ROH Students. Who Cares? Next.

3.) ROH Tag Team Titles - Sal Rinauro & Tony Mamaluke vs. Colt Cabana & Milano Collection AT: ***1/2

One of Rinauro & Mamaluke's best matches as Tag Champs. Pleasantly surprised by how this turned out. I heard of AT from his time in TNA's World X Cup so I was intrigued to see his work elsewhere. His match with Samoa Joe and Survival of the Fittest 2005 and this one certainly show he's good.

4.) ROH World Title - Bryan Danielson vs. Rocky Romero: ***

Good match for what it was. Rocky got this shot (I believe) by being part of the winning team (The Rottweilers) at the Trios Tournament earlier in the year, but he was never going to win this match. I really felt like this under-delivered. Not saying it could have been great, but it could have been better. 

Lance Storm appearing afterwards plants the seeds for Storm's title match against Danielson at WrestleMania 22 Weekend in Chicago.

5.) Jay Lethal vs. Samoa Joe: ***

The heel turn mid match felt soooo weird. Would have been much better if Joe won and went to shake Lethal's hand, only for Lethal to kick him in the balls & then attack him with a chair. Would have been much more of an impact. Like the match before it, this under-delivered.

6.) Grudge Match: Steve Corino vs. Homicide: ***

Decent Hardcore Brawl here as another chapter in the Corino/Homicide. You could tell these guys don't like each other. Obviously Homicide getting injured with that dive to the outside hurt the match to a degree, but it was good for what it was.

7.) Steel Cage Warfare: The Embassy (Alex Shelley, Jimmy Rave, Abyss & Prince Nana) vs. Generation Next (Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, Jack Evans & Matt Sydal): ****1/2

I'm going to say it right now. Best ROH Cage Match Ever. It has some AWESOME spots. This was THE PERFECT way to end this feud. This is a MUST SEE!!!

Overall: 7.5/10

If you ignore the first two matches this is a really good show. The Tag Title Match was surprisingly good, but I think those three consecutive *** matches could have all been a little better in some degree. But I would DEFINITELY get this for the Main Event Alone.

Monday, September 24, 2012

ROH Showdown in Motown Review

Here's my review of ROH's Detroit Debut from 2005.

ROH Showdown in Motown
Detroit, Michigan 11/4/05

1.) BJ Whitmer vs. Delirious: **1/2

A nice, fun little opener.

2.) ROH Pure Title - Nigel McGuinness vs. Claudio Castagnoli: **1/2

Although some of his Pure Title defenses weren't anything really memorable, I like'd how Nigel would bend, and use, the rules of the Pure Title to his advantage. As far as this goes, it was average.

3.) Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Sal Rinauro & Chad Collyer: ***

Mamaluke was injured (I think) so Collyer filled in. Fun Match. The Strong/Evans pairing is AWESOME. They just mesh greatly together. It's really a surprise that they didn't win the belts as a pair. Generation Next could have used the free bird rule while they were champs. That would have given us more Strong/Evans pairings. Could you imagine Strong & Evans vs. The Briscoes???

4.) Homicide vs. Colt Cabana Brawl: Good

These two were supposed to be in the Four Corner Survival with Daniels & Joe but ending up brawling before Joe even came out. It wasn't really a match, just an entertaining brawl that went all over the place.

5.) Four Corner Survival - Christopher Daniels vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Adam Pearce vs. Samoa Joe: ***1/4

Jacobs & Pearce (making his ROH debut) were put in here to sub for Cabana & Homicide. This actually turned out to be pretty good. I find Four Corner Survival's very entertaining, and this is no exception.

6.) Allison Danger vs. Daizee Haze: **

Decent match between two great women's wrestlers. Nothing great, but solid.

7.) Grudge Match - Austin Aries (with Jade Chung) vs. Alex Shelley (with The Embassy): ***1/4

Good Match, but nothing really stand out. This & the next match obviously setting up the big 8 Man Match in Chicago the next night.

8.) AJ Styles & Matt Sydal vs. Jimmy Rave & Abyss: ***1/2

I gotta say that I love how Abyss was used in this feud. He was just a big monster who threw guys like Sydal around the ring. This was a very entertaining tag team match. I also really enjoy seeing AJ Styles in ROH. He had a lot of good matches during his time there.

9. ROH World Title - Bryan Danielson vs. Chris Sabin: ***3/4

This continued the trend of Danielson offering open contracts to anyone who wanted to face him for the title. It was a great title match (Match of the Night) and a good choice of main event for a first ROH show in the area.

Overall: 7.5/10

I'll always have a soft spot for this show because it was one of the first ROH DVD's I ever bought. I still enjoy watching it now. Nothing on here sucks, and the wrestling (while nothing was really fantastic) was fun to watch. If ROH goes to a new city, this is the kind of show they should have. Nothing blow away, but a solid, consistent show that will make the local fan base want more the next time they come.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

ROH Buffalo Stampede Review

Here's my review of the Buffalo, NY show from 2005

ROH Buffalo Stampede
Buffalo, New York 10/15/05

1.) BJ Whitmer vs. Davey Andrews: *1/2

Nothing really to talk about, just a squash for BJ Whitmer

2.) Claudio Castagnoli vs. Sterling James Keenan: **1/4

One of Claudio's earlier ROH matches. It was ok.....that's really it. On a side note, I'm actually really interested to see more of Sterling James Keenan. He's now Corey Graves in FCW/NXT and from what I've seen of him there he has the makings to do some good in WWE. I don't know why but his current look in FCW/NXT just screams Avenged Sevenfold. I think they could use that...

3.) Jimmy Jacobs vs. Jay Lethal: ***

This was a decent & fun contest. Enjoyable.

4.) ROH Pure Title - Nigel McGuinness vs. Samoa Joe: ***1/4

This was shorter than I expected, and really didn't pick up until near the end. Although I haven't seen it I heard the match they had where Nigel won the title was a little better. Still, this was a good match. Liked the finish.

5.) No DQ War - Generation Next (Austin Aries, Roderick Strong & Jack Evans) vs. The Embassy (Alex Shelley, Jimmy Rave & Abyss): ***3/4

I might have said this before, but I'm a sucker for these wild ROH brawls. This one was actually pretty fun. Lots of entertaining stuff & usage of surroundings (Jack Evans jumping of batting cage)

6.) ROH Tag Team Titles - Sal Rinauro & Tony Mamaluke vs. Homicide & Ricky Reyes: **3/4

Eh...this was decent, nothing special. Rinauro & Mamaluke's reign overall was very lackluster.

7.) Low Ki vs. Colt Cabana: ***1/4

Good Match, with Homicide costing Colt the match to further their feud. I thought it went a little too long, but that's my only gripe.

8.) ROH World Title - Bryan Danielson vs. Steve Corino: ***3/4

I like how this match started, with Corino nearly beating Danielson right out of the gate. It was overall a good title defense, tied for Best Match on the Show imo.

Overall: 7.25/10

This was a good card overall. Nothing really special, but if you're looking for some solid ROH action, pick this one up.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

ROH Final Battle 2004 Review

This will be the first of several reviews I'll be doing where I will be looking at shows that I have watched but only through Ring of Honor's Website. I don't actually own a copy of the show itself. In the future, I'll designate shows that are on Ring of Honor's Website by putting the title of the show (in my review) in Bold and Italicized (I think I'll put it in Red as well)

So here's my review of the 2004 Edition of Final Battle. (This show has the unfortunate pleasure of being held on the same day as the South Asian Tsunami but I digress)

ROH Final Battle 2004
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 12/26/04

1.) Trent Acid vs. Jimmy Jacobs: *

Don't know much about Trent Acid. Only things I've heard about him is that he's done work in CZW, had a feud with Homicide in ROH in 2003, and that he tragically died of a drug overdose two years ago. In fact this is the only Trent Acid match I've ever seen. It wasn't very good to be honest. Seeing Jacobs in this stage in his career is interesting to see though. After losing the match, Trent quits ROH.

2.) Deranged & Lacey vs. Angel Dust & Becky Bayless: *3/4

Not to familiar with old ROH stories, but apparently this was part of the break-up of the Special K faction. Eh...this was just there.

3.) Josh Daniels vs. Homicide: ***

Don't know much about Josh Daniels, but he had a pretty good match here against Homicide, so I would assume he's pretty decent. This was enjoyable.

4.) ROH Pure Title - John Walters vs. Jimmy Rave: ***

Rave is accompanied by The Embassy. I've heard about this John Walters guy. He had great match at Honor Reclaims Boston in 2006 against Nigel McGuinness, so I'm intrigued to see more of him from the early ROH days. Obviously they thought he was good if they put the Pure Title on him. This was about as good as the previous match. Afterwords Walters joins the Embassy after Prince Nana gives him money.

5.) Fight Without Honor - Dan Miff & BJ Whitmer vs. The Carnage Crew: **3/4

Interested to see BJ in his early ROH days. As far as Fight Without Honor's go, this was ok, but when compared to other Fight Without Honors this gets blown out of the water.

Afterwards we get a confrontation between Mick Foley & Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. (They have been having a Hardcore Wrestling vs. Pure Wrestling feud apparently. Again I don't know much about early ROH stories). With Steamboat signing as a WWE Agent prior to this show, this appearance would be his last in ROH. Joe later comes out & lays out Foley. This was a good segment. It did a decent job of ending the Hardcore/Pure Wrestling feud (under the circumstances) and continued to build the Joe/Foley story. I really wish we would have gotten Joe vs. Foley in ROH at some point. It would have been really interesting.

6.) Jay Lethal vs. Weapon of Mask Destruction #2: **

Oh look, it's El Generico! Basically he's brought in by Prince Nana to fight Jay Lethal. It was ok. Nothing really special. Looking at their recent matches in ROH shows how much these guys have progressed in the years since.

7.) Alex Shelley & Roderick Strong vs. CM Punk & Steve Corino: ***1/4

This was a good match. Nothing over the top or special, just a good tag team match. Corino's LOOOONG entrance is really annoying though.

After the match, Austin Aries comes out, and proceeds to (along with Roderick Strong) literally beat Shelley out of the group. I LOVED the Personal Jesus line from Aries. Of course this would set up the next year as Shelley would later join the Embassy to feud with Generation Next.

8.) Low Ki vs. Bryan Danielson: ***1/4

This was a good match between two of Ring of Honor's "Founding Fathers", but I feel like this could have been SOOO much better. Maybe it was the DQ finish. Low Ki & Homicide go nuts and attack everyone. I actually really liked the Rottweilers. They bring the chaos (you could consider them agents).

9.) ROH World Title - Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe: ****1/2

Of course this was the match where Joe's 21 Month reign as champion came to an end. I though Aries was the perfect guy to beat Joe. With Aries establishing himself as the undisputed leader of Generation Next earlier in the night, the ROH World Title sends the group right to the top of the ROH food chain. The match overall was pretty great. Joe gives Aries the belt & they shake hands.

Overall: 7.25/10

I know that this show was big for it's historic significance, but when looking at what we ended up getting, this was really a one match show. That's all I can really say. I was looking forward to watching this when ROH put on their website, and even thought the World Title match delivered, I felt the rest of the card was just ok. If this was a regular show I might have rated it a little higher, but for one of Ring of Honor's biggest shows, it was a slight letdown.

Friday, September 21, 2012

ROH Unforgettable Review

Here's my review of Night Two of Kenta Kobashi's ROH Tour

ROH Unforgettable
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 10/2/05

1.) ROH Tag Team Titles - Tony Mamaluke & Sal Rinauro vs. Dunn & Marcos: *3/4

Eh....this is skippable

2.) Four Corner Survival - Nigel McGuinness vs. Jay Lethal vs. Davey Andrews vs. Claudio Castagnoli: **1/2

Not the best Four Corner Survival, but a decent one. Not much else to say

3.) Jimmy Rave vs. Matt Sydal: ***

Pretty Entertaining, and does its job of furthering the Gen Next/Embassy Feud

4.) Ricky Reyes vs. Derek Dempsey: DUD

Blah.....another Reyes squash. 

The Paul Bearer/Jim Cornette Segment was good (Set up Cornette as a mainstay in ROH in the future)

5.) James Gibson vs. Roderick Strong: ****1/4

Gibson's last ROH match, and boy was it AWESOME. I think they said this was for the title of ROH MVP of 2005, and Strong deserved it.

6.) Jack Evans vs. Colt Cabana: **3/4

Another decent match, nothing really special.

7.) Christopher Daniels vs. Jimmy Yang: ***

Good Match, but I think it could have been a little better.

8.) International Dream Partner Tag Match: Kenta Kobashi & Homicide vs. Samoa Joe & Low Ki: ****1/2

I really liked how this match was set up. VERY interesting tag partners (as they "dropped storylines" for Kobashi Weekend) that proved to be a Great Match. Kobashi goes undefeated for the weekend.

Overall: 8.25/10

The only reasons to buy this DVD were the Two Fantastic Matches (Main Event/Gibson vs. Strong) and perhaps Cornette's Commissioner Debut. Not as good as the show before, but still worth picking up if you can find it.

ROH Joe vs. Kobashi Review

Here's my review of the first show of Kenta Kobashi's ROH Tour. I actually picked this up on Ebay for a cheap price (Case was damaged but disk plays great).

ROH Joe vs. Kobashi
New York, New York 10/1/05

1.) Colt Cabana vs. Claudio Castagnoli: **1/2

Decent opener as Claudio makes only his second ROH Main Show appearance. Homicide's group costs Colt the match to further the feud.

2.) Three Way Elimination Match - Christopher Daniels vs. Azrieal vs. Matt Sydal: ***1/2

Actually a pretty good three way. Very entertaining.

3.) ROH Tag Team Titles - BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Tony Mamaluke & Sal Rinauro: ***1/4

I think this was supposed to be Mamaluke vs. Rinauro but the decided to team & challenge for the Tag Belts. Good match, but why did Mamaluke & Rinauro get a Tag Title Reign?

4.) ROH Pure Title Match - Nigel McGuinness vs. Jay Lethal: **3/4

A decent match. Nigel uses shady tactics to retain his title.

5.) Roderick Strong vs. Jimmy Rave: ***1/4

Good match, but of course this will be better well known for Jade Chung finally breaking away from the Embassy & Steel Cage Warfare being announced.

6.) Ricky Reyes vs. Pelle Primeau: DUD

Reyes squashes a Jobber...er....ROH Student. Next.

7.) James Gibson vs. Jimmy Yang: ***1/2

First match of Gibson's farewell weekend. Pretty good stuff.

8.) Homicide vs. Jack Evans: **3/4

A nice showing, with Colt returning the favor from earlier.

9.) Kenta Kobashi vs. Samoa Joe: *****

What else needs to be said? Great Atmosphere & Awesome Match. MUST SEE!!

Overall: 9.0/10

I think if you're looking for just the Main Event you can get Joe's new DVD but the actual show as a whole wasn't bad. Obviously the main event raises its stock greatly but their are a lot of other historical happenings (Big Moment in Gen Next/Embassy Feud, Tag Title Change) that make this show worthwhile and enjoyable.

ROH Survival of the Fittest 2005 Review

Here's my review of 2005 edition of Survival of the Fittest

ROH Survival of the Fittest 2005
Dorchester, Massachusetts 9/24/05

1.) Survival of the Fittest Qualifier: Jay Lethal vs. Sal Rinauro: **1/2

Pretty standard opener. Nothing much else.

2.) Survival of the Fittest Qualifier: Colt Cabana vs. Ricky Reyes: **

Never really cared much for Ricky Reyes (unless he's teaming with Homicide). Worst match of the Qualifiers, but furthers the Homicide/Cabana story to a degree.

3.) Survival of the Fittest Qualifier: Roderick Strong vs. Jerrelle Clark: ***

Pretty standard qualifying match (an entertaining one)

4.) Survival of the Fittest Qualifier: Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Rave (with Prince Nana & Jade Chung): ***

Obviously this furthered the Generation Next/Embassy Story (with Aries winning via DQ, which in context made sense).

5.) Survival of the Fittest Qualifier: Samoa Joe vs. Milano Collection AT: ***1/4

An interesting mash-up of opponents that proved to be entertaining. 

6.) Survival of the Fittest Qualifier: James Gibson vs. Christopher Daniels: ***1/2

I think the commentators mentioned that this was going to be a World Title Match before Gibson lost it to Danielson. This was still a pretty good match (the best of the qualifiers) but I think, if Gibson still had the title, it could have been a little longer.

7.) ROH Pure Title - Nigel McGuinness vs. BJ Whitmer: **3/4

Another Pure Title defense from Nigel. Not his most memorable defense, but a decent one.

8.) Survival of the Fittest Elimination Match: Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Colt Cabana vs. Jay Lethal vs. Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong: ****

This match had a lot of star power (ROH circa 2005 Star Power), and it made for a really good match. Joe going out first provided shock value, and with Strong & Aries working together, the rest was history. The Aries promo when it was just him & Strong was a little strange, but made sense. 

Overall: 7.5/10

This is the kind of show Survival of the Fittest should be. Decent to Good Qualifiers (There will probably be at least one crappy qualifier but depends on who is involved), a filler match or two, and the SOTF Finals, which SHOULD be the match of the night, which in this case, it was. Nothing really much to complain about, just a solid wrestling show.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ROH Redemption Review

Here's my review of ROH Redemption I actually consider myself very lucky to have found this. I got it on the ROH store early last year (before SBG) right before it went OOP. 

ROH Redemption
Dayton, Ohio 8/12/05

1.) Four Corner Survival - Delirious vs. Matt Stryker vs. Ace Steel vs. Sterling James Keenan: **3/4

EDIT: Apparently there were TWO Matt Stryker's. Both wrestled in ROH at some point or another. I guess the Stryker who isn't in WWE is in this match. Whatever. I don't think there was any commentary for this match, but I enjoyed it. It was a decent Four Corner Survival & a good way to open the show.

2.) Spanky vs. Colt Cabana: **3/4

Another decent match. This is actually the only ROH show I have that features Spanky. CM Punk got in the ring afterwords and cut a promo about the main event.

3.) ROH Tag Team Titles - BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Nigel McGuinness & Chad Collyer: **1/2

This match was kind of average. Enjoyed it but it didn't really have anything special.

4.) Six Man War: The Embassy (Jimmy Rave, Alex Shelley & Abyss) vs. Generation Next (Austin Aries, Roderick Strong & Matt Sydal): ***3/4

If Generation Next won (which they did) Sydal would get a spot in the group. This match was A LOT of fun. I especially enjoyed how Abyss meshed up with the smaller guys.

5.) Grudge Match - Low Ki vs. Jay Lethal: ***

This match disappointed me. Their were some nice spots but it kind of fell flat, imo. The no contest (I think it ended as a no contest) didn't help

6.) Matt Hardy vs. Homicide - ***1/2

I think any of the shows from 2005 with Matt Hardy are definite pick ups (Just to see Matt Hardy in ROH when his whole situation was going down). This was actually pretty good. Crowd was split since they knew Hardy was going back to WWE, but it was still pretty good.

7.) ROH World Title Elimination Match - CM Punk vs. Christopher Daniels vs. James Gibson vs. Samoa Joe: ****3/4

This is probably one of my favorite ROH matches EVER. I REALLY enjoyed this match, and ESPECIALLY the way it was booked. It was more than just a wrestling match. It told a GREAT story, and had lots of emotion, not to mention the fact the crowd when nuts when Gibson came back & won. This really (imo) had the "Big Match Feel" to it. Just......AWESOME stuff.

Overall: 8.5/10

I think this show is a must grab for the historical value, since it was both apart of the Summer of Punk & Matt Hardy 2005 venture in ROH. Plus, unlike the new Punk DVD, this actually has his entrance music with his Cult of Personality theme. But overall it was a good show. I might have overrated it (in some people's view) but I really enjoyed this show. If you can find it at all, anywhere, GET IT!!!
My name is Sean. I've been a fan of pro-wrestling since 2004, and I really come to enjoy it all the time I watch it. Ever since I got into Ring of Honor in 2009, I've been gathering a collection of Ring of Honor shows on DVD. I've been posting some of my reviews on the ROHWorld.com (GREAT ROH Site) forum, but I think it will be a little bit easier for me to post them here. You can view them at your pleasure, and decide whether these shows are worth seeing yourselves or if you should ignore them completely. Enjoy!

NOTE: I'm going to be posting mostly reviews of ROH shows, but I will eventually (when I have time) post reviews of WWE, PWG (eventually when I get some of their shows), TNA, & CHIKARA.