Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Random Match Reviews #10 (4/27/16)

I take a look at more matches from ROH!

*These matches are all available to watch for free (if you’re a Ringside Member) on their respective shows in the VOD Section of rohwrestling.com*

1.) ROH – It All Begins (1/15/05) – ROH World Title – Austin Aries vs. Colt Cabana: ***1/4

Aries is just coming off dethroning Samoa Joe at Final Battle 2004. This is his first defense of the ROH World Title. I thought this was a solid match, but for a World Title Match, especially in this era of ROH, I expected better. Part of the issue was that Aries kept stalling early on. Once it did get going, the match did get better, but again, it didn’t blow me away or anything. They had some nice near-falls, and they did a spot on the outside when Aries gave Cabana a Brainbuster (or something resembling a Brainbuster, it looked kind of awkward) on the entrance ramp. Cabana crawled back to the ring, but the damage had been done, as Aries soon hit a 450 Splash to retain the ROH World Title.

2.) ROH – Third Anniversary Celebration: Part 3 – Best-of-Five Series: Match #3 – Falls Count Anywhere Match – Bryan Danielson vs. Homicide (with Julius Smokes): ***1/4

This was the 3rd Match in the Danielson vs. Homicide Best-of-Five Series. Coming into this match, Homicide was up 2-0, having won the Tap Out Match (the 1st Match), and the Taped Fist Match (the 2nd Match). This one is Falls Count Anywhere, and Danielson needs to win in to keep his hopes in the series alive. I thought this was a fine match, but I didn’t think was as good as Match #1. Most of this match was spend on the outside, as these two brawled all over the Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge. They would eventually get back in the ring, and Danielson would pick up the much-needed victory, taking the series to Match #4.

3.) ROH - The Battle Of St. Paul (4/27/07) – BJ Whitmer vs. Shingo: ***1/2

For BJ Whitmer, this is his first match since the brutal Steel Cage Match he had with Jimmy Jacobs at Supercard of Honor II. Shingo, on the other hand, has a shot at the ROH World Title against Takeshi Morishima the next night in Chicago Ridge. I thought this was a really good match. I especially joined the second half, where both guys just went all out, which is incredible, considering the match only went ten or eleven minutes. Shingo looked especially great here. It’s amazing to think that Shingo was this good almost nine years ago, and he’s still awesome today. BJ Whitmer fought hard, but in the end, Shingo would pick up the win.

4.) ROH – Transform (1/12/08) – ROH World Tag Team Champion Jimmy Jacobs vs. Jack Evans (with Mercedes Martinez): **1/2

Before the match, Jacobs is cutting a promo about The Age of the Fall, but is interrupted by Jack Evans of The Vulture Squad. Jacobs is incensed by this, and attacks Evans before the bell. The match itself was fine. It only went about seven or eight minutes, and it was perfectly solid for what it was. We saw some solid action in the short amount of time (relatively speaking) that this match got. Jacobs would pick up the win with The End Time.

Jacobs wouldn’t release the hold once he had won, and the rest of The Age of the Fall (Tyler Black, Lacey & The Necro Butcher) come out and attack The Vulture Squad (which included Jigsaw, who tried to make the save), but they’re soon run off by The Briscoes.

5.) ROH – Gold Rush (3/19/10) - Pick 6 Series – Roderick Strong vs. Kenny Omega: ***1/4

This match is part of the Pick 6 Series. I believe Strong is coming into this ranked at #1, and Omega is unranked. I thought this was a solid match, but I expected better, especially considering who was involved. The action from start to finish was good, but it just felt kind of plodding along for fifteen minutes until Strong eventually won the match. Again, it’s a good match, but not much more than that.

That's it for another edition of my Random Match Reviews Series! Look for more based around ROH coming to the blog very soon!

Random Match Reviews #9 (4/26/16)

I take a look at some interesting matches from ROH!!

*These matches are all available to watch for free (if you’re a Ringside Member) on their respective shows in the VOD Section of rohwrestling.com*

1.) ROH – It All Begins (1/15/05) – Best-of-Five Series: Match #1 – Tap Out Match – Bryan Danielson vs. Homicide (with Julius Smokes): ***3/4

During the first part of 2005, Bryan Danielson & Homicide (who I believe started a feud in the latter half of 2004) engaged in a Best-of-Five Series. In this series, the winner of each match would pick the stipulation for the next match in the series. This first match is a Tap Out (Submission) Match. They actually started with a big brawl in the crowd, and actually had to cut away until they could restore order. The match itself, once it got going, was actually really good. Both men tried working over limbs in order to get a submission. Homicide worked a lot better in this environment than I anticipated. He actually held his own against The American Dragon. Julius Smokes tries to interfere, but Danielson takes him out. This distraction, however, allows Homicide to take advantage, and he actually gets Danielson to tap out and take an early lead in the series. A really good match.

After the match, The Rottweilers assault Danielson. Homicide says he’ll finish him tonight, and pulls out some brass knuckles, but Danielson fights back and knocks out Homicide with the Brass Knuckles. Danielson then calls for a Taped Fist Match (which is weird, since he lost the match, which means Homicide technically picks the next match).

2.) ROH – Stalemate (4/16/05) - Double Stakes Four-Corner Survival – Alex Shelley vs. Colt Cabana vs. Nigel McGuinness vs. Samoa Joe: ***3/4

Now this match has an interesting stipulation. It’s broken up into two falls. The first fall will be for a shot at the ROH Pure Title. Once that first pinfall/submission occurs, the winner of that fall, and the person who they defeated to win that fall, will be eliminated, and the other two who weren’t involved in that decision will then fight for a shot at the ROH World Title. I really enjoyed this match. We got some interesting interactions, and all four guys got a chance to shine here. Samoa Joe would eliminate Cabana to earn himself a shot at the ROH Pure Title, which meant that McGuinness & Shelley would fight for a shot at the ROH World Title. Shelley would eventually get the win, and both he & Samoa Joe would go on to get their respective title shots at Manhattan Mayhem a month later.

3.) ROH – The Battle Of St. Paul (4/27/07) – ROH World Tag Team Titles – Ultimate Endurance Match – The Briscoes vs. Jigsaw & Mike Quackenbush vs. Gran Akuma & Hallowicked vs. Mitch Franklin & Pelle Primeau: ***1/2

For those who may not remember, an Ultimate Endurance Match is an Elimination Match where the stipulation changes when a team is eliminated. The first fall is a Submission Match. The second fall is contested under scramble rules (meaning tags aren’t necessary, and exiting the ring can count as a tag), and the third fall is a traditional tag team match. The Briscoes are defending against two teams of CHIKARA regulars, and a team of two students from the ROH Dojo. I actually really enjoyed this. It started a little slow, but once the first fall was out of the way, it picked up and got better. Franklin & Primeau were out first. Gran Akuma & Hallowicked (what a strange pairing) were eliminated in the second fall, and finally, The Briscoes defeated Jigsaw & Mike Quackenbush in the final fall to win the match and retain their ROH World Tag Team Titles. A really fun match, in my opinion. If you like these kinds of scramble matches, and you like the CHIKARA guys involved, then I think you’ll like this as well.

4.) ROH – Transform (1/12/08) – Jigsaw (with Julius Smokes) vs. Roderick Strong: **3/4

Speaking of Jigsaw, here we have another match of his from early-2008 as he takes on Roderick Strong. By this point, “faction warfare” was well under way. Strong was the leader of the No Remorse Corps, while Jigsaw was part of The Vulture Squad. Honestly, I was excited for this match coming in, but I came out of it disappointed. The action was fine, but things never really picked up. It was one of those matches that felt a lot longer than it actually was, and it wrestling, that’s not good. Strong would eventually score the win in a relatively average match.

5.) ROH – Eliminating The Competition  (2/27/09) – Bryan Danielson vs. Delirious (with Jimmy Jacobs): ***1/2

This was during the period where Delirious had been a member of The Age of the Fall for a few months, but tensions between himself & Jimmy Jacobs were growing. Here, Delirious is taking on Bryan Danielson. These two had a really good series of matches in 2006 when Danielson was the ROH World Champion. I thought this was really good. I won’t say it was on the same level as those 2006 matches, but it was still very good. Towards the end of the match, Delirious would get into an argument with Jacobs, which led to Danielson getting the win.

After the match, Delirious & Jacobs get into an argument, and Delirious shoves Jacobs. It looks like they’re really going to come to blows, but Jacobs hugs Delirious, calming things down.

That's it for this edition of the Random Match Reviews Series! I'll be looking to do more of these in the near future, centered around Ring of Honor, since there are a number of shows in the VOD section of their website that I want to see matches from. If you're a fan of ROH, there will definitely be more to come!

ROH Samoa Joe: Don't Call It A Comeback Review

Samoa Joe returns home!!

Samoa Joe: Don't Call It A Comeback

Disk 1

Glory By Honor (10/5/02) – Fight Without Honor – Samoa Joe vs. Low Ki: ****

Night Of Champions (3/22/03) – ROH Title – Xavier vs. Samoa Joe: ***

Joe vs. Punk II (10/16/04) – ROH World Title – Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk: *****

Manhattan Mayhem (5/7/05) – ROH Pure Title – Jay Lethal vs. Samoa Joe: ****

Joe vs. Kobashi (10/1/05) – Samoa Joe vs. Kenta Kobashi: *****

5th Year Festival: Finale (3/4/07) – Samoa Joe vs. Homicide: ***1/4

Disk 2

Rising Above 2008 (11/22/08) – Samoa Joe vs. Tyler Black (with Allison Wonderland): ***3/4

13th Anniversary Show (3/1/15) – Samoa Joe Returns

Conquest Tour ’15: Baltimore (3/7/15) – Samoa Joe vs. ROH World Tag Team Champion Kyle O’Reilly (with Bobby Fish): ****

Conquest Tour ’15: Milwaukee (3/13/15) – Samoa Joe vs. ACH: ****1/4

Conquest Tour ’15: Chicago Ridge (3/14/15) – Samoa Joe vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin: ****

Supercard of Honor IX  (3/27/15) – ROH World Title – Jay Briscoe vs. Samoa Joe: ***3/4

Aftershock Tour: New York City (6/20/15) – Samoa Joe & IWGP Heavyweight Champion “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles vs. ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian): ***1/2

Overall: 10/10

As a whole, I thought this DVD set was fantastic. Disk 1 was pretty interesting, since ROH had put out two Samoa Joe DVD Compilations previously, and some of these matches had been on other DVD Compilations. It does do a good job in the sense that it included some of the most important matches in Joe’s ROH Career. Disk 2 takes a look at his one-off appearance in late-2008 when he wrestled Tyler Black (now Seth Rollins in WWE) before diving into his return to ROH in 2015. His four singles matches from March 2015 are included. Of course, the big draw for this DVD is his final match in ROH, where he teamed up with AJ Styles to take on Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian. I think this match was going to be featured on TV (it was part of a TV Taping), but with Samoa Joe signing an exclusive WWE Contract, it was forced into being a dark match, so if you want to see it, this DVD Compilation is the only place you can see it. As far as the match quality goes, it’s really incredible. Out of the twelve matches on this DVD Compilation, seven are **** or better, and two of those matches are *****. The other matches are very solid as well, and in general, this is a very strong DVD Compilation to get. I would totally recommend it.

WWE Extreme Rules 2015 Review

Seth Rollins defends the WWE World Heavyweight Title against Randy Orton in a Steel Cage!

WWE Extreme Rules 2015
Chicago, Illinois 4/26/15


1.) Neville vs. Bad News Barrett: ***1/4

Neville made his debut on RAW the night after WrestleMania 31. He’s dropped his first name, “Adrian”, and is just Neville now (similar to what they did with Cesaro). Here, he’s taking on Bad News Barrett, who was supposed to face Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental Title on this show, but Bryan was injured. I thought this was a pretty solid pre-show match. Honestly, you could have put this on the PPV and it would have fit in well. It was just a fun match. Neville would get the win with the Red Arrow.


1.) Chicago Street Fight - Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper: **3/4

So this match came about after Harper powerbombed Ambrose through a Ladder at WrestleMania 31. Now this was a very….interesting match. They brawled around for a bit, and then they brawled backstage. Harper then got in a car, Ambrose piled in with him, and the two sped of. I guess the idea is that they drove off and brawled all over Chicago. They eventually returned to the arena about an hour (and two or three matches) later, and finished the match. I think the time listed for the match on Wikipedia was around 50ish minutes. It wasn’t as crazy of a Street Fight that you might think, but it was fine for what it was. At one point, they brought a bunch of chairs into the ring, and Harper got tossed on the pile. Eventually, Ambrose would pick up the win.

2.) Kiss Me Arse Match - Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus: ***1/4

Sheamus made his return to RAW (after being out for several months with an injury) the night after WrestleMania 31 with a new look, which includes a mohawk and a braided beard (It sounds ridiculous and, believe me, it is). He’s feuding with Dolph Ziggler, and for some reason, this is a “Kiss Me Arse” Match, where the loser had to kiss the winner’s “arse” (seriously). The match itself was actually pretty good. Both these guys worked hard, and actually put together a very solid match. I was expecting Sheamus to win going into it, but Ziggler putting out the victory was a nice surprise.

After the match, Ziggler (and the rest of the Chicago crowd) were really getting on the case of Sheamus, who per the stipulation, has to kiss Ziggler’s “arse”. This took a really long time to get through, but the point was that Sheamus eventually gave Ziggler a low blow and a Brogue Kick. He then forced Ziggler to kiss his arse.

3.) WWE Tag Team Titles - Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (with Natalya) vs. The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston with Xavier Woods): ***1/2

So the big thing to note here is that The New Day had recently started their heel turn, and subsequently, that makes Cesaro & Tyson Kidd the babyfaces in this situation. This match actually turned out to be really good. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd are an incredible tag team (at this point, I’m just stating the obvious on that one), and The New Day are really working well in this new role. It was a great change of pace at the time, and looking back at it nearly a year later, it’s clearly done wonders for their careers. As I said, the match itself was pretty good. Both teams seemed to work well together, and these two teams produced one of the better matches of the night. In the end, The New Day would score the victory via a rollup (which was really the only negative thing about the match) to win the WWE Tag Team Titles!

4.) WWE United States Title - Russian Chain Match - John Cena vs. Rusev (with Lana): **1/2

This is the third match these two have had. This time it’s a Russian Chain Match, and it’s the variation where you need to touch all four corners in succession to win. Now these bull rope/chain/strap matches can be very divisive. Most people don’t like them. For me, my personal enjoyment can vary. There will be ones that I like (such as Mark Briscoe vs. Silas Young in a Strap Match from Final Battle 2013), and for the most part, I think the versions of the match that end in pinfall/submission are usually better. This match, however, is a perfect example of why these matches can suck. I mean, it wasn’t “terrible”, but it just wasn’t good. I may have been more acceptable if this was on RAW, but on a PPV, it was a huge letdown. The fact that they teased a Rusev/Lana breakup really didn’t help matters that much. Cena would eventually get the win, and celebrated with a huge American Flag that was draped from the ceiling. Hey, at least it was better than the Steel Cage Match that Cena had with Bray Wyatt at last year’s Extreme Rules.

5.) WWE Diva’s Title - Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella) vs. Naomi: **1/2

Now this match has a bit of weird dynamic, as Naomi recently turned heel on TV, and is challenging Nikki Bella (who is also a heel) for the Diva’s Title. This was actually a solid match. Naomi is an underrated women’s wrestler, and I think she worked well here with Nikki Bella. Brie Bella would end up helping her twin sister retain the Diva’s Title, which just makes the whole “Who’s the face/Who’s the heel” question even more confusing.

6.) Last Man Standing Match - Roman Reigns vs. The Big Show: ***3/4

I can’t believe that, in 2015, we had a PPV where the best match was Roman Reigns vs. The Big Show. I know that might be hard to believe, but it’s true. This was definitely the best match of the show. Even though there were some weird things with the psychology of the match (Reigns, the babyface, constantly used weapons, while The Big Show, who is the heel, opted not to use weapons), it was still pretty enjoyable, for the most part. It just worked really well, and was WAY better than I could have possibly imagined. In the end, Reigns would get the win after burying The Big Show underneath one of the announcer’s tables.

Before the Main Event, Bo Dallas came out to cut a promo (for some reason), but Ryback came out and hit him with the Shellshock.

We also get an (somewhat) relevant backstage segment with Rusev & Lana. After speaking with The Authority, Lana tells Rusev that he will get another shot at John Cena, this time in an I Quit Match at Payback.

7.) WWE World Heavyweight Title - Steel Cage Match - Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton: **¾

The one aspect of Seth Rollins cashing in his Money In The Bank Briefcase/Contract at WrestleMania 31 that I really liked was actually the fact that Orton beat Rollins earlier in the night, because when Rollins won the WWE World Heavyweight Title, he immediately had a challenger in Orton. The two got to pick the stipulations for this match. Orton picked a Steel Cage, but Rollins added the stipulation that the RKO was banned. I thought this was going to be really good, but it ended up being very disappointing. Most of the match was actually pretty decent, but the match went off the rails towards the end. The entire purpose of a Steel Cage Match is to keep people from interfering, but when you have Kane, as well as J & J Security constantly interfering, and even getting into the Steel Cage itself towards the end, it defeats the entire purpose of a Steel Cage Match. Rollins would end up winning after he escaped through the cage door, in a match that was just an overbooked mess. Very disappointing way to close the show.

Overall: 6.75/10

This was a very….strange PPV. There wasn’t anything truly great on this show, but there wasn’t anything that was really that bad either. Some of the matches were just “eh…”, but not bad by any means. The best matches on the show were the Reigns/Big Show Last Man Standing Match and the WWE Tag Team Title Match. You also had some pretty solid matches in Sheamus/Ziggler & Barrett/Neville (the latter was on the pre-show). Some of the bigger stipulation matches on the shows (Cena/Rusev & Rollins/Orton) were more disappointing than bad. This would had made for an interesting episode of RAW, but as a PPV? It just wasn’t that good.