*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!