Saturday, February 23, 2013

ROH Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter Two

The NEW World Tag Team Champions face The American Wolves in a Dream Tag Team Match!

ROH Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter Two
Atlanta, Georgia 4/2/11

1.) Tag Team Challenge Match – The Kings of Wrestling vs. Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly: ***3/4

The Kings of Wrestling lost their World Tag Team Titles the night before to Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team, and are not in a very good mood as they look to take out their frustrations on the young duo of Cole & O'Reilly. VERY good opener. One of the best in awhile for ROH.

2.) Colt Cabana vs. Dave Taylor: **

So Dave Taylor is being brought in by The Embassy to take on Colt Cabana. Interesting contest as both guys are masters of the British Wrestling Style. A fair contest, but surprisingly short as Cabana won with a roll up.

The Embassy stays at ringside as Prince Nana cuts a promo before bringing out his new project, Tommaso Ciampa, to the ring for his match.

3.) Homicide vs. Tommaso Ciampa: **1/2

Another decent match. Homicide looked better than he had in recent months and Ciampa looked good with the win.

4.) Christopher Daniels vs. Michael Elgin: ***

This one is a rematch from World's Greatest. A fine contest. Some more foreshadowing by Daniels here.

5.) SHIMMER Tag Team Titles – Daizee Haze & Tomoka Nakagawa vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto & Ayumi Kurihara: ***1/4

This is night two for the Japanese Duo. I think this was also the first (and turned out to be the only) time that the SHIMMER Tag Team Titles were defended on a Ring of Honor show. Very good Women of Honor Match. Just as good as the one from the night before.

6.) Grudge Tag Team Match – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The All Night Express: ****

The Briscoes jump ANX before the bell and it turns into a brawl. This was actually very good. Wild brawl all over the place. It will probably be remembered best for Rhett Titus and especially Jay Briscoe bleeding buckets.

7.) “SoCal Showdown II” Rematch – El Generico vs. Roderick Strong: ***1/2

This is a rematch from SoCal Showdown II where El Generico challenged then champion Roderick Strong for the World Title. Not as good as that match, but for what it was, it was a pretty good match.

Afterwords a brawl ensues involved Strong, El Generico, Michael Elgin & Colt Cabana. This brings out Daniels, who in still possession of the Book of Truth. He then makes his heel turn official by laying out both Generico & Cabana, officially joining the HOT.

8.) Non-Title Dream Tag Team Match – Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas vs. The American Wolves: ****
Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team's newly won World Tag Team Titles are not on the line in this match. This was a pretty good tag team main event. Started a little slow, as WGTT matches usually do, but got better down the stretch. Miscommunication between The Wolves leads to a WGTT win. 

Overall: 8.5/10

This one wasn't as good as the show from the night before, but it still had a lot of good stuff on it. The first half had a really good opener but some mid-card matches that were just decent. The second half had some really good matches. A nice way to finish off the weekend for ROH.

ROH Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter One

Eddie Edwards & Christopher Daniels are moving up in the world....specifically moving up to the Main Event on ROH iPPV!

ROH Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter One
Atlanta, Georgia 4/1/11

1.) Grudge Match – El Generico vs. Michael Elgin: ***

This is a rematch from the 9th Anniversary Show. I think this one was a little better than that match. Generico is the perfect guy to put against Elgin during this early stage in his ROH career. A masked man interferes and allows Elgin to win.

2.) Four Corner Survival – Colt Cabana vs. Homicide vs. Caleb Konley vs. Tommaso Ciampa: **3/4

Truth Martini is out with Caleb Konley and says tonight Konley can prove that he belongs in the House of Truth. This was a decent Four Corner Survival. Nothing really outstanding, but a fair match nonetheless.

Despite being pinned by Homicide, Konley gets a thumbs up from Martini, who then mentions it's April Fool's Day. Konley then gets laid out by Michael Elgin

3.) Women of Honor – Sara Del Rey & Serena Deeb vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto & Ayumi Kurihara: ***1/4

These two Japanese wrestlers are her for a special weekend of ROH Women of Honor Action. It's an especially emotional time for them since the big earthquake & tsunami Japan suffered just happened the month prior. Very good showcase, definitely a step up from the Women of Honor match at the 9th Anniversary Show

After the match, Matsumoto & Kurihara had some words with their opponents on the next show, SHIMMER Tag Team Champions Daizee Haze & Tomoka Nakagawa. Nakagawa spits water in one of their faces and the champs split.

4.) Tag Team Challenge Match – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly: ***1/2

It's mentioned that the All Night Express were ejected from the building following a confrontation with The Briscoes earlier. The match itself was a pretty good one. The Briscoes definitely showed that they can be great heels here, part of the credit for that can go to Cole & O'Reilly.

After the match, ANX comes through the crowd and has a pull-apart brawl with the Briscoes.

5.) “Final Battle 2010” Rematch – Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards: ****1/2

As mentioned above, this is a rematch from Final Battle 2010. I honestly gotta say that this match was just as good as that match, maybe even slightly better. A very good contest, which is pretty much what you would expect from these two.

6.) ROH World Tag Team Titles – The Kings of Wrestling vs. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas: ****

The Kings won the first match, and WGTT won the rematch, so this is the rubber match and it's for the gold. While I'd say this was on the same level as the previous two matches, it had something different about it, and the belts being on the line is a big reason for that. It gave the match a different feel than their previous encounters. WGGT win the World Tag Team Titles in a very good match. Maybe not entirely on the same level as their first two matches but still solid.

7.) ROH World Title Match – Eddie Edwards vs. Christopher Daniels: ****1/4

These two were last seen on iPPV wrestling to a draw in a 2/3 Falls match for the TV Title, but Eddie's World Title win at Manhattan Mayhem IV turned the World Title Picture upside down. This was definitely the best match these two have had. A very nice job topping their aforementioned match from earlier in the year. Edwards looked very good in his first defense and Daniels gave numerous hints of a heel turn during the match. Small stuff, but noticeable.

Afterwords, Daniels refuses to shake hands and walks out on Edwards.

Overall: 9.0/10

Three ****+ matches make this show a definite must see. In addition to those, you have a solid women's match and a relatively good undercard. A great way to kick off their WrestleMania Weekend of shows.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

CHIKARA Under The Hood Review

Eddie Kingston defends his Grand Championship against Tim Donst and someone comes out from "Underneath Their Hood"

CHIKARA Under The Hood
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 12/2/12

1.) F.I.S.T. (Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano) vs. 3.0: ***1/4

Both teams have two points and are looking for their third so they can challenge for the Campeonatos de Parejas. Solid Opener. Both teams wrestled a great match-up 

2.) Icarus vs. Dasher Hatfield: ***

This is a rematch from The Cibernetico Rises, but with Sugar Dunkerton in tow. A better match than their one from New York two weeks prior. Dunkerton with FIST is another Wink Vavasseur creation. They did a great job with the story between Hatfield, Dunkerton & Icarus. Good stuff. 

3.) Jigsaw, The Shard, Soldier Ant & deviant vs. Mike Quackenbush, Fire Ant, Green Ant & assailANT: ***1/2

So Director of Fun Wink Vavasseur's creations are finally coming to a head as his version of the Colony (with Assailant) are taking on the reconfigured swarm (with POW Solider Ant & Jigsaw). A good match with A LOT of story behind it. We even had an original colony reunion of sorts. assailANT is trying to get accepted as one of the good guys and eventually is, even by Quackenbush following something he did during the match. Story-wise....good stuff. Match was good as well.
4.) Young Lions Cup - “Mr Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti vs. ACH: ***3/4

This is a rematch from the finals of the Young Lions Cup Tournament. Very Good Match. Appears that ACH & Touchdown are two guys that just mesh really well. 

After the match it's time to announce the Homecoming King & Queen. Veronica obviously wins Queen. Touchdown claims to be Kings, but Gavin Loudspeaker announced the true winner as the Mysterious & Handsome Stranger. He has a slow dance with Veronica, then surprises her by dumping Pig Slob on her!! He then surprises everyone by revealing himself to be ARCHIBALD PECK!!! Security comes out and ejects Peck (following the stipulation of the Chikarasaurus Rex Match).

After intermission, Sidney Bakabella comes out, taking about how his team is one match away from three points. He brings out Los Ice Creams to face their doom.

5.) The Devastation Corporation vs. Los Ice Creams: DUD

Basically a squash for The Devastation Corporation. Not much else.

6.) Delirious, Ophidian & The Batiri vs. The Spectral Envoy, Crossbones & Blind Rage: ****

So basically, long story short, Delirious returned in early 2012, saying he remember everything from his imprisonment by UltraMantis Black (and subsequently the BDK) via the Eye of Tyr, and has since declared war on him, recruiting Ophidian & The Batiri. UltraMantis brings his usual suspects with some familiar allies. During the match, AMASIS appeared in the crowd, causing Ophidian to freak out. The match was good & entertaining in the context of the story. 

7.) Campeonatos de Parejas – The Young Bucks vs. The 1-2-3 Kid & Marty Jannetty: **3/4

A fairly decent match, though you can't expect too much from Kid and especially Jannetty in their older years (Kid can still go, Still a fair tag team affair. The Buck retain their titles.

8.) CHIKARA Grand Championship – Eddie Kingston vs. Tim Donst: ***1/2

This is another feud that got its start year's prior. Another very good match, but for the main event I felt like it was lacking. I'm actually going to go out there and say that part of me strongly believes Donst should have won the belt here. IDK but I think it would have provided something different, plus Donst's new character is pretty good. Still, the match was very entertaining.

Overall: 8.0/10

CHIKARA is now 3 for 3 when it comes to solid iPPV performances, though this iPPV was a little different, as the first half is a bit more appealing than the second half (not to say the second half had any bad matches). Great wrestling and the continuation of various top stories make this a good way to close out 2012 for CHIKARA.

PWG Mystery Vortex Review

Adam Cole & Kevin Steen do battle for the World Title!

PWG Mystery Vortex
Reseda, California 12/1/12

The theme is that The World Title Match was the only announced match going into the show, so these are all Mystery Matches.

1.) The Dojo Bros (Eddie Edwards & Roderick Strong) vs. The Young Bucks: ***3/4

This is the first of two rescheduled matches from Failure To Communicate (thanks, Kenny Omega). Great Match. The Bucks are their usual selves and the Strong/Edwards pairing creates so many fresh match-ups. Awesome stuff here.

2.) Best-of-Three Series Match 1 – Sami Callihan vs. Drake Younger: ***1/4

It would not be known yet but this is the first of a Best-of-Three Series, with the winner getting a future World Title Shot. Brutal Stuff. Highlight of the match was Younger Piledriving Callihan on the ring apron. It was a very stiff match and I feel like it went a little overboard but it was still decent. 

In a rare moment, we get an in-ring promo as Adam Cole comes out with the World Title Belt he stole from Kevin Steen at BOLA 2012. He tells the crowd to suck it and calls out Steen, who announces that the main event is now a Guerrilla Warfare Match! Cole is in shock...

3.) PWG World Tag Team Titles – The Super Smash Brothers vs. The RockNES Monsters: ***1/2

The Battle for the Ugliest Belts in Pro-Wrestling!! These two had a bit of a history as the first PWG match for the SSB was against the Monsters the year before. The Monsters have since turned heel. Pretty good World Tag Team Title Match. Sweet stuff. Innovative (especially from the SSB).

4.) Joey Ryan vs. Scorpio Sky: ***1/4

Scorpio gets a "Harold" chant. Sky, by the way, has now faced every member of The Dynasty (Chris Bosh, Scott Lost, and now Joey Ryan) in their final PWG Match. Nothing great, but still good. Fine match.

After the match, Ryan jokingly tells the fans to go Eff Themselves (the fans then chant "Eff Ourselves"). He explains the situation with PWG & TNA (DVD distribution I think) and says his good-bys. Gonna miss Joey Ryan in PWG, but I'm glad he's getting his break.

5.) Four-Way Match – Willie Mack vs. Brian Cage vs. B-Boy vs. TJ Perkins: ***1/2

This was actually a VERY good Four-Way. Lots of entertaining stuff here.

6.) El Generico vs. Rich Swann: ***1/2

Now we get the second match rescheduled from Failure To Communicate. This was a pretty good match, but I feel like it could have been so much more...Something was definitely missing.

7.) Non-Title Match – The Dojo Bros (Roderick Strong & Eddie Edwards) vs. The Super Smash Brothers: ***3/4

So basically this was the first show for the World Tag Team Champions since Threemendous PWG is trying to get their money's worth with them while they're here in this non-title contest. Another great match involving The Dojo Bros. I can get used to these two teaming more often. SSB looked good to.

8.) PWG World Title – Guerrilla Warfare – Kevin Steen vs. Adam Cole: ****1/4

This was what you would expect from a Guerrilla Warfare Match, but it was.....I don't know what the right word is. Cole won the match, AND the title, but put up barely any offense (from what I could remember). Most of the match was Steen destroying Cole. Though there was still a lot of AWESOME stuff here, with the highlights being the mountain of chairs & the thumbtacks. The fact the Cole won clean shows his future is bright.

Overall: 9.0/10

The entire card is above three stars....what else is their to say??. While it does not have that really great match, The Guerrilla Warfare match for the World Title was very good and the entire undercard proved to be entertaining as well.

CHIKARA The Cibernetico Rises Review

On this night....Tim Donst will RISE

CHIKARA The Cibernetico Rises

Manhattan, New York 11/18/12

1.) “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti vs. Soldier Ant: **3/4

"Mr Touchdown" gets caught with a wrench before the match begins. SHENANIGANS!! Soldier Ant is still a Prisoner of War following being forcibly paired with The Swarm. A good opener. Touchdown uses a foreign object to win.

2.) The Shard vs. Fire Ant: ***1/4

I believe The Shard had promised to go after the CHIKARA guys following Mike Quackenbush disposing of 17 and combatANT. A pretty good match. Feel like this is one of the right occasions where a guy works on a body part and it actually plays a direct role in the ending.

After the match, The Shard continues his attack. This brings out Mike Quackenbush, Green Ant, and eventually Jigsaw. Quack & Jig' get into an argument, and Quack essentially wants to know where Jigsaw's loyalties lie. He ends up giving Quackenbush a HUGE superkick and leaves with The Shard. Good segment. A heel Jigsaw opens the door for some fresh match-ups.

3.) Icarus vs. Dasher Hatfield: **3/4

A decent match. Nothing really outstanding, but entertaining nonetheless. Icarus lays out Dasher after the match.

4.) The Heart Throbs vs. The 1-2-3 Kid & Marty Jannetty: **1/2

Kid & Jannetty gained two points in their victory in the Tag Gauntlet at King of Trios 2012 Weekend, so this would be their third point if they get the win, which they do. Ok, but the show's worst match. 

5.) Torneo Cibernetico – Kevin Steen, Jimmy Jacobs, The Bravados, The Briscoes & The Young Bucks vs. Eddie Kingston, Gran Akuma, 3.0, The Spectral Envoy & Tim Donst: ****1/4

So it's Team Kingston vs. Team "Don't Call Us Team Ring of Honor". This is also my first time watching a Cibernetico Match. I actually enjoy the "batting order" format. It's something unique, though it does lead to LONG matches. This one was no different. Very good stuff here. Everyone played their part which led to a great match. After Kevin Steen was eliminated Tim Donst & Eddie Kingston went at it to determine a sole winner (Donst had gone after Kingston earlier in the match, already softening him up). Donst ended up picking up a HUGE win over the Grand Champion. With the help of Jakob Hammermeier, he tied Kingston to the ropes, gave him his two weeks notice, and laid him out with the title belt. 

Overall: 7.5/10

The Cibernetico Match saved this show from being below average. Doesn't mean their weren't good matches on here (the other four matches all had their positives) but the Cibernetico & the Tim Donst angle make this show worth the purchase. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Evolve 13 Review

Four Men Battle for a shot at the Open The Freedom Gate Title!!

Evolve 13
Concord, North Carolina 5/12/12

Another DVD with great cover art and the crowd for this show is a little better here than at the last show.

1.) Winner Gets an Open The Freedom Gate Title Match – Ricochet vs. AR Fox vs. Jigsaw vs. Samuray Del Sol: ***3/4

The winner will face Johnny Gargano in the Main Event with the title on the line. This was an awesome opener. Fox & Del Sol looked like stars, Ricochet was his usual self, and Jigsaw played his roll well. An entertaining Four-Way Match. AR Fox continues his wave of momentum by picking up the win and a shot at Johnny Gargano in the Main Event!

2.) Silas Young vs. Adam Page: *3/4

This was nothing more than a squash match. I suggest checking out their match from Ring of Honor's 2013 Top Prospect Tournament. That one was much better.

3.) Caleb Konley vs. Kyle Matthews: **1/4

Matthews has made a few Evolve/Dragon Gate USA appearances previously, I believe. Konley is good but at this point The Scene is doing nothing for me. A decent match.

4.) Alex Reynolds vs. Jake Manning: **1/2

Both guys head into this undefeated so someone is leaving with a loss. The win ends up going to Reynolds, who is surprisingly at 3-0. A fine match.

5.) Low Ki vs. Jon Davis: ***1/2

Another first time match-up as Low Ki is facing a size disadvantage. A very good match. Both guys hit their stuff and looked good doing it. Low Ki especially looked good selling the offense of Jon Davis, but in the end, the World Warrior picked up the win to become the first person to (technically) go 4-0 in Evolve

After the match, Low Ki talks about his record, and the need for an Evolve Title.

6.) Chuck Taylor vs. Mike Cruz: **1/2

Cruz is looking to spoil things for the Evolve wins leader. Swamp Monster is once again over. A fair match. Cruz held his only against Taylor, and the Kentucky Gentleman looked good as usual.

After the match, Taylor also expressed his desire for an Evolve Title.

7.) Sami Callihan vs. El Generico: ****

Looks like Callihan took Finlay's words of advice and decided to have an awesome wrestling match with El Generico. Great stuff here. Both guys put on their best effort, but I felt like the location held things down a bit. If it had been held in front of a larger (and better) crowd, it would have been fantastic...oh well. Still a great match. Low Ki was also on commentary.

Afterwords, Lenny Leonard tries to interview Generico about Low Ki, but Callihan attacks him, and in Evolve, post match attacks are severely frowned upon. Callihan also goes after a ref. before Low Ki ran him off. After Sami left, Generico & Low Ki had a stare down and exchanged some words.

8.) Open The Freedom Gate Title – Johnny Gargano vs. AR Fox: ****

AR Fox has a ton of momentum, with his win over AR Fox in Evolution's End at Evolve 12 and the victory in the Four-Way earlier in the night. This was a very good Open The Freedom Gate Title Match. While the environment prevented this one from soaring, it was still very good and a great way to close the show. Once again, Fox looks like a star.

After the match, Gargano puts over Fox and then brings in a girl in the front row who wrote a school paper about him and celebrated with her in the ring. Nice Gesture.

Overall: 8.0/10

When compared to the show from the night before (and the last two Evolve shows, really) this was definitely a step up. You have three matches on here that you should definitely check out, and the rest of the undercard isn't too bad. Despite the smaller crowd, this was another good show from Evolve.

Evolve 12: Fox vs. Callihan Review

The brutal war between AR Fox and Sami Callihan finally comes to a brutal conclusion!!

Evolve 12: Fox vs. Callihan
Charlotte, North Carolina 5/11/12

Two Quick Notes....First, I really like the DVD Cover Art for this show. Second, I was surprised at how small the crowd was. For being an at least semi-major indy fed, with several big indy names, you'd think they'd draw better, especially in a wrestling town like Charlotte. Apparently attendance was an issue with most Evolve/Dragon Gate USA shows in 2012.

1.) Caleb Konley vs. Adam Page vs. Jake Manning: **3/4

I really like Jake Manning's Gimmick. Maybe that's the inner Eagle Scout in me talking, but I think it's great. Shame he's only been showcased recently, I think he can be a good fit for places like ROH and CHIKARA. Adam Page is in the same boat, as far as talent is concerned (but ROH has already picked up on Page). This was a fine opener. All three guys hit their stuff and looked decent. Johnny Fairplay was in place of Larry Dallas this weekend (ugh....). Manning picks up the win.

By the way between matches here, they showed a MMA Fight Bobby Fish had at some MMA Event. I was confused as to why this MMA fight had Rockem Sockem like head-gear, but the fight was still decent. Fish basically squashed him.

2.) Alex Reynolds vs. Mike Cruz: **1/2

Don't know much about Reynolds but Mike Cruz is a name I've heard before (CZW guy I think). A decent match. Both guys did their thing and put on a good contest.

3.) Low Ki vs. Jigsaw: ***1/4

This is a first time ever match up. I was also surprised at how this turned out. I expected to see some high flying action (at least some...) from Jigsaw and maybe Low Ki. Instead we got a match that was, for the most part, grounded. Regardless, it was still a good back & forth match with Low Ki eventually getting the win.

After the match, Low Ki cut a promo essentially disparaging Jigsaw. I think this thing they were doing with Low Ki was a good idea, with him putting down people like Jigsaw & El Generico. Now that I think about it, it would have been a cool idea if CHIKARA brought Low Ki in and did something similar, where Low Ki would disparage all of the CHIKARA masked wrestlers like the Spectral Envoy & The Colony, seeing them as a disgrace and waging war against their kind. Probably won't happen, but one can dream...

4.) Dave Finlay vs. Jon Davis: ***1/2

This was the second match in a row that was a very intriguing match-up, turned out to be good, but was wrestled completely differently than what one would have expected. Instead of a power-based brawl (which it was for a little bit), it was mostly a ground submission based affair, which I think brought the match down a little bit because they did it so much during the match. Finlay would have the same problem in his match with Michael Elgin in ROH. Not sure why this was....

After the match, Finlay puts over Davis and then says Sami Callihan needs to stop having these rivalries and get back to having good wrestling matches. Callihan comes out briefly to confront Finlay.

5.) Johnny Gargano & Samuray Del Sol vs. Chuck Taylor & Silas Young: ***1/4

In this one, Gargano & Taylor picked their respective partners, with the winning team captain (Gargano or Taylor) picking the stipulations for their next encounter. The Swamp Monster comes out with Jake Manning to accompany Taylor & Young. I gotta admit, The Swamp Monster is cool, and he's over!! The match itself wasn't overly great, but it was pretty good and served its roll in furthering the Taylor/Gargano feud.

After the match, Chuck Taylor, the winning captain, said he want's an Open The Freedom Gate Title Shot at the next set of Dragon Gate USA shows. 

6.) Ricochet vs. El Generico: ***1/2

El Generico is making his second Evolve appearance as he's facing the high-flying Ricochet. This was another very good match. Both guys looked good and Low Ki on commentary added to his heat with El Generico. 

After the match, Low Ki came out to the ring as Ricochet challenged him to a future match. He accepted, and then went back to knocking on El Generico, naming dropping several famous masked wrestlers, and says that if Generico doesn't change his ways, he'll turn into a disgrace. of masked wrestlers.

7.) Evolution’s End – AR Fox vs. Sami Callihan: ****

I actually like the idea behind this match, with regular rules applying on the inside and no rules on the floor. This was a very good match to watch. Started off a little slow, but then really picked up, especially in the second half. Both guys killed each other in this one, with a ladder, a table and barbed wire all coming into play. Fox looked like a star in this one.

Overall: 7.25/10

Not the best Evolve show, but it had its moments. If you're a fan of Sami Callihan & AR Fox, you should definitely check out their match. A shame that they performed such a killer match in front of so few people. The rest of the card isn't too bad, with the match quality being mostly good, but nothing really stand out. If not for the Main Event, this would have really been an average show.

Dragon Gate USA Freedom Fight 2011 Review

Johnny Gargano finally achieves his dream!!

Dragon Gate USA Freedom Fight 2011
Manhattan, New York 11/13/11

I gotta say before I start that I actually really like the BB Kings Venue, even though it's a smaller one.

1.) BJ Whitmer vs. Brodie Lee: **1/2

These two have been having a bit of a feud during this weekend's triple shot, and this is the culmination of that. A fine opener.

2.) The Scene vs. Uhaa Nation & John Silver: **1/2

Larry Dallas and his cohorts continue their issue with Uhaa Nation. A decent tag team match. The Scene is hit or miss with me...

3.) Ronin (Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann) vs. Blood Warriors (Akira Tozawa & BxB Hulk): ***1/2

After the controversial ending to his Open The Freedom Gate Title Match the night before in Philadelphia, Chuck Taylor ran off with the belt and has yet to return it to YAMATO. Before the match Johnny Gargano cut a promo saying how bad he felt about the position he was put in. He apologized to Taylor, but told him to give back the belt and that he had forgotten what Ronin was all about. Taylor says he will and Rich Swann tells Gargano that he needs to focus on YAMATO. 

Then we got the actual match. This was actually a pretty good tag team match. Hulk & Tozawa are good as usual and I enjoy seeing this version of Ronin in Tag Team Action.

After the match, CIMA & Brodie Lee of Blood Warriors come out and attack everyone. This brings out Masato Yoshino and we get our next match!

4.) Bonus Main Event – CIMA vs. Masato Yoshino: ***3/4

Here we have a battle between two Dragon Gate Veterans. This was very good. Yoshino looked strong in this singles encounter.

5.) Last One-On-One Match – PAC vs. Ricochet: ****

These two have been having a feud for awhile over who's the better wrestler. This was pretty awesome. One thing I'd say though was that the brawling they did in the crowd was a little hard to see, but that's my only real complaint.

6.) Open The Freedom Gate Title – YAMATO vs. Johnny Gargano: ****1/4

YAMATO still doesn't have his title belt. Rich Swann comes out with Gargano but Chuck Taylor is not. The match itself was awesome. You had a feeling watching it that this was Gargano's time, and it was indeed his time as he won the belt!

Chuck Taylor comes out after the match with the title belt. Gargano reminds him again what Ronin was all about and that by winning tonight, they have achieved what they had been seeking as a group. He added that Taylor & Swann should go after the United Gate Titles so Taylor can get back at CIMA. Taylor eventually gives Gargano the belt and hugs him. Ronin then celebrates Gargano's Title Win.

7.) Extreme Warfare – Sabu, AR Fox & Jon Davis vs. D.U.F (Sami Callihan, Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez): ***1/2

D.U.F. has been going after AR Fox for months, which over time dragged Jon Davis and Sabu into the mix. This was a good hardcore brawl, but the ending was kind of deflating. I also question as to why this match was the main event. Given the fact that they have been building up this Gargano title win for awhile, that should have probably been the Main Event. Given the way the matches ended, the Open The Freedom Gate Title Match definitely should have been the Main Event.

Overall: 8.5/10

You really can't go wrong with this show. A great way for Dragon Gate USA to end 2011. CIMA/Yoshino, PAC/Ricochet, and the Open The Freedom Gate Title Match are all worth checking out. The rest of the card was good as well. While Extreme Warfare was good as well, it was not the match to end this show with, as the show would have been much better if it ended with Gargano winning the belt.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

ROH Manhattan Mayhem IV Review

Eddie Edwards cashes in his Survival of the Fittest Title Shot against World Champion Roderick Strong!!

ROH Manhattan Mayhem IV
New York City, New York 3/19/11

1.) Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. Michael Elgin & Mike Mondo: ***1/4

This was a pretty good opener, and the hot NYC crowd definitely helped things.

After the match, Martini gives Mike Mondo the thumbs down and Elgin lays him out.

2.) Tommaso Ciampa vs. Grizzly Redwood: **

Essentially a squash match for Ciampa in this one. It was ok, but Ciampa should have won in a little quicker fashion. 

After the match, The Embassy beats down Redwood until Steve Corino comes out for the save. He checks on Redwood as Mike Bennett (wearing a Red Sox Jersey) & Brutal Bob Evans come out. Bennett says he's gonna make Corino fall of the wagon. They exchange more words before the bell rings & we're under way!

3.) Steve Corino vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett: **1/2

A fairly decent match. Bennett finally got the right kind of heat & Corino is doing a great job with his recovery storyline.

4.) Tag Team Challenge Match – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The All Night Express: ***1/2

The booking in this match was actually pretty good, as the fans were increasing growing Anti-Briscoe, and a double turn occurred. The match itself was very good, pretty much what'd one would expect from ROH Tag Team Wrestling.

After the match, both teams got into a pull-apart brawl.

5.) El Generico vs. TJ Perkins: ***

El Generico was frozen from World Title Contention in Plymouth thanks to the House of Truth. I gotta say while the match Perkins had with Chris Hero the night before was pretty good, this was just good. The shortness of the match might have had something to do with it.

6.) Non-Title Dream Tag Team Match – The Kings of Wrestling vs. Homicide & Hernandez: ***3/4

Homicide brings in his LAX partner from TNA for this Dream Match against The Kings. This was very entertaining & lots of fun. 

7.) Pure Rules Match – Christopher Daniels vs. Davey Richards: ****

I like the idea of bringing back the Pure Rules match for special occasion, maybe once a year or so. This wasn't as good as their match in Chicago, but it was still pretty good. They used the rules of this match pretty well. The big moment was probably Davey's botched Shooting Star Press, but he still manages to beat Daniels.

Daniels, despite shaking the hand of Richards afterwords, is visibly frustrated, and storms off.

8.) ROH World Title Match –Roderick Strong vs. Eddie Edwards: ****1/2

Edwards got this shot by winning the 2010 Survival of the Fittest Tournament. This was a very good match. Both guys seem to match up pretty well as opponents. It had a lot of drama, and Edwards winning the belt was a huge surprise and sent the NYC crowd into a frenzy. 

Truth Martini is incredibly upset. Edwards looks to be in shock as he celebrates with the belt. Davey comes out, and their is a little tension, but he eventually hugs Edwards and celebrates with his friend.

Overall: 8.25/10

Like all the previous Manhattan Mayhem's, this one proved to be pretty good. Obviously the Main Event & World Title Change are worth getting this show alone. The Pure Rules & Dream Tag Team Matches were also very good, and the undercard delivered pretty much what it needed to, making for a good night of wrestling in New York City.

ROH Defy or Deny Review

Will El Generico, Homicide or Jay Briscoe get another Title Shot, or will Roderick Strong deny one unlucky wrestler from ever challenging him again?

ROH Defy or Deny
Plymouth, Massachusetts 3/18/11

The show starts out with a promo with Mike Bennett & Bob Evans. Bennett talks about his TV Title shot as well as Steve Corino. This brings out Corino who chastises him for not being honorable. He says that even though he's on the road to recovery, he has no problem kicking Bennett's butt in NYC the next night. He lays out Evans as he & Bennett run off.

1.) Mark Briscoe vs. Kyle O’Reilly: ***

This was a very solid opening match. Both guys got the crowd into it.

2.) Steve Corino & Grizzly Redwood vs. The All Night Express: **1/2

Corino is teaming with Redwood for the second time in this one. This was a decent match. ANX are seemingly getting better & more polished as a unit.

3.) Tommaso Ciampa vs. Adam Cole: ***1/4

Ciampa is making his live event debut with The Embassy. This was actually very good. Cole & Ciampa put on a pretty entertaining contest. These two definitely showed why they are future ROH stars.

4.) Chris Hero vs. TJ Perkins: ***1/2

A very good match here. Hero & Perkins seemed to mesh well with some pretty good action. TJ is a perfect fit for ROH because he consistently has good matches.

5.) Bravado Brothers vs. Matt Taven & Guy Alexander: *

So this is basically the Bravados doing a somewhat competitive squash against these two local guys...not much else here.

6.) Special Challenge Match – Eddie Edwards vs. Michael Elgin: ***1/2

Elgin is essentially trying to soften Edwards up for the World Title Match with Roderick Strong in NYC. This was pretty good. It could have been a little bit shorter, but it was still good.

7.) ROH World TV Title – Christopher Daniels vs. Mike Bennett: **1/4

So Bennett is finally getting his coveted TV Title Shot......AND he lost. No surprise. Anyway, it was...ok. Steve Corino came out to prevent Bennett from cheating, thus costing him the match.

8.) Kings vs. Wolves – Claudio Castagnoli vs. Davey Richards: ****

Richards faced the other half of the Kings in Chris Hero at Only the Strong Survive. While this just missed the mark of that match, this one was still very good. They told a good story and the crowd was into it.

9.) Defy or Deny Elimination Match – Roderick Strong vs. El Generico vs. Homicide vs. Jay Briscoe: ***1/4

Here are the rules. It's an Elimination Match. If El Generico, Homicide, or Jay Briscoe win, they get another shot at the ROH World Title. If Roderick Strong wins, the challenger he pins to win the match will never get another Title Shot as long as Roderick Strong is champion. This was....good, but somewhat disappointing. It was just kinda bland. The beginning was a little sluggish, and the finish was not good. Good, but that's about all I can say....just "good".

Overall: 7.5/10

Even though this is a B-Show, it isn't terribly bad. Richards once again stole the show, and although the Main Event was sub-par, there are several other undercard matches that are fairly good. A decent show overall.

ROH From Love to Hate: The Jimmy Jacobs Story Review

A closer look at the career of one of Ring of Honor's most violent men.

From Love to Hate: The Jimmy Jacobs Story

Disk 1

Wrestlerave '03 (6/28/03) - Jimmy Jacobs vs. Alex Shelley vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Tony Mamaluke: ***3/4

Best of the American Super Juniors Tournament (4/2/05) - ROH Tag Team Titles - Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer vs. Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal: ***1/2

Dragon Gate Challenge (3/30/06) - Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer: ****

The first disk also includes a 75 Minute Shoot Interview with Jimmy Jacobs as well as a ton of promo videos from his ROH Career, everything from The Ballad of Lacey to the Age of the Fall stuff.

Disk 2

Throwdown (6/23/06) - ROH World Title - Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Bryan Danielson: ****1/4

Fifth Year Festival: Chicago (2/24/07) - Windy City Death Match - Jimmy Jacobs vs. Colt Cabana: ****

Supercard of Honor II (3/31/07) - Steel Cage Match - Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer: ****1/2

Man Up (9/15/07) - The Age of the Fall Debuts following Ladder War

Unscripted III (12/1/07) - Jimmy Jacobs vs. Bryan Danielson: ***1/2

Final Battle 2007 (12/30/07) - ROH World Tag Team Titles - Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black vs. The Briscoes: ***1/2

Tag Wars 2008 (4/18/08) - Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black vs. The Motor City Machine Guns: ****1/4

Rising Above 2008 (11/22/08) - I Quit Match - Jimmy Jacobs vs. Austin Aries: ****1/4

Violent Tendencies (6/26/09) - Steel Cage Match - Jimmy Jacobs vs. Tyler Black: ***3/4

Overall: 9.25/10

This, I felt, was one of the more anticipated DVD compilations from ROH, and I gotta say it definitely delivered. The quality of most of the matches alone are enough reason to get this. They pretty encapsulate the entire ROH career of Jimmy Jacobs (up until the point when he left). The shoot interview is great, as he goes into detail about almost every aspect of his ROH run and his recent return. The inclusion of all his Ballads, Dating Lacey Videos, and Age of the Fall promos are a great touch. Definitely go out of your way to get this one.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

ROH 9th Anniversary Show Review

Ring of Honor celebrates their anniversary for the first time on iPPV!!

ROH 9th Anniversary Show
Chicago Ridge, Illinois 2/26/11

1.) Davey Richards vs. Colt Cabana: ***1/2

This is apart of Richards trying to build himself back up to a title shot after he lost at Final Battle. Oddly enough, Cabana did something similar in 2006. This was a very good opener. Cabana & Richards put on a good technical match and got the crowd fired up.

2.) Four Corner Survival – Steve Corino vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Mike Bennett vs. Grizzly Redwood: ***

These four put on a good Four Corner Survival. A very entertaining match.

3.) El Generico vs. Michael Elgin: ***1/4

This is Elgin's iPPV debut. A pretty good contest. These two seemed to mesh very well, even in this early stage of his ROH career.

Truth Martini & Elgin attack Generico and Roderick Strong comes out to assist. This brings out Homicide and we get our World Title Match!

4.) ROH World Title – No DQ Barrio Street Fight – Roderick Strong vs. Homicide: ***

You know it says something that ROH put this match as the first match before intermission....and the match shows. It was good, for a Street Fight, but for a World Title Match it was definitely lacking. Decent brawl...but that's about it.

5.) Women of Honor – Sara Del Rey vs. McChif: *1/4

I was really looking forward to seeing these two. It was ok....but it was lacking. Part of that is because it was very short. 

MsChif spits mist into Del Rey's face after the match. She sells it pretty well.

6.) ROH World Tag Team Titles – The Kings of Wrestling vs. The All Night Express: ***1/2

ANX earned this opportunity last year at Fate of an Angel II. This was a very good match. ANX looked strong against The Kings. The first of many good things in 2011 for ANX.

7.) ROH World TV Title – 2/3 Falls – 30 Minute Time Limit – Christopher Daniels vs. Eddie Edwards: ***3/4

Daniels won the TV Title during the TV Tapings in Louisville late in 2010. This was a very good match. Both guys left it all in the ring in a pretty good match. Of course this match ends in a draw and Daniels suffers some bleeding from the head & gets disoriented because of it. I think this ended up affecting what was supposed to happen at the end, but it still turned out good.

8.) Dream Tag Team Match – Jay and Mark Briscoe vs. Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin: ***3/4

These two teams are meeting for the first time. This was a very good tag team match. Both teams looked pretty good. WGTT wins & secure a title shot on WrestleMania Weekend. They raise each other's hands after the match.

Overall: 7.75/10

This was a solid iPPV. It didn't have a really stand out match (nothing over ****) but nothing besides the women's match was under ***, which was pretty good. If you're looking for a show that's chock full of good wrestling, you've got the right show.

ROH World's Greatest Review

Some of the Best in the World Clash in an exciting Main Event!

ROH World's Greatest
Dayton, Ohio 2/25/11

1.) Jay Briscoe vs. Kyle O’Reilly: ***

This was a pretty good opener. Only went about 8 Minutes, but it had good action in those 8 Minutes.

2.) Steve Corino & Grizzly Redwood vs. The Bravado Brothers: **1/4

Corino says he's teaming with Redwood because he's an inspiration. The Bravados cheap shot him after Corino mentions their grandmother. 

3.) Mark Briscoe vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett: **1/2

This match was...ok. One of Bennett's better matches from this stage of Bennett's ROH career. 

4.) Four Corner Survival – Colt Cabana vs. Rhett Titus vs. Andy Ridge vs. Mike Mondo: **3/4

A nice four corner survival. Not one of the best ones, but not one of the worst ones. Somewhere in the middle. Fast Paced Action.

5.) Non-Title Challenge Match – Christopher Daniels vs. Michael Elgin: **3/4

Think this was Elgin's first full weekend. A decent match here with the World TV Champion. 

Elgin attacks Daniels post-match but El Generico comes out for the save. In the chaos, Daniels takes possession of Truth Martini's Book of Truth (This becomes important later on...). Since El Generico is already out there, we get...

6.) Top Contenders Match – Homicide vs. El Generico: ***

This came about after Homicide laid out El Generico following a Four Corner Survival Match at Only the Strong Survive. This was a good match, but I felt like it could have been better.

7.) Survival of the Fittest 2010 Finals Rematch – Kenny King vs. Eddie Edwards: ***1/2

These two were the final two in the Survival of the Fittest in 2010. This was pretty good. King & Edwards match up pretty well. Sad they didn't face each other again (to my recollection).

8.) “World’s Greatest Collide” – Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas & Davey Richards vs. The Kings of Wrestling & Roderick Strong: ****

So this is the coming together of a few feuds that have been going on recently. It was a pretty good six-man tag. It was a great main event for this live event and a great built up to the matches that are coming in the future.

Overall: 7.5/10

This was a pretty decent show. The Main Event is of course, the reason to get this, but their are several undercard matches that are pretty good as well, making for a solid B-Show.

ROH SoCal Showdown II Review

Ring of Honor returns to Los Angeles for the second year in the row with an exciting lineup!

ROH SoCal Showdown II
Los Angeles, California 1/28/11

1.) The Bravado Brothers vs. Cedric Alexander & Caleb Konley: **1/2

This Caleb/Cedric pairing was certainly intriguing, but it wouldn't last, as they lost to The Bravados here. Decent tag match though.

2.) Colt Cabana vs. Jay Briscoe: **3/4

It's mentioned on commentary that despite the Second City Saints/Briscoes feud from 2004, this is the first time Cabana & Jay have met in a singles match in ROH. It proved to be pretty solid, but I was expecting a little better.

3.) The All Night Express vs. The Cutler Brothers: **1/2

The Cutlers are a tag team that used to (I say used to because they don't now) make appearances in PWG. Much like the opener, this was pretty decent. The fact that the crowd was already familiar with The Cutlers helped out a good deal.

4.) Battle of Mat Technicians – Davey Richards vs. TJ Perkins: ****

TJ had some matches in late 2010 for ROH, and he's facing a tough challenge in the form of Davey Richards. This was a very good match. Great wrestling that saw it all....strikes, submissions, the whole nine yards. 

5.) World TV Title – Christopher Daniels vs. Mark Briscoe: ***1/4

I really like what ROH did here. Mark pinned Daniels in the Champions vs. All-Stars Eight Man Tag in Richmond, so he gets a title shot. Allison Danger makes an appearance as she returns to the side of Daniels for this match. It was a good match. Enjoyable.

6.) Non-Title Rematch – Kings of Wrestling vs. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas: ****

So the Kings got a win via nefarious means against WGTT at Death Before Dishonor IX, so we have a rematch here. Pretty good stuff. About as good as their first match. WGTT picks up the win, thus setting up a rubber match for the belts down the line.

7.) ROH World Title – Roderick Strong vs. El Generico: ****

This is El Generico's "reward" after winning the war and surviving against Kevin Steen. While Strong essentially cheating to win (using the World Title Belt) hurt the match a little, there was still a good story told. Very good match.

Strong trash talks on the mic but Daniels, Jay Briscoe & Davey Richards chase him off. Daniels then gets on the mic and tells Strong that his time is coming.

Overall: 8.25/10

This was a very good show. The three **** matches make this show an easy recommendation. The undercard isn't too shabby either, making for an overall good show.

ROH Only The Strong Survive Review

Roderick Strong & Jay Briscoe MAN UP in Charlotte!!

ROH Only The Strong Survive
Charlotte, North Carolina 1/15/11

 1.) Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The Bravado Brothers: **3/4 

These two teams did battle in Canada at Fate of an Angel II. A very good choice of an opening match. Both teams put on an entertaining bout. The Bravados getting the win was a good move since this show was in their hometown.

2.) Rhett Titus vs. Caprice Coleman: **1/2 

Titus is bandaged up after his encounter with Homicide the night before. A decent singles match. 

3.) Colt Cabana vs. Grizzly Redwood: **1/2 

This was a fun match. Cabana does more comedy matches nowadays, but when he does them, especially against the right people, the matches turn out to be pretty good.

4.) “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett vs. Cedric Alexander: *1/2 

Eh...essentially a squash for Bennett. This was when he was a bit of an annoyance to watch in the ring sometimes.

After the match, Bennett cuts a promo and decides to sit an ringside and "observe" the TV Champion in the next match.

5.) ROH World TV Title – Christopher Daniels vs. Claudio Castagnoli (with Shane Hagadorn): ***3/4

This was a very good TV Title Match. Solid wrestling from these two, which is pretty much what you'd expect. 

6.) Steve Corino & Andy “Right Leg” Ridge vs. Alabama Attitude: ** 

So this was supposed to be Steve Corino vs. Andy Ridge, but Corino cut another "I'm an Evil Person" Promo and offers to team with Ridge against a team that he feels has a "Bad Attitude".....Alabama Attitude! This was actually a decent match. 

7.) Kings vs. Wolves – Chris Hero (with Shane Hagadorn) vs. Davey Richards: ****1/4 

Very good match here. It was a little tepid at the beginning but REALLY picked up in the last 10 Minutes. Great stuff.

8.) Four Corner Survival – Homicide vs. El Generico vs. Kenny King vs. Mark Briscoe: ***1/2 

This was a very good Four Corner Survival. I really enjoyed it. Good call back to the Four Corner Survivals from year's prior.

After the match, Homicide attacks El Generico, the winner of the match, laying him out with Da Cop Killa and covering him in the Puerto Rican Flag.

9.) ROH World Title – Roderick Strong vs. Jay Briscoe: ****1/2 

These two got into an exchange backstage at Final Battle, so we have this World Title Match. Truth Martini, by the way, was not there. These two had several great matches in 2009, and this one was no exception. In fact, this match was AWESOME!!! There were honestly moments where you believed Jay was seriously going to win. This reached the level of the Steel Cage Match Jay had with Samoa Joe in 2004. Great Stuff. You NEED to see this match.

Overall: 8.0/10

Strong vs. Briscoe is a must-see match. The TV Title Match, Richards/Hero, and Four-Corner Survival were all very good. While it would seem like the matches would suggest a higher rating, some of the matches did bring the card down a tad. Regardless, this is a show you should definitely own!!