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*** Official ROH DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
June 23, 2007 - DRIVEN - Chicago Ridge, Illinois

This is the event where matches were taped for Ring of Honor's second effort at Pay Per View. I was indeed one of the few dozen people who actually purchased this Pay Per View in Canada, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoy it so I knew going in that this DVD would be jam-packed with wholesome ROH goodness. To mark the occasion, the DVD version of "Driven" was a two disc set, with the first disc containing the PPV as it aired, and the second disc contained all the other matches that happened on the card - plus some other filler content mixed throughout.

The Resilience (Erick Stevens & Matt Cross) & Delirious vs. The No Remorse Corps (Roderick Strong & Davey Richards & Rocky Romero): Despite the consistent dominance by the No Remorse Corps, their war with The Resilience continued with this wild and crazy six-man-tag-team match. Delirious isn't an official member of the Resilience but he is constantly fighting for the cause simply because they share a common enemy. They once again mentioned that Austin Aries had bought a ticket to the show, but his TNA contract prevented him from appearing on camera. Surprisingly, at the time, everyone believed that story. The Chicago fans were going crazy throughout this match, which was played out in high speed until the No Remorse Corps proved to be a well-oiled machine by winning yet another battle in this ongoing war ( 8 / 10 ). The Corps wouldn't let up their assault after the match, until a loud "Austin Aries" chant by the fans prompted the former leader of the Resilience to jump the rail and attack all three members of the Corps. The fans became completely unglued from their seats as they watched former ROH World champion Austin Aries clear the ring of all the garbage. The announcers brushed it off, citing "this isn't going to make air anyway," which is absolute brilliance - it's the little things that matter when you're putting together the perfect product. A bearded Austin Aries said he had a surprise for everybody, and pulled an ROH contract out of his back pocket which will "guarantee his wrestling freedom." Aries asked for a pen, and was showered by a wave of pens from the audience (awesome!) and he immediately signed the papers and delivered a passionate promo about Ring of Honor ending with the phrase "We are Ring of Honor, I am Austin Aries, and WE ARE PRO WRESTLING" - an obviously but magnificent insult directed at TNA.

Claudio Castagnoli vs. Matt Sydal: This was a good old fashioned babyface match featuring friends exhibiting ROH's trademark "fighting spirit." It clearly shows that wrestling doesn't always need a good guy and a bad guy to provide an entertaining match. The previous night in Dayton, was main evented by Sydal and Castagnoli unsuccessfully challenging the Briscoes for the ROH World Tag Team titles. The finish was an amazing feat of acrobatics that you will have to buy the DVD to see because I can't even begin to describe it - but it resulted in Claudio Castagnoli winning the match ( 7 / 10 ).

After the match, Sweet & Sour Inc. hit the ring - consisting of "Super Agent" Larry Sweeney, Chris Hero, Tank Toland, and Bobby Dempsey - with Sarah Del Rey off taking care of S&S business. Larry Sweeney offered Matt Sydal a Sweet & Sour contract, promising to turn his losses into victories. Castagnoli, who has been there, done that, called Sweeney a "scumbag" and advised Sydal not to sign the contract. Double C took the contract and ripped it up in Larry Sweeney's face. Castagnoli started European Upper-cutting everybody until Matt Sydal turned heel and attacked Claudio from behind! Matt Sydal joins Sweet & Sour Inc.

B.J. Whitmer vs. Naomichi Marufuji: A great example of what makes Ring of Honor so great is their international influence, often welcoming and embracing foreign talent from all over the world - especially Japan. You may not know who Naomichi Marufuji is, but if you're a true pro wrestling fan you will be instantly drawn to his superior ability to perform inside a wrestling ring. This might just be what the doctor ordered for Whitmer, who has been letting his frustrations get the best of him - a match with Marufuji could possibly clear his mind. Whitmer did appear to back to his old self, but he couldn't stop Marufuji from winning the match ( 7.5 / 10 ).

Brent Albright vs. Pelle Primeau: In my opinion this isn't exactly the kind of match you want to put on a Pay Per View. Brent Albright destroyed little Pelle in about 2-minutes, which was about 1:50 too long ( 4 / 10 ).

ROH World Tag Team Title Match - The Briscoe Brothers vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico: The evolution of this feud continued on this PPV in a traditional tag team match. As is the case with most Briscoe matches, this contest started out slow but gradually built towards an amazing climax. There was no up down up down up down up down it was all up up up up up until they were ready to unload the finish at the perfect moment. Steen and Generico came extremely close to dethroning the champions on several occasions but the Briscoes recovered and won the match, keeping their titles once again ( 7.5 / 10 ). After the match, Kevin Steen attacked both Briscoes with a ladder - which sets the stage for an epic ladder match at some point in the future.

ROH World Title Match - Takeshi Morishima vs. Jimmy Rave: Morishima was showered with streamers as he entered the ring, but wasted no time attacking his challenger before the ring could be cleared. It took about four minutes for the most dominant ROH World champion of all-time to finish off Jimmy Rave and retain his championship ( 6 / 10 ). They keep building Morishima as an unbeatable monster, so whoever ultimately ends his title reign will end up looking like Superman!

They showed a taped promo from Adam Pearce, talking to his man-servant Shane Hagadorn about B.J. Whitmer pandering to the fans and going on a losing streak because of it. Pearce turned around and walked over to Whitmer, who was sulking on the bleachers. Pearce whispered into Whitmer's ear and they hugged each other, but then Pearce knocked Whitmer down to the floor and walked off with Brent Albright. Trust me this is going somewhere.

#1 Contenders Match - "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness: This match didn't actually take place that night in Chicago; they played it up that Morishima beat Rave so quickly that they had some time to fill so they were going to show a recent number one contenders match between "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness that took place in Philadelphia on June 9. They said these two men have a long rivalry but they do have a lot of respect for one another. The crowd was split right down the middle, with dueling chants of "Let's Go Nigel!" and "Let's Go Dragon!" - creating an atmosphere filled with excitement and anticipation. The match created a lot of buzz on the Internet, and for good reason, because Danielson and McGuinness went at it for more than twenty five minutes in pursuit of what they both want so desperately - another shot at Takeshi Morishima's ROH World championship. A bloodied American Dragon finally finished Nigel McGuinness off with Cattle Mutilation ( 9 / 10 ). The crowd chanted "Best in the World!" at Bryan Danielson, who pointed at Nigel McGuinness and started a "Nigel! Nigel! Nigel!" chant. Both men shook hands and the fans chanted "Thank you, both!" and "ROH!" as the PPV went off air (DVD ended).


The Minnesota Home-wrecking Crew (Rain & Lacey w/Jimmy Jacobs) vs. Daizee Haze & MsChif: I've never said this before but Lacey's entrance music kicks ass - if anyone knows what it is please let me know. The new dark and mysterious cane-wielding Jimmy Jacobs accompanied the team of Rain and Lacey to the ring for a SHIMMER tag team match against Daizee Haze and MsChif. The previous night in Dayton they shot an angle with Serena Deeb, but for some reason MsChif was used for this match. Deeb is wonderful, but MsChif has a cult following so I am not complaining. If you've never seen SHIMMER, what the hell is wrong with you? Go get some SHIMMER DVD's - seriously, your life will be so much better having experienced SHIMMER Women Athletes. Daizee Haze and MsChif have kind of grown up together in the business, having gotten their start in Missouri (of all places) working for Gateway Championship Wrestling. The Haze and MsChif did work very well together, but Rain and Lacey (who regularly team together) proved to be too much on this night. The Minnesota Home-wrecking Crew pick up another impressive victory ( 7 / 10 ).

Grudge Match - Nigel McGuinness vs. Chris Hero w/Sweet & Sour Inc.: Chris Hero was accompanied to the ring by "Super Agent" Larry Sweeney, Tank Toland, and the walking humiliation Bobby Dempsey. Nigel McGuinness came out with his trademark spiky blond hair and dark sunglasses, looking as cool as ever. This feud has been simmering on the back-burner of ROH for a couple of months, but it was finally time to get together and resolve their issues. Hero is the least athletic looking athletic guy I've ever seen. Sweet & Sour Inc. interfered throughout the match until Claudio Castagnoli ran down and chased the entourage backstage. Chris Hero thought he had the match wrapped up but Nigel McGuinness countered with a Lariat and a Tower of London to win the match ( 7.5 / 10 )! Nigel McGuinness has pinned ROH World champion Takeshi Morishima and now Chris Hero in the same weekend leading to his title shot against Morishima next month at "Live from Tokyo."

ROH World Title Match - Takeshi Morishim vs. Adam Pearce w/Shane Hagadorn: The ROH fans have taken to calling Adam Pearce "Repo Man," which Pearce fully encourages by telling them that he hates it. Adam Pearce cut an anti-Chicago promo, proclaiming that Chicago was no longer his hometown, before issuing an open challenge. To Pearce's shock and horror, the challenge was accepted by ROH World champion Takeshi Morishima - who suddenly became a babyface in the eyes of the fans. About five minutes into the match, Adam Pearce seemed to be doing well for himself, so he put on a Repo Man mask and was promptly defeated by Morishima in ten seconds ( 6 / 10 ). Shane Hagadorn foolishly struck Morishima from behind, and received a Backdrop-driver.

"American Dragon" Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA: A main event anywhere in the world, would perfectly describe the occasion of KENTA vs. American Dragon. This is the kind of match that you show to fans who may not be aware of Ring of Honor. This is the kind of match that you could be proud to show your wrestling fan grandfather who misses the fine art of professional wrestling. For thirty minutes, these two international mega super stars fought like champions to satisfy the ROH fans craving for the ultimate pro-wrestling encounter. Every eye in the building was focused on the ring, watching a match that was truly worthy of a "This is Awesome!" chant. Danielson actually managed to hit the Go-To-Sleep on KENTA. Then KENTA locked Dragon in the Cattle Mutilation, but Dragon squirmed out. KENTA survived the flurry of elbow strikes, and totally no-sold the shots to the face while lifting Dragon up and connecting with an incredible Go-To-Sleep for the win ( 9 / 10 ). File this match under "MUST SEE."

Final Thoughts: Over four hours of top notch wrestling, including TWO Nigel McGuinness matches, TWO Bryan Danielson matches, and TWO Takeshi Morishima matches. What more could a wrestling fan ask for?

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