ROH WRESTLING DVD REVIEWS
| *** Official OWW.com ROH DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***|
August 25, 2006 - EPIC ENCOUNTER II - St. Paul, Minnesota
The show started with a backstage segment where Jimmy Jacobs (wearing a Bruiser Brody t-Shirt - AWESOME!) confronted Lacey about the rumors circulating around the internet about her and Colt Cabana. Lacey told Jacobs not to worry about the "rumors started on the internet by pathetic, loser, MEN." Hey I resemble that remark! Lacey said Jimmy Jacobs has to beat Homicide tonight to get on her good side. Lacey then ordered Jacobs to end B.J. Whitmer's career tomorrow night. Jacobs said with love in their corner, they can do anything! Lacey's response was to roll her eyes and yell "Shut up!"
The first match of the card was a tag team affair between the Briscoe Brothers and Irish Airborne. I have repeatedly praised David and Jake Crist since they debuted with ROH, but it doesn't seem like they are moving up the ladder very fast. I stand by my opinion that they need to turn heel to really get themselves over. This was a great match, as usual, and got very exciting near the conclusion. The Briscoes picked up another win ( 6.5 / 10 ). The Briscoe boys got some mic-time after the match; seriously, they should never be allowed to TALK! I couldn't understand much of what was said except they pretty much called out the entire ROH locker room and told them to "man up!" I noticed how uncharacteristically quiet these fans were.
Matt Sydal, the quintessential babyface, cut a backstage promo about facing his old nemesis Delirious tonight!
Then it was time for Jimmy Jacobs to prove himself to Lacey, his real-life imaginary girlfriend, in a match against crowd favorite Homicide. Homicide's entrance music has the same effect as Stone Cold Steve Austin's broken glass music. It goes without saying Lacey was looking extremely beautiful. They were having some issues with the electrical system during this match and the lighting was kind of screwed up. The crowd continued to be very quiet for this match and there was a momentary lapse in energy - not a good sign considering it was only the second match! The match was admittedly slow, but the closing moments were good, not great. Homicide got the pin after a big Lariat ( 5.5 / 10 ). I don't know why, but they were off their game. After the match, the Briscoe Brothers attacked Homicide. Homicide fought back but became the victim of a Spike Jay-Driller!
Everyone's favorite Swiss wrestler Claudio Castagnoli walked to the ring. Double C just cannot escape the curse of his former babyface gimmick, as fans adoringly shout "Heeey!" during his entrance. His opponent for the night was "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels, who was without Allison Danger. This match stems from several months ago when Christopher Daniels trusted Castagnoli enough to shake hands, something Daniels had never done, and Claudio betrayed ROH and joined CZW. Double C tried to whack the Fallen Angel with his briefcase, but Daniels ducked and rolled up Castagnoli for the 1-2-3 ( 7.5 / 10 ). Claudio Castagnoli's unfortunate losing streak continues -- but I'm sure this is going somewhere.
The best damn promo man in the business, Delirious, cut a promo on Matt Sydal while crouching barefoot on the streets of St. Paul. His final words were, "Matt Sydal.... tappy tappy tappy tappy tappy tappy!"
Jimmy Rave and Salvatore Rinauro were without their leader, Prince Nana, or their bodyguard, Daizee Haze, as they made their appearance and received the traditional toilet paper treatment. Seriously, will that ever get old? Nope! The Embassy was taking on the make-shift team of Davey Richards and Colt Cabana (who, by the way, faces ROH World Champion American Dragon the following night in Chicago!). The toilet paper shenanigans continued during the opening moments of the match, egged on by the class-clown antics of Cabana and Richards. It was during this match I realized how unenthusiastic the crowd was. Colt Cabana made Sal Rinauro tap out ( 6 / 10 ). This St. Paul, Minnesota crowd is absolutely horrid.
After the match, the Briscoe Brothers came out and cut a promo on Davey Richards. Richards challenged the Briscoes to a fight but security held Mark and Jay back. They broke through and they had a brief brawl in and around the fans.
During intermission, Colt Cabana cut a promo about his 2/3 Falls match with American Dragon the next night in Chicago. Cabana said it doesn't matter if Dragon isn't the champion, he will beat Dragon just to redeem himself. Jimmy Jacobs came in and asked Colt Cabana about the rumors going around about him (Cabana) and Lacey. Colt Cabana just laughed in his face and said Jacobs needed some more self esteem. And then he laughed some more.
It was back on July 17, 2004 at a "Do of Die" show that Matt Sydal and Delirious earned their spots on the ROH roster. Now that they have both solidified their spots in Ring of Honor, Sydal and Delirious are renewing their rivalry for one night. They wrestled a good match with a few high spots capped off with a really cool finish that saw Sydal nail Delirious with a belly-to-belly suplex off the top rope ( 7 / 10 ). The crowd has really murdered this show for me, but they did chant "Thank you, both!"
Austin Aries and Roderick Strong defeated the team of Samoa Joe and B.J. Whitmer to retain their ROH Tag Team titles ( 8 / 10 ). If this match could not get the fans on their feet, nothing would. They pretty much sat there watching and yelling "OHHH!" in unison every time there was a stiff shot or a high spot. Roderick Strong hit an amazing Gibson-driver on the heavyweight Samoa Joe -- which the fans loved! The crowd showed that they at least had good taste by chanting "That Was Awesome!" after the match.
Christopher Daniels cut a backstage promo about not having direction in Ring of Honor, then saying that he was going after the ROH Tag Team championships the next night with Matt Sydal in Chicago.
Jimmy Jacobs was found searching for Lacey backstage when he stumbled into a bathroom and found her making out with Colt Cabana. Poor Jimmy Jacobs started to cry as Colt Cabana laughed and said "sorry buddy!" and Lacey grinned her way off camera mumbling something about Lacey's Angels. Colt Cabana responded by saying "Lacey's Angels?"
It was then time for Nigel McGuinness's last chance at American Dragon's ROH World title, and they made sure there would be no flukes by making it a best two out of three falls match. Dragon applied a headlock for several of the opening minutes, resulting in a weak "Boring!" chant from the peanut gallery. Dragon brilliantly manipulated the rest of the crowd into turning on this small group of hecklers, thus turning the "headlock" into the greatest move of all-time. For the next twelve minutes, McGuinness continuously fought to escape the headlock, only to have it reapplied to thunderous applause from the crowd. American Dragon had the city of St. Paul in the palm of his hand! The fans chanted "we love headlocks!" so naturally Dragon released the hold, only to apply a chin-lock on McGuinness - and every re-application of the hold was met with a loud cheer! Twenty-five minutes into the match, American Dragon picked up their first fall with a small package, proving why he is known as "Mr. Small Package." Nigel McGuinness got the second fall about twenty minutes later by making Dragon tap out to the Key-lock submission. It went back-and-forth for the remainder of the match with slaps, kicks, clotheslines, head-butts, submissions, and eventually ended in a 60-minute time limit draw. The final minute was electrifying, with Dragon smashing McGuinness with elbow shots for thirty seconds, then McGuinness reversed it and smashing Dragon with elbow shots until time ran out ( 8 / 10 )! This is not the type of match I would have done in front of this type of crowd. They wanted "five more minutes," but that never works. One clever fan chanted "one more hour!" which was really funny. The match itself was slow building, but still extremely good. It was not the same quality as their three previous encounters. It took Nigel a long time to get up, and he started to leave but returned to the ring when he noticed Dragon was knocked out cold in the ring. Nigel showed good sportsmanship by sticking around and helping the groggy ROH Champion to his feet. It was long drawn out touching moment to end a brutal rivalry. To their credit, most of the fans stayed and showed their support as this 15-minute post match drama unfolded. When Dragon finally came to his senses, he got the mic and put over Nigel McGuinness as his toughest opponent. He said he's the World Champion, and the Pure title may be retired, but McGuinness "made" the Pure title. Therefore, American Dragon handed the Pure championship belt over to Nigel McGuinness for him to keep forever. They both shook hands to uphold the code of honor, but it was all about showing mutual respect for each other.
Final Thoughts: A card virtually void of ongoing storylines, coupled with an audience with practically no pulse, made for a pretty mediocre night of ROH action. The good thing about Ring of Honor is that even on their worst night, they are pretty damn good by independent standards. At this point, I expect a lot from an ROH DVD home release. I think they even turned up the volume to make the "pops" seems louder than they really were. In fact, I think ROH made the decision not to go back to St. Paul after this show!
If you would like to purchase this or any other ROH DVD, please check out ROHwrestling.com ---- if you need some convincing, you can check out streaming video of various ROH matches for free at www.ROHVideos.com
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