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*** Official ROH DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
March 3, 2007 - FIFTH YEAR FESTIVAL: LIVERPOOL - Liverpool, England

Ring of Honor made its second successful trip to the United Kingdom, this time to put a little international flavor at the end of the fifth year anniversary celebration. ROH certainly has a lot to be proud of after five years of revolutionary wrestling shows, attended by a legion of increasingly loyal fans accross the globe. The ROH world-wide presence continues to grow, with trips to the UK, and two scheduled events in Japan later this year. Why no love for Canada? This DVD began with a promo from FIP Champion Roderick Strong, who admitted that he was the one who attacked Jack Evans a few shows back. Roderick said Jack Evans should email PAC and say "I'm sorry" because he (Strong) is going to make an example of him (PAC) tonight. Then Jimmy Jacobs cut a promo about wishing Lacey could have come to the UK with him, but thanks to Colt Cabana giving her a Colt 45 at the previous event, she was in no condition to make the trip overseas. Jimmy Jacobs promised to send Colt Cabana back to the United States in a body-bag.

Davey Richards vs. Homicide w/Julius Smokes: The British fans gave Davey Richards a respectable ovation, but they became unglued from their seats for the "Notorious 187" Homicide. These two could probably light it up in a featured match, but since it was the opening contest they had to hold back a little bit. The last few minutes of the match were pretty intense though, with Homicide hitting the 3 Amigos (tribute to Eddie Guerrero) causing the fans to erupt in chants of "Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!". Davey Richards resisted Homicide's offense but could not avoid getting nailed with the dangerous Cop-killa move, giving Homicide the impressive victory ( 7.5 / 10 ).

Allison Danger vs. Sara Del Rey: It was a battle of the Dangerous Angels, with the "First Lady of ROH" Allison Danger taking on the "BEST Female Wrestler in the World" Sara Del Rey. Danger and Del Rey started out with a friendly hug in what was billed as a SHIMMER Women's Athletes special attraction. It's hard to maintain a bias, not that I ever do, when Sara Del Rey is involved. I have unlimited respect for her skills. Danger occasionally comes off a little bit choreographed, but has a strong dedication to her craft so I can't help but respect her as an athlete and performer. Dave Prazak does a good job putting SHIMMER over on commentary without sounding like a blatant infomercial. Sara Del Rey valiantly fought out of a cravat submission to plant Danger on the mat with a Royal Butterfly for the win ( 7 / 10 ). Just like it started, they finished with hugs and mutual admiration. Great stuff.

The Briscoe Brothers got some promo time, and I maintain my opinion that the Briscoes should NEVER be allowed to talk.

Jimmy Jacobs & Jimmy Rave vs. Colt Cabana & B.J. Whitmer: Colt Cabana and B.J. Whitmer both have outstanding issues with Jimmy Jacobs. I'm not exactly sure how Jimmy Rave got in the middle of it - but I'm glad he did! This began as a wild and crazy brawl with the breathtaking visual of Jacobs dangling precariously off a balcony. The two Jimmys regained control once the referee restored order and actually got them into the ring. The rest of the match took place inside the ring and ended when Jacobs hit a Super Contra-code on Whitmer for the 1-2-3 ( 6.5 / 10 ). This is one of those matches that would have been 8 / 10 on your average wrestling show but due to the bar being raised in ROH it scores low. You have to remember some of the worst ROH wrestling matches are pretty damn good when compared to other independent promotions.

2/3 Falls Match - Delirious vs. Matt Sydal: One of independent pro-wrestling's biggest rivalries was reignited as long time friends and foes Delirious and Sydal battled in a Best 2/3 Falls match. After some back-and-forth action, Matt Sydal kicked Delirious in the crotch and scored the first fall. Delirious continued, despite having his balls crushed, and took a beating from Sydal for a while before miraculously gaining a fall to even the score. Delirious was suffering from the effects of the "concussion" he incurred at the hands of Roderick Strong a few weeks beforehand. Matt Sydal pushed the referee into the ropes, knocking Delirious off balance long enough for Sydal to connect with a big moonsault belly-to-belly suplex off the top rope to put Delirious away for good ( 7.5 / 10 ).

Allison Danger and Sara Del Rey cut a promo about bringing the fighting spirit wherever they go in the World. They were confronted by British female wrestlers Jetta and Jezebel, who challenged the Dangerous Angels to a match the following night at the second ROH show in Liverpool.

FIP World Heavyweight Title Match - Roderick Strong vs. PAC: Roderick Strong has been on a mission to get "World title" status attached to his FIP championship and with this defense in the UK, it seems he has accomplished this feat. I guess this is my first time seeing PAC because he is so NOT what I imagined. PAC made many appearances in the United States during 2007. He's pretty damn good, too. PAC hit an incredibly insane twisting shooting star press to the floor and amazingly avoided killing himself. They really put on a good match and earned a "This is Awesome!" chant from the appreciative audience. PAC missed a second shooting star press inside the ring and Roddy capitalized with a running Yakuza Kick and a Gibson-driver for the win ( 8 / 10 )! After the match, Roderick Strong showed "no remorse" when he put PAC in the Stronghold until Delirious made the save! The fans were extremely proud of their boy PAC and chanted "Bring Back PAC!"

Jimmy Jacobs cut a promo and told a crew member to go tell B.J. Whitmer to come to the basement for a FIGHT!

ROH Tag Team Title Match - The Briscoe Brothers vs. Naruki Doi & Shingo Takagi: The Briscoe Boys were on cloud nine after recapturing the ROH Tag Team titles on the last show - and they were anxious to make their first title defense in the UK. The Briscoes were caught off guard by their challengers, Naruki Doi and Shingo Takagi, who brought their A-game with them from Japan. In a complete shocker, the Briscoes were dethroned by the Dragon Gate duo in what can only be described as the sleeper hit of the night ( 8.5 / 10 )! Doi and Takagi as Tag champs, combined with Takashi Morishima as World champion; this sets the stage for a couple of very interesting shows in Tokyo (7/16) and Osaka (7/17). The Briscoes were obviously disappointed with themselves after the match, so as therapy they set up a friendly brother vs. brother match for the following night.

They showed some highlights from the exciting tag team division over the past year including clips from former champions such as Aries & Strong, the King's of Wrestling, Daniels & Sydal, and of course the Briscoe Brothers.

Main Event - Samoa Joe vs. Nigel McGuinness: It had to be an emotional night for Nigel McGuinness, who returned to his home country to perform in front of family, friends, and long-time fans. The spotlight was reassigned to the intimating force of Samoa Joe, making the second to last appearance for Ring of Honor. Not since Bret Hart vs. the British Bulldog has there been a clash between two solid fan-favorites on British soil. The crowd was quite vocal too, but didn't exactly side with one combatant or the other - they just showed their support for a match that was so good they wished it never had to end. Half way through the match, Joe hit Nigel with the sickest Muscle-buster ever right on the edge of the ring apron. Nigel was totally unprotected and was out cold and looked like he was finished, but this is the same guy who had his head repeatedly rammed into the ring post by American Dragon and still continued the match the last time ROH came to the UK. Some referees helped Nigel McGuinness down the isle while Joe stood in the ring and asked Nigel to come back and shake his hand. Now that makes no sense whatsoever. Joe got aggressive and encouraged McGuinness to return to the ring. Nigel pushed the referees aside and stumbled towards the ring where, once inside, he slapped Joe's hand away and then slapped Joe across the face to restart the match. Joe immediately hit a Muscle-buster right in the center of the ring, which Nigel kicked out of. The crowd erupted for this. Joe hit a Lariat, but Nigel kicked out again. The fans were solidly behind Nigel McGuinness at this point. Joe hit another Lariat, and Nigel kicked out after a one-count! Joe looked at Nigel like he was looking at super-man. Joe started striking Nigel, but Nigel rolled up Joe for a near fall. Joe applied the Rear Naked Choke, Nigel pushed backwards and got a two-count, but Joe rolled out and reapplied the Choke until Nigel had no choice but to tap out ( 9.5 / 10 ). The crowd chanted "Thank You, Joe!" while Joe pointed to Nigel McGuinness with deep appreciation. McGuinness stood up and received a standing ovation. Joe praised Nigel and delivered yet another farewell speech which energized the fans and received a loud chant of "ROH! ROH! ROH!" Joe symbolically passed the torch to Nigel and hugged him for a very fitting end to the first night of ROH in Liverpool, England.

The DVD ended with B.J. Whitmer answering Jimmy Jacobs' challenge to meet him in the basement. They started to fight into the darkness as the words "to be continued..." appeared on the screen. They do this at the end of a lot of their DVDs.

Final Thoughts: These international shows are great because they have a completely different feel to them because they are in a different building using someone else's ring, and someone else's production equipment. Not only that but they push themselves to the limit because the truly to feel like they have something to prove. Plus we get to see some new faces put into the mix.

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