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*** Official ROH DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
January 27, 2007 - BATTLE OF THE ICONS - Edison, New Jersey

The road of Homicide hit an enormous speed bump in the form of ROH legend Samoa Joe. In a match that is so epic, so noteworthy, so intriguing, it could only be dubbed the "Battle of the Icons."

Rebecca Bayless was back again and interviewed Homicide about going up against Samoa Joe later tonight. Homicide said he didn't care if the fans booed him, or cheered him - he's leaving with his championship. Samoa Joe said he found out tonight that he was on borrowed time so this might be his last chance at the ROH World title. This was the first hint of TNA pulling Samoa Joe from all ROH events in what would eventually lead to a farewell tour by Joe.

No-DQ/I Quit Match - Nigel McGuinness vs. Jimmy Rave: There are no warm-ups or preliminary matches in Ring of Honor; they jumped right into the deep end with a dramatic grudge match between Jimmy Rave and Nigel McGuinness. Before the match, they announced that fans are banned from throwing toilet paper. Jimmy Rave came out and told the story of the disrespect Nigel McGuinness showed him last time they were in Edison, New Jersey. Rave challenged McGuinness to a No-DQ I Quit match and McGuinness hit the ring full of piss and vinegar and accepted the challenge. They did it the old fashioned way with the referee shoving a microphone in their faces asking them "do you quit?" - I love that; you can hear them grunt as they fight for their physical freedom. Jimmy Rave actually threw up in the ring as he was fighting for his own survival. Nigel was hanging on the ropes with Jimmy Rave applying the Heel Hook and Nigel yelled "I don't respect you! I'll never give up! You'll have to break it!" and the referee stopped the match for the personal well-being of Nigel McGuinness. For the second night in a row, Nigel McGuinness refused to give up despite the enormous pain and suffering he was being put through at the hands of his opponent ( 8 / 10 ). What an intense match to open the show! Jimmy Rave will get an ROH World title shot on 2/16 in New York City.

Adam Pearce w/Shane Hagadorn vs. Pelle Primeau: The ultimate underdog, Pelle Primeau, had his work cut out for him on this night. Normally I wouldn't give Primeau a snowball's chance in a hell of defeating Adam Pearce, but they little bastard seems to pull out an upset victory every once in a while. I should have stuck with my gut feeling. Pearce won after a brutal spike Pile-driver ( 3 / 10 ).

Chris Hero w/Larry Sweeney vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Christopher Daniels w/Allison Danger: Whatta ya know, Double C is still around. He's still a heel and he's all business - kinda bitter about being dumped from the King's of Wrestling. It's hard to believe that this star-studded triple threat match was only the third match on the card. Daniels wasn't sure how to proceed against the two former Kings of Wrestling partners. Castagnoli and Hero weren't too sure if they could trust each other either, which led to an interesting scenario. Hero and Castagnoli worked together for a while, and then turned on each other. Late in the match, Larry Sweeney interfered and Chris Daniels went after him. Meanwhile, Chris Hero rolled up Claudio Castagnoli in the middle of the ring to score the victory ( 7.5 / 10 ). Double C offered to shake hands with the Fallen Angel, but Daniels left without accepting the gesture.

Last Man Standing Match - B.J. Whitmer vs. Jimmy Jacobs w/Lacey: Yet another bitter grudge match took center stage with B.J. Whitmer and Jimmy Jacobs. These two guys always steal the show with some insane stunt or heart-stopping moment. Lacey has ruthlessly taken advantage of Jacobs' obsession with her, by repeatedly forcing him to do her dirty work - often putting his own health and well-being at risk. A bloody Jimmy Jacobs pulled out the dreaded spike and repeatedly spiked Whitmer on the forehead! The blood started flowing down Whitmer's face and into his eyes. Jacobs tried to stab Whitmer in the eye but Whitmer blocked it and got his hands on the spike. Jacobs went head-first into a folding chair resulting in more blood being spilled. Whitmer nailed Jacobs with a brain-buster onto a chair! Whitmer set up a table at ringside. My God, the end is near. They both took a bad bump through the table but both men managed to answer the 10-count. Jacobs found another table and needed Lacey's help to get it inside the ring. Jacobs propped it up in the corner of the ring and then smashed Whitmer with a steel chair! Jacobs went for a spear but Whitmer moved and swung a chair right at Jacobs head. In reality, a normal person wouldn't answer a 100-count, much less a 10-count, but superman Jimmy Jacobs answered the count. Whitmer super-plexed Jacobs into the middle of the ring. Whitmer got up to his feet and stopped the referee as he was about to count out Jacobs - stupid! Whitmer wanted to end Jacobs' career, but Brent Albright interfered and power-bombed Whitmer though the table in the corner! Albright helped Jacobs to his feet and literally held him up as the referee made the 10-count on Whitmer ( 8 / 10 ). Albright continued to beat-down Whitmer until Colt Cabana made the save!

The Briscoe Brothers vs. Rocky Romero & Ricky Reyes: I didn't like the Havana Pitbulls when they were in ROH in 2004, but I did miss them when they were gone. So I was happy to see them back together, even if it was only a brief reunion. Cool tag team match, a little bit sloppy but that's okay. The Briscoes won after Rocky Romero walked out on Ricky Reyes and the Briscoes gave Reyes a Jay-Driller ( 7 / 10 ). Hopefully Rocky Romero sticks around and Ricky Reyes takes a long leave of absence from Ring of Honor.

During intermission, Rebecca Bayless roamed around backstage looking for an exclusive interview. Jimmy Rave approached her and wanted to address the question of why he put the Heel Hook on Samoa Joe last night in Hartford. Rave explained that he was finished with Nigel McGuinness and is now moving on to something new.

Mixed Tag Match: Colt Cabana & Sara Del Rey vs. Brent Albright & Lacey: Lacey was back with her "Gun For Hire," Brent Albright, to take on her ex-boyfriend Colt Cabana and SHIMMER all-star Sara Del Rey (a replacement for Daizee Haze, who was banged up the night before). Those who know me, know that I am a die-hard Sara Del Rey fan so it goes without saying that I was extremely happy to see her step foot inside of an ROH ring - even if she was booked as the "weak link" of the match. Del Rey wrestled Lacey in an ROH dark match back in November of 2005, and then appeared on the "Destiny" DVD against Daizee Haze in June of 2006. There was already some heat for this match stemming from the conclusion of the Whitmer/Jacobs match earlier. Sara Del Rey pinned Lacey after a Butterfly Suplex ( 7 / 10 ). Daizee Haze came out and threw dollar bills on Lacey (because Lacey called The Haze a "stripper" the night before).

Austin Aries & Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Davey Richards & Delirious & Shingo Takagi: It was a nice little reunion for former Generation Next members, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong and Jack Evans. They were up against a make-shift team featuring Davey Richards, the bizarre Delirious, and Shingo Takagi. This had all the ingredients to be a major show-stealer. It wasn't quite a show-stealer in my opinion, but to be fair this is a pretty tough show to steal. Dave Prazak even called it the show-stealer of the entire weekend. It was a pretty damn good match and deserved the standing ovation that it received ( 7.5 / 10 ). Gen-Next won the match.

ROH World Title Match - Homicide vs. Samoa Joe: It was then time for the Battle of the Icons. For some reason, Homicide assumed the heel role for this match jawing with the fans and doing a lot of stalling during the opening minutes of the match. I guess that's what American Dragon did during the beginning of his run as ROH champion. Julius Smokes was even getting into it with a couple of grannies in the audience - which ended up being an unnecessary crowd distraction. Midway through the match, Homicide delivered a pair of Pile-drivers onto Joe on the cold concrete floor. This is a rare moment of stupidity by Ring of Honor, as it is totally unrealistic for Joe to stand up after ONE concrete Pile-driver, let alone TWO. They totally threw old school logic out the window and destroyed any chance of believability. The match ended with a flurry of offense by Homicide, who finally finished off his super-human challenger with two Ace-crushers and four consecutive Lariats to retain the ROH World championship ( 9 / 10 ). The match was amazing but would have been even better if you took out the gratuitous Pile-drivers on the floor. That's the kind of stuff you break out for an injury angle, or when a wrestler is going to disappear for a while. At least end the match. You don't have the recipient of two deadly Pile-drivers get up and wrestle for twenty more minutes. How do you expect us to believe any other regular finishing move is going to do the job?

Final Thoughts: Two major grudge matches, the triple threat, the big six man tag, and the Battle of the Icons made this DVD a must see. The rest of the card was icing on the cake. There's a lot of interesting new stuff soon to be developed in Ring of Honor.

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