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*** Official ROH DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
December 8, 2006 - THE CHICAGO SPECTACULAR: Night 1 - Chicago Ridge, Illinois

The Road of Homicide was paved by a whole weekend of beefy ROH goodness all set in the rabid Chicago market. The DVD started with a backstage promo from Brent Albright, who said he was done "messing around" in Ring of Honor. Albright declared his intentions; he was there to MAKE SOME MONEY. American Dragon also cut a promo and bragged about making half the NOAH roster tap out while on tour in Japan. Dragon said he has learned to live with his shoulder injury, and added that tonight he was going to end the myth of Samoa Joe tonight in a steel cage. Dragon said he was being forced to pick some tag team partners for an Elimination match the next night, and introduced Jimmy Jacobs. Lacey was really happy to have the ROH World title in Lacey's Angel's but American Dragon quickly blew her off and praised Jimmy Jacobs!

The Japanese comedy legend Kikutaro returned to Ring of Honor to take on former WWE Dick, Tank Toland, in the opening contest. If you've never seen a Kikutaro match, then you are missing out on some entertaining stuff. He might not be the best wrestler in the World but his matches are consistently good due to his unique comedy antics. Also, Kiku is probably the only ROH wrestler that is shorter than Tank Toland. Toland took advantage of Kiku's crowd interaction and scored a much-needed victory in ROH ( 4 / 10 ).

Next up was a tag team match between Irish Airborne, Jake and Dave Crist, against the Briscoe Brothers. These two teams have faced off a couple times already but they were pretty much squash matches for the Briscoes. The Briscoes would be the perfect opponents for the Crists to break out against because I think they could put on some memorable matches. Well this wasn't the night for the Crists to break out as they served only to be Crash Test Dummies for Mark and Jay Briscoe ( 4.5 / 10 ).

Brent Albright had his toughest ROH opponent to date when he went up against the "Notorious 187" Homicide, who the fans chanted "Next World Champ!" for during his entrance. The only negative thing that I can say about Brent Albright is that he's so big that he makes most of the ROH roster look small by comparison. I would be more interested to see him facing guys like Samoa Joe, Claudio Castagnoli, Chris Hero, or the soon-to-be-debuting Takeshi Morishima. In his defense, he does make his smaller opponents look good and the matches are very good more often than not. Brent Albright locked Homicide in the Fujiware Arm-bar, but Homicide reached the bottom rope with his foot. Albright refused to release the submission and the referee disqualified him as Homicide screamed in agony until Samoa Joe ran out in street clothes to make the save ( 7.5 / 10 ). Albright retreated up to the stage where he was handed a wad of cash by ROH World champion American Dragon. Samoa Joe said Chicago will witness a murder tonight and everybody will cheer for it. We may get to see Albright vs. Joe yet.

4-Corner Survival featured "M-Dogg" Matt Cross, Davey Richards, B.J. Whitmer and "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels (with Allison Danger). I assume this match was "signed" prior to Daniels and Sydal winning the ROH Tag Team titles, which would explain why Daniels wasn't teaming with Sydal later that night against Aries and Strong. Daniels came out with his half of the ROH World titles as well as the TNA X-Division title - I like when they do that; it makes the belts look more special when the champions carry them to other promotions. B.J. Whitmer was coming off a vicious beating from Jimmy Jacobs at the last show but was not showing any lingering effects. The best thing about these 4-Corner Survival matches is that the participants are usually chosen totally at random. Often there are no issues between any of the wrestlers involved but sometimes an issue is created during the match which would lead to a future match. Matt Cross had the big spot of the night when he flipped over the top rope and landed on Whitmer's shoulders and transitioned smoothly into hurancanrana on the floor! I've seen Jack Evans do that once. Cross continues to win over the ROH fans. We can only pray for a suicide match between Matt Cross and Jack Evans some day. B.J. Whitmer ended up winning the match after a pile-driver on Matt Cross ( 8 / 10 ). The fans gave all four men a standing ovation. Richards was upset with Whitmer after the match and frustrated that he did not win it -- thus creating one of those aforementioned "issues."

Despite his apparent abandonment of ROH at "Dethroned," Jimmy Rave was back to dance with Nigel McGuinness. Rave came to the ring with his awesome new entrance music (House of the Rising Sun). A couple of fans threw toilet paper at Rave - I guess they didn't get the memo about toilet paper being banned. The Rave/McGuinness feud heated up after all the controversy on the last show so this match wasn't as "pure" as their previous encounter. Rave worked over Nigel's leg the entire match. Late in the match, Nigel hit the sickest looking Tower of London ever on Jimmy Rave. Rave somehow recovered and put the Half-crab on Nigel's injured leg causing McGuinness to shockingly tap out ( 7.5 / 10 )! The crowd was shocked into silence but a small section popped for Rave's victory. Jimmy grabbed the microphone and said he just made Nigel "tap like a little bitch!" Nigel got on the mic and said something but I couldn't hear, and then turned his back on Rave. Rave snapped and took Nigel down with a submission on Nigel's injured leg.

During intermission, Dave Prazak interviewed ROH World champion American Dragon about paying off Brent Albright to injure Homicide's shoulder. Dragon then introduced the next member of his team the next night, Jimmy Rave!

"Scrap Iron" Adam Pearce and Top of Class champion Shane Hagadorn wrestled Delirious and Chicago-native "Crazy" Ace Steel, whose chemistry is really hilarious. Crazy and Delirious won in an average tag team match ( 6 / 10 ). I would love to see Ace and Delirious team up more regularly. They could call themselves Deliriously Crazy!

Jimmy Jacobs was accompanied to the ring by Lacey, who was screaming orders at Jacobs and telling the fans that they are "fat disgusting pigs." Lacey told Jimmy Jacobs that she didn't want Colt Cabana to be able to walk out after the match. This match stems from a few months back when Colt dumped Lacey and tried to talk some sense into Jacobs. However, Jacobs sided with Lacey and stabbed Cabana with Lacey's high heel. Jacobs was possessed by love as he aggressively trash talked Cabana before the match standing up for Lacey. After about ten minutes, Colt Cabana put Jacobs in the Billy Goat's Curse (inverted Boston Crab) but Lacey jumped in the ring and threw powder in Cabana's face causing the disqualification ( 6 / 10 ). Daizee Haze attacked Lacey after the match, but Lacey fought back and ordered Jimmy Jacobs to "get her." Jacobs hesitated briefly before literally spearing Daizee out of her sneakers! Seriously.. her sneakers went flying into the audience. I assume it was intentionally done that way and the fans ate it up like apple pie! Brent Albright showed up and attacked Colt Cabana, and set him up so that Lacey could stomp Cabana in the crotch with her high heel! Ouch! B.J. Whitmer made the save and Lacey said she finally found someone who can get the job done!

With B.J. Whitmer still in the ring, Delirious ran down and cut a long promo in his own lizard language which I guess only Whitmer could understand. Whitmer accepted Delirious' offer to be on his team against American Dragon's team the next night. Nigel McGuinness limped to the ring and asked to be on the team; both Delirious and Whitmer accepted him and shook hands.

Austin Aries and Roderick Strong have already been granted a shot at the ROH World Tag Team titles, but since Christopher Daniels was already in a match they had to wait for another night. Aries and Strong faced Matt Sydal (1/2 of the tag team champions) and Shingo, who has a standing issue with Roderick Strong. Everyone shook hand's except Strong and Shingo. The match was fought under "Dragon Gate Rules," which means tags aren't necessary - when one man leaves the ring his partner can come in. While Shingo is somewhat inconsistent, it seems like whenever Sydal, Aries and Strong are in a match together, everything they touch turns to gold. It ended up being a damn good match but not the greatest considering who was involved. Aries and Strong won the match and now have the psychological advantage over the ROH Tag Team champions ( 7 / 10 ).

The main event was the culmination of the bitter long-running feud between current ROH champion "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson and former ROH champion Samoa Joe inside the confines of a Steel Cage. Unlike the "other" big wrestling companies, steel cage matches actually mean something in Ring of Honor. Bryan Danielson was sliced open early and covered with blood. Homicide, who was assaulted by Danielson's hired assassin earlier, made his way down to the ring and tossed a ghetto fork to Joe inside the cage. Joe used the fork to slice Dragon's head open even more and even stabbed Dragon in the butt with it! The first ten minutes was all Joe on offense before Dragon made his come-back with a burst of adrenalin. Bryan Danielson climbed over the cage but Joe caught him and put him in the Rear Naked Choke. Danielson's body became limp and he slipped from Joe's grip and fell to the floor to win the match and retain his ROH World championship after 20-minutes of steel cage warfare ( 9 / 10 ).

"Scrap Iron" Adam Pearce cut a backstage promo challenging Homicide to a Strap match the following night at The Chicago Spectacular: Night 2. Pearce said everybody knows the fans are on Homicide's side, but he (Pearce) knows that some day Homicide is going to turn his back on the fans. Pearce concluded by saying he doesn't really care about winning the Strap match but will instead take out Homicide and do it for his mentor, Jim Cornette.

Final Thoughts: Night 1 was a complete success with lots of great matches, and lots of good hype for the next night. The steel cage match is used so rarely in Ring of Honor that whenever they do it, they make sure it's done properly. For anybody who thinks they've seen it all in professional wrestling, I encourage you to pick up some ROH DVD's and fall in love with the sport again.

If you would like to purchase this or any other ROH DVD, please check out ---- if you need some convincing, you can check out streaming video of various ROH matches for free at

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