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*** Official ROH DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
December 22, 2006 - INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE - Hartford, Connecticut

The DVD opened with Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal cutting a promo about beginning their reign as ROH World Tag Team champions and having one of their open contracts filled by the Japanese team of CIMA and SHINGO tonight. The over-confident Matt Sydal, who usually lets the Fallen Angel do all the talking, got a few words in too - however, those words were somewhat confusing to Daniels and Allison Danger.

"Sweet & Sour" Larry Sweeney, who cuts one of the best promos in wrestling today, walked onto the backstage set and scored some promo time. Sweeney said he was finally in Ring of Honor and his purpose would soon be realized by everybody in ROH.

Samoa Joe went to the ring in his street clothes and welcomed the ROH fans to the show. Joe said he wouldn't be competing tonight but Ring of Honor was going to put on a great pro-wrestling show. Really? Thanks Joe.

The Pelle Primeau underdog train came to a screeching halt when he went up against Massachusetts native Jason Blade ( 4 / 10 ).

Independent wrestling sensation "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards was the next in the series of new faces coming into Ring of Honor. He was immediately put to the test against former ROH World champion Austin Aries. Edwards took the fight to Aries trying to impress ROH management and earn himself a spot on the roster. Edwards made a good impression by taking the veteran Austin Aries to the limit, but Aries won with his patented brain-buster followed up with a 450 splash ( 6.5. / 10 ).

Jimmy Jacobs cut a promo saying his parents did not raise him to be a professional wrestler. Jacobs stated that he fights for a living and hurts people without thinking twice about it. Jacobs had red lines streaming from his eye symbolizing the wound he suffered at the Chicago Spectacular. Jacobs said that when you bleed your vision is blurred but the one thing that he could see clearly was Lacey. Jimmy Jacobs scolded B.J. Whitmer for spiking Lacey's beautiful face and said she saw the world through the crimson window - something nobody should have to see. Jacobs said the physical scars will be covered by plastic surgery but the emotional damage Whitmer gave Lacey is unforgivable. Jacobs said his life changed forever and at Final Battle B.J. Whitmer's life will change forever, too. Awesome promo from Jimmy Jacobs.

Adam Pearce tried to use brass knux against his opponent Delirious but the referee caught him and took the foreign object away. Pearce then produced a second pair of brass knux from his tights and used them to knock out Delirious and steal a victory ( 4.5 / 10 ). This is a dirty trick originally used by Pearce's man-servant, Shane Hagadorn, at the previous ROH event. After the match, Pearce sauntered backstage bragging about his intellectual superiority. Meanwhile, Pelle Primeau snuck in from behind and dragged Shane Hagadorn to the ring and challenged him to put up the Top of Class Trophy right then and there. Of course, Hagadorn refused so Delirious gave him a pile-driver. Primeau picked up the Top of Class Trophy and the crowd cheered for him!

Jimmy Jacobs enlisted the services of "Latina Sensation" Mercedes Martinez to take Lacey's place in a mixed tag match against B.J. Whitmer and Daizee Haze. I'm so used to seeing Mercedes as a face in SHIMMER I forget how awesome she is when she works as a heel. The match started fast and furious interestingly enough with the women taking out the men with dives outside of the ring! Jacobs and Whitmer brawled in the crowd as Martinez and Haze wrestled in the ring. There was a sick move where B.J. Whitmer hit both Jacobs and Martinez with an Exploder and Martinez landed really badly on her head and was clearly injured. On top of that Daizee hit her with the heart-punch and Whitmer destroyed her with a Lariat. The referee threw up the "X" to signal for help as Whitmer, Jacobs and The Haze continued. Daizee hit a top rope splash on Martinez (barely touching her) and pinned her to end the match ( 7 / 10 ). A doctor rushed to the ring to check on Mercedes Martinez, who clearly suffered some kind of neck injury. Meanwhile, Brent Albright hit the ring and attacked B.J. Whitmer, dangerously close to where Martinez was being checked over by a trainer. I hope the insurance company wasn't watching. Jacobs grabbed Whitmer's leg and Albright power-bombed him! Albright then grabbed Daizee Haze while Jimmy Jacobs pulled a spike out of his boot. Jacobs threatened to spike The Haze but Whitmer got up to make the save. Jacobs then repeatedly spiked B.J. Whitmer until Colt Cabana made the save! Colt Cabana told the attendant to ring the bell and challenged Brent Albright to a match!

They are now calling Brent Albright the "Gun for Hire." Albright seemed more interested in injuring Cabana's shoulder than winning the match. Cabana won with a roll-up to survive the onslaught ( 7 / 10 ). Albright quickly exited apparently having earned his money.

The King's of Wrestling came to the ring with their familiar "We Are The Champions" music, however, there was only one problem - they are no longer champions! The Kings were going up against the Briscoe Brothers in what I could only assume was a number one contenders match for the ROH World Tag Team titles. They said this was Claudio Castagnoli's last weekend with Ring of Honor, and that Hero had something planned for the WWE-bound Double C at Final Battle. After a dynamite tag team contest, the one and only "Sweet & Sour" Larry Sweeney showed up and helped the King's of Wrestling pick up a tainted victory ( 8 / 10 ). It's about damn time Larry Sweeney came to Ring of Honor! Sweeney hugged Chris Hero and they walked out together with Double C not far behind.

Backstage, Delirious was banging his head against the wall obviously upset with his loss to Adam Pearce earlier. Delirious cut a scathing promo promising to his revenge on Adam Pearce! (I think).

Jimmy Rave's entrance music played over the sound system; I am here to say that thanks to Dr. Keith Lipinski I now know that the song is "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals. It's a great song and that is the last time I will mention it in any of my reviews. Great song! Jimmy Rave was the first participant in a 4-Corner Survival match including his nemesis Nigel McGuinness, ROH World champion Bryan Danielson, and number one contender Homicide. Interesting dynamic for this match as it involved two of ROH's top feuds and four of ROH's top wrestling. Late in the match, which was really going great, Danielson shoved Homicide shoulder-first into the ring-post. Samoa Joe came down to check on Homicide and called for some help from the back. Nigel McGuinness nailed Jimmy Rave with the Lariat in the ring but the referee was busy watching Homicide at ringside. McGuinness got up and blamed Joe for distracting the referee when he had Rave pinned. Bryan Danielson tagged himself in and pinned McGuinness with the small package to steal a victory ( 8.5 / 10 ). Bryan Danielson now has the momentum going into the biggest ROH title defense of his life!

Roderick Strong retained his FIP Heavyweight title in a brutal 20-minute match against Davey Richards ( 8 / 10 ).

In their first defense of the ROH World Tag Team titles, Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal were challenged by the International team of SHINGO and CIMA (pronounced SHE-MAH not CEE-MAH). CIMA made Daniels crack up before the match during the handshakes by rubbing Daniels' bald head. I love when they put the ROH World Tag Team titles in the main event. This was an exceptional match that ended with the champions retaining after a Best Moonsault Ever and a Shooting Star Press on SHINGO ( 9 / 10 ). Daniels returned the favour during the post match handshake by rubbing CIMA's semi-bald head and making him laugh.

Final Thoughts: International Challenge was a really great show for a lead-in to their biggest show of the year. If you're a die-hard ROH fan you'll love this DVD but if you're picky about what you wrestling DVD's you buy, then save your money and buy ROH Final Battle 2006 - it's ROH's version of WrestleMania.

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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