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*** Official ROH DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
December 3, 2005 - STEEL CAGE WARFARE - New York City, New York

Just when I thought Ring of Honor couldn't get any hotter, they steam-rolled into New York City to present the most anticipated show (in my opinion) in company history. This was the culmination of a feud that lasted over a year between Generation Next and The Embassy, a brutal Steel Cage match with modified War Games rules. Finally the issue will be settled between these two hated factions once and for all, but who will earn the bragging rights from this point forward?

The night started with a rematch between The Ring Crew Express and the New England-based team of Kid Mikaze & Jason Blade. Mikaze & Blade picked up their first victory in ROH to earn the right to come back (***). I like the new team, especially Kid Mikaze, who reminds me of a less experienced version of Carlito Cool. The Top of Class Trophy was successfully defended by Davey Andrews against Pelle Primeau in a not so good match, but at least they got some experience (* 1/2). A fire was ignited under the crowd when Ricky Reyes showed up after the match to destroy a half dozen or so ROH students. Tony Mamaluke & Salvatore Rinauro successfully defended their Tag Team titles against the make-shift team of Colt Cabana & Milano Collection A.T. - I'm still not sold on Milano but I'm a huge Cabana fan. This match was pretty well done and very entertaining despite the absence of a heel (*** 3/4).

The ROH title was defended before the intermission, to make way for the huge main event. American Dragon was put to the test by Rocky Romero (who wrestles in Japan as Black Tiger 4). Dragon wasn't messing around like he usually does as Romero took the challenge with full force. This was a stiff match with some stiff spots which made for a surprisingly good match. Nobody really believed Romero would actually win the ROH title but everyone felt American Dragon's pressure to escape with his World title. Dragon did retain his title and once again proclaimed to the fans that he was the "Best Wrestler in the World!" (****) ---- The crowd absolutely erupted by what happened next, Lance Storm (from Calgary, Alberta, Canada) showed up unadvertised and unannounced to confront the ROH Champion. Storm cut a promo about his retirement and hinted around coming out of that retirement to challenge for the ROH title. My god MY GOD!!!

You could cut the tension with a knife as Jay Lethal tried to remove himself from the shadow of his mentor, Samoa Joe. Jay Lethal's bid for independence came at the expense of a cold-hearted heel turn half way trough the match. Lethal got his hands on a steel chair and destroyed Joe's knee while they fought outside of the ring. The crowd turned on Lethal big time as he pushed Joe back into the ring and continued to punish his knee. Eventually Lethal finished off Joe and scored the victory (*** 3/4) -- but after the match, Lethal cemented his independence by shaking Joe's hand (Joe was still laid out on the mat) and stomping his knee once more.

Homicide took a break from his feud with Colt Cabana (or so he thought) to settle his issue with former nemesis Steve Corino. This match turned into a bloody Hardcore affair with lots of weapons being used, including Homicide making Corino bleed with multiple jabs to the ear with the dreaded fork. This stemmed from one of their first matches back in 2003 when Homicide slapped Corino and busted his eardrum. I am a HUGE mark for both of these guys but I HATE when they resort to blood and guts garbage wrestling. I understood the psychology they were trying to present but I just didn't find it all that entertaining. I would trade a good arm-bar for a fork stabbing any day! This will probably be a favorite for the blood-marks out there but I have to give it a low score (** 1/2). The Homicide/Cabana feud was pushed even further when a mystery masked man (obviously Colt Cabana) interfered in the match twice. I think there will be more blood spilt at the hands of Homicide in the immediate future!

After months of hype, and a full year of build-up, the main event was ready to begin and Generation Next would finally get their hands on Prince Nana's Embassy. They started with one man from each team and then every five minutes a new man would come in. Of course the heels had the advantage for most of the match until everyone had entered and the tide finally turned the way of the Gen-Next. Prince Nana was at his best, acting as the ring general for a good 15 minutes as The Embassy dismantled members of Gen-Next. Jack Evans did a couple insane twisty back-flips off the top of the Cage and as usual he somehow avoided self-destruction. All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place as Austin Aries got his revenge on Alex Shelley (the origin of the feud), Roderick Strong got his revenge on Jimmy Rave (for attacking Jade Chung), and Jade Chung got her revenge on Prince Nana (for the months of abuse she endured at the hands of Nana). This match was a beautiful piece of wrestling artwork and epitomized the definition of a "blow-off" to a feud -- when Austin Aries & Roderick Strong survived and won the match you were left feeling like all was right with the World -- all was right with Ring of Honor!

Final Thoughts: Even if this card was filled with Mickey Mouse vs Donald Duck matches, the main event is worth the purchase price on its own. The steam that the Embassy/GenNext feud had going into this event was unprecedented and should be used to teach new wrestlers about the anatomy of a true wrestling feud. There should be a separate DVD dedicated to the Embassy/GenNext feud. Fortunately for me, the ROH viewer, there was plenty of other ROH action on this DVD as well. Out of the five DVDs I have reviewed recently, this was by far the most satisfying; That is saying something because obviously as you read below, I loved all five DVDs. If you would like to purchase this or any other ROH DVD, please check out - Thank you!

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