Tuesday, 28 April 2009

ROH Motor City Madness 2009 - DVD Review

It’s time to step into Ring of Honor’s territory again, and this review sees us going back just a few months to January 30th, as they pitch up in Detroit for Motor City Madness 2009, featuring Bryan Danielson, Nigel McGuinness, Jerry Lynn and more. Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak are handling commentary duties.

The show begins with “Addicted to Love” Rhett Titus facing “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson. Needless to say that I heartily approve of Titus’ entrance song, the classic from the sadly missed Robert Palmer. You know, I’ve watched Danielson’s career for a few years now, and I admire his skill greatly. But I never in my wildest dreams knew that Danielson was capable of injecting comedy into his matches, and this is what he does against the hip swivelling Titus. I won’t go into too much detail, but it certainly made this writer laugh. The serious Danielson soon returns though, and once again proved why many consider him the best in the world at the moment. As for Titus, this is the first time I’ve seen him in action, and I was impressed. But in the end there was only really going to be one winner, with Danielson locking in the cattle mutilation to get the submission win.

Then it’s on to Austin Aries, looking a lot different from the last time I saw him as Austin Starr in TNA, against Silas Young. Before the match begins, Aries cuts a promo, commenting on Young’s place on the show, and when he mentions Young’s wife and kid, that’s when the action begins, with a match that is the polar opposite of the opener. It’s a match of great intensity, with both men giving a good account of themselves, and Aries putting in a great performance as the whiny villain who doesn’t want any of the fans to support him. An absolute ton of great action, and the second submission win in a row as Young taps to Aries last chancery.

Next up, Brodie Lee, accompanied by Jimmy Jacobs, takes on Necro Butcher. If you’re looking for the ROH tradition of great technical matches, then this one isn’t for you. It’s basically a brawl between a big guy with a beard and a guy with a beard and no boots. They brawl throughout the arena, hitting each other with anything they an get their hands on, and to be honest, it’s not pretty to watch. But the unusual thing about this match is that while they were both brawling through the crowd, they actually got counted out! This is completely unheard of in professional wrestling! Normally, I thought that referees were told to just let them get on with things in matches like this. Oh, and they continued to brawl after the match ended, and they actually got back into the ring, with the brawl finally ending as both men went backstage.

Then it was on to the first tag match of the evening, with The Age of the Fall’s Jimmy Jacobs and Delirious facing Roderick Strong and Erick Stevens. A very good match saw Strong and Stevens take Delirious apart early on, until the masked man managed to get the tag to his partner. Strong and Stevens then dominated Jacobs for a while, before the Fall used underhanded tactics to break their opponent’s momentum, with the bad guys doubling up on Stevens to good effect. Eventually Stevens got the hot tag to Strong, who cleaned house for a while. Plenty of false finishes on both sides followed, before Strong and Stevens doubled up on Delirious with a big boot into a powerbomb combination. A very good example of tag-team wrestling here, and one to watch again in the future.

Back to singles action for the next match, with my favourite Swiss wrestler, Claudio Castagnoli, complete with great entrance music, against Brent Albright. Once again Double C puts in a great performance, ably assisted by Albright, whose performance is on a par with that of his opponent. In short, it’s a great wrestling match, a brilliant back and forth encounter with two men who are well suited to each other. We even had a visit from Larry Sweeney of Sweet and Sour Incorporated, who tried to distract Albright by jumping on the ring apron. All this did was enrage Albright more, who locked in a crowbar submission. But when Double C put his foot on the rope, Albright refused to break the hold, earning himself a disqualification.

One of my all-time favourites makes an appearance next, the man in question being Jerry Lynn, as he takes on Tyler Black. I don’t think I’ve eve seen a bad Jerry Lynn match, and you can add this one to that ever growing list. In this battle of youth against experience, Lynn proved that he can still put on incredible matches, bringing the best out of his opponents. As for Black, this is the first time I’ve ever seen him, and I was impressed, and judging by his performance here, the guy’s got a bright future ahead of him. Plenty of false finishes in this one, including when both men nearly got counted out, but sadly there was no winner, as the action continued right up until the time limit expired. To say that this was awesome would be an understatement.

Next up, ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness, taking on Jay Briscoe in a non-title match. Earlier on Briscoe was complaining that this was a non-title match, saying that even though he was mainly a tag-team wrestler, he’d had plenty of singles victories in ROH. A very hard hitting contest here, pitting Briscoe’s more brawling style against McGuinness’ technical wizardry. Mixing wild brawling with some great technical wrestling, Briscoe and McGuinness put on a hell of a match, with Briscoe proving that he’s more than just a tag-team wrestler, and McGuinness proving that he’s currently one of Britain’s top wrestlers, and after what seemed like an eternity of great action, McGuinness got the winning pin after taking Briscoe down with his jaw breaker clothesline. Tremendous match this.

Main event time, with the American Wolves, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, accompanied by Sweet and Sour Incorporated, challenging “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen and “The Generic Luchadore” El Generico for the ROH Tag-Team titles. As with the previous two-on-two encounter, this is another great example of what tag-team wrestling should be. I was really impressed with both teams, especially the Wolves, and with Davey Richards in particular. This was the first time I’d seen him since his King of Europe Cup match with the Zebra Kid, and I swear, he’s got even better, and given how good he was then I didn’t think that was possible. There was literally too much great action to single out any individual moment, but what I will say is that this is one of those matches you just don’t want to end. But the end did come though, and it came in part because of manager Larry Sweeney. As Sweeney was about to clobber Stein with his boot, Brent Albright returned to the ring and chased him away. His boot, though, was left back in the ring, Richards grabbed it while Edwards held Steen from behind. However, Steen ducked out of the way, and Richards ended up clobbering his own partner. A three count later, and Steen had got the title retaining pin for his team. The action didn’t end there as the Wolves, enraged by the manner of their loss, attacked Steen after the bell, only for El Generico to chase them off with a steel chair.

DVD extras come in the form of a couple of matches, featuring Kenny King against Alex Payne, and Irish Airborne against Andy Ridge & Grizzly Redwood, as well as the ROH Video Wire.

In conclusion - apart from the Necro Butcher match (I’ve never rated that guy anyway), Motor City Madness 2009 is a tremendous DVD release. I can’t speak too highly of the quality of seven of the eight matches, and I’m sure that I’ll be watching them again and again. Despite what some internet fans may say, Ring Of Honor are still more than capable of putting on great matches and great shows, and this is an excellent example of this. In short - this release comes highly recommended. Just fast forward through the Necro Butcher match though!

With thanks to the powers-that-be of Ring of Honor for supplying a copy of this release.

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