Thursday, 28 May 2009

ROH Proving Ground 2009 Night One - DVD Review

I’m going to take a step into Ring of Honor territory for my latest review. Having looked at their first show of 2009, I’m going to step forward to this past February with the DVD release of Proving Ground 2009 Night One, featuring stars such as Nigel McGuinness, Bryan Danielson, Jerry Lynn, Necro Butcher, Austin Aries and more.

The show begins with Shawn Osbourne going up against Brad Attitude. The two FIP regulars put on an enjoyable opener, with Osbourne using some good old fashioned heel tactics in his attempts to get the upper hand, and Attitude looking great in the baby face role. Attitude came out on top in this one with an un-named finisher which saw him spinning Osbourne off his shoulder and face first into the mat.

The next match saw Sal Rinauro taking on Pro Wrestling NOAH regular Bison Smith. This battle of power against speed saw power win out convincingly. Smith dominated from the start, and Rinauro’s brief offensive flurries did absolutely nothing against the big man. In the end Smith applied the claw to Rinauro’s head, then picked up him and slammed him down to the mat for the winning pin. Impressive stuff from the big man here.

The first tag-team match of the show followed, with Kenny King, Rhett Titus and Chasyn Rance facing Roderick Strong, Erick Stevens and Bobby Dempsey. Boy, was this good. A great example of 21st century tag-team wrestling saw two teams going at it full tilt. The heel team of King, Titus and Rance looked great as they took Stevens apart, and while the team of Stevens and Strong looked great, I must give special mention to the former member of Sweet & Sour Inc, Bobby Dempsey. The big guy pulled off some great moves for a man of his size, and got the pin for his team after taking Rance out with a death valley driver.

Then it was back to singles action as Austin Aries faced Necro Butcher. Now, when you’ve got a match involving Austin Aries, and former ROH World Champion and star of TNA’s X Division, you immediately think that it will be a good match. Sadly, this match also involved the plain awful Necro Butcher. Butcher tried to actually wrestle at first, but looked awful in doing so. Aries, in complete contrast, look great whenever he was on the offensive. Thankfully, just as Butcher was about to put Aries through a table, Jimmy Jacobs and Delirious came down to the ring and attacked the Butcher, giving Aries the chance to take him out afterwards with a brain buster suplex, getting the winning pin seconds later. Now can someone please tell me just why Necro Butcher gets work as wrestler?

Thankfully, the following tag-team match continued people with more talent in their little fingers than the Necro Butcher has in his entire body, as The Age of the Fall team of Jimmy Jacobs and Delirious took on Bryan Danielson and Jerry Lynn. The best match of the show so far saw great performances from all concerned. Jacobs and Delirious looked tremendous as a team, and I really enjoyed watching Delirious’ manic character. As always, Lynn and Danielson put on a tremendous display, typical of two of the best wrestlers in the world today. The end, after almost twenty minutes of frantic action, saw Jacobs tap out to Danielson’s cattle mutilation, ending a tremendous outing for both teams.

The singles action resumed with Brent Albright taking on ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness in a non-title match. Once again McGuinness proved that he is one of the best British wrestlers around at the moment, while Albright was more than able to match McGuinness in the ring, and these two components made for an outstanding match. Both men went into this one with the same idea, working over their opponent’s left arm so they could use their respective submission hold, and they both managed to lock in those holds twice, only for the other to get to the ropes. But when Albright applied his armbar for the third time, McGuinness countered with a roll-up to get the winning pin. Great stuff here.

The final tag-team match saw the Dark City Fight Club team of Jon Davis and Kory Chavis against ROH Tag-Team Champions Kevin Steen and El Generico in non-title action. This one saw two more FIP stars attempting to impress the powers-that-be, with Davis and Chavis looking great as they went up against the more established team. The result was a very good tag-team match, with both teams giving a good account of themselves with some great double team moves, plenty of near falls, with the champions getting the pin as Steen took out Chavis with his variation of the pile driver, before handing him over to Generico to apply the finishing touches with a brain buster suplex.

Main event time, with Davey Richards, accompanied by Larry Sweeney, going up against Tyler Black. They saved the best for last with this show, a back and forth encounter between two great wrestlers, putting in performances worthy of the match’s main event status. Black just has that certain something about him that makes you realise he’s one to watch in the future, while Richards put in another tremendous performance. It made for a hell of a match, with tons of false finishes, with Tyler getting the pin after an age of great action with a super kick. Hell of a match here, and one to watch over and over again.

In conclusion - to say that this is a great DVD would not be an understatement. If it didn’t have the Necro Butcher/Austin Aries match, Proving Ground 2009 Night One would almost have been the perfect wrestling DVD, with great singles and tag-team matches. It once again proves that the Ring of Honor brand of wrestling is alive and well, and is compelling as ever. This release comes highly recommended, and would be a welcome edition to any ROH fan’s collection.

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