Saturday, 17 October 2009

ROH Double Feature II - DVD Review

It’s time to step into Ring of Honor territory again, but this review will be slightly different, as we’re going to take a look at two shows. They’re on the same disc though, in case you’re wondering, with Double Feature II featuring The Hunt Begins & Tag Title Classic, filmed during their trip to Canada this past April.

So what better place to start than part one, The Hunt Begins, held in Montreal. The show began with the latest in a long line of Age of the Fall grudge matches, with Jimmy Jacobs squaring off against Tyler Black. It’s unlike the usual ROH show opener. Sure, it’s fast paced at times, but it lasts longer than ten minutes. There’s some nice action here, with Jacobs again proving to be a great heel, although he couldn’t put his former prot�g� away, not even with three end time guillotine chokes. Black escaped from the third attempt, and finally took Jacobs out with a super kick to earn the pin. It wasn’t enough for Black though, as he got his hands on a chair, intent on inflicting more damage. Jacobs bolted from the ring though.

Match two saw four corner survival action, with jay Briscoe, Roderick Strong, Kenny Omega and Austin Aries. This was another of those spot driven matches, which featured some nice action along the way, and some impressive high flying moves from home country boy Omega. It wasn’t all about Omega though, as all four men put in great performances, with Omega getting something of an upset win by countering Aries’ brain buster attempt with a backslide for the win. Nice work all round.

Tag team action followed, with Jimmy Rave and Claudio Castagnoli teaming up against Brent Albright and Colt Cabana. To say that Cabana continued to be warmly welcomed back into the ROH fold would be an understatement here. On the opposite end of the scale, Rave was slightly annoyed with the TNA and Rock ‘N’ Rave chants. Another match with some great action throughout, particularly the exchanges between Castagnoli and Cabana, with a screw job finish that’s been used countless times over the years. As Albright went to suplex Rave into the ring from the apron, Prince Nana tripped Albright up and held on to his leg as Rave got the winning pin. Cabana and Albright got a small measure of revenge after the final bell though.

The main event of the first show saw newly crowned ROH World Tag Team Champions the American Wolves teaming with former WWE star Sylvan Grenier against Kevin Steen, El Generico and future WWE star (hopefully) Bryan Danielson. We had some nice exchanges early on, with Grenier playing the cowardly heel to perfection, refusing to wrestle his fellow Canadian Steen. Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards again proved what a great team they are, while Danielson, as always, looked tremendous. All of these ingredients made for a great match, with Grenier tapping out to Steen’s sharpshooter. Hey, at least there wasn’t a screw job finish here!

Part two, the aptly-titled Tag Title Classic, was held the following night in Markham, and began with singles action, with Claudio Castagnoli and Colt Cabana taking up where they’d left off the night before. Now, although this was the usual relatively short ROH show opener, it actually wasn’t that fast paced. In fact, it was a good old fashioned wrestling match, put on by two men extremely well versed in the British/European style, and it made for fantastic viewing. It reminded this particular writer of the halcyon days of World of Sport way back when, as both Double C’s engaged in hold countered by hold, and with hardly a punch in fight. Sadly, the whole thing was kind of spoiled by the outside interference, as the Embassy’s Prince Nana and Ernie Osiris came down to the ring to aid their Swiss friend. But as Ernie was about to give his shoe to Castagnoli, so he could clobber Cabana, while Nana was distracting the referee. But then Brent Albright appeared, took the shoe from Ernie, and threw it at Castagnoli. This distracted him enough for Cabana to get the pin with a roll-up. Now I know that had to further the ongoing storylines, but couldn’t they have just let Cabana and Castagnoli do their thing?

Six man tag team action followed, with Austin Aries, Rhett Titus and Kenny King taking on Kenny Omega, Kevin Steen and El Generico. Well, it was meant to be El Generico, but the masked man was unable to compete because of a knee injury, so they brought in another masked man, Generico Dos (Generico II, get it???). A double wasn’t exactly too happy with this, but he did wish El Generico well - then kicked his crutch out from under him. From there we had a ton of nice action, with Omega once again impressing with his high flying moves, and King and Titus again impressing with their timing and team work. Things were taken up a notch towards the end, with Titus and King doubling up to take Generico Dos down with a double stomp/spiked pile driver, with Titus getting the winning pin seconds later, ending what was a very good match.

The Age of the Fall grudge matches continued, and this time Jimmy Jacobs faced off against the masked man, Delirious, in a Markham street fight. So how many former members has Jacobs actually annoyed them? I’m beginning to lose count. Anyway, this one started with Delirious attacking Jacobs during a backstage interview. From there they fought into the crowd, eventually making their way to the ring, and it wasn’t long before Jacobs began to fill the ring up with chairs. These proved pivotal in the remainder of the bout, as did the table Delirious had set up at ringside, a table he would later go through courtesy of a Jacobs spear. It was then that Daizee Haze came down to check on her man, only for Jacobs to throw here into the ring, where he threatened to use his trusty railway spike on her. Thankfully, Delirious saved the day, spewing his black mist into Jacob’s face. Haze then managed to grab the spike herself, using it on Jacobs, before Delirious used the spike himself in a modified cobra stretch for the submission win, ending a great and very dramatic match.

Normality returned with Jay Briscoe taking on Roderick Strong. A great face versus face battle saw two great performances and nice exchanges throughout, as they two guys once again showed that they’re well made for each other. The wrestling holds developed into something of a slug fest towards the end, before Briscoe countered Strong’s Boston crab attempt to get the pin with a roll-up. This was the match of the night for me, but I hadn’t seen the main event yet.

The main event saw the American Wolves, Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards, defending the ROH World Tag Team titles against Bryan Danielson and Tiger Black. After watching this I could see why they named this one the way they did. It was forty five minutes of tremendous, non-stop action, with four great performances. Move for move, counter and counter, and four wrestlers going all out to put on what was a Tag Title Classic. I really can’t speak too highly about this one, I really can’t, and I also can’t single out any particular moment for praise, because there’s just too many. As for the result, it seemed fitting that the time limit expired, with the match ending in a draw. Awesome, just awesome.

There’s the usual extra in the form of the ROH Newswire, but nothing more than that.

In conclusion - even though this release was missing some of the company’s top stars, these two shows still impressed the hell out of me. Okay, I was a little disappointed with the way the Cabana/Castagnoli match ended, but what happened before that made up for that.

As for the other matches, I know I’m going to sound like a stuck record again, but there just wasn’t one bad match here, folks, and it’s now getting to the point where I’d rather watch a Ring of Honor show than a WWE or TNA show.

So as you can probably tell from that last comment, this DVD comes highly recommended, and if you don’t buy this, I’ll come round all of your houses, point at you, and shout “fool!” at you repeatedly.

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

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