Tuesday, 3 November 2009

ROH A Cut Above - DVD Review

It’s Ring of Honor time again, and for this review we’re going back to Dayton, Ohio, on April 24th, as Roderick Strong challenges Jerry Lynn for the ROH World title in A Cut Above. As always, Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak are handling commentary duties, and they’re joined sporadically by current TNA star Nigel McGuinness, or Desmond Wolfe as he’s now known.

The show began with a very strong encounter pitting current ROH Tag Team Champion Eddie Edwards against former ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson. As soon as I saw on the box that these two were facing each other I thought it would be a cracker, and I wasn’t wrong. This wasn’t the usual quick ROH show opener. There was some tremendous action throughout as they matched each other hold for hold and move for move, and after all of that it only seemed right that Danielson got the win with the simplest of moves, a reversal of a small package. I kind of wondered though why this was the opener.

The four corner survival match featuring Rasche Brown, Silas Young, Matt Cross and Claudio Castagnoli had a hard job following the great opener, and although it featured some good moments, it felt like a let down. It was short and quick, with the mohawk-sporting Young tapping out to Castagnoli’s new finishing move, Swiss sleeper holdings.

The quick action continued with Jimmy Rave taking on Grizzly Redwood, or Big Josh for the 21st century. This was basically a match that was designed to re-establish Rave as a major heel, with Rave getting the quick win with his finishing move after Redwood was distracted by Prince Nana and Ernie Osiris. Redwood was then attacked after the bell, and for some reason old Dirty Ernie ended up stealing Redwood’s boots. I have no idea why. Well, I suppose it succeeded in getting Rave over again.

Tag team action followed with the Phoenix Twins facing Austin Aries and Rhett Titus. Sadly, no Kenny King in this match, although Aries and Titus did a pretty good job as a team, looking solid and dependable as always. The twins, names Tweaks and Dash, looked good, although I had no idea just who was who. This enjoyable encounter finished after Aries took out Tweaks, or was it Dash, with his trademark brain buster. An enjoyable encounter, with the twins showing some promise.

Then came the match I was really looking forward to, with Chris Hero taking on Colt Cabana. A good old fashioned wrestling match here, but then again, that’s what you get whenever Cabana is in the ring. His British influenced style is apparent for all to see. He’s always a delight to watch, and Hero was the perfect foil for him here as they put together a great match, with Hero tapping out to Cabana’s billy goat’s curse submission hold. Just who comes up with the names of these finishers?

Masked newcomer Egotistico Fantastico was up next, going up against cult leader Jimmy Jacobs. Jacobs was sporting an eye patch after his street fight with another masked man, Delirious, on the previous show. This was another of those quick matches, designed to introduce Fantastico to the ROH faithful, and he gave a good account of himself, putting on a good display before tapping out to Jacob’s end time submission. A nice little match, and a welcome change, seeing Jacobs facing someone who wasn’t a member of his Age of the Fall stable.

Then it was the turn of the other Tag Team Champion, Davey Richards, as he faced Tyler Black. This proved to be just as good as the opener, with some tremendous wrestling from both men. Richards has really come into his own since he began teaming with Eddie Edwards, and his work has been outstanding, as was Black’s, who’s really starting to grow on me. Plenty of near falls in this one, with Richards getting the tainted win, countering Black’s super kick attempt with a roll up with a handful of tights. Again, a somewhat simple finisher for an outstanding match, and it worked perfectly. Nice one.

The second tag team match of the show saw the Dark City Fight Club team of Jon Davis and Cory Chavis face Kevin Steen and Jay Briscoe. Steen’s and Briscoe’s regular partners, El Generico and Mark Briscoe, were both out with knee injuries, so it kind of made sense for them to come together and form a hybrid unit of sorts. They worked well together, looking solid as always. Chavis and Davis didn’t look too bad either, and this made for a very good match. The hybrids got the win though. As DCFC were about to double slam Briscoe, Steen, who had got the blind tag, raced into the ring and pinned Chavis with a roll up, once again proving that you’d don’t need a flashy move to finish a good match.

The main event saw Roderick Strong challenging Jerry Lynn for the ROH World title, Strong’s eleventh attempt at winning the big belt. This proved to be the match of the night, with a good beginning that developed into a great storyline after Strong was busted open, hitting the steel barricades after diving off the ring apron attempting to attack Lynn. This one move turned this into a very emotional encounter, with Strong fighting against the odds and his decreasing strength. It wasn’t enough though, as Lynn once again defied Father Time as he matched Strong’s performance, finally taking Strong down after a second cradle pile driver. An outstanding encounter, and worthy of it’s main event status.

Only one extra on this release, the usual ROH Newswire.

In conclusion - despite a couple of dodgy moments, A Cut Above is another strong show from the Ring of Honor crew. While the four corners and Rave squash matches were a tad disappointing, they did accomplish what they set out to do, and the action in the other matches more than made up for those disappointments. In short, A Cut Above would be a worthy addition to any wrestling collection.

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

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