Saturday, 15 September 2007

ROH All-Star Extravaganza - DVD Review

Seeing as how they’ve been around for about fours years now, and I’ve been watching them for just over two years, I thought it would be a good idea to finally review a Ring of Honor DVD. So, flicking through my DVD collection, where better to start than with the first one I came to, All-Star Extravaganza.

We begin in the locker room, and an encounter between Steve Corino and Homicide, with Low-Ki looking on, with the two men annoyed at what happened during an earlier tag-team encounter.

On to the show, tag-team scramble action, with Joey “Mercury” Nitro and Dixie of Special K, Divine Storm, the SAT, and Da Hit Squad. There’s tons of fast action and high spots in this one, as is the case with scramble matches, with bodies flying all over the place, and tons of great moves, so fast it was hard to follow at times. But eventually, the SATs came out on top after taking Dixie down with their Spanish Fly move.

Backstage, The Prophecy, along with their leader, Christopher Daniels, boast about how they’ve got all the power because they currently hold all the titles. In the background, hired gun Samoa Joe looks utterly bemused.

Back to the action, as current WWE developmental star C.M. Punk goes up against current TNA star Matt Bentley, who was then known as Michael Shane. This was actually Punk’s ROH debut match, and the first bout in the number one contender’s gauntlet series. A great showing from both Shane and Punk here, with both guys putting on a tremendous wrestling match, with move and counter move, and Shane getting the tainted victory, reversing Punk’s roll-up and holding on to the ropes to get the win.

Immediately afterwards, Shane faces current Smackdown star Paul London, the two of them going through a heated feud at the time. Despite already having competed in a great match, Shane put in another great effort against London, and it looked like he might win the bout when it looked like London had taken an awkward fall during a Shane backbreaker. But it turned out that London was playing possum, as he hit a quick DDT on Shane for the win. Afterwards, Shane refuses to uphold the Code of Honor, and as he goes to leave the arena he is confronted by a surprise appearance from WWE star Tommy Dreamer, who orders Shane back into the ring. Dreamer cuts an emotional promo, comparing ROH to ECW, and thanks the fans. After hearing Dreamer speak, Shane shakes London’s hand, but gets DDT’ed by Dreamer for his troubles.

London’s work then continues as he takes on the Amazing Red. Some crazy, insane bumps on this one, especially Red’s hurricanrana as both wrestlers were standing, not sitting, on the top rope. But after some great fast-paced action, London got the win with his always impressive London Star Press.

Next up for London was American Dragon Bryan Danielson. Another great performance from London, competing in a completely different style of match against Danielson, who dominated with some great wrestling holds, before London was able to turn things up a notch. But it wasn’t enough as Danielson synched in the cattle mutilation for the win, earning a bout against A.J. Styles later in the show.

On to six man tag action, as The Prophecy team of Christopher Daniels, Donovan Morgan and Samoa Joe defend the ROH tag titles against Low-Ki, Homicide, and Doug Williams. All I can say about this one is wow! Great action from both teams here, especially with the great team work that Morgan and Daniels showed. The action was hard-hitting and fast-paced throughout, with some awesome exchanges. The end came when Joe applied the rear naked choke to Homicide, who then annoyed Daniels by upholding the Code of Honor and shaking the hands of his three opponents.

On to women’s action, as Allison Danger takes on current WWE psycho women’s champion Alexis “Mickie James” Laree. Ironically, this rivalry came about when Danger told Laree she was attracted to her. Sound familiar? Not the best women’s match I’ve seen, but you can see why WWE took Laree on in the first place with the skill she showed here, winning the match after a reverse DDT. After the bell, Danger’s camp valet Mace attacked Laree from behind.

Next up, the Carnage Crew against the Ring Crew Express in a bunkhouse match, three against two. Loc and De Vito annihilate the ring crew guys, quickly finishing them off after a spike pile driver from the middle rope.

Gary Michael Capetta then comes to the ring, and introduces former ECW star and original FBI member J.T. Smith. Smith is about to talk when he’s interrupted by Special K. The obligatory fight breaks out, until a huge black guy storms the ring from the crowd, throws a few choke slams, shakes Smith’s hand, then goes back into the crowd.

On to the ROH title match, as Xavier makes his first title defence against Jay Briscoe. Xavier again showed the contempt The Prophecy had for the Code of Honor, as he used chairs, his valet Simply Luscious, and his skill against the elder Briscoe brother in a great title encounter, with Xavier getting the win with his X-breaker after Luscious distracted the ref by throwing a chair into the ring.

Back to the gauntlet series next, and a dream match as Bryan Danielson takes on A.J. Styles, with the victor winning the number one contender’s trophy and a shot at Xavier’s title. It’s a classic encounter here between two great athletes, and proof that Styles isn’t just a spot monkey as he matches Danielson move for move and hold for hold. This match certainly lives up to expectations - Danielson kicks out of the Styles clash, Styles refuses to tap to the cattle mutilation, before Styles finally manages to get the pin after a power bomb and a second Styles clash, winning the number one contender’s trophy.

Then, as Danielson returns backstage, he’s laid out by The Prophecy, before they return to the ring and clobber Styles, only for Danielson and Jay Briscoe to hit the ring and save Styles from a beating.

The final match sees tag-team action, with Steve Corino and Low-Ki, making his second appearance on the show, taking on Masato Tanaka and Shinjiro Ohtani in a ROH/Zero-One special attraction match. A great bout to end the show with, a good example of Zero-One action. Tanaka and Ohtani really impressing with their crisp team-work, and it was the Japanese team who came away with the win. After a miscommunication between Corino and Ki, Ohtani took control and took Corino out with the spiral bomb for the victory.

Backstage, Homicide sharpens up a fork, before going into Corino’s locker room and attacking him with it, as the show comes to an end.

In conclusion - I think I’ve had a brainstorm or something, because this is the second show in as many weeks that I’ve enjoyed every moment of. This is really a great show from Ring of Honor here, top notch action from top to bottom. Production wise, also very good, with Jeff Gorman and Chris Lovey doing a great job of calling the action. This is a great DVD, and highly recommended.

To purchase a copy of this DVD, log onto www.a-merchandise.co.uk.