Saturday, 10 July 2010

ROH Epic Encounter III - DVD Review

It’s been about two months since I’ve reviewed a Ring of Honor DVD release, so eager to see how they’re getting on without Daniel Bryan and Desmond Wolfe we’re going back to this past March and Epic Encounter III.

After an angle to set up the eight man tag later in the evening the show began in earnest as the House of Truth, accompanied by their manager Truth Martini, went up against the Flatliners.

This is the first time I’ve seen the Flatliners, Burns and Asylum, and thankfully they having nothing to do with that big goof that big goof called Flatliner whose been stinking up British rings for years.

It’s the usual style of ROH show opener, short on time but sweet on action, and a highly entertaining way of getting the juices flowing. Josh Raymond and Christian Abel again showed why they’re a great up and coming team, although Abel’s choice of ring attire does leave a lot to be desired.

Burns and Asylum, for their part, pulled off some great power and double team moves, their best being a code breaker into a bridging back suplex.

The House of Truth came out on top here, thanks to a little interference from Martini, as Abel held Burns in position so Raymond could come down off the top rope with a knee drop. I have no idea what that move was called, but it was a good opener.

Then it was on to singles action as the now heel Kevin Steen faced Player Dos, accompanied here by his injured tag team partner Player Uno. Steen is now a hated heel because he turned his back on his old buddy El Generico.

This is certainly a very different Steen, a more arrogant individual who really took it to his smaller opponent. Dos had his moments, and looked good with his counters and his high flying moves, including his dragon suplex off the top rope.

There were also plenty of near falls, until Steen finally managed to put his man away after a second package pile driver. More action followed after the match when Steen came back out and attacked Dos as he was being helped from the ring, taking him down with yet another package pile driver.

What looked like a great match on paper followed as ROH World Television Champion Eddie Edwards, accompanied by Shane Hagadorn, faced Petey Williams. This was originally meant to be a non-title match, but after a bit of goading from Williams Edwards accepted his challenge and put the title on the line.

Each time I see Williams on an ROH show it makes me realise how much TNA messed up when they let him go, because this match is a great example of his work.

It’s a great back and forth encounter. Williams and Edwards had great chemistry, their styles blending perfectly as both men went all out for victory.

Williams looked like he was going to win after taking Edwards down with the Canadian destroyer, until Hagadorn pulled him out of the ring while he was making the pin. In the end Edwards got the win as Williams tapped out to an Achilles lock.

The aforementioned eight man tag followed, with Austin Aries, Kenny King, Rhett Titus and NWA World Champion Adam Pearce faced  ROH World Champion Tyler Black, Jay Briscoe, Rasche Brown and Tyson Dux.

This proved to be a very enjoyable affair. No real stand out performances here, as all eight men were as good as each other. Although I must say that Brown played the past of the powerhouse to perfection, while Aries is still great as the cowardly heel, now looking to regain the title.

Of course, we had the inevitable mass brawl towards the end as every man pulled off their big moves before Black pinned Titus with his God’s last gift finisher. Entertaining stuff.

The match I was looking forward to the most was next as Steve Corino took on Colt Cabana. It’s a different kind of Cabana in this match. No joking about here as Boom Boom sought to gain a measure of revenge against Corino on behalf of his masked buddy El Generico.

It’s a very heated affair between two highly skilled veterans, with cameo appearances by Generico and Kevin Steen as Cabana took home the disqualification win because of Steen’s attempted interference. This feud is getting rather interesting.

Generico stayed out for the next match as he went up against Chris Hero in the Pick 6 series, with another appearance by Shane Hagadorn.

It’s an extremely hard fought encounter, with the masked man trying to take his mind off his recent problems by securing a spot among the top six contenders.

Hero has impressed me a great deal over the past year or so. I never really took to him when I first saw him in Rotten and Zandig territory a few years ago, but I’ve become a keen admirer of his work.

It’s a balls out kind of match, perfect for it’s spot on the card, with plenty of near falls and hard hitting action, with Generico taking a ton of elbow shots before finally giving up to Hero’s version of the abdominal stretch, keeping the Generic Luchadore out of the top six while preserving Hero’s number three spot.

Generico’s night didn’t end there though as Kevin Steen returned to the ring and grabbed the microphone. After he called Colt Cabana back down he explained why he turned his back on his former partner.

Steen then urged Generico to hit him, something which the masked man refused to do, even when Cabana gave him a chair. It turned out that it was nothing more than a set up as Steve Corino returned to start a brawl. It wasn’t long before the heels were sent running as Cabana kind of lambasted his new friend for not taking the shot when it was offered.

The main event saw Davey Richards, with yet another appearance by Shane Hagadorn, going up against Kenny Omega.

So what can I say about Richards that I haven’t said before. Well, a certain American Dragon said it best when he said that, more often than not, Richards is involved in the best match on the card.

That’s certainly the case here. When an early move sees Richards dive out of the ring, taking Omega over the guard rail and landing seven rows back you know that you’re going to be in for one hell of a ride.

This re-match from Clash of the Contenders matched that effort, and went a whole lot further. We got nearly thirty minutes of near perfect action that satisfied in every way possible.

In short, it was just one of those matches you didn’t want to end, but end it did, with plenty of near falls, and Richards getting the submission win when Omega tapped out to a kimura.

Afterwards both wrestlers earned a standing ovation from the fans, and rightfully so.

DVD extras come in the form of a bonus match - the Bobby Dempsey Gauntlet - and the usual ROH Video Wire.

In conclusion - so how are Ring of Honor doing without Danielson and McGuinness? Pretty damn well is the answer. Once again they’ve put out a DVD full of top notch and high impact action, the kind of which fans are screaming out to see on certain weekly television shows.

Match of the night was clearly the Richards/Omega battle.

There is one aspect that ROH has really improved on, and that’s in the commentary department. Dave Prazak is good, but as a heel he doesn’t really fit the role of the play-by-play man very well. By bringing in Joe Dombrowski, and putting Prazak back into the heel colour role, there’s a bit more symmetry as it were, and things work a whole lot better.

So in all, well, do I need to say it? Just go out and buy this DVD if you haven’t got it already!

With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. Epic Encounter III is available to buy online by visiting

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