Wednesday, 25 August 2010

ROH Phoenix Rising - DVD Review

It’s on to Ring of Honor action for my latest review as we take a look back at their second show from the Wrestlemania weekend earlier this year, Phoenix Rising.

The show began with Kenny Omega taking on Rocky Romero.

There was plenty of fast paced action in this matinee opener. A few minutes longer than ROH’s usual show starter, Omega and Romero were well suited to each other, with Omega getting the pin after taking Romero out with a bridging back suplex from an electric chair position, or something like that. Nice stuff from these international stars.

Then it was on to the Human Tornado as he took on Prince Nana’s latest Embassy recruit Shawn Daivari.

An entertaining encounter that, if anything, was more like an ROH show opener than the show opener.

After reminding the fans that he is actually American Daivari put in a great performance. The Tornado kept his side of the bargain with some good moves of his own, including a dive over the ropes and up the aisle that almost sent him out of the arena.

Daivari came out on top, cementing his heel status by pinning the Tornado with his feet on the ropes.

Speaking of heinous heels Kevin Steen was up next, this time going up against Scott Lost.

Once again Steen proved that he’s far better as a villain. It was another nice display from the Canadian, who began his performance with an argument with a fan over a hot dog before turning his attention to an up-and-comer trying to secure a regular slot on the roster.

Mixed in were a couple of nice comedy moments from Steen, and although they weren’t on the Cabana level they were still well executed and earned an round of applause from those in attendance.

As for Lost, he did pretty well, but he lived up to his name as Steen finally put him away with the package pile driver at the second attempt.

The first tag team match of the afternoon saw the Briscoe Brothers, Necro Butcher and Rasche Brown going up against Joey Ryan, Bison Smith, Prince Nana and Claudio Castagnoli. Chris Hero was originally meant to be in this match, but a back injury the previous night put him out of action, which is why Nana was put in.

This would probably have been better off as a six man match. Nana looked extremely limited in his brief foray into the ring, and Necro, once again, put in a performance that again had me asking why he continues to get bookings in Ring of Honor.

As for the other six men their performances were as solid as always, with the monster exchanges between Smith and Brown making for great viewing.

The good guys got the pin here as the Briscoes took Castagnoli down with a spiked Jay driller, continuing the rivalry between the tag champions and their number one contenders.

The Pick 6 series continued next as the number five ranked Kenny King took on Scorpio Sky.

Nice action throughout here. This is only the second time I’ve seen Sky in action but he impressed the hell out of me here. King, as always, was as good as ever, which is why this match was so enjoyable.

King emerged victorious as he took Sky down with his royal flush finisher from the second rope.

The battle of former ECW World Champions followed as Steve Corino faced Jerry Lynn.

Originally this was meant to be a regular match, but after Corino offered Lynn the chance to have an easy night Lynn suggested a hardcore match, something that the powers-that-be readily agreed to.

A match that was ten years in the making wouldn’t have gone amiss at Hardcore Justice as these two veterans knocked seven bells out of each other.

This one had tables, ladders, chairs, guard rails, brawls through the crowd as well as dives off camera scaffolding, with both men wearing the crimson mask as a badge of honour. It made for great viewing.

We also had cameo appearances from Corino’s boy Kevin Steen and El Generico, and it was the interference from the masked mad that led to Lynn’s victory as he finally took Corino down with the cradle pile driver.

It was back to tag team action for the next match as the American Wolves, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, faced Colt Cabana and El Generico.

Once again the Wolves proved just why they’re one of the best teams in the world today with yet another flawless performance.

But it wasn’t just the Wolves who put on a good showing. Cabana and Generico were just as good, pulling off some great double team moves.

After nearly twenty minutes of action something of an upset occurred when Cabana took Edwards out with the bully goat’s curse submission.

I think you can guess who turned up next. Yep, Kevin Steen came into the ring as Cabana and Generico celebrated and after Steen took Cabana out with a chair he verbally lambasted his former partner, setting him up for the sneak attack from Steve Corino, an attack that was quickly broken up by the recovering Cabana.

The final two matches were part of the second Personal Challenge Gauntlet between Austin Aries, Roderick Strong and ROH World Champion and future WWE star Tyler Black.

The first match featured Aries against Strong. These two old enemies put on a hard hitting back and forth affair with a rather unfortunate ending. After Strong took Aries out with a super Gibson driver from the second rope he fell from his position on the ring apron and through the time keeper’s table, taking him out of action.

Then, as Aries berated Strong while he received treatment Black came to the ring. Aries challenged him to put his title on the line, a challenge that Black quickly agreed to.

So the hard hitting action continued, with Black and Aries pulling off some great moves until Strong came back to the ring, his shoulder strapped up, causing more confusion when he pointed out that Aries hadn’t actually defeated him.

The brought executive producer Jim Cornette to the ring, who immediately ruled that the match was now a three way with the title on the line.

And the fast paced hard hitting action continued again with all three putting in great performances, with Black in particular showing why WWE have taken such an interest in him.

In the end it was black who emerged victorious, taking Strong out with a Fujiyama arm bar. Strong quickly tapped out because of his previously injured shoulder.

Bonus features come in the form of two editions of the ROH Video Wire.

In conclusion - apart from the in-ring performances of Prince Nana and the Necro Butcher in the eight man tag Ring of Honor delivered another great show filled with good matches throughout, and topped off nicely with the storyline concerning the protagonists in the World title picture.

So once again Ring of Honor gets the thumbs up from this particular writer as he hopes that WWE doesn’t mess Tyler Black up too much. After all, it’s happened with other ROH stars in the past. Just ask Scotty Goldman.

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