Thursday, 16 September 2010

ROH Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies 2 - DVD Review

It was a match fans had been waiting months for as El Generico and Kevin Steen, along with their cohorts Colt Cabana and Steve Corino, finally met in a Chicago Street Fight at Ring of Honor’s Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies 2.



The show began with Sami Callihan facing the man mountain that is Rasche Brown.

Was there really any doubt about who was going to win this one? Callihan did a good job of targeting Brown’s injured ribs, but it just wasn’t enough, with Brown tossing Callihan around like a stuffed toy until he sealed the deal with a death valley driver.

Oh, and by the way, did I say that this was the usual enjoyable quick show opener?

Tag-team action in the form of the Bravado Brothers against the Dark City Fight Club followed.

The proverbial squash match to get Jon Davis and Kory Chavis over. The Bravados did their piece, but it was only a matter of time, with the referee stopping the match after unloaded with a series of head butts on the mat. This is why I’m fast becoming a fan of these guys.

It was back to singles action next as the Metal Master faced World TV Champion Eddie Edwards in a non-title affair.

Edwards has certainly come into his own since he won the title, and this match was a great example of his work as a singles star.

For his part the masked man put in a good effort, and was a good foil for champion, who took home the win as the Master tapped out to the Achilles lock.

It was back to tag-team action for the next match as the House of Truth, accompanied by Truth Martini, squared off against Prince Nana’s Embassy boys, Erick Stevens and Shawn Daivari.

This was certainly better than the previous all-heel battle featuring Martini’s men, and although you can’t find any fault with the action, it still lacked the emotional attachment that fans are expected to develop.

Stevens and Daivari got the win here when Martini took Daivari down with a head scissors right in front of the referee, earning the obvious disqualification.

Action from the Pick 6 series followed as number four ranked Davey Richards faced the number one ranked Roderick Strong.

Now this was a match. This would have been worthy of the main event had that spot been free.

This was one of those balls to the walls encounters in which two evenly matched opponents gave their all. It was enjoyable and highly intriguing at the same time.

You just didn’t want it to end, but unfortunately it did. As Richards connected with a kick to Strong’s head the bell rang. The time limit had expired, and with the crowd calling for five more minutes, so did Richards.

But Strong was having none of it, wanting to conserve his energy for his upcoming World shot, so that match was declared a draw.

Normal service resumed as Rhett Titus faced Petey Williams.

Given the pedigree of these two I was a little surprised that they weren’t given more time. It was still an enjoyable match though, with Titus looking to get back into the good graces of his mentor Austin Aries after costing them the win in their previous tag match.

He got the job done, blocking Williams’ Canadian destroyer and getting the pin with his feet on the ropes.

Speaking of Aries, A double was up next, teaming with his other protégé Kenny King against the Briscoe Brothers.

Before the match began Aries grabbed the microphone and claimed that Jay and Mark were having trouble getting along, and after a few minutes it looked like the former World Champion was telling the truth as the brothers began to disagree and went nose to nose.

But it was all a ploy as they turned the tables on their opponents, and from there we got an outstanding match. Once again the dissension between Aries and his men came to the fore as a confusion in a sequence saw King take out Aries. Moments later the Briscoes added to the pain when they took Aries down with the doomsday device to get the win.

Then it looked like it was about to kick off as King and Aries argued in the ring. Rhett Titus returned to try and smooth things over, and much to the annoyance of the fans peace broke out as all became friends again.

What would normally have been the main event followed, as one half of the Tag-Team Champions Chris Hero challenged Tyler Black for the World title.

Time and time again I’ve watched men from the undercard put in tremendous performances when going for the World title, and this was definitely the case with Chris Hero.

I’ve seen many great performances from that young knockout kid since I started watching ROH on a regular basis, and this was by far the best of them.

But let’s not take anything away from Black, because it takes two to tango as the old saying goes. Black’s performance was as great as Hero’s as he matched his challenger move for move, even finding time to take out Shane Hagadorn with a super kick before finishing Hero off with God’s last gift to retain the title.

The main event saw Steve Corino and Kevin Steen taking on El Generico and Colt Cabana in a Come As You Are Chicago Street Fight, which was certainly the case with Corino as he came to the ring in a pristine white suit.

Needless to say that the suit didn’t stay white for that long. This was one of the most dramatic encounters I’ve seen in an ROH ring, as three of the four men bled for their art in a match that saw tables, ladders, chairs, a broken beer bottle, a fork, and a good old fashioned barb wire baseball bat.

Now while this may not have been for the faint hearted it certainly was a brilliant match, perfectly executed by for masters of their art.

The end came when the blood-stained Cabana applied the billy goat’s curse to the blood-stained Corino. Generico brought the baseball bat into play, laying it on the mat and rubbing Corino’s face into it before knocking him out with a chair, with the referee stopping the match, giving the win to Cabana and Generico.

The DVD is rounded out by the ROH Video Wire and a post-match interview with Kevin Steen.

In conclusion - while I was a little disappointed with Pick Your Poison, Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies 2 certainly made up for that.

This was Ring of Honor at it’s best, with a great showed rounded off nicely by the Black/Hero title encounter and the bloodbath in the main event.

So once again an ROH DVD release gets my thumbs up.

With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies 2 can be purchased online at www.rohwrestling.com.