Sunday, 10 April 2011

ROH SoCal Showdown II - DVD Review

For the first time in ages Ring of Honor is on the agenda as we take a look at one of their most recent DVD releases as El Generico challenged Roderick Strong for the World title at SoCal Showdown II.

Following an in-ring promo from the Kings of Wrestling the first match of the night saw the Bravado Brothers taking on Cedric Alexander and Caleb Konley.

I’d forgotten how quick these show openers were, and apart from a couple of dodgy moments it was an entertaining back and forth encounter. Alexander and Konley looked good as they attempted to topple the Bravados, only for the brothers to get the pin by reversing Alexander’s power bomb attempt with a hurricanrana into a roll-up.

The first singles match saw Colt Cabana taking on Jay Briscoe.

This was a nice encounter which sadly wasn’t that long. Cabana came out with his usual comedy moments early on before it settled down into a very competitive match.

Like the opener there was one dodgy moment, but things quickly returned to normal with plenty of near falls before Briscoe took Cabana down with the jay driller for the pin.

Then it was back to tag team action as the All Night Express, Kenny King and Rhett Titus, took on the Cutler Brothers.

This was the local boys against established stars part of the show. The Cutlers were making their ROH debuts, and they looked quite impressive, especially with some of their double team moves.

As for their opponents, well if you don’t know how much I like King and Titus then you haven’t been reading my reviews that long.

The All Nighters put in yet another great performance, even better than that of the Cutlers, with King getting the pin after their back breaker/knee drop combination. Nice work all round.

The “battle of the mat technicians” followed as T.J. Perkins faced off against Davey Richards.

This was a great example of why I’m glad Richards didn’t retire. It was another flawless performance from the American Wolf. Everything he did looked perfect as he mixed his hard hitting style with a touch of MMA work.

Perkins wasn’t far behind him, and all of these ingredients mixed together made this the perfect back and forth encounter.

Sadly there could be only one winner, and after a ton of bear falls and great action Richards took the win, turning a falcon arrow into a cross arm breaker for the highly impressive submission win.

Afterwards Richards grabbed the microphone to praise his opponent, saying how he should become a permanent part of the ROH roster.

The first title match of the show saw a battle of ROH originals as Mark Briscoe challenged Christopher Daniels, accompanied by Allison Danger, for the World TV title.

The time limit for these title matches meant that these two weren’t given that long, but boy did they manage to get a lot done.

It was another of those enthralling back and forth encounters between two guys at the top of their game. The Fallen Angel and the exponent of red neck kung fu certainly gave it their all.

Briscoe came very close to winning the title, moving out of the way of a BME attempt as well as kicking out after the angel’s wings. But in the end the victory went to Daniels, who finally secured the win after his second BME attempt hit home. Now if only these two had ten minutes more!

The big re-match from Glory by Honor IX followed as Tag Team Champions the Kings of Wrestling, Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli, faced Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas in a non-title match.

These four easily picked up where they’d left off in New York a few months before. It was another awesome display of tag team wrestling, the likes of which we hardly get to see from a certain sports entertainment company these days.

Haas and Benjamin proved that they belonged in ROH’s tag division by taking the champs to the limit. At one point Haas even took Castagnoli down with an Olympic slam, although I don’t remember hearing about any tweets from a hacked Twitter account at the time.

There were plenty of big moments and plenty of near falls until Haas applied the Haas of pain to Castagnoli. Benjamin managed to take out Hero and his loaded elbow pad so he couldn’t interfere, leaving Castagnoli no choice but to tape out, giving Haas and Benjamin the very impressive win and a possible crack at the title.

The main event saw El Generico challenging Roderick Strong for the World title.

Having told Truth Martini to stay at home for this one Strong showed he’s excelling as ROH’s number one guy with another excellent performance.

This was one of those matches were all you could do was sit back and enjoy it, watching as two of the best not just in the company but in the world went against each other.

These two gave it their all and put together a hell of a match. It was a jot to watch, and if I go on much longer I may just go on and on about how great this match was.

Even though his manager wasn’t at ringside to help him Strong used underhanded tactics in an attempt to get the job done. No matter what he did though he just couldn’t put the masked man away, and it was only a shot with the title belt, followed by a Gibson driver, that he could get the pin.

An exhausted Strong then grabbed the microphone so he could boast about his achievements, singling out Christopher Daniels, Jay Briscoe and Davey Richards for some harsh words.

Seconds later those three came down to the ring, sending Strong scurrying into the crowd as Daniels promised that one of them would end his title reign.

DVD extras include the usual Video Wires as well as a few backstage segments.

In conclusion - although there were a couple of poor moments in the opening matches SoCal Showdown II was a pretty decent show.

From top to bottom the action ranged from good to great, with the bout between the Kings of Wrestling and Haas/Benjamin the match of the night for me.

So does SoCal Showdown II get the thumbs up? It certainly does. They may have lost quite a bit of talent since I started reviewing their shows on a regular basis but that hasn’t stopped ROH from putting on great shows, so while WWE may not consider me a “wrestling” fan anymore I’m sure that ROH still does.

With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. SoCal Showdown II is available to buy online at www.rohwrestling.com.