Thursday, 3 November 2011

ROH No Escape - DVD Review

It’s time to step into Ring of Honor territory again as we go back to Charlotte, North Carolina this past July as El Generico faced Roderick Strong in a cage match main event at No Escape.

The show began with a battle of up and comers as Mike Bennett faced Andy Ridge.

Before the match began Bennett took to the microphone promising to end his losing streak. It was a promise he almost didn’t fulfil when Ridge went for a roll up as the Prodigy was giving the mike back to the ring announcer.

What followed was the usual ROH style opener, a quick match filled with fast paced back and forth action, with both men, and Ridge in particular, putting in great performances.

There were many times when Ridge looked like he was going to get the win, but in the end it was Bennett who came out on top, finally taking Right Leg down with the piledriver for the winning pin.

Then it was straight into the grudge match action as Mark Briscoe, accompanied by his brother Jay, taking on Kenny King, accompanied by Rhett Titus, with Jay and Titus handcuffed to the ring posts so they can’t interfere.

That was meant to be the idea. The match started well enough, but it wasn’t long before Jay began to interfere on his brother’s behalf, and Mark even threw King outside to his brother could help him double up on King.

When they got back into the ring it turned into an intense and action packed match between two of the company’s best. King was able to return Mark’s previous favour when he enlisted Titus’ help at times.

Both men came extremely close to getting the win with countless pin attempts before King took the win after taking Mark down with his coronation finisher.

The next grudge match followed immediately as Jay Briscoe took on Rhett Titus, with King and Jay taking their turns to be handcuffed to the ring posts.

If anything this was even more intense and hard hitting than the last match. Jay and Titus knocked the proverbial seven bells out of each other. They held nothing back as they went all out to achieve victory.

The intensity factor got taken up a notch when Jay found the bolt cutters that had been left under the ring in case the keys got lost. The referee tried to stop Jay from using them but ended up getting slugged for his efforts.

A few seconds later Mark was free, and with King unable to help his partner the brothers began to take Titus apart, whipping him with their belts at one point.

Eventually a second referee emerged and took control of the cutters, but as he attempted to free King the Briscoes inflicted further damage when they took Titus out with the doomsday device, and it was only the intervention of Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin that prevented further damage.

The tag team challenge match saw Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly taking on the American Wolves, World Champion Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards.

For those not in the know this one had an added twist to it, with O’Reilly being the protégé of Richards.

Without a doubt this was the best match Cole and O’Reilly have been in. For nearly twenty minutes they took their more illustrious opponents to the limit, matching them in every department.

Indeed, when Richards and O’Reilly were going at it it looked like someone fighting their own doppelganger, they were that similar.

The Wolves were also at their vintage best, not holding anything back, and looking a little surprised to begin with at the way Cole and O’Reilly took it to them.

It was an absolute joy to watch these two teams going at it, and it was a shame it hand to end. But end it did, in somewhat controversial circumstances.

After countless near falls Edwards applied his Achilles lock to O’Reilly, just after Cole had taken Richards out with a suicide dive through the ropes. But when O’Reilly wouldn’t submit Edwards connected with a series of kicks to the head while he still applied the hold.

With O’Reilly out of it the referee called for the bell, giving the Wolves the TKO win. No bell was heard though, so Edwards continued to apply the hold. The referee tried to physically stop Edwards, but the hold stayed on, and it was only when Richards got back into the ring and the bell eventually rang that Edwards released the hold.

Richards was irate at his partner, verbally tearing him a new one for keeping the Achilles lock on his protégé. Both men then confronted the time keeper before continuing their argument.

Edwards went to leave, but stopped on the ring apron and offered his hand to Richards as his form of apology. Richards was having none of it though, and Edwards left the arena alone as Richards helped Cole carry O’Reilly to the back.

The tag team action continued with Truth Martini’s Michael Elgin and Chase Owens taking on Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander.

Lots of jaw jacking before this one began, with Martini predicting victory for Roderick Strong in the main event before telling his man Owens that this would be his test to see if he was worthy of joining the House of Truth.

This was a very enjoyable fast paced back and forth encounter. Alexander and Coleman looked great as a team, and if you didn’t know better you’d swear they’d been together for years, judging by the quality of their double team moves.

On the other side Elgin again the impressed the hell out of me, and there were points where Elgin made it look like he was competing in a handicap match as he took both of his opponents down with a power slam at the same time.

Owens put in a good performance, and pulled off some nice double team moves with Elgin, but it was the try out man who took the loss, with Alexander and Elgin taking him out with a top rope hurricanrana followed by a top rope frog splash for the pin.

Martini was none too happy afterwards, and after giving Owens the thumbs down Elgin attacked, first with a buckle bomb and then with a sit down power bomb, signalling the end of Owens’ trial period.

It was back to singles action for the next match as Chris Hero, accompanied by Shane Hagadorn, faced Colt Cabana.

Now this was a wrestling match. Inspired by their numerous trips to Britain Cabana and Hero began with some good old fashioned wrestling, the likes of which Johnny’s Saint and Kidd would have been proud of.

From there they produced one of those knock down dragged out affairs that was enthralling to watch, with both guys putting in great performances before Hero took the win with the rolling boot.

The penultimate match saw the Bravado Brothers, Lancelot and Harlem, taking on Tag Team Champions Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, in a non-title match.

A short and sweet encounter saw Haas and Benjamin taking the brothers to the proverbial wood shed, outwrestling them and teaching them a lesson at the same time.

The Bravados had a few fleeting moments of offence, but in the end the more experienced champions took the win, with Benjamin leapfrogging Haas and coming down on Lancelot’s back to get the winning pin.

It was then that the Briscoes made their second appearance of the evening, trash talking the champions before attacking them. A mass brawl ensued with both teams having their moments, including when the brothers put Hass through a previously unbreakable table.

They then looked to take Benjamin out with a spiked jay driller until help finally arrived in the form of the chair swinging Kenny King as he sent the brothers running for cover.

The main event saw TV Champion El Generico taking on Roderick Strong, accompanied by Truth Martini, in a non-title steel cage match.

These two didn’t even wait until they were inside the cage before they started as the brawled around ringside, throwing each other into the various ringside barriers.

They eventually made it to the cage, and neither man held anything back in their attempt to gain victory. There were countless sick kicks, knife edge chops, big boots and more from both men, as well as several trips into the cage.

But despite all of this neither man could get the job done, and after Martini tried to interfere, stopping Generico from flying off the top of the cage the masked man finally executed his move of choice, taking Strong down with a top rope brain buster for the winning pin.

Bonus features include the aftermath of the confrontation between Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, and a brief segment looking towards the company’s debut with the Sinclair Broadcasting Group.

In conclusion - so what can I say that I haven’t said about these ROH DVD releases before?

Not much really. This was another strong card filled with great action. From top to bottom none of the matches disappointed, and they were topped off nicely by the intense cage match between Strong and Generico.

So in all ROH No Escape gets the big thumbs up, but you probably already knew that when you first began to read this review.

With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. Ring of Honor No Escape is available to buy online at www.rohwrestling.com.