Tuesday, 22 January 2013

From Love to Hate: The Jimmy Jacobs Story - DVD Review

If you’re not a close follower of the indy wrestling scene then you probably haven’t heard of Jimmy Jacobs. Which means that you probably don’t know who the man is and what he’s about.

If that’s the case then a recent Ring of Honor DVD release may help you out a little. Entitled From Love to Hate: The Jimmy Jacobs Story, this two disc set looks at the man and how his career has progressed since his debut way back in 2003.

Disc one begins with a shoot interview in which the man in question talks openly about how his wrestling career began before moving on to how he broke into Ring of Honor wearing those infamous furry boots and making HUSS chants, a homage to former WWE wrestler the Berzerker that got him over immediately.

Jacobs talks openly about his early problems with the company, how even though he was given a tag title run with B.J. Whitmer he didn’t really feel as if he was being used correctly, and how an earnest telephone conversation with booker Gabe Sapolsky changed his career in an instant.

It really is interesting to hear how someone who became one of the most controversial figures in the company during his tenure as the leader of the cult-like Age of the Fall faction struggled early on until he got together with some friends to make a music video that more or less catapulted him onto ROH’s main stage.

Of course, Jacob’s time in ROH will probably be best remembered for the aforementioned Age of the Fall and their somewhat controversial debut. The story of how this faction evolved makes for interesting viewing and shows how a booker and the talent involved can bounce ideas off each other to make something work.

But as the old saying goes all good things must come to an end, including the time when Jacobs knew that AOTF were finished, as he was with the company. Originally the plan was for him to stay away for three months, but that three months turned into two years for a variety of reasons, both personal and professional.

As far as the interview is concerned Jacobs comes across as a guy who seems happy with his place in the company and in the wrestling business. He knows that he’s not the greatest wrestler in the world, he knows his own strengths and limitations and has used them to carve out a successful career for himself.

Now while the interview segment itself is very interesting there’s also a ton of bonus features, including all of the Lacey segments and numerous Age of the Fall promos, and you’re probably thinking that this alone would make a great DVD. But before you go looking for this thing online I should tell you that there’s more, a lot more. In fact there are 11 matches from Jacobs’ ROH career, so it’s time to enter match review mode, and what better place to start than with the matches from…..

Disc One
June 28th, 2003
Four-way action kicks off this part of the collection as Jacobs goes up against B.J. Whitmer, Alex Shelley and Tony Marmaluke at Wrestlerave.

This was Jacobs’ debut match with the company, and the furry boots and his HUSS chants immediately got him over with the fans.

The match began with some nice exchanges between Shelley and Marmaluke until Jacobs tagged in. We then got to see some of the great exchanges between Jacobs and Shelley that our man mentioned during the interview. The guy certainly wasn’t kidding there.

Whitmer, the biggest man in the match, basically used everyone else as a punching bag, especially Shelley, before they moved on to the big brawl. There were several near falls for all four men until Whitmer took Jacobs down with a wrist clutch exploder suplex for the three count.

February 4th, 2005
Jacobs, now teaming with Whitmer, goes up against Pure Champion Jay Lethal and Samoa Joe for the Tag Team titles at The Best of the American Super Juniors.

Whitmer chose Jacobs as his partner after Dan Maff left the company while they were still champions, so if I’m not mistaken this was a match for the vacant titles and it was pretty darn good.

The exchanges between Jacobs and Lethal at the beginning were very well executed, and when Joe came into the match Jacobs began to play the role of the plucky underdog to perfection. Later on in the match Joe and Lethal took him down with some nice double team moves.

Eventually Whitmer managed to get into the match, and as the big moves came out and bodies began to fly around the ring Whitmer took Lethal down with a top rope wrist clutch exploder for the winning pin.

March 3rd, 2006
The team is no more as Jacobs takes on Whitmer at Dragon Gate Challenge. The furry boots are no more, and our man is now infatuated with Lacey.

I think the best way to describe this match would be amazing, and if it hadn’t been discussed in the interview I would never have known just how amazing it was.

The action itself was top notch. It was well played out, with Jacobs doing anything he could to please the woman he had a huge crush on.

It was one of those matches that looked like it could go either way, and it looked like we were going to get a big finish when Whitmer looked to take Jacobs down with a power bomb from the top rope.

Then it happened. Whitmer slipped, and both men came crashing down, but as they fell Whitmer managed to push Jacobs away from him so that his head hit the ropes before hitting the ring apron as they went down. As Jacobs said in the interview he would probably have ended up hitting the floor head first, and that one move probably saved his life.

The fall ended up breaking Whitmer’s ankle, but they didn’t know that then and instead of ending the match they went on. I had to wonder how Whitmer was able to walk let alone run as the match continued with Jacobs taking his man down with his contra code finisher.

That wasn’t enough for Lacey though as she ordered Jacobs to put Whitmer through the ringside table. But as Jacobs climbed to the top and blew his beloved a kiss Whitmer recovered and took Jacobs down with a suplex. He then ran the ropes and took his former partner down with a lariat for the winning pin.

Disc 2
June 23rd, 2006
Jacobs faces Whitmer once again, but this time around both of them are challenging Bryan Danielson for the World title in an elimination match at Throwdown.

This one went against the norm as far as three ways are concerned in the sense that there was very little double teaming.

It really was every man for himself at the start as one man would apply a hold before the third would pull the second away and apply a hold of his own.

It wasn’t long before it settled into a regular kind of three way match, with everyone, and Danielson in particular, putting in hard hitting performances. It was during these exchanges that we saw the first of only two double team moves as Jacobs and Whitmer used their old tag team finisher, with Jacobs taking Danielson down with a hurricanrana off Whitmer’s shoulders.

The second double team move brought about the first elimination. Jacobs and Whitmer had been struggling with each other on the top rope, with Whitmer intent on power bombing Jacobs into the crowd, something he’d actually done the week before.

But as Jacobs stopped this attempt Danielson came forward and grabbed Whitmer’s legs. They then took him out together, with Jacobs adding his Contra Code finisher to Danielson’s powerbomb, with both men getting the pin.

This left Danielson alone with Jacobs, and although things started out on friendly terms Danielson soon unleashed his more aggressive side as he tried to take Jacobs out. That particular task proved to be quite hard, and with Lacey cheering him on at ringside Jacobs came back time and time again, even using the Cattle Mutilation at one point.

But the title win for the plucky underdog was never meant to be. After Danielson survived the Contra Code he came back and locked in the crossface chicken wing for the submission win.

February 24th, 2007
Jacobs takes on Colt Cabana in a Windy City Death Match at Fifth Year Festival: Chicago.

This situation came about because of, like many other situations in wrestling, a woman. Cabana had tried to convince Jacobs that his beloved Lacey was no good for him, but Jacobs was having none of it. A violent feud ensued, which led to this particular match.

As you may have guessed from the title of this match it wasn’t a technical classic. In fact it was a weapons-strewn bloodbath, and a very entertaining one at that.

These two hit, and at times stabbed, each other with anything they could get their hands on, be it scissors, a railway spike, pieces of a broken flagpole, and the obligatory tables, ladders and chairs.

It was absolutely brutal, with both mean wearing the crimson mask for the majority of the match, although Cabana looked far worse than Jacobs.

We also had our fair share of interference. Lacey tried to punch Cabana down below early on but ended up brawling to the backstage area with Daizee Haze. Moments later Brent Albright attacked Cabana on Jacobs’ behalf, only to be met later on by B.J. Whitmer, his situation with Jacobs still unresolved.

That didn’t stop the brutality though, and having survived being put through a table when Jacobs had a Hardy Boy moment Cabana took the win after he’d taken both Jacobs and Lacey down with his Colt 45 finisher.

March 31st, 2007
Jacobs faces Whitmer once again, this time in a steel cage match at Supercard of Honor II.

If anything this was even more brutal than the Cabana encounter. With the cage door left open it meant that ringside helpers cheered on by Lacey and Daizee Haze could call for various weapons to be introduced into the proceedings, weapons which added to the brutality and gore content.

Along with the obligatory chair we also had a duelling railway spike spot which introduced the crimson masks into the match. As the blood readily flowed from the head of both men a barb wire baseball bat entered the mix, increasing the blood content even further when Jacobs clobbered Whitmer in the arm.

As the match went on Lacey tried to interfere when she jumped into the cage, only for Whitmer to take her down with a sit-down piledriver. A few moments later he almost had a Jimmy Snuka moment when he climbed to the top of the cage. The only problem was that Jacobs rolled out of the way when he came down with a frog splash.

It was then Jacobs’ turn to have a Snuka moment, and after a brief struggle he put Whitmer onto a table and came crashing down from the top of the cage with a back splash. A three count in what was left of the table gave Jacobs and win and earned both men a standing ovation.

December 1st, 2007
Jacobs, now leader of the Age of the Fall, faces Danielson once again, this time in singles competition at Unscripted III.

After the brutality of the death and cage matches it was somewhat refreshing to see some good old fashioned mat action. Danielson outwrestled Jacobs early on, frustrating Jacobs to the point where he took his somewhat distracting knee brace off.

The Dragon continued to frustrate his man until Lacey appeared to distract the referee. This gave Jacobs the opportunity to introduce his trusty old railway spike into the match.

As Danielson’s blood began to flow Jacobs took control, and in one particularly brutal moment he dropkicked Danielson’s head into the ring post before putting him through a chair with a dive over the top rope.

Dragon kept coming back though, and he soon went back to his submission game as he attempted to put Jacobs away with the Cattle Mutilation and his version of the triangle choke.

Finally, Danielson tried the back superplex from the top rope. Jacobs was having none of this and took Danielson down with a top rope DDT before moving seamlessly into his End Time guillotine choke. Danielson tried to fight it for as long as he could until the referee called for the bell to give Jacobs the submission win.

December 30th, 2007
Jacobs teams with Tyler Black, aka current WWE star Seth Rollins, to challenge the Briscoes for the Tag Team titles at Final Battle 2007.

With Lacey and Daizee Haze watching on from ringside this one began with some brief exchanges before the action spilled out to the floor. It was there that the brothers launched Jacobs high into the air with a hip toss onto the ramp.

This left Black alone for a few minutes as the Briscoes took him apart with a variety of great double team moves. But when Jacobs eventually got back into the match the tide turned as the bad guys took control.

From there we saw a ton of great action, and surprisingly there wasn’t any interference from the girls at ringside. Instead there were loads of great exchanges as both teams came close to getting the win.

But after Mark nearly took Jacobs out with his Cutthroat driver the bad guys took control again. Black took Jay out with a powerbomb into the ring barriers before giving Jacobs give Jay a top rope powerbomb-assisted Contra Code. Black then connected with a 450 splash from the top rope before both men covered their fallen foe for the title winning pin.

April 18th, 2008
Jacobs and Black defend their Tag Team titles against Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley, the Motor City Machine Guns, at Tag Wars 2008.

Now this was a match, a near 30 minute encounter packed with a ton of back and forth action and tremendous drama.

It had quite a back story as well. With Jacobs and Shelley having started their ROH careers career Jacobs wanted to take on his former travelling companion because he’d become a big TV star, so a match between ROH’s champs and one of TNA’s best ever teams was set for the Guns’ hometown of Detroit.

You really couldn’t beat this one for action and excitement. All four men put on tremendous performances in the type of tag match you hardly see on the main stage these days.

Sabin and Shelley looked awesome as a team as they pulled off their usual array of double team moves. It was a sad reminder of how much they’re missed from TNA’s tag division, a division which now seems to be made up of makeshift teams.

Black and Jacobs weren’t far behind them performance-wise, and it was all of these ingredients put together that made this match so good.

All of the big moves were there, particularly towards the end during the mass brawl, and after all of the high spots and the high flying it was a submission move that ended the match when Shelley tapped out to Jacobs’ End Time to give the champions the win.

November 22nd, 2008
It’s back to singles action for Jacobs as he takes on Austin Aries in an I Quit match.

This one was slightly different to regular I Quit matches. Although it could end with either man saying the magic words Jacobs had a towel-holding Tyler Black in his corner.

This situation began when Aries convinced Lacey to leave Jacobs. Our boy was none too happy with the situation, and the last time Lacey was seen was when Jacobs and his cronies attacked her.

As for the match it was another example of how Jacobs could move from one type of match to another because this was another of those brutal blood letting encounters.

The toys came into play early when Jacobs hit Aries with the chain they’d used in their previous dog collar match. Jacobs went on to brutalize Aries with it, busting him open before tying him to a chair in the middle of the ring.

Jacobs then looked to take the violence level up a notch with his railway spike. It was then that Lacey appeared on the scene as she jumped onto the ring apron, towel in hand.

Jacobs went nuts and threatened to put the spike in Aries’ throat unless she threw in the towel. Lacey, although tempted, refused to do this, and while all of this was going on Aries freed himself and came back into the match, eventually tying Jacobs up in the corner so he could deliver his own brand of punishment.

As the action went on both men went through a table after a struggle on the top rope, with Aries taking the upper hand after they’d recovered. When his Last Chancery hold didn’t work he grabbed the discarded railway spike and applied a crossface. Black then looked like he was about to throw in the towel when Lacey grabbed it from him.

Then the brutality level was taken up another notch when Aries repeatedly stabbed Jacobs in the head with the spike. That was enough as Jacobs quickly said the magic words to end the match and give Aries the win.

June 26th, 2009
It’s the final match of the collection. The team of Jacobs and Black are no more, and the Age of the Fall are on their last legs as they faced each other in a steel cage at Violent Tendencies.

Although this was a very entertaining match with good performances from both men it’s also the weakest match of the collection. It lacks that “it” factor that made the other grudge matches in this collection so good.
It began with Jacobs trying to stop Black from getting into the cage, with Black clearing the way by smashing the door into his ex-leader’s face.

From there the blood quickly flowed, although not up to the levels of the Whitmer encounter. Both men used the cage to good effect, but it wasn’t long before Jacobs found his old railway spike and used it for the first time.

Later on, when Black managed to get hold of the spike Jacobs brought a second spike into the match, which meant a return of the duelling spikes spot.

The move of the night came when Black had his Snuka moment. After placing Jacobs on a table that Jacobs himself had introduced into the cage Black climbed to the top of the structure and came down with a splash that old Superfly would have been proud of, putting Jacobs through the table. A three count later and Black had the winning pin.

It was then that an ear-piercing scream was heard and countless masked men jumped the guard rail and stormed into the cage to attack Black. Jacobs then grabbed the microphone to announce that the Age of the Fall wasn’t dead before his followers carried him out of the cage as if he was some sort of religious saviour.

In conclusion - having watched numerous collections of this kind over the past few years I find it somewhat refreshing that Ring of Honor have paid tribute to someone who hasn’t gone on to work for either WWE or TNA.

This collection is a timely of how good Jimmy Jacobs is. Even though he may never appear on the bigger stages his body of work in ROH rings certainly compares favourably to many of his more illustrious counterparts. It showed that you can put him in any kind of match and against any kind of opponent and he’d give a stand-out performance every time.

So with all of that being said it’s time to wrap this review up by giving this release the big thumbs up.

With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. From Love to Hate: The Jimmy Jacobs Story is available to buy online at www.rohwrestling.com.

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