Ring of Honor is on the agenda again as we go back in time to last February as S.C.U.M. take on three of ROH's finest on the DVD release of Honor vs. Evil.
Singles action was the order of the day for the majority of the card, beginning with Q.T. Marshall taking on Jay Briscoe.
This was the first of the veterans versus up and comers matches. It was the usual short and sweet opener began with Marshall endearing himself to the locals, but when Briscoe arrived on the scene he found himself in a woodshed situation for a few moments.
Marshall soon came back for a few fleeting moments of offence as he put together a string of nice moves, but when he was about to go for his finisher Briscoe back dropped his way out of trouble before securing the pin after the Jay driller.
Then it was on to Tadarius Thomas against Jay Lethal.
This was a very enjoyable encounter. The exchanges they put together early on were great, and as the match went on Thomas showed that he was more than capable of hanging with his more illustrious opponent.
Lethal, on the eve of his World title challenge, was clearly the more aggressive of the two, although he found it hard to cope at times with Thomas' rather unique kicks. But despite this the former TV Champion was able to overcome those odds when he took his man down with the Lethal injection for the winning pin.
Then it was the turn of the younger Briscoe as Mark took on Nate Webb.
If I'm to be perfectly honest this wasn't my favourite Mark Briscoe match. There were times where the action seemed a little disjointed, and their little comedy routine at the beginning didn't exactly float my boat.
Things got a little better when they put together some nice sequences, but the over-reliance on their somewhat goofy personas meant that overall things seemed a little spoiled.
Like his brother before him Briscoe emerged victorious in this one, taking the pin after coming down on Webb with the froggy elbow.
It was back to vets versus up and comers next as ACH went up against Roderick Strong.
Now this was good, and I mean really good. I half expected this to be a one-sided affair in favour of Strong, but in truth it was far from that.
ACH pulled off some good moves early on, and he even tried to engage Strong in a chopping contest. I think you can guess who won that one. Strong soon took control of the action though, and with his hard-hitting offence coupled with sound technical moves it looked like young ACH was going to be in for a long night.
But despite Strong's best efforts ACH managed to come back into the match with some unique high flying moves, and for a while it looked like the newbie could actually get the upset win, especially when he took Strong down with a rewind hurricanrana, only for the former champion to put his foot on the bottom rope when he was pinned.
A few moments later a missed 450 splash from the top rope led to ACH's downfall. Strong lifted his man up into a suplex then brought him down into another of his numerous backbreaker variations. A three count later and he had the win.
After Truth Martini's Hoopla interview segment it was the turn of Charlie Haas as he faced Pepper Parks.
Once again Haas came into the arena doing his best Stone Cold/Sandman impression as he chugged a few beers before taking to the microphone to bad mouth anything and everything, including his opponent. It was then that Parks surprised him by diving over the top rope and taking him out at ringside.
Haas had clearly underestimated Parks, but after a few moments of offence the Outlaw finally took control, mixing in some sound technical wrestling with strikes delivered with bad intentions.
The former tag champ had certainly silenced the crowd, although he became quite frustrated at his inability to put Parks away. That frustration grew when Parks made his comeback, but a backbreaker-like move onto the top of the guardrail halted his progress somewhat.
Haas then went looking for his case of beer, intent on using it as a weapon, but when the referee grabbed it from him Haas pushed him down. The official then spent the next couple of moments cleaning up the cans while Haas threw beer in Parks' face, so when the referee had finished his housekeeping duties the first thing he saw was Haas rolling Parks up for the winning pin.
That wasn't the end of Haas' night though. When a fan sprayed beer on him Haas kicked him in the head before swinging him against the guardrail numerous times, leaving the guy lying on the floor before pouring his final brewski on him.
The penultimate match saw Kyle O'Reilly taking on B.J. Whitmer.
Can I use my "now this was good" line again? Hell, why not. Now this was good. Real good. It was a proverbial master class from start to finish, a hard-hitting affair with a huge amount of technical mastery mixed in.
For me this was a match that proves that O'Reilly is no longer in Davey Richards' shadow. He more than held his own against Whitmer, and then some. As the old saying goes it takes two to tango, and without O'Reilly Whitmer wouldn't have had such a great foil.
It was obvious early on what sort of match we were going to get when O'Reilly launched himself off the ring apron and connected with a missile dropkick while Whitmer tried to recover on a chair at ringside. From there these two beat the proverbial out of each other, and even after numerous pin attempts from both sides it looked like this was going to go on for a while.
The heat was taken up a notch when the action spilled out to ringside once more, and when Whitmer took O'Reilly down with an exploder suplex against the barricade it looked all over. Far from it though, as O'Reilly managed to kick out of the following pin before coming back into the match and synching in his arm bar.
Whitmer wasn't ready to give up though as he powerbombed his way out before synching in his own unique chokehold for the submission win.
The main event was the six man elimination match, with the ROH All-Stars team of TV Champion Adam Cole, Davey Richards and Michael Elgin taking on SCUM's Steve Corino, Jimmy Jacobs and World Champion Kevin Steen.
This was certainly more dramatic than any Survivor Series match. It was jam packed with drama, a well played out injury angle, and a mass brawl that almost saw the end of the match itself. Oh, and it had some good performances as well. As for the eliminations…..
Cole was the first man "eliminated". During one of the mass brawls Corino and Jacobs took him down with a spiked piledriver on the floor. A few moments later he was helped to the back, unable to continue because of a neck injury.
Richards was next. With Elgin having taken a ton of punishment he finally made the hot tag to Richards. The American Wolf came and promptly cleaned house, applying a leg lock to Steen and an ankle lock to Jacobs at the same time. It was then that Corino clobbered him with a roll of coins while the referee's back was turned, and when Steen took him down with his package piledriver it was all over for him.
This left Elgin alone against three people, or so we thought. Just as he was taking Jacobs down with a superplex Cole returned to the ring, and after attacking Corino he soon tagged himself in and took it to Steen. But after he took the champion down with his Florida Keys suplex Corino pulled the referee out of the ring as he made his count. Jacobs then jumped in and hit him in the groin with his railway spike before Steen took him down with the F5. A now recovered official then made it back into the ring to make the three count.
Now an exhausted Elgin was left alone against three men, but that didn't stop him putting up a fight, as was evident when he took Corino out with a buckle bomb, followed up by a sit-down powerbomb for the pin, with Jacobs following to the same combination mere seconds later.
This left the two big men against each other as Elgin showed just what a powerhouse he is by taking Steen down with two dead lift back suplexes. A short time later a chain-wielding Corino tried to get back into the ring until Jay Lethal appeared on the scene to stop him. All of this was enough to distract Elgin as Steen rolled him up from behind for the three count and win.
That wasn't the end of things though. A brief staredown between Steen and his next challenger Lethal was followed by an attack from Corino and Jacobs, with the Briscoes running in to make the save.
As for the extras, these come in the form of a few comments from Jay Lethal and B.J. Whitmer, as well as a bonus match from National Pro Wrestling Day with the Briscoes defending the World Tag Team titles against SCUM's Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs.
In conclusion - I have to admit that I've been a little down on ROH and some of their recent DVD releases, which they seem to regard as house shows these days. The shows have been good, but not up to the standard they've set over the past few years.
Honor vs. Evil is an example of that. Don't get me wrong, it's a very good show, and I really enjoyed the veterans versus up and comers aspect of the majority of the singles matches. It's just that these releases have lost something, that certain spark. Or maybe it's because it's obvious that there's not going to be any sort of game changing event at these house shows, such as an unexpected title change.
As for my match of the night no-prize there were a couple of main contenders, but the winner of this prestigious no-prize goes to the Roderick Strong/ACH encounter.
So with all of that out of the way there's just one more thing left to do, and that's to give this release the thumbs up.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. ROH Honor vs. Evil is available to buy online at www.rohwrestling.com.