Reported by Ben Hagen of WrestleView.com
Hagen's Artful Analysis #23: ROH Milestone Series Review Part 7 -Last One
On Sunday, July 23, 2006 at 3:15 AM EST It has of course, been a while since my last column, and I do apologize. Even so, let’s round up this Milestone Series business before it becomes too late in the year for it to matter. Without further ado . . . the final installment . . .
ROH 100th Show 04.22.06 (Philadelphia, PA)
Match #1: Christopher Daniels vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Good lord . . . okay . . . I’ll give it a shot. Heeeey! Shoot me in the head! In order to distract us from crappy wrestling, Jimmy Bower interrupts commentary to tell us a bit of useless history. I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit hostile as I write this. Anyway, these two re-enact a fifth grade dance recital for six minutes before Claudio applies a grounded horse collar forcing the Fallen Angel to the ropes. Daniels returns the favor moments later with some sort of leg lock that I’ve seen Goldberg apply better before we are treated to yet another round of the art of dance. After swinging their partner round-and-round, Claudio hoists Daniels for the stupidest vertical suplex in the history of wrestling (and I’m not speaking in hyperbole). Thankfully the CZW fans chant, “You still suck!" or something similar. I agree. Anyway, Daniels mounts a heroic comeback with a basement dropkick to Castagnoli’s left knee. Who wouldn’t want to watch Chris Daniels “work over" the leg of Claudio Castagnoli to dueling chants? *crickets chirp* . . . *pin drops* . . . *a tumbleweed rolls across a desert scene* . . . Claudio fights through some horrid “Ow! My leg!" stuff about thirteen minutes in and hits a diving European uppercut off the second rope. Back and forth . . . near falls . . . blah . . . Daniels slips out of the Alpamare Waterslide, takes about two and a half minutes to get in position, and rolls up Claudio so that the referee can count down his shoulders from about twenty-five feet away. Thankfully it is over at 15:55.
This is a bad match, but it is a typical match that gets “Oh, this was a good opener" type stuff from most reviews. There is “smart" work (trading leg holds before Daniels focuses on Claudio’s leg . . . Claudio getting “revenge" with his horse collar later . . . Daniels hurting himself performing a chinbreaker [dear lord help me] . . . and other such stuff that makes me want to jump in front of a speeding semi-truck). There is also tons of “crappy" work: (1) Why in the world would someone want to waste a minute of a match holding up a guy in a vertical suplex? Why? Why? Why? (2) How is an Arabian Press to someone’s leg more effective than just kicking it? (3) ad infinitum. I’m biased. I’m crabby. You might like it. So be it: *.
We get promo afterwards I could care less about.
Match #2 – Four Corner Survival: Jimmy Jacobs vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Jimmy Delirious vs. Jimmy Yang
As per usual, Delirious sits in the corner until the bell rings. The twenty seconds he takes to run around the ring is more entertaining the entire opening match. That isn’t because I haven’t seen him do it before or because the crowd is molten for it. It is just the plain fact that I enjoy watching a masked weirdo run laps and chew a elevator cable more than watching two guys do-si-do while trying to make me believe they’re actually fighting. Moving on, J. Yang and J. Jacobs start thing off, but J. Yang wants J. Rave. J. Rave, however, is a cowardly heel and doesn’t want to get in the ring. For some reason J. Yang humps a picture of Lacey (even though he hates~! J. Rave) which incites J. Jacobs to go hog wild on him . . . for a few seconds anyway. Jimmy Delirious enters the match moments later, and LOOK! he’s funny and talks jibberish! Did you guys know that J. Yang could pull out a spin kick? Anyway, J. Rave tags in about six minutes in because his arch rival J. Yang is down on the mat and he’s cowardly.
Jimmy Bower: I’ll be blowing plenty of kisses at ROH Videos.com after Jimmy Jacobs wins [referring to Lacey’s stipulation that if Jacobs wins she’d take off her clothes ONLINE . . . SHE’S AN ATHLETE!! SHE DOESN’T NEED TO TAKE OFF HER CLOTHES TO . . . shut the hell up Dave Prazak]. I might be blowing something else!
Is Bower admitting to self-fellatio here? Anyway . . . J. Rave and J. Jacobs stick their fingers in J. Yang’s nose for a while (he does get kicked in the head by J. Haze at one point) until a double clothesline over ten minutes in allows him to tag J. Jacobs at the same time J. Rave tags J. Delirious. Closing stretch: J. Jacobs at one point has J. Yang defeated with the Contra Code but refuses to cover for the three count . . . he doesn’t want everyone to see J. Lacey naked! Get it? Anyway, J. Delirious tags in and applies the Cobra Stretch to J. Jacobs and gets the victory at 13:00.
Better match. Not a good match, but a fine one. I’m just glad they didn’t forget legal man rules because that’s really all I care about with these sorts of matches. Eh . . . Yang’s antics with the Lacey poster seems strange and unprovoked, but it offers good incentive for Jacobs and Rave to team up on him . . . but not much incentive for Jacobs to accept the tag from Yang later in the match. Anyway, I liked the nose picking, Yang’s bleeding nose, his fire near the end before getting Up-Up-Down-Downed, but I could have used a bit more considering how bad a taste the first match left in my mouth. Yay! Jimmy Delirious won again! How amazing . . . I guess he deserves World Title Shots now: **.
Match #3 – ROH Tag Title Match: Austin Aries / Roderick Strong vs. Homicide / Ricky Reyes
Homicide cuts the best promo on this DVD (screw the Danielson and Cornette garbage). It is short, to the point, contains the phrase “Ring of Homicide," and refers to same-sex fellatio. See? All the details are there: cleverness, brevity, and a gay sex joke. No need to drag these things out. Anyway, Strong and Reyes start things out . . . Aries tags in . . . Reyes tags out . . . Homicide and Aries wrestle (sort of). Strong and Aries trade off on Homicide (no gay jokes please), until Reyes attacks Aries illegally ramming his leg into the guardrail. Homicide and Reyes trade off on Aries (no gay jokes please) until Aries tags in Strong who comes in looking like a house just after a fire has been put out (that simile doesn’t make any sense, but just go with it). Anyway, we get some awkward stuff leading to some brawling out on the floor eleven minutes in. Homicide oddly double stomps Strong through the ring side table and then just walks away to get in the ring . . . apparently he doesn’t want to win the titles. And why would he? Seriously, answer me. Aries gets tagged shortly thereafter, but gets killed with a Homicide lariat minutes later (Strong luckily breaks up the pin cover). Reyes locks in the Dragon Sleeper on Strong afterwards (who isn’t the legal man), but gets surprised with a 450 splash from Aries. Gen Next take it in 15:11.
Another bad match. Aries has horrible chemistry with Homicide, and never was really in the ring with Reyes (whom he has pretty good chemistry with). Strong isn’t that good anyway. Homicide seemed goofy and off. Reyes was really the only one who seemed to be trying here. They didn’t screw with legal man stuff (too much . . . the ref didn’t seem to be paying attention, but at least the workers were). Still, this was worse than the four corner survival which is utterly disappointing considering how much I was looking forward to this match. I liked the Reyes / Homicide duo in the Scramble at “Arena Warfare" and liked Aries / Reyes well enough from “Best in the World." Homicide has mostly just been good for beating up Cabana in recent months, so I guess I wasn’t prepared for him to be off the map. Strong looked bad in the last tag defense (I think a petition needs to be started to ban the leg lariat from ROH), but pretty much rules the two shows before that. So it beats me what the hell was going on here: *.
Match #4 – ROH World Title Match: Bryan Danielson vs. Colt Cabana
Apparently Cabana earned this shot after beating Homicide decisively . . . um, once (never mind that Homicide beat him over and over again). Good job. Anyway, Cabana gives a thumbs up to the CZW fans. Danielson bends over for the CZW fans (no gay jokes please). They lock up, but the fans apparently think berating the CZW bleachers with a reminder that “Hero tapped out!" is more fun than paying attention. Anyway, Cabana nails some shoulder blocks like three minutes in and attempts a quick pinfall, but Danielson gets his shoulder up. After another lock-up, Cabana attempts some more roll ups, but Danielson returns the favor and wins it in exactly 5:00.
Don’t blink ROH fans! If you’re more worried about Chris Hero tapping out in January than a ROH World Title match in the ring, you might just get the rugged pulled out from under you . . . oh wait! You did! Best match of the night thus far. Why? Because Danielson and Cabana managed to wrestle five minutes as if they were going to go for a good twenty more. The actual work was good . . . not necessarily great, but entertaining enough to bring me out of my crabbiness a little bit. I wish Danielson wrestled more matches like this. We need him no selling people like Azrieal and beating guys like Cabana in five minutes and moonsaulting off the top rope to gloat more often: **1/2.
Match #5: Derrick Dempsey vs. Pelle Primeau
Okay. Primeau is small . . . survives for a little while, and gets slapped in the face nearly two minutes in. A back suplex moments later earns Dempsey a near fall (should have been the finish). Primeau bounces around a bit more but gets drilled with a spinebuster. Derrick bridges into a pin attempt for the victory at 2:19.
Um . . . ½*? If you really care all that much, you’re more than welcome to do a compilation of reviews for matches under 3 minutes. Jimmy Rave vs. Pelle Primeau is still the best one in this series though.
Match #6 – ROH World Title Match: Bryan Danielson vs. Delirious
Danielson comes out, we get what has been deemed an “awesome" promo . . . It would have been awesome had he not pandered so much to the ROH fans. If he had ripped on both of them? Man, that would have ruled (in a way I guess he sort of did . . . but oh well). Instead, we get more of Danielson’s pseudo-heel schtick (albeit pretty entertaining) before he calls out Delirious. Delirious comes out, hums the “Final Count Down," and gets plastered in the face with a slap. For the next several minutes, Danielson “beats up" Jimmy Delirious. Through various stretches and stuff, this match surpasses the impressive length of the previous World Title match, and the World Champion nails a dropkick for a near fall six and a half minutes in. Dangerous. Danielson sets up the challenger on the ropes, but Delirious nails head butts and Shadows Over Hell to gain precious . . . um, time? Did you know that light is ageless? J. Delirious, not ageless, strings together some offense (and a primal scream), but gets caught in Cattle Mutilation shortly thereafter. A Tango and Two-Step later, Danielson sends Delirious into the guard rail, sets him up for an airplane spin (out on the floor? no!) before sending him head first into the ring post. Blood. Well anyway, the champion shows some (w)ruthless aggression, eventually nailing a release Dragon Suplex thirteen and a half minutes in. Though Delirious dodges a headbutt off the top moments later, Danielson slips out of a superplex attempt, nails a back superplex of his own, and elbows his way to referee stoppage at 15:37.
Delirious’s hand is cut . . . too bad they couldn’t have incorporated that into the match. Shucks.
All crabbiness aside (for a few seconds), this is easily the best match of the show thus far. Danielson’s heel schtick about pretending to be a tough guy and pissed off and the complete opposite of what he really is (a nice, swell guy) is really entertaining. I love watching his facial reactions change mid Irish whip . . . or realizing that he shouldn’t be touching the official and then getting all pissed that he can’t hit Sinclair so he goes after Delirious. I dunno, that’s a horrible sentence, but you guys know what I mean. This is pretty fun . . . Delirious gets a bit of offense in, and Danielson just kind of does what he feels like. He picks on the CZW fans, hams up a heel act, rips at the cut on Delirious’s head, etc. I wonder what this match would be like set to “A Little Less Conversation"?: ***.
Match #7: The Briscoes vs. Matt Sydal / AJ Styles
Match starts out with the nasty Briscoe brothers attempting to sneak attack Sydal / Styles. The pretty boys will have nothing to do with that though and brush off the attack. The two teams trade offense for the first five minutes with some intense looking offense leading to stereo dives from Sydal and Styles. For some odd reason the Briscoes isolate Sydal immediately afterwards (though he isn’t the legal man). Sydal takes a beating for a while (to chorus of claps and dueling chants), but makes the tag to Styles nearly ten minutes in after hitting a nifty hurricanrana. Styles comes in with some usual and at-times-ugly looking stuff before the match kind of breaks down. At 11:15, Mark Briscoe nails a beautiful Doomsday Device (the highlight of the match . . . earning the dreaded blah blah awesome chant). The Briscoes kill Styles afterwards and eventually a spiked Jay Driller puts down Sydal with Mark getting the pin while Jay holds off AJ at 12:42.
Disappointing. There is some neat stuff here and there (the Doomsday Device is a thing of beauty), but over all it is way below some of the more fun stuff in this series. Styles / Sydal vs. Austin Aries / Strong and Aries / Evans are heads above this match though this one doesn’t quite mess with legal man stuff as much as the Briscoes vs. Strong / Evans match from “Best in the World" (which isn’t all that horrible . . . and is still a better match). The offense is pretty intense, but seems overdone at times for no apparent reason. For example, when Mark Briscoe chops Sydal in the corner, he swings so hard and puts all of his weight behind it that he nearly collides his entire body with Sydal. That seems a tad unnecessary. Picky? Go to hell. There were quite a few awkward moments (usually involving AJ . . . is Sydal better than Styles? Me thinks so), but overall it was fun enough. Not match of the night or anything, not all that good, but certainly not as offensive as some other stuff on this show: **1/2.
I guess I didn’t really give any good reasons for that star rating . . . but I don’t care. I thought I’d mention the Cornette / Zandig “debate," so here’s a play-by-play:
[Cornette]: I’ve been around forever. Midnight Express! Ric Flair!
[Cornette]: Gay joke. Cliché Cornette-ism.
[Zandig]: F-word. Smokey Mountain Wrestling.
[Cornette]: Peep show. Garbage wrestling.
[Zandig]: Shoot. F-word.
[Cornette]: Weedwackers suck. You’re a weedwacker. Funny joke. Scream.
[Zandig]: . . . F-word. This is stupid.
Match #8: Samoa Joe / Adam Pearce / BJ Whitmer vs. Chris Hero / Super Dragon / Necro Butcher
Joe’s music hits. That’s all that matters. That’s all I need in this world. Rather than offering a PBP, I’m just going to offer ten things (in order of occurrence) that I liked . . . I’m getting lazy . . . this is the last match of the last show of the Milestone Series and is pretty much the only reason to buy this show . . . get over it.
(1) Joe’s face before rushing the ring.
(2) Joe saying a quick hello to the CZW fans after hitting an early back splash on Hero.
(3) The look of sheer delight on Joe’s face after knocking Hero over the barricade with the Ole Ole kick [from here on out anything involving Hero / Joe will just be thought of as one thing].
(4) [The first one not involving Joe.] The massive amount of blood Pearce loses.
(5) The beautiful zoom-in job that slowly focused on the Joe / Necro war happening near six minutes in. Lovely. Joe’s face afterwards as he walked past Pearce should be the background on everyone’s computer.
(6) Joe attempting to murder Necro Butcher five minutes later or so by dropping him on two chairs after nailing a quick roaring elbow. The image of Chris Hero immediately afterwards is a stellar inclusion.
(7) Hero thinking he was a tough guy by nailing Whitmer from behind moments later . . . his war cry made me laugh out loud.
(8) On principle, I’m including the fist war between Butcher and Pearce. The crowd wasn’t exactly as into it as I would have liked, but they were still pretty vocal.
(9) This is sort of a late one . . . but Necro Butcher’s blood spattered shirt rules.
(10) Of course .. . the Psycho Driver is insane.
Oh yeah . . . Team CZW takes it at 25:25.
I think that’s about it. There’s plenty more Joe awesomeness, and Whitmer nails some great stuff on Super Dragon before taking a career-threatening neck bump, but I’ll leave those up to you to enjoy. There is some stuff I don’t care for . . . some portions of the match just drag, some of the boys get gassed, and Zandig beating down Joe at the end pissed the hell out of me. All that said, this is just a stellar war with brutality from bell to bell and a swerve that, though obvious to some, came off as surprising to the crowd. The finish on Pearce was weak, but good enough and not really all that important. Once Whitmer was murdered, Zandig entered, Sinclair was taken out, and Claudio turned, the match was academic. I love that Pearce got in a drop kick on Claudio before going down in defeat as it gave the crowd mini-hope even in sight of defeat. Tons of great stuff here. I was initially disappointed with this match given all the press, but after several viewings I absolutely adore it. I’m not sure on a rating . . . but I’ll go ***1/2 on it. Eh. Who cares anyway, the match is fun as hell.
Disappointing show overall (but not a horrible one I guess) that ends on a high note with the great CZW / ROH war. Finally we get a match out of this feud and it delivers intensely. There are some stinkers here, but I think the show may be worth the price of admission to fans of the Briscoes, people who like hearing gay jokes, seeing Danielson’s ass, and enjoy Daniels / Castagnoli arm wringer and arm drag dances of death. Here’s to you ROH! That’s it for the Milestone Series my dear readers and deep down (well, not really all that deep down), I’m happy it is over. Some might still love these shows more than I did, but I think overall the series disappoints me. Some great matches here and there (and the first two shows of the triple shot really delivered), but overall this didn’t exactly strike me as must-see material. To wrap up the series really quick:
(1) The second half of the Fourth Anniversary Show is pretty great.
(2) Danielson / Shelley from Arena Warfare is great . . . the rest mostly sucks.
(3) Best in the World doesn’t really have anything that stands out.
(4) Dragon Gate Challenge has some really good stuff. More than any of the first three shows.
(5) Supercard of Honor is a must-buy show. Enjoy!
(6) Better Than Our Best? Um, other than the 6 man tag and the World Title match . . . not really.
(7) 100th Show. Mileage will vary here, but the 6 man war is fantastic.
That’s it for now . . . back to some normal and shorter columns from here on out . . .