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Found 182 results

  1. G. Badger

    Best Match Watched - 2020

    Welcome to my Best Match Watched of 2020 celebration! We've got big stars appearing and a number of musical performances lined up tonight! Let's get this party started! Oh wait, never mind all of that...let's just get onto the Big List of my favorite stuff of that I've watched this year. In chronological order: Pre 1970's: Mighty Atlas vs Angelo Poffo (Chicago 1956) Honorable Mention, Very good match with nice action and pacing. Simple story but, well worked. 1970s & 80s: Tiger Mask vs Gran Hamada (11/05/81) Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82) Tiger Mask vs Black Tiger (05/26/82) Tiger Mask vs Bret Hart (07/30/82) Akira Nogami, Tatsutoshi Goto, K. Yamada, K. Hoshino & S. Koshinaka vs Hiroshi Hase, K. Kobayashi, Kensuke Sasaki, N. Honaga & H. Saito (04/27/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (04/27/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (05/27/88) Shiro Koshinaka vs Owen Hart (06/24/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (06/26/88) Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22/88) Shiro Koshinaka vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (8/08/88) Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08/88) 1990s & 2000s: American Dragon vs Low-Ki vs Christopher Daniels - Era of Honor Begins (2002) American Dragon vs Christopher Daniels - Round Robin Challenge (2002) Daniels vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002) American Dragon vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002) Jerry Lynn vs AJ Styles - Road to the Title (2002) American Dragon vs AJ Styles - All Star Extravaganza (2002) Low Ki vs American Dragon vs Steve Corino vs Samoa Joe Final Battle (2002) Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005) Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans FIP Strong vs Evans (2005) KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) KENTA vs Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (ROH In Your Face 2006) Low Ki (Senshi) vs Chris Sabin (TNA Bound for Glory 2006) Honorable Mention, An action packed match with 0 TNA bullshit to spoil it. Golden era X Division stuff. Daisuke Sekimoto vs Manabu Nakanishi (BJW 2007) Honorable Mention, A very good to great match that told a great story that that fans & myself could believe. Precursor to the BJW Strong Style revival stuff. 2010 to present: Sami Callihan vs Tommy End (wXw 16 Carat 2011) El Generico vs Kotaro Suzuki (same) El Generico & Emil Sitoci vs Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly " Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan " Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. " Daisuke Sekimoto vs El Generico " Cole & O'Reilly vs Sabre Jr. & Scurll " Sami Callihan vs Big Van Walter " KENTA, K. Kanemoto, Minoru Tanaka, Kanemaru & Genba vs Devitt, Taguchi, K. Suzuki, Nakajima & KAI - All Together (2011) Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - All Together (2011) Fred Yehi vs Tracy Williams ROH Pure Title tournament (2020) Mark Haskins vs Alex Shelley (ROH TV 02/20): Honorable Mention, excellent chain wrestling by Shelley and a good fit for Haskins hybrid style. Crowd actually was into this match which can be tough for live ROH crowds nowadays. -THE BEST of the BEST!- Pre 1970's...well I only watched a few pre 1970's matches and well Mighty Atlas vs Angelo Poffo (Chicago 1956) was the best of the bunch. The rest of my picks are going to be a little more difficult so, I think I'll do a top 3 or top 5 for the others. Then...just maybe will I actually able to narrow it down. 1970s & 80s: Clearly I was all about NJPW in the 80's although I did dip my toe in AJPW a couple times later in the year. They had some good 6 man matches (British Bulldogs w. Kobashi), I didn't see anything that could touch NJPW. Tiger Mask vs Gran Hamada (11/05/81) Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22/88) Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08/88) 1990s & 2000s: And now we enter the Ring of Honor K-hole I was lost in for awhile. Hey, I'm glad I took that journey. I was pretty ignorant of Year One ROH and got me excited to keep watching their current stuff. Plus is encouraged me to check out the sister company FIP which I've been digging. Also, I have made some purchases that have fill in some gaps in my DVD collection. I hope to be hitting up a couple of those for 2021. So, my list boils down to these: American Dragon vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002) Low Ki vs American Dragon vs Steve Corino vs Samoa Joe (2002) - Perhaps a controversial pick against the Era of Honor Begins but, I think this has the action along with the story lines Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005) KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) KENTA vs Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (ROH In Your Face 2006) 2010 to present: There's a good chunk from the wXw 2011 tournament here but, what can I say? It was a great show. Perhaps similar to the Ted Petty Invitational 2004. Sami Callihan vs Tommy End (wXw 16 Carat 2011) El Generico vs Kotaro Suzuki Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - All Together (2011) The runners up: Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82) - a long technical match with beautiful chain wrestling - counters, escapes, reversals, and counter reversals...distinct from his matches with Baby Face, Hamada, Blackman but, still was athletic and exciting as we've come to expect. KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) - Felt like a late 1990's AJPW Four Corners tag classic Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan - I think this match best encapsulates the awesome hard hitting style that both guys showed all 3 days. I didn't rate it as a classic at the time but, both guys have stuck in my mind all year. Here's my top 3 and I'm just going by my gut: Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) - This was timeless stuff to me. A heavenly dream battle...great grappling, wonderfully engaging storytelling, and a real sense of rivalry. Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005) - I got an out of body feeling when watching this match that was very similar to the first time I saw Kobashi vs Misawa's matches from 1997. Maybe it was the mild hype that lower my expectations but, this blew my mind. Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. (wXw 2011) - As hard as Sasaki & Sami were in the tourney, these two went beyond that. Davey really only does one thing but, when he's in there with the right person it can be awesome. It has grappling, strikes, nice counters & escapes all with an aggressive pace. Best Wrestler: Fujinami was killing it in '88. Tiger Mask given the right opponent was working magic. Sami, Yoshihito Sasaki, and El Generico were on fire during the wXw tourney in 2011. But I'm going to give it to American Dragon Bryan Danielson specifically for his work in 2002 in ROH. A natural baby face to Daniels' gimmick and Ki's natual demeanor, Dragon is relatable in addition to being a fantastic in ring worker. He has a grip of classic matches but, also elevates his tournament matches into something you want to see as well. Best Surprise: Yoshihito Sasaki was pretty much unknown to me other than a character in Fire Pro Returns but, he's a guy I want to be on the look out for in the future. Seeing as I got a 4 disc Best of BJW in 2006 set, the future might be pretty soon! But, I think the best surprise of this year was Full Impact Pro being pretty great wrestling. I watched their Unstoppable 2007 DVD a few years ago and for the first time a few years before that and it didn't "wow" me. I think my expectations were too high or something. As I watched it again, I saw stuff that I don't think I appreciated in the past. From that I've seen some really great stuff including Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans which is a lost "ROH" classic to me. I'm looking forward to getting back to FIP Fridays! Looking forward to: Tackling the mountain of DVDs I've got - AJPW, BJW, NOAH, NJPW, ROH and more including FIP. Duh right? But I'm also swinging back to FMW and specifically 1998 which may be their very best year. I've already watched a handful of matches (although I'm not including them on this year's list) and I am NOT disappointed. Thank you so much for reading this year! Its been a really crappy 365 days but, I hope I was able to give you a little bit of fun and inspiration. Let's hope for a better new year! Stay safe and keep watching wrestling!
  2. I would have loved to been able to get a new FIP show watched this week. My job in online retail has been absolute bonkers though. It is usually pretty bad just because its the holiday season. This year has been especially rough due to the pandemic. I thought maybe people would be chill since folks have been home and able to online shop probably more now than ever. So perhaps they shopped early...I don't know what I was thinking! Hahaha maybe it was wishful thinking. Anyhow, I wasn't able to watch more Full Impact Pro this week but, I've assembled my watch list for the remaining DVDs. I snagged a new on during Highspots Black Friday sale. I was supposed to get a second one but, it was sold out and I got a refund. Bummer but, it was one I was on the fence about so, I'm not to sad. I wanted to put this list together for folks interest in what's out there beyond what I have already reviewed. As of writing this, these are still available on Highspots website. They usually do an after Xmas sale or a New Years Sale so, if you're interest in scooping a few up I wanted to give a heads up on what I'm digging. So if we have the same tastes then maybe this will help you without having to wait for my slow ass to watch all of these Fallout 2006 The Heartbreak Express vs. Jaison Moore & Bobby Hopkins, Jr. - will skip Black Market vs. Jerrelle Clark & Jon Davis - worth checking out Chasyn Rance vs. Canadian Cougar - will skip Seth Delay vs. Steve Madison - ehhh might check out...perhaps Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Sal Rinauro & Erick Stevens - yeah looking forward to this. Sal & Erick are good stuff in this setting for sure. Matt Sydal vs. Shingo - Sydal was wrestling Dragon Gate and ROH had their DG matches so, this is one to watch Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards (FIP Heavyweight Title #1 Contenders Match) - Can't go wrong with this match especially in this small setting Bryan Danielson & Cyber Kong vs. Davey Richards & Roderick Strong - Other than Cyber Kong this would be a main event on a ROH 2006 B-show. Swap Delirious in for Kong and there you go! Second Year Spectacular Night 1 *(the listing is reverse on Highspots so the main event is at the top)* Davey Richards vs. Delirious w/Dave Prazak - Speaking of Delirious - yup this should be good stuff Jerrelle Clark vs. Jay Briscoe - Interesting to see Jerrelle this high up but, I'm all for it. Roderick Strong vs. Cyber Kong w/Dave Prazak - I'll watch it but, Cyber Kong is an unknown to me. Could go either way... Steve Madison, Chasyn Rance & Kenny King vs. Erick Stevens, Roderick Strong & Seth Delay - Yeah, a 6 man match...this should be fun Mark Briscoe vs. Canadian Cougar - I'm watching it for Mark. Allison Danger vs. Lacey - Yup I'm down for this. Its been awhile since I've seen either wrestle. Black Market vs. Colt Cabana & Sal Rinauro - I liked Black Market from Unstoppable 2007 and Cabana & Rinauro are a fun team. I might watch this whole show! New Years Classic 2007 Kenny King vs. Seth Delay - Maybe based on Kenny King Claudio Castagnoli vs. Shane Hagadorn - Probably will skip but, this is probably a squash The Heartbreak Express vs. Shiima Xion & Pelle Primeau - same as above Sal Rinauro vs. Gran Akuma - yeah, I think I'll watch this. Black Market vs. Steve Madison & Chasyn Rance - Not crazy about this match but, we'll see how I feel when I get there! Jimmy Jacobs vs. Larry Sweeney - I've only ever seen Sweeney as manager so, I'm interested. Him vs Jimmy should be entertaining for sure Brent Albright vs. Erick Stevens - This is an ROH match I remember seeing and it reminds me of an AJPW undercard match. It should be stiff and have some suplexes- I'm game Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Rave & Shingo - The selling point of the DVD. Seeing as the ROH guys have experience together and Shingo has been working with them as well. This should be very good stuff. In Full Force 2007 Hallowicked vs. Seth Delay Shingo vs. Jigsaw (FIP Florida Heritage Title Tournament Qualifier) - I'll pick up here...I'm a Shingo fan if you can't tell Black Market vs. Claudio Castagnoli & Sal Rinauro (Losers leave Town) - Hey a tag match with an old school stipulation...I'm hoping its a brawl Sean Waltman vs. Chasyn Rance - Probably will skip The Briscoe Bros. vs. Necro Butcher & Mad Man Pondo (FIP Tag Team Title Match) - Yeah, my hope is this is indy deathmatch crazy. Just see for the spectacle Erick Stevens vs. Gran Akuma (FIP Florida Heritage Title Tournament Qualifier) - Stevens is working his way up the card Colt Cabana vs. Larry Sweeney (FIP Florida Heritage Title Tournament Qualifier) - This is looking like a good comedy match Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards (FIP Heavyweight Title - 2/3 Falls Match) - Selling point right here. These guys are like bread & butter. Violent bread & butter. Heatstroke 2007 Night 1 Steve Madison vs Danny Daniels (w/SoCal Val) Seth Delay vs Austin Amadeus Trik Davis vs Scott Commodity - yeah I'll be skipping the first three matches... Erick Stevens vs Davey Richards - Odd position for this match but, I've got hope. No Disqualification Match - Delirious vs Necro Butcher (w/Dave Prazak) - Even if just for the chair spots I'll watch this! The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) (c) vs Irish Airborne (Dave Crist & Jake Crist) - Brothers vs Brothers plus Airborne were the new thing at the time as well. Roderick Strong (c) vs Tyler Black - Would be ROH main event stuff in a year...yeah I'll watch this. Eight Man Tag Team Bunkhouse Brawl - The YRR (Chasyn Rance, Jason Blade, Kenny King & Sal Rinauro) (w/Becky Bayless & SoCal Val) vs Black Market (Joey Machete & Shawn Murphy) & The Heartbreak Express (Phil Davis & Sean Davis) - This is seemingly the acutal big storyline of FIP at the time and it should be chaotic so, why not. I'm guessing the wrestling main event is Black vs Strong though. Third Anniverary Show Kenny King vs. Seth Delay... Jigsaw vs. Jason Blade... Sara Del Rey vs. Lacey vs. Daizee Haze (Triple Threat Match) - I'll be starting here. Nothing against those guys but, this looks like a good card Irish Airborne vs. Hallowicked & Scott Commodity - I will be skippinh this for the same reason as above Necro Butcher vs Gran Akuma (No DQ Match) - Unless I'm just bored of Necro doing wacky stuff, I'm interested Delirious vs. Larry Sweeney - It depends if I'm in the mood. Sometimes I LOVE a good comedy match. Othertimes, I can't be bothered. Erick Stevens vs. Jack Evans (Florida Heritage Title Match) - Jack in Florida is gold. Roderick Strong & Jay Briscoe vs. BxB Hulk & Yamato - This is whats on the cover and again this could be an ROH B-show main event. Black Market & The Heartbreak Express vs. The YRR (Anything Goes Match) - Clearly these guys haven't settled their differences from the previous show. If that one grabs my attention then, I'm down for this. Dangerous Intentions 2008 Jigsaw vs. Chasyn Rance - No Rex Sterling vs. Chris Jones - Nope Damien Wayne vs. Seth Delay - No way Jose Sal Rinauro vs. Delirious - Again, only so much time and when this is following those then, I'd rather cut to the chase. Black Market vs. Dark City Fight Club - These are some clubbering dudes so this should be good Tyler Black vs. Davey Richards - Again, ROH Main Event in a couple years Kenny King & Jason Blade vs. Jay Briscoe & Austin Aries - Certain to be an all action match Roderick Strong vs. Erick Stevens (FIP World Heavyweight Title Match - Last Man Standing) - Oh yeah, the top half of the card looks awesome Heatstroke 2008 The Heartbreak Assassins vs. The British Lions Mercedes Martinez vs. Lorelei Lee - Might as well pick up a Women's match where & when I can! Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones Chasyn Rance vs. Shawn Osborne Austin Aries vs. Jason Blade - I'm gonna go with this next. Blade is alright of all of the Streets of Rage indy wrestlers Dark City Fight Club vs. Black Market (Weapons Match) - These are some clubbering dudes WITH WEAPONS so this should be good Roderick Strong vs. Kenny King - ROH match right here Tyler Black vs. Necro Butcher - Ditto Erick Stevens vs. Go Shiozaki - If they chop and lariat each other like crazy then I will be a happy person. Fallout 2008 (This is the end of the road with the FIP DVDs available. I think this was billed as Impact of Honor 2 but the DVD was called this.) Shawn Osborne vs. CJ O'Doyle Dark City Fight Club vs. The Lifeguards Chasyn Rance vs. Nooie Lee Damien Wayne & Rex Sterling vs. The British Lions Erick Stevens vs. Tyler Black - Wow, we're just skipping all of that and this looks like a great place to start MsChif vs. Rain (SHIMMER Title Match) - Sure why not! Go Shiozaki vs. Roderick Strong - Sign me up yes, please! Kenny King & Jason Blade vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe - I know these guys can all go so I'm looking forward to this. FIP guys challenging the ROH guys again Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones - No idea what this is doing here in the top spot. Its here on the DVD case too. Alright...I'll give it a shot! Whew! That took longer than I thought! Well I hope it helps you if you're thinking about checking old Full Impact Pro stuff out. If you're on the fence then I highly recommend Strong vs Evans as a place to start. I hope these above shows are very similar. If you look at the cards they look more like ROH year One in that the undercards are a little shakey sometimes but, the last 4 matches look really great. There are plenty of other shows that I guess were TOP shows at the time and I might try and find those on eBay but, that's what we're looking at right now. I'm digging it! Thanks for reading!
  3. I don't want to do a week by week review of Ring of Honor TV. Although it did help keep my blogging on track, I just don't want focus too much on ROH. And besides when do I end it? OK I've said that and so now I no problem doing a "once in awhile" catch up with ROH TV. Anyone reading this maybe wondering why I don't look at WWE or AEW or Impact as well. What about the Indies? Yeah, that's another good reason I am not planning on covering ROH TV on a regular basis. There's just so much new stuff out there and plenty of folks here on PWO do a great job of that already. ROH TV is my jam because #1 is free on TV and #2 I've been a Ring of Honor fan since 2007 or 08. But also because they still have really good no nonsense wrestling. It may not be as AWESOME as the mid 2000's stuff or even as good as it was a few years ago but, man! they are coming back. That's the reason I wanted to do this post. The Pure Title revival has been a success, and like I was hoping for, ROH has stuck more to this athletic focused wrestling. I gotta say I like it a lot better than the stuff when Cody was there. Sure you had the Elite guys who could fart out very good tag matches but, it was too corny for my tastes. Plus too many hi-jinks. That's been a couple years but, after they left and until now ROH seems like it has been searching for it's soul. The Pure Tournament seemed like they had found it again. I really hope they bring some of those guys back especially Yehi & Sydal. So, the weeks after Gresham won the belt have been just as good or even better. I'm acutally digging the Taven vs Vincent stuff despite my initial reservations. The return of Bennett and the introduction of Bateman into the feud seems like great hate filled tag team stuff with a potential for a Ladder War match. EC3 didn't light the world on fire with his stuff but, he's been keeping it interesting nonetheless. I'd like to see him wrestling in actual wrestling boots though. Brody King, who I was waiting to get pushed, has been getting pushed big time. His matches with Dalton Castle and Shane Taylor have been nothing short of great puro battles. Those two deserve a ton of credit too. Longer TV matches that very much would be PPV level bouts in my book. Shane Taylor had a very good match with Kenny King that also was PPV level. And the franchise Jay Lethal has been working his magic with LSG and Josh Woods. Both guys really were great in their fights with him in their Pure Rules bouts. I would have to say LSG's fight against Lethal was about as good any the best matches in the Pure Tournament. It was a great match for sure. As was today's match with Josh Woods. Man, Woods looks better and better with each match. If he can get his confidence up on his strikes (like confident he can go harder without KO-ing someone) then, he really is big star material. I'm just going to speculate on Final Battle 2020 and say that there's going to be a big shake-up with the belts. If they can get the Mexican wrestlers (or if its pre-taped "GOT" the Mexican wrestlers)...if they can get them for the show, I think they're dropping the titles. And if they can't get them there then, perhaps they will be forced to vacate? They have been sitting on the shelf for a pretty long time without being in an ROH ring or doing an ROH promo or TV show. SO, I'm not sure what value they'll be to Ring of Honor back in Mexico. Even Marty Scurll who's gone did a COVID lockdown Best Of show...but not the World Champion? I think Rush was a mis-step as he really didn't connect with the fans. I was excited early on but, again ROH was still soul searching. Getting bailed on by the AEW guys and muddying the relationship with NJPW really forced them to take a look in the mirror. Kinda like getting dumped or fired. Maybe you're more familiar with all of the dirt and inside baseball than me. Maybe I'm off the mark or missing some details but, the way I see it is ROH wants to get back to its roots. That's not a gimmick. Its been shown in the fantastic TV shows they've been having since they started back up. If its not your cup of tea then, that's OK. I really don't have much contemporary wrestling to compare it to than Smackdown and Impact. Both of which I watch sporadically...I usually forget they're on and then miss like 75% of the show. I saw the Bryan vs Zayn match from the other night and that was the only thing that held a candle to what ROH is doing. Even then there was a load of crap I had to wade through to get to it. And that Thunderdome BS hurts my eyes. Impact which is the most analogous show really needs to be trimmed to 1 hour. But I'm watching that on Twitch...so I think ROH knows they're doing OK in comparison. So, again ROH TV might not be your thing but, I think it fares pretty darn well in comparison to its closest competitors. Its not as flashy but, perhaps that's why I like it so much. I'm a fan of puroresu especially older stuff. I favor the simple production, the intense battles, and no nonsense stories. I feel like ROH has been delivering on that and am a happy fan. Thanks for reading! Stay safe and be kind P.S. There will be more puro reviews coming up! Its been awhile but, I'm sure of it! Plus my 2020 Best Match Watched round up is around the corner.
  4. Welcome back to FIP Fridays! Hopefully I can get this puppy in before midnight! Also if you're interested all or at least most of the FIP DVDs I'll be reviewing are available on Highspots. They are having their Xmas sale so, that's a tough deal to beat. Tonight I'm going over the best FIP show I've seen yet - Strong vs Evans! As always I cherry pick but, this has quite a few matches I want to see. Austin Aries vs Jerrelle Clark - This is a really good athletic match with Aries playing heel alongside his stablemates Bryan Danielson & Dave Prazak. For my "opening match" it sets a great tone. They only thing holding this back is that it could have been longer. Clark's handspring moonsault thing was awesome! Bryan Danielson vs Jay Fury - Fury comes out for a little payback for what DP Associates did his tag partner in the previous bout. Very similar athletic match with some heeling from Danielson. He is such a good chicken shit heel! Milo Beasley who is DP's wheelchair riding goon does senton atomico off the apron at one point and it nearly kills him & Fury! Good payoffs here and good wrestling...very good stuff. We are off to a wonderful start. Oh and let me say the venue is much bigger, the crowd is bigger, and the camera angles are spot on. That makes a difference and glad to see that FIP is growing...I mean 14 years ago... Tony Mamluke & Jimmy Rave - Mamaluke's girlfriend is there again I liked this one a bit better than the Homicide match from Heatstroke last review. He and Rave have good chemistry and I think worked on the FL indies together for awhile. It shows..I would says its a good match for sure. Rave gets his mouth busted open...Rave stalls like a goon at the beginning and I loved it. He's probably one of the best heels of the 2000's. Colt Cabana & Sal Rinauro vs Erick Stevens & Steve Madison - First Stevens match I've wanted to see from this period. He and Madison are working their way up the card. They go as The Miracle Violence Connection which of course works since I'm guessing no one there knows about the Gordy-Williams team of the same name from the early 90's They too are a hard hitting team so, the good time Sal & Colt team have their hands full. But man they are a good pair - Sal is underrated as a worker and Colt can still go in 2006. He's in no laughing mood. I thought this was a great match. We get an 80's finish but, man it works and it sets up a revenge pair of matches. Might have to check that out. These teams just clicked in terms of working the crowd but, keeping the action exciting. Main Event time and the name of the show. The first meeting of former tag partners and Generation Next members Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans - To save you some time - this was the best ROH style match in FIP that I've seen so far.This is Messiah of the Backbreaker Strong vs using his offence at the right times Evans. I don't know if they had an encounter in ROH as good as this one and from what I know its their first. Jack was bent like a pretzel and chopped red but, he would not quit. His selling was so excellent because it really looked like Strong was destroying him. Perhaps he was but, like I mentioned above, he was able to get some space and hit some spectacular stuff that really sent Roddy reeling. It reminded me of some of TIger Mask's best matches when he was fighting from underneath and would pull a counter or reversal to turn the tide. Or hit a dive to to show his heart and desperation. All on top of Roddy shit talking the fans made this a classic match to me.I was hesitant to pick this up because I'm not a giant fan of Evans all of the time but, this is the perfect setting for him. The fans LOVE him and he plays such a good face in peril here to all of the kids and girls. Yeah, it just worked so well and they really did not hold anything back believe it or not. If you're an old time ROH fan and are looking to revisit that era or uncover something new from that time, I highly recommend this show. It's $5 and I really think the matches listed above are worth that. If you're a Roderick Strong fan like I am, you will want this in your collection. Thanks for reading! I think I might get this in on time after all! P.S. If you work retail, hang in there! I'm there with you - we'll make it!
  5. Not an all-time classic, but this is easily the best and final match in their best of 5 series. It's kind of lame seeing folks trying to escape continuously in cage matches, specially in blood feud cage matches, but that's not the case here as they recognize they are locked in the cage because they want to fight. Great bit with them showing their hate for each other to the degree they were biting each others foreheads, fingers, etc. while battling on top of the cage. There's also a handful of big bumps in this with Danielson hitting a massive diving headbutt off the top of the cage and a big avalanche backdrop off the top rope. Also Homicide bringing back the brass knuckles he used to win the taped fist match was neat callback. The highlight of this was the finishing airplane spin that goes on for over a minute. I know an airplane spin is not what you would picture as the finish to a blood feud, I thought it was great. Julius Smokes played a big role in this, so it sucks he wasn't ringside for it. I think him trying to interfere and it backfiring would have elevated this.
  6. Not an all-time classic as you would expect we would be getting from these two in a different best of 5 series, but I thought this was still very good and by far the best match they've had in their best of 5 series so far. Most of this develops with some ringside brawling, but it's different than what you would expect as you get a rolling small package running into fans, an airplane spin the crowd, backslide pins, etc. They 've brawled in their other two matches in the series and those where the high points of those matches, but this is by far their best ringside brawl so far. This is the type of brawling I could see Dusty Rhodes losing his mind for and laughing for 15 minutes on commentary on a mid to late 90s WCW Uncensored. When they get back in the ring they keep it nice and tidy and leave a ton on the table for the remaining two matches in the series. Worth noting how underrated Julius Smokes is. He was fundamental in the Rottweilers success. He's a tremendous hype man/manager just constantly getting the crowd riled and just screaming in the opponents faces.
  7. Necro Butcher vs. any non death match wrestler is always compelling to watch. All you want from him in these scenarios is his him to sell, to punch folks in the face, to bump like a madman and to throw headbutts. Here he doesn't bleed, but he does all the other things you want him to do. When Roddy began working the more followed indys in the northeast, he made his reputation by throwing some of the loudest chops around and hitting a variety of backbreakers and it took him a while to breakout of that and actually begin developing more personality. At this point he was still in the middle of making that transition, so you know he wasn't afraid of throwing some heat at Necro. Necro is such a lunatic that he can get a pop out of the most basic moves and he does when he pulls out a roll up out of nowhere. The majority of this developed with ringside brawling with Necro going nuts and wrapping Roddy in the ringside padding and hitting him with headbutts after Roddy threw chops at him. As with every Necro match, two chairs are introduced and they get positioned against each other and they tease his usual backbreaker across them, but instead we get Roddy hitting him with his big boot which left you wanting a bit more. This is still very good regardless.
  8. Crazy match. Not a classic by any chance or anything, but two guys who just hate each other brawling it out. Homicide is coming in off a loss to Samoa Joe in a world title match and his frustration due to lack of title wins is starting to kick in. Worth noting Julius Smokes is an incredible hype man. His ringside work never gets the proper recognition it deserves. The match itself is just built around both guys just hitting each other with stiff strikes for 12 or so minutes while it slowly escalates to a brutal finish with Homicide using a noose to choke out Joe.
  9. Back with FIP Friday after a week off! Here we have Night #2 of the inaugural edition of Heatstroke in Bushnell, FL. I'm cherry picking matches so, this isn't a full show review. And yeah Night 1 didn't interest me as much so, let's roll! Samoa Joe vs Ace Steel - My opening match and its really odd to have Joe being in this position in 2005 or really any year but, he and Ace have a good match with lotsa nice action. It set the tone pretty well for the show. The static camera angle is from around the entrance way and although it catches the crowd and the apron, does seem far away. Plus the lighting here is not that hot. The venue is more typical of an indy show than a a bar or some of the other weird places we saw back on the Best of CM Punk vol. 2 DVD. So, FIP is growing Adam Pearce vs Azrieal - Azrieal is no longer with Punk as the New Dawn sold out. So, Pearce (representing DP Assoc.) is going to teach him a lesson. I forgot what a hard chopper Adam Pearce was! This was a good match. Nothing terribly memorable other than Az not having enough room to stand on the top turnbuckle since the ceiling was so low! (see the tag match above) "Fast" Eddie Vegas & Jimmy Rave vs Spanky & Sal Rinauro - Vegas and Rave are Dave Prazak goons are are the FIP tag champs. Sal is Spanky Kendrick's protege and they're fighting for the belts. To me this is the match of the night. Rave and Vegas do such a good job being heels here along with Prazak. Now that's not an uncommon thing in FIP where those roles are much more defined than ROH. However, Sal & Spanky are just the most baby face team - good looking, wearing pink & teal shorts, the kiddies are screaming for them etc. So, Rave & Vegas decide to work a traditional tag match where there's a face in peril and they gotta make that hot tag. What makes this really tops is that both teams wrestle this like they're at an ROH show with many of their big moves. Hell, they even dislodge some ceiling panels on a move! This is a great match for sure. Homicide vs Tony Mamaluke - The chick in the front row is Tony's girlfriend is pretty funny throughout this match and really all of the matches to some extent. 'Cide jaw jacks with her a little bit which is good for a chuckle. I thought this was a good match and very good at times but, it just didn't keep the excitement level up for me. At these small shows, where it is poorly lit and the camera angles aren't the best mat grappling just doesn't have the same in impact. It really just looks like laying around. When they do switch to the close up camera (as opposed to the far away one also at floor level) you can appreciate the action but, for some reason they use the far away one for a good deal of the match. There are some really good parts though so perhaps you'll like it more than I did. DP Associates attack Homicide afterwards and some good guys make the save including Roderick Strong which leads to the main event... CM Punk vs Roderick Strong - This was a great match with really solid and well executed pro wrestling. Punk was on his tour out of FIP (and ROH) and each show was going to be his last. This night he faced Roderick Strong who was having a breakout year. This match was no exception but, a bit different from his ROH matches in that he wasn't necessarily destroying Punk with chops and backbreakers. In fact, there were 0 backbreakers. And I kinda take that back regarding chops...there were some pretty mean chops here. Punk was able to control Roderick with abdominal stretches, chin locks and sleepers. He knew the Florida native as very explosive and he needed to tire him down. Strong would get breaks but, was quickly cut off by Punk or the meddling head of DP Associates Dave Prazak (Prazak had bought out Punk's New Dawn stable). When Roddy was able to get an opening though he would explode with chops, running elbows and kicks and everything else you want from him (except his trademark breakers). The fans were really loving this match and we get a Punk moon sighting which was pretty funny. I would have liked a 100% clean finish but, under the circumstances it totally works and keeps the breakout 2005 for Strong still going. Don't go in expecting classic ROH style but, both guys really can work a great wrestling match without hitting every big move and tons of false finishes. This was a really good show and very enjoyable. I cherry picked the matches I wanted to see most so, if you're interested in buying this DVD there's more in store for ya. I think this is the last CM Punk in FIP show that I have so in a way this is his final match to me. Here and with all of his matches I've seen, he was a true professional wrestler meant for the big time. Not only did he know what to do in the ring but, he knew what to do with the fans. Also, I'm a Jimmy Rave fan from a lot of the 2005 ROH I have and man that tag match is another feather in his cap. What an interesting heel wrestler here and there. He really is a talent where the sum is greater than the parts. I dunno...I'm rambling. But if you're interested in this era of ROH, I would consider picking this DVD up. Its $5 on Highspots and is definitely worth the money if you're still buying DVDs like me
  10. I know this is a stipulation that usually gets frowned upon as they lack psychology a lot of the time and are harder to put together, but this is one of the best three way matches ever and it also benefits from being an elimination match as you can get a proper 1-on-1 match after an initial elimination. Worth mentioning the booking leading to this match is fantastic with Whitmer and Jacobs being in a hot Jimmy loves Lacey angle and both men trying to kill each other with some dangerous powerbombs off the top rope through the ring apron or the crowd. They start with a standard three way and they work portions of it as handicap, Whitmer and Jacobs vs. Danielson and then Danielson and Jacobs vs. Whitmer and both portions work as Whitmer and Jacobs is the two lesser ranked opponents trying to get one on the Best in the World who's impossible to putdown and then other portion is the two smaller opponents trying to partner up to putdown the bigger man. The first fall ends perfectly with Jacobs pairing up with Danielson to eliminate the bigger man. Then the match turns into a 1-on-1 and it gets hot with Danielson, the dominant world champion and Best in the World to defend against the local Michigan native and much smaller challenger and underdog. The do such a fantastic job at putting this segment of the match together that the fans are split as usual, but hot for Jacobs and even buy into him pulling off the upset and winning the title and you can see fans literally jumping up and down on a hot near fall of a counter roll up. They avoid going overboard with the excessive 2.99 false finishes a lot of indy matches suffer from and the finish is fantastic as Danielson taps out Jacobs to a crossface chicken wing to which Jacobs pass outs to and doesn't tap and thus keeps over his image of being a tough to put away, ruthless and violent wrestler. Also you can hear the crowd actively booing at the finish.
  11. I wonder how many people got into Ring of Honor through through the mass market Koch DVD releases. I know I count myself as one of those folks. I picked up their "Best in the World" release (not to be confused the 2006 Milestone Series show) and knew that this was a company I should check out. For whatever reason, I stopped there and did not get the three other Koch releases. Now like much of ROH's past releases these are out of production and are pretty desirable themselves. They do a pretty good job of compiling ROH's golden years of 2004-2007 and because they were mass produced, they are a little bit easier to come by than the show DVDs. You might actually find these at a cd/game exchange type store too! Although don't hold your breath. But really, why didn't I purchase the other DVDs? I think I was super eager to get my paws on anything puro and the 'other three' didn't feature Japanese talent. I've eventually come in to possession of these compilations and want to let you know (over a decade later) if you should check these out. The first one I'm going to review is the final one I bought. That is 'Stars of Honor.' As someone who's not a big fan of WWE style stuff, it makes sense why I put this one off. There are two Matt Hardy matches, a Christian match, and an MVP match. But! There is also guys like CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Spanky Kendrick, and Jay Lethal. So, I got it I watched these in order of least to most interested. Let's take a look! Homicide vs Antonio Banks (MVP): This match took place 02/19/05 and is for the FIP Heavyweight title in Elizabeth, NJ. However, that doesn't make sense since 02/19 was the Second Anniversary show Night #1 and 'cide faced Danielson in a Taped Fist Match. I had to research this a little bit and this was probably a dark match and was not shown on the ROH DVD. I'm guessing it was added as an extra on a FIP or ROH show that needed some padding. Why they added this here is beyond me. I never though MVP was a big star back in 2008 when this was released. No disrespect to him but, the gimmick was goofy as hell. He looks way better here versus The Notorious One. This was a fun match with Banks powering the champ around. Matt Hardy vs Homicide (Redemption 2005) - Matt Hardy had already been resigned to WWE but, wanted to fulfill his commitment to ROH during what would become the "Summer of Punk." Hardy's three show participation had to have some effect in getting more butts in the seats. He wasn't a welcome addition to the roster as the fans, much like ECW's, were very hostile toward big company outsiders. I belive Jeff made an appearance earlier and that did not go as well despite Jeff's style being much more conducive to the ROH style. Matt Hardy wanted to prove he was a top wrestler especially with James Gibson/Noble doing the same in '05. Gibson was never given the limelight like the Hardys and many felt by this point in time they were company men. What better opponent for Matt to face than the no nonsense Homicide? That being said, everyone wanted deep down for Matt to do well because he and Jeff had been instrumental in introducing the high risk action of a new generation to WWF. So, it was a 'we hate this guy! (I hope he does well!' sentiment. I was really impressed as they punched and slammed each other all over the place. Homicide can take a beating but, kudos to Hardy for taking a king-sized lariat. Some might not love the finish but, it was smart and it worked! Very good stuff! Roderick Strong vs Matt Hardy (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005): We're going to come back to this show later. ROH has two matches from two shows on this compilation which is pretty weird since it sorta discourages a person from getting those actual DVDs. Anyhow, this is Matt's final appearance and has one final opponent in Roderick Strong. At this point, people were happy to see Hardy but, since it was known he was jumping ship back to WWE, they wanted to see him get destroyed. I think there was no better person than Roderick. And you better believe me & the fans get what we want. This was a great match where Roddy almost kills Matt with a back breaker combo. I mean I lost it when he hit it! That flurry should have been the finish IMO! Things are picking up! Christian Cage vs Christopher Daniels (Generation Now 2006): The second of I believe Christian's 2 ROH shows. I think this was sort of a warm up before he went to TNA. And that's kind of what this match is with Daniels. It never goes into 4th gear but, is very good. Christian isn't one of my faves but, I can't fault them putting this on the DVD. Spanky (Kendrick) vs Bryan Danielson (Best of the American Super Jrs. 2005): For as awesome as 2005 ROH was there was still goofy stuff like this show where Kendo -freaking- Kashin wins a tournament with Danielson, Rocky Romero, Kendrick, Roderick Strong, James Gibson, and more participating! To top it off Kashin dogged it and didn't even wrestle under his own gimmick AND this tournament was supposed to grant the winner a spot in the 2005 BOSJ in NJPW...but that never happened! SO, there was no point in even having the tournament let alone letting Kashin win. That show did produce some really notable matches. This being the first. Many have described this as the BEST opening match in ROH history. I don't know about that but, this was in no way wrestled like a tourney match. Danielson was brutal in grinding Kendrick down but, Spanky would not quit. Great match James Gibson vs Roderick Strong (same show): Strong manhandles Gibson and Jamie is selling the heck outta it. Lotta great mat action here. They leave stuff on the table here but, there is a rematch at the Unforgettable 2005 show which I might have to snag. Very good match. Also may have to find their Full Impact Pro matches too. Now I'm going to say the selling point of this DVD for most (including me) is Joe vs Punk III at All Star Extravaganza 2. Per my guidelines above, I would leave that match last. However, I find that is is not THE BEST bout on this compilation in my view. So, let's take a look now and then get on to the final and best match. Samoa Joe vs CM Punk (All Star Extravaganza 2 2004): I've seen Joe vs Punk II and loved that match. It is a classic in my book. This match is not a classic though. The story of it did not connect with me as strongly. The layout of this did not strike me as much. There are some execution issues that while not egregious do take me out of the moment. All that said, this is a great match. **** stuff to me but, I am in the minority. I have not seen their first match at World Title Classic. I think I might want to. Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter): This is the best match on this DVD and the one I probably knew the least about...other than people recommending it. This is the 3rd Homicide match, the 2nd Joe match, and the second match from Punk's last ROH show. Its an odd inclusion for those reasons. Was it trying to recognize Low-Ki and Lethal? Lethal was building but, Ki was Senshi at this time which was just weird (which would get weirder). I don't care at the end of the day though. This was a WAR! Ki & Homicide are heeling in the worst way and Lethal is the little brother to the juggernaut that is Samoa Joe. This is like an updated version of The Funks vs Abby & The Sheik or the best ECW brawls. There's blood, chair throwing, crowd fighting, and more. This was a classic fight to me. There's an 80's finish but, I mean that in the very best of ways. That bell don't mean a thing. This is the Samoe Joe you wanna see, this is the Homicide you wanna see, Baby Jay Lethal learning how to be a champ in this match. Yup, this is a classic. Get this puppy used online and I'm sure you'll be happy. Its a weird pick of matches and talent especially with the benefit of hindsight. 2 Matt Hardy matches, an MVP dark match, and three Homicide matches seems like they were piecing this one together at the end. I would have preferred a 2nd Gibson match or a Paul London or an AJ Styles match instead. I think they were really focused on the Best Buy or Amazon customer snagging this and seeing those WWE names and going "Yeah why not!" With that in mind, they probably should have put another Punk match on there if they wanted to have 2 Joe matches. But, I'm Monday morning quarterbacking something from 12 years ago You get two very good-great Roderick Strong matches from his break-out year, you get two great-classic Samoa Joe matches, you get a great Bryan Danielson match from a show you probably don't want to track down...so it's a no brainer if you can get this under $10. If you look at this as a show DVD, there's a ****1/2+ match and 3 **** matches. That's a must buy in my book. I've got Bloodstained Honor (terrible title) and Greatest Rivalries to tackle in the next few weeks. Thanks for reading! Stay safe!
  12. Here we are at the final week of the Pure Title tournament. Jonathan Gresham vs Tracy Williams plus The Briscoe Brothers & EC3 vs Shane Taylor Enterprises. We learn from Quinn that Vinnie and Matt Taven haven been fined for their repeated brawling and destruction of company property. That's cool! A nice throw back to the Code of Honor. I really hope ROH is serious about wanting to get back to the roots or "foundation" of the company. There are spoilers btw. Briscoe Brothers & EC3 vs Shane Taylor Enterprises - This was a pretty good 6 man match! I was really impressed with the SOS guys from STE. Moses and (Nam Here we are at the final week of the Pure Title tournament. Jonathan Gresham vs Tracy Williams plus The Briscoe Brothers & EC3 vs Shane Taylor Enterprises. We learn from Quinn that Vinnie and Matt Taven haven been fined for their repeated brawling and destruction of company property. That's cool! A nice throw back to the Code of Honor. I really hope ROH is serious about wanting to get back to the roots or "foundation" of the company . Briscoe Brothers & EC3 vs Shane Taylor Enterprises - This was a pretty good 6 man match! I was really impressed with the SOS guys from STE. Moses and Kaun looked really powerful and I'm seriously looking forward to seeing more of them. Taylor and EC3 looks like a good feud heating up. The Briscoes can do no wrong at this point. Mark was killing it here. He's still crazy after all these years. Tournament Finals - Gresham vs Williams - Fortunately very little was cut from this match. I was worried since it had a 60 minute time limit. It took a little bit to get going with the first five minutes being good but, not as competitive as I would've liked. The last 8 minutes were pretty darn good and approaching greatness. Then it was over. Yup, nothing clever, no great story line to make sense of the finish. Gresham was able to hook on the Octopus Stretch (it was a mean looking one though) and that was it. Williams shook hands with Gresham and Lethal after the match. Talk about a let down! I really don't think my expectations were too high either. Williams had great matches thus far with Yehi and Lethal. There was no reason why he and Gresham couldn't...even if they only gave them 13 minutes. I really believe that this match is setting up a 3 person group of Lethal, Gresham, and Williams called The Foundation. Maybe Lethal and Gresham are already called this but, after a 5 month break in ROH TV we, the fans, need a reminder. My other clue to this is Ian Riccaboni made a slip by saying something like "two men representing The Foundation" are in the ring. Perhaps not a slip as both men represent the foundation of what ROH was built upon but, Riccaboni didn't say that. His choice of words are pretty good and he rarely mis-speaks. Therefore, one could chalk this up to an intentional foreshadowing OR ROH is taping many shows at a time (perhaps out of order). And this slip was a continuity issue as The Foundation as a group may have already formed in a taped promo/interview format. I would be all for this group and Ring of Honor seems keen on the 3-4 man squads. They are the bread and butter for their live show main events. Nevertheless, I am a bit disappointed with the final match. This is especially true when the guys had a couple weeks off after their first match. Now, in reality, if they taped the entire tournament over a day or two then, I can't blame them for being banged up and doing a short match. This was just not the war that the best two pure wrestlers in the company could have put on. So, it all felt a little flat. e) looked really powerful and I'm seriously looking forward to seeing more of them. Taylor and EC3 looks like a good feud heating up. The Briscoes can do no wrong at this point. Mark was killing it here. He's still crazy after all these years. Tournament Finals - Gresham vs Williams - Fortunately very little was cut from this match. I was worried since it had a 60 minute time limit. It took a little bit to get going with the first five minutes being good but, not as competitive as I would've liked. The last 8 minutes were pretty darn good and approaching greatness. Then it was over. Yup, nothing clever, no great story line to make sense of the finish. Gresham was able to hook on the Octopus Stretch (it was a mean looking one though) and that was it. Williams shook hands with Gresham and Lethal after the match. Talk about a let down! I really don't think my expectations were too high either. Williams had great matches thus far with Yehi and Lethal. There was no reason why he and Gresham couldn't...even if they only gave them 13 minutes. I really believe that this match is setting up a 3 person group of Lethal, Gresham, and Williams called The Foundation. Maybe Lethal and Gresham are already called this but, after a 5 month break in ROH TV we, the fans, need a reminder. My other clue to this is Ian Riccaboni made a slip by saying something like "two men representing The Foundation" are in the ring. Perhaps not a slip as both men represent the foundation of what ROH was built upon but, Riccaboni didn't say that. His choice of words are pretty good and he rarely mis-speaks. Therefore, one could chalk this up to an intentional foreshadowing OR ROH is taping many shows at a time (perhaps out of order). And this slip was a continuity issue as The Foundation as a group may have already formed in a taped promo/interview format. I would be all for this group and Ring of Honor seems keen on the 3-4 man squads. They are the bread and butter for their live show main events. Nevertheless, I am a bit disappointed with the final match. This is especially true when the guys had a couple weeks off after their first match. Now, in reality, if they taped the entire tournament over a day or two then, I can't blame them for being banged up and doing a short match. This was just not the war that the best two pure wrestlers in the company could have put on. So, it all felt a little flat. I really hope that Gresham is able to have some great defenses. His matches in the tournament were good but, not great. This win was no exception. Thanks for reading! Check the big match out for yourself. You might like it more than I did.
  13. If you are a fan of ROH's golden years then, I'm sure you have heard of Full Impact Pro wrestling. This was ROH's sister company in Florida that was used as a sort of feeder system for Ring of Honor to varying degrees of success. It doesn't seem like it was a gigantic hit based on the small amount of show/match reviews available online still. But, I don't know if this is really warranted. Many of the cards are pretty darn impressive with guys like Samoa Joe, CM Punk, Danielson, Roderick Strong and others appearing on many shows. Now in some cases they're up against local talent that would be mid card talent in ROH but, often these top stars would square off against one another. And i can't believe that these are crappy matches which I feel is/was most people's impression given the scarcity of information online. There is one site that has archived reviews which I have used as my guide in exploring the back catalog of FIP. Now, I'm aware that it has been revitalized in the past few years but, my interest is in the original incarnation when Gabe was booking ROH and I would guess FIP. Dave Prazak was a big heel manager there so, I think perhaps he had a hand in booking too. He did in ROH's women's wrestling sister company Shimmer. I'm rambling now...anyhow I'm going to start Full Impact Friday with my first FIP DVD that I got in a Highspots freebie -Unstoppable 2007. Jack Evans vs Davey Richards - Lotsa fun watching Jack trying to not be killed by Davey. Nice arm work by Mr. Richards and a fantastic 450 move where Evans nearly destroyed DR. Very good match. The Florida fans love Jack! Heatbreak Express vs Black Market - Now these are guys ROH fans like myself won't be familiar with but, are a big deal in the FIP world. The Heartbreaks are like mid 2000's Buddy Rose & Doug Sommers. This was a good concession stand brawl with all kinds of shit flying. Erick Stevens vs Sal Rinauro - Sal was in under card matches in ROH so perhaps you'll remember him. But as a member of Young Rich and Ruthless (YRR) he's a little higher in the pecking order. Stevens you might know from ROH as well as his matches in wxw's 16 Carat from 2011 that I reviewed. To cut to the chase, this is FIP's version of Kobashi vs Ogawa. So when Erick gets his hands on Sallie Boy! Watch out! He's hitting like Nigel and Roddy. You may call BS on the finish but, a little bit of swerve is part of the charm with FIP. Its more like a JCP/NWA/early WCW promotion vs ROH being a version of NOAH or other puro group. I thought this was a great match. Kenny King & Jason Blade vs The Briscoes - Yup it's that Kenny King! Alright! This should be good as long as Blade can keep up. And yes he does! This is full speed ahead stuff. Blade & King are YRR and they have their BS at play. Dem Boys are in full mid 2000s murder mode. I do think that the fast pace hurt the match some. There wasn't enough time to let everything sink in. Very good stuff nonetheless! Roderick Strong vs Claudio Castagnoli - FIP title in a 2/3 falls match. This is a upper card match in ROH 2007 and they don't let the fans down. Claudio is jaw jacking with the crowd (he too is YRR) and Roddy is the wrestling machine we want. This was a very good to almost great match. I think they left a bunch on the table and the finish was too quick for my taste but, I still liked this match a good bit. I got this DVD for free from Highspots awhile back and a can't complain at all. I'm not seeing it for sale on their site but, I'm sure its available elsewhere. It'd be a steal at $5 but, you wouldn't be wrong if you got it for a few dollars more. It was a blast of a show especially the stuff I reviewed here. I am looking forward to seeing more. My plan is to review a new FIP show every Friday. Thanks for reading! I hope I find some more good stuff.
  14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT9d1IYyKJ4 As always before a Zebra Kid match, I’m obliged to tell you that he is one of Paige’s older brothers. This is supposed to be a non-title match, but Joe decides before the match that he “lives with honour”, so he’s putting the title on the line. This gets a big pop from the crowd, although as ever when a title gets put on the line, makes the result way more obvious than it already was. Interestingly enough, I believe this is the match where the ROH Title became a world title in ROH canon. This is a fun 10 minute sprint, although one largely dominated by Joe (as you would guess) after the Zebra Kid gets the initial advantage following some early strikes and throwing himself around as a human weapon, which includes a Cactus Elbow off the apron onto Joe, who was sitting on a chair. Watching him throughout his career, Zebra Kid/Roy Knight may never have been the most refined or smooth wrestler but I’ve always loved his intensity with which he does everything and he has some really nasty looking kicks and punches. His matches always bring a chaotic feel that draws you in. After the initial flurry, Joe catches him with his signature STO out of the corner and from then on is pretty much in control, spending the sizable chunk of the match throwing Zebra around and trying to kick his face off. Notably the Ole kick on the floor puts Zebra’s head through the wire mesh of the crowd barrier. Another fun little trivia note is that I think this is where the Ole Ole kicks start. The event was taking place on FA Cup Final day here in the UK, and the Ole singing from the crowd is very much patented on a football (soccer) chant. What’s more, after hitting it, Joe celebrates like he’s scored a goal with a run round the ring and a pretty decent looking knee slide celebration. Maybe he was just an Arsenal fan who won that game that day… Zebra gets one last brief flurry towards the end but when coming off the top trying to hit his finishing move the Zebra Crossing (top rope elbow drop) he gets caught in an arm bar. He gets to survive that and a subsequent big lariat but ultimately gets put away with a Rolling German into a Rolling Dragon into a Bridging German suplex to enable ROH to level at 2-2. I enjoyed this finishing sequence, as it was a great combination of moves, and I’m a fan when people don’t have to win by hitting a specific finisher. Joe was very good at this time at being able to win matches in multiple ways. The match overall is a fairly straight forward and largely one sided win for Joe, and there’s not really any drama in you thinking Zebra Kid has a chance of a victory, but as an intense sprint it’s fairly entertaining. (** ¼)
  15. The growing momentum of the FWA in the latter half of 2002 came at the same time as the emergence of ROH as a company generating a significant buzz. With the featuring of Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles in prominent positions in the FWA, Christopher Daniels winning the British Heavyweight Title and in return Doug Williams being featured heavily in the States, a relationship between the two promotions was established. A joint card between the two was the logical progression. This brings us to Frontiers of Honor; a one night tournament between the two companies, featuring six inter-promotional matches. The concept was enough for another very strong attendance and the companies’ second show at the York Hall. A key note before getting into the opener is that unlike some inter-promotional shows, this is treated more like a sporting rivalry rather than an invasion or a heated grudge. As such, ROH wrestlers are not presented overtly as heels in their matches, outside of Christopher Daniels – who actually says he’s competing for himself rather than ROH. Given that so many in attendance were clearly excited to see US guys who were getting a lot of hype, it’s safe to say that was the best approach to go for rather than force a heel invading company dynamic onto the occasion that would have been somewhat tone deaf. What’s encouraging though, is that despite this, the home town FWA guys mostly get support as well rather than being turned on, which can sometimes happen when seen to be facing guys perceived as ‘cooler’ or better (something which can happen when ROH guys face New Japan wrestlers today for example). The opener between James Tighe and Paul London is very much a babyface vs babyface match, with clean action, and both guys getting support from the crowd. Listening to the ThROH The Years podcast on the PWO feed you can sometimes forget what a great babyface that London was at this point, able to elicit genuine affection and support from the crowd. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the match not having a defined heel, you don’t get to see that great selling from London. Tighe was a really promising technical wrestler at this stage, who was starting to grain traction with the crowd and he works the match in the style of a Dean Malenko in a WCW cruiserweight match in 96/97, looking to wear down a high flier with submissions and holds, but not in a necessarily vicious way, which would perhaps have allowed London to really rally people behind him. Early on there’s some nifty arm work from Tighe but nothing necessarily coherent that runs throughout the match, He does act as good base though and there’s lot of fun back and forth action. In particular is London’s impressive running shooting star press off the apron. Looking at their international reputations, it’s perhaps a shock that Tighe picks up the clean win with his Tighe–tanic finisher (a cross legged brainbuster), but he was starting to get a significant push in the FWA, with 2003-04 being arguably the peak of his career. It’s to Tighe’s credit at this stage that he looked so comfortable in there with a guy that would be signed to the WWE by the end of the year. This is an enjoyable opener that doesn’t overstay its welcome at a little over 10 mins, but I feel like if Tighe had been more vicious, and enabled London to generate that sympathy from the crowd it could’ve been something really good. The match puts the FWA 1-0 up. (** ¾)
  16. Here we are at the semi-finals of the Pure Title Tournament. We've got Johnathan Gresham vs Josh Woods and Jay Lethal vs Tracy Williams. Plus Vincent (that's Vinnie to me) versus Matt Taven as well. Sounds like a good show! Gonna try not to spoil anything! Match #1 Woods vs Gresham - This starts out really good with Gresham trying to wrestle Josh. We really see Woods size advantage here. Gresham is 5'4" and just does not have the frame to be out grapple someone of Woods size and amateur background. The Octopus is stymied and goes to the outside early after getting stopped in his tracks and tossed. Then, we get a commercial break which seemingly cuts out 5 minutes of the match!? And apparently these 5 minutes set-up the story of the bout. Both guys are hurt from this and plays into the final 5 minutes. I'm at a loss why they cut 5 or so minutes from a 12 minute match!? (I didn't pay attention exactly so maybe it was a minute or two less). What was shown was good but, I'd have to think it was better if shown in full. Match #2 Taven vs Vincent - Taven gets jumped coming down the steps and this is basically Vinnie's revenge for Matt coming out two weeks ago and laying the smack down. Vinnie goes off the ladder to put Matt Taven through a table. Did they cut Woods/Gresham for this? I mean I thought this was a fun segment but, its the pure title tournament. Focus on that especially on the second to last show... There's an EC3/Shane Taylor promo in there that was nice. Will be nice to see that feud as well as tag wrestling. Match #3 Williams vs Lethal - Well, that was the in the top 2 matches of the tournament...that was a great match! I think it could have been more if fans were there cheering. This featured a fantastic story and work-a-body part wrestling. Lethal looked well...Lethal. Hot Sauce showed so much heart and intensity. Man, and what a great finish to a excellent fight. If they cut down Woods/Gresham in order to only shave a minute or two off this for TV then, it was worth it. Perhaps this is the top match so far. Tracy Williams has the two best matches if you're keeping track. This one and last week's against Fred Yehi. OK so, I'm going to try and do my best not to out-and-out spoil anything here. I'm going to try and not suggest anything either by avoiding talking about the outcomes or booking hypotheses. I want to focus on the performances of the final four competitors throughout the tournament. Jay Lethal - Jay's first two matches (Castle & Finlay) were good but, nothing to write home about. They seemed pretty formulaic but, this week's match was great stuff. He carried over the wear and tear of the previous fights into this match. It really made it stand out. Josh Woods - They were smart to pair him with vets like Kenny King & PJ Black early on. Josh showed a lot of potential and this week's match with Gresham seemed to be his most comfortable (despite the clip job). He is a big guy and should be suplexing the heck outta smaller guys like he was here. ROH doesn't have Jeff Cobb but, Woods could be that next suplex machine. I think he could be a better one too. A few more years and he could be a destroyer. He's got a great sense of humor and is a natural babyface. If he can tap into his killer instinct during the matches, he has the wrestling/MMA background to be a American Dragon type talent. Jonathan Gresham - He said that he's got a bad leg and I don't know if that's true but, his matches have been rather subdued in comparison to what he is capable of. His first two bouts (Yuta & Sydal) had really clever finishes but, we're not seeing him necessarily wrestling circles around folks. And in the Woods match this week, we're not seeing a smart Gresham either. The size disadvantage was rather stark so, after getting gut-wrench suplexed a few times, one would think he should try a war of attrition to break the bigger man down. Tracy Williams - Hot Sauce has really impressed me the most all tournament. He and Yehi but, I really thought they were just tossing Tracy into the tournament for the heck of it. But, man all of his matches have been a joy to watch. The stories are there, the intensity is there...yeah the drama is there too. They have GOT to do something with Hot Sauce in 2021. He's really proved himself during this tournament. I hope they don't drop the ball. OK so, next week is the finals and I really hope they don't cut anything from it. I'm sure they will for commercials but, we'll just have to see. I'm feeling they might have the EC3/Taylor 6 man match next week along with the finals. That could be quite a good show! I'm not really sure what ROH's plans are after the tournament is done next week. I don't know if they thought the COVID stuff would be done and they could resume touring or what. At this point, its safe to assume they're going to keep doing the empty arena shows in Baltimore. That's fine by me! They could just keep rotating the match ups between all of the competitors of the Pure Tournament for the next 2 months and I'd be OK with that. I'm OK with that for longer than that if you've read my other posts on this There's so many good match ups left on the table. They could keep doing different tournaments and round robins like Gabe was doing Year One & Two. Plus you've got the Briscoes, EC3, Taven, Vinnie, Shane Taylor and his crew. I mean, you could just have that be the full roster! Again, bring the lucha guys in here and there like Gabe did with the Dragon Gate/NOAH guys in '06-07. Gimmie the book already!!! Hahaha I hope you're staying safe and having fun watching wrestling. Thanks for reading!
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