THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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It’s time to step into Ring of Honor territory once again, and this time we’re going back to February 27th of this year, with a look at the DVD release of Eliminating The Competition, which sees ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness defending his title against Jerry Lynn, Tyler Black & Jimmy Jacobs in a four way elimination match. Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak are handling commentary duties.
The show begins with Papadon facing Bobby Fish. A good, solid, technical battle to begin the shows sees both guys putting in a good showing. Fish in particular looks very good, pulling off moves that you wouldn’t expect a guy of that sort of build to do. Indeed, after missing with a moonsault, and landing on his feet, Fish got the win after taking Papadon down with a high knee strike, bringing an ending to this good match. Mention must also be made of Fish’s entrance music. Anyone who uses Jimi Hendrix’s version of All Along The Watchtower is alright with me.
Tag-team action follows, with the always watchable Kenny King and Rhett Titus taking on Erick Stevens and Bobby Dempsey. Dempsey seems to have developed something of a cult following since he dumped Larry Sweeney. Once again King and Titus showed what a great team they are. As individuals they put on a great display, and as a team they pulled off some great double team moves. Stevens and Dempsey, for their part, weren’t that far behind, although Dempsey did seem a little bit off at times. As for Stevens, his combined Samoan drop/DDT on his two opponents looked great. This great match was ended when King got the pin with a roll-up and with his feet on the ropes.
Back to singles action, with Brent Albright against Claudio Castagnoli in a re-match from Motor City Madness 2009. Castagnoli won that one when Albright refused to release his crowbar submission hold while Castagnoli was in the ropes. This was just as good as their previous match, a hard hitting technical encounter with both men going all out for victory, and once again impressing the hell out of this particular writer. Plenty of false finishes in this one, before a controversial ending. As Albright applied the crossface, Castagnoli rolled him over, but as the referee counted Albright’s shoulders on the mat, Castagnoli tapped out. The referee called for the bell, and announced the match as a draw. This didn’t sit too well with Albright, who wanted five more minutes. Needless to say that Claudio wasn’t interested, although he was interested in attacking Albright from behind before Albright recovered to send Castagnoli running for cover.
Then it was back to tag-team action, with Chris Hero & one half of the American Wolves, Eddie Edwards, accompanied by Shane Hagadorn & Sara Del Rey, & representing Sweet & Sour Inc, facing Jay Briscoe & one half of the ROH World Tag-Team Champions, Kevin Steen. Hero is now starting to resemble a young Grizzly Adams with that massive beard of his. This one had a bit of history behind it, with the American Wolves taking out Jay’s brother Mark the previous December. Oh, and before you ask, Davey Richards was away in Japan for Pro Wrestling NOAH at the time, which is why he wasn‘t here. Anyway, back to the match. This one started off with a wild brawl at ringside, before settling into a normal tag-team match. Steen and Briscoe really impressed me as a unit, especially when they used the double team moves that are normally used with their regular partners. On the other side, Hero was a more than able substitute for Richards, working well with Edwards throughout the match. Add these ingredients together and you’ve got a very, very good match, topped off with a bit of tension between Steen and Briscoe. Towards the end of the match, when Jay lifted Hero onto his shoulders, he wanted Steen, who by that time had sustained a knee injury, to climb to the top rope for a flying clothesline. Even Jay’s brother Mark came out and told him to do it. Steen basically told Mark to mind his own business, but after a brief distraction from Richards, Steen eventually relented when Jay lifted Hero onto his shoulders for a second time, taking him down with a flying clothesline, with Jay getting the winning pin for his team. Hero and Edwards then went for a revenge attack, until Mark came into the ring with a steel chair to send the dastardly heels running for cover.
Back to singles action again, with Bryan Danielson taking on Delirious. The masked man is accompanied here by his buddy Jimmy Jacobs, despite the fact that Jacobs is going for the ROH World title later in the show. So what can you say about a Bryan Danielson match that hasn’t been said before. It’s a technically sound affair, with, as always, Danielson putting in a great effort. Delirious wasn’t too bad either, able to keep up with the technical marvel throughout the match, and playing the role of the babbling mad man to perfection. We even had some dissention in the ranks as Delirious and Jacobs argued over tactics. In the end Danielson countered Delirious’ cobra clutch suplex, landing on his feet and pinning him with a small package. Jacobs then got into the ring to berate his man, and got pushed on his backside for his troubles. But to the dismay of those in attendances, they soon hugged and made up. Boy was this good!
Then it was on to the always watchable Austin Aries, going up against Sami Callahan. Once again Aries plays the role of the cocky heel to perfection, proclaiming himself as the greatest man alive in a pre-match promo, and thinking that he can completely out wrestle the man who is making only his third ROH appearance, before realising that Callahan is no pushover. Callahan puts up a good fight, but in the end the experience of Aries shone through, picking up the win after taking Callahan down with the brain buster. A good outing from both men, but can someone please tell Aries that the design on his tights is still bloody awful?
Next up, Brodie Lee taking on Necro Butcher in an anything goes street fight. Okay, let’s be completely honest here. After six great matches, it’s a shame that they had to be followed by something as poor as this. Once again Necro showed just how poor he really is. His offence looked poor, and his defence even worse. In fact I’m left to wonder just how this guy continues to earn a wage in the wrestling business, because the only decent thing he’s done is getting the crap kicked out of him by Mickey Rourke. As for Lee, well, he’s not much better. This big guy has all the physical tools to be something. He might have been to show something against a better opponent, but not against someone like the Necro Butcher. Eventually Jimmy Jacobs and Delirious came down to the ring to help their fellow Age of the Fall member, but after a slight miscommunication between the pair, Necro soon sent them packing, ending the match by taking Lee out with a chair shot to get the winning pin. If I ever see another Necro Butcher match it will be too soon.
Main event time, with Nigel McGuinness defending his ROH World title against Jerry Lynn, Tyler Black and Jimmy Jacobs in a four way elimination match. I wonder if Jacobs got paid per appearance for this show. Sometimes these matches can be messy affairs, but this one was just about perfect, with four good performances, mixing the veteran stylings of Lynn, the youthful enthusiasm of Black, the crazed musings of Jacobs, and the cockiness of the champion. The almost thirty minutes of top notch action made for great viewing.
Lynn was eliminated first. As he tried to suplex McGuinness back into the ring, Jacobs tripped him up and held on to his leg, allowing McGuinness to get the pin. A disgruntled Lynn ended up attacking Jacobs and McGuinness before he left the ring.
Black was the next man to go. As Black tried to suplex Jacobs back into the ring, McGuinness tripped him, and held onto his leg. But the referee spotted what they were doing this time, and soon, McGuinness took Black out with the Tower of London onto the floor. The referee began to count Black out as Jacobs and McGuinness went at it in the ring, and it looked like he was going to make it until Jacobs broke off his submission hold to knock Black down off the ring apron. The referee finished his count, and Black was gone.
It wasn’t long before the final pin, with McGuinness taking Jacobs out with his patented jawbreaker lariat. Things didn’t end there though as Black returned to the ring to attack his former mentor, with Delirious coming back to join in the attack, before Lynn came back down the aisle to make the save.
As usual, only one extra, the ROH Newswire.
In conclusion – Ring of Honor once again proves to be a more than viable alternative to WWE and TNA at the moment with seven great matches. Okay, you know my views on the Necro Butcher match, but that’s only one match, and you can easily skip that particular chapter. So apart from that, this DVD comes highly recommended, although I’d like to see a recent ROH DVD that doesn’t have Necro Butcher on, so I can say all the matches are great.
With thanks to the Ring of Honor powers that be for supplying a copy of this release.