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Tape Review: ROH, "This Means War," Oct. 29, 2005, with American Dragon vs. Strong, Aries vs. A.J. Styles

Dec 16, 2005 - 11:22:00 AM
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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor

Ring of Honor returned to Woodbridge, Conn., on Oct. 29, 2005, for “This Means War.” (NOTE: the case on the VHS tape incorrectly states 11/29/05). The crowd appears to be fairly large, perhaps 500 or more. Lighting and sound are good, and Dave Prazak & Lenny Leonard again handles commentary.

The tape opened with a backstage segment with Jade Chung. Jade said she wondered what life would be like without Prince Nana. She said she found the strength to leave Nana through Roderick Strong. The camera then focused on Strong, who said he is still focused on getting even with the Embassy at Steel Cage Warfare, but tonight, he is excited to get a title shot. Solid promo; one of the better promos I’ve seen from Strong.

(1) Claudio Castognoli vs. Alex Shelley (w/Prince Nana) went to a time-limit draw at 19:57. Claudio came out in a black, sparkly outfit. Suddenly, Nigel McGuinness came to ringside. He grabbed the mic and tried to get a Foley Pop by saying he was in Woodbridge; the crowd didn’t play along. Nigel said that Claudio may have beat him last time, but that’s because the match was not under Pure Title rules. Wow, the sound is very good here; I’m having no problem understanding Nigel. Nigel said that “as long as you don’t lose, I’ll give you a title shot.”

The match got started, and they traded armbars, and Castognoli did a handstand to escape a headlock. Nigel sat at ringside, watching closely. Shelley applied a modified Sharpshooter, but Claudio escaped. Shelley applied a Border City Stretch at 4:30, but Claudio reached the ropes. They traded rollups and had a standoff, and the crowd applauded. In a cool spot, Shelley went for a Victory Roll and kept rolling forward into a pendulum; somehow, Claudio escaped the pendulum and reversed the move. Innovative spot.

Claudio applied a nice modified Figure Four; up to this point the match has been a clean wrestling match. Then, Shelley spit at Claudio. At this point, Claudio started hitting a series of European uppercuts and a flying back elbow. Shelley hit a spin kick to the thigh and he monkey flipped Claudio out of the ring to the floor. Shelley hit a flying body press into a Tornado DDT on the floor. Nice. Back in the ring, Shelley drove Claudio’s face into the mat. Shelley hit a Lionsault for a nearfall at 14:00.

Claudio came back with a kip-up European Uppercut, then a basement dropkick and a diving European Uppercut. Shelley hit some stiff forearms. Claudio hit a spinning side faceplant for a nearfall at 17:30. Claudio did a vertical suplex for about a 35-count; the crowd stopped counting and started applauding! Shelley applied a Border City Stretch, and the crowd is vocal, as some want Claudio to tap. Claudio escaped, and he applied a Horse Collar, tying Shelley’s leg behind Claudio’s head. Claudio then went for the Pyramid Powerbomb when the bell sounded… and we have a time-limit draw. Very, very good mat-based action, and its Claudio’s best ROH match yet.

Jade Chung ran in out of nowhere and she hit Nana. Suddenly, Nigel beat up Claudio, and he finished his line that “I’m the best pure wrestler there ever will be!” Nigel used his iron on Claudio’s head, and he busted Claudio open. Good post-match segment.

(2) Azrieal & Davey Andrews defeat Jason Blade & Kid Mikaze at 5:52. Solid match. My first time seeing Blade & Mikaze; they wear identical white trunks with red logos on the side. The side of Blade’s head is shaved. Azrieal hit some chops. Mikaze hit a nice spin kick. The faces hit a team spin kick & leg sweep. Azrieal fired back with spine kicks on Blade. Andrews tagged in, and he hit some stiff blows on Mikaze. The faces connected on a team Japanese Armdrag on Andrews.

Andrews and Mikaze traded stiff forearms on the floor. Mikaze tried doing a dive off Blade’s back to the floor; it looked so-so. In the ring, Andrews hit a German release suplex on Mikaze, and Azrieal immediately hit a top-rope doublestomp on Mikaze’s head for the win. Solid debut. Prazak said they “have definitely earned another match in ROH, but they need to get a win next time.”

(3) Ricky Reyes defeats Mitch Franklin at 0:22. Reyes, in order, hit a sitdown powerbomb, an inverted suplex, and then he applied a Dragon Sleeper, and Franklin is out. Blah.

(4) B.J. Whitmer (w/Lacey) defeats Nigel McGuinness and Nosawa and Kikataroh at 9:37. This is a non-title match. Kikataroh threw candy to the kids. Nosawa and Kikataroh started out with some silliness, then they traded some quick offense. Whitmer tagged in, and Nosawa hit B.J. with a Tajiri-style spin kick. B.J. hit a basement dropkick to the face and some chops. Nigel got in, and he hit a European Uppercut on Whitmer, then a kick from the headstand position in the corner.

Kikataroh chopped Nigel, but Nigel no-sold them. Nigel nailed a European Uppercut, and Kikataroh did a Flairflop. Kikataroh hit a basement dropkick on Nosawa’s knee, then a Shining Wizard at 6:30. Kikataroh and Nosawa traded Shining Wizards. Kikataroh chopped B.J. and he let out a “Woo!” He climbed to the top rope, but B.J. caught him and threw him to the mat. Kikataroh begged off, then he hit an eyepoke, and he strutted. I swear I’ve seen someone do that sequence before… the crowd loved this humor. B.J. came back and hit two wrist-clutch exploders on Kikataroh to pin him. Good action with some comedy mixed in.

(5) A.J. Styles defeats Austin Aries at 20:33. Wow, this was a really, really excellent match. Matches like this is why I originally fell in love with Ring of Honor. The chants for Aries are louder than the chants for Styles. They shook hands, and the crowd is HOT. They started with an intense lockup, and Styles hit his Kip Up Rana. Aries hit some chops, a springboard back elbow, and A.J. went flying. Styles went for the headscissorlock, but Aries escaped and hit the basement dropkick to the face at 6:00. A.J. nailed his standing dropkick, then a flying kneedrop for a nearfall.

They traded some STIFF clubbing forearms, and A.J. hit a nice swinging backbreaker. Styles began to kick at Aries’ lower back. Styles applied a Muta Lock on the mat, pulling back on Aries’ head. The crowd alternated chants for the two. Aries hit a field goal kick as Styles was tied in the ropes, and A.J. went to the floor. Aries dove through the ropes, nailing A.J. at 11:00. In the ring, Aries hit a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall, then a flying elbow drop for a nearfall. Aries hit a powerdrive elbow, and he fishhooked Styles’ mouth.

Styles came back with some more stiff forearms and a short-arm clothesline, and they both were down at 15:00. Styles hit a pumphandle backbreaker over his knee. Aries blocked a Styles Clash attempt, and he hit the running dropkick to Styles’ face in the corner. Aries hit the inverted Finlay Roll off his shoulders, then a missile dropkick for a nearfall. A.J. went for the Phenomenon, but Aries blocked it. Styles picked up Aries for a Torture Rack at 18:00, but Aries reversed it into a Crucifix Bomb for a nearfall.

Aries hit a brainbuster for a believable nearfall. A.J. got up and blocked Aries from hitting the 450 Splash. Styles hit the Pele Kick as Aries sat on the top turnbuckle. Then, Styles hit a second-rope Styles Clash – facing the crowd, not the ring – to score the pin on Aries. WOW. I loved this match.

They hugged after the match, and Styles left the ring. The crowd cheered for Aries. However, Prince Nana and Shelley attacked Aries from behind. Jade Chung ran in, and she hit a Tornado DDT on Nana. Aries saved Jade from Shelley. Aries then hit a brainbuster on Nana, and the crowd went nuts.

It’s intermission time, and Gary Michael Cappetta interviewed Jay Lethal. Lethal said that “not having Joe here tonight is a big loss for me.” Lethal said it ends Joe’s streak of appearances on ROH events at 61 consecutive shows. Wow.

(6) Colt Cabana defeats B-Boy (w/Julius Smokes) at 12:22. Prazak said that B-Boy was sent to hurt Cabana. Cabana hit some quick armdrags, and he got in a nice rollup with a bridge for a nearfall. B-Boy fired back with a spin kick to the head, a spine kick, a snap suplex, and a kneedrop across the back of Cabana’s neck. B-Boy tossed Cabana to the floor, and Smokes attacked Cabana at 5:30. In the ring, B-Boy choked Cabana in the ropes, and he tied Cabana in a pretzel on the mat.

Cabana fired back with some punches, a Dusty elbow, and a buttbump in the corner. B-Boy hit a spinning neckbreaker for a nearfall, a Tornado DDT, and a Facelift/running basement dropkick at 11:30 for a nearfall. Cabana nailed the hard lariat and pinned B-Boy. Good match, and it certainly proved B-Boy can fit on the ROH roster.

Suddenly, Homicide’s music hit! The crowd went nuts. The lights went out, and when they came back on, Homicide was in the ring. They brawled in the ring, then to the floor, then into the crowd and into the bleachers. This brawl went a legit 8 minutes, and some of it was hard to see, as it’s dark away from ringside. They made their way back to the ring. They brawled on the ring apron, until Homicide hit an Ace Crusher off the apron through a table on the floor, and the crowd chanted, “Holy Sh--.” Good post-match brawl, and the fans got to see plenty of Homicide after all.

(7) Jay Lethal defeats Curry Man (w/Allison Danger) at 22:28. Danger came out first (in her naughty nun outfit) and told the crowd that Christopher Daniels could not be here tonight, and the crowd booed. Curry Man is the last-minute replacement, and he danced his way to ringside, and the crowd loved his goofiness. They opened with some basic mat holds, and the crowd chanted, “Let’s go Lethal,” “Hot & Spicy!”

Curry Man danced. The crowd demanded that Lethal dance, and he wouldn’t at first, and they booed him. He then danced. The crowd went nuts. Curry Man demanded the ref dance, so the ref danced at 8:30. The crowd asked for Allison Danger to dance, too, so she also got in the ring and did Curry Man’s dance. Silliness all around. Curry Man got on the mic, but it was hard to understand. The match resumed, and Lethal hit a springboard crossbody block for a nearfall, then he dove through the ropes onto Curry Man. In the ring, Lethal applied a Japanese Stranglehold at 13:00.

Curry Man hit a springboard back elbow, and Lethal went to the floor. Curry Man hit a plancha on Lethal. In the ring, Curry Man hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker over his knee, then a jumping side kick to the face for a nearfall at 17:00. Lethal came back with a hard spinebuster, and they both were down. Curry Man hit a Flatliner, a uranage, and he went for a Best Moonsault Ever, but he landed on his feet. Lethal jumped off the second rope and hit a DDT for a nearfall.

Lethal missed a Benoit Diving Headbutt, and both were down at 20:30. They traded chops, then they traded rollup attempts. Lethal was able to hook in the Dragon Suplex to score the pin. Good match, split evenly with the goofiness in the first half, and some good wrestling in the second half.

A promo aired. It’s Jimmy Rave, and he’s in Ghana, West Africa! There are animals mounted on the wall behind him. Rave held up a roll of toilet paper, saying he is angered by the fans disrespect for him. “This is what you think is funny, to throw at me,” Rave said. “I’m not going to put up with this much longer.” Rave talked about what he did this year to CM Punk and A.J. Styles. He even perfected the Rave Clash so well, that Styles had to steal the move back from him. But Rave isn’t upset at losing that move now. “I’ve devised the most devastating move in wrestling history,” he said. Awesome promo; while Rave isn’t the best speaker, he delivered on all the key points he had to hit here. Good use of Rave considering he couldn’t make it to this show.

(8) American Dragon defeats Roderick Strong at 37:05 to retain the ROH World Heavyweight title. Excellent match. Both wrestlers did clean breaks in the corner, and this starts out as an ‘honorable’ match. Dragon hit the first chop of the match. Prazak talked about Strong’s fantastic year; Leonard talked about how Strong has turned the corner, and is now winning the big matches. Strong hit a hard chop at 5:30, and Dragon stalled on the floor and pouted. Dragon climbed back in the ring, shook Strong’s hand… and then slapped Strong in the face. The crowd was stunned.

Dragon hit seven chops in the corner; Strong hit one chop, and Dragon bailed to the floor again! This sequence repeated itself, and Dragon was clutching his red chest. Dragon began to stretch Strong, yanking back on his nose at 11:00, as the ref admonished Dragon. Dragon, of course, told the ref, “I have ‘til five.” Dragon hit some spine kicks, a butterfly suplex, and he worked Strong’s left arm. Strong hit some chops; Dragon came back with an eyepoke, and the crowd is openly booing Dragon’s tactics. Dragon hit some knee shots to the head and he choked Strong in the ropes and jawed with the fans.

Strong hit six chops and a dropkick for a nearfall at 16:30. They brawled to the floor, and Strong hit some more chops. Prazak acknowledged that Strong hadn’t hit a backbreaker yet. Dragon set up Strong on the floor for a Samoa Joe Ole Kick! He hit a running dropkick instead. The crowd chanted, “Over here!” Dragon looked at them, like he was going to do it, then gave the crowd the middle finger, and shouted, “F--- off!” In the ring, Strong hit a backbreaker and a back suplex for a nearfall at 21:30. He went for the Stronghold/modified Boston Crab, but Dragon reached the ropes before it could be locked in.

Dragon hit a missile dropkick. Strong went for the Stronghold again, and this time he was able to turn Dragon over, but Dragon again reached the ropes. They fought on the top rope in the corner, and Dragon fell to the floor. Strong brought Dragon back in the ring and he hit a powerbomb for a nearfall at 27:00. Dragon fired back, getting a Cattle Mutilation/double armbar, but Strong easily escaped it. Dragon hit some crossface blows, and he went for a Surfboard, but he stomped on the back of Strong’s knees instead.

Dragon applied a Figure Four Leglock at 31:00, but Strong reached the ropes; Strong is doing a great job of selling the pain in his legs. Dragon missed the Benoit Flying Headbutt. Dragon hit a fisherman’s suplex; he got angry with the ref because the ref said Strong’s shoulders weren’t down. Strong hit a backbreaker over his knee, but he clutched his knee in pain from the maneuver. Strong hit a top-rope Superplex for a nearfall at 34:30. Strong put Dragon in the Stronghold, but he couldn’t keep his sore leg in place. They traded forearms and Dragon hit some paintbrush blows to the face. Dragon suddenly put Strong in a modified Fujiwara Armbar, using his legs for leverage, and Strong quickly tapped out. The finish came out of nowhere. Excellent action.

A backstage promo with Chad Collyer aired. Collyer talked about his feud with Ace Steel, and how Steel is sending crazy videos to ROH. “You want a shot at me, one on one, well, you’re not gonna get it,” Collyer said. Instead, they would meet in a tag match in Chicago. Solid promo; Collyer needs to improve on these.

Jim Cornette spoke backstage, saying that American Dragon has open contracts for the ROH World Heavyweight Title, and Chris Sabin has signed one of those contracts. Basic promo to hype the next show.

Gary Michael Capetta was about to sign off to end the tape, when Christopher Daniels rushed in with his bag. “The show is over? How come no one called me?” Daniels said. Capetta explained that Curry Man covered for Daniels’ absence. Daniels is upset that he yet again missed meeting Curry Man. Suddenly, B.J. Whitmer & Lacey approached Daniels, and Whitmer is upset. “You’re forgetting things, like people that once backed you,” Whitmer said. Whitmer and Lacey walked away, and Daniels looked confused and perplexed, as the show ended.

Final thoughts: The tape runs three hours even. Styles-Aries and Dragon-Strong are two excellent matches, and are co-match of the night winners. I enjoyed both matches a lot. This was Claudio’s coming out party, as he had an excellent match with Shelley to earn third best of the show, just ahead of Lethal-Curry Man.

This is a good show, better than the Oct. 14 & Oct. 15 shows. The debut match for Kid Mikaze & Blade felt like an old-school ROH scramble, with lots of fun spots, one after another. I’m bored with the Reyes’ squash wins. B-Boy looked good, and I hope he gets more matches in the future. Nosawa was solid in his ROH debut; not great, but not bad either. The crowd loves Kikataroh.

This tape gets an enthusiastic thumbs up, and it can be purchased for $20 at www.rohwrestling.com


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