ROH – International Challenge DVD Review
ROH – International Challenge – Hartford, Connecticut – December 22, 2006
BG says: I’m sorry about my admittedly awful review here, but my computer crashed after I’d finished this and Final Battle 2006 and I just don’t have the will to review them all over again. I figure that since Jake is doing them in full my lazy effort won’t be as noticeable.
JZ says: The World Tag Team Champions open the show with their valet, Allison Danger. Tonight they will make their first defense against the Japanese contingent of CIMA & Shingo. Both the champions are ridiculously dressed, but I like how Sydal is becoming more of a heel.
Super agent Larry Sweeney then busts in unannounced, and won’t tell us why he’s here. I guess it’s for him to know and us to find out.
Don’t Call It A Come Back
JZ says: Samoa Joe is coming out to the ring so we can start the show with a promo. Joe just puts over the company and the wrestlers. I like Joe, but that was a waste of time.
MATCH #1: Pelle Primeau vs. Jason Blade
BG says: Both guys looked good in this squashy opener. Primeau is definitely the best all-around student the ROH School has produced so far. Blade needs a personality in the worst way. He’s too vanilla to catch on right now.
JZ says: Dave Prazak and the returning LENNY LEONARD are on commentary here. Leonard blew out both of his knees playing softball of all things, and after four knee surgeries he’s back on his feet and excited to be here. Blade uses his size advantage to control Primeau, and he hits the Jerry Lynn contrived legdrop. He hits a boot to the face and a suplex for two. Primeau tries to fight back but Blade really dominates. He hits a moonsault off the top rope to get the pin at 4:28. I guess ROH has plans for Jason Blade. I like Primeau better.
MATCH #2: Austin Aries vs. Eddie Edwards
BG says: Edwards did alright I suppose but this match really does more to show how directionless Aries is than it does to show Edwards’s talent. I doubt Edwards would have gotten a look had he not teamed with Danielson in NOAH, but luckily for him the world is spinning in his favor.
JZ says: This is of course Edwards’ debut in ROH. They do some of that wrestling stuff to start, with Aries naturally out-classing the bigger Edwards. Edwards makes a rookie mistake of putting Aries in a headscissors. I guess he’s never watched an Aries match. Edwards is able to overpower Aries and gets a couple of near falls. They trade moves for a bit. Edwards hits a nice missile dropkick for two. Edwards tries his own brainbuster, but Aries will have none of it. He hits the kick to the head, the brainbuster, and the 450 splash to pin Edwards at 7:21. I didn’t see much in Edwards, so this match didn’t do much for me.
JZ says: Jimmy Jacobs talks about how his father is a federal judge and his brother has a PhD in math, so his career as a wrestler is probably not what his family had in mind for him. He talks about how many times he’s bled, and that it’s led to him to live in a blood-tinted world. The only thing he could see clearly was the beauty of Lacey. He goes into some detail about how what BJ Whitmer did to Lacey was unforgivable, and that he will make them pay. Jacobs said it a lot better than I recapped it here, and I think it’s become obvious that he’s one of the top promo guys in ROH, if not the best.
MATCH #3: Adam Pearce vs. Delirious
BG says: Yuck. The match was dull and Pearce is starting to wear on me. Both of these guys had great showings in Chicago during the spectacular but this match completely destroyed their momentum and my good faith. This was dull as heck and the cheap finish did nothing to help.
JZ says: I’d be lying if I said I was invested in this feud. Pearce attacks Delirious before the bell and he goes to work on him. They spill outside the ring and Delirious is able to take control. They trade control a few times, as this one is just a big brawl. Hagadorn gets involved and Pearce drops Delirious chest-first on the guardrail and chokes him with his own tassels. In the ring Delirious takes control but Pearce cheats. He tries the piledriver but Delirious bites his leg to break it. Delirious gets a small package but Hagadorn is distracting the referee so there’s no count. Delirious tries Shadows over Hell but Hagadorn interferes again and Pearce pulls brass knuckles out of his tights and nails Delirious with them to get the pin at 6:11. I’m really not into this feud and this match was all brawling and interference. After the match Pelle Primeau comes out and tosses Hagadorn back into the ring and challenges him for the trophy. That allows Delirious to hit a piledriver on him.
MATCH #4: Jimmy Jacobs & Mercedes Martinez vs. BJ Whitmer & Daizee Haze
BG says: This was kind of sloppy and the picture in picture was more distracting than helpful. The girls really dropped the ball with their in-ring action while Jacobs and Whitmer brawled on the floor. Pretty disappointing overall as all four of them are capable of great brawling.
JZ says: Lacey is still out with her face injury from the spike, so she used Lacey’s Angels monies to recruit Mercedes Martinez to team with Jacobs for this mixed tag team match. They fight spills to the floor immediately and Martinez actually takes Whitmer out with a dive and Haze follows suit by hitting a dive on Whitmer. The women get back in the ring and Martinez has a noticeable size advantage on Haze. They look like they’re nervous or something. Whitmer and Jacobs fight outside the ring. We get the split screen action. The men get back in the ring and this one is out of control. Martinez won’t back down from Whitmer and she clobbers him with forearms. He goes after her but Jacobs hits a spear on him and then knocks Haze off the apron. They continue the brawl with no tags. Whitmer hits an exploder on Jacobs and Martinez simultaneously. Whitmer tries to cover Martinez but she kicks out, and I’m not sure how I feel about her beating Whitmer’s finisher. She gets up and Haze hits the Yakuza kick and Whitmer hits a huge lariat on her, but Jacobs breaks it up. Whitmer and Haze execute a poor looking splash from the shoulders on Martinez to get the pin at 7:34. After the match Brent Albright comes out and delivers a powerbomb to Whitmer, and Haze tries to attack Albright but to no avail. Jacobs pulls out the spike and looks to nail Haze with it. Whitmer blocks it and takes the spike himself. Colt Cabana comes out to make the save and I think this is segueing to the next match. The mixed tag was a bit disjointed but okay given the feud.
MATCH #5: Colt Cabana vs. Brent Albright
BG says: This was fun. Good mat wrestling to start and some nice power wrestling thrown in before the roll up win by Cabana. I wish I had more to say about this but if I remember correctly by original review of this was strictly play by play.
JZ says: Cabana hits a series of elbows on both Albright and the still-in-the-ring Jacobs to start with. Albright stalls for a moment before getting back in the ring. Hey, it’s a former WWE guy and a future WWE guy. The crowd chants “you got fired” at Albright, who claims that it was a vicious rumor. Cabana also wants to clear up the fact that HE did not get fired. I really hope WWE makes something happen with him. Cabana uses shenanigans to get the better of Albright, who gets frustrated. The crowd continues to stay on his case too, and he’s not sure how to handle it because I don’t think he ever got any sort of reaction at all in WWE. Albright finally grows tired of Cabana making him look stupid, so he starts overpowering Cabana and calling people in the crowd “faggot.” Cabana makes the comeback and gets a few near-falls. A quebrada gets two. Albright comes back with a belly-to-belly suplex into the turnbuckles. He drops Cabana on his head with another suplex and puts on the Crowbar. Cabana makes the ropes eventually. Albright tries to keep working on the arm but Cabana gets a very creative rollup to get the pin at 13:35. That took a while to get going but it was reasonably fun once they did. Cabana is just light years ahead of Albright in the charisma department.
MATCH #6: Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe
BG says: This was really good. The Briscoes crazy style complimented the Kings’ overly complicated move set very well. Larry Sweeney debuted during the match to distract the Briscoes long enough for Hero to get a roll up victory. Claudio looked confused after the match, as though he wasn’t in on the plan.
JZ says: The Kings of Wrestling are still using “We Are the Champions,” despite them not being champions since a few shows ago. This is allegedly Claudio’s last match in ROH before going to WWE. Jay and Hero start it off with some mat wrestling. The Briscoes gain the team advantage and use their awesome double teams to maintain control on Castagnoli. That goes on for a few minutes before the Kings take over with their stuff. That goes on for a few minutes until the Briscoes make their comeback and the crowd has pretty much been with these guys the whole way. Everyone is doing so much stuff that it’s been hard for me to keep up with. This one just keeps going with the Briscoes hitting stuff for a bit, then the Kings regaining control, lather rinse repeat. The Halliburton briefcase is introduced and while the referee is distracted by that, LARRY SWEENEY runs out and hits one of the Briscoes with something, allowing Hero to roll him up and get the victory at 15:09. There wasn’t a lot of psychology in this one but it did feature two very good tag teams doing lots of cool stuff and it was quite a bit of fun.
JZ says: Delirious cuts an angry promo on Adam Pearce and Shane Hagadorn, and says he’s going to do things to them. It’s not over he says.
MATCH #7: Homicide vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness
BG says: Danielson tried to avoid Homicide most of the time, obviously saving Homicide the embarrassment of having to be beaten so badly two nights in a row. He did catch Homicide by ramming his shoulder into the post and telegraphic the story for the next night’s title match. Samoa Joe ended up accidentally distracting the referee, angering and distracting Nigel long enough for Danielson to get the third roll up victory of the night in a row on him. This was pretty good by four-way standards.
JZ says: This combines a feud in its early stages (Nigel/Rave) with one that’s going to end tomorrow night (Danielson/Homicide). It’s interesting to see Homicide and Danielson get in the ring together the night before their big title match; I’m not sure I would have done that. Danielson’s World Title is of course not on the line. Homicide and McGuinness start it off, so as to delay the hot confrontations that are sure to come with Nigel/Rave and Homicide/Danielson. They mat wrestle and then each tag in one of the heels, so now it’s Danielson versus Rave. Danielson and Nigel get a chance to wrestle for a few minutes, until Homicide gets tagged in and Danielson quickly tags out to Rave. Homicide gets the better of Rave and he tags out to Nigel and they work as a team to dominate Rave. Rave and Danielson follow suit by starting to work together to soften up Nigel. Nigel finally makes the quick comeback and tags out to Homicide, who takes out both Danielson and Rave. He knocks them both to the floor and hits the Tope Con Hilo. The heels regain the advantage and Homicide tags out to Nigel. He beats on both heels and hits the Tower of London on Rave for two. He locks on An Arm Submission but Danielson breaks it up. Homicide thus hits him with an Ace Crusher. Homicide tries the Cop Killa on Danielson but he ends up going shoulder-first into the post. Danielson is smart. Rave and Nigel fight inside the ring as Samoa Joe comes down to ringside to check on Homicide. Joe’s been acting like a real prick lately. Nigel hits a lariat on Rave but the referee is distracted by Joe. Nigel objects, so Danielson gets him in a small package to win the match at 14:35. That had some decent action in it but was so much more of a tag match I wonder why they didn’t just book it that way.
BG says: Instead of reviewing this match I’m going to take this opportunity to direct you to my review of their first match at FIP Fallout 2006. Here’s my review of the match that saw Strong win the title at FIP All or Nothing. Clips of both of those shows are shown before this match. The FIP version match this match is actually a bit better than the match on this show and featured an actual finish. This was still quite good however.
JZ says: We open with clips of their match from FIP’s “Fallout 2006” event, which was held on October 13, 2006. Then we go to clips of “All or Nothing” from November 10, 2006, when Strong won the FIP Title from Bryan Danielson. Strong has thus been champion since 11.10.06, and this is his fourth defense (following Shingo, Steve Madison, and Hallowicked). They mat wrestle to start, with both guys keeping their noted tempers in check. They go at a fairly quick pace and Richards is able to take first advantage with an armbar. They fight on the floor for a minute but quickly get back in the ring and they continue the mat wrestling. Strong uses a camel clutch, and I’m sick of hearing people talk about humbling other people. Strong stays in control and works on the back. They fight on the apron and Richards hits a nice DDT on the ring apron. Back in the ring Strong fights back and hits a falcon arrow for two. Richards hits a series of German suplexes and finishes it with an over-the-head German but it only gets two. Richards hits a brainbuster and irritates me by flipping off someone in the crowd. They fight another few minutes and go back to the floor and all the way up the entrance ramp. Strong hits a sick belly to belly suplex out there and beats the count back into the ring to win by countout. I understand the rules of the FIP Title and why they’re doing it, but countout finishes still seem cheap. The match was mostly just an exhibition before that with no real flow or story. It was a fine exhibition though.
JZ says: Joe cuts a really annoying promo here just to put over his bestest buddy in the whole wide world, Homicide. When Joe is supporting someone else winning the World Title, you know it’s time for him to go.
MATCH #9: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal vs. CIMA & Shingo
BG says: This match was absolutely fantastic. CIMA is just on a higher level than most wrestlers, including the others in this match. Everyone pulled their weight however, and I had a great time watching this. This alone is a reason to grab the DVD.
JZ says: Daniels and Sydal have been champions since 11.25.06, and this is their first defense. CIMA & Shingo earned this shot by being themselves, insofar as I know. Sydal teams with these guys while he’s in Dragon Gate, but he has to fight them tonight. Daniels and Shingo have a nice exchange and Sydal gets tagged in. He goes to work on Shingo’s arm. Shingo is able to tag out to CIMA, who gets a pop just for coming into the ring. Sydal showboats and it allows CIMA to take control but Sydal is still quick and tags out to Daniels. The heels soon take control and go to work on Daniels’s neck. Daniels comes back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and Sydal comes in and goes to work on CIMA. Sydal takes time out to yell CANNONBAALL before jumping off the ropes and he pays for it, as CIMA makes the tag to Shingo. They start doing some mean stuff to work on the back of Sydal. They beat on him for several minutes until he makes the hot tag to Daniels who does some creative things to his opponents. Daniels tries the Arabian Press to the floor but Shingo blocks it. Then Sydal gets involved and Shingo gets involved and I’m having trouble typing as fast as they’re moving. Sydal hits a big moonsault to the floor on everyone. He basically decides to stop selling the leg at all. Shingo hits a few power moves on Sydal and gets a near fall. Everyone’s in the ring now. Everyone hits some big moves and everyone is down. Shingo and CIMA recover first and almost get a pin on Daniels. Sydal breaks it up and Daniels hits a uranage and the Best Moonsault Ever and Sydal gets the Shooting Star Press to retain the titles at 23:49. That was pretty awesome in spots, but I wish Sydal would have sold the leg a little more consistently. That’s a minor complaint though in an otherwise very good match. On his way to the back, Daniels points at his belt and says “the road to greatness starts right here.” Wrestlers say the dumbest things.
JZ says: It must be cold in the building, because ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson is wearing a winter hat! He proclaims owner ship of the ROH World Title and says he won’t let it go.
We close with a montage of great moments from days of ROH yore. It’s a nice, short advertisement for the Fifth Year Festival, which is coming up in February.
BG says: CIMA, for all the reasons I stated in my poor excuse of a review of his match.
JZ says: I give it to CIMA also, for coming back to ROH and having a great match.
You can pick up this show, as well as all other ROH shows at ROH Wrestling Dot Com.
Coming soon will be our review of FINAL BATTLE 2006!
The 411: BG says: Everything from the Kings/Briscoes tag match on is ***¼ or better. You don’t need any reason other than that to pick this up. JZ says: This was better than most of the other recent ROH DVD releases, and the two tag team matches are reason enough alone to buy this. Homicide’s quest for the title is still the focal point of the show and I’m already kind of past that in my mind. But the stuff I didn’t like much was kept short and there was plenty of good stuff to make this a worthwhile show.
|Final Score: 7.5 [ Good ] legend|