ROHViews from Across the Pond: Tag Wars 2006
ROH TAG WARS 2006size=4>
PREVIOUSLY ON ROH 2006, Bryan Danielson overcame Chris Hero in a titanic ROH vs. CZW clash that definitively ended the budding rivalry between the two companies forever. Also, AJ Styles and Matt Sydal agreed to team up as long as it was made perfectly clear they were not fucking each other behind the scenes. Adam Pearce didn’t feel like he was being respected, Homicide wanted to commit… homicide… on Colt Cabana, Austin Aries and Roderick Strong made an enemy out of Ricky Reyes, hinting at a GenNext-Rottweiler rivalry down the line, Jimmy Jacobs is in love with his manager Lacey, and Samoa Joe, BJ Whitmer, Christopher Daniels and Jay Lethal all want to inflict much pain upon each other for a variety of reasons. Tonight, we have a one night, four team Trios Tournament with the winners getting to book themselves in matches of their choice, and an intriguing main event for the ROH Tag Team Championships as Aries & Strong defend against ROH Champion Bryan Danielson & Jay Lethal. So, with that all out the way, let’s go to Dayton, Ohio on January 27th 2006 for the show!
Oh, and I hope you had a happy December based holiday. Whether it is Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or the Pagan festival of Yule (I know the way I put Yule at the end there makes it sound like I’m being dismissive but I’m genuinely sincere) I hope you celebrated it well.
Anyway, Bryan Danielson and Jay Lethal are confident of claiming the tag titles tonight, with Danielson looking forward to adding a third belt to his collection and Lethal hoping to win a championship Samoa Joe never has. Meanwhile, the Embassy state their belief that they are the top faction in ROH, and thus will win the Trios Tournament tonight. Alex Shelley claims that Spanky has taught him the secrets of the Sliced Bread #2, and he’ll use it to put down his opponents tonight. Tensions arise between Shelley and Jimmy Rave over who will take the ROH Championship from Bryan Danielson once they win tonight, but Prince Nana calms it down before too many cracks appear.
MATCH 1- TRIOS TOURNAMENT SEMI FINAL- JIMMY YANG, JACK EVANS & MATT SYDAL VS ADAM PEARCE, BJ WHITMER & JIMMY JACOBS
Evans and Sydal are repping Generation Next, while Whitmer & Jacobs are of course managed by Lacey.
The rudos attack before the bell, but they don’t retain control for long and Jimmy Yang is able to take BJ Whitmer out to the floor with a flurry of aerial offense. Sydal does the same to Adam Pearce with a huracanrana, then crashes onto him with an Asai Moonsault. Jimmy Jacobs takes Yang out with a Suicide Dive, and Evans completes the sequence with a Space Flying Tiger Drop into a huracanrana onto the floor! And then decides to celebrate with some breakdancing! Jack Evans is certainly divisive, but I think he is fucking awesome and I could happily watch him breakdance all day. Anyway, the tide turns when Pearce drives Sydal into the mat with a powerslam, and the future Evan Bourne is your damsel in distress. Whitmer powerbombs Jacobs onto his foe, then dumps him with a vicious Spinebuster for two. Pearce comes back in with a delayed Brainbuster for two. In a nice, subtle little moment, Scrap-Iron tries to tag in Jacobs, only to find him deep in conversation with Lacey. He is quickly alerted though, and no harm is done. Well, except to Matt Sydal, who is taking quite the beating in there. Whitmer and Pearce tries to elevate him for a back body drop, but Sydal counters in mid air with a missile dropkick to Adam and a sloppy tornado DDT to BJ. Evans would have pulled that off and probably added about 9000 rotations in for good measure. It is still effective enough to buy Sydal some time though, and it is hot tag to Jimmy Yang! He is a veritable house of fire! BJ Whitmer tries to drop him with a belly to belly suplex, but Yang lands on his feet, drops to the ground to trick BJ into thinking that the move was successful, and kicks him in the face when he moves in for another attack. Tremendous. Jimmy then lands a kicking combination and takes Whitmer down with a picturesque moonsault press for two. Jacobs momentarily provides some respite for the heels with a spear but gets taken out in turn by Jack Evans. Adam Pearce then deals with the Elastic Man, connecting with a big splash from the top rope, but the referee won’t count because Pearce is not the legal man. And he does the same when Sydal moonsaults onto Pearce! And when Whitmer dumps Sydal with a powerbomb! Like anyone cares who the fucking legal man is a match like this, you pedantic official. Anyway, Yang Time connects on Whitmer and apparently they are the legal men because Todd Sinclair actually counts this time. Only gets two though. Jacobs and Evans are tagged in, and have a funky little sequence that the fan favourite gets the better of. He heads to the top rope only to get blocked by Lacey. JJ stirs in time to see the two quarrelling and immediately launches into a furious attack on Jack, but that gives Sydal time to sneak up behind him and nail the Here-It-Is Driver! Evans follows with the 630, and we have one half of the final set! *** ½ This was a super fun frenzy of creative, athletic spots between six interesting characters, which is pretty much all I ask from wrestling. Evans, Yang and Jacobs were all excellent in this, while the other three worked hard and did what was needed of the,. Despite my complaining in the heat of the match, I actually quite liked Sinclair sticking stoutly to only recognising the legal men; it added a bit of logic and order to an otherwise chaotic match. This was pretty much the perfect opener; exciting enough to whip the crowd up, but not too long to outstay it’s welcome. I have nothing but praise to give to this.
Post match, BJ Whitmer berates Jimmy Jacobs for losing focus and costing them the match. Jack Evans rubs salt into the wounds by telling Lacey to call him. Oh, Jack, you rascal.
MATCH 2- TRIOS TOURNAMENT SEMI FINAL- TONY MAMALUKE, SAL RINAURO & JAY FURY VS THE EMBASSY
Rave, Shelley and Abyss comprise the Embassy tonight. I think it is clear which team are the favourites. Abyss snacked on three people the size of Mamaluke, Rinauro and Fury prior to the match. True story.
This is a less action packed affair than its predecessor, but it’s still a quietly entertaining match. Rave and Shelley debut a unique hold, simultaneously biting the hand of Tony Mamaluke. The fan favourites get revenge with a nice double team, Mamaluke and Rinauro holding Rave in the air with a double suplex, before Fury crashes into him with a high crossbody. Sal chases Shelley around the ringside area, only to charge into a high crossbody from Embassy associate Daizee Haze! Fun spot. As an aside, it is good to see Daizee Haze making her first steps back into the wrestling world after her year long absence. Good luck Daizee, if you’re reading which you probably aren’t! Abyss tags in, and you can practically feel the dread radiating off the Embassy’s foes. He crushes Rinauro in the corner with a body splash, only for Rave to tag in and make the cover himself. It only gets two though. Rave chops Rinauro in the face! He is taking quite the beating in there. Abyss returns and hurls him high into the air, before dropping him back down on his face. Bizarre to think that Rinauro was one half of the ROH Tag Team Champions the previous year. Shelley tauntingly offers Sal’s hand to his partners, but it backfires as the technico slips out of his grasp and tags in Fury! He turns out to be an absolute house of fire, decimating the Embassy with an impressive array of kicks and aerials. A shooting star press misses its intended target though, and Shelley turns the tide by punting him low as Haze distracts the referee. Sliced Bread #2 gets the three count. ** ¾ Certainly much less bombastic than the opener, but trying to do two of those in a row would have tired the crowd anyway. There were still a fair few enjoyable moments in this, and the Embassy came off looking very dangerous heading into the final. Solid outing here.
Jim Cornette announces that both Colt Cabana and Homicide have been suspended for repeatedly trying to kill each other.
MATCH 3- CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI VS CHAD COLLYER
Both of these men have alliterative names beginning with C. Their meeting was inevitable.
As you might expect, this starts off as a clean, mat-based encounter between two talented technicians. Things get a little more edgy as Castagnoli misses a charge into the corner and flies into the steel post and out to the floor. Collyer brings the aggression on the floor, driving the weakened shoulder back into the ring post. There’s more work on the aforementioned body part once the two have returned to the ring. The Swiss Superstar battles back with a graceful flying back elbow, but the crowd are distracted by Chris Hero’s presence in the crowd! In a nice touch, the camera doesn’t focus on him and the commentators only briefly dwell on his presence, trying to focus on the match. Meanwhile, Collyer lands a German Suplex for two. Castagnoli responds with the Alpamare Waterslide for the same. He tries for the Ricola Bomb, but Chad spins out and into a Backdrop Driver for two. He floats into an armbar, but Claudio is able to make the ropes. Collyer opts to grab a steel chair, but Ace Steel hits the ring and steals it from him. That distraction allows Claudio to hit…erm… WHATAMANOUEVRE for three. ** This was technically accomplished, but very cold and hard to connect to. Being as that sentence also aptly describes Chad Collyer, it’s easy to ascertain who controlled this one. The Ace Steel interference came out of nowhere as well. Still, I appreciate the effort that went into the arm work, even if it didn’t really lead anywhere, and everything was executed predictably well. Not a bad bout then, just a bit of a lifeless one.
Post match, Ace Steel cuts a promo running down Chad Collyer ahead of their match the following night, and calling out Sterling James Keenan to set up the next one. Or something, I wasn’t really listening, it’s only Ace Steel. He’s to the Second City Saints what Winston is to the Ghostbusters; he brings nothing to the table and is outclassed by his stable-mates.
MATCH 4- ACE STEEL VS STERLING JAMES KEENAN
Words cannot express how little interest I have in this match.
The two have, as you might expect, a fine, back and forth match that is tainted by the overwhelming feeling that everything that is happening will be forgotten as soon as it is finished. Jimmy Bower livens things up by running down CZW on commentary. The invaders are still causing trouble in the crowd, which distracts Ace Steel a fair deal. Eventually, he gets on the microphone and starts to talk trash to them, which forces the camera to finally take a look at Hero and his crazed companion, Necro Butcher. They both choose to jump the guardrail, but a bevy of security, trainees and wrestlers help drag them away! This got interesting quickly! And things get more intriguing when the cameras cut to the back to see Jim Cornette bleeding from the mouth, one of his teeth clean knocked out! Chris Daniels tends to him and asks who did it, but Jimmy isn’t sure, claiming he was blindsided. Meanwhile, Chris Hero and the Necro Butcher are ejected from the building. Cornette storms down to the ring to add to the chaos, and gives a rousing speech decrying garbage wrestlers while talking up the ROH stars, before assuring us he will get revenge on whoever knocked his tooth out! No rating for the match, but the angle was lots and lots of fun and saved the show from hitting a serious lull as we head into intermission.
In the back, Austin Aries warns Matt Sydal not to team with AJ Styles, claiming it would threaten the unity of Generation Next. Sydal seems perturbed, but doesn’t get a chance to answer back.
MATCH 5- NIGEL MCGUINNESS VS DELIRIOUS
McGuinness has refused to put his Pure Title on the line because his opponent is not a sufficiently ‘pure’ wrestler. And in fairness to him, his opponent is Delirious.
Delirious loses his mind at the bell in a shocking moment. McGuinness responds by forearming him in his face, then mocks his crazed antics just to be a dick. The masked man retaliates with an enzuiguri, and blocks a lariat with a slap to the face. Nigel opts to use the headstand in the corner, which befuddles Delirious long enough to prime him for a kick to the chest. The crowd brand McGuinness a wanker. I commend them for their correct use of British slang. Delirious rallies and decks his foe with the Panic Attack, before rolling him in a La Magistral position for two. He meets nothing but air off Shadows Over Hell though, and that gives Nigel space to land a Lariat. But it only gets two! The Tower of London goes one better though. ** Considering how entertaining these two were as wrestlers and personalities I’m disappointed this got so little time. They made the most of what they had though, and put on a fine little TV style match to ease the crowd back into the show. 2006 would be a breakout year for both these competitors, and one of the things motivating me to actually get through the whole year is to watch them rise up the card.
MATCH 6- CHRISTOPHER DANIELS VS LOW KI
Daniels is accompanied by Allison Danger, who sports nun headwear because being needlessly offensive = yay? Samoa Joe was meant to be facing Daniels tonight but is out with a Staph infection.
Low Ki gets the match off to a furious start, locking in a quick cross arm-bar on Daniels! It is broken by a rope break though, and the match settles into the more familiar match beginning of cautious hold-trading. Things step up a notch when Ki dropkicks Daniels off the apron and into the barricade. He continues the aggression with some stomps in the corner, then fends off an Allison Danger distraction and lands a vicious Double Stomp to Daniels for two. Senshi is having an impressive match here! As I type that, Chris battles back with an inverted STO! A tilt a whirl backbreaker and Blue Thunder Powerbomb confirms that Daniels is getting his second wind. Ki gets dropped into a perfect position for the BME with a Uranage, but delays Daniels by grabbing his leg, and then crotches him when he does head up top. Senshi pulls his opponent into the Tree of Woe and steadies himself for his trademark Double Stomp, but Daniels shoves him out to the floor and flies onto him with a picture perfect Arabian Press! Back in the ring though, Low-Ki is able to retake the momentum, and even nails his Tree of Woe Double Stomp! He kicks Daniels onto the timekeeper’s table and tries to Double-Stomp him through it, but Chris rolls out the way, sending his foe through feet first! It initially appears that Ki has still recovered quicker than Daniels, but once they return to the ring the Fallen Angel is able to hook an Inside Cradle for two. Angel’s Wings is turned into a Dragon Sleeper, turned into another Dragon Sleeper, blocked with a knee to the head, Daniels shakes the blow off and tries for the Angel’s Wings against, but Ki backdrops him into a bridging pin for the three count! *** ½ Very good match. Both men seemed to tone it down a bit here but that is fine by me, being as Daniels has a great grasp of wrestling’s fundamentals and I don’t like Low-Ki when he devolves into his “WOO I CAN DO KICKS” mode. There were still some slick sequences and dangerous moves, but they never veered into overkill and the match was much more satisfying as a result.
Post match, Daniels recalls his history with Low-Ki, and says he is worthy of his respect. He offers Ki his hand in a landmark moment, but Senshi rejects it, reminding his opponent of the time Daniels has rejected his handshakes in the past.
MATCH 7- TRIOS TOURNAMENT FINAL- THE EMBASSY VS JACK EVANS, JIMMY YANG & MATT SYDAL
Jimmy Rave stalls in entertaining fashion early on, and earns a slap from Jimmy Yang for it. The opening stages of the match are filled with basic, solid teamwork from both sides, with the Embassy briefly working over Sydal, and the fan favourites Shelley. It’s Shelley that turns the tide decisively in the rudos’ favour though with a sneaky testicle hold on Sydal, and Abyss continues the punishment on the floor with a hard Irish whip to the guardrail. In the ring, he lands a big splash for a two count. Sydal is now decisively the face in peril, the Embassy taking turns to gradually work him down. Rave decides to head to the top rope, but Sydal is able to send Shelley into him, crushing the jewels of the Jewel. The future Evan Bourne then catches Alex with an enzuiguri, and springboards off his back into a huracanrana on Rave! Natty! Hot tag to Jimmy Yang, who proves to be a house of fire! Until Rave plants him with a Spike DDT. Jack Evans makes the save with a double-stomp. Abyss decides he needs to get involved, and does so by nearly decapitating Yang with a big boot. Now the Jung Dragon is in trouble. He doesn’t help himself by missing Rave on a blind charge into the corner and sailing into the ring post. After a few minutes of toil, Yang does eventually fight back, catching his namesake Jimmy in mid air with a leg lariat. Tag to Shelley, hot tag to Jack! Evans busts out a standing corkscrew press on Shelley because he’s Jack fucking Evans and that’s what he does. Sydal takes out Rave with a standing moonsault but it just isn’t as impressive, is it? All three faces try to take out Abyss, and none of them are successful. Sydal is military pressed onto Yang on the floor, and starts to consider diving onto them! Shelley tags in to prevent him from doing so, and slaps him in the face to teach him a lesson. The big man contemplates choke-slamming in, but instead opts to drop Sydal with a black hole slam and then everyone just starts hurling moves at each other and like fuck can I keep up with this. Suffice to say it’s crazy fun and Jack Evans ignores gravity about fifty times. Shelley ends the frenzy by dropping him with Sliced Bread #2 though, and Rave finishes with the Pedigree to win the Trios Tournament! *** ½ Another super fun trios match. The opening portion felt a little aimless and slow compared to the opening match, but perhaps that’s understandable considering both teams had already wrestled. Once the pace quickened though this became colossally entertaining, with some funky aerials from GenNext & Yang, entertaining heel work from Rave and Shelley, and a fantastic dynamic with Abyss fending off his high-flying opponent. The finish was a tiny bit anti-climactic, and kind of deflated a crowd who were buying a fan-favourite victory, but it was definitely logical to have the Embassy pick up the victory. A strong conclusion to an enjoyable one night tournament.
MAIN EVENT- ROH TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS- AUSTIN ARIES & RODERICK STRONG VS BRYAN DANIELSON & JAY LETHAL
Danielson decides to slap Strong in the face and spit at him before the bell, just to get under his skin a bit. He was a bit of a wonderful dick in 2006.
As if to underline my point, Danielson backs Strong into the corner, steals a single chop from Roddy’s repertoire, and then immediately tags Lethal in. Of course, it’s the future Black Machismo that pays the price, tasting a stinging uranage backbreaker almost from the outset. Austin Aries helps join in the battering, and Bryan decides he’d better rejoin the fray. He does so by trapping Strong in a surfboard and ripping at his face, compromising him long enough for Lethal to get some revenge as well. The rudos take turns body slamming him in a brilliantly long sequence. Eventually, Strong is able to summon the fortitude to slip out the back door, but this only initiates a strike exchange that Danielson gets the better of. The rule-breakers continue to wear down Roddy with some good wrestling and a smattering of under-handed tactics, but predictably the hot tag is eventually made to Austin Aries! Similarly predictably, he is a house of fire. The Gen Next members take turns using Danielson’s own air plane spin against him in a delicious turnaround from earlier in the match. Double A gets a nearfall from a Lionsault, but Lethal makes the save. This leads to Lethalson retaking control, with Jay stealing his mortal foe Samoa Joe’s Ole Kick to use on Aries. Danielson drops him with a superplex for two. The challengers both decide to head up top for simultaneous aerial moves, but take too long posturing and flop to an empty canvas as Aries escapes! Hot tag number two to Strong! The Messiah of the Backbreaker lives up to his name, doling out the spine-cracking manoeuvres like there was a massive overstock at the Backbreaker store and they were handing out free backbreakers to anyone passing by. While I was typing that metaphor I missed how Bryan Danielson retook control of this match, but he has, and proves this by nailing a super back suplex on Strong! Lethal adds a flying DDT, and The Dragon tries to mutilate Strong in the same way you would a cattle. Aries breaks it up though. Suicide Dive onto Lethal! Superb. Bryan and Roderick throw chops in the ring until Danielson dodges a Sick Kick and nails the Rolling Elbow. The Cattle Mutilation is re-applied, but Strong fights his way out and rallies with a Gutbuster and a pair of Sick Kicks and a Tiger Driver and a Gibson Driver and then locks in the Strong Hold and you’d better believe Danielson is tapping after all that shit. **** A terrific match to watch if you need your love of wrestling re-affirmed. This was non stop fun and creativity from bell to bell, with Lethal and particularly Danielson utterly revelling in their rule-breaking role and Strong portraying the sympathetic fan favourite surprisingly effectively. They all got lots of mileage out of basic moves like slams, chops and air-plane spins, but didn’t shy from kicking things up into a frenzied finale when it became necessary. The best match of 2006 ROH so far.
In the back, Jimmy Jacobs is mesmerized by Lacey’s legs, but he is snapped out of his trance by an angry BJ Whitmer. He is annoyed that Double J is shamelessly in love with Lacey, and annoyed at the woman herself for making demeaning comments towards them on previous DVD releases. Lacey insists she was just joking and of course Jacobs believes her. They decide as a trio to concentrate on the tag title match tomorrow night, and I’m sure that will be that.
Matt Sydal promises to tell us tomorrow night whether he will be ignoring the requests of Austin Aries and Roderick Strong and going after the tag titles with AJ Styles.
And, just for fun, let’s do the top five matches of ROH 2006 so far.
1. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. Bryan Danielson & Jay Lethal, Tag Wars
2. AJ Styles vs. Matt Sydal, Hell Freezes Over
3. Jimmy Yang, Jack Evans & Matt Sydal vs. Adam Pearce, Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer, Tag Wars
4. Bryan Danielson vs. Chris Hero, Hell Freezes Over
5. Christopher Daniels vs. Low Ki, Tag Wars
The 411: A nifty little tournament, a terrific main event, and a fiery angle make for a hugely entertaining show. Considering it’s available through ROH’s online on demand service for a very reasonable price, you should really consider checking this one out. Recommended.
|Final Score: 8.0 [ Very Good ] legend|