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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Ring of Honor — Dragon Gate Challenge II

May 10, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Ring of Honor — Dragon Gate Challenge II  

Ring of Honor — Dragon Gate Challenge II
by J.D. Dunn

This was ROH’s project of expanding to new markets, piggybacking on the fervor around WrestleMania. It was such a success that ROH announced it would be returning to Orlando in October. This coupled with shows in Manassas, Virginia and probably Toronto should dispel any myths that they are “contracting” business.

This is more of a concept show featuring the best of ROH against the best of Dragon Gate.

But first…

  • ROH Video Wire (which is basically ROH’s version of TV):
  • We see part one of Dave Prazak’s interview with Nigel McGuinness. He makes the usual claim of a heel – the fans turned on him, not the other way around. He does make a good case for himself, though. Prazak tries to cut the interview short because Nigel is getting testy, so Nigel grabs the sheet and reads the question himself. Prazak asks him whether he can carry the company and asks him about the “McLariat” name. Nigel tells them if they can think of someone better to carry the company to send him an e-mail at imafuckingmark one-word .com. I’m skeptical as to whether that’s a real e-mail address at all.
  • Tammy Sytch promises Sunny Days for Orlando.
  • Lacey and new Age of the Fall member Rain (Payton Banks) try unsuccessfully to recruit Austin Aries.
  • Larry Sweeney celebrates buying out the Hangman Three and getting rid of BJ Whitmer. Brent Albright seems a little hesitant about the whole thing.
  • We see Part II of Dave Prazak’s interview with Nigel McGuinness. Nigel refuses to answer whether he was faking his head injury. He puts over Austin Aries but says he hasn’t been the same since coming back from TNA, labels Kevin Steen an acne-riddled fat boy like ROH’s core audience, and says Claudio Castagnoli is falling apart from the stress.
  • Finally, we get a clip of Nigel McGuinness attack Austin Aries during his match in Full Impact Pro.
  • As a bonus, we get Jimmy Jacobs ranting about the weak people rallying around the Age of the Fall.

  • March 28, 2008
  • From Orlando, Fla.
  • Your hosts are Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard.

  • Full Impact Pro’s YRR interrupt Becky Bayless’ attempts to open the show. She actually seems offended, which is interesting because she’s a part of the YRR in FIP canon. The YRR makes fun of Bushwhacker Luke, who is in the audience tonight. Sal Rinauro gives her a big kiss, so she throws it to…
  • … local favorite Erick Stevens in the back. He promises a big weekend for him in his home state.
  • ROH Champion Nigel McGuinness finally opens the show proper. The fans are split on him, so he threatens to leave and not come back. He dares anyone to get in the ring and try to take the title from him. Heel Nigel is SOOOOO much more interesting than babyface Nigel. And here I said he wouldn’t make it past the Sixth Anniversary Show as champ. Showed me.
  • Opening Match, Non-Title: Nigel McGuinness vs. Delirious.
    Delirious is in full mockery mode tonight. He suckers Nigel into charging him by calling him “Mickey Mouse.” LOCAL HUMOR~! He mocks Nigel’s ring entrance and then kicks Nigel in the butt when Nigel does it. Nigel gets pissed and goes after Delirious’ arm to set up the London Dungeon. Delirious catches him in the handstand position and hits a missile headbutt. Nigel blocks the Dragon Clutch, but Delirious dropkicks him into the corner and hits the Panic Attack. Shadows over Hell misses, and Nigel KILLS him with a lariat. Delirious blocks the Tower of London, but Nigel blocks another attempt at Shadows over Hell, catching Delirious’ arm with his knee. That sets up the London Dungeon at 9:07. Fun opener, and having Nigel destroy one of the most beloved figures in the promotion is a good way to solidify him as a heel. **1/2

  • Jigsaw & Ruckus vs. Sal Rinauro & Kenny King (w/Chasyn Rance & Random Broads).
    Jigsaw and Ruckus are members of the Vulture Squad. Kenny King is a former competitor on Tough Enough who has really impressed in stints with TNA and FIP. Think Shelton Benjamin only with more of a sense of purpose. Rinauro is the Florida Heritage Champion and King is one-half of the tag champions, so this would be kind of like Arn Anderson and Lex Luger teaming up during the Horsemen days. They’re both part of the same group, but they’re not regular partners. Big brawl in the aisle to start, and the YRR quickly takes over on Ruckus. He takes a beating early with King hitting a double knee in the corner. He cartwheels through a double clothesline attempt and tags Jigsaw. Things break down pretty quickly. The V-Squad hit their Rolling-Fisherman’s-Suplex-into-a-powerbomb move, but King makes the save. Kenny gets knocked to the floor, though, and the V-Squad hit the doublestomp Jig-and-Tonic for the win at 5:03. I think they would have been better served to put the YRR over here and then hype them as local talent that the Orlando crowd can see live every month. Minor quibble, though. This was a brief tag formula match. King definitely has potential, though. **

  • Larry Sweeney welcomes Shane Hagadorn into Sweet ‘n’ Sour. He says he’s holding out Chris Hero and Daniel Puder because he wants more money. No offense to Hagadorn, but announcing a corporate takeover with his signing would be like Shane McMahon bringing Shawn Stasiak to the ring with him during the WCW buyout.
  • ROH vs. Dragon Gate Challenge, Match #1: Austin Aries vs. Genki Horiguchi.
    Horiguchi, possessor of the greatest hair in wrestling not owned by William Regal, shows a lot more attitude than I remember him having. Oh, by the way, Aries is AMPED tonight. Even his mat wrestling looks crisp. He works in a stump-puller rollup for two and goes for the Horns of Aries early, but Genki pulls them to the floor and tosses him into the barricade. Back in, Genki ties Aries’ leg in the rope and dropkicks it. Genki zeroes in on the knee, splashing it and hitting a low dropkick. Aries suddenly says, “Nah, we’re not going to do a solid, psychology-based match. I’m just gonna pop the crowd.” He hits a flying tomahawk chop into a spinning chop to the chest. He backdrops Genki to the floor and hits the Mach 5.0 suicida. Back in, they exchange rollups until Aries finds the opening the punt Horiguchi right in the chest and then again in the face. That sets up the Brainbuster and the knee strikes. The Horns of Aries finish at 9:07. I’m glad they scrapped the knee psychology and just went with the high-octane match. They’re good at either, but this worked so much better here. ***1/4

  • After the match, the lights go out, and a spotlight floods Aries. Jimmy Jacobs joins us from the lighting scaffold and demands to know where Aries stands – with the Age of the Fall or with the sheep. Aries is about to walk out on him, so Lacey gets in the ring to offer herself up as an inducement. Well, that brings out Tammy Sytch to make a counteroffer. RESIDUAL HOTNESS~! Funny moment as they get feedback on the house mic, and Aries blames Tammy’s implants. Aries tells everyone he doesn’t have a problem getting women, and he has more important things to think about (like his big title match at Supercard of Honor III). He tells them he’s not making a decision until after the match and walks out.
  • That leaves Lacey and Tammy. Lacey threatens to pop her implants because she’s an old skank. Tammy reminds her that she only has a job because Tammy paved the way for whores in the business. I don’t think she meant to say that. Lacey kicks Tammy in the gut and gives her a DDT.
  • ROH vs. Dragon Gate Challenge, Match #2: Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino.
    Nice to see Doi’s been using Hydroxicut. “Dragon Gate Rules” apply here, so no tags are necessary. The DG guys try a double-cross off the handshake, but Steen overpowers Doi. Doi and Yoshino decide to dance with what brung them and doubleteam Generico to oblivion. Cool dickish Michinoku Pro spot as Doi holds Generico in a Boston Crab and, instead of dropkicking him in the face, Yoshino goes to the other side and dropkicks him in the crotch. Yoshino locks in a Mr. Salty while Doi runs interference, keeping Steen from saving. Generico comes back with a sitout backdrop but reaches for the wrong corner. He finally rights his ship and tags out. Steen dumps Doi and readies for a dive, but Yoshino cuts him off. Doi hits Doi Fives on Generico, but Steen comes in with a superkick and hits a Fisherman’s Neckbreaker. Yoshino makes the save. Doi and Yoshino hit a spiffy flapjack/bulldog combo, and Yoshino busts out a series of fantastic spots. You just have to see them. Finally, Steen has had enough and just destroys them with power moves. Steenerico hit a cool doubleteam of their own as Generico launches Yoshino up to Steen who hits a press gutbuster. That sets up the Swanton and body splash! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Everyone thought that was the finish. Generico makes him pay with a snap German Suplex for two and a jumping brainbuster. Wow, I guess you don’t piss off Generico. Yoshino is still kicking, so Steen gives him a Packaged Piledriver, and Generico finishes with the brainbuster at 17:38. The fans chant, “That was awesome,” and I’m inclined to agree. Spotfests are fine as long as the spots hit and they’re exciting. ****1/4

  • We take an intermission with Rebecca Bayless only an hour and fifteen minutes in. Good. Things are rolling. Steen and Generico are recovering outside because it’s too damned hot in the arena. Steen promises that when he wins the tag belts, he’s going to make sweet love to his wife with them.
  • ROH vs. Dragon Gate Challenge, Match #3: Shingo & BxB Hulk vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black (w/Lacey).
    BxB Hulk (the “x” is silent, so I’ll omit it from now on) is one of the most inappropriately named wrestlers in the world. He looks like an effeminate anime character. The Age of the Fall finally has music instead of that mind-numbing shriek. BB dazzles the crowd with his gazelle-like quickness. Black finally just grabs him and tosses him from the apron to the barricade. Jacobs adds a Cactus Elbow. The AOTF takes over on Hulk, frustrating Shingo. Hulk finally knocks Black to the floor and tags Shingo in. Shingo tosses Black again, allowing Hulk to hit a somersault plancha on him. Jimmy tries a springboard forearm, but Shingo catches him in mid-air and hits a helicopter bomb. The DG guys follow that up with a missile dropkick into a backdrop driver. Sick. BB peppers Black with kicks. A moonsault misses, but Hulk lands on his feet and moves right into a standing shooting star press for two. Black catches BB going up and hits a reverses superplex! He holds on and moves right into the Paroxysm. ONE, TWO, THRE-Shingo makes the save. Jacobs spears Shingo, and the AOTF hit their senton/Burning Hammer. Jacobs tries to end things with End Times, but Shingo makes the save. Black tries a springboard clothesline, but Shingo lariats him out of the sky. That sets up a Doomsday Device with BB hitting a spinning wheel kick. ONE, TWO, THRE-Jacobs makes the save. Black knocks Hulk to the floor, but Shingo NAILS him with the lariat and finishes with the Last Falconry (pump-handle piledriver) at 16:16 to take a 2-1 DG lead. This is almost as good as the previous match. I don’t know if Hulk can work a complete match on his own like Shingo can, but he definitely is fun to watch. ****

  • Watch ROH on the video wire. Okay, streamlining shows was a HUGE step in the right direction, but I’m begging ROH to integrate the video wire stuff into the main program.
  • ROH vs. Dragon Gate Challenge, Match #4: The Briscoes vs. Dragon Kid & Ryo Saito.
    Jay offers a test of strength, but Dragon Kid can’t reach him, so Saito lets Kid get on his shoulders. Jay still wins in a funny spot. Saito and Jay get in a chop duel. Saito actually wins that one, and Saito and DK isolate Jay. That doesn’t last long as Mark tags in, and the Briscoes destroy poor little Dragon Kid. The Briscoes run through their usual stuff, the most impressive of which will always be that double hiptoss. The Briscoes go heel in the match, making the heat a little awkward because the fans really want to cheer for them. Dragon Kid does a cool 619 off an Irish Whip and counters a suplex to a chinbreaker. Saito hits the Fisherman’s Express (rolling Fisherman Suplexes). Dragon Kid slingshots into a rana and hits a springboard flipping chinbreaker on Jay. Jay goes up, but Saito catches him and puts him on his shoulders. Dragon Kid gets a super-duper huracanrana, and Saito adds a bodysplash for two. Jay blocks another huracanrana, but Kid counters to a DDT. They work in a crazy spot where Jay lands in the corner, and Saito tries to German Suplex Mark, but Mark blocks so Dragon Kid sunset flips over both of them and helps Saito complete the move, tossing Mark into Jay. The Briscoes come back with their usual – springboard knee decapitation, Flatliner to the buckle, etc.. Mark tosses Dragon Kid, and the Briscoes finish Saito with the Springboard Doomsday Device at 18:04. ROH wins the series 3-1, but Dragon Gate had the better showing. This lacked transitions (big surprise), so it felt a lot more like a spotfest than the previous two matches. Still, the DG guys made it a lot of fun. ***

  • In the back, Larry Sweeney objects to being filmed when he hasn’t signed over the rights to film him to ROH.
  • The Briscoes are ready to MAN UP and go after the tag titles.
  • Before the main event, Larry Sweeney tells the No Remorse Corp that they are being underpaid. He proposes dissolving the NRC and having them sign with him. Roderick Strong says there’s no interest at this time because they have all the belts anyway.
  • Six-Man Tag: The No Remorse Corps vs. Erick Stevens, CIMA & Go Shiozaki.
    CIMA starts with Rocky, and they go to a bit of a standstill. Rocky calls out Go but then begs off when Go readies for a chop battle. Roderick tags in and actually loses a chop battle with Go. I was actually looking forward to that, but Go won pretty handily. Strong plays heel-in-peril. Go holds Strong in a chinlock while CIMA hits a sprinting dropkick to Strong’s face. NOAH and Dragon Gate, working together – mass hysteria! The NRC interfere from the outside to take over on Stevens. They work him over for a while, including Strong trying to do Romero’s azucar dance. CIMA gets the hot tag and hits a lungblower. Stevens and Strong chop it out in sick fashion. CIMA wipes out the NRC, and Rocky gets isolated by the babyfaces. Go with the corner lariat. Stevens with the Choo-Choo. CIMA with the low dropkick. That sets up a moonsault from Go and the Mad Splash from CIMA. Richards and Strong make the save. Richards weathers a storm of chops from Go and sets him up for the gutbuster. Romero adds a DDT for two. Great spot as Go sidesteps Romero and tosses him into a lariat from Stevens. Stevens goes for the Doctorbomb on Richards, but Richards rolls him up for two. CIMA cuts off the handspring kick but gets backbreakered by Strong. That sets up another chop duel between Strong and Stevens. Stevens nails him with the lariat and goes for the Doctorbomb, but Romero breaks it up. Strong and CIMA trade nearfalls. CIMA blocks the press gutbuster and hits the Schwein! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! CIMA has had enough and finishes with the Reverse Cross-armed Crucifix Powerbomb (like the Ricolabomb but through the legs) at 27:37. ***3/4
  • The 411: Ah, now here we go. At a lean, trim 2 and 1/2 hours this thing just flies by, and there are three very good-awesome matches on the card. Hardcore ROH fans may want more storyline, but this was a rollicking good time as far as the wrestling is concerned.

    Thumbs way up.

    411 Elite Award
    Final Score:  8.5   [ Very Good ]  legend

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