Ring of Honor DVD Review: 4th Year Anniversary Show, 2/25/06

4th Year Anniversary Show

Roughly 4 years after its birth, Ring of Honor celebrated its 4th Year Anniversary show, in Edison, NJ. They brought a stacked card to Edison, featuring Bryan Danielson defend the ROH World Title against Jimmy Rave, Samoa Joe vs Jay Lethal, Colt Cabana vs Homicide in a Ghetto Fight, Austin Aries and Roderick Strong defending the ROH Tag Team Titles against fellow stable mate Matt Sydal, and his partner, AJ Styles and more.

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Current Storylines: The main storyline at the time of this show was the ROH vs CZW feud. Here the feud was only just heating up. Back at Hell Freezes Over, Chris Hero had challenged Bryan Danielson for the ROH World Title; he was unsuccessful at his quest. At ROH’s next shows, Tag Wars and Dissension, CZW wrestlers had invaded, interfering in matches and attacking members of the ROH locker room. Before this show, in an exclusive promo at ROHvideos.com Chris Hero had promised that he and his friends from CZW would wreak havoc at one of ROH’s most important shows ever, the 4th Year Anniversary show.

Back at ROH’s Tag Wars show, The Embassy (Consisting of Prince Nana, Alex Shelley, Abyss and Jimmy Rave at the time) won the Trios Tournament, leaving each of them (the wrestlers, every one of those listed except Prince Nana) the opportunity to book themselves in whatever match they want. Abyss later left ROH, so that left Alex Shelley and Jimmy Rave booking themselves in ROH World Title matches. Jimmy Rave gets his one here, and Alex Shelley gets his at ROH’s next show, Arena Warfare.

Speaking of the World Title, The Top 5 Rankings in ROH determines who is closest to a World Title shot. The Top 5 Rankings are based on wins in primarily singles matches, but tag matches count too. The current Top 5 Rankings are: 1st Place: Roderick Strong (Submitted Bryan Danielson in a tag title defence), 2nd Place: Christopher Daniels (Pinned Jay Lethal, Submitted matt Sydal all in singles competition), 3rd Place: Alex Shelley (Won the Trios Tournament), 4th Place: Jimmy Rave (Won the Trios Tournament), 5th Place Low Ki (Pinned Christopher Daniels, had a MOTYC with KENTA). Shelly and Rave aren’t a the top, but they will still receive their requested title shots, for the Trios Tournament gives one any match any time they want it, if one wins the tournament.

Austin Aries and Roderick Strong, ROH Tag Team Title holders and Generation Next (ROH’s main stable at the time) members have been having an issue recently with one of their fellow Generation Next members, Matt Sydal. Sydal wants their tag team titles, despite being in the same stable as them. AJ Styles (an ROH veteran) had offered to be Matt Sydal’s partner, and Sydal didn’t want to refuse that opportunity, even though it means going against his fellow stable members. Strong and Aries tried to persuade Sydal not to take the opportunity, but he did. Sydal and AJ Styles will be facing Aries and Strong tonight, in the main event of this show.

Let’s get onto the show!

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*ROH Commissioner, Jim Cornette (in an office somewhere) says hello and welcomes us to ROH’s 4th year Anniversary show. He says ROH wouldn’t be here with all the fans that support them, and he’s excited about tonight. He apologises for not being there tonight, but he will be receiving updates via phone, and will be making some negotiations. Let’s go to the ring!

1. Kid Mikaze and Jason Blade vs Tony Mamaluke and Sal Rinauro vs Jay and Mark Briscoe: This was originally scheduled to be just Blade/Mikaze vs SalMaluke, but the Briscoes made their surprise return to ROH and entered themselves into the match. Kid Mikaze looks like KUDO, Blade looks like AJ Styles. Both the less established teams gang up on the Briscoes to start. The Briscoes eventually regain control, and DESTROY everyone. Mark does a wild SSP to the floor. Back in the ring, the pace slows down as SalMaluke work over Kid Mikaze. They tie him up in a few submissions and hit a few double teams. He eventually makes the hot tag to Jason Blade, and the match goes into the finishing sequence. Once again, the Briscoes DESTROY everyone. A Cutthroat Driver/Leg drop combo of DEATH gives the Briscoes the pin on Jason Blade. That was a fun, fast paced opener to get the fans into the show, and establish the Briscoes as a force to be reckoned with.
**1/2.

*Christopher Daniels is backstage along side Allison Danger. He says BJ Whitmer had been a thorn in his side for the past few months now. He says he didn’t want to re-align himself with Whitmer because he attacked Allison Danger back at the 3rd Year Anniversary show. That’s the gospel, according to the Fallen Angel.

Someone says “Alright cut, thanks guys”. The promo is over, but Danger and Daniels are still on screen. Lacey approaches them, and offers to tell them all of BJ Whitmer’s weaknesses. They follow her off camera.

2. 4 Corner Survival: Claudio Castagnoli vs Adam Pearce vs Azrieal vs Jay Fury: Claudio’s talents are being wasted here. This had your generic ROH 4 way formula: fast paced start, work over period dominating the middle portion, then the finishing sequence. Pearce was entertaining as usual, playing to the crowd and mocking Claudio’s “Hey!” gimmick. Azrieal was just your average Indy jobber; Fury impressed me, hitting some nice moves. Claudio was good as always. The finish came when Pearce hit a top rope splash on Azrieal.
**.

3. Samoa Joe vs Jay Lethal: Lethal had recently turned heel, attacking Joe’s leg with a chair back at ROH’s Steel Cage Warfare show; this is a revenge match of sorts for Joe. These 2 have had great matches in the past; hopefully this is on par with them. Joe kills Lethal with chops to start. They brawl on the outside. Lethal whips Joe into the guardrail a few times. Back in the ring he works over Joe with some dropkick variations. He disrespects Joe, pulling his hair. Joe eventually comes back when he reverses a leapfrog from Lethal into a flapjack. Joe works over Lethal with strikes and trademark Samoa Joe combos. He pulls on Lethal’s hair! Lethal gets some offence in, with a neckbreaker, a running suplex and a top rope diving headbutt. He tries to suplex Joe again, but Joe puts him up top, slaps him, enziguris him then gives him THA MUSCLE BUSTTAAA! 1, 2, 3.

That match was based around the cowardly heel (Lethal) vs the dominant face (Joe). Lethal used cheap tactics (the guardrail) and his speed to gain control, and while he was in control he disrespected Joe (hair pulling). Joe scouted his speed game, and used his power to gain an advantage (flapjack), then got his revenge on Lethal by pulling his hair and giving him the good ol’ Samoa Joe style beating. The wrestling wasn’t bad, but the match had a severe lack of intensity, considering the feud behind this match and everything. Good match, pretty disappointing though.
***.

*A video package is shown, highlighting all the great matches and moments from 2005 in ROH.

4. Christopher Daniels vs BJ Whitmer: They lock up and start wrestling. Each man gets some small offence in. Whitmer kicks Daniels’ injured knee and Daniels sells it like death. He gets angry at Whitmer and spears him. Whitmer bails to the outside, and they brawl around ringside, and into the crowd. All of a sudden, Chris Hero comes out into the ring, and this match is a no contest. Worthless match, but understandable with Daniel’s (real) knee injury.
1/2*.

*CZW wrestlers join Hero in the ring. Some ROH jobbers try to get in the ring, but to no avail. Eventually most of the ROH roster gets in the ring, and a MASSIVE brawl ensues. ROH wrestlers clear the ring, and leave. Chris Hero gets back in and says he’s still standing because he’s “Chris F*cking Hero!” Samoa Joe comes out, and puts the choke on Hero, while mini streamers come down from the roof, AWESOME visual and awesome segment establishing the ROH/CZW feud.

Eventually, it’s just the ROH wrestlers left in the ring. The Briscoes attack Austin Aries, and a brawl ensues between them and Roderick. They get separated by jobbers and students. Roderick says “They don’t come back here and think they’re the f*cking sh*t!” Awesome line.

5. Ghetto Fight: Homicide vs Colt Cabana: The rules for this are that the match can only end by submission, no pinfalls. While the ring and the ringside area is still mayhem, Colt and Cide see it as a good idea to get their Ghetto fight started right now. It is on! They brawl around ringside with Colt dominating to start. They brawl around ringside a lot, using chair and the guardrail. Cide gains control when he busts Colt open. Cide works over the cut a lot, even using a razor! Colt tries to come back, hitting a Butt Butt, but Cide stops his momentum with a tornado DDT. Cide puts on a Tequila sunrise (arm hook Half Boston Crab) but Colt won’t give up. Colt hits a lariat and pts on a cool flip over bridging choke, but Cide won’t quit. Cide hits a lariat and puts on a Camel clutch, but Colt won’t submit. Smokes hands Cide a coat hanger, and Cide starts choking Colt with it! The ref says Colt’s gonna die, so he stops the match for Cabana’s well being.

As Cide is leaving, Colt gets on the mic, and says he didn’t give up, and if Cide wants the match to end, he has to (F*cking) kill Colt! Back in the ring, Cide hits an Ace Crusher. Colt goes after Cide’s injured shoulder, but can’t get a submission out of it. Cide and his buddies tie Colt to the corner with tape, as Cide throws chairs at his face. Colt is defenceless, so Sinclair (the referee) rings the bell. Cide and his friends proceed to leave, but Colt gets on the mic again, and says he’s still got a beat in his heart, so Cide better come there to finish him off! They brawl on the apron. Smokes pours rubbing alcohol on Colt’s face. Cide grabs Colt, and gives him a NASTY piledriver on the announcer’s table, but it doesn’t break, so Colt’s head hits the concrete floor! Colt can’t continue at all, so Cide is declared the winner.

That was an awesome match, which really elevated this feud, and made Colt Cabana look like a million dollars. Colt didn’t want to give up after all of Cide’s beatings, so each time Colt re-invited Cide to the ring Cide took the beating up a notch, until Colt was so beaten he physically couldn’t continue. Kudos to Colt for the beatings he took, and his selling throughout was great. Cide looked like a cold blooded killer when it was all said and done, which was perfect.
***1/2.

*Jim Cornette is shown in his office, on the phone. He gets really angry that the CZW wrestlers invaded. He cuts a promo on them, saying he remembered what happened in Dayton, when he got his teeth knocked out. Talks about how he brought a baseball bat, and how he’s gonna get his revenge on the garbage wrestlers at the Wrestle Mania weekend. That promo was awesome (as most Cornette promos are), and made Cornette feel like an important part of the feud.

6. ROH World Title Match: Bryan Danielson (c) vs Jimmy Rave: Rave is getting this shot for being one of the winning teams in the Trios tournament. Jimmy gets the good ol’ TP (toilet paper being thrown at him) treatment before the match. The first 10-15 minutes or so of this match consist of stiff, intense and back and forth mat wrestling. Rave really shows he can hang with Dragon on the wrestling front. Dragon can’t gain an advantage on the wrestling front (which he pretty much always does) so he starts hitting Rave with some bigger moves, including a diving European uppercut off the second rope. Dragon works over Rave, tying him up in signature Danielson submissions.

Rave comes back, hitting a superplex and a neckbreaker. He gets a few nearfalls. Dragon gets a few nearfalls with some enziguris and German suplex. Rave puts the cattle mutilation on Dragon! He repeatedly puts it on, but Dragon escapes every time. Dragon reverses some of Rave’s move, including Rave’s running knee into a nice half Boston Crab. Rave reverses a Sunset Flip attempt by sitting down! He holds the ropes! 1 2 NO! Rave hits a Saito suplex, but Dragon nails him with a roaring forearm! Rave puts on a LONG sleeper, but Dragon doesn’t pass out. He catches Rave off the ropes in his own sleeper, and then flips Rave over on his face!

Dragon puts the cattle mutilation on! He hits a Tiger suplex for 2, when Nana pulls the referee out of the ring! Dragon hits Nana with a tope! Back in Rave hits some forearms, then nails Ghanarea! RUNNING KNEE STRIKE! 1 2 NO! Danielson comes back with the Regalplex! 1 2 NO! Dragon puts Rave in a Crucifix, then proceeds to elbow Rave right in the face (MMA style)! After a while Todd Sinclair stops the match, is Rave is knocked out!

That was one excellent match. Rave dropped his chickensh*t heel shtick and used his wrestling skill that he used to have, before he aligned himself with Embassy. Rave out wrestled Danielson, and even stole his most effective moves. This really angered Dragon, so much that he knocked Jimmy THE F*CK OUT in the finish. The wrestling in the match was great; it was always stiff and intense, and didn’t once get boring. Rave was built as a really credible challenger too with some great nearfalls, which is always important in a title match. Excellent match, one of Danielson’s best defences.
****1/4.

*Another video package is shown of great matches and moments in ROH in 2006 – early 2007. Both video packages were great.

7. Jack Evans vs Ricky Reyes: This match is part of the mini feud (well feud that never really got going) between Generation Next and The Rotts. Jack is for GeNext, Reyes for the Rotts. This match is going on now because Jack only just got off the plane from Japan! Reyes uses his power to gain control early, but Jack sends him to the outside with a dropkick, and hits a springboard 450! Back in, Reyes cuts off Jack’s offence with a SICK Saito suplex/Backdrop Driver. Reyes dominates Jack with strikes. Jack tries to come back, but horribly botches a rana. A sitout powerbomb form Reyes gets 2. Jack comes back with a rana, then a springboard knee strike. He hits a nice spinning kick to the back of the head, and Reyes bails. Jack goes for a double moonsault to the outside, but doesn’t fully flip over, and lands HEAD FIRST on the concrete. That was nasty. Back in Reyes hits 3 straight powerbombs, but Jack kicks out! Reyes kills him with a DDT off the ropes, then BENDS HIM IN HALF with a Dragon sleeper. Jack taps about 8 minutes in.

The power vs speed game was done pretty well there. Jack was clearly off his game (most likely from the plane ride); he was botching and dying everywhere. The match was short and fun for what it was though.
**1/4.

8. ROH Tag Team Titles Match: Austin Aries and Roderick Strong (c) vs AJ Styles and Matt Sydal: As I explained earlier, Matt Sydal is going against his stable mates for the tag team titles here. The first 5 – 10 minutes of this match consisted of crisp mat wrestling and feeling out processes, lots of fast exchanges and move counters. A really good way to open the match and get the fans into the match too, I might add. Eventually, Aries and Strong target AJ Styles, and work him over. Strong strikes the CRAP outta him with forearms and chops, and hooks him up with a few back breakers too. Aries and Strong double team Styles when it looks like he could make the tag to Sydal. He tries to do a dive, but Aries jumps over the ropes and CUTS HIM OFF with a nice lariat. Eventually, he hits a NICE Pele kick out of nowhere on Aries, and make the hot tag to Sydal!

Now the match goes into a faster pace, and doesn’t really slow down. Sydal gets some nice offence in on both Strong and Aries, but they eventually stop his momentum. With AJ Styles’ help though, he completes his offensive flurry. There’s a nice sequence of dives, with Sydal coming out the better of with a top rope moonsault to the outside. Back in, AJ and Sydal work over Strong. AJ gives him some stiff forearms. After a few minutes, he makes the hot tag to Aries, and the match goes into the finishing sequence.

Aries hits a powerbomb on Sydal out of a rana attempt! Nice! AJ does his moonsault DDT to both Aries and Strong, at the same time! AJ goes for a springboard, but Strong dropkicks his legs, and AJ lands FACE FIRST on the top rope! Strong kicks Sydal viciously in the face, then BREAKS HIS BACK with a Torture Rack backbreaker. Strong catches AJ on a springboard attempt, and he and Ares give him the double team Hart Attack clothesline. Strong throws Sydal up into the air…GORILLA PRESS GUTBUSTER! Aries has him BRAINBUSTER! 1 2 AJ breaks it up! AJ gives both Aries and Strong sick backdrop suplexes. Sydal up top PERFECT SYDAL (Shooting Star) PRESS TO ARIES! 1 2 NO! Aries gets his foot on the ropes! AJ Grabs Aries and picks him up for the Styles Clash, but Strong F*CKING KILLS HIS FACE with a BIG BIG BIIIG BOOT!! The referee falls off his feet with the impact of that move. Aries gives Sydal a roaring forearm to the back of the head. Strong has him HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER! Aries up top PERFECT 450 SPLASH! 1, 2, 3!

That match was simply amazing, one of Aries and Strong’s best and overlooked defences. The match was based around Aries and Strong’s relationship with Matt Sydal. At first, they went easy on him, not double teaming him, and not working him over. But later in the match, when they saw him as a threat to the tag titles they quickly got rid of him, winning the match in the process. It was Aries and Strong’s strategy that got them the win here; they knew they could easily beat Matt Sydal, but couldn’t do it when he was along side AJ Styles. So they scouted AJ’s moves (2 springboards attempts, Styles clash) to take him out of the equation, and then had Sydal all to themselves. The pacing of the match was perfect. There weren’t too many hot tags, which can be a problem in ROH tag matches nowadays. The work over periods and the finishing sequence were timed perfectly; the work over periods didn’t go too long and get boring, and the finishing sequence wasn’t too long, so they didn’t go overkill with any nearfalls. The tag wrestling in the match was about as crisp as you’re gonna get, lots of lovely sequences and exchanges, and nothing too complex or sloppy. Really amazing match, which was a great way to close ROH’s 4th Year Anniversary.
****1/2.

*Post match, all four men celebrate in the ring, while mini streamers fall from the roof/sky. Another awesome visual. The Briscoes come down to the ring, and attack everybody in the ring! They give Strong a nice looking Spike Jay Driller, and say they’re getting them belts back. After they leave, an on-screen graphic comes on screen, saying “Thank you for four unforgettable years”. Awesome stuff.

*Chris Daniels is shown in street clothes out on some street somewhere. He walks up to the camera, and when he is about to talk the screen fades to black, and an on-screen graphic appears, saying “to be continued ”

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Best match: ROH Tag Team Title Match: Austin Aries and Roderick Strong vs AJ Styles and Matt Sydal (****1/2).
Worst Match: BJ Whitmer vs Christopher Daniels (1/2*).

Overall Show thoughts: This was a very good show. The 2 title matches delivered in a big way, both getting ****+ ratings. There are other good matches here too, like Cide/Cabana and Joe/Lethal. This show is pretty much a must but for all the storyline advancement, with the Briscoes return, the Cide/Cabana feud and the ROH/CZW feud. There is some disappointing stuff here (Joe/Lethal (it’s still good), Whitmer/Daniels), but the two title matches (which really exceeded my expectations) make up for it. Really solid show, I recommend it.

Overall score: 8/10.

Purchase link: http://www.rohwrestling.com/shoponline.asp?point=moreinfo&catid=161&id=1692

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