Ring of Honor DVD Review: Battle of St. Paul, 4/27/07

Reviews, Wrestling DVDs

This is the latest in the series of reviews that began with All Star Extravaganza III by Big Andy Mac, continued to Steve Murray’s Supercard of Honor II review, then went to Grut for This Means War II, and finally last week was Fighting Spirit as seen by Chris Sicoli. Enough of that, time for The Battle of St. Paul where Austin Aries challenges for the World Title and The Chikarmy’s ROH debut.

For a non-spoiler review of this show, scroll down to the Summary section. We recognize some of you want traditional wrestling reviews and some prefer to remain spoiler free, so we here at Pulse Wrestling are offering you the best of both worlds. Remember, from now on, if you want spoiler free reviews, just scroll down to Summary.

The show opens with Austin Aries discussing Samoa Joe in 2004 and how he stopped Joe’s unbeatable title reign. He says in 2007, tonight he will do the same to Takeshi Morishima, the current ROH Champion.

Match 1: The Dangerous Angels of Allison Danger and Sara Del Ray vs. The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew of Lacey and Rain w/ Jimmy Jacobs

Del Ray is one of the top female wrestlers in the world and her partner Allison Danger is longtime ROH manager of Chris Daniels. The Dangerous Angels are undefeated. Lacey is the main female heel of ROH and currently involved with the injured Jacobs in a long running storyline. Rain is her regular partner, a good worker and good heel.

Rain and Danger start off with chain wrestling with Danger showing the superiority there. Del Ray enters and Rain runs for Lacey. Lacey once in, shows why Rain feared Del Ray and gets worked over. Some nice heel timing, however, gets Danger in trouble shortly after she tags back in. Rain and Lacey show some nice double teams and get good heat working over Danger.

The hot tag sees Del Ray take out Lacey and go to work on Rain. Danger tries to make the save when Lacey enters, but the ref only sees Danger and Del Ray takes a back cracker and lung blower for her partner’s mistake.

Danger gets the tag and takes control, but when she hits the roll, Jacobs trips her. Implant DDT by Lacey and she gets three.

The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew defeat the Dangerous Angels (Pin, Implant DDT, ***)
Very good stuff here with the heel antics and double teams of Lacey and Rain keeping the Dangerous Angels on the defensive for most of the match. Danger and Del Ray were better individually and that let them take control, but the x factor of Jacobs turned things in the heels favor. This might be my favorite women’s match ever in ROH.

Match 2: Rhett Titus vs. Michael Elgin

Elgin is being given a ROH shot here. He looks like a cross between Shingo and Rhino. Titus is a ROH trainee with a cocky heel character.

Some generic mat wrestling leads to Titus attempting a worm-like legdrop, but Elgin, of course, moves and takes it to him. Jimmy Rave then runs out and destroys both men. Okay then.

Rhett Titus and Michael Elgin go to a no contest (Rave interference, dud)
Well, generic while it lasted, but Rave sure got some love for ending it.

Dave Prazak comes out to ask Rave why he’s back. Rave says being home pissed him off and challenges Elgin.

Match 3: Jimmy Rave vs. Michael Elgin

A big brawl now and Elgin goes toe to toe with Rave as they trade the advantage back and forth. They’re working stiff and the back and forth action is surprisingly good, but Rave continually has a counter for Elgin. Some leg work and a quick Heel Hook finish for Rave.

Jimmy Rave defeats Michael Elgin (Submission, Heel Hook **)
Not a bad match with some good counters by Rave and Elgin being over-eager trying to prove himself. This was short but I’d love to see a rematch with more time.

Jimmy Jacobs begins to talk about his knee and Lacey but is interrupted by the ROH trainees. Jacobs throws them backwards and insults them for disrespecting him. Alright, that was filler.

Match 4: Shingo vs. BJ Whitmer

Early on they test each other’s strength, coming up even so BJ goes with a leg lariat and they begin working back and forth with impact maneuvers. Whitmer’s power gets him comtrol and he attacks the neck.

This annoys Shingo, who displays some nice fighting spirit and manages reversals into a DDT and senton to take control of Whitmer, displaying some nice move combinations.

Once Shingo has shown he can handle Whitmer’s power, BJ begins to mix the speed in with a basement dropkick and a dive to the floor. Again, on the floor though, Shingo’s power is too much for Whitmer who is left to counter Shingo as best he can, but that’s pretty well due to an exploder counter.

Back in Whitmer goes with a few suplexes, but Shingo is not done and hits a gutwrench bomb followed by a vicious lariat for two. A lot more reversals and they go back and forth trading power moves. Shingo had the advantage this way early, but Shingo took an exploder on the floor since then. Whitmer manages a top exploder, but Shingo’s fighting spirit picks him up. A Whitmer lariat gets two and the crowd is hyped at the near fall. Whitmer looks to finish with the wrist clutch exploder, but can’t connect and they begin smashing each other, but Shingo manages the Last Valkyrie for three.

Shingo defeats BJ Whitmer (Pin, Last Valkyrie, **3/4)
Shingo took a big Whitmer beating while showing he was stronger than the established powerhouse. This was basically about Shingo gaining credibility as a tough guy by going head to head with the toughest guy on the roster and beating him cleanly. It accomplished its goal and Shingo came out looking tough and difficult to hurt. That’s important since the next night Shingo would face the ROH Champion.

Match 5: ROH Tag Championship: Ultimate Endurance: The Briscoes © vs. Gran Akuma and Hallowicked vs. Jigsaw and Mike Quackenbush vs. Pelle Primeau and Mitch Franklin

Ultimate Endurance is an elimination match where each fall has a different stipulation attached. The first fall is tap out.

Gran Akuma is a bald, hard striking heel from Chikara. Hallowicked is a masked madman from Chikara who regularly teams with Delirious there. He’s a good striker, counter wrestler and might be the best Chikara trainee, besting another guy in this match, Jigsaw as well as his partner tonight, Gran Akuma.

Jigsaw is a masked high flier. He’s quite good as a lucha worker and is similar to his trainer, Mike Quackenbush. Quack is a 13 year vet, the Chikara trainer, and a master of nearly every style. I liken him to a mix between Malenko and Rey Mysterio. This is all of these guys first ROH match.

Pelle and Franklin are ROH trainees, small guys who take a great beating.

The Briscoes, for those who don’t know, are brother’s from Delaware who are the best tag team in the world, hard hitting, high flying double team masters. Man up and go find some Brsicoes matches if you haven’t yet. They’re having a historically great year.

Jigsaw and Pelle begin with some standard lucha based quick work, which plays to Jigsaw’s strengths and indeed he controls as he tags in his partner, Quackenbush, who begins twisting Pelle into knots, since Pelle seems entirely unable to hang with him.

They both exit and Franklin wrestles with Hallowicked. Franklin quickly ends up being worked over with power moves, but uses his speed to remain competitive. A few tags later and Franklin and Primeau take a bad beating. Mitch Franklin is forced to tap out to a stretch plum from Jay Briscoe.

The next fall is scramble rules, which means no tags. The Chikara guys control the Briscoes at this type of match, with Jigsaw looking especially good taking out the Briscoes while Quack destroys Hallowicked and Akuma with his speed. Eventually he is caught with a Yakuza kick and Yoshi Tonic, but the Briscoes are back in. They annihilate Hallowicked and Gran Akuma with double teams. A cutthroat driver kneedrop combination eliminated the ‘Wicked and Akume team.

The final fall, a regular tag match, is last. Jigsaw comes in and attacks Jay immediately. Jay and Mark are still too good of a team and end up spiking Jigsaw, beginning to work him over.

Jigsaw finally makes the hot tag and the crowd explodes for Quack who uses his speed and strikes to control Mark Briscoe. A cloverleaf-ankle lock variation by Quack and he and Jigsaw are controlling the Briscoes with their speed. Jigsaw, however, knocks the wind out of himself and the Briscoes take control and throw Jigsaw out of the ring. The Briscoes then take over on Quackenbush with total elimination. A springboard doomsday device and the Briscoes win.

The Briscoes win Ultimate Endurance (***)
That was basically the Briscoes dominating in a fun fashion until the last fall, which was a good bit of tag formula, with the Briscoes using double teams to beat the faster Quack and Jigsaw.

Match 6: Street Fight: Adam Pearce and Brent Albright w/ Shane Hagadorn vs. Homicide and Colt Cabana

This is Cabana’s second to last ROH show as he teams with former hated enemy Homicide to take on Pearce, who he’s had issues with lately. Pearce still hates Homicide because Pearce is Homicide nemesis Jim Cornette’s protégé, while Albright tried to injure ‘Cide for Cornette, something ‘Cide never forgot.

This is a big old brawl at the start with the faces controlling up into the big tope con hilo from Homicide on both heels. Cabana flies off the apron with a double clothesline.

They go to a big brawl through the crowd. On and on they go through the crowd. Homicide is pretty dominant at this and eventually with a splash from the top to the floor, puts Hagadorn through a table.

Back in the ring and the faces still dominate with the crowd eating it up as the rivals combine on major spots. Cabana takes a low blow from Hagadorn and that leaves Homicide finally in trouble with Albright. Cabana finally gets up to battle Albright and frustrates him early, but some power moves give Albright control. Pearce flies with a leg drop from the top for two.

A guardrail is brought in the ring, but Homicide lariats Pearce and all four men are down. Homicide gets the ladder and slams it on Albright. Albright is still too tough and swings Homicide into the guardrail from a powerbomb position. Albright hits a half-nelson suplex on Cabana and gets the pin.

Pearce and Albright defeat Homicide and Cabana (Pin, Albright half-nelson suplex on Cabana, **3/4)
Too much face control here, but at least Albright was kept strong. He managed to take out Homicide pretty well and got the pin on Cabana in his second to last match, even though the heels were controlled for much of the match.

Post match, Homicide hits a Cop Killa on Hagadorn. Poor Shane also gets to take a Colt 45.

The Briscoes are interviewed by Becky Bayless. Tomorrow they face Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin and the Briscoes give their regular “man up” southern drawl promo.

Match 7: Erick Stevens vs. Rocky Romero vs. Delirious vs. Jack Evans

Stevens is a member of Austin Aries Resilience. They are feuding with Roderick Strong’s No Remorse Corps, which Rocky Romero is a member of. Jack Evans is set to start a stable to face Resilience and the NRC. Delirious is nuts, but hates Roderick and has allied with both Jack and Resilience against them. Romero looks like he’s in a world of trouble.

Delirious and Stevens have fun interactions early based around Del dealing with Stevens power.

Romero takes advantage of this to work on Delirious. That doesn’t last and Jack and Stevens enter. The set up interactions continue, as Romero sneakily takes it to Evans. Romero then uses some speed to attack Stevens, who’s just too strong. The faces all get revenge on Romero and the early story pays off.

The faces begin fighting over the pin and Stevens gets the best of that exchange and manages to German suplex Evans to the floor. Stevens goes for a Dr. Bomb on Romero and gets hit with a Shadows over Hell for his trouble. Delirious controls the match beating on Romero.

Del set’s Romero up in a tree of woe, but Stevens powerbombs him into it and Jack lands double knees on Romero. Stevens then powerslams Evans in a nice combination. Delirious knocks Stevens out and senton to the floor. A tiger suplex and kick to the head back in the ring by Romero get him the pin on Evans.

Rocky Romero wins the 4 Man Survival (Pin, Kick to Evans head, ***)
A good fun match with great interactions and role’s set up for everyone. Stevens looked like a beast, Jack was fast and flippy and Romero was opportunistic. Delirious was there to get the crowd riled and fill in transitions. Very good stuff here.

Match 8: FIP Title Match: Roderick Strong © vs. Christopher Daniels

They do mat wrestling to start and Daniels controls that. Roderick tries to speed things up to get some control and Daniels proves the quicker of the two as well.

On the apron, Strong finally is desperate and pulls him down then throws Daniels into the guardrail. Strong was out matched, but his desperation moves have allowed him to gain control. Roderick works over Daniels back, mixing in some heelish jerkiness.

After far too long Daniels gets some offense off his speed, dodging a strong attack and countering with a sequence leading to a DVD and an Arabian Press to the floor. A flying cross body gets two and Daniels speed is giving Strong fits, until again, a desperation move, now targeting a weak body part, a backbreaker, gives Strong back control, but it is not to last. An eye rake by Strong and Daniels does the same. A urinage and BME attempt follow, but Roderick misses and a gutwrench backbreaker, again targeting that back, allow Roderick to regain control.

Daniels keeps fighting with superior physical tools, but with a hurt back Roderick has an escape for Daniels offense. Roderick locks in the Strong Hold, but Daniels reaches the ropes. Daniels is in a lot of trouble. Daniels continues to counter and fight back, but he can’t put Roderick away.

They hit the floor and battle out there, with Strong whipping Daniels back first into the guard rail. Back in and they spill out to the floor again. There is a 20 count in FIP title matches on the floor, unlike ROH which has no count outs. Strong attacks the back of Daniels outside of the ring. Daniels falls with his ankle between the guard rail and hurts his ankle. He’s counted out.

Roderick Strong defeats Chris Daniels (Count out, ** 1/4)
What was the point of all that back work to do a count out at the end via a sprained ankle?

Jimmy Jacobs starts to talk about Lacey again and Pearce, Hagadorn and Albright interrupt. Jacobs hobbles away and Pearce cuts a promo about facing Cabana in his last match in ROH and their history together.

Match 9: ROH World Title Match: Takeshi Morishima © vs. Austin Aries

Aries attacks Morishima right away but has trouble taking it to the giant Morishima who just pushes him off, but Aries keeps coming. Aries manages to knock Morishima down by kicking the legs before the lariat. Aries slaps and uses elbows, but one butt throw by Morishim and Aries is down despite all his attacks. A Yakuza Kick sends Aries to the floor. Morishima controls and stomps away the smaller challenger and just physically dominates for awhile.

And awhile longer.

Morishima finally charges and Aries moves, leaving Morishima to fall to the floor. A dive to the outside and Aries finally has gotten some offense, but is badly hurt. Aries tries to throw Morishima into the guardrail, but Morishima stops him and hits the running butt into the guardrail. A second try and Aries moves, then hits a running dropkick twice. Aries with a twisting senton and lionsault in the ring and his speed is giving him a chance.

Aries calls for the brainbuster early, but Morishima slams him down instead and hits the Bossman slam. There really was no way that was working with Morishima barely worn down. Morishima smashes Aries some more, but misses a top rope dropkick and Aries goes for a Rings of Saturn variation. Morishima makes the ropes.

They battle, a crucifix bomb, roaring elbow and lariat, the combination that weakened Samoa Joe when Aries beat him for the title, is stopped by a sick Morishima lariat. Aries still ahs enough to counter the backdrop driver and kicks Morishima in the head, then the leg, head again and nails a giant brainbuster. He goes up and hits the 450, but Morishima is just too close to the ropes and gets his leg up.

Aries goes up again, but Morishima hits the ropes and messes up Aries balance. A top rope backdrop driver and lariat on Aries still only get two. Aries had too much time to recover before being hit with that combiniation. Big backdrop driver and Aries is done.

Takeshi Morishima defeats Austin Aries (Pin, Backdrop Driver, ****)
Very good big man to little man dynamic here and the play off of Aries beating Joe was equally well done. A bit more on the hope spots by Aries when Morishima controlled early would have made this better, but it’s still an excellent match.

Becky Bayless interviews Jimmy Jacobs closing the show. Roderick and Romero interrupt Jacobs this time and Jacobs is again sick of the disrespect. Roderick brags about defending the FIP Heavyweight title and raising the belts prestige. Romero brags about beating Evans and giving him a concussion to end the DVD.

The Inside Pulse
Sara Del Rey and Allison Danger vs. Rain and Lacey w/ Jimmy Jacobs (***) – Very good face-heel dynamic here and one of the better women’s matches ever in ROH.

Rhett Titus vs. Mike Elgin (dud) – Not here for the match, just what it leads to, which keeps it worthwhile.

Shingo vs. BJ Whitmer (** 3/4) – Hope you don’t like too much selling, this is just two big guys beating the piss out of each other.

Ultimate Endurance: The Briscoes © vs. Gran Akuma and Hallowicked vs. Jigsaw and Mike Quackenbush vs. Pelle Primeau and Mitch Franklin (***) – Pure fun. Lucha and spots all around with guys who can keep up the pace.

Street Fight: Adam Pearce and Brent Albright w/ Shane Hagadorn vs. Homicide and Colt Cabana (** 3/4) – A standard brawl through the arena. Fun, if that’s your thing, but it faield to stand out.

Erick Stevens vs. Rocky Romero vs. Delirious vs. Jack Evans (***) – The personalities involved keep this fun, but there’s a distinct been there, done that feel to the whole affair. Stevens continues to look like a star, but Jack, the leader of a stable, is in there with supporting pieces and doesn’t come off looking as good as he should.

FIP Title Match: Roderick Strong © vs. Christopher Daniels (** 1/4) – Body part work is only worthwhile when it pays off.

ROH World Title Match: Takeshi Morishima © vs. Austin Aries (****) – Simple power vs. speed, but these guys are both top notch so the underdog story was told very well.

A good DVD, if a little bit slow, worth checking out for the main event. Beyond that, there’s nothing worth going out of your way for, although only the FIP title match is really offensive. Thoroughly average most of the way through until the strong Main Event.

Glazer is a former senior editor at Pulse Wrestling and editor and reviewer at The Comics Nexus.