Itâ€™s been a quiet week in the ROHverse, so letâ€™s change gears and look through ROH history at the Twenty Best Ring of Honor DVDs ever. 20-10 will be this week and 10-1 next. Hope you enjoy.
20. Fifth Year Festival: Liverpool, 3/3/07
This is pure fast-paced action. We open with a hard hitting, fast paced Homicide vs. Davey Richards match. The pace on the undercard is kept up as longtime rivals have a *** Â½ match 2/3 falls style as Sydal and Delirious showed how great their chemistry could be. The show went to two title matches, the first for the FIP Belt as Strong defended against Pac, possibly Englandâ€™s top worker. Pac and Strong had a very good match, reminiscent of Roderickâ€™s efforts against Evans before those were overexposed.
Then we get to the meat of the show. Shingo and Naruki Doi challenged the Briscoes for the tag titles. Puro fans need to re-read that. Two rivals in Dragon Gate who have become two of the best wrestlers in the world (NOT hyperbole) in a fast-paced, story-filled **** Â½-**** Â¾ match thatâ€™s as good or better than anything shown this year. The Briscoes attempts and failures to take out the beastly Shingo as Doi is at first targeted, then capitalizes when the attention shifts, make this a must-see match.
The main event is Samoa Joeâ€™s second to last ROH match vs. Nigel McGuinness. They do a brutal match where Nigelâ€™s new strike based offense has great success against Joe, so Joe just tries to kill Nigel with a sick spot before heâ€™s defeated is awesome. Thereâ€™s a bit of overkill at the end here, but itâ€™s still a **** Â¼ match and besides maybe the two notable Christian matches, nothing Joe has done since has matched up.
19. Joe vs. Punk 2, 10/16/04
Letâ€™s get the big one out of the way first here- Joe vs. Punk in their rematch from World Title Classic had a Five Star Match (according to Meltzer, myself, and just about everyone else notable). This is one of the best matches in ROH history.
On top of this, you have two young stars completely busting out. Perhaps youâ€™ve heard of Jimmy Jacobs and Alex Shelley? Well here, they have a great, **** I quit match that was a harbinger of awesomeness to come. Also arriving were Jack Evans and Roderick Strong of Generation Next, defeating the Rottweilers of â€˜Cide and Romero, an underrated group in a *** Â½ sadly forgotten match-up. Thereâ€™s not a ton else here besides squashes and an awesome confrontation between Ricky Steamboat and Mick Foley of Pure Wrestling vs. Hardcore. This lead to a good Maff and Whitmer vs. Nigel and Collyer match, but Steamboat and Foley are pure gold.
18. Supercard of Honor 2, 3/31/07
This one started off with a hugely surprising *** Â¾ match and then didnâ€™t get going again until the end, but oh! When it got going! The opener was Jay Briscoe and Delirious showing great chemistry vs. Sydal and Daniels
The first of the classic final three is the best. BJ Whitmer and Jimmy Jacobs settled their ROH differences in a Steel Cage. Their brutality is great as Jacobs just slowly loses his mind trying to destroy Whitmer in a **** Â¾ classic. Roderick Strong then defended his FIP Title against Austin Aries in a technical masterpiece and their best match at **** to **** Â¼. The main event was the most distinct Dragon Gate 6-Man, where CIMA, Shingo and Yokosuka took on Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito, and Mochizuki. There was little question who would win this one, but they took their time and made a **** Â¼ match that really stood out.
17. Night of the Butcher, 12/7/02
The most underrated and best early ROH show, this one had Abdullah the Butcher teaming with Homicide against the Carnage Crew in an awesomely fun brawl. Abby in ROH is simply must see. Speaking of must see, the immensely underrated Paul London vs. Bryan Danielson match pitted two of what might be the best early ROH workers against each other in a **** Â¼ to **** Â½ match that is sadly overshadowed by their ***** later 2/3 fall Epic Encounter. Those two would warrant inclusion alone, but Xavierâ€™s second best title defense against AJ Styles only adds to an already stellar upper-card. The undercard isnâ€™t as good, but both London and Danielson had good matches in it, against EZ Money and Chad Collyer respectively, but the star of the undercard is CM Punk vs. Colt Cabana in a very good match that shows you just how good each man could and would become.
16. Final Battle 2006, 12/23/06
This show starts with the moment in the main event. Danielson was defending his title against Homicide who would leave ROH if he lost. In NYC, the moment post match is absolutely amazing.
The best of the rest of the show is a **** Â¼ to **** Â½ match between two of the best teams in the world, The Briscoes and the Kings of Wrestling where the heels do everything they can to hang with the hard hitting, beautiful tag teams of the Briscoes and a great 6-man at *** Â¾- to **** between Shingo, CIMA, and Sydal facing off with Aries, Strong and Delirious. Itâ€™s as great and fun as it sounds. Rave and Nigel throw everything at each other in a huge, hate-filled brawl. Need more? Well, thereâ€™s a brainbutaaaaaaaaaah sighting, always rare in ROH to round things out.
15. Driven, 6/23/07
This one is hard to place due mostly to a weirdly placed match from another DVD. It could and maybe should go in the top five due to two **** Â¾ Danielson classics vs. KENTA and Nigel McGuinness, respectively. This show also features a ton of fast paced undercard fun from Resilience and Delirious vs. the NRC (plus a huge return), Claudio vs. Sydal with a big turn, and Briscoes vs. Steen and Generico for the tag belts.
14. Good Times, Great Memories, 4/28/07
Many peopleâ€™s favorite show ever, this is many Daniels and Homicideâ€™s last ROH appearance. The â€˜Cide match isnâ€™t great, but Daniels has an underrated match with a fantastic promo against Erick Stevens. Thatâ€™s merely the start of the fun, though, as the Chikara wrestlers had their second ROH show here in a fun six way between Delirious, Mike Quackenbush, Hallowicked, Jigsaw, Gran Akuma, and Pelle Primeau. Roderick Strong also had a good match with rival and former partner Jack Evans.
The meat of the show, however, is in the following two matches. First, Shingo showed he could be a major player against Morishima as the two badasses beat the living hell out of each other. Itâ€™s great. The main event is a classic between The Briscoes and Murder City Machine Guns who try and outshine one another as the best team in the world. The story is sparse, but these guys go so balls to the wall that itâ€™s hard to fault them for it in a **** Â¾ match.
13. Dragon Gate Challenge, 3/30/06
Speaking of awesome tag matches, a six-man with Aries, Jack, and Strong vs. Naruki Doi , Yoshino, and CIMA sounds good, right? Thatâ€™s right. Gen Next vs. Speed Muscle and CIMA. Not that you need more, but AJ and Sydal also battle Dragon Kid and Genki Horiguchi. If you dislike the spotfests, thereâ€™s Whitmer vs. Jacobs in a brawl with a sick sick spot, and more of the same from Cabana and Homicide. Thatâ€™s still not it though, as Shelley and Rave (an underrated pairing) wrestled Danielson and Delirious while the main event saw a three year in the making grudge match as Daniels faced Samoa Joe in ROH for the final try at beating the Samoan Submission Machine.
12. Midnight Express Reunion, 10/2/04
Samoa Joe and Bryan Danielson are two of the best wrestlers in the world. This show contains their best match by far. Joe is the unbeatable champion, a physical force and Danielson is the technician, taking Joe apart. Itâ€™s great.
Along with this we have a reunion of the Midnight Express including Cornette and a Low Ki vs. Jay Lethal match where Lethal showed what an awesome underdog babyface heâ€™d one day become. At this time Generation Next of Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong and Jack Evans were trying to take Steamboatâ€™s legacy, so he recruited CM Punk, Ace Steele, John Walters, and Jimmy Jacobs for a great 45 minute match. Last, but not least, in a surprisingly good match, a new guy named Nigel McGuinness began forging his legend in a match against Homicide.
11. Nowhere to Run, 5/14/05
Two classics make this a top heavy show, but oh, what a top. Jimmy Rave had been torturing CM Punk, even trying to grate off his straight edge tattoo, but Punk was out for revenge in a cage here. Also found here is possibly Austin Aries and Bryan Danielsonâ€™s best match, a technical classic for Aries ROH World Title. Everything else on the card simply overachieved, from one of Whitmerâ€™s best vs. Gibson to Nigel and Cabanaâ€™s best match to Homicide and Doug Williams stiffing eachother and finally to Strong and Evans taking on Shelley and Delirious. This show might be the ultimate overachiever.
Thatâ€™s it for this week, see you next with numbers 10-1 on the Twenty best ROH DVDs.
Tags: Aries, Danielson, Nigel, ROH