Big Andy Mac’s RoH DVD Review: Injustice, 4-12-2008

One of Ring of Honor’s hot spots has always been New Jersey, from classics at the Rexplex to “memorable” shows like the “Best of the American Super Juniors”, to the historic “Death before Dishonor 3.” Ring of Honor’s current home in the Garden State is in Edison and it has produced its share of great shows like “Final Battle 2005”, “Fourth Anniversary Show”, and “Ring of Homicide.” Can “Injustice” live up to the hype? Read on to find out…

Jack Evans vs. El Generico

The DVD starts right away with the opening contest which is Jack Evans’ return to singles competition in RoH after breaking his face, literally, in Japan. They start the match with a dance off, it is not as funny as it could be, but El Generico proves he can bust a move while Jack Evans does his usually impressive break dancing moves. The match begins in earnest after the dance resulted in surprisingly little “serving.” But I guess that just means “it’s on.” They start with mat wrestling which is not what anyone looking forward to this match came to see. Still they have shown that they are both quite adept at the grappling arts. This match is pretty much everything you would expect from these two. Generico uses well placed big moves and strikes, while Evans uses his fliptacular gyrations to his advantage. Generico gets the win after the BRAAAIIINNNBUUUSSSTAAAA!!! which is always an awesome spectacle. This was a simple match and a great way to hype the crowd out of the gate. Nothing pops the crowd like a turnbuckle brainbuster.

Winner: El Generico via pinfall; ***

After the match Nigel McGuinness comes out and taunts El Generico before locking him in the London Dungeon. Of course, Kevin Steen, Generico’s partner and Nigel’s opponent, comes out to save his little buddy. Steen is unbelievably over as a babyface with the New Jersey faithful, just as Nigel is as a heel. Steen gets on the mic and puts over his chances of winning the RoH world title. This was a great segment that put a ton of heat on the main event.

We go backstage and the Briscoes say…something. No clue.

Mitch Franklin vs. Jigsaw with Julius Smokes

They do a lot of armdrags, there is a crazy Gor y Special, a few rollups, a pretzel swing into the bottom turnbuckle (which was pretty cool) and Jigsaw wins with the Jig’n’Tonic. That’s about it.

Winner: Jigsaw via pinfall; *

Sweet and Sour Inc of Chris Hero and Bobby DempseyEddie Edwards with Larry Sweeney and Shane Hagadorn vs. Erick Stevens and Pelle Primeau

Chris Hero gets on the mic and decides that he is sick and tired of being so entertaining implying that he will become more serious on his quest for gold. Sadly, this results in Dempsey taking his shirt off. But Chris Hero does kick him in the face and busts the Survivor of the Fattest open. Stevens and Primeau make their entrance and we are underway.

Pelle and Edwards start, but Eddie quickly asks to go head to head with Erick Stevens. Stevens and Pelle show some acumen as a tag team working quick exchanges against the Sweet and Sour duo. It doesn’t last long though as a member of the Stevens/Primeau team plays the face in peril. I will give you two guesses as to who it was. (Hint: Not Pelle) The announcers make fun of Chris Hero’s gear, which, for the record, I think it is awesome. We get the hot tag to Stevens and its BONZO GONZO. I don’t know why, but I always wanted to type that. Some fast action leads to Chris Hero getting the win after a roaring elbow which is the birth of the “That Young Knockout Kid” gimmick for Mr. Hero. This was “perfectly acceptable wrestling.”

Winner: Sweet and Sour Inc via pinfall; **1/2

Brent Albright with Larry Sweeney vs. Delirious

Albright is a heel who once again comes out to babyface music. Albright sends Sweeney to the back deciding that he can take on the masked menace on his own. They have a pretty basic babyface style match despite Alrbight being a heel for the time being. Both guys run through their standard offense and the story is about the simplest in the annals of wrestling” “I want to beat you so I am going to throw my best stuff at you.” Despite a relatively pedestrian 2/3 of the match the finishing sequence was incredibly hot. Both wrestlers trade submission holds and Albright finally wins with the Crowbar. After the match Sweeney comes out to congratulate him and tries to convince Albright to break his arm, but Daizee Haze jumps in to save him. Sweeney decides he can break the Haze’s arm if he wants to. Albright hems and haws over the decision, but then walks out. Daizee gives Delirious a hand shake in the ring, which is just not enough for the masked man. This match was infinitely better than I remember it live.

Winner: Brent Albright via submission; ***1/2

Non Title No Disqualification Match: The Necro Butcher vs. FIP Champion Roderick Strong

And, ladies and gentlemen, we have our requisite brawl through the crowd match. If you have seen Necro brawl through the crowd once, you have seen him brawl through the crowd this time, except replace whoever his opponent was the first go around with Roderick Strong. Chair shots? Check. Straight right hand punches? Check. Crotch claw? Check. Blood? Check. Chairs being made into a fort? Check. Wait, what? Man Roddy sure built a strong chair fort as when the two of them fell onto it, it didn’t break at all. Roddy may have a future as an architect. These matches are repetitive, but fun. I hate them live, but surprisingly the crowd stays hot every time these happen. These guys deviated from the norm a little with the chair fort, but this was pretty much like all of these other no DQ matches. Strong sets up a table in the ring, and Erick Stevens comes out and delivers a Doctor Bomb to the FIP champ. Necro capitalizes and gets the win. This was fun. Awww, the crazy hillbilly thought he won the FIP title. Sill hillbilly, read the contract.

Winner: The Necro Butcher via pinfalll; ***

During Intermission Daizee Haze “cuts” a promo and Delirious awkwardly tries to ask her out. The poor guy doesn’t speak English.

Kota Ibushi vs. Claudio Castagnoli

This match is basically a babyface version of Kota’s match from “Bedlam in Beantown. Kota has awesome offense, but he is still incredibly new to the game so finding ways to make his signature spots not seem as contrived will come. This kid has an unbelievably bright future and would probably benefit from an extended stay in the States. Or maybe I just want him to make an extended stay in the States. This match has great strikes, great spots, and great moves, but falls just short of being a truly great match. That being said, it is still a ton of fun. Claudio wins with a sick Ricola Bomb.

Winner: Claudio Castagnoli via pinfall; ***3/4

Back in Black plays over the PA and Tammy “Sunny” Sytch makes her way to the ring. She starts to address the situation with Austin Aries, but shet gets interrupted by “Sweet and Sour” Larry Sweeney with Sara Del Rey at his side. He announces the beginning of the Larry Sweeney Diva School and offers Tammy the job as coach. I am so glad this angle paid off…wait.

RoH World Championship Match: “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen” vs. Nigel McGuinness©

Steen earned this shot as a result of winning the “Eye of the Strom” world title tournament. He shows his respect for the champ by blowing a snot rocket on Nigel’s hand rather than shaking. He gets met with a slap. He responds with a snot covered slap of his own and we are on. Both men go for their home runs early, Steen with the sharpshooter and Nigel with the Jawbreaker Lariat which Steen mockingly walks away from. This match is all about mind games and one-upsmanship, and it tells a great story as a result. Eventually, Nigel focuses his attack on Steen’s shoulder to set up his London Dungeon submission. Steen does his best to stay in the match using his girth to his advantage. Steen throws everything he possibly can at Nigel who keeps resorting to arm attacks to maintain the advantage. The nearfalls in this match built a lot of drama and really put Steen over as a threat. The fact that Nigel had to resort to outright cheating to score a win for the first time in his reign did a lot to making Steen into a viable singles challenger.

Winnner: Nigel McGuinnes via pinfall; ***3/4

After the match Steen throws a justifiable tantrum and aggressively asks of RoH owner Cary Silkin, “Will you let this happen in your company?” His antics worked as he was granted a rematch at “Return Engagement.” After Steen is escorted to the back Claudio Castagnoli comes out to challenge Nigel to a title shot at the Hammerstein Ballroom. We also see Steen continuing his tantrum in the back.

In the back Erick Stevens threatens revenge on Roderick Strong

RoH Tag Team Title Match: Jay and Mark Briscoe vs. The No Remorse Corps of Davey Richards and Rocky Romero©

This match is pretty much exactly what you could expect from the Briscoes vs. Richards and Romero. It is fast and fun, but it lacks structure and substance. Both teams do their signature stuff and do it well. The big shocker is that the Briscoes actually win back their tag belts. Many fans probably thought that this was a match to put over the NRC as a legitimate team and worthwhile champions, but instead it puts the belts back on the Briscoes without putting them directly over the Age of the Fall. The worst part is that Mark Briscoe would be injured shortly hereafter and be forced to forfeit the titles. Still, this match is a title change and that is always a pretty big deal in RoH, but this match is the definition of a spotfest.

Winners: Jay and Mark Briscoe via pinfall; ***1/2

After the match the Briscoe celebrate with some frosty beverages in a completely original move. We go to the back and see the No Remorse Corps lament their bad luck.

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy Final Thoughts: I will admit that when I saw this show live, I did not enjoy, but on DVD this is an extremely fun show. Nothing is blow away awesome, but nearly everything is fun and entertaining, and really you can’t ask for much more from a wrestling show. It is also an historic show to boot considering the Briscoes won their fifth tag team titles. “Injustice” is a great way to round out a buy 3 get 1 free sale like the one going on at the live shows this weekend.

I’ll see you next time…