Cult of ROH: The Best of Jimmy Jacobs

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Rumor has it that Jimmy Jacobs is off all future ROH shows following last weekend’s angles. Friday night saw him send dozens of masked men to assault Tyler Black, but on Saturday the locker room cleared out to do away with his goons. He fled through the front door and collapsed outside in apparent despair. This writes him a good exit from the company, whether temporary or permanent.

I sincerely it isn’t permanent. Few have worked as hard and against so much undue antagonism in ROH as Jacobs. He was too small, not flashy enough, not stiff enough, not scary enough, not charismatic enough, could only brawl – excuse after excuse that he disproved. Yet when the new administration took over ROH, he saw the worst booking of his career. Black punked him out routinely, Necro Butcher finished breaking away, then Delirious ditched as well and suddenly he had no regular stablemates, and was routinely fighting his ex-partners on undercards. Even when he still teamed with Delirious they were booked in unsatisfactory endings that did nothing for anyone involved. He was made to look incompetent as a leader, unthreatening in singles, and did nothing about either. At best he just took it, and often even worse things happened, like when in the middle of a blood feud with Austin Aries, he ran for the hills like a chicken.

So if he’s out for a while, good. Let him rest his body and come up with better ideas for what to do. Maybe it means getting Eddie Kingston and the Dark City Fight Club for a tougher, meaner Age of the Fall. Maybe it means returning to the lighthearted babyface, or redeeming himself in the eyes of the fans.

Regardless of where he goes, his career in the company deserves recognition. I’ve already written an extensive two-part article on his character. For this Cult of ROH, we’ll fantasy book a DVD set to do him justice. You’ll quickly realize this would take a few discs, but for someone who has developed so much since 2003, and been so integral to the quality of the show since 2006, he warrants it.

-Ricky Steamboat anti-Gen Next promo where he says he sees something in Jacobs

We begin with a backstage segment with legend Ricky Steamboat, who recruit Jacobs for his team to face Generation Next. At the time Jacobs was just a goofy character that Shelley had cast aside. Steamboat’s praise foreshadowed an entire career, and he provides a recognizable figure to christen the collection.

w/ C.M. Punk & Ace Steel Vs. Alex Shelley, Austin Aries & Jack Evans from ROH Gold

Matching the promo we have one of Jacobs’s two big tag matches against Generation Next. The other big one featured John Walters more prominently, so we use this one. Team Steamboat actually won, too, so it kicks off the collection with a victory and helps counterpoint the loss in the next match.

Vs. Alex Shelley, I Quit Match from Joe Vs. Punk 2

This was the career-definer, casting Jacobs as a man so driven for no purpose that he would not give up no matter how badly he was beaten. To this day some diehard fans prefer it over the more famous main event. In addition to being a great hardcore brawl and speaking to his character’s tenacity, it will counterpoint a huge tag later in the collection.

w/ B.J. Whitmer Vs. Roderick Strong & Jack Evans, from Manhattan Mayhem

Briefly touching on Jacobs’s team with Whitmer, we have them beating the Generation Next squad, counterpointing the feud to end that chapter of the collection. It’s also darned good, and introduces Whitmer to the Jacobs story.

Vs. B.J. Whitmer, from Dragon Gate Challenge

Then we quickly change gears for the first lauded match in the Whitmer Vs. Jacobs feud. This featured the terrifying Powerbomb to the apron that nearly killed both men, and yet didn’t keep them from finishing the match. What’s often forgotten in the light of that slip-up is that it was a damned good match, with Jacobs hustling more and showing the character necessary to kindle the Lacey angle.

-“Ballad of Jimmy Jacobs” music video

The collection wouldn’t be complete without one of those hilarious music videos. It allows a little bridge in his character.

Vs. B.J. Whitmer, Falls Count Anywhere from Fifth Year Festival: Finale

Sadly overlooked and nearly as good as their Cage Match, this entry from England saw them tease horrible spills and had some of the best passion in a brawl ROH has ever seen. It could have been the end of to the feud, and put side-by-side with the Cage Match, shows the two ways this could have concluded.

-“Big Brother” promo

Probably Jacobs’s most praised promo, sitting in the back during Wrestlemania Weekend, Jacobs declares he once loved Whitmer like a brother, and now wants to kill him. It has to be on here, just as the Cage Match must.

Vs. B.J. Whitmer, Steel Cage Match from Supercard of Honor 2

Jacobs lost two teeth and tore an ACL in this, the scariest match I’ve ever seen live. They stabbed each other with spikes, tossed each other through tables, and led to one fateful fall off the cage. It meant everything hardcore can, and shocked the ROH audience as we saw a villain win a feud.

-Age of the Fall Foundation Promo from Man Up

Next on the collection we fast-forward to Jacobs forming his own clique and taking down ROH’s icons. His promo beneath a dangling, bleeding Jay Briscoe remains one of the most unnerving visuals in company history, and opens another chapter.

Vs. Bryan Danielson, from Unscripted 3

Drastically switching gears from the cage, here we see Jacobs struggle with the lingering injuries and throw everything at the Best in the World that he has. It is a much more technical match, often more grounded and even less-power oriented, and shows another side to Jacobs’s game.

w/ Tyler Black Vs. the Briscoes, Relaxed Rules Match from Supercard of Honor 3

Overlooked for all the other great matches on that show, this might well be the best of them. It kicks off the series of Black/Jacobs tags on the collection, far outstripping the Final Battle 2007 iteration, going all over the building in a wild brawl that reined back in to a brilliantly structured match with a terrific ending. This also allows us to show Jacobs one-upping both Danielson and the Briscoes in consecutive matches.

-“The Forgotten” basement promo
Running on videowires, this showed Jacobs alone at the bottom of a dark staircase, going on about the lack of conviction in modern society. It touched a lot of nerves, ticking so people off, reminding others too much of Fight Club, and actually touched some disabled fans who did feel left out by society.

Vs. Austin Aries, from Vendetta 2
One of the more overlooked matches of 2008, Jacobs gave Aries his best brawl. Their similar senses for the dramatic led to amazing visuals, including one where Jacobs hung off Aries in the End Time, dangling over a fall down the bleachers, just barely caught by the house spotlight. It started dramatically, but only grew more intense as they went. A testament to their success was how much the crowd believed dropkicks would finish this.

w/ Tyler Black Vs. Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin, from Tag Wars 2008

Jacobs’s best sprint tag, not riding Black’s coattails, but participating blow-for-blow against Shelley. Sabin and Black did their more athletic part in tandem to Shelley and Jacobs’s bitter material, forming a more personal sprint that the Briscoes ever managed to, and that’s their strong suit.

Vs. Nigel McGuinness, from Tokyo Summit
Another overlooked 2008 match, McGuinness playing the more standard champion for the Japanese audience to Jacobs’s villain. Rather than play perfunctory victim to the dominant champion, they got creative with the apron and Jacobs brought several counters to spice it up.

-The “Last Appearance of Lacey” video

The last essential non-match feature, a viral-style video with Jacobs pulling the spike on Lacey. It speaks to motivations on a couple more of these matches, as well as the climax of the last one.

w/ Tyler Black Vs. Austin Aries & Bryan Danielson, from Respect is Earned 2
One of ROH’s best PPV main events, with Aries and Jacobs going wild in their feud. Here Jacobs let himself be punked more often, allowing Aries to distribute comeuppance. Danielson and Black concluding the match alone only helps the final match in our collection.

w/ Tyler Black Vs. Go Shiozaki & Naomichi Marufuji, from Fueling the Fire

Everyone praised Danielson & Aries Vs. Sabin & Shelley from this Manassas show, but the title bout was actually tighter and had a better story. Here Go was the apex athlete and Marufuji was an even more efficient bastard than the mastermind Jacobs. We watched the Age of the Fall struggle against dynamic threats, only surviving on teamwork.

w/ Tyler Black Vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico, from Driven 2008

The end of the tag matches on the collection has to be when Jacobs & Black lost the titles. It was a great match in its own right (and my personal favorite live moment in wrestling was high-fiving a friend after the three-count), with Jacobs playing antagonist and predator over Generico, before control slipped and things turned into a sprint. All the teases at the end wrapped up so many Steen & Generico Vs. Age of the Fall matches, building not only false finishes, but history.

Vs. Austin Aries, I Quit Match from Rising Above 2008

We end the collection on the match Gabe Sapolsky helped build, even if he was gone at this point. One last Aries Vs. Jacobs singles match, blooder and more brutal than Vendetta 2, to end the feud. It echoes the Shelley I Quit, all the other Aries matches, the team he had with Black, and the story of Lacey when she returned. While Jacobs has had some buzz-worthy matches with Delirious since, this is a fitting close to his career on DVD. Here’s hoping Pearce and company have the wisdom to book another great chapter for him.

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