Torch Flashbacks TORCH DVD REVIEW FLASHBACK: MCNEILL'S ROH "Glory By Honor IV" Review - Bryan Danielson vs. Jamie Noble, A.J. Styles, Mick Foley, Samoa Joe
Dec 15, 2009 - 5:00:45 PM
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Headline: In ROH, All Good Things Must Come to an End
Originally published: December 3, 2005
Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter #888
DVD REVIEW: ROH Glory By Honor IV
Ring of Honor will be offering the Glory by Honor IV event on an On-Demand basis tonight. The following is Torch columnist Pat McNeill's DVD review of the GBH IV show originally published in the Torch Newsletter.
All Good Things...: This year has been Ring of Honor's busiest year to date. When a promotion, even a "super indy" promotion, puts together 34 shows in a year, you're going to see peaks and valleys. The infamous ROH "Homecoming" show in July? A valley. Jason Powell discussed another "valley" last week, when he wrote about Ring of Honor's "Night of the Grudges II" on DVD, a show that looked great on paper but never quite panned out.
On the other hand, there's Ring of Honor's "Glory By Honor IV," a double-disc DVD of ROH's Sept. 17 show in Long Island which contains a few added features. This is the sort of show that Ring of Honor fans will use when talking up their favorite promotion, and deservedly so.
The main event is easily accessible to casual fans. TNA's X Division champion, A.J. Styles, squares off against his archrival, Jimmy Rave. This is the blowoff match to one of Ring of Honor's big feuds of 2005. It is a "finisher versus finisher" match. You can only win the match by hitting your finishing move, and the loser must give up that finishing move. Either Styles will have to stop using the "Styles Clash" in Ring of Honor or Rave will have to give up his copycat move, the "Rave Clash". It is a follow-up from the last Long Island show, where Rave tried to suffocate Styles with a plastic bag, the same attack Terry Funk used on Ric Flair during an NWA Clash of the Champions special in 1989.
But there's more to the story. Rave, a member of the Embassy heel stable, is seconded by his manager, Prince Nana. The Phenomenal One has a second of his own in the form of Mick Foley. Foley debuted in Ring of Honor one year previously, at Glory By Honor III. In Foley's first ROH appearance, he turned down Nana's invitation to join The Embassy. At the time, Jimmy Rave was ensconced at the bottom of the card. Over the twelve-month span, Ring of Honor elevated The Embassy. They used everyone from Foley to the Midnight Express to A.J. Styles to Austin Aries to CM Punk in order to help get Rave and Nana over. Now, with Foley on his way back to WWE, Rave and Nana would obtain a final rub by working with Foley again.
The resulting match is a pretty good example of WWE main event style. A.J. gains the advantage until a masked wrestler (presumably one of the Embassy's "Weapons of Masked Destruction" runs in and distracts Styles long enough for Rave to take over. Prince Nana interferes during the match, just enough to tilt the advantage without making Foley look impotent at ringside. Styles hits a belly-to-back suplex off the top rope through the timekeeper's table that knocks both men out. Foley does a good job of checking on both wrestlers under the guise of offering encouragement to Styles.
With Rave in trouble, Nana sends out three more masked men (presumably ROH school graduates). Foley knocks all of them out with chairshots, but the distractions enable Nana to interfere again. Rave sets up a second table in the ring and positions Styles for a superplex through to the table, but A.J. reverses it into a top-rope Styles Clash through the table for the victory. Foley DDT's the hated Prince Nana after the match.
Then it's story time. Mick Foley's farewell speech to Ring of Honor is the sort of speech only a top promo guy like Foley can get away with. Mick is trying to put over Ring of Honor, because it is the proper way to do business, especially on his way out. This is nine days before the WWE Homecoming event, so Foley is also doing his darnedest to put his home promotion over. That's tough to do in front of your typical Ring of Honor crowd. Also, Mick doesn't feel like saying anything bad about Total Nonstop Action, given how close he came to signing in Panda Energy. Plus, Foley's just finished working the corner of TNA's top babyface, and we know the Hardcore Legend hates to be rude.
The crowd loves and respects Foley, and that helps a lot. Mick proves his loyalty to the crowd by reminding them he still lives in Long Island, admitting that he was the guy who helped get Ring of Honor into Sports Plus, the site of the evening's show, and by offering to drop the big Cactus elbow on Prince Nana. Foley throws Nana outside the ring, heads through the ropes, gets a running start off the apron, and hits the diving elbowdrop onto the Embassy manager onto the carpeted floor. It was a fairy tale moment.
The illusion was shattered as Foley hit the elbow and popped up, clutching his hip while letting out a howl of pain that didn't sound too much like the Hardcore Legend. Gee, you'd think all the padding back there would have protected the big guy.
...Must Come...: Of course, that's not the only memorable moment on the DVD release. For six months, the feud between former ROH Pure Champion Jay Lethal and former ROH World Champion Low-Ki had been percolating. Lethal was unable to obtain satisfaction during previous meetings between the two wrestlers. Low-Ki would either win through interference or get disqualified through outside interference.
This sounds like basic wrestling booking, but the storyline operated on another level. When Low-Ki is in Ring of Honor, he does jobs sparingly, if at all. Rumor has it that Low-Ki's bosses in Pro Wrestling NOAH don't want him losing to non-name Ring of Honor talent. Or maybe Low-Ki doesn't like doing jobs. Plus, Low-Ki has a cultivated reputation as an extremely difficult wrestler for promoters to deal with. In any case, a number of insider fans on the ROH website message boards were openly doubting that Mr. Ki would ever suffer a pinfall or submission loss in Ring of Honor.
At the top of the show, Lethal demands Low-Ki come out for their scheduled "Fight Without Honor" match. After sixteen minutes of intense action, Low-Ki uses several chairshots and a couple of top-rope double stomps to the chest to finish off the bloody Lethal. No big surprise. It's all in a day's work.
Later in the evening, after Low-Ki has interfered in Homicide's match with Colt Cabana, a bandaged Lethal returns to ringside. Lethal, over the protests of mentor Samoa Joe, challenges Low-Ki to an immediate rematch. Cabana and Joe run off the interfering Rottweilers, Low-Ki accidentally gets crotched on the top rope, and Lethal hits his finishing move, the Dragon Suplex, off the top rope for the victory. Ring of Honor plays off the crowd's "inside" knowledge to deliver a memorable ending to an upper midcard feud.
...To An End.: But that doesn't even begin to cover the big story of the show. When all is said and done, this year's Glory By Honor will be remembered as the night Bryan Danielson finally won the ROH title. Danielson is one of the few wrestlers around from the company's launch in February 2002. His return came at a time when the promotion had been rocked by the high-profile departures of CM Punk, Spanky, and James Gibson. The match, featuring two of the very best North American workers, is about as good as it gets. In his victory speech, the normally taciturn Danielson shows some personality, describing the ROH title belt as "wrestling freedom," and promising to stay with Ring of Honor and defend the title.
It was also a big show for ROH from a production standpoint. On this release, Ring of Honor steps it up. There's a commercial, featuring Austin Aries, for the ROH wrestling school. There's a special bonus match from FIP, from the June "Payback" show, which hasn't been released yet. But the match between Jay Fury, Sal Rinauro, and Tony Mamaluke isn't on there for its own sake, but for the postmatch angle. The angle ends with Azrieal stepping through the ropes and challenging Samoa Joe. Samoa Joe accepts and... it's a cliffhanger ending designed to get you to buy the tape.
Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard have started to gel as an announcing team. They have a different style from Gabe "Jimmy Bower" Sapolsky. Gone is Gabe's excited shilling of the ROH Library. ("Who can ever forget their match at Redemption By Death Without Dishonor, Stage One, Part Two?") Prazak and Leonard instead talk about the three previous Glory By Honor shows, in an effort to get the show over as a big annual Summerslam-type event. Using the TV commercial for the next show in order to hype the DVD release is also a good move. And the video packages for Bryan Danielson, Lethal vs. Low-Ki, and Styles vs. Rave were on a level with the pre-Sahadi TNA video packages, a big step up for the company.
Even though the show marks the closing of the season for Ring of Honor, the closing promos are all about setting the table for the next round of shows. Danielson's interview and video package shows how crushed he was by the loss to Aries, setting up their match on an upcoming show. Austin Aries vows to win the Survival of the Fittest tournament that's on the way, and Colt Cabana announces the return of Steve Corino to help him fight off the Rottweilers.
If you're a Ring of Honor fan, this is obviously a must-see show. If you're a TNA fan who enjoys seeing the X Division wrestlers in longer matches, this show is also for you. If you're a Mick Foley fan, and you want to see the last time Foley was treated as a main event attraction, you will also enjoy this DVD. Highly recommended.
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