DVDs - VGames - Books Tape Review: ROH, "Steel Cage Warfare," Aries & Strong survive in 41-minute cage match
Jan 30, 2006 - 9:27:00 AM
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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor
Ring of Honor held "Steel Cage Warfare," on Dec. 3, 2005, in Manhattan, NY. This venue is a basketball practice facility, and it is nice and open, and no problems with low ceilings here! The main event was an epic 41-minute, 8-man elimination cage match. As with all recent ROH releases, lighting and sound are good. Gabe "Jimmy Bower" Sapolsky is on commentary with Dave Prazak; no Lenny Leonard tonight.
The tape opened with Jay Lethal backstage, saying he was embarrassed with how his ROH career began, as a member of Special K. He talked about his relationship with Samoa Joe, helping him improve. "Joe became someone I can count on, my family," Lethal said. Lethal said he stepped out on his own in 2005, but he can't forget that Joe beat him for his title. He said he keeps hearing people call him Joe's 'protégé.' "When do I step out of your shadow?" he asked. He said he is making a challenge, friend to friend, competitor to competitor, to a match tonight. Good promo.
Jim Cornette sat at a desk and said he ordered a rematch between Claudio Castognoli and Nigel McGuinness. He also said there would be no interference in the Steve Corino-Homicide match later, or those who interfered would be fined.
On to the matches!
(1) Kid Mikaze & Jason Blade defeat Dunn & Marcos (The Ring Crew Express) at 9:54. This was a significantly better match than their match on the previous show. Blade and Marcos started, and Blade hit a dropkick. Dunn entered and he hit some armdrags on BLade. The faces hit a cool double Japanese armdrag on Dunn. Mikaze hit a spin kick on Dunn for a nearfall. Blade hit a nice catapult senton at 3:00, then a spinebuster on Dunn for a nearfall. The Ring Crew hit simultaneous Stage Dives off the top rope onto the floor on their opponents.
In the ring, Marcos hit a Northern Lights suplex on Mikaze. Dunn hit a nice Death Valley Driver on Mikaze at 6:00. Marcos hit a Falcon Arrow slam on Mikaze. Blade made the hot tag at 8:00, and he hit a top-rope crossbody block on Marcos and a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall. Mikaze hit a Lungblower to the chest. Dunn hit a Gory Bomb for a nearfall on Blade. Marcos hit the assisted Sliced Bread #2/flip bulldog, but he missed a senton. Blade hit a Finlay Roll. Mikaze then hit an inverted Shooting Star Press on Marcos for the pin. The crowd went nuts for the inverted SSP. Just a better all-around match for these four from the 11/19 show.
Austin Aries cut a backstage promo, saying, "dues will be paid." He said Generation Next will prove they are the top faction in ROH. The tape then went to a promo by Prince Nana, who promised blood. He said what happened to Jade Chung will be even worse tonight.
(2) Davey Andrews defeats Pelle Primeau at 1:27. Andrews dominated, with a Mafia Kick, a hard clotheslines, and some stiff forearms. Pelle got in a few quick forearms, but Andrews nailed a release German Suplex, and he applied an Anaconda Vice/arm & head submission hold, and Pelle was out.
Ricky Reyes hit the ring, and he said he is upset he doesn't have a match. He pointed out that he has beaten up all the six or seven ROH students, who now stood in the ring across from him. He began to beat up the students. Andrews speared Reyes, and they brawled on the mat. Reyes then slammed the student trophy on Andrews' head. Solid segment.
Roderick Strong cut a backstage promo, saying how much he is looking forward to getting in the ring with Jimmy Rave. "I'm going to chop you until your chest bleeds," he promised. We then saw a Rave promo, where he touted how he beat Styles, he ran CM Punk out of ROH, and that he will "cement his legacy" in the cage tonight. Good promos, and I like these alternating promos between the faces and heels.
(3) Sal Rinauro & Tony Mamaluke defeat Milano Collection AT & Colt Cabana at 15:22. Good match, and it surpassed my expectations. Colt and Sal started, and Cabana went to work on the left arm, then he applied an ankle lock. Mamaluke and Milano tagged in. Milano put the champs on top of each other on the mat, and he applied a single-leg crab on each of them at 5:00. Cool. Milano tied Sal in the ropes and he hit a flying dropkick.
Colt tagged in, and he hit some European Uppercuts on Sal. The faces forced Sal to do the splits, and this is pretty funny. Mamaluke nailed a missile dropkick on both opponents to save Sal. Mamaluke applied a Horse Collar/leglock around his head on Milano, but Milano made it to the ropes. Sal entered, and he kept working on Milano's injured left leg. The champs kept working Milano over, with Mamaluke hitting some spine kicks and Sal hitting a spin kick. Bower pointed out that Colt is all business, and he's been changed somehow by this feud with Homicide.
Colt finally made the hot tag at 12:00, and he hit some punches, then a Lionsault Press on both champs. Mamaluke fired back with a German Suplex on Colt. Sal hit a moonsault for a nearfall. Milano hit an Ace Crusher on Sal for a nearfall, then a twisting Lionsault for a nearfall. However, Mamaluke hit a team DDT (with Sal holding Milano's feet in the air), and Mamaluke pinned Milano. Good match.
In a backstage promo, Matt Sydal talked about how he formed the Air Devils in early 2005, but he was jumped by the Embassy immediately after their victory. (The name of persona non gratis Fast Eddie is yet again not mentioned!) Sydal said that attack led to his decision to eventually join Generation Next.
The camera cut to a still photo of Abyss, with a scroll on the screen stating that they approached Abyss to get his comments on the match, but Abyss sent a cameraman to the hospital!
(4) American Dragon Bryan Danielson defeats Rocky Romero at 15:26 to retain the ROH World Heavyweight Title. The crowd popped for Dragon, and he wrestled this match, for the most part, as a face, and not the heel character he's been recently against Strong, Daniels and Sabin. There is a clip of these two brawling at Weekend of Thunder Night 2, at the end of 2004. (No clip of Dragon vs. Black Tiger from spring 2005, though!) Romero refused to shake Dragon's hand; he spit on it!
The match began, and they traded STIFF kicks to each other's thighs, and Dragon hit a headbutt. Romero immediately applied a cross-armbreaker, but Dragon reached the ropes. Romero hit some stomps, chops and spine kicks. Dragon nailed a European Uppercut and some chops, then a back heel kick. Every move here is STIFF and has great sound; this looks like a legit fight. Romero again applied a cross-armbreaker at 4:00
Danielson hit a spine kick and the crowd popped because it was so loud! Dragon applied a surfboard, but Romero escaped, and he applied an anklelock. Dragon came back with a single-leg crab at 9:00. He tied up Romero's legs and bridged back to put on more pressure. Romero hit some spin kicks to the chest. Dragon hit some European Uppercuts and kicks. Romero applied a Front Guillotine Choke at 12:30 in the center of the ring, but Danielson powered out of it.
Romero hit a springboard dropkick and a Tiger Suplex for a nearfall. Dragon hit some hard palm strikes. Danielson nailed a Dragonscrew Legwhip, and he applied a single-leg crab, and Romero tapped out. Excellent, hard-hitting match. Dragon proclaimed himself "the best wrestler in the world."
Suddenly, Lance Storm came out of nowhere and jumped in the ring! The crowd popped, as he got on the mic and said, "If I could be serious for a minute." Storm said he was here out of respect. He said he ultimately retired from pro wrestling because he couldn't have the type of matches he wanted to have. "I ended my career on my terms," Storm said. "If I had one more match, it would be with a guy like you."
Storm offered to shake Dragon's hand. Dragon initially balked, but Dragon then ordered the fans to their feet to pay respect to Storm, and then they shook hands. Classy segment.
The backstage promos continue! Jack Evans said no one would go higher in the cage than him. Alex Shelley said he will make sure that Austin Aries is crucified tonight.
(5) Jay Lethal defeats Samoa Joe at 20:42. The crowd is hot, and fairly split, for the two faces. This is an extended feeling out process early, and they avoided each other's signature kicks. Joe began to hit hard kicks to the thigh at 6:00, then some chops. Lethal hit a basement dropkick to the back of the head and a standing moonsault for a nearfall. Lethal stayed on top with a nice springboard dropkick, sending Joe through the ropes to the floor. Lethal then dove through the ropes on Joe.
In the ring, Lethal hit several chops, and Joe was staggering. Lethal hit a DDT for a nearfall and he applied a Cobra Clutch. Joe fired back with a hard kick and a senton for a nearfall, then his back chop/front kick/knee drop combo. He hit a spin kick to Lethal's face at 11:30. Joe hit some bootscrapes, but Lethal moved to avoid Joe's running Facewash. Lethal grabbed Joe's leg and slammed it into the ringpost! Bower was perplexed that Lethal did that. Lethal paused for a second, as if he regretted hitting Joe’s leg. Suddenly, Lethal grabbed a chair at ringside, and he began to SLAM it over Joe's knee repeatedly! The crowd immediately began chanting, "F--- you Lethal!" at 13:30.
In the ring, Lethal continued to stomp on Joe's leg. Joe fired back with some chops, but Lethal knocked Joe off his injured leg. Lethal shouted something about the Pure Title. Joe hit a powerslam at 17:00 for a nearfall, but he's limping, and he can't run the ropes. Lethal hit the Benoit Flying Headbutt, and he applied a single-leg crab, but Joe reached the ropes. Joe hit a German Suplex, and both men were down. Joe went for the Musclebuster, but Lethal escaped it. Lethal then hit the Dragon Suplex to score the pin. Very good match.
(6) Steve Corino defeats Homicide at 16:28. Homicide came out to a huge hometown pop. Corino had his personal announcer read a poem, which I could barely hear, as the crowd chanted "boring" and "shut the f--- up" at him. Corino is wearing patriotic red, white & blue trunks. They opened by brawling on the mat, and Corino spit on Homicide. Homicide slapped him in the face! They traded stiff forearms, and Homicide hit a Shining Wizard, and Corino bailed to the floor.
Homicide then dove through the ropes on Corino and landed awkwardly on his shoulder, causing Bower to shout "Dangerooooussss!" at 2:30. Suddenly, a masked man, who appears to be Colt Cabana, nailed Julius Smokes with a steel pipe. "Maybe it's the person who took out Nancy Kerrigan," Bower wondered. It is obvious as the camera focuses on Homicide that his shoulder is legitimately messed up. They brawled on the floor, as Homicide cradled his shoulder, as if he's trying to pop everything back into place.
In the ring, Homicide hit a drop-toe-hold onto a chair covered in barbed wire at 6:00. Homicide took a fork to Corino's ear! The crowd began to chant, "You sick f---!" at Homicide as blood poured from Corino's ear! Homicide put Corino's head in the barbed-wire chair and he stomped on it. He stabbed the ear more with the fork. Homicide hit an Ace Crusher off the ring apron through a table on the floor at 10:30. Homicide hit a headbutt, and Bower pointed out that Homicide isn't even trying to use the arm connected to his injured shoulder anymore.
Corino got the fork and he jabbed Homicide with it. Corino set up a sign in the ring, held up by four open chairs. However, Homicide grabbed Corino off the top rope (a la Flair) and he tossed Corino onto the sign. Homicide grabbed a chair and tossed it at Corino, but Corino ducked, and the chair NAILED the ref at 14:30! Homicide hit an Ace Crusher, but there was no ref to make a count; a second ref made a two-count. Suddenly, the masked man re-appeared and he hit the second ref, then Homicide. The masked man rolled Corino on top, and the original ref made the three count. Good match, and Homicide deserves credit for wrestling a full match after getting injured so early in the match.
A commercial for FIP aired.
Gary Michael Capetta interviewed Lacey during intermission. Lacey said her Angels are on a winning streak, and they deserved a break tonight, but they'll be back soon.
(7) Roderick Strong & Austin Aries & Jack Evans & Matt Sydal defeat Jimmy Rave & Alex Shelley & Abyss & Prince Nana at 41:36 in steel cage warfare. The rules here are two men start, and one person enters every five minutes. Eliminations can happen at any time, and the match continues until each team has been eliminated.
Jimmy Rave started against Austin Aries. Rave tried to escape Aries early, and he tried to run to the back, but Aries caught him in the aisle. They brawled on the floor, and Aries hit a headbutt. In the ring, Aries crotched Rave, and he hit a backbody drop. At 5:00 even, Alex Shelley came out, and he brawled with Aries. Aries whipped each of his opponents into the cage, and he hip a Finlay Roll on Rave, across Shelley, who was lying on the mat! Cool. Shelley & Rave hit a simultaneous spear & clothesline on Aries. Cool. Rave applied a Camel Clutch, and Shelley hit a dropkick on Aries' unprotected face. Matt Sydal entered at 10:00.
Sydal hit a standing moonsault on Rave's back. Sydal & Aries did a cool double bow & arrow spot on the heels. Sydal hit a nice headscissors takedown on Rave. Abyss entered at 15:00, and he tried a double chokeslam, but the faces escaped it. Abyss hit a Shock Treatment/sitdown Torture Rack on Aries, then he tossed Sydal in the air and slammed him facefirst on the mat. Shelley hit a chairshot on Aries' head. He put Aries' head between Shelley's legs and he rammed Aries' head onto a folded chair in the ring, and Aries is bleeding.
Roderick Strong entered at 20:00, and he hit three backbreakers on Shelley and a dropkick on Abyss. He turned and stood face-to-face with Rave, and the crowd screamed, "Break his back!" Strong began hitting numerous chops on Rave. Abyss gave Strong a belly-to-belly overhead suplex on Strong, tossing him into the cage! Abyss then hit a Black Hole Slam on Sydal! Rave picked up (the limp and lifeless) Sydal, and he hit the "Greetings From Ghana"/Pedigree on Sydal and pinned him at 22:22.
Rave was bleeding from the face. Strong followed Rave to the floor and chopped him repeatedly Prince Nana came out at 25:00, and he strut around the ring, enjoying the heels 4-on-2 advantage. Aries was placed in the Tree of Woe, and Shelley hit a dropkick on him. Rave raked Aries' bloody face in the cage. Suddenly, Jade Chung came out, looking normal, outside of a small bandage on her cheek, to distract Prince Nana.
Jack Evans came out at 30:00, and he immediately climbed to the top of the cage and he hit a double moonsault flip off the top of the cage onto the four heels on the floor!!!! All seven brawled on the floor. In the ring, Strong hit his Gorilla Press double knee gutbuster on Abyss! Evans then pinned Abyss with a doublejump moonsault off an opponent, down onto Abyss, at 33:20. Cool spot, and the crowd popped huge for this.
Evans hit a fisherman buster on Shelley, and he went for a 630 Splash, but Shelley got his knees up to block it. Shelley then hit an Air Raid Crash/Kryptonite Krunch on Evans to pin him at 35:50.
Rave speared Strong. Shelley hit a Shellshock on Aries, but Strong made the save. Rave hit the Ghana Rea for a nearfall on Aries. Nana accidentally hit his own guys, without realizing it. He turned around, and Strong and Aries were the only ones standing! Strong grabbed Rave and he hit several creative backbreakers! Strong applied a Stronghold/vertical Boston Crab and Rave tapped out at 40:06.
At the exact time that Strong was beating up Rave, Aries hit a DDT on Shelley on a chair, and he scored a pin on Shelley as Rave tapped out. Suddenly, it is just Nana against Aries & Strong!!! They hit a few punches on Nana, before Aries hit a 450 Splash to score the pin. All of Generation Next returned to the ring to celebrate the big win.
The show closed with a promo by Samoa Joe. He said, "The ones you are closest with hurt you the most. Why, Jay, why?" He got up and left. Short, effective promo.
Final thoughts: Tape runs 2 hours, 57 minutes. The main event delivered in a big way. This was a well-booked match, with all the big spots working perfectly. The Rave-Strong interaction was great, as Rave tried to get away, and Strong waited to the very end of the match to hit his series of backbreakers.
This was a very good show overall. I liked the Dragon-Romero match second-best, just ahead of Joe-Lethal. The crowd was great in their reaction to Lethal's heel turn. Homicide-Corino was bloodier than I liked, and as good as it was, it was certainly hampered by Homicide's injury.
The ROH students just don't grab my interest. The crowd doesn't seem to like them either, as they enjoyed watching Reyes run through them.
I would consider this a 'must see event' because the main event wrapped up months of storylines, and there are several really strong matches elsewhere on this show. Purchase this tape at www.rohwrestling.com for $20.
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