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Tape Review: ROH, "Tag Wars 2006," Jan. 27, 2006, with Danielson & Lethal vs. Strong & Aries, Daniels vs. Low Ki

Mar 14, 2006 - 10:21:00 AM

By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor

Ring of Honor returned to Dayton, Ohio, on Friday, Jan. 27, 2006, for “Tag Wars 2006.” The crowd is perhaps 500 to 600, lighting is good, and Dave Prazak & Lenny Leonard are on commentary, and I’m a huge fan of their work.

The tape opened with a backstage promo with American Dragon Bryan Danielson, who said he is focused on winning the tag titles tonight. The camera panned back, and Jay Lethal is standing next to Dragon. Lethal said he is going to win the tag straps … unlike his former partner, Samoa Joe.

One more backstage promo with Prince Nana and the Embassy. Alex Shelley said he learned from Spanky how to hit the Sliced Bread #2, a move proven to beat Dragon. There is visible tension between Jimmy Rave and Alex Shelley, but they shook hands.

The top five rankings are displayed, but it goes by too quick for my mind to even really register it.

(1) Round 1: Jack Evans & Matt Sydal & Jimmy Yang defeat Adam Pearce & Jimmy Jacobs & B.J. Whitmer (w/Lacey) at 11:23. This was lots of fun! Jacobs is clearly infatuated with Lacey, fawning all over her. All six brawled immediately, with Pearce beating up Sydal on the floor, and Yang taking on Whitmer. Evans hit a nice series of kicks on Jacobs. Sydal hit a hurricanrana over the top rope onto Pearce on the floor, then he his an Asai Moonsault. Jacobs dove onto Yang, and Evans nailed his cartwheel flip dive over the top rope onto Whitmer, drawing a “holy sh—“ chant.

Pearce hit a powerslam on Sydal, and Whitmer chopped Sydal, and they worked over Matt extensively. Prazak on commentary wondered if it is smart for Sydal to go after the tag titles against his Generation Next teammates. Whitmer picked up Jacobs and powerbombed him onto Sydal for a nearfall at 4:30. Whitmer hit a spinebuster for a nearfall. Pearce hit a brainbuster, and Jacobs hit a nice standing neckbreaker. Sydal hit a Tornado DDT on Whitmer, and he made the hot tag to Yang at 7:30.

Yang entered and hit a nice series of kicks on Whitmer, and then he hit a top-rope moonsault for a nearfall. Evans hit a Northern Lights Suplex, then a fisherman’s buster on Jacobs. Pearce hit a frogsplash on Evans and he went for the pin, but the ref said Evans wasn’t legal. Sydal hit a standing moonsault on Pearce. Whitmer hit a Dragon Suplex and a powerbomb on Sydal; again, the ref told Whitmer than Sydal was not the legal man. Yang nailed the Yang Time/corkscrew press on Whitmer. Whitmer hit an Exploder Suplex on Yang.

Evans climbed the top rope, but Lacey crotched him on the turnbuckle; Evans went to grab Lacey, but Jacobs ran over to protect her. Sydal hit the “Here it is” Driver/pumphandle sitdown powerbomb, and Evans nailed the 630 splash on Jacobs to pin him. The crowd was hot, and chanted “ROH!” Very good opener. Pearce & Whitmer were upset at Jacobs.

(2) Round 1: Abyss & Alex Shelley & Jimmy Rave (w/Prince Nana & Daizee Haze) defeat Sal Rinauro & Tony Mamaluke & Jay Fury at 15:46. Another good match. The crowd buried the Embassy in a sea of toilet paper; it’s quite a spectacle. Leonard talked about Fury’s FIP credentials, as Fury locked up with Rave. Rave stalled a bit, and the crowd taunted him. Fury showed some nice offense and he hit some quick armdrags, and Rave bailed to the floor. Shelley and Mamaluke entered at 3:30, and they did some nice standing reversals and chain wrestling.

Mamaluke applied a cross-armbreaker and he applied a neat hammerlock with a bridge. Shelley bit Mamaluke on his hand! Fury entered and he hit some spine kicks and a flip senton for a nearfall on Rave, then he hit a crossbody block, and the faces were working together to beat down Rave. Shelley entered at 8:00, and he began to beat up Sal, and they traded nearfalls. Sal hit a nice dropkick on Shelley, and they both went to the floor. Haze hit a crossbody block off the apron onto Sal on the floor!! Abyss entered at 10:00, and he hit some hard chops and a Stinger Splash on Sal.

The heels worked over Sal extensively, until Fury made the hot tag and cleared the ring. Fury hit a springboard twisting dive onto Rave & Shelley. In the ring, Sal & Mamaluke tried to double-team Abyss. Abyss hit the Shock Treatment/sitdown Torture Rack on Mamaluke. Fury hit some nice kicks on Rave, but he missed a Shooting Star Press! Shelley then hit the Slice Bread #2/flip overhead bulldog to pin Fury.

In a backstage segment, Jim Cornette said that Homicide and Colt Cabana are both banned from the arena tonight, as clips of their recent battles played.

(3) Claudio Castognoli defeats Chad Collyer at 10:54. Solid, above-average match. They traded mat holds, and the crowd was behind Claudio. Chad now has a full head of hair again; that ugly Mohawk is gone. Claudio hit a shoulder tackle and a dropkick, and the crowd loves shouting “Heyyy!” with him. Claudio missed a spear in the corner, and he fell to the floor, hurting his left shoulder. Chad beat up Claudio on the floor, and he rammed Claudio’s shoulder into the ring post. In the ring, Chad hit a bodyslam with Claudio’s arm tucked behind his back, and he stayed focused on Castognoli’s arm.

They traded hard chops at 7:00, and Claudio hit a flying back elbow, and they were both down. A couple ‘fans’ in the crowd – Chris Hero & Necro Butcher -- were loudly complaining about the match. “Is that who I think it is?” Lenny Leonard asked. The cameras did not immediately pan to the crowd, which I thought was a nice touch. (In baseball, they don’t show a fan who enters the field or disrupts play.) The crowd began to chant, “F--- you Hero!” Claudio placed Chad along his back, and he spun Collyer down for a faceplant. Gabe “Jimmy Bower” Sapolsky ran into the announce booth, long enough to express his frustration a Chris Hero for being at this show.

Collyer hit a German Suplex with a bridge for a nearfall. He stayed on top with a Saito Suplex for a nearfall, then he slapped on an Anaconda Vice, but Claudio reached the ropes at 10:00. Chad went to ringside to get a chair, but Ace Steel stopped him. As Collyer was distracted, Claudio snuck up on him and got a headscissors takedown into a rollup for the pin.

Ace punched Collyer, who ran away. Ace got on the mic and he promised he would get Collyer at the Wrestlemania weekend shows. “Collyer is going to die!” Steel promised.

(4) Ace Steel vs. Sterling James Keenan went to a draw at 6:20. Steel called Keenan “a CM Punk clone.” Keenan hit a shoulder tackle, and neither man budged. Keenan hit a nice flying back elbow, then a back suplex. Bower snuck into the booth again to make more derogatory comments about Hero, and how upset he is that Hero is trying to ruin the show. Keenan applied a chinlock and he pulled Steel’s hair. Keenan hit a nice second-rope lungblower for a nearfall at 4:00.

Keenan pointed at Hero. Ace hit a nice backbody drop, then a Tiger Driver/butterfly powerbomb, but Ace is clearly annoyed with Hero. He went to the ropes and glared at Hero. Steel hit a spinebuster, and he applied a Horse Collar/leglock around the neck. Suddenly, Steel let go of the move and grabbed the mic, and he said there were some “garbage wrestlers” in the crowd. For the first time, we see (not just hear) Hero & Necro. They climbed over the railing, and Gabe shouted on commentary, “get those fu—ers!” Wow! Several wrestlers brawled with Hero & Necro!

The cameras followed as the ROH wrestlers/trainees pushed Hero & Necro out of a door in the back. We have a short cut in the action, and we see Jim Cornette getting to his feet backstage, and he is bleeding! “I was standing here, and all of a sudden, I got blind-sided,” Cornette told Christopher Daniels. Cornette walked to ringside, with plenty of blood on his face and apparently, a broken tooth. Cornette got on the mic, and he called the CZW guys “garbage wrestlers,” who need thumbtacks and barbed wire. Cornette said the CZW roster doesn’t have “one-tenth the talent and ability” of the ROH crew. Cornette said that as long as he’s commissioner, there would be no hardcore crap. The match was pretty basic; it set up the hot & wild brawl with Hero & Necro.

A clip of A.J. Styles vs. American Dragon from Main Event Spectacles in 2003 aired. Sapolsky narrates the clip, saying that Styles is 2-0 against Dragon in ROH, and their rematch will be Saturday!

(5) Nigel McGuinness defeats Delirious at 6:47. Average match. This is a non-title match. Delirious went crazy at the sound of the bell and he ran around the floor. Nigel hit some European Uppercuts, a slap to the face, and he focused on Delirious’ left arm. Delirious fired back with a nice enziguri, a slap to the face, and some stiff forearms. On commentary, Prazak & Leonard stressed that Delirious needed to get a singles win. Nigel did the headstand in the corner, which perplexed and bewildered Delirious; Nigel then hit the kick out of the headstand.

Delirious fired back with a flying dropkick to the back and he hit the Panic Attack/running knee at 4:00, then the BAM leaping lariat, but he missed the Shadows Over Hell backsplash. Nigel hit a hard clothesline for a believable nearfall. He hit a running European Uppercut in the corner, then he hit the Tower of London/Ace Crusher with the feet on the top rope, for the pin.

(6) Low Ki defeats Christopher Daniels (w/Allison Danger) at 20:52. Good match; not as great as their 2002-era ROH stuff, but a good match nonetheless. Brief clips play from “Era of Honor Begins” and “Crowing a Champion.” The crowd is hot and split, with dueling “Let’s go Low Ki,” “Fallen Angel” chants. Ki immediately applied a cross-armbreaker in the ropes. Prazak talked about Samoa Joe’s staph infection taking him out of this match, which led to Ki as a replacement. Prazak said these two hadn’t met in ROH since Jan. 2003!

They did some basic, intense, mat holds and leglocks, and Daniels twisted on Ki’s left leg, then he hit a spinning kick to the face. At 7:30, Low Ki hit dropkick on Daniels, who was standing on the ring apron, and Daniels crashed into the guardrail. Ki slammed Daniels’ back in to the guardrail. Back in the ring, Ki applied a bodyscissorslock around Daniels’ waist, and the crowd was hot, and behind Daniels. Ki hit some hard stomps to Daniels’ chest, and he shoved the referee at 11:00. Ki pulled Danger into the ring by her hair!

Daniels came back with some quick rollup attempts, and Ki hit a hard doublestomp on his chest. Daniels hit a Flatliner, a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and an STO uranage for a nearfall at 13:30, then a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall. Ki hit some blows to the stomach, and Daniels sold his ribs & abdomen. Ki blocked the Best Moonsault Ever by crotching Daniels in the corner; Low Ki went for the Tree of Woe doublestomp, but Daniels escaped. Daniels hit a nice Arabian Press to the floor, and the crowd was hot. In the ring, Daniels hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall.

Low Ki came back for his Tree of Woe doublestomp at 17:30! The crowd was hot, and they chanted, “Holy sh—“ at this move; it really looked good. Ki placed Daniels on a table outside the ring. Ki jumped off the apron onto the table; Daniels moved and Ki crashed through the table. Ki grabbed one of his ankles in pain. Back in the ring, they avoided each other’s finishers. Daniels went for the Angel’s Wings, but somehow Ki flipped up over Daniels, they went to the mat, and Ki did a bridge to pin Daniels. Very good match, and the crowd chanted, “ROH!”

Daniels got on the mic, and he talked about the first-ever ROH main event, and how he refused to shake hands. Daniels then offered to shake Ki’s hand, but Low Ki turned and walked away, and the crowd booed. Excellent angle.

(7) Finals: Abyss & Jimmy Rave & Alex Shelley (w/Prince Nana & Daizee Haze) defeat Jack Evans & Matt Sydal & Jimmy Yang at 23:37 to win the trios tournament. Very good match. Rave and Yang started, but Rave stalled; they traded some mat wrestling. Sydal entered, and the faces hit double dropkicks on Rave. Shelley tagged in and he choked Sydal. Evans chopped Shelley. Yang hit a spin kick on Shelley, and the faces worked together on Shelley. Shelley grabbed Sydal in the crotch at 7:30 and yanked him to the heel corner.

Abyss yanked Sydal to the floor and tossed him into the guardrail! Haze hit Sydal! Abyss hit a hard chop on Sydal. In the ring, the heels worked over Sydal. The crowd taunted Shelley & and his new haircut with a funny “Flock of Seagulls” chant. Shelley hit a nice back suplex, then he placed Sydal’s face between his knees and planted the face repeatedly in the mat. Sydal came back with an enziguri on Shelley, a hurricanrana on Rave, and he made the hot tag to Yang at 12:30.

Yang hit a backbody drop and a superkick for a nearfall on Rave. Rave hit a nice plant DDT on Yang. Abyss entered and he hit some punches and kicks on Yang. Rave & Shelley worked over Yang. Rave tossed Yang into the guardrail at 17:30, and Yang flipped over and crashed into the crowd! In the ring, Abyss hit a sideslam on Yang for a nearfall. Yang came back with a spin kick on Rave’s face as Rave jumped off the ropes, and they were both down.

Evans entered at 20:00, and he hit some nice kicks and a corkscrew press on Shelley. Sydal hit his standing moonsault on Rave. The three faces tried to gang up on Abyss, but he overpowered them and he swatted them away. Abyss tossed Sydal onto Yang on the floor. Abyss wanted to do a dive! However, Shelley stopped him, and Abyss teased giving Shelley a chokeslam. Instead, Abyss hit a Black Hole Slam/spinning sidewalk slam on Sydal. Evans hit a fisherman’s buster on Rave, then a flying knee on Shelley. Shelley hit a Superkick and a Sliced Bread #2/flip overhead bulldog. Rave then hit the Greetings from Ghana/Pedigree on Evans for the pin. Fun match with some good action.

(8) Roderick Strong & Austin Aries defeat American Dragon Bryan Danielson & Jay Lethal at 29:18 to retain the tag titles. Excellent match. Clips from “This Means War” and “Vendetta” aired, showing the feud between Strong and Danielson. Dragon shook Strong’s hand, but then he immediately slapped him. Dragon and Strong started; Danielson hit one chop, then he immediately tagged out, and the crowd taunted him! Funny. Strong hit a backbreaker on Lethal, then a chop, and Lethal bailed too! Aries entered at 4:00, and he traded some mat offense with Lethal, then they had a standoff.

Lethal hit a nice basement dropkick on Aries’ face. Aries hit a hard spin kick to Lethal’s chest. Strong entered, and he hit some more hard chops on Lethal, and the crowd reacted to every blow! Lethal hit a Facewash (a la Joe) on Strong. Dragon re-entered the ring at 7:30, and he hit a European Uppercut on Strong, then he applied a Surfboard, and he yanked on Strong’s nose. The heels made several quick tags, hitting a bodyslam on Strong, then tagging out, and Strong was selling a back injury. The heels chopped Strong on the floor. Lethal hit a Power Drive elbow (Aries’ move!) on Strong.

Lethal hit a back suplex on Strong, and Dragon choked Strong in the ropes. Aries made the hot tag at 14:30, and he hit a Finlay Roll and a Frogsplash on D4ragon. In a neat spot, Aries gave Dragon an airplane spin! Half-way through, Aries tagged in Strong, and Strong took over and continued the airplane spin, getting Dragon quite dizzy! Strong hit several more chops on Dragon, then a nice butterfly suplex for a nearfall at 17:00. Aries hit a Lionsault on Dragon for a nearfall, then some more chops on Lethal.

Lethal came back with a (Samoa Joe) Ole Kick on Aries on the floor! Lethal choked Aries in the ring. Dragon hit a top-rope superplex on Aries for a nearfall at 22:30. The heels went to opposite corners and went for simultaneous Benoit flying headbutts, both they both missed. Strong made the hot tag, and he alternated chops on both heels. He hit a backbreaker on Lethal, then on Dragon, then another one on Lethal! Aries hit a missile dropkick, then a running dropkick in the corner on Dragon. Lethal came back with a hard clothesline on Strong.

Dragon hit a top-rope back suplex on Strong for a believable nearfall at 25:30. Dragon applied the Cattle Mutilation/double armbar on Strong, but Aries made the save. Aries dove through the ropes onto Lethal on the floor, and all four men were down. Dragon and Strong traded some stiff forearms and chops. Dragon again applied the Cattle Mutilation, then he applied the Crossface Chickenwing. Strong came back with a gutbuster over his knee, a Tiger Bomb, a backbreaker, then he applied the Stronghold/vertical Boston Crab, and Danielson tapped out! Strong grabbed the mic and said that Danielson owed him a title shot! Excellent, excellent match, and not a dull moment throughout the nearly 30-minute match.

In a backstage promo, Jacobs was with Lacey, and Whitmer walked up and asked Jacobs, “where’s your head at?” Jacobs sang, “I’m in love!” Whitmer demanded the cameraman play a clip from “Buffalo Stampede,” where Lacey said on camera that she was manipulating Whitmer & Jacobs! Whitmer stormed off.

In one final backstage promo, Dave Prazak interviewed Matt Sydal, and asked him if he was reconsidering going for the tag titles. Sydal said he was going to think about it, make some calls, sleep on it, and make the decision tomorrow.

Final thoughts: Tape runs 2 hours, 57 minutes. The title of this show, “Tag Wars,” is quite appropriate. Not only did we have the trios’ tournament and the tag main event, we had turmoil in the teams of Generation Next, the Embassy, and Lacey’s Angels. No one is getting along!

The last match exceeded my expectations, and Strong-Danielson played off their recent series of singles matches. I really enjoyed the trios’ tournament finals, and I’ll give that second-best, just ahead of Low Ki-Daniels. I enjoyed the Low Ki match, and his top-rope doublestomp while Daniels was in the Tree of Woe, was just awesome. Some people will wish that this match was better than this, but I was content with what I saw.

The Hero & Necro invasion was fun. I liked how it was played out… how Leonard and Prazak didn’t want to acknowledge them by name, and how at first, the cameras didn’t show them in the crowd.

The Steel-Keenan and Claudio-Collyer matches were both a bit below my expectations, but they played into the Hero/Necro stuff. Delirious-Nigel was fine but short.

It’s too bad that Abyss is out of ROH again, because the crowd would have gone nuts if he had attacked Shelley!

Overall, I really enjoyed the show, and it gets a thumbs up. Purchase it at for $20.

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