DVDs - VGames - Books LEAHY'S INDEPENDENT DVD REVIEW SERIES: ROH's "Fate of an Angel II" DVD release - Daniels vs. Strong (11/13/10)
Apr 1, 2011 - 3:02:12 PM
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LEAH'S INDEPENDENT WRESTLING DVD REVIEW SERIES
ROH's “Fate of an Angel II”
November 13, 2010
By Brian Leahy, PWTorch specialist
While not a blow-away show, ROH’s "Fate of an Angel II" is a decent release, and at the very least helps erase the memory of the abhorrent "Survival of the Fittest" tournament held the night before.
There are a few good clashes on the show and some really encouraging booking of young talent, but on the flip-side, Fate of an Angel II still continues to highlight some of the flaws present in the ROH product at this time.
The card starts with little promise; indeed the only notable action in the first three matches is the Mark Briscoe vs. Andy Ridge “Trial Series” bout. While Ridge doesn’t get terribly close to victory at any points or even get in any major or extended offense, the old “look strong in defeat” adage rings true in this one as Ridge took a beating and kept coming back for more.
The only thing I’m enjoying less than Colt Cabana’s character in Ring of Honor in 2010/11 is the predictable finish to his matches. It seems ROH is booking Cabana to never amount to anything more than a mid-card comedy act, which is a criminal waste of a man with great charisma and buckets of in-ring ability.
That being said, the action in the El Generico & Cabana vs. All Night Express match was enjoyable, until ROH’s irritating booking of Cabana raised its head. As per the night previous, Cabana's fondness for being distracted by events at ringside cost him and his team the victory. Luckily enough, the manner of the pinfall also tainted any positive effects that the win may have had for the ANX, making the match all-in-all a fine waste of time and effort.
The Bravado Brothers, Kyle O’Reilly, and Adam Cole continued to glisten on the ROH undercard in their post-intermission bout. Wrestling-speaking, Cole and O’Reilly carried the majority of workload, but seeing the spark ignite on the Bravado’s heel gimmick during the ten-minute clash carried equal weight. It’s matches such as this, featuring young talent being given the opportunity to hone their talents and find their identities, that ROH need to continue to deliver.
It’s an approach that’s been finely crafted out of necessity by EVOLE, and one which can work just as well in ROH given the opportunity. The evolution of the Bravados's characters since this show is a prime example of what can be achieved with a little imagination and tweaking once you see how the crowd reacts to an undercard wrestler, and then play upon the natural response of the fans to a wrestler’s gimmick. What ROH has done with the Bravados since this show has simply been an extension of what was on display here, and judging by how over the Bravados have become it was ten minutes well-invested.
Three years ago, I never would have imagined that Jay Briscoe would be the one doing the donkey-work in a Briscoe-Homicide match, but their clash was easily the best Homicide match since his return four shows earlier. In my eyes, it was buoyed by the elder Briscoe. The match flip-flopped between a hard-hitting brawl and an Eddie Guerrero tribute, and the finish itself was straight out of the Eddie Guerrero WrestleMania XX playbook. Standing alone, and in the context of a Guerrero tribute, the finish was fine, but the current ROH product has far too many cooked finishes making it difficult to enjoy this match for what it is.
Continuing the strong second half of the card, The Kings of Wrestling vs. Steen & Corino match amounted to a fine contest, marred (yet again, and predictably) by outside distractions. It might seem like I’m ragging on the booking of finishes a lot here (which I am) but it's not without reason.
ROH is producing the goods with regards to in-ring action and character development on these DVDs, but every time a match concludes with a tainted finish it’s a reminder to the buyer that ROH is more concerned with their Internet PPV audience than their DVD buyers. However, if there’s any excuse to be made for the number of spoiled finishes on this card, and there just may be, it’s that the Kevin Steen vs. El Generico feud was put over as being red-hot during this weekend duo of shows.
Christopher Daniels could well be my MVP for ROH in the final quarter of 2010. Show after show, match after match, Daniels delivers the goods with any and every opponent he finds himself across the ring from. True to form, his title bout with Roderick Strong is the best thing on the card, and yet again goes to show how much “The Fallen Angel” has to give even after almost two decades in the wrestling business.
Daniels doesn’t go at a hundred miles an hour, he doesn’t take neck bumps, and his matches don’t have dozens of false finishes. What he does have is a penchant for putting together a perfectly-built match using the same bag of moves while still drawing the crowd in and making it all seem fresh and familiar in equal parts. Unfortunately, the Canadian crowd seemed somewhat apathetic to the efforts of Daniels and a young World Champion dying to prove his worth, but regardless of the tepid reaction they clocked in over half-an-hour of top-rate action.
All things considered, Fate of an Angel II amounts to a fine night of wrestling, marred by some infuriating finishes. When an ROH show is driving me to the point where I expect an interference-laced finish where there isn’t one, you know the finished product isn’t sitting as well as it should.
Overall: Slight thumbs up (7/10).
Extras: The bonus feature “10 Questions with Steve Corino” is wrestling entertainment gold. These kind of features cost ROH absolutely nothing to produce and provide some nice padding to the DVDs. I look forward to future instalments of a “10 Questions with Wrestler X” on future ROH releases.
Notable Match Star Ratings:
El Generico & Colt Cabana vs. The All Night Express (***)
Cole & O’Reilly vs. The Bravado Brothers (***)
Jay Briscoe vs. Homicide (***1/4)
The Kings of Wrestling vs. Kevin Steen & Steve Corino (***1/2)
Roderick Strong vs. Christopher Daniels (****)
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