|Ring of Honor's Death Before Dishonor IV
The "invasion" storyline has been used many times. The Poffos entering Jerry Lawler's Mid-South, Jim Cornette's NWA invading WWF, the NWO invading WCW, and the WCW/ECW invasion of the WWF being the first that comes to mind. All of these had mixed results. So when a feud between rival companies Ring of Honor and Combat Zone Wrestling started in early 2006, it remained to be seen if the two companies could succeed where others had failed.
The simple answer is yes.
The feud continues from April 28, 2006 with Weekend of Champions Night One, with ROH's main representatives BJ Whitmer and Adam Pearce teaming with Colt Cabana and Ace Steel against Super Dragon, Necro Butcher, Nate Webb and turncoat Claudio Castagnoli in a brutal anything goes match. Night two has BJ Whitmer taking on Super Dragon and Samoa Joe mocking Castagnoli's Swiss heritage before they lock up.
After pleas from commissioner Jim Cornette and many of the ROH roster, Homicide stepped up to the plate on Ring of Homicide to do battle with CZW. A series of singles matches pop up on the next few DVDs before things come to a head at Chi-Town Struggle with another six-man tag: BJ Whitmer, Adam Pearce and Ace Steel vs. Necro Butcher, Claudio Castagnoli and Nate Webb.
The feud culminates at Death before Dishonor IV on July 15, 2006, which sees the feud return to the hometown of both promotions -- Philadelphia, PA. The atmosphere for the show is intense, as fans of both promotions are very vocal and spar with chants towards each other. Bryan Danielson defends the ROH title against CZW's Sonjay Dutt which really fires up the crowd for the main event -- CZW staple match The Cage of Death. The match, which pits Samoa Joe, Adam Pearce, Bryan Danielson, BJ Whitmer and Ace Steel against Chris Hero, Necro Butcher, Nate Webb, Claudio Castagnoli and Eddie Kingston, is one of the best pieces of storytelling I have ever seen in a professional wrestling match. Mixing a number of different issues between wrestlers with hardcore violence, I just sat in awe at the execution of what effectively was the end of the angle. This is a must-see match and really capped off the feud in a great way.
There was one last thing that needed to be "wrapped up" in the feud, that being the no-ropes barbed wire match between BJ Whitmer and Necro Butcher at War of the Wire II on July 28th. The match is violent and bloody, but really not a must see. I give credit to both men for the violence level and legitimately squeamish moments, but Cage of Death was a better conclusion to the seven-month feud.
Something that really impressed me while watching this batch of ROH DVDs, however, is the fact that instead of focusing solely on the feud with CZW, ROH managed to promote other well thought-out feuds and storylines that held my interest just as much as the CZW feud. The tag matches featuring Generation Next vs. The Briscoe brothers is a reminder of how great tag team wrestling can be. I would go out of my way to check out these matches, especially if you are a fan of old school tag team wrestling, which is blended with some great current spots. Bryan Danielson's title defenses against Nigel McGuinness (Weekend of Champions Night 2) and Colt Cabana (Chi-Town Struggle) are a teaser for matches on other DVD releases to come that really raise both challengers to Danielson's level.
The West Coast's Davey Richards is introduced at Destiny against Jimmy Rave. The two have a couple of fantastic matches in a brief feud. Richards also gets a preview of a future dream match against Samoa Joe in a fatal four way that also includes Jimmy Rave and Delirious at Throwdown and has a great match with AJ Styles at Death Before Dishonor IV. Richards is being groomed to be a major star in ROH, and these performances show why. He's come a long way since his earlier work in ECCW and PWG.
The series also heavily features Pro Wrestling NOAH superstar KENTA as a full time wrestler in ROH. In Your Face from Manhattan sees KENTA face Samoa Joe and ROH Champ Bryan Danielson in a brutally stiff non-title three way match. He battles Roderick Strong in Detroit at Throwdown and Austin Aries at Chi-Town Struggle. The match against Aries is one of my favorites from these DVDs and is really underrated. In a year of great matches it really stands up, but will likely get lost in the shuffle.
Other highlights include then-NWA champion Christian Cage's only ROH appearance to date, teaming with Colt Cabana against Bryan Danielson and Christopher Daniels in a "dream partners" match at How We Roll. The show also features Stampede Wrestling's Apocalypse squaring off against Samoa Joe and more ROH vs. CZW.
Overall, these three months worth of shows really reminded me what it is I like about professional wrestling. Ring of Honor continues to be the little company that can by simply providing great wrestling matches. As my interest in other promotions gets less and less, ROH continues to captivate and keep me rooted to my seat for each show.
What other promotion can claim that?
Ring of Honor's website
Jason Clevett is from Calgary, Alberta. His mother recently won a radio contest in which she had a choice between New York City for Christmas, which would have coincided with ROH's Final Battle 2006, or $5000 in groceries. She chose the groceries. Jason Clevett is looking for a new Mom. Resumes can be sent to email@example.com
Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!
Get your Ring of Honor DVDs!