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   Fri, July 25, 2008



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Cream of the crop found on ROH releases
By JASON CLEVETT - SLAM! Wrestling
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ROH: Best in the World DVD

The second set of Ring of Honor compilations, distributed nationally by KOCH Vision entertainment, has been released. Much like the previous two releases in April, new releases Best in The World and Greatest Rivalries continue to present some of the best matches in ROH history.

Best In The World focuses on the international impact of Ring of Honor. The promotion has developed strong relationships with Pro Wrestling NOAH and Dragon Gate in Japan, and their talents are featured heavily on the DVD. For those who have only heard of Dragon Gate through the internet, it’s a great opportunity to see what all of the hype is about. While the legendary Wrestlemania weekend Dragon Gate Six-man tags are not included, the matches focus on ROH talent facing Dragon Gate in two fast-paced tag team bouts. A.J. Styles and Matt Sydal (now Evan Bourne in ECW) face Dragon Kid and Genki Horiguchi while ROH World Tag Team Champions Jay and Mark Briscoe are challenged by Naruki Doi and Shingo in a match held in Liverpool, England.

One of the best-known matches in ROH history is the October 1, 2005 match between Pro Wrestling NOAH icon Kenta Kobashi and Samoa Joe. The bout is the first one on the DVD, and really sets the stage for the rest of the disc. The atmosphere for the match -- a rabid New York City crowd cheering for every strike and blow -- is insane and the match holds up as a great one nearly three years later. While Kobashi only wrestled in the promotion once, NOAH stars KENTA and Takeshi Morishima have become regulars, with Morishima holding the ROH title in 2007. Both men have matches featured on the disc -- Morishima defending against Nigel McGuinness, and KENTA versus Austin Aries.

While the Japanese content is high on Best In The World there is other international flavor as well. In 2006, Canadian Lance Storm came out of retirement to challenge ROH Champion “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson in a classic while two homegrown wrestlers are also featured in a match between Switzerland’s Claudio Castagnoli and the lucha libre star out of Montreal, El Generico. The DVD is rounded out with the odd choices of Samoa Joe vs. Kikutaro, a comedy bout that was likely included to get Mick Foley on the release, and C.M. Punk vs. Terry Funk. While Funk can certainly be considered one of the best ever, the match doesn’t fit into the international theme that the DVD seems to be heading in before veering into this match.

Jushin “Thunder” Liger’s two matches from November 2004 are omitted; while disappointing this makes sense since ROH’s focus is on its relationships with NOAH and Dragon Gate. The matches on this disc are great, but it would have been nice for them to really go back in ROH history and perhaps include some lost classics from the likes of Amazing Red and the SAT, Eddie Guerrero, the UK’s Doug Williams and Jonny Storm, or a match featuring The Embassy out of Ghana, West Africa. I may be nitpicking here as really there is nothing wrong with the matches they did choose, and they want to highlight a current product with the national releases, but hopefully future releases will go a bit further into ROH history.

The same can't be said for Greatest Rivalries, which goes back to July 2003 for a dog collar match between C.M. Punk and Raven. It’s a fun match and makes sense to be included -- the feud with Raven helped establish Punk in ROH, Raven is a name the casual fan will recognize and of course Punk has the WWE recognition, which now that he is champion will only help raise ROH’s profile.

The rest of the disc again features bouts from the post-RF video era of 2004 onward, but there is no disputing that the disc does contain some of the promotion's greatest rivalries. My gripe in reviewing the previous releases not including A.J. Styles is remedied with a fun match against Jimmy Rave, with Styles having Mick Foley in his corner. Samoa Joe versus Homicide was the first heavyweight title feud in rebuilding the company in 2004, and deserves to be here. One of the early matches in the awesome ROH versus CZW feud of 2006 is included, and if you enjoy the 8-man brawl I suggest you go out of your way to order the full series that covers the feud. It wouldn’t be an ROH release without Jay and Mark Briscoe, and their match against tag team champions Aries and Roderick Strong is a fantastic example of great tag team wrestling.



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ROH: Greatest Rivalries DVD
The DVD features three matches from the past year, highlighting talent currently on the roster. Austin Aries and Bryan Danielson have wrestled each other several times since 2004, and every single time I am entertained. The two faced off in late 2007 in a best-of-three series and the final match is included on this disc and is a must watch for any wrestling fan. They are two of ROH’s best, and demonstrate that in a well-worked, back and forth classic. Roderick Strong versus Erick Stevens from December’s Final Battle highlights two bulls going at it full force. Finally, in one of ROH’s biggest feuds in its history, the culmination of the year long feud between B.J. Whitmer and Jimmy Jacobs, is included. Their Steel Cage match in Detroit on March 31, 2007 is one of the most violent matches I have ever witnessed, having shot it live from ringside. Seeing the match again on DVD, every cringe-inducing blow and spot is recaptured on film and the match stands up as I remember it, a bloody, violent, brilliant culmination to a heated feud.

It’s time for you to stop living in the dark ages and experience the alternative. With Ring of Honor now having four releases found in retail outlets, you have no excuse. Go and get a copy today.


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  • ROH: Greatest Rivalries DVD
  • ROH: Best in the World DVD
    Jason Clevett is from Calgary, Alberta and is heading to New York City for ROH Death Before Dishonor. He is a little excited about that.