Home > Uncategorized > ROH DVD Review: Death Before Dishonor IV (from 7/15/06)

ROH DVD Review: Death Before Dishonor IV (from 7/15/06)

Yeah, I said I was going to write this like three days ago. But whatever, it’s finally written and here it is.

July 15th, 2006
Philadelphia, PA

This isn’t a recap, but rather a straightforward review of the show. All match ratings are on a scale of one to five stars (* to *****), and as always are just as arbitrary as any other ratings system you’ll come across. Equally as arbitrary is the scale of 1-10 that I use for the final rating of the DVD. I’ll try not to spoil anything for those out there that’re REALLY hardcore about that sort of thing.

Delirious vs. Seth Delay
– Delay is an FIP regular. He’s very spotty, but seems to hit everything right at least. A fairly uneventful match, however as an opener it served its purpose.
Winner: Delirious
Rating: **

Colt Cabana & Jay Lethal vs. Jimmy Rave & Sal Rinauro
– Fun little tag team match. The story (and point) behind the match is that Sal Rinauro is the newest member of the Embassy and Jimmy Rave’s new foot-stool. For what it’s worth, Rinauro channels early Stevie Richards and plays the bullied heel goof role really well.
Rating: **1/2

Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Irish Airborne
– This is probably the best tag match the Briscoes have had since coming back to Ring of Honor, and easily Irish Airborne’s best. Their styles suit each other very well, especially now that the Briscoes have toned down on the high-flying stuff since their return. That being said, the modifications they’ve made to their ring style makes them very much WWE-ready. Only problem is, they’ll only wrestle as a tag team (to the point where Jay wouldn’t take bookings while Mark spent over a year recovering from a bad motorcycle accident), and that wouldn’t fly in a WWE world where tag teams are kept together for six weeks (months at most) before broken up into singles. It’s also pretty clear from this match that it wasn’t their fault the matches with Aries & Strong were so disappointing, which further reinforces my personal belief that Austin Aries is the most overrated guy to ever compete in ROH.
Rating: ***1/2

Davey Richards vs. AJ Styles
– I was mistified when I finally watched Davey Richards’ ROH debut against Jimmy Rave on the “Destiny” DVD. After the live event in June, there were numerous postings of live reports hailing Richards as the next big ROH star and saying how fantastic he was in that match. After watching that DVD, I saw something very different. I saw a guy apeing Japanese kicks and executing some decent stuff, then finish off the match with a move so potentially dangerous it practically screamed “I will injure someone when you least expect it.” Additionally, his in-ring psychology SUCKED in that match, and he wrestled like a total mark. Seriously, who still does the “try a move three times” thing? That being said, he has a good look to him which makes him marketable, and for a young guy he’s pretty good. His second match with Rave at “In Your Face” was better, and this match was probably his best in ROH thus far, but I still don’t see what all the hoopla is about. Granted, I’ve only seen one other match of his (a complete snooze-fest with Rocky Romero in PWG), but none of his efforts thus far in ROH that have been released on DVD have come close to warranting all the hype he’s getting from the smark community. Still, fun little match.
Rating: **1/2

ROH PURE TITLE MATCH: Nigel McGuinness (c) vs. Roderick Strong
– Absolutely tremendous match until the finish, which deducted it one half of a star in my arbitrary ratings system. The finish made sense in the way Nigel’s been booked, but it was still a total crap ending that turned off the crowd, which up until that point was absolutely hot for the match…which is great considering that everyone was there solely to see Cage of Death.
Rating: ****

ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Bryan Danielson (c) vs. Sonjay Dutt
– Dutt played the heel here, representing CZW and playing to the fan contingent that was present at the show and had its own section. He actually plays the role very well and has good heel presence, which makes me think he’d be a lot better off as a heel in TNA. He pulled off some impressive-looking moves, but as is par for the course with Dutt they came out of nowhere and didn’t seem to have any relevance to the match that was taking place. Danielson played to the CZW crowd a bit too much, and the crowd heat certainly didn’t save this match for me.
Rating: **

CAGE OF DEATH: Team ROH (Samoa Joe/BJ Whitmer/Adam Pearce/Ace Steel/Mystery Partner) vs. Team CZW (Chris Hero/Necro Butcher/Claudio Castagnoli/Nate Webb/Mystery Partner)
– Incredible booking, fantastic atmosphere, and spots/psychology that played to the strengths of those involved. It helps that I’ve seen this angle played out more or less in its entirety over the preceeding seven months of shows, but the flashbacks they show after every match on this DVD help fill in the blanks for people who are just jumping in. I won’t spoil anything else about the match in terms of mystery partners, but I’ll just say that if you’re like me and not all that familiar with CZW, you’re not going to give a shit when they unveil their fifth mystery combatant. After seeing this match, I wondered why the Hell WWE never used the “War Games” match format after they bought out WCW.
Rating: ****1/2

Other Thoughts: The booking of feuds in wrestling is a lost art. Feuds in this day and age usually begin randomly and then drag out for months at a time without any thought given into why the feud would become so heated and personal (beyond “I want this title” or “you attack me then I attack you then you attack me then I attack you and so on and so forth”). Case in point – most memorable feuds in WWE for 2006? Michaels (then dX) vs. the McMahons and Cena vs. Edge, both of which are more memorable for the “Jesus Christ this is STILL going on?” factor than anything else. With the way those feuds play out in mainstream wrestling, it’s refreshing to see a feud that’s built so well and ends in a satisfying manner. There are some criticisms I’ve levied against it before, such as making guys like Pearce and Whitmer the focal point of the feud for so long, but in comparison to other promotions there’s nothing that even approached this in 2006. Ring of Honor, with both this and the Cabana/Homicide feud, show a real knack for showing restraint and building rivalries using traditional booking methods that don’t bore the audience to tears. It also helps that the wrestling on this DVD is far better than anything you’ll see on WWE television, if only because you’re going to see guys play to their own strengths and not limit themselves to any style other than to keep traditional things (such as ring psychology) in mind. Not to sound like a broken record, but I can’t do enough to recommend this show and Ring of Honor as a whole. I won’t lie like others and say that the promotion is perfect, or that every single match and/or wrestler in the promotion is absolutely fantastic, but it’s much more entertaining to die-hard wrestling fans than any other promotion out there.

Overall: Really solid show that had an incredible flow to it and great atmosphere for its entirety. Whereas normally ROH fans are irritating little gits (and CZW fans are a little worse at times), it wasn’t quite as frustrating since the atmosphere and nature of the show actually called for overenthusiastic crowd participation.
Rating: 9.5/10

More later…

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