Home > Uncategorized > ROH DVD Review: Scramble Cage Melee (from 8/28/04)

ROH DVD Review: Scramble Cage Melee (from 8/28/04)

DISCLAIMER – This is just a straightforward review of the show rather than a blow-by-blow recap. 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. As always, I’ll try not to spoil anything for those out there that’re REALLY hardcore about that sort of thing.

August 28th, 2004
Braintree, MA

Announcers: Jimmy Bower and Mark Nulty

Alex Shelley vs. Jay Lethal
– Shelley was still the leader of Generation Next, and Lethal had just come off the storyline where he changed his name (he was formerly known as “Hydro” and was part of the Special K faction) and had become an apprentice of sorts to Samoa Joe. Shelley was still in that period where he was trying to fit every unique submission he could think of into a match, and Lethal was still a good year away from having consistently good matches. Still, it was a fairly decent match.
Rating: **1/2

Jimmy Rave vs. Angel Dust
– Angel Dust at the time was a member of the Special K faction, while Rave had just recently been solidified as the “Crown Jewel” of Prince Nana’s Embassy. It was a little odd to see him come out and not get littered with dozens of rolls of toilet paper. Unless I’m mistaken this is only one of maybe two or three matches where I’ve seen Dust, and he actually doesn’t seem all that bad. Of all the high-flyers in Special K, he definitely seemed to be the tightest. Good match – fast-paced and a couple decent spots, but it managed to maintain coherence and structure.
Rating: ***

Ace Steel vs. Roderick Strong
– Each participant was part of a rival faction (Steel in the Second City Saints with Punk & Cabana and Strong in Generation Next) that was feuding at the time. I didn’t even recognize Strong at first. Solid match with nothing too spectacular, and served more to set up the next match than to stand out on its own, which it did quite well. For what it’s worth, Steel looked better here than he has in more recent efforts that I’ve seen while Strong has since improved a lot.
Rating: **1/2

Austin Aries vs. Colt Cabana
– Sort of a continuation from the previous match. Cabana shows (as always) a great kack for using comedy spots early but redeeming himself with solid wrestling in the rest of the bout. The match was very well planned out, told a good story, and Cabana did a blade job that has to be seen to be believed. The post-match stuff was very well done.
Rating: ***1/2

ROH TAG TEAM TITLES MATCH: The Havana Pitbulls (Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero) (c) vs. Izzy & Dixie (w/ Special K)
– The storyline going into this was that Izzy and Dixie got the shots because the #1 Contenders (Maff & Whitmer) were put in the Scramble Cage Melle by Allison Danger as punishment since they had removed themselves from her but she still owned their contracts, and the #2 contenders The Briscoes refused to pay a fine (in actuality Mark Briscoe was involved a really bad motorcycle accident that put him on the shelf for about a year and a half). Pretty dull match. It was effective in the traditional “underdogs putting up a fight” sense, with the underdogs being Izzy and Dixie. That being said, those two are why I tend to be annoyed by most American high-flyers – they’re very flip-floppy and nothing they do looks tight. Also, Bower kept over-selling the underdog factor OVER AND OVER again, which got annoying really quick. Nothing offensive, but nothing really grabbed my attention either.
Rating: **

ROH PURE TITLE MATCH: Doug Williams (c) vs. John Walters
– In terms of Pure Title rules, the match was booked pretty well (with the use of rope breaks). However, the match was slow-paced and there wasn’t much in the way of great wrestling to make up for it. Walters’ submissions were ridiculous at times, and not in a good way. Oh, and the announcers completely telegraphed the match result from the time the bell rang.
Rating: **1/2

NON-TITLE THREE-WAY MATCH: ROH World Champion Samoa Joe vs. Homicide vs. C.M. Punk
– Good match, but fairly by-the-numbers for the three guys involved (which was disappointing). It seemed to sell an ongoing storyline, but that storyline wasn’t really clarified during the DVD If you’re like me and came into this period cold-turkey then you’ll have no idea what’s being referenced, but it was still one of the more entertaining and solid matches on the card.
Rating: ***

SCRAMBLE CAGE MELEE: Featuring – Trent Acid, H.C. Loc (before he blew up like a balloon) vs. Tony DeVito (who is criminally underrated), Dan Maff (the guy who’s now black-balled from pretty much every promotion on the East Coast), B.J. Whitmer, Oman Tortuga, Diablo Santiago, Fast Eddie, Altar Boy Luke, Jack Evans, Dunn & Marcos
– It was every man for himself, the only way to eliminate someone was to jump down on them from platforms set up at each corner of the cage, and the winner got a “higher pay-off than usual.” All three of these aspects are pretty important to know, and none of them were established until the match itself occurred. As expected, it was a total spot-fest. I’ve always subscribed to the line of thinking that there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s used sparingly, however this match was COMPLETELY rushed. There were a few “Jesus Christ, what was that?” moments, but the short length of the match and the fact that very few of the participants actually got to showcase anything really took away from it.
Rating: **

Other Thoughts: “Sugar” Sean Price – not being all that familiar with ROH in 2004, I can’t say exactly who he is, but he appears to be some guy they brought in to be a pitch-man and do backstage interviews. I’ll be generous and say he’s no Gary Michael Cappetta. Screw that, I’ll be mean and say that he’s just plain awful and moer than a little annoying. Jimmy Bower and Mark Nulty are atrocious on commentary, and really take away from the show. Nulty stumbled over his words and his color commentating was laughable at times, and Bower (Gabe Saposlky using a pseudonym) seems to think that you’re supposed to get the needle to go to red as much as possible. To make matters worse, the sound mixing at this point was pretty poor, so much like in TNA the commentary is overwhelming (which really isn’t good when the commentary’s this bad). Seeing DVDs from this era make you realize how far ROH has come in terms of production quality and in particular video quality. The platforms on each corner of the cage used for the main event reminded me of those goofy launch platforms used in Eric Bischoff’s and Jason Harvey’s short-lived “Matrats” promotion, which used underage talent and emphasized a high-flying style. And it never took off – imagine that!

Overall: There was nothing atrocious on this DVD, but since I just got into Ring of Honor in 2005 I’ve been pretty spoiled. There’s an assumption made that whomever is watching the DVD saw the last Scramble Cage Melee match and knows what it’s about, which really hurt the anticipation for the event. Then again, they note during the match itself that the rules are different from the last Scramble Cage Melee, so maybe having seen the last one wouldn’t be all THAT helpful. As a whole it came across as one of those shows that was probably quite good in context of other shows from that time period, however it doesn’t really stand out much on its own.
Rating: 6.0/10

More later…

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