THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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It’s time to step into Ring of Honor territory again, and this time we’re going back to this past March 14th, the day after Ric Flair made his ROH debut, to Insanity Unleashed, featuring Nigel McGuinness and Austin Aries against Jerry Lynn and Tyler Black in the main event. Once again the commentary is handled by Dave Prazak and Larry Zbyszko.
The show begins with Nate Webb taking on Flash Flanagan. It’s the usual ROH style opener, a short, high intensity, fast paced match, pitting the power wrestler against the flyer. Flanagan looked impressive here, not only showing great power but some great agility as well, while Webb was his usual self, although he seems to have put on a bit of poundage since I last saw him. Webb got the win here, taking Flanagan down with the Arachnid Kick. Not bad, but it probably won’t be the best match here.
On to three way action, with Claudio Castagnoli, Bryan Danielson and Kenny Omega. The rules for this one were slightly different to what we normally regard as a three way, with only two men in the ring, and one on the apron, with the one on the apron only being allowed into the match once he’s made a tag. The last three way match I saw with these rules was in WCW back in 1995, and it bored the hell out of me. Thankfully this one was a lot better, with three good performances, and for once Danielson’s wasn’t the best. He was good, but for me Castagnoli was just a little better. I really enjoyed the way he continued to play the heel even when the fans were cheering him. As for Omega, well, he was good as well, especially with his high flying moves. In fact, Omega and Danielson worked well as a unit, and I wouldn’t mind seeing those two team up together. Their tandem didn’t last long though as they began to argue about who should be attacking the Swiss guy. The end came when Castagnoli locked in a variation of a rear naked choke on Omega for the submission victory. Things didn’t end there though as Bison Smith, who had competed against Danielson the night before, came running down to ringside to continue his attack on the Dragon, with the two eventually being pulled apart by several referees and officials.
The next match had quality written all over it – Chris Hero versus Jay Briscoe. Hero had his Sweet & Sour buddies Larry Sweeney and Shane Hagadorn along for company. This one had wild brawling mixed in with solid wrestling action, and it made for a great contest, part of the ongoing storyline with Briscoe seeking revenge for Sweet & Sour’s attack on his brother Mark. Hero put in a great heel performance, ably assisted by Sweeney’s occasional interference, with Briscoe the perfect foil. Both men almost got the win numerous times, before Hero got the pin after taking Briscoe down with the rolling elbow.
The only title match of the evening followed, with Kenny King and Rhett Titus challenging Kevin Steen and El Generico for the ROH World Tag Team Championship. This one took a little while to get going, but when it did, it was great. These two teams had impressed me greatly during my other ROH reviews, and they didn’t disappoint in this match. Steen and Generico once again proved why they’ve been great tag team champions, while King and Titus continue to fulfil the promise they’ve show for ages now. The ending saw some tremendous team work. After Generico connected with a yakuza kick on Titus, Steen connected with his package pile driver, before Generico put on the finishing touches with a brain buster, getting the pin immediately afterwards. Their celebration was short lived though as the American Wolves came out and attacked Steen’s previously injured knee, before being chased away by Jay Briscoe.
The Bison Smith tour of destruction then continued, this time against Silas Young. Well, Young got in some good offence, but it didn’t last long, and Smith basically continued his reign of terror, taking Young down with a claw hold slam, before finishing him off with a power bomb. Awesome display from Smith, and a good way of keeping his momentum going.
Then it was back to tag team action, with the American Wolves, Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards, facing Roderick Strong & Brent Albright. Once again, the American Wolves show that they’re an awesome team. Richards and Edwards work so well together it’s scary, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won a few awards this year. Strong and Albright also put up a hell of a fight, making for one great contest. It also had a great finish. While the referee was otherwise distracted, manager Larry Sweeney handed a pair of brass knuckles to Edwards. He didn’t get to use them though, as El Generico came racing down to the ring, taking Edwards out with a yakuza kick. with Strong finishing the job with a sit down power bomb. Could this be considered an upset? Probably not, but it was certainly unexpected.
The big grudge match followed, with Jimmy Jacobs taking on Delirious in a no disqualification match. These two had had a massive falling out on the previous show, with the masked man finally pulling away from his controlling mentor, thanks to a little help from Daizee Haze. It’s a wild and crazy brawl that takes in the entire arena and sees both men using their fair amount of steel chairs and bleeding for their art as well. But if I’m to be completely honest, this is probably the weakest match on the card. It was meant to be a grudge match, but even though their split has been built up for quite a while, I didn’t really get “that” feeling about this one, and maybe that’s because this match was held just a day after they’d split, when the rivalry should really have been built up a lot more. The ending, though, was highly inventive, with Jacobs putting Delirious through a table with a guillotine choke off the top rope and through a table. With the masked man unconscious, the referee called for the bell, with Jacobs getting the submission win.
Main event time, a tag team attraction, pitting Tyler Black and Jerry Lynn against ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness and Austin Aries. A good old fashioned tag team match to end the show with, a very entertaining battle which saw all four men putting in good performances, with Lynn and McGuinness the MVPs of their respective teams, and Aries and Black not far behind. We had great wrestling in the ring mixed with wild action outside of it, with both teams almost getting the win on several occasions, before Lynn pinned McGuinness after taking him out with his trusty old cradle pile driver. And before you ask, yes, Austin Aries was still wearing those bloody awful trunks.
As usual, only one extra, the ROH Newswire.
In conclusion – this is another strong DVD release from Ring of Honor. There’s eight good matches here, and thankfully no Necro Butcher, although he’ll be on the next DVD that I’ll be reviewing in the next week or so. Match of the night would definitely have to go to the tag team war featuring the American Wolves against Albright and Strong. It’s a great example of 21st century tag team wrestling at it’s best, and something we just don’t get to see that often these days.
With thanks to the powers that be at Ring of Honor for supplying a copy of this release.