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WWE Vengeance (2005)
An Above Average WWE PPV. Angle vs Michaels II Was The Highlight.
Vengeance 2005 was above average for today's WWE pay-per-views. On paper, it looked as though only 6 matches would detract from the show but at a closer look, three of those matches could main event any show the WWE puts out and two of the others were strong matches in themselves. Most of the matches were given more time to build a better story and allowed the fans to soak it all in.
MATCH REVIEWS - Once again I'll try to keep it short and spoiler free.
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP Carlito (Champion) vs Shelton Benjamin This was a good, solid match that was almost as good as their match on RAW previously. Although this was good, it seems that these two wrestlers could have a match that is much better and that they just don't click together in the ring. Hopefully, they can get used to working with each other and give us the match I know they want to have.
Victoria vs Christy Hemme This was the gratuitous and time-filling ladies match. Victoria did an excellent job of carrying Christy to easily her best match (shouldn't have been too hard to top her previous ones). I think Christy must have been working pretty hard as I can see vast improvement since her WrestleMania match. Is it just me or does anyone else think that Christy is even hotter when she looks angry?
Kane vs Edge with Lita Again, I think a solid match but could have been better. Lita is debuting her new "Slut of the Century" gimmick and I must say, she looked the part (and I'm not complaining). This match was littered with "We Want Matt", "You Screwed Matt" and "She's A Crack Whore" chants, which seemed to upset Lita (especially the crack whore one). Throw in some needless Gene Snitsky interference and you have your match. They could have done better here.
Shawn Michaels vs Kurt Angle This was, like WrestleMania, the match of the night and where the entire show began to pick up. Angle vs Michaels II was another match where it seemed nothing could go wrong. I have read reports saying this match was on par with their WrestleMania match but I believe it was not quite at that level, although still a great match and definite Match of the Year candidate. Michaels seemed to be injured at the end but still put on a great match. If you have not seen Vengeance 2005, then this match alone is worth it.
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP John Cena (Champion) vs Christian vs Chris Jericho This was one of Cena's better matches, possibly his best. How can he go wrong with Christian and Jericho in there with him? I think Cena has gotten a bad reputation as a worker and I believe he is better than being given credit for. It seems that certain wrestlers expose his weaknesses while others can cover them up, which is the mark of a great wrestler. Jericho and Christian both fall into this category. This was a great Triple Threat match. Hopefully, Christian gets his due. He is deserving of a nice push.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP HELL IN THE CELL MATCH Batista (Champion) vs Triple H Batista is obviously learning a lot from wrestling guys like Triple H and Kurt Angle, among others. He has been put on the fast track and is forced to learn quickly. He's not the greatest worker but he fits the part of a world champion in a big way. Triple H wanted to prove he could do a hardcore match in the WWE style and make it good. This was a good, bloody match. Along the way, we saw some barbed wire chairs, sledgehammers and the ring stairs being used. When all was said and done, I thought the finish of this match elevated the whole thing. That was one of the greatest match finishes I have seen. It even had me fooled.
Overall, the 3 big matches made the event worth watching. Both Cena and Batista are put in a position to make or break themselves. Obviously, the odds are with Batista more than Cena, being backed by Triple H and all, but I think there is room there for both of them. I think Cena needs to work on new ways to finish his match. The FU is becoming like Hulk Hogan's leg drop. That was the only way Hogan knew how to finish a match. Given that there were not much in time restraints, the matches were better which made the event better, above average even. 8.5/10
UFC 47: It's On! (2004)
Ortiz vs Lidell Failed To Live Up To The Hype.
UFC 47 featured 8 matches that were, for the most part, pretty entertaining. As I mentioned in the header, Tito Ortiz vs Chuck Lidell was very heavily hyped as Lidell accused Ortiz of ducking him when Ortiz said he would not risk his friendship fighting Lidell. They both talked a good game with Tito claiming he would break Chuck's jaw and such but the match itself failed to live up to the heavy hype.
The best match of the night was easily Yves Edwards vs Hermes Franca. It was very exciting. Yves seemed to be a little more versed in MMA but Hermes has a never-say-die attitude and is no slouch either. This fight had a little of everything- lots of striking and mat-work featuring a ton of technique on both fighter's parts. Both fighters showed respect towards each other.
Another good fight that deserves mentioning is Robbie Lawler vs Nick Diaz. Diaz trains under Cesar Gracie and tries to play Lawler's game and slugged it out with him. He connected with a shot that could have ended the fight but only fired Lawler up.
On the other side of the spectrum, Wade Shipp vs Jonathan Wiezorek was a disappointment. Both men seemed out of shape. Shipp started off strong but got tired very quickly. This fight started off as a good brawl but turned into a boring stalemate after awhile. Wiezorek was barely able to block Shipp and seemed a bit amateurish in my opinion.
Overall, a pretty good card. Only a couple of matches that could have been replaced. The other being Chris Lytle vs Tiki. Mike Brown vs Genki Sudo was a good technical match up which saw some good take-downs and submissions. Mike Brown proved to be a tough competitor who refused to play with Sudo's clownish antics. Also, Cabbage Correira vs Andrei Arlovski was a good fight. Arlovski clearly seemed to be the better fighter but Cabbage can take a hit. He reminds me of a smart Tank Abbott. Good fight. This was a good card for UFC and recommend it to UFC fans.
WrestleMania 21 (2005)
Angle vs Michaels Saved The Show.
WrestleMania, live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California was a pretty good show but did not live up to it's tremendous hype. Some matches were pretty bad while others were surprisingly good along with one Match Of The Year candidate. Usually, WrestleMania not only features matches that are built up and you want to see, but also surprise appearances and celebrity guests. This one featured very little extras or surprises, although Hulk Hogan was involved in a nice little spot on the show with Muhammad Hassan and Daivari.
Match Reviews. I'll keep them pretty short so I can fit them all on here.
TAG CHAMPION VS TAG CHAMPION Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero This match, although very good, was highly disappointing. They seemed a little nervous, which is surprising because of the fact that Eddie was in the co-main event last year and came through with flying colors. Some good spots and some great moves from Rey looked good, but did not compare to their Halloween Havoc '97 match. Rey Mysterio wins by pin.
MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH Edge vs Shelton Benjamin vs Kane vs Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho vs Christian This was a pretty good match. Insane moves were sprinkled through the match but due to the over abundance of wrestlers involved in this match, this led to a lot of over selling, especially by the monster, Kane. Overall, an entertaining match. Edge wins by grabbing the briefcase.
LEGEND VS LEGEND KILLER Undertaker vs Randy Orton This match was much better than expected. Surprising, Undertaker can still put on a decent match. After some interference from Bob Orton Jr., who was recently inducted into the Hall Of Fame, Undertaker came back to keep his Wrestlemania streak intact at 13-0.
WWE WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP Trish Stratus (C) vs Christy Hemme Pretty bad, even for the girls. Mostly due to Christy's inexperience I'm sure but I still enjoyed it. Stratus wins by pin.
INTERPROMOTIONAL MATCH Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels This was the match that saved the show. It went about 25 minutes and it told a great story. All of their finishing moves were used and ended up stealing the show. The only thing that compares was the Piper's Pit with Steve Austin. Austin wins by submission.
SUMO MATCH Akebono vs The Big Show Another horrible match which was all gimmick and hardly any entertainment. Basically, the same sumo matches Yokozuna used to do. Akebono wins to keep Big Show's WrestleMania streak intact at 0-6.
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP John Cena vs JBL (C) Pretty basic match. The crowd was not really into this one. I think everyone knew who was winning and were just waiting for Cena to pin JBL. Big pop for Cena afterward. It was pretty cool seeing Cena win his first World Title.
WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP Batista vs Triple H (C) This was kept pretty short for the main event. Triple H carried Batista pretty well. Not much special here except for seeing Batista win his first World Title. Big pop for Batista afterward as well as he soaked up the cheers afterward.
A show with this kind of hype pumped into it has little chance of living up to it. It was decent, but as I mentioned before, the only thing that I considered "WrestleMania worthy" was Angle vs Michaels and Piper's Pit. I give the show 7/10.
CZW: Scarred (2004)
Garbage Wrestling At It's Worst! No Talent, No Problem!
After viewing this 90 min. DVD, I feel I could have got roughly the same experience from a backyard show/tape or even an old XPW DVD. All 3 are pretty much one and the same. CZW is clearly a one (maybe 2) trick pony with the glass tubes and the weed whacker but nobody on the show knows how to bump, that's for sure.
At least they do not show us that they know some sort of semblance of pro wrestling. Not one of the wrestlers even looks like a wrestler. Every one of them is pretty much in whatever they showed up to the arena in.
Let me bottom line it for you. This has to be the worst wrestling I have ever seen. I can say this because I have never seen an XPW product but I can only imagine it is very similar. Also, the editing looks like it was done with two VCRs. Obviously, Zandig was a producer as he and Wifebeater were featured in nearly every clip, match and segment. Each match was practically the same and the very few high spots featured looked like kids trying it out for the first time. This is a horrible DVD for wrestling fans but if you are into backyard wrestling or car wrecks, then this is for you. If you want some good hardcore wrestling, watch something from ECW (specifically Sabu, Rob Van Dam or just about anybody). I can recommend seeing this to those of you who want to see just how bad wrestling can be.
The Smashing Machine (2002)
I Wouldn't Want To Be On The Wrong End Of Those Mark Kerr Strikes!
This was an excellent documentary on a typical fighter and the trials and tribulations one must endure to not only compete, but to gain a certain level of success as well. In this case, Mark Kerr was the subject and we are showed quite a few of his ups and downs in his career, both personal and professional.
The Smashing Machine also brought the average joe into what is going on behind the scenes, the press conferences, the relationships with the other fighters, etc. We are shown that Mark Kerr and Mark Coleman are good friends, who train together and are also willing to step into the ring, octagon or whatever and fight it out with each other as well. At times, this actually seemed to drift away from Kerr and more onto Coleman, who started to become more interesting than Kerr later on in the movie.
We are also given a look at some intense training with Kerr and Bas Rutten. This was probably the best part of the documentary, as I was most entertained by the scenes with Kerr and Rutten.
Although I enjoyed The Smashing Machine immensely, I would have chosen someone other than Kerr to feature. Personally, I would like to see how someone like Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Ken Shamrock or any of the other bigger names in Mixed Martial Arts go about their daily business and training. I'm sure it would be just as enthralling, if not more. 8/10
WWE New Year's Revolution (2005)
This Was Definitely A One Match Show.. And Eugene-Mania Is Alive And Well, Hopefully.
Usually, I review the DVD, but I thought I'd put up a review with my immediate thoughts on this show. I knew that Puerto Rico would be a great place to hold a Pay-Per-View due to the fact that the crowds there usually pop for anything and, to be honest, this event proves it. The wrestlers worked the crowd a lot more than usual and the fans sounded a lot louder than usual at times.
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH Eugene & William Regal (C) vs Christian & Tyson Tomko - Eugene made his entrance, in a mocking but lovable way, the same way that Hulk Hogan made his entrance back in 1984 when he beat the Iron Shiek for the WWF World Championship. They went as far as having a shirt made up for Eugene based on the old Hulkamania shirt, but instead said Eugene across. It even had the rips in the back and Eugene also wore the red and yellow headband. Personally, I loved it and this is a testament to what I was saying about the Puerto Rico crowd. They loved it, too. The match, itself, was not a great spectacle, but it was highly entertaining. Regal got opened up the hard way. With Eugene imitating "his favorite WWE Superstars growing up", he practically did a whole Hulk Hogan match. Hell, he could have headlined WrestleMania 6, or 19... or any of them that featured Hulk Hogan! Anyhow, I can only suspect that the supposed finish here was to have Eugene end it with the Leg Drop after the Big Boot to the face, but Eugene injured himself after a dropkick and they ended the match quickly thereafter.
WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH Trish Stratus vs Lita (C) - A pretty short match that probably was not scheduled to go long anyways. This one was also cut short by a knee injury, and again, it didn't look all that bad on TV but the way that Lita was acting, one could tell it was not a work. She injured her knee doing a Thesz Press to the floor and if I remember right, she did another dive or two before the injury took place. Not a bad match, but the WWE needs some more women wrestlers before this division becomes more of a joke than it currently is.
Muhammad Hassan with Khosrow Daivari vs Jerry "The King" Lawler with Jim Ross - Muhammad Hassan and Khosrow Daivari made their PPV debut here against Jerry Lawler. As you could imagine, this match was left without commentary. Daivari interfered at one point, then Jim Ross stood in his way to keep him from interfering again later in the match.
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH Shelton Benjamin (C) vs Maven - This was the biggest mismatch on the show, in my opinion. Maven should have been counted out long before he bothered to re-enter the ring as he went outside, stood on a chair and worked the crowd for nearly 10 minutes before returning to the ring and ending the match.
Kane vs Gene Snitsky - OK, so let me get this one straight. Gene Snitsky causes you to lose your unborn baby, puts you on the shelf for months, torments your wife while you are away and the monster Kane comes in and wrestles a match?? Kane and Snitsky worked a regular match for awhile which later turned into a semi-brawl. Not once was a weapon even used! This match exposed Snitsky as the horrible worker he is. I would have to say that I enjoyed the ladies match more than this one, and it's a sad day when the women make it into the top 3. Luckily, the WWE has all their eggs placed in one basket, here, and we are about to see it.
ELIMINATION CHAMBER MATCH FOR THE VACANT WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP Triple H vs Randy Orton vs Batista vs Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit vs Edge with Shawn Michaels as Special Referee - I think this match was used for two purposes. First, to do everything in their power to make Randy Orton into the super babyface they need him to be for WrestleMania. Second, to focus on the slow dissension of Evolution, mainly Triple H and Batista. They did an excellent job of slowly progressing that angle and making Randy Orton the feared babyface on the chase. Batista got put over strong because of his power. He pretty much destroyed Benoit and Jericho by himself and even threw Jericho onto a nearby camera man! Benoit executed a nice head butt from the top of the chamber at one point and another had Triple H in the Crippler Crossface at the same time he was in The Walls Of Jericho. Batista is then released from his chamber and helps Triple H out. Anyways, Triple H refuses to return the favor to Batista when he has the chance to help him out of a jam, unbeknown to Batista (I'm sure that he'll see it on RAW the next night) and lets him get eliminated after Orton's RKO. The show ends with Triple H on Batista's shoulders.
Overall, it was still a fun show, despite all my criticisms. The main event clearly saved the show from being something as bad as NWO Souled Out or something of that nature and it was cool to see how Puerto Rican fans responded to the WWE. Plus, there was quite a bit of footage of Christy Hemme running around the poolside with other divas, rubbing oil on each other, chicken fights, etc. That alone is worth seeing New Years Revolution.
Uncle Sam (1996)
Just What We Needed... A Patriotic Horror Movie!!
OK, right off the bat we all know this will be a terrible B-Movie Horror flick, so that does not even really need to be said. Most of us who watched Uncle Sam normally like "terrible B-Movie Horror flicks", despite the fact that they are terrible. We know that going in, so the only real way to review this type of movie is against others of the same type, like The Dentist, Maniac Cop or Jack Frost- all horror movies with a little theme going for it. I, personally, liked the patriotic theme this movie cast and would not mind seeing a sequel, possible set in Afghanistan or a fictional Middle Eastern country for the politically correct(knowing, of course, it will probably be even worse than the first).
I also enjoyed the fact that, in the movie, every "draft-dodger", un-patriotic or anti-American was going down, usually with a sarcastic catch phrase, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Running Man or everything he's ever done. If you are one of the above mentioned, you probably won't enjoy this one.
I didn't like the fact that the movie never explains why or how he becomes this supernatural force. It does not need to be believable but, come on, give us a reason! No one really believes in radioactive spiders, but millions of dollars have been made off of that premise.
The story is basically your typical horror movie. A soldier is killed by friendly fire and sent home in a casket. Somehow, he has come back to life in his grisly form and begins his killing spree based on their political views. This continues until someone finally figures out how to kill him. Plotwise, there is nothing new brought to the table other than the gimmick.
One of the factors determining whether or not you will like this movie will also, more likely than not, be based on your political affiliations. If you hate Bush, you will probably hate this movie, and this review for that matter, but in the words of Jesse Ventura, "I'm telling it like it is". 5/10
Jeepers Creepers II (2003)
They Took A Decent And Halfway Original Horror Movie And Ruined It With This Sequel.
I enjoyed the first movie so much, that I couldn't wait to rent the sequel. This one has to be some of the biggest trash ever produced to simply make a quick buck off of something that was good when left alone. Boy was I disappointed.
You can tell the script for this was probably written in days as there is no real story here. You would think they would at least answer some questions about the mysteriousness of the creature. I read somewhere on this site's trivia page that the purpose of the feeding every 23rd Spring for 23 days was done simply so there wouldn't be a sequel. If that's true, then they had it right the first time and shouldn't have changed it, and by leaving it open for a 3rd installment was even worse.
The creature is the only thing in the movie that's worth seeing, but I would have liked some back story on it somewhere over the last 2 movies. You know what happened to Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers so why not this one? It's probably better I don't know than have the writers make up some half-wit idea. Not even worth a rental but most who liked the first will want to see it anyways.
Jesse Ventura no doubt drew some fans... and how many times can you say "ass" on one show?
As I'm writing this review, 5 years have passed so it's more or less reviewing how the show holds up in this day and age. The event did seem to have that special ambiance that Pay-Per-Views are supposed to have, even though I don't think this was one of the WWF's better efforts over the years. It was mainly hyped around Jesse Ventura, which was smart and a great move, considering SummerSlam was taking place at the Target Center in Minnesota. I'm sure he drew quite a few fans to the event and most likely as well on PPV. The DVD also features some cool little features on Jesse from his days of wrestling and some current stuff as well. Jesse also does a little shoot on the media, saying he was taking a lot of flack from them and he was standing up and saying he was proud to be a wrestler and always will be.
I think this show had way too many gimmick matches. Most of them turned into a hardcore match at some point. I thought it worked against the show as a whole.
If you are watching the show after not seeing the show for years, there is a nice feature on the DVD called "What's The Story". It updates you on the previous happenings and how the matches came together. It was nice for me because I forgot most of why these things were happening and it brought some understanding to what was happening (such as why someone would ever decide to sign on for a "Kiss My Ass" Match, etc).
Another special feature on the DVD which was cool was the alternate commentaries. You could watch the main event and listen to the commentary from either one of the three participants.
INTERCONTINENTAL AND European TITLE MATCH Jeff Jarrett with Debra vs D-Lo Brown (C) - D-Lo was a good worker, but looking back, I honestly don't see what the WWF saw in him to make him a double champion. Jarrett came to the ring with Debra, but ended up with D-Lo at the start of the match. I must say the she looked quite good, wearing only a bikini and some kind of ring jacket instead of her usual business suit and short skirt. The match revolved heavily around Debra and her "puppies".
Both the crowd and the commentators (Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross) confirmed this. I can see why they resorted to using Debra, as I wasn't really interested in the match either. It was a good match, but D-Lo just lacks something. Mark Henry got involved at the finish. The highlight of the match was Mark Henry's guitar smash... and Debra's "puppies".
TAG TEAM TURMOIL MATCH (winners become the #1 Contenders) The Acolytes (Pre-APA) vs Edge & Christian vs The Hardy Boyz vs Mideon & Viscera vs Droz & Prince Albert vs Hardcore Holly & Crash Holly - This was sort of a gauntlet match I guess, starting out with two teams and the winner of the first match continue on until all 6 teams have competed. This was obviously just an attempt to fit as many people on the PPV as possible. This would have been MUCH better if all the time was given to The Hardys and Edge & Christian (who started the match). That was much too short and neither team had the opportunity to build a great match under these circumstances. The Acolytes would have been used better against the Hollys as well instead of this gimmick match. The other two teams had no business being there. I was very disappointed with this one, as it had so much potential and the whole thing was wasted with very few highlights.
HARDCORE TITLE MATCH Al Snow vs The Big Bossman (C) - This was a typical WWF style hardcore match. It seems like they just try to find the most outrageous things to hit each other with and that's "hardcore". Oh well, it was OK for what it was. The "Roving" Road Dogg did commentary with the wireless mic and followed the match around. As you can probably guess, he does get involved. The match eventually made it's way across the street and into a local bar across the street from the Target Center. Al Snow actually got a wrestling move in when he moonsaulted Bossman from the bar (Why didn't the bouncer get involved)? The match made it's way into the billiard room and Road Dogg could not resist commenting on Al Snow's handling of his balls? There were a few match highlights but how can you top Snow making Bossman eat a urinal cake?
WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH Ivory (C) vs Tori - The crowd was dead for this one. Nothing to cheer about, really. Ivory was OK back in 1999, but it doesn't hold up here in 2004. I do have to admit that Ivory was hot though.
I guess that was her real purpose for being there. Neither girl did anything decent or even believable. Another DUD for the women. Ivory tried to take off Tori's top and pants but was stopped by Luna Vachon. Why? That was the best part of this match.
LION'S DEN WEAPONS MATCH Ken Shamrock vs Steve Blackman - This was WWF's attempt at exploiting Shamrock's UFC past success with their version of a caged octagon thing (it had around 10 or 12 sides I think, so technically wasn't an octagon). No pinfalls or submissions allowed here and weapons dangling from various parts of the cage. This is really a shame, considering Shamrock could have been a good worker. He's had a handful of good matches with Shawn Michaels and others, but he never really seemed to learn much from it, and we're subjected to stuff like this. Blackman surprised me with how long he stayed around the WWF. I can't remember one good match he's had or any point in time where he was over with the crowd. This may have been better had it been booked as a legitimate shoot, but who really knows. It would have definitely been shorter, and that would have been good. The rules were never explained as far as how to win the match, so eventually the bell just rang and the winner was announced. No real highlights here either, other than a few stiff weapon shots.
"LOVE HER OR LEAVE HER" GREENWICH STREET FIGHT Test vs Shane McMahon - Shane was accompanied by the Mean Street Posse, another gimmick that never should have been. This match revolved around Test's relationship with Shane's sister, Stephanie McMahon. If Test wins, Shane agrees to step aside. If Test loses, he must never see Stephanie again. The Greenwich Street Fight is basically another hardcore match. We're up to 3 of those already for tonight. This was when ECW was popular, so it's no wonder they were going in this direction. The storyline for this match was great, as it was one of the most over stories WWF has been able to pull off. The match itself wasn't very good, but the ending was cool. Highlights of this match include the dreaded cookie sheet (just kidding), Test accidentally kicked the ref with a pretty stiff shot and Shane delivered a nice elbow smash from the top rope through the Spanish announcing table.
WWF TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH Undertaker & The Big Show vs X-Pac & Kane (C) - Up to this point, this was probably the best match on the show, which is surprising. Surprising because all 4 participants kept the match fast paced with no rest holds. This is where the show needed to pick up, and it did just that. They were given the time to build a good match, which is what the Tag Team Turmoil match and the opening match lacked.
"KISS MY ASS" MATCH The Rock vs "Bad Ass" Billy Gunn - Exactly as it sounds, the loser has to kiss the rear end of the winner. Gunn was billed as "Mr. Ass". Billy Gunn came out with a big surprise. He says that when he wins the match, The Rock won't be kissing his ass, but he will be kissing the ass of the woman under the blanket, which he unveils to be a very large woman. The match was OK, but the referee was lenient on the rules again so it may as well have been another hardcore match. This match featured many fat jokes and ass jokes by Lawler. Who could expect anything less from him? The Rock managed to keep his dignity despite everything going on in this match. Highlights include excessive use of the word "ass" and the fat lady baring her bum with the torn pantyhose and all.
TRIPLE THREAT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH - JESSE VENTURA AS SPECIAL REFEREE Mankind vs Triple H vs "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (C) - It seems the only stipulation here is that the pinfall has to take place in the ring, so basically some more hardcore to semi-hardcore stuff. Triple H worked Austin's knee for the whole match, which meant Austin sold the knee for the whole match. Mostly just a lot of punches and kicks by Austin and Triple H. Mankind supplied most of the excitement in this match. Mankind missed a cannonball from the apron to the floor. He took other bumps on the floor as well. Jesse Ventura let Triple H use a chair without a disqualification but refused to make a pinfall count. Shane McMahon appeared from nowhere and ordered Ventura to make the count. Austin then gave him a Stone Cold Stunner and Jesse throws him from the ring. Some nice false finish spots but the finish, itself, was kind of anti-climatic. Mankind took a few rough bumps, but nothing super spectacular to which we've become accustomed to from him. After the match, Triple H beat Austin's knee down some more with the chair. Pretty good main event.
Overall, not a bad show. I'd recommend giving it a look if you haven't seen it yet.
ROH: All Star Extravaganza (2002)
This Is A Good Look At Why Ring Of Honor Made Such A Good Name For Themselves From The Beginning.
This was a great early effort by ROH. This DVD featured some refreshing new ideas for matches and some of the best working wrestlers all on the same show. The commentary was refreshing and enlightening from the beginning, unlike the WWE way where all you hear about is hype for their next PPV. Jeff Gorman (I think that's his name) knew what he was talking about and knew the names of most of the hold and maneuvers we saw. I liked him despite his funny, 'Revenge Of The Nerds' voice. They did start hyping their websites and other shows towards the end, but it still wasn't as bad as WWE. At least they talked about the match at hand instead of whatever the hell Triple H was doing two weeks from now. Chris Lovey has improved on his craft as well if you hear his commentary now and compare it to this DVD, which was made a couple years ago. There is a noticeable difference. He also doesn't seem to need to curse on his commentary as much anymore.
This DVD featured quite a few wrestlers I haven't seen in ROH before (admittedly, I'm a new fan of this fed, but have seen a few of their DVDs), such as Michael Shane, The Amazing Red, WWE star Paul London, Low-Ki, Donovan Morgan, Simply Luscious and this was the first ever appearance in ROH by C.M. Punk. You also get to see former ECW stars Tommy Dreamer and J.T. Smith at this show.
Da Hit Squad vs Devine Storm vs Jose & Joel Maximo vs Special K (Dixie and Joey) in a 4-Way Scramble Match - This is one of Ring Of Honor's signature matches. Basically, it's just a 4-way tag team match where there doesn't have to be a tag to get out of the ring, you just get out and someone new gets in. This makes for a quicker, higher paced match. As you can imagine, 8 men in one ring, all trying to get themselves over with their high spots, made for a very quick paced match. Simply put, there was too much going on at once to let everything that was happening sink in. Ultimately, all those spots meant nothing in the big picture. The highlight of the match was when Da Hit Squad ended up powerbombing all 6 other contestants at once. I wonder how long it took them to get that straight, it looked like a cheerleader pyramid! Some side notes I'd like to mention is that 1. The Special K gimmick sucks. It seems every time they have a young looking guy they don't know what to do with, they just throw him in that group and 2. The Spanish Announcing Team are one of the most impressive tag teams I've seen in quite a while.
The #1 Contenders Gauntlet - This "gauntlet" features A.J. Styles, "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson, Paul London, The Amazing Red, Michael Shane and C.M. Punk and was another signature match series of Ring Of Honor. Basically, you start with the first two competitors having a match, and the winner faces the next man, and so on and so on. I guess this is based on the luck of the draw. As mentioned earlier, this is C.M. Punk's first appearance with ROH and it is explained that he is in contention for the #1 Contendership (is that a word?) because of what he has done in other indy feds and that ROH recognizes other feds and their accomplishments. How's that for a different indy fed? Anyhow, the winner of this gauntlet receives a trophy which can be won or lost and pretty much guarantees a championship match, as long as you have the trophy when the match is given out. I like that idea, even though there is a loophole or two in the concept. I think once you have had the trophy, you should get a match eventually, regardless. I'm not even sure if this concept is still in use by ROH. There was a total of 5 matches here, all with different styles and all were good. I don't want to spoil the winners for anyone so I can't really talk about the matches themselves other than in this vague way. Anyhow, there will be at least one spoiler when I review the Final Gauntlet Match a little later down the line.
Christopher Daniels, Donovan Morgan & Samoa Joe vs Low-Ki, Doug Williams & Homicide - Christopher Daniels & Donovan Morgan's ROH Tag Team Championship were on the line if they lost this 6-man match. Lots of tag team action with Samoa Joe playing the part of the "hired hand" for The Prophecy. The Prophecy held up their end of the match as heels with all the classic heel mannerisms and psychology. Doug Williams did a terrible dive off the top in which the commentators tried to pass off as a plancha but was more like a weak clothesline off the top to the outside. Daniels did a nice Arabian Press to the outside and even Joe dived onto the whole group. I've never been a big fan of Homicide, but I did like his unusual new version of the STF. In what started off as a typical 6-man tag match, it turned into a spectacular finish with everyone going for and countering the other's finishing maneuvers. I especially liked some of the spots Daniels and Doug Williams worked together. This turned out to be the second best match on the show, which was hard to judge.
Alexis Laree vs Allison Danger - This was a straight out horrible match. I won't say I didn't enjoy it, but the match wasn't good at all. These girls didn't work well together. In my opinion, this should have been booked as an old ECW style catfight instead of a straight wrestling match. Allison Danger initiated the lesbian angle into the match by kissing Alexis. Both women were hot and Allison was more than willing to show it all off. Alexis could probably pull off a decent match if she had a better opponent.
The Carnage Crew vs The Ring Crew Express in a Bunkhouse Match - Bunkhouse Match in ROH mean no Code Of Honor which equals hardcore. Pretty brutal match but this was nothing but a squash. Barely better than the ladies' match.
Xavier vs Jay Briscoe for the ROH World Title - Simply Luscious was ringside with Xavier and Jay received this title shot as a result of pinning Xavier in a previous tag team match. This match lacked something, as it was not up to par as far as the usual ROH Title matches go. It was OK but nothing special and the crowd was definitely not into it either. As much as I liked Simply Luscious, I think her presence in this match ruined it. I know Xavier can put on a much better match than this.
**SPOILERS** A.J. Styles vs "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson in the #1 Gauntlet Match Finals - This had a great opening mat sequence and the whole match was fast paced and hard fought. I thought the commentator said it best when he said that was a "sweet exchange". Mat wrestling was the foundation of this entire match and it was truly excellent by any standards. It is what all professional wrestling should be about. This match also included some extremely high impact moves and equally beautiful high spots and superb submission holds. I'm not sure why American Dragon hasn't been picked up by WWE. He could put some life into their cruiserweight division that desperately needs some new faces. This was the best match on the show. **END SPOILERS**
Shinjiro Ohtani & Masato Tanaka vs Steve Corino & Low-Ki - This was Low-Ki's 2nd appearance of the night. They had him change into his Zero-One attire from Japan, as it was filmed for Japanese TV as well. Ohtani was extremely over with the crowd and wrestled a very vicious style. No doubt Samoa Joe learned a bit from Ohtani. I could see there was definitely some influence by him in Joe's style. Low-Ki nailed a beautiful handspring roundhouse kick they called the "Tidal Crush" which I could probably never get tired of seeing. The timing for something like that has to be perfect. Ohtani's brutality and Low-Ki's vicious kicks were the highlight of this match. Not to mention that all 4 wrestlers were able to wrestle a great match in itself.
The Amazing Red vs Jose Maximo vs Joel Maximo in a three-way match - Taped on 9/22/2001. All 3 wrestlers came out as the Spanish Announcing Team and were dressed exactly the same, which made it hard to tell who was who. The match featured some great and innovative high spots and dives. At times, Red reminded me of Rey Mysterio Jr (What a dream match that could be). This was a high paced spot-fest that seemed to have no low points. Pretty good match but little to no psychology whatsoever.
Low-Ki vs Minoru Fujita - Taped on 6/15/2001 from Jersey All Pro Wrestling. Low-Ki highlighted his match with his devastating kicks, as usual. The finish was nice and unique. I can honestly say I've never seen a match end quite like this one did. This was Low-Ki's third match on this DVD, and he didn't let me down once.
The 6-Man Match, the Gauntlet Finals and the main event were all solid reasons to give this show a high rating. The ladies' match, the Bunkhouse Match and the ROH Title match brought it down a little.
I give this DVD 7.5 out of 10.