Dragon Gate Challenge
Dragon Gate Challenge was part of Ring of Honor's Milestone Series that lead up to the 100th Show. Tonight features three Ring of Honor vs. Dragon Gate challenge matches, hence the name of the show. One singles, one tag and one six man tag team match. Who will win the challenge? Read on and find out. The date is 3/30/2006. Oh and we're in Detroit, Michigan.
Backstage Segment: Prince Nana is backstage with Alex Shelley and Jimmy Rave. They talk about teaming up and if they don't get along, Nana will garnish their wages. Rave and Shelley shake hands as Nana brings the awesome.
Backstage Segment: Jimmy Jacobs is with Lacey. Lacey is talking about how she wants Jimmy to destroy BJ Whitmer tonight while Jimmy wants to talk about the video me made. Lacey wants none of it but then brings up if Jimmy goes take out BJ, he'll get a reward. Jimmy wants to rub Lacey's feet as his reward. Emo kids, I tell you, they're freakin' crazy.
In-ring Segment: Bobby Cruise, the ring announcer for Ring of Honor, is talking about the challenge series tonight. Before he can really get in depth, Colt Cabana comes out and talks on the microphone about how he needs to end his blood feud with Homicide. He doesn't want to wait to face Homicide, he wants him now! FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE! This brings out Homicide.
First Match: Homicide w/Julius Smokes vs. Colt Cabana
Backstory: Back at a 2005 show that escapes me, Colt said "my nizzle" at Homicide. Homicide took great offense and thus he wanted to beat Cabana. It all builds up and once I get Better Then Our Best, which is coming soon for me, I'll recap the entire feud.
Outcome: Homicide via pinfall after using a chair to force a ladder into the back of Cabana's head.
Analysis: This is a short, crazy brawl that just served purpose to the match they'd have at Better Then Our Best. Every time Homicide has beaten Cabana down in the past, Cabana refuses to stay down. That said, these two just brawl around in the crowd and it's extremely hard to see because of how dark the arena is. A spotlight tries to follow but it doesn't work too well. Once they get back towards the ring though, it's just more brawling and plunder shots. To put it simple, this is angle advancement. There just isn't a whole lot to say about this because of the length and how much they brawl. It's nothing horrible and you shouldn't skip past it but it's not gonna get a great rating because there isn't much to it. *1/4
Post Match: Homicide says it's over.
Backstage Segment: Do Fixer is backstage saying they're gonna fight you. Do Fixer is Ryo Saito, Genki Horiguchi and Dragon Kid.
Backstage Segment: Christopher Daniels is with Allison Danger. Daniels goes on about how many times Samoa Joe has beaten him. Tonight is the final singles match between Samoa Joe. That's the main event yanno. Daniels says tonight is going to be the night when he finally beats Samoa Joe in a singles match, might even shake his hand afterwards. It's all about wrath according to the Fallen Angel.
Second Match: Chad Collyer vs. Ricky Reyes w/ Julius Smokes
Backstory: None that I know of.
Outcome: Ricky Reyes via submission after a Dragon Sleeper.
Analysis: This is a pretty good little technical encounter. Chad is well known as a mat wrestler and Ricky isn't that bad himself. Reyes goes after the head of Collyer, setting him up for that Dragon Sleeper. Makes sense to me and it should to you. But there isn't anything that's remotely exciting about this match. It's pretty basic and nothing fancy. That's all well and good but you gotta establish something more then what they did. It seems the only thing Collyer would do is rattle off moves instead of working on the legs for the Cloverleaf. One of the better things of the match though is Collyer's attempted Scoop Slam into an Armbar by Reyes that gets countered into the Cloverleaf. It's a good thing Reyes didn't tap because that would have royally pissed me off. But this is one of those matches where you watch it once, that's good enough for the rest of time. It wasn't anything offensive or horrible but it was just kinda there and bland. **
Backstage Segment: Blood Generation talk about Generation Next being second to Blood Generation.
Backstage Segment: Samoa Joe. He's on main event hype as well. According to Joe, everything is gonna stay the same. Joe is gonna beat Daniels and force him to shake his hand.
Third Match: BJ Whitmer vs. Jimmy Jacobs w/ Lacey
Backstory: At Dissension, BJ turned on Jimmy after he started paying more attention to Lacey then their matches. Then on a WB Morning Show, BJ attacked Jimmy once again. This is the first match in what would become one of the best Ring of Honor feuds ever in my opinion.
Outcome: BJ Whitmer via pinfall after a Lariat.
Analysis: First off, I am a sucker for Whitmer vs. Jacobs. That aside, this is a damn good match. It's a big man vs. little man match but these two have such great chemistry together, it's awesome. BJ uses his power early on to take advantage of the smaller Jacobs, more so on the outside when he is throwing him into the guard rail. That should be expect though and Jimmy takes his beating like a champion. But focusing on the head works on many levels for this match as BJ's Wrist Clutch Exploder usually forces his opponent to land on the head. Plus Whitmer knows he can just overpower Jimmy when he needs to. However, once Jimmy takes advantage because of BJ's aggressiveness, it gets a bit more interesting as Jimmy alternates between focusing on beating on BJ and looking at Lacey. Lacey is usually heard screaming instructions towards Jimmy about what to do to BJ.
Still, Jimmy isn't able to do anything all that impressive on BJ as far as high impact moves go, he just wears down BJ with dropkicks, double stomps or just general cheap tactics. It's almost keep it simple and stay on BJ so he doesn't kick your ass kind of deals. What does kind of piss me off though is BJ no selling a top rope back senton. Regardless, the match even more interesting thanks to one of the sickest botches I've ever seen. BJ and Jimmy are on the top rope and BJ is looking for a Superbomb. To me, it's kinda foreshadowed when BJ suplexes Jimmy out of the ring. Anyways, on the top rope, BJ's leg goes out from underneath him and he slips. He does powerbomb Jimmy but it's on the DAMN RING APRON! That botch set the stage for the rest of this feud, very sick spots. But even after getting a near death experience, Jimmy refused to stay down. The toughness is why BJ Whitmer chose Jimmy Jacobs as his tag team partner back in 2005.
But the payoff for this match is when Jimmy had the match won after hitting the Contra Code and Lacey told him NOT to pin BJ but to rather put him through a table. That directly lead to the finish of the match basically. See, Jimmy loves Lacey so much, he passed up the chance to beat BJ in order to make Lacey happy. Then once he had BJ in a position to do some damage, he paid too much attention to Lacey and that cost him the match. This whole match had some great story telling to it. BJ knew he could overpower Jimmy at every turn and he pretty much did. Jimmy on the other hand, wanted to make Lacey happy instead of winning the match. Good story, great match. ***3/4
Post Match: BJ wants to shake Jimmy's hand. Jimmy refuses because Lacey tells him not to. Then once Jimmy leaves the ring, he comes back to tease the handshake but quickly leaves the ring. BJ gets on the microphone and starts to talk about Combat Zone Wrestling as Ring of Honor had just started an angle with them about which is the better promotion. He calls out Chris Hero and Necro Butcher but no one comes so BJ leaves the ring.
Fourth Match: Ryo Saito vs. Jimmy Yang
Backstory: This is match number one in the challenge series.
Outcome: Ryo Saito via pinfall after the Premium Bridge
Analysis: This is the the weakest of the three challenge matches because it wasn't all that much fun, for me at least. It wasn't for a lack of trying or anything, I just didn't like this as much as the tag team matches. I couldn't buy into Yang's offense, which is mainly kicks, attempted moonsaults and a small bit of legwork that didn't end up going anywhere. He hasn't changed much in almost two years. Saito at least varies his offense with more then three moves unlike Yang. Plus at one point, Saito brings a little bit on comedy into the match, frustrating Yang a bit. It doesn't do anything more then that though which is sad. If they would have picked anyone but Jimmy Yang for this match, it would have been a bit more exciting. Still, they both try to bring what they can to the table and make something of it. They didn't accomplish it as this was just there. I know that deep move sets don't make the match or anything but Yang just wasn't the best person to put against Saito. It's probably not as bad as I paint it out to be but it just depends on what you enjoy. **1/2
Post Match: The two shake hands.
Fifth Match: Alex Shelly/Jimmy Rave w/Prince Nana and Daizee Haze vs. Bryan Danielson/Delirious
Backstory: Shelly, Rave and Abyss won the Trios Tournament earlier in 2006. Shelley and Rave would both give themselves a shot at Danielson's Ring of Honor World Title. They both failed but they knew as a team they could beat him. Danielson accepted a tag team match and picked his partner, who was Delirious, to show he could beat Rave and Shelley at the same time.. Delirious was not on the roster full time during this match.
Outcome: Alex Shelley via pinfall after a Sliced Bread #2 on Delirious.
Analysis: What could have been. While this was a pretty good tag match, it could have been a great match considering who was in it. There are fun points to it but there are also some boring points to it. A few of the fun highlights is when Danielson has Rave in an Airplane Spin after Delirious had just done the same move to Rave. Delirious runs around Danielson the whole time. Great laughs. The finishing stretch was tons of fun too. It made sense for Delirious to take the fall because he wasn't the regular and Danielson had already beaten both Shelley and Rave in singles matches. So if Rave or Shelley would have pinned Danielson, they would have been in line for another World Title shot when instead they wanted to focus on the Tag belts.
Everything else though was either generic heel control segments or fun Delirious moments. While never boring, this match wasn't great either. It had a purpose of showing that the Embassy could function as a tag team after some hostility because Rave and Shelley both wanted the World Title. Fun little encounter although it might have gone on too long. It just could have been better then what it was. ***1/4
Intermission: Dave Prazak talks to Colt Cabana about Homicide. Cabana can't keep his composure at all.
Sixth Match: Shane Hagadorn vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Backstory: None... although I think I heard it was filmed for Ring of Honor's website.
Outcome: Claudio Castagnoli via pinfall after Alpha Mari Waterslide. Not sure on the spelling.
Analysis: This isn't anything great. It's a getting the crowd back into kind of match after intermission. They both get some offense in before Claudio ends it. Shane actually gets to control most of the match which shocked me a bit. But you knew Claudio wasn't going lose this one. Either way, not something you'd watch on a weekly basis. 3/4*
In Ring Segment: Chris Hero and Necro Butcher rush into the ring. Hero talks about how he is best friends with Claudio and that how Claudio makes him sad because he won't side with himself and CZW. After a bit, BJ Whitmer runs into the ring and attacks Hero and Butcher. They get the best of him as Claudio watches. Claudio then takes out Hero and Butcher and stands tall with Whitmer. Hero is pissed.
Seventh Match: Genki Horiguchi/Dragon Kid vs. AJ Styles/Matt Sydal
Backstory: Match two in the Ring of Honor vs. Dragon Gate series. Dragon Gate is up 1-0.
Outcome: AJ Styles via pinfall after a Styles Clash on Horiguchi.
Analysis: This is a nifty little spot fest. While not the greatest, it's pretty fun. AJ looks pretty pissed for some reason. He had this look his on face this whole match. Don't know what was up. Anyways, as you could imagine, there really isn't a story to this as it's just both teams unloading on each other for a good amount of time and it had an early mat wrestling sequence going on to establish everyone in this match are equals. It's hard to me to talk about spot fest matches, I apologize. But everything was hit pretty clean for the most part. They had some very cool looking dives at some points. Just the whole thing with AJ at one point not letting Dragon Kid hit his Deja Vu move was a little strange as AJ literally forces him off a couple of times before Dragon Kid just gives up. Plus, AJ worked a bit stiff at points. A fun match regardless. You'll find yourself watching this one quite a bit because it's mindless fun. ***1/2
Eighth Match: Blood Generation (CIMA/Naruki Doi/Masato Yoshino) vs. Generation Next (Austin Aries/Roderick Strong/Jack Evans)
Backstory: This is the third and deciding match in the challenge series. This is tied 1-1.
Outcome: CIMA via pinfall after the Schwein on Jack Evans.
Analysis: This is just insane how fast this match goes by. Seriously, it's hard for me to find anything to say about this because the action is so fast and frantic. Basically, both teams get a control segment. Then it breaks down into an awesome sequence of match ending double/triple teams that were stopped by opposing team members. Even in some of the control segments, the stuff is awesome. Aries does his knee drop which is fast. Then he does it again IN SLOW MOTION! Moves like that are why this is a very, very fun match to sit down and watch. Plus it's great seeing Jack Evans getting the crap beaten out of him. Regardless, if you've never seen a Dragon Gate style six man, this is a great introduction. ****1/4
Ninth Match: Christopher Danielson w/Allison Danger vs. Samoa Joe
Backstory: Okay, back in 2002, Daniels brought in Samoa Joe as his paid hitman to beat up Low Ki. Daniels then though he could use Joe for other things but Joe didn't have that in mind. They have a bunch of past wrestling clips with this on the DVD, so that'll help a bit. But then at Redemption, Daniels cost Joe his shot at the RoH TItle. That kicked this feud off again. Daniels had managed to pin Joe in a four corner survival at one point but not in a singles. This is their final singles match in Ring of Honor.
Outcome: Christopher Daniels via pinfall after three Best Moonsault Evers.
Analysis: Feel the hate! There is one constant about this match, hate. Usually you don't see brawling before the match begins in Ring of Honor, well you do with this one. This whole match though was designed with that one word I said earlier. Hate. Both men unload bombs on each other from the get go basically. I mean, once they get into the ring, Joe attempts the Musclebuster. That gives you the sense of how much both men want to beat the other. We all know Joe is a heavy hitter. Daniels has to use his speed and knowledge to keep Joe on the defensive because once Joe gets going, it's hard to stop him. But nothing lasts for long in this match it's basically all back and forth. One man would get a few moves in but then make a mistake.
Those kind of exchanges work nicely into the context of this match because neither man would allow the other to give a beating. Seeing as how this was their last singles match against each other, it made sense for Samoa Joe to attempt the Musclebuster on more then one occasion without much success. Daniels knew that if Joe would have hit it, that would have ended the match because back at Vendetta, Joe pinned him with the Musclebuster. See, that's smart. When Joe tries for the choke the first time, Daniels counters out of it. When Joe tries it the second time, Daniels counters out of it. Daniels knew he couldn't allow that to happen either or he'd lose this match.
The finish made perfect sense. It takes a lot for Joe to stay down for three most of the time. After Daniels had hit the Angels Wings an only got two. He knew one BME wouldn't have ended it. He hits three in a row before finally getting his singles win over Samoa Joe. This was a great way to end this singles feud between the two. Daniels had tried for so long to beat Samoa Joe in a singles match and couldn't do it because Joe had those two match ending moves that beat Daniels. Daniels stayed away from them in this one and it made all the difference between winning and losing. Another fantastic match. ****
In Ring Segment: Chris Hero and Necro Butcher hit the ring. Daniels wants to fight them but Allison Danger tells him not too. Daniels leaves the ring. Hero talks about him stealing the show instead of Dragon Gate and basically calls Daniels a bitch because Danger is holding him back. Hero starts to run his mouth again as it's a bit inaudible. Joe gets into the ring and looks pissed off. Hero attacks Joe and pays for it. Necro hits Joe from behind as Hero helps beat him down. BJ Whitmer hits the ring again and chases off Hero and Butcher. Samoa Joe recovers and gets on the microphone. Basically, he says that Hero and Necro messed up big time because they pissed off Samoa Joe. Joe declares war on Combat Zone Wrestling! He wants them to bring light tubes, weed whackers and everything else because it won't matter. Samoa Joe is the baddest man alive. He goes on like this for a few minutes. We get the point Joe. He ends with "Ring of Honor is pro wrestling!" I honestly though it was professional gymnastics...
Backstage Segment: Lance Storm wants to be a part of Bryan Danielson's Ring of Honor Title reign.
Backstage Segment: Jim Cornette is talking to someone on a cell phone about who knocked his tooth out. But that pretty much says it all.
Final Thoughts: This is a good show. It's show four of the Milestone Series. It's highly recommended because of the final three matches. Whitmer vs. Jacobs is great. Everything else has its good points and it's low points. I'd pick this one up for the novelty of Dragon Gate vs. Ring of Honor. I've seen it on ten dollar sales quite often. So I'd wait to pick it up on one of those to sale yourself some money. Pay full price if you want to though. Just get it either way.