Thursday, July 13, 2006

ROH Final Battle 2005

1. Jimmy Rave vs. Milano Collection AT - 5
2. Azrieal vs. Colt Cabana - 4
3. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Nigel McGuinness - 3
4. Alex Shelley vs. Steve Corino - 6
5. Samoa Joe vs. Jay Lethal vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Christopher Daniels - 4
6. Davey Andrews vs. Ricky Reyes - 1
7. Austin Aries and Roderick Strong vs. Tony Mamaluke and Sal Rinauro - 8
8. Naomichi Marufuji vs. Bryan Danielson - 7
9. KENTA vs. Low Ki - 9

I haven't been satisfied with an ROH DVD in some time; it's not that the wrestling isn't largely proficient, but nothing's grabbed me or stuck out enough to be truly memorable and separate it from their other stuff. I'm glad to say that this DVD is the most fun I've had watching ROH in a long time.

Milano easily has one of the stupidest names in the industry, but he brings the Michinoku Pro '97-grade spunk that's sorely missed these days. Rave was actually carried here to a pretty fine match, although the finish, seeing Rave get the victory after doing an awful Pedigree was disappointing. Azrieal looked like he should be selling fruit in a shoddy Mexican marketplace -- not doing bad sequences with Colt Cabana.

Claudio looks like he should be listening to heavy metal in his parent's attic, and here he and Nigel are blowing spots like ROH creator Rob Feinstein blows little boys. I can't believe I actually enjoyed a Corino match -- I'm ashamed. Even though he was revoltingly chubby, his wrestling was perfectly competent. I liked the old school psychology of Shelley working a limb throughout, and ultimately, enjoyed this far more than I should have.

I usually don't particularly like four-way matches; but all of these guys are pretty good at what they do, so I figured this one might be an exception. Instead, they used this as an excuse to be lazy, delivering an uninspired match. I was really looking forward to seeing Davey Andrews stretch and pound Reyes, instead we got a clipped match, featuring a little over a minute of wrestling footage, much to my disgust.

I absolutely adored the tag team match -- quite simply, this is one of the best American tag team matches in the last 5 years. There was captivating near falls, neat double-teams, etc. It was really a pleasure to watch, and I highly recommend seeking it out. Marafuji and Danielson was interesting; it seemed as though they knew they weren't the main event, so they didn't work to the best of their capabilities. Regardless, even at 75%, they're better than a lot of the guys we suffer though watching on TV every week. I applaud ROH for bringing in foreign talent, too.

I really loved the main event -- it totally captured the essence of what I love most in my wrestling, and that's physicality, intensity, and passion. Both of these guys have paid their dues and deserved the top spot. There were so many cool moments in this match, including some crippling strikes by KENTA that had my freaking out. The finish was brilliant, as KENTA demolished Low Ki with a variety of knee intensive spots. This is one of the best matches in ROH history.

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