Most wrestling fans can look back at a period of time in wrestling in which one company just had a kick ass run that popped a territory and became legendary. Personally, I look back and remember how much I loved the New World Order's taking over of WCW in 1996 and the WWE Attitude Era in 1997. I'm also currently enjoying a custom made Best of 1996 ECW tape and just take a look at the last three segments I watched on this tape: Raven's eerie home video of Tyler Fullington's b-day party, the Ultimate Jeopardy match with Tommy Dreamer being chokeslammed by Brian Lee through four tables from the Eagle's Nest of the world famous ECW Arena, and Shane Douglas shaking the halo of Pitbull Gary Wolfe. Just incredible.
Years from now, fans are going to look back at Ring of Honor's seven show Milestone Series earlier this year as the best run of shows the highly acclaimed company ever had. With the return of Lance Storm to wrestling, the show stopping matches from Japan's Dragon Gate wrestlers, and white hot reaction to the CZW/ROH feud, the Milestone Series contained many elements which will be talked about for years. This article will look at each of the seven shows and pick five things from each that are worth going out of your way to see. The Dragon Gate six man match from Supercard of Honor is getting a ton of raves, especially from big name heavyweights like Dave Meltzer, Bryan Alvarez, and Bruce Mitchell, but I highly recommend you do whatever you can to buy the entire set. Unlike just about every wrestling show you've watched (especially in the last couple years), ROH gets better with the more shows you can watch. There is actual continuity. I know, the very concept seems revolutionary for a wrestling company, but I assure you it is there in spades within this DVD series.
Let's look at the shows!
SHOW ONE: 4th Anniversary Show - February 25th, 2006. Edison, NJ.
1) The Briscoes return. After a lengthy hiatus due to out-of-ring injuries, Jay and Mark Briscoe made their triumphant return to ROH in the very first match on the show. Jay and Mark added themselves to the opening tag match between former ROH tag team champs Sal Rinauro & Tony Mamaluke and Kid Mikaze & Jason Blade to make a Three Way Dance. To say the Briscoe Brothers still "had it" would be a severe understatement. The Briscoes
brought their A-game with more professional ring gear, physically bigger without losing any of their crisp teamwork, and debuted several hot new moves. The crowd was rabid for the brother's return and the quick, fast paced match established the Briscoes
in the upper echelon of ROH's tag team division. The tag series between the Briscoes and AJ Styles & The Amazing Red in ROH 2003 is the company's version of the legendary Midnight Express vs. Rock & Roll Express battles in year's past.. The loud "Welcome Back!" chants by the New Jersey fans said it all.
2) The CZW confrontation. The savior of pro wrestling and ROH nemesis Chris Hero showed up in New Jersey to interrupt a Christopher Daniels/BJ Whitmer match and sing Happy Birthday to the company he can't stand. This led to an electric brawl that emptied the locker room. It all ended up with Hero alone, back in the ring, saying that no one could stop him. This set up the brilliant moment of Samoa Joe coming out and taking down Hero with a choke. This is what I like to call Booking 101 as it built up the crowd and then capped it with an even bigger moment. It very much reminded me of the classic ECW moment at WrestlePalooza '97 in which Jerry Lawler showed up at ECW Arena and worked with Sabu and Rob Van Dam to destroy any wrestler who attempted to clear him from the ring until Taz showed up. To show how ROH thinks long term, the segment ended with the Briscoes jumping Roderick Strong & Austin Aries, ROH's tag team champions, to set up the next feud.
3) Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. AJ Styles & Matt Sydal. Fans of tag team action are going to love ROH as they do the division right. Question. Who are the Raw tag team champions? Don't know? Exactly. ROH tag team champs are easier to remember as they are defended in great matches and the teams gel together rather than just being two singles guys thrown together. Strong and Aries have been a dominant team, but have come oh-so-close to losing the straps that every match has the fans guessing if they will see a title change. This particular match doesn't get the praise of others (especially since the Dragon Gate guys came in later during the Milestone Series) but it is one hell of a contest with Sydal and Styles proving to have great chemistry together. Spot of the match was a wicked kick from Strong to AJ Styles' face when Styles had Austin Aries in position for the Styles Clash. I had to hold my own face in sympathy pain after watching that kick. The Briscoes attacking Aries & Strong after the match, for the second time in the show, made their upcoming feud even more personal.
4) Bryan Danielson vs. Jimmy Rave. ROH had finally done the impossible. Took Jimmy Rave, a guy many fans used to shit on relentlessly as a babyface, remade him into the company's number one heel (thanks to his great feud with C.M. Punk) and put Rave into a credible title match. How many fans at Ring of Honor's 3rd Anniversary show in 2005 would have believed Rave would be in a near four star singles match by this show? Certainly Rave's best singles match and another in a long line of great title defenses by The American Dragon. As a further reminder of how much titles mean in ROH, the thirty-plus minute match with a great finish only helped to elevate Rave despite his losing.
5) The Ghetto fight between Homicide and Colt Cabana. - The long running ROH feud (since September, 2005) has given us some great moments (including Cabana’s battle rap, and the use of coat hangers and Draino) but the wrestling highlight of the feud at this point with this ultra-violent match which saw blood, a coat hanger, chairs, tables, alcohol, and athletic tape. This ghetto fight was truly a war to end all wars, as the referee stopped the match twice, only to have Cabana, the former comedy act, not wanting to quit and taking everything Homicide had to give him and then some. A bloody and beaten down Cabana telling Homicide, “You better come here and fucking finish me off” after homicide slapped Cabana saying, “it was over” was a great touch. A well booked match, violent, out of control, and a perfect fit for Homicide and the North East fans.
SHOW TWO: Arena Warfare - March 11th, 2006. ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA.
1) ROH runs in The Arena. - The ECW Arena, one of the most famous
places for wrestling in the world and belongs right up there with Madison Square Garden, the Nippon Budakon, and Arena Mexico. ROH's home base has always been Philadelphia, but they were one of the few companies who had never run a show in the area's most famous wrestling arena. The Milestone Series had a couple of fantastic promos by Christopher Daniels explaining how ROH started at the Murphy Rec in Philly and was now having their first show, just blocks away, at the ECW Arena. ROH's production values made the Arena look much better than the groups that have run in the building since ECW's death and, in fact, ROH's lighting made the obnoxious ads that are scattered around the building just about invisible...perfect!
2) Super Dragon in an ROH ring. Other than Chris Hero, one of the wrestlers many fans wondered why they were never in ROH was Pro Wrestling Guerrilla's Super Dragon. While Dragon had wrestled on an earlier Do or Die card, this was his first appearance in an ROH ring during an actual show. Dragon came out during a Necro Butcher/ BJ Whitmer Brawl and delivered his patented Curb Stomp to Whitmer. Later, Dragon interfered at the end of the show which saw a total CZW beatdown on ROH inside CZW’s home base. To finally see Super Dragon in ROH was a glorious thing indeed as he’s one of the bigger names and faces in wrestling today who is not working regularly with ROH but should be. I always find it amazing that Dragon displays more charisma and emotion through a mask than most wrestlers can through using facial expressions.
3) Four Corner opening match with Briscoe Brothers and Rottweillers (Homicide & Ricky Reyes) and Dunn & Marcos and Jason Blade & Kid Mikaze). -Excellent opener as all four teams shined here having lots of great back and forth action. It seemed everyone was doing dives to the outside four minutes into the match during a wild moment. The finish, which saw it break down as the Rottweillers and Briscoes went to town on each other had the crowd going out of their mind. Dunn and Marcos are always great taking vicious moves (witness the underrated feud they had with the Carnage Crew in 2005 as evidence) and seeing Marcos in this match take Homicide's Cop Killing was amazing.
4) Colt Cabana pins Christopher Daniels, only to get pinned by Samoa Joe - When this match was originally announced it was going to be Bryan Danielson & Samoa Joe versus Low Ki & Christopher Daniels in dream match. Apparently that match was cursed because first Low Ki and ROH parted ways leading to a Three Way Dance with Colt Cabana vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Samoa Joe. On the day of the show, Samoa Joe's plane from Mexico was late, so Cabana and Daniels started the match without him. Cabana’s stock was raised by defeating The Fallen Angel however, but having Cabana then lose to Joe - who had just arrived and was still in street clothes, might not have been the best long term idea. I mean, I guess the match did elevate Cabana... for a whole two minutes.
5) BJ Whitmer becomes face of ROH in feud with CZW. - It's possible that one of the greatest moments in ROH in 2006 was the show closing angle to Arena Warfare. A total riot occurred at the end of the show as BJ Whitmer and Samoa Joe were met by the entire CZW locker room (as CZW had a show in the arena later that night). CZW’s Wifebeater ran off Joe off with a weed whacker (Joe’s tough but he ain't crazy) while the rest of CZW and ROH battled all over the building (inside and out) in a scene which came off decent on DVD thanks to the Canadian Stampede-like crowd reactions. The lack of commentary made it hard to follow the seemingly one thousand things going on at once, but the whole experience is a must-see. To cap it off, BJ Whitmer, the man who has been ripped by ROH fans as being too dull and too boring, was viciously attacked by CZW figurehead John Zandig along with other CZW wrestlers. Whitmer was hit with a barb wire bat, tied up into the ropes, and strangled with an ROH shirt. A staple gun was even used on Whitmer's head as the letters CZW were spray painted on the ROH ring. The visual of all of this was outstanding, as CZW ruined ROH’s show, and more importantly left a lasting mark on the promotion. Not for nothing, but this invasion angle is the best angle of 2006 hands down.
SHOW THREE: Best In The World - March 25th, 2006. New York, NY.
1) KENTA & Marufuji vs. Samoa Joe & Bryan Danielson. The Wrestling
Observer tag team of the year for 2003 and 2004 (featured in the must-watch 2005 Best of Japan DVD series) made their American tag team debut against two ROH icons in a damn great match. Both KENTA and Marufuji made their ROH debut in singles competition at Final Battle 2005, including Marufuji battling Danielson in a very underrated match. KENTA was incredibly over with the ROH fans and this main event set up some great match-ups for 2006 including a dream match of KENTA vs. Samoa Joe (which was teased greatly here by not having them in the ring for too long, Joe not
shaking KENTA's hand, and KENTA giving Joe a cheap shot) and the KENTA vs. Bryan Danielson match (which is happing on Saturday, September 16, 2006 at ROH’s debut in the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom). This match was a great showing for all four guys, including some great double team moves like Dragon putting Marufuji into a surfboard while Joe walloped Marufuji with ultra stiff kicks to the chest. Lots of great teasing with Joe and Dragon. Fans of stiffness will love to see this match first hand as the title “best in the world” is usually misleading, but not in this case. The finish, with Danielson trying to finish off KENTA with his usual multi-methods of winning matches (like the crossface chicken wing and cattle mutilation) only to have KENTA hit the top-rope falcon arrow and the Go 2 Sleep for the win was something to behold. A tremendous match.
2) Jimmy Jacob's The Ballad of Lacey. I never really thought too much of Jimmy Jacobs, as a wrestler or a character. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he was enjoyable in the ring, sorta fun to watch with his mini-Bruiser Brody act, had a great theme song with "The Touch," but Jimmy was missing something. I didn’t realize what he was missing was his MUSIC VIDEO~! This was a wonderfully emotional song, with hints of Dashboard Confessional and other emo based bands. Really, this was quite good fun and really elevated Jimmy Jacobs as something other than that short guy who used to say "Huss." Although I still have a problem with the video of Jimmy grinding in his underwear to a picture of Lacey, I can not find anything wrong with Jacobs' awesome lyrics. I guarantee you've never seen anything like this in wrestling before. I guarantee you've never seen anything like this in wrestling before. Here's the lyrics:
You're glow reminds me of the brightest moonlight..
without its shine I'd be lost in the dark night..
Put me in your top 8..
When you MySpace me..
and never replace me.
Fire burns with the love that is true..
in a million years no one can love like we do..
nobody can't compare to us..
no others come near..
there are no other candidates..
together.. we're the match of the year.
You're smooth touch kills me softly..
But it's better to be dead with you than alive and lonely.
You're the American Beauty..
and I'm Kevin Spacey..
Fire burns with the love that is true..
In a million years no one can love like we do..
Nobody can compare to us..
No others come near..
There are no other candidates..
Together.. we're the match of the year.
we're the match of the year.
3) C'mon, Bruce Leroy in an ROH ring? How cool is that? Leroy was the star of cult favorite movie The Last Dragon and was in attendance for the show and was used to give some sort of personality to Jimmy Yang. Apparently Leroy is an MMA guy and a legit friend of Yang. After Yang's match with Jimmy Rave, Leroy came into the ring and cleared house after Prince Nana and Rave were putting the boots to Yang. If ROH booked Leroy arch nemesis Sho'Nuff in a tag match for their return in NY I think the fans would have gone crazy. Unfortunately it was not to be.
4) SHIMMER four way almost steals the show. For fans of ROH who were not down with Shimmer: Women Athletes, this rematch of the main event of Shimmer's Volume 1 DVD was a fantastic introduction to the SHIMMER style as Allison Danger, Lacey, Mercedes Martinez, and Daizee Haze put on a great showcase here. As someone whose favorite women’s wrestling promotion was the campy G.L.O.W., I have to say I love SHIMMER, and this match would have stolen most shows as there was too much good stuff going on here in a fast paced ten minute match where even though Allison Danger came out victorious, any one of these women could have won. SHIMMER is women's wrestling for fans who don't like women's wrestling. Period.
5) The Briscoe brothers vs. GeNext's Jack Evans & Roderick Strong. Another hot Milestone Series tag match. Wow. Twenty minutes of tag team heaven. Why Strong & Evans didn’t win the tag team championship in 2004 still baffles to me to this date as, to me personally, these two are a better unit then Aries and Strong. No offense to Austin Aries, but Jack Evans' aerial assaults, combined with Strong's ground game made for a wonderful team. These two teams know each other well, and it was evident how much these four have grown as wrestlers since the birth of Generation Next in May of 2004. The finish with all teams getting their double team moves in was just incredible, especially the Ode to the Bulldogs as Evans jumped off the top rope onto Jay (who was on Strong’s shoulders) and hit a 450 on Mark just as Strong came down with a devastating backbreaker for the win. Wow. 'Nuff said true believers.
SHOW FOUR: Dragon Gate Challenge - March 30th, 2006. Detroit, MI.
1) Dragon Gate's Dragon Kid & Genki Horiguchi vs. AJ Styles & Matt Sydal -
A total state-of-the-art tag team battle that finally showed the greatness of the Dragon Gate promotion in America. Dragon Gate’s CIMA and Shingo Takagi made their ROH debut back at Dragon Gate Invasion.
Those matches didn't exactly nail the Dragon Gate style as DG is known for their
tag team and six men matches which are full of ultra faced paced action, Lucha Libre rules, exciting high spots, and just everything you should love about pro wrestling
in 2006. This was the first evidence of it as the legendary Dragon Kid (2001 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Best Flying Wrestler winner and Kid's legendary Dragonrana was the Best Wrestling Maneuver winner for 1999 and 2000) made his ROH debut here. Dragon Kid and tag team partner Genki Horiguchi did not disappoint as they had a sensational match with AJ Styles & Matt Sydal, a great unit of an experienced guy and a young rookie who have much in common. Matt Sydal was the Styles protégé that Jimmy Rave tried to be a few years ago and this partnership which has definitely elevated Sydal's standing in the company. The only problem with this match, and what a problem to have, is that there was way too much going on here, culminating when Styles hit the Styles Clash on Genki to win this
2) "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels finally beats Samoa Joe - Two of ROH's icons went at it for the last time and Daniels finally got his win over the Samoan Submission Machine. After bringing Samoa Joe into ROH in 2002 as the hired assassin of the Prophecy, Daniels never was able to defeat Joe in a singles match-up. Their match at Glory By Honor II was a classic. It is now two years later and any time you get these two in the ring you have magic. This one started off fast and furious as Joe attacked Daniels as the Fallen Angel made his way to the ring, and went for the muscle buster right away. The majority of the match saw Joe attempting to beat Daniels for the last time, only to have Daniels stop Joe’s momentum at the last second. Joe hit the rear naked choke he used to beat Daniels at Glory By Honor II, but Daniels came back with three Best Moonsault Ever’s to give closure to this longtime feud. I really like the finish of putting over Daniels' BME as a dangerous move rather than just having a small package or some sort of roll-up.
3) Jimmy Jacobs nearly dies - In a match with former ROH tag team partners facing off against each other, a planned spot went south in a big way when BJ Whitmer attempted to hit Jimmy Jacobs with a powerbomb off the top rope. Something happened causing Whtimer to slip off the top rope. Whitmer crashed to the floor while Jacobs' head hit the edge of the ring apron extremely hard on his way down. This wasn't intentional, but it was the one move everyone at the show remembered. The chant "HOLY S***" is often over used in wrestling, but not here. Whitmer also had his ankle destroyed during the fall, but both men were able to get up and actually finish the match!
4) Chris Hero and Necro Butcher make CZW presence known - Midway through the event, CZW's Chris Hero and Necro Butcher made their way to the ring to offer Claudio Castagnoli a chance to join with them and turn on ROH. Later the two men interfered at the end of the Daniels/Joe match, leading to a wild melee and red hot promo by Samoa Joe declaring war on CZW. This exchange foreshadows Claudio's eventual turn in a fantastic way as Hero noted that he trained Castagnoli and teamed with Claudio as the Kings of Wrestling in Chikara in CZW.
5) Blood Generation (Masota Yoshino & CIMA & Naruki Doy) vs. Generation Next (Jack Evans & Roderick Strong & Austin Aries) - Non stop action from six of the most exciting young guys in pro-wrestling today. Blood Generation's ring gear made them immediately come across like a well coordinated, bad ass team. Despite being heels, Blood Generation also got the streamers from the fans during their introduction. This match will prove beyond all belief that Masota Yoshino is the fastest wrestler on Earth. If you took a tape of Carlito Cool running the ropes, sped the tape up by approximately 1000 times, you would get a feel for how crisp Yoshino is. These six guys put on a clinic that was made the classic Hardy Boyz/Edge & Christian TLC matches seem as slow and plodding as an Iron Sheik vs. Corp. Kirshner match. Go out of your way to see this one kids. You'd have to think that GeNext really impressed the Dragon Gate promotion as several members (Evans, Strong, and Sydal) went to Japan to take part of DG's WrestleJam Tour.
SHOW FIVE: Supercard of Honor - March 31st, 2006. Chicago Ridge, IL.
1) - ROH goofs on CZW to start show - There are some fans who did not
like this angle, but I thought the Jim Cornette promo to start the show, leading
to two masked "CZW hardcore wrestlers" coming out and getting destroyed in an impromptu match by Samoa Joe and Adam Pearce was something fun to watch. Both of the "CZW" guys were pale, undersized goofballs carrying WWE "hardcore" weapons like a cheap plastic tub
and a push broom. Samoa Joe's music hit and the crowd went absolutely hoss. A quick destruction later and Supercard of Honor was already off to a good start.
2) Bryan Danielson vs. Roderick Strong (ROH World Title Match) - Over 55 minutes of action with two of ROH's most realistic stars doing exactly what they do best. This was the third match between the two men after two memorable contests at This Means War and Vendetta. The only negative of the match was that it started at near midnight Chicago time and the crowd had already seen over four hours of wrestling. Because of that, the crowd reactions, which normally would have been off the chart, were subdued for the most part during the match. Danielson continued his heelish introduction by having ring announcer Bobby Cruise announce his as "the greatest wrestler in Chicago this weekend" which was saying a lot since the fans had just seen the off the charts Dragon Gate match earlier in the evening and WrestleMania was in Chitown two nights later. Both Danielson and Strong brought a level of realism into the match that most wrestlers can't touch. At around the 50 minute mark, many in the crowd believed this was going to follow Samoa Joe/CM Punk classic matches that went to 60 minute draws. Somehow both Danielson and Strong took the action up another notch at this point and provided an exciting and satisfying conclusion to their trilogy of matches. Highlights include a springboard elbow by Danielson into the second row of fans and the American Dragon reversing Roderick's Stong Hold into a pinning combination.
3) - AJ Styles & Matt Sydal vs. Jack Evans & Austin Aries - Despite the timing being a little off at several points in the match, the finishing sequence needs to be seen to be believed. The Aerial Emperor Jack Evans attempted a corkscrew hurricanrana over the top rope onto AJ Styles, but Styles perfectly caught Evans and nailed a Styles Clash. While this was going on outside the ring, Matt Sydal hit one of his picture perfect Shooting Star Presses onto Roderick Strong for the win. Another great match with four guys whose trademark is having great matches in ROH.
4) Do Fixer (Dragon Kid & Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito) vs. Blood Generation (CIMA & Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino) - Quite possibly the best match of the entire Milestone Series, and maybe the year, while being lauded as such by various wrestling heavyweights including the Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer, Figure 4 Weekly's Bryan Alvarez, and the Pro Wrestling Torch's Bruce Mitchell. What can I say that hasn't already been said about this match? It is state of the art wrestling that makes everything we've seen so far seem like slow motion in comparison. Being there live, it was incredible watching as the last five minutes with a hot crowd - most of whom not knowing any of these men when the match started - on their feet, reeling from one great move after another while crying out “PLEASE DON’T STOP!” Talk about a picture perfect moment during these dark days of Wellness Policy violations, the new ECW, and so much crap that is happening in wrestling today. These six men came to the ring as stars from another promotion and were adopted by the great crowd who were going absolutely hoss for this match. If you have not seen this match yet, you have no right to call yourself a wrestling fan in 2006. Don’t miss out! This unbelievable match finished with the Dragon Kid hitting the dragonrana for the hard fought win.
5) There is so much GREAT stuff on this DVD! From the Ricky Reyes verbal bashing of Delirious after a crowd pleasing four corner survival, to the wonderfully hilarious Embassy work of Jimmy Rave and Alex Shelley, to SHIMMER's excellent six women mayhem match, to Chris Hero's insane antics (which ended up taking out ROH ringside photographer Mary Kate) and a ton of other intangibles, this show has it all!
1) Ricky Reyes vs. Delirious - After a slow buildup that was done in the classic ROH style, this was the make or break match for Delirious in Ring of Honor
as Jim Cornette told Delirious he had to win the match or leave the company
forever. Reyes also continued his excellent portrayal as an asshole bully. After getting soundly trashed by Reyes the previous night in Chicago, and being called a "gimmick," Delirious wins a huge match and has a fantastic celebration with the fans at ringside, even stopping
to lick well known radio personality Keith's Lipinski's head! Unfortunately, to Keith's dismay, that part was cut out of the DVD release, but it was still a wild celebration as Delirious won that ROH win he needed so badly.
2) Jimmy Rave & Alex Shelley & Masato Yoshino vs. Dragon Kid & Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito - This had to certainly be the first time in Masato Yoshino's career that he had toilet paper thrown at him! The crowd's throwing of toilet paper at Jimmy Rave in lieu of streamers was just one highlight of this fine match as all three heels took turns tossing the toilet paper back at the fans. A great mix of comedy and solid wrestling and the further establishing of Rave's heel act with his being able to win the match using a pedigree (Greetings from Ghana). This match was a subtle reminder that ROH wrestlers can hang with the best in the world.
3) Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. CIMA & Naruki Doi (ROH Tag Team Title Match). - What a match-up. The crowd reaction to Aries' theme music (Marilyn Manson's Personal Jesus) show that Aries has joined the upper echelon of ROH wrestlers in a short period of time. This guy's a blue chipper. Strong hit a SIXTY COUNT vertical suplex during the match which was just awe inspiring. GeNext and Blood Generation did a bunch of mind-bending double team moves, including a nice tribute to the Hart Foundation when Aries and Strong did the Hart Attack.
4) Bryan Danielson vs. Lance Storm (ROH World Title Match) - Talk about a long build. This match was foreshadowed way back last December at Steel Cage Warfare when Lance Storm mentioned that if he were ever to come out of retirement, Bryan Danielson would be the guy he'd like to wrestle. On a recent Figure 4 Daily with Bryan Alvarez, Storm added that this just may be the longest match of his career. Can you imagine taking all that time off, coming back in perfect shape and having the longest match of your life in front of the most demanding audience you've ever performed in front of? Lance Storm is a man's man. Not a "boring" man. Not a man with a rocket in his pocket. This match was the perfect way for Storm to come back, facing a top notch wrestler who can work any style. After tapping out to Danielson's Cattle Mutilation, Storm seemed genuinely affected by the outpouring of respect the fans were throwing his way with a deafening "Please Come Back" chant.
5) Ring of Honor's Biggest Crowd Ever - The Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge was packed this April Fool's Day, setting a ROH attendance record. The Chicago fans, while normally a rowdy crowd to begin with, made this show seem extra special by reacting to everything in the right way. Thunderous applause when called for, loud chanting, streamer throwing, and showing Lance Storm more respect than he's gotten in years all added to the enjoyment on this card.
SHOW SEVEN: The 100th Show - April 22nd, 2006. Philadelphia, PA.
1) "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels shakes Claudio Castagnoli's hand. -
The longest running storyline in ROH history came to a historic point at the 100th show as Christopher Daniels shook the hand of Claudio Castagnoli after their match. Daniels, who has refused to shake anyone's hand over the past four years do to his lack of respect for the Code of Honor, broke down and admitted that Claudio Castagnoli had indeed earned his respect over the past few months and The Fallen Angel was going to have his own milestone during the Milestone Series. Constant agitator Chris Hero made himself known at the end of the angle to show his disgust for Claudio for choosing ROH. Just a perfectly executed opening match angle leading to Claudio's shocking turn later in the show.
2) Bryan Danielson vs. Delirious - Bryan Danielson fans rejoice, this is a DVD for you as Danielson starts the DVD off with literally being handed the keys to the ROH training school, wins a quick match against Colt Cabana, rips on CZW fans, and also has a heated match against Delirious. After a show stealing promo, Danielson challenged one of the few men on the roster he had yet to beat, Delirious, and the masked lizard man accepted. A classic bully vs. underdog match followed that both got over Danielson as a kick ass champ and Delirious as the wrestler who can take a beating but still make the fans believe in him.
3) Jim Cornette debates CZW owner John Danzig. - Anyone who knows wrestling knows that Jim Cornette and a live microphone were just made for each other. The two men have their "debate" (which included more than its fair share of F bombs) concerning the merits of hardcore wrestling. As you can imagine, Jim Cornette despises hardcore wrestling. I can see Cornette's points, but Corny also hated ECW and the WWE Attitude Era, two of my favorite periods of wrestling.
4) The Briscoe Brothers vs. AJ Styles & Matt Sydal. - Have I mentioned how great the Milestone Series is for fans of tag team wrestling? I'm not even sure the Briscoes could have a bad tag match. Unfortunately the match only went about 12 minutes, any bad taste left in your mouth will be erased as a video package immediately aired putting a spotlight on the highlights of the first 99 ROH shows. Talk about some awesome clips.
5) Samoa Joe & Adam Pearce & BJ Whitmer vs. Chris Hero & Necro Butcher & Super Dragon (ROH vs. CZW). - A terrific match made even better with an ELECTRIC atmosphere. ROH had set up the arena with bleaches set across from each other. One side for ROH fans. The other side for CZW fans. During the main event match pitting each company's superstars against each other, these two groups of fans made this show seem like the Greatest Wrestling Show of All Time. With both teams having exciting exchanges, Super Dragon and BJ Whitmer took the intensity to the next level with Dragon hitting Whitmer with a double foot stomp off the top rope followed by a PSYCHO DRIVER through a table on the floor. This left me breathless. With ROH on the verge of winning, Claudio Castagnoli came down the ring and made his villainous turn, allowing Chris Hero to pin Adam Pearce and secure the victory for CZW. Hero and Castagnoli celebrated the victory by going into the CZW fan's section and ripping up Castagnoli's ROH jacket. This match is the Total Package in terms of in-ring excitement, insane moves, and crowd reactions that made everything that much better. This is the type of match that reminds you how much you love being a wrestling fan.
Overall Milestone Series Thoughts: Ring of Honor's seven show Milestone Series redefines what can be accomplished in modern wrestling. Not since the NWA's Great American Bash tour of 1986 has a series of wrestling shows had more outstanding matches and storylines featuring the top wrestlers of the day. Bryan Danielson, Dragon Kid, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, Chris Hero and CIMA all have a legitimate claim on the title of MVP for the series. Others, such as Matt Sydal, Jimmy Rave, Delirious, Jimmy Jacobs and Ricky Reyes took their already solid games up a notch. During a time of wrestling in which watching five hours of monotonous WWE programming a week sounds painful, ROH has done the opposite and made seven three hour plus shows must-see-DVDs while leaving you wanting more. So many wonderful moments are here including: the return of Lance Storm, the ROH fans using their cell phones in lieu of lighters during the Ballad of Lacey, the revolutionary Dragon Gate related matches, the wonderfully slow Claudio Castagnoli heel turn, a rare American performance from one of the world's greatest tag teams in KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji), the electric CZW vs. ROH six man war in Philadelphia, the multiple world title match-ups, the build of the Briscoe brothers vs. Strong & Aries, and the star making of Delirious are just a sample of what you will be able to see. Stop wasting your time on Punjabi Prison matches. Forget about Talent Wellness and all that elevated enzyme bullshit and remember your wrestling enjoyment wellness.Get the Milestone Series and remember over and over why you love wrestling so much in the first place! Check out the Milestone Series over at ROHwrestling.com!
HUGE thanks to the Dr. Keith Show's very own Keith Lipinski for his help with this article. Be sure to check out Keith's show as he's always getting the biggest ROH stars as a guest!
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