Blood Stained Honor
Match 1: Samoa Joe vs. Jay Briscoe in a Steel Cage - 3/13/04 - This is from At Our Best and takes place during the Joe title run. The Briscoes were, at the time, the top team in ROH. Joe, in 2003 took several shots at dethroning them with various partners in order to claim all the ROH belts. Jay and Mark also each got a shot at Joe and were unable to claim the world title. This is the blow off to all of that. The match itself is perfect for starting off the DVD as it's likely the bloodiest in ROH history as Jay does a 5-alarm blade job. The match is notable mostly for that, as it's a striking image, but not such a good match that what follows it will suffer by comparison. This fits perfectly onto the compilation since Joe is a huge name, near tops in TNA and Jay Briscoe has been heavily featured on ROH PPV. (**** - **** ¼).
Match 2: The Second City Saints (CM Punk and Ace Steel) vs. the Prophecy (Dan Maff and BJ Whitmer) in a Chicago Street Fight - 7/24/04 - This one is from Death Before Dishonor 2 Night 2 and features Punk as one half of the tag champions, although with Colt Cabana. The Prophecy, lead by Chris Daniels, had attacked Punk's girlfriend and Punk was out for revenge. When Daniels left for TNA, the hatred was transferred to his lackeys and so we get this match. The match is a good brawl, one of those notable times when ROH fully channeled the spirit of original ECW. The inclusion of this is a bit of a surprise, since Maff had a rather bad falling out with ROH, but it's Punk, a major featured star on WWE TV and Whitmer, who has been featured on ROH PPV in a great match, with a classic and memorable ending. (****).
Match 3: CM Punk vs. Jimmy Rave in a Dog Collar match - 5/07/05 - In the discussion for best match on the DVD is this classic from arguably ROH's best show, Manhattan Mayhem. Rave caused this match by taking a cheese grater to Punk's straight edge tattoo. The match is sheer brutality as the cowardly Rave has no way to escape from the Punker and so gets brutal at his attempts to undercut him. This is a bloodbath. One of Punk's classic matches, and among the few where he is the clear face, as he is on TV every week, this was a perfect inclusion. (**** ½).
Match 4: Generation Next (Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, Jack Evans, and Matt Sydal)
vs. The Embassy (Jimmy Rave, Alex Shelley, Abyss, and Prince Nana) in Steel
Cage Warfare - 12/3/05 - In which ROH does War Games at a show aptly titled Steel Cage Warfare. This feud had been going on for quite awhile with Alex Shelley, the former leader of Generation Next being ousted and joining the Embassy and a few managers' turns to help increase the heat of the feud. When War Games kicked off, it was a brutal, innovative affair from the start, totally unsurprising considering who was involved. The match was a giant face revenge plot that the crowd ate up and I'm sure the DVD audience will as well. There are some must see, absurd spots here that warrant the DVD's inclusion as well as the Generation Next team featuring three guys who are heavily featured in current ROH, the Embassy team featuring three current TNA regulars (two upper-midcarders at the moment) and Matt Sydal who was in WSX and is currently in a WWE developmental deal. There's a lot to like here. (**** ¼ - **** ½).
Match 5: Colt Cabana vs. Homicide in a Ghetto Street Fight - 2/25/06 - This is the wild brawl from the Fourth Anniversary Show. Colt was a fun loving guy who accidentally insulted Homicide by being faux thug, so 'Cide beat on him for a bit. Then Colt got between Homicide and arch rival Steve Corino, so 'Cide took to trying to kill Colt. This went on until Colt lost his fun loving demeanor and he and 'Cide regularly tried to end each other. Honestly, this is likely the weakest match on the DVD and all of these brawls sort of run into each other. Colt is supposedly debuting on WWE TV soon and Homicide is still in LAX. I get the feeling this is here because a ROH bloody brawl collection really wouldn't be complete without Homicide. It's not a bad match, but is the only thing on here below four stars. (*** ½).
Match 6: Team ROH (Samoa Joe, Adam Pearce, and BJ Whitmer) vs. Team CZW (Chris Hero, Super Dragon, and Necro Butcher) - 4/22/06 - From ROH's 100th Show this is a major part of the CZW feud. Obviously this is a giant brawl, but it's one with great psychology as the ROH guys finally begin to figure out how to match up properly against CZW, only to be derailed by a major surprise. This features less of other company's stars than other matches, but Joe is still a big star and everyone else but Super Dragon is featured on ROH PPV. That won't matter though. The crowd heat here is absurd and carries the match to a whole new level. This is the second of three major contenders for match of the DVD. (**** ½).
Match 7: Colt Cabana vs. Jimmy Jacobs in a Windy City Death Match - 2/24/07 - From Fifth Year Festival Chicago, this one is based around Jimmy Jacobs being in love with Lacey, who Colt slept with then spurned. Jacobs and Lacey are out for blood and that's exactly what they get here. Colt has more fun here than in his prior appearance because here he's the good guy and in control, playing with the Emo Warriors emotions. The psychology, both ring and crowd wise is top notch and this is probably Colt and Jacobs best performance (not best match, but best use of what they have) to this point. With Jacobs getting a huge push, putting this on there makes a lot of sense. I'd have expected Nigel McGuinness vs. Jimmy Rave's fight without honor from a week later in this spot, since Nigel is champion, but I'd guess this is a sign that come April that will have changed. This is very good, even for someone who hates Colt, like me. (****).
Match 8: Kevin Steen and El Generico vs. Jay and Mark Briscoe in a Boston Street Fight - 8/10/07 - This is an ECW style brawl from Death Before Dishonor V Night 1. It is also, to me, the single best thing on the show. Great storytelling, amazing spots, incredible stiffness, awesome hatred, great character: this match has it all. If and when you see and love the "Man Up" ladder war between these two teams, go get this DVD to see an even better matchup between the same teams. This cements Steen and Generico vs. the Briscoes as Feud of the Year and is a serious contender for this year's Match of the Year (yes, I've been waiting a while to spring that on you all). Ending the DVD with this is perfect because it simply cannot be followed. (**** ½ - **** ¾).
That's it for this DVD. It's at least three hours, 8 matches and 7 of them are **** plus. If you loved ECW or just like wild, fun brawls, this DVD could not be a better buy.
Stars of Honor
Match 1: Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk - 12/4/04 - This is from All Star Extravaganza 2 and was a major Match of the Year Contender in 2004. This is the third of the epic trilogy. It's good to put this on there as it should drive sales of Joe vs. Punk 1 and 2, but will be a strange watch without the added match stories of 1 and 2. Still, it's a phenomenal, fast paced match between both WWE and TNA's biggest rising stars and can sell the DVD alone. If you've seen Joe vs. Punk 1 and 2 it's near five stars. As presented here we'll go (**** ½).
Match 2: Homicide vs. Antonio "MVP" Banks - 2/19/05 - This is here entirely because it's a TNA guy vs. a WWE guy and is from Do or Die IV. The problem is its way before MVP was any good. It's from Third Anniversary Part 1 and totally skipable. (* 1/2).
Match 3: James (Noble) Gibson vs. Roderick Strong - 4/2/05 - This is a confusing entry. This is their Best of American Super Juniors match, which is okay, but really pales in comparison to their later effort against each other. Gibson was in ROH to show his worth and while there took Strong as his protégé. This worked out, got Strong more over as a serious threat, and lead to awesome matches. This wasn't one, though it was very good. (*** ½).
Match 4: Bryan Danielson vs. Brian "Spanky" Kendrick - 4/2/05 - This is more like it. From the same Best of the American Super Juniors show, these two tore it up. Former training partners, Kendrick was proving himself in ROH when he was released from WWE. This match, of those on here, makes most sense, because it's a WWE guy and an introduction to a major ROH guy who puts on an awesome match. (****)
Match 5: Matt Hardy vs. Homicide - 8/12/05 - From Redemption, this is a WWE guy and a TNA guy again. The match is good but certainly nothing special. Matt came to ROH when released from the WWE because of the Edge and Lita affair. Matt's matches were good, but nothing special and he ironically works closer to the ROH house style now than he did at this point. Still, Matt's a big enough star to warrant inclusion. (*** ¼).
Match 6: Matt Hardy vs. Roderick Strong - 8/13/05 - Punk: The Final Chapter saw Hardy's last and best ROH match. I don't get this one's inclusion though. Hardy is already in a match on this DVD, so why include him twice? It can't be to showcase Strong, as he's also in a match already here, as is Homicide. They could have done better setting this up. The match is quite good as a face vs. face respect match. (*** ¾).
Matc 7: Christopher Daniels vs. Christian Cage - 7/29/06 - This is from Generation Now and also defies reason that this is here. Cage had one other ROH match at How We Roll that was similar quality, but featured Danielson with Daniels against Cage and Cabana so that an actual current ROH roster member could get over by being on this DVD. As is, it's two TNA guys in a good match that's nothing special with no dream match potential because they're in the same damn company. (*** ½).
Match 8: Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal vs. Low Ki and Homicide - 8/13/05 - Another match from Punk: the Final Chapter, this is quite a bit more like it. Although all these guys are TNA, they are in a better match here than they have had in TNA in a long time, which will ideally make people more interested in seeing more ROH. Ki and 'Cide hated Joe because he basically stole ROH from them and dominated the title. Lethal was Joe's protégé so they got to trying to injure him as well. That's it and they go out and have an awesome match, second best on the DVD. (****).
This DVD is more miss than hit. It's got a lot of big stars in strangely chosen matches and I'm not sure someone seeing this would "get" ROH's current product or want to see more. Hopefully the match listing here is tweaked. Put the Unforgettable main event on there and all is forgiven, though.