This was the first ROH DVD I'd ever picked up a good decade or so ago, buoyed by rave reviews online for what was then still a start-up promotion. And in fact, this is one of the very early DVD's in their collection (certainly the first to make its way to Canadian stores).
That said, I may be looking at something that's less than the complete version of the disc, judging by the way the official Road To The Title DVD is touted in their catalog (I have the "Takedown Masters" version of this event).
For a wrestling group that was started by a video company, the camera work is kind of shoddy at times. There's a hard camera stationed at one end of the ring, which looks fine, but then there's a more mobile, almost Sony-Handicam-with-the-shutter-speed-turned-waaaaaay-the-hell-up view that is very distracting.
That said, the opening montage of wrestlers entrances is quite sharp and well done. Each match also has a quick music video to start the bout instead of the actual entrances. The sound quality is blotchy and hard to hear at times.
Donnie B (Simon Dean's brother) and Steve Corino -- who don't introduce themselves at the starting, but early on enough for me to forgive them -- are top notch as announcers, giving this indy show at a high school gym a big-time feel.
Both men enunciate themselves well and help the viewers understand what is going on in the ring. Either of these could easily call a B show for WWE and not seem overly out of place.
The in-ring action, of course, is where ROH stands head and shoulders above the competition. Using a complex "code of honor" to ensure good sportsmanship and prevent outside interference, virtually all of these matches borrow from TNA's X division and WWE's Cruiserweight division at times.
Some of these guys don't particularly have the "look" of being main-event caliber wrestlers, but many could probably match WWE's current roster move for move.
It's worth pointing out that this is part of a mini-tournament to crown an ROH Champion. Actually, it's four tournaments, with the winners of each "block" facing each other to narrow down who will eventually become champ… I especially enjoyed the bouts between Spanky and Paul London, the U.K.'s Jody Fleisch and Jonny Storm, Jerry Lynn and A.J. Styles, Amazing Red and Low Ki… hell, you could select any of the 12 matches on this disc and come up with a winner.
In terms of extras, there's absolutely nothing, at least on my version. As I've since learned, the more complete version seems to have backstage sketches and some other extras, which would have been a bonus for an ROH novice like myself to better understand the characters.
Overall, it's a decent effort and helped me turn into an ROH fan (seeing a live show in New York City in 2011 also helped turn me around). Definitely not a must-see or anything, but certainly worth a shot if you can pick it up on the cheap.
Ring of Honor
Road to the Title