ROH 122 – Suffocation – 27th October 2006
So the last double shot wasn’t the greatest weekend for Ring Of Honor. The annual Survival Of The Fittest was mediocre, whilst Motor City Madness had one of the weakest undercards in ROH history hidden under two solid main events. But lets not dwell on the past, as the benefits of ROH almost every weekend of the year is that there’s quickly a new show to move onto. And this weekend it seems like real efforts have been made to freshen things up, after the roster appeared to be stagnating. As well as Dragon Gate’s Shingo Takagi arriving on a full-time basis, there are also two debuts. Tank Toland comes in, you’ll recognise him as one of the Dicks from Smackdown. But before that lame gimmick, the Dicks (then Tolands) were one of the better tag teams in OVW. The other is Brent Albright, another WWE cast-off who I’ve been wanting to see in ROH for some time. Main event tonight is Homicide and Joe teaming up again, this time against Jim Cornette’s henchman Adam Pearce, and his partner, Homicide’s arch-rival Steve Corino. We’re also getting Delirious vs Sydal again, and that’s always good. This is in Dayton, OH. Hosts are Jared David and Dave Prazak.
ROH VIDEO WIRE (11/10/06 – 20/10/06) – Jim Cornette appears to be hosting the first of two Wire episodes. This is taped before Motor City Madness. Shane Hagadorn interrupts and says a WWE superstar is there. Obviously since you’re watching this after the event you already know who it was.
– Dave Prazak interviews Bryan Danielson. The World Champion says his match against Joe on October 28th is now non-title, since he only has to defend the belt once a month.
– Austin Aries and Roderick Strong announce that they’re coming after the Kings Of Wrestling. Their rematch is at the next Philadelphia show.
– Jim Cornette adds some stipulations to this weekend’s Danielson/Joe match. It’s now no time limit and no holds barred. Hagadorn brings in the WWE superstar, Zach Gowen. Zach says he’s here to give ROH a ‘much needed dose of sports entertainment’. ‘You couldn’t draw money with paper and green crayons’ – Cornette. Delirious turns up as well, and Jim books them in a match.
– The next episode is taped in Florida, with the Briscoes as your hosts. They are seriously awesome. Apparently they like to get drunk in bars and see if anyone has what it takes to MAN UP!
– Later in the show Jay and Mark run into the FIP locker room and beat up Davey Richards.
Homicide cuts a promo so laughably inexplicable that even Samoa Joe cracks up whilst standing next to him. He has words for Corino, Pearce and the Briscoes…but I have no idea what they were.
Austin Aries is wrestling Claudio Castagnoli tonight, and he’s coming for revenge after the illegal briefcase-shot to the ribs at Glory By Honor 5.
Sal Rinauro vs Bryan Danielson
Of course this is non-title. Sal is accompanied by Jimmy Rave and has Embassy music still. Before they even come through the curtain Rave tells him not to screw up tonight or he’s done. This is nothing more than a tune-up match for Danielson. He’s still working with a shoulder injury and has a huge match with Samoa Joe tomorrow night.
Dragon has Rinauro in an armbreaker within 10 seconds of the match starting. He almost drags Sal around by the arm, and plants a few brutal kicks straight into the back. Sal finally gets some offence in, applying a shortarm scissors. It’s not on the injured shoulder though, and Danielson is able to stand up and lift Sal over his head. Moonsault press gets Rinauro a 2. He tries to pick Danielson’s leg and gets hauled into a hammerlock suplex. MMA elbows, then the SMALL PACKAGE! Dragon wins at 05:29.
Rating – * – That was a total squash, as it should be. Rinauro simply isn’t in Danielson’s league, and anything less than a total massacre would’ve weakened the champion. I’d imagine that Sal won’t be back for a while after this weekend. The Embassy was all he had keeping him over.
Jimmy Rave slaps Rinauro and throws him out of the ring, then calls out his opponent tonight.
Jimmy Rave vs Shingo
This is Shingo’s third ROH appearance, although his first since dropping his surname (Takagi). He lsot to Curry Man at Dragon Gate Invasion in August 2005, but defeated Ricky Reyes in an enjoyable little match in June at Destiny. He’s now in the States for an extended period of time so will be on the roster full-time for the foreseeable future. Rave hasn’t got a win in ages, even losing to Pelle Primeau last time.
Rave tries to kick Shingo but gets slapped in the face. He then tries to slap the Japanese competitor, only to be forearmed in the face. Shingo has gained weight since his initial appearances. Rave’s next scheme is to take the match to the floor, but again it doesn’t work as Shingo pelts him with big elbow strikes. He chokes Jimmy over the railing, and continues that theme inside with a chinlock then a knee drop across the throat. Rave manages to suplex Takagi into the turnbuckles. Shingo tries a German but Jimmy kicks him in the balls. Neckbreaker scores but Shingo kicks out. He goes for a running knee in the corner but Shingo moves. Rave to the floor, and Shingo goes after him with a clothesline from the apron. ELEVATED DDT from the second rope, then a knee drop from the second rope gets Shingo a 2. Jimmy comes back with a slingshot tornado DDT. He takes a gutbuster but manages to drop Takagi with a northern lights bomb for 2. Rave Stretch locked in, but Shingo powers up. Blood Fall blocked and Rave hits a spear. Ghanarea gets 2. Greetings From Ghana blocked with the BLOOD FALL! But Shingo takes too long to cover and it’s only 2. He drills Rave with a lariat, then hits a wrist clutch Burning Hammer to win at 13:35.
Rating – ** – It wasn’t a bad match, but at times it was methodical to the point of being boring. Credit to Shingo who kept his focus on the neck for the entire match which added a little extra to the finish. Both men are good, and it’s nice to see some fresh blood on the roster, but I think they’re not ideally suited as opponents. If you can stand the tedious pace this isn’t a bad match.
Brent Albright cuts an intense promo. He wants to prove himself in ROH, and make a name for himself at the expense of one of its founding fathers – Christopher Daniels.
Irish Airborne vs Colt Cabana/Jimmy Jacobs
The Crists get the healthy response they always get in Dayton, but are in desperate need of a win after spiralling down the card following their good showing in the big 8-man tag at Generation Now. Incredibly, Jimmy and Colt are still teaming together at the request of Lacey. Surprisingly they seem to be forming a friendship, so this team could well stick around for a while.
BJ Whitmer appears on the hard camera scaffold before the match (‘God…is that you? – Cabana) to yell at Jimmy again. I got the point last weekend. Whitmer just can’t pull off a Raven-style stalker angle. The match starts with Jimmy and Jake chaining. Cabana gets the tag and starts acting like Hacksaw Jim Duggan for no apparent reason. Even when being a clown he has no problems out-wrestling Dave Crist. Dave tries his usual flippedy armdrags but Colt counters into a monkey flip. That’ll teach him for doing the same thing in every match. Jake gets 2 on Jacobs with a neckbreaker. He gets the same again with a second rope moonsault as well. Cabana comes in and GERMAN SUPLEXES one Crist onto the other. That’s an example of how they’re becoming more fluent as a team. Together they give Dave a double Russian legsweep for 2, adding to that point. Alley-Oop double team splash nailed too. Hot tag to Jake but his momentum doesn’t last too long. Dave helps out with a quebrada press on Jacobs. ROCKET LAUNCHER SENTON BOMB on Dave gets 2. That’s an awesome double team from CC and JJ. Jake hits a springboard corkscrew enzi, and Dave flies out with a pescado. Torpedo headbutt on Jake, but he blocks the Contra Code. Irish Air Raid misses but Dave rolls Jacobs up for a shock win at 11:10.
Rating – * – There were some good things in that match, particularly some nice team work from Cabana and Jacobs, but I’m giving it a harsh rating. When Irish Airborne debuted they looked like they had a world of potential. But over 6 months later they’re still working basically the same match, and continue to have moments of total green sloppiness. This happened repeatedly during this match and it really hurt it for me. It wasn’t like this basic, formulaic match was worth writing home about anyway.
Tank Toland is another one who’s coming to ROH to prove himself. Pelle Primeau laughs about him being part of the Dicks…and gets choked out. Good, I hate that ugly little fraggle.
Brent Albright vs Christopher Daniels
One of the matches I’m most looking forward to this whole weekend. When OVW was in it’s really awesome run being booked by Paul Heyman, Albright was one of the top guys in the promotion, in an amazing three-way feud with Ken Doane (now Kenny Dykstra on Raw) and CM Punk. He’s a hell of a worker, and was brought up to Smackdown as Gunner Scott, Chris Benoit’s new protégé. That deal didn’t last very long and he’s been released. He’s big enough and talented enough to believe the WWE will sign back again before long. Anyway, good to see him in ROH. Daniels is in the hunt for the Tag belts so needs to score a win over the newcomer to keep that momentum going.
Big armdrags from Albright, basically throwing Daniels around to announce his arrival. Daniels tries a headlock to negate his opponent’s power advantage but Albright has it covered and stays on the arm. Daniels starts using a grounded headscissors instead because it puts Brent further from the arm, but Albright continues to totally dominate on the mat. Finally Daniels gets into a position to use his speed, landing a jumping heel kick for 2. He flips out of the corner into another headlock, but this time Brent counters with an ARM STUNNER! He tries a cross armbreaker but Fallen Angel is quick to find a rope. Dropkick on the injured shoulder, then a half nelson wristlock hold keeps Daniels down. Albright tries another arm stunner but this time Daniels hits him with a running STO. There’s some great selling from Daniels as he hits some rudimentary babyface comeback offence. Albright easily blocks Angels Wings then hits a colossal overhead belly to belly for 2. BEST MOONSAULT EVER with arm selling…and Albright takes the opportunity to apply another armbreaker. HALF NELSON SUPLEX! Daniels kicks out at 2. Brent tries to hook the injured arm for La Magistral, but Daniels is able to counter the hold and score a flash 3 count at 12:47.
Rating – *** – Lousy finish, but that was an awesome debut, and for my money Brent Albright is the most exciting talent to come into ROH this year (and I’m including Chris Hero in that). He’s got the size, phenomenal wrestling ability (he absolutely owned Daniels here) and a really intense persona. The crowd wasn’t as hot as it could’ve been, but I don’t think anyone would have failed to have noticed how easily Brent slipped into an ROH ring. Great job by Daniels too. I heavily criticised him after his tag match at Motor City Madness but he was back to his best here, and despite winning, did a hell of a job putting the new guy over. If Albright is still in ROH by October 2007 and hasn’t returned to Vince’s payroll, he could be the next real independent superstar.
Tank Toland vs Mark Briscoe vs Roderick Strong vs Chris Hero
Chris Hero’s presence in this fourway is particularly interesting. Obviously Roderick Strong will want to get at him, since Hero and Claudio basically cheated to win the tag belts from Aries and Strong in New York last month. But with new Tag champions, surely that puts the Briscoes back in the hunt for the gold, which means Mark (who is now missing his front teeth) will be looking for a victory. There’s also still heat between the Mark and Roddy since their teams have been wresting each other all year. Tank is another debutant, fresh from being dropped by the WWE. He was part of the Dicks there, and that never really got over. But in OVW the Tolands were a decent team. He’s now coming to ROH as a singles worker, and looking to impress. He’s got a crazy physique but he’ll need more than that and a few “look how strong I am” moves to get over I’d wager. Lets see what he’s got.
Hero runs away from Roderick, so it’s Strong and Toland to start. Nothing more than basic work but there’s no obvious screw ups. Tank blocks the Stronghold and we have tags all round. Hero/Mark isn’t exactly scintillating, although the commentary with Prazak, David and Bower all talking about his teeth is amusing. Slingshot double stomp on Hero’s chest, and that allows Roderick to dish out a big chop before Hero flees the ring again. Flying knee drop/backbreaker combo by Mark and Roderick on Toland. Tank dishes out some weak looking punches, but Mark quickly wipes him out with a springboard splash. Hero comes in and goes after Briscoe’s eyes to get an advantage. He gets 2 with a powerslam/senton sequence, with the pin broken by both Strong and Toland. Hero cheapshots Roddy just for kicks. Back to Briscoe’s eyes next…man this crowd is dead. Tag to Strong who almost murders Hero with a BACK SUPLEX backbreaker, then a falcon arrow for 2. Tank suplexes Strong on his face, then goes through Hero with a spear. Mark flies through Strong and Toland with a springboard dropkick. RUNNING SUICIDE DIVE ON TANK! In the wake of that Hero sneaks back in and almost pins Roderick using the tights. DEATH BY RODERICK! GIBSON DRIVER! STRONGHOLD! Hero taps at 13:02! If they hadn’t already, that totally earns Strong and Aries a rematch.
Rating – ** – The crowd killed this match – it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. But I actually found myself quite enjoying it. Mark Briscoe really was nothing but an extra in this match (so much so that he was having to work babyface to keep Hero and Strong apart) but he was the most enjoyable worker in there, with cool offensive moves throughout. The real story here is the Hero/Strong interaction, and that was done fine. Roderick got the victory over his enemy, and that gives him momentum going into the KOW vs Aries/Strong rematch. Toland really didn’t add a whole lot, although he didn’t get much ring time so.
Claudio Castagnoli does a run in, and joins Hero to give Strong the big boot Dislocator. They keep putting the boots to him until Austin Aries comes out for a save and kick start our next contest.
Claudio Castagnoli vs Austin Aries
One of the bigger matches on tonight’s card, as it’s Austin Aries’ opportunity to get revenge on Claudio after the illegal briefcase shot to the ribs at Glory By Honor 5. It was that which led to Aries being hit with the KRS-1 and the Kings Of Wrestling ending the lengthy title reign of Aries and Strong.
Castagnoli tries to batter Austin off the apron, but AA dropkicks the knee and sends him to the floor. Heat Seeking Missile scores, and Aries doesn’t let up. He spears Castagnoli into the railings, reels off a few kicks to the ribs, then scales the ropes for a flying elbow smash to the floor. He is going for some very literal revenge, repeatedly shoulder charging Double C’s midsection. In the end he does it with so much ferocity that the referee steps in, and Claudio takes advantage of that distraction to poke Aries’ eyes. He immediately drapes Austin over the top rope, followed by a gutbuster and an abdominal stretch. Aries tries a springboard reverse elbow strike but gets met with a mid-air European uppercut. Abdominal stretch again, this time with rope pulling. Eventually the referee spots that, and Aries counters into an ab stretch of his own – with his own rope cheating. Slingshot corkscrew splash gets 2, as does a springboard moonsault. Castagnoli blocks the Brainbuster by shouldering the stomach. Aries hits a missile dropkick instead, but Claudio steps out of the way of the running dropkick, then nails the Match Killer. As usual it doesn’t kill the match. Riccola Bomb countered with a hurricanrana and this time Austin is able to hit a running dropkick. He thinks about the 450, but Castagnoli cuts him off with the worst-looking Iconoclasm ever for 2. Brainbuster again blocked, but the Alfa Mari Water Slide is countered with the CRUCIFIX DRIVER! BRAINBUSTER! 450 SPLASH! It’s over at 11:19.
Rating – *** – That’s one of Claudio’s best singles match in ROH, and no surprise that it’s come against Aries, who’s probably the most consistent wrestler on the roster (outside of Danielson) right now. The impromptu start of the match meant they skipped a lot of the aimless and meandering basic wrestling exchanges that have started to dog ROH matches, and leapt straight into the storyline of assaulting each other’s ribs. It lost some of it’s initial momentum as the match went along, but I still found myself enjoying it. I criticised Castagnoli after Motor City Madness and said I had no interest seeing him wrestle singles matches, and he proved me wrong here. That was good stuff.
Chris Hero reappears, and puts Aries in what appears to be the Stronghold. The KOW look for the KRS-1 again but Roderick Strong runs in for a save. With decisive victories over both champions tonight, Aries and Strong move to the front of the queue for a title shot.
INTERMISSION – Dave Prazak introduces Lacey yelling at Jimmy Jacobs. She says if he and Cabana don’t get a win tomorrow night, he’s out of Lacey’s Angels. Cabana laughs at the idea that he’s even in the Angels. BJ Whitmer charges in at the end and spears Jacobs through a door.
Davey Richards vs Jay Briscoe
Jay is generally considered to be the better singles wrestler of the two Briscoes. He had a great match with Austin Aries at How We Roll to prove that. Richards is still trying to rediscover some momentum as 2006 moves into its final months. He’s had problems with the Briscoes previously so this is an extension of that. They attacked him in Florida (as we saw on the Video Wire), and he is now faced with both of them in singles matches this weekend. Davey has lost every tag match against the Briscoes, but wrestling solo is his speciality so he’ll be looking to get some wins back.
Richards declines a handshake, much like his mentor KENTA did with the Briscoes. They launch into a forearm duel. Davey hits some kicks then a satellite headscissors. Jay blocks the DR Driver and gets out of the ring pronto. Richards gets clubbed outside but he still has his senses and he evades a pescado from Briscoe. Back in the ring Davey tries to control the pace with a cravat, and from there he finds himself in a position to hit a running kick to the chest. He tries a satellite headscissors again but this time Jay counters it with a tilta-whirl facebomb. Stretch Plum applied, a move which Briscoe has won matches with this year. Jared David provides interesting comparisons between the Jay Driller and the DR Driver. Speaking of which, Davey manages to escape a Jay Driller attempt, but gets savagely knocked down again anyway. Eventually he catches Jay on the top rope and nails a superplex. Both men take their time getting to their feet, and they come up trading more stiff strikes. Richards ends up suplexing Briscoe over the top rope for the TWISTING TOPE SUICIDA! Back in the ring, Jay counters more kicks and gets 2 with a top rope leg drop. Davey hits a rana, then backflips off the top rope when Jay avoids a running knee strike. CAPTURE SUPLEX then a running STO get Richards a 2. Overhead belly to belly suplex scores as well, then a Saito suplex too. GERMAN SUPLEX for 2 as well. Davey is channelling the spirit of Taz here. He thinks about a DR Driver only to take a hotshot on the top rope. Jay nails a falcon arrow but both men are showing signs of wear. SLAP DUEL! HANDSPRING ENZIGURI…NO SOLD! RUNNING BOOT BY JAY! Jay Driller blocked with a backslide. DR DRIVER! Davey wins at 14:59.
Rating – *** – That was really good, particularly the last few minutes, which oozed quality. If they’d have tagged on a couple more minutes of big nearfalls at the end, or made the middle portion of this match a little more exciting we’d be talking a 4* effort. Having not won in months, and repeatedly lost to the Briscoes, I thought the match did a great job of showing Richards’ determination/desperation to finally get a victory. Richards/Mark tomorrow night will do well to top this. Rematch please…
Matt Sydal vs Delirious
These long time rivals are getting one more match with each other. Sydal won their first clash of 2006 at Epic Encounter 2 with the moonsault belly to belly suplex. That’s the same move he used to defeat the Lizard-man in their debut clash in 2004 at Reborn Stage 2, and again at Do Or Die 3. But Delirious finally got a win against Matt, making him submit in an exciting climax to the 2006 Survival Of The Fittest tournament. He’s now in line for the next title shot at Bryan Danielson as a result, and will look to go into that with a definitive victory over his friend/rival under his belt.
Sydal knows all about Delirious’ post-bell antics and stands face-to-face with him as he freaks out. Delirious is so good at being crazy he gets a ‘that was awesome’ chant before they even touch each other. Matt tries to ignore all the shenanigans and make it a mat-based wrestling match. He ends up getting caught up in Delirious’ tassels and is frustrated. Matt is acting a little heelish as Delirious’ mind games continue. He tries a springboard sunset flip but Delirious rolls through and kicks him in the face. Delirious tries the drop toehold set up for the Panic Attack, but Sydal reads it and is able to return the kick to the face. More heeling from Sydal as he disrespectfully pulls at the tassels. He goes for the standing moonsault but only flips into Delirious’ boots. NERVE HOLD by Delirious, then he punts Sydal in the spine for 2. Matt blocks the Cobra Stretch, so Delirious uses the clutch to throw him across the ring. He hides under the ring…SO SYDAL RINGS THE BELL TO MAKE HIM CRAZY! Delirious is freaked out by that, and eventually Sydal is able to capitalise with a spinning heel kick. Quebrada into the Slice gets 2. He starts ripping at the mask again, which doesn’t make him popular with the crowd. Cannonball leg drop scores for a 2 as well, then he grabs a mask-tassel to utilise it in a choke.
Delirious responds with Never Ending Story clotheslines. Sydal actually manages to block those and hits a climbing knee strike in the corner. Delirious comes up with another wild kick, this time to the face. He still can’t lock in the Cobra Stretch though. Panic Attack misses…Here It Is Driver blocked with a REGAL CUTTER! Sydal repeatedly enzis Delirious in the head then dropkicks him through the ropes to the outside. RUNNING MOONSAULT PRESS! He starts acting cocky again, and the time he spends means Delirious can recover. HERE IT IS DRIVER ON SYDAL…gets 2. Delirious is cut off as he prepares for Shadows Over Hell, and caught with the standing frankensteiner. SHADOWS OVER HELL ON DELIRIOUS! Sydal takes it to the corner again, but Delirious blocks both the moonsault belly to belly and a super rana. Panic Attack nailed. He tries Shadows Over Hell and dives straight into a kick to the stomach. Sydal sets up the Impact Driver (inverted Tombstone) but Delirious is able to roll free. COBRA STRETCH, but this time Sydal has a counter to it. STANDING MOONSAULT, but still no winner. Sydal Press attempted, Delirious moves, but Matt lands on his feet. Missile dropkick instead, but Delirious recovers with CHEMICAL IMBALANCE II! That gets Delirious the victory at 24:30.
Rating – **** – Definitely not the match I was expecting from them, but it really worked. Rather than try the jaw-dropping spot-show which worked so well in Cleveland, they took the generous time allowance they’d been given and told a really cool story. Delirious uses his usual off-the-wall games to throw Sydal off, so Matt starts heeling it up in an attempt to get himself the advantage. Lots of references to previous matches thrown in as well. I felt the finish was a bit sudden, and wanted to see them go on longer (which is quite an achievement for a match that had already gone 25 minutes). I think it was a real gamble giving these two so long in there but they rose to the challenge. If there’s a better match all weekend I’ll be surprised.
Jim Cornette accompanies the heels to the ring. He has a sore throat so hopefully he’ll keep it to under an hour. He promises that Pearce and Corino will end Homicide’s career before he can get to Final Battle. Corino takes a few cheap shots at the crowd for extra giggles.
Adam Pearce/Steve Corino vs Homicide/Samoa Joe
As far as I can tell this is under normal tag rules. Adam Pearce helped Cornette as he embarrassed and whipped Homicide at Death Before Dishonor 4, and Homicide is desperate for revenge on him. And we saw Corino return to ROH at the Time To Man Up/Fight Of The Century weekend at the request of Cornette, in order to help them take Homicide out of ROH. Next week in Philadelphia sees the final match in the lengthy rivalry between Cide and Corino, so both will jump at the chance to soften each other up.
Joe and Pearce immediately brawl to the floor, but Adam gets back in the ring before Homicide and Corino can square off. All four end up tumbling around ringside, much as you’d expect given the history behind it. A semblance of order is restored with Joe dominating both his opponents. Homicide claws at the ear of Steve Corino, something missed by both commentators who weren’t around in 2003 for the Bitter Friends Stiffer Enemies match. Pearce lugs Cide from behind giving the heels the advantage. Corino distracts Joe and the referee whilst Scrap Iron and his manservant Hagadorn take a few more cheap shots. That’s just the start as the veterans break out all the dirty tactics you’d expect as they work over the Notorious 187. Homicide with another violent ear slap that opens the window for a tag to Joe. STJoe on Pearce, then bootscrapes for Corino. The Scrap Daddy comes from behind again, and tosses Joe to the floor for Hagadorn and Corino to club away. Joe amusingly gives Shane a total no-sell. Homicide drops both opponents in the aisle for a TOPE CON HILO! Ole Ole Kick on Pearce before the fight spills into the crowd. Homicide DDT’s Corino on the bleachers, then the ruck continues with the usual assortment of chair throwing and wild fisticuffs. Steve ends up on a table at ringside. HOMICIDE SPLASHES HIM THROUGH IT! Joe smashes Pearce with a chair, then puts it down because he can KICK him just as hard. Corino gets 2 on Joe from a double flapjack with his partner. He climbs the ropes and gets EAR SLAPPED again! Second rope Ace crusher from Homicide, who then takes a spinebuster from Adam. Homicide has somehow got Cornette’s tennis racket, and he belts Corino with it. Pearce tries to suplex him, so Joe takes the racket and hits Pearce. Hagadorn runs in to try and get the racket back. LARIAT/BACK DROP DRIVER on Hagadorn. Cornette lands a racket shot on Homicide but he kicks out at 2. Joe has Corino…POWERBOMB THROUGH A TABLE! MUSCLEBUSTER ON PEARCE! But he feeds him to Homicide, who clobbers him with a big ol’ LARIAT. Homicide and Joe win at 17:05.
Rating – *** – It felt like a bit of a house show main event until the last five minutes got really hot (if a little over-booked)…but these four are all good enough workers that even working within themselves they can still string together a good match. I felt it did a really good job of playing up the heat between Homicide and Corino (something the Corino/Cabana vs Homicide/Ki match from last October didn’t do so well), therefore setting up their concluding match in Philly. Pearce and Corino were great as a team, much as you’d expect. I rewatched the Homicide/Whitmer vs Corino/Pearce tag from Fight Of The Century – which I was very critical of at the time – and this is MILES better.
Hagadorn tries to attack Joe and gets REPEATED B*TCH SLAPS, then dragged to the back. But that’s left Homicide by himself, and the Briscoes are called to the ring to attack him. Pearce, Corino and Cornette help as well, so it’s basically 5-on-1. CORINO SUFFOCATES HIM WITH A PLASTIC BAG! GIVEN THE TITLE OF THIS SHOW I NEVER SAW THAT COMING! In the end it takes Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, Matt Sydal, Davey Richards (all of whom have beef with the Briscoes) and Delirious (who has problems with Pearce and Cornette) to stop the assault.
Tape Rating – *** – That was a much better effort from ROH after the past two shows. There were still a few obvious problems – such as a dull crowd due to the increased shows having the double effect of saturating the markets whilst meaning fans are more disconnected from current storylines – but there were noted improvements. I had commented that ROH needed a bigger roster, and that the shows were starting to feel very samey – and I felt like both problems were addressed. The traditional format was shaken up a little. Bryan Danielson (who usually works 25+ minutes a night) was shifted to a brief opener, allowing all the undercard matches to get a decent time allowance – with Delirious and Sydal in particular enjoying the opportunity to go far longer than usual. The Briscoes worked singles matches which they don’t normally do. New talent helped too – with Brent Albright, Tank Toland and Shingo bulking up the midcard. Throw in a crowd-popping, plunder-filled, overbooked main event with a significant angle to finish…this is an improved show. It’s not the finished article by any means. There’s nothing MUST SEE about this event (although Delirious/Sydal is very good), and nothing that makes it stand up alongside a lot of the better stuff over the past 2 years. But I was VERY disappointed by the previous double shot, and I’m glad to see that a number of my grievances were addressed.
Top 3 Matches
3) Homicide/Samoa Joe vs Adam Pearce/Steve Corino (***)
2) Davey Richards vs Jay Briscoe (***)
1) Delirious vs Matt Sydal (****)