ROH 149 – Domination – 9th June 2007
This event caused quite the stir when it was taped back in June 2007. That night in Philadelphia Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness stole the show and delivered an MOTYC taped for ROH’s next pay-per-view. Now the controversy – it was announced that the match would be cut from this DVD and released as part of the June ppv DVD instead. To completists such as myself this is obviously pretty annoying – particularly considering we’re already having to wait extra months and watch our DVD’s out of sync because ppv DVD’s are released months later than regular shows. Obviously these kind of hitches are unavoidable given the nature of the ppv deal, but they do all up to frustrate some of ROH’s most loyal fans. Instead of the Nigel/Dragon classic which you’ll have to wait till the ‘Driven’ DVD to see, we get Danielson vs Jay Lethal from last May in FIP, and a surprisingly decent Four Way Fray from the pre-show for the Top Of The Class Trophy available as bonus features. On the main show tonight we’ve got Takeshi Morishima defending the World Title against Roderick Strong and the Briscoes defending their belts in a 2/3 Falls Match against the reunited Kings Of Wrestling. Let’s head to Philadelphia, PA and join the usual commentary duo of Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard.
ROH VIDEO WIRE (29/05/07) – See A Fight At The Roxbury (ROH148) review for details.
Holy cow Becky Bayless looks CRAZY hot tonight. She says we’re going to hear what various ROH stars think about ROH switching to pay-per-view throughout the night.
Hallowicked vs Matt Sydal
If you listen to what Matt has been saying to the cameras during his recent matches, he’s been hyping himself up as the guy that can beat any masked wrestler in ROH. Obviously we know about his extensive history with Delirious. He beat El Generico last night in Boston and now has Hallowicked, one of the outstanding talents from the Chikara promotion, to overcome in order to back up his claim.
Prazak points out that Sydal hasn’t signed an ROH contract because he’s such a hot free agent and is in demand all over the US and Japan. He and Wicked demonstrate their ability to hit lucha armdrags from a number of positions before Sydal takes control. He heels it up a little by going after Hallowicked’s mask, particularly the horn/stem. He locks in a bow and arrow stretch using the aforementioned stem to give him some extra leverage. Finally Wicked hits a nice headscissors and a version of the Iconoclasm for 2. Sydal hits the jumping frankensteiner to take his opponent off the top rope and cut his comeback short. He hits a flurry of strikes in the corner but jumps into a dropkick from Hallowicked. He tries another Iconoclasm but Matt counters with a rana. Hallowicked pops straight back up and gets a CLOSE 2-count following a Yakuza kick. They trade some hot nearfalls before Sydal standing moonsault’s himself straight into Wicked’s knees. SKY HIGH gets the Chikara athlete another 2. He tries a fisherman buster but Sydal counters into a weird DDT. Sydal Press nailed and it’s over at 09:18.
Rating – ** – It was a bit too one-sided for my tastes but let’s be fair, that was a fun match, it popped the crowd and was a good way to start the show. It was also the first time ROH acknowledged the rumours that Sydal was leaving, by playing him up as a “free agent”, which goes nicely alongside the cocky streak he’s developed over the past few months.
Lacey vs Daizee Haze
This is the other half of Daizee Haze’s double-feud. Just like her issues with Sara Del Rey, we’ve seen these two wrestle a number of times. The difference here is that with these two ladies, it’s all personal and all about hatred. Daizee has been injured at the hands of Lacey in the past, and they’ve been feuding for a hell of a long time in ROH. They’ve yet to have a match even approaching the quality of the one that main evented SHIMMER Volume 1 though. Lacey has Jimmy Jacobs at ringside with her, as they’re now a couple.
Lacey gets on the mic and tries to convince Daizee that she’s a changed woman and just wants to have a clean wrestling match tonight. She even follows the Code Of Honor to prove it. The opening minutes seem to prove her point as well, as they go hold-for-hold and try to see who the better woman is. That’s not a style suited to Haze though, and she’s only able to get an advantage after increasing the pace and hitting a couple of armdrags. Lacey impresses everyone by doing the splits then rolling into a Boston crab but can’t keep Daizee down in it for long. She tries to do it a second time but Haze learns from her past mistake and dropkicks her in the back. Lacey retreats to the floor and savagely drives Daizee back-first into the ring apron. She tries to use Jimmy Jacobs’ cane as she starts to abandon her plans to have a clean match. The focus of her attack is the neck and back of the Haze who has found herself in real trouble. Daizee comes back with a messy sunset flip and an equally ugly facecrusher for 2. Heart Punch ducked…LUNGBLOWER! There’s less than a minute left in the time limit incidentally. Heart Punch nailed but Lacey rolls through the Mind Trip and leaves the ring again. She stays out there as the 10 minute time limit expires so this one ends in a draw.
Rating – ** – I didn’t think this match was too bad, but it had the usual problems. Daizee Haze is really sloppy and nothing she does in the ring looks particularly good. The match was fine when Lacey was in control (i.e. working over the back etc), but any time it was time for Haze to step up, it fell flat. It’s starting to really bug me that she’s the centrepiece of the female division in ROH. If you watch a SHIMMER DVD you’ll see there are some phenomenal women athletes out there. But they’re gradually getting signed up to the TNA roster and as that happens, less and less of them become available to ROH (I’m referring to Amazing Kong and Cheerleader Melissa – both of whom are now under contract to TNA). Daizee just isn’t good enough to carry the responsibility of being the top female babyface.
Erick Stevens needs a bigger T-shirt. He says despite the obstacles in front of him, the ppv deal means he (like everyone else) needs to step up. That was an awful promo.
Mike Quackenbush/Jigsaw vs Kevin Steen/El Generico
This should be a good tag team match. Quack delivered an outstanding performance last night at A Fight At The Roxbury and has generally looked to be an awesome addition to the roster in all three of his ROH matches so far. Jigsaw looked good during his debut weekend in the Midwest and he’s back to team with Quackenbush as he did at The Battle Of St Paul. Kevin Steen and El Generico have had their rematch with the Briscoes signed. That match is at the next ppv taping, and they need to build some momentum between now and then.
Steen has me in stitches before the bell rings by continually insisting the camera film him and not Generico as they make their entrance. Jigsaw gets the better of Generico from the bell, then brings in Quack who does one of those awesome sequences where he does a ton of stuff without letting go of a knucklelock. Steen totally overpowers Jigsaw so he is forced to up the pace and hits armdrags and headscissors from all over the shop to make an impression. He makes a shocking error by turning his back on Mr Wrestling, who promptly jumps him and starts to isolate him from his partner. Some of Steen’s antics are just unbelievable. He’s one of the most entertaining wrestlers going at the moment in my opinion. Jig tries a backslide but Kev has no problems swinging him round into a backbreaker. Quack is getting increasingly pissed off on the apron waiting for a tag. Finally Jig drops Generico with a tilta-whirl DDT and he edges over to make the hot tag. Quackenbush brings the crowd to his feet as he takes to Steen…but Jigsaw has to save him from the Package Piledriver with a superkick. Lightning Mike to the top rope but Steen pulls him off for a powerbomb. Generico gets 2 with a flying splash. Full nelson facebuster by Quackenbush and he tags Jigsaw…who frog splashes into Generico’s knees. Yakuza Kick misses. TORTURE WRACK POWERBOMB BY JIGSAW! SWANTON BY QUACK! FLYING DOUBLE KNEE DROP gets 2 before Steen drags Jigsaw out of the ring. Mr Wrestling in legally again. MOONSAULT MISSES! Jigsaw tries a running frankensteiner but gets caught. SOMERSAULT VAN TERMINATOR BY GENERICO! SECOND ROPE AWESOMEBOMB BY STEEN! IT GETS 2! SUICIDE DIVE BY GENERICO! Steen gives Jigsaw the PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! BRAINBUSTER by Generico! It’s all over for Jig at 13:05.
Rating – **** – An absolutely terrific little undercard match that I haven’t seen receive too much praise. This was four guys who have struggled for years to break onto ROH’s roster all going out there and working damn hard to show they’ve earned their spot. From Steen’s amazingly entertaining beatdown of Jigsaw, the bizarre chemistry on the Steen-erico team, Quack continuing to look ridiculously good no matter who he’s in the ring with, to the super-exciting climax, I can’t give this match enough praise. It’s only a short little match, but I thought it was superb.
Irish Airborne get some promo time for some reason. They want one more shot in ROH to show what they can do in front of a ppv audience.
Matt Cross vs Davey Richards
This introduction basically writes itself. Cross is a member of The Resilience. Richards is a member of the No Remorse Corps. The factions hate each other, these two want to tear lumps out of each other.
Davey tries to go straight for his 14:59 Kimura but Cross is quick to find a rope so it doesn’t work. A dropkick sends Davey to the floor, and he fakes on a dive, causing Richards to turn his back and leave himself vulnerable to a tope suicida. Back in the ring he hits a headscissors and a Japanese armdrag to keep Richards on the back foot. Davey suplexes M-Dogg onto the ropes and watches him bounce over them to the floor. It takes that little for the match to turn in the favour of the NRC representative. It’s too early for him to hit the DR Driver so he brutalises Cross with chops then a stepover kick. M-Dogg is so not over that people are actually getting behind Davey at this point. Cross tries a crossbody but flies into a gutbuster. Bridging German suplex gets Richards a 2-count. M-Dogg manages to land a springboard double stomp then a standing moonsault but can’t put him away. He nails a super hurricanrana then a DVD over the knee. Corkscrew moonsault scores for 2 and Davey rolls out of the ring to get some respite. M-Dogg gives chase with the Space Flying Tiger Drop, but he misses the Shooting Star double stop on the way back in. TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER…14:59! Cross taps out to Richards’ kimura finisher at 10:12.
Rating – * – I didn’t like this one so much. I had no problems with M-Dogg when he first came in. He was a spotty, insignificant undercard guy who provided a bit of diversity because he can do a few fancy spots. My problem now is that he’s just not good enough to justify a push up the card, a place in The Resilience and a part in what would be one of the biggest storylines in ROH but for the fact that the most over guy in it (Aries) is gone and we’re left with guys like Cross who just doesn’t cut it. His matches have no substance, his spots look contrived and there’s no way you can believably see him beating guys like Richards, Strong or Romero.
Speaking of the other members of the No Remorse Corps. They turn up to put more of a beating on Cross…but he’s saved by Delirious and Erick Stevens. Erick and Strong fight up the aisle leaving us with our next match.
Rocky Romero vs Delirious
Once again, this introduction paragraph basically writes itself. Delirious has had a problem with the No Remorse Corps since Roderick Strong was particularly brutal with him when he was concussed during a match the last time we were in Philadelphia. After getting powerbombed onto a guardrail segment on pay-per-view at Respect Is Earned, Delirious was able to gain a measure of revenge by pinning Strong during a 6-man tag match last night.
Romero blocks the Panic Attack and hits a missile dropkick, but spends too much time doing his ‘Azucar’ dance and gets pitched to the outside. Delirious scales the ropes for his Suicide Flip then takes the match into the crowd. They fight all the way up the bleachers then all the way back down again with neither man getting a sustained advantage. That is until Delirious throws another bunch of chairs at Rocky. He lines up the Shadows Over Hell as we get back into the ring, but settles instead for the Panic Attack. He tries Shadows again only for Romero to catch him in an armbar. Delirious kicks him in the head and tries to batter him through the canvas. Cobra Stretch evaded and Romero soars into a DDT for 2. Armbar locked in again but Delirious rolls into the ropes for a second time. Diablo Armbar blocked and Delirious finally does hit Shadows Over Hell. Cobra Stretch locked in but Rocky gets to his feet. Tiger suplex nailed…but the Knockout Kick misses. Delirious pins him for 3 at 09:03.
Rating – ** – That was fine for what it was. I don’t think it ever matched the intensity of other brawls (like Steen/Briscoe from last night in Boston) but as a way to progress the Delirious/NRC feud it was adequate. My problem at the moment is that I really like the No Remorse Corps, but most of their enemies right now are just blah. Jack Evans is good, but he’s not the best singles worker ever and he’s hard to book because he misses so many shows. Erick Stevens has shown some promise but I’m still not sold on him. Delirious really peaked in ROH with those matches against Danielson last year and has been getting increasingly stale ever since…and nobody cares about M-Dogg.
Romero has a tantrum and pops right up to deliver the Knockout Kick to Delirious. Richards and Strong reappear to attack Delirious until The Resilience make the inevitable save.
Larry Sweeney is excited about what the ppv deal will mean for Sweet’n’Sour Inc. He didn’t really have much else to say. He was topless though, if any girls/guys out there like that.
Erick Stevens vs Brent Albright vs BJ Whitmer vs Jimmy Rave
These four will do well to even get close to the quality of last night’s four corner survival. Stevens said earlier that people need to up their game and deliver wins now ROH is on ppv. As such, he and everyone else will be looking to pick up a decent victory here and move themselves up the card. Albright said last night he wants to move into title contention. BJ Whitmer threw a hissy-fit after his match with Albright last night because he can’t buy a win at the moment. Jimmy Rave is supposedly meaner than ever now he’s come back from his jaw injury, but looks like he’s treading water more than ever after a comprehensive defeat to American Dragon on the last DVD.
In a clever touch, the referee is the same one that BJ attacked last night. It’s clear there’s still some heat between Whitmer and Albright over that incident as well. Albright looks impressive and takes it to Stevens in the early going – displaying great strength to lift him for a delayed vertical suplex. We look set to get BJ/Albright for the first time but Rave breaks that up by tagging Brent out. Prazak says Whitmer and Rave have the competed in the most ROH matches of anyone on the current roster. That’s an interesting statistic. BJ sends Rave to the floor with an exploder suplex, then dives into a tope suicida to wipe him out again on the floor. Stevens leaps from the apron into a forearm on him as Albright climbs the ropes. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA by Albright! Stevens tries to go to the top rope only to be shoved off by the Gun for Hire, and Jimmy capitalises by attacking him on the outside. Albright joins him and hits an overhead suplex out there. As usual it’s broken down into a makeshift tag match with Brent and Jimmy working over Stevens with Whitmer waiting anxiously on the outside for the hot tag. Eventually that tag does come (although it only gets a lukewarm crowd response) and BJ and Albright finally collide or the first time. Albright hits a German suplex but Stevens prevents him from hitting the Half Nelson. 61-Knee into Jimmy’s dodgy jaw. ROLLING GERMANS on BJ for 2. Those two start fighting on the floor again and Stevens drops Rave with the Choo Choo then a big powerslam. Jimmy looks for the Heel Hook, but it doesn’t matter because he’s not legal. Brainbuster by Whitmer puts a stop to him. He drops Stevens with an exploder…but he’s not the legal man either. BJ tries to attack the ref again. HALF NELSON SUPLEX BY ALBRIGHT! He wins at 12:54.
Rating – ** – The finish was brilliant story-telling. They followed up on last night by using the same referee, and Albright capitalised as Whitmer once again let his frustrations get the better of him. In truth the match was pretty bland. Brent Albright looked pretty good which is nice. He’s been largely disappointing since he’s made his way to ROH. I expected huge things from him after seeing him in OVW going at it with the likes of CM Punk but he’s struggled to find his feet.
Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Kings Of Wrestling – ROH Tag Title 2/3 Falls Match
ROH officials were so impressed with the performances of Claudio Castagnoli and Matt Sydal when they challenged for the Tag Titles at the first ever ROH ppv that they’ve decided to give both men rematches with a partner of their choice. Castagnoli takes his tonight, and he has chosen his former friend, partner and co-Tag Champion in Chris Hero. Their Kings Of Wrestling team was disbanded at Final Battle 2006 when Hero walked out on Claudio to sign up with Sweet’n’Sour Inc. However, whilst Castagnoli has heat with Larry Sweeney, he still has decidedly mixed feelings for his former ally and will hope rekindling their team leads to them becoming 2-time Tag Champions. The last time the Briscoes were in a 2/3 Falls Match was back in January – when they beat another set of former Tag Champions (Austin Aries and Roderick Strong) by two straight falls.
It’s Philadelphia where the KOW are always over so the crowd is really hot from the bell. Hero starts the match and is as full of himself as ever. That is, until Jay kicks him in the face, prompting him to tag out rapidly. Castagnoli gets the tag but the Briscoes are able to get the better of him using their ability to work as a team. Claudio gutwrench suplexes Mark from a seated position (which was damn impressive) then gets 2 with the crab elbow drop. The Kings team up to hit a needlessly fancy shoulder tackle in the corner, then Claudio impresses everyone with his strength AGAIN by dragging Mark all the way up from the canvas into a full nelson slam. Big boot/dislocator combo gets 2 on the younger Briscoe, who is totally at the mercy of the reformed Kings Of Wrestling at the moment. Finally he springboards from the apron and wipes out both of them to make the tag to Jay. He clotheslines Castagnoli out of the ring . JAY DRILLER ON HERO! The Briscoes win the first fall at 10:38. The second fall begins with Hero lying flat out on the floor so Claudio basically has to go it alone. He tries the giant swing on Jay only to be cut off by Mark’s karate. He then tries it on Mark only for Jay to stop him. Mark gets 2 with a springboard corkscrew splash but Claudio hits back with the Match Killer. This time he is able to execute the giant swing on Jay and he gets 2 with a big European uppercut. The Briscoe Biel sets him back again but, fortunately for him, Hero is back on the apron and manages to make a save. Springboard European uppercut scores and Claudio tags out to his partner. CRAVAT-O-CLASM on Mark for 2. Briscoe blocks the Nodowa Otoshi but Hero nails a cradling back suplex instead. Jay tagged and the Briscoes get 2 with a top rope leg drop/sidewalk slam combo. Hero rakes his eyes to block the press slam DVD and hits the Nodowa Otoshi second time of asking. ALPAMARE WATER SLIDE BY CLAUDIO…FOR 2! He tries the Riccola but Jay blocks. S’n’S Inc. stop Mark as he looks to set up for the spike Jay Driller. MOONSAULT ONTO TEAM SWEET’N’SOUR! RUNNING RICCOLA BOMB NAILED…but Mark dives to save his brother from being pinned. SPRINGBOARD DOOMSDAY DEVICE! The Briscoes win 2-0 at 18:46.
Rating – **** – It probably wasn’t as exciting as their Final Battle 2006 match, but I’ve given it the same rating because it was still a really good match. Much as all Briscoes matches do, this one used ridiculously fluid tag team wrestling throughout, gradually increasing the pace and intensity, leading to an all-action, spot-packed finale. It was great to see the KOW team out there again. They’re one of the best teams going, both in terms of wrestling and entertainment, and it’s a shame the Claudio/WWE fiasco caused ROH to book an end to their run in ROH. Hopefully one day they’ll be reunited…but for now they’re on a crash-course to feud you’d imagine.
Daizee Haze says ROH going onto ppv means that the female athletes on the roster can show that they’re the best women’s wrestlers in the world. She gets cut short by the Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew (Lacey and Rain) who attack her. Was Rain on this show? Why the hell couldn’t we have had a MHWC vs Haze/partner tag?
Takeshi Morishima vs Roderick Strong – ROH World Title Match
This is your main event for evening. If you notice the crowd is flagging it’s because this is the only match on the show taped AFTER the Danielson/Nigel match that is being saved for ppv. This is champion vs champion as Strong still holds the FIP Title. As we saw in his series with Bryan Danielson, Roderick is an exceptionally tough and determined challenger. He’s putting together quite a run as FIP Champion, defeating the likes of Aries, Christopher Daniels, Pac etc (and those are just the guys he’s beaten in ROH) too, so whilst it appears a formality that Mori will win here – he’ll certainly have his work cut out if he wants to make it out of Philadelphia with the belt.
Strong lays in some of his trademark chops from the bell but he barely moves the massive champion who practically ignores them. He manages to kick him out of the ring. SICK KICK OFF THE APRON! Back in the ring Morishima abruptly cuts off all Strong’s momentum with a single Bossman Slam. RUNNING ASS ATTACK flattens the challenger, who in just two moves has been put totally on the back foot. Leonard and Prazak wonder if Roderick will be able to hit any of his usual backbreaker as Shima continues to assault him, sandwiching him between ass and guardrail. Strong tries to come from the second rope but is easily caught and suplexed. Morishima tries a Back Drop Driver on the apron but Roddy fights it. He unsuccessfully tries a sunset flip bomb to the floor, but manages to move in time to ensure Mori drops his ass hard into the apron. Sidewalk slam on the floor nailed, Strong finally able to do some damage to the champion’s back. Rather ridiculously he tries the Death By Roderick and Morishima sends him back to the mat with a clothesline. Cartwheel avalanche then the MISSILE DROPKICK score. Strong blocks the Back Drop Driver and just about lifts Morishima into a pumphandle suplex for 2. Half nelson backbreaker blocked and Shima smacks Roddy down again. The FIP Champion hits a superplex…but MORI NO SELLS! DON’T SUPERPLEX MORISHIMA! DEATH BY RODERICK! SICK KICK! TWO COUNT! Roddy just doesn’t have enough power to lift him into the Gibson Driver and ends up getting sat on. BACK DROP DRIVER! But Roderick landed too close to the ropes and he puts a foot on them. Urinage suplex by the champion, then a lariat for 2. BACK DROP DRIVER AGAIN! It’s all over at 13:12.
Rating – *** – That was pretty much like last night’s defence against Jay Briscoe. Not a bad match by any stretch of the imagination, indeed, the finish was really exciting (just like in Boston yesterday). The problem was, this is another run of the mill, predictable title defence for Mori. At no point was this match ever good enough to make you believe Strong was going to pull out the upset. As such, the amount of drama within the match was always going to be strictly limited. I also disagree with booking this match at all. Gabe has been shilling the FIP belt as a “world” title for months. He wants us to see the FIP belt as a prestigious prize when it’s defended in ROH, not a “secondary” title. By having the ROH World Champion comprehensively defeat the FIP Champion (lets face it, this was a pretty DOMINANT performance from Morishima) in less than 15-minutes, you’re immediately implying there’s a vast difference in ability levels between the respective champions.
Tape Rating – ** – To be honest, this was pretty much the show I was expecting. Reading live reports of this show, it was the Danielson/McGuinness match that blew everyone away. That was the main talking point of the show, the main selling point of the show, the match everyone in attendance in Philadelphia came away talking about. What we’ve got here on DVD is a perfectly reasonable (if short) ROH show, with the main event/centrepiece cut out for use elsewhere. It’s like taping Wrestlemania but clipping off Rock/Austin for another day, or Summerslam ’92 but taking Hart/Bulldog out. The two tag matches were really good and the main event wasn’t a bad match, but without that big focal point of the show, the bland/mediocre/bad on this show far outweighs the good. Skip this and just buy the Driven ppv. You’ll be getting the best part of this show there.
Top 3 Matches
3) Takeshi Morishima vs Roderick Strong (***)
2) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Kings Of Wrestling (****)
1) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Mike Quackenbush/Jigsaw (****)
Top 5 Fight At The Roxbury/Domination Non-PPV Matches
5) Takeshi Morishima vs Roderick Strong (*** – Domination)
4) Takeshi Morishima vs Jay Briscoe (*** – A Fight At The Roxbury)
3) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Kings Of Wrestling (**** – Domination)
2) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Mike Quackenbush/Jigsaw (**** – Domination)
1) Castagnoli vs Quackenbush vs McGuinness vs Hero (**** – A Fight At The Roxbury)