ROH 159 – Manhattan Mayhem 2 – 25th August 2007
It’s a big gamble giving this show the title that it has. The original Manhattan Mayhem has gone down in ROH folklore as one of the top shows in the promotions history. With three spectacular championship matches and the unforgettable presence of the Rottweilers, that show is a must-own in all Ring Of Honor fan’s collections. This one has a lot to live up to! But hey, the card is pretty decent. We have the long-awaited ROH Championship match between Takeshi Morishima and Bryan Danielson. That’s getting MOTY praise so I’m eager to see it. Another instalment in the brilliant Briscoes/Steen-erico saga main events. This time the two teams clash in a 2/3 Falls Match. We’ve also got Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli against each other for the first time in ROH, an intriguing three-way featuring the remaining original Generation Next members and Mike Quackenbush’s last Ring Of Honor appearance for 2007. We’re in the Manhattan Centre again. DP and Lenny Leonard call it.
ROH VIDEO WIRE – See Caged Rage (ROH158) review for details.
The Hangmen 3 open the show giving Shane Hagadorn an absolutely ridiculous haircut. BJ Whitmer wants to hurt Pelle Primeau in their 6-man tag tonight.
Mike Quackenbush/Jigsaw vs Matt Cross/Erick Stevens
After losing the big Street Fight to the No Remorse Corps at Death Before Dishonor 5, Austin Aries has told his charges in The Resilience that they need to start picking up some wins. They did just that in a solid 6-man tag bout last night, and they’ll be looking to keep the momentum going against the Chikara duo. The match with Danielson at DBD5 was originally scheduled to be Quack’s last ROH visit for 2007, thanks to his packed schedule of bookings elsewhere. Fortunately they managed to pick him up for one more show, and he gets a chance to compete in the sold out Manhattan Centre.
Quack starts with Stevens and is actually thrown off his game by the size of his opponent. It takes him a while to come to terms with Stevens’ size, and even when he does trap him in a hold, Erick marches to his corner and tags M-Dogg. Cross has a much tougher time with Jigsaw, who uses his fancy matwork to confuse him. A tilta-whirl facebomb brings Matt back into the match, and he tags out to Stevens who has enough power to dominate Jig. He holds Jigsaw in place for Cross to nail a leapfrog double stomp to the back. The Resilience soon render Quack a virtual spectator on the apron, totally helpless as they bit a dropkick/sidewalk slam combo for 2. Cross tries a split-legged moonsault but tumbles into Jig’s knees, and he makes the hot tag to Mike. He holds Stevens in position for some inadvertent chops from his own partner then puts him on the top rope for a RUNNING SUPER RANA BY JIGSAW! SWANTON BOMB from Quack and that gets 2. Jig misses a top rope leg drop…but still looks for Jig’n’Tonic. STEVENS CLOTHESLINES HIM INTO A CODE RED FROM M-DOGG! Choo Choo Avalanche from Stevens. CORKSCREW MOONSAULT gets Cross a 2. Quackenbush helps his partner with a double DDT then the Black Tornado Slam on Matt. Jig tries a few kicks on Erick but gets hammered. Stevens wins it with the Doctor Bomb at 12:26.
Rating – *** – An exciting way to open the show and get the fans into it. That’s the best Cross and Stevens have ever looked as a team, so credit to Quack and Jigsaw for helping them look good. Not a whole lot of legal man appreciation to be seen though. I wish Quack could make more shows.
Mitch Franklin vs Jimmy Jacobs
This is Jimmy’s second comeback match, as he looks to test out his surgically repaired knee against ROH students. Mitch is the new Top Of The Class Trophy holder (he beat Pelle Primeau in a pre-show match last night, which is included as an extra on the Caged Rage DVD). He still looks horrible with dirty greasy hair and mouldy green tights that make him look like a 15 year old Nirvana fan in his underwear. It’d be a huge upset if he can beat Jimmy in ROH’s most prestigious venue.
The cellphones are out Jacobs gets another excellent ovation. He’s come a long way since wearing fuzzy boots and HUSS-ing for pops. Franklin hits a few early armdrags and sends him to the floor though. He dropkicks the knee (following Rhett Titus’ example from last night) and Jacobs backs off again. But the youngster gets too cocky, trying a top rope move and diving straight into a big clothesline. Jimmy leaves the ring again to give Franklin the ringpost dropkick. Mitch almost pins him with a crucifix pin, then sends him into the turnbuckles after a top rope headscissors. Jacobs hangs him in a tree of woe and hits into a dropkick. The senton bomb/guillotine choke combo finishes at 05:15.
Rating – * – Not bad, but Mitch got in way too much offence. I know he’s the TOTC Trophy holder but still. Jimmy should’ve been ploughing through the academy graduates on his return. Instead both Rhett Titus and Mitch Franklin got a surprising amount of offence in. He looked more confident on his knee tonight though, which is a positive sign.
Jack Evans says we’ll find out who the best founding member of GeNext is tonight. He thinks it’ll be him thanks to someone he’s found to motivate and get the best out of him. Off screen a familiar voice makes weird bird noises…
Adam Pearce/Brent Albright/BJ Whitmer vs Nigel McGuinness/Delirious/Pelle Primeau
Delirious’ motivation in this match is obvious. He was abused and had his mask stapled to his head last night in Hartford as Pearce unveiled his Hangmen 3 group. After months of feuding with Pearce, it seems like the Scrap Daddy had finally had enough and wanted to make an example of him. His partners seem a little bit drawn at random though. Whitmer wants to hurt Pelle after his shock first round exit in the Race To The Top Tournament. Nigel McGuinness doesn’t really fit in, but did beat BJ in a hella-dull match in Osaka last month.
Hagadorn’s new haircut may be the single silliest thing I’ve ever seen. There’s not even any explanation for it. Delirious runs out without his partners because he’s so anxious to get his hands on the H3. Nigel hammers on Pearce on the outside, setting him up for Pelle’s crazy missile dropkick off the apron. Delirious goes for the Cobra Stretch and gets chokeslammed by Scrap Iron. The heel team are all big guys and they manage to isolate Delirious, using their power and aggression to keep him in their corner. It’s not pretty but they relentlessly pound away on their masked opponent. At one point he looks like making a tag, but Albright slugs both his partners off the apron then hits a beautiful belly to belly suplex. Even when he does make it, the heels pull the old distract the ref so he doesn’t see it trick. Delirious finally nails a flying headscissors on Whitmer and gets the hot tag to Nigel. Hagadorn tries to sneak into the ring and eats a MCLARIATOOOOOO! McLariat for BJ as well which gets 2. DOUBLE STOMP TOWER OF LONDON by Primeau and McGuinness. Albright comes in and smacks the CRAP out of Pelle. HALF NELSON SUPLEX ON NIGEL! Delirious gives Brent the Panic Attack but backs up into Pearce’s rack bomb. Springboard Thesz press by Primeau…ADRENALINE SPIKE BY WHITMER! He pins Pelle at 11:35.
Rating – *** – That was fairly good as well. The H3 didn’t look overly polished as a trio but it was their first time teaming so I can look past it. I like Pearce, Albright and Hagadorn so I’m glad they’re being given something meaningful to do – even if it is feuding with Delirious. These guys didn’t pay a lot of attention to who was legal here either. Remember a couple of years ago when ROH made a big push to take care of little details like that?
Whitmer continues hammering on Primeau, with Pearce encouraging him to do more damage. The poor kid is bleeding as the entire group take turns at hurting him. Albright’s Half Nelson Suplex looked particularly brutal. That’s Pelle Primeau out injured for the foreseeable future.
ROH President Cary Silkin and Ryo Nakata (a NOAH representative) come to the ring to announce Glory By Honor 6 weekend, with four NOAH guys involved. Takeshi Morishima, Naomichi Marufuji and KENTA will all be there, and Mitsuharu Misawa will be making his ROH debut.
During that announcement, Delirious has made his way to the basement of the building where cameras catch up with him ranting at Adam Pearce and his group. He actually did a good job conveying anger.
Pac vs Davey Richards
Live reports absolutely slaughtered this match. Hopefully it’s better than all the criticism it’s received. Pac’s a talented guy and has been getting worldwide notoriety for his work recently. His match with Bryan Danielson last night in Hartford definitely wasn’t an example of his best work though…since he was totally squashed and made to look like a jobber.
Bobby Cruise decides he wants to pronounce Pac as ‘Pack’ tonight. Not that Pac is a great name for a wrestler but ‘Pack’ sounds dumb. Davey outwrestles Pac to start with, then batters him with vicious crossfaces and forearms. Richards’ basic idea is to work the mat and negate the high-flying of Pac, but the fans are already getting a bit bored. Pac hits back with a dropsault that was apparently so terrifying that Davey runs up the ramp to safety. Pac does some needless flips before hitting a basic dropkick in the corner. He suplexes Richards to the floor then climbs to the top. CORKSCREW SHOOTING STAR PRESS! Back inside they go back and forth again, Pac getting a 2 with a moonsault into a double knee drop. Richards hits a flurry of chops in forearms in the corner and I detect an audible ‘Benoit’ chant. Richards makes that worse with rolling Germans. There’s a portion of the crowd that clearly aren’t comfortable with all the references to Chris Benoit, but I’ve got no problem with it. Shooting Star back splash by Pac, but he barely connects. Richards locks in the 14:59 only to see Pac turn it over into a roll-up for 2. The British wrestler scores with a reverse hurricanrana and gets another nearfall. He tries a Dragonrana and gets caught. Richards tries to powerbomb him, but that Pac counters into another rana. He takes way too long climbing the ropes, but still flips out of Davey’s rope-run German superplex attempt. Davey still hits a Tombstone then the Kimura for victory at 12:39.
Rating – ** – It certainly wasn’t the atrocity it was made out to be, but it wasn’t particularly good either. Pac didn’t do himself any favours. He looked like a lost lamb in front of the ravenous NYC crowd and froze under pressure. Richards looked a tad more comfortable with all the negativity (he’s a heel anyway), but he really made everything worse by playing up to the ‘Benoit’ chants (which I, personally, had no problems with, but he should’ve been smarter and realised it wasn’t working tonight). Like Danielson last night, he also didn’t look in any kind of mood to sell offence or make Pac look good. I don’t think Pac will get another flight over here any time soon. Pelle Primeau could’ve had the exact same matches with Danielson and Richards this weekend, at a fraction of the price.
Jack Evans comes out to talk about starting his own group, and how it hasn’t really happened due to his bad ‘work ethic’. That’s why he’s brought someone in to motivate him…and Julius Smokes walks through the curtain. He gets a huge pop, which is odd (even in NYC) because I didn’t think people were really missing him. Jack’s new group is called The Vulture Squad.
Jack Evans vs Roderick Strong vs Austin Aries
This one has the potential to be a lot of fun. Roderick turned on both his former allies in Generation Next when he formed the No Remorse Corps and kick-started faction warfare. Aries has gone on to form his new group, and as we just saw, Evans is now about to do the same with the Vulture Squad. Although Aries and Evans have no beef with each other (as they do with Roderick), both want to be in the top faction, which puts them at odds.
Strong’s unpopularity makes him a target for both Aries and Evans, who team up on him as the match gets going. When he flees the ring Jack has no problems kicking Aries in the head. Aries hits back with the Stroke, but he gets knocked out of the ring before he can apply Jarrett’s Figure 4. Strong catches Jack and powerbombs him ON THE FLOOR! He has a table placed between the ring and barrier but Aries blocks him as he tries a Gibson Driver through it. Jack nails a springboard dropkick, then a standing phoenix press on the pair of them. Aries tries a superplex on him but Strong comes from behind with a back suplex on the former World Champion. Evans thinks about a dive to the floor on Strong only for Aries to turn him inside out with a clothesline. Strong tries to powerbomb Jack through the table but Austin pulls him away. Death By Roderick on Aries, followed by the Stronghold…which Jack breaks with a reverse rana. Aries accidentally lays out the referee and Evans makes it worse by kicking him down on top of the ref. He’s now out old as Aries hits a SUPER BRAINBUSTER on Evans. He climbs for the 450…BUT STRONG SHOVES HIM THROUGH THE TABLE! Davey Richards runs in to help Roderick so Smokes gets on the mic and calls out another member of the Vulture Squad. It’s Ruckus, and he brings the crowd to their feet with lots of flippy dives on the NRC. SPRINGBOARD 450 TO THE FLOOR BY EVANS! The referee is still out by the way. Smokes isn’t done, he orders Jack and Ruckus to attack Aries as well…which brings Erick Stevens and M-Dogg to save their leader. It’s a real chaotic scene at ringside with bodies lying everywhere. In the mayhem Roderick smacks Aries with a chair…but Stevens comes in and hits him with a chair before he can capitalise. BRAINBUSTER by Aries. 450 SPLASH! The ref is back and Aries wins at 14:43.
Rating – *** – It wasn’t the classic match everyone was expecting, but that was so much fun. Normally ref bumps and run ins are frustrating, particularly when they interrupt big matches like this one, but since ROH does them so rarely, it makes them entertaining when they do come along. The fans went nuts for Ruckus’ debut (although I’m not his biggest fan – he’s a mildly better version of Matt Cross) and, for the first time since February, “faction warfare” seemed vaguely interesting. I like the fact that Erick Stevens was a key part of the finish, as it continues building the heat between him and Strong. That’s a singles match which ROH fans will enjoy.
INTERMISSION – Rebecca Bayless catches up with Jimmy Jacobs. He says he got through the rehab for his knee injury with the love of Lacey. He says he’s got a new purpose which we’ll see soon.
The Resilience have made their way to Delirious’ basement. Austin Aries is pleased that Stevens hit Strong with a chair and says he’s playing dirty now, putting Evans and Strong on notice.
Eddie Edwards vs Ruckus
Not that I’m a stickler for kayfabe, but how (in storyline terms) did Ruckus manage to get himself a match after turning up unannounced and interfering in an earlier match? Like I said a few paragraphs back, I’m not the biggest Ruckus fan. From what I’ve seen of him he’s basically a black Matt Cross, with lots of exciting, flip-dive manoeuvres and not a whole lot else. Still, I haven’t seen him for a while (not since he dropped a fair amount of weight anyway) and a few guys I know have said his run with the CZW Title was really good so we’ll see how this plays out.
Ruckus doesn’t follow the Code Of Honor so Edwards kicks him in the stomach. That doesn’t stop him and Ruckus breaks out his array of acrobatics to get the advantage, including an SSP off the apron. Eddie pulls him off the top rope into a piggyback Stunner for 2. Prazak acknowledges that Ruckus has made his name in CZW which surprises me a little. Edwards tries his best to ground the ‘Chocolate Vulture’ by chinlocking him. Ruckus eventually nips up into an overhead kick and both men are groggy. He gets 2 with a twisting press but Edwards COUNTERS a moonsault leg drop into a roll-up. Back suplex gourdbuster gets Edwards 2. He catches Ruckus trying to climb the ropes again but this time Ruck manages to knock him off. A corkscrew senton from the top finishes Eddie at 06:10.
Rating – * – That was just a basic exhibition of all Ruckus’ spots. Like I said, he’s basically the same kind of wrestler as Matt Cross – all flips and not a lot else. But his dives do look a lot more organic, and a bit more like they’ll hurt someone (as opposed to M-Dogg, who’s gymnastics background make his look more unrealistic). He won’t be World Champion, but he’ll probably be able to contribute to undercard fourways and multi-man tags. I feel bad that Ruckus and M-Dogg have spots on the roster ahead of guys like Edwards though. He always looks like such a solid wrestler. If he was given an angle I’m sure he’s capable of delivering much better matches than either of those spot merchants.
Chris Hero vs Claudio Castagnoli
This is one Ring Of Honor fans have been waiting for since Final Battle 2006. Hero split up the Kings Of Wrestling in order to join up with super agent Larry Sweeney, leaving Claudio (who’s WWE deal fell flat at the same time) out in the cold. Since then Claudio has worked his way back into the good books of the ROH fans, winning the Race To The Top Tournament and almost beating Takeshi Morishima in the process. But he hasn’t forgotten his issues with Larry Sweeney, and the touch paper was lit at Death Before Dishonor 5, when we at last saw some violence between the two former partners. Hero attacked Claudio after a tag match, stomping his RTTT trophy into his eye and leaving him a bloody mess.
Claudio gets preoccupied with Hero’s entourage allowing Chris to get the better of him then skip gleefully out of the ring. Castagnoli ends up giving chase on the floor which gives Hero to show off his athletic credentials. A European uppercut breaks up Hero’s flip-fest and gets a big pop. Out of the ring again where Bobby Dempsey softens the blow as Claudio whips his opponent into the barricade. Instead Hero gets to boot Double C into the front row. Larry Sweeney and Sara Del Rey get involved and get cheap shots at him, prompting Daizee Haze to come out and complain. The interjections from the outside have worked though, meaning that it’s Hero well on top. He pummels Castagnoli with elbows, forearms and boots from all sides in an effort to keep his European foe on his knees. Continuing the strike-based offensive theme, Hero props Castagnoli up in the ropes, leaving him exposed to another big boot to the side of the head. The fans are getting increasingly anxious for a Double C comeback and he eventually obliges with a wild tope suicida. Castagnoli blocks a springboard double axehandle and sweeps the legs for a well-received Giant Swing. RUNNING UPPERCUT gets 2. Alpamare Water Slide is blocked though and Hero hits a couple of Cravat Busters for 2. He tries that release suplex but Castagnoli escapes and hits the Alpamare Water Slide which is the Swiss equivalent of the Tower Of London and isn’t over as a finish anymore. Match Killer nailed but Hero comes back with a Roaring Elbow and a release German suplex. Release vertical suplex gets another 2. Claudio nails a bicycle kick but still can’t manage to elevate Hero for the Riccola. Hero hits back with a second rope Cravat neckbreaker only to see Claudio kick out again. Hero’s Welcome blocked…TOP ROPE UPPERCUT! RICCOLA BOMB! Claudio wins at 15:59.
Rating – **** – Fairly generous rating, but I liked this match and thought it had a lot of energy. A lot of Hero’s matches lately have become stall-tastic (although mostly still entertaining) so it was nice to see he can still bring the goods in a flat-out wrestling match when the time comes. I liked the way he tried to hammer Claudio into defeat as it was an interesting tactic. It was a step away from his normal game, implying he was either looking to throw Castagnoli off with a different approach, or feared his old partner’s wrestling prowess and adapted accordingly. It was effective enough that the fans were really eagerly waiting for Double C’s big comeback. I thought both guys lost a little steam down the stretch and struggled to create believable nearfalls, but otherwise a good first time (for the feud) clash. I imagine Claudio got the win here to make up for high profile losses on recent shows, but it seems to have him win cleanly so early in the feud.
Claudio rushes backstage and declares his issue with Hero dead after proving himself the better man.
Takeshi Morishima vs Bryan Danielson – ROH World Title Match
How is this not the main event? We’ve been waiting to see Danielson get his rematch for the World Title ever since he returned from rehabbing his shoulder in May. He earned this shot on pay-per-view, defeating Nigel McGuinness in one of the best matches of 2007, and now finally claims it in the same building where he lost the belt to Homicide in December. Morishima and the challenger have had a few clashes over the past months as well. Dragon celebrated with Mori’s belt after their big tag team victory over McGuinness and KENTA which main evented the first ROH ppv. Then in Tokyo Danielson completed disrespected the champion by interrupting his post-match celebration after defending the title on ROH’s debut show in Japan – his home country. Everyone knows Dragon is the better technical wrestler of the two, but he’s not a big guy. How will he cope with the size and power the dominating World Champion brings to the table?
The fans are white hot as the competitors circle each other awaiting the opening bell. Danielson’s opening move is to fire off kicks at the champion’s legs. It’s a tactic he uses to keep Morishima well away from him and unable to use his power to batter him to the ground. He has such success with it that he forces Mori to withdraw into the corner, allowing Danielson to land a flurry of forearm smashes. Finally Morishima is able to catch Dragon in the corner and he lays into him with some lusty blows. Despite dominating the early going it’s now Danielson that is struggling to respond. He tries to kick the legs again but this time gets whacked into the corner with a huge elbow. Mori hits a running boot in the corner…and fractures Danielson’s orbital bone. You can see he immediately holds the left side of his head and has a quiet word with the referee. Morishima doesn’t seem bothered, relentlessly kicking him as he lies on the mat then tossing him outside. BIG BOOT TO THE HEAD AGAIN! Danielson is holding the side of his face almost constantly now, but he still manages to topple the big man into the crowd. SPRINGBOARD PLANCHA INTO THE FANS! How the hell he managed to do that when he can only see out of one eye is quite remarkable. That rocks Morishima and Danielson keeps the punishment coming by smacking his leg with a steel chair.
Back inside Danielson tries a missile dropkick but it’s NO SOLD! LARIATOOO by Mori, but he’s starting to limp. Forearms TO THE INJURED EYE but Danielson stands strong through the pain and kicks the leg as Mori goes for a running ass attack. Leg grapevine locked in, but Shima doesn’t tap out and powers back to his feet for a HEAD DROP German suplex. Danielson evades the giant missile dropkick and grabs an Anklelock. But he foolishly strays away from the leg-attack and tries a German suplex. Mori Thesz presses him and tries to beat the eye out of it’s broken socket. Dragon counters into a half crab which he holds until Morishima REPEATEDLY kicks him in the eye. Back Drop Driver escaped with the SMALL PACKAGE FOR 2! ‘He has such a tight small package’ – Prazak on Danielson. Dragon tries to follow up with a sunset flip and gets sat on. But he gets up again – GERMAN SUPLEX! MMA ELBOWS! Morishima tries to stand up but his leg gives way…so Dragon kicks him in it again. REPEATED STOMPS TO THE HEAD! MORI KICKS OUT! Cattle Mutilation locked in, but of course, he’s worked on the leg all match and Morishima’s the hold isn’t quite enough to win it. He thinks about the back superplex and of course Mori is far too heavy for that. He counters in mid-air and flattens the challenger as they hit the deck. RUNNING LARIATOOO! Danielson kicks out. BACK DROP DRIVER! Morishima barely escapes with the belt at 20:18.
Rating – ****1/2 – Another amazing Bryan Danielson match. It’s amazing that, despite not being the main focus of ROH as he was during 2006, his 2007 body of work is incredible. The singles matches with McGuinness, KENTA, Shiozaki and Morishima have been superb, and he’s been in a number of really good tag team bouts too. In terms of story-telling this was perhaps the best of the lot. It was the perfect game of cat and mouse with the smaller man attacking the larger man’s vertical base but finally succumbing to the colossal size and power disadvantages. The relatively brief run time (at 20 minutes this is perhaps Dragon’s shortest ever MOTYC) and molten hot crowd also helped make this a surefire front runner for ROH’s MOTY. It must surely be one of the (if not the absolute) best matches of Mori’s career thus far. The fact that the whole thing happened despite Danielson working three quarters of the match with a busted eye socket and the use of only one eye makes it even more amazing. If I’m being ultra-critical then I think Mori’s leg selling wasn’t QUITE all it could’ve been (there was one moment down the stretch where he delivered a Kawada-style running kick to the face), and the finish was a little sudden (although it made perfect sense considering the storyline they were going for). These are minor things though. Go out of your way to see it.
Larry Sweeney responds to Claudio’s promo by swearing that S’n’S Inc. aren’t done with him yet.
Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Kevin Steen/El Generico – ROH Tag Title 2/3 Falls Match
This one is supposed to finally settle the score and end this enthralling feud. The Briscoes have beaten the Steen-erico team on three occasions now; twice in title match situations. But after both of those successful defences (at Driven and Caged Rage) Kevin Steen has kept the fires of anger burning by attacking the Brothers Redneck. To win the belts tonight they’ve got to do what nobody else has done this year and manage to win some falls in a 2/3 Falls match. Jay and Mark have gotten into the habit of winning 2-0 in 2007. Perhaps the challengers will take comfort and hope from the violent (and victorious) matches they had over the champions at Death Before Dishonor 5 weekend, and the way they left them a bloody mess after the violent Cage Match in Hartford last night.
Unsurprisingly, given all the violence in their recent matches, the four men start with a chaotic brawl around the ring. Mark suplexes Generico onto an open chair, but the Generic Luchador is soon back on his feet and launching the younger Briscoe into the rails with a belly to belly. Tag format is finally instated with the Briscoes working over Generico. The inevitable tag does come though, allowing Steen to come in and use a few dirty tricks to get the upper hand. The Steen-erico combo open up a cut on Jay’s head, but he makes a precious tag out, binging Mark in with his assortment of entertaining springboard moves and redneck karate thrusts. Sidewalk slam/top rope leg drop combo gets a 2 for the Briscoes. Steen spinebusters one Briscoe on top of another to bring his team back in. CRADLEBREAKER by Steen but Jay kicks out at 2. Generico has the Yakuza kick blocked and Jay capitalises with the military press DVD. Mark nails a moonsault then jumps up for a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA to the floor at Mr Wrestling. Jay hits the 5* Frog Splash on Generico and picks up the first fall for the champions (their 7th consecutive 2/3 falls match fall) at 11:04. There’s no let up for the challengers. BRISCOE BIEL OVER THE TURNBUCKLE!! Generico just sailed over the ropes and into his partner who was sulking in the aisle.
Kevin pisses off both opponents by blowing snot on one and slapping the other…and Jay and Mark duly lay into him in the corner. Mr Wrestling has to go it alone. He takes Mark out with a somersault plancha, but Jay boots Generico off the apron then grabs him. DVD ON THE APRON! Generico is back up though…THROUGH THE ROPES SWINGING DDT! Mark is on the scene…HURRICANRANA OFF THE APRON! Back inside Jay hits a gourdbuster on Generico then climbs the ropes. He blocks Generico’s turnbuckle Brainbuster before Mark climbs the ropes and hits a springboard Ace crusher. Steen drags Mark off the apron as the Briscoes set up for the Doomsday Device. YAKUZA KICK gets Generico a 2. Steen goes for a Swanton Bomb but flies into Jay’s knees. Mark tries to hit a headscissors on him and gets powerbombed INTO THE APRON! Steen’s not done…RUNNING POWERBOMB INTO THE GUARDRAIL! Generico hits a flying splash on Jay. Then the STEEN-TON BOMB for 2! SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR by El Generico. In the ring Steen misses the moonsault allowing Mark to nail his urinage. SPRINGBOARD DOOMSDAY DEVICE! STEEN KICKS OUT AT 2! The fans are in shock at that. Mark goes for his double springboard moonsault and gets crotched by Steen. SOMERSAULT VAN TERMINATOR BY GENERICO! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER NAILED! But Jay saves his partner! JAY DRILLER ON STEEN! CUT-THROAT DRIVER! The Briscoes retain and win 2-0 again at 24:40.
Rating – **** – This wasn’t the best match of the Briscoes/Steen-erico series, but it was still damn good. The first 5-7 minutes felt a little slow and paint by numbers but the second fall was absolute craziness. These two teams can do no wrong. I was a little surprised at having the Briscoes go over two straight again, as I thought that whole gimmick was building towards Steen and Generico being the team to finally win a fall against them – but still not win the belts. Still, there’s one more match left in these two teams yet – and it’s on the next ppv.
Generico shakes the Briscoes’ hands and tries to convince his partner to do the same. Steen makes nice…only to kick both of them in the nuts then attack them with a ladder. He convinces Generico to help him. The feud will end in ROH’s first ever Ladder Match at Man Up.
Tape Rating – **** – It’s not the best show ROH has produced in this building, but it is a worthy addition to the streak of fantastic live events in the Manhattan Centre. The undercard is a little patchy but the top three matches are all superb. Morishima/Danielson is a wonderful match, deserving of all the praise that it’s getting, and it has suitable support in the 2/3 Falls main event, Claudio/Hero, the formation of Jack Evans’ Vulture Squad during a chaotic triple threat match and the fun opening match of Cross/Stevens vs Quack/Jigsaw.
Top 3 Matches
3) Claudio Castagnoli vs Chris Hero (****)
2) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Kevin Steen/El Generico (****)
1) Takeshi Morishima vs Bryan Danielson (****1/2)
Top 5 Caged Rage/Manhattan Mayhem 2 Weekend Matches
5) Claudio Castagnoli vs Chris Hero (**** – Manhattan Mayhem 2)
4) Takeshi Morishima vs Claudio Castagnoli vs Brent Albright (**** – Caged Rage)
3) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Kevin Steen/El Generico (**** – Caged Rage)
2) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Kevin Steen/El Generico (**** – Manhattan Mayhem 2)
1) Takeshi Morishima vs Bryan Danielson (****1/2 – Manhattan Mayhem 2)