ROH 160 – Motor City Madness 2007 – 14th September 2007
I wanted to start this review by thinking back to what happened at Motor City Madness last year, but I’m struggling to remember much about it, other than the crazy main event which featured Mark Briscoe dive off the entrance scaffold. It was right in the middle of ROH’s post-Glory By Honor 5 slump when the “Road Of Homicide” storyline was just ambling along and totally failing to capture anyone’s imagination. Flash forward a year and ROH is on a bit of a hot streak. The Death Before Dishonor 5 shows were excellent. Manhattan Mayhem 2 really delivered. Claudio Castagnoli has started rising up the card after the Race To The Top Tournament. Morishima is putting in quality performances as World Champion, the Briscoes/Steen-erico feud is one of the best in all of wrestling right now, Austin Aries is back, Nigel McGuinness has become a legit main eventer and Bryan Danielson is still so good it’s frightening. It’s been a good summer and now we have another ppv weekend. Tomorrow night ROH tape their third pay-per-view…which unfortunately leads me to believe this show may well fall a little flat. The two “night before a ppv” shows thus far (Reborn Again and United We Stand) have been outright B-shows, both solid efforts but doing little to interest anyone more than the hardcore fans. With that in mind, lets get onto tonight’s effort. The main event has the Briscoes defending against The Resilience in a match that has some potential provided Matt Cross is used correctly. Takeshi Morishima defends the World Title against the winner of a four corner survival earlier in the evening. Marufuji/Generico and Hero/Jacobs look like decent matches too. We’re in Detroit, MI for the first time since Wrestlemania weekend. Usual commentary arrangements apply.
ROH VIDEO WIRE (31/08/07) – The wire opens with the announcement that Danielson suffered a major eye injury against Morishima in Manhattan. Most of the VW is highlights from MM2 but we do get some bonus locker room footage of the doctors checking on Dragon. His eye is just rolling about in his head so it’s rather disturbing footage.
Silas Young vs Davey Richards
It’s always nice to see some fresh talent make it onto these DVDs. Silas has been doing well in the Midwest for a while (and may well have featured on some ROH pre-shows when they run Dayton, Chicago and so on) and has earned a chance on the main show. Cheese-tastic entrance music too!
The match is even, if a little uneventful in the early going. I guess this is supposed to be testament to Young as he hangs with the established ROH veteran. In the end a combination of Richards’ intensity and kicking ability gives him the advantage. He starts attacking the arm with a nice hammerlock suplex, softening Silas up for the Kimura. Al Snow headbutts by Young, and he gets 2 with a back suplex backbreaker. Headstand into a springboard moonsault gets Silas another nearfall. He climbs the ropes again but Davey avoids a missile dropkick and traps him in the corner with chops and headbutts. Richards gets 2 with a missile dropkick of his own. Flying knee strike nailed but Young blocks the DR Driver. Richards tries the Kimura but Silas tries to fight out. CROSSFACES! Kimura again, and this time Davey does pick up the win at 08:26.
Rating – ** – Hugely basic, but there were no shocking mistakes and both guys did their job well. I thought Young looked rather generic but all his offence was clean and he’s got some decent size. No wonder the WWE signed him up a couple of months later.
The Briscoes deliver an amusing redneck tirade about how they don’t care about the Project 161 stuff on the internet because where they live the internet is so slow they can’t even access most of it. They do their fighting in the ring so everyone should man up.
Mitch Franklin/Alex Payne vs Chasyn Rance/Kenny King
Hey, more new talent. Rance and King are part of the YRR (Young, Rich and Ready for Action) stable in FIP. They’re basically a non-drug version of Special K for the Florida market. Sal Rinauro and Jason Blade are also members, along with female valets like SoCal Val (who can’t appear in ROH since she’s in TNA), Lacey and Becky Bayless. Since I’ve barely seen any FIP, I don’t know a whole lot about Rance. Kenny is a bit more well known as he was a finalist on the second series of WWE Tough Enough. Hopefully he’s better than Jackie Gaydar and Linda ‘Shaniqua’ Miles who actually won that series. Their opposition is a team of ROH Wrestling Academy graduates. Alex ‘Sugarfoot’ Payne is really over in the Midwest for no apparent reason. I’ve been ragging Franklin about his appearance for months, so I’m delighted to discover he’s done something about it. He’s cut his dirty, greasy hair, styled his stupid, comic book fan beard and got some new, better quality tights. He actually looks like a real wrestler now. Maybe a tiny version of ‘The Hurricane’ Gregory Helms.
The YRR’s valet (Valerie Malone) looks like Julie Cooper from The OC. Sugarfoot and Rance start with Chasyn dragging Payne into the middle turnbuckle with a handful of tights. King looks pretty impressive manhandling the scrawny ROH graduate. Franklin gets a hot tag but Kenny kicks him in the head as he tries to come off the top rope. POETRY IN MOTION YAKUZA KICK knocks Mitch all the way to the floor. Blue Thunder Driver/neckbreaker combo finishes Payne at 02:59.
Rating – * – It was a squash so I’m not going very high on the rating, but I was actually pretty impressed with the YRR duo – Kenny King in particular. He’s a well-built guy but he seemed to have some agility, speed and a touch of in-ring charisma to go with it. Rance, like Silas Young earlier, seemed a bit generic, but he had a good grasp of his character. I’d like to see more of the faction.
Chasyn gets on the stick and tries to cut a promo, but he’s interrupted by Bryan Danielson, who comes to the ring wearing an eye patch. He has a rematch with Takeshi Morishima for the World Title tomorrow night, but since he has to wrestle in the patch he needs to test his depth perception. It’s open challenge time.
Bryan Danielson vs Kenny King
I’m glad that King is the YRR representative that will wrestle here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure this will be a comprehensive squash, but he really made an impression on me in that first match so I’m glad we’ll see a bit more of him.
As you’d expect, Danielson immediately traps King on the mat, almost securing an early victory with a cross armbreaker. Bow and arrow stretch applied next, then a half crab but Kenny shows some courage by refusing to tap out. Now Danielson breaks out the Mexican surfboard. Rance distracts him by grabbing a leg, allowing Kenny to hit a corkscrew kick. Dragon hammers him with big elbow smashes and earns a submission victory with a triangle choke at 04:12.
Rating – ** – Another squash, but it told a good, basic story. Kenny King looks like a decent prospect. I’d like to see the YRR make it onto more shows just so he gets more bookings. Plus Jason Blade is booked regularly anyway – at least it’d people a reason to care about him.
Danielson yells at Rance for cheap shotting him during the last match. He challenges him to a match as well, and despite some YRR cheating, wins it within a minute with the brutal repeated face stomps. I enjoyed this segment. The YRR were fresh, and it was good to see Danielson used a little differently.
Erick Stevens vs Kevin Steen vs Roderick Strong vs Delirious
Winner of this match gets the World Title shot later tonight. Which means that however much Stevens or Delirious may want to get their hands on Roderick Strong, or vice versa, they’ll need to keep their emotions in check and keep their eyes on the biggest prize in Ring Of Honor. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Steen turn out to be the crowd’s favourite to win this. Delirious is stale, Strong is a heel and Stevens is struggling to get over, despite some impressive showings, because Gabe is going all Matt Stryker on him and pushing him too hard too soon.
Delirious and Stevens immediately run at Strong and try to attack him. Steen joins in the party…just because. Stevens and Delirious team up to knock him out of the ring but Kevin pulls the lizard man out with him. That means it’s those to fighting on the floor with Erick and Roderick battling it out as legal men. Roddy shows good power to elevate Stevens into a fallaway slam for 2. Delirious comes in and takes charge of the FIP Champion, but Steen comes in in turn and seizes the advantage from him. Steen-ton Bomb misses though. Stevens lands some cookie cutter power moves on Steen, but the majority of the fans seem to be behind the Canadian. Delirious hits the Panic Attack on Strong, only to be kicked into the corner for a cannonball senton by Steen. Stevens goes for the Choo Choo but gets cut off with a jumping heel kick by Strong. HEAD DROP GERMAN ON DELIRIOUS! All four men down. Strong/Stevens again, with the Gibson Driver and the Doctor Bomb both blocked. Steen can’t get Strong up for the Package Piledriver so powerbombs him instead. He lines Delirious up for a moonsault only to be sent out of the ring. Delirious dives after him with the Suicide Flip. He then locks the Cobra Stretch in on Stevens. Steen makes the save and nails the Cradlebreaker for 2. Death By Roderick gets 2 on Mr Wrestling. Stevens then almost snatches victory with his big front slam on Roderick. Delirious drops Strong with the COBRA CLUTCH SUPLEX! Steen is sent to the floor by Stevens’ TKO, so now it’s down to Erick and Delirious. Cobra Clutch blocked and Stevens nails the Doctor Bomb. It’s over at 12:59 so it’ll be Morishima/Stevens for the World Title later tonight.
Rating – ** – It was really dull at first, and there was so little disregard for the legal man rule that it may as well have been billed as a Four Way Fray (Strong, Stevens and Delirious are all FIP regulars anyway). However, it picked up in the second half of the match and turned out to be entertaining enough. Of the four guys in the match, I probably had the least interest in seeing Erick challenge Mori though. He’s just not done enough to prove he warrants it yet. Mori/Delirious would’ve been an interesting take on David vs Goliath. Kevin Steen has been great this year, whilst Mori/Strong disappointed me when they did it in Philadelphia in June so I’d like to see a rematch to top it.
The crowd, like me, don’t seem enormously pleased that Stevens is the winner. They get even more hostile towards him as he goes for a microphone. As I predicted, it seems like they wanted Mr Wrestling. Credit to Stevens though, he takes it in his stride and promises he won’t let anyone down in the ‘biggest match of his career’ later.
Jimmy Jacobs vs Chris Hero
This is Jimmy’s first significant match since Supercard Of Honor 2. He returned to Ring Of Honor at the Caged Rage/Manhattan Mayhem 2 weekend, defeating ROH students in order to test his surgically repaired knee. Having come through that (although I’m not convinced his knee looked 100%) he now has a stern test in front of his home town fans in Detroit. Hero needs to rebound after a disappointing loss to Claudio Castagnoli in the Manhattan Centre last time out.
I like how Lacey is all in love with Jimmy now, but still covers her ears because she doesn’t like ‘The Ballad of Lacey’. It’s bizarre seeing her be nice to him though. Hero has the whole of S’n’S Inc. at ringside with him, and with so many personalities at ringside, it takes an eternity to get everyone organised and the bell rung. As usual, Hero is more concerned with rolling around the ring and showing off than getting into it and wrestling with Jacobs. Finally Jimmy (who looks more at ease on his knee now) strings together a couple of headscissors as we approach the 5 minute mark. Hero’s response is…more showing off. Jimmy jumps out of the ring and hits a (really slow) tope suicida on Bobby Dempsey, but the distraction works to Chris’ advantage as he grabs Jacobs then throws him into the rails. From there it’s all Hero as he dominates the match without ever doing anything particularly exciting. Lenny Leonard is providing really good insight into the problems rehabbing knee injuries though. In the ring Toland and Dempsey grab Jimmy’s legs to allow Sara Del Rey to kick him in the chest. Jacobs has taken a real beating, but takes advantage of a needless slingshot by Hero and nails a spear. Chris takes him back to the top rope and hits a Cravat-o-Clasm for 2. Jacobs thinks about a senton bomb but takes way too long climbing the ropes. Instead he tornado’s into the front guillotine choke that beat Titus and Franklin in his comeback weekend. Unfortunately Hero has too much power and escapes with the release vertical suplex. Dislocator scores for 2 before Larry Sweeney gets on the apron to berate the official. Sara Del Rey tries to involve herself again, but this time Lacey gets into the ring and drops her with a neckbreaker. Hero tries to give Lacey a Dislocator but gets caught with a CONTRA CODE! Sweeney drags the ref out to break the fall. Jimmy tries a Contra Code off Dempsey but it’s blocked. GUILLOTINE CHOKE DDT! He hangs onto the choke and wins at 16:24.
Rating – ** – Not a bad match, but it went on way too long. I’m sure it was a useful work out for Jacobs as going over 15 minutes will obviously help his cardio conditioning. But the match just felt like such a drag to watch. Hero was awesome when he wrestled Claudio on the last show. He looked motivated and purposeful, and showed he’s a hell of a wrestler to go with his charisma and OTT shenanigans. Here he worked incredibly lazily, using nothing but restholds and aimless strikes. I’d also like to return to my point about Jimmy rushing back from his knee injury. I know he’s had major surgery and recovery is a gradual process, but something still isn’t right. Whilst he’s no longer semi-limping (like he was during his student matches last double shot), he still looks like he’s moving in slow motion out there. It takes him an absolute age to run from rope to rope, and the tope suicida he hit early in the match was downright embarrassing.
Bobby Dempsey tries to attack Jimmy and gets choked out as well. The rest of Sweet’n’Sour Inc. decide to walk out rather than help him, which is hilarious considering there’s four of them.
Backstage Rebecca Bayless asks Jimmy how his knee is doing again. He says its fine, and is evasive about what his forthcoming plans are.
El Generico vs Naomichi Marufuji
Getting booked in a high profile match against Marufuji is testament to how impressive Generico has been this year. He’s been a part of the Briscoes/Steen-erico war which seems destined to win Feud Of The Year, and displayed what a versatile and capable singles wrestler he is by going to the finals of the Race To The Top tournament. Considering how hesitant Gabe tends to be about guys who made it big in other indies long before they made it to ROH, getting Marufuji tonight is a huge compliment.
Generico gives Marufuji a particularly tender pre-match hug. It’s a really sweet moment. Everything is pretty basic in the early going but it’s done with a speed and fervour that has been lacking from other matches on the show thus far. El Gen actually gets in the majority of the offence, getting the first significant nearfall following a split-legged moonsault. Maru hits back with his springboard dropkick which sends Generico off the apron and into the guardrails. In an amusing moment of crowd interaction, a fan gives Marufuji some abuse, so Fuji tries to steal his hat. SLINGSHOT HEADLOCK TO THE FLOOR by Marufuji! What an amazingly cool spot. He then starts ramming Generico’s head into the ring post. My girlfriend suggests that Maru isn’t being very nice. She also comments that Generico is not doing particularly well and that his attire is not flattering for his skin tone. I’m cracking a few jokes but Fuji’s period working over Generico was quite entertaining. Finally Gen blocks the powerbomb and sends him out to the floor with a dropkick. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA NAILED! Back in the ring and Generico gets 2 twice, first with a top rope splash, then with a Blue Thunder Driver. Blind-sided lariat scores for Marufuji, followed with a straight jacket German suplex. He peppers Generico’s skull with kicks from all angles then locks in a cross armbreaker. He hasn’t worked the arm all match though, so Generico finds a way to fight out. Superkick scores but Gen blocks the Shiranui. MONA LISA OVERDRIVE! From the fans chanting ‘you f*ked up’ I guess he didn’t connect very well, but the camera covered it really well. He tries roll-ups from all angles but Fuji keeps kicking out then floors him again with another superkick. Generico nails the Yakuza kick then the BRAINBUSTER! MARU KICKS AT 2! Nobody in the building can believe he didn’t win there. Generico thinks about another top rope move but takes too long climbing and Maru meets him with a kick. SHIRANUI! GENERICO GETS A FOOT ON THE ROPES! Not be outdone, Marufuji sets up for his own coast to coast move. VAN MARUFUJINATOR MISSES! Generico did a sit-up from a tree of woe position. They battle on the top rope…AVALANCHE SHIRANUI! Maru wins at 20:23.
Rating – **** – That’s the best singles match either man has produced in ROH. From start to finish it was an exciting, well-paced and well-executed junior heavyweight match. Let’s face it, Marufuji is a former GHC Champion. He was never losing this match, but they really did a fantastic job making it seem like Generico had a real chance. An absolute show-stealing match.
Marufuji is a real sport after the match. He just busted his chops and sold far more for Generico than anyone would’ve expected him to given their respective positions within the pro wrestling industry. Not content with doing that, he leads everyone in an ‘Ole Ole’ chant to put ElGen over some more.
INTERMISSION – Becky Bayless tries to catch up with The Resilience, who all have title shots in the second half. Aries psyches up his troops and Stevens says it’s the biggest night of his life. Cross, thankfully, says nothing.
Brent Albright/BJ Whitmer vs Nigel McGuinness/Claudio Castagnoli
I’m not entirely sure what storyline resonance this match has. Albright and Whitmer are now part of the Hangmen 3. I suppose they did score a victory over a team which Nigel McGuinness was a part of in a 6-man tag at Manhattan Mayhem 2. Now Nigel is coming back with former Pure Title rival Claudio Castagnoli. No real reason is given for them teaming together.
Whitmer has a new haircut and now looks exactly like Steve Corino. Not sure why but I suppose it freshens up his look. Whitmer and Nigel start with some chaining and make it look a lot more interesting than the majority of their match in Osaka. BJ then slugs Castagnoli off the apron and is joined by Albright for an illegal double team on McGuinness. The Hangmen start attacking Nigel’s arm, which seems a sensible idea since he loves throwing the McLariats. They inflict a decent amount of damage before he manages to make a tag to Double C. Now the tables are turned and it’s Team Europe working over Whitmer’s arm. Albright gets the tag and throws Claudio out of the ring where Shane Hagadorn is lurking to take some cheap shots. The Shooter brings a decent amount of intensity as he relentlessly stomps on the Race To The Top Tournament winner. Both Brent and BJ adopt a no-frills, rugged and basic approach to working Castagnoli over and it proves to be quite effective. Finally Claudio does get the hot tag, allowing McGuinness to enter and land his first McLariats of the match. Whitmer saves Albright from the Tower Of London but isn’t able to save himself as Claudio dives at him with a huge tope suicida. Back in the ring Nigel’s Jawbreaker Lariat is COUNTERED with the Crowbar. Claudio saves for his partner so Brent gives him a backbreaker. McGuinness tries another McLariat and walks into the Crowbar again. Claudio makes the save and nails a springboard uppercut. Hagadorn tries to interfere and eats McLariat. Whitmer hits rolling suplexes on Castagnoli but walks into a McLariat. HALF NELSON SUPLEX! Albright pins Nigel at 16:32.
Rating – ** – Kinda like the Hero/Jacobs match from earlier. Some of the work was good, but the match just dragged on too long without any real excitement until the closing stages. Albright and Whitmer looked fine as a heel team (if a little bland and uninspired). Castagnoli and Nigel worked fine as the babyfaces duo (although they were working well within themselves). I think this match looked exactly like it was. A midcard filler tag match on a relatively unimportant show. Getting a pin on Nigel McGuinness is a big deal for Albright though. It’s nice to see they’re looking to continue the momentum he gained from two decent World Title matches last month.
Rocky Romero vs Jack Evans – No DQ Match
It was back in April at Good Times Great Memories that Rocky Romero put Evans on the shelf by delivering a chair-enforced Knock Out Kick to Jack’s already concussed skull. Jack’s been waiting since then to get some revenge. He gained a pinfall victory over Roderick Strong in Osaka (although lost the subsequent Steel Cage match) and has finally started his own stable. All that’s left is for him to get vengeance on Romero.
Romero attacks Evans in the aisle as he tries to walk on his hands down the ramp. In the ring Jack backflips into a headscissors then demands that the rules are thrown out and the match is made a Street Fight. Rocky seems to agree by going for a chair, but Evans BACKFLIPS over chair shots in awesome fashion before kicking it into Romero’s face. Out to the floor where Romero hits a belly to belly suplex into the crowd. Unfortunately the lighting isn’t great in the crowd so it’s hard to tell what’s going on. Evans does hit the Jody Fleisch flip off a wall spot though. He then tries a springboard 450 off the guardrail and misses. Romero rolls through a springboard sunset flip attempt and kicks him in the chest. Standing Yang Time gets Jack a 2 but he takes too long trying to get to the top rope and allows Rocky to drag him down with a neckbreaker. Having had enough of Evans’ high flying antics, Romero swings a chair into his knee. Next he repeatedly whacks the leg with a chair, meaning Jack is having severe problems walking. He tries to backflip and land on his feet as Romero goes for a powerbomb, but it hurts his leg and Rocky capitalises with a running knee strike. Anklelock locked in…and since it’s No DQ it doesn’t matter that Evans gets to the ropes. KNOCK OUT KICK! He could have the match won here, but instead he opts to drag a table out from under the ring. They go to the top rope with the table set up under them. Evans almost positions him for the Ong Jak through the table but Romero throws him away. Kicks from Jack (who’s abandoned selling the leg now)…then the 630 THROUGH A TABLE! Jack wins at 14:20.
Rating – *** – It was better than the Strong/Evans Cage Match from the last Hartford show. I’m not saying it was the greatest match ever but it was solid action from bell to bell. I particularly enjoyed the story of Romero attacking the leg, but was then disappointed when Jack stopped selling it late on. I’m still not sold on Jack as a singles wrestler. He’s improved a lot since 2003 when he debuted but he’s had a number of high profile singles bouts this year, and outside of the first match with Roderick at All Star Extravaganza 3, none of them have been particularly overwhelming.
Becky catches up with Jack outside the building. He has nothing particularly interesting to say.
Takeshi Morishima vs Erick Stevens – ROH World Title Match
As has been pointed out earlier in the show, nobody was particularly keen to see this as our World Title match tonight. But now it’s here lets get excited shall we? Stevens is one of the few guys on the roster who has comparable size to Morishima. Speculation is that Mori is getting worn down by his gruelling schedule with commitments both in the US and Japan. As Erick said, this is the biggest match of his career. Can he cause a huge upset by toppling the weary champion?
Stevens tries to stand up to Mori from the bell and he manages to knock the World Champion down with a big shoulder tackle. It’s not enough though and Morishima has soon established his dominance and batters the rookie down into the corner. They go outside where Shima delivers the Ole Ole butt strikes, then come back in so he can sit on Stevens’ face. Cartwheel avalanche nailed as Morishima continues to obliterate him…but Mori misses the missile dropkick and gives him an opening. Powerslam scores for Stevens, then a CHOO CHOO ON THE FLOOR! The crowd is starting to come round to Stevens now, and it’s about a 60/40 split in favour of Mori as Erick locks onto a half crab. Choo Choo nailed inside the ring too, but Stevens doesn’t have the strength to get him up for the Doctor Bomb. TKO ON MORISHIMA! That looked ugly as hell but it was still mighty impressive. GERMAN SUPLEX BY STEVENS! He grabs Mori again. DOCTOR BOMB! TWO COUNT ONLY! He goes for another German but this time Shima sits down on the chest. Stevens gets turned inside out with a big lariat. BACK DROP DRIVER! It’s over at 10:52.
Rating – *** – There was nothing spectacularly intelligent about this match, but both men pulled it off well and probably got the biggest reaction from a quiet Detroit crowd tonight. The simple formula of Stevens trying hard, getting dominated, hitting a few hope spots then losing valiantly worked to a tee. I’ve said a couple of times that Stevens’ biggest problem is that, despite his massive size, he often wrestles like a babyface underdog and doesn’t emphasise his outstanding attribute (i.e. his physical stature) which the crowd just don’t buy. However, that worked just fine here since for once he WAS an underdog and the smaller man. During his entrance it was obvious people weren’t happy seeing him in this high profile a match, but credit to him, he won himself a few fans with a decent performance.
Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Austin Aries/Matt Cross – ROH Tag Title Match
I think The Resilience have earned this title shot with their impressive form in the shows since Death Before Dishonor 5 Night 2. They won a 6-man tag at Caged Rage then Cross and Stevens beat Quack and Jigsaw whilst Aries won the GeNext triple threat at Manhattan Mayhem 2. Apparently that’s enough to get a shot at the Briscoes. They spend all the August shows battling Steen and Generico, and know they’re booked in ROH’s first Ladder Match against those two tomorrow night, so could be looking past their opponents tonight. That’d be a huge mistake with Aries – a former World and Tag Champion – opposing them. An added stipulation is that if The Resilience win then they’ll be added to the Ladder Match on ppv, making it a triple threat.
Lenny Leonard talks about the history between Aries and the Briscoes, which helps explain the cagey opening exchanges between Double A and Jay. Power Drive Elbow scores but Mark illegally kicks Aries in the back and makes the tag. Aries takes some punishment but finally hits the Stroke and makes a vital tag to M-Dogg. He sails to the floor with a somersault plancha on Mark. The Resilience end up isolating Jay from his partner, with Cross leapfrogging over Austin into a double stomp to the back. He misses a second double stomp though and Briscoe hits a boot to the face and tags out to his younger brother. Now it’s the champions’ turn to work over an opponent and they effortlessly dismantle Matt Cross. Briscoe Biel scores, and even when M-Dogg flips out of the corner Mark spears him back to the canvas before he can make his way to Aries. Finally the inevitable tag does come and Aries sails through the middle rope into a tope suicida. CACTUS ELBOW on Mark! He hardly ever does that spot now. Cross hits a split-legged corkscrew senton for 2. Aries hits a gourdbuster and rolls it into a bridging crossface (that’ll become a finisher for him in the coming months) but Mark saves with a springboard double stomp. Backbreaker/knee drop combo gets the Briscoes a nearfall. They set up for the splash mountain neckbreaker but M-Dogg saves his partner. SKIPPING A GENERATION DOUBLE STOMP ON MARK! Aries then DVD’s Jay down into his brother. Mark misses a springboard crossbody. KICK OF DEATH! BRAINBUSTER! Jay shoves Aries off the top before he can hit the 450…SO CROSS HITS A SHOOTING STAR INSTEAD! Jay dives in to break the fall. He tries the Jay Driller but has it countered with a rana. Cross victory rolls out of a springboard Doomsday Device attempt and gets 2. SPIKE JAY DRILLER! The Briscoes retain at 19:14.
Rating – *** – It didn’t feel like a main event at all, but the work was solid and on the eve of a massive ppv match, you could hardly expect the Briscoes to be going balls to the wall. The problem with this match was that it was totally devoid of intensity. It just FELT like a B-show main event. Nobody (with the possible exception of M-Dogg, but he has to just to keep up with the other three) looked like they were working overly hard. Until the last few minutes there just wasn’t any heat or excitement there. It was a good tag team match, but it was way off the pace of some of the Briscoes’ best defences.
There’s a revealing shot of Mark’s face where he looks disappointed and pissed off. He knows, like everyone else, that this match could’ve been a lot better.
Tape Rating – ** – Another pre-ppv B-show to be honest. It wasn’t bad, and Marufuji/Generico was an absolute corker, but considering the length of the show (over 3 hours) and the length of some of the matches, this one felt like it dragged a bit. Hero/Jacobs and Albright/Whitmer vs Nigel/Claudio for instance…both those matches went on far longer than they really needed to. Even the matches that did hit the 3* barrier aren’t amazing and certainly weren’t pushing 4* at all. If I did half stars, I don’t think I’d have given any of them *** ½ either. Maybe if it’s in a $10 sale or you’re stuck for a free choice in a Buy 3 Get 1 Free sale then this is worth picking up on the strength of the Maru/El Gen match alone.
Top 3 Matches
3) Takeshi Morishima vs Erick Stevens (***)
2) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Austin Aries/Matt Cross (***)
1) Naomichi Marufuji vs El Generico (****)