ROH 163 – Undeniable – 6th October 2007
This would be Ring Of Honor’s fourth pay-per-view taping. For the DVD release they’ve ditched the fancy packaging and 2-disc DVD set (in 2008 it was revealed that ROH was struggling a little financially and needed to tighten the purse strings), and I can’t say I mind. Whilst the sophisticated packaging did make the ppv’s seem like a big deal, they weren’t that durable getting sent via airmail to the UK. My copies of Driven and Man Up both arrived a little worse for wear. I think that’s enough talk of trivial matters about DVD cases, lets talk about the show. The last ppv ended with the Age Of The Fall debuting and destroying the Briscoes. Obviously we’re curious to see what the AOTF do next. Are Kevin Steen and El Generico still a team? We’ll find that out tonight too. The marquee matches tonight look great. In the main event we’ve got Morishima/McGuinness III for the World Title. They’ve had two battles over the belt already and Nigel is hoping to make it third time lucky. The Briscoes defend against the No Remorse Corps in a bout taped at the end of November, and Austin Aries and Roderick Strong lock horns in a singles match for the first time since Supercard Of Honor 2. Lets get to Edison, NJ and join Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard at ringside.
ROH VIDEO WIRE (20/09/07) – See Honor Nation (ROH162) review for details.
SIDENOTE – Check out the Undeniable preview show hosted by Larry Sweeney and Chris Hero. They hype the matches and spend 10-minutes promising Hero in a free ‘sparring session’ at the ROH wrestling school. It ends with Larry refusing to let Hero wrestle for free, and Chris needlessly hitting a Hero’s Welcome on Alex Payne. Funny stuff.
Everyone in the crowd has been given ROH towels to wave around like maniacs, which is a great visual to open the show. Unfortunately the title of the show lends itself to plenty of cheesy puns during Dave and Lenny’s introduction. We’re set to open the show with Claudio Castagnoli vs Chris Hero, but Larry Sweeney comes out and says that Ring Of Honor aren’t paying Hero enough…so he’s refusing to compete. They’re holding out for a better deal, meaning Claudio is off the ppv.
We go to an opening video featuring an awesome song given to ROH by the Smashing Pumpkins (Billy Corgan is apparently a big ROH fan). It gives the whole show a very professional feel.
Back in the ring the Age Of The Fall are now at ringside. Much like last night in Boston, Jimmy demands a tag team for them to beat so they can get in line for a title shot.
Jimmy Jacobs/Tyler Black vs Jack Evans/Ruckus
It’s the Vulture Squad that answer Jimmy’s open challenge. And it’s another example of why ‘faction warfare’ is supposedly heating up. Both these two are new groups, and both of them have said they want to get Tag Title shots. The Vultures should come into this hot after their victory over the No Remorse Corps in a 6-man tag at Honor Nation. All four men are making their in-ring ppv debuts.
Necro and Jigsaw brawl so the third members of each faction take each other out of the running. Ruckus lines up a dive but gets kicked in the head by Black, who steals his idea and hits a RUNNING MOONSAULT out of the ring. ‘Chocolate Vulture’ – Edison to Ruckus. Unfortunately for the Chocolate Vulture he get isolated in the ring by the fluid duo of Jacobs and Black. Finally Ruckus hits a swinging neckbreaker on Tyler and makes the hot tag to Evans. DROPKICK OFF BLACK INTO A MOONSAULT ON JIMMY! He keeps going but Jacobs hits him with a massive spear. Razzle Dazzle by Ruckus, but he gets kicked out of the ring by Black. PESCADO THROUGH A CHAIR by Jacobs. Evans hurdles the top ropes and goes for a headscissors…BUT BLACK CATCHES HIM FOR A POWERBOMB INTO THE RAIL! The AOTF bring Evans back inside where Tyler elevates him for Jimmy’s senton bomb. BIG BOOT/SPICY DROP COMBO! END TIME! Evans taps at 05:34.
Rating – *** – Brief but they packed a whole lot into that. Jacobs and Tyler look really good as a team (although admittedly I’m basing that from their two very brief tag matches this weekend) and have some really cool spots. Obviously we know Jack and Ruckus are going to deliver the goods in brief little sprints like this, so I’d say this was a great way to start the show.
Backstage someone tries to get an interview in Takeshi Morishima’s locker room. Mori looks angry and chases the camera man away.
Erick Stevens gets a video package similar to Brent Albright’s on the first ppv. He tries to portray himself as an underdog again, which is just ridiculous since he’s so big.
In the ring again where Sweet’n’Sour Inc. have returned to the ring. ROH still haven’t met Chris Hero’s demands, so he’s still not going to wrestle. They have forked up enough cash for us to see the first ever women’s match on ROH pay-per-view though.
Sara Del Rey vs Daizee Haze
These two have had an athletic, competitive rivalry going for some time. They’ve traded wins back and forth, but obviously the stakes are higher here. They’re on ppv which is huge, and since ROH recognises the SHIMMER Championship, if Daizee can get a victory here she could well move in line to get a shot at Sara’s belt.
Del Rey takes charge immediately since she’s the much bigger athlete. Haze uses her quickness to send Sara to the floor. TOP ROPE PLANCHA TO THE FLOOR! Daizee’s landing was somewhat cushioned by Bobby Dempsey there. Back in the ring with Del Rey powering Daizee into a fallaway slam. Heart Punch by Daizee, then the Yakuza kick but Del Rey kicks at 2. BRIDGING Ocean Cyclone suplex gets the SHIMMER Champion a 2 as Claudio Castagnoli marches to the ring and goes after Larry Sweeney. Daizee traps Sara in a roll-up for victory at 03:19.
Rating – ** – That was as good as it could’ve been in the time given and worked just fine as a SHIMMER exhibition/filler match. They minimised the screw-ups and Daizee managed to control her sloppiness for ppv. I seem to remember live reports giving this match a bit of a slating so maybe this has been edited. In my opinion they’ve had much worse matches than this in ROH.
Outside the ring Chris Hero gives Castagnoli a Hero’s Welcome to the concrete floor. Unfortunately the actions of S’n’S Inc. have pissed off Bryan Danielson, since he hates capitalism and money grabbing. He challenges Hero so we’ve got another apparently impromptu match.
Chris Hero vs Bryan Danielson
Obviously we’ve seen Dragon at the upper end of the card on the first three ppvs, but he lost his big title matches against Takeshi Morishima, so naturally he needs to fight back up the card before he can secure another ROH Championship match. This is a rematch of Hero’s Ring Of Honor debut back at Hell Freezes Over in January 2006. I thought they had a really solid match then, one which proved Hero could go in ROH and generated enough crowd interest to kick-start the whole ROH/CZW feud.
Danielson tries to get down and wrestle Hero, but of course, Chris is far more interested in showing off and playing to the fans. Whenever Hero does actually decide he wants to wrestle these two engage in quite an engaging mat battle. He tries one goofy flip too many though and Danielson has had enough. Mexican surfboard applied, but Chris wisely leans forward to avoid the chinlock that Dragon often looks to switch that hold into. He then has to scuttle to the ropes to break Danielson’s Crossface Chickenwing. Hero starts mocking Dragon’s eye injury (using his headband as a prop). Stalling, running atomic drop scores but he opts to pose rather than look for a victory. Sayama flip by Danielson, then a couple of kicks to bring him back into the match. He thinks about the diving headbutt but Hero stops him with a ROPE RUN CRAVAT! Missile dropkick by Danielson, followed by a German suplex. Cattle Mutilation locked in but Hero’s good enough to roll over. Hero PUMMELS Dragon with a couple of vicious forearms and gets 2 with the release vertical suplex. Small package gets 2, which is obviously insulting since Dragon loves using that. REPEATED FACE STOMPS BY DANIELSON! The ref has no choice but to stop it so Dragon wins at 10:52.
Rating – *** – This was good, infinitely better than the Hero/Claudio snoozefest from yesterdays Boston show. Hero’s act is SO entertaining when he gets the balance right between comedy shenanigans and actual wrestling. Here, in a 10-minute match with Bryan Danielson, it worked very well. Obviously it wasn’t a match on their 25+ minute battle in 2006 but then, it wasn’t meant to be. I particularly enjoyed the finish where Hero got cocky once too often (stealing Danielson’s moves) and got his face kicked in as a result.
Adam Pearce is next out, making his first in-ring appearance on an ROH ppv. Pearce has spent ROH’s ppv era building a reputation as a master of mind games and manipulation, forming the Hangmen 3 in the process. His mission tonight is to attempt to recruit Kevin Steen to their group. He recognises that Kevin Steen has a problem with a goofy guy in a mask – much like his group have with Delirious.
He wants to make it the Hangmen 4 which draws a hilarious ‘What about your t-shirt??’ cry from a wise ass Edison fan commenting on the ‘Hangm3n’ logo. BJ Whitmer and Brent Albright then drag El Generico to the ring. Pearce begs Steen to attack Generico too…but Steen attacks Pearce (and gets a big pop). Delirious makes the save for the Steen-erico team, so now we have a 6-man.
Adam Pearce/Brent Albright/BJ Whitmer vs Kevin Steen/El Generico/Delirious
I really like the booking around this match. As Pearce pointed out in his promo – Kevin Steen has a lot of the attributes that the Hangm3n possess. He has power, brutality and a rugged, ruthless streak. And as we saw both at the end of Man Up and at Honor Nation, he was clearly frustrated with Generico after losing the feud with the Briscoes, then his World Title match. Meanwhile Delirious is still pissed at Pearce’s group for the mask-stapling incident at Caged Rage.
Delirious wipes out the entire H3 with a Suicide Flip as everyone starts to brawl. Generico nails a flying splash on Whitmer, and somewhere in the midst of all this there’s a ring bell. As some form of order is instated the Hangmen start to work Delirious over. Pearce drops him with a big chokeslam, then joins with Albright to choke as BJ distracts the official. Hindu squat suplex gets Albright a 2 count. Finally the lizard man hits a flying headscissors on BJ and ducks through his legs to make a tag. Steen cleans house on all his opponents until Albright shoulder tackles him down. Generico takes out Brent so Mr Wrestling can hit a somersault plancha on everyone else. Yakuza kick on Whitmer, then the STEEN-TON BOMB! Whitmer powerbombs Generico into the corner after a period of Delirious offence, but walks into a front lungblower by Steen. Panic Attack on Scrap Iron, but Delirious is still mad at the Hangm3n and starts biting Pearce’s ear. Albright sees his back turned and nails the HALF NELSON SUPLEX! The Hangmen 3 pick up the win at 07:56.
Rating – *** – Similar to the AOTF/Vultures match which started the show in that they kept it brief, and packed in a lot of high-impact spotwork to keep the crowd interested. The crowd were lapping up Generico and Steen as a babyface team. The problem is, with the Briscoes as the top tag team babyfaces AND Tag Champions, there doesn’t seem to be much room for progression for them as a duo from this point. I very much believe Steen and Generico should’ve won the belts in Chicago, leave the Briscoes to feud with the AOTF (which would’ve worked without the belts – Jimmy has already made the point that the Briscoes were bred to be stars whilst he, Tyler and Necro struggled), and leave the Steen-erico as babyface champions.
The camera dude has more success getting into Nigel McGuinness’ locker room. He doesn’t mind the fact that his locker room sucks, he doesn’t mind that he’s had to pay his dues because he has a love of professional wrestling and vows to make his dream come true tonight. Very good promo
Roderick Strong vs Austin Aries
This is only the second time the former Tag Team Champions have collided in a singles match. Roderick turned on his former partner in New York back in February to form the No Remorse Corps with Davey Richards. Since then Aries has been desperate for revenge. He lost a heated battle over the FIP Title at Supercard Of Honor 2, then started his own group to fight the NRC – before being pulled from ROH by TNA. In his absence the NRC made his stablemates (Matt Cross and Erick Stevens) whipping boys whilst mocking him and calling him a sell-out/coward. Aries finally made his return at Driven, but Roddy has thus far evaded him at every turn. The NRC won the big 8-man Street Fight at Death Before Dishonor 5 and the 3-match mini-series at Man Up (where Strong again avoided wrestling Aries). Austin is still searching for that definitive victory over his treacherous old friend.
Both commentators sit on the fence about picking a winner. Strong disrespectfully spits at Aries, who takes him off his feet with a couple of Japanese armdrags then starts slapping him in the back of the head. Roderick blocks the headscissors escape dropkick…so Aries slaps him square in the face instead. He avoids Strong’s dropkick then nails that grounded dropkick as he sits up on the mat after the miss. There’s been lots of gamesmanship and obvious familiarity between the former Tag champions thus far. Aries tries to lift himself over his opponent in the corner, before running across the ring to hit the springboard reverse elbow as we’ve seen him do in the past, but Roddy catches him and hits an Argentine gutbuster. A couple of backbreakers find the mark next and Strong has begun his usual assault on the back/midsection. Aries tries to fight out of the corner but Strong tugs him out by the legs, dropping him into another backbreaker for 2. The ex-World Champion tries to hammer on Roderick in the corner only to be tipped over the ropes and down onto a cameraman on the outside. Strong actually thinks about a Gibson Driver on the outside.
Aries manages to whip him into the guardrails for the RUNNING DROPKICK! He tries that Asai moonsault he always goes for (and has injured himself on twice this year) but Roddy gets the knees up. Brainbuster blocked and Strong hits the urinage backbreaker. Half nelson backbreaker nailed as well…but Aries COUNTERS the Gibson Driver with a rana. Shinbreaker suplex nailed by Double A. Running dropkick in the corner misses though – these guys know each other so well. Backbreaker OVER THE TURNBUCKLES by the FIP Champion. But he can’t but Austin down for a 3-count and starts to get frustrated – positioning a table between guardrail and ring apron. He thinks about an Awesomebomb through it but Aries clotheslines him out of the ring. HEAT SEEKING MISSILE SCORES! Running dropkick in the corner nailed, then the BRAINBUSTER! Strong gets a shoulder up at 2. 450 SPLASH…two again! ‘Use the table’ – Edison. Kick of Death countered…but so is the Stronghold. Aries’ Roaring Elbow scores…SICK KICK NAILED! Death By Roderick followed by the GIBSON DRIVER! Now it’s Aries only just beating the 3-count. Strong takes it to the apron. KICK OF DEATH! BRAINBUSTER THROUGH TABLE! Strong is deadweight now. Aries overshoots the 450 Splash and basically hits a 450 double knee drop, but still picks up the huge victory at 20:57.
Rating – **** – Another terrific singles match between these two. They did a great job of establishing the amount of familiarity they have with each other, and with so much countering of moves, it meant that every time either man scored with an offensive move, it really meant something. Things like Roddy countering Aries little corner flip into the springboard elbow (which he does in most matches and never gets called on it) or his Asai moonsault, or Aries revering both the Gibson Driver and the Stronghold. It just adds to the depth of a gripping wrestling match. I think they lost a little bit of steam in the last couple of minutes. They probably needed an extra 5-minutes of match time to truly sell the story of Strong’s assault on the back, and build up the intensity/hatred of what is (on ppv at least) the conclusion of a feud that has been going on since February. Plus Aries overshooting the 450 was a tad messy. He’d already hit it earlier in the match too. I think everyone would’ve bought it if he’d have just rolled Roddy in after the table Brainbuster and got the 1-2-3 that way.
It’s announced after the match that Aries is #1 contender for the World Title. Since when was that stipulation attached to the match? Aries is in the midst of a 3-match series with Danielson for the ROH World Title. You see how ppv messes with continuity and tests the patience of ROH’s longterm fans?
SIDENOTE – I want to have a quick chat about Roderick Strong, since I think he’s having a really decent year. This is contrary to the opinion of a lot of ROH fans who seem to think he’s really stagnating and after a huge 18 months leading up to his turn on Aries in February, slipping back down the card when he should be a main eventer. Just looking at his body of work this year, I refuse to believe he’s stagnating. Before he broke up with Aries he’d already notched up three 4* matches, and has kept going since then. Two superb matches on the UK tour (with a particularly memorable bout against Pac). Wrestlemania weekend he had great, high profile bouts with Jack Evans and Austin Aries. The No Remorse Corps have had some superb multi-man tags. On the last ppv he had a great match with Erick Stevens, and we just saw another high quality ppv showing from him. I know people think he should be a credible main eventer. But what more does he have to do? He has fantastic matches, is definitely over and accepted as an upper midcard talent (something people like Whitmer and Albright are really struggling with) and, I believe, if he was given the World Title, people would accept it and he could run with it.
People have criticised him for being a poor heel. I’ll admit his promo skills aren’t amazing, and, as we saw in the series of matches with Bryan Danielson in 2006, he does have a fantastic sense of babyface timing. But are people watching the same shows as me? At ROH live events he’s consistently one of the most over heels on the entire show. The ‘Rooooooderick’ chant is basically the Jimmy Rave/Toilet paper crowd participation equivalent for 2007. He and Davey may not be great at cutting promos, but they’re both highly entertaining as heel wrestlers. So why are people saying he’s floundering? I’d say that rather than any fault on his part, I think his problems have come from poor booking and unfortunate circumstances. His feud with Delirious didn’t really capture anyone’s imagination. But I think this can be put down to Delirious hitting a glass ceiling in ROH. He’s still popular at live shows but I think people are getting tired of his act, which hasn’t really changed over the years. He peaked with the Bryan Danielson matches (including making him tap at The Chicago Spectacular) and winning Survival Of The Fittest ’06. Since then he’s been on the slide, and I think that slide hurt Roderick’s momentum, making him seem a lot more like a midcard act than someone who was capable of challenging for the World Title – as he had done during his own memorable series with American Dragon. And the big NRC/Resilience feud has flopped too. Aries was pulled, and absolutely nobody bought into M-Dogg and Erick Stevens, meaning that there was only very limited interest in the whole feud (what interest there was mostly focused on the Aries/Strong issue anyway).
ROH is just beginning to get its “faction warfare” program going in earnest. And at this stage, ask yourself who the only over and established faction are – it’s Roderick Strong’s No Remorse Corps. The Resilience are on life support and being kept alive by Aries (and they’d be finished within a month), The Vulture Squad have just started and are a group of spot workers. The Hangmen 3 get crowd heat but with Pearce and Whitmer (two guys who struggle to capture the fans imagination with their ringwork) aren’t perceived as an uppercard threat. The Age Of The Fall has some potential but has only just got going. Sweet’n’Sour Inc. aren’t really a faction since Chris Hero is their only real (male) star. I know I’ve been rambling, but I really thing Roderick has solidified his position as one of ROH’s most valuable talents. He can generally be relied upon to have a good match, leads arguably the top faction in Ring Of Honor and, in my opinion, remains on the cusp of big things.
Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Davey Richards/Rocky Romero – ROH Tag Title Match
This match was taped at Reckless Abandon, a show that occurred well over a month after this ppv taping. The reason they’re showing a Briscoes title defence from Dayton, OH is given as ROH officials don’t want the Briscoes and the Age Of The Fall in the same building tonight. That would be fine if ROH hadn’t been running an AOTF just abducted the Briscoes storyline for live events. I know they’re not trying to claim this match is live, instead it’s a pre-taped match, but still. It’s basically disregarding a storyline for the sake of the ppv canon. In effect, it’s saying that our ppv storylines are more important than continuity for our long term, hardcore DVD-purchasing audience. I have a problem with that. Still, the match should be good though.
The first two minutes are pretty low key, outside of some solid mat-wrestling by Richards and Mark. Inverted enziguri from Romero catches Jay in the jaw but he gets fired back into the corner by Jay’s forearm strikes and the Briscoes start to go to work on Rocky. They get a couple of minutes worth of offence on him before he manages to tag Davey. They’re able to use their teamwork to catch Richards off-guard too, sending him out of the ring for a SUICIDE DIVE by Mark. Romero jumps at the toothless Briscoe with a KNEE STRIKE off the apron. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA by Jay! Back inside Richards tries to go to work on Jay’s arm, aided by Romero who starts wrapping the limb around the ringpost. It’s a solid strategy because both the challengers have high profile submission holds that work the arm. Chops/stepover kick combo by Richards, then rolled over into an armbar. Jay gets some space by using a Flatliner to drop Richards into the turnbuckles. Redneck karate strikes from a fresh Mark, then the URINAGE SUPLEX on Romero. SPRINGBOARD ACE CRUSHER/DROPKICK COMBO wipes out both of Mark’s opponents. That spot was just awesome. Richards tries to come off the top again and jumps straight into a superkick. Mark then springboards into his knees as he goes for a corkscrew press. Rocky knees him right the jaw for 2. Jay makes the save and the champions get 2 with the splash mountain neckbreaker. They line up the springboard Doomsday Device but Romero ducks it. TIGER SUPLEX drops Mark. CRADLE SUPLEX INTO THE CORNER from Richards to Jay. He hits Mark with the handspring enzi but he NO SELLS IT and drops him with a clothesline. All four men down, but everyone in the crowd is on their feet. Davey Tombstones Mark as Romero locks in the DIABLO ARMBAR on Jay! Remember they were working the arm earlier. KNEE STRIKE INTO THE LIGERBOMB for 2. Davey tries to hit a superplex on Jay but ends up eating the super gourdbuster instead. Mark grabs Romero for a URINAGE OFF THE APRON! SPIKE JAY DRILLER ON RICHARDS! The Briscoes retain at 18:17.
Rating – **** – That had a fraction of the psychology of the prior Aries/Strong match, and was nothing more than the classic Briscoes no-selling crazy move-fest. But you know what, the red-hot crowd in Dayton loved it and I thought it was another exciting Tag Title defence from Jay and Mark. We all know they’re going to have to tone down their style eventually because they’ve been doing absolutely crazy sprints like this for the last 12-18 months and it’s got to be taking a toll on their bodies. But they’re unique to ROH, and have the best matches of any tag team in the US right now.
The Briscoes’ celebrations are interrupted by lots of images of the Age Of The Fall, promising that it’s just the beginning.
Takeshi Morishima vs Nigel McGuinness – ROH World Title Match
It’s the third match between these two men over the Ring Of Honor Championship, and considering both the previous matches have been absolute slugfests, expect another hard-hitting battle here. McGuinness won his third shot at the belt by overcoming three of ROH’s top stars (Hero, Claudio and Marufuji) in the opening match of the Man Up pay-per-view. Speculation is that Morishima is starting to get burnt out from his exhausting schedule of appearances in the US and Japan, as we as numerous gruelling title defences. Perhaps that was evident on the last ppv. After winning his defences at Respect Is Earned and Driven in under 5-minutes, Morishima very nearly lost the title to American Dragon, and remember, the only man (still) in ROH to have pinned him was Nigel McGuinness at United We Stand.
Jawbreaker Lariat blocked…Back Drop Driver blocked. That’s an explosive first minute right there. McGuinness goes for his finisher a second time and walks into Mori’s Bossman Slam. Running butt smash scores and Nigel leaves the ring to clear his head. Rebound Lariat on the floor ducked and Morishima slings him shoulder first into the ringpost. He stays on the arm, which is such a smart idea. Fujiwara armbar applied by the champion, with Leonard and Prazak doing a great job going over the history between the two and the logic behind Morishima’s strategy. But as well as dissecting the arm, he also dishes out his usual trademark offence involving lots of heavy handed strikes. Back Drop Driver countered with a crossbody though. McLariat…NO SOLD! McLariat again and this time Mori goes down for 2. Nigel just isn’t selling the arm at all, and gets another 2 with another McLariat. Again he goes for the Jawbreaker and again Morishima is able to avoid the move. The super-huge missile dropkick scores…but still Nigel has a counter for the Back Drop. Mori goes to the top rope again but this time he dives into yet another McLariat. Nigel tries the headstand but gets booted in the face. BACK DROP DRIVER SCORES! TWO COUNT! Yet again Morishima thinks it’s a good idea to go o the top rope, and it’s obviously not. Tower Of London blocked so the challenger hits a SUPERPLEX instead. Repeated short-range McLariats, but Nigel hits the ropes and runs straight into a huge lariat by the champion. BACK DROP DRIVER…NIGEL ROLLS THROUGH IT! JAWBREAKER LARIAT! MORISHIMA KICKS OUT! The fans literally cannot believe that. They fight on the top again where Mori thinks about a top rope Back Drop Driver but McGuinness counters with a sunset flip bomb. FOREARM DUEL! SLAPS BY NIGEL! MCLARIAT…ONE COUNT OF DISRESPECT! JAWBREAKER LARIAT! NEW CHAMPION! McGuinness finally wins the big one at 14:21.
Rating – **** – I’m quite sure some people will criticise Nigel for doing nothing but lariats in this match. Normally I’m one for complaining about that too. But the difference here was that they worked it into the story of the match. Morishima feared the lariats (especially the Jawbreaker) so he went after the arm. But working a body part isn’t Mori’s usual approach to a match and ultimately he couldn’t do enough damage. McGuinness knew that he could pin Morishima using his Jawbreaker after beating him with it at United We Stand. He focused on what he knew would be successful (the McLariats) and basically managed to beat Mori at his own game of heavy-hitting, whilst Morishima failed because he tried to adopt Nigel’s approach and work the arm. My biggest criticism was the use of the Jawbreaker for a nearfall. The whole match was built around putting over that move as a devastating finisher. McGuinness spent the whole match going for it, whilst Mori spent the whole match trying to avoid it. It SHOULD have only been used to finish the match. The finish was still exciting of course (it always is when a new ROH Champion is crowned) but I think it would’ve had some extra psychological pay-off had it been the only time the Jawbreaker had been used. The pinnacle of what Nigel spent the whole match working towards. He’s got plenty of other moves (Tower Of London, Super Lariat etc) for believable(ish) nearfalls! Regardless of that, it was still a great main event. If you’re looking for a comparison to the other two, I think Live In Tokyo remains my favourite, but this one was definitely better than Fighting Spirit. And for all those complaining that Nigel should’ve won the belt sooner, just try to remember that this weekend was initially booked to be in the UK. Imagine the reaction if Nigel, having failed to win the belt in the US and in Morishima’s country, finally won the big one in his own home nation. It would’ve been fantastic pay-off to a good series of matches.
The locker room empties to congratulate Nigel McGuinness on his huge victory. Bryan Danielson ruins his celebration by throwing a tantrum and getting into a shoving match with both Nigel and Austin Aries. He stomps off in a huff before Morishima shows some class and hands the belt to Nigel. The departing former champion looks surprisingly emotional as he walks off to a ‘Thank you Shima’ chant. We close with Aries (who, in the ppv-canon is #1 contender now) and Nigel shaking hands.
Jigsaw vs Claudio Castagnoli
During the pay-per-view portion of the show, Claudio was given a Hero’s Welcome onto the floor, and the commentators subsequently told us that he was being taken to hospital. His presence in the second half of the card is explained, with the reason given that he told the ambulance to turn round because he was desperate to have a match tonight. Claudio’s a major part of the Chikara promotion that brought us Jigsaw so these two should mesh well.
Prazak and Leonard crack a few jokes during some rather tentative opening exchanges between the two wrestlers. Clearly they’re a little more relaxed for the bonus portion of the show. Jigsaw does a good job and looks impressive hanging with the established mat skills of the European competitor. He quickens the pace with a number of lucha armdrags so Castagnoli has to cut him off with a European uppercut from the second rope. With that significant strike he’s able to keep Jig on the mat and starts to work him over with a number of submission holds. Jigsaw lifts himself into another impressive armdrag but gets elbowed back to the mat right afterwards. Running frankensteiner from the masked Vulture, then he springboards into another lucha armdrag to finally break free of Castagnoli’s mat dominance. Somersault plancha to the floor scores, followed by a double stomp to the back then a knee strike for 2. Claudio responds by Giant Swinging him so hard his pants almost fall off. DEAD-LIFT GERMAN SUPLEX gets 2. Jig crawls through the legs to escape the Riccola Bomb but gets thrown face-first into the mat in spectacular fashion, then booted in the head for 2. TOP ROPE REWIND HURRICANRANA gets the masked man another 2. Castagnoli blocks a Code Red but can’t block a tilta-whirl DDT. TOP ROPE TILTA-WHIRL SMALL PACKAGE for 2 again! That was a hell of a spot. Unfortunately it didn’t work and Jig runs into the POP-UP EUROPEAN to lose at 12:23.
Rating – *** – I was expecting a total Castagnoli squash match, but this was something much better. Whilst Claudio did dominate for significant spells, Jigsaw got ample opportunity to show off what he can do. It was his first singles match of any real substance in ROH and he did a great job. He’s easily the best wrestler in the Vulture Squad. And for Castagnoli it’s another example of what a good job he does working with the smaller, high-flying wrestlers.
Davey Richards/Rocky Romero vs Matt Cross/Erick Stevens
The loser of the fall of this match is out of ROH for 60 days. It adds extra spice to a match featuring two teams who have been feuding with each other since April. As unspectacular as the NRC/Resilience feud has been, I think both of these teams have shown a lot of potential as a team (check out the NRC tag from the ppv, or Cross/Stevens vs Quack/Jigsaw from Manhattan Mayhem 2) so this one has the potential to be decent.
As is becoming the norm for these post-ppv portions of the show the crowd is spent and starting to die. Richards and Stevens tear into each other to nothing more than polite applause. The Resilience break out a few double teams to give themselves the early advantage. Davey eventually hits a dragon screw and makes the tag to Romero, who eats a series of headscissors from M-Dogg. His team encounter more problems when he inadvertently knocks Davey off the apron. Cross thinks about his handspring somersault press to the floor but Richards pops back to the ring and kicks him in the head. It’s Matt’s propensity for high spots that leave his team on the back foot and see him cut off from his partner. Davey elevates Romero into a knee strike on the struggling M-Dogg. The NRC beat Matt down to such an extent that Richards is literally able to fart in his face. That evokes a response from Cross though, who somersaults over both opponents and gets the hot tag to Stevens. Choo Choo avalanche flattens both opponents. He hits the TKO on Richards for 2. He then hits the Dominator, leaving Davey in place for a double stop from Cross, who then nails his handspring somersault press to Romero on the floor. That spot would be so much more impressive it wasn’t his only decent move. In the ring Davey hits a sunset flip powerbomb then a big running kick to Stevens’ chest for 2. Handspring enzi scores, then Rocky hits his springboard DDT. The NRC try to string a series of double kicks together but Stevens is able to avoid then. BOTCHED REVERSE RANA by Cross. That looked really nasty. M-Dogg thankfully looks like he’s ok. Tilta-whirl facebomb on Rocky followed by a stepping enzi. Backbreaker/moonsault combo gets The Resilience a 2. As does a lariat/crucifix driver combo. Richards blocks Erick’s trademark powerslam but takes a DVD over the knee from Cross. He recovers to hit a SHOOTING STAR PRESS TO THE FLOOR! Cross tries to out-do Richards, but instead has to land on his feet as Romero attempts a German superplex. Corkscrew moonsault gets M-Dogg a close 2. Richards and Stevens are laying into each other on the floor as Rocky hits the Knock Out Kick. Cross is pinned and out of ROH (to a noticeable pop) at 16:59.
Rating – *** – It wasn’t as exciting as the Briscoes/NRC tag from earlier, but this was still decent. A big complaint of mine during a match with very similar stipulations (Richards/Blade/Edwards vs Resilience from Caged Rage) was that it never felt like Stevens or Cross were fighting for their spots. I think these four guys did a better job of making it feel like they were fighting to preserve their place on the roster. Little touches like Richards hitting an SSP (which he only saves for big matches) and so on made this one feel a little important. Ultimately it was another spot-heavy, selling-minimalised sprint that wasn’t as well executed as the very similar match we saw during the ppv portion of the show, but at the same time it wasn’t bad. Cross has been comfortably the least talented of all six guys throughout the NRC/Resilience feud so it’s fitting that he’s the one that took the fall. I’m not sure if he’s deserving of a full-time roster spot when he completes his suspension either.
The No Remorse Corps confirm themselves the victors in their feud with The Resilience by absolutely destroying Stevens’ arm. First they attack it with a chair then Davey applies the 14:59 Kimura and refuses to break. Erick will now be out injured, meaning they’ve basically ended The Resilience.
Necro Butcher vs Jay Briscoe – Anything Goes Match
They make absolutely no attempt to explain why these two are in the same building after making such a big deal out of separating them for the ppv. It’s that kind of thing which pisses people off about this ppv deal. The ROH faithful understand and support the move and are happy to see ROH growing. But it doesn’t excuse the fact that they booked the ppv to directly clash with a story they’re running amongst the non-ppv events and it looks stupid. There’s not even a token attempt to explain it like ‘Jay Briscoe showed up at the arena and demanded the fight’. Anyway, despite appearing as a reunited team during the ppv segment, as we saw at Honor Nation, Jay (already pissed off at the AOTF after their actions at Man Up) is currently without his brother since Jimmy, Tyler and Necro abducted him. He’ll be looking to beat the hell out of the Butcher tonight, then get Mark back.
It takes less than a minute for the match to spill out into the crowd with lots of stiff shots right in front of the fans. Jay makes Necro bleed with a couple of absolutely savage chair shots. Butcher hits back with the chair slam on the floor. More sick chair shots from Jay cause Necro’s blood to pour onto the floor of the Inman Sports Arena. They fight back to the GA section to deliver more chair shots to the head. Necro doesn’t protect himself at all and takes every shot straight to his skull. Back to the ring, but only momentarily as Jay nails a sunset flip bomb TO THE FLOOR! Jay starts throwing chairs into the ring and the Edison fans get excited because they think they’ll get another chair throwing riot like we saw in the same building at Ring Of Homicide. It comes back to bite him though as Necro drops him crotch-first into an open chair then lariats him down into a whole pile of them. TIGER DRIVER INTO THE CHAIRS gets Butcher a 2. Airplane spin into a hideous looking DVD into the chairs gets Necro another nearfall. Jay fires back with a gourdbuster through two open chairs. He goes to the top but Necro climbs after him. SUPER (UGLY) RANA INTO THE CHAIRS! He follows it with an even uglier crossbody from the top for 2. Briscoe positions a table on the floor. DVD OFF THE APRON THROUGH THE TABLE! Why is it that every spot involving Necro looks both hideous and extremely painful? Jay dumps Necro’s lifeless body back into the ring but still can’t get more than 2. FISHERMAN BUSTER THROUGH A CHAIR! Does that finish it? Of course not and Necro responds by simply punching Briscoe’s lights out. Speaking of lights out, they actually do go out before revealing Jacobs, Black and Lacey on the ramp – with Mark Briscoe wrapped in barbed wire. That distracts Jay long enough for Necro to hit the chair backbreaker and win the match at 21:41.
Rating – *** – I feel a bit stingy giving only giving these guys 3* after they absolutely destroyed each other for over 20-minutes. I did enjoy it, and it was definitely a good match, but I had a number of reservations which prevent me going higher. The lack of psychology behind it was frightening. They just bludgeoned each other with chairs for 20-minutes. No real sense of building to anything, just non-stop chair-orientated brawling. Whilst it was good to watch, it started to get a little tedious and the match felt long. I also didn’t like the amount of offence that Jay got in. I know he’s supposed to be the heroic babyface and he’s supposed to be fighting to find his brother – but he’s in there with Necro. Necro is over because he’s got a MASSIVE reputation in death matches. He’s the savage wildman that feels no pain, and loves to dish it out to his opponents. Outside of a few spots he spent most of this match getting his ass kicked. Feels no pain or not, this is a guy that has wrestled some of the worlds best death match workers using weapons far more dangerous than plastic chairs. Having Jay dominate him for so long damages his credibility. Like I said, it was a fun main event and both guys were absolute troopers for absorbing such punishment – but it wasn’t without it’s problems and that’s what held back the rating.
The Age Of The Fall walk out leaving Jay to try and free his brother from the barbed wire.
Tape Rating – **** – For the third show in a row I’ve got a few complaints concerning the booking surrounding the Age Of The Fall, but from a purely in-ring point of view, this was another fantastic pay-per-view. I’ve seen some call it the worst ROH ppv to date, and if that’s true then I’m fine with it since the ppv portion was just awesome. It felt like a complete ROH show by itself and everything clicked. Ignoring the continuity errors leading to the bonus matches, it’s really a flawless show. The opener put over the Age Of The Fall, Sweet’n’Sour Inc. were entertaining and we continued to build towards a Hero/Claudio ppv match. We got resolution to the doubts over the future of the Steen-erico team with Steen going babyface to protect his friend too. Lots to admire from a storyline advancement point of view then, and that’s before you move to the three excellent bouts at the top of the card, including a historic World Title change. This DVD is worth purchasing for the ppv section by itself, it’s that simple. Just leave your brain at the door and ignore what is nothing more than poor booking/planning concerning some of the AOTF stuff. Mark’s abducted on last night’s show, but then appears alongside his brother for a match from a different venue and we are, at no point told he’s missing and this was taped from an earlier event (which it wasn’t anyway). Then we’re told that the Briscoes aren’t in the building to be kept apart from the AOTF, when in fact, they are, as the bonus section proved. It’s just plain sloppiness. I could complain about it a lot more but I won’t. I don’t want my annoyance at how strange booking has dogged the Age Of The Fall since they debuted to interfere with what should be praise for another top notch pay-per-view effort. This is a promotion with a superb work-ethic (and by and large brilliant story-telling and booking too – but even Gabe makes mistakes sometimes), and they always go out of their way to provide more value for money than either of the other two ppv-broadcasting promotions.
Top 3 Matches
3) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Davey Richards/Rocky Romero (****)
2) Takeshi Morishima vs Nigel McGuinness (****)
1) Austin Aries vs Roderick Strong (****)
Top 5 Honor Nation/Undeniable weekend Matches
5) Takeshi Morishima vs Kevin Steen (**** – Honor Nation)
4) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Davey Richards/Rocky Romero (**** – Undeniable)
3) Austin Aries vs Bryan Danielson (**** – Honor Nation)
2) Takeshi Morishima vs Nigel McGuinness (**** – Undeniable)
1) Austin Aries vs Roderick Strong (**** – Undeniable)