ROH 178 – Double Feature – March 14th & 15th 2008
This is a somewhat unique release for Ring Of Honor. The promotion was used for shooting key scenes from critically acclaimed film The Wrestler. The movie producers spent two evenings shooting in-ring scenes with Mickey Rourke and Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller, using the ROH crowd as extras. ROH worked two evenings of shows around the movie. It’s superb exposure for the company as ROH banners and logos are all over the movie which received a global release and garnered several notable award nominations for Mickey Rourke. And with a pay-per-view taping this weekend as well, it’s a good opportunity to get some great exposure, gain revenue from the live gate and DVD sales, and present two nights of ‘B-show’ material, thus saving their guys for the taping in Philadelphia. It’s a new building as well, and given that the movie producers have chipped in, we’ve got a beautiful ramp and lighting set up, giving the whole DVD a unique look too. Night 1 is headlined by another Briscoes vs AOTF tag, whilst Night 2 continues the McGuinness/Danielson rivalry with the World Champion teaming with Go Shiozaki against Team Work. There’s also lots of singles matches between the line-up of upper midcarders looking to break through to the next level such as Steen/Richards, Black/Stevens, Albright/Shiozaki, Claudio/Richards, Matthews/Steen etc. Dover, NJ is our setting. Commentary is from Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard as ever.
ROH VIDEO WIRE (28/02/2008) – Exclusive footage from the Vulture Squad locker room after their defeat at the 6th Anniversary Show. Julius Smokes and Ruckus seem to blame Jigsaw for the loss. They want him to unmask and express himself in the ring.
-Nigel McGuinness cuts an emotional promo saying he doesn’t care about the fans, and he’s not ever losing the World Championship.
– Julius Smokes continues to berate Jigsaw until he pulls his mask off. I think I preferred it on…
ROH VIDEO WIRE (12/03/2008) – This is a fantastic video wire taped at ROH’s studio. Dave Prazak conducts a sit down interview with Nigel McGuinness. Nigel complains about the fans and how they’ve changed. He’s not going to throw less lariats and wants sympathy and respect for all the injuries he’s taken, not hatred. Nigel does a great job bouncing from humour to legitimate arguments defending his actions, to intensity. Between this interview and the Danielson defence on the last show, he truly has arrived as Ring Of Honor Champion now.
Night 1 – 14th March 2008
Rebecca Bayless welcomes everyone to the show underneath a ‘Randy The Ram vs The Ayatollah’ marquee. We then go into the building and your attention is immediately drawn to the phenomenal looking stage set up.
Pelle Primeau vs Roderick Strong
Sensible choice to open the show. Primeau is tiny but can at least pop a crowd with a few high spots and his plucky underdog routine, whilst FIP Champion Roderick Strong will brutalise him with chops and backbreakers…and lets face it that’ll be fun to watch.
Strong sends Primeau flying across the ring with a chop inside the first few seconds which I enjoy. Slingshot satellite headscissors by Primeau but he makes the mistake of trying to fight the FIP Champion on the floor and takes an ARGENTINE BACKBREAKER TO THE APRON! Back inside Roderick hits a couple of backbreakers and floats into a fallaway slam. Still determined to fight back Pelle nails a pescado. Inside again where Strong almost kicks Primeau’s head off. Satellite DDT out of nowhere by Primeau gets a 2. He follows up with the springboard press into La Magistral for 2 again. Death By Roderick into the Sick Kick then the Kondo Clutch…and Pelle taps at 05:38.
Rating – ** – This what I want to see from a squash match. It wasn’t too long, Primeau took a hell of a beating, got in a couple of comeback spots but was eventually beaten with some ease.
Erick Stevens vs Claudio Castagnoli vs BJ Whitmer vs Nigel McGuinness
Obviously the title isn’t on the line here, but with three guys who’d all love a title shot with Nigel there is a certain spice to this match. Claudio, in particular, has been on an impressive run this year and has vocalised his desire to get in the ring with the World Champion. Pinning him here could be a quick route to that title match he desires.
Nigel gets on the mic to piss the whole crowd off just in case you missed that he’s a heel now. He’s much better as a heel anyway. When Erick Stevens is the smallest guy in the match you know there are some tall wrestlers in the ring. Castagnoli and McGuinness start the match and rekindle their rivalry. Whitmer in to slug it out with Claudio, but he ends up taking shots from both Double C and Stevens from the apron. In the end Nigel trips Castagnoli from the floor, causing him to stumble into a DDT from BJ. The World Champion takes Claudio to the floor to dish out some punishment right in front of the fans. As is often the case in these four corner matches, it’s broken down into a heels vs faces tag so Nigel and BJ now take it in turns to work over the Swiss competitor. Castagnoli manages to floor McGuinness with a series of European uppercuts then gets 2 with the Match Killer. EPIC Giant Swing by Castagnoli but this time Whitmer breaks the pin and hits a spinebuster. Stevens takes him out with a TKO but McGuinness is able to avoid the Choo Choo. Castagnoli ducks a Lariat and springboards into a European uppercut. Nigel ROLLS THROUGH into the Jawbreaker Lariat. But Castagnoli counters that to the RICCOLA BOMB! Castagnoli pins the World Champion at 09:18.
Rating – ** – Usual stuff from a midcard four corner match. It inevitably becomes a tag match before everyone comes in to hit some big spots at the end, then we go home. This one earns points for the way they nurtured the heat between Nigel and Claudio for a future World Title Match there, and the finish is significant because, as per ROH tradition, having pinned the champion in non-title action, Castagnoli is now entitled to a championship match.
Necro Butcher vs Delirious
We saw Delirious clash with the Age Of The Fall during the opening segment of the Sixth Anniversary Show, so I guess this is what has led to this match. Necro is featured very prominently in The Wrestler as he actually gets a match against Rourke’s ‘Randy The Ram’ character. I believe those scenes were filmed at a CZW show though. This is the first of a series of four matches over the course of these two shows in Dover. The winners all advance to the opening match of the ppv taping in Philadelphia, and the winner of that one faces Nigel McGuinness in the ppv main event. So high stakes here…
Delirious crouches in the corner waiting for the bell as he normally does. Necro’s approach is different to most though, as he charges at the motionless lizard man and punts him in the head. Leaping Lariat from the top scores for Delirious but Butcher drags him out of the ring and tosses him casually into the guardrails. Delirious picks him up and slams him on the big sexy ramp in place for the movie tapings. He can’t capitalise though as Lacey grabs his leg, causing a distraction that allows Necro to recover and stomp him in the head. But Necro goes for one kick too often as Delirious catches his foot and BITES THE TOES! Butcher avoids the Cobra Stretch and goes to the Iron Claw. Delirious fights that and scores with the Panic Attack/Shadows Over Hell combo. Savage chokeslam by Necro and Lacey tries to toss him a chair. Daizee Haze runs in and stops that…but the real hero is a little kid who decides to climb onto the ramp and run down it to start punching Lacey in the back. Delirious rolls Necro up in the melee and wins the match at 07:41.
Rating – ** – Average match, made better by the hilarious finish. In fairness, as funny as some kid running in from the crowd was, it could’ve been far more sinister had it been some socially retarded psycho with a weapon trying to fight wrestlers as opposed to an idiotic, mischievous kid with moronic parents (you can see the kid’s dad/guardian patting him on the back as he runs back to his seat). But Lacey took it in good spirits and it added to the chaos of the finish.
Daizee saves Delirious from a two-on-one beating at the hands of Necro and Lacey
Ruckus/Jigsaw vs Bryan Danielson/Austin Aries
This is clearly a massive opportunity for the Vultures. They lost their Tag Title shot against the No Remorse Corps at the 6th Anniversary Show and are looking to regroup. A victory over the new alliance of former World Champions (known affectionately by the fans as Team Work) would be a big step. It’s Jigsaw’s first match without a mask in ROH. He really should’ve kept it. At least the mask made him unique (outside of Generico and Delirious). Now he looks like a member of Special K.
Danielson doesn’t seem to have too much interest in wrestling. He mocks the movie taping and pre-emptively instructs the fans to cheer for himself, Aries and Ruckus. Not Jigsaw though. He gets ‘put your mask on’ chants. It’s interesting to see that Jigsaw doesn’t look wildly outclassed trading holds with Dragon from the bell. Ruckus backflips into a headscissors then hits a handspring spinning kick on Aries for 2. Jigsaw in again but gets taken down and beaten senseless with some really stiff shots from Team Work. Eddie Kingston (last seen during Cage Of Death at Death Before Dishonor 4) is in the crowd yelling at Ruckus. They’re part of the BLK OUT faction in other feds and clearly isn’t happy at Ruckus’ involvement in the Vulture Squad. In the ring you’re not missing anything as Danielson and Aries are still in complete control, dominating Jigsaw. At last the now unmasked Vulture hits a crossbody on Danielson and gets the hot tag to Ruckus. He goes for a running moonsault to the floor but both members of Team Work step out of the way. Incredibly Ruckus lands on his feet and Jigsaw takes the former World Champions out with the worst tope suicida in the history of time. Ruckus to the top rope…but he’s distracted by Eddie Kingston again. TEAM WORK SUPERPLEX! MMA ELBOWS/KNEE STRIKES! Julius Smokes and Jigsaw are preoccupied yelling at Kingston on the floor and don’t see Aries roll into the Horns Of Aries (now called the Last Chancery apparently). It’s victory for Aries and Danielson at 12:11.
Rating – ** – Basically an extended squash (nothing new for a match involving Jigsaw), with the added intrigue of Eddie Kingston’s interaction with Ruckus and the Vulture Squad. Interesting angle, more so as it may bring Kingston into ROH for more shows. His wrestling isn’t particularly great but he’s a superb orator (and hey, ROH has found room for Adam Pearce and Steve Corino in the past) and can throw some stiff shots too. Again, a fun match but nothing more.
Go Shiozaki vs Brent Albright
This is the second of tonight’s #1 Contendership Qualification matches (we’ve got Castagnoli/Richards and Black/Stevens tomorrow night). It could be decent as both guys work comparable heavyweight styles. Plus both have been in good form and put on some good matches thus far in 2008.
They work the mat to start, with Albright getting frustrated at his lack of success in the ring and the somewhat demeaning chants he’s on the receiving end of. The pace is pretty slow for the opening five minutes, giving Prazak and Leonard time to discuss the different pacing of these two shows, Shiozaki’s tutelage under Kenta Kobashi and generally fill as much silence with waffle as possible. Albright uses his smarts and avoids a couple of chop attempts from Go. But Shiozaki lands the chops third time of asking and drops Brent to the canvas for 2. Albright decides to ditch the striking game to hit a bowling shoe ugly swinging backbreaker. He then scares some kids in the front row by screaming in their faces as he works Go over. They actually look pretty terrified so I hope Brent feels bad. He’s targeting Go’s back and is total control of the contest. Finally he steps out of his comfort zone and tries to climb to the top rope. Shiozaki immediately capitalises with a Flair slam and both men are down. Go doesn’t sell the back even a little bit as he slingshots the ropes into a chop then dives off the top with a football tackle for 2. Albright gets 2 with an overhead belly to belly as the pace quickens. NECK DROP German suplex…but Shiozaki gets up to hit a BACK DROP DRIVER! Superkick then a big lariat keeps Albright down for 2. Fisherman buster nailed and Go climbs the ropes for the moonsault. He hits it and advances to the #1 contendership match tomorrow night at 14:08.
Rating – * – That was pretty horrible for most of it. Some needless puro head dropping salvaged things somewhat at the death (at least senseless neck bumps are cheap entertainment) but for the most part it was very dull. Albright was lifeless and dull working over Shiozaki, who then no-sold everything, hit his spots and went home, rendering the entire heat segment (which sucked to sit through) pointless anyway. I was expecting more from two guys who’ve been in good form this year.
Brent Albright refuses to shake Go’s hand after the match, and the two are joined in the ring by Larry Sweeney (wearing the most obscene white tux imaginable). Apparently Mama Sweeney is a big Albright fan. Larry hands Brent a business card, but he doesn’t look interested. Sara Del Rey then comes out and ditches Sweeney and his services. THEN Claudio Castagnoli runs through the crowd and chases Larry to the back. A bad night for him…
Kevin Steen vs Davey Richards
This one should be stiff. Steen and Generico challenged the No Remorse Corps to a Tag Title shot at the Sixth Anniversary Show and if they want to get into the running for those belts, then Steen pinning one half of the champions tonight is the way to go about it.
Richards starts kicking and striking at Steen before the bell rings, so this one gets off to a quick start. Mr Wrestling takes it to the floor to start chopping away on Davey, who grabs fans and hides in the front row to get away from him. In the end he manages to kick the middle rope into Steen’s crotch to stop the onslaught. Snap suplex then a camel clutch by Richards as he tries to establish himself. Running forearm in the corner misses and Davey turns into a big clothesline from Steen which leaves both men grounded. Steen kicks the rope into Davey’s leg, dropping him down for the cannonball senton for 2. Richards gets SICK hangtime on a missile dropkick then staggers Kevin with an enziguri. German suplex gets 2 but he misses the Benoit headbutt straight afterwards. Steen goes upstairs for the STEEN-TON BOMB INTO DAVEY’S KNEES! Richards gets 2 with the diving headbutt this time. He gets up a head of steam but charges right into a powerbomb by Steen. Sharpshooter applied but he’s too close to the bottom rope. Richards tries to string some kicks together only to be caught in the pumphandle cradlebreaker. Package Piledriver and DR Driver attempts blocked. Steen finally picks Richards up for the PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! He wins at 12:36.
Rating – *** – It won’t be featuring in any MOTY awards or anything but that was easily the most fun of any of the matches tonight. Good back and forth action, good character dynamics as Davey’s nerdy intensity meshed well with Steen’s pseudo-comedy routine. During the last few minutes of the match you can see some guy on the ramp (I guess one of the movie producers) waving his arms around and gesturing wildly for something. I’m guessing ROH was over-running a little. Welcome to independent wrestling Hollywood…
Tyler Black/Joey Matthews vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe
This is the main event for night one. Joey returned to ROH at Breakout and promptly joined Age Of The Fall, bashing the Briscoes’ faces in with a steel chair in the process. That was just another chapter in a rivalry which has now been raging for six months.
Joey gets on the mic before the match and promises there will be no tables, or ladders or violence of any kind tonight. Age Of The Fall will only face the Briscoes in an old fashioned wrestling match. He then handles ring introductions for the Briscoes too. It’s the Briscoes who then decline to follow the Code Of Honor before the bell. Jay tries to start like a house on fire but Tyler immediately retreats to the floor to kill his momentum. He returns to the ring but Jay and Mark are so riled up they dominate from the start. The mass of lights over the entrance to the ring are now flashing like a cheesy 80’s disco which is very distracting every time we go to the hard cam angle. Finally Black manages to make a tag as he delivers a dropkick to Mark’s ribs as he is distracted by Joey on the apron. The AOTF immediately cut the ring in half and use any means necessary to keep the younger Briscoe away from his brother. But Mark is so quick and he’s soon able to roll through both opponents to make the hot tag to Jay. Springboard Doomsday Device blocked and Matthews shunts Jay into the ringpost. That looks like it hurt Jay and the heel team go right to work on the arm as a result. Leonard points out that they wear Jay down by pinning him after every big move, forcing him to expend energy by kicking out. But finally he does get the vital tag to his brother…who brings the RED NECK KARATE in with him and clears house. Joey tries to climb the ropes but is hauled off with the springboard Ace Crusher for 2. Springboard moonsault press aimed at Tyler MISSES though. SNAPSHOT by the Age Of The Fall! That MNM theft gets 2 as Jay breaks the pin. Jay hits Matthews with a DVD. Lacey comes into the ring as the Briscoes look like they’re about to win it. Joey uses the distraction to hit a DOUBLE ARM DDT ON THE CHAIR! He pins Mark at 14:24.
Rating – *** – Definitely MOTN so I’m glad it main evented. The rest of this evening’s event has been painfull average (especially by ROH’s high standards) so I’m pleased this one delivered to some degree. I think with a few more minutes to trade big nearfalls and high spots at the end it could’ve been really special. As was, it was a solid, old fashioned tag team match, much as Joey Matthews promised it would be. Good work from the heel team (particularly with Matthews who is SUCH a ring general these days) and you know the Briscoes can bring the goods.
The Age Of The Fall try to beat down Jay and Mark but Delirious and Daizee Haze arrive to make the save. Jay then challenges AOTF to a Street Fight on pay-per-view later that weekend.
Night 2 – 15th March 2008
Davey Richards vs Claudio Castagnoli
This is the third of four matches to decide the four participants in the #1 Contendership Fourway at the pay-per-view taping in Philadelphia tomorrow night. Both guys are having good years thus far. Claudio has put together a winning streak and has already stated that he wants a shot at Nigel, whilst Davey is one half of the Tag Champions, and would love to wear the World Title too, ensuring that the No Remorse Corps hold all the gold in Ring Of Honor.
Claudio is in a jovial mood, but Richards makes him pay for one ‘HEY’ too many by kicking him in the chest. Castagnoli dumps him out of the ring much to Davey’s annoyance. Richards looks for an early Kimura and that’s blocked…but Davey thinks fast and dives to the floor to evade a Castagnoli uppercut. Castagnoli scores with an uppercut second time of asking but then misses the second rope crabwalk elbow drop. That hurts his arm, and it’s made worse as Roderick Strong drags him out of the ring and attacks it whilst Richards distracts the official. Cross armbreaker blocked but Davey jumps to his feet and drops a headbutt to the injured arm. Castagnoli uses the good arm to hit some European uppercuts then hits the crab elbow second time around. Richards grabs the referee to stop the Giant Swing. Riccola Bomb countered into a nice roll-up which gets Richards a 2. Handspring enzi caught and Castagnoli rolls into a bridging roll-up for his own nearfall. KIMURA…COUNTERED TO THE GIANT SWING! Running uppercut scores and Castagnoli wins at 08:19.
Rating – *** – I liked this one. It was a sharp opening match, never felt dull, had strong heel/face characters, some dastardly outside interference and so on. I think Castagnoli could’ve worked harder to sell the arm, but in fairness, in a sub-ten minute opening match, you can look past that. Not sure I agree with jobbing out one half of your Tag Champions quite so easily, but they are building Claudio up as a future challenger to McGuinness so it does make sense. I’ve liked both of Davey’s matches on this DVD. They haven’t been anything flash, but both have been crisp and enjoyable undercard bouts.
Adam Pearce/Shane Hagadorn vs Ruckus/Jigsaw
Interesting that Pearce wasn’t booked on last night’s show. He joins his fellow Hangmen 3 members tonight, both of whom are coming off defeats last night. Pearce himself is coming off a high profile defeat to end his feud with Delirious at Without Remorse. So the Hangm3n are in a bit of a slump. As are the Vulture Squad who lost a Tag Title Match at the Sixth Anniversary Show, dropped a match against former World Champions Aries and Danielson last night (where Ruckus’ BLK OUT ally Eddie Kingston caused a disturbance in the crowd) and are looking to rebound out of their own form trough.
The Hangm3n try to get the jump on their opponents but that is predictably unsuccessful. The Vultures quickly send them packing them dive over the top rope to hit simultaneous dives to the floor. Razzle Dazzle by Ruckus but Hagadorn soon holds him in position for Pearce to hit the Superfly Splash for 2. Hagadorn hits him with a Russian legsweep as Prazak and Leonard start talking about Gary Michael Cappetta. I miss that goofy bastard. Pearce gets over-excited at the sheer dominance the Hangm3n have over Ruckus and topples himself over the top rope, much to the enjoyment of the crowd. It doesn’t stop him choking the Chocolate Vulture whilst Shane preoccupies the official. Ruckus finally backflips into a kick on Scrap Iron and makes the hot tag to Jigsaw. DOUBLE STOMP JIG’N’TONIC! Oh you’d better believe it’s over! The Vulture Squad pin Hagadorn at 06:52
Rating – ** – That was actually far more enjoyable than I thought it would be. In a short match the silly heel antics of the Hangm3n contrasted well with the crowd-popping high spots and didn’t go on long enough to expose any of their collective and individual weaknesses. Plus the finish was sick. Granted it was almost a direct rip-off the substantially sicker Ghetto Stomp Cop Killa the Rottweilers pulled out at Manhattan Mayhem, but sick nonetheless.
Jigsaw gets on the mic and calls out Eddie Kingston who caused such a stir last night (but isn’t in the building tonight). He dares him to show up in Philadelphia tomorrow. Ruckus doesn’t seem pleased…
Larry Sweeney appears next to dish out business cards to Pearce and Hagadorn. Claudio Castagnoli chases everyone off before he can discuss his ‘business opportunities’ with the Hangm3n.
Brent Albright/BJ Whitmer vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe
If all four are on their game this has the potential to be quite good. There’s no massive back story behind it, but you’d imagine it would have some kind of ramifications on who gets title shots at the No Remorse Corps and who doesn’t.
The Briscoes dominate from the opening bell forcing the Hangm3n to retreat to the floor and Lenny Leonard to do Dusty Rhodes impressions. Some of the commentary on this DVD has been utterly strange. In a good way, it’s nice to see them cut loose and sound like they’re enjoying themselves. Albright and Whitmer work themselves into the match with some illegal double-teaming on Mark. Jay catches his brother as the Hangm3n go for a double suplex and the Briscoes hit their double football tackle on BJ for 2. Spinebuster from Whitmer to Mark gets him a 2 of his own. Albright misses a couple of elbow drops but prevents Mark from gaining any momentum by holding him down off a sunset flip attempt, allowing BJ to deliver stomps to his exposed neck. Mark dives for another tag but Brent catches him again. Third time lucky as he rolls under Whitmer and gets the hot tag to Jay. Unfortunately the older Briscoe brother has to fight against uneven 2-on-1 odds and soon falls victim to a knee drop/backbreaker combo by the Hangm3n team. Whitmer gets 2 with a superplex. Springboard kick to the back of Albright’s head by Mark then a NECK DROP URINAGE on Whitmer. SPIKE JAY DRILLER! The Briscoes win at 13:20
Rating – ** – I’m going a little low on the rating because I felt this one went a little long. The heat segment on Mark wasn’t as effective as it should’ve been and thusly killed the momentum of the bout in the middle portion. The last couple of minutes were fun, and it wasn’t like it was a bad match as these are four seasoned pros going at it. I felt they could’ve had a better match in them though.
Bryan Danielson/Austin Aries vs Nigel McGuinness/Go Shiozaki
Three tag matches in a row? I know Gabe is somewhat restricted in his booking tonight in that he’s having to work within time constraints imposed upon him by the film director and crew but surely he could’ve broken them up a bit? This should be the best of the bunch though. The Danielson/Nigel feud was spectacularly re-ignited at the 6th Anniversary Show as McGuinness went heel on everyone and scored a controversial victory over American Dragon. And that was in the same building where a couple of months earlier he’d scored an unpopular win over challenger Austin Aries. Tonight both members of Team Work will be gunning for the champion. Shiozaki, meanwhile, will be looking to avenge the defeat he suffered against Aries last time in Manhattan.
Danielson and Shiozaki feel each other out first in some keenly contested but respectful early exchanges. Dragon plants a boot to Shiozaki’s spine then brings in Aries for the first time. McGuinness in soon after and he gains control over Double A. Go trades chops with Austin but is then forced into Team Work’s corner where Dragon gets a tag and hammers him with a series of kicks. Aries gets 2 with the Power Drive Elbow. They try to work Go’s arm to stop him chopping but he shakes that off to chop Danielson down and tag in the current World Champion. Nigel’s team now have a clear advantage over American Dragon; McGuinness taking the fight to the floor to deliver a running European uppercut. Danielson tries to trade shots with Nigel only to be floored with a McLariat. Shiozaki cranks up the pressure by holding him in a surfboard for several minutes. At last Danielson breaks out the Sayama flip and dives into a clothesline on Nigel. Hot tag to Aries who dominates both opponents. Nigel blocks the Brainbuster but Aries ducks a Lariat and hits a BACK DROP DRIVER! Impact Explosion Dropkick blocked though and Shiozaki gets 2 with a swinging front slam. DOUBLE missile dropkick by Dragon and Team Work are back on top. Roaring Elbows for both opponents. Impact Explosion Dropkick nailed on Nigel this time, and Danielson follows up with a pescado. Go Flasher blocked…HEAT SEEKING MISSILE BY ARIES! Shiozaki hits a pescado too as all four are left out of it on the floor. Go drops Aries with a football tackle from the top but the Go Flasher is blocked with knee strikes. COUNTERED TO THE FISHERMAN BUSTER! Just like he did at 6YA, but Aries kicks out at 2 again. GO MOONSAULT MISSES! Danielson kicks him down. MCLARIAT BY NIGEL! Aries blocks the Jawbreaker Lariat but is MUSCLED into a German suplex by Shiozaki for 2. Incredible strength from Go there. KICK OF DEATH! BRAINBUSTER! NIGEL SAVES AT 2! CATTLE MUTILATION ON NIGEL! LAST CHANCERY ON GO! They both tap at 18:44.
Rating – **** – Best match on the DVD by some distance – all four wrestlers oozed quality in that one. Nigel brought strong heel work, built up the rematch with Aries (which is now set for ROH’s Florida debut) and continued the simmering heat with Danielson. Go and Aries busted out some of the awesome sequences they pulled off during their Sixth Anniversary Show match and together it was just four superb wrestlers doing their thing and producing a thrilling little tag match as a result. I think of all the guys to come over from NOAH, Go may well be the guy who has integrated himself into the ROH roster the best. Marufuji and KENTA have such star power and physical charisma about them (that comes from being two of NOAH’s top stars for some time) that they immediately become top line main event level talents, setting them apart from much of the ROH roster. Takeshi Morishima lacked this x-factor but had such size and marauding physical abilities that he delivered as a dominating World Champion. But Go’s ability to work great matches with the main event guys like this, entertaining stuff with up and coming midcard acts like Steen and Generico and even in brawls like he did with Necro is a wonderful asset. He may not deliver as many MOTYC’s or have as many ‘money match’ possibilities, but his flexibility and consistency should make his tenure here a strong one.
Kevin Steen vs Joey Matthews
This is a rematch from the Sixth Anniversary Show. Apparently neither guy was happy with that match, thought they could produce something better and asked if they could have a do-over.
Last night Steen voluntarily rolled down the super-steep entrance ramp during his entrance. Tonight he comes flying down it again, but not of his own volition as Joey sneaks up behind him as his music hits and shoves him. Matthews is wearing an ‘I Can’t Work’ shirt. I want one!! He shunts Steen into the guardrails as he tries to enter the ring too. In the ring at last and Matthews gets on the mic promising to deliver a ‘Five Star Chinlock’. Steen blocks it as Prazak and Leonard continue to rip on the filming of ‘The Wrestler’. Joey continually snapmares Mr Wrestling and finally gets to apply the Five Star Chinlock. Steen clotheslines Matthews over the ropes and we go to the floor again. The former WWE Tag Champion gets hurled about ringside, crashing into the railings on several occasions. In the ring again and Steen counters the Double Arm DDT into a neckbreaker for 2. Steen-ton Bomb misses but he knocks Matthews into the corner with a superkick and follows it with a cannonball senton. Joey rolls out of the Package Piledriver and nails the Double Arm DDT for 2. Joey hates that his finisher puts almost nobody away so tries to get a steel chair. Steen throws that away and hits an inverted atomic drop into the Package Piledriver to win at 09:40.
Rating – ** – No better than their last match sadly. In fact, aside from a few different spots, it felt almost identical. For two such charismatic wrestlers, it’s amazing how dull they are in the ring together. Outside of the early ‘Five Star Chinlock’ gimmick I had almost zero interest in this.
Tyler Black comes out after the match and drops Steen on his head with the Small Package Driver to get a measure of revenge for the Age Of The Fall. He announces that with Jimmy Jacobs touring Europe he’s going to start a new campaign – Tyler Black for World Champion.
Tyler Black vs Erick Stevens
This is the last of the four qualifying matches that have taken place over the last two nights. Who will join Go Shiozaki, Claudio Castagnoli and Delirious in the #1 Contendership four corner survival at tomorrow night’s pay-per-view taping in Philadelphia?
Black seems hesitant to wrestle the fired up Stevens at first and slides out of the ring to gather his thoughts. He then tries to go at it with Erick, but his opponent is so up for this match he stomps Tyler out of the ring again. Back in again and Stevens catches Black going for a dropkick and plants him with a Samoan drop. Belly to belly suplex from the former FIP Champion gets 2. We’re approaching 5 minutes in before Tyler is able to mount some significant offence for the first time. He goes for a springboard move way too soon though and gets caught in Erick’s full nelson slam. Football tackle from the second rope scores then the JACKHAMMER for 2. Black escapes the STO and hits the Peroxism DDT for 2. Phoenix Splash misses and Stevens drops him on his face with a German suplex. Ugly looking roll-up gets Tyler a quick victory at 09:58.
Rating – *** – Ugly finish aside that was actually quite good – and not for the reasons you might expect. Tyler has been ear marked for a big push, but it was actually Stevens who looked more impressive here. He’s been in ROH for nearly a year now, and has been in top level matches for most of that period thanks to his involvement in the NRC/Resilience feud and then going into his singles feud with Roderick. For better or worse, that’s given him plenty of time to get to grips with a character and convey it effectively in the ring. He did his part as the fiery babyface very well out there, and actually kept the crowd on his side throughout. Tyler on the other hand, from a character perspective, struggled. He started out with great heat thanks to taking out the popular Kevin Steen and cutting a promo…but that died away quickly and he struggled to maintain it through his ring work. From a wrestling perspective Tyler is a fine athlete. But he needs to improve at getting people to care about these matches. It’s all very well and good having good matches with top stars like Bryan Danielson and the Briscoes. To move to the next level and become a main eventer yourself you need to make people interested in everything you do and every match you have. Something Rod Strong has always struggled with, and why he hasn’t broken through in the way that Aries, McGuinness and others have.
Eddie Edwards vs Necro Butcher vs Delirious vs Roderick Strong
Yes folks, this odd assortment of characters is your main event. Strong and Necro were part of an absolute war over the FIP Title at the Sixth Anniversary Show, and Roddy also had a brief issue with Delirious last year. Delirious has also had some interaction with Age Of The Fall as of late. Outside of that, this is nothing more than a thrown together fourway. I’ve enjoyed Edwards’ work during his infrequent appearances so hopefully we get to see more of him tonight.
Necro charges straight at Delirious and chokes him on the floor so Strong and Edwards go at it in the ring. Edwards hits a combo of mafia kicks on Roddy then dives into a tope suicida onto Butcher. Necro goes off on a real tangent and starts beating up the timekeeper. ‘Die Hard was a good movie’ – Leonard as Necro beats the snot out of Eddie. Davey Richards is at ringside and he teams up with Strong to do a number on Necro. In the ring Delirious hits the Panic Attack on Edwards. He clotheslines him over the top rope, taking Lacey out in the process. She gets some revenge by shoving Delirious from the top. That predictably brings Daizee Haze out and she takes Lacey down with a missile dropkick. Heart Punch nailed and the Yakuza Kick knocks Lacey out of the ring. At the top of the screen we can see Strong and Butcher brawling on the stage. Roderick sits on a chair rides it down the steep ramp like a sled to wipe out Eddie and Delirious. Now Edwards has had his haircut he looks so much like Davey Richards I keep mistaking them. Necro gets 2 by bulldogging him onto a chair. Edwards fires back with a Lionsault. Death By Roderick on him but Butcher is soon back throwing chairs at everyone. Roddy throws one right back at Necro then PRESS SLAMS HIM THROUGH IT! Backbreaker nailed and Eddie breaks the fall at 2. Delirious misses Shadows Over Hell and Necro grabs him for the Tiger Driver. Necro wins at 10:47.
Rating – *** – That was hectic to watch but absolutely entertaining throughout. This has been a long DVD but it was a good, fun match to end the two night stand with. The four guys provided some good wrestling, the inevitable Lacey/Haze interaction added to the carnage, there were some hilarious commentary gems from Leonard and Prazak etc etc. One of the more memorable bouts on this release.
Tape Rating – ** – I’m not going to lie, this was a tough DVD to sit through. I normally struggle to review a whole Ring Of Honor show in one sitting, but usually get one done in two. This DVD took me FIVE sittings to complete. It’s not bad at all, it’s just VERY long and very repetitive. Due to the constraints imposed by the film crew nothing gets a massive amount of time, and after a while the procession of midcard filler bouts ranging from poor, to mediocre to occasionally pretty good all start to blur into one, particularly with no backstage segments or vignettes to break it up. Obviously the Team Work vs Nigel/Go tag was the highlight of the DVD. It was a fine match, and the only one to be granted any significant time. Both Davey Richards matches, the Eddie Kingston angle, the Briscoes/AOTF tag from Night 1 and Night 2’s manic fourway main event all stand out too. Plus the whole show has a unique vibe with the beautiful stage set-up, different format and the commentary team acting less serious, cutting loose and delivering some calls that were at times surreal, at times inexplicable and at times side-splittingly funny. To be fair, you can probably pick this DVD up for like $10 now assuming it’s not out of stock at rohwrestling.com – and if that’s the case then this is great value for money. You’re getting 4 hours of decent wrestling, a roster busting their ass to make things fun despite being limited in what they could do by ‘The Wrestler’ scenes and an awesome tag match thrown in too.
Top 3 Matches
3) Tyler Black/Joey Matthews vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (***)
2) Necro Butcher vs Delirious vs Roderick Strong vs Eddie Edwards (***)
1) Bryan Danielson/Austin Aries vs Nigel McGuinness/Go Shiozaki (****)