ROH 179 – Take No Prisoners – 16th March 2008
This is Ring Of Honor’s first pay-per-view taping of 2008. It’s not the first one that aired though (that would be Rising Above taped in December 2007). Four men compete in the opening match to determine who goes on to the main event to challenge Nigel McGuinness. The Briscoes and the Age Of The Fall continue their feud in a Street Fight. The No Remorse Corps defend the Tag Titles against the Vulture Squad in a match from the future (it was taped Wrestlemania weekend in Florida) and the epic Aries/Danielson rivalry comes to ppv for the first time. We’ve also got a bonus match featuring the Briscoes from their recent tour of NOAH that is getting rave reviews. After two nights of somewhat stunted action from ‘The Wrestler’ tapings, it’ll be good to see ROH hit their straps again. Commentary is by Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard. Host city is Philadelphia, PA
ROH VIDEO WIRE – See Double Feature (ROH178) review for details.
Lets kick things off with the bonus features…
Dingo vs Davey Richards
Davey isn’t on the ppv portion of tonight’s show as his match was taped a couple of weeks later in Florida. As such he’s free for an enhancement match tonight. We haven’t seen too much of Dingo (outside of his appearance in the Six Man Mayhem at Unscripted 3) but his performances on the pre-shows have been getting some rave reviews.
But for the big tattoo on his back Dingo would seriously look like Bryan Danielson’s mini-me. Richards doesn’t look like he’s taking things too seriously so Dingo gives him a couple of slaps. That’s followed by a dropkick to the floor then the M-Dogg tope fake. Richards is soon in control after a snap suplex and a few kicks. Dingo is still impressing people with his wrestling ability though, and stands toe to toe with Richards in a strike exchange too. Springboard crossbody gets him a 2-count. He lands on his feet to counter a Davey German suplex attempt then drops him on his head with a fisherman buster for another 2. DINGOSAULT into the knees! Tombstone Piledriver from Richards into the Kimura. Dingo is out and the match is stopped at 05:24.
Rating – ** – Effective squash match there. Davey gets a dominant victory whilst Dingo showed himself to be miles ahead of the rest of the pre-show guys in terms of actual in-ring talent.
Adam Pearce/BJ Whitmer vs Ruckus/Jigsaw
The Hangm3n failed to beat the Vulture Squad last night in Dover when they were represented by Pearce and Hagadorn. Tonight we have a swift rematch with improved personnel on their side. The Vultures (including the now mask-less Jigsaw) are looking to mount a resurgence after their defeat at the Sixth Anniversary Show (which as the ppv taping will show was all in vain…not to spoil it for anyone)…but the shadow of Eddie Kingston hangs over them. He disrupted their match with Team Work on Night 1 of the Double Feature and Jigsaw has challenged him to show up tonight.
Usual heel tactics from the Hangm3n of jumping their opponents before they’re ready. And as usual it doesn’t work as the Vultures fight back to hit stereo dives to the floor. Hagadorn distracts Jigsaw though, allowing Whitmer to hot shot him onto the top rope. BJ and Pearce put themselves in the ascendancy by wearing Jig out. Pearce mocking Julius Smokes’ Vulture Squad war cry is a quiet moment of comedy genius from the veteran. Remember when Smokes was actually relevant in ROH? Back suplex/reverse DDT combo gets 2 for the Hangm3n. At last Jigsaw evades his opponents to get the hot tag t the Chocolate Vulture. Razzle Dazzle scores on Pearce but Scrap Iron drags him out. Jigsaw rolls up BJ out of nowhere to win at 06:46.
Rating – * – Boring match, lazy finish…generally pretty poor I’d say. I much preferred the match with Hagadorn in from Double Feature Night 2. Now that Faction Warfare has died a quiet death both of these two groups could be culled from the roster to make way for some fresh talent.
Eddie Kingston and other members of BLK OUT are in the crowd to berate Ruckus about where his loyalties lie. BLK OUT and the Vulture Squad get into a brawl with Ruckus caught in the middle. As this is Philly BLK OUT are clearly more popular than the Vultures.
Naomichi Marufuji/Takashi Sugiura vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe – GHC Tag Title Match
This bonus match was taken from the March 2nd Pro Wrestling NOAH show at the Budokan Hall. Jay and Mark challenge the NOAH boys for their belts. ROH has entered into a global alliance with the likes of NOAH and Dragon Gate. It’d be good to see more matches featuring ROH guys overseas slip onto the DVD’s as bonus features like this.
This one has full English commentary from Prazak and Leonard (which, if you’ve seen the standard of commentary on the official English language NOAH releases, is a massive plus). You’ll also catch the Kings Of Wrestling in the Briscoes’ corner. The English commentators start off by mocking the SUPER NO VACANCY puro culture. Can we have a Japanese commentary track?? Marufuji and Jay begin and feel each other out with an extended few minutes of fluid exchanges. Tags all round and you’ll notice Sugiura is MUCH bigger than Mark. The younger Briscoe counters the size disadvantage by running into a nice dropkick in the corner. TOPE SUICIDA! Jay and Marufuji battle…DROPKICK DUEL ON THE APRON! Jay makes the mistake of trying to trade strikes with Sugiura, who uses his power advantage to drive Briscoe back into his corner. He hangs Jay on the top rope then BOOTS him to the floor. That would be the moment that the champions assume total control as we approach 10 minutes. Jay hits a combo of flatliners to his opponents and gets a vital tag to his brother. Springboard plancha on Marufuji but he rolls through. Superkicks miss…RED NECK KARATE! That’s over even in Japan! Mark BOTCHES a Lionsault and lands somewhere between his neck and Marufuji’s body. Great work from Maru to react quickly and fire a couple of shots on the neck to salvage things. Jay quickly comes to his brother’s aid and ensures that it’s the gaijin that remain on top. Briscoe boot combo on Marufuji in the corner gets 2. Slingshot split-legged moonsault from Mark gets 2 as well. Marufuji connects with blindside lariats on both Briscoes then makes the tag to Sugiura. He cuts Mark in half with a big spear. He lines Mark up that boot from the top spot that we say on Jay earlier…then SWITCHES to kick Jay in the head again.
Jay in with a gourdbuster as the challengers go on the offence again. He goes for a big boot but Sugiura catches the boot and powerbombs him into down into the turnbuckles. Marufuji blocks the Jay Driller but finds himself unable to land the Shiranui either. Duelling clothes…DUELLING SUPERKICKS! Jay and Maru collapse in a heap. Sugiura avoids a crossbody from Mark then knees him in the face. Knees to the back then he boots Jay off the apron for a third time. SUPERKICK/POWERBOMB COMBO gets 2 for the champions. HEAD DROP GERMAN by Sugiura. Mark blocks the Olympic Slam but Takashi throws him down amateur style and rolls into an Ankle Lock. Jay tries to save with superkicks BUT SUGIURA HOLDS ON! BIG BOOT DUEL ends with the Briscoes launching into their trademark double shoulder tackle. Challengers to opposite turnbuckles for a SPLASH/LEG DROP COMBO! Mark hits the urinage on Sugiura then goes upstairs for the SHOOTING STAR PRESS! Two count only as we pass 25 minutes. Sugiura evades the Springboard Doomsday Device and lays out both Briscoes with German suplexes. Marufuji almost takes Mark’s head off with a low superkick. Bridging German WITH A MARUFUJI BASEBALL SLIDE gets 2 for the champions. Mark still blocks the Shiranui and Jay returns for them to hit the splash mountain neckbreaker. Mark NAILS the springboard moonsault this time! OLYMPIC SLAM ON MARK! Jay grabs Sugiura for the DVD. Marufuji has Jay…SHIRANUI! ALL FOUR DOWN! MICHINOKU DRIVER ON MARK! That dropped him on his damn head! The champions seem to be lining up a German suplex/Shiranui combo but Jay rescues his brother again. AVALANCHE URINAGE ON MARUFUJI! SPRINGBOARD DOOMSDAY DEVICE ON SUGIURA! They have Marufuji…HE COUNTERS INTO A MID-AIR SHIRANUI! The champions retain at 29:46. That last spot was just insane!
Rating – **** – I’ve seen some people go seriously overboard on ratings for this. First thing’s first though…it was a HELL of a match. Thirty minutes of highly competitive, enormously physical and exciting wrestling. Some of the nearfalls down the straight were SO dramatic, and it was good to see the Briscoes out there doing their thing in front of far larger crowds than they get to appear in front of in the US. That said, I think they were a little exposed as workers on a grander stage. They’re a fantastic team, but they need to tighten up on certain aspects if they’re to progress to the next level and start looking at WWE deals etc. Mark, in particular, for all his flashy spots, seemed to struggle to fill the ring and captivate the fans. It’s amazing how Sugiura commanded the audience whilst using no more than about 6 moves all match. The Briscoes were in control for a long portion in the middle of this match, and whilst it was by no means bad…it was the weakest point and something they need to work on. Their high spots and innovative double teams are absolutely superb for the home stretch of matches like this, but they need more to hold an audiences attention for the duration of a match. That’s where they can develop their marauding, redneck bruiser characters. But these are harsh criticisms in reality. It’s more suggestions from me, a fan, on how I think they could improve. This match was tremendous and an AWESOME addition to the DVD package.
The ppv portion of the show opens up with Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard in the crowd, clips from ROH’s very first event in Philadelphia, and all four competitors in the #1 contenders fourway in the ring and ready to go. Backstage Nigel McGuinness is watching the match on a monitor.
Claudio Castagnoli vs Tyler Black vs Go Shiozaki vs Delirious
These four guys all won qualifying matches over the course of the Double Feature DVD to earn this opportunity. Claudio has spent most of 2008 winning matches and angling for a title shot. Tonight would be his opportunity. Tyler Black is in the midst of breakout period after his enthralling recent match with Bryan Danielson. Go Shiozaki has looked fantastic since making his US debut at Eye Of The Storm, whilst Delirious is fresh off victory in his feud with Adam Pearce.
Nigel McGuinness invades the commentary booth to scout his opponents. Delirious and Castagnoli run some comedy exchanges to get things going. That’s offset by Black and Shiozaki striking the hell out of each other. Go hangs Black in the corner, leaving him prone for a big chop to the chest. Double football tackle then chops take out Claudio and Delirious as well as Shiozaki controls the match. Tyler back flips back to his feet as Go evades his dropkick attempt. Castagnoli then runs through some of Go’s chops and hits the ropes for a springboard uppercut. Riccola Bomb blocked so Double C drops him into the Giant Swing instead. He blocks the Go Flasher but eats a superkick right on the jaw. Delirious takes a cheap tag and tries to capitalise with the Cobra Stretch on Castagnoli. That’s countered into the Match Killer then a running uppercut. Black gets hurricanrana’d into the corner allowing Delirious to hit the Panic Attack on two opponents. He turns into LARIATOOOO from Shiozaki. Tyler avoids Shadows Over Hell and powerbombs Delirious into the turnbuckles. PHOENIX SPLASH! Black wins and progresses to the main event at 09:30.
Rating – *** – Action packed opening match which scored extra points for avoiding the usual four corner format of becoming a heels vs faces tag match. Everyone got to hit some trademark stuff, whilst Black was nicely protected from too much activity ahead of the title match, so all in all this one served it’s purpose nicely.
BREAKING NEWS – ROH announces that due to his actions at Rising Above, Takeshi Morishima is now banned from appearing on ppv. They also announce the Tag Title changes that have occurred since Rising Above, and declare the Vulture Squad due to ‘a string’ (???????) of recent victories.
Age Of The Fall interrupt the ppv feed. Jimmy Jacobs, Zach Gowen and Allison Wonderland (all not at the show tonight). Jimmy will be receiving text updates from Lacey as the show progresses.
Roderick Strong vs Kevin Steen
This is an interesting match to just chuck in on the undercard of a show like this. It is a big match between two big hitters, and has ramifications for both the World and Tag Title scenes. Steen is one of the top contenders for the World Title having won the Eye Of The Storm tournament in February, so a win for Strong here also elevates his status considerably after losing his own title shot at Without Remorse. Meanwhile Steen is also in hot pursuit of the Tag Titles, currently held by Strong’s stable-mates in the No Remorse Corps – Davey Richards and Rocky Romero. A win for Mr Wrestling bolsters his claim to get a shot at those belts.
They trade shoulder tackles from the bell – a battle Strong eventually wins by switching to a jumping heel kick. Steen retaliates by taking Strong down for a somersault leg drop. Dave Prazak reminds me that Steen-erico actually earned a title shot with their victory at the last ppv. How have they not claimed that yet? Stretch Plum by Roderick, then a missile dropkick from the second for 2. Mr Wrestling charges out of the corner into a cannonball senton. He plants a couple of kicks to Roddy’s leg and goes right for the Sharpshooter. Roderick blocks the pumphandle Cradlebreaker and hits the half nelson backbreaker…but that further injures his bad leg. Superplex nailed by the FIP Champion but Steen still kicks out. Powerbomb into the Sharpshooter by Steen and Roderick desperately crawls to the ropes. Lungblower nailed and he climbs the ropes. Steen-ton Bomb misses! Death By Roderick hits, then the Sick Kick. Steen nails the pumphandle Cradlebreaker second time around and pops straight up into the PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! Steen wins at 11:12
Rating – *** – This was a solid, physical match between two hard hitting members of the ROH roster. I think they’ve got better matches in them but obviously kept themselves in check considering their spot on the card. Not a classic by any stretch of the imagation, but outside of Strong’s major no-sell of the leg for the last few moments, I can’t find too many holes to pick…
Via Satellite again…Jimmy Jacobs rallies a group of AOTF recruits
Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Joey Matthews/Necro Butcher – Street Fight
This feud has been raging for a long time now, so I won’t run through it again now. This particular match was set when AOTF (Matthews and Black) used the distraction of Lacey to beat the Briscoes in what they dubbed an ‘old school wrestling match’ on Night 1 of the Double Feature earlier this weekend. Jay and Mark demanded a rematch on ppv tonight, but this time weren’t interested in wrestling, they just want to beat the hell out of their enemies.
We scramble back to the ppv feed from Jacobs’ promo where Age Of The Fall and the Briscoes are fighting backstage. Necro lays Mark out with a big snow shovel, busting him open. Lacey and Daizee Haze are doing their obligatory brawl too. RUNNING SOMERSAULT PLANCHA OFF THE GUARDRAIL by Mark! At last the fight starts to move towards the ring. Matthews ties Jay up in the apron, exposing the head for a wild chair shot. I’ll start the clock at this point as it’s when everyone has finally entered the ring. Duelling superplexes from the Briscoes as Lacey sends Haze into the railings. Necro hits a backbreaker over the guardrail to Mark as Lacey drops Daizee with a TKO. German suplex by the Haze. Having lost so much blood Mark is effectively out of the match so it leaves Jay at a 2-on-1 disadvantage. The cut on his brother’s head is horrific. Joey erects a chair stack in the centre of the ring and is joined by Butcher to CHOKESLAM Jay through it. Briscoe fights back with a flatliner into a chair on Matthews. SPRINGBOARD ALLEY-OOP CHAIR SHOT FROM MARK TO NECRO! That’s the second amazing spot featuring the Briscoes on this one DVD alone. Jay backdrops Matthews over the top rope into the timekeeping table. Springboard Doomsday Device scores (just – Mark took a major slip on the ropes). The Briscoes try to lift Necro for the same move but he counters Mark with a mid-air punch. Whenever Mark lies in the same spot for more than a couple of seconds you can see the pool of blood develop. Matthews drops Jay with a Russian legweep to the floor then props a table in the corner of the ring. Meanwhile Mark is climbing the entrance scaffold. DVD THROUGH THE TABLE BY JAY! FLYING SPLASH OFF THE SCAFFOLD THROUGH A TABLE BY CRAZY MARK! JAY DRILLER ON MATTHEWS! The Briscoes win at 11:31 (+ some extra)
Rating – **** – One of my favourite matches from this feud. For the first time you could really feel the hate between the two teams. Mark bled like a pig for most of this, and they managed to combine some terrific brawling with some memorable high spots. Plus the finishing sequence was just insane.
After a couple of video packages we go backstage and get a nice close up of Mark’s sick gash in the side of his head. Finishing the match after that is an amazing feat.
The Larry Sweeney Show…Starring Larry Sweeney
Larry brings his hostile takeover of ROH to pay-per-view. He promises to sign every wrestler to Sweet’n’Sour Inc, make a fortune with them then sell their contracts to the big leagues. To that end he calls the Hangmen 3 to the ring. Adam Pearce announces that he’s Hangm3n are selling out and becoming part of Sweet’n’Sour Inc. Erick Stevens interrupts and demands that Sweeney brings Daniel Puder back to ROH so they can settle their issues.Larry refuses, but gives him a match with someone…
Erick Stevens vs Brent Albright
As we just heard, Erick Stevens felt disrespected when Daniel Puder showed up a Rising Above and took the attention away from Erick’s match. He called Puder out, but of course, Puder has since left ROH, being ‘held out’ by Sweeney until ROH agrees to his terms. As one of the newest members of S’n’S Inc. as the hostile takeover gets underway, Albright is happy to wrestle though…
Slobberknocker anyone? Stevens catches Albright coming off the ropes for a Samoan drop. Albright’s Kobashi-plex is blocked but he belly to belly suplexes Erick into the ropes instead. Ocean Cyclone suplex (which is quite a feat considering how big Stevens is) gets 2. But the new S’n’S Inc. member crashes and burns on a crossbody attempt and ricochets back of the ropes, giving Stevens time to recover. Football tackle from Stevens then a German suplex. Choo Choo Avalenche nailed but Larry Sweeney and all his associates get on the apron to stop Erick taking advantage. He flips Albright into a powerslam…and Sweeney puts Brent’s foot on the ropes. That’s another distraction, and this time Brent capitalises with the Half Nelson Suplex. Albright wins at 06:15.
Rating – ** – They kept it brief so it was hardly painful viewing. I can’t say anything about it stood out particularly though. For the second show in a row I thought Stevens’ babyface performance was quite strong, that’s really all I’ve got to say. This whole segment was really to announce the Hangm3n/S’n’S merger, to debut the mysterious briefcase that convinced Adam Pearce to sign on with Sweeney and to seal the deal with a victory. Job done…
Davey Richards/Rocky Romero vs Ruckus/Jigsaw – ROH Tag Title Match
This was taped during the double shot in Florida that took place over Wrestlemania weekend. Going into more detail, I think this was taped at Supercard Of Honor 3. The Vultures lost their title match at 6th Anniversary Show (which provoked Jigsaw to wrestle maskless) but since then have apparently emerged to become ‘top contenders’ again. Yeah, I think we all missed that.
The champions are rocking a new NRC t-shirt which is infinitely cooler than their last one. Why does every tag match ROH has at the moment start with the heels jumping the faces, only to get beaten back. TERRIFIC near miss sequence by Ruckus and Romero, leading into a somersault plancha to the outside by Jigsaw. Rocky tries to do the TJ Perkins/Puma catch himself in the ropes pose only for the Vultures to dropkick him out. Davey slams Jigsaw onto the hard floor as the champions start to assert themselves. Jig suplexes Richards out of the ring and tags Ruckus who sprints into a RUNNING MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! Razzle Dazzle on Richards then a tumbling Rocker Dropper for 2. Rolling Fishermanbuster bomb into the Red Star Press gets the Vultures another nearfall. Jigsaw double stomps Richards as Romero is hung in a tree of woe. DOUBLE VAN TERMINATOR!! ‘That was awesome’ – Florida. Jigsaw goes for the Jig’n’Tonic on Romero, but Richards kicks him into a CODE RED! Diablo Armbar on Jigsaw but Ruckus saves. Jigsaw UNLOADS on Davey in the corner. So Davey shoves him back and fires back with shots of his own. SPIKE DR DRIVER! The NRC retain via Briscoe finisher theft at 08:40.
Rating – *** – Breathless bell to bell action there. I’d say this was easily the best non-Jack Evans Vulture Squad match. The crowd was red hot and the wrestlers rewarded them with some awesome stuff performed at breakneck speed.
We return from Florida are come back to Philly with clips of what transpired after the conclusion of the Albright/Stevens match. BJ Whitmer objected to the Hangm3n selling out to Larry Sweeney so was given a spike piledriver onto a chair by Pearce and Hagadorn. He was taken to hospital…and to date that’s the last we’ve seen of Whitmer in ROH. I’ve been a big critic of Whitmer at times, but on his day he’s had some amazing matches in Ring Of Honor. It’s somewhat sad to see him bow out in an edited little afterthought highlights package.
Bryan Danielson vs Austin Aries
No real reason for this one to take place, particularly as they’ve been teaming together recently. But it’s been booked to bring the Dragon/Aries rivalry to ppv. In recent times Aries has come out victorious in their 2007 Best Of 3 Series, whilst Danielson bested Aries in the thrilling conclusion to the four corner #1 contendership match at Final Battle 2007.
They go to the mat in front of a vociferous crowd. I’m pleased to see the commentary team acknowledge that the two have been teaming recent months. Aries tries his signature headscissors escape only for Danielson to counter it with grounded piledriver of sorts. He stretches at Austin’s arm but eventually Aries rolls out of a headscissors in vintage fashion and is able to deliver the basement dropkick that we’ve seen on many occasions. Cattle Mutilation early by Dragon but Aries slides out and drives Danielson out of the ring with a series of knee strikes. Speaking of knee strikes, Dragon blocks the Heat Seeking Missile with a jumping knee. The countering continues again as Aries evades Danielson’s missile dropkick. He notices that AmDrag favours his neck after that landing and attacks that spot like a shark. Running enziguri by Danielson but he is very slow to follow up having sustained such damage to his neck. Sayama flip landed but Aries is alive to it and reacts quickly to clothesline him to the floor. Heat Seeking Missile nailed second time round! Dragon shows terrific resourcefulness as he lies on his back on the apron by kicking Austin’s arm into the ringpost. Crossface Chickenwing blocked but all Aries does is roll forward into prime position for Cattle Mutilation. Shinbreak back suplex to break that hold. Roaring elbow countered into Danielson’s Triangle Choke! Armbar next, but still Aries finds a way to get to the ropes. His arm must be torn up now though. Cattle Mutilation rolled through into an Aries pin for 2. He tries to hit the Brainbuster but his arm is too messed up. Dragon goes for a cross armbreaker but Aries rolls through into the KICK OF DEATH! PERFECT SMALL PACKAGE FOR 2! Does that count as finisher theft by Double A? They battle on the top until Dragon drops into a HANGING Triangle Choke. Impact Explosion Dropkick from Aries…AVALANCHE BRAINBUSTER FOR 2!! LAST CHANCERY! KNEE STRIKES…COUNTERED! ARMBAR! COUNTERED! KNEE STRIKES…MMA ELBOWS…KNEE STRIKES…MMA ELBOWS! FUJIWARA ARMBAR! ARIES TAPS! It’s over at 17:23.
Rating – **** – I’d say that was on a par with their matches from the Best Of 3 Series. To the casual or first time viewer this one was probably more exciting therefore more accessible, but some of the multi-faceted story telling they went for during the ’07 series was a spectacle. As a standalone match, this one probably holds up best, and was a great pay-per-view clash. This would definitely inspire me to go check out some of their prior work together like Survival Of The Fittest 2004 or Nowhere To Run.
The AOTF interrupt the ppv feed again with Jimmy Jacobs ranting in front of his disciples ahead of Tyler’s big match.
Nigel McGuinness vs Tyler Black – ROH World Title Match
Tyler’s rise up the card continues as he main events an ROH pay-per-view. After that pulsating match with Danielson at Breakout (which is neck and neck with Danielson/Nigel for ROH’s MOTY thus far) Black has emerged as the star of Age Of The Fall and a massive future prospect for the promotion. He took American Dragon to the limit in Dayton. Can he now take the next step and defeat an established main event level guy, and give AOTF the ultimate platform from which to spread their message – the Ring Of Honor World Championship?
Tyler has entrance music as opposed to Lacey’s screaming. This is an improvement. Apparently he’s only 21. If that’s true he’s almost a prodigy of Mark/Jay Briscoe proportions. Nigel doesn’t give him any time to ease his way in, flinging him straight into the ringpost shoulder-first. That causes an obvious injury and McGuinness is in control from the opening bell. Black backflips as McGuinness avoids his attempted dropkick and hits a suplex instead. His comeback is short lived though as the champion hits a solitary armwrench and leaves Tyler down on the mat again. He goes shoulder-first into the turnbuckles again at the five minute mark. Out of the ring they go where McGuinness almost rockets Black into the crowd with a running European uppercut. The champion tries to go for a chair though, which just isn’t necessary. He’s made to pay as Tyler superkicks it into his face. Tyler climbs for a SPRINGBOARD DIVE INTO THE CROWD…BUT NIGEL GETS THE CHAIR UP! He’s out cold and McGuinness is trying to convince the referee to throw it out. If this was a FIP Title Match it would be over by now, but Tyler tries to gut it out and drags himself back towards the ring. He ducks a Lariat attempt and almost steals it with a schoolboy pin! Nigel hits another running uppercut and this time does floor Black with a McLariat for 2. London Dungeon locked in and the fans have to urge Tyler to find a rope. Tyler blocks the Tower Of London…Nigel blocks a blockbuster and rolls into the ropes. Jawbreaker Lariat misses and Black lays the champion out with a mafia kick. Lariat ducked then a Pele kick. PEROXISM gets 2 for Black. Both men fight on the top rope and it’s Tyler that hits the superplex…and he ROLLS THROUGH INTO THE F-5! McGuinness kicks out at a SUPER-close 2. Black tries to scale the ropes again but is caught. Tower Of London gets 2. Jawbreaker Lariat COUNTERED INTO THE SMALL PACKAGE DRIVER! PHOENIX SPLASH MISSES! LONDON DUNGEON! Black refuses to quit and almost sneaks victory by escaping into a roll-up for 2. SUPER MCLARIAT but Black kicks out again! SHORTARM MCLARIAT! TYLER KICKS OUT AGAIN! He will not die, and the fans are eating this up now. JAWREAKER LARIAT! HE KICKS OUT FOR A THIRD TIME! MCLARIAT! LONDON DUNGEON! At last Tyler has to tap out at 21:22.
Rating – **** – Another impressive ppv main event from ROH. This one really had the crowd rocking. What impressed me most about this is that it wasn’t a simple rehash of the Danielson/Tyler match, with Black playing the brash upstart, Nigel playing the over-confident veteran forced to respect his young opponent’s performance (which would’ve worked perfectly well even with the flipped roles of Tyler as face, Nigel heel). They went for the “Cinderella Story” here, with McGuinness dominating, but Tyler, having already wrestled once, fighting courageously and doing all he can to secure the massive World Title win. Sometimes multiple finisher kick-outs can seem clichéd but the story they went for made every single time Tyler kicked out mean something – and the Philadelphia crowd was almost blowing the roof off the place every time he did so. My one criticism would be that I didn’t like Black tapping out. I’d rather have seen him pass out, or be pinned. By tapping it made him look like he gave up, which doesn’t quite make sense given everything that had gone before.
Tape Rating – **** – Once again Ring Of Honor has produced a superb pay-per-view package. In truth this wasn’t even the strongest of the ppv events ROH has produced, but it’s still a worthy purchase. The two main events are of exceptional quality and feature another breakout performance from Tyler Black; the Briscoes/AOTF Street Fight is surprisingly good too. Throw in a decent Tag Title match, a few passable bouts, the continuation of the Sweet’n’Sour hostile takeover, and a decent set of bonus features featuring the impressive Dingo, more shenanigans with the Vulture Squad and BLK OUT and the NOAH match too. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t buy this in fairness.
Top 3 Matches
3) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Joey Matthews/Necro Butcher (****)
2) Bryan Danielson vs Austin Aries (****)
1) Nigel McGuinness vs Tyler Black (****)