ROH 187 – A New Level – 10th May 2008
Big show for Ring Of Honor here. Back in Manhattan, but tonight for the first time they step into the historic and instantly recognisable Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Centre. ECW put on some tremendous nights here back in the day…and you’d argue the two finest hours of the WWE reboot of ECW came in this building too. It’s a noticeably bigger capacity than their usual Grand Ballroom venue so making this step is a BIG deal. To be fair, at first sight the attendance looks very impressive, and as someone that’s followed ROH since 2002 and the Murphy Rec days it’s an awe-inspiring visual (and makes for one of the best DVD covers ever produced). I really like the card as well. There’s no temptation to go overboard on shocks, surprises and gimmicks (although admittedly we do have the 3 NOAH guys in). There won’t be any shock debuts, there’s no big name TNA guys in. At the biggest ROH show perhaps ever, it is Ring Of Honor’s core roster, supplemented by 3 NOAH guys who all have ROH experience, that get a chance to shine. No better an example of that than the main event with Nigel McGuinness defending the World Title against Claudio Castagnoli, who has gone unbeaten for the year thus far and has been desperate to get his hands on the champion.
ROH VIDEO WIRE (23/04/2008-05/05/2008) – See Southern Navigation (ROH186) review for details
Show opens with the camera zooming straight past the sign for the Manhattan Centre’s ‘Grand Ballroom’ and focusing on the ‘Hammerstein Ballroom’ sign instead. Another striking visual. The camera man walks with the fans, past the merch table and steps out onto the floor of the ballroom. It look HUGE!
Next shots are of the lights going down, Cary Silkin, Bobby Cruise and Todd Sinclair walking to the ring to kick off proceedings. The venue looks amazing and there are ROH fans literally as far as the eye can see. Nice to see a big England flag in the front row too.
Roderick Strong vs Erick Stevens vs Go Shiozaki – FIP Heavyweight Title Match
Last time in New York we saw a violent FIP Title Match with Strong, Stevens and Necro Butcher leaving it all in the ring trying to leave with ROH’s sister promotion’s top prize. Once again Floridian rivals Strong and Stevens will do battle for the FIP belt, and once again they will be joined by a third party – this time Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Go Shiozaki. All three of these guys are brutal strikers so this one could be absolutely cringe-worthy.
Strong and Stevens start fighting in the aisle before the bell even rings. THREE WAY CHOP FIGHT! Roderick tosses Shiozaki out of the ring but is then caught in a Samoan drop by Stevens. Missile dropkick from the second rope onto Go for 2. Strong goes for an early Gibson Driver but is dropped onto his face by a big release German suplex by Erick. All three men up…and they start chopping again. Stevens clubs Shiozaki down for 2 with a chest lariat, moments after the two had combined chopping forces to knock the champion out of the ring. The champion lines up a pumphandle backbreaker, but changes it to a pumphandle suplex as Go superkicks him in the jaw. Sick Kick in the corner on Stevens. Shiozaki drops Erick with a German suplex. GO FLASHER ON STRONG! Stevens breaks the fall at the last second. TKO blocked and countered into a Fisherman Buster by the NOAH man. MOONSAULT MISSES! SUPERKICK NO SOLD! STEVENS LARIATOO! DOCTOR BOMB! Out of nowhere Strong schoolboy pins Stevens to retain the title at 06:11.
Rating – *** – Good opening match. I think at the time people were disappointed at the length of this, which is fair enough. But for a quick, explosive and super-exciting little curtain jerker in front of a massive and ravenous crowd, this did the trick. The fact that people were so disappointed in the length of this one shows that Stevens is (VERY slowly but surely) catching on with ROH fans.
Davey Richards/Rocky Romero vs Kevin Steen/El Generico
You’d have to consider both of these teams prime candidates for Tag Title shots in the future. Of course the Tag Division is somewhat clouded in uncertainty at the moment thanks to Mark Briscoe needing months off to rehab an injury, but whatever the outcome of that situation, these two are top candidates. The NRC duo are former champions, and after a mini-losing streak for the No Remorse Corps, they’ll be looking to repeat what their leader did in the opening match and grind out a win against Steen and Generico.
Richards delivers an early slap to Generico. That doesn’t turn out to be a smart move though as both Mr Wrestling and Generico then take turns slapping him until he falls out of the ring. Romero in for a fluid lucha-styled exchange with Generico. In the end Rocky has to repeat his partner and leave the ring to escape his opponents. BACKPACK double senton bomb by Steen-erico down onto Romero for 2. The NRC hit back on the floor, Davey whipping Generico into a jumping knee strike from his partner. Richards powers the Generic Luchador into an elevated wristlock then floats into a Fujiwara armbar. The former Tag Champions cut the ring in half and use a variety of submission holds to wear Generico down. Out of nowhere Generico flies OVER Romero with a springboard crossbody to Davey and pops right back up to drop Rocky second time around with the Michinoku Driver. Hot tag to Steen who looks for the Sharpshooter on Romero, who escapes with a heel kick. Powerbomb on Richards, and Generico is brought in to hit a Blue Thunder Driver for 2. Davey comes back with a kick out of the corner then the Kimura. The NRC miss a stereo kick on Generico and Mr Wrestling is quick to capitalise with the cannonball senton. STEEN-TON BOMB INTO KNEES! DIABLO ARMBAR ON GENERICO! CLOVERLEAF ON STEEN! Referee doesn’t seem to have a clue who is legal, but in fairness, neither man is tapping anyway. Generico ducks the Doomsday Knee Strike into a victory roll for 2. DR Driver blocked and Generico YAKUZA KICKS through both NRC faces. DOUBLE Samoan Drop by Steen. STEEN-TON BOMB! FLYING SPLASH! ROMERO BREAKS THE FALL! YAKUZA KICK OFF THE APRON! Steen has Davey. PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! BRAINBUSTER! It’s Steen and Generico chalking up a victory at 14:49.
Rating – **** – Definitely bottom end of the 4* range, but that was total fun to watch so I want to go high on the rating. The crowd again helped, but the gradual acceleration in terms of speed and excitement as the match progressed was a sign of real top quality work from the two teams involved. It’s been a hot start to the show
Chris Hero/Brent Albright vs Delirious/Pelle Primeau vs Jack Evans/Jigsaw
This one reeks of cramming as many people onto the card as possible. Primeau has issues with Hagadorn and Albright, and Delirious has clashed with Larry Sweeney too (mostly over Daizee Haze) so that makes sense. Hero has also knocked Pelle out a couple of times with his big elbow strike. Johnny Fairplay is in the Sweet’n’Sour corner and back in ROH for the first time since Nigel McGuinness beat the crap out of him. They actually have a mass of bodies at ringside tonight, with Larry Sweeney, Shane Hagadorn, Sara Del Rey, Bobby Dempsey and Eddie Edwards all joining Fairplay in the Hero/Albright corner.
The bell has been really tough to hear tonight so my timing may be a little out. Delirious immediately starts chasing Johnny Fairplay around the ring, leaving his partner to get his clock cleaned by Hero. Déjà vu headscissors from Pelle but Hero wheelbarrows him into a massive atomic drop. Albright dumps Jigsaw on his neck as he thinks about a dive out of the ring. Leaping Lariat from Delirious instead, then a WILD flying press from the top rope down onto a mass of bodies on the outside. Jig stretches Delirious in a Gory Special, with Evans then adding to it with a somersault senton across the exposed chest. GERMAN SUPLEX OVER THE TOP ROPE from Albright to Evans. He throw Jigsaw out as well then GORILLA PRESSES PRIMEAU INTO EVERYONE! TOP ROPE SOMERSAULT SENTON BY ALBRIGHT! Everyone is leaving it all in the ring tonight it seems. Delirious is distracted by Del Rey, which of course brings Daizee Haze from the back to help him out. The Vultures climb opposing turnbuckles for STEREO 450 SPLASHES TO THE OUTSIDE! But Hero brings Jack back in for ROLLING ELBOWS! Jigsaw has to save with a springboard double stomp. ROLLING ELBOW ON JIGSAW! Delirious goes for the eyes of both S’n’S representatives…and the blindness causes Albright to suplex his own partner. CHEMICAL IMBALANCE II! Delirious wins after 07:27 of non-stop action
Rating – *** – A better Scramble Match than some of the atrocities we were subjected to back in the Murphy Rec days, and certainly a lot shorter than some of them. They packed lots in, including a number of things we haven’t seen before like the Albright dive or the double Vulture 450. Personally the goofy ‘blindness’ finish wasn’t to my taste, but I appreciate the sentiment of advancing the Brent Albright dissension storyline.
Everyone leaves as the entire Sweet’n’Sour line-up pile into the ring. Sweeney takes a microphone and lays the blame firmly at Brent Albright’s feet. He demands Brent beat up Dempsey to show his worth to the group. Everyone in the ring takes a pop-shot at poor Bobby…until Albright finally flips and starts attacking them all. SPLASH MOUNTAIN THROUGH A TABLE ON HAGADORN! UNPROTECTED KNEES ON EDWARDS! HEAD DROP GERMAN ON HERO! HALF NELSON SUPLEX ON DEL REY! Unfortunately Sweeney bails before he takes a beating…but the crowd seriously goes nuts for Brent anyway. I’d like to point out that the table bump Hagadorn took was scary as f*ck…
Bryan Danielson vs Naomichi Marufuji
No real need to hype this one. Two of the very best wrestlers in the world going head to head in front of probably the biggest crowd in ROH history. They met at Final Battle 2005 with American Dragon defending the ROH Title against Marufuji on his ROH debut. What better time for a rematch? Apparently NOAH and ROH officials negotiated that Danielson and Morishima wouldn’t face off in ROH whilst Mori still holds the GHC Heavyweight Title. To keep the heat in that really hot feud from the tail end of 2007, they’ve picked each other’s opponents tonight apparently, meaning Mori has picked Marufuji to battle AmDrag, whilst up next it’s Morishima against Danielson’s choice – Necro.
Straight to the mat we go, Danielson scoring first with a dropkick. Marufuji quickly strikes back with one of his own. They continue to keenly contest mat holds, then as the pace quickens, once again they take turns landing dropkicks. Great sequence next as Maru holds on to a knucklelock so tight that it takes Dragon a whopping THREE Northern Lights suplexes to break out. It is AmDrag that gets the advantage though, striking at Marufuji in the corner until he drops to the floor. The NOAH star hits back though, hitting a SLINGSHOT DDT ON THE APRON! Not content with that he dead-lifts Danielson from the floor into an unprotected BRAINBUSTER on the same apron. Big kicks to the head as Danielson hangs exposed between the ring ropes now. The former World Champion looks completely out of it…but then explodes back into life with a flurry of uppercuts. Marufuji stomps him down by the neck, continuing to focus on that body part. Cobra Stretch applied and in a neat touch, when Dragon forces him to the ropes to break the hold, Maru forearms him right in the neck before releasing. It’s the little things! Danielson Sayama flips out of the corner then comes off the top with a missile dropkick. Shots to the head and neck again by Marufuji…then a DOUBLE blindside fake-out into the lariat to floor American Dragon again. Shiranui blocked and he DROPS MARUFUJI out of the ring. Tope suicida…NO! Maru gets the boot up and kicks him in the head. Danielson falls back into the opposing corner, in prime position for a VAN TERMINATOR! He’s in real trouble but still manages to latch onto a cross armbreaker on Marufuji…but he responds by countering into an armbreaker of his own. German suplex nailed, then Danielson counters one of Marufuji’s multiple superkicks by grabbing a leg and dropping into an ankle lock. LOW SUPERKICK by Marufuji gets 2. Once again he fails to land the Shiranui though, allowing Dragon to trap him in a tree of woe and hit the diving dropkick. The ROH athlete thinks about a back superplex, only for Marufuji to escape and put HIM in the tree of woe. Danielson SITS UP to avoid a second Van Terminator. CATTLE MUTILATION COUNTERED! SUPERKICK! ROARING ELBOW! SUPERKICK! SHIRANUI BLOCKED AND DRAGON LOCKS IN THE TRIANGLE CHOKE! WITH MMA ELBOWS! Marufuji battles out and kicks Dragon in the head again. Triangle Choke on Danielson now, doing a ton of damage to the already injured neck. Dragon evades ANOTHER superkick attempt and drops Maru down with the Crossface Chickenwing…INTO MMA ELBOWS! MARU COUNTERS…MMA ELBOW DUEL! TIGER SUPLEX DUEL! CATTLE MUTILATION AGAIN! Dragon wins at 21:20.
Rating – **** – LOVED this one! If I did give out ¼ stars this would definitely have taken home an additional .25 as it was SO good. The first 5-7 minutes of tentative but super competitive chain wrestling was awesome, and that really set the ball rolling for a high quality bout between two world class professional wrestlers. Marufuji hit those big moves on the apron and really worked the head and neck for the rest of the contest and always had the advantage. As such it was a nice change of pace for Danielson, whom we’re so used to seeing dominate matches. Watching him wrestle as the underdog, courageously battling injury and a top class adversary and STILL coming out with the victory made for gripping viewing. I’ve given it the same rating (purely because I think it was lacking a couple of things to edge into MOTYC territory)…but I MUCH preferred this one to their first match at Final Battle ’05. Dragon has been gone for a few shows (I think he missed all of April), but has exploded back into Ring Of Honor this weekend with two victories in AWESOME matches.
This is where intermission would go, but tonight ROH wants the wrestling and their roster to take centre stage. It shows in the no-frills policy of the booking tonight, and it’s been decided to further make that point by not having any backstage segments or cut-aways. We’re staying at ringside the whole time, hoping to give DVD viewers a more authentic show experience. I have to say, whilst I like backstage fun as much as the next guy, it is refreshing to cut all the shenanigans out and just concentrate on the wrestling. The DVD is flying by…
Daizee Haze is out after intermission to almost zero reaction. Thankfully she’s not here to wrestle, but to confirm that this is a new attendance record for Ring Of Honor. Delirious comes out wearing the biggest tie EVER SEEN, carrying a rose…and appears to ask her out for dinner. Rhett Titus (hello push) interrupts to come out and hit on the Haze. He seems to think cheesy rhyming will win her over. She runs away…prompting ‘you got cockblocked’ chants for Delirious…
Necro Butcher vs Takeshi Morishima
New entrance music and a new haircut for Necro tonight. Can’t say I’m a massive fan of either in all honesty. Danielson has selected him to be Morishima’s opponent since Dragon knows, if he’s not allowed to wrestle the GHC Heavyweight Champion tonight, Butcher is someone who can do some real damage. ROH fans have been calling for this one since Necro debuted in September…
No wasting time here and Necro actually manages to use his straight right hands to knock Morishima back and out of the ring. He drills him in the body with the ringbell, then claws at the face using the hammer. Concrete floor exposed but Takeshi counters to back drop Necro onto it. Shoulder tackle from the apron by Morishima, then an Ole Ole butt attack to sandwich Necro’s head against the railings. Necro is REALLY popular in NYC apparently, with the crowd really getting on Mori’s back. He goes for a body slam only for Morishima to plummet down on top of him for 2. Cartwheel avalanche scores but Butcher evades the monster missile dropkick. More bare knuckle punching from Necro, then an absolutely horrific looking crossbody block for 2. He returns to more familiar territory soon after by retrieving a steel chair. DDT onto the chair for another 2. Morishima grabs the chair from Necro and absolutely DESTROYS Butcher with it. Chair-enforced rolling ass attack from Mori. The GHC Champion opens a chair up and goes to the turnbucles with Necro. AVALANCHE BACK DROP DRIVER THROUGH THE CHAIR! NECRO KICKS OUT! MASSIVE LARIATOOOO! BACK DROP DRIVER AGAIN! Morishima wins at 09:51
Rating – ** – I’m chalking that up as a minor disappointment. I didn’t hate it, but once the novelty of Morishima wrestling someone so far removed from the kind of athlete you normally see in NOAH had worn off…there wasn’t a whole lot of substance to the match. The problem is, with Morishima as GHC Champion, they’re very particular about protecting the champion, and not making him look weak. Ring Of Honor obviously respects that…and in global terms, Necro Butcher is clearly not as much of a star as NOAH’s top champion. He was always jobbing tonight, this was never going to go very long. My disappointment is how wooden and uncompetitive (especially coming after the very hard-fought Dragon vs Marufuji match) this one was.
Standing ovation for Necro Butcher despite losing. He’s comforted by Mrs Necro…who is a hottie.
Jay Briscoe/Austin Aries vs Jimmy Jacobs/Tyler Black – ROH Tag Title Match
With his brother being put on the shelf thanks to Jimmy Jacobs stabbing him in the wrist, Jay has been able to choose another partner (a precedent set back in 2003 when AJ Styles was allowed to choose another partner to defend the belts with after Amazing Red was forced out through injury). He chose Aries, who has his own issues with the Age Of The Fall. Things have escalated again since the last shows with the news (and creepy footage) that Jimmy Jacobs accosted Lacey outside her gym…and she hasn’t been seen since.
This is apparently No DQ rules and all four men brawl around in a big mess from the bell. Black drops Briscoe with a springboard clothesline, only for Jay to hit back by clotheslining him over the top rope. Tyler hits a TRIPLE JUMP MOONSAULT from the guardrail Sabu-style. Jimmy Jacobs, meanwhile, is trying to ram a chair into Aries’ throat. Those two battle on the top turnbuckles…then BOTH fall from the top to crash through the timekeeping table. That’s those two done for a while, and inside the ring Black dropkicks Briscoe in the ribs as he attempts a flying crossbody. Jay scores with a mafia kick then a gourdbuster. Jimmy is back on his feet now though, and saves his partner from the DVD. He pulls out the railroad spike and stabs Jay in the head. Pretty soon Briscoe is bleeding everywhere. Not quite to the extent that he bled against Samoa Joe at the At Our Best show, but it’s close. Jacobs, who we know is close to the edge, starts rubbing Jay’s blood all over his own body. Flatliner into the turnbuckles out of nothing, then Jay superkicks Black as he springboards off the ropes. Aries literally comes out of NOWHERE to hit the Impact Explosion Dropkick. BRAINBUSTER! LAST CHANCERY! Jacobs saves Tyler Black then hits a wild SPEAR THROUGH THE ROPES TO THE FLOOR! Briscoe drags Jacobs back over the ropes, into the ring and into a STEINER SCREWDRIVER for 2. Black stops him landing the Jay Driller though. POWERBOMB CONTRA CODE BY AOTF…FOR 2! Jacobs goes to the top rope again…BUT ARIES SHOVES HIM OFF AND THROUGH ANOTHER TABLE! SPIKE JAY DRILLER…GETS 2! Aries up but Necro Butcher intervenes to stop him scoring with the 450 Splash. MARK BRISCOE IS HERE! ONE ARMED SPRINGBOARD DOOMSDAY DEVICE! BRISCOE/ARIES RETAIN IN 14:11!
Rating – *** – A tale of two matches here. The first part was really dull…but once Jacobs had brought the railroad spike into play and Jay pulled out another disgusting bladejob, things kicked into a higher gear. The last few minutes were awesome…and the balance Mark Briscoe showed to hit a springboard Doomsday Device with one arm was incredible.
Regardless of the match being over, Aries and Jacobs are STILL fighting…with Jimmy getting the upper hand once Tyler and Necro join him. The Briscoes seem to have left meaning Aries is alone to fend off the three AOTF guys. He doesn’t stab him with the spike because he’s inflicted greater ‘emotional’ scars thanks to what he did to Lacey.
Nigel McGuinness vs Claudio Castagnoli – ROH World Title Match
Undefeated in 2008, Double C has literally beaten all comers in order to get a spot here. He’s been asking for a shot for sometime, but it was only at Tag Wars 2008 when he helped McGuinness beat Kevin Steen and El Generico in a tag team match that he was finally granted this match. Claudio’s first significant involvement in ROH was a decent feud with Nigel over the now-defunct Pure Title, and he never did capture the belt from the British athlete. Will things be different with the World Title?
There are now several English/British flags dotted around the arena, but the crowd is mostly extremely hostile towards the World Champion. Commentators point out that Castagnoli is deadly serious tonight, with none of the smiling and ‘HEY’ games we’re used to seeing. As you’d expect with these two, we start with some extremely cagey chain wrestling. Nigel tries to slap the challenger, who knocks him back with an uppercut. He drives McGuinness to the floor…and having achieved that he decides it’s time for the first HEY of the match. It’s a mistake that the wily Champion pounces on quickly, hauling Claudio out of the ring and sending him shoulder-first into the ringpost. Back in the ring now and Nigel has launched into his customary attack on the arm and shoulder. Claudio tries a Giant Swing out of desperation but only ends up taking another shot to the injured wing. Ten minutes in now and things look grave for the challenger as he can barely move his left arm. Nigel drives it into the hard floor, the guardrails and anything else he can find to do maximum damage. RICOCHET uppercut out of nowhere by Castagnoli. Nigel fires back with a rebound McLariat and remains in control. He looks for the Jawbreaker Lariat but it’s far too early and Castagnoli blocks with a bicycle kick. ELBOW SUICIDA TO THE FLOOR!
Claudio re-enters the ring with a flying crossbody for 2, and notably couldn’t hook the leg because of his bad arm. Unfortunately Claudio goes for one high risk move too many and gets caught with the Tower Of London for 2. Cobra Clutch McLariat ducked…but Nigel reacts quickly to shunt Castagnoli out of the ring as he looks for the springboard uppercut. London Dungeon quickly locked in next to the ropes, McGuinness for the first time thinking about finishing things off. This time Double C sucks up the pain and lifts the champion into the Giant Swing. Riccola Bomb attempt…countered into the hammerlock DDT. London Dungeon again from McGuinness. CLAUDIO STANDS UP to escape that. POP-UP UPPERCUT gets 2! 20 minutes have gone by now. Castagnoli looks to run the ropes but is caught and rapidly positioned with the SUPER MCLARIAT for 2. Superplex by the champion…and both men react to the impact by going for a cheeky roll-up, almost leading to a double pin. European uppercut duel…SPRINGBOARD UPPERCUT. NIGEL ROLLS INTO THE JAWBREAKER LARIAT…BLOCKED. RICCOLA BOMB! NIGEL KICKS OUT! Really messy segment follows that, both guys seem to miss a step and McGuinness tries to recover it with a sloppy DDT. Les Artess Lift gets Claudio another 2. Riccola Bomb…COUNTERED TO A MCLARIAT! LONDON DUNGEON! Claudio taps at 24:55.
Rating – *** – Good match and I enjoyed watching it for the most part. BUT, man was it ever long. It felt like they were trying to stretch out a really good 18-20 minute affair and drag it closer to 30, without actually having any additional material. It was almost forcing them to work at a snails pace, slower I think than either wrestler seemed particularly comfortable with. The middle portion, with Nigel working the arm and so on…it seemed to last absolutely ages and killed some of the momentum. Luckily, ugly botch aside, they finished strong. I think we learned that Castagnoli maybe isn’t quite ready to be a main event level player, whilst McGuinness still probably needs a helping hand (either be it by storyline as with Steen and Hero, or by wrestling someone with a lot of talent like an Aries or a Danielson) to deliver truly top drawer Championship matches. It sounds like I’m being down on this match, and I’m really not. I liked it. But I think by booking it to go so long, at the top of the card, it left two guys who are still relatively new to being marquee headline acts in Ring Of Honor VERY exposed.
Show closes with some alternative camera angles and a ‘Thank You’ message from ‘Jimmy Bower’ (Gabe) and ROH for making the Hammerstein debut possible.
Tape Rating – *** – Really enjoyed this show. In terms of consistency it was great. There isn’t a bad match on the show. Hell, the worst thing on here is an average match between Necro and Morishima. THAT’S how solid it was. With a better main event this would be up there with the best shows of the year thus far. I’ve read a few negative things about A New Level, and I can understand why. The FIP Title match only getting 6 minutes, a relatively underwhelming main event, the somewhat muddled Tag Title situation all played a part. I actually salute the booking (Tag Titles aside – they were vacated at the next show anyway, why not just make Aries/Jay vs Age Of The Fall a non-title grudge match and avoid recreating the kind of farcical situation that cut the legs out from the tag division back in 2003 right when the Briscoes, AJ and Red had started to give it some legs?). I think it was a brave call going into the biggest show ever with a basic card no big ‘surprise’ lined up, no new exciting debuts, instead concentrating on good wrestling and allowing the core roster to shine in front of the biggest crowd in ROH history. And for the most part it worked. The no-frills approach to the card, coupled with the no-frills production approach to the DVD made it an easy top to bottom watch that’s easily recommendable. Well worth checking out
SIDENOTE – In truth I think a lot of the criticism of this show comes as a result of circumstance. This was ROH’s biggest crowd ever. Their debut in the FAMOUS Hammerstein Ballroom. I think Ring Of Honor fans were expecting a blockbuster, show of the year, supercard affair. So when all they got was your basic, ROH by the numbers show, advancing storylines (adding Titus to the Delirious/Haze angle, Albright’s turn etc)…albeit a very good one…it wasn’t enough. Therefore maybe you question the timing of choosing to debut at the Hammerstein. Why not wait until the summer for Death Before Dishonor, or the fall for Glory By Honor. I think the fans wanted this to be a mega-event supershow with great matches, climactic epic battles to end wars and settle scores etc. Which it wasn’t ever going to be. ROH is rebuilding at the moment, and doing a decent job of it with Black, Steen, Generico, Hero, Castagnoli, Jacobs, Stevens, Necro and Albright all advancing to close the gap on the likes of Danielson, Aries and Nigel…and for where they are, with a basic roster (+ NOAH trio) this was a tremendous building block show. So yeah…ignore any criticism you’ve read of this one and go into it with an open mind. It’s a solid top to bottom show. It’s not a blowaway spectacular…so maybe ROH could’ve delayed the Hammerstein debut until they’d positioned themselves storyline-wise to put on such a show. But having chosen not to do that, they did a top job of working with what they had.
Top 3 Matches
3) Jay Briscoe/Austin Aries vs Jimmy Jacobs/Tyler Black (***)
2) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Davey Richards/Rocky Romero (****)
1) Bryan Danielson vs Naomichi Marufuji (****)
Top 5 Southern Navigation/A New Level Weekend Matches
5) Jay Briscoe/Austin Aries vs Jimmy Jacobs/Tyler Black (*** – A New Level)
4) Team NOAH vs No Remorse Corps (**** – Southern Navigation)
3) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Davey Richards/Rocky Romero (**** – A New Level)
2) Bryan Danielson vs Naomichi Marufuji (**** – A New Level)
1) Bryan Danielson vs Tyler Black (**** – Southern Navigation)