190 ROH Battle For Supremacy 6/27/2008

ROH 190 – Battle For Supremacy – 27th June 2008

Coming off the back of an undeniably successful ppv weekend last time out, featuring the better than it had any right to be Tag Title tournament at Up For Grabs, then another well-laid out, high quality, value for money pay-per-view at Respect Is Earned 2, I’m in a pretty positive place with 2008 Ring Of Honor. Storylines are ticking along nicely with the Age Of The Fall restored to the forefront, fighting a battle on two fronts with the Briscoe brothers and Austin Aries. We’ve also got Nigel McGuinness at the top of the card as the unstoppable heel champion, Sweet’n’Sour Inc. have “serious” Chris Hero and now the NWA Championship in the fold, lots of upwardly mobile midcard acts (Albright, Claudio, Steen, Generico, Stevens, Black etc). In general it feels like ROH has started regaining the spark that seemed to have deserted the promotion for some months (probably since the Man Up ppv). And so we come to Dayton, OH tonight, with a pretty unique card. The main event sees a first time ever as both the ROH and NWA World Titles are on the line in one match. It’s title vs title with Nigel McGuinness taking on Adam Pearce. Not sure what to expect from a match which could be blindingly entertaining or incredibly dull there. Elsewhere matches like Hero/Strong, Aries/Necro, a Danielson/Stevens rematch, Black/Delirious and a Steen-erico/AOTF tag all have potential. To be honest, it LOOKS like card which will either be completely skippable, or a shock hidden gem.

ROH VIDEO WIRE (25/06/08) – Twenty minutes of video wire. Thankfully it’s not just highlights of past shows and there is LOTS of new material. It’s an unseen Kevin Steen promo demanding another shot at the World Title shot as he made Nigel tap at Up For Grabs. He wants it to be at the Canadian debut.

– We also get some ‘exclusive’ footage after the brutal Strong/Stevens Fight Without Honor on ppv. Larry Sweeney arrives in the ring to confront a bloody Roderick Strong. Once again he tries to buy out the NRC. Once again Roddy refuses. Davey Richards seems keen on the deal and tries to reason with Roddy…and when he refuses Richards TURNS on Strong. He’s wearing a S’n’S shirt and has joined Sweeney’s group. That’s just AWESOME. Richards getting some career advancement and Roddy returning to his babyface roots where he always looked at his best.

– Nigel agrees to face Kevin Steen at the Canadian debut show in late July. He then has some words for Pearce and the NWA Title, essentially saying the only reason someone like Pearce has that belt is because it’s completely redundant now. Sad but true…

– More exclusive footage from the Philadelphia show. Delirious is in the ring once again trying to ask out Daizee…but is once again stopped by Rhett Titus. This time Rhett plays the nice guy, apologises for his brash conduct in the past, and suggests all three of them have a training session together.

– Larry Sweeney announces that Richards is getting sent straight to NOAH to earn some money and hone his skills and will be gone for the whole summer. He’ll be coming for Strong when he’s back…

After the best Newswire in months and months, the show opens with a Bryan Danielson promo. He says he’s exhausted after wrestling all over the world and for top promotions in the US, Japan, Mexico and Europe. It’s the ROH World Title that fuels him on those long journeys and starting tonight he’s beating everyone in front of him until he gets that rematch with Nigel…

Silas Young/Mitch Franklin vs Tank Toland/Shane Hagadorn

Woah, Tank Toland sighting! Where the hell has he been? I don’t even care that this is total job fodder and probably isn’t necessary on the main show. Any match that combines a Journey entrance theme with Tank Toland back in ROH is fine by me. He’s hardly Misawa in the ring, but he’s really entertaining and BADLY needs to be more involved in the Sweet’n’Sour antics…

Tank announces his return by hurling Bobby out of the ring and sending him to the back. Franklin suckers him into a test of strength, then rolls into a dropkick to the chest. Toland throws him across the ring to demonstrate his immense power. Silas in to trade holds with Hagadorn. He lands a standing moonsault for 2. His advantage is short lived though as Toland nails him with the work-out stick behind the referee’s back. Hagadorn chokes Young in the ropes then vacates the position to enable Larry Sweeney to get in a cheap shot. Silas finally ducks under a clotheslines and gets the hot tag to Franklin. Tornado snap suplex on Tank, but it has no effect on the larger man. Toland pops up and hits the one arm spinebuster on Franklin to win at 06:49.

Rating – * –
Short and harmless, plus, like I said, any excuse to get more Toland on a show is fine. Can’t say I liked the format of Silas playing the face in peril and Franklin getting the hot tag all that much…although at least it made it funny when Tank totally no sold his offense and won in one move.

Brent Albright cuts the victory party short but they scatter before he can get at them. Brent promises he’s going to get his hands on Sweeney by the end of the night.

Tyler Black vs Delirious

I’m looking forward to this one. Tyler has been immense in 2008 thus far putting on a succession of decent matches. Delirious’ act is stale as ever, but the angle with Haze and Titus is suitable material for him to work with in a comedy undercard feud so even he feels a little refreshed at the moment. Plus we all know he can go in the ring with the right opponent (although if you’ve only seen him for the last year he’s spent stuck in midcard matches with Adam Pearce and BJ Whitmer, maybe you didn’t know) so this one has some potential.

Allison Wonderland is UBER hot tonight. Nigel McGuinness invades the commentary booth for the second show running. He cracks jokes with the announce team as Tyler and Delirious trade early holds. Delirious’ unorthodox approach seems to get the better of the fiery Black in the early going. Finally Black hits a dropkick and goes right to the mask, desperate to get a foothold in the contest. Delirious headbutts the torso and follows up with a senton across the back for 2. Allison distracts him as he goes to the top…which brings Daizee Haze out to help her friend. Unfortunately the damage is done as Black drags Delirious off turnbuckles. He suplexes the lizard man over the ropes but attempts it a second time and almost loses with a flash inside cradle. Black slams Delirious all the way to the floor. He tries to follow that with a big boot but Delirious ducks it and Tyler connects with a security guard. He’s down…and Delirious makes it worse by suplexing Black on top of him! EVAN BOURNE DRIVER gets 2! (That’s Matt Sydal’s Here It Is Driver). Tyler scores with a neckbreaker and we’re all even again. Delirious with a super rana then lines up Shadows Over Hell. Black COUNTERS with a knee to the gut. He low blows Delirious…and as Daizee tries to point it out Allison pulls her off the apron and levels her with her purse. Rhett Titus is out to check on her…which in turn preoccupies Delirious. Black wins it with God’s Last Gift at 10:23.

Rating – ** –
This match had a lot of potential and was definitely good in parts. Unfortunately the early going was fairly ordinary (and actually, as entertaining as Nigel’s commentary cameo was, it was really distracting), and the end was sacrificed to advance the Daizee Haze love triangle. Given the chance I’m sure they could do better.

Jay Briscoe vs Claudio Castagnoli vs Brent Albright

Not a lot to connect this bunch, but you’d have to say that the prospect of career advancement and moving closer to a title shot is, as ever, on the line. Double C is still looking to rebuild and get back into title contention after losing his match at A New Level. Brent Albright is red hot and super over with the fans right now after leaving Sweet’n’Sour Inc. Jay is maybe an outside shot, but he started in ROH as a singles wrestler way back in 2002 and has always been established as the better of the Briscoe brothers when it comes to flying solo.

Briscoe is the most popular of these three by some distance, judging from Dayton’s crowd reaction. Three way headlock spot straight from the bell. McGuinness is still on commentary and points out that he recently defended his World Title in a triple threat in Japan against BJ Whitmer and KENTA. Castagnoli looks for a dive to the floor but is cut off by a Briscoe dropkick. Slaps between Jay and Albright…interrupted by Double C who lays both men out with double European uppercuts. All three on the top rope but it all ends in a bit of a mess. Jay saves the situation by taking them both out with a flying crossbody. Albright levels Claudio with a swinging backbreaker but Briscoe breaks the hold before he can go for the unprotected knee strikes. Big Swing from Claudio, and Jay HURDLES the swirling Albright to get to Castagnoli. Air Raid Crash on Claudio for 2. Briscoe then hoists Albright up for a DVD which gets 2 as well. Jay Driller blocked and Claudio takes him out with the bicycle kick. HALF NELSON SUPLEX on Briscoe. Running uppercut to the back on Albright. RUNNING UPPERCUT on Jay. Castagnoli pins Briscoe at 08:03.

Rating – ** –
Crisp, snappy action there…but I’ve only just finished watching the match and I’ve forgotten most of it already. Nothing wrong with it, and I imagine this sort of match would be ideal for when ROH launches it’s TV show next year. But for a DVD release, it’s disappointing when a match is so completely unmemorable that literally all I’ll take away from this is Nigel describing Claudio Castagnoli’s run across the ring as a ‘Nazi shuffle’.

Post match Toland, Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey try to do a number on Albright. They soon end up flat on their backs as Brent continues his quest to go through every S’n’S member that blocks his path to get to Sweeney tonight.

Erick Stevens vs Bryan Danielson

We already heard American Dragon talk about this one earlier. Stevens beat him at Transform back in January. Danielson refused to call that victory a fluke but is looking to make sure he gets a win back on the former FIP Champion tonight. Stevens is coming off losing his Fight Without Honor to Roderick Strong on ppv. A second win over ROH’s top guy would be some way to rebound from that loss.

Lenny Leonard puts over how travelled Danielson has been in the last month, going so far as to mention his dark match before a WWE Raw taping. The first few minutes are very mat based, and as you’d expect pitch Erick’s strength against Dragon’s wrestling prowess. Stevens catches Danielson going for a leapfrog and scores the first significant offence of the match with a Samoan drop. He charges for the Choo Choo and gets wiped out with a dropkick to the knees. You KNOW that mistake is going to haunt him. Danielson starts wrenching the leg, going right after the damaged limb. Bridging deathlock applied, leaving Stevens screaming in pain. Mexican surfboard attempted, but when Erick blocks that Dragon opts to stomp down on the back of the legs instead. On a night where the NWA Title is defended, it’s only apt that Dragon breaks out 80’s stalwart submission holds the spinning toehold, then the Figure 4 Leglock to inflict more punishment. He dropkicks the leg again…then tries the same thing for a third time in the match. Stevens gets smart that time, evades the dropkick and hammers Danielson with a volley of big chops. Shoulder tackle from the second rope next, then a powerslam for 2. He goes for the Samoan drop again…but this time can’t get Dragon up. Dragon screw by the World Champion, into Cattle Mutilation. Stevens rolls over…MMA ELBOWS! Into a leg grapevine Heel Hook. Stevens stands up…GERMAN SUPLEX! LARIATOOO! He thinks about the Doctor Bomb but Danielson tumbles over his shoulders into a HALF CRAB ANKLELOCK! That’s a SICK hold! Erick barely makes the ropes that time. Danielson hits his back superplex, which seems a tad reckless given that he’s well in control and it’s a move which has to hurt him as well. Flip up powerslam from nothing by Stevens…who drops to the mat again, clutching his knee in pain. Clubbing lariat across the chest scores only for Danielson to pop up and kick at the legs. ANOTHER lariat from Stevens. DOCTOR BOMB! STEVENS WINS! 18:10 is your time. Crowd HATE that…

Rating – **** –
I think I’ll probably take some flack for that rating. It seems a tad high, but I wanted to convey how much more I enjoyed this one than their Transform match. In January I accused Stevens of being totally carried by Dragon. Essentially I called it cut and paste American Dragon excellence, and Erick was just being carried along for the ride. This time around I thought he contributed to the match far more effectively. He sold his injuries better, timed his comebacks better, and really concentrated on making EVERYTHING he did as believable and empathetic as possible. Not a lot of fancy offence from him (so no Choo Choo, no TKO etc), just power moves like slams, tackles, lariats etc. Anything that emphasised that, whilst Danielson can wrestle him to the ground, he’s a big mother f*cker who can still beat the hell out of him given half the chance. That’s my BIGGEST criticism of Stevens. He has never managed to amalgamate the two concepts of being a babyface wrestler and a big man (in ROH term). He’s never been able to get past babyface = underdog. In my opinion this match showed real, clearly defined progress for him. Perhaps more so than any other match in his ROH tenure. Was Danielson still CLEARLY the better of the two…of course. But then, he’s one of the best wrestlers on the planet. What I’m saying is, in January the gulf in class was colossal and Danielson had to carry Stevens. This time round, Erick carried his end of the deal. And generally if you hold up your end of the deal when you’re wrestling Bryan Danielson, you normally end up with a good match.

Nigel McGuinness (still on commentary) leaves the booth gloating at Danielson losing to Stevens.

Backstage Tank Toland is making Bobby Dempsey do endless squats. Delirious wanders through looking for Daizee, who was carried away by Rhett Titus after being knocked out earlier…

Necro Butcher vs Austin Aries

This one is being fought under relaxed rules apparently. We know the score between Aries and Age Of The Fall. They tried to recruit him, in doing so Lacey left AOTF to join Aries. Jacobs went mental and put her out of wrestling…so in a weird flip it’s now Aries that’s gunning for revenge. He gets Jimmy Jacobs one-on-one tomorrow night in Chicago, but first he has to go through Necro, who will have been fully briefed by Jacobs to do some serious damage ahead of tomorrow.

Necro smacks Aries in the mouth before he completes his ring entrance, so this one gets going in a hurry. Austin reacts by clubbing him out of the ring. Necro has a mini-tantrum out there, and Aries eventually loses patience waiting for him to come back so sprints into the Heat Seeking Missile. Back inside he connects with the IED. He then kicks Necro off the apron and he falls backwards through the timekeepers table. Aries gets on the mic and berates Necro, asking why he’s even out here doing Jimmy Jacobs’ bidding. He doesn’t have a problem with Butcher since he wasn’t even in the car when Jimmy confronted Lacey…and refuses to fight him anymore. That means he won’t even defend himself since he has zero beef with Necro. A confused Necro right hands Aries in the face whilst Double A yells at him for being a brainwashed follower. Necro KNOCKS HIM OUT WITH THE MIC! Credit to Aries for selling these punches like death. Eventually Necro brains him with a chair and wins at 09:20

Rating – N/A –
As an angle, that was an intriguing way to continue the feud. Aries came off very Triple H in this, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Problem was, as a paying fan, I doubt the people of Dayton were tremendously thrilled to see one of the shows top billed matches, featuring Austin Aries (one of ROH’s top guys) giving up and laying down for an opponent to further a feud. So yeah, if you’re looking at this as a progression of the Aries/Jacobs angle then it was terrific story telling. As a match, it’s not even worth rating…and I’m a tad disappointed as I was looking forward to this. Definitely something a bit different though, and it’s nice to see Gabe throwing some new ideas around.

After the match Jacobs (sporting a bizarre emo Mohawk now) comes out and rather condescendingly reassures Necro that he did the right thing. The fans don’t seem very happy with Aries either…

INTERMISSION – Dave Prazak congratulates Erick Stevens on another win over Bryan Danielson. He sees big things for himself in the future…

Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Jimmy Jacobs/Joey Matthews

I’d imagine Steen and Generico are two enemies of Age Of The Fall who will have NO problem with beating anyone up they can get their hands on. They were the defeated finalists in the Up For Grabs Tag Title tournament, losing to Jacobs and Tyler Black, but only after competing in two matches carrying restricting injuries…which AOTF targeted to full effect during that final. Steen has vowed to get his hands on an ROH Championship before the year is out so a win here is imperative. Meanwhile AOTF will be looking to stave off a potential future Tag Title defence, with those belts being so important to them in giving them power in Ring Of Honor, assisting to spread their “message”…

Both Jacobs and Matthews are wrestling in jeans tonight. Jimmy’s new haircut is really severe. Generico seems really pumped up and no sells Joey’s offence before bundling him out of the ring. All four stare down…and of course that leads to inevitable brawl. Generico winds up in control, delivering a backbreaker to Jacobs for 2. Age Of The Fall both leave the ring…SO GENERICO JUMPS OFF STEEN’S BACK INTO A SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! But he tries to go to the top again and gets crotched over the turnbuckles by the wily Joey Matthews. Jacobs appears to pull a shoelace out of his pocket and use it to choke Generico out of sight of the official. He and Matthews drill Generico face-first into the mat, appearing to be concentrating on making it as hard as possible for him to catch his breath. Repeated whips into the turnbuckles, then a bearhug by Matthews, as usual keeping his offence basic but supremely effective. Generico works himself into a position to get the crucial tag…only for Jimmy to drag Steen off the apron to prevent him from tagging in. No matter, he rolls under both opponents and does at last get the hot tag to Mr Wrestling. Cannonball sentons for both of them before he throws Jacobs AT Matthews. FLYING BODY SPLASH from Generico gets 2. Matthews escapes the Package Piledriver and Jacobs locks in End Time. Generico saves with a YAKUZA KICK! Steen rolls into a cover to pin Jimmy at 10:50

Rating – *** –
Too short to mean anything too significant, but psychologically it was sound. Better than a lot of post-intermission matches so it’s hard to moan too much. Hopefully the win here cements a future Steen-erico/AOTF Tag Title rematch down the line.

Matthews hits Steen in the balls and lays him out with the Double Arm DDT whilst Jacobs uses a set of knucks to KO El Generico. What sore losers…

In the back Delirious discovers a woozy Daizee Haze. He looks concerned, but she seems grateful to the smarmy, “nice guy” Rhett Titus for helping her out.

Chris Hero vs Roderick Strong

Hopefully this marks the first match of Strong’s return to his babyface roots. I wasn’t as down on his heel work as some people, but it’s a nice change of pace for him. We saw the footage of Davey Richards turning on Roddy and joining Sweet’n’Sour Inc. Larry Sweeney had been trying to buy out the No Remorse Corps for a long time, and after growing tired of the rejection, instead he signed up someone from their ranks instead. Now Strong has a beef with Sweeney and S’n’S Inc. Since Davey is in Japan for the rest of the summer now, tonight he’s squaring off against Hero.

We go straight to the mat, giving the now ‘serious’ Hero a real chance to show what a sound technician he really is. Before you know it five minutes has gone by with these two effortlessly going back and forth on the canvas. Hero throws an ill-advised chop, provoking Strong to retaliate with a series of far more powerful chops. Sensibly Hero grounds the contest again, smothering Roderick in a headlock. Once again Strong tries to quicken the pace with strikes, but Hero lands on his feet as he attempts a slingshot suplex and drops Roddy with an elbow smash. He starts raking the eyes to ensure he has the advantage over the FIP Champion, then takes it down again with a rear chinlock. Strong tries to go faster again, but gets floored with another HUGE elbow smash for 2. It’s clear that Hero is able to dominate Strong and control the match if he can keep to a slow, methodical pace. Bearhug into a back senton takes Roddy over yet again. To the floor we go and Hero slams his opponent into the guardrail, then shows impressive poise and agility to rebound off the same barricade himself, diving into a forearm smash. They fight on the apron…and NOW Roddy increases the pace. Rapid fire chops then a BACK SUPLEX ON THE APRON! A dropkick sends Hero out of the ring again and Strong wastes no time in jumping into a somersault plancha. Things look like they’re turning in Roderick’s favour until Hero rallies to hit a NECK DROP back suplex. Blockbuster out of the corner follows that for 2. Strong kicks him in the face and hoists him up for a big lift backbreaker. Gibson Driver countered with an ELBOW SMASH! Straight powerbomb gets Hero 2 again. Roderick hits a cradle backbreaker then the Death By Roderick/Sick Kick combo. Larry Sweeney places a foot on the rope to save his charge. Stronghold locked in, but once again Sweeney causes a commotion and distracts everyone. Del Rey grabs Strong’s boot…ROLLING ELBOW from Hero. DOUBLE ARM ELBOW SMASH wins it for Chris Hero at 21:18.

Rating – **** –
Grueling, physical match that I really enjoyed. I guess this was a trial run for how well fans will accept “serious” Hero in longer, more conventional ROH style matches. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that he did a great job. He’s been one of the best wrestlers in the independent circuit for some time. It was only, I imagine, personal issues which prevented him being brought into ROH until 2006 as part of the CZW feud…and since that ended he’s mostly been hampered by his own charisma, with Gabe opting to use his quirky persona to entertain in the undercard rather than showcase his dynamic wrestling skills. He may not be as good as Bryan Danielson, but he’s certainly of a very similar ilk in the way he can dominate an opponent, control a match and almost carry an opponent to a great wrestling match. In an age where Danielson is in high demand internationally, can’t be booked on every show due to his other commitments…and is increasingly cropping up on WWE’s radar. Having Hero in the rings to carry things from a workrate point of view is certainly no bad thing. Good work from Roderick too, with the fans also accepting him back into a face role with no issues. It was a nice change to see him as the good guy here, always looking to get on the front foot, work at a fast pace and utilise all the moves in his explosive, offensive arsenal, whilst Hero constantly tried to wear him down and keep him on the canvas.

And with that, it’s main event time…Sweeney gets on the mic to introduce Adam Pearce.

Nigel McGuinness vs Adam Pearce – ROH vs NWA World Title Match

Both titles are on the line here. At the last ppv it was revealed that it was the NWA Heavyweight Championship that Pearce has been carrying round in his mysterious black briefcase in recent weeks. Nigel, offended by the presence of another “World” (I use that term sceptically) Champion in ROH, immediately laid down the challenge for a title vs title match. He wants to make the NWA belt just another part of the ROH Championship legacy. After months as a heel (and after working commentary on this DVD as a heel too) it’ll be interesting to see McGuinness positioned as the babyface against Pearce, who is always one of the least popular guys with a live crowd.

Pearce opens up with an illicit closed-fist shot behind the referee’s back. Nigel responds by FAKING another illegal shot and the referee chastises the NWA Champion for no reason. I hope they go that route in this match and try to out-heel each other rather than Nigel reverting to babyface type. Scrap Iron runs to the outside for a huddle with his Sweet’n’Sour allies. McGuinness opts not to get drawn into a slap fight and grabs a leg, taking Pearce down into an early submission hold. He grabs a streamer and uses it as a Repo Man mask, but credit to Adam, this time it’s him that refuses to play games and he punts the ROH Champion in the stomach. He lands a few punches a well and drives Nigel out of the ring temporarily. The opening 10 minutes of this match have been fought at a very cerebral, deliberate pace with neither man really establishing any kind of control. McGuinness tries to work the arm only for Pearce to snap his neck over the top rope. The ROH Champion tumbles to the floor again where Sweeney and Hagadorn get some cheap shots in. Ironically after that it’s Pearce that goes for an armbar to start wearing down that body part on his opponent. Spinebuster nailed and gets the Scrap Daddy a 2 count. Camel clutch applied as we tick toward 15 minutes, still in the lower gears here. Jabs from Pearce, no sold by McGuinness. Nigel hits a McLariat from nothing to floor Pearce. Strikes in the corner into another McLariat gets him a 2. Tower Of London blocked and Sweeney grabs Nigel’s foot, forcing him back off the ropes. Superfly Splash from Pearce. He looks for the Jumping Piledriver but it’s blocked. Jawbreaker Lariat misses…but WHAM! Nigel hits another lariat from the other side for 2 again. Nigel to the top…PEARCE hits the Tower Of London! McGuinness goes for the Jawbreaker perhaps out of desperation and is kneed out of the ring again. REBOUND LARIAT from the apron though. Sweeney tries to interfere, grabbing Nigel’s feet again…and this time Todd Sinclair ejects him from ringside, whilst Nigel hits an innocuous backdrop sending Pearce over the ropes. Bobby Dempsey tries to interfere…but only distracts Pearce. JAWBREAKER LARIAT! McGuinness gets the win at 21:28. Nigel thinks he’s won the NWA Title…but Larry Sweeney is furiously arguing with ROH and NWA officials at ringside. He’s invoking an aged rule in the NWA rulebook…and Nigel has been disqualified for dropping Pearce over the top rope. Pearce retains HIS belt…

Rating – ** –
I kinda dug the methodical pace…but at the end of the 20 minutes I felt like I’d been watching them wrestle for days, it really was THAT slow. I think Pearce was exposed here at the top of the card and doesn’t really have the talent to carry the kind of main event level matches the Ring Of Honor fanbase expects. The hoaky finish was predictable so I don’t have too many problems with it. I was expecting some kind of ‘swerve’ finish (much like the first Danielson/Nigel title vs title match at Weekend Of Champions Night 2 back in 2006). I’m sure TNA must’ve done far worse things in NWA Title Matches than a few back drops over the ropes though. Unfortunately, unless you’ve got a GREAT deal more respect for the modern day NWA Title (and by association, the National Wrestling Alliance as an organisation), this match just didn’t resonate any feelings of historical significance within me. It felt like a slightly goofy, underwhelming but not completely charmless ROH B-show main event.

Brent Albright emerges from the locker rooms to decimate all of Sweet’n’Sour Inc. (including a crazy RUNNING Air Raid Crash on Del Rey). Chris Hero comes out to save his team-mates, and Pearce looks set to attack Brent with the belt…until Jay Briscoe and Claudio Castagnoli make the save. But THEN here come Age Of The Fall to lay out Jay. NOW Steen-erico are out to fight Age Of The Fall. Necro helps out Jacobs, Black and Matthews. MARK BRISCOE! He only has a light cast on his hand now. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA BY JAY! TOP ROPE MOONSAULT BY TYLER! CANNONBALL DIVE BY NECRO! RUNNING MOONSAULT BY MARK! DOUBLE JUMP SPRINGBOARD SOMERSAULT DIVE BY GENERICO! And that leaves the babyfaces standing tall. But in this instance the babyfaces are old enemies Steen-erico and the Briscoes. A tense stand off ensues there but they don’t come to blows.

That sequence was arguably as exciting as anything we’ve seen all night. Kevin Steen modifies his promise to say that by the time ROH returns to Dayton in November he will have a Ring Of Honor title belt around his waist.

Outside in the darkness…stuff happens. I can hear Austin Aries’ voice but f*ck knows what that was…

Tape Rating – ** –
I actually quite liked this show. It had a different vibe to it than most ROH shows, and I’d much rather have something that at least feels unique, like ROH TRIED something different with these underwhelming B-shows then serve up a bunch of somewhat stale matches full of guys working within themselves (Race To The Top Night 1, Eye Of The Storm, Suffocation, Time To Man Up etc etc). This one felt like…what Raw would be like if ROH did it instead of WWE…in a small, sweaty, dingy building in Dayton rather than a nice flashy arena…and with some good wrestling. Lots of short, snappy matches, the big sports-entertainment style Aries/Necro/Jacobs angle, Albright wanting to “get” Sweeney all night etc. Even the main event, disappointing as it was, fitted in with that. I guarantee you it was unlike any other title defence Nigel McGuinness will have in his reign. And whilst that’s not necessarily good…I can at least appreciate the variety. The whole night felt like a TV taping. Which is fine. But when these things are released at $20 a pop, I suppose some buyers could be defended for expecting a little more ppv quality stuff.

So yeah, I surprisingly, liked this. But I can’t go too high on the rating because, fact is, in ROH terms, this was nothing NEAR the heights they can hit. Sure Strong/Hero and Danielson/Stevens were good, but they weren’t out of this world good. And in terms of ‘good’ matches, that’s basically it. So as much as myself, a completist, can enjoy this…it’s hard to go high on a rating for fear of a selective buyer picking this one up then being disappointed by what they perceive to be a lacklustre card. But if you do buy it, and you can temper your expectations accordingly, this isn’t a hard show to sit through.

Top 3 Matches

3) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Jimmy Jacobs/Joey Matthews (***)

2) Chris Hero vs Roderick Strong (****)

1) Erick Stevens vs Bryan Danielson (****)

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