ROH 197 – Night Of The Butcher 2 – 16th August 2008
Part of me really hopes Abdullah The Butcher shows up tonight. Aside from that, this looks like one of those shows which will either be surprisingly great, or suck hard. Lots of the matches could be decent, but feature combinations of opponents who either click and deliver great matches, or swing and miss to deliver slightly boring affairs. Necro Butcher vs Jimmy Jacobs (topping the bill tonight) is a fine example of that. It could be good, but it could just as easily suck monkeys. The FIP and NWA Title matches (Stevens/Hero and Albright/Shiozaki) are the same. Fortunately the card also features two matches that, if given time, should be great. Nigel and Claudio team up to take on Team Work, whilst El Generico and Tyler Black meet in what should be an athletic contest in the midcard. All that plus Roderick Strong running the Sweet’n’Sour Gauntlet and more. And so it’s with excitement and suspense that I’ve slid this DVD into the slot to head off to Chicago Ridge, IL.
ROH VIDEO WIRE – See Age Of Insanity (ROH 196) review for details.
Kevin Steen vs Kenny King
Just like last night in Cleveland, we’re going right into the action tonight…and just like yesterday it’s Kevin Steen in the opening match. King returned to ROH in a decent effort against Bryan Danielson at Age Of Insanity, and is looking to secure a permanent roster spot this weekend.
Kenny pulls a Jeff Hardy and slips on the ropes during his entrance, much to the delight of the fans. He still seems hugely cocky though, much to the annoyance of Mr Wrestling. He goes for an early Sharpshooter, then reacts quickly to drop a senton splash. King hits back by athletically hurdling the ropes into a guillotine. Spinebuster next to put the YRR representative firmly in command. Lenny Leonard tries to claim that Kenny gave up a career as a pro-basketball player to pursue wrestling. I really hope that’s not true…otherwise that’s just an AWFUL career move. Swinging backbreaker gets him a 2…but he cockily admires his handiwork whilst sitting in the corner and gets completely demolished by Steen’s cannonball senton. Kenny goes to the eyes to evade the Sharpshooter for a second time. BACKFLIP out of the corner into a VERTICAL JUMP standing enzi to Steen perched on the top rope. AWESOME agility from King, highlighted again as he dives almost all the way across the ring with a springboard blockbuster for 2. Steen hits the pumphandle cradlebreaker and, third time of asking, turns King into the Sharpshooter. He taps at 07:26
Rating – ** – For the second night in a row Steen pulls out an effective curtain jerker but, for me, the credit deserves to go firmly to King here. The Chicago crowd were all ready to SAVAGE him after that slip on the turnbuckles, but he got them on side with a solid performance. Without doing anything too flashy (until that little burst of athleticism at the end), he held up his end of the bargain, playing the cocky rookie to perfection. He looks a comfortable fit on the ROH undercard at this point and has done his chances of more frequent bookings no harm at all this weekend.
We’re scheduled for a Scramble Match up next, and Pelle Primeau comes out to announce that he was scheduled to team with Delirious in it tonight…but he’s gone AWOL since joining Age Of The Fall last night. Daizee Haze comes out to ask Delirious on a date…only to be confronted by a smiling Jimmy Jacobs. MsChif then sneaks in from behind to take Daizee out with a rolling neckbreaker. Finally Jacobs does call Delirious to the ring…and Delirious attacks Pelle. Panic Attack into the barrier renders Primeau motionless and bleeding. Unbalanced monster Delirious is awesome! Once again he leaves hand in hand with Jimmy and Allison Wonderland, leaving Pelle a bloody mess in the ring…
Phoenix Twins vs Mitch Franklin/Trik Davis vs Ruckus/Jigsaw vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe – Scramble Match
This would be a debut for Tweek and Dash, the Phoenix Twins. They’re identical so telling them apart will be a nightmare. Mitch and Trik are the replacement team for Pelle and Delirious who will, of course, no longer be competing.
First time seeing Trik in a while, can’t say I’ve missed him. Jigsaw drops him with a Gory Special. He hurts himself sliding out of the ring and…one of the Phoenix Twins dives in with a missile dropkick. Franklin in but get levelled by a clothesline from Tweek. Handspring backflip kick from Ruckus knocks what I believe to be Tweek Phoenix out of the ring. The Briscoes maul Dash then deliver the Briscoe Biel to Franklin. They send Davis into the lights with the pancake too…and then get punted out of the ring by the Twins. Rolling Fisherman Buster Bomb gets 2 on a Phoenix…TURNBUCKLE HURDLE SOMERSAULT PLANCHA by…the other one. Trik drops Jay with an Ace Crusher, then gets dropped with a German from Dash (apparently). Ruckus hits Razzle Dazzle on one of the Twins. SPIKE JAY DRILLER! That Phoenix Twin is done, but Jigsaw breaks it with a superkick on Jay. DOUBLE STOMP JIG’N’TONIC! The Vultures defeat the Phoenix’s to win at 06:04.
Rating – ** – Harmless, brief fun…but absolutely horrific booking putting the Vulture Squad over here. Let’s face it, they’re done. Jigsaw has talent but isn’t over at all, Ruckus is more popular but painfully average in the ring, whilst Jack Evans is hardly around. Keeping Ruckus and Jig around for occasional tags and as cannon fodder for singles matches, but they shouldn’t be winning anything involving the f’n Briscoes at this stage. Focusing on the positives, I liked the Phoenix Twins. Nothing too flashy but they looked more comfortable in there than Trik…and he’s been around for YEARS. They really need to do something to tell them apart though. I’m all for working the twin thing, but having zero distinguishing features just isn’t fun.
El Generico vs Tyler Black
The last two Ring Of Honor shows have ended with these two on the losing end of ROH World Title matches with Nigel McGuinness, so obviously both would like a rebound win here. Plus, a win for Generico would put his team with Kevin Steen right at the forefront of the contenders queue for Age Of The Fall’s Tag Team Championship.
Both guys seem very intense, but Generico seizes the initiative with an Arabian press to the floor. Prazak and Leonard are really shilling Generico/Nigel from last night as a must-see which shows you how good that one was. Tilta-whirl backbreaker gets Generico a 2-count. Allison Wonderland appears on the apron to distract him though, giving Tyler time to springboard off the ropes into a clothesline. He then drapes Generico in the ropes, standing on his throat to really choke him out. That’s sort of indicative of how Black’s offensive strategy continues. He chokes, pulls at the mask and appears hugely aggressive in pursuit of the victory. He hits a flipping neck snap out of the corner for 2, focusing his offence on that body part to prepare for God’s Last Gift. At last Generico rallies, hitting the SPRINGBOARD flying headscissors then a MICHINOKU DRIVER for 2 as we tick past ten minutes. Flying body press gets the Generic Luchador another nearfall. Brainbuster attempt is countered with a neckbreaker though, Black targeting the neck again. He goes for another springboard clothesline, gets caught, but then reacts quickly to hit a Pele kick then Peroxism for 2. YAKUZA KICK out of nothing nearly wins it for Generico! He tries to climb the ropes only for Tyler to dropkick him out of the ring. SLINGSHOT SUPER RANA BY TYLER! SUPERKICK…GENERICO KICKS OUT! Phoenix Splash MISSES! YAKUZA KICK! BRAINBUSTER! Generico wins at 14:31
Rating – *** – Very fun match; had they started better and gone a tiny bit longer we’d be talking an easy 4*. The first couple of minutes (until Tyler took control) seemed to be quite bland and aimless, which in turn meant it took longer to get into the match once they started going up through the gears. The last couple were absolutely fantastic though. Rematch somewhere down the line please…
Erick Stevens vs Chris Hero – FIP Heavyweight Title Match
In his second reign as FIP Champion, Stevens is equally determined to prove himself as a fighting champion. Last time around he started off with back to back defences against Aries and Danielson, and he’s followed a similar path this time. Last night he retained the title via DQ after Claudio Castagnoli got a little cheesed off and attacked the referee. Tonight it’s the other former King Of Wrestling, now centrepiece of Sweet’n’Sour Inc. – Chris Hero.
Unfortunately for Stevens, Chicago seems to prefer Chris Hero. Naturally the challenger is happy to start off trading holds with his opponent. Stevens is probably the stronger of the two but Hero is comfortably the superior technician. Most of the action is now being missed by the crowd as they’re a little preoccupied chanting between sections, which is quite distracting. Erick demonstrates his strength advantage by dropping Hero with consecutive shoulder blocks. To the floor where Stevens reels off a series of chops, halted only when Chris rakes the eyes and face. Sara Del Rey grabs Stevens’ foot as he tries to climb back through the ropes, holding him in position for a big Mafia kick from the challenger. Completely aside from the wrestling, Cary Silkin’s Pro Wrestling NOAH dress shirt is perhaps the most dreadful piece of clothing ever to be seen on Ring Of Honor DVD. Del Rey gets a couple more cheap shots in, continuing to distract Stevens. Cravat choke over the ropes by Hero, before he cracks him with his first spinning elbow smash of the match for 2. Stevens tries to mount a comeback, only to be cut off by more strikes to the head then a flipping blockbuster. Any time Erick shows any signs of life it’s met with a series of big blows to the skull, Hero clearly priming him for another knockout. Finally Erick counters a springboard forearm attempt with a Samoan drop. Choo Choo nailed as well, then a pumphandle powerbomb for 2. Hero goes to the face but it doesn’t stop Stevens running him into the buckles then nailing the TKO. Spinning elbow again, then a big boot which sends Stevens all the way to the outside. ROLLING ELBOW on the floor leaves Stevens out cold and the title in real jeopardy of changing hands on a count-out. He only just makes it back in before the count reaches 20. More elbows and forearms from Hero…and Stevens only just kicks out. ROLLING ELBOW! Stevens kicks out again! MORE elbows from the challenger, but almost out of desperation Erick tosses him with a German suplex. SECOND ROPE powerslam wins it for Stevens at 21:07.
Rating – *** – This was tough to call. On one hand I loved the blunt, ugly physicality of Hero’s approach. He very literally sacrificed any kind of attempt at wrestling holds/manoeuvres for the majority of that match, instead opting to unrelentingly smack Stevens in the head. It was actually unpleasant to watch, both because it was repetitive AND because it was an uncomfortable thing to witness. Being honest, some would find this boring and at 20+ minutes, it was a tad long. It definitely took the fans a long time to get on board with what they were doing. But, I think coming out of this one, Stevens is put over as being able to withstand that onslaught and win the match, whilst Hero comes out looking like a beast who literally wants to split your head open and knock you the f*ck out above anything else.
Backstage Erick Stevens is delighted to have retained his belt this weekend, and now looks forward to defending it on his return to FIP against Go Shiozaki
Nigel McGuinness/Claudio Castagnoli vs Bryan Danielson/Austin Aries
The issues between these four should be fairly obvious. Both members of Team Work have had great matches, but ultimately been unsuccessful challenging Nigel for the World Title in recent months. Dragon is desperate to secure a rematch with the champion on ppv in fact. And after what transpired in at Death Before Dishonor 6, where we saw Castagnoli snap and assault Danielson, causing him to be eliminated from the ROH Title main event, the ex-World Champion will be looking for some serious revenge on him too.
No pausing to sing along to ‘The Final Countdown’ today, Danielson is straight into the ring to get his hands on Castagnoli. That comes back to bite him as Claudio throws him into the railings then bicycle kicks him into the crowd. That leaves the Europeans alone with Aries and they use the numbers to their advantage almost immediately. Dragon back on the apron as Aries hits the Stroke on Nigel, but the World Champion lunges to get the tag to Castagnoli before Austin can reach Danielson. At last Aries ducks under a McLariat attempt to get the hot tag to American Dragon. Danielson sprints across the ring to hit a tope suicida on Castagnoli. That move scores but McGuinness strolls out of the ring and drives Danielson head-first into the guardrails as he recovers from the dive. Alpamare Water Slide gets Castagnoli a 2-count. But Aries gets a blind tag and dishes out the IED’s to both opponents. He goes for the Brainbuster only for Nigel to block it with an armwrench. Jawbreaker Lariat countered with a crucifix which Aries converts to knee strikes and the Last Chancery. Claudio breaks that but much to the delight of the Chicago fans (who christened the name back at Without Remorse), Danielson and Aries use TEAM WORK to maintain control of the contest. Once again Dragon allows himself to be distracted by Castagnoli though, and Nigel takes advantage to lock in the London Dungeon. Aries breaks it with the Kick of Death, then turns into the POP-UP UPPERCUT by Claudio. REPEATED FACE STOMPS ON CLAUDIO! Nigel then tries to use Danielson’s trunks to roll him up. McLariat from Nigel to flatten Danielson again. RUNNING McLariat nailed for 2. Shortarm Lariat ducked though, and Danielson hits back with CHAOS THEORY! MMA ELBOWS! Claudio breaks it with a DEADLIFT GERMAN SUPLEX! Aries knocks Double C outside for the Heat Seeking Missile! That leaves Danielson and McGuinness in the ring to trade uppercuts. MMA ELBOWS BY DRAGON! CATTLE MUTILATION! Nigel taps at 13:21!
Rating – *** – They could probably have a better match if they wanted, but the purpose of this one was to further Danielson’s feuds with both McGuinness and Castagnoli. To that end it was kept relatively short, with lots of really interesting flashpoints between the feuding parties. Aries looked at a bit of a lost end and I thought they could’ve referenced the two Nigel/Aries classics a little more, but I guess that wasn’t really the focus. Despite being a largely storyline driven match, the last few minutes oozed quality, and the finish sets up another Danielson/Nigel match, which is always a good thing.
No time for Danielson to celebrate though, Castagnoli clobbers him from behind as he gets to his feet. Riccola Bomb nailed and Claudio retrieves a chair to STOMP INTO DRAGON’S HEAD! Shades of Death Before Dishonor 6 there.
INTERMISSION – Dave Prazak tries to get an explanation from Claudio Castagnoli, who simply gloats that he’s kicked Danielson’s ‘head in’ twice now…
Roderick Strong vs Sweet’n’Sour Inc. – Gauntlet Match
Essentially this is Roddy running a gauntlet of every member of S’n’S Inc. that Larry Sweeney can find. I believe Larry Sweeney is slated to come in last so Roderick will have to go through everyone before he can get his hands on him.
The crowd pops like crazy since Bobby Dempsey is the first opponent. Strong begs him to lie down since he doesn’t really want to hurt Sweet’n’Sour’s whipping boy. Bobby obliges (after Strong tosses his shirt at Sweeney so he’s blinded) and is eliminated inside 30 seconds. ‘Match of the Year’ – Chicago. Sweeney orders him to the back to do ‘five million Hindu squats’. Shane Hagadorn is next up. Shane gets some offence in, then gets absolutely levelled by a huge chop. He goes for the eyes but Strong still manages to absorb the offence and hit a back suplex. Ogawa corner stomp then a running STO gets Hagadorn a 2. Death By Roderick then the Sick Kick finish Hagadorn off at 05:34. Adam Pearce is the next entrant in the Gauntlet, but Strong doesn’t even let him enter the ring before hitting a pescado. They brawl around on the floor, giving us more shots of Cary Silkin’s horrifying NOAH shirt. The former NWA Champion delivers a series of backbreakers to both hurt and insult Roddy. Tilta-whirl backbreaker next as Strong looks to mount a comeback. Eventually Roderick hits a missile dropkick from the second rope, but takes his time following up as he tends to his bad back. It’s so bad he can’t lift the Scrap Daddy for the Death By Roderick, and Pearce capitalises with a chokeslam. Roddy looks for the Stronghold, Pearce counters with a back suplex. He takes too long climbing the ropes for the Superfly Splash and Strong chases up the turnbuckles for a superplex. Death By Roderick into the Sick Kick nailed again…but Pearce kicks out where Hagadorn failed. Jumping Piledriver countered to a jackknife pin. Pearce is eliminated at 14:44…but the next participant is Chris Hero and he blindsides Strong before he even know what’s happening. He kicks Strong in the balls and is DQ’d at 15:54, but sticks around to hit the LOADED ELBOW SMASHES! With Strong unconscious, unsurprisingly, the final entrant is Larry Sweeney. Sweeney pins him to win the gauntlet at 18:23
Rating – * – Too long to be funny or entertaining, too dull to be considered good from a workrate point of view. I know what they were going for here, and the Bobby Dempsey skit, Hero getting his elbows over again and Larry stealing another undeserved win were all fine, but the 15+ wasted minutes in the middle were tedious to sit through.
Larry takes the mic again to proclaim himself as the only undefeated wrestler in ROH. He then introduces Go Shiozaki for the NWA World Title match…
Brent Albright vs Go Shiozaki – NWA World Title Match
We know that Albright has had issues with Sweet’n’Sour Inc. going back to the Hangmen 3 sellout. But after splitting from the group during the Hammerstein debut, he returned to the building at Death Before Dishonor 6 to strike a hammer blow to the group by winning Adam Pearce’s NWA title. Now S’n’S Inc. are looking to bring the belt back with NOAH recruit Go Shiozaki challenging in what should be a hard-hitting heavyweight bout.
The early going is pretty tentative, with the two big men testing out the opponent’s strength, mat skills and speed. Finally Shiozaki angrily kicks Albright out of the ring. That doesn’t work out in his favour though – Albright tossing him into the barriers then kicking him in the spine whilst they’re out there. Albright seems to want to work the arm and Go tries to fend him off by raking the eyes. He delivers a jumping knee strike, misses a lariat but still has enough about him to evade a crossbody attempt and send Brent ricocheting off the ropes. That marks a turning point in the match and leaves Shiozaki completely in command. He pitches Albright to the floor again to drive his face repeatedly into the timekeeping table. He hangs him on the apron to deliver the running knee strike next. I’m not going to lie, the opening 10 minutes have been painfully slow…even the commentators sound bored. Back inside the challenger hits a DDT and pulls Brent by the hair to ensure he’s perfectly positioned for a big chop in the corner. Brent tries to respond with some strikes of his own, but another Shiozaki chop drops him to his knees. Crippler Crossface locked in but Albright hauls himself to the ropes. Go takes too long positioning himself for his moonsault though, and Brent takes him down with an avalanche electric chair drop. The champion goes all Taz next, throwing suplexes for fun and getting a nearfall. Go crotches him on the top rope then superkicks him off it for 2. Dragon Clutch attempted but Albright keeps his body turned. Flying knee strike from the top gets Shiozaki another 2. Go Flasher countered and Albright nearly snatches victory with a small package. Go Lariato spins the NWA Champion through the air…but doesn’t get Shiozaki the win. He has to block the Half Nelson Suplex and drills Albright back into the corner with another superkick. Lariato thrown again, but this time Brent ducks it into the Crowbar. Superplex from Albright at 20 minutes, and when Shiozaki no sells it he simply hoists him up into the Air Raid Crash. BOTCHED catapult spot but Go recovers to…hit an ugly ass bridging German suplex. They have an Angle/Benoit-style German suplex duel, but the silent crowd kills any drama that might have had. They both try clotheslines then both collapse in a heap. Albright goes for the 61-Knee but Go switches that beautifully into the Fisherman Buster. Dragon Sleeper again but still no win. Orange Crush gets 2. Shiozaki Moonsault misses and Brent goes for the Crowbar again. HEAD DROP Half Nelson Suplex…gets 2. Super ugly counters…and Albright finally goes for the unprotected knee strikes. The referee stops it at 25:05.
Rating – * – As a match it was probably 2*, but I knocked a whole star off for how ridiculously long this went, how unbelievably dull it was, how many times they did something that looked fake/ugly or flat out botched something…that was just a complete failure of a match. Both guys were clearly working hard, but it was an ugly, tedious spectacle to sit through. Hero/Stevens was a tough watch earlier, but at least they were telling a story and going somewhere with it, this one was 25 minutes of two guys plodding around, messing things up and doing absolutely nothing other than generic heavyweight indy spots. Even Prazak and Leonard were bored out of their brains watching this, and they were getting paid…
Jimmy Jacobs vs Necro Butcher – No DQ Match
At Vendetta 2, we saw Aries and Jacobs battle in the main event, where the winner got to choose whatever match he wanted. Aries ended up victorious, and selected a No DQ Match…then announced that he wanted the No DQ Match to be Jimmy vs Necro. Aries has successfully played mind games with Necro, to the extent that the Butcher has subsequently turned his back on Age Of The Fall and now appears to be his own man, through taking orders from Jacobs.
Jimmy Jacobs tries to convince Necro to move to Alaska and spread Age Of The Fall’s message there. Necro doesn’t seem to concur with that plan, instead right handing him in the jaw to a huge pop. You know the routine now, we’re straight into the crowd for some standard Necro chair-throwing antics. Jimmy wheels one of those big lighting cases into Necro’s ribs, then uses it to send Butcher careering through several rows of chairs. Jacobs tries to get away but eats continual right hands from his former charge. RUNNING plancha off a chair scores for him though. He then drives a chair into Necro’s throat for good measure. But it takes more than that to stop the crazy Necro who deposits him into a trash can then starts punching it. To ringside again where Necro hits the CHAIR SLAM onto the unprotected basketball court floor. He starts routing under the ring for weapons to use on Jacobs, and finds a box of assorted junk to dump on him. Unfortunately that contains an aerosol can which Jimmy sprays into his eyes to blind him. Drop toehold into an open chair gets Jacobs a 2. And an open chair remains in the centre of the ring as the two men battle on the top rope. Tyler Black runs in and pulls Necro away from the turnbuckles to hit GOD’S LAST GIFT THROUGH A CHAIR! And since it’s No DQ that’s totally legal. The ROH Tag Champions set up a table in the ring as Dave Prazak points out that it was these three men who started Age Of The Fall a year ago in this very building. Before they can use the table Austin Aries runs in to even the odds…but Black POWERBOMBS HIM THROUGH NECRO AND THE TABLE! Jacobs pins Necro to win at 12:32
Rating – *** – Fun enough brawl, but you wouldn’t call it a main event level match. The finish felt bizarre too. It’s nice to see Black and Jacobs get depicted as dominant champions (particularly after their last reign ended so unceremoniously) but it seems odd they felt the need to have Aries pointless interject himself only to get beaten up without getting in any offence.
Kevin Steen and El Generico arrive to fight the Tag Champions…but Delirious arrives to restore the numbers advantage for Age Of The Fall. Inevitably the Briscoes sprint out to get in on the fight too. They clear the ring…which means all that’s left in the ring is Steen-erico and the Briscoes. We all know the history there…and they start fighting in Chicago once again. FLYING PLANCHA UP THE AISLE INTO EVERYONE BY GENERICO! STEEN-TON TO THE FLOOR FROM MR WRESTLING! Steen and Generico leave, and it’s the Briscoes and Aries facing up to Black, Jacobs and Delirious. Until NECRO steams in and decimates everyone! That last segment was easily the best thing on the show tonight…
Tape Rating – ** – Disappointing show, especially considering Chicago is supposed to be one of the bigger markets ROH runs in. Nothing hit 4*, two post-intermission matches were both long and bad, and ultimately all I’ll really take away from this was that awesome segment at the end with the Briscoes, Age Of The Fall, Aries, Steen, Generico and Necro all going at it. Very skippable show here, and with the Japanese tour next, I imagine you’re probably best saving your cash and picking up those DVD’s instead. If you do want one of the shows from this weekend. Get Age Of Insanity…the ROH World Title Match was MILES above anything else from this double shot.
Top 3 Matches
3) Erick Stevens vs Chris Hero (***)
2) Bryan Danielson/Austin Aries vs Nigel McGuinness/Claudio Castagnoli (***)
1) El Generico vs Tyler Black (***)
Top 5 Age Of Insanity/Night Of The Butcher 2 Weekend Matches
5) Team Work vs Nigel McGuinness/Claudio Castagnoli (*** – Night Of The Butcher 2)
4) Bryan Danielson vs Kenny King (*** – Age Of Insanity)
3) Chris Hero/Go Shiozaki vs Roderick Strong/Brent Albright (Age Of Insanity)
2) El Generico vs Tyler Black (*** – Night Of The Butcher 2)
1) Nigel McGuinness vs El Generico (**** – Age Of Insanity)