ROH 201 – Glory By Honor 7 – 20th September 2008
We’re rapidly speeding towards the conclusion of Gabe Sapolsky’s time as ROH Booker. This is the last DVD release he produced before his departure, with the next double shot weekend (featuring Homicide’s return to ROH) being his last live events to date. Credit where it’s due, for his last ROH supercard, he’s put together an absolutely stacked line up. Tonight we have a whopping FOUR championships being defended, plus Kensuke Sasaki making his American ROH debut, PLUS Steel Cage Warfare and some other stuff. It should be a special evening, so lets jump into the action. We’re back in Philadelphia, PA – home of the original Glory By Honor event in 2002. Oh, and in case you needed it to be more special, we’re in The (ECW) Arena…with an AMAZING stage set up.
ROH VIDEO WIRE – See Driven 2008 (ROH200) review for details
Kevin Steen and El Generico open the show celebrating their Tag Title win last night. They want to add more championship belts to their collection as they challenge for the FIP & ROH Title belts respectively this evening.
Jerry Lynn vs Kenny King
These two could not be at more contrasting points in their careers. Both look like they’ve secured more regular bookings with Ring Of Honor. Lynn is now looking to defy his advancing years to mount one last significant push for championship glory, whilst King is a young guy with a bright future looking to climb the ranks. Popular veteran vs cocky rookie…the script for this one writes itself.
The loyal Philadelphia fans give Jerry a deserved colossal ovation for his entrance. I mark for the ‘new f’n show’ chants. He looks fairly composed in the early going, but King shows his athleticism by rolling into a crisp Japanese armdrag. Lynn gets 2 with the trademark sunset flip out of the corner. King goes to stomps and forearms as Jerry looked to be in total control. Satellite headscissors from Lynn though. Kenny throws him out of the ring…then MISSES a pescado as Jerry cheerfully does jumping jacks on the floor. Cannonball senton from the apron connects, the veteran continuing to dominate. Kenny tries to work Lynn’s back, drilling a jumping double knee strike deep into the back then hauling him into a spinebuster for 2. Capoeira kick into a Blue Thunder Driver get another 2. Springboard spinning leg drop misses and allows Jerry some valuable time to recover. He hits a tornado DDT to get a nearfall of his own. King can’t hit the Air Raid Crash, but tries to steal the match anyway by pinning Jerry with his feet on the ropes. Super rana by Lynn…CRADLE PILEDRIVER! Jerry gets a popular win at 10:19
Rating – ** – There was lots to like about this, and the two guys are just so totally different that their natural juxtaposition made for a fun watch…but at times this was sloppy, and even a little dull. Once Kenny got his sh*t together and started working Lynn’s back it really stepped up in quality.
Brent Albright vs Adam Pearce – NWA World Title Match
These two had a somewhat unexpected classic at Death Before Dishonor 6, tearing the house down on the way to Albright’s memorable NWA Title win. These two have been at odds ever since Pearce sold out the Hangmen 3 to Sweet’n’Sour Inc. We’ve seen wins traded, fireballs thrown, Albright mark ROH’s Hammerstein debut by decimating all of S’n’S Inc. too. Can Pearce regain the very belt that convinced him to sign with Larry Sweeney in the first place?
Remember the NWA rules in this one. They go straight to the mat to exchange fisticuffs. Pearce tries to retreat and gets pasted into the guardrails and slammed onto the hard floor. Brent apparently suffered an elbow injury in his match on ppv last night. Hagadorn distracts the referee, allowing Scrap Iron to throw Albright over the top rope. He delivers a big suplex onto the entrance ramp. Lenny Leonard brings on some more ECW nostalgia by talking about Shane Douglas throwing down the NWA Title in this same building. Sweeney takes a cheap shot at Albright with the official’s back turned once again. Superfly Splash gets the challenger a 2. Once again Pearce distracts the ref, allowing Hagadorn to sneak in and position a chair in the turnbuckles. This time it backfires as Albright LEAPFROGS Pearce, and the Scrap Daddy charges straight into that illicit steel chair. Exploder suplex scores 2 for Brent. Swinging backbreaker brings about the same result. AIR RAID CRASH! Still Pearce won’t stay down. Pearce tries to steal Albright’s Kobashi-plex, then HITS IT after delivering a low blow. Jumping Piledriver blocked…JUMPING PILEDRIVER BY ALBRIGHT! Adam manages to kick out then goes to the eyes to buy some time. Both men fight on the top now, and with Sweeney once again manhandling the referee, Hagadorn shoves BOTH MEN OFF THE TURNBUCKLES! Remember there’s a ten count in NWA Title matches, and Albright only just beats that count back into the ring. Pearce goes for the Jumping Piledriver again…COUNTERED TO THE CROWBAR! Pearce counters, CROWBAR ON BRENT’S BAD ARM! Albright taps at 13:57
Rating – *** – Another cracking contest between these two. The rematch wasn’t quite as memorable as the DBD6 match, but then again, this one had a very different spot on the card, didn’t get as much time and was obviously slightly handicapped by Albright’s injury. These two really bring the best out of each other as opponents.
Backstage with Bryan Danielson next. He’s putting all the stuff he’s got going on in ROH right now to the back of his mind to concentrate on defending the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title against Nakajima.
We also get highlights of Go Shiozaki winning the FIP Championship from Erick Stevens in Florida.
Go Shiozaki vs Kevin Steen – FIP Heavyweight Title Match
This is the first time Shiozaki has appeared in Ring Of Honor as FIP Champion. Obviously he was on the ppv last night but his status as new Full Impact Pro champ wasn’t acknowledged. Steen is looking to win the gold to secure himself a permanent spot in FIP. This is a rematch of the Eye Of The Storm tournament finals by the way…
Kevin Steen is excited about winning the belt and going to Disney World when he makes it to Florida with it. These are two big dudes and neither one budges as they trade shoulder blocks. Mr Wrestling stops to toss the over-enthusiastic Go out of the ring. HILARIOUS dive fake out by Steen (Dragon Kid he ain’t) before hitting a somersault senton from the apron instead. But he gets distracted by Shane Hagadorn, allowing Shiozaki to dropkick the knee and lock on a Figure 4 in the ropes. Go grabs Shane’s head and uses it as a weapon to attack Steen’s knee. And that same limb gets the ringpost treatment shortly afterwards as the champion opens up a significant advantage. Steen tries to mount a comeback only to take some unbelievably powerful strikes from Go. Even the ECW arena crowd (who have seen some sick sh*t over the years) can’t believe them. Kevin lands a somersault leg drop but immediately stops, feeling the pain of that move in his bad leg. MASSIVE chop from Shiozaki but Steen avoids a flying knee strike. He decides he wants to work Shiozaki’s leg now, kicking it then dropping him with a dragon screw. Package Piledriver blocked and Shiozaki nails the Fisherman Buster. Shiozaki Moonsault MISSES! MR WRESTLING MOONSAULT SCORES…for 2. Kevin thinks about the Steen-ton Bomb but flips into Go’s knees. Dragon Clutch applied but Steen finds the bottom rope. GO LARIATOOOO gets 2. MOUNTED CHOPS! Mr Wrestling looks like he’s out cold now…but still manages to fight the Go Flasher to land a HEAD DROP GERMAN! NO SOLD! SHARPSHOOTER! But Steen has had too much damage done to his legs, whilst not wearing down Go’s enough and Shiozaki kicks his way free. ROLLING GO FLASHERS! Shiozaki wins at 15:21.
Rating – **** – I’ll start by saying that this is a very generous rating, and I’m not expecting many people to have enjoyed this one as much as I did. But I wanted to give a rating that rewarded progress and improvement, and this match was MUCH better than their Eye Of The Storm match from earlier this year. This one had such a nice flow to it, escalating consistently through the match and building to a decent conclusion – as opposed to the February contest where we saw two guys stall for 10 minutes, hit 5 minutes of head dropping high spots then go home. And for it’s spot on the card, this was perfect, exciting the fans without stealing too much from matches further up the bill. Great stuff…
Go leaves…and in sneaks Nigel McGuinness to DDT Steen onto his own Tag Title belt. He cuts a slightly deranged promo berating all the current crop of title contenders…deciding he wants to go after Steen and Generico’s Tag Championship instead.
Bryan Danielson vs Katsuhiko Nakajima – GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title Match
There isn’t a match on the card I’m looking forward to more than this one. Danielson won NOAH’s premier Junior prize by defeating Yoshinobu Kanemaru at The Tokyo Summit, and immediately demanded that his match with Nakajima tonight (already signed at that stage) be made a championship match. His demands were met, so now Kensuke Office’s Katsuhiko Nakajima is positioned as American Dragon’s first challenger. He made his ROH debut on the same Tokyo show, teaming with Naomichi Marufuji to go to a superb 35-minute time limit draw with KENTA and Kota Ibushi. He’ll be looking to prove to Ring Of Honor’s US fan why he genuinely is one of the finest young wrestlers in the world at this time.
The match gets the super special GHC music which adds to the big match feel for any puro marks out there. Danielson quickly has to duck under a dangerous Nakajima kick attempt. Danielson goes for the Triangle Choke early but Naka is able to turn away. Just as Dragon looks like he has the edge due to his superior mat skills, Nakajima lands a single kick that knocks the champion off his feet. Danielson starts to work the arm as Lenny Leonard ponders if the challenger is still feeling the effects of his epic 35-minute tag in Tokyo last week. He tries to throw another couple of kicks, only for Dragon to grab the arm and drag him to the canvas. Nakajima looks for a missile dropkick, only to find Danielson a step ahead again. Finally the challenger lands an enziguri which gets him some respite. Danielson drives him out of the ring with a big elbow smash, then baseball slides him into the crowd. That can only mean one thing…SPRINGBOARD CROWD DIVE BY DRAGON! Back inside AmDrag shows Naka how to nail a missile dropkick. But at last the challenger creates a window of opportunity for himself. He delivers another kick, then a dragon screw in the ropes. RUNNING APRON KICK! It’s Nakajima’s almost expressionless face after he delivers those kicks that makes him so scary. Dropkick to the knee next as Nakajima continues to work the leg.
Danielson tries to fight him off with a knee to the gut…but of course that hurts him almost as much as it hurts Nakajima. Double underhook suplex into a cross Armbreaker attempt, but Naka finds the ropes before further substantial damage is done to his arm. Superkick by Nakajima, then a DDT for 2. Kick flurry…but Danielson responds with a German suplex for 2. REBOUND KICK from the ropes…SAITO SUPLEX NO SOLD! SAITO SUPLEX BY DRAGON! NO SOLD! GERMAN SUPLEX NO SOLD! RUNNING ENZI BY DRAGON! But that move, once again, hurts his leg as much as his opponent. Awesome Street Figher style legsweep by Nakajima…KICK TO THE HEAD! Danielson hits a backbreaker from nowhere but Naka KICKS HIM IN THE F*CKING HEAD AGAIN! ANKLELOCK! WITH LEG GRAPEVINE! Dragon makes the ropes after a desperate lunge. Insanely, he tries to climb the turnbuckles, and the challenger mows him down with a spinning heel kick. GERMAN SUPLEX! DRAGON KICKS OUT! That’s one of his finishing moves. KICK FLURRY! They were so powerful the referee starts to count Danielson down for a knock out. PERFECT SMALL PACKAGE! Nakajima kicks out this time. TURNED INTO A LEG CRADLE GERMAN SUPLEX! REPEATED FACE STOMPS! TRIANGLE CHOKE! It’s all he has in him for Nakajima to get out of that. Back superplex gets 2 for the champion. MMA ELBOWS! TIGER SUPLEX! CATTLE MUTILATION! Nakajima taps at 23:03
Rating – ****1/2 – What a stormer. Outside of the Danielson/Black matches and Nigel/Danielson from the anniversary show, I’m struggling to think of any I’ve enjoyed more this year. This is the exact kind of match that drew me to independent wrestling way back in 2002. Technically it wasn’t perfect, but watching two guys beat the living hell out of each other and leave everything they’ve got in the ring is something I appreciate the hell out of. Could Dragon have sold the leg better? Probably. Is Nakajima’s offence a little one dimensional? Almost certainly. But does that really matter? They held the match together with the basic premise of ‘I work one body part…you work another’, but that served as nothing more than a back drop for the incredible violence that was to come. The last 10 minutes were absolute gold. I have this down as a must-see match for ROH in 2008.
Standing ovation follows for that one, with ‘that was awesome’ chants, and a deserved ‘please come back’ for Nakajima. In truth…I imagine it’s f*cking hard to book him. As part of the Kensuke Office he’s in a fine position to pick and choose the bookings that best suit him…and considering how amazingly talented he is at such a young age, I imagine there’s no end of promotions looking to book him.
INTERMISSION – Jerry Lynn cuts basically the same promo we saw at Driven 2008 last night, for the benefit of the non-ppv story arch. Coming desperately close to beating the World Champion in Chicago has convinced him he has what it takes to make one last run for gold…
Rhett Titus vs Erick Stevens
This match pits two guys who are looking to rebuild their careers somewhat after recent backwards steps. Last time we saw Rhett he was pummelled into a bloody mess by Delirious. Stevens, meanwhile, is coming in on the heels of losing his FIP Heavyweight Title to Go Shiozaki.
Erick doesn’t look in the best of moods tonight. Losing the title on your return to Florida TWICE in a calendar year will probably do that to you. He flattens Titus with a Samoan drop. Rhett comes back with a nice flying knee strike which connects with such force that Erick’s nose starts spurting blood. That is a REALLY nasty nose break. Titus mounts the turnbuckles for some pelvic thrusting…then gets suplexed by an angry Stevens. Choo Choo nailed. Doctor Bomb wins it at 03:24.
Rating – * – Nothing more than a squash to re-establish Erick Stevens after another disappointing FIP Title defeat, although granted all the blood made it more interesting. It’s a shame they’ve sacrificed Rhett Titus on recent shows. He was really getting some momentum and a cult following behind him in his run with Daizee and Delirious, but after being massacred by Delirious in Cleveland and now fed to Stevens tonight, it’s really derailed that.
Larry Sweeney comes from the back, microphone in hand. For ECW nostalgia, check out the background where you can see the balcony which played host to Kimona Wanalaya’s infamous striptease. He’s been impressed by Erick Stevens, and wants to sign him to Sweet’n’Sour Inc. Stevens emphatically refuses, and is attacked by every S’n’S associate in the building. The Vulture Squad (fittingly accompanied by some jobbers – including the first main show appearance of Mitch Franklin as Grizzly Redwood) unsuccessfully try to help. Go Shiozaki knee drops Stevens through an open chair…before Roderick Strong runs in and clears the ring with Jigsaw and Ruckus. DUELLING DIVES by the Vultures!
Chris Hero/Eddie Edwards/Shane Hagadorn vs Roderick Strong/Ruckus/Jigsaw
Somewhere out of this we get ourselves a tag match. We know that Roddy has had issues with Sweet’n’Sour Inc. going back to Respect Is Earned 2 when former partner Davey Richards turned on him to join that faction. I’m not sure that the Vulture Squad have any real relevance however…
The babyface team land a flurry of combo moves on Hero, who quickly tags out to let Hagadorn take some abuse instead. Strong SUPLEXES JIGSAW INTO A PHOENIX SPLASH for 2. Sweeney finally grabs Jigsaw’s ankle allowing Edwards to punt him in the back of the head and give Team S’n’S the advantage for the first time. During this period Shane Hagadorn hits what may well be one of the very worst elbow drops from the second rope in wrestling history. Jigsaw mounts a comeback with a satellite headscissors on Hero then gets the hot tag to Strong. Death By Roderick on Hero, then the urinage backbreaker on Hagadorn. Standing corkscrew somersault flippy-type move from Ruckus in the midst of all that. He connects with the Razzle Dazzle on Edwards too. TRIPLE LUNGBLOWER! HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER! Hagadorn and Hero save Eddie from defeat there. Die Hard recovers well with the Backpack Stunner. Rolling Elbow then a Ligerbomb by Hero for 2. Larry Sweeney tosses him that illicit elbow pad, but Roddy ducks it to nail the Sick Kick. Jigsaw hits a northern lights bomb on Hagadorn. SSP OFF THE APRON from Ruckus. Edwards goes for the Asai Moonsault…BLOCKED BY A MID-AIR SICK KICK BY STRONG! Tremendous spot there. Sadly Strong’s brilliance counts for nothing as Hero kills him with the Loaded Elbow Pad to win at 11:05.
Rating – ** – There was way too much Jigsaw, Ruckus and Hagadorn in there for the majority of that match which made the opening portion extremely tenuous. Once things broke down it picked up in entertainment value, with Edwards and Roderick, in particular, standing out.
Claudio Castagnoli vs Kensuke Sasaki
Normally you’d expect the ROH guy to get a strong showing of ‘home team’ support when they go up against a major heavyweight star from another promotion. Not tonight though, with his reception still noticeably hostile after turning on Danielson at Death Before Dishonor 6. This is Sasaki’s hotly anticipated US debut for Ring Of Honor, having defeated Roderick Strong at The Tokyo Summit last week. I’d imagine this is his first significant American appearance since WCW in the 90’s. He’s the current GHC Heavyweight Champion although that belt is not on the line this evening.
No handshake from Castagnoli. But he strikes the first blow in the match, delivering an early European uppercut. He succeeds in ducking a couple of early chops, but an enraged Sasaki runs through him with a shoulder tackle, THEN delivers his first chop of the contest. A flurry of chops beat Double C back to the ropes, and he decides to bail. Chop vs Uppercut duel next, ending with Claudio rakes the eyes. Saito suplex by Sasaki, before he shows his impressive power and bulk by crushing him in the corner with a couple of running clotheslines. Castagnoli muscles him into a hotshot over the ropes, then grounds him with a front chinlock. ‘Jimmy Bower’ is on commentary for what, I suppose, is Gabe’s last DVD appearance. It’s a solid tactic by Castagnoli to keep Kensuke on the mat, thus negating his power advantage…but it’s not making tremendously exciting viewing. Sasaki spears Castagnoli into the corner for MACHINE GUN CHOPS! Chops vs Uppercuts Part Deux, ending with the Kensuke judo throw. Claudio uppercuts a lariat attempt away then hits the Alpamare Water Slide for 2. Riccola Bomb blocked though. Running Uppercut instead for 2. Claudio tries to go to the top rope but it is cut off with another chop. SUPER RANA from the GHC Heavyweight Champion, who incredibly, decides to go back to the top for a flying clothesline. Bicycle Kick no sold into a one-armed powerbomb which gets Sasaki a 2. Stranglehold applied…but Castagnoli finds the ropes again. Springboard Uppercut from Claudio, who looks too worn down to capitalise. Riccola Bomb gets 2. Sasaki shakes that off to hit the Half Nelson Suplex then a lariat flurry. NORTHERN LIGHTS BOMB! It’s over at 14:44.
Rating – ** – Long, boring and pretty disappointing in the end. I like Kensuke a lot, but these two really didn’t click at all. Castagnoli always looks so at home holding things together with the juniors. He looked out of his depth here and didn’t provide anything like the kind of titanic, heavyweight fight environment that Sasaki always needs to produce his best work. As Gabe even said on commentary, this match is probably more memorable for the sheer fact that it’s Kensuke Sasaki IN ROH, IN the ECW Arena rather than anything that actually took place after the bell had rung.
Nigel McGuinness vs El Generico – ROH World Title Match
Anybody who’s seen the absolute classic these two put on in Cleveland cannot dispute Generico’s demand for a rematch. I know I tend to lump a lot of 4* matches in together, but outside of the major MOTYC’s this year, Nigel/Generico from Age Of Insanity was easily one of the best matches of 2008 and a definite must-see. After coming so close there, after winning the Tag Titles so memorably in Boston last night, and after seeing Nigel beat up his partner earlier this evening, can Generico become a double champion?
Prazak comments that, if Nigel can successfully defeat Generico tonight, he’ll mark a whole year as World Champion. He dominates in the early stages, but gets too cocky and stops to mock Generico, leading to him getting booted in the face. Springboard headscissors gets the challenger an early nearfall. Headstand mule kick knocks Generico back, but draws a venomous ‘same old sh*t’ chant from the fans who are firmly behind the challenger this evening. He commences the usual attack on an opponents arm, taking Generico out of the ring to send him shoulder-first into the railing. Yakuza Kick blocked and McGuinness McLariat’s McGenerico against the McGuardrail. They re-enter the ring, Generico’s arm hanging limply by is side. Nigel grounds the contest to negate Generico’s quickness and continue to viciously assault the wounded arm. El Generico manages to kick him out of the ring. SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT TO THE OUTSIDE! It’s high risk offence that has brought Generico back into the match, and he continues it with a top rope body press. London Dungeon from Nigel, but too close to the ropes. Tower Of London blocked and Generico gets 2 with the Blue Thunder Driver. He tries a rope run tornado DDT but gets crotched by Nigel, who acts quickly to nail the Tower Of London. He takes Generico to the turnbuckles again for the TOWER OF LONDON ON THE APRON! London Dungeon for the second time…but Generico battles to a rope once more. He catches Nigel in the ropes but is too worn down for the Turnbuckle Brainbuster. YAKUZA KICK INSTEAD! SOMERSAULT VAN GENERI-NATOR! Jawbreaker Lariat, COUNTERED TO THE BRAINBUSTER! McGuinness kicks out at a close 2. He then blocks another Turnbuckle Brainbuster attempt and converts to the Super McLariat for 2. London Dungeon blocked so McGuinness drills Generico right down onto his head with a DDT. Frustrated now, McGuinness grabs the belt and tries to use it behind the ref’s back. KEVIN STEEN IN THE RING…HE SUPERKICKS THE BELT INTO NIGEL’S FACE! GENERICO GETS 2! YAKUZA KICK! EXPOSED TURNBUCKLE BRAINBUSTER…COUNTERED TO A JACKNIFE PIN! Nigel wins out of nowhere at 20:59.
Rating – **** – First off – Cleveland was better. Lets get that out of the way. If you’re wanting me to compare the two, Cleveland wins. Better crowd, better atmosphere, it went longer and had more convincing nearfalls. But I don’t want to dismiss this one either because I really enjoyed it. The atmosphere felt a lot flatter and it never once felt like you were witnessing something special – as you did at Age Of Insanity. However, some of the work they did in this match was top notch. Generico’s selling of the arm injury was FANTASTIC! In an age where selling an injury seems to be becoming less and less fashionable, he did a hell of a job. And as much as you never felt that this one hit the heights of Cleveland, when Steen arrived to hit that superkick, everyone in the building, just for a couple of seconds, started to allow themselves to thing that Generico was getting the belt. That is the sort of moment I watch pro-wrestling for! So whilst it might not be an all-time great, I think people looking past this one are missing out.
Leading into the main event we get an effective video package which brings together all the interweaving storylines connecting the Briscoes, Age Of The Fall and Necro Butcher together.
Austin Aries/Briscoe Brothers vs Age Of The Fall vs Necro Butcher – Steel Cage Warfare Match
This one pits seven guys against each other with lots of scores to settle. The Briscoes were the first targets of Age Of The Fall as they debuted at the culmination of Project 161 at Man Up a year ago. That feud has seen the Tag Titles traded, it’s seen Mark put on the shelf for several months, it’s seen both Briscoe brothers held captive in barbed wire at various points too. Austin Aries got sucked into proceedings when Age Of The Fall’s attempts to recruit him led to Lacey leaving the group to enter a relationship with the former World Champion. This led to the infamous car park confrontation between the devastated Jacobs and Lacey, which remains shrouded in mystery, and remains the last sighting of Lacey in ROH. Since then Aries and Jacobs have had several bloody battles…Aries even tagged with Jay to help him defend the Tag Titles (before vacating them) at the Hammerstein debut. And Necro Butcher enters this one as the lone wildcard. Austin Aries got into his head, provoking him to eschew Jimmy’s leadership, but he now stands alone as a wild, unpredictable entity who has no obvious ties to anyone in this match and will be desperate to hurt all who cross his path. The AOTF line-up tonight is Jimmy Jacobs, Tyler Black (fresh from losing the Tag Titles last night) and newest recruit Delirious. This is the first Steel Cage Warfare match since December 2005 when Generation Next defeated The Embassy. In case you don’t remember, it’s essentially one-ring Wargames. Entrants come in one at a time at 3 minute intervals. Winners are crowned when all opposition members have been eliminated.
Aries is the first participant. He’s the only guy in the match who was in Steel Cage Warfare 1. Tyler Black is up next for AOTF, but doesn’t even get to the ring before Aries scores with a Heat Seeking Missile through the cage door. It’s Austin that controls the opening three minute period, but the next entrant is Delirious. Or is it? Tyler gains the advantage on Aries…so at the last second Jimmy Jacobs runs past Delirious and opts to enter the match himself. The former Tag Team Champions use the numbers advantage and bloody Aries, repeatedly introducing him to the cage and scraping at the laceration. Next man in is Necro Butcher, who storms to the ring and starts laying in to his former partners in Age Of The Fall. With then down he grabs Aries and demonstrates his wildcard status by hurling him through the air as well. Even the referee isn’t safe from Butcher’s attack it seems. Next entrant is Jay Briscoe who brings a whole load of chairs with him. That’s a decision that comes back to haunt him as Necro tosses one into his face, busting him open. Necro hits the Chair Slam on Black as Aries and Jacobs brawl on the floor. Delirious makes his entrance next, sprinting into a Panic Attack on Jay. His momentum doesn’t last long as Necro is still swinging a chair and cracks him across the spine with it. DUELLING CHAIR SHOTS TO NECRO FROM ARIES AND JACOBS! HE WON’T GO DOWN! SPEAR FROM JACOBS! BRAINBUSTER BY ARIES! DOUBLE PIN!
Necro Butcher is eliminated at 14:11. In the hardcore heartland of Philadelphia, Necro’s elimination isn’t a popular decision. Mark is the last entrant…WITH A BARBED WIRE TABLE! We’re down to 3 vs 3, and there are men brawling all over the ring. Delirious gets whipped into the guardrails and suffers a nasty gash to his arm. He is positioned on a table on the floor…but climbs the cage in time to TOSS JAY OFF THE CAGE, THROUGH A TABLE! Inside the ring…TYLER POWERBOMBS MARK THROUGH THE BARBED WIRE TABLE! At twenty minutes both Briscoes are effectively out of the match, leaving Austin Aries at a massive disadvantage. Shinbreak back suplex on Black though, then the IED on Delirious. F-5 BY BLACK! COBRA CLUTCH SUPLEX FROM DELIRIOUS! REPEATED PANIC ATTACKS! END TIME! Aries is unconscious and eliminated from the match at 21:54. Jimmy Jacobs pulls out the spike, then hands it to Delirious. He wants Delirious to stab Jay…but Daizee Haze hits the ring to try and stop him. SPIKE TO DAIZEE HAZE! HE STABBED DAIZEE IN THE FACE! Are you kidding me? And almost unseen, Mark Briscoe has climbed to the top of the cage. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA FROM THE TOP! DOOMSDAY DEVICE on Delirious. He’s eliminated at 25:49. It’s down to Briscoes vs Jacobs and Black, a battle we’ve seen many times before. Tyler takes the Briscoe Biel into the cage. But Jimmy seems to have accumulated an additional spike from somewhere, and uses both of them to stab at Jay’s already bleeding forehead. Duelling chair shots…NO SOLD BY THE BRISCOES! CUT-THROAT DRIVER! JAY DRILLER! BRISCOES WIN AT 29:11!
Rating – **** – I’ve seen some really scathing reviews of this match, which in my book is VERY harsh. It’s not in the same league as Steel Cage Warfare 1, or Cage Of Death from Death Before Dishonor 4…but to be frank, those are two of the best matches in ROH history. And definitely two of the best BOOKED matches you’ll see anywhere. This one doesn’t compete with those, and I’m guessing that has caused a number of people to be disheartened. I went in expecting the worst…and the first 15 minutes were a bust. Nothing happened and it was a pretty tough watch. But Necro’s elimination (with the unique twist of Aries and Jacobs becoming co-collaborators in it) marked the shift into higher gears and things picked up from there. The Briscoe table bumps were great, and it was wonderful to see them get payback and possibly end their feud with Age Of The Fall by comprehensively winning the match. For me though, the centrepiece of the match was that spiking moment between Delirious and Daizee. You literally saw people’s mouths hit the floor. It was a moment of unforgettable drama and, as I said earlier, THAT is the kind of thing you watch pro wrestling for. This wasn’t an epic or anything, and I think Gabe missed a trick by not giving Necro a more prominent role in the match as you always knew he was going to be popular in Philadelphia. However, it was a fun-filled, eventful and bloody main event, featuring the blow-off to one major feud, the continuation of a couple of others, and one unforgettable moment. I’m sure I’ll get some stick from some quarters…but I liked this one!
Tape Rating – *** – I found this show a pretty tough show to review. On the one hand, you’ve got four matches hitting the 4* or above mark, which is a pretty high standard. However, outside of the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title match, the other three were pretty low end 4* (as in, if I gave half stars, you’d probably be looking at ***½ instead). And the pacing was really strange in that the show started off great, kinda sucked in the middle (Sasaki/Claudio was particularly disappointing) but then recovered to finish strong. We probably could’ve done with having a couple of matches and a number of wrestlers cut to make things flow better too. Ultimately I’d say you should pick this show up since there’s lots of good stuff, and if nothing else, Danielson/Nakajima really was excellent and worth going out of your way to see. But don’t stick it in your DVD player thinking you’re going to see something on the levels of Supercard Of Honor 3 or Fifth Year Festival Finale because it’s not even close.
Top 3 Matches
3) Nigel McGuinness vs El Generico (****)
2) Austin Aries/Briscoes vs Age Of The Fall vs Necro Butcher (****)
1) Bryan Danielson vs Katsuhiko Nakajima (****1/2)
Top 5 Driven 2008/Glory By Honor 7 Weekend Matches
5) Nigel McGuinness vs El Generico (**** – Glory By Honor 7)
4) Nigel McGuinness vs Roderick Strong (**** – Driven 2008)
3) Austin Aries/Briscoes vs Age Of The Fall vs Necro Butcher (**** – Glory By Honor 7)
2) Jimmy Jacobs/Tyler Black vs Kevin Steen/El Generico (**** – Driven 2008)
1) Bryan Danielson vs Katsuhiko Nakajima (****1/2 – Glory By Honor 7)