203 ROH Ring Of Homicide II 10/25/2008

ROH 203 – Ring Of Homicide 2 – 25th October 2008

The Homicide return/Gabe finale weekend continues tonight with one of the best line-ups we’ve had for an Edison, NJ show in ages. Don’t forget I’m also tacking on a review of Kayfabe Commentaries ‘Gabe’s Book Of ROH Secrets’ on the end of this show review to give you Gabe’s perspective on his firing, his assessment of ROH’s creative direction and eventually a breakdown of where his storylines WERE going for the remainder of 2008 before Adam Pearce took the book. But we have a show tonight first, and it looks good. Austin Aries and Jimmy Jacobs meet again. Go Shiozaki defends the FIP Title against Necro in a rematch of his very first match on American soil. There’s also Tyler Black squaring off with veteran Jerry Lynn, debuts for Chikara oddballs the Osirian Portal and a dream main event pitting the Briscoes against LAX. Like I said, it’s the best Edison line-up in ages. Lets join Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard and dive straight into the action

ROH VIDEO WIRE – See Return Of The 187 (ROH 202) review for details

Austin Aries interrupts Bobby Cruise during the show intro, much as Jimmy Jacobs did yesterday, in order to call out the leader of Age Of The Fall.

Austin Aries vs Jimmy Jacobs – Anything Goes Match

I don’t imagine this was the ‘scheduled’ show opener. It’s a Vendetta 2 rematch, and the continuation of the intensely personal feud between these two men. After losing the Tag Titles and Steel Cage Warfare in the same weekend, Jimmy’s primary objective is to destroy everything in his path.

Aries and Jacobs start fighting in the aisle, Austin back dropping his opponent into the front row then hurling himself over the barrier to continue the brawl into the crowd. Jacobs hits back by using a fan’s purse as a weapon. Aries puts him in a chair at ringside then leaps from the top rope into an axehandle smash. Back into the crowd with Aries jumping from one chair to elbow drop Jacobs through a couple more. At the five minute mark the wrestlers enter the ring for the first time. Jimmy gets 2 with a spear. He goes for End Time but Aries blocks by powering him over the top rope and back to the floor. Heat Seeking Missile BLOCKED by a chair shot from Jacobs. Aries is busted open, his head having left a bloody imprint on the offending chair. In an awesome move, Jimmy grabs Aries head and drives him FROM the apron into the guardrail. Austin retorts with a low blow and the LACEY DDT ON A CHAIR! He lines up the Brainbuster through a chair but is interrupted by Delirious and the debuting Brodie Lee. He’s clearly the newest member of Age Of The Fall, and he holds Aries in position for THE END TIME WITH A STEEL CHAIN! The ref stops the match at 10:54.

Rating – ** –
It will sound a little harsh, but I thought that was really laboured and slow. I’m not sure it was through a lack of effort from the wrestlers, it just felt SO predictable and paint by numbers. With Dog Collar and I Quit Matches already signed for forthcoming shows, it really felt like they were holding a lot back.

Jimmy gets on the mic to confirm he has recruited a ‘6’10 angry trucker’ (Lee) to assist Age Of The Fall in leading Ring Of Honor onto their path of destruction.

Delirious/Brodie Lee vs Cheech/Cloudy

We really are getting some fresh faces tonight. Brodie is HUGE, and should be recognisable to East Coast fans as he’s a regular in the Chikara and (I believe) CZW promotions. Cheech and Cloudy (collectively known as Up In Smoke) have both been in ROH before as part of the Special K faction.

Having not seen them since the Special K days, it’s almost hard to believe Cheech and Cloudy almost look like real wrestlers. Cheech, in particular, has bulked up and looks SO different from back in the day. They both get flattened by Lee inside a second though. Cloudy somersaults off Cheech’s shoulders into a senton on Delirious. He then looks for a dive but gets dragged outside by Brodie and tossed into the guardrails. Delirious hits him with a Rock Bottom and brings the massive Lee in legally. Slingshot Falcon Arrow gets 2 for him. Cloudy blocks the Cobra Stretch and tumbles into the hot tag to Cheech. 619/DROPKICK COMBO on Delirious, then a flying kick/powerbomb backbreaker combo for 2. Brodie in again to DESTROY Cheech with a lariat. Yakuza Kick on Cloudy then a BLACK HOLE SLAM! Big Boot on Cheech to win it at 04:58.

Rating – ** –
It was short, but the new blood and the fact that the match achieved it’s sole purpose which was to make Brodie Lee look like a beast made it pretty enjoyable. I like the idea behind bringing Brodie in. If he’s kept back to wrestle in tag matches and largely works the role of enforcer for Age Of The Fall (much as Abyss was used in The Embassy back in 2005) he could really contribute as he is SO different from the rest of the roster. And even if they never make it back, congratulations to Cheech and Cloudy. Back in the Special K glory days they just weren’t two of the guys I would have picked from the multitude of young spot monkeys in that group that would go on and still be earning a living on the independent scene in five or six years time. I’d certainly welcome them back to fulfil the role of enhancement talent tag team again in future, they were great here.

Rhett Titus comes to the ring next, accompanied by one of the girls he was hitting on in the bathroom last night – Jessie McKay. He tries to cut a promo but is, once again, attacked by Daizee Haze. Jessie comes to Rhett’s aid…so we have ourselves a match

Daizee Haze vs Jessie McKay

Much as Titus just point out, Daizee has been attacking him at recent shows, still furious at what she claims are the false rumours he’s been spreading about her since the night he spent at her apartment. He just introduced Jessie as his latest squeeze, and as such she’s now defending her man’s honour. I’ve never seen McKay before but I’m guessing she’s one of Prazak’s SHIMMER girls. Hopefully she doesn’t bomb like Jennifer Blake did at Northern Navigation.

The Haze is wrestling in her street clothes, whilst Jessie is in school uniform. Very random. DAIZEE WITH A CROSSBODY TO THE FLOOR ONTO RHETT! Jessie capitalises with a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Once again Daizee goes to the outside and tries to attack Titus, running into a big clothesline on the floor by McKay. Heart Punch wins it for Haze at 01:56

Rating – DUD –
It didn’t really need to be a match as I think the brawl would’ve been just as effective without it. As is, this was more of a segment than a contest anyway. I’m liking this angle, I’ve enjoyed how it’s made Delirious relevant again, elevated Rhett Titus and made Daizee Haze more tolerable too. I’m curious as to how we’re going to blow-off the Titus/Haze feud though, and I really hope they don’t go down the inter-gender match route.

Rhett sprints to the back with Daizee Haze in hot pursuit. As the referee tries to help Jessie out of the ring the crowd goes nuts as the dishevelled Prince Nana jumps the guardrail for the second night running. He’s smoking a cigarette and has long, greying dreadlocks now! He’s here to beg for his job again since he’s now reduced to driving a cab for a living. Once again jobbers escort him from the premises…

Osirian Portal vs Kevin Steen/El Generico

This should be a decent match. Handing the Portal a (main show) debut match with the current Tag Champions shows a significant vote of confidence in them from the booker. I’m interested as to whether we’d be seeing much more of them had Gabe not been removed after this one. They are Amasis and Ophidian and are featured most prominently in Chikara. They work a positively bizarre Egyptian gimmick that has to be seen to be believed.

‘When is my theme song going to play when we come out?’ – Kevin Steen. Ophidian takes his snake gimmick so seriously he physically cobra’s his way to the ring. It genuinely is odd. Generico starts with the more sizeable of the duo, Amasis. They end up dancing together…although Steen doesn’t seem overly delighted with Generico’s ode to Michael Jackson. He storms past him and FLOORS Amasis with a single chop. Ophidian in but Mr Wrestling stomps on his masked face. Prazak and Leonard are making ssssss-illy ssssss-nake related puns on commentary. Steen tosses Ophidian around with total ease. Eventually he slithers between the ropes into a flying headscissors and makes the hot tag to Amasis. Yakuza Kick ducked and the Portal finally floor Steen with a double dropkick. Unfortunately for them he pops up and mows them both down with a clothesline. Generico to the top, but Amasis ducks his crossbody attempt. The Portal nearly score a huge upset with a double DDT for 2. SNAKE CHARM hypnotises Generico…so Steen simply hoists both of them up for a DOUBLE SAMOAN DROP! YAKUZA KICK ON AMASIS! STEEN-TON SPLASH COMBO! Generico wins it at 09:20.

Rating – ** –
The Portal seemed like a lot of fun. You have to give them credit for coming up with a totally unique gimmick. Going on this match they’re not quite at the level required to hold down a permanent spot, but if they’re cheap to book they’d make a welcome addition to the undercard whenever ROH runs in this part of the country. Kudos to Generico and Steen as well for playing along and selling them as real entertainers for their first main show appearance.

Go Shiozaki vs Necro Butcher – FIP Heavyweight Title Match

Back in February’s Go’s very first match on this extended stay in the US was against Necro Butcher. He was welcomed to ROH in an extremely physical brawl, ultimately defeating Necro and moving to the finals of the Eye Of The Storm tournament that night. But that match became a bit of a cult classic so it’s good to see that we’re revisiting it now. As Necro revealed last night, having left Age Of The Fall he’s fighting for nobody but himself now, looking to make as much money as possible for his young family. Winning the FIP Title and securing regular bookings on Full Impact Pro shows would surely bring in more green to the Bank of Necro?

Necro grabs the belt and beats Go with it before the match even starts. As soon as the bell rings, Necro’s shirt comes off and we get straight into the chops (almost the polar opposite of Austin Aries in his match with Shiozaki last night). Shiozaki wins out in that battle, and disrespectfully stands on the back of Butcher’s head. Big punch from Necro brings him back into things. He goes for the Tiger Driver but it’s way too early and he gets backed into the corner for MACHINE GUN CHOPS! Again we see a really heelish side to Go, choking Necro as the referee repeatedly calls for a clean break. To the outside where Necro rakes Go’s eyes and hits the CHAIR SLAM on the exposed floor. He tries to hit Shiozaki between the eyes with the same chair but gets it superkicked back into his own face. Shiozaki props Necro up against the guardrail then HITS HIM IN THE HEAD with the chair. Absolutely brutal chair shot there, and Prazak points out that the referee is being extremely lenient to not disqualify both men. Go works a sleeper hold but Necro counters with a Saito suplex. Chokeslam then gets 2. Shiozaki hits back with a superplex and gets his own nearfall. Bulldog countered to a German suplex by Go but he takes way too long scaling the ropes for his moonsault…and is shoved all the way to the outside. The fight spills into the crowd, and once again the referee shows generosity by chasing them out rather than starting the standard 20-count. Necro end up burying Shiozaki under a pile of chairs…THEN THROWS THE REFEREE OVER THE GUARDRAIL! Shiozaki comes back with a CHOP TO THE THROAT! They fight all the way to the back of the building as the bell rings to confirm that both men have now been counted out at 14:10.

Rating – ** –
There were some great portions of that match, but overall it never really clicked for me. The first 7-8 minutes were really intense, but the longer this went, the more tedious it seemed to become. At points these guys were stiffing the crap out of each other, but it just never really resonated with me on any level. Maybe I’m just not as into Necro as a lot of people are. He’s one of the most popular guys on the roster, but I’m not his biggest fan. He’s a fantastic hardcore brawler, and when he’s put into a main event level hardcore-style match he always delivers…but I find his bog standard midcard matches to be really predictable and one dimensional. Everyone always defends him by saying he’s such an underrated wrestler etc…but I’m still waiting to see it.

Go and Necro brawl through the curtain to the back…and in a great visual, just seconds later Necro is hurled back through the curtain as he’s attacked by Jimmy Jacobs, Brodie Lee and Delirious. Standing in the crowd you get a real idea of how massive Lee is. Necro tries to fight them all off, but then gets KILLED by the Brodie Lee Big Boot. Jimmy instructs Brodie and Delirious to crotch him against the ringpost to stop him having any more children…

Chris Hero vs Brent Albright

Sweet’n’Sour Inc. and the Gun For Hire Brent Albright have been one of the central storylines for ROH all summer. Ever since he split from them at A New Level their has been an intense hatred between them. He’s won and lost the NWA World Title to Adam Pearce, he’s had fire thrown in his face, he’s attacked them, been attacked…and we still seem no closer to a resolution. Maybe a decisive victory over ‘That Young Knockout Kid’, the centrepiece of Sweeney’s organisation will give Brent closure on what has been one of the strongest chapters of his ROH tenure.

Chris Hero seems preoccupied with abusing Bobby Dempsey as the bell rings, with Albright coming to Bobby’s aid and dragging him back out from under the ring after Hero banishes him there. Brent shoots a leg and drags Hero to the mat, demonstrating that he wants to keep this match very much on the canvas. Hero manages to elevate him out of the ring and distracts the referee whilst Davey Richards and Sara Del Rey mount a sneak attack. Hero knocks Albright about for a bit, then tosses him outside for more interference from his ringside posse after Brent threatens a comeback. Albright tries to suplex Hero on the exposed floor but gets beaten back with a signature elbow smash then body slammed onto the hard floor himself. Del Rey gets involved again, side tracking Albright to allow Hero to come off the apron with another elbow shot. Back in the ring Albright goes for the Crowbar but Hero rolls into an awesome cravat counter. Brent gets 2 with a big German suplex. Rolling Elbow from Chris puts a stop to that, but Albright counters Hero’s Blockbuster into the Air Raid Crash for 2. More elbows from Hero in response but Albright refuses to go down. AWFUL looking second rope exploder then the Half Nelson Suplex nearly win it for him. WIND UP ELBOW SMASH gets a close 2 for Hero. Crowbar out of nothing for Albright. Hero taps at 15:35.

Rating – * –
Maybe it’s because I had a massive argument with my girlfriend before writing this review which is making me a little more negative…but that one was just the opposite of enjoyable. Some of it was ugly, ALL of it was painfully slow. The crowd was uninterested, and the action was so sparse that even Prazak and Leonard were having to crack jokes just to fill the silence. Brent has had a decent ’08, and I’m always pushing for Hero to be better utilised as I truly believe he’s someone ROH could build the whole promotion round if they wanted to…but they didn’t do themselves any favours with this snooze-athon.

Brent doesn’t get to enjoy his win as he is predictably attacked by the thirty Sweet’n’Sour guys at ringside (although in a moment of sheer comedy, Hero and Shiozaki team up to HIPTOSS Bobby Dempsey on top of him). Eventually Albright flips out and hits the Air Raid Crash on Sara. Unfortunately this brief segment was twice as interesting as the match that preceded it. Albright challenges Sweet’n’Sour Inc. to a Steel Cage Warfare match at Final Battle 2008.

Hallowicked vs Rhett Titus vs Jason Blade vs Ruckus vs Davey Richards vs Claudio Castagnoli

This is one of the more intriguing line-ups we’ve had for a throwaway Six Man Mayhem match in recent months (and also probably an example of why Gabe should have been cutting the roster and booking less guys). You literally have the whole spectrum of ranks here from jobbers all the way up to potential main event players. Hallowicked hasn’t been seen in months but probably hasn’t changed in that time anyway. Ruckus has been on a downward slide ever since Evans decided not to bother even making sporadic appearances in ROH. Rhett and Jason look to have brighter futures as Gabe is clearly a fan of both of them…whilst Davey and Claudio are two guys earmarked to carry the promotion in the future. If Ruckus or ‘Wicked win this I riot right here in my living room.

Davey Richards is selling an ankle ‘injury’ he used to get out of working Albright earlier in the evening. Titus goes for a pelvic thrust hammerlock and gets pulverised by forearm smashes and kicks from Davey. Castagnoli in to toss Rhett across the ring by his hair. Double C manhandles Ruckus in similar fashion. Eventually the Chocolate Vulture back flips into a headscissors to take Claudio out of the ring. Hallowicked tags in and seems like the most over babyface in the match. He and Blade run through a really tight, fast paced little sequence. Even Dave Prazak announce he wants Hallowicked to win. He gets dragged off the apron and tossed into the railings by Blade though. Ruckus hits a pescado onto the couple of people (accompanied by a comedic Julius Smokes impression from Lenny Leonard). Richards tags in to take some really stiff shots at Wicked. Castagnoli then choke-throws the poor guy into the turnbuckles for good measure. Blade gets 2 with a swinging neckbreaker. Ruckus tries to go for a pin but gets hauled off into the Les Artess Lift by Claudio. Wicked uses the distraction to hit a flying headscissors and finally tag himself out of the ring. Ruckus with the Razzle Dazzle on Blade then hops up into a DOMINATOR from Claudio. Wicked blocks the Riccola, then the DR Driver. Michinoku Driver gets 2 on Richards. Kimura locked in…only for Jason to make the save. RUNNING SOMERSAULT PLANCHA TO THE FLOOR! Titus hits a LEAPFROG ROCKER DROPPER for 2. Ruckus nails his MOONSAULT LEG DROP…but Rhett kicks out! Richards wins it with a bridging German suplex on Ruckus at 14:50

Rating – *** –
Maybe because the rest of the show has been pretty poor, but I rather enjoyed that. It was different from the usual, slightly meaningless spot-mania that these matches normally degenerate into. You had Blade and Ruckus who seemed happy just to be involved, Hallowicked positioned as the whipping boy of the contest (and boosted by the fact he was more popular than anyone else), Titus putting in one of his best in-ring performances to date…whilst Castagnoli and Davey, whenever they entered, were just unforgiving, unrelenting bastards. Claudio was throwing his opponents around for fun, whilst Richards was stiffing the snot out of them.

SIDENOTE – Whilst this is the last weekend of shows that Gabe had the book for, it’s also the first weekend of shows WITHOUT him in charge of production for the DVD’s. Stylistically there’s not a whole lot different, but over the two nights I have noticed both commentators cut loose a lot more. In IWA-MS Dave Prazak was known for his slightly off-kilter, sometimes sarcastic and frequently jokey commentary style…and has been criticised in ROH for seemingly uninterested in the product. Prazak and Leonard are easily my favourite Ring Of Honor commentary duo, but I MUCH prefer them when they seem alive and enjoying what they’re watching. That last match was a great example of two guys having fun, making some jokes and coming across as ENJOYING what they’re seeing in the ring. Maybe the fresh take on ROH production will give them a bit more of a free reign to switch up their commentary style…

Tyler Black vs Jerry Lynn

On paper this is the match I was probably looking forward to the most this whole weekend. It’s such an interesting juxtaposition of two wrestlers at completely different career stages. You’ve got Tyler, who has been on an incredible upward surge all year and has broken out in a major way…and then you’ve got Lynn who has re-emerged onto the ROH scene very much in the twilight of his career. Both guys are eyeing up future championship opportunities so a win here is vital. Can Jerry cut it against one of ROH’s brightest young stars?

Black surprises some by following the Code Of Honor before the bell. Lynn goes for the win early by going for a flash pin, then the Cradle Piledriver in the first thirty seconds. He hits the second rope leg drop, then chases Black to the floor to send him into the guardrails. Satellite headscissors from Jerry, but Tyler is able to drop him face-first onto the ring apron to turn the match in his favour. The younger man increases the pace with a springboard clothesline, running forearm then a big knee drop. Having the quickness to hit explosive combos like that is a real advantage Black can exploit here. But he runs into a tilta-whirl backbreaker from Jerry, who then slows it right back down with a rear chinlock. Tyler goes for a slam which Lynn attempts to convert into an inverted DDT…and after botching it somewhat Lynn sells the leg…which Prazak and Leonard superbly cover as a residual injury from his match with Castagnoli last night. Springboard dropkick then a cannonball senton from the apron by Lynn. And he’s not done…RUNNING DIVE INTO THE CROWD! Tyler goes for another springboard clothesline, this time off the railings, but Jerry shows he’s learnt from the earlier spot to dropkick Black in the chest. He sweeps the legs as Black tries to springboard into the ring too…ELEVATED DDT for 2. Lynn has bossed this match completely. Black manages to block the TKO with a Pele Kick, then lifts him into Peroxism for 2. Lynn stays on his knees to block God’s Last Gift. F-5 instead! LOW SUPERKICK gets 2. Jerry rallies to hit the SPRINGBOARD sunset flip out of the corner for 2. SUPER RANA…NO SOLD! TKO FROM LYNN! Tyler only just kicks out that time. Cradle Piledriver blocked…GOD’S LAST GIFT GETS 2! PHOENIX SPLASH! Black wins at 12:28

Rating – **** –
Aside from that little slip from Jerry, I’m not sure how much better these two could have done in less than thirteen minutes. That was a blast, wrestled at a hundred miles an hour. They packed in some great wrestling, solid psychology and both guys emerge looking a million bucks as Black gets a win over a respected veteran whilst Jerry can say he took the future of ROH to the limit.

Tyler cuts a promo on change. He says he’s the change that Ring Of Honor has been waiting for and promises to win the World Title down the line.

Up next we get a video teaser for the Up For Grabs DVD which looks like some of the RF Video era ROH highlight videos.

Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs LAX

No reason behind this one. It’s just booked as your main event because it should be a hell of a match between the greatest tag team in ROH history and one of the top tag teams in TNA right now. You could stretch it a little and point out that the Briscoes were soldiers of Jim Cornette as he stood in Homicide’s way on his road to the World Title in the autumn/winter of 2006…but in October 2008 that seems a little tenuous. Hopefully this is just three ROH legends and one big motherf*cker entertaining the hell out of us…

Interestingly, Julius Smokes isn’t in Homicide’s corner, despite being in the building tonight. That just seems odd to me. The Briscoes are boo’d during their introduction, proving that Homicide is still ridiculously over in New Jersey. Homicide (wearing a ‘Ring Of Homicide’ shirt) calls J-Train to the ring to work their corner so all is right with the world again. It’s not Homicide in ROH without that annoying little critter in his corner. Mark BATTERS Homicide in the corner with some horrific forearm shots. Jay uses everything in his locker but can’t take Hernandez off his feet, and the big Mexican runs through both Briscoes with a clothesline moments later. STALLING vertical suplex by Hernandez has Mark up in the lights for an eternity. TOPE CON HILO from Homicide! LAX team up to hit a back senton/backbreaker combo for 2, and Hernandez demonstrates impressive strength again as he effortlessly hoists Mark into an overhead belly to belly. Mark tries some slaps to Cide…who F*CKING FLOORS HIM with a sick headbutt. Mark tags out to Jay and sinks to the floor looking completely out of it. One-armed Argentinian backbreaker scores for Hernandez. Mark is back with blood on his face and an eye rapidly swelling up and at last the former ROH Tag Champions are able to use some teamwork to get an advantage. Using all their experience from years of teaming together they manage to isolate the Notorious 187. It’s not always legal but it is effective and, for the first time, the Briscoes look in total control of the contest. Homicide looks for the Lariat on Jay only for Mark to shove his brother aside and counter into the urinage for 2. Hernandez blind tags in to wipe both Briscoes out again with the slingshot shoulder tackle. HALF NELSON SUPLEX on Jay, then a sitout powerbomb on Mark. Jay takes to the air to take out Homicide with a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! Mark follows suit seconds later…but that leaves Hernandez alone in the ring. RUNNING BIG MAN SUICIDE DIVE! HERNANDEZ LANDS ON HIS FEET!! In the midst of that carnage Jay is left bleeding and Smokes is flat on the deck too. Homicide traps Mark in an STF, with Hernandez stopping Jay from saving with a bear hug. It’s those two men that battle on the top rope…joined by Mark. DOUBLE SUPERPLEX from the Briscoes! Homicide hits the Ace Crusher then the LARIAT on Jay for 2. COP KILLA ON MARK! JAY MAKES THE SAVE! JAY DRILLER! HOMICIDE KICKS OUT! Jay then has to evade the Border Toss from a rejuvenated Hernandez. DVD NAILED! The Briscoes on opposing turnbuckles. SHOOTING STAR LEG DROP COMBO! Briscoes win at 23:03.

Rating – **** –
That was comfortably the best match of the whole weekend in my opinion. It wasn’t tag team perfection like some of the Briscoes’ classic tag bouts, but it had a rugged physicality and intensity to it that you just don’t get to see all that often. Maybe it’s because they were enjoying cutting loose without the constraints they work under in Orlando, but LAX seemed, at times, almost dangerous to work with. Both the Briscoes walk out sporting nasty facial injuries and, whilst that’s probably not desirable, it added a real edge to what was, in essence, nothing more than an exhibition match. I’m not sure LAX quite have the longevity to fill the role of recurring guest stars which we’ve seen the Motor City Machine Guns work for this year, but having them in town this weekend has been a pleasure. Hernandez might not be a typical ROH worker but he’s more than pulled his weight over both nights, delivering some show-stopping moments of power and agility…whilst the crowd reaction both nights to Homicide’s return shows you exactly how highly he is thought of in this company. As and when he decides to call it a day in TNA I’m sure he’d be welcome back here with open arms…

The Briscoes look to clear the ring and let Homicide have his moment, but the Notorious 187 calls them back to the ring to put them over. He says it was a dream come true to wrestle them, with Hernandez, in Ring Of Honor…and hopes they get a rematch down the line. In a really classy promo a humble Homicide thanks everyone for welcoming him back, for supporting ROH and promises to come back in the future.

After the show Sweet’n’Sour Inc. jump Brent Albright in the carpark to attack him. Cue lots of profanity and homo-erotic grunting in the semi-darkness. Considering you can barely see what’s happening this skit goes on for far too long.

Tape Rating – ** –
The last two matches salvaged what had previously been a massively underwhelming show. Hero/Albright was particularly dull and, despite having a number of redeeming features (such as the interesting debuts of Brodie Lee and the Osirian Portal), there really isn’t anything you needed to see at all on the undercard. For that matter, even Black/Lynn is nothing more than a particularly well executed, back and forth wrestling match. Honestly, base your decision to buy this show on how much you want to see Briscoes/LAX. If that sounds like a match you want to see, then you may as well buy this since the main event was great. If you’re undecided about which show to get from the Homicide return…get the Danbury show. It’s a better card top to bottom (which is odd considering how much top level talent was crammed into the main event). To be fair, unless you’re a big Homicide/LAX fan, this whole weekend was fairly skippable. Certainly not a double shot spectacular you feel Gabe’s superb reign as booker deserved.

Top 3 Matches

3) Davey Richards vs Ruckus vs Hallowicked vs Rhett Titus vs Jason Blade vs C. Castagnoli (***)

2) Tyler Black vs Jerry Lynn (****)

1) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs LAX (****)

Top 5 Return Of The 187/Ring Of Homicide 2 Weekend Matches

5) LAX vs Jacobs/Black vs Hero/Richards vs Steen/Generico (*** – Return Of The 187)

4) Necro Butcher vs Delirious vs Mark Briscoe (**** – Return Of The 187)

3) Tyler Black vs Jerry Lynn (**** – Ring Of Homicide 2)

2) Go Shiozaki vs Austin Aries (**** – Return Of The 187)

1) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs LAX (**** – Ring Of Homicide 2)

This show marks the end of Gabe Sapolsky’s run as ROH’s Head Booker. He was sacked in the wake of this show with Cary Silkin looking to get more hands on and looking to change the creative direction and dynamic of Ring Of Honor live events. Considering this is wrestling, he was surprisingly dignified and silent during these events, but after the dust settled, he would break that silence to record an intriguing DVD package with Kayfabe Commentaries (with whom he’d taped a critically acclaimed instalment of the ‘Guest Booker Series’ a year earlier with his envisioning of the WWE-relaunched ECW brand). He would discuss his departure and deliver a retrospective of sorts on his time with Ring Of Honor…before going onto reveal his plans for the remainder of 2008 and even further ahead. It’s a really interesting glimpse into the mind of a guy who gets a LOT of negative publicity for someone who has contributed so much to independent wrestling.

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