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205 ROH Bound By Hate 11/8/2008

ROH 205 – Bound By Hate – 8th November 2008

Ring Of Honor signalled their intent to make a permanent home in the Toronto market with the strong debut effort ‘Northern Navigation’ – if you haven’t got that DVD, it’s well worth picking up. But forging a permanent home in an area means delivering a consistently high quality over a period of time, so that makes this a significant show if ROH wants to really stick it’s flag in Toronto’s ass. It’s an undeniably strong card this time round too. The Briscoes and Steen-erico collide for the first time since their jaw-dropping Ladder War last September, with an intriguing role reversal as it’s Steen and Generico now defending the Tag Titles. That’s your main event, we also have Nigel defending the World Title against Necro Butcher, Jimmy Jacobs and Austin Aries in a Dog Collar Match and some other good looking stuff. We’re in Markham, ONT – let’s join Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard

ROH VIDEO WIRE – See The French Connection (ROH 204) review for details

Davey Richards vs Jerry Lynn

There’s not a massive amount of back story here, but this one should be really good. Richards (who, in fairness, was pretty f’n good when he debuted in 2006) is getting really good at this stage. He’s got a Low Ki-like aura and style to him now which is something ROH should really harnass. Jerry, thus far at least, has been a pleasure to watch on ROH shows as well. He’s had a decent career, and could easily come to ROH and demand to be in main events and major angles…but has been content to tick over on the undercard, work some decent matches with lots of ROH’s up and coming talent (such as Davey) and continue to build towards the Vendetta 2 rematch with Nigel.

Richards borderline assaults fans as he comes to the ring. Although, there appears to be one guy in the front row brandishing a puppet. He deserves to be kicked. I’m begging some fans to make the obvious Bobby Dempsey looks like a fat Jerry Lynn joke. Richards bridges into an early kick, looking to make a point to his veteran opponent. Lynn tries to bust out some of his fast-paced offence…and gets kicked again! Jerry dropkicks him out of the ring to hit his tumbling senton off the apron. Flying crossbody gets the former ECW Champion a 2. He continues to evade Davey’s strike attempts…until Richards plants a knee into the stomach to slow him. CURB STOMP FROM LYNN! Stealing moves from Davey’s former PWG tag partner Super Dragon! Unfortunately his recovery is short-lived and Richards drives him into the turnbuckles, leaving him hanging there to land a dropkick to the back. DR Driver blocked and Jerry beats Richards back for a super rana. Nearfall exchange ends with the ALARM CLOCK! DR DRIVER! Richards wins at 08:46

Rating – ** –
Not a bad match, but Jerry seemed a little off his game tonight. He was sloppy a number of times and the match was at its worst (and most uncoordinated) when he was on offence. Richards with his new super-aggressive persona was really what held this together.

Kenny King/Rhett Titus vs Delirious/Brodie Lee

This is a weird match to book. I don’t object to the pairing of King and Titus since both guys have a massive upside, their gimmicks aren’t worlds apart and it’s nice to see them focused on something to give more fans an opportunity to care about them. It just seems odd to book 2 heel teams (including three guys who don’t really have permanent spots nailed down as yet) against each other. I know there’s history between Delirious and Titus, but it just seems strange if you’re trying to get the King/Titus team and Brodie Lee off the ground as viable entities.

King and Titus are apparently here to answer the open challenge of the Age Of The Fall team. Delirious sprints to the ring and gets squashed by King before Lee can even get to the apron. That guy with the puppet is also covered in flashing neon lights. How distracting! Kenny hits a spinebuster on Delirious…but is then understandably less brash when opposed with the massive Brodie Lee. The big man hits belly to belly suplexes on both opponents…and Delirious is so desperate to get at Titus that he jumps through the ropes to take a few cheap shots at ‘Addicted To Love’. Eventually Rhettski distracts Delirious long enough for King to blindside him. Kenny and Rhett work hard to cut the ring in half and ensure Delirious doesn’t bring Lee back into the match. Capoeira kick gets King a 2, but Delirious ducks a second blindside attempt and gets the hot tag to Brodie. Big Boot scores on King, then the Black Hole Slam for 2. Delirious scores with the Panic Attack then SHADOWS OVER HELL. He has the match won…but opts to attack Titus again rather than win it. He chases Rhett away from ringside…and is duly counted out. The crowd f*cking HATE that. Match time was 09:37.

Rating – * –
The match itself was better than that rating suggests. The early signs looked promising for the new King/Titus tandem, whilst Brodie looked much better in this environment where he can be used sparingly as an enforcer. However, the finish just flat out sucked. It was just flat out obnoxious booking. Adam Pearce may as well have come out and urinated on all four corners of the ring to mark his territory. This was an emphatic statement of ‘new booker…new rules’, and they basically sacrificed the conclusion of this match to make a point. I’m sure the intention was simply to make the point that there are new rules. But Ring Of Honor fans aren’t dumb. Indeed, that’s the point of the whole f*cking promotion. You’re playing to SMARK fans who know it’s fake and are here to see good matches because they HATE the cheap sh*t that WWE and TNA pull. So in the end, you’re left with a finish that is either ridiculously patronising, or overtly obnoxious. Take your pick…

Grizzly Redwood is backstage and announces that he’s in ROH to chop the competition down to size.

Go Shiozaki/Eddie Edwards vs Roderick Strong/Erick Stevens

Gabe stated that he was going to slow-build the union of Strong and Stevens, and keep them well apart until Final Battle weekend. Clearly that’s not the direction we’re going in now as they’ve been thrown together now after we saw Stevens make the save for an outnumbered Roderick Strong last night.

Strong and Stevens hit the ring to interrupt what had been a really ugly promo by Shane Hagadorn and get things going. Stevens runs into a big shoulder tackle to Shiozaki…but Strong inadvertently connects with a kick to Erick’s head as he aims for Edwards. Go hits an armbar DDT then sends Stevens to the floor where Eddie is waiting to slam it into the railing. Shiozaki delivers a running knee to the head/shoulder area as Stevens lies prone on the apron. He even chops Erick in the shoulder as Edwards holds him open following an armbar. Fujiwara armbar variant from the FIP Champion. But he misses a knee drop. Stevens capitalises with a lifting lariat and gets the hot (aggressive) tag to Strong. Edwards blocks the Half Nelson Backbreaker and converts to the back suplex faceplant. DEATH BY RODERICK! LARIAT BY STEVENS! Shiozaki makes a crucial save. EXPOSED knee strike for Stevens. Eddie flies from the second rope into a lungblower. GO FLASHER! Stevens saves Strong this time! He muscles Shiozaki into a Samoan Drop then KILLS Edwards with a Lariat. DOCTOR BOMB! SUPERKICK BY GO! SICK KICK FROM RODERICK! STRONGHOLD! Edwards taps at 09:09.

Rating – *** –
What a midcard rush that was. Nothing fancy at all, just four dudes going out there and bringing some serious workrate. They didn’t stop for ten minutes of frantic action. Nice job selling the arm by Stevens, and I was also impressed how Strong and Stevens teamed together without ever looking like they actually liked each other.

Strong and Stevens shake hands after the match, thus writing out one of Gabe’s planned ‘moments’ to highlight Final Battle weekend.

Jimmy Jacobs vs Austin Aries – Dog Collar Match

I’ve not seen much written about the Vendetta 2 match between these two guys, which is a shame because I really rated it – and I’m curious to see where these two cerebral characters can take this match. I’m not a massive fan of Dog Collar Matches (although CM Punk had a couple of memorable ones with Raven and Jimmy Rave back in the day) but both of these two are quite intelligent workers so I actually have high hopes (unlike the Delirious/Pearce chain match which was a disaster).

Predictably Jimmy attacks Aries before the bell rings, and before he is attached by the throat to Aries. With the former World Champion already collared he pounces and starts choking him. Aries manages to knock Jacobs out of the ring, but struggles dragging the chain around behind him and can’t position himself quick enough for the Heat Seeking Missile. Jimmy continues to ignore the ref’s demands to put the collar on, opting to use the chain to tie Austin up in the turnbuckles. He’s unable to protect himself as Jacobs winds up and takes an unprotected swing at him with a chair. Aries takes repeated chair shots to the spine…but manages to free himself and kick Jacobs in the balls. CHAIR TO THE HEAD BY ARIES! He’s busted Jimmy open now, and takes advantage by hammering him in the lacerated head with the studded collar. And…NOW Jacobs is collared and attached to his opponent (whilst HEAVILY bleeding). He tries to flee the ring, but Austin is now able to drag him back and continue the assault. Jimmy makes it to the curtain…and lies in wait for Tyler Black to attack Aries. Black levels Aries with a low superkick…and then looks thoroughly perplexed as Jimmy orders him away to continue the match alone. Contra Code gets 2. He goes for a chair again…BUT ARIES CHAINS IT INTO HIS FACE! Heat Seeking Missile nailed this time as well. Repeated shots to a chain-covered turnbuckle next, with Jimmy’s blood still flying everywhere. Aries looks for the 450 Splash but Jacob wisely uses the chain to pull him off the ropes. CHAIN-ENFORCED END TIME! Aries breaks it and scores with the IED. CHAIN/KNEE STRIKES! LAST CHAIN-CERY! Jacobs taps at 18:12

Rating – **** –
This certainly wasn’t one for everyone. I’m sure there are some who will have found that a little dull and will accuse me of over-rating things again…but in my opinion that was really good. Granted it could have done with a slightly more energetic crowd, but the actual body of work they produced was first rate. It wasn’t fast-paced, action packed or spot-based…this was a real war of attrition – two guys who don’t like each other methodically trying to beat the other into the ground. The gimmick they ran with Jacobs refusing the collar was predictable, but they worked that segment superbly well and, when Aries finally landed a chair shot and slapped the collar on Jimmy, the audience really reacted positively to it. The violence was further compounded by a blade job from Jacobs that was approaching Jay Briscoe/At Our Best levels of blood-letting. To put this into perspective, as a match, I thought this was BETTER than both the CM Punk Dog Collar Matches. Both of those had far better crowds (particularly Punk/Rave @ Manhattan Mayhem), however, the actual story they told within this match, the journey they took the audience on and so forth, I felt, was superior here.

Alex Payne vs Grizzly Redwood

There’s genuinely enough talent on the show tonight that this could have been left on the pre-show. I really respect Mitch Franklin for trying to separate himself from the pack of ROH Graduates with this new gimmick (and respect his commitment to it by growing an EPIC beard), but my interest in seeing a miniature, niche, comedy gimmick wrestler is only slightly higher than it was in seeing a tiny ROH Academy graduate. You have to wonder how long ROH will continue to fund that school. Outside of Titus and Hagadorn, there’s not a lot else.

At least Payne looks like he’s starting to fill out a little. Redwood evades an abdominal stretch and starts chopping Sugarfoot’s legs. Payne hits a big body slam then an elbow drop. Hotshot gets 2 as Nigel McGuinness (on commentary) considers Grizzly’s World Title prospects. More leg chops win it for Redwood at 04:17

Rating – DUD –
Awful match. Why this was included is beyond me. It was also frighteningly basic considering how long these guys have been around now.

Tyler Black vs Kenny Omega vs Bryan Danielson

We know that American Dragon and Tyler Black have been involved in a superb series of matches this year. There were must-see singles matches at Breakout, Southern Navigation and New Horizons, as well as a tag encounter at Respect Is Earned 2 which say Black pin Danielson. This is a chance for them to continue their rivalry…and we’ve got Omega thrown in for good measure. This is easily his most significant match in Ring Of Honor thus far.

Toronto goes absolutely batsh*t for Danielson. Omega refuses to join forces with Black and opts to go it alone with Dragon. Danielson is in a good mood and offers him a free wristlock…before absolutely SMOKING him. Running enzi out of nowhere, leaping over Kenny, wipes out Tyler. DOUBLE CATTLE MUTILATION! Kenny, having taken a real battering, now agrees that maybe he should team up with Black. They hit a double suplex…although Tyler doesn’t agree with Omega’s proclamation that they’re the ‘new Age Of The Fall’. Danielson opts not to Mexican surfboard him, instead making a point by stomping the back of the knees. Stop Sign enzi knocks Dragon out of the ring…and allows Kenny to score with a RUNNING SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! But Danielson is soon in charge again, kicking Tyler to the floor then going to work on Omega’s arm. Black decides he’ll have better luck working Omega so suplexes Danielson then kicks him out of the ring so he has the newcomer all to himself. F-5 blocked with Omegan Hammers then a leapfrog bulldog. Danielson floors Omega with a missile dropkick. Stop Sign enzi doesn’t work second time…and Danielson drops Kenny into an ARMBREAKER! Amazingly, Omega uses his speed to evade substantial damage…and Black returns to LIONSAULT BOTH OF THEM! DANIELSON BRIDGES UP FROM UNDERNEATH BOTH OPPONENTS! BLACK POWERBOMBS HIM INTO THE TURNBUCKLES! God’s Last Gift blocked so Tyler delivers the low superkick for 2. Tyler climbs the ropes…but doesn’t get to hit the Phoenix Splash as Kenny arrives for a ROPE RUN GERMAN SUPERPLEX! ROARING ELBOW FROM DANIELSON! MMA ELBOWS! CATTLE MUTILATION! Omega taps at 14:19.

Rating – **** –
Unashamedly fun outing from all three guys there. Danielson and Tyler have had some intense and unquestionably serious matches this year, so watching them go out there and have some fun with their rivalry was a nice change of pace. Don’t expect this to be on the same level as the Danielson/Ki/Daniels or Ki/Styles/London triple threats of 2002/3 and you’ll love this. ROH desperately needs to find a regular spot for Kenny Omega as the guy is money. He might not be the best wrestler, but he’s SO fun…which makes him really stand out on a roster which takes itself extremely seriously. He’s got a goofy, nerdish fun and a popular wrestling style which is SO similar to Paul London before he took off. It’s an extremely difficult art to connect with the Ring Of Honor fanbase. Some guys had 12+ months and/or big pushes to do it and never achieved it to any great degree (Matt Stryker, Chad Collyer, John Walters, Ricky Reyes, Tony Mamaluke, Sal Rinauro, BJ Whitmer etc). The fact that Omega has so easily connected, identified with and been accepted by the core audience is a clear indication of what a potential breakout star he could be.

Tyler Black storms out, leaving Danielson and Omega to get standing ovations. Poor Kenny got his eye busted wide open from that sick Roaring Elbow at the end.

Backstage, still covered in Jimmy Jacobs’ blood, Austin Aries vows to prove that he is the better man by making Jimmy say ‘I Quit’ in their ppv blow-off match at Rising Above 2008.

Nigel McGuinness vs Necro Butcher – ROH World Title Match

During his commentary cameos over the course of both shows this weekend, Nigel has openly objected to Necro getting a World Title shot tonight on the back of seemingly nothing more than ‘popularity’. Whilst he may have a point, it’s impossible to deny that Butcher is a highly dangerous opponent, and totally different to any other challenge he’s overcome thus far in his title reign.

It doesn’t bode well when Necro comes to the ring limping heavily and with a mass of bandaging on his right knee. Apparently that happened during his match last night. I guess that would go some way to explaining why Necro/Brodie was so mediocre. Nigel gets on the mic and promises that he won’t work the leg as long as Necro doesn’t punch him in the face. Necro surprises a few people by coming up better in a couple of wrestling exchanges with McGuinness. Therefore it takes Nigel barely 3 minutes to kick him in the injured wheel. There appears to be some kind of fire in the building as smoke is now drifting across the arena. Nigel kicks the leg again as Butcher tries to bring a chair into the contest. Necro manages to kick and headbutt his way free of a number of leg submissions…so Nigel kicks him in the balls behind the ref’s back. To the floor Necro sets up some back to back chairs, but he can’t even pick Nigel up for the backbreaker without his knee buckling. McGuinness drills Necro’s leg into the guardrails and retreats back to the ring to leave Butcher in a race to beat the new 20-count back to the ring. He manages to crawl back in…but is then taken to the floor again with the TOWER OF LONDON INTO THE BACK TO BACK CHAIRS! Anklelock applied and Necro is barely able to make the ropes. Jawbreaker Lariat countered with a punch and Necro hits the Tiger Driver for 2. Delirious and Brodie Lee run in to attack Necro, drawing a DQ at 11:19.

Rating – ** –
Thing is…if the new management didn’t want to put Nigel over Necro clean in this match, why the f*ck did they book it? Hell, if they were so desperate to avoid jobbing Necro out, why not make it non-title, have him beat McGuinness and actually EARN a title match? I hated the finish, and it just made what had already been a bad match even worse. Credit to Necro for working through a match with a bad injury, and both guys did the best they could. But Necro isn’t a graceful, pleasant on the eyes wrestler at the best of times…when he’s working one-legged as well it’s downright ugly spectacle. The story they went for wasn’t bad, but it was ponderously slow (for understandable reasons) and the non-finish just sucks. Two sh*tty finishes in one night. Is the new Silkin/Pearce regime deliberately trying to piss off the Toronto market?

Kevin Steen and El Generico charge out for the save which is nice of them. Mr Wrestling says he respects Necro after the fights they’ve had this year…and that’s why he helped him out.

Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe – ROH Tag Title Match

Here we go again with these four. They stole shows all over the ROH circuit with their epic feud in 2007. From Street Fights in Boston to Cage Matches in Connecticut to 2/3 Falls Matches in New York to Ladder Matches in Chicago. They, along with Takeshi Morishima and Bryan Danielson, were largely responsible for carrying ROH last year. So now Steen and Generico have finally won the Tag titles…it was only a matter of time before this rivalry would be renewed. This time it’s the Briscoes who are positioned as challengers – challenging a team they’ve never lost to with the Tag gold on the line. Can Steen and Generico finally win a big one against the Briscoes, or will they come up short on their first title defence?

There’s no showmanship during the ring introductions. All four men stand in the centre of the ring and stare down. Mark and Generico start, making it perfectly clear than, even a year later, there’s still no love lost between these teams. Generico armdrags Mark down…but Jay tags in and almost boots his head off his shoulders just seconds later. Steen somersault leg drops him in the back of the head for 2. He then backpacks Generico into a senton. Mark stops Steen going for a dive…so Generico runs into a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! Mark returns to the action shortly afterwards to drop the luchador with an urinage. To the floor where Generico goes FACE FIRST INTO THE GUARDRAIL! That turns the momentum of the match, now placing the Briscoes in firm control with El Generico cut off from his partner. Briscoe Biel (sold in awesome fashion) gets 2. Jay absolutely hammers a beleaguered Generico as we cross the 10 minute mark. He looks like he might get a tag to Steen…but Mark is on hand to pull Mr Wrestling from the apron. DOUBLE SPRINGBOARD headscissors nailed…and this time Steen gets the tag. BELLY TO BELLY TO THE TURNBUCKLES! CANNONBALL SENTONS! MOONSAULT gets 2 on Mark. Pumphandle Cradlebreaker gets a nearfall as well. Generico goes for a flying crossbody…caught in MID-AIR with a dropkick from Mark. Military press DVD from Jay, then a falcon arrow for 2. Stretch Plum applied to an obviously weary Generico. He then eats a big lariat and barely gets a shoulder up on another pin. Jay misses a Tennessee Jam…then gets the knees up as Mr Wrestling goes for the Steen-ton. But that hurts him as much as it hurts Steen, who reacts first to lock in the Sharpshooter. Forearms from Mark…STEEN HOLDS ON! BIG BOOTS! STEEN HOLDS ON! GENERICO WITH A YAKUZA KICK OUT OF NOWHERE! Generico tries to block Mark, who eventually hits a SPRINGBOARD KICK to break the hold. Springboard Doomsday Device is COUNTERED TO A ROLL-UP! Steen and Generico retain at 16:29

Rating – **** –
These guys have such chemistry and familiarity with each other that this was always going to be good. Even working an autopilot, essentially house show version of their big ’07 feud, they had one of the best matches this weekend. The somewhat low key finish implies we haven’t seen the last of them working each other either, and I’m ok with that. Don’t expect this to be on the same level as Man Up or Death Before Dishonor 5 Night 1, but it’s a fine main event.

New interview guy Kyle Durden interviews Ernie Osiris, who says he’s had a pay cut and needs money to get home. His interview is cut short by Sweet’n’Sour Inc. attacking Erick Stevens. Roderick Strong makes the save…

Jimmy Jacobs cuts a promo looking an absolute, old school ECW-style mess. He says he tapped tonight to save himself for their deciding match on pay-per-view. He promises round three is where the fun really starts…

Tape Rating – *** – If last night’s Montreal show was a gentle introduction to the new regime, the new creative direction and new show format…tonight was the new guard marking it’s territory and pissing in all four corners of the ring. Dodgy finishes, short and punchy matches…this is what you’ll be seeing in future. The show moved at a really snappy pace that made it an easy watch. To be frank, in terms of match quality and consistency this one was much more up and down than The French Connection. Once again there are three headline 4* bouts which are pretty good…but the remainder of the card is patchy and forgettable. In truth, both these DVD’s are pretty skippable. Nothing is so good you NEED to see it. Last night’s ‘Battle Of Champions’ was a fun novelty bout but not an epic match for the ages. Richards/Strong II was match of the weekend, but the Tokyo bout was better. AOTF and Team Work had a better match on ppv to. As for tonight…the Briscoes/Steen-erico bout is a hot main event, but only scratching the surface of the stunning highs they hit in 2007. Jacobs/Aries was blood-letting fun, but Vendetta 2 was better, and you feel that, for all the blood Jimmy spilled, they were very conscious of the fact they’ve got to go out there and do it again on ppv in a couple of weeks. In many ways, the interesting Black/Dragon/Omega triple threat was the most interesting and unique match all weekend. At least it was something that felt FRESH for this weekend.

In conclusion, you’d probably say the jury is still out on the new regime. These shows were fine for throw away B-show fare. Having listened to Gabe’s plans for the weekend, you feel like we’d have seen largely the same (although he wanted to take a gamble and book the Briscoes/Steen-erico match to go to a 45-minute draw). There have been some wretched booking decisions (Necro/Brodie, Necro/Nigel, the non-finishes tonight etc), but I felt the quicker pacing of the shows made them easier to watch, and the additions of a new persona for Dave Prazak and a new backstage interview character helped to freshen the DVD experience too. Thumbs are very much still in the middle at this stage…

Top 3 Matches

3) Austin Aries vs Jimmy Jacobs (****)

2) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (****)

1) Bryan Danielson vs Kenny Omega vs Tyler Black (****)

Top 5 The French Connection/Bound By Hate Weekend Matches

5) Austin Aries vs Jimmy Jacobs (**** – Bound By Hate)

4) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (**** – Bound By Hate)

3) Bryan Danielson vs Kenny Omega vs Tyler Black (**** – Bound By Hate)

2) Nigel McGuinness vs El Generico vs Kevin Steen vs Go Shiozaki (**** – The French Connection)

1) Davey Richards vs Roderick Strong (**** – The French Connection)

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