ROH 209 – Southern Hostility – 6th December 2008
Before talking about his show I’m going to start with a little discussion about the direction of the McXal’s Reviews archive for the remainder of 2010. I’ve set myself a little target of rounding out my 2008 reviews by the end of October. I’ve got this show, then the Final Battle weekend which has got some really strong reviews so I’m very much looking forward to. From there, I’m going to step away from Ring Of Honor for the rest of 2010. Not because I’m not enjoying ROH, because I remain a huge fan of the promotion – I just need a little break. When I came to ROH way back in 2002 it was a welcome alternative to the world of WWE that I’d become so disillusioned with. At this point in my life, ROH is very literally all the wrestling I watch. I’ll catch glimpses of WWE here and there, I went to a TNA Impact taping when I was on holiday in Orlando earlier this year…but, particularly over the last couple of years that I’ve moved in with my girlfriend, ROH is it for me and pro-wrestling. By this point, I’m once again looking for an alternative. I’ve got a massive stack of DVDs I’ve owned for a while but have never got round to watching…and that’s how I’m going to spend the rest of 2010. I’m going to spend a little time seeing what else is out there. I’ve got all the Dragon Gate USA shows to watch. I’ve picked up both PWG Sells Out compilations, plus a couple of shows from 2010 so I’ll check them out. I’ve also got a stack of TNA compilations I’m going to watch (the Kurt Angle one in particular looks good)…and I’ve even for a few WWE sets to watch as well (I’ve got my eye on the Randy Savage and Elimination Chamber compilations as top priority). So…apologies for those of you who are looking to see me get cracking with 2009 ROH. It’s coming I promise. I’ve got all the 2009 DVD’s, plus all of 2009 ROH on HDNet, but that’s all to come in 2011. I want to spend a little time catching up on some other stuff…
On to Southern Hostility. It’s ROH’s debut in Nashville, and the card looks REALLY juicy. Headlining is Nigel McGuinness defending the World Title against former ECW Champion Jerry Lynn. That should be great, and it’s supplemented by another main event calibre match – a No DQ match between rivals Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli. Plus Aries and Necro teaming up to face Age Of The Fall, a rare in-ring outing for Larry Sweeney…and a really fun trios match to open the show with the Briscoes joining Kenny Omega to face YRR v2. Lets get to Nashville, TN (birthplace of TNA of course) and join Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard.
ROH VIDEO WIRE – See Wrestling At The Gateway (ROH 208) review for details
Bushwhacker Luke gives Grizzly Redwood some wrestling tips. Bizarre skit…
The Nashville building is absolutely huge. In Collinsville last night we had a nice, modern, intimate looking little venue. This one has THREE tiers of seating (the top two seem tarped off obviously) with an extremely high ceiling. Completely different from most places ROH has run and visually stunning.
Rhett Titus/Kenny King/Sal Rinauro vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe/Kenny Omega
Omega has a bit of an issue with King going back to The French Connection where King turned on him and left him alone to face the Briscoes. The exciting Canadian has now enlisted the help of the former Tag Champions to battle King, along with his new associates Rhett Titus and YRR team-mate Sal Rinauro.
Omega starts things off with a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA INTO THE AISLE! The Briscoes run through Titus with the Briscoe Tackle, with Mark noticeably a half step behind his brother thanks to his continuing knee problems. Kenny then gets 2 with the leapfrog bulldog. But the YRR v2 trio manage to lure Omega into sticking his head between the ropes and allowing King to knee him in the side of the head. It’s the heels in charge, and even when Omega cleverly counters Rinauro into a camel clutch, it’s too close to the opposition team’s corner allowing King to punt him in the head again. Titus leapfrogs King into Omega’s back. Rinauro then hilariously fails to repeat that so kicks him in the stomach instead. Omega gets a hot tag to both Briscoes who hurl Rhett into the sky with the Briscoe Biel. DOUBLE PANCAKE on Rinauro. AMAZING missile dropkick from Omega, then an ELECTRIC CHAIR GERMAN SUPLEX! Omega scores the win at 08:39.
Rating – *** – For the second night in a row, this was a fantastic opening match. The heel team were effective in their heat segment and looked like a decent group to keep together if Pearce wants to push the trio as an undercard force. The Briscoes have been given a light workload this weekend as Mark continues to struggle with that knee injury he suffered at Escalation, and were barely required at all here thanks to the talents of Kenny Omega who I REALLY like.
Daizee Haze comes to the ring and demands that Rhett Titus tells everyone the truth about the infamous night he spent at her house. He reiterates that they got it on…only to be punched out by Necro Butcher who the Haze seems to have enlisted to help her out. Under duress from Necro, Titus admits that not only did they not sleep together…he even admits to being a virgin. She boots him in the nuts and leaves.
Backstage Jerry Lynn tells Kyle Durden that he’s won titles all over the world and he’s looking to add another one to the collection tonight.
Delirious vs Alex Payne
With the success of Rhett Titus over the last year, the popularity of Bobby Dempsey and the surprising way in which the ROH fanbase have taken to Mitch Franklin’s Grizzly Redwood gimmick, it’d be wrong to say that the ROH students are completely meaningless to ROH. But Payne is a guy I’ve really struggled to get behind. He doesn’t LOOK like a wrestler, has no discernable gimmick other than being just another vanilla student and seems to live off being a cult hero in the Chicago market. Maybe Delirious, head trainer of the ROH school, will be the first guy to get a good DVD match out of him.
Right hands from Sugarfoot to negate the effects of Delirious losing his mind at the bell. Old school, WWF Attitude style headscissors scores and drives Delirious to the outside to seek solace in the arms of Jimmy Jacobs. Payne goes for a crossbody from the top rope…but misses and eats mat. Delirious drives his back into the apron, signalling his intent to work Sugarfoot’s back. Payne evades the Panic Attack and goes for another crossbody, this time flying into a torpedo headbutt to the ribs. Rock Bottom scores, but Delirious opts to further punish Payne rather than finish it. Fans seem to be booing Sugarfoot by the way. Atomic drop and a bulldog from Alex Payne, who continues to wrestle like he’s on some kind of mid-90’s WWF house show. Hurricanrana gets 2. He look for the Fisherman Buster but his back is too worn down. Panic Attack/Shadows Over Hell combo wins it at 08:10
Rating – * – No offence to Payne who is obviously still pretty green, but you can’t be on a Ring Of Honor DVD with an arsenal of moves that are horrifically outdated. I want the students to succeed, I do. But this is 2008 Ring Of Honor – the company fans are supposed to turn to when they want to see great wrestling. Chris Masters could work a better match…
Ashley Lane vs Serena Deeb vs Daizee Haze vs Sara Del Rey
SHIMMER action here, featuring former SHIMMER Champion Sara Del Rey, as well as current SHIMMER Tag Champion Ashley Lane (who has tag partner Neveah at ringside). You’ll recognise Serena as CM Punk’s shaven-headed female cohort in the Straight Edge Society on Smackdown, although I think she just got released and is actually back on the indies now.
Del Rey and Deeb apparently have a feud going on in SHIMMER and share a particularly intense lock up to open the match. Haze and Lane in next to trade equally sloppy armdrags. Tornado monkey flip from Serena to Del Rey as those two go at it again. Horrific sunset flip attempt by Deeb goes nowhere until Ashley tags in to pull Sara over into a crucifix pin for 2. Del Rey responds by throttling her into the corner. UGLY swinging neckbreaker gets Serena a 2. Lane to the top for a crossbody, but her and Sara mess up a catching spot and it goes nowhere. Serena goes for a Spear on Del Rey but gets Lane instead. Sara boots Deeb in the chest and tosses her out. Royal Butterfly wins it at 05:55.
Rating – DUD – That was a car wreck. Not one of them could hit a clean spot out there in that one. Serena Deeb was absolutely terrible and messed up nearly everything she did. Ashley Lane wrestled like any other WWE diva so was clumsy and sloppy without being as offensively poor as Deeb. When Daizee Haze wrestles the cleanest match of anyone in there you know you’ve got problems. Definitely not the advertisement for SHIMMER that Dave Prazak would have envisioned…
Bobby Dempsey is scheduled to team with Davey Richards again tonight, but Sweeney gets on the stick and says that he disgraced their group so much with his performance last night that he’s left Larry with no choice but to wrestle himself. Dempsey is sent to the back meaning it’s a rare wrestling appearance for Sweeney.
Davey Richards/Larry Sweeney vs Brent Albright/Erick Stevens
Albright and Stevens won’t feel they really succeeded in getting a piece of Sweet’n’Sour Inc. during the Sasaki/Nakajima Gauntlet Match in Collinsville last night. Their team was disqualified for using one of Larry Sweeney’s cowboy boots as a weapon…after he himself had brought it into the match. This ongoing issue won’t be settled tonight, but this is a real opportunity for Brent and Erick to get their hands on the dastardly ‘super agent’ Larry Sweeney.
Albright gets the match started by slugging Richards off the apron whilst Sweeney turns tail and avoids all physical contact. He continues to duck Stevens and Albright, meaning once again it’s left to Davey to carry the bulk of the workload for his team. He takes rolling backbreakers from Stevens, into a Bret Hart-style second rope elbow drop from Albright for 2. Richards gets it together to trade strikes with Stevens, but gets pummelled again until Sweeney drives a cheap knee into Erick’s back. Larry takes more cheap shots at Stevens as Davey distracts the official. Richards works Stevens arm, with Lenny Leonard reminding everyone of how Erick was put out of ROH for a period of time by Davey during the NRC/Resilience feud. He makes a tag to Brent…but with the referee tied up with Sweeney, so the tag is ruled invalid. HANDSPRING ENZI gets Richards a 2. Cross armbreaker applied to the bad arm. Stevens hits a clubbing lariat from nothing and finally gets the tag. Tag to Sweeney as well…and he really doesn’t want to get in there with Albright and Stevens. Stereo mounted punches form the babyface team…but Larry rakes Albrights eyes and manages to tag out. Half Nelson Suplex blocked by Richards…knocking the ref down in the process. Sweeney accidentally NAILS Richards with a chair, and Albright covers to pin him at 11:16.
Rating – ** – Very basic match, hurt a little by the crowd being completely uninterested in cheering for Stevens or Albright. Richards carried this match on his shoulders and is rightly applauded by the fans.
Kyle Durden tries to interview Claudio Castagnoli, who shoves him out of shot. Double C says he’s going to hurt Danielson with no rules to protect him. Best Claudio promo ever??
Irish Airborne vs Grizzly Redwood/Bushwhacker Luke
Total popcorn match here. The Crists have looked basically exactly the same as they did during their first run in ROH, i.e. they’ve barely improved in the last 15-ish months. They’re still fine to book in throwaway tag matches when ROH runs in their area, but it’s hard to see them breaking out as stars.
Irish Airborne try to sneak attack Redwood and Luke during their Bushwhacker march but aren’t overly successful. Grizzly springboards off Luke into a plancha to both the Crists on the outside. Leg chops from him force Dave to retreat and tag in brother Jake who floors Luke and starts to mock the Bushwhacker strut. Asai Moonsault misses though and the Bushwhacker forces Jake out too. Redwood chases Dave around ringside, eventually running into a clothesline on the floor by Jake. Irish work the ref, continually distracting him and going behind his back to make illegal tags and keep each other fresh whilst isolating Redwood from his partner. Of course, eventually Grizz gets the hot tag to Luke who gets 2 on Dave after an Ace Crusher. Low blow from him, out of sight of the official. Luke pins Dave after hitting the Battering Ram at 08:01
Rating – * – A star for the combined efforts nostalgic Bushwhacker fun and how much better the Crists are as heels. If they’d worked like that when they got an extended run in ROH back in 2006 I think they’d have gotten way more over. They’re better as cocky, pretty boy heels than they were as bland high fliers. Could easily have done without this match though.
Jimmy Jacobs/Tyler Black vs Austin Aries/Necro Butcher
Lots of history in this one. We know all about the Aries/Jacobs war, with Aries scoring a definitive victory over Jimmy at Rising Above 2008. But it was also Austin that convinced Necro (like Lacey before him) to leave Age Of The Fall. Last night he tried similar tactics with Tyler Black too. So AOTF will be looking to punish Necro for leaving the group, whilst Jimmy will be desperate to get some heat back after suffering three high profile losses to Aries in recent months. Tyler DID manage to beat Austin last night, breaking his nose in the process. Those two will have a rematch somewhere down the line with both of them now casting an eye on the Ring Of Honor World Championship.
Jacobs sacrifices Tyler to a wild punch from Necro as he heads for higher ground. Luckily it seems to have such an effect that Black doesn’t actually notice. It’s Aries and Tyler who start the match properly, looking to pick up where they left off last night in St Louis. Tyler avoids the headscissors escape dropkick, but Aries shows his own familiarity by evading Black’s springboard clothesline. Black goes for a grounded headscissors again and is caught unaware as Aries switches up his usual escape route for a straight knee strike to the head. Jacobs tags in, and immediately tags back out to avoid having to wrestle Necro Butcher. Aries and Necro hit an old Aries/Strong spot as Butcher stretches Black over his knees in position for a slingshot elbow drop from Austin. Jimmy attacks Necro from behind, only to eat a couple of big punches to the face. Black sneaks in next and pulls Butcher off the turnbuckles to give his partner an advantage. Age Of The Fall start using frequent tags, cutting the ring in half and doing all the usual heel type things to isolate a guy from his partner. Necro blocks the Contra Code and gets the tag to Aries. Gutbuster into the Power Drive Elbow on Tyler. Impact Explosion Dropkick finds the mark…and Aries rolls aside to ensure Jimmy’s attempted senton bomb connects with Black. Heat Seeking Missile drives Black and Jacobs into the guardrails. TOP ROPE SOMERSAULT PLANCHA FROM NECRO! The four men brawl around ringside…and the ref has no choice but to count both teams out. Double count-out finishes it at 13:38.
Rating – ** – Pretty boring match, and a disappointing non-finish to boot. Jacobs evading Necro was entertaining, and the Aries/Black segments were money…but there was way too much bland, predictable and totally forgettable mediocrity that bogged this one down. After a hot opening match this show is becoming a real chore to sit through…
Claudio Castagnoli vs Bryan Danielson – No DQ Match
After trading wins, after Claudio stomping Dragon’s brains in at Death Before Dishonor 6, and injuring his leg at Escalation, hindering his World Title chances the following night on ppv…these two throw out the rules and are here to hurt each other. What started as a competitive but good spirited rivalry at Vendetta 2 has escalated to legitimate hatred by this point.
No hanging around for Danielson, charging straight into an attack on Claudio. The ‘very European’ wrestler pulls Dragon’s shirt over his eyes to land a couple of blows, but the former World Champion quickly knocks him out of the ring for a tope suicida. One wasn’t enough…TOPE SUICIDA AGAIN! That one bent Castagnoli’s spine around the guardrails. But he goes to the well once too often, and as he soars through the ropes Double C gets a chair up and into his face. Dragon immediately starts to bleed heavily. Claudio grinds the bell hammer into the cut and the claret continues to flow. He exposes the turnbuckles, then dragon screws Danielson down as he looks to mount a comeback. The referee’s belt is used as a weapon next – first to flog Dragon, then to choke and drag him about the ring. But he still can’t succeed in driving Danielson into the exposed top rope. Dragon Sayama flips away and hits a running elbow smash to buy some time. Judo DDT nailed, then a running kick to the spine. BLOOD CHOPS! BLOOD PALM STRIKES! That was both vicious and slightly disgusting! Castagnoli knocks him back with a bicycle kick then the POP UP EUROPEAN! No victory there though, and Danielson lands his back superplex to leave both men down at the 15 minute mark. Castagnoli uses the belt to choke Dragon down. Despite the blood loss, Danielson still manages to fight back to his feet. He grabs the belt and FLOGS CLAUDIO IN THE FACE! Castagnoli at last manages to put Dragon into the exposed turnbuckles, then nails the RICOLA BOMB! FOR 2! Claudio retrieves a chair and places it over Dragon’s head a’la Death Before Dishonor 6. Danielson blocks…CATTLE MUTILATION! MMA ELBOWS! Danielson fastens the belt around Castagnoli’s throat. UNPROTECTED FACE STOMPS! BELT ASSISTED TRIANGLE CHOKE! Claudio is out at 20:21
Rating – **** – I loved Danielson’s approach to the ‘no rules’ grudge match. He didn’t use the No DQ format to go to town with weapons and brawls around the arena. He knew that he was such a dangerous wrestler that, with rule restrictions removed, he could decimate Castagnoli with his bare hands. And his level of brutality was just amazing. Some really sick kicks, the belt across the face, the unbelievably vicious face stomping at the end. I preferred their match at Northern Navigation since these guys are great WRESTLERS, so I’d much rather see them work a great match than a great brawl…but this was a lot of fun and had a really different vibe than most No DQ grudge matches you’ll see.
Nigel McGuinness vs Jerry Lynn – ROH World Title Match
This is the match Jerry has been working towards since he returned to ROH at Vendetta 2. That night he took Nigel incredibly close in a non-title match, and subsequently pointed out that his performance that night made him hungry again. Despite being a 20+ year veteran, despite being in his mid-40’s, he wants to prove he still has what it takes to be a champion. Can he add the Ring Of Honor World Championship to his already glittering resume?
MIXED reaction for Lynn, even after Bobby Cruise announces that he lives in Tennessee now. Nigel gets more boos than him though, meaning a portion of the fans here tonight must just be sitting there hating on both guys. The crowd do seem a lot more pro-Lynn by the time the bell rings. Jerry counters out of a Cobra Clutch to drive a series of knees into Nigel’s arm and shoulder. McGuinness goes for an arm next, but again Lynn has a counter and sends him tumbling with an armdrag. Satellite headscissors next as Lynn continues to have all the answers to the questions Nigel asks. Tornado DDT gets 2 and leaves Nigel down in the corner begging for an early time-out. He ducks a McLariat, but makes his first mistake by putting his head down and charging at the champion. McGuinness tosses him to the outside where he can put the guardrails to good use. The challenger is groggy now, and unable to block Nigel’s assault on the arm at this point. Nigel goes for a running uppercut but finds his path blocked by a spear by Jerry. Springboard dropkick knocks McGuinness off the apron, and Lynn soon gets 2 with a top rope crossbody. Tower Of London countered to that inverted DDT for 2. McLariat from Nigel for 2. As if to add further insult, Nigel appears to set up for the Cradle Piledriver…but Lynn fights back with an Air Raid Crash. TOWER OF LONDON OFF THE APRON! McGuinness retires to the ring to watch Jerry desperately struggle to beat the 20-count. Super McLariat ducked but Nigel connects with the northern lariat then a Tower Of London back into the ring for 2. Shortarm McLariat ducked and Lynn hits a German suplex. Jawbreaker McLariat misses…sit-out powerbomb from Lynn. Duelling chants from the crowd for both men as McGuinness hits a HUGE superplex. He berates Lynn, telling him to quit…until Jerry fires off a Thesz press and mounted right hands Steve Austin-style. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA TO THE FLOOR! As if that wasn’t enough, he dishes out a DDT on the floor. Nigel tries to walk out and take a count-out loss, but is retrieved in the nick of time. He traps Lynn between a table and the ringpost and uses it to crush the ribs. This time Lynn BARELY beats the count-out. CRADLE PILEDRIVER! FOOT ON THE ROPES! Lynn throws a clothesline to block the Jawbreaker. TKO! 2-COUNT AGAIN! Cradle Piledriver…countered to a roll-up. HE HAS THE ROPES! Nigel steals another cheap victory at 22:03.
Rating – **** – I’m a little disappointed in the weak finish, but that was probably the best match this weekend. Excellent story of the ageing veteran finding ways to compete with an arrogant jerk in the prime of his career. I don’t have a whole lot to say because this was exactly what I expected. This one didn’t impress me because it exceeded my expectations or anything like that. I enjoyed it because they delivered and lived up to the high standard they set at Vendetta 2.
Nigel gets on the stick to run down Lynn, telling to forget ‘still having it’, he never had ‘it’ in the first place. An upset Jerry Lynn clobbers him to the canvas to leave with his head held high…
Backstage moments later, a furious Jerry Lynn screams at Nigel, yells at the Briscoes them storms out.
Tape Rating – ** – Got to be honest, most of that undercard was a massive disappointment. Outside of the bright, breezy opener and the two impressive main events, this was dross. In the end you have to say skip this. Lynn/Nigel was superb (but with a shady finish, probably only on a par with the Vendetta 2 battle), whilst Claudio/Dragon was a unique grudge match (but has been done better elsewhere). It had the best match of the weekend, but I thought Wrestling At The Gateway was a far more consistent and complete card. Neither are particularly necessary purchases to round out your ROH collection, but if you’re set on picking up one this weekend, unless you’ve got a real desire to see either of the two main events, then the Collinsville debut is the one you get.
Top 3 Matches
3) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe/Kenny Omega vs Rhett Titus/Kenny King/Sal Rinauro (***)
2) Bryan Danielson vs Claudio Castagnoli (****)
1) Nigel McGuinness vs Jerry Lynn (****)
Top 5 Wrestling At The Gateway/Southern Hostility Matches
5) Kenny Omega vs Kenny King (*** – Wrestling At The Gateway)
4) Danielson/Lynn vs McGuinness/Castagnoli (**** – Wrestling At The Gateway)
3) Bryan Danielson vs Claudio Castagnoli (**** – Southern Hostility)
2) Tyler Black vs Austin Aries (**** – Wrestling At The Gateway)
1) Nigel McGuinness vs Jerry Lynn (**** – Southern Hostility)