ROH 223 – Supercard Of Honor 4 – 3rd April 2009
Ring Of Honor comes into this weekend fresh off their first two weeks of national TV and their best show of the year in the milestone 7th Anniversary event. It was important that they got that momentum because the WrestleMania weekend is traditionally two of the promotion’s most important shows of the year. Last year they went to Florida for the first time and proved to be an overwhelming success, producing two critically acclaimed events. This time around, it’s a step into the unknown for a variety of reasons. It’s the first time ROH has been to Texas for one thing. Even last year when Mania was in Florida there was the safety net of ROH’s sister promotion FIP being a moderate success in the area. This is well and truly a calculated gamble, trusting that a big card, the ROH name and the sheer volume of wrestling fans in town for the big show will draw two big houses. It’s also the first time that the Mania weekend shows will not be highlighted by Dragon Gate talent. ROH and DG fell out last summer, and by this point Dragon Gate USA was just months from starting up. Indeed, the DG roster themselves actually pushed to try and get the promotion going earlier purely so they could continue their 6-Man tradition this very weekend. But with the DG roster off the table, ROH has certainly gone to town importing from elsewhere. KENTA continues his tour of ROH, and is joined by the returning Kensuke Office prodigy Katsuhiko Nakajima. And, for the first time with any real seriousness (so not Konnan) ROH brings in Lucha Libre talent. Magno, Incognito, Blue Demon Jr. and Alex Koslov all join us from Mexico for the weekend. Headlining tonight is Nigel McGuinness defending the World Title against Jerry Lynn, with Nigel’s body on the brink of total breakdown after nearly a year and a half defending the World Title. Pupil meets teacher as Davey Richards and KENTA square off for the second time, and as for the second ‘Sweet’n’Sour Open Challenge’ that Larry Sweeney has signed Bobby Dempsey up for – Bobby’s opponent tonight has to be seen to be believed. Lets head down to Houston, TX to join Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak at the start of a massive weekend of wrestling.
ROH VIDEO WIRE (24/03/2009 – 30/03/2009) – Video wire opens with Bison Smith attacking the jobbers on the pre-show again, complete with Prince Nana in tow. Bryan Danielson makes the save
– Elsewhere Danielson promises Alex Koslov that he won’t get to make his ROH name at his expense
– Julius Smokes is apparently on the look out for fresh talent to lead to greatness in ROH after the Vulture Squad flopped. At least that’s what I think he said.
– Davey Richards is preparing for a straight up fight with KENTA in Houston
– Ernie Osiris tries to sell Necro Butcher Grizzly Redwood’s shoes, and gets punched out. Seriously…
– ‘Who are you?’ – Colt Cabana to Kyle Durden. Cabana brings the comedy back within seconds of his return. He’s another guy looking forward to the Texas debut weekend.
– Roderick Strong somewhat optimistically calls himself an ‘international superstar’. He’s looking forward to wrestling Alex Koslov on pay-per-view at Take No Prisoners 2009
– ‘ROH Cribs’ takes a tour round Ernie Osiris’ pad. This gimmick is starting to really annoy me
– ‘You a big fan of throat yoghurt?’ – Austin Aries to Kyle Durden. Heel Aries is MONEY.
– Jerry Lynn calls his title match with Nigel this weekend the culmination of his 20 year career. We also get a hilarious faux-Rocky training montage with Jerry. You can almost hear the Team America ‘Montage’ song playing in the background.
Nigel McGuinness starts the show looking like a broken man. He isn’t sure he even wants to continue wrestling, but the fans desperation to see him lose has fuelled him to keep going.
Rhett Titus vs Erick Stevens
No real history between these two guys. However, with Titus part of a regular team with Kenny King and Stevens now teaming regularly with both Roderick Strong and Brent Albright, you’d imagine places in the Tag Title contendership queue are up for grabs. Indeed, it was the Stevens/Strong team that defeated the All Night Express in the opening match of the last show.
Titus jumps Stevens but doesn’t do any real damage and gets taken down with a Samoan drop. Leapfrog Rocker Dropper scores for Rhett, then an AWESOME jumping knee strike that completely flattens Stevens. Sexy Suplex nailed for 2 and Erick is quickly dropped to the canvas again with a swinging neckbreaker. Rhettski climb the ropes, but takes way too long positioning himself for an axehandle smash and winds up tossed across the ring after a belly to belly suplex. Muff Driver countered to the Choo Choo avalanche then the lifting lariat to win at 06:48
Rating – ** – Snappy little contest – one that would have been perfect for HDNet actually. I don’t think this was good enough to warrant 3* but it was totally fine for what it was. Going short gave Titus enough time to show off the skills and charisma that he possesses, before being flattened to give Stevens an impressive victory – although I’m not sure why it is that directionless Stevens is going over the up and coming talent.
Chris Hero/Eddie Edwards/Incognito vs Kevin Steen/Jay Briscoe/Magno
This is a borderline rematch of sorts. Steen and Jay Briscoe pulled off an impressive victory over Hero and Edwards at Eliminating The Competition in what was a really decent match. Now these rivals clash again, this time joined by rivals from Mexico in Incognito and Magno.
Kevin Steen immediately attacks Edwards, still furious after the attack he suffered at the hands of the Wolves in Manhattan. Hero and Briscoe start things as the legal man, with Jay enjoying the better of the opening period. Incognito and Magno in…AND THE TOP ROPE BREAKS! That was legitimately scary as Magno could’ve fallen out onto his head. Incognito and the S’n’S guys start using the broken ring ropes to choke him. The Mexican talent trade some lucha basics…including a hilarious moment where Magno locks a shortarm scissors in on Incognito, before Hero and Edwards drape the broken top rope over their partner and demand the official break the hold. Edwards dropkicks Steen’s knee again then holds it open for Hero to hit a second rope elbow drop to the offending limb. Mr Wrestling tries to beat his opponents back with one of the broken turnbuckle pads but fails and takes a second rope dropkick, once again to the leg, from Incognito. He goes for a tag only to see Hero and Edwards haul Magno and Jay off the apron to leave him without a partner. STF from Eddie but Kevin makes it to one of the still operational ropes. In the end Steen sacrifices his own leg to hit a Codebreaker on Edwards and at last make the crucial tag to Briscoe. Flatliner into Eddie’s crotch, then a gourdbuster for 2 on Hero, but Chris hits back with an elbow smash into the Ligerbomb for 2. SPRINGBOARD RANA from Magno, then a SPRINGBOARD LUCHA ARMDRAG on Edwards. Amazing considering how precarious those ropes are! SOMERSAULT PLANCHA TO THE FLOOR BY STEEN! Magno climbs up the ringpost. RINGPOST MOONSAULT ONTO EVERYONE! But before Magno can go for another top rope move he gets distracted by Shane Hagadorn. LOADED/EMERALD ELBOW SMASH BY HERO! He pins Magno at 15:21
Rating – *** – Until Magno busted out a few wild lucha moves at the end I was starting to question why it was ROH even paid to bring them in for the show. However, considering how dangerous the environment was once the ring rope broke, some of those spots at the end were bordering on the life-threatening. This was a pretty solid trios tag, made more interesting by that rope break. I also thought Eddie Edwards was the standout talent. He didn’t do anything flash, but showed far more personality than we’ve seen from him before. I think teaming with Davey Richards is starting to rub off on him as he now carries an element of physical charisma to go with his strong foundational skillset.
SIDENOTE – I think this was the weekend Larry Sweeney was officially removed from all future ROH events. Obviously he’ll still be on HDNet for a few weeks, but he has legitimate problems with bipolar disorder, and the condition flared up in recent weeks, leading to some irrational behaviour which Cary and Pearce took so seriously that they made the decision to terminate his deal. It’s a shame because he’s a real asset to ROH, so you’d hope he’ll be brought back somewhere down the line. But firstly you hope he manages to get his head together and sort out any personal problems he has. Shane Hagadorn is bumped up from ‘man-servant’ to frontline manager for S’n’S Inc. from now on.
‘HEEL’ D-Lo Brown acts like anyone cares that he started working heel at the 7th Anniversary Show. Good promo from Brown, but the whole thing predisposes ROH fans really cared about him being in ROH in the first place. Which I’m just not sure they do…
Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Roderick Strong
Here’s an example of ROH going the extra mile to put to put on a great show for Mania weekend. Nakajima is flown in for his first Ring Of Honor appearance since Final Battle weekend. He put in some impressive performances when we saw him last year, none moreso than his classic with Bryan Danielson at Glory By Honor 7. Tonight he faces a man who potentially chops as hard as he KICKS.
Nakajima goes after the arm early as the announce team play up the fact that he’s still only 20 years of age. Strong fires him away with a flurry of chops. Kung Fu movie style kick combo in return from Naka sweeps Roddy off his feet. Having had enough of the strikes, Strong drops his opponent with a back suplex, then a backbreaker. Dropkick to the leg, followed by a dragon screw from the Sasaki Office representative. Pretty soon he has Roderick limping and scurrying around the ring trying to get away from him. Strong throws Nakajima across the ring, but immediately drops down clutching at his knee again. Chops traded…and Strong COUNTERS A KICK to the cradle backbreaker! Right onto the bad leg though so he struggles to cover in a timely fashion. Naka batters him with a spinning heel kick in the corner then a BRAINBUSTER FOR 2! Stronghold COUNTERED to the Anklelock! BELLY TO BELLY BACKBREAKER! Nakajima throws more kicks and gets lifted into the dreaded DEATH BY RODERICK! SICK KICK! GIBSON DRIVER! Strong wins in 09:31
Rating – *** – Almost devastatingly short, but that was ten minutes of constant action that the Houston crowd absolutely ate up. Of course in sub-10 minutes they didn’t have time for perfect selling, but they went full throttle and delivered exactly what people wanted – hard strikes, big slams and a hot finish. Of course they could have gone longer and had a better match, but in the allotted time given this was pretty great. And Nakajima is in a ppv main event tomorrow night so he’ll definitely get more time to show off his considerable skills then.
Bobby Dempsey vs Kamala
Yes, you are reading that correctly. Remember at the 7th Anniversary Show when Bobby Dempsey mentioned that Larry Sweeney had signed two open contracts for opponents to face Bobby. The first was taken by Adam Pearce that very night in Manhattan, and he was spectacularly dispatched within a minute. Now Sweeney sends the Ugandan Giant into battle for the S’n’S cause. It’s such a shame Sweeney wasn’t around for this, the backstage promos with Hero, the Wolves, Hagadorn and Larry himself with Kamala would have been absolutely priceless.
Kamala in ROH is awesome. If D-Lo Brown can get a spot surely there’s a spot for the Ugandan Giant! Bobby Dempsey tears his shirt off to reveal Kamala body paint! Shane Hagadorn smacks Kimchee around, so he sets Kamala on Hagadorn instead. Kamala hits an avalanche in the corner, then watches as Bobby hits the cannonball senton. Then they all leave. What a surreal segment…
Rating – N/A – A match didn’t actually happen then so there’s no rating. But Kamala in ROH was just awesome. I’m a mark for Kamala…who knew
Alex Koslov cuts a Russian promo on Bryan Danielson.
Claudio Castagnoli vs Brent Albright vs Blue Demon Jr. vs El Generico
Bit of a strange cast of characters for a four corner match, and it’s not immediately clear why Generico was put in this match instead of Jay Briscoe, in order to allow him to team with Steen earlier tonight. Not that it matters too much. Obviously Castagnoli and Albright are the real heat of this match having fought to another controversial finish at the 7th Anni Show. Generico also has history with Claudio going back to the finals of 2007’s Race To The Top Tournament. And Blue Demon, another Mexican import in for the evening, brings the added prestige of being current NWA Champion, and is a real name talent in Mexico. Albright held that belt for a while last year so it’s a chance for him to test his skills against the current champion.
Demon takes Claudio out of the ring with a series of headscissor takedowns then feeds him to a waiting Brent Albright who batters him in the corner. Generico throws Demon out with a lucha armdrag, then dives over the top rope into a somersault plancha aimed at Claudio. But Double C gets physical, heaving Brent then Blue Demon into the guardrails. Tilta-whirl backbreaker for El Generico next, scoring an early nearfall. Albright is so desperate to fight Castagnoli the referee physically has to restrain him. He gets a legal tag moments later though, so once again we have Albright and Claudio going at it. Demon flies in with a crossbody block on Claudio for 2. Yakuza Kick misses to allow Demon to score with the TOPE SUICIDA! Meanwhile in the ring Claudio goes for the same low blow we saw in Manhattan, only for Brent to evade it. Castagnoli shoves the referee aside to hit a blatant low blow instead of the subtle one. That gets him the victory in 08:27
Rating – ** – Total filler, but at least it served a purpose in advancing the Castagnoli/Albright feud. Blue Demon Jr. didn’t look very motivated in my opinion, and contributed very little to the match. I maintain my query as to why Jay Briscoe couldn’t have been in this to allow Generico to do something more meaningful in the trios tag earlier.
Alex Koslov vs Bryan Danielson
As both have mentioned in their promos on this DVD, although their careers have taken very different paths, they actually used to train together in the Inoki Dojo in California, so are familiar with each other’s work. Koslov made a real name for himself in Mexico (and I believe subsequently inked a WWE deal) and is someone people have been wanting to see in ROH for a while.
Booing a guy waving a Russian flag around feels so 80’s. Koslov seems far more interested in mouthing off to the fans and takes a big dropkick to the jaw from ‘American’ Dragon. Prazak and Leonard use the downtime to make some quietly amusing Duggan/Volkoff references. They get into some mat exchanges, most of which are dominated by Danielson. Alex does a great job blocking the Mexican Surfboard and retreats to the corner to evaluate his strategy. He pounces on the leg and hits a couple of WILD spinning toeholds. But once again he gets distracted by agitating the American fans, and this time does get hauled up into the Mexican surfboard. Koslov retreats to the apron to suplex Danielson TO THE FLOOR! FLYING CROSSBODY TO THE OUTSIDE! Alex celebrates that by donning his furry hat and scoring with COSSACK DANCE BOOTS for 2. Enziguri kick nailed, then a gorgeous frog splash for 2. CATTLE MUTILATION ON DRAGON! RUSSIAN MMA ELBOWS! DANIELSON STARTS HULKING UP! RUSSIAN LEG SWEEP TAKES HIM DOWN! Koslov buries Danielson with the Russian flag, only to miss another top rope splash. MMA ELBOWS! CATTLE MUTILATION ON THE FLAG! Danielson takes the win at 15:17
Rating – *** – Good mix of comedy and wrestling, and, watching on DVD, you felt like this had to be one of the most enjoyable matches of the night to see live. Crowd interaction was crucial to this match from the opening bell. Koslov, in particular, did a great job playing a comic book villain. This wasn’t great wrestling, and was miles away from Bryan Danielson’s best work. But as Dragon becomes more and more isolated from anything meaningful in Ring Of Honor as he starts considering his options and preparing to move to pastures new, this was a good use for him.
D-Lo Brown vs Colt Cabana
In New York at the last show, we saw a new aggressive side of D-Lo. Having earned himself a host of future bookings with ROH, he showcased a new and highly aggressive attitude. Standing in his way is the fun-loving Colt Cabana, who made a popular return to ROH the same night.
I don’t like Cabana’s ‘Boom Boom’ nickname. Giant Baby D-Lo refuses the handshake and we commence a highly stand-offish opening minute. The crowd is vocal for the early going here as they have been at any point in the evening. Colt frustrates Brown with his impressive mastery of British-style chaining. Shining Wizard from D-Lo brings that party to a grinding halt, only for Cabana to counter the sliding lariat into another World Of Sport style roll-up. ‘Shake your head’ – Houston. D-Lo roundly refuses and clobbers his opponent with a clothesline. Flying Asshole nailed, only for Brown to convert to the TKO. Brown misses the flying manchild senton and is rolled into the Billy Goat’s Curse. Brown taps, but out of sight of the official so the match continues. Colt 45 COUNTERED to the Sky High. He gets hung in the ropes as he climbs looking for the Lo Down, but takes the ensuing mayhem to load his fist with a set of knucks. He levels Colt with them for the win at 11:04
Rating – * – I think my constant sarcasm in his direction has made my feelings about D-Lo in ROH pretty clear. As a feel good novelty act I thought he was ok. As a regular member of the roster, using a cliché’d heel act to roll over integral parts of ROH history like Colt Cabana…I’m not a fan. In a time when ROH is supposed to be saving money, I refuse to believe there aren’t any cheaper, up and coming talents on the North East independent scene who could make far better use of the spot he takes up. To be fair, I enjoyed portions of this, like Cabana using his crazy European style to out-fox Brown, this was just very one-paced and stagnant – and I don’t believe Brown has it in the tank to produce better.
KENTA vs Davey Richards – GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title Match
Obviously Pro Wrestling NOAH’s KENTA is the defending champion here. But Richards is a regular gaijin with NOAH, and spent an elongated tenure in their dojo last summer. As we saw at Steel City Clash last week, there’s still plenty of bad blood between these two. KENTA took Davey under his wing as a protégé during 2006 when he was a semi-regular on the ROH roster, building to a great match at Fight Of The Century (which is often overlooked because of the Danielson/Joe broadway on the same show). But the relationship ended in 2007 when Richards, as part of the No Remorse Corps, attacked KENTA. They had some extremely physical exchanges in Pittsburgh two weeks ago, and with KENTA looking for revenge, whilst Richards wants to avenge the loss he suffered to KENTA in 2006, this one is sure to be another hard hitting battle.
Richards does NOT shake the hand, and quickly has to hit the deck to avoid an early kick attempt from KENTA. More kicks missed, then DUELLING DROPKICKS leading to a stand-off. Richards kicks him in the back, and gets B*TCH SLAPPED hard, then punted across the chest. KENTA boots him in the mouth, followed by the slingshot disrespect kick to the jaw. Having had enough of being kicked, Davey dives through the ropes and into a dragon screw against the middle cable. With KENTA handicapped, he’s free to hammer at him with more kicks of his own, mostly aimed at the now suspect leg. The champion comes back with a flurry of offence, but comes up clutching his leg after landing a vertical suplex. Kicks, then a fisherman buster get KENTA a 2. Richards grabs the leg to hit a cradle suplex, and as KENTA rolls to the floor the challenger gives chase with the TOP CON DEATH WISH INTO THE FRONT ROW! Heel kick connects with the side of KENTA’s head soon after they re-enter, before he gets a close nearfall with a bridging German suplex. KENTA returns fire with a springboard missile dropkick followed by REPEATED mafia kicks in the corner. He actually pauses to sell the knee before delivering a Ligerbomb too. TOP ROPE DOUBLE STOMP GETS 2! He hit that with almost Low Ki-esque viciousness. But he goes to the top rope once too often, springboarding straight into a powerbomb from Richards, then the Texas Cloverleaf. KENTA finds a rope, then gets to his feet for an EPIC KICK DUEL! BOTH MEN DOWN! They get back up…SLAP DUEL INSTEAD! KENTA ends it with a tiger suplex for 2. To the apron next, where KENTA hoists Richards up for a CORKSCREW BRAINBUSTER TO THE FLOOR! ‘F*ck WrestleMania’ – Houston. Can Davey beat the count-out? He slides in at 16 but doesn’t look like he has much left. REPEATED KICKS TO THE HEAD! BUSAIKU KNEE STRIKE! FOR 2! GO 2 SLEEP…COUNTERED BACK TO THE TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! KENTA rolls through that but eats the Alarm Clock. DR DRIVER! KENTA KICKS OUT! Go 2 Sleep, countered again with a crucifix. Handspring Enzi…COUNTERED BACK TO GO 2 SLEEP! KENTA RETAINS! 18:16 is your time.
Rating – ****1/2 – I’m sure by this point most people have read everything that’s written about this match, both good and bad. Yes, KENTA’s selling of the leg was, to be frank, bizarre. Yes most of the match is just kicking and false finishes. Yes, they botched the finish (although that is edited out in one of the most spectacular pieces of editing ROH has ever done – why they couldn’t do that for poor Jay Briscoe when he was left standing like a lemon on top of the ladder trying to unhook the belts at the end of the Man Up Ladder War I don’t know)…but this is still a superb match. Although it’s very different, I’d actually compare this to the Kobashi/Sasaki Tokyo Dome match, in that there is almost no intention to work a smart match at all. They went out there knowing exactly what the fans paid to see, and just tried to give it to them in the most violent way possible. I’m sure some would describe this as crass, but this was an undeniable cheap thrill that is well worth going out of your way to see.
After such a battle even Davey ignores his ‘heel’ persona to bow to KENTA and shake his hand. Fans declare that an MOTYC, and I agree.
Austin Aries/Jimmy Jacobs vs Tyler Black/Necro Butcher
This one doesn’t need much of an introduction. Tyler is technically the #1 Contender to the World Title but has put his quest for the gold on hold so he can battle Aries and Jacobs, who beat him to a bloody pulp at Final Battle 2008. Necro isn’t a fan of Jimmy or anybody who associates with him after his separation from Age Of The Fall last year.
Aries has generic HDNet music too now. He and Jacobs refuse to get into the ring so Black wipes them both out with a somersault plancha to the floor. Necro has fans diving for cover as he rips up a section of the guardrail and clobbers Jimmy with it. Bell rings as Aries and Tyler enter the match legally for the first time. A-Double is tossed aside, leaving Jimmy alone with both his opponents. Necro and Tyler try to slam either opponent through a table on the floor, but are ultimately unsuccessful. Aries and Jacobs shove Tyler out as he looks for the springboard clothesline…then Jimmy whips A-Starr into the Heat Seeking Missile. Aries puts the Vulcan Neck Pinch on Tyler before getting into a mini-argument with Jacobs as he gets in the way of the Power Drive Elbow. Necro tags Austin with a clean right hand, then drags him from the top with the Necro-canrana for 2. He throws Jacobs into a spear on Aries and capitalises on the confusion to score a nearfall. Jimmy then counters the Tiger Driver with a low blow. End Time locked in, but Tyler saves with a boot to the face. Jacobs is choke slammed onto his own partner then set up on the table outside the ring. Tyler wants to dive through it but is stopped by Austin. Necro stops Aries putting Black through the table. He and Jacobs fight on the apron above it. IED FROM ARIES SENDS THEM BOTH THROUGH THE TABLE! F-5 countered into the shinbreak back suplex by the former World Champion. But the IED is reversed into a RUNNING F-5. SPEAR FROM JACOBS SAVES THE BUCKLE BOMB! BRAINBUSTER! Aries pins Black at 11:00 dead.
Rating – *** – Basic and functional rather than anything memorable or special. But they were in a hard spot on the card following KENTA/Richards so actually did a stellar job here. The energy levels were high throughout and this didn’t feel ‘dead’ at any point.
Nigel McGuinness vs Jerry Lynn – ROH World Title Match
Main event time, and it’s a match which sees defending World Champion Nigel McGuinness once again attempt to defy the odds, his broken down body and the fact he has to wrestle with BOTH arms severely limited by biceps injuries to retain the belt tonight. He edged a competitive non-title bout with Lynn at Vendetta 2 last year, a match which Jerry credits with reenergising him and earning him more bookings with ROH. Jerry later earned a title shot, which he cashed in at Southern Hostility, and once again put in a creditable performance but came up well short. Indeed, the story of Lynn’s ROH return thus far as been lots of creditable, ‘you still got it’ performances, without ever being able to win ‘the big one’. But as everyone, including himself has pointed out, all it takes is one mistake, one off night, or one injury too many and we could see a new ROH Champion crowned.
Jerry is obviously pumped for this match, and hurls Nigel down by the arm and immediately starts working wristlocks to expose the McGuinness injuries. When the champion starts going to some British chaining, he counters with a simple right hand to the bad arm to stop him. Lynn works a cross armbreaker which makes Nigel try to leave the ring. Still pumped, Jerry heads out after him and drives the arm into the guardrails. But the champ uses the harsh environment to his advantage and pitches Lynn into the railings by the shoulder just moments later. Just as we saw in his match with KENTA, Nigel starts working his challenger’s arm almost as a defensive strategy to keep his own arm free of sustained attacks. Tornado DDT from Jerry, but he stops to sell his own arm before covering for 2. He thinks about a Cradle Piledriver, but the arm hurts him too much and in a flash McGuinness flings him away. He suplexes Lynn into the Tower Of London for 2. London Dungeon comes next, only it’s applied too close to the bottom rope. Apron Tower Of London blocked, so Nigel LEVELS Jerry with a McLariat over the ropes and starts screaming in pain. TOWER OF LONDON TO THE FLOOR! Jerry beats the count at 19 to a big pop. Super McLariat misses and Lynn gets 2 with a sunset flip bomb. LONDON DUNGEON ON NIGEL! He powers out of that but can’t hit the challenger with the Jawbreaker Lariat. They go to a roll-up sequence which ends with Nigel going for London Dungeon. COUNTERED to the London Dungeon on McGuinness for a second time. McGuinness thinks about the Tower Of London again, only for Lynn to counter in flight to another cross armbreaker. Jawbreaker Lariat blocked into an Air Raid Crash for 2. CRADLE PILEDRIVER! NIGEL IN THE ROPES! JAWBREAKER LARIAT NAILED! BUT IT KILLS NIGEL TO HIT IT! CROSS ARMBREAKER AGAIN! In an epic struggle, Nigel desperately scrambles to the ropes. Neither man can move his arm now, but they climb back to their feet and staredown. CRADLE PILEDRIVER AGAIN! LYNN HAS DONE IT! Nine years after winning the ECW Title, he is World Champion again at 19:08
Rating – **** – This was an incredibly emotional match. It was almost torture watching Nigel out there. The guy was visibly hurting to the point that he made the viewers uncomfortable. Watching his face contort just as he PREPARED to hit those lariats at the end, KNOWING how much it was going to hurt him was really awful. I think the original plan wasn’t for Jerry to end Nigel’s lengthy run with the belt. But McGuinness’ injury, coupled with needing a recognisable name for the fledgling HDNet series meant that the belt was hot-shotted onto him to get the promotion out of a hole. Personally I don’t agree with it. I’d have used some fast and loose booking to have Tyler win the belt tonight. It seems odd to give an ageing (although admittedly highly respected) veteran like Jerry a ceremonial run with the belt that, to be frank, he doesn’t need, whilst the guy that EVERYONE has pegged as being the future of ROH stands on the sidelines feuding with Aries and Jacobs, both of whom would become instant contenders for hot World Title matches in the immediate future when ROH needs to build hot matches to shift DVD’s and make their TV show a hot product. Having said all that, as I said, this was an emotional match. Watching Nigel kill himself was vicious, but seeing Lynn, the weary, battle scarred veteran storming into battle (after months of emotional, reflective, ‘was it worth it’ promos on the video wire) looking for one last moment in the spotlight, then getting his big win was really effective too. I don’t think this was as good as Nigel/KENTA, as I’m not sure it matched it for drama or for depth, but it was certainly still a great main event and a worthy end to one of the best runs with the ROH World Title we’ve seen thus far. Would I rather someone other than Jerry have dethroned McGuinness? Probably, yes – and I don’t think it would’ve been that difficult to orchestrate. BUT, having said that, there’s now way Lynn deserves all the flack that came his way in the aftermath of this. His run in ROH has been terrific up to now, he’s busted his ass, put over younger talent, and is almost always in one of the better matches in the show every night. Even if he’s not the new World Champion I’d probably have picked, he still has my respect and heartfelt congratulations.
The first man in the ring is Cary Silkin, who poignantly congratulates Jerry then goes straight to Nigel and the camera catches him delivering a heart felt ‘thank you’ message to the departing champion. He puts over Nigel (who looks close to tears) then leaves with the belt. McGuinness gets on the stick and leaves his heel character behind to give an emotional thanks to everyone for supporting ROH. He was rushed out of the building and straight onto the injured list after this. Although he’d make a brief comeback, that would be curtailed by more injuries, and he’d be off to pastures new by the end of 2009 so this really marks the beginning of the end of his ROH career.
Tape Rating – *** – I’d argue this is probably the worst of the four ‘Supercard’ events thus far. There are some great matches, and the title change at the end obviously makes this a historically significant event, but the overall card quality is up and down. No match gets an overly long period of time, which is both a positive in that the event flies by, but also a negative in that you get peppered with short, adequate but completely forgettable bouts. Strong/Nakajima was disappointingly brief. Titus/Stevens was no more than a glorified HDNet match, for a big grudge match, the Aries/Jacobs vs Black/Necro match came and went in almost entirely uneventful circumstances. You’ve also got the very mediocre Brown/Cabana match, and a four corner survival highlighted by Blue Demon Jr.’s spectacular ability to…not really do a whole lot. So sure, the Jerry Lynn title win is probably a must-see (lets face it, there’s only been a very small amount of World Title changes in the 200+ shows ROH has run), and I have KENTA/Davey down as best ROH match thus far in ’09. So yeah, you should purchase this DVD. But when you consider that Supercard Of Honor 1 and 3 are two of the greatest ROH events ever produced (and SOH 2 wasn’t bad with the second DG trios tag, Whitmer/Jacobs in a steel cage, Strong/Aries etc), you may come away mildly disappointed. Easy recommendation, but I’d say it was also an embodiment of how 2009 ROH has just felt a little lacking compared to years gone by.
Top 3 Matches
3) Roderick Strong vs Katsuhiko Nakajima (***)
2) Nigel McGuinness vs Jerry Lynn (****)
1) KENTA vs Davey Richards (****1/2)