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231 ROH Manhattan Mayhem III 6/13/2009

ROH 231 – Manhattan Mayhem 3 – 13th June 2009

Ring Of Honor returns to the Hammerstein Ballroom for the third instalment in the Manhattan Mayhem series. 2005’s inaugural Manhattan Mayhem saw one of the finest top-to-bottom ROH shows ever produced, whilst 2007’s sequel saw Bryan Danielson and Takeshi Morishima tear the house down with an incredible MOTYC. It’s clear that ROH have pulled out all the stops to make this one memorable too. Jerry Lynn defends the World Title against Austin Aries, the American Wolves put the Tag belts on the line against Steen and Generico in a Submission Match, Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black prepare for their Steel Cage showdown in a few weeks by clashing in a First Blood Match tonight with lots more besides including Ric Flair and a rematch from as far back as 2002’s Crowning A Champion. As the title alludes to, we’re in Manhattan, NY. Hosts are Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard

ROH VIDEO WIRE – See Contention (ROH230) review for details

SIDENOTE – I ended my last review with an aside about the tragic passing of Larry Sweeney. Sadly I’m beginning this one by encouraging everyone to check out the bonus features on this DVD – which include an emotional 10-bell salute to puroresu legend Mitsuharu Misawa who passed away in Japan earlier that day. The fact that even Flair came out to honour him should tell you exactly how highly the great Misawa was thought of around the world. His phenomenal body of work for AJPW through the 90’s make him one of the finest the sport has ever seen, and his passing has left a chasm in NOAH, the company he created, that two years on, they’re still struggling to get over.

Terrific promo from Kenny King and Rhett Titus to start the show. Whilst the Wolves/Steen-erico feud and the controversial World Title picture have taken all the headlines from 2009 thus far, their growth as performers has been a joy to watch.

Austin Aries is the first man into the Hammerstein to cut a strong anti-New York promo. To answer his question, yes it’s too soon for September 11th jokes, and I definitely don’t agree with him using it to get heat on a pro-wrestling promo. He’s here to become ROH World Champion for a second time tonight. He also introduces his protégés Kenny King and Rhett Titus for the opening match

Kenny King/Rhett Titus vs Young Bucks

If you needed an indication of how far the ANX have progressed since they started teaming together in late ’08, you need look no further than King’s match with American Dragon last night. He put in a terrific showing, whilst Titus was at ringside and almost stole the show with his entertaining antics. Nobody is saying they should be Tag Champions yet, but I think their importance as a viable and talented midcard act shouldn’t be underestimated. Tonight they face the Jacksons who impressed at recent HDNet tapings, and earned bookings on this weekend of DVD shows to see if they are worth the fly-in money for a permanent roster spot.

‘Bootleg Hardyz’ – New York. Despite that the Bucks start impressively, using machine gun tags to control Titus from the bell. Finally King knees Nick in the spine from the apron to turn the tide in his team’s favour. Blindside Lariat double team on Nick gets 2. Tag to Matt allows the Bucks to hit stereo backflips into sliding dropkicks. Kenny shoves Nick to the floor as they set up for more double teams, and he take Matt to the floor seconds later to introduce him to the unforgiving ROH guardrails. Sexy Suplex on Matt Jackson gets 2. Titus gets so much height on a standing dropkick that he almost overshoots Matt’s HEAD. Finally Matt tips Rhett over the ropes and hits a SPRINGBOARD SOMERSAULT ACE CRUSHER on King. Hot tag to Nick who hits the slingshot facecrusher on Kenny. LEAPFROG facecrusher by Titus…INVERTED CODE RED BY MATT! KING WITH SHOTGUN KNEES TO HIM! Rhett scores with a top rope knee drop which nearly wins it for the ANX. Spear by Matt, into a springboard frog splash from Nick which gets 2. Stereo Superkicks on Rhett…MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK! The Jacksons win it at 08:27

Rating – *** –
Outstanding opening weekend for the Young Bucks. They produced a showstealer in Manassas yesterday, and a thrilling little curtain jerker tonight. Much like with Kenny Omega, I have my doubts about how often ROH will actually be able to book them, but their brand of manic high spottery will become a valuable asset to any show they are on.

Jimmy Rave vs Necro Butcher

The Embassy have had their problems with Necro recently. He stopped them assaulting Mitch Franklin on the recent Boston pre-show and, as a result, has fallen victim to several attacks from Prince Nana’s troops – led by his Crown Jewel in Jimmy Rave. Thus far Jimmy has done all he can to steer clear of Necro, but tonight he’ll have no choice but to get physical with him.

Necro tears through both Ernie Osiris and Prince Nana as Rave tries to leave through the crowd. Sadly for Jimmy he can’t get out in time and takes a vicious beating all around ringside from Butcher. He gets sent crotch-first into the ringpost, but grabs a chair and drives it into Necro’s leg whilst he is being distracted by Dirty Ernie. Heel Hook attempted but it’s too early so Necro is able to punch his way free. Eventually he does lock in a piss-poor version of it. Has Rave actually forgotten how to work one of his own moves? Necro counters to a small package to snatch victory at 06:02

Rating – ** –
I enjoy Jimmy Rave but these two guys in a straight wrestling match was never going to be particularly hot. Thankfully Pearce booked it short which helped, and you hope they have better chemistry once the feud heats up enough to start bringing in some gimmick matches. Strong booking for The Embassy though with Jimmy’s performance over Necro being so formidable that Butcher had to basically forego his desire for revenge to snatch a desperate victory.

The Embassy beat down Necro whilst Rave refuses to relinquish the Heel Hook. Colt Cabana comes out for a belated save but the damage has already been done.

Ric Flair is introduced next. Generic Flair promo with some sleazy old man jokes, lots of wooo’s, some false modesty and a vague attempt at hyping the World Title main event which he was supposed to be ringside for but left the show instead. Seeing Flair in ROH has been fun, but save a few HDNet episodes when he served a purpose as a form of authority figure it’s been almost entirely pointless. I hope Cary and ROH managed to recoup at least some of his colossal fee through ticket sales and whatnot.

Sonjay Dutt vs Roderick Strong

There’s no storyline behind this match – unless you count Roderick spending basically all of ’09 thus far bouncing around the midcard without doing much as a story. Tonight his undercard rampage continues with Sonjay who has been booked for a number of dates across the summer and is looking to secure a permanent roster spot.

Standing switches and other such basics get us started – mostly with Dutt working hard to match Roddy’s power advantage with some impressive speed moves. But he tries one too many and slingshots himself over the ropes, straight into a backbreaker from Strong. It’s noticeable how vicious Roderick is at this point, almost dropkicking Sonjay’s head clear off his shoulders before delivering a high octane Irish whip to the buckles and shunting him back-first into the ringpost. Death By Roderick evaded by Dutt slipping to the apron, and he floors Strong with a springboard press to leave both men reeling. Slingshot leg drop combo gets Sonjay his first serious nearfall of the contest. Roddy pops up with the urinage backbreaker, then a cradle backbreaker for 2. Stronghold locked in briefly but Dutt creeps to the ropes. BARRICADE MOONSAULT FROM DUTT IS CAUGHT…HE TURNS IT TO A SWINGING DDT ON THE FLOOR! Back inside Strong lands the Sick Kick for 2. Gibson Driver blocked into a rather contrived Red Star Press sequence. DEATH BY RODERICK! DEATH BY RODERICK BACKBREAKER! GIBSON DRIVER! Strong wins in 12:53

Rating – *** –
Not quite good enough to edge into 4* territory but this was a great little match – definitely Dutt’s best since returning to ROH, and one of Roderick’s best performances of the year. From the very beginning it was clear they had great chemistry with Sonjay’s speed bouncing off the marauding, bullying approach Strong brought to the table. Some of the back and forth spots at the end became a little contrived, and I could have done with Dutt selling the back a little more since Roddy was particularly brutal in his assault on that body part today – however, for where it was on the card this had the crowd rocking and surprised a lot of people. After making Aries tap last night and this win here, maybe Roderick’s year is finally starting to get interesting…

Jimmy Jacobs vs Tyler Black – First Blood Match

The issue between these two men is rapidly escalating to it’s final conclusion. At the last Chicago show Black called Jimmy a disappointment, and launched such a stinging verbal attack that Jimmy winded up spiking both himself AND leaving Black a bloody mess with it. But with Jacobs being basically the last member left in Age Of The Fall, he’s now hyping himself as a dangerous, unpredictable entity with nothing left to lose. Things are set to culminate with a Steel Cage Match in Detroit later this month but tonight they meet under First Blood rules with the aim of softening their opponent up for that one.

Jacobs, wrestling in jeans again, looks more homeless than Ernie Osiris as he comes to the ring. He dives straight into a tope suicida on Tyler as he makes his way to ringside. Black retorts with a suplex onto the metal entrance ramp. Springboard clothesline off the guardrail next, but Jimmy manages to throw him face-first into the ringpost – which is obviously a great move if the aim is to make your opponent bleed – although I haven’t actually heard a bell as yet. GUARDRAIL MOONSAULT NAILED! They fight on the apron, with Black unaware that Jimmy has snuck a screwdriver into his jeans. SCREWDRIVER TO THE FACE! And finally they’re both in the ring so the match can actually start. Of course…after being stabbed with a screwdriver Black is already bleeding, so Jacobs picks up the victory at 00:12. Tyler is bleeding everywhere, but doesn’t seem to care about winning or losing. He beats up a couple of referees then lays waste to Jacobs. BUCKLE BOMB! SUPERKICK! He grabs a mic to b*tch about it. Determined to salvage the evening, he demands to cash in his guaranteed World Title shot tonight and wants in on the main event.

Rating – *** –
I’ve generously included that whole segment in my rating, since I thought it was effective. Black and Jacobs did a good job promoting their pending Steel Cage Match, which was the real point so you consider the whole thing a success. If you’re being truthful Pearce the Black/Jacobs feud has been a total bust, and something that has absolutely killed Tyler’s momentum at main event level (although Jimmy’s general well-being and mindset at the time may have had as much to do with that as Pearce’s average booking) so anything they can do to add drama and build suspense going into their final showdown is absolutely crucial. Interesting idea to have Tyler cash in his title shot Money In The Bank style and get in on the main event tonight too. With the major ROH markets turning on Lynn, and with Aries the most over heel in the company, throwing Tyler into the mix suddenly adds an unpredictable x-factor.

Claudio Castagnoli vs D-Lo Brown vs Colt Cabana vs Bryan Danielson

Knowing how little time Dragon had left in ROH at this stage, it’s a tad annoying to see him wasted on a major show by throwing him into a filler fourway like this, which reeks of getting as many guys onto a show as possible. D-Lo looked good in a four corner match last night, turning face in front of the vocal Manassas crowd in the process. But it’s Claudio and Cabana who provide the storyline centre behind this one. Colt has had issues with The Embassy since Prince Nana ruined his HDNet debut and has joined forces with the likes of Necro Butcher, Grizzly Redwood and Brent Albright in their own personal battles with the new Embassy group. Don’t, however, forget Cabana and Dragon’s battles over the World Title in 2006 either – including Gut Check when Bryan wrestled to a 60 minute draw with Colt despite suffering a serious shoulder injury. There’s some history between Danielson and Claudio too.

Brown is apparently heel again, and no amount of head bobbing from Cabana can convince him to shake hands it seems. Cabana and Danielson fight off the heels then have a good natured dance off. D-Lo and Claudio return to double team Dragon. Colt gets caught going for a Flying Asshole on Brown, and D-Lo NAILS him with a German suplex. Double C puts Danielson in the Mexican surfboard whilst Brown makes a tit of himself messing up a pescado. Dragon comes back with machine gun kicks in the corner, only to be flung into Cabana as he and Colt try some tandem Hacksaw Jim Duggan-inspired offence. ELBOW SUICIDA ON CLAUDIO! That was so sudden and violent it was awesome. D-Lo starts climbing to the top rope, but Colt pulls him back down with the world’s ugliest powerbomb. Billy Goat’s Curse attempted but Castagnoli saves with a European uppercut. Cattle Mutilation on him, into MMA ELBOWS! SHINING WIZARD BY D-LO! He tries a senton bomb on Colt but flies straight into his knees. Billy Goat’s Curse…Brown taps! Colt wins at 09:46

Rating – ** –
Some of this was good, but the majority was pretty ugly and chaotic and watching D-Lo totally gassed and desperately trying to keep up with the pace of the ROH guys was absolutely laughable. He was fine for a one-off title match, and I’d like to see him in a singles match with Danielson, but other than that, there’s no place for him on the roster. I don’t think he’s necessarily a bad worker but he’s just so out of place with everyone else. I was pleased to see Cabana given the win to avenge the shady loss he suffered to D-Lo in Houston earlier in the year, but other than that it was as expected – total filler. Colt’s issues with The Embassy weren’t really played up at all.

American Wolves vs Kevin Steen/El Generico – ROH Tag Title Submission Match

I believe this is the former champion’s first rematch for the belts since losing them on HDNet. Admittedly Steen has lost shots with Jay Briscoe and Bryan Danielson since, but now he’s back with his partner of choice and, as we saw last night, it’s not just the Wolves who are capable of attacking knees and making opponents want to tap out. However, given that Generico is just back from a knee injury, Steen has been working with bad knees all year…and Eddie Edwards has just debuted his Achilles Tendon Lock – a move so devastating it made even American Dragon submit – you have to question the wisdom of accepting a Submission match tonight.

Richards and Edwards are initially hesitant to enter the ring with the challengers, instead marching around ringside beating up the various students who are working security. Steen and Generico eventually go to the floor to fight them out there. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA by Steen wipes out both Wolves. In the ring he locks Davey into the Sharpshooter but it’s early and Edwards is on hand to make the prompt save. But the challengers are in total control, tagging in and out quickly and giving Richards a real working over. Eddie gets a tag, but he suffers a similar fate. The match is nearly seven minutes old before the Wolves enjoy a significant period of offence for the first time. Edwards dragon screws Steen’s leg in the ropes, then watches him fall back into an STF from Davey. They continue to attack Mr Wrestling’s bad knee, and with Generico limping on the apron having only just come back from his own knee problem, within the space of a few minutes the entire landscape of the match has changed. Generico has seen enough and dives in for a double crossbody, then runs the ropes for a wild SPRINGBOARD SOMERSAULT DIVE TO THE FLOOR! Limping Cannonball senton by Kevin, into the Sharpshooter on Davey, who’s crawl to the ropes is made easier by the fact that Steen can barely stand. Generico in with Yakuza Kicks then a Sleeper. Edwards saves and manages to drag both challengers out of the ring. Davey to the top…SHOOTING STAR PRESS WIPES OUT EVERYONE ON THE OUTSIDE! He returns to the ring with El Generico, who picks him up for the Michinoku Driver. Yakuza Kick is blocked though and Davey drops him with another dragon screw. CLIMBING KNEE INTO A SUPER RANA by Edwards…and Richards is waiting in the ring to lock in the TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! Steen limps across the ring to make a vital save. Superkick German misses and Kevin goes for the Sharpshooter on Davey for a third time. Eddie tries to break it…but Steen won’t let go! GENERICO WITH A SHARPSHOOTER ON EDWARDS! But they have to relinquish them because their knees are shot. YAKUZA on Eddie, but as he climbs thinking about the brainbuster Richards nips in to HIT THE KNEE WITH THE RING BELL! ACHILLES TENDON LOCK! GENERICO TAPS! American Wolves retain at 18:40

Rating – **** –
Another cracking instalment in the feud which has been the best thing about ROH in 2009 by a long way. The grounded, basic, knee-destroying methods of the Wolves have proved to be the perfect foil for the all action, spot-intensive style of Steen and Generico and at this stage literally every match they’re having together is just so good. Tonight they started pretty slowly, but the second half was just unreal. The legit knee injuries of the former champions made for great natural drama, and you could feel the New York crowd urging them on…but in the end the stipulations and their nagging injuries were too much to overcome. You feel like they may get another shot though, perhaps this time in a match type where they have the competitive edge that Richards and Edwards enjoyed here…

Guido Maritato vs Jay Briscoe

This is actually a rematch from the fifth ROH show ever when James ‘Little Guido’ Maritato defeated the young Jay Briscoe at Crowning A Champion in the Murphy Rec. Maritato last appeared in ROH at the first Glory By Honor, when he fought Tony Mamaluke. Back then he was desperate to get rid of the FBI stigma, and get over as the Sicilian Shooter. His parting words in ROH were advising Mamaluke to get SERIOUS and ditch the FBI gimmick. Having been released by the WWE, he returns to ROH in 2011…calling himself Guido and coming out to the recognisable FBI music. I don’t agree with that to be honest. I know that, realistically, not a massive amount of ROH fans today will care about what happened in 2002, but I can’t say I find ignoring his entire 2002 run acceptable. Briscoe will be looking to avenge that Crowning A Champion defeat, and use this match as an example of how far he has progressed as a singles wrestler.

Maritato gets a standing ovation as he comes to the ring, which is testament to the respect people have for his run in ECW. Jay chops him so hard he loses his gum, erasing any doubts in Guido’s mind that this isn’t going to be all dancing and ECW nostalgia. Lots of chain wrestling comes next, which obviously favours Maritato. I’m disappointed that neither commentator has mentioned their first match at all. Guido goes low to give himself an advantage, but misses a pescado moments later. Briscoe looks to get the better of him in a fight on the floor…so James rakes the eyes. Sicilian Slice nailed for 2. Jay has his DVD blocked, so he delivers a spinebuster instead. They go to the floor again where Briscoe hits a Russian legsweep into the barricade. DVD countered to an armbar, but Briscoe rolls through it into the JAY DRILLER! He wins at 07:30

Rating – ** –
A mild disappointment in that it was so short, and I’m not really sure Maritato came in with his working boots on. I really liked his work in 2002 ROH, and loved how he distanced himself from the ECW persona and tried to build a new reputation in a new company. And there were flashes of that ‘shooter’ style tonight, which I liked. BUT, he spent most of it working in goofy FBI comedy mode, and at this point in it’s existence, ROH needs to be staying as far away from ECW nostalgia as possible. TNA and WWE have done that to death and it’s just not fun anymore. I’d be interested in seeing Maritato brought back if he wants to work the serious style of 2002 since he could still school 95% of the roster in terms of what he can do on the mat and working more of a shoot-style of match. However, at his age, at this point in his career…does he really want to accept the gruelling ROH schedule? And do ROH really need to splash out on his booking fee which could be spent bringing in fresh talent? Guido hasn’t been back since, and on this showing it’s not surprising. He gets an emotional farewell from the New York fans which is nice to see though.

Jerry Lynn vs Austin Aries vs Tyler Black – ROH World Title Match

Clearly Black’s addition changes things just a little bit. It’s now an elimination match with Lynn defending against Aries and the man who beat him last night in Manassas – Tyler Black. Austin has been counting down to this title match for some time. On HDNet he’s been determined to prove to Ric Flair that he carries himself like a World Champion, and is the ‘starr’ attraction in Ring Of Honor. He came close to winning it in the epic HDNet fourway World Title bout and will want to complete the job tonight. It was also his match with Black in this building at Final Battle 2008 that caused the radical change in personality we’ve witnessed this year – when he reacted badly to the New York fans vocally supporting Tyler over him. And despite what Ric Flair has said about the pressure being on the challengers rather than on Lynn, it seems like recently the ageing World Champion has been cracking under the pressure of carrying the company. He’s seen fans turning on him, has narrowly escaped with his belt on a number of occasions…and has critics counting down the days until he loses the belt. Can he beat the odds again tonight?

A-Double enters to Flair’s entrance music which is a nice touch. He tries to act like he cares about Flair leaving rather than be the Special Enforcer in the main event. Unfortunately he hadn’t reckoned on Nigel McGuinness’ presence. Nigel volunteers his services as a replacement…and even has a referee’s shirt with him. Austin’s cocky attitude endears himself to nobody as Tyler and Jerry attack him straight from the bell. Prazak rightly questions why Tyler didn’t just cash in his title shot last night when he could have had a singles match. Lenny Leonard chimes in to BURY Flair which is just awesome. Having nullified Aries, Lynn and Black pick up where they left off in Manassas and start working the mat with real purpose. A-Double returns to chest rake Jerry as he attempts a headscissors escape dropkick. ‘That’s MY move’ – Aries. He fights with Lynn on the outside, allowing Black to hit the ropes for a running somersault plancha. Aries responds by slamming Tyler’s ankle into the ringpost and crowd barrier. RINGPOST FIGURE 4 LOCKED IN! He refuses to break it until Nigel steps in and physically separates them. Flair rope flip by Austin, before he walks into the same press slam that Flair always ends up falling victim to as well. Last Chancery blocked by Jerry, so he tries the SUPER STALL Power Drive Elbow instead…and of course misses. Tyler in with the springboard clothesline before stomping his feet and totally no selling all the damage Aries did moments earlier. He fights with A-Double in the corner, and Lynn climbs to meet them with a double bulldog. Air Raid Crash on Black next and that gets 2. Last Chancery on Black who barely makes the ropes. Lynn sneaks in for the CRADLE PILEDRIVER! Black is in the ropes again though! Jerry delivers a superplex to Austin moments later and that leaves all three down. TKO gets 2 before Aries gets a shoulder up. Aries strikes back with the IED only to turn around into Tyler’s superkick. GOD’S LAST GIFT ON LYNN! TYLER ELIMINATES HIM AT 14:30! NEW WORLD CHAMPION TONIGHT! The crowd energy kicks up about ten notches after that. Brainbuster countered to Peroxism for 2. IED blocked and turned to the F-5 but Aries kicks out again. PHOENIX SPLASH MISSES! Aries COUNTERS the Buckle Bomb to a rana into the turnbuckles. IED! BRAINBUSTER! 450 SPLASH NAILED! BUT BLACK MAKES THE ROPES! FIGURE 4 LEGLOCK! McGuinness stops Aries using the ropes to gain extra leverage, allowing Tyler to attempt the Buckle Bomb. BUT THE KNEE GIVES OUT! KICK OF DEATH! BRAINBUSTER SCORES! NEW CHAMPION!! Aries wins at 20:04

Rating – *** –
If I’m honest, most of the first fall was really bad. No-selling, quiet crowd, the most un-main event feeling World Title match imaginable – which in the same title reign as Lynn/Briscoe is really saying something. Having just seen a fantastically well-executed multi-man World Title Match executed onHDNet, this seems particularly disappointing. But the six or so minutes from Lynn’s elimination to the conclusion were absolutely electrifying and saved the match.

SIDENOTE – Austin Aries becomes the first ever two-time ROH World Champion and he absolutely deserves it. The transformation of his character for 2009 has been remarkable, and he has been the undoubted top star on HDNet thus far. In an era when Ring Of Honor wants to make a splash on television, he has been the guy that has grasped the opportunity and delivered the perfect triple threat of a great character, fantastic promos and top notch in-ring work. It’s also no surprise that he’s really been the only guy smart enough to hang with Ric Flair on the mic, therefore the only one in ROH who’s really gained from the Nature Boy coming in. And for those that wanted Tyler to be World Champion, the reality is that should have happened earlier this year – and WOULD have happened at the end of 2008 if Gabe Sapolsky still had the book. Adam Pearce blew Tyler’s momentum with the farcical draw at Injustice 2, before sidelining him from the World Title picture to drag a decent feud out of Jimmy Jacobs who was on his way out of ROH for personal reasons. Hell, as Prazak pointed out, even this weekend Black has been booked to look like a mug – by cashing in his World Title shot tonight in a triple threat rather than yesterday in Manassas when he already had a singles match booked.

Aries has been the outstanding talent on HDNet thus far, and is therefore the right choice to be World Champion when the TV show is ROH’s top priority right now. Black SHOULD have been the guy to dethrone Nigel…but he wasn’t, and he now needs to be built back up before regaining his World Championship credibility. I think a historic occasion such as the first ever two-time ROH Champion probably deserved a better match, but it is still very much a landmark moment. Maybe a pretty average reign-ending match is a fitting conclusion to the Lynn title run sadly. I’ve loved having him in ROH as his attitude, workrate and 100% effort on every show, no matter what market, has been a joy to behold. However, his big title win felt like a bust, crushed under the disappointment of Nigel’s injuries and him winning the belt not Tyler Black…and his subsequent run was crippled by pointless title matches and fans turning on him. I feel bad for the way he’s getting boo’d out of buildings, but the reality is the belt had to come off him. At least Adam Pearce is learning from his mistake in not giving the belt to Black, and now strikes while the iron is hot with Aries. His first run as champion was shortened to make way for the epic Summer Of Punk in 2005. Now the stage is very much set for A-Double to become Ring Of Honor’s franchise player. I look forward to seeing what he does with that.

Kenny King and Rhett Titus come out to carry Aries around the ring on their shoulders, then all the way to the locker room…leaving Tyler alone in the ring as the fans start to file out of the building. Can he recover from another devastating World Title near miss?

Tape Rating – *** –
Tough one to call. On the one hand it’s a pretty consistent show, with nothing being overly bad. But on a major Ring Of Honor show, only one match making it to 4*, coupled with an underwhelming main event and a few disappointing matches on the midcard is a little surprising. Put it this way, this didn’t feel like a New York A-show. Had this happened in Edison, or Boston or Dayton…or maybe even Chicago you’d probably go away thinking that this was good. But ROH stacked the decks for a big Hammerstein show, brought in a lot of talent, so to only hit middle of the road decent has to be considered somewhat unsatisfactory. The positives are obvious – another great Wolves vs Steen-erico tag, Strong and Dutt tearing the house down in a shockingly good match, another strong Young Bucks outing, the go home show for the Black/Jacobs Cage Match, and of course Aries making history as the first two-time World Champion. So the reality is, if that all sounds appealing to you, you’ll probably like this show. It remains one of the weaker Manhattan shows the promotion has ever put out though. Personally I thought Contention was the better show this weekend.

Top 3 Matches

3) Jerry Lynn vs Austin Aries vs Tyler Black (***)

2) Roderick Strong vs Sonjay Dutt (***)

1) American Wolves vs Kevin Steen/El Generico (****)

Top 5 Contention/Manhattan Mayhem 3 Weekend Matches

5) Roderick Strong vs Sonjay Dutt (*** – Manhattan Mayhem 3)

4) Bryan Danielson vs Kenny King (*** – Contention)

3) Tyler Black vs Jerry Lynn (**** – Contention)

2) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Young Bucks (**** – Contention)

1) American Wolves vs Kevin Steen/El Generico (**** – Manhattan Mayhem 3)

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