ROH 242 – Boiling Point – 7th November 2009
Much as with Eliminating The Competition from Danbury, CT earlier this year, this is a one-off show tagged onto a weekend of HDNet tapings in Philadelphia. Technically this is the third night of a triple shot weekend of shows for Ring Of Honor. It’s also the last show in the New Jersey market to date. NJ is historically joined to ROH, with some of it’s defining moments happening in this region. However, as soon as ROH started running New York City regularly New Jersey’s influence has been on the wane. Of course it doesn’t help that recently this market has been given painfully average shows like Injustice 2 or Validation. Being brutally honest, reports I’ve read of this show don’t imply it does a lot to buck that trend, but I’m keeping an open mind. The main event at least should be good, with Kevin Steen and El Generico looking to get back on the horse after losing Ladder War 2 when they face Davey Richards and Chris Hero. Lets go to Edison, NJ to join Dave Prazak and Chris Hero.
Colt Cabana and Grizzly Redwood prepare to face Austin Aries and Rhett Titus in tag team competition tonight.
Sonjay Dutt vs Kenny Omega
Not a massive amount of back story to this – it should, however, be an exciting and extremely athletic wrestling match between two reputable junior heavyweights.
Evil Sonjay attacks Omega as he gets into the ring, giving him an immediate advantage. Big elbow in the corner, then a dropkick to the neck to bring Kenny back into things. Swinging neckbreaker delivered for 2. Dutt responds by biting Omega’s hand and sweeping him away from the turnbuckles, driving him face-first into the mat. Dragon screw in the ropes scores, and Dutt does a great job of holding the leg, hanging it in the ropes and leaving Kenny exposed for a SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT! With the leg weakened (thus negating the effectiveness of the Croyt’s Wrath) Dutt is confident enough to ground Omega, dragging him to the mat in a rear chinlock. Kenny breaks free and hits the Rocket Punch and Norman Smiley Slam for 2. Leapfrog Bulldog scores for a nearfall too. Croyt’s Wrath blocked though, allowing Sonjay to drop toehold Omega into the ropes and deliver a mental looking guillotine leg drop for 2. Asai DDT COUNTERED TO CROYT’S WRATH! Omega scores a big victory at 10:41
Rating – *** – Nothing earth-shattering, and the crowd was frighteningly silent, but I thought this was an effective opening match. Kenny Omega is normally a good guy to jerk the curtain as he brings exciting spots, but a good sense of fun as well. Dutt is pretty similar to him, but in a heel sense, so they made for reasonable opponents.
The Embassy (complete with newest recruit Erick Stevens, HDNet spoiler there) in the back. Even with a sore throat Prince Nana can lead his group in a round of super-villainous laughter
Joey Ryan/Erick Stevens vs Necro Butcher/Mark Briscoe
Obviously I don’t know what’s happened in subsequent HDNet tapings, but I’m not sure of the reason for Mark teaming with Necro. I suppose they are both pretty crazy southern types. I also have no idea why Stevens is in The Embassy now. We know Necro dislikes The Embassy though, and he’ll be desperate to get his hands on both the hired Magnum Joey Ryan and newest recruit, Erick Stevens.
Stevens has embraced his new heel role by ditching the Mohawk. Since fans have never really taken to him anyway, this is a heel turn that feels very overdue. Hot start from Necro and Mark, and zone in on Stevens in the corner before Nana and Joey pull him away. From the outside Erick is able to knee the Butcher in the back, handing The Embassy the advantage for the first time. Rolling ribbreakers from Stevens gets a 2. They then have a bowling shoe ugly exchange with Stevens hitting an awful looking back suplex before Necro rolls around like a spoon and leaves Erick grabbing for a cover in a moronic manner. Blind tag by Briscoe, but his redneck karate is blocked by Prince Nana grabbing his leg, allowing Stevens to hit a Samoan drop. Ryan and Stevens continue to dominate, now isolating Mark from his partner. Inevitably the hot tag to Necro arrives, and he clears the ring then wipes out both opponents with a cannonball senton to the floor. Nana and Osiris take Mark’s knee out in an absolutely vicious attack against the guardrails whilst Erick and Joey beat on Necro. Choo Choo Avalanche nailed second around…and he trades fists with Necro before Claudio Castagnoli runs in to DQ it at 10:19
Rating – * – Boring match, which got really ugly when Necro was involved, and with an absolutely terrible finish. The only redeeming feature of this was the shockingly violent attack from Nana and Ernesto on Mark’s leg…which was totally out of character for the placid and underwhelming nature of everything else in this pretty horrible waste of time.
Jay Briscoe runs out for a save to even the numbers, and the respite allows Mark to scale the ropes for a classic Crazy Mark somersault plancha to the floor. Unfortunately he doesn’t get Claudio with it, and the European jumps Jay from behind to get the next match started.
Claudio Castagnoli vs Jay Briscoe
Jay beat his brother Mark to become a top contender for the World Title at the last set of TV tapings. Castagnoli is another guy looking for a title match so beating Jay here would elevate him to the status of a top contender to Austin Aries.
Despite getting the jump on his opponent, Castagnoli soon finds himself on the back foot against the aggressive Briscoe. Claudio runs, leading Jay into a distraction from Prince Nana that hands the initiative to Double C once again. He floors Briscoe with a lariat, then mounts him to deliver a series of aggressive forearm smashes. He then pulls the referee aside whilst Nana and Ernesto crotch Jay on the ringpost. Jay comes back from that to flatliner Castagnoli into the turnbuckles then hit a mafia kick for 2. He reacts quickly to counter the Bicycle Kick with a superkick, then drops Claudio ON HIS NECK with a DVD. Jay Driller blocked though, and once again Nana distracts him. ROPE RUN BICYCLE KICK NAILED! UFO! Castagnoli wins with an impressive combo at 06:46
Rating – ** – Brief, but full of energy and certainly immensely more engaging than the preceding tag team match. I enjoyed the more focused, aggressive Claudio we saw tonight.
Kenny King talks about his SOTF rematch with Tyler Black tonight. Another surprisingly decent interview from one of ROH’s top prospects.
From there we go to the ring for the scheduled King/Black encounter. Sadly Kenny brings Austin Aries and Rhett Titus to the ring with him…and it’s not long before they get involved to force a premature conclusion to the match. This was all a plan to attack Tyler and put him out of contention for the ROH World Title. They prepare to hit the Jerry Lynn Driver on Black, only for Colt Cabana and Grizzly Redwood to make the save. Enter Jim Cornette to book a 6-man…
Tyler Black/Colt Cabana/Grizzly Redwood vs Austin Aries/Kenny King/Rhett Titus
Lots to talk about here. Tyler dislikes the All Night Express since they’re the guys that put his mentor Jerry Lynn out of Ring Of Honor with a neck injury. He’s also right in the hunt for the ROH World Title, and having won Survival Of The Fittest 2009 is now in line to receive a shot at A-Double’s belt. Meanwhile Colt Cabana is another guy who’d love a crack at the World Title, and someone who’s had a few controversial matches with the World Champion as of late. And of course, Rhett Titus dislikes Colt after he messed his face up at Final Countdown Tour Dayton. Grizz was humiliated in the inaugural A-Double L-Double so has lots of motivation too.
SOMERSAULT PLANCHA by Black takes out all three men to get the match underway. The heels take a real beating for a couple of minutes, then retire to the outside to take a breather and talk strategy. The babyface team isolate Titus, with Redwood even drawing the World Champion in to monkey flip his own protégé. Tag to King, only for Cabana to have fun at his expense, then throw him back into he heel corner, tail firmly between his legs. Eventually Aries tags in and drags Redwood into his half of the ring, cutting the Littlest Lumberjack off from his partners. Titus gets 2 with a sweet Yakuza kick to Thrustbuster combo. Grizz tags Cabana, and the Chicago native dives through both Aries and Rhett with a quebrada. Springboard Lariat from Black, then a kick to Austin’s head. Colt decks King and Aries with the Flying Asshole, leaving Tyler free to hit the F-5 on the champ for 2. Kenny saves Titus from the Colt 45 then drops Cabana with the capoeira kick. ROCKET LAUNCHER gets 2! SUPER SEX FACTOR! LAST CHANCERY! Tyler saves Colt, then levels King with the Pele Kick. Kick Of Death by A-Double ends that sequence, leaving him alone with Redwood. The straps come down, LARIATOOOOOO FLOORS THE CHAMP! Sadly Rhett shoves him off the ropes before he can do anymore damage. BUCKLE BOMB! SUPERKICK! BILLY GOAT’S CURSE! Tyler lays out the ANX with superkicks, allowing Cabana to get the victory over the World Champion at 15:19
Rating – *** – Not an all time classic but this was really fun, and would’ve made for a superb HDNet main event. I thought Aries, King and Titus showed great continuity as a heel duo, Tyler looked every bit the World Champion in waiting that ROH wants him to be, whilst Cabana and Redwood carried their end of the bargain by drawing strong babyface reactions every time they were involved.
Colt Cabana grabs the microphone and, having submitted the World Champion, demands a World Title match at the last Chicago show of the year.
Bobby Dempsey vs Tony Kozina
This is a popcorn match if ever there was one. Dempsey had his big moment on ppv in January, and has gone nowhere since then because he offers very little other than novelty fatty offence. Tonight he faces Tony Kozina, the man who’s been on HDNet a couple of times playing a goofball screw-up, but is more commonly known as the guy who trained Davey Richards.
Kozina goes for a shoulder tackle on Bobby, and ends up knocking himself backwards into the corner. Switching approach, he tries to use his speed to get the better of his large opponent, but wind up getting caught and dropped with the body slam. Springboard moonsault to the floor nailed, and that finally knocks Bobby off his feet. Fatty DVD countered…butt splash misses and Kozina scores with a double boot to the face for 2. Slingshot into a springboard bulldog nailed too, before Dempsey clobbers him with a bingo wing. Fatty DVD wins it at 04:11
Rating – * – Pointless match that should have been cut from the DVD or put on the pre-show. It also went on far too long for what it was. ROH need to decide what they’re doing with Bobby or get rid of him.
At the ROH Wrestling School Daizee Haze prepares Delirious for his match with Roderick Strong by having all the students take turns chopping him.
Delirious vs Roderick Strong
These guys had a forgettable feud in 2007 (sort of like the Albright/Claudio feud of that year) but definitely have decent matches in them if given an adequate time allocation. Roderick has been on a major role of late in Ring Of Honor, and controversially missed out in the finals of Survival Of The Fittest in Indianapolis last month – with many saying he was robbed of the victory and subsequent ROH World Championship match. I believe this was initially booked to be a KENTA/Roderick Strong rematch, so this has a lot of pressure to deliver something special to make it up to the disappointed New Jersey fans.
Strong infuriates Delirious by trying to pin him whilst he sits rigid in the corner before the bell. To the floor where Roddy tees off on his masked opponent with big chops before Delirious drops him face-first into the ring apron. SUICIDE FLIP NAILED! Back inside Strong counters the Panic Attack with a schoolboy pin for 2. Back suplex, then a backbreaker and finally a camel clutch kick off Roderick’s inevitable assault on Delirious’ back. In response Delirious grabs a chinlock, working the neck and grounding Strong to negate his power advantage. Regal Stretch locked in briefly too. From there he works the midsection, and starts insulting Roderick by repeatedly chopping on him in the corner. Big missile dropkick right on the ribs, and followed by the Panic Attack. Shadows Over Hell misses though, and although he can’t land the Sick Kick, Strong does drop Delirious with a powerslam for 2. Slingshot suplex countered with a neckbreaker, then a German suplex by the lizard man for his own nearfall. Cobra Stretch blocked and countered to a body slam into the turnbuckles. Stronghold locked in early…too early in fact as Delirious counters free. Cobra Stretch applied in response…INTO THE COBRA CLUTCH SUPLEX! SHADOWS OVER HELL! Roddy kicks out at 2…so he eats a PANIC ATTACK ON THE APRON! SHADOWS OVER HELL TO THE FLOOR COUNTERED WITH A MID-AIR SICK KICK! Back inside Roderick scoops Delirious into a violent cradle backbreaker then goes to the Stronghold again. Death By Roderick…SICK KICK! Still no Gibson Driver though, with Delirious countering it to CHEMICAL IMBALANCE II for a nearfall! Bizarro Driver blocked and Roderick peppers Delirious with strikes. COBRA CLUTCH SUPLEX! PANIC ATTACK FLURRY! STRONG KICKS OUT! Bizarro Driver countered with a small package to give Roddy the win at 18:31
Rating – *** – Throw a better finish on that and we’re talking 4*. Outside of anything with Danielson, this was one of Delirious’ best straight wrestling matches in ROH…ever. I loved his aggressive approach, dominating long periods of this match with big, hard hitting moves…almost punking Strong out by delivering multiple chops and working the midsection just as the Floridian likes to do. To that end, the finish did at least make total sense, with Delirious dropping bombs on Roderick, only for Strong to prove himself resourceful enough to snatch a victory as Delirious became overly aggressive. Definitely a change of pace from the match you might expect these two to have but it was well worth watching.
PICK 6 RANKINGS:
1) Roderick Strong
2) Tyler Black
3) Kenny Omega
4) Colt Cabana
6) Claudio Castagnoli
SIDENOTE – The Pick 6 Rankings are the new method for determining top contenders for the World Title, introduced by Jim Cornette at the most recent HDNet tapings. Both nights of HDNet action in Philadelphia had matches to determine the initial six guys in line for title shots, with those guys defending their spots in designated ‘Pick 6 Matches’ before finally receiving title shots. Only guys ranked in the Pick 6, (or, I guess, guys like Davey Richards who earned a shot via the Toronto Gauntlet) are eligible for a championship match. For my taste this sounds way too gimmicky, and with the benefit of hindsight I know that it was destined to go the same way as the Top 5 Rankings, #1 Contenders Trophy, Contenders Circle and other methods ROH have had of ranking top challengers down the years. But, the positive is we should get some really strong singles matches (like the impressive Roddy/Delirious match we just witnessed) with way more purpose and meaning than they might otherwise have.
Chris Hero/Davey Richards vs Kevin Steen/El Generico
The history between the American Wolves and Steen-erico should need no introduction. If anyone needed an indication as to the level of hatred that exists between the two teams, check out Eddie Edwards, who is at ringside with Hero and Davey tonight, proudly showing off the scar on the surgically repaired elbow he battled through to win Ladder War 2 at Glory By Honor 8. With Edwards out, Hero joins Davey Richards for one last main event calibre match between these teams. Steen has voiced concerns over his direction in Ring Of Honor and blames himself for that defeat in New York. Will teaming with Generico again and scoring a win over at least one half of the champions be the catharsis he needs to move on?
Generico starts with a flurry of armdrags on Richards, who rolls out of the ring to throw a tantrum and attack some ringside staffers. Steen in, and he’s as mouthy as ever – mocking Eddie Edwards then ducking an elbow strike from Hero to slap the taste out of his mouth. That only serves to irritate Hero though, and he takes Mr Wrestling down and starts elbowing at his troublesome knee which causes Steen to limp almost immediately. Next we get an amusing segment with Generico and Steen trying to work Davey’s ear. Straight right hand from Generico sends Richards diving to the corner in pain, whilst Kevin tags in seconds later and start biting it to make it worse. Finally Davey lays in a few fierce strikes to El Generico and tags out to give his ear some respite. Hero comes in, rakes Steen’s eyes then floors him with a big elbow strike for 2. Steen is thrown out of the ring where Hero, Edwards and Hagadorn all get shots in behind the referee’s back at the 10 minute mark. The heels start to wear Steen down, working repeated submission holds to keep him on the mat and make him work real hard to move his big body into counters and escapes. Steen eventually gets the tag after landing a missile dropkick on Richards. Generico in with a springboard headscissors on Hero for 2. Roaring Elbow countered to a Blue Thunder Driver and gets El Generico another nearfall, before an attempted Yakuza Kick is BLOCKED with a Rolling Elbow. Such is the impact of the Chris Hero elbow that in one shot he cuts off all of El Generico’s momentum and puts his team in firm control of the match again.
It’s the luchador’s turn to be thrown out of the ring and given an illegal beating at the hands of Eddie Edwards now, and he is barely able to kick out after that and a big boot from Hero on the way back in. Richards picks up another nearfall with the Handspring Enzi, but once again it’s the wolf that makes a key error – this time missing a diving headbutt and giving Generico a window to make the critical tag at 20 minutes. Steen in with power moves for both opponents, but can’t get the Sharpshooter on Davey as Hero saves with a Flash Kick. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA UP THE AISLE by Generico as Kevin picks up a 2 with an Air Raid Crash. Davey blocks the Steen-ton with a sickening jumping enzi strike, only to have his ear bitten…STEEN-TON INTO THE KNEES! Hero and Davey do a nice send-up to a trademark American Wolves spot with an elbow/German suplex combo. STEEN COLD STUNNER ON RICHARDS! Generico then drops him on his neck with the Michinoku Driver. Alarm Clock into a Roaring Elbow combo…then Tombstone by Davey, and Steen has to break the ensuing pin. HALF NELSON SUPLEX from Generico to Hero! Steen drops Davey with the pumphandle cradlebreaker, then heads upstairs for a big frog splash. Hero counters the Package Piledriver with a Rolling Elbow. HEEL KICK/DEATH BLOW COMBO GETS 2! Last gasp save by Generico on that one. He then climbs the ropes with Davey. BRAINBUSTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! GOLDEN ELBOW BY HERO! STEEN PUTS THE SHARPSHOOTER ON HIM! Hero taps at 27:52!
Rating – *** – Good match, but I felt they were trying way too hard for ‘epic’ and I just wasn’t feeling it. Maybe it was the silent crowd making it tough for me to get into, but personally I got the impression that these guys had about 12-15 minutes of match, but somehow had to stretch it out to go closer to 30. As such, the work was good, but at times it was SO slow. The last few minutes were a great watch, and there were little pockets of excellence throughout, but this was nowhere near as good as you might have expected it to be.
Tape Rating – ** – I’ve read some pretty horrific reviews of this show, so wasn’t sure what to expect coming in. In truth, I don’t think this show was actually that bad. The main issue is that, after so many strong shows recently, this was painfully skippable. Very little of this DVD was memorable in the slightest, so whilst there’s only a couple of ‘bad’ matches, and at just over 2 hours it really flies by, there’s very little reason for anyone other than the most hardened of ROH completists to buy it. If you do get it, Omega/Dutt was a fun opener, the 6-man in the middle was entertaining and the main event combo of Strong/Delirious and Steen-erico vs Hero/Richards is competitive so it’s not like it’s torture to sit through. It’s just a long way from being an essential purchase.
Top 3 Matches
3) Tyler Black/Colt Cabana/Grizzly Redwood vs Austin Aries/Kenny King/Rhett Titus (***)
2) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Chris Hero/Davey Richards (***)
1) Roderick Strong vs Delirious (***)