ROH 244 – The Omega Effect – 14th November 2009
Coming off a great show in Detroit, and one of the most important matches of the year in the wonderful Aries vs Richards World Title clash, Ring Of Honor rolls back to Canada with another stacked line-up. Once again there’s plenty of Pick 6 action, once again there’s plenty of tag team wrestling, and once again Katsuhiko Nakajima is lined up in an enticing undercard bout. And incredibly, Austin Aries will be defending the ROH Championship as well. Whilst Davey Richards sits this one out and recovers from that 45-minute battle in Detroit, Aries will be defending the belt against Canada’s own Kenny Omega in another hugely anticipated main event. We’re in a new Toronto building (Mississauga, ONT) – but we still have Dave Prazak, Chris Hero and Eric Santamaria on commentary.
Show opens with a Kenny Omega promo taped after his wild match with Nakajima last night. He’s not going to stop until he proves he belongs in ROH
Young Bucks vs The Flatliners
Not seen the Flatliners compete, but the fact that they come out without generic, HDNet approved theme music implies they won’t exactly be regulars. They look like complete jobbers, although in fairness, I actually like their gear. The Bucks will be looking for a strong performance after losing to Steen and Generico for a second time this year in Novi.
I don’t even catch the Flatliners names…Asylum and something. Burns maybe? It’s Burns (the bald one) who tries to jump Matt and Nick, but soon the endless double teams of the Jacksons give them the advantage. Flatliners try to recuperate on the floor, only for Nick to fly into a somersault plancha which wipes them both out. Lungblower/German suplex combo from the Flatliners which nearly scores them an upset victory. Asylum and Burns are big guys, and they find it easy to cut the ring in half to isolate Nick Jackson. Mafia kick/pancake combo gets another nearfall as the Flatliners continue to impress those seeing them for the first time. At last Nick does make the big tag to Matt. Bit of a botched spot between Asylum and Matt before Jackson the springboard blockbuster. SPINEBUSTER/DDT COMBO from the Flatliners, with Nick diving in at the last second to make the save. More Bang For Your Buck on Asylum…and the Jacksons win the match in 09:39
Rating – ** – The usual from the Young Bucks. The Flatliners didn’t look at all bad for enhancement talents either. Perfectly serviceable opener, but nothing remarkable at all.
Claudio Castagnoli is disappointed about losing his Pick 6 Series #6 spot last night. But with the #5 and #6 ranked guys (Cabana and Delirious) in his match with him tonight, he wants to get a spot back asap.
Grizzly Redwood vs Claudio Castagnoli vs Delirious vs Colt Cabana
I don’t believe this is actually scheduled to be a Pick 6 Match, so Claudio may not be able to win back his #6 ranking tonight – however, a win in a match that includes two members of the ranks should certainly earn him a quick rematch with contendership on the line. Grizzly and Colt have had problems with The Embassy, so stopping Castagnoli’s attempt to climb the ranks is obviously an added perk to any victory here.
Cabana steals Claudio’s glove and puts it on the hand of the motionless pre-match Delirious for an early bout of comedy shenanigans. Double C then tries to leave, only for Colt and Grizzly to retrieve him from the entrance ramp. There’s lots of AWESOME near-miss wrestling with Castagnoli fighting off all three guys whilst everyone tries to avoided Delirious punching them with his now gloved fist. Redwood steals the glove and uses it to chop him down to size, then hands it to Cabana who winds up for a roundhouse right which floors the European. He then tries to toss it to the fans before Castagnoli dives to save it like a football (soccer) goalkeeper. Redwood gets thrown off Castagnoli’s shoulders all the way to Delirious on the floor. Not be deterred he comes back and has a game attempt at delivering the Giant Swing to Claudio. Sunset flip blocked…RANA BY GRIZZ INSTEAD! THEN THE FLYING ASSHOLE! PANIC ATTACK! But the babyfaces start fighting amongst themselves before anyone can beat the felled Castagnoli. Redwood tears the shirt off but can’t deliver anything from the top rope before Cabana catches him with a couple of Shotei strikes. TURNBUCKLE GUTBUSTER! Claudio hits the UFO on Delirious, then has Redwood thrown at him by Colt, who sneaks in to pin his tag partner from last night at 06:22, ensuring he has tons of momentum ahead of his Chicago title shot.
Rating – ** – I liked the comedy, and this was the second four corner survival in recent months where Grizzly Redwood has produced some of the most outstanding moments of the entire match. That counter from sunset flip to hurricanrana was just beautifully executed. Cabana’s introduction of that brutal turnbuckle gutbuster spot was welcome too as he needs more high impact spots like that if we’re to buy him as a credible World Title challenger – he already has two of the weakest finishers in ROH in the Colt 45 or Billy Goat’s Curse. But in truth this was nothing but forgettable filler
Kenny King/Rhett Titus vs Super Smash Bros.
Bobby Cruise points out during his ring introductions that this is a rematch from the Never Say Die show when these two produced a surprisingly entertaining undercard encounter. I think that was actually the Smash Bros.’ debut match too. Will Uno and Dos fare better in their home country of Canada here tonight?
The new ANX pre-match dance is pretty gruesome. Commentary track hilariously f*cks up leaving Hero and Prazak repeating like a stuck CD for the duration of the match. It’s a strong start by the Smash’s, enduring the now-traditional pre-match sneak attack from the All Night Express and delivering a couple of sweet double team moves. King brings his team back into proceedings with a knee-DT on Player Uno, working the leg of the bigger Smash Brother soon afterwards. It doesn’t stop Uno and Dos launching into STEREO DIVES to the floor which wipe out both Kenny and Rhett. Titus hides behind the referee as Dos looks to take to the skies again, popping out from behind the official to knee him in the gut and put the ANX in charge again. Dos is beaten down for a couple of minutes, and can’t even make the tag after wiping out both opponents with a quebrada as Rhettski is up before him to boot Uno off the apron then take him down again with the dropkick. Finally he hits both opponents with the double backflip kick and tumbles into the crucial tag to Player Uno. He gets 2 with a neckbreaker on King, although he’s still selling the knee injury from minutes earlier which I love. ANX back on top with a swinging backbreaker/flying knee drop combo. Jerry Lynn Driver countered with a FRANKENSTEINER from Dos. The Doomsday Blockbuster does give ANX the win at 09:32
Rating – ** – Another brief, fun, but ultimately meaningless filler match. This show has now started with three of these and, whilst none of them have been bad, I’m sure at least one of them could have been cut to make way for something more substantial. Maybe Bucks/ANX with Smash Bros/Flatliners on the pre-show? Nearly 40 minutes into the DVD and I’m still waiting for it to really get going.
SIDENOTE – I’m pretty sure the problem with the commentary audio track isn’t just my DVD – it’s a problem with the entire run of The Omega Effect DVD’s. If that’s true, and nobody thought to check that before they released it, that’s absolutely criminal. I know the switch to in-house DVD production has been a contentious issue. I personally think the benefits still outweigh the cons of making the switch. But it’s hard to think of a single show since the switch which hasn’t been impacted by some kind of basic production/technical issue which damages the reputation of a promotion that, even with HDNet, still relies heavily on it’s DVD sales to generate revenue.
El Generico vs Katsuhiko Nakajima
And here’s where I should get my wish and the show finally picks up. Nakajima has always produced the goods in an ROH ring. Last night in Novi we saw him deliver a crazy, balls-to-the-wall offence-fest with Kenny Omega. Tonight he faces another guy with Japanese tour experience in El Generico, in what should be another hugely exciting junior heavyweight battle.
No Code Of Honor from Nakajima tonight. Perhaps he’s still angry about losing to Omega. Or perhaps he doesn’t like Generico’s new gear. Big kick from Naka floors the luchador, but Generico comes up and retaliates with a flurry of armdrags which send him to the floor. Generico prepares for a dive, but gets cut off by a brutal springboard dropkick. VIOLENT KICKS send the masked man into the fans. Generico tries a springboard off the railings…AND GETS KICKED AGAIN! Quickly realising that Generico is all about the speed and flying moves, Nakajima pins his leg against the railings and kicks it, looking to negate his opponent’s ability to use his key moves. Back in the ring he pushes Generico into the corner and delivers a flurry of machine gun kicks which leave him slumped on the mat. But Generico manages to bait him into falling out of the ring. RUNNING MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR NAILED! Too early for the Yakuza Kick though…SO HE DROPS NAKAJIMA ON HIS F*CKING NECK WITH THE MICHINOKU DRIVER! Yakuza Kick still misses…but so does the Naka Triangle Kick. Judo DDT instead, and Nakajima is happy to stand and wait for Generico to expose himself for another vicious kick to the chest, getting a nearfall as reward. Superkick sends the luchador to the outside…BUT GENERICO RECOVERS TO DIVE THROUGH THE BUCKLES INTO A TORNADO DDT ON THE FLOOR! Still Naka blocks the Yakuza Kick…EXPLODER INTO THE TURNBUCKLES! FINALLY YAKUZA KICK NAILED! HALF NELSON SUPLEX! NAKAJIMA OUT OF NOWHERE WITH HIS OWN BRAINBUSTER! Generico survives, hits another Yakuza Kick then his own Brainbuster for a close 2. SAITO SUPLEX from Nakajima and both men are down. Turnbuckle Brainbuster blocked…KNEE DROP ACROSS THE THROAT! But that injures Nakajima’s own leg. TRIANGLE KICK ANYWAY! 2 count again! I think Naka is legit injured, but he just keeps kicking Generico with the bad leg anyway! BRIDGING GERMAN ON THE BAD LEG! He wins at 14:14
Rating – **** – In terms of how clean, crisp and precise the match was, this was even better than Nakajima/Omega from last night. I think the Detroit match beats this one for big match feel, but the relentless pace this one was contested at, with basically non-stop brutality and violence almost from the opening bell, was truly an amazing spectacle. Once again the ending was a little weird as, after the slightly botchy ending to the Omega match, this one was blighted by a seemingly innocuous incident apparently injuring Nakajima enough to curtail proceedings. Still, I was glad to see him pick up the victory his outstanding performances in ROH have been this year. Nakajima is legitimately one of the best wrestlers around right now, and given his age, you can only think how good he WILL be in the future. Not to sound ungrateful, but if ROH do ever look to start bringing in the Japanese talent for tours and semi-permanent stays again, Nakajima needs to be at the front of the queue.
Roderick Strong (2) vs Tyler Black (3) – Pick 6 Series Match
These two contested an exciting conclusion to the 2009 Survival Of The Fittest tournament, with Tyler just defeating Roddy in what many people called a controversial pinfall. He was quick to offer Strong a rematch any time he wanted, and here we are. Black bagged himself a guaranteed shot at the belt with his SOTF win, but with Pick 6 rankings places at stake here, you have to figure he needs to win here to ensure his title shot gets priority over other guys like Strong.
Fans are vocally in Roderick’s favour during the pre-match. Amusingly Roddy makes a point of telling the referee to watch the shoulders on any pinfalls tonight. I really love the gimmick whereby winners of Pick 6 Series matches get a $2500 bonus, it’s a pretty fun, old-school touch. The opening few minutes are totally even with both guys taking turns to trade clean breaks and neat counters. First blood to Strong who dodges Tyler’s dropkick attempt to land a jumping heel kick. Spinning heel kick in response from Black and we’re all even again. Foolishly he tries to trade chops with Strong which turns out to be a big mistake…and Roddy chops him off his feet then takes advantage of the mistake with the first backbreaker of the match. Cross-legged abdominal stretch applied, something I’ve not seen too much before, but it’s a cool way to work the back. Tyler escapes and hits the Big Stomp for 2. Mistake again though, going for a tornado DDT which enables Strong to throw him across the ring onto his ribs. Roderick is on it in a flash, stomping the stomach and midsection repeatedly, then dishing out another sick chop. They have a few intense strike exchanges, and it’s noticeable that large segments of the crowd are REALLY booing Black at this stage. Tyler manages to land the tornado DDT second time of asking, but Roddy is actually back up before him, such is the damage done. Springboard Lariat gets 2 for the former Age Of The Fall member. Strong retorts with the urinage backbreaker and the falcon arrow. Death By Roderick COUNTERED to a rana. QUEBRADA PEROXISM gets 2! Black gets sent to the floor and eats a baseball slide kick, but he shakes it off and PUNTS Roddy in the face. Springboard Lariat attempted a second time but on this occasion Roderick counters with a dropkick. Cradle backbreaker gets 2 before he rolls Black into the Stronghold. Black in the ropes, and thinks fast to counter the Gibson Driver…then lands the F-5. Black is really feeling the ribs and back now, and finds his enzi kick from the apron blocked with an enzi from Strong. BACK SUPLEX ON THE APRON NAILED! Black is really hurt, but like a wounded animal he swings out a vicious kick and both men collapse on the outside. Slowly they make their way back in…STRIKE DUEL! BOTH MEN DOWN AGAIN! Black’s Superkick blocked…Gibson Driver blocked. GOD’S LAST GIFT! STRONG KICKS OUT! And he’s up before Black can hit the Phoenix Splash. DEATH BY BACKBREAKER GETS 2! DEATH BY RODERICK! SICK KICK! BLACK KICKS OUT! PELE KICK! SICK KICK AGAIN! Both men are on the deck as the 20:00 time limit expires.
Rating – **** – Ring Of Honor has really stumbled onto something with these two at the tail end of 2009. I know they’ve wrestled before, but they really created some magic together with that final fall of the Survival Of The Fittest match, and they continued that here with another superb match. Roddy in particular was right on the money with this performance, perhaps sensing that with Danielson and Nigel gone, his length of service and experience in ROH main events perhaps puts him closer to smashing through that glass ceiling he’s been stuck against since 2006 in some time. Of course Black remains the anointed chosen one, and he was great here too. Could have done with him selling the back/ribs more, but that’s a minor thing. I remain concerned about fans noticeably turning on him in several markets now, and I have my doubts as to whether Adam Pearce will ever be able to recapture that special bond Tyler had with the ROH fans at the turn of the year when they were begging for him to take the belt from McGuinness. Time limit draw was a good call here as it makes Strong look good (a second defeat to Tyler in a month certainly damages his long term viability as a main eventer) without derailing Black’s momentum again. Plus I’m sure we’ll be on for another rematch down the line, and that can only be a positive given the chemistry these two seemingly now have.
Both men share a respectful handshake, but both seem to agree they need another rematch to settle this somewhere down the line
Joey Ryan/Erick Stevens vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe
Hopefully this is the match that puts this incarnation of The Embassy on the match. Ryan and Stevens are both good wrestlers but Joey just hasn’t been used effectively in ROH at all, whilst Stevens just can’t get over with the fans. If the Briscoes can drag a decent match out of them it would certainly go a long way towards establishing them.
Stevens steamrolls across the ring into a big shoulder tackle on Mark and the fight is on. NECK DROP urinage from Mark puts him down whilst Jay drags Ryan around the ringside guardrails. The Briscoes isolate Joey as the match is finally brought to order after a couple of minutes of chaotic brawling. Erick helps his partner by distracting Jay with a cheap knee to the back, allowing the Magnum to tag out. Stevens in with the Embassy Elbow for 2. Ryan is back and they hit the Briscoe football tackle on Jay. Mark in with Redneck Kung Fu which drives Stevens out of the ring, where he’s soon met by the body of his own partner tossed out after him. SOMERSAULT DIVE BY MARK! But he tries another high risk move and gets shoved off the top rope by Prince Nana, into a belly to belly suplex from Stevens. Ryan in, working the midsection of the younger Briscoe, a theme Erick follows with a big backbreaker for 2. Jay isn’t happy at the treatment his brother is getting, but winds up distracting the official and allowing Nana, Ryan and Stevens to all lay in cheap shots. Finally Mark blocks a superplex to land a flying crossbody, and despite taking all the impact on the sore midsection, he manages to make a tag to Jay. Stevens goes for a second rope football tackle but it’s COUNTERED into the Ace Crusher from Mark for 2. Erick absorbs that and throws Mark into the railings then re-enters to trade shots with Jay. Lifting Lariat followed by the Choo Choo. Superkick/Lariat combo from The Embassy gets 2 before Mark returns for a last gasp save. Ryan has another superkick blocked…but Ernie Osiris stops the Briscoes hitting the Doomsday Device. Ryan rolls Jay up using the tights to win at 12:32
Rating – *** – Didn’t care for the finish, but the match before it was pretty good…infinitely better than the lousy Embassy tag match we saw yesterday. There were signs of Ryan and Stevens forming a decent team with Erick’s power allying well with the craft, guile and experience of his veteran partner. The way they worked the ribs was pretty impressive, and I liked that Mark kept selling it even after the heat segment. Not sure they should be going over the Briscoes at this stage though…
The Briscoes try to attack Prince Nana…but he’s saved by Ryan and Stevens. SPIKE JAY DRILLER ON ERNESTO!
In the locker room Kevin Steen calls Chris Hero ‘That Young Tap Out Kid’ after he submitted him in the Boiling Point main event. Apparently Chris has promised to knock him out and ‘eat his lunch’ tonight…to which Steen has responded by stealing almonds from Chris Hero’s bag then hiding in the back of the building to eat them. Funny promo…
Chris Hero (1) vs Kevin Steen – Pick 6 Series Match
Hero has the best spot in the Pick 6 rankings right now. He defeated Roderick Strong last night to take the #1 spot (pushing Roddy down to #2 and former partner Claudio Castagnoli out), but immediately defends it tonight. It’s a match he’ll be looking forward to though, as Mr Wrestling just pointed out. Steen made Hero submit to the Sharpshooter in Edison and that’s a loss Hero will be keen to avenge.
Shane Hagadorn has perhaps the worst haircut ever seen. I’m not just talking about in wrestling. Prazak points out that Steen’s knees are so bad that he needs surgery and really shouldn’t be competing at all right now. He belies that knee injury by nipping up out of a Hero wristlock and countering free impressively. Steen uses his size to dominate, but makes a mistake by ducking his head, and is met with a big elbow smash to the back of the head. More athleticism from Steen as he hits a spinning heel kick then a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA out of the ring. STEEN-TON OFF THE APRON SCORES! Mr Wrestling is letting it all hang out for the Canadian fans tonight apparently. Amusingly, Hero tries to hide under an American flag at ringside, only for Steen to drag him up and throw him into a Canadian flag draped over the railings. Shane Hagadorn grabs at Steen’s leg as he climbs the ropes, distracting him for long enough for Chris to nail another big elbow smash. Steen avoids the Hero senton drop to hit a back suplex…only for Hero to evade Steen’s somersault leg drop seconds later and hit a sliding kick. Roaring Elbow knocks Kevin out of the ring, and he gives chase to start dishing out more elbow smashes. He lines up another Roaring Elbow…BUT WINDS UP HITTING THE RINGPOST! He immediately looks hurt and tries to keep Steen beaten down and stop him capitalising. STEEN COLD STUNNER brings Mr Wrestling back, before delivering a horrific elevated DDT out of the ropes then the cannonball senton. Rolling Elbow connects, but it hurts Hero almost as much as it did his opponent. Baseball slide Flash Kick COUNTERED WITH A GUARDRAIL SWING! SHARPSHOOTER ON THE FLOOR! Back inside, where he counters another Roaring Elbow with a big superkick for 2. Package Piledriver blocked with a combo of big boots to the head. Ripcord Elbow evaded though, and this time Kevin does apply the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. CRIPPLER CROSSFACE ON THE BAD ARM INSTEAD! Shane Hagadorn interjects to put his man’s feet on the ropes. RIPCORD ELBOW! But Hero can’t pin straight away because he’s hurt. ROARING ELBOWS! STEEN NO SELLS! DEATH BLOW COUNTERED WITH THE PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! Steen wins and takes the #1 spot at 19:16
Rating – **** – For all my scepticism about the gimmicky nature of the Pick 6 Series, you can’t deny it’s producing some fantastic matches. I really liked this one – not quite as much as Hero’s matches with Storm, KENTA or Danielson, but I’d put it on that sort of level. Steen, uber-motivated by being in his home country, came out absolutely dominant, hitting dives and coming from all over the place trying to do as much damage as possible. And the angle they did with Hero’s arm was just awesome. I’ve seen people really criticise how he kept doing elbows here, but to me, I loved it. The whole point of his Knock Out Kid gimmick is that it’s how he wrestles. He’s so INVESTED in this persona that is very literally all he does in the ring. So even when he’s injured, he’s so determined to knock people out that he’ll break HIS OWN ARM to do it. And it worked so well here, with Hero hitting elbows then selling the arm after every single one. And, even though using the hold may have been slightly questionable territory (particularly in Canada), I marked out SO hard when Steen abandoned the Sharpshooter and attacked the arm with the Crossface instead. Truthfully I wasn’t expecting this to be anywhere near as good as it was – standing as one of the better matches in a strong 2009 for Chris Hero, and possibly Steen’s best singles match all year (off the top of my head I can only think of the Never Say Die match with Davey that runs it close).
Austin Aries vs Kenny Omega – ROH World Title Match
Last time we were in Canada at Death Before Dishonor 7, Austin Aries confirmed he would give Kenny Omega a World Title shot in Canada…just not then. During the ensuing 6-man tag they worked instead, Kenny erased any doubt that he did deserve that shot by pinning Aries. Since then he’s scored high profile victories over the likes of Davey Richards and Katsuhiko Nakajima, and as a ranked contender in the Pick 6, there’s absolutely nothing more A-Double can do to delay defending the belt against him. Both guys will be come into this pretty fatigued though, having both experienced extremely tough matches in Novi yesterday.
Disrespectful as ever, Aries refuses to let Omega have a microphone, then starts the match by riding him on the mat. Fishhook Crossface applied in the second minute, really pissing Kenny off. Omega snapmares Austin down and claws at his ‘beautiful’ face to gain a measure of retribution. He backflips around then goes for a hurricanrana…only to be effortlessly powerbombed away by a casual World Champion, who celebrates by relaxing in the corner. He then explodes into that tumbling springboard reverse elbow spot he used to do all the time before running around the ring in celebration, still getting under the skin of the popular challenger. Next he starts pulling Kenny’s hair to maintain a headlock. Kenny does manage a quick nearfall as he counters a headscissors escape dropkick with a roll-up. And he keeps the momentum going by nailing the hurricanrana second time around then clobbering Aries out of the ring. Omega gives chase, holding him open for a little kid to lay in some shots. Lightning fast baseball slide sends the champion crashing into the rails, before he backdrops Aries WAY back into the fans…who almost crowd surf him straight back to the ring because they don’t want him there.
Bermuda Triangle avoided, with Austin chasing Omega up the turnbuckles for the guillotine, then a double axehandle smash to the floor. He starts kicking, elbowing and kneeing at the upper back, keen to slow the pace right down to a methodical one that will suit him – particularly considering we’re nearly 17 minutes deep in this one meaning Austin has wrestled for over an hour already this weekend. He lines up the Power Drive Elbow, but gets so wound up by the fans that he forgets to do it and starts slapping Kenny instead. STOP SIGN SLAP/ENZI COMBO! Canadian Hammers next as Omega ramps up the pace and mounts a comeback Rocket Punch…Norman Smiley Slam then a second rope moonsault draws a 2 for the challenger. But he gets shut down again with a neckbreaker over the second ropes, quickly succeeded by the HEAT SEEKING MISSILE! He tries to deliver a Brainbuster on an open chair whilst we’re there…LEAPFROG BULLDOG INTO THE CHAIR INSTEAD! Then he sits the champ in the same chair for a RUNNING DOUBLE KNEE SMASH! Aries is like the ultimate evil champion though, and having failed with mind games, working the back or working the neck, he now goes after the explosive challengers legs instead. Leapfrog Bulldog attempted again, but this time turned to the Half Crab – signature move of Canada’s own Lance Storm. Rolling shinbreakers, into the POWER DRIVE ELBOW TO THE LEG! FIGURE 4 LEGLOCK! STOP SIGN ENZI COUNTERED WITH A NECK DROP SHINBREAK BACK SUPLEX!
But when Aries looks for the IED Omega blocks it from nowhere with the HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADOUKEN! But he can’t hit Croyt’s Wrath because the knee is too messed up. Aries goes for the same Bermuda Triangle counter he went for earlier, but this time it’s Kenny with the guillotine. GORGEOUS RUNNING SENTON UP THE AISLE! Back in with the frog crossbody for 2. Dragon Suplex and Blue Destiny both blocked by the champion, before Aries counters Croyt’s Wrath by tossing Omega into the ringpost and hitting the IED for 2. Last Chancery applied briefly, but Aries is so rattled he opts to go upstairs for the 450 Splash. Omega catches him…STALLING AVALANCHE BLUE DESTINY! ARIES KICKS OUT! Croyt’s Wrath blocked…NECK DROP DRAGON SUPLEX INSTEAD! CROYT’S WRATH NAILED…ARIES IS IN THE ROPES! He gathers himself on the apron, and from there suplexes Omega INTO THE TIMEKEEPING TABLE! Just as he did with Davey Richards last night, he throws him into the fans in a desperate attempt to get a count-out win. Omega beats the count and starts slapping Aries! Austin counters Croyt’s Wrath by grabbing the ropes…BUT THE REF SPOTS IT! SCHOOLBOY PIN…OMEGA WAS SO CLOSE! KICK OF DEATH! IED! BRAINBUSTER! KENNY GETS A SHOULDER UP! BRAINBUSTER AGAIN! KNEE STRIKES! LAST CHANCERY! Finally Omega is done at 34:56
Rating – ****1/2 – Love, Love…LOVED this match. I genuinely think it was as good (or at least, comparably good) as Aries vs Richards. Austin is an absolute machine working these two incredible main event championship matches back to back in a single weekend – and has produced two incredible contests which will more than likely come to define his title reign. Working these two amazing matches, busting his ass to help two of ROH’s top prospects to fill the main event void in Richards and Omega, just shows you how much the man loves this promotion. This was the kind of spectacle you SO rarely get at a Ring Of Honor show – a match where one guy is an absolutely hated heel that literally everyone in the building wants to lose and one is an overwhelming favourite. No duelling chants, no split crowd. Everyone in Mississauga wanted to see Omega dethrone A-Double here…a situation both guys were MADE for. Kenny is the most natural babyface to grace the ROH rings since Paul London back in 2003, whilst Aries was superb as the consummate dickhead. First he wouldn’t take Kenny seriously. Then he attacked the back…then the neck…then the legs…THEN he started cheating. But each of those strategies were punctuated by pockets of electrifying Omega comeback spots. Unlike the Nakajima match yesterday, Aries never worked a single body part for long enough that Kenny needed to be overly burdened with selling them…instead this was all about the peaks/troughs babyface vs heel dynamic we saw in matches like Danielson/Strong from Vendetta in 2005. When you have an entire ROH crowd on their feet jumping around and going crazy for a schoolboy pin in the 34th minute of a World Title match, you know you’re doing something right. Honestly, I loved this – even if the rest of the show sucked this show would STILL be ‘must own’ in order to get this match.
Aries once again grabs a mic to say he’s proven all his critics wrong with two amazing matches this weekend. He really as seemed like a man on a mission this weekend – looking to preserve his own reputation and save Ring Of Honor’s main event scene at the same time. He says that even with Jim Cornette’s Pick 6 in place, he’ll STILL keep beating all comers.
Tape Rating – **** – Another awesome show from Ring Of Honor. The mediocre opening 40 minutes mean that maybe top to bottom, this isn’t quite as good a complete show as Aries vs Richards was. But once again you’re getting an impressive FOUR matches hitting the 4* mark, and once again you’re getting an absolutely stunning main event that simply has to be seen. Aries/Richards came away from this weekend with all the hype and all the MOTY talk – but for my money Aries/Omega tonight was every bit as good. It’s been a rough year for Ring Of Honor. They struggled badly through the opening half of 2009, Nigel’s title reign was cut short with the belt hotshotted out of necessity onto a guy fans didn’t want as World Champion. But since Aries won the belt things have just been getting better and better, and in a weird way, Danielson and Nigel leaving seems to have been the catalyst for everyone involved in Ring Of Honor, from the in-ring talent to the bookers, to step out of their comfort zones and step up their game. At the end it, the ’09 season will rightly be derided as one of ROH’s weakest years ever. HOWEVER, since Aries got the belt, and particularly since Death Before Dishonor 7 weekend, it’s been a pleasure watching Ring Of Honor shows again…and this weekend has genuinely been as good as anything Ring Of Honor has done in a long time. Serious ROH fans should own both of these DVD’s…
Top 3 Matches
3) Roderick Strong vs Tyler Black (****)
2) Kevin Steen vs Chris Hero (****)
1) Austin Aries vs Kenny Omega (****1/2)
Top 5 Aries vs Richards/The Omega Effect Weekend Matches
5) Kevin Steen vs Chris Hero (**** – The Omega Effect)
4) Kenny Omega vs Katsuhiko Nakajima (**** – Aries vs Richards)
3) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Young Bucks (**** – Aries vs Richards)
2) Austin Aries vs Kenny Omega (****1/2 – The Omega Effect)
1) Austin Aries vs Davey Richards (****1/2 – Aries vs Richards)