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ROH Gold Rush 3/19/2010

ROH 250 – Gold Rush – 19th March 2010

It feels like a long time since I’ve reviewed an ROH live event, but I suppose that’s a feeling I should now get used to with ROH looking to cut down the amount of live events they run. But it’s a busy end to the month of March with a double shot this weekend before the ROH circus packs up and heads to Phoenix to be a part of the Wrestlemania festivities. Being honest, this show doesn’t have the best reputation to start off that busy schedule for the next couple of weeks, but I’m keeping an open mind. The main event tonight is a strong-looking 6-Man, with World Champion Tyler Black teaming with Tag Champions the Briscoe Brothers to take on Chris Hero, Davey Richards and the newly crowned (though we’re shattering kayfabe again as, in broadcast chronology, the TV Title Tournament has only just gotten started) ROH TV Champion Eddie Edwards. Kenny Omega returns for the first time in a while to challenge for Roderick Strong’s Pick 6 spot and lower down the card we have Petey Williams facing Austin Aries in a Glory By Honor 8 rematch. We’re in Dearborn, MI with commentary from Dave Prazak and Joe Dumbrowski.

The Briscoes and Tyler Black open the show with some promo time. Jay and Mark are looking to get their hands on both the American Wolves and Chris Hero tonight since they don’t like any of those guys. Tyler is looking to shut down some potential ROH Title challengers…

Rhett Titus vs Rasche Brown
What do you know, Skullkrusher got booked on a DVD taping that wasn’t in the Midwest…meaning I guess he’s now part of the regular roster. That makes sense as he’s being pushed hard on HDNet – thus far undefeated on TV with a string of jobber corpses left laying in his wake. Can Rhettski do anything to stop the dominance tonight?

The VQ on house show DVD’s to the HDNet stuff is almost embarrassingly inferior. Titus rubs his sack and offers a Code Of Honor shake, only to be viciously beaten down by Rasche. Skullkrusher is unrelenting in his violent assault on Rhett, going so far as to counter some thrusting with a Testicular Claw, then a press slam. Warrior Splash attempted but Titus gets the knees up then starts choking Brown with a piece of tape. Credit to Rhett, at nearly four minutes he’s taken Rasche to one of his longest ROH matches in months, although he almost loses as Brown delivers a brainbuster for a close nearfall. Somersault neckbreaker from Titus gets his own nearfall. He tries to keep the big man on the canvas where he can’t use his size…only to be hoisted up into a ONE ARM back suplex. Burning Hammer countered with the Titus Dropkick for 2. Skullkrusher flies out of the corner with the Rolling Spear and this time does nail the Burning Hammer. Brown wins at 07:44

Rating – ** – Nothing wrong with this, other than that it went on a tad too long for what was a simple case of Rhett being hilariously out-matched and getting beaten up for being so cocky. In my opinion the best moments of this match were when Titus was on offence which is possibly a concern considering Rasche is getting a big push on TV right now. That said, this was about as long as all of Rasche’s HDNet matches combined, so it’s not like has to work this hard on TV anyway

Shane Hagadorn has some interview time and it’s honest to god one of the most clichéd, awful promos I’ve ever heard. I almost feel embarrassed for him that they put this farce on the DVD

Kenny King (5) vs Tyson Dux – Pick 6 Series Match
Last summer ROH ran the Toronto market and booked Dux as an emergency replacement for Nigel McGuinness in a match with Tyler Black at Death Before Dishonor 7. It was a tough spot and Tyson did a decent job. His reward is bookings this weekend, starting tonight with a chance to prove himself against one of the more promising up and coming talents on the ROH roster in Kenny King

Commanding start from Dux, using his experience advantage over King to maintain an advantage for the opening minutes. The pace quickens with armdrags, but once again Tyson easily keeps up with King in that respect. He continues to dominate until King goes behind the referee’s back to rake his eyes. Dux is shaken and Kenny is quick to capitalise with a spinebuster for 2. Tyson retaliates with a back suplex and it’s a 2-count for him as well. Dux makes a cookie cutter babyface comeback but isn’t able to put King away. Kenny tries a springboard move out of desperation and is caught…RUNNING DVD INTO THE TURNBUCKLES! Amazingly that’s only a nearfall too. King hits the Shotgun Knees then the Royal Flush to win at 09:29

Rating – ** – Much like the opening match, there wasn’t anything overly wrong here, it just went long for such a basic premise. Kenny is full of potential, but he needs to be working with guys who can draw great matches out of him in order to get better. Throwing him in there with an experienced, but ultimately limited enhancement talent like Tyson Dux was never going to produce stunning results. Dux was fine in there, I find a lot of his offence very bland and dated though

Kevin Steen/Steve Corino vs Player Dos/Pee Wee
At first glance this is just some jobber fodder for Steen and Corino to murder, but there is actually a hint of a plot here. At Death Before Dishonor 7 the Super Smash Bros. scored a surprise victory over Kevin Steen and El Generico – which particularly upset Steen considering he’s the guy who brought Dos into ROH back at Tag Title Classic. Even though he blames El Generico for that defeat, Steen still wants some retribution from Player Dos as a result of it. No idea who Pee Wee is at all. His career will amount to sh*t if he’s seriously keeping that as his name though

Player Uno is injured (hence Pee Wee’s presence) but is at ringside to support his team mate here. Steen rather mean spiritedly attacks the injured Uno before the match, then powerbombs Dos into the ring apron when he tries to help his injured partner. The Smash Bros. are incapacitated, leaving poor Pee Wee alone. Corino tries to convince him to leave…an offer which Pee declines. ROPE RUN somersault plancha on both Steen and Corino from Pee Wee, happily getting the fight underway even though he now doesn’t have a partner. Climbing Wizard in the corner gets him an unlikely nearfall on Mr Wrestling, so in comes Corino to lead a merciless assault on the newcomer to ROH. With Player Dos still down, the heel team are free to carry out a complete brutalisation of Pee Wee here. Anytime Dos gets anywhere near making a tag one of Steen or Corino is on hand to punt him off the apron. At last Wee does make a hot tag to Player Dos who is a box of tricks and comes from anywhere now he’s finally in the match legally. NECK DROP dragon suplex gets 2 on Steve who reacts angrily by planting Dos with an STO. Package Piledriver/Sliding Lariat combo wins it for the heels at 09:07

Rating – * – I’ve given a star for execution in that this was entirely free of sloppiness or botches…but man alive was this horrible. Who thought booking 10 minutes of this was a sensible idea? I get that Corino and Steen need a few easy wins to cement their status as a threatening tag team unit, but ten minutes was MILES too long for that purpose. The main positive would be the performance of Pee Wee though. He needs to ditch that god-awful name, but he was put in a position of real responsibility here for his main show debut and he did a good job.

Corino and Steen go after Player Uno, only for Dos to save with an insane corkscrew suicide dive. He’ll leave Dearborn with his head held high and faces Kevin Steen in singles action tomorrow.

Outside Petey Williams hypes his match with Austin Aries as a ‘Glory By Honor 7’ rematch. He’s in Detroit tonight for an out and out brawl with the former World Champion.

Austin Aries vs Petey Williams
This will be the first time Austin has competed since he lost the belt. I know he technically had a HDNet tag since then, but since that was taped before the 8th Anniversary Show, I’ll count this as the first time we’ve seen him as a non-Champion again. But, even without the title, the pressure is still on him. He’s building towards his rematch at The Big Bang, and needs to start getting some wins heading into Charlotte at the start of next month. He also had a mini-issue with Petey last summer so there is tension between the pair too.

‘Where’s your title’ – Dearborn to Aries. Williams attacks him as he grabs a microphone and starts running down the Michigan crowd. A-Double eventually leaves the ring to avoid further punishment at the hands of Maple Leaf Muscle. From there he tries to drag Petey out of the ring, only for the Canadian to come out on top again and fling him into the guardrails. Back inside with the slingshot Codebreaker for 2, but Aries grabs the ref to block the Canadian Destroyer. Low blow with the official distracted, but I’m guessing Williams has no testicles because he quickly pops up and goes back on offence. He threatens a tree of woe low blow…SPIDER GERMAN SUPLEX BY ARIES! That’s a pretty sweet counter and it puts the former ROH Champion on top for the first time in the match. Eddie Edwards is shown watching this match from the curtain since he’s facing Petey tomorrow night. I like that – Petey/Eddie is a total throwaway match but a little touch like that just makes it seem a little more significant. Currently the American Wolf is watching Aries dominate his opponent for Toronto, and when Petey blocks a superplex, he takes to the skies and dives straight into a dropkick to the ribs. Rather annoyingly, despite the fact that Aries has worked the ribs/midsection for several minutes, Williams effortlessly sits up out of a tree of woe to hit a swinging jawbreaker. Canadian Legsweep gets 2, as does a cradle variant of a flatliner. He dropkicks Austin out of the ring, but MISSES the slingshot headscissors and lands flat on his ribs again. Heat Seeking Missile sends him crashing backwards into the rails before Aries brings him back into the ring for the IED. CANADIAN DESTOYER ON PETEY! PETEY KICKS OUT AT 1! HE JUST NO SOLD HIS OWN FINISHER! What an idiot! Aries tries to clock him with the ring bell and misses…but he rolls Williams up with the ropes anyway to win at 13:28

Rating – ** – If Petey could sell this would be 3*. I hate being a reviewer that gets picky about selling, but I have to be honest, Williams’ selling, or lack thereof, totally ruined this match for me. The first portion was great with Petey beating up the heel, fresh from Aries getting all the heat he needed by ragging on the Michigan fans. Then the heat segment was good, if slightly phoned in Aries stuff. But when he spends several minutes working the ribs only for Petey to do a f*cking SIT UP out of a tree of woe then try a flying crossbody it’s just ridiculous. It is tacky, fake and just KILLS the whole story of the match they’re setting up. And the less said about Petey no-selling his own finisher the better. For my money, his whole gimmick is set up in the Canadian Destroyer. People buying it as complete certain death is literally all he gets bookings for these days. If he kills the credibility of his own finisher by using it as a goofy comedy spot, he may as well pack up and go home. Austin was pretty good here, but this match was a fine example of everything Petey Williams gets criticised for. And that rant comes from a guy that actually LIKES Petey Williams believe it or not…

Petey completes the no sell job on his ribs by attacking Aries after the bell with a pescado. He finally does hit the Canadian Destroyer on Austin to make sure the Detroit fans get their money’s worth.

Josh Raymond/Christin Able vs Colt Cabana/El Generico
House Of Truth always look pretty decent whenever they’re booked for ROH. They need to start turning those impressive performances into a string of impressive victories though – if they want to become part of the permanent ROH roster and take bookings across the Ring Of Honor circuit. We know Cabana and Generico are teaming together now, with Colt taking the Generic Luchador under his wing in an attempt to lift his spirits after Kevin Steen’s Final Battle attack left him a broken man.

Cabana and Able start off, and as you’d expect it’s Cabana making most of the running with his European style. Raymond tries to help his partner, which brings Generico in as well and together the babyface team toss the HoT to the floor. Dancing comes next, further bewildering Raymond and Able – to such an extent that they run across the ring straight into each other. Able is isolated from his partner, and that’s a pattern that continues until Truth Martini gets involved by distracting Colt and allowing his men to shove him off the apron. Raymond tags and puts the hanging armbar on Cabana in the ropes. When Colt goes for his quebrada press Martini comes into play again, sweeping his legs and leaving him exposed to another HoT attack. Cabana is the babyface in peril for the next few minutes and, although that segment is decent, it never feels particularly exciting at any stage. Eventually the hot tag to El Generico comes and he goes to town on both opponents. Once again Truth gets involved, pulling Cabana of the ring and unable to help his partner as the HoT hit an elevated quebrada combo for 2. Finally the heels try one illicit legsweep too many on Cabana, as it allows Generico to use his partner as a springboard for a RUNNING PLANCHA TO THE FLOOR! Billy Goat’s Curse on Able but Josh makes the save with a double knee strike. Truth Martini runs in to lay out Colt with his shoe, leaving him in place for a SPIRAL TAP from Raymond. Generico breaks the fall and suplexes him into the turnbuckles. Martini stops him hitting the Yakuza Kick temporarily. Eventually he shakes Truth off to hit a TURNBUCKLE BRAINBUSTAAAAAH! Big Daddy Splash from Colt…and it’s over at 14:52

Rating – ** – This had a strong closing stretch, but I think you could easily have cut half the match out and achieved the same end result. Much as with Steen/Corino earlier, Cabana and Generico need a few wins to look convincing and believable as a tag team threat. House Of Truth are decent opponents to do that with but, not for the first time tonight, this was just too long. They ran the same Truth Martini interference spot about five times which was far too many and had gone beyond annoying into the realms of ‘nobody cares anymore’ by the end. The babyface in peril sequence on Colt was very weak too. It’s scary that, with only two left tonight, this is match of the night thus far…

The victory party is cut short by Steve Corino. He criticises Cabana for siding with El Generico and promises to hurt him when they meet tomorrow night.

Roderick Strong (1) vs Kenny Omega – Pick 6 Series Match
Omega hasn’t been around much this year, and unfortunately this is the point where he started sliding out of ROH and increasing the number of dates he spent in Japan. What with all his overseas commitments, Kenny doesn’t have that much time to spare in the US at present, and when he does get Stateside, his first port of call is usually PWG. So enjoy him while you can – here he’s looking to recapture a Pick 6 spot against Roderick Strong, the man who already has a guaranteed title shot coming his way at The Big Bang. But Strong isn’t a happy man at the moment. He feels betrayed by Tyler Black after getting kicked by him both at the 8th Anniversary Show and on HDNet. He feels he isn’t getting the singles title shot he was promised when he agreed to be Tyler’s judge in New York. In a nutshell, is he so preoccupied with his sense of injustice, and so distracted by thinking about facing Tyler Black next month that he’ll take his eye of the ball in Detroit?

They spend the opening minutes working the mat, testing each other for weaknesses and demonstrating just how evenly matched they are as opponents. Omega tries to pick things up with a springboard but dives right into a monster chop. He hits back with the Norman Smiley Slam and sends Roddy out of the ring. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA UP THE AISLE! But taking it to the floor turns out to be a mistake as Strong shoves him ribs-first into the apron. TORTURE RACK BACKBREAKER against the apron next, then Roderick gets some distance to hit a running chop variant. Suplex on the floor scores as well, and this is all damage to Kenny’s back. In the ring again and Strong slows the pace down with submission holds – a camel clutch then a surfboard coming in quick succession. Every so often Omega looks to mount a comeback but on each occasion Strong violently shuts it down with a chop, a kick to the ribs or an elbow smash so at the 10 minute mark it’s the Floridian in full control. Eventually he does land the Leapfrog Bulldog, but is too injured and can’t get up to capitalise on the move. He does manage to stand up at last, and delivers a urinage suplex to maintain his advantage. Strong shuts him down with chops again then hits the urinage backbreaker. Death By Roderick COUNTERED with a snap German. Springboard dropkick hits the back of the head, and it’s followed by Blue Destiny, dropping Strong on his neck again. His back hurts him too much to hit Croyt’s Wrath though! Roderick drags him out of the corner with a second rope sidewalk slam. Death By Roderick nailed…Sick Kick blocked. LARIATOOOO by Omega…Blue Destiny again for 2. SICK KICK! DEATH BY BACKBREAKER! GIBSON DRIVER! Roderick retains his #1 spot at 16:31

Rating – *** – Compared to most of the card this was Misawa/Kawada. They told a really nice story with Roderick, of course, working the back…but with the added element of actually using his assortment of physical strikes for a purpose in that he specifically utilised them whenever it seemed like Omega was going to try to use his speed and athleticism to mount a comeback. Some of the closing stretch was sloppy, and compared to the electric pace of the opening and climactic portions, the middle segment felt pretty tedious, so for that I’m marking it down but this was a very enjoyable math (I’m probably talking ***1/2 territory if you like your half stars). Kenny Omega’s actually did a good job of selling a body part too which made a real difference.

Chris Hero/Davey Richards/Eddie Edwards vs Tyler Black/Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe
The whole purpose of this is the novelty value of booking all four ROH champions in one match. You have the World Champion Tyler Black teaming up with the Tag Champion Briscoe Brothers to face Chris Hero, Davey Richards and his American Wolves partner, the new ROH TV Champion Eddie Edwards (yes, sorry Dearborn fans who follow the HDNet show and have watched it spoiler free – that TV Title Tournament you’re currently enjoying on TV…Eddie wins, no need to watch it now). You’d imagine there are still issues between the Briscoes and the Wolves considering their history, whilst if Tyler Black can score a definitive victory over one of his opponents, all of whom harbour World Title aspirations, it will potentially rule out a future dangerous challenger for his belt.

Davey is desperate to get into World Title reckoning, and willingly starts with Tyler Black looking to prove his credentials. He gets the upper hand there, but in turn Black gets the best of an exchange with Edwards allowing Tyler to tag out to Jay Briscoe. Next in are Hero and Mark, and they waste no time in laying into each other with some really stiff shots. Hero and Tyler go at it next, with Black missing a moonsault off the apron but still managing to back body drop Chris into the crowd. In the ring the Briscoes team up to work Edwards over. Davey tries to help his partner out only to be sent packing with the Briscoe Biel. The heels retreat to the floor to rethink their strategy after taking a lot of punishment through this opening ten minute period. The Wolves team up to get the better of Black, Edwards sweeping the legs and leaving him exposed to a missile dropkick from Richards. The Briscoes don’t like that but end up distracting the referee whilst the Wolves continue to double team Tyler on the outside. For the first time one of the babyfaces is in real trouble – with Team Hagadorn cutting the ring in half and not letting Black anywhere near his partners. Good commentary work from Joe D as he rightly points out that they’d all rather beat Tyler than the Briscoes so they can start petitioning for World Title shots, thus making it totally logical that it would be Tyler who becomes the face in peril here. Finally Black levels Hero with a Pele Kick…but just as he looks to make a vital tag Davey Richards RINGS THE BELL to distract the ref. He misses the tag and Eddie is able to pull Tyler back into the ring. That may well be my favourite thing about this whole DVD – a clever and innovative little twist on the whole ‘ref misses the tag’ gimmick.

Richards peppers Black with kicks, but is so pumped up he also walks into a Pele Kick…and this time Tyler does get the hot tag to Jay. He clears the ring then sprints into a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA onto everyone. Not to be outdone, crazy Mark is on the scene for a MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! Edwards blocks the second rope Ace Crusher though…so Mark goes CIMA with an Iconoclasm instead. Hero in to get 2 with a Roaring Elbow. Death Blow is countered though and Mark tags to Tyler who lands the Springboard Lariat and a Black Star Press. Peroxism countered…Superkick misses…BACK DROP DRIVER by Hero! Richards goes for a Handspring Enzi but it’s blocked with a sliding kick and Black hits Peroxism on him instead. Buckle Bomb blocked…ALARM CLOCK! NO SOLD! GERMAN SUPLEX FOR 2! Black with a superplex and it’s ROLLED into the F-5 straight afterwards. Jay in with a spinebuster on Richards, but Chris Hero stops the Briscoes from hitting the Doomsday Device. TEXAS CLOVERLEAF ON BLACK! ACHILLES LOCK ON JAY! Mark tries to save with Redneck Karate only to be slapped into a Stretch Plum by Hero. The Wolves go for the double Alarm Clock but it’s blocked, and seconds later Hero blocks the Jay Driller with a rolling elbow. DEATH BLOW/SUPERKICK COMBO! BLACK SAVES! Hero tries to floor him but eats a superkick. BUCKLE BOMB ON EDDIE! Everyone is down now and we’re closing in on 30 minutes. DOOMSDAY DEVICE ON HERO! The Briscoes send a clear message to the Kings Of Wrestling as Jay pins Hero at 29:35 to score the win for his team

Rating – **** – It wasn’t without it’s execution flaws, but this was a really strong match – almost out of keeping with the mediocre nature of the rest of the show. It took a while to heat up, which in truth didn’t matter since the crowd was so dead after a poor live event that they were pretty lifeless anyway, but once it got going the whole thing become tremendously exciting with lots of different storyline permutations floating in and out of play. You had the Briscoes as Tag Champions being chased by both the Kings Of Wrestling and the American Wolves. You had Tyler as a target for everyone since he’s World Champion. You had a whole separate thing going on with Davey where he wanted to beat Tyler so he could, like Eddie Edwards, prove himself a worthy singles wrestler. In the build up to this weekend Chris Hero had a World Title petition rejected – so he was a man on a mission too. Something Adam Pearce has introduced to ROH is a culture of producing really top notch multi-man tags as main event level matches. We’ve seen it a few times on HDNet with the Hero/Wolves team in fact – but even more recently we’ve seen Eye Of The Storm 2 and SoCal Showdown headlined by big multi-mans as well. This was a showstealer…and indeed a show saving encounter.

In the back Rhett Titus calls it a successful evening (even though he lost) since Rasche Brown didn’t come close to ‘crushing’ his skull. He promises to teach Brown a lesson tomorrow night…all the while unbeknownst to him the Skullkrusher is behind him listening to the whole thing. Titus runs away…leaving Rasche to end the show by promising to break Rhettski’s neck.

Tape Rating – ** – As so often happens when you load most of your top talent into the main event, the undercard on this one was very weak. Most of the show is populated with mediocre matches that you’d be disappointed to see for free on HDNet, let alone pay $20 for the privilege of watching. The whole thing felt painfully phoned in and house show and as such this is very much a skippable show. But, I think in many ways this is an event which highlights both the pitfalls and benefits of being an ROH completist. If you get every ROH show then you have to sit through this event, which is, by and large, very poor. HOWEVER, if you get every ROH show, you’re also one of the few who get to see a really enjoyable 6-man main event which most people will happily skip right over. If this DVD is still available, it’s pretty hard to recommend, even at a slashed sale price. But if you’ve got the cash, and you brace yourself for a pretty lousy undercard then Strong/Omega and the Gold Rush 6-man are well worth a watch…

Top 3 Matches
3) Colt Cabana/El Generico vs Josh Raymond/Christin Able (**)
2) Roderick Strong vs Kenny Omega (***)
1) Tyler Black/Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Chris Hero/Davey Richards/Eddie Edwards (****)

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