ROH 259 – Buffalo Stampede 2 – 18th June 2010
Once again tremendous credit to Ring Of Honor. Perhaps with the (somewhat unwarranted) bad reviews and horrendous sales figures for Civil Warfare ringing in their ears, they’ve made the decision to cut night 1 of a major weekend – instead adding the show as a free bonus disc with the ‘big show’. I was highly complimentary of that approach when they coupled the ‘Eye Of The Storm 2’ event with Final Battle 2009 at the end of last year, and I’m equally forthright in my praise of the move this time around. If they don’t think a show is good enough to sell break-even quantities on it’s own merit, why not package it with a better show from the next day? Surely getting 2 shows for the price of one is a selling point and will shift more DVD’s? If, as with this weekend, the ‘good show’ is an iPPV, why not package the night before with the DVD release to ensure fans who watched the pay-per-view live still come back and by the home release? It’s a sensible decision – and you can expect all my ratings to be favourably adjusted tonight to make up for the fact that they’re being given away for free. Since there’s no card on the back of the DVD casing, I have no idea what’s in store on the show tonight. I seem to remember the main event is Tyler Black vs Steve Corino, and I know there’s a well-received Kings Of Wrestling vs Up In Smoke tag match too. We’re in Hamburg, NY with commentary from Eric Santamaria, Shane Hagadorn and Grizzly Redwood. Yes, this is such a B-show even Dave Prazak didn’t bother showing up
Ernesto Osiris vs Delirious
The Lizard Man is only interested in revenge on Austin Aries this weekend, so could well be looking past Ernie this weekend. Nana has got Osiris a spot wrestling on this show to prove he’s cleaned up his act apparently…
Ernesto desperately tries to stop the referee ringing the bell, then dives out of the ring in a hurry when he fails to put a stop to it. Delirious pursues Osiris across the ring delivering chops, then dives off the ropes into a torpedo headbutt. Prince Nana stops him going for an early Shadows Over Hell and Ernesto manages to grab him for a neckbreaker. Running STO into a choke next, hit with surprising speed and crispness. I say surprising since, lets face it, crisp execution isn’t exactly the hallmark of an ROH Academy graduate. Regal neckbreaker nailed too but still Osiris can’t put Delirious away. Sliding flatliner from Delirious for 2. Cobra Stretch blocked, so he hits a Cobra slam instead. Osiris cowers behind the referee as Delirious thinks about Shadows Over Hell again, then comes up with a double arm DDT for a close nearfall. Shadows Over Hell and the Cobra Stretch win it at 08:29
Rating – ** – Very basic, but they told a nice, simple story from start to finish and I appreciated that. Ernie Osiris looks a decent little worker. Nothing flashy but he seems to have his fundamentals down. In The Embassy glory days of the past he could comfortably have coasted by in the footstool/sidekick/tag partner role for Jimmy Rave…
Tyson Dux cuts a horrible promo calling ROH the best wrestling in the world. He’s in a Ten Minute Hunt with Eddie Edwards tonight. If this wasn’t a bonus DVD it so would have been cut. Totally brutal
Eddie Edwards vs Tyson Dux – Ten Minute Hunt
The Ten Minute Hunt concept was debuted at Civil Warfare – and it’s a fairly simple one. If you can beat Eddie Edwards, or survive to the 10 minute time limit, he’ll give his opponent an ROH TV Title shot. He managed to tap Bobby Dempsey out in a surprisingly competitive 7 minutes in Manassas. How will Dux, a veteran with well over a decade’s experience, fare in this environment?
Eric Santamaria flat out calls Grizzly Redwood part of the ring crew on commentary. Dux breezes through the first minute with Edwards barely able to lay a hand on him. He drops the champion with a few armdrags and before you know it we’re at 3 minutes. He then traps Eddie on the mat with a big side headlock and eats up more valuable time. Edwards finally hit a belly to belly suplex – his first significant offensive move in nearly half the total allocated time. ACHILLES LOCK IN THE ROPES! That’s an illegal hold, and a drastic measure, but it has tipped the momentum in Edwards’ favour. He punts Dux in the spine then goes after the Achilles Lock again, forcing him to make a desperate scramble to the ropes. Elbows from Tyson, managing to knock Edwards down with three minutes left in the time limit. Dragon suplex blocked…so it’s a German instead! Sliding elbow smash gets 2 for Dux. Then he climbs the ropes, hits a sunset flip bomb into a sliding DDT for 2. 1 minute to go as a desperate Edwards dragon screws the legs. He puts his feet on the ropes and pins Dux at 09:32
Rating – ** – Competitive, but completely underwhelming and nowhere near as structured or as outright fun as the Edwards/Dempsey Hunt from Manassas. These guys are both pretty vanilla as entertainers and tend to need someone with a little more physical charisma to get the best out of them. Ten minutes of them in the ring together was a little boring. Grizzly Redwood’s awful commentary certainly didn’t help
Steve Corino bemoans the fact that his match with Tyler Black is non-title tonight, but still comes into the main event with a point to prove. He has his fair share of critics, and he wants to prove them all wrong by beating the World Champion.
Shawn Daivari vs Colt Cabana
Cabana had his fair share of problems with The Embassy in 2009. Indeed, Prince Nana actually ruined his HDNet debut. It’s not an issue that causes him to lose sleep these days, but he certainly won’t turn down the chance to beat on associates of Prince Nana…
Colt is in full-on goofball tonight, basically narrating most of the opening segment in his usual jovial fashion. Daivari gets annoyed and slaps him in the face…prompting an immediate mood change from Colt who slaps him right back and beats him all around the ring. Quebrada attempted but Prince Nana is on hand to haul Cabana out of the ring. Shawn goes after the back, using the harsh environment of the ringside area to inflict significant damage. Back in the ring he hooks in an abdominal stretch, inflicting still more damage to that battered midsection – even before Nana hops up onto the apron to add some illicit assistance. Eventually the referee sees the illegal interference and breaks the hold, then they knock heads with such force that Cabana collapses out of the ring. He climbs back in to get 2 with a jumping ass attack. Daivari has a superplex blocked…only for Ernesto to crotch Colt instead. Frankensteiner from Daivari gets 2. Cabana scoops him up for a desperate Argentine backbreaker – then Prince Nana tries to get involved again. Cabana starts beating up Osiris and Nana, and doesn’t see Daivari and the Camel Clutch coming (why does every Asian wrestler have to finish with that?) Colt counters to the Billy Goat’s Curse and wins at 11:36
Rating – * – It’s starting to dawn on me that Shawn Daivari isn’t that great at all. It’s almost like he’s packed on too much muscle for his own good – meaning his speed and athleticism has been severely compromised. He moves in total slow motion out there and just doesn’t look comfortable working an ROH style in any way. If I’m Jimmy Rave, Erick Stevens or Joey Ryan – sitting at home having been dropped by ROH whilst they continue to pay big money to have this irritating WWE cast-off occupy an undeserved roster spot – I’d be really disappointed. I’ve been saying for a while that I like Daivari – after this, I’m really not sure he can go in Ring Of Honor at all. It felt interminably long.
Roderick Strong vs Pee Wee
Pee Wee is local to this region so gets a decent hometown pop. How competitive will he be in this inevitable squash match to Roderick Strong – who’s eyes will be on the Toronto Gauntlet tomorrow and earning himself another shot at the ROH World Title?
Pee Wee, as ever, seems like a cheerful little scamp – almost irritatingly so. He is rightly slapped in the mouth by Strong for his endless supply of happiness. He’s soon smiling away again after managing to knock Roddy off his feet with a flying kick. He eats a few more chops and backbreakers but surprisingly topples Strong out of the ring with a headscissors, then lands a SPRINGBOARD SOMERSAULT PLANCHA from a borderline suicidal angle. Not one to be outdone, Strong MURDERS Pee against the guardrail. The smiles are gone and Roderick is dominant now – dragging PW around the ringside area for repeated chops and forearms. The fans are enjoying that, so a bitter Roderick Strong drags him back inside for an abdominal stretch instead. Pee Wee pissed me off by going for a flying crossbody even though Strong just spent several minutes working the midsection. DISGUSTING stomp on the head punishes him for that. Death By Roderick courageously countered to a DVD over the knee, leaving both men down. Springboard enzi kick from Wee gets a 2-count, but the fans have lost all interest and are busy heckling the referee instead. Wee gets another nearfall with a bridging fisherman suplex, clearly intent on a total no sell of the back. Strong dumps him for his own nearfall with a urinage backbreaker. Stronghold applied…but annoyingly Pee Wee counters out and drops Strong again with an Ace Crusher. Rope-run moonsault misses and this time Strong nails Death By Roderick. The Sick Kick finally puts PW away at 11:54
Rating – * – Ridiculously too long, and Pee Wee’s selling was completely pathetic – but this was at least fun in a Low Ki/Deranged Death Before Dishonor brutal type way. Strong must have come close to fracturing the kid’s skull with that one stomp – his entire head bounced off the canvas like a tennis ball. This was originally scheduled to be Strong vs Davey Richards in a Bitter Friends Stiffer Enemies 2 rematch – but Richards ended up missing the show. Pee Wee is as far away from Richards’ quality as it gets…and it showed.
Kings Of Wrestling vs Up In Smoke
This is a huge opportunity for Cheech and Cloudy. They’ve popped up on cards here and there but haven’t quite managed to cement a regular spot for themselves in the crowded tag team division. Pulling off a huge upset win over the reigning Tag Champions would certainly secure them future bookings – and isn’t as wildly unlikely as you might think given the fact that the Kings will surely have an eye on their huge grudge title defence against the Briscoes in Toronto tomorrow.
Up In Smoke look determined to make the most of their shot with Cheech flinging Cloudy into a flying dropkick on both opponents. The Kings retreat to the floor giving them a moment of respect and applause. Claudio mocks Cloudy for being short but nearly gets caught in a flash pin as Cloudy again uses his speed to his advantage. Up In Smoke start tagging in and out with Young Bucks-level speed and precision, completely taking Castagnoli apart with their rapid and effective double teaming. Hero tags but fares no better, getting rolled into a double Tequila Sunrise. But Hero is the one that finally turns things in the King’s favour – booting Cheech in the side of the head as he hangs exposed in the middle rope. Now the power advantage starts to show as the Kings cut the ring in half and isolate Cheech. Finally Cheech gets the hot tag with an AWESOME counter of a body slap into a victory roll. DÉJÀ VU HEADSCISSORS from Cloudy to Claudio…only for Hero to catch Cloudy on his shoulders and hold him for a ROPE RUN LES ARTESS SUPERPLEX! Within seconds the KOW have shut down a potential Up In Smoke comeback and continue to dominate the contest. They absolutely flatten Cloudy for 2 with a sweet suplex/elbow smash combo. There’s also a great moment where Cheech thinks he’s saved his partner from a Castagnoli camel clutch…only for Claudio to give it a total no sell and smash him out of the ring. Cloudy goes crazy with counters, managing a lucha armdrag on Hero then an athletic evasion on Castagnoli to make a hot tag to Cheech. BERMUDA TRIANGLE MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! He tries a flying headscissors on Hero, and when it’s blocked he lands a facecrusher instead. Rolling Elbow COUNTERED to a powerslam! Rocket Launcher Senton gets 2 before Claudio saves! DEAD LIFT GERMAN from Claudio to Cloudy, only for Cheech to flatten Double C as he goes for a bridge. Cloudy goes for one tilta-whirl counter too many and gets dropped on his head. Running Uppercut COUNTERED WITH A DIAMOND CUTTER! Cheech in again to repeatedly knee Claudio. Pop Up European COUNTERED WITH A RANA FOR 2! More combo moves from Up In Smoke, leading to Hero making a desperate save as his partner looks beaten. DOUBLE STOMP CODE RED GETS 2! HERO DESTROYS CHEECH WITH AN ELBOW! He enters the ring and decimates Cloudy with a Rolling Elbow too. Rolling Elbow again…COUNTERED WITH A SMALL PACKAGE FOR 2! Hero is PISSED! ELBOWS! KRS-1! Kings win at 19:35
Rating – **** – With Strong/Richards pulled thanks to Davey not making it, I imagine Adam Pearce was scratching around backstage trying to find another main event level match. He made the right decision in elevating this one from (what I presume was planned to be) a designated squash match to a really competitive bout. Cheech and Cloudy definitely stepped up their game, delivering an excellent underdog performance. They reminded me a lot of the Young Bucks in their performance out there –and with the Jacksons recently departed for TNA there may be a spot on the roster for them if they can recreate this kind of showing on a regular basis. Of course most of the plaudits will go to the Kings for elevating them to a match of this calibre – and rightly so. But don’t short-change Up In Smoke for their work. They carried their end of the deal, hitting their spots with a high degree of skill and precision. It’s almost a shame this show has been hidden away as a bonus feature which only a few people will watch as this match was shockingly good.
Outside Kenny Omega rambles incoherently about wanting revenge on Austin Aries. This weekend marks Omega’s last appearances to date. Sinclair need to get the chequebook out and bring this guy back from Japan on a regular basis.
Austin Aries vs Kenny Omega
These guys had heat last year, with Aries treating Kenny with nonchalant disrespect – ducking him for World Title defences until Omega finally nailed him down with a victory at Death Before Dishonor 7 weekend. I had their eventual ROH Title clash at The Omega Effect as one of my 2009 ROH MOTY’s (there’s certainly a case to answer that it’s better than the much-hyped Aries/Davey match). Omega came up short in his quest to dethrone A-Double, but he certainly hasn’t forgotten about the personal issue between them and returns to ROH competition tonight looking for revenge.
Aries really pissed the fans off by coming out to ‘The Final Countdown’ – a reference to Bryan Danielson as this was right around the time he was released from WWE for the Nexus invading RAW angle. Kenny Omega interrupts his traditional pre-match promo time so they start brawling around ringside. Kenny gets the edge there so Aries starts running – the fight spilling into the ring to the bell can officially ring. Norman Smiley Slam nailed for the first pinfall attempt of the match. He shows impressive strength to power Aries up for a spinning suplex but still can’t put the former champion away. Having been beaten back for several minutes Aries attacks the eyes to give himself the advantage. He looks for the springboard reverse elbow only for Omega to counter with a back suplex leaving both men struggling to recover. Omega goes for a hurricanrana only to be driven into the canvas with a powerbomb. Last Chancery blocked, as is a frankensteiner allowing Kenny to get 2 with the frog crossbody. On commentary Hagadorn and Santamaria are having a surprisingly engaging discussion about ROH Tag Title history, covering the likes of Aries and Strong all the way through to the Wolves and the Kings. In the ring Aries grabs a handful of tights – cheating again to give himself the edge. Omega has focused on the back whenever he’s on offence, and manages to topple him out of the ring with repeated Irish whips to the turnbuckles. Bermuda Triangle blocked though, allowing Austin to plough Omega into the guardrails with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring he clamps on the Last Chancery, then finds his Brainbuster attempt blocked. STOP SIGN URINAGE SUPLEX! Croyt’s Wrath countered to the Shinbreak Back Suplex…but then Omega comes right back by blocking the IED. Kenny gets 2 with the leapfrog bulldog. Aries tries the Randy Savage Axehandle but gets caught, so hits an AVALANCHE BACK RAKE instead! IED COUNTERED TO CROYT’S WRATH! But Austin’s feet are in the ropes so no win for the Canadian. Aries eats ringpost…THEN CROYT’S WRATH AGAIN! Omega wins at 14:11
Rating – *** – Basically a toned down house show version of their superb match in Mississauga last year. I’m not complaining at all though – this is being given away for free so, for a free match, this was absolutely terrific. Any time Omega is in ROH he always entertains me, so it’s just a shame that can’t happen more often. Glad to see him finally get a deserved singles win over A-Double too.
The All Night Express run in to attack Kenny Omega (Kenny King and Kenny Omega have issues going all the way back to 2008) which duly brings out the Briscoes to make the save.
Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs All Night Express
I think this is the first weekend that King and Titus have officially been acknowledged on camera as being called ‘All Night Express’, so I’ll start introducing them as that on my reviews too. These guys have met multiple times before – with the Briscoes normally getting the best of the up and comers. Is tonight the night when King and Titus finally score a breakthrough win?
This is just a brawl with the Briscoes clearing the ring and beating the ANX all around ringside. Back in the ring King and Titus hit back with a nice atomic drop/slingshot clothesline combo. Double tackle on Rhett puts the former Tag Champions in charge once again. Austin Aries returns to the ring armed with a sports coat and pipe – now ready to manage his protégés. Filled with renewed confidence, King slingshots into a big stomp to the back of Jay’s head. Titus is back too, able to lay Briscoe out for 2 with his signature dropkick. The ANX cut the ring in half and start to isolate Jay, much to the pleasure of the ‘greatest manager that ever lived’. Aries doesn’t look as happy when Jay drops Titus with a turnbuckle flatliner and makes the vital tag to Mark. He sends both opponents out of the ring then fells them with a running tope atomico at 10 minutes. King and Jay continue to brawl as Mark looks for the second rope cutter on Titus. ROPE RUN SUPER SEX FACTOR by Rhettski to block! Kenny gets 2 with a Royal Flush backbreaker and reacts quickly to throw Jay down too with a spinebuster. Blockbuster over the knees gets ANX another nearfall. Jay hits a snap DVD and we’re all even again. The Briscoes then get 2 with a flying elbow/sidewalk slam combo on King. Jay Driller blocked, so they think about the Splash Mountain Neckbreaker. King breaks it with A-Double distracting the referee for good measure. King inadvertently lays out Titus with the Shotgun Knees then turns into the DRUNKEN STUPOR KICK! Aries saves Rhett from the Doomsday Device by blowing pipe-smoke into Mark’s face…and Titus rolls Jay up using the trunks for a shock win at 14:50
Rating – *** – That would be the first time the ANX have ever beaten the Briscoes. These guys always have fun matches together and in many ways this was their best yet. Maybe it wasn’t as exciting and spot-packed as some of their previous efforts, but had a really entertaining old-school vibe to it – and it’s no surprise to me that this match got comfortably the most vocal response from the fans thus far tonight. Great to see the repackaged King/Rhett team get a big victory too.
Tyler Black vs Steve Corino
This would be your main event for the evening – but it’s really just a prelude to our scheduled main event for the next Chicago show where it’s been announced that Tyler Black (if still champion) will defend the ROH World Title against Corino’s associate Kevin Steen. Corino is out here to send a message to Tyler, softening him up ahead of Steen’s challenge in Chicago…but also looking to prove his own critics wrong and show he still ‘has it’ with a win over the champ. Can Tyler concentrate on this one considering he has the huge ROH Title match with Davey Richards tomorrow?
Steve Corino’s pre-match promo is as good as anything else on this entire DVD. He wants Tyler to hand the belt over so he can give it to Steen and save Black a world of pain in Chicago. Of course, Black isn’t keen on that idea and socks Corino in the mouth. INVERTED TOMBSTONE! SLIDING LARIAT! TYLER KICKS OUT! Jesus, Steve nearly beat the ROH Champion in less than a minute! He lines up another Sliding Lariat only for Tyler to pop up and deliver a dropkick. Corino sent to the outside…but he hides behind Bobby Cruise as Tyler looks for a somersault plancha. Back in the ring they go strike for strike in a cringingly stiff exchange – which ends when Black boots Corino square in the jaw. Corino’s response is to shove the ref away and start STABBING TYLER WITH A FORK! Black falls out of the ring understandably shaken up by that. Corino starts working the leg, hitting a shinbreaker on an open chair to deliver severe damage to that body part. Once again with the referee’s back turned, he waffles Tyler’s leg into the ringpost with that chair. On commentary Shane Hagadorn rightly points out how any kind of injury sustained tonight is playing right into Davey Richards’ hands for tomorrow. Figure 4 applied, with Steve frequently going to the ropes to gain an illicit element of additional leverage on the hold. Black’s leg is really hurting him now, unable to hoist the heavy Corino up for an F-5. He pitches Steve out of the ring instead…and hits the SOMERSAULT PLANCHA second time around. Springboard Lariat nailed for 2. Black Star Press gets a nearfall too as Tyler gives up selling the leg altogether. Tyler hits a HUGE slap to Corino’s ear, referencing his legendary feud with Homicide in years gone by, so Steve drops him with the Colbykaze. SLIDING LARIAT TO THE KNEE! FIGURE 4 LEGLOCK AGAIN! Tyler escapes and is now so unbothered by the leg injury that he picks the heavy Corino up for an Airplane spin with total ease. Pele Kick then the F-5 nailed out of that. Phoenix Splash misses and Steve gets a SUPER close nearfall with a roll-up. Black puts him on his ass with a Superkick flurry then hoists the big man up for the BUCKLE BOMB! SUPERKICK! Steve Corino is a beaten man, and this is over at 17:06
Rating – *** – Easily Steve Corino’s best singles match in Ring Of Honor for years. My rating might have been even higher but for Tyler’s horrendous job selling the knee. I know it’s not ‘cool’ for reviewers to rag on bad selling. If it’s a minor thing I’m more than happy to look the other way – but when a key theme of a match is Steve Corino, hardly a small man, working the leg only for his opponent to get up and start doing shooting star presses and airplane spins…it’s just a bit ridiculous. Kudos to Corino for pulling out a big match performance, even if Tyler seemed to be coasting by on his big spots and not a lot else. This was better than I was expecting and certainly provided a lively main event contest.
Tape Rating – ** – You can see why this didn’t make it’s own DVD release, but for a free bonus show I thought this was good. Probably not as good as Eye Of The Storm 2, but still decent. Sure the first half of the card was absolutely horrible and sure there’s nothing ‘must see’ about it. But for a free event I’ve got no complaints whatsoever. I’m not entirely sure why ROH, having not been in the Buffalo region for nearly five years, would try to win back the region with such a lacklustre event (although admittedly they were unlucky that Strong/Richards – arguably the big selling point of the show – was cancelled)…but as a completist, I’m absolutely thrilled that Ring Of Honor opted to put this out as bonus content. Not having to pay $20 to watch a show which doesn’t have Davey Richards, or Chris Daniels, or Kevin Steen, OR El Generico works fine for me. Kudos for turning a bad night into a positive thing. There’s even the additional incentive of the really good Black/Richards match from Proving Ground 2009 in Coral Springs.
Top 3 Matches
3) All Night Express vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (***)
2) Tyler Black vs Steve Corino (***)
1) Kings Of Wrestling vs Up In Smoke (****)