192 ROH Northern Navigation 7/25/2008
ROH 192 – Northern Navigation – 25th July 2008
ROH headed as south for a show earlier this year, tonight it’s the turn of the north as Ring Of Honor makes it’s long-awaited Canadian debut. This is the start of a ppv weekend with another nationwide pay-per-view taping tomorrow night in Detroit. Normally that means the night 1 show of the weekend features an underwhelming card and tend to feature wrestlers playing it safe before they make it to the big show. I’m not expecting to see that tonight. It’s the debut in a new market and the line-up is VERY strong. The main event sees a No DQ match with Age Of The Fall looking to see of all it’s rivals in one match – the Briscoes and Austin Aries. But in truth all eyes are on the match below it on the card, featuring Canada’s own Kevin Steen challenging for Nigel McGuinness’ World Championship for the third time. There’s also a Danielson/Castagnoli rematch from Vendetta 2, NOAH representation once again with intriguing Strong/Marufuji and Stevens/Shiozaki matches, the debut of Kenny Omega and Lance Storm is here too. We’re in Toronto, ONT. Calling things will be Prazak and Leonard.
ROH VIDEO WIRE (08/07/2008 – 24/07/2008) – The first show is just highlights from Dayton. Video Wire 2 opens with exclusive footage from Vendetta 2 with Del Rey demanding a SHIMMER Title match with MsChif. We then go to the ROH Wrestling Academy. Rhett Titus continues to pretend to be nice to Daizee Haze. Later Titus, Haze and Delirious go through their paces in the training ring. Rhett is REALLY good as a slimeball.
Larry Sweeney opens the show, informing people that Adam Pearce has been suspended for throwing a fireball at Albright back in Chicago…but Albright isn’t here either thanks to those injuries, so it was all worth it…
With no Daizee Haze in sight Rhett Titus is free to be as Addicted to Love as he wants, bragging about the recent time spent with Daizee.
SIDENOTE – The hardcam at this show is really sh*t. The VQ looks like something you’d expect from a $60 camcorder
Chris Hero vs Ruckus
The only real question ahead of this match is whether Ruckus will spring a major upset or become the latest person to me knocked out by the more ruthless Chris Hero.
Hero cleans Ruckus’ clock in the opening seconds with his patented Rolling Elbow. Japanese armdrag out of nothing from Ruckus but Hero sends him falling out of the ring with another elbow smash off the apron. The difference in colour and picture quality from the hardcam and ringside cameras is so noticeable it’s very off-putting. Back inside Hero continues to rattle Ruckus’ skull with a variety of elbow strikes. Ruckus nips up into a back somersault kick and follows that up with a somersault plancha to the floor. Hagadorn tries to interfere but ends up doing more harm than good to Hero. That Young Knockout Kick fires back with a flurry of elbow smashes and a big kick to win at 06:27.
Rating – ** – Generous rating for a brief match, but they struck a good balance between putting the heel over whilst still making sure to get a positive response from the enthusiastic crowd.
Rhett Titus tries to show American Dragon a video of him and Daizee Haze on his phone. Danielson doesn’t seem overly impressed…
Kenny Omega vs Delirious
Lots of buzz surrounding Kenny, although I have to say he’s someone I’ve had next to no exposure to as I don’t really watch the promotions he frequents. Always good to see new talent in Ring Of Honor, and since he’s Canadian he’s guaranteed a decent response from the crowd. He also has a really fun little ring entrance…
The opening 90 seconds are fast-paced and fun to watch. It has to be said that Delirious largely controls things in the early going. Omega flips about to evade him and hits a dropsault to finally establish himself in his first ROH match. He stops Delirious’s usual clothesline flurry with a jumping enzi then boots him off the apron to the outside. Pescado attempted, but Delirious COUNTERS with a torpedo headbutt to the chest. Leapfrog bulldog gets Kenny a 2. Delirious hits back with the Panic Attack. STALLING Ocean Cyclone suplex gets Omega another 2 count. Hadouken strike misses and Delirious floats into the Cobra Stretch. Omega taps at 07:56.
Rating – ** – He was always losing this, but that was an enterprising debut match by the Canadian. As always when someone new comes onto the roster, it’s interesting to see some new spots, but what impressed me was his fluidity and ability to move from one sequence to the next with consummate ease. He definitely needs to be booked again.
That hardcam is now actually blurry. We go into highlights of a bloody FIP Dog Collar Match between Roderick Strong and Erick Stevens. It looks like Stevens wins it and is the new FIP Champion.
Jennifer Blake vs Sara Del Rey
Nothing more than an enhancement match for Del Rey here as she looks to get into the hunt for a SHIMMER Title shot against MsChif. Is Blake a local girl? Obviously this is her ROH debut.
Jennifer looks like Molly Holly. Del Rey’s new look is actually pretty intimidating. She steams into Blake, choking her with her ring jacket before the match even starts. There’s a touch of the Daizee Haze sloppiness to Jennifer’s early attempts at some speed moves. Sara grabs her throat and launches her into the turnbuckles. Machine Gun chops by Blake…seriously Kobashi would just be embarrassed by that. She manages to knock Del Rey out of the ring with a superkick then dives into a tope suicida (and lands slightly ugly as she gets her feet stuck in the ropes). More Blake almost slips trying to come off the top rope next, and is finally put out of her misery with a Del Rey axe kick to the back of the head. Sara wins at 03:34.
Rating – DUD – Whilst not wanting to encourage any ‘Don’t Come Back’ chanting because Jennifer Blake was clearly busting her ass out there…but yeah, don’t come back love. She didn’t look like hitting anything clean out there all night and I genuinely had to look away when she started trying to be Kenta Kobashi. I hate people trying to be pretentious or slagging things off for the hell of it, but she just wasn’t even CLOSE to being ROH standard. And if she’s that bad, why is she on the card?
Larry Sweeney instructs Sara to further obliterate Blake after the match, which she obliges until Daizee Haze comes out to make the save.
Go Shiozaki vs Erick Stevens
I would assume this is non-title. It should be a physical match though as these two are both big, hard hitting individuals who have, by and large, been impressive performers for Ring Of Honor in 2008.
Go is a heel now, so shakes hands with the official but refuses one with his opponent. Lenny Leonard points out that these two have some heat dating back to a recent FIP show. Belly to belly suplex scores for Stevens, driving Shiozaki out of the ring. Out there the new FIP Champion violently pitches Go into the guardrails. He works a bodyscissors, apparently with such force that Go can’t even chop his way free. Choo Choo misses though and this time Go does manage to lay in some chops with maximum impact. Insert some token cheap heel tactics from the newly-turned NOAH guy now, choking Erick in the ropes then leaving him exposed to a cheap shot from Larry Sweeney. Body slam on the floor next, and the roving camera angle makes me realise that this venue is TINY (making the shoddy hardcam even more inexcusable!). I like the intimacy of it, probably less so than Stevens as he gets shunted into the front row. Next he is left prone on the apron allowing Shiozaki to take a run up before delivering a big knee strike to the side of the head. In the ring Go works sleeper holds from various positions, trying to choke the breath out of his opponent’s lungs. Stevens looks for that second rope football tackle only to be met with a dropkick. Battle on the apron next before Erick drops to the floor and chops out the legs from under Shiozaki – resourceful move. Football tackle from the second rope scores this time, as does the Choo Choo. Running Samoan drop gets 2 for the FIP Champion. Chop duel next, with the sweat REALLY starting to fly. MASSIVE Superkick by Go, then the fisherman buster for 2. Stretch Plum applied…then rolled into the DRAGON CLUTCH! Stevens makes it to the ropes, but kudos to Shiozaki for using a Low Ki move. 30 seconds remaining in the time limit as Erick stops Go landing his moonsault. He climbs looking for an avalanche Doctor Bomb…blocked by a superplex from Shiozaki. 15:00 time limit is up so…this one is a draw.
Rating – *** – Nothing special, but it was physical, competitive and kept me guessing right to the very end. With some hesitancy I’m going to say that I liked Shiozaki as part of S’n’S. I’m not going to say it feels like the perfect fit as I’m still not sure he has the physical charisma to pull off a classic American pro-wrestling heel role. In truth, he looked LEAST comfortable today when having to deal with that side of things. However, at least being in the group gives his roving tour of midcard exhibition matches more purpose, and no matter how awkward he may have been dealing with the more stylised heel routine, he did work with more aggression and focus which was a firm positive.
Much like at the first two shows of the year, Stevens gets on the mic and demands five more minutes. And when Sweeney refuses…we have someone in the back who wants to convince him. LANCE STORM is here! He wants to see five more minutes too. Sweeney sucks up to Lance…until Hero emerges from the back to attack him. Shiozaki beats down Stevens whilst Hero does a number on Storm. That is until Storm and Stevens combine to hit STEREO SINGLE LEGGED CRABS! Lance rounds the segment off by clearing Hagadorn’s clock with a superkick. Lance still look in fantastic shape. It’s such a shame that outside of a couple of brief runs in ECW and WWE he was never really properly used during his peak years.
Backstage Kenny Omega says he hopes to be back in ROH in the future. Rhett comes in and tries to get Kenny to watch his phone video.
Bryan Danielson vs Claudio Castagnoli
This is a Vendetta 2 rematch. At the last Chicago show these guys went 25 minutes, with Double C edging out the American Dragon in what has to be considered an upset. It capped off a bad series of shows for Danielson, having now been pinned by Tyler Black, Erick Stevens and Claudio Castagnoli – after being set the challenge by Nigel McGuinness that he needs to start beating everyone HE has defended the belt against before he can get a title shot. Castagnoli has a rematch with Nigel on pay-per-view tomorrow night in Detroit so will be desperate to get even more momentum going into that one.
The Toronto fans go mental for Bryan Danielson. Popular as Claudio is, it’s not even close to Dragon tonight. He actually finds himself getting boo’d in the early going. As in, anytime he even counters a basic mat hold he is on the wrong end of some verbal. Dragon blocks the Big Swing and gets a nice round of applause. AWESOME monkey flip/double pin/double bridge sequence next which is just a treat to watch. Danielson tries to step up in intensity, looking for a Fujiwara armbar, then the MMA Elbows but Double C quickly stands up to avoid that. Castagnoli steals the ‘I have till 5’ gimmick…not popular with Canada. Danielson gets his own back with a ‘HEY’. Thankfully unlike last time that doesn’t breakdown into another big comedic interlude and Castagnoli goes right into a headlock. Shortarm Scissors by American Dragon. Castagnoli TRIES to power up but is flipped straight back down. Another amazing little wrestling exchange there. Second time of asking Claudio lifts Danielson into a ONE ARM SUPLEX to break the hold. That hurt Danielson’s back and he immediately follows up with a backbreaker. Claudio is clearly favouring his arm but manages to pepper the back with short European uppercuts. With the former World Champion down in the middle of the ring, Castagnoli lines up another Danielson trademark – the Mexican surfboard. But Danielson is such a keen proponent of that move he knows how to block and escape it. Torture Wrack into a WRACK BACKBREAKER gets 2. Danielson hits a desperate dropkick, then a running basement dropkick in the corner, favouring his back all the while. But that back isn’t so beaten up that American Dragon doesn’t find a way to deliver HIS version of the Mexican surfboard to Double C. It’s so hot in the building that the lenses on the ringside cameras are starting to fog! TOPE SUICIDA BY DANIELSON! But he goes for a missile dropkick from the top, only to be caught for the Big Swing! 20 rotations strong before Dragon is dropped hard down onto his back. RUNNING UPPERCUT gets 2. Danielson ducks under the Riccola Bomb though, then rolls down Claudio’s arm into an armbar as Castagnoli looks to convert to the Alpamare Water Slide. Cattle Mutilation locked in, but you’d imagine the bad back makes it easier for his opponent to get to the ropes. MMA ELBOWS! Castagnoli to his feet to deliver the bicycle kick. Riccola countered again…DUELLING NEARFALLS! Castagnoli goes for the Pop Up European he won with last time…COUNTERED TO A BACKSLIDE! Danielson wins at 21:46.
Rating – **** – Remember the last match when I complained about then sacrificing nearly 5 minutes of a great wrestling match for an annoying comedy routine (plus doing next to nothing other than go through the motions before it)? And remember when I said I was disappointed because had they ditched that and just backed their ability to go out and WRESTLE for 20 minutes, it’d be awesome? Well, here you go. Here they let their wrestling do the talking and it was fantastic. Honestly one of the best back and forth mat wrestling matches that we’ve seen in Ring Of Honor for some time. And it helped that the crowd was awesome. They did for this match what the Philadelphia crowd did for Danielson/London at Epic Encounter, by turning what was already a great match into something even more special and memorable. The finish playing off their first match was brilliant also. Honestly all that was lacking was an extra five minutes to turn what had been a brilliant mat battle into an epic, MOTYC masterpiece (along the lines of Danielson/Go from Tokyo last year). And the best part is you still feel they’ve got more in the tank if we’re doing Dragon/Claudio 3
Standing ovation from Toronto. American Dragon gets on the mic to give thanks right back to them. He then invites a fan into the ring to proclaim him the best wrestler in the world.
INTERMISSION – Rhett Titus offers to show his Daizee video to Bobby Dempsey. In comes Delirious…who Titus fobs off.
And Titus kicks off the second half by interrupting Bobby Cruise and proclaiming himself the best thing in Toronto. He reels off his stupid dirty rhymes before Daizee Haze comes to the ring to admonish him. Rhett says he’s ‘been there and done that’…and leaves as Sara Del Rey comes out to beat Daizee up. Delirious comes out to help…and since he can’t hit a woman in front of Daizee, takes Del Rey’s axe kick to the back of the head instead.
Naomichi Marufuji vs Roderick Strong
No major back story here (although these two did clash as part of the NOAH vs NRC 6-man at Southern Navigation) but you know, this one should be awesome and a real treat for the new Ring Of Honor market in Canada.
Marufuji’s new haircut is dorky…and Strong is in full on hand-slapping, fan-hugging babyface mode again now. As is custom in these first-time cross promotional matches, the first minute or so is fairly tentative. It then EXPLODES into live as they unload huge chops onto each other’s chests. Dave Prazak picks up on Maru’s grandma haircut. Surfboard applied by him, forcing Roderick to shuffle to the bottom rope and grab it with his mouth to break the hold. Basement dropkick follows from the former GHC Champion followed by a tenacious series of pinfall attempts. Strong hung in the ropes and Marufuji takes a run up before dropkicking him hard in the side of the head once again. He works a cravat which Roddy manages to convert into a side slam to buy himself some time. He catches Maru going for a flying elbow smash in the corner and counters into a running faceplant for 2. First backbreaker of the match is greeted by applause from the Canadian fans. Over the shoulder backbreaker gets another close nearfall. Reverse bearhug utilised to grind down onto Marufuji’s lower back, grabbing the arms as well forcing Maru to mirror Strong earlier in the match and use his mouth and nose to grab a rope. Russian legsweep into the turnbuckles from Marufuji, then the charging elbow smash in the corner second time of asking. Blindside lariat flips Strong upside in for 2. Codebreaker gets a nearfall as well. Strong escapes the Shiranui and turns Marufuji into a CRADLE BACKBREAKER! Superplex from the top rope…NO SOLD by Marufuji. SICK KICK SCORES! TWO COUNT! Strong tries a chop…and gets DECAPITATED by a vicious superkick in return. Rod is put in the tree of woe, which can only mean one thing. VAN MARUFUJI-NATOR GETS 2! But Strong pops up for DEATH BY RODERICK AND THE HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER! STRONGHOLD! Maru escapes, then counters the Gibson Driver with a hurricanrana. LOW SUPERKICK GETS 2! GIBSON DRIVER…FOR 2! Double underhook neckbreaker by Marufuji, then the SHIRANUI! It’s over at 16:59.
Rating – **** – Danielson/Claudio was a brilliant technical bout, and this one was a fine example of how to work a modern day junior heavyweight match. Their offence did have a vague focus (Maru going after the neck, Strong the back), but their main goal was to work fast and keep the audience on the edge of their seat as they stormed through a great match at a BLISTERING pace. I always love it when Marufuji comes to ROH because he’s so good at working Ring Of Honor’s midcard guys and making them look a million dollars. He’s done it with Romero, Generico, Richards, Claudio, Strong tonight etc. For a guy that is genuinely one of the biggest stars in puroresu to come to Ring Of Honor and pull a match like that out of the bag in a tiny, sweaty little arena in front of 500-700 fans is testament to his love of this sport.
Nigel McGuinness vs Kevin Steen – ROH World Title Match
Round number 3 in what has been a fun little mini-feud between the classic arrogant jock McGuinness and the fat slob who’d love to beat him up. Steen has been cheated out of the World Title in Edison and in Chicago. Tonight he gets a shot in his home country of Canada. Will the support he’ll undoubtedly receive here be enough to drive him to glory tonight – and fulfil his promise to hold Ring Of Honor gold this calendar year?
Steen tags ‘O Canada’ on the front of his entrance theme just to whip up a tad more support. Lots of streamers for him during the ring intros. McGuinness tries to quiet the crowd early on by grounding Steen and working those arms. The World Champion is dominant in the opening minutes using his solid mat game to negate the obvious fervour of both fans and opponent. Early Jawbreaker Lariat attempt misses to Toronto’s delight. Mr Wrestling tries to quicken the pace so McGuinness quickly bails. The challenger gives chase though, tossing him about ringside and into the railings. He goes for one ambitiou move too many, and Nigel PRESS SLAMS HIM OFF THE BARRIER INTO THE RING APRON! That was absolutely grotesque. Steen barely moves after that and is already heavily favouring his back. McGuinness chickenwings the arms, working them whilst stretching that banged up spine. Steen tries to turn it into the Sharpshooter but Nigel goes to the eyes to block. The challenger can barely stand now. Repeated pinfall attempts by McGuinness, since even that is causing him major discomfort. Surfboard with knees DEEP into the back next, Lenny Leonard pointing out how Nigel is using very basic moves to ravage Kevin’s back. McLariat landed and gets 2. To the floor where he drills Steen back-first into the apron, then the guardrail (pausing only to take a cheap shot to the back with the bell hammer). Mr Wrestling looks out of it, slumped in a chair at ringside with fans desperately trying to urge him to fight back. Big pop from the crowd as he lands a couple of chops, but Nigel shuts him off again by dropping him face-first into the chair.
Steen ducks a McLariat and lands a flying forearm. Adrenaline rush for the challenger, flattening Nigel with the cannonball senton then rolling around in pain due to how much that move hurt HIM. Lariat from Steen! Package Piledriver blocked but he lifts Nigel into a powerbomb for 2 as we approach 20 minutes. Tower Of London COUNTERED into the Sharpshooter. Just a warning shot though as McGuinness is way too close to those ropes. TOWER OF LONDON TO THE FLOOR! MCLARIAT! Not enough to retain the title though. He sets up for the Tower Of London again…but still Mr Wrestling won’t stay down. SHARPSHOOTER ON STEEN! Total slap in the face to the Canadian wrestler, but he doesn’t tap and gets a big pop by grabbing the bottom rope. Super McLariat ducked and Steen dumps Nigel out of the ring. SPRINGBOARD SOMERSAULT PLANCHA TO THE FLOOR! HOLY SH*T! Amazingly, Steen isn’t dead! STEEN-TON BOMB…INTO NIGEL’S KNEES! NO SOLD! SHARPSHOOTER ON MCGUINNESS! Crowd hate it when Nigel makes the ropes. CRADLEBREAKER by Steen but that doesn’t win it for him either. It’s moonsault time…MOONSAULT MISSES! Jawbreaker Lariat BLOCKED WITH A LARIAT! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! NIGEL KICKS OUT!!!!! ‘That was 3’ – Toronto. He looks for a second, MCLARIAT BY NIGEL! COBRA CLUTCH MCLARIAT! PALM STRIKES! JAWBREAKER LARIAT! STEEN WON’T STAY DOWN!!! And Mr Wrestling nearly steals it with a small package. MCLARIAT! SUPER MCLARIAT! NIGEL WINS! 30:58 is your time.
Rating – ****1/2 – Awesome match. There’s not much I can say other than I loved that. Their trilogy has been so much fun and the finale here was epic. It was probably a hint WWE style in the way they worked it, playing to the home town fans, multiple finisher spots etc…but they did such a phenomenal job. The crowd started hot for Steen, but to keep that energy up from a small, smarky independent crowd for 30+ minutes, particularly working this style match which NEEDS fans to stay on your side, do the whole ‘boo…yaaaay’ thing and so on…it’s a MASSIVE task. This isn’t the main event, but I think it’s clear to see that this match was the centrepiece of the show. Giving then half an hour (plus ring entrances that’s 40+ minutes of DVD time) was a real gamble. Steen hardly ever wrestles that long, and Nigel failed to get a top level match out of Claudio with a similar time allowance at the Hammerstein debut recently. Both guys stepped up to bat and swung for the fences. Steen has arrived as a singles wrestler in Ring Of Honor now…and after he crashed out in 2005, underwhelming in his matches and apparently rubbing locker room vets like CM Punk and Homicide up the wrong way, whoever thought that 3 years later he’d be going 30 minutes for the World Title in Canada. I really can’t praise that strongly enough. Not everyone will like this as much as me. If you don’t like the style they worked then you just won’t enjoy it like I did. I loved how they worked the match, played to the crowd, had the big finisher no sell spots etc.
Standing ovation for the match, particularly for Kevin Steen who leaves the ring looking absolutely devastated by the loss…
Backstage Daizee Haze has a promo by Ruckus eyeing her up. Has he seen Rhett’s video too?
Jimmy Jacobs/Tyler Black vs Jay Briscoe/Austin Aries – No DQ Match
Obviously Mark still hasn’t been cleared to compete so this is a rematch from A New Level. That night saw Jay and Aries come up victorious over their enemies, only for Jay to forfeit his Tag Titles since defending them without Mark wasn’t the same. The Hammerstein match was hardly fought with strictest adherence to the rules, so tonight, with no disqualifications, could be chaos.
Jay hits a plancha on Black whilst Aries and Jacobs pick up from where they left off at Vendetta 2. He shoves Jimmy out of the ring meaning all four men are fighting on the floor. Aries hits an elbow smash off the railings to Tyler Black. He then marches into ring and demands that HE gets to beat on Jacobs rather than Briscoe. Necro Butcher arrives to turn this into a handicap match in all but name. How did Necro get through Canadian customs? But here comes Mark…IN WRESTLING GEAR! He and Aries take turns pummelling Jimmy as Toronto gives him the ‘welcome back’ chant. The reunited Briscoes start running through some of their trademark double team moves on Black, then Mark proves he’s lost none of his craziness with a somersault pescado to the outside. Jacobs goes for his running pescado through a chair…AND MISSES! Aries moved and he crashed ribs first into that seat! HEAT SEEKING MISSILE! MOONSAULT OFF THE GUARDRAIL BY TYLER! I guess that was aimed at Mark Briscoe as Necro and Jay seem to be brawling their way through Section C. It’s Briscoe throwing chair after chair at Butcher there. Jacobs has Aries…CELLPHONE TO THE HEAD! Back in the ring the Briscoes bust out more combo moves on Tyler, but Necro breaks the fall by BATTERING the official with a chair. REDNECK KUNG FU ON NECRO! But Butcher soon gets his own back with a BULLDOG THROUGH A TABLE! Medics immediately rush to treat the younger Briscoe who appears to have re-injured his wrist. He’s escorted to the back so it’s a handicap match again. Chair slam from Necro to Austin as Jacobs chokes a bloody Jay Briscoe in the ropes. The numbers are overwhelming now and Age Of The Fall look to have this one in the bag. Jay busts out an awesome burst of speed to clobber Tyler over the top rope. Aries tries to talk to Necro and play those headgames with him again…so Jacobs MURDERS him with a chair. Jacobs gets on the mic and draws a line in the sand, demanding Necro show his allegiance and ‘earn his keep’ by taking out Aries’ eye with a hunk of table. Necro doesn’t look like he enjoys taking orders…and WALKS OUT on Age Of The Fall! Aries grabs Jacobs for the LACEY DDT ON A CHAIR! Impact Explosion Dropkick from Aries, then the mafia kick from Briscoe gets 2…but Tyler knocks Aries off the apron with the Pele kick. Yikes, Jacobs’ mouth is pouring blood now. End Time on Jay! ARIES KICK OF DEATH breaks it. BRAINBUSTER! Black prevents him from landing the 450 Splash that won it in Chicago. DOOMSDAY DEVICE ON TYLER! JAY DRILLER! Aries/Briscoe win at 21:14
Rating – **** – Really good story-driven brawl to round off what has been a great debut show in a new market. Lots of high spots and fun, bloody action to enjoy, but also SIGNIFICANT storyline developments with Mark’s surprising and unscheduled return to action (and subsequent departure again) then Necro bailing on Jacobs and Black. The babyface victory was a nice way to send the fans home happy as well so…thumbs up all round.
Tape Rating – **** – More often than not, on pay-per-view weekend the OTHER night’s show is a washout. Not so this time as ROH pulled out one of it’s best shows of the year for their Canadian debut, and to be honest, it’ll take a lot for the ppv taping tomorrow night to top it. Everything clicked into place tonight to deliver a good show. Rhett Titus held the backstage stuff together with some entertaining skits, Kenny Omega made an interesting debut, Lance Storm made a welcome appearance to put over Sweet’n’Sour Inc., and the four matches at the top of the card were all fantastic. Danielson and Claudio had the technical classic they SHOULD have had in Chicago, Strong/Marufuji had the crowd on their feet post-intermission, Nigel and Steen were tasked with carrying the defining match on the show and lived up to the all the hype to produce a CLASSIC for the World Title, whilst the No DQ match at the top of the card sent the crowd home happy. Great wrestling, great booking and a fantastic crowd which added to almost every match. Barring the 3-minute SHIMMER exhibition match nothing was bad all night. You really need to pick this one up…
Top 3 Matches
3) Naomichi Marufuji vs Roderick Strong (****)
2) Bryan Danielson vs Claudio Castagnoli (****)
1) Nigel McGuinness vs Kevin Steen (****1/2)