162 ROH Honor Nation 10/5/2007
ROH 162 – Honor Nation – 5th October 2007
This is the start of another ppv weekend. It seems weird taping two ppv’s on back to back weekends since Undeniable (tomorrow night’s taping) won’t actually be aired till the start of 2008, therefore ROH collectors are going to have to wait a long time for it to be available on DVD. I suppose there’s a good reason for it. Maybe Gabe needs to advance storylines relevant to both the ppv and non-ppv canon and this is the most appropriate time to do it. Interesting fact about this weekend – it was originally scheduled to be another UK trip but the promotion had a falling out with their British promoter Alex Shane and everything fell apart before the trip was ever officially announced. Still, the UK’s loss is Boston’s gain. I’ve already said in previous reviews that the pre-ppv shows tend to be a little lacklustre. Reborn Again, United We Stand and Motor City Madness 2007 weren’t exactly red hot. But tonight’s card is surprisingly decent with Hero/Castagnoli II, the first in a Best Of 3 Series between Danielson and Aries (who always produce the goods), an NRC/Vulture Squad Scramble and Kevin Steen challenging Takeshi Morishima for the World Title. This emanates from Roxbury Crossing, MA. Commentary provided by Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard.
ROH VIDEO WIRE (20/09/07) – We start with an announcement that the Age Of The Fall’s debut will be pulled from the Man Up ppv due to it’s graphic and shocking nature. But ROH fans will get to see it on this Video Wire instead. Obviously it was included as an extra on the Man Up DVD release as well, so I’ve already covered this. We get a bonus promo from the Briscoes where they let loose an absolute STREAM of profanity directed at the Age Of The Fall. Great stuff…
Delirious (who’s beard looks like he stole it from a golden retriever) babbles about BJ Whitmer and the Hangmen 3.
Adam Pearce/Brent Albright vs Matt Cross/Erick Stevens
With the recent arrivals of the AOTF, the Vulture Squad and the Hangmen, it seems like everyone is suddenly aligned to a stable and the jostling for dominance has begun. Obviously this match is significant on that score as it’s members of the Hangmen 3 taking on members of The Resilience. Cross and Stevens again need to rebound after another high profile defeat to the No Remorse Corps – this time losing the Best of 3 mini-series at the Man Up pay-per-view.
Albright starts with Cross which is a rematch of their opening round Race To The Top Tournament match. Brent b*tchslaps M-Dogg then runs off to gloat about it. Pearce is so easy to hate that even Stevens has no problem getting the crowd behind him. The Resilience team up to get an advantage on the leader of the Hangm3n. Albright in and Cross gets some payback for that earlier slap to the face. He gets distracted by Hagadorn though and Albright capitalises. That enables his team to isolate M-Dogg, using their size to throw him around with ease. They then toss him out of the ring where BJ Whitmer is waiting to do more damage with the referee’s back turned. Finally Cross back flips out of a German suplex and gets the hot tag to Erick, who delivers a successful German to Pearce. TKO nailed on Albright as M-Dogg hits a somersault plancha to the floor. Stevens tries the Choo Choo Avalanche only to be caught and dropped with a double chokeslam. He recovers to clothesline Pearce into a Code Red from Cross. M-Dogg lines up a dive only to be dragged out of the ring by Whitmer. He’s on his own now but Stevens still gets 2 with a big powerslam on Albright. Brent turns it round with a cross armbreaker as Hagadorn and Whitmer keep Cross beaten down on the floor. HALF NELSON SUPLEX! The Hangm3n get the victory at 12:07.
Rating – *** – It’s a basic formula tag match, but everyone did their jobs well, evoking a lively response from the fans. Nothing special but it turned out to be a solid choice to open the show.
Whitmer tries to cut a promo but gets TONS of heat from the fans. People have been itching to hate this guy for ages so it’s good that they’ve finally got a chance to do so. He wants to hurt Delirious…
BJ Whitmer vs Delirious
The Hangmen 3 came together in Hartford when they attacked Delirious. Whitmer actively turned on Delirious (after the lizard man had saved him from going through a table during their match), and joined with Adam Pearce, helping him staple Delirious’ mask to his face. Now Delirious is itching for revenge, whilst BJ is desperate to finish the job.
Big pop for Delirious which is nice. The Hangm3n have really got some heat from the crowd tonight. Delirious knocks Whitmer out of the ring for the Suicide Flip. He goes for one headscissors too many though, allowing BJ to drop him with a spinebuster. I’ve just noticed that Albright has red highlights in his hair. That’s pretty metrosexual. BJ is in charge of the match now, and as usual with a Whitmer match, that’s just not too exciting. Delirious nails him with a Rock Bottom (I miss The Rock by the way) and sustains his comeback with three Panic Attack knee strikes. He thinks about pinning Whitmer now, but is looking for revenge so leaves the ring to get a steel chair. Whitmer takes advantage of that hesitation by powerbombing him into the turnbuckles. They botch something where BJ went for a frog splash, Delirious tried to roll out of the way but Whitmer still hit him anyway. Delirious lines up Shadows Over Hell but Pearce crotches him. Adrenaline Spike gives BJ a win at 09:12.
Rating – * – After the solid opening match this one was a disappointment. It’s better that he’s a heel now but Whitmer still lacks that basic level of charisma that makes his matches entertaining to watch. He’s in there dominating Delirious, one of the more beloved guys on the ROH roster (particularly with live crowds) and it still feels boring. Gabe has his work cut out to try and rebuild Whitmer into a credible threat once again. And given that everything he’s tried to get BJ over and elevate him above midcard status since 2003 hasn’t really worked, I’m not sure this will either. Fortunately I like the other three members of the Hangm3n.
Bryan Danielson warns Morishima that he won’t forget how he attacked the eye during their title match at Man Up. He’s glad that he’ll be able to step away from the heated issue between he and Morishima and test his wrestling skills against Austin Aries – a man he has a lot of respect for. He says he’ll prove he’s the ace of the company and get another shot at Morishima. That wasn’t his best interview ever, made worse by the fact it was taped during an Age Of The Fall entrance – meaning you can hear their irritating scream-entrance over most of it.
SIDENOTE – The crowd is pretty sparse tonight. Apparently there’s a big Boston Red Socks game going on so lots of people are either at the game or watching it on TV.
It’s time for a four corner match, featuring Tyler Black of the Age Of The Fall. Jimmy Jacobs spouts off more clichés about revolutions and announces that Tyler won’t compete in the four corner survival. Jay Briscoe runs out and attacks them…which means we’re left with a triple threat.
Hallowicked vs El Generico vs Nigel McGuinness
This is a pretty random triple threat. Nigel has another shot at the World Title tomorrow night on pay-per-view so this is nothing but a warm up for him. Generico had an excellent summer, both as part of his team with Kevin Steen and in singles matches too, with outstanding matches with Claudio Castagnoli and Naomichi Marufuji.
Hallowicked is so unimportant he doesn’t even get the traditional Generico pre-match hug. Nigel hammers Generico with a McLariat in the first ten seconds. Wicked sends him out of the ring with a flying headscissors. CRAZY suicide dive by Generico wipes out the Brit. McGuinness hits back with a rebound lariat on the floor. Sky High gets Wicked a 2-count. That leaves Nigel lying around doing nothing for a while whilst the other two fight. He returns to the match with a shortarm McLariat on Hallowicked. Generico lines up the Yakuza kick…but runs straight into another McLariat. Has Nigel done any other moves in this match thus far? He attempts a suplex on Wicked, who lands on Generico and nails him with a headscissors. None the less, Generico is soon back up and missing the Yakuza kick on Nigel. But Nigel tries to set up Hallowicked for the Super McLariat and this time does get caught with Generico’s Yakuza kick. Generico then uses Wicked’s positioning on the ropes to hit an innovative DDT. He tries the through the turnbuckles tornado DDT on the floor but McGuinness counters it with an uppercut. TOWER OF LONDON ON THE FLOOR! Wicked then wipes Nigel out with a dive to the floor. Go 2 Sleepy Hollow scores but Nigel is quickly back up and hits him with the regular in-ring Tower Of London. That’s enough for the win at 08:09.
Rating – ** – There was lots to criticise about this match, but I don’t want to focus on too many negatives. In fairness to all three guys, they made sure it was just constant action from start to finish, and there were a few clever little spots thrown in. Of course there was lots of classic triple threat ‘two men fight whilst one guy lies around like a dead fish’ moments but this was a throwaway undercard match. I’d have rather have seen Jimmy and Tyler get themselves over pre-match by assaulting Hallowicked, then having Jay make the save and simply doing a Nigel/Generico singles match though.
Kevin Steen has some promo time, and that’s always good. He says the match tonight is huge for him, as it’s his chance to prove he belongs in ROH, and to prove all the guys who said he wasn’t good enough back in 2005 wrong. Good serious interview from him.
Chris Hero vs Claudio Castagnoli
To me it seems a little strange to throw this big rematch into the midcard of a ppv-eve show but I’m not complaining. Perhaps the fact that the previous pre-ppv shows haven’t been so hot, coupled with the fact that Boston has always been a market that ROH tries to produce a decent show for, has led to bigger matches. Claudio won their first singles match (at Manhattan Mayhem 2) and the Sweet’n’Sour group are obviously keen to avenge that loss. And Castagnoli still desperately wants to get his hands on Larry Sweeney so this feud still has reasons to keep going despite the clean face win in the first match. Daizee Haze is in Claudio’s corner for this match.
As you expect with Sweet’n’Sour Inc., it takes an absolute eternity to get the match started, with antics such as Larry getting a ‘Chris is Awesome’ chant going and Hero hurting his own foot kicking the guardrail in anger at some negative chants. The match is less than 30 seconds old before Chris dives out of the ring again. The crowd start cheering for Bobby Dempsey, prompting Sweeney to abuse him more. The wrestlers engage in a Greco-Roman knucklelock, which leads to an extended ‘Hey’-fest then more stalling. Claudio shows he can do annoying comedy-stalling too by applying a run-up chinlock. Hero blocks the Giant Swing by grabbing a leg so Castagnoli slingshots him into Dempsey instead. He lines up the crab elbow but Sweeney grabs his foot, allowing Hero to kick him over the ropes to the floor. Back in with Hero getting 2 following a blockbuster. Castagnoli has to absorb several minutes of punishment. Hero’s assault rarely looks particularly aggressive, instead he mostly sticks to a comedic or insulting moveset, interspersed with frequent playing to the crowd. Finally Double C hits an uppercut from the second rope and gets to his feet first to mount a comeback. He tries a tope suicida but can only connect with Dempsey as Chris dives out of the way. Springboard forearm from the guardrail by Hero…who then tries to make out it’s a falls count anywhere match and tries to pin Castagnoli on the floor. In the ring again and he does get a 2-count with a Cravat suplex. He can’t lock in the Hangman’s Clutch though. Riccola Bomb blocked, as is the Alpamare Water Slide and Hero hits a cradle back suplex for 2. Claudio evades the Cravat Buster and drops Hero with a bicycle kick. Springboard European nailed and gets 2. Flipping Cravat by Hero, followed by a powerbomb. Hangman’s Clutch applied this time, but way too close to the ropes. Missile dropkick by Hero, but Claudio no sells it and hits a European uppercut to win at 23:25.
Rating – ** – That felt like a super-long house show match. During their Manhattan match both guys established a perfect balance between playing to the crowd and working damn hard to have a good match. There was none of that this time. They essentially stalled and laughed their way through almost 25-minutes. The finish was totally underwhelming too. I’m sure it was vaguely entertaining for the live crowd, but watching this on DVD was quite a chore. I think this is a pretty generous rating.
With no regard for Castagnoli’s victory celebration, Jay Briscoe and Necro Butcher are brawling in the crowd. Obviously lots of chairs are involved. Finally they make it to ringside, and apparently it’s become a match somewhere along the line.
Jay Briscoe vs Necro Butcher – Anything Goes Match
We saw the Age Of The Fall debut in bloody fashion at the conclusion of the Man Up pay-per-view. They left Jay in an absolute mess and he’s now coming for revenge. Unfortunately for him he’s got to do it without his brother, who’s out with a foot injury he suffered in a motorbike accident. Wasn’t it a motorcycle incident that stopped him wrestling back in 2004? That prompted a hasty rebooking of this show since it was originally scheduled to be the Briscoes vs AOTF (you’d assume Jacobs/Black) in a grudge tag team match tonight.
Necro’s elbow is all messed up, swollen and ugly. Just because the match has made it to the ring it doesn’t change much. Lots of fists, boots and chair shots. Necro gets 2 with the Tiger Driver on a pile of chairs. With that failing he tries to line up a powerbomb but Briscoe counters with a back suplex that ends up missing the chairs. DVD INTO AN OPEN CHAIR! Jay could’ve had the match won there but Jimmy Jacobs interferes. Out comes Mark Briscoe on crutches…but Tyler Black attacks him. Butcher picks up the win at 05:03 with a sidewalk slam through back to back chairs.
Rating – * – Not a particularly dynamic brawl, but they kept it short and it was nothing but angle advancement anyway. The big Briscoes/AOTF matches will surely come later.
The Age Of The Fall then decide to abduct Mark Briscoe, carrying him out of the arena. AOTF Lacey is extremely hot!
INTERMISSION – Rebecca Bayless has her monologue interrupted by Larry Sweeney who complains about Claudio’s victory over Hero. Larry is then interrupted by Jay Briscoe looking for his brother.
Post-intermission Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black come back to the ring. They’ve been told that they need to win some tag matches if they want to get a Tag Title shot, so they’ve got a tag bout lined up against Top Of The Class Trophy holder Mitch Franklin and Ernie Osiris (another graduate who I’ve not seen before – and in a total shocker, he actually looks like a real wrestler). They dispose of the students in around two minutes with some impressive spots, particularly from Tyler. Jay Briscoe appears again but they run off before he can get to them. Personally I’d have had the AOTF/students tag match before Necro/Jay and ended it for tonight with the AOTF abducting Mark. I just think it would’ve been a lot more chilling and effective that way.
Austin Aries vs Bryan Danielson – Best Of 3 Series Match 1
Everyone should know the history between these two guys. It was Danielson that helped make Aries a star in their superb encounter at the end of the inaugural Survival Of The Fittest final. They then had their infamous 75-minute 2/3 Falls Match which still holds the record for longest ever Ring Of Honor match. Since then they’ve had numerous other matches against each other, and they’re always good. So why reignite this issue now? Essentially these two are ROH’s top homegrown stars. With the likes of Joe, Homicide, Ki and Daniels out of the promotion, these are the two biggest main event names left (on their own roster, obviously NOAH guys like Marufuji and Morishima add to that total). They now meet in this Best Of 3 series to determine who is the true ‘ace’ of Ring Of Honor. The winner gets an ROH World Title shot so the stakes are high.
The first significant exchange sees both men battle over a Figure 4 leglock, to such an extent that they tumble to the floor still in the hold. The early going does a good job of establishing the abilities of both men and gets over just how familiar these two are with each other. Danielson has a slight edge when it comes to the mat wrestling, which I’d argue is fair as he’s acknowledged as the superior technician of the two. He tries a sunset flip and gets caught with a trademark Aries low dropkick and immediately scurries to the floor. Aries continues to force the pace though, pursuing him out of the ring, then coming back in and hitting the Power Drive Elbow for 2. He focuses on the arm for the next couple of minutes but doesn’t do significant damage and Dragon works his way back into the contest. Danielson takes control with a HUGE armdrag and starts to dictate things at a methodical pace, slowly picking Austin apart. He takes far too long setting up for the diving headbutt though, allowing Double A to shove him off the turnbuckles. Neckbreaker in the ropes by the former Generation Next leader and he sends Dragon off the apron, leaving him perfect position for the Heat Seeking Missile. Danielson’s neck appears to be hurting him now but he tries to keep Aries at bay with a big running enziguri. He avoids Aries’ Kick Of Death with a leg sweep but Austin still manages to floor him with a Kawada-style running kick to the chest. Missile dropkick from AmDrag as Aries tries to put him in position for a super Brainbuster. Roaring Elbow catches Aries right in the jaw, then the Tiger suplex gets 2. Cattle Mutilation applied, then rolled into the MMA ELBOWS! Aries powers to his feet and elbows Dragon into the corner. They clash arms as both go for Roaring Elbows…and Danielson IMMEDIATELY capitalises with a kick to the arm then the Crossface Chickenwing. That was f*cking awesome. Shinbreaker suplex saves Aries from that hold. The Brainbuster is blocked once so Aries nails the Kick of Death. BRAINBUSTER! 450 SPLASH INTO THE KNEES! Danielson slaps on a triangle choke and that’s almost enough to give him a victory. TRIANGLE CHOKE ELBOWS INSTEAD! Aries rolls through that into a bridging Crossface (that’s the Horns of Aries). Knees to the head. HORNS OF ARIES AGAIN! Danielson has to tap. Aries takes a 1-0 lead at 24:37.
Rating – **** – An absolutely enthralling mat-based encounter. These two are so good in the ring that the match was absolutely flawless in it’s execution. Everything flowed so well, there were no awkward moments at all. I think they just spent a touch too long during the initial 10 minutes of evenly matched, ‘look how good we are/look how well we know each other’ chain wrestling without really establishing much. Aside from ‘we’re great wrestlers’, the first 10 minutes, however good, was a little aimless. It was only after those and they switched up a gear that things started getting interesting. To that end, technically it’s a very good match, but not quite the MOTYC I’ve seen some people rate it as. I thoroughly enjoyed it though. I’m looking forward to Round 2.
Backstage after the match Aries admits that it was Bryan Danielson that put him on the map in ROH. He can’t guarantee he’ll win 2-0, but he thinks he’ll be the won getting the World Title shot.
Jack Evans/Ruckus/Jigsaw vs Roderick Strong/Davey Richards/Rocky Romero
This is the first time we’ve seen the Vulture Squad as a complete unit. Jigsaw was added to their ranks with absolutely no fanfare whatsoever. Not that he’s a big name and needed the kind of debut Ruckus had at Manhattan Mayhem 2, but some kind of angle explaining it would’ve been nice. Obviously we know why this is happening. Jack was trying to get a crew together for months to help him fight the No Remorse Corps. Now he has done, it’s faction warfare.
Jigsaw uses his complicated, Chikara-inspired lucha to confuse Strong. Ruckus comes in to flip around and work over Richards. Jack BACK FLIPS under a Romero kick attempt and gets an assist from his partners to hit a moonsault. Standing moonsault off Strong’s chest next gets 2. He tries to go upstairs once too often though and Roderick sweeps his legs from under him. The fans are as loud as they’ve been all night whilst heckling Strong, who holds Evans in position for a springboard knee drop from Rocky. He then leapfrogs the former Havana Pitbull into a dropkick on Jack whilst he’s hung up in the corner. The NRC have isolated Jack, which doesn’t quite make sense since it’s Scramble rules and he could just roll out but what the hey. Finally Evans hits a springboard blockbuster, but can’t make the hot tag (see, it’s Scramble rules, that doesn’t make sense) as Romero and Richards stop him. Finally he somersaults over both opponents – like something out of a movie – and makes the hot tag. Rolling suplex/powerbomb combo by Ruckus and Jigsaw. Davey gets 2 on Ruckus with a German suplex. Running frankensteiner by Jig, then a multiple-revolution tornado DDT. Romero then drops the masked man on his neck with a Tiger suplex. Evans gets 2 with a standing Phoenix splash, then gets driven down to the mat face-first by Roderick. Davey decapitates him with another big kick. Somersault plancha by Jigsaw, followed by a big dive by Richards. Running moonsault to the floor by Ruckus, then a springboard plancha by Romero. That leaves Jack…SPRINGBOARD CORKSCREW MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! Back in the ring it’s Evans hitting a reverse rana on Strong, with Ruckus waiting in the wings to hit a handspring moonsault. Jigsaw rounds things off with a frog splash for 2. DOUBLE TEAM ALARM CLOCK on Jigsaw, then Death By Roderick. KNEE STRIKE INTO A LIGERBOMB by Romero and Richards. But Rocky gets caught on the top rope. ONG JAK KNEE! SOMERSAULT VAN TERMINATOR BY RUCKUS! 630 SENTON! The Vultures win at 14:46.
Rating – *** – That was loads of fun. Jack was ON tonight and did some really awesome stuff, and since this was Ruckus’ first substantial ROH match (and Jigsaw, hasn’t received too much exposure either) everything felt rather fresh. I had a problem with the Evans isolation segment purely because the match was supposed to be a Scramble – he could just roll out. They worked Dragon Gate Rules instead, whereby tags only become unnecessary when you’re on offence. But that didn’t mean this wasn’t a blast to sit through. I’m not sure anyone could buy the Vultures as a credible, serious threat since they’re basically three spot guys (although Jigsaw can clearly work a bit), but they’re obviously very at home in this sort of environment.
Moments later a triumphant Vulture Squad get some promo time. Evans formally introduces Jigsaw (who at least sounds fairly gangster under the mask), whilst Ruckus calls them three of the greatest high-fliers on the planet and says they’re coming for the Tag belts.
Takeshi Morishima vs Kevin Steen – ROH World Title Match
I’m not entirely sure how it is that Mr Wrestling has earned himself a shot at the ROH Championship, but I’m not going to complain. Look at it as a reward for a fantastic year thus far, where he’s been one of the most consistently entertaining and watchable guys on the whole roster. Obviously Morishima knows that Nigel McGuinness will face the winner tomorrow on pay-per-view. Is he looking past this battle of the fatties and thinking about Round 3 with Nigel?
Steen takes a page out of Morishima’s playbook and jumps the World Champion before they can get to the official introductions. He manages to knock Mori all the way out of the ring with a shoulder block and wastes no time following up with a pescado. He’s got a decent amount of support amongst the small crowd and gets his first 2-count with a somersault leg drop to the neck. And he’s clearly got some strategy too, as he starts slamming Morishima’s leg against the ringpost, apron and guardrail. Lenny Leonard points out how much success Bryan Danielson had working Mori’s leg at Manhattan Mayhem 2. Kevin has totally dominated the first 5 minutes. Morishima can’t even stand up thanks to the relentless assault on his leg. Finally he does fire up and get back to his feet, dropping Steen with the Bossman Slam. Ole Ole butt strike scores on the floor, with no hint of leg selling. Just that one move leaves Mr Wrestling struggling to even get up. In the ring again where Morishima hits a cartwheel avalanche then the running ass attack. Running boot in the corner scores next, so I’m guessing Mori has managed to shake off the leg injury. Steen blocks the Back Drop Driver and scores with a springboard crossbody. He goes after the leg again with a dragon screw, but Shima is so big he lands on top of Steen. He tries it again and eats a German suplex from the champion. Morishima misses the missile dropkick, perhaps due to his leg injury. Steen locks in the Sharpshooter (I’ve opted to call it a Sharpshooter not a Scorpion Deathlock because big Kev is a Canadian). El Generico is at ringside cheering for his partner now, but Mori gets to the ropes. STEEN-TON BOMB! FROG SPLASH! Morishima kicks out at 2. Steen climbs the ropes again but MISSES the big moonsault. Morishima clobbers him with a lariat then starts climbing the ropes again. Mr Wrestling hits him with a superplex, but it’s NO SOLD! Spinebuster gets the Canadian another nearfall. He thinks it’s Package Piledriver time, but there’s no way he can get someone of Morishima’s size up for it. Mori sits down on his chest to block it. More lariats from the champion. BACK DROP DRIVER! Mori retains at 18:30.
Rating – **** – I’m going 4* on the rating despite Morishima’s total no-sell of the leg, which would’ve made this match even better. I’ve gone so high because I thought these two (Steen in particular) doing a hell of a job working a great match in an impossible situation. Tomorrow night is a pay-per-view, we all know Morishima/McGuinness III is the big match, so everyone is well aware the challenger has no chance of winning. That was fine for Morishima/Stevens in Detroit because the match was less than 10 minutes, Erick had already wrestled once to get there, and the point of the match wasn’t so much ‘can Erick win’ as it was ‘will Stevens proves he deserves to be in the ring with the ROH main eventers’. These two had 20 minutes to fill with everyone knowing full well what the end result would be. But they made it work, and did everything possible to make it seem like Steen had a chance. In his promo earlier Steen said he wanted to prove he belonged in Ring Of Honor after his failure in 2005. I think he did so tonight. He minimised the amount of comedy goofing off, he was working with a MUCH larger opponent so he was limited in the amount of head-dropping spot-work he could do. He had to WRESTLE the match and I think he did a good job, certainly proving (as if there was any doubt) that he’s well and truly found a home on the ROH roster.
El Generico leads the crowd in a standing ovation for Kevin Steen…who angrily shoves him away and walks out without him. We still don’t know if their team is ok after losing the Ladder Match at Man Up. ‘I need you like I need herpes’ – Steen to Generico.
Tape Rating – *** – If you’d have asked me at intermission whether I thought this would be the best pre-ppv show thus far I’d have had some serious doubts. Outside of the decent Hangm3n/Resilience opener, the first half of the show was really mediocre. Hero/Castagnoli dragged on for ages and just wasn’t very good. None of the matches particularly made me sit up and get excited, and much like on the Man Up bonus DVD, some of the booking around the Age Of The Fall was frustrating (not letting us have Nigel/Generico in a singles match, coming back out after the decent Briscoe abduction angle etc). But the second half of the show was a massive improvement. Aries/Danielson put on a clinic, the main event was a hard-hitting big-man battle, and the Vultures/NRC 6-man provided some decent spot warfare. In terms of storylines and so on this is a skippable show. There’s nothing on here you NEED to see. Unless you’re a particularly hardcore ROH collector you’re not missing out on an enormous amount (even with Danielson/Aries) by skipping this one and just getting Undeniable tomorrow night. But there’s more good wrestling on the second half of the show than you’ll see on some entire ppvs from WWE or TNA, so it’s hard not to at least give this show 3*.
Top 3 Matches
3) Jack Evans/Ruckus/Jigsaw vs Roderick Strong/Davey Richards/Rocky Romero (***)
2) Takeshi Morishima vs Kevin Steen (****)
1) Austin Aries vs Bryan Danielson (****)