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RADICAN'S ROH DVD REVIEW: Return Engagement (Ibushi-Generico, Briscoes vs. Shelley & Sabin)

Nov 28, 2008 - 6:42:19 PM
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By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist

This is a free review for PWTorch.com readers of ROH's "Return Engagement." Torch Columnist Sean Radican usually reviews nearly every ROH DVD release for PWTorch.com VIP members. Each of Radican's ROH DVD reviews are available in a special section on the PWTorch VIP site. If you like what you see here and are looking for more ROH coverage, sign up at PWTorch.com to become a VIP member where you will enjoy Radican's exclusive DVD reviews, along with roundtable reviews from the Torch staff. Radican also records an edition the Radican Audio Showcase on most weeks with co-host Derek Burgan dedicated soley to ROH coverage.

ROH DVD Analysis
"Return Engagement"
Chicago Ridge, Ill.
April 19, 2008
By Sean Radican, Torch columnist


Results and Star ratings

(1) Austin Aries beat Silas Young. This was a short, but competitive match. Young looked good in the loss to Aries, who was simply too much for him to handle at this stage of his ROH career. (*1/2)

(2) The Necro Butcher beat Alex Payne & Mitch Franklin in a Handicap match. The match started with Payne taking on Franklin, but Jacobs came out and sent Necro to the ring to show that AOTF was about action and not talk. Necro destroyed both of his opponents in short order with a fist full of barbed wire and a chair. (n/a)

(3) Claudio Castagnoli & Pelle Primeau beat Brent Albright & Claudio Castagnoli. This is the type of match I have a hard time watching. The team of Albright and Pearce doesn't do much for me; neither does the team of Castagnoli & Primeau. This was a totally skippable match. (*1/4)

(4) MsChif beat Ashley Lane and Daizee Haze and Lacey in a Four Corner Survival match. This was one of the better SHIMMER matches I've seen on an ROH DVD. There was a lot of good back and fourth action, as the Lacey-Haze feud was spotlighted. MsChif is a really good wrestler, who doesn't get enough credit for the talent she has. (**3/4)

(5) Chris Hero beat Delirious. Hero dominated the match for a long period of time and Delirious had just started his comeback when Hero KO'd him with an elbow strike. Hero's new character is uninteresting because he still wears his gear from his last persona. Delirious came across as being very stale during this encounter, but the match itself was fine. (**)

(6) Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin beat ROH World Tag Team Champions The Briscoes in a non-title match. I really liked this match a lot. It wasn't as good as their encounter in 2007 in ROH, but they had one heck of a back-and-fourth battle with tons of great exchanges at a rapid-fire pace. I liked how the finish came out of nowhere in a sense, as both teams were kicking out of big moves, but when Shelley landed a super sliced bread #2, the match was over. In other words, the end came at the exact right time. (****1/4)

(7) Kota Ibushi beat El Generico. This was an awesome match. They did the slow build early on, but once Generico and Ibushi began exchanging offense, the crowd heat was tremendous. Ibushi is well-worth going out of your way to see wrestle. He had a fantastic match on this show and put together some fantastic exchanges based around counters with Generico. It was nice to see him pull out a victory during his short stint in ROH, as he had been very impressive in his previous three matches. (****)

(8) Tyler Black & Joey Matthews & Zach Gowen beat Jack Evans & Ruckus & Jigsaw. This was a good match, but I had high expectations given the talent involved. The AOTF beat on the Vulture Squad for most of the match. Then the Vulture Squad mounted a comeback and hit a series of dives to the outside. The AOTF then took out everyone in the Vulture Squad with a series of big moves that was capped by Black finishing off Evans with a small package driver. This would have been a much better match to boost the undercard, which was very average. (***)

Radican's "virtual time" review

-The show began with Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin cutting a backstage promo. They said the Briscoes came out on top last year, but they've been studying the Briscoes for the past year. Shelley said he thought of rednecks when he thought of the Briscoes. Shelley made fun of their accent and mannerisms before saying they had underestimated the Briscoes last year. Shelley said they were in their hometown and tonight they would be winners.

The Briscoes then cut a backstage promo. Jay said last year they had put to rest who the best tag team in wrestling was. Mark said tonight they would go 2-0 against the MCMG. Jay said the MCMG better man up.

(1) Sylas Young vs. Austin Aries. Young escaped an Aries submission attempt early on and caught him in a nasty leg lock, but Aries quickly fired back and sent Young to the outside before nailing him with the heat seeking missile. Aries went for a missile dropkick, but Young swatted him out of the way. Young continued to maintain the advantage as he drove his knee into Aries's mid-section. Aries fired back and nailed Young with a series of knee strikes on the apron before coming off the top and nailing him with a missile dropkick. Aries went for the brainbuster, but Young countered and hit a backbreaker/clothesline combination for a 2 count. Young then went for an Arabian press, but Aries got his knees up. Aries then hit a kick to the head before nailing Young with a brainbuster. Aries rolled over and applied the last chancery and young tapped. (*1/2)

-Jimmy Jacobs came out after the match and applauded Aries's win. Jacobs got on the mic and congratulated Aries for joining AOTF. Jacobs said it seems that Lacey had convinced Aries to join his faction with her kiss. Jacobs said he didn't want to get off on the wrong foot. He said he wasn't a jealous guy, but he just doesn't like other people touching his things. Jacobs said as long as they saw eye to eye on that, he would be proud to stand next to him. Aries got on the mic and said it might take him a little while to get used to playing second fiddle. Aries said he did a lot of talking with Lacey, but there was also a lot of non-verbal communication that night. Aries said he had convinced Lacey he could do a lot for her. Aries said they both agreed that Jacobs was what he ate a lot of that night – a pussy. Aries said Jacobs had sent a woman to do the job of a man. Aries told Jacobs to stay out of his and Lacey's business. The crowd cheered Aries as he left. Jacobs seemed to be quite upset. Good segment.

(2) Alex Payne vs. Mitch Franklin. The announcers talked about the in-ring confrontation between Aries and Jacobs. They did several fast-paced exchanges before Jimmy Jacobs came out. (n/a)

-Jacobs said AOTF was about talking and not action. Aries brought out Necro, who went into the ring with barbed wire and a chair.

(3) The Necro Butcher vs. Alex Payne & Mitch Franklin in a Handicap match. Necro ran wild on both men right away. Payne was cut open after getting nailed with fist full of barbed wire from Necro. Necro punched Payne and Franklin right in the face before pinning them both simultaneously. (n/a)

-The announcers said Necro vs. Takeshi Morishima had been signed for the May 10 event in Manhattan. The crowd gave Necro a big face reaction after he destroyed Payne and Franklin.

(4) Adam Pearce & Brent Albright (w/SNS Inc.) vs. Claudio Castagnoli & Pelle Primeau. Castagnoli and Primeau worked well together early on to frustrate the heels, but Pearce quickly cut Primeau off and began to pound him on the mat. Albright looked to have Primeau pinned after a modified DVD, but he pulled him up to break the count. Pearce and Albright entered the ring illegally and continually used cheap shots to work over Primeau. Hagadorn even took a shot at him from the outside. Albright hit a wheelbarrow suplex, but once again lifted Hagadorn's head before the ref counted to 3. Primeau finally tagged in Castagnoli, who ran wild Albright and Pearce.

Primeau hit a missile dropkick on Pearce off the apron. Inside the ring, Albright hit a powerslam on Castagnoli. Hagadorn got up on the apron and Pearce tried to nail Castagnoli with a briefcase, but Pearce hit Albright instead. Castagnoli then hit the Ricola bomb on Albright for the pin. (*1/4)

-Albright got into it with Sweeney and Pearce after the match, but ended up walking to the back.

-Kevin Steen cut a promo from inside a gym. Steen said he was taking his match against McGuinness so seriously that he was going to work out and he got on a treadmill and began walking. Steen said he knew McGuinness would do whatever it took to retain his title. Steen said he also could do whatever it takes to win. Steen said he would be ROH's most unlikely champion ever after tonight. This was an average promo by Steen's standards, especially building up a big rematch against McGuinness.

(5) Four Corner Survival match: Ashley Lane vs. Lacey vs. Daizee Haze vs. MsChif. MsChif took Lane down early and let out a loud scream before tagging in haze. Lane tried to tag out to Lacey, but she jumped off the apron. Haze had Lane trapped in an arm submission, but Lacey ran in and kicked her off of Lane. Lacey took another cheap shot at Haze, which gave Lane the upper hand. Lacey tagged into the match once Haze was worn down and choked her on the mat. Haze tried to shoot Lacey into the ropes, but she pulled up and fell down. Lacey ended up tagging in Lane before tagging in MsChif, who locked Lane in a painful looking standing submission with her leg bent back towards her head.

MsChif tagged in Lacey, who ran across the ring and knocked Haze off the apron to the floor before attacking Lane with a choke. Lane blocked an implant DDT attempt from Lacey, but Lacey fired right back and locked her in a modified dragon clutch. MsChif and Haze worked together to wear down Lacey in the middle of the ring with a series of maneuvers. MsChif capped the exchange with a standing moonsault that Haze didn't attempt to break up, but Lacey kicked out anyway. Haze looked to have Lane finished, but Lacey nailed her with a TKO. MsChif ran up from behind and nearly pinned Lacey with a bridging pin. MsChif went up top with everyone out on the floor and nailed them with a splash off the top for an ovation from the crowd.

MsChif and Lacey exchanged forearms in the center of the ring. They exchanged a series of counters. Lane blind tagged herself into the match and nailed MsChif with a splash off the top for a two count. Lacey and Haze brawled on the outside, as MsChif managed to nail Lane with the desecrator for the pin. (**3/4)

-Jimmy Jacobs came down to the ring after the match to confront Lacey. The crowd chanted "She f----- Austin." Jacobs asked Lacey if everything was okay. She got on the mic and said they needed to go their separate ways and walked out of the ring. The crowd chanted "whore" at Lacey. Nice job, Chicago. Aries met her at the top of the entrance ramp and they kissed before walking to the back. Aries sat down in the ring and wept. Leonard said things had gotten a little awkward. AOTF finally came out to console Jacobs, who clearly wanted to be left alone. The crowd chanted "give him a hug."

(6) Chris Hero (SNS Inc.) vs. Delirious. Delirious was imitating Hero's old mannerisms, so Hero turned him around and punched him in the face. Delirious fired back and took control of the match. He eventually grounded Hero with a series of headlock takedowns. Hero finally blocked a headlock takedown attempt from Delirious and kicked him in the head. Delirious fired back quickly with a couple of headbutts and Hero rolled to the outside. Delirious ended up chasing Larry Sweeney, which allowed Hero to catch him with a roaring elbow and a big kick to the head. Hero continued to methodically attack Delirious for several minutes, as Sweeney continued to taunt Delirious on the outside.

Delirious tried to mount another comeback and eventually hit a spinning DDT. Delirious hit Haze's heart punch on Hero. He then went up top slowly and landed a head-scissors off the top. Delirious then went for the panic attack, but Hero caught him with a roaring elbow followed by another elbow strike for the pin. (**)

Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin came out to a big ovation. The Briscoes got a big pop as well. The crowd was split, as chants for both teams could be heard before the bell rang. Both teams shook hands before the match and crowd applauded.

(7) ROH World Tag Team Champions The Briscoes vs. Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (non-title). Mark's wrist was heavily wrapped. He began the match with Sabin. Mark took Sabin down and tagged in Jay, but Sabin caught him with a rollup for a 2 count. Sabin tagged in Shelley, who came off the top with a double axe handle that dropped Mark to the canvas. Sabin then tagged back in and the MCMG hit a series of rapid-fire moves on Jay that popped the crowd. All four men ended up in the ring. Sabin sent mark to the outside and then dropkicked Jay right in the ribs, as Shelley applied an abdominal stretch. Jay then ducked a double clothesline attempt moments later and punched away at Shelley, who dropped to the mat. The Briscoes then hit a series of rapid-fire double team maneuvers on Shelley, capped by a double team shoulder tackle and the crowd applauded.

Sabin ended up pulling down the ropes as Jay was about to bounce off them. Jay spilled to the outside as the MCMG hit stereo kicks on Mark in the center of the ring. The MCMG pulled off another series of incredible double team maneuvers that sent both Briscoes to the outside. Sabin then teased a dive onto Jay on the outside, but Shelley ended up running off the apron and took Jay out with the double knees. Mark ran from the other side and took out Shelley. Sabin went for a dive, but the ref stopped him. The ref then turned around, so Sabin dove over him and took out both members of the Briscoes on the outside. That was fantastic.

Jay blind tagged himself into the match a few minutes later and took Sabin down with a clothesline. The Briscoes began tagging in and out of the match quickly to wear down Sabin, who was unable to fight away from the Briscoes corner. The Briscoes picked up Sabin and tossed him high in the sky. Mark then elbowed Shelley off the apron to the floor and made the cover, but Sabin kicked out at 2. Sabin finally cut Mark off with a bulldog and tried to tag out, but Jay ran in to stop him. Sabin nailed Jay with an enzuguri and tagged in Shelley, who ran wild to a big pop from the crowd. Jay sent Shelley down to the mat, but Sabin ran in and jumped off Shelley's back and kicked Mark off the apron to the floor.

Shelley got the Border city stretch on Mark. Jay tried to make the save, but Sabin caught him in a modified abdominal stretch. Sabin eventually set Jay to the outside and they tried to isolate Mark, but he nailed the MCMG with a moonsault press and tagged in Jay. Both teams went back and fourth exchanging moves, but all four men ended up down on the mat before Jay covered Shelley for a 2 count. The Briscoes went for the springboard doomsday device on Shelley, but Sabin blocked it. Shelley then wrapped his legs around Jay's skull and drove it into the mat repeatedly and the crowd roared.

Sabin tagged in and nailed Mark with a huge running kick on the apron. The MCMG then hit a double team swanton on Jay, who was laid out on Sabin's knees as Shelley came off the top. Sabin hit a dragon suplex with a bridge on Jay, but Mark hit an exploder suplex on Shelley that sent him into Sabin and broke up the pin, which prompted an "ROH, ROH" chant from the crowd. The action continued at a frantic pace, as all four men exchanged moves. Jay hit a Jay-driller on Sabin, but he kicked out at the last second. Jay signaled for the springboard doomsday device again and the Briscoes nailed it this time. Mark went for cover, but Shelley broke it up at the last second.

Mark went up top and went for a SSP, but Sabin got out of the way and tagged in Shelley, who hit the sliced bread #2 on Mark for a 2 count. Shelley went up top, but Jay ran in out of nowhere and cut him off. Jay went for a top rope Jay-driller, but Sabin sent him crashing to the mat with a German superplex. Mark and Shelley then went at it up top. Shelley then hit a super sliced bread #2 on Mark for the pin. (****1/4)

-Leonard said we would see a tiebreaker at some point in the future as the MCMG celebrated after the match. Once the Briscoes recovered, all four men shook hands and hugged. All four men then raised their hands together and posed for the crowd as the crowd chanted "ROH, ROH." That was a cool moment.

The AOTF then ran down to the ring and attacked the Briscoes after the MCMG had left the ringside area. Jacobs took out a spike and nailed Mark in the head with it repeatedly. The Briscoes eventually slipped out of the ring and stumbled to the back.

-Dave Prazak went out to the parking lot to see what happened to Mark. Jay said something about his wrist being ripped open and said they needed to get to the hospital.

(8) El Generico vs. Kota Ibushi. The announcers talked about Mark Briscoe being stabbed in the wrist while trying to block Jacobs's spike during the previous segment and said it was hard for them to concentrate on the match at hand given Mark's condition. Leonard then said Ibushi was trying to get a win in ROH before returning to the DDT promotion based out of Japan. Ibushi got the upper hand early after a long feeling out period and began to wear down Generico with a series of kicks in the corner. Generico ducked a kick from the seated moments later and managed to get his knees up to block a standing moonsault attempt from Ibushi, which is a move he landed successfully in his previous ROH matches. Generico then went on the attack and methodically picked apart Ibushi with kicks and strikes on the mat. Generico hit a backbreaker on Ibushi and then went up top and nailed him with a split-legged moonsault for a 2 count.

Both men began exchanging blows in the center of the ring. Generico bounced off the ropes, but Ibushi met him in the middle of the ring with a hurricanrana. Ibushi continued to quicken the pace, but ended up running right into another backbreaker from Generico. Generico then went up top, but Ibushi did a handspring and nailed him with a kick. Ibushi got right up and ran across the ring and jumped over the top rope to the second turnbuckle and nailed Generico with a moonsault press to the outside. Ibushi missed another kick on Generico, who was in the seated position, but this time he successfully landed an incredible standing twisting bodypress for a 2 count.

Generico blocked a kick from Ibushi moments later and nailed him with a blue thunder powerbomb for a 2 count. Ibushi tried to fire back and charged at Generico, but Generico caught him and him with a michinoku driver for a nearfall. Generico stalked Ibushi as he made his way back to his feet and charged across the ring, but Ibushi caught his boot and nailed him with a combination of strikes. Generico then caught Ibushi with a kick as he came off the ropes, but Ibushi went face-to-face with him in the center of the ring. Generico ran off the ropes and went for a Yokuza kick, but Ibushi ducked and nailed a bridging German for a nearfall that brought the crowd to their feet. The crowd broke out into an "ROH, ROH" chant as Ibushi went up top. Generico got up and cut him off, but Ibushi pushed him to the mat. Generico rolled out of the way, but Ibushi landed on his feet and nailed Generico with a standing moonsault for another 2 count.

The fans chanted "That was awesome" as Ibushi set up to charge Generico, but Generico ran at Ibushi and nailed him with a Yokuza kick. Generico went up and hit a big splash, but Ibushi kicked out. Ibushi slipped out of a brainbuster attempt and nailed Generico with a spinning kick. Ibushi went up top, but Generico cut him off again. Ibushi went for a sunset bomb, but Generico landed on his feet and nailed him with a dropkick in the corner. Generico nailed Ibushi with another running Yokuza kick and set him up on the top turnbuckle for a brainbuster. Ibushi struggled and managed to nail Generico with a reverse hurricanrana off the top for a 2 count. Ibushi then hit what looked like a twisting 450 on Generico for the pin and the crowd loudly applauded his victory. (****)

-The crowd chanted for Ibushi after the match and broke out into a "Please come back" chant. Ibushi bowed before to Generico before going around ringside to shake hands with the fans. He then went back into the ring with Generico and shook hands. Generico then held up his hand and they posed together for the fans, who popped again. This was a fantastic post-match celebration to watch.

A replay from one of the bigger spots during the Generico-Ibushi match aired.

-Larry Sweeney was backstage with Adam Pearce and Chris Hero. They seemed very happy about what had gone down on this night. Shane Hagadorn then came into the picture and they celebrated some more. Brent Albright came into the picture and seemed angry, but Sweeney managed to calm him down.

(9) Age of the Fall (Tyler Black & Joey Matthews & Zach Gowen w/ Allison Wonderland) vs. The Vulture Squad (Jack Evans & Jigsaw & Ruckus). Evans served Matthews before they locked up and the crowd applauded. I miss Evans in ROH. Matthews quickly grounded Evans and worked his arm over on the mat. Evans nicely took Matthews down with a headscissors and went for another headscissors moments later, but Matthews kicked him right in the ribs. Evans fired back with a kick to Matthews's face moments later and tagged in Ruckus who ran wild. AOTF ended up bailing to the outside to recover before Matthews got back into the ring to face off against Ruckus. Matthews quickly took Ruckus down and tagged in Black, who laid into Ruckus with a series of kicks. Jigsaw blind-tagged himself into the match and the ref got tied up with the AOTF, which allowed the Vulture Squad to hit a triple team moonsault on Black.

Gowen took a cheap shot at Jigsaw from the apron, which allowed Black to regain the advantage. The AOTF isolated Jigsaw in their own corner. The ref continued to be distracted with the Vulture Squad trying to help Jigsaw out, which only allowed the AOTF to continue to triple team Jigsaw. Jigsaw finally broke free and tagged in Evans, who nailed Matthews with a springboard kick. Evans went for another springboard, but Black and Gowen pulled him off the apron and dumped him on the floor. Gowen tagged in and hit a springboard senton on Evans before tagging out to Black. Evans took a sustained beating from AOTF for several minutes, as he was unable to get back to his own corner to tag out. Evans finally nailed Matthews with a springboard moonsault elbow and then avoided Black before tagging in Ruckus, who ran wild.

Ruckus sent Matthews out to the floor and took out Gowen and Matthews with a dive to the outside. Jigsaw then nailed Black with a superkick before taking out Ruckus and the rest of the AOTF on the floor. Evans then took everyone out on the outside with a springboard 450 to the outside. Jigsaw waited for Black to get to his feet, but Black caught his boot. Jigsaw managed to take Black down, but Matthews nailed Jigsaw with a DDT. Everyone hit a series of big moves for the AOTF as the action broke down. Black then pinned Evans with the small package driver. (***)

-Jimmy Jacobs came down to the ring again. He told the AOTF to leave and got on the mic. He said he had to do this by himself. He said he carved his niche in this business by being a tough S.O.B. Jacobs said Aries hadn't hurt his body, but instead had crushed his heart and broke his soul. Jacobs told Aries to be a man and fight him face to face. The crowd erupted as Aries ran down to the ring. Both men brawled in the center of the ring and exchanged blows. The AOTF came back out, so Aries leapt off the top and tried to take them out with a dive. Aries ran back into the ring and continued to attack Jacobs, but the rest of the AOTF ran in and overwhelmed Aries. Gowen nailed Aries with his cane as Jacobs screamed in his face. Jacobs took out his spike, but ended up stopping short of Aries. Jacobs then teased stabbing Aries's throat, but Lacey came out and begged Jacobs to stop. Jacobs then grabbed Lacey and screamed at her. Jacobs then broke down and wept on the mat. Black screamed at him "What are you doing?" Prazak said we had just witnessed a complete breakdown from Jacobs. This was a good segment.

-Kevin Steen came out of the main event and got a good pop. Nigel McGuinness then came out and drew some cheers from the crowd, but it's hard to tell what kind of reaction he really got by the way they feed the audio through the fan cam.

(10) ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness vs. Kevin Steen. McGuinness went to bridge himself into the ring backwards, but Steen punted him right in the nuts and posed with the title. The ref rang the bell as Steen chased McGuinness to the outside and nailed him with a chop. The announcers talked about Steen being granted a rematch after McGuinness won using the ropes for leverage during their last encounter the previous week in Edison, N.J. McGuinness went for the jawbreaker, but Steen ran up and dropkicked him off the apron. Steen then hit a frogsplash on McGuinness from the apron to the floor. Steen jawed with a fan who was cheering for McGuinness, which allowed Nigel time to recover and cut Steen off. McGuinness sent Steen across the apron and into the ringpost, which caused Steen to collapse in a heap on the floor. McGuiness targeted Steen's arm on the outside and drove it into the barrier at ringside several times. McGuinness took Steen down to the mat and locked him in a modified cobra clutch. The crowd chanted for both men as Steen struggled to escape Nigel's submission hold. Steen managed to escape and applied the sharp-shooter moments later, but McGuinness got the ropes.

Steen bit at McGuinness's chest and the ref administered a 5 count, but Steen stopped. Steen went for a cannonball, but McGuinness got out of the way and covered Steen with his feet on the ropes, but the ref saw it. McGuinness went for the tower of London, but Steen countered with the sharp shooter. McGuinness struggled, but managed to get the ropes. Steen held his shoulder as he went to pick up McGuinness, which allowed Nigel time to recover and nail him with a divorce court shoulder breaker. McGuinness quickly applied the London dungeon, but Steen got the ropes. McGuinness did a head-stand in the corner, but Steen caught him and hit a powerslam. Steen continued his attack and nailed McGuinness with a cannonball, but couldn’t cover him because of the pain in his shoulder. Steen charged at McGuinness, but got caught and placed over the top rope. McGuinness then clotheslined Steen to the mat for a 2 count.

McGuinness nailed Steen with a big lariat for a nearfall. Nigel immediately applied the London dungeon, but Steen countered and applied the sharp shooter. McGuinness struggled before reaching the ropes to break the hold again. Steen continued his attack on McGuinness with a pump-handle neckbreaker. Steen went up top and hit a swanton. Steen then went to the other side of the ring and nailed Nigel with a frogsplash, but he kicked out. Both men got to their feet and exchanged forearms. Both men then began bouncing off the ropes and exchanging forearms. McGuinness went for another jawbreaker, but Steen caught him with a superkick. McGuinness blocked a package piledriver and charged at Steen, but Steen swept his left out and pinned him with his foot on the ropes for a nearfall. Steen then hit the package piledriver moments later, but McGuinness got his foot on the ropes at the last second. For some reason, the crowd just isn't taking to Steen as a challenger as they barely reacted to Steen nailing McGuinness with his finisher.

The crowd woke up when Steen teased a package piledriver on McGuinness on the apron, but McGuinness countered with his kick to the back/clothesline combination and Steen fell through the table at ringside. McGuinness sent Steen back into the ring. McGuinness nailed Steen with a hard lariat and he kicked out. McGuinness flipped off the crowd and went for the package piledriver, but Steen sat down on him in a pinning situation for a 2 count. Steen went for the sharp shooter, but McGuinness raked his eyes. Steen nailed McGuinness with a forearm, but still was having trouble seeing, which allowed McGuinness to bounce off the ropes and nail him with the jawbreaker lariat. McGuinness then grabbed Steen and yanked his tights as he made the cover for the win. (***1/2)

-The crowd wasn't very vocal either way during the post-match announcement of McGuinness as the winner. The announcers sounded disgusted with McGuinness for grabbing the tights to get the win and mentioned Castagnoli as his next challenger and plugged the upcoming events.

-Delirious cut a promo backstage. He seemed very upset and stopped the promo. Daizee Haze came into the picture and rubbed his shoulders. Delirious looked very excited. Haze looked nervous.

A graphic for the Hammerstein show in May aired to close things out.


Overall score: (7.5) "Return Engagement" was a tale of two shows in terms of the undercard and everything after. There was some really good stuff spread throughout the show between Aries and Jacobs, but the undercard was average at best.

Four out of the first five matches were totally skippable outside of the Shimmer Four Corner Survival match, which was really good. Then things really turned up as the second half of the card presented the type of in-ring action ROH is known for.

First up was the rematch between the Briscoes and the MCMG, which everyone should go out of their way to see. They strung together some nice sequences and did just about all you could expect and a little more in front of a red hot crowd. I thought the last five minutes of the match were really good and they went to the finish at the right time. I thought the MCMG-AOTF match on the previous show "Tag Wars 2008" was hurt by going through too many nearfalls, but this match went to the end at the right time without overstaying its welcome. I didn't think this encounter was better than the MCMG-Briscoes encounter from 2007, but it was still excellent.

The Ibushi-Generico match would have stolen the show if it weren't for the Briscoes-MCMG just edging it out. That being said, they had a great match based around both men exchanging counters. The match started slow, but really heated up by the end and once again, the crowd was forced to their feet to cheer the excellent performances turned in by both men.

The last two matches on the show were good, but they were completely overshadowed by the Ibushi-Generico and MCMG-Briscoes encounters. The Vulture Squad-AOTF match was good, but I expected more out of a six man tag between these two teams. The AOTF held the advantage for most of the match with the Vulture Squad being limited in terms of showcasing themselves as a full unit, which rarely occurs. That being said, the match was good.

The McGuinness-Steen main event rematch for the ROH World Title seemed to be lacking something. These two had great crowd heat for their previous interaction on other recent ROH shows, but the crowd just didn't seem to take Steen seriously as a challenger. Either that or they were just burned out from the previous matches. The match itself was good, but I liked their match in Boston much better, as I thought Steen and McGuinness went to quickly to nearly hitting their finishers and going to their submission without spending enough time setting the context for the story they were trying to tell in the ring. The match was still really good and the way in which McGuinness won sets the stage for another match between them in the future.

Overall, I recommend this show for the Ibushi-Generico and Briscoes-MCMG matches, along with some very important storyline development between Jacobs and Aries. Jacobs is just really good on the mic and Aries and Lacey played off of him well. I'm really looking forward to sinking my teeth into their feud and this DVD is a "must" if you intend on watching all of the major plot points in the Jacobs-Aries storyline.

You can purchase this DVD here

Sean Radican and Derek Burgan talk ROH on the Radican Audio Showcase most weeks, which is available to PWTorch VIP members at PWTorch.com/members. Email Sean Radican at PWTorchSean@gmail.com.


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