-The show opened with Dave Prazak introducing the show mid-ring before going to a new video package to introduce the show. They may have new production values here, which do look good, but the video packages could really use some work.
-The Briscoe Brothers were in the ring. Jay said Steen & Generico got a fluke win a couple of weeks ago in Toronto. Jay challenged Steen & Generico to a match for the ROH World Tag Team Titles. Steen & Generico's music was altered to someone saying ole over and over again and that needs to be changed immediately. Steen got on the mic. He said Mark could barely walk and Steen & Generico would gain nothing by beating them at 50%. Steen said the Briscoes had nothing to prove to them. As Steen was talking, the Briscoes jumped their opponents to start the match.
1 - - KEVIN STEEN & EL GENERICO vs. THE BRISCOES – ROH World Tag Team Title match
Lenny Leonard mentioned the Briscoes were putting their undefeated streak on PPV on the line during the early stages of the match. I'm surprised to see this match open the show. I can't remember the last time the tag or hvt. titles were defended this early on an ROH card. Steen gained the advantage momentarily, but Mark nailed him as he bounced off the ropes to help the Briscoes maintain their early advantage. The announcers mentioned Mark had injured his knee the previous night in Dayton. The Briscoes hit the double shoulder tackle on Steen and it looked really cool from the new crane camera shot. Steen tired to run to his corner to tag out, but Jay grabbed him and nailed him with a suplex for a 2 count. Steen finally caught Mark with a superkick and managed to tag out, despite Jay trying to run in and force Generico off the apron.
Generico came into the ring and ran wild, but Jay cut him off with a clothesline as he tried to spring off the ropes. Mark hit an exploder on Generico and went for a cutthroat driver, but Steen broke it up. The action broke down and Generico nailed Mark with a yokuza kick and then wiped out Jay on the outside with a dive over the ropes. Steen then came off the top with a frog splash, but Mark kicked out. Mark's knee buckled as he went for the cutthroat driver and he begged Steen for some time, but Steen kicked him in the knee and nailed him with the package piledriver for the pin.
WINNERS: Steen & Generico to retain the ROH World Tag Team titles
STAR RATING: (**) This match went less than 8 minutes and I was stunned at the length of the match and its placement on the card. The match itself was good while it lasted and definitely will lead to something down the line between these two teams.
-Jay got in Steen's face after the match and took exception to Steen kicking Mark's knee. Both teams brawled until several people from the back ran in to stop them.
-Dave Prazak was shown backstage interviewing Claudio Castagnoli. I like this change! Prazak asked him about his Four Corner Survival match. Castagnoli said he was going to set another example and show how unstoppable he is. This was a descent promo.
-They showed a picture in picture promo with Larry Sweeney hyping up Del Rey backstage for her match against SHIMMER Champion MsChif. Del Rey wore a silver wig to the ring and she kind of looks like a combination of Sensational Sherri and something else, which I can't quite come up with at the moment. It's definitely a big change for her character. Sweeney said Del Rey would gain the title again tonight and laughed manically. MsChif came out to Age of the Fall's theme.
2 - - MsCHIF vs. SARA DEL REY (w/Larry Sweeney) – SHIMMER title match
Del Rey tried to jump MsChif as she entered the ring, but she got out of the way and both women brawled outside the ring. The announcers mentioned there is now a 20 count on the floor in ROH. MsChif came off the ropes and locked Del Rey in an octopus submission as the crowd applauded. Del Rey finally managed to break the hold with 2 backbreakers. The announcers mentioned Del Rey has become much more aggressive since being paired with Sweeney. Del Rey locked in a sick looking Boston crab where she bridged all the way back and looked to have bent MsChif in half, but MsChif rolled through and hit a standing moonsault for a 2 count. That was a great sequence.
MsChif countered a clothesline into a neck breaker for a 2 count. MsChif nailed Del Rey with several forearms in the corner, but Del Rey simply picked her up and tree slammed her to the mat. MsChif hit another nice counter moments later as she turned a backdrop into a DDT for a 2 count. MsChif hit a series of back fists and covered Del Rey for another 2 count. Del Rey caught MsChif moments later into a sick looking dragon sleeper with MsChif bent all the way back and then slammed her face-first into the turnbuckles.
MsChif countered a Gory special into the code green for a nearfall. MsChif caught Del Rey in the corner and repeatedly jumped on her back. Del Rey countered the desecrator into a pinning combination for a nearfall. MsChif tried to nail her with the green mist, but Del Rey ducked and hit an axe kick. Del Rey went for the royal butterfly, but MsChif countered and nailed Del Rey with the desecrator for the pin.
WINNER: MsChif to retain the SHIMMER title
STAR RATING: (**1/2) This was a very good match with some really nice spots. It's a shame they didn't get more time to tell much of a story, as the match ended around the 10 minute mark.
-Jimmy Jacobs was shown backstage with Tyler Black. He held a microphone to cut his promo. Jacobs talked about his feud with Aries and said all of his actions had been planned. Jacobs said he would put his body through hell tonight to get what he wanted to accomplish. Jacobs said he and Black had a plan and there would be no way he would say "I quit."
-A video package for the Necro Butcher aired detailing his involvement in the Aries-Jacobs feud. Butcher did a voiceover saying he had new priorities and babies at home and a family to take care of. A graphic said Necro would return soon to ROH PPV.
3 - - CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI vs. ALEX PAYNE vs. SAMI CALLIHAN vs. SILAS YOUNG – Four Corner Survival match
All four men were shown in the ring with no entrances. Nigel McGuinness came into the commentary booth and said tonight was another chance for him to prove he was the best wrestler in the world. Young and Callihan kicked off the action in the ring. Prazak said this was Callihan's ROH PPV debut. Young caught Callihan in a half crab, but Castagnoli ran in and broke it up. McGuinness said Castagnoli had come to terms with seeing his view of the world. Castagnoli got upset when the crowd chanted "hey" at him and violently attacked Callihan. Payne blind tagged himself into the match as Castagnoli jawed with the fans and nailed him with a dropkick off the top. Castagnoli immediately cut him and choked him in the corner. The fans continued to get under Castagnoli's skin as he beat on Payne. McGuinness hilariously called Payne "sugarnuts."
Callihan blind tagged himself into the match, which resulted in Castagnoli slapping him right across the face in response. Young also tagged into the match, but Callihan nailed him with a stunner. Castagnoli tagged himself back into the match and violently attacked Callihan and Young. Young tried to fire back, but Castagnoli caught him with a bicycle kick. Payne tagged into the match and Castagnoli dragged him into the ring over the ropes and went on the attack. McGuinness said Castagnoli was smart to grab a chinlock on Payne and ignore the "hey" chants. Payne rolled up Castagnoli for a nearfall, but Castagnoli got right up and nailed him with a huge clothesline. Prazak started to act pro-Castagnoli alongside McGuinness and Leonard asked him what was going on. Castagnoli got really mad as the crowd said "hey" each time the ref's hand hit the mat when he made a cover on Payne.
Payne fired back with a dropkick and Young tagged himself into the match. Young and Payne nailed Castagnoli with simultaneous dropkicks and he went to the outside. Callihan went for a dive, but Castagnoli caught him and tossed him into the guardrail as the crowd erupted as the action picked up. Young hit a moonsault on Payne, but Castagnoli blind tagged himself into the match. Castagnoli tossed Young to the outside onto Callihan. Payne fired back on Castagnoli and hit a bulldog. Payne went for a fisherman buster, but Castagnoli nailed him with a European and then the Ricola bomb for the pin.
WINNER: Claudio Castagnoli
STAR RATING: (**1/4) The match itself only went around 10 minutes, but it was a lot of fun because the crowd was all over Castagnoli, who did a great job in his heel role. I love when the fans really get into a match and they did a great job here, as they rooted on the three undersized challengers. Nigel McGuinness was a lot of fun on commentary as well.
-After the match, Castagnoli wrapped a chair around Payne's head as McGuinness cheered him on, but Bryan Danielson ran down to make the save. McGuinness left the booth and said he had to sort things out backstage. Prazak said he felt McGuinness was going to retain later tonight.
-A video package aired recapping the SNS Inc. vs. Albright & Strong & Stevens feud.
-All six competitors were shown in the ring with no entrance for the upcoming match, including the returning Ace Steel.
4 - - CHRIS HERO & GO SHIOZAKI & DAVEY RICHARDS (w/ Larry Sweeney & Bobby Dempsey) vs. ACE STEEL & BRENT ALBRIGHT & RODERICK STRONG – Six Man Tag match
All six men brawled on the outside. Steel ended up in the ring with Hero once the action settled down on the outside. Prazak said if Steel, Albright, and Strong won, they would get Steel Cage Warfare in New York City against SNS Inc. Albright has dyed his hair blond with the sides brown. There was also a new ref in the ring that I haven't seen before. Steel drove Hero into his own corner and tagged in Strong, who continued the beating on Hero. Hero eventually ended up catching Albright with a roaring elbow and tagged in Shiozaki. Albright cut off Shiozaki with a big suplex and Strong nailed him with a series of chops. Shiozaki quickly cut Strong off and tagged in Richards. Strong countered a suplex attempt from Richards into a gutbuster, but Hero managed to break up the pin.
Steel went out to the floor with Richards and the action broke down on the outside with all six men mixing it up. Richards managed to get the upper hand on Steel and suplexed him in the middle of the ring before tagging Hero back into the match. Shiozaki managed to hit a running knee on Steel's head, which was draped over the apron, but Steel managed to kick out. SNS Inc. continued to use underhanded tactics with the ref distracted. Steel managed to tag out, but Richards had the ref distracted and he wouldn't allow the tag. Steel finally managed to take out Richards and tagged in Strong, who ran wild.
Strong nailed Richards with several chops and then followed them up with a big backbreaker. Albright ran into the ring and the ref allowed him to perform a variety of double team maneuvers on the various members of SNS Inc for a long period of time. Richards managed to cut off Strong and tagged in Shiozaki, who nailed Strong with a running chop. All three members of SNS Inc. hit big moves on Strong and Richards made the cover, but Albright managed to break it up. There is very little heat for this match. The action broke down again. Steel nailed Shiozaki with a dropkick to the face and then nailed a dive through the ropes that took out Shiozaki and Albright.
Strong and Richards went at it and exchanged strikes in the middle of the ring. Strong hit the Gibson driver on Richards, but he kicked out. Strong applied the Boston crab and Prazak said, "Hang in there Davey." Hero nailed Strong with a steel chair as Sweeney had the ref distracted and Richards covered him for the pin.
WINNERS: Chris Hero & Go Shiozaki & Davey Richards
STAR RATING: (**1/4) I just couldn't get into this match. This match went around 15 minutes, but it seemed much longer. There was a long heat segment on Steel and the crowd was dead. I'm bored with ROH tag matches where the action breaks down and the ref just lets it go with guys running in and out of the ring doing moves on each other. There were some good exchanged down the stretch, but hardly anything that made me want to see a Steel Cage Warfare match between these two factions at the next ROH PPV. SNS Inc. has become very stale in 2008 and this seemed no different than the other matches I've seen from them. Hopefully the new booking regime can do something to spice up this feud between now and their next big encounter.
-An ad for ROHWrestling.com aired featuring Samoa Joe, C.M. Punk, and other past ROH stars.
-A video packaged aired for the Jimmy Jacobs-Austin Aries "I Quit" match recapping their feud. It was quite awesome.
-Aries and Jacobs came out to full entrances.
Aries got on the mic prior to the match and received a huge pop. Aries said Jacobs has always had someone to watch his back. Aries said there's a lot of speculation about who was going to watch his back. Aries said he didn't want anyone to watch his back. Aries said Jacobs would have to kill him to win the match. Aries then called Black the flavor of the month and told him to stay out of his business.
5 - - JIMMY JACOBS (w/Tyler Black) vs. AUSTIN ARIES – "I Quit" match
Both men charged at each other and locked up. They ended up spilling to the outside and separated after an intense initial exchange. They locked up once again inside the ring and ended up back on the outside. Jacobs hit a big dropkick on Aries and then followed up by whipping him into the ring barrier. Jacobs took too much time setting up a table on the outside and Aries fired back, but Jacobs managed to counter an Irish-whip and ended up sending Aries into the barriers at ringside once again. Aries cut Jacobs off and set him up on the table on the outside. Aries slowly climbed the turnbuckles, but Black dragged Jacobs off the table. Aries went for a dive to the outside, but Jacobs grabbed a chain from under the ring and nailed him with it as he came through the ropes. Jacobs swung the chain over his head in the ring before wrapping it around his fist and nailing Aries with it.
Aries came up busted open and Jacobs dug the chain into Aries's forehead. The ref asked Aries if he wanted to quit and he screamed out "no!" Jacobs wrapped the chain around Aries's throat and choked him with it while using his foot on Aries's back for leverage, but Aries escaped. The crowd chanted for Aries as Jacobs went to the outside. Jacobs dragged Aries to the floor and set him up on a chair, but Aries cut him off before he could go for the dive. Jacobs poked Aries's eyes and then bounced off the ropes and speared him off the apron and into the barricade. The ref asked Aries if he was ready to quit, but Aries refused. Jacobs set Aries up in a seated position on the outside and nailed him with a dive. The ref asked Aries once again if he wanted to quit, but Aries said "no."
Jacobs tossed Aries back into the ring as the fans chanted for Aries. Jacobs placed Aries on another chair and tied him up with a chain. Jacobs bit at Aries's bleeding forehead and the crowd chanted "you sick f---" at Jacobs. Jacobs pulled back the chain and choked Aries, but he refused to quit. Jacobs grabbed a chair from Black, but Lacey ran down and jumped up on the apron and the crowd went nuts. Lacey pulled a towel out of her pants and teased throwing it in for Aries. Jacobs told her to throw it, but she wouldn't. Aries told Lacey not to throw in the towel. Jacobs took out a railroad spike and threatened to stab Aries with it. Jacobs placed the tip of the spike on Aries's throat, but Lacey wouldn't throw in the towel. Jacobs grabbed Lacey, but she slapped him. Jacobs chased after Lacey, but Aries had managed to free himself and he nailed Jacobs with a series of punches. Wow! Aries nailed Jacobs with the heat seeking missile to the outside and the crowd chanted "ROH, ROH." Aries nailed Jacobs with a brainbuster on a chair and the crowd continued to go insane. Aries grabbed the chain and wrapped it around his fist before nailing Jacobs with it. Jacobs came up busted open and Aries punched away at his cut. Aries tied Jacobs to the turnbuckles and nailed him with several punches. The ref went to ask Jacobs if he wanted to quit, but Aries pushed him away. The ref tried again to ask Jacobs if he wanted to quit, but Aries pushed him away again. Aries finally grabbed the mic away from the ref and told the ref "no" for Jacobs. Aries teased asking Jacobs if he wanted to quit, but grabbed the mic away from his mouth.
Aries untied Jacobs and set him up on the table on the outside. Aries placed a table over Jacobs's chest and went up top. Jacobs tossed the chair into Aries's head as he climbed the turnbuckle. Both men ended up brawling on the turnbuckles. They continued to fight and eventually both men went crashing through the table and the crowd erupted. This is an incredible match. The ref asked both men if they wanted to quit, but they refused. Both men exchanged punches in the center of the ring, but Jacobs hit a low blow and locked in the end time. The ref asked him if he wanted to quit, but Aries refused. Jacobs hit a series of knee strikes and locked in the last chancery on Aries. Aries raked Jacobs's eyes to escape and the crowd erupted again. Black threw Jacobs the spike, but Aries ducked and nailed Jacobs with several knee strikes to the head. Jacobs refused to quit, so Aries kicked him in the head and locked in the last chancery. Aries switched to the cross face and nailed Jacobs with the spike. Black was going to throw in the towel for Jacobs, but Lacey grabbed it from him. Aries nailed Jacobs several times with the spike and he finally said "I quit."
WINNER: Austin Aries
STAR RATING: (****1/2) – This was a fantastic end to what has been a really good blood feud between Jacobs and Aries. The crowd was red hot for this 20 minute plus encounter and Lacey showing up about midway through the match really escalated the crowd heat. These two have produced a number of really good matches this year and this match is up there with their match at Vendetta II in terms of the best match they had overall during their lengthy feud.
-A picture in picture shot showed Lacey leaving and Aries looked on in confusion from the ring. Jacobs yelled at Black after the match and seemed upset that he hadn't thrown in the towel. Black went to go after Aries, but Jacobs held him back and told him to pay attention to him and not Aries. Black went to the back and the announcers wondered if this was the end of the Age of the Fall.
-A highlight package for the McGuinness-Danielson match aired to dramatic music. This was another really good video package that showed many of the big moments from their encounters in the past. I would have liked to hear a promo from both men prior to the match, but the package was a descent substitution I suppose.
-Both men came out to full entrances. Danielson got a big pop as he came out and Leonard talked about how Danielson would have to win this match to validate his claim that he is the best wrestler in the world. McGuinness came out, but it was difficult to tell what kind of a reaction he got at first with Prazak talking about the events leading up to the match. Bobby Cruise did the formal introductions. Danielson got a big pop. McGuinness drew mostly boos upon being introduced.
6 - - NIGEL McGUINNESS vs. BRYAN DANIELSON – ROH World Title match
McGuinness took a kick from Danielson during the early stages of the match and rolled to the floor. McGuinness came back into the ring and signaled for a timeout. McGuinness pushed Danielson up against the ropes and hit an MMA style kick to the inside of Danielson's thigh that came close to being a low blow and the crowd booed. Danielson gained the upper hand and took McGuinness down to the mat. He teased locking him in a surfboard, but instead grabbed McGuinness nostrils and pulled his head back before jumping up and stomping McGuinness's knees into the ground. Danielson then began targeting McGuinness's shoulder with a variety of bridging arm submissions. McGuinness began jawing with the fans outside and Danielson went for a dive, but McGuinness got out of the way. Danielson managed to hold up before going through the ropes. McGuinness turned to the crowd and pointed to his head, which allowed Danielson to nail him with a running knee strike off the apron.
McGuinness ducked a charge a hit a kick to the back/clothesline combination that wrenched on Danielson's already injured knee that was stuck in-between the turnbuckles. McGuinness continued to target Danielson's legs and tied him up in the surfboard position and jumped up and stomped down on his knees. McGuinness locked in a variation of the figure four and wrenched back as Danielson screamed in pain. McGuinness locked in a figure 4 moments later and wrenched back on it as Danielson once again screamed in pain. The crowd tried to rally him and Danielson finally managed to get the ropes. Danielson fired back and began his comeback with a kick to McGuinness's chest. Danielson continued to favor his knee after kicking McGuinness.
McGuinness went for a headstand in the corner, but Danielson grabbed him in an ankle lock. Danielson then nailed McGuinness with a bridging German suplex for a 2 count. Danielson went for the cross-face chicken wing, but McGuinness countered. They exchanged bridging nearfalls, but neither man got a pin. McGuinness got right up and quickly drove Danielson's knee into the canvas. Danielson managed to counter a lariat from McGuinness and locked in the cross-face chicken wing. McGuinness tried to fight free and eventually he got the ropes. Danielson went right after McGuinness with a series of hard kicks to the back. The ref reprimanded Danielson, which allowed McGuinness to chop block him from him behind.
McGuinness draped Danielson's leg over the top rope and nailed it with a series of forearm shots. McGuinness then came off the second turnbuckle and clotheslined Danielson to the mat. McGuinness then went for a toehold, but Danielson managed to kick him to the outside. Danielson then kicked McGuinness through the ropes and hit a springboard senton to the outside that had the crowd going crazy. A replay aired from the crane camera that looked fantastic. McGuinness grabbed a chair from a fan on the outside, but the ref stopped him. A picture in picture shot showed Castagnoli attacking Danielson with a chair on the ramp with the ref distracted. Castagnoli ended up placing the chair on Danielson's head before stomping on it.
The ref began counting as Danielson laid almost motionless on the ramp. Alex Payne then came up and helped Danielson crawl down the aisle. Danielson was bleeding from the head. Payne picked up Danielson and pushed him into the ring right before the ref reached 20 and the crowd erupted. McGuinness stood Danielson up and nailed him with a big lariat for a nearfall. McGuinness followed up immediately with a half crab. Danielson nearly had the ropes, but McGuinness dragged him back to the center of the ring. Danielson fired up and managed to finally get the ropes to break the hold. McGuinness went right back to work on Danielson's leg. McGuinness ended up going for a charge in the corner, but Danielson got his leg up and hit a running kick out of the corner, which left both men down.
Danielson landed a series of uppercuts on McGuinness. McGuiness went for the jawbreaker, but Danielson countered into a cross arm breaker. Danielson then caught McGuinness in a triangle and nailed him with a series of elbows. McGuiness started to fade, but ended up escaping. Danielson immediately caught McGuinness in a small package for a nearfall and the crowd thought it was a three count. Danielson then caught McGuinness in a crucifix and began landing a series of elbows to McGuinness's head, but lost steam due to blood loss. Danielson fired up again and nailed McGuiness with several more elbows. He then got McGuinness in the cattle mutilation, but McGuinness slipped out. Danielson nailed him with a suplex and went for cattle mutilation, but McGuinness flipped him over right into the tower of London and both men were down. That was a fantastic sequence.
Danielson got up and charged at McGuinness, but McGuinness turned around and nailed him with a clothesline for a nearfall. Prazak said McGuinness had to hit the jawbreaker. McGuinness then started nailing Danielson with a series of elbows. Danielson escaped and told McGuinness to bring it. Danielson nailed McGuinness with a series of slaps and strikes. McGuinness hit a headbutt to Danielson's back and then nailed him with the jawbreaker for the pin.
WINNER: Nigel McGuinness to retain the ROH World title
STAR RATING: (****1/2) – This was another really good effort from these two, especially down the stretch. McGuinness dominated the bulk of the match and targeted Danielson's knee. The spot where Payne came down and helped Danielson beat the 20 count was fantastic. This was another must-see MOTYC on this card and a fitting conclusion to the feud between these two men in 2008.
Overall thoughts: (7.5) The first hour of the show was average and featured some solid action, but wasn't up to par from what I've come to expect from an ROH PPV or really by any other standards either. The last two matches, which took up nearly the entire second hour, were excellent MOTY contenders.
I won't spend much time talking about the first hour. I liked the SHIMMER match featuring MsChif defending against Sara Del Rey. They put together a really good match that lasted about 10 minutes. I'd love to see them get the time that was given to the Six Man Tag featuring SNS Inc. vs. Albright & Strong & Steel. I think they would make better use of the PPV time than the six man tag did, as it really dragged until the final minutes. Castagnoli also came across well in the Four Corner Survival match, but it was just another forgettable match on the undercard in the end.
The Jacobs-Aries match was simply fantastic, as they put on a brutal "I Quit" match worthy of the feud they had built up for several months. Lacey's run-in about midway through was a really great moment on the PPV and added a ton of drama. This was one of the best "I Quit" matches I can recall seeing in quite some time.
The main event was just as good as the Jacobs-Aries contest. McGuiness and Danielson put on another great performance in the ring and Prazak playing the role of heel announcer in favor of McGuinness added a fun element to the match that hadn't been present in their previous encounters. There was some excellent work on the mat from both men here and McGuinness carries himself at a notch above almost everyone else in the company when he's in the ring.
I give this show a solid recommendation. You won't see a better hour of wrestling on PPV than ROH provides here during the final hour. It was simply an amazing hour to watch unfold. The new production values are fantastic, but I hope ROH finds a way to make the PPVs flow more naturally, as they seem to be too chopped up at times when they go to a match with no ring entrances. Don't hesitate to order this show!
Sean Radican can be contacted at PWTorchSean@gmail.com. He records ROH themed audios most week on the Radican Audio Showcase with co-host Derek Burgan that are available exclusively to Torch VIP members.
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