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CALDWELL'S 6/12 ROH TAKE NO PRISONERS PPV REPORT: Report from live PPV taping in Houston on tonight's PPV

Jun 12, 2009 - 3:13:39 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor

Ring of Honor "Take No Prisoners" PPV taping Report
April 4, 2009
Houston, Texas at George R. Brown Convention Center


Torch assistant editor James Caldwell was in Houston during WrestleMania weekend covering the ROH PPV that debuts tonight. Following is Caldwell's live report from Houston and may not necessarily reflect everything on the PPV after post-production.

1 -- ACE STEEL vs. COLT CABANA

Battle for WrestleMania 22 started with a hug. Aww. Cabana asked Aaaace what he's got. Ace just tried to get things started, but Cabana wanted to stall. Crowd chanted "Check the top rope" to make sure we have safe playing conditions today after last night's mishap in the second match. Cabana gave a rope check to a huge pop, then he checked the turnbuckles for an "R-O-H" chant. Match story was Ace slipping in an illegal tactic that shocked Cabana, who sold it to the top row. This led to an agreement to wrestle clean...until Ace sneak-attacked him to draw a mock round of boos from the crowd because they were supposed to boo. Ace began his heel attack before slipping on the top rope. He recovered mid-air for a clothesline before checking that slippery top rope. Cabana then made his comeback and slapped on the inverted Boston Crab for a submission victory.

WINNER: Cabana at 9:20. Good comedy opener that turned serious when Ace turned on Cabana. Colt brings so much charisma to ROH and it's great to see him back on the roster where his talent can be utilized. (*3/4)

2 -- RHETT TITUS vs. BUSHWACKER LUKE

Titus took control early and the crowd got on him for being a Chippendale's dancer. All right, the debut of the "Hepa-titus" chant from last night carried over to tonight's show. Luke came back with a DDT for a two count. Titus then reversed a whip off the ropes into a roll-up for the pin.

WINNER: Titus at 2:53. Basic undercard match to fill a spot on the card and give Titus a win. (*)

3 -- ROH tag team champions EL GENERICO & KEVIN STEEN & JAY BRISCOE & MAGNO vs. CHRIS HERO & AMERICAN WOLVES (EDDIE EDWARDS & DAVEY RICHARDS w/Shane Hagadorn) & INCOGNITO

Before the match even started, Team Steen jumped Team Hero on the outside to start a brawl. In the ring, Incognito and Magno picked up some lucha action until the official start of the match. Edwards took some offense from the babyface four-man team, then Generico lost control and the heels started working him over. Hero went the Chris Jericho route of putting on trunks instead of the long pants. That needs some time to grow on the audience. Crowd rallied behind Generico with a loid "Ole" chant that led to a hot tag and all heck breaking loose. This set up the traditional spotfest sequence before Steen comically teased a move, but he didn't do anything. More "ooh" and "aah" spots led to more chaos breaking out. Generico teased a top rope brainbustah on Hero, but he nailed him with the loaded elbow pad. Briscoe broke up a pin, though. Briscoe and Magno then set up a double team spike piledriver on Hero for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Team Magno at 9:27. Fun first-hour spotfest/chaotic tag match. Crowd was into the action, but they didn't expend all energy to where they will be taken out of the rest of the show. (**3/4)

In between matches, there was an "awkward silence" chant before Jimmy Jacobs's music hit for the fourth match. Jacobs, with his Red Rooster red-streaked hair, waited for Necro Butcher, who surveyed the ringside area before heading into the ring to start the match.

4 -- JIMMY JACOBS vs. NECRO BUTCHER -- No DQ match

Matched lasted approximately 2.1 seconds in the ring before moving to the floor for a brawl. They toured the Torch press box area and Necro used a GRB trash can as a weapon on Jacobs. He then picked up a Section D sign marker to use as a weapon. They brawled through the General Admission grandstands ala a TNA Impact Zone brawl, then returned to the ringside area. Back in the ring for a few seconds, Jacobs nailed Necro with The Spike before taking it to the floor again. Back in the ring, Jacobs opened up Necro from the forehead and tasted his blood. They needed a chair, though, and Jacobs provided it. Necro stole the chair and lightly tossed it at Jacobs's forehead. Didn't even get a crowd pop, so no reason to use the chair shot to the head for a reaction. Just unnecessary. Anyways, they battled up top and took a while to set up a dangerous suplex spot with a "Please don't die" chant. Necro eventually suplexed Jacobs off the top turnbuckle to the floor below for a gasp from the crowd.

Back in the ring, Necro recovered and Jacobs hit two unprotected chair shots to the head. Necro was fired up, though, and he instantly rallied for a punch/slap combo out of the corner before nailing a clean chair shot to the head on Jacobs for a two count. They went back to the apron where Necro suplexed Jacobs to the floor. Back in the ring, Jacobs applied End Times, but Necro didn't fade out. Necro powered up to his feet while still in the hold, then he punched Jacobs and nailed a sit-out powerbomb for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Necro at 14:53. Wild match. I'm glad to see Necro and Jacobs found the medical answer to avoiding head trauma via repeat direct blows to the head. Perhaps they can share their findings with Chris Nowinski. I simply don't understand why in 2009 this still happens. Not my kind of match, so I can't rate it fairly. But the crowd responded well to the action. Fortunately, intermission was next so there was a break to allow the crowd to breath and not have to take their breath during the next match at the expense of the men in the ring.

[INTERMISSION]

In-ring: Bobby Cruise welcomed out the former ROH champion Nigel McGuinness to start the second-half of the show. He's off the card this afternoon due to injury. Nigel was sporting a heavy arm brace over his left arm underneath his t-shirt. Crowd chanted, "Thank you, Nigel" before he started talking. Nigel said it's very difficult to stand in the ring tonight. Very despondent. Nigel said he's not dressed to wrestle because he won't be wrestling tonight. He was going to apologize, but he realized he doesn't owe anyone an apology. Nigel said he has physically abused his body for 15 months to preserve the integrity of the ROH Title. Nigel welcomed anyone to a post-show chat if they have a problem with him.

Suddenly, Claudio Castagnoli's music interrupted. Claudio took the mic and said he thought it was going to be Europe vs. U.S. tonight. Nigel said it will still be that way tonight. He asked for a handshake. They shook, but Claudio attacked him from behind. Claudio wanted to use a chair, but Albright and Blue Demon made the save to start a three-way match. Apparently this was Nigel's storyline write-off to set up a babyface return since he was turned babyface last night and he ended his run tonight as a babyface.

5 -- NWA World champion BLUE DEMON, JR. & BRENT ALBRIGHT vs. CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI

Apparently this was changed to a handicap match with Nigel removed from the equation, as Albright and Blue Demon kept tagging each other in and out to work over Claudio. Action moved to the floor where Albright hit a slingshot plancha. Back in the ring, Claudio blocked a top rope double sledge with a European Uppercut. Suddenly, Nigel tried to get back into the action, but Claudio fought him off. Albright then used the distraction to nail a release overhead suplex on Claudio for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Albright & Demon at 5:38. Fine. Demon was merely there to create some movement in the match. Focus was on the new Nigel vs. Claudio feud, which will be good when Nigel returns from injury. Claudio should be moving up the card and Nigel has a built-in program for when he returns from injury. (*1/4)

6 -- ALEX KOSLOV vs. RODERICK STRONG

Koslov only needed three minutes to bust out the Siberian hat and execute the folded-arms Russian dance/kick to the head combo on Strong. Koslov accepted his first round of trademark chops to the chest at 5:30, then Strong executed a top rope superplex for a two count. Strong started to fire off some hard-hitting offense, including a fallaway gutbuster across his knees, but Koslov popped up and nailed a kick strike for a two count. Koslov tried a crucifix pin, but Strong kicked out, then kicked him in the face and slapped on a Boston Crab for a quick submission. Afterward, fans chanted, "Please come back" to Koslov.

WINNER: Strong at 7:40. Nice match. I've been a big fan of Koslov since he debuted in PWG four years ago and it's good to see him get some exposure in ROH after becoming a star in Mexico. Strong had a very good weekend in Houston. With a new ROH champion, there are plenty of new opportunities for new programs and feuds. Strong should be in line to shoot to the top of the card. MVP of the weekend. (**3/4)

7 -- ROH champion JERRY LYNN vs. BRYAN DANIELSON vs. ERICK STEVENS vs. D-LO BROWN -- ROH Title match -- Four Corner Survival

So, this is now an ROH Title match after Lynn won the belt last night. Instant champ in peril since it's first pin to win. With all four men in the ring, Danielson, Stevens, and Lynn shook hands, but Brown wanted no part of the Code of Honor, so he went right up into Danielson's face to trash-talk him and jump-start the match. Match broke down into a series of one-on-one match-ups, then Lynn put Danielson in arm-bar. D-Lo re-entered with the Lowdown on Lynn, but Stevens broke up a pin. "Thank you, Stevens" was chanted. Crowd not feeling a potential Brown title run. Action moved to the floor, then Danielson nailed a flip dive onto men on the floor. Back in the ring, Lynn scooped up Stevens and nailed a Cradle Piledriver for the win.

WINNER: Lynn at 8:10 to retain the ROH Title. Seems like more could have done with Lynn in jeopardy of losing the title just 16 hours after winning the title. They had one brief spot with Brown where Lynn nearly lost the title, but an underwhelming four-way title match. Action was good, just not enough time to push out a good-to-great ROH Title match. (***)

In-ring: Bobby Cruise thanked the crowd for making ROH's Texas debut a huge success. Crowd chanted, "Please come back." A section of obviously Houston fans tried to get "Deep in the heart of Texas" going. Unfortunately, it only works during the seventh inning stretch at Astros games. Main event time...

8 -- GHC Jr. Hvt. champion KENTA & TYLER BLACK vs. KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA & AUSTIN ARIES

First three minutes was Black up against Nakajima and Aries, then KENTA accepted a tag and the crowd exploded. KENTA, Mr. Rock Star, milked it, then entered the ring to a huge standing ovation following his amazing match last night against Davey. KENTA and Nakajima then had a brilliant kick-strike/no-sell exchange that generated another standing ovation before they even finished. That is why you love wrestling for moments like that. Amazing. Even Tyler Black just kind of stood back on the apron and admired the in-ring action. Aries then tagged in and tried to antagonize KENTA with his heel antics.

Unfortunately for Black, he was booed when he tagged into the match during the first ten minutes. It wasn't an anti-Black sentiment, but just the greatness of KENTA made it where the fans wanted to see him wrestle every second of the match. Side note: I would pay top dollar to see a battle of Japanese rock stars KENTA vs. CIMA live at some point in my lifetime. Back to the match where Aries took the advantage on Black to isolate him from KENTA. KENTA took the hot tag at 13:00 and went to work on Aries. Nakajima and Aries then double-teamed KENTA and Nakajima hit a top rope dropkick for a two count. KENTA and Nakajima battled up top, then KENTA shoved him to the mat and nailed a Low-Ki double stomp. He tried to follow with the G2S, but Nakajima countered in mid-air with a huracanrana into a sick combo of kick strikes that popped the crowd huge and generated some foot-stomping. Amazing.

After everyone took their breath, Aries tagged in and gave KENTA suplex and running kick in the corner for a two count. Black took a hot tag, too, and he nailed a springboard clothesline on Aries followed by a lift-up slam out of the reverse DDT position for a close count. Black tried to finish him with a standing moonsault, but Aries kicked out again. Black tried the Phoenix Splash, but Aries moved and slipped on a submission. Action broke down after KENTA broke it up, then Kick Strike '98 broke out among all four men. "Ooh." "Aww." Black then grappled Aries from behind and gave him a fisherman buster/DDT for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Black & KENTA at 22:15. Amazing main event match. KENTA and Nakajima were the stars in-ring, Aries provided some great personality and color to the action, and Black played the athletic big man the others could bounce off. Great match to conclude a PPV that didn't stand out before this match. MVPs of the weekend: KENTA, Roderick Strong, and Nigel McGuinness. Mr. Rock Star takes top honors. (****1/4)


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