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CALDWELL'S RING OF HONOR PPV REPORT 12/19: Complete coverage of ROH's first online PPV - Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black epic encounter

Dec 19, 2009 - 10:56:54 PM

December 19, 2009
New York City
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor

Ring of Honor's first online PPV begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. EST featuring ROH champ Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black in the main event. Follow our live coverage of the pay event that is being broadcast on

After getting an error message for the first 20 minutes of the live stream, we pick up with the end of the first match. Apparently Claudio Castagnoli won the opening four-way match over Colt Cabana, Rhett Titus, and Kenny Omega.

Video interview: They rolled footage of Tyler Black's interview from the Video Wire a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, there's arena background noise mixing with Black's interview. Fans are banging on the guardrail while Black is talking on the video.

2 -- ERICK STEVENS & BISON SMITH (w/Prince Nana and Shane Hagadorn) vs. DELIRIOUS (w/Daizee Haze) & BOBBY DEMPSEY

Delirious was isolated finally leading to Dempsey hot-tagging in. Dempsey and Delirious then cleared the heels to the outside and Demsey went Tommy Dreamer on Bison with a cannonball dive. Larry Sweeney is apparently on-commentary, but it sounds like he's in the other room, as you can hear only the faintest whisper. Back in the ring, Smith and Stevens double-teamed Dempsey with a chokeslam/backbreaker combo for a two count. Dempsey tried to fire himself up again, but Smith landed a hard lariat and Dempsey kicked out. Smith and Dempsey then went into a slow-motion brawl before Bison hit a powerbomb from the top rope for the win.

WINNERS: Smith & Stevens. Why they tried to put over Dempsey as Superman in the second match on the card with the multiple kick-outs of finishers was beyond explanation.

3 -- CHRIS HERO (w/Sara Del Rey and Shane Hagadorn) vs. EDDIE KINGSTON -- Fight Without Honor

Sweeney is now audible on commentary as the match started on the outside with Hero and Kingston fighting with a chain. Sweeney now on an echo. Kingston was bleeding early on as they went to the ring where Kingston made a comeback. Kingston used his gut as a weapon to cut off Hero and deliver a facebuster suplex for a two count. Hero then came back with a roaring elbow in the corner and he stripped off Kingston's wife-beater tanktop to deliver a chop. Hero then went to the floor and started re-arranging the floor mat before grabbing a portion of the guardrail to introduce into the ring. This led to a little too much time spent trying to arrange the guardrail in the corner. They eventually went to the corner and stood on the guardrail to tease a few moves before Hero dropped Kingston on the back of his head on the guardrail. The crowd roared for the potential head trauma, then Hero made a cover and scored a two count only, which he sold with shock. Sweeney's back to sounding like he's in the other room calling the match, which followed with Kingston making a Superman comeback including a lariat using the chain for a close two count.

Hagadorn and Del Rey then tried to run interference, but Kingston ran them off and nailed a suplex on Hero. He followed with a back-drop driver for a two count before Hero low-blowed him, kissed him on the forehead, and delivered his roaring elbow smash, but Kingston kicked out again. Kingston then made one final comeback and blasted Hero in the face with a roaring elbow for the pin and the win to have the final word over Hero in their ROH feud.

WINNER: Kingston in 15:00. Good win for Kingston in a unique match that involved the crowd. The "believable nearfall" story-telling tool to pop the crowd has already been over-done three matches into the show, however. It makes Dempsey's kick-outs in the second match of the card even more ridiculous.


Before the match started, both teams shook hands. It appeared Steen was asking for a plane ticket to Orlando for a try-out with TNA on Monday. Okay, not really. The first ten minutes of the match had plenty of good back-and-forth action with Steen the most popular with the audience. Generico took a took at 11:00 and scored a nearfall on Matt with a top rope splash. Nick then came back with a springboard facebuster on Generico, but Steen yanked Nick to the floor and gave a powerbomb on the ring apron. Action broke down by this point and Steen broke up a pin attempt by Matt on Generico. Bucks hit a double-team move on Generico, but he kicked out. Steen then avoided a corner attack by Matt and Generico followed right up with a Yakuza kick into a suplex. Steen then came off the top rope with a frog splash and Generico made the cover for another super-close nearfall. Steen legally tagged in and wanted a Package Piledriver on Nick, but Nick blocked only to walk into a Sharpshooter. Steen locked the hold in while selling a knee injury before Matt tried to break it up, but Steen spit in his face and Generico clotheslined Matt to the outside. Nick eventually broke free when Steen couldn't maintain the hold. Steen wanted the Packagedriver again, but Matt broke it up and the Young Bucks hit their More Bang For Your Buck double-team combo on Steen for what looked like a three count, but they scored a two count only. Young Bucks then put their hands together and smashed Steen with a double superkick for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Young Bucks in 17:00. Stand-out tag match featuring an array of highspots, nearfalls, and moves designed to get a reaction from the crowd. It was like a WCW Nitro under-card match where the guys were out there to steal the show and get in as many spots as possible in their allotted time. But, there was a solid story with the focus on Kevin Steen's existing knee injury and how that would play into the story of the match. Great all-around performance. (****)

Post-match: Kevin Steen took the mic to cut a promo, but you couldn't hear him. And he kept talking for a few minutes, but it was impossible to hear anything he said. Kind of like Sweeney's commentary. Steen seemed to be wrapping up a farewell speech, then he turned on Generico with a chair shot to the head. Yes, we're still doing chair shots to the head in 2009. Ridiculous. Colt Cabana then interrupted to run off Steen, who did a heel smile acknowledging his work. Officials and Cabana finally helped Generico out of the ring after Generico sold the effects.

Ringside: Dave Prazak and the announce team were shown on-camera for intermission. They're going to a classic ROH match in the interim. And we have old-school C.M. Punk vs. Brian "Spanky" Kendrick from February 2005.

Video package: They went back to the PPV with a Roderick Strong promo. It was cut off mid-way through and replaced with a "" graphic.

Arena: They went back to a wide-shot of the arena with Prazak talking to the announce team without any action going on. Prazak looked into the camera positioned ringside and said they're prepared for the second half of the action. Prazak and Dave Santamaria talked about Kevin Steen turning on Generico, then Peter Rosenberg was introduced as special guest announcer. Rosenberg acknowledged a few boos from fans ringside.

5 -- KENNY KING vs. RODERICK STRONG -- Pick Six rankings match

The match moved to the floor early on where King took control and brought Strong back into the ring. Strong then came back with a backbreaker for a two count. They both came to their feet and exchanged forearm blows before King hit a gutbuster for a two count. King followed with a swinging slam for a two count. Strong then came back with a fallaway backbreaker, but he couldn't score a pin. King then surprised Strong with a roll-up and he hooked the tights for the pin and the win to earn Strong's #4 slot in the Pick Six rankings. Post-match: Strong sold disgust he lost the match and King offered a mock handshake to say things are good between them. King then walked off to leave Strong frustrated in the ring.

WINNER: King in 13:00 to become #4 in the Pick Six. Good singles match returning from intermission, but not a memorable outing. King is receiving a strong push up the card, so the outcome fit ROH's recent focus on him, especially in the Jerry Lynn program on ROH TV. (**1/2)

In-ring: Alex Kozlov came out first for the next tag match. Rocky Romero then came out and cut a promo that no one could hear. Teddy Hart and Jack Evans were scheduled to be part of this, but they were snowed out. So, they didn't make Virginia last night or NYC tonight.


They started with a little taste of Lucha Libre from AAA with some nice exchanges maintaining hand-to-hand contact. Kozlov then threw up a stop sign to tell Romero to stop in the ring. Classic Kozlov. He then did his "Russia, Russia" chant routine before Romero kicked him in the knees. Kozlov then made a comeback at 6:00 and put on his Russian fur hat to do his dropkick/dance routine. Romero avoided a running kick to the head, but Kozlov trapped him in the ropes for a submission stretch. More back and forth before Romero hit a swinging DDT off the ropes for a two count. The match spilled to the outside and they brawled into the front row. Kozlov ended the exchange in control and he went up top back in the ring, but Romero crotched him. They set up a top-rope spot with Romero taking Kozlov to the mat and locking in an armbar submission. Kozlov flopped around the ring to sell the hold, then the bell sounded and the ref looked to the ringside table. The announcers covered for an apparent verbal submission, but the ref didn't make that call. The crowd let the timekeeper know what they thought of him jumping the gun, then ref Bryce raised Romero's hand in victory.

WINNER: Rocky Romero via submission in 11:00. Good singles match. Again, it wasn't a memorable match with the crowd having seen a lot of action in the first-half of the show and these two matches post-intermission being the set-up for the main event title matches. (**1/2)

7 -- ROH tag champions AMERICAN WOLVES (DAVEY RICHARDS & EDDIE EDWARDS w/Shane Hagadorn) vs. THE BRISCOES (JAY & MARK) -- ROH tag title match

Nice feeling-out process to start the match. The story unfolded with the Wolves waiting and waiting before targeting Mark's previously injured knee to begin their methodical attack. The Briscoes then returned the favor going after Edwards's arm, which was injured a few months ago. After the match briefly broke down, Richards settled things down going after Jay. Jay fought back, but Richards came back with a charging forearm smash and Northern Lights suplex for a two count. Edwards tagged in and he took a Death Valley Driver from Jay. Mark and Davey then re-entered the ring and Edwards pulled Davey to the outside out of harm's way, but Mark flew over the top rope with a splash onto the tag champs. Back in the ring, Mark only scored a two count. Meanwhile, Sweeney is back to the "echo from the other room" on commentary.

The Briscoes then scored a two count after a double-team combo and Jay ducked Davey trying to come back with a kick strike before rolling him up for a two count. Edwards tagged back in and landed an enziguiri kick on Jay for a two count when Mark broke up the pin. They went to some more spots with all four men taking turns in and out of the ring. Wolves nearly scored a pin, then they put the Briscoes in stereo submissions, but the Briscoes rolled out into double pin attempts with each resulting in a two count. Edwards then came back with a pin attempt on Jay and when Jay kicked out, he slapped on a half-crab. Jay broke free, then Hagadorn called for a double-team. The Briscoes avoided it, then Jay turned Eddie inside-out with a clothesline. All four men were down, then Jay made a cover for a two count. Jay followed with a Jaydriller on Edwards, then he put Edwards in the air for Mark to come off the top with a Doomsday Device. They made the cover for the win and we have new tag champs.

WINNERS: Briscoes in 24:00 to capture the ROH tag titles. The crowd took a little while to warm up to the action having already seen almost everything possible on the undercard, including ridiculous nearfall spots in the Dempsey match. The finish was well-done in typical ROH fashion with multiple nearfalls and big spots leading to the title change. (***1/2)

Post-match: Claudio Castagnoli hit the ring as the Briscoes celebrated with the tag belts. Hero suddenly hit the ring and helped Claudio jump the Briscoes. And now we have Hero & Claudio back together as a tag team. The fans chanted, "Kings of Wrestling," as Claudio and Hero held up the tag title belts after KO'ing the Briscoes.

Before it was time for the title match, the lights went down and out. The announcers sold technical difficulties, then Jack Evans was suddenly in the ring. Teddy Hart and Julius Smokes joined them and the crowd popped for Evans and Hart returning. Evans cut a brief promo, then Hart challenged him to a little wrestling exchange in their street clothes.


Evans missed with a leg whip and Hart hit a clothesline to turn Evans inside-out. Evans then back-flipped out of a suplex and hit a spin kick on Hart. Evans proceeded to hit his running springboard back flip dive over the top rope to the floor. Of note, no ref for this. Just spots to pop the crowd. Evans put Hart back into the ring and hit a springboard 450 splash. He made a cover, but there's no ref. Smokes got involved, allowing Hart to take control of the "match" and hit a slingshot piledriver using the middle rope. Innovative spot. Evans then came back with offense and set up Hart in the corner for his signature 630 splash, but Hart got his knees up. Hart then hit a fallaway DVDriver and the crowd chanted "Teddy, Teddy." Hart followed with a cradle piledriver and Smokes counted a two count only. Evans made one more comeback and this time hit the 630 splash in the corner for the pin and the win with Smokes on the count.

WINNER: Evans in 7:00 unofficial minutes. Spotfest/exhibition of a bunch of moves to give the audience what they wanted to see: Evans and Hart in the ring together in ROH again. The crowd was hot for the signature spots to warm up the audience for the title match main event up next. I'm not going higher than two stars for a spotfest - even a darn-good spotfest - that wasn't even a match. (**)

In-ring: Tyler Black came out first for the main event ROH World Title match to close the show. ROH champ Austin Aries then came out for the title defense. Aries proceeded to cut a heel promo to rile up the crowd for the main event. He tried to get under Black's skin, too, but ref Sinclair held back Black. Aries flashed a cocky heel smile and wrapped up his promo before officially getting underway.

9 -- ROH World champion AUSTIN ARIES vs. TYLER BLACK -- ROH World Title match

We have a 60-minute time limit on this title match. The action started hot early on with some rolling pin exchanges before Aries played cat and mouse forcing Black to chase him out of the ring, then back into the ring. They proceeded to take it back to the floor where Black executed a suplex off the guardrail. The spot took them close to a 20-count, but Black made sure Aries wasn't counted out. They went back to the floor where Black took control again. Back in the ring, Aries ducked a springboard clothesline and Aries rolled to the outside again. Black gave chase again and Aries met him with a knee to the gut, but Black reversed a whip and Aries flew into the guardrail. Both men beat another 20-count back into the ring and Aries took control before tossing Black back to the outside. They're making ref Sinclair earn his check tonight counting to 20 over and over. Aries proceeded to stomp and kick away on Black focusing his attack on Black's head and neck.

At 10:00, Aries took the action back into the ring before hanging Black over the ring apron to land a running knee to the head. Aries taunted the crowd then started kicking away on Black's lower body with most of the focus on the left knee. Aries continued to wear down Black before setting up his signature pendulum elbow drop after taking his time taunting someone in the front row, which gave Black time to kick Aries in the head. Black then made his comeback and knocked Aries to the floor before pulling an A.J. Styles with the Fosbury flop over the top rope onto Aries. Back in the ring, Black hit a springboard splash for a two count only. Aries was comically covered in a streamer from the pre-match intros at this point. Aries then threw a wild clothesline, but Black ducked and rolled him up for a two count.

At 20:00, they picked up the pace and Black scored several nearfalls, but Aries slapped on his Last Chancery triangle choke that Black fought before finally escaping. Black then came back with Aries's own Last Chancery, but Aries landed elbow strikes to escape the hold. There was Sweeney echoing in the background on commentary trying to add his two cents to the exciting exchange. Black then wanted a top-rope Phoenix Splash, but Aries shoved him off the top to the outside. Aries followed with a running suicide dive that KO'ed Black on the floor. Back in the ring, Aries set up Black for a top-rope Brainbuster, but Black blocked and teased a sunset flip powerbomb, only to have Aries counter in mid-air with a head scissors. Aries then slapped on a figure four leglock after working on the lower body for most of the match. Black reversed the hold after a few moments, then Aries reached the bottom rope for a break. The action moved to the ring apron where each man landed right hand blows before Black rammed Aries head-first into the top turnbuckle. Many of the vocal fans were booing Black's offensive advantage before Aries dropped Black stomach-first on the mat. One fan in the front row was more audible than Sweeney on commentary shouting "Black is John Cena" over and over. Black then smashed Aries off the top rope with an enziguiri and Aries fell through the timekeeper's table on the floor below.

At 30:00, Aries sold the effects of going through the table as Black recovered in the ring. Aries dragged himself over the announce table and claimed to have separated his shoulder. Black then gave chase and Aries blasted him with an elbow to the gut. Aries held his right arm and shoulder like it was limp, then Black whipped him into the guardrail. Black proceeded to roll Aries into the ring and make a cover, but Aries grabbed the bottom rope for a break. Aries then left the ring and walked over to the timekeeper to complain about something. Aries proceeded to buy some time walking around ringside before kneeing Black in the gut and rolling Black back into the ring. Aries, with one good arm, took a knee to the gut back in the ring. Aries then rammed Black into the corner turnbuckle and tried executing a brainbuster, but he couldn't lift Black, so Black dropped him to the mat. Black teased a superkick, but Aries rolled to the outside once again. Aries and Black then fought on the ring apron and Aries suddenly busted out a DVD on the ring apron to KO Black. Aries proceeded to run into the ring and he threw his arms in the air to say he was just fine after tricking Black and the audience with a heck of a sell. The crowd proceeded to give him his props with an "Austin Aries" chant.

At 35:00, Aries knocked Black to the outside before proceeding to kick Black out of the ring again to restart a 20-count. Black finally made it back into the ring and Aries chucked Black through the ropes to the floor again. The crowd booed, now back to booing the heel, Aries, or just booing the match developments of Black constantly going to the floor. Black finally made it back into the ring and Aries took one blow before dumping to the outside to pace around the ring all over again. The crowd chanted, "We want wrestling," as Aries continued to pace. Black sold frustration trying to do chase on the outside. They finally fought back into the ring where the crowd chanted, "This is bulls---" instead of "This is awesome." Aries went to the floor once again and Black landed a dive that took out Aries. Black rolled Aries into the ring, but Aries walked out of the ring on the opposite side. Aries tried to leave through the audience, but Black chased him down and landed a double axehandle smash off the guardrail. Black proceeded to chop Aries before taking Aries back to ringside. Black sold frustration, then Aries rolled back into the ring at 17 and Black rolled back in too.

At 40:00, Aries went back out of the ring and he ran up the entranceramp through the curtain to the backstage area. Some of the vocal fans chanted, "Don't come back." Black eventually emerged with Aries on his shoulders to land an F-5 on the entranceramp. The ref reached 19 and Black slid back into the ring. He demanded the ref not count to 20 on Aries, then he went back to the outside and scooped up Aries. He dragged Aries back into the ring and Aries was bleeding heavily from the forehead. We're now at four hours into this PPV event. Black then approached Aries and slapped on the End Times submission. Aries flipped over, though, and bridge-pinned Black for a close two count. Aries sold being a little woozy as Black approached him with right hand strikes.

At 45:00, Black tried to finish off Aries, but Aries shoved Black to the outside and Aries rolled out of the ring all over again. Aries tried to escape into the crowd again, but Black gave him a running powerbomb into a chair on the floor. Aries sold being KO'ed, then Black nailed a superkick on the floor. Black then practically threw Aries into the ring for a pin, but Aries grabbed the bottom rope to stop a three count. Black then set up the Phoenix Splash, but Aries moved and Black ate the mat. Both men were down and out allowing the announcers to reset the stage on men putting their bodies on the line tonight. Aries reached his feet, then he tried to bail again, which drew more boos. Black gave chase, but Aries lured him into his trap to nail a brainbuster suplex on the rampway. Aries then ran back into the ring and sat in the corner as the ref applied a 20-count. Ref Sinclair reached 15 as Black dragged himself toward the ring. Black reached the ring just at 19 to keep the match going. Some fans cheered, some fans booed.

At 50:00, Aries landed knee strikes to the neck/shoulder area before slapping on the Last Chancery submission. Black fought the hold as he was bleeding as well. Aries then dropped the hold and he tried to get himself DQ'ed choking Black in the corner. Ref Sinclair ripped Aries off Black, who sold being completely out of it. Black then made a comeback, only to have Aries low-blow him. Ref Sinclair thought about calling for a DQ, but Black grabbed him and said no. Sinclair thought it over, then said the match must continue. Aries then ripped off the top turnbuckle pad and rammed Black head-first into the exposed steel. Aries then charged Black, who blocked a corner move, but then took a Russian legsweep by the back of his head into the exposed steel. Aries then went up top for the 450 splash and he connected. Aries made the cover, but Black grabbed the bottom rope for a rope break before the three. Aries grabbed Sinclair by the shirt, then he went back to the Last Chanceroy on Black. Black escaped, though, and the action moved to the floor once again. This time, Aries grabbed the ROH Title belt, only to have Sinclair steal it from him. Sinclair handed over the belt to the timekeeper, then Black rolled up Aries from behind for a two count only. Both men popped up and both men knocked heads.

At 55:00, they started trading blows from their knees. The crowd was quiet and worn out just wanting to see a finish. The audio faded out as Black and Aries started trading blows on their feet with no sound. Each man was staggering on their feet trading blow after blow. Suddenly, Sweeney's commentary was the only thing we could hear. What a reverse from the previous four hours! Both men went down after the exchange of blows, then Aries landed seven or eight forearms and a discus roaring elbow. Black suddenly came to his feet, though, and hit an enziguiri kick. It didn't work, as Aries cut him down with a Last Chanceroy submission again. Black then made a fiery comeback with elbow strikes to the neck/shoulder. He repeated them several times before slapping on his own Last Chanceroy. Aries escaped, though, and made a cover for a two count only.

They were closing in on the time limit as both men recovered on the mat. Aries landed a left hand from his knees, then they came to their feet with one minute announced to be left in the match. They traded blow after blow after blow with neither man able to take the advantage. Black landed a flurry, but Aries cut him off and wanted a brainbuster. Black slipped out, though, and fired off chops and slaps before hitting a cradle DDT into a cover for a two count, only. And then the bell sounded for 60 minutes as both men continued to punch and slap each other. The ref was bumped, then Aries and Black tackled each other to continue brawling. Refs tried to storm the ring, but Aries KO'ed them. Aries then picked up his ROH Title belt, but Black superkicked him when Aries turned around. Black held his hair in frustration, then he picked up the title belt and smashed Aries in the face. Suddenly, men stormed the ringside area through the crowd. The Briscoes showed up chasing Hero and Claudio into the ring. They had an all-out brawl to set up their future tag title match. Briscoes chased them away, then stood tall in the ring with Black. And the PPV abruptly ended at this point.

WINNER: Aries and Black went to a 60:00 minute draw; Aries retains the ROH Title. Well, some people are going to love this and some people are going to hate this. The key is that no matter how hard ROH tries with Black, he's not going to be accepted by the majority of ROH's audience as a top-tier babyface because they don't see him at that Bryan Danielson level. It's not a fair comparison for Black, but it's the situation right. The wrestlers spent a lot of time on the outside early on, which was some serious foreshadowing for how this would play out. I personally thought Aries was an amazing heel constantly running away from Black to stall for time and avoid losing the match. It seems like they're setting up for an Iron Man match or perhaps a cage match where Aries can't run and hide, although that didn't help solve things with Colt Cabana in Chicago two weekends ago. I highly recommend watching this match On-Demand or on the DVD release, which I hope will be cleaned up in post-production. It's a must-see match, even if you don't agree with the way it was structured to stretch out a 60-minute draw. (****1/2)

We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for an "ROH PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here.

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