CALDWELL'S TAKE CALDWELL'S ROH PPV BLOG: Coverage of "Driven" PPV
Oct 1, 2007 - 8:45:42 AM
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ROH "Driven" PPV #2 - Chicago
- All right, time for some wrestling. They open with an ECW feel to the show with the crowd chants and wide camera angles. The lighting is a bit off on Dave Prazak, who's handling the intros. Delirious, Erick Stevens, and Matt Cross then interrupted and Stevens called out the No Remorse Corps for a six-man tag match. Delirious did his shtick and said it's time for war. ... Nice recap of the last PPV before NRC hit the ring to start a six-man.
- (1) Rocky Romero & Roderick Strong & Davey Richards vs. Delirious & Erick Stevens & Matt Cross. They did a big highspot for Delirious in the opening few minutes, as he wiped out the NRC with a top rope flip dive on the floor. With the first obligatory highspot out of the way, they went back to the ring where NRC started working over Delirious. After Delirious made the eventual hot tag, they went into tag scramble mode with everyone hitting spots in the ring. Put a roof on the ring and they have a War Games match. Suddenly, Richards won it with the DR Driver on Cross with Romero holding off the Resilience to ensure Richards of the win. WINNERS: NRC in 12:00. Crazy final five minutes that had the crowd popping like mad. Solid opener flowing into the post-match. (***1/2)
- Afterward, a ticket-buying fan, Austin Aries, hit the ring and knocked around the NRC before clearing the ring. The fight continued, rendering the match decision a mere formality. Aries, standing alone in the ring, then took the mic and said he's been sitting at home for two months and he has a little surprise for everyone. He pulled out a piece of paper that will give him his wrestling freedom. He asked for a pen and Dr. Keith held up a pen from the front row, but tens of pens flew into the ring. He grabbed a shiny pen and signed the ROH contract. Aries then cut a promo putting over ROH. He said: "We are who we say we are. We are ROH. I am Austin Aries. And we are wrestling." Aries shook hands with Cary Silkin before the fans serenaded him with a "Welcome back" chant. That’s a wrestling promo right there. Thumbs up for not attacking TNA directly, which would have distracted from talking up ROH as well as he did.
- The Briscoes cut a promo, then they showed footage from ROH's tour of Japan earlier this summer.
(2) Claudio Castagnoli vs. Matt Sydal. Claudio did the giant airplane swing a few minutes into the match, rendering everyone dizzy. Sydal regained his bearings and hit a twisting plancha onto Claudio on the floor. Back in the ring, Claudio used his size advantage to run over Sydal with power offense before Sydal countered with his quickness on a combo of head scissors take-overs. Claudio then took Sydal over with a modified Canadian Destroyer to counter a huracanrana for the pin and the win. WINNER: Claudio in 10:00. Spotty, but high-energy singles match that kept the momentum going. (**3/4)
- Suddenly, Larry Sweeney led Chris Hero, Tank Tolland, and Bobby Dempsey to the ring to confront Sydal and Claudio. Sweeney talked to Sydal about turning these losses into victories if he signs a contract with Sweet n Sour Inc. Claudio had enough and took the mic from Sweeney. He called him a scumbag while Dempsey, in some sort of futuristic silver workout outfit, looked on. Claudio told Sydal not to listen to Sweeney, so he ripped up the contract in Sweeney's face. Claudio then European uppercut Dempsey out of his Jetsons outfit before Sydal jumped Claudio from behind. SnS Inc. then laid into Claudio before Sydal and Sweeney shook hands. "You sold out" was the chant for Sydal. The announcers commented on SnS Inc. for representing everything that is wrong with wrestling these days.
- Jimmy Rave did a voice-over promo while they showed some match footage. He's making Morishima tap out, he said. And everyone laughed.
- (3) Marufuji vs. B.J. Whitmer. Whitmer with the obligatory early highspot with a suicide dive on the floor before rolling Marufuji back into the ring to make a pin for a nearfall. They traded control for the first ten minutes before Marufuji nailed a coast-to-coast dropkick while Whitmer was in the Tree of Woe for a close nearfall. He then hit Sliced Bread #2 on Whitmer for the win after Whitmer escaped the move twice. WINNER: Marufuji in 12:00. Another really nice singles match with a hot crowd atmosphere, but they didn't provide much time to focus on Marufuji after the match. Match will have a hard time standing out this card. (***)
- Rebecca Bayless was in the crowd to cut a promo about the live experience of ROH. Let's rank 'em. 1) Maria. 2) Rebecca. 3) Leticia. Rebecca is pushing Maria, though.
- (4) Brent Albright vs. Pelle Primeau. Albright had the match won in the first minute, but he pulled up on a pin attempt. He then slapped on the Crowbar and Pelle instantly tapped out. He kept the hold for an extra 15 seconds for good measure. WINNER: Albright in 2:00 via submission. Just a squash to get over Albright as a tough guy. They quickly cut to a promo for ROH merchandise. (1/2*)
- (5) ROH tag champions Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. El Generico & Kevin Steen -- ROH tag title match. They traded control of the match for the first ten minutes before the action spilled to the outside with mid-match flip dives. The Briscoes then grabbed Generico and hip tossed him over the guardrail into a row of cleared out chairs on rows 1-4. Steen had enough of that and powerbombed Mark over the guardrail into another set of chairs. Back in the ring, Generico cleared Mark from the ring and Steen hit a top rope Swanton dive on Jay for a near-three count that left Steen with nothing but a look of shock on his face. Suddenly, Mark came off the apron with a double foot stomp through a table on Steen. Back in the ring, Jay with a military press into DVD for a nearfall on Generico. The Briscoes then finished off Generico with a spike Jaydriller for the win to retain the belts. After the match, Steen grabbed a ladder and smashed the Briscoes in the head. He then picked up Generico and told him to start acting mean. WINNERS: Briscoes in 16:00 to retain the belts. Good showing from Generico & Steen. Good showing from the tag division. No other national promotion cares about their tag division, so it's refreshing to see a really good tag team match these days. Next match-up in November should be even better. (***3/4)
- Backstage, Sweeney hyped up Matt Sydal while Chris Hero looked on approvingly. Sweeney said he arranged an endorsement deal with Sara Del Rey, then Sweeney cut a promo on Claudio. He said the money has to be right before Claudio gets his hands on SnC Inc. in the ring. Suddenly, Sydal started doing some triceps work while Dempsey did some sit-ups on the ab crunch machine. Tolland egged "Sally" Dempsey on to hit the ab crunch. He then pulled out a cookie as motivation and Dempsey did his crunch while the cookie dangled out in front of him.
- (6) ROH champion Morishima vs. Jimmy Rave -- ROH Title match. Morishima came out second and wasted no time pounding Rave into the corner before the bell rang. Rave came back with a spear before locking in the heel hold, but Morishima reached the bottom rope. Morishima came back with a lariat and back drop driver for the easy win. There was never any doubt on Morishima winning the match, so Morishima is in a good position to be able to give offense to an opponent without losing credibility when he eventually "flips the switch" and picks up the decisive win. WINNER: Morishima in 4:00 to retain the ROH Title. (*)
- Before going to the bonus match from Philadelphia, they showed Adam Pearce talking to Shane Hagadorn during the clean-up to the Chicago show. Pearce talked about needs that need to be satisfied. He said "need" leads people to do things they regret later. Pearce said everyone in the locker room has need for money, championships, or fame. He said Whitmer has needed the acceptance of the fans forever, which has led to Whitmer pandering to the fans and having nothing in return. Pearce said it will be revealed in time how he will satisfy his own needs. He then walked over to Whitmer, who was sitting alone on the other side of the gym. They shared a hug. Aw. Pearce then smacked Whitmer in the face, knocking him down. Ouch. Albright walked over and had a good laugh at Whitmer's expense. Smart placement as a buffer between the ROH Title match and bonus match, but it left this weird vibe on how this show is presented to the audience. Taped? Live? Half-taped and half-live?
- (7) Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson -- #1 Contender match. This was a great wrestling match, with heavy emphasis on the wrestling. Minimal outside action, which kept most of the action in the ring where a match-up of these two caliber wrestlers belongs. Sometimes you get a really great final five minutes to a match. And then, there were the final five minutes of excellence in this match. It was worth the two hour wait after hearing all the hype for this match, and well worth the price of PPV admission and more. Intense. Believable. Competitive fighting in the ring. They traded headbutts. They countered each other's signature moves, and with blood flowing from his forehead, Danielson scored a submission to cattle mutilation after an intense exchange. WINNER: Danielson in 25:00 to become #1 Contender. While some of the matches on the card struggled to stand out and find an identity amidst the highspots and rapid-fire sequences, this one had no trouble delivering on the advertised hype and delivering on the promise of a believable fight in the ring. (****1/2)
FINAL THOUGHTS: I couldn't make a very strong argument that the first PPV was better than this one, but both shows were more than worth the $15. The bonus main event match lived up to the hype, while the undercard held true with strong performances all around. The undercard matches just struggled to stand out overall on this card with so much action throughout. No one wanted to be the guy who went for a five-minute rest spot and took the amazingly hot crowd out of the action, so most of the matches contained their fair share of highspots ... It's refreshing to see tag team wrestling mean something tangible on my television. I had to remind myself I was watching ROH, so as not to expect someone like Morishima to run out and give a Pedigree to the Briscoes and Generico & Steen after their amazing tag match.
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