KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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The following report was originally published 10 years ago this month at PWTorch.com…
ROH live event report
August 2, 2008
New York City at the Hammerstein Ballroom
Report by: Matt Smith, PWTorch reader
After reading the reports from some of the venues ROH has been in as of late that they have been extremely hot, I didn’t think it was that bad in the Ballroom. Sure it rained a bit but believe me us in the NJ/NY area needed it. Because if we aren’t complaining about the heat, we’re complaining about the cold. There are only two seasons around here and they’re winter and summer!
(1) Mark & Jay Briscoe defeated The Vulture Squad (Jigsaw & Ruckus w/Julius Smokes) when Mark Briscoe pinned Jigsaw following the Springboard Doomsday Device. Very good opener, exactly what you would expect from these four. Mark Briscoe needs to have “Please Don’t Die” chants at him a few dozen times because he was moving as if he’d never been injured a day in his life. Instead he received the “Welcome Back” though my section was directing it at Julius Smokes. Squad nearly won it with the Gin-N-Tonic but Jay Briscoe kicked out at the last possible second. Ruckus got bumped out leaving Jigsaw alone. Jay hit a nice Brainbuster before they put him away with the Doomsday Device. Didn’t last too long but it was good.
Post-match: “Sweet N’ Sour” Larry Sweeney walked down and kissed some ass in an attempt to sign the Briscoes. They both left but Roderick Strong and Davey Richards did the same thing when courted and look what happened. And whatever happened to Rocky Romero anyway?
(2) Chris Hero (w/”Sweet N’ Sour” Larry Sweeney, Bobby Dempsey, and Eddie Edwards) pinned Delirious with a Roaring Elbow. Pre-match, Hero got on the mic and almost couldn’t speak between the mix of cheers and boos. He declared himself to be “The Knockout” Kid. Very solid match with Delirious being wicked over. They exchanged cradles, chops, punches, etc. early on. They teased their finishers with each countering the other’s before Hero blocked a second Chemical Imbalance attempt and hit a Roaring Elbow for the three count. Nothing out of this world amazing but not ever ROH can be and these two worked a good match.
Prior to the next match “Sweet N’ Sour” Larry Sweeney presented Adam Pearce with a brand new NWA World Title. Just on looks I’d say it puts the Smackdown Women’s Title to shame and was on par with that new WWECW title belt. Not bad.
(3) Eddie Edwards (w/”Sweet N’ Sour” Larry Sweeney, Bobby Dempsey, and Chris Hero) pinned Roderick Strong with a Moonsault. Damn good match. Edwards is slowly but surely getting over and he worked his ass off as did Strong. Strong KILLED him early on with chops before hitting the classic snap mare/kick to the spine combination. Edwards scored with a kick to the ribs and locked on a neck vice before Strong back suplexed out of it. Strong went into his Backbreaker fest in the final few minutes but Sweeney distracted the referee allowing Hero hit a Roaring Elbow. Edwards followed that up with a Moonsault for the win. Crowd booed that like S&S Inc. killed a puppy. I laughed my ass off and applauded the back to back wins for my favorite stable.
(4) Brent Albright defeated NWA World Champion Adam Pearce (w/”Sweet N’ Sour” Larry Sweeney, Bobby Dempsey, Shane Hagadorn, Eddie Edwards, and Sara Del Ray) via submission with the Crowbar to capture the title. Believe it or not this was one of the best matches of the night and what I consider to be Pearce’s personal best since coming to ROH. Just an old school vibe with Albright lighting him up with suplexes galore and Pearce busting him open the hard way with what I think was an elbow. He got Albright down and just cross faced him with punches and he had quite the evil glare in his eyes. He delivered stiff knee drops to the back and hit a nice slingshot suplex for a two count. Albright fired back with chops but the story here was running interference from everyone on the outside. At least four times he was tripped or had the match won but someone had the referee distracted. Sweeney grabbed a chair as Albright kicked at Pearce’s arm but Strong returned to a Hogan circa ’85 pop and kicked it into his face. He chopped down Edwards and chased Hagadorn to the back. Albright dumped Pearce on his head with five straight German suplexes before he locked on the Crowbar and Pearce tapped out after attempting to hold on for a few seconds. Crowd exploded like crazy for the title change and even I wasn’t too sad despite the fact one of S&S Inc. lost one of the only two titles they hold. (Hero and Del Ray still have those Inter-gender Tag Title Belts!!). Just awesome work from both men. It might be hard to believe but it’s true.
(5) Austin Aries defeated ROH World Tag Team Champion Jimmy Jacobs and Necro Butcher in a Three Way Dance. More of an angle based match but still great drama and solid action. Necro and Jacobs came out together but their unity didn’t last too long. At first Necro stood back as Jacobs and Aries brawled like crazy. Jacobs hit a running knee to the head and ordered Butcher to contribute to the beat down. Butcher begrudgingly obliged but the look on his face told a different story than his actions. Eventually Aries stole a play out of the late Eddie Guerrero’s book by blasting Butcher with a chair to the back and tossing it to Jacobs. Necro turns around, sees chair in Jimmy’s hand and punches him out and delivers a chair shot of his own. Necro leaves and Aries goes to town on Jacobs before putting him away with a Brainbuster and then a 450 Splash for the three count. Crowd was well into the match despite it being storyline driven. At least the storyline made sense right?
Delirious walked down to another good pop and got to business right away. He called out Daizee Haze who obliged, looking mighty good if I may say so. After a few pauses Delirious asked her out on a date in Delirious speak but once again before she could respond Rhett Titus walked out with a smirk on his face. He told Delirious not to waste his time because Daizee was used goods before turning around to reveal her face on the back of his pants. At that point for paying homage to Rick Rude-Jake&Cheryl Roberts I became an official member of the Titus bandwagon. He left the ring and Daizee broke all of our hearts by telling Delirious she wishes they could just be friends and it wasn’t him but her. A dejected Delirious stood in the ring as she left to massive heat. Fun segment.
(6) Naomichi Marufuji pinned Go Shiozaki. A hell of a match – lived up my expectations that’s for damn sure. I was surprised when I read that they didn’t do an angle between these two in VA on Friday since Go is with S&S Inc. but I think the reason he worked like a face is because it’s either part of an angle where maybe Sweeney turns him EVIL or they don’t want him to be a cheating heel when against a fellow countrymen. That’s just speculation but I’m fine with it anyway. Marufuji seemed intent on ending Shiozaki’s life however. After exchanging kicks on the floor he delivered a brainbuster onto the apron from said floor. And later on he hit a Shiranui off the apron to the floor. Crowd popped HUGE for both moves though I cringed until Go got back to his feet to show the world he’s been made indestructible by Sweet’ N Sour Inc. Shiozaki rebounded midway through catching Marufuji with a standing sidekick as he came off the top. He delivered the Go Flasher but Marufuji kicked out to a big pop. After more reversals and counters he hit the Pole Shift for the three count. Both received rousing applause afterward and rightfully so.
(7) Kevin Steen & El Generico defeated The Murder City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin). AMAZING match. Maybe some will consider it to be below their expectations but for me this was simply outstanding. Well there was one exchange I hope to never see again between Shelley and Steen. No holds were used but spit and snot rockets were. Stay classy guys. But that aside, what a match. Shelly & Sabin hit their tandem kicks on Generico turning him inside out. Double superkick got a two count before Steen broke it up. SteenNerico hit stereo springboard clotheslines followed up by a double plancha. Crowd slowly turned on the Machine Guns with a loud “F— TNA” chant which to me those two may agree with at this point right? They went for the Bullet Point on Generico but Steen speared Sabin and broke it up. Generico got a 2 count off a rolling cradle on Shelley. Machine Guns dominated Generico for several minutes but he slipped out of a Cradle Shock attempt and made the hot tag to Steen. All four brawled in the ring; Generico hit the Brainbuster on Shelley while Steen tripped up Sabin and locked in the Sharpshooter. Sabin fought it but eventually tapped out. I highly recommend going out of your way to see this match.
(8) ROH World Champion Nigel McGuiness defeated Bryan Danielson, ROH World Tag Team Champion Tyler Black, and Claudio Castagnoli in a Four Man Elimination Match to retain the title. Another MUST SEE match. I’d rate this even a bit higher than Aries-Danielson-Morishima-Hero four way from December. That damn good. Nigel played the Shane Douglas role from his 1996 ECW four way against Jericho, Scorpio, and Pitbull #2 by staying out of the ring for much of the match and only tagging in when he could deliver a beat down to anyone already worn down. Claudio had Danielson up for the Ricola Bomb but Nigel kicked him in the chest. Danielson trapped him in an arm bar and shifted over to land elbow strikes before the referee called for the bell. However despite being eliminated Claudio went ape shit on Danielson once he recovered. He stormed back to the ring and hit the Ricola Bomb. Claudio then got a chair and wrapped it around Danielson’s head and stomped the shit out of it. The crowd, which had already been booing him for whatever reason, got way louder and more negative with the heel heat they sent his way. He continued the assault when security and undercard stars ran down to try and put an end to it. Not too good if an idea as Claudio threw them aside and stomped some more. Nigel hilariously applauded this and once Claudio finally left, he toyed with Danielson before hitting a Lariat for the three count and elimination. He celebrated Santino Marella style as if he had just been through a war. Hilarious.
Once it got down to Black and Nigel the pace picked up and they pretty much replicated their Take No Prisoners match. Nigel hit the Rebound Lariat a few times for two counts and then the Tower of London for another two count. Not even the London Dungeon would force Black to submit. Black rallied back with his arsenal of standing flips of thwarted dropkicks and a Shining Wizard for a two count. He slammed Nigel and hit the Phoenix Splash for a 2 count so close we all thought it was over and were ready to jump for joy. Nigel ducked a lariat attempt and hit a SICK one. He waited for Black to stand back up and hit a second Lariat for the three count. Sadly the crowd threw garbage into the ring which wasn’t one of the brighter spots of the evening.
Nigel got the mic and said he’s beaten everyone and not a single person could stop him. Suddenly he paused and pointed at Marufuji who I learned had come to ringside during the final exchange of Nigel-Black. Crowd chanted “Marufuji” to end the show.
Final Thoughts: What an awesome show. I LOVED the Hammerstein debut and this show surpassed it which in my view says a lot about its quality. There really wasn’t an awful match on the show. First two matches were very good but Albright-Pearce, MCMG-SteeNerico, Nigel-Dragon-Black-Claudio were all AWESOME. Aries-Jacobs-Butcher was solid and nicely advanced the storyline. Edwards-Strong was also excellent. I HIGHLY recommend buying the DVD release of this show. I had a blast.