Ring of Honor Live Review: PPV Taping; Chicago Ridge, IL, 9/15/07

Ring of Honor Report
The Frontier Fieldhouse
Chicago Ridge, Illinois
September 15th 2007

I know very little about Ring of Honor, and my internet is currently down which mitigate my research abilities. As such, you have my apologies if I spell the name of your favorite wrestler wrong. Thanks go out to Fingers for giving me the tickets, Murray for talking me into this, and Aaron who wrote my cheat sheet.

The ROH PPV taping was to begin a 8 o’clock so I showed up around 7:30. At 7:31, they held a tag match to warm up the crowd. It featured the team of Silas Young and Osiris against the portly Bobby Dempsey and his partner whose name I didn’t catch.

Silas, Osiris and the unnamed fella all looked to be of the same mid-sized, long haired, indy wrestler archetype. The crowd was strongly behind Bobby Dempsey. After about 7 minutes of respectable action, Bobby’s partner was pinned by means of some sort of turnbuckle headstand into a split-legged moonsault.

The PPV proper starter promptly at 8 p.m., with the first match being a 4 corners match between Marufuji, Nigel McGuinness, Claudio, and Chris Hero. Nigel and Claudio each cut promos after their respective entrances. After his entrance, Chris Hero uses his entourage to stall a lot and work the crowd.

The match officially starts at about 8:15. The main story here is that Claudio wants to kill Hero, and Hero is, in large part, a cowardly jerk. The beginning of the match was played for comedy, with the romantic sub-plots of the match involve Nigel and his love of clotheslines, and Marufuji’s sweaty love affair with stiff kicks.

After a bit, Fuji takes out Hero and Claudio with a nice flipping senton outside the ring. The crowd eggs on McGuinness to follow suit. He reluctantly climbs the top rope for a Kane clothesline to the outside. They had started with a tag format, but gave up on tagging at this point.

The second half of the match was chiefly made up of a series of finishing maneuvers with pinfalls being broken up by the other opponents. Highlights consisted of Fuji superkicking everything in site and hitting sliced bread #2 on McGuinness, Chris Hero being German suplexed out of a pinning position, the world’s longest giant swing, Nigel McGuinness eventually came out on top, pinning Claudio after a stiff clothesline around the 17 minute mark. (For Grut: there were about 12 European uppercuts in the match.)

Our second match was actually a series of matches between Resilience and the NRC. Austin Aries is fairly over with the crowd. Each stable chooses a representative to compete in a one on one match, followed by a second representative in a second contest, with the final members of the three person stables competing in a third and final singles match. It sounds more complicated than it is.

Anyways, Resilience loses the coin toss, meaning that they choose their wrestler first. We start with Cross vs. Romero. Those two begin with a sissy slap fight. Cross hits a couple of nifty maneuvers like a split-legged elbow drop, but eventually eats it on a corkscrew moonsault. Romero snaps off a German, lands a crack in the mouth, and wins it in under 5 minutes.

NRC is up 1-0.

Aries is up next for team Resilience. Naturally, Aries vs. Strong is teased and we are given Aries vs. Davey Richards. Richards is wearing Benoit-ish tights and even works in a modified crossface. At one point, Aries is whipped into the barricade so hard that it almost knocks down some 5 year olds in the first row.

Most of the match is Richards beating the holy hell out of Aries, all the while yelling “Austin!” like some sort of video game character. Aries gets some momentum going with a hard tope through the first and second ropes, some springboardiness and a lionsault. Richards cuts this short with a hammerlock suplex that dumps Aries on the top of his head. Aries eats a top-rope German suplex and lives.

Aries wins it at the 15 minute mark with a brainbuster and a 450 splash.

Score is tied 1-1.

This leaves us with Roderick Strong vs. Eric Stevens. This contest starts with a stiff chopfest, and stays ridiculously stiff throughout. I spent a good chunk of the time cringing at these absolutely brutal forearm shots.

Stevens moveset seems to be an odd mixture of Dr. Death and the Godfather. Strong seems to have usurped a large chuck of Razor Ramon’s moveset.

Strong eventually uses the environment as a weapon, stretching Stevens over the ringpost, using the apron in a modified backbreaker and so on.

We get dueling chants for Stevens and Strong, mostly due to half the crowd hating Strong and half loving him.

The match contains some extended top rope sequences. About 15 minutes into it Strong kills Stevens dead with a 2nd rope razor’s edge, and pins him after a superfluous tiger bomb.

NRC wins 2-1. The crowd chants for Stevens and thanks him for his losing effort.

Next up is our title match between the challenger Bryan Danielson and the champion Morishima. Danielson comes out with an eye patch and is over huge with the crowd who sing the instrumental part of “the Final Countdown”.

Seriously, everybody in the arena was chanting “doo doo doo doo do do do do do.”

In a nice touch, Morishima is introduces as being 149 kilos.

Danielson comes out hard and fast at the start of the match, but Morishima is easily able to overpower his much smaller opponent. We get dueling chants of :
“Let’s go Dragon!”
“Morishima!”

Quickly into things, the eyepatch is knocked askew. Danielson spends the early part of the match trying to bar the leg, but is unable to takedown Morishima. They take it outside the ring and start brawling. At one point, Danielson dives through the ropes with a sweet flying forearm.

Morishima needs to wear more clothes, or I needed to find a better seat: i.e. too many buffalo shots.

Back in the ring Danielson goes for a diving frankensteiner, it’s countered into a powerbomb, and that is countered into a triangle choke. Danielson works over Morishima with a series of submission maneuvers. Morishima nearly backdrops his way out of a sleeper. Not one to be outdone, Danielson murders Morishima with a super-backdrop driver. Danielson snaps off a tiger suplex, transitions it into a cattle mutilation, but still can’t get the win.

Morishima stops Danielson with a clothesline and backdrop driver, but he’s too close to the ropes to get a pin. So, Morishima rips off Danielson’s eyepatch, gives him another backdrop drive, and works over the injured eye until the ref stops the match at about the 13 minute mark.

The crowd chants “bullshit” but eventually decides to chant “Thank you Dragon!” The match was great as a second act to a much larger story.

The ref comes out with the tag belts, hooks them up to a cable, and they are hoisted up to high above the ring. The tag title match will be a “ladder war” between the Briscoes and the team of El Generico and Steen.

Generico’s back is really scarred.

There is a huge brawl to start, and I can’ see much of what is going on. I do hear a bunch of little girls in front of me scream and run away. It’s because one of the Briscoes is beating up Generico about three feet in front of me. A staffer who looks somewhat Edge-like keeps the crowd at bay. A thrown plastic chair bounces off of Generico and knocks the staffer in the face.

Eventually most of the seating arrangements of augmented by the tag teams.

When the teams get back to the ring, one of the Briscoes is bleeding. There’s some back and forth action, and Generico keeps trying to sneak up the ladder. “We smoke pot” chant.

A ladder is leaned against the turnbuckle, Generico is bealed into it, and our first ladder is completely destroyed. Another ladder is set up and Steen knocks a Briscoe off that ladder right onto the broken ladder.

It is at this point I realized tha all these guys will be pissing blood the next morning.

A huge “This is awesome” chant erupts. Steen uses a Briscoe and a bac suplex to break ladder number 2!

Now both Briscoes are bleeding quite profusely.

Generico hits a split legged moonsault onto a broken ladder. By now, it looks as though both ladders are to demolished to do one of the planned spots. So, Steen takes this opportunity to deliver a running powerbomb that sends one of the Briscoes over the top rope to the outside. This initiates a “You sick f*ck!” chant by the crowd.

Steen starts to climb up what I believe to be ladder number 3. Generico is serving as a sentry, guarding him from the Briscoes and begging Steen to climb faster. Steen doesn’t and pays for it. A Briscoe throws Generico into a ladder with an expoloder. Steen eats an FU into a ladder.

The crowd approves with a “Let’s go Briscoes” chant.

A Briscoe delivers a shooting star press onto the ladder onto Generico. The Briscoes try to retrieve the belts, but all the ladders are too demolished to climb. So they steal a giant orange ladder from the staff.

This leads to an awesome spot when the Briscoes hit the doomsday device on Generico where the clothesline portion is of the springboard variety and through the opening of the ladder. It was unbelievable.

Steen sets up a ladder scaffold, propping one of the smaller ladders up, one end on the orange ladder the other on the turnbuckle. The tease a couple of moves, culminating on Steen hitting a tiger driver through the elevated ladder. The same ladder scaffold is set up on the opposite turnbuckle, and Generico takes a similar piledriver bump through the ladder.

These guys are insane.

Steen and a Briscoe end up having a long fight on top of the orange ladder. Briscoe makes it out on top, but has a little trouble getting the belts off the winch. After a spell, he frees one belt, and the title defense is successful.

Any fan of “garbage” wrestling, TLC matches or Sabu matches should cream over this thing. It was a solid 25 minutes of crazy spots. The crowd chanted “Match of the Year!” Then “Thank you, Briscoes!”

Then some weird noises hit and project 161 comes out to beat down the Briscoes. Near as I can tell Project 161 consists of Jimmy Jacobs in a douche-y white suit and cane, the Necrobutcher, Lacey, some dude who looks like a bigger version of Crowbar, and a bunch of 14 year olds in ski-masks who drum on the barricades. Necrobutcher rubs Briscoe blood all over himself, and even appears to drink some. They tie up one of the Briscoes by his ankles and hoist him upside down over the ring, using the ladder match winch. (Why the production crew would do this is unexplained.)

Jacobs cuts a whiny and cheesy promo about something or other while standing in his white suit under the blood-losing Briscoe. Jacobs even leans back to drink in some of the blood. The crown took the opportunity to tell Jacobs that he, in fact, “Sucks dicks.”

I suppose it is a neat visual to have the blood rain over the white-suited Jacobs, but the whole thing reeked of controversy over substance. It soured the evening, and made Jacobs look like a third rate hybrid of Raven and Gangrel. Well, except that he dresses like John Morrison.

This took us to intermission and I believe that was the end of the PPV portion of the evening. I took this chance to take in the ROH crowd. It’s a weird mixture of young republicans, jocks, the hood rich, gimps, stoners, goths, internerds, men with moobs, tiny kids and longhairs.

After the break we get a three minute match where some tiny guy named Mitch squashes a skinny guy named Alex to retain his trophy of some sort or another.

Next is the Shimmer match featuring the team of Daizee and Amazing Kong vs. Lacey and Del Rey. Daizee appears to be some tiny female version of RVD. Kong is this large black woman dressed in a Xena outfit.

Kong is over bigwith the crowd, and Lacey seems to be drawing some heat, having acquired the chants of “she’s got herpes” and “she’s a crackwhore!” The evil team works in some nice double team maneuvers, including an elevated Indian deathlock running dropkick combo.

At one point Daizee found herself trapped in a Gory Special, worked her way out of that only to be trapped in a backslide pinning predicament, and somehow countered that into a X-factor. Eventually a victory rolls cannonballs Daizee into the hot tag to Kong. Kong has an odd ring presence but a surprisingly large moveset, including a Batista bomb, spinning back fists, a deadly frog splash and a nifty slapjack.

At one point Kong Gorilla presses her own partenr out of the ring and onto the evil chicks. Later on in the match one of the evil women is miraculously able to German suplex Kong!

Daizee wins it for the face team around the 15 minute mark following some sort of neckbreaker.

Next up, is our Bonus Tag Match. Brent Albright and BJ Whitmer squash a break-dancing black guy and some reject from Entourage in 6 minutes via a double Alabama slam. The crowd taunted Whitmer with chants of “Steve Corino!”

Whitmer cuts a promo applauding Adam Pierce at th expense of the ROH fans. Apparently, they make up the Hangmen Three. The crowd taunts them with disparaging remarks about being Horsemen knockoffs.

After that, we welcome Jack Evans, who does a lo of flippy things. He is immediately assaulted by the crowbar-looking fella from 161. I guess it’s a match. After about 2 minutes, Necrobutcher comes out and the Project beatdown Evans. Irish Airborne makes the save, and convince the ref to make it a 6 man tag.

There is some fun garbage wrestling and more or less three matches going on at the same time: two guys fighting in the ring, two guys fighting basically on my lap, and two guys I couldn’t even see. Distracted by the three ring circus, I nearly get hit with a whipped Jack Evans.

Jacob is wrestling with nipple rings in; that doesn’t seem like a sound idea to me. After a couple of nifty spots, including a top rope backbreaker onto two chairtops, the Project beatdown the ref. The whole match is thrown out for the second time in 6 minutes.

Our final match is the final match in ROH for Matt Sydal. He faces the charmingly indy Delirious. Prior to the start, Delirious gives a semi-intelligible speech in his Green Goblin-esque warble. He reaches out for a handshake, prompting the crowd to chant, “What he said!”

Of course, Sydal accepts the handshake as an opportunity to sucker punch Delirious.

Sydal looks like a roided-up 12 year old.

The first act is mostly comedy, spotlighting Delirious’s ability to be downright strange. At one point Sydal hits a sweet flying cartwheel over the top rope and to the outside.

Sydal is in over-the-top heel mode. He pulls on Delirious’s mask, uses his fringe to choke out his opponent, takes a water bottle break with the help of his agent, and so on.

Delirious spends a good chunk of the match figuring out new ways to headbutt Sydal in the solar plexus.

Towards the end of the match we get some nifty moves like a Fisherman’s Falcon Arrow, and a pumphandle Michinoku driver. Sydal almost gets the victory off of Melina’s “Crying Game”. He goes to the top for a shooting star, and manages to land on his feet when Delirious rolls out of the way!

Wow.

Then, we’re back to brawling on the outside, and some more comedy bits as Delirious steals (and wears) a fan’s ROH hat.

Sydal almost wins it with a belly to back piledriver into a rana style pin. Delirious comes back with a cobra clutch suplex into a bridging cobra clutch. Delirious eventually picks up the pin after a double pumphandle flip.

The crowd chants “Thank you Sydal!” and asks for a speech. Sydal doesn’t oblige, but does shake Delirious’s hand for real. The show ends at 12:09.

Final thought: All in all, it was a great time. The wrestling was good. There were stiff moves, innovative spots, comedy, and a lot more match variety than I was expecting. Indy wrestling is like an indy movie: everybody that is working there wants to be there.

And it shows.

The ROH crew was super nice and shaking hands as we left the arena. Aside from the Project Promo, there wasn’t a bit that I didn’t like.

In terms of personal wrestling tastes, ROH is a little weird. My main criticism is this: At times, watching ROH is a bit like watching video game CAWs fight. Large movesets of flashy moves, done with somewhat fatuous psychology. I think a lot of these guys could stand to sell a little more, and tell a better story in the ring.

This isn’t true for the entire roster mind you, the Danielson Morishima match was brilliant story-telling.

But even with that criticism, this was the best time I’ve ever had a wrestling show. The wrestling was close-by, the food was cheap, and the action never stopped.

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