Ring of Honor Live Review; PPV Taping (ROH Rising Above, 12-29-2007, NYC)

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Ring of Honor Lie Review; PPV Taping (RoH Rising Above, 12-29-2007, NYC)

Opening Match: Non-PPV – Sara Del Rey vs. Lacey vs. Daizee Haze

Before this match could start Sunny makes her entrance to “Back in Black.” She explains that she is here to see some excellent women’s wrestling. She did see just that. After a shaky start the ladies put on a solid showing. The highlight was Sara Del Rey locking the royal butterfly on both Haze and Lacey. Daizee wa able to get the win after a mindtrip (snap mare driver) on Lacey. It was fun stuff, if unspectacular.

Winner: Daizee Haze; **

After the match Lacey cut the best promo of her life berating Sunny for the same reasons people always berate Sunny. Daizee Haze came to the aid of the diva, and Lacey got a bitch slap for her troubles. This was an awesome segment.

The fans are then introduced to the special guest time keeper Bushwacker Luke who enters the ring doing his trademark march only to be beaten up by Hangmen 3 representatives Adam Pearce and Brent Albright.

Ring of Honor: Rising Above

The PPV begins in earnest with Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard on the stage while Pearce and a still hooded Albright are in the ring. They lay out a challenge to Delirious and reveal Albright wearing a torn Deliri-mask. Delirious makes his entrance in brand new awesome looking red and black garb and sprays Pearce with mist which leads to…

Opening Contest: Brent Albright vs. Delirious

This was a decent contest and a great way to bring Delirious back in a new and different way. He showed a lot more intensity and a lot less comedy. His moveset is still basically the same, but I don’t think any of his critics had any problems there. He is able to get the win after a back and forth battle with a surprise roll-up. Delirious was actually on offense for most of the match as well.

Winner: Delirious; **

The Hangmen 3 are none too happy and start beating down Delirious. Kevin Steen and El Generico make their return to try and save their buddy Delirious. Then the Age of the Fall come out and Jacobs cuts a promo (nB: Necro Butcher is in a Kucinich for President T-shirt). The Vulture Squad make their entrance and we have…

Tag Team Scramble Match: Kevin Steen and El Generico vs. Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black vs. BJ Whitmer and Adam Pearce vs. Jack Evans and Ruckus

Yay, faction warfare. This match was a ton of fun. I always enjoyed the scramble matches back in the day, and this put pretty much any of them too shame. The action was fast, furious, and non-sensical. But Kevin Steen and El Generico were able to score the win with the package piledriver/brainbuster combination. This match was just plain freaking awesome, though.

Winners: Kevin Steen and El Generico; ***3/4

We finally get a match with proper introductions.

Special Challenge Match: Davey Richards vs. Erick Stevens

This is Stevens’ first match back after a lengthy absence. He and Davey had a great match at the first PPV that was DVD exclusive. While good, this match does not quite make it to the quality of their previous encounter. Notable in this match is Daniel Puder’s presence on the stage observing this match. He was enough of a distraction that Stevens lost focused and fell victim to the kimura lock by Richards.

Winner: Davey Richards; **3/4

After the match Stevens challenges Puder, but Larry Sweeney offers his services and advises that Puder should do nothing for free. Daniel finds this to be wise advice and heads to the back. Claudio Castagnoli chases Sweeney to the ring, but he is met by Toland and Dempsey. They distract the most money-making man long enough to allow Chris Hero to take an advantage setting up…

Grudge Match: Chris Hero vs. Claudio Castagnoli

They have had better matches in the past, but this was still pretty entertaining. This feud still does not have the hatred that I feel it should. It is a shame because Chris Hero is awesome at bringing the hatred just look at his matches with Eddie Kingston from IWA this year. Hero does his normal cute antics and Claudio wrestlers his normal impressive style. Claudio impressively reverse a cravate clutch into the ricola bomb for the victory.

Winner: Claudio Castagnoli; ***1/2

As a result of this Claudio will get his chance one on one against Larry Sweeney at Final Battle.

Ring of Honor World Championship Match: Austin Aries vs. Nigel McGuinness ©

This was far and away the match of the night. These two went at it tooth and nail. I sincerely doubted Aries chances so early into Nigel’s reign, but a couple of times during the match he made me believe he could make history. This match really had it all. Aries threw his best stuff at Nigel, but Nigel was able to hit the jawbreaker lariat for the victory. This match is worth purchasing the PPV when it debuts.

Winner: Nigel McGuinness; ****1/2


Non-PPV Four Way Fray: Mitch Franklin vs. Jigsaw vs. Matt Cross vs. Necro Butcher

Four Way Fray mean elimination rules and no tags. Franklin was the first to go after a nasty punch to the head by Necro Butcher. Matt Cross was second after a tricky lucha rollup combo by Jigsaw. Jigsaw gave Necro his all, but it was not good enough an a punch to the head and tiger driver later results in a victory for the Butcher. This match is notable for being the first time in RoH, and maybe even in his entire career that the Necro Butcher did not bleed.

Winner: Necro Butcher; **3/4

PPV Relaxed Rules Match: “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs. Takeshi Morishima

This match was violent. Dragon was bleeding heavily very early on. It almost looked like he took a bullet to the forehead. The match did not really have a beginning or a middle. It was just a fight. Eventually referee Paul Turner stopped the match and Dragon got the win as the result of a disqualification.

Winner: Bryan Danielson; No Rating

Ring of Honor World Tag Team Title Two out of Three Falls Match: Rocky Romero and Roderick Strong vs. Jay and Mark Briscoe ©

Yeah…I didn’t like this match much. I was very pleased to see that Roddy and Rocky won the first fall after a Doomsday Knee strike and a Tiger Driver. The Briscoes were able to come back and get their two straight falls to retain their titles. I have to say, I am really tired of the Briscoes, but they are over as hell. I can still put some faith in the Age of the Fall to win the titles at Final Battle.

Winners: Jay and Mark Briscoe; **1/2

Non-PPV Main Event: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Naomichi Marufuji

I was hoping against hope for a surprise opponent like Low Ki or someone crazy like that, but Claudio is not a bad choice as there is history between them stemming from Claudio’s win at Manhattan Mayhem II. Then again I had already seen Claudio once in the night, and was not dying to see him again. The match was solid if unspectacular, and Marufuji was able to get the win with his version of the small package.

Winner: Naomichi Marufuji; ***

Sweet and Sour incorporated the came out and Daniel Puder put Claudio in a leg submission only to have it broken up by Erick Stevens. This was interrupted by the No Remorse Corps who were in turn interrupted by the Vulture Squad to finish out the show…Meh

Final Thoughts:

The show was good, but not great. The Aries/Nigel title match and the Scramble make this worth watching. Beyond that the show is mostly forgettable. It should come off as a good show on PPV, and that is really all that matters.