ROH returned to Boston, MA last night, at the Boston University Case Gym. The crowd looked up from Januaryâ€™s Proving Ground show, and as far as I know, there were no pre-show matches. The return date is September 19. The show was drastically changed earlier this week due to Austin Aries being pulled, as the planned Aries vs. Nigel vs. Stevens vs. Strong main event had to be scrapped, which forced almost every match on the card to be changed in some way. Iâ€™ll throw star ratings on certain matches, if none, assume it was below ***, it which case I see no point hammering one out.
Four Corner Survival, winner gets an ROH World Title match tonight, El Generico vs. Erick Stevens vs. Roderick Strong vs. Rocky Romero: Generico was super over on his entrance, Erick Stevens, sadly, was not. I know itâ€™s such a clichÃ©, but considering his look, I really think he needs a bit of a heel edge, cause this massive happy dude who has great matches really isnâ€™t getting him over permanently. This obviously broke down to Strong/Romero vs. Stevens/Generico, with the vast majority of the match being a workover on Stevens. When he finally made the tag, Generico hit one or two moves, then Strong and Romero took over again, and beefâ€™d on who should go for pinfalls. The crowd was hot for an encounter after a slap exchange, but instead Stevens rolled up Strong from behind, annoying the crowd slightly. However, while everyone wanted Generico, there were no booâ€™s or anything to Stevens getting the shot.
Jason Blade vs. Michael Bennet: I remember nothing about this match. Blade was playing his YRR FIP character, and won with Human Tornadoâ€™s DND. Nothing to see here.
Eddie Edwards vs. Jigsaw: Man, what a horrible decision taking off Jigsawâ€™s mask. Dude is so generic right now, and based on something a little later on in this card, I think heâ€™s basically become useless to ROH. Maybe he should turn and join BLKOUT? I donâ€™t know. Either way, he looks like any random jobber, while Eddie Edwards looked really polished and great, and was hella over. They had a fun little match, ending when Sweeneyâ€™s music hit. Both men paused, confused, but when Jigsaw turned around to confront Sweeney, Edwards flipped him and hit CIMAâ€™s Perfect Driver for the 3 count. Edwards was cheered for his turn, and left to applause, while Jigsaw stood up defeated and was met with silence. Sucks to be him right now.
Jack Evans and Ruckus vs. Jay and Mark Briscoe: Wow, this was SUPER fun. Jack and Ruckus come off as an awesome team, unlike Ruckus and Jigsaw, who come off as â€œrandom Philly flippy dudes teaming up to jobâ€. Dance off to start, which Mark won by channeling Nate Webb. Once the match started, we got some great, really fast paced action, with the Briscoes working over Ruckus a little, then into a quick, lightning speed finishing stretch. Crowd was really hot for all of this, and Jack and Ruckus showed they can go with the best teams they got in ROH. Iâ€™d love to see them and DIFH again, hopefully with more than 5 minutes. Finish came when Ruckus took out Jay and Jack took out Mark, then Jack leapfrogged Ruckusâ€™ back onto the top rope, allowing him to hit a high speed 630 on Jay for the win. Great match that drew a standing ovation, and itâ€™s awesome to see Jack return and make the tag division a hell of a lot better. ***1/2
Daizee Haze vs. Sara Del Ray: This never got started, as Larry Sweeney came out, in wrestling gear, and told Sara she was still under contract to him and she wasnâ€™t allowed to wrestle. Daizee demanded a match with someone, so Sweeney said heâ€™d wrestle her flanked by his partners, Brent Albright and Chris Hero, which drew out team Claudio, leading intoâ€¦
Claudio Castagnoli, Delirious, and Pelle Primeau vs. Larry Sweeney, Chris Hero, and Brent Albright (Elimination): By the time this actually started, crowd wasnâ€™t even that hot, which kinda sucks considering how over Claudioâ€™s been here since DBDV. It may sound dumb, but I think not giving him an entrance might have hurt, and that kinda shit does matter. Long workover period on Pelle to start, ending with him getting half-nelson suplexed to death and then pinned by Sweeney, pissing off Albright. This, also, may have hurt the crowd a little bit. Then, Delirious got worked over, with Sweeney tagging in whenever no danger was present. Albright got left out, pissing him off but not enough to turn. Finally, a character! Brent finally got in, and immediately leveled Delirious with a half-nelson suplex and knees to the face for the stoppage. Then, Claudio was able to surprise Hero with a Ricola Bomb for the elimination, and Brent told Sweeney to get in there and get Claudio, â€œif you wanna fight him so badâ€. Sweeney begged off and promised everything, so Albright got in and fought him, and Sweeney snuck out, apparently DQâ€™ing himself by leaving (?). Claudio and Albright, who were originally scheduled to have a singles match, then did a great ending to this match, with lots of reversals and nearfalls. They made Albright out, finally, to have a character and reason to be in SnS (while he hates the idea of all these goofs, he really loves that money) after never explaining why he joined H3, and, surprise, the crowd got into his match. They did some great stuff that the crowd was really into, and then Claudio finally got the win. I donâ€™t understand why you would sell a match as â€œIf Claudio can eliminate Albright and Hero he gets Sweeney!â€ and then renege on the stip with no real explanation, but hey, what do I know. ***1/4
Davey Richards vs. Kota Ibushi: This worked awesomely. It seems almost no one had seen Kota, so all his spots got ridiculously over. These two worked 100mph, and this must have been under 15 minutes, but it was truly awesome stuff. Lots of stiff strike exchanges, including some head kicks that really got people into it. On that note, the crowd was WAY hot for this, the hottest Iâ€™ve seen in Boston in a while. Kota, actually, didnâ€™t fly a lot, hitting his moonsault into a standing moonsault spot, and the moonsault to the outside, but nothing too insane. They built really well to the finish, where Davey hit a tombstone, then rolled through the kickout into the kimura for the tapout. Not a lot of psychology here, but just superfun prowrestling. Standing O for both men, and then again for Kota afterwards. ***3/4-****
Nigel McGuinness vs. Erick Stevens (ROH World Championship): Strong attacked Stevens on his way to the ring, attacking his arm. At this point, everyone in the building figured out the finish, and realized they werenâ€™t getting an epic heavyweight title match, and died. Nigel proceeded to work the arm the entire match, and Stevens got a couple moves at the very end, but no offense outside that. Finish was suppose to be Stevens going for a shoulderblock but being taken down into â€œThat Arm Submissionâ€ (tm Dave Prazak), but he tripped off the ropes and fell on his face, so Nigel just locked it in for the anticlimactic tapout. Nothing special here, and did nothing but make Stevens look like nothing special to the crowd, as the plan of making him an ultimate underdog backfired, and no one bought him winning, so his nearfalls got little to no pops. A far cry from even Jay Briscoe having everyone on their feet for his nearfalls against Morishima when he had no shot at the belt. I love Stevens and Nigel, but the booking really hurt this match. I donâ€™t know, maybe ***, maybe ***1/4, nothing special and certainly not a great World Title match.
Kevin Steen vs. Necro Butcher (Boston Massacre Match): This match was ridiculously violent, with thumbtacks, barb wire boards, tables, etc. Iâ€™m not gonna try and recap a lot, because you should know already that youâ€™d love it. I will say this: It seemed these guys really felt the need to make up for the lineup changes, and I think the â€œextra brutalityâ€ kinda hurt the match layout and flow, as I think as a match, I preferred their brawl from January. However, major props to these guys for going out and doing everything they could to get this crowd their moneysâ€™ worth, as the effort here was phenomenal. Finish came when Steen powerbombâ€™d Necro into the wire board, and then turned his body over while on the board for a sharpshooter and the submission. No rating as you should know whether or not you want to see this. Standing ovation, again, for both men after the match.
Overall, this was a very good show, though in my opinion a weaker show than Proving Ground, though close. The crowd, when hot, was hot as hell, but also died multiple times during the show, sometimes for big matches, which hurt it badly. Still, definately reccomended, if not highly. Check back later this week for the return of my Spotlight on Japan column, with a lot more on Mr. Kota Ibushi.