Big Andy Mac’s ROH Live Review with PPV Spoilers: 7-26-2008

Ring of Honor has presented Pay per Views from all of the major stops in their circuit: New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Chicago, so I guess that means it is time for another city to get a chance. That other city is Detroit. The venue is solid and should photograph pretty well for PPV. The pre-announced card was pretty minimal: just a world title match between Claudio and Nigel, a rematch between Danielson and Tyler Black, and the first ever Honor Rumble. On paper, these matches all seem impressive, and Ring of Honor usually delivers something special on PPV. Did they deliver this time? Read on to find out.

Pre-Show Matches
Ernie Osiris, Kyle Durden, and Alex “Sugarfoot” Payne defeated Ninja Yellow, Ninja White, and Ricky Fontaine

D-Ray 3000 defeated Shane Hollister in a decent little match.

Main Show

The Pay per View opens with Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black in the middle of the ring. They claim that now that they have the belts they have the power and as a result will not be defending the tag team titles on the show. (Not because Tyler Black is already booked in a match or anything) The Briscoes, who of course were never defeated for the titles this time, come to the ring and try to beat up the Age of the Fall. Jacobs and Tyler escape and we get treated to the first “match” of the PPV.

Jay and Mark Briscoe vs. Silas Young and Mitch Franklin

Squash city. Poor Mitch Franklin just got decimated by the Briscoes. Silas never even got in the ring. I guess they are protecting him because he may be a full time roster member in the near future. The Briscoes won with the Springboard Doomsday device. It was fun, but I don’t know how necessary it was for the PPV.

Winners: Jay and Mark Briscoe via pinfall; *

Four Corner Survival Match: Erick Stevens vs. Shane Hagadorn vs. Delirious vs. Ruckus

This was a solid match, if wholly unspectacular. Hagadorn is getting better and better as a heel. Ruckus got one of his best individual reactions that I have seen yet. Delirious was over as usual and Stevens was the star of the match. Stevens got the win after a Dr. Bomb on Hagadorn. The three faces make fun of silly Shane after the match.

Winner: Erick Stevens via pinfall; **

Austin Aries has a mic in his hand and briefly summarizes the nature of his feud with Jimmy Jacobs. He wants a match with Aries tonight, which makes the fans happy. Aries says there will be no such match, which makes the fans sad. Tyler Black tries to sneak up on Aries, but Aries does not fall for the sneak attack and fights Tyler off. Aries and Jacobs continue their arguing until MsChif makes her onscreen Age of the Fall debut and low blows Aries. Jacobs goes after Aries and bloodies him with the spike. This clears the bottom of the card from the locker room to save the fallen ace.

Kevin Steen then comes out to confront Aries and ask “When’s go’n be my time.” (NB: not a direct quote) Aries says he needs to prove himself. With that the Necro Butcher attacks Steen from behind and we have…

Necro Butcher vs. “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen

After the events of last night it seemed that the Necro is back in line with the Age of the Fall. He took it to Steen with his typical reckless abandon. Steen has never been one to back down and went right back at Necro. Like most Necro Butcher matches the rules were highly relaxed. Chairs were used a-plenty including an absolutely brutal Michinoku Driver by Steen onto a chair. Strangely enough that did not net a three count. A package piledriver later and Necro came up with another loss. The match was a lot of fun for what it was. It was definitely a solid brawl, and should come across better on PPV than live.

Winner: Kevin Steen via pinfall; ***

Ring of Honor World Title Match: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Nigel McGuinness©

I was surprised as anyone by the placement of this match. In some ways it almost gave away the result. The only time, off the top of my head, that I can think of the title changing hands outside of the last match is Low Ki losing the belt to Xavier. Morishima losing to Nigel half counts, but it was the final match of the PPV if not the final match of the live show. Still they could have something different in mind… They didn’t.

The match itself was great. I was one of the few that liked their first world title encounter from “A New Level,” but I probably overrated it a bit. This match was the contest that they should have at that show. It was very similar to the Hammerstein match. Claudio went for the big win right after the opening bell, but was unable to score. Nigel then took control and spent the majority of the rest of the match beating the holy hell out of Claudio who would just not stay down. Herr Castagnoli was able to hit all of his big moves, European uppercuts, the Ricola Bomb et al. But none of it was able to get the three. Nigel eventually hit the Jawbreaker Lariat and put the Swiss powerhouse down. In a side note, Claudio and Nigel tied their European uppercut mark set at their “Best in the World” Pure Title match with 31 big European uppercuts.

After the match Nigel put over Claudio’s effort in a slightly backhanded way, but still wanted to make it clear that he respected Castagnoli. Claudio would not shake his hand and just walked out. In the hype for the match Claudio said that if he could not get the win he would leave RoH, and apparently his departure from the ring was his departure from the company.

Winner: Nigel McGuinness; ****

***Intermission***

Once again intermission took longer than it should have. It did not seem as bad as in Toronto, and with the Lance Storm autograph signing it could have added more time. Still, this is the one area where RoH still needs to tighten up their shows.

Non-PPV Match: Kenny Omega vs. Silas Young

Kenny Omega was impressive in his debut match the night before. I had seen Silas Young’s name many times, but had never seen him wrestle. I was pleased to have this little exhibition match on the show. Omega was solid again and I am sure he will be brought back for future dates. Young was very good too, and the two of them put on an entertaining match. Omega’s electric chair German suplex did not get the win. That move should totally be a finish. Young was able to get the win with a handstand into a twisting Arabian press.

Winner: Silas Young via pinfall; **1/2

Tag Team Attraction: Roderick Strong and Naomichi Marufuji vs. Chris Hero and Go Shiozaki with Larry Sweeney and Bobby Dempsey

I was looking forward to this match a lot as well. Partially because it was one of four matches to look forward to, but all four men involved are doing pretty well for themselves in the wrestling business. Before the match, Larry Sweeney tries to offer Marufuji a spot in his stable of stellar athletes. Marufuji responds with a well placed middle finger. Sweeney is outraged and decides that it is not worth Sweet and Sour Inc’s time and money to compete in Detroit so he tries to leave, but Lance Storm decides that there should be a match. Lance does say almost word for word what he said in Toronto, but this time it was on PPV, and still very true and very awesome. The match happens as planned.

All four guys hit each other very hard and put on a solid tag match. Lance Storm remained at ringside so the cheating was kept to a minimum. Strong and Maru worked very well as a team. They even worked in an innovative double team. Strong hit his fireman’s carry gutbuster while Marufuji hit the codebreaker (I know that Marufuji invented this move, but I have no idea what he calls it, so whatever). Strong was able to get the win with a huge backbreaker on Hero. I was surprised that Hero took the fall in this one as he seems to be on his way back up to the top of the card, but there you have it.

Winners: Roderick Strong and Naomichi Marufuji via pinfall; ***1/2

After the match Lance Storm get himself some by locking Larry Sweeney in the single leg crab, but he is blindsided and knocked silly by the “New Knockout Kid” Chris Hero. Sweet and Sour Inc clears the ring area and Storm gets up to a huge response and “One More Match!” chants.

PPV Main Event: “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs. Tyler Black with Jimmy Jacobs

These guys have been in the ring together four times prior to this. The first was a surprise classic from “Breakout,” the second, a superior rematch at “Southern Navigation”, and the next two from the tag team tournament at “Up for Grabs” and the PPV the next night “Respect is Earned II.” Of those four encounters three of them are part of the match of the year discussion and the fourth was a quick little DQ so it barely counts. This match has a ton of hype, and let me say it lives up to every bit of it.

Dragon dominated the early going and the lesson that the kids can take home is: Tyler Black is double jointed. Dragon absolutely destroyed Tyler elbow and wrist joints throughout the match. Jacobs, I must add, was great in his roll as coach to Tyler on the outside. He didn’t try to get involved, just focused Tyler in. Tyler when he had control tried to humiliate Danielson with tenacious slaps to the face, but eventually got caught in a jujigatame. With all of the arm work, many thought that this would be Tyler’s undoing. In a superhuman feet of strength, however, Tyler Black picked Danielson up and powerbombed him into the corner breaking the turnbuckle away from the ringpost! Needless to say, the crowd exploded with this. This was unlike anything I have ever seen before. Tyler tried to capitalize but eventually got trapped in the elbows and the ref stopped the match. This was an absolute classic and is Black’s best singles match and it may even be Dragon’s best with his title shot against Nigel at the 6th Anniversary Show being the only competition. This match is the reason to order the Pay per View when it comes out.

Winner: “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson via ref stoppage; ****1/2

Lower card wrestlers help Black to the back and Austin Aries comes out to exact some revenge on Jimmy Jacobs. They begin brawling all over the arena. They eventually make their way to the top of a huge ladder. They are fighting on the top and the Necro Butcher comes out with a chair. Both men try to convince Necro to hit the other. Apparently, Necro doesn’t like being told what to do and pushes the ladder over sending both men through tables. This Necro Butcher wrinkle adds a whole lot of intrigue to the Aries/Jacobs storyline and is a great image to end the Pay per View.

The First every Honor Rumble

Two remedy the problem of the broken rope, for the match they replaced the top rope with the bottom one and only used two ring ropes for the match. The first two combatants are Bobby Dempsey and Kyle Durden. Larry Sweeney informs Bobby that if he wants to compete in the match all he has to do is “turtle up” in the corner. Bobby does this and despite Durden’s best efforts to lure him out with cheeseburgers Bobby stays in the corner for most of the match. As more competitors enter the ring they all try to eliminate the turtled up Dempsey, but to no avail. Bushwacker Luke Williams repeats his previous rumble success with a four second appearance. Sara Del Rey makes her entrance and uses Bobby as a human shield while she picks her spots. Delirious enters the match and instructs everyone to eliminate Dempsey which they do. The final competitor in the match is Nigel McGuinness who informs the crowd that he is going to win the match to protect his title. The ring clears out and the final five are Delirious, Rhett Titus, Ruckus, Alex “Sugarfoot” Payne (when he was announced Bobby Cruise paused just enough to get some fans to think it was going to be Alex Shelley, which would have ruled) and Nigel McGuinness. Titus dumps Delirious who is furious, but Daizee Haze comes out to calm him down. Delirious offers a hand to Titus and pulls him over the rope in a classic battle royal spot. The match comes down to Ruckus and Nigel. The Vulture Squad representative shocks everyone and eliminates Nigel earning himself a world title shot. The match itself was mostly comedy which was fine. They probably should have taken it a little seriously as a number one contender match not being taken seriously can function to devalue the title. Still the match was entertaining. I was expecting a lot from this match. They went in a completely different direction, which was fine, but I was left slightly disappointed.

Winner: Ruckus; *** (although a rating for this is kind of unfair)

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy Final Thoughts: The PPV portion of the show is pretty awesome. The world title match and Black vs. Danielson are worth the ordering price for sure. The tag team match and Steen vs. Necro are solid as well. I would put this show pretty much on par with Rising Above as far as Pay per Views go. The non-ppv matches are nothing to scream bout, but it seems as though RoH is starting to figure out how to present a PPV taping within a live show. This had better flow than some of the ppvs did as live shows, but will not be as good of a show on PPV. Like I said, for the Danielson/Black match this Pay per View should have your hard earned ten to fifteen bucks. We have Manassas and NYC coming up this weekend so…

I’ll see you next time…

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