Make sure you watch the 8/29/08 edition of the Video Wire before watching this show. I tried to find a link to it but I canâ€™t seem to locate it, so see if you can find it for yourself. Itâ€™s live to tape from Manhattan, and covers more of the Briscoe Brothers shooting guns, the budding Bryan Danielson versus Claudio Castagnoli feud, and the Jimmy Jacobs/Necro Butcher/Austin Aries issues.
The DVD also has the Jimmy Jacobs promo he cut a few days before the Japan shows, so make sure to watch this before the show too. Itâ€™s one of the best promos of the year from a guy that always ranks very high in that department. He had me believing.
BONUS MATCH: Tetsuya Naito & Yujiro vs. Genba Hirayanagi & Kotaro Suzuki
Of all four of these guys I only know Kotaro Suzuki because he appeared at ROHâ€™s Live in Tokyo. This is a NJPW (Naito & Yujiro) vs. NOAH (Hirayanagi & Suzuki) match. Thereâ€™s no commentary and Iâ€™m not really familiar with these guys so I truthfully donâ€™t know which one is which. Itâ€™s pretty much a brawl to start, with the referee exerting very little control. The NOAH team controls the early going. Whichever guy from the NJPW team that takes a beating almost makes several comebacks but gets thwarted a couple of times. They fight on the floor briefly and then go back to the ring for more stuff. The NJPW guy finally makes the comeback and tags his partner. He hits a suplex on one opponent and a nice pump handle powerslam on the other for a near-fall. That doesnâ€™t last too long, as the NOAH guy pokes the referee in the eyes just so he can kick his opponent in the balls. The NOAH team is back on offense now. The momentum shifts back and forth a few times, and two of the contestants fight on the floor for a minute. The NJPW team gets an opportunity for a pin but they pull the guy up at two, and then one of them hits a sky twister press to get the pin at 11:29. I seriously wish they had done commentary, because I have no idea who these guys are or why they continue to fight after the bell.
Larry Sweeney and Davey Richards are backstage, and theyâ€™re disappointed about what happened last night. Sweeney is also upset that the Briscoe Brothers refused his offer, and thus he has recruited former ROH World Champion Takeshi Morishima to join Richards against Jay and Mark tonight. I guess knowing Go Shiozaki can have its advantages.
Bobby Cruise is in the ring and announces that five promotions are working together tonight: Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling NOAH, DDT, Kensuke Office and New Japan. He tries to hype the main event but Austin Aries interrupts him and wants to fight Tyler Black RIGHT NOW.
MATCH #1: Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black
Aries attacks Black before he can even make it to the ring. He throws Black around the ring and rolls through a sunset flip and they slide to the entrance ramp where Aries locks on the Last Chancery. Aries fires up the crowd and goes to the top rope, and Black knocks him down. They fight on the floor, and Black throws Aries into the guardrail and slams his face on the ring apron. Back in the ring Black stays on offense for a bit. He works on the lower back, using various strikes and submissions. He goes for the Buckle Bomb but Aries counters it to a rana. He takes Black down and hits the pendulum elbow. Aries stays aggressive and tries the dropkick in the corner, but Black catches him and slams him down, and then hits the Buckle Bomb for two. Aries moves out of the way of a Phoenix Splash and hits the kneebreaker/back suplex combo, and then connects with the dropkick in the corner. He hits the brainbuster with no effort, thus forgetting to sell his supposedly injured back. I wonder why more people donâ€™t notice how overrated this guy is. Aries goes up top and winds up with a sunset bomb. He hits the kick to the head and another brainbuster, and rolls that into the Last Chancery. Black unfortunately has to tap out at 11:06. The back and forth action was all well and good, but Ariesâ€™s refusal to sell hurts Black more than it helps. Jimmy Jacobs comes out to attack, locking his nemesis in the End Time. He promises more chaos, and a new ROH World Champion tonight.
MATCH #2: Kazushi Miyamoto vs. Eddie Edwards
Miyamoto wrestled on Final Battle 2003 and was on a couple of ROH shows back in 2004 as The Great Kazushi (one match against Shawn Daivari that never made it to DVD). He represents New Japan. They trade boots to the face right away and Edwards wins that battle. He gets a few impressive moves in but canâ€™t keep Miyamoto down. Miyamoto makes the comeback and hits a superplex for two. Edwards comes back and hits a powerbomb into a folding press for two. Miyamoto hits a big clothesline for two. He follows up with a brainbuster and then goes after Larry Sweeney on the apron. Sweeney accidentally hits Edwards and Miyamoto rolls him up for the win at 5:07. Edwards got almost all the offense in until the cheap finish. This seems to build more heat on a rift between Edwards and Sweeney, but they hug instead. The match never got much time to become anything.
Bryan Danielson is backstage to talk about how lucky he is to be a pro wrestler and how far Ring of Honor has come since The Era of Honor Begins. Tonight he faces Yoshinobu Kanemaru for the GHC Junior Heavyweight Title. He wants very badly to prove that he is the best wrestler in the world.
MATCH #3: El Generico vs. Taiji Ishimori
I understand that these two have wrestled before, and to some acclaim. Ishimori is from NOAH. Both men waste no time showing off their speed and agility. Generico gets a quick takedown and Ishimori bails. Back in the ring he gets a takedown and Generico bails. They trade holds back and forth; Generico gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Generico controls the action briefly, until Ishimori fires up and hits a series of moves that sends Generico to the floor. He follows him out with a high moonsault out to the floor. Back in the ring Generico recovers and hits a suplex into a Michinoku Driver for two. Ishimori comes back with a springboard rana off the top rope and a German suplex with a bridge for two. He goes to the top and Generico pops up there and tries a super brainbuster. Ishimori instead hits a sweet tornado DDT, which Generico then no-sells in order to hit the running Yakuza kick for two. He then hits a Michinoku Driver for two. Ishimori comes back with a crucifix bomb for two and then a modified DDT for two. He slams Generico down and hits the Superstar Elbow for the pin at 12:22. They did some good back and forth but Iâ€™m growing weary of Genericoâ€™s no selling ridiculousness.
MATCH #4: Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Davey Richards & Takeshi Morishima
Richards and Jay start the match with some back and forth maneuverings. They fight to the standoff and the Japanese fans applaud for that spot just like the Americans. Morishima gets tagged in and the Briscoes have to double team him to take the advantage. He recovers long enough to tag Richards in, but the Briscoes are soon working him over. Richards drives Jay into the corner and tags Morishima in. Jay then does the exact same thing with Morishima. The Briscoes try to suplex Morishima but he suplexes both of them instead. All four men come in and the Briscoes attempt simultaneous sunset flips but both get sat on. Richards and Mark go to the floor and Mark gets dropped neck first on the guardrail, and Sweeney gets his shots in too. Mark gets dominated for a bit and several hope spots later tags in Jay, who gets a little too much offense on Morishima I think. Jay hits a Missile Dropkick that Morishima stood there and waited to take. The match just continues to do back and forth with no real flow or build to anything. The match breaks down to a big brawl and Richards is able to hit mark with the Alarm Clock to get the pin at 12:00. That move, really? I was really looking forward to that match but I was sorely disappointed. I donâ€™t mind Richards going over, but with a transition move? And the match itself had no structure whatsoever, so no momentum could be built to any kind of comeback and therefore the match lacked fire.
The Age of the Fall run out and attack the Briscoes, despite the objections of the ring bell. They promise that Jacobs will win the ROH World Title tonight.
Speaking of the ROH World Championship, Nigel McGuinness is backstage. He admits that Danielson beat him last night, but he will retain the title against Jacobs tonight.
MATCH #5: GHC Junior Heavyweight Title Match â€“ Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Bryan Danielson
Kanemaru is the most prolific GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion by far; heâ€™s held the title four times for a total of 1,121 days. They wrestle on the mat to start, trading control back and forth. Danielson cinches on a headlock pretty tight. Kanemaru escapes that so Danielson goes after his arm and wrist instead. That doesnâ€™t last too long though, as Kanemaru dropkicks Danielson to the floor and executes a cool looking guillotine legdrop onto the guardrail. He hits a DDT on the floor and Danielson is down. Back in the ring Kanemaru stays on offense, wearing Danielson down. He hits a DDT for two and keeps working on the neck. Danielson recovers and hits a series of forearms and goes right back to the arm. He even locks in a Triangle Choke but Kanemaru wonâ€™t give it up. Danielson tries a cover instead but only gets two. Kanemaru comes back and hits a missile dropkick for two. He hits a swinging DDT and Danielson kicks out. He follows that with a leaping DDT off the second rope for another near-fall. Danielson reclaims control but canâ€™t quite put the champion away. They continue to trade control back and forth for a bit. Danielson is finally able to subdue Kanemaru enough to lock on the Cattle Mutilation to win the title at 20:39. I donâ€™t know much about Kanemaru but I know he knows a lot of DDTâ€™s. The match flew by and had lots of good stuff from both guys. Danielson is presented with the belt and a trophy. Backstage he gets interviewed while photographers snap pictures. He announces that he will defend the title against Katsuhiko Nakajima next week in Philadelphia. The segment drags on forever.
MATCH #6: KENTA & Kota Ibushi vs. Naomichi Marufuji & Katsuhiko Nakajima
This match features a wrestler from DDT (Ibushi), two from NOAH (Marufuji and KENTA), and one from Kensuke Office (Nakajima). Marufuji and Ibushi start it off with some back and froth action. They do the standoff audience applause spot. They each tag out to their partners. They trade stiff kicks, I would think to the surprise of no one. They do a standoff audience applause moment as well. KENTA tags Ibushi back in, and Marufuji and Nakajima isolate on him in their half of the ring. Ibushi makes a quick comeback and tags KENTA in, and he works over Marufuji. KENTA tags Ibushi back in he takes a couple of kicks before putting on a reverse chinlock. Nakajima comes in to break that up. KENTA comes back in and throws kicks at both his opponents. Marufuji dumps KENTA to the apron and Nakajima kicks him down to the floor. They get back in the ring and Nakajima continues to work KENTA over. All four men get in the ring and fight over a double suplex. KENTA and Ibushi suplex their opponents onto the top rope, and hit double flying knee strikes off the top rope. That gets a two-count on Nakajima and tags in Ibushi. He and Nakajima exchange kicks. Ibushi wins that battle and gets a two-count. Nakajima fights back and hits a nice missile dropkick and tags Marufuji. He hits a flying elbow for two. Marufuji takes Ibushi to the floor, where Nakajima kicks him down. He drops Ibushi head first on the ring apron and then whips him into the barricade. Ibushi takes several more minutes of abuse before making the hot tag to KENTA, who is on fire. Nakajima comes in and he and KENTA slug away at each other. This is all back and forth action; I canâ€™t be bothered to recap it all. Bobby Cruise announces that one minute is left in the time limit. And of course, the time limit expires with no winner at 30:00. The crowd wants five more minutes, and they actually get it. I hate that. Marufuji and KENTA start by kicking each other a lot, and KENTA hits a big clothesline. He follows up with a sit-out powerbomb for two. Marufuji comes back and hits the Shiranui but Ibushi breaks it up. He goes to the top rope and fights KENTA off, but then gets kicked in the head by Ibushi. KENTA runs back top and hits the Super Falcon Arrow and Nakajima breaks that up. Ibushi hits a Phoenix splash on Marufuji but heâ€™s not the legal man. The 5:00 overtime period passes with still no winner. So thanks for adding the five more minutes, since it didnâ€™t make a difference. A lot of people are going nuts for that match, but while the action was fun there was nothing to get emotionally invested in. The overtime period was pointless.
Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black are in the back getting fired up for Jimmyâ€™s main event World Title shot tonight.
MATCH #7: Kensuke Sasaki vs. Roderick Strong
Sasakiâ€™s GHC Heavyweight Championship is not on the line here. He did happen to win the belt from former ROH World Champion Takeshi Morishima. He became the only man to win the top title in NOAH (GHC), New Japan (IWGP Title), and All Japan (Triple Crown). Strong starts by going after the arm and Sasaki throws him aside. He continues to be aggressive though, and actually controls the early minutes of the match. Strong goes to the second rope and Sasaki stops him with a chop and hits a rana. Itâ€™s all Sasaki now, as Prazak reminds us that Sasaki will fight Claudio Castagnoli at the upcoming Glory By Honor VII. Strong makes with a kick to the face. He hits a few chops and a dropkick for one. A slingshot suplex gets two. He stays in control and hits a uranage backbreaker for two. Sasaki comes back with a powerslam. He drives Strong into the corner and hits some chops and a lariat for two. A judo throw gets another two. A leg-trap powerbomb gets two. Strong makes a comeback with a couple of his signature moves but canâ€™t hold him down. Sasaki finally ends it with a Northern Lights Bomb for the pin at 12:21. That was a decent power match hurt by the fact that Strong never had a conceivable chance at winning. Sasaki shows Strong respect, and Strong reciprocates.
MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match â€“ Nigel McGuinness vs. Jimmy Jacobs
McGuinness has been the champion since 10.6.07, and this is his twenty-fourth defense. Jacobs attacks the champion right at the bell, thus setting up the heel-face dynamic for the match. McGuinness withstands Jacobsâ€™s early attack and begins to frustrate the challenger. Jacobs walks up the ramp to regroup. Back in the ring they trade holds, with Jacobs going after the leg and McGuinness countering with his British style. McGuinness tries the headstand mule kick, but Jacobs doesnâ€™t fall for it. In fact, he manages to maneuver the referee out of his way so he can kick the champion in the balls. That gets a two-count. Jacobs uses a chain to cement his early advantage over the champion. They battle on the floor and Jacobs uses everything he can to his advantage. They fight on the ramp and Nigel tries a running lariat but Jacobs spears him out of the air. He rolls him back to the ring and gets a two-count. They trade control back and forth, with the crowd supporting the ROH World Champion, which is a bit unusual under current ROH circumstances. McGuinness tries a Jawbreaker, but Jacobs catches him in the End Time. The champ reaches the ropes, so Jacobs gets desperate and goes back to the chain he has hidden on his person. The champion wonâ€™t stay down though, and he fires up and hits a lariat for two. Jacobs gets the chain out again but McGuinness connects with the Jawbreaker Lariat first to score the pin at 21:03. That seemed a little bit long for what they were doing, but I loved all Jacobsâ€™s heel antics and they meshed with a babyface Nigel very well.
They show some clips from various non-linear points in the show. It has the same weird slow motion and fast motion stuff with the grunting that the other Japan show had too.
Only three of the nine matches reached three stars or higher, so I would consider this show another disappointment from Japan. Iâ€™m not sure what goes on at the shows over there, but they always seem to be underwhelming. The Danielson match is of course very good, and most people like the tag team match more than I do, so there are some reasons to get this show.