DVD Review: ROH Return of the 187 – 10.24.08

Video Wire

Make sure you watch the 10/21/08 Video Wire before watching this show. It covers the entire goings on leading up to this show, and it’s totally free.

Danbury, Connecticut

We start the show outside with Alex Payne and some other guy watching Grizzly Redwood play in the leaves.

Inside the building Rhett Titus is barging into the women’s locker room. Sara Del Rey is yelling at Ariel and Jessie McKay, and boy is she awful. I mean, please don’t let her say anything to anyone, ever. Titus tries to hit on them and they both deny him.

We’re supposed to have our first match here, but Jimmy Jacobs comes out instead. Before he can even open his mouth the crowd chants “cut your wrists,” which I believe is the first time I’ve heard that one. He’s upset that the Age of the Fall lost both the ROH World Tag Team Titles and Steel Cage Warfare. Before he can really get going Homicide interrupts him. He eloquently asks Jimmy why he’s not balloons and Mr. Happy like he used to be. Homicide drops several f-bombs. Jacobs says it’s his ring now, not Homicide’s. Homicide disagrees and starts beating Jacobs down, so Delirious and Tyler Black come out to make the save. And then, luckily for Homicide, RUCKUS of all people comes down to the ring and all three members of the Age of the Fall clear out. No really, I said Ruckus. Why wouldn’t Hernandez come out, since he’s huge and you know, Homicide’s tag team partner? Homicide manages to get some blasphemy on the show tonight too, before putting over Ruckus and heading to the back. Ruckus figures that since he’s already warmed up, they should bring out somebody for him to beat up. This is Ruckus we’re talking about right?

MATCH #1: Ruckus vs. Jason Blade

Blade is one-half of the FIP Tag Team Champions along with Kenny King. He tries to outwrestle Ruckus in the early-going, and Ruckus responds with his usual contrived stuff. Blade powders, but Ruckus follows him out and hits a kick to the face, and then refuses to let Blade roll away from a moonsault in a kind of cool spot. Back in the ring Blade cuts Ruckus off with a chin breaker, a running knee to the face, and a neck breaker for two. He keeps Ruckus down and continues working him over. Blade has actually been wrestling for ROH on and off since 2005, but hasn’t been able to land a full-time spot. Ruckus comes back with some high flying stuff, but Blade catches him with a sit-out Death Valley Driver for two. They trade some moves and Ruckus hits an insanely dangerous and ill-advised gut wrench suplex off the top rope. Blade bounced off the ropes and almost landed directly on his head. Of course he kicks out, because that’s not the finish they talked about in the back, but that really should have finished the match. I’m even more irritated because Ruckus hits a kick to the face and a twisting body press off the second rope to get the pin at 7:01. Yeah, he really had to get that kick and twisting body press in after almost killing the man. The match was actually going along fine until that nonsense happened.
Rating: *½

Jerry Lynn is backstage to talk about how important winning the ROH World Title is to him. Tonight he is facing Claudio Castagnoli, and says he has something to prove.

MATCH #2: Sara Del Rey vs. Portuguese Princess Ariel

Del Rey is wearing a long white wig and a ring jacket like Brent Albright’s. What the hell is she doing? Del Rey foregoes the handshake and brushes Ariel’s offense off. Ariel is determined though, and actually takes Del Rey down with a dropkick to the knee and one more to the chest for two. Del Rey comes back with a gut wrench suplex for a two-count. It’s all Del Rey now, and I just realized that she is flying solo tonight. Ariel briefly fights back but Del Rey head-butts her. Del Rey misses a charge in the corner and Ariel hits a suplex. A rolling cradle gets two, and Ariel celebrates for some reason. This gives Del Rey the chance to hit a Kapo Kick and the Royal Butterfly Slam for the pin at 3:34. That was an energetic squash, but the persona Del Rey is trying to develop makes me not want to see her. I also have a general non-interest in women’s wrestling, but her talking heightens it.
Rating: *¼

Larry Sweeney and FIP World Champion Go Shiozaki are backstage, and Sweeney reveals his love of “Uncle Buck.” Tonight Shiozaki will defend the title against Austin Aries. He thinks Aries is too distracted, and Shiozaki will be able to capitalize and retain his title. He sends Shiozaki to go train, and then Chris Hero and Davey Richards come in, and Sweeney asks the camera man to come back in five minutes.

MATCH #3: Top of the Class Trophy Match – Rhett Titus vs. Grizzly Redwood

I choose to spell “Grizzly” the correct way without the e, but I’m more irritated by the fact that I have to type it at all. I’m actually warming to the Rhett Titus character a little bit, but I still think he would be a more realistic character if he turned it down just a little bit. That way he could be someday seen as a serious wrestler instead of a comedy act. Daizee Haze attacks him on the floor before the match can begin, and she gets dragged away by security. In the ring Titus and Redwood out-gross each other on the handshake, so the Code of Honor will not be followed here. Redwood tries to take Titus down with a headlock, but Titus blocks it a couple of times, so Redwood uses the ax handle to chop away. Referee Sinclair for some reason stops Redwood from charging into the corner. I hate referees sometimes. Titus of course doesn’t deliver a clean break in the corner. Redwood tries another headlock takedown but Titus launches him across the ring by his beard. Leonard adds more blasphemy to this show with his commentary. Titus stays on offense, but Redwood makes sure to fire back way more often than he should. They trade reversals on a neck breaker and it’s Redwood that hits it. He pulls down his suspenders and goes all lumberjack crazy on Titus. He gets a rollup for two. He tries an O’Connor roll but a series of reversals leads to Titus hitting a dropkick and a Razor’s Edge with a jackknife pin to get the pin at 5:30. Titus needs a finisher bad and that looked good on Redwood, but he should also get something he can do to everyone. Haze comes out once again and attacks Titus. He probably likes it. The match didn’t exactly make me want to enroll my kids in the ROH Wrestling School, but Titus at least seems to be improving.
Rating: *¾

It’s been a little over five minutes so we go back to Sweeney, Hero, and Richards. Sometimes I forget how tall Hero is. These two have never teamed before to the best of my knowledge, but they managed to get themselves into a “best team in the world” match. Hero cuts a quick promo and Sweeny kicks the camera man out again.

MATCH #4: Brent Albright vs. Jay Briscoe

Can’t I just take a nap for 10-15 minutes? They chain wrestle to start and show respect to each other. Leonard talking about Albright’s history and noting that the “Hangmen 3 were very successful” gets me giggling. Jay and Albright trade moves, and punches, and stuff. Albright takes the first sustained advantage and starts working on Jay’s back. The crowd finally perks up when Jay sends Albright to the floor and follows him out with a dive. He tries to hit something off the top rope but Albright catches him in the Crowbar. Jay rolls out of it and Albright immediately tries a Half-Nelson Suplex. They trade reversals until Jay lands a Death Valley Driver. Jay hits a Guillotine Leg Drop for a near-fall. He tries the Jay Driller but Albright back body drops his way out of it. One Half-Nelson Suplex later and Albright pins him at 12:10. That was decent enough for a good guy versus good guy match for no particular reason, but it was never anything more than that. Matches like this make me wish ROH had a secondary title, a real one that didn’t have funky rules or belongs to another promotion.
Rating: **¼

Albright calls out Larry Sweeney, and he wants to fight one of his charges tonight. Sweeney guffaws, but accepts the challenge by sending Bobby Dempsey out to wrestle the match! Albright must be scared though, since he talks his way out of the match and then runs away. I declare Dempsey the winner by forfeit.

MATCH #5: Three Way No DQ Match – Mark Briscoe vs. Necro Butcher vs. Delirious

This is kind of a rematch of Steel Cage Warfare. Delirious and Mark enter the ring first, and they don’t even wait for Necro to join them before they start brawling. Necro soon makes his way out and starts throwing hands at everyone. Delirious introduces the first weapon into the match, one of the ringside chairs. All three men are battling on the floor now. The top of Necro’s head is bleeding. Delirious hasn’t even gotten his ring jacket off yet. He finally does, and soon after they take the fight out into the crowd. They bring it back to the ring after a while, with Delirious using a steel chair and a piece of guardrail to inflict damage on Necro. He hits a Panic Attack up against the barricade. He sets up two chairs like Necro himself has done. He drapes Necro over the chairs and presumably goes for Shadows Over Hell, but Mark recovers and throws a chair at Delirious, and hits a double stomp on Necro. Delirious gets back in the ring but Mark is on fire. Mark hits a chair-assisted moonsault for two. Delirious comes back and hits a fisherman buster on the chair, and Necro has to break up the cover. Delirious hits a nasty looking Cobra Clutch Suplex on the guardrail and Mark breaks up the cover. Mark sets up two chairs and goes for the Cutthroat Driver. Delirious avoids it and tries the Cobra Clutch Suplex, but Mark reverses that and powerbombs him onto the chairs. Necro breaks up that cover. Mark responds by cracking a steel chair on his head. He tries a moonsault but Necro gets his knees up and clotheslines Mark over the top rope. He hits a choke slam on Delirious and pulls him up right into a Tiger Driver to get the pin at 13:58. The selling was of course non-existent but once they got back to the ring the match got pretty enjoyable.
Rating: **¾

Go to ROH Wrestling Dot Com for all your wrestling merchandise needs, or call 215-781-2500.

After the ring introductions but before the match actually starts, the one and only PRINCE NANA makes his return to Ring of Honor, but apparently he wasn’t invited. He says he lost everything he ever had, so he is here to beg Ring of Honor for his job back. Security comes down and escorts him away, but the crowd would very much like to see him back. So would I.

MATCH #6: Jerry Lynn vs. Claudio Castagnoli

Castagnoli wears a skirt as part of his entrance now. By the way, I love that he just slowed down “Sledgehammer” for his new heel entrance music. They mat wrestle to start, trading headlocks and such. Lynn gets a head-scissors that sends Castagnoli to the floor in frustration. Back in the ring Castagnoli uses his newfound dirty tactics to take control of the veteran Lynn. Lynn tries several comebacks, but Castagnoli counters him several times. Finally Lynn is able to send Castagnoli to the floor, where he’s able to hit a rana off the apron. Back in the ring Castagnoli goes right back on offense. He starts working on the knee, since I guess he hadn’t worked on anything else to that point. Lynn avoids the Ricola Bomb but Castagnoli comes back and tries a superplex, which gets countered to a sunset bomb for two. He tries the Cradle Piledriver but can’t lift Castagnoli due to his damaged knee. Castagnoli hits a Dead Lift German Suplex for two and then puts on a horse collar submission. Lynn escapes but Claudio hits a half Big Swing (on the injured leg, nice) and then locks on the half Boston Crab, and Lynn makes the ropes. Castagnoli charges at Lynn in the corner, and Lynn gets a quick sunset flip for the pin at 12:56. I’ve always thought that Lynn makes too many comebacks, but other than that this match was just fine.
Rating: **½

Necro Butcher says he has no friends, and he’s only in wrestling to pay his bills and take care of his family. Ugh, way to kill off whatever made Necro unique. I understand he’s a good guy now, but why doesn’t he just start shaking hands with elderly people and kissing babies?

MATCH #7: FIP World Heavyweight Title Match – Go Shiozaki vs. Austin Aries

Shiozaki has been champion since 8.23.08, and this is his third defense. They lock up and Aries goes to the floor to avoid a chop. Aries starts going after the leg, and also the arm. They do some various chain and mat wrestling, and Aries actually connects with the first chop of the match. Leonard references “Artie In My Earpiece,” and Prazak takes a shot at Vince McMahon. You see, Mick Foley quit WWE because Vince McMahon, his boss, the man who is almost single-handedly responsible for all of Foley’s fame and fortune (other than Foley himself, who deserves tons of credit), would yell at him while Foley was on commentary. I would let Vince McMahon do nothing but yell at me if he paid me as much as he paid Foley. What a wuss. Anyway, Aries avoids some more chops and the crowd seems to appreciate him. Sweeney interferes and Shiozaki finally lands a chop. They battle out to the floor, and Shiozaki hits more chops. Back in the ring Shiozaki stays in control. Aries makes a comeback after taking a lengthy beating and hits the Heat Seeking Missile. He follows up with a nice elbow off the second rope all the way to the floor. Back in the ring Shiozaki blocks the running dropkick in the corner. He tries a swinging backbreaker but Aries rolls through it and hits the knee strikes to the head and locks on the Last Chancery. Shiozaki escapes and they trade maneuvers back and forth. They go to the apron and Shiozaki conveniently puts himself in position to take a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron. They barely make the count back to the ring and when they do they just start throwing bombs at each other. Yeah, I wouldn’t sell if I were them either. Shiozaki misses the Moonsault and Aries locks on the Last Chancery. Shiozaki reaches the ropes. Aries hits some mounted chops in the corner, and winds up hitting the kick to the head and the brainbuster. He goes to the top rope and Shiozaki pushes the referee and Aries falls hard. Shiozaki nails him with a superkick, which Aries sells for a second or two. Another series of reversals sees Aries hitting the running dropkick in the corner on Shiozaki on the top turnbuckle. Aries goes up for a super brainbuster, but Shiozaki counters it and hits a super Go Flasher instead, and that’s enough to retain the title at 24:31. They had a good thing going early on but abandoned any semblance of selling. But for the most part it was solid, and the finish was cool. I think I hear two people challenging each other to fight in the parking lot, and it didn’t appear as though they were talking to Shiozaki and Sweeney. Does anyone know anything about this; like did two skinny nerds slap each other around in the parking lot?
Rating: ***

MATCH #8: Non-Title 30 Minute Iron Team Match – Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. LAX vs. The Age of the Fall vs. Sweet & Sour Inc.

The first 20 minutes will be held under regular rules, while the last 10 minutes will be a scramble. Other than that it’s regular Iron Man rules, but if there’s a tie the teams will face off in sudden death overtime. LAX enters first for some reason. For an even stranger reason, before Sweet & Sour’s entrance, Brent Albright cuts a promo in the dark that I could barely understand. Generico and Hero start the match. They do nothing much and tag to their respective partners, Davey Richards and Kevin Steen. Then they tag their partners. Jimmy Jacobs forces a tag on Hero, and he goes to work on Generico. The generic luchador tags Homicide, so Jacobs runs over and tags Tyler Black. Lenny Leonard drops an f-bomb, which seems unnecessary. Black is not as afraid of Homicide, but for some reason Homicide laughs at him and tags out to Steen. The ring announcer calls five minutes gone by. They slap each other and Steen tags back out to Homicide. Age of the Fall briefly goes to work on him, but then he throws them both to the floor and hits the Tope Con Hilo. Leonard calls it “vintage Homicide,” but no one seems to be calling for his head over it. Homicide tags Steen in and Jacobs tags Richards in. Hero and Richards go to work on Generico. Ten minutes have gone by with no falls yet. Richards continually antagonizes Hernandez while beating on Generico. I used to not like Davey Richards at all, but he’s a guy who grew on me some. Generico finally fights back with a dropkick and tags out to Homicide. Hero actually goes on offense, but Homicide basically no-sells everything, including the rolling elbow. Nobody sells worse than Homicide. Hernandez finally gets tagged in and he throws Hero, Richards, Black, and Jacobs around. Jacobs tries a sunset flip and winds up taking the double choke toss. Generico comes into the ring to challenge his “hermano.” Steen questions his sanity and challenges Hernandez himself. Scramble rules haven’t started yet guys. Black also takes his shot at him, but he winds up taking the Border Toss to the floor right onto Hero, Richards, and Jacobs. Steen stops Hernandez from taking a dive in order to take one himself. Hernandez then stops Generico and hits a huge backbreaker on him, and then hits the no-hands dive onto everyone at ringside. Richards and Hernandez wind up in the ring, and Richards goes toe-to-toe with him. Hernandez catches Richards in a cross body block attempt and hits a powerbomb for two. Homicide winds up in the ring with Jacobs and Black, and Black hits God’s Last Gift on him, but of course it only gets two. Black hits the Phoenix Splash and actually gets the pin on Homicide at 19:14. I wasn’t expecting Homicide to do any clean jobbing. Twenty minutes have gone by so scramble rules are in effect, which is funny because they pretty much started doing that a while ago. The match becomes more of a battle royal for a bit. Hero and Steen wind up in the ring, and Hero puts on a half Boston Crab. Richards comes in and puts on the Texas Cloverleaf, and Steen taps out at 21:24. They’re tied with the Age of the Fall at one now. Hero and Homicide wind up in the ring now. Hero hits a rolling elbow and this time it gets two. Homicide comes back and hits the Ace Crusher, and then follows it up with a lariat to make the match a three-way tie at 22:31. Jacobs gets right in the ring and puts Homicide in the End Time, but Hernandez makes the save. Black and Jacobs double-team Hernandez, but the big man is able to fight back and hits a huge splash off the top rope on Black. Hernandez sets Jacobs up for the Border Toss but Steen breaks it up. The action is getting hard to follow at this point. Generico foregoes selling to take Richards down, and then a dual splashes by the tag team champions only gets a two-count. Richards counters a Package Piledriver to another Cloverleaf, which Jacobs breaks up with the End Time. Homicide breaks that up. Jacobs puts the End Time on Homicide, who no-sells it and hits an Ace Crusher and the Cop Killer to give LAX their second fall at 26:15. Sweet & Sour try to cherry pick Jacobs for a quick pin but Black disallows it. The ring announcer calls three minutes remaining. Hero hits a Liger Bomb on Black for two. Generico comes in and hits Hero with the Yakuza Kick and a Brainbuster, but Richards breaks it up. Steen dumps Richards to the floor and then this Hero with a moonsault for two. Hero comes back with a rolling elbow and Steen gets the ropes at two. Guys are hitting big moves and going for pins left and right. One minute remaining now. Everyone rolls around the ring until the time runs out at 30:00. LAX wins the match by the score of 2-1-1-0. Why did the World Tag Team Champions not score a single fall? The match had some good parts to it, but never really felt all that important and most of the match had little to no heat.
Rating: **¾

LAX and the World Tag Team Champions celebrate together briefly, and the champs take off before the TNA visitors. Homicide cuts a short promo thanking the fans, and says he looks forward to facing the Briscoe Brothers tomorrow.

The Pusle

I can’t remember the last time the best match on a show clocked in at a measly three stars, and the other seven matches couldn’t even crack that barrier. There was nothing horrible about the matches, but the whole show just felt a little listless. On the other hand, I did like the pacing and think with some angles surrounding some of the undercard stuff it would have come off a little better. But in the end, this show is strictly for huge Homicide fans.

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