DVD Review: ROH The French Connection – 11.7.08

Video Wire

Make sure you watch the October 29, 2008 Video Wire, as well as the November 4, 2008 Video Wire before watching this show. They cover the entire goings on leading up to this show, and it’s totally free.

Montreal, Quebec

Former ROH student Kyle Durden debuts as ROH press, and sounds goofy and makes a mistake that Nigel quickly corrects. He goes back to the locker room where Erick Stevens is getting ready for tonight’s match. He’s colored his hair recently, but he still doesn’t feel like talking to Durden.

Ring announcer Bobby Cruise announces that all ROH matches will now have a 20-count while wrestlers are on the floor. The regime change is evident right off the bat! It actually is a good move though.

MATCH #1: Eddie Edwards vs. Erick Stevens

Stevens has a red streak in his hair now, kind of what his Mohawk was like. Prazak is instantly annoying on commentary here. Edwards is sans manager Larry Sweeney here, since he didn’t feel like coming to Canada. Stevens controls most of the early going, but Edwards gets a move in here and there. In fact, Edwards avoids a charge in the corner and goes to work on Stevens’s shoulder. Shane Hagadorn interferes behind the referee’s back. Prazak and Leonard almost job Stevens out on commentary while talking about his new hairstyle, saying “we don’t want a bunch of guys with brown hair in black tights running around.” So without the streak in his hair he would be boring? Don’t answer that. In the meantime Stevens has made a comeback and hits the Choo-Choo. Edwards tries a quebrada but Stevens sort of catches him with some sort of move, I guess. Anyway, Stevens is able to hit the Doctor Bomb to score the pin at 8:20. That started off okay but got sloppy towards the end, and the commentary was really annoying.
Rating: *¾

Kyle Durden is still running around trying to talk to ROH wrestlers. He finds Rhett Titus, admits he has a man crush on him, and that asks for Titus’s spillover. Titus says he can have his sloppy seconds, and Durden says he likes sloppy. I never thought I’d miss Becky Bayless. Or do I?

MATCH #2: Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Kenny Omega & Kenny King

Omega and King are a makeshift tag team because they both answered the Briscoe Brothers’ open challenge. King and Jay start the match. They do some chain wrestling, and King holds his own. Mark tags in, so King reluctantly tags Omega into the match. I appreciate Mark growing his hair out because with the way ROH cameras whitewash the faces it would sometimes get hard to tell which Briscoe was which. Kenny Omega is such a lame wrestling name. Why not just call yourself Jason Blade? Oh, yeah. Omega and King work together on Mark briefly, but the more experienced Briscoes soon take over on Omega. That actually doesn’t last long, as Omega forces his way back to the corner and tags King. The Kenny duo tries to work together but some miscommunication allows the Briscoes to once again take control on Omega. They beat on him for several minutes, but he misses a couple of chances to make a tag. Finally he nails a double rana on both Briscoes. He crawls over for the tag, but King drops off the apron and walks towards the back. King meets Rhett Titus in the aisle and they criticize Kenny Omega for the first name he has. Omega really has no chance at this point, and he falls victim to the springboard Doomsday Device and the Briscoes get the win at 11:41. I like Kenny King quite a bit but I’m not sure why people are gushing about Omega yet. Either way the match was pretty solid and King abandoning Omega sets up a nice mid-card feud.
Rating: **¾

Kyle Durden is backstage once again, and this time to get a word with Jerry Lynn. He offends Lynn with his questioning and gets yelled at. Hey did you know that ROH has a new backstage interviewer? He’s only had three segments so far.

MATCH #3: Necro Butcher vs. Brodie Lee

They waste no time in starting this fight, and as expected it’s all brawling in the early going. ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness has entered the commentary booth to scout his opponent for tomorrow night, Necro Butcher. The fight spills to the floor, and Necro hits a somersault off the apron, knocking Lee down. He pulls off a piece of guardrail and hits Lee with it. He whips him into another guardrail. It’s pretty much all Necro. He moves one of the mats, but Lee is the one who picks Necro up and slams him into the ring post twice before slamming him down on the exposed floor. Necro appears to have hurt his knee. Back in the ring Lee gets a two-count. McGuinness wonders aloud why Necro is getting a shot at the title, but I remember in a News Wire that McGuinness insisted on it being a title match. I could be wrong, someone help me out there if you remember this. Lee stays in control, and uses a bear hug to wear Necro down. McGuinness then correctly points out the silliness of Lee’s psychology, given that Necro injured his knee and Lee is working on his back. Necro makes the comeback and hits a bulldog. He grabs a chair and brings it into the ring, so Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black run out to save Lee, thus giving Necro the DQ win at 7:33. That was an okay brawl, and I’m sure they’re holding back for a probable series of matchups.
Rating: **

The Age of the Fall get their licks in on Necro and retreat. Then for some reason the ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness makes his way out. He calls Necro a disgrace. He continues to badmouth the downed Necro. He says some more generic heel stuff, and I’m not really sure why this promo needed to happen in the ring.

They play a promo video for the Up For Grabs DVD for the second show in a row. Did that one just not sell or something?

MATCH #4: Jerry Lynn vs. Delirious

Jimmy Jacobs accompanies Delirious to the ring. Delirious attacks Lynn at the bell, and chokes him with his ring jacket. Lynn immediately starts fighting back of course. McGuinness once again joins the commentary team. Lynn slips out to the floor and is able to wheelbarrow drop Delirious chest-first on the guardrail. Back in the ring Lynn stays in control. Prazak’s commentary is just brutal. It appears as though he’s a heel commentator now, which is fine in theory, but he’s going back and forth between normal and heel, and his “heel” stuff is just irritating. Jacobs grabs Lynn’s foot on an Irish whip and Delirious knocks him to the floor and rams his back into the ring apron. Referee Paul Turner isn’t going to let Jacobs interfere anymore, as he sends him to the locker room. Back in the ring Delirious continues working over Lynn’s back. Delirious apparently goes for a Bronco Buster, and Lynn moves and hits a lung blower. Yeah, Delirious does that move all the time. Lynn fights back with some of Delirious’s own maneuvers. Delirious counters by throwing Lynn’s face into the bottom turnbuckle. He stomps on it a few times and then hits the Panic Attack. He tries Shadows Over Hell but Lynn moves and gets a rollup for two. Lynn escapes the Cobra Clutch and hits the Cradle Piledriver to get the pin at 9:44. The finish kind of came out of nowhere, but the match was mostly decent.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #5: Davey Richards vs. Roderick Strong

Eddie Edwards and Shane Hagadorn accompany Davey Richards to ringside. They start off wrestling on the mat. They’re pretty evenly matched in the early going, with lots of reversals and near-falls. Why did Rocky Romero just fall of the face of the ROH planet? They start with the hard chopping and kicking, and take the battle to the floor. Richards gains control and yells at the crowd. Back in the ring he stays in control. Strong avoids a charge in the corner and nails Richards with a kick to the head. He gets several big moves on Richards but can’t put him away. They trade pinning combinations but once again neither man can end it. Richards puts on the Texas Cloverleaf and Strong reaches the ropes. He hits an Alarm Clock and a bridging German Suplex for two. They go up top and Strong hits a superplex. He tries a running boot but Richards catches him and drops his head on the middle turnbuckle. Richards tries to capitalize, and hits a nasty running forearm in the corner. Strong finds it okay to no-sell that and hit the running boot to the face for a two-count. He hits the gut buster and locks on the Stronghold. Edwards gets on the apron to distract him. That gives Richards the chance to attempt a D.R. Driver, which Strong blocks and gets a jackknife pin for two. Hagadorn joins Edwards in interfering, and this time Richards hits the D.R. Driver to get the pin at 16:45. That was mostly a really good match until that unfortunate no-sell by Strong at the end. After the match Strong thwarts a three-on-one beat down, but succumbs when Go Shiozaki comes out to join the fight. Erick Stevens comes out for the save.
Rating: ***½

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MATCH #6: The Age of the Fall vs. Bryan Danielson & Austin Aries

Former ROH World Tag Team Champions Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black represent the Age of the Fall here. Jacobs is fully embracing no-shave November. This is a rematch from the Respect is Earned II main event. Danielson and Black start the match with some back and forth mat wrestling. This is a preview of tomorrow night’s Dog Collar match between Jacobs and Aries tomorrow night in Toronto. Jacobs gets tagged in, and Aries tags in as well but Jacobs runs away from him and tags Black back in. Aries takes control of Black and then tags in Danielson. They work Black over for a while. After a few minutes he’s able to tag Jacobs, but of course when Danielson is in the ring. Jacobs and Black are able to isolate Danielson and spend several minutes working him over. Danielson finally makes the tag, so Jacobs hurries over and gets Black back in the ring. Jacobs rolls to the floor and Aries ducks a clothesline and hits the Heat Seeking Missile on Jacobs. Back in the ring Aries and Danielson hit a simultaneous missile dropkick on their respective rivals. Jacobs recovers and knocks Danielson to the floor and that gives them the opportunity to double-team Aries. The Age of the Fall try to set up another double team move and Aries fights out of it by crotching Jacobs on the top turnbuckle and hitting a belly-to-back suplex on Black. He goes up and tries a super brainbuster but Jacobs blocks it and sends him down to the canvas. Aries stumbles back up and Jacobs locks on the End Time. Danielson breaks that up by hitting a series of elbows to Jacobs’s face. Black breaks that up with a superkick. Danielson no-sells that, so Black no-sells his running forearm and then they knock each other to the floor. Aries hits the kick to the head and the brainbuster, and rolls it into the Last Chancery, with an assist from a chain, and Jacobs taps out at 18:30. I was not aware that was a no-disqualification match, because Aries used the chain in full view of the referee and nothing happened. Aside from that fairly annoying finish, the match was really good (duh). Jacobs making Black handle the bulk of the work in the early going to avoid Aries was smart. I do feel that giving Jacobs the win over Aries would have been the better move going into the dog collar match, but I’m not surprised it didn’t happen. Jacobs blames the loss on Black as they head to the back.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #7: Battle of Champions ROH World Title Elimination Match – Nigel McGuiness vs. Kevin Steen vs. Go Shiozaki vs. El Generico

I like that they put together a video package for this match, it’s pretty well done. McGuinness has been the champion since 10.6.07, and this is his twenty-seventh defense. Steen has already received three shots at McGuinness, Shiozaki and Generico have each gotten two. Steen and Shiozaki start the match. They try to out-power each for a bit, and then Generico tags in. Shiozaki goes right to work on him. Generico comes back with a head scissors and Shiozaki tags out to McGuinness. Prazak makes fun of something Leonard says, so Leonard says he’s going to the bar with Jimmy Bauer. Prazak responds with a sarcastic “who?” That’s pretty lame guys. Thankfully Artie In My Earpiece tells them to talk about the match. The champion tags out to Steen, so now the ROH World Tag Team Champions are in the ring together. They stall by both imitating McGuinness. Shiozaki and McGuinness refuse to tag in, but the champions refuse to fight each other and knock their opponents to the floor and hit simultaneous dives. We wind up with Steen and Shiozaki in the ring. McGuinness sneaks into the ring and throws Steen’s shoulder in the ring post and goes to work on it. Shiozaki accepts this and heads back to the apron. McGuinness hits a nice dropkick for two. The ROH Champion and the FIP Champion work together in an effort to wear Steen down on the outside of the ring. Shiozaki gets in the ring now, and I guess tags aren’t necessary in this match. McGuinness comes back in and bends Steen’s arm in unnatural ways. Shiozaki comes back in, and this is basically a tag match. Steen makes the comeback by no-selling a German Suplex and hitting one of his own. He tags Generico in and he’s on fire. Generico hits a big splash from the top rope on Shiozaki, but McGuinness makes the save. Prazak explains that the champion didn’t want to be faced with both Tag Team champions at the same time, which makes sense to me. Generico tries the swinging DDT on Shiozaki, but it gets blocked and reversed to a sit-out suplex but it only gets two. Shiozaki runs away from Generico and takes a running Yakuza for his trouble. I hate how much Generico no-sells. He tries the brainbuster, but McGuinness sneaks in and kicks him in the hamstring, allowing Shiozaki to hit the Go Flasher and eliminate Generico at 21:25. McGuinness and Shiozaki agree to continue working together against Steen. They double team him with little regard for the rules. Shiozaki puts Steen on the top rope and hits a palm thrust. He follows up with a superplex, and that gets a two-count. Steen fights back with an elevated powerbomb and he goes up top. McGuinness tries to cut him off with a Tower of London, but Steen tosses him to the floor. Steen sunset flips his way back into the ring on Shiozaki, and rolls through to a Sharpshooter attempt. Shiozaki blocks the attempt and tries a knee off the top rope. Steen avoids that, and then once again thwarts McGuinness, and then locks in the Sharpshooter for the submission and Shiozaki is gone at 25:41. Steen is in control, eager to try and win the title in front of his home country. He tries a moonsault but McGuinness moves and locks on a Sharpshooter of his own. Leonard references Survivor Series ’97. Come on dude. Steen makes the ropes. He comes back with the pump-handle neck-breaker for two. He tries another Sharpshooter and McGuinness blocks it with a poke to the eyes. McGuinness tries the Jawbreaker Lariat, but Steen blocks it and finally gets the Sharpshooter on. He reaches the ropes. McGuinness goes to the floor and Steen tries to go to the top rope, but McGuinness stops him and hits the Tower of London on the apron. Steen kicks out. That move means nothing. The referee takes a bump and McGuinness tries to use the belt. Generico comes out to return the favor from Glory By Honor VII, allowing Steen to hit the Package Piledriver. The referee appears to count three, but McGuinness had his foot on the ropes so the match will continue. Steen tries a Swanton but hits nothing but knees. McGuinness tries a Sharpshooter and Steen pushes him off, which gives the champ just enough momentum to hit the Jawbreaker Lariat and retain the title at 31:35. That was another very good match from the ROH World Champion, though not nearly as good as the last four-way elimination match he won.
Rating: ***¾

After the match Steen cuts a promo in French, and he and Generico celebrate with their ROH World Tag Team Titles.

The Pulse

Obviously a booker can’t be judged on just one show, but if he were I would say so far, so good. Granted most of this card was set in place by Gabe Sapolsky anyway, but the last three matches were all really good no matter who booked them. I also like the 20-count on the floor, and the shows being a little shorter they’re much less of a chore to get through. The only negatives were Prazak’s revolving door character on commentary and Kyle Durden, but the good far outweighs the bad. I’m pretty eager to get to the next show.

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