DVD Review: ROH Rising Above 2008 – 11.22.08

Video Wire

Make sure you watch the November 11, 2008 Video Wire, as well as the November 18, 2008 Video Wire before watching this show. They cover the entire goings on leading up to this show, and it’s totally free.

Chicago Ridge, IL

Dave Prazak is in the ring to welcome everyone to the show. That leads to the opening video package, and we come back with Mark and Jay Briscoe in the ring. They call out the ROH World Tag Team Champions, who quickly agree.

MATCH #1: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe

Steen and Generico have been champions since 9.19.08, and this is their third defense. The challengers attack right away, with Mark battling Generico in the ring and Jay fighting Steen on the floor. Generico takes a little abuse from both Briscoes, until he makes the comeback on Jay and tags in Steen. Jay hits Steen with a big boot and tags his brother back in. The challengers isolate Steen and double team him in their corner. Steen comes back with a super kick, which is like the eighth move this match that his hit “on the button” according to Lenny Leonard, and he makes the hot tag to Generico. He hits a Michinoku Driver on Jay for two. Jay counters a rope-walk rana attempt with a clothesline, and then tags in his brother. Mark hits an exploder for two. He goes for the Cutthroat Driver but Steen breaks it up. Generico nails Mark with the running Yakuza in the corner, and then hits a big dive to Jay on the floor. Steen hits Mark with a Frog Splash but can’t quite get the pin. Mark tries the Cutthroat Driver but can’t hit it due to his injured leg. He asks for some quarter but Steen gives none, hitting the Package Piledriver for the pin at 6:42. I understand it had to be short because of Mark’s injury, but then that begs the question of why book the match in the first place. What was there was good, and I particularly liked the finish, but it just seemed like kind of a waste for these two teams.
Rating: **½

Prazak is backstage with Claudio Castagnoli, who will compete in a Four Corner Survival later on. Apparently “I’m very European” is his new catchphrase.

MATCH #2: SHIMMER Title Match – MsChif vs. Sara Del Rey

MsChif has been the champion since 4.26.08, and this is her sixth defense. I know that people love Sara Del Rey and all that, but the wig and the whole thing she’s doing really isn’t working for me. What does work for me though, is Sweeney popping up on the picture-in-picture to talk about this title match. It’s very 1980s, in a good way. Del Rey tries to attack before the bell but MsChif avoids it. The battle starts on the floor, and MsChif is able to whip Del Rey into the barricade. Back in the ring they trade punches and chops, with no one really in control. MsChif locks on the Octopus hold, which Del Rey eventually powers out of with a two backbreakers. Good thing she didn’t give her three, or else they wouldn’t be friends anymore. Del Rey continues to work the champion over, putting on a Boston Crab and folding MsChif in half. MsChif slips out and hits a standing moonsault for two. Del Rey soon resumes control, but MsChif hits a neckbreaker for two. The challenger comes back with a Khali Bomb and a folding press for two. Del Rey tries some kind of slam, which MsChif counters to a DDT for two. A spinning back fist gets two for the champion. Del Rey comes back with a pretty cool looking modified Dragon Sleeper, and rams MsChif’s face into the turnbuckle. A German suplex with a bridge gets two for Del Rey. Del Rey tries another something or other, which MsChif counters to the Code Green for two. She follows up with a series of double stomps to the back of her challenger. Del Rey counters the Desecrator into a rollup for two, and MsChif counters with a rollup of her own for two. MsChif tries the green mist but misses, and Del Rey gets the Axe Kick. She tries the Royal Butterfly but MsChif avoids it and hits the Desecrator to get the pin at 9:16. Del Rey did some cool stuff, but MsChif looked extremely nervous and the professional camera crew caught that she has almost no facial expressions (besides when she screams). Plus as is often the case with ROH matches, the selling disappeared down the stretch. Like if Del Rey has been so devastating with the Axe Kick, how did MsChif recover from it so fast?
Rating: **¼

Jimmy Jacobs is backstage with Tyler Black, and they are confident that tonight Austin Aries will be the one who says “I Quit.”

Necro Butcher will be returning to pay-per-view soon, according to this video package. I like that they took the time to remind viewers of him, that’s good.

MATCH #3: Four Corner Survival – Silas Young vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Sami Callihan vs. Alex Payne

No intros for this one, we just start off with everyone trying to shake Claudio’s hand. I’m just glad I didn’t have to hear Young’s entrance music. ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness has joined the commentary team. Callihan and Young start the match with some chain and mat wrestling. Like me, Claudio gets bored with their interaction and drags Young over to his corner and forces the tag. He immediately goes to work on Callihan, who probably has the worst gear in all ROH. Payne tags himself in when Claudio has his back turned, and hits a missile dropkick. That’s about the only offense he gets, as Claudio soon takes control. Callihan tags himself in at Claudio’s expense, and takes a deserved slap to the face for it. Young tags back in as well, and they’re both trying really hard tonight. Claudio is having none of anybody’s shenanigans tonight. He levels Young with a bicycle kick then throws Payne around. Now that he’s a bad guy Claudio hates the “hey,” so the fans do it to irritate him. He comes back by putting on a chin lock but the crowd is persistent. Claudio gets knocked to the floor and when Callihan tries a somersault off the apron Claudio catches him and swings him into the guardrail. He gets back in the ring and dumps Young to the floor on top of Callihan. That leaves Claudio and Payne in the ring. Payne hits a couple of moves but Claudio blocks the Sweet Spot and hits the Ricola Bomb to get the win at 8:53. I normally complain about no-selling in ROH, but Claudio sold the exact right amount given his opponents in this match. In fact, he might have even sold less. The match wasn’t technically amazing but its intent was to showcase Claudio Castagnoli and it did a good job of that. Claudio tries to smash a chair into Payne’s head, but Bryan Danielson makes the save.
Rating: **

MATCH #4: Roderick Strong, Brent Albright & Ace Steele vs. Davey Richards, Go Shiozaki & Chris Hero

The back of the DVD misspells Steel’s name with an extra e on the end. No intros for this match either. Larry Sweeney and Bobby Dempsey are at ringside for Sweet & Sour Inc. This is Steel’s first match in ROH since December of 2006. He was a mystery partner replacing the injured Erick Stevens. If the good guys win they get to have a Steel Cage Warfare match. Steel and Hero start the match in the ring. Crazy Ace gets the running dropkick in the corner for two. Albright and Shiozaki get tagged in and trade moves. The good guys take control and work Shiozaki over in their corner. Shiozaki fights back on Strong and tags in Richards. Strong hits a gut buster for two. The action is pretty non stop thus far. The battle between Steel and Richards spills to the floor and everyone else soon gets involved. Back in the ring Sweet & Sour takes control on Steel. He takes a beating for several minutes before countering a Hero powerbomb to a DDT. Hero gets Richards tagged in and they prevent Steel from doing likewise. Steel eventually gets the hot tag to Strong, and he’s taking everybody out. Albright even helps out but Strong can’t keep Richards down yet. Shiozaki gets tagged in and hits a Fisherman’s Buster for two on Strong. Strong takes a succession of knockout blows but Albright breaks up the cover. The referee loses control of the match and it starts to resemble a scramble. Strong and Richards wind up the only two in the ring. They trade vicious strikes, and Strong gets a Gibson Driver for two. Strong then turns it into the Stronghold and Sweeney jumps up on the apron to distract the referee. Hero sneaks into the ring with a chair and levels Strong, allowing Richards to get the pin at 15:20. That match was actually a good deal of fun, and the last portion, although too brief, between Strong and Richards was electric.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #5: I Quit Match – Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs

I thought the Dog Collar match was terrific, so I hope this one measures up. Aries gets on the microphone before the match to announce that even though Jacobs has Tyler Black in his corner, he will have no one in his corner. They lock up aggressively and immediately head to the floor. Aries gets back in the ring but Jacobs takes a quick breather. Black tries to distract Aries but it doesn’t work. They start throwing punches and once again roll to the floor. Jacobs gets the advantage and throws Aries into the barricade. Jacobs brings a table out from under the ring. Aries prevents him from using it, but winds up getting tossed into the barricade again. Jacobs and Black set up the table, giving Aries time to come back and throw Jacobs into the barricade. He sets Jacobs on the table, but Black saves his tag team partner. Aries is still in control though, and he knocks Jacobs off the apron and down to the floor. He tries the Heat Seeking Missile but Jacobs apparently found the dog collar from their match two weeks ago, and rams it into Aries’s face. Aries is busted open, so Jacobs goes right for the wound. He chokes Aries with the chain, but Aries won’t quit yet. Jacobs brings a steel chair into the match now, dragging Aries to the floor and setting him up. Aries fights back but Jacobs cuts him off and hits a Spear through the ropes and all the way to the floor (kind of like Edge and Foley at WrestleMania 22, except without the burning table). Jacobs sets Aries up in the chair again and hits a dive through the ropes on him but Aries still won’t quit. Back in the ring Jacobs sets up another chair and ties Aries to it with the dog collar. Jacobs grabs the broke chair from ringside, and then Lacey makes her return! They should have disfigured her somehow. Her showing up didn’t quite get the pop I hoped it would. She has a towel and wants to throw it in to save Aries, but he convinces her not to. Jacobs responds by pulling out the spike. He grabs Lacey by the hair and she slaps him. Aries has freed himself and fires up on Jacobs. He throws Jacobs to the floor and this time hits the Heat seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries hits a brainbuster on the steel chair. Aries takes his turn using the chain, ramming it into Jacobs’s head. Jacobs is busted open now as well. Aries uses the chain to tie Jacobs up in the corner and dishes out the punishment. Senior Referee Todd Sinclair tries to ask Jacobs if he quits but Aries pushes him away, which is cool. Aries hits the running dropkick in the corner and uses the microphone as a weapon. He unties Jacobs and brings him to the floor to set him up on the table. He sets a chair on top of him and goes to the top rope. Jacobs recovers and throws the chair at Aries’s face. They’re both up on the ropes now and they wind up crashing through the table together. Neither man will quit, so they’re back in the ring slugging away at each other. Aries wins that battle, so Jacobs responds with a low blow and locks on the End Time. Jacobs unleashes knees to the head and puts on the Last Chancery, but Aries still won’t quit. Black gives Jacobs another spike, but Aries avoids getting hit with it and delivers knee strikes to the head. Jacobs won’t quit so Aries kicks him in the head and puts on the Last Chancery. He still says no, so Aries locks on the Crossface and has the spike in his hand. Jacobs calls for Tyler to throw in the towel, but Lacey takes it from him, giving Aries free reign to spike Jacobs’s forehead until he finally says “I quit” at 21:59. Lacey immediately retreats up the ramp, while Jacobs chastises Tyler Black for losing the towel to a woman. Tyler walks out on the Age of the Fall leader, leaving questions about the group’s status. The match started a little slowly but once Jacobs started taking heat it got really, really good. Lacey’s involvement didn’t feel like it had the impact it should have, but the finish was still awesome and it was a fitting end to this bloody feud.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #6: ROH World Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson

McGuinness has been the champion since 10.6.07, and this is his twenty-ninth defense. If he is successful tonight he will tie Samoa Joe for second most defenses of this title. Ironically, the guy in first place is the challenger tonight. These two never have a bad match. It’s just a matter of how good it’s going to be. They start cautiously; they know they’re going to be here a while. Danielson gets an early advantage so the champion takes a breather outside the ring. Back in the ring the challenger resumes control, working on the champion’s arm and shoulder. The champion has several counters but Danielson always has an answer for him so Nigel bails again. Danielson follows him out this time and hits a flying knee off the apron. He throws Nigel back in the ring and stomps on his head. Nigel makes the comeback and immediately goes after Danielson’s knee, the same knee that Claudio Castagnoli went after last night in Dayton. The champion uses the spinning toe hold and the figure-four leg lock, both finishing holds of great World Champions past. Nigel tries the head stand, but Danielson awesomely counters with an ankle lock, and then hits a German suplex with a bridge for two. Danielson then goes for the Cross-Face Chicken Wing but Nigel avoids it. They do the fish our of water sequence, which as we know never gets a pin. Nigel tries a lariat but Danielson ducks and locks on the Chicken Wing. The champ reaches the ropes, and Danielson unloads with kicks. Sinclair admonishes Danielson, which distracts him long enough for Nigel to chop block him. Nigel sets Danielson on the top rope and goes for the lariat, with a helpful assist from Sinclair. I hate it whenever referees help position wrestlers. Nigel goes back to the spinning toe hold and gets kicked to the floor. Danielson follows him out with a springboard senton. They fight up by the entrance and Nigel grabs a chair. Sinclair runs out to stop him, and Claudio Castagnoli attacks Danielson behind the ref’s back and smashes Danielson’s head. Danielson is in danger of being counted out, until Alex “Sugarfoot” Payne comes out and literally drags Danielson back to the ring. I understand that Payne had an earlier issue with Castagnoli, but I don’t like his involvement in this match. Come to think of it, I don’t really like Claudio’s either. Nigel hits a lariat on the bloody Danielson but it only gets two! He goes right back to the knee, locking on a half Boston Crab. Danielson reaches the ropes and then fires up with a running knee strike. Both men resume their feet and trade European Uppercuts. Nigel tries the Jawbreaker but Danielson counters to a cross arm breaker and then the triangle choke. Danielson accentuates the choke with elbows to the head but the champion will not quit. Nigel frees himself but Danielson gets a small package for a near-fall. Danielson counters another lariat with a crucifix for two, and then rolls into the elbow strikes. The challenger almost falters but then gets his second wind and this another series of elbows but the champion kicks out! Danielson rolls it over to the Cattle Mutilation. Nigel powers up but Danielson hits a Tiger Suplex for two. He tries to put Cattle Mutilation back on, but Nigel counters to a modified Tower of London. Both men get back to their feet and Nigel hits a lariat but Danielson kicks out! Nigel then hits Danielson with elbow strikes to the face but Danielson only gets fired up and trades strikes with the champion. Moments later Nigel hits the Jawbreaker Lariat and pins Danielson to retain the title at 28:14. The Payne involvement didn’t really do it for me, but aside from that this was the usual awesomeness from these two.
Rating: ****¼

BONUS MATCH #1: Delirious vs. Rhett Titus

Delirious is accompanied by fellow Age of the Fall member Allison Wonderland. He wastes no time in attacking his arch nemesis Titus. This feud has been kind of awkward since Delirious turned heel. The fight spills to the floor, where Delirious tries a Panic Attack but Titus moves and hits a clothesline. Back in the ring Titus gets a high knee for two. He tries a suplex but Delirious counters with one of his own. Delirious rakes Titus’s back and chest a couple of times. Titus drops an elbow for two. Delirious fires back with a series of strikes. He tries to stomp the balls but Titus escapes to the floor and then reclaims the advantage. Back in the ring Titus hits two straight vertical suplexes for another two-count. He flaunts his package in Delirious’s face, and suffers greatly for it. Delirious comes back now with a flurry of offense, including a rock bottom. He goes for a kick to the head but Titus avoids it and hits a dropkick for two. Titus tries the Muff Diver but Delirious escapes it and tries the Cobra Clutch suplex, which Titus avoids. Delirious takes Titus down in the corner and tries the Panic Attack, but Titus moves out of the way and gets a quick rollup for two. Titus is able to hit a Rocker Dropper for two. Who is this referee? Titus runs at Delirious in the corner, and gets dropped nuts first on the ropes and shaken up and down, like what used to always happen to Shawn Michaels. Delirious then hits the Shadows over Hell to get the pin at 6:44. It’s nice to see that move actually finish a match for once. Delirious uses Titus’s Top of the Class Trophy to administer a further beating on his nemesis. Allison Wonderland likes what she sees. Titus is coming into his own as a character but his work is still pretty pedestrian.
Rating: *½

BONUS MATCH #2: Samoa Joe vs. Tyler Black

Joe overpowers Black in the early going, but the smaller and younger Black won’t be intimidated. Joe once again overpowers Black, but takes a sucker punch for his troubles. Black takes Joe down and hits a knee drop, and Joe avoids a super kick by rolling to the floor. Undaunted, Black hits a big dive onto his surprised opponent. Back in the ring they trade chops and then Joe sidesteps a cross body block attempt. That puts Joe in control and the crowd is enjoying seeing the ROH Legend. Joe knocks Black to the floor and tries a dive, but Black avoids it and tries one of his own. That doesn’t go so well, as Joe kicks Black right in the side of the head. Black rolls to the floor on the other side of the ring, and this time Joe hits the Tope Suicida. He follows it up with two Ole Kicks, something ROH fans haven’t seen in quite some time. Allison Wonderland stops that from happening, giving Black the chance to throw Joe’s head into the barricade. Back in the ring Black works on his larger, more experienced opponent. Joe fires back with some chops but Black goes to the eyes to reclaim control. Black tries a springboard but Joe catches him with an inverted atomic drop, a kick to the face, and a senton for two. A snap powerslam also gets two. Joe hits a powerbomb and rolls it into the STF. Black reaches the ropes to break the hold. Joe goes for the Muscle Buster and Black avoids hit. He hits a head scissors and a neck breaker. He tries a quebrada but Joe moves, so he hits a standing shooting star press instead. A reversal sequence leads to Joe hitting the Island Driver, but Black kicks out at one! That’s pretty crazy. Black is able to hit a super kick (though I hate it when Leonard says “right on the button”) and gets Joe up for God’s Last Gift. Joe kicks out at two. Black hits another super kick but misses the Phoenix Splash. Joe goes to the second rope but Black follows him up and tries a rana. Joe tries to get Black in position for a super Muscle Buster, but Black hits a Pele kick instead. He charges at Joe in the corner, but Joe hits the ST-Joe. He follows that up with the Muscle Buster and then the Rear Naked Choke and Black is out at 18:52. That was an excellent match; a fitting return for Joe and a great showing by Tyler. He’s really mastered the art of looking good while losing. Joe cuts an appreciative promo, puts over the boys in the back, etc. You know the one.
Rating: ****

Welcome Back

This is a Samoa Joe promo reflecting on his return (and perhaps final) match in ROH. He puts over Tyler Black, but says he doesn’t want him on top of him.

Grizzly Redwood

This is the day in the life of a lumberjack. I know some people go nuts for this stuff but I still don’t see it. I don’t think I ever will.

The Pulse

Ring of Honor has a history of delivering on pay-per-view, and this one is no exception. The main show boasts two four-star matches, and one of the bonus matches hits that mark as well, so this is an easy, easy recommendation. And for those keeping count, that’s a solid three-for-four in the Pearce era.

Tags: , , ,