So to set expectations into check let me say right away, lets me just say where this show places in the line of the Hammerstein shows thus far. I know a lot of people are going crazy for what they saw in New York City last night but once you take the live element out of the equation, its good to set expectations into check for the people at home.
01. Death Before Dishonor VI
02. Final Battle 08
03. 7th Anniversary Show
04. A New Level
Overall the show had higher highs than the other three Hammerstein shows, namely thanks to the returns of Jimmy Rave and Colt Cabana, but also some seriously low lows thanks to the out and out piss poor Aries/Jacobs/Brodie Lee vs. Black/Butcher/Delirious match. There were just too many moments where the wrestlers didn’t know what the hell they were doing and the thing ran for way too long and killed the crowd. In fact I would say it was the worst NYC match since the infamous Davey/PAC match from Manhattan Mayhem 2.
The show started out with the fun and enjoyable Rhett Titus and Kenny King vs. Roderick Strong and Erick Stevens match. Roderick is easily my favorite guy to watch in the company because when he goes, he can easily be the hardest hitting guy in the company. Kenny King also looked great but had a could of weird missteps. Titus only has a job because of how well he uses his gimmick but overall just isn’t a good wrestler. And Stevens is still searching for a persona to connect with the audience. The end of a match came with a Doctor Bomb on Titus.
Brent Albright vs. Claudio Castagnoli started off as a lifeless affair but slowly pulled the crowd in. I haven’t seen all their matches but this was no doubt their best match-up yet. Claudio looks like a beast. Absolute muscles on top of muscles. This was Claudio’s best match since the four way against Nigel, Black, and Dragon. I was actually surprised much in the same way Albright/Pearce surprised me at DBDVI by how good this match became. The match went to a time limit draw when the crowd began asking for five more minutes. Claudio and Albright agreed only for Claudio to use a low blow moments later and crush Albright’s head with a foot stomp on a chair. Good stuff.
Adam Pearce/Bobby Dempsey was next in a fun affair. I was shocked to see Bobby actually squash Pearce as efficiently as he did. Deep inside I know this was a move by Pearce to say, “I’m not like all the booker-wrestlers before me”, but I ignored all that to cheer alongside everyone else when Bobby picked up the win.
Next was Quackenbush vs. Jerry Lynn. Now I’ll say it right away but I would much rather have Quack in Lynn’s role right now. Quack was a joy to watch while Lynn just seemed lethargic. The match was a nice little technical affair that ended too quickly with Lynn getting too much offense on Quack but that wasn’t a surprise. Lynn hit the Cradle Piledriver for the win. Blah.
Then just before the intermission was the horrid Revolution Rules match. Man I don’t even know what they were trying to accomplish but it ended up being total crap. The booking made no sense and it looked like the wrestlers and the booker just said screw it. It was just bad. Aries was the best part of that match. I just pretended he was out there by himself and mentally made everyone else invisible. It was just more fun that way. Anyway Delirious was taken out first by a kick and brainbuster from Aries. Then Butcher and Brodie eliminated each other by walking backstage (WTF?) and then Black got Aries with the corner powerbomb and superkick combo before attaching his own version of the End Times. Black then finished Jacobs off by reversing the End times and hitting God’s Last Gift.
Nana (who is better than Sweeney) started off the best part of the show. He came down and cut a hilarious promo thanking Obama before reintroducing the crowd prince of the embassy: Jimmy Rave (who bit into a piece of TP thrown at him). Dragon then ran down before being ejected by Bison and then Cabana ran down for a very, very fun match. I missed you Cabana! Cabana got the win with a roll-up. They then did a thing with Cabana where he would stand alongside Dragon when Dragon went up on the turnbuckles for The Final Countdown. Great stuff.
D’Lo Brown vs. Jay Briscoe was next. It was an okay affair that only existed to calm the fans down after their previous high. D’Lo turned heel over the course of the match and managed to score a pinfall victory after Briscoe missed a legdrop.
American Wolves vs. Steen and Generico was next and man was it crazy. I didn’t know ladders could bend that way. I’m not going to spoil it for you but this was the best Steenerico match in NYC thus far. I hope they’re champions forever. The Wolves look great too.
Nigel/KENTA finally came up. The first half of the match was dreadfully slow if a copy of the Dragon/KENTA title defense. Unlike that match, this had no build on Nigel’s hurt arm like Dragon’s match did and so the crowd wasn’t into it. That said, much credit goes to Nigel for putting up with that pain. The Marufuji/Nigel match was better on a whole but the crowd was much more excited about this. Since Dragon/Morishima was headlining FB2008, no one expected a title change. With this it seemed halfway plausible. Spot of the match was when Nigel hit KENTA with an awesome looking Go To Sleep. Finish came with the london dungeon with a bridge. It looked crazy painful.
Overall fun show like NYC always are but it could have been better. Here is to seeing Flair in NYC on June 13.
Tags: Live Review, ROH