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MATCH #1: ROH World Title Match – Chris Hero vs. Bryan Danielson, Hell Freezes Over, 1.14.06
Danielson has been the champion since 9.17.05, and this is his ninth defense. This is also Hero’s ROH debut match. Danielson win the FIP Title earlier in the evening, and Hero is one of the CZW Tag Team Champions, so there’s a lot of gold around this match. They chain wrestle in the early going and Danielson gets the advantage so Hero powders. Hero jaws with the fans at ringside before getting back into the ring. Even after the break Hero can’t get anything going as Danielson goes to work dissecting him. They take it to the floor and Danielson stays in control. Hero comes back and whips Danielson in o the guardrail repeatedly. It doesn’t last though and Danielson is soon in control again. Hero gets spurts of offense here and there but for the most part Danielson controls the action. When Hero is on offense, he focuses on the arm and shoulder. Danielson fires back with a series of strikes and a snap suplex. He goes up top and hits the diving headbutt for a two-count. The champ tries Cattle Mutilation but Hero blocks it and goes back to work on the arm. Hero hits a rolling eye-poke, which is awesome. He then locks on the Hangman’s Clutch and Danielson is able to reach the ropes. Hero tries the Hero’s Welcome but Danielson blocks and ten Hero reverses that to a Saito Suplex. Now Hero goes up top but misses a double stomp and runs right into a hard forearm. Danielson covers and gets two, and then puts on Cattle Mutilation. Hero is able to reach the ropes. Danielson puts Hero up on the top rope but gets knocked down. A series of reversals ends with Hero hitting the Cravat Buster and the Hero’s Welcome but Danielson kicks out! Hero puts on the Hangman’s Clutch and Danielson is once again able to reach the ropes. Another Hero’s Welcome gets another two-count! Hero tries another Hero’s Welcome but Danielson reverses to a Tiger Suplex for two! Danielson locks on the Cross-Face Chicken Wing and Hero taps out at 29:07. That could have been a little shorter but these two are great opponents for each other and this got really good down the stretch.
ROH-CZW angle/brawl from Fourth Anniversary Show, 2.25.06
The BJ Whitmer versus Christopher Daniels match spilled out into the crowd, and the CZW wrestlers showed up and Chris Hero started talking trash. The locker room, led by Adam Pearce, emptied to send the CZW crew running as the crowd chanted “ROH.” Hero finds his way back in the ring and talks more trash, this time bringing out Samoa Joe, and the crowd goes ballistic as they fight.
MATCH #2: Chris Hero, Necro Butcher & Super Dragon vs. Samoa Joe, BJ Whitmer & Adam Pearce, The 100th Show, 4.22.06
In a really nice touch, both an ROH official (Todd Sinclair) and a CZW official (Bryce Remsburg) are in the ring to keep each other in check. No shock – this one starts off as a brawl. Whitmer pairs up with Dragon, Joe fights Hero, and Pearce battles Necro. There’s no commentary for this match, by the way. The fight quickly spills to the floor and the crowd is going nuts. Claudio Castagnoli comes out early on to help ROH, taking a barbed wire baseball bat away from CZW promoter John Zandig. Pearce appears to be the first one busted open. They fight into the crowd and all around ringside, and occasionally make their way into the ring. Whitmer is swinging a steel chair with ferocity. Joe looks like he’s having fun out there. He takes Necro into the ring and drops him on two chairs set up back-to-back. They go back to the floor so Hero and Whitmer take their place in the ring. A few minutes later Necro and Pearce take their fight into the ring. They box each other and Necro knocks Pearce out momentarily. Pearce fights back and knocks Necro out for a spell. Joe takes it to Dragon out on the floor, dropping him through a table, and then meets Hero in the ring. Necro and Dragon come to Hero’s aid and the CZW crew is in control. Dragon hits Pearce with the Curb Stomp, and then turns right into a huge Whitmer lariat. Whitmer sets up a chair and hits an Exploder but it only gets two. Necro takes Whitmer out with a chair while Joe kicks Hero on the floor. Dragon traps Whitmer’s head in a chair and delivers a double stomp, which is sick, and Whitmer kicks out! Whitmer is busted open. They fight to the ring apron, right above a table. Dragon hits Whitmer with the Psycho Driver off the apron and through the table, which is an absolutely insane bump for a person to take. I’m glad Whitmer is alive. Zandig comes in the ring and goes after Joe, and the crowd goes nuts! The referees get into it and Necro takes Sinclair out with a punch to the back of the head. The CZW team isolates on Joe until Claudio Castagnoli comes out to make the save! But wait! Claudio blasts Joe with a European Uppercut! He’s with CZW! The crowd immediately starts chanting for Homicide to come out and even the odds, but the Notorious 187 is nowhere to be found. Hero and Claudio hit Pearce with the KRS-One and Hero gets the pin at 25:25. That is a brawl that really holds up, with an amazingly hot crowd reacting to every little thing. Dance monkeys, dance.
MATCH #3: ROH World Tag Team Title Mach – The Kings of Wrestling vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong, Glory By Honor V Night Two, 9.16.06
Aries and Strong have been the champions since 12.17.05 and this is their nineteenth defense. The crowd is heavily in favor of the longest reigning tag team champions to date. Aries is still sporting taped ribs, which is no doubt a bulls-eye for the challengers. Hero and Castagnoli decline the handshake and attack the champions before the bell.
The champs are ready for them though, and they fight right back with vicious chops. The Kings quickly take a powder to avoid the fired up champions. The dust settles and Castagnoli and Strong start the match proper. They engage in some mat wrestling and it looks like Strong has the advantage. Strong dominates and tags Aries into the match. The champions control the pace and work Castagnoli over. Strong picks Castagnoli up for a delayed vertical suplex and drops him across the top rope, and then delivers a leg drop from the top rope for a two-count. Aries tags in and goes to the top rope, but Hero knocks him down from the apron and the Kings take control. They immediately and wisely go to work on Aries’ injured ribs. The challengers really dominate Aries, working over his ribs with an assortment of cute double-team moves. It’s amazing how much different (and better) both Hero and Castagnoli are now. After many minutes of abuse Strong can take no more and comes in illegally to kick Hero in the face. Moments later Strong enters the ring legally and goes b-a-n-a-n-a-s on both Kings. He sends them both to the floor and Aries follows them out with the Heat Seeking Missile. Aries holds them in place and Strong wipes out both Kings with a twisting plancha and lands on his feet. Back in the ring Hero reclaims control on Strong. He tags Castagnoli, who hits the Alpamare Water Slide for two. Aries breaks up the cover and Hero comes in to thwart him. The Kings take the opportunity for more double teaming on Strong. Aries hits Hero with the IED out of nowhere, and Strong follows up with the Sick Kick. The champs hit the chop/brainbuster combo. Strong hits a backbreaker and Aries goes up top. Hero and Strong distract the referee, allowing Castagnoli to hit Aries in the ribs with his briefcase. The Kings double-team Strong to send him rolling to the floor. Aries gets back in the ring and the Kings are able to hit him with the KRS-One and we have NEW ROH World Tag Team Champions at 21:32. The crowd is split on whether to cheer or boo, but either way that was a terrific tag team match and I shudder to think how much better it would be today.
ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Kings of Wrestling vs. Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal (clip), Dethroned, 11.25.06
This is about a minute and a half of the match where Sydal and Daniels took the titles. Sydal pinned Claudio after countering the KRS-One into a rana with a cradle. It was the Kings’ fourth defense.
Kings of Wrestling vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe (highlights), International Challenge, 12.22.06
This is about 40 seconds. This clip is likely only to show Larry Sweeney’s debut in ROH, as he made a surprise appearance to help the Kings win the match.
MATCH #4: Kings of Wrestling vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe, Final Battle 2006, 12.23.06
The Kings are accompanied by Larry Sweeney. The Briscoes start off hot, eager to avenge last night’s loss. Mark hits a dive off the top rope into the aisle to wipe out both Kings before the bell can even ring. Speaking of the bell, it seems to ring rather arbitrarily. I question Bryce Remsburg’s judgment here. The Briscoes fly all over the place and keep the Kings reeling. After a few minutes the Kings are able to come back on Jay and cut the ring in half. Jay fights back and catches Hero in a Fisherman’s Buster, but the Kings use chicanery to prevent the tag. Hero and Claudio continue working Jay over, putting him in a bad way. Eventually Jay makes the hot tag and Mark is a house afire. I have no idea who this is on commentary with Prazak, by the way. Mark goes for a springboard splash but Hero gets the knees up. Claudio tags in and hits the Riccola Bomb but Mark kicks out at two. Jay tags back in and hits Claudio with a gourdbuster for two. Claudio is able to tag out and Hero hits a cravat suplex out of the corner for two. The momentum shifts back and forth multiple times as neither team can stay in control for very long. The Kings hit Power & Glory’s old finisher but it only gets two. The Briscoes isolate on Castagnoli but can’t quite put him away. Then in an amazing spot, Claudio is able to carry both Briscoes for a variation of the Giant Swing. I love Claudio. The referee has totally lost control of this one, with all four guys fighting in the ring. Jay hits Hero with the Jay Driller, Claudio hits Jay with the Alpamare Water Slide, Mark hits Claudio with the Cutthroat Driver, and all four men are down. Hero and Jay are up first and they strike back and forth. Sweeney distracts the referee and Claudio brings in the Halliburton briefcase, but he accidentally hits Hero! The Briscoes then hit a simultaneous Shooting Star Press (Mark) and guillotine legdrop (Jay) to get the pin at 16:02. That was great tag team action that almost never stopped and the crowd was moist for it the entire time.
Hero & Sweeney interrupt Bruno Sammartino, All Star Extravaganza III, 3.30.07
They don’t show the earlier parts of Sammartino’s promo, just when Sweet ‘n’ Sour Inc. came out to interrupt him. Sweeney says that Sammartino was only successful because Hero was born 50 years too late, and then challenges the Living Legend to an arm wrestling match. Sammartino says that even though he’s old, he’ll take Hero down right now. Nigel McGuinness comes out to make the save.
MATCH #5: Pure Rules Match – Chris Hero vs. Nigel McGuinness, Death Before Dishonor V Night One, 8.10.07
Hero is accompanied by Larry Sweeney, Tank Toland, Bobby Dempsey, and Sara Del Rey. No one knows Pure Rules like Nigel McGuinness knows Pure Rules. Sweeney says that he and Hero have come up with some addition Pure Wrestling “commandments” that they would like McGuiness to follow. They are ridiculous rules of course, like “thou shall not be British” and stuff like that. Needless to say, I don’t think those rules will be enforced.
Obviously they start with some chain wrestling. Hero responds by showing off his athletic prowess. McGuinness locks on an armbar as the lights go out and a voice comes over the loud speaker talking about how Project 161 is real and is coming. Hero and McGuinness look confused and so are the fans. Then Hero tries to convince Todd Sinclair that when the lights were out McGuinness used all three of his rope breaks. They get back to the action and McGuinness once again locks on an armbar. Sweeney distracts the referee, allowing Hero to use the ropes to break the hold while not losing a rope break. Back in the ring McGuinness tries his British style and that leads to a Fish out of Water spot for a series of near-falls. Hero puts on a hammerlock and Toland places McGuinness’s foot on the bottom rope and the referee only sees the foot on the rope, so McGuinness is out a rope break. Bobby Cruise is then told to inform the people that McGuinness just wasted a rope break. McGuinness once again goes back to work on Hero’s arm. Hero uses his first rope break and takes another powder. Back in the ring Hero uses a closed fist behind the referee’s back and when McGuinness responds with one of his own the referee sees it and McGuinness loses another rope break. Hero hits McGuinness with a big knee to the face, sending him to the floor. Once again Hero distracts the referee, allowing Dempsey to hit an elbow drop. Hero goes back to the floor and exchanges strikes with McGuinness. Back in the ring Hero maintains control. Hero hits a bodyslam and a back senton for two. McGuinness fights back with a series of strikes, and then hits the kick to the back and clothesline combination in the corner for two. He sends Hero to the floor and whips him into the guardrail. Then he whips Dempsey into Hero, and Dempsey falls on top of him! Sweeney and Toland have to pull Dempsey off and Hero just makes it back to the ring in time. An invigorated Hero recovers and goes up to the top rope, but McGuinness counters with a Tower of London. Sweeney places Hero’s foot on the bottom rope to break up the pin and use Hero’s second rope break. McGuinness tries the Jawbreaker but Hero ducks and hits a rolling elbow for two when Sweeney puts McGuinness’s foot on the bottom rope again. It didn’t look like McGuinness was going to kick out, so why not win the match that way? Anyway, Hero locks on the Hangman’s Clutch and McGuinness has no rope breaks to use, so he gives up at 19:58. Hero and company executed some clever cheating and chicanery, but the portions in between the cheating were pretty dull. McGuinness gets some of his heat back by blasting Dempsey with a Jawbreaker Lariat while Toland runs away.
MATCH #6: Survival of the Fittest Match – Chris Hero vs. Austin Aries vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Rocky Romero vs. Roderick Strong vs. Human Tornado, Survival of the Fittest 2007, 10.19.07
Hero beat Karl Anderson, Aries beat Delirious, Claudio beat Davey Richards, Romero beat TJ Perkins, Strong beat Brent Albright, and Tornado beat Shane Hagadorn and Tony Kozina in a three-way match to gain entry into the finals. Aries and Romero start the match, and Strong attacks from behind to give the No Remorse Corps team an early advantage. Meanwhile, Hero is working out up by the entrance to avoid Claudio, his hated rival. Aries knocks Strong and Romero to the floor and wipes them out with the Heat Seeking Missile. Claudio then traps Hero in the ring and goes to work on him. Hero bails and tags in the Tornado, who dumps Claudio to the floor and then wipes everyone out with a dive. Hero gets in the ring and hits a celebrating Tornado with an inverted suplex and the Hero’s Welcome to score the first elimination at 3:59. Claudio and Strong battle each other now. Aries works with Claudio as a way to counter Strong and Romero working as a unit. The makeshift duo isolates Romero for a bit until Romero is able to avoid a brainbuster and tag Strong. Hero is back up by the entrance, sitting in a chair watching the match. Aries is able to survive long enough to tag Claudio, who shows No Remorse to Romero and Strong. Claudio and Strong fight up the ramp while Aries and Romero go back and forth in the ring. Hero hides up by ringside now. Aries hits Romero with the Brainbuster and then hits the 450 Splash. Hero blind tags himself in and grabs Aries off the cover and powerbombs him onto Romero for the second elimination at 13:33. Aries and Strong battle in the ring now after Hero bails again. Hero makes another blind tag, this one on Strong, and is able to roll Aries up for another elimination at 15:38. Sweeney pays off Strong to work with Hero, and they go to work on Claudio. Strong hits Claudio with the Gibson Driver and Hero double-crosses Strong, hitting the Hero’s Welcome to eliminate his fourth opponent at 19:49. Hero then takes the money back from Strong and hands it to Sweeney.
It’s all Hero as he tries to become the first man to eliminate everyone in a Survival of the Fittest match. Claudio tries the Riccola Bomb but Hero reverses it and hits a big boot to the face for two. Momentum continues to shift as both men know each other’s moves from their history together as a tag team. Claudio goes for the Alpamare Water Slide but Hero avoids it and hits a rolling elbow and a cravat suplex for two. The pendulum shifts again as Claudio hits a Bicycle Kick and the German Suplex for a near-fall. Claudio goes for the Riccola Bomb but Hero lands on his feet and hits a forearm strike and the Hero’s Welcome but Claudio kicks out again! Hero puts on the Hangman’s Clutch and Claudio makes it to the ropes. Claudio comes back and hits the Riccola Bomb but Hero kicks out of that! He runs right into a boot, and then Hero hits a cravat neckbreaker off the second rope. Hero goes up and hits a double stomp and then locks on the Hangman’s Clutch again. Claudio passes out at 27:40. So far this has really been the only Survival of the Fittest match to try something a little different, and it actually worked really well and turned out to be pretty memorable.
After the show, Larry Sweeney and Chris Hero celebrated in the streets of Las Vegas, where people didn’t recognize team at all.
ROH World Title Match – Chris Hero vs. Nigel McGuinness (highlights), Glory By Honor VI Night One, 11.2.07
They show about three and a half minutes of this match. Hero earned this title shot by winning the Survival of the Fittest match, but it almost didn’t happen because Nigel was hurt. But the ROH World Champion gutted it out and scored a somewhat controversial victory that led to the Steel Cage match that we’ll get to on disc two.
MATCH #7: Chris Hero vs. El Generico, Glory By Honor VI Night Two, 11.3.07
Hero is accompanied by Larry Sweeney, Bobby Dempsey, and Sara Del Rey. My goodness Hero’s gear was so ridiculous at this point. That being the case, he goes right after Generico’s arm. Generico responds in kind and takes it down to the canvas. Hero comes back and takes Generico down and the masked man simply nips up so Hero takes a powder. He then makes Bobby Cruise announce that what Generico did was not impressive. Back in the ring Generico tries to knock Hero down with a shoulderblock but has no luck. Generico hits a chop instead and avoids a Hero armdrag, and then hits an armdrag of his own into an armbar. Hero backs Generico into the corner. That doesn’t get him too far and Generico locks on an armbar again. Hero powers his way out of it and locks on a headlock. Generico pushes him off into the ropes and Hero comes out with a couple of forearms to the back of the head. Hero then shows off his agility with all those little flips and stuff. I wasn’t much of a Hero fan at this point. Back in the ring Generico hits yet more armdrags. Hero uses referee Todd Sinclair as a human shield and that allows him to take control. Actually it doesn’t last long as they run the ropes and Generico throws Hero over the top rope. Hero successfully skins the cat and celebrates about it, so Generico clotheslines him to the floor for real. Generico goes to the apron and Dempsey distracts the referee while Sweeney grabs Generico’s leg. Hero grabs Generico and pushes him off the apron and into the barricade. Sweeney takes a few cheap shots while he can. Hero takes control for real now and even finds time to abuse Dempsey. Back in the ring Hero gets a two-count. Hero hits a senton off the second rope for a two-count. He goes for a ridiculously long guillotine legdrop and doesn’t quite make it, landing hard on his posterior. That’s a clever spot; I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in another match. Generico goes on offense and hits a pop-up rana off the top rope for a two-count. He goes up top for a cross body but Hero rolls it into a Cravat. Hero hits a Cravat Neckbreaker and then a move that Prazak describes as “drives him down to the canvas.” Come on just call it something. How about an inverted suplex into an Ace Crusher? It’s not like you’re doing this live. Generico comes back with a backslide (which is how he beat Hero in the semifinals of the Race to the Top Tournament) for two. He then hits a big swinging DDT for two. Hero comes back with a neckbreaker out of the corner and then goes up top. Generico simply pops up and goes for the Brainbuster on the turnbuckle but Hero shoves him to the canvas. Hero somersaults over Generico and winds up in the opposite corner, otherwise known as the perfect position for the running Yakuza kick! It gets a two-count. Generico goes for a diving headbutt and Hero catches him with a Cravat Suplex. Hero then hits the Hero’s Welcome to get the revenge win at 14:25. It felt longer than it was but solid opener otherwise.
Bonus Footage: Sweet N Sour promos with Bobby Dempsey
The following skits are included: Bobby Dempsey on a race track from A Fight at the Roxbury on 6.8.07; Bobby Dempsey in a sauna from Race to the Top Tournament Night 2 on 7.28.07; and Bobby Dempsey in an ice bath from the 8.17.07 Video Wire. I loved these skits at the time and they’ve held up well over the years. Losing Larry Sweeny was definitely a big loss for the wrestling world.
Chris Hero vs. Takeshi Morishima vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Austin Aries (highlights), Final Battle 2007, 12.30.07
They actually show about 14 minutes of this match, which is a nice surprise. The winner of this would get a shot at Nigel McGuinness’s ROH World Championship at the Sixth Anniversary Show in New York City on February 23, 2008. Three of the men involved are former ROH World Champions, and they’ve all wrestled each other in various combinations over the years. Aries and Danielson work together on Morishima, and both are able to pin him (with a final, unnecessary assist from Hero) for the first elimination. Hero is able to take control of both Aries and Danielson, but when he gets a little too cocky Aries sneaks in from behind and rolls him up for the elimination.
MATCH #8: ROH World Title Steel Cage Match – Chris Hero vs. Nigel McGuinness, Breakout, 1.25.08
Hero is accompanied by Larry Sweeney, Tank Toland, Bobby Dempsey, and Sara Del Rey. McGuinness has been the champion since 10.6.07, and this is his fifth defense. It’s also Hero’s fifth shot at the title. Hero immediately tries to escape, but it’s much too early for that. Despite that, Hero takes the early control until Nigel cuts him off and hits a lariat. The momentum shifts back and forth several times in the opening minutes. Hero hits a Blockbuster to score a near-fall. Nigel fights back but Hero quickly cuts him off and works on the knee. Hero even uses a chair to help weaken Nigel’s knee. Nigel makes the big comeback and whips Hero face-first into the cage, busting him open. He hits a lariat for a two-count, and then climbs up the cage. Hero pulls him down with a cravat slam and gets a two-count. Nigel comes back with a Tower of London right onto the steel chair! He goes to crawl out the door and Sweeney slams it right back in his face, so the referee ejects Sweet ‘n’ Sour Inc. from ringside. Hero climbs up and over the cage and tries to drop down but Nigel hangs on to him and superplexes Hero all the way back into the ring! Dempsey waddles his way back out and the referee does nothing to try and stop him. Nigel tries to crawl out and it looks like Dempsey is going to slam the door on his face, but Hero helpfully dives face-first into the cage first, knocking him out. Toland knocks Dempsey down for his failure, and then blocks Nigel from going out. Nigel then climbs over the top at the same time as Hero tries going out the door, but the champion drops first to retain the title at 25:36. I remembered liking this match a lot, but watching it now it was pretty lame, and the Dempsey interference at the end looked really awkward.
MATCH #9: Chris Hero vs. Roderick Strong, Battle for Supremacy, 6.27.08
Hero is accompanied by Larry Sweeney and Sara Del Rey. They chain wrestle to start, with Hero going after the arm. Why the hell did Hero ever wear camouflage gear? While I ponder that they wrestle to a standoff, and Hero switches his attack to the headlock. Strong fights back but Hero continuously cuts him off. They take it to the floor and Hero stays in control. In the first 10 minutes Strong has gotten almost no offense in the entire match. Finally Strong is able to catch a charging Hero with a boot to the gut and then a missile dropkick, but Hero cuts him right off yet again. Hero dumps Strong to the floor and continues the domination. Up on the apron Strong fights back with chops, and then drops Hero with a suplex right on the apron. Back in the ring Strong continues the onslaught, finally unleashing for the first time. Strong sends Hero back to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. Back in the ring again Hero fires up, hitting a back suplex, running forearm, and the Blockbuster for two. Strong comes back with a kick to the face and a backbreaker for two. Hero hits a rolling elbow and a powerbomb into a folding press for two. He hits more strikes Strong shrugs him off to hit the gutbuster and the Sick Kick but Sweeney puts Hero’s foot on the bottom rope. Strong puts on the Stronghold and Sweeney gets up on the apron. This distracts Strong enough to let go of the hold. Del Rey grabs Strong’s foot from ringside to distract him, and Hero unloads on him. Hero finally scores a knockout blow to get the win at 21:08. That’s another match I remember really liking, but now when I watch it I think it was just okay. Hero threw a lot of elbows, Strong did a lot of backbreakers, and someone won. Who remembers this match?
Lance Storm altercation with Sweet N Sour Inc, Northern Navigation, 7.25.08
The clip starts right when Lance Storm makes his way out. Storm extols the virtues of the ROH locker room – you know the usual promo that ROH guests were cutting around this time. Erick Stevens is in the ring, remember him? Chris Hero and Go Shiozaki come out to attack Stevens and Storm. Sweeney trash talks, but Storm and Stevens are able to fight back with simultaneous Maple Leafs. Shane Hagadorn helps save Hero and Shiozaki, and then eats a Storm superkick for his troubles.
MATCH #10: Chris Hero & Go Shiozaki vs. Roderick Strong & Naomichi Marufuji, New Horizons, 7.26.08
Strong and Shiozaki start the match with some fast-paced brawling. ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness joins Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard on commentary. Lance Storm is in Strong and Marufuji’s corner, while Hero and Shiozaki have Larry Sweeney, Bobby Dempsey, and Sara Del Rey with them. Nigel quickly leaves the booth as Sweet ‘n’ Sour isolates on Marufuji. Strong and Marufuji come back and target Shiozaki. Hero interferes and pulls Strong to the floor and whips him into the barricade. That puts Sweet ‘n’ Sour in control again. After several minutes Strong makes the tag to a well-rested Marufuji, who is a house afire. Man, I miss Marufuji. Shiozaki fights back and tries the Go Flasher but settles for a Fisherman’s Buster. Hero tags in and he goes to work on Marufuji but can’t put him away. The referee loses control of the match briefly. Marufuji takes Shiozaki out, and then Strong makes a blind tag. Hero knocks Marufuji out with an elbow, but Strong sneaks in and hits the Sick Kick and a half-nelson backbreaker to get the pin for his team at 11:51. Given the talent of all four men involved it’s no surprise that this was a ton of fun and a good use of Lance Storm.
Sweet ‘n’ Sour attacks after the match, and Storm is able to trap Sweeney in the Maple Leaf. Hero and Shiozaki recover and rescue their agent, and Hero knocks Storm out with an elbow.
MATCH #11: ROH World Title Match – Chris Hero vs. Jerry Lynn, Never Say Die, 5.8.09
Hero is accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. Lynn has been the champion since 4.3.09, and this is his fifth defense. Hero dwarfs Lynn from a height perspective. Lynn dwarfs Hero from a being boring perspective. They take it to the mat right away, and approach each other cautiously. Hero tries an early rolling elbow and misses, and Lynn responds by faking on to try and get into Hero’s head. Lynn locks on a side headlock, which Hero reverses and takes Lynn down to the mat. They get back to their feet and Lynn escapes the headlock and gets a schoolboy rollup for two. Lynn follows up with a headscissors and then locks on a front facelock. Hero escapes that, and they just keep going back and forth, like most Jerry Lynn matches. Lynn blocks another rolling elbow attempt and hits one of his own for a two-count. Hero then tosses Lynn to the floor, and Hagadorn tries to get his shots in but Lynn shoves him off. Even so that’s enough to distract Lynn and Hero kicks him in the face and continues the assault on the floor. Hero “traps” Lynn under the ring mat and hits a senton. That seems like it would soften the blow, not accentuate it. Back in the ring Hero maintains control, stomping away at the champion and talking trash the whole time. The challenger hits a big boot to the face for a two-count. Lynn charges out of the corner with some punches, but Hero cuts him off with an elbow to the face for two. Hero tries a powerslam, but Lynn reverses it to an inverted DDT for two. Lynn hits a rana off the second rope and Hero bails to the floor. He follows Hero out and tries the somersault off the apron, but Hero catches him and slams him into the barricade. That was cool. Hero charges at Lynn, who moves out of the way but Hero is able to land on the guardrail, only to get pushed into the crowd. Lynn follows him out. Not much happens there and they make their way back to the ring. Hero hits a running elbow and a blockbuster for two. Lynn comes back and tries a tornado DDT, but Hero avoids it and hits the rolling elbow and Lynn kicks out at two. They trade Cradle Piledriver attempts, and it’s Lynn who winds up hitting a TKO for two. Hero comes back and hits another rolling elbow and the Liger Bomb for two. He tries another rolling elbow but an exhausted Lynn simply falls through the ropes to the apron. Hero takes the battle up to the turnbuckles, and Lynn suddenly gets energized enough to hit a dangerous looking rana all the way to the floor. That’s trust right there. Lynn pushes Hero back into the ring but doesn’t go for a cover. Instead he goes for the Cradle Piledriver, but has to settle for a regular one. Hero kicks out at two. Lynn goes for another one but Hero can’t even stand up, so Lynn goes for the cover and Hero kicks out again. He tries yet another Cradle Piledriver and Hero avoids it, but Lynn counters with a sort of Code Red for two. Hagadorn distracts the champion and Hero hits a wicked elbow to the back of the head, and Hagadorn even holds Lynn’s leg down, and the champion still kicks out. Hero gets the green elbow pad, but Lynn avoids it and gets a small package for two. Lynn removes the elbow pad, but Hero hits him with a rolling elbow anyway and Lynn still kicks out. Moments later Lynn hits the Cradle Piledriver to a chorus of boos and retains the World Title at 24:30. That was a little on the long side for a Jerry Lynn match for my liking, but Hero was able to make it pretty interesting. They had some really cool spots, but like a lot of Lynn matches he kicked out of way too much in the continued effort of shoving him down our throats.
MATCH #12: Chris Hero vs. Lance Storm, Death Before Dishonor VII: Night Two, 7.25.09
Storm scores the first knockdown with a shoulder block. Back on their feet they trade wristlocks and other holds on the mat. Storm seems to be one step ahead so far. He hits a dropkick that sends Hero to the floor. Hero takes his time to regroup, and when he gets back in the ring he takes Storm down in a test of strength. Storm tries a springboard elbow but Hero catches him, slams him down to the mat, and then hits a senton. Hero is firmly in control now, not being intimidated by the more experienced Storm. He throws Storm to the floor, allowing Hagadorn to take a cheap shot or two. Hero tries a baseball slide but Storm moves out of the way and unloads on Hero. He tries a whip into the barricade but Hero reverses it. Hero traps Storm underneath the ring mats and hits a senton. Back in the ring Hero continues to wear Storm down. Storm fights back with a flurry of chops and a side Russian Legsweep. He hits a couple of lariats and a leg lariat for two. He hits a springboard lariat for another two-count. Hero hits a rolling elbow out of nowhere but Storm kicks out. He goes for the Liger Bomb but Storm blocks it. They run the ropes and Hero hits a flash kick for a two-count. Storm ducks an elbow and hits a superkick for two. He then locks on the Maple Leaf but Hero reaches the ropes. Hero fights back with a shoulder to the gut and then goes up top. Storm joins him up there and hits a super powerslam (don’t see that every day) and Hero kicks out. Once again Storm goes up top and this time tries a Fog Splash but Hero moves out of the way and hits a ripcord elbow for two. Hero puts on the lucky green elbow pad and Storm gets a quick backslide for a very close near-fall. Unfortunately for Storm Hero pops up and hits two rolling elbows to get the pin at 16:46. That was a good, solid match but nothing special. Not to be rude, but that’s kind of how I feel about Storm in general.
MATCH #13: Chris Hero vs. KENTA, ROH on HDNet Episode 29, 10.12.09
Whatever happened to Mike Hogewood? Hero is accompanied by Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey. Both men are cautious in the early going, as they know each other from facing off in recent tag team matches, but this is their first-ever singles bout. KENTA lands some hard kicks early in the match and starts wearing Hero down. Hero fights back as the crowd chants “We Want Eddie,” and I have no idea that they’re referring to Eddie Kingston until Prazak mentions it. I guess I just blocked that feud from my memory. The match spills to the floor and KENTA hits a couple of solid kicks and tries to whip Hero into the barricade, but Hero jumps up on top of it and jump-spins into a forearm shot. Back in the ring Hero gets a two-count. Hero continues to wear KENTA down to prepare for a knockout blow. KENTA fires back with a series of clotheslines a boot to the head for two. He goes up top and hits a clothesline for another near-fall. KENTA locks on the STF but Hero makes the ropes. Hero comes back with a falling vertical suplex for two. He goes back to the Stretch Plumb and KENTA reaches the ropes. Hero lands a succession of elbows. After a series of reversals, KENTA lands a hard clothesline and both men are down. Back on their feet KENTA hits the springboard missile dropkick. They exchange boots to the head and KENTA wins that battle, and then drills Hero with a dropkick to the face. KENTA hits a Fisherman’s Buster and then a double stomp off the top rope but Hero kicks out! Even after a Busaiku Knee KENTA can only get two. KENTA goes for Go 2 Sleep so Hagadorn distracts the referee and Del Rey distracts KENTA. That gives Hero the chance to hit the Death Blow but it only gets two! Hero is able to hit another Death Blow but once again KENTA kicks out! Del Rey throws Hero the lucky green elbow pad while Hagadorn distracts the referee. Eddie Kingston comes out and pulls the elbow pad off. A distracted Hero turns right into the Go 2 Sleep and KENTA gets the pin at 16:29. That was really good, and the interference from Kingston made sense even if I didn’t like that feud, so good for them.
MATCH #14: Chris Hero vs. Bryan Danielson, Final Countdown Tour: Dayton, 9.18.09
Shane Hagadorn accompanies Hero to the ring. A guy named Eric Santamaria makes his ROH debut to help Prazak commentate this main event match. Hero has been going through boxing training to enhance his knockout capabilities. They start slowly, and Hero takes an early powder. Back in the ring they take it to the mat, exchanging holds. Both men are focusing on the arm, and utilizing the referee’s five-count. Danielson gets the advantage and goes for the surfboard, but settles for driving Hero’s knees into the mat, and then focusing his attack there. Hero tries escaping one of Danielson’s submission holds and suffers a series of brutal forearms to the face for his trouble. He shakes it off and knocks Danielson to the floor with a solid elbow. Hagadorn gets a cheap shot in while Hero distracts the referee. Hero hits a big boot to the face, and then pulls up the floor mat. He traps Danielson underneath and hits a senton. Danielson makes it back in the ring at the count of 18, and Hero continues to be in the driver’s seat. Hero goes for Cattle Mutilation, but that just serves to make Danielson mad, as he breaks out of the hold and delivers a couple of forearms, but Hero cuts him off with a big boot. Danielson absorbs some strikes and executes the back flip off the top rope to avoid an Irish whip, and then sends Hero to the floor. He hits a dropkick through the ropes and then follows Hero to the floor with a flying knee off the apron. Back in the ring Danielson is wearing Hero out with kicks. Danielson hits a suplex and a diving headbutt off the top rope for two. Hero fights back with a rolling elbow and a blockbuster for two. He levels Danielson with a hard forearm for another two-count. Danielson avoids a vertical suplex but can’t avoid another elbow strike that sends him to the floor. Hero follows him to the floor and whips him into the barricade. Danielson reverses another whip and sends Hero over the barricade and into the first couple rows. He goes back in the ring and wipes Hero out with the springboard dive. Back in the ring Danielson goes up top and lands a missile dropkick. He follows up with a running knee strike for two and then goes for Cattle Mutilation. Hero blocks it but in doing so puts himself in position for the elbow strikes, but Hero kicks out at two! Danielson is able to lock on Cattle Mutilation this time, but Hero is able to get to the ropes to break the hold. They trade strikes and Danielson wins that battle with a hard knee for two. Hero avoids the head kicks and hits the rip cord elbow for two! He takes off his elbow pad and Danielson gets a backslide out of nowhere for two. Danielson gets a schoolboy rollup for two. Hero goes for the Liger Bomb but Danielson counters it with kicks to the head, and then locks on a triangle choke! Danielson accentuates the choke with elbows to the head, but Hero withstands them and powers out of the hold with a powerbomb! They get back to their feet and exchange strikes once again. Hero wins that battle with the Death Blow and gets the pin at 24:09! That was a fantastic hard hitting contest, and did a lot to make Chris Hero look like a big star in the post-Danielson world.
Chris Hero vs. Eddie Kingston (clip), Glory By Honor VIII: The Final Countdown, 9.26.09
They show about a minute and a half of this, right as Kingston is hitting a bloody Hero with a Back Drop Driver. Hagadorn tries to help Hero with the green elbow pad but Kingston knocked him out, so Hero produced a gold elbow pad to knock Kingston out and get the pin.
MATCH #15: Pick 6 Contenders Match – Chris Hero vs. Kenny Omega, ROH on HDNet Episode 42, 1.11.10
Hero is accompanied by Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey. They chain wrestle to start in this Survival of the Fittest 2009 rematch. Hero relies on his technical prowess early on, while Omega counters with his speed advantage. Omega knocks Hero to the floor and follows him out with a dropkick through the ropes. Back in the ring Omega goes up top but jumps right into a forearm blast and Hero gets two. Omega tries to get some momentum going but Hero cuts him off with a flash kick to the head. After a few minutes Omega starts flying around the ring again, hitting Hero with a cross body block off the top rope for two. A Northern Lights suplex gets another two-count. Omega tries that stupid Stop Sign but Hero doesn’t fall for it and hits a rolling elbow for two. Hero lands another rolling elbow but Omega gets his shoulder up again. Omega comes back with a Dragon Suplex for two. Hero avoids the Rocker Dropper and hits a Death Blow to send Omega to the floor. Out there Omega is able to hit the Stop Sign Enziguiri, my least favorite move ever I think. Omega follows with the Rocker Dropper onto a chair (sort of), and then sets Hero in the chair and delivers running knees to the chest to bowl him over. Back in the ring Omega hits another kick right to the head and the 2K1 Bomb to get a close two-count. Omega goes for Croyt’s Wrath but Hero slips out and hits the Death Blow but it only gets two. Hero then gets the loaded elbow pad but misses and Omega gets a sloppy rollup to get the surprise pin at 15:11. That was a good TV match but the sloppy finish definitely hurts it.
MATCH #16: Fight Without Honor – Chris Hero vs. Eddie Kingston, Final Battle 2009, 12.19.09
Hero is accompanied by Sara Del Rey and Shane Hagadorn. Does Del Rey really have a purpose in ROH at this point? I know she’s a good wrestler, but when was the last women’s match? Kingston meets Hero in the aisle and the fight is on. I think this is going to be a lot of kicks, punches, and forearms. Hero gets the first advantage and finds a chain. He whips Kingston with it, and then wraps it around his throat and mouth. He throws Kingston into the guardrail, taking out a camera man in the process. Back in the ring Hero continues using the chain to abuse Kingston. Hero hits an elbow and Kingston kicks out at one. Back up Hero hits headbutts and a boot to the face. Kingston is bleeding from the forehead. Hero tries a Liger Bomb but Kingston counters with a headscissors and a uranage. Kingston hits an enziguiri and a Northern Lights Bomb for two. Hero comes back with a series of elbows for two. They rip each other’s shirts off and trade chops. Hero hits another elbow for two. He goes outside and brings one of the barricades in the ring. Back in the ring Hero hits a Saito Suplex. Hero and Hagadorn set the barricade up horizontally in the turnbuckles. He sets Kingston up on the top and then climbs on the barricade, and ends up hitting a powerbomb off the top rope and onto the barricade. Kingston kicks out at two. I call bullshit. Hero goes back to the chain and wraps it around Kingston and tries the Death Blow, but Kingston reverses to a straight jacket suplex. Kingston wraps the chain around his arm and hits a lariat for two. Hagadorn and Del Rey interfere, and Del Rey takes a leg capture suplex for her troubles. Hero puts on the golden elbow pad but Kingston ducks a shot and hits the Back Drop Driver. Kingston tries the spinning back fist but Hero ducks and hits a low blow. Hero then kisses Kingston on the head and then hits a rolling elbow for two. Kingston gets up and hits two spinning back fists but Hero kicks out at two. He takes Hero’s golden elbow pad and hits a rolling elbow to get the pin at 15:09. If you’re into this feud and this style of match you’ll probably love this, but it went astray for me when Kingston kicked out of that ridiculously sick powerbomb. Some moves should just finish a match.
The Pulse: All in all, this is a very thorough comprehensive at Chris Hero’s Ring of Honor career. Four of the matches reach four stars or higher, and seven more are three stars or better. There was a curious lack of Claudio Castagnoli, but I think for the most part Hero’s career – from the CZW invasion to Sweet ‘n’ Sour Inc. to the Young Knock Out Kid – is well represented. The clips and highlights are also used effectively to give some of the matches more context, which always helps when watching a best of. You can, and should, purchase this DVD at the ROH Shop.
Tags: Bryan Danielson, Chris Hero, Roderick Strong, Samoa Joe