Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – November 2, 2007
Rebecca Bayless is in the building, reporting that new ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness is suffering from a torn bicep. He describes the extent of his injury
The Age of The Fall is outside Independence Hall talking about the similarities between the American Revolution and their current revolution. The only problem is I have no idea what they’re revolting against.
MATCH #1: Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. BJ Whitmer & Brent Albright
Whitmer and Albright are accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. The Hangmen 3 attack Steen and Generico right away and throw them to the floor and into the barricades. They throw Generico in the ring and double-team him. Generico comes back with a dropkick on Albright and a leg lariat for Whitmer as the referee restores order. Steen gets back on the apron and they double-team Whitmer for a bit. Whitmer comes back with a couple of hard chops to Generico and then tags Albright. Now it’s the Hangmen 3 who cut the ring in half to work Generico over. After a few minutes of that Generico makes the hot tag and Steen is all over the Hangmen. The referee loses control and all four men are in the ring. Albright tosses Generico to the floor and then hits Steen with a belly-to-belly suplex. Whitmer follows with a frog splash for a two-count. Generico comes back and takes Albright out on the floor, and then hits Whitmer with a nasty swinging DDT. Steen hits Whitmer with the pumphandle neckbreaker and Albright breaks up the cover. Generico once again dumps Albright to the floor, and then hits Whitmer with the running Yakuza Kick in the corner. He wipes out Albright with a dive. Meanwhile Steen hits the Swanton to get the pin on Whitmer at 8:54.
After the match Hagadorn sneaks in the ring and throws powder in Steen and Generico’s eyes, and the Hangmen lay waste to them. It was a good idea for the Hangmen to make a statement since their leader Adam Pearce was not on the show. As for the match, it was a solid opener, as Steen and Generico made such a great babyface team.
Backstage the Hangmen 3 are bragging about winning the war rather than the battle. They say that Delirious is next.
MATCH #2: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Hallowicked
The fans try to pound the guardrails along to Claudio’s music, but they can’t get in sync. New York City has no rhythm! They take it right down to the mat and trade holds. Then they start having a CHIKARA match right before our eyes. Hallowicked lands a kick to the side of the head for a two-count. He puts Castagnoli on the top rope and slams him down for another two-count. An armdrag and a legdrop score another two-count for Hallowicked. Castagnoli comes back with a bicycle kick. He bodyslams Hallowicked and hits the crab walk elbow off the second rope. Hallowicked catches a European Uppercut and hits the Sky Hi powerbomb for two. He hits a Mafia Kick for two. He runs off the ropes and Castagnoli catches him in a kind of inverted Samoan Drop. Castagnoli hits a European Uppercut to get the pin at 5:57. That was decent while it lasted.
Larry Sweeney comes out and offers to get Castagnoli another deal with WWE. For the life of me I can’t figure out why WWE couldn’t find a use for a tall, jacked guy who can speak several languages and is generally all around awesome. Anyway, Castagnoli turns Sweeney down.
MATCH #3: Delirious vs. Davey Richards
They take it down to the mat aggressively right at the start. Delirious has some unfinished business with the No Remorse Corps, hence this match. He tries the Cobra Stretch but Richards avoids it and slides to the floor. Back in the ring they trade holds and neither man can gain a sustained advantage. Richards throws Delirious to the floor and whips him into the barricade. He bodyslams Delirious and jaws with the fans. Back in the ring Richards continues the offense, knocking Delirious down with a clothesline. Delirious avoids a charge in the corner and tries the Roots Clotheslines but Richards shrugs them off and hits a Thesz Press. Richards goes to work on the arm now. After a few minutes Delirious comes back with a drop toehold and the Panic Attack. Delirious runs all over the place and finally hits a leaping lariat for two. He follows up with the Here It Is Driver for another two-count. Richards comes back and drives Delirious into the corner. He hits a running forearm, an enziguiri, and a bridging German Suplex for a near-fall. He then locks on the Chimera and Delirious reaches the ropes. Richards tries the handspring spin kick but Delirious headbutts him in the midsection. Delirious follows up with the Cobra Clutch Suplex for two, and then locks on the Cobra Stretch. Richards rolls him over for a two-count. Delirious goes for Shadows over Hell but Richards avoids it and hits a Tombstone Piledriver. Richards then locks on the Chimera and Delirious taps out at 13:33. That one was just all over the place and they never really got a rhythm going.
Now we see more from the Age of The Fall, as Jimmy Jacobs decries the existence of Wal-Mart and how they put Mom and Pop out of business. I don’t really understand how this relates to Ring of Honor, or really wrestling at all.
MATCH #4: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – The Briscoe Brothers vs. Roderick Strong & Rocky Romero
The Briscoes have been the champions since 3.30.07 and this is their fifteenth defense. Strong is the current FIP Champion, and he wears that belt with pride. Romero and Mark start the match. They exchange a series of holds and reversals. Mark hits a solid knee strike to the chest and they’re at a standoff. Jay and Strong tag in, and Jay quickly takes the advantage and tags back in to his brother. Mark hits a vertical suplex and then tags again. This is what the Briscoes do best. Strong comes back with a chinbreaker and makes the tag. Romero and Jay slap and chop each other and Jay wins the battle. Mark tags back in and Romero backs him into the corner and tags Strong. The FIP Champion hits a dropkick for a two-count, and then Mark backs him into the corner and makes the tag. The Briscoes double-team Strong, kicking his face off in the corner. Seconds later Strong backs Jay into the corner and makes the tag. Is that all these guys are going to do? Romero and Jay have another strike battle and this time Romero wins. He hits a knee drop for a two-count. Strong tags back in. For crying out loud, Jay backs Strong into the corner and tags again. Prazak notes that neither team has been able to cut the ring in half for an extended period of time. Mark unleashes his Redneck Karate on the challengers, but they soon overpower him and start wearing him down. Strong hits a unique Tree of Woe Backbreaker, and then hurls Romero over his head to deliver a dropkick. That was cool. After a few minutes Mark makes the hot tag to Jay. Well that didn’t last long. Jay is all over both challengers, hitting a gourdbuster on Romero and a Death Valley Driver on Strong for a two-count. He goes for the Jay Driller on Strong but Romero kicks him in the head and Strong delivers an Alabama Slam. Romero tags back in and hits Jay with a DDT and then a running knee strike for two. The referee loses control, with all four guys in the ring. Jay hits the military press Death Valley Driver on Romero and Mark hits Strong with a super Ace Crusher. Romero comes back and locks Jay in the Ankle Lock, but Jay reaches the ropes. Strong hits him with the gutbuster and Jay no-sells it to hit a clothesline. Romero is on the top rope but Mark holds him back. The Briscoes hit Romero with the assisted neckbreaker. Mark tags in legally and goes for the Cutthroat Driver but Strong blocks it. They exchange chops and Mark wins it with a leg lariat. Mark follows up with a moonsault for a two-count. Jay kicks Romero to the floor, and then they hit the Springboard Doomsday Device to get the pin on Strong at 17:58. That seemed longer than it was because the first 10-12 minutes was very redundant, but the picked it up after that.
The Age of The Fall (Jimmy Jacobs, Tyler Black, and Necro Butcher, with Lacey) comes running out to attack the ROH World Tag Team Champions. Even Lacey gets in on the action, hitting both Jay and Mark with low blows. Strong and Romero get to their feet and now they want a piece of Jimmy Jacobs, Tyler Black, and the Necro Butcher. This brings out the Vulture Squad (Jack Evans, Ruckus, and Jigsaw), and it’s a gang fight!
MATCH #5: The Age of The Fall vs. The Vulture Squad
The No Remorse Cops and the Briscoes fight to the back, leaving the Vulture Squad and the Age of The Fall to battle it out. Prazak says this one is under scramble rules, which would explain why there are bodies flying all over the place. Necro starts throwing knockout punches, taking the Vultures out for the time being. Jacobs and Jigsaw end up in the ring, and Ruckus soon joins them to take the advantage. Black jumps in the ring to rescue Jacobs, and now they go to work on Ruckus. This one is hard to keep up with, as everyone is going a mile a minute here. Jacobs tries the Contra Code on Jigsaw but it gets blocked. Black comes in to make the save and Jacobs is able to lock Jigsaw in the End Time to get the win, complete with Necro ringing the bell, at 6:32. That was a ton of fun while it lasted.
The Briscoes and the No Remorse Corps make their way back out and the giant brawl continues. Lacey gets on the mic and tries to get Age of The Fall supporters to stand up, and that every woman in the building should be on their feet. Well that will give them about two supporters. Is Age of The Fall a feminist group too? I don’t understand where they’re coming from. She calls everyone’s mother a whore, and then Daizee Haze comes out to shut her up. Delirious comes out to join the fight, followed by the Hangmen 3 and then Kevin Steen & El Generico. This is just a massive fight, and of course the dives have to come in to play. The Vulture Squad ends up standing tall in the ring.
It’s intermission time, and Rebecca Bayless is backstage for something. The Briscoe Brothers bust in yelling about the Age of The Fall, and Daizee Haze joins them to tell them she’ll take care of Lacey.
MATCH #6: Top of the Class Trophy Match – Mitch Franklin vs. Ernie Osiris
Franklin won the trophy on 8.24.07, and this is his second defense. Both guys look aggressive early on as they wrestle to a standoff. Franklin takes Osiris down with a headlock and turns it into a front facelock. Osiris reaches the ropes and then goes after the arm. He hits a headscissors, a dropkick in the corner, and then a flapjack. He hits a vertical suplex and then the twisting suplex that Goldust does but it only gets a two-count. Franklin comes back with a gut wrench suplex for a two-count. He sort of hits a head scissors off the second rope (he more powerbombed himself). He charges but Osiris catches him and hits a wheelbarrow suplex and then a standing shooting star press to the back to get the pin and win the trophy at 2:58. I had no idea that Dirty Ernie could do a standing shooting star press.
MATCH #7: Best of Three Series, Third Match – Austin Aries vs. Bryan Danielson
Obviously they are tied at one win apiece in this best of three series. Aries defeated Danielson in the first match at Honor Nation in Boston, and Danielson won the second match in San Francisco at Chaos at the Cow Palace.
Everyone is chanting so loud for both men that I can barely hear the bell ring. They take it down to the mat and exchange holds and counters. As the pace quickens, Aries hits a series of armdrags and controls the arm. Danielson comes back and whips Aries into the corner. Aries tries the springboard back elbow but Danielson catches him and tries the Cross Face Chicken Wing, only for Aries to use his momentum to throw Danielson to the floor. When Aries tries the Heat Seeking Missile, Danielson gets a knee into his face. These two men know each other very well, obviously. Danielson wears Aries down, focusing on the neck. Aries tries to come back with a running knee to the face but Danielson catches it and locks him in a half crab. The versatile Danielson continues wearing Aries down with a variety of awesome moves. He ties Aries up in a Tree of Woe, and Aries kicks him in the head and then comes out with a swinging stunner. That was cool. Aries fires up and hits the Stroke and an elbow drop to the back of the neck for two. He shoves Danielson to the floor and hits the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries tries a quebrada but Danielson gets his knees up and then traps Aries in a Triangle Choke! Aries makes it to the bottom rope. Danielson goes to the airplane spin but Aries slips out and hits the shinbreaker/back suplex combo. Aries tries the IED but Danielson kicks him right in the face. They take the fight to the apron and exchange forearms. Danielson wins the battle and goes up for a missile dropkick. He hits it and nips up to his feet. Aries no sells the dropkick and nips up to his feet, and then both men knock each other out with forearm strikes. They get back to their feet and Danielson hits the running knee strike to the chest. Danielson tries the super back suplex but Aries falls on top for a two-count and Danielson rolls that over for a two-count of his own, and then locks on the Cattle Mutilation! Aries powers his way out and hits a series of elbows to the face. Danielson pops out of the corner with a sort of Tiger Suplex for two, and then rolls that into the elbow strikes! He tries Cattle Mutilation again but Aries falls on top for a two-count. Back on their feet Aries tries a backslide but can’t keep the shoulders down. Aries instead hits a kick to the head and then a DDT. He locks on the Last Chancery (how he won the first match) and accentuates it with knee strikes. He picks Danielson up and Danielson gets a Small Package (how he won the second match) for two! Aries counters that with the brainbuster and then the 450 Splash to get the pin and win the series at 17:19. Danielson is the guy who brings out the best in Aries and this match was no exception. They did cool offensive maneuvers, countered each other awesomely, called back to their previous matches in this series, and just generally rocked it.
We go back to the Age of The Fall. Jacobs is still talking about the ills of society, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I don’t understand how getting the ROH Tag Team Titles will allow them to fix anything. I’m as big a fan of Jimmy Jacobs as anybody but the Age of The Fall had trouble getting off the ground because no one understood the message.
Before the main event can start, Larry Sweeney comes out with Chris Hero, Sara Del Rey, and Bobby Dempsey. Sweeney says that since Hero won Survival of the Fittest, he is owed a title shot. He put a clause in the contract that says Hero gets the shot whenever and wherever he wants it, and he wants it RIGHT NOW. This actually would have been a great time to put the belt on Hero for a short run and then give it back to Nigel as soon as he was ready. He still could have done the same angle and same heel turn that he did. Anyway, Nigel makes his way out in street clothes. He starts talking about how upset he is that he can’t wrestle tonight on this once in a lifetime show. The crowd starts to turn on him for being injured. Dicks. Sweeney makes Hero attack Dempsey to show Nigel what he would do to him. He repeatedly calls Nigel a “fluke,” goading the champion into accepting the match!
MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Chris Hero
McGuinness has been the champion since 10.6.07 and this is his second defense. Hero hits a big boot and almost gets a pinfall right off the bat! Nigel rolls to the floor and Hero goes right out after him and viciously attacks the arm. Hero mocks Nigel by putting his t-shirt on, and then continues to focus on the injured arm. The challenger is awfully confident. Hero misses a charge in the corner and Nigel kicks him in the back and hits a lariat with his non injured arm. He can’t sustain any offense though and Hero goes right back to work on the arm. Hero hits a Blockbuster for two, and then jumps off the top rope to lock on a Cravat. Nigel fights out of it and hits a European Uppercut. He charges into the corner and Hero gets a boot up. Nigel fights back with a right arm lariat for two. Hero rolls to the floor and Nigel follows him out. Nigel hits another lariat and a couple of chops up against the ring post. Sweeney distracts him, allowing Hero to right back after the arm. Back in the ring Hero locks on an arm submission and the crowd smells a new champion. The idiot referee is out of position and doesn’t see Nigel’s foot on the bottom rope, so when Nigel taps out he declares Hero the new champion at 7:25. Turner then turns around and sees the foot on the rope and declares that the match must continue. Nigel has some time to recover, and he hits a Tower of London on the floor! He then throws Hero’s arm repeatedly into the barricade. Back in the ring Nigel hits a huge lariat and then locks Hero in the London Dungeon and Hero taps out at 9:05! That was a tremendous performance from the injured champion, and the crowd appreciates him for it.
Backstage Sweeney and Hero are apoplectic about the loss. They are equally pissed at Nigel McGuinness and referee Paul Turner. Now it’s time for the main event for real.
MATCH #9: Mitsuharu Misawa & KENTA vs. Takeshi Morishima & Naomichi Marufuji
In the interest of full disclosure, I have not seen a lot of Japanese wrestling, so while I understand what a legend Misawa is and how cool it is to have him in the United States it doesn’t personally do a lot for me, if that makes sense. The match was a 30-minute time limit.
KENTA and Marufuji start the match and immediately trade forearms. They go 100 miles per hour briefly, and then pull back to reassess the situation. KENTA grabs a single leg and takes Marufuji down to the canvas. Marufuji reverses to a headscissors and KENTA rolls to the ropes. He backs KENTA into their corner and tags Morishima, who calls out the legend. Misawa officially enters his first American ring to thunderous chants. It takes a couple of shots to knock Morishima off his feet, and the former ROH World Champion rolls to the floor. Back in the ring Misawa takes Morishima down and locks on a chinlock. Misawa backs Morishima into the corner and tags KENTA, who reprises the chinlock. I’m surprised that Morishima is taking the heat. Just as I type that Morishima powers KENTA into his corner on the top rope and tags Marufuji, who hits a dropkick to the face. Marufuji works a sleeper, but KENTA breaks it with a back suplex and tags Misawa back in. Misawa continues working on Marufuji’s head and neck, and then levels him with a forearm for two. KENTA comes back in and he works Marufuji over with kicks. He drapes Marufuji over the top rope and hits a flying knee to the back of the head for two. He takes Marufuji back down and locks on a headscissors. Misawa comes back in and hits a monkey flip. Ten minutes have gone by.
KENTA switches up the strategy on Marufuji, taking him down into a leglock. Morishima comes in illegally to break it up. KENTA pays him back with a sizable kick to the face. Finally after a long time of getting beaten up, Marufuji makes the tag. Morishima blasts Misawa with a missile dropkick but only gets two. He signals for the Back Drop Driver but Misawa blocks it and the trade forearms. Misawa takes Morishima down with a spinning kick and then tags out. Morishima absorbs a couple of KENTA’s kicks and hits one of his own. KENTA comes right back with his own boot to the face and a leg lariat for a two-count as 15 minutes have gone by. KENTA tries a bodyslam but Morishima falls on top of him. Marufuji comes flying in from out of nowhere with a Frog Splash and then throws KENTA to the floor. He whips him into the barricade and hits an Ole Dropkick. Morishima goes to the floor as well and hits an Ole Butt-Butt. Back in the ring Marufuji and Morishima wear KENTA down and keep him away from tagging his partner. We cross the 20 minute mark as Morishima hits a side slam for two.
KENTA finally comes back with a hard kick to Morishima’s chest and finally makes the tag. Misawa goes up top for a diving forearm on Morishima and sets up for the Tiger Driver. Morishima blocks it and hits a Butt-Butt. Marufuji tags in and he gets some offense in. He hits a superkick and signals for the Shiranui but Misawa blocks it and hits a butterfly suplex. KENTA tags back in and he’s in control. Marufuji and Morishima regroup and send Misawa to the floor so they can double-team KENTA. It sort of backfires, but when KENTA tries a German Suplex, Morishima crashes down on him with all of his weight. Misawa gets back in the ring but Marufuji immediately nails him with a superkick to send him to the floor. The match is breaking down as 25 minutes have gone by. KENTA hits Marufuji with a Tiger Suplex for a two-count. Everyone hits a move on someone and all four men are down, as the time limit is winding down. KENTA and Marufuji are left in the ring and they trade kicks. Marufuji wins the battle and kicks KENTA’s face down in the canvas, and then nailing him with a hard superkick. He tries the Shiranui but KENTA counters it and hits Go 2 Sleep! Marufuji gets his foot on the bottom rope. Marufuji comes back with the Dragon Screw leg whip for a two-count. KENTA comes back with backslide for two, and an inside cradle for two as we’re down to a minute left. They exchange a series of pinning combinations but neither man can get the three-count. Tags are made and the big men trade forearms. Morishima hits a big lariat for two. Misawa comes back and sets Morishima on the top rope, and the 30:00 time limit expires. The crowd is not impressed with that finish, and neither am I. Why book a 30 minute draw in a one-off main event? Why couldn’t Marufuji job to Misawa or even KENTA? Other than that the match was pretty solid but nothing spectacular. The real draw of the match is Misawa’s mere presence, so if that does it for you, you’ll probably enjoy the match more than I did.
We close with more footage from the Age of The Fall. Now they’re at the Liberty Bell, and Jacobs bemoans the fact that you have to pay to get in to see it. A great symbol of freedom has been reduced to a mere tourist attraction.