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January 8, 2013
You know him now as Seth Rollins, one of three men that are collectively SHIELDing WWE from injustices. Before that was his life’s mission, Rollins was known as Tyler Black on the independent circuit. A former ROH World Champion and two-time ROH World Tag Team Champion, Black had a hugely successful run in the company that propelled him to the greater stardom he enjoys today.
Black debuted and immediately made an impact at the Man Up! pay-per-view in Chicago Ridge. After the Briscoes successfully defended their Tag Team Titles against Kevin Steen & El Generico in the initial Ladder War, Black, Jimmy Jacobs, and The Necro Butcher burst through the crowd and decimated the brothers from Sandy Fork, DE. The trio known as The Age of The Fall hung Jay from the ceiling and Jacobs cut a promo while Jay bled all over him. It was a grisly and effective debut, and set off a feud that would go on for the better part of a year. Unfortunately, ROH made the decision to have the trio wrestle that night as well, and a Tyler Black versus Jack Evans singles match was transformed into a meaningless no-contest with Jack Evans & Irish Airborne in a six-man tag. This unfortunate match aside, Age of The Fall was ready to run rampant over Ring of Honor.
Showing skill as both a tag team and singles performer, Black would alternate between the two in the following months. Black & Jacobs defeated Jack Evans & Ruckus at the Undeniable pay-per-view, and Black followed that with a loss to a man that he would go on to face many times, Austin Aries, at Unscripted III. Black rebounded in a big way as he and Jacobs captured the ROH World Tag Team Titles for the first time by beating Jay & Mark Briscoe at Final Battle 2007 in the main event. The duo then successfully defended the belts against the Briscoes, Brent Albright & BJ Whitmer, and Jack Evans & Jigsaw in an Ultimate Endurance Match at Proving Ground.
Black’s stock as a singles star continued to rise, and he was put in a series of matches with ROH Legend Bryan Danielson. Black lost their first encounter at Breakout, but once again showed great recuperative powers by winning a Four Corner Survival over Delirious, Claudio Castagnoli, and Go Shiozaki at the Take No Prisoners pay-per-view. That win earned him a shot at ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness later that night. After a brilliant match and an unbelievable effort from Black, McGuinness was able to capture the win. It was one of the best matches of 2008. Though unsuccessful, Black was now a superstar in the eyes of the fans and began to be pegged as a future ROH World Champion.
Continuing to mix singles and tag team matches, Black kept moving up the ranks. Jacobs & Black defeated the Briscoes in their best match against each other in a Relaxed Rules Match at Supercard of Honor III, but Black dropped another heartbreaker to Bryan Danielson at Southern Navigation. Black bounced back like he had become known to do, as he and Jacobs captured the vacant ROH World Tag Team Titles for a second time by defeating Kevin Steen & El Generico in a tournament final at Up For Grabs. They made successful defenses against Bryan Danielson & Austin Aries at the Respect Is Earned II pay-per-view and Naomichi Marufuji and Go Shiozaki at Fueling the Fire.
Black’s quest for the ROH World Championship continued as he joined Champion Nigel McGuinness, Claudio Castagnoli, and Bryan Danielson for an elimination match at Death Before Dishonor VI. McGuinness was ultimately successful once again, but Black put in another show-stealing performance in almost snagging the gold. Black suffered another defeat, this time at the hands of El Generico, at Night of the Butcher II. This loss portended Generico & Kevin Steen finally winning the Tag Team Titles from Black & Jacobs at Driven 2008.
As always, Black picked himself up and resumed pursuing the ROH World Title. Black found himself crossing paths with Austin Aries again, finally defeating him at Wrestling at the Gateway. Aries came back and won a #1 Contender’s Match at Final Battle 2008, but it was the post-match antics that made more headlines. Jimmy Jacobs turned on Black after the match and beat him down. Aries ran back in with a chair and was going to hit Jacobs, but instead turned around and blasted Black with the chair, bloodying his head and leaving him in a heap.
Not to be deterred by Aries’ shocking actions, Black challenged McGuinness once again, this time defeating him in a non-title match at Full Circle. He followed that up by wrestling Jerry Lynn to a 20 minute draw at Motor City Madness 2009, and then earning a win over Davey Richards at Proving Ground 2009 Night 1. Black then made history by defeating Jimmy Jacobs in the main event of the first episode of ROH on HDNet.
For full match reviews and star ratings, visit my good friend Kevin Ford at 100% Fordified.
“Tyler Black: God’s Last Gift” is a thorough and well-rounded representation of Tyler Black’s first year and a half with Ring of Honor. Black squared off with some of the biggest names in ROH, including Nigel McGuinness, Bryan Danielson, Austin Aries, Jimmy Jacobs, El Generico, and the Briscoes, and most of the matches presented here are of high quality. Since it cuts off in early 2009 and Black was with the company until late 2010, I can surmise that a Volume 2 is in the works, and that should be great too. For now, you can pick up “God’s Last Gift” at the ROH Shop.
Tags: Jimmy Jacobs, Ring of Honor, ROH, Tyler Black