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Manhattan Center– New York City, New York – August 25, 2007
Backstage – Adam Pearce, BJ Whitmer, and Brent Albright are shaving Shane Hagadorn’s head and getting ready for their big six-man tag team match against Delirious, Nigel McGuinness, and Pelle Primeau.
MATCH #1: The Resilience vs. Jigsaw & Mike Quackenbush
Erick Stevens and Matt Cross represent The Resilience tonight. Quackenbush and Stevens start. They chain wrestle and Stevens quickly shows his power advantage. Quackenbush responds with his superior technical acumen. Tags are made and Cross and Jigsaw go back and forth at a rapid rate. Cross gets the better of it and tags the powerhouse Stevens back into the match. The Resilience is totally in control, keeping Jigsaw isolated in their half of the ring. Cross goes for a split-legged moonsault but Jigsaw gets his knees up. Tags are made and Quackenbush takes it to Stevens. The referee loses control a bit and all four men are in the ring. Jigsaw hits Stevens with a rana off the top rope and Quackenbush follows with a Swanton Bomb for two. Jigsaw misses a guillotine legdrop. Once again the referee loses control and the five-second rule falls by the wayside. Stevens hits Jigsaw with a belly-to-back suplex and Cross follows with a corkscrew moonsault for a two-count. Jigsaw is able to make a tag and Quackenbush is a house afire, focusing on Cross and locking him in a Cross Armbreaker. Cross gets to the ropes and then avoids a charge in the corner. Stevens tags himself in and starts throwing everybody around. He hits Jigsaw with the pop-up clothesline and the Doctor Bomb to get the pin at 12:26. That was a righteous opener, with hot action from four guys the crowd was into. Stevens definitely stood out with his superior power, but everyone else complimented each other’s styles and set the tone for the night.
MATCH #2: Jimmy Jacobs vs. Mitch Franklin
Franklin won the Top of the Class Trophy last night by defeating Pelle Primeau. He earned this match against Jacobs with that victory as well. Jacobs made his return last night after being out since March with a win over Rhett Titus. Franklin shows no fear, taking it to Jacobs with a headlock and then arm-dragging him to the floor. Back in the ring Jacobs takes control so Franklin dropkicks his knee. The crowd boos but hey, that’s just good strategy. Franklin continues showing no intimidation. He goes up to the top rope for what appears to be a missile dropkick attempt but Jacobs slices him out of the air with a clothesline. Jacobs goes to work now and keeps Franklin grounded. Franklin gets a quick crucifix for a two-count, and then drives Jacobs’ head into the second turnbuckle with a headscissors for a two-count. He keeps up the pressure but Jacobs is able to stick him on the top rope into the Tree of Woe. Jacobs hits the dropkick and then goes up top to hit the back senton. He locks on the End Time and Franklin taps at 5:15. That was a decent little showing for Franklin and a fine way to ease Jacobs back from major surgery.
Backstage – Jack Evans is excited to finally have the triple threat match between himself, Austin Aries, and Roderick Strong. Too bad Alex Shelley couldn’t be there to do a four-way. Evans also says he has found someone who can motivate and hype him up for tonight’s match.
MATCH #3: Adam Pearce, Brent Albright & BJ Whitmer vs. Delirious, Nigel McGuinness & Pelle Primeau
The Hangman 3 have Shane Hagadorn in their corner. Pearce cuts a quick promo about how Whitmer joined their group last night and stapled Delirious’ mask to his face. That brings Delirious out, who doesn’t even wait for his partners to start the brawl. All six competitors fight in the ring but four of them quickly spill to the floor, leaving Delirious and Pearce in the ring. Delirious takes control and his team all gets a chance to work Pearce over. Pearce fights back with a chokeslam on Delirious, and now the Hangmen take over on the masked man. After several minutes of abuse, Delirious hits Whitmer with a headscissors off the top rope. McGuinness gets the hot tag and he’s a flat afire. Hagadorn tries to interfere but he gets slaughtered with a lariat. McGuinness is throwing lariats at everything Hangmen. Delirious takes Pearce to the floor with a clothesline and follows him out with an elbow from the apron. McGuinness hits Whitmer with the Tower of London with Primeau adding a double stomp to the back from the top rope. Primeau covers for two. The referee has lost control of this one. Albright hits McGuinness with a half nelson suplex to take him out. Delirious hits Albright with the Panic Attack. Pearce hits Delirious with the Rack Bomb. Primeau hits a seated senton and double stomp on Pearce. Whitmer takes Primeau’s head off with a big boot and then hits a Tombstone Piledriver to get the win at 11:34. That was a good high energy tag match with very little resting and a hot crowd. The Hangmen 3 started off pretty good didn’t they?
The Hangmen 3 plus Hagadorn continue to assault Primeau after the bell, murdering him with powerbombs. McGuinness finally recovers and runs them off with a chair.
The ROH – NOAH Relationship Grows
ROH owner Cary Silkin and NOAH representative Ryo Nakata make their way out to the ring. They stand there as Bobby Cruise announces that when ROH returns to New York City in November for Glory By Honor, NOAH superstars KENTA, Naomichi Marufuji, ROH World Champion Takeshi Morishima, and Mitsuharu Misawa will all be on the card.
Backstage – Delirious cuts one of his gibberish promos, and he is very angry at the Hangmen 3 for what they have done to him and Pelle Primeau, I think.
MATCH #4: Davey Richards vs. PAC
They start with some chain wrestling and take it right to the mat. Richards unleashes a series of strikes to the back of the head and the face, showing his aggressive side. PAC fights back and Richards regroups on the floor. Back in the ring they continue the chain wrestling. PAC hits a dropkick and Richards goes to the floor again. Back inside they trade some chops and PAC actually wins that battle. PAC sends Richards to the floor with a belly-to-back suplex, and he follows out with an absurd corkscrew plancha from the top rope. Back in the ring PAC continues to control the match and show off his aerial prowess. Richards uses kicks to fight back and simply picks PAC up and rams him into the corner. He unleashes strikes, including a big clothesline. Richards hits a bridging German Suplex for two, and he holds on to hit a straightjacket suplex for another two-count. They fight up on the top rope and PAC knocks Richards down. PAC comes down with a shooting star press, landing on a standing Richards’ back. He hits a bridging German Suplex for two, and Richards turns that right into the Chimera Lock. PAC counters that to a cradle for a near-fall. Both men get up and PAC hits a step-up enziguiri and a reverse rana for a close two-count. PAC goes up top and hits a somersault into a rana for two. He goes back up top and Richards knocks him down. Richards tries a German Superplex but PAC lands on his feet. PAC charges into the corner and misses, ramming his shoulder into the post. Richards then hits a Tombstone Piledriver and locks on the Kimura with neckscissors to get the tap out victory at 12:40. I remember hearing that match was a disaster, but I have no idea what would make people say that. It wasn’t mind-blowing, and the two would have a much better match today, but this was totally acceptable with some good work from both guys.
MATCH #5: Triple Threat Match – Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong vs. Jack Evans
Evans introduces the man he brought in to motivate him, and says he is the first of what will be more to come for the Vulture Squad. That man is Julius Smokes. You know, I really hate Smokes and think he detracts from everything he’s involved in. He’s not good. I expect a lot of fast paced action in this one. Strong immediately tosses Aries to the floor and goes after Evans. Aries makes his way back in and he and Evans work together on Strong since he’s the jerk in all of this. Of course it doesn’t take long for Evans and Aries to take it to each other, since this is every man for himself. Evans sends Aries to the floor and tries a rana on Strong but Strong catches him and drops him with a huge powerbomb right on the floor. Strong sets up a table between the apron and the barricade. Aries avoids going through it and the battle resumes back in the ring. Strong hits a reverse F-5 for a two-count when Evans breaks it up. The action continues to be fast paced and hard to keep up with, as all three men are trying to establish dominance. Evans and Strong fight on the top rope near the table but still no one goes through it. Strong is looking the best, hitting Aries with the gutbuster and locking on the Stronghold. Evans breaks it up with a reverse rana. Strong gets sent to the floor and Aries accidentally clotheslines the referee. Aries this Evans with the Brainbuster and goes up top, but Strong pushes him off and Aries crashes through the table! Davey Richards makes his way out to help Strong beat on Evans. Smokes calls out Transform for some reason, and Ruckus makes his way out to officially join The Vulture Squad. Oh, goody. Aries recovers and gets back in the ring to question Evans about his new group. Evans and Ruckus double-team Aries, bringing Matt Cross and Erick Stevens out to come to their leader’s aid. The match has turned into complete mayhem, and I mean that in a good way. Everyone winds up on the floor except Strong and Aries, who duke it out. Strong hits Aries with a low blow and then blasts him with a chair across the back. He follows up with the Sick Kick and goes for the Gibson Driver but Stevens sneaks in and hits Strong with the chair. Aries hits Strong with the kick to the head, the Brainbuster, and the 450 Splash to get the pin at 14:42. That was a lot of fun and the overbooking in this case made sense and added to the match rather than taking away from it. It did a good job setting up faction warfare, which didn’t turn out all that great but sounded good on paper and was a good idea at least.
Intermission – Rebecca Bayless is with Jimmy Jacobs, and she asks him about the condition of his knee. Jacobs says this weekend was good for him, and there weren’t a lot good ones in the previous five months. He says that he has a new purpose in ROH, and fans will find out what that is very soon.
Elsewhere – The Resilience is firing each other up about what just happened. Aries says that all bets are off. He reminds everyone how dirty he used to be, and he can be again.
MATCH #6: Ruckus vs. Eddie Edwards
Edwards has the ridiculous looking dreadlocks here. Ruckus fakes out on a handshake and Edwards takes offense so here we go. This is Ruckus’ debut match in ROH. Ruckus sends Edwards to the floor and goes for a dive but misses and lands on his feet. He drills Edwards with a boot to the face and hen a shooting star press off the apron. Back in the ring Ruckus misses a handspring elbow and Edwards this the Chin Checker for two. Edwards hits a clothesline for another two-count. He delivers a delayed vertical suplex for two. Ruckus fights back with a pop-up enziguiri. Both men rise and trade strikes. Ruckus takes Edwards down and hits a twisting body press for two. He slams Edwards down and tries the moonsault legdrop but Edwards catches him and rolls him up for two. Edwards hits an enziguiri and the overhead belly-to-back suplex for a near-fall. Ruckus comes back with a rolling Fisherman Suplex for two. They fight up on the top rope and Ruckus drops Edwards down. Ruckus then hits a Corkscrew press to get the pin at 6:09. That was a decent little sprint to come back from intermission with. I’m not a huge Ruckus fan but this was fine.
MATCH #7: Chris Hero vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Hero has Larry Sweeney, Sara Del Rey, and Bobby Dempsey in his corner. Castagnoli doesn’t want to wait to get this grudge match underway. He is a house afire right away and Hero tries to avoid him. The battle spills to the floor and Hero is able to avoid a charge and Castagnoli crashes into the barricade. Hero boots Castagnoli into the crowd. Castagnoli tries to climb back in the ring but Sweeney pulls him down and Del Rey delivers a kick to the chest. Daizee Haze comes out to offer some assistance but she and Castagnoli are still outnumbered. Back in the ring Hero goes to work, wearing Castagnoli down. After several minutes Castagnoli knocks Hero to the floor and follows him out with a wicked dive. Back in the ring Castagnoli executes the Giant Swing and hits a huge European Uppercut for two. Castagnoli goes for the Alpamare Water Slide but Hero slips out and hits a boot to the face and a neckbreaker. Hero then hits a cravat neckbreaker for two. Castagnoli responds with a nice springboard European Uppercut and the Alpamare Water Slide for a near-fall. He hits the Match Killer but misses a Bicycle Kick. Hero hits a rolling elbow and a release German Suplex. He hits a release vertical suplex for two. Hero goes up top but Castagnoli cuts him off with a European Uppercut. Castagnoli hits a running headscissors to take Hero down, and then decks him with a bicycle kick for a two-count. They trade forearm shots and backslide attempts. Hero hits the cravat neckbreaker from the second rope. He goes up top and hits a double stomp but only gets two! Hero goes for the Hero’s Welcome but Castagnoli avoids it and hits a huge diving European Uppercut from the top rope. Castagnoli hits the Riccola Bomb to get the pin at 15:59. Dave Prazak calls that a definitive win and that Castagnoli proved he was the better man. That would seem to end the feud, but somehow it went on for another four to six months. AS for the match, it was good and all, but these two just never seemed to have that electric chemistry as opponents that they do as partners.
Backstage – Claudio Castagnoli reiterates what Dave Prazak said, that he earned a decisive win tonight and that the issue with Hero is over. It certainly was not.
MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match – Takeshi Morishima vs. Bryan Danielson
Morishima has been the Champion since 2.17.07, and this is his sixteenth defense. This is Danielson’s first shot at the title since losing it to Homicide back at Final Battle 2006. Danielson goes after the legs early on, and Morishima responds by using his superior size and strength. After a few tentative minutes, Danielson traps Morishima in the corner and unloads on him with kicks and forearms. Morishima responds in kind and traps Danielson in the corner to unleash a series of strikes on him. One of the shots actually resulted in a legitimate detached retina, which is a pretty gnarly injury. The battle spills to the floor and Morishima is dominating. Danielson avoids a charge against the guardrail and dumps Morishima into the crowd. He goes back into the ring and leaps off the top rope to wipe Morishima out to the chants of “holy shit” from the audience. Back at ringside Danielson targets the Champion’s left leg, even hitting it with a steel chair. Danielson throws Morishima back in the ring and hits a missile dropkick. Morishima doesn’t even go down! Danielson unleashes kicks but then runs right into a huge clothesline by the Champ. Morishima goes for the Back Drop Driver but Danielson falls on top of him for a near-fall. Danielson tries a flurry of strikes but Morishima shrugs them off. Morishima goes for the butt-butt and Danielson counters with a kick to the leg to take him down. Danielson locks on a leg submission and Morishima counters it into a release German Suplex. Morishima hits a uranage slam for two. He goes up top and Danielson joins him. Morishima knocks him back and goes for the missile dropkick but Danielson avoids it. Danielson puts on another leg submission hold and Morishima reaches the ropes. Morishima fights back with a Thesz Press and punches away. Danielson counters to a half crab. Morishima kicks his way out of it and both men are down. Back on their feet Danielson scores a small package for a near-fall. A schoolboy rollup gets another two-count. Danielson tries a sunset flip and Morishima drops down on his chest for a two-count. Morishima tries a clothesline but Danielson ducks and hits a bridging German Suplex for two! That’s impressive. Danielson unleashes the elbows to the face and Morishima powers out of it and gets to his feet. The tenacious challenger then kicks the Champion back down. Danielson then kicks Morishima’s head in. He covers but only gets two. Danielson puts on Cattle Mutilation and Morishima reaches the ropes. They go up top and Danielson goes for a belly-to-back superplex but Morishima reverses the momentum and crashes down on Danielson’s chest. Both men rise and slug it out. Morishima wins that battle but Danielson will not give in. Morishima murders him with a lariat and gets two. He hits the Back Drop Driver to finally get the pin at 20:18. These two had a special kind of chemistry that is rare, because every time they were in the ring together something special happened. Danielson deserves tons of credit for working the match with a detached retina of all things. He had a good strategy that he stuck to through the entire match, but Morishima was just able to overpower him through sheer force of awesome. The crowd was with them the entire way, and Danielson actually apologizes to them after the match for not being able to get the job done. This is one of the best matches of 2007.
Backstage – Larry Sweeney says the feud between Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli is far from over. Sweeney says he has Castagnoli right where he wants him.
MATCH #9: Two Out of Three Falls ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico
The Briscoes have been the Champions since 3.30.07, and this is their twelfth defense. Steen and Generico attack right away and away we go. Everyone goes right to the floor, with Generico battling Mark and Jay fighting Steen. Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard put over how the Briscoes have won six straight falls in two-out-of-three falls matches. Mark gets busted open early by the steel barricade. Those things are dangerous man. The Briscoes use the barricades to take Steen out, and then they throw Generico in the ring to double-team him. Order is finally restored and the Briscoes are kicking Generico’s ass legally. Steen enters the ring illegally and that allows Generico to make the tag. The challengers work on Jay for a few minutes until the elder Brisco catches Steen with a flipping neckbreaker out of the corner. Mark gets the hot tag and he is a house afire. The momentum continues to shift back and forth between these evenly matched teams. Mark hits Generico with a moonsault and then wipes out Steen with a somersault dive to the floor. Jay follows with a Frog Splash on Generico and the Briscoes win their seventh consecutive fall at 11:03. The entire fall was pretty much non-stop action.
Right at the start of the second fall the Briscoes double-biel Generico over the top rope to the floor, right on top of Steen! Back in the ring Steen is going solo and the Briscoes take advantage of it. Generico battles his way back to the apron and pulls the ropes down to send Mark crashing to the floor. Jay takes offense and boots Generico off the apron, and then hits Steen with a Death Valley Driver on the apron! Generico then hits Jay with a Tornado DDT on the floor. Mark then hits an insane hurricanrana over the top rope to Generico on the apron that sends them both crashing to the floor. Back in the ring Mark and Steen trade strikes. Mark hits a leg lariat and both men make tags. Jay hits a gourdbuster and goes up top. Generico pops up (I hate that) and goes for the Super Brainbuster but Jay fights him off. Mark sneaks in with the Springboard Super Ace Crusher and Jay follows with a guillotine legdrop for a two-count. The Briscoes go for the Doomsday Device but Steen saves his partner and Generico gets a quick victory roll for two. Generico hits the running Yakuza Kick and rolls Jay up but can only get two. Steen tags in and goes for the Swanton but Jay gets his knees up. Mark tags in and they immediately go to the floor. He tries a hurricanrana off the apron but Steen catches him and powerbombs him onto the apron. Steen then grabs Jay and powerbombs him into the barricade! Generico throws Mark back in the ring and hits a Superfly Splash. Steen follows with the Swanton but still they only get two. The referee loses control and bodies are flying all over the place. Steen hits Mark with a lariat and goes up top but misses the moonsault. Mark hits an exploder suplex but Steen shrugs it off and they trade kicks. The Briscoes double-team Steen and hit the springboard Doomsday Device but Steen kicks out! Generico boots Jay in the back of the head to send him to the floor. Steen traps Mark in the Tree of Woe and Generico flies in with a coast-to-coast flipping dropkick. Then Steen this the Package Piledriver and Generic goes for the Brainbuster but Jay makes the save. Jay hits Steen with the Jay Driller and Mark nails the Cutthroat Driver and that’s enough to get the pin and keep the steak alive at eight at 24:44. These guys are absolutely nuts. They went balls to the wall for almost 25 minutes and they had a great storyline thread going throughout the match with Steen and Generico trying to be the first team to take a fall from the Briscoes in a two out of three falls match. This is an overlooked gem for sure.
Tags: Bryan Danielson, El Generico, Jay Briscoe, Kevin Steen, Manhattan Mayhem, Mark Briscoe, Ring of Honor, ROH, Takeshi Morishima