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New York City, New York – June 13, 2009
We open backstage with Rhett Titus and Kenny King, and Titus is just killing me at this point. I know it’s over the top and whatever, but there’s no semblance of reality in the way he acts. King promises to take care of the Young Bucks tonight.
Austin Aries Promo
Out in the ring, the Number One Contender Austin Aries comes out to badmouth New York, and uses 9/11 to get cheap heat. He promises to defeat Jerry Lynn and win the ROH World Title for a second time. He then does the ring announcing for his charges, Rhett Titus & Kenny King, as they make their way out for the opening match.
MATCH #1: The Young Bucks vs. Rhett Titus & Kenny King
King and Titus try to attack before the bell but the brothers Jackson are prepared for it and they take control. They first target Titus and hit a couple of maneuvers on him before Titus cuts Nick off and goes over to tag King. The Austin Aries-endorsed team works Nick over for a bit before Nick makes the tag to Matt and the pace instantly quickens. King is able to prevent a double-team move on Titus and sends both the Bucks to the floor. Back in the ring Titus goes to work on Matt. Leonard says that Titus has “all the skills in the world,” which I guess doesn’t leave any skills for anyone else. After a few minutes of abuse, Matt makes the comeback and tags his brother Nick. Once again the pace quickens, and Nick makes a tag to Matt from the apron, which I’m pretty sure is illegal. The match breaks down to a brawl, with all four men in the ring. The referee isn’t even trying to regain control. Eventually the Bucks hit More Bang for Your Buck on Titus to get the win at 8:27. The crowd was into it so it was an effective opener, but so far for me the Young Bucks are all just moves.
MATCH #2: Necro Butcher vs. Jimmy Rave
I miss Jade Chung as the footstool. I don’t understand why Ernie Osiris wears shoes around his neck in addition to on his feet. Prince Nana cuts a brief promo before the match, and then Necro comes charging out. Necro knocks Osiris and Nana down, and Rave tries to escape. Rave doesn’t get too far before Necro catches up to him on the floor and goes to work on him. Necro has been dominating Rave outside the ring for well over two minutes, even though ROH has a 20-count on the floor now. He slams Rave crotch-first into the ring post, and then tries to bring a chair in the ring. Nana distracts the referee and Osiris distracts Necro, allowing Rave to use the chair on Necro’s knee. Rave viciously attacks the knee, but Necro won’t give in. Necro comes back with a monkey flip and a couple of strikes, but Rave goes for the leg and locks on the Heel Hook. Rave pulls Necro away from the ropes but Necro counters with a small package out of nowhere to get the pin at 6:04. At least it was short. I mean, these guys are feuding because Necro Butcher and Grizzly Redwood both have beards? Nana and Osiris jump into the ring and they triple-team Necro. Eventually Colt Cabana comes out for the save. What took him so long?
The Nature Boy Comes to the Big Apple
Ric Flair comes out for his usual autopilot promo, putting over Ring of Honor and all that. He hypes up the show, especially the World Title match between Austin Aries and Jerry Lynn. He spends a lot of time talking to a hot girl in the crowd, and the crack ROH camera team doesn’t even both to show the girl’s reactions. Thanks for nothing guys. Speaking of thanks for nothing, Flair says nothing of note and then heads back to the locker room. I would love to get his appearance fee to do absolutely nothing.
MATCH #3: Roderick Strong vs. Sonjay Dutt
I feel like these two crossed paths in TNA at some point during Strong’s short stint there. Both men are Babyfaces, so they engage in some nice clean chain wrestling to start. Strong is coming off a win in Four Corner Survival last night, while Dutt lost to Jimmy Jacobs. They trade moves and Dutt gets the advantage with a headscissors and does the Jarrett strut. That’s so played dude. Dutt stays on offense for a bit, until Strong catches him out of the air with a backbreaker. He can pretty much do that from anywhere. Strong goes to work now with his high-impact offense, illustrating the style difference between these two. The battle spills to the floor, where Strong rams Dutt’s back into the ring post twice, and then slams him hard to the floor. Back in the ring Strong continues to work on the back. Dutt comes back with an Octopus Hold, but Strong counters it with a slam. Strong goes for a gutbuster but Dutt counters and clotheslines Strong against the top rope, and then hits a springboard seated senton. Back to their feet Strong runs right into a boot, and Dutt unleashes a flurry of offense ending in a slingshot legdrop for two. Dutt gloats and then hits a quebrada for two. Strong comes back with a backbreaker out of nowhere for two. Another backbreaker gets another two-count. He goes for the Stronghold but Dutt reaches the ropes, and then uses his legs to send Strong to the floor. Dutt tries a moonsault off the barricade and gets caught, but then turns it into a DDT! He immediately throws Strong back in the ring for a two-count, and then he locks on a Camel Clutch. Strong powers out of it and hits the running Yakuza Kick for two. Prazak says Strong has gotten victories with that move in recent months, but I don’t recall that actually happening. Strong goes for the Tiger Driver, but it leads to a series of reversals, ending with Dutt hitting a headscissors and a standing Shooting Star Press for two. For some reason at this point he references Sabu, and then goes up top. He misses a 450 Splash and Strong hits the gutbuster. Strong follows with a huge backbreaker and the Tiger Driver to get the pin at 12:52. Dutt appears to be trying really hard to get over with this crowd, and while I appreciate the idea, his methods aren’t really doing it for me. Strong was his usual self.
MATCH #4: First Blood Match – Jimmy Jacobs vs. Tyler Black
Before Black can even get in the ring Jacobs leaps over the top rope and wipes him out. They fight up by the ramp and Black hits a Suplex. Back at ringside Black throws Jacobs around, while referee Paul Turner tries to coax them into the ring. Jacobs comes back and throws Black into the guardrail and into the crowd. Black comes back with a leaping lariat off the guardrail and once again tries to throw Jacobs into the ring, but Jacobs resists. Jacobs throws Black face-first into the ring post, and Black comes back by throwing Jacobs into the guardrail. Black hits a moonsault off the barricade, but when he goes to set up a table, Jacobs grabs a screwdriver from under the ring. They fight up on the top turnbuckle and Jacobs avoids a Suplex by hitting Black with the screwdriver. They finally get back in the ring to officially start the match. However, Black is already bleeding, so the match is declared over in just 0:11. Black goes crazy, beating Jacobs down and throwing referees around. The crowd doesn’t seem to be fully behind Black here. He promises Jacobs that in the steel cage match in Detroit, it won’t be the first one to bleed, but the last one, which doesn’t really make sense. An angry Black decides that since he’s not satisfied with what happened in this match, he’s going to cash in the title shot he’s been carrying around since January (I think?), and make the main event a three-way match. When I first heard this was the way Black used the title shot I thought it was stupid, but now seeing it I think it worked really well. The match obviously was nothing, but the angle was effective in a couple of ways, so it’s all good.
MATCH #5: Four Corner Survival – Bryan Danielson vs. Colt Cabana vs. D-Lo Brown vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Brown and Castagnoli ignore the handshake to attack Cabana and Danielson, respectively. A dropkick by Danielson sends Castagnoli to the floor, and then a double dropkick by Danielson and Cabana sends Brown to the floor. Cabana then lulls Danielson into a false sense of security with dancing, and Cabana gets a quick rollup for two! Danielson is angry, but before he can go after Cabana, Castagnoli and Brown reenter the ring and send Cabana to the floor. Castagnoli and Brown double-team Danielson now. Cabana gets back in the ring and goes for a double Flying Asshole but Castagnoli moves and Brown catches him with a Suplex. Castagnoli works on Danielson now and Brown works on Cabana. All four are battling on the floor. Danielson and Castagnoli get back in the ring first, while Brown abuses Cabana outside the ring. Castagnoli locks Danielson in a surfboard while Brown holds Cabana at bay. Cabana gets back in the ring, but Castagnoli and Brown continue to hold the advantages. Every time the good guys try to make a comeback, the bad guys have a counter. This has been a lot like a tag team match thus far. Danielson and Cabana finally gain an advantage with moves off the top rope, and then they take it to each other. Castagnoli sends Cabana to the floor, and Brown dumps Castagnoli. Danielson ducks a Brown clothesline and wipes Castagnoli out with a suicide dive through the ropes. Brown goes up top and Cabana brings him down with a powerbomb. All four men are back in the ring now, and there’s bodies flying everywhere. Danielson sends Castagnoli to the floor, and Brown hits Danielson from behind. Cabana takes advantage and locks on the Billy Goat’s Curse to win the match by submission at 9:46.That was a perfect match to come back from intermission with – a short, high energy match with four guys who are really over.
MATCH #6: ROH World Tag Team Title Submission Match – The American Wolves vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico
The Wolves have been the champions since 4.10.09, and this is their fifth defense. They’re accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. Steen and Generico are eager to get the fight started, so they chase the Wolves to the floor and the brawl is on. The challengers are in complete control early on, much to the delight of the NYC crowd. Then they spend too much time gloating, and Richards takes advantage, bringing Steen back in the ring. Richards goes for a missile dropkick, but Steen avoids it and locks on a Sharpshooter. Edwards breaks that up. I hate it when in no-disqualification matches they enforce tags and the legal man rule. What exactly is the referee going to do in a match where the only way a team can win is by submission? Richards escapes an abdominal stretch and tags Edwards. Before too long the challengers are back in control. Edwards backs Steen into a corner and tags Richards, who wisely goes after Steen’s arm, starting to wear it down. The Wolves work Steen’s arm briefly, and then shift focus to his knee. Also, why does the referee enforce rope breaks? After a long beating, Generico comes flying in to the ring with a cross body off the top rope, taking both Wolves out. This gives Steen time to recover, and he hits a superkick and a cannonball in the corner, and then locks on another Sharpshooter. Richards escapes and Steen makes the tag. Generico nails Richards with the running Yakuza kick in the corner, a Suplex, and then another Yakuza. He tries to choke Richards out but Edwards breaks it up. Steen and Edwards fight to the floor while Generico slugs Richards down in the ring. Generico runs into the ropes and Edwards pulls them down. Richards then leaps off the top rope with a Shooting Star Press to the floor, wiping everyone (including his own partner) out. Back in the ring Generico catches Richards with a Michinoku Driver. Generico tries another running Yakuza but Richards catches the leg and hits a Dragon Screw, and then vicious attacks the knee. Richards puts Generico up top and then gets knocked down. Edwards runs in with a knee to Generico’s face, and then hits a super rana. Richards locks Generico in a Texas Cloverleaf and Steen just barely breaks it up. Moments later Steen locks Richards in yet another Sharpshooter, but Richards won’t give up. Edwards tries to break it up, but Generico catches him and locks on a Sharpshooter as well! The Wolves break the holds. Steen goes for a Package Piledriver but gets backdropped to the floor. Generico hits a running Yakuza on Edwards and sets him up top. Richards comes out of nowhere to whack Generico in the knee with the ring bell, and Edwards locks on a single leg crab. Generico taps and the Wolves retain at 18:42! That was a seriously great match, as if that should surprise anyone. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
MATCH #7: Jay Briscoe vs. Guido Maritato
This is Maritato’s first ROH match since 10.5.02 at the original Glory by Honor, and this match is a rematch dating all the way back to Crowning a Champion on 7.27.02, so Maritato has some history in Ring of Honor. The crowd chants “Guido,” proving that they’ll pretty much cheer for anybody that the WWE fired. Jay is accompanied to the ring by his brother Mark. They aggressively chain wrestle early on, with neither man gaining a clear advantage. After a few minutes of that, Guido hits a low blow behind the referee’s back, and now plays the heel. Guido hits a dropkick to the face for a two-count, and then dumps Jay to the floor. He tries to follow him out with a slingshot dive but Jay moves out of the way. They fight on the floor briefly, and when they get back in the ring Jay hits a flapjack. Guido comes back by going to the eyes, and then he hits the Sicilian Slice (come on LL and DP, call that) for a two-count. A dropkick to the back of the head gets another two-count for Guido. Jay escapes the Tree of Woe and drops Guido’s face into the turnbuckle. He hits a big boot to the face for two. A spinebuster gets another two-count for the elder Briscoe. They go back to the floor again, and Jay hits a Side Russian Legsweep into the barricade. Back in the ring Jay hits the Jay Driller for the win at 7:30. That was a curious match to put on as a semi-main. The match had no direction and almost no selling; it was just move-move-move-finish. Yet for some reason the crowd still gives Guido an ovation.
MATCH #8: Three-Way Elimination ROH World Title Match – Jerry Lynn vs. Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black
Lynn has been the Champion since 4.3.09, and this is his seventh defense. Austin Aries comes out first, to Ric Flair’s music. He announces that Ric Flair will not be the special ringside enforcer. I remember there was a story to Flair leaving the show early, but I don’t remember the specifics. Former ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness comes out next, and announces that he will be the special ringside enforcer instead. Lynn gets into a bickering match with a fan during his entrance. I am so sick of that crap. Everyone gets mixed reactions, which is just weird. Lynn and Black go right after Aries, who bails to the floor. He tries to escape but with Black giving chase, Lynn hits the somersault off the apron. Back in the ring they continue to double-team Aries, but you have to wonder how long that will last. They dump Aries to the floor and then go after each other. Remember that Black pinned Lynn last night in a non-title bout in Manassas. Speaking of Manassas, Black avoids a snap mare attempt, as neither man can gain an advantage on the other. Aries gets back in the ring and continues to be on the receiving end of all the punishment, and a dropkick sends him back to the floor. This time Aries pulls Lynn to the floor, and Black quickly follows them out with a somersault planchas over the ropes, wiping them both out. Aries gains the advantage and viciously attacks Black’s knee on the floor. He locks on the ring post figure-four leglock, and Black screams in pain. Back in the ring Aries plays Ric Flair, flipping over the turnbuckle and running up the opposite one, and true to form, Lynn slams him off the top rope. Aries maintains control, and traps Lynn with some knee strikes to the head. He goes for the Brainbuster, but Lynn blocks it. Aries settles for an STO, and then tries the Power Drive Elbow and misses. They get back to their feet and Black comes back in the ring with a springboard clothesline attempt, and then he back drops Lynn to the floor. Black goes for a kick, but Aries catches the boot and hits a Dragon Screw. Aries goes for the Figure-Four Leglock, and when Black kicks him off he hits the Heat Seeking Missile to Lynn on the floor. Black and Aries battle up on the top rope, and Lynn joins them and bulldogs them both down to the canvas! Lynn tries pins on both men, and they both kick out. He hits an Air Raid Crash on Black for two. Punishment continues for Black, as Aries locks on the Last Chancery. Black gets to the ropes, and then Lynn pitches Aries to the floor. Lynn hits Black with the Cradle Piledriver, and Black barely gets his foot on the bottom rope. Aries goes up top and gets knocked down. Lynn goes up and hits a superplex on Aries. He follows up with a TKO but Aries kicks out at two. Aries avoids a Cradle Piledriver and winds up hitting the IED in the corner for two. Aries goes for the Brainbuster, but Black superkicks him, and then tags Lynn with God’s Last Gift to eliminate the ROH World Champion at 14:31! We are guaranteed to have a new ROH World Champion now! Aries goes right after Black’s knee, but Black is able to weather the storm and hit the Paroxysm for two. They continue trading maneuvers as the crowd is red-hot. Black takes Aries down and goes up for the Phoenix Splash but Aries avoids it, and Black can’t land because of his injured knee. He tries the Buckle Bomb but Aries counters with a rana. Aries hits the shinbreaker/belly-to-back Suplex combo, and then the running dropkick in the corner. He nails Black with the Brainbuster and then the 450 Splash, but Black grabs the bottom rope! Aries goes back to the knee and locks on the Figure-Four Leglock, but Black will not quit. Black tries to turn Aries over, but Aries uses the ropes for leverage. McGuinness knocks Aries off the ropes, and Black turns it over. Aries reaches the ropes and then argues with McGuinness, and Black gets a quick rollup for two. Black tries the Buckle Bomb but the knee gives out. Aries hits the kick to the head and the Brainbuster to become the first-ever two-time ROH World Champion at 20:03. I like the booking of putting the focus on the future – Aries and Black, and when it got down to the two of them, they tore it up.