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Manhattan Center – New York City, New York – September 26, 2009
MATCH #1: Rhett Titus vs. Colt Cabana
I’m shocked, shocked I say, that Cabana decides to start the match with some comedy. An angry Titus is having none of it, and he goes right after his adversary. Cabana comes back and Titus snakes between the ropes to take a breather. Back in the ring Cabana continues the comedy, and even uses referee Paul Turner to his advantage. Titus comes back with a nice dropkick to the face. He stays in control, hitting a Thrust Buster for two. Cabana comes back with a sunset flip for two. Titus responds with a kick and a bodyslam. He goes up top for a double axe handle and Cabana hits a punch to the midsection. Cabana hits a flurry of offense, including the Flying Apple. Titus tries another dropkick but Cabana avoids it and locks on the Billy Goat’s Curse to get the submission win at 6:33. That was exactly what you would expect from these two. They ended up with a nice little mini-feud when Cabana busted Titus’s head open a couple of shows ago, but they didn’t really do much with it. That’s a shame.
MATCH #2: Dark City Fight Club vs. Cheech & Cloudy
Jon Davis and Cheech start the match. Up In Smoke actually use their speed and quickness to gain an early advantage. Naturally that doesn’t last long, as the DCFC take over and start working Cheech over. Cloudy gets a tag and he gets beat up worse than Cheech was. This is pretty much a slaughter until Cloudy makes a hot tag. Cheech shows off his agility, and Up In Smoke uses some teamwork to get a short advantage. The match spills to the floor, and when Cheech thinks about going for a dive, Davis levels him with a Pounce, period. Cloudy tries a headscissors on Davis, but Davis catches him with a powerbomb. Davis then lifts Cloudy up and the DCFC hits the Greater Good to get the pin at 9:46. That was a fun tag match, and I really like what the Dark City Fight Club brings to the tag division.
MATCH #3: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Kenny Omega
They trade glove slaps and Omega immediately earns my ire by hitting the Stop Sign Enziguiri. The match quickly spills to the floor and Castagnoli takes control. Back in the ring Castagnoli goes to work, and Omega tries to counter with flippy stuff. Castagnoli hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Omega tries the Frog Cross Body Block, but Castagnoli catches him and turns it into a Samoan Drop for two. Everything Omega tries, Castagnoli has a counter for. Omega finally comes back with the Thrust Buster, the same move Rhett Titus used in the opener. He unleashes a flurry of offense, including a nice Dragon Suplex that sends Castagnoli to the floor. He follows Castagnoli out with a Tornillo, and then whips him into the ring post. A series of reversals ends with Omega hitting a moonsault off the turnbuckle. Omega then throws Castagnoli back in the ring and follows him in with the Frog Cross Body for two. He goes for the Electric Chair but Castagnoli reverses it to the UFO for two. The crowd popped big for that. Castagnoli hits the Pop-Up European Uppercut and then goes for the Ricola Bomb, which Omega reverses to a small package. That only gets two, and Castagnoli comes back with another Pop-Up European Uppercut for another two. Castagnoli goes for a Bicycle Kick but Omega blocks it with some video game crap. Omega follows that up with a reverse Frankensteiner and once gain goes for Croyt’s Wrath. Castagnoli grabs the referee, and is able to hit a low blow behind his back and then hits a European Uppercut to finally get the pin at 9:35. Omega isn’t my thing but the way Castagnoli dominated and Omega had offense in short bursts really worked for them.
MATCH #4: Four Corner Survival – Delirious vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Grizzly Redwood vs. Roderick Strong
Dutt immediately goes after Haze, so Delirious goes out to defend her honor, leaving Redwood and Strong alone in the ring. Redwood actually gets a bit of offense in before Strong throws him around. Delirious comes in the ring to battle Strong, and I feel like this one is going to be fast paced. That notion is proved right in short order. Redwood hits the first dive of the match, on Strong. Dutt takes advantage of Redwood’s gloating and kicks him in the back. He also works in the Jarrett strut, as if we haven’t seen him do that a billion times yet. Everyone gets back in the ring for the requisite Tower of Doom spot. The crowd is getting behind Redwood. The offense is coming fast and furious, and from everyone. Delirious clotheslines Dutt to the floor, once again leaving Strong and Redwood in the ring. Strong tosses Redwood to the floor. Delirious gets back in and hits the Cobra Suplex and the Panic Attack. He goes for Shadows over Hell but Dutt breaks it up. Dutt hits a Super Asai DDT and Delirious breaks up the pin. Delirious goes for a clothesline and Dutt tosses him to the floor. Dutt then pulls his tights down and Strong hits him with a backbreaker, running Yakuza kick, and the Gibson Driver to get the pin at 11:54. That was a really fun four-way, and they had the right amount of storyline injected into it with Delirious and Dutt. Strong going over was the right call too.
MATCH #5: Ladder War II ROH World Tag Team Title Match – The American Wolves vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico
The Wolves have been champions since 4.10.09, and this is their ninth defense. Edwards is coming into the match with a broken elbow that he received in a street fight with Steen last night in Boston. The battle quickly spills to the floor. Steen and Generico are dominant in the early going. Edwards is definitely the weak link due to his injury. It doesn’t take long for a ladder to get involved and be used as a weapon, mostly by the challengers. Generico tries to climb up for the belts, but Richards stops him with a steel chair. The Wolves back body drop Generico on a ladder, bending it in half. Hagadorn hands Richards a pair of handcuffs and he handcuffs Steen’s hands behind his back. The Wolves then run a ladder into his face, and are just having their way with him. Hagadorn pulls out a table, and Generico returns to the ring a house afire. The Wolves put that fire out by hitting a German Suplex through said table. Richards has a chain now and wraps it around his foot before delivering the Kawada Kicks. Edwards tries to climb up for the belts but Steen knocks him over. Generico rejoins the ring with running Yakuza kicks for all. He grabs Hagadorn and steals the handcuffs key, and then unlocks his partner. He then sets up another table, and a ladder. Steen also sets up a table. Richards comes back with a tornado DDT through a table on the floor to Steen. Richards and Generico climb the ladder, with tables on either side of them. Generico hits a sunset bomb off the ladder through a table. He climbs back up the ladder and Edwards meets him up there. Edwards back body drops Generico off the ladder through the other table! The ladder falls over and Edwards falls as well. Hagadorn brings out a bigger ladder and Edwards sets it up. Generico dives through that ladder and over the top rope to wipe out Richards on the floor! Steen wallops Edwards in the head with a chair and starts climbing. Edwards recovers and shoves the ladder over, sending Steen through a table on the floor. He climbs up the big ladder, and Generico meets him there. Edwards pulls Generico’s leg through the ladder, and Richards hits him with a weak chair shot. He locks Generico in a half crab, and Richards retrieves the belts at 23:55. Of course it wasn’t as good as the first one, but props to Edwards for giving a hell of an effort. It’s hard to be innovative in ladder matches these days but they did cool spots and only a few of them were contrived.
MATCH #6: Grudge Match – Chris Hero vs. Eddie Kingston
Eric Santamaria joins Prazak for commentary, since Hero is otherwise occupied. These two hate each other for reasons that I don’t quite buy. Kingston immediately goes on offense, slugging at Hero and throwing him around. The fight spills to the floor and Hero throws Kingston into the guardrail. Hero puts Kingston under the mat and hits a senton off the apron. Back in the ring Hero stays in control. Hero hits an elbow to the head for just a one-count. A regular senton gets a two-count, as does a big boot to the face. Hero tries another senton but Kingston catches him. No matter, Hero counters with a slam and a kick to the head. Kingston avoids a rolling elbow and hits a release German Suplex and both men are down. They get back to their feet and trade shots, and Hero hits a big elbow to the head. Kingston responds with a lariat that sends Hero to the floor, and then follows him out with a suicide dive. They continue fighting on the floor and Kingston is in control now. Kingston hits a big headbutt and Hero is busted open. Back in the ring Hero comes back with a big elbow. Kingston comes back with a uranage and a lariat for two. Hero comes back with a blockbuster for two. He hits the Liger Bomb for another two. Kingston fights back with a Northern Lights Bomb for two. He follows up with a Dragon Suplex for another two-count. Hero fights back with a rolling elbow and then the Death Blow, but Kingston kicks out at two. He stomps away at Kingston’s head, but that only serves to fire him up. They both exchange suplexes and do some “fighting spirit.” Finally both men are down, but Kingston gets up first. Kingston grabs Hero’s green elbow pad, and Hagadorn jumps in the ring to save Hero, taking a spinning back fist. Hero produces a gold elbow pad of his own and hits the rolling elbow for the win at 16:09. Following the ladder war would be tough for anyone, and since I don’t buy this feud from the beginning, they had a huge uphill battle and couldn’t quite climb it.
MATCH #7: ROH World Title Match – Austin Aries vs. Petey Williams
Aries has been the champion since 6.13.09, and this is his seventh defense. The “Austin Aries Lucky Lottery,” or “A Double L Double” has been a staple of the ROH TV show, but this is its DVD debut. The first name he draws is Bret Hart. Petey Williams comes out to answer the challenge, which is incredibly lame since he was the only guy who was booked for the show and didn’t have a match. Aries takes a cheap shot and the match begins. He gloats and Williams gets a quick schoolboy rollup for two, and then a punch to the face. The chap then takes a powder and gets back on the mic, trying to back out of the title match. Senior Referee Todd Sinclair won’t budge, and starts counting the champion out. Back in the ring Aries takes control and goes after the arm. They trade holds and counters, with Aries especially avoiding the Canadian Destroyer and the Sharpshooter, and he rolls to the floor again. Williams follows him out and pays for it, as Aries knocks him down and hits the top rope axe handle. The crowd is intermittently chanting “Twinkies,” just to be obnoxious smarks. Aries is firmly in control here, working Williams over. He goes for the pendulum elbow, but Williams counters and tries the Sharpshooter, and Aries attacks the eyes. The Twinkies chanting is getting out of hand. Williams fights back and hits a chinbreaker and a bulldog for two, as Hero comes back to the booth to relieve Santamaria. Aries comes back and this time hits the Pendulum Elbow for two. He motions for the Destroyer himself, but Williams counters it with a Sharpshooter and Aries reaches the ropes. Williams pulls Aries off the ropes and goes for another Sharpshooter but Aries avoids it. They trade counters and reversals until Aries ends up with the Figure-Four Leglock. Williams turns it over and Aries once again reaches the ropes. The crowd chanting for Twinkies is taking away from Aries locking on the Last Chancery. Aries hits the IED and the Brainbuster, but Williams kicks out at two. He sets Williams on the top rope, only to get knocked down. They trade holds as the crowd continues to chant for Twinkies. Williams hits the Canadian Destroyer but Aries reaches the ropes. He locks on the Sharpshooter and Aries counters by sending him to the floor and following him out with the Heat Seeking Missile. Aries hits the IED out on the floor. Williams barely beats the 20 count to get back in the ring. Aries immediately locks on the Last Chancery and Williams reaches the ropes. He sets Williams on the top rope again but Williams blocks it and hits a Super Canadian Destroyer! Aries rolls to the floor to avoid being pinned. Williams goes out to try and throw Aries back in the ring, but Aries counters his attempts with a brainbuster. Aries rolls back in the ring to win the match via countout at 20:00. The crowd did their best to ruin the match, and they did a pretty good job of it. Aries also did his best to no-sell the Canadian Destroyer and ruin that finisher and make Williams look like a non-threat. The countout win is pretty lame too. All in all I would classify this match as a minor disaster.
MATCH #8: Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The Young Bucks
The Briscoes beat the Bucks a week ago in Dayton. Mark and Nick Jackson start the match, likely because they’re the uglier members of their teams. Nick uses his agility to combat Mark’s superior power. He tags his brother Matt, and they tag each other in and out to work on Mark’s arm. Mark comes back with a spin kick on Nick and then tags his brother. The Bucks take control soon after, and then the Briscoes reclaim it. No team has claimed a sustained advantage in the early going here. The brothers Jackson actually gain the first advantage, working Jay over in their half of the ring. Jay fights back with some strikes and tags his brother Mark. They grab Nick and double-biel him over the turnbuckles and onto his brother. Obviously the Briscoes are in control now. Nick fights back with some strikes and tags Matt. I’ve noticed that the Young Bucks rarely make tags without somersaulting their way into the corner. The match breaks down and the Bucks are in control; the fast pace suits them. Mark hits Matt with a Super Ace Crusher for two. Nick gets the tag but he gets abused right away. The Briscoes go for the Doomsday Device but Nick avoids it. The two teams trade double-superkicks and all four men go down. They get back to their feet, and Nick gets the first offensive maneuver with a slingshot X-Factor. Matt hits a 180 Diamond Dust on Mark for a two-count. Man these Bucks are flying all over the place. Mark comes back with an exploder on Nick and an enziguiri to Matt. Jay gets the tag and goes for the Jay Driller but Matt reverses it. He lands it on the second attempt but Nick breaks up the pin. The Briscoes go for the Doomsday Device again but the Bucks counter it and toss Mark to the floor. The Bucks then hit Jay with More Bang for Your Buck to get the upset win at 17:03! The selling sort of came and went but this was a crowd pleaser for sure. The Bucks definitely took a step up with a win over the most successful team ever in ROH, and now with one win apiece a rubber match is inevitable.
MATCH #9: Main Event – Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson
They lock up and McGuinness gives Danielson a clean break. In no great shock they take it to the mat with some chain wrestling. Danielson takes the first advantage and viciously attacks McGuinness’s arm. The crowd shows their appreciation for both men throughout the match. McGuinness responds by also attacking Danielson’s arm in unnatural ways. I’m going to miss these guys. Danielson comes back with a bitch slap and then puts McGuinness in a surfboard position in order to punch him in the ear. Hero works in a Chad Collyer reference on commentary, and now I just miss Chad Collyer. In the meantime McGuinness has regained control. Danielson comes back with a boot and a leaping European Uppercut. He takes McGuinness down and hits a diving headbutt off the top rope for two. He goes up top for a missile dropkick and McGuinness blocks it, only to find himself quickly trapped in a triangle choke. McGuinness reaches the ropes, but as everyone knows, Danielson has till five to break. They do the fish out of water spot, and the crowd just loves everything that they’re doing. Danielson hits a running clothesline and then sets McGuinness up top for the belly-to-back superplex. McGuinness blocks that so Danielson settles for the Tree of Woe. That sufficiently softens McGuinness up for the belly-to-back superplex, and that gets two. Danielson tries Cattle Mutilation but McGuinness counters it into a Tower of London, which Hero calls the London Bridge for some reason. McGuinness takes Danielson out to the apron and tries another Tower of London, but Danielson avoids it and pushes him into the crowd. McGuinness uses a ring attendant to block Danielson’s dive, but when he gloats about it Danielson hits him with a running knee strike off the apron, which once again sends McGuinness into the crowd. Danielson this time follows him out with the springboard dive. He gets up on the barricade and McGuinness pushes him right into the ring post, effectively busting Danielson’s head open. McGuinness is in control now, hitting a big Tower of London on the floor now. He then returns an old favor, pulling Danielson’s already bloody head into the ring post a couple of times. Back in the ring (barely) McGuinness hits a Tower of London on the apron. He hurriedly throws Danielson back in the ring for a two-count, and then locks on the London Dungeon, but Danielson reaches the ropes. McGuinness tries for a lariat but Danielson avoids it and hits a missile dropkick. Danielson hits a running knee strike but McGuinness comes back with a Jawbreaker Lariat! It only gets two, so McGuinness immediately applies the London Dungeon. He even traps Danielson’s legs, but Danielson rolls through and hits some elbows, but McGuinness counters with elbows of his own. Danielson simply powers out of them and hits some forearm strikes. They run the ropes and knock heads. That inspires them to trade sickening headbutts. McGuinness tries the Jawbreaker again but Danielson counters with a small package for two. On the next attempt McGuinness does hit the Jawbreaker but can’t make the cover right away, so it only gets two. Danielson’s momentum rolls over and he locks on the Cattle Mutilation. He rolls that into the elbow strikes for a two-count. Danielson hits a series of kicks to the head, and then locks on the triangle choke and accentuates that with elbow strikes, and Sinclair calls for the bell at 28:23. Well these two certainly had a lot to live up to, and while it wasn’t as good as the matches in the prime of their feud, they did show why they are regarded as two of the best in the world, and two of the most important wrestlers in the history of Ring of Honor.
BONUS MATCH – ROH World Title vs. Pure Title – Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Weekend of Champions Night Two, 4.29.06
I haven’t seen this match in about four years, so this should be interesting. McGuinness has been the Pure Champion since 8.27.05, and this is his eleventh defense. Danielson has been the World Champion since 9.17.05, and this is his nineteenth defense. Senior Referee Todd Sinclair explains the rules and away we go. Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary. They chain wrestle in the early going, and the crowd seems split on who to root for. Danielson tries to channel Antonio Inoki, but it doesn’t quite work for him. They trade holds back and forth, with neither man gaining a clear advantage. Danielson tries grounding McGuinness with a side headlock and he has some success with that. McGuinness makes it back to his feet so Danielson switches it up to the cravat. A nice sequence of reversals keeps the crowd into it, but Danielson retains control. McGuinness finally gets so fed up with the cravat that he uses his first rope break to get out of the hold. He responds by using a closed fist without getting caught by the referee, and when Danielson responds in kind, the referee sees it and gives Danielson a warning. While Sinclair is telling the ring announcer, McGuinness delivers another closed fist, and when Sinclair turns around Danielson punches back once again, and this time it costs him a rope break. That was awesome. McGuinness is doggedly going after Danielson’s arm. He locks on a submission hold and accentuates it with elbows to the head, causing Danielson to use another rope break to get out of the hold. Danielson tries to come back with a modified sleeper hold, but McGuinness goes right back to the arm. The World Champion escapes and hits a solid dropkick to the face, but the Pure Champion comes back by once again attacking the arm. Finally Danielson escapes a hold and goes for the Surfboard, but settles for stomping McGuinness’s knees into the mat. McGuinness responds by snapping Danielson’s arm once again, and then sending him to the floor. He tries to suplex Danielson back in the ring, but Danielson counters with a release German Suplex. Both men are down, and McGuinness reaches his feet first. Danielson is firing up with a big lariat and a running forearm in the corner. He follows up with a suplex and a diving headbutt for a two-count. Then he locks on the Crossface Chicken Wing, and McGuinness uses his second rope break. Back to their feet the rivals exchange slaps, and McGuinness hits the headstand mule kick. McGuinness then hits the Tower of London, and Danielson avoids getting pinned by putting his foot on the ropes, and thus is now out of rope breaks. He goes for another Tower of London but Danielson counters with the Cattle Mutilation! McGuinness puts his foot on the bottom rope for this third rope break, and now the ropes are in play across the board. They battle on the apron and McGuinness suplexes Danielson to the floor! McGuinness throws Danielson into the guardrail and then clears the table to use it as a weapon, but Danielson makes it back into the ring at the count of 19! Prazak notes that we are about 22 minutes in and that a 60-minute draw is a possibility. I think that’s a bit presumptuous. In the meantime, McGuinness hits the Jawbreaker Lariat for a two-count, and then Danielson rolls over into the Cattle Mutilation. The ropes mean nothing at this point. McGuinness slides to the floor to break the hold. Danielson follows him out with a suicide dive, and both men are down. They get up and McGuinness charges, so Danielson throws him over the barricade and into the crowd. Danielson follows him out with the springboard dive, which given that Todd Sinclair was at the count of 17 or so and the Pure Title changes hands on a countout, was a pretty stupid move on Danielson’s part. Also, unfortunately for Danielson, McGuinness gets a chair up in his face. McGuinness is able to get back in the ring before the count of 20 and wins the match at 28:34. Bobby Cruise mistakenly announces McGuinness as the New ROH World Champion before Sinclair corrects him – the World Title can only change hands on a pinfall or submission. That was an awesome match that made great use of the Pure Rules and had a clever finish that would lend itself to future rematches. This is the kind of Gabe Booking that I miss.