Column of Honor 06.13.09: Misawa, Take No Prisoners 2009 Review
Posted by Ari Berenstein on 06.13.2009
Ring of Honor closes out its current run of Pay Per View programming with Take No Prisoners 2009, a terrific show and a must-see main event. Plus, thoughts on SHIMMER volumes 21 and 22, results from Manassas and a preview of tonight’s show in New York City!
**In breaking news, it has just been reported that Mitsuharu Misawa has died due to what is believed to be a heart attack after taking a suplex in a tag match in Japan. Misawa is the founder of Pro Wrestling NOAH, whom ROH has been involved in a long-term working relationship ever since 2005. Misawa was 46 years old. Obviously this comes as a huge shock to the wrestling world at large, as Misawa meant a lot to a lot of people.
EDIT: In reading some of the responses from others about Misawa, I was brought back to my own experience of being just four feet away from Misawa as he walked by me as I was on line for Glory By Honor VI in New York, going through the front door of all things. He just seemed very humble by the react the fans on line gave him, and ready to perform for them. I may not be a Puro expert or have the emotional connection that others have to him or his memory, but its amazing to think back even now.
It may not mean much, but I send condolences to Misawa's family and the extended NOAH / Japanese wrestling world.
Hey everyone, I'm back once again for another column after taking a week off. However, if I'm being honest, it may be getting close to "that time", you know, the time where most wrestling website commentators take the inevitable hiatus. It has nothing to do with ROH these days, as I actually think they're on the beginning of an upswing, but rather just a general feeling of burn out after going strong for almost four years now. I may do the four weeks on, one week off thing I've been doing or going bi-weekly…haven't decided yet.
I've been getting a lot of positive response for the "Who's Who" feature from two weeks ago, almost surprisingly to me, so look for that to continue in the following weeks.
Welcome to the Column.
-Take No Prisoners 2009 PPV Coverage
-ROH Results, News & Previews
-Get with the pROHgram
-Buy or Sell Quickies
-ROH @ 411
-Honor Bound Links
Take No Prisoners 2009 Closes Out ROH on PPV with a Must-See Show
One more time, for the last time...
Taped from Houston, Texas on April 4th, 2009
-Good opening package and collection of highlights from the last show opens up the PPV and a cut to the live crowd, looking pretty jammed packed and impressive…and enthusiastic.
Colt "Boom Boom" Cabana vs. Ace Steel **1/4
Billed as a battle of The Second City Saints, but I hope they explain what the SCS was on commentary because otherwise it's beyond irrelevant. Colt's theme song includes the lyrics "SHIMMY SHIMMY COCOA PUFF"…that is beyond awesome. Okay they do explain the SCS history on commentary and that Ace Steel trained him. Hug to start with and I'm waiting for El Generico to come out ask for one too. McGuinness is on guest commentary, "one night" after he lost the title to explain his loss and Ace and Colt preen and prance for the crowd. SHENANIGANS! Instead of a wacky roll or complicated motion, Colt simply grabs the ropes to break a wristlock, causing Ace to be thrown off his game. Crowd is way hot and both men have barely done anything. Ace grabs a ringside camera and take a snap of Colt's behind…um… I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW. Now the wacky rolls by Colt and Ace is once again thrown off. Ace: "Hold on, my head's spinning." Nicely timed comment. More wrestling (YAY!) and use of the headscissors for comedy, but Ace throws Colt down and the crowd goes "ooooh"…not happy about that one is Colt but they go again. SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! PLAYING ORCHESTRA WITH THE CROWD! Is this a Ben Folds concert? More wrestling (YAY) but Ace once again pulls the hair and Colt turns his back on his mentor. Young paduan still has much to learn. Ace in control with forearms, avoids Colt's attempts to switch the momentum and hits a flying lariat for two. Hammerlock / Facelock combo by Ace is spun out of by Colt and now we get Cabanarama leapfrogging cartwheeling and right handing his way to a comeback. BIONIC ELBOW! Flying Joey Styles and then the Colt 45 attempt is slipped out of, rolled through and into the Billy Goat's Curse for the tap out. Short but fun while it lasted, and showing once again why Colt is an awesome comic tour-de-farce, er… force.
-Interview with Jimmy Jacobs next to some pipes, looking like an emo-plumber on the job. He cuts a promo on Necro, calling him "royalty in a kingdom of dirt." He claims the fans and friends will leave him when he can no longer go. They fight tonight in a hardcore match.
-Leonard throws to a promo spotlighting the Steen & Generico vs. American Wolves feud with highlights from recent matches, including the Seventh Anniversary Show fight, which I hella enjoyed. Although again, we get into continuity issues as Steen and Generico are tag champions here, but they've long since lost the belts in real chronology.
Eight-Man Tag Kevin Steen, El Generico, Jay Briscoe, & Magno vs. Chris Hero, Eddie Edwards, Davey Richards, & Incognito: ***1/2 We're packed with talent in this one…and Incognito and Magno…so this should be a good one. Eight men gets very chaotic, so only basic PBP from me. Prazak with some cute name checks including Cheetah Kid and Dragon Soldier B. Big brawls to start off with everyone everywhere while the luchadores are in the ring doing their lucha thing. Prazak asks "What do you think of the lucha stylings of Battle Kat?" PRAZAK IS MY HERO! Bell rings to start the match proper with Steen and Richards in the ring having at it with Steen getting the better of it. Hagadorn has been "promoted" after the whole Sweeney debacle (he's not booked on these shows, even though he flew himself down to be there, but that's part of the whole deal that went down as well). Richards is being taken to town in the opening minutes by Steen, Generico and Jay and sort of whiffs on a leg lariat but they go with it and Hero is in…and gets more of the same from the faces. Big hurricanrana from El Generico on Hero…should I mention how I think Generico does lucha better than the real luchadores in this match? Guess I just did. Heels in control now after a Richards hooking lariat (which I've always loved to see in matches). Incognito with a springboard senton that impresses, tags right back to Hero. Crowd way into the Ole chants and gets Richards dazed with a Michinoku Driver. Triple Hot tag and the faces take out everyone else. Triple drives to the outside! Steen is pumped up! Generico with a springboard Asai moonsault! Magno with a flip dive to the outside. MASSIVE YAKUZA to Edwards, Steenalizer and then a slingshot legdrop and Briscoe big splash off the top but the rudos push Briscoe off the cover. IT'S A PIER EIGHT BRAWL…AGAIN! Hero blocks the brainbuster off the top, pushes Generico into a ref and loads up the elbow pad but Yakuza from Generico stops the CHICANERY. No Hero with the Misawa pad to Generico for a close two as Jay saves. Jay drags Generico in and tag HIMSELF in, then goes after Hero. Steen steals the elbow pad off Hero and Jay flips him back in… SPINE on the PINE! Assisted Spike Jay Driller with Magno for the pin! Everything in this match was clean and crisp (even from the luchadores, who have been questionable in the past), and once again, hellafun.
-Nigel gets thanks and farewell from the commentary booth, saying he will address the crowd later).
-Necro vs. Jimmy package.
Fight Without Honor: Necro Butcher vs. Jimmy Jacobs ***1/2
Going a bit out of order from how it was live, the big brawl match is coming up third with Jimmy and Necro, formerly Jimmy's underling but long since freed himself and doing his own thing, coming to a head on collision (although hardly final since it seems like they fight or Necro fights Age of the Fall on most cards in early 2009 Their real "last match" was likely the match they had on HD Net a few weeks back, as Necro has now transitioned into a feud against The Embassy). It doesn't take long for both to get into the crowd and punch and headbutt their way around the building. Jacobs get his crotch split on a railing and then slides down…damn…as a man, I do not ever want to go through that. They tease Jacobs getting thrown off from a great height but thank goodness it doesn't happen. Jacobs gets rolled down the steps and then ITS TIME TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH Duke "The Dumpster" Droese>. Necro tosses Jacobs back in and then to ringside, but Jacobs had crawled under the ring. Hide and seek is over as Necro throws him back in, but Jacobs BLASTS Necro with a massive and disastrous looking screwdriver! Ring of Blood (this time the appellation is appropriate)! Necro is busted open big time and Jacobs continues to "screw" Necro (haha, heehee) in the head and then rips the hair out his head and chomps on it…jeez, I hope he brought soap or mouthwash on the trip to Houston. Chair shot is blocked and then punches the chair out of Jacobs hands, big volley and throws the chair and Jacobs mid section. Chair slam! Chair to the head! OOOF! Now Jacobs is bleeding all over. SPEAR off the apron onto Necro. EXCELLENT. Jacobs piles Necro on the table Necro set up but Necro grabs the chair and launches it into the mid section… teases the biel through the table and they brawl up top. Jacobs with elbows to the head to block. Superplex attempt by Jacobs and they're stalemated. Please Don't Die chants…and they both go the OTHER WAY to the floor. DAMN! Those are some manly bumps being taken here. DO NOT MESS WITH Paul Turner calls for some assistance's but only for Jacobs to throw him into the ring so Jacobs can cover… for two! Crowd comes alive with "Necro Butcher" chants. Big Chair shot! OOOOOH! And again. Necro comes back and punches and chops and the bulldog onto the chair! Close two. ANOTHER HUGE CHAIR onto Jacobs. OOOOH! Jacobs barely gets his foot on the ropes! Necro drags Jacobs out on the apron, picks him up onto his shoulders, DVD through the table! Necro went feet first but Jacobs took that one pretty well and the table broke through and through. Necro throws Jacobs in and to the top. Sloppiest crossbody ever (but can you blame him?) for two. Pile'O'Chairs and Necro pumps himself up. Chokeslam avoided with the Low Blow. End Time DDT and Choke onto the Chairs! Necro looks out put gets up before his hand drops for a third time. Contra Code attempt blocked, Tiger Driver on the chair and that's three! Jacobs does his best in these kinds of brawls, and well Necro does too, so of course they came up with some awesome moments.
-Interview with Bryan Danielson, in POOR LIGHTING. BLAH. Danielson cuts a promo about wanting the ROH World Title and how he cherishes his memories as a ROH World Champion, wanting to experience it again. He says he needs to MAN UP for title matches, including tonight in a four way match.
-Claudio Castagnoli & Brent Albright feud package and the conflicting finishes (taping at the same time being pinned, etc.) Good mix of the promos with the match highlights for this package.
-The "former World Champion" Nigel McGuinness is introduced (hope at some point they show at least a still shot or something of him losing the title). He comes down, clutching his arm. He's pretty damned well received with streamers, chants, "thank you Nigel" chants and all. Gotta love the ROH fans. He speaks to the crowd about his injury, and although he wanted to come out and apologize, he realizes he didn't need to apologize to anyone. That actually gets some good response, which is ironic because his injury promo is what basically brought about the heel turn in the first place.
Claudio's music hits and comes down to the ring, grabbing the mic. He was disappointed that it was going to be Europe vs. America. Nigel and Claudio shake hands and he wishes Claudio well, but Nigel attacks from behind. Claudio grabs a chair but before he can do much about it Brent Albright is out to throw down with his rival and Nigel is outta there. Blue Demon makes his way to the ring without an entrance, well, what pomp and circumstance.
Brent Albright vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Blue Demon Jr. **1/4 Lucha from Blue Demon (what else would you expect) including some headscissors and such takes out Claudio while Albright, so angry Claudo, doesn't get a piece of it. Weird, but I guess that goes with the whole new "tags are necessary in a triple threat" deal that is starting to happen. Eh, whatever, take or leave it. Brent does rush in to break some pinfall attempts so he doesn't look like a total idiot. Claudio also pushes him off the ring to again create some time and separation between the two. Brent takes a nice swing at Claudio, who deftly ducks. There is some good interaction between the two; I just wish they'd start bringing the clean finishes to their matches. Albright gets in the ring and launches his power offense including the spinning side slam backbreaker, the 6-1-Knee and the spinning neckbreaker. That all gets two. Monkey Flip swings Claudo outside and a plancha is avoided and then Blue Demon Jr. dives out on top of them (sounds better than it actually was). Crossbody by Albright gets the European to counter. Ricola set up and Nigel iS BACK! He grabs the leg of Claudio, providing the distraction. Claudio stomps Nigel's arm, but that's enough for the distraction… Half Nelson and heyyyyyy! A clean finish! Nigel is clutching his arm and Albright celebrated in the ring. Finally good to see Albright get a clean win in this feud (that's the extra ¼ star), but Blue Demon Jr. didn't do much (maybe for the best).
-New ROH World Champion Jerry Lynn is holding his belt backstage, saying he was happy to win the belt, but he hears the detractors. He knows he earned the title and that as hard as he worked to win the title, he will work twice as hard to keep it.
Roderick Strong vs. "The Russian Hooligan" Alex Koslov **1/2 MOTHER RUSSIA! BABUSHKA! Russian Anthem! Yes, Alex Koslov is in ROH, but he has a tough order ahead of him in a rejuvenated Roderick Strong. Koslov apparently hates streamers. Shake of the hands and the Strong pushes him away. I like that Leonard and Prazak put over the connection between Koslov and Rocky Romero in Mexico and that Romero probably gave him some tips on how to deal with Strong (former members of NRC), Waistlock and arm chain sequences early on. Then some acrobatics and to the chops! Crossbody by Koslov reversed into a throw. Strong misses on a shouldertackle to the floor and crashes into the ring signs. Koslov on the attack now. The Cossack dance and kicks! Good spot and it works nicely here. Strong with a nice chop, but Koslov continues to press and gets back control. Perestroika (Surfboard using the ropes and done hanging from outside)! "We love Commies!" chant gets a chuckle. Strong comes back with an enziguiri as Koslov was climbing the ropes then a loud chop and a superplex. Strong with more chops (always fun), closeline, running forearm, backbreaker! Gets two. Double knee gutbuster but Koslov bounced up from the momentum, Soviet Strike (superkick) off the ropes for a close two! Half-Nelson Backbreaker is reversed into the crucifix for two! Sick kick! Stronghold and the tap gets the win for Strong. A good match for Strong to win but Koslov got to get some stuff in and as a result a solid but just that undercard bout.
-Package highlighting the new ROH World Champion and his four contenders in the upcoming match.
Four Corner Survival, ROH World Title Match: Jerry Lynn (c) vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Erick Stevens vs. D-Lo Brown ***1/4
Full entrances for everyone, come to think about it most of the show have included the entrance to the wrestlers, a decision which I fully support. Danielson's electro music is starting to be catchier to my ears, but it won't ever live up to "Final Countdown". Lynn gets a fantastic reaction from the crowd. Code of Honor upheld…except that D-Lo goes right for Bryan Danielson, what did he comment on D-Lo's robe backstage or something? Lynn and Stevens pull them off and they attack. Stevens and Brown in the ring and Stevens clears him out and does the HEAD SHAKE! Stevens is indeed down with the Brown. Stevens and Danielson go at it and it winds up with a Stevens tilt-a-whirl slam. Brow back in and levels Stevens. Prazak says that no tags are necessary in this 4CS and you know what? I like these matches better that way—as seen by this past week's four way title match on HD Net (more on that later). Brown and Lynn go at it, sunset flip blocked and we get the D-Lo leg drop! D-Lo is heel but getting cheered.
Now it's Brown and Danielson ready to go at it, but they once again get brought outside, and its Lynn and Danielson in the ring. Instead of fighting each other, they fly out to the ring onto Stevens and Brown! Finally they go at it with Lynn getting a flying headscissors but Danielson quickly with a running knee and the Cattle Mutilation. Its cut off by Stevens . D-Lo channels Muta and gets the shining wizard on Stevens, but Lynn gets a running DDT and Lynn with a flying dropkick. Release German by Lynn. Swinging DDT by Lynn kicking Stevens off the apron and a cross armbreaker! Jeez these guys are going at it fast. Brown breaks it up with the Low Down Frog Splash! That gets a close two but Stevens with the save. Stevens with the throw lariat on Brown for two.
Tower of Doom mount for Stevens, Lynn and Brown see Lynn get a powerbomb on brown but Stevens bowls over Lynn before he can capitalize. I look down and just as quickly Danielson is diving on top of Brown outside the ring. Choo choo by Stevens, duck under the lariat, CRADLE PILEDRIVER and that's three! These four guys went at it so fast that I could barely get it all down before they were on to the next one. It was a collection of spots match but it was all done tremendously well and was a lot of fun, and helped even further by the fans who were enthusiastic for everyone, even Stevens (who sometimes doesn't get the support in these big matches but did here) and Lynn (one day off winning the title right in Houston, the fans were supporting him).
-Cut away from Lynn (maybe too soon for my liking) to Tyler Black for promo explaining his stand point now as he is not the next world champion, Jerry Lynn is. Black says he doesn't know where that leaves him, but he's got a title shot in his back pocket and he tells Lynn that means he and Lynn will cross paths. He hopes the fans will be cheering "next world champion" for him when that happens.
Sometimes I wonder where the man who cut some awesome promos as a part of The Age of the Fall went, because while his in-ring work has impressed, his promos since leaving AotF have not. However, this was a good and earnest promo from Black, understated but better than his usual backstage promo work.
-Video package highlighting what Nakajima can do and the rest of the participants in the main event. I like that they put the names of all of the participants in the package, which is definitely needed given this would be the first time Nakajima is on PPV and the first time in almost two years KENTA is on PPV.
Main Event Tag Attraction: Tyler Black & KENTA vs. Austin Aries & Katsuhiko Nakajima ****1/2
-Not sure I like that the teams come out together, as KENTA and Nakajima are unique appearances and should get the spotlight of an individual entrance for this main event to carry that across. Aries catches someone's fully rolled stream (they should teach streamer throwing classes for ROH fans…wait, wasn't that a thread on the ROH message board a while back?). Aries shakes his partner's hand but not Tyler Black. Nakajima and KENTA have a long rivalry in Japan and Black obviously still has a grudge against Aries for annihilating him at Final Battle 2008.
Aries claims he's gonna beat Black just like he did "last night" (Supercard of Honor IV). Aries with the advantage early on, wrestling Black down and slapping the back of his head. Then Aries awesomely tags out like a chicken bleep when things look the slightest bit out of his reach. Nakajima and Black go at it in a first time throw down and we get a quick dodge of a Nakajima dropkick, maneuvered into a dragon screw legwhip onto Black. It doesn't throw Tyler off as he gets a dropkick and tags out to KENTA! It's KENTA vs. Nakajima. Big kick by KENTA and now slaps and more boots! Good stuff! Back and forth kick strikes and it's who can take it the most! Great stuff! KENTA jumps over a kick and looks for the sweeping strike and Nakajima dodges it! Crowd loves it!
Nakajima tries a leap frog but KENTA counters with a kick. Aries reluctantly tags into face KENTA. These two fought at All Star Extravaganza IV but this is the first time they've crossed paths with Aries in his new persona. Aries immediately tries some wacky body language, indicating maybe he wants to wrestle KNETA and not kick each other. KENTA declines a handshake by kicking away the hand. Aries gets him down. Reversals and escapes and YOU CAN'T HEADSCISSORS, well, you know. Aries doesn't even need his dropkick. Another attempt at the sequence and this time he tries the dropkick and KENTA dodges. Aries mockingly celebrates this with a golf clap…and
OH SHIT ARIES>>> YOU DO NOT BITCH SLAP KENTA! But Kenta whiffs on his strikes and Aries gets out of dodge, celebrating like a seven year old who got to see Santa. He misses Black catching him on the outside! Black throws him into KENTA and badam! Huge kick series and Aries is flopping around. Black tags in and soon gets the Biel toss and then a 10 punch sequence as well as a snap suplex. Sick looking running kick by KENTA and jumping knee drop from Black gets two as KENTA is legal. Springboard into the back heel swipe and Aries' eyes roll to the back of his head. Quick tags in and out between KENTA and Black.
Solid chops by Black and Black charges it up but Aries bandoleers Black over, stops Nakajima with a kick but Aries shoves Black off the springboard lariat attempt and Black splats onto the mat. Aries follows with a frog axe handle from the top and rolls Black in, tags Nakajima and he's in control. Dropkick for two. Snapmare and spine kick and we get a Gen Next classic double team of the pendulum slingshot forearm / twisting elbow for two. Black tries to crawl underneath Aries but is cut off at the legs, which looked very good as far as the struggle to get free. Nakajima works on the legs with a stretch or two, tags in Aries and they wishbone the legs. Aries then goes for the wet willie…no, actually he just wets his finger for the DREADED NERVE HOLD. Black quickly pulls off of that and fights back but Aries with a gutbuster / STO and the Carlton Banks Approved Power Drive Elbow… does NOT happen and Aries rolls him up into the angles Pele…and the hot tag to KENTA!
KENTA takes out both Aries and Nakajima with running strikes and a suplex. Out and In with the springboard front missile dropkick. Charge at Aries with a Yakuza… ANOTHER (looked awesome!) and a dropkick to the corner. Fisherman buster and cover for a two-count. Boston crab as you can hear Aries calling "help me!" Heh. Nakajima breaks it up with some kicks and Aries puts the boots to KENTA. Nakajima with some kicks and a spinning kick, then a running forearm to the corner and a slingshot suplex followed by a DDT. Elegant looking dropkick, and after a see-saw of momentum, Nakajima gets the angled enziguri off the ropes for two.
Nakajima charges and is blocked with a kick, but KENTA's Tornado DDT is reversed and brought back to the corner. Excellent looking spin kick connects full on and Nakajima is pumped! Up to the turnbuckle and Nakajima tries a brainbuster but is immediately blocked and KENTA front slams him down… FLYING DOUBLE STOMP off the top! KENTA is ready for Go 2 Sleep, but Nakajima elbows out. KENTA goes for the strikes series and Aries attacks from behind, but KENTA tries again, Nakajima falls off, SUPERKICK! AND AGAIN! DAMN! KENTA with a 360 lariat and both are down! That gets a standing ovation from the huge Houston crowd.
Referee count hits eight and Nakajima tags Aries, who cuts KENTA off. Knee breaker / back suplex combo followed by the dropkick, cover with hooking the legs gets two. KENTA back up, gets a German released suplex. Hot tag to Black and the springboard lariat connects this time! As does the romp-em, stomp-em charge. Paroxysm gets two! Black with the TKO attempt but Aries elbows out, waistlock run, Northern lariat (doesn't fully hit). Quebrada and Aries rolls over and Black stand on his feet into the running SSP! Black looks for the 450 Phoenix but again Aries rolls out and Black rolls through. Japanese arm drag into the tunbuckles and Black goes head first and I don't know how he did it but Aries rolls right through a roll up into the LAST CHANCERY. That was slick as hell. KENTA just stomps Aries off of Black and Nakajima and KENTA fight to the floor. Aries to the second rope with black in toe. Black sunset flips out of, looks for the power bomb. KENTA kicks Aries in the head but even then Aries counters with the rana! Aires with the dropkick by Black scoops him up, TKO attempt and connects. Buckle Bomb hits full on and Black preps the superkick. Nakajima is in and SUPERKICK by Nakajima to Black! AND ANOTHER! And ANOTHER! GOOD GOD MAN, this would be attempted murder in some states.
Busaiku knee by KENTA clears Nakajima, Aries punts KENTA down! Black tries the Pele but gets nothing but air and Aries punts HIM! Brainbuster is picked up into GOD's LAST GIFT! ONE…TWO…THREE!
What a hell of a match and a fantastic run down the stretch to the finish. Aries was excellent in this one, using his heel antics to mix and match with KENTA's serious ‘I'm going to kick your ass" philosophy. Aries sneaking in and out of those attacks and tagging in Nakajima to do the damage early on was brilliant, although he doesn't shy away from the action, especially at the end. The Black vs. Nakajima segments were fresh and unique, although I'd say the KENTA vs. Aries segments were done better. KENTA vs. Nakajima was rock solid—these guys don't miss a beat against each other. Aries and Black were off for one short segment, but the run to the finish made up for it and then some.
-We get some closing highlights of the show we have just seen, one more indication that ROH was continuing to work on its PPV presentation even during this, its last PPV show for now.
Overall Thoughts: If ROH was going to go out of PPV for now, they may as well have gone out in style and that is exactly what they did. You couldn't get much of a better choice to close up with the tag team main event. Black gets the clean win against Aries in the tag match to continue the focus of Black as a top babyface star for the company, and once again ROH keeps the focus on the in-ring action, which is always their strong suit.
I do dislike that there is very little shown of Lynn winning the title—ROH spent the last year plus of PPVs with McGuinness as champion. Now all of a sudden, he isn't champ? ROH needed to show, not tell about the title switch. Again, if there is a positive to the PPV era coming to an end for now, it is that the continuity issues will be more manageable and fans won't have to work their minds around such things.
Other than that, the poor video quality of the Danielson promo and the presence of Blue Demon Jr. (who is a waste of time on this show—at least Incognito and Magno made an impression), I have nothing but positive things to say about this show. Colt Cabana back was great, the eight-man was quick but fun, Necro and Jacobs brought it, the four way title match was good and of course the main event delivered big time.
Take No Prisoners 2009 is an awesome Pay Per View with several very good matches and one hell of a bang-up main event. This show reminded me of why exactly I am a fan of ROH—because when you get right down to it, they get professional wrestling right. There is a lot of fun to be had in watching this show, so GET THIS SHOW. NOW.
-I've really enjoyed the main events to the last two ROH HD Net shows. The Tables are Legal title match between Steenerico and The American Wolves lived up to its billing, as did the Four Way Title match between Lynn, Aries, Danielson and Black.
The tag title match was just 100 percent straight ahead from the get-go, with both teams layering on the table spots until an excellent finish involving the two tables outside and one on the inside. Generico's half-nelson suplex on Richards through the table leaning on its side was particularly memorable, as was the nearfall of the Swanton / Splash combo. The fans were super-enthusiastic and let the emotions of the match carry them to the kind of responses I have come to expect from ROH crowds during main event matches. What's even better for ROH is that the Wolves vs. Steenerico is the kind of match that while it's been done a couple of times already it doesn't feel old—they can go with this series for quite some time.
I loved the four way title match. Maybe it's not THE match of the year but it is very worthy of being in the discussion. The overall story of the match worked, with Aries being the fulcrum, causing the separation of the four men, playing keep away during the middle of the match and thus getting the advantage over the other three. Jerry Lynn continues to prove the naysayers wrong by getting in the ring and going to work. Everyone was great in that one, but Lynn more than held his end. There was a unique and original spot, such as the moonsault / bridge spot, which was incredibly impressive to see, as well as Danielson's back suplexing of Tyler Black onto BOTH the downed bodies of Lynn and Aries. I loved the finish with Lynn maneuvering into the cradle piledriver. DIDN'T love that Lynn's televised defense comes BEFORE his first defense on PPV AND the show he won the title were released for purchase. Nonetheless, THIS is a match worth seeing, ROH fan or not.
-SHIMMER Volume 21 and 22 Thoughts:
I finally managed to catch up with my ROH and SHIMMER DVDs, but I didn't take notes on the rest of Insanity Unleashed or Steel City Clash and can't remember too much offhand about them. However I did just finish watching the last two SHIMMER shows available for purchase, so these thoughts are fresh out of my mind:
When you open up the case for Volume 21 you see an awesome photo of Cheerleader Melissa, Mercedes Martinez, Ariel and Amazing Kong playing tug of war, with Kong in the role of the rope. The Four Corner Survival match is one of the highlights of that show, and that picture is an effective synecdoche for the match itself.
I really enjoy the crowd interactions from those attending the SHIMMER shows. They're a small but plucky crowd, and they also just come off as less serious and more "willing to play along" than some ROH crowds of the past and present. The shows are not officially "family friendly" but they come off that way, but the fans don't mind and actually help that to come across on the DVDs.
In particular I always get a kick out of the fans that bring Daizee Haze the plush flowers for her to swing around in her entrance, and the fans that create the cardboard cartoon standees of the SHIMMER wrestlers. They have new ones every taping. You can tell the wrestlers really appreciate those fans for putting the effort in creating them, the faces and the heels equally in acknowledging those cardboard cut outs. In particular, Neveah and Ashley Lane's happy reaction on Volume 22 when they see they had their own is proof of that.
There was a fan dressed up as Rowdy Roddy Piper who interacted with MsChif and Ariel during their title match in Vol. 22. If that happened in ROH I'd think he'd have been booed out of the building, but in this case the interaction actually helps the match have an extra touch to it. Ariel had already taken MsChif's ability to scream away with some well-placed shots to the throat, but this dude came up and screamed for MsChif, who acknowledged it. Even Prazak fed into it on commentary. Was it a grab for attention? Yeah, probably it was, but it worked out tremendously for all involved, and when the moment was over, he sat back down and the rest of the match went on.
I never realized that Amber O'Neal had a real accent, Southern-like maybe? She comes right out with it in Volume 21, but I can't recall her voice from other shows, so maybe it was always like that… Anyway, she's wearing quite the outfit on both of those shows, which are making me think thoughts I can't write down here for public consumption. I do like the little touch of story Prazak is adding here in that O'Neal, who is usually just totally consumed with her looks, is actually beginning to give it back to some of the tougher competition in the promotion. Still, she gets dominated in losses against Wesna Busic on Vol. 21 and Mercedes Martinez in 22.
Living in a Material World...
I love MsChif and all, but what kind of nickname is "Your Soul's Tormentor"? I mean, she isn't my soul's tormentor, y'know? Kind of a misnomer. Where does one learn to torment souls anyway…do you need to earn a degree for that kind of work?
I don't know if it was suggested to her or her own idea but Cat Power made the right call by beginning to add more cat based personality traits to her performance. She was "just there" in her previous matches in SHIMMER, but now she actually has a presence and something to play off. In addition to getting in the ring like a cat, the use of claw scratching in particular as a heel move works well. Her fight against Daffney from Volume 21 also involves the use of a ball of yarn as a distraction—I couldn't help but crack up at that one—I'm just waiting for someone to use a mouse toy next. Cat also enters the ring with a boudoir-tastic cat mask, which again has me thinking some thoughts I will not divulge here.
I wasn't feeling Danyah at all in previous performances, but featuring her in singles matches has helped her out as well. Again, she's someone who could benefit from a more defined persona or motivation while in SHIMMER. The plucky babyface role is being filled already by such women as Daizee Haze and Ariel, so being low on depth chart in that regard I think she needs something else to get her over. Portia Perez and Nicole Matthews already have the "Canadian" aspect down (and the Ninja part as well), but maybe Danyah can bandwagon jump…or at least wear a Maple Leafs jersey.
Jetta and Rain do the Sprinkler over and over! Honestly get the DVDs just to see these two doing wacky antics and then heeling it up with the fans.
Allison Danger makes a return for Vol. 22 in an interview segment and whoa boy is she preggers during the taping of this show. Portia Perez actually gets some awesome heat from the crowd when she impugns Danger's name and makes fun of the child. She even was going to attack Danger, but BRYCE FREAKING REMBSURG with the spear and the save! How about that? Bryce is some kind of hero there. When Danger gets back to action, there is some definite good stuff they can do in a program with her and Perez.
Lufisto vs. Wesna Busic on Vol. 22 is a quick but stiff as hell match and definitely worth going out of your way to see. Lufisto in particular looked very motivated for this one. Unbelievably, her anime characterization works for her.
There are a couple of misses on the shows… Miss Natural was very generic in her matches (even generic for heel standards) and I can only judge by her two appearance here, but I wasn't too impressed. Kong gets to destroy Rachel Summerlyn in a squash match to end all squash matches, and while that's fun, Summerlyn would probably be better as a heel than anything else.
The main attractions for Volume 21 is the crowning of the first-ever SHIMMER Tag Team champions in a Gauntlet match and a nifty MsChif vs. Daizee Haze match which mixes some different looks and offensive exchanges from both with their trademark moves. Again the principle applies that the women who appear in ROH seem to have much better matches for SHIMMER. Daze vs. MsChif is almost already a pretty repetitive pairing in ROH, but here on a SHIMMER main event they are given time to shine and are so much the better for it. The tag title gauntlet
Serena Deeb defeating Sara Del Rey after several shows where Del Rey beat her up and then hearing "What a Feeling!" from Flashdance is a quirky kind of humorous. Del Rey jumps her afterwards but MsChif with the save. Larry Sweeney makes a special appearance on this show and pulls her out before the faces can get too much of an advantage. "What a Feeling!" to several replays of Serena's spear including slow motion! It's like a feel-good 1980's movie!
The Big News: Tyler Black defeated Jerry Lynn in a non-title match with the Buckle Bomb to Superkick combination, which is how Tyler defeated McGuinness in a non-title match back at Full Circle in January. Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. The Youngbucks of Matt and Nick Jackson stole the show with a fantastic bout which Steenerico won. McGuinness cut a promo commenting he would return to in-ring action soon and cut down on Jerry Lynn and Bryan Danielson. McGuinness seems to be playing the tweener role to the hilt, as he also has a grudge match against Claudio Castagnoli coming up and may have problems with Austin Aries tonight in New York City. Speaking, Aries tapped to Roderick Strong in a Four Corner Survival match and Shawn Spears made his debut with a victory over Alex Payne.
Live Experience: This was the snapmare show apparently, as the fans were going crazy for them and many wrestlers reciprocated by including them in their match. Wrestling fans have some crazy fetishes, that's for sure. Snapmare pops, really? Oh well, all in good fun. Ric Flair made an appearance, put over the ROH and was received well by the fans in attendance. Also if you like bare feet, the opening contest was for you as Colt Cabana and Grizzley Redwood joined with Necro in a show of foot solidarity by doffing their wrestling boots. Hopefully they packed the tough actin' Tenactin with them.
ROH decided not to renew their Pay Per View deal with GFunk Entertainment, which means Take No Prisoners 2009, which started airing last night, would be the last Pay Per View for now. Quite frankly I've been expecting this for about a month now, ever since it seemed that no future PPV tapings would be announced any time soon. Actually I think it is for the best—I've long since commented on the continuity issues and how annoying it was to have to juggle the timelines for three different ROH media presentations—the DVDs, the Pay Per Views and the television program on HD Net. Now ROH can actually focus on tightening up the timeline issues and create a more cohesive bond between the events on the television show and the shows that are being taped for DVD. Not only that, but it would take a long time for ROH to see the revenues from these shows and regardless, it was never their major source of revenue. In fact, there are rumors (not confirmed) that DVD business is way way down…and DVD sales are the true lifeblood of the company. If the end of the PPV experiment means that ROH concentrates more on providing the best shows for DVD possible, that could only help them to add DVD sales and begin to bring them back to where they need to be.
Due to ROH cancelling on the deal, they have to sit tight through a six-month non-compete clause before they can consider it again, but as I just wrote I do believe that is for the best. As far as a live Pay Per View, that may actually be the best compromise between taped PPVs and the continuity problems and no PPVs and the loss of the extra revenue / exposure. Although I'd think live Pay Per View probably costs a hell of a lot more than taped programming due to the costs of live transmission, I think broadcasting a major show like Death Before Dishonor, Glory By Honor or Final Battle could be worth it. It remains to be seen how these shows could sell if they went live to television (hopefully with some advertisement). There are some major advantages in that spontaneity, not knowing the finishes and the live atmosphere would all translate to television. I've always felt that the ROH PPVs did a good job of translating the excitement and fun of attending a show live, but there was always those one of two degrees of separation that removed it from really feeling what it was like to go to these shows and experience them as they happened.
Over the last two years and twelve Pay Per Views, ROH provided plenty of very memorable moments and excellent matches that lived up to its reputation. The video and audio quality only this year has matched the in-ring quality ROH provided. Matt Sydal and Claudio Castagnoli vs. The Briscoes stole the show, and then the bench clearing brawl between The Briscoes and Steenerico topped it. Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness had the match of the year, taped in Philadelphia and presented on the Driven show. Then Man Up was an in-ring and creative peak for PPV with the Ladder War main event topping the whole show and witnessing the formation of The Age of the Fall. Those first three shows set the formula for ROH Pay Per View specials to come—solid first halves of the show with fantastic main event attraction bouts. The matches to come featuring Nigel McGuinness—versus Austin Aries, Tyler Black, Claudio Castagnoli and even the rematch against Danielson were all worth the price of admission for the show. It highlighted McGuinness's talent and confirmed his value to the company as its world champion. Meanwhile the ascension of Tyler Black and the Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs wars all were given the spotlight and shined through. While ending ROH on Pay Per View right now is probably the right thing, when you look back on what ROH presented on its shows you find plenty to be happy with.
Preview: ROH Manhattan Mayhem III 06/12/09 in Manhattan, New York City:
ROH took the extra step to name this show after what was at one time THE all-time best ROH show ever and a show that had two of the best matches of 2008. Those are very lofty standards to live up to and I don't know if ROH can quite get there. Initially I wasn't that inspired when looking at this card, until the title matches were announced. Now, in some ways, I actually think this card resembles At Our Best (from 2004) in that there is a very solid undercard and two main events (although not in a cage) that can get wild and crazy and really put the entire show over the top. That show had ROH fighting from their heels to survive and thrive in the wake of scandal and while there isn't that kind of desperate motivation propelling the company, ROH does have a bit to prove tonight in terms of bringing a great show in the wake of losing PPV and Ric Flair being on the way out.
ROH World Title Match (Ric Flair is the special outside referee; Nigel McGuinness will be at ringside)--Jerry Lynn defends vs. Austin Aries: I don't usually like controversial finishes in the main event, but I think this one is almost begging for it. Austin Aries has been on a super hot streak, and Lynn, while bringing it in his title defenses, is still garnering mixed reactions depending on the venue. Ric Flair was supposed to be the special referee but now has been downgraded to outside ref (although that doesn't mean he won't still be involved in the action in some way) and the former ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness is going to be looking on and may just get involved in the physicality as well. He has his own agenda of course and his mindset on who he wants to fight for the championship could affect who he ends up attacking. Or, he may end up being the victim of an attack by Austin Aries, and could retaliate. Either way, you can't overlook the outside presence of the guests at ringside. If this show is truly called Manhattan Mayhem III, then let's bring the mayhem and the madness out for this match. Hey, maybe even Tyler Black will cash in his title shot afterwards just to put a capper on the whole deal? I'd say there's a ten percent chance of that happening.
The match itself should be very good to great, as Aries has mastered how to mix his potent offense with some heel chicanery, and Lynn has risen to the occasion in the ring for high-profile title matches. His impact offense still looks good and the Cradle Piledriver has been a definitive finisher to his matches. Lynn could use a classic title defense to seal the deal on his run, as aside from the match against Roderick Strong which was helped a lot by the atmosphere created when Strong bled buckets. If he is successful tonight, this could be that match.
World Tag Team Title Submissions Match--The American Wolves with Shane Hagadorn defend vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico: This has been THE rivalry to watch in ROH this past Spring, with an awesome match last time in New York and of course the title switch from HD Net that aired a few weeks back. While most of the matches have emphasized the physical nature of the feud and the brutality of the grudge, their has also been an undercurrent of psychology to it as well. The Wolves have preyed on Steen and Generico's knee injuries and managed to make Steen submit once. Steen has also made Richards tap out to his Sharpshooter. Eddie Edwards has actually made Bryan Danielson submit to a half crab. The only question mark is El Generico, who we really haven't seen bust out a submission, but maybe he has been hiding something in his back pocket. This match favors the champions, especially since Steen and Generico's physical well-being is so tenuous. I do expect the challengers to win the title back at some point, but I don't think it will be here.
First Blood Match--Jimmy Jacobs vs. Tyler Black: I'm not a fan of the "first blood" stipulation, especially taking place in New York City, where when the fans get that bloodlust they do not want to be teased about it. Especially with Jimmy Jacobs, who can bleed if you just happen to touch him. Especially with this feud, which needs a really good match to wash the taste of the Revolution Rules match from February for the live fans who saw that below average spectacle. Jacobs and Black just hasn't been the rivalry I expected out of them—and in fact Jacobs has been better in selling the blood feud against Necro Butcher and Delirious than against Black, and Black has been better in rivalries against McGuinness and Aries. Black has also pinned Jacobs with God's Last Gift last time in New York City, so I'm not sure what else he had left to prove against his former partner. I guess that means that Jacobs should take this one en route to the real finale—the cage match in Detroit later this month.
Four Corner Survival Match--Bryan Danielson vs. Colt Cabana vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. D-Lo Brown Well, judging from the Take No Prisoners PPV (see above), this one divides itself between D-Lo and Danielson (who have a little "something, something" going on, although god knows what) and Claudio & Cabana (who match up due to Cabana's feud with The Embassy and Claudio being an associate of that group). If this match plays out like previous four ways, in that there is no tag needed, that should help bump up the quality of the action and make for a better match. This one should be a very solid undercard bout.
Grudge Match--The Necro Butcher vs. Jimmy Rave with Prince Nana: I don't expect much out of this one as the feud between Necro and The Embassy is just beginning. I also don't necessarily think these two will mesh well in the ring. Rave has settled back into the role he had with The Embassy during those glory years, which is both a positive and a negative—a positive in that he is really fun to boo in that position. I can't wait to see if NYC bombards Rave with the toilet paper and how bad it will get. It's a negative because Rave has yet to really stand out and make his mark in his return. He was overshadowed (and probably rightfully so) last time in NYC due to Colt Cabana's fantastic return. Now he has a singles spotlight and hopefully will make that work.
Sonjay Dutt vs. Roderick Strong: I'm not a huge fan of Sonjay Dutt but no question he can bring the high-flying and fast-paced action. Strong is a good man to match him up with, especially given Strong's in-ring renaissance this year. There won't be much a storyline for this one, but there doesn't have to be…just Strong's chops and hard hitting offense against Dutt's speed and agility.
The Young Bucks vs. Rhett Titus & Kenny King: Debuting the Young Bucks on a weekend where they run NYC is a bit of a risk—it will be sink or swim for them on this show in front of an audience that doesn't always embrace the "pretty boy" wrestler. That is, unless that wrestler is the hugely entertaining Rhett Titus. The Jackson boys need to impress the crowd, but given they did just that last night in Manassas, I doubt that will really be a problem.
Jay Briscoe vs. Guido Maritato: Guido is a Northeast underground fave given his ECW past, but I think this will mostly be a Jay Briscoe special, with plenty of brawling but mostly going Jay's way and ending with the Jay Driller for the win.
ROH Champions—As of 06/13/2009
ROH World Champion—Jerry Lynn (champion since 04/03/09, 6 successful defenses)
-defeated Nigel McGuinness in Houston, Texas via pinfall to win the championship.
Next Defense:vs. Austin Aries (06/13/09, New York, NY)
V.1 Four Corner Survival: defeated Bryan Danielson, D-Lo Brown and Erick Stevens (04/04/09, Houston, TX)
V.2 Four Corner Survival: defeated Bryan Danielson, Austin Aries and Jimmy Jacobs (04/10/09, Philadelphia, PA, airs June 6th, 2009)
V.3 defeated Roderick Strong (04/24/09, Dayton, OH)
V.4 defeated Colt Cabana (04/25/09, Chicago Ridge, IL)
V.5 defeated Chris Hero (05/08/09, Boston, MA)
V.6 defeated Jay Briscoe (05/09/09, Edison, NJ)
ROH World Tag Team Champions—American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) (champions since 04/10/09, 4 successful defenses)
-defeated Kevin Steen & El Generico on April 10th, 2009 in a Tables are Legal match in Philadelphia, PA to win the championship. The match will air on May 30th, 2009.
Next Defense:vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico (06/13/09, New York, NY)
V.1 fought to a 45-minute draw against Bryan Danielson & Tyler Black (04/18/09, Markham, ONT, Canada) *champions retain on a draw.
V.2 defeated Kevin Steen & Jay Briscoe (04/25/09, Chicago Ridge, IL)
V.3 defeated Bryan Danielson & Kevin Steen (05/09/09, Edison, NJ)
V.4 defeated Bryan Danielson & Tyler Black (05/29/09, Philadelphia, PA, airs on June 27th, 2009)
Top Feuds & Pairings:
-Tyler Black vs. Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs
-Tyler Black has a title shot "in his back pocket"
-American Wolves vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico
-Nigel McGuinness is the "wildcard" of the ROH World Title situation
-Claudio Castagnoli vs. Brent Albright
-Necro Butcher vs. The Embassy
-Prince Nana & The Embassy vs. Bryan Danielson & Colt Cabana
-Claudio Castagnol is now an "associate" of The Embassy
-Eddie Kingston wants a piece of Chris Hero
ROH Home Theatre Station
ROH Videowire: May 27th, 2009
Get With the pROHgram:
Available Now: Supercard of Honor IV with ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness vs. Jerry Lynn
Tonight: ROH on HDNet main events with Jerry Lynn vs. Chris Hero in a non-title match.
June 26th, 2009: ROH returns to Detroit, Michigan for the Tyler Black vs. Jimmy Jacobs blow-off in a cage match.
July 24-25th, 2009: ROH returns to Toronto, Canada with "Death Before Dishonor VII: Legends Edition" featuring Bret Hart on the 24th, Ric Flair's last scheduled ROH appearance and Lance Storm vs. Chris Hero on the 25th.
September 18th, 2009: ROH returns to Dayton, Ohio.
Buy or Sell Quickies
The Young Bucks will win one of their two tag matches this weekend in Ring of Honor: SELL. They're already 0-for-1 on the weekend and I don't think King & Titus will go under a less established team. They will impress the crowds though and earn a return trip.
At least one of the recently released Ken Anderson or Umaga will be seen in Ring of Honor this year: BUY. I could see either one fitting in really well, but Umaga is not taking bookings right now so I think the better chance lies with Ken Anderson ne Kennedy…Kennedy. I think he could draw some major heat with the crowd along the lines of Daniel Puder's appearances a year or so back.
Tyler Black will defeat Jerry Lynn in their non-title contest in Virginia: No answer--results for Virginia are already up.
Ric Flair will end up costing Austin Aries the RoH World Title at Hammerstein Ballroom: SELL. I'm thinking we will in fact see a title change tonight in New York City. However, if we don't then it will be Nigel McGuinness who will be the one to cost Aries the title.
Read Bayani and Michael Bauer's responses to the above questions and more in this week's 411 Buy or Sell.