I'm not sure of the exact reasoning, but the 7th Anniversary Show is taking place a month late. It's certainly no stupider than "the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania," though.
I should note that it appears there are some issues with the source tape which make this DVD grainier than most.
March 21, 2009
From New York, N.Y..
Your hosts are Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard.
Bobby Dempsey calls himself a gunslinger who will shoot Larry Sweeney's henchmen dead and move on to the next town. Actually, not a bad promo by Dempsey.
Opening Match: Rhett Titus & Kenny King vs. Roderick Strong & Erick Stevens.
King and Titus are really coming into their own. And given Titus' gimmick, he's cumming into his own! Ha ha! Roflcopter. I like how they've established King as the competent member of the team and Titus as the cocky guy who can't keep the advantage for his team. Titus rakes Stevens' eyes to take over, and Erick plays face-in-peril. Roderick gets the hot tag but gets nailed with the handstand kick and Muff Driver. Stevens sets up for a superplex on King, but Titus backjumps him. That leads to the Doomsday Blockbuster attempt, but Roderick breaks it up with a Yakuza Kick. Nice. The Doctorbomb plants Stevens at 8:51. Fairly formulaic tag match highlighted by some good doubleteams. **1/4
Brent Albright vs. Claudio Castagnoli.
Brent had been stymied in his various attempts to get a decisive win over Claudio, so the scale of the show seemed to indicate it might happen here. Albright is pretty agile for a bigger guy, which you probably knew, but he really displays it here early. Claudio ducks a crossbody, though, and Brent lands in the ropes. Brent gets fired up but runs right into a Bicycle Kick. Claudio can't get him up for the Ricolabomb, though, and Albright counters to a neckbreaker. Claudio teases the Giant Swing and then decides against it because that's just what the crowd wants him to do. Albright comes off the top for a shoulderblock, but Claudio nails him with an uppercut. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Claudio tries to win by countout, but Brent makes it back in and takes him down into the Crowbar. Claudio escapes and hotshots him, but Albright catches him going up and hits the SUUUUPERPLEX! A slugfest erupts at the 14-minute mark, and it doesn't stop until the time limit expires at 15:00. Jobbers run down to separate the two as the slugfest continues. Neither guy is satisfied. Claudio wants five more minutes, so it's on! Albright quickly takes him down into the Crowbar. Claudio nearly taps but reverses to his own Crowbar! Albright powers up, so Claudio goes low with the mule kick in full view of the ref. That's a DQ at 2:41. The match was good, with lots of credible counters to their usual offense, but it works even better in the context of their escalating feud. ***1/4
After the match, Claudio gives Brent the Ricolabomb and stomps his head in under a chair. Jerk.
Recap of Bobby Dempsey finally getting fed up with Larry Sweeney's abuse and turning on him.
Adam Pearce (w/Shane Hagadorn & Sara Del Rey) vs. Bobby Dempsey.
Pearce makes fun of guest timekeeper George Oliphant. The George Oliphant? THE George Oliphant? How in the hell did they pull that off? Why was this not bigger news on the ROH boards? Actually, I have no idea who George Oliphant is, and neither does the crowd. They know they hate him, though. Apparently, he's some NBC guy. Pearce threatens to turn him into the next John Stossel. Pearce talks trash. Gets Avalanched. Death Valley Driver finishes at 0:25. Man, the bookerman really took one for the team there, and it's nice to see Bobby get some much-deserved revenge. 1/4*
Jerry Lynn vs. Mike Quackenbush.
I never noticed before, but these two are actually very similar in style. It's back and forth, counter-for-counter until Quack tries a huracanrana on the outside and Lynn slings him into the barricade. Well, that's awfully heelish, especially given Quack's well-known head injuries. Oddly, Quack doesn't really sell it and goes back to hitting rollups on the inside. Quack counters the Cradle Piledriver a few times, but Lynn blocks the Quackendriver and hits the Cradle Piledriver for the win at 9:35. The fans are not impressed with the outcome, but they do give Quack a round of applause. Not a bad exhibition, but no real emotion or anything. **
Recap of the follies of the Age of the Fall.
Revolution Rules Tag: Tyler Black, Delirious & Necro Butcher vs. Austin Aries & The Age of the Fall. First Fall: Ah, yes. "Revolution Rules." We're veering into Russo territory here. It's kind of like a reverse game of horse. It's elimination rules, but once there's a fall, the next fall has to end in a different manner. For example, if Delirious eliminates Brodie by submission in the Cobra Stretch, the next fall can't end in a submission. Brodie quickly shoves aside the two smaller members of the face team and calls for the Necro Butcher. Brawl ensues, drawing in everyone else. Jimmy winds up in there with Black and Delirious, his former stablemates. Yipes. They all take it to the floor, and Daizee Haze comes out to jump onto the pile only Austin Aries yanks her down. Delirious goes after Aries for that, but he get distracted, and Aries is able to finish him with the Brainbuster at 7:16.
Second Fall: Necro and Brodie brawl away from the ring into the crowd and disappear. That leaves Jimmy and Aries to beat on Tyler. Referee Todd Sinclair declares both Necro and Brodie eliminated at 11:40. Lame!
Third Fall: Black still has to go it alone against Aries and Jimmy. They set him up in a chair, but neither man can agree on which one will dive out on him. Jimmy brushes off Aries and goes for it, but Aries double-crosses him with a rolling forearm. So there you go. They don't like each other now that they're both heels. A slugfest between Jimmy and Aries is interrupted when Black hits a springboard clothesline. That sets up the DDT/Flatliner combo. Jimmy gets tossed, so Black Bucklebombs Aries and superkicks him. Tyler finishes off Aries with the End Time while Jacobs just glares at them, making no attempt at a save. (17:55)
Fourth Fall: It's down to Jimmy and Tyler. Jimmy nails him with a couple wicked chairshots, but Tyler avoids getting spiked and hits the Pélé. OH IT JUST COMES OUT OF NOWHERE! Tyler tries to stab Jimmy, but Jimmy rolls out of the way and jumps on him with the End Time. You can't win that way, so Jimmy drops it (even though the announcers point out he could just choke Tyler out and pin him). Tyler counters another attempt to God's Last Gift for the win at 20:53. The stipulations didn't really add anything to this outside of Jimmy's mental gaffe at the end. Too many issues clouded the match too when it probably could have been a nice triple threat. It's not a bad match, but disappointing, given the talent involved. **3/4
Jay Briscoe says he has respect for D-Lo Brown because he watched him growing up.
Prince Nana comes out to thank "Barack Alabama" for the stimulus package that allowed him to rebuild his Embassy and hire Bison Smith. But that's not all. He's also brought back THE CROWN JOO-ELL! JIMMY RAVE! Bryan Danielson storms the ring but gets backbreakered by Smith. Grizzly Redwood storms in and gets tossed like a Bushwhacker. But wait! Colt Cabana returns! HUGE POP FOR THAT!
Bryan Danielson & Colt Cabana vs. Bison Smith & Jimmy Rave (w/Prince Nana & Ernie Osiris).
Both Danielson and Cabana enjoy smacking Rave around, but Smith tags in and press slams Danielson into the buckle. Rave tags back in. That's a pretty good formula – Smith gets the advantage but Rave reaps the rewards. That way Smith doesn't get so over by being a cool monster that it ruins him. Prazak and Leonard's discussion over whether or not Osiris and Jade Cheung look alike is one of their classics. The faces do fine against Jimmy, but Smith is just too overpowering. Dragon and Colt finally team up to send him into the audience, and Dragon adds the plancha. Jimmy tries to jump Colt from behind, but Colt slips over him and gets a flash rollup for the win at 10:04. Hey, everything from the moment Nana came out was just fun and entertaining. That's what the best of ROH used to be about back from 2004-2006. Great moment, and Colt and Danielson's cheerful celebration is the cherry on top. ***
D-Lo Brown vs. Jay Briscoe (w/Mark Briscoe).
D-Lo thanks the WWE for future endeavoring him because now his "future endeavors" are in ROH. Jay outwrestles D-Lo early because he's so much quicker. D-Lo actually looks winded three minutes in, which wouldn't be surprising. D-Lo deftly turns the referee away and goes low. Then, he pretends that it was an accident when Jay is rolling around holding his giblets. Awesome! D-Lo nails him with a lariat to cement his heel role. That just makes him a face with the NY crowd, though. Jay cuts off a dive with a dropkick. Back in, Jay hits a DVD for two. A flying legdrop misses, though, and D-Lo just rolls Jay up with a handful of tights for the win at 12:44. D-Lo's pro-style way of working a match calmed Jay down considerably. That's both a good and bad thing. Jay only has one speed, though, and this slower style exposed how awkward he is at times. **1/4
ROH World Tag Team Titles, No DQ: Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. The American Wolves (w/Sara Del Rey & Shane Hagadorn).
Steen is coming in with his knee taped up after the Wolves attacked him. Big brawl early, and they all take advantage of the "No DQ" stips. Steen somersault legdrops a chair on Edwards' head. Prazak calls the Wolves a better team than the No Remorse Corps ever were. Well, that's not much of an achievement, given that Davey was the laughingstock and Roderick was the mouthpiece. Think on that. The Wolves go after Steen's knee, but Generico hits his double-springboard somersault plancha to wipe them out. Steen drags in a ladder, and Generico moonsaults Richards on the ladder. Steen stacks the Wolves in the corner and hits a cannonball. That sets up the coast-to-coast from Generico. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! The Wolves regroup and come back with chairs to target Steen's leg. Generico tries to save again but accidentally hits his own partner. Oops. Davey's SSP misses, and he messes up his knee. Steen gets some much-deserved revenge, destroying Davey's knee with the chair. That sets up the Sharpshooter on Richards for the submission at 15:14. Excellent precursor to their tables match. The Wolves look vicious but with Steen's assholishness as a counterbalance. That makes for good chemistry. ***1/2
After the match, Edwards scrambles Steen's brains with a chairshot, and the Wolves put Generico through a table with the Doomsday Crusher. Steen tries to save, but they chain him to the ropes and give him a Conchairto. It's on like neckbone.
ROH World Title: Nigel McGuinness vs. KENTA.
Nigel is "a man without arms" due to ripping his biceps… bicepses? He tore the biceps in both of his arms is my main bullet point. Nigel is defenseless early, and KENTA takes his time slapping Nigel around and targeting his shoulder with kicks. Even the cynical NY fans are wincing. Nigel avoids the curbstomp off the top and yanks KENTA to the floor for a Tower of London. Nigel tries to keep things grounded, but KENTA escapes and comes back with kicks. KENTA hits a pair of sickening Yakuzas in the corner. GO2SLEEP! ONE, TWO, THRE-foot on the ropes. Nigel drags KENTA to the outside and hits the Tower of London on the apron! Back in, Nigel hits the GO2SLEEP! You cheeky bastard. London Dungeon, but KENTA reverses to a rollup for two. Nigel naps his arm down and goes for it again. Kenta counters to the Go2Sleep, but Nigel slips out slams KENTA'S arm on the mat again, and goes back to the London Dungeon. That doesn't work, so Nigel bends him backwards in a Bow-and-Arrow London Dungeon for the tapout at 25:19. For a no-armed guy, Nigel still puts on a hell of a match. This match serves as a reminder that there was a time when Nigel was more than a series of lariats. He is a good mat technician and submission wrestler. This is probably not the dream contest people were hoping for. While KENTA did target the arm as he should, he also seemed to tone things down quite a bit when compared to his other ROH appearances. I got no problems with the effort, though. ***1/2
The 411: As usual, the NYC crowd brings out the best in ROH. Outside of a few glaring low points and a disappointing elimination match, everything was good-really good and we got some great moments in Dempsey's win, Cabana's and Nana's returns, and the Wolves establishing themselves as vicious tag-team killers.