I know it seats fewer people, but I actually like the atmosphere of the Grand Ballroom.
September 26, 2009
From New York City, N.Y..
Your hosts are Dave Prazak and Chris Hero.
Opening Match: Colt Cabana vs. Rhett Titus
Colt refuses to shake hands after Titus rubs his hand on his junk, so he wipes off Titus' hand with a towel. Titus tosses the towel at him and jumps Cabana. It's mostly Colt's comedy stuff until Titus hits a sick dropkick out of the corner. Very Holly-ish. Colt punches him in the mid-section to send Rhett into the Ted Dibiase sell. Colt hits the Flying Apple and avoids a second dropkick. The Billy Goat's Curse finishes at 6:32. Just a little mild, inoffensive comedy to get the fans into the show. **
The Dark City Fight Club vs. Cheech & Cloudy.
The Fight Club looks characteristically surly. They isolate Cheech for much of the match. Cloudy is left to act like a gnat and irritate them. Up in Smoke use their doubleteams to even things up. Davis POUNCES Cheech to break up Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Cheech (the 619/dropkick combo). I think Cheech went back in time on that one. That leaves Cloudy alone to take the Greater Good (powerbomb/neckbreaker combo) at 9:45. I love a good drubbing. **
Claudio Castagnoli (w/Prince Nana & Mr. Ernesto Osiris) vs. Kenny Omega.
Castagnoli goes fully European with a glove slap. His honor impugned, Omega produces a glove and slaps Castagnoli. Claudio counters the froggy crossbody to a Samoan Drop. They take it to the floor where Omega moonsaults off the corner onto Claudio. A second attempt at the crossbody frogsplash gets two. Claudio counters something to the UFO (Unidentified Flying Opponent, aka no-hands airplane spin). The Ricolabomb is countered to a small package! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! The pop-up uppercut puts Omega down, though. Omega hits the Hadouken to set up the reverse rana. Claudio blocks Croyt's Wrath, though, and goes low with a mule kick. Oooh, right in the jubblies. That sets up a wicked uppercut for the win at 9:37. Omega continues to impress, and he looks comfortable in the babyface challenger role. The fans are really taking to him, too. Claudio is a cut above right now, though. ***
The American Wolves say they'll be ready for Ladder War II.
Bret Hart comes out to reminisce about his fn times in New York – mainly with his brother Owen, Mr. Perfect, and Yokozuna. He says if he could wrestle again, it would be in NYC.
Four-Corner Survival: Sonjay Dutt vs. Delirious (w/Daizee Haze) vs. Roderick Strong vs. Grizzly Redwood.
Sonjay goes after Daizee early, so Delirious jumps him from behind. If Russo books, it turns out Daizee likes being violated and falls in love with Sonjay. In the ring, Strong tosses Grizzly into the corner with this "Freaky Retard Strength" (tm CM Punk). Strong lifts Delirious for the apron backbreaker only to have Grizzly clip him from behind. Roderick completes the move on his way down. Sonjay recovers and jumps Grizzly from behind. Everyone winds up in the corner for the super stacked superplex/powerbomb tower of doom!!! Grizzly gets the best of that and rips off his shirt. THIS IS WHERE THE POWER LIES! Grizzly cleans house on Sonjay and Delirious, but Delirious catches him coming off the top. Strong hits an AWESOME dropkick on Delirious, and now we HIT THE CHOPS! Sonjay hits the satellite headscissors, and Grizzly goes for the Tornado DDT. Roderick tosses him, though. Sonjay breaks up Shadows over Hell, but Roderick kicks him senseless. Sonjay fights Roderick off and hits the Shiranui. Delirious breaks up the pin but gets tossed into Grizzly. Sonjay spies Daizee and pulls his pants down. Ewww. That backfires as Roderick hits him with the Flying Yakuza and the SICKEST Tiger Bomb you will ever see! ONE, TWO, THREE! Roderick picks up a big win at 11:42. I've never been the biggest Dutt fan, but I like this sleazy character. Roderick always looks good when he can toss guys around. And what's with Grizzly Redwood coming on all of a sudden?! Fun little spotfest. ***1/4
ROH Tag Team Titles, Ladder War: The American Wolves (w/Shane Hagadorn) vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico.
Edwards is coming in with a broken arm, which draws an "Eddie Edwards" chant from the crowd in admiration of the man's balls. He gets no such respect from Steen who goes right after him and tries to bite his face off. Steenerico use the ladder to clothesline both Wolves. The Wolves keep Steen from going up, but he suplexes Davey on the ladder. The Wolves backdrop Generico on a ladder and handcuff Kevin Steen. With Steen helpless, that leaves Generico to take the superkick/German through a table. Davey wraps a chain on his leg and kicks Steen with it. Steen punts Davey in the nuts and knocks Edwards over as he's going up. Generico recovers enough to hit DOUBLE YAKUZA KICKS! That leaves Hagadorn alone, and Generico steals the key from him. FREE STEEN! The match enters a lull as Steen sets up tables on the floor. The challengers set up tables in the corners of the ring and a ladder in the middle. On the outside, Steen sets up a table on top of a ladder stretched across the apron and barricade. Well, this all seems very complicated. Edwards takes a wicked chairshot from Generico and gets spinebustered into a ladder. They put the Wolves on the tables and prepare to splash them from the ladder, but Davey shoves the ladder over. Edwards wipes out Steen with a DDT through a nearby table. Generico and Richards go up. Generico fights him off long enough to hit the SUPER SUNSETBOMB THROUGH THE TABLE! Richards' thousand-yard stare rivals the Undertaker's desperate look at WrestleMania. Edwards storms back in, and Generico tries it again. This time, though, Edwards backdrops him through the table! Everyone take a second to recover, and Generico wipes out Richards with a tope under the ladder and through the ropes. Steen goes up the big-ass ladder, but Edwards recovers enough to shove him over. TIIIIIMBEERRRRRR! Steen plummets through the table and ladder at ringside! Edwards and Generico battle it out on top of the ladder. Edwards fights him off just long enough for Davey to hit Generico with the chair. That sets up a half-crab through the rungs of the ladder. Davey climbs over his partner to retrieve the belts at 23:56. Another insane ladder war (only the second in ROH history, which thankfully keeps them fresh). Steen and Generico's willingness to kill themselves and Edwards' toughness were the story here. Most of the spots have been done before, sure, but it was the intensity and desperation that set this apart. ****1/2
Grudge Match: Chris Hero (w/Shane Hagadorn) vs. Eddie Kingston.
These two hate each other in every promotion they've ever been in, so this is no surprise. In this particular instance, Hero begged Kingston to invade ROH as part of CZW's army back in 2006. Then, when the opportunity arose, Hero jumped to ROH, leaving Kingston in the smaller indies. Kingston mauls him but gets distracted by Hagadorn. That allows Hero to knock him off the apron and hit the blind senton. A slugfest erupts back in the ring, which Kingston wins. He follows up with a woeful suicida. When you don't generate enough momentum to make the opponent take a step back, that might not be one to keep in your cache. Kingston busts Hero open with a headbutt. Back in, Kingston gets two off the uranage, but Hero hits a blockbuster. Hero powerbombs him for two, but Kingston hits a Fallaway Slam. The crowd is marginally interested. Yeah, it's hard to follow the Ladder War. The Deathblow only gets two, and Kingston hits an Exploder. Hero pops up and hits the Cravatplex. Kingston pops up. FIGHTING SPIRIT! Kingston hits a backdrop driver and retrieves Hero's elbowpad. Hagadorn hops in and gets nailed with the loaded backfist. That allows Hero to produce a second tailor-made loaded elbowpad. He waffles Kingston with the elbowpad for the win at 16:08. I had higher hopes for this. I'm not big on "strong style," especially when it's strong-style-in-name-only, and the fans needed a breather after Ladder War. It was a bit unfair to put this here. **1/4
Austin Aries comes out to announce that he's going to do the Austin Aries Lucky Lottery right here tonight. He draws Bret Hart's name, but, of course, Bret isn't there to wrestle and doesn't answer the call. Petey Williams does, though, so we get…
ROH World Title: Austin Aries vs. Petey Williams.
Aries suckerpunches him in mid-promo, but Petey schoolboys him and knocks him on his ass. Aries tries to worm out, but Todd Sinclair isn't having it. Petey goes for the Canadian Destroyer and Sharpshooter early, but Aries scurries to the floor and hits a double ax-handle. Back in, Aries locks in the stump-puller. Petey counters the Pendulum Elbow to the Sharpshooter, but Aries goes to the eyes. Petey slingshots into a Codebreaker for two. Aries counters the Destroyer to multiple shinbreakers and a figure-four leglock. Petey makes the ropes, but Aries switches up to the Last Chancery. Williams knees out of the Brainbuster once but gets dropped on a second try. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! I should note that the fans take to chanting "Twinkies" after every count. I assume that's a Todd Sinclair thing. A series of reversals leads to the CANADIAN DESTROYER! ONE, TWO, THRE-hand on the ropes. Sharpshooter, but Aries rolls through and sends Petey to the floor. HEAT-SEEKING MISSILE! Petey narrowly makes it to the ring at 19. Aries locks in the Last Chancery, but they're in the ropes. Aries sets him on top and goes for the Avalanche Brainbuster. Petey fights him off and hits the SUPER CANADIAN DESTROYER! Holy shit! Aries bounces to the edge and pulls himself to the floor to save the title. Petey hauls him up, but Aries hits the Brainbuster on the floor and squirts back in the ring at 18 to earn the cheap countout at 20:00. I think, like Sonjay, Petey took a little while to get out of the TV mindset of hitting your spots and going home by the commercial break, but this was a nice rollercoaster ride. Aries's cowardly actions in keeping his title are at least a little fresher than the monster heels we've been used to. Most ROH fans will probably balk at that statement, but sometimes you need to change things up a bit. ***1/4
Jim Cornette makes a surprise return, wanting to set the record straight. He did not go after Vince Russo's throat. Instead, he says he was released because he didn't agree with TNA's creative direction. He's sick of seeing leprechauns beat up grown men and men holding women's titles. He says the bigger companies can buy stars, but ROH makes stars. He wants to be involved in that, so he's accepted the position of ROH on HDNet Executive Producer.
Austin Aries interrupts and says Jimmy Corn is only in ROH because he rubs everyone the wrong way. Haha! If you know anything about Aries, you know what that's funny. He also says Vince Russo is like his own brother. This keeps getting funnier. Cornette says Aries will have to keep his belt by defending it against the best talent in ROH. Aries threatens to make Jim Cornette the first "Triple Crown Winner" as the first man to get fired by the WWE, TNA and ROH. Well, let's see what happens with Teddy Hart.
In the back, a distraught Eddie Kingston is consoled by… Julius Smokes?!
The Briscoe Bros. vs. The Young Bucks.
The Bucks work Jay's arm early, but he pulls Nick into a doublestomp from Matt. Since these teams have faced off before, they do all sorts of cool spots where they avoid each other's regular spots. That reaches an apex as they toss Nick to the floor and then LAUNCH Matt over the corner post on top of him. Nick plays the face-in-peril after that. He comes back with the back elbow into the spinning front kick. HOT TAG TO MATT! Matt spears Mark, and the Bucks hit the moonsault/splash combo for two. Jay returns with the Military Press to the DVD. The Briscoes set up for the Doomsday Device, but Matt breaks it up. Both teams exchange superkicks, and everyone is down. Matt powerbombs Mark into Nick's knees and hits a flipping Diamond Dust. Mark fights out of trouble with an Exploder and enzuigiri. Jay returns for the Jaydriller, but Nick breaks up the pin. The Briscoes set up for the Doomsday Device again, but Nick breaks it up. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK! The Bucks pick up a huge upset win at 11:03. The Bucks looked great here, walking the fine line between sympathetic babyfaces and guys who the crowd would view as glorified jobbers. Most importantly, they played to their strengths – doubleteams, speed and resourcefulness – to get the win, rather than something that would be out of character. ***3/4
Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson
This is the last ROH match for both men, so everyone is sufficiently emotional… except for Chris Hero, so I'm turning off the commentary. Say, that does come in handy. Stalemate early as they go after each others arms but eventually each man can escape. Finally, Nigel stops to mock Danielson's "best in the world" and gets bitch-slapped. Many o' sadistic arm twist follows from both guys. Danielson hits a diving headbutt to the shoulder. Nigel gets trapped in the Triangle Choke, but his legs fall on the ropes. Danielson HAS 'TIL FIVE, THOUGH! Nigel rolls through Cattle Mutilation and turns it into the Tower of London! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Great counter there. Nigel gets tossed to the audience, and Danielson follows with the long-jump plancha into the crowd! Danielson emerges busted open. Nigel drops him on the floor and tries to take the countout win. Danielson squirts back in, though, at 19. Nigel implores him to just die already and hits the Tower of London on the apron. LONDON DUNGEON! Dragon gets out of it and hits the lightning legline. Nigel rebounds! JAWBREAKER LARIAT! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Nigel goes back to the London Dungeon. He switches up to the London Dungeon across the knees. Danielson slips out and hits the Trapped Elbows, but Nigel reverses to his own. Dragon hulks up and hits a forearm smash. JAWBREAKER LARIAT! Dragon recovers and stomps Nigel's face in. TRIANGLE CHOKE! Nigel rolls it over for two, but Danielson rolls it back over and adds elbows until Nigel can't answer anymore. Todd Sinclair stops the fight at 28:23. On par with some of their best efforts, featuring all the things we've come to expect from them plus the added benefit of an emotional groundswell. ****1/2
The locker room empties to lead everyone in a standing ovation. The crowd chants, "Thank you both."
Nigel: "I had a lot of stuff I wanted to say, but that bastard clamdigger knocked me out and I can't remember it." He puts over ROH.
Danielson tries to tries to put over the rest of the roster, but the fans want him to be a little selfish. He even puts over Todd Sinclair. Todd looks a little choked up. Big "Todd Sinclair" chant. Someone in the crowd asks him to punch John Cena in the ear. Well, that'd be a quick way to get Danielson back in ROH.
Play "Final Countdown" and we're out.
Well, not quite. Danielson cuts off the music and leaves to chants of "ROH."
The 411: Pretty easily the best ROH show of the year, and one of the best in their history. The entire countdown tour felt like a rebirth after months of middling shows, and it all led to this night. Two MOTYC and a number of "very good" matches make this one of the best shows of the year by any promotion – plus you had the historic departure of ROH's two top stars, one of whom has already made a big impact with TNA (no pun intended). Add to that a fun atmosphere with the crowd (yes, I even enjoyed the "Twinkies" chant), and you get a showcase for what ROH has always done best.