This would be ROH's debut in Vegas, and the venue looks a lot like the old Shotgun Saturday Night set the WWF used to use. If I recall correctly, the deal for the original arena fell through and they had to quickly find a new one.
The No Remorse Corps join us from the Vegas strip. Roderick and Rocky make plans to go out and get laid, but they tell Richards he'll have to stay behind because he's lame.
They take Davey to scope for chicks – in front of a Wal-Mart. Davey has no game as he shows when he tells the girls Roderick and Rocky won't let him drink because he has to watch the bags. Rocky gets a kiss though.
New ROH Champion Nigel McGuinness opens the show to thank everyone for their support and to promise to be a great champion. FIP Champion Roderick Strong comes out to call him a paper champ. Brent Albright interrupts Strong and tells him to get it on right now if he's so tough.
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier: Brent Albright (w/Shane Hagadorn) vs. Roderick Strong.
Tentative start from both guys, considering they were both jawing with each other only moments before. Albright takes him down into an armbar. He hits a delayed vertical suplex. Strong comes back with a reverse bearhug. Albright hits a series of clotheslines and a powerslam for two. Strong boots him and gets two off a Falcon Arrow. Albright comes back with the 61Knee and swinging Bossman Slam. Strong picks him up and surprises him with the Press Gutbuster. That, and a handful of tights, earns Strong the win at 9:00. Felt like a WWE undercard PPV match. **
Delirious cuts a promo out on the street. I'm not sure what the innocent bystanders thought of him.
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier: Chris Hero (w/Larry Sweeney) vs. Karl Anderson.
They battle over a wristlock early, and Hero works in all of his taunts. Anderson hits a flying leg lariat, but Hero comes back with a flying kick to the head and a springboard double ax-handle. Prazak questions the necessity of a springboard. Anderson fires back and hits a spinebuster for two. A gourdbuster sets up a kick to the head by Anderson. Hero sidesteps a charge and hits a rolling forearm. That sets up the Hero's Welcome and Hangman's Clutch for the submission at 7:02. This felt like something you'd see on WCW Pro only with the moves a bit updated. Anderson looked solid in the loss. **
Hero and Sweeney promise Hero will go down as the greatest entertainer in Vegas history.
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier: Rocky Romero vs. T.J. Perkins.
TJ is the former Puma from ROH, FIP and TNA. These guys are occasional tag partners elsewhere. Lightning-fast flurry from Perkins to start. He spears Romero in the corner but misses a kneedrop. Rocky hits a running corner knee and gourdbuster to take over. An atomic drop sets up a running boot to the face. Perkins comes back with a complex neckbreaker and a Michinoku Driver for two. He misses a senton and gets hit with a high knee. He manages to block a high roundhouse kick and hit one of his own, but Rocky hits one on the second try and finishes him off with a Buzzsaw kick at 6:30. They packed a lot of hard work in a short amount of time. **1/2
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier: Austin Aries vs. Delirious.
Aries goes after the arm with an armbar, but Delirious hits a few armdrags and kicks him in the back. Aries no-sells, and they chop it out. Delirious snapmares him down and kicks him in the back again. This time Aries sells it. He snapmares Delirious down himself but then hits a kick to the face. Cute spot. Aries hits the Stroke to setup the Pendulum Elbow. Aries hits the Finlay Roll and goes up, but Delirious headbutts him in the gut. Delirious goes to work on those ribs with an abdominal stretch. They chop it out again, and Aries hits the roaring elbow. He runs through the Usual (slingshot twisting splash, quebrada…). Delirious blocks the Brainbuster and unleashes furious clotheslines. Aries counters the last one to a backdrop suplex and hits a corner dropkick. Delirious blocks the Brainbuster again and hits a Here-It-Is Driver in homage to Matt Sydal. That gets two. Aries rolls through the Cobra Clutch but gets hit with the Panic Attack. He avoids Shadows Over Hell, but Delirious counters *another* Brainbuster attempt to the Cobra Stretch. Aries rolls through, but Delirious holds on and drops him on his head with the Cobra Clutch Suplex. He goes back to the Cobra Stretch, but Aries rolls through and hits the Brainbuster. That sets up the Muta Chinlock (which I'll just call the Aries Lock from now on) at 12:17. Good stuff. Lots of reversals and counters of familiar moves. ***
In the back, Aries thanks Delirious for having his back during the battles with the No Remorse Corps, but he just ran into some bad luck tonight.
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier: Davey Richards vs. Claudio Castagnoli.
They exchange uppercuts, and Claudio knocks him into next week. That sets up the Giant Swing. Richards takes over with a stepover leglock. Claudio reverses it for a nearfall and backdrops Davey. That leads to the Crabwalk Elbow for two. Davey counters the Ricolabomb to a rana. He Dragon Screws Claudio and pops up into the Stretch Muffler. Claudio makes the ropes. Richards slips out of the Apomari Waterslide, but Claudio cuts off his handspring kick with an uppercut and hits the Waterslide. It only gets two. Claudio sets him on top, but Richards hits a sunset bomb and kicks him in the chest for two. They slug it out, and Castagnoli hits an uppercut to rock Richards. That sets up the Ricolabomb at 8:09. Claudio limps to the back. This was fine for what it was, which was just a way to make Claudio damaged goods for the finals. **1/2
Claudio admits he was close to tapping out. He says he hurt his neck, but he's going to tough it out.
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier: Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness.
I'm not sure these two are capable of having a bad match with each other. Danielson works in his dropkick to get out of a wristlock and ties Nigel up in the Stretch Plum. Nigel squirms out of it, but Danielson switches up to a kneebar. Nigel makes the ropes and goes for an overhand knucklelock, so Danielson just stomps on the back of his knee. SICK! Danielson is an evil, evil man. He splashes Nigel's knee against the ropes to work it further. He hangs Nigel's leg over the middle drop and hits a running dropkick into it. Nigel backs off into the corner and suckers Danielson into an arm twist. He goes to work on Danielson's arms, wrenching them back in a sick visual. Danielson slips out and grabs the bottom rope. He tries to keep Nigel down with kicks, but Nigel starts to power up. Danielson goes back to the leg and locks in a figure-four leglock. It gets a few nearfalls before Nigel rolls it over to reverse it. Nigel hits a Divorce Court, but Dragon dropkicks the leg and goes to a single-leg crab. Nigel makes the ropes. Danielson comes off the top for the Swandive Headbutt. Nigel gets his boot up but hurts himself because it's his bad leg. Danielson hits a lightning flying kick with one minute remaining. The fans get pissed at that announcement. I'm not sure if it's because they want more match or because they know a draw is coming. Danielson goes for the Cattle Mutilation, then the elbows. He sets Nigel on top, but Nigel slips out and crotches him. That sets up the Tower of London attempt, but the bell rings to signal the time limit at 20:00 (and it actually *was* 20:00!). Both guys are eliminated from the finals. Nigel wants five more minutes. Danielson seems game, so Nigel takes him down into a stepover armbar and gets a tapout. Oh, but the ref never restarted the match, so it doesn't count. The match was the typical Danielson/McGuinness greatness marred only by the fact that they didn't pick it up until a minute was left. ***1/4
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier, Triple Threat: Shane Hagadorn vs. Human Tornado vs. Tony Kozina.
This was just supposed to be an exhibition, but because Nigel and Dragon were both eliminated this was made into a qualifier. Tornado is HUGELY over with the crowd – and with good reason. Tornado cleans house on both of his opponent and does the splits lowblow to Hagadorn. Kozina blocks a second try, though. Kozina springboards over Hagadorn's head and hits both Hagadorn and Tornado with a quebrada. Tornado sneaks up and hits Kozina with a full-rotation backdrop suplex for the win at 3:27. This largely resembled a monkey trying to catch a greased pig at times (lots of movement but nothing really coming from it, ya know?). Human Tornado has money written all over him, though, if someone finds out how to market him. *
Non-Title Street Fight: The Briscoe Bros vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Necro Butcher.
The Age of the Fall attacked the Briscoes after their PPV match with Steen & Generico and tried to bleed Mark to death like a stuck pig. Mark drags Jimmy through the lounge area and beats him onto the bar. They all fight to the stage where Mark saves Jay from a Tiger Driver. Necro chokeslams Mark through a table below. That leaves Jay alone in a two-on-one for a while. They drag Jay to the ring, and Necro Tiger Drivers Jay on a chair for two. Mark crawls back to ringside, but he's not much use. Jay gives Jimmy the Flatliner into the buckle and clotheslines Necro to the floor. Mark hits Jimmy with a chair, but Necro hits Jay with a chair to even things up. Mark and Necro duel it out with chairs, but Mark starts going into his Redneck-Fu. He accidentally takes out Jay, though. Jay is able to recover and slam Necro through a chair. The Briscoes team up to backdrop suplex Necro through a chair. Jimmy has to make the save. They set up for a Decapitation move, but Necro knocks Jay off the top with a chair. Jacobs locks in the Guillotine Choke to Mark. Jay can't make the save, and Mark is out at 12:44. Total ugly carnage. It might be a lot more effective if the Briscoes didn't have one of these kinds of matches every couple of months. **3/4
Survival of the Fittest Finals: Chris Hero (w/Larry Sweeney) vs. Human Tornado vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Roderick Strong vs. Austin Aries vs. Rocky Romero.
Strong and Romero jump Aries and doubleteam him while Hero does squats on the stage. Aries fights back and wipes out both NRC guys with a suicida. Hero gets set for his own dive, but Claudio sneaks up on him. Tornado tags in and ranas Claudio. He sends Claudio to the floor with another one and wipes everyone out with a rolling plancha. Hero sneaks up on him with a Hero's Welcome to eliminate Tornado at 3:58. Hero retreats to the stage to hang back and let it turn into a tag match between the NRC and Aries/Claudio. Aries puts Romero in a Boston Crab and dares Strong to make the save. He tries and gets knocked to the floor. That sets up a delayed double suplex from Aries and Claudio. Funny moment as they cut to Hero who has pulled up a chair on the stage and is mocking them all with a "This is awesome" chant. Aries gets a little too close to the NRC corner, allowing Strong to interfere from the outside. Aries plays face-in-peril until he hits a quebrada to take out the NRC. Claudio gets the hot tag and cleans house on Strong and Romero. He slams Strong on Romero for two. Claudio hits a corner clothesline, and Aries adds the corner dropkick to Romero to set up the Apomari Waterslide. It only gets two. Romero hits a flying DDT, but Aries comes back with the Brainbuster. Hero runs down, blind tags himself in, lets Aries hit Romero with the 450-splash, powerbombs Aries on Romero, and pins Romero himself at 13:32. HA HA HA! Hero retreats to the apron to watch Aries and Strong battle it out. Aries hits Strong with a running knee for two. Hero blind tags Strong and backslides Aries for two. Aries misses his punt to the face and gets small packaged at 15:38.
Strong is about to go after Hero, but Sweeney buys him off, and they agree to go after Claudio. Roderick chops away and hits Claudio with a dropkick. Claudio comes back and whips the heels together. Hero blind tags himself in again, waits for Roderick to Tiger Bomb Claudio, and then double-crosses Strong with the Hero's Welcome at 19:49. To top it all off, he steals back the money they paid Strong and gives it back to Sweeney. Hero gets two on Claudio and hits a Buff Blockbuster for two more. He hits a series of sentons, but Claudio gets his knees up. A Springboard European Uppercut gets two. Hero hits a Cravat Facebuster and a big boot. Hero goes up, but Claudio catches him with the uppercut. Hero catches him with the roaring forearm and a cravat suplex for two. The Hero's Welcome only gets two, and Hero freaks out. He applies the Hangman's Clutch. Claudio makes the ropes and hits the Ricolabomb for two. Hero hits a doublestomp and goes back to the Hangman's Clutch. Claudio passes out at 27:40. Yes, Chris Hero eliminated every other person in the match. The match itself is just okay, but the great booking to put over Hero as a total weasel makes it that much better. This is definitely how Hero *should* win. ***
Hero announces he's leaving this stinkhole and going to Disneyworld.
Outside the MGM, Hero and Sweeney get some encouragement from some local drunks. Well, you have to start somewhere.
The 411: Hero's win is a lot of fun, but the show itself lacks any kind of atmosphere because of the venue. This was especially evident in the street fight. I can't say that it's a bad show as far as the wrestling is concerned, but Hero's win didn't mean much in the long-run because he was already as over as he was going to get, and they always find a way to job him when the time comes for him to step up.
Mild recommendation to avoid unless you're a Dragon/McGuinness completist.