Rebecca Bayless reports that Nigel McGuinness has a torn bicep. Nigel confirms as much but says he's going to put off surgery.
The Age of the Fall joins us outside Independence Hall. Jimmy Jacobs compares the Age of the Fall to the colonists who separated from King John. He says they picked up guns; they didn't retreat to a message board. OMG, KINGJON IS TEH SUXXORS LOL KTHX BYE <3 THE HANCOCKINATOR!
Opening Match: Brent Albright & BJ Whitmer (w/Shane Hagadorn) vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico.
Steen & Generico are trying to rebuild themselves as faces after their previous try for the titles was unsuccessful. The H3 toss Steen into the barricade and isolate Generico. Generico goes for a Tornado DDT, but Whitmer blocks and Northern Lights Suplexes him into the corner. The H3 hits a Decapitation with the knee. Albright hits the 61Knee, setting up BJ's German Suplex for two. Generico squirts through his legs and gets the hot tag to Steen. Steen hits Whitmer with a missile dropkick and enzuigiris Albright off the apron. BJ hits a frogsplash on Steen, but Generico makes the save. Generico hits the Tornado DDT this time, allowing Steen to hit the Cradle Neckbreaker. Generico hits a Yakuza Kick, setting up Steen's Swanton on Whitmer at 8:54. Good formula tag. I always liked the dynamic of Steen as a heel and Generico as the doofy babyface that doesn't know any better, but now Steen is a babyface and is really getting over. **1/2
After the match, Hagadorn tosses powder in the babyfaces' eyes and the Hangmen deliver a beatdown.
In the back, Albright tells us that the beatdown was a message to Delirious.
Claudio Castagnoli vs. Hallowicked.
Lots of silly complicated armdrags and counters to start. Hallowicked finally settles things down with a high knee in the corner. Here's what I don't get: with a little effort, Hallowicked could be such a cool heel character, but in ROH, he's portrayed as some guy who left his self-made Halloween costume on too long. I guess I have to watch more CHIKARA or something to see these guys at their best. Claudio comes back with a Samoan Facebuster and a European Uppercut at 5:58. Wow. Hallowicked doesn't even rate the Ricolabomb. *3/4
Larry Sweeney comes out and offers Claudio a deal – he'll buy off Claudio's contract and sell him to Vince. Claudio tells him the contract will come in handy if he runs out of toilet paper.
Davey Richards vs. Delirious.
Delirious requested this match after months of feuding with the No Remorse Corps. Delirious makes the ropes to avoid the Chimera. He goes for the Cobra Stretch, but Richards bails. Back in, Richards powers out of the Cobra Stretch, but Delirious bites his leg. Richards turns the tide with an STO. He hits a double knee and locks in the cross armlock. Delirious makes the ropes, so Richards hammerlocks the arm and drops a knee on it. Delirious comes back with the Panic Attack and the unpredictable clotheslines. The Here-It-Is Driver gets two. Richards misses a corner charge but hits an enzuigiri. A German Suplex gets two and leads to the Chimera. Delirious gets his foot on the ropes. Richards handsprings, but Delirious dropkicks him out of the air and puts him in the Cobra Stretch. Davey rolls him onto his shoulders to force the break. The Shadows over Hell is countered to the Alarm Clock. That sets up the Tombstone and Chimera at 13:33. Normally, I'd question the wisdom of having the babyface call out the heel and then lose to him, but it set up the segment later in the night. ***
After the match, Richards offers a handshake and then hits Delirious in the back of the head. PSYCHE!
The Age of the Fall joins us from a rundown, decaying neighborhood to show us what the powerful corporations like Wal-Mart do to mom-and-pop stores. They're not going to put up with it, though. Big problem: Lenny Leonard, in the next match, mentions that the Age of the Fall wants to be successful in ROH so they can have a platform to spew whatever their philosophy is. That's just it. What in the hell is their philosophy? Here they claim to be fighting against big corporations that hurt the little guy, but for months Project 161 was anti-ROH (comparatively a little guy in the scheme of things).
ROH World Tag Titles: The Briscoe Bros. vs. Roderick Strong & Rocky Romero.
Mark tests out that bad foot early, trading moves with Rocky Romero. He hits a flying leg lariat to knock Rocky on his ass. The Briscoes doubleteam Strong and hit stereo Facewashes. Roderick finally just bulrushes Jay into the corner. Romero and Jay chop it out. Romero cuts him off with a quick kick. Mark hops in and busts out the Kang-Foo. He hits a moonsault on both NRC members, but they finally catch up with him. Strong hits a reverse Tower of London and launches Romero into a low kick. Jay gets the tag and takes on both members of the NRC. He takes a WICKED chop from Strong that staggers him to the corner. Jay catches him with a Flatliner into the corner. Jay DVDs Strong, and Mark hits the Springboard Ace Crusher that plants Romero on Strong. The Briscoes set up for a Doomsday Device, but Strong cuts them off. They have to settle for a Crucifix Bomb into a Neckbreaker. That sets up the Springboard Doomsday Device at 17:57. Solid tag action. These guys are very familiar with each other. ***1/2
The now-familiar screaming that accompanies the Age of the Fall rings out through the arena. The Age of the Fall jumps the Briscoes. They fend for themselves until Lacey hops in and low blows them. The NRC gets in the ring and goes toe-to-toe with the Age. TRANSFORM! The Vulture Squad runs down to start their match with the Age.
Tag Team Scramble: The Age of the Fall vs. The Vulture Squad.
The V-Squad cleans house until the Necro Butcher zombies his way through some offense. The next few minutes are kind of unrecappable because there's just so much going on. I will say that there's lots of "handspring" and "flipping" moves. Jack misses the 630-senton but rolls through. Necro just punches him in the gut. Awesome! Jigsaw fires off a bunch of forearms that are no-sold by Necro. Jigsaw finally just hits a superkick to knock the big guy down. Jigsaw goes for the Jig and Tonic, but Jacobs slips out. He picks Jigsaw up for a Senton Ode to the Bulldogs. That sets up the End Time, and Jigsaw has to tap at 5:57. This was going along fine before it cut off rather quickly. This was the first time I got a sense of what they're trying to do with Necro Butcher. **3/4
The Briscoes and the NRC return, and now it's a giant brawl. Lacey gets in the ring and demands that the Age of the Fall supporters stand up. The fans call her a whore, so she calls all of their mothers whores. That brings out Daizee Haze to shut her up. Richards teases an SSP, but it's just a tease. Delirious comes out to get him some of Richards for disrespecting him earlier in the evening. That brings out The Hangmen 3 because they have an issue with the lizard man. Well, THAT brings out Steen & Generico because they were beat down in the opener by the H3. EVERYONE starts hitting dives. Tyler Black hits a Fosbury Flop. Necro somersaults off the top. The Vultures hit dives, including a Space Flying Tiger Drop from Jack Evans. The V-Squad finally stands tall when all the smoke has cleared.
Whew! That was one of the more insane things I've seen form a while. You'll either love it or you'll hate it, but it definitely got the crowd rocking and it actually made sense for all of those guys to be out there because there were interlocking feuds going on.
Rebecca Bayless catches up with the Briscoes who are pumped because they MANNED UP! Daizee Haze offers to take care of Lacey if they take care of the dudes in the AOTF.
Top of the Class Trophy: Mitch Franklin vs. Ernie Osiris.
Mitch has thankfully cut his hair so I can tell him apart from Pelle Primeau. Ernie Osiris, who is in desperate need of a new name, hits a suplex into a drop suplex. Mitch tries to come back with a rana and falls on his head. He shrugs it off, but Osiris hits an Ocean Cyclone Suplex and finishes with a standing SSP at 2:57. Osiris claims the TOTC Trophy (and probably a year's worth of beatings if history is any indication). 3/4*
Best-of-Three, Match Three: Austin Aries vs. Bryan Danielson.
They're tied at one apiece. They take it to the mat early as Aries counters a headscissors to his own. Danielson cuts off a suicida with a high knee. He goes after Aries' neck and ribs and locks in a headscissors. You know what's great about Bryan Danielson? In just about every match since 2005, Aries has worked in a spot where he handsprings out of a headscissors and hits a low dropkick. Since good wrestling doesn't take place in a vacuum, Danielson locks in a headscissors but does it from the side and reversed so Aries can't do that move. Danielson hangs Aries in the tree-of-woe and rips at his knee. He stops to argue with the ref, so Aries frees himself and uses the top turnbuckle to push off into an Ace Crusher. Aries comes back with the slingshot splash. Danielson blocks the quebrada and locks in the Triangle Choke. Aries falls into the ropes, though. He goes for the Airplane Spin, but Aries slips out and hits the shinbreaker/backdrop suplex combo. He goes up but slips off, so Danielson just levels him with a forearm. Danielson hits a Stampede Dropkick, but Aries kips up and hits a roaring elbow. Danielson hits his own and sets Aries on top. Aries shifts his weight to counter a backdrop superplex. He gets two. Danielson reverses that for two and rolls into the Cattle Mutilation. Aries backs him into the corner, but Danielson goes back to it with a Tiger Suplex and rolls the Cattle Mutilation over into the elbows. Aries rolls him onto his shoulders for two. He can't get a backslide, so he punts Danielson in the face and goes for the Brainbuster. Danielson knees him in the head to counter, so Aries improvises with a DDT. He floats over into the Arieslock and decides to add a few knees (which got the finish in the first match). Danielson counters to a small package (which got the finish in the second match). Aries kicks out and punts Danielson in the face. That sets up the Brainbuster and the 450-splash at 17:20. It's a fantastic match on it's own, but taken with the other two matches it's absolutely incredible. Counters and blocks of well-known moves. Counters of those counters. Counters of those into new moves and sequences. Just a bunch of great stuff here. ****1/4
The Age of the Fall visits some old-fashioned homes with individual architecture where people are getting evicted and compares them to pre-fab cookie-cutter homes across the street. He asks us if we want to be individuals or products of a cookie-cutter.
Sweet 'n' Sour Int'l. interrupts the main event to announce that Chris Hero is contractually entitled to a title match, and since Nigel is injured they want it right now. Nigel McGuiness comes out in plain clothes and says he talked to the doctor and just can't wrestle. Sweeney goads him by having Hero demonstrate what would happen on Bobby Dempsey and calling Nigel a coward. Nigel says he'll just go ahead and defend the title, surgery be damned.
ROH World Title: Nigel McGuinness vs. Chris Hero.
Hero boots him and gets a quick two. They take it to the floor where Hero takes off Nigel's shirt and puts it on. Back in, Hero focuses on the injured arm and mocks the corner headstand. He also tries to mock the step up charging lariat, but Nigel gets out of the way and hits a lariat with his good arm. Hero goes back to the arm and hits a Buff Blockbuster for two. He goes up and comes off… with a cravat. Nigel comes back with a lariat from the good arm. They repeat that on the outside. Sweeney tries to jump Nigel from behind, but Nigel sees him coming. That distraction allows Hero to jump him from behind. Back in, Hero drops a knee on the injured arm and locks in an armbar. Nigel makes the ropes, but the ref is out of position to see it. Nigel has to tap, but now the ref sees his foot on the ropes and calls it off. Nigel drags Hero to the outside and hits the Tower of London to the floor. He goes to work on Hero's arm, slamming it against the barricade. Back in, Nigel hits a lariat and applies the Stepover Armbar for the submission at 9:05. Not bad, considering what they had to work with. **
In the back, Hero screams, "FOREIGN OBJECT! FOREIGN OBJECT!" Sweeney threatens to sue ROH and the referee for their conspiracy to screw Chris Hero.
Mitsuharu Misawa & KENTA vs. Takeshi Morishima & Naomichi Marufuji.
You have to admit, the idea is pretty cool, even if Misawa is broken down and probably checked his A-game at the Tokyo airport. Kenta and Marufuji wrestle to a standstill. It's pretty clear they'll be doing the bulk of the work if this match is to be any good. Morishima calls out Misawa and eats a forearm for it. He bails to think it over only to come back and wind up in a chinlock. Morishima lofts Kenta up and sets him on top. Marufuji comes in and dropkicks Kenta off the top. Misawa tags in and rocks Marufuji with a forearm. Kenta hangs him out to dry and comes off the top with a diving knee. Kenta and Marufuji trade forearms, and Kenta turns him over into a sick STF. Morishima makes the save. Marufuji drop toeholds Misawa down and dropkicks him in the head. That sets up Misawa versus Morishima. Morishima bowls him over and hits a cartwheel avalanche. That sets up a missile dropkick. Misawa just tags out. Things begin to meander for a bit, and the ring announcer tells us there are 15 minutes gone. That should have been a clue. Both Marufuji and Morishima put their weight on Kenta's chest. Morishima tries to snap Kenta in half with a Camel Clutch. Misawa gets the hot tag and comes off with a diving forearm. He blocks the Shiranui and suplexes Marufuji across the ring. Kenta tags in and slams Morishima on Marufuji. Misawa and Kenta try a doubleteam, but Kenta accidentally boots Misawa to the floor. Kenta tries to German Suplex Morishima and gets squashed under the weight. Marufuji blocks the Go 2 Sleep and hits the Shiranui. Misawa breaks up the count. Kenta recovers and hits the Busaiku Knee. Misawa and Morishima brawl on the floor, leaving Marufuji and Kenta. Marufuji NAILS him with a kick to the head for two. He gets caught in the Go 2 Sleep, though. ONE, TWO, THRE-foot on the ropes. Marufuji and Kenta trade a series of nearfall reversals. Misawa and Morishima get the tags. Morishima hits Misawa with the lariat. Misawa blocks the backdrop driver and sets Misawa on the top… but the time limit expires at 30:00. The fans are not impressed with the finish, but they give a polite round of applause for each guy. I had been expecting to see four guys dogging it, but Marufuji and Kenta turned in their usual fine performances. Misawa did what he was probably capable of, given he had to wrestle again the following night in an even bigger match. It wasn't on the level of the Kobashi matches in 2005, but it was still a fine tag match. ***
More from the Age of the Fall. Jacobs bemoans our cultural landmarks being turned into tourist locales. He promises *real* revolution with the Age of the Fall.
The 411: After a spate of lackluster shows, ROH turned things around on their home turf. The wrestling improved slightly as things got back to normal after the trip westward. This show had a great match in the final showdown between Aries and Danielson and had a few other "must-see" moments such as the dive-fest among the factions and, of course, Misawa's historic appearance.