Rumor mill: Cary Silkin said on ESPN Radio he hopes to have a cable TV deal for ROH in the next few months. Hmm. Curiouser and curiouser.
January 12, 2008
From Edison, N.J..
Your hosts are Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard. I should note that Prazak sounds like he drank a bottle of NyQuil before doing commentary.
The Briscoes are MANNING UP!
Opening Match: The YRR (w/Chaysn Rance & Asian Hottie) vs. Delirious, El Generico & Mike Quackenbush.
So, Sal Rinauro would be Starscream, Kenny King would be Skywarp, and Jason Blade would be Thundercracker? Delirious again offers to give the YRR's designated catchers a taste of his lizard meat. Delirious makes fun of Kenny for being on Tough Enough, although, to be fair, TE has a better track record than the ROH training school so far. Generico plays face-in-peril. I like the YRR offense because it's so much more grounded in reality than the usual undercarder offense. A heel doubleteam backfires, and Quack gets the hot tag. The match breaks down into a donnybrook, a fracas, a pier-six. The YRR try to unmask Delirious, but Quack and Generico make the save with a double superplex on Rinauro. They wipe out King and Rinauro with dives. Delirious goes up, but Chasyn Rance hits Delirious with his crutch to give the YRR the win at 12:12. Prazak says this should lead to Delirious heading down to FIP to face Rinauro for the Florida Heritage Title, which is a much better way to build the FIP shows than making the FIP a second title. **1/2
$1,000 Submission Challenge: Daniel Puder (w/Sweet 'n' Sour Inc.) vs. Alex Payne.
Larry Sweeney offers a grand of his own money if anyone can last a minute with Puder. Puder pummels Payne and finishes with the cross armlock at 0:29. 1/4*
$1,000 Submission Challenge: Daniel Puder (w/Sweet 'n' Sour Inc.) vs. Rhett Titus.
Titus has a good idea he runs away from Puder. Sweeney trips him up, though, and Puder is able to finish with the leglock submission at 0:37. 1/4*
Claudio Castagnoli wants a piece of Puder, but Sweeney rescinds the offer. Sweeney unveils the new, very prestigious Intergender Tag Team Titles and awards them to Chris Hero & Sara Del Rey.
ROH Intergender Titles: Chris Hero & Sara Del Rey vs. Ernie Osiris & Alexa Thatcher.
Osiris is a last-second replacement for the real male competitor. Kidding. Prazak and Leonard steal my joke about Osiris and Thatcher winning a match in Rio de Janeiro, but Prazak comes up with a better one, saying they defeated Leilani Kai and Jim Powers. Ernie plays face-in-peril as Thatcher (apparently the strength of the team) can't tag in for several minutes. Thatcher finally does get the hot tag and kicks the crap out of Hero. Del Rey grabs her and tosses her into the corner, so Ernie tags back in. Well, that's a mistake. Del Rey gives him the Royal Butterfly, and Sweeney distracts the ref while Hero takes off his kneebrace and hits Thatcher in the face with it. S&S get the win on a double pin at 6:18. I guess the idea is to exploit the comedic value of Hero beating women, which, admittedly, is pretty funny to see. **
Roderick Strong vs. Jigsaw (w/Julius Smokes).
Leonard notes that scouts are checking out the promotion for the Nicholas Cage Mickey Rourke movie The Wrester. I'm going to say Julius Smokes would be Blaster. How awesome would it be if his chest opened up and Jigsaw, Jack Evans and Ruckus popped out? Anyway, this goes as you might expect. Jigsaw tries to wrestle a nice, normal match, but Roderick says, "Oh, we're not doing that, fool" and tosses him off the apron into the barrier. He drops Jigsaw's back on the railing. Roderick continues to work the back, so much so that even Smokes gets frustrated with Jigsaw's lack of offense and tells him to get his "monkey ass" up. To the floor, Jigsaw hits a snap suplex and the inside-out 619 (the 916?). Back in, Jigsaw hits a doublestomp and a bulldog for two. The Crossarmed Northern Lights Bomb gets two, but Roderick crotches Jigsaw on the top and powerslams him. Jigsaw comes back with a DDT and a splash for two. Roderick catches him with the Tiger Driver and finishes with the Inverted Cloverleaf/Bodyscissors at 13:10. Just like the previous night's match, this just didn't resonate with me (or the crowd). Roderick is just treading water as a heel a year after I thought he might be slated for a title run. **1/4
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Jack Evans (w/Mercedes Martinez).
Jacobs tries to cut a promo, but Jack interrupts. Jacobs jumps him as he's getting in the ring, and Jack isn't able to get out of the blocks (much like the Autobot ship that was hijacked by the Decepticons). Evans comes back with a backflip elbow. He goes up for the 630, but Jacobs shoves him to the floor. Jacobs sets him in a chair and wipes him out with a running plancha. Jack cartwheels out of the Contra Code, though, and "kicks" Jacobs in the back of the head. Ong Jack misses, and Jacobs DDTs him into the End Time at 7:35. Jack had a very off night, barely hitting anything with any degree of realism (more so than usual). **1/4
After the match, Jimmy refuses to release the hold, bringing Julius Smokes out. Tyler Black, Lacey and Necro Butcher jump in for a big beatdown. Jigsaw tries to save, but well, he's Jigsaw. The Briscoes save for real.
In the back, Kevin Steen stammers through his interview after nearly breaking kayfabe by saying "I've been looking forward to this match for " and then realizing midway through the sentence that it wasn't made until the night before. He does get the money line right, though: I'm gonna break your goddamned neck!
Austin Aries vs. Claudio Castagnoli.
Aries seems awfully grumpy to start the new year. He gets into a shoving match with Claudio over Claudio's antics. The you-can't-headscissor-Austin-Aries dropkick misses. Aries gets frustrated and nastier. Claudio misses the Crabwalk Elbow, and Aries cranks on his neck with the hammerlock/neckwrench. Claudio makes the ropes and hits the Matchkiller for two. He tries the springboard uppercut, but Aries just shoves him over the top and kills him with the suicida. Back in, Aries locks in the Horns of Aries, but Claudio makes the ropes. Aries signals for the Brainbuster, but Claudio counters to the Giant Swing. They slug it out, and Aries hits the Crucifix Bomb. The Brainbuster gets two, but Claudio cuts off the 450-splash. Claudio goes for the Ricolabomb, but Aries counters to the Horns of Aries. Claudio powers up to the Ricolabomb for two and rolls through for another Ricolabomb at 14:40. Again, Aries refuses to shake hands after a loss. Aries showed more of his heelish side in this match, and it really helped get over how vicious he can be when he wants to. The finishing sequence was excellent too. ***1/4
After the match, Claudio offers Larry Sweeney $1,000 if Puder can get him to tap out inside of a minute. Sweeney pulls the old My Cousin Vinny and tells him to fan it out so he can see it. It is, indeed, a thousand dollars. Claudio lets Bobby Cruise hold the money during the match.
$1,000 Submission Challenge: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Daniel Puder (w/Larry Sweeney).
Claudio fends Puder off and puts him in the Giant Swing until time expires at 1:00. Sweeney attacks Claudio from behind and elbows a chair into his chest. He also steals the money from Bobby Cruise. 1/4*
Roderick Strong peeks at Rebecca Bayless' cleavage and tells her to hit up Rocky Romero (who is in Japan) on MySpace. By the way, if you have the spending cash, you can go Rebecca's Amazon.com wishlist and buy her some trashy outfits. It would definitely make me happy as a reviewer, so you could cross us both off your... April Fool's Day lists.
BJ Whitmer & Shane Hagadorn vs. Bobby Fish & Eddie Edwards.
Whitmer and Hagadorn are two of the four members of the Hangman 3. I'll let you figure it out for yourselves. I guess JJ Dillon occasionally wrestled as a fifth member of the Four Horsemen, so it's not that unusual. Hagadorn apparently watched "The Best of Larry Zbyszko" leading up to the match because he opens with a ton of stalling. Fish and Edwards actually have some nice doubleteam maneuvers. Edwards reminds me of the lead singer from Faith No More, which begs the question "In light of the 'Epic' video, would really want to hang around with a guy who resembled the lead singer from Faith No More if your last name was 'Fish'?" The story of the match is that Whitmer dominates when he's in, but the jobbers have a fighting chance when Hagadorn is in (thus, why it's not Hangman 4). I should also note that the match as NO heat. As Whitmer destroys poor Bobby Fish with a turnbuckle powerbomb, you don't even get an "Oh!" out of the crowd. Whitmer puts Fish out of his misery with another powerbomb at 10:04. I like Edwards and Fish, but everyone knew this was just an extension of intermission. **
"Battle of the Bulls": Brent Albright vs. Kevin Steen.
This was set up the night before when Albright attacked Steen's partner, El Generico. Stiff lock-ups to start as both guys emphasize that they're powerhouses. They trade a dozen or so shoulderblocks before Steen just uses Albright's momentum to toss him over the top. Steen adds a tope con hilo and whips Albright into the barricade a few times. They brawl to the aisle where Albright hits a belly-to-belly to take over. Albright busts Steen open and works the cut. Steen punches Albright's knee to counter. Albright finally just kicks him in the face, but Steen uses FIGHTING SPIRIT to hulk up and punch Albright right in the face. Albright blocks the Sharpshooter, but Steen ducks the 619 and schoolboys him into the Sharpshooter anyway. Albright powers up and into the Crowbar. Steen makes the ropes. Albright gets his knees up to block the Swanton -- which probably should hurt Albright just as much as Steen and blocks the Packaged Piledriver. An armbar/neckcrank nearly gets the submission, but Steen hulks up. Albright punches him down, but Steen hulks up again. He hits the Fisherman's Neckbreaker and finishes with the Packaged Piledriver at 17:24. It was a nice change of pace to have a power match, but I wish they would have just dropped any pretense of wrestling and started slugging each other. Also, I don't think Albright has had that many straight-up singles matches of this length, so Steen had to carry him through it. He did a pretty good job, all things considered. ***
After the match, Hagadorn and Whitmer run down and try to tie Steen in the ropes for a beatdown. El Generico runs down to make the save and gets beat down too. Finally, Red Delirious makes the save with the dreaded BLACK MIST!
FIP World Heavyweight Title: Erick Stevens vs. Bryan Danielson.
Danielson is a former FIP champion himself. He tries the Goku-Raku Stretch, but Stevens powers out. Nice moment as Danielson receives a chop and gets knocked on his ass by the force, so the next time, he ducks out of the way. It's just a cool way to put something over as dangerous that normally would just be an excuse for the crowd to go, "Wooo!" Finally, Dragon just takes him down and stretches him with a Dragon Sleeper and a Mexican Surfboard. He segues to the Regal Stretch, but Stevens refuses to give up. Stevens chops his way back into the match but gets hit with a lightning legline and a tope. Dragon hurts his leg, so Stevens picks him up and rams him into the barricade. Dragon gets counted out as Stevens darts back in at 19. Stevens picks up a cheap win at 13:41. Stevens refuses to take the win like that, though, and he calls for the ref to restart the match. You know, since the FIP champ sets the agenda anyway, he could just change the rules before the match. Danielson attacks but misses the diving headbutt. Stevens chops him into the corner in a nice payoff for the opening where Danielson sold his chops like death. See, good in-ring storytelling. Steven goes after Dragon's injured leg with an Argentine Knee Rack. Danielson makes the ropes and turns it into Cattle Mutilation. That segues to the Trapped Elbows, but Stevens powers up and turns it into the TKO! Stevens ducks an elbow and hits a full-rotation German Suplex. He collapses under a Doctorbomb attempt, though, and Danielson locks in the Triangle Choke. That doesn't get the submission, so he tries an armscissors. Stevens makes the ropes. A German Suplex gets two, and Danielson turns it over into Cattle Mutilation. Stevens counters that and reverses a small package for two. LARIATOOOOOH! DOCTORBOMB! ONE, TWO, THREE! Stevens gets a successful defense and an unlikely upset at 21:31. The Danielson worshippers in the crowd don't like it, but Stevens' performance was impressive. This held together much better than Stevens' match with Austin Aries the night before. Danielson seemed a little more determined to get Stevens over while Aries seemed focus on getting his new character/angle over. Not that there's anything wrong with Aries doing that because it's important too. ****
Rebecca Bayless catches up with the YRR. Sal kisses her again, so Becky decides to join them for a night on the town.
Street Fight: The Age of the Fall (w/Lacey) vs. The Briscoe Bros. (w/Daizee Haze).
Non-title here because it's Tyler and Necro. The Briscoes storm the ring and attack. Lacey goes low on Jay which draws Daizee in to brawl with her. Jimmy Jacobs comes out and jabs Jay in the leg with his cane. Mark tries to choke Necro out as Jimmy brings down a ladder and a table. Jimmy sentons Jay through the table and injures his own ankle. Daizee gets her head smashed into the barricade. Jay is out of it, so Mark has to go it alone for a while (except for the occasional aid from Daizee). The AOTF are blitzing Briscoe City! They're really takin' a pounding! The AOTF spends the next few minutes destroying Mark, and he's about to stab Daizee Haze in the face before The Vulture Squad makes the save (much like the wigger version of the Dinobots). Black takes Jack Evans to the merchandise table for a brawl while Necro and Jigsaw fight into the crowd. Lacey tries to choke out Daizee on the floor as Tyler wipes out chairs like bowling pins. Tyler retaliates by LAUNCHING Jack into a pile of chairs. Jay and Necro battle back to the ring as people start remembering there's supposed to be a match going on. Mark blocks a huracanrana, but Jimmy saves Necro from a botched apron powerbomb. Necro ranas Mark headfirst into the barricade. Suddenly, the Vulture Squad starts trying to pin the Age of the Fall. Huh? And Todd Sinclair keeps counting the nearfalls. Huh? Did Russo book this match? Sick spot as Jay and Jigsaw yank in the barricade and suplex Necro from the ring onto the hardwood floor. Jacobs (who is not officially in the match) nearly makes Jack Evans (who is not officially in the match) submit to the End Time. Jigsaw makes the save. Tyler goes up, but Jay shoves him into the cameraman. Great visual. Jack finishes Jacobs with a springboard 630-senton at 22:43. So the Vulture Squad picks up a win in a match between the Age of the Fall and Briscoe Bros. O-kay. If you can get past that little bit of silliness, this was an awesome car-wreck brawl. The Vulture Squad regained some face after having a bad show as individuals. Actually, given the show's three-hour plus runtime, it might have been a better idea just to fade out with everyone trying to kill each other to leave a cliffhanger for the next show. Just a suggestion. ***1/2
The 411: This show highlights the importance of finishing strong. The final three matches (which take up nearly half the show) are definitely worth your $20, plus Aries vs. Castagnoli is good and solidified Claudio as a main event threat.