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Death by Midwest: Ring of Honor - A New Level 5.10.08
Posted by John Goozie on 07.05.2008

Death by Midwest

Be sure to check my first blog entry. I decided I should start using it because hell, people might actually read it!

I picked up this show while attending the Chicago ROH show on 6/28. Absolutely great show headlined with Jerry Lynn proving his detractors wrong and Austin Aries and Jimmy Jacobs becoming the hottest blood feud in all of wrestling. Get that DVD when it comes out.

For those who don’t know, this is Ring of Honor’s debut in the Hammerstein Ballroom, site of the last two ECW pay per views, and the first ECW One Night Stand events. This show broke ROH’s attendance record and nearly sold the place out.

We're in the Hammerstein Ballroom on May 10th, 2008

We begin with a walk from the outside in amongst the fans as they enter the Hammerstein Ballroom. The cameras follow owner Cary Silkin as they walk out from the back. It’s almost surreal hearing “ROH” chants in THIS building.

Sorry, no screenshots for today. You can e-mail your tears to embracejg@gmail.com

Roderick Strong © vs. Erick Stevens vs. Go Shiozaki

Stevens and Strong go at in the aisle, Strong tries to escape to the ring but Go is right there to meet him. It’s a CHOP WAR!!!! Go gets dumped outside, Strong goes off the second rope but gets caught with a Samoan Drop. Go back in and he chops the crap of Stevens and chops him down from the top rope. Second rope dropkick by Strong on Go gets 2. RELEASE GERMAN by Stevens and Strong lands on his stomach! Lariat by Go on Stevens, Yakuza Kick by Strong on Go, everyone down! Chops again and Go is just devasting Stevens. Strong tries to fight both off but Go and Stevens chop him down. Go gets caught in the leg capture lariat by Stevens for 2. Enziguri by Strong! Go superkicks Strong as he dumps Stevens on his head. JUMPING YAKUZA KICK by Strong on Stevens! He charges at Go but Go throws Strong into a lariat from Stevens! German on Stevens by Go! Inside cradle by Strong on Go for 2, but Go turns it into the GO FLASHERRRRR….for 2! Stevens tries to pick up Go but Go reverses into a Fisherman’s Buster! Moonsault…..no water in the pool! SUPERKICK by Go, NO SOLD, LARIAT from Stevens into the DOCTOR BOMB, he goes for the cover, but Strong sneaks up and rolls Stevens up for the 3 count at 6:13.

Rating: ***1/4 Yeah, it was short but damn was it fun. When you need to fire up a crowd, you do like this.

Davey Richards and Rocky Romero vs. Kevin Steen and El Generico

New York City loves Steenerico, as each side cheers them and boos NRC as they compete for applause. The NRC had lost the tag team titles only a few shows before this. Richards slaps Generico then backs off, so Steen wants in. Both guys get slaps in on Richards and he takes a powder. “You got bitchslapped!”-New York City. Romero takes Generico down and mockingly yells “Ole!” Rana from Romero begins his dancing. Generico teases a dive but it’s a fake. Generico dances! Steen and Romero fight on the mat over a wristlock. Generico jumps on Steen’s back…BACKPACK DOUBLE SENTON on Romero for 2. Richards tags in and they double team Generico on the outside behind the ref’s back. They begin focusing on the arm with an armbar floated into a bridging arm submission by Richards. Romero continues with a rolling double armbar. Generico fights both men off and gets a cross body off the top over Romero and onto Richards. MICHINOKU DRIVER on Romero! Hot tag to Steen and he kicks the rope as Richards tries to step in the ring. He slams Romero and kicks the rope into Richards’ nuts again. Awesome. Powerslam gets 2 on Romero, as does a DDT as we hit the 10 minute mark.

Steen goes for the Sharpshooter but Romero catches him with an enziguri. Missile dropkick by Richards, but he gets caught in a Powerbomb for 2. Brainbuster attempt by Generico is blocked, but he grabs Richards for a Blue Thunder Bomb…for 2. Richards kicks Generico in the chest and gets him with a Northern Lights for 2. KIMURA locked in but Romero can’t hold off Steen and it’s broken up. The NRC accidentally kick each other. Romero goes for a backslide, but Generico reverses it into a headscissors on Richards. Steen in…Cannonball on Richards! Steenerico go up top, but the Swanton get knees from Davey and Generico is taking down with the Super Flying Armbar! Davey’s got Steen in a Texas Cloverleaf as well! Both men make the ropes. They try to double team Generico again but he reverses into a victory roll for 2. SUPERKICK from Steen on Davey! Steen picks up both guys…DOUBLE SAMOAN DROP! Swanton from Steen and a Superfly Splash from Generico….for 2. Generico kicks Romero out of the ring…PACKAGE PILEDRIVER INTO A BRAINBUSTER and that’s it at 14:50.

Rating: ***3/4 Extremely entertaining and well executed match. A tag match second on a show usually doesn’t do much, but this one did. Steen and Generico beat the former champs that they had been chasing before they lost the belts, putting themselves in line for a future shot. With the NRC, they continue to lose, and more interestingly, their big double team moves didn’t work in the home stretch and lead to their defeat. That could only increase Davey’s frustration with the group.

After the match, Generico and Steen point out a fan dressed in Generico as the entire crowd enjoys their victory.

Sweet Sour Inc. (Chris Hero and Brent Albright) vs. Vulture Squad (Jack Evans and Jigsaw) vs. Delirious and Pelle Primeau

Pre-match, Jonny Fairplay tries to jump into Albright’s arms, which Brent seems none too pleased about. Crowd chants for Bobby Dempsey and they force under the ring before Delirious chases Fairplay to the back. Pelle gets slammed down right on his ass by Hero. Jigsaw hits Hero with a missile dropkick and goes to dive but Albright cuts him off. Evans tries to springboard onto him but gets caught with a powerslam. Leaping lariat by Delirious connects and everyone’s on the floor. Delirious dives onto them, taking out most of Sweeney’s crew. Jigsaw gets Pelle in a bow and arrow, and Evans moonsaults from standing on him. But Albright catches Evans and tosses him overhead over the top rope. He dumps Jigsaw out and Pelle is out of there, too. Albright goes up top…DIVE BY ALBRIGHT! Damn, didn’t see that coming. Hero goes off the second rope but gets headbutted by Delirious. Sara Del Ray tries to interfere but Daizee Haze comes down and takes her out. The Vulture Squad do stereo 450 dives onto everyone! Evans gets caught with TWO Roaring Elbows from Hero, and Jigsaw gets two as well. Delirious avoids the Half Nelson Suplex and thumbs Albright in the eyes. Hero sneaks up on Delirious, and Albright gives Hero the Half Nelson Suplex by mistake. Delirious hits the Chemical Imbalance II and that’s it at 7:44.

Rating: **1/2 Big old spotfest in the vein of 2002 ROH, only these guys hit almost all of their spots. But what comes next is the key….

Sweeney’s got the mic. “Un-acceptable!” He says Albright blew their biggest opportunity. “I’m the boss, you do as I say.” He says he’ll forgive Albright if he unleashes his best stuff on Bobby Dempsey. Albright refuses. The rest of Sweet and Sour Inc. have no problem doing it, including Jonny Fairplay. Sweeney says Brent has no choice, so they grab Bobby again. Brent gets set, gets ready….Forearm to Hagadorn! Edwards goes down! Hero goes down! Sweeney and Fairplay head for the hills. Big toss to Hero. He grabs Hagadorn, POWER BOMB OVER THE ROPES THROUGH THE TABLE! HAGADORN IS DEAD. EMERALD FUSION TO EDWARDS FOLLOWED BY KNOCKOUT KNEES. HALF NELSON SUPLEX TO HERO! DEL RAY GETS ONE TOO! He goes after Sweeney but he escapes. “Albright! Albright!”-Hammerstein. Crowd goes nuts as he stands tall. Awesome segment as Brent Albright becomes an instant fan favorite.

Bryan Danielson vs. GHC Tag Team Champion Naomichi Marufuji

Dragon breaks a wristlock and hits a dropkick. Marufuji does the same, then locks in a headscissors. Dragon kips up into a bridge to break the hold. Fine Wrestling~! Lots of counter wrestling early on. Both men hit each other with dropkicks and standoff again. Knucklelock applied by Marufuji, Dragon reverses into a Northern Lights Suplex three times before the hold is broken. Dragon gets the Mexican Surfboard but Marufuji makes the ropes. Dragon’s out on the apron, Marufuji goes for a slingshot DDT on the apron. They didn’t really hit it, though, so not much of a reaction from the crowd. Marufuji picks him up on the floor and drops him headfirst on the apron! That’s more like it. That gets 2. Marufuji hangs Dragon on the ropes and heads to the floor and hits a running dropkick! He superkicks him for good measure. They trade forearms and European uppercuts Marufuji goes to the head again. 10 minutes gone by now.

He follows that with a twisting neck crank for 2, then Marufuji hooks on a crossface hold. Dragon gets up and hits a jumping front kick. Spine kick for 2. He flips over Marufuji’s charge and hits a jumping clothesline. He heads up top for a missile dropkick. He charges but gets caught with an enziguri, then headscissored into the buckles. They try to outsmart each other running the ropes, but Dragon gets caught with a lariat…for 2. Marufuji looks for the Shiranui but Dragon dumps over the top rope to the floor. Dragon goes to dive but gets met with a big boot. Danielson is seated in the corner as Marufuji hits the COAST-TO-COAST DROPKICK! Danielson recovers by avoiding a powerbomb, then hits a butterfly suplex right into the cross armbreaker! Marufuji reverses that….into the SAME combination of moves. German Suplex by Danielson. Marufuji fires up and goes for a superkick but Dragon catches him in a nasty looking leglock. He makes the ropes as Danielson finally says “I have til FIVE, ref!” Crowd loves that. Marufuji gets Dragon to the mat and hits a basement superkick….for 2. Dragon hangs him in the tree of woe and hits a dropkick to his face. He goes for a super back suplex, but Marufuji avoids it. He goes for the Coast-to-Coast, but Dragon moves and locks in Cattle Mutilation, but Marufuji rolls it into a pin for 2. SUPERKICK…ROARING FOREARM…SUPERKICK, Marufuji looks for the Shiranui, but it’s blocked into the Triangle Choke! But he gets out and hits another superkick, into a Triangle Choke hold of his own! But Dragon’s arm doesn’t go down a third time and he makes the ropes. Dragon ducks a superkick and locks in the Crossface Chickenwing! ELBOWS by Dragon, but Marufuji fires back with ELBOWS, ELBOWS by Danielson, TIGER SUPLEX…for 2. More ELBOWS from Danielson. CATTLE MUTILATION locked in! Marufuiji taps out to that at 21:15.

Rating: **** Really great match that I believe bested their first encounter. Marufuji went after Danielson’s head to set up the Shiranui, but Dragon always found a way out of that, which would have the knockout blow. Smart counter strategy by Danielson. To his credit, it took almost every finisher in Danielson’s arsenal to put down the former GHC Champion.

To kick off the second half of the show, Daizee Haze comes out to announce they’ve set a new attendance record for Ring of Honor. Delirious comes out with a rose hidden behind his back. He wants to talk to Daizee. “Ummm, uhh….Daizeeee….uhhh, thinking….uhhhhhhh, you…..Delirious….uhhhh, ummm, maybe…dinner?” But before Daizee can answer, Rhett Titus interrupts. Did Jimmy Garvin have kids? Titus says Haze should be focusing on him, calling himself “Addicted to Love”. “Tell me what you wanna do, cause baby, I want you.” This is great. “I wanna leave!”-Daizee. As she runs off. Delirious looks dejected, and drops the rose in the ring. The ROH crowd chants “You got cockblocked!”

GHC Heavyweight Champion Takeshi Morishima vs. Necro Butcher

Just a thought: What does Mitsuharu Misawa make of the Necro Butcher? I’d like to hear his thoughts on that. They brawl to the outside right away as Necro headbutts Morishima and chokes him with a tablecloth. He hits the champion with the ring bell in the gut. Necro exposes the floor but Morishima backdrops him on it. He goes off the apron and tackles Necro down. He gets the Ass Splash on the outside. Back inside, big boot to the face of Necro as the crowd boos Morishima. He flips them off. Hahaha. Necro tries to slam him but can’t get him up. I’ve got a feeling Necro doesn’t weight lift much. Morishima heads up top but misses the missile dropkick. He takes Morishima down with some punches and a cross body off the top for 2. Necro grabs a chair and DDTs Morishima on it for 2. Morishima blocks a chair shot and uses it on Necro. He lands the Rolling Ass with the chair on Necro for 2. Morishima sets up the chair and back suplexes Necro onto it for 2. He punches it at Morishima but gets KILLED with a lariat. Backdrop Driver and that’s it at 9:54.

Rating: ** It was an interesting concept but flawed in execution. I was hoping for something like Necro’s match with Samoa Joe, but Morishima was really in no mood to sell or even take any of Necro’s offense. Not that I can blame him, he is a champion of a big company. So what we got was just a 10 minute squash, which was fairly entertaining. But for those who were expecting unbelievable mayhem, this will let you down.

Jay Briscoe and Austin Aries © vs. The Age of the Fall (Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black)

Everyone brawls to start with Aries hitting a Tomahawk Chop off the top on Jacobs. Springboard clothesline by Black on Jay, who comes back with a Cactus Clothesline. Black sets up a chair near the rail….TRIPLE JUMP MOONSAULT USING THE RAIL ON JAY!!! Hot damn! Aries grabs a table from under the ring. He battles with Jacobs on the top rope until both men go through the table! Black catches Jay with a dropkick as he comes off the top rope. That gets 2. Big boot from Jay, followed by the sitout front suplex slam. Jacobs is back up and SPIKES Jay. Aries is back up but Black knocks him down with an enziguri. Jay is busted open. Really busted open. They hang him in the Tree of Woe and Jacobs WASHES himself in Jay’s BLOOD. That’s some sick shit. They get stereo dropkicks in the corner for 2. Jacobs charges at Jay but gets the Flatliner in the buckles! Running dropkick on Black by Aries! LAST CHANCERY applied! Jacobs breaks up the hold. Aries is on the apron and Jacobs spears him to the floor! Steiner Screwdriver on Jacobs by Jay gets 2! He goes for the Jay Driller but Black breaks it up. They set up Jay up…DOOMSDAY CONTRA CODE! Only gets 2! They go for another but Aries shoves Jacobs through a table on the floor. SPIKE JAY DRILLER on Black…for 2! Aries goes for the 450 but Necro Butcher comes down and knocks him off. Mark Briscoe is out to take him down. Jay picks Black up as Mark springs himself…Springboard Doomsday Device! That’s it 14:14.

Rating: ***3/4 Extra points for the crowd being into it and Jay bleeding so much. For once, I do agree with the ROH message board about the long-term booking of the tag titles in regards to this, but it does add credibility to AOTF’s claim that the Briscoes are “favored” by management, and I’m sure they just wanted a title defense for this show. Entertaining match, but obviously saving stuff for whatever huge blowoff may occur in the future.

After the match, the Briscoes head to the back and AOTF pounce on Aries and bring him into the ring. Notice how demeaning Jacobs is speaking to Necro. Jacobs has another spike. “I should kill you, Aries! I could kill you. But I’m not going to today.” He says Aries has to live knowing what he forced Jacobs to do to Lacey. He promises that Aries will never know when he will strike.

Why do I love this feud so much? It’s really the depth of character they are showing. Jacobs went from being this lovestruck boy in 2006 to Lacey’s assassin in 2007 by taking out BJ Whitmer. Then Jacobs begins an overzealous cultural “revolution”, fashioning himself as a leader of an army. But Aries destroyed that facade (which he saw right through), exposing Jimmy as still just a scared little emo boy who loves his girlfriend. Now Jimmy’s really gone off his rocker, and it seems to be slowly alienating his soldiers as he descends into a madman.

Nigel McGuinness © vs. Claudio Castagnoli

This is Nigel’s 13th defense of the title. These guys previously had a feud in late 2005 when Claudio was just starting out in ROH. Claudio right away knocks Nigel down with a Euro uppercut, and tries to pin him with an inside cradle for 2. Nigel lands an armdrag and says “I’m the best wrestler in the world!” Oh snap. Claudio dropkicks Nigel to the floor and they trade uppercuts. Nigel sends him shoulder first into the post. Nigel keeps on that arm in the ring. Claudio gets a suplex with a bridge for 2. Nigel kicks him in the back and clotheslines him down to end that offensive spurt. Out to the floor and Nigel bangs his arm on the floor and the rail. Claudio fires with some European uppercuts. He tries to throw Nigel back in the ring, but Nigel rebounds off the ropes and clotheslines him. “Same old shit!”-New York City. Prazak mentions how some fans say he uses too many lariats. Nigel knees Claudio in the shoulder and stretches him out over his knees. Nigel goes for the Jawbreaker Lariat but Claudio sees it coming and gets the Bicycle Kick. Nigel’s on the floor…ELBOW SUICIDA by Claudio! Cross body off the top gets 2 after that. Nigel misses a charge and Claudio comes off the top with a European uppercut for 2. The Waterslide gets 2 as well. Tower of London by Nigel gets 2. LARIAT by Nigel gets 2. Yeah, there’s a lot of moves all of a sudden.

Claudio goes for a springboard uppercut Nigel sees it coming and dumps him to the outside. Short Arm Lariat gets 2. London Dungeon locked in but Claudio quickly makes the ropes. He judo throws Claudio and puts it back on but Claudio reverses. He does the Giant Swing, which is ridiculous. Sell the damn arm!!!!! I’m yelling at my screen now. Prazak tries to sell it as courage. Ricola Bomb reversed into a Divorce Court by Claudio. London Dungeon locked back in and Claudio picks him up and slams him to the corner to break the hold. TOSS UP European Uppercut…for 2. Claudio gets trapped on the top rope for a Lariat. That gets 2. Nigel gets a superplex, but Claudio cradles him and it’s almost a double pin. Springboard uppercut by Claudio, goes for the Jawbreaker, ducked…RICOLA BOMB! But only for 2. That’s the first nearfall the crowd bought and now they’re into it. Claudio’s clutching the arm. DDT by Nigel for 2. Dead lift German suplex by Claudio…for 2. Ricola Bomb try, but Claudio can’t get him up, Short arm lariat by Nigel is no sold by Claudio, but Nigel gets another lariat and locks in the London Dungeon and Claudio taps at 25:04.

Rating: **3/4 Might be one of most disappointing ROH main events I’ve seen. The first ten minutes were very slow, then quickly launched into trading nearfalls. Claudio sold the arm very off and on, and therefore the crowd never got very involved in the match. They were really up when he connected with the Ricola Bomb, but that was it. Maybe it was the selling, maybe it was Claudio not being seen as a true title threat, maybe it was something else. But this one failed to deliver for me.

The 411: This show has a lot to love, and I've got to disagree with those who branded it a disappointing show. You've got three great matches in Danielson/Marufuji, NRC/Steenerico, and Briscoe and Aries/AOTF. A big time development in Albright destroying Sweeney and company. And of course....Rhett Titus. Yes, the main event was a big disappointment, but a hot crowd and a big show feeling make up for it. Thumbs up.
Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend


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