Opening Match, Anything Goes: Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs.
Odd placement for this match, but Leonard confirms they have more matches on the horizon. Aries meets Jimmy in the aisle and tosses him down the ramp. It's pretty back and forth throughout the match, but Aries does an awesome dive into the audience. Jimmy actually uses Lacey's finisher to remind us what started all of this. Eventually, Delirious and the Age of the Fall's newest addition Brodie Lee run in to jump Aries. Jimmy takes advantage, choking Aries out with a chain for the win at 10:56. Not much of a match, but it was just there to further the Aries/Jimmy storyline and introduce Lee to the ROH audience. **1/4
Delirious & Brodie Lee vs. Up In Smoke.
This one actually has some tangential history as Cheech and Cloudy used to belong to the Special K group along with Lacey. Lacey dumped them and took on Jimmy Jacobs and BJ Whitmer, leading to the romance between Lacey and Jimmy, which eventually led to the Age of the Fall. Cheech and Cloudy try to stay on top with doubleteam moves, but Brodie Lee is just too big and crazy. They have much more luck against Delirious, hitting him with a nice 619/dropkick combo and a sick Doomsday Ganmengiri. Brody just shoves them around, though. The Big Boot finishes Cheech at 5:00. Good squash match. **
Daizee Haze vs. Jessie McKay (w/Rhett Titus).
Apparently, Shawn Michaels finances are so bad that he's selling his old tights to Rhett Titus. Titus evidently scored with Jessie McKay after getting turned down on the previous show (although more recent events cast doubt on that). Daizee attacks Rhett in plain clothes, leading to this match. Daizee dominates McKay but keeps going after Titus, allowing McKay to jump her from behind. Finally, Haze gets sick of the pattern and finishes McKay with the Heart Punch at 1:56. Titus runs away before she can get her hands on him. 1/2*
Prince Nana returns to say he's now driving taxi cabs, so if anyone needs a ride, he's parked outside. He wants back in ROH. The cigarette is a nice touch.
Non-Title: Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. The Osirian Portal.
This is a good official intro to the Osirian Portal, even though they basically get an extended squash. Just imagine two guys obsessed with Egyptology. Lots of snake puns from Prazak and Leonard. Amasis makes Generico walk like an Egyptian only to get chopped halfway across the ring by Steen. Ophidian gets more of the same. The Portal bumps *really* well, probably cementing them as jobbers if they ever become regular ROHers. Their doubleteam legsweep Northern Lights is silly because it looks like they're both getting DDT'd. That and it leads to a double-cover that the ref has to ignore. The hypnotism spot is awesome, though. Steen no-sells it and gives them a double DVD. That leads to the Yakuza Kick, pump-handle neckbreaker, Swanton, and flying splash on Amasis at 9:20. The Portal's stuff is the kind of shtick that will take a while to get over, but once it does, they'll be fan faves. **1/4
FIP World Title: Go Shiozaki vs. Necro Butcher.
Necro actually dares Go to chop him, and you just know Go isn't backing down from that. Go lights him up throughout the match. Necro doesn't get that much offense in early, but he takes a tremendous beating. Finally, he takes over after a slugfest and turns the match into a brawl on the floor. Referee Paul Turner tries to intervene and gets tossed over the rail. Ouch! That leads to a DQ at 14:10. This one felt like they were just getting started before it ended. I don't know that Go is much of a brawler, but he held his own on the outside. **3/4
After the match, Delirious and Brodie Lee attack the Butcher as Jimmy Jacobs berates his parenting abilities.
Brent Albright vs. Chris Hero (w/Sweet 'n' Sour Inc.).
This was turned into a singles match when Davey Richards had an "injured" ankle. Hero tells Bobby Dempsey to get under the ring so the fans won't chant his name, but Albright tells Bobby to stand up for himself. Albright holds his own in a one-on-one contest, but of course, there are 4-5 people surrounding the ring, so Hero just has to toss Albright to the floor every time he wants to take over. Albright is actually pretty spry for a bigger guy. He's not Brock Lesnar-agile, but he doesn't lumber. Hero keeps hitting forearm after forearm, but since Albright isn't Roderick Strong, he won't go down. Albright turns a Blockbuster into the Schwein but falls victim to it a few moments later. Finally, Hero knocks Albright down after a few elbows, but they only get two. Hero gets fed up and gets in Albright's face about it, so Albright simply drags him down into the Crowbar at 15:35. Albright has developed into quite the monster babyface this year, and this match put over the fact that he can absorb a lot of punishment. ***
After the match, Sweet 'n' Sour put the boots to Albright and attempt to break his arm as Bobby Dempsey does the Darth Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi look at Sweeney. Albright makes his own save and gives Sara Del Rey the Schwein. Albright wants a Steel Cage Warfare match with his team against Sweeney's.
Six-Man Mayhem: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Hallowicked vs. Davey Richards vs. Ruckus (w/Julius Smokes) vs. Jason Blade vs. Rhett Titus.
Richards' leg injury is mysteriously heeled now. Titus looks really good early on – not in kayfabe terms because he's getting his ass kicked, but as a wrestler and character. Claudio embarrasses Ruckus by no-selling his goofy flips. Davey headbutts Hallowicked's stem. Hallowicked should no-sell everything and then totally oversell it when you hit his stem. It would be like Metroid or something. Eventually, of course, they all hop in and ignore the rules. Ruckus tries something flippity and gets caught with a German Suplex by Davey at 14:51. Just a bunch of stuff thrown together. Nice to know Hallowicked is still alive, though, and I like that Davey suddenly started selling the ankle injury as soon as he won. **1/2
Jerry Lynn vs. Tyler Black.
Jerry Lynn has slid right in to the upper midcard nicely since coming back to ROH, but this is the first time I've seen him regain the form he had in ECW. He seems right at home facing off with Black. Black works over Lynn's old-man knees, but Lynn wants to FLY BABY! BLANKET WANTS TO FLY! He soars over the crowd barrier and wipes out Black into the crowd. Back in, Lynn catches Tyler on the top and hits a TKO. Tyler comes back with God's Last Gift! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Tyler can't believe it, but he goes up and finishes with the Phoenix Splash at 12:29. These two had immediate chemistry. ***1/4
Black promises real change for ROH. Good little promo from Black.
LAX (w/Julius Smokes) vs. The Briscoe Bros.
Hey, Homicide gets to wrestle again! Well, for a little while at least. Then, he starts getting under the Briscoe's skin and joking about it. Mark gets his eye busted open off a headbutt. Ouch! The Briscoes go a little heelish after that, and maybe that's the answer on how to freshen them up. They were at their most interesting when they were Jim Cornette's henchmen. They isolate Homicide for the face-in-peril portion, but Hernandez gets the hot tag and destroys bitches as only he can. The Briscoes finally swarm him and hit a superplex. Homicide rushes in with the Ace Crusher and Cop Killa, but Jay makes the save. Jay recovers and hits the Jaydriller! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Hernandez jumps Jay from behind, but Jay catches him with the DVD. That sets up the Shooting Star Press/Legdrop comb. ONE, TWO, THREE! The Briscoes pick up the win against the returning Homicide at 23:03. It looked like the Briscoes were shaken out of their doldrums a little bit. They didn't rely on the crazy spots here, and worked a much better match. It's not a MOTYC like a lot of people expected, but it was a nice little revisit to their 2006 feud. ***1/2
To the parking lot we go as Sweet 'n' Sour intercepts Brent Albright and gives him a righteous thrashing. This is Horsemen-style stuff.
The 411: Gabe Sapolsky's tenure as booker comes to an end not with a bang, but a whimper. Then again, he probably would have put more effort into the weekend had he known this would be his last one. I know some people think I've been too hard on him the past year, but given the fact that he got fired, it seems like I was just saying something that no one wanted to hear. Hopefully, Gabe takes a little while off and comes back full of piss and vinegar because his 2002-2006 run was one of the most focused, no-nonsense runs since Bill Watts was running Mid-South. This show was a step up from Return of the 187, but it's not a must-buy unless you're a Gabe completist.