The bonus features include a profile on Nigel McGuinness. "Can you give us your thoughts on Nigel McGuinness?" Woman in the bar: "What, that weak asshole?" Now that's a ringing endorsement. Later, we catch up on him working on his lariat.
December 6, 2008
From Nashville, Tenn.
Your hosts are Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard.
Opening Match: Kenny Omega & The Briscoes vs. Rhett Titus, Kenny King & Sal Rinauro.
Funny start as the heels do a round robin to figure out who starts the match, but it's rendered moot when the faces storm them from behind and clear the ring. Omega assumes the face-in-peril role pretty early on, and the heels work pretty well together outside of Rinauro botching an AWA Special. First of all, what made him think he could do that in the first place? Second, that would be a good comedy spot if he would have sold it as such. Omega backflips out of a backdrop and tags in both Briscoes. The Briscoes clean house on Sal, and Omega tags back in to hit the haaaanging missile dropkick. Omega finishes Rinauro with the Ocean Cyclone German Suplex at 8:38. Standard tag stuff. Nothing too exciting, but Omega showcased some great moves. **
After the match, Titus hangs around to make fun of all the skanks in the audience. Daizee Haze interrupts that to demand he tells the truth. He refuses to come clean, so Necro Butcher storms out, and they corner Rhett. Rhett admits that he not only hasn't slept with Daizee – he's never slept with a woman.
Delirious (w/Jimmy Jacobs) vs. Alex Payne.
They should put Payne with King and use that Def Leppard vs. Mims mash-up. Sugarfoot totally dominates early on, but he comes off the top to the floor and totally misses. That's why it's high risk, I guess. Delirious takes over and works the back, but Sugarfoot mounts a very Von Erich-ish comeback. The fans boo the hell out of him, strangely, because he's usually pretty over everywhere else. Delirious blocks the Fisherman's Buster, hits the Panic Attack, and finishes with Shadows over Hell at 8:09. Brisk little match. The fans don't care for Payne's old school face act, though, so it's back to the drawing board there. **1/4
SHIMMER Four-Corner Survival: Daizee Haze vs. Sara Del Rey vs. Ashley Lane vs. Serena Deeb.
For those who haven't seen her in a while, Serena has had some work done, and it's one of the few times where it was a big improvement. Del Rey and Deeb have a stiff tie-up because they hate each other. The blondes each tag in, but it's not long before everyone teams up against Del Rey. None of them wants the others to get a victory, though, so Del Rey is able to survive. Neat spot where Deeb goes for a sunset flip, but Del Rey fights her off, so Lane blind tags herself in and finishes the move with a crucifix. Lane and Deeb have a malfunction at the junction, and that allows Del Rey to finish Lane with the Royal Butterfly at 6:56. Everyone here is pretty good, and the fans set aside their cynicism for the first time and just had fun with it. It was mostly about Deeb and Del Rey with the other ladies just playing bit parts. **1/2
Brent Albright & Erick Stevens vs. Davey Richards & Bobby Dempsey Larry Sweeney. Larry Sweeney is ejected from ringside before the match, so instead of leaving, he replaces Bobby Dempsey as part of the team. He busts out the INTIMIDATING PINK AND PURPLE~! It doesn't help early as Davey gets caught in the babyface corner and worked over like a narc at a biker rally. Stevens works in a version of the Koji Clutch. Sweeney pays off by snapping Stevens' throat on the top rope. Richards does most of the dirty work and saves Sweeney when he gets in trouble. Sweeney is reluctant to tag in, though, so eventually Davey gets overwhelmed, and Albright gets the hot tag. Richards stumbles into Sweeney, inadvertently tagging him in. Albright stalks him, but Sweeney goes to the eyes and tags Davey back in. Todd Sinclair gets bumped. Really? Davey saves Sweeney from a Half-Nelson Suplex, but Sweeney's cheating backfires as he blasts Davey with the chair. That allows Albright to get the pin at 11:17. Classic tag team style match that probably would have been more accepted in Smokey Mountain than ROH. **1/2
Claudio Castagnoli goes all Rocky, pie-facing interviewer Kyle Durden. He threatens Bryan Danielson and reminds everyone that he's "very European." That's one of those catchphrases that is so lame that you have to love it.
Grizzley Redwood & Bushwhacker Luke vs. The Irish Airborne.
So I wasn't imagining a more heelish Airborne last time out. They play the role of the Midnight Express here, and Grizzley is Ricky Morton. The fans are either booing the faces out of the building or saying, "Luuuuuuke." Luke gets the hot tag and cleans house. Stunner? The Airborne go after Grizz with a double suplex, but Luke "goes low," and by "goes low" I mean punches them in the buttholes. Now *that's* lazy. The Battering Ram finishes for the babyfaces at 7:54. The fans HATE the faces with a passion, and I think it's time the Luke Experiment had its plug pulled. Grizzley is a fun concept in small doses, though. *
The Age of the Fall vs. Austin Aries & The Necro Butcher.
Necro levels Tyler with one shot, so the Age ducks to the floor. Jimmy tosses in a chair, so Necro just grabs it and has a seat. Jimmy accuses Necro of bring a chair into the match and demands that it be taken away. This is a bit of classic babyface-turn storytelling – the way they used to do it in Japan and Mexico. The Age of the Fall are still playing heels, but Jimmy is totally ineffectual and pussing out at every opportunity, so it makes Black look like the only competent one of the team. That really contrasts with Black and makes him look like an even bigger star. The match spills to the floor, where Necro dives off with a flip onto the pile. Sadly, that leads to a DCOR at 13:32. Well, that just sucks. The match started okay, went nowhere, and then there was the "Pearce Finish." **1/4
No DQ: Bryan Danielson vs. Claudio Castagnoli.
When did Claudio turn into Milano Collection AT? His attire is "very European." That doesn't help him much early as he tries to attack Danielson and gets outwrestled at every turn. Danielson runs through a lot of his usual early match shtick, hitting a tope to pop the crowd. Claudio goes to the eye to turn things around, though. Danielson has a crimson mask. Claudio turns into das uberheel and stabs Danielson in the face with the ring bell hammer. More foreign object fun as Claudio steals the ref's belt and strangles Danielson with it. See, the ref never pats himself down in the pre-match routine. Claudio rips off the turnbuckle pads, but Danielson backflips off them and hits a flying clothesline. He Stampede dropkicks Claudio and hits a lightning legline for two. Claudio comes back with the Ricolabomb, but Danielson kicks out at two. Danielson rocks him with uppercuts, but Claudio strangles him with the belt again. Danielson hulks up, though, and steals the belt. Oh, it's on like a pot of neckbones. Danielson whips him hither and yon, but Claudio hits another Ricolabomb. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Claudio is apoplectic and sets a chair on Danielson's face, leading to a great spot where he tries to stomp Danielson's face in, but Dragon uses the chair to trap Claudio's leg. That sets up Cattle Mutilation. That's not working, so Danielson gets EXTRA SADISTIC~! with the belt-assisted face-stomp and the Triangle Choke while strangling him with the belt. Claudio passes out at 20:15. Great finish. The feud between these two really picked up at the end of 2008, even if it was still one-sided. ***1/2
ROH World Title: Nigel McGuinness vs. Jerry Lynn.
I keep waiting for Lynn to have a match that will remind us that he was born in a time when Jim Crow laws were still in existence. He still looks great in this match, and actually wrestles circles around Nigel (although that's by design, of course). Lynn gets a number of quick nearfalls before Nigel zeroes in on his shoulder. Great bump as Nigel misses a lariat from the apron, and Lynn hits the Jericho springboard dropkick that sends Nigel face-first into the table. Back inside, Lynn hits the Air Raid Crash, but Nigel takes it to the floor and hits the Tower of London. Nigel tries to take a cheap countout victory, but Lynn staggers into the ring. Back in, Nigel can't put Lynn away, and Lynn is able to duck a lariat and hit a German suplex for two. McGuinness tries to leapfrog Lynn, which is one of those things that irritate me like when someone who never, ever does a crossbody tries it on Bradshaw or Razor Ramon just so they can do the fallaway slam. Lynn counters to a powerbomb for two. Nigel recovers and slaps Lynn around, trash-talking him, but Lynn responds with the THESZ PRESS! Nigel goes to the floor, so Lynn hits the somersault plancha (and nearly brains himself). Back in, Lynn hits a sunset bomb. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Nigel gets desperate and takes it to the floor and sandwiches Lynn in between the barricade and the table, trying to take a countout. Lynn makes it back in at 19. CRADLE PILEDRIVER BY LYNN! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Nigel gets his foot on the ropes. Nigel goes for the lariat, but Lynn beats him to it. TKO! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Nigel gets really desperate, scoops up Lynn's legs, and grabs a handful of ropes for the win at 21:53. The best match between these two so far. Lynn is so respected that none of the fans are really cynical about him, so he truly does get babyface heat. A few moments in there, the fans really believed he was going to take the title. ****
Nigel says he'd like to say that Lynn still has it, but that would be a lie. Ha ha! What a dick. He says everyone laughs behind Lynn's back. Nigel calls Lynn a washed-up neverwas. Finally, Lynn has had enough and clotheslines Nigel to shut him up.
In the back, Lynn tracks down Nigel and asks him what in the hell is up with him. Nigel says it was a joke, and Lynn says back when he broke in, someone would take a dump in your bag and throw you out on the street if you tried something like that. He goes on a rampage in the locker room and says it's not even the same business anymore.
The 411: If this show proves anything, it's that even if Adam Pearce's booking is horrible, he can always tell Nigel or Danielson to go out there and have a classic to send the fans home happy. The undercard is pretty bad, with characters and wrestlers people either don't like or don't give a damn about, but, as with a lot of ROH shows recently, the final two matches carry the show.