November 14, 2009


Roderick Strong . . . commits petty theft by stealing the show with Tyler Black.

Erick Stevens . . . winds up as one of better the performers on the card for the second straight night.

Austin Aries . . . finishes a long weekend by going for thirty minutes, the night after he’d gone for forty.



There isn’t anything especially remarkable about this. The Bucks hadn’t found their voice yet, so they looked and worked like a skinnier, more vanilla, version of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. The Flatliners move well for their size, but, aside from the elevated DDT, they weren’t very interesting. Their heat segment on Nick wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very good either. The idea of knocking Matt off the apron to stop the tag was fine, but, then Nick makes his own comeback literally seconds later and gets the tag anyway, rather than waiting a couple minutes and having them keep working him over. The DDT spot is rendered worthless, considering that Nick makes the save, and then dispatches Burns so that they can give Asylum MBFYB, instead of Matt putting it over longer. But, then again, Matt was the fresh one, so it makes sense that it didn’t completely incapacitate him.



Honestly, this would have been just as well off if were a three-on-one handicap match featuring Claudio versus The Comedians. The other three do their funny stuff and Claudio is a good sport about stooging and putting their stuff over without looking ridiculous. The Griz takes a scary bump on the top turnbuckle, and Cabana steals the pin after Claudio does the work to finish off Delirious, because it’s apparently in the handbook to work that into every multi-person match.



Both teams looked good the night before, but it was because they both excelled at making their opponents look good. They can’t both do that at the same time here, which is why this doesn’t seem to get out of first gear. King and Titus show off their personality when they work their heat segment on Dos, but, the actual work isn’t anything special. The best moment comes when Dos surprises them with a quebrada and, in his confusion, crawls the wrong way to make the tag. They both show off some flashy double teams, but neither team is all that interesting. It’s nice to see King and Titus get the win, although it’d have been better served with a finishing move that’s not so exposing. Why would Uno frantically hold onto Rhett’s neck when he’s up for the powerbomb? Why wouldn’t he throw fists to drop him, to try to rana him over?



Well, if you like lots of kicks, and big moves getting dumped on, then this is something you’ll want to see. Nakajima throws tons of stiff kicks, and none of them means a thing. There’s nothing from either of them to give the idea that Nakajima is trying to build up to something or wear Generico down with them. Generico’s selling after his hits a dive to the floor and from a one-off enzuigiri is better than anything else. Generico seems like he might win after he finally hits the running kick and then his half-nelson suplex, but Nakajima blows them off and counters the brainbuster into one of his own. Generico no sells a running kick so he can do the same thing and then hits the brainbuster, and Nakajima still kicks out. Nakajima apparently hurts his leg doing a knee drop, but keeps on throwing kicks, and finally ends it with a German suplex, just in case you thought that hurting his leg or his throwing a metric ton of kicks was supposed to lead to something.



This is a lot like Tyler’s match with Claudio from the previous night. Their intensity, pacing, timing, and execution all shows why both men went on to bigger and better things. They both do a nice job furthering the story of Strong working over Tyler’s body and softening him up for the backbreakers or Stronghold. Roddy brings some smart offense, like the shoulder tackles in the corner, and giving Tyler some flat back bumps, and he even works a couple of unconventional holds, while Tyler is great about selling and showing how it’s taking an effect on him. Two great examples of that are after their sequence that ends with Tyler hitting the Tornado DDT, and selling the impact, and a bit later when he gets the near fall from the quebrada, but he just lies on top of Roddy instead of trying to hook the leg.


They get a too buck wild going into the finish, especially with how smart the actual finish is. They both try to pull off their biggest moves, which obviously makes sense, but, by doing so many of them in such a short time frame, it makes them seem virtually ineffective. Roddy kicking out of God’s Last Gift isn’t such a big deal, but when Black takes the Torture Rack backbreaker, the gut buster, and then easily counters the Stronghold into a cradle, it doesn’t say much about Roddy’s big spots, especially when they target the area that’s already been singled out and worn down. They could have just as easily had Tyler escape the Stronghold, and follow up with the gut buster and have Tyler get a rope break. They get to the same place, without burning through so many spots and devaluing them. But, again, the actual finish is smart, with Tyler hitting a superkick and Roddy rebounding and hitting the flying kick, and both go down to sell the strikes when the time limit expires. Their ROH Title change from the following year has nothing on this, and, as infuriatingly inconsistent as Roddy has been, this is an example of just how good he can be. ***1/4



For the second consecutive night, Stevens and Ryan are the standout team in their match. Their control segment on Jay, and then later on Mark, is carried by simple and effective offense, once again focusing on the midsection. Where is falls apart is after Mark gets the hot tag to Jay. It starts off showing some promise, when Mark hits Stevens with the big flying body press, he puts over the impact of the spot, and it does a fine job of creating doubt as to whether or not Mark has it in him to make the tag before Stevens can tag in Ryan and cut him off.


Unfortunately, Jay gets that hot tag and is the usual house of fire, and any sense of build or flow to the match just disappears. All four wind up brawling with each other, with almost no indication that the last seven or eight minutes even happened. There’s a couple of nice moments from Stevens, such as when he stops a double team by pulling Mark to the floor and rams him into the guardrail, to attempt to keep the body work in focus, but it’s a wasted effort, because Mark rolls back in a minute later to keep helping Jay. The Briscoes look to finish Ryan with their Doomsday Device, but the Embassy intervenes and Ryan steals the win by cradling Jay and holding tights. It would have made more sense for Mark to drop the fall, after Nana or Ernesto took a cheap shot to the ribs. But, between that lame finish, and the Briscoes laying out Ernesto afterwards to get their heat back, it seems like they were more concerned with making the Briscoes look strong despite losing, rather than making the events of the match matter.



They have a few good ideas, but, this doesn’t come close to feeling like a cohesive match. Steen perfectly puts over Hero’s first two elbows. The regular one causes him to take a spill off the top rope, and the first rolling elbow sends him sprawling the floor. But, of course, Hero goes into elbow overload, and Steen has to tone down the big selling. Hero elbowing the post winds up being a throwaway spot. Steen doesn’t do anything to target the arm, aside from slapping it, and it doesn’t deter Hero from continuing to throw elbows. The sharpshooter on the floor is a good moment from Steen. He’d tried it earlier and gotten kicked away, but, after swinging Hero into the guardrail, Steen gets the hold. The finish is good in theory, with Steen countering the ripcord elbow into the package piledriver, but, it would have come off better had Hero not just gotten a near fall from the ripcord. Granted protecting the elbow strikes never seems to have been a priority of Hero’s, but, he had a chance to do it, and didn’t take it.


AUSTIN ARIES © vs. KENNY OMEGA (ROH World Heavyweight Title)

Even The Greatest Man That Ever Lived has his limitations. Despite having more than thirty minutes to work with, this never comes together very well. Honestly, the best thing that Kenny brings to the table is being Canadian. He shows off his athleticism, but there’s never any sense that he has any sort of game plan, or is trying to build up to something. Aries does a fun job of bumping and selling, including an upside bump into a guardrail and an inside out bump off of a Polish Hammer, but, at the core, Kenny is doing little more than piling on the spots.


The only real story to the match comes from Aries working over Kenny’s leg, and that’s pretty much gone as soon as it’s there. It basically allows for Aries to work two holds and to prevent Omega from attempting Croyt’s Wrath, but not long afterwards, Omega has the spring back in his step and pulling off big dives. But, it’s not like Aries is adding tons of work. He’s just as often to be found jawing with the fans as he is working over Omega, and, aside from the brief period where he worked the leg, he’s not showing much focus either. Aries showed the night before that he could combine smart work with showing off his heel character, but, it seems like he didn’t have two straight nights of that in him. If nothing else, they do a nice job of aping the finish of Aries/Richards, without the silliness. Aries once again tries for the cheap countout, and goes for the knees to the head once Omega gets back in, but, Omega fighting back makes more sense here, since he hadn’t just gotten dumped on his head. Omega gets a few near falls, and then Aries rolls through the backslide to get the punt and commences to finishing him off with the brainbuster and Lance Chancery for the ref stoppage.


Conclusion: This certainly isn’t a banner show for ROH. They definitely shouldn’t have named the show after a main event that mediocre, no matter how clever a play on words it is.