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Ring of Honor on HDNet- April 18, 2009
by SamoaRowe

-I’m probably not going to be able to keep up with this show every week, but I’ve been dying to review this, so here we go!

-Our hosts are Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak. They hype tonight’s main event which will be Brent Albright vs. Claudio Castagnoli.

-Smack talk with Jimmy Jacobs! He calls Necro Butcher a dumb animal who was too stupid to know what the Age of the Fall were fighting for. Necro Butcher responds in a separate video, threatening to use a staple gun on his former running mate.

Jimmy Jacobs vs. Necro Butcher
A graphic declares that Jacobs is “violent and evil.” Necro Butcher’s graphic reminds us that he had a big role in The Wrestler (now available on DVD). The referee has to pry the staple gun from Butcher’s hands, allowing Jacobs to jump him on the opening bell. Jacobs targets the head. Irish whip and backdrop by Butcher. Jacobs hides behind the referee for a breather. Jacobs offers a handshake, which Necro Butcher accepts as a means to cheap shot. Jacobs is stomped into the corner and gets driven into the turnbuckles. Butcher tosses Jacobs to ringside. Necro Butcher drives the ring bell into the gut, which surprisingly doesn’t draw a DQ. Necro Butcher chokes with a shirt and uses it to toss Jacobs across the floor. Necro Butcher tries a power bomb through a table, but Jacobs blocks and drops him to the floor. Jacobs pulls a plastic bag from his pants and tries to suffocate Necro Butcher! Jacobs seats Necro in a chair and dives onto him over the ropes! That spot never gets old. Back to the ring, Jacobs targets the head. Second rope elbow drop by Jacobs (who mocks Randy the Ram’s mannerisms). Necro Butcher counters a spear with a closed fist to the head. Chokeslam by Butcher and a Tiger Driver, but no cover attempt. Necro Butcher grabs the staple gun, but Brodie Lee runs in for the save. The match is thrown out at 5:49. Fun garbage match, more violent than what we usually see on televised wrestling in 2009, **.
Winner by DQ: Necro Butcher

-Necro Butcher manages to chase Jacobs and Lee out of the ring.

-Kyle Durden is standing by with Brent Albright and they talk about Albright’s personal vendetta against Claudio Castagnoli. Albright says they have fought all over the country but tonight they get to show the whole world how much they hate each other. Albright gives Castagnoli two choices: get out or tap out.

-Smack talk: Sami Callihan puts himself over as the “new horror” of Ring of Honor. He’s the man from the last house on the left, so who’s going to argue with that? Kingston appears and puts himself over as God’s middle child.

Sami Callihan vs. Eddie Kingston
The crowd is massively behind Kingston. They trade shoulder blocks but Kingston finds it more effective to slap. Callihan nails a takedown and goes for the koji clutch. Rope break by Kingston, who shoves and talks some smack. Callihan slaps back and nails some chops. Head butt by Kingston and an overhead belly to belly suplex. Callihan trips Kingston into the turnbuckles. They trade hard chops. Kingston gets the upper hand with more open hand strikes. Callihan corners Kingston and chokes. They trade more hard strikes but Callihan rakes the face. Callihan goes after the eyes and is relentless with the stiff shots. Kingston returns with a clothesline. More chopping by Callihan but Kingston nails a vicious head butt. Body slam by Kingston gets 2. Callihan has been busted open but goes for the waist. Big boot by Callihan who drives Kingston to the mat for another 2 count. Back drop driver by Kingston and a spin back chop to the head finishes things at 6:04. I’m not sure what all the fuss about Kingston is. The match had no flow, just lots of hard shots. Callihan has potential, I hope he sticks around, *¼.
Winner: Eddie Kingston

-Kyle Durden is backstage with Claudio Castagnoli and they talk about Albright. Claudio makes fun of Durden’s outfit. Claudio is European and thus he knows all there is to know about fashion.

-Hogewood and Prazak talk to the new ROH Champion, Jerry Lynn! He says it feels great to be the champ and he looks forward to surprising the cynics.

-Smack talk: Bobby Dempsey says he’s not a fat whipping boy and he’s going to make a statement tonight.

Bobby Dempsey vs. Orange Cassidy
Cassidy unleashes a flurry of shots as the bell rings. Dempsey doesn’t like this and nails a body block. The Death Valley Driver finishes Cassidy at 0:25. This is the right way to use Dempsey at this point, ¼*.
Winner: Bobby Dempsey

-Buzz Words with Erick Stevens. Powerful, aggressive, intense, unstoppable, and a runaway train are the words he’d use to describe himself. We see numerous shots of Stevens destroying people. -Smack talk with Cheech and Cloudy. They might not be the biggest guys in the fight but that’s not what it’s all about. Or so they say. Rhett Titus and Kenny King put themselves over as the wave of the future. The thrust is a must says Titus. So yeah, Titus is 1997 Shawn Michaels.

Cheech and Cloudy vs. Rhett Titus and Kenny King
The crowd chants “You’re a virgin” at Titus. King starts off against Cheech, who looks for a hammerlock. King reverses, but Cheech cartwheels into a counter. Titus tags but runs into an arm bar. Titus fights out and King invades for a double team. Cloudy looks for a save. Cloudy and Cheech hit stereo mounted turnbuckle punches and high five while hitting bulldogs. Cloudy becomes the face in peril after eating a knee lift to the face. King misses a springboard leg drop, allowing Cloudy to attempt a sunset flip pin. Cheech gets the hot tag and cleans house. Cheech cartwheels on the ropes to dodge King’s attack and gets a near fall! Cheech and Cloudy plant King. Cloudy dives off Cheech’s shoulders for a splash, but can’t get the pin. Cheech drops Titus on the ropes for a 619 variation. Cheech goes high risk but King pushes him off into the barricade. Double team blockbuster finishes Cloudy at 6:02. Short, but highly entertaining, **½.
Winners: Rhett Titus and Kenny King

Claudio Castagnoli vs. Brent Albright
Castagnoli attacks Albright from behind during his entrance. They brawl at ringside. They finally hit the ring and the match officially begins. Swinging backbreaker by Albright. Claudio goes for the face. They exchange chops. First uppercut from Claudio, but he runs into a monkey flip. Clothesline to the floor by Albright is followed by a dive. Claudio catches Albright in mid-air and slams him into the barricade! Holy crap! Back to the ring, Claudio works a chinlock. Clothesline by Claudio gets 2. Hard Irish whip by Claudio and a suplex. Claudio attacks the eye again but only gets 1 on a pin. Albright manages to hit an overhead belly to belly suplex at ringside, due to Claudio being distracted by the fans. Claudio retains the upper hand, going back to a chinlock in the ring. Albright fights out and nails a urinagi. Exploder suplex by Albright and an overhead suplex. Claudio fights back with an uppercut but runs into a power slam for 2. Albright plants him for 2. Claudio nails a springboard European uppercut but is slow to make a cover. Big swing by Castagnoli! Albright blocks an uppercut with a backslide. Big boot by Claudio gains a couple of near falls. Albright locks in a crossface! Albright reapplies a crowbar, but Castagnoli gets the ropes. Series of shoulder thrusts by Claudio. Albright continues brawling while sitting on the top. Claudio thumbs the eyes but Albright hits the flying cross body. Claudio blocks a suplex but Albright blocks an uppercut. Rope assisted victory roll finishes Albright at 12:08. Both men wore their working boots and were determined to impress, ***.
Winner: Claudio Castagnoli

Final Thoughts: As far as one hour wrestling shows go, this is among the best I’ve ever seen. I’m impressed how many matches they were able to include without making things feel rushed. At this point, the program seems to be all about showcasing the wrestling, as there aren’t any concrete angles to follow, other than “Albright and Castagnoli have been feuding since January.” The show won’t please everyone, particularly those who are used to fast forwarding through matches to get to backstage skits and in-ring confrontation promos, but I personally enjoyed this. Ring of Honor on HDNet is an easy show to sit through, so go check it out!

Thumbs up.

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