Ring of Honor: Rising Above 2, November 22, 2008
-This was taped in Chicago, Illinois. Dave Prazak introduces the show.
-Jay and Mark Briscoe are in the ring, talking on the microphone. They tear apart Kevin Steen and El Generico, reminding them that they dominated them in their feud last year. Steen and Generico come out and Steen runs them down on the mic. Steen brings up Mark’s injury and says that beating the Briscoes at 50% won’t prove anything. Steen offers the Briscoes the chance to walk away, but the Briscoes take offense and jump the champs.
ROH World Tag Team Championship:
Kevin Steen and El Generico © vs. Jay and Mark Briscoe
Jay and Steen collapse to ringside, leaving Mark to pummel Generico in the ring. Generico fights back but hesitates, allowing Mark to attack the head and tag Jay. Generico counters with a knee lift and big kick for 2. Steen tags and slugs it out with Jay. Mark cheap shots, allowing Jay to nail a big boot. Mark tags and nails a suplex for 2. Jay tags, with Steen having to fight off both Briscoes. Scoop slam by Jay and a leg drop. Jay knocks Generico off the apron and tags Mark for a double shoulder block. Cover by Mark gets 2. The Briscoes keep the tags coming, isolating Steen. Steen drops Mark with a super kick and Jay’s attempt to block a tag fails. El Generico cleans house on the Briscoes. Generico tries to run the ropes, but Jay blocks with a clothesline. Exploder suplex by Mark gets 2. Steen makes the save, allowing Generico to hit a Yakuza kick. Generico takes out Jay at ringside, while Steen gets a frog splash on Mark for 2.9! Mark blocks a package piledriver and attempts a cutthroat driver. Steen blocks and nails the package piledriver to retain at 6:41. Hard hitting and entertaining for the time allowed, **½.
Winners and still ROH World Tag Team Champions: Kevin Steen and El Generico
-The locker room rushes into break up Steen and Generico from brawling with the Briscoes.
-Backstage interview with Claudio Castagnoli, who is desperately trying to get his heel turn over. Claudio declares himself to be “very European” and will pick up a big win later on.
MsChif © vs. Sara Del Rey (with Larry Sweeney)
Del Rey is going out of her way to look intimidating with new face makeup and a blond wig for her entrance. Sara misses a drop-kick leading to a ringside brawl. The match hasn’t officially started yet, and MsChif is still wearing the belt as she reverses a whip, sending Del Rey crashing into the barricade. Apparently the match did start, as the referee is counting (ROH just implemented a 20 count rule). Back to the ring, MsChif is in full control, working over the chest. Del Rey chops back, but MsChif locks in an impressive octopus stretch. Del Rey counters with a backbreaker, but it takes a second one to make MsChif break the hold. Del Rey chops and snapmares for 2. Boston Crab by Del Rey, who bridges! MsChif counters, smashing Del Rey in the face! Standing moonsault by MsChif gets 2! Short-arm clotheslines by Del Rey. MsChif counters with a Neckbreaker for 2. Double chokeslam by Del Rey gets 2. Del Rey charges into a big boot, and MsChif scores with a DDT for 2! Spinning back fist by MsChif gets another near fall. Del Rey counters in a standing dragon sleeper! That was legitimately awesome! Del Rey drops MsChif face first into the turnbuckles. German suplex by Del Rey gets 2. MsChif blocks a Gory Special with the Code Green for 2.5! Both women are down! Del Rey crawls to the corner, where she suffers repeated double stomps to the back. Del Rey counters a DDT and they exchange near falls. MsChif misses the green mist, but Del Rey ducks and nails an axe kick! MsChif counters the Royal Butterfly and connects with the Desecrator for the win at 8:32! Impressive outing, blows away anything I’ve seen the divas or knockouts do recently, ***.
Winner and still SHIMMER Champion: MsChif
-Backstage promo with Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black. Jacobs talks about his calculating quest to drag Austin Aries into their brutal “I Quit” match tonight.
-Video package highlighting Necro Butcher breaking away from the Age of the Fall. He will be returning soon to pay-per-view.
Four Corner Survival:
Silas Young vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Sami Callihan vs. Alex Payne
Ah, so we have a jobber, a newcomer, a student, and Claudio Castagnoli. Wonder who wins this one? Nigel McGuinness is sitting in on commentary for this contest. Callihan starts off against Young and they jockey for position with standard chain wrestling. Claudio breaks it up, kicking Young in the head. Claudio tags himself in but eats a flurry of offense from Callahan. European uppercut by Claudio ends Callihan’s momentum. Gut wrench suplex by Claudio gives him full control. Payne makes a blind tag and connects with a missile drop-kick on Claudio. Payne is quickly overwhelmed by the much more traveled Castagnoli. Payne counters with a sleeper, but ultimately gets planted. Claudio dumps Callihan into the ring, and Young ends up tagging back in. Chinbreaker by Callihan gets a near fall, but Claudio breaks it up. Young builds momentum against Castagnoli before running into a bicycle kick. Claudio is on a rampage, dragging Payne back into the ring for a chinlock. Claudio is using a chinlock to punish the fans for continuing to cheer for him. Payne works hard to counter with a sunset flip, but this only angers Claudio. European uppercut on Payne gets a cover for 2. All hell breaks loose as the four men ignore the tag rules. Claudio ends up dumping Young and Callihan onto each other on the floor. Payne escapes a slam and nails a top rope bulldog! Payne goes for a fisherman’s slam, but Claudio counters with the Ricola Bomb for the victory at 9:05. This match was mainly to put over Claudio’s new heel persona for the pay-per-view audience, but the crowd really helped elevate this, **½.
Winner: Claudio Castagnoli
-Claudio has evil intentions for Payne involving a steel chair, but Bryan Danielson runs in to make the save. Claudio backs off.
-We are treated to a video package looking at Brent Albright getting forced to join Sweet and Sour Inc when they recruited the Hangmen 3, as well as his departure and following feud.
Roderick Strong, Brent Albright, and Ace Steel vs. Davey Richards, Go Shiozaki, and Chris Hero (with Larry Sweeney and Bobby Dempsey)
If Strong, Albright, and Steel win, they’ll get a steel cage match against their enemies at the next pay-per-view. Richards, Shiozaki, and Hero of Sweet N’ Sour Inc take too long getting to the ring, so the wrong baby face team help him in, setting up Hero and Steel as the legal men. Steel dominates Hero in the early going. Strong tags and destroys Hero with a chop. Albright tags but takes a hard shot to the head. Shiozaki tags but gets dropped on the ropes. Exploder suplex by Albright gets 2. Strong tags, shops the hell out of Shiozaki, and knocks Hero and Richards off the apron. Shiozaki recovers and tags Richards, but his suplex attempt is reversed into a gut buster. Steel tags and maintains control. Richards rebounds with a head butt before getting tossed to ringside. The match breaks down to a three on three brawl around the ring. Back to the ring, Richards nails a snap suplex for 2. Hero gets a blind tag and stomps on Steel for 2. Back senton gets another 2 count for Hero. Richards taunts Strong and Albright as Shiozaki nails a running knee to the head of Steel. Sweet N Sour have isolated Steel. Tag is made to Strong, but the referee didn’t see it, so Steel’s punishment continues. Roderick Strong finally gets a hot tag and cleans house. Albright assists in the house cleaning, setting up Richards with a back breaker for a 2 count from Strong. Shiozaki tags and trades hard shots with Strong. Fisherman Buster by Shiozaki gets 2. Hero and Richards help knock out Strong, but Albright makes the save from the cover. Richards can’t fight off Steel and Albright but still manages to kick out after an overhead belly to belly. Everything breaks down as the combatants brawl to ringside, with Steel launching himself over the ropes. Strong and Richards return to the ring and trade stiff shots. Big boot and Gibson Driver only gets 2.5! Strong locks in the Boston Crab but Sweeney distracts. Hero drives a chair across Strong’s back, allowing Richards to steal the win at 15:10. This was an exciting contest, though much more formulaic than what we usually see in ROH tag matches. The influence of Adam Pearce was all over this, ***½.
Winners: Davey Richards, Chris Hero, and Go Shiozaki
-Video package highlighting the Age of the Fall courting Austin Aries to join their cause. Instead, Aries turned the tables and stole Lacey from the group, but more so from Jimmy Jacobs. Jacobs is a bit if an emotional child, so he had Lacey stalked and attacked on her way from the gym. It appears that Lacey is gone from wrestling, and Aries is pissed!
-Austin Aries takes the microphone right before his match to trash talk Jimmy Jacobs. He picks on him for having Tyler Black in his corner. Aries says he doesn’t need anyone in his corner to watch his back, the only way Jacobs is getting out of this is to say he quits or to kill Aries. Aries takes a pot-shot at Black, calling him the “flavor of the month” and the match begins.
“I Quit” match:
Jimmy Jacobs (with Tyler Black) vs. Austin Aries
They collide and roll to ringside. Aries returns to the ring, is distracted by Black, but still manages to block a sneaky Jacobs. They brawl to the floor. Drop-kick by Jacobs connects after Black distracts again. Jacobs sends Aries crashing into the steel barricade. Jacobs gets a table, but Aries cuts him off. Jacobs reverses a whip, sending Aries back into the guard rail. Aries recovers and sends Jacobs into the steel. Aries locks the head and rubs Jacob’s face into the apron before setting him up on the table. Aries climbs to the top rope , but Black pulls Jacobs off the table. Aries retains control, snapping Jacobs’ throat onto the ropes. Suicide dive by Aries is thwarted by an attack to the face with a steel chain by Jacobs. This is a reference to the Dog Collar match they had at Vendetta II. Aries is busted open and suffers more blows from the chain. Jacobs chokes with the chain, but Aries refuses to quit. Jacobs seats Aries in a chair at ringside, but Aries blocks Jacobs’ springboard attempt. Jacobs bites and spears Aries to the floor! Jacobs seats Aries again and dives through the ropes, wiping him out! Jacobs steals a chair from and seats Aries in the ring, using the chain to tie him in place. Aries has a free arm but is still helpless to block Jacobs’ assault. Black hands Jacobs the destroyed chair from earlier, but Lacey appears on the apron to distract! Lacey has a towel and Jacobs orders her to throw it in for Aries. Aries begs with her not to throw the towel. Jacobs takes out his trademark railroad spike and threatens to stab the throat. Aries attacks Lacey but she slaps the taste out of his mouth. Aries frees himself from the chair and dumps Jacobs to ringside and nails a hard suicide dive! Back to the ring, Aries nails a brain buster onto a chair! Aries wraps the chain around his fist and drives it into Jacobs’ skull, busting him open. Aries ties Jacobs to the corner turnbuckles. Aries won’t even let the referee see if Jacobs wants to quit, he just wants to keep hurting him. Aries pulls Jacobs to the ringside table. With a chair placed on Jacobs, Aries climbs the top, but Jacobs throws the chair at him! Jacobs climbs up and they battle on the top rope. They launch each other off and both men go crashing through the table! Back to the ring, they trade punches. Low blow by Jacobs, who locks in the End Time! Knee strikes by Jacobs, who then steals the Last Chancery submission from Aries! Aries ducks a spike shot and nails a series of knee strikes. Last Chancery by Aries! Crossface by Aries, who then drives the spike into Jacobs’ head! Lacey steals the towel from Black, but Jacobs quits at 21:59! Outstanding hate fueled battle, and a fitting end to the lengthy feud. This managed to top their Vendetta II outing, and bring closure to the Lacey angle, ****½.
Winner: Austin Aries
-Rather than embrace with Aries, Lacey bolts from the building. It appears she was only here to witness the destruction of Jimmy Jacobs, rather than reunite with Aries. Meanwhile, Jacobs screams at Black for not throwing in the towel at the very end. Black tries to explain what happened with Lacey, but Jacobs isn’t listening. Jacobs shoves Black, who storms out of the building.
-Video package putting both Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness over. Lots of clips from their previous battles.
ROH World Championship:
Nigel McGuinness © vs. Bryan Danielson
Dragon outsmarts Nigel with some kicks early on. Nigel works the wrist. Danielson bridges to set up a suplex. Danielson stretches Nigel’s arm in sickening fashion before stomping on it. Kick to the back gets a cover for 2. Nigel recovers at ringside. Match restarts with Nigel kicking the thigh, almost a low blow. They trade hammerlocks with Dragon coming out on top. Nigel gets the ropes but Dragon holds on till 4, driving Nigel’s arm to the mat. Side headlock by Nigel. Dragon takes control, locking onto Nigel’s knees and grabbing the face. More arm abuse by Danielson. Dragon ducks a lariat and nails a big boot. Nigel retreats to ringside. Knee to the face off the apron by Danielson! Back to the ring, Danielson repeatedly stomps the face. Nigel counters, tying Dragon’s leg to into the corner and hitting a clothesline. Snapmare into the ropes by Nigel. McGuinness keeps up the attack on Dragon’s hurt leg. Dragon eventually gets back to his feet and exchanges uppercuts with McGuinness. Danielson sacrifices his leg to land some stiff kicks. Repeated thrusts to the throat by Nigel. Dragon blocks Nigel’s headstand in the corner with an ankle lock. German suplex for 2 by Danielson. Crossface chicken wing by Danielson, leading to a series of cover reversals. Danielson ducks a lariat and applies another chicken wing but Nigel gets the ropes. Series of hard kicks by Dragon, but a referee distraction allows Nigel to clothesline the back of Danielson’s injured leg. Nigel wraps the knee over the top rope and repeatedly strikes it! Lariat off the ropes gets a cover for 2! Danielson sends Nigel to ringside and connects with a springboard senton! Nigel tries to use a chair, but while the referee stops him, Claudio Castagnoli runs in and lays Danielson out with a chair. Nigel waits in the ring, hoping for Danielson to be counted out. Alex Payne runs in and helps Danielson back to the ring just in time. Lariat by McGuinness gets 2.5! Half Boston crab by Nigel but Dragon gets the ropes after a long struggle. Nigel attacks the hurt leg, but Dragon cuts him off with a running knee strike. They exchange uppercuts. Dragon reverses a jawbreaker lariat into a cross arm breaker, transitioning into a triangle choke! Danielson reverses into a small package for 2.5! Crucifix pin by Danielson gets 2, so he elbows the side of the head. Cover by Dragon gets 2.9! Cattle mutilation, leading to a suplex for 2.5. Nigel reverses more cattle mutilation with a Tower of London! Dragon runs into a lariat for 2.9! McGuinness elbows the head Dragon style. Hard shots from Nigel only fire Danielson up, leading to a series of hard strikes. Big jawbreaker lariat by Nigel gets the win at 28:15! I never get tired of seeing these two wrestle, they served up another classic, ****¼.
Winner and still ROH World Champion: Nigel McGuinness
Final Thoughts: This was all around quality. Every match served it’s purpose well and gave the talent time to get over. I was pleased to finally see a SHIMMER title match on a Ring of Honor pay-per-view that actually lived up to the quality you normally see on SHIMMER DVD releases. The “I Quit” match and ROH title match are both blow away matches and well worth picking up this DVD to see. I can’t find anything to complain about, so at the risk of sounding like a true ROHbot, I say:
(Note, this is coming from someone who reviewed all the WWE pay-per-views last year and didn’t give a single negative review to any of those).
-Weird video package highlighting the developing feud between Delirious and Rhett Titus. They both are interested in Daizee Haze, so you can figure out the rest.
Delirious (with Allison Wonderland) vs. Rhett Titus
Titus has an image of Daizee Haze on the seat of his tights. That’s unsettling in it’s own right. Delirious is aggressive in the early going, chasing Titus around the ring. Titus stomps, but Delirious takes him down and wails away on him. They battle at ringside, with Delirious missing a Panic Attack and unwittingly driving his own knee into the guard rail. Back to the ring, Titus nails a splash in the corner and high running knee shot. Delirious counters with a suplex. Delirious rakes the back and chest repeatedly. Scoop slam by Titus and big elbow drop for 2. Delirious connects with a series of strikes and considers a low blow. Titus retreats to ringside as Dave Prazak actually says “lower nut sack region” on commentary. Just had to mention that. Back to the ring, Titus gyrates his hips in between suplexes. Cover by Titus gets 2, leading to a modified chinlock. Titus dances prompting Delirious to connect a testicular claw. Inverted atomic drop by Delirious. Rock Bottom by Delirious, but misses a kick. Delirious counters, can’t quite lock on a cobra clutch. Drop toe hold into the turnbuckle by Delirious, but Titus pulls the tights for 2. Rocker dropper by Titus gets 2.5. Delirious crotches Titus on the ropes and shakes them. Shadows over Hell finishes Titus at 6:42. Solid stuff, though a bit pedestrian at times when Titus was in control, **¼.
-Delirious licks Titus to show him who’s in charge. Delirious takes Titus’ Top of the Class Trophy and breaks it over him with a Panic Attack. Ironically, with the destruction of that trophy, Titus is now more or less fully promoted to the main roster.
Samoa Joe vs. Tyler Black (with Allison Wonderland)
As you can imagine, the crowd is jazzed to see Joe back in his natural environment. They feel each other out, with Joe almost taking Black’s head off with a kick attempt. Joe takes Black down and smacks the back of the head. Black targets the head but eats a shoulder tackle. Black retreats to ringside for a few moments. Greco-Roman knuckle lock leads to a sucker punch from Black, leading to a flurry of strikes. Joe blocks God’s Last Gift and retreats to ringside, where he eats a dive over the ropes from Black. Back to the ring, they exchange chops. Black goes for a cross body, but Joe casually walks out of the way. Looping enziguri drops Black. Chinlock by Joe. Snapmare by Joe leads to the leaping knee for 2. Lots of trademark Joe offense on display. Black drops to ringside, he prevents a Joe suicide dive, Black attempts his own dive, but Joe kicks the head. Joe dives through the ropes, nailing an elbow, and sending Black into the crowd. Joe delivers some Ole kicks (and seems slightly annoyed that he has to break the ref counts now, curse you Adam Pearce!). Allison blocks Joe from delivering another kick, Joe removes her, but Black drives Joe into the barricade. Springboard lariat by Black gets 1. Black chokes on the ropes. Joe chops back, but Black attacks the eyes and chokes some more. Black maintains an attack on the head. Open hand slap by Joe, but Black rakes the eyes to reverse the momentum. Joe elevates Black onto the apron and blocks a springboard move with an atomic drop. Senton by Joe gets 2. Black runs into a power slam for 2. Powerbomb into an STF by Joe. Crossface by Joe transitions into an arm lock, but Black gets the ropes. Black blocks a Muscle Buster and nails a head scissors takedown. Neckbreaker by Black. Standing shooting star press for 2 by Black. Island Driver by Joe only gets 1! They exchange shots. Rolling elbow by Joe, but Black no sells and nails a super kick. God’s Last Gift by Black only gets 2! Super kick by Black but he misses the Phoenix Splash. They battle on the top rope, with Black hitting an enziguri. Joe counters with an STO. Muscle Buster and the rear naked choke finishes Black at 18:51. The match was pretty good, but I think the fans were hoping for something more as they were pretty deflated throughout, ***.
Winner: Samoa Joe