-The entire locker room and staff come down to the ring to open the show (and DVD). Ric Flair is a part of the group. This is all for a ten-bell salute to Mitsuharu Misawa, who had passed away earlier in the week.
Silas Young vs. Grizzly Redwood
Young attempts a cheap shot during the handshake, but Redwood outmaneuvers him. Young blocks a side headlock, but Redwood outsmarts him and uses the ropes to apply the hold. They show off with some chain wrestling. Young drops Redwood gut-first on the ropes to take control. Young dominates with a series of power moves. Chinbreaker by Grizzly gives him an opening to hit some quick offense. Redwood gets a fluke roll-up for the win at 3:44. This wasn’t particularly good, but it was short, ½*. Winner: Grizzly Redwood
Rhett Titus and Kenny King vs. Brent Albright and Erick Stevens
King and Albright start off trading some arm work. Albright shows some personality while taking down King and hitting a cheap shot on the back of the head. Stevens tags and stiffly lays into poor King. Titus tags but finds himself isolated and suffers a series of stiff shots. Albright pulls down Rhett’s tights and Albright drop toe holds King into the bare ass! That was pretty funny. King tags, but their double team work is thwarted and they take stereo shoulder blocks. Albright chases King into a trap, eating a clothesline from Titus. This sets up Albright as the face in peril and he takes a prolonged beating. Somehow, Albright got busted open in the back of the head, which only helps the match. Stevens gets the hot tag and cleans house. Despite hitting a series of brutal power moves, Stevens can’t get the pin. King and Titus hit a neckbreaker/backstabber combo, but Albright makes the save. Albright hurls King into a Stevens clothesline. King reverses a Doctor Bomb by grabbing the tights and pins Stevens at 12:38. That’s gotta be an upset. Solid match, though Titus and King still have more personality than ring skills. **¼. Winners: Kenny King and Rhett Titus
-Ric Flair graces us with his presence. Flair puts over Detroit as a fun city. I’m pretty sure Flair had fun wherever he went, but still, it’s nice of him to say it. Flair puts over Ring of Honor, the boys in the back, and Cary Silkin. Well, that was about $10,000 well spent by ROH, eh?
Claudio Castagnoli vs. Nigel McGuinness
Nigel comes out wielding a chair and chases Claudio out of the ring. The bell rings and Nigel is all fired up and goes to work on Claudio’s arm. Claudio fights back, making sure to sell the arm, but Nigel counters to go back to destroying the arm. Tower of London is blocked and Claudio nails a diving European uppercut. Claudio takes control, focusing on Nigel’s recently injured biceps. Nigel counters into the London Dungeon, but Claudio gets the ropes. Claudio applies the London Dungeon himself. Nigel attempts a Tower of London off the apron, but Claudio blocks and kicks him into the barricade. Nigel blocks a Riccola Bomb and catapults Claudio onto a table. They continue to brawl at ringside, with Claudio looking for a count-out victory. Nigel returns at the 19 count and angrily hits a hammerlock DDT. London Dungeon! Claudio uses the referee to escape and flees to ringside. Nigel pursues him and they continue to brawl. Nigel settles for destroying Claudio’s arm with the London Dungeon on the steel ramp and they are both counted out at 12:58. The fans are displeased, but it was fine wrestling match and the non-finish worked within the logic of their story, ***. No contest
-Nigel protests the outcome and challenges Claudio to come back to restart the match. Nigel’s request is DENIED!
The House of Truth (with Truth Martini) vs. Kevin Steen and El Generico
The HOT are Josh Raymond and Christian Able. Steenerico enter to “Smooth Criminal” because Michael Jackson passed away earlier that week as well (quite a lethal week, eh?). Able is an odd fellow, dressed in purple fishnets. The HOT jump Steenerico from behind and dump Steen out so they can abuse Generico. Steen sneaks back in and clotheslines the HOT off their feet. Generico tags and outmaneuvers Raymond. The HOT appear to be in over their heads for a bit, that is until Martini trips Generico, making him the face in peril ®. The HOT are reminding me of Legacy, in that they don’t do anything particularly fancy, but they work well as a tag team. Solid fundamentals, I guess. Anyhoo, Generico drop toe holds Able face-first into Raymond’s groin, allowing a hot tag to Steen. Steen nails Able with the swanton for 2! Martini distracts, allowing Raymond to drop Steen’s neck on the ropes. Raymond hits a shooting star press on a standing Generico for a devastating near fall. Generico dives onto Able at ringside, leaving Steen alone to lock the sharpshooter on Raymond. Martini breaks it up and distracts long enough for Raymond to nail a backstabber! Corkscrew by Raymond is countered! Package piledriver/Brainbuster combo by Steenerico finishes it at 13:17! That was a hot finish to a nicely developed tag match. I’d welcome more HOT in ROH, ***¼. Winners: Kevin Steen and El Generico
-The ring fills up with participants for the Six Man Mayhem when new ROH World Champion Austin Aries comes out last and grabs a microphone. “Please, hold your applause… forever” says the champion. He unzips his jacket to reveal the ROH title around his waist. Aries bitches about having to wrestle in “Detroilet” against a bunch of guys trying to make a name for themselves at his expense. Aries reveals he paid off his look-a-like, Joey Ryan, to help him win.
Six Man Mayhem:
Rasche Brown vs. Sami Callihan vs. Joey Ryan (with Prince Nana and Ernie Osiris) vs. Delirious vs. Petey Williams vs. Austin Aries
The crowd is hot for Williams as the bell rings. Delirious goes crazy and chases Nana. Aries and Ryan start and have a hilarious fake wrestling match (whoa, that’s something of an oxymoron). Logic would say that Ryan should just lay down for Aries, but that would be too easy. Petey tags himself in to ruin the bromance. Aries hightails it, allowing for Ryan to jump Petey. Williams cleans house! Delirious enters and wrestles evenly against Williams. Delirious hits a leg lariat to dump Petey out, which lures Callihan into the match. Sami is aggressive, but Brown enters and gets in his face. Brown no-sells and gets kissed for his trouble! Bad idea, Sami, as Brown starts tearing into him. Wow, Brown is like basically a talented Ezekiel Jackson. Aries gets in but gets punked by Rasche, so he tags Ryan in quickly. Ernie Osiris distracts, but Brown manages to counter and suplex both Aries and Ryan! Everyone attacks Brown at once. Ryan breaks up Delirious’ cobra stretch on Sami by sticking his groin in his face. This earns an audible “What the hell?!?” from Delirious. Aries saves Ryan from a Destroyer, but Petey fights them off. IED on Petey by Aries. Canadian Destroyer on Aries by Williams! Ryan breaks the pin. Everyone is tossed to the floor except Brown. Osiris breaks Brown’s dive, so Brown lifts him up by the beard and throws him on the others! Brown climbs the ropes, but Aries shoves him off. Delirious nails the Panic Attack and Shadows over Hell on Aries! Ryan makes the save! Panic Attack and Shadows over Hell on Ryan, but Aries rolls up Delirious for the win at 13:38. This was tons of fun and worked well in getting Aries and Ryan over as sleaze balls. ***. Winner: Austin Aries
-D’Lo Brown comes out for his match. He takes the microphone and establishes himself as a heel by picking on Detroit. Cabana comes out and teases Brown for being predictable by ragging on the city they’re in. Cabana isn’t interested in weapons, he wants to do some professional wrestling.
Colt Cabana vs. D’Lo Brown
Cabana plays off Brown’s anger to outsmart him. Brown takes a hike. Cabana leap-frogs over the referee to continue dishing out the punishment. Northern lariat by Brown, which Colt oversells. Colt bounces back, but D’Lo nails a clothesline. Things come to a screeching halt as Brown methodically beats down Cabana. Colt mounts a comedic comeback. Tornado suplex by Colt gets 2. Billy Goat’s Curse is blocked. Brown grabs the ring bell but gets rolled up for 2. Ref bump! Standing moonsault by Colt, but the ref is still down. Colt taps the spirit of Eddie Guerrero by tossing the ring bell to D’Lo. Colt connects with a bell shot for the cheap win at 8:55. The crowd is not impressed. Disappointing outing, Colt really hasn’t been the same since returning from the WWE, *. Winner: Colt Cabana
KENTA starts against his former protégé, Davey Richards. It’s fast and hard hitting. Eddie Edwards gets involved and he eats hard shots from both Strong and KENTA. I like where this is going already. The Wolves regroup and flirt with taking a hike. Richards crawls back and finds himself taking abuse from Strong. Edwards tags and eats some chops. KENTA destroys Edwards with kicks. Eddie is pissed and returns the favor with stiff body shots, but Richards ultimately has to bail him out. KENTA is driven into the barricade, but Strong tags in to keep the match competitive. Edwards and Strong trade chops. KENTA sends Edwards face first into Strong’s boot! Edwards gets abused for a stretch until Richards manages to turn KENTA into our Face in Peril ®. KENTA and Richards tear into each other in a fashion reminiscent of their Supercard of Honor battle. Hot tag by Strong, who proceeds to clean house. KENTA tags and nails a double springboard drop-kick. Flying clothesline by KENTA gets 2 on Richards. KENTA counters a kick into an STF! KENTA and Richards resume their war. DOUBLE STOMP BY KENTA IS DISGUSTING! Go 2 Sleep is blocked and the Wolves take control. All four men are in the ring for a ridiculous countering sequence. They take turns hitting their finishers. Despite it all, Strong and KENTA can’t get the pin. KENTA saves Strong from a jackknife cover. Super falcon arrow on Richards by KENTA! DOOMSDAY KNEE TO THE FACE BY KENTA/STRONG! It takes several shots from Richards for Strong to release Edwards from the Boston crab. KENTA levels Richards with a big boot, but Strong still can’t get the win! Gutbuster and Gibson Driver by Strong still can’t put Edwards away. Backstabber/Powerbomb combo on Strong by the Wolves! Edwards applies a single leg Strong Hold on Strong for the win at 21:03. Suddenly, I’m very pleased that I purchased this DVD. This was concise, violent, unpredictable, and played off the history of the men involved, ****¼. Winners and still ROH World Tag Team Champions: The American Wolves
Steel Cage match:
Tyler Black vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Jimmy Jacobs + Steel Cage usually = Awesomeness. I have high hopes for this main event. Black can’t get through the door so he slams it into Jacobs’ head. Black continues to drive Jacobs into the steel, busting him open in the process. Jacobs returns the favor. Jacobs delivers a spinning headscissors into the steel. Jacobs continues to target the head, cutting Black open as well. Black sidesteps a spear, causing Jacobs to hit the cage. Paroxysm for 2 by Black. Jacobs counters a Bucklebomb with a steel spike to the head! You had to know it was a matter of time before the spike came into play. Jacobs rips out some of his own hair (and some of Black’s) and… um… eats it. The crowd appropriately chants “You sick fuck.” Black counters another headscissors by swinging Jacobs into the cage! Turnbuckle powerbomb by Black followed by a super kick! Black to the top of the cage but Jacobs shakes him off his feet. They battle at the top and both fall to the floor. They creatively brawl at ringside. Back to the ring, Jacobs swings off the door for a headscissors, but Black counters with the Buckle Bomb! End time by Jacobs! Black desperately drives Jacobs into the cage, but can’t break out of the End Time! Black steals the End Time, but Jacobs responds with a spear. Jacobs climbs the cage, Black attempts a powerbomb, but Jacobs nails a top cage hurricarana! Contra Code by Jacobs isn’t enough to win! Jacobs stabs himself with the spike and sets a table up in the corner. Both men are armed with spikes and it looks like we have us a knife fight! Black gets the better of this and delivers another Buckle Bomb. God’s Last Gift! Black sets Jacobs on the table and splashes him off the top of the cage! Black wins at 21:50! Typically fantastic grudge match from Jacobs, and quite an epic contest to boot, ****¼. Winner: Tyler Black
-The Age of the Fall’s music (yeah, I mean the screaming woman) hits as an army of masked men storm the ring and attack Tyler Black! This is truly a scary visual as it’s about 50 against 1. Jacobs takes the microphone and declares that his revolution will live forever. The army carry Jimmy out like a martyr.
Final Thoughts: Two stellar main event matches cap off what had been a fun, but somewhat unmemorable undercard. That has been the formula with Ring of Honor over the past three years or so. This show was elevated by a sleeper of a tag team classic between Strong/KENTA and the Wolves, which I had not heard much buzz about from when it occurred, and a spectacular blow-off to the very long running Jacobs/Black feud. The Age of the Fall angle at the end of the show was startling and unexpected, it was the type of spontaneous creative moment that used to be a regular feature of the ROH product. There is a stinker in Cabana/Brown, but I can forgive that as the rest of the show was just extremely enjoyable and easy to sit through.
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