Ring of Honor: Respect is Earned
by Samoa Rowe
-The show opens with none other than BJ Whitmer in the ring, holding a microphone. The crowd is extremely hyped to be here for the first ever ROH pay-per-view taping. Whitmer gets straight to the point and issues an open challenge. It’s accepted by none other than ROH World Champion Takeshi Morishima, wielding the title belt in his mouth.
ROH World Championship:
Takeshi Morishima (c) vs. BJ Whitmer
Morishima wastes no time hitting a hard shot to Whitmer and hitting a side slam. Running boot to the face by Morishima, who then shoves off the referee so he can keep up his corner strikes. Whitmer reverses a suplex for a cover, and drop-kicks Morishima in the knee, followed by a flying knee strike. Exploder suplex by Whitmer gets a close cover. Lariat by Whitmer gets another close fall. Whitmer goes high risk and connects with the frog splash for yet another close fall. Morishima blocks a hold, but Whitmer gets a boot to the face and a Northern lariat. Morishima won’t go down and hits a hard clothesline. Running boot to the face by Morishima is enough for an extremely close fall. Big lariat by Morishima gets another close fall. Backdrop driver by Morishima finally puts Whitmer away at 2:52. This was hardly a squash like what I was expecting, but it felt like the final minutes of a great twenty minute match. *1/2.
Winner and still ROH World Champion: Takeshi Morishima
-Nigel McGuinness comes out to the ring for a confrontation with Morishima. “Fuck him up, Nigel” chants from the crowd, which Nigel responds with “I’ll get to that in a second.” Nigel puts over Morishima as being a hell of a performer, but then again, so is he. Nigel makes it clear that he wants a title shot, whether it be in London, Tokyo, or right here in New York. They are interrupted by Bryan Danielson, who gets a MONSTER pop. Danielson feels that he should get a shot before Nigel due to holding the title for 15 months himself. Danielson lists off the names he defeated to retain the belt, including Nigel. Danielson cheap shots McGuinness, with Morishima breaking things up, but assisting with a double team on McGuinness. Danielson grabs the ROH title and gazes at it, but Morishima takes offense to this, yanks the belt back, and exits the ring. Danielson takes his leave as well, leaving a frustrated Nigel in the ring. This was a really good interview segment, established the top contenders and set up a match for later.
-Hype package for Brent Albright airs. “Get out or tap out” is the message.
Rocky Romero vs. Naomichi Marufuji
Ah, here we go. Marufuji is the clear babyface here, as Romero is a part of Roderick Strong’s sinister No Remorse Corp. Waistlock by Romero is reversed into a wristlock. Takedown by Romero, working the leg. They chain wrestle, with Marufuji getting the upper hand. Match restarts with Romero locking himself to Marufuji, using a modified abdominal stretch. Romero rolls Marufuji into a pinning predicament. Marufuji escapes and locks in an abdominal stretch of his own. Pinning combination by Marufuji, but Romero kicks out. Waistlock takedown by Romero, and they counter each other’s submission attempts and the match restarts again. Romero and Marufuji quicken the pace, leaping over one another. Rocky goes for his stiff kicks, with Marufuji escaping and the match restarts yet again. Marufuji clubs the back and hits some chops. Romero applies a cross armbreaker, taking Marufuji down for a potential submission. Marufuji gets to the ropes, and Romero reacts with some hard kicks. Romero works the arm, driving his elbow into Marufuji’s shoulder. Romero goes back to the cross armbreaker, which Marufuji counters into a pinning combination. Romero mounts Marufuji and hits a flurry of blows to the face. That last sentence looks bad. Cover by Romero only gets two. Marufuji drops Romero onto the apron, with Marufuji almost botching a drop kick off the apron. Marufuji drives Romero’s knee into the ring post. The action moves back to the ring, with Romero kicking out of a cover. Marufuji wraps Romero’s leg around the middle rope, and hits a dragon screw! Cover by Marufuji only gets two. Marufuji twists Romero’s knee in a rather disgusting fashion. Romero gets his leg wrapped around the ropes again, as Marufuji tests the referee’s patience. Marufuji sets up Romero on the turnbuckles and dragon screws him off. Figure four leglock by Marufuji could end this. Romero gets the rope break. Marufuji connects with some kicks to the injured knee. Romero counters with a boot to the midsection, and resorts to some chops. Swinging DDT by Romero! Marufuji reverses an Irish whip, Romero leaps off the turnbuckles, but Marufuji catches him. Romero misses a kick, but connects with a second. Romero attempts the Tiger Suplex, but instead springboards off the ropes with a DDT! Romero is moving pretty well for a guy with a hurt knee. Romero goes for the Tiger Suplex, but Marufuji lands on his feet. Marufuji drives his knee to Romero’s face! They exchange shots, until Romero hits some kicks. Lariat by Marufuji. Power bomb by Marufuji gets a close two count! Marufuji goes high risk, but Romero cuts him off. Romero applies the cross arm-breaker off the top! Holy crap! Marufuji barely manages to get the rope break, but that was a damn convincing near fall. Stiff kicks by Romero, with Marufuji responding with a kick of his own! Marufuji charges into the boot, but leaps off the ropes with a jaw shot. Marufuji power bombs Romero into the turnbuckles! DAMN! Marufuji sets Romero into the tree of woe, and hits a coast to coast drop kick! HOLY SHIT! Romero kicks out of the cover, hits the tiger suplex, but Marufuji shakes it off. Romero hits a kick for a very convincing near fall! Marufuji nails some kicks and hits the sliced bread for the victory at 16:04! Damn, aside from some issues with selling, this was absolutely tremendous, ***1/2!
Winner: Naomichi Marufuji
-Backstage, Larry Sweeney is standing by with the best personal trainer in the business today, Tank Toland. Sweeney is excited to be bringing his brand of work to pay-per-view. Tonight “Sweet and Sour Inc.” will be signing their newest client, joining Toland and Chris Hero. Their acquisition is none other than Sara Del Rey. Whoo! He puts her over as being the best women’s athlete in the world today. Toland than brings in Bobby Dempsey and makes fun of how fat he is. Toland promises to mold Dempsey into a Greek God. This Sweet and Sour stable is awesome in that it’s getting Toland and Dempsey over in ROH, something that I wasn’t expecting to ever occur. Toland and Sara force Dempsey to do squats. Sara challenges Toland to a contest of how can do more squats than the other, with Dempsey out of breath in the background.
-Meanwhile in the ring, Nigel had called out Danielson again. The result was Danielson and Morishima beating him down, until KENTA returns to ROH, making the save. KENTA and Nigel take out Danielson and Morishima, and it would seem we have our main event for later.
ROH World Tag Team Championship:
Jay and Mark Briscoe (c) vs. Matt Sydal and Claudio Castagnoli
This should be a good one. Mark starts off against Claudio. Front headlock by Claudio transitions into a chinlock and then the headlock again. Mark counters into a pinning situation. Claudio works the arm and hits the armdrag. Wristlock by Claudio is countered. Northern lights suplex by Mark Briscoe. Sydal tags in, and hits the headlock takedown. Jay Briscoe tags in, and connects with the side headlock. Sydal counters into the wristlock. Jay counters into the headlock, but that’s also countered. They break in the ropes, with Sydal hitting a chop. Sydal and Jay trade headscissors takedowns, with Jay coming out on top with chops. Sydal recovers with a leg lariat. Claudio tags in and rolls up Jay for not even a one count. Claudio rolls up Jay again, but then gets driven into the corner. Mark Briscoe tags in, and the Briscoes get the double team. Claudio makes the tag, with Sydal taking control of Mark. Jay tags in, and Sydal fights off both Briscoes. This doesn’t last as the Briscoes hit a series of double team maneuvers. Jay goes for the cover, but it doesn’t get two. Drop-kick by Jay gets a cover. Mark tags in, and the Briscoes double team to throw Sydal extremely high into the air! Sydal hits with a sick thud, and desperately returns shots to Mark Briscoe. Gut wrench suplex and a knee drop by Mark gets another two count. Jay tags back in and double team Sydal with shoulder tackles. Jay slows the pace with a submission, but Sydal fights out . Jay catches Sydal with a tirt-a-whirl backbreaker and holds him still for a split legged moonsault from Mark! DAMN! The Briscoes make frequent tags, with Mark trying to get the cover again. Jay tags in and the Briscoes go for more double team moves. Sydal dumps Mark to the floor and takes Jay down to the canvas. Claudio gets the hot tag, and cleans house on Jay. Claudio hits the elbow drop off the second rope for a two count. Jay drop toe holds Claudio onto the ropes, and Mark goes for the double stomp! The Briscoes are unreal! The Briscoes hit chops and launch Sydal into the air, and then doing the same to Claudio. Claudio comes back with a springboard European uppercut for a near fall! Fisherman suplex by Claudio on Jay gets another near fall. Sydal tags in, and they double team Jay. Forearm strike by Jay Briscoe, and they exchange strikes. Jay gets caught in the abdominal stretch. Mark tries to make the save, but the referee cuts him off. Rolling European uppercut by Claudio, and a lariat! Claudio hits the giant swing, which is always quite the sight to see. Claudio is in a daze afterwards, but still goes for the cover. Sydal tags in and exchanges forearm shots. Springboard bulldog by Sydal and a springboard moonsault gets another close fall! Claudio tags in with a springboard elbow drop! Jay kicks out of yet another cover. Sydal tags in and they go for a double superplex, but Jay fights them off. Flipping neckbreaker off the top by Jay and a chinbreaker on Claudio! Mark tags in and hits the springboard drop kick on Castagnoli. Mark hits a series of chops on Sydal and a kick to the back of the head. The Briscoes hit a double team monkey flip on Claudio, sending him over the ropes to the floor! HOLY SHIT! Sydal and Mark are left alone in the ring, and Mark hits a sunset flip off the ropes, Sydal kicks out but gets suplexed into the turnbuckles! Mark sets up Sydal for a top rope leg drop from Jay, but Sydal kicks out again! Claudio counters a double team, boots down Mark and slams Jay onto his brother! Tags are made, and Claudio slams Mark for another cover, but Jay interrupts. Mark suffers a head scissors takedown from the top and a big boot, with Claudio getting another close fall. Sydal tags in, and drives his leg into Mark’s chest. Standing moonsault by Sydal still wasn’t enough. Claudio tags in, and connects with the head butt and uppercut. Mark dodges some offense, and hits a strike off the turnbuckles. Jay tags in and hits a flying crossbody off the top for a near fall. Jay reverses and Irish whip and hits a face buster. Springboard kick by Mark and a corkscrew press, then letting Jay go for the near fall. Sydal drags Mark to ringside, as Claudio and Jay exchange shots. Springboard European uppercut by Claudio, as both Briscoes are at ringside. Sydal then leaps off Claudio’s shoulders for a flying knee strike on both Briscoes at ringside! HOLY SHIT! Sydal drags Jay into the ring, and Claudio hits a sit-down power bomb for a cover, but Mark makes the save. Claudio dumps Mark from the ring, and hits a European uppercut on Jay. Sydal tags in for the somersault splash, but still not enough for the win. The Briscoes regain their bearings and dump Sydal out of the ring. Mark flips over the ropes onto Sydal at ringside, as Jay almost pins Claudio in the ring. Jay goes for the J-Driller, but Sydal reverses into a headscissors takedown cover attempt! Jay sits Sydal on his shoulders as Mark hits the springboard doomsday device, allowing Jay to make the cover for the victory at 20:07! Oh my, this was a legit MOTYC, the action was everywhere and kept building and building, ****1/2.
Winners and still ROH World Tag Team Champions: Jay and Mark Briscoe
-Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak thank the fans for coming out and for selling out the Manhattan Center yet again. They put over how exciting it is to see Ring of Honor live, as the main purpose of these pay-per-views was to expand the fan base. I don’t see how anyone watching could not have been impressed by that last match.
-The Briscoes are still celebrating in the ring, when Kevin Steen and El Generico make their way out. Steen takes the microphone and has a question for the Briscoes. He wants to know when himself and Generico are getting a shot at the tag titles. They storm the ring brawl with the champions, as the crowd sings “ole” in honor of El Generico. Officials and students spill into the ring to try and separate the two teams. The Briscoes leave the ring, while Steen and Generico lay out some students. Generico flies off the top turnbuckles onto the students on the floor, as Steen confidently beats them out of his way. The Briscoes try to mount an attack, but officials keep getting in the way. The action spills backstage, where Kevin Steen wields a chair and lays out Mark Briscoe. Jay checks on his brother, as officials hold Steen back. This is by far the best feud in wrestling today.
-A hype package plays for the Delirious vs. Roderick Strong match. This mostly consists of Strong beating down Delirious, complete with a lizardese Delirious promo in the background.
FIP World Championship:
Roderick Strong (c) vs. Delirious
Delirious throws one of his trademark lizard outbursts to kick things off. Strong retreats to ringside, but Delirious chases him. Delirious chops around ringside before dumping him back into the ring. Strong gets some shots in and a shoulder tackle. Chain wrestling by Delirious, but he misses a kick. Delirious rolls up Strong, but it gets two. Delirious escapes the strong hold attempt, and slams Strong to the mat. Crossbody by Delirious for a near fall. Strong takes a midsection shot, takes a snapmare and a kick to the back of his head. More chopping by Delirious and a headbutt. “Rooooooderick” chants from the fans. Delirious hits a flying head scissors, but gets caught by Strong, who throws him face first into the turnbuckles. Strong hits some closed fists and goes for the cover. Strong chokes Delirious in the corner. Chop by Strong, but Delirious comes back with a lariat. Back suplex by Delirious, but Strong kicks out of the cover. Headbutt by Delirious and some biting. Strong finally connects with a backbreaker to the knee, and goes for the cover. Delirious fires back due to Strong going for his mask. Strong goes for a springboard, but Delirious hits a mid-air headbutt. Delirious connects with some lariats, and then some chops. Strong reverses an Irish whip, but runs into the boots of Delirious. Running knee strike by Delirious, who then goes high risk for “Shadows over Hell.” Strong dodges the move, but gets hit with a driver anyhow for a close fall. Delirious gets driven into the turnbuckles, refusing to let go of his hold. More “Roooooderick” chants fro m the fans. Strong gets planted on the top for a neckbreaker! Strong barely kicks out of the cover, after Delirious delayed too long. Chinbreaker by Strong and then a backbreaker! Strong military presses Delirious onto the turnbuckles and hits a fallaway slam off the second rope! Strong goes for the cover, but only gets two, due to not hooking the leg. Delirious counters the crucifix into a cover and hits an enziguri. Delirious goes high risk, but Strong cuts him off. Delirious headbutts Strong to the floor, and connects with Shadows over Hell! Cover only gets two, so Delirious goes for the cobra stretch. Rolling cradle by Strong doesn’t get three, but he hits a sick backbreaker. Strong goes for the cover, but Delirious gets a foot on the rope. They fight on the apron, with Strong attempting a slam. Delirious counters and trips Strong off to the floor. Delirious goes high risk with a suicide flip! Delirious whips Strong into the steel guard rail. Panic attack by Delirious, knocking Strong’s head into the steel. Strong is sent into the ring and gets to his feet in time to cut off Delirious on his return to the ring. Strong then connects with a back suplex onto the edge of the apron! DAMN! Strong goes for the cover, but Delirious kicks out. Strong goes for the Gibson Driver, but it’s blocked. They exchange shots. Delirious hits an elbow shot but gets caught in the gutbuster. Strong finally catches Delirious in the strong hold, but there’s a rope break. Strong goes for a half-nelson backbreaker, but Delirious counters into a slam and gets a near fall. Delirious goes back to the cobra clutch and hits an overhead suplex! Delirious gets a near fall. Headbutts by Delirious and a kick to the head. Delirious misses a lariat and gets caught with a backbreaker and running boot to the face. Strong hits the Gibson Driver and puts Delirious away at 17:06 to retain the FIP title. You know, I heard this match was going to suck, but it was absolutely tremendous. The fans might have been turned off by the slower pace in the early going, but this would have torn the house down on any other show, ***1/2.
Winner and still FIP World Champion: Roderick Strong
-After the match, Strong’s running buddies, Davey Richards and Rocky Romero, drag out a spare steel barricade. The NRC continue their beat-down, and set the guard rail up on the ring and barricade. Strong hits the Gibson Driver right onto the steel! Erick Stevens runs in for the save and cleans house on the NRC before getting into a slugfest with Strong. The NRC retreat.
-Backstage, Adam Pearce is giving advice to Shane Hagadorn, and sends him out. Pearce talks about the history of ROH, about how much it’s grown in only five years. Pearce then points out BJ Whitmer and puts him over for all he’s sacrificed for the company, but speculates that his spirit has been broken after losing the war against Jimmy Jacobs. Pearce states that Whitmer will forever be remembered as the guy who lost the very first match on ROH pay-per-view. Pearce walks over and gives comfort to Whitmer. Strange promo by Pearce, but it was entertaining, so huzzah.
KENTA and Nigel McGuinness vs. Takeshi Morishima and Bryan Danielson
Danielson kicks things off against KENTA, to which I mark out. They lock up and do some serious chain wrestling. They jockey for position in a test of strength, with KENTA pushing Danielson down to the mat. Danielson monkey flips his way to freedom. Side headlock by KENTA is broken, but he drives his boot into Danielson’s gut. Morishima tags in and is ready to feast on some KENTA. Nigel tags in and boldly steps up to the plate. Morishima roars at Nigel after his side tackle attempts and drops him with a side tackle of his own. Danielson tags in and rolls up Nigel, who rolls through and gets some shots before getting trapped in an armbar. Nigel gets the rope break, and takes Danielson down himself with a hammerlock. Uppercuts by Nigel, then planting Danielson on the top. Danielson hits an uppercut off the top, but soon takes a headbutt from Nigel. Morishima attacks Nigel, with KENTA making the save. All four men are at a stalemate as the match restarts. Nigel and Danielson are the legal men, but Morishima tags in and slams his hip into Nigel’s midsection. Morishima puts the boots to Nigel in the corner and chokes him. Danielson tags in and climbs on Morishima’s back to give extra weight to the choking. Uppercut by Danielson and a neck vice. Snapmare by Danielson and a cover. Danielson goes to work on Nigel’s arm and neck, looking for a submission. Danielson breaks and tags in Morishima, who snapmares Nigel and hits a running ass shot to the face. Morishima uses the ropes for leverage as he crushes Nigel with his boots. Nigel is draped in the corner as Danielson holds Nigel still for Morishima to have his way with him. Morishima gets a modified camel clutch, as Nigel appears to be royally screwed. Danielson tags in, and stands on Nigel’s knees, driving them into the mat. Nigel shows signs of life, but Danielson keeps kicking him in the face. Danielson charges, but Nigel ducks and drops Danielson. Morishima charges, but gets caught with a lariat. KENTA finally tags in and hits a flurry of kicks on Danielson. Big boot by KENTA, who then springboards into a missile dropkick! KENTA gets a cover. Danielson lands on his feet on the suplex, but gets caught with a drop-kick for another cover. Danielson and KENTA exchange shots, with KENTA hitting a running boot to the face. Danielson flips off the turnbuckles after an Irish whip and hits the backbreaker! Morishima tags in and somersaults onto KENTA! Morishima goes high risk and hits a gigantic missile drop-kick! Morishima goes for the backdrop driver, but settles for a side slam when KENTA blocks it. KENTA gets a boot tot the face and a power slam! Nigel tags in and hits a flurry of shots on Morishima. Head of steam into a European uppercut by Nigel! Morishima block the lariat and hits a big boot. Morishima hits another missile drop-kick off the top, but Nigel no-sells it with a lariat and a near fall! Morishima goes for the somersault elbow again, but Nigel hits the lariat and gets a near fall. Nigel goes high risk, but Danielson blocks him, with KENTA kicking him off. KENTA is sent into the guard rail by Danielson, who then leaps back up to help Morishima splash Nigel on the chest off the turnbuckles! KENTA then whips Danielson into the barricade. In the ring, Morishima blocks a lariat and hits the back-drop driver, but KENTA breaks up the cover! Morishima dumps KENTA through the ropes and goes high risk yet again. KENTA blocks Morishima, as Nigel hits the Tower of London! Danielson and KENTA get involved and violently exchange shots. KENTA drops Danielson onto the ropes and goes top rope for the flying knee strike! KENTA goes for the cover, but it’s a close two. KENTA gets caught in the dragon suplex by Danielson for a near fall. Danielson goes for the cross face chicken wing. KENTA rolls Danielson into a pinning predicament. Danielson plants KENTA on the top and goes for the belly to back superplex, but Nigel makes the save, power bombing Danielson. KENTA flies off, right into Morishima’s arms. Meanwhile, Danielson is planted on the ropes, as Nigel hits the lariat. Morishima tosses Nigel to the floor, and then back to the ring, but Nigel rebounds and hits the lariat on the floor. Nigel dumps Morishima into the front row, climbs to the top turnbuckle, and crossbodies over the guard rail onto Morishima in the crowd! YES! Back in the ring, Danielson hits a snap suplex on KENTA. Nigel reenters the ring and goes nose to nose with Danielson. They exchange uppercuts. Danielson blocks the lariat and kicks Nigel in the elbow. Danielson goes high risk and dives onto KENTA’s boot. KENTA hits a series of high kicks for a near fall. KENTA hits the Go To Sleep on Danielson, but Morishima breaks the cover. Nigel gets his elbow taped at ringside, as Danielson hits the diving headbutt on KENTA, immediately after a suplex by Morishima. The double team continues in the ring, with Danielson getting a near fall on KENTA. Morishima was going for a doomsday device, when Nigel finally returns to clean house. Nigel hits the big lariat on Morishima, while KENTA hits the top rope falcon arrow on Danielson for a DAMN close near fall! KENTA and Danielson take a while to get to their feet and exchange shots. Danielson goes for the cross face chicken wing, and then hits the belly to back superplex! Danielson gets a near fall, and goes for cattle mutilation. That doesn’t work, so Danielson goes for the elbows to the head, but gets lifted. Danielson blocks Go To Sleep and hits a tiger suplex for a near fall! Danielson locks in Cattle Mutilation as Morishima beats the hell out of Nigel! KENTA taps at 24:44, ending a dramatic, epic battle! This was an awesome main event, and a second MOTYC of the night, ****1/2!
Winners: Bryan Danielson and Takeshi Morishima
-After the match, Danielson grabs the ROH title and puts it on his shoulder. Morishima takes offense to this and suplexes the former champion. Nigel grabs the title and hands it to Morishima in a respectful gesture. Morishima doesn’t give a damn and knocks down Nigel. That rat bastard.
Final Thoughts: Ring of Honor was looking to make a huge impression with their first pay-per-view, and I would say they achieved that goal. Outside of the highly entertaining, yet short opener, every match on this card either met expectations or flew right past them. My only complaint is that Morishima did not have to be the one who destroyed Whitmer in the opener, as that role would have been better suited for Brent Albright, but I digress. With two ****+ matches, and two very good ***+ matches, you really need to see this show!