ROH "Proving Ground Night One" DVD review: Nigel McGuinness vs. Brent Albright, Necro Butcher for Austin Aries, Bryan Danielson and Jerry Lynn vs. Jimmy Jacobs and Delirious
ROH Proving Ground 2009 DVD, Night One
Taped February 6 in Coral Springs, Fla.
The show opened with Erick Stevens and Roderick Strong backstage with Bobby Dempsey. They praised him for being a man and got him fired up for his match later that night...
Shawn Osbourne made his entrance to Alice in Chains' "We Die Young". For a second I thought it was Tommy Dreamer...
1. Brad Attitude defeated Shawn Osbourne in 7:30. Both Attitude and Osbourne are Full Impact Pro regulars, apparently. The main thing I noticed in the opening minutes was the crowd chanting lots of different things that I couldn't make out. At 2:30, Attitude hit a pretty cool looking rebound neckbreaker, and followed it up with an innovative springboard moonsault from his knees.
He attempted a corkscrew body press, but Osbourne stuck his knee out in a very obviously planned spot because Osbourne was not in position at all. Osbourne shouted "Die, die, die" at Attitude while stomping him in the corner. Osbourne took over on offense, taking his moves straight out of the Hulk Hogan playbook. Osbourne took over and hit a series of moves, including a decent dropkick, and finished off Osbourne with an F5-like maneuver.
Joe's Judgment: Not a good match. Attitude was okay, but looked a little lethargic. His look is not very unique, either. Think of a cross between Mike Quackenbush and Roderick Strong. Osbourne was everything Attitude was not. He looks unique, but everything else about him was bland and unoriginal.
2. Bison Smith defeated Sal Rinauro in 2:09. Rinauro was introduced as being from Hollywood, Salifornia. This was Bison's debut in ROH. The crowd was hot for him and he got a face reaction (despite his feud with a top face main eventer having started the week before?). Rinauro got a bit of offense about 1:30 in, but other than that it was a total squash. Bison finished him off with a claw slam.
Joe's Judgment: Bison looks like a beast. He's got a bit of a bad rep on the internet, but I didn't see anything to complain about here. Of course, it was two minutes, and his theme song is bad. I would like to see more from Bison, but I'm not exactly clamoring for a main event push yet.
3. Roderick Strong, Erick Stevens, and Bobby Dempsey defeated Kenny King, Rhett Titus, and Chasyn Rance in 9:00. Dempsey and Titus started the match off. Dempsey had a bit of offense at the start. He gyrated briefly before tagging in Stevens. A short while later, Dempsey hit a dropkick in the corner on Rance.
The heels worked over Strong in the corner, who made the hot tag to Stevens. Stevens dominated and hit the Choo Choo on King, then got a nearfall with a Samoan drop. He went for the Doctor bomb, but it was broken up. Chasyn Rance tagged in and tried to get a hip toss on Stevens, but was unable to. He tried again, and couldn't. He tagged in Titus, who was more successful.
At about 8:00, Stevens tried to make a tag to Dempsey, but Rance pulled him off the apron and Titus hit a running big boot and then a really nice dropkick. King tagged in and continued to work over Stevens. He went for a superplex, but Stevens knocked him off and hit a diving second rope shoulder block. Stevens tagged Dempsey, who hit a powerslam on Rance and then pulled the straps down, much to the dismay of Dave Prazak. Even more to Prazak's dismay, Dempsey followed that up with a Death Valley Driver for the pin.
Joe's Judgment: That was a pretty good, albeit unmemorable, match. Stevens and Strong were good, King was his normal charismatic self, and Titus looked very good in the ring. Dempsey and Rance didn't get much time, but they were pretty good. King and Titus need a huge push. Now.
Austin Aries made his entrance. I'm really going to miss The Greatest Man That Ever Lived as his entrance music, and he only used for two months...
Necro Butcher followed him out...
4. Austin Aries defeated the Necro Butcher in 12:40. Necro exchanged wristlocks and armbars with Aries in the beginning of the match. Necro hit an armdrag and then a monkey flip, prompting a "Holy shit" chant. Necro punched Aries to the floor and did his typical throwing the guy into the barricades spot, then grabbed the tablecloth off the timekeeper's table and started choking out Aries with it. He rammed Aries crotch-first into the ring post. Aries took over when the action came back into the ring. Aries choked Necro in the ropes while playing to the fans. He hit the spinning elbow drop to a chorus of boos.
At 9:30, Aries tried to hit a Ram Jam (seriously), but missed, allowing Necro to regain control. He hit an absurdly sloppy hurricanrana off the top rope, a chokeslam, and tried a Tiger Driver, but was unable to connect. Necro brought Aries to the outside and rammed him into the ringpost, and was about to climb into the ring when Jimmy Jacobs ran in. He distracted the referee while Delirious hit Necro with a chair, allowing Aries to hit the brainbuster and pin Necro.
Joe's Judgment: Somewhat logical finish. The interference had me groaning, but I understand that they want to try and keep the Necro-Jacobs feud sort of going. Necro's offense was sloppy as hell, and the punches and chops that he threw looked weak. Aries really carried this match, and his new character has been one of the highlights of every ROH show since his turn. I know people want Bryan Danielson to be the first two-time ROH champion, but aside from that, there is really no reason why Aries shouldn't get the belt sometime in the near future.
5. Bryan Danielson and Jerry Lynn defeated Jimmy Jacobs and Delirious via submission in 17:00 Delirious cried and hugged Jacobs at the start of the match. Not a lot of wrestling during the last few minutes. About three minutes in, Jacobs spat in Danielson's face and tagged in Delirious. Danielson, and then Lynn, and then Danielson again, held onto a wristlock on Delirious. Danielson let go of the wristlock to apply the surfboard on Delirious, while Lynn did the same to Jacobs.
The face tandem was in control for much of the following minutes, until about the 8:00 mark, when Jacobs knocked Lynn off the apron and began working him over. Lynn appeared to be about to get some offense in on Delirious, but it was short-lived, and Jacabs tagged right back in and locked in some body scissors. Lynn fought out and avoided Delirious on the apron, but turned around into a spear from Jacobs. Finally, at the 12:00 mark, Lynn hit a sitout powerbomb on Delirious and made the tag to Danielson. Danielson went on offense and was covering Jacobs when Delirious broke it up.
The Age of the Fall team hit a double chokeslam on Danielson, but Lynn broke up the pin and clotheslined both Jacobs and Delirious. The face team went in control with several cool double-team maneuvers. Lynn and Delirious went to the floor and Danielson locked in Cattle Mutilation on Jacobs, but Jacobs fought out and went for the Contra Code, which Danielson avoided. They exchanged a great series of nearfalls, which culminated in Jacobs locking in the End Time.
Danielson's arm dropped twice but stayed up the third time, and he rolled to the ropes. Danielson and Lynn hit stereo dives on Jacobs and Delirious, and then stereo missile dropkicks. They tried stereo running forearms, but only Danielson connected, and Lynn was thrown to the floor. Jacobs tried to go on offense on Danielson, but kept on running into Delirious after Danielson got out of the way. Finally, Danielson got Jacobs to tap out to Cattle Mutilation.
Joe's Judgment: The opening half of the match was slow and not very good, probably because most of it was Lynn vs. Delirious. When Danielson and Jacobs finally got the tags, the match really picked up and was fun to watch. Overall, it wasn't bad. A solid tag team match that made Jacobs look fairly strong in defeat. Still, I feel like this may have been better as just a rematch of Danielson vs. Jacobs.
6. Nigel McGuinness defeated Brent Albright in a non-title match in 16:30. Nigel's right arm was taped a bit. Albright worked over his left arm for the first minute. About three minutes it, Nigel went for the Jawbreaker Lariat, but Albright reversed into the Crowbar. Nigel got to the ropes.
At 5:30, Nigel hit a Tower of London onto (but not through) the timekeeper's table. Albright got a couple nearfalls with rollups, but Nigel kicked out at two both times. Nigel worked on Albright's arm, and then played to the crowd, allowing Albright to lock in the Crowbar once again. Nigel was unable to get to the ropes, so he grabbed Albright's eye to break the hold.
Albright maintained control through the 10:00 mark. The action went to the floor, where Albright hit a top rope double axe handle on McGuinness. Nigel went for a lariat, but Albright ducked and Nigel hit the ring post. Albright tossed him back in the ring and locked in the Crowbar. Nigel got out and went for the London Dungeon. Albright made ropes, and got a nearfall with the Air Raid Crash. He went up top, but Nigel knocked him off the top rope and hit the Tower of London for a nearfall.
Albright went for the half-nelson suplex, but Nigel countered with a lariat for another nearfall. Nigel got the London Dungeon, but Albright reversed it into a pin. Nigel kicked out, but Albright got the crowbar. Nigel got under the ropes, but Albright didn't break the hold until Nigel went to the floor. On the floor, Nigel hit a Tower of London. Albright barely got back in the ring before the count of 20. He went right back to the Crowbar, which Nigel tried to reverse several times unsuccessfully before rolling up Albright using the tights for the pin.
Joe's Judgment: It was basically your typical Nigel title defense, but the title wasn't on the line, so you had an idea Albright might win. This wasn't quite at the level of the last match, which itself wasn't great. Hopefully the rest of the show will be good, because so far it's been nothing special.
7. Kevin Steen and El Generico defeated The Dark City Fight Club (Kory Chavis and Jon Davis) in 12:00 DCFC made their entrances wearing black hoods and vests. They hit Generico right before the big "Ole!" in his entrance. DCFC is apparently undefeated in FIP competition. Steen and Generico hit a lot of their trademark moves in the early going. At 3:00, Davis knocked Steen off the apron and threw him into the barricade, breaking the barricade and drawing a "Holy shit" chant from the crowd. Davis worked over Steen with several suplexes. Chavis and Davis used frequent tags to work over Steen, looking like badasses the entire time.
At 9:00, Steen tried a sunset flip on Davis, who wouldn't go down and tried to punch Steen, but hit the canvas as Steen made the hot tag to Generico. Generico cleared Chavis and got a nearfall on Davis with a springboard hurricanrana. Steen and Generico hit their trademark Yakuza, cannonball, big splash combo for a nearfall. DCFC hit a Total Elimination and then Project Mayhem on Generico, but Steen broke up the pin. He got the package piledriver on Chavis, and Generico followed it up with a brainbuster for the pin.
Joe's Judgment: Quality match. DCFC are pretty unique in that they act like thugs, but wear wrestling gear and can actually wrestle instead of just perpetrating assorted thuggery, and it comes across well. I want to see more. Steen and Generico weren't as awesome as they can be, but they were still Steen and Generico, and they made DCFC look good in defeat.
Davey Richards was accompanied by Larry Sweeney during his entrance. Somebody shouted "Next world champ!" at Davey. Awesome.
8. Tyler Black defeated Davey Richards in 16:30. Davey refused to shake Tyler's hand. He jawed with the fans and then shook hands with Tyler about a minute in. Davey controlled the first several minutes with his usual stiff kicks and chops. While working over Black in the corner, Davey backed away and started yelling at the fans. Tyler tried to take advantage, but Davey went right back in control and held onto bodyscissors, aided twice by Sweeney. Referee Todd Sinclair called him out on it, and Tyler hit a chinbreaker, a couple right hands, and ran off the ropes. Sweeney tripped him and Sinclair threw him out. Tyler went for a dive, but Davey kicked him in the head through the second and third ropes from the floor. He told the fans he needed no one and went back in the ring. He Irish whipped Tyler into the ropes, and Tyler lowbridged him and hit a somersault dive.
At 10:50, Tyler hit a neckbreaker for a nearfall. He tried a Quebrada, but Davey got out of the way. Tyler landed on his feet and then hit a standing Shooting Star Press. He tried a springboard lariat but Davey dropkicked him in midair. Davey kicked Tyler in the head and told Sinclair to count for a knockout. Tyler got up at six and hit a leaping kick. The two exchanged right hands with Tyler getting the advantage before Davey got a headbutt and then going off the ropes. Tyler caught him with a Paroxysm and tried for God's Last Gift unsuccessfully.
At 15:15, Davey hit a sick-looking German superplex, then a powerbomb for a very close two. Tyler rolled him up for another two. Tyler got another two count, and then Davey reversed first a superkick, then God's Last Gift into nearfalls. Tyler got a nearfall of his own, then a turnbuckle powerbomb and superkick for the pin.
Joe's Judgment: Very good match. It never dragged, even for the literally nine minutes when Davey was working over Tyler. Davey showed that he can hang with legitimate main eventers, and hopefully there will be more main events featuring Davey Richards in the future.
Final Thoughts: Not the best show of the year to date. In fact, it was pretty mediocre. None of the matches were outstanding, though none were really bad. Very little storyline progress was made, so unless you're just wanting to see a good match between Richards and Black, and the debuts of several wrestlers (of which DCFC is probably the most notable), this show is probably skippable.
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