ROH "Steel City Clash" DVD review: Nigel McGuinness and Davey Richards vs. KENTA and El Generico, Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong, Brent Albright vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Claudio Castagnoli, Bryan Danielson vs. Mike Quackenbush
ROH Steel City Clash
Taped March 20, 2009 in Elizabeth, Pa.
The show opened with Sterling James Keenan cutting a backstage promo. He said that fans were drinking the ROH Kool-Aid. He brought up the Jonestown Massacre, and compared himself to the Reverend Jim Jones, and said that the CIA, the FBI, and definitely not Delirious could stop him...
Joe's Judgment: Well, that was odd. Good promo, but I could have done without the Jonestown reference.
1. Delirious (w/ Daizee Haze) defeated Sterling James Keenan in 8:10. Delirious controlled Keenan's arm early on. He went for the Panic Attack, but Keenan ducked to the floor. Delirious maintained control up until about the four minute mark, when Keenan took over with a suplex, and then shortly afterward a pump handle slam. Delirious fought back, pointed to Daizee Haze at ringside, and connected with the Heart Punch. At 7:00, Delirious hit several clotheslines in the corner, then the Panic Attack, and then Shadows Over Hell, and got the pin.
Joe's Judgment: This just wasn't a very good match. It's too bad SJK is such a bad wrestler, because he's got great promo skills, a fairly good look, and decent charisma.
Rhett Titus and Kenny King entered, and before Bobby Cruise could announce their opponents, Austin Aries came out. Aries called out their opponents, Erick Stevens and Matt Cross. Aries said that he took them under his wing a couple years ago as the Resilience, and things didn't work out. He apologized for not being there when Stevens and Cross needed him, and for maybe overestimating their talent a bit.
He said that he saw talent now, though, but it was in the guys behind them. Titus and King jumped Stevens and Cross from behind, prompting Roderick Strong to come out and run off Aries.
2. Rhett Titus and Kenny King defeated Erick Stevens and Matt Cross in 9:40. The babyface tandem maintained control early. Cross hit a handspring elbow on Titus in the corner, and then I guess a botched dropkick that he turned into several kicks to the back of the head.
At 5:00, Titus hit an inverted atomic drop on Cross, and King followed it up with a lariat. Cross recovered and hit a standing moonsault and tagged in Stevens. Stevens hit a really nice powerslam, and then a great diving shoulder block from the second rope. Stevens hit a Samoan drop on King, and then Cross doublestomped him. Awesome.
Late in the match, Cross hit a "Super Space Flying Castro Driver or something." Thanks Dave Prazak for the assist. Back in the ring, Titus lifted up King for a powerbomb, and King provided the blockbuster, and then Titus got the pin.
Joe's Judgment: Stevens was awesome. Cross was a little sloppy. I am really excited to see where the Aries-King-Titus alliance goes. This match was okay, but not anything special, commentary aside. Prazak and Leonard were really on top of their game, as Prazak generally is during a Rhett Titus match. Lots of classic lines during this match.
Bryan Danielson cut a backstage promo in which he said that he relished the opportunity to just go out there with a fellow mat technician like Mike Quackenbush and see who was the better wrestler...
3. Bryan Danielson defeated Mike Quackenbush in 16:40 Incredible chain wresterling for the first six minutes, during which the announcers put over Quack's concussion history, and said that he dealt with it the right way, which was to not jeopardize his career by trying to wrestle with a concussion. The chain wrestling ended with a monkey flip from each, and a backdrop to the floor from Quack, followed by a graceful flipping dive over the top rope.
Back in the ring, they went back to the chain wrestling. Quack worked on Danielson's leg, and Danielson on Quackenbush's arm. Danielson applied the surfboard, but first grabbed Quack's face. When Paul Turner tried to break the hold, Danielson reminded him that he has until five, and then applied the surfboard. Danielson got the crossface chicken wing, but Quack got to the ropes.
They continued to chain wrestle, and Quack got a nearfall with a prawn hold, but Danielson kicked out and applied Cattle Mutilation, but Quackenbush escaped. Quackenbush applied a sort of ankle lock/Sharpshooter mix, but Danielson got to the ropes. Danielson then tried the cross-armbreaker, but again Quackenbush got the the ropes. They stood up and exchanged several forearms, and then kicks before Quackenbush tried a fisherman suplex, but Danielson reversed it into a small package for the pin.
Joe's Judgment: A true technical wrestling masterpiece from two of the best in the sport today. Nothing more really needs to be said other than Quack and Dragon are both outstanding and this was truly an art form. By the way, Danielson came out to some generic Motörhead sounding stuff, but Quackenbush used his usual Tears for Fears.
4. Claudio Castagnoli defeated Brent Albright and Jerry Lynn in 11:30. Castagnoli ripped up a fan's sign during his entrance. Albright entered and chased Castagnoli around until Lynn entered. Claudio didn't enter the ring for quite a while.
The bell rang and Albright was still focused on Claudio, allowing Lynn to get a nerfall with a rollup. All three men brawled on the floor, with Albright and Lynn teaming up on Claudio. Back in the ring, Lynn got another nearfall on Albright via rollup, and then the two faces both got nearfalls on Claudio. Claudio took over with some power-type offense, and gout a couple nearfalls with rollups on Lynn. The crowd chanted for Lynn.
At 5:30, Castagnoli got a Big Swing on Lynn, then played to the crowd, allowing Albright to come back in the ring and take control on Castagnoli. He tossed him to the outside and then hit a slingshot plancha. Lynn followed up with a somersault senton, drawing strong "Jer-ry" chants.
In the ring, Claudio hit the bicycle kick on Albright for a nearfall. He tried a swinging DDT, but Albright countered into the Crowbar. Lynn broke it up, and got a nearfall on Castagnoli after a tornado DDT. Claudio went for the Ricola Bomb, but Lynn reversed it into a flipping powerbomb pin combo. Pretty cool. Albright made the save and then went for a half nelson suplex on Claudio, but Lynn connected with a sunset flip for a nearfall, causing Albright to give Claudio an old school AJPW-style head drop.
Lynn went for the Cradle Piledriver on Albright, but it was blocked. Lynn hit a shoulder block and locked in the Crowbar. Lynn rolled through and tried to get to the ropes, but Claudio broke up the hold and applied the Crowbar on Lynn himself, forcing the tap.
Joe's Judgment: Eh. It was slow-paced all the way through and while there were a couple nice spots, it really was far from special. I like the finish of Claudio getting the win with Albright's own hold, but it wasn't nearly enough to save the match.
A plug for ROH Southern Hostility aired. It was a pretty good show...
5. Jimmy Jacobs and Brodie Lee defeated Tyler Black and Necro Butcher in 14:40. Brawling, and then a few dives to start things off. The action spilled into Section D, and Dave Prazak left the commentary booth. Jacobs leapt off two set up chairs and put Tyler in the End Time, but Necro was blocking the camera so I couldn't see it.
The two teams exchanged stiff and less stiff chairshots and moved into Section B. Necro went for a cover, but only got a one count. Necro got two with an inside cradle in Section C as Prazak was still nowhere to be found. Jacobs and Black went back into the ring, and Lee and Necro worked back towards the ring themselves. Necro rang the ring bell a few times and then continued brawling with Brodie.
Brodie connected with a running big boot to Tyler, and Tyler fell onto two set up chairs at ringside. The heels worked over Necro with chairs, and Jimmy tried to bring one into the ring, but couldn't get it over the top rope. He eventually got it, and set it up in the corner, then threw Necro into it, first back-first, then face-first. Tyler returned to the match and started punching Jacobs. Jacobs tossed him to ringside again, and hit a top rope senton on Necro. Necro rolled to ringside and Jacobs tried to spear him, but Necro ducked and Jacobs hit lee. Necro put Brodie on a table and hit a top rope leg drop through the table, shattering it and getting a nearfall.
Tyler returned again and hit the Paroxysm, then went for a quebrada but missed. On the floor, Necro got two with a bulldog, and in the ring Jacobs got two of his own with a Contra Code. Necro and Brodie fought up the aisle, where Brodie hit a powerslam on the ramp. Tyler went up top for a Phoenix Splash, but Brodie hit him with a chair, allowing Jacobs to lock in the End Time. Tyler's arm dropped three times, ending the match.
Joe's Judgment: I feel like I've seen this match way too many times. It wasn't awful, but there's only so many times you can watch a street fight involving the same five guys.
6. Austin Aries defeated Roderick Strong in 15:30. Very fast-paced chain wrestling to start things off. Prazak mentioned the fact that the two were tag team champions with each other. Aries continually avoided Strong's trademark chops, and a half-nelson backbreaker. He rolled to ringside and chopped timekeeper Giuseppe DiLorento.
Aries offered a handshake, and Strong hesitated before accepting. Aries shook hands, and then chopped Strong. He chopped Strong out to the apron, but Strong hung on and hit a slingshot shoulder tackle. Strong tried a chop in the corner, but Aries ducked it and rolled to the outside. Strong tossed Aries into the barricade and tried a chop again, but again Aries ducked.
After another missed chop, Aries ducked into the ring and Strong tried the slingshot shoulder tackle again, but Aries caught him into an Ace Crusher. Aries locked in a stump puller, and pulled it back into a pin, but Strong kicked out. Strong hit a back body drop, and then finally connected with a chop, then another, then another. Strong finally got a backbreaker, of the half nelson variety, and maintained control for a while until Aries hit a neckbreaker on the second rope and then the heat-seeking missile.
Back in the ring, Aries locked in the Last Chancery, but Strong broke free and hit a yakuza and gutbuster for a nearfall. Aries grabbed the ropes, and then got up only for Strong to get a Boston Crab. Just then, Rhett Titus and Kenny King ran in, and Strong hit them with a backbreaker and yakuza respectively. The distraction allowed Aries to kick Strong in the head, and then hit the brainbuster to score the pin.
Joe's Judgment: Great match. I could watch Aries and Strong work all day. This match was both well-worked, as you'd expect from either guy, and it also had that added extra ingredient of mutual dislike between the two. If not for the weak finish, this would rival Dragon-Quack for match of the night.
7. El Generico and KENTA defeated Nigel McGuinness and Davey Richards. Nigel shook the hands of both Generico and KENTA, but Davey refused. Generico and Davey started things off. Davey kicked his former teacher, KENTA, in the face, then tagged in Nigel. Generico kicked Davey in return, and after KENTA got a blind tag, hit a flip dive onto Davey at ringside.
Nigel and KENTA exchanged submission holds, before Nigel tagged in Richards. KENTA kicked Richards really stiffly, and tagged in Generico. Davey hit a superkick in the corner, tagged in Nigel, and started jawing with the fans. He must have said something good, because the crowd started yelling and chanted "That was awesome."
Nigel and Richards worked over Generico until he made his comeback with a swinging DDT and tagged in KENTA. KENTA set up Nigel on the top rope and hit several stepup knees, followed by several running kicks. Nigel tried the Tower of London, but KENTA blocked it. Nigel tried the headstand mule kick, but KENTA caught him in the GTS, but Davey stopped him.
Davey and KENTA exchanged stiff strikes, no-selling each other until Davey came out on top. Generico tagged in and he and Davey had a nice exchange including a Michinoku Driver from Generico and an attempted DR Driver from Davey. Nigel connected with a lariat on KENTA, then lowbridged Generico to the outside.
KENTA continued to punish Nigel with kicks, and got a great nearfall with a top rope Falcon Arrow that Davey had to break up.. Nigel hit the Tower of London, and Generico broke up the pin. Nigel locked in the London Dungeon, but KENTA rolled through into a pin. Nigel kicked out and locked in the London Dungeon again, but KENTA lifted him up into the Go 2 Sleep and got the pin.
Joe's Judgment: Simply an awesome match. All four of these guys work really well together, particularly Richards and KENTA. This was a great, great match that really made me want to see Nigel-KENTA, Wolves-Steenerico, and of course Davey-KENTA. And if they did Nigel-Generico again, I'd definitely watch that as well.
Final Thoughts: This was a three-match show. The main event was simply outstanding, Aries-Strong was a gem up until the finish, and Danielson-Quackenbush was a masterpiece. The other four matches were bad to average, though. Overall a solid show, and I thought it was worth the price, and although it's not an absolute must-see, it's in the top three ROH shows so far this year.
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