11/30/07 ROH Man Up PPV: The wildest ladder match ever, Age of the Fall debuts
Taped in Chicago, Ill.
Debuted on PPV November 30, 2007
Available as a two-disc set with bonus matches at ROHwrestling.com.
The opening shot showed Naomichi Marufuji standing in the ring. Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard introduced the show from ringside and hyped the double main event. They and pointed out Nigel McGuiness walking down the aisle. McGuiness approached the announcers from behind and took the mic. He said his dream of capturing the ROH Title begins tonight. Nigel headed to the ring. The announcers spoke again until they were interrupted out of nowhere by a man wearing a black mask and a hooded sweatshirt. He took the mic and spoke in either gibberish or a foreign language. Security tackled him and the announcers instructed the producers to cut to the opening... The ROH opening video aired...
At ringside, Prazak interviewed Claudio Castagnoli, who warned that he was going after Chris Hero and Larry Sweeney... Sweet and Sour Inc. walked out. Larry Sweeney cut a ringside and was greeted with “Shut the f--- up” chants.
1. Nigel McGuiness defeated Naomichi Marufuji and Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero (w/Sweet and Sour Inc.) in a Four Corner Survival match at 18:02. Before the match, graphics listed the “goal” and logo of each wrestler. Nigel wants to win the ROH Title, Marufuji wants to make a name for himself in the United States, Claudio is looking for revenge, and Hero wants to show he’s the best athlete. The announcers immediately explained the rules of the match and noted that the first pinfall would determine the winner.
Early in the match, Claudio got the better of Hero. At ringside, Sweeney blamed Bobby Dempsey. Funny as always. Back in the ring, Hero got the better of Claudio briefly. However, he tagged out immediately after Castagnoli threw a punch. Enter Nigel, who shook hands with Claudio. They had a good exchange of uppercuts that popped the crowd. At 10:00, Nigel dove off the top rope onto Claudio and Hero at ringside. The announcers noted that he’s not known for performing high-risk moves. At 12:30, Nigel drilled Claudio with a Lariat and went for a cover, but Marufuji broke it up.
A minute later, Marufuji nailed Nigel with a kick to the face and scored a really good nearfall. Marufuji went up top, but Nigel caught him with the Tower of London, but Hero broke up the pin. Hero got his nearfall in on Nigel, and the Claudio scored his nearfall on Hero. Claudio followed up with a long giant swing. Fun. Later, Claudio hit the Ricola driver on Marufuji and had the pin, but Hero stopped the referee’s count and infuriated Claudio. Moments later, Nigel hit the Jawbreaker Lariat on Claudio and scored the pin.
Powell’s POV: Nigel is a star. He stood out more than anyone else in this match because of his look and his presence. Claudio delivered a fine performance. Really, all four guys were solid, but Nigel really stood out and Claudio definitely had his moments.
Backstage, Bryan Danielson cut a promo while wearing an eye patch. He said one of Takeshi Morishima’s punches detached his retina and fractured his orbital bone. He said his mom took him in for surgery and was crying because she’d never seen that part of wrestling. He also talked about how upset his sister was and how she told him he couldn’t put the family through it anymore. He recalled his father talking to him and remind him that this is the life he wanted. Danielson got fired up and talked about how his passion would carry him through the main event. “I may no longer be the best wrestler in the world, but dammit I’ll prove to everybody that I have more heart than anyone in this sport.
Powell’s POV: Very good promo. Danielson made it personal and hooked this viewer by not delivering a standard pro wrestling promo.
2. Rocky Romero (w/Davey Richards, Roderick Strong) defeated Matt Cross (w/Austin Aries, Erick Stevens) at 4:45 in a best of three series between factions. Before the match, Aries warned Cross to watch for arm submissions. Romero said he would take out Cross like he did at the last pay-per-view. At 2:00, Romero caught Cross in an arm lock, but he reached the ropes. The announcers noted that Cross was looking for his first win on pay-per-view. Romero caught Cross with a kick to the side of the head and pinned him.
Powell’s POV: It’s so refreshing to have a promotion that pays attention to little things like whether a wrestler has won on pay-per-view. A good short match. I liked the way the cameras picked up on the teams discussing their prematch strategy because it added a sense of realism. Nice touch.
3. Austin Aries (w/Stevens, Cross) beat Davey Richards (w/Strong, Romero) at 12:00. Strong entered the ring immediately following the previous match. Aries jumped in and declared himself as the second member of his team. Strong immediately ducked out, revealing that he swerved Aries and would not be working the match. At 7:30, Aries hit a great elbow and sent Richards outside the ring. He followed up by diving between the first and second rope and spearing him hard into the guardrail. At 9:30, Aries went up top for his finisher, but Richards got up and kicked him int he side of the head. Moments later, Richards hit a great release German suplex off the top ropes for a great nearfall. At 11:30, Aries hit the brainbuster and followed up with a 450 splash for the win.
Powell’s POV: Great match. I really enjoyed it. Aries absolutely nailed the 450 splash at the end. Even the angry Romanian judge would give that dive a 9.5.
4. Roderick Strong (w/Richards, Romero) defeated Erick Stevens (w/Aries, Cross) at 14:17. Strong dominated the bulk of the match. Stevens snuck in some hopes spots here and there, but the early story of the match was the veteran taking it to the younger guy. After taking a lot of punishment early, Stevens came back strong down the stretch and the action earned some “ROH” chants from the crowd. In the end, Strong hit a crucifix off the second rope and followed up with the Gibson driver for the win.
Powell’s POV: Another very good match. The goal of the match was to elevate Stevens and that was accomplished despite him doing the job. The crowd chanted his name after the match and he came away looking stronger than ever. It would have felt too obvious to put Stevens over and I don’t think it would have done his character as much good as this did. This match showed that he’s improving in the ring, yet is still learning.
Highlights aired Adam Pearce and and Brent Albright preparing to stable Delirious’ mask to his head. B.J. Whitmer entered the ring, but Pearce talked him into joining his faction, the Hangmen 3... An ad aired for ROHwrestling.com...
5. Takeshi Morishima defeated Bryan Danielson at 12:42 by referee stoppage to retain the ROH Title. Danielson worked the match with a patch over his injured left eye. It moved to the side of his head early on, but he had a bandage covering it. At 4:30, the announcers noted that Danielson was the first person to get past the four-minute mark with Morishima on a pay-per-view event. Another really nice touch. Danielson pushed the offense and had a great flurry around 9:30 in which he locked in Cattle Mutilation and made the crowd believe he had a chance to win despite his injury. At 12:00, the crowd traded chants for both wresters, but Danielson got the louder response. At 12:30, Morishima ripped Danielson’s patch off (he still had the protective covering) and peppered him with punches to his bad eye until the referee stopped the match. The crowd booed the finish.
Powell’s POV: Good finish despite the crowd’s reaction. It was a logical finish and it seemed like there was a mix of people booing Morishima and the match finish. One could argue that the finish was predictable, but sometimes predictable is the best move. The same people who were booing the finish believed Danielson had a chance to win a few minutes earlier, so it’s not like the entire match was predictable.
Highlights aired of the Briscoe Brothers vs. Kevin Steen and El Generico feud...
6. The Briscoe Brothers defeated Kevin Steen and El Generico at 26:23 in a ladder war for the ROH Tag Titles. The teams brawled at ringside before the ring announcer could do his job. They brawled into the crowd and traded some sick chairshots. Jay Briscoe was bleeding before he even made it inside the ring. At 10:00, the Briscoes tossed Generico into a ladder that was set up in one corner of the ring. Mark climbed a ladder in the middle of the ring, but Steen pushed it over, causing Mark to land on Gerico’s ladder in the corner. He hit the ladder so hard that it bent, causing the crowd to go nuts. The crowd chanted, “This is awesome,” right before Steen backdropped Jay onto another ladder in the center of the ring. At 14:30, Steen Awesome Bombed on of the Briscoes through a ladder at ringside. At 18:36, Mark placed a ladder on Generico and followed up with a shooting star press. Jay dove off the top onto Steen at ringside.
Mark climbed a wobbly ladder at 19:30, but Generico ran in and pushed it over at the last second. The Briscoes called for a huge ladder that was located in the back of the arena. The crowd helped pass it into the ring. They set the ladder up and then the Briscoes hit a springboard Doomday Device with one of the Briscoes diving through the ladder after the springboard. Very cool spot. Steen came back and rested a smaller ladder in between the big ladder and one of the corners.
Steen piledrove Mark the smaller ladder. Generico climbed the ladder and touched the belts, but Jay came back and hit him with a ladder from behind. He set up his ladder in the other corner and drove Generico through it. Jay and Steen met at the top of the ladder and exchanged punches and took turns trying to take the belts. Jay won the fight and Steen fell off the ladder into the corner onto a heap of ladder debris. Jay struggled to pry the belts free, so Steen climbed up again to make it look good. Jay finally pried the the belt free and a dejected Steen fell to the mat. The crowd chanted, “Match of the Year.”
The announcers thanked viewers, plugged upcoming house shows, and reminded viewers that they would be back on pay-per-view in January. They were distracted by a group of “fans” wearing black hoods with bandanas covering their faces. Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black hit the ring. Necro Butcher came out of nowhere and punched the Briscoes with barbwire that was wrapped around his right hand. The new faction beat up the Briscoes while Lacey encouraged them. Necro looked at the camera and said, “I told you if you let me out of my cage I was gonna pile bodies to the sky.” One of the announcers asked, “What is the Age of the Fall?” Jacobs hooked one of the Briscoes to the cable that held the title belts as the show went off the air...
Powell’s POV: Easily the most insane ladder match I have ever watched in my life. The post-match angle was very strong and served as a great hook for viewers to either order future DVDs or the next pay-per-view to find out what the hell was going on.
Final Thoughts: Another strong pay-per-view outing from ROH. Great action, a hot crowd, smart booking, and nice attention to detail by the announcers. I can’t speak for the bonus matches on the DVD, but the pay-per-view matches alone make this a great buy at the $20 the company is charging at the time of this writing. I give this show a strong 9.0 out of 10 rating.
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