9/26 Powell's ROH New Horizons PPV review: Nigel McGuinness vs. Claudio Castanoli, Tyler Black vs. Bryan Danielson, Jimmy Jacobs and Austin Aries brawl
Taped July 27 in Detroit, Mich.
Debuted on PPV on Sept. 26, 2008
The show opened with Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black standing in the ring. Dave Prazak introduced the show on commentary. Jacobs said his revolution is stronger than ever in Detroit. They said they would not defend the ROH Tag Titles on the show. "What?" Prazak asked on commentary. "Oh, come on, not defend the belts?"
Jacobs said Mark Briscoe was out with an injury and El Generico was nowhere to be found. The Briscoes hit the ring out of nowhere, causing Jacobs and Black to flee to ringside. A "Man Up" chant broke out. The Briscoes invited the tag champs to get in the ring. They teased doing so, then turned around and started walking backstage. Austin Aries came out and attacked Jacobs.
In the ring, Prazak asked what Mark was doing back. He said he and his brother were there to get their titles back. Prazak said they had some standby opponents waiting in the locker room... An ROH video aired...
Powell's POV: Disappointing sound quality for the in-ring mic. The building was very dark, but the lighting in and around the ring was very good.
1. The Briscoes defeated Silas Young and Mitch Franklin in 1:45. Lenny Leonard was on commentary with Prazak. The match was all Briscoes. They got the win with the springboard doomsday device. Basic squash with a responsive live crowd...
A Briscoe Brothers video aired with the two of them shooting guns, shadow boxing, and walking a dog...
2. Erick Stevens defeated Delirious and Ruckus and Shane Hagadorn in a four-corner survival match in 5:00. Stevens and Delirious cleared the ring. Delirious tried to roll up Stevens from behind, which led to the two of them working a series of spots together until Hagadorn returned to the ring. Later, Ruckus hit an amazing reverse moonsault legdrop. Awesome move. A short time later, Stevens clotheslined, powerbombed, and pinned Hagadorn...
Powell's POV: Short match. It happened so fast and there was so much action that no one really stood out aside from Stevens scoring the pin. Stevens looks so much better with a full head of hair than he did with the mohawk. He looks major league.
In the ring, Austin Aries cut a promo as video footage aired of their recent storyline developments. He called out Jimmy Jacobs, who walked out of the dark entrance area. Meanwhile, Black entered the ring from the other side and tried to attack Aries from behind, but Aries fought him off. Ms. Chif entered the ring and kicked Aries low. Black and Ms. Chif held Aries while Jacobs struck him with an object. The announcers said Aries was hurt badly.
Kevin Steen walked out and cut a promo in which he asked when he and El Generico would get a title match. Jacobs said Steen and Generico need to prove themselves. Steen said they had already earned and proved that they deserve a title shot. However, he said he had no problem kicking both their asses to prove himself on the spot. Jacobs teased fighting Steen. Necro Butcher ran out and attacked Steen from behind...
Powell's POV: It drives me nuts that there's been so much mic work and the audio is so muffled. The announcers sound fine, but I hate struggling to hear what the wrestlers are saying.
3. Kevin Steen defeated Ncro Butcher in 9:00. It's hard to say when this match actually started since they brawled at ringside. Steen took advantage of one point when he picked up Necro and gave him a running slam near the entrance area. It was so dark in that area that they nearly disappeared from camera view during the slam. Later, Steen used a Michinoku Driver to slam Necro's head through a chair for a nearfall. Sick. A short time later, Steen hit a package piledriver and scored the pin...
Powell's POV: That Michinoku Driver through the chair was one sick spot. How was that not the finisher? The low budget production issues are really standing out on this show with the poor sound quality and the lousy lighting near the entrance.
Backstage, Adam Pearce cut a promo regarding his former partner Brent Albright, and discussed his benefactor Larry Sweeney...
Sweeney tried to recruit Naomichi Marufuji, but he was greeted with a middle finger. Sweeney tried to leave the ringside area, but Lance Storm interrupted him. Storm said he was going to stay at ringside to insure that Sweeney didn't get involved...
4. Roderick Strong and Naomichi Marufuji defeated Chris Hero and Go Shiozaki (w/Sweeney, Bobby Dempsey, Sara Del Rey) in 12:00. Nigel McGuinness sat in on commentary. Nonstop action in this one. Late in the match, Strong tagged himself in unbeknownst to Hero, who was working over Marufuji. Strong hit a big kick and followed up with a backbreaker on Hero for the win.
After the match, Storm raised the hands of the babyfaces. Sweeney attacked him from behind, but Storm caught him in the half crab. Hero punched Storm. Sweeney told Hero to knock him out, so Sweeney hit tagged him with a roaring elbow and left him lying...
Powell's POV: Best match of the night so far. Good use of Lance Storm. I didn't like it when one of the announcers thanked Storm for lending his credibility to ROH. It feels like it's time for ROH to grow up and present itself as a major league promotion rather than a humble little group that needs a retired wrestler to give them credibility.
A heavily wrapped Brent Albright cut a promo from an undisclosed location. He was selling a fireball angle (which they showed highlights of) and talked about how his kids cried when they saw his face. Strong promo...
A brief video tried to portray Claudio Castagnoli as this month's underdog babyface. It showed him working out on the street and performing some of his moves on a tree branch...
Powell's POV: Claudio has a good story, but it's similar the story Nigel told the night he won the title. Those clips of Claudio working out with the tree branch looked a little dorky. I think it was supposed to look like "Rocky," but it also reminded me of "Borat."
5. Nigel McGuinness defeated Claudio Castagnoli to retain the ROH Title in 19:25. Great arrogant entrance by Nigel. Nothing out of the ordinary, but his routine is always fun. The announcers said the match could come down to the Ricola Bomb vs. the Jawbreaker Lariat. Nigel was facing the corner when the bell rang. Nigel turned around and charged Claudio, who caught him with a big kick and then went for his finisher.
Later, Claudio hit the Ricola Bomb and followed up with the giant swing (the branch training came in handy) for a really good nearfall. Nigel came back briefly, but Claudio took control and scored a series of nearfalls that worked the live crowd into a frenzy. He went for the Ricola Bomb again, but Nigel fought it off and then missed a Jawbreaker Lariat.
Claudio shoved Nigel into the air and hit him with an uppercut on the way down. He hit the Ricola Bomb for another nearfall that the live crowd totally bought. A couple of nearfalls later, Nigel rolled through a rollup attempt and grabbed a handful of tights, but Claudio kicked out. Nigel's momentum from the kickout carried him toward the ropes and he came off with a Jawbreaker Lariat and scored the pin...
Powell's POV: Great match. Very entertaining with several nearfalls that convinced the live crowd they were about to see a new champion crowned. You can't ask for anything more from a world title match.
An ad aired for the ROH website... Bryan Danielson made his way to the ring and the announcers mentioned that he defeated Lance Cade in a recent WWE dark match...
6. Bryan "American Dragon" Danielson defeated Tyler Black (w/Jimmy Jacobs) via ref stoppage at 24:30. Jacobs moved around at ringside and distracted Danielson, allowing Black to attack American Dragon from behind to start the match. Nigel sat in on commentary again. Good action throughout with Danielson performing his signature spots and Black hitting some flashy offense.
Later, Black backed Danielson into the corner and slapped him. "Your time here is done," he said before slapping his chest. He went to the other corner and charged at Danielson, who kicked him and locked in cattle mutilation a short time later. He slapped Black across the face a few times to return the favor.
Later, Black picked up Danielson and threw him into the corner. When Danielson's body hit the corner turnbuckle, the top rope snapped. The live crowd loved it (I'm sure Gabe Sapolsky didn't since they had a dark match battle royal scheduled to take place afterward). Moments later, Black superkicked Dragon for a really good nearfall. The crowd chanted, "This is awesome."
The two wrestlers traded punches at 24:00. Danielson got the better of the punches and then struck Black with a flurry of elbows that finished him off. Nigel didn't sound happy on commentary.
Powell's POV: Very good match. The top rope snapping actually added to the intensity of the match. I enjoyed the title match more but not by much.
Austin Aries ran out and attacked Jacobs, who was tending to Black. They had a wild brawl that spilled to ringside and into the crowd. A spotlight followed the two wrestlers so the lighting was solid when the spotlight operator was able to keep up.
The brawl continued in the crowd and Aries set up a huge ladder. They stood on opposite sides of the ladder and brawled. Necro Butcher came out with a chair and eventually pushed the ladder over, causing Aries and Jacobs to tumble to the floor.
Aries and Jacobs sold the ladder bump yet still attempted to take shots at each other while lying on the floor. Referees came out to check on them to close the show...
Powell's POV: Really good brawl. I loved the way they were lying on their backs selling the big bump yet still trying to muster up enough strength to punch each other.
Final Thoughts: The two matches at the end of the show more than justify the pay-per-view price. The first hour wasn't particularly memorable but it was entertaining nonetheless. Things really picked up during the wild second hour. The production values frustrated me more than usual. If you can look past the low budget qualities (and some may even find them to be endearing), then you'll really enjoy this show.
However, I can't shake the sense that ROH just isn't moving forward. Some shows look better than others, but the same production problems always seem to exist. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this show more than the last ROH pay-per-view and I recommend it based on the in-ring action.
It just feels like the company is spinning its wheels and I'm still waiting to see a legit money angle on pay-per-view that gets people buzzing and creates more pay-per-view sales. There was good, logical buildup to future matches on this show, but there was nothing about it that made me feel like I can't wait for the next ROH pay-per-view.
I give the show a strong 7.5. The bulk of the score is for those last two matches, but the overall pay-per-view flows nicely.
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