11/14 Powell's ROH Driven PPV review: Tyler Black and Jimmy Jacobs defend the ROH Tag Titles against El Generico and Kevin Steen in a great tag match, Nigel McGuinness vs. Roderick Strong or the ROH Title
Taped September 19 in Boston, Mass.
Debuted on PPV on November 14, 2008
The show opened with a shot of Austin Aries in the ring with the live crowd chanting his name. Aries said his goal was to make Jimmy Jacobs suffer and called him out. A graphic noted that Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard were on commentary. Jacobs appeared in the aisle and said he will mentally dissect Aries. Suddenly, Delirious attacked Aries from behind and a match broke out...
1. Austin Aries defeated Delirious in 6:45. Delirious dominated the opening minutes of the match as the crowd banged on the guardrail to encourage a comeback. They got their wish eventually when Aries hit a backbreaker over the top rope. He went for a brainbuster, but Delirious fought out of it and then hit a great cobra clutch into a suplex.
At 6:00, Jacobs jumped onto the ring apron to shout encouragement to Delirious, which ended up distracting the masked man. Aries took advantage of the distraction and hit the brainbuster a short time later. He locked in Last Chancery for the win.
After the match, Tyler Black ran out and the Age of the Fall members roughed up Aries and busted him open. Jacobs placed Aries on a table at ringside. Black pleaded with him not to do anything foolish since they had a tag title defense later. Jacobs blew him off and hit a back senton on Aries through the table. Delirious and Black helped the wounded Jacobs backstage as the fans chanted, "Former champs"...
Powell's POV: I've been critical of ROH's audio production in the past, but the promos sounded good and the announcers are mixed nicely. NIce way to open the show. Aries, Jacobs, and the new-look Delirious all have professional looks. Delirious looks great and he plays a vicious heel. Very impressive transformation from the comedy character. Good opening match with both guys looking strong.
A pay-per-view opening video aired... In the ring, Larry Sweeney cut a promo while the other members of Sweet and Sour Inc. stood by. Sweeney called out a woman he referred to as "toots" to face Sara Del Rey. They cut abruptly to the match...
Powell's POV: I don't like the rough cuts. I want to feel like I'm watching a live show when I watch a pay-per-view, but the rough cuts remind me that I'm watching a pre-taped show. In ROH's defense, they only have two hours to work with and the rough cuts give them a chance to fit more action into the show.
2. Sara Del Rey (w/Larry Sweeney, Adam Pearce, Shane Hagadorn, Eddie Edwards, Chris Hero) defeated an unnamed opponent in 0:40. Total squash. Sweeney and his men stepped in the ring to celebrate.
Larry sent her to the limo to party. He turned his attention to Brent Albright and Erick Stevens as footage of the fireball angle aired. Adam Pearce took the mic and joined Sweeney in calling out the babyface team...
3. Brent Albright and Erick Stevens beat Adam Pearce and Eddie Edwards (w/Larry Sweeney, Chris Hero, Shane Hagadorn) in 6:30. Albright and Stevens charged the ring and brawled with the heels to start the match. Albright had Pearce pinned early, but the referee had to wait for Edwards to break up the pin. It looked bad, but the live crowd didn't acknowledge it.
Late in the match, Albright tagged himself into the match unbeknownst to Pearce, who whipped Stevens toward the ropes. Stevens performed a suicide dive onto the wrestlers at ringside. Meanwhile, Albright snuck up behind Pearce and hit a half nelson suplex for the win.
Powell's POV: Everyone worked hard, but it just felt like a bunch of nonstop, random spots. I would have preferred to see them slow things down and tell a better story. I liked the finish a lot, though.
After the match, Jerry Lynn walked out and cut a promo in the aisle. He said he saw Chris Hero punk Lance Storm on a recent ROH show, which inspired him to call ROH in hopes of getting a shot to avenge Storm and prove that he's still got it. Lynn charged the ring to start the match...
4. Chris Hero (w/Larry Sweeney, Shane Hagadorn) defeated Jerry Lynn in 9:50. Lynn started strong, but Hero took control of the match and controlled the bulk of the offense. He hit the roaring elbow finisher, but Lynn escaped at the last second. Del Rey showed up at ringside and tossed Hero an elbow pad. He hit the roaring elbow again with the elbow pad and scored the pin. The announcers made a big fuss over Hero knocking out Storm and Lynn...
Powell's POV: Solid match, but I miss Hero's comedy antics. This was really straight forward and it was actually slightly disappointing because Lynn spent so much of the match selling. Not a bad match by any means, but I was hoping for more offense from Jerry.
Highlights aired of a Nigel McGuinness promo from Respect is Earned II in which he said Bryan Danielson had to beat every person on the roster before he'd get a title shot. HIghlights aired of Claudio Castagnoli viciously attacking Danielson...
5. Bryan Danielson defeated Claudio Castagnoli and Go Shiozaki (w/Larry Sweeney) in an elimination three-way match in 14:00. Danielson stormed the ring and attacked Castagnoli to start the match. The announcers did a really nice job of stressing the importance of the match as it pertains to the ROH Title picture.
At 5:00, Castagnoli suplexed the referee and was disqualified. He placed a chair on Danielson's head, but several people ran in stop him. They all ganged up on him, but he fought them off briefly before they dragged him back to the locker room. Danielson was still lying in the ring selling the effects of a Ricola Bomb he took from Claudio when Shiozaki moved in for the kill.
Shiozaki attacked him with a slow, methodical attack that included some nasty clotheslines. Later, Danielson fought out of an arm hold and caught Shiozaki with several elbows to the head. He applied cattle mutilation. Shiozaki rolled out briefly, but Danielson caught him with more elbows to the head and locked in the hold again, but Sweeney reached in and placed Go's foot on the ropes.
Later, Go went for a moonsault, but Danielson caught him in the triangle when he landed. Danielson connected with several elbows to the head and the referee eventually called for the bell. After the match, Danielson cut a promo. He said he doesn't care who wins the ROH Title match, he wants the next shot. The announcers noted that Danielson has defeated the same opponents that Nigel McGuinness has on pay-per-view...
Powell's POV: Good match that established Claudio's new persona. The outcome seemed predictable, but that's not a bad thing given that it sets up Danielson's title match on pay-per-view. By the way, I praised the announcers for the way they stressed the importance of the match, but it would have been even more effective if they had appeared on camera briefly beforehand to make the same point.
An ROHwrestling.com video aired with shots of several former ROH stars who are now working for WWE and TNA...
6. The Briscoes defeated Ruckus and Jigsaw (w/Julius Smokes), Jason Blade and Kenny King, and Necro Butcher in a scramble match in 6:30. An insane highspot fest. Necro even joined in on the fun by climbing to the top rope and performing a flip onto a group of wrestlers below. The live crowd loved it.
The Briscoes set up chairs and placed folded chairs on top of them at ringside. They eventually shoulderblocked Necro off the apron and onto the stack of chairs. Moments later, they hit the springboard Doomsday Device on Blade for the win. The announcers hyped the that Briscoes are 8-0 on ROH PPV...
Powell's POV: Plenty of action. The big chair stunt at the end was actually anticlimactic, not that I'm complaining. This was just a throwaway match that continued the Briscoes winning streak, but didn't really do much for anyone involved.
A brief video featured comments and highlights from Roderick Strong and Nigel McGuinness.
7. Nigel McGuinness defeated Roderick Strong to retain the ROH Title in 24:30. Strong offered his hand before the match. Nigel begrudgingly shook it. Nigel controlled most of the offense during the first 10-12 minutes of the match by working over Strong's left arm. He played to the crowd and taunted Strong, which set up the challenger's big comeback nicely.
Strong came storming back with a series of nearfalls around 14:00. However, the live crowd didn't buy into that series of nearfalls. Strong hit a gutbuster and followed up with a yakuza kick for a nearfall that the live crowd was more responsive to. Nigel came back and hit the Tower of London at 18:30, but Strong put his foot on the bottom rope to break up the pin. Strong hit a slingshot powerslam for a solid nearfall.
The fans came to life for some of Strong's nearfalls down the stretch. Nigel hit the Jawbreaker Lariat with Strong sitting on the ropes, but Strong kicked out much to the delight of the crowd. Nigel hit the Tower of London on the ring apron. He rolled Strong back inside the ring, but Strong kicked out again as the announcers stressed how badly he wants the title.
There was a great nearfall at 23:00 that prompted a loud, "That was three" chant from the fans. The fans were on their feet for the rest of the match, which ended when hit the Tower of London at 24:30 and scored the clean pin. The announcers noted that this sets up the big Nigel vs. Danielson match...
Powell's POV: Nigel is the most underrated ROH Champion in the company's history. He delivers great title matches with a wide variety of opponents. It amazes me that there's not more buzz about him within the industry. This was a tough title match for the two wrestlers because the fans were savvy enough to know that all roads lead to Nigel vs. Danielson. Nevertheless, the fans bought in to Strong more as the match went on and they were on their feet for some of the late nearfalls, which is a testament to both wrestlers. Really nice work by both men.
Kevin Steen cut a promo while El Generico stood by. He vowed that this would be the night that they captured the tag titles. Video footage of both teams played as he spoke...
8. Kevin Steen and El Generico defeated Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black to win the ROH Tag Titles. The announcers reminded viewers that Jacobs hurt himself during the attack on Austin Aries earlier in the show. They also stated that Aries was no longer in the building because he required medical attention. The two teams faced off in the middle of the ring and Black threw a punch to start the match.
Steen and Generico targeted Jacobs's back early on. In the first big spot of the match, Black picked up Generico and threw him over the top rope and onto the floor. He landed hard on his back and the announcers noted that Jacobs might not be the only person with a back injury. Jacobs and Black worked over Generico for the next few minutes.
Generico made the hot tag at 12:30 for a big pop. Steen's offensive flurry didn't last long, though, as he missed a moonsault. The live crowd was already on its feet and chants of "Mr. Wrestling" for Steen broke out. At 15:45, there was a great series of spots that started with Generico springboarding Black onto the shoulders of Steen, who was standing on the second rope. He hit a gutbuster and then he and Generico took turns hitting top rope moves for a great nearfall.
At 18:00, Steen caught Black in the Sharpshooter. Jacobs tried to break it up, but Steen hit him with an elbow and held the submission move. Generico flipped onto Jacobs on the floor and tried to hold him off, but Jacobs broke free and raked Steen's eyes to break up the Sharpshooter.
At 20:00, Black accidentally clotheslined his own partner. A short time later, Steen piledrove Jacobs and Generico followed up with a brainbuster for the win. Huge pop from the live crowd, which was on its feet for most of the match. Steen and Generico embraced with the belts in their hands as the fans sang "Ole."
The announcers hyped that this is the type of action fans will see in the various ROH cities across the country. They said they'd be back on pay-per-view soon and thanked viewers for joining them. Meanwhile, the Steen and Generico celebration continued in the crowd...
Powell's POV: This was the best tag match I've seen on pay-per-view this year. That's probably not enough praise given the sad state of tag team wrestling in WWE, but this was excellent. Is there a reason they can't hype the date of the next pay-per-view event? I realize this show was taped back in September, but they do their commentary in post-production. For that matter, why didn't they make the official announcement regarding Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson?
Final Thoughts: I enjoyed this show. Great work rate, as always, and there pace of the event was great. The climax at the end with the tag title change was terrific. This was one of ROH's finer efforts on pay-per-view and that's really saying something. It also built nicely toward the next pay-per-view with Nigel McGuinness defending the ROH Title against Bryan Danielson, which should be a truly memorable event. The production was better from an audio standpoint, but the overall look is still incredibly low budget. Putting the cheap cameras and lighting aside, I give the show an 8.5 out of 10.0 rating.
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