6/12 ROH "Take No Prisoners" PPV: Jerry Lynn vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Erick Stevens vs. D-Lo Brown for the ROH Title, Tyler Black and KENTA vs. Austin Aries and Katsuhiko Nakajima, Colt Cabana vs. Ace Steel
ROH "Take No Prisoners" debuts tonight on pay-per-view.
Taped April 4 in Houston, Tex.
Debuted on PPV on June 12, 2009
An opening montage aired... Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak introduced the show on commentary. They hyped the main event and ring introductions for the first match took place...
1. Colt Cabana defeated Ace Steel in 9:30. The announcers said Cabana asked for the match to face his former teacher. Steel offered his hand. Cabana said, "Brothers don't shake hands," and then hugged Steel. Cute. Nigel McGuinness joined the announcers on commentary. The in-ring comedy continued before they locked up roughly a minute after the bell rang.
The audio was rough. The crowd was loud and the ring mic seemed louder than the announcers. They basically faded into the background and it was difficult to hear what they or Nigel were saying. The wrestlers continued with the comedy and the live crowd had a lot of fun with it. In the end, Colt put his mentor in the Billy Goat's Curse and scored the submission win.
Powell's POV: The audio mix was really low budget. There's no excuse for it either since they do the commentary in post-production. The crowd was into the action and it's a shame they can't get that type of reaction when they're taping for HDNet. The match was nothing special, but the comedy was fun.
Backstage, more shitty audio while Jimmy Jacobs cut a promo. Viewers shouldn't have to struggle to hear what the announcers or wrestlers are saying. It sounded like there was a semi-truck behind the camera. I'm pretty sure he was talking about Necro Butcher...
The announcers introduced a video that recapped the Kevin Steen and El Generico vs. The American Wolves feud... They went to the ring introductions afterward. The babyface duo hit the ring and attacked the heels to start the next match...
Powell's POV: It's nice to see the ring introductions on the show. I've never been a big fan of the hard cuts that eliminate the entrances and make you feel like you're watching random matches rather than an actual show.
2. Kevin Steen, El Generico, Jay Briscoe, and Magno defeated The American Wolves, Chris Hero, and Incognito (w/Shane Hagadorn) in 11:00. Good action to start. The heels ended up working over Generico, who made the hot tag by slapping the hands of all his partners in the corner. They all charged the heels and a big brawl broke out, which led to a bunch of guys standing on the floor while the masked wrestlers performed crowd-pleasing dives.
Later, one of the babyfaces reached in and took Hero's elbow pad. Moments later, Magno helped Jay hit the spike Jay Driller on Hero. Briscoe made the cover and scored the 1-2-3.
Powell's POV: The audio was slightly better. Nigel was still involved, but he didn't say much. They thanked him for everything he's done for ROH, so apparently he's finished on commentary. The match was fun and featured nonstop action. Not much focus on the personalities of the wrestlers so far.
A video showcased the Jacobs vs. Necro Butcher feud...
3. The Necro Butcher defeated Jimmy Jacobs in 15:00. They fought at ringside immediately and brawled into the crowd. They went back to the ring at 4:00. Necro threw Jacobs into the ring and tried to follow, but Jacobs pulled a big screwdriver and jabbed him with it. Necro went back to ringside and bladed heavily.
The wild brawl continued in and out of the ring. Necro set up a stack of chairs in the ring. Jacobs locked in his finisher on the chairs. Necro eventually broke the hold and hit the Tiger Driver for the clean pin...
Powell's POV: Really strong brawl. Wild spots, sick spots, and lots of blood. Very entertaining if you're into hardcore action.
Bryan Danielson was interviewed inside a building while standing in front of window that showed the Texas skyline behind him. I'm guessing it was intentional that his image was basically a shadow. If you've never seen ROH before, you'd have no idea who in the hell was being interviewed. They'd probably call it artistic, I call it more low budget production...
A highlight video aired on the Brent Albright vs. Claudio Castagnoli feud...
Nigel McGuinness came to the ring for a promo wearing street clothes. "Thank you, Nigel" chants from the live crowd. He soaked them up with a blank look on his face before addressing the fans. He said he hadn't been cleared to wrestle. He said he doesn't owe an apology to anyone because he physically abused his body to preserve the integrity of the ROH Title. He said that if anyone has a problem with it, they can come see him after the show.
Claudio Castagnoli's entrance music played and he came to the ring. Nigel said there will be a time for Europe vs. America, but not tonight. He shook Claudio's hand. Nigel turned around to leave and Claudio attacked him. Claudio went after Nigel with a chair. Brent Albright ran out and fought with Claudio to apparently start the three-way match...
Powell's POV: That wasn't much of an injury angle. Nigel's promo was solid, but Claudio's attack didn't really go anywhere. I guess it establishes him as a future opponent for Nigel, but it didn't put any heat on Claudio because Albright came out so quickly.
4. Brent Albright defeated Claudio Castagnoli and Blue Demon Jr. in a three-way in 5:20. Early in the match, Claudio had Albright in position for a slam at ringside, but Demon performed a suicide dive into Albright's back that knocked down both opponents. Demon held his ankle while the other guys fought in the ring.
Nigel reappeared and grabbed Claudio's leg from underneath the ropes. Claudio put the boots to Nigel. However, the distraction led to Albright hitting the half-nelson suplex on Claudio and scoring the pin. Nigel held his injured arm in pain at ringside after the match...
Powell's POV: Disappointing match. I expected more from Claudio and Albright, but they didn't get a chance to do anything. This angle was lousy. It should have put heat on Claudio, but the attack on Nigel was short and he ended up losing the match. Albright didn't look strong either because he won thanks to Nigel distracting Claudio. I don't even know why Blue Demon Jr. was there. This accomplished nothing.
Backstage, Jerry Lynn cut a promo about defending the ROH Title. He said he knows there are people who don't want to see him as champion. He said he earned it and the guy he beat for the belt would back him up on that. He said he's going to work twice as hard to keep the belt as he did to win it...
Powell's POV: That background noise for the backstage promos is horrible. At least you could make out what Lynn was saying.
An ad aired for the ROH website...
5. Roderick Strong defeated Alex Koslov in 7:45. They shook hands before the match. Strong shoved Koslov, though. The announcers ran through Koslov's background in Mexico. Strong hit a nice fall-away slam early. Kozlov came back and put on his Russian hat. He did the dance bit where he kicks his opponent in the head. This didn't get him heat with the ROH crowd. Rather, they clapped appreciatively.
Kozlov caught Strong in the surfboard through the ropes. The fans chanted, "He's a commie." Later, Strong hit the gut buster, but Koslov came right back with a superkick for a near fall. A short time later, Strong hit a Yakuza kick and followed up with the Stronghold for the submission win...
Powell's POV: Nice match. Good entertainment. I don't agree with the match order. This should have swapped spots with the Jacobs vs. Necro brawl. The short match length and the lack of storyline between these two wouldn't have stood out as much had it positioned earlier on the show.
A brief video highlighted the four-way title match...
6. Jerry Lynn defeated D-Lo Brown, Bryan Danielson, and Erick Stevens in a four-corner survival match to retain the ROH Title in 8:15. Lynn received a nice reaction for his first title defense. The crowd chanted his name before the match. D-Lo scowled at the fans. He shoved aside the handshake offers from Lynn and Stevens to go nose-to-nose with Danielson to start the match. All four men were legal. They all brawled to the outside at one point. Lynn and Danielson ended up hitting simultaneous dives.
Later, Brown and Stevens were fighting on the second rope. Stevens punched Brown just as Lynn snuck in underneath D-Lo and powerbombed him. Danielson did a springobard leap onto D-Lo at ringside. Stevens splashed Lynn in the corner and tried to follow up, but Jerry ducked under a clothesline and hit the Cradle Piledriver for the win...
They cut backstage to a Tyler Black promo. More bad audio, but you could hear him. He said he and the fans believed he was going to be the next ROH Champion, but he and the people were wrong. He said he still has an ROH Title shot he can use anytime he wants. He said he's going to face Lynn eventually and he hopes the fans are still chanting that he's the next World Champion...
Powell's POV: The title match was too quick. I like the idea of ROH cutting back on the times of the matches, but an eight-minute title match with four wrestlers is silly. For that matter, they cut away right after Lynn won the match to go to the promo with Black. It made the outcome of the ROH Title match seem unimportant, which should never be the case.
A video hyped the tag team main event...
7. Tyler Black and KENTA defeated Austin Aries and Katsuhiko Nakajima in 22:10. Aries and Black started the match. Nakajima was in a short time later. KENTA received a strong reaction when he tagged in for the first time. Kenta and Nakajima traded kicks to the chest that popped the live crowd. Nakajima went for a leg sweep and missed. KENTA came right back with a knockout kick, but Nakajima avoided it. The place came unglued with ROH chants.
Aries tagged in and made hand gestures that implied he wanted to wrestle, not trade kicks. Funny. The crowd was split with "Austin Aries" and "Let's go, KENTA" chants. After an exchange, Aries offered his hand to KENTA, who kicked it away. Aries slapped KENTA and headed to ringside for a victory lap. Funny.
At 14:00, KENTA hit a series of running kicks on Aries in the corner. He kicked him twice in the head with one foot and then followed up with a low dropkick after Aries fell in the corner. At 17:30, KENTA hit some unbelievably fast punches and kicks on Nakajima. They had a great exchange that resulted in both men lying flat on the mat with the crowd chanting ROH.
Nakajima made the tag to Aries, who ran over and knocked Black off the mat so he could focus on KENTA. A couple minutes later, KENTA suplexed Aries and made the tag. Black came in fired up and scored a couple nice near falls. Aries came back with an armdrag into the corner. He locked in Last Chancery, but KENTA ran in and broke it up.
At 21:35, Black picked up Aries in the powerbomb position and threw him into the turnbuckles. Nakajima ran in and caught him with a few kicks. KENTA took out Nakajima, but Aries caught him with a kick to the head. Aries went for the brainbuster on Black, who turned it into God's Gift and scored the clean pin...
Powell's POV: A great main event. Very entertaining with unbelievable quickness and lights out action. For some, that match will be worth the pay-per-view cost alone. They made the right move by having the ROH wrestlers involved in the finish, yet gave KENTA and Nakajima plenty of time throughout the match. All four men were awesome.
Final Thoughts: This felt like a throwaway event with the exception of the main event. The thrill of seeing Lynn in his first title defense meant something to the fans in attendance, but not so much to those of us watching it two months later. Production was a mess. The audio mix was rough at best (although it seemed to improve throughout the show), and the backstage interview sound were really bad.
The effort was there from the wrestlers, as is always the case with ROH, but the matches didn't feel like intense rivalries in most cases. In fact, only Jacobs vs. Necro captured that vibe.
How could they not have some fun while being in the same town as WrestleMania? This seemed like a prime opportunity to send Austin Aries out on the street with a cameraman and turn him loose with the wrestling fans. I'm not saying they had to invade WWE events, but it would have been a riot to see him interacting with some of the fans even outside one of those events or at a night spot.
There was plenty of good wrestling on the show. The crowd was fired up and was into the action throughout. It was a fun atmosphere that definitely enhanced the show. This wasn't ROH's best effort, though. There are worse ways to spend $15 for two hours of wrestling, but you wouldn't have trouble finding much better ROH DVDs for around the same price. ROH set the bar high with most of their previous pay-per-view events and this show just didn't measure up. The main event was a treat, though.
Overall, I give the show a 5.5 out of 10.0.
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