Ring of Honor has had some of the biggest stars of the wrestling world step into its ring. From the likes of the late great Misawa to Jushin Liger to Mick Foley to Terry Funk to Kenta Kobashi. Perhaps the biggest star of them all though is â€œThe Nature Boyâ€ Ric Flair who had a brief role as the RoH ambassador. This show is his debut. There are also eight big matches. How are they? Read on to find outâ€¦
We start with a promo from Brent Albright talking about tonight being â€œhis nightâ€ to win the RoH title. Actually not a bad simple promo from Albright.
Jay Briscoe vs. Roderick Strong
It is quite surprising in the state that RoH has been in that a match of these caliber athletes would open the show. This seems like something from an 04 or 05 show. I am in no way complaining, though. I should also note that â€œThe Living Legendâ€ Larry Zbyszko is on commentary. Thatâ€™s awesome? Actually, Larry does a pretty good job. These guys always deliver and this time is no different. There is actually more mat wrestling and grappling that you would expect to go along with the chops and big moves, which actually makes the match even better. Roderick gets the win with a surprise roll-up. This was a great opener and a good way to kick off a pretty big show.
Winner: Roderick Strong via pinfall, ***1/2
SHIMMER Title Match: MsChif Â© with Jimmy Jacobs and Delirious vs. Daizee Haze
The advantage is that this match has not been done hundreds of times like Daizee vs. Sara Del Rey. This has only been done a few dozen times. Daizee takes control early, but the Age of the Fall, not surprisingly, creates an unlevel playing field. Even with the extra help on the outside, MsChif is just a far superior wrestler. Any time Daizee does get an advantage, Jimmy Jacobs interjects himself to secure MsChifâ€™s SHIMMER title. MsChif capitalizes on one such distraction and hits the Desecrator DDT for the win. This is actually one of the better Daizee Haze matches I have seen. That makes for a pretty darn good match.
Winner: MsChif via pinfall, ***
After the match, Jimmy Jacobs tells Delirious that he needs to deliver or something bad could happen. He also tells Daizee to stay away from Delirious. Jacobs is so awesome on the mic.
Four Corner Survival Match: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Austin Aries vs. Kenny Omega vs. Silas Young
Claudio and Aries start off wrestling a very polite, fair, rule abiding match, to raise the ire of the fans. Itâ€™s awesome. Omega and Young finally get in the ring and pick up the pace considerably. Silas Young is a guy that I have a feeling if given a shot could really get over in RoH. He seems to have some charisma to him and is not just another indy guy. He has gotten some TV matches, so we will see. This has been the most action packed match on the card thus far with all four men going fast and furious at each other. The spot of the match has to be Aries deliver a sunset flip power bomb to Kenny Omega to the floor onto Claudio and Silas. This leads directly to Aries hitting the brainbuster on Omega for the win. This was awesome, fast paced and exciting.
Winner: Austin Aries via pinfall, ***1/2
Dave Prazak is in the ring to introduce Ric Flair. His entrance pop is pretty tremendous. He cuts his promo putting over the company, but is interrupted by Nigel McGuinness. The Champ praises Ricâ€™s ability as a wrestler but derides his ability as a husband and father. Flair says he will bring in Reid to show Nigel whatâ€™s up. That never happened. Wonder why? This was an awesome promo.
Six Man Tag Match: Chris Hero, Eddie Edwards, and Davey Richards with Larry Sweeney and Shane Hagadorn vs. Kevin Steen, El Generico and Bobby Dempsey
It starts off as a pretty standard six man match. Steen and Generico do their thing but it builds to Bobby Dempsey finally getting in the ring against Chris Hero. The crowd pops pretty big for that one. They are wise to keep Dempsey out the ring though as he is not in the league of these other five athletes. Steenerico and the American Wolves have great chemistry together, and when Hero is on, like he is tonight, he is pretty awesome. Also, Bobby Dempsey is incredibly over. All of the ingredients are there for a pretty damn fine match. Steen, Generico, and Dempsey seem to have the match well in hand, but a well placed chair shot from Larry Sweeney lets Davey Richards lock in the Cloverleaf for the submission victory. This was good but just short of great. Still it was a fun ride. After the match Steen needs some help to get to the back.
Winners: Chris Hero, Davey Richards, and Eddie Edwards via submission, ***
During intermission we get a promo from Nigel who is irate at the Nature Boy. Upside: it is a good promo by Nigel. Downside: it sort of takes the direction of the main event away from Brent Albright.
The victorious Sweet and Sour Inc celebrate their victory and plan for the future. I miss Larry Sweeney.
Irish Airborne vs. Kenny King and Rhett Titus
I am not a fan of the Crist brothers, but I do like King and Titus. This is pretty much an extended squash for Titus and King. Have the Crist brothers been in much else besides extended squashes? I submit that they have not. Kenny and Rhett get the win after the Blockbuster Powerbomb. It was fun for what it was, but the 3+ star streak is over.
Winners: Rhett Titus and Kenny King via pinfall, **
â€American Dragonâ€ Bryan Danielson vs. Bison Smith
Bison Smith had been interjecting himself into Danielsonâ€™s matches, and Danielson did not like it. Hence: this match. Danielson plays keep away and mind games to deal with much larger Smith. He then goes to the Westley defense and locks in a sleeper hold. Dragon proves he is better than Bison in almost every aspect of the wrestling game, but Bison has the big moves necessary to carry him past his deficiencies in quickness and mat wrestling. They go to the outside and Danielson hits a sliding dropkick and a huge dive from the top rope into the seats. This lets Dragon win via countout. Countout?? Really? Countout? Ugh. Still the match was pretty awesome leading up to it.
Winner: Bryan Danielson via countout, ***
The Age of the Fall of Delirious and Jimmy Jacobs vs. Tyler Black and Jerry Lynn
Tyler, of course, used to be in the Age of the Fall. He left the group and has been finding ways to get back at Jacobs. This match is no different. He has a partner in the form of Jerry Lynn. This actually starts as a pretty standard tag match. Jimmy seems to be keeping his distance from Tyler too. Tyler to his credit is always chomping at the bit to get at his former partner. These four use traditional tag team formula to tell their story of Jacobs wanting no part of Black and it adds to the match. Tyler Black does finally get in the ring but it is against Delirious. Black doesnâ€™t care and goes after Jacobs. The storytelling in this match is the best on the card thus far. When the bout starts spring towards itâ€™s finish it gets very impressive. The finish comes when Jacobs mistakenly hits Delirious with a chair and Tyler Black capitalizes scoring the pinfall. The finish was underwhelming, but the match was great leading up to it.
Winners: Tyler Black and Jerry Lynn via pinfall, ***1/2
Delirious is left bloody as a result of the chair shot. Jacobs, rather than consoling his fallen disciple pulls out the spike and tries to go after him. Daizee Haze tries to interject herself and Jacobs makes good on his promise and spikes her. Sheâ€™s bleeding now too. Delirious loses it and goes after Jacobs with the spike. He then proceeds to deliver a plethora of Panic Attack knees. After the dust settles, Delirious and Daizee share reconciliatory hug.
RoH World Title Match: Nigel McGuinness Â© vs. Brent Albright
Of course, as per the segment earlier, Ric Flair is at ringside to view the main event. This is a typical slow burn NWA style match. Nigel also sells Flair being there, but doesnâ€™t over sell it at all. He doesnâ€™t let it get in the way of his match with Albright. Still, he doesnâ€™t pass up the chance to taunt the Nature Boy. Nigel also controls most of the way, but Albright picks his spots and uses his strength and big moves to keep him in the match. That is pretty much the story of the entire match. Then the ref takes a bump. This allows Nigel to hit a Tower of London from the top rope through a table on the floor. Albright is able to survive due to the refâ€™s slow count, though. Albright keeps trying to lock in the crowbar, but Nigel refuses to tap. Eventually Claudio Castagnoli comes to Nigelâ€™s aid and beats on Albright. Flair then gets in the ring and gives Nigel and Claudio the business. What a crappy finish to what was turning into a great match. It is a lousy way to end a great show. Claudio could have just as easily given Nigel the out and out win while the ref was bumped and Flair still could have thrown his three or four punches. It happens.
Winner: Brent Albright via disqualification, ***1/2
We go to the back and Generico starts to cut a promo on Sweet and Sour, Steen cuts him off and says that it was an old injury that was exploited rather than a win for the American Wolves. Steen can cut a great promo when he wants to.
Big Andy Macâ€™s Big Andy Final Thoughts: If I could describe this show in one word, it would be â€œconsistent.â€ Almost every match was three or three and a half stars. Still nothing was standout, nothing was blow away, nothing was must see. It is a fun show, and itâ€™s a good way to round out a sale. Wow, it seems like I say that a lot for most of these shows. If all the shows are good as the free choice, then what are the three shows you pay for? That is a problem for RoH to solve. Also, Larry Zbyszko did an awesome job on commentary.
Iâ€™ll see you next timeâ€¦