So RoH makes its return to the Big Apple with a show that on paper looks re-gosh darn-diculous. It has the Glory by Honor â€œpedigreeâ€ as well so maybe all bets are off. It is the last stop of the Final Countdown tour meaning Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness square off for the last time. Plus thereâ€™s Ladder War 2, Hero vs. Kingston, and Briscoes vs. Young Bucks. So maybe being Glory by Honor wonâ€™t hold it back. Or will it? Read on to find outâ€¦
Opening Match: Colt â€œBoom Boomâ€ Cabana vs. Rhett Titus
A curious choice for an opener to be sure, but I do enjoy both wrestlers. They turn on the comedy early, yet settle into a pretty straight ahead match. Colt is miles better than Titus, whose wrestling acumen is greatly eclipsed by his character work. Colt ended up snagging a victory with the Billy Goatâ€™s curse in a fun opener.
Winner: Colt Cabana via submission, **
Dark City Fight Club vs. Cheech and Cloudy
I hate the Dark City Fight Club. Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate the Dark City Fight Club. Iâ€™m using the word hate, here, about the Dark City Fight Club. That being said, the match itself was a lot better than I hoped for. Cheech and Cloudy actually got their fair share of offense in before succumbing to the Dark City Street Cutter. I enjoyed the match, but I still hate the DCFC.
Winners: The Dark City Fight Club via pinfall, **
Claudio Castagnoli with Prince Nana and Ernie Osiris vs. Kenny Omega
If there is one thing Claudio does exceedingly well, it is wrestle against small fast guys. Tonight is no exception. These guys went out and had one hell of a match. Claudio is now actually playing up his impressive physique and strength as part of his character. Omega is wacky and fun too. The most impressive spot of the match was Claudioâ€™s no handed torture rack airplane spin. Despite the athletic contest these two had, Claudio got a win full of chicanery, skullduggery, and tomfoolery with a little bit of shenanigans thrown in for good measure. With a distracted referee Claudio hit a low blow and delivered a wicked European Uppercut for the win.
Winner: Claudio Castagnoli via pinfall, ***
Bret Hart was out next to address the audience. He talked for a while and put over New York City and RoH, but he was hard to hear for whatever reason. It was pretty cool to see the Hitman live.
Four Corner Survival Math: Sonjay Dutt vs. Grizzly Redwood vs. Delirious w/ Daizee Haze vs. Roderick Strong
One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just isnâ€™t the same. Hint: Itâ€™s Roddy. He is so much higher up on the card than anyone else. This match happening where it did also gave away Aries opponent in the main event. Two strikes. Luckily, the match was pretty much nonstop and pretty entertaining. There were crazy spots and crazy dives and some further development in the burgeoning Duttlirious (see what I did there) rivalry. The finish was outstanding. Roderick Strong absolutely murdalized Sonjay after he showed his undies to Daizee. Strong, in rapid succession, hit a torture rack double knee back breaker, the sick kick, and a huge Gibson Driver for the purely academic three count. This match overachieved on so many levels.
Winner: Roderick Strong via pinfall, ***
Ladder War II for the RoH Tag Team Titles: The American Wolves of Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards with Shane Hagadorn Â© vs. Kevin Steen and El Generico
This match has a tall act to follow from the first iteration, and Eddie Edwardsâ€™ broken arm from the previous night is doing it no favors either. The choice to send Edwards into this match was in a word detrimental. He did show courage to try and compete, but that courage was met equally with a lack of brains and negligence on behalf of management. They should have figured out something to do instead whether it was a replacement partner, a postponement until Final Battle, or something else. Eddieâ€™s arm was favored and protected extremely well, so credit is due for that, but he should not have been out there. Despite everything working against it, they did some crazy stuff in the match. Davey Richards took an absurd sunset murderdeathkill bomb through a table from a ladder. Steen is the runner up in the crazy bump contest falling from the top of a ladder through a table resting on top of a ladder bridging the ring apron and the guardrail. Eddie Edwards got tons of sympathy and was instrumental in the victory applying a ladder assisted Achilles lock on Generico while Davey grabbed the belts. I donâ€™t know how to rate this math.
Winners: Davey Richards and Eddie Edwardsâ€¦
Chris Hero with Shane Hagadorn vs. Eddie Kingston
I love Chris Heroâ€™s theme music and Eddie Kingstonâ€™s intensity. These guys absolutely went off on one another in this match. As a result it was a ton of fun. The downside is that anyone else deigning to throw a forearm or elbow looked â€œless thanâ€ in comparison. This didnâ€™t need the elbow pad shenanigans that it had, but I liked the story it told and the way it left the feud open for future bouts. Chris Hero won after Eddie delivered the Backfist to the Future to Shane Hagadorn obtained his own loaded elbow pad and used it to cold cock Kingston. This match stood in stark contrast to the rest of the show in intensity, and thus far, quality. After coming to, Kingston threw a fit after the match. That dude kind of scares me.
Winner: Chris Hero via pinfall, ***1/2
Austin Aries graces us with his presence for the A double L double, the Austin Aries Lucky Lottery. He draws Bret Hart who left at intermission. Petey Williams comes out to accept the challenge surprising absolutely no one.
RoH World Title Match: Austin AriesÂ© vs. Petey Williams
I donâ€™t even want to write about this match. It was perfectly fine, but the crowd took a huge dump on it for no good reason. They chanted â€œtwinkiesâ€ whenever Todd Sinclair said a number. Never have I more rued the addition of the countout rule to RoH. With a hot crowd this match could have been a lot more enjoyable. Based on what happened I prayed that Sinclair would not be calling the main event. The crowd pooed on a match that featured a top rope Canadian Destroyer for crying out loud. Aries ends up getting the countout victory after a brainbuster on the floor.
Winner: Austin Aries via countout, ***1/4
â€œNo More Mr. Niceguyâ€ blares over the loudspeakers heralding the arrival of James E. Cornette. (I prefer Giorgio Moroderâ€™s â€œThe Chaseâ€) Corny is out to announce that he is the new executive producer of RoH on HDNet, instantly making it 100% better. Austin Aries comes out to confront and insult him. He does a pretty good job of staying toe to toe with ole James. The write up was short, but this segment was much longer than it needed to be. I love Cornette and Aries, but this really dragged by the end.
Jay and Mark Briscoe vs. The Young Bucks
In so many ways this is as close as we could get to the Steiners vs. Hardyz. When I first heard about the Young Bucks, I totally thought they were just hype. When I finally saw them live, I realize that they were as real as it gets. The Briscoes provided a great foil for the high flying antics of the Jacksons. Both teams went through their signature moves and the Jacksons got the edge in this one. This may have been my favorite match of the night.
Winners: Matt and Nick Jakson via pinfall, ***1/2
â€American Dragonâ€ Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness
This is the final match in RoH between these two men. The crowd was emotional, but did not seem to have the fervor that the crowds did for Joe and Punkâ€™s final appearances, thatâ€™s judging by DVD alone, though. The match itself played out pretty much as a greatest hits show of their best stuff. That is in no way shape or form bad. In fact, this match was pretty awesome. It didnâ€™t have the nearfalls and false finishes that characterized a lot of their other matches, but it still had tons of intensity. The finishing sequence was great, but perhaps not as epic as I was hoping. Granted, my expectations were pretty much absurdly high. Dragon ends up winning his final Ring of Honor match after several variations on the elbow to the head. I really enjoyed this match.
Winner: â€œAmerican Dragonâ€ Bryan Danielson via referee stoppage, ****
After the match the locker room emptied, and Nigel said his goodbyes. I felt a little bad that he had to share this moment with Dragon, but he had a lot of nice things to say. He went to the back and Dragon gave a heartfelt speech about his time in Ring of Honor. We were then treated to Europeâ€™s â€œThe Final Countdownâ€ for the last time.
Big Andy Macâ€™s Big Andy Final Thoughts: This is an instance where the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Each match on this show is at worst entertaining, but the length of the show and the ordering of the matches deeply affected the quality of the show overall. The significance of the event alone makes it worth owning, and there is a lot of good stuff on this DVD. I enjoyed myself, but I have a feeling that I could have enjoyed myself a whole lot more if a few things were shortened, tightened or tweaked.
Iâ€™ll see you next timeâ€¦