For an easy to navigate archive of my ROH reviews, just visit RetROH Reviews!
Edison, New Jersey – November 7, 2009
At Survival of the Fittest 2009, Tyler Black defeated Roderick Strong to win the tournament and that pretty much brings us to where we are today.
Backstage Grizzly Redwood is lifting a small log when Colt Cabana busts in to cut a promo about their match against Austin Aries and Rhett Titus. Redwood gets his two cents in as well.
Dave Prazak and Chris Hero are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Sonjay Dutt vs. Kenny Omega
Dutt attacks Omega before the bell just to be a jerk. Omega turns the tide and hits a big chop for two. Just a chop, that’s right. Omega keeps up the pressure so Dutt takes a powder. Back in the ring Omega hits a monkey flip, a spin kick, and a neckbreaker for two. Dutt bites Omega, and then pulls him off the second rope, causing Omega to fall right on his face. He keeps Omega on the mat, and then traps his leg in the ropes and hits him with a moonsault for two. Dutt keeps working the leg and otherwise keeps Omega on the mat. Somewhere along the line Omega’s nose got busted open. Omega starts fighting back with Polish Hammers and a spin kick. He hits a Norman Smiley bodyslam and a moonsault off the second rope for two. Omega continues the offense, hitting the leap over bulldog for two. Hero tries to say Omega is showing the effects of Dutt’s leg work, but he’s really not. Omega goes for Croyt’s Wrath but Dutt slips out and hits some punches. Dutt hits a seesaw kick to the face and a slingshot legdrop to the back of the head for two. He goes for the Asai DDT but Omega avoids it. Dutt tries it again but Omega catches him and turns it into the Croyt’s Wrath to get the pin at 10:40. I’m not the biggest fan of Kenny Omega but he kept the goofiness to a minimum and this was just a good, fast-paced opener.
MATCH #2: Erick Stevens & Joey Ryan vs. The Necro Butcher & Mark Briscoe
Mark and Necro charge the ring and the fight is on. They clear the ring and the Embassy tries to regroup but mark won’t allow it. Back in the ring Mark and Necro go to work on Ryan. The Embassy sues some basic chicanery to gain control on Necro. They isolate him in their half of the ring and focus on his back. After a few minutes Necro makes a blind tag. Mark flies in with a missile dropkick and unleashes some redneck kung fu. Nana grabs his leg from the floor, allowing Stevens to hit a Samoan Drop. Now the Embassy isolates Mark for a while. Necro gets the hot tag and dumps both Stevens and Necro to the floor. He wipes them both out with the Cannonball. The referee loses control as a chair gets involved, ring mats get pulled up, and Nana and Osiris are liberally interfering. Stevens and Necro get back in the ring and Stevens runs right into a big punch. Necro goes for a bulldog but Stevens avoids it and this an avalanche in the corner. Ryan tries a superkick but Necro punches him in the face as well. The brawling continues and Claudio Castagnoli runs into the ring for the pointless disqualification at 10:20. As a match it wasn’t much, and all the chair swinging and interference from Nana and Osiris didn’t cause a DQ, but Castagnoli running out did? That makes no sense.
The Embassy lays a beatdown on Necro and Mark until Jay Briscoe runs out to make the save. That leads directly into our next match.
MATCH #3: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Jay Briscoe
Castagnoli takes a cheap shot to start the match, but Jay quickly fights back. Jay hits a snap mare and a boot to the face for two. He follows with a gourdbuster for another two-count. Castagnoli takes a powder and Jay follows him. Back in the ring Nana grabs Jay’s leg, allowing Castagnoli to take control. Castagnoli keeps Jay on the mat, and then hits a clothesline for two. A dead lift gutwrench suplex also gets a two-count. Nana and Osiris pull Jay crotch-first into the ring post while Castagnoli distracts the referee. Jay fights back with a cross body block and a flurry of strikes. He pulls Castagnoli into the middle turnbuckle and hits a Yakuza Kick for two. Castagnoli catches Jay in midair and hits a backbreaker for two. Jay hits a superkick and the Death Valley Driver for two. He goes for the Jay Driller but Castagnoli blocks it. Jay goes up for a Tornado DDT but Nana distracts the referee, allowing Osiris to grab Jay’s leg and hold him in place for a Castagnoli bicycle kick. Castagnoli follows up with the UFO and a jackknife cradle to get the pin at 6:40. That was curiously short but fine enough while it lasted.
MATCH #4: Kenny King vs. Tyler Black
King is accompanied by Austin Aries and Rhett Titus. Aries is the current ROH World Champion, and he has something to say before this match can begin. He tells Black that despite what people think, he will not take the ROH World Title from him. They start with some mat wrestling. Black takes the advantage and goes for a springboard maneuver but Aries and Titus have other plans and pull him down for the disqualification at 1:19. Well that seems like a waste.
Aries, King, and Titus work Black over in the ring and set him up for a spiked piledriver. Colt Cabana and Grizzly Redwood come out wielding chairs to make the save. Jim Cornette gets on the microphone to announce that he is making a six-man tag team match between the six men in and around the ring right now. It takes Cornette a long time to arrive at a very simple point.
MATCH #5: Jim Cornette’s Impromptu Match
Black gets tired of waiting and wipes out all three opponents with a somersault dive. He takes Aries into the ring while the other four men continue the brawl on the floor. Black dominates so Aries takes a powder to regroup with his boys. Things resume with Black and Titus in the ring. Team Tyler controls the early going, as the babyfaces have an answer for everything the heels try. After a few minutes Team Aries is able to take control on the Littlest Lumberjack. After a few minutes Cabana gets the hot tag. Cabana clobbers everyone and hits a quebrada on both Aries and Titus. Black follows with a springboard clothesline on the same two men. He isolates on Aries and hits him with the F-5 for a two-count. The referee loses control and bodies are flying everywhere. Titus launches Aries with a Rocket Launcher onto Cabana for a two-count. Aries sets up for a Super Brainbuster but Redwood breaks it up. Titus flies in with the Super Sex Factor and Aries locks on the Last Chancery. Black breaks it up and all six men are brawling in the ring now. King and Black trade Pele Kicks. Aries drills Black with a kick to the head. Redwood comes back in and trades shots with the Champion. Off comes the flannel and he hits a big clothesline. Redwood goes up top and Titus pushes him down to the floor. Aries goes up top and Black pulls him down in a Buckle Bomb! Black hits a superkick and Cabana locks on the Billy Goat’s Curse. Aries is forced to tap out at 15:33. I understand that this was to set Cabana up for a title shot, but they could have done that with the regularly scheduled two matches; I especially wanted to see King versus Black. Either way this was decent six-man tag fare, but the legal man rule disappeared down the stretch and Grizzly Redwood does nothing for me.
MATCH #6: Bobby Dempsey vs. Tony Kozina
It’s a good thing Kozina is in the ring with someone older than 16 so he doesn’t have to feel insulted. I don’t care what happened in Iowa I have no respect or love for Kozina. Speaking of people I don’t love, if Bobby Dempsey came from my wrestling school I’m not sure I’d advertise that fact. Dempsey uses his power advantage in the early going. Kozina avoids a charge and throws Dempsey to the floor. He follows him out with a nice Asai Moonsault. Back in the ring Kozina goes up top for a high cross body but Dempsey catches him. Kozina slips out and tries a sunset flip. Dempsey tries to squash him but Kozina avoids it. Kozina hits a dropkick to the seated Dempsey for a two-count. Dempsey comes back with a Vader Attack. He charges into the corner but Kozina dropkicks him in the knee. Kozina hits a slingshot springboard diving bulldog. He charges and Dempsey hits a sloppy clothesline. Dempsey then hits the Death Valley Driver for the pin at 4:12. That was a fine post-intermission match, but Kozina is the definition of a guy who can do some moves but does them all with an absence of charisma.
MATCH #7: Delirious vs. Roderick Strong
Delirious loses his mind when the bell rings and here we go. This is smiling babyface Roderick Strong so this match should have a different dynamic than their 2007 series. They take it down to the mat and Strong starts working the leg. The match spills to the floor and Strong starts hitting chops. Delirious comes back by dropping Strong face-first on the apron. He hits a baseball slide and then a flip dive off the top rope. Back in the ring Delirious goes to work. Strong avoids the Panic Attack and hits a leg lariat for two. He hits his first backbreaker and only gets a one-count. Delirious comes back with suplexes. No one has been able to stay in control very long yet. Strong hits a half-nelson backbreaker for two. Delirious responds with a missile dropkick and the Panic Attack. He goes up top but Strong avoids him and hits an enziguiri. Strong hits a snap powerslam for two. He hits a few more strikes and tries a suplex but Delirious counters with a neckbreaker and a bridging German Suplex for two. Delirious goes for the Cobra Stretch but Strong avoids it and hurls Delirious into the turnbuckles for a two-count. Strong puts on the Stronghold. Delirious turns it into a cradle for two and then locks on the Cobra Stretch! Strong powers up to his feet and Delirious hits him with the Cobra Suplex. Delirious goes up and hits Shadows over Hell but somehow Strong kicks out. He knees Strong to the floor and goes for a dive but Strong kicks him in mid-air. Back in the ring Strong hits a backbreaker and then locks on the Stronghold. Delirious reaches the ropes but Strong pulls him off into another backbreaker for a two-count. They get up and trade strikes and Strong hits the Gutbuster and the Sick Kick. Delirious brushes it off and hits Chemical Imbalance II for a two-count. He hits a Cobra Suplex and the Panic Attack three times. Strong kicks out. Delirious goes for the Bizarro Driver but Strong gets an inside cradle from out of nowhere to get the pin at 18:31. That was fun and all but there was too much brushing off signature moves and the finish was pretty lame.
MATCH #8: ROH World Tag Team Champion Davey Richards & Chris Hero vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico
Hero is accompanied by Sara Del Rey. Richards has Eddie Edwards and Shane Hagadorn with him. Generico and Richards start the match. They go back and forth and Generico lands a series of armdrags so Richards takes a powder. Hero and Steen take over in the ring and approach each other very cautiously. Steen slaps Hero in the face and Hero takes a powder. Back in the ring Hero targets Steen’s knee, which is wise. Richards tags in and Steen takes over on him. Generico enters the fray and punches Richards in the ear a couple of times. Momentum continues to shift back and forth between the two teams as they try to establish dominance. Richards dumps Steen to the floor, and the numbers game takes over. Back in the ring Steen gets a quick rollup for two but Richards quickly goes to work on the arm with some vicious looking submission holds. Richards and Hero keep Steen isolated in their half of the ring. After a few minutes Steen hits Richards with a dropkick off the second rope. Tags are made and Generico is a house afire. Generico hits Hero with the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Hero avoids the Yakuza Kick and hits a rolling elbow for two. Richards tags back in and hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Now Generico is the one being isolated and worked over. Hagadorn and Edwards interfere whenever they get a chance. Richards misses a diving headbutt and Generico is able to make the tag. Now Steen gets to be the house afire, hitting Richards with a powerbomb for two and then putting on the Sharpshooter. Hero breaks it up. Generico clotheslines Hero to the floor and then wipes him out with a dive. Steen hits Richards with an Air Raid Crash for two. He goes up top and tries the Swanton but Richards gets his knees up. Hero gets in the ring to double-team Steen but they can’t put him away yet. Richards accidentally kicks Hero. Steen hits Richards with a Stunner (complete with the Stone Cold Salute). Generico tags in and hits a cross body on both of his opponents. He hits Richards with a Michinoku Driver for two. A series of reversals ends with Richards hitting the Alarm Clock. Hero follows up with an elbow to the back of the head. Richards hits a Tombstone Piledriver and Steen has to break up the cover. Steen hits Hero with a DDT and Richards with a belly-to-belly suplex. Hero blasts Steen with an elbow. He delivers one to Generico too. Generico responds with a half-nelson suplex. The action is getting too fast to call almost. Steen hits Richards with the Pumphandle Neckbreaker. Generico goes to the top rope but slips. Steen does not and is able to hit the Frog Splash for two. Hero and Steen wind up in the ring. Steen tries the Package Piledriver but Hero avoids it and hits a rolling elbow. Hero hits the Death Blow and Generico breaks up the pin. Generico hits Richards with the top-rope Brainbuster. Hero puts the golden elbow pad on and drills Generico with a rolling elbow. The referee won’t count though because Generico isn’t legal. Good for him for keeping track. Steen puts Hero in the Sharpshooter and Hero taps the match away at 27:52. That was good but long, a common symptom of Davey Richards matches. The action was good all the way through though, and the final stretch was tons of fun.
BONUS MATCH #1: Kenny King & Rhett Titus vs. Delirious & The Necro Butcher, The Hunt Begins, 4.17.09
Necro comes out wielding a chair. He starts the match with Titus officially, but of course Delirious loses his mind when the bell rings. Necro is on fire to start and Titus begs off before delivering a poke to the eyes. Titus tries a suplex but Necro blocks it and drills him with a punch to the face. That sends Titus to the floor and Necro puts Titus’s vest on and mocks him. Back in the ring Necro continues the abuse and tags are made. Delirious goes to work on King’s arm. Necro gets in on the arm work too, and he shows impressive continuity with his masked partner. King reverses a whip on Delirious and Titus buries a knee into his back. The future All Night Express takes over now and goes to work on Delirious. Titus goes up top and Delirious slams him down. King tagged in while Titus was on the top rope, and he enters the ring with a slingshot elbow to the back, and then hits Delirious with a spinebuster for two. Delirious comes back with a headscissors and makes the tag. Necro is a house afire, dumping both Titus and King to the floor. He delivers a somersault senton off the apron on King, and Delirious wipes Titus out with a suicide dive. Necro this King with the Chair Slam as the referee has lost control of the bout. He hits a bulldog and throws King back in the ring. With the referee’s back turned Titus slams a chair into Necro’s back. Meanwhile, Delirious goes for Shadows over Hell but King avoids it. Delirious locks on the Cobra Stretch and Titus breaks it up. Necro gets in the ring and clobbers Titus with a chair right in front of the referee for the disqualification at 11:11. The match was boring and the finish sucked, so I can see why this got relegated to “bonus match with no commentary on a DVD no one wants to buy.”
BONUS MATCH #2: Jimmy Rave vs. Bret Albright, Tag Title Classic, 4.18.09
Rave immediately bails to start the match with some good old fashioned stalling. Prince Nana and Ernie Osiris are with him at ringside. It takes almost two minutes before any contact is made and when Albright hits a hard shoulderblock Rave goes right back to the floor. Back in the ring Rave tries a headlock but Albright escapes and hits a drop toehold so Rave goes out to the floor again. Rave rejoins the ring and Albright takes him down to the mat, so Rave bails again for more stalling. This is getting to Zbyszko-like levels. The crowd chants “boring.” This time when Rave gets back in Albright is able to connect with some chops and strikes. Albright charges into the corner but Rave gets a boot up, and then hits a Northern Lariat. Rave keeps Albright subdued and Nana distracts the referee so Rave can cheat. A DDT gets Rave a two-count. Eventually Albright fights back and hits an exploder suplex and the 61Knee. Rave responds with an STO for two. Albright gets a crucifix pin for two and then hits a powerslam for another two-count. A series of reversals ends with Albright locking on the Crowbar for the win at 10:15. There really wasn’t much to see here.
BONUS MATCH #3: The Necro Butcher vs. Chris Hero, Tag Title Classic, 4.18.09
Necro catches a boot and dumps Hero to the floor. He throws Hero into the barricade and stomps away at him. Back in the ring Hero unleashes some strikes to take control. Necro comes back with a backslide for two. He follows up with a monkey flip and Hero takes a powder. Necro follows him out with a somersault senton off the apron. He tries to bring a chair in the ring but the referee stops him and that distracts Necro long enough for Hero to hit a rolling elbow to the back of the head for two. Hero continues the strike based offense and throws in a rear chinlock as well. He charges into the corner but runs into a bare foot. Shane Hagadorn hits Necro with a chair behind the referee’s back. Hero drills Necro with a rolling elbow for two. He lands more strikes and goes to the second rope, where Necro punches him in the gut. Necro hits the Necrocanrana and unleashes a flurry of offense. He gets distracted by Hagadorn on the floor and chases him with a chair. Necro finds himself in the ring with the chair so he decides to hit Hero with it and gets disqualified at 6:31. I guess it was really important that we know Necro likes to hit people with chairs.
BONUS MATCH #4: Preliminary Match – The Bravado Brothers & Kyle O’Reilly vs. Gino Giovanni, Tony Nees & Tommaso Ciampa
Giovanni and Lance Bravado start the match. They go back and forth a bit and then Harlem Bravado tags in. The Bravados use teamwork, tagging in and out frequently to keep the fresh man in the ring. Giovanni is able to catch Harlem with a flapjack and he makes the tag to Nees, who lands a kick to the face. Ciampa tags in and hits the running knee strike in the corner. Harlem gets isolated from his partners and worked over. Eventually he’s able to make a tag to O’Reilly, who is a house afire. O’Reilly kicks everyone on the opposing team. The Bravados take out Giovanni and Nees with dives to the floor, while O’Reilly hits Ciampa with the rolling butterfly suplexes into the DDT to get the pin at 4:25. Good energy here, and who would have thought four of the six of these guys would become major players in ROH sometime around 2011?