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Manhattan, NY – August 2, 2008
We open backstage with ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness. He says he is still the best wrestler in the world, and no one can take his title because he’s in it to win it.
MATCH #1: Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The Vulture Squad
The Vulture Squad is represented by Jigsaw and Ruckus, and they’re accompanied by Julius Smokes. Mark and Jigsaw start the match for their teams. They take it right to the mat and trade armbars. Jigsaw uses a Gory Special and then they trade armdrags and some other counters on their way to a stalemate. Mark takes Jigsaw down and hits a slingshot double stomp. He tags Jay and they knock Jigsaw down with a double shoulder tackle. Jay hits a hard bodyslam for two. Jigsaw makes the tag and Ruckus is all over Jay. Mark comes in and takes Ruckus down with a clothesline. Ruckus and Jay are outside the ring, and Mark quickly follows them with a dive over the ropes. Jigsaw follows suit and wipes out both Briscoes while Ruckus was able to get away. Ruckus goes up and hits a moonsault off the top rope to take everybody down. Back in the ring Ruckus hits the moonsault legdrop but Mark gets a rollup out of it for two. The Briscoes dominate both men but then the Vultures come back with some double-teaming of their own. Superkicks start flying – Mark hits Jigsaw with one and then flattens him with a powerbomb. The Briscoes then hit Jigsaw with the Springboard Doomsday Device to get the pin at 5:57. That was a bit squashy but since it’s the Vulture Squad I don’t care. The Briscoes looked dominant.
Larry Sweeney comes out with Chris Hero, Eddie Edwards, and Bobby Dempsey in tow. Sweeney says that he and the Briscoes could make a lot of money together. They brush him off and Sweeney tries to save face. Sweeney switches gears and gives the microphone to Hero. The crowd chants “Bobby Dempsey” so Hero makes him hide under the ring. Hero says he has undergone a transformation, and the only thing he cares about is knocking people out.
MATCH #2: Chris Hero vs. Delirious
Delirious sneaks under the ring and outsmarts Sweet N’ Sour Inc., leaping off the top rope to take everyone but Sweeney out while they’re looking under the ring. The masked man continues to be one step ahead of Hero, countering all of Hero’s early attacks. He hits a headscissors and then unleashes the Roots Clotheslines. He tries a bulldog but Hero blocks it and hurls Delirious through the air for a rough landing. Now Hero works Delirious over, keeping him down on the mat. He puts Delirious up top and goes for a dropkick but misses. Delirious hits a flying headscissors and then a series of strikes. He hits a DDT for two. Hero comes back with a rolling elbow for two. He misses a big boot but connects with a combination of elbow strikes and then a boot. He tries a leap off the second rope but Delirious throws his head out for a headbutt. Delirious hits the Panic Attack and goes up for Shadows over Hell but Hero swats him out of the air with an elbow. One more rolling elbow latter and Hero gets the pin at 8:18. That was serviceable but both guys were kind of directionless at this point and no one really cared.
Larry Sweeney bemoans the fact that Roderick Strong turned him down, and then challenges him to come down and face Eddie Edwards RIGHT NOW.
MATCH #3: Roderick Strong vs. Eddie Edwards
They take it to the mat and Strong controls with an armbar. Hero is still at ringside, by the way. Edwards comes back with an armbar of his own. He hits a shoulder tackle but Strong comes back with a cross body block. Strong goes right back to the arm. Edwards backs Strong into the corner and hits a headbutt. Strong counters a 2K1 Bomb with an inside cradle for two, and then hits a leg lariat for two. He chops at Edwards now and then hits a slingshot suplex for two. Sweeney grabs Strong’s leg from the floor, allowing Edwards to hit a running knee strike for two. They trade chops and then Edwards headbutts Strong down in the corner. Hero takes a cheap shot behind the referee’s back. Strong comes back with a mule kick out of the corner and a dropkick off the second rope for two. Edwards avoids a charge in the corner and hits a missile dropkick for two. They exchange forearms on the ring apron and Strong knocks Edwards down to the floor. Strong kicks him back into the barricade and then hits a leaping forearm off the apron. He unleashes chops all around ringside as Edwards tries to get away. Back in the ring Strong hits a nasty dropkick for two. Edwards fights back with an enziguiri and the backpack chinbreaker for a near-fall. Strong gets an O’Connor roll for two and then tries a sunset flip, but Edwards rolls through and kicks him in the chest. Edwards then goes for a quebrada but Strong gets his knees up and gets a roll-up for two. They get back to their feet and Edwards hits a back elbow. Edwards hits a leaping Codebreaker, a superkick, and an overhead belly-to-back suplex for two. Strong hits a chinbreaker and the gutbuster. He follows up with the half nelson backbreaker for a near-fall. He goes for the Gibson Driver and Sweeney distracts the referee. That allows Hero to sneak in the ring and knock Strong out with the loaded elbow pad. Edwards hits a quebrada for good measure to get the upset victory at 9:46. That was a fine back and forth but it was all just moves, moves, moves and no selling.
Larry Sweeney gets in the ring to gloat about his men’s two victories. He tells them to take the rest of the night off, get a massage, eat some sushi, that sort of thing. He then introduces the NWA World heavyweight Champion Adam Pearce, accompanied by Sara Del Rey and Shane Hagadorn. Pearce cuts a promo in some kind of weird voice just talking about how he’s the greatest NWA Champion ever. That brings Brent Albright out. For some reason Albright is ridiculously over here. He gets on the mic to make fun of Sweeney and Pearce. Paul Turner goes over the rules, and since this is an NWA Title match, it will be under NWA Rules.
MATCH #4: NWA World Title Match – Adam Pearce vs. Brent Albright
Pearce has been the champion since 9.1.07 and this is his twenty-third defense. Albright starts off with a headlock and a series of shoulderblocks, so Hagadorn pulls him to the floor. Pearce tries to blindside Albright but winds up taking out Bobby Dempsey instead. Back in the ring Albright slaps Pearce in the face. They take it down to the mat and Pearce is in control. Albright once again slaps the champion, and when Pearce returns the favor Albright slaps him down. He throws a series of jabs but Pearce counters by running Albright’s neck into the top rope. Now Pearce is in control, using various illegal tactics. Albright gets busted open by a headbutt. He won’t stay down at all, always fighting back. That’s one of the things I don’t like about Albright – he seems constantly engaged in a mini-comeback. Pearce moves the mats outside the ring and goes for a Piledriver but Albright counters with a catapult into the ring post. Of course Pearce is busted open now. Albright gets back in the ring and Sweeney comes in with a steel chair, and Roderick Strong comes out to stop him! The crowd is going nuts as Albright is throwing Pearce around the ring. Albright hits the 6-1-Knee and then takes the knee pad down. Pearce grabs him in a knee lift and locks on the Figure Four Leglock. Albright gets to the ropes, but then Pearce blasts him with a lariat for two. Pearce goes for a piledriver but Albright gets a cradle out of it for a two-count. Albright hits a powerslam for a two-count. Pearce comes back with a right hand to the face and a belly-to-back suplex. He goes up top and hits the Superfly Splash for two, and then turns it into an STF. Albright reverses that to a Crowbar and Pearce gets the ropes. He goes up top and Pearce pushes him off the ropes and through a table at ringside! Albright makes it back to the ring! Unfortunately for him, Pearce immediately hits him with a Piledriver but he kicks out at two! Albright avoids a charge in the corner and hits a Half Nelson Suplex! Both men are down, and when they get up Albright hits another Half Nelson Suplex for a two-count. They exchange right hands from their knees. Up on their feet Albright hits five rolling German Suplexes but Pearce kicks out at two! Albright gets a small package for two and then locks on the Crowbar and Pearce taps out to an Enormous Pop and Albright is the new NWA Champion at 19:39.
I don’t think I like that match as much as most reviewers seem to. The crowd reaction is truly astounding and both guys deserve credit for that. However there are a few things about the match that bugged me. As I stated in the review, Albright can’t keep himself from throwing a punch or an elbow or whatever for more than 30 seconds. It’s harder for me to buy that Albright is in trouble when he keeps fighting up almost all the time because then he’s not really down and out is he? And also, with how the Figure-Four Leglock and Crowbar figured into the match, it would have been nice to see some buildup to either of those moves. That stuff is a bit nitpicky I know, but I will still say that it is a great match that you should see if you haven’t had the chance yet.
The Briscoes are backstage celebrating with a couple of beers. They’re happy to be back, but honestly I can’t remember which injury this was. Rhett Titus busts in and tries to show them his video with Daizee Haze but they take offense. Mark Briscoe saying “Man That Boy’s Stupid” is definitely the funniest thing on this show.
Elsewhere Jimmy Bower tries to get a word with Claudio Castagnoli. The Most Money Making Man is trying to mentally prepare for his ROH World Title shot tonight, so he throws Bower out.
MATCH #5: Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Necro Butcher
Jacobs is one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions along with Tyler Black. He and Butcher make their entrance together, which doesn’t bode well for Aries. It does start off as a handicap match, and there’s only so much Aries can do against two men. Aries backdrops Butcher to the floor and then wipes him out with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries hits a back rake off the top rope and a side-slam for two. They’ve already announced that two weeks from tonight in Chicago Jacobs will battle Butcher in a no-disqualification match, which is the result of Aries beating Jacobs last time in Chicago at Vendetta II. Aries is able to control both men for a short time, but the numbers game soon takes over. Butcher goes to the floor and grabs a chair, and Aries reverses a whip, causing Jacobs to knock him off the apron. After asking the crowd what happened, Butcher gets in the ring and looks to be yelling at Jacobs, but then switches gears and goes back to work on Aries. Butcher hits a chair slam and Jacobs follows up with a senton. When Butcher goes for the cover Jacobs gets PISSED. He gets on the microphone and berates Butcher, saying he’s there to do his bidding. He orders Butcher to blind Aries, and shoves him when he resists. Aries recovers and hits Butcher across the back with the chair, but then makes it look like Jacobs did it! Butcher is pissed and the crowd wants to see him kick Jacobs’s ass. They get their wish! Butcher unloads on Jacobs in the corner, stomping him down in the corner while Aries lays down in the opposite corner watching. When Jacobs gets to his feet Butcher cracks him with a steel chair. Butcher bails, and Aries hits Jacobs with the IED. Aries follows up with the brainbuster and the 450 Splash to get the pin at 11:46.
That wasn’t much of a match but for advancing storylines it worked nicely. I think they could have stretched it out a bit longer though. Something like Necro Butcher sees the Video Wire and apologizes to Jimmy Jacobs, who would of course forgive Necro under the guise of being a forgiving leader. Jacobs says that the match will no longer happen, but ROH officials insist it will or something. At the Night of the Butcher II show Jacobs does something dastardly to Necro, like has a group of guys in all black attack him or something, for daring to go against him, and Necro has to fight all those guys off and then destroys Jacobs. Just some armchair booking I guess.
Daizee Haze is backstage talking about her time off rehabbing her back. The Motor City Machineguns come in and double-hug her. They say something about her is different, and Chris Sabin straight up asks her if she wants to do a threesome with them. Alex Shelley is hilariously creepy here as Daizee is confused and leaves. That frees up the Guns to cut a promo on their opponents tonight, Kevin Steen and El Generico.
Elsewhere Bryan Danielson is reflecting on tonight’s main event. He notes that he has beaten all three of his opponents, and all three have beaten him. He says he loves the unpredictability of it all.
Will You Go Out With Me?
Before the second half of the show can get underway, Delirious comes out to the ring with a nice shirt and tie on. He asks Daizee Haze to come down to the ring. He asks Daizee to go out with him! Before she can answer, Rhett Titus’s music hits and he makes his way out, carrying the Top of the Class Trophy. He tries to talk Delirious out of it, saying that Daizee is used goods. He then shows off his new tights, which have a picture of Daizee Haze printed on them! Delirious goes nuts on Titus, sending the brash ROH student to the floor. Then Delirious reiterates his question. Daizee says he’s cute and sweet, and she’s enjoyed training with him, but she wants to just stay friends! BOOOOOOO! Big heel turn for that. She actually says “it’s not you it’s me!” More BOOOOOOOOO! The crowd chants “bullshit.” The crowd BOOS Daizee out of the building on her way to the back. I forgot what a great segment that was.
MATCH #6: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Go Shiozaki
Go Shiozaki has a fabulous moustache. They start with some chain wrestling to feel each other out. Marufuji tries a leapfrog and Shiozaki chops him out of the air. They exchange holds and both go for a variety of kicks but are able to avoid each other. They lock back up and Marufuji starts going to work on the arm. Shiozaki fights back and chops Marufuji all the way to the floor. He goes after Marufuji and throws him into the ring post. Back in the ring Shiozaki gets a two-count. He goes up to the second rope and hits a knee drop for two. A belly-to-back suplex gets another near-fall. Shiozaki starts working on the leg and Marufuji reaches the ropes. He puts Marufuji in the Tree of Woe and hits a running chop. Marufuji comes back and takes Shiozaki to the apron, and then hits a slingshot DDT right on the edge of the ring. He whips Shiozaki into the barricade a couple of times, and then dropkicks him in the face. He lifts Shiozaki up and gives him a brainbuster right on the edge of the ring apron. That’s a great spot. Back in the ring Marufuji hits an elevated neckbreaker and then locks on a chinlock. Marufuji goes outside the ring and delivers a dropkick to the face through the ropes (if that makes sense) for a two-count. He continues working on the neck. He hits a superkick and a bell-to-back suplex for two. Shiozaki gets a headscissors out of nowhere and then levels Marufuji with a chop. They slug it out and Shiozaki hits a shoulder tackle and a series of strikes. Shiozaki goes up top and hits a knee drop for two. For some reason Leonard calls that a Frog Splash. Marufuji fights back with a dropkick and a running elbow in the corner. He refocuses his attack on the neck. He hits a superkick but Shiozaki kicks out. Shiozaki comes back with a fisherman’s buster for two. He hits a Buckle Bomb and a series of strikes. He locks Marufuji in a sleeper and turns that into a Dragon Sleeper and Marufuji has to reach the ropes. They take the battle to the ring apron and Marufuji hits a superkick and then a Shiranui off the apron to the floor! Back in the ring Marufuji hits a springboard dropkick to the face for a two-count. Shiozaki tries another Dragon Sleeper and Marufuji reverses to an inside cradle for two. They get back up and Shiozaki hits a Superkick and the Go Flasher for two. Marufuji blocks another one and hits the Shiranui but cannot make the cover right away. They get up and trade strikes and clotheslines. Marufuji takes control and hits two superkicks. He hits the Pole Shift to get the pin at 22:58. The crowd was super into that one as well, so the good will from Albright and Pearce is carrying over, which is a good thing. These two just beat the hell out of each other with some stuff and at times innovative offense.
Tyler Black is backstage to ruminate on the possibilities of tonight’s main event. He says he’s not afraid and that he just wants it more than anyone else. He then promises to stop history and burn it to the ground. I don’t get it, but hopefully he just means he’ll win the ROH World Title.
MATCH #7: Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin
Both teams show signs of feistiness before the opening bell. Sabin and Generico officially start the match. They wrestle to a standoff and Shelley tags in. Shelley takes Generico down and puts on a bow and arrow. Generico comes back with a headscissors and a couple of leg lariats. Shelley comes back and tags Sabin. The Guns are going to work on the arm. Generico backs Sabin into the corner and makes the tag. Sabin takes Steen down with a headscissors and the Guns double team him. Steen quickly makes a comeback and now he and Generico work over Sabin over. Shelley and Steen get into a bodily fluid war and the referee has to break it up. Sabin fires up with a chop but Steen hits one of his own. Generico comes back in and hits a backbreaker for two. Shelley comes in the ring illegally to take the advantage on Generico. The Guns put their opponents in simultaneous submission holds and generally dominate. They cut the ring in half and keep Steen out of the ring. After several minutes Generico reverses a double team and sends Sabin’s head into Shelley’s groin. Before he can make the tag Sabin pulls Steen off the apron from the floor. Generico hangs on and finally rolls through to make the tag. Steen is on fire, throwing Sabin on his back and delivering a senton on Shelley. He hits a spinning side slam for a two-count. Sabin tries a rana but Steen catches him in a powerbomb and locks on the Sharpshooter. Steen superkicks Shelley to the floor and reapplies the Sharpshooter; Generico wipes Shelley out with a dive. Sabin reaches the ropes to break the hold. Steen goes up top and Shelley hits him with a Super Chinbreaker. Sabin then launches Generico into Steen in the corner. The Guns hit their little kick combination for a two-count. Sabin goes to the top rope and Generico pushes Shelley into the corner to knock him down. Generico hits Shelley with a Michinoku Driver and then the running Yakuza in the corner. He goes for another running Yakuza but Sabin trails him and hits one of his own. Sabin tries the Cradle Shock but Steen breaks it up and hits a pumphandle neckbreaker. Both Steen and Generico climb opposite corners but the Guns break up their offense. Shelley hits Steen with the Air Raid Crash for two. Sabin hits Generico with a rana, sending him crashing into Steen, and Shelley follows with a frog splash for two. The Guns go for the assisted Sliced Bread #2 and Generico fights his way out of it. Steen runs in and hits Sabin with the Cannonball and locks on the Sharpshooter. Generico knocks Shelley out with a super Brainbuster and Sabin taps out at 19:50. That was not so surprisingly a great tag team match with awesome work from all involved. This show needs some serious butter.
The Briscoes are still backstage celebrating their victory tonight with beers. Daizee Haze comes in and both Jay and Mark look uncomfortable so they walk away.
Elsewhere Kevin Steen and El Generico are reflecting on tonight’s victory, and Steen says they need to stay fired up to win the ROH World Tag Team Titles.
MATCH #8: Four Way Elimination Match for the ROH World Title– Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Tyler Black
McGuinness has been the champion since 10.6.07 and this is his twenty-second defense. Black is one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions with Jimmy Jacobs. Danielson and Castagnoli wind up starting the match. They take it right down to the mat and no one can gain an advantage so they try a test of strength. Danielson takes Castagnoli down and looks to go for the surfboard but Castagnoli scurries over to the ropes. Black and McGuinness make blind tags, and Black sends McGuinness to the floor with a dropkick. Castagnoli goes after Black, but Black sidesteps him and wipes Danielson out with a somersault to the floor, and Castagnoli takes McGuinness out. The referee forces Castagnoli back to the apron as McGuinness goes to work on Black. McGuinness quickly tags out to Danielson, who quickly stomps Black down in the corner. As soon as Black is in trouble, McGuinness tags in, and as soon as Black fires up, McGuinness tags out. Castagnoli gets a quick rollup on Black for two, and then hits a gut wrench suplex for two. Black fights out of a submission and hits a knee to the chest. McGuinness tags Black out and hits a dropkick on Castagnoli for two. Castagnoli fights back with a springboard European Uppercut and McGuinness tags Danielson. They trade European Uppercuts and Danielson wins that battle. Black tags himself in and hits a neck snap off the second rope for two. McGuinness tags back in, continuing to wisely pick his spots. Castagnoli fights back and hits the Match Killer for a two-count. He follows up with the Alpamare Water Slide for a two-count. The match breaks down and I lost track of who’s legal. Danielson and Castagnoli are in the ring while Black and McGuinness are outside. Everyone gets back in the ring and takes somebody out, so all four men are down. They get back up and the chaos continues; the referee clearly has no control. McGuinness goes for the Tower of London but Black pushes him off right into a running kick by Danielson, who then locks on the Cattle Mutilation. Black goes up top and hits Castagnoli with a cross body block for two. Danielson hits elbows to the head of McGuinness but Castagnoli breaks it up. Moments later Danielson locks Castagnoli in the triangle choke but Castagnoli reaches the ropes. McGuinness sets Black on the top rope and blasts him with a lariat. Danielson engages McGuinness in a slugfest. McGuinness hits a lariat for two. Danielson comes back with a running elbow that sends McGuinness to the floor. He dropkicks McGuinness into the crowd, and of course he hits the springboard dive. Back in the ring Danielson tries a missile dropkick on Castagnoli, but he gets caught in the Giant Swing. Danielson gets a quick cradle out of it for two. Castagnoli fights back with a pop-up European Uppercut but Danielson rolls him over on the cover into a cradle to get a pin and eliminate Castagnoli at 16:10.
Danielson offers his hand and Castagnoli shakes it. When Danielson turns around Castagnoli attacks him. Castagnoli hits a bicycle kick and the Ricola Bomb, and then grabs a chair to kick smash into Danielson’s head. ROH students and officials herd Castagnoli to the back. Meanwhile McGuinness clobbers Danielson with a lariat to eliminate him at 19:35.That was an awesome heel turn and an awesome capitalization of said heel turn by the champion.
Now we’re down to a rematch from Take No Prisoners. Black hits a springboard lariat and running forearm. He follows up with a slingshot leg lariat and a neckbreaker for two. The fans are going nuts for Tyler Black. He tries a frog splash but McGuinness moves out of the way and gets a two-count. They fight up on the top rope and Black knocks McGuinness down with a headbutt and hits the frog splash for a two-count. McGuinness comes back with the hammerlock Divorce Court and a short arm lariat for two. He hits the Tower of London and Black kicks out! They get up and trade forearm strikes. Black counters a Jawbreaker Lariat with a Buckle Bomb, which is pretty amazing. He hits an F-5 for a near-fall. They get back to their feet and McGuinness goes up top. Black meets him up there and hits a superplex. He actually hangs on and hits Paroxysm for two. Black hits the superkick but McGuinness kicks out! McGuinness comes back with a chinbreaker and a lariat for another two. He tries the Jawbreaker but Black counters with God’s Last Gift for a really close near-fall. Black goes up and misses the Phoenix Splash. McGuinness folds him in half with a lariat but it only gets two! He hits the Tower of London and a running European Uppercut, and another lariat for two! He hits the kick to the back and clothesline combo, and then sets Black on the top rope for a lariat. Black ducks it and kicks McGuinness in the head. He tries a springboard lariat but McGuinness hits a lariat of his own but it still only gets two! McGuinness locks on the London Dungeon and Black counters with a rollup for two. Black ducks a lariat and hits a Pele, but then runs right into a lariat. McGuinness hits another huge lariat and Black is finally finished at 30:21.
Those are four of the best ROH had at the time, and they all gave an incredible effort. The storyline of Danielson and Castagnoli was furthered, and Black once again came oh so close to dethroning McGuinness. The action was almost non-stop and the crowd heat was unbelievable. This is one of the best matches of 2008.
The Pulse: No fewer than FOUR matches on this show clock in at four stars or higher. The main event is particularly amazing, but this is pretty much an awesome show all around. Beg, borrow, or steal to get this one.