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Toronto, Ontario – July 24, 2009
MATCH #1: El Generico vs. Sonjay Dutt
Dutt is over in Toronto for some reason. Generico gives Dutt a pre-match hug, and we’re underway. Dutt immediately busts out the Jeff Jarrett strut, and Generico counters with the Jackie Fargo strut. They play to the crowd some more, and make first contact about two minutes in. Generico takes Dutt down to the mat with a headlock, and they trade holds on the mat a bit. The pace quickens a bit and they trade holds, and this time it’s Dutt taking the advantage with an armbar. Generico escapes and puts on an armbar of his own. Dutt breaks it with a closed fist, drawing the ire of the crowd. Generico comes back with an armdrag and a leg lariat. The masked man continues controlling the Bollywood superstar. Dutt comes back with Déjà vu for a two-count. He continues working Generico over and acting like a jerk at the same time. After several minutes Generico is able to bait Dutt into flying over the top rope and crashing to the floor. Generico follows him out with a somersault dive over the top rope. Back in the ring Generico goes up top and hits a high cross body block for two. Generico goes for the running Yakuza but Dutt blocks it. Dutt hits a DDT and a Red Star Press for two. Generico avoids the quebrada and hits a Michinoku Driver for two. Once again Generico tries the running Yakuza but Dutt moves and hits a slingshot hurricanrana for two. Dutt hits an Asai DDT but Generico kicks out at two. Both men are down. Bobby Cruise announces one minute left as Dutt punches away on Generico. Dutt hits a running elbow in the corner and Generico fires right back with the running Yakuza as we’re down to less than 30 seconds. Generico goes for the Super Brainbuster and the time limit expires before he can hit the move at exactly 15:00 (good job Giuseppe). The crowd wants five more minutes but Dutt denies them. That was actually a pretty good opener, and if Dutt would stop taking shot after shot at TNA he would be a lot less annoying. I also don’t understand Generico’s selling sometimes, but that’s probably my problem.
MATCH #2: Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The Super Smash Brothers
This is Mark Briscoe’s return from knee surgery. Jay Briscoe and Player Dos start the match. They go back and forth and Dos is able to hold his own with the eldest Briscoe. Jay makes the tag to Mark Briscoe, who immediately overpowers Dos. Uno gets tagged in and Mark can’t shove him around as easily. They take it to the mat and Mark goes after the arm. Uno escapes, hits a chop to the chest, and then makes the tag to Dos. The Briscoes quickly take over and bowl Dos over with a double shoulder tackle. They can’t hold the advantage though, and the Smash Brothers go back on offense. Jay quickly recovers and the Briscoes work on Uno. No one has held control for a sustained period of time. Uno comes back by using referee Paul Turner to his advantage. Both men make tags and Jay plants Dos with a hard spinebuster right away. Now the Briscoes are in firm control and work Dos over with a variety of offense and quick tags. Dos comes back and makes the hot tag. Uno is a house afire, nearly pinning Jay with an O’Connor Roll. Jay comes back and hits Uno with a big boot to the face for two. He puts Uno up top and gets knocked down, but Mark is able to sneak in the ring and hit a Super Ace Crusher for two. Dos breaks up the pin and Mark tosses him to the floor. The Briscoes set up for the Springboard Doomsday Device but Dos superkicks Mark in the face. The Smash Brothers have Jay alone and hit an Alabama Slam Lungblower for a near-fall. The Briscoes recover and hit Dos with the regular Doomsday Device to get the win at 12:38. That was a solid tag team match, but it would have been more interesting if Mark’s knee (or perhaps fear of injuring the knee again) would have prevented him from executing the Springboard Doomsday Device and that cost the Briscoes the match. That creates some kind of intrigue; the Briscoes overcoming the odds for the millionth time and beating everyone does not. I love the Briscoes but they’ve pretty much become the John Cenas of Ring of Honor.
MATCH #3: D-Lo Brown vs. Frankie the Mobster
I’m not sure what it is about Frankie that makes him a mobster. He looks and acts more like a steroid freak on cocaine. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. They stall for the first little bit, as we come to the conclusion that Toronto loves D-Lo Brown. Then Brown stupidly turns his back on Mobster, but it doesn’t much matter, as he comes back and “goes Kobashi” on Mobster. Brown stays in control until Mobster is able to grab him and ram his shoulder into the ring post. Mobster controls briefly until Brown comes back with a Shining Wizard. Both men rise and Brown takes control. Brown hits a high back body drop and then a Ski-Hi for the pin at 6:19. Given how lame that match was and how long both guys were around after this, I’d say this was pretty pointless.
MATCH #4: 8-Man Elimination Match – Necro Butcher, Brent Albright, Colt Cabana & Grizzly Redwood vs. Jimmy Rave, Joey Ryan, Claudio Castagnoli & Bison Smith
It’s pretty sad how Butcher went from fearsome monster to comedy act, but I guess it’s good for his health. Albright and Ryan start the match for their respective teams. They trade holds back and forth, but when Albright slams Ryan down by the beard, Ryan runs over to the corner and tags in the Crown Jewel, Jimmy Rave. No real contact is made, and then Smith and Butcher get tagged in. They trade strikes and Smith hits a little harder this time. Smith backs Butcher into the corner and tags Castagnoli. Butcher comes back with a monkey flip, atomic drop, and a headscissors, of all things. Cabana and Rave are tagged in next, and Cabana immediately takes Rave down to the canvas for a two-count. Rave wastes no time and goes to the corner to tag Smith. Before any contact is made Rave tags himself back in. Cabana immediately takes advantage, wrestling circles around Rave. Redwood gets the tag and he knocks Smith off the apron! I think he caught Smith napping there. Smith tags into the match proper and Redwood avoids him momentarily. Of course it doesn’t last, as Smith catches Redwood and gorilla presses him all the way to the floor! Redwood’s team tries to check on him but the Embassy is there to run interference. Smith rams Redwood into the barricade, and the littlest lumberjack is busted open. He blasts Redwood with a chair. Back in the ring Smith launches Redwood into the turnbuckles. Smith throws Redwood around a little more and then tags Ryan in. Castagnoli also gets a shot at Redwood, who is just getting brutalized here. Eventually Redwood hits an Enziguiri and almost makes the tag, but the Embassy pulls all his partners to the floor! Redwood tries a bodyslam, which obviously goes nowhere. Smith finally finishes Redwood off with a Powerbomb and then the Bisontennial for the first elimination at 13:05. Redwood just got destroyed there.
Smith continues to attack Redwood, so Cabana sneaks in the ring and schoolboys him for a quick pin to even the odds at 13:26. Castagnoli attacks Cabana from behind and the match continues to be a big brawl. Cabana gets knocked to the floor and Albright takes his place. Albright hip tosses Castagnoli to the floor and then follows him out with a suicide dive. Butcher goes to wipe everyone out with a dive, but Rave cracks him with a steel chair. That doesn’t much hurt Butcher, who turns around and punches it back in Rave’s face. Now Rave is bleeding, and the babyfaces work him over in their half of the ring. Rave gets a schoolboy out of nowhere on Butcher to eliminate him at 17:10. Albright tries to pick up the fight but Butcher doesn’t like that he’s out, so he attacks Rave and dumps him into the crowd. The referee counts Rave out at 18:31.
Castagnoli and Albright get in the ring and renew their rivalry. Albright goes up top and Castagnoli kicks him down to the floor. That allows the Embassy to wear Albright down in their half of the ring. They work him over for several minutes, but when Castagnoli goes up top Albright meets him up there and superplexes him down. Cabana gets the hot tag and he unloads on both Embassy members. He gets a couple of near-falls but can’t put Castagnoli away. Castagnoli comes back with a one-armed powerbomb for a two-count. The Embassy hits simultaneous kicks to Cabana’s face and Albright breaks up the cover. Cabana makes the tag and Albright is all over Castagnoli. Albright locks on the Crowbar but Castagnoli reaches the ropes. Castagnoli comes back with a diving European Uppercut off the second rope for two. He executes the Giant Swing and then looks to put Albright away. Albright counters with a backslide for two. He then locks on the Crowbar again but Castagnoli escapes with a roll-up for two. Albright then connects with a Half Nelson Suplex to get the pin at 28:55. Ryan immediately blasts Albright with a superkick to eliminate him at 29:04. Cabana then gets in the ring and hits a shoulderbreaker for two. Nana interferes and Ryan gets a rollup for two. Cabana comes back but Nana interferes once again, tripping him from the floor. Meanwhile behind the referee’s back, Ryan hits Cabana with a foreign object to get the pin and win the match for his team at 30:23. That could have been a little shorter but the action was good and it furthered a couple of feuds.
The Hitman Comes to ROH
Bret Hart comes out and cuts his standard ROH promo, thanking the fans, thanking Ring of Honor, and thanking the city of Toronto. His countrymen are very appreciative of the Hitman, and he of them. Hart shakes a lot of hands on his way back to the locker room.
MATCH #5: Kenny King vs. Kenny Omega
King attacks Omega from behind before the bell, which is good strategy. He controls the first minute or so before Omega comes back and lands a spin kick to the side of the head and King powders. Titus distracts Omega but it winds up backfiring, as Omega dumps King over the top rope and onto his partner. Omega blasts King with a dropkick through the ropes. Back in the ring King distracts the referee and Titus interferes once again, allowing King to take control. That goes on for a while, and then Omega comes back with his usual stuff. King comes back with a spinebuster for two. He wears Omega down with a reverse chinlock. Omega avoids a charge in the corner and goes for a suplex and winds up hitting a nasty DDT. Both men are down and when they get up Omega unleashes some Polish Hammers and a cross body block off the top rope. A Northern Lights suplex gets two. Omega goes up top and Titus tries to hold him back but gets kicked back into the barricade. That gives King the chance to recover, and he kicks Omega right out of the air, and then hits the shotgun knees for two. Omega comes back with an unnecessary flip and then the Stop Sign Enziguiri. He hits a Dragon Suplex, called a Tiger Suplex by Leonard. You’re fired, Lenny! Once again Titus tries to interfere and it almost backfires. King hits the Royal Flush for a two-count. He sets up the Coronation but Omega avoids it, and then King just stands there waiting to get kicked. Omega hits a reverse rana and then a version of the Polish Hammer to get the pin at 11:39. I don’t understand the appeal of Kenny Omega’s character at all, not to mention that there were multiple times in this match where he looked lost waiting for a spot. King was on though, as he usually is, and he did a good job holding the match together.
MATCH #6: Lance Storm & Kevin Steen vs. Chris Hero & Davey Richards
Storm gets a nice reception. Steen and Hero begin the match, and it’s clear that Hero has his sights set on Storm. They start off with some mat wrestling, which obviously Hero controls. Steen comes back with a leg lariat and tags Storm, so Hero bails and tags Richards. Storm and Richards take it to the mat and wrestle to a standoff as the crowd chants “you still got it.” They engage in a test of strength and once again wrestle to a standoff. Storm is able to take both Richards and Hero down, sending the duo powdering to the floor. Steen wipes them both out with a suicide dive and then throws Richards back in the ring for a two-count. Storm and Richards exchange strikes, which Storm wins with a dragon screw leg whip. He traps Richards in an O’Connor Roll for two. Richards kicks Storm right into Hero, who cracks Storm with an elbow for a two-count. Now Hero gets in the ring with Storm, putting the boots to him. Richards and Hero take turns working Storm over, keeping Steen outside the ring. After a few minutes though Storm is able to make the tag, and Steen goes right after Richards with a flurry of offense. Steen hits Richards with a Cannonball for two. Hero breaks up a Package Piledriver attempt but then gets pitched to the floor. Steen hits a powerbomb and then almost turns it into a Sharpshooter but Richards reaches the ropes. Richards makes a blind tag and Hero blasts Steen with a rolling elbow to the back of the head for two. Hero uses the Half Crab just to raise the ire of Storm. Now Steen is the one getting worked over by the former Sweet N’ Sour Inc. (what do you call the guys in that stable now that they’re under Hagadorn?). Hero and Richards use cleverly modified American Wolves’ tag team maneuvers. Steen hits a DDT out of nowhere but still can’t quite make the tag. Hero gloats too much and pays for it, as Steen is able to get the hot tag. Storm hits Hero with a leg lariat for two but then gets dumped to the floor. Richards tries a Missile Dropkick but Steen catches him and locks on the Sharpshooter. Storm recovers and locks Hero in the Sharpshooter as well. Both Hero and Richards make the ropes. Steen and Richards go tumbling to the floor. Hero hits a boot to the face for two. Storm reverses a rolling elbow and locks on the Maple Leaf. Hagadorn tosses Hero the green elbow pad, and Richards breaks up the hold. Hero accidentally levels Richards with the green pad. Storm and Steen then hit Hero with the Hart Attack to get the win at 20:02. That was a rather enjoyable tag team match, and they kept up quite a pace given that one of the participants hasn’t wrested regularly for almost half a decade.
MATCH #7: ROH World Title Four Corner Survival – Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Nigel McGuinness
Aries has been the champion since 6.13.09, and this is his second defense. This is Lynn’s rematch. Black immediately goes after Aries and they take it to the floor. Lynn and McGuinness go at it in the ring, as Leonard reminds me that this is the first time these two have been in a ring together since Lynn beat McGuinness for the title in Houston. Anyway, Lynn takes McGuinness down with a tornado DDT, and then they go to the floor as Aries beats on Black in the ring. Black goes for an early Buckle Bomb, which gets countered, but Black counters back with a dropkick to the face for two. McGuinness pulls Black to the floor while Lynn hits Aries with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Lynn hits Aries with the guillotine legdrop and then a slingshot splash for two. Aries comes back and hits Lynn with the shinbreaker/belly-to-back suplex combo. He hits the IED for two. The champ hits a Gourdbuster and locks on the Last Chancery, but McGuinness breaks it up. McGuinness knocks Aries to the floor and goes after Lynn’s shoulder. He locks Lynn in the London Dungeon but Aries breaks it up. McGuinness tosses Aries right back to the floor and hits Lynn with a hammerlock Divorce Court. Once again McGuinness locks on the London Dungeon and this time Black breaks it up, but McGuinness tosses him right back out onto Aries. McGuinness goes for the Tower of London but Aries breaks it up. Aries goes up to fight Lynn on the top rope, and McGuinness grabs him too. Black comes back in to hit a superkick on McGuinness, who conveniently falls with a double Tower of London, and Black covers McGuinness for two. He covers Aries for two, and then covers Lynn for another two-count. Black fights off both Aries and McGuinness, sending Aries to the floor and wiping him out with a dive. Lynn hits McGuinness with an inverted DDT, and then Black hits Lynn with a leaping enziguiri. Black hits Lynn with the F-5 for two. McGuinness tries the Tower of London on Black, who reverses it to a Paroxysm for two. Black hits Lynn with the Buckle Bomb for two. Aries sneaks back in and gets rolled up by Black for two. Black hits him with a kick to the head but then McGuinness hits Black with the hammerlock Divorce Court and then locks on the London Dungeon. Aries breaks it up and then gets put in the London Dungeon himself. Lynn breaks it up by going to the top rope, and McGuinness makes him pay with a Tower of London through the official’s table! It looks like Aries and Black will settle things one-on-one. Just as I type that Aries wipes McGuinness out with the Heat Seeking Missile, and Black follows with a back flip over the top rope to take out Lynn and McGuinness. Aries grabs the ROH World Title belt and bashes Black in the head with it behind the referee’s back but Black kicks out at two! McGuinness gets back in the ring and aims a Jawbreaker Lariat at Aries but hits Black instead for a two-count! Aries goes for the IED on McGuinness, but it gets awesomely countered to a Tower of London attempt. Lynn breaks that up. The champ locks on the Last Chancery but Lynn pulls him out with a Cradle Piledriver and McGuinness breaks up the fall. Lynn hits McGuinness with the Cradle Piledriver, and Black superkicks Lynn to the floor. Black goes up top for the Phoenix Splash but Kenny King runs down and hurls Black into the barricade. Aries goes to the top rope and hits a somersault legdrop (I’m guessing he was intending to hit the 450 Splash) to get the pin and retain the title at 16:09. I’m not a big fan of the finish, but the match was pretty much non-top balls to the wall action and I can appreciate that.
The Pulse: The last two matches are pretty entertaining, as well as the opener and the big elimination tag match in the middle, so the show has a solid flow to it. Nothing is amazing, but there were no backstage promos or anything like that which is nice for a change of pace. Obviously Lance Storm fans will want to see his match, but truthfully there’s nothing otherwise essential on the show.