ROH RISING ABOVE 2009
The PPV opens with Dave Prazak introducing the event from the center of the ring before going into a video montage of ROH talents. Jerry Lynn is almost immediately focused on. This sort of looked like a montage you'd see from the late 1980s NWA TBS specials.
We return to the Briscoes in the ring. Jay cuts a promo saying that Kevin Steen and El Generico got a fluke win over them a few weeks ago in Toronto. He says Steen and Generico may be the ROH Tag Team champions now, but it was just a year ago that The Briscoes were kicking their ass. He challenged them for the belts tonight. The champions came out. Steen said that Mark was injured and could barely walk. He said the champions gain nothing by beating the Briscoes at 50% and wanted to beat them when they were at their best. He put over The Briscoes saying they have nothing to prove after the Ladder War to the fans. The Briscoes didn't agree, jumping the champions.
ROH Tag Team champions Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. The Briscoes
I realized when this match started that with the new production setup, the venue looks exactly the way the ECW Arena shoots used to look for the original ECW. The new crane camera adds an aspect that TNA uses a lot, with the aerial view looking down into the ring. It's an absolute improvement.
They brawled early before it settled into the Briscoes controlling Kevin Steen. Jay worked over Steen before tagging in Mark, who nailed a double shoulderblock on Steen. Steen kicks up at two. Mark and Steen exchange forearms. They worked over Steen in the corner. He tried to escape and make a tag but was nailed with a belly to back suplex. The Briscoes maintained control on Steen in the corner. Mark began beating on Steen in the corner and went for an exploder suplex as Steen tried to elbow his way out.
Steen took Mark out with a suplex and Generico makes the hot tag. He cleans house on Jay and tosses Mark to the floor. Generico gets a two with a Michinoku Driver. He hits the ropes but is cut off mid-air with a clothesline. Mark, limping, nails an exploder suplex for a two count. Steen breaks up a Burning Hammer. Generico nails a Yakuza kick on Mark. Steen hits a frog splash off the top for a two count.
Mark escapes a package piledriver attempt and goes for the Burning Hammer. Mark's bad knee buckled and he backed off. Steen didn't want to hear it and nailed the piledriver for the pin.
Your winners and still ROH Tag Team champs, Kevin Steen and El Generico!
With the champions' win, the Briscoes' undefeated streak on PPV ended.
Jay Briscoe, with a trickle of blood on his face, was pissed the champs didn't give Mark a chance for a breather. Isn't he the "Man Up" guy? He shoved Generico. Mark caught Steen with a forearm from the blind side. All four started brawling and security and undercard wrestlers hit the ring to regain order as they went backstage to an interview.
Match was solid. Even with Mark hurting bad and the shortened time frame, this was a solid match. I think the mindset here was to give them a few minutes to work, explain Mark's knee issues and then set things up for a rematch down the line. This doesn't hold a candle to their previous PPV bouts but when it's in the position of being the opener, the new mindset is matches of that position shouldn't be overshadowing the main events and you can't argue that in my eyes.
Backstage, Dave Prazak interviewed Claudio Castagnoli. They were in front of the type of backdrop usually used for photo shoots in magazines but the lighting was way better than in the past for backstage segments on ROH PPVs. Think 1980s WWF television. I'd like to see ROH invest in a permanent backdrop with the company logo emblazoned on it, sort of like the old Mid-Atlantic Wrestling interview area.
Prazak said Claudio had try to seriously injure Bryan Danielson's head and would be competing in a Four Corner Survival bout later tonight. Claudio said he's been overlooked for too long but once he tried to stomp Danielson's head in, everyone saw how unstoppable he was. He promised to set another example of that tonight. He had a new catchphrase commenting, "I'm Claudio Castagnoli and I'm very European." For some reason, that line made me think of old ECW manager Jason Knight.
SHIMMER champion MsChif vs. Sara del Rey (with Larry Sweeney)
As the challenger made her way to the ring, we had another flashback to 1980s WWF as a Sweeney promo popped up in the box in the left-hand bottom corner of the screen. Sweeney said he was rolling up his sleeves because it was time to go to work. He said he was excited about a lot of things and said Del Rey was the best female wrestler in the world today. Sweeney promised del Rey would regain her SHIMMER title.
Del Rey tried to nail a dropkick as MsChif entered the ring, but missed.
They brawled on the floor and the announcers explained the rules change that
there is now a 20 count outside the ring. MsChif caught del Rey with an
Octopus, shades of the early Owen Hart, and Chicago popped for it. Del Rey
broke free and eventually cinched in a nasty looking Boston Crab. MsChif broke
free, then landed a standing moonsault press for a two count. Nice stuff so
MsChif controlled the bout and got several near fall but was caught and powered face-first into the corner. They wenr back and forth with some solid wrestling. MsChif whipped out her signature green mist (think Muta/Tajiri) but Del Rey avoided it. She went for the Royal Butterfly but MsChif hit her finisher, the Desecrator and scored the pin.
Your winner and still SHIMMER champion, MsChif!
Another solid match. This was the first time the SHIMMER title was actually seriously pushed on ROH PPV. From bell to bell, this was fun to watch.
Backstage, Grizzly Adams, er...Jimmy Jacobs promised to destroy Austin Aries in their I Quit match tonight. He said that he and Tyler Black had a plan in place to insure that Jacobs would never say, "I Quit." Black stood behind him with his arms folded and just gave a slight nod when Jacobs looked to him at the end.
This went right into a video feature on Necro Butcher with the idea that The Age of the Fall treated Butcher like he was a piece of garbage, leading to his babyface turn. Butcher had a voiceover saying his new cause wasn't the AOTF but his wife and daughter and would show what he'll do for his family. Butcher said he doesn't need friends because he had priorities and that's all he needs. An interesting take on Necro but I'd much rather see the crazed madman bloodlusting monster because pro wrestling needs a good modern day Abdullah.
Four Corner Survival - Alex Payne vs. Silas Young vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Sami Callihan
Well, seeing Castagnoli in this match certainly puts over he's been "overlooked" like he said in his promo. They started this mid-ring with everyone offering their hand to Claudio per the Code of Honor. Does the Code of Honor even exist anymore? They then went into a bout designed to showcase Claudio and rebuild him.
ROH champ Nigel McGuinness popped up in commentary again. He praised Claudio
(they've teamed lately) saying he's come to agree with Nigel's world view. As
this was going on, ROH began a heel turn for Dave Prazak on commentary as he
began to side with Nigel's comments, so there's another step towards a throwback
feel for the product presentation.
In the end, Claudio nailed Alex Payne with the Ricola Bomb.
Your winner, Claudio Castagnoli!
Match was solid. Beyond giving Castagnoli a chance to be rebuilt after the focus on his character had gone to the wayside, they also gave ROH student Alex Payne some PPV ring time. To me, this was more about reshuffling the deck a little with the teased Prazak turn, Nigel's commentary and Claudio building a little momentum again than it was about the actual in-ring wrestling but they accomplished what they were setting out to do.
To get over his heel turn, Claudio put a chair over Payne's head and teased
stomping it. Bryan Danielson hit the ring in street clothes. McGuinness called
him a "clam digger" and said he wasn't going to sit there and watch this. He
said he was going to "sort things out backstage." Prazak predicted Nigel would
retain tonight, so he's absolutely a heel now. Claudio backed off.
They went to a video package building the feuds involving Sweet N' Sour Inc. against Erick Stevens, Roderick Strong and Brent Albright.
Sweet N' Sour Inc: Davey Richards & Chris Hero & Go Shiozaki (with Larry Sweeney) vs. Brent Albright & Roderick Strong & Ace Steel
No ring introductions. This is Steel's first appearance on ROH PPV since departing WWE developmental. All six brawled to start the festivities. They explained Steel was Erick Stevens' replacement due to a concussion and if the babyfaces win, they'll get a Steel Cage Warfare match in NYC.
When they settled down, Hero got drilled with a dropkick to the face. Hero was maneuvered into Team Albright's corner, where Strong worked him over with chops. Shiozaki tagged in and began working over Albright. Albright came back with an exploder suplex for a two count. Strong tagged back in and nailed chops but was cut off with a kick to the gut. Richards tagged in, so the former partners battled with Richards getting the better. Steel tagged back in and it broke down into another brawl outside.
As it settled down, Sweet N' Sour worked over Steel for a long period until
he made a hot tag to Strong. Albright joined the fray and they worked over SNS.
It turned into a six man brawl again. Steel hit a dive to the floor on Shiozaki,
taking out Albright as well.
This left Strong and Richards back in the ring and they began beating each other. Strong nailed the Gibson Driver for a two count. Dave Prazak was now cheering on the heels. It would be hysterical if it turns out Larry Sweeney bought him off. Strong locked on a Boston Crab on Richards. Hero drilled him with a chair while Sweeeny had the referee's attention. Richards got the pin on the dazed Strong.
Your winners, Sweet N' Sour, Inc!
No cage match in NYC for our valiant heroes.
The match was OK and solid but nothing spectacular. It just didn't hit a crescendo towards the end, although with the heels winning, it may have been designed that way to be more about putting some heat on Sweeney's crew.
They plugged the ROH website using older footage.