Ring of Honor "Man Up" PPV Report
The third Ring of Honor PPV "Man Up" opened up with Pro Wrestling NOAH's Naomichi Marufuji in the ring as announcers :Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak, at ringside, welcomed everyone to the PPV. The PPV was taped in Chicago Ridge, Illinois, site of the second PPV and you can immediately see ROH fixed the background behind the bleachers across from the hard camera shot that blatantly stood out as empty on the hard camera shots of the previous PPV "Driven."
As the announcers explained they would open the PPV with a "ROH signature, the Four Corner Survival", Nigel McGuinness made his way to the ring. Lenny Leonard announced Takeshi Morishima would defend the ROH title against Bryan Danielson later tonight. McGuiness, walked around the ring, came up behind Leonard and took the mic. He said he would be watching the title match closely tonight because his dream of holding the ROH title wasn't over and that it would start right now in the Four Corner Survival. The crowd chanted Nigel's name. McGuinness said he has three tough opponents, but he can beat them, because he's in it to win it.
Dave Prazak said that the second half of the main event would be the Briscoes defending the ROH Tag Team championships in a "Ladder War" against El Generico and Kevin Steen. Someone wearing a ski mask and black clothes hopped the rail and ran up behind Prazak and Leonard. He grabbed the mic from Prazak and began screaming, "Age of the Fall! Age of the Fall!" Prazak motioned for someone to help him and the masked man was tackled down as Leonard screamed to "go to the open! Go to the open!"
A video highlight reel of ROH action, set to the Briscoes' theme song, made up of footage from the previous PPV, Driven, ran.
We returned with Claudio Castagnoli at ringside with Prazak and Leonard. No mention was made of the masked man. Castagnoli said he had a warning for Chris Hero (his former partner) in the match. He said he was coming straight for Hero and would get his hands on Larry Sweeny as well. Claudio said he was going to win the match and get into World title contention.
Chris Hero came out, flanked by Sara del Ray, Tank Toland, Bobby Dempsey and Larry Sweeney. Sweeney led the entourage, speaking to someone on his bluetooth as if he was closing a deal. When he was done, be bragged into the camera that he had, "bought low and sold high. Matt Sydal is going to Vince and I'm smiling like the cat that swallowed the canary."
Sweeney took the mic and bragged that Sweet and Sour, Inc. was there. He promised Hero was going to win, which meant that the next time they were on PPV, their price tag would be even higher. He talked up Chris Hero as the best athlete in Ring of Honor. Sweeney insulted Prazak and cackled.
ROH ran a quick series of "flash cards" noting each competitor's name and what their goals were for the match. Hero was looking to show he was the best athlete. McGuinness was looking to win the World title (aren't they all?). Marufuji was looking to make his name in the United States. Claudio was looking to get his hands on Hero. It was a nice tough, but probably needed Prazak voicing it over to allow some exposition and a chance to make it a little more accessible to someone who may not have seen the Driven PPV.
Nigel McGuinness vs. Chris Hero (with Larry Sweeney and entourage) vs. Naomichi Marufuji vs. Nigel McGuinness - Four Corner Survival to earn #1 Contendership to ROH title
McGuinness and Marufuji start the bout. They go back and forth counter-wrestling. Marufuji leapfrogs Nigel several times and in the end, they have a stalmate and face off. Hero tags in to face Marufuji. They lock up and Hero grabs a wristlock. Marufuji reverses it but Hero kips up and uses the leverage to escape it. Hero showboats and plays off to the crowd. While he does so, Marufuji tags out to Castagnoli. When Hero sees him, he runs to the floor. Tank Toland and Larry Sweeney pretend to be checking on Hero. Sweeney demeans Bobby Dempsey for being in the wrong place.
Hero returns to the ring and immediately tags out to Marufuji again. Claudio gets a quick near fall, then goes for a hammerlock. Claudio goes for several pins but Marufuji gets his shoulder up each time. Marufuji walks the rope like the Undertaker and is shoved down to the apron. Marufuji locks on the Iron Claw. Seriously! Then, Claudio cinches in one of his own. When was the last time we saw that. Marufuji kicks Claudio in the leg, then tags in Hero.
Now that Claudio is hurt, Hero is more than happy to wrestle his former partner. The second Claudio gets the upperhand,. Hero runs off to tag Nigel. Nigel uses an armdrag takedown, but Claudio gets right back up. They nail European uppercuts back and forth. They go into a series of pinfall reversals a la Malenko-Guerrero. When they return to their feet, they get a huge ovation from the crowd.
They lock up and Claudio backs Nigel into the corner. Hero blind taggeed in and attacked Claudio with a kick to the side of the head. Hero props him in the corner and nails a big boot to the face for a two count. Hero hits a back senton splash, then drills a second for another two count. Hero rebounds off the ropes but is caught with a backdrop, several uppercuts and a bodyslam. Hero backs off again but this time Claudio follows.
Claudio nails a double axe handle off the apron. They two battle on the floor. Marufuji runs and dives over the top on both to the floor. You can see a lot of a young Yoshihiro Tajiri in Marufuji. Nigel enters the ring as Hero and Claudio battle into the crowd. Nigel climbs to the top rope and dives into the second row.
Nigel and Marufuji face off in the center of the ring with back and forth forearms and uppercuts. Nigel gets the better of the exchange and beats down Marufuji. Marufuji drills him with an enziguiri, a dropkick to the legs and a lariat. Marufuji nailed a superkick and hits gis finisher Sliced Bread #2, but Hero breaks up the pin at two.
Hero goes for a cravat suplex but Marufuji breaks free with chops. Hero comes back with a suplex variation, but Claudio hits the ring. Hero and Claudio exchange strikes. Castagnoli hits a variation on the Olympic Slam. Nigel drills him with a lariat but Marufuji breaks up that pinfall. All four men are down as the crowd applauds to rally them.
Nigel does his headstand in the corner and kicks Marufuji. Marufuji escapes a lariat and hits a stomp, drilling Nigel into the mat facefirst. Marufuji hits a lariat for a two count. Marufuji goes to the top but is caught. Nigel hits the Tower of London, but Hero breaks the pinfall. Hero chops him in the corner. Hero pulls him to the corner and nails his cravat cutter off the ropes. Hero nails a double stomp off the ropes but Claudio breaks it up. He nauils a back suplex for a two count.
Claudio grabs Hero with the double swing. The crowd loved that. Claudio nails a European uppercut for a two count. Marufuji and Claudio go back and forth. Marufuji drills him with a superkick, then a spinkick to the gut. Marufuji sets up Claudio in the corner for the Van Terminator. As he leaps for the ropes, Nigel grabs him and drops him across the ropes. Marufuji ducks a lariat but is mailed with a second.
Claudio nails Marufuji with a Ricola Bomb (spinning sitdown powerbomb). Hero dove atop of the referee to break up the pinfall. Hero hits a discus forearm on Claudio. Claudio ducks a clothesline but is nailed with the jawbreaker lariat by Nigel for the pin. Nigel is the new top contender for the ROH title.
Your winner, Nigel McGuinness!
A really fun match that mixed a lot of moves you rarely see pulled out today (the claw? The giant swing?) with strikes that wouldn't look out of place in a shoot and fast exchanges and dives. A really fun opener. The announcers were sure to lay down the importance of wins and losses on PPV during the bout, which adds another dimension beyond four guys busting out a ton of big spots to look good.
They showed footage of Takeshi Morishima vs. Bryan Danielson in New York City where Danielson suffered his eye injury. Danielson, wearing an eye patch, quietly said it was one of the toughest times of his career. He said he had a detached retina and a cracked orbital bone. Danielson told a story, saying his mother took him to the eye doctor on Monday to have surgery on the eye and when he was done, his mother was crying because she "had never seen that part of wrestling." Danielson said his sister had called him and was upset over what all the injuries were doing to his family and it made her angry for doing it to himself and the family. Danielson said he was down about the business because of the toll the injuries take on your body and family.
Danielson said he went to his father to talk about his future and noted that he could go to work in (I'm assuming his family's) mill or go back to school, but his father commented, "this is the life you always wanted." Danielson said that he thought about what his father said and said that it was everything he loved - wrestling PPV main events, the training, competing in front of a live crowd. He said that all the injuries are part of the life that he wanted his entire life. Danielson said he was going for the ROH title and was taking it home. He said Morishima wasn't going to stop him tonight or ever. He said his passion was going to carry him through tonight the way that it's taken him through his entire career. He said tonight was not Morishima's night, but his. Danielson said, "I may not be the best wrestler in the world anymore, but I'll prove that I have more heart than anyone else in this sport." The promo started off weird with Danielson talking about his mom taking him to the doctor and his father making him a tuna sandwich, but got more intense as it went on. Promos have never been Danielson's strong suit but this was OK if you look at it from the point of view of an athlete discussing his injuries vs. a larger than life character you normally see in the course of a typical wrestling promo.
Dave Prazak explained that ROH's hottest rivalry between the Resilience and the No Remorse Corps would compete in a best of three singles matches tonight. The Corp made their way to the ring. Leonard said that the Corp won a coin toss backstage, so the Resilience have to reveal who their competitor is first, giving the Corp a chance to send in the best choice to face the member of the Resilience.
No Remorse Corps' Rocky Romero vs. The Resilience's Matt Cross
Outside of the ring, Aries and Stevens gave Cross advice on what to avoid from Romero's offense (his kicks) and what to focus on (flying all over the ring). It reminded me of the corner men in boxing or UFC and was a nice touch.
They start off fast in the ring with chops. Cross fires off Romero into the ropes off a headlock. Cross nails head scissors, then drills Romero with a spinning move, dropping him on his head. Cross teases a dive and a baseball kick before hitting a kick. He follows Romero to the floor and drives him shoulder-first into the ring post. Cross does a flagpole press, hanging off the ringpost sideways before dropping down to the floor with a splash.
Back in the ring, Cross goes up and over to avoid a charge in the corner, but is caught with a cross armbreaker. Cross struggles to the ropes and reaches them with his leg, forcing the break. Romero rebounds off the ropes with a dropkick to the side of the head. Romero chops away at Cross. Romero drills Cross in the corner with a series of kicks. Cross comes back with a kick to the head, then a spinning split legged moonsault for a two count.
Cross nailed an enziguiri. He charges in the corner but is shoved over the top to the apron. Cross hits a springboard double stomp and then a standing moonsault press for a two count. Cross uses a firearm's carry, dropping Romero across his knee. He misses a moonsault, setting up Romero to drill him with several knee strikes and a suplex for the pin.
Your winner, Rockey Romero!
Not very long, but they busted out a ton of hot moves and it was good.
The Resilience's Austin Aries vs. No Remorse Corps' Davey Richards
Roderick Strong hit the ring, so Aries charged in. Roderick backs off immediately, not wanting his former partner. Davey Richards hit the ring instead, so the Corps swerved Aries to frustrate him. Aries shoulderblocked him down and ducked a a kick. Aries drilled him with a series of armdrags before cinching in an armbar. Richards and Aries reverse armbars and wristlocks. Aries ends up with the better of the exchange working over Richards on the mat. He controls Richards with a side headlock into a takeover to the mat.
Aries uses headscissors but Aries finally escapes. He goes for a dropkick but Richards ducks it. Richards goes for a kick but Aries catch his leg and drills him with chops and a shinbreaker. Aries dropkicks Richards, who returns with a hurrancanrana and a kick off the ropes. Aries shoulderblocks Richards while on the apron and slingshots himself into the ring with a senton for a two count. Aries calls for a brainbuster, but Richards hits a Northern Lights Suplex. Richards mocks Aries' swinging elbow but misses.
Aries hits an STO and nails the elbow for a two count. Aries props Richards in the corner and drills him with forearms. He goes for a superplex but Richards muscles him over the top to the floor. Richards comes off the apron with a double sledgehammer to the neck. He tosses Aries back into the ring and nails an over the knee backbreaker.
Aries tries to mount a comeback with several chops but Richards thumbs him in the eyes. He whips Aries in the corner. Aries escapes a teased German Suplex but not a Russian legsweep. Richards nails a stiff kick to the chest. Richards tries for the butterfly brainbuster but Aries fires off with strikes. They go back and forth with strikes. Aries hits a roaring elbow that sends Richards to the floor. Aries does a great running dive into Richards on the floor. The crowd chants "ROH."
Aries slingshots himself into a twisting splash. He hits a quebrada and goes for the brainbuster. Richards lands on his feet and runs Aries to the ropes. Richards hits a handspring kick to the face. Richards nails a hammerlock brainbuster for a two count. Richards gets frustrated over not getting the pin. He calls for the DR Driver but Aries tries to fight out of the move. Richards kicks him Kawada style to the face. Aries hits a shinbreaker and a suplex for a two count.
Aries goes to the top but is caught with a kick to the head. Richards teases a back suplex off the top but Aries knocks him with a series of back elbows. Richards leaps back up and hits a release German superplex but only gets a two count. Richards is mad he didn't get the pin. He attempts the butterfly brainbuster but Aries fights him off. He catches Richards in the corner and beats him down with offensive strikes. Aries charges but misses a dropkick to the corner.
Aries is hit with a running forearm and clothesline. He nails a German suplex but Aries lands on his feet. Aries hits a backslide for a two count. Aries grabs Richards and nails a brainbuster, then hits a 450 splash for the pin.
Your winner, Austin Aries!
Another really good match with lots of stiff offense,. Aries may have the most explosive dive in wrestling today. Lots of attention to detail here with the announcers even saying that if the No Remorse Corps won this second bout, the third match would take place just out of pride. It made sense for Strong to try and psyche out Aries by acting like he was going to face him, then leap out of the ring, so they can hold off on that confrontation until the next PPV and build the grudge.
It's tied one win each for each faction.
The Resilience's Erick Stevens vs. No Remorse Corps' Roderick Strong
Strong goes right after the larger Stevens with chops and kicks. Stevens returns with chops and a back elbow. Stevens catches Strong with the Oklahoma Stampede. He used chops to work over Strong in the corner. Stevens controlled the match with several pinfalls, elbows and chops. They went to the outside, where Strong catches a distracted Stevens and hits him with a back suplex, dropping him on the outside of the apron. Strong whipped him into the barriers outside the ring. He maneuvered Stevens around the ringpost and pulled at his arms and legs to work over Stevens' ribs.
Back in the ring, Strong got several two counts. Stevens fired back with chops but is cut off with a dropkick. Strong covered him but only received a two count after making a cocky cover and not hooking the legs. Stevens tried to make a comeback but Strong continued to beat him down. The story of the match thus far was the inexperienced Stevens trying to come through for his unit while the more experienced Strong controlled him.
Strong began to focus on Stevens' back with several backbreaker variations. He stretched Stevens backwards over the knee, trying to force a submission. The crowd began to taunt Roderick by whining his name. Strong told the crowd to shut up and continued to measure Stevens with chops in the corner. Roderick charges but is cut off with a corner. Stevens hit the Choo Choo running charge in the corner, then nails a TKO for a two count.
Strong hits a chinbreaker to try and break momentum, then suplexes him on his head for a two count. Strong gets distracted by the fans' taunts. He is caught by Stevens with a powerslam for a two count,. Stevens tries to go for the Doctorbomb but Strong worked over his leg. Strong hits an enziguiri, followed by a Fireman's Carry into a gutbuster. Strong hits a pumphandle slam but Stevens kicks out of the pin attempt.
Strong tries to go for the Gibson Driver but Stevens fights him off. They exchange chops back and forth. Strong nails a roaring elbow but Stevens doesn't go down. Stevens is suplexed but gets back up. He nails a pumphandle slam and a sitdown powerbomb for a two count. Strong charges him into the corner. He puts Stevens on the top and goes for a suicideplex, but Stevens gets right to hits feet. Strong nails a running boot to the face and a sitdown backbreaker for a two count.
Strong drags Stevens to the corner and goes to the top. He tries to pull Stevens up by his hair and teases a Gibson Driver off the ropes. Stevens fires back with headbutts and strikes trying to fight him off. He nails a powerslam off the ropes for a two count. The crowd thought that was the finish, then chanted "ROH."
Stevens sets Strong on the top rope and teases a Doctor Bomb off the ropes. They battle on the top rope. Strong nails several stiff forearms to the back of the head. Stevens shoves him off the ropes with elbows but Strong recovers too quickly and shoves Stevens' legs, crotching him. Strong nails a Splash Mountain powerbomb off the top rope, which was doubly impressive given Stevens' size and hits the Gibson Driver for the clean pin.
Your winner, Roderick Strong!
Great match. This was probably Stevens' best showing in ROH to date and Strong looked really impressive as well. The ending sequence was a lot of fun, especially the stiffness of the shots on the ropes. The camera angle was perfect to see these guys were really laying it in.
The No Remorse Corps win the challenge.
Lenny Leonard noted that an "incident" had recently taken place in Hartford, CT and said they were going to take a look at it. We went to footage of a Four Corner Survival match involving Delirious, Adam Pearce, Nigel McGuinness and BJ Whitmer, voiced over by Prazak. We saw Delirious mocking Pearce. Pearce was shown going aggressively after Whitmer, trying to injure him but Delirious made the save. They showed Nigel get the pin after a lariat. Pearce attacked Delirious after the bout. They showed Delirious make a comeback against Pearce and Shane Hagadorn (Pearce's "man servant") until Brent Albright got involved and laid out Delirious. Pearce began asking Delirious if he really wanted to make the fans laugh at him. He said that Delirious hides behind a mask, so they were going to make it permanent and make him hide behind it forever. Hagadorn handed him a staple gun. Whitmer entered the ring. Pearce asked Whitmer if he was going to save Delirious and do someone else a favor for the approval of the idiot fans, or if he was going to listen to Pearce. Whitmer shoved Pearce away. Delirious and Whitmer faced off with Pearce, but Whitmer attacked Delirious, with the idea that Pearce got into Whitmer's head. They went to a freeze frame instead of showing the stapling. Leonard explained the group was now known as the Hangmen Three. I would have liked to have heard the announcers sell more horror over the situation, especially the stapling, but that's just my opinion. It just sounded too much like a newscast to me. Pearce's delivery reminds me of Kevin Sullivan in Florida.
ROH ran a video promo for their website, www.rohwrestling.com over footage of Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk from 2004. They then showed footage of nationally known names who had appeared in ROH including Eddie Guerrero, Mick Foley, Paul London, Matt Hardy, Brian Kendrick before going into clips of current ROH stars.
ROH champion Takeshi Morishima vs. Bryan Danielson
The fans sang "Final Countdown" as Danielson stood on the ropes. They showered the ring with streamers as Prazak ran down Danielson's recent injuries and subsequent surgery. As Morishima came to the ring, Leonard called him the most dominant ROH champion in history, surviving a grueling title defense scheduled in the United States and Japan while being dogged by the Japanese media.
Danielson, wearing an eye patch, charged Morishima at the bell but was shrugged off and drilled with a series of kicks in the corner. He stomped Danielson out of the ring. Danielson returned and went for a single leg takedown but was mauled by Morishima. He worked over Danielson in the corner with stomps. The announcers said that Morishima had stated he wasn't going to go after the eye because he could defeat Danielson without going after an obvious weakness.
Morishima hit a running boot in the corner to Danielson's jaw. Danielson falls to the floor. Morishima follows and the exchange forearms on the floor. Danielson is whipped with major force into the guard rail. By this point, the eyepatch had been pushed to the side, revealing bandages underneath. Morishima charges Danielson and squashes him in the corner of the rails, rear end first. He throws Danielson's shoulder into the barricade. Danielson fights back with forearms and punches to the ear. He nails a dive to the floor on Morishima.
They return to the ring and exchange shots. Danielson finally takes Morishima down with a big dropkick. Danielson goes for a sunset flip. Morishima tries to sit down but Danielson escapes and kicks him in the chest. Danielson ascends to the top rope but is caught coming off and slammed down. Danielson cinches in a triangle choke on the champion but Morishima gets his leg under the rope. Referee Paul Turner counts and Danielson reminds him that he has until five.
Danielson goes for a Mexican surfboard but can't get him over, so he instead drives the champion's knees into the canvas then locks on a sideways surfboard. Morishima rolls over and nearly smothers Danielson for a pin. Morishima came back with several moves but Danielson tried to cut him off with a sleeper, climbing on Morishima's back. Morishima falls down to his knees and collapses on the mat. The referee picks up his arm and it drops twice but he begins to fight back before it can collapse downwards a third time.
Danielson fights to his feet and goes for a backdrop driver. Danielson escapes and lands on his feet, attempting a small package. Morishima escapes. Danielson battles him and places him on the top rope. Danielson nails a belly-to-back superplex but is only able to get a two count. Danielson began beating the champion with repeated elbows to the side of the head. Danielson teases a Tiger suplex but only gets a two count. Danielson turns that into a Cattle Mutilation submission attempt.
Danielson begins stomping Morishima in the face and applies another triangle choke, but is picked up and powerbombed down to the mat. Danielson nails a series of forearm strikes, but Morishima drills him with a lariat for a two count. Morishima nails his finisher, the Backdrop Driver but Danielson puts his leg on the bottom rope to break the pinfall. The crowd loved that and chanted, "Let's go Dragon."
Morishima charged Danielson in the corner with a lariat, then pulled off the eyepatch. The crowd booed that. Danielson went for a small package but Morishima kicked up. Morishima hit a back drop driver, then began beating Danielson's eye with forearms and elbows. Referee Paul Turner ruled Danielson couldn't continue in order to protect American Dragon's eye and ruled Morishima the winner. The crowd chanted, "Bulls***" although the announcers said it was a good call to protect the health of Danielson.
Your winner and still ROH champion Takeshi Morishima!
This was a very good match with a strong storyline that left Danielson screwed in a realistic way that could happen in any legitimate athletic contest while putting heat on Morishima for acting in a dishonorable way after promising he wouldn't. From an in-ring standpoint, this didn't match their phenomenal match at Manhattan Mayhem II but this was a really still, fun match.
ROH showed a series of clips from the Briscoes vs. Steen and Generico feud set to the Briscoes' theme song. They sure are getting a lot of mileage out of that song!
ROH Tag Team champions Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico - "Ladder War"
Everyone brawls on the floor as the Briscoes toss a ladder into the ring. They throw Steen and Generico into the barrier on the floor. Steen presses and slams Mark Briscoe into the crowd. Jay Briscoe drills Generico with a chair. Steen goes to follow Mark into the crowd but is hit with a chair and suplexed in the crowd. Generico nails Jay with a chair several times. Steen and Mark brawl in the crowd. Generico and Jay follow suit with Generico whipping Jay into a row of chairs. All four brawl through Chicago. Since we've had so much wrestling the rest of the show, this is a welcome change of pace.
Jay smashes Generico in the head with a chair. Steen lowblows Mark. Jay drags Generico back to the ring, with welts and bruises easily seen on Generico's back. Steen and Mark continue to battle in the crowd. Back inside the ring area, Generico measures Jay with a chair and wallops him with it.
Steen goes to return to the ringside area but as he climbs over, Mark charges and hits an Ace Crusher off the barrier to the floor. Inside the ring, Generico got the better of Jay, who is now bleeding above the eye. He charged him in the corner with a ladder but missed. Jay drilled him with a series of punches and forearms. Generico comes back with a dropkick while rebounding off the ropes.
Generico gets the ladder from the corner and drags it to the center of the ring. He starts to climb it but Mark returns to the ring and slams Generico off, then kneedrops him. Mark starts to position the ladder but Generico catches him and sends him to the floor. Mark return and shoved Generico under the ladder into the ropes. Generico bumped the ladder backwards and it hit Mark. Generico climbed up but was pulled off by Jay, who hit a gourd buster.
Steen returned and he and Jay go back and forth. Jay tries for a Jay Driller but Steen fights it off and drills Jay over his knee. Steen climbs the ladder but is nailed with a springboard kick off the ropes by Mark. Mark begins the long climb to the belts and reaches the top of the ladder, but Steen grabs his boot and drags him down. Steen and Mark battle with Steen getting the better of the exchange. Mark goes outside the ropes to the apron to back off, but Steen uses the ladder as a battering ram, sending Mark into the ring barrier.
Mark Briscoe returns to the ring and battles Steen and Generico. Jay finally recovers and The Briscoes double Beal throw Generico into a ladder in the corner, decimating the ladder. A second, larger ladder, is brought into play. Steen sends Mark Briscoes out of the ring into the barrier. Jay climbs the ladder but Steen tips it backwards with Jay taking a bump into the corner where the already broken ladder is. That was sick.
Steen lays the ladder flat on the mat and grabs Jay Briscoe. He picks up Jay and nails a belly-to-back suplex onto the ladder. Mark returns but is nailed with a pair of superkicks. Mark keeps trying to fire back but Steen finally kicks him with a lowblow to take him down. Generico returns to the ring and picks up the ladder. He charges with it into Jay's back. Steen and Mark battle on the floor. Generico puts Jay atop the ladder in the ring and hits a split-legged moonsault, hurting himself in the process.
Steen sets up a third ladder, bridging it between the ring and the barrier. Steen and Mark go back and forth with Mark finally getting the better with chops and a kick. They show several replays. Jay hits the ring and attacks Steen but Generico cuts him off with a ladder to the back. They put Jay behind a ladder in the corner and Generico hits a Yakuza Kick into the ladder. Steen powers up Mark Briscoe and gives him a running Awesomebomb out of the ring onto the ladder that was bridged outside. That's just psycho on so many levels.
Steen climbs the ladder as Generico tried to hold back the Briscoes. Jay tackles Generico into the ladder, sending Steen crashing down in brutal fashion. Jay then grabbed Generico with a belly to back suplex. OK, This match is officially nuts. The crowd chants ROH. Mark and Steen jockey for control of a ladder. He slams it into Mark but is caught with a missile dropkick by Jay. Jay hits an exploder onto a ladder on Generico.
Jay grabs Steen and hits a Death Valley Driver onto a ladder that was set up on its side in the ring. Who comes up with this stuff? All four are down as the crowd chants for the Briscoes. Jay begins to ascend the ladder but sees Steen getting up, so he leaped off with a double sledge. He puts the boots to Steen.
Mark sets up the ladder against the ropes, then snaps Generico with a suplex. He puts the ladder atop of Generico, then hits a shooting star press onto the ladder. That's just insane. Jay goes to the top and teases going after Generico, but instead legdrops Steen through a table on the floor. The building chants for ROH.
Mark Briscoes sets up a ladder and climbs up but it's really wobbly from all the abuse. Generico finally hits the ring and shoves it down with Mark crashing down in a scary bump. With no ladders left, Jay Briscoe calls for a huge "maintenance ladder" that's in the back of the building. The crowd bodysurfs the ladder to the ring. I thought that was hysterical - one of those intimate Rocky Horror moments you'd never see on a WWE show.
Mark battles to set the ladder up. Generico drills him with a Yakuza kick to the back of the head. Jay hits Generico with a big boot. He picks up Generico and Mark hits a Doomsday Device, springboarding off the ropes and THROUGH the INSIDE of the ladder. That was awesome.
The Briscoes both position the ladder in the center of the ring and begin to climb the belts together. Steen uses another ladder as a battering ram on Jay and Mark. He sets up the smaller ladder as a bridge between the turnbuckles and the maintenance ladder. He teases nailing Jay with something onto the ladder but Mark superkicks Steen in the face. He nails a second one. Steen looks dazed but follows Mark up the ladder. They battle on the bridged ladder. Steen gets the better of Mark and drills him with a package piledriver through the bridged ladder.
Generico climbs to the top of the ladder and gets to the belts but can't pull them down. Jay Briscoe bridges another ladder between the huge ladder and another corner. Generico keeps trying to grab the belts, causing them to swing back and forth away from him. Jay finally catches Generico on the top of the ladder. They battle as Jay drags him towards the bridged ladder. Generico teases a brainbuster onto the bridged ladder but Jay fights him and nails a Jay-Driller through it.
Jay and Steen climb to the top of the ladder and they slug it out on top of the ladder, stiffing the hell out of each other. They both grab for the belts but the punches keep each other from pulling them down. They continue to slug it out back and forth. Jay finally nails the perfect final punch and Steen crashes backwards through one of the broken ladders. Jay grabs the belts but struggles to pull them down, which was obviously not a planned issue. Steen smartly pulls himself back to the top of the ladder with Briscoe punching him down. Steen tried to climb back to get at Jay but before he could, Jay removed one of the belts and they rang the bell. I absolutely loved the slugout finish.
Just an insane, off the charts, must see main event. I loved the ending sequence as it was just brutal spots followed by a straight out slugfest. The word war wasn't an exaggeration here at all. There were more psycho spots here than I can recall in any other PPV bout this year offhand.
Your winners and still ROH Tag Team champions, The Briscoes!
Fans chanted "Match of the year." Jay finally gets his hands on the second belt. Prazak thanked everyone for ordering the PPV and ran down a list of cities the company would be coming to as they aired highlights from the match. Kevin Steen pie-faced Generico down and walked off as the announcers wondered if that was the end of their team. Generico rolled out of the ring and left.
The Briscoes put the huge ladder down as they celebrated in the ring. Screaming was heard over the loud speakers as the announcers wondered what it was. A group wearing ski masks and bandannas over their face invaded the first row, pushing past fans. The Briscoes began jawing with them from the ring as Dave Prazak said that a group of fans had an issue with the Briscoes. Tyler Black and Jimmy Jacobs hopped over the rails and were immediately identified. Prazak says there had been cryptic messages on the Internet about a new faction coming to ROH.
As the Briscoes were distracted by Jacobs and Black, Necro Butche, with his fist wrapped in barbed wire, hopped the railing under the hard camera and attacked the Briscoes. Black nailed Mark Briscoe with a small package driver. The trio, flanked by Lacey, beat down the Briscoes as the announcers wondered what was going on. The fans at ringside began screaming "Age of the Fall." They cinched Jay Briscoe to the ropes that held the tag belts up and began raising him upwards...and the PPV went off the air. The ending is a bit abrupt but could have made those who weren't aware of the angle wondering what the hell it was all about.
The main event was an awesome change of pace after everything on the undercard. Danielson vs. Morishima was really strong too. There was nothing on this show that was not worth investing your time in sitting down and watching.
Overall, the worst thing I can really say about this show is that there was probably too much wrestling on it. Did I just write that? There really isn't one bad match on the entire show and watching it, there was so much that at times you can't help but be overwhelmed. Since it's so stylistically different from everything else, with a product derivative yet meshing from MMA, Japanese wrestling and lots of old school wrestling territories with a sprinkle of logic (another rarity today), that's not truly a bad thing. The more you love in-ring wrestling, the more you'll love this PPV. If you like some (or lots) of ga-ga with your wrestling, you won't find it here.
I guess the irony of pro wrestling in 2007 is that the alternative to the other wrestling product out there is actual pro wrestling itself presented seriously. ROH put its best foot forward here. It was easily the strongest of their PPV efforts thus far. If you are hungering for literally, two hours of wrestling, order as soon as you can.
Mike Johnson can be reached at Mike@PWInsider.com.