Ring of Honor Undeniable PPV Report
Ring of Honor's fourth PPV offering, Undeniable opened with Claudio Castagnoli in the ring for his match with Chris Hero as announcers Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard welcomed everyone to the broadcast. Fans in Edison, NJ twirled ROH rally towels. They discussed the ROH title match between champion Takeshi Morishima and Nigel McGuinness as they showed clips of them preparing in their respective locker rooms.
Chris Hero's "agent" Larry Sweeney comes out and says he doesn't like the terms of the match so he's having Hero sit out and there will be no Hero vs. Claudio tonight and there won't be until he gets the terms they want. The idea here was that Sweeney had screwed the fans out of not just seeing the match, but Claudio as well because Castagnoli had only signed to wrestle Hero. Sweeney said they were going back to the limo to hold out.
Highlights of ROH's Man Up aired.
When we returned, The Age of the Fall (Tyler Black, Jimmy Jacobs, Necro Butcher and Lacey) were in the ring. Jimmy Jacobs, on the ring mic, said that there was confusion over who the Age of the Fall were. He said they weren't a faction, but a revolution. ROH showed clips of a bloody Jay Briscoe with the negative reversed to mask the gore. Jacobs said they had targeted the Briscoe Brothers because the ROH Tag Team titles would bring power to the Age of the Fall and they needed that power to spread their message. He said they would work within the system to "destroy it from inside out." One could almost hear echoes of CM Punk or Raven in the verbiage, but I don't think Jacobs is there yet. Jacobs challenged "the first team that wanted to make history as the first stepping stone" to come out.
The Vulture Squad, with Julius Smokes, came out in the entranceway. Smokes introduced them and sent them to the ring.
The Vulture Squad, Jack Evans & Ruckus vs. The Age of the Fall, Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black
Jigsaw and Necro brawled to the back. Ruckus went for a dive to the floor, but was cut off by Tyler Black. Jacobs and Black worked over Ruckus. Jacobs nailed some forearms to the back and a dropkick to the back of the head. The storyline was that ROH didn't want the Briscoes and the Age of the Fall in the same building due to the hatred between them, so we'd see a match featuring the Briscoes from Dayton, Ohio later.
Ruckus was nailed with a double dropkick. Black put the boots to him. Ruckus finally nailed neckbreaker on Black and made the hot tag to Evans. Evans dropkicked Black, flipping into a moonsault press onto Jacobs. Jacobs speared Evans but Ruckus hit the Razzle Dazzle, a series of handsprings into an elbow. Black knocked Ruckus out of the ring to the floor. He placed Ruckus in a chair on the floor and Jacobs nailed a springboard splash onto Ruckus.
Evans went for a dive on Black but was caught and powerbombed across the top of the guard rail. The crowd let loose with a fecal chant over that sick spot. Jacobs nailed Evans with a senton off the top rope as Black held him over his shoulders in a Torture Race. They continued to work over Evans until Jacobs cinched in the End Time, a guillotine submission.
Your winners, The Age of the Fall!
A graphic that read "Follow the crowd. Fall in line" aired briefly. Jacobs looked into the camera and promised that they "had just begun."
This was a fun opener with some really good high spots and fast offense. They packed a ton of highspots and innovative offense into it. Jack Evans' body bends in ways that the spine shouldn't be humanely possible to achieve.
They went backstage to Morishima's locker room, where NOAH representative Ken Hirayama (unidentified) tells the camera that Morishima wants them out of there. Morishima throws a chair and ROH uses a camera effect to add to the moment.
They aired a video package on Erick Stevens. He says he has had to maximize his talents because he's not the fastest or most powerful, but he can face any opponent. Stevens says that his first year in Ring of Honor is almost over and now he knows how things work. He said some may be bigger, faster or stronger, but they have to see his "reckless determination" in the ring.
Sweet N' Sour Inc. were back inside the ring when we returned. Larry Sweeney claimed that ROH hadn't made his demands yet, so Chris Hero's holdout continues. He said that he did have good news, which was that they had come to terms to present the first women's bout on ROH PPV. Sweeney told Sara del Ray's opponent, Daizee Haze to "remember who the star is here." They didn't acknowledge SHIMMER, which somewhat surprised me, but I guess you need to build the ROH brand before you can put over the sister promotion. Sweeney's delivery was great a throwback to the old school braggadocios managers. Other than Jim Mitchell, Sweeney is the last of that breed at this point.
Sara del Rey vs. Daizee Haze
Daizee nailed an armdrag and used headscissors to take down del Rey, who slipped to the floor. Daze dove off the top rope to the floor on del Ray and Bobby Dempsey, the ever-suffering lackey of Sweet N' Sour Inc. (Think Blonde Meanie). Haze went for a flying bodypress, but was caught and hit with a Fall Away Slam into a bridge for a near fall. Sara nailed a kick for a one count, but Haze nailed the heart punch (one of her signature moves) and then a running Yakuza Kick for a near fall. Haze rebounded off the ropes and leaped into an attempted waistlock takedown, but her legs were caught. del Rey nailed her with a German suplex for a near fall. Claudio Castagnoli came out and nailed Dempsey. He went to advance towards Chris Hero, but Larry Sweeney cut him off with a double axe-handle to the back of the neck. In the chaos, Haze rolled up del Rey and scored the clean pin.
Your winner, Daizee Haze!
From an in-ring standpoint, you probably couldn't ask for more but a longer match. Everything they did was fine, but the match was more designed as an introductory lesson to the females in the company as they advanced Hero vs. Claudio. It accomplished it's job.
Hero laid out Claudio with his finisher, the Hero's Welcome. The announcers called Hero a scumbag for refusing to wrestle Claudio, but attacking him at ringside. Uh, didn't Claudio attack THEM?
Bryan Danielson's music, "Final Countdown" hit. He came to the ring as the crowd went nuts and chanted his name. Hero and crew scattered from the ring. Danielson said that the lengths they go to for money is disgusting. Danielson said they represented all that is wrong about professional sports by holding ROH up. He said they like to brag Hero is the best wrestler and challenged Chris Hero to prove he's the great athlete he proclaims himself to be, right now.
American Dragon Bryan Danielson vs. Chris Hero
The announcers were incredulous that Hero would take the match after ducking Claudio. The crowd chanted, "You're Gonna Get You're F***** Head Kicked In." The announcers played up that Hero had injured Castagnoli with the Hero's Welcome, I guess to explain why he didn't come out for another attack.
Danielson and Hero went back and forth on the mat. Hero began doing his bouncing back and forth stall techniques as Danielson looked annoyed. Danielson finally took Hero down to the mat but wasn't able to lock on a cross armbreaker. Hero got to the corner then stalled some more by fixing his headband.
Hero's showboating continued in an attempt to break Danielson's momentum, but American Dragon finally attacked Hero and used a double led takedown. He worked Hero into a surfboard, then drove his knees into the mat. Danielson tried to apply a crossface chickenwing, but Hero broke it with the ropes.
Hero slipped outside to the apron. He kicked a charging Danielson, then mocked him by slipping the headband over his own eyes. Hero nailed an atomic drop on Danielson, sending him into the turnbuckles. Danielson came back with several stiff kicks to the back and legs for a near fall.
Danielson ascended to the top rope but was cut off and tried to nail a cravat superplex. Danielson fought him off then nailed a missile dropkick. Danielson nailed a German suplex and applied the Cattle Mutilation submission. Hero escaped. They went back and forth with strikes. Hero drilled Danielson with a forearm as he came off the ropes. He slapped Danielson and cinched in a small package but Danielson kicked up. Hero teased cinching a Cattle Mutilation and began mocking Danielson. That pissed off Danielson, who struck him with a kick, then began nailing Hero repeatedly with a curb stomp. When Hero wouldn't respond to the referee so he called for the bell and stopped the match.
Your winner, Bryan Danielson!
A very good match. Danielson winning via referee's stoppage was a nice touch since that's how he lost to Morishima during the previous PPV. By doing two ref stoppages in a row, ROH establishes it as a legitimate finish to their viewers. Hero's antics really sets him apart from the rest of the roster.
The announcers said Danielson would be watching tonight's title bout with one eye on revenge and one eye on the World title.
They aired a plug for the ROH website with clips of stars from ROH's past and crazy high spots.
When we returned, Adam Pearce was inside the ring. He said that he came with a purpose and he needs to speak to Kevin Steen, face to face. He calls out Steen, who makes his way to the ring. The announcers wonder about the status of Steen's tag team with El Generico. Pearce says that he represents the Hangmen 3. He said they operate on ruthlessness and violence, which is why they took out Delirious recently. He said Steen associates himself with El Generico, who he called a loser. Pearce tells Steen that Generico cost him a tag title shot at the last PPV. He says that he saw the frustration and anger in Steen's eyes after the last show and that Steen needs to associate himself with others who, like Steen, are bred for success.
Pearce offers Steen a spot with the Hangmen. He then presents Steen an "offering" to show he's serious. BJ Whitmer, Shane Hagadorn and Brent Albright drag out El Generico to the ring. They hold Generico before Steen. Pearce tries to goad Steen into destroying his partner. Like the Emperor to Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi, Pearce tells Steen to "strike him down." Steen considers but instead attacks the Hangmen. The Hangman get the advantage but Delirious makes the save. He spouted gibberish on the mic. Steen said that he has no idea what "that meant" but said that only he gets to have fun smacking around Generico. Delirious dove onto the Hangmen. This starts a six man tag....
The Hangman 3 vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico & Delirious
All six brawled around the ringside area. It broke down to Generico and BJ Whitmer inside the ring. The announcers blamed Whitmer's new short haircut on the influence of Pearce. Delirious tagged in, but The Hangmen quickly took control and worked over Delirious for some time. Pearce chokeslammed Delirious. Albright picked him up for a suplex and did squats while holding him aloft. Delirious tried to make a comeback but Whitmer raked his face. Delirious finally broke free after nailing a hurancanrana on Whitmer, making the tag to Steen.
Steen drilled Whitmer with an enziguiri and Whitmer powdered to the floor. Steen went for a dive but was caught by an Albright shoulderblock to the mat. Generico attacked Albright, flailing away with punches. Generico took down Albright to set up a Steen flip legdrop. Steen then hit a running flip dive to the floor on the other members of the Hangmen.
Generico and Steen worked over Whitmer. Whitmer hit a running Yakuza Kick in the corner. Steen nailed a swanton off the top on Whitmer, but Pearce went to break up the pin. Steen moved and Pearce elbowed his own partner. Delirious tagged in and nailed a series of forearms. He nailed him with a several clotheslines and a flying lariat.
Generico missed a bodypress off the top on Whitmer. Whitmer nailed a running powerbomb into the corner. Steen superkicked Whitmer and then drove his jaw into Steen's knees. Pearce caught Steen with a spinebuster. Delirious attacked Pearce, biting him on the ear and nailed him with a running kick. Steen ran in and hit a superkick on Whitmer. Pearce then came in and hit a spinebuster on Steen. Delirious attacked and bit Pearceâ€™s ear and hit the panic attack (running knee in the corner). The announcers said he had lost his mind looking for revenge. Albright drilled Delirious with his half nelson suplex from behind and scored the pin.
Your winners, The Hangmen 3!
Another enjoyable match with a fast pace, some dives and the story being progressed. The promo setting it up seemed a little out of nowhere from a storyline standpoint, but it was fine.
They went backstage to Nigel McGuinness in his locker room, which Nigel called crappy. He said that was OK, because it's not about being a TV star or making a million dollars. He said for some of them, it was about doing something that they loved and always dreamt of doing since they were little kids. Nigel said that by paying your dues, you get opportunities like he has tonight. He said that he has this reputation of being the soccer hooligan from England who headbutts people and makes them bleed, then lariats them and knocks them out. He said the truth is he's still the kid that attended Wembley Stadium and dreamt of being a wrestler. He said he's still the guy who will make him bleed and knock him out. Nigel said the ROH title means something in the business. He said that it means you are the best in the world and when he wins it, it means that the 15 year old who dreamt of being a professional wrestler got to have his dreams come true. A really strong, serious promo with the points conveyed not with B movie style acting or screaming, but simply talking and a lot of heart and soul behind what was stated.
They aired footage of Roderick Strong turning on former partner Austin Aries in New York City last year, sparking the formation of the No Remorse Corp. The announcers reviewed their background as a team and the motivation of finding out who was the better athlete during the ring entrances.
Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong
They jawed face to face at the bell. The crowd mocked Strong whining, "Roderrrrick" at him. Aries was aggressive early and Strong slipped out of the ring to halt that. Aries and Strong went back and forth and Strong went to the floor to break Aries' momentum. They went back and forth with chops and strikes intermingled with mat work. Aries nailed several Japanese armdrags. Strong's chops take Aries down to the mat. Strong missed a dropkick, but was then drilled with one by Aries.
They brawled on the floor. Aries tossed Strong back into the ring and springboarded onto Strong with a senton. Strong drilled Aries with a gutbuster off the shoulders. Strong followed up with a camel clutch. Aries freed himself, but was nailed with a dropkick as he rebounded off the ropes. Strong pulled Aries to the center of the ring for a two count. Aries kicked away at Strong in the corner as he pulled himself up. Strong pulled him out of the corner into a backbreaker for several two counts. Strong applied a bearhug but Aries used a procession of elbows to break free. They exchanged back and forth strikes.
Aries clotheslined Strong then peppered him with punches. Aries worked over Strong with punches in the corner but was dumped over to the floor, wiping out a cameraman in the process. He teased nailing a Gibson Driver on the concrete but was backdropped over. They brawled around the ringside area. Strong tries to whip Aries into the rail, but the whip is reversed. Aries dropkicked Strong, sandwiching him against the barricade outside the ring. Aries put Strong in a chair at ringside and drilled him with a running knee strike.
Back in the ring, Aries scored several near falls He went for the brainbuster (one of his finishers) but Strong broke free. He nailed a backbreaker variation for a near fall. Strong went for the Gibson Driver, but Aries reversed it into a hurancanrana. Aries went for a dropkick but Strong evaded it. He picked up Aries and snapped him down across the top turnbuckle. Aries fell to the floor.
Strong set up a table, bridging it between the ring and the guard rail He tried to powerbomb Aries but Aries escaped. Aries made a comeback and clotheslines Strong out of the ring, then nailing a torpedo dive to the floor. Aries brings Strong back to the ring, nailing the brainbuster for a two count. He goes to the top for his 450 splash but Strong meets him. They battle and Aries gets the better of it. Strong is knocked to the mat and Aries snaps off the 450 from the top rope. Strong kicks up at the last second.
Aries points to the bridged table but is caught by Strong for a near fall. They go back and forth with near falls. Aries nails a roaring elbow but is cut off with a kick. Strong hits the Gibson Driver, but Aries kicks out as Strong can't believe it.
Strong brings Aries outside the ring to where the bridged table is. Aries battles him off and stuns Strong with a kick, then nails a brainbuster off the apron THROUGH THE TABLE to the floor. The building explodes. Aries tosses Strong back into the ring and nails the 450 splash, but comes down drilling his knees across Strong's chest and makes the cover for the three count. Some awesome near-fall sequences building to the table and the finale.
Your winner, Austin Aries!
At this point, this was easily the best match on the PPV with a ton of great, stiff back and forth stuff and a great story being played out. I really enjoyed the hell out of this one.
They went to Dayton, Ohio (complete with a ROH banner over the entrance to differentiate the different venue) for the ROH Tag Title match.
ROH Tag Team champions The Briscoes vs. Davey Richards & Rocky Romero
As they came to the ring, Jay yelled into the camera about the Age of the Fall while Mark promised that the belts wouldn't go anywhere. The announcers noted that the Briscoes weren't allowed in the same venue with the Age of the Fall.
Mark and Richards started off slow with a collar and elbow and some back and forth counter wrestling with armbars and matwork. Richards went for a cross armbreaker, but Mark tried to turn it into a pinning combination. Mark teased a surfboard but Richards escaped and used a side headlock takeover. The announcers plugged that every live event was important and there could be a title change tonight.
Romero and Jay tagged in. They exchange strikes and kicks with Jay getting the better. The Briscoes worked over Romero in their corner. Richards finally tagged in and nailed a clothesline for a near fall. The Briscoes soon took over on Richards. Mark nailed a running drive to the floor in the aisle. Jay tossed Romero off the apron but Romero instead caught Mark with a Thesz Press as he came down. Jay dove over the ropes with a senton to take out the No Remorse Corp.
Back in the ring, Richards works over Jay's shoulder. He tosses Jay to the floor, where Romero rams him into the ringpost as Richards distracted the referee. The crowd chanted "Man Up" as the Corp. worked over Jay. Richards locked on an armbreaker submission and used several kicks. He covered Jay but Mark broke up the pinfall attempt.
Mark finally got the hot tag and cleaned house on Romero and Richards. Romero dove off the ropes but was caught and hit with an exploder suplex. The Briscoes went to work on Richards with a series of high impact moves. Romero tried to interfere but Mark caught him with dropkick off the ropes, snapping an Ace Crusher on Richards at the same time. That was awesome.
Richards knocked Mark to the mat as they battled in the corner but was nailed with a superkick. Mark dove off the ropes but Richard got his knees up. Romero drilled Mark with a knee but Jay interfered. He and Richards went over the top to the floor. Mark caught an attempted kick by Romero. He took him out. The Briscoes nailed a Splash Mountain/neckbreaker combination for a near fall.
Jay went for the Jay-Driller but it was blocked. Jay nailed a Death Valley Driver but Romero kicked up. They all did a ton of insane moves in rapid succession that left the place going nuts chanting ROH's letters. Richards tombstoned Mark and cinched in his Diablo armbar on Jay, which the announcers had been touting early on in the match as a killer. Jay broke the hold after finally reaching the ropes.
The Corp worked over Jay but Mark broke it up. Jay nailed a faceplant off the ropes on Richards. Romero was suplexed to the floor by Mark. Richards was nailed with the springboard Doomsday Device for the clean pin. Dynamite tag match!
Your winners and still ROH Tag Team champions The Briscoes!
A fun back and forth tag match, really shining the light on the Briscoes while taking nothing away from the challengers because of the competitive nature of the bout.
The Age of the Fall bled into the screen with a static like effect as the Briscoes celebrated with their belts. They finally went to Jimmy Jacobs, covered in blood (again with a negative effect to hide the gore) promising it was only the beginning.
ROH champion Takeshi Morishima vs. Nigel McGuinness
They shook hands at the bell. They had a brief feeling out process and then went right into their signature maneuvers. Nigel tried to rebound off the ropes into the jawbreaker lariat, but it was ducked. McGuinness then evaded the backdrop driver. They faced off.
They exchanged forearms with Morishima getting the better of it. He nailed a big boot, sending Nigel backwards. Nigel rebounded off the ropes but was caught with a sideslam. Morishima bowled him over with all his weight. Nigel rolled out to the floor. Morishima followed and attacked him on the floor. Nigel missed a clothesline. Morishima went to work on Nigel's arm, snapping it on the guard rail and the ring post with the announcers explaining that the champion was trying to eliminate Nigel's finisher from his arsenal.
When Nigel returned to the ring, Morishima continued the assault. He smothered McGuinness in the corner, then snapped the arm over his own shoulder. Morishima continued working on the arm, with Nigel grabbing the rope to force the break. Morishima continued to batter Nigel, who fired back with slaps. Morishima drilled a huge forearm that knocked Nigel to the mat. Morishima hit a running boot in the corner. He battered Nigel in the corner for several two counts and they teased Nigel was out on his feet.
Morishima went for the backdrop driver but Nigel shifted his weight and got a brief cover. Nigel made a comeback with a stiff uppercut and a lariat for a near fall. Morishima battled back with strikes of his own. Morishima drilled a lariat and a missile dropkick for a near fall. He went for the backdrop driver. This time, Nigel attempted a sunset flip but Morishima collapsed down across his chest for another near fall.
Morishima went to the top rope for something but was caught with a clothesline as he came off the top. The crowd started to chant Nigel's name. Morishima reversed an Irish Whip into the corner. Nigel went for the handstand kick but upside down in the corner, was hit with a big boot to the face. Morishima hit the backdrop driver finally, but Nigel kicked up. That woke the crowd up and they began chanting his name.
Morishima went to the top but was caught by Nigel. Nigel went for the Tower of London but couldn't get him. He instead goes for a superplex and nails it for a two count. Nigel nails a lariat but Morishima is only staggered. He beats Morishima with lariat after lariat but the champion drills him with a monstrous one. Nigel rolls through a backdrop driver attempt and hits the jawbreaker lariat for a two count. The crowd boos Morishima getting out of the pin, blaming the referee.
The crowd rallies Nigel, chanting his name. Nigel goes to the top rope but is caught by Morishima. He tries for a backdrop driver off the top but Nigel evades it and hits a sunset flip powerbomb into the ring. Morishima gets his shoulder up at two. Nigel blocks several strikes and comes back with his own. McGuinness nails a lariat but Morishima kicked up at one. Nigel hits the rebound into the jawbreaker and pins Morishima clean in the center of the ring. The place goes nuts.
Your winner and new ROH champion, Nigel McGuinness!
A great back and forth match. Morishima is great at making performers mean more by the time he is done wrestling them. In the case of McGuinness, who is already a great worker, this worked even better. They told a good story built around the shoulder, so the drama and near falls at the end complimented the stiff work. I think the match (and post-match atmosphere) came across better live when I attended the PPV taping, but still, this is a dynamite match.
ROH's roster hit the ring for a big celebration.. Bryan Danielson got in Nigel's face, saying it was his belt. Austin Aries tried to stop him but Danielson pie-faced him and then Nigel. There was a brief pull apart. Once that settled down, Morishima awarded Nigel the belt. They slightly teased an Aries-Nigel deal when Aries congratulated him as well. The show went off the air with Nigel celebrating with his hard fought championship.
Overall, once again, the company gives far more bang than you get for your buck. The top two matches, the tremendous grudge match between Aries and Strong and McGuinness' crowning as the new kingpin of the company over Morishima, are worth the price of admission alone. Based on in-ring quality, ROH is already on top of the best PPV race for 2008.
Was this as blow away awesome as the Man Up PPV? No, but the match that topped that show isn't the type of spectacle you expect to see every time. The first hour of the show was good wrestling that progressed storylines and built for the future and the second half was all balls to the wall wrestling that told good stories. For $10, you certainly can't go wrong ordering this show - it's wrestling treated seriously, athletically, and logically.