Ring of Honor New Horizons PPV report.
New Horizons opened with ROH Tag Team champions The Age of the Fall in the ring. The announcers weren't sure they were on the air and said the champs weren't supposed to open the show. Jimmy Jacobs cut a promo saying that as the new Tag Team champions, it was a new dawn revolution. Jacobs said that they had the power now and thus weren't going to defend the belts, which upset the announcers. Jacobs said that while they have the power to spread their message, they also have the power to decree that they have no legitimate challengers. He said Mark Briscoe was hurt and Steen and Generico were nowhere to be found.
The Briscoes hit the ring and ran off the champs. Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard said that the Briscoes weren't even supposed to be in Detroit due to Mark's wrist injury. The crowd chanted, "Man Up." Prazak entered the ring to get comments from the Briscoes, who challenged the Tag champs. The Age of the Fall teased hitting the ring, then tried to walk out. Austin Aries attacked Black and Jacobs and brawled to the back with them.
Prazak asked Mark Briscoe what he was doing here. He said he was ready to go and wanted his Tag Team titles back. Prazak said that it didn't look like the champs were coming back and segued to an opening video of highspots while they found "stand by" opponents for the Briscoes.
The Briscoes vs. Mitch Franklin & Silas Young
Jay Briscoe hits a Cactus clothesline out of the ring on Franklin. Young takes down Mark with a rolling Samoan Drop, then hits an Arabian Press. Jay hit the ring and kicked him in the mush. Franklin went for a dive but was caught and thrown off by the Briscoes. The Briscoes nailed a double Beel on Franklin. Young went for a springboard dive but was caught and hit with a suplex. The Briscoes nailed the Doomsday Device for the win. A completely entertaining squash to bring the Briscoes back to the forefront.
This led into a nice video feature on the Briscoes,
showing them on their farm and featuring them as old school country boy
rednecks, right down the rifles, beer and pitbull. Jay said that perhaps
they've gotten a little too flashy for the crowd, so they are going to go back
to their roots. He said they might hit some and miss some, but they are
going to get the job done. He noted the Age of the Fall claim they have a
revolution, but the Briscoes would show them how real men start a revolution,
then showed a shot of them firing rifles into the air. If you were a first
time viewer, you'd immediately get a sense of who the characters behind this
Ruckus vs. Delirious vs. Erick Stevens vs. Shane Hagadorn - Four Corner Survival
The typical fast paced back and forth style match you'd get out of ROH for this bout. Hagadorn, more or less a lackey for Adam Pearce, really seemed like odd man out here. They did a deal where he tried to leave like a coward once Stevens was stomping him but Delirious and Ruckus didn't let him. Hagadorn then did his Daniel Puder Royal Rumble impression as he was beaten by everyone else in the match. Ruckus nailed an awesome moonsault. In the end, Stevens killed Hagadorn with the Doctor Bomb. Solid for what it was designed to be with lots of action here.
Austin Aries hit the ring and said that everyone who's a wrestling fan knows about the old clichéd blood feud, but what's going on between him and Jacobs transcends a blood feud. ROH interspersed clips of the feud into the "live" promo. Aries said that after what Jacobs did to Lacey, this isn't about one man beating the hell out of the other, but about a level of emotional hatred so deep that most fans will never understand. Aries said that he and Jacobs want each other, so he was calling out Jacobs right now. Jacobs appeared in the aisle and slowly walked to the ring but Tyler Black attacked Aries from behind. Aries took out Black and turned his attention back to Jacobs. MsChif, billed as the SHIMMER Champion on screen, hit the ring and lowblowed Aries from behind. Jacobs hit the ring and The Age of the Fall worked over Aries. Jacobs pulled what appeared to be a wrench out from his tights and nailed Aries in the face with it, busting him open. A logo for the Age's website appeared. When we returned to live action, Jacobs was digging into a bloody Aries' mouth with the wrench. Several undercard wrestlers came out and dragged Aries out.
Hey, since the Briscoes wanted The Age of the Fall so bad they came all the way to Detroit, why didn't they just hit the ring and make the save?
As the Age of the Fall are in the ring, Kevin Steen comes out with a mic. The crowd chanted, "Mr. Wrestling." Steen said that they've shown the world how talented they are at 2 on 1 attacked. He asked when they are going to show the world how talented they are at tag team wrestling and asked when he and El Generico are getting their title shot. Jacobs said Steen thinks he deserves something, but all he does is whine and doesn't deserve anything. He said that Steen needs to prove himself. Steen said that he and Generico prove themselves on every PPV but if they want him to prove himself, he'll do it again by facing them both alone. Jacobs teased he was going to wrestle Steen, but Necro Butcher attacked Steen instead.
Necro Butcher vs. Kevin Steen
Necro beat Steen down on the outside, including nailing him with a guard rail. The announcers told the viewers they've been told this will be a sanctioned match as they were going to roll with it and it's now a No DQ match. Necro continued his assault as the announcers talked about Necro doing the Age of the Fall's dirty work. Steen was tossed into the railing but came back to nail him with the ring bell. Steen went to town on Necro on the outside. Necro began choking Steen with a t-shirt in the aisle. Steen caught Necro and hit a running over the shoulder powerslam on the entrance ramp.
Steen tosses Necro back in the ring, showered him with
punches and bit Necro on the forehead. Steen continued to work over Necro,
then locked in a Sharpshooter. Necro broke free and punched Steen with a
big right, sending him to the floor. Necro went for Steen but was nailed
with a chair on the floor. Steen positioned the chair and tossed Necro off
the apron through it. Steen dove off the top but Necro got his knees up.
Necro tossed several chairs in the ring and bulldogged Steen through one.
Steen came back and nailed a Michinoku Driver II through a chair for a near
fall. Steen hit his package piledriver, which looked brutal, for the pin.
Fun brawl. A great example of the type of performers who would most likely never get a WWE deal based on the current hiring standards and how short-sided those standards are based on how entertaining the brawl was.
Backstage, Adam Pearce mocked Brent Albright over the fireball Pearce threw in his face on the last PPV. Pearce said that he wasn't allowed to compete tonight and that was his penance and he was fine with that because he was the NWA champion. He said the NWA title was worth more than any measly pay ever could be. He said that he doesn't care about PPV or money, but about leaving a mark. He said he would leave a scar or a black heart and that's why Larry Sweeney came to him. He promised that Sweet N' Sour Inc. will forge New Horizons. He said that Albright knows all about it. As his promo ended, Sweeney called on the phone.
Chris Hero & Go Shiozaki (with Sweet N' Sour Inc.)
vs. Roderick Strong & Naomichi Marufuji
They showed clips of Davey Richards turning on Roderick Strong and noted that Sweeney sent Richards on tour in Japan. They said Marufuji was appearing courtesy of NOAH. Sweeney took the mic and said Sweet N' Sour is growing bigger and bigger. He said their newest client, Shiozaki, was happy with his representation and tried to get Marufuji to join his clientele. He offered his hand to Marufuji, who gave him the finger instead. Sweeney said he wouldn't allow his men to wrestle tonight and they all walked out, but former WWE and ECW star Lance Storm came out.
Storm said, "If I can be serious for a minute", and told Sweeney that unless he got past Lance, he wasn't going anywhere. Storm said he came to see the "best damn locker room in the business leave it all in the ring" and said he would stay at ringside to make sure Sweeney kept his nose out of the match. They showed clips of Bryan Danielson vs. Storm from a few years back to show he's no stranger to ROH.
Strong and Shiozaki began chopping the hell out of each other. Strong finally won the exchange with a leg lariat. ROH champ Nigel McGuinness popped up in the announcer's booth saying he was back due to all the demand for it. McGuinness said that as champion, he had decided he would be defending the belt next so he could then watch the rest of the PPV. Hero tagged in for a short time before tagged back out to Go. Strong and Marufuji nail a variation of the Backseat Boys' Dream Sequence. Hero tossed Roderick out of the ring but Lance Storm prevented him from being attacked.
Hero and Shiozaki continued to work over Strong in the corner. Strong finally fought off Go with chops and made the hot tag. Marufuji cleaned house but was nailed with a fisherman's buster. Marufuji came back to cut off Hero and went for a shiranumani (The Kendrick) but Hero blocked it. Strong nailed a Gutbuster on Hero and locked on an armbar but Go broke up the submission attempt. Marufuji superkicked Go. Hero nailed Marufuji with a roaring elbow but Strong tagged himself in and scored with a backbreaker for the pin. Another good match. Lots of fun back and forth athletic stuff here. Marufuji is the most crisp in-ring technician you haven't heard of.
Lance Storm raised the winners' hands. Larry Sweeney attacked Lance Storm as the others laid out Strong and Marufuji. Storm caught Sweeney in the Canadian Maple Leaf. ROH caught an awesome close-up of Sweeney's face. Hero nailed Storm with a roaring elbow, knocking him out. Sweet N' Sour Inc. stood over Storm and cackled.
DC Comics' The Unknown Soldier made his debut. No, wait, that's a bandaged Brent Albright. He said that he's not wrestling on the PPV because of Adam Pearce. He said Pearce threw a fireball in his face. Normally, when he comes home from a wrestling tour, his son runs up to give him a hug but this time his son ran away and asked what's wrong with his face. Albright said his seven month baby girl doesn't understand what's going on and cries while his wife wonders how they will pay their bills if the doctors won't let him wrestle. Albright promised that he was going to make Adam Pearce's face look exactly like his. The promo was OK but didn't seem to hit the emotional plateau you would think given he's talking about the effect of the attack on his family.
They went into a video feature on Claudio Castagnoli, talking about coming to America three years ago to live his dream. Castagnoli said he started from nothing to build his way up. He said Nigel McGuinness did the same thing but Claudio isn't someone with a dream - he's someone who's going to be the new champion. Like the Briscoes piece, a great insight into the character behind the athlete.
ROH champion Nigel McGuinness vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Dave Prazak gave a rundown of all the major names that
have put their names in the history books by becoming ROH champion, noting that
Claudio wants to do the same. They had Bobby Cruise do in-ring
introductions for each competitor, giving it a big-time fight feel.
Before I even go into any moves recap, I'll just state this bout is worth the $10 pricetag for the PPV itself as it's just an excellent start to finish top of the line wrestling clinic. After several minutes of great back and forth matwork and wrestling, they really kicked it into second gear. By the time Claudio kicked out Nigel's Tower of London finisher, the crowd popped huge, believing Claudio was on his way to getting the title. Just great stuff to watch unfold.
Late in the bout, Claudio nailed several finishers including his Ricola Bomb and his bicycle kick for near falls. McGuinness kept trying to rebound off the ropes for his jawbreaker lariat but Claudio ducked and snared him in the Giant Swing for another nearfall. In a lot of ways, Nigel is the most underappreciated top champion right now because most online fans are vocal about his work in negative ways but seem to ignore that in every title defense, the fans live totally believe the challenger has a shot at getting the belt. Isn't that what being a good "World" champ is about? It was for Ric Flair.
Castagnoli went to the top but Nigel nailed him.
Nigel went to clothesline Claudio off the turnbuckles while standing on them but
Claudio nailed an enziguiri while both were standing on the ropes. Never
seen that before! Castagnoli nailed a series of moves but Nigel kept
kicking up at the last second. At this point, the only criticism you could
make was that these guys were doing far too much and kicking out of it, but at
this point, that's the ROH style, for better or worse. Claudio went for
the Ricola Bomb again but Nigel blocked it. Nigel was caught going for the
Jawbreaker and Claudio finally hit the Ricole for a two count. They were
doing an awesome back and forth when Castagnoli kicked out of a rollup.
Nigel bounced backwards off the ropes and nailed a jawbreaker lariat for the pin
out of nowhere. That may be my favorite finish I've seen anywhere this
year. Great stuff here.
They plugged the ROH website.
Bryan Danielson vs. Tyler Black
They mentioned Danielson's last month, including appearing at AAA's Triplemania, the biggest event for Pro Wrestling NOAH and a win over Lance Cade in his WWE dark appearance, which was weird, but hey, if you can say one of your guys beat a pushed WWE performer, why not? I just wonder if some fans are so used to wrestling companies lying that they will believe it. The back story here was that Nigel won't give Danielson a title match again until he beats everyone that Nigel has beaten, so first up was Black, since ROH has been building him as a legitimate player and threat to the top names over the last several months.
Again, another insanely great match. If WWE put two matches of this caliber on any PPV, fans would be screaming it was show of the year immediately. McGuinness returned for commentary to scout the winner and was awesome at it. He ripped on the crowd chanting for Danielson to slap Black again, wondering why they won't do that for him when he hits a lariat.
Black locked in a sleeper but Danielson made his way back, then reversed it into a cross armbreaker. When Black struggled out, Danielson locked on a triangle. With the exception of William Regal, who doesn't get to work that style anymore, no one is more proficient in the fluid European mat-based wrestling style than Danielson. McGuinness got off a great line saying Black should tap because it was more important to save himself than win. Black fought his way out of it by struggling to lift Danielson up while still in the triangle and powerbombing him into the corner. The ropes snapped, which wasn't planned. The place went ballistic for it and the ropes snapping only added to the moment.
They went back and forth with exchanges of strikes but Black suplexed Danielson, then kicked him in the face while he was on his knees. Danielson kicked up. Black nailed a small package driver for another near fall. Back and forth strikes as the crowd exploded like they were having a unified orgasm. Danielson finally got the better of Black with a series of elbows to the face and the referee called it near 30 minutes. Insanely good is the best way to describe this one.
Jimmy Jacobs, who came to ringside during the main event, entered the ring to check on Black. The announcers ran down upcoming dates as Austin Aries, still bloody, hit the ring and attacked Jacobs. Jacobs and Aries brawled in the ring broken ring as the announcers wondered if the bout was official. Aries worked over Jacobs with a series of punches in the corner, then nailed him with a series of dropkicks in the corner. Jacobs went to the floor. Aries went for a dive but missed, hitting the railing. Jacobs placed Aries in a chair and returned to the ring for a dive but Aries evaded it.
They brawled in the crowd, which the cameras weren't really able to capture. The announcers said they they weren't prepared for this to go down, which was a nice cover for the impromptu brawl. Jacobs whipped Aries towards a wall but Aries jumped onto some rolled up mats and hit a flying clothesline. Aries nailed a brainbuster. Jacobs locked in his End Time submission but Aries broke it by running himself into a wall. Jacobs tried for a spear but was kneed and caught in a front facelock. Aries began beating Jacobs into a chair.
Aries set up a ladder and climbed it but Jacobs flung a chair at him and pulled him down. They ended up brawling around and up the ladder until they were on top of it. Necro Butcher hit the scene with a chair. Jacobs instructed Necro to nail Aries while Aries told him not to listen. They foreshadowed this by mentioning Aries had been trying to get through to Necro that Jacobs was using him. Necro, not sure what to do, shoved the ladder over and both crashed through tables that were nearby. Necro disappeared as the brawl between the two continued while the PPV went off the air. A fun, gritty brawl to close the show.
Overall, another fine outing for the company. ROH did their best to use editing and inserts to add a different feel to the PPV. I thought the packages on the talents were an awesome addition to the show and you really can't complain about any PPV with two matches featuring great 20-plus minutes of wrestling on top. If you want to check out some top notch wrestling and logical writing (minus the Briscoes' disappearance), you'll enjoy this show.