ROH Driven 2008 opened with Austin Aries inside the ring with fans chanting his name.
Aries said he had one goal in his mind and that was to take out Jimmy Jacobs and The Age of the Fall. Aries said that Jacobs likes to crash the party and put forth his agenda, so Aries is doing the same, and that's to make Aries suffer. He said that at the last PPV, they both nearly gave their lives in the brawl they had (that closed the show) and challenged Jacobs to come out and finish things right now.
Jimmy Jacobs came out at the entrance ramp. He said that the difference between the last PPV and now is that as one half of the ROH Tag Team champions, he has the power to do whatever they want. They showed clips from the most recent ROH Japan tour. He said it was their power and The Age of the Fall would beat Kevin Steen and El Generico tonight in the main event. He said that he would still dissect Aries and if he wanted the Age of the Fall, he would get them. Delirious attacked Aries from behind, sparking an impromptu bout.
AUSTIN ARIES VS. DELIRIOUS
Delirious had the control early, but Aries mounted a comeback. Jacobs jumped on the apron but leaped down when Aries swung at him. That distraction allowed Delirious to recover and sidestep a dropkick into a corner. Delirious stomped Aries' lower back. Aries came back with several knee strikes. Aries knocked Delirious to the floor and hit a dive to the outside on both Jacobs and Delirious.
They returned to the ring. Delirious nailed a cobra suplex and hit several Panic Attacks. Jacobs ordered him to continue the assault but Delirious took too long getting on the ropes. Aries attacked him, nailed his signature brainbuster and locked in a Last Chancery (Muta Lock) for the submission.
Your winner, Austin Aries!
Jacobs nailed Aries with the ROH Tag Team title belt, busting him open. Tyler Black joined the Age of the Fall in the ring and began questioning Jacobs since they had a title defense later. Jacobs ignored him and set up Aries on a table on the floor, then hit a back senton through the table to the floor. Black had tried to stop him to prevent Jacobs from injuring himself before the title match, so that may have been the start of a babyface turn tease for Black, since ROH has been building him up as a legitimate singles star with PPV performances the last year. The Age of the Fall carried out Jacobs. Some fans chanted, "Former champs."
OK segment to open the show.
Dave Prazak noted that now that they had some time, they could go to the
Back inside the ring, Larry Sweeney was bragging about being the best sports agent in wrestling today. The crowd was all over him and he told them to be quiet, because they were all about money and ROH was the best place to make money. Sweeney said he he arranged for a special women's attraction and called a brunette he called "Toots" into the ring. Does anyone use the word "Toots" anymore?
SARA DEL RAY VS. "TOOTS"
Del Rey nailed the mystery girl with a kick to the gut and then mauled her in the corner. Del Ray began slapping her down to the mat, then kicked her in the mid-section. Del Ray hits the Royal Butterfly for the pin.
Your winner, Sara del Ray!
Nothing but a squash.
Sweeney sent del Ray to the back, saying there was sushi and caviar waiting in the limo. Sweeney then said he wanted to turn his attention to Brent Albright and Erick Stevens. He said they are contracted to fight Adam Pearce and Eddie Edwards and told them that if they have any guts, they'll come out and fight right now. Adam Pearce took the mic and said that he already burned Albright's face and spit on his family name and there's nothing Brent can do about it. Albright and Stevens hit the ring to entrance music.
16 Minutes in and we're on the third match. Punch Hyperspeed, Chewie!
ADAM PEARCE & EDDIE EDWARDS (WITH LARRY SWEENEY & CHRIS HERO & SHANE
HAGADORN) BRENT ALBRIGHT & ERICK STEVENS
Stevens and Albright hit the ring hard and fast, double backdropping Edwards and Pearce. Pearce tossed Albright to the floor, then attacked Stevens. Stevens fought his way out of it and tagged Albright in. Albright attacked Pearce and began peppering him with shots to the face and head. Albright set up Pearce for a half nelson suplex but Edwards interfered. They worked over Albright, who was selling his shoulder.
Stevens finally made the hot tag and cleaned house on both men. Team Sweet N' Sour were tossed to the floor. Chris Hero and Shane Hagadorn tried to get involved but were tossed off the apron. Edwards was backdropped out of the ring atop of them on the floor. Albright nailed the half nelson suplex and pinned Pearce, getting a measure of revenge for the fireball.
Your winners, Erick Stevens & Brent Albright!
A good, solid back and forth tag match that told a good story.
Sweet N' Sour tried to leave the Arena but Jerry Lynn (making his ROH PPV debut). They showed a clip of Lynn vs. Nigel McGuinness. Lynn thanked Boston for the big reception. Lynn says that after 20 years of being a pro wrestler, sometimes the body tells you not to keep wrestling and that makes you wonder if you are washed up and if you have a shot. Lynn said that he was watching an ROH DVD and say Sweet N' Sour cheapshot his good friend Lance Storm. He said that's all he needed to call ROH and ask them for a chance to see if he still has it against the person that knocked out Lance, Chris Hero. He mocked Hero's nickname of the "Young Knockout Kid" and challenged him to fight right now.
JERRY LYNN VS. CHRIS HERO
Dave Prazak noted that Lynn was ECW champion. Lenny Leonard responded, "Back when it was the real ECW?" That cracked me up. Lynn cleaned house early but when he went for a springboard bodypress, Hero got the knees up. Hero worked over Lynn, who mounted a comeback and focused on Hero's arm. Hero began elbowing his way to freedom. Hero took control and tossed Lynn out of the ring. Hero and Lynn battled on the apron. Hero teased a suplex to the floor but Lynn escaped and dropkicked him off the apron, then hit a dive to the concrete.
Hero slammed Lynn into the apron back-first. He worked over Lynn in the ring until being caught with an inverted DDT. They went back and forth. Lynn hit a tornado DDT out of the corner but Hero escaped a cradle piledriver. Hero nailed his finisher the roaring elbow but Lynn kicked up at the last second. Lynn made a comeback but when he went for the cradle piledriver, Hagadorn distracted him. This allowed Hero to be tossed a loaded elbow pad. Hero cracked Lynn with it and scored the pin.
Your winner, Chris Hero!
Really good back and forth match. It's crazy how good Jerry Lynn still is in
the ring. He's a great addition to the ROH roster.
They showed clips of Nigel McGuinness telling Bryan Danielson that he couldn't have another shot at the ROH title until he had defeated everyone Nigel had beaten, followed by clips of Danielson vs. Castagnoli.
GO SHIOZAKI (WITH LARRY SWEENEY) VS. BRYAN DANIELSON VS. CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI - ELIMINATION MATCH
Castagnoli attacked Danielson as he made his way down the aisle. They battled into the ring and began brawling in the corner. Shiozaki was already in the ring. The announcers noted that if Danielson could defeat both, he'd be that much closer to Nigel's title. Shiozaki watched them battle, then joined in, attacking Danielson. Danielson cinched on a surfboard. Shiozaki came back with several chops in the corner on Castagnoli. Castagnoli took out Shiozaki but Danielson returned to the battle and they exchanged forearms and uppercuts. Castagnoli tossed Shiozaki to the floor.
Castagnoli continued to work over Danielson in the corner. Shiozaki returned to the ring and kicked Claudio in the corner. Danielson kicked Go in the face and Claudio went for a German suplex. Danielson charged, Claudio moved and Danielson nailed Go. Claudio went for a suplex but Danielson landed on his feet. He and Claudio battled in the corner. Claudio cut him off with a charge and elevated him, then hit an uppercut. Claudio started firing away on Danielson in the corner. The referee got in between them and was shoved down. The ref got up and pulled Claudio away from the corner, so Claudio grabbed the ref and suplexed him.
Danielson was hit with the Ricola Bomb, but it was announced he was disqualified. Claudio brought a chair into the ring and teased using it on Danielson. A number of "ring attendants" hit the ring but Claudio laid them out. Several undercard wrestlers came out to pull Claudio to the back, but he fought like hell to get back in the ring, even tossing several of them into the crowd. Dave Prazak wondered if it would be the last time we'd see Claudio on a PPV due to his actions.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch. Shiozaki was working over the dazed Danielson.
Shiozaki nailed a lariat but Danielson kicked up. Shiozaki ascended to the top
rope but was nailed with an uppercut as he dove into the ring. Danielson made a
comeback with a lariat of his own, then hit a butterfly suplex into a crossarm
breaker. Shiozaki then nailed a combination of elbows and locked in the cattle
mutilation. Shiozaki made the ropes but Danielson went back to the well with
another cattle mutilation. Shiozaki teased submitting but made it back to the
Shiozaki mounted a comeback with several clotheslines, palm strikes and punches. Shiozaki went for a superkick but Danielson avoided it and hit an enziguiri. Shiozaki fought off the effects and hit the superkick. He hit a moonsault press but Danielson met him with his knees and locked on his triangle choke. Go fought it off but in the end, couldn't escape and blacked out so the referee called for the bell.
Your winner, Bryan Danielson!
Great match. Claudio looked the best he has in months with his psycho frustrated heel turn. You know you aren't going to get a bad match with Danielson unless he's got two broken legs and a 105 fever, so this was his normal great performance and one of Go's better showings as well. You can see the improvement in Go every PPV, so staying with Harley Race and training at his school is doing wonders for him. Tons of great wrestling here and easily the best thing on the PPV thus far.
Danielson took the mic and said that he didn't care if the World champion was Nigel or Roderick Strong, because he had been denied far too long. He said the champion has been ducking Bryan Danielson and he wants a title shot on PPV, "so whoever wins tonight, you've got to deal with me."
They ran a series of clips featuring stars who have come through ROH to promote the www.rohwrestling.com website. I had forgotten how good Paul London vs. AJ Styles was here until I saw the clip and recalled the match.
TAG TEAM SCRAMBLE - BRISCOE BROTHERS VS. RUCKUS & JIGSAW (WITH JULIUS
SMOKES) VS. NECRO BUTCHER VS. JASON BLADE & KENNY KING
Although this is a Scramble, Necro stands alone! You have to be nuts if you think I'm going to recap all the insanity in this one. The Scramble matches are an ROH staple because they are a great collection of insane spots but it's also insane to attempt to document everything that happens, because you'll never capture it correctly.
Highlights included tons of fast spots and dives, including Necro Butcher (!) diving off the top with a senton to the floor on everyone, Butcher taking a bump out of the ring through a pile of chairs (I was having flashbacks to 2001 CZW in Sewell, NJ), Mark dropkicking a chair into Necro's face and 10,001 insane spots. In the end, The Briscoes drilled Blade with the Doomsday Device for the pin.
Fun match with the crazy stuff everyone enjoys, giving The Briscoes a needed
win to set them up as challengers for the ROH Tag belts while putting over Necro
as a stand on his own insane personality. The chair dropkick has to be seen to
They aired a video package on Nigel McGuinness vs. Roderick Strong. Nigel mocked Danielson by saying he was the best wrestler in the world. Nigel claimed he had surpassed all the legends of ROH and had beaten them all.
ROH CHAMPION NIGEL MCGUINNESS VS. RODERICK STRONG
They started out slow with some good wrestling. McGuinness used Danielson's "I've got until five" when breaking from Strong against the ropes. Crowd didn't like that. They did a series of good counters, ending with Strong nailing a high cross bodyblock off the ropes. McGuinness caught Strong and began focusing his attack on the shoulder. Strong made a comeback with his signature chops but in the end, Nigel was back working on the shoulder.
Strong went to the floor to recover but Nigel followed him to the floor and nailed him with a running uppercut and several strikes on the floor. The crowd started to chant "USA" which I guess makes Roderick the defacto Hacksaw Duggan. The look on Nigel's face during this was priceless. Strong and Nigel exchanged chops.
Back in the ring, Nigel continued the attack on Strong's shoulder and arm.
The crowd started the dueling chants. Strong finally escaped and began
unloading with chops but Nigel caught him with the Divorce Court. Nigel did
his signature handstand in the corner into a kick at the charging Strong. He
peppered Strong with a series of knees to the head.
Strong made a comeback with series of chops, but Nigel cut him off again for a near fall. The crowd really began to rally behind Strong as he struggled to his feet. McGuinness whipped Strong in the corner, but it was reversed and Nigel ate a dropkick.. Nigel went to the floor but Strong dove off the apron with a big forearm smash, then tossed Nigel back into the ring.
Strong began picking up near falls against Nigel with backbreaker variations, despite his hurt shoulder. Strong charged Nigel in the corner but was hit with a clothesline for a two count. Strong came back with a Yakuza Kick for another two count. At this point, it's a really good match. Nigel went for the Tower of London but Strong escaped. Nigel finally hit it but Strong got his foot on the rope to break the fall.
McGuinness put Strong on the rope and teased a lariat but was caught with a powerbomb. They went back and forth. Nigel went for the jawbreaker lariat but Strong caught him with a clothesline instead. Strong hit the Gibson Driver but Nigel got out at the last second. The crowd thought that was the finish. In the end, Nigel racked up a series of lariat and then then used the Tower of London to score the pin.
Your winner and still ROH champ Nigel McGuinness!
Awesome title match. Strong looked great here and it was fun watching the crowd get more and more behind him, believing there was a chance of a title match. Nigel really doesn't get the credit he deserves for being so good as the defending champion that he helps make people mean more.
After the match, Dave Prazak noted that the stage was set for McGuinness to finally face Danielson on PPV. That will tape 11/22 in Chicago and air in January.
A video feature on Kevin Steen and El Generico aired, with a sound byte of Steen talking about how he promised Generico on their first night in the company that one day they would be the ROH Tag Team champions over a series of big spots from the team.
ROH TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE AGE OF THE FALL VS. KEVIN STEEN & EL GENERICO
Jacobs was selling his back from the table senton at the start of the show and retreated from the ring early to stall. The announcers made it a point to put over that the Tag division in ROH actually main events PPVs while other companies dismiss their division. They talked about how Steen and Generico earned full-time spots in 2007 and made their names against The Briscoes Brothers on ROH's first year of PPV.
Steen and Generico worked over Tyler Black early on in the bout. Jacobs blind tagged himself in (Midnight Express style) but Generico caught him coming off the ropes with a punch to the gut. Kevin Steen tagged in and worked over Jacobs, then mocked his back injury, Steen comes off well as a heavy jerkoff jock that is somehow likeable anyway. Steen powerbombed his own partner atop of Jacobs for a near fall.
The Age of the Fall cheated to get control of Generico, working him over with
doubleteam maneuvers. Generico came back with a belly-to-back suplex and tagged
in Steen. Steen cleaned house on Black. Generico and Steen both worked over
Black. Generico went to the top but Jacobs attacked him. They went back and
forth until Generico fought him off. Generico finally dove at Black, who caught
him and deposited him to the floor in a brutal looking spot. Jacobs jumped
Generico on the floor then tossed him back into the ring. The Age of the Fall
worked over Generico while Steen argued with the referee.
They continued to work over Generico, who nearly was able to tag out but Jacobs killed his momentum. They tossed Generico to the floor and continued to work him over. Generico was nearly pinned several times but began fighting them off. Jacobs took out Generico's legs before he had the chance to tag out as the crowd rallied Generico. Generico finally slammed Jacobs into the guard rails outside and returned to the ring to tag Steen to a huge pop. Steen immediately hit a flip dive over the top onto Black, then powerbombed Jacobs onto the outside of the ring apron.
Returning to the ring, Steen nearly pinned Black with his piledriver variation. He went up to the top for a moonsault but Black escaped and tagged out to Jacobs. Jacobs locked in his submission finisher, End Time but Generico broke it up. Black nailed a top rope frog splash but Steen kicked out at the last second, Black was stunned. Steen mounted a comeback and knocked Black down. He went to the ropes but Jacobs attacked him. Steen knocked him off the ropes but was attacked by Black before he could execute his move off the ropes.
Generico hit the ring and jumped Black, setting up Steen hitting a gutbuster off the top rope. Sick. Steen hit a senton bomb off the top, followed by a Generico splash. The crowd thought that was the finish but Black kicked out. Black missed a Phoenix Splash off the top rope onto Steen and was hit with a Yakuza Kick by Generico. Generico tried to set up for a superplex but Jacobs returned to the fray.
Steen fought off the Age of the Fall and locked a Sharpshooter (he is Canadian)
in the center of the ring. Jacobs tried to get past Generico to break it up,
but was thrown to the outside and nailed with a big dive. It looked like Black
was going to tap out but Jacobs finally broke the hold out of nowhere. They
went back and forth with more insane stuff until Black nailed his own partner
with a clothesline off the ropes by accident. Generico Yakuza kicked Jacobs and
nailed the brainbuster for the pin. The crowd went insane as Black screamed in
pain once he was dragged back to the center of the ring. Jacobs ended up coming
out of nowhere and raked Steen's eyes to break up the submission. Wow! This is
Your winners and new ROH Tag Team champions Kevin Steen & El Generico!
The crowd went absolutely apes*** for the title change. A great match and I loved the twist that Generico got the pin here to "prove himself" to his bullying partner Steen as well. The pop here was awesome but I felt like it was missing something. I don't know how else to explain it, but I wish I had been there live for this as usually moments like this (Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe and Terry Funk winning the ECW title) aren't as captured as well on tape or TV as they are live.
Final Thoughts: Overall, another really great outing from ROH, although you have to classify this show as a "lame duck" PPV due to the changes in the creative regime. The top two matches were off the charts innovative, modern day wrestling and while I've written this 100 times, but you won't get more wrestling for your dollar than an ROH PPV. The tag title change will be one of the best matches for ROH's calendar year and that's saying something. Underneath, the scramble, Lynn vs. Hero and the Three Way Elimination were also good, fun matches. The Aries angle forwarded his storyline with Jimmy Jacobs leading into the Chicago PPV as well.
If anything, ROH suffers from there being so much good wrestling that after a while, everything blends together for the same reason that eating steak for a week would no longer be special the 7th night in a row. But, in a world where most two hour wrestling shows feature 20-30 minutes of in-ring action, you'd be insane not to want to order and appreciate the ROH product for $10-$15. In fact, I'd advise ROH to raise the price of the PPVs $5, because anyone who is ordering these things will despite the price, so they should try and get a bigger piece of the pie for themselves.
Another great outing and a solid final chapter for Gabe Sapolsky's creative PPV run here. I can't wait to see Danielson vs. Nigel. If you want good, logical wrestling, this is the PPV for you.