battle of the best

Differ Ariake – Tokyo, Japan – Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Eddie Edwards vs. YAMATO

YAMATO looks quite a bit different than he did last time he was in ROH. He and Edwards start wrestling on the mat, trading holds back and forth. They get up and trade forearms and Edwards throws in a few kicks and then a head scissors and a running knee strike for two. Edwards stays in control and Sweeney gloats. YAMATO comes back and hits an exploder suplex. They go back and forth and Edwards tries a rana off the top rope and YAMATO ends up taking a scary bump to the floor. Edwards hits a superkick and a powerbomb for two. He tries the 2K1 Bomb again but YAMATO reverses it and hits a brainbuster for two. He follows that up with a very nasty looking head drop (come on Prazak and Leonard, what’s it called?) to get the pin at 12:23. That was a fine exhibition but probably not the best choice for an opener. Sweeney berates his client in front of the entire crowd, who probably can’t understand what he’s saying but they boo him anyway.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #2: Ryo Saito vs. Austin Aries

Aries and Saito start off cautiously. This is a lot like the previous match, as Aries controls the match for a little bit, then Saito controls for a little bit, and then Aries comes back and takes control, etc. Aries knocks Saito to the floor and hits the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring he hits a missile dropkick, but when he tries the running dropkick in the corner Saito gets his boot up. Saito hits a German Suplex for two. They trade some more moves, and Aries hits the brainbuster and locks on the Last Chancery to get the submission win at 13:30. Once again there was nothing wrong with what they did necessarily; it just failed to be engaging on any sort of level. Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black come out and attack Aries after the match and Jacobs promises more chaos to come.
Rating: **½

MATCH #3: Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards

Strong is eager to get his hands on Richards, who has been away from ROH in Japan all summer since his attack. They wrestle to a stalemate early on, and continue to be very even for the first few minutes. Sweeney has no problem interfering on Richards’s behalf to help him gain an advantage. He knocks Strong to the floor and hits a huge dive that sends him way into the crowd. Strong comes back, delivering a suplex on the floor and unleashing enough chops to send Richards back into the crowd. He throws Richards back in the ring, and then throws him right back out so he can hit the running boot off the apron. He runs at Richards up against the barricade, but he moves and Strong crashes rib-first into the guardrail. Richards reclaims control now and works on the ribs. Back in the ring Richards puts on the camel clutch. Strong tries to fight back but Richards is all over him, not giving him any room to breathe. Eventually Strong makes the comeback and hits a back suplex on the entrance ramp. He hits a few more moves, but then a chop battle surprisingly goes Richards’s way, and he puts Strong on the top rope. He hits a superplex for a two-count. He puts Strong back on the turnbuckle, but backwards this time. Strong knocks him down twice, but Richards perseveres and hits the super German suplex and a powerbomb for two. He then locks on a Texas Cloverleaf, and Strong reaches the ropes. They trade control back and forth until Richards decides to suplex Strong to the floor, and he winds up taking a worse bump. Both men crawl into the ring and start throwing forearms from their knees. They get to their feet and continue throwing strikes at each other. Strong hits a couple of big boots and a gutbuster for two. They trade a few more moves, until Strong hits two consecutive Tiger Drivers to get the pin at 25:00. They could have cut that match a bit, because a couple of sections were pretty slow. But for the most part they hit hard and their hatred felt real, so I’d like to see a rematch but I think it would be better in the 15-18 minute region. Strong gets on the mic and promises to win the battle of the chops tomorrow. Can’t his gimmick just be that he’s mute?
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #4: El Generico, Shingo & Dragon Kid vs. Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino & BxB Hulk

I don’t expect to be doing a lot of play-by-play here. Shingo is the current Dragon Gate Open the Dream Gate Champion. Dragon and Yoshino start, and it doesn’t take long for the pace to quicken. Shingo and Hulk are the next two in. They wrestle for a bit and then give Generico and Doi a chance. Team Generico gets the first advantage, as they isolate on Doi. The momentum shifts and Team Doi goes to work on Dragon Kid. Doi and Yoshino rule all as a tag team. Dragon comes back and now his team works on Hulk. Generico is the next one to take an extended beating from his opponents. He of course makes the comeback and makes the hot tag to Shingo. He throws all three opponents around, and Dragon Kid gets in on the fun too. We might be reaching the point in the match where tags become irrelevant. I just assume it happens. Shingo and Hulk have a stiff exchange, and then Dragon and Doi come in the ring for some more high flying fast paced antics. Everyone’s hitting big moves and strikes, and tags are totally irrelevant. The finish finally comes when Generico hits Yoshino with two straight Brainbusters to score the pin at 22:27. That was the usual great stuff from the Dragon Gate guys, and Generico held his own with them. Shingo is just all kinds of awesome, and I really wish Doi and Yoshino could be in Ring of Honor full-time as a tag team; they would be such a great addition.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #5: Non-Title Match –Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson

They show a video package of their singles matches together: Weekend of Champions Night Two on 4.29.06, Generation Now on 7.29.06, Unified on 8.12.06, Epic Encounter II on 8.25.06 (mislabeled as 7/29/06), Driven on 6.9.07 (mislabeled as 6/23/07, but that one is a little more understandable), Survival of the Fittest 2007 on 10.19.07, and Sixth Anniversary Show on 2/23/08 (mislabeled as 2/23/07). Danielson has won three times, McGuinness twice, and they’ve wrestled to two time-limit draws, so this is the champion’s chance to tie it up.

McGuinness goes right for the arm, taking Danielson down to the mat. Danielson responds by attacking the ankle. He gets a near-fall and is able to turn that into a Muta Lock. McGuinness escapes and gets a sort of chinlock on. Danielson reverses that to an armbar, and they’re doing all this with their legs tied up together. They untie themselves and fight in the corner, with Danielson landing a European uppercut. McGuinness hits one of his own. This match has been very tit for tit. Danielson goes back to working on the ankle. They continue mat wrestling, with Danielson probably ahead on points. I find it hard to believe that after wrestling each other so many times that Danielson would fall for the headstand mule kick. They continue trading control back and forth. McGuinness gets the first huge move of the match, as he hits the Tower of London to the floor. He brings Danielson back in for a two-count. McGuinness then puts on a half crab, which is strange because earlier he was working the arm. He goes for the Jawbreaker Lariat but Danielson blocks it and puts the champion down in the corner. He asks the referee to count McGuinness down, and he takes the opportunity to catch his own breath. He hits a German Suplex with a bridge for two. Danielson tries Cattle Mutilation but McGuinness rolls out of it, but Danielson hangs on and delivers the elbows to the head. He tries Cattle Mutilation again and McGuinness cleverly reverses it to a Tower of London. That only gets two. They get up and trade slaps in the center of the ring, which McGuinness wins when he switches it up to a knee strike. He puts Danielson on the top rope and chops him. He hits the big lariat but Danielson kicks out. He tries another big lariat but Danielson ducks and gets a rollup for two. They continue going back and forth until Danielson traps McGuinness in a small package to get the pin at 22:01. That puts Danielson up 4-2-2 lifetime. The match was technically proficient; I don’t think these two could have a bad match together. But without the title on the line and a non-American crowd it came off a little flat. But still, these are two of the best so it was still very good. After the match Danielson talks about his shot at the GHC Junior Heavyweight Title tomorrow night. He asks the crowd to continue supporting ROH, and thanks them.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #6: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – The Age of the Fall vs. The Briscoe Brothers

Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black have been the champions since 6.6.08, and this is their third defense. They attack the Briscoe Brothers from behind while they’re making their entrance, and the fight begins on the floor. Mark hits a pretty sweet belly-to-belly suplex on Jacobs on the entrance ramp. Black and Jay are fighting in one part of the arena while Jacobs and Mark are in another part. Jacobs busts out his spike early. The Briscoes are able to take control of both champions and throw them around the building. They make their way back toward the ring and Jacobs begs for mercy from an impending double-team. He of course gets none, and takes a tremendous beating from both challengers. The Briscoes go for the springboard Doomsday Device but Black finally makes his way to the ring to save his partner and their titles. Jay and Black trade shots in the ring now. Black hits a kick to the head and Paroxysm for two. Jay has been busted open. The champions hit a double team super Contra Code on Jay and he actually kicks out. Mark comes back in the ring and drops Jacobs on his head. The Briscoes hit a double-team neckbreaker on Black. Mark hits the Cutthroat Driver on Jacobs but Black pulls Mark to the floor and powerbombs him into the audience. Jay looks to be setting up a super Jay Driller on Jacobs, but Black stops him. He throws Jay off the ropes right into Jacobs’s End Time and Jay passes out at 12:35. That was a fun brawl but not nearly as good as some of their past matches. Jacobs promises to win the ROH World Title tomorrow night at The Tokyo Summit.
Rating: ***

BONUS MATCH#1: FIP Florida Heritage Title Match – Sal Rinauro vs. Delirious, FIP Dangerous Intentions ‘08, 4.26.08

Rinauro has been the champion since 11.9.07, and this is his second defense. Lenny Leonard and Superstar Sean Davis are on commentary. Rinauro stalls to start and even gets on the mic and threatens to ditch out on the match if the fans are going to make fun of him. They continue to stall and try doing comedy. Very little continues to happen, and Rinauro gets on the mic again and talks about how he’s not a chicken nugget. I don’t watch FIP so I don’t get it, I guess. They continue to stall, and stall, and stall some more. They finally start wrestling a little bit, and Delirious takes control. Rinauro powders again but this time Delirious chases him. They get back in the ring and the challenger continues to control the champion. Rinauro gains control and utilizes his very basic move set. Delirious comes back with a series of headbutts. He hits the leaping lariat and a choke slam for two. He nails the Panic Attack and hits Shadows over Hell. Kenny King, Chasyn Rance, and Jason Blade come out to distract the challenger, and Delirious back drops Rinauro to the floor right on top of his teammates. Rinauro tries a springboard something and Delirious catches him into the Cobra Stretch. Unfortunately for him, the YRR interferes again and this time Rinauro hits the springboard spin kick to keep Delirious down at 16:01. Rinauro’s stalling took up half the match I swear, but once they got going it wasn’t bad.
Rating: **¼

BONUS MATCH #2: MsChif vs. Amazing Kong, SHIMMER Vol. 9, 4.7.07

Dave Prazak and Allison Danger are on commentary. Kong is everything that is awesome and good. MsChif uses her speed and agility to take Kong down in the early going and puts on a Boston Crab. Kong just muscles her way out and throws MsChif around. She hits a leg drop for two. She hits a devastating clothesline on MsChif up against the ropes for a two-count. Kong dumps MsChif to the floor and throws her into the barricade twice. Back in the ring MsChif tries to wear Kong down with the sleeper. Kong flips MsChif down to the mat, and then uses a sleeper of her own. Hers is better though, since she swings MsChif around and drops her to the mat. MsChif comes back with a tornado DDT for a near-fall. She uses the Panic Attack but can’t drag Kong out of the corner to cover her. That’s pretty awesome. She tries the Desecrator but Kong counters to a torture rack. Danger is an awful commentator. Kong goes to the top rope and MsChif tries to stop her. That of course doesn’t work and Kong hits an awesome missile dropkick. She goes to the second rope, and MsChif tries to roll out of the way but Kong just lands on her back instead. MsChif is able to hit a swinging DDT and Kong powders, only to get hit with a body press off the top rope. Back in the ring MsChif hits the double stomp and a standing moonsault for two. MsChif ducks the spinning back fist but Kong connects with a lariat but MsChif kicks out at two. Kong hits a face plant for another near-fall. The sit-out powerbomb also only gets two! MsChif gets an inside cradle for two. Kong hits the spinning back fist and another sit-out powerbomb to get the pin at 12:21. The crowd helped make that a really fun match, but the workers more than did their share, working a female version of Vader versus Flair. Kong is so awesome it’s sick.
Rating: ***½

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