Montgomery County Fairground – Dayton, Ohio – Friday, November 21, 2008

Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Brent Albright vs. Davey Richards

Richards is accompanied by Larry Sweeney, Sara Del Rey, and Bobby Dempsey. Albright starts by going after the arm but Richards kicks his way out of it. He’s determined though, and goes right back to the arm and brings Richards down to the canvas. Richards slaps Albright in the face and then takes a quick powder to try and avoid the wrath. Albright has a blond streak in his hair, so he can join Erick Stevens in the “we used to be boring until we put some color in our hair” group. Richards gets back in the ring and now Albright goes to the side headlock. Albright withstands Richards’s attacks and stays in control. Sweet and Sour cheats to help Richards gain the advantage. He goes to work on the arm, no doubt to set up for the Kimura Lock. Albright basically no-sells Richards, and powers up to hit a clothesline. Both men are down now, and when they get up Albright knocks Richards to the floor. He tries a dive but for some reason referee Paul Turner stops him. Albright almost suplexes Turner for that, but instead just sets him aside and goes for the dive anyway, but Richards kicks him in the head. What a stupid spot. Then Richards gets back in the ring and Albright goes back on offense anyway. Richards makes a brief comeback but gets caught in the Crowbar. He pokes Albright in the eyes to escape and then puts on the Kimura Lock. Albright rolls it over to a pin, but Sweeney is distracting the referee. Bobby Dempsey tries to interfere but it backfires and Albright gets a rollup for the pin at 9:41. Sweeney and Richards are none too happy about the loss, but Albright runs them off before too much can happen. The match was the typical Albright fare.
Rating: **

The World Champ Calls the Shots

Kyle Durden is in the ring to interview ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness. Durden blathers on until the champ gets sick of it and tells him to beat it. McGuinness talks about facing Bryan Danielson for the ROH World Title tomorrow night. To that end, he decides that he does not want to defend the title in tonight’s three-way match against Austin Aries and Tyler Black, especially since neither of them deserves a shot at the belt. I know fans were pissed about this one, and I actually agree with them. They could have had McGuinness say those things in a News Wire, and announcing the match as non-title ahead of time wouldn’t have angered the fans nearly as much. And didn’t he “sign a contract” for the match or whatever?

MATCH #2: Four Corner Survival – Go Shiozaki vs. Sami Callihan vs. Rhett Titus vs. Grizzly Redwood

This is my first time seeing Sami Callihan. He hails from “The Last House on the Left,” which is SO Indy. Grizzly Redwood makes me want to punch kittens. Shiozaki’s FIP World Title is not on the line here thank goodness. Wow Callihan has really awful gear. Titus and Shiozaki start the match, and take one guess how that goes for Titus. He quickly tags out to Callihan, who immediately engages in a chop war with Shiozaki. He loses pretty quickly, so he tags out to Redwood. He starts chopping at Shiozaki’s thighs and attempts some comedy but pays for it with a fall away slam. Shiozaki then tags Titus back in. Redwood chops him down and tags in Callihan. They hit a double hip toss on Titus and Callihan scores a near-fall. He and Redwood work as a team to wear Titus down. Callihan gets tagged in and Titus is able to tag Shiozaki. Redwood quickly gets tagged back in and Shiozaki hits the World’s Strongest Slam. Now Callihan comes in and works over Redwood. Prazak and Leonard argue about Nigel McGuinness cancelling the World Title mach tonight and stop paying attention to the match. Everyone gets to beat on Redwood. Titus antagonizes Shiozaki, and is of course afraid to face him. The match breaks down to a three-way brawl between Shiozaki, Titus, and Callihan. Titus absorbs most of Shiozaki’s offense. Shiozaki hits a Fisherman’s Buster on Callihan, but then charges at Titus, who ducks him and pulls the ropes down to send Shiozaki to the floor. Redwood recovers and goes after Titus. Everyone fights with everyone and Shiozaki ends up in the ring with Callihan. He hits the Go Flasher to pick up the win at 11:11. That seemed way longer than that, as these four personalities just didn’t mesh at all. Callihan really didn’t do much to impress me, but I’m usually willing to give guys more than once chance, so I hope he gets another shot.
Rating: *¼

MATCH #3: Irish Airborne vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe

Irish Airborne defeated Jay and Mark once upon a time. Jake and Dave Crist are dumb enough to turn their backs on the former five-time ROH World Tag Team Champions and they certainly pay for it. The Crists come back with some of their high flying offense and double team moves. That of course doesn’t last too long and the Briscoes continue to be aggressive with their offense. Mark injures his knee on springboard decapitation knee drop. Jake and Dave get a little bit of offense in but the Briscoes mostly dominate and finish the match with a spiked Jay Driller at 7:51. I like the Briscoes becoming heels but unfortunately Mark was legit injured, basically putting a halt to that. The match was good enough for what it was.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #4: Lights Out Match – Roderick Strong vs. Chris Hero

Strong charges to the ring and they’re not going to wait for the ring introduction to start this fight. Hero takes the first advantage and starts striking Strong’s head, which is smart strategy. Strong comes back with chops and kicks and stuff. Hero hits an elbow to the face and a knee lift, and then throws Strong to the floor. He hits a big shot to the head and removes the protective mats from ringside. Hero hits a running boot to the face and drops Strong face-first on the apron. He hits a big elbow to the face, and then sets one of the mats on top of Strong and hits a senton. They go back to the ring and Hero stays in control. Hero tries jumping off the second rope but Strong catches him in a power slam. Hero quickly regains control and kicks Strong all the way to the floor. They get back to the ring and Hero stays in control. Strong makes a brief comeback but Hero knocks him right back down with a big boot. Hero gets a few more shots in, but Strong is able to withstand them and hit a half-nelson backbreaker, the gut buster, and the running boot to the face. Both men make it back to their feet Strong lays in some chops. Hero hits two rolling elbows. Strong makes it back to his feet before the count of 10. Sweeney tosses in the loaded elbow pad, but it winds up in Strong’s hands instead, and he uses it to knock Hero out. Larry Sweeney interferes, then Del Rey jumps in, and the rest of Sweet & Sour soon follows and the referee throws the match out at 16:07. Now, I’m not against screw job endings in general, but booking a match in which “the only way to win is by knocking your opponent out” and then doing one seems a little silly. The match was decent, but a far cry from their last Dayton encounter. Brent Albright runs out to make the save, while the commentators hype tomorrow night’s six-man tag.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #5: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. The Age of the Fall

Steen and Generico have been champions since 9.19.08, and this is their second defense. This is technically the Age of the Fall’s rematch, but Delirious is assuming the role of Tyler Black. They’re accompanied by Allison Wonderland. The two masked men start the match. They go back and forth in the early going, with Generico hitting a big boot that sends Delirious powdering to the floor. Jacobs tags in and approaches Generico cautiously. Everybody trades some spit (it’s not quite as gross as it sounds there), and Steen tags in the ring and goes to work on Jacobs. The champions look to be at ease here. The challengers throw some chairs into the ring to distract the champs and the referee, and it works, albeit briefly before Steen is back in control on Delirious. Age of the Fall cheats to gain an advantage and start working on Generico’s back. After several minutes of abuse he makes the hot tag to Steen, who cleans house on the challengers. Generico and Jacobs are disposed of, leaving Delirious and Steen in the ring. Delirious goes up for Shadows over Hell but Rhett Titus comes out and distracts him, allowing Steen to hit the pump handle neck breaker for the pin at 14:49. I believe that’s the first time that move has ever finished anyone. The match was decent but lacked the urgency of the match from Driven 2008. Titus being involved in the finish also seemed a little bit unnecessary. Jacobs blames Delirious for the loss and implores him to end his issue with Titus tomorrow night in Chicago.
Rating: **½

MATCH #6: Bryan Danielson vs. Claudio Castagnoli

Danielson attacks Claudio right away, but his music keeps playing just until the fans can shout “it’s the Final Countdown!” The fight quickly spills to the floor and Claudio throws Danielson into the barricade. Danielson comes back and does the same, and throws in some kicks and European Uppercuts. I thought there was a 20 count on the floor? Back in the ring Danielson goes after Claudio’s leg. They trade control back and forth several times, with neither guy maintaining an advantage. I’d say Danielson is ahead on points though. He hits the missile dropkick and another kick to the chest for two. He tries more kicks, but Claudio moves and Danielson’s knee gets tied up between the bottom and middle ropes, and Claudio goes right after the injured limb. He uses the surfboard, one of Danielson’s favorite holds. Claudio tries a spinning toe hold but gets kicked to the floor. He tries coming back in the ring via the top rope but Danielson knocks him down and hits a superplex for a two-count. He goes for Cattle Mutilation and rolls it over into the knockout elbows. Claudio reaches the ropes and referee Todd Sinclair tries to break it up and gets tossed aside. That maybe should have been a DQ. Claudio comes back with a bicycle kick for two and then locks on a half Boston Crab. Danielson reaches the ropes. Claudio hits a big European Uppercut and tries the Ricola Bomb. Danielson escapes it and wraps Claudio up in a small package for the pin at 14:23. Claudio is angry about the loss, so he uses a steel chair to take out his frustrations on Danielson’s knee. The match was pretty good, and sets Danielson up as a huge underdog for his title shot tomorrow night on pay-per-view.
Rating: ***

MATCH #7: Three Way Non-Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black

It’s the great title defense that wasn’t. Aries and Black are both pretty angry looking right at the beginning, understandably so. The logic of this not being a title match, with Nigel scheduled to defend against Danielson tomorrow, Nigel already beating both Aries and Black (on pay-per-view no less), and neither of them doing anything to particularly earn it, is really good. In fact, it’s so good that they should have said all of that from the beginning and just announced it as a non-title match. Black stands by and watches Aries and Nigel battle it out. Nigel tries a head scissors but Aries of course escapes and hits the dropkick, and the champ rolls to the floor. He’s content to stay there, and now Black and Aries are in the ring fighting it out. Nigel comes back in and helps Black piledrive Aries out of the head scissors position. He controls both of his challengers in opposing corners. That of course doesn’t last, and he gets ping-pong balled by Aries and Black, so he rolls to the floor. Aries backdrops Black to the floor. He goes for the Heat Seeking Missile, but Allison Wonderland jumps up on the apron so Aries gives her the big babyface kiss. That gives Nigel the chance to come back in and take advantage. Black comes back in the ring and Nigel once again just stands off to the side and watches. He fakes going to the back, but comes back in and dumps Black to the floor and goes after Aries. Black comes back in the ring and dumps Aries. Then Aries comes back in and hits the kick to the head and the brain buster. He rolls that into the Last Chancery, which Nigel breaks up. He throws Black to the floor and locks Aries in the London Dungeon. The champ tries the Jawbreaker Lariat but Aries ducks and hits the Heat Seeking Missile on Black. He comes back in the ring and hits Nigel with a brain buster. He goes up to the top rope and Black knocks him to the floor. Black then goes to the top rope and misses the Phoenix Splash but hits a Pele. Nigel comes back with a huge lariat but Black gets his foot on the rope. The champ goes for the Tower of London but Aries hits the running dropkick to break that up. He then nails Black with a super brain buster to score the pin at a curiously short 12:52. The match really picked up in the last couple of minutes, but it was much too short to really get something going.
Rating: **¾

BONUS MATCH: Samoa Joe vs. Tyler Black, Rising Above 2008, 11.22.08

The professional camera crew makes a huge difference right away; it immediately looks more, well, professional. Joe overpowers Black in the early going, but the smaller and younger Black won’t be intimidated. Once again Joe overpowers Black, but takes a sucker punch for his troubles. Black takes Joe down and hits a knee drop, and Joe avoids a super kick by rolling to the floor. Undaunted, Black hits a big dive onto his surprised opponent. Back in the ring they trade chops and then Joe sidesteps a cross body block attempt. That puts Joe in control and the crowd is enjoying seeing the ROH Legend. Joe knocks Black to the floor and tries a dive, but Black avoids it and tries one of his own. That doesn’t go so well, as Joe kicks Black right in the side of the head. Black rolls to the floor on the other side of the ring, and this time Joe hits the Tope Suicida. He follows it up with two Ole Kicks, something ROH fans haven’t seen in quite some time. Allison Wonderland stops that from happening, giving Black the chance to throw Joe’s head into the barricade. Back in the ring Black works on his larger, more experienced opponent. Joe fires back with some chops but Black goes to the eyes to reclaim control. Black tries a springboard but Joe catches him with an inverted atomic drop, a kick to the face, and a senton for two. A snap powerslam also gets two. Joe hits a powerbomb and rolls it into the STF. Black reaches the ropes to break the hold. Joe goes for the Muscle Buster and Black avoids hit. He hits a head scissors and a neck breaker. He tries a quebrada but Joe moves, so he hits a standing shooting star press instead. A reversal sequence leads to Joe hitting the Island Driver, but Black kicks out at one! That’s pretty crazy. Black is able to hit a super kick (though I hate it when Leonard says “right on the button”) and gets Joe up for God’s Last Gift. Joe kicks out at two. Black hits another super kick but misses the Phoenix Splash. Joe goes to the second rope but Black follows him up and tries a rana. Joe tries to get Black in position for a super Muscle Buster, but Black hits a Pele kick instead. He charges at Joe in the corner, but Joe hits the ST-Joe. He follows that up with the Muscle Buster and then the Rear Naked Choke and Black is out at 18:52. That was an excellent match; a fitting return for Joe and a great showing by Tyler. He’s really mastered the art of looking good while losing. Joe cuts an appreciative promo, puts over the boys in the back, etc. You know the one.
Rating: ****