gateway

Gateway Center – Collinsville, Illinois – Friday, December 5, 2008

Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Kenny King vs. Kenny Omega

These two had a falling out in their only match together as a tag team. I greatly prefer one Kenny to the other. King gets the first offensive maneuver, a nice arm drag. Omega comes back with an arm drag of his own. Some stupid posing gives King the chance to boot him in the gut and put on the side headlock, and then hits a shoulder block. Omega comes back and hits a dropkick, sending King to the floor. King avoids the first dive attempt but gloats about it so Omega hits him on the second attempt. Omega tries an Asai Moonsault but King sweeps his leg out from under him, and then throws him into the barricade. Back in the ring King stomps away on Omega in the corner. King stays in control and thwarts Omega’s comeback attempts. Omega finally fires up and makes the comeback, and hits that modified Fame-Ass-Er he does for a two-count. He does a lot of flips and whatnots, and then hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Omega goes up top and King knocks him down and tries a superplex. King gets tossed down but comes back with a leaping kick to the face. A fireman’s carry into a uranage slam gets two for King. King tries the Coronation, but Omega escapes it and hits that stupid, stupid, stupid Stop Sign enziguiri. That’s the single most annoying move in ROH. King recovers and tries another spinning slam but Omega counters into a crucifix to get the pin at 9:29. The match was a fine opener, but Omega is my least favorite wrestler on the roster now that Ruckus is gone.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #2: Sal Rinauro & Rhett Titus vs. Grizzly Redwood & Bushwhacker Luke

Rinauro and Titus attack their opponents before the bell, but they both get quickly dumped to the floor. Titus kisses Rinauro’s boo-boo to make it all better. Luke and Titus get back in the ring to start the match proper. They do some basic back and forth and some comedy spots. Rinauro gets tagged in but doesn’t realize that you can’t hurt Luke’s head with a turnbuckle. Titus comes back in and continues to go to work on the former Sheepherder. They keep Luke isolated in their half of the ring, until Redwood illegally enters the ring behind the referee’s back, and Luke is then able to make the hot tag. They do some more alleged comedy, and Redwood hits a flapjack on Titus for a near-fall. Redwood hits another flapjack, this one on Rinauro, and then the suspenders come down. They hit the Human Battering Ram on Rinauro. Redwood comes off the top rope with a cross body on Titus, but Titus is able to roll it over and grab a handful of jeans to secure the pin at 7:39. I believe I’ve said before that Grizzly Redwood doesn’t do much for me.
Rating: ¾*

MATCH #3: Tag Team Gauntlet Match – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Brent Albright & Erick Stevens vs. Sweet & Sour Inc. vs. Irish Airborne

I used to rate gauntlet matches individually, but from this day forward I will rate it as one complete match at the end.

It looks like Irish Airborne and the team of Brent Albright & Erick Stevens drew the first two spots in the gauntlet. The winner of this gauntlet series will face Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kensuke Sasaki coming up at Final Battle 2008 in New York City. Albright and Dave start the match, and Albright dominates enough that Dave quickly tags out to Jake. Stevens comes in and starts throwing chops. It’s all Albright and Stevens here. Prazak and Leonard have this weird fascination with talking about how the new hairstyles that Stevens and Albright have are the only thing that makes them different from each other. It makes them sound like jobbers with dye in their hair. Irish Airborne has gotten almost no offense in this entire match. Just as I type that they take control of Albright and try wearing him down in their corner. That doesn’t last too long before Stevens gets the hot tag and starts throwing Crist brothers around the ring. Albright tags back in and hits Jake with a Half Nelson Suplex to get the pin at 7:40. That was a little long given that no one thought Irish Airborne stood a chance, but it was okay.

The Briscoe Brothers’ music hits, but Sweet & Sour Inc. comes out to attack from behind! It’s Stevens & Albright versus Davey Richards & Bobby Dempsey now. Dempsey is incredibly over here. Even so, the guy still looks completely clueless. He misses a big splash and tags Richards back in. He’s able to mostly control both Stevens and Albright, and even mixes in some abuse of his own tag team partner. Stevens makes the sort of hot tag to Albright, who throws Richards around with ease. Dempsey tries hard but keeps making mistakes. Albright puts on the Crowbar, and Dempsey inadvertently breaks up the hold. More chicanery leads to Sweeney putting his cowboy boot in the ring, which Stevens gets a hold of. He hits Richards with it, and referee Todd Sinclair sees it for the DQ at 6:13 (13:53 total match time).

The Briscoe Brothers are out for real this time. They push Dempsey over and immediately go to work on Richards. Mark goes for a cover on Richards, and Dempsey breaks it up. He avoids a beating though, leaving Jay and Richards in the ring. Somehow Mark becomes the legal man and Richards goes to work on him. Dempsey gets tagged in and this time hits the big splash for a two-count. I know the Dempsey character is over and all, but he’s just brutal in the ring. Mark finally makes the hot tag to Jay, who boots Richards in the face and then knocks Dempsey to the floor. Richards hits an enziguiri but then is the victim of a spinebuster. Mark gets tagged in and trades kicks with Richards. A German suplex gets two for Richards. Prazak’s mockery of hyping Bobby Dempsey versus Kensuke Sasaki just makes it apparent how pointless this entire match is. Dempsey gets tagged in and knocks Jay off the apron, and then hits an Alabama Slam on Mark. He follows up with the Dempsey (Vader) Bomb, but Jay breaks up the cover. Richards tags in and goes for the DR Driver, but gets hit with an Exploder from Mark instead. Jay comes in and goes for the Jay Driller. Dempsey comes in and accidentally clotheslines Richards, allowing Jay to hit the Jay Driller to get the pin at 6:53 (20:46 total match time). Really, why not just announce that the Briscoes would get to face Sasaki & Nakajima, it’s not like anyone would complain. I know they’re trying to further the Bobby Dempsey storyline, but did anyone think he or the Irish Airborne would have a shot at winning? After the match, Sweeney abuses the hapless Dempsey.
Rating: **

MATCH #4: Necro Butcher & Ace Steel vs. The Age of the Fall

Jimmy Jacobs & Delirious are representing AOTF tonight. They attack before the bell, with Jacobs going after Necro and Delirious pairing off with Steel. The good guys come back with the do-si-do and dump Jacobs to the floor. They double team Delirious as the referee makes no attempt to keep one legal man in the ring. Jacobs and Delirious regroup outside the ring, and we wind up with Jacobs going in the ring to start the match proper with Steel. He tries to bail again but Necro sends him back to the ring. Steel gets a few moves in before Jacobs hits a chinbreaker and tags Delirious. He charges in but Steel hits a backbreaker and tags in Necro. He executes a couple of monkey flips and tags Steel back in. They’ve got Delirious isolated in their half of the ring. Jacobs tries to interfere but it backfires, and he winds up in a Necro abdominal stretch while Steel has the same hold on Delirious. Steel goes after Jacobs, but he’s more concerned with spearing Necro to the floor. Back in the ring Delirious gains the advantage and now AOTF have him isolated in their corner. Necro makes a comeback and the battle spills to the floor for some reason. They’ve been outside a lot longer than 20 seconds for sure. Necro tries to powerbomb Delirious through one of the nice chairs from ringside (seriously, most comfortable venue I’ve ever been to), but Delirious avoids it and hits the Panic Attack up against the guardrail. Those two get back in the ring finally, but referee Paul Turner is concerned with Jacobs and Steel on the floor. Necro once again tries a powerbomb onto the chair, and Delirious backdrops him, and then goes to save Jacobs on the floor. They throw Steel through a table, and why isn’t that a disqualification? Back in the ring Jacobs hands Delirious the spike and tells him to use it on Necro. Daizee Haze runs out and tries to convince Delirious not to use the weapon. The distraction allows the good guys to recover, and Delirious drops the spike. He jumps off the top rope and gets caught with a chokeslam. Necro finishes the match with the Tiger Driver on Delirious at 16:00. The rules got thrown out the window, so why not just officially make it a no-DQ match? The Necro versus Age of the Fall feud has absolutely no direction, and this match didn’t really either up until the Daizee Haze run-in.
Rating: **½

MATCH #5: Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black

Aries starts to cut a promo, and some fans chant “put the mic down,” and Aries takes personal offense. He says the usual “you paid to see me” stuff, and then moves on to Tyler Black. He tries to drive a wedge between Jacobs and Black, just like he did with Jacobs and Necro. He calls him “green behind the ears,” but that’s not really a saying. He wants to put the hatred he has for Jimmy Jacobs aside and have a good old fashioned wrestling match with Black, who apparently agrees.

They take it to the mat right away with holds and reversals. They both look for some of their signature maneuvers but they’re both able to avoid them. Black regroups on the floor, but Aries follows him out and aggressively elbows Black and knees him in the face. Back in the ring Aries gets a cover for just one. Aries remains in control, locking on a head scissors, working on the neck. Periodic covers result in some near falls. They fight over to the apron, where Aries tries the Death Valley Driver, but Black reverses it to a neckbreaker. Back in the ring enough time has passed where Aries is able to kick out at one. Black now works on Aries, getting several near-falls of his own. Aries makes a brief comeback, but Black counters him with Snake Eyes and a belly-to-back suplex for two. Black controls for a few more minutes before Aries makes the comeback for real. He gets a couple of near-falls but can’t quite put Black away. Black comes back with a kick to the head and the Buckle Bomb for two. He goes up for the Phoenix Splash but Aries knocks him down to the apron. Aries gets the advantage and pulls Black into the ring with a nice neckbreaker. Black gets to his feet and Aries hits the running dropkick in the corner, sending Black to the floor. Aries follows him out with the Heat Seeking Missile, and quickly rolls Black into the ring for a near-fall. He locks on the Last Chancery and Black slips out. Aries locks it on again and Black once again escapes. He goes for the brainbuster but can’t get him all the way up. Black comes back with a Pele, which Aries sells by not selling, and hits a kick to the head of his own. He goes for the brainbuster but Black counters to God’s Last Gift for the pin at 15:49. These two are both good and all, but all of their matches feel exactly the same. Aries has a weird smile on his face as he walks to the back.
Rating: ***

MATCH #6: Bryan Danielson & Jerry Lynn vs. Nigel McGuinness & Claudio Castagnoli

Nigel and Lynn start the match, which is a preview for tomorrow night when Nigel will defend the title against the former ECW World Champion. They trade holds and counters, and Lynn keeps pace with the champion. Yeah, that makes sense. Is one of Leonard or Prazak contractually obligated to mock the current ECW at least once on every DVD? Not much happens and Nigel tags Claudio into the match. Lynn responds by tagging in Danielson. Claudio doesn’t want to fight his rival, so he tags in the World Champion. Everyone continues mostly stalling, especially Team Europe. Claudio continually avoids Danielson, relying on Nigel to fight Danielson. Lynn and Danielson execute some effective double teams and the heels stall again. They’re finally able to take advantage of Lynn in their corner. They wear him down for several minutes, until Lynn makes the hot tag to Danielson, who is the proverbial house afire, particularly on Claudio. Nigel interferes behind the referee’s back to swing the advantage back in their favor. They work Danielson over for several minutes. Lynn gets another hot tag and the match breaks down to a brawl with all four men in the ring. Leonard dubs Nigel & Claudio “The European Union,” which is a good team name. Danielson and Lynn execute simultaneous Cattle Mutilations, but Nigel makes it to the ropes and Danielson simply lets go of Claudio. Danielson clotheslines Claudio over the ropes and they both go to the floor. Nigel allegedly goes for a leap frog, but Lynn catches him in the sit-out powerbomb for two. That spot only happens with Jerry Lynn, I hate that kind of stuff. A German suplex with a bridge gets two. Nigel tries the jawbreaker but Lynn hits a lariat of his own and follows up with a TKO. The referee is distracted though so there’s no count. Claudio gets back in the ring and hits Lynn with a bicycle kick. He throws Danielson into the barricade. Back in the ring Nigel hits the Tower of London on Lynn for a two-count. Claudio gets a blind tag but gets knocked to the floor before he can get to the ring. Danielson soars through the ropes and knocks McGuinness down in the aisle. Lynn follows with a dive of his own on Claudio. The EU goes for a spiked Piledriver (second time that spot has been teased tonight), but it gets broken up. Lynn then hits the Cradle Piledriver on Claudio to score the pin at 20:26. I know they want to have Lynn looking strong going into his title match tomorrow night, but it kind of defeats the purpose of trying to paint him as this major underdog who’s supposed to be questioning if he still has what it takes. The match was fine formula stuff, but they stalled for so long before the match got going at all.
Rating: **¾

BONUS MATCH: Daizee Haze vs. Sarah Stock, SHIMMER Vol. 15, 10.13.07

The winner of this match gets a shot at the SHIMMER Champion on the next DVD, which will be the winner of the Amazing Kong versus Champion Sara Del Rey match later on. They take it right to the mat and trade pinning combinations. Stock takes the first advantage and goes to work on the arm. Haze fights out of that and Stock switches it up and goes to the knee. They continue just doing moves and stuff, with no selling whatsoever, not even for a powerbomb. The crowd appreciates it though. Allison Danger is awful on commentary. Stock beats Haze down some more, until Haze uses her agility to take Stock down and send her scurrying to the floor for a breather. Haze climbs the turnbuckle in plain sight of her opponent, and amazingly gets kicked down to the mat. A modified Oklahoma Stampede gets two for Stock. She hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Stock follows up with a unique submission hold, which Haze escapes into a rollup for two. Haze can’t capitalize though, and Stock continues working her back. After several minutes of abuse Haze comes back with a German suplex with a bridge for two. They fumble around and Haze hits some forearm strikes and a clothesline. She hits the Heart Punch and the running Yakuza kick and Stock rolls to the floor so there will be no cover on that. Haze goes back up top and this time hits the dive to the floor. Back in the ring Stock hits a sort of Angle Slam for a two-count. Haze avoids the Tiger Driver but gets wheelbarrow dropped face first onto the turnbuckle. They trade chops, and Haze is able to hit a sort of X-Factor for two. Haze puts on a modified Indian Death Lock, and Stock reaches the ropes. She tries another Heart Punch but misses, and then tries the Mind Trip but Stock counters to a rollup for three at 18:55. That was a little too long, but once Haze started selling it got pretty good.
Rating: ***

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