Full Circle

Sports Network and Fitness Inc. – Manassas, VA – Friday, January 16, 2009

MATCH #1: Brent Albright & Erick Stevens vs. Damien Wayne & Chris Escobar

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Chris Escobar match, and Wayne I’ve only seen in his ROH match last year. Stevens starts it off with Escobar, and easily breaks out of a headlock and shoulderblocks Escobar down. Hey look at that, Stevens re-grew his Mohawk. Escobar gets a tiny comeback, but Stevens stops him in his tracks with a huge shoulderblock, sending Escobar to the floor. Back in the ring Escobar tags in Wayne. He wants Albright for some reason. Albright backs him into the corner and gets slapped in the face for his troubles. They go for a lockup and Wayne slaps Albright in the face again. Albright comes back with a slap of his own and all four men are in the ring now. Stevens and Albright are dominant here. Escobar is back in the ring now and Albright and Stevens are just dismantling him. Stevens tries the Choo-Choo but Escobar counters with a drop toehold into the turnbuckle. Wayne hits a legdrop from the apron and Escobar gets a two count and then tags Wayne in proper. The crowd is behind Stevens as he gets worked over in the wrong half of the ring. Stevens fights back but can’t quite make the tag. He finally does make the hot tag to Albright and he’s on fire. Escobar cuts him off by attacking his eyes. That doesn’t last too long though. Albright and Stevens hit a lariat/half nelson suplex combo to get the pin at 9:58. That was decent for an opener, but I would be surprised if Escobar or Wayne was ever brought in for a show besides Manassas.
Rating: **

MATCH #2: Rhett Titus vs. Sean Denny

This is just Denny’s second match in ROH. He wrestles in basketball shorts, and that is surely no way to get over in Ring of Honor. But seriously dude, get some real gear. They trade holds in the early going, each going after the other’s arm. Denny gets a quick rollup, and Titus gets one, and then Denny gets another one, all for two-counts. Titus avoids a kick and the crowd seems to appreciate it. Denny rolls around and hits a running knee strike for another two-count. He’s really trying hard to impress, you can tell. He whips Titus into the corner and slides out under the bottom rope, grabs Titus’s legs, and pulls the groin right back into the ring post. Back in the ring Denny hits a suplex and goes to the top rope. Titus stops him by sweeping the legs and Denny crashes to the mat and rolls to the floor. He stays in control as Denny is still trying to do too much and it’s coming off awkward. Titus executes a piledriver, almost dangerously dropping Denny on his head. He stays in control and goes for the Sexy Suplex. Denny tries to block it but his injured back won’t allow it. He tries a sunset flip but can’t really pull that off. Titus hits a clothesline for two. He hits a belly-to-back suplex and an elbow drop across the back (twice). Denny comes back with a German Suplex and both men are down. At this point Bison Smith comes out of the crowd and destroys both men, causing a no-contest at 7:02. That was much too long for that finish, and Denny looked nervous and awkward. Prazak and Leonard pull the “he doesn’t work here” bit with Bison, but how many Ring of Honor fans would actually buy that? The crowd responds by chanting “Bison Smith” and “Thank You Bison,” so I think the live crowd agrees with me.
Rating: ½*

MATCH #3: Necro Butcher vs. Delirious

Speaking of Jacobs, he accompanies Delirious to the ring. Delirious attacks Necro before the bell and away we go. This is a regular match with rules, as opposed to most Necro Butcher matches. Delirious can’t take Necro off his feet, so he gets punched in the face. Necro clubs Delirious down in the corner and kicks away. He hits an Irish whip to the corner and a back body drop. He throws Delirious to the floor and tries to follow him out, but the masked man rolls back into the ring. That’s good strategy against Necro. Delirious chokes Necro with his ring jacket while he’s trying to get back in the ring. Necro reverses a whip and hits a big boot to the face. He follows up with a big body slam and throws Delirious to the floor. Once again Delirious immediately slides back into the ring. Back in the ring they continue to go back and forth with no real advantage being held. That all changes with the interference of Jimmy Jacobs, who trips Necro up and slams his knee into the ring post while Delirious distracts the referee. Delirious goes to work on the ankle. He locks on the Figure-Four Leglock and Necro reaches the ropes. Necro tries to fight back but Delirious hits the Cobra Clutch Suplex. Jacobs tells Delirious to go up top, which he does. Delirious tries Shadows over Hell but Necro punches him in the face instead. He finally gets Delirious to the floor and that’s Necro Butcher’s time to shine! Necro fights off Jacobs and looks like he wants to put Delirious through a table. Jacobs flies into the shot and hits Necro with a chair, and apparently there aren’t any disqualifications in this match. The referee continues to be distracted with Jacobs, so Delirious tries to use the spike. Daizee Haze comes out and takes the spike from him, rightfully pissing off Jacobs. Back in the ring Necro hits a chokeslam and a Tiger Driver to score the pin at 11:53. The match was decent enough and I like how they built up to Necro getting to fight on the floor, but the finish felt like something I’ve been seeing for months. Jacobs berates Delirious for the loss.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #4: Jay Briscoe & Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards

The American Wolves are accompanied by Larry Sweeney and Bobby Dempsey. Strong and Briscoe don’t wait for Bobby Cruise to finish the ring intros before they rush the ring and attack the Wolves. It’s all good guys in the beginning, and Strong tosses Richards to the floor. They beat on Edwards for a while, and when Richards tags in he gets the same treatment. Strong tries to superplex Richards, and Sweeney interferes, allowing Richards to hit a missile dropkick instead. Edwards grabs Strong and throws him into the barricade outside the ring, and throws him back in for a two-count. Richards and Edwards go to work on Strong’s shoulder now. Strong avoids an attempted simultaneous kick to the head, but the referee doesn’t see the hot tag so Jay has to go back to the apron. If only good guys would learn to slap their hands over their head really loud when the referee isn’t looking, that might not happen so often. Strong makes the comeback for real this time and the referee sees the tag. Jay is on fire, hitting a spinebuster on Richards for two. The Wolvers recover and Richards hits a kick to the chest for two. The good guys take over and the referee has lost control. Jay hits a Death Valley Driver for two. All four men continue brawling in the ring. Edwards and Strong take it to the floor and Strong crashes into the barricade. Jay tries the Jay Driller on Richards, but Richards escapes it and slingshots Jay towards the apron, where Sweeney hits him with his shoe. A superkick/German suplex combo puts Jay away at 13:38. Davey Richards is getting really fun to watch. The match was good too.
Rating: ***

MATCH #5: Jerry Lynn vs. Austin Aries

Aries is now using “The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived” by Weezer for entrance music. That’s cute, or something. He also has a porn star moustache and is wearing gear more reminiscent of Austin Starr than Austin Aries. So this is what his feud with Jimmy Jacobs did to him? The crowd picks up on what I was thinking when they chant “Austin Starr.” He gets on the mic and delivers some lame insults to the crowd and says everyone’s questions will be answered when his manifesto is released to the public. This, is, so, stupid.

Aries backs Lynn in the corner and gives him a clean break. Lynn comes back with a go-behind and Aries reaches the ropes. Aries comes back with a takedown of his own, and is being pretty cocky about it. Lynn offers a handshake and Aries takes it. They trade holds and Lynn winds up on top with an armbar. Aries comes back with a fireman’s carry takedown and drops a leg on Lynn’s arm. He gloats about it so Lynn takes advantage and dropkicks Aries to the apron. Back in the ring Aries offers a handshake this time. Lynn sort of accepts it and now Aries calls for a test of strength. Aries awesomely punches Lynn right in the face. It actually backfires, as Lynn gets angry and punches back. He follows up with the move I always use when I’m really mad, the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a one-count. Aries tries to throw Lynn to the floor but Lynn reverses it. From the apron Aries tries to do the Jerry Lynn Legdrop but the master avoids it. Lynn follows Aries to the floor and throws him into the barricade and sits him down in a chair. He hits a running knee to the face and Aries’ selling is really weird. Back in the ring Aries is able to drop Lynn crotch-first on the top rope. He follows up with a neckbreaker over the second rope, and then kicks Lynn to the floor. Aries follows him out with an elbow off the apron. He sets Lynn in the chair and hits the Big Running Punch. Back in the ring Aries gets a two-count. Lynn comes back and then Aries comes back. I hate back-and-forth matches like this. Aries appears to be sustaining the advantage for a little while finally. Lynn blocks a suplex and Aries does the same. Aries winds up with his STO and tries the Power Drive Elbow but Lynn moves. Lynn tries the Cradle Piledriver but Aries avoids it. Aries regains control and goes to the top rope. He jumps right into an inverted atomic drop by Lynn, and then a regular atomic drop. Lynn hits an elbow drop and then yells out “Nobody Messes with the Do!” The guy is terrible. He knocks Aries to the floor and follows him out with a slingshot dive. He throws Aries back in and ends up hitting the Guillotine Legdrop and a slingshot splash back in for a two-count. They continue trading moves, getting near falls, the usual. Lynn hits a TKO for two. He goes for the Cradle Piledriver but Aries avoids it and pounds away on the back. He follows up with a running back rake. The running dropkick in the corner gets two. Aries cleverly rolls it into the Last Chancery, but then decides to try Lynn’s Cradle Piledriver instead. Lynn avoids it the same way Aries did and gets a sunset flip for two. A backslide gets two. Aries comes out of that with a kick to the head. He tries a sunset flip out of the corner but Lynn kneels down and gets the pin at 15:11. Like most Jerry Lynn matches that was all just two guys going back and forth giving moves to each other without any real story. It wasn’t boring, it was just stupid.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #6: Bryan Danielson vs. Jimmy Jacobs

Jacobs tries to attack Danielson right at the bell, but Danielson catches him and sets him on the top turnbuckle as the crowd tells Jacobs what’s going to happen to him. That was awkward. Back on the mat Danielson grabs a hold and Jacobs makes it to the ropes. Danielson grabs Jacobs in a headlock. Jacobs gets back to his feet but Danielson remains in control, locking on the surfboard. Danielson tells the photographer how to do his job and Jacobs escapes the hold. Jacobs is fed up with Danielson’s antics so he shoves him. No matter, Danielson continues to control the match, more or less manhandling Jacobs. The Age of the Fall leader comes back with a poke to the eyes and he slugs away. Danielson reverses an Irish whip and hits a knee to the midsection and a kick to the back. He locks on a leg submission and Jacobs gets to the ropes. Jacobs uses the referee to help him get an advantage on Danielson, and he suplexes him to the floor. Back in the ring Jacobs continues to wear the former World Champion down. Danielson reverses a body scissors to a modified surfboard but Jacobs won’t quit. A bridging rollup gets two, and Jacobs grabs Danielson and tosses him to the floor. He follows Danielson out and slams his face into the ring apron. Danielson tries to springboard back into the ring but he slips and does a good job covering it up by pretending to have blown out his knee. Jacobs goes right after the injury, locking on a figure-four leglock. Danielson reaches the ropes, but Jacobs maintains control. Jacobs locks on an STF and Danielson once again has to reach the ropes. Danielson comes back briefly and hits a flying knee off the second rope, which obviously hurts him. I wonder why he would try it in the first place. Danielson puts on a cross armbreaker and Jacobs makes it to the ropes. He rolls to the floor and Danielson follows him out with a suicide dive, further injuring his knee. Back in the ring Danielson goes to the top rope and hits a missile dropkick. Danielson nips up on one leg, which is pretty impressive. He covers and gets a two-count. Danielson goes back to the top rope for a Flying Something, but Jacobs catches him in the End Time, and Danielson eventually reaches the ropes. A frustrated Jacobs goes back to work on the legs. Jacobs tries the Senton but Danielson gets the knees up, once again hurting himself. Danielson gets a rollup and rolls that into the Triangle Choke. Jacobs reaches the ropes. Danielson hits a German Suplex with a bridge for two, and then puts on Cattle Mutilation. He transitions into the Elbow Strikes, which Jacobs reverses to a Contra Code attempt. Danielson avoids that and gets a small package for two. Jacobs counters that with the End Time, and Danielson escapes. Danielson hits a running knee strike and puts on the Triangle Choke but Jacobs rolls over and uses the ropes to hold Danielson down for the pin at 18:01. The finish came off a bit awkward, and Danielson slipping off the top rope must have changed whatever they had planned for the match. Even with that being said, they did a pretty good job, and the finish was definitely surprising.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #7: Non-Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Tyler Black

Since Black’s a babyface now he stupidly turns his back on the World Champion and McGuinness immediately goes after the arm. Black weathers the storm and sends McGuinness reeling. The champ is able to catch Black charging in and dump him to the floor. He goes outside after Black, but the momentum is reversed and Black punches away at McGuinness’s head. He throws the champ back in the ring and follows him with a slingshot spinning heel kick. McGuinness begs off and gets back to his feet. They trade some holds and stuff and get back to their feet again. Black gets a small flurry of offense and McGuinness bails. McGuinness is given no chance to rest though, as Black follows him out and goes to work on him. The champ is able to drop toehold Black into the barricade, and then throws him into it again, this time right on the shoulder. Back in the ring McGuinness goes to work on the arm and wrist. McGuinness takes it to the apron and slams Black’s arm right into the steel barricade. Back in the ring Black tries to fight up but the champ just knocks him back down. McGuinness is almost toying with Black now. He tries his first lariat but Black ducks it and hits a back body drop! A series of reversals leads to Black hitting a standing shooting star press for a two-count. He charges at McGuinness in the corner and the champ moves, hitting the kick to the back/clothesline combo. McGuinness tries to lift Black for the Tower of London but his injured arm prevents him from doing so. He charges into the corner but Black avoids it and hits running forearm. A tornado DDT gets two for Black. McGuinness tries the Jawbreaker Lariat but Black reverses it to a neckbreaker for two. Black goes to the top rope but Nigel knocks him down and tries the Tower of London. That gets awesomely reversed to the Paroxysm by Black for two. McGuinness finally gets his first lariat but Black kicks out at two. A series of reversals ends in Black hitting a Pele Kick. Black goes to the apron and hits a springboard lariat for two. He goes for God’s Last Gift but McGuinness reverses to a small package for two. McGuinness hits the Tower of London to the floor. Back in the ring Black kicks out at two! McGuinness locks on the London Dungeon. Black rolls through and hits a kick to the head. McGuinness tries the Jawbreaker but Black avoids it and gets the Buckle Bomb followed by a superkick to pin the World Champion at 17:16. That was a really good match and I love the finish, but definitely a far cry from their previous encounters.
Rating: ***½