Proving Ground 2009 Night 1

Coral Springs Gymnasium – Coral Springs, Florida – February 6, 2009

MATCH #1: Brad Attitude vs. Shawn Osborne

Osborne kind of has a Snitsky thing going on. He also plays air guitar and sings along to his entrance music, thus ensuring that he will be viewed as a jobber. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen either of these two wrestle before. Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak are on commentary. Osborne and Attitude are both FIP regulars. Attitude takes the first advantage and goes after the arm. He controls for a bit and then tries a corkscrew body press but Osborne sticks his knee out. Osborne takes over now and hits a gut wrench suplex for two. Then he locks on a body scissors. Some more stuff happens and Osborne misses an elbow off the second rope. Both men get back to their feet and Attitude fires up and he hits a dropkick. Attitude hits some kind of weird bodyslam move that looks like he just picked Osborne up and dropped him right back on himself. Anyway, that gets the pin at 7:33. Neither guy particularly showed anything that would lead me to bring them back again, if I was in charge.
Rating: *¼

MATCH #2: Bison Smith vs. Sal Rinauro

I don’t foresee this going well for Rinauro. As expected, Bison doesn’t feel much of Rinauro’s offense and starts throwing him around. This goes on for a bit until Bison hits the Claw Slam for the pin at 2:12. Obviously that wasn’t much of a match but it was a good way to introduce Bison, though I do have to wonder why he’s slapping hands with the ringside fans if he’s supposed to be this dominating heel.
Rating: ¾*

MATCH #3: Kenny King, Rhett Titus & Chasyn Rance vs. Roderick Strong, Erick Stevens & Bobby Dempsey

I really like the YRR. I wonder why Sal Rinauro got the pleasure of jobbing to Bison Smith rather than getting to be a part of them. Anyway, Dempsey and Titus start the match, and this is Dempsey’s first match since leaving Sweet & Sour Inc. Dempsey overpowers Titus and then tags Strong. Titus hits Strong with a knee-lift and brings him over to the YRR corner and tags King. Strong fights back with chops and a dropkick. Strong versus King has probably happened in FIP, but I’m so far behind there I don’t know. I think it would be good, at any rate. Stevens comes in and hammers away on King. Rance gets tagged in and Stevens beats him up too. Dempsey gets tagged back in and hits a dropkick of sorts. The good guys are just all over Rance here. Rance finally comes back and tags Titus, and the YRR use some dirty tactics to take over on Strong and isolate him from his partners. After a brief time Strong recovers and makes the hot tag to Stevens. The YRR once again cheat to reclaim the advantage. Stevens eventually recovers and makes the hot tag to Dempsey, who generally looks clueless. The match breaks down to a big brawl and we wind up with Dempsey and Rinauro in the ring. Dempsey hits the Cannonball and the Death Valley Driver for the pin at 10:56. The action was pretty fast paced in this one, but I just don’t see much of a future for Bobby Dempsey. How long is he really going to stay over?
Rating: **¾

MATCH #4: Necro Butcher vs. Austin Aries

These two had an anti-classic last June in Dayton, so I’m curious to see what they can come up with here. Aries doesn’t seem too eager to lock up with Necro. He finally takes it to him with vicious headlocks and armbars, all while avoiding Necro’s fist. Surprisingly, Necro comes back with some mat wrestling of his own. He takes Aries down with an armdrag and a monkey flip, then tosses him to the floor. Aries wisely gets right back in the ring. Necro keeps bringing the fight to the floor, and eventually unleashes his fists. Aries comes back with some dirty tactics and wears Necro down. He eventually goes to the top rope and tries the Ram Jam for some reason, but Necro moves out of the way. Necro is on fire now, using his feet as well as his hands to abuse Aries. He hits the Necrocanrana for two. He tries the Tiger Driver but Aries avoids it. Aries can’t avoid the chokeslam though, and Necro tries the Tiger Driver again. Once again it gets blocked. The battle spills back to the floor and Necro places Aries on the timekeeper’s table. Necro climbs to the second rope and Jimmy Jacobs comes out to distract him. The referee is distracted too, so Delirious hits Necro with a chair. Aries comes back in the ring and hits Necro with the corner dropkick, kick to the head, and the brainbuster for the pin at 12:54. That was perfectly fine.
Rating: **½

MATCH #5: The Age of The Fall (Jimmy Jacobs & Delirious) vs. Bryan Danielson & Jerry Lynn

The crowd is in support of Jerry Lynn here. Lynn and Delirious start the match, and the veteran Lynn takes the early advantage. He tags in Danielson, and Delirious is frustrated with the crowd. Jacobs gets tagged in. Less than a month ago Jacobs beat Danielson for the second straight time in singles matches. They go back and forth and tempers start to flare early on. Jacobs tags Delirious back into the match. Danielson and Lynn work Delirious over in their half of the ring. Jacobs tries to interfere, but winds up being in half of stereo surfboards by Danielson and Lynn. The Age of The Fall just can’t get anything going here. Lynn tries a somersault off the apron but Delirious moves out of the way and goes to work on Lynn’s back. Back in the ring Delirious continues to wear Lynn down. Jacobs comes in and does likewise. He hits a Spear on Lynn for two. Delirious tries to introduce a steel chair but referee Turner stops him. Lynn hits a powerbomb out of nowhere on Delirious and makes the hot tag to Danielson. Jacobs was tagged in also, and Danielson spits right in his face. He hits a running knee strike for two, and Delirious comes in to break it up and they double-team Danielson. They hit a double-chokeslam for two when Lynn breaks it up. Lynn hits a simultaneous clothesline on both men, and he and Danielson hit the Hart Attack on Jacobs for two. Delirious and Lynn go to the floor, while Danielson locks Jacobs in Cattle Mutilation. Danielson rolls into the elbows, but Jacobs reverses to the Contra Code. That gets blocked, and then they do the fish out of water spot, which leads to Jacobs locking on the End Time. Delirious throws Lynn into the guardrail, but Danielson still won’t give up. Danielson reaches the ropes and the hold must be broken. Jacobs and Delirious both wind up on the floor, and their opponents hit stereo slingshot dives to the floor. All four get back to the ring, and Danielson and Lynn hit stereo missile dropkicks. Jacobs dispatches Lynn, but then accidentally spears Delirious. Danielson hits a running knee strike and once again locks Jacobs in the Cattle Mutilation. This time Jacobs taps at 17:01. That started with a really long shine but it picked up as it went along. Danielson gets a small measure of revenge on Jacobs, but he really should want to beat him in a singles match.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #6: Non-Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Brent Albright

Nigel’s ROH World Title is not on the line here. He tries a sneak attack but Albright is ready for him and goes after the arm right away. The commentators do a good job pointing out the similarities between these two, particularly in their signature moves. Nigel avoids Albright, sliding in and out of the ring to evade physical contact. Albright eventually gets wise and hits a series of strikes. Nigel tries an early Jawbreaker, but Albright counters with the Crowbar, but Nigel is too close to the ropes and the champion powders once again. Back in the ring the champion takes control and targets Albright’s elbow. He sort of hits a Tower of London from the apron through a table on the floor. Back in the ring Nigel dominates. Albright gets a quick cradle for two but Nigel is back in control right away. Nigel is stretching Albright’s arm in unnatural ways. Albright gets a quick Crowbar out of nowhere but Nigel breaks it with a thumb to the eye. Nigel tries a lariat but Albright ducks and hits a release German Suplex and both men are down. Back to their feet, Albright hits a flurry of offense on the champion. He even hits a press slam, which Prazak calls “unbelievable” due to all the damage done to his arm. I agree with that assessment, but not for the same reason as Prazak I think. Nigel goes to the floor and Albright leaps off the top rope and wipes Nigel out. Nigel tries a lariat but Albright moves and Nigel hits the ring post. Albright wisely puts on the Crowbar right when they get back in the ring. Nigel once again attacks the eyes to break the hold. He goes after the arm again, and locks in the London Dungeon. Albright reaches the ropes, and moments later hits the Air Raid Crash for a near fall. He goes up top but Nigel knocks him down and hits the Tower of London. Albright kicks out at two! Nigel once again locks on the London Dungeon, which Albright counters to a rollup for two. Albright then locks on the Crowbar and Nigel reaches the ropes. He won’t break the hold, but winds up taking the Tower of London to the floor for his troubles. Albright barely makes it back in the ring before the 20 count. He gets all fired up and locks in the Crowbar again, which Nigel eventually rolls into a cradle and pulls the tights to get the pin at 18:20. Both men doggedly going after the arm was fun stuff; this was definitely Albright’s best match in quite a while.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #7: Non-Title Match – Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. Dark City Fight Club (Jon Davis & Kory Chavis)

Chavis wrestled on a handful of shows in 2004 as Rainman, but this is Davis’s ROH debut. This is another non-title match. The Dark City Fight Club attacks the champions right away. They bring an undefeated record in FIP to the table. They pick on Generico, who comes back on Chavis with a leg lariat and then tags in Steen. He knocks Davis to the floor and launches a snot rocket. The champions work over Chavis in their half of the ring. Davis gets tired of waiting, and pulls Steen to the floor and whips him hard into the guardrail. Chavis legally tags Davis into the match. They isolate Steen in their half of the ring and hammer him down. Steen makes the hot tag after several minutes of abuse. Generico is la casa en fuego, taking out both Chavis and Davis. He hits a springboard rana on Davis but Chavis breaks it up. Steen clotheslines Chavis to the floor. Generico hits Davis with the running Yakuza in the corner and Steen follows him in with the cannonball, and then Generico hits a top-rope splash for two. Chavis comes back in and sends Steen to the floor. He hits Generico with a lung blower. They hit a version of Total Elimination for two. They follow up with Project Mayhem, but Steen breaks up the cover. Davis gets sent to the floor and Steen hits Chavis with the Package Piledriver, and Generico hits the Brainbuster and the champs get the win at 12:09. The Dark City Fight Club definitely bring something to the ROH tag team scene that it needs, so I’m glad they’re getting pushed on TV.
Rating: ***

MATCH #8: Tyler Black vs. Davey Richards

Richards is accompanied by Larry Sweeney. They start with the feeling out process, with both guys getting some moves in. Sweeney’s attire is … interesting? The offense comes fast and furious from both men. Richards spits in Black’s face and tries to avoid him on the floor and does so. Back in the ring he drops Black’s midsection over the top rope from a suplex position. Richards is in control now, and he starts working over the midsection. He hits the Alarm Clock and heads up to the top rope. He nails the diving headbutt and gets a two-count. Richards gets distracted by the fans, giving Black an opportunity to come back with a jawbreaker and a series of punches. Sweeney trips Black from the floor, and referee Todd Sinclair sends Sweeney to the locker room. This also distracts Richards, but he does catch Black with a kick to the face anyway. Richards gets sent to the floor and this time Black hits the dive. Back in the ring Black gets a two-count. A neckbreaker gets another two for Black. Black hits the Standing Shooting Star Press, which also hurts him so he can’t cover right away and Richards kicks out at two. He tries the springboard clothesline but Richards catches him with a dropkick to the ribs. Richards hits a running spin kick that sends Black flying back into the corner. Black gets up and comes back with a leaping kick of his own, and both men are down. They get up and start trading blows. Black outsmarts Richards and hits the Paroxysm for two. He sets up for God’s Last Gift but Richards avoids it. Black then goes up for the Phoenix but Richards knocks him down. Richards hits a German Superplex and a big powerbomb for two! He turns over into the Texas Cloverleaf, but Black reverses to a small package for two. Black escapes and hits a modified TKO I guess for two. He tries the superkick but Richards ducks and gets a rollup for two. Richards gets a small package for two. Black gets a schoolboy for two, and then hits a kick to the head. He hits the Buckle Bomb (finally called as such by Leonard), and then hits the Superkick to get the pin at 17:34. That was like watching Rock versus Triple H in 1998, when they weren’t quite there yet but you knew they were going to be.
Rating: ***¾

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