Proving Ground 2009 Night 2

Orlando Downtown Recreation Complex – Orlando, Florida – Saturday, February 7, 2009

MATCH #1: Jerry Lynn vs. Shawn Osborne

I almost can’t get over what a jobber Osborne is. They do some basic back and forth in the early going. Lynn grounds Osborne with a headlock. Osborne breaks out and throws some punches. The match gets even more thrilling when Osborne helpfully sticks his head through the ropes and holds it there long enough for Lynn to hit his legdrop. Osborne comes back with an extended sequence of boring offense. Lynn eventually makes his comeback and ends the match with the Cradle Piledriver at 8:53. I’m sorry but there was just nothing about this match that interested me. Osborne may have a place on a smaller stage, but he surely doesn’t belong in ROH.
Rating: *

MATCH #2: Kenny King & Rhett Titus vs. The British Lions (Christopher Gray & Tommy Taylor)

This is my first exposure to the British Lions. Titus and King jump the Lions before the bell. That doesn’t last too long, as the Lions hit dropkicks and King rolls to the floor. Gray and Titus wind up in the ring with Gray in control. Taylor comes in and Titus can’t get anything going against either of his opponents. King and Titus use some dirty tactics to take control, and the crowd LOVES it. Why didn’t they give King and Titus a shot at the Tag Team Titles on this show? That would have been hot. They isolate Gray in their corner for a few minutes until Taylor gets the hot tag. The Lions start clicking on all cylinders, but the crowd is far more interested in Kenny King. They try some kind of double team move on Titus, but King breaks it up. Moments later the YRR hit a blockbuster/powerbomb combination for the pin at 10:00. The match was decent enough, but I don’t think ROH planned on that crowd reaction. The fans couldn’t care less about the Lions, but were super into Kenny King. The Lions, much like Osborne, really didn’t make a good impression here
Rating: **

MATCH #3: Bison Smith vs. John Kermon

Kermon didn’t even get an entrance. The crowd likes Bison. He shakily goes for a handshake and Bison makes him pay. Bison presses Kermon into the turnbuckles, and then hits the Claw Slam for the pin at 0:36. I like that Bison Smith really brings something different to the table in ROH. Hopefully he gets used in a beneficial way.
Rating: ¼*

MATCH #4: Davey Richards vs. Kevin Steen

Sweeney is still wearing the neck brace. They talk trash and get pissed at each other right away. Steen overpowers Richards in the early going, so the frustrated Wolf goes outside the ring and grabs a chair. Back in the ring Steen maintains control, hitting a front-flip legdrop, causing Richards to powder once again. Richards spits on Steen, getting him to give chase and then going after the knee. Steen tries valiantly to fight back but Richards is tenacious. He finally makes the comeback, including the Cannonball for a two-count. They trade kicks and Steen hits a powerbomb for two. Steen tries the Sharpshooter but can’t support his weight and Richards kicks him off. Richards grabs Steen in a half Boston Crab. Steen makes it to the ropes to break the hold. A combination ending with an impressive German Suplex with a bridge gets two for Richards. Steen comes back with the pump handle neckbreaker, further injuring his own knee but scoring a two-count in the process. He goes up top for the Swanton but Richards gets the knees up. Richards hits a running kick and then locks on the Cloverleaf. Steen rolls that into a small package to score the pin at 12:18. These two have excellent chemistry together.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #5: The Age of The Fall (Jimmy Jacobs & Delirious) vs. Tyler Black & Necro Butcher

No one’s waiting around to start this one as it’s a big brawl from the get-go. The good guys get the advantage so Jacobs and Delirious take a powder. Jacobs avoids Black and makes Delirious do the heavy lifting early on. The match quickly breaks down to a brawl once again. Necro and Black totally dominate the opening minutes. That doesn’t even change when Necro tries to jump off the top rope but Delirious shoves him down to the floor. Jacobs gets a clothesline and spits on his former tag team championship partner. Delirious gets tagged in and he also works Black over. This goes on for several minutes until Black make the hot tag to Necro, but the referee didn’t see it so he won’t allow it. Black hits Jacobs with a powerslam and this time makes the tag for real. Necro is on fire, hitting the Necrocanrana on Delirious, sending him to the floor. He follows the masked man out there, while Jacobs and Black battle on another side of the ring. Everyone is knocked down, and we wind up with Delirious and Necro barely making it back to the ring at the count of 19. Necro hits a chokeslam and then the Tiger Driver but Jacobs breaks up the cover. Jacobs blocks a chokeslam to the floor attempt and instead suplexes Necro off the apron and into the guardrail. Ouch. Black and Delirious wind up in the ring, and Black hits the Buckle Bomb and goes for the Superkick, but Jacobs hits him with a chair to draw the disqualification at 16:07. So what was the point of that? The match had really gained some steam down the stretch there too.
Rating: ***

MATCH #6: Austin Aries vs. Brad Attitude

They do some back and forth mat wrestling to start, and Aries appears to be taking his opponent lightly. Attitude gets a few moves in but Aries is completely dominant in the opening minutes. Aries controls the action for several minutes, focusing on the neck. Attitude eventually recovers and gets a couple of moves in. That doesn’t last too long, as Aries comes back and puts on the Last Chancery. Attitude reaches the ropes but Aries maintains control. Aries hits the running back rake, which is exactly what someone who was warped by a feud with Jimmy Jacobs would do. Attitude comes back with a corkscrew body press off the top for two. Aries comes back with the corner dropkick, kick to the head, and the brainbuster for the pin at 11:37. I like the finish because I like multiple potential finishers. The bulk of the match, however, was pretty flat.
Rating: **

MATCH #7: Six Man Tag Team Action – Roderick Strong, Erick Stevens & Brent Albright vs. Dark City Fight Club (Jon Davis & Kory Chavis) & Francisco Ciatso

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Ciatso before. Strong and Chavis start the match, and I’m actually expecting this to be a pretty fun match. It’s all brawling and striking in the early going, naturally. Everyone gets a chance to beat up on someone. The good guys pretty much dominate the opening minutes. The battle spills to the floor, where Davis hits an awesome POUNCE on Strong into the guardrail. That’s enough to give him an advantage back in the ring. Strong gets isolated in the wrong half of the ring. The good guys finally make the comeback and of course it’s suplexes and chops for everyone. The match breaks down to a brawl and somehow the Dark City Fight Club and Ciatso regain control and triple-team Stevens. Eventually it comes down to Strong and Stevens against Ciatso, but they can’t quite put him away. Strong then hits Ciatso with the gutbuster, a baseball slide Yakuza kick, and then locks on the Stronghold for the submission at 13:46. That was pretty much paint-by-numbers, but I was one of those kids that didn’t mind painting by numbers, so don’t judge me.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #8: Bryan Danielson vs. El Generico

Generico wants to hug it out before their titanic clash. Danielson balks at hugging back, and the crowd cleverly chants “say you’re sorry.” They add an “on your knees” chant, but Generico assures them that’s not necessary. Danielson tries to shush everyone, and the crowd loses a bit of credit when some morons in can’t resist the chance to try and say something “funny” out loud. That was an interesting way to start the match. They do some more comedy in the early going, particularly Generico. Danielson takes the advantage and starts working the legs. Generico almost makes the comeback, but Danielson takes him down with a monkey flip and goes right back to the legs. When the pace quickens Generico takes advantage, and he goes for the surfboard, but Danielson blocks it. Danielson then shows him how the hold is done. Generico once again makes the comeback by quickening the pace. Danielson comes back and slaps Generico across the face a few times. He then goes to work on the wrist, abandoning the legs for some reason. Generico pops up to the top rope and hits a cross body block for two. He hits a back body drop and clotheslines Danielson to the floor. Generico follows him out with a suicide dive over the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring Generico hits a Superfly Splash for two. A reversal sequence ends with Danielson landing a release German suplex for two. They do the fish out of water spot and Generico lands on top for a two-count. Danielson is able to lock on the triangle choke but Generico counters to a rollup for two. Generico comes back with the running Yakuza in the corner, and then another one! He sets Danielson up for the Super Brainbuster but Danielson avoids it and traps Generico in the Tree of Woe. Danielson follows up with the belly-to-back superplex but Generico kicks out at two! He hits the elbows to the face, and then locks on Cattle Mutilation. Generico makes it to the ropes, and Bison Smith makes his way out and jumps on the apron. Danielson attacks first, and takes Bison out with a dive through the ropes. Back in the ring Danielson goes to the top rope but Generico counters with a Yakuza kick and this time hits the Super Brainbuster to score a huge pin at 20:39. After the match Bison attacks Danielson and has to be restrained by a whole herd of students and jobbers. The match started off slow but got really good. I don’t much care for the finish, but really fun match otherwise.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #9: ROH World Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. D-Lo Brown

Nigel has been the champion since 10.6.07, and this is his thirty-fourth defense. Remember in the early days of Ring of Honor when Steve Corino went on and on about how it didn’t matter what you did in other federations, it mattered what you did in ROH? I just think it’s funny that D-Lo is getting a title shot. I liked D-Lo back in the day; he was good in his role. But I think he got pushed well enough for his talent level, so I’m not one of those people who think WWE dropped the ball with him or something. The champ gets on the mic to put over his challenger. Unfortunately for Nigel, he’s not wrestling Savio Vega. Nigel then spouts off some racist talk about how neither Barack Obama nor D-Lo Brown is actually black. That’s just awkward, man. And it’s not “quiet Japanese heel heat” either Raven. D-Lo makes a crack about being fired, which I always find funny when guys do (like Jerry Lynn in ’04) because they might as well be saying “I’m not here by choice.” He then says that Nigel is from Alabama, and a girl said that Nigel isn’t a real man. He also claims that Nigel once bought tickets to see him wrestle. That’s ridiculous; no one bought tickets to see D-Lo Brown work. He ends this terrible segment with “Man’s Game, Bitch,” before slapping Nigel and the match is on.

It’s all D-Lo from the get-go, since he took that cheap shot of course. Nigel cheats to come back, D-Lo fights him off, Nigel cheats some more, etc. The battle spills to the floor, where Nigel hits a DDT. D-Lo barely makes it back to the ring and fires up. Nigel comes back with the Tower of London but can’t put him away. D-Lo avoids the Jawbreaker Lariat and hits the Sky-Hi for two. My goodness this match is going nowhere. D-Lo hits a sit-out powerbomb off the second rope for two. They fight on the apron, and Nigel tries the Tower of London but can’t hit it. D-Lo is able to hit a DDT on the apron through, and both men are down. Back in the ring D-Lo hits a Frog Splash on the back, but the champion kicks out. Nigel finally hits the Jawbreaker Lariat but D-Lo kicks out. They get up and trade punches, and D-Lo takes the straps down. Oh, dude, leave them up. Nigel inadvertently kicks D-Lo in the balls and hits the Jawbreaker to get the pin and retain the title at 13:57. That was certainly not one of Nigel’s better defenses. D-Lo is old, slow, and quite frankly not very good. Nigel talks trash after the match, so D-Lo attacks him and holds up the belt… and gets mostly booed for it.
Rating: **

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