Stylin' & Profilin'

Gateway Center – Collinsville, IL – Friday, March 13, 2009

Dave Prazak and Larry Zbyszko are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Roderick Strong vs. Jay Briscoe

Strong and Jay start off with some aggressive chain wrestling. It doesn’t take long for Strong to start throwing the chops. They’ve been going full tilt for basically the entire match. Most of the action has been too quick for strict play-by-play. They’re hitting big moves and strikes but neither man can hold the other down for long. Strong hits a series of his signature moves but still can’t get the pin. Jay tries the Jay Driller but a series of reversals leads to Strong securing a cradle to pin Jay at 10:41. That match just zipped right by, I honestly was shocked when it was over. This was one of the better opening matches in ROH in the last great while.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #2: SHIMMER Title Match – MsChif vs. Daizee Haze

MsChif has been the champion since 4.26.08, and this is her eighth defense. She’s accompanied by both Jimmy Jacobs and Delirious. Haze takes the champion to the mat right away and starts working on the arm. She uses her agility to stay one step ahead of MsChif, who rolls to the floor to regroup. While the referee is distracted, Haze goes to the top rope, but Jacobs grabs her and throws her down to the mat. MsChif is firmly in control now. Haze comes back and continues working on the arm. MsChif fights back with a two-handed chokeslam for two. They continue to go back and forth, and when the pace is on the quicker side Haze is in control. Haze goes up top and hits a missile dropkick for two. She hits the Heart Punch but when she goes to bounce off the ropes Jacobs trips her up. MsChif rolls up the challenger for two. She follows up with the Eye of the Hurricane for another two. Haze reverses a Gory Special attempt into a Code Green for two. MsChif rolls to the floor for consultation with Jacobs and Delirious, and Haze jumps off the top rope onto all three of them. Back in the ring MsChif slugs away at Haze. MsChif avoids the Mind Trip and hits the Desecrator to retain the title at 11:27. The woman finally got some time to tell a story and they came out with a pretty solid match. After the match Jacobs tells Delirious what he expects for tonight, and talks some trash to Haze. He warns her to stay out of Age of The Fall business.
Rating: **½

MATCH #3: Four Corner Survival – Claudio Castagnoli vs. Austin Aries vs. Kenny Omega vs. Silas Young

After some deliberation, it looks like Aries and Claudio will start the match. They seem to be in no hurry to engage in heavy physicality. To put it another way, they’re channeling Prazak’s commentating partner. Omega and Young grow tired of these tactics and turn the match into an all-out brawl. They send Aries and Claudio to the floor and start chain wrestling with each other. Aries takes Young’s place in the match and he’s trying to work in tandem with Claudio. The match picks up the pace and everyone is battling everyone with little regard for tags. We wind up with Young and Claudio battling it out in the ring. Aries and Claudio continue working together to dominate on Young. Omega finally gets the hot tag and he’s on fire on Claudio. He hits that stupid Stop Sign Enziguiri. The match breaks down to a four-way brawl again, with Omega and Aries battling inside the ring. Omega tries the Stop Sign on Aries, but Aries is too smart for it. Everyone starts hitting big moves, and we eventually wind up with Aries and Omega back in the ring. Aries hits the corner dropkick and the brainbuster for the pin at 14:03. It started pretty slow but picked up by the end and was mostly entertaining.
Rating: **¾

The Nature Boy Comes to ROH

Dave Prazak is in the ring, and welcomes Ric Flair to Ring of Honor. Flair soaks in the adulation of the crowd, and then cuts the expected putting over ROH and its locker room promo. ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness comes out to interrupt, but only stands on the apron and won’t get in the ring. Flair promises to bring Reid in to stretch Nigel. Yikes. Then he says he’s going to be watching the main event from ringside tonight. I remember this being longer in person.

MATCH #4: Chris Hero & The American Wolves vs. Kevin Steen, El Generico & Bobby Dempsey

Edwards and Steen kick it off and are both aggressive right away. Steen gets the advantage and hits the front flip legdrop, sending Edwards reeling into his corner. Richards tags in, as does Generico, and he outmaneuvers Richards. Soon after Richards backs Generico into the Sweet & Sour corner and tags in Hero. Dempsey soon gets tagged in and he goes face to face with Hero, and he doesn’t back down. In fact Dempsey lands a series of forearms, but doesn’t notice Hero make the tag to Edwards. The Wolves swarm in Dempsey and beat him down. Edwards tries a sunset flip but Dempsey drops down and tags in Steen. Richards takes over on Steen and starts working on the knee that they previously injured a little while back. World Champion Nigel McGuinness joins the commentary team to trash talk Ric Flair. Meanwhile, Steen makes the comeback and the hot tag to the skinny one. Generico is all over Sweet & Sour, in and out of the ring, flying everywhere. He hits a Michinoku Driver on Richards for two. Hero gets tagged in and nails Generico with a blockbuster for two. Dempsey tags in and no-sells Hero’s strikes. He can’t no-sell the bloody nose though. The match breaks down to a brawl, and Richards lands a series of kicks to Dempsey’s head. Dempsey recovers and hits Richards with an Alabama Slam. Generico and Steen recover and start dishing out cannonballs and running Yakuza kicks. Dempsey hits Hero with the Death Valley Driver but the Wolves break up the pin. Steen goes to the top rope and tries the Swanton but Hero moves out of the way. The Wolves double team Steen but Dempsey breaks up the pin and pays the price thanks to Richards. Steen powerbombs Richards and Generico follows with the Superfly Splash. Richards gets locked in the Sharpshooter but Hero breaks it up. We wind up with Steen and Richards in the ring. Steen hits the pump handle neckbreaker, hurting his own knee. He goes up for the moonsault but Larry Sweeney hits him with a chair and Richards locks on the Cloverleaf for the submission win at 16:24. That was a lot of fun if you look past Dempsey’s on-again off-again selling. The feud between Steen & Generico and the American Wolves has definitely been a highlight for ROH in 2009. I never thought Bobby Dempsey would be in a four-star match, but there you go.
Rating: ****

MATCH #5: Kenny King & Rhett Titus vs. Irish Airborne

This is the Crist brothers’ first main show appearance this year. Titus and King attack the brothers before the bell, but the Crists come back and send their opponents reeling to the floor. They follow them out with simultaneous dives, as the Champ comes back to the booth. Back in the ring Titus and King soon regain control while the commentators talk about the main event. Jake gets abused and double-teamed for several minutes before making the hot tag to his brother Dave. The referee loses control, and we wind up with Dave and Titus in the ring. Dave hits a cross body off the top rope for two. Titus gets double-teamed but is able to withstand it. They go for the Irish Air Raid, but King knocks Dave off the top rope, and then he and Titus are able to hit the Powerbomb / Blockbuster combination for the victory at 8:38. That was a fine match to go on right after intermission, and makes King and Titus look good heading into their title shot tomorrow night in Indianapolis.
Rating: **

MATCH #6: Bryan Danielson vs. Bison Smith

Bison came out of nowhere to attack Danielson on several occasions, and this is their first meeting. They start off slowly, with Danielson using his speed to avoid the much larger Bison. Danielson even does pushups and the splits. This doesn’t really seem like a blood feud yet. We’re past the four minute mark and Danielson grabs a sleeper, which is more or less the first contact of the match. Bison doesn’t stay in that too long, and starts overpowering Danielson. That lasts for several minutes before Danielson comes back and goes after the big man’s knee. Bison shrugs off some forearms and hits a half nelson suplex. He tries a superplex but Danielson knocks him down and hits a missile dropkick, sending Bison to the floor. A baseball slide sends Bison over the guardrail and into the first row. Danielson goes up top and wipes Bison out with a big dive. They continue to brawl on the floor, where Danielson avoids a powerbomb and hits a dropkick. He slides back into the ring just before the 20 count, and wins the match at 12:44. For the feud they’re having this match started strangely and ended strangely. There was some good stuff in the middle but I was highly disappointed overall.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #7: The Age of The Fall (Jimmy Jacobs & Delirious) vs. Tyler Black & Jerry Lynn

Bobby Cruise announces this match as “The War Continues.” No joke. Delirious and Black start the match, and with help from a Jacobs distraction, Delirious takes first control. Jacobs of course avoids Black at all costs early on. Black gets a momentary advantage and tags in Lynn, who does his usual with Delirious. Lynn and Black get some double team moves in and work Delirious over. Jacobs gets tagged in but the babyfaces stay in control. Delirious gets the tag but Black stays in control without missing a beat. Jacobs is finally able to distract Lynn and Delirious gets the advantage. The Age of The Fall isolates Lynn now and works him over in their corner. Lynn almost makes the tag several times but gets cut off. Finally he somersaults over to his corner and makes the hot tag. Black goes to work on Delirious and the crowd is fired up. The match breaks down to a brawl and the referee loses control. Black sends both Jacobs and Delirious to the floor and then he and Lynn hit their opponents with stereo dives to the floor. Delirious and Black make it back to the ring. Black gets a rollup for two. Delirious comes back with Chemical Imbalance II for a near-fall. The referee gets distracted with Lynn, and Jacobs accidentally hits Delirious with a chair. Lynn hits a Spear to send Jacobs to the floor. Meanwhile, Black pins Delirious for the anti-climactic win at 15:31. As usual there was nothing wrong with the wrestling but it just feels like we’ve seen this many, many times before.
Rating: ***

Jacobs is fed up with Delirious costing him victories, so he pulls out his Spike and threatens to use it on an already bloody Delirious. Daizee Haze comes out to try and stop him and winds up getting Spiked herself, and now she is bleeding as well. Jacobs turns his attention back to Delirious and tries to Spike him, but Delirious blocks it and hits the Cobra Clutch Suplex! He follows it with five consecutive Panic Attacks and Jacobs is busted open as well. Daizee gets back to her feet, and she locks eyes with Delirious. They embrace and it’s Macho Man and Elizabeth all over again, kind of. This was an effective segment, but the problem with the way Delirious was used in the Age of The Fall is that people were constantly waiting for him to revert back to babyface; he never really went full evil heel so it’s not like going back to being a face was a huge jump. Does that make any sense?

MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Brent Albright

Nigel has been the champion since 10.6.07, and this is his thirty-seventh defense. If you listen real close you can hear Flair asking Cary Silkin, “Who are these guys again?” Albright takes Nigel down to the mat right away and seems to have the upper hand. Nigel takes a powder to try and regroup, but Albright hits him with a baseball slide and a slingshot dive over the top rope. The champion comes back and starts savagely attacking Albright’s arm. Back in the ring Nigel continues working the arm. Albright comes back with a uranage slam and both men are down. Back to their feet Albright is firing up, hitting a powerslam for two. Nigel grabs Albright and throws him to the floor, but soon joins him, as Albright grabs his legs and swings the champion into the steel barricade. Back in the ring Albright stays in control but can’t quite put the champion away. Nigel makes the comeback and once again zeroes in on the arm. He even hits the Tower of London to the floor. Back in the ring Albright kicks out at two. Nigel tries to hit another Tower of London, but Albright blocks it and hits a cross body off the top rope for two. Albright goes up top again but Nigel knocks him down and this time hits another Tower of London for two. A short-arm lariat gets another two. The champion tries the Jawbreaker Lariat but Albright catches it and locks on the Crowbar! Nigel escapes and the referee takes a bump. He takes the opportunity to deliver a Tower of London from the top rope through a table on the floor! Back in the ring Albright actually kicks out. Now Nigel locks on the London Dungeon, and Albright rolls it into a cradle for two. Albright rolls out of that into a Crowbar, and he rolls Nigel into the middle of the ring. Nigel attacks the eyes to break the hold. They get back to their feet and Albright hits the Air Raid Crash for two and then locks on the Crowbar again, and Claudio Castagnoli runs down to give Albright the DQ win at 22:11. They went THAT long for THAT finish? The match had some solid work, but the finish was awful and the match too long for that. Also, Albright kicked out of way too many variations of the Tower of London. What are they protecting him for? For his spot in the company there would be no shame in cleanly losing to the champion. After the match Nigel and Claudio continue beating on Albright until Flair jumps in and cleans house.
Rating: **¾

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