Steel City Clash

Court Times Sports Center – Elizabeth, PA – Friday, March 20, 2009

PRESHOW MATCH #1: Shiima Xion vs. Brandon Morino

This will be my first time seeing either of these two, I think. No commentary here. They trade armbars to start. The referee is wearing a long-sleeved shirt; weird. They start showing off their agility, mostly for the sake of showing it off. Xion ends up with an armbar. Morino comes back and grounds Xion. Soon Xion is back in control, and unleashes a flurry of offense. Morino cuts him off with a kick to the face for two. He hits a charging elbow in the corner, and then a running kick to the chest for another near-fall. Morino tries a German Suplex, but Xion reverses it into a devastating looking move that I’ve never seen before to get the pin at 4:06. That was decent for the preshow.
Rating: *¼

PRESHOW MATCH #2: Grizzly Redwood & Alex Payne vs. Tony Kozina & Brandon Day

I believe the ring announcer says that Payne and Redwood are a combined 691 pounds, and the referee is Oliver Clothesoff. Kozina and Payne start the match. Payne takes control of the arm and tags Redwood in. Payne comes back in and works on Kozina, who then tags out to Day, who gets dominated by Payne and tags back out. Kozina gets a brief bit of offense before Payne is back in control. Day comes in the ring and hits a Spear on Payne and then a Finlay roll for two. Payne eventually makes the hot tag to the inexplicably over Redwood. Team ROH Wrestling Academy deliver simultaneous mounted strikes in the corner and Bison Smith runs out and powerbombs them for the disqualification at 4:47. Prince Nana comes out with “Dirty” Ernie Osiris and announces that the Embassy is back. Bryan Danielson comes out and runs them off.
Rating: ¾*

Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Delirious vs. Sterling James Keenan

I thought a while back SJK had gone to being called just Sterling Keenan. I admit I don’t really follow his career. Delirious dominates the early going, keeping Keenan grounded. He gets in position for the Panic Attack but Keenan avoids it and rolls to the floor. Keenan tries to manhandle Daizee, and eats a dropkick for it. Back in the ring Delirious stays in control. Keenan finally cuts Delirious off with a big boot to the face. He hits a belly-to-back suplex and a fist drop for a near-fall. Delirious briefly recovers and hits a heart punch, but Keenan comes back with an STO for two. Keenan has some supporters in the crowd. He hits a Death Valley Driver for two. Delirious comes back and hits the Never Ending Story Clotheslines. He follows that with the Panic Attack. Then he goes to the top rope to hit Shadows over Hell to score the pin at 8:16. Despite all the hate he gets, I think Keenan did a fine job, and this was a perfectly solid opener. I’d give him another chance for sure, at least on the Pittsburgh area shows to start with.
Rating: **½

MATCH #2: Kenny King & Rhett Titus vs. Erick Stevens & Matt Cross

Before Stevens and Cross can be introduced, Austin Aries makes his way out to the ring. He did kind of leave them high and dry with the Resilience, so I’m guessing that’s what he wants to talk about. He apologizes for not being there when they needed him. He gives them a backhanded compliment, and then backtracks, extolling their qualities. Unfortunately for them, he’s talking about King and Titus! The new trio attacks Stevens and Cross until Roderick Strong comes out to run Aries off. King and Titus have the early advantage, but Stevens recovers and uses his power to combat their attacks. Stevens tags in Cross, who hasn’t been seen in ROH since the Breakout event in Dayton on January 25, 2008. Cross unleashes some of his unusual offense on both Titus and King. Stevens tags back in and Titus is struggling here. Eventually the heels recover and go to work on Cross. M-Dogg takes several minutes of abuse before tagging Stevens into the match. Stevens is all over both King and Titus. Cross gets tagged back in and King hits him with the Coronation and Stevens breaks it up. The referee has lost control of the match. The battle spills to the floor, and Cross wipes out everyone with a Super Space Flying Castro Driver. Titus and Cross wind up back in the ring, and King, but apparently King is legal. King and Titus hit the powerbomb/blockbuster combination to secure the victory at 10:01. I don’t see much of a future for Stevens in the singles ranks, but I think he and Cross would make a solid addition to the tag division. Also nice to see King and Titus recover from their loss to Steen & Generico last week.
Rating: **½

Bryan Danielson is backstage to talk about things he likes about professional wrestling. He likes technical wrestling matches, so he’s looking forward to wrestling Mike Quackenbush tonight.

MATCH #3: Bryan Danielson vs. Mike Quackenbush

The crowd doesn’t seem to like Quack’s chances. This is a rematch from Death Before Dishonor V Night Two all the way back on 8.11.07 in Philadelphia, PA. Obviously, they start the chain wrestling right away. Quack dumps Danielson to the floor for a bit, and when the match gets back to the ring he attacks Danielson’s knee. They continue trading holds and such, and Danielson counters Quack’s attacks by going after his arm. The match goes on like this for a while, hold for hold, move for move, etc. Eventually Danielson traps Quack in a small package for the pin at 16:40. The match was technically proficient, but for someone like me who finds Mike Quackenbush to be among the most boring wrestlers on the planet, it was pretty dull.
Rating: ***

MATCH #4: Three Way Match – Jerry Lynn vs. Brent Albright vs. Claudio Castagnoli

Albright tries to attack Claudio before Lynn even makes his entrance, and Claudio avoids him like the plague. Lynn is fresh off a pinfall victory over the ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness in a tag team match. Albright is consumed with attacking Claudio, and that gives Lynn the advantage. Lynn and Albright double team Claudio on the outside of the ring, and then throw him back in. Claudio rolls right back to the floor. Lynn and Albright decide to fight it out amongst themselves. Soon Claudio makes his way back into the ring and dumps Albright to the floor. The match is getting hard for the referee to control. I wonder why this one doesn’t have the tag rule like the one last week in Indianapolis had. Claudio and Lynn wind up in the ring, and Claudio works him over for a while. Albright comes back and takes Claudio to the floor, and Lynn wipes them both out with a dive. Lynn and Albright are first back in the ring. Claudio rejoins them and the referee has trouble keeping up. I can’t blame him; I’m having some trouble myself. Lynn hits Albright with a TKO for two. Albright comes back and locks Lynn in the Crowbar. Claudio breaks that up and pitches Albright to the floor. He then locks Lynn in a Crowbar of his own and Lynn taps out at 11:32. I see what they were going for, but having Lynn lose here didn’t make a ton of sense. The match was the usual three-way action but it was fun enough.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #5: Falls Count Anywhere Match – The Age of The Fall (Jimmy Jacobs & Brodie Lee) vs. Tyler Black & Necro Butcher

Jacobs, Lee, and MsChif comprise what’s left of The Age of The Fall. Nobody waits too long to get this one underway. Necro and Lee take the match to the floor pretty quickly, and Jacobs soon follows, of course followed by Black. This is a preview of sorts for the “Revolution Rules” match scheduled for tomorrow night. Prazak bails on commentary, leaving Leonard to fend for himself. The fight is going all over the arena, with Jacobs fighting Black and Lee fighting Necro. Black and Jacobs are the first duo to get back in the ring, as Prazak rejoins the booth. Necro gets the ring bell out, but Lee winds up slamming it into Necro’s face for a two-count. They switch dance partners but it’s obviously still just a lot of brawling. Jacobs and Lee are able to take Black out for a little bit and double-team Necro. Black and Jacobs wind up in the ring and Black hits the Paroxysm for two. He tries a quebrada but Jacobs gets the knees up. Meanwhile, on the outside of the ring Necro hits Lee with a bulldog for two. Back in the ring Jacobs hits the Contra Code for a near-fall. Lee and Necro battle up the aisle towards the back. Necro blasts Jacobs with a wooden chair, and then Lee hits a side slam on the entrance ramp on Necro. Back in the ring Jacobs goes up to the top but Black puts a stop to that. Black goes to the top rope and Lee crack him with a chair. Jacobs locks on the End Time submission and Black is out at 14:31. That was a solid garbage match, but nothing too exceptional.
Rating: ***

MATCH #6: Roderick Strong vs. Austin Aries

These two have had several excellent encounters in the past. They start off with some back and forth chain wrestling. Since they’re former stable mates and responsible for turning the ROH Tag Team Titles into World Tag Team Titles, they’re very familiar with each other’s styles. Aries especially avoids all chop and backbreaker attempts, and takes a powder. Back in the ring Strong hits a fall away slam and tries another chop so Aries takes another powder. Aries feigns a handshake and hits a chop of his own. He hits another one and then Strong shrugs him off and gives chase. Aries ducks another chop and goes to the floor; this time Strong follows him out and whips him into the guardrail. Strong tries to slingshot back into the ring with a shoulderblock but Aries catches him with an Ace Crusher. Aries goes on offense and continues to avoid the chops. He misses the running dropkick in the corner and that gives Strong the necessary recovery time. Strong finally hits a couple of chops and Aries is reeling. They go back to the floor and Strong throws Aries into the guardrail again and dishes out more chops. Back in the ring Strong continues to throw everything he has at Aries but he can’t put him away. He tries the Tiger Driver but Aries reverses it to a rana. Strong comes back with the Boston Crab and Aries reaches the ropes. They go to the apron and Aries hits a neckbreaker over the second rope. Aries follows Strong to the floor with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries hits knee strikes and locks on the Last Chancery. Strong escapes and hits a string of his signature moves but still can’t get the pin. He puts on the Boston Crab, which brings out Rhett Titus and Kenny King. Titus jumps off the top rope into a backbreaker, and then Strong goes after King. The distraction allows Aries to hit the kick to the head and the brainbuster to get the pin at 15:25. I actually like that finish in theory, because it helps align the hot young stars with the established Aries, and it’s not something ROH does a lot. It would also make Aries look like a total dick and the fans should hate him. The problem is that the way Aries wrestles causes the fans to think he’s “entertaining,” not a dick. That’s why the character isn’t working for me at this point. The match was solid though.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #7: KENTA & El Generico vs. Nigel McGuinness & Davey Richards

Generico is one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions, and Nigel is the ROH World Champion. Davey Richards is accompanied by Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey; conspicuous by his absence is Larry Sweeney. Generico and Richards start the match. Just to be a jerk, Richards sidesteps Generico and kicks KENTA off the apron. Nigel tags in and Generico returns the kick to the face favor to Richards. Generico then dives to the floor to take Richards out, and KENTA enters the ring to dominate the World Champion that he will challenge tomorrow night. The heels take a powder to regroup. The participants in tomorrow night’s title match end up back in the ring and Nigel starts going to work on KENTA’s arm. Richards gets tagged in and he and KENTA start pounding the crap out of each other. KENTA tags Generico, who hits a high cross body off the top for two. Soon Generico gets trapped in the wrong corner and they go to work on him. After several minutes of abuse he makes the hot tag to KENTA, and he takes care of both opponents. He hits Nigel with a Fisherman Buster for two. Nigel comes back and tries the Tower of London but it gets blocked. KENTA hits a butterfly suplex for two. Lenny Leonard manages to get in a pretty tasteless comment about the murder of Dino Bravo. Meanwhile, Nigel has trapped KENTA in the London Dungeon. Generico breaks it up. Richards is back and he and KENTA trade kicks. KENTA hits a powerslam and tags Generico, who comes in with a Superfly Splash for two. Richards recovers and hits a German Suplex for two. Moments later Richards winds up alone in the ring with both KENTA and Generico, but Nigel soon rejoins them and hits KENTA with a Lariat. Generico nails Nigel with a running Yakuza in the corner, but when he tries the same on Richards he gets caught and suplexed head first into the turnbuckles. Nigel and KENTA get tagged in and KENTA hits a Busaiku Knee for two. The champion comes back with another Lariat, further injuring his left bicep. He goes to the top rope and KENTA leaps up with him and hits the Super Falcon Arrow; Richards breaks up the pin. KENTA tries Go 2 Sleep but Nigel counters with a DVD. Nigel hits the Tower of London and Generico breaks up the pin. Richards and Generico fight out on the floor, and in the ring Nigel has KENTA trapped in the London Dungeon. Generico tries to break it up but can’t. KENTA gets a rollup out of it for two. Nigel goes right back to the hold but KENTA reverses to the Go 2 Sleep and pins the World Champion at 19:37. The same thing just happened last week with Jerry Lynn. That was a fun tag match that did a good job setting up tomorrow night’s main event. It also gave Richards and Generico a chance to shine with someone other than their regular partners.
Rating: ***½

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