Sports Network and Fitness Inc. – Manassas, Virginia – Friday, June 12, 2009

Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Six Man Tag Team Match – Colt Cabana, Necro Butcher & Grizzly Redwood vs. Jimmy Rave, Claudio Castagnoli & Ernie Osiris

Rave and Cabana start the match for their respective teams. They chain wrestle to start, with Cabana taking control with a cravat. Rave escapes and knocks Cabana down with a shoulderblock. While they stall, Necro gets a hold of some kind of insect that was crawling on the mat, and to the delight of the crowd, eats it. Rave and Cabana resume the match with more chain wrestling. This time Rave gets the advantage, and Cabana can’t figure out what he’s doing wrong so he turns to his partners for advice. They helpfully point out that Cabana is wearing boots, and that must be the problem. Cabana takes his socks off and throws them at Rave. It seems to have solved his woes, as he takes down all three members of the Embassy. Castagnoli and Rave hide outside while the barefoot trio all rub their feet in Osiris’s face. The match breaks down to a brawl and Team Barefoot sends the Embassy retreating to the floor. Meanwhile Necro removes referee Todd Sinclair’s shoe, and then Cabana gives it back to him. Redwood and Castagnoli get the tags, and there’s a little bit of a size discrepancy here. Castagnoli attacks the beard and takes Redwood down. The littlest lumberjack doesn’t last too long before making the tag to Necro, who hits a monkey flip. Castagnoli comes back and brings Necro over to the Embassy corner and tags Osiris in for the first time. Necro quickly comes back and hits an atomic drop, and then literally forces Osiris to tag Rave. He’s eager to fight the Crown Jewel of the Embassy, but Rave slides to the floor and runs away. Necro stupidly chases him and gets booted in the face by Castagnoli. Back in the ring Necro gets worked over by everyone, including Prince Nana. Osiris misses a guillotine legdrop, and Necro is able to make the hot tag to the re-booted Cabana. Now that’s just weak – show some commitment Cabana! Either way Cabana is all over Osiris and gets a clothesline, but Rave breaks up the cover by locking on the Heel Hook. The match breaks down a little bit, and Rave runs away from Necro. Back at ringside Redwood hits a tornado DDT on Castagnoli on the floor. In the ring Cabana hits Osiris with an Asai Moonsault, and then locks on the Billy Goat’s Curse for the win at 12:56. The comedy early on didn’t do much for me, but once they settled in to an actual match it got pretty okay.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #2: Shawn Spears vs. Alex Payne

By the logic of many internet fans, Spears was fired by the WWE so he must be amazing and have been totally wasted up there in New York. Spears blows off the Code of Honor in his ROH debut here. He takes Payne down and gloats about it. A second armdrag takes Payne down again. Payne comes back with an armdrag of his own and Spears backs off. They come back to the center of the ring and Spears hits a couple of chops and avoids a back body drop with a cartwheel. Payne responds with a dropkick sending Spears to the floor. Back in the ring Payne gets a cross body block for two and then locks on an armbar. You know, I’m not a booker, but if I wanted to give someone the remotest chance of getting over, I would not have him appear an equal to Alex Payne. And if you have no interest in doing more with him than that, why bring him in? Anyway, somewhere in all that Spears got back on offense. He hits a series of knees for two. Payne goes for a cross body block but Spears catches him, and then Payne reverses that to a crucifix for two. Spears pops up with a lariat and the crowd chants “who are you?” Payne comes back with a jawbreaker and a jackknife cradle for two. Spears then locks on a sleeper. That gets broken and Sugarfoot fires up. Payne hits a side Russian legsweep, and then goes for a tornado DDT. Spears blocks it and sets Payne up for a superplex. Payne blocks it and hits a flipping chinbreaker for two. He goes up top for a splash or something and Spears moves out of the way. Spears then hits a running Death Valley Driver to get the pin at 8:27. The match was competent but pointless. I don’t understand why Payne would ever get that much offense. Prazak says Spears is someone to keep your eye on in ROH, but he hasn’t been booked since.
Rating: *¾

MATCH #3: Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny King

Rhett Titus accompanies his tag team partner Kenny King to ringside. They start off slowly, exchanging holds in the center of the ring. King is able to keep pace with Danielson early on, and gets pretty cocky about it. Danielson goes right after King’s left arm, and King regroups with Titus. The veteran Danielson stays in control, locking on a cravat and hitting a snap mare to a massive pop. King once again regroups, and when he comes back he hits a snap mare of his own. I admit I’m not sure how this snap mare thing got started. King gets a quick advantage and the crowd is all over him. Danielson comes back with another snap mare and a kick to the back. He follows up with a huge snap mare out of the corner, and the crowd loves it. For some reason Titus gets on the microphone and says Danielson isn’t the best in the world. He then asks for his music to come on, and he sings along and dances to it. This ridiculous distraction allows King to hit a clothesline and take control. Wow, that was just about the dumbest thing I’ve seen in quite some time. King hits a spinebuster for two. Danielson fires back with forearms and a series of hard kicks. King tries to regroup on the floor but gets no respite as Danielson jumps off the ring apron with a flying knee, which hits Titus. Danielson goes to Suplex King back in the ring, and Titus tries to pull a Bobby Heenan. Danielson catches him and gets distracted, allowing King to hit the Shotgun Knees and goes for a pin with his feet on the ropes but the referee spots it. King goes for the Coronation but Danielson avoids it and hits a couple of kicks to knock King down. Danielson then hits the elbows, but King reverses to a cartwheel kick. King then hits the Coronation and goes for a cover, but Danielson locks him into the Triangle Choke and King reverses it to a jackknife pin for two. Danielson tries a sunset flip and King sits down for two. King tries another Cartwheel Kick but Danielson avoids it and hooks in a small package to get the win at 13:00. Outside of that awful Rhett Titus bit in the middle of the match this was pretty good. But seriously, did we need to have Titus singing and dancing to his own music in the ring just so King could take control of the match for a few minutes?
Rating: ***

MATCH #4: Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. The Young Bucks

I’ve seen a couple of the Young Bucks’ TV matches, but I think this match will give me a better idea if I’m going to like them or not. Generico and Matt start the match with some chain wrestling. The generic luchador goes after Matt’s knee and hits a leg lariat, and then both men make tags. Nick grabs Steen in a side headlock. That doesn’t last too long and they engage in a fast-paced exchange, which Nick gets the better of. Steen comes back with his strength advantage. Generico gets tagged in and the pace instantly quickens. Nick once again gets the advantage, and the Bucks are looking good against the former ROH World Tag Team Champions. The match turns into a brawl and Steen eventually gets the advantage, throwing Nick to the floor and hitting Matt with the Cannonball. Generico gets tagged back in and the crowd wants to see A BODYSLAM! They also want to see the snap mare, and Generico obliges! Steen comes back and also uses the snap mare, much to the crowd’s delight. Matt gets worked over by both Steen and Generico for several minutes, as the former champs display some excellent teamwork. He finally comes back with a unique face-first slam that I’m not sure how to describe and then makes the hot tag to Nick. The Bucks are both on fire now and the offense is coming fast and furious. The referee briefly loses control, and then Generico makes the official tag to Steen, who hits a Swanton on Nick for two. Referee Turner once again loses control. Man these ROH referees are such pushovers. In all the madness Steen hits Matt with the Package Piledriver and Generico follows with the brainbuster for the win at 13:47. That was super fun and a much better introduction to the Bucks than they’ve gotten on TV. It reminded me a lot of when Steen & Generico battled the Briscoe Brothers during the Fifth Year Festival, with a young up-and-coming team taking on an established duo and making a name for themselves. After the match, Generico is a little friendlier with the Jacksons than Steen is. Could that be foreshadowing?
Rating: ***½

Nigel McGuinness Returns to ROH

This is Nigel’s first appearance since early April, so it’s not like he’s been gone that long. He says his arm is as good as it’s ever going to be, so he’ll be back soon. He gives credit to Jerry Lynn for taking the title off him, but thinks his days as champion are numbered. He pontificates about who might take the belt off him, naming Tyler Black, Bryan Danielson, and Austin Aries, who has a shot at the belt tomorrow night in New York City. He urges the crowd not to doubt him again, and that brings out Austin Aries. The Number One Contender says nice things about Nigel and promises to give him a title shot after he wins it tomorrow night. He then segues into his match tonight.

MATCH #5: Four Corner Survival – Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong vs. D-Lo Brown vs. Eddie Edwards

Edwards is accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. The match starts off as more of a three-on-one handicap match and Strong valiantly fights them off. Action quickly spills to the floor and Strong maintains the advantage. Edwards recovers first and brings Strong into the ring, but he winds up getting hit with a leg lariat for a one count. Strong goes for the Gibson Driver but Aries breaks it up and takes control. Everyone gets back in the ring and it’s a handicap match once again. That can only last for so long, as the heels figure out that they all can’t win the match. Edwards and Aries fight it out while Strong recovers and Brown watches. Then Aries rests while Edwards and Brown fight. No tags or anything are being enforced here, so the action is coming far too fast for me to type up so I’ll do my best to hit the high notes. Aries encourages Brown to hit Strong with the ‘Lo Down, and then Aries double-crosses him. He dispatches Edwards as well, leaving Aries in the ring with Strong, his former tag team championship partner. Strong hits a flurry of offense and locks on the Stronghold to get the tap-out victory at a surprisingly short 8:04. They certainly packed a ton of action in that short time. Prazak wisely points out that Aries tapping so quickly was smart since he has a title shot tomorrow he wouldn’t want to take the slightest risk of getting injured. For some reason the crowd gives D-Lo A LOT of love on his way out.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #6: Jimmy Jacobs vs. Sonjay Dutt

Jacobs is wrestling in jeans because he is depressed about the dissolution of The Age of The Fall. He jumps Dutt before he can even make his entrance, and they fight on the floor to start. Dutt reverses the momentum and whips Jacobs into the guardrail. They head back in the ring and the match officially begins. Jacobs chokes Dutt and begins working him over. Dutt comes back with some acrobatic moves and knocks Jacobs to the floor. He follows him out with a dive, and then whips Jacobs back in the ring. The Original Playa from the Himalaya is firmly in control and the crowd is supportive of him. Hey Sonjay, stop doing the Jeff Jarrett strut okay? Jacobs comes back with the choke takedown, and then he locks on a body scissors. He tries to Suplex Dutt to the floor but Dutt reverses it and suplexes Jacobs back inside the ring. Dutt then locks on the Octopus Hold, and then gets a rollup for two. He tries a moonsault but Jacobs gets the knees up. Jacobs takes the battle to the floor, where he sets Dutt up on a chair and hits a dive through the ropes, wiping him out. Back in the ring he gets a two-count, and then goes back to the body scissors. Dutt reverses it to a submission move of his own. Jacobs escapes that and goes back to work, but Dutt soon fires up and bulldogs Jacobs into the second turnbuckle. Dutt hits a slingshot guillotine legdrop and a springboard seated senton for two. He hits a spinebuster and goes for a quebrada, but Jacobs catches him in the End Time! Dutt escapes and hits a superkick, but Jacobs fires back with a spear for two. Jacobs goes for the End Time but Dutt avoids it and hits the quebrada for two. Dutt goes for Sliced Bread and Jacobs counters with the End Time. Once again Dutt powers out of the move and they battle with Jacobs seated on the top rope. Dutt hits a modified Muscle Buster but Jacobs kicks out at two. Dutt goes up top but Jacobs stops him, and then Dutt knocks Jacobs down on his crotch. For some reason Dutt thrusts in Jacobs’s face and goes for a rana but Jacobs blocks it and locks on the End Time for the third time, and Dutt passes out at 11:04. Jacobs looked pretty strong going over, but Dutt just does nothing for me. Fans chant “welcome home,” as if Sonjay had more than like three matches in Ring of Honor before this recent comeback.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #7: Jay Briscoe vs. Davey Richards

Richards is of course accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. They’re pretty evenly matched in the early going, and Jay takes the first advantage with a boot to the face that sends Richards to the floor. Richards abuses Giuseppe di Lorento and threatens to use a boot, but he doesn’t. Back in the ring Jay controls briefly before Richards takes over and throws Jay to the floor. Richards tries an Irish Whip but Jay reverses it and sends him crashing into the guardrail, and then clotheslines him into the crowd. They get back to the ring around the count of 14, and Richards is begging off, even kissing Jay’s feet. Jay’s not buying it though, and he unloads on the tag team champion. Richards takes over and goes to work on the arm, and also makes time to jaw with the crowd. He hits an Alarm Clock and then goes up top to hit a diving headbutt for two. Jay tries to fight back, and gets a quick rollup for two, and then the STO into the second turnbuckle. He follows with a running clothesline in the corner and a series of chops. He tries an Irish Whip but his injured arm won’t allow it, so he settles for a spinebuster and the Falcon Arrow for two. Richards comes back with kicks and hits one right between the shoulder blades. He goes up top again and hits a nice missile dropkick, followed by a series of high impact strikes for two. He locks on the Kimura but Jay reaches the ropes. He goes for a superplex but Jay knocks him down. Jay goes for a splash but Richards gets the knees up. Richards hits a running kick to the bicep and a German Suplex with a bridge for two. He locks on the Kimura but Jay once again escapes and this time hits a Death Valley Driver! They both get to their feet and start kicking each other in the face. Neither man will back down as they exchange strikes in the middle of the ring. Richards hits a release German Suplex, and Jay pops right back up and hits a lariat for two. They get back to their feet once again and trade forearms. Jay goes for the Jay Driller but Richards blocks it and Jay goes for a sunset flip. Richards kneels down for a two-count, and then tries a jackknife pin in the corner with his legs on the ropes, but Jay reverses that a sunset flip and that keeps Richards down for the count of three at 13:47. After the match Eddie Edwards runs out to double-team Jay, but Kevin Steen & El Generico come rushing out to try and injure their opponents tomorrow night. The match was a fun strike-based brawl without much selling, and the crowd was super into it.
Rating: ***

MATCH #8: Non-Title Match – Jerry Lynn vs. Tyler Black

Oh sweet, a non-title match. Lynn won the ROH World Title just over two months ago, and to be fair he has defended it six times already and has one scheduled against Austin Aries tomorrow night in New York, so I actually shouldn’t complain. The crowd is split down the middle for this one, which is about as over as Lynn has been during his entire title reign. Before any contact is made, Black makes sure all sections of the crowd are evenly pulling their weight. Then for some reason the crowd chants “We Want Snap Mares!” What is with that? Anyway they trade holds and Black avoids a snap mare much to the chagrin of the crowd. They trade more holds as the crowd chants for both men. Lynn gets control with a side headlock and tenaciously holds on. He lands a head scissors and then finally hits a snap mare, and then they take turns giving each other snap mares and it goes on too long and the crowd continuing to chant it has become distracting. They seem to be done with snap mares for now, and they trade control back and forth. Black gains control and goes for Paroxysm but Lynn counters to an inverted DDT for two. Lynn hits a vertical Suplex for two. They both get the same idea and try a cross body block and they knock the wind out of each other. Lynn hits a rana off the top rope and Black doesn’t really sell it, blocking Lynn’s Cradle Piledriver attempt, and then missing the quebrada. This is such a Jerry Lynn match. Lynn hits a Gory Special for two. Black kicks Lynn in the back of the head to knock him down to the floor. They spend a lot of time making these guys look totally even, and I think that since Lynn wasn’t the most popular guy on the roster at this point this actually really hurt Black’s momentum. Out on the floor Black hits a moonsault off the barricade. Back in the ring Black hits the springboard clothesline for two. Black goes for the Buckle Bomb but Lynn counters it and they trade pinning combinations. A kick to the head subdues Lynn long enough for Black to hit the Paroxysm for a two-count. Lynn defies the art of selling once again to hit a TKO for a two-count. He goes up top and Black knocks him down and goes for a super snap mare. Black settles for a superplex and both men are down. They get back up and Lynn gets a quick small package for two. Black responds with a Pele kick, and Lynn comes back with an Air Raid Crash for two. Lynn hits a big clothesline and goes for the Cradle Piledriver but Black reverses it to the Buckle Bomb. Black follows with a Superkick to score the non-title victory at 18:30. That was your typical Jerry Lynn match, full of guys doing moves to each other. Black certainly looks strong in pinning the champion; I really feel bad about how he’s not as over as he used to be. For some reason Roderick Strong comes out in his socks to give the champion some water. Austin Aries comes out and applauds Black for weakening Lynn for him for tomorrow night. Once AGAIN Jerry Lynn cuts a promo after the match, but thankfully it was short.
Rating: **¾

BONUS MATCH: Daizee Haze vs. LuFisto, The Hunt Begins, 4.17.09

I’m really not sure what LuFisto’s gimmick is supposed to be. Prazak refers to her as a “super hardcore anime,” which doesn’t really make it any clearer. LuFisto attacks Haze before the bell, but the ROH veteran Haze is able to weather the early onslaught and attack the arm. Haze controls for a bit before LuFisto comes back with an overly complicated Fisherman Buster. LuFisto goes to work on the back, and locks on a Camel Clutch. Haze makes a brief comeback and tries a crucifix, but LuFisto counters with an STO into the corner, and she follows in with a Face Wash for a two-count. LuFisto locks on a body scissors, which Haze counters to a crucifix for two. They get right back up and LuFisto hits a German Suplex with a bridge for two. LuFisto goes up top but misses a diving headbutt. They get up and trade shots, with Haze taking the advantage. Haze goes up top and hits a missile dropkick. She follows up with a Northern Lights Suplex for two. A Heart Punch attempt is reversed to a Burning Hammer attempt, which in turn gets reversed. This time Haze hits the Heart Punch and follows with the Mind Trip for the win at 6:00. LuFisto looked totally comfortable out there and Haze was much less sloppy than usual. This was much better than the usual ROH women’s match. Why haven’t they brought LuFisto back yet?
Rating: **¼