Violent Tendencies

Michigan State Fairgrounds & Expo Center – Detroit, Michigan – Friday, June 26, 2009

Misawa Ten Bell Salute

Everyone is at ringside for a 10-bell salute to the recently departed legend Mitsuharu Misawa. KENTA and ROH owner Cary Silkin stand in the ring with a framed photo while the crowd respectfully observes the 10-bell salute and a moment of silence. I admit I’m not as well versed in the career of Misawa as many of my contemporaries are, but the circumstances of his death are no doubt sad, and he was definitely a legend in the business.

Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Silas Young vs. Grizzly Redwood

Where’s Bobby Cruise tonight? This new guy stinks. One of my refereeing idols, Brian Gorie, is your official for this contest. Redwood goes right to work, trying to chop his larger opponent down to size. Young quickly comes back with a pie face. He tries to overpower Redwood, but the littlest lumberjack uses his unique offense to ground his opponent. Young comes back by picking Redwood up in a suplex and dropping him across the top rope. Redwood tries to make a comeback but Young continues to overpower him. Young hits a gutbuster for two. Redwood comes back with a little bulldog, and then a series of mounted chops in the corner. He then gets a quick rollup out of nowhere to score the pin at 3:46. I don’t understand why they use Silas Young. He’s better than guys like Grizzly Redwood, so they should give him a chance to get over, and if he doesn’t then stop using him. But for crying out loud, give the guy a chance – losing to Grizzly Redwood in less than four minutes will never get him over.
Rating: ½*

MATCH #2: Erick Stevens & Brent Albright vs. Kenny King & Rhett Titus

How can Stevens and Albright expect to work as a team when they can’t decide whether to high-five or fist bump? Albright and King start the match for their respective teams. The newly shaven Albright uses his power to dominate, so King powders. Back in the ring Albright continues to control the match, and then he tags to Stevens. King makes a quick tag to Titus, and Stevens scoops him up high and slams him down to the canvas. Stevens then tags Albright, and this is not going well for Titus at all. It gets worse when Albright pulls Titus’s tights down, showing more of Rhett Titus than I ever wanted to see. The referee loses control of the match, and I can’t remember who the legal men are. When things calm down King and Titus finally gain control, on Albright. Somehow Albright’s back gets a cut on it and he’s bleeding pretty noticeably. I’m not sure how that happened. Moments later Albright makes the hot tag to Stevens, who is a house afire. The referee completely loses control and doesn’t even try to enforce the rules, as all four men are coming in and out of the ring pretty liberally. Somewhere in the mess, King gets a rollup on Stevens and grabs the tights to score the pin at 12:40. There was nothing particularly engaging about that match, but at least the right team went over.
Rating: **

MATCH #3: Nigel McGuinness vs. Claudio Castagnoli

This is Nigel’s first match since losing the ROH World Title to Jerry Lynn back in April. Both men are eager to get their hands on each other, and it’s a brawl in the early going. Claudio takes the first advantage, no doubt due to the ring rust Nigel must have after two months gone. Nigel doggedly attacks the arm and shoulder, presumably to set up for the London Dungeon. Claudio responds by attacking the leg. Nigel goes for an early Tower of London but Claudio blocks it and is able to hit a diving European Uppercut for a two-count. Claudio switches up his strategy and starts going after the arm. Nigel gets a backslide for two and then locks on the London Dungeon! Claudio reaches the ropes. This has been quite the back and forth matchup so far. Claudio comes back with a London Dungeon of his own. They fight out to the apron and Nigel sets up for a Tower of London through the timekeeper’s table but Claudio blocks it and hits a running boot to the chest off the apron. Claudio clears the table and goes for a Ricola Bomb, but Nigel blocks it and slingshots Claudio chest-first into the table. They barely make it back in the ring at the count of 18, and Claudio rolls right back to the floor and Nigel follows him. They continue to fight on the floor as the crowd gets behind Nigel. Claudio almost gets a countout win but Nigel just barely sneaks back in the ring and he’s all fired up now. Nigel locks on the London Dungeon, and Claudio uses the referee to break the hold, and he rolls to the floor once again. Claudio uses the barricades to inflict further damage on Nigel’s arm. They fight up the aisle, and Claudio sets up for a Ricola Bomb on the entrance ramp. Nigel avoids it and locks on the London Dungeon! Meanwhile, referee Paul Turner counts both men out at 12:58. Nigel gets back in the ring and challenges Claudio to come back to the ring and finish the match proper, which Claudio refuses to do. This was a pretty fun match and the guys did a good job making it look like they were pissed at each other, which is all I ask. Sadly this would be the last match between the two in Ring of Honor.
Rating: ***

MATCH #4: Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. Josh Raymond & Christin Able

I’m a big fan of Truth Martini, Josh Raymond, and Christin Able, so I’m really glad they’re finally getting a shot in ROH (especially Raymond). Steen and Generico come out to Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” and try to dance in honor of the recently departed legend. Raymond and Able are known as the “House of Truth,” after their inspirational leader. They start the match by attacking the former ROH World Tag Team Champions like they’ve got something to prove. Steen weathers the storm and takes over on Raymond. Generico gets his turn too as they isolate Raymond in their half of the ring. Raymond comes back with a jawbreaker on Generico and makes the tag to Able, who immediately gets hit with a Generico leg lariat. Steen gets tagged back in and they double-team Able. They get the crowd to pop for a bodyslam in a manner similar to Manassas popping for a snap mare. Martini tries to interfere but Generico avoids him and hits a high cross body off the top rope for a two-count. The third time is a charm for Martini, as he hooks Generico’s leg behind the referee’s back, and Able takes control and makes the tag to Raymond. House of Truth takes over on Generico now, isolating him and taunting Steen. The crowd gets behind Generico as Able and Raymond take turns beating him down. They throw Generico to the floor and Martini gets a few shots in. Finally Generico is able to make the hot tag to a fresh and fired up Steen. The match breaks down to a bit of a brawl, and we’re left with Steen and Able in the ring. Steen hits a modified Air Raid Crash for a two-count. H e follows up with the Swanton Bomb but Able once again kicks out! Able makes the tag and Raymond goes up top. Steen and Raymond fight on top, and Raymond knocks Steen down, so he makes a tag to Generico. Raymond responds with an incredible shooting star cross body block! I don’t think I’ve seen that before. Generico wipes out Able on the floor. Meanwhile Steen locks Raymond in the Sharpshooter and Raymond taps, but the referee’s back is turned. Martini gets in the ring to interfere, and Steen winds up for the big punch, but Raymond stops him with the Taliban Backpack. He goes up for the Phoenix Splash but Steen gets the knees up. Steen and Generico capitalize, hitting the Package Piledriver and Brainbuster combination to put Raymond away at 13:19. That was a lot of fun and a great showing for the House of Truth. The tag team division could certainly use some new blood so I’m excited to see what they do with them.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #5: Six Man Mayhem – Austin Aries vs. Rasche Brown vs. Sami Callihan vs. Delirious vs. Joey Ryan vs. Petey Williams

Ryan is accompanied by Prince Nana and Ernie Osiris of the Embassy. Petey Williams is making his first appearance since June 18, 2005.Aries is less than two weeks removed from becoming the first ever two-time ROH World Champion, but the title is not on the line in this match. The champ gets on the microphone and complains about being in this match in the first place. He announces that he has made a “you wax my moustache, I’ll wax yours” deal with Joey Ryan and Prince Nana. The crowd is heavily in support of Petey Williams. Aries and Ryan start the match with some shenanigans. After a few minutes Ryan makes the tag to Williams. Aries avoids him and slides to the floor. Ryan then rejoins the ring and teams up with Aries to double-team Williams. That doesn’t last too long as Williams hits a few of his signature moves and Delirious joins the fray. They trade holds and pinning combinations but neither man can get the win. Callihan comes in the ring and takes it to the masked man. He hits Delirious with a clothesline that sends him to the floor, and the Skullcrusher gets in the ring to challenge Callihan. For some reason Callihan kisses Brown right on the mouth. As you might imagine, Brown doesn’t appreciate that, and he throws the New Horror around a bit. Callihan tags Aries, who quickly runs to the corner and tags Ryan. Ernie Osiris comes in the ring to take the bullet for Ryan, and then Aries comes back in to try and double-team the big man. The action is getting too fast to call here. Everyone is going for big moves on everyone else, including a Canadian Destroyer attempt by Williams that doesn’t connect. Williams goes for another Destroyer on Aries, but it gets blocked and Aries hits the IED for two. The third time is the charm as Williams hits the Canadian Destroyer on the champion, but Ryan breaks up the pin. Brown ends up alone in the ring, and picks up Osiris to pitch him to the floor. He then goes to the top rope, but Aries shoves him to the floor. Aries and Delirious are then left in the ring. Delirious hits the Panic Attack and Shadows over Hell, but Ryan puts Aries’ foot on the bottom rope. Ryan gets in the ring and gets the same Panic Attack and Shadows over Hell that Aries got, but when Delirious goes for the pin Aries rolls Delirious up in a cradle to get the pin at 13:30. That was a solid match to return from intermission with, and made it look like they have plans for Rasche Brown, Petey Williams, and Delirious.
Rating: **½

MATCH #6: Colt Cabana vs. D-Lo Brown

The fans chant for D-Lo Brown, proving that ROH fans will chant for anyone who used to work for WWE. He then mocks Detroit to turn the fans against him. Speaking of people fired by WWE, it’s Colt Cabana! He gives the “these fans came to see wrestling,” speech, as if Cabana as all about wrestling with no shenanigans. Cabana gets the early advantage and D-Lo powders to regroup. Back in the ring Cabana uses referee Todd Sinclair to reclaim the advantage, as he continues on with his usual stuff. D-Lo comes back with a Northern Lariat and goes to work. They take it to the floor and D-Lo whips Cabana into the barricade. Back in the ring they slug it out but D-Lo stops that exchange with a Sky-Hi Powerbomb for two. After a few more minutes Cabana makes the comeback and hits the tornado suplex, a movie I’ve always liked, and it gets two. D-Lo tries to use the ring bell but Cabana gets a rollup for two again. The referee takes a bump for some reason. Cabana hits the Flying Asshole, and then is able to manipulate the referee out of position so he can hit D-Lo with the ring bell for the pin at 8:58. I can understand if some people are entertained by this kind of thing but I am not one of them, so I ask for their understanding, just as I have given them mine.
Rating: *

MATCH #7: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – The American Wolves vs. Roderick Strong & KENTA

The Wolves have been champions since 4.10.09, and this is their sixth defense. They are of course accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. KENTA and Davey Richards start the match, as there is heat left over there from their singles match back in April. Strong is replacing the injured Bryan Danielson. Richards quickly bails and Edwards comes in, and I can tell right now that I’m going to have a hard time keeping up with this action. The Wolves take a moment to powder, and then when they get back in the ring it’s on once again. Strong and KENTA take control and work Edwards over in their corner. The Wolves reverse the momentum and take over on KENTA. Strong gets tagged back in and no one can gain firm control in the early going. The Wolves take control of KENTA for a while, which ends when Richards and KENTA exchange blows and knock each other out. Richards makes the tag to Edwards, and KENTA is able to make the tag to Strong as well. Strong is a house afire, but the Wolves weather his storm and try to double-team him, but their attacks get countered and Strong makes the tag to KENTA. This match has pretty much been non-stop action. It’s been much too hard for me to keep up with in a play-by-play sense, I’m just enjoying it. Of course the referee eventually loses control, and the crowd is chanting “this is awesome.” After a long stretch of chaos, Edwards traps Strong in a half Boston Crab and Strong taps out at 21:05. That was an absolutely tremendous tag team match with non-stop action, as can be expected from the Wolves now. Even though it’s illogical for KENTA to win the titles, the crowd still bought it and helped make a supremely entertaining match.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #8: Steel Cage Match – Tyler Black vs. Jimmy Jacobs

For anyone who might be wondering, Brad Garoon and I walked into this event just as the cage was being set up, and it was the last live ROH match either of us has seen to date. Jacobs is wearing his blood-stained jacket from the night Age of the Fall debuted some 21 months ago. In contrast, Black is wearing a lame purple t-shirt. Jacobs tries to jump Black at the bell, but Black is able to thwart his former mentor and go to work on him. Black throws an already bloody Jacobs around the ring and into the cage. Jacobs tries to climb out of the cage early, but when Black joins him at the top of the cage Jacobs throws him down, and now Jacobs goes to work. He uses the satellite headscissors to ram Black’s head into the cage. After a few minutes Black fires up with a series of strikes and then bodyslams Jacobs directly into the cage. Black hits an F-5 for two. Jacobs comes back by grabbing Black by the tights and ramming his head into the cage. He tries a spear but Black avoids it and hits the Paroxysm for another two-count. Then Jacobs goes into his boot and takes out the Spike, and stabs Black in the head with it to avoid feeling the Buckle Bomb. Jacobs continues working Black over with the Spike, and he even pulls his own hair out. He tries another satellite headscissors but Black counters it, and then hits the Buckle Bomb and a superkick! Black climbs to the top of the cage, but Jacobs shakes it and Black crotches himself. Jacobs climbs up to the top with him, and you can totally see Garoon and me in the background. They briefly fight on top of the cage, and both men go crashing to the floor! The fight continues on the floor, as Black misses a lariat off the barricade, but lands on the cage and hits it from there. Jacobs hits a side Russian Legsweep into the barricade. Back in the ring Black hits a second Buckle Bomb, but when he goes for the Superkick Jacobs reverses it to the End Time. Black reverses it to a Northern Lights Suplex but Jacobs still hangs on to the hold! Eventually Black escapes, and when Jacobs tries a Spear, Black locks on an End Time of his own! Jacobs escapes and this time hits the Spear. He goes up to the top of the cage and Black joins him. Jacobs hits a super-rana and the Contra Code, and then a Superkick, but Black kicks out at two! Once again Jacobs picks up the Spike and abuses himself, and then he goes to the floor to grab a table. Back in the ring Black hits the Pele kick and both men are down. They get up and Black has the Spike, but Jacobs has a backup Spike. They trade Spike shots, and Black gets the upper hand. Black hits another Buckle Bomb and the Superkick, and then hits God’s Last Gift. He then sets Jacobs up on the table, and hits a splash from the top of the cage to end the feud at 22:01. Immediately after the bell, a group of men dressed in all black rush the ring just like when Age of the Fall debuted. They beat Black down, and then carry Jacobs out like their messiah as they chant “Age of the Fall.” What an awesome post-match segment to a really good match. It wasn’t quite as epic as Jacobs’s cage match with BJ Whitmer in March of 2007, but it was still really good and the post-match stuff definitely makes it memorable.
Rating: ****

BONUS MATCH: Chris Hero vs. Frankie the Mobster, The Hunt Begins, 4.17.09

This is a previously unreleased match from The Hunt Begins. Hero attacks Frankie from behind, wasting no time in getting the jump on him. Frankie is making his ROH debut here. Hero is accompanied as always by Shane Hagadorn. Frankie is decently over with the crowd. Hero knocks him down with a superkick, but Frankie comes back with some kicks of his own. Frankie drops Hero on the top rope, and then kicks him to the floor. He follows Hero out and throws him into the guardrail. Hagadorn interferes to distract Frankie, allowing Hero to hit a kick from the ring, and Frankie tumbles all the way into the crowd. Leonard makes a joke about how the Montreal Mafia killed Dino Bravo, which seems pretty unnecessary. Back in the ring Hero stays in control as the crowd gets behind Frankie. Hero continues working Frankie over, using a variety of strikes and submissions. Frankie comes back with a t-bone suplex out of nowhere, and both men are down. They rise to their feet and exchange chops and forearms. Frankie hits an inverted atomic drop and a big boot. A back body drop gets two, so Frankie blows snot on Senior Referee Todd Sinclair. I hate that. Hero comes back and tries a Blockbuster but Frankie avoids it and hits one of his own for a two-count. Moments later Hero comes back with a flash kick and a Liger Bomb for two. Frankie blocks a rolling elbow and hits a belly-to-belly suplex and then a wheelbarrow type suplex for a close near-fall. Hagadorn jumps up on the apron for a distraction, allowing Hero to put on the green elbow pad. Frankie almost avoids it but Hero connects with the elbow on top of the head to get the pin at 9:43. That was surprisingly decent, given that I know nothing about Frankie the Mobster.
Rating: **½