Phoenix Rising

Phoenix College – Phoenix, AZ – Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dave Prazak and Joe Dombrowski are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Kenny Omega vs. Rocky Romero

Bobby Cruise announces that this is a first-time ever match. They take it down to the mat and trade holds until a stalemate. Omega goes for a cross armbreaker and Romero gets to the ropes. He responds with a monkey flip and a spin kick to send Romero to the apron. He then helpfully stands there so Romero can come back with a springboard hurricanrana, sending Omega to the floor. Romero then wipes Omega out with a dive, much to the delight of the crowd. Back in the ring Romero locks on an Octopus Hold and rolls it into a cradle for two. Omega fights back out of the corner and whips Romero into the opposite one. He hits a dropkick to the back for a two-count. Looks like Omega’s nose is busted open; I’m not sure when that happened. He works on Romero as the crowd chants “Let’s Go Rocky” and “Omega” alternating. Romero tries to fight back but Omega cuts him off. Omega tries the Uranage Slam but Romero reverses to an armbar and hits an impressive springboard tornado DDT. They get back to their feet and Romero hits a reverse enziguiri for a two-count. The crowd resumes their dueling chants. Omega comes back with a dropkick to the knee and a facebuster for two. This time he hits the Uranage for another two-count. Omega goes for a half nelson suplex but Romero pushes him back into the corner and hits a running knee strike to the face. Romero catches Omega with a dragon screw and a springboard dropkick to the knee. He locks on a leglock but Omega reaches the ropes. Omega does the stop sign and Romero, like an idiot, stops. Romero kicks the leg and then Omega decides to hit an enziguiri and two dragon suplexes, and Romero kicks out. Omega goes for Croyt’s Wrath but Romero counters it to an Ankle Lock. Once again Omega is forced to reach the ropes. Omega kicks Romero in the gut and goes to the top rope, and Romero pulls him down with a dragon screw. Romero goes for another ankle lock but Omega counters with an inside cradle for two. Omega hits a one-legged Croyt’s Wrath out of nowhere to get the pin at 13:11. The finish came out of nowhere but for the most part this was a solid back and forth opener.
Rating: **½

MATCH #2: Shawn Daivari Open Challenge

Daivari is accompanied by Prince Nana. Human Tornado accepts the challenge and here we go. Daivari scores the first takedown and celebrates. He backs Tornado into the corner and then does some Hindu squats. The commentators put over Daivari’s new character, which is that he’s not letting writers or promoters tell him to portray a character anymore. This would be from the Vince Russo School of “everything you’re watching is fake except the part that you’re watching right now, that’s real” character development. Meanwhile Tornado comes back with some flashy dance moves. Daivari doesn’t take too kindly to that and goes right back to work. Tornado elbows Daivari to the floor and follows him out with a somersault dive. Back in the ring Tornado misses a cross body block off the top rope and Daivari goes back on offense. Daivari throws Tornado to the floor and Nana takes some cheap shots. Back in the ring Daivari locks on an abdominal stretch. Tornado escapes with a hiptoss and tries a cover but Daivari pushes him off before a count can even be made. Both men try a cross body at the same time and they knock the wind out of each other. Tornado takes the advantage and gets all Jive Soul Bro on Daivari for a two-count. He puts on a waistlock but Daivari reverses it to a couple of rolling German Suplexes. Daivari then hits a Death Valley Driver for a two-count. Tornado comes back with an O’Connor Roll but Daivari rolls through it and awkwardly rolls Tornado into a cover for two. Some kind of signal got crossed there. Tornado tries a charge in the corner and Daivari avoids it and gets a quick schoolboy rollup with his feet on the ropes for the quick pin at 8:47. That was a decent TV style match (which I guess Daivari is used to working, albeit even shorter than eight minutes), but I think it would have been more productive to have Daivari use a finisher of some kind to put away a guy who doesn’t appear in ROH with any regularity.
Rating: **

MATCH #3: Kevin Steen vs. Scott Lost

Steen attacks Lost right as he enters the ring and throws him out. He whips Lost into the barricade and then throws him back in the ring. The battle quickly spills back to the floor and Steen remains in control. Back in the ring Steen kicks and chops away at the PWG star. He knocks Lost to the floor and teases a dive, but then stops and steps through the ropes and jumps down to deliver a punch. That kind of stuff will get you more over as a babyface than a heel with a crowd that loves to cheer for cleverness. Back in the ring Steen continues the massacre. Steen tries a front flip legdrop but Lost moves and gets a cover for two. Lost tries a cross body off the second rope but Steen catches him and hits a crucifix driver for two. The crowd chants “Ole” to get under Steen’s skin and Lost gets a quick rollup for two. Steen responds with a hard lariat. Everything Lost tries Steen pretty much has an answer for. Finally Lost hits a mini Flatliner for his first near-fall. Steen blocks an Irish Whip and hits a DDT for two. The crowd is chanting “Steen is Awesome,” which is counterproductive. Lost tries an Ace Crusher but Steen catches him with a backbreaker. Steen goes up top and hits the Swanton for two. He goes for the Pumphandle Neckbreaker but Lost avoids it. Lost also avoids the Package Piledriver and hits the Ace Crusher for two. He lands a spinning kick to the head but Steen comes back with a powerbomb. Steen follows up with the Package Piledriver for the pin at 10:23. That was a total squash but a good one; Lost really made Steen look good there. My only concern is that Steen is doing clever cutesy spots, which the crowd is cheering. They’re supposed to hate him, and they should for what he did to El Generico.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #4: Eight Man Tag Team Match – The Briscoe Brothers, Necro Butcher & Rasche Brown vs. Joey Ryan, Bison Smith, Claudio Castagnoli & Chris Hero Prince Nana

Bobby Cruise does not mention why Chris Hero is not in this match. The Embassy team is still accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. The Briscoe Brothers are the current ROH World Tag Team Champions, but obviously the titles are not on the line here. Prazak mentions that Hero was slightly injured last night, so he elected not to compete tonight. Finally that guy says something useful.

Castagnoli and Mark start the match. The lone King of Wrestling beats Mark down in the corner, but Mark fires back with some early kung fu. Jay tags in and Castagnoli takes a powder to avoid being double-teamed by the champs. Ryan tags in and Jay goes to work on him. Brown tags in and picks up where Jay left off. Butcher tags in for much of the same. Ryan fights back by going to the eyes and tags Castagnoli back in. Castagnoli locks on an abdominal stretch and gets a little leverage from Smith. Butcher escapes and an awkward sequence ends with Butcher hitting a headscissors and then locking on an abdominal stretch of his own and gets additional leverage from all of his partners and someone in the first row! I like that spot. Ryan breaks it up and Castagnoli makes the tag. Smith comes in and hammers on the Butcher. Not much happens and Brown tags in. Nana interferes to give Smith the advantage, and then they bring Brown into their corner. Ryan tags in, and Brown blasts him with a dropkick and a vertical suplex. Jay tags in and goes to work until Castagnoli knees him in the back from the apron. Ryan blasts him with a superkick and makes the tag to Smith. Jay gets tossed to the floor and double-teamed by Nana and Castagnoli. The Embassy keeps Jay isolated in their half of the ring. A little miscommunication between Nana and Ryan gives Jay the opportunity to tag the Skullkrusher. Brown unloads on everyone, leading to a face-off with the monstrous Smith. They trade shoulderblocks and Brown scores the first knockdown! Butcher tags in and clears the ring. Mark comes in and hits a dive to the floor on Castagnoli, Smith, and Ryan. Butcher follows with a somersault plancha. Brown hits a dive as well. Nana teases one of his own but Brown cuts him off. Ryan takes a bullet (spear) for Nana and then Castagnoli nails Brown with a bicycle kick. The match has completely broken down at this point. Castagnoli and Jay wind up in the ring trading shots, and Castagnoli hits a pop-up European Uppercut for two. He hits the UFO but Jay kicks out at two. He tries the Ricola Bomb but Jay breaks out of it and hits a kick to the face. Mark recovers and the Briscoes hit the spiked Jay Driller to get the win at 14:10. A few awkward sequences aside, that was a lot of fun and had a ton of action.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #5: Pick 6 Series – (5) Kenny King vs. Scorpio Sky

King backs Sky into the corner and talks some trash. Sky comes back by going after the arm. They trade holds and near-falls back and forth and wrestle to a stalemate. Early on neither man can gain a sustained advantage. King is the first one to do so, delivering a hard back elbow for a two-count. He pitches Sky to the floor. Back in the ring King hits an inverted atomic drop and a roundhouse kick for another two. King tries another kick but Sky ducks and hits a satellite headscissors that sends King to the floor. Sky follows him out with a no hands Hilo to the floor. Back in the ring King uses the referee to his advantage and takes Sky down with an enziguiri for two. King continues to control the action, hitting a stomach breaker for two. Sky fights back with a flurry of offense as the crowd seems to be gold clapping for him. He hits a knee strike for two. King fights back with the shotgun knees for a two-count. Sky gets an inside cradle out of nowhere for two. He sets King up on the top rope and hits an impressive leaping hurricanrana for a two-count. He goes back up top but King knocks him down and hits a kick to the head. King hits the Super Royal Flush to get the pin and retain his spot at 9:54. Sky looked really good there and that made King look all the better for winning.
Rating: ***

MATCH #6: Hardcore Match – Steve Corino vs. Jerry Lynn

Naturally Corino has to cut a promo before the match, talking about how great Lynn is but that he’s better because he’s a legend. He proposes that he and Lynn save their bodies and instead of having a match, Lynn forfeits and Corino buys him a beer. Lynn says he prefers Gin and Tonic, and would like to make this match a hardcore match because that’s his idea of fun. Corino balks but he doesn’t have a choice.

The bell rings but Lynn continues to mock Corino and his girl parts. Them’s fightin’ words so they take it right to the floor. Corino tries to grab a guardrail but nothing’s happening there, so Lynn throws a chair in his face. They make it back to the ring for about 10 seconds before Corino tosses Lynn back to the floor and this time is able to commandeer the guardrail. Lynn blasts Corino with another chair and throws him into the barricade. He grabs a fan’s crutch and hits Corino with it. Corino comes back by throwing Lynn into the barricade and hitting him with a broom. He props up a ladder between the apron and the guardrail. They fight over a suplex and look like two awkward old men doing it. Corino then drops Lynn’s face on the ladder. Lynn is busted open once again. Back in the ring they’re surrounded by a ladder and several chairs. Corino props one up between the top and middle ropes, and he tries to whip Lynn into it but Lynn reverses to a headscissors and Corino eats the chair. They head back to the floor and Lynn sends Corino into the crowd, and leaps over the guardrail to wipe him out. They brawl through the crowd and Lynn hits a cross body block off some scaffolding. They head back to the ring and Lynn sets up the ladder and suplexes Corino right on top of it for a two-count. Corino is busted open now as well. He reverses a whip and Lynn crashes into the ladder, but then he misses a charge and the ladder falls on him. Lynn smacks the ladder with a chair for a two-count. They duel with chairs and Lynn dropkicks one back into Corino’s face for another two-count. Lynn sets up four chairs, giving Corino time to recover. Corino slams Lynn’s face into one of the chairs, and then brings the guardrail in the ring and sets it up across the chairs. Lynn fights back and goes up top, but Corino stops him and superplexes him right onto the guardrail! That was sick. Corino sets up a table and tries to drive Lynn through it, but Lynn slips out and spears Corino through it for a two-count. Lynn goes for the Cradle Piledriver but Kevin Steen comes out to distract him. Steen hits Lynn with a chair and Corino gets a two-count. Corino goes up top and Lynn throws a chair at him. Lynn grabs Corino with a DDT, sending his head right into a chair for a two-count. He paints himself with Corino’s blood just like he did in ECW, and Corino takes offense. Out of nowhere El Generico’s music hits and here he comes! Generico blasts Corino with a running kick to the face. Lynn then hits the Cradle Piledriver for the pin at 15:45. If you like the original ECW this was probably great for you, but for me it was just okay. They hit each other with a lot of stuff and I appreciate the effort but it’s just generally not my kind of match.
Rating: **½

MATCH #7: The American Wolves vs. Colt Cabana & El Generico

Richards and Cabana start the match. Cabana seems to be in a goofy mood tonight despite this important main event level match. They stall for a bit and then Cabana takes Richards down to the mat. Richards fights back and tries to take Cabana down but Boom-Boom is able to thwart both Richards and Edwards’ attacks. Generico tags in and the Wolves can’t get untracked here. Edwards blocks a suplex and tags Richards. Now the Wolves take over with their signature teamwork. Generico is isolated in the Wolves’ half of the ring, away from his partner. Richards locks on the Texas Cloverleaf but Generico reaches the ropes. He holds Generico for an Edwards superkick but Generico ducks and Richards takes the kick! Generico hits Edwards with the Michinoku Driver and makes the tag. Cabana has swung the tide back in his team’s favor, working over both Wolves. Generico comes back in and wipes Edwards out on the floor with a dive. Richards goes for his dive but Cabana hits him with a reverse flying ass for two. Generico gets back in the ring and hits Richards with a swinging DDT and Cabana hits a leg capture suplex for two. Richards makes a blind tag and Edwards hits Cabana with a flying knee strike for two. Edwards goes for the backpack chinbreaker but Cabana avoids it and makes the tag. Generico hits a cross body block for two. The Wolves take over on Generico and Edwards locks him in the Achilles Lock. Cabana breaks it up. Richards tries the handspring spin kick but Generico catches him with a half nelson suplex. Cabana gets the tag and the double-team Edwards, ending with Cabana hitting the Colt .45 for a two-count. The Wolves come right back and hit stereo kicks to Cabana’s head for at two-count. Cabana comes back and locks Edwards in the Billy Goat’s Curse while Generico hits the turnbuckle brainbuster on Richards. Edwards taps out at 14:30. That was a pretty good tag team match but they pretty much gave up on selling towards the end there.
Rating: ***¼

Kevin Steen comes out and hits Cabana with a chair, and then he yells at Generico. He calls Generico a little bitch and says he’s not afraid of him because he knows he’ll never hit him. Generico looks ready to do just that, but Corino comes out and attacks him from behind. Cabana comes back with a chair, so Corino and Steen hightail it.

MATCH #8: Personal Challenge Gauntlet – Roderick Strong vs. Austin Aries and Tyler Black

Aries is once again up first. He cuts his customary pre-match promo, chiding Roderick Strong for his actions last night. Strong appears to have a response, but instead he hits Aries with the microphone and the fight is on. They trade chops and Aries snaps Strong’s neck off the top rope and gloats about it on the floor. Dombrowski keeps going on about how the winner will go on to face Tyler Black, but Bobby Cruise specifically announced it as Roderick Strong’s personal challenge gauntlet. Strong takes control outside the ring with chops. Back in the ring Strong hits a backbreaker for a two-count. Aries retreats to the floor and Strong follows him out. Strong chops Aries into the crowd. Back at ringside Aries slips off Strong’s shoulders and throws him into the ring post twice. Aries hits a knee to the head for a two-count. He works Strong over for a bit, until Strong comes back with a snap powerslam (sort of) for two. Strong hits a couple of chops and then Aries pulls him to the floor. Aries drives Strong’s head into the turnbuckle from the apron and then climbs to the second rope. Strong joins him up there and hits an enziguiri to the face. He is able to hit a Super Gibson Driver but he falls off the apron and right through the timekeeper’s table. The reaction from the crowd is surprisingly subdued. The match is apparently a no-contest around the seven-minute mark (no closing bell).

ROH officials, including Jim Cornette and Cary Silkin, come out to check on Strong. Aries gets on the microphone to mock his opponent. He challenges Tyler Black to come out and put the title on the line. Black comes out and agrees to put the title on the line!

Black has been the champion since 2.13.10, and this is his first defense. He starts off by throwing Aries to the mat, and the challenger complains of tights pulling. Aries comes back with a headlock and then a shoulderblock. He rakes Black’s back. The champion comes back with a shoulderblock of his own and then rakes Aries’ chest. He clotheslines Aries to the floor. Back in the ring they knock heads and both men are down. They get back to their feet and exchange strikes. Black hits a belly-to-back suplex but misses a quebrada. Both men are down, and Roderick Strong comes charging out. Aries says that shit ain’t happening, in so many words, and Black gets a quick schoolboy rollup for two. He then kicks Aries in the head to knock him out. Strong wants to be part of the title match, and Jim Cornette agrees. This ends the personal gauntlet challenge in a no-contest, but we’re getting an ROH World Title match out of it!
Rating: **¾

MATCH #9: ROH World Title Match – Tyler Black vs. Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong

Black and Strong throw hands in the center of the ring as the crowd comes to life. Aries rejoins the fracas and it’s just chaos everywhere. They take the battle to the floor and Strong takes control. Back in the ring Strong goes to work on Aries. Black tries the springboard lariat but Strong avoids it. Strong puts Aries on the top rope for a superplex but Black pulls Strong down for a Buckle Bomb. Aries jumps off the top rope with a missile dropkick on Black, and then drills him with the IED for two. He locks Black in the Last Chancery but Strong pulls him off with the Stronghold. Black breaks that up with the Paroxysm. All three men get back up and exchange punches and chops. Black and Strong briefly work together on Aries and then resume fighting each other. Strong hits the Sick Kick on Black, and Aries kicks Strong in the head. Aries tries to cover on both men but only gets two-counts. He brings the belt in the ring to distract the referee and pulls the turnbuckle pad off. Black reverses a whip and sends Aries into the exposed steel, and then Strong hits Black with the half nelson backbreaker for two. Black counters the Gibson Driver, sending Strong to the apron where Aries grabs him in a Death Valley Driver! Aries whips Strong into the barricade and then pitches him into the crowd. Black joins the party and throws Aries to the floor as well. The champ hits a springboard dive into the crowd to wipe them both out. Back in the ring Black tries the Phoenix Splash on Aries but misses. Even so he sends Aries to the floor and then Strong charges in right into the steel turnbuckle. Black hits Strong with God’s Last Gift but only gets a two-count! He then locks on a Fujiwara Armbar and Strong immediately taps out at 7:34. The actual match was pretty short but the whole thing was really well orchestrated chaos and I like how it played out. When people heard about this they seemed irritated that ROH gave away the main event of The Big Bang but I think this actually made me want to see it even more, so they did a great job.
Rating: ***½