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DVD Release Date: Tuesday, June 4, 2013

~Disc 1~

MATCH #1: Austin Aries vs. Go Shiozaki, Sixth Anniversary Show, 2.23.08

They feel each other out to start, as this is the first time these two have faced each other. Shiozaki in fact made his U.S. Ring of Honor debut last night, having only appeared on shows in England and Japan before this. Shiozaki lands the first big blow with a hard chop, which is something he’s known for. Aries fights back but Shiozaki is one tough dude. Shiozaki misses a chop and Aries dumps him to the floor. Aries flies down with an elbow off the top rope. He sets Shiozaki in a chair and hits running double knees to the chest. Aries then hits a side Russian Legsweep right into the ring post. He drapes Shiozaki across the apron and hits a knee to the back of the head. Back in the ring Aries covers for two. Aries continues the abuse, focusing on the back. Shiozaki fights back with a drop toehold into the ropes and then a boot to the back of the head. He hits a shoulder tackle off the top rope. Shiozaki works Aries over, making sure to throw some chops of course. He locks on a Sleeper and adds some chops when Aries won’t pass out. Shiozaki covers for two. Aries comes back with a unique Stunner out of the corner. Shiozaki recovers first though and unloads with more strikes, including a huge flying knee. They fight to the apron and Aries is able to hit Shiozaki with a belly-to-back suplex to the floor! Aries follows with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back inside the ring Aries goes up top and hits a missile dropkick for two. A series of reversals ends with Shiozaki hitting a bridging German Suplex for a near-fall. Shiozaki hits a big superkick and two chops directly to the head for a two-count. Aries comes back with four straight IEDs. He goes for a superplex but Shiozaki counters to a super Side Effect! That gets a near-fall. Shiozaki follows with a bodyslam but misses a beautiful moonsault. Aries locks on the Horns of Aries and Shiozaki reaches the ropes. Now Aries goes up top again and Shiozaki blasts him with a chop. Shiozaki goes up but Aries knocks him down and hits a chop to the top of the head. Aries goes for the Brainbuster but Shiozaki counters to the Orange Crush for a two-count. Both men rise and trade lariats. Shiozaki’s lands a little bit harder. Aries hits a belly-to-back suplex and then a series of elbows in the corner. He follows with a Brainbuster for two. Aries puts on the Horns of Aries again and adds knee strikes to the head. He goes for the Brainbuster again but Shiozaki counters to a Fisherman Buster for a very close two-count. Shiozaki hits a couple of brutal chops. He tries a lariat but Aries ducks and hits the Crucifix Bomb. Aries lands a kick to the head, the Brainbuster, and the 450 Splash to get the hard fought win at 19:57. Boy did these two have great chemistry or what? This match flew by, with tremendous action from both guys. This was an awesome showing for Shiozaki and portended that he would be having a great year in ROH.
Rating: ****

MATCH #2: Austin Aries vs. Genki Horiguchi, Dragon Gate Challenge II, 3.28.08

Horiguchi is representing the Muscle Outlaw’z. They chain wrestle a bit to start. Aries takes the early control and starts wearing Horiguchi down. Horiguchi tries the Backslide from Heaven but Aries avoids it and lands some knee strikes to the head, sending Horiguchi bailing to the floor. Aries gets pulled out and Horiguchi whips him into the barricade. Horiguchi tries to use a chair but referee Todd Sinclair prevents it. Back in the ring Horiguchi continues to control the pace of the match, working over the leg. Horiguchi slams Aries but misses a moonsault off the second rope. Aries hits a chop to the head from the top rope and then chops Horiguchi down for a two-count. He dumps Horiguchi to the floor and wipes him out with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries hits some elbows in the corner and then tries the IED but Horiguchi gets his boot up. Horiguchi hits a swinging DDT for two. He tries to follow up but Aries forces him back in the corner and unloads on him with strikes. Aries hits the IED and gets two. He tries the Brainbuster but Horiguchi reverses to one of his own for a two-count. They trade some pin covers for near-falls but no one can get the duke just yet. Horiguchi executes the Backslide from Heaven for two, and gets a couple of other pinning combinations but can’t get three. Aries kicks Horiguchi right in the chest and then lands one right to the head. He follows up with the Brainbuster and then locks on the Last Chancery for the win at 9:07. That was solid stuff and Aries needed a big win going into his World Title shot against Nigel McGuinness tomorrow night.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #3: Relaxed Rules – Austin Aries vs. Necro Butcher, Battle for Supremacy, 6.27.08

Butcher attacks right away and here we go. His job is to soften Aries up for tomorrow night, when Aries will face Age of The Fall leader Jimmy Jacobs. Aries fights back and sends Butcher to the floor with a clothesline. Butcher lazily sets up a table and Aries takes the opportunity to hit him with the Heat Seeking Missile. Aries throws Butcher into the barricade and into the crowd. He continues to beat on Butcher as they make their way back in the ring. Aries hits an IED and Butcher rolls to the apron. Butcher fights back with a solid punch to the face. Aries comes back with punches and dropkicks him off the apron and through the table. He gets on the mic and asks Butcher why he does Jacobs’ bidding all the time. Aries bad mouths Jacobs and tries to turn Butcher against him. He says he’s tired of beating up people that are not Jimmy Jacobs, and he’s going to save all his hatred for tomorrow night. Aries says he’s not going to fight back anymore. Butcher takes him up on that and lands a few kicks and punches. He seems confused by it buy he continues laying in the right hands. Finally Butcher goes outside and brings a steel chair into the ring. There’s a clip for some reason. Aries tells Butcher to finish it, and Butcher complies with a chair shot to the head to get the pin at 8:59. Obviously that wasn’t much of a match but it was an effective piece of storytelling, and a very unique match for ROH to put on in the midst of a very unique angle.
Rating: **

MATCH #4: Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs, Vendetta II, 6.28.08

Jacobs has Allison Wonderland in his corner. They lock up aggressively and Aries gets the advantage so Jacobs takes a powder. Back in the ring they talk some trash and Jacobs kisses Aries! That just makes Aries mad so he sends Jacobs to the floor and follows him out with an elbow from the top rope. Aries is all fired up, abusing Jacobs in many ways on the floor. Jacobs reverses a whip and sends Aries into the barricade. He charges and Aries backdrops him into the crowd. They fight through the crowd and up into the bleachers. Aries tries the Brainbuster and Jacobs reverses to the End Time, so Aries rams him into the wall. They make it back to ringside and Aries is in control. Back in the ring Jacobs pulls the referee in front of him at an opportune time, and while Aries is able to avoid taking the referee out Jacobs is still able to take control. Jacobs throws Aries face-first into the steel ring post and he crashes to the floor. The fight continues on the floor and Jacobs is firmly in control of it. Aries’ back is busted open and Jacobs doesn’t hesitate to rake and bite the wound. Jacobs gets some sort of weapon out of his tights and uses it to further injure Aries’ back. He has Aries upside down in the corner, and Aries is able to come out with a Stunner. That’s a great little comeback move. They trade some punches and Jacobs tries the End Time but Aries dumps him to the floor. Aries hits the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries hits an Implant DDT for two. Aries hits mounted punches in the corner and Jacobs dumps him to the floor. Jacobs goes for a Spear on the apron but Aries gets his knee up in the face. They fight on the apron and Jacobs is able to Spear Aries off the apron and into the barricade. Back in the ring Jacobs goes up top and hits the Senton Bomb for a two-count. Jacobs locks on the End Time but Aries breaks free and puts on the Last Chancery, which Jacobs breaks by raking the eyes. Aries blocks the End Time and they go to the apron, where Aries hits a Death Valley Driver! Back in the ring Aries covers for two. They go right back to the floor and Jacobs is able to hit the Contra Code! Back in the ring Jacobs covers for two. They slug it out from their knees and make it back to their feet. Aries lands a few chops and goes for the IED but misses. Jacobs locks on the End Time and Aries powers his way out of it. Aries blocks the Contra Code and puts on the Last Chancery. Tyler Black and Necro Butcher come out to interfere but are cut off by The Briscoes. MsChif sneaks in the ring and breaks the hold with a double stomp on Aries. A furious Aries goes over to MsChif and gets green mist in his eyes! Jacobs hits the Contra Code but it only gets two! He goes for a Spear but Aries catches him and hits a Brainbuster for a two-count! Aries locks on the Last Chancery and adds knees to the head. Jacobs reverses it to the End Time and Aries is able to turn it into a jackknife cradle for a near-fall. Aries kicks Jacobs square in the head and follows with three IEDs. He pulls Jacobs up in the corner and hits three more IEDs. Aries then hits the 450 Splash to get the pin at 26:37! That was a phenomenal main event with great work from both guys in making the hatred feel real. They built everything up perfectly and the crowd responded exactly how they should. This is one of Jacobs’ best non-gimmick matches ever.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #5: Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Necro Butcher, Death Before Dishonor VI, 8.2.08

Jacobs is one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions along with Tyler Black. He and Butcher make their entrance together, which doesn’t bode well for Aries. It does start off as a handicap match, and there’s only so much Aries can do against two men. Aries backdrops Butcher to the floor and then wipes him out with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries hits a back rake off the top rope and a side-slam for two. They’ve already announced that two weeks from tonight in Chicago Jacobs will battle Butcher in a no-disqualification match, which is the result of Aries beating Jacobs last time in Chicago at Vendetta II. Aries is able to control both men for a short time, but the numbers game soon takes over. Butcher goes to the floor and grabs a chair, and Aries reverses a whip, causing Jacobs to knock him off the apron. After asking the crowd what happened, Butcher gets in the ring and looks to be yelling at Jacobs, but then switches gears and goes back to work on Aries. Butcher hits a chair slam and Jacobs follows up with a senton. When Butcher goes for the cover Jacobs gets PISSED. He gets on the microphone and berates Butcher, saying he’s there to do his bidding. He orders Butcher to blind Aries, and shoves him when he resists. Aries recovers and hits Butcher across the back with the chair, but then makes it look like Jacobs did it! Butcher is pissed and the crowd wants to see him kick Jacobs’ ass. They get their wish! Butcher unloads on Jacobs in the corner, stomping him down in the corner while Aries lays down in the opposite corner watching. When Jacobs gets to his feet Butcher cracks him with a steel chair. Butcher bails, and Aries hits Jacobs with the IED. Aries follows up with the brainbuster and the 450 Splash to get the pin at 11:46. That wasn’t much of a match but for advancing storylines it worked nicely. I think they could have stretched it out a bit longer though. Something like Necro Butcher sees the Video Wire and apologizes to Jimmy Jacobs, who would of course forgive Necro under the guise of being a forgiving leader. Jacobs says that the match will no longer happen, but ROH officials insist it will or something. At the Night of the Butcher II show Jacobs does something dastardly to Necro, like has a group of guys in all black attack him or something, for daring to go against him, and Necro has to fight all those guys off and then destroys Jacobs. Just some armchair booking I guess.
Rating: **

MATCH #6: Dog Collar Match – Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs, Bound by Hate, 11.8.08

Jacobs insists that Aries put the collar on first, and then attacks him before he puts it on himself. He chokes Aries with the chain and hits him across the back with it. He tries to wrap it around his fist but Aries blocks it and hits an STO and an elbow drop. Aries tries to attach the collar to Jacobs’ neck but Jacobs goes to the floor to avoid it. Jacobs gets back in the ring first and resumes control on his nemesis. He goes to the top rope and Aries knocks him down and tries the Heat Seeking Missile. Aries has trouble maneuvering with the heavy chain around his neck, so Jacobs hits a dropkick and continues to use the chain as a weapon. Back in the ring Aries fires up and starts throwing chops and punches. He climbs up the turnbuckle to deliver more punishment, but Jacobs stops that with a shot to the nuts. Sinclair tries to put the collar around Jacobs’ neck but gets shoved off. Jacobs then uses the chain to wrap Aries around the ring post and cinches the other end of the collar around Aries’ hands, so he can’t move at all. The sadistic Jacobs brings in a steel and cracks it across Aries’ exposed back. He gets on the microphone to mock Aries, and throws referee Todd Sinclair to the floor. He continues to abuse Aries with the chair. Jacobs gets a little too close to Aries to taunt him, and winds up taking a Flair Kick to the groin. Aries unties himself and levels Jacobs on the skull. He then wraps the collar around his fist and punches Jacobs a few times, busting him open. Jacobs is finally attached to the collar now and Aries is working over his bloody forehead. He tries a brainbuster but Jacobs avoids it and tries escaping to the floor. Aries follows him out and prevents Jacobs from leaving through the crowd. They have a tug of war in the aisle, as Jacobs is trying to retreat to the back. They go backstage and Tyler Black attacks and helps Jacobs beat Aries down. Back in the ring Black levels Aries with a super kick. Jacobs then sends Black back to the locker room. He hits a Contra Code but Aries kicks out at two. He tries to reintroduce the steel chair but Aries hits the chair with the chain. They once again play Tug of War, with Aries in the ring and Jacobs on the apron. Aries lets go and Jacobs crashes into the ring apron, giving Aries the perfect spot to hit the Heat Seeking Missile; nicely done. They head back to the ring and now Aries wraps the chain around the top turnbuckle and rams Jacobs’ head into it 10 times. Aries goes up for the 450 Splash, and he’s acting like he’s three minutes into the match. Jacobs pulls on the chain, knocking Aries down onto the top turnbuckle. He hits some mounted punches in the corner and lets his blood drip down on Aries’ face. Aries slips out and pulls the chain up into Jacobs’ groin. He once again tries the brain buster but Jacobs avoids it. Jacobs wraps the chain around Aries’ neck and locks on the End Time. Aries powers out of it, and then hits the running dropkick in the corner. He pulls Jacobs toward him and hits some chain-assisted knees to the head. He locks on the Last Chancery and Jacobs has no choice but to tap out at 18:12. You see, when Jacobs puts on his neck submission hold with the chain, Aries can power out in about four seconds, but when Aries does the same Jacobs taps out in less time than that. Obviously I understand putting the baby face over and all that, but Aries doesn’t seem to do much to help put his opponents over. I’m really starting to notice how Aries refuses to sell in a lot of instances; like would it kill him to once climb up to the top rope slowly after he’s been in a brutal match for 15 minutes? Even so, this match was many different kinds of awesome. I liked the beginning stuff when Jacobs wouldn’t put the chain on and I loved the brutality of the whole thing.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #7: I Quit Match – Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs, Rising Above 2008, 11.22.08

I thought the Dog Collar match was terrific, so I hope this one measures up. Aries gets on the microphone before the match to announce that even though Jacobs has Tyler Black in his corner, he will have no one in his corner. They lock up aggressively and immediately head to the floor. Aries gets back in the ring but Jacobs takes a quick breather. Black tries to distract Aries but it doesn’t work. They start throwing punches and once again roll to the floor. Jacobs gets the advantage and throws Aries into the barricade. Jacobs brings a table out from under the ring. Aries prevents him from using it, but winds up getting tossed into the barricade again. Jacobs and Black set up the table, giving Aries time to come back and throw Jacobs into the barricade. He sets Jacobs on the table, but Black saves his tag team partner. Aries is still in control though, and he knocks Jacobs off the apron and down to the floor. He tries the Heat Seeking Missile but Jacobs apparently found the dog collar from their match two weeks ago, and rams it into Aries’ face. Aries is busted open, so Jacobs goes right for the wound. He chokes Aries with the chain, but Aries won’t quit yet. Jacobs brings a steel chair into the match now, dragging Aries to the floor and setting him up. Aries fights back but Jacobs cuts him off and hits a Spear through the ropes and all the way to the floor (kind of like Edge and Foley at WrestleMania 22, except without the burning table). Jacobs sets Aries up in the chair again and hits a dive through the ropes on him but Aries still won’t quit. Back in the ring Jacobs sets up another chair and ties Aries to it with the dog collar. Jacobs grabs the broke chair from ringside, and then Lacey makes her return! They should have disfigured her somehow. Her showing up didn’t quite get the pop I hoped it would. She has a towel and wants to throw it in to save Aries, but he convinces her not to. Jacobs responds by pulling out the spike. He grabs Lacey by the hair and she slaps him. Aries has freed himself and fires up on Jacobs. He throws Jacobs to the floor and this time hits the Heat seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries hits a brainbuster on the steel chair. Aries takes his turn using the chain, ramming it into Jacobs’ head. Jacobs is busted open now as well. Aries uses the chain to tie Jacobs up in the corner and dishes out the punishment. Senior Referee Todd Sinclair tries to ask Jacobs if he quits but Aries pushes him away, which is cool. Aries hits the running dropkick in the corner and uses the microphone as a weapon. He unties Jacobs and brings him to the floor to set him up on the table. He sets a chair on top of him and goes to the top rope. Jacobs recovers and throws the chair at Aries’ face. They’re both up on the ropes now and they wind up crashing through the table together. Neither man will quit, so they’re back in the ring slugging away at each other. Aries wins that battle, so Jacobs responds with a low blow and locks on the End Time. Jacobs unleashes knees to the head and puts on the Last Chancery, but Aries still won’t quit. Black gives Jacobs another spike, but Aries avoids getting hit with it and delivers knee strikes to the head. Jacobs won’t quit so Aries kicks him in the head and puts on the Last Chancery. He still says no, so Aries locks on the Crossface and has the spike in his hand. Jacobs calls for Tyler to throw in the towel, but Lacey takes it from him, giving Aries free reign to spike Jacobs’ forehead until he finally says “I quit” at 21:59. Lacey immediately retreats up the ramp, while Jacobs chastises Tyler Black for losing the towel to a woman. Tyler walks out on the Age of the Fall leader, leaving questions about the group’s status. The match started a little slowly but once Jacobs started taking heat it got really, really good. Lacey’s involvement didn’t feel like it had the impact it should have, but the finish was still awesome and it was a fitting end to this bloody feud.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #8: Austin Aries vs. Naomichi Marufuji, All Star Extravaganza IV, 12.26.08

Both men are over with the crowd, and they start cautiously. They take it to the mat early on and play fair. They trade holds and reversals with neither man gaining a clear-cut advantage. Aries is able to take Marufuji down and lock on the Last Chancery, but he’s too close to the ropes and Marufuji rolls to the floor. Back in the ring Marufuji is able to land a Superkick that knocks Aries to the floor. Back in the ring it’s more back and forth, with both men exhibiting their skills. They exchange chops in the corner and Marufuji gets the better of it by nailing Aries in the nose. He continues to work on the face. Aries tries fighting back but Marufuji is able to maintain control. He puts Aries in the Tree of Woe, but Aries avoids the coast-to-coast dropkick. He hits a neckbreaker against the ropes, and then continues going to work on the neck. Back in the ring that trend continues. Marufuji makes a brief comeback but Aries cuts him off with a nice dropkick to the face. Aries for some reason starts jawing with the fans, which gives Marufuji the opening he needed to make the comeback. He hits a Superkick for two. Aries comes back with an STO and the Power Drive Elbow for two. He throws Marufuji to the floor and tries the Heat Seeking Missile, but Marufuji kicks him in the face. He follows up with another running dropkick and a slingshot elbow back into the ring for two. He tries the Shiranui but Aries avoids it. Aries hits a Crucifix Bomb and Marufuji rolls to the floor. This time Aries hits the Missile and Marufuji looks like he took it hard, that’s what she said. Back in the ring Aries hits the knee strikes and locks on the Last Chancery. Aries just releases the hold for some reason and then goes for the brainbuster. Marufuji avoids that but can’t avoid the shin-breaker/belly-to-back suplex combo. Aries then hits two running dropkicks in the corner. He then goes for a Super Brainbuster but Marufuji drops him down and hits a variation of the Curb Stomp off the top rope. He follows up with a springboard dropkick for a near-fall. He tries the Shiranui but Aries once again avoids it. Marufuji hits a series of three Superkicks and then hits a move that Prazak doesn’t have a name for (I HATE THAT) and gets the win at 20:06. The match had some really good stuff in it but both of them seemed slightly off at certain points. Luckily those two being off is still better than a lot of guys.
Rating: ***½

~Disc 2~

MATCH #9: Number One Contender’s Match – Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black, Final Battle 2008, 12.27.08

They show clips of their match from Wrestling at the Gateway three weeks prior, where Black got a clean pin with the God’s Last Gift. The crowd is split down the middle for this one. Both men start cautiously, since there’s so much on the line in this one. They trade holds and maneuvers back and forth in the early going. Aries gets the first advantage and works on Black’s arm. Black avoids the patented “escape from the head-scissors dropkick” but Aries puts the headlock right back on. That doesn’t last too long as Aries tries a head-scissors, and Black hits the Aries dropkick! The crowd is pretty much on Black’s side now. Aries doesn’t appreciate that so he takes Black down but misses the Power Drive Elbow. That brings out an audible “same old shit” chant. Black is in firm control now and goes for covers rather often. He tries to fire up and charge into the corner but Aries cuts him off. Aries tries to do the same move, but Black cuts him off. Both men get back to their feet and Aries hits a knee to the gut and throws Black to the floor. He follows him out with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries gets a two-count and the crowd chants for both men. Aries takes the battle to the floor and whips Black into the barricade. He sets Black up in a chair and hits a running dropkick to the face. Back in the ring Aries gets another two-count. Aries locks on the Last Chancery but Black reaches the ropes. He once again throws Black to the floor. Aries tries a Death Valley Driver on the apron, but Black reverses it and hits an F-5 onto the apron! Both men are down outside the ring and Sinclair puts the count on. They make it back in around 15, with Black still on the apron. They trade punches and Black knocks Aries down. He misses the springboard forearm but hits a Pele Kick and Aries goes to the floor. Black follows him out with an awesome dive over the ropes and once again both men are down. Back in the ring Black gets a two-count. He tries God’s Last Gift but Aries blocks it and unloads a series of right hands. Aries tries the Brainbuster but Black reverses it to the Paroxysm for two. Black tries the Buckle Bomb but Aries counters it to the Last Chancery. That doesn’t work so Aries once again goes for the Brainbuster but Black gets a quick rollup for two. The Buckle Bomb connects this time and Black gets another two-count. Black goes up, presumably for the Phoenix Splash, but Jimmy Jacobs comes out and momentarily distracts him. That gives Aries the chance to hit a kick to the head and the Brainbuster, and then woozily hits the 450 Splash to score the pin and earn a title shot at 17:07. That was easily the best match between the two, with great crowd heat, particularly in favor of Tyler Black.
Rating: ****

MATCH #10: ROH World Title Match – Austin Aries vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Tyler Black, Manhattan Mayhem III, 6.13.09

Lynn has been the Champion since 4.3.09, and this is his seventh defense. Austin Aries comes out first, to Ric Flair’s music. He announces that Ric Flair will not be the special ringside enforcer. I remember there was a story to Flair leaving the show early, but I don’t remember the specifics. Former ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness comes out next, and announces that he will be the special ringside enforcer instead. Lynn gets into a bickering match with a fan during his entrance. I am so sick of that crap. Everyone gets mixed reactions, which is just weird. Lynn and Black go right after Aries, who bails to the floor. He tries to escape but with Black giving chase, Lynn hits the somersault off the apron. Back in the ring they continue to double-team Aries, but you have to wonder how long that will last. They dump Aries to the floor and then go after each other. Remember that Black pinned Lynn last night in a non-title bout in Manassas. Speaking of Manassas, Black avoids a snap mare attempt, as neither man can gain an advantage on the other. Aries gets back in the ring and continues to be on the receiving end of all the punishment, and a dropkick sends him back to the floor. This time Aries pulls Lynn to the floor, and Black quickly follows them out with a somersault plancha over the ropes, wiping them both out. Aries gains the advantage and viciously attacks Black’s knee on the floor. He locks on the ring post figure-four leglock, and Black screams in pain. Back in the ring Aries plays Ric Flair, flipping over the turnbuckle and running up the opposite one, and true to form, Lynn slams him off the top rope. Aries maintains control, and traps Lynn with some knee strikes to the head. He goes for the Brainbuster, but Lynn blocks it. Aries settles for an STO, and then tries the Power Drive Elbow and misses. They get back to their feet and Black comes back in the ring with a springboard clothesline attempt, and then he back drops Lynn to the floor. Black goes for a kick, but Aries catches the boot and hits a Dragon Screw. Aries goes for the Figure-Four Leglock, and when Black kicks him off he hits the Heat Seeking Missile to Lynn on the floor. Black and Aries battle up on the top rope, and Lynn joins them and bulldogs them both down to the canvas! Lynn tries pins on both men, and they both kick out. He hits an Air Raid Crash on Black for two. Punishment continues for Black, as Aries locks on the Last Chancery. Black gets to the ropes, and then Lynn pitches Aries to the floor. Lynn hits Black with the Cradle Piledriver, and Black barely gets his foot on the bottom rope. Aries goes up top and gets knocked down. Lynn goes up and hits a superplex on Aries. He follows up with a TKO but Aries kicks out at two. Aries avoids a Cradle Piledriver and winds up hitting the IED in the corner for two. Aries goes for the Brainbuster, but Black superkicks him, and then tags Lynn with God’s Last Gift to eliminate the ROH World Champion at 14:31! We are guaranteed to have a new ROH World Champion now!

Aries goes right after Black’s knee, but Black is able to weather the storm and hit the Paroxysm for two. They continue trading maneuvers as the crowd is red-hot. Black takes Aries down and goes up for the Phoenix Splash but Aries avoids it, and Black can’t land because of his injured knee. He tries the Buckle Bomb but Aries counters with a rana. Aries hits the shinbreaker/belly-to-back Suplex combo, and then the running dropkick in the corner. He nails Black with the Brainbuster and then the 450 Splash, but Black grabs the bottom rope! Aries goes back to the knee and locks on the Figure-Four Leglock, but Black will not quit. Black tries to turn Aries over, but Aries uses the ropes for leverage. McGuinness knocks Aries off the ropes, and Black turns it over. Aries reaches the ropes and then argues with McGuinness, and Black gets a quick rollup for two. Black tries the Buckle Bomb but the knee gives out. Aries hits the kick to the head and the Brainbuster to become the first-ever two-time ROH World Champion at 20:03. I like the booking of putting the focus on the future – Aries and Black, and when it got down to the two of them, they tore it up.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #11: ROH World Title Match – Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Nigel McGuinness, Death Before Dishonor VII Night 1, 7.24.09

Aries has been the champion since 6.13.09, and this is his second defense. This is Lynn’s rematch. Black immediately goes after Aries and they take it to the floor. Lynn and McGuinness go at it in the ring, as Leonard reminds me that this is the first time these two have been in a ring together since Lynn beat McGuinness for the title in Houston. Anyway, Lynn takes McGuinness down with a tornado DDT, and then they go to the floor as Aries beats on Black in the ring. Black goes for an early Buckle Bomb, which gets countered, but Black counters back with a dropkick to the face for two. McGuinness pulls Black to the floor while Lynn hits Aries with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Lynn hits Aries with the guillotine legdrop and then a slingshot splash for two. Aries comes back and hits Lynn with the shinbreaker/belly-to-back suplex combo. He hits the IED for two. The champ hits a Gourdbuster and locks on the Last Chancery, but McGuinness breaks it up. McGuinness knocks Aries to the floor and goes after Lynn’s shoulder. He locks Lynn in the London Dungeon but Aries breaks it up. McGuinness tosses Aries right back to the floor and hits Lynn with a hammerlock Divorce Court. Once again McGuinness locks on the London Dungeon and this time Black breaks it up, but McGuinness tosses him right back out onto Aries. McGuinness goes for the Tower of London but Aries breaks it up. Aries goes up to fight Lynn on the top rope, and McGuinness grabs him too. Black comes back in to hit a superkick on McGuinness, who conveniently falls with a double Tower of London, and Black covers McGuinness for two. He covers Aries for two, and then covers Lynn for another two-count. Black fights off both Aries and McGuinness, sending Aries to the floor and wiping him out with a dive. Lynn hits McGuinness with an inverted DDT, and then Black hits Lynn with a leaping enziguiri. Black hits Lynn with the F-5 for two. McGuinness tries the Tower of London on Black, who reverses it to a Paroxysm for two. Black hits Lynn with the Buckle Bomb for two. Aries sneaks back in and gets rolled up by Black for two. Black hits him with a kick to the head but then McGuinness hits Black with the hammerlock Divorce Court and then locks on the London Dungeon. Aries breaks it up and then gets put in the London Dungeon himself. Lynn breaks it up by going to the top rope, and McGuinness makes him pay with a Tower of London through the official’s table! It looks like Aries and Black will settle things one-on-one. Just as I type that Aries wipes McGuinness out with the Heat Seeking Missile, and Black follows with a back flip over the top rope to take out Lynn and McGuinness. Aries grabs the ROH World Title belt and bashes Black in the head with it behind the referee’s back but Black kicks out at two! McGuinness gets back in the ring and aims a Jawbreaker Lariat at Aries but hits Black instead for a two-count! Aries goes for the IED on McGuinness, but it gets awesomely countered to a Tower of London attempt. Lynn breaks that up. The champ locks on the Last Chancery but Lynn pulls him out with a Cradle Piledriver and McGuinness breaks up the fall. Lynn hits McGuinness with the Cradle Piledriver, and Black superkicks Lynn to the floor. Black goes up top for the Phoenix Splash but Kenny King runs down and hurls Black into the barricade. Aries goes to the top rope and hits a somersault legdrop (I’m guessing he was intending to hit the 450 Splash) to get the pin and retain the title at 16:09. I’m not a big fan of the finish, but the match was pretty much non-top balls to the wall action and I can appreciate that.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #12: Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong, ROH on HDNet Episode 22, 8.24.09

Aries is the ROH World Champion but the title is not on the line here. They take it right to the mat and try to establish dominance. Aries goes for an early Last Chancery but Strong is too close to the ropes. They resume the chain wrestling and tempers start to flare. Strong lands his first chop and follows with a backbreaker for a one-count. He unleashes more chops and they spill to the floor. Strong tries another chop but Aries ducks and drops him on the guardrail. Aries goes for a Brainbuster but Strong counters with a modified gourdbuster. Strong has to chase Aries around ringside and he dumps him into the crowd. Back at ringside Aries is able to shove Strong into the ring post. Aries hits the Macho Man double ax handle and back in the ring covers for one. The Champ controls for a bit. Strong makes the comeback and unleashes a flurry of offense, including an over the shoulder backbreaker for two. Aries comes back with the crucifix bomb for a near-fall. The Greatest Man That Ever Lived is back on offense, a position he is very comfortable in. Once again Strong fights back and drops Aries on his chest from a back suplex position. That was cool. Strong lands a series of chops and a huge dropkick. He hits the half nelson backbreaker for a near-fall. Aries is able to maneuver Strong to the floor and he follows him out with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries tries a leap off the top rope but Strong catches him for a uranage backbreaker for two. Strong goes for the Stronghold but Aries kicks his way out of it. Aries comes back with the kick to the head and an IED for two. He locks on the Last Chancery and Strong reaches the ropes. They fight on the apron and Strong hits a slingshot Falcon Arrow for a very close two-count. Strong hits Death by Roderick and the Sick Kick but only gets two. He hits another backbreaker and tries the Stronghold but Aries counters with a rollup and uses the ropes for leverage to get the pin at 16:37. These two always have good matches together and this was that. Nothing special, but a good TV main event.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #13: ROH World Title Match – Austin Aries vs. Bryan Danielson, The Final Countdown Tour: Chicago, 9.19.09

They show a nice hype video detailing the history between these two men. It should have been longer actually, but I like these videos. Aries has been the champion since 6.13.09, and this is his sixth defense. The crowd is totally behind Danielson. They take it to the mat early on and Aries bails. Back in the ring they engage in a test of strength, and then they trade monkey flips. They break that and Aries hits a couple of armdrags and locks on an armbar. Danielson escapes and hits a dropkick, and then goes to the headlock. He tries the airplane spin but Aries slips out and goes for the surfboard, which Danielson kicks out of. Aries tries a leap frog but Danielson sweeps his leg and then shows Aries how the surfboard is done. Danielson is firmly in control at this point, until he goes for the super belly-to-back suplex and Aries dumps him to the floor and follows out with a double ax handle. Back in the ring Aries takes control and locks on the Stump Puller (really). Moments later Danielson comes back with a series of kicks and a front chancery suplex. Danielson goes up for the missile dropkick but Aries dropkicks him out of the air. That doesn’t seem to have much effect on Danielson, as he comes back with the running knee strike and then goes for Cattle Mutilation. Aries avoids it and sends Danielson to the floor. He tries the heat seeking missile but Danielson blocks it. They battle on the apron and Aries hits the IED. Back in the ring Aries gets a two-count. Aries sets Danielson up on the top rope for a superplex but Danielson shoves him down and gets a sunset flip for two! Danielson gets a backslide for two, and a schoolboy for two. They trade waistlocks and Danielson uses momentum to send Aries to the floor, and then Danielson hits a baseball slide to send Aries into the crowd. Danielson follows him out with the dive into the crowd. Back in the ring Danielson hits the missile dropkick and then a running knee to the chest for a two-count. He then locks on Cattle Mutilation, but Aries reverses it to the Last Chancery! Danielson gets out of that and hits the elbow strikes, which Aries reverses to knee strikes, and they both counter each other again! Aries weathers the blows and reverses Cattle Mutilation to a pin attempt for a very close near-fall. They start exchanging forearms, and then both go for a cross body and knock each other out. Back to their feet Aries charges at Danielson and eats a boot to the face. Danielson puts Aries up top and hits the belly-to-back superplex for a two-count. He starts kicking Aries in the head and then locks on the Triangle Choke, and Aries is able to make the ropes. Danielson goes for more kicks to the head and then goes for a Regalplex but Aries counters with the shinbreaker/back suplex combo. Aries then hits the IED and a brainbuster for two. He goes up top for the 450 but Danielson counters into the Triangle Choke! That’s pretty damn awesome. Aries pushes forward in the hold and gets a near-fall. He gets out of the choke and lands a solid kick to the head. Danielson counters a brainbuster attempt with a small package for two. He hits a rolling elbow and goes for a Tiger Suplex, but Aries lands on his feet. Aries hits another kick to the head and a dropkick. He hits another IED and puts Danielson up top for a super brainbuster! Aries follows up with the Last Chancery and Danielson is unconscious at 24:46. These two almost always had great matches, and this one was no exception. The crowd still bought Danielson as potentially winning the title even though he’s on his way out. Danielson definitely brings out the best in Aries.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #14: ROH World Title Match – Austin Aries vs. Kenny Omega, The Omega Effect, 11.14.09

Aries has been the champion since 6.13.09, and this is his eleventh defense. Omega is currently ranked #4 in the Pick 6 Series. Aries cuts a promo that I don’t at all understand, talking about people he choked out on TV or something. Both men start off cautiously, and I expect another long match here because I know how ROH likes to do things like that (give the champion two long matches in one weekend). Aries puts on an early fishhook and Omega escapes. Omega comes back and puts on a fishhook of his own and the champion powders. He flips around a lot and tries a Frankensteiner but Aries simply powerbombs him and gloats about it. I like how Omega sold the powerbomb like an armdrag. What I mean by that is that I don’t like it. They engage in a test of strength and Omega backs Aries into the corner and issues a clean break. Aries comes back with a back elbow off the second rope and he gloats by running around the ring and he almost trips. Back in the ring they lockup and Aries cinches on a headlock. Omega comes back with a headlock of his own and they wrestle to a standoff. Now they take it to the mat and Omega locks on a headscissors. Aries tries to headstand out of it but Omega blocks it with a mini piledriver. He tries another headstand and this time Omega counters with a sunset flip for two. That was cool. The crowd is fully supportive of the challenger. Omega uses the crowd energy to take control of Aries with a variety of offense, this time hitting the Frankensteiner. He then clotheslines Aries to the floor and follows him out. He throws Aries into guardrail, and then holds him so that a little kid can take a shot at the Champ. Omega sets up a chair and hits an inverted atomic drop, causing Aries to sit down. He charges in but Aries cuts him off with a forearm. Omega brushes it off and throws Aries into the guardrail. He goes back in the ring and levels Aries with a nasty baseball slide dropkick to the face, sending Aries to the guardrail. Aries shrugs it off and starts working Omega over. He charges and Omega backdrops Aries into the crowd. Omega tries the moonsault but Aries sneaks back in the ring, full recovered, and drops his neck on the top rope. Aries follows him down to the floor with the double axe handle. Back in the ring Aries maintains control. He channels Big Bully Busick and locks on a Stump Puller. He gets Omega down and then stalls for a while, allowing Omega to recover. Omega tries the Stop Sign enziguiri, which Aries blocks, but Omega ducks the slap and slaps Aries, and then hits the enziguiri. He hits a series of Polish Hammers for two. He hits a bodyslam and a second rope Moonsault for two. He goes for the Dragon Suplex but Aries avoids it and hits a neckbreaker off the second rope, sending Omega to the floor. Aries hits the Heat Seeking Missile. He sets up a chair, and Santamaria is aghast even though Omega did the same thing earlier. Aries goes for the Brainbuster, but Omega slips out and delivers a bulldog right on the chair. Omega then sets Aries on the chair and hits running knees to the champ’s face. Aries crawls back into the ring and Omega follows him in with a springboard, which Aries avoids and hits a dropkick to the knee. Now Aries goes to work on the leg, completely brushing off the bulldog on a chair and the knees to the face. He goes for a spinning toehold but Omega rolls him up for two. Now Omega hits a dropkick to the knee. Aries gets up and takes Omega down into a half Boston Crab. He continues to work the leg, locking on a Figure Four Leglock. Omega breaks that with a series of headbutts. He tries the stupid Stop Sign again, and Aries hits him with the shinbreaker/belly-to-back suplex combination. Aries goes for the IED but Omega counters with the Hadouken. Omega goes for Croyt’s Wrath, which Aries blocks, but Omega is still able to throw him to the floor. He once again tries the Moonsault and Aries blocks the same way he did before, but this time Omega counters that and hits the move instead. Omega then hits a missile dropkick to the back and Aries once again rolls to the floor. He hits a kick to the face, sending Aries reeling, and then follows him out with a somersault dive. Omega took a nasty bump on that. Back in the ring Omega hits the frog cross body for two. They both get up and go for big moves but the other guy is able to counter everything. Aries is able to throw Omega’s shoulder into the ring post, and he follows up with the IED. He then locks on the Last Chancery, but Omega is able to reach the ropes. The champion goes up top and Omega pops up and joins him. Omega is able to hit a Super Blue Destiny! Aries somehow kicks out at two. Omega goes for Croyt’s Wrath and can’t hit it, but he does connect with the Dragon Suplex. He goes for another Croyt’s Wrath and hits it this time, but Aries’ hand is right under the bottom rope. The champ got lucky on that one. Aries rolls to the apron and Omega tries to suplex him back in, but Aries reverses it and suplexes Omega to the floor. Omega’s face bounced off the timekeeper’s table. Aries goes outside and dumps Omega into the crowd, going for a countout win. Omega makes it back in at 18. Aries immediately starts hitting knee strikes to the head, which Omega brushes off. They trade forearm shots, and Omega ends that battle with a superkick. Omega goes for Croyt’s Wrath, which Aries counters with a victory roll, and he grabs the ropes for leverage. Unfortunately the referee spots him and breaks it up. Omega gets a quick schoolboy for two, and a backslide for another two. Aries rolls out of that and hits a kick to the head and the IED. He hits the Brainbuster and Omega kicks out at two! Aries hits another Brainbuster and then rolls over into the knee strikes. He locks on the Las Chancery and the referee calls for the bell at 34:53. This was the kind of match that’s fun for the live crowd, but watching it on DVD you can see how little either guy sold, and how no story made its way throughout the match, just a bunch of stuff happened. They also were obviously stalling in the early going just for the sake of going over 30 minutes, trying to force an epic feel out of the match, and it didn’t work for me. It was still good, just far short of great.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #15: ROH World Title Match – Austin Aries vs. Davey Richards vs. Kenny Omega vs. Roderick Strong, ROH on HDNet Episode 37, 12.7.09

Aries has been the Champion since 6.13.09, and this is his ninth defense. The champ quickly gets sent to the floor and Omega joins him to do battle. Strong and Richards fight it out in the ring. Everyone goes to the floor and they trade dance partners, with Richards battling Omega and Strong facing Aries. Strong and Aries fight on the ring apron and Aries hits a neckbreaker over the second rope. Omega comes back in with a missile dropkick on Aries. Richards and Strong fight outside the ring now. Omega sends Aries to the floor and Richards stops Omega from diving off the top rope onto him. They’ve been showing a lot of split screen to keep up with all the action. Aries pushes Omega off the top rope and goes up to hit a Frog Splash on Strong for two. He hits a die slam for another two-count, and the Power Drive Elbow for the same. Strong avoids the IED and kicks Aries in the face. Omega takes it to Strong now. Aries sneaks back in and hits Strong with the IED. He turns his focus to Richards and sends him to the floor. Aries goes for the Seat Seeking Missile but Richards cuts him off with a kick to the face. Strong takes Richards and Aries out with a plancha. Omega then wipes out all three. Back in the ring Omega goes for Croyt’s Wrath on Aries but it gets blocked. They fight on the top rope now and Aries sends Omega down. Richards takes the opportunity to hit a German Superplex! Richards is all fired up now but Omega cuts him off with a reverse rana. Omega this Aries with Croyt’s Wrath and Strong breaks it up. Strong takes it to Omega and Aries sends Omega to the floor. The resilient Strong grabs Aries with Death by Roderick and the Sick Kick for two when Richards breaks it up. Omega hits a cross body on both Richards and Strong. He hits Strong with the 2K1 Bomb and Richards breaks that up. Richards hits Omega with the Alarm Clock and Strong follows with a Sick Kick. Strong and Richards slug it out and trade strikes. Richards wins that battle with a big clothesline for two. He goes for the DR Driver but Strong counters it so Richards counters that into the Cloverleaf, which Strong counters to an inside cradle for two. Strong hits Richards with the Gibson Driver and Aries sneaks in and kicks Strong in the head. Aries then steals the pin at 15:14. That was another god TV main event, with non-stop action from the Champ and three top contenders.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #16: ROH World Title Steel Cage Match – Austin Aries vs. Colt Cabana, Reverse the Curse, 12.5.09

Aries has been the Champion since 6.13.09, and this is his twelfth defense. These two had a cage match during Aries’ first reign as Champion at the Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 1 on 2.19.05. Cabana looks confident in the early going. He should be, because this is the last time he will ever get to challenge for the title in Chicago. Both men make multiple escape attempts in the opening minutes but neither man can get out. Cabana takes Aries to the mat and starts wearing him down. He even uses an airplane spin. They fight on the top rope and they end up knocking each other down. Aries uses a brief airplane spin and then hits a low dropkick. He goes to work on the leg now. Aries locks on a Figure-Four Leglock and uses the ropes for leverage. Cabana eventually turns it over and Aries is able to break it. Aries continues to work the leg. He gets a little cocky and Cabana kicks him into the cage and then kicks him in the face. They fight back on the top rope and Cabana knocks Aries down. Cabana follows him down with a quebrada. Cabana continues on offense but he can’t put Aries away. They fight on the top rope again and Aries knocks Cabana back. Aries follows with a missile dropkick. He tries to dive through the door but Cabana stops him. The Champ perseveres and keeps Cabana on the mat. Aries rakes Cabana’s face across the cage to bloody him up. He lands a couple of IEDs to make it worse. Aries hits the Brainbuster but it only gets two. He locks on the Last Chancery and switches it up to knees to the head. Aries tries to climb out of the cage but Cabana pulls him down with a whirly bird powerbomb. They fight on the top rope again and Aries hits a Sunset Bomb for two. Aries tries the kick to the head but Cabana catches it and locks on the Billy Goat’s Curse! Aries tries to crawl out the door but Cabana drags him back to the center of the ring. They fight over crawling out the door and Aries is able to slam the door on Cabana’s head twice. Aries unloads with punches but Cabana is Hulking Up. They fight on the top rope and Cabana drops Aries right on the top turnbuckle. Cabana throws Aries into the cage repeatedly. Cabana appears to be on the verge of winning the title, as Aries is busted open. He sets Aries between the ropes and the cage and hits a butt-butt causing the cage to break and Aries to fall to the floor. Aries wins at 26:04. That was a little long for a foregone conclusion title defense, but they did solid work there and the hometown crowd was pretty good about responding to their boy Cabana. These two just didn’t have amazing chemistry together, and their matches were just fine but nothing special.
Rating: ***

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