Ring of Honor returns to the Boston area for another show in Plymouth, MA. This was one night before Glory By Honor IX so this was Tyler Black’s penultimate appearance in ROH before heading off to the WWE. He headlined the show in a non-title match against Christopher Daniels. The Kings of Wrestling defend their Tag Team belts against Colt Cabana & El Generico and Eddie Edwards puts the TV Title up against Erick Stevens of The Embassy. All this and more as ROH World reviews ‘Fade To Black’:
ROH World TV Title Match – Eddie Edwards © vs. Erick Stevens
Stevens is accompanied by Prince Nana and Mr. Ernesto Osiris. This show isn’t far from Edwards’ home town and he’s getting lots of backing from the crowd. Edwards takes control early on with a spinning heel kick followed by a number of chops in the corner. Stevens catches Edwards who goes for a springboard move and drives him down with the Samoan Drop. Stevens keeps Edwards grounded and then hits a suplex for two. Russian leg sweep by Stevens and then locks him in a crucifix like submission hold as he tries to wear down the champion. Stevens to the top but Edwards cuts him off with an enziguri, he goes for the backpack chinbreaker but Stevens reverses it into a spear. Stevens taunts for too long though and Edwards hits him with a big running knee as both men are down on the mat. The two trade chops until Stevens walks into an overhead suplex, Edwards sends him out of the ring and then follows up with a great looking suicide dive. Edwards hits the lungblower off the top rope followed by a shining wizard almost put Erick away. German Suplex by Stevens as he hits a big splash in the corner. Superkick by Edwards but Stevens comes back with an Ace Crusher followed by a big lariat for a near fall. Stevens goes for the gut wrench Powerbomb but Edwards rolls through and gets the Achilles Lock on Stevens. Nana gets on the apron as Edwards gets distracted, Stevens tries to take advantage but Edwards gets him in a backslide for the victory. As opening matches go, this was pretty much perfect. Great chemistry between these two as they pulled out some nice sequences which ended seeing Edwards pick up the win in his own back yard.
‘Brutal’ Bob Evans vs. Grizzly Redwood
Evans is mainly known as “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett’s trainer. Massive size difference here as The Littlest Lumberjack has a big job on his hands. Grizzly locks in an armbar to start the match and just won’t let go until he dropkicks Evans out of the ring. Off the ropes and Grizzly hits a suicide dive on Evans, he then seems to get attacked by a fan at ringside, Grizzly isn’t too happy and goes after him, as security escort him out of the building. Back in the ring, Evans hits a big shoulder block for two. Evans gets another two with a clothesline as he locks in a reverse chinlock. Grizzly goes after Evans and hits 10 punches in the corner, he follows it up with a bulldog off the second rope for two. Grizzly goes for a springboard move but Evans catches him and drives him down with a slam, he goes for a running powerslam but Grizzly rolls him up for the win. Grizzly Redwood just won a match! Didn’t really see the point in this one, nobody cares about Evans in the ring and the whole point of Redwood is to get squashed by people who need wins. Very average.
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Austin Aries
Aries cuts a promo before hand saying O’Reilly will have to kick harder than ever before to beat him tonight. Aries takes control early on and then showboats by doing a lap of the ring, O’Reilly doesn’t look too impressed. Aries escapes a headscissors, flips up and then hits a dropkick to the prone O’Reilly, very nice indeed. O’Reilly hits a number of kicks and then sends Aries out of the ring. He whips Aries into the steel barricades and follows up with a dropkick as the fans show their appreciation. Northern Lights suplex gets O’Reilly a near fall and then he turns Aries inside out with a clothesline. Tornado DDT by O’Reilly but Aries kicks out again, he goes for a diving headbutt off the top but misses. IED by Aries in the corner and then hits a brainbuster but O’Reilly kicks out! Kick to the face by Aries and then he locks in the Last Chancery as O’Reilly is forced to tap out. Really enjoyed this match, O’Reilly showed why he’s regarded as such a talent and A Double delivered as usual. This was great for the 7-8 minutes it was given, a bit longer and it would have been brilliant.
Necro Butcher & Shawn Daivari vs. Kevin Steen & Steve Corino
This is a First Blood match and should be an all-out war. Nana on the mic and says they can just shake hands and forget about the match. Steen more or less tells him that’s not going to happen as Necro Butcher attacks him. Corino whips Daivari into the barricades as Steen and Necro go at it on the outside too. Corino puts the ringside bell on the nether regions of Daivari and then hits it with the hammer, ouch! Necro starts to take up some of the padding on the floor but is cut off by Steen. Corino gets sent into a table by Daivari and then Steen goes into it too. Daivari takes Steen back in the ring as Necro literally buries Corino in the ringside padding and stamps down on it. Necro walks into a superkick from Steen who hits another one followed by the canon ball running senton in the corner. Corino smacks Daivari over the head with a drinks bottle as Steen and Necro battle it out over a weapon inside the ring. Corino locks in the mandible claw and uses the Thumb In The Bum to his advantage. Necro tries to hit Corino with a beer bottle but Steen stops him and then wraps his head in chains. Corino gets a beer bottle, breaks it on the steel ringpost and then smacks Necro over the head with it for the victory as Necro bleeds. This was mainly done to hype up Steen & Corino’s First Blood match with Cabana and Generico but as an actual match, it was very average. Very stop and start match but a couple of funny spots made it more enjoyable.
The All Night Express vs. Matt Taven & Sid Reeves
ANX are accompanied to the ring by their manager Austin Aries. The Express dominate the early goings as Taven goes for a springboard move and completely botches it which kills any support they might have got. Reeves in now and he dishes out some punishment to Titus until he is knocked to the outside where King throws him into the barricades as the Express hit a double kick. Back in the ring and ANX hit a nice double team clothesline/heel kick move as they regain control of the match. Taven gets the hot tag and takes out King with a spin kick and a swinging neckbreaker as he hits a springboard moonsault but Titus breaks up the count. Double knees in the corner from King and then Titus hits the jumping legdrop, Reeves back in the ring but he gets hit with double kicks followed by a dropkick from Titus. Kenny King hits the Coronation on Taven as Titus hits a modified powerbomb for the double pinfall. A glorified squash match that made the ANX look great. Not too bad for what it was.
Mike Bennett vs. Roderick Strong
Bennett is from around the Boston area so gets a nice response from the crowd. Strong comes out to a bigger pop though and dominates the early goings of this match with some nice mat wrestling. Bennett gets a near fall with a roll up but then walks into a kick to the face as Strong takes control again with some chops. Strong continues to pick apart Bennett until he comes back with a suplex followed by a neckbreaker on his knee for two. Strong fights back by evading a dropkick and then hits some hard chops followed by a forearm until Bennett cuts him off with the snake’s eyes and a clothesline. Strong avoids a splash attempt in the corner and hits a knee strike and then slams Bennett down with a uranage for two. Bennett rolls him up and grabs a handfull of tights but Strong kicks out. Strong hits another chop and then a gutbuster followed by a big kick to Bennett’s face as he tries to get up which gets him the win. This wasn’t too bad, I didn’t expect much considering Bennett was involved but it was a decent little 10 minute match. Nothing more, nothing less.
ROH World Tag Team Title Match – The Kings of Wrestling © vs. Colt Cabana & El Generico
Comedy antics by Cabana to begin with that annoys Hero & Castagnoli. Generico gets tagged in and floors Claudio with a number of arm drags, he performs the 10 punches in the corner on both Claudio and Hero who tries to interfere. Generico walks into a big boot from Hero on the apron and then Claudio hits a jumping knee as they begin to take control of the match. Hero begins to go to work on the neck/head of Generico and keeps him grounded in the Kings’ corner. Generico tries to crawl through Hero’s legs to tag in Cabana but gets picked up and slammed back down with a powerbomb. Generico sends Hero to the outside with a big boot but is cut off by Claudio when he goes for a diving move. Generico begins to fight back with a tornado DDT on Claudio and then tags Cabana in. He takes The Kings out with a double elbow and then throws them into each other as he goes to work on Hero. Hero with a big boot but then walks into the flying ass for two. Generico goes to the top but Hero send Cabana into him which sends him off balance, they eventually fight him off though and Generico hits a hurricanrana off the top rope.
Cabana hits the flying ass to hero as Generico sends Claudio to the outside with a big boot, Generico then hits a hilo over the top rope that takes out Claudio. Cabana locks in The Billy Goat’s Curse but Claudio breaks it up as Kevin Steen & Steve Corino appear at the entrance. Cabana and Generico get distracted but get back in the ring and hit a sunset flip/crossbody combo on Claudio for a two count. Hero on the outside and he hits a springboard elbow off the barricades, Claudio hits a springboard uppercut in the ring on Cabana. Big Swing by Claudio and then Hero dropkicks Cabana mid-swing for a near fall. Hero off the ropes and hits the Death Blow followed by a big European uppercut by Claudio for the victory. This was really good, better than I expected. I’m glad they didn’t ruin the finish with the interference, it added some tension but didn’t ruin the ending. Nice job by Cabana and Generico who played the plucky babyfaces and this was a great 15 minute match.
Tyler Black vs. Christopher Daniels
This was Black’s penultimate match in ROH and got a pretty negative response from the crowd, it is also a non-title match. Chants of “you sold out” which are quite ironic considering who he is facing. The pair exchange arm drags until Black escapes to the Black to go to the outside again to chants of “NXT”. Daniels keeps getting the upper hand and Black retreats to the outside yet again and the crowd are really on his back. Black gets on the mic and says he doesn’t need this and says he’s going to leave. Black gets his belt and walks towards the entrance, Daniels goes through the crowd and comes back out through the entrance and then sends Black into the barricades and then back in the ring. Daniels wears the champ down but then Black sends Daniels out of the ring, Black follows up by beating Daniels down on the arena floor. Black starts to heel it up with lots of slaps and closed handed strikes as ref Todd Sinclair struggles to keep him in check. To the outside now and Black whips Daniels into the steel barricades twice and then hits a suplex on the arena floor. Black tries to get the cheap count out win but Daniels makes it in at 19 but Black does the ‘you can’t see me’ sign and then locks in an STF. Talk about cheap heat… Daniels gets to the ropes and then they start to trade strikes on the ring apron, Daniels flips Black into the ring and then takes him down with a springboard back elbow.
Cradle backbreaker gets Daniels two and then a running STO also gets him a near fall. Black goes for a springboard lariat but botched it badly and falls on his face. Black ducks a clothesline and then hits The Paroxysm for a two count. Daniels sends Black to the floor with a big open handed strike, he follows up with an Arabian Moonsault to the outside. Back in the ring and Black hits an F-5 for a two count, he goes for the springboard clothesline again but Daniels reverses it into a Flatliner and then locks in the Koji clutch but Black struggles to the ropes. Daniels goes for the BME but Black evades it, Black sets Daniels up in the Tree of Woe and then hits a big double stomp. Black goes to the other side of the ring and hits a springboard coast-to-coast dropkick on Daniels for a very near fall. Black hits the Buckle Bomb followed by a Superkick but Daniels kicks out! Black misses the Phoenix Splash but he rolls through and hits another Superkick, Daniels reverses God’s Last Gift into the Angel’s Wings but Black gets his foot on the rope. Both men struggle to their feet and Daniels gets the upper hand with the Last Rights. Just after that, the bell goes and we’re notified that this is a time limit draw. The crowd want five more minutes and so does Daniels but Black says no way and then goes to leave. Roderick Strong appears and sends him into the ring where he receives an enziguri from Daniels, Black escapes as Strong and Daniels stare down.
My opinion on this match kept changing but in review, I can say that it was a very good match. I understand they couldn’t have Black lose one night before dropping the belt and the time limit draw was probably the smartest thing to do but they still leave a bad taste in the mouth, especially in front of a new crowd. Not a fan on Black’s imitation of John Cena either, really cheap heat which he didn’t need. Without that crap it would have been four stars but it suffers a bit because of a few niggling problems.
There is a bonus disc so I won’t give my overall score yet. If this DVD came with just the ‘Fade To Black’ show, I’d probably give it a 6/10. The two last matches and the opener are good bouts but the rest aren’t too memorable. Let’s see if the bonus disc bumps the score up a bit.
Bonus Disc – The Best of Tyler Black
I’ll only give you short overall thoughts on each match on the bonus disc as I don’t want to send you to sleep!
The Briscoes vs. The Age Of The Fall (12/30/07 – Final Battle 2007)
This was from Tyler’s time in The Age of the Fall, he is teaming with Jimmy Jacobs as they attempt to become the ROH World Tag Team Champions. These two teams had some awesome chemistry and they both came out of the match looking great. Both teams took some sick bumps in this one, especially with the steel barricades. The end came when Black and Jacobs hit a powerbomb/contra code combo off the top rope! Black took advantage by hitting the Phoenix Splash on Mark Briscoe as they became the new ROH Tag Team Champions. Awesome stuff.
Tyler Black vs. Bryan Danielson (7/25/09 – ROH on HDNet – Episode 18)
Black had never beaten Dragon in a singles match and this was a potential breakout match for him. This was the typical veteran vs. rookie contest and a ‘pass the torch’ match of sorts. It kept building up and building up until the final five or so minutes which were really good. I’d have liked less build up and more sequences but it was still a great match-up. Black got the win after a German Suplex, a Superplex and the God’s Last Gift. There was some great psychology in this match and was awesome considering it was on HDNet. Very good job.
Tyler Black vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega (11/8/09 – Bound By Hate)
Unlike the previous match, this one started out like a house on fire and never let up. They had some nice three man spots and then kept it fresh by having two guys in the ring and one on the outside. Danielson got the win after hitting several elbows on Omega which bust his eye open, he then locked in the Cattle Mutilation as Omega tapped out. This only went 12/13 minutes but it was absolutely brilliant. I’ve only just finished it and I want to watch it again which tells you everything. Top class.
Tyler Black vs. Nigel McGuinness (1/15/08 – Take No Prisoners)
This is a ROH World Title match, Tyler won a four corner survival match earlier in the night which gave him this opportunity. Wow, the crowd was absolutely into this one and you can’t blame them as this was brilliant. Considering Tyler was considered a relative newcomer at this point, he gave one hell of a performance and almost won the title on a number of occasions. Tyler kicked out of everything Nigel had to throw at him including the jawbreaker lariat. Nigel retained in the end due to the London Dungeon but this was great. I think they went a bit overboard with the false finishes at the end but it’s mind blowing that it took another two years for Tyler to win the title.
The Briscoes vs. The Age Of The Fall (3/29/08 – Supercard of Honor III)
Tyler and Jacobs were Tag Team Champions at this point and this was an absolute war that was described as being a ‘relaxed rules match’, very relaxed! This match included an awesome table spot involving Mark Briscoe jumping off a balcony. It was two-on-one for most of the match after that until Mark came back and they hit the Springboard Doomsday device which Jacobs took and then somehow reversed into the hang time as Mark Briscoe was choked out. Really good match although the beginning was a bit crazy. Some nice spots and definitely left things open for a rematch.
Tyler Black vs. Bryan Danielson (7/26/08 – New Horizons)
Black had his fellow ROH Tag Team Champion Jimmy Jacobs in his corner for this one. This was a very hard hitting match, they even broke the top rope! Danielson had Black in a triangle choke, Tyler picked him up and hit the Buckle Bomb and the top turnbuckle completely gave way. In the end, Bryan got the better of Black as Todd Sinclair stopped the match following a barrage of lethal elbows. This was similar to their match on HDNet but given a bit more time to make it even better. Really awesome stuff.
Nigel McGuinness vs. Tyler Black vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Bryan Danielson (8/2/08 – Death Before Dishonor VI)
This is a four-way elimination match for the ROH World Title. Castagnoli was the first one to be eliminated after Danielson rolled him up. Claudio isn’t too happy and attacks Danielson after his elimination by hitting the Riccola Bomb and also hits him with a steel chair. McGuinness takes full advantage as he hits a lariat on Danielson to eliminate him. Black was within an inch of becoming champ but Nigel eventually got the win with a pair of devastating lariats. This never let up for the whole 30 minutes and as elimination matches go, it was up there with the best.
The Age Of The Fall vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico (9/19/08 – Driven 2008)
This is a ROH Tag Team Title match and Tyler Black & Jimmy Jacobs are the current champs going into the match. These two teams had great chemistry in the ring and pulled off a classic. Steen & Generico finally captured the Tag Titles after a package piledriver followed by a brainbuster on Jimmy Jacobs. This had some great spots and lots of drama with some terrific false finishes. The crowd went insane for the finish, terrific match.
It’s not hard to see why ROH packaged ‘Fade To Black’ with the bonus DVD of ‘The Best of Tyler Black’. Without the bonus disc, this DVD is easily passable but the whole package is brilliant value and a must buy.
Overall Rating: 9/10