This was the last show on The Final Countdown tour and had a stacked card. The last appearance by Bryan Danielson in a Ring of Honor ring against Nigel McGuinness. Ladder War II, ROH World Title match and even an appearance from Bret Hart. So, how good was it? Read and find out:
Colt Cabana vs. Rhett Titus
Both of these guys are considered ‘comedy characters’. Titus has changed a lot since then but Cabana is more or less the same. Titus came out the blocks quicker and dominated the early goings, he also got into a shouting match with somebody in the New York crowd. Titus has always had tons of talent but I’m glad he’s dropped the goofy gimmick even though he does play it well. It was the usual fare from Cabana which isn’t a bad thing at all. As an opener, it served its purpose. Titus got in quite a lot of offense but it was Cabana who got the submission victory with the Billy Goat’s Curse.
The Dark City Fight Club vs. Up In Smoke
Jon Davis & Kory Chavis are much the bigger team and Cheech & Cloudy will need to stick to their fast paced style to get a win in this one. Up In Smoke started impressively and performed a nice combination of double team moves. The Dark City Fight Club then took control with an array of high powered moves including a nice looking jumping leg drop on Cheech. Davis then hit a great stalling suplex even though it was on Cloudy who looks about 12. Cheech finally gets a tag in and goes to work on Dark City and even managed to do a cartwheel off the too rope which looked pretty cool. Cloudy goes for a jumping head scissors buts get caught by Davis who then drives him down for a powerbomb. He holds on and brings him back up as he and Chavis hit the powerbomb/neckbreaker combination for the victory. Quite a decent match considering it’s the second match on the card. It was enjoyable.
★ ★ ½
Kenny Omega vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Castagnoli was introduced by Prince Nana, this was during Claudio’s run with The Embassy and Nana and Osiris were at ringside. The match started with an enziguri by Omega followed by a baseball slide. Was quite interesting to listen to Hero’s commentary of Castagnoli considering their association now. Castagnoli comes back with a nice Samoan (or maybe Swiss…) Drop as he starts to dominate Omega. The Canadian definitely has some unique offense and manages to get a jumping bulldog and jumping heelkick then a strange looking body slam described as a ‘Norman Smiley bodyslam’ by Chris Hero. Omega isn’t small but gives up quite a lot of strength to Castagnoli but still delivers a great looking dragon suplex. Talking of unique offense, Castagnoli hits Omega with the UFO followed by two pop-up Europeans but Omega somehow kicks out to the disbelief of Castagnoli and Prince Nana. Omega gets back in it with a reverse Frankensteiner and then lifts the big man up but Castagnoli grabs on to Todd Sinclair which gives him time to get a sneaky low blow in and then hits another European Uppercut for the win. A good match which made Omega look very good. Impressive.
★ ★ ★
Delirious vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Grizzly Redwood vs. Roderick Strong
Dutt and Delirious instantly take it to the outside as Redwood is left to take on Strong. Delirious gets back in the ring and utilises his very strange style to good use and sends Strong out of the ring. Dutt gets back in and Delirious instantly gets the advantage. Strong then comes back and drops Delirious on the ring apron as Redwood starts to chop Strong and Dutt. This doesn’t last long though and Redwood is taking punishment again. The four men meet in the corner and this leads to an awesome powerbomb, electric chair superplex! Brilliant spot there that was done superbly. Delirious hits a tilt-a-whirl slam on Redwood but Strong hits Delirious with a big heel kick. Dutt returns to the ring and the pair exchange chops. Each man then gets in some offense as they are all down on the canvas. Delirious and Redwood were taken out of the action and with Dutt looking at Daizee Haze, Strong was able to hit a flying Yakuza kick followed by the Gibson driver for the win. Four corner matches can normally be either very good or very bad and fortunately, this was the former. It made all four men look good and was an enjoyable match with a couple of great spots.
★ ★ ★
ROH World Tag Team Championship – The American Wolves © vs. Steen & Generico
This was their Ladder War II match-up. This was obviously going to be a flat out brawl and that’s exactly what we got. This match was right up Steen’s alley seeing as he has that really vicious streak in him. Steen and Generico were the first to use the ladders as weapons and both Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards received a fair bit of punishment. Generico goes after the belts on one of the smaller ladders and gets called a ‘dufus’ by Hero on commentary. Shane Hagadorn gets a pair of handcuffs out of his pocket and Richards handcuffs Steen who is now defenceless. Generico is on his own now but quickly gets taken out as Edwards superkicks him into Richards who then German Suplexes him through a table set up in the corner. Generico gets back in the ring and delivers two Yakuza kicks and then tries to free Steen. He attacks Hagadorn and grabs the key out of his pocket and releases Steen from the cuffs. Steen and Generico set up no less than three tables but it’s Steen who goes through a ringside table first, courtesy of a tornado DDT from Edwards. Generico and Richards climb the ladder and meet at the top, after a brief struggle, Generico hits a sunset flip powerbomb on Richards through one of the tables in the ring. Brilliantly one. Generico climbs the ladder again and is met by Edwards. He teases a brainbuster but Edwards flips Generico over for a back body drop and “The Generic Luchadore” goes through the other table in the ring. Yet another excellent spot in this match. Finally the big ladder is brought back into the ring and Generico takes the opportunity to dive through it to take out Richards on the outside. Steen climbs the ladder but as he gets to the top, Edwards pushes him off and he falls through the third table set up earlier on. The fourth table that has been destroyed in this match! Edwards and Generico again fight it out at the top of the ladder but Generico is hit by Richards who had a steel chair. Edwards then locks in a Boston crab on top of the ladder as Richards climbs up and retrieves the gold. This was just an awesome match between two great teams. It had everything you could wish for in a ‘Ladder War’ and more and it delivered on every possible level. Spots, storytelling, action. It was brilliant.
★ ★ ★ ★
Chris Hero vs. Eddie Kingston
Kingston was the first wrestler to come to ROH from Combat Zone Wrestling and he hits a nice overhead suplex to begin the match. Hero has Shane Hagadorn with him who is working overtime tonight. Hero covers Kingston in the mats put at ringside and then hits a senton which winds Eddie. Hero then dominated the next five minutes or so and the crowd weren’t really into this one at all. Hero tries to get the crowd going with a few sick looking kicks to the head of Kingston but doesn’t get much of a reaction. After a good ten minutes of Hero domination, Kingston finally gets some attacks in and hits a sloppy looking suicide dive. Hero gets busted open thanks to a headbutt of his own and Kingston almost gets the win with a short-arm lariat and a dragon suplex. Hero comes back with a rolling elbow followed by the Death Blow but somehow Kingston kicks out. Kingston gets the lucky elbow pad but Hagadorn gets in the ring and gets clocked by Kingston. While the referee sees to Hagadorn, Hero puts on an elbow pad of his own and hits Kingston with the rolling elbow for the win. It was a decent brawl but was very sluggish, even towards the end it didn’t really pick up pace and the crowd were dead for most of it. It didn’t help that this came after the epic ladder war to be fair to Hero and Kingston. It was given too much time in my opinion (around 20 minutes) and should have been finished earlier. Decent but expected better.
★ ★ ¼
Austin Aries then has his draw to determine who he will face tonight. He picks out Bret Hart but obviously, “The Hitman” does come out. After a few seconds, Petey Williams comes out to confront Aries. Double A is one of the best mic workers in the business in my opinion and when Petey challenges him, he attacks him and accepts the match.
ROH World Title – Austin Aries © vs. Petey Williams
Aries eats a boot and tries to get the match nullified but Todd Sinclair is having none of it. Williams gets the upper hand over the only 2-time ROH World Champion in the early goings and a heel Dave Prazak is very happy. Aries begins to get back into it and takes the action to the outside. The pair get back in the ring and Aries picks Williams apart. Crowd seem a bit livelier for this one and this includes hilarious ‘Twinkies!’ chants every time Todd Sinclair counts a pinfall or count out. Hero returns on commentary after his match with Kingston. Aries attempts a Canadian Destroyer but Williams reverses it into a Sharpshooter and Aries gets to the ropes. Aries starts to target the leg of Williams and then locks in the figure-4 leglock but Williams reverses the hold and Aries again breaks the hold by getting to the ropes. Williams keeps going for the Canadian Destroyer but Aries is doing a good job of staying away from it and almost gets the win with a brainbuster. Williams hits two enziguris followed by the Canadian Destroyer but Aries manages to get his arm on the bottom rope. Williams again locks in the Sharpshooter but Williams is thwarted again by Double A who then hits a great suicide dive on the Canadian. Aries gets on top again and locks in the Last Chancery but Williams gets to the rope. After a brief struggle, Williams manages to hit a super Canadian Destroyer off the top rope but Aries manages to roll out of the ring. That was a really awesome spot that was performed to perfection. Action onto the floor again and Aries hits a brainbuster onto the arena floor, with the count escalating, Aries manages to get back into the ring just before 20 as he wins by count out. Another match that didn’t really live up to expectations. The finishers were used too much, too early which really restricted the length of the match and just as it started to get going, it ended. Good, but could have been better.
★ ★ ★
The Briscoe Brothers vs. The Young Bucks
These guys’ first match was interrupted by The Dark City Fight Club. All four men shake hands before the match to follow the ‘Code of Honor’ rules. The Briscoes are their usual intense selves but The Bucks start well and use tags frequently. These teams work well together as it’s the classic power vs. speed game. Each team got a nice amount of offense in and even when one team was on top, the other still managed to get some moves in which I liked. The Bucks attempt another double team move but Jay Briscoe takes both men out. Mark comes into the ring and the pair launch Nick Jackson into his brother who was re-cooperating on the outside, very nice. The Briscoes took control for a good few minutes and The Briscoes take it in turns to beat down on Nick. Hero on commentary is brilliant and says that The Bucks aren’t man enough as they haven’t fought each other. Anybody else spot the irony? Nick finally tags in his brother after a nice looking spin kick and he almost picks up the win with a bridging German Suplex. The Bucks then bust out the senton/moonsault combo but Mark Briscoe kicks out at two; nice mix of double team moves from The Bucks. Jay Briscoe almost gets the win after a Death Valley Driver but the pin is broken up. All hell is breaking loose now as all four men are in the ring. The Bucks get some kicks in and then walk into two huge superkicks from The Briscoes. The Bucks then almost win the match after a reverse Ace Crusher from Matt Jackson leads to a near fall. Jay Briscoe hits the Jay Driller but the pin is again broken up again. Mark Briscoe is sent out of the ring and The Bucks hit the impressive More Bang For Your Buck finisher (senton/moonsault combo) for the victory. Yet another good tag team match. It wasn’t a classic but it was a damn good match that made both teams look great. It served its purpose and entertained the crowd, job done.
★ ★ ★ ½
Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson
This was being billed as Danielson’s final match in ROH before his move to WWE. McGuinness was also on his way out after getting involved with TNA. They are thought of as two of the founding fathers of Ring of Honor and rightly so. The fans are really up for this one and both men get chants as soon as the match starts. We’re reminded of the Unification match between these two in the UK which was a classic, they’ll do well to equal that. The match begins with some brilliant mat wrestling and Danielson gets Nigel in a painful looking hammerlock. McGuinness fights back and starts to work on the arm of Danielson and follows up with an overhead suplex. Danielson comes back into it with a couple of uppercuts and a butterfly suplex. Neither man can get a period of dominance and the action is very back and forward without really hitting its stride yet. Both men exchange pin attempts which leaves referee Todd Sinclair very confused. Danielson goes for a belly-to-back superplex but has to settle for the tree of woe instead. He hits a nice looking dropkick and when Nigel gets back to his feet, Danielson gets him up on the top rope and delivers the belly-to-back suplex. Bryan locks in the Cattle Mutilation but McGuinness has it well scouted and sneaks out, he then hits the London Bridge off the ropes. McGuinness then eats a flying knee and he ends up in the front row of the crowd, Danielson follows up with a springboard crossbody which looked very cool indeed. McGuinness comes back by driving Danielson into the ring post and “The American Dragon” is busted wide open. The Brit then drives Danielson into the ring post three more times and Danielson is looking very groggy. McGuinness goes for another London Bridge, this time on the ring apron, and he hits it. It was a bit sloppy which took something away from the move but it was nice all the same. Danielson is wearing the crimson mask now and hits a jumping heel kick, McGuinness rebounds off the ropes and hits a big lariat. He follows that up with the London Dungeon submission move which Danielson gets out of. The two then exchange elbow strikes but Danielson isn’t feeling the effects and starts to fire away with forearms on McGuinness. The two men then go head-to-head literally as they hit each other with headbutts. That was very well done by both men. They continue to take chunks out of each other before McGuinness hits another lariat. He goes for the pin but Danielson reverses it into the Cattle Mutilation and then into a flurry of elbows for a near fall. Danielson goes for another submission – the triangle choke – and again hits McGuinness with elbow after elbow. Nigel starts to fade and Todd Sinclair steps in to finish the match on McGuinness’ behalf. I guess that was the most logical finish considering both men’s futures. It was a great match that ended their series of matches on a high note. It was just a brilliant technical wrestling match between two of the best in the world.
★ ★ ★ ★ ½
The ROH locker room empties and they surround the ring to thank both men for their efforts in Ring of Honor. Nigel gets the mic first and says this will be a night he’ll remember for the rest of his life. He thanks ROH President Cary Silkin for keeping ROH going and thanks every man and woman on the roster. He wishes Bryan the best in the future and then “The American Dragon” gets given the microphone. Danielson says if you look at the past year in ROH, he hasn’t put on the best matches. The American Wolves, Roderick Strong, Austin Aries have, he puts all of those guys over. He then goes on to thank Cary Silkin for resurrecting ROH. He continues to thank McGuinness and says he’s the best opponent he’s ever had. He thanks the crowd and says ROH has been his favourite place to wrestle in the world. The Final Countdown begins to play as McGuinness and Danielson embrace for the last time inside a Ring of Honor ring.
Overall, I’d recommend this DVD to anybody, no doubt. There were no bad matches and two or three really good ones. You can buy it from the official ROH store which can be found at www.ROHWrestling.com.