Northern Navigation Review

This was Ring of Honor’s Canadian debut which is surprising considering the company began in 2002. We’ll see Canadian Kevin Steen go up against Nigel McGuinness for the ROH World Title, an appearance from Lance Storm and an all out brawl between Jay Briscoe & Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black. This should be great so let’s take a look at it in some more detail:

Chris Hero vs. Ruckus

Chris Hero is accompanied by Sweet ‘n’ Sour Inc. Larry Sweeney cuts a promo and shows why he was considered one of the best managers in the business, he will be sorely missed. Hero started out the match with a flurry of elbows which is exactly what we’re used to. Hero dominated most of the match as Ruckus failed in his attempts at a comeback. Ruckus finally started getting some offense in and when Shane Hagadorn interfered, he got a big kick to the face. This distraction would prove fatal for Ruckus though as Hero managed to come back with a roaring elbow followed by a big kick to the face for the win. A nice little opener here which was designed to put Hero over yet it still made Ruckus look good. Job done.

★★ ¼

Delirious vs. Kenny Omega

They start the match with a nice sequence of chain wrestling followed by a couple of quick pins for both men. Shows you how popular Delirious was that he’s getting more support than Canada’s own Omega. Both of these guys are pretty unique and this lead to some great spots. This was a very back-and-forth match and both men got lots of offense in. Omega almost got the win after lifting Delirious on to his shoulders then somehow dropping him down and hitting a German Suplex in one fluid motion. Quickly after this, Delirious locked in the Cobra Stretch and Omega tapped out. This match should have been given more time and it would have been a brilliant contest. As it was, it turned out to be an action packed eight minutes of enjoyable wrestling.

★★ ¾

Sara Del Rey vs. Jennifer Blake

Del Rey had Sweet ‘n’ Sour Inc (Larry Sweeney & Shane Hagadorn) in her corner. It was the typical aggressive Del Rey and she was on the attack from the first bell. Blake tried to fight back with a number of chops followed by a suicide dive to Del Rey who was on the outside. The pair got back in the ring and Del Rey hit an axe kick for the victory. This was just a glorified squash match really but wasn’t too bad. Del Rey attacks Blake after the match until Daizee Haze comes down to make the save

★ ½

Erick Stevens vs. Go Shiozaki

Sweeney introduces another member of Sweet ‘n’ Sour Inc. – Go Shiozaki – who is in action now. Stevens was the FIP World Heavyweight Champion at this time and we’re notified that this is a non-title match. The match started with what I like to call the ‘shoulder block challenge’. I don’t like it. Stevens gets the advantage with a nice belly-to-belly suplex. Shiozaki comes back and the pair trade hard hitting chops before Sweeney cheap shots Stevens. The action spills to the outside and Shiozaki body slams Stevens on the arena floor. Stevens ends up face down on the ring apron and Shiozaki hits a running knee lift which keeps Stevens grounded. Back in the ring now and Stevens takes control with a variety of moves including a running Samoan drop for two. The pair trade hard chops yet again but Shiozaki comes out on top when he hits a superkick that looks as if it sends one of Stevens’ teeth into the air. He follows up with a Fisherman buster but Stevens kicks out just before three. We’re told there is a minute left and Shiozaki goes for a moonsault but Stevens cuts him off. After a brief struggle, Shiozaki hits a superplex as the match finishes as a draw. A good hard-hitting match between two accomplished guys but it lacked a few top moves to really make it great.

★★★

The crowd starts to chant “five more minutes!”, Stevens gets the mic and says the Canadian crowd deserve better. Sweeney gets the mic and says Shiozaki was only paid to wrestle a 15 minute match so there’s no chance of five more minutes. He’s then cut off as Canadian hero Lance Storm comes to the ring, after a brief exchange of words with Sweeney, Chris Hero comes out and attacks Storm from behind. Storm and Stevens turn the tides though and Hagadorn is thrown into the ring where he is met with a superkick from Storm. Storm celebrates in front of his home fans as Sweet ‘n’ Sour Inc. quickly make their way to the back.

Bryan Danielson vs. Claudio Castagnoli

Both of these men are very popular with the Toronto faithful, this is a rematch from ‘Vendetta II’ which Claudio won. The first few minutes of this match involves some nice mat wrestling from both men as Claudio tries to utilise his strength advantage. They then go into a bridging sequence which involves both men using bridges to avoid being pinned, very nice. Claudio does Bryan’s “I had ’till five!” so Bryan fires up “Hey!” chants from the crowd, nice little bit of comedy there. Bryan gets in an armbar for about 30 seconds or so but Claudio eventually powers out of it with a suplex. Claudio goes for the surfboard but is thwarted by Bryan, he then locks in a torture rack and drops Bryan down for a backbreaker. Bryan gets back into it after a good few minutes of Claudio domination with a running forearm in the corner followed by a dropkick to the face of Claudio. Bryan manages to do something Claudio can’t and locks in the surfboard which turns into a pin for two. Danielson hits a running elbow strike which sends Claudio to the outside, he then follows up with a suicide dive which sends Castagnoli into the front row. Back in the ring and Bryan goes for a diving move but Claudio cuts him off and hits him with the Big Swing; he gets 20 (yes, twenty!) rotations which leaves Bryan dazed. Claudio goes for another torture rack but Bryan gets out of it and locks in the Cattle Mutilation, Claudio holds on though and gets to the ropes. Claudio dodges a German Suplex and hits a bicycle kick for a two count, the two men then exchange near falls. They start trading European Uppercuts and Bryan comes off the ropes, Claudio lifts him up and goes up for the Pop-Up European which is reversed into a backslide by Bryan for the victory. Wow, chants of “That was awesome!” start and rightly so. Nice mat wrestling to start with and after about 12 minutes, it really got good. Terrific performance by both guys which made for a really entertaining match. Must see.

★★★★ ¼

 

Roderick Strong vs. Naomichi Marufuji

This is the first ever match-up between these two guys. They exchange hard chops to start with, Strong must have some of the hardest hitting chops in the business today. Marufuji starts off well with a series of one counts frustrating Strong. He elbows Strong and leaves him hanging on the second rope, he leaves the ring and hits a running dropkick to the side of the head. Strong reverses a running splash into a backbreaker, had to be seen to be believed. Strong dominates the next few minutes with some chops and a Boston crab almost gets him a submission victory. Marufuji hits a Russian leg sweep which sees Strong’s face hit the turnbuckle and then he hits a clothesline which turns Strong inside out. Strong reverses a superkick into another backbreaker but only gets two. He lifts Marufuji up onto the turnbuckle and hits a Superplex. Marufuji gets fired up by this though and after a brief struggle, Strong hits the Sick Kick for a very near fall. Strong goes to the top rope but ends up in a tree of woe and Marufuji hits a coast-to-coast dropkick but somehow doesn’t get the three. Strong comes back with a gut buster and a backbreaker as the action is very back-and-forth. Marufuji drives the face of Strong down onto the mat with his boot and follows that up with a kick straight to the face but Strong kicks out. Back up and Strong gets the advantage and delivers the Gibson Driver but doesn’t get three. Marufuji comes back with a butterfly neckbreaker and a big kick to the head, this allows him to hit the Shiranui (sliced bread) for the victory. Another really, really good match. Very fast paced match that went a good 17 minutes. Some very good spots and both men looked great in this one, very good contest.

★★★ ¾

Nigel McGuinness vs. Kevin Steen

Steen plays up to the crowd by coming out to the Canadian National Anthem and then grabs a Canadian flag and poses with it in the ring as he goes up against the Brit McGuinness. Right from the get-go, the crowd are obviously behind Steen but Nigel riles the crowd up by dominating the first few minutes of the match. Steen fights back and after the action goes to the outside, Steen whips Nigel twice into the steel barricades. Steen climbs onto one of the barricades but Nigel cuts him off, he then slams Steen which sees his back crash against the edge of the ring apron. That looked really painful and then Nigel whips Steen into the barricade for a taste of his own medicine. Nigel dominates proceedings again for a good five minutes or so as Steen tries to use the support of his home crowd. Out on the outside again and Steen gets thrown once more into the steel barricades. Back in the ring and Steen starts to come back with a jumping shoulder block after ducking an attempted clothesline. Steen follows that up with a running senton into Nigel who was in the corner for a near fall. Nigel off the ropes and Steen lifts him up for a powerbomb, we could hear Nigel shout “Oh shit!” whilst in mid-air.

Nigel goes for the Tower of London but Steen reverses it into the Sharpshooter, Nigel gets to the ropes quickly though. Nigel cuts off Steen and then goes to the outside, Steen is hung on the second rope and Nigel delivers a Tower of London on Steen to the outside. Another move that looked really painful, Steen taking a lot of punishment in this one. Nigel gets Steen up on the turnbuckle and he hits yet another Tower of London but Steen somehow kicks out. Nigel tries to annoy the fans as much as possible and locks in the Sharpshooter but Steen breaks the hold. Steen sends Nigel to the outside then climbs the turnbuckle and hits a diving senton, he brings Nigel back in the ring and goes for another senton but McGuinness gets the knees up.

Steen gives him no breathing space though and slaps on the Sharpshooter again, after a brief struggle, Nigel gets to the ropes. Steen almost gets the win again with a superkick followed by a pumphandle neckbreaker. Steen goes for the moonsault but Nigel evades it, Steen then reverses a lariat into the package piledriver but somehow Nigel kicks out. Steen goes for another piledriver but Nigel escapes and hits a short-arm lariat for a two count. Nigel hits a number of slaps and then comes off the ropes and hits the jawbreaker lariat but it’s not enough! Wow, both men have kicked out of devastating manoeuvres. Nigel hits another lariat then drops Steen down on the top rope, he climbs the turnbuckle and hits a clothesline from the top rope for the three count. Amazing. You wouldn’t expect any less from these guys, really. Steen played the perfect babyface in front of his home fans and Nigel did brilliantly as the heel. Some awesome sequences of moves and this was thoroughly entertaining for the whole 30 minutes. Another must see match.

★★★★ ½

Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black vs. Jay Briscoe & Austin Aries

The Age of the Fall are the ROH Tag Team Champions but this will be a non-title, no DQ match. This match should be an all out brawl and it starts out that way. Briscoe and Black go at it on the outside as Aries takes out Jacobs. Aries gets sent into the first row by Jacobs and then Briscoe does the same to Black. Back in the ring and Briscoe and Aries beat down The Age of the Fall until Necro Butcher comes down and attacks Briscoe & Aries from behind to turn this into a three-on-two match. Mark Briscoe comes out and takes out Necro followed by a superkick on Black. This is now Jimmy Jacobs, Tyler Black & Necro Butcher vs. Austin Aries & The Briscoes. The Briscoes use some double team moves to clean house but Jacobs and Aries still brawl on the outside. Aries hits Jacobs with an intense suicide dive onto a chair. Jay Briscoe are near the arena entrance hitting each other with whatever they can find. This match is crazy and the cameramen are finding it hard to keep up with it all. The Briscoes get back in the ring and hit a backbreaker/springboard kneedrop combo. Todd Sinclair is about to count the three but Necro comes in and hits the referee repeatedly with a steel chair. Mark and Necro struggle on the ring apron and it’s Necro who gets the upper hand and he sends Mark Briscoe through a table with a bulldog.

Mark seems to have re-injured his wrist in the fall and is helped to the back as this is once again a three-on-two contest. The Age of the Fall pick apart Jay Briscoe who is busted wide open, he and Aries try and fight back but the numbers game is just too much for them. Jacobs gets the mic and tells Necro to ‘earn his keep’  by attacking Aries but he seems reluctant. Jacobs tells him to make Aries blind, he refuses and teases hitting Jacobs but then simple walks away. Aries and Jay come back into it and Aries hits a DDT onto a chair but Jacobs kicks out. This is once again a tag team match, Aries kicks Jacobs in the head and follows that up with a brainbuster. Black gets cut off on the turnbuckle and Jay hoists him up, Aries goes to the top and they hit the springboard Doomsday Device. Jay Briscoe follows up with the Jay Driller as he and Aries get the win. This was a flat out war which was hard to keep up with at times because it was just all over the place. A nice bit of storyline was woven into the match which made it more interesting. A nice match but I feel the ROH Title Match should have been the last match although I understand why they put this at the end due to the babyfaces winning. All in all, a very good brawl.

★★★ ½

This is a very easy DVD to recommend. The last four matches are all brilliant and the Nigel vs. Steen match is worth your money alone. If you’re an ROH fan, you need this DVD. You can by this DVD here: http://www.rohstore.com/index.php.

Overall Score: 9/10

Steven Coney

“Stuff Pants” Steven is the co-owner and editor of ROHWorld.com. He founded the website in February 2011 with Harry. Last spotted trying to take down ROHCast with his SCUM faction.

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