2009 almost had to start out flat after the incredible ending to 2008 on Final Battle weekend. However, after an average January ROH followed up with strong releases for February and March, especially with the release of the 7th Anniversary Show and Supercard of Honor IV.

1. Glory By Honor VIII: The Final Countdown (A+)

Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness face off in their last match in ROH. Jim Cornette returns to ROH. ROH fans prove themselves to be utterly useless, and the company puts on one of its best shows in its history.

Pros: There’s a ton of good matches on this show. The best, to me was Ladder War II. Eddie Edwards’ injury elevated this from a spectacle to a star making spectacle. There is no way that Eddie Edwards does not become one of the most over guys at future NYC shows. If the fans can remember Paul Turner and the fan a year later, they will remember this. Everything from the entrances (the faces walk under the ladder, the heels make Hagadorn move it so they don’t have to) to the insane spots (a table/ladder bridge) to the spectacular finish, this was a great, great match. Nigel McGuinness and Bryan Danielson nearly topped this, but to me this would rank 4th or 5th in their series. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great match. It was. But, it had an impossible standard to live up to. It nearly did anyway with some wonderful call backs and variations on sequences in previous matches, including the return of the headbutts which at least looked a little safer this time. After, they had a farewell that for my money was even more emotional than Punk The Final Chapter.

Nothing else on this show was quite up to that level, but, there was still a string of good matches elsewhere. The Briscoes and the Young Bucks had the exact match you’d expect out of the two, and it was wonderful. The Bucks in a lot of ways are an even flashier version of the Briscoes, and they work well together doing lots of crazy, eye popping things. Eddie Kingston and Chris Hero had their first real match in ROH, and while it didn’t live up to their encounters in IWA MS, it was a hard hitting, enjoyable affair which saw Kingston try to give Hero a dose of his own medicine, but, fail. I personally thought Aries and Petey had a good match. One of the better Petey Williams matches I’ve seen. But, the crowd shit all over it with Twinkies chants. Good job dorks! It’d be one thing if the match dragged, but it wasn’t even given a chance live. I can see why this might go in others “cons” though. The Dark City Fight Club had a surprisingly competitive match with Cheech and Cloudy which was also surprisingly good. Finally, the Four Corner survival was good.

Also, Jim Cornette returned and launched an angry, awesome promo. Just watch it!

Cons: Things were just too long. The Cornette promo started great, but dragged. I can’t really fault Cornette here as the crowd kept interupting with anti-TNA and Russo chants and he offered to go all night about that, and when he did they lost interest for the angle. A shame. The only below average match was the opener. Colt Cabana and Rhett Titus had a fun opener, but… I’ve seen this Cabana match before. But, this show is LONG. It required 2 DVDs to release. Don’t watch it in one sitting or you will burn out, although the crowd really didn’t live except during specific segments.

2. Supercard of Honor IV (A+)

I usually don’t do full reviews, but I’ve been excited to see Supercard of Honor IV since the full card was announced, so what the hell I’ll do a full review. This is mostly stream of conscious, in honor of the gif master Jerusalem. I usually don’t do star ratings, but I know how much you kids love star ratings, so why not!

The DVD starts out with a fantastic Nigel promo where he states he is holding onto the belt to spite the fans.

Stevens vs Titus: Nothing special although Titus is always amusing. Stevens even shows some personality as well. I’m not sure this was the best choice of opener, but Titus’ personality works well enough to get the crowd into it. Stevens is a bit too new to be carrying an even greener wrestler in Titus, but this is fine for the time it is given. **

6 Man: Incognito and Magno do some fun stuff without being able to run the ropes, Hero does comedy trying to get rope breaks with the broken rope. Steen uses the dislodged turnbuckle as a weapon. Seeing guys do high spots off the second rope while working over Steen’s knee is quite great. Heat goes on a bit too long, Jay has an entertaining hot tag including some comedy. Magno’s springboard rana from the second rope is seriously impressive, and his moonsault from the ringpost is awesome. Hero uses the loaded Misawa elbow pad for the win, which is kind of weird to watch now. ***1/3

D-Lo Brown promo. D-Lo also doesn’t like the fans. I hope every promo tonight involves ripping on the fans.

Nakajima vs Strong: Nakajima comes out wearing a plum colored shirt that just says DEATH. I would buy this shirt. This match is really, really great. Strong is great in situations where he has to sell a vital body part in his offense (the hand against Danielson and the knee here.) He sells the shit out of his knee when it matters here, and this may not have even gone ten minutes, but it was an excellent, well thought out frenzy. ****

Bobby Dempsey vs Kamala w/ Shane Hagadorn and Kim Chee: The match never starts, both guys beat up Kamala and pose. ****3/4 I’ve heard people complain about this, and I have to say… seriously? It was good light hearted fun and it took up less than 5 minutes. Great stuff.

Alex Koslov promo. He speaks Russian, and I can only assume this is another promo about how much ROH fans suck.

Claudio Castagnoli vs Brent Albright vs El Generico vs Blue Demon Jr: This started off well, kind of fell apart in the middle and finished strong. Blue Demon got some flack for his work in the three way the next night, but he’s perfectly fine here. He does very little, but what he does looks good (he also hilariously tries to make himself the center of attention at all times.) Claudio continues to be really great in his heel role. **8/9

Alex Koslov vs Bryan Danielson: If only Alex Koslov could team up with the Leningrad Cowboys and the Red Army Orchestra. Koslov’s antics are great, and his attitude meshes really well with Super Happy American Dragon. Watching him struggle valiantly to avoid the surfboard is great as well, and I love when Danielson’s opponents make that move seem important since it is always so over. Koslov actually does a really great job of working with Danielson’s trademark stuff in general, which adds a lot to the match. This is really great stuff, the same sort of mix of comedy, antics and great wrestling seen in Danielson’s match against Claudio at Vendetta II. ***3/4

Colt Cabana vs D-Lo Brown: D-Lo has been very hit or miss in ROH, and this was mostly a miss. He and Cabana seemed on different pages at times. Cabana is never un-entertaining to watch, but this probably went a minute too long. The fake tap out was creative though, you’ll see what I mean when you watch the match. **1/3

Davey Richards vs KENTA for the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Davey’s entrances are almost worth the price of admission. I have been dying to see this re-match since they fought at Fight of the Century. I’m not sure how much they have worked in Japan, but their chemistry really plays off the protégé-master angle. They have some brilliant counters in this match, and Davey has his insane suicidal tope into the crowd. This match is absolutely amazing, but for some reason I think my favorite moment of the match is after Davey rolls back into the ring after a Falcon’s Arrow on the floor. He’s nearly out on his knees, but he still flips off KENTA because he is that big of a dick. Davey pulls off some awesome counters to the Go 2 Sleep during a fantastic closing stretch, and KENTA also looked awesome. (I feel like I have to say that because I’ve just been praising Davey.) Davey actually shakes KENTA’s hand here and that puts the match over even more. ****4/8.

Austin Aries and Jimmy Jacobs vs Necro Butcher and Tyler Black: I didn’t expect as many wacky antics as we got in this match. I may have if it was just Aries and Jacobs being utter bitches to one-another as they have since Aries turned heel, but no. There was a bit of a comedy segment over if Aries and Jacobs would be thrown over the top and through a table on the floor. Don’t get me wrong though, they are still bitches to each other, and it is still glorious. I wasn’t expecting much out of this match since, but honestly it was pretty good. It suffered from where it was placed on the card (although it provides a much needed buffer between the epic GHC Jr match and the ROH title match) but it knew that and threw in some antics along with the wrestling to end up entertaining. ***1/9

A great video package of the Lynn vs Nigel feud plays. Nigel was such an amazing asshole to Lynn that it is a testament to the arrogance of many ROH fans that they wouldn’t get behind Lynn as champion when he played such a good babyface to Nigel’s overbearing assholery. This match is slightly hard to watch because of Nigel’s injuries, and Nigel once again overcomes the injuries to his biceps to have a wonderful match. The match kicks into overdrive after a near countout, and Lynn keeps going to the London Dungeon to exploit Nigel’s arm injury. Lynn was on Figure 4 Daily this week and said they wanted to have a wrestling match and not a stunt show here, and it really shows. I really never expected to see Jerry Lynn pull off such dramatic submission situations, or for the crowd to go as insane as they did when he won after such a long show.  ****1/4 The wrestling was on the same level as Danielson/Lynn from ASX IV, but Lynn upped his game an extra level here, and the emotion was off the chart down the stretch.

Post match Lynn gives a really nice speech, and Nigel gives an even nicer one.

Overall that was a fantastic show. There were only two matches that were below average, and those didn’t really drag. The show clocks in over 3 hours long (and must have been close to 4 live given the ring repairs.) but it doesn’t feel nearly that long. Well paced with three stand out matches. I’m not sure if it is the best Supercard ever (I think Supercard of Honor III still holds that honor) but it is the best ROH show of 2009.

3. Double Feature II (A+)

ROH decided to combine the April Canadian doubleshot into one release. Unlike the first Double Feature which had no standout matches,  this Double Feature has one of the best matches of 2009.

Pros: Bryan Danielson and Tyler Black vs The American Wolves is one of the best tag matches in ROH history. It may be the best. ROH had never done a 45 minute tag team draw before, but they couldn’t have picked a better match to go the distance. This is an epic match. I think the best thing about it is how well planned out it is. Black crashing through a table from the top defines the entire second half of the match and makes Danielson an even better face in peril. That and Danielson’s incredible selling. The rest of the release is not to be missed however. The main event of the first show is a 6 man tag between The American Wolves and Sylvian Grenier and Bryan Danielson, Kevin Steen and El Generico. The match itself is merely a good, fun tag. It is the antics on the part of the Wolves and Genires before the match that elevate it to a highly entertaining segment. The Hunt Begins actually has several strong matches. Tyler Black vs Jimmy Jacobs suffers from a dead crowd, but both guys pull together a really good match and almost force the crowd to care about it. The Four Corner Survival that follows on this release is insanely fun, and Kenny Omega has some great interactions with Austin Aries. He also kind of overshoots a moonsault to the floor. Cabana and Albright vs the Embassy and Associate is also a fun tag.

The Tag Title Classic however is even stronger. Besides the aforementioned tag title draw, this half of the release features a fantastically fun six man tag. Jimmy Jacobs and Delirious exceeded my expectations by a great deal. This match was far more violent than I expected, and the end while some may see it as overbooked is really brutal and inventive. Jay Briscoe vs Roderick Strong is a second hard hitting, fast paced contest. It is hard to say whether or not this was better than the first. I personally liked it a bit more, but both are very close.

Cons: The dead crowd in Montreal for the first half of the DVD. It hurts a couple matches, but they are still enjoyable to watch. Some people also may not think much of Cabana vs Claudio. I personally liked the match and loved watching their mat work, but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

4. Take No Prisoners 2009 (A)

Take No Prisoners 2009 will go down in history as ROH’s last PPV with partner G-Funk (although it remains to be seen if they may take on PPV again down the road.) and for that reason it is slightly historic. It also has the benefit of a great card and a giant crowd (for ROH standards.)

Pros: The main event is stellar. Austin Aries really shows he can still play his fantastic new character and still bring it in terms of match quality, KENTA is his usual excellent self, as are Tyler Black and Nakajima. This is a fast paced, hard hitting spectacle, something ROH does better than any other American company. It also has the benefit of not having to have its finish edited like Richards/KENTA did (not that it detracted much from that classic.  The 8 Man War pitting Kevin Steen, El Generico, Magno and Jay Briscoe against SNS Inc and Incognito doesn’t suffer from broken ropes and excells because of it. This is another spectacle, and is the best I’ve ever seen from Incognito.

Nothing else quite is up to the level of those two matches, but the rest of the card is pretty darn enjoyable. The Title match is a 4 Corner Survival with Jerry Lynn defending against D-Lo, Danielson and Stevens, and while it is short, it is good (though not nearly as good as Lynn’s other 4CS defense.) Necro and Jimmy Jacobs have a crazy war that is among Necro’s best singles matches in ROH. Alex Koslov continues to be highly enjoyable against Roderick Strong, and finally Colt Cabana and Ace Steel have a fun little match. You know Cabana’s comedy is totally on target when Ace gets heel heat for trying to wrestle the match!

Cons: I personally enjoyed Rhett Titus vs Bushwacker Luke, but I know alot of people won’t. And for a bonus match that is pretty weak. Especially on a DVD that is mainly a 2 hour PPV. I liked nearly everything on here, but it did feel like a very short release, even by ROH PPV standards.   Notice I said nearly everything. One match on the PPV stood out as quite lackluster. I love the Claudio/Albright feud. I thought Blue Demon Jr looked fine on Supercard. But this match was a mess. It was short and Blue Demon felt totally out of place.

5. 7th Anniversary Show (A)

ROH’s Anniversary was a month late in 2009, likely because of ROH’s first set of TV tapings. ROH made up for this delay with what ended up being an excellent and historic show. How many times do two ROH stalwarts return on the same show?

Pros: KENTA vs Nigel McGuinness is a fantastic, unique match. I’m sure this would have been great without Nigel’s injury, but with the injury it achieved another level of excellence. Like Danielson did with his arm injury against KENTA, Nigel’s injury was worked into the match. It likely had to be since who knows what Nigel was capable of actually doing. Here Nigel is forced to fight basically with head butts, and arm work, and not much else. That isn’t all on this show, as The American Wolves vs Steen and Generico also had a fantastic No DQ match for the tag titles with all sorts of brutality. After this match you could tell the live crowd was a bit burned out, and it took awhile for the world title match to really catch fire with the crowd because of it. Cabana/Danielson vs Smith/Rave was also really damned good. Rave’s return got a huge reaction, which was followed up with a great fadeout, but in the end Colt Cabana’s return tore down the house. This match is absolutely fun, and a great reminder of what ROH was missing without Colt Cabana. Jerry Lynn vs Mike Quackenbush is a bit shorter than I would have liked but is a good show off of two lucha influenced wrestlers who enjoy doing flashy chain wrestling. Albright/Claudio is an enjoyable power battle with Albright breaking out some impressive high flying moves as well. Finally, if you don’t enjoy Dempsey/Pearce, you are a bad person.

Cons: Personally I thought Revolution Rules was fine. Most people hated it. I don’t know why, there was really only one fuck up with the rules and the work was good with some creative twists. Strong/Stevens vs King/Titus was fine, but went a bit long for what it was. That’s kind of all I can say about the matches in this area. D-Lo/Jay was also fine, but didn’t really entertain me.

6. Death Before Dishonor VII Night One (A) DBD VII marked Lance Storm’s return to the ring in ROH, paying off an angle from the year before. Normally when ROH does a double shot, the first show is weaker than the second. In this case, Night one of DBD Weekend is slightly stronger.

Pros: Lance Storm returns to ROH! Where else could we begin? The weekend started with Lance teaming with Kevin Steen to take on Davey Richards and Chris Hero. Hero had laid out Lance the year before, and this was their chance to settle things. The match is built around Lance, his trademark moves get the biggest reactions, and the match contrasts with the ROH title match that will be discussed next. This match kept it fairly simple, it was a logical tag team match that played off the star attraction. The ROH title match was the opposite. It went to extremes with tons of moves, action and near falls. Austin Aries vs Nigel McGuinness vs Jerry Lynn vs Tyler Black was an example of the excesses of the ROH style, but a very good one. The four guys do everything they can think of, and pull out an extremely exciting match with some fantastic nearfalls. It does come at a price, with Nigel suffering an injury near the finish. But, the match stands as an example of the great new style four corner survival matches ROH has done since Adam Pearce became the booker.

Top to bottom, there’s a lot of good things on this show. The opener is a textbook ROH opener, with El Generico and Sonjay Dutt, two high flying athletic wrestlers who get the card off to a hot start. This is probably Dutt’s second best match during his return to ROH, just behind his match with Roderick Strong from Manhattan Mayhem III. The Super Smash Brothers got another shot in ROH taking on the Briscoe Brothers in a surprisingly good match. The Smash Brothers have improved a great deal in the last few years, but Mark Briscoe had just returned from injury, and to my knowledge the teams had never faced each other. The Smash Brothers were allowed to be very competitive with a tag team that regularly headlines in ROH, and the match excelled because of it. Kenny King and Kenny Omega put together a nice end to their mini feud, with both guys looking like potential stars in the process. It’s one thing to have really good matches with Danielson, Nigel, Black or Aries, but with another undercard wrestler is another entirely! Finally, the 8 Man elimination match wasn’t quite the fun match the ROH on HDNet version was, but was instead more of an intense blood feud match, and quite good at that.

Cons: There is really only one con on the show. Franky the Mobster vs D-Lo Brown is a poor match, and is an example of what kept D-Lo’s tenure in ROH from standing out. He had some good hard hitting matches, and then would turn around and have a sloppy match like this that was frankly quite boring. With the better members of the roster he’d do well, but with local guys he just didn’t look good.

7. The Final Countdown Tour: Boston (A)

Bryan and Nigel’s penultimate ROH event. There really isn’t that much to say, other than Eddie Edwards probably wishes he hadn’t had a street fight the night before a ladder match.

Pros: Bryan Danielson and Davey Richards have one of the best matches of the year. Maybe the best. This is one of those matches that got into overkill territory, but the context made that A-OK. For example, Danielson hits thirty elbows on Davey, and Davey kicks out. Normally that would seem ridiculous, but tonight no one thought Bryan was winning on his way out (at least against guys who are still with ROH) but after those elbows, you thought “Well, Davey’s dead.” So, it worked. Just a great match over all. Post match Bryan puts over Davey in another emotional good bye speech.

Nigel’s second to last in ROH wasn’t on that level, but he and Roddy have good chemistry. This is probably their third best match, but, still quite good. But I wouldn’t say this was even second best of the night. That would probably go to the Young Bucks vs Cheech and Cloudy. The Young Bucks are not a deep tag team. But anyone who complains they just do moves and spots is missing the point. Their matches are fun. They peak at the right time, and they have amazing execution. If you hate their matches, NEVER, EVER watch Dragon Gate, because that’s all Dragon Gate is for the most part. Cheech and Cloudy up their game as well and look better than they ever have in an ROH ring. Titus and Aries vs Omega and Cabana is a freaking fun match, and Aries really shines here. This match actually made me quite excited to see him and Cabana, because Aries new character has a really great chemistry with Colt and I am not sure why. Add in a wonderfully fun 4 Corner Survival that saw the Kings of Wrestling somewhat reunite for one night and you have a lot of good on this card. Oh and Eddie Edwards suffered a really nasty break in his elbow, but he had a fun street fight despite it!

Cons: Delirious and Dutt is a solid, but somewhat dull match. There was really nothing wrong with it except for the placement. It came after the Bucks and Up in Smoke blowing the crowd away, and a standard heel/face encounter just didn’t work after that. Sugarfoot continues to suck, fucking up taking the DCFC finisher in a semi squash that should have been a squash, and it is a shame since DCFC squashes are the best squashes.

8. Manhattan Mayhem III (A-)

When the show started I wondered where the Mayhem would be. It seemed like a pretty by the books card. But, in the end there was some, and while not as good as the first two, this was a really good show, with some historic happenings, especially in the title match.

Pros: Ric Flair got a lot of hatred for his role in ROH and the way he left. The fact he never paid ROH some money back sucks too. But, he cut some great promos. If you can’t enjoy his promos in ROH, especially live, I feel bad for you. This show lacked one clear cut blow away match, but instead had several nearly great matches. The first of which was The Young Bucks vs King and Titus. The Bucks blew the crowd away, but Kenny King was really great here too, and has stepped up as the glue that holds his tag team together. He was always in the right spot, and this match got the show off to a great start. Black vs Jacobs was a NOTHING match, but the cheap ass way Jacobs won was a GREAT way to add some heat to their feud, and Black snapping post match gave his character some edge he needed, and was a good way to set up him going into the title match. Strong vs Dutt is exactly what you’d expect from Roderick vs a flippy guy, except with the added benefit of the flippy guy being a heel. Dutt looked great here, and Roderick is on a roll in 2009. The 4 Corner Survival Match that followed was also fun, and another good 4CS in a series since the rules of this match were changed to not requiring tags.

But the two main events are the best part of the show. The Submissions match between Steen, Generico and the Wolves is almost on the level of their Tables match from HDNet. I expected them to go the NO DQ weapons route on the logic that the match would be under the same rules as Cena/Big Show earlier that month. But instead they worked a straight match with submissions, and it worked so well. The finish nicely sets up future matches, and exploits Generico’s big weakness, his knee. Great stuff. As was the title match. It’s a shame Flair wasn’t involved in this, but it still works. The crowd goes nuts when Lynn is eliminated and they know they are getting a title change, and Black and Aries start throwing bombs at each other. Aries cheating in the Figure 4 in front of Nigel is especially great, with Nigel eventually doing the right thing, but the delay costing Black in the end as his knee is done, giving Aries the win in the end.

9. Survival of the Fittest 2009 (A-)
After a year off due to scheduling problems, Survival of the Fittest returned. Usually ROH hits a slump between Glory By Honor and Final Battle, but this year that period produced some stellar shows. SOTF 2009 may have been the best SOTF yet, and featured the best Survival of the Fittest match since 2004’s classic.

Pros: The Survival of the Fittest match is the best thing on this show by far, and would have been a MOTYC if it came out in time for consideration. In previous years ROH has tried to kick start rivalries with the SOTF finals to varying degrees of success. This year Tyler Black and Roderick Strong tore down the house in the finals, and their momentum has really carried on to the present. A really really strong match that kicked into top gear once it was down to two.

But, this is not a one match show. The Briscoes vs Aries/Richards is a really good match, despite the predictable finish. Actually, maybe it isn’t predictable since you couldn’t be sure which partner would end up bailing. But Davey Richards has really great chemistry with the Briscoes so it is always a treat to see them work together. It is also a treat to see Austin Aries attempt to kick like Davey Richards and Richards respond with a chest rake. The House of Truth gets a chance to impress against the Young Bucks. While the Young Bucks are the stars, the House of Truth keeps up, and easily out charismas and characters the Bucks with their strange antics and attire in a strong opener. Tyler Black starts his path to the title with a win over Kenny King in a quality match. Claudio continues to be one of the best bases for high fliers as well in his match with Petey Williams. Petey has some standard, overly choreographed spots, but they work well with Claudio, including some cool variations on Petey moves you’ve seen 100 times on Impact. In other aspects, Hero begins improving on commentary, adding to the match with his goofiness rather than detracting (was Claudio really the one time protégé of Honky?), and the new style of backstage promos allows Strong to cut maybe his best promo in his ROH tenure. Hero vs Omega starts off fairly pedestrian, but really picks up down the stretch as Omega begins trying to find counters for the big elbows and Hero tries variations to hit them.

Cons: As expected, some of the qualifiers fall flat. Cabana vs Steen just isn’t much of a match a feels very off. Titus vs Strong is fine, but given how Titus has improved and some of the beatings he’s taken from Strong in the past it seemed like this would be better.

10. Final Battle 2009 (A-) The DVD release of Final Battle 2009 features two shows: Eye of the Storm 2 from Manassas VA and Final Battle 2009 from NYC. Final Battle 2009 was broadcast on GoFightLive as an iPPV, and both shows were affected by a blizzard that hit the Northeastern United States. There’s a lot of good on these shows, and more bad than you’d expect from a show in the “A” range. But, for the price you are paying for all of this content, I think the good more than outweighs the bad and justifies a fairly high rating.

Pros: Kevin Steen and El Generico vs The Young Bucks is a tremendous match, and is followed up by a tremendous angle. The match is pretty much what you’d expect, and is by far the best of the three matches between the teams. The angle however, while a bit obvious was equally fantastic and has longer term implications. Feinting that he would retire, Kevin Steen instead turned on El Generico, laying him out… and also kissing Colt Cabana.

Eddie Kingston and Chris Hero capped off their 9 month feud in ROH with a brutal Fight Without Honor. This match is almost hard to watch, especially the top rope piledriver onto a barricade. Despite the insanity, the match also featured some quality storytelling built around Chris Hero’s supposedly loaded elbow pad. The American Wolves and Briscoes culminated an even longer feud, one that stretched back to Final Battle 2008 weekend when the Wolves put Mark Briscoe out of action. While this is a great match, it doesn’t quite live up to some of the Wolves better defenses, and stands as third best on the show.

Eye of the Storm II also featured a great match, and one that had future implications as Roderick Strong defeated Tyler Black the night before Tyler’s big ROH title match. The two had previously fought in the finals of the Survival of the Fittest match, then went to a draw, and this match was built up around being fought under no time limit. It stands as the best of their non title matches. The main event, a six man tag team match is also quite good. Rocky Romero and Davey Richards had particularly good chemistry, including a great submission sequence that saw one of the most unique reversals of the cross arm breaker I have seen. Plus the crowd loved the triple fall away slam spot!

There are some other good matches as well. Final Battle featured a perfect opener between Kenny Omega, Rhett Titus, Claudio Castagnoli, and Colt Cabana. It is the kind of fast paced action with a dose of comedy you’d expect from an ROH opener, and made Final Battle seem like it was going to be a PPV of the year quality show.

The best comedy of the weekend however came from Matt Classic and Adam Pearce vs The Set. As a tag match it isn’t much, but Matt Classic and Pearce are hilarious. Matt Classic is a fantastic character, and seeing him really added to the show. It also played into the “house show vibe” Eye of the Storm 2 has. The roster seemed to be having fun in the undercard, trying to cater to the crowd and their odd fetishes (super snap mares anyone) so they had some fun during the blizzard. Aries is also clearly having fun, especially when he and King go for the worst More Bang for Your Buck ever against the Young Bucks.
What the Fuck?: I don’t know what to say about the Tyler Black vs Austin Aries ROH title match. It goes to an hour draw. No one was happy about this. In the end, it worked as the Anniversary Show match up between the two is tremendous and this match plays into that story. But as a match, I don’t know how this one rates. There is some good storytelling, but the live crowd wasn’t buying it. There is some good action, but not enough for 60 minutes. I don’t think it is a bad match, nor is it a great match. It simply is a poorly timed match that came on a night, during a blizzard when no one wanted to see these two guys go an hour. Austin Aries being the biggest chickenshit in the world just could not get the crowd to react the way the bookers and wrestlers wanted on this night and it drags the match way down.

Cons: Eye of the Storm 2 is not a great show top to bottom, and that is part of why it is included as an extra on this set. Some of Final Battle isn’t so great. Redwood vs Dutt is clunky as a match, but I wouldn’t skip it. Sonjay is his goofy heel persona, and it works with the theme of the show outside of some botching. Early on they simply did not feel like they were on the same page. Sonjay may have just been confused being the bigger man in a match. Likewise, I’m not sure what I’d call The Embassy vs Delirious and friends. It’s goofy, it is kind of fun at first, but it does overstay its welcome. I also feel like I’ve seen Colt Cabana vs Chris Hero dozens of times. The matches are solid, but I don’t get why there were so many in 2009.

11. Contention (A-)

Contention was a show that on paper looked lackluster. Tyler Black in another Virginia Non Title match. The next night’s challenger in a random 4CS. No tag title match. Just, some seemingly random matches. But what we got was one of the better shows of the year.

Pros: The Young Bucks made their ROH DVD debut, and tore down the house against Steen and Generico. This reminded me a lot of the first Briscoes vs Steen/Generico match, except with the Bucks in the role of the new comers. Style wise, context wise, and reception, both matches had a lot in common and left your jaw on the floor. It made the Bucks look to be the next big thing in the ROH tag ranks, even though they lose! Jerry Lynn and Tyler Black continued their string of very good matches, but this just didn’t feel like a main event. I’m not sure what else could have gone here, but maybe a dream tag of some sort. It helped build Tyler for the next night, but given Tyler wasn’t even booked in a title match until that show, it didn’t really help at all. But still, in a vacuum they have really good chemistry.

The random 4CS, while random was good. Davey Richards and Jay Briscoe had their first match in several years, and reminded me why I liked the Briscoes vs Richards mini feud from 2006 so much. It was a lot like the Strong vs Briscoe series, but just replace chops with kicks. And some chops too. Danielson and King had their second match in ROH, and while I don’t feel it lived up to their first match from 2008, it showed King is going to be big once he gets a push, and that he’s added a ton of personality since last year. Well, he always had it, but now he gets to show it off more. Finally, while it was given away for free the Cabana vs Embassy feud continued in what to me was a fun, but meaningless 6 man tag.

Cons: Alex Payne vs Shawn Spears was not a good way to debut Spears. I think Spears has potential, but this felt very lackluster. Probably because of Sugarfoot. Likewise, Dutt debuting against Jacobs seemed like a total mismatch. The crowd did not care for either guy, and it led to a dull, dead match.

12. A Cut Above (B+)

Jerry Lynn vs Roderick Strong did not seem like much of a main event on paper. In fact, the whole card seemed to pale in comparison to the Chicago show the next night. But, a cut to Roderick Strong elevated a match in a way an entire card.

Pros: Jerry Lynn vs Roderick Strong for the ROH title is a great match. If you watched it in black and white it’d seem pretty much like any Roderick Strong match with time. Lots of big moves, kickouts and hard blows. But, when Roddy gets a disgusting cut and starts bleeding buckets, the match takes on a life of its own. The crowd gets completely behind Strong, and they change the structure of the match just enough to really capture the crowd and make them think maybe he pulls it off tonight. But, they don’t go for overkill. The match ends before most Strong matches do, namely when the crowd is peaking, not a nearfall too late.

Davey Richards and Tyler Black had their second match together, and while it wasn’t quite as good as their first match in Florida, it ranks second for the night. These two just seem to have wonderful chemistry, but haven’t quite had a classic together yet, but you get the feeling they will. Well, Tag Title Classic aside. Bryan Danielson and Eddie Edwards opened the show, and whenever Danielson opens you get a shorter version of his usual match, but it is always good. Eddie continues to impress and looked like he belonged with Danielson, building to a rematch of the TTC, but of course Tyler’s injury would delegate that to TV and building another Black/Danielson singles match instead of another true classic. Eddie’s post match bitch slap really sells the whole “AMERICAN WOLVES ATTITUDE” he and Davey talk about. The Dark City Fight Club suffered another main show loss, but another hard hitting, fun contest. DCFC have had good matches with Steen and Generico, and good matches with the Briscoe, and against Steen and Jay they had more of the match they have with the Briscoes. It is a shame they had to lose, but there was a tag title match to build up. Finally, Colt Cabana continues his series of fun matches building up to his title shot. They do a European style mat based match, and like the match against Claudio, it works really well.

Cons: The rest of the show is pretty forgettable. Jimmy and Egotistico Fantastico is kind of wacky, but nothing special. Jimmy Rave vs Grizzly Redwood is actually fairly fun, but Grizzly’s part of the feud didn’t really catch on until later in the summer and this is basically a squash. The 4CS is just a nothing match. Matt Cross doesn’t bring too much eye dropping offense, Claudio doesn’t really get to do enough and wins out of nowhere on an ROH jobber. Weird.

13. Proving Ground 2009 Night 2 (B+)

After a long delay ROH returned to Orlando. This show looked a bit weak on paper, to the point where the previous night seemed like the clear winner. But when it was all said and done, this proved to be a very good show, and an early sleeper of 2009.

Pros: ROH fans have been waiting a long time for Bryan Danielson and El Generico to have a match in ROH. It did not disappoint. This match had the same kind of structure as Danielson vs Claudio from Vendetta II. It began as a hilarious comedy match, and then both guys got serious and decide to have an excellent wrestling match. I can see some people having complaints about the finish, but in my mind it was a nice way to end the match and build a feud between Danielson and Bison Smith. The Dark City Fight Club continued to make a mark on ROH fans with an excellent six man tag against Albright, Stevens and Strong. Teaming with Francisco Ciastro these six men had an insanely hard hitting intense match that most ROH fans would not have expected to be half as good. D-Lo Brown vs Nigel McGuinness also appeared to be a dull match on paper but ended up being a good bout. A match I did expect good things from was Davey Richards vs Kevin Steen. These two had a hilarious dick-off at Double Feature Night 1 and continued it here. This match is hilarious, yet still intense. I hope someday Steen can turn heel and team with Davey. Aries vs Attitude while not a good match is above average and Attitude is fun to watch. I also have a feeling Jacobs/Delirious vs Black and Necro was better than it felt. I’ve just seen so many AOTF tags that they all feel the same now.

Cons: Unlike 7th Anniversary this show had some bad matches. The British Lions looked terrible against King and Titus. Just awful. They aren’t a bad team, but they are young enough hat when they are off they are really off. The opener wasn’t as bad, or that bad really. It was just a dull match and an opener should be much more energetic. This is one of the few Lynn matches in ROH that felt subpar.

14. Steel City Clash (B)

ROH returned to the Pittsburgh area after a long absence. This show served to set up the 7th Anniversary and it did its job well. I love main event tags, and this show does not disappoint.

Pros: Davey Richards has been one of my favorite wrestlers in the world since the spring of 2008, and he really shines along with Nigel McGuinness. While the main event tag wasn’t as great as I expected, it does make up a trio of really good matches on this show. It also served nicely to set up the tag title and world title matches the next night, and the GHC Jr title match at SCOH IV. Second in this trio is Mike Quackenbush vs Bryan Danielson. Not quite on the level of their DBD V N2 match, but still another great technical exhibition. Austin Aries and Roderick Strong also delivered. While this match is more on the level of their FIP matches and ROH Ironman match than their excellent PPV match, it is still high quality. The rest of the card isn’t bad either. The Age of the Fall deliver a fine little falls count anywhere match. The three way and King/Titus vs Stevens/Cross matches are also above average.

Cons: The only match I’d really say is worth skipping is the opener of Sterling Keenan vs Delirious. Keenan never capitalized on his potential, and has just become a rather dull wrestler, and Delirious isn’t able to do much with him.

15. Proving Ground 2009 Night 1 (B)

What a good little weekend this turned out to be. On paper this looked like a better card than Night 2 (well, maybe until Danielson/Generico was added) and in the end both shows ended up being quality. This one oddly enough seemed to set up future FIP storylines as well as it did ROH storylines.

Pros: Tyler Black vs Davey Richards. It is a shame this didn’t happen for the FIP title due to Tyler’s injury. But as an ROH main event it more than delivered. It wasn’t quite MOTYC quality, but on a show like this it didn’t need to be. Nigel vs Albright in a non title match have a better match than they’d later have for the title. For one thing they didn’t have a DQ finish here, but this just seemed like a stronger match since they didn’t have to stretch things out to have an epic ROH title match when both guys just don’t have a ton of chemistry to do so. The Dark City Fight Club made their ROH debut in impressive fashion against Steen and Generico. While not as good as the six man they’d take part in on night 2, this is a hard hitting encounter that puts the champs over while letting the newcomers shine a bit. Strong, Stevens and Dempsey had a fun match against the YRR as well, and there was an AOTF tag that was fine. Welcome to 2009.

Cons: Well, the last pro if you are sick of AOTF in tags. Bison Smith continues his string of destroying jobbers, which is fine for what it is. Attitude and Osbourne provided a dull opener which I will put more on Osbourne’s shoulders since Attitude has some talent and character. What was disappointing was Aries vs Necro. Their first ROH match didn’t really happen because of storyline goofiness, and this match was average at best. A shame since they seemed to be an interesting matchup.

16. Never Say Die (B-)

This show, along with Validation saw the card re-shuffled because of an injury to Tyler Black. In his place, Chris Hero stepped into the World Title match, and the card may have been better off for it. What it also featured was Steen proving he’s the king of Boston Street Fights.

Pros: Steen and Richards have a crazy, crazy street fight. Steen takes a crazy bump off the ladder, Kawada kicks with a chain, and the finish is a great visual. I also really liked it because Steen took a crazy bump earlier, but he kicked out. Richards takes that kind of a bump later, but he’s a heel so it is the finish. I’m not sure if that was their intention, but I dug it. Chris Hero also signals that the Chris Hero we have been waiting for has arrived. In 2006 my first live ROH experience was Hell Freezes Over. Of his earlier stuff, I’m lukewarm. I think his TLC match from IWA MS with Punk is just some of the worst examples of indy style wrestling you can find, but like a lot of his other stuff. But at HFO… he showed me he was great, and was great throughout the war. But then, he sort of tailed off until the Claudio feud, which in the end underwhelmed. Then he tailed off until that great match with Strong last year. Everytime we thought HERO IS THE FUTURE. But in 2009, The Future is Now. That was a long way to get into this match, but his match with Lynn is great. And he’s followed up on it with greatness. It’s a shame the crowd is more behind Hero here, but it is a wonderful title match, especially for a last second replacement. Elsewhere on the card, Danielson vs Dutt vs Edwards is a good match and builds Danielson’s quest for the tag titles. The Smash Bros debut in ROH, and Titus and King start showing why they are a great little tag team in a good match that I doubt many expected much out of.

Cons Much of the rest of the card feels thrown together. Delirious vs Reyes? That’s a nothing opener. And I like Delirious! More Embassy vs Cabana and Albright (with Stevens)? I like a lot of their matches, but this one was really average, and below the par of a lot of this feud which has been really good. Jay vs Necro is just a set up for the aforementioned match, and I was not looking forward to the match anyway.

17. The Homecoming II (B-)

Colt Cabana returns to Chicago, and luckily he and Jerry Lynn don’t go to a dull broadway! But, their spotlight gets stolen by the American Wolves who have the best match on the show, something that happens alot these days! But, the cover art of Cabana may top even that match. It is fantastically goofy.

Pros: Jay and Steen vs the Wolves is a great 2/3 falls match. One thing I liked about this match is the 2nd fall wasn’t insanely short. Usually in a match like this you have the first fall, a cheap roll up or submission for the second, and then a lengthy third fall. This match broke up that formula giving nearly as much time to the second fall. The highlight of the match is an intense submission sequence in the second fall which devolves into a spitting contest as so many Kevin Steen matches do. It is followed by a great nearfall, and the finish nearly right after which felt perfectly timed.

Colt Cabana and Jerry Lynn’s match for the ROH title has drawn alot of criticism. It involves a lot of big moves, and less selling. It feels like an old ECW Jerry Lynn match with less laying around. But for what it is, it is enjoyable. Lynn may pop up a bit too quick after a big move, but the crowd bought into it. Cabana and Lynn did some really fun chain wrestling to start, which worked well here. Lynn does it alot, but it is a big part of Cabana’s gimmick, so it is nice to see two guys mesh rather than a Lynn opponent doing chain wrestling he’d never do. Well, except for when Necro did it at Final Battle, since that was comedy. Rave and Danielson had another match and I am so glad they did. They have such great chemistry, and seeing Danielson kill Rave never gets old since Rave sells his stuff so well. Like their second ROH match it is short, but not too short. That and I never get sick of the triangle choke with elbows from the bottom. Tyler Black capped off a good weekend taking on Chris Hero in a match that was unexpectedly good. I think it is matches like this that show Hero has really arrived as a force in ROH. When you have consistently good mid card matches and great main events, you are the kind of guy ROH really needs to push, and Hero is doing that.

Cons: Brown vs Fantistico is a bad match. I like the Skullcrusher and I don’t understand this match at all, especially the finish given who ROH has tried to highlight lately. The DCFC vs the Phoenix Twins highlights why you need a good jobber team to highlight the big bad ass kickers. The twins aren’t that team. While Alex Payne doesn’t embarrass himself in his tag against Aries and Titus, the match is pretty sloppy and he’s never going to be a main show guy in ROH. He’s a bad wrestler who executes poorly. On top of this, the match gets 15 minutes! Why? It isn’t bad, but the ROH Champion shouldn’t need so long to put these guys away.

18. Insanity Unleashed (B-)

Delirious is a face again! Insanity Unleashed presented a card pretty close to Steel City Clash in composition and quality, but just a cut under that show in my opinion.

Pros: Like Steel City Clash, Insanity Unleashed presents a main event tag team match pitting Nigel McGuinness against some of his biggest rivals. Austin Aries is especially entertaining as Nigel’s partner, as Aries has really come into his own as a character since his heel turn. Black and Lynn also don’t disappoint, and what we are left with is a really good main event that sets up future challengers for Nigel. The American Wolves vs Strong and Albright is a seriously good match as well. If you have any doubt in the Wolves, the tear they were on before winning the tag titles should remove any doubt. They don’t just have good matches against Steen and Generico, but rather against anyone they get time with. Jimmy Jacobs and Delirious immediately went to war with each other, and what resulted is Delirious’ best singles match in maybe a year. Delirious as a character was amusing needing hugs in the AoTF, but in the ring he really hadn’t done much. But here these two have a good No DQ match. Finally a match that a lot of people complained about ended up being a lot of fun. Kenny King and Rhett Titus had a very fun tag title match with Steen and Generico. They weren’t a serious challenge, but what we got was a good combo of athletic ROH tag wrestling and comedy. Titus and King have become a good team, and this match shows that. Finally, like SCC this show features a pretty good three way.

Cons: This show did have more minuses than SCC. Chris Hero vs Jay Briscoe is underwhelming. Jay has had a good run as a singles wrestler, especially his matches against Roderick. Hero hasn’t had much of a run lately as a single, and this continued it. Bison Smith’s squash is what it is. The opener with Nate Webb and Flash Flanagan was probably not the best way to feature Webb if ROH is serious about using him in the future, because Flanagan isn’t very good.

19. Caged Collision (C+)

Caged Collision is an odd show. It is ROH’s worst PPV to date, but it is very, very easy to watch. It is also one of ROH’s shortest DVD releases ever, with only the two hour PPV and one bonus match.

Pros: The 4 way between Bryan Danielson, Tyler Black, Austin Aries and Jimmy Jacobs is really good. The set up of turning it from a tag to a 4 way is also entertaining. I love Aries since his turn, I love his interactions with Jacobs, I love his interactions with Danielson, etc. The ROH World Title match is also quite good. Not as good as Generico’s previous challenges against Nigel, but maybe a step below their match at GBH VII. The Steel Cage Warfare match between Albright, Steel, Briscoe, Stevens and Strong and SnS Inc is disappointing, but good. The intervals are too short for one thing. Second, SnS puts out a B team which makes the big victory seem shallow. But in the end the match is entertaining and Bobby Dempsey’s big moment is wonderful. Steen vs Claudio is likewise good, but slightly disappointing.

Cons: The bonus match isn’t much of a bonus. I enjoy Titus and Redwood, but this seems like a preshow match rather than something to entice you to buy a DVD. The three way that opened the PPV seems that way too, what is with Alex Payne getting on PPVs lately? The Age of the Fall vs Necro and Lynn is weird. Jimmy and Jerry looked good. Necro and Brodie did not. And I’m a fan of both guys!

20. Stylin’ and Profilin’ (C+)

Ric Flair debuts in ROH! Some have complained that they think Flair is just doing ROH for the payday… but welcome to the wrestling business? It is very cool to see Flair in ROH, and this show highlighted him nicely with the ROH roster.

Pros: Obviously Flair. The main event had good wrestling soured by a lame finish until Flair made the save and it was all A-OK. His interactions with Nigel are great, and seeing him make the save after the main event brought me joy. However, as much as I love Flair the opener is the real highlight of this show. Roderick Strong and Jay Briscoe tear down the house for ten minutes and put on the best opener since Pearce took over the book. Hell, this is the best opener ROH has had since maybe the great Romero/Richards match from Dedicated. SnS vs Steen, Generico and Dempsey is surprisingly good. I’ve said Hero has been weak in singles matches, but he’s been in some good multi mans and tags and this is no exception. The Wolves are great, Steen and Generico are great, and Dempsey is fun in small doses as he develops. The Four Corner Survival is also fun, and the Delirious turn was well done, though AOTF tag brawls are quite overdone. They are all fine… but… there’s one on every show!

Cons: This show suffers from something Pearce shows haven’t, too much stuff. There’s too much stuff on this show for no reason. Yes Titus and King needed a win, but against IA? You have the Flair angle, the Delirious/Haze/Jacobs angles; it just feels like a lot. The SHIMMER match seems to suffer from it, as it seems like they had some good ideas, but just not enough time to execute them. Bison Smith vs Danielson is also disappointing. It’s an average match with a lame finish. It seemed like the perfect sequel to Danielson vs Morishima, but they just didn’t have that chemistry here.

21. Motor City Madness 2009 (C)

If you go to ROH in 2009 on a Friday this seems like the kind of show you’ll get. A decent undercard and three strong matches on top. The show won’t burn you out, and you’ll go home saying you had a good time, but it could have been better.

Pros: The American Wolves had their coming out party at MCM 2009. They had shown flashes at ASX IV, but against Steen and Generico they showed they are a great team. This isn’t on the level of their No DQ match at 7th Anniversary, but it is easily the best match on this show and a bit under MOTYC level. Tyler Black and Jerry Lynn improved on their RoH II match. As they had to stretch the match out it doesn’t really get going until the half way mark, but when it does kick into high gear it is very high quality. Jay Briscoe vs Nigel is also a good bout, and the AOTF… well you’ve read it a few times. The match is fine. Danielson vs Titus is really fun too, Danielson squashes are the best squashes.

Cons: Albright vs Claudio and Brodie vs Necro were both the only real disappointments on this card. I didn’t expect a lot out of Young/Aries, but those two seemed like they’d have potential. Instead both served to drag out feuds, which is fine, but when you are buying a DVD they cannot be selling points.

22. Full Circle (C)

Another fairly typical Friday show. It did a good job of setting up the Saturday show Injustice II, and in my mind was a bit better. In the very least it is more satisfying given the ending of Injustice II.

Pros: Nigel McGuinness and Tyler Black have amazing chemistry. This match doesn’t live up to their TNP match, or the waning moments of the Elimination match at DBD VI, but it is the match of the night and seemed to set up big things for Tyler in the future. Most importantly established a combo that could beat Nigel and would come into play the next night. Bryan Danielson and Jimmy Jacobs tied up for the first time in over a year and nearly recaptured the magic of their Unscripted III match. While not quite on that level, this match is pretty great, and establishes Jacobs as one of those guys in ROH Danielson just does not have an answer to, something his former partner Tyler Black cannot claim. Aries and Lynn also had a good match, although not quite on the level as their encounter in FIP. However, Aries and Lynn are two guys who seem to tailor their matches to their spot on the card. They blow you away in semi mains and mains, but don’t try to burn out the crowd earlier on. Third from the top this is exactly what it should have been. Finally The American Wolves started their tear through ROH with a good match against Jay Briscoe and Roderick Strong.

Cons: Delirious and Necro despite being wacky characters just don’t have chemistry. Their matches are very average. The first three matches are just nothing to write home about, and start the show off very flat. If the Wolves tag had been moved to the opener I think people might have a better opinion of this card as there is more good than bad.

23. Injustice II (C-)

This is a hard show to review. I thought the main event was excellent, but in the end it didn’t lead to anything. If you are going to do a 50 minute 60 minute draw, make sure it is extremely important to where you are going from there.

Pros: Tyler Black and Nigel McGuinness were on their way to topping their TNP match with this one. The overbooking was unexpected and worked well since it just kept coming. Things kept piling onto each other and then exited stage left and they continued having an epic match. The ending however made the match fall flat. It is still an excellent match, but given that Tyler didn’t end up getting his big win over Nigel, it really feels pointless. Add in that Jerry Lynn vs Bryan Danielson was a disappointment and this card didn’t leave you feeling great after it was over. Lynn/Danielson was good, but their first match was excellent and this was much shorter and ended very abruptly, odd for a match that was hyped heavily in newswires. The Wolves vs Strong and Stevens in a Lumber jack Strap match is one of the funnest matches you can ask for in ROH. Every time the heels are on the floor it is hilarious. Finally, while the match is average, Austin Aries and Jimmy Jacobs are such bitches too each other that I love their three way with Jay Briscoe. Given how Aries and Jacobs act, it may as well have been THAT KIND of a three way.

Cons: This card was so uneven. Titus/Albright just is not an interesting opener. There were funny moments, but Albright isn’t the guy to open a card. I love him, but his matches just don’t have the fast pace an opener really should have. The Four Corner Survival was terrible until the last two minutes. Sean Denny looked totally out of place and only a hot finish kept this match from being one of the worst ROH has put on in several years. Bison Smith showed up a second straight night, but the jobber match he interrupted wasn’t really conducive to generating any reaction.

24. Validation (D+)

This is basically just a below average show. Injuries forced the rematch of the Tag Title Classic to be changed with Tyler Black’s injury. The pacing of the show feels off as well, because the title match just doesn’t feel important compared to the tag title match. This is pretty much the case with every Briscoe title challenge since the Joe series (Although I loved Jay vs Morishima from Boston.)

Steen and Danielson vs The American Wolves is a great match. Steen was still working through injuries at this point, but this match delivered. However, given that the first half dozen Wolves defenses involves Steen, or Danielson and this is probably the weakest of them, it is less of an incentive to buy this show. Cabana vs Ryan is a very fun match, and probably the second best thing on this show. But, Cabana has had other encounters with him on numerous occasions. Jay vs Lynn is fine, but it is Lynn’s weakest defense.

Cons: As I implied in the Pros section, this doesn’t feel like an important show. Lynn’s defense is by the books. The tag title match was done better other times. Even the comedy match can be seen elsewhere for the most part. So why buy this show? There’s really no reason. Nothing is really terrible, but it feels like a place holder. Albright and Stevens were two guys really going nowhere beating the Smash Bros who looked good in their debut, but, they’ve done a lot better since. Kingston vs Reyes just establishes Kingston. Titus and King, while it probably felt good for Titus to be the guy beating the student now… was two undercard guys beating two students.

25. Eliminating the Competition (D+)

This is a weird show. I actually liked a majority of the matches on it. But, I still think it is the worst show ROH has put on. It just lacked something. Live I left feeling unfulfilled. The show is just kind of boring. None of the matches settle anything, and everything except for the Briscoe/Steen tag underperforms.

Pros: The best part of this show is Jay Briscoe and Kevin Steen vs Chris Hero and Eddie Edwards. It starts out a big slow, but it picks up big time and had the crowd chanting THIS IS AWESOME, which is rare for CT shows. A very good match. The 4 Way Main event is also good, but bland compared to the two other big 4 Way Eliminations Nigel has won with the title on the line. Danielson vs Delirious is good, but the weakest of their four matches in ROH. I liked Claudio vs Albright, but it too was the weakest of their matches. The finish is also awful. Necro vs Brodie is pretty good, but Necro beat the crap out of Brodie for most of the match giving it little flow.

Cons: Why is the opener on this show? Why? I like Bobby Dempsey, but he doesn’t look too good in his tag. Aries vs Calihan is also just kind of pointless. I guess Aries involvement in this show lets him display his character, but why was it important on this show? There are just a lot of matches on this card that make you wonder what the point was. For example, Briscoe and Steen vs SNS is the best match on the card, but what purpose does it serve in giving Steen yet another win over his rivals? Why did Brodie and Necro matter at all given all the tags and the rematches they then had? Basically this card is a few really dull matches, a few pretty good matches, and one very good match that feels pointless.

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