1. Rhett Titus and Delirious vs. Alex Payne and Silas Young - 4
2. Jay Briscoe vs. Erick Stevens - 5
3. Chris Hero vs. Pelle Primeau - Lights Out Match - 3
4. Kevin Steen and El Generico vs. Tyler Black and Necro Butcher - 5
5. Bryan Danielson vs. Claudio Castagnoli - 6
6. MsChif vs. Sara Del Rey vs. Daizee Haze - 4
7. Brent Albright and Roderick Strong vs. Go Shiozaki and Adam Pearce - 5
8. Nigel McGuinness vs. Jerry Lynn - 6
9. Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs - 7
The opener was originally a four-way scramble, but Titus is persuasive so we get him and Delirious teaming up instead. Payne and Young, surprisingly, actually run the match and dominate most of it, looking quite well. It’s a story development match (some sordid love triangle with Rhett, lizard boy, and Daizee) but entertaining and fast-paced. Jay and Erick is a throwback to old school ROH, or at least the philosophy they once embraced: just two dudes throwing big bombs and all they’ve got at each other in attempt at proving who’s the better on that particular night—really good stuff.
When Pelle throws strikes, mostly forearms, they’re decent so he doesn’t look completely inept against Hero and his Taue impersonation but the problem here was that it was a match where the goal is to knockout your opponent and Primeau’s offense consisted of mostly elaborate, flashy armdrag spots. Granted, they’d look rad and at home in Chikara, but they’re certainly not going to KO anyone. The tag was great, story as I perceived it was Black wasn’t getting the job done, but Necro constantly turned the favor to the side of AofT, like blocking a Generico flying spot by simply putting his clenched fist out and popping him in the face. Of course, you get a Necro bump off the apron on the floor, fast-paced tag stuff by fan favorites Generico and Steen, etc. so it’s enjoyable.
Danielson and Claudio do an extended giant swing sequence; they both trade them, and then even try spinning the plump ref in a fun spot. They switch gears as Bryan is tired of joking around and works over Claudio pretty thoroughly, with Castagnoli unable to stage much offense. This helps the surprise ending, as Claudio ends up scoring a victory by tossing Bryan into the air and hitting him with a European uppercut mid-flight. This was a good sampling of more to come between these two, but still for what it is, you’ll be satisfied by Danielson’s controlling segments and dig this.
The women’s match, while sloppy in parts, was pretty physical and better than the standard ROH women’s fare. Del Ray brings the stiff boots and could be a good hand for either major American company, should they invest some money and “enhancing” her look. The following tag was awesome stuff. I was afraid Pearce would sandbag it, but he actually tried to step up his game to everyone else’s level, the end result being some of his more solid work of ’08. Of course, with Strong and Albright you’re going to get great, intense stuff, they’re too hot to be anything but singles right now but could make a hell of full-time pairing. Go looked good, go figure, and busted out a devastating sidekick that’d make you eat your turkey club out of a straw.
Nigel and Lynn, Lynn’s first ROH match since ’04 I believe, and it was terrifyingly tits. Adam, who bought this disc solely for this match, wasn’t feeling it as much as I, saying he expected Lynn to “fly around” more. Dude, he’s 45! All kidding aside, this was all about slow methodical arm work and Nigel treating Jerry like a chump. Lynn’s hope spots were hot, including a surprise tornado DDT off a guardrail which was the first effective in-ring homage to ECW possibly since they’ve closed (eat that Stamford!). The near falls were fantastic, I thought Nigel had convincingly won a couple times in a row and was completely wrong.
The main event is a good payoff to the Aries versus AotF feud, as it had been built well and it’s also an interesting character study of Jacobs, getting one of his first solo main events in his career. It’s basically a half-hour of ass kicking, some crowd brawling, athletic spots, strikes, etc. all blended together in a nice hatred purée. Big props to Jacobs, while it bordered on unbelievable how many kickouts he was able to pull off, I was sincerely surprised at his fortitude and guts as he was getting murdered in the third act and kept getting up for more. This show would rank in my top three ROH events of 2008.