Sunday, September 21, 2008

ROH Respect Is Earned II PPV

1. Kevin Steen and El Generico vs. Ruckus and Jigsaw - 4
2. Davey Richards vs. Claudio Castagnoli - 5
3. Chris Hero, Adam Pearce, and Eddie Edwards vs. Brent Albright, Delirious, and Pelle Primeau - 4
4. Roderick Strong vs. Erick Stevens - Fight Without Honor - 8
5. Nigel McGuinness vs. Go Shiozaki - 7
6. Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black vs. Bryan Danielson & Austin Aries - 6

Wow, what a really great wrestling pay-per-view, I feel I must announce that to all in my vicinity and those reading on the Internet machine. Didge already got to this before me, but I want to gush about the show, too. Now, their production values really need work, especially in regards to graphics, editing, lights, and camerawork. But, in terms of sheer in-ring work, this is just a non-stop show full of action and I was hooked from start to finish.

Ruckus and Jigsaw were made to look like they stood a chance, focusing a lot on Generico, using their speed, agility, etc. to keep in it. It was a good enough, fast-paced opener to get the ball rolling. Davey and Claudio was a nice singles bout, they haven't worked each other much in the past so it was a fresh pairing, and their difference in size made for an interesting visual effect. Again, the pace was fast and furious and continued the show's momentum. Richards' somersault dive to the outside which resulted in him taking out several rows of the audience was an awesome moment.

The six-man wasn't bad, Didge wasn't a big fan, but I thought for what it was, it was structured fairly well and was inoffensive in that regard. This newest mutation of Sweet & Sour Inc. seems to be working better, and you've got to admit that clearly guys like Hero and Pearce are getting the best heel heat in the company so they're going to keep that up which makes perfect sense. Albright as a face seems to be sticking with the tough ROH crowd, too, so they'll get more mileage out of this feud yet. Pelle's new gear looks like he opted to copy Paul London's WWE look.

The fight dubbed sans honor was full of violence and stiff, hard-hitting brawling and I fucking loved all of this. Stevens and Strong, my hat (a stained '91 Phoenix Suns) is off to you, sirs. Both bled from their bodies, chopped, punched, and forearmed each other as if concussions were the new "it" thing. Stevens' haircut got me thinking he was the dude from Night at the Museum but this war doesn't resemble that kid-friendly bomb anymore than my fecal matter resembles a t-bone steak and baked potato dinner. Neither man is known for using weapons per se, so to see them bumping on ladders, chairs, and tables actually was a nice touch and not just hardcore spots for the sake of not having the skill to do anything else (see XPW for an example). This was a great payoff to arguably 2008's best feud (sorry 'bout your damn luck Palumbo and Noble!).

Nigel and Go was a great title match, a change of pace from the aforementioned carnage, but an absolutely brilliant wrestling match to be sure. Nigel looked strong as champ, coming off looking better than he has in some time, in a match that regardless of widespread Internet disappointment thoroughly delivered in my eyes. ROH is way ahead of the curve by bringing in great international talent to challenge their champions and it usually leads to matches that feel big in scope and context. The main event seemed oddly placed, but was still pretty good despite some obvious flaws. Jacobs and Aries' feud is a big deal, in ROH canon at least, so they were the emphasis but this match actually benefited from them disappearing into the back and allowing Tyler and Bryan the opportunity to shine out in the ring. Tyler getting the win with a breathtaking Firebird Splash was a big deal, putting the upcoming talent over one of the company's most respected veterans on such a big forum as the main event of their seventh (and best) pay-per-view.

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