Monday, September 29, 2008

ROH Southern Navigation

1. Chris Hero vs. Pelle Primeau - 4
2. Rhett Titus and Rex Sterling vs. Mitch Franklin and Sean Denny - 3
3. Nigel McGuinness vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Brent Alrbight vs. Damian Wayne - Four Corner Survival - 4
4. Austin Aries vs. Erick Stevens - 4
5. Jack Evans vs. Necro Butcher - No DQ Match - 5
6. Jay Briscoe vs. Jimmy Jacobs - 5
7. Bryan Danielson vs. Tyler Black - 7
8. Takeshi Morishima, Naomichi Marufuji, and Go Shiozaki vs. Roderick Strong, Davey Richards, and Rocky Romero - 6

Pelle was working faster than a hiccup, to steal the expression, and was all over Hero throughout their match. But, Hero's size, and alleged newly developed "knockout" skills were enough for him to curb Pelle's earnest efforts. A good option for an opener. The second match featured two non-ROH talents, both Sterling and Denny, but between the four men involved they amounted to about as much personality as one average wrestler. Decent work, but void of any heat or interest from the crowd, so largely unspectacular. Man, I'd read gripes about the four corner match and its dullness, and they were shockingly valid as this seemed quite off and poor Wayne seemed completely out of it in sections. Most of these types of matches feature small, agility-heavy workers, so that lends to a fast-paced, relatively harmless spot fest; but this just dragged and the champion Nigel seemed as borderline average as his opponents as a result.

Stevens and Areis were scheduled but Austin is in street clothes (I guess he goes out in public like that) with his hair wild, insistent on getting Jacobs to come out so he can get a piece of him, Erick gets tried of waiting and gets things started only to be virtually squashed having Austin beat his ass around the ring for awhile in a bad bit of business. That's a giant waste of talent. Evans and Necro was a fun change of pace from the rest of the thus far admittedly abysmal show. They worked mostly to Necro's strengths, brawling and garbage spots, but didn't go overboard and send this to the realm of ridiculousness (like Briscoes vs. Age of the Fall at Supercard of Honor III, for example) so I quite enjoyed it. Necro blocking an Evans springboard by just punching him in mid-air was totally tits; and I also dug the hell out of Necro's sidewalk slam of Evans onto two open chairs and Jack's subsequent back bowing bump.

What's with this arena? I notice a rock climbing wall in the background. How long until Mark Briscoe leaps off of it in a forgettable, meandering brawl? Stay tuned, true believers! Speaking of those wacky Briscoe Bros., Jay is in action against Jacobs, two guys I've vilified for their excesses in the past, but this was more of an old school brawl and was much, much better for it. There were some sick bumps and an overabundance of weapons involved, but it felt like they were channeling Dick Murdoch more than Tarzan Goto or Mad Man Pondo and I'm perfectly fine with that.

Danielson and Black I've thought much about, and the best way to tackle my thoughts I feel is by making a Hollywood analogy. This match was reminiscent of say, a small, independent film company doing a film severely lacking in the marketing department, but featuring two real strong performances, one by a veteran statesman who consistently delivers time and time again, and the other, a new, young talent garnering interest rapidly. The production as a whole is virtually nonexistent in the larger scheme of things, but a small, dedicated minority who've sought it out will champion it as an under appreciated gem. The work in this match is uniformly solid, but there's an element missing leaving it an emotionless yet technically superb affair.

The main event is an extended squash, more or less, for the NOAH guys who just outclass, outsize, and outmatch NRC in nearly every way. Still, it's a lot of fun, and entertaining as such, but doesn't have enough back-and-forth to really reel you in that'd help make it a more memorable match. NRC was arguably the best faction in ROH, for a company that nearly drowned in them in the past year, so it was nice to see them get the opportunity to headline, even if it was in the capacity of being fodder to some of Japan's best and brightest. Overall, this is certainly what I'd call a skippable show, in comparison to the usual ROH product. The first-half of the show, while never really actively bad, is pretty forgettable fare. I'd say the last two matches are worthy of a watch, but even then, aren't worth going above and beyond to get a hold of. I like that ROH is running new areas, like this show in Virginia, and while long term it'll probably lead to some great moments sadly this show was lacking in any of them.

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