As we near our 1,000th post here on NHO, I've noticed we've digested quite a bit of Ring of Honor, both sweaty, fetid Feinstein and goofy, Hawaiian-shirted adorned Silkin eras and their big year end show would be a nice capstone to include as we count down to that milestone.
1) Claudio Castagnoli v. Kenny Omega- 4
Omega was wrestling with the enthusiasm of a lonely coroner exhuming the corpse of a busty prostitute on a skeleton staffed Friday night 3rd shift. He had a Mary Poppins like bounce in all his movements, whether selling like Dave England stuck in a tire on every big move or just bursting all over Claudio with his sweet missile dropkick and other fun moves. Claudio on the other hand, was just milling through this match with no charisma and low marks on selling. It would be like trying to use a dildough on a boulder. His most amusing facial expression came after Omega did a corkscrew outside and landed on his knee as he grimaced like he swallowed a moldy oyster. Finish was cool though, nice little surprise.
2) Rhett Titus v. Chris Hero v. Necro Butcher v. Jerry Lynn- 5
this is going to flow strangely.....has any of these 4 corners matches ever been rememberable?.....I enjoyed Hero's entourage gimmick more than any of the 20 times they did it in ECW.....Rhett is getting heckled like a first timer at Go Bananas!....Necro & Hero exchange some real strikes that i dig....Lynn looks inept during the first few sequences, but really goes on a tear towards the end, incl. a scintillating hurricanrana.....Necro's off the apron moments later looked as graceful as a 3 legged dog trying to save a baby from a burning building....funny moment when Titus wasn't paying attention as he kept punching Necro tied in the ropes and he missed, so Necro just laughed at him.....okay next
3) Jimmy Jacobs/ Delirious v. Kevin Steen/ El Generico- 5
This was building up pretty well actually, after the Champs started rolling through the challengers like apparently Andre could a 24 case of imported beer or a whole roll of toilet paper at one sitting. Some of the knee work on Steen looked forced since he was so much bigger than them but I liked the Age acting like a pack of ants pulling him down when trying to make the hot tag. A lot of Age of Fall stuff melds together in my mind, but the Daizee storyline sticks out a little, mostly for the jeans she was wearing. Match needed to end about 3 minutes earlier and would have been a 6, but we see Jacobs holding Generico down in a headlock outside while seemingly tickling him in a strange moment. The champs put on a devastating combo to take it home.
4) American Wolves & Go Shiozaki v. Roderick Strong/ Erick Stevens/ Brent Albright (New York Street Fight)- 5
Another match that barely misses the mark, the beginning was pretty sloppy by all rights, with everyone in their favorite pair of Sunday jeans or gym shorts throwing meat hooks at each other. Edwards was the MVP for sure, and looked especially good once back in the ring, liked how he used the chair as a fucking guillotine on perennial disappointment Albright. The 2 table bumps were both brutal in their own way even though the first one didn't really have much of a point. The thing that had me generally vexed was nearly everyone just ignoring punches to get to the next spot but in a street fight, if you don't have punches, you don't have shit.
5) Kensuke Sasaki/ Katsuhiko Nakajima v. Briscoe Brothers- 5
This was a war of attrition to say the least. At times, it was a nice give and take of devastating power moves, at others it was a souless tag match using a tried and true strong style of move after move with not a lot of story or selling going on, except for keeping Sasaki strong and pushing the fact Nakajima is a prodigy, but the problem there is he's had so many stronger performances in Japan that would push home that fact better than this match. The Briscoes are known for this type of match a lot of times, and they didn't disappoint here. But there was a rare factor for these 4 athletes locking it up and just bruising each other.
6) Tyler Black v. Austin Aries- 5
These guys look like former goth brothers, Aries has him in the charisma department though, and also the wrestling. When they finally passed the introduction stage, I didn't like the way either guy punched, even chopped, which if you think about it a wrestling chop is ridiculous enough already but these guys made a fake fighting move look even worse. I've just never been a Black fan, I don't like the way he takes moves at all. That doesn't discount the opening feeling out process which went rather well, and great crowd heat. Real crazy F5 bump on the apron by Aries; something a masochist like me can respect. I'm really not a fan of Black now that he's doing all these AJ spots in a row. Aries is great though, loved how he sold the beating by falling off the apron before the 450, then still wins with it.
7) Nigel McGuinness v. Noamichi Marufuji (ROH Championship) - 7
This was something to watch, the best element of it was the play off of each other's counters all throughout. Nigel kept up his end but Marufuji was really excelling here, save that terrible sell of the Tower of London on the apron. But there was a bunch of stuff I really dug in this, such as Marufuji's cobra clutch triangle like submisssion; fuck a front headlock that Matt Huges pulled off as this unknown hold, this shit was as rare as Jimmy Hoffa, the Eva Mendes sex tape, or an intelligent member of the Palin family. The sliced bread on the apron was beyond words, suffice to say It could shake me all night long. to quote one of my daughter's favorite Disney films, "Winnie the Pooh's Grand Adventure", on a scale of 1 to 10, this was very good.
8) Takeshi Morishima v. Bryan Danielson (Fight Without Honor)- 9
First off, the highlight video alone was a marvel of stiffness, so this rightfully felt like a true main event for the biggest show of the year. Danielson comes out of the dark to kickstart this and is just a whole factory of intensity, working 24 hour shifts, pumping out intensity by the bucketloads and even more useless, trite Twilight merch. Morishima is heavy, like described in that Collective Soul song, and isn't bumping well, so it seems like he'll just beat Dragon's ass like no other can for a while, which is working quite well. Mori's clotheslines are an instant 4 Advil Migraines. What a crazy suicide dive by Dragon; too bad Davey Richards made it as exciting as a McDonald's Double Cheeseburger. The steel chain was a prop I was really excited about in this match, i mean ever since Valentine and Piper bludgeoned each other with it back in 83, it's been one of the nastiest weapons to use, if done right, more violent and less visceral than a ladder or table or what have you. Wow, an insane battle, thought Dragon's triangle hold looked a little loose, but the way they brought this home, using the chain on the elbow is a devastating ending and brought a tremendous feud home. Give me this shit over the Dusty- Road Warriors heel turn any day.
Sidenote: when the Miz said he finally saw Danielson's indy stuff and wasn't that impressed, did he watch this fucking match? or just another rerun of I Love New York?