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Kevin’s Random Reviews: ROH 7th Anniversary Show

July 17, 2018 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Nigel McGuinness ROH IWA
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Kevin’s Random Reviews: ROH 7th Anniversary Show  

ROH 7th Anniversary Show
March 21st, 2009 | Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, New York

ROH’s annual Anniversary Show usually takes place in February. For some reason, it was pushed back in 2009. Anyway, Nigel McGuinness had been ROH World Champion for so long, he began to get challengers from outside. After sending back Naomichi Marufuji, KENTA now stood in his way. Fun note: This was the first show I ever had front row seats for!

Outside somewhere, Bobby Dempsey called himself a gunslinger, who will shoot down whoever Larry Sweeney puts in front of him.

Footage of KENTA preparing in the ring before the show was shown.

Erick Stevens and Roderick Strong vs. Kenny King and Rhett Titus
This was before the All-Night Express name. Strong and Stevens were huge rivals in 07-08. Early on, the combo of Strong and Stevens just wore down Titus with their power and chops. A rake to the eyes put Stevens into the face in peril role. Hilariously, instead of chanting for Stevens, there were “HEP-A-TITUS” chants towards Rhett. Strong got the hot tag and the match broke down a bit. Titus hit a move that he named the Muff Driver. Not bad, Rhett. Stevens got set up for a Doomsday style move, but Roddy kicked King off the top. Stevens went off on Rhett, beating him with a Doctor Bomb in 8:51. Formulaic, but fun due to Strong and Stevens’ style and the antics of the heel duo. [**½]

Brent Albright vs. Claudio Castagnoli
He’s VERY EUROPEAN. Claudio, not Brent. Two of the strongest guys in ROH, and Albright was way over in New York for some great moments in 2008. He’s been struggling to earn a decisive win over Claudio, which led here. Lots of power based stuff early, blended in with things that would showcase the offensive skills of each guy. Claudio was great at adding in little heel tendencies, like trapping Albright’s head in the ring apron. Albright fired up, leading to their first unfortunate slip up on an Air Raid Crash spot. Claudio survived a crossface, while Albright kicked out of a springboard European. As we got near the time limit, they engaged in a slugfest until the bell rang at 15:00. It didn’t matter, as the fight continued until officials separated them. Once apart, Claudio wanted five more minutes and was granted it. Albright went for the Crowbar and Claudio escaped. He used a low blow for the cheap DQ finish in 17:41. That was going very well, though the finish fell flat. I get that it continues the feud, but restarting the match just for the DQ felt like a waste. [***¼]

Post-match, Claudio hit Brent with the Ricola Bomb and stomped his head under a chair.

Backstage, Mike Quackenbush got a quick word ahead of his match tonight. Nothing special.

Adam Pearce w/ Sara Del Rey and Shane Hagadorn vs. Bobby Dempsey
A guest timekeeper that nobody knew (George Oliphant) was brought out and got booed. Pearce ran him down and talked trash to Dempsey. Dempsey hit an avalanche and Death Valley Driver to win in 0:25. The good guy gets revenge and we’re spared something terrible. [NR]

Jerry Lynn vs. Mike Quackenbush
Two veterans with similar styles. They played things evenly, with lots of counter wrestling. That was the story for the majority of the first half, until Lynn sent Quack outside. From there, he focused on the head, since Quack has had a history of issues there. Unfortunately, Quack’s selling of it wasn’t that great, as he mostly continued on with a normal back and forth. Quack avoided Lynn’s finisher a few times, while Lynn blocked his finish. He eventually connected on the Cradle Piledriver to win a disappointing contest in 9:35. I wanted to like that a lot more. It just never really clicked and the lackluster selling hurt. [**¼]

Ultimate Endurance Revolution Rules Match: Austin Aries, Brodie Lee, and Jimmy Jacobs vs. Delirious, The Necro Butcher, and Tyler Black
It’s an elimination match, where each fall is a new stipulation of sorts. Like, if fall one ends by pinfall, the next one can’t. Something like that. Strange to see Aries team with AOTF after 2008. His “Greatest Man That Ever Lived” theme was short lived, but amazing. They brawled from the start, with the highlight easily being Necro vs. Brodie. Jimmy got left alone with his former stablemates at one point, and they all beat him up. Necro hit a somersault off the top onto a pile for another highlight. Daizee Haze, who was a big part of Delirious’ entire angle with AOTF, also joined in for a dive but Aries cut it off. He planted Delirious with a Brainbuster to send him packing at 7:16. The second fall was incredibly lame. Necro and Lee brawled to the back and the referee declared them eliminated at 11:40. Terrible. That left Black alone against Jacobs and Aries. That didn’t work too well because of their differences and led to Black beating Aries with Jacobs’ own End Time submission at 17:55. Finally able to get his hands on Jacobs, Black was pumped. Jacobs used a chair, but Black avoided the spike. Jimmy used End Time, though he couldn’t win with it due to the rules. That allowed Black to turn things around and win with God’s Last Gift in 20:53. That was fun, but had issues with the convoluted booking. It would’ve worked better if they just booked Black and Delirious against Aries and Jacobs, or something, with Lee/Necro in a separate match. [***]

Jay Briscoe was interviewed backstage and said he respects D-Lo Brown, but would beat him tonight.

The Embassy came out, led by the amazing Prince Nana. He thanked Barack ALIBAMA for the stimulus package that got him his money back and now he’s rich. He introduced Bison Smith’s mystery partner as the returning Jimmy Rave, to a huge pop. He had just left TNA. Bryan Danielson ran out for a fight before his mystery partner could be announced. Little Grizzly Redwood showed up, to a chorus of boos, as people thought he was the partner. Bison easily dispatched him, setting up the real partner, COLT CABANA! That got an ABSURD reaction.

Bison Smith and Jimmy Rave w/ Mr. Ernesto Osiris and Prince Nana vs. Bryan Danielson and Colt Cabana
The returns made the crowd red hot for this one. Cabana and Danielson beat up Rave in the early goings. Once Bison came in, he played the monster role he was born for. I wish ROH got to use him more. Unfortunately, the fans didn’t seem to really buy into him the way they did with other monsters in the past. Danielson took the heat for a while, before getting the tag to super babyface Cabana. From there, they worked as a team to overcome Smith. Danielson hit a dive into the crowd to fully take Smith out of the equation. Leaving the returning boys in the ring, Cabana and Rave got their signature stuff in, from Cabana’s elbows to Rave’s heel hook. Cabana escaped that and won via rollup in 10:44. That was a lot of fun. The tag work was nothing special, but the nostalgia of Colt and Rave, the Bryan/Bison stuff, and Nana being entertaining as hell, all made this work. [***¼]

After the match, the winners celebrated to “Final Countdown” and had fun.

D-Lo Brown vs. Jay Briscoe w/ Mark Briscoe
About ten years earlier, D-Lo was the first wrestler to ever come out at a live show I went to. He opened in a tag on a WWF house show in 1999. He got time to cut a promo about his WWE return was a waste of time. They shook hands early, but once Jay showed how much better he was, D-Lo resorted to low blows while playing innocent to the crowd. The heel tactics went over quite well. Each time Jay seemed to get something going, D-Lo answered with some kind of underhanded thing. I popped for D-Lo hitting the Sky High. The finish was lame, as Jay missed a flying leg drop and D-Lo rolled him up with a handful of tights in 12:44. I liked the story of Brown being overmatched and going heel. Some of their stuff didn’t quite click, partially due to the clash of styles. [**¼]

ROH World Tag Team Championship No Disqualifications Match: Kevin Steen and El Generico [c] vs. The American Wolves w/ Sweet n’ Sour Inc.
Fitting with the feud and stipulation, they brawled as soon as the champs hit the ring. Steen had his knee taped up from previous attacks by the Wolves. Thankfully, they kept this as a tornado tag. I don’t like when No DQ matches have tags. Chairs were brought into play early, with Generico taking a Tombstone onto a pile of them. Steen sold the leg well, falling over after using it for offense. He brought a ladder into play, which got the biggest pop of the match. That raised the level of spots, from Generico using it for a split-legged moonsault, to landing on it during a somersault plancha. Steen saved him and it led to the coast to coast somersault dropkick into the ladder. Great stuff. Generico accidentally cracked Steen with a chair. Part of me feels like it helped trigger Steen turning on him at the end of the year. Steen recovered and destroyed Richards’ leg with a chair, before applying the Sharpshooter for the submission win in 15:14. That worked as a great match that also set the stage for their later stipulation bouts (submission, table, ladder). [***¾]

Post-match, the Wolves took out Steen with a vicious chair shot. They then put Generico through a table with a doomsday bulldog. Steen fought back, only to get tied up in the ropes and hit with a con-chair-to.

ROH World Championship: Nigel McGuinness [c] vs. KENTA
In this same building in 2006, KENTA came unbelievably close to dethroning Bryan Danielson for the ROH World Title (in a rare ***** match). Nigel has held the title since October 2007 and defended it a whopping 37 times. A successful defense here tied Danielson for the most in ROH history. He also enters with a torn biceps. KENTA held nothing back, slapping Nigel and going right after the injured biceps with kicks. Nigel found little openings and took KENTA to the mat to avoid his strikes and kicks. Nigel’s offense typically included a ton of lariats, but with his arm messed up, he had change up the game. He had to stick to arm work and setting up for the London Dungeon. KENTA got an awesome near fall when he hit the Go to Sleep, only for Nigel to get one of his long legs on the bottom rope. They finished with some great exchanges, that even saw Nigel hit his own GTS. When he couldn’t get KENTA to tap to the London Dungeon, he bridged back for added pressure. KENTA finally succumbed at 25:19. Not among the top KENTA appearances in ROH, but a great match. Nigel having to change things up due to the injury made for a great story. KENTA went after the arm, but the champ was too smart and resilient. Unfortunately, this would be Nigel’s final successful title defense. [****]

The final score: review Good
The 411
From top to bottom, a mostly winning wrestling show. There were some disappointments (Revolution Rules structure, Lynn/Quack, D-Lo/Briscoe) but nothing was outright bad. The Cabana and Rave returns made for great moments, while Claudio/Albright was a sleeper early on. The final two matches take this show over from solid into the territory of being worth checking out. It was around this time that I began losing interest in ROH, but this was a strong showing by them.

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ROH, Kevin Pantoja