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Ring Crew Reviews: ROH The Big Bang

July 18, 2010 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: ROH The Big Bang  

DVD Packaging: The cover art is more detailed than some older ROH DVDs I have. We have a triangular arrangement of cropped shots of Tyler Black, Austin Aries, and Roderick Strong against a purple-ish night sky like aurora borealis.

DVD Presentation: Strangely, there’s no menu music. They use to have a generic riff that was the loudest menu music known to man, so this is somewhat of an upgrade as well. The background is a static double running forearm performed by The Briscoes on someone.

Relevant Storylines: Davey Richards respects the hunt. Kevin Steen doesn’t respect El Generico. Colt Cabana respects his own blood. Chris Hero respects a good elbow pad. Dave Prazak doesn’t respect redneck chicken farmers. Tyler Black doesn’t respect Roderick Strong. Austin Aries respects both Black and Strong but doesn’t respect Tommy Young.

Scheduled Card:
1. Zack Salvation vs. Phill Shatter.
2. Kenny King vs. Davey Richards.
3. Erick Stevens vs. Necro Butcher.
4. Rhett Titus vs. Cassandro El Exotico.
5. Kevin Steen and Steve Corino vs. El Generico and Colt Cabana.
6. ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Kings of Wrestling vs. The Briscoes (c).
7. Triple Threat Match for the ROH World Championship: Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Black (c).

• We are live (via DVD) from Charlotte, NC. No video package. This was ROH’s first venture into North Carolina. We are greeted by Kevin Kelly and Prazak who are in the ring. They run down the card and hand the reins over to Bobby Cruise.

Zack Salvation vs. Phill Shatter. Both are local guys from NC. Shatter has some belt that apparently isn’t on the line. Before the bell, they shake hands to show respect for each other and abide by code of honor. They trade a couple of quick roll-ups that only get 1 counts. Shatter goes to the waistlock but Salvation armdrags him over and gets side control. Shatter reverses to a headscissors. Salvation does the headstand escape and goes back to the side control headlock. Shatter powers up to the corner and gets a break. He cross corner whips Salvation who gets the up and over. Shatter comes out of corner but Salvation hits some modified sitout Thesz press and pounds away. Shatter pounds out but Salvation goes back to the headlock takeover. Shatter gets to his feet and sends off Salvation who ducks a clothesline and gets a dropkick for a 1 count. Back to the headlock and again Shatter fights it off and counters a hammerlock to a shot. He sends Salvation off again but a tilt a whirl is reversed to a reverse DDT. That gets a 2 count. Salvation goes back to the front facelock… again. Shatter throws him off and gets a Sky High backbreaker for 2. Kevin Kelly thought “that was it” at just over 3 minutes in. Shatter hulks up and hits a slingshot suplex as Prazak puts over the main event later in the show and Tommy Young. He must be bored. Shatter gets a bodyslam and a posing fistdrop for another 2. Shatter sets up a hanging vertical suplex but Salvation knees out (nice) and gets a roll up for 2 but runs right into a Harley Race style knee. Shatter gets some shoulder surges in the corner. He whips Salvation across and they botch the Thesz press spot from earlier. Shatter immediately hits a bridged fisherman buster for a 2 count. Shatter calls for a Razor’s Edge but instead it’s just a powerbomb and that gets 2. Shatter chops away and whips Salvation across. He runs in for a spear but Salvation leap frogs him. Shatter goes for a press slam but Salvation fights out and they punch it out. That might have been another “botch.” Shatter gets control and whips him across. He runs in but Salvation catches him in a triangle choke/arm bar combination. Salvation sells it and falls to the mat on top of Salvation. Ref isn’t counting Salvation for some reason. Shatter picks him up for the Rampage slam but Salvation counters to a package guillotine and hangs on. Shatter rams him into the turnbuckle to counter. Salvation comes out right into a spinebuster for 3 at 7:30. Well, I haven’t seen that move finish a match in forever so that was surprising. Ending seemed abrupt and the MMA psychology didn’t really go anywhere. Decent match that seemed to run out of gas at the end. *1/2

Kenny King vs. Davey Richards. This is for advancement in the Pick 6 rankings that determine the number 1 contender. Kenny, accompanied by Rhett Titus, slips on the ring ropes in the corner and the crowd lets him hear it. Davey’s intensity is off the charts. He offers his hand and Kenny pie-faces him and figuratively tells him to go fuck himself.

• Kenny works an arm wringer into a top wristlock and takes Davey down. Davey bridges and kips up but Kenny holds on and tweaks the armlock before Davey bridges again and kicks Kenny away. Nice. Side headlock by Davey but he gets pushed off. A couple of shoulder blocks gets nothing for Davey and Kenny piefaces him again. Davey pumps up and acts like he’s going again but instead kicks Kenny hard across the cross a few times and gets a spinning heel kick off the ropes and King takes a breather. Davey immediately goes for a baseball slide but King dodges it and punches away. Davey whips him hard into the barricade. Davey runs in immediately with a running Ole kick and the crowd is eating it up. Back in, Davey gets a snapmare and hooks the arm like he’s going for a Tequila Sunrise but instead gets a Texas Cloverleaf/Haas of Pain variation with the arm hooked. King gets the arm free and Davey just lets go. Snap suplex only gets 1 for Davey. He hooks the waistlock to go for a German but King reverses. Davey elbows his way free and gets a head of steam but Rhett grabs his foot and Kenny comes flying in with a hotshot to the outside. Nice. Back in, Kenny boots away and taunts. Davey hulks up and they trade forearms but King cuts him off with a knee. Davey slides out of a suplex and destroys King with some chops and a massive headbutt. Davey with a whip but Kenny comes back with a running double knee and gets 2. King hits a slingshot leg drop. A fan tries to shake his hand but King tells him to go fuck himself too. He gets a suplex and rolls through on the mount and pounds away. Another leg drop gets 2. King goes to the chinlock as a big “Let’s Go Davey” chant breaks out. Davey tries to power out but King decapitates him with a clothesline that gets 2. King postures then tries a chop war with Davey but smartly decides against it. He tries a superplex but Davey headbutts out and hits a diving headbutt. Davey sells the effects but hulks up with the crowd support. He hits some hard elbows and tries another but King cuts him off and hits his own brutal elbow. King off the ropes but Davey’s there with an Ole kick again. They trade reversals and Davey flapjacks him into a front kick. Back up, King tries a whip but Davey counters into a springboard handstand and rotates into a jumping front kick that only gets 2. Davey whips and comes in but eats boot. King comes out and eats another hard kick. Davey springboards off the turnbuckle into another kick. Davey up top with the sitout missle drop kick but only gets 2. Back to the cloverleaf but King gets the ropes. Davey hooks up the German but King grabs the ref and then thumbs Richards’ eye. Off the ropes, King eats a stiff kick but comes back with a spinebuster that gets 2. King whips Davey and hits a flying back elbow then dances and causes Davey to miss but whiffs on a running double knee. Nice sequence. They fight in the corner and Davey goes to the apron and leg drags Kenny using the ropes as a fulcrum. Up top, they jockey for position. Davey tries the Arabian/MDK powerbomb but King holds on. Davey runs back at him and hits a pop up German superplex and King does a flip bump to the middle of the ring. Not a lot of reason for King to be standing on the top rope but still awesome. Crowd is animated. In WWE, that would be kayfabe death but not here. Davey gets a running forearm but runs into a handstand kick but comes back with a clotheslines that flips King. That only gets 2. A high angle bridged German gets 2. Back to the cloverleaf but King gets the ropes. Rhett distracts again and Davey pulls him up. They tease heel miscommunication but Davey Ole kicks him to the barricade and dumps King. Davey goes for a plancha but King cuts him off with a boot. Springboard blockbuster gets 2 for King. Kenny is feeling it. King gets Davey in a fireman’s carry but Davey counters to a victory roll straight into an ankle lock. Beautiful. King counters and they work about 15 pinning combinations. King hits a spinkick and sets up a sit out F5 but Davey lands on his feet and kicks King down. Back to the ankle lock. King counters but Davey counters back to the cloverleaf and King taps at 17:20. They crammed a ton of action into that time. Selling was spotty and being tired led to some sloppiness at the end but this was great stuff. ***1/2

• Post-match, Davey offers the handshake again. The crowd wants it too. King still selling the leg goes to shake but then gives Richards the middle finger instead and walks away. Gotta respect a true heel that won’t let losing get in the way of his evil principles. Crowd immediately switches to chanting, “You tapped out!” King is great at the subtle cheap heat. Flipping someone off isn’t subtle but making the crowd think you’ll shake and making them do a complete 180 is great stuff. Davey cuts a promo saying he’s the best in the world and puts Tyler Black on notice but some music plays and Christopher Daniels is out in his first ROH appearance in years. Daniels says he has a problem with what Davey just said. Daniels cuts the prodigal son promo and the crowd eats it up. A feud between these two could produce some easy **** matches. That was a phenomenal 30 minutes of match, promo, counter promo.

Erick Stevens vs. Necro Butcher. Prince Nana gets on the stick and says they just stepped off the plane from Ghana but already want to go back. He calls a few people fat pigs and Necro a “cheese-eating bum.” Necro gets a chair and comes right in and eats a boot from Stevens. This is contested under Necro rules. Stevens boots away and hits his taunt and chokes. Necro runs through a clothesline, stiffs Stevens, and dumps him. Necro hits a running senton off the apron called a “cannonball-esque maneuver” by Kelly. Necro chops some and chokes him with a paper bag but Stevens tears his way out. More chops. Necro hits a shot with the ring bell. Stevens goes to the eye. Nana boots away on the outside. Stevens clotheslines Necro into the crowd. Necro comes back with chops and shots and Ole kicks Necro into the crowd. Necro calls for seating sign from the crowd and waffles Stevens with it. Nana pleads to the ref for help. Necro teases a DVD off the apron through a table but gets cut off. Stevens then press slams Necro off the apron. Stevens slams Necro into the post and the barricade. Back in, Stevens hits a crossface and taunts more. Necro is selling death for his back or he’s legit injured. Nana in to double team. Stevens goes for the Ho Train but Necro moves. Stevens nails Nana and Necro gets the roll up for 3 at 9:01. That finish seemed sort of sudden. Fairly generic garbage match, but was downright tame by Necro standards. *3/4 After the bell, The Embassy jumps Necro but he runs them off with a chair.

Rhett Titus vs. Cassandro El Exotico. Titus brings a credit card or something and plays suck n blow with a woman in the first row. Classy. Cassandro has a blonde perm and a 15 ft long Ric Flair robe and comes out to “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. This should be interesting. Rhett’s reaction is priceless as he mouths, “What is that?!” at his opponent. Cassandro sits on the top rope with legs crossed and then leaps down into a neck-bridge flip to get right in Rhett’s face and play mind games. At the code of honor handshake, Rhett gets a handful of junk musk and offers it to CEE. CEE takes Rhett’s hand but starts dancing and Rhett is disgusted. At the bell, CEE goes to the waistlock and feels Rhett up. Rhett is perturbed to say the least. This is great stuff, in terms of the story. They haven’t even done a move and the crowd is into it and solidly behind CEE and loving the comedy. Rhett goes to the side headlock, gets run off and hits a shoulderblock and postures. You’d think he won the match. CEE is up and distracts Rhett by feeling him up again and does a headlock TD. Rhett pulls the hair and works the arm wringer with some suggestive imagery. He tries it again but CEE pushes him off and hits a running huracanrana. They counter a few whips and CEE goes up top and hits a diving arm drag that sends Rhett to the outside. CEE tries a baseball slide but Rhett dodges and hits an assisted headscissors off the apron and struts. CEE recovers and kisses Rhett to the delight of the crowd. Rhett’s pissed and takes him down by the hair. I like the step up in intensity from Rhett to show he’s not all fun and games to advance the story. Rhett takes off the bow tie. It’s game time now. Rhett hits a knee on the apron, but only gets 1 back in. Rhett stays on the hair and hits a massive hair drag takedown. Rhett drops a knee for 2. Mexico chant breaks out and CEE gets a head of steam but runs into a wheelbarrow set up that Rhett milks for more suggestive imagery and then hits a inverted powerbomb for 2. To the chinlock. CEE powers out and dropkicks Rhett down. Now he goes to the hair and hits a seated flashback and a senton for 2. But Rhett cuts him off with the bluechipper drop kick for 2. Rhett hits a couple of charges. On a third attempt, CEE tries the up and over but stops short and Rhett wants no part of that ass. CEE with a snap suplex that gets 2. CEE hits a huracanrana that tosses Rhett to the outside. He hits a tope con hilo but CEE lands awkardly and appears legit injured. After some help from the help, back in, CEE hits a drop kick and quickly rolls Rhett up with some audible pain at 8:50. This told a great story. Some of the spots were gimmicky but the crowd was into it the whole way. *** Post-match CEE tries to walk to the back but the refs ends up carrying him out with a round of applause from the crowd.

Kevin Steen and Steve Corino vs. El Generico and Colt Cabana. This is a grudge tag match. Of course, Steenerico use to be one of the best tag teams in the world until Steen turned on Generico at Final Battle 2009. Despite the numerous confrontations, they have yet to have a 1 on 1 match. Hell, at this point, Generico hasn’t even punched him yet. Crowd with a big Ole chant before the bell. At the start, no handshake of course. Corino cold cocks Generico then dumps him. Corino follows him to the outside while Steen whips Cabana off but Cabana hits a headscissors and clotheslines Steen to the floor. Corino in. Cabana tries a sunset flip but no go. Steen back up to the apron but Cabana knocks him back down but Corino catches him with a clothesline. Generico back in. He hits a couple of arm drags and then after a nice reversal sequence hits another and Corino takes a breather. Generico hits a running flip splash. Steen in and Cabana levels him with a top rope leg lariat. They tease Generico hitting Steen but Steen spits in his face and Corino pulls him to the outside and rams him into the barricade. Corino in and he and Steen work over Cabana. The ref tries to get a break but no one gives a shit. This is basically tornado rules. No tags so far. Generico back up top and tries a cross body but Corino was too far away. Steen hits a beautiful superkick for his trouble. Cabana hits some elbows on both but whiffs on a lionsault and eats some kicks. Steen hits a front flip leg drop as Corino finally gets on the apron. Steen gives the middle finger to camera side section as Kelly calls him a “future world champion.” Steen chokes Cabana and Corino bites him. Corino hits some stuff but Cabana hits a double handed chop. He tries for a tag but Steen in and cuts off the ring. Steen with some brutal crossfaces and a neckbreaker for 2. Steen hits a Batista kick and tells Cabana to “reach for your friend!” and makes him try to tag Generico. Then Steen blows some snot on Generico. Steen is the man. Corino in. Cabana tries to get something going but Corino counters into a hammerlocked Downward Spiral for 2. Cabana almost makes another tag but Corino knocks Generico off the apron. Steen in and hits a running senton on Cabana in the corner. Corino smacks Cabana around and tries a bodyslam but Cabana slides out and pushes Corino into Steen and finally gets the tag. Generico with some clotheslines and chops on Corino then hits a springboard tornado DDT. Steen tries to talk a walk but Cabana slides him back in face to face with Generico but Corino jumps him from behind. Corino dumps Generico and Steen powerbombs him on the fucking apron. Generico is finished. But Cabana pulls Corino in. He hits a butt bomb then slaps on the Chicago Crab but Steen waffles him with a chair for the DDQ at 10:02. This was just getting going. This was almost a tease of a better match down the road and basically a vehicle for the Steenerico feud. Still good stuff. **3/4

• Post-match, Steen DDTs Cabana on the chair. He blades. Refs are trying to break it up but Corino dumps them. Steen licks Cabana’s blood off his head and the crowd chants, “You sick fuck!” Generico finally crawls in. He comes to life and dumps Corino. Steen’s begging him to take a shot. Generico is playing up his confliction. Steen whips the blood off Cabana’s forehead and smacks Generico with it like a bitch. Steen spits into the crowd. Generico recovers and FINALLY starts pummeling Steen but students are out to hold back Generico and Corino pulls Steen out. Generico frees himself and hits a top rope flip splash to the outside on Corino and Steen. He pulls Steen in. Half nelson suplex and teases a brainbuster but Corino pulls him out again. The students try to calm Generico but he goes apeshit and takes out everyone culminating in a yakuza kick and BRAINBUSTAAAA for Grizzly Redwood.

ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Kings of Wrestling vs. The Briscoes (c). Hero hits a turnbuckle with some forearms to pump up. Funny. We get a tension-filled handshake by all. We get some nice mat wrestling early as Mark counters to a inside trip and goes to the side control headlock but Hero counters to a leg scissors. But Mark kips up and out for a stand off. They trade front facelocks until Hero gets a rope break. Hero lays him out with a elbow and tags Claudio in as Prazak calls the Briscoes “redneck chicken farmers.” I think it’s funny that the Briscoes are all about the rebel flag, Skynyrd and everything despite being from Delaware; doesn’t mean you can’t have country in the North – just saying. They trade shots until Mark takes him down with a clothesline and tags in Jay. They try a doubleteam but Claudio sniffs it out and takes a breather. Hero jumps them from behind but runs into a double flapjack. They try a double hip toss but Claudio pulls Hero out. Hero and Claudio call time out to game plan. Slow going early as it’s obvious they are giving this the slow burn. Back in, Claudio gets a shoulder block and poses. Jay is up and hits a running hurcanrana, lays out Hero on the apron, hits a Ho Train on Claudio and tags in Mark. They hit the double hip toss and Claudio begs off and tags in Hero. More double team for Hero with chops and a shoulderblock and he takes another breather. Back in, Mark hits a vertical suplex on Hero for 2 as Prazak puts over Hero for working through a legit back injury. Jay in with some kicks and a clothesline for 2. Another suplex and a springboard swanton for Mark gets 2. Hero finally frees himself and tags in Claudio. Claudio comes right into a back drop and a suplex from Mark for 2. They trades flurries until Claudio gets a blind tag and Hero comes in and destroys Jay with a yakuza kick that gets 2. Hero with some more offense. Claudio in and goes to the kimura. They are still just warming up. Jay tries to power out but runs into a knee. Jay finally cuts off Claudio with a Downward Spiral into the second turnbuckle and tags in Mark. Mark with thrusts and chops for Claudio and a spinwheel kick. Then, he dumps Hero. Jay hits the running flip splash on Hero. Mark up top with a crossbody on Claudio for 2. Now things are picking up. Mark sets up his own splash but Claudio cuts him off. Hero runs to the apron and just levels Mark with an elbow but only gets 2. Release suplex gets 2. Another Roaring Elbow and a banana split get 2. Hero with some brutal knees on Mark. Mark tries to fight off the double team but runs into a double bicycle kick. Hero back in and destroys Mark with chops and another elbow. Mark comes back with his own elbow. Claudio in but Mark drops the bridge on him and dumps him. Mark almost makes the tag but Claudio pulls Jay off the apron. Nice tag wrestling. Jay wants a piece of Claudio but he runs back to his corner. Back in, another elbow and a bicycle kick on Mark and his face has got to hurt. They only get 2. Off an attempted sunset flip, Mark rolls through and FINALLY gets the tag to Jay. Jay’s in with a bunch of clotheslines and elbows. Jay and Hero jockey for position until Jay hits a flipping neckbreaker (!) off the second rope for 2. Hero elbows out of a DVD, decapitates Jay with an Ole kick, and knocks Mark off the apron with another as Claudio is in with a bicycle kick that floors Jay but only gets 2.99. That was a beautifully timed sequence and could have easily been the finish. Jay fights out of a Ricola bomb but runs into a flapjack European uppercut that only gets 2. We’ve entered super-finisher territory. Jay hits a chokeslam spinebuster and tags in Mark. Mark with a missile dropkick and a bridged Northern Lights suplex for 2. Exploder suplex gets 2. Claudio comes back with a springboard corkscrew European uppercut and tags in Hero. Hero kills Mark with 2 more roaring elbows that only get 2. Out of the corner, Mark counters to an Iconoclasm Quakendriver for 2. Hero comes back with a yakuza kick and a sitout Wild Pegasus bomb for 2. Claudio in with the Big Swing. Hero preps the kick but Jay pulls him out and lays him out. Jay in with a dropkick. Sideslam/top rope elbow drop combo on Hero gets 2. Splash Mountain/neckbreaker combo but the pin is broken up by Claudio. Claudio back in. He hits Mark with the UFO but only gets 2. Now they hit the Big Swing/yakuza kick combo and follow it up with a slingslot into a Roaring Elbow but still only get 2. Jay up and tries to fight off Hero up top but Claudio hits a pop up gutwrench superplex from behind. But Mark is there with a springboard Ace Crusher on Hero. This is insane. Claudio preps the Ricola bomb but Jay slides out and hits a superkick and tags in Jay. DVD gets 2 but Hero breaks it up. Jay hits his own superkick and dumps Hero. Briscoes prep the Doomsday Device but Claudio counters to a belly to belly superplex(!) for 2. They hit the KRS-1 but Mark kicks out. Jaydriller on Claudio but Hero breaks it up. Jay dumps Hero but he distracts the ref. Hagadorn breaks up another attempt at the DD. From behind, Hero lays out Jay with a loaded pad assisted Roaring Elbow and that gets 3 to crown new champs at 30:20. They left it all out there. The first ten minutes were just going through the motions of basic tag formula but once they kicked into meat of the match it was awesome. This wasn’t about working body parts or tag ropes; The story was one-upmanship and “Who wanted it more?” and the Kings of Wrestling did this night. ****1/4

• Post match, Jay vomits presumably due to exhaustion and dehydration.

Triple Threat Match for the ROH World Championship: Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Black (c). Jim Cornette introduced the match and then joins Kelly and Prazak on commentary. Tommy Young is the special guest referee/enforcer. This is elimination rules. Black’s a great wrestler but the fans have been lukewarm for his reign. Black is the face champ, Aries is the heel former champ, and Roddy is the perennial challenger. Aries gets on the stick and calls Tommy Young old. Then, he cuts a short but effective promo. He says he respects both of his opponents but they don’t respect each other. He says Black was in the back talking to him and called Roddy a choke artist. Black and Roddy start arguing and Aries says he will let them settle it before he gets in the ring. Good stuff. Aries offers a handshake to each one but they no sell it and Aries steps to the outside.

• Young and Aries get into it early on the outside as Black and Strong chainwrestle and trade arm wringers and hammerlocks. Then they trade rolls up out of a leg scissors and heel hook combination. Aries up to the apron but Strong shotgun chops him back down. That pisses off Aries and the pink flamingo jacket comes off!~! Black gets 1 off a shoulderblock as Aries threatens to smack the camera man. Aries pulls Black out and smashes his face on the apron and comes in. Strong sets up a slingshot suplex but Aries slides out. Black back in with a springboard clothesline on Aries and he rolls back out. Like a moron, Black trades chops with Strong and comes out on the losing end but Strong runs into a dropkick as Aries slides back in. He targets Black with some over hand chops and rakes his eye down the top rope. Strong gets a roll up on Black but Aries dumps him then Black clotheslines him to the outside. Black hits the Fopsbury Flip on both which is a great move but it’s way too early for that. Black then hits a moonsault off the barricade on Aries. Amidst the carnage, Aries decides it’s a good idea to wrap himself in some of the streamer for a funny visual. Black tosses Strong into the barricade then slides Aries in. Black works some clotheslines for 2. Aries tries his signature dropkick escape from the headscissors but Black snuffs it out. Black with a go-behind but Strong is on the apron. They do the wheelbarrow suplex/sunset flip combo but Aries rolls through and takes out both with dropkicks then dumps Black. Strong chops Aries and he sells it to the floor. On the outside, Strong chops the skin off Aries chest and he flips into the crowd. Strong suplexes Aries back in then gets him a back suplex and drops him on the apron. Brutal. Back in, Strong works a rest hold but Aries counters and punches Strong down. Also like an idiot, Aries tries the chop war and also loses. Strong gives him a shoulderbreaker for 2. Then Strong fishhooks Aries nose. Black breaks it up. Prazak says that was stupid but Cornette says it was brave. Huh? In the confusion, Strong dumps Black but Aries gets the Stronghold but Strong gets the ropes. Aries hold on though and then gloats that he “has til 5.” I wonder where I heard that before? Strong gets his own Stronghold and again Black is in to break it up like an idiot. Strong spits in his face like a champ but Black applies the sleeper. Roddy counters to a jawbreaker and dumps Black. Aries is determined to win the chop battle with Strong but loses again. Off a clothesline, Aries does the Flair turnbuckle spot and drops an elbow on Black on the outside but Strong baseball slide dropkicks him off the apron. Strong then gives Black a backbreaker on the apron. But Aries gives Strong a DVD on the apron. These guys are insane too. Aries gets a head of steam and goes for the suicide dive but eats guard rail and he’s dead. Back in, Black and Strong do the standoff to finally settle the score. They slug it out but neither gives. Black runs into a quick powerslam and a backbreaker for 2 from Strong. Black fights out of a Gibson Driver but Aries is in and rakes the back and milks it for some old school heat but Black dumps him. Black gets a head of steam and hits a hard clothesline and an F5 for 2. Aries breaks up a superplex but Black comes back and tries a powerbomb but Aries counters to a huracanrana. Aries hits a dropkick on Strong but Black comes back with a Shining Apprentice on Aries but jumps into a Sambo suplex backbreaker from Strong that only gets 2. Nice sequence. Roddy mans up and hits chops on everyone and a gutwrench Diamond Cutter on Aries but he gets the ropes. Aries with an inverted Quakendriver 3 on Black that only gets 2. Slingshot backbreaker on Aries gets 2. Strong is throwing all his got out there. Aries sneaks to the top rope but Strong gives him a Shining Apprentice. Black gives him a ginger turnbuckle powerbomb and tries the Phoenix Splash but lands on his feet. Aries with a DDT and a clothesline that flips Black but only gets 2. Aries tries the 450 but eats knee. Roddy hits a Death Valley gutbuster and a yakuza kick for 2. Strong does a Gibson Driver into a Stronghold and AGAIN Black breaks it up. WTF? Strong hits a series of moves culminating in a Gibson Driver but Aries breaks it up with a Tajiri kick to the face. Brainbuster but Strong kicks out at 2. Aries with some MMA knees and hooks in the Horns of Aries. Black breaks it up and gives Aries a Turnbuckle Bomb but Strong rolls him up but only for 2. Shit. Turnbuckle bomb for Roddy and 2 kicks but Strong spits in Black’s face. Another kick for good measure but that only gets 2. Aries dumps Black and hits Rolling Brainbusters on Strong and he’s gone at 26:28

• That disheartened the crowd somewhat. After selling exhaustion, Aries hits a suicide dive on Black and this time doesn’t miss. Prazak nicely puts over this being just how the last title match between these two was headed. Missile dropkick for Aries. He preps the brainbuster but Black knees out. Roaring Elbow from Aries right into a shinbreaker/back suplex combo. Black comes back with another Shining Apprentice. Top rope superplex from Black and rolls through into a Pittsburgh Plunge and hooks the leg but only gets 2. Turnbuckle Bomb and a series of superkicks that lay out Aries but another 2 count. That easily could have been the finish. Kenny King comes out and distracts Black. Aries’ roll up gets 2. Black throws Aries into King and hits about 4 more superkicks and God’s Last Gift for the 3 to retain at 31:18. Well, coming on the heels of the last match, they had a hard act to follow but they came through big time. This might even be better as it kept everyone strong (no pun intended), had an arguably better story of mutual respect, and a better start. Incredible match all around. ****1/2

• Post-match, King and Aries jump Black but Strong is out to make the save. Strong and Black clear the ring. Black offers a handshake but Strong flips him off and says he wants the belt.

DVD Extras: The only thing is a lucha match which went on after the triple threat. It is between Blue Demon, Jr. and Magno vs. Super Parka and Misterioso. It is… interesting but a bit odd.

The 411: If this was a two match show, it’d be almost “need to see.” But with four matches ***+ and two of those being ****+, Steen’s heel act, Daniels’ return, and Richards’ rise, this is must see.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  9.0   [  Amazing ]  legend

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