The Omega Effect - 11/14/09
The opening match saw the Young Bucks take on the Flatliners, who I guess are a local team that was getting a look by ROH. Pretty standard stuff that basically amounted to a showcase for the Young Bucks as they controlled most of the match, and even though the Flatliners did show off some impressive stuff, the Young Bucks came away with the win after hitting More Bang For Your Buck. Overall, not really anything to write home about.
From there we go to a Four Corner Survival match that included Colt Cabana, Claudio Castagnoli, Grizzly Redwood, and Delirious. Cabana, Grizzly, and Delirious are so good at comedy wrestling, and Claudio is really good at playing the straight man who's trying to be serious while Cabana or whoever is goofing around. Plus, if you're basically thrown into a match like this that has no real bearing on anything of importance, why not have some fun with it? Cabana won by pinning Delirious, which made sense since he was going into a World Title match on the next show.
We go to tag team action after that as Rhett Titus & Kenny King took on the Super Smash Bros, and during this match the audio track started having some major problems, skipping like a broken record. Because of this the match was kind of hard to concentrate on or really enjoy, but given that it was pretty much a glorified squash, I guess it doesn't really matter all that much. I did a quick check around the internet and I wasn't the only one having this issue, but I don't care so much about the audio on this match that I'm going to bother calling ROH about an exchange. Hopefully they've corrected the issue since this DVD was released, but if not then you've been warned. The audio came back just in time for Titus to hit their powerbomb/Blockbuster finish on Player Uno for the win.
Next we saw Katsuhiko Nakajima take on El Generico, and it was funny because Nakajima was going to put Generico away and I couldn't remember what his finish was, and I realized it's because I don't think he's ever won a match in ROH before. Funny how a guy can look so good in defeat that you forget about stuff like that. In any event, this was a great match that looked like it could have gone either way, and these guys really kicked the crap out of each other and kept going before Nakajima nailed him with four or five superkicks in a row and a German Suplex for the win. Nice little moment at the end where Steen and Cabana came out to check on Generico, again foreshadowing the feud that would soon start. The one thing I have to question about this match is that ROH had really tried to get away from a zillion near falls, but we got about that many in this match, and I've noticed it happening more and more. I don't have a problem with it, it adds to the drama of a match because you never know just when it's going to end, but I will say that it should probably be saved for the main event, especially when the main event is a major World Title defense.
Following that match, we go to Tyler Black vs Roderick Strong in a rematch of the finals of Survival Of The Fittest where, if you recall from earlier in our little series, Tyler defeated Roderick to win the tournament even though it looked like Roderick might have kicked out at the very last split second. Tyler said he wouldn't hide from Roderick if he wanted a rematch, hence this match. I don't know if I've said this in any of the DVD reviews so far and am too lazy to bother checking, but Roderick Strong has come so far, and I remember back in 2007 when I had all but written the guy off as being a boring wrestler with zero promo skills who was never going to live up to the "future of ROH" label that CM Punk had given him back in 2005 or the ROH World Title matches he had with Bryan Danielson. Now I love watching the guy, I think he has improved so much in the ring in the last two years that it's scary how good he's become, and he's even managed to turn into a pretty good promo guy as well. I started noticing probably midway through 2009 that Roderick was consistently in the top two best matches of the night on any given show he was on, and obviously I'm not the only one who's noticed because he's been in a pretty prominent role so far in 2010. I give Roderick a lot of credit: you've proven me wrong and now I wouldn't be surprised if he did one day end up with the ROH World Title.
As for the match, I thought it was terrific, a great follow up on the Survival Of The Fittest finals that continued to portray them as totally even and complete equals. I did notice that there were a lot of near falls in this one, but it played into the story because neither guy could beat the other, and it ended up going to a 20 minute time limit draw, necessitating yet a third match that would take place a month later. I liked the build of this feud for several reasons: first, it was a slow burn that took a long time to play out, a storytelling style which Adam Pearce is very good at and I don't think gets enough credit for doing so well. Second, Roderick Strong is back in the main events on a regular basis and his push back up to that level completely snuck up on us, because we weren't thinking of Tyler vs Roderick down the line at this point, we were thinking Tyler vs Aries now, but once he had the title after the 8th Anniversary Show, we had a ready made top challenger because of this little mini-feud he diverted into on his way to the championship. Really well done.
We follow that up with our third tag match of the evening, as Joey Ryan and Erick Stevens of the Embassy took on Jay & Mark Briscoe, and the funny thing I thought of as I watched this match was how much stronger the Embassy seems with Ryan and Stevens than it ever did with Jimmy Rave and whoever else. In fact, it literally took me four or five months before I even noticed that Jimmy Rave was gone from ROH after the match with Necro Butcher, and I think for all the pop that he got on his return to ROH at the 7th Anniversary Show, it wasn't long at all before he went back to doing exactly what he was doing before he left ROH the first time, which was treading water. ROH had gotten to a point where it had passed him by and moved on, and the Stevens/Ryan pairing is a formidable one. Too bad they don't seem able to book the Embassy in an interesting feud, and I don't count the neverending feud with Necro Butcher. Anyway, this was a pretty standard tag match, although I did notice that while Mark Briscoe had really slowed it down upon his return from the injury, he had started doing a lot more of the flippy moves by this point, and I really feel like for all the bad spills he's had and injuries he's suffered, he really ought to know better and is tempting fate in a big way by continuing to take these risks. The Embassy won in a pretty big upset when Ryan pinned Jay on a rollup with a handful of tights. The Briscoes did get a bit of revenge by beating up Ernesto Osiris and giving him a spike Jay Driller after the match, and that's really what he's there for. After all, he's the Virgil to Nana's Dibiase.
In the semi-main, Kevin Steen defeated (1)Chris Hero in a really good Pick Six match to claim the #1 spot. These two are among the best of the "new generation" of ROH stars, and both have improved so much over the last couple of years that it seems like neither can have a bad match with anyone. They're both very versatile workers as well, they don't have to just work one style that fits them because they can adapt to pretty much any opponent. This match built on the finish of the Boiling Point main event where Steen made Hero tap out to the Sharpshooter, and the build here was that Steen already knows he can beat Hero with the Sharpshooter, so Hero spent the whole match trying to avoid that hold only to end up getting put away with a Package Piledriver instead. Great psychology, and a great match between two guys who always work well together.
Finally we come to our main event, as Austin Aries defends the ROH World Title against Kenny Omega in his home country of Canada. This was another one of those slow burn storylines that Adam Pearce doesn't get enough credit for, that make no sense if you're a super demanding fan who needs every angle paid off in one night, but developed well if you watched the story unfold over the course of the year. Omega had scored two upset wins over Aries in non-title situation earlier in 2009 and then once Aries regained the title at Manhattan Mayhem III, spent the rest of the year badgering him for a title shot. Omega finally got that shot here in Canada, and it's good booking having a Canadian main event this show, ROH is always very conscious of where they are on any given night and showcases their talents accordingly.
This match had a different dynamic than the match the previous evening with Davey Richards, because with Richards, you have a challenger who's this intense wrestling machine and it seemed like Aries was going to be fighting for his life to try and retain the title, only to come away with a fairly dominant win. In this match, Aries is clearly coming in as the favorite because even though Omega had scored two wins over Aries, neither was really decisive, so Aries was still the seasoned veteran going up against a guy who's still on his way up the ladder. This wasn't quite as good as the Richards match but was still very, very good, and instead of a back and forth match like Aries-Richards, this was pretty much Omega trying to stay alive while hoping to pull one more trick out of his bag and pick up the win. The match went about 35 minutes and again saw Aries have to throw everything he had at his challenger, hitting a brainbuster on Omega, Omega kicking out, and Aries hitting another brainbuster, a series of knees to the head, and finally locking him in the Last Chancery where Omega passed out and the referee stopped the match. After the match, Aries cut a promo again reiterating that people have been doubting Aries but this weekend he proved that he's still the man around ROH. I can't argue with that: Aries really wasn't impressing me with his first several months with the title, but this weekend was the beginning of a strong series of title defenses that showed why Aries has been a top guy in this company for so long.
And speaking of those strong title defenses, we now move on to December as Aries would have another major title defense against another hometown boy...