Gold Rush - 3/19/10
Our opening match saw Rasche Brown take on Rhett Titus in a bout that I'm kind of surprised went as long as it did. Rasche sold a lot more than I'm used to seeing, but it didn't hurt him because he came back strong to beat Titus in dominating fashion with the Burning Hammer. If anything, the way I look at it is that at first glance, as I've said in the past, Rasche comes off like a Goldberg clone if you're just watching his squashes, but he shows with matches that go longer than a couple of minutes that he's got more depth than that, and whereas Goldberg really sucked at selling, it's important that Rasche can do it because ROH is not a company where people come in and no-sell, it just doesn't happen. If Takeshi Morishima has to sell in ROH, so does Rasche Brown.
We move on to one of our two Pick Six matches of the evening, as (5)Kenny King took on Tyson Dux. Dux, if you're not familiar with him (and I am not) is a guy local to the Michigan/Ontario area, and he's got a look very reminiscent of a young Stunning Steve Austin, with the long blond hair and even down to the tights. I was really impressed with what I saw, the guy is in great shape and obviously puts a lot of time into his body, and he's pretty good in the ring from what I saw. I think that with ROH being a company that has to continually be on the lookout for fresh talent to bring in every year or so, Dux impressed me enough that I think he's a guy they might want to think about giving a shot late this year or sometime in 2011. King got the win, but Dux had a great showing.
The third match saw Kevin Steen & Steve Corino take on Player Dos and Pee Wee, who had Player Uno at ringside with his arm in a sling. Steen and Corino worked the mic before the match, basically running their opposition down before going on to squash them. There wasn't much to this one other than Steen and Corino beating on their opponents, although they did finish the match with a unique twist on the old Steen/Generico finisher where Steen hit the Package Piledriver and rolled Pee Wee through into a diving lariat from Corino. This was basically just to showcase Steen & Corino and set up both men's match for the following evening.
Next we went to a rematch from Glory By Honor VII, as Petey Williams made his return to ROH to face Austin Aries. As usual, Aries got on the mic and ran down both Petey and the fans, and this guy's ability to work a crowd is just amazing. So many people are just worried about getting themselves over and trying to look cool when they cut promos, but Aries really can work the crowd like a marionette. I don't know why they keep bringing Petey back, all his heat is gone because he's been booked to do almost nothing but job since he came in about a year ago, and having him job again in this match didn't do much to make me believe in him going into his TV Title match the night after this. I know we're supposed to love Petey and all, and I do like him as a wrestler, but after the last year I pretty much expect him to lose every match now. I'm not saying give him the World Title, but I think there's more that ROH could have gotten out of him.
We're in the second half as Colt Cabana and El Generico took on the House Of Truth. Pretty standard stuff here, I've said many times how much I liked the House Of Truth, but this was similar to the Steen/Corino tag match in that it was more about getting the Cabana/Generico relationship over than anything else. I like how the match was booked so that Cabana was the one HoT was getting heat on and then Generico made the hot tag to come save the day, which was inverse to Cabana standing by Generico after Steen turned on him. Cabana and Generico get the win and then Steve Corino comes out after the match to warn Cabana about their match the next night. I was kind of expecting Steen to come out of the crowd and rush Cabana and Generico from behind, but no dice.
Time for Pick Six match #2, as (1)Roderick Strong defended his spot against Kenny Omega. These two had a really fun match a few months earlier, and I definitely think Omega would get a bigger push if his Japanese commitments didn't take him out of ROH so often. You can see in this match that Roderick was starting to have more of a heelish edge to him, with the idea being that he was becoming so consumed with winning the ROH World Title that he was starting to get a little overly aggressive. The announcers didn't call it, but I caught a couple of spots where he had Omega's tights on pinfall attempts, and then after he beat Omega, Omega went for a handshake and Roderick looked like he was about to blow him off before coming back and shaking Omega's hand. Good match, but again, this was more about the bigger picture of Strong's tunnel vision with the title.
All this brings us to the championship-laden main event, as ROH World Champion Tyler Black teamed with ROH World Tag Team Champions Jay & Mark Briscoe to take on Chris Hero and the American Wolves of Davey Richards and ROH World TV Champion Eddie Edwards. This was a solid match, but the more interesting thing about watching it was the title implications that would come out of who ended up beating who. The Video Wire preceding this event had Davey Richards talking about how Eddie was the better man and deserves the TV Title, but he wants gold too and has his sights set on Tyler Black, and their brief time in the ring with each other in this match was a good preview of what we're going to see at Death Before Dishonor VIII in a couple of weeks. Another interesting fact the announcers were playing up was that much like the Pure Title was in the past, Eddie Edwards is presenting the TV Title as a different classification of title than the World Title, and not as a secondary title. I don't know if I buy that because it's pretty clearly a secondary title on a guy who, with all due respect, is not World Title level yet. You also had the dynamic of Claudio being out of the country, so he wouldn't be there with Hero as he stood across the ring from the Briscoes, so even though the Briscoes pinned Hero to win the match, the caveat is that his regular partner wasn't there, and if he was then we may have gotten a different result. At the end of the day, I would have preferred to see Hero beat one of the Briscoes to set up their match at the Big Bang, or maybe see Davey catch a fall on Tyler to set up their match at DBD8, but I guess they wanted to go with the happy ending and have the babyfaces go over, so given the choice of the three heels, Hero's the guy I would have had take the fall too.
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I have to be honest, this show didn't set my world on fire, and even though there were some good (if not awesome) matches, storyline advancement, and some wrestlers we don't usually get an opportunity to see perform, this felt like it was more about bridging the gap between the 8th Anniversary Show and the Big Bang than it was about having a good show in its own right. Like I said, it wasn't bad, but it seemed mostly designed to add minor plot points to the big picture, and I think that the best phrase I can come up with to describe this show is nondescript. That's not a bad thing, and every show can't be Wrestlemania X-7, but if you can miss one ROH show in 2010, this would be it.