Pick Your Poison - 4/23/10
We kicked it of with a very strong opener between the Metal Master and Sami Callihan, and if you're not familiar with the Metal Master, you may be familiar with him under his real name, Chad Collyer. If you're not familiar with Collyer either, here's the quick skinny: he's a guy from the Midwest that was trained by Les Thatcher and also spent time with Dean Malenko, and was eerily reminiscent of Malenko in both his appearance and wrestling style. Unfortunately, he was also reminiscent of Malenko in his bland personality as well, and that blandness left him completely unable to connect with the ROH fanbase even though he was one of the most technically solid guys on the roster and was having great matches. So instead, he reverted to the masked Metal Master gimmick, which is lucha-esque in appearance and more physical in-ring. I love Callihan, he's one of those guys that seems to come up with something new every time you see him in the ring, he's innovative without needing to be overly cutesy or complex with the moves he creates. Both guys also like to work stiff, which made for a very entertaining opener. It looks like they blew the planned finish, but Metal Master won with a rollup.
The second match was the conclusion of the long running Necro Butcher-Embassy war, as Necro teamed with Skullkrusher Rasche Brown against Erick Stevens & Shawn Daivari. This was just a straight ahead brawl, and a wrestling match briefly broke out for a couple of minutes in the middle, but things got back to normal in short order and the brawl resumed and spilled out to the floor. The story of the match was that the Embassy was not just trying to win, but actually end the Necro Butcher's career by spending the match attacking his knee (which, helpfully, had a brace on it to let us know it was bad) and then, after Rasche beat Daivari with a spear, the Embassy laid Rasche out on the floor and continued attacking Necro Butcher, powerbombing him onto the backs of two chairs which were set up back to back. The combined damage to the knee and back was enough for the Embassy to finally accomplish their goal and put Necro out of action, leading to a couple of months off before returning as a member of the Embassy.
From there we went to a Pick Six Match, as Chris Hero defended his spot against Petey Williams, and my first thought when watching this match was that Petey really should have stayed in TNA. He's amounted to nothing since leaving, and I don't buy into him being a one move wonder because he's a solid all-around worker, but he's become Matt Cross with a cooler finisher because he's been booked in such a way that nobody cares about him. This was just an extended squash, although Hero did take the Canadian Destroyer, which I never expected to see, but Shane Hagadorn pulled the ref out of the ring to break up the fall, allowing Hero to knock Williams out and put him in the stretch plumb for the win via ref stoppage.
Now we have far and away the match of the show and the match I was most looking forward to, as the American Wolves took on the Dark City Fight Club. The story here was that the Wolves had lost a bunch of matches since losing the tag straps, including one loss on HDNet to the DCFC, so they're looking to get back on track with a win here. This was a rough, tough match with all four guys literally beating the crap out of each other. I loved this match, the crowd was huge into this one and if these two teams wrestled on every show, that would automatically make it an easy thumbs up because it was that good. It even had an awesome finish as Eddie Edwards locked Jon Davis in the Achilles lock but Davis wouldn't tap out, so Davey Richards hit a top rope headbutt on Davis while Davis was still in the Achilles Lock, and that was finally enough to make Davis tap. This match was awesome awesome awesome and worth the price of the DVD alone.
We move on to another interesting tag match, but for entirely different reasons, as Austin Aries & Rhett Titus took on the House Of Truth, along with Truth Martini. This was highly entertaining because you had a rare instance of two heel teams going against one another, and both sides spent the entire match blatantly trying to out cheat each other. As the match went on it turned into a solid exhibition of tag team wrestling, and I think people tend to underrate what a great tag wrestler Austin Aries is. He's certainly made his biggest mark in the singles division, but he does deserve credit for having a great string of matches when he and Roderick were the tag champs, and a lot of times he's been the glue that held six man matches where he teamed with Titus & Kenny King together. Speaking of King, the story going into this show was that Aries was mad at King for failing to help him regain the ROH World Title at the Big Bang, and now in this match, Aries goes off on Titus when miscommunication leads to the HoT getting the upset win.
Now it's time for the first of the Pick Your Poison matches, as El Generico took on Roderick Strong, and Strong was showing a much more aggressive edge here, having gotten to a point where he felt like he had been cost a square shot at the ROH World Title by being stuck in a three way at the Big Bang, a match he was against from the beginning, and was starting to show the anger over being continually denied fair opportunities while Tyler Black were being handed the successes they achieved. This was almost as good as Wolves-DCFC, both men fought their hearts out, but in the end Roderick put together a great combo of moves, finishing Generico with a Gibson Driver followed by a running boot to get the win. Kevin Steen & Steve Corino ran out and attacked Generico after the match, and Roderick Strong decided that discretion was the better part of valor and hightailed it, so the Briscoes ran in to make the save, leading us to...
...the second Pick Your Poison match, and it was a little strange watching the Briscoes come running to the rescue of El Generico, but then again they were going after Steen in doing so, and since you can make the argument that Generico only did the violent things he did to the Briscoes because Steen was pressuring him to, I guess we can let it go. They started off brawling around ringside and through the crowd before heading back into the ring for a solid if unspectacular match. Briscoes went for the Doomsday Device on Corino, but Steen grabbed Mark before he could nail the clothesline, and Corino slipped off Jay's shoulders and rolled him up with a handful of trunks for the surprise win.
We wrap it up with Tyler Black defending the ROH World Title against Kenny King, and I've said before that Tyler Black makes a lousy champion because he can't carry a match on his own, and needs somebody holding his hand to really have a good match. It gets harder to find examples of that since he's usually (very carefully) booked to only work guys who can carry him, but this match is a perfect example because, with all due respect to Kenny King, he's not on the level of Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, Davey Richards, Bryan Danielson, or Nigel McGuinness, and this match really didn't click. To contrast (and get a bit ahead of ourselves), Davey Richards had an aweome match with Kenny at the Big Bang, and the fact that Tyler couldn't is pretty indicative of one of the many problems with Tyler Black holding the ROH World Title. In fact, I'm drawing a blank when trying to think of Tyler Black matches where he's NOT clearly the inferior guy in the ring. Very underwhelming match, though I think Kenny did work his ass off to put in a good showing in what I believe was his first shot in a singles main event in ROH. As bad as Tyler is, it doesn't help him when a guy who, as polished and smooth a worker as Kenny is, is a midcarder kicks out of God's Last Gift not once, but twice, and it takes Tyler giving Kenny the Buckle Bomb and superkick to put him away.
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This was a great show, American Wolves vs Dark City Fight Club was off the charts, and Aries/Titus vs House Of Truth, Strong vs Generico, and Metal Master vs Sami Callahan were all very good as well. There was nothing bad on this show, and the whole thing wrapped together makes this an easy thumbs up.
That about wraps it up for this one, thanks for reading