Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Segunda Caida Road Report: ROH "Death Before Dishonor VI" 8/2/2008

Professional wrestling: let's talk 'bout it.

THE BRISCOE BROTHERS vs. JIGSAW & RUCKUS

Good quick, high-energy match to kick off the card. Not particularly remarkable, Jigsaw was a bit under par, and Julius Smokes gave an uncharacteristically subdued performance, but Ruckus didn't suck nearly as much as usual, and it had all that crazy flippy stuff that makes for a fun live spectacle. Plus, the Briscoes fucking people up tends to be entertaining.

Sweeney, Hero, and Dempsey hit the ring, and Sweeney starts to make overtures towards buying out the Briscoes, but they casually walk out on him. Hero then adapts Chris Jericho's "I'm not here to entertain you anymore" promo from this week's Raw for his own purposes, which was kinda baffling considering that his act was never about entertaining the people, was always about being in it for himself, and it was the exact promo Chris Jericho cut on Raw this week.

DELIRIOUS vs. CHRIS HERO

This match left no impression with me whatsoever. So there.

RODERICK STRONG vs. EDDIE EDWARDS

Well, Rod certainly beat on Eddie something fierce. Eddie kind of worked as a poor man's Roderick Strong, so he didn't really seem like anything special here, but he ate all of Roderick's offense nicely, and the whole thing made for a pretty fun beating until Hero interferes to help give Eddie the big win.

ADAM PEARCE vs. BRENT ALBRIGHT

This was one of two matches I came into the show really dreading, but ended up being surprisingly good. Pearce was a pretty strong heel here. He's dialed back the Memphis pastiche stuff, and while I was never as down on him about that as others were, it's definitely for the better. Felt more like a guy who actually was NWA champ than just a guy playing NWA champ, and this match actually came across as a big deal. Crowd was nuts, really behind Albright all the way. Pearce doesn't have much going for him in terms of offense. I mean, for guy who spent much of his career aping Memphis stuff, you'd think he'd have better looking punches. So this seemed pretty tame for a match with double juice and a ton of heat. Albright getting shoved off the top rope through the ringside table was pretty nasty, though. Albright does five chained German suplexes for a two-count, and I start thinking about Happy Loman at the end of "Death of a Salesman". Anyhow, it was a very well put together match. The drama built nicely, as Pearce gets more and more desperate to retain the title as Albright comes back from bigger and bigger odds (getting busted open, Sweeney almost getting Pearce intentionally DQ'd before Strong makes the save, the aforementioned table spot that almost gets Albright counted out) before Albright sinks in the Fujiwara armbar center ring and makes Pearce tap. I think this is the kind of match where the drama and the spectacle will play better live than it will on DVD, but as I was there live, I can't really complain.


AUSTIN ARIES vs. JIMMY JACOBS vs. THE NECRO BUTCHER

Once again, The Necro Butcher match is the one I was most excited about going into the show, and also the one I was most disappointed by. I try not to do the Chris Coey thing of reviewing the match based on what I wanted to happen as opposed to what actually happened. That said, really have to question the booking of having a match that serves as a major plot point in the Aries/Jacobs blood feud as a comedy match. Bulk of the match is built around Aries and Jacobs fighting each other as Necro is easily and comically subdued every time he tries to get into the fray. Aries attacks the man who killed/disfigured/did something really, really bad to Lacey with a top rope backrake, to give you a sense of the gravity of the situation. Jacobs goes on offense and demands that Necro blind Aries. When Necro balks, Jacobs starts bawling him out because he's his soldier, and he's supposed to be there for him, not for himself. Whole crux of the Ages of the Fall gimmick is that it's supposed to be a front that covers for Jacobs' selfish behavior, not one that outright admits it. Ages of the Fall isn't the Four Horseman. It doesn't make sense for Jimmy Jacobs to be chastising the Necro Butcher for trying to win the match like Flair chastising Sting for not giving up his World Title shot at WrestleWar '90. Especially not when Tyler Black is fighting the the ROH Title later that night. Priorities, Jimmy! Then Austin Aries does the old Eddie Guerrero chairshot fake-out and Necro takes out Jimmy, walks out out of the match, and lets Aries get the win. Talk about your anti-climaxes. Hopefully it leads to Necro fucking up both of these dudes in better matches later, but this was a disappointment.

INTERMISSION

I ran into Rob Naylor! I got a Sprite! I tried to meet up with some other friends I went with, but got lost in the crowd! I went back to my seat! I guess that's about it!

Delirious pops out to try and ask Daizee Haze on a date again. Once again, they get cut off by Rhett Titus and his personalized theme music ("You're gonna have to face it, you're 'Addicted to Love' Rhett Titus!"), who calls Daizee "used goods" before taking off his pants to show us his Rick Rude/Cheryl Roberts-inspired tights with Daizee's face airbrushed on his ass. Then Daizee tells Delirious they should just be friends, much to the rage of the audience. How dare women do things.

NAOMICHI MARUFUJI vs. GO SHIOZAKI

This was the other match I was really dreading, and it exceeded my expectations even more than Pearce/Albright did. Go is one of my least favorite wrestlers in the world currently. He really is like a bad parody of late-90's All Japan/NOAH main event wrestlers. Before this match, I'm not even sure if he was aware that wrestlers are supposed to act like the other guy's moves hurt. Seems like a guy who would work Kurt Angle and then complain about Kurt lying around on the mat too long after a move the same way Kurt used to complain about Eddie Guerrero lying around on the mat after his moves. Probably would have worked Eddie and then gotten bored and left the second he started selling. And Marufuji, who I have kind of a love/hate relationship with, seems like a guy who would play into all of Go's worst tendencies. But both of these guys work this match against type for whatever reason, and the match turns out great. Marufuji works the match at a slower pace than usual, giving Go ample time to sell while he plays to the crowd. Go holds up his end of the bargain by actually selling, and wouldn't you know it, all the big moves Marufuji busts out (the Shiranui off of the apron, the brainbuster onto the apron...geez Louise) actually feel like big moves. And when Go starts kicking out of big moves in the final stretch it feels like he's actually gutting it out after having a lot taken out of him, instead of just regurgitating a shopworn routine. Marufuji helps bring the crowd into it by generally acting like a cocky bastard, appealing to the crowd after big moves as if to say "yeah, I just totally dropped that dude on his head...cool, huh?". It kinda felt like a match in a vacuum, what with Go working this as subtle face despite being a member of Sweet & Sour Inc., but it felt bigger than the "big touring match" feel of most ROH all-Japanese matches, and was probably the best match of that genre I've ever seen from them, as well as the match of the night.

KEVIN STEEN & EL GENERICO vs. THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS

People who tire of the MCMGs when they're just dudes with flashy offense in TNA tend to forget how awesome they are as cocky heel outsiders with flashy offense in ROH. The work here was really strong. It was as move-heavy as you'd expect, but with the strong backbone of a classic tag match structure. Also Shelley and Steen getting into a war of spit and snot rockets. Oddly, they announced this as being a "scramble rules" match despite not being advertised as one, and then requiring the wrestlers to make tags anyway. Oh well, it was a bunch of fun, so who's counting?

NIGEL MCGUINNESS vs. BRYAN DANIELSON vs. CLAUDIO CASTOGNOLI vs. TYLER BLACK

I'm the one guy who likes four-corner survival matches, but this was an elimination match and had the problems inherent in those matches (you eliminating that guy would put me one step closer to victory, but fuck that, I'm breaking up the pin anyway!). Match is good enough in spite of that. It turns into a real scene when Danielson pins Claudio and Claudio goes apeshit, dropping him with a Ricola Bomb and stomping a chair onto his head while flinging security and students around the ring like Andre the Giant in Japan. Crowd is just electric from that point on. Nigel makes quick work of an injured Danielson, and then does another fantastic job of tricking the crowd into thinking Tyler Black is a good wrestler, and very nearly convinces me that they're going to give Black the belt. They don't of course, and the crowd starts chucking garbage into the ring en masse as Nigel proclaims that he's beaten everyone and has no competition...before noticing Marufuji standing in the aisle! Dun-dun-DUN!


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