Day 138 (yesterday).
I watched ROH's Transform, which is the battle-cry of the Vulture Squad. And they're prominently featured on the cover. That has to be some strong foreshadowing!
The opener is the YRR vs. Delirious/El Generico/Mike Quackenbush. Well. OK, I guess. It makes for a good match, but what a weird combo. It's a good, fun match nonetheless with the YRR going over to set up the program in FIP against Delirious. That's twice they've garnered the big win this weekend.
Next up is the Daniel Puder Challenge. Sweeney offers $1000 to anyone who can last a minute with Puder without submitting. Alex Payne comes out and falls victim pretty quickly. Claudio comes out but gets taken back by security again. RHETT TITUS~! comes out and tries to outsmart Puder by running to the outside. Puder taps him in time, though. This segues into Larry Sweeney announcing Chris Hero and Sara Del Rey as the World Intergender Tag Team champions and THAT segues into a match with Ernie Osiris and Alexa Thatcher. Really it's just a showcase for Sara Del Rey who beats up both Osiris and Thatcher, though at the end Hero MURDERS Thatcher with a roaring elbow.
Next is Roddy Strong vs. Jigsaw. A good match but nothing great. Jigsaw continues to be the biggest jobber in the faction wars. Both are game but they don't really do much and Roddy wins with a weird submission. Man, Jigsaw sure did TRANSFORM.
More faction warfare as Jimmy Jacobs takes on Jack Evans. I don't know if I've ever said this, but Jack Evans is conceivably my least favorite worker in ROH ever. Jimmy starts off cutting a promo but he gets interrupted by Evans. On the flip-side of the Evans-comment, Jacobs might be my favorite ROH promo ever - though he has strong competition from CM Punk and Austin Aries. This match is solid, with Jacobs winning via the End TIme. Huh. I didn't expect that. The Vulture Squad then get destroyed by the AOTF but are eventually saved by the Briscoes. Some mighty fine TRANSFORMING there.
Backstage Steen cuts a horrid promo.
Next up is Austin Aries vs. Claudio Castagnoli. This is more like it. Aries is steal smarting from a series of losses while Castagnoli is trying to build up some momentum. They have a terrific back-and-forth match. Finish comes when Claudio Ricola Bombs Aries, but Aries kicks out only to get Ricola Bombed again for the Claudio-win. That's probably Claudio's biggest win in ROH and perfectly sets him up for a run against Nigel. Aries refuses to shake his hand, interestingly. Claudio isn't done though and offers Daniel Puder $1000 to try and submit him in a minute. Puder fails but Claudio ends up on the wrong side of a beatdown by Sweet n Sour. And then Larry rips him off of the $1000 anyway.
Next is BJ Whitmer/Shane Hagadorn vs. Bobby Fish/Eddie Edwards. See, it should be BJ Whitmer vs. El Generico here, instead, and maybe toss Eddie in that opening six-man. Anyway, this is a glorified squash match to put over the Hangmen 3.
Next is Brent Albright vs. Kevin Steen. This should be interesting. It's a good big-man battle, which you don't see often in ROH. The best part is they go into an ending, but then it turns out there's plenty of match left. It probably went longer than necessary, but it was good fun with Steen gaining revenge with the Package Piledriver. Afterward the Hangmen initiate the beatdown, but El Generico and RED POISON DELIRIOUS~! make the save.
Becky joins the YRR, I think.
Next is Erick Stevens vs. Bryan Danielson. This match is good as well, but it doesn't click into high gear or anything. This is all a part of Stevens' epic quest to be a legitimate champion. The story here is that halfway through the match Danielson gets counted out but Stevens doesn't want it to end there, so the match continues. There's some fun stuff but nothing groundbreaking. Stevens ultimately wins, rather surprisingly. There was a lot of controversy about the decision at the time, as the perception was Stevens didn't deserve to go over Aries/Danielson on the same weekend and he was being "shoved" down the ROH faithful's throat. I disagree, honestly, and I think it was perfect booking as long as you're anywhere else because here, the ROH faithful turned on the decision. It's cool, though, because Stevens would immediately regain that faith the ROH faithful had him before this weekend with one hell of a feud we'll be getting to soon.
The main event is the Briscoes vs. Tyler Black/Necro Butcher in a No DQ match. It ends up being the Briscoes vs. the entire AOTF and Jimmy Jacobs ends up taking Jay out with a senton through a table off a ladder. Jay gets stretchered out leaving Mark to be absolutely demolished by the AOTF. But then Mark unlocks the Matrix in his darkest hour and the Vulture Squad TRANSFORMS to save the day. It becomes Jigsaw/Jack Evans/Mark Briscoe vs. Jimmy Jacobs/Necro Butcher/Tyler Black, although never formally announced weirdly enough. And then it gets even better, becoming the most chaotic brawl in ROH since the ROH vs. CZW war. Tons of insane spots involving guys being thrown into seas of chairs and what not. Another insane spot sees Jigsaw and Mark suplex Necro from in the ring into the CROWD. The finish is Evans hitting a springboard 630 (!) on Jacobs for the big win.
Match of the Day goes to Jimmy Jacobs/Tyler Black/Necro Butcher vs. Jack Evans/Jigsaw/Mark Briscoe.
"Hogan is trying to get Yokozuna into WCW. Remember, he still has a win he needs to get back" - The Wrestling Observer Newsletter: December 08, 1997