Ring of Honor Rising Above opened with Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard welcoming everyone to the show and declaring that viewers would see why ROH was Rising Above the competition. They noted that the Hangmen 3 were in the ring and we didn't know why. Leonard said that as an added bonus, ROH had cameras all over the backstage area tonight to give fans a full view of the event.
Backstage, Kevin Steen and El Generico realized there was a camera in front of them. Steen said there was nothing glamorous about their locker room and that it was dirty and dingy, just the way they liked it. Steen said it was just like home, where they like to fight. Steen said they have been waiting to get their hands on the Hangmen.
In the ring, Adam Pearce cut them off and said no one cares about what's going on backstage. Pearce said that at the last PPV, Delirious tried to gnaw his ear off in revenge for what the Hangmen 3 have done to him. He promised that Delirious had signed his death warrant by doing so and challenged Delirious to face their "Gun for Hire" Brent Albright.
They went into the opening video package for the PPV.
Delirious vs. Brent Albright
Delirious hit the ring and blew mist in the face of Pearce. Albright was wearing the green Delirious mask that the Hangmen had stolen previously. Delirious snapped his throat over the top rope, then nailed a top rope lariat. He began tearing at Albright's mask, removing it. Delirious raked his fingers across Albright's throat. Albright backed him into the corner, but Delirious jumped atop his back and locked on a sleeper. Albright came back with a powerslam but Delirious popped up. They traded strikes. Albright nailed several backbreakers and snapped off a Dragon Suplex.
Albright worked over Delirious with a series of rights on the mat. He set up Delirious for a delayed vertical suplex, before dropping him down. He worked over Delirious in the corner then Beale tosses him. Delirious began chopping his way out of the corner. He goes for a sunset flip but Albright avoids it. Delirious is caught with an overhead belly to belly suplex into the corner.
Albright went right after the mask as he worked over Delirious. Delirious goes for a high cross bodyblock but is caught and slammed down. Albright suplexes him over and ascends to the top. Albright hits a flying headbutt off the top but misses. Delirious hits a running knee to the head then goes to the top. He hits his top rope back splash, Shadows over Hell then locks in a Cobra Stretch submission. Albright escapes and locks in his Crowbar submission.
Delirious rolls up Albright for a two and is caught with a boot to the face. Albright goes to slam Delirious, who rolls him into a small package and gets the pin.
Your winner, Delirious!
A solid opener.
After the pin, The Hangmen attacked Delirious. Kevin Steen and El Generico hit the ring for the save and all six began brawling around the ring.The Age of the Fall came out and Jimmy Jacobs cut a promo in the middle of the brawl, saying that ROH was the platform for their revolution and they wanted the ROH Tag Team championship. He asked everyone who wasn't part of the norm to stand up to be counted, and half the crowd sat down. He started ripping on New York City. The Vulture Squad cleared the ring. Julius Smokes challenging for a tag team, four way Scramble Match right there.
Scramble Match - Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. Ruckus & Jack Evans vs. BJ Whitmer & Adam Pearce vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black
As soon as Smokes issued his challenge, Jigsaw nailed a dive on Necro Butcher, taking him out. Everyone brawled around the ring while Whitmer and Generico brawled inside the ring. Whitmer worked over Generico in the corner, but was caught with an elbow as he charged him in the corner. Generico hit a crossbody off the ropes, but Whitmer escaped the ring. Pearce knocked Generico to the floor, but Steen attacked him and began chopping away. Pearce cut him off and began biting him.
Steen came back with an enziguiri, knocking Pearce to the floor. Steen went to the top for a dive but was knocked off and hung upside down by the Age of the Fall. They nailed stereo dropkicks in the corner on Steen. Evans and Ruckus joined the fray, working over Black with a series of standing moonsault presses.
Evans nailed a handspring elbow in the corner on Jacobs, who was then nailed with a Yakuza Kick by Generico. Steen grabbed them both and nailed a Samoan Drop on them. NYC loved that. Steen went for his package piledriver but was cut off by Whitmer. The Hangmen worked over Steen and Generico with double team moves. Ruckus clotheslined Pearce but was cut off by Whitmer. This set up an insane series of moves I'm not even going to try and recap. In the end, everyone was down and out with the crowd giving a huge round of applause.
Pearce tried to cover Jacobs, but he kicked up. Generico charged Pearce, who nailed a chokeslam. Whitmer nailed a frog splash but Ruckus broke up the pin. Pearce covered Ruckus but Evans hit a springboard into a sledgehammer to break up the pin. Evans cut off Whitmer with a knee to the back and hit the 630 splash. Steen went for the package piledriver on Evans, but Jacobs speared him to prevent it.
The Age of the Fall tried to set up Generico for a double team move but Generico escaped, ran the turnbuckles, shoved Jacobs off to the floor, then nailed a swinging DDT on Black. Steen and Generico drilled Black with a combination package piledriver, followed by a brainbuster for the win.
Your winners, Kevin Steen & El Generico!
Really fun Scramble match. The announcers put over that Steen and Generico could make a claim to being the top contenders to the ROH Tag Team championship and would be watching the Briscoes closely.
Backstage, ROH Tag Team champs Jay and Mark Briscoe said they had two orders of business. The first would be to defend the belts and making it 5-0 on PPV, then they were going to find the Age of the Fall backstage. Jay said they were the hunters tonight. He said that after the Age of the Fall had done to them, it meant nothing. Jay said they liked to go into the sleaziest bars, drink everyone under the table and start a big brawl, and that's what they were going to do tonight. Mark Briscoe smiled, showing his missing teeth as the promo ended. Briscoes showed some personality here.
Daizee Haze vs. Lacey vs. Sara del Rey
All three battled as the bell rang. Rey nailed a backbreaker in Lacey, who retreated. Del Rey worked over Haze, who caught her with a rollup. Lacey broke up the pinfall. Haze grabbed Lacey for a backslide but she escaped and kicked her in the gut. Haze tried to hit a bodypress on her opponents, but is caught and tossed off. Lacey worked over Haze with forearms. Haze came back with a dropkick to the back.
They showed Tammy Sytch watching from ringside, putting over that you never know who's going to show up at ROH.
Lacey tried to get del Rey to work with her on beating down Haze. They worked together briefly, but del Rey gave Lacey a big boot, turning on her. Del Rey locked in a submission. Haze locked a submission on del Rey and grabbed Lacey's arm, torquing it backwards. That was awesome.
Like the Scramble Match, there's too much going on to recap. Del Rey nails a boot to the face of Lacey in the corner after Haze avoids it. Haze tries to roll up Del Rey for the pin but only gets a two count. Haze rolled up Del Rey with a jackrabbit, but when Del Rey kicks up, she sends Haze headfirst into Lacey's midsection in the corner.
Haze nails a missile dropkick on both of her opponents. She nails a back senton on both, but they kick out of stereo covers. She begins working over Lacey with chops in the corner. She tries to superplex her but Del Rey catches her with a rollup. Del Rey catches them both in a Royal Butterfly submission.
Lacey and Haze exchange forearms. Haze nails the heart punch on Lacey. She goes for the Yakuza Kick and nails Del Rey out of the ring. Haze hits the mindtrip (Ace Crusher/DDT combo) and scores the pin.
Your winner, Daizee Haze!
Another fun match.
They aired a ROH website promo, showing all the major stars that have appeared in ROH.
We went to the clips of Davey Richards and Rocky Romero working over Erick Stevens from an event in Edison, NJ, injuring his shoulder. They showed Stevens coming to the ring in NYC, explaining he was going for revenge tonight. Good way to explain the backstory of the match for viewers.
Erick Stevens vs. Davey Richards
Stevens attacked Richards and chopped away. He and Richards exchanged shoulder tackles, finally getting the better of him. Stevens powerslammed Richards. Richards was slammed into the turnbuckle and chopped him in the corner. He continued to work over Richards and covered him for a two count. Stevens nailed a belly to back suplex for another two count. Stevens continued the assault but Richards kept kicking out before the three count.
Richards finally catches him with a Dragon Screw legwhip. Richards shoulderblocked him in the corner a number of times and hung Stevens upside down. He charged, then stopped and punched Stevens in the groin. Ouch. The announced noted there was a commotion with someone trying to make an entrance in the building, which was Daniel Puder, although the cameras didn't focus on him.
Richards worked over Stevens with a number of kicks and locked on headscissors to wear him down. Richards seems to be channeling Dynamite Kid in look and style. He began headbutting Stevens, who came back with a clubbing shot in the back and an over the knee backbreaker. He cinched in a chinlock.
The cameras caught Daniel Puder, identified as a mixed martial artist, who was yelling and beckoning at Stevens. The distraction allowed Richards to kick a series of combination strikes and kicks. Stevens came back with several elbows and a belly to belly suplex. Stevens called for his running splash in the corner, the Choo Choo, hits it and followed up with a Polish Hammer. He nailed a pumphandle slam for a two count.
Stevens set up Richards in the corner and they battled atop of it. Richards nailed several headbutts and hit a sunset flip powerbomb off the top for a two count. He cinched in a Kimura submission, but Stevens dragged himself to his feet. Richards rolled up Stevens and scored a two count. Stevens came back with a powerslam, but Richards got his shoulder up.
Stevens, in the ring, had words with Puder on the stage during the bout. That distraction allowed Richards to nail Stevens with a missile dropkick to set up another Kimura. Stevens taped out.
Your winner, Davey Richards!
The crowd chanted "you can't wrestle" at Puder. Stevens took the house mic and asked Puder where he gets off disrespecting him and making a spectacle of himself. He said he knows all about his credentials, but this is Ring of Honor and Puder hasn't proven anything to ROH or their fans. Stevens said that if Puder is looking for a fight, he isn't hard to find. The crowd chanted, "You're not Tough Enough."
Stevens told Puder to hop the guard rail and they can handle it right now. Puder got up but Larry Sweeney came out with Sara del Rey. He introduced himself to Puder. Sweeney said that Puder is a world class athlete and one of the most dangerous men in the world. He says that Puder doesn't do anything for free and Sweeney represents the best in the world. He invited Puder to return to Sweet N Sour Inc.'s private locker room to watch the rest of the show without being surrounded by "these filthy scumbags". Puder left with Sara Del Ray to head backstage.
Sweeney cut a promo saying that when his man Chris Hero beats Claudio Castagnoli tonight, Sweeney would own Claudio's contract and once gets it, he's selling it to Vince like he did Matt Sydal. Claudio chased Sweeney into the ring. Tank Toland and Bobby Dempsey attacked Claudio. He fought them off, then went back after Sweeney.
Chris Hero vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Hero got offense on Claudio early and did some grandstanding and showboating to the crowd. That allowed Claudio to recover and backdrop him. Hero whipped Claudio into the corner but Claudio landed outside. He fought off Hero but was caught in a cravat and snapped into the ring. Hero dragged him into the corner and choked him out in the corner. The referee stepped in between them.
Hero began chopping Castagnoli in the corner as Sweeney preened at ringside. Claudio made a comeback with several European uppercuts. Hero is knocked off the apron and landed on Dempsey's shoulders. Claudio hit a tope through the ropes on both. Hero fell backwards and landed on the guard rail.
Hero returned to the ring where Claudio nailed a flying uppercut for a two count. He goes for a bicycle kick but it's blocked. Hero hits a leaping forearm in the corner. He whips Claudio into the corner and nails a roaring elbow. Hero goes to the top and nails a blockbuster. He nails a cravat suplex for a two count.
Castagnoli started to make a comeback and nailed a bridging German suplex. Hero nailed a boot to the face as Claudio came off the ropes. Claudio cut off Hero and nailed the big swing and his bicycle kick but Hero kicked out. Claudio attempted the Ricola Bomb but Hero turned it into a hurancanrana for a two count. Castagnoli reversed a cravice into a Ricoli Bomb and scored the pin.
Your winner, Claudio Castagnoli!
Another fun match. The tope while on Dempsey's shoulders and the reversal out of the submission into the finish was fun.
Backstage, we saw a split screen of the Briscoes preparing for their match while the Age of the Fall cut a promo saying they weren't hard to find and set off looking for them. Necro Butcher called them a bunch of chicken farmers and said they were going to get taken out West Virginia style.
Takeshi Morishima vs. Bryan Danielson
As Morishima made his way to the ring, the announcers noted that Morishima sent word that he isn't coming for a win tonight, but to injure Danielson. Morishima jumped him in the aisle and kicked him in the face. He whipped Danielson into the railing and then threw a table atop of him.
Morishima returned to the ring and taunted the crowd. The cameras showed Danielson down on the floor with blood strongly pouring from his head. Danielson pulled himself to the apron and was clotheslined back to the floor. Danielson laid there with blood continuing to stream down his face.
Morishima tossed him back into the ring and came off the top rope with a missile dropkick. He tore at the cut on Danielson's head, then choked him over the ropes. He began stomping on Danielson's face in the corner. Morishima nailed an Avalanche in the corner. He raked Danielson's face across the ropes and continued the assault.
Danielson attempted to pull himself up and finally hit a running knee, followed by a series of kicks to the chest and back. Danielson went for a triangle choke but Morishima powered up. Danielson nailed a series of elbows, but was nailed with a lariat.
Morishima nailed a backdrop driver on Danielson, who got back to his feet. Danielson was nailed with a lariat but got his shoulder up. Danielson caught Morishima and began raining elbows down and punching him. Morishima reversed the guard, but Danielson reversed. Morishima got atop again. They battled to their feet. Morishima kicked Danielson low. The referee admonished him. Morishima stomped him low, then shoved the referee down.
Several referees and officials hit the ring. Morishima struck one and nailed another with the backdrop driver. Danielson grabbed the timekeeper's bell at ringside and attacked Morishima's eye with it, declaring he was going to blind him.
Your winner by DQ, Bryan Danielson.
Backstage, Brent Albright told the rest of the Hangmen 3 that the only reason they didn't win the Scramble match was because of the Vulture Squad. They resolved to go find them and take care of them. They showed the Vulture Squad talking in their locker room, but we couldn't hear what they were saying.
ROH Tag Team champs The Briscoes vs. Rocky Romero & Roderick Strong - Best of Three Falls
They started in the ring, no entrances. The crowd
chanted "Two straight" at the Briscoes while the announcers noted that
the last Best of Three Falls match the Briscoes had lost were to CM Punk and
Colt Cabana back in 2004, a match they claimed Ricky Steamboat thought was one
of the best he had ever seen.
Romero and Strong worked over Jay, who returned fire with an elbow on Strong. Strong came back with a dropkick and the No Remorse Corp worked him over in their corner. Mark Briscoe hit a blind tag and the Briscoes double shoulderblocked Strong. The Briscoes maintained offense on Strong, who kicked up after a suplex by Mark. Romero jumped in and nailed a springboard DDT on Mark. They worked over Mark who finally made his way to the corner to tag his brother, but Strong nailed Jay and knocked him to the floor.
Mark made a comeback and nailed a moonsault on the NRS before finally making the hot tag to his brother. Jay cleaned house in every sense of the cliche. Mark nailed a double stomp on Romero, who went to the floor. Mark soared with an awesome twisting springboard dive. Strong went to the floor and Jay followed suit with another kickass dive.
Back in the ring, Jay nailed Romero with a Spicoli Driver, but Strong broke up the pin. Strong nailed a backbreaker. The Briscoes made a comeback and nailed Strong with the Doomsday Device. Romero prevented a pinfall. Strong nailed a leg lariat on Jay and after a double team, hit the Gibson Driver for the pin. The announcers played up the Briscoes losing the fall as a huge deal.
The second fall started with Romero continuing to work over Jay, antagonizing him between kicks. Jay finally blocked a DDT, took out Romero and tagged in Mark. Mark and Strong went back and forth before Mark scored the pin, tying up the match at one fall apiece.
The two teams started exchanging strikes as the third fall began. Romero attempted a kick but was caught with a dragon screw leg whip. Mark nailed a fisherman's buster, but only received a two count. Mark missed a moonsault and was nailed with a knee strike. The NRC kept working him over. Mark finally made the tag to Jay after nailing an inverted DDT on Romero. Jay and Strong beat the crap out of each other. Strong went to the top but was caught wit a springboard ace crusher. The Briscoes nailed Strong with a spike Jay-Driller for the pin.
Your winners, The Briscoes!
Just an awesome back and forth match. Strong and Romero are two of the most improved guys in ROH, actually, make that the entire business right now.
They showed a four way split of the backstage area, sort of similar to a security monitor with the different factions roaming the halls while speed metal music blared. One of the monitors showed a referee giving pre-match instructions to ROH champion Nigel McGuinness and challenger Austin Aries before the main event.
ROH champion Nigel McGuinness vs. Austin Aries
The announcers did a great job setting up the importance of the ROH belt and that Nigel was ready to build his legacy tonight by defeating Aries. They did in-ring introductions for both. The announcer discussed Nigel's recent bicep injury forcing him to miss several events and how that led to some fans turning against him. The crowd did the dueling chants as the competitors shook hands at the bell.
As they started to grapple a, "F*** you Nigel" started, which led to him arguing with the fans. Austin rode him to the mat and began working over the same arm Nigel injured. Nigel used a single leg takedown and began working on the ankle. Aries backed into the corner to break the hold.
They go back and forth on the mat. Nigel pulled himself out of the ropes to break the momentum and jawjack with the fans. Aries got frustrated and slapped him. Nigel went to the floor to compose himself. He went outside and while his back was facing away from the ring, Aries nailed a stiff baseball sliding kick out of the ring. Nigel slammed forward, hitting his face on the railing, busting open his eyebrow and nose hardway. There was just an insane moment of Nigel staring into nowhere, complete dazed as the fans in the front row were stunned. When Nigel finally touched the sliced cut in his eyebrow, the blood began pouring. ROH aired a replay, which made the bump and hardway cut look even worse.
Aries went after the cut. Nigel wandered away in a daze before he was finally tossed back into the ring. Nigel elbowed Aries as he got into the ring, but Aries quickly got him into a mount. They exchanged strikes before Aries dropped a knee across Nigel's bad arm. Aries began driving elbows to Nigel's back and head. The dueling chants started again.
McGuinness blocked a dropkick from Aries and tried to regain his bearings. Aries grabbed him a brainbuster but Nigel was able to reverse it. He ran Aries into the ringpost shoulder-first. He locked on a wristlock, Aries escaped and tried to nail another dropkick but Nigel avoided it and gave Aries the finger. Aries kicked him in the chest, went after the cut, then locked in a cross armbreaker. Nigel grabbed the ropes to break the hold.
Aries locked in a hammerlock submission. Nigel reverses it and nails a hammerlock divorce court. Nigel focused on Aries' arm and back. The fans started chanting "USA" to get under Nigel's skin. They exchanged chops and Nigel took Aries down with a lariat. The dueling chants continued as the two battled on the mat reversing holds. Austin tried Nigel up in another submission, so he used his foot to force the break.
Aries drilled a backbreaker over his knee for a two
count, then locked on another submission. Nigel went for the handspring
kick in the corner, but Aries knocked him to the floor. Aries went for a
dive but was caught with a European uppercut. Nigel drilled him with the
Tower of London on the floor and dragged him back into the ring. Aries
kicked up at two.
McGuinness nailed another European uppercut and a lariat for a two count. McGuinness went for The Tower of London again but Aries began beating him to escape, the drilled him with a missile dropkick. Aries went for another dropkick in the corner but Nigel kicked him, then caught him with the Tower of London off the ropes for a two count.
Nigel attempted to maneuver him into a submission but was caught with a chinbreaker. Nigel went for the rebound lariat but Aries caught him and nailed a springboard kick that sent them to the outside. Aries whipped Nigel into the guard rail and nailed a knee to the face. They returned to the ring where Aries decimated Nigel with elbows to the face in the corner.
Aries went for a brainbuster but Nigel reversed it and crotched Aries on the top rope. He nailed a lariat off the ropes, sending Aries to the floor in a 360 bump. Lenny Leonard said, "There is no way he is getting up from that." Nigel pulled Aries to his feet and set him up in the corner. Nigel charged but Aries cut him off. He picked up Nigel and dropped him across the guardrail, which the announcers called a brainbuster.
Aries dragged Nigel into the ring, but McGuinness kicked out at two. Aries unloaded with the strikes in the corner with Nigel covering up. Aries hit a nasty dropkick in the mush, then a brainbuster. Aries went for the 450 off the top but Nigel gets his knees up. Nigel locked in a submission but Aries rolled him up for a two.
Aries kicked Nigel in the head, then nailed another brainbuster. Aries locked on the Oriental Torture Device but Nigel got to the ropes. They exchanged chops and slaps. Nigel went for the rebound Lariat but Aries clotheslined him and covered him for a two count.
Aries drilled him with knees to the head as the crowd chanted his name. Nigel catches Aries rebounding off the ropes with a Northern lariat. Nigel went for an armbar and was kicked off. Nigel rebounded off the ropes, nailed a jawbreaker lariat and scored the pin.
Your winner, Nigel McGuinness!
Just a sick match. Beyond awesome.
The announcers plugged all of ROH's upcoming events and sent it backstage, where the Briscoes and the Age of the Fall encountered each other and began brawling. The Vulture Squad and The Hangman 3 joined the fray, as did Daizee Haze, who went after Lacey. All of this played out while speed metal played over the clip.
They went to a final shot of a bloody, exhausted Nigel McGuinness backstage, showing the open wound in his eyebrow from early on in his match with Aries.
Final Thoughts: A really well constructed PPV, one that actually comes off better on TV than it did live....For the $10 pricetag, this will be a better show for your dollar than any other PPV this year in terms of wrestling content....The Manhattan crowd really adds a great, unique atmosphere to the show....Danielson vs. Morishima might very well be the Abdullah the Butcher vs. Bruiser Brody of their generation if they keep having brawls like that. For guys who are considered two of the best workers right now, that was one intense brawl....Nigel vs. Aries was just awesome, with the unplanned cut and concussion from Nigel adding a different dimension then was originally designed....Briscoes vs. No Remorse Corp. was a textbook 21st century tag match. The Scramble Match early on was possibly the only bout that came off better live, but that's to be expected with 100 guys flying around. You can't catch everything....The sight of Necro Butcher attacking people with the potted tree backstage was great....Delirous vs. Albright was decent as well. Overall, a better show that's up there with Man Up in terms of quality, and may even be a little better due to tightened production. You can't go wrong here.
Mike Johnson can be reached at Mike@PWInsider.com.