ROH Night of the Butcher II (8/16/2008)- Chicago, IL
Welcome back to BRM’s Monthly “This Day in Wrestling History” Review Series. It’s been a whole year since we covered Ring of Honor, and there are two reason for that: 1) There are a lot of promotions in the world, and it’s more interesting to spread things out a bit, and 2) that plotless Bullet Club of Honor world champion Cody sh*ts the bed in the main event was really scarring. Today I bravely return to Ring of Honor… but not so bravely that I was willing to pick any random show. No, I made sure that today’s show is firmly in my happy place, which is the second half of Gabe Sapolsky’s booking run, where most people have two or three things going on at once, the crowds are hot, and the wrestling rocks. So, without further ado, let’s go back to 2008 for ROH Night of the Butcher II.
VIDEO WIRE- Yeah… this is the one where the Briscoes tell us that a pair of watermelons represent Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black’s head… and they SHOOT THEM WITH GUNS! That’s a little too far.
We also got a lot of stuff in the Daizee Haze/Delirious/Rhett Titus storyline, including Rhett Titus making the workplace hostile to Daizee Haze by spreading rumors that they had sex and telling everyone “she’s easy,” Rhett video of him and Daizee in Haze’s house which does not show anything close to what Rhett claims but does theoretically act as a set-up for it, and Daizee putting the Delirious in the Friend Zone.
These things all bring up strong emotions, and good art will make you uncomfortable sometimes. The difference between the Briscoes thing and the Rhett/Daizee/Delirious thing, though is the type of emotions brought up. With Rhett/Daizee/Delirious, it made me angry at Rhett and most of the students for the way they treated Daizee, it made me feel bade for Daizee, and feel bad for Delirious. With the Briscoes, it was a shocked sense of WHAT THE F*CK?! That’s legit scary! Age of the Fall are heels, yes, but I don’t want to see them murdered!”
KENNY KING vs. KEVIN STEEN- 5.5/10
On his way to the ring, Kevin Steen said that he was going to kick Kenny King’s ass and then “steal his money.” I’m going to be generous and assume that Steen means he will the winner’s purse that Kenny believes is predestined for his bank account and not that he’s going to go through Kenny’s bag in the dressing room.
Kenny slipped trying to get up the turnbuckle during his entrance but caught himself on the ropes and still boosted himself up, never actually touching the ground. I thought this was pretty impressive reaction time, but the fans- and Steen- gave Kenny a lot of sh*t for slipping, which put Kenny in a bad mood.
The story here was Kenny King working over Steen’ back. Steen won clean in what I thought was WAY too short a time (seven and a half minutes) after the announcers talked up Kenny for having this great showing almost last the fifteen-minute time limit with Bryan Danielson the night before.
DELIRIOUS-BASED SEGMENT- good character stuff
Pelle Primeau comes out and says that he’s supposed to team with Delirious tonight, but he hasn’t seen him since he left with the Age of the Fall last night. He gives the big fiery “I’ll wrestle even without a partner if I have to!” speech.
Daizee Haze comes out and apologizes to Delirious and says that really does want to be “more than just friends” and asks Delirious to come out here so she can ask him if he will go out with her. The fans chant “bullsh*t,” which probably isn’t the desired the desired reaction.
Instead of Delirious, Jimmy Jacobs comes out with Allison Wonderland. This was a distraction so that MsChif could sneak up behind Daizee and hit her with the Cross Rhodes/Test Drive/whatever. Jimmy says that he’s keeping Delirious away from Daizee Haze so he doesn’t hear the crap Daizee is saying because Delirious has to learn that “love doesn’t save; nothing saves!” Good character stuff there.
Jimmy now bring Delirious out, and he looks like his in some kind of daze. He attacks Pelle. Pelle fights back but winds up taking a big bump to the floor. Jimmy orders Delirious to attack Pelle some more and “make him feel your pain!” so Delirious busts Pelle open with a Panic Attack into the barricade and then applies the claw. Delirious started to stare at the blood on his hands. Jimmy told him he wasn’t done and rolled Pelle back into the ring for Delirious to beat up. Jimmy and Allison eventually took Delirious by the hand and let him back to the locker room. This was a very effective way to get over the new character dynamics for this chapter of the story.
TAG TEAM SCRAMBLE: The Briscoes vs. the Phoenix Twins vs. Mitch Franklin & Trik Davis vs. Vulture Squad (Ruckus & Jigsaw)- 6/10
Mitch & Trik were a replacement for Delirious & Pelle. ROH management sure does work fast, considering that they didn’t know Pelle wouldn’t be available until forty seconds ago.
I forgot how stupid Jigsaw looks without his mask. It didn’t affect his in-ring performance, though, as he got the pin on one of the Phoenix Twins after a double stomp/Jig-n-Tonic combo. This was a solid action match.
EL GENERICO vs. TYLER BLACK (w/Allison Wonderland)- 7.5/10
This was a GREAT fifteen minutes of action, with Tyler working over Generico’s neck. It started off hot with a big brawl after Tyler had held up his tag title belt and taunted Generico that he would never be a champion in ROH. Coming just one night after Generico’s tremendous but ultimately unsuccessful challenge for the ROH World Title, this did an excellent job of firing up not just Generico, but me as a viewer as well, to the point where having Generico pin Tyler here felt like a real refutation of Tyler’s claim.
There was one particular spot here that I loved, simply because it’s something we see done very often, but these guys actually did it right. How many times have you seen the spot where someone is on the top rope and the opponent jumps up to the top rope and then jumps again and gives him a hurricanrana… and it looks completely planned because the guy taking the move just stands there and even helps the guy doing the move keep his balance? Every single wrestler today who does that spot (and every single fan, too) needs to watch this match to see how these two did it. This was raw and ugly and not graceful in any way… and that’s what made it feel real.
FIP WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Erick Stevens(c) vs. Chris Hero (w/Sara Del Rey)- 7.5/10
This was a hard-hitting slugfest, with Hero going for the knockout victory. Stevens, ever the valiant champion, refused to stay down and lose the title he had worked so hard for.
ERICK STEVENS PROMO- solid
This was a short and to the point little promo to hype up his title defense against Go Shiozaki next weekend at FIP Heatstroke 2008, as well as a little plug for the NWA World Heavyweight Title match later tonight.
NIGEL MCGUINNESS & CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI vs. AUSTIN ARIES & BRYAN DANIELSON- 8/10
Dragon charged out the moment his music hit and ran right past Nigel to get his hands on Claudio to get revenge on Claudio for costing him the ROH World Title via a vicious assault with a chair at Death Before Dishonor VI two weeks ago. The story of the match was Dragon being distracted by Claudio and focusing on him when he should have been going after Nigel, who was the legal man. Dragon eventually learned to compartmentalize things and actually made Nigel tap out o the Cattle Mutilation, which the crowd reacted to with all of the gravitas that someone making the world champion tap out should carry.
And then that bastard Claudio had to ruin it with another vicious post-match assault with a chair, once again stomping Dragon’s head into the mat with a chair.
DAVE PRAZAK INTERVIEWS CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI- fine
Prazak tries to get an explanation for Claudio’s recent behavior, but instead Claudio just taunts Bryan.
SWEET N’ SOUR GAUNTLET: Roderick Strong vs. Sweet N’ Sour Inc.- no rating, great segment
The idea here was the Roddy had to run through the gauntlet of SnS members in order to get his hands on Larry Sweeney at the end.
The first opponent was Bobby Dempsey. Dempsey put his dukes up, but Roddy told Dempsey he didn’t want to hurt him. Roddy took his shirt off and threw it in Sweeney’s face, and while Sweeney was extracting himself from the shirt, Dempsey quickly laid down and Roddy covered him for the pin. Bobby sold like he was hurt afterwards. The crowd went nuts for this, and after so much abuse, it was really great to see Dempsey be able to defy Sweeney in even some small way. This was a really brilliant little spot.
Sweeney was furious with Dempsey. He didn’t know what happened, but all he knew that was that Dempsey had failed him, so he ordered Bobby to the back to do “five million Hindu squats.” To this very day, Bobby Dempsey’s ghost still inhabits Frontier Fieldhouse, trying to complete those Hindu squats.
Next was Shane Hagadorn, who pretty much got squashed. After that was Adam Pearce, who got to get some offense in on Roddy, but ultimately lost. Just when it looked like Roddy would be able to get his hands on Sweeney (Sweeney had previously said that Hero and Shiozaki wouldn’t be participating due to having other matches tonight, and I guess Sara Del Rey doesn’t count because we don’t want babyface Roddy chopping the sh*t out of a woman), Chris Hero came out and attacked Roddy from behind, and Sweeney announced him as participating as well. The moment Roddy started fighting back, Hero poked him in the eyes, then kicked him in the nuts to get himself DQed. Hero then used the newly-introduced loaded elbow pad (it’s not even green yet!) to hit Roddy with several knockout-quality blows, leaving Roddy unconscious… at which point Sweeney noted that because Hero was DQed, it’s his turn to face Roddy now. Sweeney strutted around the ring for a while and then picked Roddy.
This was a GREAT segment. Every part lasted just long enough to make its point, it put Roddy over big on the lesser members of SnS, helped get the loaded elbow pad over, and got excellent heat for the heel finish.
NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Brent Albright(c) vs. Go Shiozaki (w/Larry Sweeney)- 7/10
Why is babyface Albright still wearing that dumb Hangmen 3 hood?
The match was enjoyable, but if you’re going twenty minutes, I’d expect more than 7/10.
JIMMY JACOBS & NECRO BUTCHER SEGMENT- great!
Necro looks like such a goof on the cover of this DVD, but he’s just got so much charisma and a heck of a connection with the fans that you forget how goofy he looks in stills sometimes. I bring this up because I think they might have placed a slightly more goofy-looking picture of Necro on the cover on purpose, to subtly plant the idea in your mind that Necro is a simpleton (which he can sometimes come off as), to make you worry that he might actually be manipulated by Jimmy Jacobs here.
Anyway, Jimmy told us all that “Necro Butcher will not be f-ing me up tonight” because he and Necro had come to a deal to call the match off. Jimmy was going to be sending Necro to spread the Age of the Fall’s message in Alaska. He tried to convince Necro that this would be “a vacation,” and that while he might lose some income due to not being able to wrestle in ROH while doing this, that was okay because Necro’s newborn daughter “is small, so she doesn’t have to eat much.” That last line had me rolling.
Jimmy tells Necro he’s doing this for “the cause,” but Necro declares that his cause is his family, and he will show Jimmy just how far he’ll for them tonight! Necro then punches Jimmy, kicking off the…
NO DISQUALIFICATIONS MATCH: Jimmy Jacobs vs. Necro Butcher- 6/10
They had a decent little brawl, but not one that was anywhere near ROH main event quality. Tyler Black eventually ran in to help Jimmy, which led to Austin Aries coming out to help Necro. Jimmy eventually won after Tyler powerbombed Aries onto Necro through a table and Jimmy covered both guys (I guess pinning Aries was just an added insult to him).
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- very good
At the end of last months review, I promised that this month’s would have dives onto piles of people. Well…it turns out I confused this show for October 2007’s Chaos at the Cow Palace. Not that there weren’t dives onto piles here, and I think this was still a little cooler than what we got from 1995 WWF last month, but I do regret falsely advertising this show as if there would be something special along those lines.
As Jacobs and Black celebrated with their best and Tyler beat on Aries a bit, which led to Steen and Generico coming out to make the save for Aries. Delirious came out to defend the Age of the Fall, followed by the Briscoes coming out to chase off the AOTF.
We wound up with Steen and Generico in the ring alone with the Briscoes and the world tag titles, so they started fighting (the first time they had done so since their big blow-off eleven months ago in this very building at Man Up. Steen and Generico won the brawl, tossing the Briscoes to the outside, then both did dives onto the crowd on the outside.
Steen and Generico left, and we eventually got the Age of the Fall crawling into the ring on one side and Briscoes and Aries on the other. They had a stare-down in advance of their Steel Cage Warfare match at Glory By Honor VII (though I’m not sure if that match has been announced yet). Then Necro Butcher ran in and beat EVERYONE up (Necro would the other man in said Steel Cage Warfare match, as a “wild card” on “his own team.” This was a very effective schmoz, hitting all of the necessary notes for the storyline. We closed the show with Necro standing tall and being cheered by the fans while his music plays. “Night of the Butcher” indeed.
This was a good show from ROH. The main event was pretty disappointing, yes, but a for a show that had a reputation for low quality, I was shocked at how many matches I found myself giving higher than 7/10 to, and how many importantly storyline moments or moments that just felt like big deals we got. Watching a show like this made me wish that I had time to go back and watch all of the “golden age” stuff (to me that’s roughly 2005 through Gabe getting fired, but especially from 3rd Anniversary Celebration: Part 2 through Driven 2008) in order. There is just something special about that locker room and that booking. As for next month, we’re doing to be looking at something a little less critically acclaimed than that… and that’s putting it mildly. If you’ve been doing your math, you already know what’s coming.
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