ROH Dragon Gate Challenge II (3/28/2008)- Orlando, FL
A few days ago I took a retrospective look at one of ROH’s most maligned shows, Escalation. Fortunately I was able to finish that just in time for the ten year anniversary of one of the best:
REBECCA BAYLESS GETS FACE-TIME WITH THE CAMERA DURING THE PRE-SHOW- She talks up everything that is going on, such as ROH making its debut in Florida and legends like Bushwhacker Luke and Tammy Sytch, as well as the Dragon Gate crew are signing autographs. Becky was mulling around in the crowd and got interrupted by the YRR coming out. They weren’t scheduled to be out here now, so Becky and the cameraman weren’t sure if they were supposed to shoot this. As a result, the cameraman started to put his camera down a few times, resulting in multiple shots of Becky’s cleavage that almost feel like they were done on purpose. The YRR made some trouble with Bushwhacker Luke, then went over to Becky. Sal Rinauro gave her a big kiss on the lips. This is the third time these two have kissed this year and Becky did recently also turn down advances from Rocky Romero during an interview so I guess these two are together now, but I don’t think anything was ever explicitly said and I don’t remember anything ever coming of it (in fact, I remember both Sal and Becky leaving ROH soon afterwards). Becky told the cameraman to just cut to Erick Stevens’ promo backstage. This marks the second time that she has blown off her job to go hang out with the YRR. You’d think she would be fired for this. Actually, that would be an excellent kayfabe explanation for why both of them disappeared.
ERICK STEVENS PROMO- GREAT!
He talks up how much it means to him to be wrestling for ROH here in his home state of Florida and talks up his main event match tonight teaming with Go Shiozaki and CIMA against the No Remorse Corps.
NIGEL MCGUINNESS PROMO- fine
Nigel comes out to open the show. He has been ordered by management to welcome the fans to ROH, so he does so in a way that makes it clear he would rather not. He jaws with the crowd a bit and says thing to build up his title defense against Austin Aries tomorrow night, as well as building up his feud with Bryan Danielson by stealing Dragon’s “best wrestler in the world” tagline. The crowd started about 70-30 against Nigel, but he got them to about 90-10 by the time he was done.
DELIRIOUS vs. NIGEL MCGUINNESS- 6/10
Delirious did his Delirious stuff while Nigel worked over his arm. Nigel also took a dig or two at Dragon.
THE VULTURE SQUAD (Ruckus & Jigsaw) vs. THE YRR (Kenny King & Sal Rinauro) (w/Chasyn Rance & his female companion)- 4.5/10
The YRR jumped the babyfaces to start things off. This match was barely over five minutes long, but it was all action.
LARRY SWEENEY & SHANE HAGADORN PROMO- wonderfully goofy. This was just Sweeney ranting, which is always awesome, but it did at least explain why no one else from Sweet N Sour Inc. was here tonight (they were all either on vacation or holding out for more money).
AUSTIN ARIES vs. GENKI HORIGUCHI- 7.25/10
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- good
Jimmy Jacobs says he’s tired of waiting and needs an answer now: will Aries join the Age of the Fall’s revolution? The fans chant for Aries to “JUST SAY NO!” Lacey comes out, and is showered by rude chants from the fans, which basically prove that the AOTF isn’t wrong about some of the things they say. Lacey tells Aries to come with her and she’ll show him what the AOTF’s revolution “can do for you.”
Tammy Sytch then came out to huge pop and tells Aries that he should let her manage him instead. She had previously offered to have sex with him in exchange for managerial services, and while she didn’t outright say it this time (possibly because she just heard Lacey get showered with “SHE’S A CRACK WHORE!” chants and didn’t want to jeopardize the babyface reaction she was getting by saying anything similar), she did say that “as you can tell by my low-cut top, I can do a lot more for you than she can.” Aries said that he has no problem picking up chicks so he really doesn’t need their offers. All he is focused on right now is regaining the ROH World Title, which he will do tomorrow night at Supercard of Honor III.
Aries then left, at which point Lacey cut a promo on Tammy (they had previously had a confrontation at the 6th Anniversary Show), in which she said that “no one wants to be a talentless diva like you anymore!” and threatened to “burst those saggy implants,” which I thought was a great line. Tammy responded by telling Lacey “I paved the way for whores like you.” Yes, Tammy just called herself a whore (which caused Lacey to burst out laughing).
Tammy continued by telling Lacey that she should be on her knees thanking for what she has done for women in the wrestling business because “the only reason you’re in ROH as a ‘wrestler’ is because you don’t have what it takes to cut it as a Diva.” This got booed, so Tammy continued, saying “that’s why everyone is on line taking Polaroids with me and call you a crack whore” to change the response from booing to an “oh sh*t I can’t believe she said that” type of thing. Jimmy Jacobs then piped up and told Tammy that it’s time for her to learn that “the Age of the Fall is about action,” at which point Lacey kicked Tammy in the guy and laid her out with an Impact DDT. Lacey then instructed security to “take this whore to the gutter where she belongs!”
DRAGON GATES RULES MATCH: Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. Muscle Outlaw’z (Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino)- 9/10
Take your standard fast-paced Dragon Gate action, then add in a super-hot crowd, some amazingly close nearfalls, and some crazy feats of athleticism. THIS WAS INSANE!
REBECCA BAYLEYSS INTERVIEWS KEVIN STEEN & EL GENERICO- Steen was totally winded (so was Generico) but still managed to cut a great promo.
NEW HAZARD (BxB Hulk & Shingo) vs. THE AGE OF THE FALL (Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black) (w/Lacey)- 8.5/10
Like the previous match in terms of action, but with a more babyface vs. heel twist.
BxB HULK & SHINGO PROMO- this was entirely in Japanese.
THE BRISCOES vs. TYPHOON (Dragon Kid & Ryo Saito)- 8/10
Another awesome tag match, with some fun comedy at the beginning.
SWEENEY & HAGADORN BACKSTAGE- Sweeney is on the phone, desperately trying to get Sara Del Rey to come back to SnS (she had recently walked out on them). She appears to have hung up on him. He then notices the camera and demands that this not be shown. He then teases the camera by telling Hagadorn that he’s ready to sign his next wrestler and then whispers who it is in Hagadorn’s ear. Sweeney says he’ll go do so right now and they head out.
BRISCOES PROMO- they want the tag titles back.
LARRY SWEENEY TRIES TO RECUIT THE NO REMORSE CORPS- good segment
He offers them all handshakes. Roddy and Rocky shake his hand but Davey doesn’t (Sweeney just lets it slide and says “okay, we’ll come back to that later). Sweeny promises to make them a bunch more money than they’re already making as champions (Roddy is the FIP World Heavyweight Champion and Davey & Rocky are the ROH World Tag Team Champions), but Roddy snatches the mic away from him and turns him down, pointing out that they don’t need Sweeney to help get them to the top because the fact that they’re all champions means that they already are at the top. Sweeney then beat a hasty retreat while telling them to think about it.
THE NO REMORSE CORPS vs. ERICK STEVENS, GO SHIOZAKI, & CIMA- 9.25/10
This started out as your typical tag team match with Stevens playing a very good babyface in peril, but once he made the hot tag this turned into the PWG-style six man tag fast-paced action. Outstanding match!
BONUS FOOTAGE OF A JIMMY JACOBS PROMO FROM THE AOTF WEBSITE- OUTSTANDING!
He talks about people who have supposedly started “chapters” of the Age of the Fall all over the country and the people who have been inspired by the AOTF’s message. Even better, he explains exactly why it makes total sense for them to use professional wrestling as a platform to preach social change. He also talked about everyone in the group and explains their motivations for being in the group, then finished off by talking about what it means to fight for a cause. You need to see this promo.
This show was INSANE! The action was absolutely outstanding, and despite the ROH vs. Dragon Gate theme being the main focus of the night, Gabe managed to pepper in enough storyline moments to make this show important even if you don’t care about work-rate at all. This one is a must-own.
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