ROH Wrestling at the Gateway (12/5/2008)- Collinsville, IL
YRR PROMO- fine
KENNY OMEGA vs. KENNY KING- 6.25/10
The last time these two were in a ring together it was actually as partners last month at The French Connection, when they faced The Briscoes. Unfortunately “they” turned into just Omega when King walked out on him to go hang out with his new pal Rhett Titus. In a line that sounds completely ridiculous with a decade’s worth of hindsight, Lenny Leonard says “I never thought we’d see Kenny King and Rhett Titus hanging out together.”
This was a good opener, with both guys getting to show their stuff and a bit of a story built around Omega countering King’s big moves. Even more importantly, though, this match had that “these two guys are the future” feeling that is totally missing from ROH as I watch this here in 2018. Of course, if you want to prove that you are the future of the business, you really should be winning your matches, and only one of these two men could do that here. On this night, the better man was Kenny.
GRIZZLY REDWOOD & BUSHWHACKER LUKE vs. SAL RINAURO & RHETT TITUS- 4/10
Grizz’s name is misspelled on the DVD cover. The match was comedic without being pure comedy. Luke didn’t do much. I really don’t think it was necessary for the heels to cheat to beat undercard comedy gimmick jobber Grizzly Redwood.
SWEET N’ SOUR INC. BACKSTAGE- Davey was using Bobby Dempsey as a punching bag, which is horrible, but Dempsey’s wincing added to the comedy. Davey threatened to “end” Dempsey if he made Davey look bad when they team up in the tag team gauntlet. Having learned from Shane Hagadorn the Bobby Dempsey really enjoyed doing all of these segments with Sweet N’ Sour Inc. has made me feel a lot better about laughing at them.
TAG TEAM GAUNTLET FOR THE RIGHT TO FACE SASAKI & NAKAJIMA AT FINAL BATTLE: Erick Stevens & Brent Albright vs. Irish Airborne vs. Sweet N’ Sour Inc. (Davey Richards & Bobby Dempsey) (w/Larry Sweeney) vs. The Briscoes- 7/10
Stevens & Albright started off with Irish Airborne and had a good little match which Stevens & Albright won. Then The Briscoes’ music played but instead Sweet N’ Sour Inc. came out from the crowd and assaulted Stevens & Albright from behind, and apparently they’re the team that is supposed to enter next because Bobby Cruise gave them an official introduction after that. I’ll assume that Sweeney paid off the sound guy to play the Briscoes’ music to fool Stevens & Albright, but this is the sort of area where they really should give us some clarification.
Richards and Dempsey worked together slightly better than you’d think, but Davey bullied Sweeney anyway. The heels won by DQ when Stevens got hold of a boot Davey tried to use on him and hit Davey with it instead, but he ref saw it.
Briscoes vs. SnS was another good match, with Davey really shining. Dempsey mostly held up his end of the bargain, but one miscue at the end cost SnS the match so Davey and Sweeney beat him up afterwards.
ACE STEEL & NECRO BUTCHER PROMO- Ace was the only one who talked. He put Necro over for being tough and crazy… then announced their intention to COMMIT A MURDER tonight.
ACE STEEL & NECRO BUTCHER vs. THE AGE OF THE FALL (Jimmy Jacobs & Delirious)- 6.75/10
This was a brawl that turned into a regular tag team match that then turned back into a brawl, with referee Paul Turner not making any effort to count the wrestlers out, nor to stop them from using weapons other than weak, pathetic pleas. The big climax came when Jimmy Jacobs wanted Delirious to use his spike to stab Necro Butcher but Daizee Haze came out to tell Delirious not to. Delirious listened to Daizee and dropped the spike, then was promptly chokeslammed, Tiger-Drivered, and pinned by Necro.
Jimmy left alone… and then Daizee left with Ace & Necro, making no effort to get Delirious to come with them and leave the Age of the Fall. That was odd.
AUSTIN ARIES vs. TYLER BLACK- 7.75/10
Aries tried to cut a pre-match promo by a sizable number of fans chanted for him to “PUT THE MIC DOWN!” Aries cut a pretty scathing promo on them, then cut his promo anyway. His promo was a message to Tyler Black.
Having successfully pulled both Lacey and Necro Butcher away from Jimmy Jacobs’ metaphorical Age of the Fall family, he now turns his attention to Tyler Black. He said that he never had a personal problem with Tyler, and that anything that has happened between them over the course of this year was a result of Aries’ feud with Jimmy Jacobs, and Tyler being a “good soldier” for Jimmy and going to war for him. Aries said that it wasn’t fair of Jimmy to blame Tyler after losing his feud with Aries, and suggested that Jimmy is merely jealous of Tyler’ abilities and popularity. Aries suggests that they forget this whole Aries vs. AOTF feud and have a nice, clean wrestling match like two top contenders to the ROH World Title should.
They then had a match that was indeed, clean and respectful. Well… mostly respectful. Both guys worked over the other’s head and neck. This would come to bite Aries more as his weakened neck was unable to maintain the bridge necessary to apply pressure with the Last Chancery, and he had trouble lifting Tyler up for the brainbuster as well. Tyler was able to hit G-d’s Last Gift (which also targets the head and neck, but doesn’t require anywhere near as much work from your own neck) and got the win.
BRYAN DANIELSON & JERRY LYNN vs. NIGEL MCGUINNESS & CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI- 8.25/10
A good, classic tag team match that got a standing ovation from the crowd. They did a double heat and had a nice little story running through about Nigel and Claudio’s double-teams being very effective until they would accidentally hit each other and allow the babyface to escape. Lynn pinned Claudio to build him up for his title shot tomorrow night, and Dragon gave Claudio a few stomps afterwards to build to their No Disqualifications match tomorrow night.
AUSTIN ARIES PROMO- an excellent promo to set up a rematch between himself and Tyler Black (which would take place at Final Battle). In hindsight, this also planted seeds for Aries’ heel turn after that match as well as Tyler’s unfortunately way-too-long path to the ROH World Title which he would eventually win from Aries.
A strong debut for ROH in a new market, with consistently great in-ring action, decent build to tomorrow night’s big double main event and Final Battle, and some little touches that wouldn’t come to fruition for quite a while. With a show like this, it’s not hard to see why ROH kept drawing well enough to come back to Collinsville on a relatively routine basis over the next few years. All of that, plus the bonus match, makes this DVD one I would definitely recommend. That bonus match is…
SARAH STOCK vs. DAIZEE HAZE (SHIMMER Vol. 15)- 7.5/10
They started telling a great story with Daizee being her usual plucky underdog babyface self and Sarah working her back, but then things just kind of ended five minutes before it felt like they should have with Sarah winning via roll-up.
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