Ring of Honor: Austin Aries – The Greatest Man That Ever Lived

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Disc One

Austin Aries vs. Go Shiozaki
“6th Anniversary Show” – New York, NY – 2.23.2008

Aries evades Shiozaki’s initial chops in the feeling out process. Aries sneaks in some overhand chops when attempting some shoulder blocks. Shiozaki’s catches him with a chop as he comes off the ropes. Aries gets in some elbows to Shiozaki’s head. Those and his chops fire Shiozaki up. Shiozaki responds with his own much harder chops. Aries dumps him to the floor and follows with a double axe handle from the top. He drives Shiozaki back first into the barricades and then follows in with shotgun knees. Aries sends his head into the ring post and drives some elbows into his skull as well. He continues to wear down Shiozaki’s back in the ring. Shiozaki drop toe holds Aries on the middle rope. He boots him in the back of the head and delivers a chop. Shiozaki comes off the top with a shoulder tackle. He chops Aries in a tree of woe. Aries swings out and gives Shiozaki an Ace Crusher. Shiozaki sends Aries to the apron with a jumping knee strike. Aries ends up dropping Shiozaki on the floor with a belly-to-back suplex! He then sends him into the barricades with the Heat-Seeking Missile. In the ring he gets two with a missile dropkick. Shiozaki rolls Aries into a German suplex for two. He takes down Aries with a flurry. Aries kicks out. He catches Shiozaki with four IED’s in the corner. They fight on the ropes. Shiozaki brings down Aries’ with a spin-out uranage. Aries gets his foot on the ropes. Shiozaki misses a moonsault. Aries puts on the Last Chancery. Shiozaki gets the ropes. Aries comes off the top. Shiozaki catches him with the Orange Crush for two. They hit each other with clotheslines. Aries delivers a Saito suplex and a brainbuster for two. Aries puts the Last Chancery back on. Shiozaki lifts him up for the Go Flasher. Aries begins to knee him in the head, so Shiozaki turns it into a fisherman’s buster for two. Shiozaki throws more chops to Aries’ head. Aries gives him a crucifix driver. He kicks Shiozaki in the head and drops him with a brainbuster. The 450 Splash gives him the win at 19:57. It was very important for Shiozaki to have a good, big match to kickstart his run in ROH and that’s exactly what this was. He and Aries made each other’s offense look fantastic and had the crowd extremely hot. This brought out the best in both participants. ***¾

Aries gets some flack from the fans for not shaking Shiozaki’s hand. The lights go off and the ring becomes bathed in blue light. We see Age of the Fall members Jimmy Jacobs, Tyler Black, and Lacey in the balcony. They all try to convince Aries that his frustrations and attitude could all be resolved if he were to join them. Sunny of all people makes her way to the ring. She tells Aries to come with her instead, promising sunny days ahead if he does. Aries says he’s going to take some time to think about things.

Austin Aries vs. Genki Horiguchi
“Dragon Gate Challenge II” – Orlando, FL – 3.28.2008

Horiguchi is in the Muscle Outlawz faction. Aries elbows him in the corner. After trading positions, Aries snaps off a couple armdrags. He puts Horiguchi in the Stump Puller. He strings a gutbuster, STO, and pendulum elbow strike together for two. Horiguchi rakes his eyes. He goes for the Backslide from Heaven. Aries instead backslides him into some knee strikes causing Horiguchi to bail to the floor. He sends Aries into the barricades. In the ring he hits a spinwheel kick. He dropkicks Aries’ leg as it’s trapped in the corner, leading to him focusing his offense on that leg. He misses a moonsault, giving Aries time to recover and throw some overhand chops. He comes off the top with a chop to the head. Aries sends Horiguchi to the floor and follows with the Heat-Seeking Missile. He goes for the IED back in the ring. Horiguchi gets his boot up to block and comes off the second rope with a tornado DDT. Aries aggressively throws strikes and knees in the corner. He nails the IED. Aries goes for the brainbuster. Horiguchi counters with one of his own for two. Aries escapes the Beach Break leading to some nearfalls. Horiguchi gets the Backslide from Heaven for two. Aries drives his knee into the mid-section. Horiguchi tries a small package. It fails, so Aries kicks him in the head. A brainbuster and the Last Chancery get Aries the submission victory at 9:06. Horiguchi was never bought as a credible challenger but had enough good moments to get the crowd fired up. This was a nice W for Aries. **¾

Once again the ring becomes bathed in blue light. Jimmy Jacobs guarantees that if Austin Aries joins the Age of the Fall tonight, he will win his ROH World title match with Nigel McGuinness tomorrow. Aries seems ready to walk away when Lacey enters the ring. She tries enticing Aries to leave with her. Cue Sunny coming to the ring. She once again tries convincing Aries to leave with her. Aries decides that what’s most important now is for him to concentrate on his World title match and he leaves the ladies to fight amongst themselves.

We then see clips of Aries’ title match with Nigel. Even though he came close to winning the title, he ended up falling short. The Age of the Fall come out after the match. Jacobs says it was Aries’ destiny to lose the match so the Age of the Fall could pick him up and lend a helping hand. Jacobs becomes frustrated with Aries’ indecision so Lacey grabs the mic. She says that she’s willing to show Aries alone what the Age of the Fall is all about. She begins to lead Aries out of the ring. Jacobs stops her at first. Sunny once again comes out. She says she’s offered everything to Aries and can’t believe he would think to leave with Lacey instead of her. Without saying a word, Aries leads Lacey by the hand and continues out of the building.

A few weeks later at “Tag Wars 2008” Dave Prazak asks Aries where Lacey is. Lacey makes her way out before Aries can answer. They proceed to kiss in the middle of the ring. Prazak asks if this means Aries’ has joined the Age of the Fall or if Lacey has left the group but they don’t give any answer. The next night at “Return Engagement”, Aries defeated Silas Young. A presumptuous Jimmy Jacobs welcomes Aries into the Age of the Fall. In no uncertain terms he tells Aries to keep his hands off of Lacey. If he agrees, Jacobs is willing to stand beside him. Aries sets the record straight: the night he and Lacey went off together they agreed that Jacobs is nothing more than a pussy. Aries warns Jacobs to stay out of their business.

Relaxed Rules
Austin Aries vs. Necro Butcher

“Battle For Supremacy” – Dayton, OH – 6.27.2008

Butcher’s job is to soften up Aries before he faces Jimmy Jacobs the next night. They throw flurries of punches at each other. Aries’ clotheslines Butcher to the floor. He sends Butcher into the barricades before bringing him out into the crowd. Once they get back into the ring Aries works over Butcher in the corner. He hits the IED. Aries forearms him off the apron and through the timekeeper’s table. Aries grabs the mic and begins talking to Butcher as he recovers. He wants to know why he’s doing Jacobs’ dirty work for him, saying Jacobs only care about himself. He tells Butcher that all he does is blindly follow Jacobs with no regard for himself. Aries is tired of beating everyone else’s ass for Jacobs. He refuses to fight Necro since his beef isn’t with him. He throws some punches and kicks which Aries takes without retaliation. Eventually, Necro lays him out with a chair shot and pins Aries at 8:59. While that was effective it didn’t make for a great match. It was what it was. *

Jimmy Jacobs runs out afterwards. He tells Necro that he did the right thing by listening to him. He feels confident that he is now in Aries’ head and foresees a victory in his match tomorrow. Aries tells the people that sometimes you have to sacrifice for the greater good.

Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs
“Vendetta II” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 6.28.2008

Jacobs bails to the floor after an aggressive lock-up. He kisses Aries to play mind games. Aries unloads with strikes. Jacobs retreats to the floor, but Aries follows and does even more damage. Jacobs is able to get the best of Aries in the crowd. He puts on the End Time in the bleachers. Aries escapes and tosses him down to the floor. Jacobs uses referee Paul Turner to catch Aries with a cheap shot back in the ring and send him face first into a ring post. Jacobs sets up Aries on a chair and dives onto him from inside the ring. With Aries back lacerated, Jacobs focuses on that area, including taking a blood filled bite out the wound. Jacobs puts him in a tree of woe. Aries frees himself whilst delivering a chin breaker. Aries hits the Heat-Seeking Missile and a brainbuster for two. Jacobs fights Aries to the apron and spears him to the floor. In the ring he hits a top rope senton for two. Jacobs goes for the End Time. Aries tosses him off and applies the Last Chancery. Jacobs escapes and goes for the Contra Code. Aries evades that and gives Jacobs a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron. Aries takes some time to break the referee’s count once he recovers. Jacobs also recovered and gives Aries a Contra Code off the barricades. In the ring Aries misses the IED. Jacobs puts on the End Time. He goes for the Contra Code. Aries throws him down and puts on the Last Chancery. The Age of the Fall try to interfere but the Briscoes cut them off. MsChif runs in however to break the submission and spit green mist in Aries’ face! Jacobs finally hits the Contra Code. Aries somehow is able to kick out. Jacobs goes for a spear. Aries catches him and hits a brainbuster for two. He re-applies the Last Chancery. Jacobs reverses into the End Time. Aries arm drops twice. Before it can drop a third he rolls up Jacobs for two. He then punts Jacobs in the head. Aries delivers multiple IED’s in the corner until Jacobs is nearly passed out. Finally Aries hits the 450 splash for the pin at 26:38. This was an astonishing match that built very well. They beat the heck out of each other but left plenty of room for improvement for future contests. For the first grudge match, they really knocked it out of the park and had the Chicago crowd losing their minds. ****

At “New Horizons”, Aries says that his and Jacobs blood feud has gone so far that they want to mentally destroy each other. He calls Jimmy Jacobs out. He makes his way down the aisle and stands there. MsChif and Tyler Black attack Aries from behind. Jacobs busts him open with a spike. Aries is helped to the back. Later on after Tyler Black lost to Bryan Danielson, Jacobs and Aries fight it out again. Their fight makes it out intot he crowd. They end up on a ladder at the same time. Necro Butcher ends up coming out. Both of Jacons and Aries are yelling at him to hit the other guy with a chair. Conflicted and frustrated, Butcher shoves the ladder and sends both guys through tables! Things would come to a head in a week’s time.

Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Necro Butcher
“Death Before Dishonor VI” – New York, NY – 8.2.2008

Butcher seems to be aligned with Jacobs. Aries tries fighting them both off but succumbs to the numbers game. Aries sends Butcher to the floor. He punches Jacobs before delivering the Heat-Seeking Missile to Butcher. After a back rake he side slams Jacobs. He hits the pendulum elbow for two. He baseball slides Butcher when he comes to. Jacobs rakes Aries’ eyes. He and Butcher once again team up on Aries. Aries sends Jacobs into Butcher which knocks Butcher to the floor. Jacobs rakes Aries’ eyes once again. Aries delivers an elbow. Jacobs spears him. Butcher comes back in unhappy with Jacobs knocking him off the apron. Butcher stomps on Aries when Jacobs sets the record straight. He gives Aries a chair-assisted slam. Jacobs comes off the top with a senton. Butcher goes for the pin and Jacobs pulls him off. On the microphone he tells Necro that he is here to do what he says. He commands Butcher to blind Aries, getting to the point of shoving him. Aries goes to hit Jacobs with a chair. Jacobs ducks and Aries hits Butcher while his back is turned. Aries tosses the chair to Jacobs to frame him for the attack. Butcher punches the chair out of his hands, then punches and stomps Jacobs I the corner! Aries smiles for the camera while playing dead. Butcher waffles Jacobs with the chair. Butcher then heads to the back. Aries hits Jacobs with the IED, the brainbuster, and the 450 splash to pick up the win at 11:47. This was a fun way to get Butcher out of the Age of the Fall officially and to further establish Aries’ 450 splash as Jacobs’ Achilles heel. Everyone did a terrific job in furthering the angle. **½

Dog Collar Match
Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs

“Bound By Hate” – Markham, ONT – 11.8.2008

Jacobs attacks before the bell and before the collar is around his neck. He chokes Aries’ with the collar and whips him with the chain. Aries drops Jacobs with an STO. After the pendulum elbow he tries putting the collar around Jacobs’ neck. Jacobs bails to the floor. He catches Aries by the chain and attempts to hang him over the top rope. Aries forces his way back in where Jacobs continues his abuse. Aries gets him to the floor. Jacobs moves to avoid a potential Heat-Seeking Missile. He dropkicks Aries when he comes to the floor and whips him with the chain. Aries gets in some chops and punches. Jacobs low blows him to stop. He ties up Aries in the corner with the chain and the other collar. Jacobs beats him with the chair as Aries is defenseless. He asks Aries if everything was worth it as he gets hit with the chair. Aries is able to sneak in a low blow. With Todd Sinclair’s help, Aries frees himself. He nails Jacobs with the chair. He uses the studs of the collar and busts open Jacobs’ forehead with them. He finally puts the collar on him. Jacobs fights his way out of a brainbuster. Aries pulls on the chain to stop Jacobs’ from bailing into the crowd. They end up going backstage where Tyler Black gets in some shots on Aries. In the ring he gives Aries a superkick. Jacobs then for whatever sends Black to the back. He hits Aries with the Contra Code for two. Jacobs picks up a chair. Aries smacks the chair into Jacobs’ face with the chain. Aries pulls Jacobs into the edge of the ring frame before hitting the Heat-Seeking Missile. Aries wraps the chain around the top turnbuckle and repeatedly sends Jacobs’ forehead into it. Jacobs pulls on the chain to crotch Aries and block a 450 splash. He wraps the chain around Aries’ throat to choke him. He puts on the End Time. Aries picks Jacobs up and rams him into the corner. He hits the IED. He drives his knee, covered in the chain, into Jacobs’ head multiple times before applying the End Time. Jacobs taps out at 18:11. This was another excellent story. Jacobs had his plan to never get the dog collar on and it worked for the first half of the match. When that failed and he became too bloody, he had Black and the chain to work with to try and keep his advantage. This was an awesome, bloody battle. ****

“I Quit” Match
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Austin Aries

“Rising Above 2008” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 11.22.2008

Aries and Jacobs attack at the bell. They separate when the fight spills to the floor. Tyler Black distracts Aries, but he’s able to catch Jacobs who tries to attack from behind. Jacobs dropkicks Aries on the floor and brings out a table from under the ring. He whips Aries into the barricades so he can set up the table. Aries sends Jacobs into the barricades himself. He sets up Jacobs on the table. Black pulls him off when Aries goes to the top rope. Aries goes for the Heat-Seeking Missile. Jacobs pulls out a steel chain and punches Aries as he comes out. Jacobs whips Aries with the chain back in the ring and also busts his head open. Jacobs seats Aries in a chair on the floor. Aries gets to the apron to fight Jacobs back and ends up being speared to the floor. Jacobs places Aries back on the chair and dives onto him. In the ring he ties Aries to the chair with the chain, suffocating him with a dog collar in the process. Jacobs is ready to hit Aries with another chair when Lacey emerges from the back. She has a towel and wants to throw it in for Aries. Jacobs threatens to kill Aries with the railroad spike if she doesn’t toss it in. Aries fights out of the chains and throws Jacobs to the floor. He follows out with the Heat-Seeking Missile. He gives Jacobs a brainbuster onto the chair. Aries ties him to the ropes in the corner and throws punches at his head. Referee Todd Sinclair asks Jacobs if he quits, but Aries won’t let him answer. He delivers the IED and places Jacobs on the table outside. Jacobs throws a chair at Aries when he begins to climb the ropes. They both tumble off the top rope and through the table. Neither man quits when prompted by Sinclair. Jacobs puts on the End Time back in the ring. When Aries doesn’t quit he uses Aries’ own Last Chancery against him. Aries rakes Jacobs eyes to escape. Jacobs comes at Aries with the spike. Aries backslides him into some knee strikes. He puts on the Last Chancery. He doesn’t quit, so Aries puts on a crossface. He pulls out the spike. Black looks ready to throw in the towel. Lacey grabs it from him. This forces Jacobs to verbally submit at 21:58. This was a lot like the Windy City Death Match: bloody, violent, and the interference added to the match rather than hindered it. The Lacey emergence didn’t come off as the big deal it should have but was still really nifty. This was a great feud ending brawl. ****

Austin Aries vs. Naomichi Marufuji
“All Star Extravaganza IV” – Philadelphia, PA – 12.26.2008

Aries controls Marufuji by his arm and gets on a side headlock. Marufuji turns it into an overhead wristlock. Aries makes it to the ropes. He gives Marufuji a pair of armdrags. Marufuji applies a headscissors. Aries goes for the Last Chancery. Marufuji dropkicks him to the floor. He drop toe holds Aries and Aries evades a dropkick to the side of the head. Marufuji twists up Aries’ neck with his feet. He stands on his face. They take turns striking one another in the corner. Marufuji goes for a coast-to-coast dropkick. Aries avoids it and gives Marufuji a neckbreaker in the ropes. Aries’ continues to soften up Marufuji’s neck. When Marufuji sneaks in a sunset flip, Aries gives him the Stroke. He misses the pendulum elbow. Marufuji uses his legs to pull Aries’ face first into the turnbuckles. Aries avoids a stomp but eats a low superkick. A gutbuster, STO, and pendulum elbow get Aries a two count. Marufuji rolls to the floor. Aries tries the Heat-Seeking Missile. Marufuji catches him with a kick. He dropkicks Aries in the side of the head and nails a slingshot elbow for two. Aries sneaks in a crucifix driver. Marufuji rolls to the floor. This time the Heat-Seeking Missile is successful. Back in the ring he applies the Last Chancery. Aries strings a shinbreaker and belly-to-back suplex together. The IED follows, twice. Marufuji kicks out. The go to the top rope. Marufuji dumps Aries down and comes off the top with a stomp. He springboards in with a dropkick to the side of the head for two. Marufuji throws a series of kicks before giving him the Shiranui Kai for the pin at 20:02. This served two purposes, as it built towards Aries’ turn and Marufuji’s challenge for the ROH title the next night. The action itself was alright, but didn’t get particularly engaging or fun until the latter portion of the second half. You’d expect better from these two. ***½

Disc Two

Tyler Black vs. Austin Aries
“Final Battle 2008” – New York, NY – 12.27.2008

Black and Aries trade holds for the first few minutes of the match. Black evades Aries’ dropkick out of the headscissors. In a moment of embarrassment for Aries, Black is able to connect with the dropkick out of the headscissors. Chops and forearms are thrown. Aries drops him with an STO but misses the pendulum elbow. Black stomps him in the mid-section. He gives Aries Snake Eyes for two. He fires himself up in the corner. Aries shoots him across the ring and mocks his firing up method. Black gets his boot up to block the IED. Aries shoves Black off the top rope and hits the Heat-Seeking Missile. Aries takes him to the ring apron. It’s Black whoever who pulls off the F5 onto it. Black enzuigiri’s him back to the floor when he comes back in. This time he dives out with a Fosberry Flop. Aries throws some desperate strikes in the corner. Black turns Aries’ brainbuster attempt into the Paroxysm for two. Aries blocks a Buckle Bomb. He knee strikes Black in the head before putting on the Last Chancery. He tries for a brainbuster. Black rolls him into a head kick. The Buckle Bomb follows for two. Jimmy Jacobs is now watching on. Black misses a Phoenix Splash. Aries hits a brainbuster. He looks exhausted as he climbs to the top rope. He nails the 450 splash for the pin at 17:08. That was the best singles match these guys had, most in part to the phenomenal dynamic they had in front of a New York crowd who decidedly loved Black and hated Aries. ***¾

After the match Jacobs gives Black some angry lip service. Black shoves him down. Jacobs calms Black down and then kicks him in the groin! He locks on the End Time. He traps Black’s head in a chair. Aries takes the chair off Black’s head and backs Jacobs away. He then turns around and nails Black with it! Jacobs and Aries, former enemies, throw punches at Black’s busted open forehead. They leave separately.

ROH World Championship – Elimination Match
Jerry Lynn (Champion) vs. Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black

Special Guest Enforcer: Nigel McGuinness
“Manhattan Mayhem III” – New York, NY – 6.13.2009

Lynn and Black attack Aries. Aries goes to the floor and is caught by a senton from Lynn off the apron. Aries fights them both off with punches but succombs to a double backdrop. Lynn dropkicks him into the barricades. He and Black begin to wrestle and reach a stalemate. Aries comes backs in and once again Black and Lynn team up until Aries goes back out. Aries trips Lynn and brings him to the floor. Black tope con hilo’s onto them both. Black and Aries fight on the floor seeing who can get to the weakened Lynn in the ring first. Aries damages up Black’s legs. He sends Lynn face first into the turnbuckles. He knocks Black off the apron when he tries coming back in. That time spent causes him to miss a pendulum elbow. Black comes in with a springboard clothesline to Aries. Aries blocks a boot and gives him a dragonscrew leg whip. He goes for a figure four. Black kicks Aries off, and Aries follows through with a Heat-Seeking Missile to Lynn on the floor. Aries and Black fight on the ropes. Lynn bulldogs them both off the second rope. Lynn gives Black an Air Raid Crash for two. Aries drives his knees into Black’s head before applying the Last Chancery. Black makes it to the ropes. Lynn gives Black the Cradle Piledriver. Black gets his foot on the ropes. Aries goes up top. Black shoves Lynn to the ropes to crotch Aries. Lynn then brings him down with a superplex. He gives Aries a TKO for two. Aries responds with a dropkick out of a headscissors and the IED. Lynn is able to kick out. Aries goes for the brainbuster. Black superkicks Aries, causing him to DDT Lynn. Black then hits God’s Last Gift on Lynn, pinning and eliminating him at 14:39! We are guaranteed a new champion. Black throws some punches to Aries. Aries kicks his legs out. Black fights out of a brainbuster and hits Paroxysm. It’s only good for two. Aries hits him with a dropkick after rolling through a potential powerbomb. Black catches an IED attempt and gives Aries the F5. Again Aries kicks out. Black hurts his knee after missing the Phoenix Splash. He goes for a Buckle Bomb. Aries sends him to the corner with a Frankensteiner. The IED connects. The brainbuster and 450 splash, the same combo which won Aries the World title against Samoa Joe, is only good for two! Aries does more damage to the leg before applying a figure four. He tries using the ropes but McGuinness breaks it. Black reverses the hold’s momentum. Aries gets the ropes. When arguing with Nigel, Black rolls him up for two. His knee buckles. Aries kicks him in the head and drops him with a brainbuster for the pin at 20:03. The moment Lynn got eliminated the heat kicked up tremendously and held all the way until the end. The crowd lived and died with Black but even were pleased to see Aries win the ROH title for the second time because a) it’s historical and b) not Jerry Lynn. They did an awesome job incorporating everyone in the opening portion until Lynn was gone which is rare in three ways. Awesome stuff and a very memorable title switch. ****

ROH World Championship
Austin Aries (Champion) vs. Tyler Black vs. Nigel McGuinness vs. Jerry Lynn

“Death Before Dishonor VII, Night One” – Toronto, ONT – 7.24.2009

Black throws a flurry of fists to Aries which carries out to the floor. McGuinness and Lynn are left in the ring to wrestle. Lynn drops him with a tornado DDT out of the corner. Black flies in with a springboard clothesline to Lynn. Aries brings Black down and hits the Pendulum elbow for two. Black avoids a dropkick out of the headscissors. Aries escapes the Buckle Bomb but takes a dropkick. McGuinness sweeps Black to the floor. Aries looks to dive but Lynn catches him with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Lynn baseball slides McGuinness. He legdrops Aries in the ropes and comes back in with a slingshot crossbody. Aries gives him a shinbreaker/suplex combo before hitting the IED for two. Aries strings a gord buster and the Last Chancery together. McGuinness breaks the submission. He traps Aries in the ropes and kicks him to the floor. He attacks Lynn’s left arm and applies the London Dungeon. Aries comes in and gets tossed onto Black by McGuinness. McGuinness divorce courts Lynn’s arm before reapplying the London Dungeon. Black comes in and gets tossed onto Aries. McGuinness tries the Tower of London on Lynn. Aries stops him and climbs the ropes. Black superkicks McGuinness as he drops Lynn and Aries in a double Tower of London. Black sends Aries to the floor and follows with a pescado. He comes back in and gives Lynn an enzuigiri and an F5. He fights off McGuinness until he goes to the top rope. Black escapes the Tower of London and delivers Paroxysm for two. He gives Lynn the Buckle Bomb, also for two. Aries tries sneaking in but is caught byu Black. McGuinness pushes him aside so he can lock Black in the London Dungeon. Aries breaks it but then gets put in the hold himself. When he sees Lynn go up top, he breaks the hold and puts Lynn through the timekeeper’s table with a Tower of London! Aries avoids a clothesline from Black. He hits McGuinness with the Heat-Seeking Missile. Black dives onto Lynn and McGuinness. While the referee is checking on McGuinness and Lynn, Aries hits Black in the head with the title belt. Somehow Black still kicks out. McGuinness blasts Black with the Jawbreaker Lariat. Aries breaks the count despite Lynn trying to stop him. McGuinness catches Aries IED attempt. Lynn stops him from hitting the Tower of London. Aries bulldogs McGuinness while Lynn holds onto him. Aries goes for the Last Chancery. Lynn picks him up into the Cradle Piledriver. McGuinness breaks the pin. Lynn gives him the Cradle Piledriver. Black superkicks Lynn to the floor. He goes for the Pheonix Splash. Kenny King shoves him off the top as Aries distracts the referee. Aries then hits a somersault legdrop for the win at 16:08. There was a lot of creativity and the action never stopped, but the first portion wasn’t anything terribly exciting or interesting. Once it picked up though it was a lot of fun even if the finish left something to be desired. ***¾

Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong
“ROH on HDNet Episode 22” – Philadelphia, PA – 6.20.2009

Strong aggressively takes Aries to the corner in a lock-up. Aries goes for an early Last Chancery but Strong makes it to the ropes. Strong goes for the Strong Hold and Aries gets the ropes. Aries slaps him. Strong responds with chops. Aries gets stuck in the ropes, so Strong frees him by chopping him. Aries avoids a chop and drops Strong onto his shoulder. Aries pulls up the mats and looks for a brainbuster. Strong evades it and chops Aries. Aries shoves him shoulder first into the ring post and comes off the top rope with a double axe handle to the shoulder as well. In the ring he gets two with the pendulum elbow. Strong gives him a backbreaker over the shoulder. He goes for Death by Roderick. Aries counters with a crucifix driver. He gives Strong a back rake in the corner. He gives Strong a neckbreaker across the second rope for two. Strong catches Aries in the corner with an enzuigiri. He drops Aries stomach and chest first into the mat. He gets two with a backbreaker. Aries sends Strong to the floor and follows with the Heat-Seeking Missile. In the ring however, Strong catches Aries with a uranage backbreaker. Aries tries going up top. Strong brings him back to the mat. Aries punts him in the head to create some distance. The IED gets him two, so he puts on the Last Chancery. Strong uses the ropes to escape. He slingshots Aries into a Falcon Arrow for two. Aries blocks a Strong Hold. He tries countering a backbreaker but ends up taking Death by Roderick. The Sick Kick almost has three but Aries grabs the ropes in the nick of time. Strong again goes for the Strong Hold. Aries counters by rolling Strong up and using the ropes for leverage to get the pin at 16:35. Not the best match they have had together but very strong for a TV bout. The crowd went nuts for one of Strong’s nearfalls which goes to show how hard he worked during the bout. I wish he had won and received a World title shot, but what can you do? ***¼

ROH World Championship
Austin Aries (Champion) vs. Bryan Danielson

“The Final Countdown Tour: Chicago” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 9.19.2009

Aries bails to the floor early on. After monkey flipping each other in a double knuckle lock, Aries snaps off some armdrags. Danielson escapes a wristlock and dropkicks Aries away. Aries mocks Danielson by trying for a Romero Special. Danielson escapes and gets the hold on himself. He arches Aries back in a chinlock. He wears down Aries’ right arm. Danielson tries a belly-to-back superplex. Aries shoves him to the floor and comes off the top with a double axe handle. In the ring Aries rolls through a sunset flip and dropkicks Danielson for two. He puts him in a Stump Puller. He turns it into a pin but Danielson kicks out. Aries wears down Danielson some more. Danielson flips out of the corner and nails Aries with a running elbow. He goes for a missile dropkick. Aries catches him mid-air with his own dropkick. Aries looks for the Heat-Seeking Missile. Danielson block it with a knee strike. Aries hits the IED on the ring apron and gets two back in the ring proper. Each guy goes for a series of quick pins. Danielson sends Aries to the floor when escaping a waistlock. He then dropkicks Aries into the crowd and follows with a springboard dive. He brings Aries back in for a top rope dropkick. He gets two with a running knee to the chest. He locks on Cattle Mutilation. Aries escapes and puts on the Last Chancery. Danielson and Aries take turn elbowing and kneeing each other in the head, respectively. Once that ends, they collide when they both go for crossbody’s simultaneously. When they get to their feet, Aries tries for the IED. Danielson blocks it. He successfully pulls off a belly-to-back superplex. Danielson kicks Aries’ head in. He tries for a Regalplex. Aries counters in a shin breaker/back suplex combo. He hits the IED and a brainbuster for two. Aries goes for a 450 splash. Danielson catches him and puts on a triangle choke. Aries rolls forward and gets a nearfall. He punts Danielson to buy some time. Danielson however sneaks in a small package for two. Aries kicks him in the head again. After an IED he sets up for a super brainbuster. He hits it and then puts on the Last Chancery. Danielson passes out at 24:46. The fact that the crowd bought Danielson winning the title on his farewell tour says a lot. These two have always had magnificent chemistry and this was another instance of just that. The exchanges were a lot of fun and were suitable since this would be Danielson’s final shot at the ROH World title. ****

ROH World Championship
Austin Aries (Champion) vs. Kenny Omega

“The Omega Effect” – Mississauga, ONT – 11.14.2009

The long opening sequence sees Aries play dirty and Omega try to wrestle cleanly. Aries gloats at certain times when he successfully comes out on top of an exchange. Omega catches Aries with a slam and a sliding dropkick for two. He clotheslines Aries to the floor and sends him into the barricades. Aries manages to hit the Heat-Seeking Missile. Omega tosses Aries into the crowd to buy some time. However, Aries comes back with a double axe handle off the top. Aries keeps control back in the ring but has some trouble. Omega comes back with some goofy offense, like a spinning Polish hammer, for two. He also gets two with a spinwheel kick. He looks for a Dragon suplex. Aries breaks it up and gives Omega a neckbreaker in the middle rope. Aries follows with a Heat-Seeking Missile. Aries tries setting up for a brainbuster onto a propped up chair. Omega counters with the Kotaro Crusher onto the chair. He places Aries on the chair and drives the knee into his chest. Back in the ring Omega tries another Kotaro Crusher. Aries evades it and puts on a half crab. When Omega escapes, Aries does more damage to the knee before applying a figure four. Omega escapes that too. Aries strings a shin breaker and suplex together. He goes for the IED but Omega blocks it with a Hadouken. He springboard dropkicks Aries to the floor. Omega follows with a tope con hilo. They fight for position back in the ring. Eventually Aries shoves Omega shoulder first to the corner and hits the IED. When Omega kicks out he puts on the Last Chancery. Omega escapes. He hits the Aoi Shodou from the second rope for two. Aries escapes Croyt’s Wrath but takes a dragn suplex. Croyt’s Wrath is successfully pulled off. Aries makes it to the ropes and slips onto the apron. Omega tries suplexing him back in. Aries reverses, dumping Omega face first onto the ringside table. Omega makes his way back into the ring. After some strike exchanges we get a few nearfalls. Aries punts Omega in the head and hits the IED. The brainbuster follows for a two count. A second brainbuster, some knees to the head, and the Last Chancery get Aries a victory at 34:53. This is one of those matches that feels like it went long for the sake of forcing a classic. It didn’t happen. Mostly what we got was stalling, moves, little selling, and not much in the way of a story. The one thing this match did have was a fairly exciting finishing sequence and some cool moments along the way. It’s just the other things I listed were too annoying to make this anything special and far from a classic. ***

ROH World Championship
Austin Aries (Champion) vs. Davey Richards vs. Roderick Strong vs. Kenny Omega

“ROH on HDNet Episode 37” – Philadelphia, PA – 11.5.2009

Aries throws some punches at everyone. Aries bails to avoid Richards but Omega follows him out. Strong gets the better of Richards in the ring while Aries sends Omega into the barricades. Richards goes for the Damage Reflex on Strong but Aries grabs him from the floor. He then sends him into the barricades. Strong kicks Aries into them. Strong brings Aries back in but Aries gives him a neckbreaker in the middle ropes. Omega hits Aries with a missile dropkick. He kicks out Aries’ leg and hits the Kotaro Crusher. He clotheslines Aries to the floor where Richards and Strong are fighting. Omega goes for a dive but Richards catches him with a kick. He belly-to-back suplexes Omega for two. Strong slams Aries on the floor. Richards pulls Omega into a chest kick. Strong breaks the pin attempt. Aries hits Strong with a frog splash for two. He goes for a few more two counts with no success. He misses the IED. Omega kicks Strong in the side of the head. Richards attacks Omega from behind. Omega sends him to the floor with a Frankensteiner. Strong enzuigiri’s Omega. Aries blasts Strong with the IED. Aries backslides a charging Richards for two. Aries forearms him to the floor. He goes for the Heat-Seeking Missile but Richards stops him with a kick. Strong dives onto both of them. Omega dives onto everybody. Omega brings Aries back in hoping to score the victory. Aries fights his way out of a Croyt’s Wrath. Richards however runs in and gives him a German superplex. A regular German suplex is only good for two thanks to Omega breaking the count. Omega spikes Richards in a reverse Frankensteiner. He goes for Croyt’s Wrath. Aries pulls Richards down and sends him out. Omega pulls off Croyt’s Wrath onto Aries. Strong comes in to break the pin. Strong gives Aries the Death by Roderick and the Sick Kick. Richards breaks the count. Omega gives Strong a 2k1 Bomb. Richards once again jumps in. Omega takes the Alarm Clock from Richards and the Sick Kick from Strong. With Omega out, Richards and Strong exchange chops and kicks. Richards wins the exchange with a clothesline for two. Strong tries for Death by Roderick. Richards turns it into a Cloverleaf. Strong turns it into a cradle for two. He hits a Tiger Driver. Aries punts Strong and pins Richards for the win at 15:22. While this was fun, it was sort of pointless. All these guys were about to, or already had, challenged Aries so none were all that deserving. Not to mention that they didn’t take the opportunity to utilize the number of competitors for anything fun or new, but rather took the approach where two guys do the bulk of the work in the ring while the other two fight on the floor or kill time otherwise. A fun match, but nothing more. ***

ROH World Championship; Steel Cage Match
Austin Aries (Champion) vs. Colt Cabana

“Reverse The Curse” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 12.5.2009

These two had a cage match for the title in Aries’ first ROH title reign almost five years ago. Aries slaps Cabana instead of shaking his hand. Cabana gets in a few strikes when Aries goes to stop him from leaving the ring early. He takes the early lead much to the hometown’s crowd’s delight. When he goes for an airplane spin, Aries slides out and goes to work on Cabana’s knee and leg. Cabana stops Aries from leaving through the cage door. Aries puts him in a tree of woe and does more damage to the leg. He goes for a figure four. Cabana kicks Aries’ head first into the cage. He tries climbing the cage. Aries follows. Cabana knocks him down and follows with a quebrada for two. Aries backs him to the corner to block a Colt 45 attempt. He goes for the IED but Cabana gets his boot up. He comes off the second rope with a hip attack for two. On the top rope, Cabana and Aries fight to throw each other into the cage. Aries kicks Cabana to the floor. Cabana almost has his way out of the cage. Aries stops him and does more damage to his leg. He dropkicks Cabana repeatedly into the cage to bust him open. Aries gives him a brainbuster for two. He puts on the Last Chancery. When he feels Cabana’s energy is drained, Aries goes to climb out. Cabana brings him down in a spin-out Razor’s Edge. He goes towards the door. Aries stops him. Cabana throws some punches before trying to climb up the cage. Aries follows in the hopes of a super crucifix bomb. He ends up getting a sunset bomb for two. Cabana gets on the Billy Goat’s Curse! Aries crawls towards the cage door. Cabana pulls him back in. Aries sends Cabana head first into the door. He and Aries fight over who can leave through the door. Aries sends the door into Cabana’s head twice. Aries and Cabana again fight on the top ropes. Cabana manages to hit the Chicago Skyline. He sends Aries head first into the cage multiple times. Aries desperately grabs Cabana’s foot to stop him from escaping. Cabana rakes his face into the cage. He hits the Flying Asshole, the cage busts open and Aries falls to the floor, making him the winner of the match at 26:13! That finish was pretty awesome and genuinely had people mad. To me it was the good kind of mad, but I can see how people felt cheated. Even though that was good, the rest of the match was just OK. I think the escape attempts were pretty good but in some instances, the time between a guy taking a bigger move and then stopping the opponent from escaping were unrealistic. The action meandered between first and second gear and at no moment was the crowd losing it in anticipation for a title change. I was surprised to see it went 26 minutes, and it was obvious this was just a title match to kill time before Black won the belt, but it was pretty decent and a fun callback to Aries’ previous championship reign. ***¼

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