THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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A few weeks ago we stepped into Ring of Honor territory with a review of Proving Ground 2009 Night One. Now we’re going to pick up where we left off, by taking a look at the second show that weekend, Proving Ground 2009 Night Two, headlined by former WWE and TNA star D-Lo Brown challenging Nigel McGuinness for the ROH World title.
The show begins with Shawn Osborne taking on the always dependable Jerry Lynn. It’s a very solid opener, with Lynn impressing as always, and Osborne giving a good account of himself against the veteran. Osborne tried everything in his arsenal as he attempted to put Lynn away, but he could never quite get the job done, with Lynn coming back well, and eventually taking Osborne down with his trademark cradle piledriver, ending this very good opening match.
Tag-team action follows, Kenny King and Rhett Titus facing The British Lions, Chris Gray and Tommy Taylor. This is the first time I’ve seen my fellow Brits in action, and I have to admit I kind of have mixed feelings about their performances. While Taylor’s offence looked great early on, Gray’s wasn’t as good, as he seemed to botch most of the moves he attempted. Granted, he played the part of the punching bag well as King and Titus doubled up on him, but defence isn’t the only part of the game. King and Titus, meanwhile, looked great, and were clearly the most popular team in this match, despite the fact that they were meant to be heels. King got the pin for his team here, taking Gray down with a blockbuster off his partner’s shoulders. So the verdict here is King and Titus good, British Lions, could do better.
Then it was back to singles action, with Bison Smith taking on John Kermon. It’s basically another attempt to make Smith look like a monster, and it worked. A couple of power moves followed by a choke slam did the job, with Smith getting the easy win. A good way of building the NOAH regular as a killing machine, although I hope he wasn’t getting paid by the hour here.
The singles action continued with Davey Richards, accompanied by Larry Sweeney, and one half of the ROH Tag-Team Champions, Kevin Steen. This was billed as a big grudge match, and it certainly lived up to the hype. Some great wrestling throughout made this match special, with even a little bit of humour. As Richards worked over Steen’s leg, he started to go for a figure four leg lock. But as the crowed began the Ric Flair “wooo” chants, Richards broke off the hold and gave the crowd the finger. As well as this moment of hilarity, we also got a great storyline, with Richards working over the leg he’d previously help injured, and Steen unable to use certain holds because of it. Nevertheless, Steen managed to pull the victory out of the bag, countering Richards’ cloverleaf with a small package to get the win, ending a great contest. Needless to say that Larry Sweeney was happy with the result.
Next up, The Age of the Fall, Jimmy Jacobs and Delirious, taking on the team of Tyler Black and Necro Butcher. This was another one of those grudge matches, and for the most part it was quite good, with Jacobs and Delirious working well as a team, and Black pulling off some good moves as well. But then Necro Butcher had to get involved with his poor looking offence. He only seemed happy when he went a little hardcore, when he draped Delirious’ torso over the edge of a table and came down from the ring apron with what was meant to be a leg drop, except it looked like he didn’t even touch the masked man. The end came when, as Black was about to super kick Delirious, Jacobs came into the ring and clobbered Black with a steel chair, earning himself an immediate disqualification. Three quarters of the wrestlers in this match were great, but it’s sad that the Necro Butcher had to stink things up again.
Then it’s on to Austin Aries as he goes up against Brad Attitude. It’s a good solid wrestling match, but that’s always the way with the former World Champion, as he sought to put the newcomer who was looking for a permanent spot on the roster in his place. But as the old saying goes it takes two to tango, and Attitude did his part to make this match what it was, with his corkscrew body press from the top rope a thing of beauty. But in the end experience won out over youth, as Aries took Attitude down with an awesome looking brain buster to get the winning pin. Nice stuff, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brad Attitude on the big stage in the future. By the way – is it me or are Aries’ tights the worst in wrestling at the moment?
Six man tag-team action followed, with The Dark City Fight Club, Jon Davis and Kory Chavis, along with their partner Francisco Ciatso, taking on Roderick Strong, Erick Stevens and Brent Albright. This was as hard hitting as you could get. Early on Strong unleashed with a series of knife edge chops on Davis’ chest, which were so hard they opened him up, and with every other wrestler in this match hitting each other as hard as they could, it made for a very good match, with the Fight Club team impressing, some great teamwork throughout, and plenty of false finishes before Ciatso tapped out to Strong’s Boston Crab. Afterwards Davis, Chavis and Ciatso earned a “please come back” chant from the ROH faithful, and rightfully so.
The match I was really looking forward to was next, with Bryan Danielson taking on the other half of the ROH Tag-Team Champions, El Generico. Lasting over twenty minutes, Generico and Danielson put on one of the best matches I’ve seen this year, a tremendous back and forth encounter with great wrestling, a highly believable storyline, two outstanding performances, attempted interference from Bison Smith, and even some light hearted comedy early on. I really can’t speak too highly about this one, it was that damn good. In the end, Danielson’s attempt to stop the rampaging Bison from interfering led to his downfall. After taking care of the big man, Danielson climbed to the top rope, only to be taken out with a yakuza kick from Generico, who followed it up with his version of the brain buster, with Danielson’s head crashing onto the top turnbuckle. A three count later and the masked man had the win. Thins didn’t end there though, as a recovered Smith stormed into the ring, attacked Generico, and then took Danielson down with his variation of the power bomb, before numerous wrestlers came out from the back to stop the monster causing more damage. A great way to end a great match.
Main event time, with D-Lo Brown challenging Nigel McGuinness for the ROH World title. Lots of jaw jacking at the beginning here, before the match actually began. Action wise it was okay, but not outstanding. Both McGuinness and Brown put in good performances, but there just seemed to be something missing, something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. In the end McGuinness retained his title after taking Brown down with a second jawbreaker lariat. Afterwards, as McGuinness grabbed the microphone and gloated over his win, Brown came up from behind and attacked, before draping the ROH title belt over the champion’s fallen body. As I said, not bad, but not outstanding.
Extras come in the form of the usual ROH Video Wire.
In conclusion – the second night of Proving Ground does come with it’s good and bad points, but thankfully the good far outweighs the bad. There’s good performances throughout this show, and some really poor one, but overall this release is worth the price of admission just for the outstanding match between Bryan Danielson and El Generico, which is probably the reason the main event seemed a little flat. But overall, another good ROH release, and one you should consider adding to your collection.
With thanks to the powers-that-be at Ring of Honor for supplying a copy of this release.