It’s time to step into Ring of Honor territory again as we go back to October 2009 and Clash of the Contenders, headlined by Austin Aries defending the ROH World title against the winner of his lucky lottery.
The show began with Kevin Steen taking on Roderick Strong. It’s a quick opener fro two of the company’s finest, an enjoyable back and forth affair with both Steen and Strong putting in good performances, with plenty of near falls, and Steen almost getting the pin after the package pile driver, only for Strong to reverse to get the winning pin.
Shimmer women’s action followed, with Nicole Matthews facing MsChif. It’s another quick match, and sadly it’s not the best women’s match I’ve ever seen. The action was okay, but it just seemed to be missing that certain spark that makes a match special. MsChif came out on top, getting the pin after her desecrator DDT.
Our World Champion Austin Aries then came down to the ring for the drawing of the Lucky Lottery, and the winner was none other than Daizee Haze. Haze and her man Delirious came down to the ring, demanding that the masked man get the title shot, a demand that Aries refused to comply with. This brought executive producer Jim Cornette to the ring, and annoyed at A double’s actions, he gave Delirious the main event title shot.
Then it was on to four corner survival, with Claudio Castagnoli, Colt Cabana, Petey Williams and Ace Steel. This proved to be a very entertaining affair. The comedy moments involving former partners Cabana and Steel were great, and the look on their faces when Williams tried to join in with their antics was priceless. We also got to see the always impressive Canadian destroyer as Williams took Cabana down, which would have got the win had Castagnoli not stopped the count. In the end Double C came out on top, taking Steel out with the riccola bomb for the winning pin.
The first tag team match of the show was next as the Briscoe Brothers faced the House of Truth, Christian Abel and Josh Raymond, accompanied by their manager Truth Martini. It’s a very entertaining encounter here, with the Briscoes as solid as ever, and Abel and Raymond impressing the hell out of me with their double team moves, especially their version of the DDT. As for Martini, he kind of reminded me of a young Dallas Page. The brothers came out on top here, taking Raymond down with a spike Jay driller for the pinfall win.
Then it was back to singles action as one half of the ROH Tag Team Champions, Davey Richards, faced Canadian star Kenny Omega. To say that this match was awesome would be an understatement. From start to finish Richards and Omega really took it to each other, and held nothing back in a brutal back and forth encounter, the sort of match you just couldn’t take your eyes off. It was one of those matches that you didn’t want to end, but sadly it did, and after plenty of near finishes Omega reversed Richards’ DR driver attempt, getting the pin with a small package, a simple move to end an outstanding encounter.
More tag team action followed as Kenny King and Rhett Titus went up against the Young Bucks, Matt and Nick Jackson. Once again the Jackson boys reminded this particular writer of the young Hardy Boys, especially with their double team moves. For their part, King and Titus were good, but you could tell they hadn’t teamed for a while, as they were off with a couple of their double team moves. But apart from that it was an enjoyable match, with Titus getting the roll up with a handful of tights on Nick Jackson after the brothers had taken King out with their more bang for your buck finisher.
The penultimate match saw Chris Hero against Tyler Black, making his return after neck surgery. Needless to say that Hero centred his attack on Black’s neck in what proved to be a very good match between two evenly matched wrestlers, with both guys pulling out all the big moves, with plenty of near finishes, and Black getting the pin after his God’s last gift finisher. Very enjoyable, but sadly, no golden elbow pad.
Then it was on to the main event, with Delirious, accompanied by Daizee Haze, challenging Austin Aries for the ROH World title. Once again Aries came into the ring wearing some really awful tights, but thankfully the tights have no bearing on the wrestler as the champion put on another great performance in this entertaining back and forth encounter. Delirious was the perfect foil for Aries, putting on a performance just as good as Aries. Perhaps the most dramatic moment came when Aries took out Haze on the outside with a suicide dive, with Haze later urging her man to continue rather than worry about her. In the end the masked man’s efforts came to nothing, with Aries retaining the title after taking Delirious out with his trademark brain buster, ending what was a very good match.
Extras come in the form of a bonus match pitting Grizzly Redwood against Tony Kozina, a post-match interview with Tyler Black, and the usual ROH Video Wire.
In conclusion - it’s another great DVD release from Ring of Honor, and although there were a couple of dodgy moments, the matches ranged from good to great to awesome, so this definitely gets the thumbs up, and it should become a part of your collection, no matter what.
With thanks to the powers that be at ROH for supplying a copy of this release. Clash of the Contenders can be purchased online at www.rohwrestling.com.