MISSISSAUGA, ON — Ring of Honor World Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries silenced his critics with yet another successful defense against a game Kenny Omega at the International Centre last night. After sizing up the crowd and cheekily noting that Toronto still had not taken out the trash, he proceeded to take everything Omega could throw at him, before prevailing via a sudden referee stoppage.
Neither man was able to establish much of an advantage early on, frustrating Aries to the point that when Aries landed a running elbow in the corner, he jumped out of the ring and did a victory lap to celebrate his accomplishment.
Omega’s arsenal of moonsaults, superplexes and even time-honored Polish Power double axe-handles slowed the champion, but could only produce near-falls. The turning point was late when Aries caught his second wind and started working Omega’s left leg. He was able to suplex Omega outside to the floor, with the Canadian barely making it back in at the count of 18. Aries pounced on his weakened foe, further softening him up with some suplexes before landing the Horns of Aries, prompting the referee stoppage.
The finish was a mild shock to some who had expected the Canuck to pull through. Aries took the time afterward to remind the fans of his prophetic words.
Checking in at a lengthy three-and-a-half hours, the card featured eight matches with two dark matches. Compared to the Ted Reeve Arena in Toronto’s east end, where ROH ran in the summer, the International Centre is a smaller venue, so to this scribe, a rough estimate of 600 fans attended. Nonetheless, there were a lot of familiar faces in the lineup, with many having attended ROH’s previous shows.
Ontario products Rip Impact and James Stone kicked things off with a win over Hornet and Peewee.
Crowd favorite Bobby Dempsey and Alex ‘Sugarfoot’ Payne polished off Michael Von Payton and Ethan Page.
The Young Bucks triumphed over the Flatliners in a classic speed vs. power matchup. A nice match that had a huge swig of the Rockers vs. Powers of Pain flavour.
In the four-corners survival match, Colt Cabana defeated Grizzly Redwood, Claudio Castagnoli, and Delirious. This was a match filled with comedic moments, particularly with Castagnoli and Cabana.
Kenny King and ‘Addicted to Love’ Rhett Titus beat the Super Smash Brothers. SSB was not as over as in previous shows here, though to be fair, the fans were still warming up.
The energy picked up significantly with El Generico and Japanese sensation Katsuhiko Nakajima, whose many dazzling kicks were featured early and often. Plenty of good spots, with Generico generally putting over Nakajima with aplomb.
After the intermission, Roderick Strong and Tyler Black fought to a 20-minute draw. A no-nonsense type of match, which was a nice change of pace, but the chop count was off the charts, with at least 15 reverse knife-edges registered. (Almost a chop per minute statistically.) It didn’t seem to bother the crowd however, and they chanted for five more minutes and the two competitors pleas failed to convince the referee Todd Sinclair to extend the bout.
Joey Ryan and Eric Strong railroaded the Briscoes in another rugged affair. The Briscoes, sporting their all-blacks, dominated the matchup before being craftily rolled up for the pin. Ryan and Strong’s performance reminded of the heelish Fabulous Rougeaus Brothers, who even tossed in the abdominal stretch for emphasis.
Quebec native ‘Mr. Wrestling’ Kevin Steen earned a hard-fought win over Chris Hero. Steen’s ability to launch himself anywhere and anytime was on display and he was able to hit most of his spots. Hero worked the crowd, survived the Canadian Maple Leaf and the crippler crossface, but could not survive the nifty package piledriver.
It was a nice contrast to the faster Briscoe match that preceded it, yet it told a solid story and had enough Steen spots to keep the crowd energized.
Ring of Honor announced they will return to the International Centre March 20, 2010.