Background: At Ring of Honor’s first pay-per-view event, Claudio “Cesaro” Castagnoli and Matt “Evan Bourne” Sydal took on the then-reigning ROH World Tag Team champions The Briscoes in an unsuccessful affair. Sydal blamed Claudio for the loss, bringing us a one-on-one battle between the two former allies.
June 23, 2007
Claudio Castagnoli vs. Matt Sydal
The much larger Castagnoli displayed some uncanny agility by countering Sydal’s arm drag attempts with some of his own. Matt Sydal found himself being flipped and rolled until he arm dragged Claudio toward the corner. Sydal looked to follow up, being pressed and tossed halfway across the ring. As the fans chanted in approval, Castagnoli delay vertical suplexed his opposition for the giant swing … to gain a two count!
Claudio’s follow up dead-lift gut-wrench suplex also ended with him attaining a near fall. Getting a running start or an attack didn’t end well for Castagnoli as Sydal sidestepped and tripped Claudio so he went sailing to the floor. Suicide plancha from Sydal brought the fans to their feet. Matt Sydal kept the momentum as the action returned inside until Sydal threw himself into the face buster. Waterslide from Claudio saw him gain another two count.
Sydal, realizing he had to end this quickly, yanked Castagnoli into a series of pinning combinations that were as unsuccessful as Matt’s standing moonsault press. Claudio looked to propel a running Sydal yet again, only to feel his head being spiked into the canvas by a DDT. Sydal called for the end, scaling the ropes for his shooting star press. Castagnoli stopped him by running up the ropes and hitting an enzuguri. Castagnoli watched a stumbling Sydal until he was in position for that bicycle kick … for another near fall!
Castagnoli wanted to drop Sydal with this patented European uppercut. The strike connected, sending Matt Sydal flying across the ring. Somehow, Sydal kicked out right before the three count. Claudio pitched Sydal into the ropes, looking for that pop up European uppercut. Sydal spun 180 degrees in midair, wrapping his legs around Claudio’s head to execute a head scissors for a thunderous ovation. Chop after chop from Sydal set up a hurricarana counter to Castagnoli’s power bomb attempt. The fans were really into this one as Claudio refused to go down. Sydal exploded off the ropes, looking for another hurricarana. In an incredible show of agility, Castagnoli sunset bombed his way out of the hurricarana, literally spinning 360 degrees before hitting the sunset bomb for the three count.
Winner: Claudio Castagnoli (8:40)
Is It A Classic: What a unique David vs. Goliath affair where Goliath was just as quick and agile as David. Sydal spent the match’s majority either being beaten or figuring out unnaturally athletic ways to counter what Claudio had in mind. The fans’ anticipation grew more and more until the match’s fantastic ending. It’s hard not to suggest this match for any wrestling fan.