By Liam Byrne @tvtimelimit
The Briscoes © vs The Age of the Fall 12/30/07
ROH World Tag Team Championship Match
The debut of the Age of the Fall as a stable in Ring of Honor, initially consisting of Jimmy Jacobs, Necro Butcher and a debuting Tyler Black (now known as Seth Rollins), was a masterpiece of using the internet and social media as a way to drum up interest in your product. ‘Project 161’ was a website on which cryptic blogs and message where posted alluding to the arrival of a new faction in ROH, with the forum on the promotion’s website also used as a platform for messages about the group that Gabe Sapolsky said were made by the fans.
When they did indeed make their debut – aptly at the 161st ROH show, Man Up – it would turn out that it was Jacobs’ doing all along. Since his name had been linked with the storyline by those trying to guess who was responsible, it perhaps wasn’t as shocking that he was the mastermind behind the whole operation. What was shocking, however, was the way they debuted. Attacking the Briscoes after their ladder match victory over Steenerico, the body of Jay Briscoe would be hoisted up into the rigging and his blood would pour onto the white clothes of Jacobs, with some even running into his mouth. The angle was so disturbing as to be edited from the pay-per-view and from the DVD, though it would appear on the ROH Newswire unedited.
Following Jacobs’ biggest ever victory, a win over Bryan Danielson, the team of Jacobs and Black would meet The Briscoes in a ROH World Tag Team Title match at Final Battle 2007, two days removed from the Briscoes breaking the record for the longest ROH tag title reign. The importance of the arrival of the Age of the Fall was emphasised by this being the main event, though it was a situation enforced upon the promotion when the reigning ROH World Champion, Nigel McGuinness, was injured in a match with Austin Aries the previous night. Still, the two tag teams would have the honour of seeing out the year for the promotion in a violent battle over the tag straps.
The viscerally and visually shocking way that the Fall had introduced themselves to fans had the audience fully behind the tag team champions as they chanted ‘Fuck ‘em up, Briscoes’ as the match begun. Feeding off the energy of the crowd and their own frustrations about being punked out in such a fashion, the champions steamrollered their opponents in the opening moments, taking the fight to ringside and almost dumping Jacobs on his head with a double hiptoss onto the entrance ramp. This would keep Jacobs out of commission for a while and allow the Briscoes to double team Black for a prolonged time, gaining several two counts with moves such as a brainbuster and a second rope kneedrop.
Jacobs was finally able to regroup and halted an attempted springboard double team move, with the challengers taking over in the fallout. Jacobs’ unorthodox offense saw him using multiple double foot stomps in the corner and a jumping second rope elbowdrop for a two count on Jay, whilst a knee to the gut by Black halted an attempted comeback shortly afterwards. An STO into the middle turnbuckle had Jay in a position to tag and Mark was relatively fresh, taking the fight to both members of the Fall. It took a miscalculation on a top rope move by Mark which saw him shoved in the tree of woe to halt his momentum.
The referee lost complete control at this point, with men interchangeably entering and exiting the ring as the pace continued to pick up. A crucifixbomb/neckbreaker combination saw Black kicking out just before the three, though it took Jacobs’ interference to break a pin after a falcon arrow. An electric chair/huracanrana double team showed that the Fall were just as capable of working in tandem, with Jacobs coming really close to gaining a submission win with a guillotine choke.
A sequence of frankly ridiculous spots ended with Black taking a huge bump on the apron following a Briscoes springboard Doomsday Device, before a Mark Cut Throat Driver wasn’t enough to put Jacobs away. Nor was another springboard Doomsday Device as Jacobs made a miraculous recovery to break the pin. A buckle bomb into the guardrail by Black effectively wiped out Mark, with Jay succumbing to an avalanche shiranui/powerbomb combination and a Black phoenix splash. The Age of the Fall were the new ROH World Tag Team Champions.
Their victory on the night was greeted with raucous cheers as the fans respected the match that they had just seen. The Fall only held the belts for a month; they would have much greater success in their second reign in June the following year. The biggest winner in this whole storyline would end up bring Black – the involvement in such a high profile angle saw him springboard into an ROH World Title run and his eventual signing with the WWE.