ROH Death Before Dishonor VIII 6/19/2010

ROH 260 – Death Before Dishonor 8 – 19th June 2010

It’s Ring Of Honor on iPPV – so if the two previous internet pay-per-view broadcasts are anything to go by, you can expect ROH to pull out all the stops tonight. Death Before Dishonor is traditionally one of the highlights of the ROH calendar and the card for this one looks absolutely stellar. The main event sees Tyler Black defend the ROH World Championship against Davey Richards in a match which many people are calling Match of the Year. On top of that we have a trio of huge grudge matches on tap with Aries/Delirious, Kings/Briscoes and Steen/Generico all scheduled for major showdowns on this DVD. Christopher Daniels defends the Pick 6 Series spot he won in Manassas last month, and to top it all off we have a whole host of top line talent (and Tyson Dux) ready to enter the 2nd annual Toronto Gauntlet with a future title shot in the offing. We’re in Toronto, ONT with Dave Prazak and Joe Dumbrowski who are in the building on live commentary.

Up In Smoke head out to start the show, only for El Generico to shove past them march straight to the ring. He grabs a microphone and literally screams ‘STEEN…NOW!’ Steve Corino comes out to say that Mr Wrestling doesn’t work opening matches, but Generico keeps screaming ‘NOW’ until Steen finally does come to the ring.

Kevin Steen vs El Generico
Huge way to start a pay-per-view – putting one of your main events on first is really lighting a fire under this whole event. It’s six months to the day since Kevin Steen, amidst emotional scenes in the Manhattan Center, spectacularly broke off his team with Generico with one cruel low blow and one demented chair shot to the head. Since then El Generico has been though the ringer – struggling with confidence, unable to confront or fight his former partner, enduring a miserable losing streak etc. But Steen and Corino’s twisted antics have finally pushed him to a place where he’s desperate to fight the man he came to ROH with, and with whom he held the ROH Tag Team Titles in late 2008/early 2009. Steen has publicly said he’s coming to Toronto to kill Generico…

Huge slugfest to start as the fans go crazy. Generico takes to the skies with a huge tope atomico and the atmosphere is absolutely electrifying. The luchador is relentless in his assault on Mr Wrestling, and even when Steen goes for a powerbomb his former partner has it so well scouted that he’s able to spring out of it into a dropkick. He looks for the rope-run tornado DDT…only for it to be brutally COUNTERED with a swinging backbreaker. The pace immediately grinds to a halt with Steen looking to methodically break Generico down. The masked man can barely stand in the corner and his plight isn’t helped as Kevin sandwiches him against the turnbuckles with the cannonball senton. SICK forearm drops Generico to the canvas in a heap and this one looks all but over. But looks can be deceiving, and El Generico gets a rush of adrenaline and starts NO SELLING everything Steen throws at him. Yakuza Kick blocked, but Generico just shakes it off for the MICHINOKU DRIVER INSTEAD! He tries that rope-run lucha spot for a second time, and AGAIN gets caught by Steen who goes for a Package Piledriver to the floor. BACK DROP ON THE APRON SAVES GENERICO! THROUGH THE TURNBUCKLES SWINGING DDT ON THE FLOOR! Crowd goes nuts again to the extent that Joe Dumbrowski has to scream just to be heard. Flying Splash gets Generico a super close nearfall at 10 minutes. Kevin stands up and lifts him into the pumphandle cradlebreaker for his own 2-count. Sharpshooter blocked…LIGERBOMB INSTEAD! Generico kicks out even after his skull bounced off the canvas like a basketball. He can barely stand but still keeps swinging punches in Steen’s direction. SUPERKICK! NO SOLD! YAKUZA KICK BY GENERICO! HALF NELSON SUPLEX! STEEN NO SELLS! LARIATOOOOOOO! BOTH MEN DOWN! Mr Wrestling is the first man up, lumbering to the turnbuckles to MISS THE MOONSAULT! SHARPSHOOTER ON STEEN! He comes desperately close to tapping before making one last lunge to the bottom rope. Package Piledriver attempt, but of course, now his legs hurt him it’s more difficult. Cradlebreaker attempted again. GENERICO COUNTERS…NO…STEEN COUNTERS BACK TO THE PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! AND GENERICO KICKS OUT AT 2! Kevin looks irate, and has to noticeably gather himself before going to the top again. STEEN-TON GETS KNEES! YAKUZA KICK FLURRY! BRAINBUSTER BLOCKED! STEEN HITS GENERICO WITH A WRENCH! FISHERMAN BUSTER FROM THE TOP ROPE! IT’S OVER! Steen wins at 16:50

Rating – **** – This will rightly go down in history as one of ROH’s greatest ever opening matches. Sure it was total overkill that will most likely take the crowd a few matches to recover from, but THIS is how you start a ppv. Not a filler little fourway match that gets 6 minutes (Final Battle 2009). Definitely not two local guys getting a charity exhibition match (The Big Bang). This was arguably THE most anticipated match on the whole iPPV so putting it on first is a massive statement of intent. Ring Of Honor have heavily hyped this event on HDNet, and anyone who dropped their $15 and is tuning into see live Ring Of Honor action for the first time will have been blown out of their seat by this. Great way to start, and of course, the beauty of this match is that the finish would indicate we’ve still got MUCH more to come from these two men.

Up In Smoke vs All Night Express
Cheech and Cloudy come back to the ring for the iPPV match they richly deserve after their outstanding match with the Kings Of Wrestling at Buffalo Stampede 2 the previous evening. Most will credit Hero and Castagnoli for the quality of that unexpected little midcard treat – but Up In Smoke more than held up their end of the deal and emphatically outlined their credentials for a more permanent spot on the ROH roster.

King jumps Cloudy in mean-spirited fashion to get the match underway. The little man slides out after Cheech makes a blind tag, and together Up In Smoke manage to send both Kenny and Rhett to the outside. BACK BODY DROP SENTON from Cheech and Cloudy takes both ANX guys out. Up In Smoke continue to overwhelm the All Nights with their rapid fire double teams. Eventually King and Titus hit back with a nice atomic drop/spinebuster combo for 2. The live aspect of commentary comes into effect as Kenny King amusingly chastises Prazak and Dumbrowski for discussing a potential customs issue with the Briscoes rather than calling their match. He then embarrasses himself by slipping on the ropes out of his springboard leg drop and getting HAMMERED by the fans for it. Royal Flush countered by Cloudy who gets a crucial tag to Cheech. He cartwheels past Kenny into a facewash dropkick and a 619 kick from the floor for 2. Partly Cloudy combo blocked by Rhett and the ANX lay Cheech out with a brutal kick combo. DOOMSDAY BLOCKBUSTER gets 2. Cloudy tags and gets flung into a swinging DDT on Kenny for another nearfall. Partly Cloudy With A Chance Of Cheech nailed on Titus. SHOTGUN KNEES TO BLOCK THE TIDAL WAVE! Royal Flush Backbreaker into the One Night Stand to give ANX the win at 08:44

Rating – *** – I’m sure some will focus on Kenny King’s one very obvious botch but I think that’s harsh. Of course it was spot-heavy and very light hearted…but coming after Steen/Generico this only needed to be a little bit of fun and it certainly delivered on that level. It’s been a great weekend for Cheech and Cloudy who have delivered two very strong, competent and completely different matches. If they don’t get regular spots in ROH after this then the reality is they never will.

King and Titus grab a microphone to give a grand entrance to the ‘greatest man…ager that ever lived’ in Austin Aries. Even without the World Title, on the big shows Aries still seems like a total rock star.

Austin Aries vs Delirious
We know the history here – a ruthless Aries injured Delirious’ throat during a Pick 6 Match on HDNet, then crossed the line by assaulting him against the guardrail and attacking Daizee Haze for good measure. Since that time he’s tried to step away from the ring to concentrate on management, and even apologised to Delirious for his admittedly shameful actions. However, Delirious (still voiceless and silent after the attack) remains desperate for physical retribution.

Delirious is in Red Poison attire this evening, meaning this is a SUPER SERIOUS grudge encounter. Personally I prefer his white BDK get-up in Chikara as an alternate outfit. His entrance is alarmingly slow and focused too. Aries chops at Delirious’ throat behind the ref’s back…GREEN MIST BY DELIRIOUS IN RESPONSE! Cobra Clutch blocked but Aries is so disorientated by the mist he aimlessly walks around the ring and is clobbered by a northern lariat instead. He almost Brainbusters the ref in error before retreating to the outside where he finds a bottle to flush his eyes. Now able to see, he goes back to being a complete prick by hanging him throat-first on the guardrails then climbing to the top rope. Randy Savage Axehandle MISSES this time though, meaning Austin goes crashing into the barricade. Shadows Over Hell blocked for Aries to hit a hanging neckbreaker in the ropes. Next he uses the tassels hanging from Delirious’ mask to choke him, doing yet more damage to the still injured throat. When Delirious eventually escapes and tries to fight back, A-Double simply elevates him for a hotshot, doing yet more damage to the neck. Avalance Brainbuster blocked, but when Delirious fights back with a torpedo headbutt he hurts his own neck as much as Aries. COBRA CLUTCH-PLEX SCORES! Panic Attack BLOCKED with a running clothesline across the throat again. Delirious won’t stay down though, dropping a flurry of sentons across Austin’s back before locking in the Cobra Stretch. Aries tosses him out of the ring to break that…BUT HORRIBLY MISSES THE HEAT SEEKING MISSILE! Delirious starts thinking about Shadows Over Hell, but back come Kenny King and Rhett Titus to throw him off the top rope. It’s a disqualification win for Delirious at 13:02

Rating – *** – Really good match, totally ruined by a lousy and unimaginative cheap finish. After the frenzy of excitement that came with Kevin Steen vs El Generico, it wasn’t particularly surprising that this, a much more measured and cerebral grudge match didn’t provoke the same sort of thunderous fan responses, but I thought they did a super job. Aries was impeccable as the asshole heel, constantly attacking the throat that he’d injured and clearly showing no remorse at doing so despite offering false apologies for that attack on several occasions. Delirious’ performance was actually really subtle one. He came out silent, but as Aries attacked his injury he got more and more vocal as the match wore on and really started to get the fans into the match and on his side before All Night Express ruined it. Of course this isn’t the deciding match in the feud and we’ll get to see them go at it again I’d imagine – it’s just a shame they had to pull a lame interference finish on iPPV rather than on the TV show.

An angry Delirious boots Titus in the balls then drops King with the Suicide Flip as Austin Aries heads for higher ground. It’s a win for Delirious but he doesn’t look finished with A-Double yet.

Tyson Dux vs Eddie Edwards – Toronto Gauntlet Match
This is the second annual Toronto Gauntlet. Last year at Death Before Dishonor 7 it was Davey Richards who earned himself an ROH World Title shot by winning it. It was a win which cemented his rise to main event status and, even though he came up short in his eventual clash with then-champion Austin Aries, he’s been a perennial threat to the ROH Championship ever since, as evidenced by his position in the main event tonight. Can his partner, Eddie Edwards, emulate that and go the distance here? Both he and Dux must have the longest odds of any of the athletes in this since they’ve drawn numbers #1 and #2. There’s also some beef between them after Edwards controversially cheated to beat Tyson in his Ten Minute Hunt yesterday in Hamburg.

Dux clearly hasn’t forgotten about last night and looks keen to lock horns with the Television Champion for the second time this weekend. They pick up where they left off yesterday with some really nice, fluid chain-wrestling stuff from the bell. Eddie is the first to break that pattern and go for a series of chops and kicks instead. That strategy proves successful and puts Tyson on the back foot for the first time. But he gets too close to Dux again, getting captured in a German suplex. Tyson to the floor, and Edwards SCORES with an elbow suicida – the same move he fractured his elbow with in Boston last year. Back in the ring he rolls Dux into the Achilles Lock, but just like yesterday Tyson finds a way to grab the bottom rope. Camel clutch applied instead, with added face raking from Edwards who is now visibly growing in confidence. Tyson hits back with elbow smashes and a back suplex for 2. He then lays the TV Champ out with a sliding DDT for an even closer nearfall. Swinging lariat from Eddie, and now it’s Dux’s turn once again to desperately escape a pinfall. Eddie boots Dux in the head as he tries to climb the ropes only for Tyson to level him with a sunset flip bomb out of the corner. DVD blocked and Edwards again finds a way to kick him in the corner. Dux blocks the Backpack Stunner only to eat flying Codebreaker instead. ACHILLES LOCK AGAIN! But Tyson counters to a small package…and pins Edwards at 11:09

Rating – ** – These guys have decent chemistry as opponents, but for the second night in a row the booking for their match is HORRIBLE. Sorry Adam Pearce, but giving Dux the win here was f*cking moronic. He’s a LOCAL guy, an enhancement talent and someone who will NOT play a serious part on HDNet shows or even f*cking house shows which aren’t in his area. Why the hell are you putting him over your TV Champion on PAY-PER-VIEW? It just beggars belief! If Pearce was so desperate to put Tyson over, why not do it yesterday at the house show, when he could have got the rub surviving the 10 Minute Hunt – then you’ve got a match set up for ROH’s next Canadian swing with Edwards defending against Dux. Sorry, but Edwards is a champion and should be one of the selling points of the show. Jobbing him out to local enhancement talent on ppv is an incredible lapse in judgement. And if you didn’t want Eddie to win – you’ve got FOUR established ROH talents left in this match, all of whom could have used the rub of beating the TV Champion more than Dux. Having Daivari beat Eddie would give The Embassy some credibility. Roderick Strong has problems with Davey and has just joined House Of Truth – he could use a big win over a champion. Colt Cabana has twice had shady losses to Edwards on HDNet, and has claimed he’d be the perfect TV Champion. Beating him on ppv would be a great way to book a third Edwards/Cabana match. Hell, even Steve Corino, who doesn’t ever need to win in ROH to stay over, would be a better choice. I can’t get over how mad the decision to put Dux over has made me.

Tyson Dux vs Shawn Daivari – Toronto Gauntlet Match
The Embassy’s representative makes his way to the ring now. Coming from the WWE, it’s not like Shawn Daivari is lacking experience on ppv – but this is first appearance on iPPV for ROH. What a huge statement it would be if he could win the Toronto Gauntlet and go straight into title contention.

Daivari goes straight after Dux’s leg after the Achilles Lock of Edwards has injured it. And when Tyson manages to kick Daivari away Prince Nana and Ernest Osiris are on hand to start smashing his leg against the ringpost. Figure 4 Leglock applied, of course with the additional leverage of the rope and his corner men at times. Once again Dux manages to boot Shawn to the floor, then limps to the top rope for an AVALANCHE BRAINBUSTER! Such is the impact of that move it ends up hurting his own leg as much as the move injured Daivari. Saito Suplex and a lariat for 2 but Daivari has had too much time to recover. DVD scores, but again it’s just a 2. Slingshot neckbreaker scores…and just when Dux looks to have it won Nana puts his man’s foot on the ropes. That leads to Dux trying to suplex Daivari from the apron, and getting his feet held down by Nana as Daivari scores a cheap pin at 05:25. Total gauntlet time thus far is 16:34

Rating – * – Meh, this was fine for what it was. Tyson sold the leg like a champ but I have limited interest in both these men. The finish was weak, and I can’t help but think how much more interesting and significant this whole segment would have been if it was The Embassy defeating a worn down Eddie Edwards rather than an injured local enhancement talent.

Shawn Daivari vs Colt Cabana – Toronto Gauntlet Match
I’d say that Daivari is still fresh having got to wrestle an injured Tyson Dux in his first match – but he’s so muscled up these days that he’s probably gassed already. These guys met last night at Buffalo Stampede 2, so much as with Edwards/Dux, we’re getting an immediate rematch.

Nana distracts Cabana on the way to the ring, giving Daivari the advantage from the outset. Colt counters something to the Billy Goat’s Curse, and since Daivari is so exhausted from working a whole 6 minutes tonight, he quickly taps. Match time was 00:26 – taking the total time to 17:00

Rating – N/A – Having Colt dump Daivari out in less than 30 seconds means nothing to me. It does make a further mockery of the decision to put Dux over Edwards, which two matches later is STILL pissing me off!

Colt Cabana vs Steve Corino – Toronto Gauntlet Match
Another rematch here, this time from the most recent episode of ROH on HDNet which Corino technically won by disqualification – but only because Cabana was throwing chairs at him so it’s not like he was left in any fit state to celebrate. Of course, we know these two have heat as the ‘other guys’ in the Steen/Generico feud. We witnessed the epic bloodbath in Chicago, and saw Corino cost Cabana victory in another violent brawl with Kevin Steen at Supercard Of Honor 5. Now these two come face to face again, just two victories away from a guaranteed ROH Title shot.

Colt enjoys a good start, and locks in the Billy Goat’s Curse again. Unlike Daivari, Corino isn’t a complete waste of a roster spot though, and demonstrates that ably by finding the bottom rope. Colt doesn’t let up, wiping Corino out with a pescado then taking it to him on the floor with a unique chop/high five onslaught against the guardrails. A desperate Steve Corino tries to stab Cabana with a fork, but settles for the Sliding Lariat when the referee confiscates his fork. He repeatedly rakes the eyes, making it impossible for his opponent to mount any kind of offence. But even a blind man can be dangerous, and as Corino looks for the Sliding Lariat for a second time, Colt counters it to a roll-up and eliminates him at 04:24 – with a total gauntlet time now at 21:24

Rating – * – Short and painless, but of course, in the confines of a gauntlet match it wasn’t good. It also didn’t play off much else that had happened previously in the Gauntlet meaning I almost HAVE to rate this as a standalone match. Their spirited clash on HDNet last week was much better.

Colt Cabana vs Roderick Strong – Toronto Gauntlet Match
These are the final two, so they are now wrestling for a guaranteed World Title shot. We all know Strong feels he was screwed at Supercard Of Honor 5, when Tyler Black survived multiple ref bumps before claiming the win in their main event. He wants a rematch, so winning here is a great way to guarantee that without going through the stress of petitioning through the Pick 6. Likewise, we all know what the ROH Title means to Cabana. He isn’t allowed to challenge for the belt in Chicago anymore, and is now desperate to win it and return to his hometown as Ring Of Honor Champion.

Corino continues beating on Colt Cabana, feeding him to Roderick who sprints in and levels him with the Sick Kick. This is the first time Truth Martini has appeared in Roddy’s corner. Strong is dominant but Cabana keeps getting up. He wipes Strong out with the quebrada and is unlucky that Roderick lands right next to the ropes giving him an easy out on the pinfall. Strong is limping now, and retreats to the floor to recover from his ankle problem…only for Martini to sneak into the ring and lay Cabana out with the ‘Book Of Truth’. Strong wins at 05:12/total of 26:36

Rating – * – Other than getting to see Roderick Strong and Truth Martini as a unit working together for the first time, there’s no real selling point to this. I hate Gauntlet Matches generally but this one has been particularly bad. The lousy decision to put Dux over Eddie pissed me off from the get go, and a load of average, 5 minute matches after it did nothing for me either. I didn’t particularly like the 2009 Toronto Gauntlet – but it was INFINITELY better than the 2010 version. This has sucked down the whole midcard and killed the momentum of the iPPV for me. The right man won (we need another Tyler/Roderick match to happen) but the journey there was lousy.

INTERMISSION – Sadly we don’t get to see the nifty video package that announced that Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) are coming to ROH at the next iPPV, but we do get Kevin Steen and El Generico brawling through the arena. Generico tries to bash Steen with a chair much like Final Battle but Steve Corino makes the save. Colt Cabana is soon out as well and all four men start to brawl as jobbers try in vain to separate them. Generico ends up doing an ode to Bryan Danielson by choking Steen with Bobby Cruise’s neck tie. ‘He should be fired’ – Prazak.

Jim Cornette comes out to start the second half (fittingly using the ROH on HDNet theme as his entrance music). No real reason for him being there other than to put his face on ppv and suck up to the local fans.

Christopher Daniels (2) vs Kenny Omega – Pick 6 Series Match
The Fallen Angel won his Pick 6 spot from Kevin Steen back at Civil Warfare, and needs to string some victories together if he wants to petition for a World Title shot, win the ROH World Title and prove himself to be the best in the world. Chalking one up over the enigmatic Kenny Omega, a well travelled and hugely talented performer, would be a strong win to add to his resume.

Since this is Canada Omega gets a massive response and is buried under streamers for his entrance. Daniels isn’t far behind and as the match start we’ve got loud duelling chants for both guys. Daniels wrestles defensively, working lots of headlocks and trying to restrict the movement of his explosive opponent. He looks for the urinage slam early but it’s blocked…then quickly ducks under Kenny going for the Hadouken strike so we have a stalemate. The pace starts to quicken, which plays right into the hands of Omega and it’s him that seizes the initiative at this stage. Frog crossbody scores, but gets just a count of 1. Bermuda Triangle blocked and Daniels punts Kenny in the neck, before delivering a HANGING NECKBREAKER ON THE APRON! He slows the pace down again, whilst beginning a focused attack on Kenny’s neck. Omega is a wounded animal now, and even when he does manage to get a running start at Daniels, the Fallen Angel simply leaps into a heel kick and snaps his head and neck back again. Arabian press connects, and Chris goes seamlessly into a crossface to do more damage to the injured neck. They fight in the corner and only some extreme courage and sensible defensive wrestling from Omega protects him from a super Angel’s Wings attempt. Canadian Hammers connect, as does the leapfrog bulldog for 2. Dragon suplex…COUNTERED TO THE KOJI CLUTCH! Omega makes the ropes but everyone starts to wonder how much he has left now. His neck is rattled again with the Fall From Grace but still no win for Daniels. Running neckbreaker which Omega even NECK BUMPS for…but still it’s just 2. Angel’s Wings COUNTERED TO AN AIR RAID CRASH! STOP SIGN ENZI! Only for Daniels to drop him with the urinage slam. BME misses…Kenny flips out of the corner to deliver a hurricanrana. BLUE DESTINY GETS 2! Hadouken COUNTERED TO ANGEL’S WINGS! OMEGA KICKS OUT! DRAGON SUPLEX! HADOUKEN! DANIELS KICKS OUT! He lifts Daniels, but he blocks Croyt’s Wrath by punching the neck again. RUNNING STO DROPS HIM ON HIS NECK! BEST MOONSAULT EVER! Daniels wins at 16:48

Rating – **** – Really enjoyable, fast-paced and cutting edge modern junior heavyweight wrestling here. Of course, it’s easy to criticise Kenny Omega for not selling, as it is in most of his matches. However, his no-selling is what stops a great match becoming an MOTYC, not what prevents this from actually being a great match in and of itself. As you might expect, they meshed supremely well as opponents. Daniels as the crafty and experienced veteran, working the neck, countering Kenny’s moves and generally doing whatever he could to stop Omega doing all the wild, unpredictable and athletic stuff he’s known best for. Omega, in response, was superb as the fiery underdog, absorbing lots of offence before coming back with some amazing combo moves of his own. To date this remains Kenny Omega’s last appearance in ROH. He was scheduled to appear at Final Battle 2010 weekend but pulled out of his bookings through injury – then pissed the ROH office off by working some Japanese shows very soon afterwards, seemingly burning some bridges. If Sinclair have deep pockets he’s a guy for whom they need to be writing lots of numbers on a piece of paper to get back from Japan.

Kings Of Wrestling vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe – ROH Tag Title No DQ Match
This is a direct rematch from the last iPPV when Chris Hero used the Loaded Elbow to win the belts, leaving Jay Briscoe concussed and vomiting in the ring as a result. The Briscoes have been hell bent on getting a rematch and their belts back ever since. They stopped Hero cheating at Supercard Of Honor 5, but ended up causing a controversial non-finish to the Kings’ MOTYC with the Motor City Machine Guns, then got pissed off and gave Sara Del Rey a Jay Driller for good measure. That was deemed to be crossing the line to the Kings, who taunted then assault Jay and Mark’s father on HDNet. The challengers are now EXTREMELY pissed (seriously, check out their hilariously swear-word heavy promo in the Video Wire) and left Jim Cornette with no choice but to book this as a No DQ Match.

Cleverly referencing ROH’s last trip to Canada (when Mark was turned away at the border), Prazak and Dumbrowski have been teasing all night that the Briscoes aren’t in the building due to customs problems again. The Kings think they’re coming out to accept a forfeit victory, and even Adam Pearce is out there talking in hushed, serious tones with Cary Silkin. The Briscoes sprint through the crowd, dressed in their gear, to attack the Kings from behind and get the match started. Jay scores with a crazy suicide dive as Castagnoli struggles to get his shirt off meaning the challengers get to double team Hero. Shane Hagadorn tries to help out then runs for his life as the Briscoes come after him instead. Claudio is bleeding somehow, and his cause isn’t helped as he is levelled with the Drunken Stupor Kick. Finally Hero manages to batter Mark into the guardrails, leaving him bleeding HEAVILY. It’s shades of his brother Jay battling Samoa Joe years ago, as Claudio rocks Mark with an uppercut and comes away with Mark’s blood dripping down his arm. The Kings show no mercy and attack the laceration repeatedly. Mark manages to hold Hero in the path of a Castagnoli Bicycle Kick then crossbody blocks through both opponents to get a critical tag to Jay. He hangs Claudio upside down (remember, he’s bleeding too) for an extended period of time before delivering a DVD. Then he SMASHES HERO INTO THE TURNBUCKLES SO MANY TIMES HE STARTS BLEEDING! Hagadorn blasts Jay with a steel chair as Double C drops Mark on his neck with a lariat. All four men are bloody, and the violence cranks up again as Hero starts tying Jay to the ringpost by his throat. Suplex/elbow smash combo gets 2 on Mark, before they lift him for a DOOMSDAY EUROPEAN UPPERCUT! The ref tries in vein to untie the choking Jay Briscoe as the Kings brutalise Mark in the middle of the ring. Hero locks in the Stretch Plum…but the now freed Jay saves by shooting a fire extinguisher in the faces of both opponents! The challengers bring tables and hubcaps into play, propping the table in the corner, and whipping both Hero and Claudio into it. Claudio COUNTERS the Briscoe Biel through the table. BRISCOE TACKLE THROUGH THE TABLE INSTEAD! FOR 2! Doomsday Device prevented by Hagadorn, and he’s involved himself once too often it seems. DOOMSDAY DEVICE ON HAGADORN! In the melee Hero arrives with the LOADED ELBOW! BUT JAY KICKS OUT AT 2! Castagnoli picks Mark up…UFO COUNTERED TO A SCHOOLBOY FOR 2! BIG SWING/LOADED FLASH KICK COMBO! KINGS RETAIN! It’s over at 18:17

Rating – ****1/2 – Initially I was only going to go 4* on this – with my reasoning being that I didn’t think this was as violent and as gripping in the ‘hardcore grudge match’ genre as the Cabana/Generico vs Steen/Corino Street Fight from the last Chicago show. BUT, in many ways this was a better match. It lacked the same violent edge, but then again, this isn’t a blood feud to the same level as the Steen/Generico issue. What this was was one of the finest examples of a ‘texas tornado’ style tag team fight you’ll ever see. I had to think hard about it but in the end I do think this will stand out as a true MOTYC for Ring Of Honor this year. Of course we know the Briscoes can go in this environment, but seeing the Kings hang with them in a match like this – well out of their element – was a sight to behold. These are two of the best tag teams of the 21st century thus far, and this one oozed quality. That Briscoe Biel/tackle table spot with Claudio should be replayed in highlight reels for years to come. Incredibly, we’ve still got a main event to come!

Tyler Black vs Davey Richards – ROH World Title Match
These guys have the unenviable task of trying to main event after the crazy Kings/Briscoes match, but this is still one of the most hotly anticipated ROH Title matches in a long time. Davey has been getting ‘next world champ’ chants since last year. He came desperately close to defeating Austin Aries in Novi, and since committing his future to ROH in the spring, he’s refocused his efforts on climbing to the top of the mountain for the first time. He confronted Tyler on HDNet, he beat Kenny King at The Big Bang to claim the necessary Pick 6 spot and was declared the next title contender following Tyler’s win over Roderick Strong at Supercard Of Honor. But in the eyes of many, he’s still the underdog here. He’s smaller than the champion, with disadvantages in both speed and athleticism too. And he also doesn’t have anywhere near as much experience of competing in major World Title headlining bouts as Tyler (who, lets face it, has been LOSING these things since Take No Prisoners in the spring of 2008). This is one of those ‘too close to call’ matches. Will it be Davey solidifying his claim to be the best in the world by becoming World Champion – or will it be Tyler confounding his critics by defeating yet another challenger to the belt many people claim he’s not good enough to hold?

Jim Cornette and his uber-shouty commentary style joins Prazak and Dumbrowski for this one. Tyler Black gets John Cena heat, with the women and kids cheering him and vocal boos from the adult male demographic in attendance. Richards desperately tries to get some heat of his own, waving an American flag during his entrance and spitting at Black instead of following the Code Of Honor, and still gets massive support from the Toronto crowd. Tyler, already pissed off, starts slapping and shoving the challenger and is immediately taken to the mat by Richards. Arguably the only aspect that Davey possesses the edge over Tyler is mat wrestling and he sensibly tries to keep it grounded. Apparently that strategy is too boring for Jim Cornette who starts bashing WWE, as he so often does. They miss out on Tyler hanging with Richards, proving that he can mat wrestle and hold his own with the American Wolf. It’s like Davey is testing Tyler for weaknesses, but Black keeps providing answers to all the questions Richards asks. Things start to accelerate, and sure enough Tyler quickly scores with a dropkick and becomes the aggressor for the first time. He goes for high risk far too early though, going for the Springboard Lariat and taking a dropkick to the stomach. Richards has apparently lost a tooth in the skirmishes, and AGGRESSIVELY starts striking at the champion. Texas Cloverleaf, then a back suplex as he starts to isolate Black’s midsection. Again Tyler slaps him…MACHINE GUN KICKS IN THE CORNER BY DAVEY! Everyone of those kicks was right across the ribs, but incredibly Black comes out of the corner and floors Davey with the Pele Kick. F-5 blocked…SO TYLER BACK SUPLEXES RICHARDS TO THE FLOOR!

Somersault plancha scores as well, as his explosive athleticism once again serves to give the champion the edge. The fans unleash a deafening ‘you still suck’ chant as he soars across the ring with the Springboard Lariat for 2. Peroxism gets 2 as well and at 10 minutes it’s Tyler Black in complete control. Phoenix Splash blocked…ROPE RUN GERMAN SUPERPLEX. BUT TYLER LANDS ON HIS F*CKING FEET! REVERSE RANA DROPS RICHARDS ON HIS NECK! RUBIX CUBE…FOR 2! Prazak, an IWA-MS alum himself, rightly calls that as the finisher of his trainer Danny Daniels, and Richards has to roll out of the ring to recover. Brainbuster next, dropping Davey on his neck again. But Tyler can’t put the challenger away and is visibly starting to get frustrated. He tries to trade strikes with Richards, and of course that’s a huge mistake. KICK OFF THE APRON…TOPE CON HILO FROM DAVEY! After several minutes of Black dominance, Davey is back with a vengeance and the fans are roaring him on. We get a ‘boo vs yaaay’ strike exchange, with Richards flatting Tyler with the handspring enziguri kick. Dragon screw in the ropes next, followed by a missile dropkick to the sternum. More kicks, then a countered rana from Tyler into the TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! That’s all pressure on the legs and back that he’s targeted, but still Black gets a rope. They brawl on the turnbuckles again, with Black getting the upper hand for a superplex ROLLED INTO THE F-5! Davey punches out the knee to stop him climbing for the Phoenix Splash…CHOPS BY TYLER! PHOENIX SPLASH MISSES! ANKLELOCK! Tyler escapes into a flurry of pin attempts which the crowd are absolutely eating up. KICK DUEL! PELE KICK COUNTERED TO THE ANKLELOCK! Tyler still won’t tap though…SO GETS A LEG CRADLE GERMAN SUPLEX! Davey is on top, but will Tyler’s stamina and durability start to count against him now? SUPLEX OVER THE ROPES…BOTH MEN DOWN!

Davey is up first to boot Tyler into the crowd and buy himself some time to recover. He looks to have injured his neck on that suplex bump…and is checked on by the referee as Shane Hagadorn tries to hit Tyler with a chair. Davey stops him and snatches the chair. BLACK SUPERKICKS THE CHAIR INTO DAVEY’S FACE! He barely beats the 20-count back into the ring, and when he does manages to force Tyler to the apron in countering God’s Last Gift. They wearily slug it out…PEROXISM OFF THE DAMN APRON! Again Black wants to win by count-out, and watches as Davey slides back in with less than a second to go. Davey will NOT die! He tells Black to bring it! SUPERKICK! GOD’S LAST GIFT! DAVEY KICKS OUT! BUCKLE BOMB! SUPERKICK COUNTERED TO A DRAGON SCREW! RICHARDS WITH THE CLOVERLEAF! MIDDLE OF THE RING! BLACK COUNTERS – SMALL PACKAGE GETS 2! Neither man can stand properly now, but still they wearily get up and charge back at each other! KAWADA KICKS BY DAVEY! PALM STRIKES BY BLACK! He starts hitting the neck again! ALARM CLOCK TO THE RIBS! LARIAT GETS 2! BUCKLE BOMB ON TYLER! BUZZSAW KICK! DR DRIVER! TYLER KICKS OUT! Davey screams with Black to ‘just die’, then heads to the top for the SSP. Both men are so weary they nearly fall off the top rope as they battle on the turnbuckles. Black knocks Davey back…TREE OF WOE DOUBLE STOMP TO THE FLOOR! He quickly drags Richards back in, but still just 2. BUCKLE BOMB! SUPERKICK! DAVEY ROLLS OVER! ‘You can’t beat him’ – Toronto to Tyler. He looks f*cking FURIOUS at that chant. SUPERKICK! WRIST CLUTCH GOD’S LAST GIFT! BLACK WINS! BLACK WINS! 34:45 is your time – close your MOTY ballots now!

Rating – ***** – It’s so the ‘in thing’ to criticise this match now. Because it’s Davey Richards and Tyler Black having it, as opposed to Japanese talent or Bryan Danielson, it’s somehow easier to knock this. It’s so easy to over-analyse a match like this, or criticise just for the sake of saying something controversial or being a ‘critic’. Sometimes you have to take a step back and applaud something as being genuinely epic…and this was one of those times. It was a privilege to watch this match. The atmosphere was amazing, both guys produced career-best performances and for 35 minutes they ripped each other apart. I don’t want to hear sh*t like ‘too many false finishes’, ‘he didn’t sell good enough’, ‘the Hagadorn spot ruined it for me’. Was this a totally flawless, perfectly executed match? Perhaps not. But wrestling isn’t a cool, clinical business. It’s about emotion, and feeling something. This match, to Ring Of Honor, was an era defining 5* classic. They have not produced one of those for a long time – and this was the ‘new Ring Of Honor’ standing up and announcing to the world that they’re here on iPPV, and whilst the ‘big two’ may be reaping the rewards of ROH’s past with the likes of Danielson, McGuinness, Joe, Styles, Shelley, Sydal, Punk, Kendrick etc on their rosters – the new breed of ROH main event is here and ready to go. Tyler Black and Davey Richards, midcard guys for a long time, stepped up in such a momentous fashion. Tyler produced possibly the best match he’ll ever wrestle, and one that probably sealed his WWE deal as he spectacularly handled the ‘John Cena’ heat as champion and turned it into an active storyline in the match. Richards was an excellent challenger, and if anyone watches this match and calls him a ‘bland vanilla midget’ I will strangle them. I’m sorry, but even if you can find faults in this match, be my guest. But calling it ‘bland’ is outright insulting to these tremendous workers. This must surely be ROH’s 2010 MOTY and I have nothing but respect for both men. If you’ve not seen this match – get your hands on this DVD by whatever means necessary. Wrestling is all about context. In the context and landscape of 2010 Ring Of Honor – this is absolutely a 5* match. I didn’t even have to think about awarding it anything lower.

Credit to the Toronto crowd who have been merciless with Black all night, they erupt in a huge ‘thank you both’ chant, quickly followed by an even louder ‘match of the year’ one. Adam Pearce is in the ring checking on the fallen challenger, quickly joined by Eddie Edwards. Davey struggles to his feet, simply says ‘now you’re champion’ to Tyler, then collapses and has to be carried out.

Tape Rating – **** – Another absolutely magnificent show from Ring Of Honor – and the best iPPV thus far. However, I am not going to agree with the majority that this is ROH’s ‘show of the year’ thus far – even though it does contain the MOTY. For me, whilst the best MATCH was on this event, show of the year remains Supercard Of Honor 5. The Toronto Gauntlet flat out sucked, was horribly booked, made none of the talent in it look good and totally killed the momentum of the midcard and is the main reason I didn’t enjoy this quite as much. This is still an absolute must-own though. Black/Richards stands up as one of the best matches in Ring Of Honor history – I’ve been watching this company since 2002 and I truly mean that. Believe the hype there…and to have that match complimented by the unreal Steen/Generico opener, the Daniels/Omega clinic and the Kings/Briscoes war is truly remarkable. Amazingly, within 2 months Adam Pearce would find himself out of a job – but this show really does mark the culmination and climax of his spell at the booking helm of Ring Of Honor.

Top 3 Matches
3) Christopher Daniels vs Kenny Omega (****)
2) Kings Of Wrestling vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (****1/2)
1) Tyler Black vs Davey Richards (*****)

Top 5 Buffalo Stampede 2/Death Before Dishonor 8 Weekend Matches
5) Kings Of Wrestling vs Up In Smoke (**** – Buffalo Stampede 2)
4) Kevin Steen vs El Generico (**** – Death Before Dishonor 8)
3) Christopher Daniels vs Kenny Omega (**** – Death Before Dishonor 8)
2) Kings Of Wrestling vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (****1/2 – Death Before Dishonor 8)
1) Tyler Black vs Davey Richards (***** – Death Before Dishonor 8)

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