ROH 258 – Supercard Of Honor 5 – 8th May 2010
SIDENOTE – Apologies for the lack of fresh content on McXal’s Reviews recently. To be honest, much of it is down to malfunctioning computer equipment – however, I could probably have resolved these issues a lot quicker but for the fact I’m feeling a little disconnected from the Ring Of Honor product right now. I love the enthusiasm the Sinclair Broadcasting Group have come in with – they’ve re-energised the company in many ways – but they also seem to have taken it away from the ROH I’ve spent years watching. Hugely popular acts with storied histories in ROH (I’m looking at the likes of Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli or Colt Cabana) allowed to disappear without so much as an acknowledgement, word of thanks or best of luck – that’s not the ROH I’m used to. Neither is the alarmingly thin talent roster. Ditching ‘traditional’ ROH markets to focus on the (largely southern-based) markets where the SBG stations broadcast, and a lot of the Smokey Mountain v2.0 creative direction is making the whole promotion feel different to me. Not necessarily better or worse – just different – and I’m struggling to adapt to the change. The (perhaps understandable) decision to ditch the ROH Message Board has also left me feeling hugely isolated. I’m not a big Facebook-er and I detest Twitter – so without a regular message board to log on to and interact with fellow fans of the ROH product I’m feeling very alone in my fandom at the moment too. These factors have certainly had a detrimental impact in the speed with which I’m getting my reviews out. I salute ROH for changing and trying to move forward – and fully understand why. I am just having some trouble adjusting! If anyone does have any links to some ‘unofficial’ ROH message boards that have sprung up like a phoenix from the ashes of the old board I’d be delighted to receive them! My mail, as ever firstname.lastname@example.org)
For the first time ROH’s annual Supercard Of Honor tradition comes to New York, and for the first time in ROH history it isn’t part of WrestleMania weekend. But the more things are different, the more things stay the same. Supercard is one of ROH’s biggest shows of the year, and once again they’ve loaded up a great card for us here. In classic Supercard tradition we’ve got outside talent brought in – with Amazing Kong returning to ROH for the first time since 2007 to face Sara Del Rey and the Motor City Machine Guns lined up in a dream tag team encounter against the Kings Of Wrestling. There’s grudge matches too with Austin Aries and Delirious, then Kevin Steen and Colt Cabana colliding. AND, if that wasn’t enough, Christopher Daniels continues his ROH comeback against Eddie Edwards, whilst Tyler Black defends the ROH Title against Roderick Strong. We’re in Manhattan, NY. Commentary comes from Dave Prazak and Joe Dumbrowski. Interestingly, the DVD case design was created by a fan and picked up by ROH.
Kenny King/Rhett Titus vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe
It seems like a while since we’ve seen the All Night Express team up together. They’ve recently been splitting their time between singles endeavours and teaming up with their mentor Austin Aries. This is a match which shows the pull and power that comes with being ROH Tag Champions. The Kings Of Wrestling have refused to grant the Briscoes a rematch – and as such have sent them to the back of the line. Therefore the Briscoes are now right back in the first match of the night, looking to work their way up the ranks and earn another shot at the Kings.
King and Jay start – with Kenny impressing first by nipping under a Briscoe strike before popping back up to hit an armdrag. Jay doesn’t like that and beats him with such ferocity that King quickly retreats to Titus in the corner. Before Rhett can even get in Jay is sending him over the top with a Cactus clothesline…and Mark sends everyone wild with a MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! The Briscoes cut the ring in half to isolate King. That is until Rhett makes a blind tag and King LANDS ON HIS FEET out of the Briscoe Biel. Titus dropkicks his way into the ring and like that the momentum turns in ANX’s favour. Mark evens things again with some Redneck Kung Fu before getting crotched in the corner by Titus. Sexy Lariat combo gets 2 for the All Nights as they look to stop Mark getting to his brother. Even when Mark has Jay in his sights Titus cuts him off from behind with the leapfrog Rocker Dropper for another nearfall. At last Mark manages to drop King with an Ace Crusher and make the hot tag to Jay. He flatliners King into Rhett’s crotch then drops Titus with an ORANGE CRUSH for 2. Rhett recovers by capturing Mark’s legs whilst Kenny hits a SPRINGBOARD BLOCKBUSTER OVER THE KNEES! Awesome combo move by ANX there. It doesn’t last though, as another King/Titus miscue leads to STEREO FISHERMAN BUSTERS by the Briscoes. DOOMSDAY DEVICE ON KING! He landed splat on top of Titus, and it’s the Briscoes who win in 12:53
Rating – *** – Hot opening match, great way to start the show and a welcome return to the King/Titus team, who have sort of been sidelined recently as Austin Aries has become more involved – particularly with Kenny King.
In the ring Kenny King and Rhett Titus start arguing and shoving each other. Eventually they hug it out but King still doesn’t look best pleased about how things transpired.
Erick Stevens vs Grizzly Redwood
Necro Butcher being injured after Pick Your Poison had left Stevens without an opponent tonight. He issued an open challenge, which was answered by the Littlest Lumberjack. Grizzly had his problems with The Embassy in 2009, and was always backed up by Necro. Tonight he’s fighting for revenge for his bearded friend.
Redwood charges at Stevens, but is completely outmatched and is quickly shunted to the canvas. Sleeper hold applied instead, so Erick literally rips him off his back before slamming him down again. Springboard headscissors does send Stevens out of the ring, but Prince Nana quickly distracts Grizzly, allowing him to recover and rake the eyes. Stevens flings Redwood ribs-first into the ringpost next, leaving him in a heap and gasping for air. Bearhug applied next, then a brutal back suplex for 2. Redwood finally escapes a big press slam and counters to a sliding bulldog. That barely gets a 1-count, but Grizz continues undeterred and lands a springboard tornado DDT too. Erick is knocked to the floor, then the lumberjack dives into a crazy pescado on Nana for good measure. He tries one more high-flying move, and soars into a lariat from Stevens. Doctor Bomb wins it at 06:46
Rating – ** – They kept it short so this wasn’t too bad. The crowd seemed into Grizzly which in turn meant Erick Stevens got a decent amount of heat. I can’t say I’m clamouring for a rematch but Redwood has improved so much, his execution so good, that he is perfect for the plucky whipping boy role he got to portray here.
The Embassy look set to beat the sh*t out of Grizzly Redwood…until Balls Mahoney (now renamed ‘Ballz Mahoney’ since Vince owns the trademark) makes a surprising and hugely popular ROH debut (although he did appear at the ROH/JAPW show in January 2004). Complete with familiar theme music, he decimates Stevens then drops Osiris with the Nutcracker Suite
Sara Del Rey vs Amazing Kong
I think there was a vignette recently where Sara Del Rey called for more competition in the Women Of Honor division. It’s almost like she doesn’t like wrestling Daizee Haze over and over again. Anyway, she asked for more competition, and she certainly has it tonight. Fresh from her TNA release, Kong returns to ROH looking to promote SHIMMER and women’s wrestling on one of the biggest ROH shows of 2010.
Del Rey has Shane Hagadorn AND the ROH Tag Team Champions in her corner tonight, whilst both women get huge pops from the vocal New York crowd. Even Kong can’t help but smile as anti-TNA and anti-Bubba The Love Sponge chants blow the roof off the place. Del Rey throws some elbows with no effect. Then some shoulder blocks…still nothing. Body avalanche then a WARRIOR SPLASH get Kong a quick 2. Duelling ‘f*ck the Divas’ vs ‘f*ck the Knockouts’ chants as Amazing misses a second avalanche and Sara launches an assault on her arm – desperately looking to open up any kind of weakness on her massive opponent. She delivers a capo kick right on the shoulder which causes her such pain that Kong rolls out of the ring…only for Del Rey to give chase and dropkick the arm from the apron. But Sara just isn’t doing enough damage quickly enough and finds herself trapped in a sleeper slam. AMAZING PRESS MISSES! Amazing Bomb then COUNTERED to a cross armbreaker but Kong is so tall that she’s basically already in the ropes. BACK FIST! LARIAT! Sara kicks out! Still no Amazing Bomb either…DEL REY HITS A GERMAN ON KONG FOR 2! Hero tosses Sara the infamous ‘lucky’ elbow pad. LOADED ROARING ELBOW! Del Rey beats Kong at 07:16
Rating – *** – To be frank I’m gutted this didn’t get more time. I’m not expecting them to get 20 minutes or anything but Kong can’t be cheap to book. Even on a loaded card like this one, why not book 12-15 minutes for these talented women, get your money’s worth out of Amazing Kong and let these two tear the house down. The crowd were so up for this (comfortably the hottest crowd for a women’s match in ROH ever) and seemed equally disappointed it didn’t go longer. This had the potential to be the Joe vs Kobashi of the Women of Honor, and as good as it was (it was a super-fun midcard sprint) they could have done so much more. Even by this point there were rumours that WWE were looking at Kong. She’d be there by the start of 2011, but does make a few more ROH appearances along the way, which I’m very much looking forward to.
Despite her loss, Kong gets a standing ovation and huge ‘please come back’ chants.
In the back Christopher Daniels has words for Eddie Edwards. He schools Edwards on some Ring Of Honor history and calls Edwards a ‘decided underdog’ in their match tonight. It’s so good to have some genuine promo greatness back in ROH…
Eddie Edwards vs Christopher Daniels
The TV Title isn’t on the line tonight, and this isn’t under Ten Minute Hunt rules either. This is about two fierce competitors looking to see who the better man is. Daniels returned to ROH at The Big Bang last month, shocking everyone when he came to the ring almost immediately after securing his TNA release and calling out Davey Richards as he proclaimed himself to be the ‘best in the world’. Davey is in Japan, but his partner didn’t take kindly to the Fallen Angel’s hostility. He has pointed out that wolves hunt in packs, and since Daniels messed with one wolf, he has a problem with the other.
Edwards is super-intense as they follow the Code Of Honor, clearly looking to make a statement at the expense of the veteran here tonight. Despite the experience gap, the TV Champion proves himself to be more than a match for Daniels as they work the mat in the opening minutes. After knocking him off his feet with a shoulder tackle, he also mockingly adopts a ‘fallen angel’ pose to rub salt in the wounds – advantage Eddie. ARM DRAG DUEL! Pace accelerates quickly with Fallen Angel managing to use momentum to send his opponent to the floor. He quickly re-enters, overpowering Daniels again before landing a few headbutts to the neck. Just when he think he’s taken the advantage the wily veteran fires back with a springboard leapfrog into a running STO and we’re even again. Arabian press gets the first significant nearfall of the match for Daniels. In response Edwards grabs him for a HIPTOSS TO THE FLOOR! TOPE SUICIDA SMASHES HIM INTO THE RAILS SECONDS LATER! That happened so quickly it was almost unreal! Out there Eddie delivers a version of the Ole Ole Kick, using aggression to give him the edge at this stage. ACHILLES LOCK IN THE ROPES! Then he lets Daniels fall out of the ring clutching his leg in pain. Having opened up that injury Eddie is all over him, grounding him for an abdominal stretch then grabbing the leg for additional damage. Fallen Angel blasts him with an enziguri, but you can almost hear the crowd gasp in disappointment at his choice of move as it’s a strike that does him as much damage as it did to Edwards. Fall From Grace by Daniels gets 2. He then tries to go upstairs…only to he shoved off and down onto that bad leg by Hagadorn. Edwards punts Shane by mistake…but turns round to dragon screw the bad leg and leave him crying out in pain again. Edwards takes his turn taking his opponent out of the corner – to deliver the Backpack Stunner. But the TV Champion is struggling to put Daniels away, missing the flying Codebreaker and getting caught in a DVD for 2. The fans want to see the BME, but with that had leg you wonder whether that’s a viable option for Daniels at this point. E Honda strikes, but when he goes for a springboard leapfrog again Edwards COUNTERS TO THE ACHILLES LOCK! Fallen Angel is close to the ropes fortunately, but can barely stand now. Edwards looks for the 2k1 Bomb only to be swept into the urinage slam. BEST MOONSAULT EVER! It’s over! Daniels steals it at 17:51
Rating – **** – I’m sure some will criticise me for this rating but, to me, this match is what ROH is all about, and the sort of thing ROH has been missing since guys like Daniels started working elsewhere. This wasn’t a main event level bout, and wasn’t wrestled as such. But just because they’re not main eventing and have some limitations placed on what they can do, it doesn’t mean they can’t still have a good time out there. Chris Daniels is SO good at working in this spot. Super smooth, flawless execution…still able to increase the pace in the blinking of an eye…he is one of the outstanding performers of his generation and having him back in ROH for the time being is going to be an absolute pleasure. Talented up and comers like Eddie Edwards will become better workers for getting to wrestle the likes of Daniels. And for the record, I thought Eddie was great in this match too. Didn’t care much for the finish (I’d rather have seen him use Angel’s Wings or Last Rites – something which isn’t so knee dependent) but that’s a minor quibble. Credit to Fallen Angel, he still heavily sells he leg in victory and subsequent celebrations.
In the locker room a still-voiceless Delirious is fired up by Daizee Haze. She tells him he has to take his revenge on Aries tonight for what he did on HDNet.
A-Double comes to the ring ‘dressed for a funeral’. He conducts a eulogy for the career of Austin Aries, since he’s now a ratified manager and is done wrestling on a full-time basies. He wants to prove he’s now the ‘greatest manager that ever lived’. Delirious and Daizee come to the ring to listen to a formal apology from him for his actions. Aries has a gift too – which is an amusing play on his relationship with the New York fans stemming back to Glory By Honor 8 and I won’t spoil it. Delirious smashes him with the microphone to start a match of sorts. He winds up choking Aries out with the tassels from his outfit and refuses to let go. Finally All Night Express come out to save their mentor. They look for the Jerry Lynn Driver on Daizee only for Delirious to run them off…fair to say this feud is not done yet.
Colt Cabana has apparently downed several crates of Red Bull before cutting a promo. Jittering and bouncing around the screen like he needs a big dump, he promises to end Kevin Steen’s career tonight.
Kevin Steen vs Colt Cabana – Last Man Standing Death Match
There don’t appear to be any differences between this stipulation and a standard Last Man Standing match, but I’m guessing the gimmicky title is supposed to be cool. After the absolute war these two went through in the brutal Street Fight at Bitter Friends Stiffer Enemies 2, who knows how much they have left in the tank, and to what depths they’ll sink to, in order to eradicate their opponent tonight. El Generico isn’t here tonight, and Steve Corino is still recovering from the brutal beating he took in Chicago. These two former friends are being left alone to settle their differences.
Steen wears a ‘Cabanarama’ t-shirt to the ring, vowing to cover it in blood before the night is through. He’s quick to deliver on his promise as Colt attacks him from behind and immediately busts him open by smashing his head against the guardrails. Do the Manhattan Center mind ROH shedding blood all over the carpeted floor of this arena? Steen blocks an attempt to powerbomb him off the apron to superkick Cabana to the floor instead. Colt topples into the rails, and is sandwiched against them as Mr Wrestling charges with the cannonball senton. He starts beating Cabana with a chair – a move which backfires as Colt SPINEBUSTERS him through it seconds later. There’s a great moment where Colt sets up the Dusty Rhodes elbow smashes he always does, then thinks ‘f*ck it’ and blasts Steen with a chair. Then there’s an even better moment as Kevin counters the Flying Asshole with a HUGE POWERBOMB THROUGH A TABLE ON THE FLOOR! He brings a massive ladder into play, hoisting Cabana up for a SPINEBUSTER ON TOP OF IT! Cabana barely beats the count back to his feet that time. HE THEN BODY SLAMS STEEN ONTO THE SIDE OF THE LADDER! That is horrific! Where did this crazy death match side of Cabana come from? He pulls out a bag of tacks and lays them in the middle of the ring. This match is only 8 minutes old and we’ve got tacks already? PRESS SLAM INTO THE TACKS! And he’d taken back Steen’s ‘Cabanarama’ shirt first! Not done there, he MOONSAULTS SOME CHAIRS INTO STEEN’S FACE! El Generico’s music starts playing….and a masked guy pretending to be Generico himself comes out. It’s an obvious set up as Steve Corino comes from behind to take out Cabana. The guy in the mask was Colby Corino, and Steve’s kid then heads under the ring to retrieve a barbed wire bat. Incredibly Colt fires back with a FLYING ASSHOLE ON CORINO! BARBED WIRE BAT TO STEEN’S HEAD! Mr Wrestling refuses to stay down though – dragging himself up for a PACKAGE PILEDRIVER IN THE TACKS! Colt is barely conscious, and fights his way back to his feet only to be dropped into the Crippler Crossface. Steve isn’t happy with that and hands the bat to Steen. BARBED WIRE BAT CRIPPLER CROSSFACE! THAT’S SICK! Colt is out cold at 14:22
Rating – **** – This was almost as disturbing and violent as the Chicago match. I’m not surprised that Kevin Steen is so good in these kinds of matches. The guy has been superb in these weapon-filled grudge matches for years and years. Steen/Super Dragon from an eternity ago in PWG remains one of my favourite indy grudge matches of all time. What is surprising me in this equation is how awesome Colt is in them. He’s got bloody and violent before – most notably in his feud with Homicide. But even that can’t touch the intensity of this angle. For such a talented comedic performer, shoehorned into a feud which didn’t necessarily need him at all (Steen/Generico), he is SO believable here. The finish, neatly playing off the Chicago Street Fight finish from the last DVD show, was absolutely superb too. This is already shaping up to be ROH’s feud of the year.
Kings Of Wrestling vs Motor City Machine Guns – ROH Tag Title Match
It’s always an event whenever Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin make their way to ROH. Back in 2008 they had a great run of shows, working stellar matches on four separate live events. This is the first time they’ve been back since then, and it’s a huge opportunity for them to back up their claim to be the very best tag team in the world – by adding the ROH Tag Championship to their already-impressive resume.
MCMG are still using Shelley’s old ‘Six Barrel Shotgun’ theme which is great. But that awesomeness is quickly topped as the Kings come out to Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’. They’re actually more popular than the Machine Guns it seems. Claudio starts with Sabin, making a statement by easily power-lifting him all over the ring. He then matches him for speed by absorbing a dropkick and bouncing straight up into a dropkick of his own. Sabin angrily snaps into a Déjà vu headscissors, before we get tags all round for Shelley to meet Hero. Immediately the tone of the match changes as the two technicians work the mat, testing each other for weaknesses. Shelley has a real hybrid style though, and is able to outwit Chris, using armdrags from a variety of positions. In the end Hero opts to smack him in the jaw with an elbow smash which hands the Kings an advantage. Only briefly though as Sabin comes off the apron to punt Castagnoli in the chest, then storms into the ring for some super-fast double team moves on Hero. Dumbrowski rightly points out that if this match is decided on speed and combo moves then the challengers are the favourites for this – therefore the champions need to make this a striking match as quickly as possible. Hero tries to do just that only to be pitched out of the ring for a THROUGH THE LEGS TOPE SUICIDA COMBO! Never a stickler for the rules, Shelley starts using Hero’s long hair to his advantage, but in the end that pisses That Young Knockout Kid off, and the KOW explode into life with a barrage of big boot smashes which turn the momentum in their favour for the first time. The champions isolate Alex Shelley, cutting the ring and using their power and strikes to dominate. They get 2 with a SWEET stalling suplex/elbow smash combo.
Shelley starts pulling moves out of a kung fu movie to try and get across the ring to make a tag…but when he finally gets there he finds that Hero has dragged Sabin off the apron anyway. RUNNING UPPERCUT mows the Generation Next founding member down again. They go for a slingshot elbow…BUT SHELLEY COUNTERS WITH HIS OWN ELBOW! SLINGSHOT DDT ON THE APRON TO CLAUDIO! BACK IN WITH A SLINGSHOT DDT ON HERO! Alex Shelley is f*cking awesome! Hot tag to Chris Sabin who EASILY hurdles the ropes with a SPRINGBOARD SUICIDE DIVE TO THE FLOOR! Futureshock blocked by Hero, as Claudio hits a SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT to the floor on Double C. Crossbody/neckbreaker combo gets 2 for the MCMG there. Claudio returns with another uppercut attempt, but this time Shelley counters it. Sliced Bread #2 blocked…UFO blocked. Riccola Bomb…SABIN SAVES! ROARING ELBOW FROM HERO TO SABIN! Alex then flatliners him into the turnbuckles, before EATING another uppercut from Claudio to leave the European as the last man standing. SUPER HANG TIME POP-UP EUROPEAN ON SABIN! UFO NAILED! Shelley saves! Kings left alone with Sabin now, taking their time to deliver a Hart Attack Elbow INTO the Big Swing Flash Kick combo for 2. Shelley is back but misses a double stomp and walks into another huge elbow smash. ROLLING ELBOW! He kicks out again! Poetry In Motion elbows by the Machine Guns, then an assisted Shiranui on Castagnoli. STEREO KICKS ON HERO FOR 2! They take Hero to the top rope only for Castagnoli to save at the last. Hero has the Loaded Elbow…only for the Briscoe Brothers to emerge from the locker room to attack him. That’s a DQ at 22:08 – and the crowd just DIES! I haven’t seen disappointment in a finish this tangibly since McGuinness beat Samoa Joe in Chicago during his 5th Year Festival farewell tour.
Rating – ****1/2 – I knew about the finish going in, so I was prepared for it. Politics is politics, and that means the same thing in pro-wrestling as it does in government unfortunately. ROH are lucky enough to be allowed access to the phenomenal talent that is the Motor City Machine Guns. TNA have been good enough to allow ROH, now a rival promotion to them, to have them on a major show. Unfortunately some compromises have to be made, and it’s clear that the non-finish is the price ROH have paid to book them. You know what…it was worth it. Sure the non-finish was deflating. But hopefully that doesn’t detract too much from what was an incredible match. Even with the conclusion, I’d say that was comfortably as good as both Briscoes/Machine Guns matches which I loved too. Non-stop, bell to bell, wall to wall action, at such a frightening pace I couldn’t keep up with it on play by play. Total showstealer, definite MOTYC, and worth the price of the DVD by itself. I know I don’t normally waste much time talking about the future but now ROH is part of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, if they are serious about Ring Of Honor, and have the finances and desire to push this product forward, I would seriously consider throwing whatever money it took at Shelley and Sabin to get them to come to ROH permanently. They are THAT good.
A furious Jay Briscoe grabs Sara Del Rey to give her the JAY DRILLER. If it wasn’t clear already that the Briscoes want another shot at the belts, it’s perfectly obvious now.
In the locker room Austin Aries finds Julius Smokes hanging out and asks him for managerial advice. J-Train (oddly clutching a copy of a Weekend Of Thunder DVD from 2004) rambles, sings and talks in his usual nonsensical style. I get his appeal…I really do. But I am SO glad he’s not a regular anymore.
Tyler Black vs Roderick Strong – ROH World Title Match
Back at the 8th Anniversary Show, when Tyler finally defeated Austin Aries to claim the ROH World Title, one of the first to confront him was Roderick Strong. Roderick was a friend of Tyler’s – and a man with whom he’d shared several closely contested, competitive and even matches through late 2009 and early 2010. They had a relationship built on mutual respect – a respect that was decimated that night in New York, first when Tyler booted Roddy in the face, and secondly when Strong interrupted the victory celebrations to demand the title shot he’d been promised. Unhappy at only getting a triple threat match at The Big Bang, Strong has vigorously defended his #1 spot in the Pick 6 Rankings, and now has been allowed to claim the 1-on-1 World Title shot he’s felt is due to him. But in many ways the pressure is all on Roderick Strong tonight. Like Tyler, he’s a man that’s had a number of great ROH matches. He’s had a huge amount of ROH Title shots. He’s come close on many occasions…but has just never been able to break through that glass ceiling and grab the belt. Tyler Black has accomplished that. He’s now done something Roderick has never been able to thus far. That puts a lot on the shoulders of the increasingly unstable and paranoid challenger tonight.
Tyler gets John Cena heat from the New York crowd – the same crowd that were going crazy for his title win the last time we were in this building. Black goes after Strong’s arm early on, but is visibly shaken by the deafening ‘over-rated’ chants he’s receiving. He takes his eye off the ball and gets into a chopping fight with Strong which is never a good idea. He delivers the big Stomp to the face instead, once again to a resounding chorus of boos. To the floor where Tyler MISSES the guardrail moonsault to be booted in the face. BACKBREAKER ON THE APRON! The challenger takes it back in the ring and is relentless in his assault on the back and trunk. SLINGSHOT SUPLEX TO THE FLOOR! This is a big match for Strong, so it’s great to see him modifying the offence he uses in every match to inflict additional damage, reflecting his increased desire to win tonight. We’re nearly 10 minutes in and he looks to be the favourite at this stage. BACK SUPLEX ON THE APRON NOW! Black just hasn’t got out of the blocks in this match, having been shaken by the fervent negativity from the crowd early on then beaten all around ringside by his determined challenger. He angrily mounts a comeback, firing off chops first, then countering Death By Roderick into a back suplex. He drops Strong with a neckbreaker and gets his first noteworthy nearfall of the contest with the Black Star Press. Springboard Lariat blocked, then Tyler counters the urinage backbreaker with a small package for 2. BACK SUPLEX TO THE FLOOR! SOMERSAULT PLANCHA SCORES! Bad back or not, Tyler Black just went for broke with two huge, high-risk moves and scored big with both of them. Peroxism attempted, then COUNTERED to a reverse suplex from Strong – dropping Tyler on his bad chest again.
Too early for the Stronghold so Roddy opts for a simple running punt to the ribs instead. Black goes for the Superkick and gets DUMPED TO THE FLOOR AGAIN! Strong tries to dive off the apron and is CAUGHT WITH AN F-5 ON THE OUTSIDE! Both men down and struggling to beat the count! Black is the first man to his feet, stringing Roderick up in the ropes for the TREE OF WOE DOUBLE STOMP! Second time around he’s able to nail Peroxism and gets 2 for it. Phoenix Splash misses, which allows Strong to score with the urinage backbreaker. They battle on the turnbuckles again until Roddy delivers the TOP ROPE BACKBREAKER! STRONGHOLD! Tyler refuses to quit though, fighting back to his feet to hit GOD’S LAST GIFT out of nowhere! His back means his cover is weakened though, and it’s only good for 2. BUCKLE BOMB SCORES…BUT STRONG NO SELLS! SICK KICK GETS 2! Death By Roderick countered…F-5 countered. SUPERKICK HITS THE REF! DEATH BY RODERICK! SICK KICK AGAIN! A second referee slides in but the split second delay means it’s only a nearfall again. Strong is devastated and eats a SUPERKICK! BUCKLE BOMB ON THE SECOND REF! SUPERKICK AGAIN! A third referee comes in, but this time the delay stops Tyler winning. The third ref gets bumped as Strong hits a cradle backbreaker, just in time for Todd Sinclair (ref #1) to get back and count another 2. Both guys are exhausted, there are battered referees lying everywhere but still they come back for more. SUPERKICK! NO SOLD! ENZI KICK! NO SOLD! DEATH BY RODERICK! GIBSON DRIVER…BLACK KICKS OUT! Roderick is furious, and goes for an ill-advised top rope Gibson Driver. He founds that countered…INTO A SUPER GOD’S LAST GIFT! Tyler finally wins it at 27:10
Rating – ****1/2 – I’ve not seen a lot of love for this match, but I thought it was amazing. In terms of their actual ring work, they’ve had better matches – but for entertainment value this was comfortably their best encounter. The incredible crowd reaction to Tyler was both puzzling, and a defining characteristic of the match. I’m not necessarily going to defend it, but it did add a real Rock/Lesnar Summerslam ’02 vibe to this one. Credit to both guys, they somewhat amended their styles so it was Roddy, whilst still maintaining character, who was appealing to the fans for support whilst Tyler often found himself staring at the hateful faces, swearing right back at them and looking to piss the crowd off by putting ‘their guy’ down. The main reason I’ve gone so high on my rating is that this delivered a ‘big time’ title match on a major show. It may not have been technically perfect, and the ending was overbooked to hell. But on your big shows you need a stellar main event to deliver the goods – even when the stacked card before it has been so good. I’m sure you could list multiple Wrestlemania’s for the WWE where the undercard has been so good that the main event has felt completely flat. Going last in ROH is tough. Going hard on a major ROH show, AFTER the stunning Kings/MCMG match is a completely thankless, nigh on impossible task. That these guys produced something this good, this entertaining and this MEMORABLE speaks volumes and deserves a strong rating in my opinion. Feel free to disagree…
A desperately disappointed Roderick Strong refuses a handshake, which provokes another brawl between the two men. They have to be pulled apart…and as Tyler leaves Roderick blames his defeat on the multitude of referees and vows to keep coming for the World Title.
Tape Rating – **** – One of the best Ring Of Honor shows in years. I sincerely mean that. This was ROH at their very best and is a must-see show. It’s got something for everyone. A hot opener, great women’s action, surprise appearances, hardcore violence, technical clinics, incredible tag team wrestling and a super main event to cap things off. I don’t QUITE think it warrants an extra half star on the show rating as I generally reserve that for ‘best show ever’ candidates of which this is not, but you genuinely need to own this show. It takes its place as one of my all time favourites. Black/Strong and Kings/MCMG is among the best main event combo of matches ROH has produced in it’s near-9 year history to this point.
Top 3 Matches
3) Kevin Steen vs Colt Cabana (****)
2) Tyler Black vs Roderick Strong (****1/2)
1) Kings Of Wrestling vs Motor City Machine Guns (****1/2)
Top 5 Civil Warfare/Supercard Of Honor 5 Weekend Matches
5) Tyler Black/Delirious vs Austin Aries/Rhett Titus (**** – Civil Warfare)
4) Christopher Daniels vs Eddie Edwards (**** – Supercard Of Honor 5)
3) Kevin Steen vs Colt Cabana (**** – Supercard Of Honor 5)
2) Tyler Black vs Roderick Strong (****1/2 – Supercard Of Honor 5)
1) Kings Of Wrestling vs Motor City Machine Guns (****1/2 – Supercard Of Honor 5)