ROH Tag Wars 2010 8/28/2010

ROH 265 – Tag Wars 2010 – 28th August 2010

After Champions’ Challenge turned out to be a deceptively decent little show in a really unique venue, hopes are high coming into this one. The double main event combo is certainly mouth watering, with the finals of the Tag Wars 2010 tournament featuring the Kings Of Wrestling defending the Tag Titles against the Briscoes, the All Night Express and Dark City Fight Club – and the ‘Rematch of the Year’ with Tyler Black facing Davey Richards. Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak welcome us to Charlotte, NC

Erick Stevens vs El Generico
This is Erick’s first match of the weekend after travel difficulties meant he missed yesterday’s event in Richmond – and subsequently missed his chance to progress in the Tag Wars tournament. He’ll be wanting to vent that frustration on El Generico, another guy who failed to make it through to the Ultimate Endurance Match taking place later this evening.

This is the first show where Stevens, who has been getting progressively smaller for the last six months or so, looks freakishly small and totally different to how he used to look. Of course, he became a hugely committed body builder and left pro-wrestling after his ROH tenure. The dramatically leaner Erick Stevens attacks Generico during his entrance but takes too much time celebrating his early success and is wiped out by Generico’s tope atomico. He puts a boot in the back of Erick’s neck but tries to follow it with a Yakuza Kick and gets countered with a cradle suplex. Cue the heel tactics with Erick tearing at the eyes and mask, or choking him in the ropes, or walking away and letting Prince Nana lay in some cheap shots. Then cue some generic babyface comeback spots from the Generic Luchador too. He gets 2 with his flying crossbody, and gets another nearfall moments later with the Michinoku Driver. Tornado DDT countered to a swinging front slam from Stevens though. HEAD DROP GERMAN SUPLEX! CHOO CHOO COUNTERED WITH THE YAKUZA KICK! BRAINBUSTER SCORES! Generico wins at 08:23

Rating – *** – The ideal opening match. Nana and Stevens are easy to hate, Generico is possibly the most natural babyface in professional wrestling right now. Even here, working a very basic match, they did an excellent job of revving the crowd up.

Steve Corino vs Bobby Dempsey
I believe Steve actually beat Dempsey on his of his first HDNet matches back in ROH, so no doubt big bad Bobby will want to even the scores from that one.

Dempsey shows no fear and shoves Corino down as he tries to intimidate him. He takes him down again with a shoulder block. Nothing works for Corino, getting slapped in the face even after he tries to take a cheap shot at Bobby. Cheap shots and eye pokes do finally give Steve a foothold in the match – five minutes in. Abdominal stretch WITH thumb in the bum! Bobby escapes and SHOVES THE THUMB IN CORINO’S MOUTH! Bossman Slam from Bobby, into the Anaconda Vice. E Honda slaps then an astonishing dropkick find the mark but Corino drops him with the Colby Shock right afterwards. Fatty avalanche blocks the Eternal Dream and Dempsey gets 2 with the bridging fallaway slam. Fatty DVD blocked with an unseen low blow into the Eternal Dream. It’s over at 09:35

Rating – ** – Credit to Corino for going nearly 10 minutes in a match with Dempsey which never once felt boring. I think, for a live audience, this was probably a lot better than watching on DVD too.

Grizzly Redwood says his injuries from fighting The Embassy are starting to stack up. But he’ll keep fighting and is going to prove to Necro Butcher tonight that he’s not a novelty act. Great promo…

Necro Butcher vs Grizzly Redwood
These two used to be friends. Necro’s issues with The Embassy actually started when he came to protect Grizzly from an assault from them. Now they oppose one another, with Redwood determined to beat up his former friend, proving the point that he made the wrong decision to sell out to Nana.

HEADBUTT by Necro, instead of a handshake. Then he breaks the guardrails with Redwood’s limp body. CHAIR SLAM ON THE FLOOR! Nana takes some shots as well, which is probably legal since all Necro’s matches are Butcher’s Rules now. Necro rakes the eyes, then pulls him onto his shoulders for the airplane spin. Redwood kicks out of a chokeslam/lariat combo so an angry Butcher pulls him into a camel clutch (with added beard pulling and eye gouging). Grizzly tries some ‘chop him down to size’ offence and runs into a brutal punch right across his face. SUNSET FLIP BOMB TO THE FLOOR BY GRIZZLY! HE THROWS A GARBAGE CAN AT HIS FACE! UPPERCUT FROM NECRO! He wins with the Tiger Driver at 07:25

Rating – ** – Too much of this was boring for me, but the last couple of minutes were absolutely awesome with Necro BRUTALISING Grizzly, only for the Littlest Lumberjack to come back with some ridiculous bumps and bravery.

Eddie Edwards vs Colt Cabana
The ROH TV Champion has two wins over Cabana this year – both on HDNet and both as a result of Steve Corino interfering and costing Colt the match. Now Cabana wants another shot, no belt on the line, just a chance to get a win back over Edwards.

Cabana’s sad face as most of the crowd start chanting for Eddie is priceless. Good start from him though, bamboozling Edwards with his World of Sport act. Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak are having a surprisingly interesting discussion about the influence of the World Of Sport style on wrestlers in ROH whilst all this is going on. Credit to Edwards, he does a passable job going hold for hold with Cabana, but it’s always the Chicago native who seems to be the aggressor. Finally Eddie locks in a surfboard with such effectiveness that Cabana rolls to the ropes and takes several seconds to recover. When he does he comes at him with an UPSIDE DOWN SURFBOARD! Some asshole throws some garbage at them as they work an AMAZING exhibition of mat wrestling. ROH crowds are really pissing me off right now by the way. Rolling cradle pinfall battle, prompting the majority of the crowd to redeem themselves with a loud ‘this is wrestling’ chant. They start trading chops, before the old school comes back as Cabana gets 2 with a Big Daddy Splash. Backpack Stunner blocked, CLIMBING WIZARD instead! Eddie gets Colt out of the ring with a rana, then flies at him with a TOPE SUICIDA! The high risk stuff continues to pay off with a missile dropkick then a running enzi for 2. Cabana innovates some RIDICULOUS moves out of nothing, ending with a bizarre northern lariat/Stroke variant for 2. Edwards kicks him in the face again then gets booted himself trying a double stomp. Flying Asshole countered with a bridging pin…and Eddie wins! Time is 11:44

Rating – *** – What a wrestling clinic that was. We all know how good Colt is at this kind of match, but the truth is there are so many guys who can’t do it as well as him that he doesn’t necessarily get to work a pure, back and forth mat-wrestling battle as much as he might want. Credit to Edwards as he busted his ass and held his own with him. Totally different from their HDNet matches, but definitely in a positive way. These guys have real chemistry as opponents.

Bravado Brothers/Cedric Alexander vs Jake Manning/Caleb Konley/Marker Dillinger
When the Bravados are the biggest names in the match, to me that’s a sure sign that it should be edited off the DVD release. No disrespect to Alexander or Konley, who both look to be decent talents, but nobody bought a DVD to see this. Manning has a crap gimmick but looks ok for a big man, and I’ve never seen Dillinger before. I think he’s been on some Pro Wrestling Respect shows though, which makes me think he’s out of the ROH school.

Harlem Bravado and Jake Manning start, with Harlem getting the better of Jake AND his team-mates in quick succession. Alexander looks for a crossbody but totally misses Manning and hands the advantage to Team Manscout. Next Cedric tries a dropkick on Konley and misses that as well. He makes do with hitting some armdrags on Dillinger instead. Springboard moonsault misses, allowing Caleb to throw him into the ringpost. HIPTOSS INTO THE TURNBUCKLES! Alexander is well and truly isolated from the Bravados right now. At last he fights past Marker and Caleb before getting the tag to Lance Bravado. Corkscrew pescado from Harlem as Lance hits a spinning belly to belly on Konley. NECK DROP back suplex/neckbreaker combo on Manning as Alexander MURDERS Dillinger with a knee smash. Lance eventually wins with an ugly German suplex at 08:03

Rating – ** – Better than I thought it would be. To me, Cedric Alexander was the outstanding talent amongst these six guys by some distance. I know the Bravados have gotten over now thanks to a decent gimmick, but if he sticks with it Cedric could have a bright future ahead of him. He’s got a good physique, great athleticism and decent timing too.

Kevin Steen vs Roderick Strong
These two met on HDNet recently, but it was a match ruined after a pre-match attack on Roderick Strong left him injured and struggling through the match. He enters this match in much better physical condition, but will face a Kevin Steen motivated to beat him after he blindsided Steen’s mentor Steve Corino in Richmond yesterday.

‘I’m going to rape your mother’ – Steen to a fan holding up a ‘Fight Me Steen’ sign. Since this is heel vs heel the crowd is completely split during the initial exchanges. Strong floors Steen with a jumping heel kick and Mr Wrestling immediately leaves the ring to talk with Corino on the floor. Steen blocks a chop attempt and smashes Roddy into the guardrails, to which Strong responds by throwing Kevi into the rails with such force he visibly scatters the front row fans. Corino grabs Roderick’s leg, distracting him for long enough for Steen to dropkick the other one. APRON SHINBREAKER! Not content with that, he slams the leg into the guardrail too. Chops by Strong again, only for Steen to sweep the leg with a knee-DT then start offering sex to a group of fans being particularly vocal in their dislike of him. He teases a Figure 4 since we’re in Charlotte, then pisses everyone off by stomping on the leg instead. Roderick manages to get Steen away from him with a gourdbuster but really struggles to get back to his feet. Angry baseball slide takes out Corino but that lack of focus nearly gives Steen the chance to put him in the Sharpshooter. SIDE EFFECT rather than a backbreaker (great psychology) from Roddy. He thinks about Death By Roderick but can’t get Steen up, and Mr Wrestling punishes him with a HANGING DDT OFF THE ROPES! STEEN-TON GETS KNEES! Which probably suits Steen just fine! DEATH BY RODERICK COUNTERED TO THE SHARPSHOOTER! Strong gets to the ropes, prompting Steve Corino to get involved again. Colt Cabana runs out to stop Steen using the chain to his advantage. Cabana and Corino start brawling…and here comes El Generico! TOPE ATOMICO ON CORINO! DEATH BY RODERICK! TYLER BLACK SUPERKICK! Strong beats Steen Tyler Black’s finisher at 15:06!

Rating – **** – The overbooked finish was slightly annoying, but Strong using Tyler Black’s finisher to win the match totally redeemed it. Before that this was every bit the quality match you might expect. In 2010 both Kevin Steen and Roderick Strong have arguably been as good as they’ve ever been, and they clicked to produce a fine match. Strong did a commendable job selling the leg injury until the closing moments, which definitely added to the drama. Bad weekend in terms of wins/losses for Steen, but both of his matches this weekend have been outstanding.

Kings Of Wrestling vs Dark City Fight Club vs All Night Express vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe – ROH Tag Title Ultimate Endurance Match
This match doubles as the final of Tag Wars 2010 with the Kings defending against the 3 block winners of that tournament. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Ultimate Endurance, but the rules are fairly straightforward. It’s elimination rules, with each fall having a different stipulation – fall 1 is regular four corner survival, fall 2 is Texas Tornado, and fall 3 is Scramble, so not a whole lot of difference in truth. Of course all eyes will be on the Kings and the Briscoes since those two teams are in the midst of a heated feud. But ANX and DCFC aren’t without motivation either. The Fight Club are a violent team who have been chasing the belts since they arrived in ROH, whilst King and Titus are desperate to prove they belong amongst the very best teams in Ring Of Honor.

King and Davis start in a tentative exchange between two very powerful individuals. Davis shows his wrestling skill with a Japanese armdrag – irritating to his opponent since that’s a Kenny King signature move. Titus tags, and doesn’t have any better luck against Davis than his partner. DCFC start double teaming Rhett and get the first nearfall of the match. It stays a fight between ANX and DCFC until Kenny rakes Chavis’ eyes and aggressively tags Hero into the match for the first time. The Kings make a dramatic entrance into the match by putting an absolute beating on Kory Chavis. Rainman sensibly draws the fight into his team’s corner which allows him to tag out. Davis mows Hero down with a back suplex then a lariat as he continues his impressive match thus far. Hero blocks Kory’s Rydien Bomb and in comes Jay Briscoe. He drags Hero into the Briscoe corner and boots a boot right into his face. Hero cleverly gets himself out to the other Briscoe…making it Jay vs Mark in the ring. It makes no sense that they would have to fight each other…and they outwit everyone by working an elaborate criss-cross sequence then tagging BOTH Kings in. They try the same tactic as the Briscoes, but all three teams leave the apron to one of the loudest pops of the night.

Finally they get Chavis back in the ring, with Claudio slingshotting Hero into a big elbow smash for 2. Incredibly, Double C is able to get Rainman up for a press slam which is amazing strength. ANX get some double teams in on Chavis next, leaving him unable to get back to his feet as we cross the 15 minute mark. Rydien Bomb out of nowhere though, dropping King on his neck and giving him the chance to tag Davis back in for a spinebuster on Titus. Jon comfortably fights off both All Nights at the same time…POOUUUNCE ON TITUS! On the floor Kenny hurls Chavis into the guardrails…then runs in to hang Davis on the ropes. SPRINGBOARD BLOCKBUSTER ON THE KNEES! DCFC are eliminated at 18:30…and as soon as Cruise announces the start of the Texas Tornado everyone piles in like a demolition derby! Jay takes both Kings out of the ring for a somersault plancha as Mark gets stuck trying to fight both ANX members. On the floor Jay is bleeding after a guardrail bump as Mark looks for the springboard cutter on Rhett.

SHOTGUN KNEES FROM KING – INTO RHETT’S KNEES! With Jay down and bleeding, the champions happily watch from the floor as King and Titus beat Mark 2-on-1 style. They look for the springboard blockbuster again but this time Mark counters with a fisherman buster on Titus. Iconoclasm on Kenny…and NOW it’s time for Hero and Claudio to get involved again. Jay’s blood is EVERYWHERE at this point, and isn’t helped by the fact that the All Nights are now on the floor ramming his head into the rails. Big Swing Flash Kick on Mark…for 2. STEREO ENZIS from the ANX right on Jay’s bloody face just as he looks like he might get involved to save his brother. But, then King and Titus sneak into the ring and NEARLY eliminate the Kings! All six men are in the ring fighting again now, all of them covered in Jay’s blood. Football tackle sends Hero to the floor…then the Briscoe Biel rockets Claudio out too. KING BLOCKS THE BRISCOE BIEL! DRUNKEN STUPOR KICK INSTEAD! DOOMSDAY DEVICE ON TITUS! ANX eliminated at 28:09 so we’re down to Kings vs Briscoes for the Tag Titles. LOADED ELBOW ON JAY! Kings retain at 28:26

Rating – *** – I’ve seen a lot of people go higher on their ratings for this, but personally I came away really disappointed. The second fall was fantastic, but the boring first fall and non-event of a third fall dragged my rating back. Considering there were 8 guys in there, going 30 minutes isn’t that much of a stretch, so I can’t believe how damn slow they were working for the first fall. That was 15 minutes of the match that went absolutely nowhere…and at such a snails pace that I was basically bored by the time the first elimination came round. In the end you take away an impressive performance by the All Night Express, and a progression in the Kings/Briscoes feud…but not a lot else will live for long in the memory here. Not a bad match by any stretch of the imagination…but nowhere near as good as it perhaps could have been.

Jay Briscoe is a total mess by the way, and deservedly gets a standing ovation for his heroic efforts to finish the match. It’s a gusher to rival his cage match with Samoa Joe.

Tyler Black vs Davey Richards
This is the rematch everyone wants to see, and ROH has scrambled to book it before Tyler Black leaves for WWE developmental. Of course, since Black is now a stickler for contracts, he will honour his commitment to only working non-title matches between now and Glory By Honor 9. Davey pushed Tyler to the limit in what many consider to be the MOTY thus far in Toronto at Death Before Dishonor 8. With Black leaving shortly, can Davey at least prove to the world that he can BEAT the Champion with a win here?

Black gets NUCLEAR heat from the Charlotte fans. He doesn’t make himself anymore popular by refusing to defend the title just like in Richmond yesterday. Both guys try to throw early kicks, both get blocked…and of course Tyler then leaves the ring to piss everyone off again. Tyler starts getting overly cocky, so Richards catches him out with a rolling bow and arrow stretch to make the point that he is an extremely dangerous opponent. He sprints across the apron and PUNTS Black in the chest, then hits a mafia kick against the guardrail as he keeps his uber-aggressive start to the match up. Arm capture cloverleaf applied next – and at 5 minutes Tyler is being absolutely dominated it seems. One of the themes of the first match was that Tyler was quicker, stronger and more athletic than Davey – and they move quickly to show Davey’s improvements in that area as he counters multiple attempts from Black to land a dropkick, then CATCHES him for a catapult over the ropes to the floor.

But as the pace quickens still further, at last Tyler uses his skills to his advantage by springing into that dropkick. Outside the ring he starts smashing Richards’ ribs into the barricades and ring apron, using his big match WINNING experience to open up an injury. Grounded bodyscissors applied – but that’s the one area where Richards is definitely better than Black, and he counters to a surfboard stretch. MACHINE GUN KICKS! If it’s a striking game, or a mat-wrestling game then it’s all Davey. But as he goes to the ropes and MISSES a diving headbutt, it makes a clear point that as soon as it’s a fast-paced or aerial match, Tyler is at a clear advantage. He drops Richards on his ribs again with the F-5. He starts chopping Davey…and now aware of his shortcomings, as soon as Davey starts hitting him back he rakes the eyes. YOU CAN’T SEE ME STOMP MISSES! Richards kicks him so hard he falls out of the ring…into the path of the Davey Richards TOPE SUICIDAAAAAAAAAA! Back inside he floors Tyler again with the Handspring Enziguri – and gets 2. Too early for the DR Driver though, and Black escapes by shoulder tackling the ribs again. Buckle Bomb COUNTERED TO THE CLOVERLEAF! Tyler escapes, so Richards pummels him with stiff kicks. But Black is a big game player, and he is sensible enough to knock Davey out of the ring. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA SCORES! Springboard Lariat gets 2. Then there’s a FLURRY of nearfalls before Tyler drags Richards up from the mat to drop him with Peroxism.

He tries to trade strikes with Davey…SLAP DUEL! KICK DUEL! PELE KICK BY BLACK! REVERSE RANA NAILED! RICHARDS NO SELLS AND HITS GOD’S LAST GIFT! BOTH MEN DOWN! Again Tyler makes the mistake of trying to trade shots with Richards, and is dumped on his head again with a Saito suplex. This time he gets up to hit a GERMAN SUPLEX! SUPERKICK! RUBIX CUBE GETS 2! They fight in the corner, but as Davey goes for his German superplex, Tyler fights him away with MACHINE GUN CHOPS! TREE OF WOE DOUBLE STOMP! VAN F*CKING TERMINATOR NAILED! DAVEY KICKS OUT! Tyler climbs for the Phoenix Splash again, but Richards knocks him down with a kick to the hamstring. They fight on the top again…SUPERPLEX! ROLLED THROUGH! F-5 ROLLED THROUGH INTO THE ANKLELOCK! Tyler escapes…ALARM CLOCK! NO SOLD! PELE KICK COUNTERED BACK TO THE ANKLELOCK! Black manages to send Richards all the way to the floor to get some respite. LIMPING BUCKLE BOMB! NO SOLD! LARIATOOOOOOOO! DR DRIVER SCORES! BLACK KICKS OUT! BUCKLE BOMB ON TYLER! BLACK SPITS IN HIS F*CKING FACE! KAWADA KICKS! BUZZSAW KICK! GOD’S LAST GIFT AGAIN! TYLER WILL NOT GIVE UP! TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! BLACK TAPS! BLACK TAPS! Richards beats the World Champion at 26:37

Rating – ****1/2 – With the news that Tyler had signed with the WWE, I’ll be honest and say I was a little sceptical about the decision to rush into a rematch between these guys. Death Before Dishonor 8 was such a special match, and I was genuinely worried that, with so little time to build or prepare for it, that they would struggle to live up to and tarnish the memory of the original classic. I needn’t have worried, this was absolutely incredible. And what impressed me most was how it was so different to the first match. In Toronto the story was all about how SUPERIOR Black was to Tyler, and Davey pushing the talented, athletic and powerful World Champion to the limit through sheer guts, determination and hard work. This one was different. Now Tyler was the arrogant champion. He was still BETTER than Davey in the ways he was before. But this time, his cockiness and desperation to leave ROH for the WWE outweighed his desire to work hard. This one was about Davey wanting to teach Black a lesson – and the drama came from whether Richards’ work ethic and tenacity would be enough to beat the natural skills of the arrogant champion. In some ways, the story telling here was even better than in the first match. Another awesome effort between these two…

Tape Rating – *** – As a start-to-finish complete event, the Richmond ‘b-show’ last night was better. The momentum of this DVD was frequently halted by filler or jobber matches. No disrespect to the guys in the Bravado Brothers’ 6-man, but why wasn’t it clipped from the DVD for instance? And, perhaps I’m being an overly harsh critic, but I thought the Tag Wars 2010 final itself was a genuine disappointment. BUT, there’s enough good stuff throughout this show to keep it enjoyable. I loved the simplicity of the Generico/Stevens opener. Cabana/Edwards was SUCH a fun mat battle. Steen and Strong continued their excellent 2010’s with another cracking little match…and of course, the main event was absolutely must-see. Black/Richards 2 was probably worth the money by itself.

Top 3 Matches
3) Kings Of Wrestling vs Briscoe Brothers vs All Night Express vs Dark City Fight Club (***)
2) Roderick Strong vs Kevin Steen (****)
1) Davey Richards vs Tyler Black (****1/2)

Top 5 Champions’ Challenge/Tag Wars 2010 Weekend Matches
5) Kings Of Wrestling vs Briscoes vs All Night Express vs DCFC (*** – Tag Wars 2010)
4) Roderick Strong vs Kevin Steen (**** – Tag Wars 2010)
3) Tyler Black vs Eddie Edwards (**** – Champions’ Challenge)
2) Davey Richards vs Kevin Steen (**** – Champions’ Challenge)
1) Davey Richards vs Tyler Black (****1/2 – Tag Wars 2010)

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