ROH 272 – Tag Title Classic 2 – 17th December 2010
It’s easy to see why this event could be an afterthought. ROH has been gearing itself up for Final Battle for months. Be it through TV, iPPV or house show, everything has been focused on hyping to the big show. Which means you have to worry about how much thought has gone into this event. Looking positive, it’s clearly not so bad that it’s been packaged with the iPPV (e.g. Eye Of The Storm 2 and Buffalo Stampede 2) – but with so much on the line tomorrow, what have we got to look forward to tonight? TJ Perkins returns to ROH for the first time in years and is placed into an intriguing little match with Kyle O’Reilly. Another familiar returning face is Sonjay Dutt, who’s been out of ROH for a while but was brought back for this weekend as an emergency replacement for the absent Kenny Omega. The Briscoes face Steen and Corino in a Pick Your Poison rematch, and Andy Ridge’s trial series ends with new TV Champion Christopher Daniels. But the reality is, we’re here for one thing only – that being the ‘tag title classic’ main event. The Kings Of Wrestling defend against the American Wolves in what promises to be a superb bout, and made even more special by the fact the Wolves are billing this as their last match as a team. Tonight we’re back in the gorgeous Plymouth, MA building. Dave Prazak and Kevin Kelly are on commentary.
SIDENOTE – Watching the Video Wire before this, so many things irk me. Roderick Strong trying to call ROH ‘Roderick Of Honor’ is completely cringeworthy, whilst new TV Champion Chris Daniels (don’t get me started on how I feel about spoilers from the Louisville taping airing BEFORE the ppv) uses his first promo as TV Champ to talk about how much he’d rather be World Champion.
Kenny King vs Adam Cole
At Richards vs Daniels these two were part of the outstanding ANX/Future Shock tag team opener (a rematch from that is booked for tomorrow). That night it was Kenny’s team who came out victorious, a win that emphasised the growth of All Night Express as a team, even without their former manager Austin Aries. King and Titus will have big plans for 2011 – but for now Kenny’s goal is to prove his skills as a singles worker against promising newcomer Adam Cole – someone who has made his name as a singles star in other promotions.
The downside of this beautiful venue is that you can see every single empty seat (and there are lots of them). King starts in dominant fashion, continually knocking Cole back with big strikes. Sick of his cockiness, Adam aims a slap to his face then unloads a flurry of chops…prompting King to leave the ring before his opponent can build any momentum. TOPE SUICIDA UP THE AISLE! Cole tries to go aerial again, but this time it’s too his disadvantage as Kenny jumps up and knocks him all the way from the turnbuckles to the floor. He starts slamming Adam’s head against the barricade, knocking him silly and rendering him unable to use that speed or aerial arsenal to his advantage. Cole proves he’s more than just a spot guy by cleverly countering a Muta Lock to a backslide…but is rewarded by getting clobbered to the floor again with a big clothesline. King backflips out of the corner…but walks into a FLYING HEEL KICK from Cole and both men are down! They trade pinfalls with no winner crowned, and that sequence ends as King swats Cole aside as he goes for a huge flying crossbody. Capo Kick nailed…Cole fires back with a superkick into a German suplex for 2. Once again Kenny shunts him into the railings, but this time Cole recovers to hit a jumping enzi kick through the ropes. FLYING CROSSBODY COUNTERED TO THE ROYAL FLUSH! King wins at 08:28
Rating – *** – A genuinely enjoyable opening match. Neither of these two have been working singles matches for *that* long in ROH which gave this one a very fresh feel. It was also nice to see Kenny playing the role of the ‘veteran’ for once, having seen him be the brash, confident newcomer for a long time. I really like Adam Cole though – is it just me or does he have a touch of a young Shawn Michaels about him? I know that’s a HUGE statement, but he works in a very similar manner, has a similar look and just the way he moves in the ring is reminiscent of a young HBK. I could see WWE being very interested in him if he continues to improve at the rate he has done to earn his spot in ROH.
Mike Bennett vs Colt Cabana
Although he only ‘debuted’ a couple of weeks ago on HDNet, Bennett actually worked a trial match with Roderick Strong at the last Plymouth show, so fans in this building have seen him work ROH before. Under the training of Bob Evans, he returns as ‘The Prodigy’, and has been given a lot of hype on HDNet. He’s promised to be World Champion by the end of 2011 – and will be given a real indication of how hard it will be to deliver that promise when he faces ROH veteran Colt Cabana tonight. Cabana admits Bennett looks impressive – but says he hasn’t proven anything until he can beat him in the ring here.
First knockdown goes to Bennett, who confidently sweeps Cabana off his feet with a big shoulder block…but Bob Evans is required for a strategy talk seconds later when Colt is easily able to floor him with a hiptoss. Colt threatens to completely outwit The Prodigy with his mat skills, so Bennett wisely opts for a couple of boots and forearm strikes instead. Cabana goes for his swinging snap suplex only to be distracted by Evans…allowing Bennett to drag him off the turnbuckles into a boot to the face. I’m really enjoying how every time Colt goes for some of his fancy European work Bennett puts a stop to it with a simple punch to the face. He grounds Cabana again with a dropkick then slaps on the dreaded chinlock to wear him down. Colt tries to fight back, so is dropped with DDT then put right back into the chinlock as Plymouth hammers Mike with a ‘you can’t wrestle’ chant. In the end Colt resorts to jabs, then the Flying Asshole to make a comeback. He gets a nearfall with the facebuster combo but Bennett shows he’s no slouch by sweeping Colt into the ropes to hit a hanging backbreaker. He hits a big spinebuster (which I think he’s been winning HDNet matches with) but is too worn down to cover. Billy Goat’s Curse applied…but Bob Evans hops into the ring to break it. Bennett grabs a handful of singlet and snatches a cheap victory in 08:54
Rating – ** – I know I’ll be in the minority but I really like the Bennett character and style. If every wrestler on the ROH roster was like him then the product would be terrible. But bringing a guy in who LOOKS like a WWE guy, WORKS like a WWE guy and ACTS like he’s a WWE guy slumming it in ROH is a simple yet brilliant way to get heel heat. Sure he’ll need to improve and demonstrate he’s actually capable of having great matches as his career progresses in ROH…but this whole ‘Prodigy’ gimmick makes him a natural heel to the workrate-orientated tastes of the ROH fanbase. Like I said, if the whole roster worked like him then this promotion would suck. But as a single guy, provided he can improve and actually deliver solid matches around the gimmick when the occasion calls for it, I really think he’ll be a fun addition to a previously-stale looking midcard. I’d take Bennett over Daivari a hundred times over that’s for sure.
In the locker room Andy Ridge discusses his Trial Series thus far. He thinks that, even in defeat, he’s gained the respect of all his opponents and all the fans thus far. Tonight is the biggest match of his career and he wants to use it to prove he belongs in ROH.
Andy Ridge vs Christopher Daniels – Trial Series Match #5
Thus far Andy is 0-4, with losses to Colt Cabana, Ricky Reyes, Homicide and Mark Briscoe in his Trial Series to date. But as we just saw, he thinks he’s proving a lot of his critics wrong, and wants to prove just how talented he is with a strong showing against the newly crowned TV Champion.
Prazak points out that Daniels is probably the most complete wrestler that Ridge has faced in his Trial Series, a fact which the Fallen Angel shows as he outwrestles Right Leg with consummate ease in the opening minutes. Ridge tries to counter him with a series of headlocks, then actually draws legitimate applause from the crowd as he knocks Daniels back with a shoulder tackle. Those basics won’t keep an experienced guy like Daniels down for long though – and he comes up to effortlessly sweep Ridge around the ring with a series of armdrags. Ridge lands a couple of his signature kicks for the first time, and they clearly have an effect on the TV Champion as Daniels gets up and angrily knees him in the neck. He delivers a backbreaker next, focusing his attack on the midsection clearly. Camel clutch worked next but Andy counters into a series of pinfall attempts. Ridge hits a big kick across the ribs and both men are left on the mat trying to recover. More kicks and knees from Right Leg, ending with a running mafia kick as Daniels hangs in the ropes which scores a nearfall. Superkick misses though, and he walks into the urinage slam. Daniels wants a BME…but Ridge STOPS him with another kick combo! But Daniels falls out of the ring, leaving a disappointed Andy Ridge unable to cover him right away. He tries another kick…but this time Daniels spins it into the Angel’s Wings to win at 11:00
Rating – *** – For me, that was the best Trial Series match, purely because of all five, this was the one that did the most to get Ridge over. Ridge/Cabana was really entertaining, whilst as a standalone match, maybe Ridge/Briscoe was better too. But the whole structure of this was geared around putting Andy over, even in defeat. He survived Daniels’ assault in the early going…and showed great resilience as he kept absorbing the Fallen Angel’s attacks to return fire with his usual assortment of kicks. And all that culminated in the AWESOME spot where he grabbed Daniels going for the BME and knocked him out of the ring with the Superkick. Was Ridge the right guy for the Trial Series? Not in my opinion. But in fairness to him, despite all five of them being fought in front of crowds who clearly didn’t give a sh*t about him…only the Homicide match really sucked, and three of them were hugely watchable contests.
Daniels, despite looking REALLY pissed off with a number of the smarky fans shouting abuse at him, comes back to the ring and puts Ridge and his fighting spirit over. Like I said, this is the ONLY match of his five Trial Series Matches that focused on putting him over, so for that it’s my favourite.
Kevin Steen/Steve Corino vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe
This is a rematch from Pick Your Poison, and is a unique encounter when all four participants will be much more focused on what they’re doing tomorrow night than what happens here in Plymouth. The Briscoes will team with their own father to face the Kings Of Wrestling and Shane Hagadorn, whilst Steen and Corino will be thinking about nothing other than the ‘Final Battle at Final Battle’ when Steen faces El Generico in a Mask vs Career Fight Without Honor. But the heel team will want to win this. They beat the Briscoes at Pick Your Poison, so as well as wanting to retain that undefeated streak against arguably the greatest team in ROH history, they enter this knowing it could be the last time they team together – so will want to go out on a winning note.
Steen ironically wears an old ‘Steen & Generico’ ROH shirt from during their run as Tag Team Champions which is a comical little touch. Just as in Dayton, this one starts with a big brawl all around the ring. Initially it’s the Mr Wrestlings who have the advantage but the tide turns as Jay blasts Corino with a brutal kick against the railings. As tag team normality breaks out it’s the Briscoes, 6-time Tag Champions, who are in full control. They go for the Briscoe Biel on Steen, which is too ambitious though, and Kevin frees himself by biting at them. No matter, they run through Corino instead with the double football tackle. Russian legsweep/corkscrew senton combo gets 2. In the end it’s a cheapshot by Steen that gives his team the advantage as it distracts Jay and enables Corino to hit the Eternal Dream. The heels dominate the next few minutes and isolate Jay using all the cliché ‘bad guy’ tactics you can imagine – and it’s hugely entertaining. Running chop/cannonball senton combo gets another nearfall, and it’s followed by an awesome jumping enzi/Colby Shock combo immediately afterwards. Steen allows himself to be distracted by ‘Ole’ chants from the crowd and it allows Jay to hit a blockbuster out of the corner and make the hot tag to Mark. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA takes out both opponents after they flee the ring to escape the Redneck Kung Fu, with Mark dragging Corino back in for the sidewalk slam/guillotine leg drop combo. Steen hits the pumphandle cradlebreaker though, giving Steve time to recover then deliver the northern lights bomb for 2. THUMB ACCIDENTALLY IN STEENS BUM! AND MARK DROPKICKS IT UP THERE! Then Mark gets 2 with the Frog Elbow on Corino. The Briscoes line up the Cut-Throat Leg Drop…but Steen saves his partner with a very intentional low blow. PACKAGE PILEDRIVER on Mark…and it’s over at 11:16
Rating – *** – Whilst I didn’t hate the Pick Your Poison match as much as many, I’m the first to admit this one was better. It had a lot of the good qualities of the Dayton match (a fun brawl to start and a strong heat segment in the middle), but here the climactic portion of the bout was much better. It also helped that they kept it a lot shorter so everything felt more energetic. It’s an interesting booking decision to give Steen and Corino, on what could potentially be their last night as a team, a relatively clean victory over ROH’s most established tag team act.
Grizzly Redwood talks about the cloud hanging over his four corner match tonight – that being El Generico. He is frightened about what the masked man is capable of…
Rhett Titus vs Ricky Reyes vs Grizzly Redwood vs El Generico
Like Redwood just said, the big x-factor in this match is the state of mind of El Generico. He is consumed with hatred for Kevin Steen, now wrestles in all black attire and is one night away from the biggest fight of his entire career. But Generico isn’t all we have to think about here. There’s an interesting little subplot with Rhett Titus and Mitch ‘Grizzly Redwood’ Franklin both being graduates of the ROH Wrestling School – and Ricky Reyes having previously made a gimmick out of beating up the students for fun on ROH shows. Will he face some ramifications for those actions here?
Nobody wants to shake hands, much to Grizzly Redwood’s dismay as he goes round all three of them desperately looking to follow the Code Of Honor. He starts with Reyes and uses all his agility and cunning to get the best of the powerful former ROH Tag Champion. Rhett tags (and gets a major pop) , prompting Redwood to bring Generico in…but the luchador does NOT look happy about it. He begrudgingly steps into the ring then BATTERS Titus in the corner. Reyes tagged back…so he starts assaulting him instead! Ricky tries throwing a few shots back at him, so Generico angrily lifts him into a tilta-whirl backbreaker then stomps back to a corner to tag out again. Redwood thinks about a dive but is stopped in clumsy fashion by Titus. That allows Reyes to start stiffing the Littlest Lumberjack on the outside…before feeding him back into the ring for Rhettski to get 2 with the Sexy Suplex. Titus and Reyes start teaming up to work over Redwood whilst keeping the match as far away from the unpredictable and dangerous El Generico. Not that that matters as he walks into the ring, kneels down and SLAPS RHETT IN THE FACE! No reason for that – just because he wanted to! Super Sex Factor COUNTERED with a flying headscissors into the turnbuckles and now Grizz is able to tag the Generic Luchador. Generico easily cleans house then chases everyone with an ARABIAN PRESS TO THE FLOOR! CRAZY TOP ROPE PLANCHA BY REDWOOD! Generico and Ricky are legal, and those two return to the ring where Generico gets 2 with the Michinoku Driver. Titus tags in then takes Generico out with a guardrail throw whilst Reyes violently powerbombs Grizzly. Titus goes for the Muff Driver only for Grizz to counter with a rana. YAKUZA KICK ON REDWOOD! BRAINBUSTER NAILED! It’s an emphatic win for El Generico at 12:48
Rating – *** – For those thinking about skipping this as a typical ROH filler fourway – please don’t as it was so much better than that. Of course El Generico will rightly get the plaudits as he was absolutely fantastic in this from both a wrestling and a character standpoint. But all his opponents really brought the goods as well. Titus’ execution was a little sloppy, but he held up his end of the deal, Reyes worked possibly his best ROH match in years (really NAILING the sour veteran act, whilst his brief strike battles with Generico were AWESOME), and Redwood was totally ON, hitting everything as clean as a whistle. A complete throwaway match – but such a blast to watch. MOTN so far for me.
Grizzly Redwood thinks Generico is helping him up…only for DARK Generico to scoop him up for a Package Pildriver. Steve Corino comes out to stop him and make one last appeal for him to stop the madness. He again asks for Generico to take off the mask and leave Ring Of Honor. Generico teases agreement…then lays Corino out with a Yakuza Kick. Jobbers separate them and eventually Corino leaves yelling ‘I can’t help you anymore’. They did something very similar to this on HDNet, and it’s a real shame this segment did nothing but hype Final Battle to the live crowd in Boston because it was really effective.
TJ Perkins vs Kyle O’Reilly
This isn’t a debut for TJP as he’s been in ROH a number of times before – both as Perkins or under a mask as Puma. Honestly he’s been in wrestling as long as you can remember, despite only being in his mid-20’s, hence why some people call him the ‘youngest veteran’. He started the year with Gabe Sapolsky pretty high on him and intent on giving him a push in both DGUSA and Evolve, but they had a well-published falling out and Ring Of Honor have taken advantage by giving Perkins a couple of bookings this weekend.
They go straight into a really competitive mat exchange, completely unnoticed by the idiot fans who busy themselves chanting ‘Rufio’ at TJP. They are well versed wrestlers, and clearly well aware of how dangerous each man’s strikes are as they go to great lengths to avoid getting hit with kicks. TJ goes for a cross armbreaker but O’Reilly breaks it…then goes straight into a kneebar in return. He pushes Perkins into the corner and DROPS him with a vicious kick across the ribs then comes out to hit the ROLLING UNDERHOOK SUPLEXES! That sequence ends with a double arm DDT for 2. Perkins retaliates by launching himself off the mat into a gorgeous double knee strike. He starts confusing O’Reilly by working a number of complex stretches. Kyle tries to counter him with a back suplex but TJP easily lands on his feet then DOUBLE STOMPS the throat. KICK DUEL! Both men go down after that. TJ tries that ‘hang in the ropes spot’…but it allows Kyle to boot him in the chest. He sprints back into the ring to land a kick of his own then they go into a CRAZY fast nearfall exchange. More kicks traded…including lots of clever kick evasion spots too. DRAGON SUPLEX gets O’Reilly a 2 out of that. Perkins hits back with a neckbreaker but misses a somersault senton out of the corner and tumbles into a Triangle Choke. TJP counters…so Kyle throws MMA ELBOWS! Not sure he should be stealing Danielson spots in ROH but there you go. TJ fights out and hits a SCREWDRIVER for 2. Kyle is rattled and walks into a roundhouse kick from TJP…but fires up to deliver a RUNNING KICK in the corner! Perkins locks in a Cloverleaf but O’Reilly won’t tap out and delivers a big kick to the head. More pinfalls traded…and this time TJ holds O’Reilly down for 3 at 10:43
Rating – **** – If you hate the whole ‘faux-MMA’ style of wrestling you will likewise hate this match and entirely disagree with my rating. I’ll admit I’m being generous, but this was such a refreshing change of pace for ROH and unlike anything you regularly see in their DVD’s. These two have tremendous chemistry as opponents, and clearly enjoyed going out there and getting to work this style of match with lots of stiff shots, lots of complex little mat exchanges and very little need to really stop and sell anything. But it wasn’t so much the MMA tribute act or the strikes I found enjoyable – it was the smooth fluidity with which they were doing all this stuff. Whether you like the style or not, we can all agree that a lot of people try it and are nowhere near skilled or fluent enough to do it and subsequently an entire match looks sh*t. These guys were really excellent in what they were doing, so I’m rating generously as a result. Given that he won I’m guessing there were already plans to bring Perkins back to ROH after this weekend – but he certainly wrestled this like he had a point to prove and it looks like he’s found a new home in Ring Of Honor.
Roderick Strong vs Sonjay Dutt
Dutt was dropped from the roster earlier this year. Personally I think he was harshly treated, but he never really found a gimmick or an angle that got him over with the ROH crowd like he did in TNA and he faded out of the picture. But he’s been given an unexpected chance to earn more bookings this weekend after Kenny Omega pulled out at the last minute. He was originally booked to make his return to ROH, but informed everyone he couldn’t make it due to injury (although he then pissed people off by working a show in Japan soon afterwards and seemingly, somewhat harshly, burnt his bridges with ROH management). Obviously Dutt isn’t the same calibre of talent as Omega, but he’s an experienced pro, has worked good matches with Strong in the past and, at the last minute, is a pretty decent replacement talent in my opinion.
Sonjay, who has gotten a bit of a gut since he was last in ROH, is wrestled to the mat early on but breaks out his speed and flips to give himself an advantage. He traps Roddy in a tarantula hold, but that’s too near Truth Martini who acts quickly to distract him and allow Strong to lay in a cheap shot. Dutt dives into a baseball slide on Martini then FLIES into both Strong and his life intervention expert with a pescado. He gets too preoccupied with the flying moves though, and Roderick catches him climbing the turnbuckles and sweeps him ribs-first over the turnbuckles. He goes to the floor and slams Sonjay into the ringpost next, using any aspect of the ring to gain an edge over his opponent it seems. Stronghold countered by Dutt who drives Roddy into the turnbuckles then gets 2 with a springboard splash. Camel Clutch is blocked though, so he delivers the Asai DDT instead for a 2-count. Phoenix Splash misses though, enabling Strong to hit the Superkick then the urinage backbreaker. Sonjay looks out on his feet but still manages to counter the Gibson Driver into a sunset flip. He just keeps bouncing back no matter what Strong tries, going for pinfalls at every turn. Finally Roderick catches him with the SUPLEX FLIP BACKBREAKER! It’s win for the World Champion at 09:46
Rating – *** – Of course Dutt is no substitute for Kenny Omega, but given the last minute nature of this match I thought it was pretty good. The result was never in doubt and the crowd treated it as a bit of a squash, but they put on a fun little cat and mouse match with the hard-hitting champion taking on a high-flying opponent and just about doing enough to get the victory.
Kings Of Wrestling vs American Wolves – ROH Tag Title Match
Given that the show is called Tag Title Classic 2, this is clearly the one we’re here to see. This was set weeks ago on HDNet after the Wolves ditched the managerial services of Shane Hagadorn…prompting the shunned Hagadorn to order his remaining clients – the Tag Team Champions – to attack Davey Richards on TV. Can Davey and Eddie deliver an enormous blow to Hagadorn’s ego by taking the Tag Titles here, or will the Kings score a win to defend his honour? But there’s more to this issue than that. With singles endeavours at the front of their minds (Davey is looking to win the World Title tomorrow night, whilst Edwards comes into this match having lost the TV Title in Louisville), the challengers have billed this as ‘One Last Hunt’. If they don’t win the Tag Titles for a second time, whilst they’ll remain friends, the Wolves will step down from being an active part of the tag team division.
Great start between Claudio and Richards – with Castagnoli trying to intimidate Davey with his size, then trying to overpower him with the Les Artess Lift and nearly getting trapped in an Anklelock in the first thirty seconds. Hero tries similar, but like his partner quickly finds himself embroiled in a testing mat battle with Richards. Eddie tags and since he’s from the Boston area he gets a really warm welcome from a crowd who have been pretty bad for this show. Much as with Richards, Eddie outwrestles Double C, driving the European out of the ring for a teamtalk with Hagadorn, Hero and Del Rey. HUGE chops vs uppercut duel next…and when Castagnoli gets the best of Edwards there Die Hard just stomps across the ring and chops Hero instead. The Kings have spent much of the first five minutes on the back foot, and it’s the Wolves who continue to make much of the early offensive running. The champions combine forces to hit a double big boot on Edwards, handing them the initiative for the first time. They control Edwards for the next few minutes combining their considerable wrestling talent with a number of really entertaining double teams and as we tick past 10 minutes it is now the defending champs who have the clear advantage. Not that Eddie is easy to keep down – seemingly out of nowhere he flies out of the corner with a flurry of offence before getting a critical tag to Richards. Davey COUNTERS the dead-lift German by landing on his feet then rockets Claudio across the ring with a missile dropkick for 2. Just when Claudio thinks he’s gotten past Richards, Edwards again comes from nowhere to deliver the Climbing Wizard.
A second missile dropkick attempted…but this time Claudio catches Davey for the BIG SWING FLASH KICK! On the floor Hero delivers another big boot, rattling Davey’s brains as he lies prone against the railings. In the ring he tries a single leg crab, which is broken by Edwards delivering a horrific chop right across the neck. Alpamare Water Slide gets 2. DEAD LIFT, STALLING GERMAN SUPLEX NAILED! That is freakish strength, and Castagnoli has enough left to drag Richards back to his feet and hold his jaw open to a big elbow smash from his partner. Richards tries to throw kicks at Double C, who catches his leg for a dragon screw. ONE-LEGGED BIG SWING!! Straight into a Horse Collar submission too! Davey kicks Claudio in the chest from the apron…but walks straight into a similarly big kick from Hero. But then they come across the ring and Edwards PUNTS Hero, then gets the tag to enter the match for the first time in nearly ten minutes. Flying Codebreaker on Hero…into the Achilles Lock briefly before Claudio breaks it. Stereo kicks by the Wolves…THEN STEREO TOPE SUICIDAS! Edwards climbs the ropes again…DOUBLE STOMP TO CLAUDIO ON THE APRON! DOUBLE STOMP INTO THE RING ON HERO! TANDEM KNOCK-OUT KICKS…FOR 2! But the Kings showcase their resilience and, having absorbed some major blows there, fight back with a flurry of strikes to even things up again. POP-UP EUROPEAN gets 2!
Davey knocks Claudio back with machine gun kicks only for Castagnoli to totally no sell them all to floor both Wolves with huge clotheslines. SUPER RANA BY EDWARDS! Richards tries the Handspring Enzi BUT IT’S COUNTERED TO THE F*CKING UFO FOR 2! Davey nearly steals the win with a sunset flip counter to the Riccola Bomb then slaps on the Anklelock. Hero breaks that so Davey and Claudio continue their battle on the top rope. POWER AND GLORY BY THE KINGS! Eddie dives in for a last gasp save. MOONSAULT INTO A MAFIA KICK BY HERO! That was all kinds of awesome. He follows it with a Regalplex for another nearfall. Hero and Richards give up the fancy sh*t and start slugging it out. Davey edges that with a discus lariat before tagging in Edwards who batters Hero into the ropes with chops. Davey knocks him out of the ring but is prevented from the tope con hilo by a big boot from Castagnoli…who is sent out himself by a clothesline by Eddie. BACK DROP DRIVER ON HERO FOR 2! HERO FLOORS BOTH WOLVES WITH ELBOWS! Suplex Elbow combo gets another nearfall. We’re well past 30 minutes now by the way. DOUBLE ALARM CLOCK! SUPERKICK GERMAN! CLAUDIO SAVES! Hero evades the Doomsday Ace Crusher and chases Richards up the ropes…FLYING LUNGBLOWER/POWERBOMB COMBO! ACHILLES LOCK! The crowd are desperate for Eddie to win it there but Hero makes the ropes. DEATH BLOW FOR EDWARDS! BUT HE KICKS OUT! ROARING ELBOW! EDDIE WON’T GO DOWN! THREE ROARING ELBOWS! Edwards is finally pinned at 35:16
Rating – ****1/2 – Having seen so many people call this match really over-rated, I think my expectations were actually a little low for this. It’s a hell of a match and, in my opinion, definitely worthy of the moniker ‘tag title classic’. For me, it wasn’t quite as perfectly executed as the Machine Guns/Kings match from Supercard Of Honor, and for drama and story-telling Briscoes/Kings at Death Before Dishonor was better too. But that just shows how great the Kings have been this year as Tag Champions. Those are genuinely three of the greatest ROH Tag Title matches ever, so producing all of them in a single calendar year is a magnificent achievement. If you were trying to be critical you could say this match probably was a little longer than it needed to be, and some of the false finishes at the end were getting a little silly. BUT, I do think the finish was incredible with Edwards getting to show incredible guts and desire in his home market before eating the fall to keep Davey strong going into the World Title Match tomorrow. Considering this was on the eve of an iPPV with three of the four wrestlers booked into main event matches at Final Battle, I’m shocked Delirious and Cornette gave them the ok to go out and tear each other apart for 40 minutes like this…but I’m glad they did.
After the match Eddie gets his hometown heat back by saving Davey from the KRS-1. Davey cuts a slightly vague promo, seemingly leaving the door open for more American Wolves matches in the future despite this being promoted as their last match.
Tape Rating – *** – What I find strange is that, excluding the main events, this show was actually really similar to Civil Warfare. But whilst many fans trashed Civil Warfare as a horrible show, ‘one of the worst ROH events ever’ etc…this one gets praise as a decent B-card. Honestly, this one is all about the main event and it delivers. If you want to see the Kings and the Wolves do their thing for 35 minutes then you need this DVD. If you’re not a big fan of overblown, false-finish and spot packed, slightly bloated tag team matches then you don’t need this. The undercard is fine – nothing bad at all, a number of fun low-end 3* matches…highlighted by an exceptionally little match between Perkins and O’Reilly who definitely need to hook up again. If ROH can get TJP for some TV tapings those guys going at it again would be a perfect match for TV. Overall, if you’re only buying one show from this weekend, it has to be Final Battle and nothing I could say here will change your mind. But this must be in a sale or available cheap by now and, for a knockdown price, Kings/Wolves is so so so worth the money.
Top 3 Matches
3) El Generico vs Grizzly Redwood vs Rhett Titus vs Ricky Reyes (***)
2) TJ Perkins vs Kyle O’Reilly (****)
1) Kings Of Wrestling vs American Wolves (****1/2)
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.