ROH Champions vs. All Stars 1/14/2011

ROH 274 – Champions vs All Stars – 14th January 2011

This would be the first ROH live event of 2011…in fact I don’t think there’d been any TV tapings by this point meaning that this is the first content taped since Final Battle. To mark the occasion, ROH has put their top eggs in one big basket – an 8-man tag encounter pitting the four champions in Ring Of Honor against an ‘all star’ select team. That one should be huge, but it does leave the rest of the card looking a little thin (although King/O’Reilly, Cole/Bennett and Homicide/Titus could all be fun)…so ROH have packaged this show with another ‘Best Of…’ bonus disc. This time it’s a ‘Best Of the American Wolves’ DVD, which I presume was supposed to be packaged with Tag Title Classic 2 (the ‘Last Hunt’ of the Wolves) but wasn’t for whatever reason…and it’s got most of Davey and Eddie’s best matches from their 2009 run as ROH Tag Champions (when their feud with Steen and Generico, alongside Austin Aries and the odd fantastic Bryan Danielson match was all that carried the company). We’re back in the delightfully weird Richmond, VA venue. Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak to call it…

Chris Daniels says he’s in a tough situation tonight. He has his first TV Title defence against Claudio Castagnoli tomorrow, and still wants another World Title shot against Roderick Strong as well…whilst he has the utmost respect for everyone on the ‘All Star’ team.

In the arena his team-mate Roderick Strong comes to the ring to gloat about beating Davey Richards and destroying his dream of becoming ROH Champion. He calls Daniels the weak link of their team, which duly brings the Fallen Angel through the curtain. Strong is so big-headed he demands that they give Richmond a bonus champion vs champion match here and now…

Roderick Strong vs Christopher Daniels
Obviously no titles are on the line here, but the issue between these two is getting increasingly personal. The interventions of Truth Martini have seen Roderick get the better of Daniels on several occasions, and after Strong’s hard-fought victory over the Fallen Angel in Canada, he now thinks he has the veteran’s number. But Daniels rebounded from that loss by going to Louisville and winning the TV Title, doesn’t see himself as the ‘weak link’ in the Champions team at all, and will view this as a big opportunity to get in line for another World Title shot too.

Neither man seems to be thinking about the main event as they fly out of the traps and go hell for leather from the opening bell. Daniels drives Strong out of the ring before flattening him with a pescado…but taking the fight out of the ring proves to be to his detriment as Roddy FLOORS him with a jumping knee strike. His striking power gives the World Champion the upper hand as he repeatedly takes Daniels off his feet with an assortment of chops and boots for the next few minutes. He starts wearing down the midsection – which is an effective tactic but is also damaging his OWN chances of winning the Champions vs All Stars match later in the evening. Urinage backbreaker blocked though, giving Daniels a window of opportunity to make a babyface comeback. They collide in mid-air going for crossbody blocks…which obviously does more damage to Daniels as that’s a body part he’s had weakened. The Kings Of Wrestling run down to try and separate them…and the TV Champion uses their distraction to put Strong down in a bridging pin for 3 at 08:06

Rating – *** – Pretty basic match, but it was an unexpectedly hot start to the show which the crowd seemed to enjoy. The finish is an intriguing one – as I’m not sure anyone is really clamouring to see another Strong/Daniels title match…but having beaten Roddy surely Daniels can claim one? It certainly beefed up an otherwise sparse undercard to this show, and adds more intrigue to the main event when it comes too.

Daniels leaves…and Roderick is left in the ring angrily blaming the Kings for his loss. Nobody on that team looks like they can get along it seems.

Bravado Brothers vs Grizzly Redwood/Andy Ridge
I don’t think everyone is necessarily a fan, but you have to credit Delirious with giving all the graduates from the ROH school a real chance to impress on the house shows. Andy Ridge has just come through his Trial Series, which ended with a fun little match against Chris Daniels. The Bravados have just debuted their ‘Bravado bandwagon’ comedy gimmick on the Video Wire and look set to run with it, whilst Redwood is at the stage where he’s probably the second best graduate ever (after Rhett Titus). These four are all good enough that, if kept to a decent length, this might not actually suck either. The Bravados are gearing up for a big rematch against Cole and O’Reilly in their home state tomorrow night…

Grizzly and Harlem start with some basics, with the Bravados now playing up the ‘Bandwagon’ gimmick a lot more and looking to get over as chickensh*t heels. Ridge tags and immediately has Lance backing away from him as he starts throwing the right leg kicks. I really like that, after backing away, Lancelot actually gets the better of Andy by shooting out the right leg and dragging him down by it. Back suplex neckbreaker combo gets the Bravados a 2-count. They isolate Right Leg, trapping him in their corner for an elongated beatdown sequence. Of course, eventually Ridge takes Harlem’s head off with a kick and makes the hot tag to Redwood. He send Harlem into the turnbuckles with a rana, but the Bravado brothers recover with some more double teaming, getting 2 on him with a German suplex. Lance hits the ugliest Blue Thunder Driver I’ve ever seen on Grizz, then walks into an equally ugly superkick from Andy. Right Leg gets the win at 08:43

Rating – * – At nearly 10 minutes this was at least five too long, there were far too many BASIC execution errors and, with the exception of Grizzly Redwood, everyone was just so sloppy and lazy here. I like the Bravados’ new character, but being in a boring, and overwhelmingly bad match like this does nothing for them…and that’s sort of my problem with ROH right now. With Gabe at the helm, there were always fun storylines going on all over the place. Things like Cabana vs Nigel, the Carnage Crew vs Special K, the Briscoe vs Briscoe feud of 2002, the Field Of Honor, the Titus/Delirious/Haze love triangle…hell, even the ‘who crapped in the Carnage Crew’s bags’ storyline. Not all of those were successful, but they were genuine attempts to carve out fun storylines for undercard guys. Being in endless undercard matches for no reason, which bore the sh*t out of live crowds and get skipped over by people watching DVD’s just isn’t helping a promising young act like the Bravados.

In the locker room Mike Bennett complains that Bob Evans hasn’t been brought to Richmond tonight. Even without him, he’s going to show what he learned under Brutal Bob’s tutelage by defeating Adam Cole this evening.

Mike Bennett vs Adam Cole
These two both got signed to ROH contracts around the same time interestingly. Cole was packaged with Kyle O’Reilly in a tag team and has had to fight his way onto shows and up the cards…whilst Bennett was ‘recruited’ hard by both Cary Silkin and Jim Cornette and finally debuted on HDNet amidst a parade of hype videos and has been cast into the TV Title picture almost instantly. Will Cole want to prove it should be he who got the star treatment…or will Bennett continue on his tear as he looks to make 2011 his year?

Bennett is his usual cocky self, even as the Richmond fans chant ‘over-rated’ at him. He gets the best of Cole from the bell, frequently knocking him down then backing off to smile and congratulate himself. Adam has seen enough of that and gives him a well-deserved slap in the face before cranking up the pace and seizing the offensive advantage for the first time. Bennett leaves the ring angrily and uses the time to gather himself before returning to do battle once again. He soon manages to shove Cole from the apron to the guardrails…and as Adam drags himself up Bennett is on hand to drive him into the railings again with a jumping knee strike. That hurts Cole’s back and The Prodigy is soon all over that body part – hitting the hanging backbreaker out of the ropes for 2. Cole tries a crossbody, and that’s obviously a bad move as Mike catches him for another backbreaker…and as the pace slows he starts to turn the screw. He doesn’t do anything fancy, but has Cole in real trouble from basic moves like Irish whips to the turnbuckles – nearly breaking them at one point. Superkick out of nowhere by Cole…but he’s too injured to capitalise. Bennett goes for the Spinebuster but as he ducks his head Adam counters with a neckbreaker for 2. Crossbody attempted again, and when Bennett catches him for a second time, he’s ready to spin him into a tornado DDT for another nearfall. Back body drop sends Bennett TO THE FLOOR! TOPE SUICIDA UP THE AISLE! Bennett is in trouble and third time of asking Cole does land the flying crossbody block. The Prodigy goes after the back again…and when Cole tries a sleeper he smashes his back into the turnbuckles again. Spinebuster scores…but Cole kicks out! BUCKLE BOMB! Bennett wins with his version of the Side Effect at 11:32

Rating – *** – Am I honestly the only guy who likes Mike Bennett? I thought this was a great little undercard match, and one that proved he can really work to go along with the character and ‘WWE ring style’ he brings to the matches. Of course it helps that Adam Cole has lots of ability and bumped like a crazy man for him, but don’t think Mike wasn’t holding up his end of the deal here. His offence was precise and well-executed (take note Bravados – he doesn’t try moves he can’t actually hit properly), he worked a nice story around Cole’s back and never once stopped for the clichéd random chinlock or ‘rest spots’ you’d normally associate with a ‘sports entertainer’.

The Kings Of Wrestling come back out, with Hero unhappy that their partners won’t be 100% since they wrestled earlier. He wants Davey Richards and El Generico to come out and fight each other to make it fair which is pretty funny. Davey and Generico come out, but refuse to fight…so the Kings jump them instead. That brings out the Briscoes for the save, but not before Generico and Richards have sustained some damage…

Rhett Titus vs Homicide
The All Night Express are hyping 2011 to be a big year for them. They ended 2010 putting in some career-best matches, both as singles workers and as a team. Titus/Briscoe from Allied Forces was an outstanding effort from Rhett for instance. But, with a Tag Title shot looming at the 9th Anniversary Show to prepare for, will Titus view this as another opportunity to prove he belongs in the ‘big leagues’ as he faces a former World Champion, or an unwelcome and violent distraction he could do without?

Titus shoves his hand in his trunks then PIE-FACES Homicide which is crazy! The Notorious 187 doesn’t take kindly to that and drags him into the corner to start beating the hell out of him. And when Rhett tries to run, Homicide chases him around the ring, repeatedly hurling him into the guardrails. Eventually he resorts to hiding behind a camera man then jumping out from behind him to bash Cide into the barricades. TOPE CON HILO NAILED! Just like that the former ROH World Champion is back in charge. He tries a tornado DDT but finds Titus’ strength is too much, allowing Rhett to counter with a gutbuster then a jumping knee strike for 2. Rhettski is on offence for the next few minutes, noticeably foregoing the Sexy Suplex for a THREE AMIGOS SEXY SUPLEX! Homicide counters to his own Three Amigos – with the third being a superplex for 2. The top rope splash sees him dive into Rhett’s knees and Titus follows up with a gutwrench gutbuster. Sick of having his ribs attacked, Homicide starts headbutting Titus like a maniac. Lariat COUNTERED with a boot to the arm…but Cide then escapes the Muff Driver. Cop Killa countered to the Thrustbuster and Titus gets another nearfall. Homicide hits the Ace Crusher, then the Lariat…but Titus kicks out! Rhett scores with an avalanche gutbuster then a DOUBLE KNEE DROP TO THE RIBS! Rhett starts SLAPPING Homicide! SLAP WAR! HOMICIDE BUSTS TITUS WIDE OPEN WITH A HEADBUTT! He then drops Titus square on that messed up head with a brainbuster to win at 12:15

Rating – *** – This was pretty similar to all of Homicide’s matches since he came back – some of it was good, some was bad. He’s just slowed up so much since he was in his prime in Ring Of Honor that he’s not quite the same competitor. That said, this was a really solid little match. Much of the credit has to go to Rhett who worked a terrific story around Homicide’s ribs, and together they made sure that Titus emerged with a lot of credibility from this…even in defeat. Everything after Titus kicked out of Homicide’s usual finishers (the Ace Crusher and the Lariat) was good.

INTERMISSION – Rhett Titus is a bloody mess backstage…but impressively he walked to the back without any help, and still refuses assistance to cut an angry promo backstage, even though he’s so f’d up he slurs his words like he’s drunk.

Best Of American Wolves Bonus DVD ratings:

Wolves vs Steen/Generico (**** – ROH on HDNet Episode 011)
Wolves vs Danielson/Black (****1/2 – Tag Title Classic)
Wolves vs Steen/Danielson (**** – Validation)
Wolves vs Steen/Generico (**** – Manhattan Mayhem 3)
Wolves vs KENTA/Strong (**** – Violent Tendencies)
Wolves vs Briscoes (**** – Final Countdown Tour Chicago)
Wolves vs Steen/Generico (****1/2 – GloryBy Honor 8)

This is a great compilation, and for newer fans who missed the 2009 season, surely makes this DVD a must-own as the American Wolves were absolutely awesome that year. I have some slight issues with the playlist (personally I’d have included the Wolves/Steen-erico match from the 7th Anniversary Show – although since they lost I can see why they didn’t), and I’m not sure giving Ladder War II away as a bonus feature feels quite right…but it’s a great compilation set. Again, had Sinclair been on board here I’m quite sure they’d never have thrown this much quality into a free bonus feature when they could package it and sell as a ‘Best Of’ DVD in it’s own right, but there you go.

Steve Corino vs Caleb Konley
2011 is going to be an interesting year for Steve Corino. He spent all of 2010 playing the puppet master in Kevin Steen’s theatre of chaos…but after Final Battle, when the man he handpicked to lead to the ROH Championship was forcibly exiled from the promotion, he has been left without allies. Much as with Alex Shelley in 2005 after Generation Next kicked him out, Corino claims he has turned over a new leaf. He admits to being an ‘evil’ man who did evil things last year, but wants to change. As such, here he wants to give back by working an honest match with a young guy looking to make his way on the independent scene.

Corino tells Konley he needs to ditch his bad attitude and work hard if he is to avoid going down the same ‘evil path’ that he has gone down in his career. They start with a really good near-miss sequence, but rather than accept another handshake Caleb opts to slap Corino in the face. Rather than get angry, Steve actually stars working armdrags and traditional wrestling holds to get his own back. He sets up for the Thumb In The Bum…but of course, that’s an evil move so he thinks better of it. Konley again takes advantage of the reformist Corino to elbow him in the head. Steve thinks about retaliating with a punch but again – that’s breaking a rule so he thinks better of it and is again sucker punched by the noob. Running STO, then the Colby Shock get 2. Eternal Dream countered to a Backslide Driver from Konley. He then hits an AWESOME rope-run tornado DDT for his own nearfall. Corino floors him with the Eternal Dream…only for Caleb to hit him with a sneaky low blow. Corino is pissed, and thinks about the Thumb In The Bum again…then cradles Konley for the victory at 06:40

Rating – ** – From a storyline perspective this match was really good. Corino is such a great story-teller and has so much charisma for this sort of angle. This was, by all rights, total filler but Steve turned a nothing match into something the live crowd really appreciated. That’s not something most of the guys on the current roster can do, and that’s why he’s still in this promotion.

Caprice Coleman sings through a promo…apparently he’s excited for his first ROH show in years. Genuinely, this was an AMAZING interview.

Colt Cabana vs Caprice Coleman
I think this is the first time Caprice has been in ROH since 2003…and even back then he only worked a few shows in throwaway multi-man matches. But I do remember liking him back then if that counts for anything. He had a lot of poise and grace to what he did in the ring…and now I’m curious to see how his style has developed in the near-decade since he was last here. If he wrestles even half as good as he talks ROH should sign him up permanently, that interview was so good! This match makes sense too, since Cabana has been wanting to wrestle the best talent from around the world in the spirit of ‘pure, athletic competition’.

Prazak seems to imply Caprice’s last ROH show was in 2004 so I stand corrected on that. He makes an immediate statement as he cuts Cabana’s usual goofy shenanigans off with a firm wristlock takedown. Colt hits back by FREEZING IN TIME and confusing Coleman as he stands motionless in the middle of the ring…then tricking him into a wristlock. Colt leaves the ring to seek advice from little kids at ringside about how best to win which is hilarious. He returns…and again Caprice makes a statement by evading then BESTING Cabana as he tries some amateur wrestling. Colt leaves again and threatens the kids with a steel chair for their lousy advice. Cabana tries a rowboat stretch…only for Coleman to power him back to the outside AGAIN. Caprice then almost springboards out after him at a frighteningly rapid pace. Spinning axe kick to the back of the head gets him a nearfall. Having seen enough, Colt drops him with a kryptonite neckbreaker. He then gets 2 with a version of the Stroke. Flying Asshole countered with a VERTICAL LEAP SUPER RANA! Coleman tries a frog splash but sails into Cabana’s knees…and from there Colt rolls him up at 10:15

Rating – *** – Caprice Coleman needs to be brought back now. He’s got a great look, is apparently a great talker, and judging from that he can GO in the ring too. Sometimes these comedy goofball matches that Colt loves to work fall a little flat on DVD as they are SO tailored to entertaining the live audience. Not this one, as the two men worked a brand of comedy that had as much to offer to the fan watching in their living room as it did to the kids in the front row.

Caprice deservedly gets a standing ovation and ‘please come back’ chants for that.

Kenny King vs Kyle O’Reilly
This comes around as a direct result of the incredible opening match we saw at Final Battle 2010. On that night Future Shock and the All Night Express nearly stole the whole show in the very first bout with a scintillating spotfest which blew the roof off the Manhattan Center. Now Kenny and Kyle come back for more singles style…and if he saw how good O’Reilly/Perkins from Tag Title Classic 2 was, King will know this won’t be an easy night for him in Richmond.

O’Reilly needs a haircut as the shaggy mess he comes to the ring sporting makes him look even more like a little kid in the ring. Ignoring that, these two start with an AMAZING kick duel sequence which brings most of the audience to their feet in applause. First knockdown goes to Kenny with a Japanese armdrag but O’Reilly is right back on his feet to smash him with a flurry of kicks. King tries to leave, so Kyle snaps his arm over the ropes, then hiptosses him back…STRAIGHT INTO A CROSS ARMBREAKER! He keeps attacking the ANX member until King manages to latch onto him for a spinebuster. King clearly isn’t happy at Kyle’s early success as he viciously beats him in the corner, then drags him into the ropes for a hanging camel clutch. He tries that springboard leg drop off the bottom rope, but Kyle has been watching his tapes and evades that. More strikes from O’Reilly take King down…eventually off the apron and to the floor. FLYING MISSILE DROPKICK OFF THE APRON NAILED! DOUBLE STOMP THE ARM! O’Reilly then literally drags King into a tornado DDT/cross armbreaker combo. They go back to the duelling kick sequences, ending with King hitting a standing enzi then the SHOTGUN KNEES for 2. CAPO KICK…NO SOLD! DISCUS LARIAT! Both men are down! Even on their knees they keep throwing forearms though! O’Reilly lunges in with a knee strike…and after being beckoned on by Kenny he lands a series of palm strikes into an exploder. King is up…CRADLE SUPLEX FOR 2! Coronation countered…KING COUNTERS A KICK TO THE ACHILLES LOCK! Even stealing the move of his mentor’s tag partner, King still can’t put Kyle away! Royal Flush COUNTERED TO THE TRIANGLE CHOKE! WITH MMA ELBOWS! King stands up…ROYAL FLUSH NAILED! King wins at 12:21

Rating – **** – O’Reilly is fast becoming one of my favourite guys on the whole roster. His all action, total workrate approach to his matches is a joy to watch. I know some people will get annoyed about his faux-MMA act and the amount of no-selling, but to the more casual fan he is an entertaining worker. I know Mike Bennett is the guy getting the push right now but both members of Future Shock are two of the most exciting talents to debut in ROH for a long time. I loved O’Reilly/Perkins from Tag Title Classic 2 – and this one was almost as good. And he has the useful ability to work really good TV LENGTH matches…which will be a real asset to him as his career progresses.

Steve Corino catches up with O’Reilly in the bathroom to tell him what a good match he had. Kyle says thanks then gives him the cold shoulder…and Corino is also brushed off by Claudio Castagnoli seconds later – making the point that he has no friends in the ROH locker room.

Davey Richards/El Generico/Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Roderick Strong/Christopher Daniels/Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli

This is the main event, and the titular ‘Champions vs All Stars’ match. What’s great here is that, as well as being a good match in it’s own right, there’s so much going on between these eight men. Davey and Roderick have issues over the World Title, whilst Strong also has to prepare to defend that belt against his former friend Jay Briscoe in Charlotte tomorrow. The Kings and the Briscoes spent all of 2010 feuding…and Davey Richards and Chris Daniels have history going back to The Big Bang and the Fallen Angel’s very return to ROH. El Generico and Claudio Castagnoli go way back  2007 and the finals of the Race To The Top Tournament, and Generico is also signed to challenge for the ROH Title at the end of the month in LA – meaning his opponent for that show works this match as well. Richards is a former ally of the Kings, but after dumping Shane Hagadorn found himself on the wrong end of a few KOW attacks – culminating in the Holiday Gauntlet on HDNet when Hero cost Davey the match, and the chance of taking home a big cash prize for Christmas. You see what I’m getting at? There’s loads going on, and that’s BEFORE you consider the fact that Strong and Daniels don’t like each other, the Kings aren’t happy about their dissension, and Richards and Generico are pissed off about being attacked by Hero and Claudio earlier in the show too.

Prazak takes a cheap shot at HDNet, so I assume they taped commentary right around the time they announced that the TV show was dropped. Richards wants to start with Strong, so of course Roddy hops off the apron and firmly refuses. Then Davey wants his opponent for tomorrow – Hero…and he too refuses to tag in – effectively forcing Daniels into starting with the American Wolf. Daniels is heckled and berated for being the ‘weak link’ in his team by his own partners which can’t be nice! He goes for the Angel’s Wings early…but both men wind up catching each other’s boots and respectfully backing to their corners. Claudio did NOT like that and angrily tags Daniels out. With him in, both Briscoes immediately want a tag and we soon have Mark and Double C slugging it out. Hero and Generico have an ‘OLE’-duel which turns out to be nothing but a scheme to allow Hero to smack the luchador in the face. Generico proves that he’s back to his cheerful, jovial self as he drives both Kings out of the ring then backflips off the ropes in some showmanship for the fans. The intensity picks up when Jay and Roddy come together for the first time and absolutely tear into each other with chops. Strong is still refusing to fight Richards though, so Davey has to settle for testing his strength with Claudio. Satellite Armbar from Richards…and NOW Strong lunges into the ring to break the hold.

This thing is nearly 15 minutes deep and still no team has really established themselves. The Kings and Roderick try to change that by beating the sh*t out of Jay Briscoe on the floor, much to the disgust of Daniels who tries to get them back into the ring. Ironically, when they do return him to the ring it’s the Fallen Angel who takes advantage and continuing to wear Briscoe down. But the Kings think they can do better, prompting Claudio to tag in for the BEST…ELBOW DROP…EVER! Roderick Strong has to be enjoying this as his team dismantle the man that is scheduled to challenge him for the belt tomorrow night. Even when ‘weak link’ Daniels nearly lets Jay to his corner for a tag, the remaining champions are on hand to take all his opponents off the apron…and the clock passes past 20 minutes with the ROH Champions four-piece completely dominant. Jay eventually does tag Generico, who counters a Hero elbow with a ROPE RUN FLYING HEADSCISSORS ON CASTAGNOLI! He tries to pin Hero only for Claudio to break it with the Les Artess Lift! Daniels tries to swoop and deliver the BME…but can’t stop Generico jumping over the ropes into a somersault plancha on the kings. Mark grabs Daniels and for the Briscoes to hit the sidewalk slam/guillotine leg drop combo, then the Splash Mountain Neckbreaker for 2.

Doomsday Device blocked though…DRUNKEN STUPOR KICK INSTEAD! ROLLING FLASH KICK ON JAY! Claudio takes Mark out with a flying knee and suddenly we have Daniels, the Kings AND the Briscoes all flat out. At last Davey and Roderick butt heads, trading brutal kicks and chops! MACHINE GUN KICKS by Richards! Saito Suplex gets the Wolf a nearfall. Strong retaliates with knees and kicks…BLACK SUPERKICK FOR 2! Death By Roderick…but Davey COUNTERS THE SICK KICK TO THE ANKLELOCK! That was awesome, but the World Champion shows real guts to counter that to his own anklelock…then Richards counters THAT into the Texas Cloverleaf! LEBELL LOCK BY STRONG! Hero drags Richards up for a Roaring Elbow! POP-UP EUROPEAN ON GENERICO! Everyone starts pulverising everyone else with strikes…and all of sudden the only man left standing is the ‘weak link’! ARABIAN PRESS TO THE FLOOR BY DANIELS! The Kings prepare for the KRS-1 on Jay but Generico saves! DUELLING TOPE ATOMICOS BY JAY AND GENERICO! Richards is on the top rope! SHOOTING STAR PRESS TO THE FLOOR…ON TOP OF EVERYONE! Crazy Mark doesn’t want to be outdone! ANGEL’S WINGS ON HIM! FOR 2! BME misses and Mark scratches out the win with the Frog Elbow at 32:49.

Rating – **** – Terrific main event, so I feel a little guilty about coming away from it thinking about how much better it could have been. The second half of the match was absolutely awesome, as you’d expect from 8 workers of this calibre…but that finish was a real downer. It’s not that I don’t buy the Frog Elbow as a finish…it just came so suddenly that nobody in the crowd wanted it. Davey Richards’ matches normally get slated for going overkill on the false finishes…but after spending a VERY slow opening 15 minutes feeling each other out, I was just a little disappointed they rushed the finish. Given that this one only went 30 minutes, spending almost half of that killing time with basic ‘feel each other out’ house show spots was a little disappointing. But, I don’t want to be too negative because this was still a great watch – and an unbelievable main event for what most would assume would be a B-show

The All Stars celebrate their ring as the rest of the champions ditch Daniels and leave. I like that, amidst the celebrations the camera zooms in on Mark Briscoe negotiating an immediate TV Title shot with the Fallen Angel. Mark’s dancing to Generico’s music is awesome too! Davey cuts his normal ‘thanks and goodnight’ promo…

Harlem Bravado is REALLY angry at his brother Lance for losing to Andy Ridge. He cuts an awesome promo implying they’re better than all the guys who beat Right Leg in his Trial Series which makes me laugh several times. Lancelot promises he won’t let them down against Future Shock in their home state tomorrow evening.

Tape Rating – *** – The omens weren’t good for this show. Getting packaged with a ‘bonus disc’ is normally a sure sign that the front office didn’t think it was that good. Add to that the fact that most of ROH’s big names were ALL in the main event, leading to a potentially top-heavy show. AND throw in that, on a weekend of b-show level house shows…this was still the less significant one. But I thought this was a lot of fun. Delirious, realising all his established acts were in the main event, had all his young talent go out and have some fun. King/O’Reilly was great, but Adam Cole and Mike Bennett had an underrated little match too, Rhett Titus put in a courageous effort in one of Homicide’s better matches since returning and Cabana/Coleman was entertaining as hell. In the end, although nothing of long-term significance took place, the undercard soared by with all the new talent getting their chances to shine before the main event – which was predictably very good. Compare this to the more notorious ‘bad shows’ from down the years (Eliminating The Competition, Night Of The Butcher 2, Escalation, Survival Of The Fittest ’06, The Last Stand etc)…and you’ll see this was actually an entertaining little show. The only fans that really NEED to own this are those that somehow missed the American Wolves in 2009 and can’t be bothered to go and buy all those DVD’s…but I buy every show and I’ve sat through far worse ROH events.

Top 3 Matches
3) Mike Bennett vs Adam Cole (***)
2) Kenny King vs Kyle O’Reilly (****)
1) Richards/Generico/Briscoes vs Strong/Daniels/Kings (****)

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