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ROH World’s Greatest 2/25/2011

ROH 277 – World’s Greatest – 25th February 2011

As ever with a pay-per-view weekend, all eyes are on the big show tomorrow night and you could be forgiven looking past the night 1 ‘b-show’. The card here looks very much like b-show material with lots of main event talent in a multi-man tag, and the obligatory assortment of young guys thrown together to produce a few decent matches to fill out the rest of the line-up. But it would be wrong to be too negative about this. The Strong/Kings vs Richards/WGTT 6-man should be excellent and, looking at the rest of the card any one of Jay/O’Reilly, Daniels/Elgin, Homicide/Generico or Edwards/King could be a sleeper pick to steal the show. We’re in Dayton, OH tonight – a market that has served ROH faithfully since 2003. Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak commentate again.

Kyle O’Reilly vs Jay Briscoe
This should be a special building for O’Reilly. It was at the last Dayton show that he and Adam Cole put in their break-out performance against Kevin Steen and Steve Corino that really cemented their spots on the roster. Can he return tonight and pick up a win against an ROH veteran?

O’Reilly makes an immediately statement by trapping Briscoe in a cross armbreaker. Jay is no mug though and happily works the mat with Kyle before overpowering him with a shoulder tackle. Kyle breaks out the rolling butterflies into double arm DDT early and pops the crowd big from that…and Briscoe doesn’t like it one bit. He gets up and really lays in some stiff boots and forearms, dropping O’Reilly to his knees. They trade chops in the corner and it’s the Era Of Honor Begins veteran that brutally drops Kyle again with a cringingly sick one. O’Reilly bamboozles him with kick combos and boots him so hard Briscoe actually falls off the apron. MISSILE DROPKICK OFF THE APRON! That spot is just mental and has to hurt SO much! He lands another missile dropkick back into the ring…but this time Jay gets right back up and boots him in the face! Falcon arrow gets 2…then Briscoe drops him on his neck again with the DVD. Jay Driller blocked…into a dragon suplex for 2. Superplex from Briscoe, only for O’Reilly to counter the landing into a cradle and get another nearfall. SUPERKICK DUEL! LARIAT DUEL! SUPERKICK/LARIAT COMBO BY JAY! Kyle just won’t stay down! JAY DRILLER! Now he will…and it’s a win for Briscoe at 07:45

Rating – *** – Kyle O’Reilly is such a star and is brilliant in opening matches like this. He isn’t the finished article, but you can tell he his totally busting his ass in the ring…and that means that at b-show events his workrate really stands out. And tonight that meant Jay Briscoe had to up his game to hang with the youngster. At SoCal Showdown 2 Colt Cabana and Jay had an easy night, working a nice, low impact little match – but O’Reilly came out at 100mph and Briscoe had to dust off his working boots to hang with the kid…which is what ROH should be all about.

Bravado Brothers vs Steve Corino/Grizzly Redwood
The King Of Old School continues to give back to the kids with his mere presence in this match. He teamed with Andy Ridge at Only The Strong Survive, was on hand giving out free advice during the Top Prospect Tournament on HDNet and now tags with one student of the ROH school (Redwood) to face two more. The Bravados are on a hot streak at the moment, with back to back wins over Future Shock along with their Grandma Bravado-funded victory in California.

I don’t know if it’s just over-sensitive microphones…but this crowd seems absolutely red hot. Corino’s entrance nearly blows the roof off! He tells the Bravados their grandmother wouldn’t be pleased with how they act…and that REALLY pisses them off. They jump a former ECW World Champion and actually try to engage him in a brawl around ringside. Steve looks deeply unhappy about using the guardrails to hurt Lance, so instead brings him in the ring to deliver a standing dropkick. Fans mark out for that…so he tries it again and duly misses. The Bravados double team him so Redwood tags in and takes the fight to Harlem with a sliding bulldog for 2. The brothers shut him down with a back suplex neckbreaker double team. ‘F*ck your grandma’ – Dayton. That only inspires Lance to storm through Grizz with a running knee strike. After a couple of minutes of real punishment Grizzly succeeds with a hurricanrana on Harlem…only for Lance to knock Corino off the apron. Chaos Theory BLOCKED, and now Steve gets the tag. Colby Shock DDT on both Bravados. He teases the Thumb In The Bum but falls victim to a frog splash from Harlem for 2. They get another nearfall with a bridging German moments later. Redwood tries to save his partner, feeding Lance into the Eternal Dream. But Steve doesn’t see Harlem coming, and he rolls Corino up with the tights to win at 09:02

Rating – ** – Too long in my opinion, but some of this was really good. The ‘reformist’ Corino stuff is clever, but I had no idea it would contrast so well with the entertaining ‘Bravado Bandwagon’ stuff. The pre-match promo with those two goofing around whilst Corino was trying to be all serious was priceless. And Corino putting them over at the end furthers all the relevant storylines so from a booking perspective this one was tight as well.

Mike Bennett vs Mark Briscoe
I think this is The Prodigy’s Dayton debut for ROH. Reactions to his in-ring performances have been mixed, but he’s really nailed his gimmick with some recent strong in-ring promo segments on HDNet. He will look to win here, then turn his attention firmly to tomorrow nights TV Title Match between Eddie Edwards and Christopher Daniels since he wants to challenge the winner.

Lots of wristlocks to start, with Briscoe really pissing Bennett off by getting the better of that exchange. They go to headlocks next and again Mark frustrates The Prodigy by getting the best of him. The 6-time former Tag Champion delivers the first big impact manoeuvre with a running neckbreaker. He drives Mike out of the ring with a jumping knee and absolutely wipes him out with a somersault plancha. Bob Evans distracts Briscoe, meaning that as he tries to come off the top rope with a crossbody, he ends up jumping into a dropkick from Bennett. Hanging backbreaker out of the corner next – and that’s the cue for him to start working the back and midsection to set up for his finishing moves. Side Effect blocked at this point, as is the Spinebuster and Mark comes back at him with Redneck Kung Fu. Top rope tumbleweed senton scores for 2…then he somewhat violently dumps Bennett on his neck with the urinage. Iconoclasm blocked INTO the Spinebuster for 2. Evans is pissed that wasn’t the finish…and distracts the official for Bennett to score with a low blow. The Dayton crowd groans in disappointment as he hits the Side Effect for the win at 09:23

Rating – ** – The start and end of this match were decent, but it sort of lost its way in the middle and, for a time, became a rambling succession of spots which definitely isn’t a wrestling style which suits Mike Bennett. He turned it round with his brief assault on Mark’s back…and the finish, although deflating and entirely predictable does get Bennett and Brutal Bob over without sacrificing Mark’s heat

‘He’s got a whole lot of spirit’ – Rhett Titus on Mike Mondo. Titus tries to cut a promo making his filler fourway tonight seem relevant. He credits Colt Cabana with bringing out the ‘monster’ in him (going back to their issue during the 2009 Final Countdown Tour) which is just what he needs before the All Night Express’ big title match tomorrow.

Mike Mondo vs Rhett Titus vs Andy Ridge vs Colt Cabana
Having used some promo time to illustrate how fired up he is for this weekend, you might actually consider Titus to be the favourite to win this. Cabana is here to have a good time and enjoy the spirit of competition, Andy Ridge is just happy to be here at all…and Mike Mondo is busting his ass with a lame gimmick just to try and get on the roster.

Cabana needs the kiss of life from Todd Sinclair after getting knocked out by a streamer. That sums up how seriously he’s taking this. ‘Right Leg…you still in this company?’ – Colt. The heels jump the faces to start so it’s Rhett brutalising Andy and Cabana getting creamed by Mondo. Colt throws Ridge at both of them…then cleans house on everyone with a pescado. Colt goofs around out-wrestling everyone, getting 2 on both Titus and Mondo at the same time after a Big Daddy Splash. The heels decide they’re better off isolating Ridge, so toss Cabana out of the ring and pursue Right Leg instead. Everything Mondo does is narrated by the man himself in an irksome high pitched screaming voice. Colt finally comes in and pulls Ridge out of the way of a Mondo diving headbutt and at last gets the hot tag. He hits the Flying Asshole then the quebrada press on the heels…so Mondo gives him a blockbuster out of the corner. Titus and Mike have a random argument and eat crossbody from Ridge. Screaming kick flurry from Andy to Mondo…so Colt DROPS HIM ON HIS HEAD! Rhett lawn darts Andy. Colt blocks the Super Sex Factor into a turnbuckle gutbuster…then puts Mondo in the Curse. The ‘Giant Killer’ taps out in 08:36

Rating – * – The star is for Cabana’s comedy stuff…since everything else about this was both totally predictable and completely forgettable. Ridge and Mondo are devoid of personality and really vanilla, and since Colt and Rhett both have bigger matches tomorrow they were on autopilot. Other than some funny jokes this was pretty pointless.

Christopher Daniels vs Michael Elgin
Although he’s been at both sets of TV tapings, this is the first time ROH have brought Elgin to house shows since his first appearances with the House Of Truth at Survival Of The Fittest 2010 weekend. His first appearance with Truth was in a 6-man tag that was eventually won by Chris Daniels, and the Fallen Angel has been a thorn in World Champion Roderick Strong’s side since he won the belt. Here Strong’s new ‘enforcer’ will be looking to beat Daniels out of World Title contention, and put himself in the running for a TV Title shot in so doing.

Daniels busies himself playing from the crowd so gets steamrollered into the corner by Elgin right off the bat. He straight up clobbers the TV Champion for the opening minutes, not letting the veteran get a sniff of offence. Daniels has to go big, delivering an ARABIAN PRESS TO THE FLOOR! He nearly hits the ceiling tiles seconds later as he hits a missile dropkick then forcibly positions Elgin on his knees to deliver a succession of punches. Daniels tries to come off the ropes but is easily scooped up into a Samoan drop for 2. The crowd are so fond of Daniels they have been stunned into silence as the newcomer completely dominates him. He is damaging the Fallen Angel’s back, but that’s almost because even the most basic of moves (like an Irish whip) is delivered with such force from the powerhouse that it shakes the ring. STRONGHOLD ON THE OUTSIDE! And whilst he does that Martini obnoxiously reads from the Book Of Truth in Daniels’ face. STALLING ONE ARM SLAM next, leaving his opponent squirming in agony on the thin protective mats out there. Daniels just barely avoids losing by count-out such is the damage he has now sustained. He tries to fight back but Elgin puts him down simply by stomping on his chest. This dude is a total beast! Tornado DDT blocked…so Daniels gives him the Stroke into the turnbuckles instead! After a flurry of running forearms he at last manages to take Elgin off his feet. The TV champ goes back to the high risk stuff, scoring with another Arabian press then a flying crossbody for 2…but Elgin soon has him in his clutches again to hit a pumphandle powerbomb. Spinning lariat misses…OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE SLAM DOESN’T! Martini calls for the finish, which actually distracts Elgin and allows Daniels to flash pin him at 14:54

Rating – *** – This seems to have been one of those matches which was much better on DVD than as a live experience. I read some really negative live reports of this, but watching it here I thought it was very solid. And it was perfectly worked in that it enabled Daniels to stay completely in ‘house show mode’ (he’s in one of the main events tomorrow) yet still do enormous amounts to put Elgin over. The crowd weren’t booing this, or sh*tting on it. They were just in disbelief at how much the ROH newcomer was decimating Chris Daniels…which is a huge statement and indication of how powerful the man is. ROH hasn’t had a good ‘power guy’ in sometime, and it’s always an area they’ve traditionally lacked talent. He does need to work a little faster and more precisely as he lost the crowd at times by working such a slow pace, but this was an impressive first showing as a singles wrestler for the guy. He proved he belonged in ROH here.

Elgin continues to do Roderick Strong’s bidding by launching into another assault on the Fallen Angel. El Generico, still pissed off at being screwed out of the World Title in Los Angeles, runs out to save Daniels just as he did for him at SoCal Showdown 2. He faces Elgin on PPV tomorrow too. As Elgin and Martini retreat up the ramp it becomes clear that Daniels has stolen the Book Of Truth…

INTERMISSION – Daniels isn’t happy at Roderick Strong for sending his heavy to end his career tonight. Now he has the Book Of Truth he plans on getting into Roddy’s head…

Homicide vs El Generico
At Only The Strong Survive an angry Homicide, pissed off at not winning the match, gave the victorious El Generico a Cop Killa. The Generic Luchador hasn’t forgotten that and now comes for revenge on the eve of Homicide’s ROH Title shot.

Homicide is wrestling with loads of padding and bandaging on one of his arms. Dude wasn’t exactly 100% even before that, and it really doesn’t bode well for tomorrow’s title match! The opening 2 minutes here are a whole lot of nothing, with lots of posturing and wristlocks and not much else. Then they botch an ugly armdrag spot, but to his credit Homicide saves it by aggressively going for the mask and getting the whole thing over as his brawling approach. Generico tries some mounted punches but Cide bites him in the leg…and the fight goes to the floor. Todd Sinclair stops him using a chair, so Homicide blasts Generico’s head against the ringpost a couple of times…then stomps off to start ripping apart the ringside table instead. The gangsta Bruiser Brody approach seems to intimidate Generico into doing something crazy. He thinks about a Brainbuster out there but sees it countered, allowing Homicide to hit a neckbreaker on the floor. Two Amigos nailed (was the third too much effort?), followed by a thumb to the eye. Generico lands his first significant offence of the match, nearly 9 minutes in, as he hits the rope run tornado DDT. Michinoku Driver for 2 comes moments later. It’s too early for the Yakuza Kick though, meaning the Notorious 187 easily evades the strike and drops him with a frankensteiner for 2. Generico blocks a couple of Homicide’s finishers but can’t duck the Lariat…which gets another nearfall. Turnbuckle Exploder from Generico as the match breaks down into a succession of heatless spots. Yakuza Kick comes next but Homicide goes to the mask to block the Turnbuckle Brainbuster. Ace Crusher wins it at 12:31

Rating – * – This was pretty much awful on most levels. I’ve included a star here because, for all his lack of workrate (or on this showing, basic ability to even communicate with his opponent to stop spots looking totally sh*t), Homicide’s wildman persona is undeniably fun. The segment in the middle where he stopped working to trash the timekeeping table FOR NO REASON was entertaining if nothing else. Generico is a great worker, but when they made the call to have Homicide work his slow, plodding, house show offence for 10+ minutes they all but guaranteed this was going to be tough watching.

The Bravado Brothers are dressed in their finest (Lancelot is wearing Grandpa Bravado’s blazer) and planning to hit the town and find women they can bring home to meet their Grandma..

Kenny King vs Eddie Edwards
This is a rematch from the final two competitors in the 2010 Survival Of The Fittest field. That night, the courageous Eddie Edwards defied a severe shoulder separation to win the tournament and earn a World Title shot which he is still to cash in. ROH were quick to book a rematch as soon as both men had a free date in their calendar but ironically, although this is a big match, both of these two will probably be more focused on tomorrow night as they both play the role of challenger in title matches on the internet pay-per-view.

King doesn’t like the thunderous ovation that Edwards gets. But he’s a serious competitor now, and offers Eddie a clean break early in the match to make the point that he wants to outwork the former TV Champion in a straight wrestling match here. Near-miss kick sequence comes next, drawing deserved applause. King back flips out of the corner…so Edwards KICKS HIS HEAD OFF with a running enzi. That sequence was just SO explosive after the quiet start thus far. Eddie goes for a bow and arrow stretch, softening up the lower back which is a pressure point of the Achilles Lock. Kenny tries to retreat to the ropes, pursued all the way by Eddie who peppers him with little kicks to the torso. Kenny gets desperate and corkscrew enzi kicks him out of ring. OFF THE GUARDRAIL springboard leg drop scores, then he starts smashing Edwards’ head into the ringpost as Kevin Kelly references him being a douche in Tough Enough (which from a guy on the inside of the WWE at the time is interesting). There’s an amusing sequence next as Kenny fires off chops at Edwards, but the fans heckle him after each one with chants of ‘weak’ because they’re not as impressive as Eddie’s. Climbing Wizard knocks King to the mat, but the damage has been done and Edwards takes just as long to recover. King tries another back flip, and this time he SCORES with a jumping enzi. Royal Flush blocked…KING HITS A NORTHERN LIGHTS TO THE BUCKLES INSTEAD! He tries the springboard blockbuster but Eddie kicks him down then hits a slingshot double stomp on the apron. Kenny tries another move off the barrier but this time gets SHOVED into the crowd…and Edwards climbs the guardrail and jumps straight out after him too! Eddie goes all Danielson by hitting a missile dropkick then nipping up, followed by the Samoa Joe running facewash spot. Flying Codebreaker into a bridging tiger suplex gets 2 but by this point Kenny looks in real trouble. Jumping heel kick out of nowhere from him though! Coronation…BUTT UGLY SLAM INSTEAD! I don’t know what it was supposed to be but sheer power from King turned it into a really brutal-looking move. They start teeing off on each other with strikes – most of the crowd vocally behind Edwards and it’s him that wins it after hitting a lariat. SHOTGUN KNEES! But King doesn’t drag him far enough away from the ropes so it’s 2. DOUBLE STOMP BY EDWARDS! King goes for another heel kick but it’s COUNTERED TO THE DRAGON SCREW! ACHILLES LOCK! King taps at 18:43

Rating – **** – I think King must like the Dayton market. Between this and his Pick Your Poison match with Tyler last year, it’s seen two of his best ROH singles matches so far. I really enjoyed this. It wasn’t all clean (few Kenny King matches pass without any botches) or coherent, but it was a physical, bruising near-20 minute fight between one man who is comfortable playing a cocky heel (King) and one man who is fast becoming one of the most organic babyface stars ROH have (Eddie). I know Davey is the standard bearer, and guys like Daniels, WGTT and Homicide are supposed to be the loved veterans…but Eddie is quietly becoming one of the most popular guys on the roster no matter where they go. The same thing happened to Necro Butcher in 2008 but Gabe blew his load on Necro’s turn way too quickly and Necro’s ROH career never really recovered. How ROH handles Eddie at the moment is going to be crucial…he could legitimately be an era-defining star if they use him right

Roderick Strong/Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli vs Davey Richards/Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin
This is another ‘champions vs all stars’ match, except this time Strong and the Kings have got rid of the man they deemed the ‘weak link’ in Richmond (TV Champion Christopher Daniels) and will work as a trio to face the ‘all star’ opposition of Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (who are looking to get into the running for a Tag Title shot) and Roderick Strong’s great rival Davey Richards.

Strong stands on the turnbuckles during the introductions, mocking Davey who always does that. It’s all fun and games before the bell as Claudio teases, then refuses to throw a new ‘Kings Reign Supreme’ shirt into the crowd…so Davey steals it and throws it out for him, which prompts Hagadorn to run out and try to get it back. As a result Castagnoli starts in the ring with Richards in an intriguing battle of speed vs strength. MULTI-REVOLUTION Satellite Armbar from Davey…and Claudio’s partners quickly dive into the ring to save him. Strong starts going after Davey’s arm, but then has to frantically call for Hero’s help when the Wolf puts him in the Cloverleaf. Haas and Benjamin even the score with a double team backbreaker on the World Champion for 2. Haas works Roddy’s arm like a b*tch, so he tags out and leaves the ring for respite with his manager, leaving the Kings to team up on Charlie. Benjamin tags in and follows his partner’s example by attacking Double C’s arm but the champions team uses their numbers to their advantage by beating him down three-on-one style. ‘I’m working the arm’ – Claudio as he attacks Shelton’s arm looking for a receipt on the damage done to him earlier.

Benjamin eventually does get the hot tag to Richards who wears Claudio out with the Machine Gun Kicks. He tries to kick him to the outside…but Hero swoops to boot him off the apron. As he lies dazed and injured on the floor Roderick Strong arrives to take some vicious cheap shots. MMA Elbows by Roddy, and he throws in a couple more when he realises just how much that pissed the crowd off. The Kings get a significant nearfall after that with the Hart Attack Elbow combo but this is all about Strong’s issues with Davey now as he takes him out of the ring for a body slam on the floor. Del Rey, Martini and Hagadorn all get their turn at beating on Davey as well as clock ticks past 20-minutes. Handspring Elbow COUNTERED TO THE UFO FOR 2! Richards does land a missile dropkick though, and the crowd come to life realising this is his moment to make the tag. Shelton gets the tag and FLOORS Hero with the Dragon Whip. SLINGSHOT SAMOAN DROP on Strong! ROLLING FLASH KICK BY HERO! He just turned Shelton’s lights out with that meaning the Kings are free to lift him into the Big Swing Flash Kick combo.

But Claudio gets arrogant and thinks he has time to pull out a stalling vertical suplex…which Benjamin counters with a neckbreaker. Haas comes in and starts throwing people around for fun. HAAS OF PAIN ON CLAUDIO! DAVEY DROPS A DIVING HEADBUTT TOO! Hero breaks it with a slingshot stomp! He goes for another elbow but Benjamin DROPS HIM HARD with a flatliner. It comes down to Davey vs Roddy, with those two taking turns to lay in the heavy artillery strike combos. ALARM CLOCK BLOCKED…ENZI INSTEAD! But the Kings maul him as he tries to pin the World Champion! WGTT chase the Kings through the curtain as Strong goes for another concussion – repeatedly elbowing Richards in the head. Half Nelson Backbreaker countered…KNEE TO THE HEAD! DEATH BY RODERICK! BLACK SUPERKICK! But Davey kicks out! They brawl on the top rope…STRONGHOLD! CROSS ARMBREAKER! ALARM CLOCK BLOCKS THE SICK KICK! FALCON ARROW ARMBREAKER! RODDY TAPS! Richards submits the World Champion at 32:16 – how’s that for earning a rematch somewhere soon?

Rating – **** – This was a great match, but a tough one to rate. I’m cautious about going high as I’ve read criticisms of the amount of multi-man tag matches ROH has run as main events to B-shows in 2011 – even though I personally think they’re a great idea. The live crowds still get to see their favourite talent, in big main events, but the talent themselves have more hands on deck to share the work. And it means on the undercard we get fresh matches between younger guys looking to hone their skills and improve like King, Titus, Edwards, Elgin, O’Reilly, Cole and Bennett. Japanese companies use this strategy a lot and, the reality is if (as was the case here) the in-ring action is good enough, having six great talents in the ring at once can be far more entertaining than watching established talent work house show mode. I also thought this was a LOT better than the Champions vs All Stars match…even though I’ve had to keep my rating the same (as I don’t think, by the end of 2011, I’ll consider this an MOTYC). However, for a Dayton card this was a stellar main event. Unlike Champions vs All Stars this didn’t feel like a novelty match – it felt like a grudge match with the Kings and WGTT looking to notch their guns…whilst Davey and Roddy just wanted to beat the sh*t out of each other.

Haas and Benjamin rejoin Davey for his usual ‘thank you [insert town here] and good night’ routine.

A Homicide promo ends the show. He admits he’s carrying multiple injuries, but they won’t stop him winning the World Title for a second time…

Tape Rating – ** – I know I said the 6-man main event here was better than the 8-man at Champions vs All Stars…but that card in Richmond was a really fun top to bottom wrestling show, hence that got a 3* Tape Review and this one doesn’t. Here, although the two main events were good, the card was constantly broken up with filler and disappointments – and even the good matches on the undercard (Jay/O’Reilly and Daniels/Elgin) weren’t more than low-end 3* bouts. Unless you are desperate to see the killer main event (although I think they did a very similar trios tag for the final episode of HDNet which was broadcast for free), or really want to see Edwards/King there’s not a lot for you on this DVD. As is often the case with ppv weekends – the B-show can be skipped if you so choose.

Top 3 Matches
3) Christopher Daniels vs Michael Elgin (***)
2) Eddie Edwards vs Kenny King (****)
1) Davey Richards/Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin vs Roderick Strong/Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli (****)

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