ROH 284 – Revolution: Canada – 7th May 2011
It’s always an event when ROH come to the Toronto market. It doesn’t get the high profile events that New York gets, and it doesn’t have the rich Ring Of Honor history that Chicago has, but this region remains, undeniably, an ‘A’ market for the company (even if the last show here wasn’t so hot). If you need more evidence of that look no further than the card tonight. Eddie Edwards defending the World Title, WGTT defending the Tag Titles plus Daniels/Generico, Richards/King, Castagnoli/O’Reilly, the Double Danger Scramble and a match dedicated to the memory of the late and great Larry Sweeney. As an interesting aside, this is also the first DVD released by the promotion after the Sinclair buyout, meaning ROH are now referred to as ‘Ring Of Honor Wrestling Entertainment LLC’ on the back of the box. With a name like that they certainly aren’t an indy fed anymore. We’re in Toronto, ONT with hosts Kevin Kelly and Eric Santamaria.
Claudio Castagnoli vs Kyle O’Reilly
The opening match of Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 2 saw the Kings Of Wrestling deliver a vicious beating to the team of Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly. Tonight Kyle comes to his home country in an attempt to avenge that defeat.
Claudio easily throws O’Reilly to the floor, but before he can really enjoy the ease of that Kyle gets back to his feet and rattles off a couple of kicks. The European needs to avoid the ‘educated feet’ so quickly locks him in a dead-lift snap suplex and starts grappling him on the canvas. O’Reilly is no slouch on the mat though, locking in a knee bar that drives Castagnoli all the way to the floor. He makes a few disrespectful gestures to a Canadian flag to buy himself some time, then jokingly comes back in trying to engage Kyle in a test of strength. Kicks from O’Reilly…before he gets flattened by Claudio! Double C chokes him in the ropes then pulls the referee aside to allow Del Rey to take some cheap shots. He works a cravat and gets 2 with a powerslam as he continues to dominate the young Canadian. More grounded submission moves follow, with first an armbar then a sleeper hold used to wear O’Reilly down. Finally Kyle escapes and hits a missile dropkick to the same leg he’s kicked multiple times throughout the match. Tilta-whirl DDT scores for 2 as Castagnoli really starts to have problems with his leg. And that leg comes back to haunt him again as he leaves it hanging loose after a STALLING SUPERPLEX, allowing Kyle to hook it and nearly steal a victory. RUNNING UPPERCUT GETS 2! But O’Reilly goes back to the leg to counter the Riccola Bomb then comes out of the Pop-Up European with a sunset flip for 2. SHARPSHOOTER ON CLAUDIO! He makes the ropes, much to the disappointment of the vocal crowd who wanted to see that finish it. Castagnoli lifts him into a chokeslam only for Kyle to kick out…so it’s the Riccola Bomb that wins in 11:52
Rating – *** – O’Reilly has had a number of really entertaining curtain jerking matches this year, and his bout tonight certainly falls into that category too. The early going was perhaps a little slow, but I loved that they actually used Kyle’s ‘loads of kicks’ approach and turned into a story with him injuring Claudio’s leg with them and going for the ever-popular Sharpshooter. Of course Claudio had to win since ROH clearly aren’t ready to pull the trigger on any kind of push for Kyle…but he’s fast becoming one of the most reliable and consistent workers on the roster.
Roderick Strong didn’t come to Canada (despite being booked for last night) so the House Of Truth is down to three for the night. Martini introduces Elgin and Daniels, with the Fallen Angel (‘ROH’s only television star’) intent on making an example of El Generico later…
Mike Bennett vs Steve Corino
These two really don’t like each other. The Prodigy resents Corino’s interference and attempts to ‘help’ him, whilst Steve doesn’t like the career path Bennett is leading down and wants to ‘save him’ – whilst not falling back of the wagon himself. Last night in Dearborn he admitted finding it difficult to stay on the straight and narrow whilst Bennett tries to aggravate him…and here they rematch their Manhattan Mayhem 4 encounter which was marred by interference from Brutal Bob.
Corino gets on the stick and references his sponsor again, which obviously teases a Kevin Steen appearance given that we’re in Canada. Bennett tries to lure him into throwing a punch but he declines meaning The Prodigy can throw a few unanswered right hands. Steve goes for an abdominal stretch, forcing Bennett to jump towards the ropes in fear of the Thumb In The Bum. Corino does the same armdrags/dropkick ‘good guy’ routine he’s done in every match this year…meaning The Prodigy clearly hasn’t been watching his tapes. He collapses out of the ring and has to be helped to his feet by Bob. Corino goes for the ringbell and rings it over Bennett’s crotch as the referee and Evans get into an argument. Some guardrail bumps come next as Steve keeps falling off the wagon on his desire to hurt Mike Bennett. It’s almost his return to ‘evil’ methods that proves to be his undoing as Bob Evans tries a couple of cheap shots…but all that does is give Bennett a window of opportunity to miss a pescado. Steve goes for a tope suicida but it’s blocked with a vertical leap dropkick from the floor. The ref accidentally gets blinded, giving Brutal Bob a chance to run in and drop Corino with a clothesline. Prodigy follows that with a superplex for 2. Perhaps listening to the chants of the fans, Bennett tries an ill-advised top rope leg drop and horribly misses. Steve is visibly fighting the urge to go for the Thumb, almost to the point of distraction as Bennett hits the spinebuster for 2. Corino blocks the piledriver that beat him in New York, fights off Brutal Bob then runs through Bennett with the Eternal Dream. Evans saves Bennett from the Thumb…Thumb In Bob’s Bum! Side Effect by Bennett…but Corino kicks out! Side Effect again, then the piledriver to finally beat Corino at 16:03
Rating – ** – I didn’t dislike this as much as a 2*rating would suggest. The crowd were really into this, and it was certainly entertaining. But at over 15 minutes, it was just way too long for what was a lower card sports-entertainment feud. I found my attention drifting away as soon as Corino started doing the ‘good guy’ spots he does in every match now, and it took several minutes to get it back. The constant interference from Bob annoyed me, as did the fact that Corino had no problem using the guardrails and the ring bell, but them seemed to have morality issues when going for the Thumb In The Bum at the end. How is a thumb up the ass worse than a bell to the crotch? I see why they’ve put Bennett with Corino, and I think it will be great for Mike’s development. I would like to see him get another chance to wrestle some of the better workers in ROH soon though as his matches thus far have been mediocre.
Bennett and Bob give Corino a spike piledriver then laugh as nobody comes to save him because he has no friends in the ROH locker room.
In the back Andy Ridge tells everyone that he’s here to win the first ever Double Danger Scramble
Tommaso Ciampa vs Rhett Titus vs Adam Cole vs Michael Elgin vs Andy Ridge vs Grizzly Redwood – Double Danger Scramble Match
The rules of this are intriguing, if not particularly easy to understand. Essentially, to win the match you have to score two victorious decisions i.e. pinfalls or submissions. However, there are no eliminations either, so this could go for hours if all six guys start winning falls. It’s also lucha rules (to ensure the traditions of the ROH scramble are respected). The fact that half the field in this match are graduates of the Ring Of Honor school is a genuine achievement that Cary Silkin and all involved with that project should be proud of. I’ve been critical of it (and the students) on many occasions, but I really think that Titus and Redwood in particular have progressed massively in the last year to become legitimate members of the roster. Cole, Ciampa and Elgin are all guys who have come into ROH as fresh talent in the last 8 months too so there’s a lot of new guys looking to climb the card here.
Technically shouldn’t this be a ‘Double Danger Six Man Mayhem’ rather than a Scramble? Right Leg starts with Grizzly (who is wearing the worst wrestling tights I’ve ever seen). They are very respectful to each other…which annoys Ciampa so he comes in and boots both of them. Titus drops Tommaso with the Thrust Buster then slingshots himself into a powerslam from Elgin. Cole dropkicks the powerhouse out of the ring…then gets rolled up by Ciampa for the first three-count at 02:29. Tommaso now only needs one more victory to win the match. Rhett and Ciampa tear into each other again…but Ciampa BLOCKS the Super Sex Factor and shoves him into a German suplex from Elgin for 2. Running knee strike driven straight into Rhett’s face for another nearfall. ELECTRIC CHAIR GUTBUSTER from Ciampa to Titus! Ridge comes in with a slingshot cutter on Elgin which is pretty impressive. He kicks at Titus only for Rhett to hit a rolling neckbreaker and pin him for 3 at 07:37 meaning Titus joins Ciampa in having won a fall. He throws a lariat at Elgin (when did Rhett start hitting so hard?) then lays him out with the SUPER SEX FACTOR! SOMERSAULT PLANCHA TAKES OUT CIAMPA AND ELGIN! REDWOOD BACK DROPS COLE OVER THE ROPES INTO AN APRON DDT ON TITUS! HEAT SEEKING MISSILE BY GRIZZLY! CORKSCREW PESCADO BY ELGIN! The enforcer of the HOT is really over in Canada and gets raucous applause for that! In the ring Ciampa scoops Cole up for PROJECT CIAMPA! DOUBLE KNEE DROP FROM RHETT TO BREAK IT! Redwood sneaks in and nearly grabs a shock pinfall with a swinging DDT on Titus. Superkick from Ridge to Grizz…then Elgin MURDERS Andy with a lariat. Cole and Elgin battle on the ropes…TOP ROPE FLORIDIAN DESTROYER NAILED! But Ciampa and Titus dive in to break the fall! Rhett and Tommaso both fall out of the ring and miss out on Elgin flipping out and beating up everyone. AWESOME BOMB TO THE FLOOR ON RIDGE! HE PICKS COLE AND REDWOOD UP FOR A DOUBLE ALABAMASLAM! HE PINS THEM BOTH! Elgin wins at 14:40
Rating – **** – There haven’t been many matches in ROH this year that have been as much fun as that. The purists will hate it, but this was a hell of a spotfest and the live crowd absolutely ate it up. Ridge’s involvements were wisely kept to a minimum, but everyone else really shone in this environment. Titus, a veritable ROH veteran by the standards of everyone else in the match, looked awesome with some hard hitting strikes and wonderful spots. Ciampa looked like the ‘Sicilian Psychopath’ he’s supposed to be and, as ever, the power moves Elgin was able to bust out nearly blew the roof off the building. It was an ambitious, innovative match concept which could have gone horribly wrong but didn’t thanks to the hard (and smart) work of the wrestlers involved. I’d certainly like to see it brought back somewhere down the line
Mike Bennett and Bob Evans laugh at the fact that Steve Corino has no friends. For all the detractors of his in-ring work, I really think Bennett’s promo skills and grasp of character make him worth persevering with. He’s up there with the likes of Daniels, Corino and Hero in that respect.
Kenny King vs Davey Richards
This is billed as a ‘Big Bang’ rematch (they met in a spectacular match at The Big Bang last year in Charlotte) although I’m pretty sure they’ve already had a couple of subsequent rematches on HDNet. Not that it matters as these guys are two of the better workers in the promotion right now and it’s always fun when they get in the ring together. Davey has been red hot in 2011 thus far, albeit having had his momentum curtailed slightly by back to back defeats as part of the American Wolves.
Both guys attempt kicks in the early seconds but they are skilfully avoided, with Kenny playfully pointing out that he’s done his homework coming into this one. Since he’s done his studying he should know better than to engage Davey in a mat battle – and quickly has to scramble to the ropes after he gets trapped in a horse collar stretch. Armdrags from King, quickening the pace and still finding time to smile and wink at the camera whilst doing so. Davey is frustrated and smashes King with a forearm rather than giving him a clean break…leading to a fierce exchange of strikes. Kenny wisely backs out of that with a clothesline then scores with the snap suplex to mounted forearms instead. Richards tries his running apron kick and misses…but he simply turns around and runs at Kenny again to hit it the second time. TOPE SUICIDA NAILED! That gives Richards the advantage for the first time in the match, even if King is still blocking his usual moves (he prevents Davey going for an Anklelock so is put in a Strykerlock instead). But he gets distracted by some heckling from the fans and nearly falls victim to some flash pins from Kenny. The ANX member puts together a couple of kick sequences of his own and gets another close nearfall with a spinebuster. Davey goes for kicks…and once more finds his usual stuff countered – this time into a northern lights suplex. I really wish the commentators would spend more time commentating on the match, which is telling a clever little story, rather than chatting away about why Davey and Eddie should (or shouldn’t) fight for the World Title.
They trade shots on the apron, eventually forcing Davey to fall to the floor then kicks King’s legs out from under him. TOP ROPE DOUBLE STOMP TO THE APRON! King just barely beats the count…and rolls straight into a Back Drop Driver and the Anklelock. Alarm Clock…COUNTERED TO A CAPTURE SUPLEX! King back suplexes Davey over the ropes…but misses a pescado. CORKSCREW SENTON OFF THE APRON INSTEAD! SHOTGUN KNEES AGAINST THE GUARDRAIL! Credit to King, he doesn’t want a count-out victory and hauls the semi-conscious American Wolf back into the ring to try and pin him. Royal Flush countered with a victory roll…then the Anklelock! And when King fights that he delivers a running punt. King no sells that and nips up into a weary exchange of slaps and kicks. CORKSCREW ENZI COUNTERED TO THE ANKLELOCK! King lands on his feet out of a German suplex to hit the Capo Kick then a German suplex of his own. Coronation…turned into a BUZZSAW KICK! Both men down! They take their time getting up, then go straight back to beating the sh*t out of each other. ROYAL FLUSH GETS 2! King climbs the ropes…and MISSES an SSP attempt! Richards lifts him back onto the turnbuckles…ROPE RUN GERMAN SUPERPLEX BOTCHED! King falls off the ropes anyway, and Davey grabs him for a regular German suplex instead. King taps to the Anklelock at 21:18…
Rating – **** – Great match, and such a shame that some of the shine was taken from it thanks to that ugly finish. Davey’s been unlucky like that this year – his Pure Rules Match with Daniels in New York was similarly derailed by a botched spot in the climactic moments. But before that I really enjoyed this one. The crowd took a while to get into it (understandably so given the spot mayhem that went before it) but they didn’t rush their spots and stuck with the sensible story of King having done his homework and being able to block most of Davey’s usual spots. I don’t think many people really thought King would be winning this, but by the end of the match he was certainly elevated to the same kind of level as Richards, which really caps off a great weekend of showcasing how much both members of the ANX have improved in the last year. If I was being critical I’d say that I want to see King making more of an effort to sell the effects of that Anklelock, but that’s a minor knock on a strong outing for him.
Davey is so pissed off that he rolls out of the ring and stomps straight to the locker room without having his hand raised or looking back. On the bright side, that leaves the ring clear for Kenny King to receive a deserved standing ovation for his efforts.
The Bravado Brothers come to the ring, despite not being booked for this weekend. The way they act like super-over babyfaces whilst getting boo’d to sh*t is absolutely brilliant. As is Lancelot calling Toronto the best ROH market…behind Chicago and New York. And Harlem stealing Lance Storm’s catchphrase and totally no-selling the heat it gets. They’re not happy about not getting the same opportunities as the Cole/O’Reilly team even though they have a horrible won/loss record. Future Shock come to the ring and are encouraged to ‘take some time off’, or go to the pre-shows to work on their skills. Cole challenges them to a match, then takes a few verbal potshots at Grandma Bravado when they decline. Eventually Cole and O’Reilly bring a deceptively fun segment to a close by decking the Bravados…
Colt Cabana vs Delirious
Back in 2007 these two had a couple of the most entertaining comedy matches in ROH history (5YF Finale and This Means War 2). They complete the trilogy five years later, unfortunately under very different circumstances as they meet in a tribute match in memory of Sweet’n’Sour Larry Sweeney. Arguably the top ‘manager’ in ROH history (only Prince Nana really competes with him), his ‘Sweet’n’Sour Inc’ faction kept Ring Of Honor audiences entertained through 2007 and 2008, before he left ROH in 2009 under a cloud as his battle with his well-documented personal problems got the better of him. But he seemed to be back on good terms by the end of ’09 as he did live commentary of ROH’s first ever internet pay-per-view and I’m quite sure that he would have been brought back down the line, but tragically he never got himself to the point in his life where he would be comfortable doing that. Chris Hero, a good friend of Sweeney and founding member of S’n’S Inc. broke the news to the world, and it seems weird that he won’t be involved in ROH’s final tribute to him. But Sweeney always made entertained ROH fans and made them laugh with his wacky antics, so it is fitting that Ring Of Honor pays tribute to him by sending out their two top goofballs for some comedy fun time. I believe this is Delirious’ first in-ring appearance since taking the booker job last summer.
Colt comes out in Larry Sweeney purple and uses Larry’s ‘ain’t no doubt about it’ cackle intro to his theme music, and both guys have pink and purple ribbons tied round their wrist. Delirious sits motionless as Cabana reveals himself to be wearing about five ‘Sweet & Sour’ shirts which he throws into the crowd. Cabana gets heat by not letting Delirious throw one too. As you’d expect, there’s no actual wrestling and the two wrestlers engage in a ‘strut off’. Todd Sinclair gets involved too, getting one of his first ever babyfaces pops in ROH. THREE WAY STRUT! Todd’s ‘act like I’m not enjoying this’ facial expressions are priceless. Delirious pulls out a hidden Sweeney shirt and tries to throw it into the crowd even as Colt starts wrestling him. Sinclair smacks Cabana’s ass for not playing nice and Delirious finally gets to throw a shirt. He then goes mental trying to clothesline Colt and doesn’t get near him. 12 Large Elbow wins it for Cabana at 08:02
Rating – N/A – These two are extremely intuitive comedic performers inside a wrestling ring and always produce fun matches against each other. In truth, the circumstances that they came together under tonight make it impossible to rate this as a match…but it was entertaining, made me laugh out loud multiple times and was a classy way for Ring Of Honor to say goodbye to one of the most memorable characters this first decade of ROH action has seen.
‘Sweet & Sour Larry Sweeney…we love you’ – Delirious. Perfectly sums it up
Kenny King is in the back nursing his wounds after his physical match up earlier. Davey Richards comes in and pays him a few compliments…then offers another match any time he wants one.
Christopher Daniels vs El Generico
It was in Atlanta that it seemed like Christopher Daniels was coming out to help El Generico, only to turn on him and join Generico’s enemies in the House Of Truth. And as a result it’s only natural that the luchador would want some revenge on the reigning TV Champion…
No introductions for Generico, he sprints to the ring like a budget superhero and takes the fight to Daniels whilst still wearing his cape. The TV Champion gets sent to the floor with a hiptoss over the ropes…only for Martini to distract Generico as he gears up for the tope atomico. He drags Daniels around the ring to smash him into all four turnbuckles instead and the veteran is walking on wobbly legs as a result. Out of desperation he rakes the mask…then drops him with a neckbreaker in the ropes. Inside the ring he quickly gets 2 count with another neckbreaker as Kevin Kelly rightly recalls the 9th Anniversary Show when he did a demolition job on Eddie Edwards’ neck in defence of his TV Title. Crossface applied, with the added subtlety of pulling Generico’s mask over his eyes making it harder to see. Generico escapes that only to be dropped back to the canvas with a back suplex. On the floor Truth and Daniels pull the referee in all directions, taking multiple cheap shots at Generico behind the his back and pissing the crowd off more and more with every passing second. At last the masked man trips Daniels to the floor…then hits a crazy SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT UP THE AISLE! Rope run tornado DDT brings the fight back inside the squared circle and scores the luchador a nearfall. Daniels goes back to the neck to block the Brainbuster, hitting a DVD then locking in the Koji Clutch. Angel’s Wings blocked and both men take turns delivering wild kicks to the face. Naturally that leads to the Yakuza Kick from Generico and both men go down. Brainbuster evaded again…INTO ANGEL’S WINGS! Surprisingly El Generico kicks out of that. BME misses…and Generico scores with the turnbuckle exploder. Truth Martini interferes and EATS Yakuza Kick. Michael Elgin crotches Generico on the turnbuckles but in turn is decked by Steve Corino who isn’t a fan of Chris Daniels at the moment. BRAINBUSTER! Generico gets the popular victory at 15:05
Rating – *** – I’m sure these two are capable of better, and I’m getting fed up of multiple run-ins taking place in almost every House Of Truth match now…but since this was El Generico in Canada we were guaranteed a hot crowd and Chris Daniels is more than experienced enough to know how to get the best out of that. This certainly made me want to see a rematch before Daniels leaves for his full-time return to TNA.
Steve Corino helps Generico again as the HOT look for another cheap shot on him…but given their history from last year El Generico looks as pissed off with Corino as he does with Truth Martini. He walks away and leaves Martini, Daniels and Elgin to beat on the King Of Old School. Daniels looks completely unhinged on the way out…
Eddie Edwards refuses to talk about the situation with Davey Richards, and focuses on Chris Hero who has beaten him twice in tag matches over the last few months.
Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe – ROH Tag Title Match
The Briscoes barged into the WGTT locker room after the Center Stage shows to demand that the new champions put the belts up against them. Haas and Benjamin are happy to be fighting champions and ROH acted quickly to sign this 9th Anniversary Show rematch. Will Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team lose the belts in their first defence?
Mark, who left Dearborn yesterday bleeding heavily, reopens that wound and starts bleeding straight out of the opening lock-up with Shelton. Jay sensibly tags his brother out and engages in a feisty exchange of holds with Benjamin…who showcases his considerable mat wrestling skills by trapping Jay in a triangle choke out of absolutely nowhere. Mark, having spent time on the apron mopping the blood from his forehead, tags back and tries to work the mat with Haas. It’s a testament to how well the younger Briscoe does in that environment that Charlie loses his cool and goes for a straight forward punch to the face. German suplex on Jay, then the slingshot Samoan drop double team enables Benjamin to get a nearfall. WGTT get another nearfall with a snap suplex/Vader Bomb double team. The Briscoes have an edge to their character these days though, and as Jay lures Shelton in the ring to argue with the referee Mark sneaks in on the other side to hit Charlie in the balls. BACK SUPLEX ON THE GUARDRAIL! Jay leaves Charlie writhing in pain with that spot…and Mark, bleeding badly again, capitalises with a camel clutch. The Briscoes work over Haas’ back for the next few minutes before he delivers an Olympic Slam to Mark and gets the hot tag. Shelton hits the Dragon Whip on Mark then the Stinger Splash on Jay in quick succession…but Jay recovers quickly to deliver the turnbuckle flatliner for 2. Superkick on Jay…LEAPFROG HILO on Mark gets 2! Drunken Stupor Kick from the Briscoes to Haas, then a falcon arrow/Frog Elbow combo brings them another nearfall. Mark tries to use one of the belts…but Kenny King runs in to grab it. Titus is out distracting him too, and he doesn’t see Shelton coming with the flatliner. WGTT retain at 16:33
Rating – *** – I was generous with my rating in Chicago as I gave WGTT/Briscoes 1 a 4* rating even though the match disappointed a lot of people. Here, whilst some of the work they did was actually better, using an interference finish and a very low key aura to the whole match means I’m not going to be so generous a second time. I like heel Briscoes, but the crowd were so desperate to cheer them anyway Jay and Mark were having to work damn hard to get any heat, particularly when Haas and Benjamin seemed to be very much in ‘house show mode’ on the other side of the ring.
Steve Corino gets more promo time, calling Daniels a sell out and criticising Generico for leaving him to be assaulted after he saved him. Whoever included this on the DVD, or whoever made the call to put this promo at this point on the DVD needs to be shot as Bobby Cruise is loudly heard announcing Eddie Edwards as the winner of the main event, thus eradicating any need to watch a match where the result was already in very little doubt…
Eddie Edwards vs Chris Hero – ROH World Title Match
Hero made his ROH debut in a Ring Of Honor Championship match, and always brings the goods when challenging for the belt. In Atlanta the Kings, after losing the Tag Titles, furiously ordered their manager Shane Hagadorn to get them title shots and fast. He delivered, getting Hero signed to a title match – and one he probably deserves having pinned Eddie Edwards at both Tag Title Classic 2 and Revolution: USA last night.
Hero comes to the ring using his old Sweet’n’Sour Inc. intro (with Sweeney vocal inserts) and is dressed in pink trunks as he too pays tribute to his fallen friend. Sara and Shane are also wearing pink which is nice. The opening exchanges are tentative and slow, with neither man wanting to make a costly early mistake. After nearly five minutes of evenly paced, uneventful chain wrestling Hero takes a cheap shot at Edwards in the corner…and that lights the touch paper. They absolutely HAMMER each other with chops, Eddie getting the upper hand and dropping Hero to the mat with his chest turning purple already. The champion goes for the Achilles Lock early and Chris immediately bails – running all the way up the ramp in his desire to get away from that hold. Finally he returns and they start trading chops again. Hero goes to the eyes to halt the onslaught, then Hagadorn gets involved too by dragging Eddie off the ropes. Chris capitalises in an instant by booting Eddie into the guardrails. Sara and Shane try to interfere again but get caught this time…and Todd Sinclair ejects them from ringside. Hero is furious and turns his back on Edwards, allowing the champion to KICK HIM INTO THE CROWD! Hero makes a grab at the champ, only to be suplexed back over the barricade and onto the hard floor! The challenger realises he’s getting beaten up and needs to change strategy – and does so in a hurry by coming off the top rope into a vicious stomp to the arm. Hammerlock backbreaker immediately follows to reinforce the damage to the arm and put the title in serious jeopardy.
Kimura applied as we approach 15 minutes, which forces Edwards into the corner clutching at the ropes to prevent Hero attacking him more. Rolling Elbow TO THE ARM! Eddie is fighting with one arm, and the injury is exposed again as Hero delivers another elbow smash to the arm to prevent him trying to mount a comeback. Fujiwara armbar WITH added wristlock applied, causing Eddie to absolutely scream in pain. Crossface Chickenwing next…only for Edwards to escape and hit a belly to belly into the turnbuckles. But such is the damage done to his arm Eddie takes longer getting to his feet than Hero does. He still scores with a missile dropkick…and since he’s too injured to hit the elbow suicida he goes for an ASAI MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR INSTEAD! Using his good arm he reels off a volley of Machine Gun Chops…then hits the Climbing Wizard. He climbs the turnbuckles again. ROPE RUN ELBOW SMASH BY HERO…EDDIE FALLS THROUGH THE TIMEKEEPING TABLE! Eddie is out of it, and after struggling to get back into the ring he walks straight into the Rolling Flash Kick. JUMPING PILEDRIVER! But still it’s just 2! Stretch Plum locked in, with Hero making sure he pulls back on the injured arm at the same time. Edwards crawls to the ropes, and hangs there as Hero continually runs at him to boot him in the face. 2K1 BOMB ON THE APRON! But that hurts his own arm so much the champion lies flat out on the floor alongside the challenger.
They stumble around, both completely disorientated, before finally rolling back in at 19 seconds. Weary and injured, they stumble towards each other to start stiffing each other again. ROARING ELBOW! EDDIE DOESN’T GO DOWN! SUPERKICK IN RETURN! ROARING ELBOW AGAIN! SUPERKICK AGAIN! Hero tries another elbow but his head is so f*cked up he FALLS TO HIS KNEES! That was awesome selling and Eddie capitalises with another superkick for 2. Hero throws an elbow which Eddie blocks…using his bad arm! He screams in pain and EATS elbow second time around. ROLLING BACK DROP DRIVERS! NECK DROP REGAL-PLEX! Hero wants to win by TKO! Eddie gets up at 9 and walks straight into another Roaring Elbow…but still it’s only 2! Eddie climbs up the ropes after Hero for the SPRINGBOARD SUPER RANA! ACHILLES LOCK! But he can’t maintain the hold thanks to his bad arm. As Del Rey and Hagadorn try to return to the ring Sinclair doesn’t see Claudio come through the crowd to hit the Riccola Bomb on Eddie…and STILL he kicks out! ROARING ELBOW COUNTERED TO THE ACHILLES LOCK! Davey Richards comes out and drags Claudio to the back…DOUBLE ELBOW SMASH COMBO GETS 2! Davey’s interjection caused Eddie to release the hold there, which will further the tension between them I’m sure. Rolling Elbow blocked with a superkick…2K1 BOMB GETS 2! NECK DROP PUMPHANDLE SUPLEX! ACHILLES LOCK WITH REPEATED FACE STOMPS! Hero is knocked out at 37:19
Rating – ****1/2 – Even with an opening ten minutes in which almost nothing happened, and even with far too much outside interference for a World Title Match, this was still an absolutely gripping, legitimate MOTYC main event. You could tell they were going long straight away, so it’s a real credit to both men (particularly Eddie thanks to the remarkable sell job he did on the arm for most of the match) that they managed to create such drama and suspense. What I particularly liked was that Hero, although the aggressor for much of the match be it through attacking the arm or straight up trying to knock Eddie out after the table spot, made a point of selling all of Eddie’s moves like total death. That spot where he halted swinging an elbow in mid-flow and fell to his knees was an incredibly dramatic moment. It made the point that Eddie Edwards isn’t just this guy that takes lots of abuse, gets injured and still wins. It put Eddie over as a bad ass who f*cks opponents up regardless of whether he carries an injury or not. I imagine this will be comfortably in my Top 10 Matches of 2011 come year end.
Tape Rating – **** – This was another GREAT Ring Of Honor show. Of course the main event deserves a lot of credit, but from top to bottom, there was barely a bad match to be found and there were so many different things to enjoy. From great comedy, spotfests, Davey and Kenny in a technical showcase, strong tag team wrestling, a heated in-ring segment with the Bravados, competitive opening match, classic sports-entertainment stuff from Bennett etc, this card really had it all and catered for a wide audience. Highly recommended if it’s still available at the ROH store.
Top 3 Matches
3) Michael Elgin vs Grizzly Redwood vs Adam Cole vs Rhett Titus vs Tommaso Ciampa vs Andy Ridge (****)
2) Davey Richards vs Kenny King (****)
1) Eddie Edwards vs Chris Hero (****1/2)
Top 5 Revolution Weekend Matches
5) Michael Elgin vs Grizzly Redwood vs Adam Cole vs Rhett Titus vs Tommaso Ciampa vs Andy Ridge (**** – Revolution: Canada)
4) Davey Richards vs Kenny King (**** – Revolution: Canada)
3) Roderick Strong vs El Generico (**** – Revolution: USA)
2) Kings Of Wrestling vs American Wolves (****1/2 – Revolution: USA)
1) Eddie Edwards vs Chris Hero (****1/2 – Revolution: Canada)