ROH 292 – Glory By Honor 10 – 19th November 2011
How scary is it that Ring Of Honor is now at the stage when it’s holding a ‘tenth annual’ instalment of any of their centrepiece yearly shows? Low Ki and Samoa Joe stiffing the sh*t out of each other, Daniels nearly dethroning Joe as World Champion, Mick Foley in ROH, Danielson winning the World Title, Danielson/KENTA in an all-time classic, Misawa in ROH, Sasaki in ROH, Danielson and Nigel leaving, Tyler Black losing the title and leaving…all great memories and all happened down the years at Glory By Honor. Although nothing looks earth-shatteringly terrific, the card this evening does look incredibly solid. Anything from Edwards/O’Reilly, Briscoes/Bucks, Lethal/Strong, WGTT/ANX or the main event of Richards/Generico could be a real showstealer this evening. For the first time in it’s ten year history, Glory By Honor comes to Chicago Ridge, IL. Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak to call it
SIDENOTE – Watch the pre-show match on the bonus features. Andy Ridge and Mike Sydal are given the unenviable task of trying to work a match whilst Kevin Steen sits front row chanting, yelling, arguing with Jim Cornette and generally entertaining the hell out of everyone.
Mike Bennett vs Michael Elgin vs Adam Cole vs Grizzly Redwood
Four corner action to get us underway, and all eyes will be on Michael Elgin as he comes in fresh off winning the Survival Of The Fittest tournament in Dayton last night. Bennett and Cole were eliminated in the qualifying rounds of the tournament so would love the chance to pin the eventual winner and regain some lost momentum stemming from that early exit. Cole and Redwood would also like to avenge a couple of defeats to The Prodigy earlier this year, whilst Mike has been in a real losing streak of late and needs to start winning matches quickly if he is to win a Ring Of Honor championship before 2011 is out.
A guy in the front row has made a fake book ‘The Book Of Lies’ and is using it to taunt Martini which is pretty innovative. Bennett starts with Cole, both guys making fun of each other at various times and neither able to go on the offence for a sustained period of time. Adam tags Elgin, prompting Prodigy to run away and mean-spiritedly tag Redwood in…although amusingly Elgin tosses Grizz right back at him. Apparently it will be Cole/Elgin though, as Bennett still won’t get in their with the SOTF winner. Only once Cole has taken the big man off his feet is Mike willing to tag back in…and even then he only does it to work with Grizzly. He flattens the lumberjack with a TKO only to be shocked and hit with a sliding bulldog. Cole tries a tope suicida but is caught by Elgin…HEAT SEEKING MISSILE BY REDWOOD! That wipes both of them out! Back in the ring Adam scoops Redwood into an ocean cyclone suplex. Unbreakable then picks Grizz up and THROWS him at Cole! OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE ON TOP OF BENNETT! BUCKLE BOMB ON TOP OF COLE! He keeps using Grizz as a weapon! Box Office Smash blocked, but the spinebuster isn’t – meaning Bennett is the first guy in the match to legit take Elgin off his feet. Redwood tries to cannonball Elgin…AND GETS CAUGHT IN AN AWESOMEBOMB TO THE FLOOR! Spiral Bomb countered to a superkick by Cole! LARIAT INSTEAD! SPIRAL BOMB! Elgin wins at 09:23
Rating – *** – Great performance from Elgin to continue where he left off last night in Dayton. I liked this a lot more than the SOTF 4-way qualification bout from last night to be honest. Whilst it was less spectacular, everything was so sloppy yesterday where as everything was hit with much greater precision here. They also built most of the match around Elgin throwing Grizzly around for awesome spots which I loved. Entertaining start to the show for sure…
Jimmy Jacobs vs Tommaso Ciampa
It’s a tough task facing Jimmy Jacobs this evening. He faces the undefeated Dominant Male, in a job made more difficult by the fact that his (and Corino’s) hated adversary Kevin Steen is sitting in the front row making a spectacle of himself.
Steen’s comedic remarks about The Embassy are entirely distracting but also completely hilarious. Jacobs is so distracted by him he gets clobbered by Ciampa whilst trying to flip him the bird. He actually leaves the ring to shout abuse at him…and is sucker punched with a kick from Princess Mia. ‘Where’s Tyler’ – Steen at Jimmy. That obviously gets his attention too as he walks into a big lariat. Tommaso just beats on Jacobs…until Jimmy mows him down with a cannonball senton. Tope suicida follows as he keeps the high risk offence coming. The inevitable soon happens as Steve Corino and Kevin Steen come to blows and wind up fighting in the crowd. Jacobs gets involved too and Mr Wrestling winds up being ejected from the building. No contest is ruled at 06:12
Rating – ** – I felt bad for Ciampa here. He’s a decent talent who has shown real growth as a character and a performer in recent months. But he was put in a horrible position this evening and is nowhere near confident or capable enough to look good in a situation with charismatic guys like Steen, Jacobs and Corino all around him. The Kevin Steen stuff was awesome but it did make Tommaso look a bit of a sideshow in truth. Why couldn’t he at least have won by count-out since Jacobs went off fighting in the crowd with Steen and Corino?
The world’s most confusing split-screen has The Embassy sulking and demanding a ‘real match’ for Tommaso, whilst Steen is still causing a scene in the parking lot. Harlem Bravado randomly comes out and is beaten with Project Ciampa in about ten seconds…
Kyle O’Reilly vs Eddie Edwards
On the surface this should be a good competitive match, but there is some ill-feeling between these two. Sure they’re both friends with Davey Richards and respect each other but they have a score to settle. Edwards sent Kyle through a table during the SOTF finals last night, and Kyle also isn’t happy that Eddie is keeping his trainer secret from Davey in an effort to get the edge on him going into their Final Battle World Title Match. And don’t forget the finish to the Wolves/Future Shock match at No Escape when Edwards didn’t break the Achilles Hold and left Kyle needing hospital treatment.
Kyle has medical tape all over his back and is heavily selling injuries sustained in battle the previous evening. Eddie has his ribs taped too it’s worth pointing out. I like that O’Reilly starts hot, clearly looking to make a point at the expense of the former World Champion. That leads to a terrific kick duel with neither man able to land anything and an eventual stalemate. To the mat next with some fiercely contested submission attempts and counter-wrestling. Edwards starts delivering sick unprotected headbutts out of a knucklelock but STILL they jostle for position. Kyle tries to take the advantage with an armbar but finds his hold countered to an STF. 5 minutes in and this has been all awesome. Eddie chops Kyle…so O’Reilly starts slapping him in the face! He kicks Kyle in the spine, only for O’Reilly to be all like ‘f*ck you I can kick harder’. He puts Edwards DOWN with a brutal running knee/running kick combo! Despite having a bloody chest from the chops, he absorbs a couple more and goes for the ROLLING BUTTERFLIES! EDDIE COUNTERS TO A JAWBREAKER! Kyle sells it like death and rolls to the floor in agony. The experience of Die Hard starts to show as he methodically stalks O’Reilly around the ring delivering a series of vicious chops then dragging him back into the ring to continue the assault. But he keeps going for cocky covers which aren’t enough to put the youngster away…and is punished as he comes out of the corner with a swinging DDT. Chop from Edwards, only for O’Reilly to run straight back at him into a cross armbreaker. That’s countered to the Achilles Lock, only for Kyle to counter again into a crossface! Eddie gets to the ropes by Kyle HOLDS ON for like four seconds! Edwards misses a double stomp and eats roundhouse kick to the side of the head. He has Eddie on the ropes, delivering kick after kick. Somehow Edwards finds a way to return fire with chops and slaps…STRIKE DUEL! SUPERKICK BY EDDIE! KYLE NO SELLS! SUPERKICK! HE SPITS IN HIS FACE! EDDIE F*CKING CHOPS HIM IN THE FACE! O’REILLY KICKS OUT! Double stop nailed, but then O’Reilly grabs him in the Guillotine Choke! COUNTERED TO THE DIE HARD! Kyle crawls to his knees…DIE HARD AGAIN! It’s over, but Edwards wants to send a message to Davey, so drags his protégé up for the Dragon Sleeper as well! O’Reilly taps in 15:21
Rating – **** – That was absolutely fantastic. Kyle O’Reilly is fast becoming one of my favourite guys on the ROH roster and it’s been a tremendous weekend for him, whilst Eddie Edwards is having far and away the best year of his entire career. I loved the story telling here, with the young pretender trying to step up to the plate and into the face of one of ROH’s ‘big dogs’…with the added twist of O’Reilly fighting for Davey’s honour and Eddie looking to send a message to his Final Battle opponent by roughing up his roommate. The sequence at the end with Eddie trying to beat O’Reilly up, only for Kyle to completely ignore his offence and spit in his face was just incredible. Kyle has lost two big matches this weekend but emerges looking like a star, such was the strength of his two outstanding performances. What a match to chuck out third on a show…
Edwards leaves, and Kyle O’Reilly gets the standing ovation he deserves for his efforts this weekend.
Young Bucks vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe
These two teams have met in ROH a few times, and more often than not it’s been the Briscoes coming out on top. Indeed, the last match the Jacksons had on the ‘regular’ roster before leaving for TNA was a losing effort in a Tag Title Match with Jay and Mark on HDNet last year. Now they’re back and looking to make waves in the ROH tag division. Jay and Mark could potentially be Tag Champions after Final Battle (when they face WGTT) so the Bucks will know a win here will go a long way to getting them to the front of the queue for a shot at the gold early in 2012.
The Bucks try to mock the Briscoes in not following the Code Of Honor…and get absolutely MURDERED for it. Mark sends Matt into the guardrails, swinging him directly off the apron whilst Jay beats Nick so hard their fight nearly goes all the way back to the locker room. The Jacksons try to leave…only for Mark to chase them with a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA UP THE AISLE! At last Matt and Nick get their sh*t together, hitting a gutbuster/neckbreaker combo on Mark before Matt flies through the ropes into a dropkick aimed at Jay. Sensibly they try to turn this into a traditional wrestling match, isolating Mark from his brother in order to work him over. Of course, that only lasts so long before he does dive across the ring for a hot tag to Jay…and once again it becomes a riotous brawl. Matt gets flatlined into Nick’s crotch in the melee…but he recovers to drag Mark out of the ring for a superkick. ELEVATED 450 SPLASH ON JAY! Nick sets up for a springboard splash but is caught in the urinage from Mark to counter – and Briscoe follows that up with the Iconoclasm for 2. Matt saves his brother from the Frog Elbow. More Bang For Your Buck countered…Doomsday Device COUNTERED! DVD/FROG ELBOW COMBO NAILED! Nick dives in to save the match at the last! Duelling superkicks from the Bucks, meets stereo lariats from the Briscoes! DOOMSDAY DEVICE ON MATT! Jay and Mark with a huge win at 12:17
Rating – *** – Entertaining, although I felt the weak heat segment on Mark really held back what were hugely effective opening and closing stretches. We know these two teams are capable of better, but for the spot on the card this did the job well. The Briscoes get a convincing, clean victory going into Final Battle 2011 (we need them to be credible challengers to the belts despite their recent high profile Ladder War 3 loss), but the Young Bucks get in plenty of offence and showcase their ‘no handshakes’ gimmick in the process.
Jay Lethal vs Roderick Strong
This is under Proving Ground rules, meaning if Strong wins or takes it to a 15-minute draw he earns a shot at the TV Title within 90 days. As Nigel McGuinness said on a recent episode of the TV show, there really isn’t a lot to gain for the champions in accepting a Proving Ground Match.
Apparently Roderick thinks it’s insulting that he has to even go through a Proving Ground bout to get a title shot, which is an interesting way to approach this. They start with plenty of chain wrestling, looking to feel each other out and avoid early mistakes given what’s on the line tonight. Roddy blocks the hiptoss dropkick sequence with a chop…but Jay is on his game and quickly rolls through a pinfall attempt to nail the low dropkick second time around. He tries a springboard dropkick only for Strong to counter with his own take on the same kick, following it up with a backbreaker for 2. We’re a third of the way through the time limit now, and things are looking good for Roddy as he is on top and cruising towards a guaranteed TV Title opportunity. Surprisingly, Lethal opts to take the match to the outside in order to fight back, using the guardrails to do some damage…but then getting distracted by Truth Martini. Roderick is quick to capitalise, delivering plenty of guardrail shots and chops all around ringside – then the apron backbreaker for 2. Back in the ring he attacks the midsection again, applying a bearhug and an abdominal stretch in quick succession. Chops from Lethal, again perhaps a surprising tactic considering Strong is a known connoisseur of that particular strike. It does the trick though, but the champion is carrying an injury and struggles to string moves together. It’s too early for the Macho Elbow…and nearly gets caught out when Strong uses the ropes for illicit additional leverage in a pin attempt. CHAOS THEORY SIDESLAM from Strong! Death By Roderick nailed seconds later – yet more damage done to the ribs as we go past the 13-minute mark. Stronghold applied too close to the ropes! Lethal looks to be hanging on at this point, then somehow finds some energy to try a couple of pin combinations. Since there’s less than a minute remaining Strong tries to run away…only to be caught in a Figure 4 Leglock! Strong holds on till the 15:00 mark, meaning he earns a title shot. It’s ANOTHER time limit draw for Lethal (his third since returning to ROH) and again it brings Jim Cornette out. Jim confirms his TV Title shot, then reverse psychologies Roddy into accepting 5 more minutes to see if we can confirm a winner. Strong mows down Lethal with the Sick Kick seconds after the restart! Gibson Driver countered to Lethal Injection #1…for 2! Death By Roderick nailed for the third time in the match, but Jay no sells for Lethal Injection #3! He wins at 17:04
Rating – *** – This was ok, but I had high hopes and it didn’t really meet them. For one thing I’m not really sure what it accomplished. Somehow ROH engineered a situation where Roderick gets a TV Title shot, Lethal gets a victory and STILL both of them leave Chicago looking weaker than when they arrived. The Proving Ground thing is an interesting contendership concept. I liked the Pick 6 because it meant random midcard matches on live shows gained more significance, and the same applies to the Proving Ground. But since there’s nothing to gain for champions, unless they put in a good performance and win comfortably, they look like schmucks. And since this match was 80% Strong kicking Lethal’s ass, even if Jay won, he comes out worse. Hopefully this one worked out the kinks and they do better in the eventual Lethal/Strong TV Title Match
Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin vs All Night Express – ROH Tag Title Match
Earlier in the year these two teams met on HDNet, and it was a match WGTT won comfortably. It’s a sign of how far ANX have come since then, as they come into this match as top contenders for the tag belts and earned this title shot after winning Ladder War 3 in New York. They’re still underdogs, and there are rumours going round that Rhett’s knee is in really bad shape and needs surgery, but having proven they can win the big one, they’ll know anything can happen tonight.
Haas goes right after Rhett’s knee – as I said, I think the problems with Titus’ knee had begun flaring up by this point, so that strategy takes on increased significance. He also shows his power advantage by mowing Rhett down with a shoulder block then slapping him in the face! Titus retaliates with a few armdrags and a b*tch slap of his own…but is dispatched back to the canvas as WGTT join forces to hit a double shoulder tackle. Shelton tags only to be dropped to his knees with a single shot to those damaged ribs he’s been nursing since Gateway To Honor. King tries to take advantage of that and it’s to Benjamin’s credit that he manages to fight back and even force Kenny out of the ring with the force of his strikes. Kenny and Shelton work an engaging cat and mouse game on the mat, with King able to use momentum to drag the superior amateur wrestler to the outside – just as he had been moments earlier. King tries his Japanese armdrag spot only for Benjamin to counter it with one of his own. Instead Kenny hangs the arm over the ropes then springboards straight into the ribcage which drives Shelton all the way into the corner. 10 minutes in and ANX have isolated Benjamin and are aggressively working that injured midsection.
Even hitting a basic hiptoss seems to do more damage to Benjamin than it does to his opposition at this stage. He tries an ill-advised Stinger Splash which hurts him, but this time he courageously battles back to his feet and nails King with a backbreaker which finally allows him to get the tag to Haas. Rolling Germans on Titus…into the Olympic Slam. Haas Of Pain applied, going back to the knee he targeted right at the start of the match! No submission there and it only needs a simple knee to the stomach from Rhett to Shelton and ANX are in charge again. Kenny tags, and he goes after the ribs with a Power Drive Elbow (the Austin Aries move) and a standing moonsault for 2! Capo Kick into a spinebuster…but again just 2. WGTT come back with an atomic drop/superkick combo even with Benjamin really struggling to move by this stage. Shotgun Knees countered by Charlie only for Kenny to block the superplex. SHELTON’S ROPE RUN SUPERPLEX COUNTERED TO THE DOOMSDAY BLOCKBUSTER…HE KICKS OUT! King takes Haas out with a corkscrew pescado…as Titus goes for a frog splash and dives into Shelton’s knees! Flatliner gets Benjamin a 2-count, with Kevin Kelly speculating that was all he had left to give. King tries superkicking Haas only to be caught in the Leap Of Faith. Double powerbomb wins it for WGTT at 22:03
Rating – *** – Good match, but at over 20 minutes it felt far too long. Had they shaved five minutes of this they had the makings of something special, but the first ten minutes dragged so much I never fully recovered from them and engaged with the match. That Doomsday Blockbuster spot at the end was a clear highlight but even that never really made fans jump out of their seats and BELIEVE Titus and King had a chance of winning here. The slow pace, and the fact that WGTT/Briscoes had already been booked for Final Battle created a real lack of drama.
Backstage Charlie Haas goes all Goldberg as he informs the Briscoes: ‘you’re next’…
Davey Richards vs El Generico – ROH World Title Match
Despite winning the World Title in June, this is only Davey’s second defence of the belt (in an ROH ring) and ironically, both of them have taken place in Chicago. He beat nemesis Roderick Strong at the first SBG TV tapings and, coincidentally, it is Generico’s victory in a feud over Roderick that earned him this championship opportunity. Not many people are giving the luchador much hope of winning this one, but he can tell you from first hand experience that a champion can unexpectedly lose his belt in an early title defence – having lost the TV Title to Jay Lethal the very first time he defended it.
Generico clinging onto Davey’s hand during the Code Of Honor, and making ‘title belt’ gestures around his waist before the start of the match is a nice touch, immediately setting this apart from another jovial midcard match. Richards takes him down with some grapple holds, then somewhat condescendingly offers to help him up. Generico begrudgingly accepts the offer, but makes sure to offer an equally condescending handshake when he whips Davey over in an armdrag. The challenger leaves the ring…and Davey mocks him by faking out a handspring dive then back flipping back into the ring a’la El Generico. The luchador hits a few more armdrags then breaks out his Arabian press fake-out dive back into the ring and we’re at a stalemate as we pass 5 minutes. Richards kicks Generico straight in the face causing him to crumple in the corner, so it’s to the masked man’s credit that he recovers quickly to hit a flying crossbody. But that kick in the face has messed with his equilibrium, and it allows Richards to deliver several repeated shots to the head, then a running punt off the apron.
Tope suicida flattens him against the guardrails next, and the World Champion appears to be taking control for the first time. At this point everything Richards does bridged by fierce kicks to the head and chest, repeatedly going back to the same offence which gave him this advantage to begin with. But he starts getting slack, doing the Bryan Danielson Mexican surfboard stomp then smiling to the crowd and goofily doing an American Dragon pose. It’s the window Generico needs to force him out of the ring and hit the SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! Half Nelson Suplex blocked…so he drops Davey on his head with a Michinoku Driver instead! Yakuza Kick misses though, allowing Richards to jerk him out of the corner right back into another stiff kick to the throat. Machine Gun Kicks come next, into a high angle superplex for 2. He switches tack and starts brutally elbowing Generico in the face…but still he fights back! ALARM CLOCK! NO SOLD! YAKUZA KICK! BRAINBUSTAH…COUNTERED BY DAVEY INTO A BRAINBUSTER FOR 2! Tornado DDT attempted only for Richards to counter again, this time into the Anklelock! Generico gets to the ropes much to the annoyance of the champ, so Davey shines up his kickpads before unleashing ANOTHER savage volley of kicks.
RUNNING PUNT NAILED! Generico sells it like he’s been shot but still crawls to his knees AND SLAPS HIM IN THE FACE! Handspring Enzi blocked with a basement dropkick…and Generico gets 2 with the Half Nelson Suplex! Davey repeatedly boots him in the face but Generico defiantly refuses to fall off the apron. BRAINBUSTER OVER THE ROPES ONTO THE F*CKING APRON! That brings awesome drama with Generico desperately trying to get Richards back into the ring before the 20-count expires as Todd Sinclair explains to him that he can’t win the title by count-out. It buys the American Wolf time to recover and he capitalises with a dragon screw in the ropes. He chases Generico up the ropes for a DRAGON SUPERPLEX! But still the plucky challenger refuses to give it up. BUZZSAW KICK FOR 2! ANKLELOCK! Generico escapes…TURNBUCKLE EXPLODER! LIMPING YAKUZA KICK! HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER…NO SOLD! Generico goes for a sleeper hold, using his height advantage to trap Richards on the canvas and prevent him from using his strength. Richards counters to the Anklelock but is woozy, giving Generico to counter into his own version! 30 minutes in now, with Davey dropping Generico with another brainbuster and seriously starting to wonder whether anything will put him away. He unleashes a violent flurry of kicks to the head, and at last it’s over at 30:01. Richards retains…
Rating – **** – I have a few criticisms, but I want to focus on what a great match this was. The journey it took us on was really enjoyable, with the two guys exchanging some cute familiarity exchanges, mocking each other’s spots and so on…until Davey thought ‘f*ck it’ and legit booted Generico square across the face. And that set a pattern for the rest of the match, with Davey kicking the sh*t out of the challenger but Generico continually finding ways to endure horrendous punishment and come back swinging. It possibly went too long and there was never really that *moment* where you felt like Generico had a real shot at winning the belt…but it was still an outstanding 30-minute main event that never once felt slow, boring or tough to sit through.
Kevin Steen invades the ring and ATTACKS THE WORLD CHAMPION! They have to be separated, then Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs show up for their own fight with Steen…then THEY have to be pulled apart. Steve even pulls a crazy dive off the apron up the aisle before Mr Wrestling is finally dragged out of the building again. He bickers with officials in the parking lot as Davey Richards does his usual ‘thanks and goodnight’ stuff in the ring…
Tape Rating – *** – Top to bottom this was a really solid show. There’s not a bad match on the card making for a tremendously consistent night of wrestling. There’s no MOTYC’s, and it doesn’t have anything as epic as the SOTF finals yesterday where the next generation of ROH talent really stepped up to the plate…but I can’t state enough what a fun show this was to sit through. Even if a couple of matches under-delivered to varying extents (Briscoes/Bucks, Strong/Lethal, WGTT/ANX), they were still good matches in their own rights…whilst Edwards/O’Reilly and Richards/Generico were highly watchable 4* level bouts. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I personally thought Eddie vs Kyle was as much of a star-making performance for O’Reilly as anything that’s happened to him in ROH thus far. I have it as MOTN even over Davey/Generico and I think it has to go down as one of the more under-rated matches of 2011. This whole show could probably fall into the category of under-rated actually.
Top 3 Matches
3) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Young Bucks (***)
2) Davey Richards vs El Generico (****)
1) Eddie Edwards vs Kyle O’Reilly (****)
Top 5 Survival Of The Fittest 2011/Glory By Honor 10 Weekend Matches
5) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Young Bucks (*** – Glory By Honor 10)
4) Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin vs Davey Richards/Jay Lethal (**** – Survival Of The Fittest 2011)
3) Davey Richards vs El Generico (**** – Glory By Honor 10)
2) Eddie Edwards vs Kyle O’Reilly (**** – Glory By Honor 10)
1) Elgin vs O’Reilly vs Edwards vs Strong vs Briscoe vs Briscoe (**** – Survival Of The Fittest 2011)