ROH 299 – 10th Anniversary: Young Wolves Rising – 4th March 2012
It’s very weird to sit here beginning a review of Ring Of Honor’s 10th Anniversary Show. It is a truly remarkable accomplishment for a little independent promotion to grow, thrive and become the professional wrestling phenomenon that it is today. ROH’s place in pro-wrestling history is assured, even if it closes it’s doors tomorrow. The proving ground for legitimate superstars of pro-wrestling like CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, Austin Aries and so many others – and with one of the most respected and prestigious World Championships in all of professional wrestling. It has been a privilege to share this journey with Ring Of Honor – having discovered the promotion in 2002, and having a regular gig reviewing ROH shows since the end of that same year. So much has changed in my own life in the past decade, and it seems crazy that, for all that has changed in this company, the desire to produce outstanding pro-wrestling in front of a core audience of loyal, ravenous die hard fans still remains. I don’t want too much of this review to be about criticising problems with the current product under Sinclair’s control, I want it to be a celebration of a decade of some of the very best pro-wrestling ever seen.
The card is strong, despite the fact that most storylines are geared towards the big Showdown In The Sun ppvs at the end of the month. It’s also an iPPV, offered to fans for the outrageously low sum of just $9.99. The headline bout, as the title of the show suggests, features the complete implosion of two tag teams. The remnants of Future Shock and the American Wolves turn on each other as Eddie Edwards and Adam Cole join forces to face Team Ambition, and that should be a classic. And even if the World Title isn’t on the line the other belts are as the Briscoes defend the tag straps against the Young Bucks whilst Jay Lethal puts his TV Title up against the still undefeated Tommaso Ciampa. Throw in a No DQ brawl between Kevin Steen and Jimmy Jacobs, WGTT vs ANX and lots more besides, it certainly looks to be a promising night. There are survivors from Era Of Honor Begins all over the place too, as SBG have paid to bring in Amazing Red and Homicide, alongside existing show 1 survivors like Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, Prince Nana and Steve Corino (I think Jay Lethal started working for ROH as part of Special K in 2002 as well). We’re in Manhattan, NY with Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.
SIDENOTE – This is an iPPV, and ROH have put extra effort in with a return to moving DVD menus, flash production, proper Sinclair TV graphics throughout and a ton of bonus features.
All Night Express vs Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin
This is the first time since Final Battle than Kenny King and Rhett Titus have teamed up. Rhett has been on the shelf rehabbing his knee injury, and it was actually him that demanded this match. He is out for the blood of the Young Bucks, but before they face them in the Dual Duel at Showdown In The Sun, he wanted to make sure ANX are back at the top of their game…and as such laid down the challenge to Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team.
Unsurprisingly, WGTT don’t get a warm reaction in New York this evening. Haas further riles them by distracting Rhett to allow Benjamin to get the jump on him as the match starts. King evens things up and tries to attack Shelton’s arm…so Benjamin distracts the official and kicks him square in the balls! Titus runs in and drops Haas with a running neckbreaker – although he still has a noticeable limp. I really hope he hasn’t rushed back too quickly from that injury. ANX bring the crowd to it’s feet with stereo somersault planchas, but just as it looks like they’re getting some momentum going Shelton sneaks up behind Titus and kicks out his bad knee. Charlie drags down his knee pad and goes to work on the bad wheel in earnest. The pace slows drastically with WGTT picking the knee apart. Haas wraps it around the ringpost…made worse as Benjamin FIGURE 4’S HIM AROUND THE POST! Rhett can’t even stand as we cross the ten minute mark. He somehow limps into a hot tag though, bringing the crowd to live as Kenny flies into action. Haas botches something, but it doesn’t stop King steamrolling through Benjamin with the Shotgun Knees. Charlie comes to the aid of his partner, with WGTT scoring 2 from an atomic drop/big boot combo. Cactus clothesline from Titus, as in the ring King and Shelton trade pins…KING WINS! ANX score a huge victory at 13:34
Rating – *** – Some of it was ugly and brutally slow, but it was good to see WGTT putting ANX over. And in defence of Haas and Benjamin, even with some noticeable slips this was still their best match since Survival Of The Fittest last year. I am concerned about Rhett though. He walked with a limp throughout, and clearly wasn’t top shape with a gut hanging over his trunks and the fact that he looked gassed and was blowing hard from five minutes in.
Bennett, Maria and Brutal Bob join Veda Scott backstage. Prodigy does his best Homicide impression and wants to know why so many legends are so fascinated with teaching him respect.
Nigel and Kevin discuss ROH memories against a back drop of New York fans loudly breaking out the Daniel Bryan ‘YES’ chant.
Mike Bennett vs Homicide
The last time we saw the Notorious 187 in an ROH ring was Death Before Dishonor 9. He wanted to be a part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations this evening, considering he was on the first ever show as part of the Natural Born Sinners tag team. He also wanted to face the disrespectful Boston native Mike Bennett and is looking to teach him some respect – much as Lance Storm wants to do to Bennett in Florida later this month.
Homicide is competing in a Natural Born Sinners boiler suit and storms the ring looking to beat the sh*t out of Bennett. He stalks Prodigy around the ring biting, clawing and completely mauling him. In the ring Bennett desperately tries to mount a comeback, only to be sent packing again with the exploder suplex. Tope con Hilo lined up…but Bob Evans jumps up and strikes Cide as he prepared to dive. Amusingly, Mike looks to make this a traditional wrestling match rather than a brawl. He slows the pace, taking his time to deliver an orthodox vertical suplex and a beautiful dropkick. Spinebuster nailed, a move he’s won matches with in the past…but rather than cover Prodigy gets to his feet and starts ragging on the hostile crowd again. He disrespects a NY Yankees shirt…and doesn’t see the signature Ace Crusher of Homicide coming! STF blocked so Homicide decides to climb the ropes. He thinks about a murderous avalanche Cop Killa but has to settle for a neckbreaker as Mike blocks that and slips away. Maria gets in Homicide’s face…GO 2 SLEEP ON BENNETT! Maria shakes Evans off to storm the ring and try to fight Cide, again distracting him and allowing Bennett to hook the boiler suit and score a super-cheap win at 10:46
Rating – *** – The Bennett haters won’t have enjoyed this, but I like the guy so I had fun. It was nice to see Homicide working like he was enjoying himself too. His 2010-2011 ROH run was the sh*ts (he’s subsequently admitted as much in interviews) but he was working hard here to put Bennett over and it worked. They had a clever match with Bennett doing lots to piss the crowd off to keep them engaged in what was a pretty basic Homicide brawling vs Bennett’s traditional wrestling approach.
Homicide sucker punches Bennett, lays out Brutal Bob then turns his attention to the helpless Maria Kanellis. She barely escapes, leaving Homicide in the ring to lead the crowd in an ‘ROH’ chant.
Bobby Cruise introduces the Chikara Grand Champion Eddie Kingston. He’s here to promote the Synergy double header of events between ROH and Chikara set for Chicago next month. He calls out Davey Richards…only to be disappointed when Kevin Steen answers. He wants to know why Eddie is being nice when Cornette was part of the booking team that quietly ditched him from the roster. ‘Just so you know, I think Chikara is a bullsh*t Mickey Mouse promotion’ – Steen. Kingston threatens to murder Mr Wrestling for that comment alone, and sure enough a brawl between the two breaks out. Steen tries to take a piss on the Grand Championship…causing a run in from The Colony and Jigsaw! FIRE ANT WITH A SOMERSAULT PLANCHA TO WIPE OUT EVERYONE! Hot segment…
Roderick Strong is a big fan of Amazing Red, and can’t wait to beat him up in his hometown…
Roderick Strong/Michael Elgin vs TJ Perkins/Amazing Red
The House Of Truth are preparing for Showdown In The Sun at the end of the month. Roderick has a World Title shot on Night 1 whilst Michael Elgin could also see himself score a title shot as part of Blind Destiny at the second show. They team up tonight to warm up against the well-travelled TJP and the returning Amazing Red – making his first Ring Of Honor appearance in years. Red, a former Tag Champion with AJ Styles, competed in the first official ROH match back in 2002, when he defeated Jay Briscoe.
Really nice ovation for Red. It helps that he’s in his hometown of course, but it’s a nice show of respect for someone who really busted his ass in ROH in its first two years of existence. He starts on the apron as TJP and Roderick work the mat with wonderful technical precision. Elgin in, and he smirks to himself as tags in and is totally unable to move him. Repeated kicks to the face eventually knock Elgin out of the ring, and Red follows up with a running headscissors on Strong for good measure. Perkins has a crack at taking Unbreakable down…but Elgin catches him in a big powerslam for 2. Rolling backbreakers from Elgin to TJP next, giving the House Of Truth a pronounced advantage. TJ looks for a tornado DDT but just doesn’t have the mass to get Elgin over…and is easily hoisted into a tilta-whirl backbreaker. If that wasn’t enough, next Roderick tags in to deliver another punishing backbreaker, and continue the focus on the spine with a camel clutch. Perkins rattles Strong’s skull with an enziguri and makes the hot tag to Amazing Red. He rolls off Elgin’s back into a round house kick on Strong! MATRIX STYLE ROLLING ROUNDHOUSE KICK ON STRONG! Pescado attempted…and when Elgin catches Red TJP finishes things off with a tope suicida. STEREO DIVES TO THE FLOOR BY RED AND PERKINS! They return to the ring to hit a string of missile dropkicks on Elgin, followed by the CODE RED! FOR 2! Perkins and Strong trade shots – until Roddy turns his lights out with a knee to the face. ALARM CLOCK GUTBUSTER ON RED! ELGIN WITH A LARIAT! RED KICKS OUT! Crowd are right behind Amazing Red now, and groan in disappointment as he jumps into an ALABAMA LUNGBLOWER from the HOT! Strong pins him at 11:08
Rating – *** – It wasn’t 4* good, but this was clearly MOTN thus far and definitely worthy of an extra half star if I gave them. The formula of speedy guys, full of agility and amazing athleticism against the two hard-hitting, power guys has been done multiple times down the years in ROH…but when it’s done with quality like the kind shown by these four men it remains very entertaining. If I’m being critical I’ll say that a lot of what Red and TJP do looks very weak, and completely implausible when you see thick guys like Elgin bumping for some of their flimsy looking kicks and strikes. BUT, for a thrown together meaningless tag to deliver such excitement is something to be commended rather than overly critiqued. Red, who was never the same after his knee injuries in the middle of the last decade, looked very comfortable in ROH. He’s not as electrifyingly speedy as he used to be (he was up there with Masato Yoshino – before Dragon Gate was popular over here), but he makes up for it with great execution on some of his intricate high flying spots. He’s a solid high flyer, and a welcome return for this show. I’m guessing his price tag, travel costs and injury problems preclude him from a full time return, but I wouldn’t mind him showing up every now and then.
Jay Lethal vs Tommaso Ciampa – ROH TV Title Match
I’d argue this is one of the most eagerly anticipated bouts on the entire card. Lethal has been in stellar form since his return to ROH last June, and in his two matches with Davey Richards in 2012 has well and truly proved he belongs in the upper echelons of the ROH roster. And 2012 has seem Ciampa continue to improve and grow into his ‘Dominant Male’ persona. He remains undefeated in singles competition, and after beating Jay in a Proving Ground match at Underground, he comes into this one already boasting one victory over his opponent tonight in that streak. Will Lethal end the streak, or will Tommaso finally bring gold to The Embassy Ltd?
The pace starts slowly, which is interesting since the limit surely means Tommaso should want to get on with things quickly…but on the other hand wrestling a slower pace helps him negate Lethal’s athleticism. First blood goes to Lethal as he delivers a chop with such force that it knocks Ciampa off his feet. He is the one that slowly works on quickening things up by delivering a succession of armdrags and a dropkick – which causes Tommaso to retreat to the floor. He returns, but is beaten to the floor again with a springboard dropkick to the apron. The champion lines up a tope suicida…but connects with RD Evans rather than Ciampa! Tommaso jumps him, flinging him into the guardrails repeatedly as Prince Nana and Princess Mia distract the referee. Jay tries the Lethal Injection out of desperation and succeeds only in springing himself into the boots of the challenger. The match slows to a standstill as Jay continually struggles to his feet, whilst Ciampa takes his foot off the gas and does nothing more than keep him down with punches and kicks. Lethal tries to fight back, but is laid out in the corner with a running dropkick. REPEATED BARE KNEE SMASHES! LETHAL NO SELLS! SUPERKICK! Both men on the mat! Jay is up first, thinking about the Macho Elbow…and as we pass twelve minutes he nails it! Tommaso kicks out at 2. Through the ropes they go…CIAMPA HITS AN AIR RAID CRASH ON THE APRON! There’s a minute left in the time limit and both guys are still struggling on the outside. Jay hits the Lethal Combination…then gets sidetracked with Ernesto, Evans and Mia. Project Ciampa blocked…LETHAL BEATS THE SH*T OUT OF CIAMPA! 15:00 time limit expires…and that means Lethal retains the TV Title.
Rating – *** – Here’s the thing, I liked this match, but not for the reasons I expected. Ciampa has really grown on me in 2012, and I wanted to see him in the belt tonight. But, if I’m honest, I thought he froze on the big occasion. During his heat segments on Lethal he wrestled like a deer in the headlights, standing around and barely doing ANYTHING…which bored the sh*t out of the crowd. But anything that Lethal was involved in (the intriguing, psychological opening period or the outstanding final few minutes) was absolutely thrilling. I don’t think Lethal needs the TV title anymore, so I still believe ROH should have pulled the trigger on Ciampa and given him the belt. BUT, Tommaso didn’t do himself any favours here and it’s Jay that emerges with all the credit.
Tommaso is furious and levels Lethal with Project Ciampa before stealing his championship belt and walking out of the arena. In the back RD Evans orders The Embassy Ltd to leave the building quickly before ROH officials can confiscate their stolen prize.
Shots of Team Ambition and the Edwards/Cole team warming up are shown…
Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Young Bucks – ROH Tag Title Match
This is actually the second time the Jacksons have challenged the Briscoes for the Tag Titles, albeit the last time was on HDNet during Jay and Mark’s previous reign as champions. The Bucks earned this shot when they won a Gauntlet Match at Final Battle.
The Bucks get major heat by jumping the Briscoes during the introductions…but get the snot beaten out of them when they break the attack to do their signature muscle flex pose. MATT GETS THE BRISCOE BIEL TO THE FLOOR! And it’s not over as Mark suplexes him on the apron, whilst Jay is busy suplexing Nick on the entrance ramp. Even when the match returns to the ring the beating continues, and it’s still Matt taking the bulk of the abuse. Finally Nick steps in to deliver a couple of cheap shots to Jay, giving his brother some relief at last. He tries a tope but Mark is on hand to smack him in the face as he tucks his head through the ropes. Nick retaliates with a superkick, and Matt nearly snatches a win right there. Jay isn’t doing his team any favours by preoccupying the referee, leaving Nick able to hold Mark exposes to a HANDSPRING BACK RAKE from Matt! But Jay eventually does get the tag and he flatliners Nick down into Matt’s crotch. Splash Mountain Neckbreaker gets 2. Slingshot facebuster INTO THE MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR BY NICK! ELEVATED SPRINGBOARD 450 SPLASH FOR 2! Jay EATS a double superkick…and this time Mark has to dive in at the last to save the match. Nick boots the taste out of his mouth and the Bucks then line up their finish on Jay. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK BLOCKED! MARK SHOVES MATT INTO THE GUARDRAIL! DOOMSDAY DEVICE! Briscoes retain in 13:11
Rating – *** – As a spotfest this was ok, but I don’t think the Briscoes needed to win quite as emphatically as they did. Other than WGTT (and lets face it, the fans aren’t loving them right now) Jay and Mark don’t really have any other rivals in the tag division. They were on offence for the majority of this match, and the Bucks were booked to look like goofs. Having the Briscoes win in such a resounding manner really hurts the Bucks’ credibility. In hindsight they should probably have known from here that Sinclair weren’t going to use them correctly and they were better off looking for employment elsewhere. In isolation this was a fun little title match but looking at the bigger picture having the Briscoes smash the Jacksons in this manner really doesn’t do either team, or the tag division generally, any favours.
The Briscoes, 10 year veterans in ROH, make a point of hugging Cary Silkin on the way out…
Kevin Steen vs Jimmy Jacobs – No DQ Match
It’s weird that Jacobs has been back in ROH since halfway through last year but has barely wrestled in that time and basically only been utilised as an associate of Steve Corino – who himself isn’t an in-ring regular. That seems like a waste of Jimmy’s considerable talent, and tonight he has promised to throw the shackles off and become evil once again whilst looking for revenge on the demented Kevin Steen, who injured him and his friend Corino back at Final Battle.
Steve Corino begs Steen and Jacobs not to go through with the match and avoid the chaos that we saw at Final Battle. Unfortunately for him, Jimmy attacks Kevin from behind, and pulls off his jacket to reveal his BLOODY AGE OF THE FALL DEBUT COAT! That outfit is still covered in Jay Briscoe’s dried blood from way back in 2007! He stalks around the ring throwing chairs inside, although Steen is so over that Jacobs is actually getting heel heat. CORKSCREW PESCADO THROUGH A CHAIR! Steen responds with a CHAIR-ENFORCED CODEBREAKER! Amazingly, Jacobs absorbs that and moves fast to avoid a cannonball senton. FALLAWAY SLAM INTO THE GUARDRAILS! Crazily, Steen climbs onto the rail moments later, but takes too long playing to the crowd and takes a PRESS SLAM ON THE RAMP! Less than 5 minutes in and we’ve already seen some crazy bumps! Mr Wrestling responds by tearing the guardrails apart, knocking a female fan off her feet in the process (which the NY crowd respond to with a mean-spirited ‘YES’ chant). TORNADO DDT THROUGH THE GUARDRAIL by Jimmy! With Steen down, Jacobs pulls out a table and seems almost annoyed that Corino won’t help him set it up. The delay gives Kevin time to recover, and he makes the most of it before powerbombing Jimmy into the side of the ring REPEATEDLY! Finally Jacobs blocks one by grabbing the ropes…SPEAR OFF THE APRON AND THROUGH THE TABLE! He tries the Contra Code only for Steen to counter and throw him through two open chairs! Steen-ton Bomb…connects only with Jacobs’ knees! Jimmy pulls out his signature railroad spike…but misses and walks into the F-5! He has it won but he declines the chance to pin Jimmy. He sets up open chairs back to back, but takes so long than Jimmy is able to grab the spike out of desperation. HE STABS STEEN IN THE HEAD! EVIL JIMMY JACOBS RETURNS! Steen is bleeding, but the shock of using the spike again has effected Jacobs so much he hasn’t moved! STEEN IS SMILING! HE STABS JACOBS IN THE GROIN! F-5 THROUGH THE OPEN CHAIRS! It’s over, and Steen takes the win at 14:54
Rating – **** – I absolutely loved this, and preferred it to Steen/Corino at Final Battle. As a stunt show it was really good (as you’d expect from two guys with masses of experience working this kind of match), but I thought the booking here was really inventive too. I’m very happy to criticise ROH’s creative direction since Sinclair took over, but the booking team deserve credit for this. The finish, with Jimmy stabbing Steen, then becoming paralysed by uncertainty after his ‘evil’ side returned after over a year of suppression, was absolutely brilliant. In fact, Jimmy worked this whole match like a man with a point to prove. Since SBG took over he’s been nothing but a background character. As a man who once led the top heel faction in ROH, being a peripheral figure on the roster can’t have been easy, and here he relished the chance to shine in the limelight once more. Despite his lack of size, he is money if ROH can use him right…hopefully this marks a return to full time in-ring competition for him.
Eddie Edwards/Adam Cole vs Davey Richards/Kyle O’Reilly
Main event time now, as two tag teams fall apart before our eyes. In 2009 the American Wolves were the dominant tag team in ROH, but the World Championship has come between them and they now headline the 10th Anniversary Show on separate teams. Davey, the current World Champion, teams with his protégé and partner in Team Ambition: Kyle O’Reilly. Of course, Kyle is the guy that Eddie has called a stooge and holds responsible for the destruction of his friendship with Davey. And O’Reilly is also the former partner of Adam Cole in Future Shock. But he jettisoned that team in favour of the union with Richards, and Adam holds O’Reilly responsible for the separation of their team. Serious bragging rights at stake, as well as a chance for Eddie to damage Davey just weeks before he gets another World Title shot at Showdown In The Sun.
Eddie wants to start with Davey, but Cole is insistent that can hang with the World Champion. He proves his point by scoring the first knockdown – taking Richards off his feet with a dropkick. Cole holds his own and scores several nearfalls before forcing Davey to take cover as he lines up a superkick. Davey begrudgingly gives Cole his due before tagging out to let Edwards and O’Reilly go at it. No fear from Kyle, who storms the ring and aims a flurry of headbutts at the only Triple Crown Champion in ROH history. To the mat where Kyle locks in a Kimura only for Eddie to counter to the STF soon after. The point in these early exchanges is that the young up and comers are causing the current and former World Champion’s real problems. And then it’s time for the Future Shock team-mates to come face to face for the first time…O’Reilly snatching the initiative with back suplex for 2. Davey and Eddie are no different when the Wolves collide, and absolutely tear into each other with some cringingly stiff strikes at the ten minute mark. Edwards and Cole look to isolate Richards, only for Davey to fight off both of them and bring Kyle back in. He takes Edwards to the top rope for a HUGE BACK SUPERPLEX! Cross armbreaker COUNTERED to the Achilles Lock…COUNTERED TO THE CROSSFACE! Awesome submission sequence between Edwards and O’Reilly there.
Regalplex from O’Reilly gets 2! EDDIE KILLS HIM WITH A LARIAT! That was from nowhere and it leaves both men flat out on the canvas. Adam gets the tag…only for Davey to punt him in the face! Texas Cloverleaf applied, with O’Reilly tugging on Richards to provide additional leverage. Team Ambition start to dominate and have Cole isolated for the first time. Rolling Butterflies from Kyle, into the cross armbreaker as he really starts to target that limb. Richards accidentally kicks Kyle in the face, and Cole capitalises by hitting a neckbreaker on O’Reilly INTO AN INADVERTENT DDT ON RICHARDS! Tag to Edwards…who back drops him over the ropes into a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! ASAI MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR BY EDWARDS! In the ring it’s the Wolves going at it again. Eddie tries to recreate the Superkick German combo with Cole…but Davey turns it into an Anklelock on Adam, even with Edwards smacking him in the face! GUILLOTINE CHOKE from O’Reilly to Edwards! DUELLING ACHILLES LOCKS BY THE WOLVES! WHILST SLAPPING EACH OTHER IN THE F*CKING FACE! DUELLING GERMANS BY FUTURE SHOCK! Now it’s Adam and Kyle beating the snot out of each other! CACTUS CLOTHESLINE by Cole sends those two out of the ring as Eddie catches Richards in a fisherman buster! Nobody is moving as we edge closer to the half hour mark. O’Reilly and Cole start fighting each other…UNTIL EDDIE AND DAVEY GRAB THEM FOR SIMULTANEOUS SUPLEXES TO THE FLOOR!
Slowly all four edge their way back inside, with Richards and Edwards pinning the opposing partner in opposite corners to chop or kick them halfway to hell. CHOPS VS KICKS between Richards and Edwards, and it’s the World Champ coming out on top after a lariat. Future Shock are back…O’Reilly hits a snap German but it’s no sold. German suplex by Cole…also no sold! SLAPS BY O’REILLY! SUPERKICK BY COLE! FOR 2! Lungblower combo from Eddie and Adam, but it’s still only good enough for a 2-count. Kyle tries to chase Edwards up the ropes only to walk into an AVALANCHE DOI 555! BACK FIST! FACE CHOP/SUPERKICK COMBO! Davey has to dive in to save that time. Tag to Richards, who flies in with a double stomp AS O’REILLY HITS THE APRON MISSILE DROPKICK! Richards is kicking the sh*t out of Cole, and is visibly shocked when Adam gets to his feet and begs for more. ALARM CLOCK! ROUNDHOUSE KICK/BRAINBUSTER COMBO! ANKLELOCK! Eddie saves with the Achilles Lock on his former tag partner! ALARM CLOCK SUPERKICK! CHOP/GERMAN SUPLEX COMBO! Edwards drags Richards up the ropes…SPRINGBOARD SUPER RANA NAILED! POWERBOMB LUNGBLOWER! O’REILLY SAVES! Kyle flails away striking both opponents, until they decide to boot him out of the ring. COLE TORNADO DDT’S O’REILLY THROUGH THE TIMEKEEPING TABLE! ANKLELOCK ON EDWARDS! FLYING CODEBREAKER COUNTERED BACK TO THE ANKLELOCK! Tag to Cole, who hits his trademark flying crossbody – AND PINS DAVEY RICHARDS! COLE WINS! Adam pins the World Champ at 39:34…what a moment!
Rating – ****1/2 – Like I said at the top of my review, there is a lot going on that we can bash ROH for right now. But regardless of the current climate, that was a hell of a main event which would have stolen the show on any ROH event, even back in the supposed ‘glory days’. Terrific, tense and super exciting main event which swung back and forth so many times. Sure it was spotty, and the attempts to tell a story got less and less as the four guys just started dropping bombs and false finishes all over the place…but this was a legitimately thrilling match where the crowd had NO idea who was going to walk away victorious. The gasps of surprise, followed by excited cheers as the crowd saluted Cole for his breakout win were really memorable…but O’Reilly showed he truly belonged on this stage as well, whilst the Wolves proved that, even apart, they are easily the top guys in Ring Of Honor as we move into it’s 11th year. Check this match out…
There is a promo segment after this match, but a fault with the DVD printing means it cuts off. It’s the famous Kevin Steen ‘Jiu Jitsu Jackoff’ promo which I’d love to see, but SBG ROH being what it is, they didn’t deem it worthy of scrapping the run of DVD’s…and decided to ship these with the promo segment cutting out before Steen enters. Hugely frustrating…although I’m told with a little knowledge of VMC media player there is a workaround to get to view it. Personally I think ROH could at least put the promo up as Premium Content for Ringside Members…
Tape Rating – **** – This show wasn’t all positive. The decision not to put Ciampa over confuses me, the burial of the Young Bucks arguably confirms the demise of ROH’s tag division (once one of the promotion’s biggest selling points) and that DVD glitch at the end leaves a sour taste in my mouth. BUT, this was the first ‘major’ show of the year, and it delivered. There’s not a bad match on the card, and the two main events are absolutely fantastic. I’ve seen some really average ratings for this show, but personally I think it’s quite underrated. Every match gets time, but nothing except the main event goes too long – so the show absolutely whizzes by. 2012 won’t go down as a stellar year for Ring Of Honor, but this was a terrific night of in-ring action and a great way to celebrate a decade of the finest pro-wrestling ever produced.
Top 3 Matches
3) Roderick Strong/Michael Elgin vs TJ Perkins/Amazing Red (***)
2) Kevin Steen vs Jimmy Jacobs (****)
1) Eddie Edwards/Adam Cole vs Davey Richards/Kyle O’Reilly (****1/2)