ROH Death Before Dishonor IX 9/17/2011

ROH 289 – Death Before Dishonor 9 – 17th September 2011

Our ROH journey now brings us to the curious case of Death Before Dishonor 9. Ring Of Honor is running this show as an internet pay-per-view, despite it being over two months since they last ran any live events or broadcast anything to promote the show…meaning this is essentially a PPV with close to zero build (the only thing the company did in August were the SBG TV tapings). Indeed, this show is so strangely insignificant that new World Champion Davey Richards has accepted Japanese bookings rather than represent his home promotion this weekend. In essence, whilst this is a big show, it’s nothing more than a stop-gap until everyone’s attention turns to the weekly Sinclair show which begins it’s run across the SBG stations from next weekend. Delirious and Cornette’s answer to the conundrum of booking a major iPPV which has been treated like a B-show was basically to top-load the card with two huge main events – basically grovelling for the ROH faithful’s dollar. The feud between the Briscoes and the All Night Express is settled in a somewhat unnecessary Ladder War (only the third time we’ve ever seen that stipulation in ROH)…whilst two of the company’s most reliable performers in recent years in Eddie Edwards and Roderick Strong are put together in ROH’s answer to the ‘Three Stages Of Hell’ 2/3 Falls match. Outside of that the card is a little sparse – although it does have WGTT singles matches (probably wise after their shocking performances in Richmond and Charlotte last time out), Jimmy Jacobs has his first ROH match since 2009, Homicide coming revenge on The Embassy and the Young Bucks making their full-time return to the roster. This is also the first DVD release with the Sinclair re-branding of the ROH product now in full effect, which means the new logo is on the packaging, in the ring, on the guardrails etc. We’ve moved back to the Grand Ballroom rather than the Hammerstein (since the place would look embarrassingly empty given how little promotion has gone into this card), but it’s still Manhattan, NY. Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak to call

Tommaso Ciampa/Rhino vs Homicide/Jay Lethal
Last time we saw Homicide was at Best In The World, and it was an appearance that ended with him being smashed through a table by Rhino’s devastating Gore. Tonight he wants revenge on The Embassy, and is teaming with a man he has lots of history with – both in ROH and in the north east region generally – in Jay Jethal who himself is now a full-time member of the Ring Of Honor roster.

Nice to see Sinclair’s ROH aren’t going to try any harder to avoid throwing TV spoilers out on live shows before their air on television. Jay Lethal comes to the ring wearing the TV Title he won from Generico at the first tapings and that REALLY pisses me off. Ciampa starts with him, clearly with a point to prove! Lethal uses his speed to outwit him, hitting the hiptoss dropkick combo which drives him back to his corner and a tag to Rhino. Homicide immediately wants in and endures a few power moves from the Man-Beast before dropping him with a neckbreaker. Tommaso dropkicks Lethal off the apron into the shiny new guardrails to give The Embassy the advantage for the first time. Ciampa actually shows incredible athleticism to spring up off his ass into a dropkick to Jay’s legs moments later…and Rhino makes it worse with a huge belly to belly suplex. Gore countered with a superkick though, allowing Jay to make the hot tag to Cide. TOPE CON HILO ON RHINO! Ciampa delivers a flurry of running knees but sees Project Ciampa countered to the Ace Crusher for 2. Lethal takes Rhino outside with a rana…as Tommaso counters the Cop Killa to PROJECT CIAMPA! He wins at 10:14

Rating – ** – Entertaining enough for an opening match. There seemed to be a few communication problems and minor moments of sloppiness (it has to be said, most of them involving Homicide) but the crowd stuck with it and the end result is a big win for Tommaso which makes sense since he’s part of ROH moving forward whilst Homicide isn’t

The Embassy look to keep beating the snot out of Homicide before Lethal makes the save by swinging the TV Title belt at them.

SIDENOTE – First impressions of the Sinclair/ROH product are actually pretty good. The picture quality is superb, the arena with the new logo rails and ring dressing looks great, and even sound quality is improved as I can hear Prazak and Kelly perfectly. Hopefully I haven’t jinxed them by saying that! Even the quality of the DVD cover is much-improved and looks extremely professional. Can’t say I liked Homicide’s finisher being referred to as the ‘Gringo Killer’ though. It’s the Cop Killa. Hopefully Sinclair don’t turn ROH into one of those soul-less no swearing, corporate promotions. The whole point is to be different – we already have the WWE for PG wrestling.

Mike Bennett vs Shelton Benjamin
ROH are following a similar formula to Supercard Of Honor 6 with this show. That night Briscoes/ANX in a Street Fight was the clear draw in the tag division, so the current champs WGTT were booked in singles matches for the night. It’s the same again this evening, starting now as Shelton faces The Prodigy. I know lots of people were disappointed that Bennett was getting a rare Shelton Benjamin singles match in ROH…but I’m actually pretty intrigued by this as Benjamin is a big deal and one of Ring Of Honor’s most recognisable stars and Mike just said he’s going on an undefeated streak which will take him to the World Title. Who do they put over here?

Putting him with Bennett ensures Shelton gets a huge babyface reaction – way different to when WGTT got boo’d out of the building in Charlotte. He tries to get Mike down and grapple with him – dong so with such success that Bennett leaves the ring. Bob Evans involves himself, distracting Shelton for long enough to allow Prodigy to hit a dropkick through the ropes…followed by the apron backbreaker for 2! Hanging backbreaker out of the ropes next, which might even have won the match had Bennett not stopped to yell at the hostile New York crowd. Grounded abdominal stretch applied, as Bennett’s strategy of working on Shelton’s back starts to become apparent. Shelton escapes that to land a neckbreaker but stays down for several seconds afterwards recovering. He does start building some momentum though, and gets 2 with a Samoan drop. He pounces for the flatliner but it’s COUNTERED with a backbreaker! The Prodigy lands a laughably mediocre missile dropkick and is rightly heckled by the crowd for it! Side Effect blocked though, with Benjamin coming up to hit a HUGE German suplex! Brutal Bob puts the boot on the ropes to ensure his client isn’t counted down there and then. Evans inadvertently flings Shelton into the Dragon Whip on Bennett. Flatliner wins it for Shelton at 10:53

Rating – *** – Bennett in New York is always pretty entertaining because the crowd hates him so much. The wrestling here wasn’t particularly special (although I did like Bennett’s focus on the back), but it was the way they manipulated the crowd to draw huge responses that I really liked. I know lots of people don’t like Bennett but he’s so different to everyone else on the roster, and so talented at playing his gimmick I can see why Delirious and Cornette are sticking with him.

Bravado Brothers vs Future Shock vs Young Bucks
Even if it’s a slightly dorky team name, the TV tapings and this ppv are the first time the Cole/O’Reilly team have been officially referred to as ‘Future Shock’ so I’ll stick with it now. They come into this red-hot after the best match of the ROH careers vs the American Wolves at No Escape. The last time we were in New York the Young Bucks and Future Shock were involved in a crazily exciting dark match which was spoiled when the Bravados interrupted to attack both teams – pissed off that they’d been bumped from the card for that match. Cole, O’Reilly and the Jacksons will all want some revenge on them for that this evening. It’s also the official comeback for the Bucks following their TNA release, meaning their GenerationMe branding is gone. This will be fought under elimination rules with three men in the ring at a time.

The Bucks are the obvious stars here, as their entrance blows the roof off the building. The Bravados get things started by attacking Cole and O’Reilly in a continuation of that feud. Harlem’s new haircut is rather cruelly mocked with a loud ‘Justin Bieber’ chant. Nick Jackson hits a somersault plancha to the floor…BERMUDA TRIANGLE MOONSAULT by Harlem! MISSILE DROPKICK OFF THE APRON FROM O’REILLY! But every time we look set to see the Bucks and the Shock finally go at it the Bravados find a way to get involved and stop it! Lancelot is the unsuspecting victim of a triple team from Nick, Cole and Kyle before the Young Bucks set to work double teaming Harlem. Things sort of meander along with the Bravados continually finding ways to beat up their opponents and avoid the consequences…until Matt flips in with an Asai DDT. O’Reilly puts Nick on his shoulders on the floor DOOMSDAY TOPE SUICIDA NAILED! MATT SUPLEXES LANCE OFF THE APRON! TOTAL ELIMINATION ON HARLEM! Shock eliminate the Bravados at 06:47 so we finally do get the Best In The World rematch everyone has been waiting for. Matt Jackson hits ROLLING POWERBOMBS on Cole…DOUBLE TEAM SPIKE TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER! O’REILLY SAVES! Double dragon screw on both Bucks, then a cradle suplex on Matt. Nick tries to help his brother but springboards straight into the triangle choke WITH MMA Elbows! Cole puts Matt in a guillotine choke…but somehow Matt manages to throw Adam at the other two guys to break both submissions. FOURWAY SUPERKICK DUEL! The Jacksons are up first. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK! The Young Bucks score a huge comeback victory at 10:49

Rating – **** – F*ck it, I’ll be generous with my ratings. This was an unashamed spotfest so if you don’t like those then you won’t like this. But I did say at Best In The World that I’d have gone 4* on Bucks vs Cole/O’Reilly had they gone to a finish…and since this had a clean finish and the added bonus of some mildly amusing Bravado shenanigans in there too, I’ve really got no reason not to go higher. I could criticise Lance and Harlem for being well below the quality of the Bucks, Cole or Kyle…but what they lacked in wrestling skill they more than compensated for with character and ability to work the live crowd. Really fun match…

Kevin Kelly takes a classless cheapshot at Booker T and the Young Bucks notorious failed WWE try-out…but does make the point that it’s glad that they are back in ROH full-time. In the ring the Bucks laughably play-up the rumours about that try-out by refusing to shake hands, then walking up the aisle making ‘Rob Van Dam’ thumb gestures (RVD is another well-documented critic of theirs).

El Generico vs Jimmy Jacobs
I think this was originally scheduled to be Generico facing Steve Corino, but Steve didn’t feel that he’d reached a point in his recovery from ‘evil’ that he could face Generico yet – after all they went through in 2010. He took bookings in Japan to avoid facing him, so his sponsor Jimmy Jacobs has stepped in to work the Generic Luchador instead – in his first official ROH match since Violent Tendencies in 2009 (or the Fight Without Honor against Delirious on HDNet the following Monday, whichever you prefer)

The fans chant for Kevin Steen which both wrestlers sell really well with their reactions. It’s an extremely tentative opening which slightly deflates the crowd but makes total sense considering the storyline behind it. Generico seems to have the edge over his opponent, leading to speculation from the announce team as to how long it will take Jimmy to break a few rules. Generico plants him with a tilta-whirl backbreaker for 2, then hits a standing moonsault for another nearfall as his dominant start continues. Jacobs has taken a lot of abuse in the first five minutes…but at last manages to retaliate – first with a neckbreaker then with a tope suicida. Yakuza Kick blocked…but so is the Contra Code and Generico hits the Blue Thunder Driver instead. He then nearly breaks Jimmy’s neck with the Michinoku Driver! SNAP HALF NELSON SUPLEX! The luchador seems hell-bent on killing Jimmy, so it comes as a real surprise when Jacobs pops out of the corner to block the Yakuza Kick with End Time! That is broken so Jacobs gets 2 with a springboard cutter. Yakuza Kick nailed third time of asking…but the Brainbuster is blocked for Jimmy to hit a spear on the apron! Top rope Yakuza Kick! AVALANCHE TORNADO DDT BY JACOBS! Both men down after that…AND KEVIN STEEN IS HERE! ROH cuts his microphone but he can still be heard calling Corino a pussy and slating Davey Richards as well before security comes to escort him out. Jimmy Jacobs tries to attack Steen! POWERBOMB ON THE APRON! TOPE ATOMICO ONTO EVERYONE BY GENERICO! That suddenly means Steen is in the ring…with even Cary Silkin trying to reason with him! HE TRIES TO PACKAGE PILEDRIVER CARY! Jobbers rescue Cary…AS CORNETTE COMES OUT AND SWINGS A PUNCH AT HIM! This scene is absolutely crazy! Steen is carried out of the building even with Generico, Jacobs and Cornette all throwing punches at him. Jacobs is furious at Cornette for allowing him into the building, Generico is still staring through the crowd where Steen was taken out and the match clearly has to be called a no-contest at 15:53

Rating – N/A – As a match it was probably progressing towards low-end 3*, but the Kevin Steen appearance will take all the headlines and, as with Best In The World, popped the hell out of the New York fans. Steen is the hottest commodity on the independent scene right now and the way ROH have used thus far in 2011 has been nothing short of brilliant.

Michael Elgin vs Charlie Haas
This should be an intriguing battle between two of the strongest guys on the roster. Elgin has impressed everyone with his performances this year and would love to showcase his growth by defeating an established and experienced worker like Haas. Not to mention the fact that beating Charlie would put a House Of Truth team to the front of the line for a potential Tag Title shot.

Elgin’s power and size is demonstrated immediately as Haas tries to lift him into a signature suplex throw but can’t even get him from the canvas. Wisely Charlie changes tactics and takes Elgin to the canvas where his superior wrestling skills come into play. On commentary Kelly and Prazak point out they couldn’t commentate on the end of the Jacobs/Generico match because the ROH ban on ‘Kevin Steen’ (including censoring his name on the website, removal from the records etc) meant that they couldn’t. Martini distracts Haas which enables Elgin to dive off the apron with a tackle to the floor! He re-enters the ring using a top rope version of the same move and suddenly ‘Unbreakable’ is in total control. Running powerslam blocked, but so is Haas’ Olympic Slam. They collide in the middle of the ring going for clotheslines and both go down. Charlie is up first with rolling Germans for 2. Elgin returns fire with a wrist clutch powerbomb which gets his own nearfall…then he hurls Haas into the guardrails. Guardrail slam COUNTERED WITH A BACKDROP ON THE RAILS! ‘That’s got to be illegal’ – Truth to the referee! Despite that Elgin lands a superplex and once again both men are down struggling to recover. Elgin tries to go back to the top but is caught with a GERMAN SUPERPLEX! Haas follows that with…a clothesline? And wins at 12:42…

Rating – ** – What is it with Charlie Haas not knowing how to finish matches? Almost every one of his matches leaves me thinking ‘wait…is that it?’ when they finish. Some of this was really fun (Kelly described it as a ‘war of attrition’ which was very apt) but it was so f*cking slow. I was bored until about 8 minutes when they finally got out of first gear and by then they’d lost me. I’m not sure why both members of WGTT needed to win tonight either. I can see why one needed to win, but Elgin and Bennett are two of ROH’s brightest up and comers, was it necessarily to use both of them to put WGTT over in such comprehensive fashion?

Roderick Strong vs Eddie Edwards – Ringmaster’s Challenge Match
The name of the gimmick is exceptionally goofy, but ROH’s take on the ‘Three Stages Of Hell’ 2/3 Falls concept is actually pretty fun. The first fall can only be won by pinfall, and the second has to end in a submission. If necessary, the third fall will be a 15-Minute Iron Man Match meaning we could have any number of falls by the end of the match. We know the history here…it was in this very building that Eddie shocked the world by defeating Roderick for the ROH Title, and he would go on to defeat Strong again in their Supercard Of Honor 6 rematch. Even without the World Title in play, the competitive rivalry between these two is fierce and they get a chance to lock up again tonight.

A few fans seem to think it is ok to lean over the rail and throw garbage right in Truth Martini’s face. Why they felt the need to be such pricks, and how they weren’t thrown out is completely beyond me. That’s what I notice as much of the start is real slow with both men thinking moves ahead and looking to avoid costly early mistakes. Strong beats Eddie in the corner with a couple of chops, as commentary goes out and Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak are amusingly seen at the bottom of their screen giving their equipment the old school ‘give it a hit and see if that fixes it’ trick. Roddy has to ensure a few chops in return then lands the Black Superkick for 2. It’s the Floridian that continues to dominate and it’s him that drags Edwards out of the ring to deliver a succession of chops all around ringside. Then he beats Eddie down with such vicious elbow smashes that Todd Sinclair has to pull him off. Back in the ring the urinage backbreaker gets 2. Eddie tries to fight back, and this time actually stands up to another flurry of elbows before hitting a WILD German suplex at 10 minutes. He kicks Strong in the corner but Roddy counters the Backpack Stunner with a big back suplex. Flying Codebreaker nailed instead…only for Roderick to pick him up for the SUPLEX FLIP BACKBREAKER! Strong wins the first fall, having been in control for almost all of it, at 12:01! After the rest period Strong comes straight back out of his corner and continues stomping away on the ribs and back. LeBell Lock applied by Roddy, as this fall can only be won by submission. Eddie has enough about him to block the Stronghold and shows impressive resilience to scoop him up for the Doi 555. STF locked in, and in over 16 minutes that’s really the first time Eddie has made any genuine attempt to take the match to his opponent. Sadly for him Strong soon escapes and nails a devastating jumping knee on the floor.

BODY SLAM INTO AN OPEN CHAIR! THEN A BACK SUPLEX THROUGH IT! That’s yet more damage to the increasingly injured back, and he drags Eddie back into the ring to apply the Stronghold! Edwards saves the match after a desperate scramble to the ropes…then walks straight into Death By Roderick. Half Nelson Backbreaker…COUNTERED TO THE ACHILLES LOCK! That’s such a devastating hold that, even after basically beating Eddie up for almost the entire match, Strong has to tap out at 20:23 meaning it’s 1-1 on falls and we need the 15-Minute Iron Man decider! The rest period ends…ELBOW SUICIDA BY EDWARDS! Strong turns tail and starts running, even hiding behind photographers and ringside attendants to try and get some space! Die Hard clambers up the ropes but has his attention caught by Martini on the apron, leading to a couple of enzi kicks to the head from Strong. BACK SUPLEX BACKBREAKER ON THE TOP TURNBUCKLE! DEATH BY BACKBREAKER! FOR 2! Strong isn’t done and picks him up for a pumphandle backbreaker as well. He drags Eddie up the aisle…GIBSON DRIVER ON THE RAMP! Roderick wants a count-out, which unfortunately gives the f*cking asshole New York crowd plenty of time to do the whole ‘twinkies’ thing. Stop sh*tting on a match and ruining it you complete morons! Eddie dives in at 19 and a half, and grabs a hold of Strong’s leg to block an immediate Stronghold. We’re now 30 minutes deep, less than 6 minutes left in the Iron Man fall and we’re still dead level. Edwards levels Strong with a Back Drop Driver, hitting it with such ferocity Roddy is almost in the ropes before he can even pin him. They start slapping each other in the corner, with Edwards finally tiring of that and kicking Roddy so hard that he falls out of the ring.

To the top rope for a superplex from Edwards…with the clock showing less than 3 minutes remaining. Die Hard/2k1 Bomb countered, and they go into a frenetic series of nearfalls! Truth Martini lunges into the ring and HOLDS EDDIE DOWN! Strong goes 2-1 up at 34:21 – just over 90 seconds remaining in the time limit! Eddie chases Martini…who accidentally hits Strong with the Book Of Truth! DIE HARD ON STRONG! It’s 2-2 at 35:08! Both guys are exhausted, with Strong borderline vomiting on the apron. As the rest period expires there are less than 15 seconds to go and they both just lie there until the time limit expires at 36:01. Out comes Jim Cornette just as Bobby Cruise officially announces the draw. Even Strong wants the match to continue, and Cornette announces sudden death overtime – one fall to a finish with no time limits! They can barely stand, but somehow lumber across the ring to engage each other in a sickening chopfest. Eddie absorbs whatever Strong can throw at him, then starts superkicking him repeatedly! CHOP TO THE FACE gets Edwards a 2! KNEE STRIKE! SICK KICK…EDDIE KICKS OUT! GIBSON DRIVER FOR 2! Strong is furious and carries Eddie up the ropes…AVALANCHE DEATH BY RODERICK COUNTERED WITH A SUPER RANA! RODDY NO SELLS FOR A KNEE STRIKE! DEATH BY EDWARDS…NO SOLD! SICK KICK BY STRONG! BOTH MEN DOWN! They foolishly climb up the turnbuckles again with Edwards winning out to hit a double stomp on the apron! Double stomp back into the ring gets 2! DIE HARD AGAIN! EDDIE WINS! It’s finally over at 42:45!

Rating – ****1/2 – Coming into this match, I knew how highly lots of people had rated this. And 20 minutes in I was all set to call this one of the biggest disappointments of 2011. It was literally 20 minutes of Strong beating the sh*t out of Edwards constantly, no drama, no thrills and spills – just a non-stop asskicking. But as the Iron Man fall progressed this started making sense –  as after losing two World Title Matches to Eddie this year, the story of the match became Roderick Strong’s desperate struggle to finally BEAT Edwards. He kicked the sh*t out of him for 20 minutes, but Eddie has a reputation in ROH for enduring incredible suffering and still finding a way to win – showcased again when he somehow grabbed the Achilles Lock and snuck the second fall. There was a great moment during overtime when they were exchanging strikes then Strong just stopped and put his head in his hands – as if to say ‘what can I do to beat this guy?’. I could complain about some of the over-booked sequences, and the slightly bloated ‘no time limits’ overtime sequence (it should have been ‘5 more minutes’ at most – the crowd were spent and hardly popped for the finish)…but this was a total war and, despite my initial reservations, became one of the most dramatic matches of the year.

Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs All Night Express – Ladder Match
It’s only the third time ROH has done one of these. Both the previous instalments were MOTYC’s and are notorious for the violence and career-shortening mayhem they contained. And although some called the decision to end the Briscoes/ANX feud in Ladder War 3 a shameless and desperate attempt to sell an iPPV with no build, there’s no denying that these two hate each other and will use all the sickening luxuries the Ladder War environment provides to do damage to each other. This feud really kicked into higher gear at Manhattan Mayhem 4 in this building when ANX scored a shock win over the Briscoes, causing a melee and a wild brawl all around ringside. They had bloody encounters at Honor Takes Center Stage and Revolution: USA before unleashing hell in a well-received Street Fight at Supercard Of Honor 6. After the ‘handcuff your partner to the ring’ gimmick at No Escape didn’t work, officials felt they had no choice but to let these four guys settle it in the most dangerous match ROH has to offer. The Briscoes won the infamous first Ladder War at Man Up in 2007 – will they go 2-0 here?

The match starts with the Briscoes jumping ANX during their entrance. Rhett goes for a ladder to defend himself but gets dropkicked in the head. Briscoe Biel into the ladder blocked by King! Jay smashes Titus across the back with a chair…then turns around as King nails him with SHOTGUN KNEES against the rails! BACK DROP THROUGH A TABLE BY MARK! That’s both Jay and Kenny out of action for the time being, with Mark and Rhett slugging it out in the ring. Jay bridges a ladder between the ring and guardrail, then returns to the ring to join forces with his brother in taking turns at throwing a chair at Titus! He gives Rhett a flatliner into a chair in the corner for good measure, and at 5 minutes the experience of the Briscoes in this scenario is starting to tell. Titus is bleeding horribly…but somehow grabs Mark for a SUPLEX ONTO THE LADDER! SOMERSAULT PLANCHA SCORES! F*ck me Titus looks bad…in a bloody feud this is probably the worst he’s been cut! It doesn’t stop he and Kenny dropkicking a chair into Jay’s crotch though! LEG DROP/SPLASH COMBO ON A LADDER! All of a sudden Jay’s head is covered in blood as well, and it flies everywhere as he starts throwing King into the guardrails. Mark looks to be busted open too – and King capitalises with a guardrail moonsault down onto him! On the other side of the arena Jay has positioned a ladder between two open chairs, then hops onto the apron to SENTON TITUS THROUGH IT!

He then uses one of the chairs to deliver a resounding chair shot to the back of Kenny King. BRISCOE BIEL THROUGH A LADDER! Jesus, blood is actually shooting like a fountain out of Jay’s head now. It’s completely horrific, and the craziest part is the sick chants urging the Briscoes to ‘make Kenny bleed’. He has a chair dropkicked into his face…as Rhett emerges from his pool of blood to try and help his partner. Mark smacks him down again with a Cactus Elbow. The Briscoes continue their sick quest to make Kenny bleed with a Spike Jay Driller…BUT TITUS SAVES BY THROWING MARK OFF THE TOP ROPE THROUGH A TABLE! ANX grab Jay…SPRINGBOARD BLOCKBUSTER THROUGH A TABLE! The ring is starting to look like a warzone and all four men lie around covered in blood and beaten to hell. Rhett starts climbing a ladder, going for the title shot contract hanging over the ring. MARK MISSILE DROPKICKS THE LADDER TO SAVE! On the outside Jay has dragged out a colossal super ladder…then he sets it up in the aisle rather than in the ring? Mark climbs right to the top of it, as Jay sets Rhett up on a table below! FROG SPLASH FROM THE TOP OF THE LADDER THROUGH THE TABLE ON THE FLOOR! Kenny King has to be going solo from this point…and he starts by going upstairs to LAND A SHOOTING STAR PRESS ON JAY! He goes after the contract with Jay sluggishly dragging himself up the other side of the ladder! They trade punches at the top…KING KNOCKS JAY DOWN! ANX WIN! He grabs the title shot contract at 27:54!

Rating – ****1/2 – It sounds mean to start this recap by saying that this was my least favourite of the ladder wars. It didn’t quite have the craziness of Briscoes/Steen-erico from Man Up, and got nowhere near the drama of Wolves/Steen-erico in Ladder War 2. But the legend and infamy surrounding those two matches gave these two teams a huge mountain to climb just to live up to the reputation of first two…and credit to them because they absolutely delivered despite the colossal expectations placed upon them. This was bloody in the extreme (as the rest of the feud has been), and some of the spots were just insane. I did contemplate only giving this 4* but I just couldn’t. These guys went through hell in this one, and I genuinely think we’ll still be talking about this match come year end so lets call it an MOTYC – f*ck knows ANX and the Briscoes deserve it. The way the blood was legit spurting out of Jay’s head like a water feature in an ornamental garden was so frightening…

King is spent, but finds the energy to crawl across the ring and sign the contract with Jay Briscoe’s blood. I would suggest Jay goes to the hospital immediately as the pool of blood forming around his head as he lies on the mat is petrifying.

Tape Rating – *** – The Richmond/Charlotte weekend was a little disappointing, and given the lack of build to this show I was a little concerned this was going to be another underwhelming effort. I shouldn’t have worried, especially when you consider what the two main events were. Eddie Edwards, Roderick Strong, the Briscoes and the All Night Express were tasked with carrying this show with their double main event – and holy sh*t did they ever deliver. The undercard was patchy (although the Steen cameo and Bucks/Bravados/Shock were definite highlights) but the two MOTYC main events make this an easy recommendation. Credit to the ROH/SBG production team because, in terms of presentation, this was easily the best iPPV thus far. Picture was perfect, crowd and ring audio were perfect and, aside from about 8 minutes during Strong/Edwards the sound quality coming from the announce team’s headsets was faultless too.

Top 3 Matches
3) Young Bucks vs Future Shock vs Bravado Brothers (****)
2) All Night Express vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (****1/2)
1) Eddie Edwards vs Roderick Strong (****1/2)

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