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ROH Champions’ Challenge 8/27/2010

ROH 264 – Champions’ Challenge – 27th August 2010

This is Tag Wars 2010 weekend. Tonight we’ve got the Block Finals, and tomorrow night in Charlotte we’ve got the ‘grand finale’ with the Kings Of Wrestling defending against the three block winners in an Ultimate Endurance Match. Outside of Tag Wars, it has to be said that the undercard for this show doesn’t look particularly strong – however, the main events should both me good. Kevin Steen faces Davey Richards, whilst in the headline bout we have a non-title champion vs champion encounter as Tyler Black (who by this point was WWE bound and everyone knew it) faces TV Champion Eddie Edwards. This is the debut in Richmond, VA. I presume Manassas has been ditched to make way for Richmond – which is a shame because that building looked great on DVD. Hopefully Richmond doesn’t have a snapmare fetish. Anyway, Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak commentate. I guess Dumbrowski is done now if Kelly is being paid to do the house shows too. Oh, and this is Hunter ‘Delirious’ Johnston’s first DVD show as ROH’s lead booker. He booked the August 20th/21st TV tapings (and immediately wrote himself out of active wrestling competition), but this is his first house show experience. Lets see what changes he makes…

All Night Express vs Colt Cabana/El Generico – Tag Wars 2010 Block B Final
This is arguably the most competitive of the three Block Finals we have tonight, with no clear favourite standing out. The All Nights beat Jerry Lynn and Delirious to make it here, and have been teaming for a longer period of time so you might put the advantage in their camp. But Colt Cabana and El Generico got to this stage by defeating former Tag Champions the American Wolves – and any team that can do that is a definite threat to go and win this whole tournament.

Cabana and Titus start, and remembering that they had heat last year, Rhett removes his bow tie and is clearly taking this very seriously. Generico gets a tag and takes King apart with armdrags, forcing the ‘Pretty Boy Pitbull’ to run to the ropes. The first snapmare chant goes up, proving that those goofy fans have made their way to Richmond. Cabana in, and vexes King again with hiptosses. He tags Titus who struggles again…and it’s only when Kenny gets a blind tag and clobbers Generico from behind that ANX get a foothold in the match. The masked man absorbs several minutes of offence, and even when he manages to rattle King’s skull with a diving forearm Titus is on hand to knock his partner off the apron. SPRINGBOARD STOMP by Kenny gets 2. Generico blocks the ANX blindside lariat in AWESOME fashion and finally gets the hot tag. Cabana and his comedy offence totally confuses the All Nights…until Titus blocks Cabana’s Artful Dodger sequence with a dropkick. Generico looks to link up with Colt for a Hart Attack but King drags him to the floor for a battle of who can hit the guardrails harder. Generico wins…and runs in for the YAKUZA KICK ON RHETT! Cabana puts King in the Billy Goat’s Curse, but Steve Corino comes out and distracts him. Cabana and Corino brawl to the locker room and Generico is left alone. YAKUZA ON KING! Titus tries the Super Sex Factor but Generico gets away from the corner. SHOTGUN KNEES BY KENNY! Leapfrog Rocker Dropper by Rhett, and he feeds Generico back to King for the Royal Flush backbreaker. ONE NIGHT STAND NAILED! All Night Express advance in the tournament at 14:10

Rating – *** – Great opening match here, between four crowd pleasing acts who know their roles and know how to evoke the responses they want from the live audience. It’s good to see King and Titus get to the Ultimate Endurance Match and stand up with the top teams in ROH for the first time. I know they get a bit of a mixed response from the critics but for my money they always work hard and have been steadily improving for the last 18 months.

Bravado Brothers vs Dark City Fight Club – Tag Wars 2010 Block C Final
I believe the Bravados beat the Super Smash Brothers to make it to this point – but clearly ROH didn’t care enough to put that match on HDNet. DCFC beat The Embassy of Shawn Daivari and Ernesto Osiris to make it to this stage, and will be clear favourites to make it through to the grand final having beaten the Bravados multiple times already this year. Lance and Harlem think this time is different since tonight they’re fighting for the chance to compete in front of their friends, family and mother in Charlotte, NC tomorrow.

Jesus…the Bravadoes JUMP the Fight Club before the bell, hitting stereo dives to the floor. Davis doesn’t look impressed with that and hoists Harlem into a big powerslam. Leg drop/backbreaker combo from DCFC has poor Harlem screaming in pain. Harlem tries to knock Davis away with a dropkick but Jon simply ignores it and FLOORS him with a jumping leg lariat. Lance tagged and he hits a running neckbreaker on Chavis for 2. Double back suplex from the Bravados, getting Rainman down for another nearfall. Harlem might even have a win with the frog splash, but Davis breaks the fall. Davi POWERBOMBS Lance onto Harlem. TOTAL ELIMINATION! DCFC advance with Project Mayhem on Harlem at 06:02

Rating – ** – This was better than I’d expected. The Bravados got some fun underdog offence in, before the inevitable destruction came from DCFC. I’m curious to see how the Fight Club do in that match tomorrow.

SIDENOTE – Remember how I was sad that we didn’t get to go to Manassas anymore because I liked how the building looked on DVD? Well this Richmond building looks better. Pillars and columns everywhere, industrial pipes running across the ceiling and so on make it look like an abandoned warehouse – but there’s also some brickwork and wood-framed windows directly above the ring. What a weird venue, and totally different to most of the buildings Ring Of Honor runs.

Kenny King and Rhett Titus are in the parking lot celebrating. Who the hell edited this? They talk about the Briscoes being in the finals, and they haven’t even had their match yet.

The whole show thus far Kelly and Prazak have been talking of travel problems which have prevented Roderick Strong and Erick Stevens (I guess they’re both travelling in from Florida) from making it to the show. Which is a big problem since The Embassy have their Tag Wars match now…

Necro Butcher/Prince Nana vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe – Tag Wars 2010 Block A Final
Nana, who isn’t dressed to wrestle at all, says that since Necro is all he needs to beat the Briscoes, he’ll happily sub in as his partner for the evening. The winners advance to join the Kings, the ANX and the DCFC in the final – and the only possible element you can think of which may hold the Briscoes back from advancing tonight is whether they can focus on beating The Embassy BEFORE they get to fight the Kings. As we saw on HDNet this week, they don’t even care about the belts at this point, they just want to beat Hero and Claudio up.

Necro is wrestling in what appears to be pyjamas tonight. Mark hits him with a knee to the jaw, and Butcher goes looking for a tag. Of course, Prince Nana has no intention of getting in the ring with either Briscoe brother. The Briscoes are basically in control…but when Necro drops Jay with a sidewalk slam Nana gleefully tags in. I think he gets one shot in before Jay has him by the throat and Necro has to tag back. Chokeslam rolled into a lariat by him…and back comes Nana. This time he lands a couple of stomps before needing Butcher’s assistance once again. Mark in with the Redneck Kung Fu to fight off Necro…and he drags the Prince back in! Nana is slammed to the mat for the first time, but still manages to join with his partner to crotch Mark on the turnbuckles. DOOMSDAY DEVICE BLOCKED WITH A PUNCH TO THE FACE! JAY DRILLER INSTEAD! Jay and Mark complete the Tag Wars 2010 final line-up at 07:36

Rating – *** – Personally, I thought adding Nana and making this a comedy match made it twice as good as Briscoes vs Necro/Stevens would have been anyway. They kept it short and made me laugh several times so I’d call this an overwhelming success.

Kevin Steen vs Davey Richards
Mr Wrestling comes out with a microphone and interrupts Bobby Cruise so he can do his own introduction. He also talks about spending almost all of 2009 feuding with Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards – which makes him extremely motivated for this one tonight. These two clashed in a memorable Anything Goes Match at Never Say Die last year – a match that is really underrated and such a shame it hasn’t been seen by more people.

Steen says his favourite moment in his whole career is breaking Eddie Edwards’ arm, which Davey doesn’t take kindly to. He boots Kevin in the mouth, takings him to the floor and continues kicking lumps out of him there. Back in the ring he starts working on Steen’s legs, which as we know are a source of constant problems for him. To the floor again, but this time Steen avoids the Richards’ kick assault to hit the APRON POWERBOMB! Steen recreates the scene from minutes earlier, chasing Davey around ringside to hit him with kicks and chops. Next he hurls him into the ringpost, seemingly injuring the arm in the process. He works a top wristlock and licks the injured arm at the same time. HAMMERLOCK Russian legsweep variant drops all of his body weight on his own arm. Davey tries throwing some elbow smashes, but his arm is now so injured they’re actually hurting him as much as Steen. Headbutt instead…then a running kick which sends Mr Wrestling all the way to the floor. TOPE SUICIDA SCORES! Even when he tones it down and doesn’t do his suicidal tope con hilo he still bounces into the front row! Back in the ring and both guys drop BOMBS on each other. Davey hits the Handspring Enzi then asks the referee to stretch his arm out which is a pretty impressive length to go to when selling your arm. Cradlebreaker is COUNTERED TO THE ANKLELOCK! Steen escapes by catapulting Davey out of the ring. He then hurts his OWN legs to drop a double knee into Davey’s stomach. Package Piledriver blocked and turned into a SAITO SUPLEX! GERMAN SUPLEX BY STEEN! NO SOLD! CRIPPLER CROSSFACE INSTEAD! COUNTERED BACK TO THE ANKLELOCK! No submission so Richards climbs the ropes…but MISSES the diving headbutt! CROSSFACE AGAIN! Steen goes to the top rope, but takes too long with his bad legs and gets caught up there. HE SPITS IN DAVEY’S FACE! MOONSAULT MISSES! MACHINE GUN KICKS BY DAVEY! SUPERKICK BY STEEN! BRIDGING GERMAN SUPLEX GETS 2! MEGA SPIT TO THE FACE! Steen ducks the Buzzsaw kick and hits the PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! DAVEY KICKS OUT! Steen tries it again, but this time Davey blocks it with the BUZZSAW KICK! KAWADA KICKS! BUZZSAW KICK AGAIN! Richards wins at 18:09

Rating – **** – What a match. I was expecting it to be good, but they went all out to KILL each other in those last five minutes. If these guys could actually sell whilst decimating each other this would be a legitimate MOTYC, it was that good. It’s a shame that this was on a real B-show DVD so not many people will see this – better than Never Say Die in my book.

Bobby Dempsey/Cedric Alexander vs Jake Manning/Caleb Konley
This has popcorn match written all over it. I think Manning and Konley have appeared in the jobber role on HDNet before (so has Bobby to be fair) but I’m fairly sure this is a DVD show debut for everyone bar Dempsey.

Dempsey starts with ‘Manscout’ Jake Manning (yes, being a boy scout is a gimmick apparently) and they are some big dudes to be lumbering around the ring together. Alexander clearly has some agility, but Manning is too big for him to armdrag and he gets smacked in the mouth. Konley is much more on his wavelength and they work a VERY fast-paced little exchange. Caleb and Jake cut the ring in half and isolate Cedric for the next couple of minutes. Konley looks and wrestles a lot like Brian Kendrick which is definitely a compliment Bobby gets the eventual tag and gets 2 with a bridging fallaway slam on Caleb. DROPKICK on Manning! FATTY DVD on Konley! Bobby wins at 07:07

Rating – * – I’m being harsh in my rating there because there was nothing WRONG with this match at all. It’s just I don’t think that any of these guys looked so good in there that ROH would be calling them up to book them on more shows afterwards. Alexander and Konley looked decent. Manning is a big guy who can move a little. But they all looked like average independent talents and no more.

Kings Of Wrestling vs The Set
This was an open challenge, but since Kevin Kelly has already said several times tonight that they’re wrestling The Set there’s no real mystery to it. Not that I mind particularly because the idea of KOW beating the snot out of Lance Lude seems pretty amusing.

The Set aren’t happy that the Kings won’t shake their hands, so actually try to jump the Tag Champions. Wheelbarrow Spear double team drops Castagnoli and they isolate Hero for more offence. BACK BODY DROP SWANTON TO THE FLOOR! Hero evades the double team elevated leg drop spot and tags Claudio back. POP-UP EUROPEAN ON LUDE! The hangtime on that was just ridiculous. He starts repeatedly military pressing the little guy, and actually stops for a CHAT with Hero whilst holding Lude over his head. SPINNING PRESS SLAM NAILED! DEAD LIFT POWERBOMB next! Lude tries a few chops on Hero, who totally ignores them and punts him in the mouth. Finally Lance tags J-Sinn, who actually succeeds in catapulting Claudio out of the ring. Elsewhere Lance tries a flying headscissors and GETS POWERBOMBED INTO THE F*CKING RINGPOST! How is he not dead? Referees and doctors rush to his aid and carry him away. Meanwhile in the ring Castagnoli shows RIDICULOUS power to get Sinn up for the Les Artess Lift. Big Swing Flash Kick scores…but Hero pulls J’s shoulders up to keep the match going. Royal Power & Glory (superplex into a Hero moonsault) scores, but again Hero pulls the shoulder up. Jay Briscoe comes down as a substitute partner for Lance Lude, so now it’s a question of whether J-Sinn can actually make it to him for a tag. He does get there and, even in his street clothes, he can take the fight to both Kings. They start double teaming him…so Mark runs in as well. That’s a DQ at 13:36

Rating – *** – So maybe that was a little long, but for the most part this was so much fun. Claudio Castagnoli innovating crazy power moves to do on the miniscule Lance Lude was very entertaining, and the fact that they managed to keep this going for nearly 15 minutes AND use it as a way to further hype the Kings/Briscoes feud makes me feel like my 3* is justified.

The Kings leave rather than fight the Briscoes, but tomorrow night in Charlotte they will be in the same match in the finals of Tag Wars 2010.

Steve Corino vs Jeff Early
Is this HDNet? Early is a local guy who doesn’t spend anywhere near enough time in the gym to make it as a pro-wrestler (sorry kid) and unless they pull something out like Roderick Strong making it to the building and facing Corino, this will be a comprehensive squash.

Early has a very similar physique to Corino. Except he’s comfortably a foot shorter and looks no match for the veteran. Colby Shock drops him on his face. Jeff hits some generic babyface offence, then runs into the ropes like a moron. Eternal Dream (sliding lariat) wins it for Corino at 02:44

Rating – DUD – If you’ve seen the Danielson/Cabana/Rinauro ‘Wrestling Road Diaries’ DVD, you’ll know that it’s a pet peeve of Danielson when young wrestlers clearly don’t spend enough time in the gym and look out of shape when they wrestle. I’d put Early in that class with his doughy physique – and he looked completely gassed even by the 2 minute mark. That’s not acceptable for me. Unless you’re someone like J-Sinn (who is a big guy but has gimmicked it by teaming with a tiny guy) or someone like Steen (who despite being bulky has exceptional athleticism and surprising stamina) you can’t get away with it. Were there no other Richmond local wrestlers around to take the spot?

Steve gets on the stick to thank Early for the ‘Five Star Match’ then tosses him out like a sack of old potatoes. He starts hitting on the ladies at ringside…but is interrupted by Colt Cabana. Colt tries to fight him, only to be knocked out by a chain-wrapped punch to the head. But now here comes Corino’s originally scheduled opponent for the night!

Steve Corino vs Roderick Strong
This was the match we were originally supposed to see this evening. Lets call it a rematch from Part 1 of the 3rd Anniversary Celebration shall we? Anyway, Roddy had travel problems and was so late to the building he comes out through the crowd in his street clothes.

Chops from Strong…so Corino hides behind the referee and sees him knocked down in the process. Low blow from Corino…but back comes Cabana to KNOCK HIM OUT with the chain. Strong lands the Sick Kick for victory at 01:52

Rating – N/A – Roddy clearly went to a lot of trouble to get to the show tonight so it was nice that Delirious manages to book a solution where he could at least get out in front of the live crowd and contribute something. Adding some developments to the Generico/Colt vs Steen/Corino feud was an added bonus too. Having two wrestlers not turn up for your first live event was a real challenge for a rookie booker, but I think Delirious passed the test well this evening.

Main event time…and Jim Cornette walks down and tries to convince Tyler to be a ‘fighting champion’ on his way out of ROH, and put the belt on the line tonight. Tyler, already pissed off at the ‘you sold out’ chants he got on his way to the ring, says he’s a ‘man of honour’ and will honour his commitment to a non-title match this evening. AWESOME! If only Tyler was this good a promo guy earlier in his ROH run. He also demands that Davey Richards leave ringside or he won’t wrestle at all.

Tyler Black vs Eddie Edwards
No titles on the line here, but lots of pride at stake in this main event match. At this point most people were aware that Black was on the way to WWE developmental. He’s been growing increasingly pissed off with the reactions he’s been getting from the fans on recent shows, and as such, is done trying to please them with his matches on the way out. He has Eddie tonight, and the ‘Rematch Of The Year’ with Davey Richards tomorrow – and has refused to put the belt on the line in either of them. In the pre-show Video Wire’s on the Salvation DVD there is an AMAZING Tyler Black promo where he reiterates a lot of those very sentiments. Can Tyler go 2-0 vs the Wolves this weekend?

Eddie out-wrestles Tyler early, and Black immediately hops out of the ring to kill his momentum. Back in the ring for a GREAT near-miss back and forth segment which deservedly gets a round of applause. Tyler slaps Edwards in the face then leaves again to avoid the repercussions. He gets the best of the TV Champ again by back flipping away from him, then knocking him off his feet again with a dropkick. He teases the stomp, but as the crowd boo he goes for a FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE STOMP INSTEAD! Edwards blocks that and boots Black in the face! Flying Codebreaker nailed, and he goes for the Achilles Lock but Tyler is quickly in the ropes. BACK SUPLEX THROW TO THE FLOOR! Eddie lies in the aisle grasping at his surgically repaired elbow. Tyler is unsympathetic, smashing him against the guardrails and even trying to belt him with a chair too. Eddie’s neck and back are hurting him after those guardrail bumps, and he’s now at a severe disadvantage as the match progresses. Although, in truth Black doesn’t seem that intent on working an actual wrestling match with him. He keeps stomping, choking and eye-raking, denying Edwards any opportunity to get to his feet. Then Black allows himself to get distracted by playing to the fans. He runs into the CLIMBING WIZARD from Edwards. NECKBREAKER cuts off Eddie’s momentum instantly though. They fight on the turnbuckles…TOP ROPE SUPER RANA BY EDWARDS! He’s so beaten up he can’t capitalise though! Back to the top he goes, flying into a missile dropkick. Running enziguri kick gets 2. Tyler blocks the Achilles Lock again though, repeatedly kicking Edwards in the mouth to get him away. Springboard Lariat nailed, but he covers laxly and can’t put the TV Champion away. Buckle Bomb blocked so he hits the F-5 instead. He tries it again and gets back dropped to the floor! Eddie runs…SOMERSAULT PLANCHA SCORES! Edwards tries another high flying move and gets caught. Buckle Bomb COUNTERED TO THE ACHILLES LOCK! That was a really impressive counter, but Tyler still gets close enough to the ropes to break it. Backpack Stunner blocked into PEROXISM FOR 2! Phoenix Splash misses…KICK DUEL! Tyler lands on his feet out of a German! SUPERKICK! PELE KICK! LARIATOOOOOO FROM EDWARDS! Both men collapse out of the ring such was the impact of that sequence. Tyler is up first…BARRICADE BOMB! Black thinks that’s enough for a count-out but Edwards dives in at 19. BUCKLE BOMB! SUPERKICK DUCKED! ACHILLES LOCK! Tyler screams in pain, but somehow makes the ropes…then he uses the same ropes for illicit leverage as he rolls Edwards up for a really cheap win at 24:21

Rating – **** – I’m gutted about the cheap finish, but I suppose it’s necessary to establish Tyler as a clear-cut heel going into his final shows with Ring Of Honor. He was really good as a heel here – obviously highlighted by trying to pull a John Cena spot in front of an ROH crowd. Really hard fought main event too, which seemed somewhat bland at first but kept getting better and better as it progressed. This was the first time Edwards has really had to carry a main event as a babyface in ROH and it wasn’t a role he looked comfortable in at first – but like the match he got better and better as things progressed.

Tyler Black, having cheated to win, keeps beating up Eddie…bringing Davey Richards back to ringside. They give him the Double Alarm Clock before Edwards lays him out permanently with the Die Hard. Tyler is carried away clutching his title belt like a child…

Davey cuts his second promo of the evening, basically putting over Eddie Edwards…but also throwing in an interesting anecdote about how the American Wolves were formed after a conversation between he and Adam Pearce about what he wanted to do in 2009, and a Low Ki quote for good measure as well. Jesus, get Ki back already…

Tape Rating – *** – For a B-show with a HORRIBLE card, I was borderline shocked this was as good as it was. Of course, the only truly memorable matches were the two main events, but the rest of the card was by no means a snoozefest. Delirious, who is having a baptism of fire in his new job with Tyler leaving, then Strong and Stevens missing his first house show, managed to throw together an entertaining night of wrestling. ANX/Generi-Colt was a great opener, Kings/Set was really enjoyable as a ‘public workout’ for the Kings ahead of Tag Wars 2010 and he even pulled out some elaborate booking to shoehorn Roddy Strong onto the show at the last possible moment too. You don’t NEED to own this at all, but if it’s still available from ROHWrestling.com or elsewhere and you can pick it up for a good price you won’t be disappointed.

Top 3 Matches
3) All Night Express vs Colt Cabana/El Generico (***)
2) Tyler Black vs Eddie Edwards (****)
1) Davey Richards vs Kevin Steen (****)

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