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ROH Revolution: USA 5/6/2011

ROH 283 – Revolution: USA – 6th May 2011

Now the HDNet show has ended, Ring Of Honor events start growing increasingly scarce until September. By this point ROH was well on the way to being sold to Sinclair, and SBG actively limited the number of live events (including postponing a Dayton show and outright cancelling a Plymouth event) until they taped the first set of TV episodes and they’d started broadcasting. There are only six ROH shows between this (the first event of May) and the end of September when the TV show started airing, so I really hope this means a return to really high quality wrestling shows now they can concentrate on quality over quantity. To that end, tonight’s Michigan return has a far better card than any of the shows this market has seen in recent shows here. Obviously the highlight (and main event) is Kings/Wolves II, but with grudge Strong/Generico and Briscoes/ANX rematches, WGTT/Future Shock and Cabana/Daniels in the line-up as well this could be the best show ROH has produced in this region in years. We’re in Dearborn, MI with Kevin Kelly and Eric Santamaria.

After he hit RD Evans with a chair in Atlanta, The Embassy open the show with a promise to take Homicide out of Ring Of Honor permanently.

Tommaso Ciampa vs Homicide
We kick off with an immediate Honor Takes Center Stage rematch. At Chapter 2 of the Atlanta shows Ciampa was able to pull off an upset and beat the ROH veteran. Homicide didn’t like that at all, and left after beating up Barrister Evans and vowing to bring back familiar faces and start terrorising ROH once again. Is this the start of a renaissance for the Notorious 187?

The match starts at a slug-out which clearly favours Homicide and he dominates from the outset. Tommaso avoids the Tope Con Hilo and gets the advantage after Ernesto Osiris distracts Homicide. Prince Nana takes a couple of cheap shots before Ciampa boots his head into the ringpost to leave him motionless. Mia holds him in the corner as Tommaso sprints in to deliver a running knee strike. Cide’s mouth looks like it’s bleeding but the blood looks like it motivates him as he flies out of the corner with a swinging DDT. Three Amigos, into a bridging t-bone suplex for 2. Ciampa blocks the Cop Killa and hits a rack bomb for 2. With The Embassy encouraging him, Tommaso leaves the ring to grab a chair…only to get it smashed into his own face with the Tope Con Hilo! Back in the ring Homicide hits the Ace Crusher…then RD Evans stops him hitting the Lariat. Prince Nana hands Ciampa his crown, allowing the Project to nail Homicide with it and win at 08:04

Rating – ** – This was pretty much the same match as Atlanta. Ciampa did slightly better here, but it was balanced out by Homicide looking slightly worse. I like the new Embassy a lot though, and there are worse things ROH could do than use Homicide to put them over.

Ciampa tries to add insult to injury by going for the Cop Killa…but Homicide pushes him away. Evans saves with the weakest chair shot ever – which is comically no sold. He shoves Osiris into Homicide who hits the COP KILLA as the rest of The Embassy leave…

SIDENOTE – A couple of observations: firstly, is this a new building for ROH, or have they changed the hardcam angle for this show? There’s a huge, arched window at the back of the building from the hard camera side, meaning the event seems like it’s being filmed in almost total daylight. I’m not sure I like it but at least it makes the show look unique. Secondly, Santamaria (who I’ve never particularly liked) and Kelly have zero chemistry as commentators and are incredibly boring together.

Michael Elgin vs Andy Ridge
Here we have a battle of the losing semi-finalists in the Top Prospect Tournament. That’s literally all I have to hype this one up. I hope Elgin wins as his performances thus far in 2011 have been solid, making him one of the brightest new stars on ROH’s undercard right now.

Elgin picks Ridge up and tosses him across the ring, which is quite an emphatic start. Next he nearly rips his shoulder off with a basic tackle spot. Andy uses his kicks to block the Oklahoma Stampede, driving Elgin to the floor. Pescado attempted…and COUNTERED to a stalling suplex on the floor! He easily picks Ridge up again, this time driving him into the turnbuckles repeatedly before lifting him into an overhead belly to belly for 2. Ridge goes for some more kicks only for his leg to be caught and he gets laid out again with a spinebuster. Sunset flip attempted…but Andy avoids the butt splash counter and drops Michael with a flurry of right legs. Despite that, Elgin nearly wins it with a pumphandle suplex. SPINNING BACK CHOP TO THE FACE! Ridge tries a headscissors but it’s COUNTERED TO THE SPIRAL BOMB! Elgin wins in 07:19

Rating – ** – Personally I think this was far too long for what they were trying to accomplish, but for the most part Ridge made a great whipping boy for Elgin’s terrific power moves so I enjoyed for the majority of the time. Elgin has lost more than he’s won in ROH so far, so without HDNet it’s important he be fed a few ‘easy wins’ to ensure he keeps his credibility with the fans.

Outside Grizzly Redwood says he doesn’t trust Steve Corino and doesn’t want his help…and that means he isn’t happy ‘fighting his battles’ as he faces Mike Bennett tonight.

In response Steve Corino comes to the ring. He cracks a few jokes about being a good guy and ‘finally’ getting an ROH t-shirt which gets a few laughs, but that’s not why he’s here. He vents about Chris Daniels, saying he tried to help him at Defy Or Deny, only for that to be thrown in his face when the Fallen Angel shunned his help, returned to TNA and joined House Of Truth in Atlanta. Apparently he’s been in touch with his ‘sponsor’ – another reformed ‘evil person’, in exile from ROH but someone who has used the time away to get into great shape and now wants a way back in to the promotion…but before Steve can bring him out Mike Bennett interrupts. Corino slams him for being an ‘entertainer’ and not an ROH wrestler but apologies for ‘falling off the wagon’ during their match in New York. Bennett berates Corino in return, and it takes the arrival of Grizzly to stop Steve falling off the wagon once again.

Mike Bennett vs Grizzly Redwood
I thought the Grizzly promo they aired earlier was a really interesting spin on this match. Redwood loves wrestling, has worked hard for everything he’s ever gotten in ROH, so will no doubt want to fight the cocky and arrogant Prodigy – who has come into ROH and not shown any sign of wanting to work hard or show respect to anyone. But at the same time, he resents being connected to Steve Corino, and dislikes being put in a match against one of Corino’s enemies on the basis that Redwood is a guy who Corino claims to be inspired by.

Bennett punches Corino in the face…and nearly gets pinned by Grizzly in the first five seconds of the match as a result. Side Effect countered to a crucifix pin for another 2…before Mike finally puts Redwood down with a spinebuster. He begins his methodical attack on Grizzly, dropping him on his back from multiple different positions then locking in the chinlock. Redwood escapes and gets another nearfall with a DDT. Bob Evans grabs his boot but before he can do any damage Steve Corino chases him away. It doesn’t stop The Prodigy hitting a Buckle Bomb then a piledriver to win at 04:03

Rating – * – Very predictable, but in the end this match went pretty match how it should have done with a few nifty moments and hope spots from Redwood interspersed with lots of effortless Bennett dominance. Bennett is a fun character, but ROH are going to struggle to keep him over without TV unless they can get a few better matches out of him.

Not satisfied with that, Bennett picks another fight with Corino and lays him out with the Side Effect.

Outside the building Prince Nana orders RD Evans to investigate the possibility of pressing charges against Homicide for his assault on Ernesto this evening.

All Night Express vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe – First Blood Match
Business has really picked up between these two teams recently. After a couple of pull-apart brawls in New York, they went to Atlanta and got involved in altercations which saw ANX pulled from the show at HTCC Chapter 1, whilst Chapter 2 saw both Jay Briscoe and Rhett Titus leave covered in blood. That bloodshed was the inspiration for this one – this time the first guy to bleed loses it for his team.

King and Titus aren’t interest in letting the Briscoes make their entrance and jump them in the guardrail to get the fight started. They brawl on the floor, with all four guys going for repeated head shots and closed fist punches looking to bust someone open. Jay and Rhett take turns smashing each other’s heads into the timekeeping table as King grabs Mark for a suplex on the floor. Thrust Buster puts Jay down inside the ring, whilst on the floor Kenny and Mark are fighting over a section of guardrail. TUMBLEWEED SENTON OFF THE APRON BY KING! The All Nights hit the springboard leg drop/running splash combo on Mark and end the combo by relentlessly punching his forehead rather than go for a pinfall. Jay saves his brother with a running boot to Titus…then he joins with Mark to hit a double basement dropkick on Rhett having first buried him under that barricade segment. King is sidelined after a low blow from Mark…but Rhett lawn darts Jay into the turnbuckles and tags him anyway. King gets his revenge on Jay by hitting him in the balls. ANX set up for the Jerry Lynn Driver on Mark, who requires another rescue from Jay. He tries to catapult King into an exposed turnbuckle bolt…but Kenny grabs himself on the turnbuckles and tries to dive back at Jay. Who CATCHES him and drives him face-first into the bolt second time of asking. No blood though! One Night Stand COUNTERED WITH THE SPRINGBOARD ACE CRUSHER FROM MARK! With that the match spills to the floor again with SHOTGUN KNEES INTO THE GUARDRAIL from King to Mark! Rhett jumps off the apron – straight into a chair shot from Jay! Mark is busted WIDE open but the ref doesn’t see it as he’s distracted by a huge dive from King. Meanwhile that chair shot Rhett took has cut him too, so when he goes upstairs for the One Night Stand the ref spots it and ends the match at 13:53, even though Mark Briscoe was technically the won cut first. Briscoes win!

Rating – **** – Lots of people really loved their Honor Takes Center Stage match. Whilst I liked it, I didn’t think it was particularly spectacular or memorable for anything other than some slightly barbaric blood-letting. This was much more like it, with superb psychology and build meaning that the blood (when it came) made sense and therefore seemed much more violent. The finish here was very innovative as well and keeps the door open for more matches in this excellent series.

ANX hit the One Night Stand on Jay anyway, prompting the bloody Mark Briscoe to emerge from under the ring and drag his brother away. Mark has a really nasty cut over his right eye which is pouring blood, but he sticks around to hear Kenny King challenge them to a Street Fight in Chicago

Christopher Daniels vs Colt Cabana
When the Fallen Angel joined the House Of Truth at Honor Takes Center Stage, he did so with an attack on El Generico and Colt Cabana having seemed set to come out and help them. Cabana wants instant revenge after leaving Atlanta having been laid out with the Angel’s Wings on ppv.

Daniels has new gear (including long tights which I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wear) and new, less crowd-pleasing music. He’s also miles better than Truth Martini on the mic, which makes it hard to buy into him as a follower rather than a leader. ‘I’m still on television every week’ – Daniels. Martini distracts Cabana before the bell rings meaning Daniels starts with an immediate advantage. Even with that he soon has to retreat to the floor as Colt attempts the Billy Goat’s Curse. Cabana uses the European catch-as-catch-can skills and dominates for several minutes – visibly frustrating Daniels more and more with each bamboozling sequence that passes. In the end Truth has to take a couple of cheap shots to hand his new recruit the initiative once again. Fall From Grace is rolled through though, into a jumping butt strike from Colt that leaves both men down. Cabana strikes next by landing a quebrada even as Daniels begs for mercy. Flying Asshole misses…and Martini clouts Cabana with the Book Of Truth. Angel’s Wings wins it for Daniels at 08:58

Rating – ** – Completely predictable, but the positive is that these two are very experienced so it never felt dull. This was little more than a perfunctory match to put some emphasis on the Daniels heel turn.

Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin vs Adam Cole/Kyle O’Reilly
This is non-title but continues the theme of ‘challenging’ the young duo of Cole and O’Reilly. In Atlanta they faced the Briscoes and the Kings on consecutive nights and now they come to Michigan set to face the new Tag Champions knowing that a win would be an upset of mammoth proportions

For some reason the entrances are clipped out of this DVD entirely. Haas starts with Cole and looks pretty relaxed as he outmatches him in both size and mat skill. Charlie dismissively laughs at Cole which pisses him off enough to hit a flying keel kick from the second rope for 2. O’Reilly doesn’t do much better with Shelton and leaves the ring looking pissed off at how ineffective his team have been thus far. Finally Kyle manages to get 2 with a crucifix pin, which he and Cole celebrate like a minor victory. Kyle starts to grow in confidence and actually out-manoeuvres Benjamin on the canvas a couple of times. Shelton doesn’t like that and picks him up for a shoulderbreaker – opening up an injury for WGTT to exploit. Carrying his arm now, O’Reilly requires the assistance of Cole, tagging him only for Haas to grab him with a near-immediate capture suplex. Cole tries a slingshot somersault senton but only succeeds in flipping himself straight into a backbreaker from Charlie for 2. Benjamin makes his back/chest feel even worse seconds later by delivering a Samoan drop. Haas puts a diving headbutt in the small of the back then latches into a crossface. He even drops Adam with a spinebuster just as he looked set to make the crucial tag to O’Reilly. Chinlock applied, except Haas adds a bodyscissors to it thus doing more damage to Adam’s injured torso. Cole is in real trouble but just as all hope seems lost he gets a second wind and starts capturing both members of WGTT for plucky pinfall attempts…then gets shut down with a German suplex. Hot tag to O’Reilly eventually comes and he uses lots of his athletic, junior heavyweight inspired offence to gain an advantage. DOUBLE SUPER KICKS for Haas and Benjamin! TOPE SUICIDA BY COLE! Inside the ring Kyle gets 2 with a flying crossbody on Shelton. Superkick by Benjamin…LEAPFROG HILO on Adam! That’s him finished and Benjamin scores with win after a flatliner on O’Reilly. Time was 17:43

Rating – **** – I’m giving an uber generous 4* for this. I think a more critical fan would give this 3.5* at best, if only because the pace was so damn slow…but for me, the slightly gentile pace really made me appreciate the subtle nuances of the work produced (by WGTT in particular). Cole and O’Reilly were selling like hell, but the veterans looked like consummate pros during their offensive periods and by pushing the new champions this hard, Future Shock are given the major rub without ever looking like they were going to win. In fact, that was my biggest criticism of this match: it just never felt like Cole and O’Reilly were going to BEAT Haas and Benjamin. Still, I liked this one a lot more than many critics did…and that’s just fine with me!

Roderick Strong cuts a promo stating his intension to do what Kevin Steen couldn’t do in an entire year – put El Generico out of Ring Of Honor permanently.

El Generico vs Roderick Strong – No DQ Match
The second of the grudge rematches from Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 2 sees two familiar opponents cross paths again. In Atlanta Generico was able to beat Roddy only to suffer a beatdown at the expense of the House Of Truth and their newest recruit Chris Daniels. Tonight, however, may be as much about beating the sh*t out of each other as it is about actually winning the match.

Roderick Strong comes through the crowd and makes his entrance by jumping Generico from behind. The luchador fights him off then goes after Martini…which turns out to be a mistake as Strong puts a boot through his face. They trade chops on the floor but it’s Roderick’s intention to attack the masked man’s back which earns him the advantage. He gets distracted by setting up chairs though, and doesn’t see Generico coming with a QUEBRADA OFF THE GUARDRAIL! Roddy misses a chair shot against the rail and Generico responds by hammering one chair into Strong’s back using another! Yakuza Kick attempt…COUNTERED TO A BACK SUPLEX ON THE APRON! El Generico is wounded from that and it’s made worse when he attempts the rope run tornado DDT and gets horribly crotched on the ropes. Urinage backbreaker gets 2 for Strong moments later. Out of desperation he tries another Yakuza Kick which actually connects and knocks Roddy to the floor. GUARDRAIL RUN TORNADO DDT ON THE FLOOR! That’s a major offensive move and it means that Strong is almost as out of it as Generico is. They trade strikes…DEATH BY BACKBREAKER!

Martini is convinced that’s it but Generico still kicks out at 2. DEATH BY RODERICK ON AN OPEN CHAIR! SICK KICK! GENERICO’S KICK OUT IS COUNTERED TO THE STRONGHOLD! Generico gets to the ropes, but since it’s No DQ that doesn’t mean anything! Courageously he kicks his way free…EXPLODER SUPLEX ONTO A CHAIR FOR 2! Generico brings a table into the ring but takes so long setting it up he eats the Black Superkick from Roddy. The former World Champion sets it but gets laid out on it himself. FLYING SPLASH THROUGH THE TABLE BY GENERICO! STRONG KICKS OUT! Brainbuster countered…Death By Roderick countered…BRAINBUSTER NAILED! MARTINI SAVES! Michael Elgin interferes too…YAKUZA ON TRUTH! BRAINBUSTER AGAIN! Elgin pulls the ref out of the ring and decks him before Generico can pin Roderick…and Daniels is out as well! House Of Truth try to put Generico through a table but Cabana comes out and for a save. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA FROM GENERICO TO EVERYONE! YAKUZA ON STRONG! He goes for another table and gets hit in the balls. AVALANCHE HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER THROUGH THE TABLE! Strong wins at 20:52

Rating – **** – Sure the finish was overbooked to hell, but since ROH doesn’t have TV now they occasionally have to utilise finishes like this on house shows to get angles over. House Of Truth need to look like a strong faction right now – considering they have a new member, an up-and-coming star to get over and have just lost the World Title. Having a high quality match, and supplementing it with some entertaining, if slightly goofy, sports-entertainment run-ins isn’t the end of the world on a B-show in Dearborn (although I’m sure the live crowds wouldn’t agree with me on that). Like I said after their Atlanta match, these two have great chemistry together and that showed again in this one. They avoided easy comparisons to the Steen/Generico grudge match from Final Battle by using the No DQ rules to facilitate a slightly more edgy, violent regular wrestling match (rather than a stunt-filled spotfest) which certainly helped them. The matches between these guys are good enough that there’s easily legs in at least one more match, and that’s not including all the potential spin-offs like Generico/Daniels, Generico/Elgin 3, plus some tag team stuff with the Generi-Colt team.

Kings Of Wrestling vs American Wolves
I think this was the point when they officially abandoned the ‘Wolves have split’ policy. This a rematch of the American Wolves ‘last hunt’ – which saw them lose to the Kings in a superb tag team encounter which made my Top 10 ROH matches of the year. Davey and Eddie want to avenge that defeat, and also to prove there’s unity in the camp after the dissension we saw at Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 2 when they argued in the ring over Eddie’s World Title run then lost to Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team in the main event.

The Kings left Atlanta incredibly angry about losing their Tag Titles, and continue where they left off in their emphatic win over Future Shock by jumping the Wolves and viciously beating them during their entrance. They hit Edwards with the Big Swing Flash Kick in the first minute and look to have it won but for Davey making the save then wiping Claudio out with a tope suicida. GUARDRAIL HURDLE PLANCHA BY RICHARDS! In the ring Eddie blocks a Roaring Elbow with a superkick but is dropped anyway with a Ligerbomb for 2. Richards saves his partner from the Death Blow…so Claudio SWINGS HIM INTO THE BARRICADE! In the ring the Kings get another nearfall with the Suplex Elbow combo. Edwards just hasn’t got going in this match at all and as we cross the 5 minute mark he is on the receiving end of a royal ass kicking. The Kings beat him so hard they knock him all the way up the aisle and leave him there to be counted out…and significantly Davey doesn’t help him back into the ring. Finally he staggers back, rolling straight into a sliding kick from Hero for 2. But he finally mounts some offence, hitting a dragon screw on Claudio which forces him to knock the legs of his own partner from under him. Eddie at last brings Richards into the match legally…and he runs across the apron into a punt on Hero. TORNADO DDT OFF THE APRON on Claudio! The European tries the UFO but it’s COUNTERED to the Anklelock! Hero saves with an elbow smash and now it’s time for the Unidentified Flying Opponent! Hart Attack Elbow gets 2! Impressively Davey captures Claudio’s legs then NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEXES HERO TO PIN THEM BOTH! The Kings simultaneously kick out at 2 and Castagnoli puts Davey down again with a chokeslam.

Richards fires back with an exploder suplex then tags Eddie in. Hero steps in to meet him so we get a preview of tomorrow night’s World Title Match as they lay into each other with stiff shots. Edwards clears the ring…ASAI MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! He brings Hero back inside for Machine Gun Chops and a fisherman buster for 2. Backpack Stunner blocked, but so is the Death Blow so they try going for pinfalls instead. DOUBLE ALARM CLOCK! SUPERKICK GERMAN SUPLEX! Vintage Wolves double teams get 2! Hero starts throwing elbows at both of them, then turns Edwards inside out with the Rolling Flash Kick for 2! DEATH BLOW! But Edwards fortunately lands close to the ropes and manages to get the ropes. Hero spends too long playing to the crowd and walks into the ACHILLES LOCK! Claudio saves with a DDT at 20 minutes. STEREO BACK DROP DRIVERS BY THE WOLVES! STEREO NO SELLS THEN STEREO BOOTS BY THE KING! THE WOLVES NO SELL THOSE! STEREO BACK DROP DRIVERS AGAIN! DUELLING MACHINE GUN KICKS AND CHOPS! ACHILLES LOCK ON HERO! As Claudio and Davey fall to the floor brawling Chris fights out of the Achilles Lock with a fierce boot to the face. He climbs the ropes with Eddie…ROPE RUN GERMAN SUPERPLEX BY DAVEY! DUELLING DOUBLE STOMPS BY THE WOLVES! ACHILLES LOCK AGAIN! Claudio kicks him in the face but EDDIE WON’T LET GO! CLAUDIO THROWS DAVEY AT HIM! Davey accidentally clips his own partner with a knee which breaks the hold. DEATH BLOW! Hero pins the World Champion at 23:29

Rating – ****1/2 – Don’t hate me, but there’s a real chance I actually preferred this to their first match. Tag Title Classic 2 was undoubtedly great, but here they trimmed 10+ minutes from their match time, making a lot of the action far more fast-paced and everything was executed with a degree of precision and urgency that just wasn’t there in Kings/Wolves 1. The subtle hints at dissension in the Wolves’ camp were really fun – from not wearing matching tights to Davey not helping Eddie get back into the ring (remember he blamed Eddie for not helping him back in Atlanta) to Richards accidentally costing Edwards the match. I vocally emphasised my displeasure at the decision to hotshot the World Title to Eddie and rush into doing a Davey vs Eddie rematch, but since that’s the direction ROH are going with we may as well enjoy it. The slow breakdown in the American Wolves’ relationship has really entertained me in the past two shows, and it’s the kind of storyline progression I’m surprised (and pleased) that ROH are sticking with now they’ve lost TV.

Shane Hagadorn grabs the microphone and tells Hero to beat Eddie up some more with his title match tomorrow night in mind. Davey makes the save by swinging the World Championship belt at them…unfortunately that means Edwards comes round to see Richards standing in the ring holding his belt. He angrily blames Davey for their loss and points out that he’s not the ‘little brother’ in their friendship…

Tape Rating – *** – This was actually a fun show. My expectations weren’t great going in and, being realistic, a lot of the undercard was poor. But four matches really delivered – and I enjoyed ALL of them more than I expected to. I didn’t think Kings/Wolves 2 would live up to the original and it did. I was pleasantly surprised to see ANX and the Briscoes finally take their feud to another level with a very intelligent grudge match. Generico and Roddy did a great job in amalgamating great wrestling with the need to progress storylines, whilst WGTT vs Cole/O’Reilly was a lot better than many people are giving it credit for. Like I said, some of the undercard is weak, but it’s worth sitting through for those four headline bouts, all of which deliver.

Top 3 Matches
3) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs All Night Express (****)
2) Roderick Strong vs El Generico (****)
1) Kings Of Wrestling vs American Wolves (****1/2)

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