ROH Showdown In The Sun Day 1 3/30/2012

ROH 300 – Showdown In The Sun: Day 1 – 30th March 2012

Here we are at the start of a huge weekend for Ring Of Honor. The company arrives in Florida alongside the WWE and several other promotions, all looking to steal the spotlight and write some headlines with their product. Despite arguably having the weakest roster, ROH have produced two great cards. Tonight’s main event features the big World Title Triple Threat with Davey Richards defending against former champions Eddie Edwards and Roderick Strong. Lance Storm returns from retirement to face Mike Bennett, Jay Lethal defends the TV Title against Kyle O’Reilly, the Dual Duel between the All Night Express and the Young Bucks begins…and El Generico is back for the first time since December looking for revenge on Kevin Steen. Broadcast comes from Ft Lauderdale, FL. Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness provide the commentary.

SIDENOTE – This is the infamous show which marked the start of a horrible run of luck on iPPV for ROH. This show became unwatchable for the majority, with problems ranging from audio out of sync with the video, feeds dropping to an outright inability to connect to the feed at all. ROH would be forced into a hasty, embarrassing apology and eventually blamed iPPV provider GoFightLive for the issues. They dropped GFL as their ippv host after this and took production in house only to run into more embarrassing and damaging issues at Border Wars and Death Before Dishonor as the year progressed. In truth the promotions relationship with its fans is still struggling to recover…

Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Shane Haste/Mikey Nicholls
This is a Proving Ground match that the Australian team earned via their victory in the Rise & Prove tournament last month. The quality of competition is tonight is a huge step up from the OVW teams they beat to win that night in Cincinnati though. They face the seven-time ROH Tag Champions, established as one of the best tag teams of the modern era and completely psyched for tomorrow night when they get their hands on Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team once again.

Haste starts with Mark and it immediately degenerates into a brawl on the floor. Jay gives Nicholls a suplex on the concrete floor for good measure! The older Briscoe doesn’t let up, nearly decapitating Shane with a huge lariat…and in the end TMDK only get a foothold in the match after Mikey trips Mark from the outside. Slingshot double stomp to the floor from Haste and for the first time the Australians are able to lay in some offence – keeping Mark down with a standing moonsault/fist drop combo. Nicholls gets their first significant nearfall with a sliding lariat, but it’s him that loses control of Mark and allows him to get the hot tag to Jay. RUNNING POWERSLAM/POETRY IN MOTION CANNONBALL COMBO! Elevated double DDT combo gets 2 on Jay…before Mark saves with a shotgun dropkick. Froggy Bow nailed and it’s a surprise when Nicholls kicks out. The crowd are loving this, but Mikey has nothing left. DOOMSDAY DEVICE! Briscoes win at 07:23

Rating – *** – Like I said after Rise & Prove, TMDK clearly have a lot of ability. Their time in the NOAH dojo has served them well and they could really be a positive addition to the roster. But the reality is, if they don’t base themselves near enough to ROH’s home territories then they just won’t get booked unfortunately. Just like in Ohio last month, they turned a crowd who didn’t care about them into fans. This wasn’t much more than a formulaic tag opener, but the crisp precision with which all four guys were hitting everything brought the crowd to life. Good way to start the show…albeit the problems with the ippv feed meant very few people actually saw it.

Kevin Kelly discusses Adam Cole’s unsuccessful attempt at winning the NWA Heavyweight Championship from Adam Pearce the previous evening. The Scrap Daddy returns to ROH for a special interview segment with Jim Cornette. Jim wants to know why he used a low blow to beat Cole last night…and so does Adam Cole himself! Both Pearce and Cole demand a rematch right now!

Adam Cole vs Adam Pearce
Obviously the NWA title is not on the line here. The fact that this takes place in ROH is a massive benefit to Cole, since Pearce’s finisher is a jumping piledriver – therefore banned in this promotion. Last night the youngster took Pearce to the limit. Can he get the job done against the former ROH head booker, who hasn’t been in this company in any form since 2010?

Pearce (wrestling in his shirt, jeans and dress shoes) jumps Cole before the bell but it doesn’t stop Cole dropping him with a tope suicida. For the first time in years Pearce is sent flying into the signature metal guardrails. He sensibly takes the fight back inside and lifts Cole into the lights whilst delivering a big chokeslam. KI KRUSHA BY PEARCE…FOR 2! Did I just see that? Cole falls out of the ring which gets him some time to recover. He tries to re-enter with that flying crossbody, but Pearce has that move scouted and rolls out of the way. As the Scrap Daddy busies himself arguing with the fans Cole again gets some recovery time which he uses to good effect this time with a Shining Wizard. Pearce sets up the Jumping Piledriver…only for Todd Sinclair to stop him as it’s a banned move. Cole pounces to roll the NWA champ up and score the victory at 04:31

Rating – ** – This was fine for a filler bonus match. If Pearce was as good in the ring as he is on the microphone he’d have been a huge star and made a lot more money in professional wrestling. Ironically I think his old school gimmick and mentality would mean he’d be a lot more comfortable and suited to the Sinclair era ROH product than he ever was during his run 2005-2010 run here. Instantly forgettable, but it lets Cole get a big win on ppv over the NWA Champion as his rise up the card continues…

Young Bucks vs All Night Express – Tornado Tag Match
Originally it was supposed to be a Street Fight tonight as the Bucks and ANX contest the ‘Dual Duel’. Apparently the Jacksons decided they wanted ‘their’ match to go first and forced ROH officials to back out of the original booking and flip a coin. They got the result they wanted which means it’ll be all four men in the ring at once here…allowing the Bucks to unleash all the signature double teams they want. Titus and King have to wait until tomorrow to throw the rules out the window and beat the hell out of the cocky Californians who injured Rhett’s knee and forced him to miss two months of action.

No handshake, just fisticuffs from the outside. Nick is tossed over the ropes with a huge back drop, and as the Bucks try to retreat ANX give chase with STEREO SOMERSAULT PLANCHAS! Rhett gets up from that limping badly though, and the Young Bucks take advantage quickly by hanging him in the ropes for an elevated double stomp. They look for a toehold/450 splash combo only for Kenny to save with a spinebuster. Slingshot facecrusher from Nick gets 2. Less than four minutes in and it’s clear that the Jacksons are perfectly suited for Tornado rules. They hit a swinging neckbreaker/backbreaker combo on King, with Matt then making sure Titus can’t make the save as he drops him with a pescado. They can’t keep him out forever though, with Rhett eventually sliding through King’s legs into an attack on both opponents. Cradle suplex from King to Matt…then SHOTGUN KNEES! Double superkick by Matt and Nick, instantly followed by STEREO 450 SPLASHES FOR 2! More Bang For Your Buck countered…then Matt blocks King’s Capo Kick with a superkick to the mouth. As he celebrates that, Rhett sneaks in and pins him at 08:38…

Rating – ** – How deflating was that finish? Of course the Young Bucks were awesome in this environment, but this felt like it was just getting going when it ended out of nowhere. Crowd hated the finish, as I’m sure the rest of the world would do if they could actually see the show. I don’t think it makes much sense either. ANX (Rhett in particular) hate the Young Bucks for their actions at the end of 2011. Why would Titus want to win a supposed ‘grudge match’ with a roll-up rather than continue the fight so he could do more damage on the team that injured him? The booking was strange and definitely hurt what had been an entertaining encounter

Nick didn’t like that at all and wastes no time attacking Rhett’s knee with a steel chair. Titus is clearly hurt but refuses medical attention and hobbles to the locker room unassisted.

Tommaso Ciampa and The Embassy Ltd, who aren’t booked this evening, interrupt proceedings. RD Evans promises Ciampa will return the TV Title to Jay Lethal tomorrow afternoon whilst Prince Nana dances around like a clown. Is Ciampa injured? Why isn’t he working tonight?

Jay Lethal vs Kyle O’Reilly – ROH TV Title Match
Despite the lack of a championship belt, this one is for Lethal’s TV Title. O’Reilly has been pissing people off for weeks with his whining about respect and loyalty. But he hasn’t picked up too many victories – ending up on the losing end of the Young Wolves Rising tag main event in New York, then getting eliminated from the Blind Destiny Challenge by Michael Elgin. His ROH career is littered with great performances in losing efforts. Can he turn it round and finally win the big one this evening?

Tommaso returns to ringside to watch this. The two competitors seem remarkably evenly matched in terms of both stature and skill set. Kyle obviously has great mat skills, but Lethal shows real resourcefulness by clinging on to a wristlock and not letting the Team Richards member control him. After a few minutes the champion quickens the pace, hitting a tilta-whirl backbreaker and a Russian legsweep as O’Reilly struggles to deal with him. Kyle is just as capable when it comes to big spots and submissions though, rattling through a backbreaker and gutbuster in quick succession before trapping Jay in abdominal stretch. Lethal gets some distance with a springboard dropkick which knocks the challenger out of the ring. O’REILLY WITH A KICK COMBO ON THE STAGE! It’s evident O’Reilly is targeting the ribs as he locks onto an octopus stretch – clearly fearful of the explosive offensive combinations Jay can string together. Guillotine Choke applied, forcing Lethal to carry his weight on that injured midsection. COUNTERED TO THE LETHAL COMBINATION! The stupid twinkies thing has come to Florida by the way. O’Reilly shapes up to counter the Lethal Injection so Jay quickly modifies to the handspring elbow for 2. They fight up the turnbuckles and come down ugly thanks to an O’Reilly back superplex. The challenger seems to think he has it won and starts dishing out disrespectful bootscrapes. Lethal COUNTERS another kick combo and levels him with a superkick! LETHAL INJECTION! Jay retains at 11:30!

Rating – *** – I’ve received a lot of emails criticising my propensity to overrate Jay Lethal and Kyle O’Reilly matches, so throwing the two of them together probably doesn’t do me any favours. Unsurprisingly, I really liked this. I’m disappointed they didn’t go longer, and I’m disappointed that they never really got the chance to kick into top gear too – but this was a really solid midcard bout. These two are amongst the most reliable and consistent in-ring performers ROH has right now and they brought the goods, going back and forth with admirable energy. I’d definitely be up for a rematch, and I’d like Kyle to start following Adam Cole’s lead and pick up some victories. His new whiny heel character is on the money, and his wrestling skills continue to grow astoundingly quickly considering how young he is.

Caprice Coleman/Cedric Alexander vs Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin
This is an immediate rematch of the encounter between these two teams this week on Sinclair TV. Alexander and Coleman scored a shock victory, although they were assisted by Jay Briscoe who knocked Haas out cold with a steel chair in the climactic moments. WGTT don’t take defeat lightly and just 24 hours before their big Tag Title showdown with the Briscoes they are looking for revenge on C&C for what they perceived to be an embarrassing defeat.

It’s not a good start when Haas botches coming through the curtain – just saying. Caprice and Cedric try to follow the Code Of Honor, and in a totally different scene to TV this week, Haas and Benjamin are taking this very seriously…and move to attack them. C&C actually get the better of them, stringing together double teams which scatter the former Tag Champions. Finally Haas elevates Caprice from the floor to the apron where Benjamin is waiting with a big superkick. Charlie immediately makes it worse with some short-range punts to the head and chest. WGTT look to work Caprice’s ribs, with Haas delivering a guardrail back suplex just like he did on television. As Kelly says on commentary – the early excitement and momentum C&C built up is completely gone now, and the bout is moving in slow motion as the veteran team look to press home their advantage. Haas catches Coleman going for an ill-advised springboard manoeuvre to deliver a rugged (read ugly as f*ck) powerslam. This goes on for endless minutes until Caprice at last springboards into the crucial tag to Alexander. Springboard crossbody nailed by Coleman…then the stinger splash on Haas INTO the rolling senton to Benjamin on the floor. Standing super rana/Frog Splash attempted but Shelton makes the save. Charlie drops Coleman on his bad ribs with the Olympic Slam as Benjamin hits the ROPE RUN BELLY TO BELLY SUPERPLEX on Cedric. WGTT get their win back at 10:08

Rating – ** – The match they had on TV this week was better in my opinion. All four guys seemed half a step off tonight, with multiple miscommunications and half botches littered throughout the match. The heat segment on Caprice was brutally dull as well, which just killed the crowd. And, even more annoyingly, having sat through endless minutes of tedious work on the ribs by WGTT, Coleman just no sold it all anyway down the stretch. Neither team covered themselves in glory here

Mike Bennett vs Lance Storm
This is one of the marquee matches on tonight’s card. It’s a huge coup for ROH to entice Lance out of his retirement on such a huge weekend. So when he was paired with Bennett, who is almost universally despised by the Ring Of Honor fanbase, there was outrage. Storm is coming in as he’s watched The Prodigy on television and thinks he’s arrogant, disrespectful and doesn’t show the same heart and dedication that the rest of the ROH roster demonstrates week in and week out..and wants to discipline him as a result. For Bennett, this is a career-defining match. He’s been on the roster since late-2010 and is still waiting for that breakout encounter. I like him, and have defended him in my reviews, on message boards, in emails etc. But, even considering he is stylistically supposed to be the antithesis of what an ROH competitor should be, he has sat back and watched the rest of the guys who came onto the roster with him (the likes of Elgin, Cole and O’Reilly) start delivering 4* plus performances and breaking the glass ceiling. Prodigy is yet to deliver that defining match, and as such has been stuck in the midcard, crapped out on his promise to win a title in 2011 and has never won a ‘big match’. It’s make or break time…

Bennett tries to brush Lance off with a disrespectful handshake, which Storm doesn’t like one bit. He puts Bennett in his place by easily outwrestling him…and forcing The Prodigy to straight up run away. In a twist, Nigel reveals that Lance had a hand in training Maria Kanellis in OVW. It’s completely one-sided with Storm effortlessly picking apart Mike’s arm. Each time Bennett escapes Storm has absolutely no trouble tying him up in another stretch. Even picking up the pace doesn’t work for Bennett as Storm simply springs off the canvas to get amazing height on a vertical dropkick. How about brawling on the floor? No, that doesn’t work either. Storm is a former ECW guy remember! In the end Prodigy grabs the referee and throws him at Lance, then capitalises on the distraction to hit a swinging neckbreaker. Bennett starts winding Storm – drilling the spine into the side of the ring repeatedly. By the way, the crowd are sh*tting on this match even though the opening six or seven minutes have been excellent. Bennett make a point by delivering an even more impressive dropkick and starts to try tiring the older man out by riding him with a chinlock. McGuinness points out how hard Storm is breathing whilst Bennett is still going strong…as proven when he repeatedly stomps on the ribcage. The Canadian fights back, although he’s not moving anywhere near as quickly as he was earlier in the contest. SPRINGBOARD CLOTHESLINE ANYWAY! Bennett blocks the following superkick and drives the wind from his lungs again with a spinebuster for 2. Box Office Smash nailed, but again Lance finds a way to kick out! Like a jerk Bennett teases the Half Crab…so Storm DROPS him with the superkick! Half Crab COUNTERED with a spear from Bennett! Storm plays possum, acting like he doesn’t have much left…then pounces with a dragon screw. HALF CRAB! The fans are begging Bennett to tap but he inches to the ropes right in front of a deeply concerned Maria! Was that Lance’s last effort though? He sluggishly clambers up the turnbuckles and doesn’t see Maria holding Bennett’s leg down as he tries a superplex. AVALANCHE BOX OFFICE SMASH NAILED! STORM KICKS OUT! The Prodigy is in disbelief and screams at Lance to die! STORM SLAPS HIM IN THE FACE! TKO! Finally Bennett beats the legendary Lance Storm. 16:18 was your time

Rating – **** – F*ck it. Most reviews I’ve read have only gone ***1/2 on this, and I can understand why. But I’ve been a fan and defender of Mike Bennett since he came into ROH and seeing him produce a great match on a big stage with Lance Storm was really pleasing. I’ll tell you why I was extra generous and went to 4* on this – because even if the wrestling wasn’t necessarily amazing, the story they were telling was absolutely superb. This was completely the right story for this match, with Lance making Bennett look like a little b*tch, Bennett cheating to get the advantage then looking to work his obvious advantage in stamina over his 43 year old opponent. I’ve also seen it written in most reviews that the avalanche Box Office Smash should have ended the mach…but I disagree on that. The pop Lance got for kicking out was awesome. That was money…and the pay-off for the entire match came in those next few moments as an exhausted Storm defiantly didn’t want to lose, and the disbelieving, previously arrogant Bennett had to literally beg Storm to let him win. That moment where Lance kicked out then slapped Bennett in the face was fantastic. I said at the start of this one it was make or break for Bennett – and time for him to deliver a big performance in a big match. Even the fiercest of critics must agree this was the outstanding performance of his ROH tenure thus far.

Standing ovation for Lance Storm. He has to take a lot of the credit for leading Bennett through that one. Their handshake seems genuine…until Bennett drops him with one last Box Office Smash!

SIDENOTE – Whichever doofus at Sinclair decided not to give El Generico the money he’d have wanted to sign an SBG contract needs to take note of how the crowd lights up and breaks out into ‘Ole’ chants as soon as his match is announced. Generico genuinely could be a huge draw for ROH…

Kevin Steen vs El Generico – Last Man Standing Match
Showdown In The Sun marks the first time we’ve seen Generico since Final Battle 2011. That night he saved Jim Cornette from Kevin Steen…only for Steen to put him on the injured list with a Package Piledriver through a table. Everyone knows the history between these two – former tag partners, former ROH Tag Champions that then spent 2010 embroiled in a vicious blood feud after Steen turned his back on the Generic Luchador at Final Battle 2009. Their Fight Without Honor a year later in the Hammerstein remains one of ROH’s best ever matches. El Generico won that one, and is coming for revenge again tonight…as well as being charged by Cornette with doing enough damage to Kevin Steen that he can’t win the World Title tomorrow afternoon in his Blind Destiny match (if Edwards wins the main event this evening).

YAKUZA KICK FROM GENERICO! TURNBUCKLE EXPLOIDAAAAA! SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! Steen, who came out attacking pictures of Cornette and screaming at the crowd, just didn’t see that coming! He tries to strangle Generico with a Canadian flag but that barely keeps the luchador at bay before he slams him into the guardrails and pulls out a turnbuckle wrench and spare set of ring ropes from under the ring! Steen’s nose is already bleeding and he’s yet to get a foothold in the match at all. MOUNTED HISPANIC PUNCHES! It’s not the usual ten so the crowd can count along in Spanish, Generico has to be pulled off as he beats the sh*t out of his former partner. He tries a slingshot only for Steen to COUNTER with a mid-air Ace Crusher. He follows up with a steel chair to the back and quickly begs Generico to get up so he can do it again. CHAIR-ENFORCED CODEBREAKER! SOMERSAULT LEG DROP ON THE CHAIR TOO!

Generico has been knocked loopy, and as he goes for the rope run tornado DDT he finds it countered with a mid-air backbreaker! CANNONBALL SENTON WITH A CHAIR! Steen and Generico are, by some distance, the most over guys on the ROH roster tonight – this crowd just haven’t sat down. To the floor again – for a horrific POWERBOMB INTO THE APRON! Steen starts swatting fans away as they try to help him back to his feet – that’s the level of connection these guys have with the crowd! YAKUZA KICKS FROM GENERICO! Steen retreats up onto the stage and into the crowd to get some distance! MICHINOKU DRIVER ON THE STAGE! Had Steen not fallen off the stage there’s no way he’d have been able to get back to his feet! GENERICO DIVES OVER THE ANNOUNCE TABLE INTO A FREAKING SOMERSAULT PLANCHA OFF THE STAGE! And he’s not done! HE WALKS THE GUARDRAIL INTO A TORNADO DDT ON THE FLOOR! He thinks he’s won it and looks shocked when Mr Wrestling drags himself back up. He thinks about a Brainbuster through a table but it takes too long to set it up! STEEN WITH A SOMERSAULT PESCADO THROUGH THE TABLE! Generico barely avoids defeat…but recovers quickly to hit a NECK DROP HALF NELSON SUPLEX THROUGH OPEN CHAIRS!

This match is absolutely nuts! These guys are trying to kill each other! CRADLEBREAKER THROUGH A CHAIR BY STEEN! Steen climbs to the top rope looking to finish it off…SO GENERICO HITS HIM WITH A YAKUZA KICK! He falls through the timekeeping table as we approach 20 minutes of non-stop insanity! The crowd aren’t even cheering for anyone now, simply chanting ‘YES’ in delight that the match is continuing. HALF NELSON SUPLEX! NO SOLD! BRAINBUSTER COUNTERED! F-5…COUNTERED TO THE BRAINBUSTER! Both men are down, but slowly they struggle back to their feet and grab a chair! CHAIR DUEL! Generico drops to his knees, and we’re at Final Battle 2009 all over again! Before Steen can nail Generico with the chair Jimmy Jacobs sprints out and begs him not to. HEAD DROP HALF NELSON SUPLEX ON A CHAIR! Jimmy hands Generico a chair to finish the job…THEN SPIKES GENERICO IN THE FACE! HE’S EVIL! A portion of the crowd chant ‘welcome back Jimmy’ which is just awesome. Steen watches in delight as Jimmy SMASHES HIM IN THE FACE WITH A CHAIR! The slow count begins…and Generico is counted out at 23:24

Rating – ****1/2 – Steen and Generico now present a major dilemma to promoters across the independents. On the one hand, they are absolutely spectacular together and deliver guaranteed box office. But, on the other hand, the jaw-dropping quality of their feud ending matches in both PWG and ROH means that they set an insanely high bar for themselves. They could easily have gone out there, thrown in a few chair shots and table spots and sent the crowd home happy. But, with the legacy of their stunning Fight Without Honor to live up to, they went out and did their best to deliver the best match of the entire weekend. I’ve never seen a hardcore ‘stunt show’ match like this wrestled at such a crazy pace. Normally you get the sick spots, and a rest period in between whilst the two men catch their breath. Not tonight, as these two just tore each other apart from the first bell with a hatred so intense that they just kept getting up and trying to do more damage to their opponent. Of course, it wasn’t as good as Final Battle 2011, and the Jimmy Jacobs ending did damage it a little (albeit the Jacobs turn is awesome too). But this was absolutely worth the price of the DVD…and in a slow year for ROH will surely still be up there with the best of 2012 come year end.

In the aftermath of that violence, Jimmy Jacobs kneels in the ring in a trance – the evil he has kept at bay for the past year flowing back through him at last.

Davey Richards vs Roderick Strong vs Eddie Edwards – ROH World Title Match
Incredibly, these three men have to follow the last match. It’s a battle between the current and two most recent Ring Of Honor champions; pitting the three men who carried ROH through 2011 with some spectacular performances against each other. Davey, the reigning champion, has teamed with both opponents in the past. He’s also feuded with them both and shared some absolute classics over the past couple of years. Eddie and Roderick have also put on some memorable bouts in the last 18 months so there’s no love lost there either. This one could be too close to call.

Roderick is clearly concerned about whether the Wolves will join forces against him, so he attacks both of them at the bell. Richards disposes of him with a big kick and stares down with Edwards for the first time. They waste no time tearing into each other with Martini restraining Strong on the floor telling him to relax and recuperate. Eddie nails the Climbing Wizard and takes the first significant advantage of the match. Strong is still watching on the outside, and waits until Davey turns his back and traps Eddie in a Cloverleaf before sliding in and kicking him in the face. As he recovers it’s time for Roddy and Eddie to do battle – which of course means a number of ferocious chop exchanges. DOUBLE CHOPS on Davey, who doesn’t like that one bit and breaks out a toehold/northern lights combo! All three hit the deck after another vicious three-way strike duel; the match still racing along at a chaotic pace. Kawada kicks from Richards to Edwards…who shakes them off and SLAPS HIM! Roderick, who just watched that whole encounter, joins the party and we get a CHOP/KICK/ELBOW DUEL! The Wolves tease their old stereo kick spot, only for Strong to duck and them to knock shins! Edwards looks to take charge by hitting a tiger suplex on Richards then the Backpack Stunner on Strong…so Roddy back drops him to the floor!

Death By Roderick COUNTERED to the Anklelock, then the Trailer Hitch! Davey’s head is exposed so Edwards starts kicking him in the face! ANKLELOCK ON EDDIE! Keep in mind he’s still got Strong in the Strykerlock too! I am slightly confused as to why these guys keep breaking each others holds though – it’s elimination rules. BACK SUPLEX ON THE APRON FROM STRONG! TOPE SUICIDA BY RICHARDS! ASAI MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR BY EDDIE! DIE HARD ON STRONG! FOR 2! Davey runs the ropes with ease to hit the SUPERPLEX CROSS ARMBREAKER! RODDY PUTS HIM IN THE STRONGHOLD! Eddie breaks that…DOUBLE ALARM CLOCK by the Wolves! Strong no sells it into the SICK KICK for 2! NECK DROP DRIVER from Strong to Davey, who recovers to hit a German suplex…whilst leaving him exposed to a DOUBLE STOMP! SPINNING BACK FIST! Strong kicks out! POWERBOMB LUNGBLOWER FROM THE WOLVES! Elgin tries to help…so Eddie literally throws Martini at him! Strong uses the distraction to eliminate Edwards at 17:52! Richards and Strong are the final two, with the Floridian nearly taking it right there with the Sick Kick. DEATH BY RODERICK! GIBSON DRIVER! TWO COUNT! Out of nowhere Davey sprints across the apron and PUNTS Truth in the chest! DOUBLE STOMP COMBO! GIBSON DRIVER ON RODERICK! KNOCKOUT KICK! Richards retains the World Championship at 21:02

Rating – **** – Triple Threats don’t tend to be my favourite kind of match (I’ve rarely seen anything get close to the brilliance of Ki/Danielson/Daniels from Era Of Honor Begins), and I’d read some unenthusiastic reviews of this match. That, combined with burnout from the Steen/Generico match meant I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. I’ll happily admit to being wrong, and congratulate all three of them on a tremendous main event. I don’t understand why they kept breaking each others pinfalls – and if they wanted to do that why not just remove the elimination stipulation? But that’s a minor quibble. They came up with a number of fun and innovative three way spots, lots of familiarity countering (which I always love), and the occasional American Wolves reference certainly helped too. It was definitely at the lower end of the 4* scale, and won’t trouble the MOTYC scorers, but all three deserve congratulations for producing a match like that when given the unenviable task of having to follow the brutal Last Man Standing fight that came before.

Now knowing that he has a title shot tomorrow night, Michael Elgin storms the ring and attacks Davey. SPIRAL BOMB NAILED! It’s clear that Unbreakable has no intention of handing his title shot over to Roderick Strong…who looks completely pissed.

Tape Rating – *** – A lot of guys have this down as their top ROH show of 2012. Personally I thought the 10th Anniversary Show was better. Admittedly the triple main event tonight was awesome, but the undercard was pretty mediocre. Lethal/Kyle wasn’t bad, but the ANX/Bucks and WGTT/C&C tags disappointed me and killed the flow of the show – where as the Young Wolves Rising DVD didn’t have a bad match on it and just got better and better as the night progressed. That said, this is still an essential purchase for ROH in 2012. Bennett’s breakout match, another Steen/Generico classic and a surprisingly fun World Title Match – that’s money well spent in my opinion. And since you’re not watching it on ippv you don’t have to worry about ROH’s sh*tty feed screwing you over!

Top 3 Matches
3) Mike Bennett vs Lance Storm (****)
2) Davey Richards vs Roderick Strong vs Eddie Edwards (****)
1) Kevin Steen vs El Generico (****1/2)