ROH 9th Anniversary Show iPPV February 26th, 2011 Chicago Ridge Park District, Chicago Ridge, Illinois Attendance: 1,500 +/-
Hello again everybody and welcome to ROH's first iPPV broadcast of the year 2011, we are live from Chicago with a huge crowd of around 1500 reportedly. The big stories tonight are Roderick Strong defending the ROH World title against Homicide in a Street Fight grudge match, while the Kings of Wrestling defend the tag team titles against the All Night Express. Also tonight we've got Christopher Daniels versus Eddie Edwards in a 2/3 Falls match for the ROH TV title, and in our main event a dream tag team match between Shelton Benjamin/Charlie Haas and the Briscoe Brothers. Great build to this show and we'll learn a lot about what direction the company will take in 2011 tonight, with this being the first show to truly be 100% the booking work of new booker Delirious (AKA Hunter Johnson). Let's get started.
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak
Davey Richards vs. Colt Cabana
Colt gets his usual good reaction in Chicago while Davey continues to be one of the most over guys on the roster. Considering how much everyone wanted to see Davey win the World title in 2010, it's puzzling as to why he was booked into an opening match with Colt for a big show like this, so I hope they don't wait too long on pulling the trigger on Davey as champ. Good choice for the opener here with two big faces starting us off. Wristlock from Colt to start but Davey quickly counters with one of his own. Cabana uses some nifty footwork to avoid the stiff kicks of Richards in the early going. Rollup from Colt gets two and Davey tries for the ankle lock, but Cabana evades. Colt chases Davey to the floor and then Davey gets a running start and comes out with the suicide dive on Colt, key word: suicide as that was almost Benoit-like with how fast he launched his body out of the ring into Colt. Back inside the ring Davey tries working a modified LaBelle lock but Colt evades. Davey works a modified armbar for a bit, simply slamming his boot onto Colt's fingers on the mat. Davey slaps on a chinlock briefly and then goes back to the armwork. Back suplex from Davey slams Colt right on his own arm. Richards comes off the top but Cabana gets the feet up, slamming them right into Davey's face. Big right hands from Colt but Davey comes back with stiff kicks. Quebrada from Cabana into a pin attempt, 1-2--NOO! Davey kicks out at two. Davey tries for a frankensteiner off the top but Colt hurls him up onto his shoulders and then just drops him on the turnbuckle. Huge moonsault from Colt! 1-2---NOOO! Davey kicks out again. Missile dropkick to the back of Colt's head and Davey is fired up now. Diving headbutt from halfway across the ring, but only for two. Davey transitions right into the cross-armbar though, but Colt counters with the Billy Goat's Curse! Back-bridge rollup counter from Davey, but Colt breaks it up. Big German suplex from Richards, but again Colt kicks out! Tornado DDT from Richards and he maintains his grip on Colt, giving him a Falcon Arrow and then transitioning right back into the juji gatame armbar again which is enough for Cabana to tap out at 12:12! Great opener here to fire the crowd up with two guys the fans absolutely love. Colt wrestled seriously here, showing off some of that great wrestling he used to be known for. Slap on a hot finish and you've got a perfect opener. ***¼
After the match we get one of the Top 5 Greatest Moments in ROH history, this one being CM Punk's emotional farewell after being signed by the WWE, which is a hell of a moment if you've never seen it. Weird and kinda cool to hear Gabe Sapolsky doing the commentary during that match again.
Four Corner Survival Match Steve Corino vs. Kyle O'Reilly vs. Mike Bennett vs. Grizzly Redwood
So this is a bit of a thrown-together match. O'Reilly is a guy to keep your eyes on while everyone knows the veteran Corino. Bennett is a newcomer to ROH and has pissed off virtually everyone in his short time in the company so far, while Redwood is just as useless as ever. This is one fall and you have to tag in. Corino and Redwood start us off with a side-headlock. O'Reilly tags in and tags Corino with a few quick kicks, which Corino responds to with open-palm strikes. Powerslam by Corino and Mike Bennett gets the blind tag in. Nice standing dropkick from Bennett who taunts the crowd. O'Reilly boots Bennett off the apron and then sends Redwood into Corino's boot weakly. O'Reilly sprints off the other side of the apron though with a big flying dropkick to Bennett! Redwood follows him out with a tope, and then Corino teases doing a tope which the crowd loves, but Bennett cuts him off with a lariat. Brutal Bob Evans tries to get a cheap shot on Corino on the outside, but Bennett just tosses him into the guardrail instead. Back inside Bennett gets a quick two. Redwood and O'Reilly tag in now and Redwood delivers a big hurricanrana and then a bridging German suplex to O'Reilly for two. O'Reilly hits an awesome trio of butterfly suplexes on Redwood and the crowd pops for him, but Redwood kicks out at two. Bennett tosses O'Reilly off the top and then Corino tags in and starts playing the babyface to Bennett's heel, which is just weird after so many years of Corino being a heel. Big DDT/STO combination on both Redwood and Bennett from Corino. All four men are in the ring now, trading moves. O'Reilly is fired up and tries fighting off all three men, superkicking Bennett into the corner. Bennett hits the Awesome Coolness (side-slam) on Corino for the 3 count at 11:03. Not bad, O'Reilly and Bennett both looked very good and it's clear they're going to be recieving big pushes in the future, so this match helps build to that. **
We get another one of the Top 5 moments in ROH history, this time the main event of the very first ROH show between Christopher Daniels, Bryan Danielson, and Low-Ki. Classic match if you've never seen it.
El Generico vs. Michael Elgin
So I'm not really liking how Generico is starting off 2011. He should be getting a serious singles push, but instead he's facing an unknown like Elgin here tonight. Elgin is built pretty well and reminds me a bit of Adam Bomb with a buzz cut. Big chops exchange to start between both men. Elgin keeps trying to use his power advantage to toss Generico around but to no avail. Truth Martini prevents Generico from giving Elgin a tope outside the ring and gets some nice heat for it. Elgin tosses Generico to the floor and tries for a bodyslam but gets tossed into the steel post instead. Generico applies a wristlock and leaps from the floor to the top of the guardrail, launching off of the steel rail onto Elgin in an attempt for a tornado DDT, but Elgin hangs onto Generico and runs all the way to the other end of the ring, slamming Generico into the guardrail on the other side at full speed! Awesome sequence of moves there. Back inside the ring Generico tries to mount the comeback, avoiding Elgin's power moves and sending him to the floor, where Generico is finally able to hit the big tope con hilo without Truth Martini trying to hold him back. Big cross-body off the top back inside gets Generico a quick two count. Generico hits the swinging DDT off the turnbuckle, but again Elgin kicks out at two. Wrist-clutch suplex gets Elgin a two count of his own. Big fallaway sidewalk slam, but Generico kicks out again as the "Ole" chant starts up. Elgin turns him inside out with a lariat, but Generico still kicks out before the three. Half-nelson suplex from Generico! 1-2--NOO! Elgin kicks out. Truth Martini tries to get involved and the ref takes a small bump. Elgin tries to wake the ref and Generico rolls up Elgin from behind for the pin at 10:28. After the match Roderick Strong hits the ring and beats down Generico with Elgin. Pretty good showcase for Elgin here as he showed impressive power and worked well with Generico's high-flying offense. Pretty decent. **¼
After the match Roderick Strong gets on the mic and says what they just saw was a preview of what he's going to do to Homicide tonight. He gets some decent heat here until Homicide hits the ring and says he's not waiting for later tonight and wants to have their match RIGHT NOW, and Strong obliges, so that leads us right into our World title match...
ROH World Title No Holds Barred Barrio Street Fight Match Roderick Strong (C) vs. Homicide
The match officially starts with Homicide flying out onto Strong with a tope con hilo as the bell rings frantically! This was a good choice to have this title match go on at the half-way point in the show instead of the main event, as people would rather see this match get a chance to be a surprise in the midcard than be underwhelming as the main event. Strong and Homicide start brawling into the crowd almost immediately, and Truth Martini gets a few cheap shots in with Strong as Dave Prazak and Kevin Kelly plug their Twitter accounts. Homicide misses a chairshot on Strong and they begin fighting in the aisle way. They finally make their way back to the ring where Homicide starts laying in closed fist shots to Strong in the corner, biting a chunk out of his forehead while he's at it. Bulldog face-first into the folding chair from Homicide, who teases taking out the ref with the same chair. They begin fighting outside the ring again, with Homicide dropping Strong throat-first onto the steel barricade. Strong tosses Homicide into the air and slams his back on the edge of the ring apron, notoriously known as the hardest part of the ring. Kind of boring brawling here in the early going. Big Homicide chant starts up as Strong chokes Homicide back in the ring. Martini tosses in a few chairs and Strong sets them up in 3 different corners. Strong goes for the Three Amigoes suplex trio on Homicide and the crowd gives him heat for it. Say what you will about Strong as a world champ, he's taken to the role of main event heel with relish. Overhead belly-to-belly suplex from Homicide. Strong gets thrown into a few of the steel chairs set up in the corners, his head smashing into the steel one after another as the crowd cheers on. Exploder suplex gets Homicide a two count. Strong grabs a table from underneath the ring and tosses it into the ring, as we see Roddy going out of his element into Homicide's world of hardcore wrestling. Strong tries for a Gibson Driver into the table but Homicide counters with a swinging DDT through the table! 1-2---NOOO! Strong kicks out! Homicide tries for the ace crusher off the top but Truth Martini gets involved and suddenly Michael Elgin hits the ring. Homicide disposes of him instantly and then hits the ace crusher off the top! Lariat from Homicide! 1-2---NOOO! Truth Martini saves the title for Strong. Homicide gives Martini an Ace Crusher, but then Strong hits the Sick Kick and then a vertical suplex-backbreaker combo and gets the three count on Homicide to retain at 14:45! Alot of people were worried about this match, but I think they delivered what they set out to here---a hardcore match that let Homicide hit some signature spots and Strong retain the title through outside interference. Pretty basic hardcore stuff, but the crowd was hot and it picked up towards the end. ***
We look at another one of the five greatest moments in ROH history, this time Kevin Steen turning his back on his longtime partner El Generico., followed by the Bryan Danielson-Nigel McGUinness United title unification match from 2006. Both great moments in their own ways.
Sara Del Ray vs. MsChif
There are reports that since Delirious has taken over as booker that he wants to start giving the ladies more exposure, and if they would actually let these two women wrestle 10-15 minutes and work an actual feud, I guarantee it would blow both the WWE and TNA's women's divisions right out of the water. MsChif grabs Sara's arm to start and gives her a backbreaker for a quick cover and a one count. MsChif rolls out of a bridging pin attempt and then hits a standing moonsault for a quick two. A couple of big boots from Del Ray and she tries for a cocky pin attempt with one knee, but MsChif easily kicks out. Del Ray puts MsChif up in the Gory Special now, bending her in unnatural ways. MsChif counters with a Northern Lights suplex for a near fall and both women bridge off the mat. Del Ray powerbombs MsChif and gets a two. Armbreaker by MsChif gets her a two count of her own. Rolling kick into the corner by Del Ray but MsChif gets a rollup for two. Del Ray hits a wrist-clutch slam that she calls the "Del Razor" and that's enough to put MsChif away at 3:58. Oh COME ON man, we couldn't cut a few minutes off of the four corner survival match for this? Del Ray and MsChif could put on a match that could blow everything else on this card out of the water if given 15 minutes to do their thing, but instead every month they barely get 5 minutes and as a result nobody cares about the Women of Honor "division" and no one will until they start giving these ladies some real time. They've proven they can work in SHIMMER, now give them a chance here damnit. Good for the short time we got though. *¾
ROH World Tag Team Title Match Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli (C) vs. Kenny King/Rhett Titus
This has been building up for awhile now as the All Night Express have transitioned from curtain-jerkers to a serious threat to the Kings of Wrestling's tag titles. This is the All Night Express's big shot here, so if they do well you can expect their push to continue. Hero and Titus start us off with Hero controlling the pace, avoiding Rhett's offense and then tagging Castagnoli in. King tags in as well and Claudio applies a wristlock that King quickly counters out of with an armdrag. Atomic drop and he tags Titus back in. King and Titus trade quick tags, hitting double team moves in an attempt to overwhelm the Kings early on. Claudio eats a pair of kicks from the All Night Express and then they clothesline Hero to the floor. King hip tosses his own partner over the top and wipes out Hero and Claudio. King comes off the apron then with a twisting tope and takes out Hero! Titus tries fighting off both of the Kings but then gets hit with a big European uppercut from Claudio. Hero tags in and slaps an armbar on Titus. They trade quick tags and double team Titus, isolating him in their corner. Roaring elbow from Hero gets a two count. Titus gets the hot tag to King and he cleans house, taking out Hero with a big spin kick. Rolling kick attempt from Hero but King just grabs him and gives him a cradle-leg suplex. 1-2--NOO! Hero kicks out. Rolling kick from Hero hits now and Claudio tags in and knees King in the face for a two count. Big lariat gets Claudio another two as the crowd is really behind the Kings here, chanting for every move they deliver. Claudio tries a chokeslam off the top but King hits a kick and Titus gives him a facebuster off the top rope! Royal Flush from King but Claudio kicks out. Brainbuster from Titus to Claudio and King hits the Shooting Star Press off the top! 1-2--NOO! Hero breaks it up! Shane Hagadorn tries throwing the loaded elbow pad into the ring, but King catches it only for Claudio to attempt the UFO on King and give up halfway through in what's either a botch or legit exhaustion from Castagnoli. Hero grabs the loaded elbow pad and hits the roaring elbow on King, letting Claudio collapse on top of King for the 3 count to retain at 15:55. This was a big match for the All Night Express and they showed they could deliver move for move with one of the best tag teams in the world tonight with Hero and Castagnoli. The loaded elbow pad finish got old 6 months ago, but it makes sense again to use it here. Solid exhibition of tag team wrestling and a moral victory for the All Night Express. ***¼
ROH TV Title 2/3 Falls Match Christopher Daniels (C) vs. Eddie Edwards
Daniels beat Edwards for the belt a few weeks back on HDNet in a great match, and everyone has been clamoring for a rematch ever since. Edwards is coming off of a great trip to Japan where he had a near five star encounter with Kotaro Suzuki. This is a 2 out of 3 falls match, so this should get plenty of time. We have a bit of technical difficulties to start the match as Kelly and Prazak's commentary goes out for the first few minutes of the match, during which Daniels and Edwards work your basic feeling out wristlock process. Commentary is back and Edwards tries an armbar. Edwards drives a few shoulder blocks into Daniels in the corner and then both men trade armdrags and side-headlock takedowns in a great display of counter wrestling. Shining Wizard from Edwards gets a quick two and he tries a chinlock. Edwards hits the face-wash boot into the corner as the ref pleads with him to play fair. Big Saito suplex from Daniels and the crowd starts to come alive. Daniels locks on a triangle choke-like submission hold on Edwards but ends up pinning his shoulders to the mat for a near fall. Russian leg sweep from Daniels. Both men fight to the floor now, exchanging stiff chops at the guardrail. Back inside a snap suplex gets Daniels a two count. Both men jockey for position on the top rope and then Edwards leaps off with a top-rope frankensteiner! Slingshot doublestomp from Edwards on the apron and both men stumble to the outside floor. Edwards climbs to the top rope now and leaps into the front row with a flying forearm to Daniels! Missile dropkick back inside the ring and Edwards nips right back up and hits a superkick-Tiger Suplex combo on Daniels for a two count. Edwards hits a pair of big dropkicks to Daniels while he's tied up in the tree of woe and a big Eddie Edwards chant starts up. Back inside Daniels hits a top rope spinkick for a two count. Burning Hammer (or the "Spicy Drop" from Daniels days as Curry Man) from Daniels! 1-2---NOO! Edwards kicks out! Japanese armdrag sends Daniels upside down into the corner. Both men start trading stiff chops now, but Edwards rolls Daniels into a half Boston crab. Daniels counters into the Koji Clutch! That submission never gets old. They trade half Boston crabs now and then Edwards locks Daniels into a Koji Clutch of his own! Big superkick from Edwards but Daniels rolls him up and wins the first fall at 23:01! No rest period here and Edwards comes back with a flying forearm. Eddie misses a doublestomp attempt on the apron and Daniels gives him a Blue Thunder Driver onto the ring apron! The ring announcer lets us know that there are only 5 minutes remaining in this match with a 30 minute time limit. Edwards rolls back into the ring and eats a big piledriver from Daniels! 1-2---NOO! Edwards kicks out. Edwards counters into the half Boston crab again and Daniels taps out tying us up one fall apiece at 26:48! Ring announcer keeps letting us know when each minute passes as Edwards applies an STF. Top rope frankensteiner from Edwards! Daniels looks hurt there and his head is split wide open after that one. Both men try for a hip-toss and end up both tumbling to the outside floor with Daniels hitting his head nastily on the guardrail during the fall! 30 seconds remain and both men are being counted out of the ring. Edwards rolls back into the ring first but the bell rings as the ref counts to 9 and we have a time-limit draw at one fall apiece at 30:00. Daniels is busted open bad. They really telegraphed the finish with the announcements and the finish was abrupt, but this was excellent stuff before that and Daniels nearly killed himself towards the end there. Better than their HDNet match and about as good a 30 minutes of wrestling as you could ask for. ****¼
After the match Edwards, Kevin Kelly, and several ring officials come out to try and help Christopher Daniels out as Daniels was clearly knocked unconscious at some point here and is extremely groggy and bloody here. Both men get a standing ovation.
Shelton Benjamin/Charlie Haas vs. Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe
This is our new main event after Homicide/Strong went on earlier in the night, and this was really the right call. This is a dream match here and the winner you have to assume will be getting the next shot at the Kings of Wrestling's tag titles. Shelton and Jay start us off with a collar and elbow lock-up. Front chancery from Shelton as both men are really feeling each other out, each man trying for the amateur takedown. Mark tags in now and applies a leg vice grip. Haas tags in and starts working on Mark's arm. Shelton tags back in quickly and we get a dueling chant for both teams as Selton rolls Jay up for a two count. Jay counters a German attempt with a rollup of his own for a two count as well. Huge boot from Shelton gets another two. Haas tags in and the Briscoes trade quick tags, each hitting a fist-drop. Mark slaps a reverse chinlock on Haas for a bit. The Briscoes double-team Haas while Shelton argues with the ref, giving him a back drop onto the steel guardrail outside the ring. Back inside Haas hits a big release German suplex on Mark and he gets the hot tag to Shelton, who goes to work on Mark. Mark comes back with some big right hands and then flips out of a backdrop attempt and tags Jay in. Olympic slam from Haas and all four men are in the ring now. Mark hits a missile dropkick on Shelton and then Haas eats a superkick from Jay. Death Valley Driver from Jay and Mark goes for a Shooting Star Press on Haas, but Shelton leaps straight up to the top turnbuckle in one jump and takes Mark off the top with an overhead belly-to-belly superplex! Big superkick from Shelton nearly takes Mark's head off. Jay grabs Shelton and tosses him into the front row, where Haas follows them and they're brawling in the front row now. Meanwhile in the ring Mark hits a springboard tope con hilo, wiping out all three men in the front row of the crowd! Crowd goes crazy for that spot and it was fun. Back inside the ring the Briscoes hit a leg and elbow drop combo for a two count as Haas just barely breaks it up. Briscoes try for the Doomsday Device but Shelton boots Mark to the outside. Jay Driller attempt blocked by Haas and Shelton comes off the top with a snap neckbreaker, which is enough to score the 3 count at 22:21! Great match here to cap off the show with solid tag wrestling that started off slow and then picked up big time towards the finishing stretch. This sets up Haas and Benjamin to take on the Kings of Wrestling at the next iPPV in April, which was the right choice and should draw very well for the company. ***¾
We go off the air with the Briscoes and Haas & Benjamin shaking hands after the match.
Bottom Line: Another great iPPV from Ring of Honor here and a great way to kick of 2011 and move into the new year. Undercard was a tad bit underwhelming, but Davey and Colt had a good opener. We had some great tag wrestling in the main event and tag title match, as well as a solid World title match and an excellent TV title match. All in all a thoroughly entertaining show and well worth the $15 price tag, Thumbs Up.