Monday, June 27, 2011

ROH Best in the World iPPV (06.26.2011)

ROH Best in the World iPPV 2011
June 26th, 2011
Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City, New York
Attendance: 2,500+

As usual there are some impossibly high expectations for the latest ROH iPPV offering here, but from what I can gather so far those expecations were more than met to some. The big match and main selling point of the show is the ROH World title match between former partners Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards, but there's also some good stuff on the undercard with a four-way dream tag match and Christopher Daniels defending the TV title against El Generico. Enough talking though.

We open the show with Jim Cornette, Kevin Kelly, and Dave Prazak in the ring. They welcome the crowd and say that tonight's show is the highest attendance for an ROH ever, which very well could be true from the look of things. This place is freaking packed just like in the old ECW days. Cornette says that ROH enters a new era tonight since the SBG deal,and he finishes hyping the crowd up and we're off and running into the first match.

Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Colt Cabana

ROH seems really keen on pushing Ciampa it would appear, but I can't say I've ever been really impressed with his work. Colt is doing his usual opening jobbing duties methinks. No RD Evans at ringside tonight? Blasphemy! Lock-up from both men to start. Colt works his usual comedy match here while Ciampa starts getting fed up of his antics. Cabana stomps on Prince Nana's hand at ringside much to my amusement, but then gets dropkicked by Ciampa moments later. Ciampa hits a running knee into the corner and gets a two count. Ciampa blocks a quebrada attempt with his knees but winds up taking the old flip-flop-and-fly punches from Colt. Cabana hits a stiff butt bump (that's a weird sentence to type), but the younger Ciampa seems to have his number. German suplex from the second rope gets Ciampa another close two. Cabana blocks another German and tries for the Billy Goat's Curse, but Ciampa gets to the ropes. Ciampa finishes him off with his finisher, a powerbomb into a lung-blower combination at 7:38. Not a bad opener by any means, but this is pretty much the same Cabana match you could see on any ROH DVD or show that you've watched in the last year. **

Jay Lethal vs. Mike Bennett

This is Lethal's first show since returning to ROH after TNA let him go, and the first ROH show he's wrestled on since August of 2006. Lethal gets a huge pop from the New York crowd and he looks genuinely happy to be here. The fans get their usual "Fuck TNA!" chant in right before the bell rings and even a "Thank you Savage!" chant as Lethal mimics a few of Macho Man's signature mannerisms while Prazak does an awful Savage impression. Bennett gets a ton of heat from these ROH crowds so he's good in that respect. A nice headscissors sends Bennett to the floor and Lethal follows him out with a lightning fast tope. Bennett distracts the ref so Brutal Bob can slam Lethal at ringside behind the ref's back. Ciampa hits a nasty clothesline off the apron that sends Lethal inside out and he continues taunting the crowd. Bennett starts getting sloppy, spending too much time jawing with the fans. Lethal fires uip with some clotheslines and a handspring back elbow. Lethal goes to the top but Bob knocks him silly again and Bennett gives him a superplex for a close two count. Bennett takes too long on the top and misses an elbow drop, so Lethal feeds him a superkick and get a huge Randy Savage elbow drop off the top rope for a big pop and the win at 9:44. This was a fun little match and a great way for Lethal to return and look dominant. The crowd was so into everything he did and Bennett played his role well, but it was still an extended (albeit fun) squash. **¾

No Holds Barred Barrio Street Fight Match
Homicide vs. Rhino

This is Rhino's ROH debut here after being cut by TNA several months back, and what better way to introduce him to the ROH faithful than in a street fight match? Homicide has the distinct honor of not only appearing live on this PPV on the 26th, but also on a pre-taped PPV broadcast that aired later on the 26th for the brand new Urban Wrestling Federation, which has an exclusive contract with Homicide for the next few months, so take a wild guess at who's probably going to win here. Homicide gets on the mic before the match starts and calls Rhino Prince Nana's bitch. Rhino comes out to a big time pop as I'd venture to guess alot of fans in attendance tonight probably remember seeing Rhino wrestle for ECW in this same building. Rhino overpowers Homicide to start but Homicide counters and sends him to the floor. Huge tope con hilo from Homicide wipes out Rhino on the floor! Back inside it only gets him a one count before Rhino is fighting back. Homicide gets sent to the floor and Rhino tries for a slingshot plancha over the top rope, but Homicide moves out of the way. I don't think I've ever seen Rhino pull out a plancha like that before! Homicide drags Rhino over to the time-keeper's table and tries a powerbomb, but Rhino back drops him off the apron and through the table! Rhino pulls out a ladder and tosses it into the ring. Homicide bites a chunk out of Rhino and chases Nana around ringside, giving Rhino a chance to launch him into the steel guard-rail and then pounce him with a running knee. Back in the ring Rhino starts slamming the ladder into Homicide's throat. Homicide counters a suplex attempt into one of his own, sending Rhino back-first onto the ladder! Rhino tries hip-tossing Homicide onto the ladder, but only a section of his shoulder connects with it, so Rhino gorilla slams him onto the ladder again, bending it in a nasty manner. Shoulder-block off the top rope gets Homicide a two count. Rhino blocks a lariat attempt and delivers a nasty piledriver to Homicide, but he gets the shoulder up at two. Despite looking awesome so far in this match, the crowd still gives Rhino heat because of his association with Nana, chanting "Fuck you Rhino!". That's more heat than most ROH heels get already. Homicide flies off the top but only connects with Rhino's knees. Rhino looks for the Gore, but Homicide counters into an ace crusher! Somehow Rhino kicks out. Homicide brings a table into the ring and it gets propped up in the corner. Big belly-to-belly suplex from Rhino and he tries for the Gore on Homicide through the table, but Homicide blocks it and then pins him with a sunset flip at 10:18! After the match Rhino Gores him right through the table anyways and Homicide ends up having to be helped to the back by medical staff, selling the Gore like a gunshot wound. This was an outstanding hardcore brawl here with these two using a few weapons in some creative spots and with the crowd in the palm of their hands the entire time. Give this another five minutes even and this could have been incredible, but as it stands it's still a flat out fun contest and the post-match Gore re-establishes the move as a dominant finisher to the fans. ***¼

Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs make their way out to the ring next and from the moment they get into the ring, the crowd begins chanting "We want Steen!". Corino cuts a promo about how he's an evil man but he's trying to get better, and now he has Jimmy Jacobs to help him out. Corino says that people deserve a second chance, and then introduces a returning Kevin Steen (who was forced to leave ROH after losing to El Generico at Final Battle last December) who was disguised in the upper deck as a fan. Giant pop for Steen and this has been where this whole Corino angle has been heading for all year. Steen tries to jump the barricade to get in the ring, but ROH refs and officials hold him off. Cornette comes out and Steen offers to shake Cornette's hand, and they do just that. Afterwards Steen leaves the building, disappointing the fans but it makes sense angle-wise.

Michael Elgin vs. Steve Corino

Elgin is a guy who I was initially indifferent about but seem to enjoy more and more with each match of his I watch. He's just a great powerhouse wrestler. High angle Saito suplex from Corino but Elgin just gets right back up. Corino does his usual disgusting "thumb in the butt" spot and Elgin hits the floor for a breather. Corino tries for a tope (probably the first one he's tried in years), but Elgin catches him in mid air and then gives him a tombstone piledriver on the floor! Back inside a northern lights suplex gets Elgin a two count. Corino blocks a package piledriver attempt from Elgin ("You don't do the package piledriver asshole!" says one loud fan in a funny moment) and then drags Corino to the second turnbuckle and applies a Boston crab with Corino tied up in between the second and third ropes! Look at Elgin channeling his inner Jericho. Stiff lariat from Corino, but Truth Martini trips him up at ringside and gets chased off by Jimmy Jacobs. Roll-up from Corino gets two, but Elgin gives him a TKO and a Jackhammer suplex, but he doesn't go for the pin. Instead he powerbombs Corino into the turnbuckle and then finishes him off with a spinning sitout powerbomb at 8:26. Another fun little short match here, but the Steen stuff obviously overshadowed it. Elgin looked impressive again though and this went by quickly. **½

After the match Elgin destroys both Corino and Jacobs in a beatdown. Suddenly Kevin Steen hops the rail though and jumps into the ring to help his friend! Big powerbomb on Elgin from Steen and then it's Truth Martini's turn to eat a superkick. More ROH officials hit the ring as Corino grabs a mic and tells Cornette to wait and let Kevin Steen talk. Steen says that he knows he's not supposed to be here, but he just wants to get the chance to apologize to everyone and try to fix his past mistakes. Steen tells everyone "My name is Kevin Steen...and FUCK RING OF HONOR!". He nails Corino with the mic and then gives him the package piledriver! Ooohhh, swerve. I guess this means Steen is returning as a heel once again, which is probably for the best. Great segment.

Intermission time for the show. We get some video packages to hype some of the remaining matches tonight and a few short backstage promos from Christopher Daniels, Steve Corino, and the Embassy.

ROH TV Title Match
Christopher Daniels
© vs. El Generico

Dave and Kevin acknowledge how the TV title has sort of been put on the back-burner as of late as they were waiting to find a new TV deal. Daniels turned heel back at the Wrestlemania weekend shows and aligned himself with Truth Martini's House of Truth faction, so he plays a great spoil to Generico's always lovable underdog babyface. The action almost immediately spills out to the floor where Generico lays in some big chops. Daniels tries to launch him into the steel gaurd rail but Generico leaps onto it instead and moonsaults onto him! Back in the ring Daniels shakes Generico's hand and then eats a slap anyways. Daniels chokes Generico over the second rope and then does the Nature Boy strut, prompting huge "Fuck TNA!" chants. Daniels snaps him over the top rope, calls out a 450 splash...and then just lightly places one knee over Generico's throat. Daniels gets right back up, immensely pleased with himself and tries to start an "I've still got it!" chant. Where the hell has this incredibly playful and fun Daniels been hiding at? Daniels gets sent to the floor again and Generico gets a ton of air on a huge somersault plancha. Back in the ring a Blue Thunder Bomb gets Generico a two count. Daniels locks him into the Koji Clutch, but Generico fights it off so he tries for the Angel's Wings, which Generico counters with a back drop. Daniels hits the Last Rites, but Generico gets the shoulder up! Daniels blocks a brainbuster attempt but eats a Yakuza kick and a brainbuster anyways for a seriously close two count. Generico ties Daniels up in the tree of woe and then hits a flipping COAST TO COAST dropkick on Daniels! He's too close to the ropes though and grabs one to break the pin up. Both men fight to the apron and Daniels just shoves Generico flying off the apron, into the steel guardrail and a photographer at ringside in a nasty spot. Daniels gives him a suplex on the floor for good measure and grabs his title belt, putting it on in the ring and ordering the ref to count Generico out, who barely makes it back in the ring at a nine count. Generico hits another a Yakuza kick on Daniels in the corner and then gives him the top rope brainbuster for the win and the title at 19:31! Generico had seemingly lost some of his focus initially after the Steen feud ended, but that changes tonight with his first ROH singles title. This was a heated, hard hitting contest that saw Daniels cutting loose and playing up the heel antics like never before while Generico hit him with small bursts of big offense. The final flurry was too much for Daniels to overcome though, and Generico will look to bring the TV title with him to the first set of tapings for ROH's new TV show. ***¾

ROH Tag Team Title Elimination Match
Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin/Charlie Haas)
© vs. Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli) vs. The Briscoe Brothers (Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe) vs. All Night Express (Kenny King/Rhett Titus)

The Kings come out first with a live performance by the rapper that does their entrance theme. I've always liked their theme, but the guy really wasn't very good live to be honest. Haas and Titus start us off but Titus gets fought off quickly and he tags King in. The fans want Benjamin in so Haas obliges. Benjamin and Haas try isolating King for a while until Claudio tags himself in so the Kings can use the same strategy on King again. Finally King is able to tag out to Titus and work some double-team isolation moves of their own in their corner. Titus gets sent to the corner and the Briscoes tag in and go to work on him as everyone starts jumping in the ring. Haas follows Jay Briscoe out to the floor with a pescado and then Titus wipes them all out with a tope con hilo. Meanwhile Mark Briscoe fights off the Kings in the ring and then launches himself off the top rope with a magnificent soaring moonsault that wipes out half of the teams on the floor! Not to be outdone, Chris Hero is next out with a backwards running moonsault of his own over the top, wiping everyone out again. That leaves Kenny King, but Claudio meets him at the top rope. Both men struggle on the top and out of nowhere Shelton Benjamin leaps from the mat to the top rope and suplexes both men off the top with a double exploder suplex! That was just insane. The Briscoes hop in and go to work on Benjamin while Sara Del Rey helps tend to the Kings. Shelton fights off a side headlock and the Kings tag into the match and go to work on Shelton's legs. Haas gets the hot tag and wipes out almost everyone in the ring and on the apron with forearms and suplexes, but Rhett Titus tags himself in quickly and fights off both of the Briscoes. King tries to help him out but eats a big boot and a double team neckbreaker from the Brsicoes.Titus blocks a Doomsday Device attempt but falls victim to a big Falcon Arrow for a close two. King and Titus hit a double-team kneedrop on Jay and that's enough for them to eliminate the Briscoes at 24:16.

The Briscoes leave disappointed as the Kings and All Night Express pair off in the ring. A nice spin kick on Benjamin gets a two count for Titus. Hero blindly tags in and hits a senton on Shelton for another near fall. The Kings continue their isolation strategy with Shelton in their corner, dishing out a serious beatdown. Shelton hits the swinging spinkick and tries to tag Haas in, but Hero pulls him off the apron. King tags himself in and an STO on Hero gets him a two count. He gives Claudio a spinebuster and catches Hero in the middle of a rolling kick, countering into an overhead leg cradle suplex! The ANX trade quick tags, working over Hero. Stiff rolling elbow gets Hero a near fall, and the crowd seems shockingly quiet for some reason despite the great action they've been watching for nearly half an hour. King hits Claudio with an awesome springboard neckbreaker and Del Rey diverts the referee's attention long enough for Hero to strap on the loaded elbow pad of doom and knock Titus out for the pin at 34:34.

Haas grabs the loaded elbow pad from Hero and tosses it into the crowd immediately after the elimination of the All Night Express. Huge German suplex from Haas on Hero gives him the chance to tag Shelton in, who cleans house. He hits a double DDT on both of the Kings and gets a near fall on Hero. Angle slam from Haas, but Claudio breaks the pin up. Claudio delivers the absolute craziest version of the UFO he's ever done on Haas, and as if that wasn't enough, he gives him an incredible Giant Swing with Hero dropkicking Shelton's face for a near fall so close that it has everyone buying the Kings as the new champs for a second. Claudio gets sent to the floor and Benjamin and Haas deliver a double team spinebuster onto Hero to pin him and retain the titles at 40:10. Once again ROH impresses with their incredible tag team division, this time in an epic four way that showed good pacing by taking it's time going into hyperdrive in the first fifteen minutes or so. Perhaps a bit long, but it's still worth going out of your way to see. ****

After the match the Briscoes return to the ring and take out Benjamin & Haas with steel chairs! The Kings join in on the beatdown as well until the All Night Express hit the ring with weapons to clear off both teams.

ROH World Title Match
Eddie Edwards
© vs. Davey Richards

Normally ROH unfortunately tends to drag some of the great angles that fall into their lap out for too long, but for once we've got a match that everyone has been dying to see and it's without a doubt the key and focal point of selling this entire show to both the fans in attendance and those watching on iPPV. I shouldn't have to explain the Wolves past history together, but to suffice to say the journey to this title match between these two longtime tag partners has been simply epic and stands as one of the best builds to a title match I've seen in quite some time. Both men shake hands to start and go into a nice scientific lock up and basic hold exchange. Davey gets a bit more complicated with a high angle Texas clover-leaf submission, but Eddie gets the quick rope break. Edwards hits an awesome gourdbuster variation but it only gets a measly one count. The action spills to the apron and Davey tries a running kick, misses the first one, and then nails Eddie with a stiff second one. He gets right back up and then flies out seconds later with a tope suicida on Edwards into the guard-rail! Back inside Edwards tries for a backpack chinbreaker, but Davey counters right into a nasty cross-armbar. He transitions into a Fujiwara armbar and then delivers a bridging northern lights suplex for a near fall before going into a kimura. Both men climb to the top turnbuckle and begin exchanging headbutts before Davey delivers a superplex, rolls through on the mat and delivers another suplex and then finishes by transitioning back into the cross armbar. Edwards counters into the Achilles lock and I'm just dumbfounded by how smooth all of those transitions were. Eddie catches Davey half-way through a back handspring and slams him with an overhead suplex. Edwards hits a Fisherman's buster for a close two count as an "ROH!" chant breaks out. Edwards hits a lung blower but Davey counters into another cross armbar. Eddie keeps trying to fight the armbar off but Davey is just ferocious. Richards is sent to the floor and Edwards moonsaults off the apron on to him halfway into the first row! Back inside Edwards hits a missile dropkick but he seems to be favoring his leg now. They fight to the apron again and Davey eats a superkick and a 2K1 bomb onto the side of the ring apron! Both men look dead on the floor. But no you see, they haven't killed each other yet. Oh no, instead Eddie guides Davey onto a ringside table and then comes off of the top rope with the deadliest double-stomp I've ever seen right through the table, and possibly his chest! My jaw actually dropped on that spot. Back in the ring Edwards hits another double-stomp to Davey's back, but somehow Davey kicks out. Davey catches Edwards leg in the ropes with a dragon-screw legwhip and then springboards with a double stomp of his own onto Eddie now! Davey keeps working kicks into Eddie's leg like this was an MMA fight and then lays in a flurry of crazy headbutts onto Edwards on the top rope. Edwards gets a dangerous amount of air from an overhead release German suplex off the top rope from Davey and then eats a stiff kick and another German for a near fall. Davey transitions from a powerbomb into the ankle lock and both men take turns trading ankle locks with one another. Both men fall to the outside again, exhausted by this point. They make it back in just barely and a top rope hurricanrana followed by a powerbomb gets Edwards another close near fall. Both men are totally exhausted here, but a huge lariat from Davey seems to awaken some fire in Eddie. Brutal series of kicks to the head from Davey, but Eddie keeps kicking out, refusing to give up. Finally Davey hits without a doubt the sickest kick to Eddie's face that I've ever seen in my life, and that's enough to get Davey the 3 count and fulfill his dream of becoming ROH World champion at 36:01! This was everything that we had been hoping for and more. Both guys busted their asses for thirty six minutes and put on one of the most brutal, hard-hitting and intense matches that I have seen this year or any year. You could literally feel how badly each man wanted to win this contest and seeing Eddie keep fighting through the pain and one brutal kick after another was just incredible and made him look like a tough bastard even in defeat. This was the single moment that ROH had been building up to for nearly a year at this point, and it absolutely delivered everything you could have asked for from this match. This very well could be your match of the year folks. ****¾

After the match Davey is understandably exhausted both physically and emotionally. Both men sell just how crazy that match was by taking a ton of time to get up after the medical staff comes in to check them out. They struggle to their feet and Edwards wraps the ROH World title around Davey's waist and they embrace. Davey grabs a mic and tells Eddie to come back to the ring as he tries to take off, and Davey says that Eddie is one of the best in the world and how he's like family to him, but Eddie says that we've already heard Davey talk about how great everyone else is, but tonight is his night and this is his moment to be the best in the world. Davey thanks his grandparents while looking to the sky and we close out the show with Davey celebrating and basking in a moment that had been building up for many months. What a match and moment.

Bottom Line: ROH delivers yet again on iPPV as they usually do, booking several incredible matches that are well worth the $15 asking price for the show. The first few matches were a bit underwhelming albeit fun (though the Homicide/Rhino street fight was great) but once we got to the TV title match, it was non-stop state of the art wrestling from everyone involved. An intense four team 40 minute war and the best ROH title match since last year's Black/Richards Death Before Dishonor encounter, this show absolutely delivered on it's promise to show you some of the best in the world, and it's an easy Thumbs Up.

Score: 9/10

Saturday, June 25, 2011

PWG DDT4 2011 (3/4/2011)

PWG DDT4 2011
March 4th, 2011
American Legion Post #308, Reseda, California
Attendance: Unknown

Every year Pro Wrestling Guerrilla holds a one night tag team tournament to crown new tag team champions in the spring time. This year however, they've changed things up and the winner of the tournament tonight gets a tag team title shot down the line against El Generico and Paul London. As usual the tournament is stacked with entrants including the Young Bucks, American Wolves, Kings of Wrestling, and Briscoes among others. Let's see if they can live up to the quality of past year's events.

Your hosts are Excalibur and a revolving door of color commentators

For once we don't start the show with Excalibur cracking jokes in the ring, we instead go straight to the action of the first match, or lack thereof. The Bucks are on the mic complaining about their accommodations here in Reseda compared to their deluxe trailers in Orlando, Florida with TNA. They continue to call themselves Generation Me (though they're still billed as the Bucks) and bring up their success in this tournament in year's past, including winning the whole thing two years ago. They seem upset about the makeshift tag team they have to face in front of them, so Gatson shuts them up with a wild over the top rope tope suicida, and we're off and running.

DDT4 First Round Match

Young Bucks (Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson) vs. Brandon Gatson/Willie Mack

If you haven't seen Mack, you're in for a treat as he's possibly the most agile and incredible big man I've ever seen. Mack and Gatson show surprising cohesion early in the contest, trading frequent tags and delivering creative double team maneuvers. The Bucks break up a springboard attempt by Gatson and Matt dropkicks him literally into the front row, sliding back five feet in a chair in an almost surreal manner. Luckily the guy in the front row did not spill his pitcher of beer, so no worries kids. Back int he ring the Bucks take the upper hand, working over Gatson in their corner. Just to get some extra heat the Bucks start pulling out trademark Hardy Boyz double team offense, with Matt Jackson even mimicking Matt Hardy's mannerisms circa 2003. This is one of the reasons I love the Bucks, they're fun to watch and they know how to piss off a PWG crowd like no one else. Nick tries the trademark springboard facebuster but Gatson blocks with a knee and nearly gets the overdue tag to Mack before Matt hits the ring to break it up. Nick slaps on the dreaded sleeper but Gatson counters into a slick STO. Matt taunts him so Gatson gives him a stunner and gets the hot tag to Mack! The crowd is really into Mack and goes crazy as he totally destroys both of the Bucks with running lariats in the corner. Matt tries for the infamous handspring back-rake of DOOM but Gatson breaks it up and delivers one of his own to Matt! He follows it up with the space flying tiger drop (or Sasuke special) to Nick out on the floor and Mack nearly wins it with a standing moonsault onto Matt. Gatson and Mack hit a double team neckbreaker that again nearly gets the pin, but Matt kicks out. Mack blocks the Risky Business double team from the Bucks hits another creative double team neckbreaker with Gatson for a near fall. Gatson gets tied up in the ropes and Nick superkicks Mack's face off to give the Bucks the win to advance at 11:37. Bit of an anti-climactic finish to an otherwise fun and hot opener. Mack and Gatson worked very well together for a first time team and the Bucks did their usual brilliant heel shtick with the PWG faithful and the results were an entertaining (if unexceptional) start to the tournament. **¾

DDT4 First Round Match
American Wolves (Davey Richards/Eddie Edwards) vs. RockNES Monsters (Johnny Goodtime/Johnny Yuma)

Both teams show mutual respect before the bell with handshakes all around. A weak kick sends Yuma to the floor almost immediately and we get a chance to see the awesome picture of the mighty Reptar on the back of his trunks. Yuma sends both of the Wolves to the floor with a pair of headscissors and Goodtime greets them outside the ring with a somersault plancha! Back inside the ring the Monsters double team up on Edwards as Joey Ryan asks Excalibur on commentary the timeless question "What are you more afraid of, a wolf or a Reptar?". Edwards lays in some vicious chops to Goodtime in the corner and he and Davey begin trading quick tags, working over Goodtime in their corner. The Monsters hit a series of dropkicks in the corner on Davey for a two count and the crowd fires up as Davey responds with a snap suplex. Davey chokes Yuma a bit with his boot, heeling it up against the California boys. The Wolves hit a double dropkick on Yuma as he's tied up in the tree of woe. Diving knee from Eddie gets two on Yuma and Davey applies a half Boston crab before transitioning right into a nasty old-school Liontamer. Eddie even cranks back on Davey's neck behind him to put even more pressure on the hold! The Wolves are really establishing themselves here as the wiser, more experienced tandem that's just methodically picking the Monsters apart and having a good time doing it. Everything they throw at the Wolves, they have one better. The Wolves begin to get sloppy in their double team efforts though and Yuma is able to get the hot tag to Goodtime after an extended beatdown. He clears house on Edwards with dropkicks and then hits him with a sloppy kneebreaker for two. Falcon Arrow from Goodtime, but Edwards gets the shoulder up! Back on his feet Edwards superkicks Yuma and gives Goodtime a dragon screw legwhip. Davey tags in and slaps the ankle lock onto Goodtime, who reverses it into a cradle for a near fall. Running knee and a back drop suplex get Davey two as well. Yuma hits Davey with a codebreaker and Goodtime follows with a big frog splash, but again Richards kicks out. Edwards tags in but misses a double-stomp and eats a spin kick. The Wolves hit the ring and deliver the superkick-German suplex double team combo on Goodtime, but he kicks out at two to the crowd's shock! Huge lung-blower from Davey and Edwards sinks in a deep achilles lock on Goodtime, who taps at 20:52. Excellent action from both teams here, the Wolves firmly established themselves as the veterans who had all the answers for this young team, while Goodtime & Yuma played the plucky young hometown babyfaces who just might pull it off perfectly here. ***½

DDT4 First Round Match
Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli) vs. The Cutler Brothers (Brandon Cutler/Dustin Cutler)

Claudio is your current PWG World champion here as well to solidify themselves as favorites to go far in this year's tournament. Claudio and Dustin start it off with matching shoulder-blocks, each man trying to display their power in the early going. Hero and Brandon tag in and slow things down with a nice wristlock and Greco-Roman knuckle-lock exchange. Dropkick from Brandon gets two and he tags his brother back in. Both teams are basically just feeling each other out in the opening stages here, with the Kings notably getting the better of the Cutlers on several exchanges. A European uppercut/roaring elbow combo nearly puts Dustin Cutler out and the Kings look like they're having fun. A huge gutwrench suplex from Claudio gets him a near fall. Dustin hits a big tilt-a-whirl bulldog and is able to get the tag to Brandon, who takes out Hero with a spinning heel kick and Claudio with a Thesz press. Jumping ace crusher from Brandon gets a close two and the crowd fires up again. A wheelbarrow/lung-blower combo nearly gives the Cutlers the win, but Claudio breaks the pin up. A pair of roaring elbows from Hero takes out both of the Cutlers and a jumping knee from Claudio gets another near fall. Dustin kicks out of a chokeslam from Claudio and Brandon takes out Hero with a tope. Dustin nearly pins Claudio with a death valley driver but Claudio hits him with the pop-up European uppercut. The Kings hit a huge giant swing dropkick on Dustin, but yet again he somehow kicks out. Finally a pair of stereo big boots from both of the Kings is enough to put Dustin away at 16:21. This was a change of pace from the previous two matches with both teams keeping things more grounded and methodical, but it worked very well in that same context. Another solid tournament match that shows us the Kings outsmarting their opponents yet again. ***

DDT4 First Round Match
Nightmare Violence Connection (Kevin Steen/Akira Tozawa) vs. The Briscoe Brothers (Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe)

Steen and Tozawa had an incredibly brutal match against one another last December at Cyanide: A Loving Tribute to Poison and decided that they worked so well together they would enter this tournament as a tag team. Tozawa and Jay start us off and the crowd is immediately behind Tozawa. They trade some basic headlock and wristlock exchanges. Steen tags in and bites a chunk out of Jay's nose before eating a dropkick and a headbutt from Mark. They knock Tozawa off the apron and double Steen for another two count. They try for a double hip-toss but Steen counters with a double ear-bite! Steen fights off both Briscoes and tags Tozawa back in, who shrieks with every strike he lays in. The crowd starts mimicking every one of his screams and eventually Tozawa gets fed up and just tells the crowd to "Shut the fuck up" in a hilarious moment. He slaps a sleeper onto Jay but he counters with a big spinebuster. Mark hits a leg lariat on Steen and then follows up with an exploder suplex for another close two count. Tozawa and Jay then go into what might be the greatest sequence of the year as each man lays in their own goofy, shrieking, over-the-top version of kung-fu strikes on one another like crazy screaming monkeys, only to have their level-headed partners try to break them up and get caught up in the chaos. Steen blocks the Jay Driller and gets a close two on him with a powerbomb and a shining wizard. Mark gives Steen a big death valley driver and Jay follows with a senton off the top for another long two. Steen gets Jay up in the Doomsday Device position and Tozawa hits a springboard SHINING WIZARD on him for the win at 9:43! This is everything I love about PWG and wrestling in general, packed into a short near ten minute introductory package. From Tozawa and Jay going into an awesome redneck/samurai kung-fu showdown to the explosive finish, this was non-stop fun. ***¼

DDT4 Semi-Finals Match
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson) vs. American Wolves (Davey Richards/Eddie Edwards)

These two met in a great match last year in ROH, so expectations are running high for this semi-finals contest. Nick and Davey start off and Nick is quickly sent reeling back to his brother for consolation, so he gives him a kiss on the cheek and the crowd hilariously chants "That was incest!" at him. The opening portion of this contest is totally focused around the personalities of both teams. The Bucks showing their flashy offense and taunting the crowd arrogantly while the serious Wolves look on with disgust and make the two pretty boys pay for their vanity. Stereo tope suicidas from the Wolves send the crowd to their feet. Back inside Edwards hands out loud chops to the brothers Buck. The Wolves continue to outsmart the Bucks with ease, double-teaming Nick behind the ref's back while Matt complains to the crowd. Matt hits a leg drop (shouting "Hogan!" while he does it) for a two count. Davey takes a beatdown from both Bucks for a bit before evading a German attempt from Matt and getting an overdue tag to Eddie. Tiger Suplex on Nick gets a close two count. Nick is barely able to break up the German suplex/jackknife pin combo from the Wolves, and a follow-up Liger Bomb from Edwards won't do the trick either. A tombstone piledriver from Matt gets a close two on Davey while Nick wipes out Eddie on the floor with a tope. We go into the usual superkicks-bonanza sequence in which everyone in the ring eats and delivers atleast one superkick to one another before the Bucks hit a reverse hurricanrana to wipe out the Wolves and send the crowd wild on their feet. Nick low blows Eddie from behind but they miss More Bang For Your Buck and Nick winds up getting German suplexes 360 degrees off the top rope! Double team wheelbarrow-lungblower combo but Nick breaks it up. Eddie tries the achilles lock, but Matt counters into a cradle and gets the cheap win to advance to the finals at 16:07! Definitely the best tournament match so far in the evening, much like the earlier Wolves match this was a very character-driven match until the finishing sprint when all four men went into some signature jaw-dropping sequences. ***¾

DDT4 Semi-Finals Match
Nightmare Violence Connection (Kevin Steen/Akira Tozawa) vs. Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli)

Steen makes sure to have the ring announcer call them the "Kings of Sexual Intercourse", as if the crowd wasn't behind them enough. Steen and Hero start us off with the Kings trading quick tags and working Steen's leg on the mat. Steen fights them off quickly though and tags Tozawa in, who sheepishly tries chopping Claudio to little luck. The basic story of the match here, as with most Tozawa matches, it that the guy is simply outmatched by the sheer size and power of his opponents, but he keeps fighting back and kicking out despite their best efforts, refusing to stay down. This beatdown goes on for minutes with the crowd doing their best to rally behind Tozawa. He responds with a nasty high angle back-drop suplex on Hero and gets the hot tag to Steen! Codebreaker from Steen onto Claudio and he follows it with the cannonball splash into the corner for a two count. Tozawa sends Hero to the floor and then hits a pair of lightning fast topes followed by a senton off the apron! Big piledriver from Hero back inside nearly puts Tozawa away, but he feeds off of the crowd and refuses to quit. Bridging German suplex from Tozawa, but Hero barely kicks out. A pair of bicycle kicks from Tozawa triggers a roaring elbow from Hero, but Tozawa gets right up at the count of one! The crowd goes wild as Tozawa is a house of fire! Hero misses a moonsault and Tozawa cradles him with a La Magistral to get the upset win to advance at 16:42! The crowd goes wild for Steen and Tozawa's win. Yet another rock-solid tournament contest here with Tozawa playing off his chemistry with Hero from last year's BOLA tournament and bringing a ton of fire and energy into his comeback. Another good match, shocker huh? ***¼

Joey Ryan, the number one contender for Claudio's PWG World Title, is in the ring now. He says he's focused on his singles career, thus he hasn't entered into tonight's tag team tournament. He wants a warm-up match in preparation for his title shot at Claudio, so he's devised a gauntlet match to take place next, with the winner to face him directly afterwards. So here we go...

Joey Ryan Invitational Gauntlet Match
Brian Cage-Taylor vs. Ryan Taylor
vs. Peter Avalon vs. Candice LaRae

There's a 30 minute time limit on the whole thing and we start out with two of the Fightin' Taylor boys, Brian Cage and Ryan. I'm going to just grade this as one big match instead of several small ones. Both men trade some basic mat holds and counter-holds to start off. Both men trade power moves to try and put the other away quickly in order to save energy. Ryan hits a springboard dropkick that sends Brian to the floor and then he topes him right into the third row! Back inside a big swanton nearly gets three for Ryan. A twisting neckbreaker from Ryan is enough to put Cage away, and next out is Peter Avalon. Avalon hits the ring immediately to jump Taylor. He hits a sloppy ace crusher on the ring apron and then follows it with a moonsault. Back in the ring Taylor tries a crossface but Avalon escapes. Taylor tries for the same neckbreaker he used to beat Brian, but Avalon counters into a roll-up and pulls the tights to eliminate Ryan. Out next is the lovely and always popular Candice LaRae. Joey Ryan hits the ring suddenly though and superkicks Avalon, giving Candice the victory tow in the gauntlet and have to face Ryan next at 15:49. Not much of a match obviously, this was clearly the cool-down period on the card before the finals of the tournament, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with having matches like these for that very purpose. **

Joey Ryan vs. Candice LaRae

This is hardly the first time Ryan has wrestled a woman, and he in fact had a very good little match with Christina Von Eerie last year right around this time. Ryan gets on the mic and laughs at his opposition, but Candice doesn't appreciate that and she threatens to make Ryan tap out. Ryan is offended enough that he puts his title shot on the line in this match. The crowd chants "Next world champ!" at Candice, which is bizarre but funny. Candice is cautious to start, picking her spots with cradles and crucifix pinning attempts. A few kicks send Ryan to the floor and Candice follows him out with a tope, grabbing Ryan in mid-air and planting him on the floor with a tornado DDT in the process! Ryan nearly gets counted out but makes it back inside just in the nick of time. A superplex almost wins it for Candice, but Ryan kicks out and she calls for the infamous ball-plex! And she delivers it! BAH GAWD THE BALL-PLEX! Sorry, channeling my inner Jim Ross there. Reverse hurricanrana off the top, but somehow Ryan kicks out again! She misses the moonsault though and eats a superkick before Ryan locks her into the kimura for the submission win at 9:02. This was another fun contest as Ryan always works well against the babyface women in PWG, playing his role as sexist misogynistic pig to perfection. For a brief second people actually thought Candice was going to beat Joey, so you got to give them some credit there. Solid stuff. **¼

DDT4 Finals Match
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson) vs. Nightmare Violence Connection (Kevin Steen/Akira Tozawa)

The Young Bucks are in the finals yet again, having won the tournament two years ago and made it to the finals last year. Total chaos to start as both teams brawl around ringside at the match begins. Steen hits a frog splash off the apron onto Matt and half the crowd parts like the Red Sea. Steen follows it by powerbombing Nick onto the ring apron, and the crowd chants for another so Steen obliges and gives him one more before Matt fights him off with a chair. So of course Steen powerbombs Matt onto the apron as well. Back in the ring Matt goes for his signature handspring back rake, this time using an actual rake! That's genius. The Bucks drag Tozawa over to the apron and give him a double DDT off the apron onto a steel chair on the floor! The DDT is so devastating in fact that a few referees come out to help Tozawa backstage for some medical attention, leaving Steen alone in the ring to take an epic beatdown from the cocky Bucks. Steen tries desperately for the package piledriver on Nick, but gets beaten down with chairs instead. Chris Hero is on commentary and puts over how hurt Tozawa must be in order to have been convinced to abandon his partner. Steen has been busted open now and the Bucks continue the classic heel beatdown, taunting the crowd all the while. You know when I watch just how great of a pair of heels these two can be, I become even more saddened by their booking in TNA. Suddenly, like a knight in shining armor, out runs Akira Tozawa from the back for a mega-monster pop from the PWG faithful! He hits the ring immediately and snaps off a huge German suplex on Nick while Steen applies a sharpshooter onto Matt. Tozawa is fired up now and he German suplexes Matt right on top of Nick! Another Everest German suplex and a roll-through arm capture suplex from Tozawa, but Nick manages to break it up just in the nick of time! Tozawa hoists BOTH of the Bucks on top of his shoulders (one atop the other) and gives them a double Samoan drop as Hero flips out on commentary! Package piledriver from Steen and a Shining Wizard from Tozawa, but Nick breaks it up or else that surely would have been three! Nick wipes out Tozawa on the floor with a dangerous plancha while Steen tries the sharpshooter once again, but Nick hits the ring and feeds him a nasty superkick. The Bucks start hitting one stiff, nasty superkick after another onto Steen, which is the exact same way that the Bucks defeated Steen and Generico to win this tournament two years ago and is one of the ways they advanced to the finals tonight. Steen somehow is able to withstand this crazy barrage of superkicks and kick out at a two count, which pops the crowd big. Steen just keeps eating one superkick after another, but he won't stay down. Tozawa hits the ring and starts swinging blindly like a madman (or as Hero likes to put it, "Fucking shit up") but he eats a double superkick of his own from the brothers. They hit More Bang For Your Buck on BOTH Steen and Tozawa, and that's enough to finally give the Bucks the win and their second DDT4 tournament title at 20:52. You know I didn't like the idea of the Bucks winning again at first, but you have to understand why it was done considering Tozawa's US excursion is coming to an end very soon and he's returning to Japan. This was an absolutely brilliant match though that played off of DDT4 finals in years past while showing off the incredible fighting spirit of Tozawa yet again and establishing Steen firmly as a man who's nearly impossible to put down in PWG. The story of Tozawa leaving and coming back would have been perfect had they wound up winning the contest, but as it stands this was still just an incredible match that capped off another great tournament and solidifies the Young Bucks yet again as one of the most dominant and talented tag teams on the independent wrestling circuit today. ****¼

After the match Steen offers the Bucks a handshake in a sign of respect, but they just superkick him unconscious instead. The Bucks might need some bodyguards, because these fans are about to rip them apart after that. The Bucks get on the microphone and to my absolute shock, they actually thank the fans for coming out tonight. They explain how important the DDT4 tournament was in elevating their careers two years ago in 2009, and then tell El Generico and Paul London that they're coming for their tag belts ("Paul! Put down that joint! El Generico, spend a day or two in the gym and get a tan for god's sake."). We close out the show with the Bucks dedicating their tournament victory to their beloved boss, Dixie Carter!

Bottom Line: This was definitely one of the best DDT4 tournaments yet in PWG history, and that's really saying something considering the strength of this show in year's past. Almost every match on the card hit the *** mark, and the finals produced an easy match of the year contender so far for not only PWG but the independent wrestling scene in general. Another excellent show from PWG, which is becoming almost old news to say at this point as I can't even remember the last time I watched a PWG show and didn't recommend it. Another easy Thumbs Up.

Score: 8.5/10

Friday, June 24, 2011

AAA Triplemania XIX 2011

AAA Triplemania XIX 2011
June 18th, 2011
Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico City, Mexico
Attendance: Unknown

Once a year in Mexico AAA holds what is considered to be their version of "Wrestlemania", called Triplemania. In years past it has produced some great matches and angles, and with my renewed interest in lucha and it's availability to me, I figured it would be fun to review this show. The big matches tonight include a Mask vs. Hair match between LA Park and El Mesias, El Zorro defending the AAA World title against TNA's Jeff Jarrett, and Dr. Wagner Jr. taking on TNA's Rob Van Dam to crown an inaugural AAA Latin American champion. There are also the usual gimmick matches on the undercard (steel cage, TLC, etc) and several big names from TNA have been booked, so it should be a pretty good show and one that American fans shouldn't have much trouble getting into if they don't mind the language barrier.

We open the show with a quick welcome from the commentary team before Konnan comes out to welcome us to the festivities.

La Legión Extranjera (Sexy Star/Mickie James/Angelina Love/Velvet Sky) vs. Cynthia Moreno/Faby Apache/Mari Apache/Lolita

Mickie and her team are the heels here, which is a strange sight for someone used to seeing her play the happy babyface for several years now. Mass chaos to start with everyone brawling and the heels clearing house. Love and Sky hit a double elbow drop on Moreno and things settle down into a regular tag match. Velvet and Love hit the weakest double clothesline in the history of professional wrestling and Sexy Star tags in. Back to chaos as everyone is in the ring pairing off again. Mickie and Lolita do a nice dropkick exchange and the faces ponder beating up on the heel ref. Mickie hits a headscissors out of the corner on one of the Apaches but misses a follow up dropkick. Lolita impresses with an incredibly fluid series of twisting lucha armdrags off the top and then tags out. Huge lung-blower from Moreno on Velvet, but she eats a neckbreaker from Mickie moments later for a two count. A Michinoku Driver II from Faby nearly puts Mickie away but Sexy Star breaks it up with a kick. Sexy Star hits a frankensteiner off the top on Mari while Faby hands out dropkicks. Faby hits a sitout powerbomb on Star for a near fall while Moreno takes out Angelina Love on the floor with a seated senton! Mari is next out with a somersault off the apron and Lolita takes them all out again with a tope suicida. That leaves Faby in the ring, but Mickie jumps her from behind. Faby tries pulling Mickie's hair but the heel ref comes up from behind and pulls her hair instead! Mickie accidentally kicks the ref and then leans Faby back and kisses her on the lips! She plants a shocked Faby with a DDT for the win at 11:04. Evil lesbian heel Mickie James has returned, and we all missed her. This was better than expected but the AAA women really outshined women like Love and Velvet in comparison. The Mickie and Faby segments were really fun though and everyone was really zipping around towards the end, so this worked as an opener. **¾

TLC Match
Electroshock/Heavy Metal/Joe Lider vs. La Maniarquía (Chessman/Silver Cain/Ultimo Gladiador)

Ah yes, the token TLC match on every AAA PPV. These always wind up either being total train wrecks or very entertaining. These aren't your ultra-sturdy WWE ladders either, these are your cheap home depot variety. Heavy Metal is subbing for Nicho el Millonario (better known to American wrestling fans as the original and more famous Psicosis). As you might expect it's total chaos from the start with everyone pairing off and brawling until the first ladder is introduced into the fold. Electroshock looks extra badass tonight with his usual gear in purple. Cain plays helicopter with the ladder around his neck for a bit but then just gets dropkicked into it by Lider. Chessman gets hip-tossed into the ladder next and the thing breaks in half. Half of the participants start setting up really contrived looking constructions out on the floor with tables and chairs while Electroshock works on Cain. Lider splashes one ladder off the top onto Cain (who's underneath another ladder) in the first good spot of the match. Lider hits a senton off the top onto a ladder while Cain wildly starts swinging a chair at anything that moves. Gladiador nails Electroshock with a nasty lung-blower and the rudos take the upper hand for a bit. Lider eats a guillotine legdrop off the top from Gladiador with a chair on his chest. Heavy Metal gets dragged tot he apron and Chessman spears him off of it through a six-chair "table" on the floor! Half of the guys are juicing by now and a table is being thrown into the ring as this just gets more and more chaotic by the passing minute. Some doctors come to ringside and drag Heavy Metal off, so out runs Nicho to take his place! He cleans house with a steel pipe in the ring briefly before getting beaten down himself. Lider and Nicho give Gladiador a Doomsday Device bulldog type of move through one of the propped up tables. Nicho somersaults a chair into Chessman through a table and the camera actually cuts away, missing most of it in favor of shooting AAA officials and security coming down the ramp to remove an unsanctioned Nicho from the match. Luckily Heavy Metal returns just as he's leaving and hits the ring with a new burst of energy. Someone seems to botch a table spot off-camera while a damn cello of all things is thrown into the ring. Yep, TNA is on this show. Electroshock winds up powerbombing Chessman through a table while Metal slams Gladiador through the cello to give their team the win at 15:42. So this fell into the aforementioned "trainwreck" category. I'm not a hard guy to please with a good hardcore match and there's nothing I enjoy more then a well executed spotfest, but this had zero flow and was total chaos in a bad kind of way. I like most of the guys here, but this just didn't work. **¼

The extra hot AAA dancers come out to dance to Lady Gaga in between matches.

Los Bizarros(Cibernetico/Charly Manson/Billy el Malo/Escoria) vs. El Inframundo (La Parka/Dark Ozz/Drago/Octagon)

Drago is still very new and as you might have guessed comes out in a really intense dragon costume, complete with huge wings, forked tongue, and menacing eyes. The La Parka here is La Parka II, not the original chairman of WCW fame who will wrestle later on tonight. The heels gang up on Drago to start with Michinoku Pro-styled taunting triple teams. Drago takes a beatdown for a bit and then sends the rudos to the floor and takes them out with a corkscrew tope con hilo over the top rope. Back inside Ozz sends Manson to the floor with a headscissors. Ocatagon, longtime veteran and AAA legend, tags in next and fights off both Escoria and Billy el Malo by himself before tagging Drago in. Malo and Escoria try the same double team tactics on him to no avail. Drago hits a DDT and in comes Cibernetico. Drago tries to tag La Parka in but Cibernetico wants nothing to do with Parka and immediately tags back out. Parka and Billy trade chops but seem bored by it. The rudos keep teaming up in order to keep Parka down, but he won't stay put. Finally he clears the ring of everyone but Cibernetico, who now has no choice but to get in with Parka. Escoria is sent to the floor and Octagon hits him with a nice tope suicida. Ozz is next out with a twisting splash. Manson joins in on the fun with a nice somersault over the top rope, and Dragon completes the sequence with an awesome twisting corkscrew plancha, leaving Parka and Cibernetico alone at last in the ring. Suddenly Taboo (the ringleader of Los Bizarros) appears on the top of the stage holding La Parka's kid (who has a broken leg and started this whole rivalry apparently) by his throat! The dastardly fiend! Parka is distracted by this long enough for Cibernetico to deliver the chokeslam to him for the pin at 15:30. After the match Taboo hits the ring and unmasks, revealing to the world that he is in fact...La Parka's own brother (legitimately)! The plot thickens! This was good old fashioned over-the-top lucha libre soap opera fun with everyone playing their roles perfectly and getting out of the way of Parka and Cibernetico, the focus of the entire feud and match. The action was hot down the stretch and the intertwining storyline and shocking reveal at the end of Taboo's identity tied this all up together into a fun, story-driven match. ***

AAA Tag Team Title Steel Cage Match
Extreme Tiger/Jack Evans © vs. Mr. Anderson/Abyss

What a bizarre team to represent TNA here. You win by escaping the cage. Tiger and Evans are undoubtedly the best tag team working in Mexico today and Anderson and Abyss are just the kind of guys they can bounce off of, so this should be decent. Abyss tosses Evans into the cage with an overhead belly to belly to start while Anderson goes to work on Tiger. They trade victims and Anderson shoves Jack's bandana down his throat. Tiger climbs all the way to the top of the cage and to the top of the steel scaffolding a few feet above that and then delivers a crazy corkscrew moonsault a good 15-20 feet to the ring mat onto Abyss! That's a hell of a crazy spot to pull out so early in the match. Tiger gets right back up and scurries up Abyss's back up and over the cage and climbs to the floor, leaving Evans all alone with Abyss and Anderson. The heels take turns beating the tar out of Evans, tossing him around the cage like a ragdoll. Anderson decides now is a good time to climb out of the cage and he drops out to the floor, leaving Abyss alone with Evans in the ring. He launches Evans into the cage again like a lawn dart and taunts the crowd. Evans starts a comeback with a sloppy headscissors and a series of roundhouse kicks. He evades an Abyss clothesline and nails him with a dropkick and a moonsault. Evans is able to climb to the top of the cage while Abyss is busy laying out some thumbtacks which I guess they were selling in the stands or something. Abyss tries to chokeslam Evans from the top of the cage, but Evans counters with a sunset flip powerbomb that sends Abyss right into the thumbtacks! Who could have seen that coming?! Apparently Mexican women love Jack Evans too because we pan to a front row full of them freaking the fuck out. Evans, being criminally insane, then DIVES OFF THE TOP OF THE CAGE onto Abyss! Wow when you pan the camera out it's clear just how absolutely insane you have to be to do a spot like that. Evans climbs over the top of the cage to the floor to retain the tag titles at 12:05. This was a really rushed match as Tiger was barely even in there before he was already climbing out of the ring, abandoning his partner. Once it got down to Evans and Abyss though, they pulled out some absolutely crazy high spots to send the crowd wild, and you've got to give them credit for putting their bodies on the line like that for the fans entertainment. ***

AAA World Trios Title Tournament Finals
Los Perros del Mal (Damián 666/Halloween/X-Fly) vs. Los Psycho Circus (Monster Clown/Murder Clown/Psycho Clown)

This is the finals of a tournament to crown inaugural Trios tag champions, but to be honest I'm dreading this. The Perros del Mal team is good, but the Psycho Circus stable is one that I've grown to loathe in my lucha libre viewing cycles, as all of their matches are the same lazy, uninteresting "hardcore" brawl that makes Abdullah the Butcher look like a master technician. Perros del Mal is a popular indy promotion in Mexico by the way if you were unaware, so they play the role of the outsider heels here against the crazy clowns. The Clowns dominate to start rather easily before grabbing some chairs and brawling with the PDM team out to the floor. A steel trash can is brought into the ring and I imagine it we're about 2 minutes away from a six-way bladejob. The Clowns clear the ring again and take out the PDM team with stereo topes while their clown mascot dances away on the apron maniacally in a scene reminiscent of my childhood nightmares. The PDM team responds with cookie sheets and a sunset flip powerbomb on one of the clowns through a group of stacked chairs. Monster Clown and Damian begin brawling up the rampway where there's conveniently a pair of set up tables and a ladder. Meanwhile the PDM team is setting up more tables inside the ring. Monster Clown ends up suplexing Damian through a gimmicked table full of electronic equipment that sends sparks into the air. X-Fly tries a somersault off the top to the floor but winds up totally crushing a trash can instead. Halloween gets powerslammed through a board in the ring. Psycho Clown and Halloween struggle up to the top rope where Halloween delivers a death vallery driver off the top through a giant board stacked with chairs and other boards on top of it, which is enough to give Team PDM the win and the titles at 11:32. Good God that was a disaster, like most Psycho Circus matches wind up being. No rhyme or reason to anything going on in this match, just total boring chaos. They used all kinds of weapons and gimmicks and it still wasn't interesting. *½

AAA World Heavyweight Title Match
El Zorro
© vs. Jeff Jarrett

Jarrett is accompanied by his wife Karen, so you can already smell some kind of run-in coming here. Jeff does a great job as a heel here though, really playing up to the crowd with his taunts and establishing himself firmly as the gringo rudo with a good amount of stalling to start. Jeff gets a clothesline and celebrates early with a kiss on the cheek from Karen (who I must say is looking quite fine this evening). Zorro hits a series of armdrags, clotheslines Jarrett to the floor and mimics his famous strut. More old school stalling from Jarrett, who threatens to walk out on the match even though he's the challenger. Jarrett lures him out of the ring and sends him face-first into the steel post. Back inside both men trade chop exchanges in the corner. Karen grabs Zorro's leg and Jarrett dumps him to the floor again. The fans start tossing their inflatable drum sticks at Jeff as they brawl around ringside. Back inside Jarrett locks on the figure four in the center of the ring. That doesn't work though so he tries putting Zorro out with a sleeper. Zorro grabs a Singapore cane from ringside but Jarrett gives him a back suplex before he can use it. Zorro hits him with the cane a few times and Karen gets on the apron to distract him while Jeff grabs the title belt from ringside and then nails Zorro with it behind the ref's back. Zorro kicks out at two though, so Jarrett grabs a steel chair that the ref takes away from him before he can use it. Karen then gives Jarrett a hand full of powder (I believe flour), but Zorro kicks it right into Jarrett's face and nearly pins him. Jarrett applies the ankle lock (Kurt isn't going to be pleased!) but Zorro won't quit. Zorro counters into an extremely lazy ankle lock of his own and Karen winds up getting dragged into the ring again. Zorro threatens to hit her, which distracts the ref long enough for Jarrett to nail him with a guitar behind his back, but again Zorro kicks out! Finally Jarrett hits him with a cane assisted Stroke to win the AAA World title at 15:30. I can always appreciate Jarrett's heel tactics, but this felt like more stalling then actual wrestling and the repeated gimmick finishes behind the ref's back felt really contrived towards the finish. Jarrett did a good job of getting heat, but this just wasn't very good. Interesting to see where Jarrett goes with the title now though. **

Mask vs. Hair Match
L.A. Park vs. El Mesias

For those unaware, L.A. Park is the original La Parka and the one that made a name for himself in WCW years ago. Due to some trademark issues he was renamed LA Park and someone else was given the La Parka gimmick, culminating in a great match at last year's Triplemania for the rights to the name which Park won, but then had overruled by the lucha commission. Yes, Mexico has an actual sports commission of people who take wrestling that seriously. These two have been feuding for months now and the stakes couldn't be higher as Park (now a heel/rudo) has promised that if he loses his mask here he will retire.Park immediately attacks Mesias with a steel chair as they start out brawling at ringside. He smashes Mesias into a monitor at ringside and then drags the commentary table over to the side of the ring apron and powerbombs Mesias right through it to the concrete floor! Mesias appears to be bleeding already. Well that was quick. Finally inside the ring Park smashes Mesias with the chair a few more times. He drags the already half broken table into the ring but Mesias ends up tossing him into it and getting his own turn to smash Park with the chair. Mesias manages to rip Park's mask atleast halfway off and then powerbombs the hell out of him for a near fall as Park's mask dangles around the bottom half of his face reminiscent of Electroshock. The action spills out to the floor again, this time with Mesias laying the beatdown to Park instead. He suplexes Park on the ramp and then sets up another table. He also sets up a pair of small metal chairs and powerbombs Park right through them just to pass the time I guess. Back in the ring Mesias gets a two count on Park. Park builds up a bit of momentum with a few big moves but then nearly gets speared out of his boots for another near fall. Park responds with a wild corkscrew moonsault for a two of his own. Mesias blocks a splash off the top and Park goes to the floor to catch his breath only to be met by a big flying cross-body off the top from Mesias. Park nearly gets counted out but makes it in at the last second and then yanks Mesias down by his hair into a nasty dragon sleeper that nearly puts him to sleep. Mesias gets a quick burst of energy and fights it off but Park gives him a big powerslam and nearly gets the three count. Mesias responds with a wild DDT but Park kicks out as well. Things have gradually been picking up more and more steam since the heated start. A huge superplex from Park wipes both men out for awhile. A yoshi tonic from Park has the crowd biting but again it's only a two count. Park dropkicks Mesias to the floor and then follows him out with a beautiful tope suicida! Park sets up another table in the ring and decides to do the famous La Parka strut on top of it only for Mesias to climb to the top rope quickly and then spear him right through the table! Somehow Park still manages to get the shoulder up, but that was an inventive spot that the crowd loved. A top rope splash gets another two for Mesias and even the ref can't believe it. Mesias locks on the sharpshooter and Mesias thinks that he's tapped out, but the ref says no. He accidentally kicks the ref in the head, giving Park the chance to pull out a pair of brass knucks and blast Mesias with it behind the ref's back for the win at 30:57. This was a great way to blow off the big Park/Mesias feud that had been going on for months and Park continues to prove himself as the MVP of the entire promotion with his consistently excellent performances. Things were a bit dysfunctional at the start but it quickly settled down into a great back and forth contest with all kinds of big moves, creative spots, and tangible hatred. The finish could leave a bad taste in the mouth of American wrestling fans, but you've got to be used to these kinds of finishes in the world of lucha libre so it doesn't hurt it too much in my eyes. ****

After the match Mesias quickly has his head shaved while Park celebrates at ringside.

AAA Latin American Title Match
Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Rob Van Dam

This is a brand new title that AAA had unveiled only a few weeks ago with this match being announced randomly as the deciding match to crown the inaugural champion at tonight's show, which explains in part why it's main eventing over the LA Park/El Mesias match. RVD is playing the heel here, which is strange to see after so many years of the happy go lucky babyface stoner character. They trade some basic feeling-out holds and evade each other's strikes in a nice opening exchange. RVD gets sent to the floor early but sweeps out Wagner's legs underneath him with a spinkick before he can try any dives to the floor, but a guillotine legdrop over the apron sends both men tumbling to the floor anyways. RVD adds a moonsault off the apron for good measure. He tries for a "springboard" off the barricade but gets sent into the front row instead. No worries though, he still hits the signature guillotine legdrop over the barricade, which on replay looks extra nasty as it appears Rob just kind of slammed Wagner throat first into the steel. Rob blows a spot and Wagner takes advantage with a chair-assisted dropkick into his face for a two count. Wagner applies a modified octopus stretch but Rob gets the quick rope break. RVD hits the Rolling Thunder but it only gets two. Rob hits the crappiest Van Daminator I've ever seen (on replay it's clear as day he in fact completely missed him) for another near fall. Wagner hits a pair of dragon-screw legwhips but runs right into a nice Finlay-roll/moonsault combo from RVD for another near fall. Rob hits the Five Star frogsplash with a chair on top of Wagner (which gets an unintentionally hilarious deadpan "Wow" from one of the commentators) but he takes too long to cover and Wagner again kicks out. Dam hits a sidekick off the top rope with a chair for another two count but the crowd seems eerily uninvolved. Wagner collapses on top of Van Dam off the top rope and then finally gets the crowd fired up with the Benoit throat slash (should probably change the name of that particular taunt) and hits the Wagner Driver on Van Dam, but he kicks out! Wagner follows with Randy Orton-esque second rope DDT and that's enough to give him the title at 16:44. There were some really good stretches in this contest where both men seemed on their game, but Van Dam was surprisingly very sloppy for most of the encounter and it put a noticeable damper on an otherwise entertaining match. **¾

After the match the tecnicos hit the ring to celebrate with Wagner as we go off the air.

Bottom Line: This was a pretty average show honestly, but for AAA I suppose it was above average compared to recent efforts. I enjoyed last year's show a bit more, but there was still some very good stuff on this card, most notably the great LA Park vs. El Mesias match that you bet your bottom dollar will most likely win lucha match of the year by the time 2011 is finished. If you've never seen a Triplemania, I'd recommend giving it a shot as it's always a spectacle, but outside of the aforementioned Park/Mesias match, there's nothing here that's "can't miss". Not a bad show, just kind of average, so we'll go with a thumbs in the middle here and a mixed/mild recommendation.

Score: 6/10

Sunday, June 19, 2011

WWE Capitol Punishment 2011

WWE Capitol Punishment 2011
June 19th, 2011
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Attendance: 9,000*

Hey didn't we just have one of these PPV things a few weeks ago? Oh well, in the world of wrestling you can never have enough PPVs. Or atleast that's what the brass seems to think. Tonight's a pretty good looking card though, we've got Christian taking on Randy Orton for the WHC, Cena defending the WWE title against a red-hot R-Truth, another Punk-Mysterio match and several other intriguing match-ups, so let's get right into the show. Obviously the theme here is political in nature, but let's hope we don't have to see another one of those god-awful Obama press conference dream sequences they've been airing for weeks. Onto the show!

We open with a pretty good video package highlighting the Cena-Truth feud and focusing around Washington DC's ties to conspiracy and propaganda in the past. Creative promo.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T

WWE United States Title Match
Kofi Kingston
© vs. Dolph Ziggler

These two have a pretty storied rivalry, atleast in terms of quantity of matches. Lock-up to start and some basic hold exchanges. Ziggler hits a quick legdrop for a two count and then applies a loose chinlock as the crowd starts to rally behind Kofi quickly. Ziggler tries his crucifix bomb move but Kofi counters into a pinning attempt. Big German suplex out of the corner from Ziggler gets another two. The ring ropes are red white and blue so the show's got an old-school feel to it. Ziggler tries for his sleeper but Kofi escapes quickly. A nifty double axe handle/cross body off the top to Ziggler's back get's Kofi his own near fall. Kofi misses the Trouble in Paradise and manages to hit the S.O.S. instead, but Ziggler kicks out! They trade roll-up attempts and Kofi fights off the Zig Zag with a big double-stomp. Kofi blocks a superplex attempt and hits a huge cross-body off the top but again Ziggler gets the shoulder up at two. Ziggler manages to slap his sleeper hold on again but again Kofi escapes quickly. Kofi misses the Trouble in Paradise but then blocks the Zig Zag from Ziggler. Vickie slaps Kofi in the face and Dolph locks the sleeper hold on with a vice-like grip and puts Kofi to sleep to win the US title at 11:05! Very hot opener here as these two have good chemistry together and got the crowd fired up and into things pretty quickly. Some great counter wrestling to kick the show off in a fun way. ***

Backstage we see R-Truth arrive at the arena in a black limo with John Cena's WWE title still around his shoulder from last Monday. He invites Josh Matthews to a party ("Fo shizzle!") and then runs into Eve and invites her to the party as well ("Fo shizzle!") but she shoots him down. Truth says he's going to dedicate his victory to all the little Jimmys (which surprisingly gets a big pop as a catchphrase), and then sort of lightly slaps Eve in the face and says "Be gone" and then walks off like a total fucking pimp. That was another ridiculous and entertaining Truth segment.

We cut to The Miz who is backstage with Todd Grisham. He tells him he can defeat Riley tonight because all Riley was ever good for was carrying his briefcase.

Alex Riley vs. The Miz

So this is pretty much Alex Riley's shot at the big time, both in kayfabe and reality. He gets a huge pop once again, as the mind continues to be boggled over how over this kid has gotten so quickly. He even gets to come out last. Miz starts trash-talking him and the bell rigns as Riley takes big right hands to him. He chases him out and around the ring and beats on him some more back inside until Miz counters with a big boot. The Miz takes the upper hand from here, just beating Riley down with repeated lefts and rights for several minutes. Riley gets a few shots of his own in but misses a spear into the corner and hits his shoulder on the turnbuckle. Miz continues the beatdown and then locks on a chinlock back in the ring for a bit. He plants him with a huge reverse DDT for a near fall. Miz hangs Riley up in the tree of woe and stomps away at him, totally dominating Riley at this point. Riley fights back with a spear and some more right hands and then delivers a huge spinebuster for a two count. Crowd is still really into Riley, as this is apparently his hometown. A big running boot gets Riley another close two. The action spills to the floor again and near the announce table where Michael Cole begins berating Riley, who tosses him up and over the table for a big pop. Miz grabs the steel briefcase but the ref takes it out of his hands and Riley nails him with a huge impaler DDT and pins The Miz clean for the upset win at 10:12! This was pure old school formula stuff with Riley taking an epic beatdown for most of the match to build up heat and then paying it all off with the underdog comeback and the shocking win. My jaw actually dropped upon seeing Riley win clean, and how often can you genuinely say that about pro wrestling anymore? Sports entertainment goodness. ***

Backstage we see a completely fake and not even convincing Obama impersonator show up to the arena and be greeted by a serenading Vickie Guerrero. This is absolute crap if you couldn't tell just from reading that.

Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio

Oh boy, and things had started off so well. These two began feuding after Big Show was "accidentally" run over by one of Del Rio's cars, leading to ANGRY GIANT RAGE for the last two weeks. The Big Show attacks Del Rio from behind on the stage before the match ever even starts and they brawl to ringside when Mark Henry (who Show had beaten up on Smackdown this past Friday) comes running down and slams Big Show through an announcer's table that just explodes at ringside. Henry slams Big Show's injured leg into some steps just for good measure as Del Rio demands the ref counts Big Show out and award him the match. The ref begins counting Big Show out even though the bell never rang to begin with (which Booker T points out on commentary). Show makes it back in before the 10 count and asks the ref to start the match as the bell officially rings (so why were you just counting ref?). Show tries for a bodyslam but his leg gives out under him immediately and Del Rio goes right to work on it with a dropkick and stomps for a near fall. Big Show manages to give him a choke slam that sends Del Rio to the floor as Show's leg gives out under him again. Del Rio tries for the cross armbar but Show counters with a slam. Del Rio works a nice leg-lock submission on the mat for a bit until Show gets the rope break. Great selling from Show here honestly, something he doesn't get enough credit for. Show tries to stand again but collapses and the ref gives him a few more seconds before finally calling for the bell and awarding the match to Del Rio at 4:56. While I appreciated Show's great selling and the idea of the whole match, the fact that they went ahead and had the match after the Mark Henry beatdown and then still ended with a non-finish anyways just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. *½

Backstage R-Truth wants to have his picture taken with Cena's title, but his photographer doesn't seem to want to so Truth threatens him.

Ad for the new Best of WCW Nitro DVD set.

Elsewhere backstage Matt Striker tries to interview Wade Barrett, but he grabs the mic from him and begins cutting a promo while walking out to the ring. He says he isn't happy to be in Washington DC because this place needs a Queen or a King. This crowd is absolutely dead silent for this, not giving him any heat at all as Barrett begins making cracks about American politicians, education, and the national debt. He says everyone here will be speaking Chinese in a year and finally gets a few mild boos. A mild USA chant starts up eventually as Barrett promises to beat Big Zeke. Barrett tried, but this entire promo totally bombed and had no reaction or heat from the crowd at all.

WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Wade Barrett
© vs. Ezekiel Jackson

More USA chants to start even though Zeke is from Guyana. Side headlock from Barrett to start and Zeke tries for an early torture rack, but Barrett hits the floor for a breather. Back inside Barrett hits a big sideslam for a two count. To my amusement a mild "We Want Ryder!" chant breaks out. Barrett gets some petty offense in and Zeke starts to make the quick comeback when suddenly Barrett hits the Waste Land on Zeke...who kicks out at two. Zeke throws him up in the torture rack and Wade Barrett quickly submits to give Zeke the IC title at 6:50. That was just awful to be honest, and the crowd absolutely could not care less about Wade Barrett as a heel, or Ezekiel Jackson winning the IC title. *

After the match the King gets into the ring and asks Zeke how it feels to be the new Intercontinental champion. The crowd reacts nicely to him now as Jackson says today he won his independence from Barrett and the Corre and puts in a really cheap Mick Foley pop by mentioning the town he's in. Not a bad little post match promo from Zeke actually, even with the cheap pop.

Backstage Kelly Kelly and Santino say hello to the fake Obama. Santino tries to teach Obama the Cobra, but the Secret Service guys pounce on him before he can deliver it.

Elsewhere Josh Matthews is with CM Punk for some final comments. Punk cuts an incredibly awesome promo, referencing Washington DC's history of the straight edge punk movement and the corrupt politics of days past. Punk says that Mysterio is not a hero or anyone's friend, and that he's no different from Punk besides the facade he puts up. Killer promo from Punk.

CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio

These two had a great feud last year that was re-ignited a few weeks back as both men wrestled each other twice and won one match apiece, so this is the rubber match. Feeling out holds from Punk and Rey to start. They go into a Greco-Roman knuckle-lock and trade roll-ups. Rey sets up Punk for the 619 early but Punk quickly escapes to the floor. Rey tries a seated senton off the apron but Punk just flap-jacks him face first onto the guard barrier! Back in the ring he applies a bow and arrow submission on Rey and then a backbreaker for two. Punk works an abdominal stretch for a bit until Rey drops him face-first into the second turnbuckle. Punk blocks a split-legged moonsault attempt for another near fall. Rey sends Punk out to the floor and delivers a beautiful Asai moonsault. Rey follows up with a bizarre twisting shoulder block off the top for another two count. He tries a springboard cross-body but Punk rolls through into a near fall of his own. Both men begin trading sick kicks and near falls. Punk delivers a big back suplex off the top rope to Rey, but Mysterio kicks out. Running knee strike from Punk but Rey escapes after a second try and hits a 619 to Punk in the corner! Rey tosses Punk back in and tries a top rope splash, but Punk gets the knees up. Punk tries for the GTS but Rey counters with a hurricanrana for another near fall. Punk nearly takes Rey's head off with a stiff spin kick, but yet again Rey kicks out and this match is really starting to pick up some steam. Punk tries the GTS again but Rey counters and sets him up for the 619. Punk catches Rey though and counters that into a gigantic GTS to pick up the win (for a pretty big pop) at 15:00! This one started off much slower than their usual contests, but I liked that as it was a change of pace for them. They still packed in all of the incredible counters and near falls they're known for in the finishing stretch and it's great to see Punk get a much deserved PPV victory. ***½

World Heavyweight Title Match
Randy Orton
© vs. Christian

I can't say I've been a big fan of Christian's heel turn (not that I don't think he isn't capable of being a great heel), but these two have crazy awesome chemistry together so this should be another great contest. They do the big-match intros with Tony Chimel. Orton hits some right hands as the bell rings and hits a clothesline. Christian hits a dropkick that sends Orton to the floor but misses a follow up pescado. Back inside Orton hits the ten punches in the corner and then tries for a DDT off the steel steps outside, but Christian blocks it. Back inside he delivers a reverse neckbreaker for two. Christian delivers another neckbreaker and Randy starts to get a glazed over look in his eyes and the commentary team sells the concussion Randy suffered. Back body drop from Orton and he just goes to town on Christian's chest with a flurry of forearms. Orton delivers a big superplex to Christian but takes too long to cover and Christian kicks out. Orton busts out his awesome old gutwrench-neckbreaker and gets another near fall. He delivers the signature second rope assisted DDT and tries for the RKO, but Christian counters with a reverse DDT for a close two. Christian tries for the spear but Orton evades it and tries for the RKO. Christian escapes that though and hits the spear, but again Orton kicks out! Orton starts the comeback and nails Christian with the RKO and pins him (with Christian's foot underneath the bottom rope) to retain the title at 14:05. After the match Christian pleads his case with the referee and then gets nailed by Orton with the title belt. A lot slower than their last few matches, but once it got going towards the end it got pretty darn good. I disagree totally with having Orton retain here but they've probably got another match coming because of Christian's foot being under the rope, so it's not the end of the world or anything. ***¼

On replay it appears pretty clear that Christian's foot was under the rope.

We get a really cheesy ad for the Money in the Bank PPV with Big Show and Hornswoggle.

The Bella Twins come out with of all fucking people the "Keith Stone" character from the Keystone Light beer commercials. Not for any particular reason or anything, they just walk out for shits and giggles I guess. That was one of the most random things I've seen in a long time.

Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne

This is billed as a "bonus attraction match", as we've still got nearly an hour left on the clock for the show. Would have preferred a tag match with Daniel Bryan and Sin Cara against Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, but this will do. Evan Bourne making his return to PPV for the first time in many months. More "We Want Ryder!" chants in the crowd as Swagger delivers a huge powerslam to Bourne to start. Bourne hits a sweet springboard hurricanrana but then eats a big gutbuster from Swagger. Swagger applies a chinlock as we get a shot of the Bellas cheering Bourne on at ringside with Keith Stone. Swagger continues to beat down Bourne with huge hammer fists. Big boot gets a near fall and the crowd is pretty dead unfortunately. Bourne plants Swagger with a huge DDT out of nowhere but Swagger gets the shoulder up. Bourne hits a few big kicks and then tries for the Shooting Star Press, but Swagger moves and he lands on his feet. He blocks a gut-wrench powerbomb attempt from Swagger and then blocks an ankle lock attempt by rolling into a cradle and Bourne gets the semi-upset win at 7:18. Just a quick filler match really, but it had nice energy and Bourne looked good in the rare PPV victory. **½

And to kill more time, out comes the terrible fake Obama impersonator. There are actually some fake soldiers at ring side saluting him to make this even worse. This guy doesn't look a thing like Obama. He walks up to a podium on the entrance ramp and I pour myself a big, stiff drink. This guy kind of sounds like a muppet and the crowd start up loud "What?" chants immediately. He wishes good luck to John Cena and R-Truth and compares Truth to Joe Biden. Obama makes a crappy political joke about how he "does nothing" and then tries to take off, but Booker T grabs a mic and tells him to hold up and join him in the ring. Take a wild guess as to where this is going. Booker says Obama has made history in the US and all over the world as the first black man elected US president and win a Nobel Peace Prize (he's not the first president to win a Nobel by the way), but asks him if he can do a spinarooni? Booker shows him how it's done and then Barack delivers one of his own. This was just as bad if not worse then it sounds, and a total waste of PPV time. Politics and wrestling don't mix, and they never will.

WWE Title Match
John Cena
© vs. R-Truth

Who would of thought R-Truth would be main eventing a PPV in a title match a few months back? Give credit where it's due though, Truth has stepped up to the plate and cut an extraordinarily entertaining series of promos for the build up to tonight's match. Truth comes out to no music still and Cena gets a ridiculous pop. Lock-up to start and Truth hits the floor for a quick breather. Back inside he hits a quick suplex on Cena for an early near fall. Truth shows off with some dancing as he hits a leg drop and then nails Cena with the corkscrew back-elbow for another two count, which Booker claims to have invented. Truth continues to beat down on Cena, which is just an odd visual really. The crowd is surprisingly quiet apart from some dueling Cena chants. Truth tries the dancing leg drop again but it misses and Cena fires right up and hits Truth with the side-slam and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He tries for the AA but Truth counters into his suplex-stunner (which Cole says he's never seen before from Truth, even though he uses it in almost every match) for yet another two count. Cena applies the STF, but Truth quickly gets the rope break and follows up with a big scissors kick. Cena again kicks out though. Truth counters a powerslam into another near fall and Cena rolls out of the ring. Truth goes to a fan at ringside, grabs his hat and puts it on and then takes a sip from his drink, but the little kid throws the drink in his face and Cena tosses him into the ring and delivers the Attitude Adjustment to retain the title at 14:46. As good as some of the build for this match was, it unfortunately just did not deliver when push came to shove. This was slow, awkward, and didn't really get going into any sort of groove until the last few minutes. Overall a disappointing match. **¼

After the match Cena brings the little kid into the ring with him and they celebrate together. That's nice, I guess. He celebrates with some soldiers at ringside as we go off the air.

Bottom Line: This was a really solid show, just as a lot of people were expecting it to be. A very solid undercard with Kofi/Ziggler, Miz/Riley, and Punk/Rey to go along with another good Orton/Christian title match that sets up (presumably) another rematch down the line. The main event was disappointing, but the good outweighed the bad pretty easily here even with a few disappointing matches and some painfully stupid comedy segments. Solid Thumbs Up here.

Score: 6.5/10

*Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter September 12th, 2011 by Dave Meltzer