Thursday, April 5, 2012

ROH Showdown in the Sun Night Two iPPV 3/31/12

ROH Showdown in the Sun Night Two
March 31st, 2012
War Memorial Auditorium, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Attendance: Unknown at this time

Well here we are back 24 hours later with night two of ROH's annual Wrestlemania double-shot, and this is a show I'm especially excited to review after hearing both JD Dunn and Scott Keith among others heap boatloads of praise onto the Richards/Elgin match up. Nothing too major aside from that is booked tonight as ROH knows they don't want to burn out the fans too much in one weekend, but Jay Lethal is set to defend the TV title against Roderick Strong and the Briscoe Brothers are set to defend the tag belts against Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas, so let's kick it off. Keep in mind this is the abridged version because a few matches were lost in the technical difficulties of the streaming process, and thus aren't reviewed here. As soon as they're posted online by ROH I'll edit in a review.

Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness

We open up tonight's show once again with Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness to welcome us in the ring. Jimmy Jacobs comes out almost immediately to interrupt things though and it's the old, EVIL Jimmy Jacobs as Nigel would say, not the rehabilitated man who returned to ROH months ago. Jacobs thanks Steen for awakening the evil in him again when El Generico's music hits and the generic luchador sprints out to the ring to apparently challenge Jacobs in our opening match.

Jimmy Jacobs vs. El Generico
Generico immediately attacks Jacobs in the ring and then takes him out with a huge dive on the floor when we're informed that ROH has apparently agreed to sanction this match and we get an official bell. Back in the ring a standing moonsault gets Generico a two count. Generico tries to do his rope-walk armdrag spot, but Jacobs crotches him on the top rope and Generico slumps to the floor. Jacobs drops a running elbow on Generico outside the ring and then rolls him back into the ring. Jacobs spears him in the corner but Generico fires back with a pair of clotheslines and then flies off the top rope with a soaring cross-body for two. Jacobs responds by firing out of the corner with a snap suplex, then hits Generico with an ace crusher in mid-air in the opposite corner. Generico tries to set Jacobs up for the top rope brainbuster, but he settles for an exploder suplex into the corner instead. Jacobs cuts off a Yakuza kick attempt with a guillotine choke, but Generico gets the rope break. Jacobs pulls the evil metal spike out of his boot and tries to stab Generico with it, but he winds up embedding it in the top turnbuckle instead and eating a half-nelson suplex. Jacobs and Generico wrestle with the spike for a bit until Jacobs rolls Generico up for the pin at 8:02. Well that's a pretty anemic finish, but the match itself was going along smoothly enough. They never really got a chance to elevate this above a quick opener but Jacobs looked good and Generico can afford another loss. **1/4

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Cedric Alexander
Ciampa has the Embassy with him of course, but the TV Title they promised to return is nowhere in sight. Ciampa takes it right to Alexander at the bell, slamming him into the ring barricade outside the ring and grabbing a steel chair, but the ref talks him out of using it. Ciampa hits a running boot on Alexander against the barricade as the amazing RD Evans joins us on commentary. Back in the ring Alexander delivers a reverse STO and then gives Ciampa a sort of reverse sitout spinebuster for a two count. The action spills to the floor yet again and Alexander gives Ciampa a sick exploder suplex into the barricade! Ciampa recovers and drives Alexander's chest into the bottom turnbuckle before pulling down his knee pad and blasting Cedric with a pair of sick knees for the win at 5;26. Basically just a squash match for Ciampa, but Alexander got in a couple of bits of nice offense atleast. After the match Caprice Coleman gets in Prince Nana's face only for Ciampa to take him out as well. **

Mike Bennett comes out to the ring next with his girlfriend Maria Kanellis to gloat about his win over Lance Storm the night before. Bennett and Maria start making out in obnoxious heel fashion and it just goes on and on and on to the point where it stops being funny and then actually starts being funny again just because of their sheer persistence and apparent refusal to come up for breath from their steamy make out session. In a slightly awkward moment the crowd starts up with the "Yes!" chants again. This whole segment was weirdly awesome and I'm really starting to take a shine to Bennett because even if he isn't the most exciting in-ring worker he's a totally over-the-top personality and ROH is always in need of those.

ROH Tag Team Title Match
The Briscoe Brothers (Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe)
© vs. Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin/Charlie Haas)
Even though we've seen this match twenty times by now and they're really running out of fresh match-ups, I still think ROH has the best tag division in North America right now. Charlie and Mark start us off with some basic running-the-ropes spots but Charlie quickly bails for a breather. All four men begin brawling outside the ring now with the Briscoes getting the upper hand and carrying that momentum with them back into the ring as the two brothers work over Charlie. Shelton distracts Jay and allows Charlie to tag him in with a nice double-team move, but the crowd chants "Same old shit!" at them. Funny, I don't hear them saying that every time Davey does a head kick or Roddy does a backbreaker. Shelton tries to apply a knee bar to Jay but Mark comes in to break it off, though this only serves to give the heels more time to work Jay over behind the ref's back while Mark argues with him. Shelton and Haas begin isolating Jay, keeping the focus on working over his leg. Snap suplex/tope con hilo combo from Haas and Benjamin on Jay in a neat spot, but he manages to get the needed tag to his brother anyways and Mark busts in with some redneck kung-fu. Mark takes out Charlie with a kick and then hits his top rope swinging slam on Shelton for a two count. Mark tries fighting off both the heels on the apron but winds up taking a nasty back bump against the steel ring post and down to the floor instead. Shelton rams Mark's head into the guard barricade a few times and then rolls him back into the ring. Charlie tags in and continues to grind Mark down with a snap suplex and a bodyscissors. Shelton tags back in and tries to set Mark up for a top rope back superplex, but Mark shifts the momentum in mid-air and winds up slamming Shelton down to the mat instead, giving him long enough to get the hot tag to Jay. Jay wipes out Shelton outside the ring with a big tope and then hits a cross-body on Charlie back in the ring, but that won't put him away and neither will a Falcon Arrow. Charlie and Jay decide to have a battle of the boots and they wind up taking each other out at the same time with Yakuza kicks in a great spot that pops the crowd. All four men face off back on their feet and Shelton takes out Mark with a flying DDT onto the ring apron. Haas hits Jay with the Olympic Slam and then applies the Haas of Pain, but Jay is able to get the rope break. WGTT try to set up for the Leap of Faith on Jay, but Mark breaks it up with a missile dropkick and Jay is able to get a roll Haas up with a hurricanrana in the confusion to retain the titles at 16:15. After the match the heels jump the Briscoes in anger and crotch Jay Briscoe a few times on the post, possibly neutering Jay in the process. This one seemed a bit sluggish at first but by the midway point they had things turned around and everything was gravy until the finish, nothing to re-invent the wheel or anything here, just solid formula tag action from two teams of veterans. ***

Kevin Steen vs. Eddie Edwards
This is the first of three "Blind Destiny" Challenge matches of the night, but what that actually means, I have no freaking clue. Steen and Eddie trade shoulder block attempts, trying to out-power one another, but Steen gives him a drop toe hold and then hits a somersault leg drop. Steen rakes the eyes and chokes Eddie over the second ring rope while informing the ref that he has until 5 ala Bryan Danielson. Eddie fires off a codebreaker and then locks Steen into a crossface, but he quickly gets the rope break. Steen catches Eddie in between the ring ropes with a sick DDT and then hits the cannonball senton on him in the corner. The action spills out to the floor where Steen sends Eddie back-first into the nearby stage area. Edwards counts a powerbomb attempt into a hurricanrana, but Steen just grabs him when he gets back to his feet and gives him a thunderous powerbomb on the ring apron anyways. They fight up onto the stage area now where Steen bites a chunk out of Edward's nose before setting him up on a chair for another running cannonball splash. Edwards regains some composure long enough to send Steen off the stage and then take him out moments later with a running double-stomp off of the stage! Finally they return to the ring where Edwards gives Steen the backpack chinbreaker. Steen hits a sloppy powerbomb and tries to go for a submission, but Eddie counters into the achilles lock. Steen counters that into a small package though and picks up the win at 10:42. This was a really good little match marred by yet another rollup/small package finish, this seems like it had to have been the fifth or sixth match this weekend to have that same finish and it's just lazy and cliched at this point to be honest. Match itself was pretty brutal for the short time it got though, I would have liked to have seen this one fleshed out a bit more. **3/4

ROH TV Title Match
Jay Lethal
© vs. Roderick Strong
Tommaso Ciampa comes out to ringside with the TV title belt in tow and manages to goad Lethal into agreeing to making this a title match. They trade hammerlock attempts and then Lethal locks Strong into an extravagant submission hold before suplexing him and hitting a tope con hilo back into the ring on Roddy. Lethal delivers a long delayed vertical suplex, but it only gets him a one count. Lethal sends strong head first into the turnbuckle and then dropkicks him off the apron to the floor before wiping him out wiht a big tope moments later. Strong suplexes Lethal back first onto the ring apron for a two count while Truth Martini jaws off at Kevin Kelly at ringside. Strong slaps on a chinlock but Lethal breaks it off and they trade stiff chops. Strong manages to lock Lethal into the Strong Hold, but he gets the rope break. Brainbuster from Strong gets him a close two count, but Lethal fights back with a dropkick. Lethal unloads with a series of blazing chops and punches before wiping Roddy out with a trio of dropkicks. Lethal hits a handspring back elbow for a two count and Roddy nearly wins it with a cradle and gutbuster. Lethal counters out of a Gibson Driver into a superkick. Three minutes to go as Lethal hits the Lethal Combination. Macho Elbow gets a two count. Roddy blocks a Lethal Injection with a dropkick and Lethal bails out to the floor, where Tommaso Ciampa decides to interfere and drive Lethal face-first into the steel ring post before tossing him back into the ring so that Roddy can give him one last crazy backbreaker to pick up the win and the title at 13:20. This one took a few minutes to get going but once it did it never looked back and they delivered basically what you can expect out of the TV title with this company---great sub-15 minute TV style matches.This win makes Strong the second triple crown champion in Ring of Honor history, which seems fitting because if there was ever a company guy for ROH it was Strong. ***

ROH World Title Match
Davey Richards
© vs. Michael Elgin
Let's see if this one can live up to the hype I've heard about it. Elgin is a guy I've been on the bandwagon for since he first popped up in Ring of Honor and it's no surprise he's already main eventing for them. Richards tries to match power early but fails and resorts to a dropkick instead to send Elgin out to the floor, where he takes him out with a tope. Davey tries to set up a tornado DDT from the top rope to the floor but Elgin clotheslines him back into the ring for a near fall. Elgin delivers a long delayed vertical suplex for another two count and then leg drops Davey over the ring apron. Back in the ring Elgin counters into a big argentine backbreaker. Nigel compares Elgin to Ivan Putski, which is a sound comparison body-wise. Davey hits a missile dropkick off the top to Elgin's temple, but he kicks out of the pin attempt. Both men trade forearms until Davey snaps off an exploder suplex on Elgin for two. They fight to the top rope where Davey superplexes Elgin off, but Elgin just grits his teeth like a man and gets back to his feet, fighting through the pain long enough to fire off an enziguri to the champ. Richards hits a German suplex, but Elgin snaps right back up so Davey gives him a stiff lariat for a near fall. He tries for the ankle lock but Elgin escapes to the floor. Elgin grabs Davey when he tries his apron kick and gives him a Fisherman's buster on the floor! That's not enough though, so he picks him up and powerbombs him right into the barricade! Before the fans can even start their "Holy Shit": chant though they're back in the ring and Davey kicks out of a cover. Sick somersault senton from Elgin off the top rope only gets him a two count as well. Both men jockey for position on top rope again, but this time they go all out as Davey delivers a top rope super dragon suplex to Elgin that nearly kills the man! Insane bump from Elgin there and he manages to kick out of the pin attempt and even break the ankle lock from Davey with a rope break. Elgin seems spent by this point as Davey fires off lazy kicks, but he gets back to his feet and shoves him. Davey lays in some of his weak Kawada kicks so Elgin grabs him and knees him square in the jaw five or six times just to show him how to properly pummel someone with strikes. Elgin rolls through an O'Connor roll into the Chaos Theory, but Davey kicks out. Elgin delivers a superkick and then applies a nasty crossface that nearly puts Davey out, but he manages the rope break. Davey hits a sick double stomp off the top on Elgin on the apron, then hits him with a second double-stomp off the top, this time in the ring, but Elgin still kicks out! Half-nelson suplex nets Davey another near fall and the fans break out into a huge "ROH!" chant. Davey fires off some kicks but Elgin responds with a stiff roaring elbow and gives him a reverse DDT of sorts right on top of his head! Elgin delivers a buckle-bomb but Davey gets right back up and fires off a spinkick before Elgin lariats him. Davey rolls through a powerbomb attempt into an ankle lock, but Elgin counters that into the crossface again! Davey counters with a cradle for a near fall, but Elgin gives him a stiff knee and shoulder shot before hitting the spinning sitout powerbomb which Davey somehow still kicks out of.Nigel is going crazy on commentary right now and it's awesome. Elgin really sinks in the crossface for a good long while, but Davey is able to eventually counter into the ankle lock again. Elgin is so drained and so close to tapping that he has to bite his own hand to null the pain in a display of awesome selling. Elgin gets back to his feet but he collapses when he tries to put weight on the ankle and Davey nails him with a Shining Wizard. But Elgin is god damn inhuman you see and he fires right back up and spits right in Davey's face as the champ lays in another series of kicks right to the temple of his head. Finally Davey hits one last sick kick to Elgin's temple, and that's enough to finally put down the beast at 26:20. This was just an insane match and undoubtedly the best of Michael Elgin's young career thus far, this was worked much differently from most Davey Richards matches in that there was a lot less of the head-kick/head-drop antics than you'd expect, but the bumps and spots both guys took were all still ungodly brutal and if performed even slightly incorrectly could kill a man. Tons of heart from Elgin in this one and the crowd is chanting his name instead of Davey's after the bell rings. Fantastic match and another early match of the year candidate from ROH, everything about this just worked.. ****3/4

After the match Davey grabs a mic and talks about how he gets flak for training in MMA, but his heart and soul will always be in pro wrestling and Ring of Honor. Davey says everyone in attendance tonight is a part of one big family, and he thanks them for letting him be a part of it. Next Davey rips into the "sports entertainment" of the WWE this Sunday before a huge "Fuck TNA!" chant starts up. Davey thanks everyone and says the real champion here tonight is Michael Elgin for that performance. Davey says the belt will one day Elgin's, but not on this day. He says one thing he learned from Samoa Joe and Bryan Danielson is that what matters most is the fans approval, not Truth Martini's, and if Elgin fights for them they will never steer him wrong. Davey gives one last thanks and we wrap up the show. You know people love to hate on Davey Richards (myself included some of the time) but that was a good promo to put over Elgin even more there.

Bottom Line: Well without the other matches on this show being available because of technical problems it seems kind of hard to recommend this show, but the matches themselves made up for it tenfold with another match of the year candidate out of Rihards/Elgin to go along with another solid underard. Another thumbs up here for the ROH crew on night two in Miami.

Score: 8.0/10

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