Ring of Honor: Roderick Strong – Destiny Fulfilled

rodstrongdestiny

Disc One

Roderick Strong vs. Kensuke Sasaki
“The Tokyo Summit” – Tokyo, Japan – 9.14.2008

Strong controls Sasaki by his arm. Sasaki throws him away. Strong’s shoulder tackle fails to take Sasaki off of his feet. Sasaki’s however works. To his credit, Strong is able to hang with Sasaki in a chop battle for a good while before being knocked off of his feet. Strong gives him a backbreaker for a one count. Strong slams Sasaki a couple of times before ascending to the second rope. Sasaki chops him and brings him down with a Frankensteiner. Sasaki gives him a vertical suplex for two. He puts on a Boston Crab until Strong grabs the ropes. He pulls of a superplex. Sasaki goes for a lariat, but Strong ducks and delivers a leg lariat instead. He dropkicks Sasaki for one. Sasaki throws some strikes in opposite corners before throwing Strong down to the mat by the back of his head. He gets two with a Judo Throw. Sasaki goes for a suplex. Strong slips out and delivers an enzuigiri. A running boot and the Death by Roderick position Strong for the Sick Kick. Sasaki is able to kick out. Sasaki throws a Northern lariat and a regular lariat. He comes off the top one with a lariat as well. The Northern Lights Bomb puts Strong away at 12:19. The chop exchange was sweet and seeing Strong stack up to a legend Sasaki was pretty cool, but aside from that there wasn’t much to this at all. **3/4

ROH World Championship
Nigel McGuinness (Champion) vs. Roderick Strong

“Driven 2008” – Boston, MA – 9.19.2008

I totally forgot Strong has a crummy looking Mohawk for a short period of time. Strong and McGuinness take turns controlling each other by the arm. Strong takes down McGuinness with a crossbody and a leg lariat for two. McGuinness once again goes back to damaging Strong’s left arm and shoulder. Strong throws some chops in the corners. He gives McGuinness a backbreaker for two. McGuinness hammerlocks Strong’s arm and slams him with the arm captured. Strong rolls to the floor to create some distance, but McGuinness follows him and continues to do some damage. Back in the ring he continues to work the arm over. McGuinness mocks Strong with some of his own chops and a poke to the eyes. Strong throws some desperation chops, but gets knocked down with a rolling back elbow. Strong blocks a corner attack and dropkicks McGuinness from the second ropes. McGuinness elbows him back to the floor. Strong kicks him into the guardrails and wipes him out with a forearm from the ring apron. In the ring he gets two with a leg-cradle backbreaker. McGuinness kicks him in the back and drives him into the canvas with a clothesline. Strong evades a corner attack. He hits a gamengiri, a backbreaker, and the Sick Kick but only gets a two count. A short arm lariat only gets McGuinness a two count also. Strong blocks the Tower of London. McGuinness hits him with another short-arm lariat for two. He successfully pulls of the Tower of London. Strong gets his foot on the bottom rope. He tries to lariat Strong off the top rope. Strong drops it and hits his own slingshot powerslam. He gives McGuinness a backbreaker across the top turnbuckle. McGuinness kicks out. He headstands in the corner. Strong chops him while he’s upside down. He gives McGuinness another backbreaker but again only gets two. He lariats Strong off the top rope. When Strong kicks out, McGuinness gives him the Tower of London on the ring frame. By golly Strong kicks out of that too. Strong hits the Sick Kick back in the ring. McGuinness uses that momentum to bounce off the ropes. Instead of hitting the Jawbreaker Lariat, Strong hits a Tiger Driver for two. He wants a super Tiger Driver after that. McGuinness repositions both himself and Strong so that he can lariat him down. He dives onto Strong for a pin but only gets two. Two lariats and another Tower of London finally put Strong away at 24:19. They did some really great stuff while keeping the psychology on point and getting the crowd hotter and hotter. They knew exactly when to end the match without going overboard. This PPV is mostly known for the awesome tag team title main event, but this was really good too. ****

Roderick Strong vs. Jay Briscoe
“Stylin’ & Profilin’” – Collinsville, IL – 3.13.2009

Holy crap, I forgot Larry Zybysko ever did ROH commentary. Strong and Jay aggressively look for control. Strong controls Jay’s arm after a pair of armdrags. Jay trips Strong into a spinning toe hold. Strong shoves him away with his boot. He huracanrana’s Strong before putting on a front facelock. Strong escapes and hits a leg lariat for two. Jay responds with one of his own. He snapmares Strong into a running boot. A chop exchange delights the pro-Flair crowd. Jay ends it with a dropkick. He applies a Stretch Plum. Strong rolls to the ropes to escape. Strong throws some strikes. Jay uses a chin breaker to get him away. Strong dropkicks him before chopping him up in the corner. A slingshot Falcon Arrow gets him two. Jay gets two himself with a big boot. Strong hits his own boot and a second rope dropkick. Jay sends him into the second turnbuckle with a Complete Shot. Strong evades the Jay Driller. He gamengiri’s Jay in the corner and follows with Death by Roderick for two. Jay sits down on a sunset flip for two. They switch waistlocks. Strong sits down on a waistlock to pin Jay in a cradle at 10:41. That was a really fun opening match. These guys know each other so well and had an energetic, competitive match to kick the show off the right way. I was happy to see that they would have a series of matches after this. ***

Roderick Strong vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima
“Supercard of Honor IV” – Houston, TX – 4.3.2009

Nakajima kicks Strong away after being taken to the mat in a wristlock. They trade control of the arms until Nakajima gives Strong a chinbreaker. They throw forearms in the corner. That devolves into chops. Nakajima sweeps out Strong’s legs. He gives him a running chest kick for two. Strong clotheslines him in the corner and gets two with a running belly-to-back suplex. A bodyslam has the same result. Nakajima uses his kicks to do damage to Strong’s legs. After tying up Strong’s legs, he gives him a shin breaker. Strong enzuigiri’s Nakajima from the corner and drops him onto his face and chest. Another strike exchange ends with Strong landing a backbreaker. His knee is hurt from Nakajima’s previous work. Strong blocks a charge by getting his boot up. Nakajima spinwheel kicks him. He hits a Sankakugeri and a brainbuster for two. Strong goes for the Stronghold. Nakajima counters with an ankle lock. Strong gets the ropes. Strong ducks a kick and delivers another backbreaker. Nakajima superkicks him to the corner. Strong hits a gamengiri and the Death by Roderick. The Sick Kick and a Tiger Driver get him the win at 9:31. That was as hard hitting as one would expect. This was pretty much like the Sasaki match but with a younger, faster, and more emotional guy. ***1/4

Roderick Strong vs. Alex Koslov
“Take No Prisoners 2009” – Houston, TX – 4.4.2009

Strong shoves Koslov after shaking his hand. Koslov twists up his arm and drives his elbow into Strong’s shoulder. He applies a headscissors on the mat. Strong pops out of that. They go back and forth on the ropes until Koslov puts up his hand like a STOP sign. He tries starting a Russia chant but takes a chop for his troubles. A leg lariat takes him off of his feet. Strong gives him a backbreaker for two. They fight on the apron where Koslov gets kicked to the floor. Strong tries to follow with a forearm but ends up crashing into the barricades. Back in the ring, Koslov puts on his Russian hat and delivers some kicks whilst dancing. He then locks Strong in the Perestroika. He heads to the top rope where Strong catches him with a boot. Strong brings Koslov down with a superplex. He throws some strikes in the corner and delivers a backbreaker for two. Strong gives him Death by Roderick. Koslov responds with a superkick for two. He also gets two with a crucifix bomb. Strong hits the Sick Kick and puts on the Stronghold. Koslov taps at 7:39. Koslov really did absolutely nothing in his two matches in ROH. He looked OK, but really didn’t stand out or produce anything worth talking about, which is a shame since he came in with a lot of buzz. **1/2

ROH World Championship
Jerry Lynn (Champion) vs. Roderick Strong

“A Cut Above” – Dayton, OH – 4.24.2009

They trade armbars to start. Strong lays in a chop. Lynn armdrags him to the floor. They do a little more chain wrestling. Lynn takes Strong over in a satellite headscissors and bars his arm again. Strong hits him with a leg lariat. He gets two with a belly-to-back suplex. On the floor Lynn ducks a chop. Back in the ring Strong wins a chop exchange. Lynn spins Strong in the Gory Gallows and drops him out of it for two. Lynn evades an O’Conner Roll but turns right into a dropkick. Lynn slips out of a slingshot Falcon Arrow. The momentum carries him to the floor. Strong dives off the apron looking for a forearm. Lynn ducks and Strong’s face collides with the barricades, immediately putting a large gash above his eye. Lynn takes the now very bloody Strong and side Russian leg sweeps him into the barricades. He puts on a Boston Crab back in the ring. Strong crawls to the ropes. Lynn misses a legdrop in the ropes. He knocks Strong off the ring apron and gives him a tornado DDT onto the floor. Strong is brought back into the ring and kicks out of Lynn’s pin attempt. He and Lynn fight for position. Lynn drops Strong with an Air Raid Crash. Strong superplexes Lynn for two. He slaps on the Stronghold with his face covered in blood. Lynn gets the ropes. Strong gets two with a uranage backbreaker. Lynn suplexes him into the corner. He goes for a DDT on the apron. Strong blocks it with a backbreaker onto the ring frame. Lynn kicks out, so Strong gives him a half-nelson backbreaker for another two count. He puts on the Stronghold. Lynn turns that into a cradle. Strong hits Death by Roderick and the Sick Kick for yet another two count. Lynn gives him a TKO and a Cradle Piledriver. Strong somehow kicks out. Another cradle piledriver puts him down at 18:21. Strong’s blood picked up the intensity and drama ten-fold. He went all out to make Lynn look amazing. It’s either this match or the Chris Hero bout from Boston that was the best of Lynn’s title reign. ****

Roderick Strong vs. Austin Aries
“ROH on HDNet Episode 7” – Philadelphia, PA – 4.9.2009

Aries legdrops Strong’s arm upon bringing him to the mat. Strong should know better than to put on a headscissors. As expected, Aries pops out and delivers a dropkick. He rolls to the floor to avoid Strong’s chop after giving him an overhand chop of his own. Aries gives him another chop back in the ring. He avoids three more chops and takes a victory lap around the ring. Strong comes off the apron with a forearm strike. He throws Aries into the barricades. Aries still avoids Strong’s chops. He comes off the top rope with a double axe handle. Aries knee strikes Strong in the side of the head but doesn’t even get a one count from it. He throws Strong twice into the barricades. In the ring he gets two with the Pendulum elbow. Strong kicks Aries in the corner. He lands a crossbody for two. Strong finally gets in some chops. He nails a dropkick for two. A backbreaker gets him the same. Aries sends Strong to the floor and follows with the Heat-Seeking Missile. A slingshot twisting splash back in the ring is only good for a two count. Aries kicks out of another backbreaker. Aries avoids a Sick Kick. He throws some knee strikes at Strong’s head before applying the Last Chancery. Strong gets his foot on the ropes. He puts on the Stronghold. Aries gets the ropes, but Strong holds onto his legs and brings him to the middle of the ring. He ends up being sent to the floor when Aries twists around and sends him out. As Strong re-enters, Aries dropkicks him in the side of the head. He gets the ropes to break another Stronghold. Aries blocks the Tiger Driver with a Frankensteiner. He tries putting on his own Stronghold but Strong frees himself. Aries gets the win with a brainbuster at 15:09. You would expect a lot more out of these two, but Aries’ heel character just wasn’t all that entertaining in the ring at this point in time. It was a slower paced match that never kicked into the next gear. Disappointing. **3/4

Roderick Strong vs. KENTA
“ROH on HDNet Episode 14” – Philadelphia, PA – 5.29.2009

Strong pops out a headscissors. KENTA ducks a chop against the ropes. Strong ducks a kick. That leads to a chop and kick exchange. Strong takes KENTA down with a leg lariat. KENTA stops a sunset flip and kicks Strong hard in the chest. He throws more kicks in the corner. Strong tosses him across the ring to stop the onslaught. He lays in some chops before being slapped in the face. Strong throws more chops and stomps KENTA down. He gives KENTA a backbreaker and gets two with a fallaway slam. Strong throws more strikes in a few corners. KENTA brings him out with a powerslam. He suplexes Strong before heading to the top rope. He comes down with a flying lariat for two. KENTA applies an STF. Strong grabs the ropes and sneaks in a uranage backbreaker. KENTA throws more kicks. He sends Strong to the corner with a springboard dropkick. He delivers a yakuza kick and a delayed dropkick in the corner. He powerbombs Strong for two. The Busaiku Knee also gets him two. He sets up for the Go 2 Sleep. Strong shoves him to the corner and delivers a gamengiri. He superplexes KENTA for two. They both roll to the floor. KENTA charges and ends up being slammed back first against the ring frame. Strong brings him back in the ring right away and gets two. He hits the Death by Roderick and the Sick Kick for two. KENTA comes back with the Go 2 Sleep for the pin at 12:12. Not as good as their first encounter in 2006. It was more toned down and the crowd was not as hot, so while this was a fun watch, it’s not all that memorable. ***

ROH World Tag Team Championship
The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) (Champions) vs. Roderick Strong & KENTA

“Violent Tendencies” – Detroit, MI – 6.26.2009

KENTA and Richards get in a strike exchange. Richards quickly tags out. Edwards gets peppered with strikes by both opponents. The Wolves almost walk out but cooler heads prevail. KENTA strikes as soon as Richards tags in. Strong tags in and Richards tags in Edwards immediately. He chops and stomps down Edwards in his corner. KENTA delivers a barrage of kicks. Edwards punches KENTA back to the Wolves corner. Richards delivers a clothesline before knocking Strong off the apron. Edwards whips KENTA into the barricades to soften him up. KENTA is actually able to back Richards to the corner fairly quickly upon being brought back in. Strong suplexes Richards for one. Edwards boots Strong right in the side of the head upon being tagged in. Strong wins a chop battle. He throws Edwards to the floor so KENTA can get in some kicks. He whips Edwards into a big boot from Strong. The fans relish in the beating that the makeshift team gives Edwards in their corner. Edwards back elbows KENTA forcefully so he can tag Richards in. The Wolves now wear down KENTA until he and Richards knock each other down with stereo kicks to the head. KENTA kicks Edwards away and tags in Strong. He slingshot crossbody’s Edwards, forearms Richards off the apron, and leg lariats Edwards right after. He gives Edwards an over-the-shoulder backbreaker for two. Edwards tags out after a chinbreaker. Strong dropkicks Richards. Richards hits a Sankakugeri on him while Edwards knocks KENTA to the floor. Strong enzuigiri’s Richards. KENTA springboard dropkicks both Wolves simultaneously. He gets two on Richards with a springboard clothesline. KENTA puts him in the STF. Richards escapes. He and KENTA exchange kicks. KENTA wins the exchange and nails a springboard dropkick. A yakuza kick and a delayed corner dropkick follow. He powerbombs Richards for two. A top rope double stop gives him the same result. Edwards gets in some strikes from the apron, allowing Richards to give KENTA a leg-capture overhead suplex. Edwards suplexes KENTA into a Falcon Arrow. Richards gets two with a missile dropkick thanks to Strong breaking the cover. Edwards gives KENTA the Chin Checker for two. Strong and KENTA set up the Wolves on their shoulders. They block the Go 2 Sleep and Death by Roderick. Edwards puts Strong in the Achilles Lock while Richards has KENTA in the cloverleaf. They both escape by rolling the submissions into cradles. Strong gets two with the Death by Roderick on Edwards. Edwards goes for the Chin Checker. KENTA boots him in the corner. Strong and KENTA take down Richards in the corner. KENTA hits the Busaiku Knee on Edwards for two. Richards shoves KENTA off the top rope to stop a Doomsday maneuver. Strong takes the Alarm Clock. Edwards superkicks him into Richards’ German suplex. KENTA breaks the cover. KENTA brings Richards off the top rope with a super Falcon Arrow. They fight on the floor while Strong gives Edwards a half-nelson suplex. A Doomsday Busaiku Knee only gets two as Richards breaks the cover. Richards takes out KENTA on the floor. He breaks Strong’s Stronghold on Edwards. KENTA stops his attack on Strong with a Busaiku Knee. Strong Sick Kicks Edwards for two. Death by Roderick and the Tiger Driver also only get two. Richards and KENTA go to the floor again. Richards comes in for a powerbomb/back cracker combo on Strong. When Strong kicks out, Edwards puts on the Achilles Lock. Strong taps out at 21:04. That totally ruled. The crowd was hot, they had some fun strike exchanges, and played up the history between everybody. One of the best American Wolves title matches. ****1/4

Roderick Strong vs. Nigel McGuinness
“The Final Countdown Tour: Boston” – Boston, MA – 9.25.2009

McGuinness brings Strong to the mat with his own arm around his throat. Strong reverses into a hammerlock. McGuinness swings for a lariat but Strong rolls him to counter and then delivers a leg lariat. Strong chops him to the mat and puts on a chinlock while his knee is digging into McGuinness’ back. McGuinness gets the ropes. They get into a strike exchange, ending with McGuinness elbowing Strong in the side of his head. He decides to focus his attack on Strong’s arm, just like in their encounter from roughly a year ago. Strong throws some chops, but gets thrown back to the mat after McGuinness twists his arm. McGuinness puts a Boston Red Sox hat onto Strong before applying a chinlock. Back on their feet Strong boots McGuinness to the corner. He headstands into a mule kick, sending Strong across the ring. Strong comes back with a dropkick. He gets two with a pump-handle backbreaker. McGuinness kicks him in the back before driving him into the mat with a clothesline. Strong comes back with a Falcon Arrow. He puts on a Stronghold. McGuinness gets the ropes and then snaps those ropes into Strong’s eyes. He sends Strong elbow first into the barricades. He hits a lariat back in the ring. He puts on the London Dungeon. Strong grabs the ropes. McGuinness ducks an enzuigiri and shoves Strong crotch first onto the top rope. Strong ducks the lariat, but gets brought down with the Tower of London. He reapplies the London Dungeon. Strong escapes and McGuinness sits down on him for a cradle. He gets two from it. Strong stops the Jawbreaker Lariat and puts on a Boston Crab in the ropes for four seconds. McGuinness forearms Strong to block his suicide dive attempt. Strong shoves McGuinness into the barricades. He gives McGuinness a torture rack backbreaker across the ring frame. McGuinness is able to kick out of his pin attempt. Strong brings him up the ropes. McGuinness thwarts his plan by delivering a sunset bomb. He puts on the London Dungeon again. Strong turns it into his own pinning combination. He enzuigiri’s McGuinness in the corner. The Death by Roderick/Sick Kick combo is only good for two. So is the Tiger Driver. A second Tiger Driver gets Strong the win at 16:46. Although this had the emotion of being McGuinness’ second to last match in ROH, it didn’t have the same drama or heat as their match from a year ago. I think the title not being on the line has a lot to do with that. I do love that they played into the same arm work they did in the first bout. Having Strong go over was the right thing to do. ***1/4

Disc Two

Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Black
“The Omega Effect” – Mississauga, ONT – 11.14.2009

The opening lock-up is cleanly broken against the ropes. This happens again after some exchanges on the mat. Strong evades a dropkick and hits a leg lariat for two. He chops Black in the ropes. Black gives him a Manhattan drop and a spinwheel kick for two. Strong of course wins a chop battle. Black kicks out of a backbreaker and fights out of an abdominal stretch. He stomps onto Strong’s face. Strong throws him across the ring onto his chest. Black forearms him to the corner. Even though Strong gets a few strikes in, Black is able to pull off a tornado DDT. He enzuigiri’s Strong into a tree of woe and gives him a dropkick. Black gets two with a springboard clothesline. Strong catches Black with a powerslam. He gets two with a backbreaker. He follows that up with a Falcon Arrow for two. He tries for the Death by Roderick. Black thwarts that plan with a Frankensteiner. He hits the Paroxysm for two, and a quebrada has the same result. When he goes for another springboard clothesline, Strong catches him mid-air with a dropkick. Strong gives him another backbreaker and applies the Stronghold. Black makes it to the ropes. Black fires himself up in the corner. Strong sends him to the apron and nails a gamengiri. He follows that with an apron backbreaker. Black kicks Strong in the face while he’s recovering. Back in the ring they knock each other down; Strong with an enzuigiri, Black with a big boot. Strong blocks a superkick. Black counters the Tiger Driver with God’s Last Gift for two. A backbreaker gets Strong two. The Death by Roderick/Sick Kick combo also gets him two. Black counters the Stronghold with a cradle. Black enzuigiri’s Strong. Strong comes back with a kick to the side of the head. As they are recovering, the 20:00 time limit expires resulting in a draw. That was a terrific match to cement both men as top stars who could fill Danielson and McGuinness’ shoes. It was also a great follow up to their “Survival of the Fittest 2009” tournament final “match.” These two always produced quality matches together. ***1/2

Roderick Strong vs. Bryan Danielson
“ROH on HDNet Episode 34” – Philadelphia, PA – 9.11.2009

This would be Danielson’s final HDNet match. The crowd is hot as both men look for control on the mat. Strong ends a double knuckle lock with a dropkick. Strong goes for a sunset flip. Danielson rolls through and kicks him in the chest. Danielson does some work on the arm before taking a backbreaker. Strong stomps him down in the corner. He busts out a Black Tornado Slam for two. Strong also gets two with a leg lariat. He puts on a legged full nelson. Danielson turns that into a parachute stretch. Strong gets the ropes. He chops up Danielson and throws some strikes to his mid-section. The chops fire Danielson up. He knees Strong in the stomach and kicks him in the back. Danielson backflips out of the corner and nails a running elbow strike. He puts Strong in a one-legged Romero Special. Strong catches him with an enzuigiri in the corner. He uses different backbreakers for a few near falls. Danielson forearms him in the face and heads up top. Strong catches his missile dropkick and puts on the Stronghold. Danielson rolls it into a cradle. He goes for a crucifix bomb. When Strong lifts him up for Death by Roderick, Danielson huracanrana’s him and tries for the Triangle Choke. Strong gets to the ropes before it is applied. Danielson goes for a suicide dive and gets caught with a forearm strike. Danielson dropkicks him off of the ring apron and into the crowd. He follows with a springboard dive. Back in the ring, Danielson nails a missile dropkick and a running chest kick for two. Strong blocks Cattle Mutilation so Danielson scissors his arm. Strong turns it into a Boston Crab. Danielson escapes, stomps Strong’s head in, and puts on the Triangle choke. Strong lifts up Danielson and uses a backbreaker to escape the hold. More backbreakers result in a two count. Danielson crotches Strong on the top rope. He superplexes him back to the mat and puts on the Cattle Mutilation. Strong fights up and gives him the Death by Roderick. The Tiger Driver follows. When Danielson kicks out, Strong takes him to the top rope. Danielson reigns down with elbows to the side of his head. Strong gives him a gamengiri after slipping out. A super Death by Roderick and Sick Kick get him the pin at 18:00. This was a very good match, but if you followed their 2006 series, this was a step below those. Still, real good stuff that the crowd dug and appreciated. This was a nice way for Danielson to go out for the television crowd. ***3/4

Roderick Strong vs. Kenny Omega
“Reverse The Curse” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 12.5.2009

The opening exchanges yield no advantage for either man. Omega works his way out of a hammerlock. Strong chops Omega after he is leapfrogged over. Omega huracanrana’s him across the ring and slams him for two. He flips out of the corner, only to be met by Strong’s leg lariat. Strong controls him with some strikes. Omega avoids a slingshot Falcon Arrow. He kicks out Strong’s leg before dropkicking him in the side of the head for two. He only gets one with a spin kick. Omega gets sent to the apron. He throws Strong face first into the turnbuckle. Omega tries a frog style crossbody and is met with a dropkick. Strong ducks a Hadouken and delivers some chops. A powerslam and a backbreaker earn him two separate two counts. Omega recovers and gives him a leapfrog bulldog. He blocks the Death by Roderick and kicks Strong to the mat. Strong gamengiri’s Omega onto the ring apron. Omega avoids a backbreaker and enzuigiri’s Strong to the floor. He follows with the Bermuda Triangle. In the ring Omega hits a springboard dropkick. Omega fights for a Dragon suplex, eventually pulling it off for a two count. He hits Blue Destiny for another two count. Strong fights out of Croyt’s Wrath and gives Omega a Blue Thunder Driver. A uranage backbreaker leads to the Stronghold. Omega shoves Strong to the corner to block the Tiger Driver. Strong however pulls off a torture rack backbreaker instead. Omega spikes him in a reverse huracanrana. Omega spin kicks Strong in the stomach. Strong comes back with the Sick Kick. After that he gives him Death by Roderick and the Tiger Driver for the pin at 20:25. I think it’s funny that this was included even though Strong said he was disappointed with the match in the interview segment that followed. He was right; the match didn’t do much to get the fans excited and really was nothing more than some cool moves. The finishing segment was the best part to be sure. **3/4

Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards
“ROH on HDNet Episode 40 – Philadelphia, PA – 11.6.2009

Richards gets on a parachute hold until Strong gets the ropes. Strong sends him to the floor with a leg lariat. They trade chops on the floor. Richards boots Strong into the crowd. In the ring he kicks Strong in the mid-section. Strong throws him to the floor. Richards DDT’s him to the floor. Strong manages to make it back in the ring just before the twenty count. Richards kicks him in the chest and heads to the top rope. Strong catches him with a gamengiri. He brings Richards down with a superplex. Strong does the deal with a Falcon Arrow and gets two. A dropkick gets him two also. Richards throws a barrage of kicks, ending with the Damage Reflex. He enzuigiri’s and yakuza kicks Strong in the corner. He gets two with a missile dropkick. They each get in multiple nearfalls in one sequence. Both men are knocked down by stereo clotheslines. Richards throws some Kawada kicks when they come to. Strong responds with rolling forearms and chops. Richards kicks him in the side of the head and clotheslines him back down. He German suplexes Strong for two. On goes the Cloverleaf. Strong gets the ropes. Richards wants a DR Driver on the ring apron. Strong stops him with an enzuigiri and then gives him a backbreaker on the apron. He gives Richards a uranage backbreaker in the ring for two. He hits Death by Roderick. Richards blocks the Sick Kick with an overhead suplex. Strong hits it on his second try. Richards gives him the Alarm Clock after a failed pin attempt. Strong gamengiri’s him into the Death by Roderick. The Tiger Driver gets him the pin at 16:09. This was another solid affair between these two. More selling and no interference really helped make this better than some of their later bouts. ***1/2

Roderick Strong vs. Brian Kendrick
“8th Anniversary Show” – New York, NY – 2.13.2010

Strong controls Kendrick by his arm on the mat. Kendrick bails to the apron. He throws some kicks at Strong’s leg, catching him off guard. Strong responds with some chops. He stomps down Kendrick in the corner. Strong gives him a couple of backbreakers and a back suplex for two. He punches down Kendrick outside of the ring. Kendrick drop toe holds Strong face first into the barricades. Kendrick tears at Strong’s face while putting him in a Camel Clutch back in the ring. When Strong seems to be breaking free, Kendrick gives him a neckbreaker for two. He enzuigiri’s Strong and chokes him on the middle rope. Strong chops him to the floor. He follows with a forearm strike off of the ring apron. Kendrick gets whipped into the barricades a couple of times before taking some more chops. In the ring, Strong pulls Kendrick out of the corner and into a cradle backbreaker. Kendrick gets his foot on the ropes to stop the pin. He comes off the second rope with a leg lariat. Strong kicks out. He gamengiri’s Kendrick in the corner. Kendrick blocks the Death by Roderick with a crucifix pin. A big tornado DDT takes Strong off of his beet. Kendrick frog splashes him for two. Strong counters Sliced Bread #2 with a torture back backbreaker. The Sick Kick and Tiger Driver get him the pin at 10:13. That was a really fun opening match. Kendrick had a good showing and proved that he had grown tremendously in his WWE run. ***

Roderick Strong & Tyler Black vs. Austin Aries & Kenny King
“ROH on HDNet Episode 49” – Philadelphia, PA – 1.9.2010

Strong and King trade wristlocks. Strong kicks King away. Black tags in. He gets the better of king with a pair of armdrags. Aries gives King some advice as Strong tags back in. It seems to have worked, because King takes Strong to the corner with a series of strikes. Strong nails a dropkick and tags out. Black puts the boots to King. He snapmares King into a back kick. Aries rubs his back and gives him a pep talk on the floor. King puts Strong in a hammerlock and brings him to the corner so Aries can tag in. Aries cartwheels to avoid a chop, but then takes one as he turns around. He tags King back in. Strong manages to get his boot up to avoid a corner attack. King shoves him to the corner so Aries can get in some cheap shots. Black comes in to knock Aries off the apron. While referee Todd Sinclair is taking care of Black, Aries hits Strong from the floor. King gives him an enzuigiri, beginning his and Aries’ isolation of Strong in their corner. Strong fights them off with some strikes and tags in Black. He cleans house with clotheslines. He takes both Aries and King down in a DDT/Complete Shot combo. He gets two on King with the F5. He misses a quebrada but hits a standing shooting star press. Aries breaks the pin. King forearms Black from behind. Strong blind tags in. Black dives onto Aries on the floor. Strong Sick Kicks King for two. He hits Death by Roderick. Black accidentally superkicks Strong. This allows King to get the pin at 12:13. A pretty solid tag team bout with an underwhelming finish. It was good to build up the tension between Strong and Black before their matches with Aries during Mania weekend/The Big Bang but those kinds of finishes take the wind out of my sails more often than not. **3/4

Roderick Strong vs. Colt Cabana
“Hate: Chapter II” – Collinsville, IL – 7.23.2010

Truth Martini accompanies Strong. A violent lock-up brings both men to the corner. Cabana breaks clean and teases kissing Strong. Cabana grabs a wristlock which Strong reverses. Cabana grapevines Strong’s legs, but Strong rolls up and gets in a shoving match. Cabana brings Strong to the corner, but Strong pushes Cabana to the floor. In the ring, Cabana and Strong trade holds. Cabana hits a shoulder tackle out of a headlock. Cabana flips Strong to his back. Strong slaps Cabana after Cabana hits a snapmare. Martini and Strong talk on the outside. In the ring, Cabana kicks Strong away. Martini trips Cabana off the second rope behind the referee’s back. Strong and Cabana exchange chops. Cabana hits a double sledge to Strong’s chest. Strong throws Cabana to the floor and follows him out. Strong throws Cabana into the guardrail. In the ring Strong puts Cabana in a waistlock. Cabana uses his posterior to break the hold and hits a back elbow. Strong hits a dropkick for two. Strong applies an abdominal stretch, and Cabana hits a hip toss to escape. Cabana dropkicks Strong as Strong looks to attack. Cabana hits a series of jabs. Strong chops Cabana, but Cabana finishes with an elbow. Cabana hits the Flying Asshole and a flying elbow strike for two. Strong throws Cabana to the corner. Cabana hits an elbow and rolls through with a pin attempt for two. Strong throws a few forearms, and Cabana hits one of his own. Strong hits an enzuigiri and a backbreaker. Cabana rolls into a crucifix pin for two. Strong hits another enzuigiri and turns into the Stronghold. Cabana turns the hold into a small package for two. Strong hits a front kick as Cabana goes up top. Strong follows up, and Cabana gets Strong on his shoulders. Cabana drops Strong stomach first on the top rope and pins him for two. Strong blocks the Colt 45, and Cabana tries the Billy Goat’s Curse. Strong escapes. Cabana goes for the Flying Asshole, but Truth hits Cabana with the Book of Truth behind the referee’s and Strong’s back. Strong hits a gut buster and the Sick Kick for the pin at 14:21. This was a solid match between both guys, but the fans weren’t too terribly into it and the match was pretty average for the kind of matches these guys were producing at the time. **3/4

Roderick Strong vs. Austin Aries
“Salvation” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 7.24.2010

Truth Martini accompanies Strong. Aries cleanly breaks a lock-up in the corner. Strong puts Aries in a headscissors on the mat. Aries reverses. Strong escapes and dropkicks Aries in the face. Both guy looks to get an advantage on their feet. Strong chops Aries in the corner. Aries gives Strong a chop to the chest as they lock fingers, and then retreats to the floor. They trade overhand wristlocks. Strong hits a leg lariat. Aries and Strong trade chops. Strong sends Aries to the apron, so Aries rakes Strong’s face on the top rope. Martini grabs Aries’ feet as he goes to the second rope. Referee Todd Sinclair catches him, and throws Martini out. Aries knocks Strong off the apron and hits the diving clothesline into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Aries slingshots Strong throat first on the bottom rope. Aries gives Strong a bulldog for two. Aries applies a figure four stump puller. Strong escapes and chops Aries. Strong tosses Aries stomach first on the mat. Aries gets in a few shots. Aries blocks the Gibson Driver and looks for a Boston Crab. Strong kicks Aries away. Strong hits a snap powerslam for two. Strong blocks an O’Conner Roll. Aries hits a neckbreaker on the middle rope and follows up with a missile dropkick. Strong catches Aries as Aries as Aries attempts the IED. Strong nails him with an enzuigiri and a gut buster for two. Aries counters the Gibson Driver with a hurricanrana. Aries sends Strong into the corner with a Japanese armdrag. Aries hits the IED for two. Strong avoids the Last Chancery by rolling up Aries for two. Aries gives Strong a hot shot and a modified jawbreaker for two. Aries pulls Strong to the apron. Strong goes back in the ring and hits Aries with an enzuigiri. Strong gives Aries a backbreaker on the top turnbuckle. Strong applies the Stronghold. Aries turns into a pin for two. Strong hits a half-nelson backbreaker. Aries blocks a second one with a crucifix driver. Strong counters a brainbuster into a backbreaker. Strong hits the Sick Kick for the win at 17:06. This was a really good back and forth match. Aries worked over Strong’s neck and upper back the entire time looking for the Last Chancery while Strong kept kicking Aries in the head and working over his lower back. You could argue that these guys have wrestled each other too many times, but I’ll be damned if they don’t know how to put on a great match together. ***1/2

Roderick Strong vs. Christopher Daniels
“ROH on HDNet Episode 67” – Philadelphia, PA – 5.22.2010

Truth Martini is in Strong’s corner. Strong does not shake Daniels’ hand. My how the tables have turned. Strong takes Daniels to the corner and rams his shoulder into the mid-section instead of breaking cleanly. Daniels sweeps out the legs to block a hip toss and applies a headlock on the mat. Strong breaks out. Daniels gives him a neckbreaker. He slams Strong and does an Arabian Press onto his back. He puts on a chinlock, causing Strong to grab the ropes immediately. Strong kicks him away and delivers a backbreaker. He stomps Daniels down in the corner. Daniels avoids a charge and rolls up Strong. Daniels’ back is too weak to deliver a Blue Thunder Bomb. Strong gives him yet another backbreaker to further wear his back down. He puts on a chinlock while digging his knee into Strong’s back. Daniels fires back with some strikes. He gets two with an STO. He sends Strong to the floor and follows with an Arabian Press. Martini distracts Daniels. Strong sneaks up from behind and drops him back first onto the ring frame. Strong goes for the Stronghold. Daniels drops him with a Complete Shot and puts on the Koji Clutch. When Strong gets the ropes. Daniels gives him a Death Valley Driver for two. Strong goes for the Death by Roderick. Daniels tries countering with an O’Conner Roll and gets blasted in the head by the Book of Truth. Strong follows up with the Sick Kick for the pin at 14:24. The back work from Strong was excellent but it ultimately led to nothing with that finish. Everything before that was great. ***

ROH World Championship
Tyler Black (Champion) vs. Roderick Strong
Special Ringside Enforcer: Terry Funk

“Glory By Honor XI” – New York, NY – 9.11.2010

Truth Martini is in Strong’s corner. Black does some damage to Strong’s mid-section. Strong goes for a sunset flip, leading to a few nearfalls. He sends Black out with a leg lariat. Strong follows. He gets in a few chops before being dropped stomach first onto the ring frame. He misses a stomp back in the ring. This leads to another exchange of pin attempts. Strong throws some chops before Black dropkicks him. Black O’Conner rolls Strong into a belly-to-back suplex. Strong throws more chops. Black goes to his eyes to stop him. He snapmares Strong into a back kick. He stomps on his face for two. Strong kicks Black to avoid a corner attack. He nails a jumping knee strike out of the corner. He spins Black out in a side slam. Black gives him a gut buster. Black puts on the STFU to stick it to the hostile ROH crowd. Strong rolls out and kicks Black in the side of the head. Black enzuigiri’s Strong from the apron. He misses a leaping clothesline but does hit a second enzuigiri. Black superplexes Strong. Strong follows through and hits the Orange Crush backbreaker for two. Death by Roderick follows. He goes for the Sick Kick but Black pulls referee Todd Sinclair in the way. Black superkicks Strong before taking a break. Funk throws Sinclair to the floor so he can take over as referee. Black nails Strong with the Book of Truth. He hits God’s Last Gift for two. Black brings Strong to the top rope and kicks him into a tree of woe. Black double stomps him. Strong Rolls out and puts on the Stronghold! Black rolls it into a cradle for two. Strong kicks him in the side of the head for a two count. The House of Truth, Josh Raymond and Christian Abel, run out. Funk neutralizes them. Martini tries to sneak in but also gets caught by Funk. He gets tossed to the floor. Strong gamengiri’s Black. Black superkicks him and Buckle Bomb’s him twice. Three superkicks follow. Black misses the Phoenix Splash. Strong enzuigiri’s him into a torture rack backbreaker. Death by Roderick and the Sick Kick put Black away at 15:04. The fans were chomping at the bit from the moment the match started and were thrilled to see Strong finally get the title, even if it was a foregone conclusion. The Funk and House of Truth stuff was definitely unnecessary, but not overbearing. A really fun, exciting title switch that allowed Black to exit in a memorable manner. ***3/4

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