Manhattan, NY – 3.19.2011
ROH World Champion: Roderick Strong
ROH Television Champion: Christopher Daniels
ROH World Tag Team Champions: The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli)
Commentary is provided by Dave Prazak & Kevin Kelly.
Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. Michael Elgin & Mike Mondo
This is a try-out match for Mike Mondo, to see if he’s worthy of being in the House of Truth. Truth Martini is ringside to watch. O’Reilly cautiously gives Elgin a few glancing strikes. Elgin brings O’Reilly to his knees in a test of strength. O’Reilly escapes but gets forearmed in the face. O’Reilly fails to knock Elgin down with shoulder blocks. Cole comes in to help, but Elgin mows both him and O’Reilly down simultaneously. Cole and O’Reilly hit a double hip toss and double dropkick. Mondo tags in and gets armdragged thrice by Cole. Cole and O’Reilly make frequent tags to effectively wear down Mondo. Mondo knocks O’Reilly down with a few moves and tags in Elgin. O’Reilly’s strikes aren’t enough to keep Elgin down. Mondo holds O’Reilly, but O’Reilly moves so that Elgin forearms Mondo. O’Reilly boots Mondo to the floor. Elgin clotheslines O’Reilly off the apron, then does the same to Cole. O’Reilly is brought back into the ring and isolated from Cole. O’Reilly is able to escape their grasp by spiking Elgin with a tornado DDT. Cole tags in. He knocks Mondo down with a leaping leg lariat for two. Cole delivers a running dropkick from the apron to the side of Mondo’s head. Cole flies in with a crossbody for two. Cole gives Elgin an enzuigiri on the apron. Elgin slingshots in with a back elbow to Cole. Mondo follows up with a diving headbutt for two. Elgin misses a tumbleweed senton. O’Reilly comes in. He superkicks Elgin. Cole superkicks Elgin off of O’Reilly’s shoulders, into a rolling clothesline from O’Reilly. Elgin gives Cole and O’Reilly a simulteaneous Samoan Drop/fallaway slam for two. Cole knocks Mondo and Elgin down with stereo dropkicks. Cole wheebarrows Mondo into a lung blower from O’Reilly. Cole gives Mondo a back cracker from two. O’Reilly superkicks Mondo into a German suplex from Cole for the pin at 12:22. This showcased three of ROH’s younger stars in front of one of their hottest crowds. Everyone looked excellent and got the show off on a positive note. Mondo fit the role just fine, allowing for everyone else to be the focal point. ***
Elgin attacks Mondo post match to confirm that he is not a member of the House of Truth.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Grizzly Redwood
Redwood’s speed and cunning allows him to grab a headlock. Ciampa breaks in the corner and kicks Redwood in the stomach. Ciampa places Redwood in the corner and kicks him again. Redwood sends Ciampa to the floor with the rest of The Embassy. Redwood dives out onto him. Princess Mia goes for a strike, but Redwood kisses her. RD Evans distracts the referee, allowing Mia to dropkick Redwood into the barricades. Ciampa’s powers Redwood over, but gets rolled up for two. Ciampa whips Redwood into the turnbuckle. Ciampa cracks Redwood with a running knee strike. Redwood blocks a torture rack with a sleeper. Ciampa escapes but gets met with a double axe handle. Redwood connects with a huracanrana for two. Ciampa clotheslines him down. Ciampa catches Redwood with the Project Cimapa 2 for the pin at 7:53. I like Redwood, but Ciampa should have killed him in a quarter of the time this match was given. Ciampa looks no better for taking so long to kill someone half his size, and Redwood straight up won’t be given a fair shake by the ROH fans. *
The Embassy beats Redwood down until Steve Corino saves him. Corino consoles Redwood when Mike Bennett and Brutal Bob Evans make their way out. He’s wearing a Red Sox jersey, and says he’s going to knock Corino off the wagon tonight. Corino says he won’t let Bennett knock him off the wagon, and is even willing to lay down for him if that’s what it takes. Bennett angrily says he’s going to fight Corino tonight and will push him off the wagon. Corino tries to keep calm and even says “Kevin, I’m sorry” out loud (alluding to his former partner Kevin Steen). Bennett says he should be addressed as “The Prodigy” as he is not fat or unemployed. Corino tells referee Todd Sinclair to ring the bell and punches him in the face.
Steve Corino vs. Mike Bennett
Bennett and Corino trade punches. Corino lands a dropkick. Bennett evades a dropkick, then misses an elbow drop. Corino hits a leg lariat. Bennett escapes to the floor. Corino whips Bennett into the barricades multiple times. Bennett sends Corino into the barricades as well. Bennett brings Corino back into the ring, only to pitch him back out to the floor. Corino side steps Bennett’s pescado. Corino goes for a suicide dive, but Bennett catches him with a dropkick from the floor. Bennett whips Corino back first into the corner. Corino snaps Bennett’s neck on the top rope. Bennett catches Corino with a superplex for two. Corino counters a powerbomb with a backdrop. Bennett and Corino exchange punches. Corino kicks Bennett and drops him with an STO. Corino shakes off his want to stick his thumb in Bennett’s bum. He gives Bennett the Colby Shock for two. Bennett blocks the Eternal Dream, but Corino catches him with a powerslam. Corino lariats Bennett in the back of the neck. Corino hits the Eternal Dream for two. Corino puts Bennett in the Abdominal stretch and sticks his thumb in Bennett’s bum. Brutal Bob runs in behind the referee’s back, clocking Corino with a hard right hand. Bennett tries to steal a pin but only gets two. Bennett hits two Side Effects for two. Bennett hits a third Side Effect for the pin at 9:27. This was the first time it seemed Bennett got the good kind of heat from the crowd as opposed to “get the hell out of here you goof” heat; good for him! Corino also has done a tremendous job in his transformation/path of redemption storyline. This match shocked me with how good it ended up being and how much the crowd cared. Kudos to both guys. **1/2
Bennett and Brutal Bob lay out Corino afterwards.
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus)
Jay and Titus aggressively look for the advantage. Titus nails a dropkick. King and Mark tag in and also vie for control. King connects with a cartwheel lariat and tags Titus back in. King hits a springboard legdrop and Titus hits a splash for two. Jay kicks King into a full-nelson suplex from Mark. The Briscoes beat King down while making sure he can’t tag out to Titus. Titus blind tags in. King gives Mark a Manhattan drop and Titus comes in with a slingshot shoulder tackle. Mark catches Titus with a modified blockbuster for two. Jay comes in, but King snaps his neck on the top rope. Titus dives onto both King and Jay on the floor. Mark smashes Titus’ head into the barricade while Jay throws King into them. Titus becomes busted open as The Briscoes pummel him in and outside the ring. Jay has Titus up top and mockingly thrusts in his face. Titus drops down, causing Jay to hit the top turnbuckle face first. Titus tags in King and the crowd goes wild. King seems like a hero taking out both Jay and Mark by himself. King gives Mark an enzuigiri and Jay a spinebuster for two. The crowd chants King’s name as he tags in Titus. Titus goes up top but is thrown off with a super snapmare by Mark. Mark levels King with an enzuigiri. Mark gives Titus a suplex and Jay mows him down with a lariat for two. Jay places Titus on his shoulders. Titus fights off, but Jay gives him a Falcon Arrow for two. King and Mark are fighting on the floor. King gives him shotgun knees into the barricades. Jay gives King a spinebuster back in the ring. Titus blocks the Jay Driller. Jay blocks the Muff Driver. Titus blocks a Doomsday Device by Victory Rolling Jay up for the pin at 14:03. The double turn, with the Briscoes becoming hated by the fans and the All Night Express beloved, was executed with perfection. Both teams gelled tremendously and pulled of a great match filled with excitement from the crowd. I dug this and look forward to future rematches. ***1/2
The Briscoes attack The All Night Express. Many officials and backstage people try to break it up, only to be fought off. The Briscoes llook to give Titus a Jay Driller on the floor, but King dives onto them before it can happen. A brawl breaks out between both teams which eventually gets split up by officials and other folks.
El Generico vs. TJ Perkins
A stalemate is reached in the opening exchange. Perkins cartwheels out of a hammerlock and dropkicks Generico down. Generico takes him over with a pair of armdrags and a toreador. Generico chops Perkins. Perkins rolls through a sunset flip and delivers double knees to Generico’s chest. Perkins clutches Generico’s knuckles and kicks away at his mid-section. Perkins applies a headscissors. Perkins skull fucks Generico’s face into the mat. Generico and Perkins trade blows. Generico catches Perkins with a Michinoku Driver for two. Perkins fights off a half-nelson suplex, but gets dropped with a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Perkins blocks a yakuza kick. He baits Generico to the floor. Generico runs back in. Perkins powerbombs him for two. Perkins doublestomps Generico out of the corner and applies a sharpshooter. Generico grabs the bottom rope to break. Generico connects with a yakuza kick. Perkins drops Generico off his shoulders into a kick to the face. Perkins dives onto Generico, but Generico picks him up and delivers a brainbuster from the floor onto the apron. Generico rolls Perkins back into the ring for the pin at 7:30. I was stunned at how short this was, but they packed a great sprint into the time allotted. Like I said before, Perkins deserves to be an ROH full timer and this match helps prove that point. ***
LAX (Homicide & Hernandez) vs. The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli)
The Kings are accompanied by Sara Del Rey and Shane Hagadorn. The tag team titles are not on the line in this match. Homicide wins the opening exchange with Hero, taking him over with a headscissors takedown. Hero cheapshots Homicide when taken to the corner. Claudio tags in. Homicide evades a suplex and tags in Hernandez. Claudio seems angry that Hernandez is able to match him in size and power. Claudio taunts Hernandez before knocking him down with a clothesline. Hernandez knocks Claudio down with one of his own. Claudio gives him a delayed suplex, and it has no effect. Hernandez suplexes Claudio after holding him up for roughly a minute. Homicide whips Claudio into a body block from Hernandez for two. Claudio tags in Hero as Homicide tries a victory roll. Hero suplexes Homicide across Claudio’s knees. The Kings wisely isolate Homicide from his much larger partner. Homicide catches Claudio with an ace crusher and tags in Hernandez. Hernandez flies in with a shoulder block to both Kings. Hernandez splashes them both in the corner. Hernandez biels Claudio out of the corner and backdrops Hero. Hernandez slams Claudio for two. Claudio gives Hernandez the U.F.O. Claudio gives Hernandez the Swiss Chin Music on the top rope, then brings him down with a superplex. Hero moonsaults onto Hernandez for two. Hero stomps on Hernandez’s head, then cracks him with a rolling elbow for two. Hernandez gives Hero a backbreaker for two. Hernandez pounces Claudio and tags in Homicide. Homicide goes for the Three Amigos, but after two suplexes Hero breaks the sequence. Hero sends Homicide into the barricades. Hernandez sets up Claudio for the Border Toss, but Hero clocks him with an elbow before he can deliver it. Homicide comes in with a tornado DDT. Hero rolls to the floor with Claudio. Hernandez Border Tosses Homicide onto the Kings and Hagadorn. Hernandez planchas onto Hero and Claudio. In the ring, Hernandez gives Hero a sit-out powerbomb. Homicide splashes from the top onto him for two. Hernandez and Claudio go to the floor. Sara grabs Homicide’s foot as he hits the ropes. Hero puts on his golden loaded elbow pad. Homicide rips it off. Hero blocks the Cop Killa. Claudio tags in and hits a Swiss Chin Music/Cyclone Kick combo with Hero for two. Claudio blasts Homicide with a European Uppercut for the pin at 17:12. This one time match-up delivered big time, with Hernandez/Claudio and Homicide/Hero pairing off as the perfect opponents from each team. It’s refreshing to see Homicide put in a great performance again as it seemed like all his motivation had gone away completely. These two teams were a perfect fit and provided a very entertaining bout. ***1/2
Homicide is backstage talking to Hernandez about their loss. Hernandez walks off and Julius Smokes comes up. He gives Homicide a motivational speech. Homicide says it’s time to “open the gates of hell” once again. Looks like we may get some sort of Rottweilers rebirth.
Pure Rules Match
Christopher Daniels vs. Davey Richards
In a Pure Rules match, each opponent is only given three rope breaks. Once these rope breaks have been used, their opponent does not have to release a submission if the wrestler reaches the ropes again. If you use a closed fist, the referee can dock you a rope break. If you have rope breaks, the wrestler may be disqualified.
Richards controls Daniels by his arm. Richards rolls up Daniels for two, then puts on a seated stretch. A Gedo clutch is reversed by Daniels into a seated stretch. He tries a Gedo clutch for two. Daniels punches Richards with a closed fist behind the referee’s back. On the floor, Daniels backdrops Richards onto the ring frame. Daniels delivers a modified neck breaker in the ring for two. Daniels clutches Richards’ hands and steps down onto his chest for two. Daniels throws Richards with a cravate into the corner. Daniels applies a headscissors choke in the ropes. Since Daniels had to release at five, he insists that one of Richards’ rope breaks was used. With that, referee Paul Turner charges one rope break to Richards. Daniels applies a choke, digging his knee into the back of Richards’ neck. Richards uses the ropes to break the hold, which he is also charged for (leaving with Richards with one rope break left). Richards sends Daniels to the floor and follows out with a moonsault. In the ring, Richards and Daniels trade forearms. Richards hits the Damage Reflex for two. Richards applies a cloverleaf, which Daniels uses the ropes to break. Richards counters the Angel’s Wings twice into two pin attempts. Daniels rolls up Richards to avoid the cloverleaf again for two. Richards applies an ankle lock. Daniels grabs the ropes to break, and now he too only has one rope break left. Daniels unleashes a flurry of palm strikes. Richards gives him the Alarm Clock. Daniels drops him with an STO, transitioning into the Koji Clutch. Richards rolls out and puts on an ankle lock. Daniels escapes and reapplies the Koji Clutch. Richards evades an Arabian Press to the floor. He baseball slides Daniels into the crowd. Richards hangs Daniels on the barricade and connects with a doublestomp to the back of his head. In the ring, Richards builds up some momentum and superplexes Daniels. He then suplexes Daniels immediately and puts on a cross armbreaker. Daniels uses the ropes to escape, leaving Daniels with no more rope breaks. Richards brings Daniels to the floor. Richards brings Daniels to the apron and kicks the crap out of him. Apparently Richards lost a third rope break somewhere, because Daniels applies a choke using the ropes and we’re told that Daniels doesn’t have to break. Daniels leaves Richards on the floor, but Richards manages to crawl back in before the twenty count. Daniels sets up for the BME. Richards evades it. Daniels puts on another submission in the ropes. Richards escapes and puts on an ankle lock in the ropes. Daniels wraps his legs around Richards’ head and sends him to the floor. Daniels palm strikes Richards as Richards goes to the top rope. Daniels looks for the super Angels Wings. Richards struggles, so Daniels decides instead to apply a guillotine choke on the top rope. Richards headbutts Daniels into a cloverleaf on the top. Daniels falls out and Richards comes down with a double stomp. Richards accidentally lands mid-section first on the top rope as he goes for a shooting star press. Daniels sees the opening and goes for Angels Wings. Richards rolls through and pins Daniels at 21:46. I’m so happy Richards didn’t become the next Marek Brave, because that shooting star botch could have ended up much worse than it did. I did like how Daniels, who’s much more experienced in Pure Rules matches, did his best to drain Richards’ rope breaks in a quick fashion. Both guys made the rules of the match matter and it made for a much more interesting contest. This wasn’t as good as their match from Chicago a few months ago, but a worthy follow-up. ***1/2
Richards extends his hand to Daniels. Daniels is about to leave, but decides to shake Richards hand. He storms off with the Television Title, visibly frustrated.
ROH World Championship
Roderick Strong vs. Eddie Edwards
Strong sends Truth Martini to the back before the match. Strong and Edwards wrestle to a stalemate on the mat. Strong kicks Edwards as he comes off the ropes. Edwards takes Strong to the mat and grabs his leg. Strong grabs the ropes before any damage can be done. They reach another stalemate after blocking each others chops and throwing simultaneous dropkicks. The pace picks up leading to Edwards landing a huracanrana. Both men throw chops at one another. Strong sole butts Edwards when Edwards goes up and over him in the corner. Strong cranks on Edwards’ arm. Edwards connects with a flying knee strike once escaping. Strong’s chest is bleeding from Edwards’ chops. Edwards blocks a gut buster and drops Strong face first on the mat for two. Edwards chops Strong in a tree of woe. Edwards runs along ringside and dropkicks Strong in the arm while Strong is still upside down. Strong boots Edwards and pitches him to the floor. Strong comes out and slams Edwards back first on the ring frame. Strong positions the ringside table. Strong throws Edwards back into the ring and stretches his neck and arm out. Strong wears down Edwards with a sleeper. Edwards comes up back to his feet. He enzuigiri’s Strong on the middle rope. Strong blocks the Chin Checker and applies a Boston Crab. Edwards escapes. Strong and Edwards fight to the apron. Strong goes for a Tiger Driver on the apron, but Edwards counters and huracanarana’s Strong to the floor. Edwards dives out onto Strong through the ropes. In the ring Edwards connects with a top rope dropkick. Now Strong’s forehead is bleeding. Edwards hits a shining wizard for two. Eddie comes off the middle rope with a Codebreaker. He drops Strong with a suplex facebuster for two. Edwards hits an enzuigiri and Strong responds with a rolling elbow. He side slams Edwards for two. Strong evades a 2k1 Bomb and dropkicks Edwards to the corner. Strong places Edwards up top and gives him a backbreaker across the top rope for two. Edwards and Strong engage in a long chop battle. Strong ends the battle with a jump-up knee strike. Edwards superkicks Strong. He blocks Strong’s elbow with a lariat. Strong hits another knee and Edwards responds with another lariat for a two count. Strong brings Edwards to the top rope and hooks him for a Tiger Driver. Edwards fights free and double stomps Strong on the ring apron. He double stomps Strong on his back in the ring. Edwards hits a powerbomb for two. He transitions into the Achilles Lock. Truth Martini runs out and gets booted off the apron. Strong rolls up Edwards but only gets to. He superkicks Edwards and drops him with a gut buster. The Sick Kick only gets him a two count. Strong suplexes Edwards into a backbreaker for two. Strong applies a Boston Crab again. Edwards rolls through into an Achilles Lock. Strong kicks Edwards multiple times. Edwards grabs Strong’s leg and sits down with a pin. Edwards gets the pin at 25:35 and is the NEW Ring of Honor World Champion. The New York crowd goes absolutely nuts as Truth Martini looks upset. This had all the drama you could want in a world title match, with Edwards giving his absolute all and refusing to quit. There was no better place or time for Edwards to win the title than in New York at this time. Everything clicked, the fans were responsive to all the false pins, and even Truth Martini’s interference attempt was no hinderence. A fine title bout to send the crowd home happy. ****
Cary Silken shakes Edwards’ hands as the fans rejoice. Davey Richards comes out, looking as if he may strike his partner. Instead, a smile crawls across his face and Richards gives his partner a big hug. A few of the wrestlers are ringside smiling as they help Edwards rejoice in this special moment.