Ring of Honor: Gateway to Honor

Collinsville, IL – 11.6.2011

Championship Rundown
ROH World Champion: Davey Richards
ROH Television Champion: Jay Lethal
ROH World Tag Team Champions: Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin

Commentary is provided by Dave Prazak and Kevin Kelly.

Andy Ridge vs. Tommaso Ciampa

Prince Nana, RD Evans, Princess Mia and Ernesto Osiris are in Ciampa’s corner. Ciampa German suplexes Ridge before the bell. He clobbers Ridge’s chest with boots, chops and forearms. Ciampa blasts him with two knee strikes to the face. Ciampa whips Ridge into the guardrails. Ridge finally gets in some offense, kicking Ciampa in the chest before whipping him into the guardrails. Ciampa dumps Ridge to the ring apron to avoid a charge. Ciampa punts Ridge in the small of his back. Ridge fires up, snpamaring Ciampa into a kick of his own. Ciampa whips Ridge back first into the corner. Ridge uses a chinbreaker to escape a headlock. Ridge goes for a slingshot Ace Crusher but Ciampa counters with a backbreaker. Ridge kicks Ciampa in the head after evading a Death Valley Driver. He kicks Ciampa in the back and gives him a yakuza kick. Yim gets on the apron to distract the referee. Nana attacks Ridge from behind. This prompts Delirious (who was originally scheduled to face Ciampa) to run out and chase The Embassy away. He gives Mia a kiss while he’s at it. Ridge’s slingshot Ace Crusher only gets him two. Ciampa catches Ridge with the Project Ciampa 2 for the pin at 6:27. This was a very well worked old school type of match to continue building Ciampa’s momentum. He worked over Ridge’s back for the entire match to soften him up for his finisher and it paid off. Ridge got his moments of hope too, but I really wish he would have gone on to do something of substance after his Trial Series. Remember that? No? ROH apparently doesn’t either. **

TJ Perkins vs. Jay Briscoe

Neither man gets control on the mat. Briscoe shoulder blocks him to the mat. Perkins leapfrogs over Briscoe twice before dropkicking him to the floor. Perkins fakes a dive. Briscoe takes a break before making his way back in. Perkins hits a sole butt after ducking Briscoe’s punches. Briscoe angrily boots him in the face. Briscoe stomps Perkins in the corner. After a clothesline in the corner, Briscoe boots Perkins on the mat for one. Briscoe back elbows Perkins. Perkins leaps to the apron and delivers a springboard dropkick. Perkins spin kicks Briscoe and hits a running knee strike for two. Perkins gives Jay two Northern Lights suplexes. They both then trade uppercuts in the corner. Jay blocks a kick and back elbows Perkins in the face. Perkins hops over Briscoe and drops him with a neckbreaker. Jay drops Perkins face first into the second turnbuckle. Perkins superkicks Briscoe and Briscoe responds with a boot. Perkins blocks another boot with a powerbomb, giving him a two count. Perkins baits Briscoe to the floor. Briscoe hops back in and gives Perkins a spinebuster. Briscoe then hits the Jay Driller for the pin at 8:45. These two did a good time not wasting a moment of action here. Perkins looks strong in his loss, which is good considering he’s still relatively new to the ROH crowd. Perhaps when he’s built up a bit more he and Jay can meet again for a more lengthy bout. **3/4

Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs vs. The Bravado Bros. (Lancelot & Harlem Bravado)

Corino and Harlem trade wristlocks. Harlem shoves Corino to a neutral corner and treats it like a big deal. Neither person’s shoulder block succeeds. Harlem slaps Corino in the face, causing Corino to slap him back and shoulder block Harlem to mat. Lancelot and Jacobs tag in. They trade sleepers. Jacobs plays possum, causing Lancelot to think he made Jacobs pass out. Jacobs sends him to the floor with a headscissors from the canvas. Harlem and Lancelot try to confuse the referee as to who’s legal but Todd Sinclair is too smart. Jacobs body slams Lancelot twice. Jacobs and Corino grab Sinclair’s arms and force him to clothesline both Bravado’s. They even strut with Sinclair afterwards. Jacobs goes to fight them on the floor, but the numbers game allows the Bravado’s to take control in their corner. Jacobs escapes by giving Harlem a clothesline. Corino fights both Bravado’s off, giving them a DDT/Colby Shock combo. Corino and Jacobs stick their thumbs in the Bravado’s bums at the same time. They then put their thumbs in the Bravado’s mouths. The Bravado’s catch Corino with the Gentlemen’s Agreement. Lancelot German suplexes Corino. Harlem pins him, but Jacobs breaks the count. Jacobs spears Lancelot to the floor. Jacobs gives Harlem the Contra Code, and Corino follows up with the Emerald Dream for the pin at 8:48. This did the Bravado’s no favors, who really do need some assistance at this point in their ROH careers. Jacobs and Corino devastated them once the match got more serious. That thumb spot Corino does has got to go. It’s played out. This match was actually left off the back of the DVD box, which is fitting since it’s pretty forgettable. **

Michael Elgin vs. Grizzly Redwood

Truth Martini is in Elgin’s corner. Redwood gets in a few bits of lucky offense before Elgin mows him down with a shoulder block. Redwood drops the top rope to send Elgin to the floor. Elgin catches Redwood’s dive attempt and throws him into the guardrail. Elgin press slams Redwood back into the ring. Elgin slams Redwood and drops an elbow for two. Elgin chokeslams Redwood for two. Elgin boots Redwood after absorbing Redwood’s chops. Redwood slips into a sleeper hold. Elgin turns it into a vertical suplex for two. Redwood refuses to stay down. He enzuigiri’s Elgin to the corner. Redwood bits Elgin in the corner. Elgin throws Redwood into the opposite corner. Elgin catches Redwood’s cannonball senton attempt. Redwood drives Elgin face first into the mat. Elgin catches a double axe handle. He spins Redwood into a uranage slam for two. Elgin picks up Redwood to block a sunset flip. He turns Redwood into a Samoan Crab for the submission at 7:36. It’s almost amazing how Redwood has had no progression in ROH for three years. Heck, he may be worse off. At least in 2010 he was a part of the Embassy feud. I guess this was fine, but Elgin is above this now. I guess it’s cool to see him display his power and whatnot but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. *1/2

ROH Tag Team Championship
Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. Future Shock (Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly)

Future Shock earned this title shot by winning a mini tournament back at “Tag Team Turmoil 2011” in July. Cole gets the ropes to stop Haas from schooling him on the mat. Cole shoulder tackles Haas and tags in O’Reilly. Haas thinks for a moment, then tags in Benjamin (whose ribs are taped up). Benjamin breaks out of a headscissions and puts on a side headlock. O’Reilly escapes by punching Benjamin in his ribs. Benjamin and O’Reilly fight for an advantage on the mat. O’Reilly gets it with a cross armbreaker. Benjamin powerbombs O’Reilly to free himself. O’Reilly kicks Benjamin in the ribs. Benjamin and Haas re-group on the floor. Cole puts Benjamin in a waistlock when Benjamin comes back in. Benjamin Northern Lights suplexes Cole for two. Cole stomps Benjamin down in the corner. O’Reilly drives his knee into Benjamin’s ribs multiple times. Cole and O’Reilly continue their assault on Benjamin until Benjamin clotheslines O’Reilly. Haas tags in. O’Reilly holds his own with the veteran until Haas catches O’Reilly’s slingshot senton with a backbreaker. Haas and Benjamin cut the ring in half, isolating O’Reilly in their corner. After a few minutes, O’Reilly kicks Benjamin away and tags in Cole. Cole delivers an onslaught of strikes and kicks to Benjamin. He delivers a neckbreaker for two. Haas comes in and gets taken to the foor with a huracanrana. Cole crossbody’s off the top onto Haas. Cole hits Benjamin with an enzuigiri from the floor. Cole gets two with a missile dropkick. Cole and O’Reilly double yakuza kick Benjamin in the corner. They also hit a tandem suplex. Haas breaks O’Reilly’s pin attempt. Future Shock double superkick Haas back to the floor. Cole pescado’s out after him. O’Reilly puts Benjamin in a Guilltoine choke. Cole puts Haas in the same move. Haas and Benjamin escape, and give Cole and O’Reilly two German suplexes. They go for the third, but Future Shock put them back in the Guillotines. Benjamin suplexes O’Reilly off, then superkicks Cole off of Haas. He drops Cole with a Samoan Drop. Haas and Benjamin flub a double powerbomb on O’Reilly, but excellently play it off like Benjamin’s hurt ribs were to blame. Haas puts O’Reilly in the Haas of Pain for the submission at 19:31. I much preferred the match these teams had at “Revolution: USA”. Cole and O’Reilly worked hard here, but never got to show much cohesion as a team. Haas and Benjamin on the other hand just sort of went through the motions. The finish was extremely deflating as well. This was still a good match, but disappointing considering how much I enjoyed their previous encounter. Haas puts over Future Shock after the match. ***

Mia Yim vs. MsChif

Prince Nana, RD Evans and Ernesto Osiris are in Yim’s corner. MsChif clotheslines Yim in the corner. MsChif tries some sort of cradle for two. Yim throws some punches, but gets her leg bent up to the back of her head. The Embassy is flipping out on the floor. MsChif gets two with a gut buster. Yim kicks MsChif in the shoulder and delivers an enzuigiri. MsChif rolls up Yim to avoid a running kick. Yim gets in a few more kicks. She stretches out and kicks MsChif’s back. Yim yakuza kicks MsChif in the corner. Yim gutwrench suplexes her for two. MsChif trips Yim as Yim comes off the ropes. MsChif’s standing moonsault gets a two. MsChif drops Yim with a sit-out choke bomb for two. Yim blocks the Desecrator with a German suplex. Yim nails a running kick. MsChif grabs the ropes to stop the referee’s count. Yim misses a Skytwister press. MsChif then hits the Desecrator for the pin at 4:44. I usually love Mia Yim, but her and MsChif did not mesh well at all. It’s also hard for me to care about women’s matches in ROH when they are meaningless and never serve any purpose. *

Proving Ground Match
Jay Lethal vs. Mark Briscoe

If Briscoe is able to last fifteen minutes or defeat Lethal, he will earn a future TV title match. Briscoe goes for a quick roll-up and gets two. Briscoe grabs a side headlock. He shoulder tackles Lethal to the mat. Lethal huracanrana’s Briscoe to the apron and dropkicks him to the floor. Lethal suicide dives onto him. Briscoe side steps a missile dropkick back in the ring. Lethal however does connect with a leg lariat for two. Lethal hip tosses Briscoe into a dropkick for two. Lethal puts Briscoe in a full body stretch. Lethal turns him into a pinning predicament for two. Briscoe crotches Lethal on the top rope to stop his leapfrog attempt. Briscoe throws Lethal into the guardrails. In the ring Briscoe drops a fist for two. Briscoe gives Lethal a bulldog out of the corner for another two count. Lethal counters an Irish whip with a back handspring elbow. Both men throw punches once back on their feet. Lethal wins the exchange and knocks down Briscoe with a flying forearm and back elbow. He hits a back handspring Ace Crusher for two. Briscoe counters the Lethal Combination with a rolling Death Valley Driver. He gets two with an exploder suplex. Briscoe and Lethal fight on the top rope. Briscoe comes crashing down to the canvas. Lethal goes for another handspring maneuver. Briscoe catches him on his shoulders. Lethal slides off and delivers the Lethal Combination. He follows with the Savage elbow drop for the pin at 11:17. Both guys had really good chemistry with each other and provided a very engaging contest. This ended before they could kick things up a notch, which actually makes me want to see a longer rematch. For what it was though, it made Lethal look good as the champion and Briscoe good for being able to hang with him. ***

El Generico vs. Mike Bennett

Generico has a tall task ahead of him here. Bennett pats Generico’s face in an arrogant fashion after breaking a lock-up in the corner. Bennett laughs when Generico flinches at a chop attempt. Generico chops Bennett in response. Generico armdrags Bennett to the floor. Generico fakes out a dive, making Bennett freak out. Generico chops and punches Bennett back in the ring. Bennett gives him a Manhattan Drop. Generico responds with a leg lariat for two. Bennett’s manager Bob Evans sweeps Generico’s legs out from under him. Bennett throws Generico head first into the barricade. Bennett gets two back in the ring. Bennett clotheslines Generico in the corner and gives him a neckbreaker for two. Generico uses Bennett’s momentum to send him to the floor. Generico follows with a tope con hilo. Generico crossbody’s onto Bennett in the ring for two. Generico then gets two with a Blue Thunder Bomb. Bennett blocks a yakuza kick. He hits a TKO for two. Bennett gets two with a spinebuster as well. Generico catches him with a yakuza kick and goes for the brainbuster. Bennett fights out. Generico toreador’s Bennett into the brainbuster position. Bennett shoves Generico to the corner to block it. Generico follows Bennett across the ring for a yakuza kick. He finally hits the brainbuster for two. Evans grabs Generico’s leg to prevent another yakuza kick from happening. Bennett tries to hit the Box Office Smash, but Generico is able to deliver another brainbuster for the pin at 11:55. Generico worked his hardest, but Bennett is so dull and one dimensional that it’s impossible to pull an exciting match out of the guy. What we ended up with was another average Bennett encounter. **1/2

Generico yakuza kicks Evans afterwards. He tries to give him a brainbuster, but Bennett cuts him off and hits the Box Office Smash. Bennett and Evans leave Generico laying in the ring.

The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus)

King and Edwards chain wrestle to a stalemate. They tag their respective partners in. Richards kicks Titus in the shoulder to end a wristlock exchange. Titus puts on a cross armbreaker. Richards turns it into an ankle lock and Titus grabs the ropes immediately. Richards drives Titus’ knees into the mat. Both men fire up, throwing slaps and punches at one another. Titus knee strikes Richards in the face. Titus tags in King, who stomps Richards in the corner for two. Richards covers up as King throws punches. Richards sends Titus and King to the floor to stop their double team offense. The Wolves kick ANX to the floor and follow with stereo dives. The Wolves wear down Titus as King looks on in frustration from the apron. They even do damage to Titus on the floor. Titus finally tags in King after dropping Edwards face first on the top turnbuckle. King hits an STO/standing moonsault combo on Edwards for two. King blocks Edwards’ Code Breaker and turns it into a backbreaker for two. Titus is well enough to help King team up on Edwards. This continues until Edwards is able to take down both ANX members. Richards tags in and missile dropkicks King and Titus simultaneously. Richards kicks Titus from the apron. Edwards drops King on his face out of a suplex. Richards double stomps King’s back for two. Richards catches King’s tornado kick attempt and applies an ankle lock. King sends Richards to the floor. King misses a pescado and Edwards chops him. King then sentons off the ring apron onto both Wolves. Titus hits them both with a tope con hilo. In the ring, Richards goes for the Alarm Clock. King counters with a cradle suplex for two. Titus comes off the top with double knees to Richards for two. ANX sets up for the One Night Stand. Richards fights out and Edwards brings King to the floor. King whips Edwards into the guardrail while Richards sets Titus up in the corner. King spin kicks Richards to stop his attack. Edwards missile dropkicks King. Titus gives Edwards a Thrust Buster but is caught with Richards’ Saito suplex. Titus fights back up and dropkicks Richards. King tornado kicks Edwards. Richards rolls King into a cross armbreaker, and Edwards puts Titus in the Achilles Lock. Both ANX members turn the submissions into pin attempts to escape. Edwards pops King into the Alarm Clock. The Wolves give King a superkick/German suplex combo for two. Edwards powerbombs King into a back cracker from Edwards. Edwards turns him into the Achilles Lock. Titus shoves Richards into them to break the hold. King shotgun knees Edwards into the corner, which accidentally sends Richards off the apron and through the ringside table. ANX hit Edwards with the One Night Stand for a two count. Titus frog splashes Edwards. King lands a shooting star press to pick up the win at 26:14. Why their double team finisher couldn’t pick up the win boggles my mind, but the right team went over at least. This was a little too long but the action was consistent and never fell flat. On a show like this, that’s the kind of match you need. This made the ANX look really strong right before their tag title match at Glory By Honor X while also furthering the dissension between Richards and Edwards. ***3/4

Richards gives his usual post-match speech that puts ANX over. Doesn’t he realize that if you give this speech after EVERY match they seem disingenuous? Edwards also throws in some thoughts of his own.

Bonus Feature

The bonus is Davey Richards coming out to address the crowd. He says it’s good to be home to take some time away from the road. He puts over his opponents, The All Night Express, but adds that he and Edwards will dominate them tonight. Well that didn’t turn out so well, now did it Davey?

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