Chicago Ridge, IL – 11.19.2011
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. Mike Sydal
Young Lions Cup VIII tournament entrants collide! As these two are trading holds, Kevin Steen pops up in the crowd (with ticket in hand) with an “I (Jewish Star) Colt” shirt. He sarcastically cheers the match as Ridge hits Sydal with a shoulder block. Ridge counters a hip toss with a backslide. Sydal ducks a kick and huracanrana’s Ridge. Sydal gets two with a clothesline. Ridge goes to work on Sydal’s arm. Jim Cornette, Cary Silken and Todd Sinclair come out to boot Steen from the arena. Cornette doesn’t care that he has a ticket. Ridge gives him a hammerlock DDT. The arguing continues on the floor. Sydal throws some punches but Ridge quickly takes control again. Meanwhile, the ROH officials are compromising Steen’s paperwork. They hesitantly allow Steen to stay in his front row seat and head backstage. Sydal hits Ridge with an enzuigiri. Sydal corner clotheslines Ridge (much like his brother Matt would do). He bulldogs Ridge out of the corner for two. Ridge gets his knees up to block a standing shooting star press. Ridge’s barrage of kicks leads to him hitting a slingshot Ace Crusher for the pin at 6:20. Of course, this match was just a backdrop for the Steen angle going ringside. The camera missed a lot of the match because of it, but what I saw was totally fine. This gets no rating since a lot of the action was missed. Steen sarcastically throws a streamer into the ring afterwards.
Jim Cornette gets on the microphone and gets in a verbal tiff with Steen. He informs the fans that the paper he was given from Steen’s lawyer allows him to stay at the show as a ticket-purchasing patron. Cornette makes Steen understand that he can do whatever he wants as long as he stays on the other side of the guardrail. He says if Steen goes any further he could screw up the arrangement they made regarding his Final Battle 2011 match. Steen responds by slapping the guardrail and chanting ROH.
Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin vs. Grizzly Redwood vs. Mike Bennett
Truth Martini is in Elgin’s corner with the Survival of the Fittest trophy. Bennett and Cole each win a lock-up exchange. Cole armdrags Bennett to the mat, holding onto his arm. Elgin blind tags in causing Bennett to immediately to tag out to Redwood. Elgin throws Redwood into Bennett, counting as Bennett tagging in. He runs and tags in Cole. Elgin blocks an armdrag. Cole shoves him into the corner and rolls him up for two. Cole huracanrana’s Elgin to Bennett’s corner. Bennett tags in and dropkicks Cole. Redwood blind tags in and rana’s Bennett to the corner. He follows up with a cannonball senton for two. Bennett drops Redwood with a TKO. Bennett keeps on Redwood until Redwood gives him a low bulldog. Cole tags in, missing a crossbody on Bennett. Bennett accidentally elbows Elgin off the apron. Cole O’Conner rolls Bennett. Bennett pushes Cole off into Elgin on the floor. Redwood suicide dives onto both Cole and Elgin. Redwood slips a sleeper hold onto Bennett. Bennett backs him to the corner, so Redwood comes off the ropes with a seated senton. Redwood prawn holds Cole for two. Cole wheelbarrow suplexes Redwood. Elgin tags in and picks up Redwood. He throws Redwood onto Cole, then pops him up so he can DDT Bennett. He Oklahoma Stampedes Redwood into Cole and on top of Bennett. Elgin powerbombs Redwood into Cole in the corner. Elgin blocks Bennett’s Box Office Smash attempt. Bennett does however deliver a spinebuster. Redwood comes out of the corner with a DDT to send Bennett out. Elgin blocks Redwood’s cannonball senton and powerbombs him onto Bennett on the floor. Cole sunset flips Elgin. That fails so he superkicks and enzuigiri’s Elgin. Elgin lariats him inside out. He follows with a spinning powerbomb for the pin at 9:24. They did a lot of clever things in this match and the blind tags added to the unpredictability factor. I love how strongly Elgin has come across these past two shows and genuinely think he’d be an awesome world champion for ROH. It stinks than in a match with Redwood that Cole had to be the one to take the pin, but what can you do? **3/4
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Tommaso Ciampa
The Embassy is in Ciampa’s corner. Steve Corino is in Jacobs’ corner, and he and Steen jaw jack when Jacobs first comes to the ring. Before the match, Jacobs eggs on Steen to stop hiding behind his lawyer’s and to provoke him. Ciampa is able to take control at the on-set thanks to Jacobs being distracted. Jacobs headscissors Ciampa across the ring, then bails to the floor to get in Steen’s face. Ciampa pulls Jacobs back into the ring. RD Evans grabs Jacobs’ foot as he hits the ropes. Princess Mia kicks Jacobs, which she gets away with because referee Todd Sinclair is trying to diffuse Steen and Corino. Ciampa shoulder tackles Jacobs to the mat. They criss-cross the ropes, ending with Ciampa nailing a lariat. Ciampa chops Jacobs against the guardrail that’s right by Steen. Back in the ring, Ciampa pounds on Jacobs’ back and neck. Jacobs kicks Ciampa down in the corner to block a running knee strike. Jacobs points to Steen right before hitting his signature cannonball senton. Jacobs then suicide dives onto Ciampa. Steen throws a water bottle at Jacobs, causing Corino to pull Steen over the apron and brawl with him. A swarm of officials and others (including Jacobs) join the fray to try and stop them. Steen gets thrown out of the building (literally). Meanwhile, at 6:39, the match is declared a no contest. This was going pretty well, but like the opening match, this was all constructed as a background to progress Steen’s storyline in ROH. It was good up until the finish however. **1/4
The Embassy calls for anyone to come out and have a match with Ciampa, since he was contractually obligated to have one tonight. Harlem Bravado comes out. He admits that the Bravado’s have been on a losing streak in Chicago lately. He talks about some things his grandmother told him, essentially accepting Ciampa’s challenge. The bottom of the screen this whole time has been showing Corino and Jacobs having to be pulled away from Steen and brought back into the building.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Harlem Bravado
Ciampa knees Harlem the moment he gets in the ring. He hits Project Ciampa for the pin at 0:19. That was fairly pointless. Lancelot Bravado helps his brother to the back.
Eddie Edwards vs. Kyle O’Reilly
There’s a lot of animosity between these guys, mostly stemming from “No Escape”, last night’s “Survival of the Fittest” event and Edwards choosing Dan Severn as his training coach for Final Battle 2011 when O’Reilly’s protégé Davey Richards had said he had interest in doing so. This is the first singles match these guys have had to settle the score.
They shake hands before the bell. They each cleanly break a lock-up against the ropes. Each guy looks for control on the mat, but neither man does. O’Reilly rolls Edwards into a cross armbareker. Edwards breaks and each guy switches positions looking for something. Neither man succeeds. They begin to throw elbows and headbutts out of a double knuckle lock. They monkey flip each other but hold onto each others’ knuckles. Edwards slips on an STF. O’Reilly gets the ropes to break it. Edwards and O’Reilly do a routine where they snapmare the other guy and kick them in the back. It leads to a forearm battle. O’Reilly knee strikes Edwards and kicks him in the chest for one. That leads to O’Reilly giving him two butterfly suplexes. He goes for a third but Edwards drops O’Reilly across his shoulders. O’Reilly rolls to the floor grabbing his jaw in pain. Edwards throws O’Reilly face first into the guardrail. Edwards whips O’Reilly into multiple corners back in the ring. O’Reilly plants Edwards with a tornado DDT as a measure of desperation. O’Reilly ducks a clothesline and suplexes Edwards into a cross armbreaker. Edwards reverses into the Achilles lock. O’Reilly counters that with a crossface. Edwards gets his foot on the ropes to break it. O’Reilly gets his foot stuck in the ropes going for a boot. Edwards is able to hit a gamengiri from the apron. O’Reilly kicks Edwards after avoiding a double stomp for two. Another forearm exchange leads to Edwards superkicking O’Reilly. O’Reilly responds with one of his own. O’Reilly spits in Edwards’ face. Edwards chops O’Reilly in the face and pins him for two. Edwards double stomps O’Reilly’s back. O’Reilly counters his powerbomb with a Guillotine choke. Edwards powers him out into the Die Hard. He hits it a second time. Instead of going for a pin, he calls out Davey’s name and forces O’Reilly to tap out in a Dragon Sleeper at 15:21. That was a lot of great back and forth action that much like the Survival of the Fittest finals raised O’Reilly’s stock even when losing. He was able to stand toe-to-toe with the #1 Contender for the ROH title and got the fans to chant his name after. The match itself had some great exchanges without reaching a territory where it seemed too unrealistic. All in all it was a success. ***1/4
The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
The Briscoes attack the Bucks after the Bucks refuse to shake hands. Jay and Nick fight on the floor. Mark swings Matt into the guardrail. Mark brings Matt back into the ring and bulldogs him out of the corner. He pitches Matt back out just as Jay whips Nick into the guardrail. The Bucks get time to themselves on the floor, but not for long as Mark tope con hilo’s out onto them. The Briscoes throw Matt into the guardrails and Nick back into the ring. They double shoulder tackle Nick. Matt is able to take out Jay on the floor. The Bucks hit a neck breaker/back breaker combo on Mark. Jay comes in but gets superkicked back to the floor. Somehow the Bucks have managed to isolate Mark in their corner. Mark flips out of Matt’s back flip and enzuigiri’s him. Jay and Nick tag in. Jay mows Nick down with a trifecta of a clotheslines and a spinebuster. He even kicks Matt off the apron for good measure. He throws Matt face first into Nick’s crotch. Jay Falcon Arrows Nick for two. Jay looks for a press slam but gets superkicked by Matt. Matt brings Mark to the floor and superkicks him as well. The Bucks hit a clothesline/enzuigiri combo on Jay in the corner. Nick hits a 450 splash while Matt dangles him in the ropes. Mark makes the save. Mark catches Nick coming into the ring with an overhead suplex. Mark shotgun dropkicks Nick to the corner. He gives Nick an Iconoclam for two. Matt shoves Mark off the top rope into a superkick from Nick. Mark blind tags in Jay. The bucks don’t see it and try More Bang for Your Buck. Mark evades it and the Briscoes go for the Doomsday Device. They don’t succeed, so Jay gives Matt a Death Valley Driver instead. Mark hits a frog splash elbow and Nick breaks the pin. The Briscoes shrug off the Bucks’ superkicks and clothesline them. Jay superkicks Nick to the floor. The Briscoes hit Matt with the Doomsday Device for the pin at 12:17. That was a really fun match. The Briscoes beat the ever loving piss out of the Bucks at the beginning, only for the Bucks to use their wits and cunning to come back and even the odds. In the end though, the Briscoes were tougher and ultimately dominated. Considering they have a tag title shot coming up at Final Battle, that’s the right move to make. ***1/2
Proving Ground Match
Jay Lethal vs. Roderick Strong
If Strong either wins the match or lasts the 15 minute time limit, he will earn a future shot at Lethal’s television title. They exchange hammerlocks and Strong quickly pops out of Lethal’s headscissors attempt. Lethal dropkicks Strong out of a sunset flip. Lethal’s legdrop gets him two. Strong catches Lethal with a dropkick as Lethal springboards in from the apron. Strong only gets one with a backbreaker. Strong shoulder blocks Lethal in the corner. Lethal snaps Strong’s neck on the top rope from the ring apron. Lethal springboards in with a senton and dropkicks Strong to the floor. He whips Strong shoulder first into the guardrail. Martini trips Lethal off the apron when he goes for another springboard maneuver. Strong backdrops Lethal on the ring apron for two. Strong dropkicks Lethal as he fights free from Strong’s grasp. Strong only gets a two count. Lethal chops Strong silly. Strong shoves Lethal to the opposite corner. Lethal boots Strong and hops over him. He hits a leg lariat and takes some time to catch his breath. Strong and Lethal exchange punches when they both get to their feet. Strong hits a back handspring elbow for two. Strong catches Lethal on the top rope. He grabs the ropes when pinning Lethal but only gets two. He O’Conner rolls Lethal into a side slam for two. Strong hits the Death by Roderick for two, just as the two minute warning is thrown out. Strong puts on the Stronghold. Lethal crawls to the ropes to break it. Lethal small packages Strong for two. Strong hits Death by Roderick again for two. Lethal tries another small package and again only gets two. Strong runs to the floor to run out the clock, but Lethal immediately brings him back in the ring. Lethal puts Strong in the figure four leg lock as the 30 second warning is given. Strong runs out the clock before tapping, earning himself a title shot (with a time limit draw decision) at 15:00.
Jim Cornette comes out and tries to convince Martini and Strong to give the fans who are chanting “five more minutes” what they want. Cornette ensures Strong will get his title match either way. Martini says no to the five more minutes, but once Cornette calls Strong a pussy, he’s suddenly game for the challenge. The bell rings and these two throw a flurry of punches at one another. Strong knee stirkes Lethal and hits a gamengiri. The Sick Kick gets him a two count. He sets up for the Tiger Driver but Lethal shoves him to the corner. Lethal hits the Lethal Combination for two. Strong puts Lethal in the Stronghold. Lethal kicks Storng away and small packages him for two. Strong hits Death by Roderick. Lethal superkicks him and then hits a handspring Ace Crusher for the pin at 2:03 (17:06 total). I’m completely puzzled as to why Lethal pinned Strong when Strong just won a title shot. That seems completely stupid if you ask me. Questionable decision aside, the action was solid and consistent. I would have kept this at the 15 minute draw if I were them. ***
ROH Tag Team Championship
Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus)
ANX earned their shot by defeating The Briscoes in a Ladder War back at “Glory By Honor IX”. Haas and Titus take it to the mat. Although Haas was in control the majority of the time, Titus gets the last laugh with a kick to Haas’ face. Titus shoves Haas after taking a shoulder block. Haas slaps Titus in the face and striks him in the corner. Titus takes him over with two armdrags. Titus slaps Haas after breaking his arm hold in the corner. Benjamin tags in and with Haas hits a double shoulder tackle for two. Titus strikes Benjamin in his taped up ribs, giving him a moment to tag in King. King retreats to the floor when Benjamin knocks him down with a couple shouder blocks. Titus helps King calm down. King approaches Benjamin with caution. King throws Benjamin outside the ring to break a waistlock. Benjamin takes out King with assorted armdrags that lead back to his waistlock. King grabs Benjamin’s arm and snaps it across the tope. King crossbody’s Benjamin to further damage his ribs. This allows ANX to take control and trap Benjamin in their corner. Benjamin manages to counter one of King’s clotheslines with a back breaker. Benjamin tags in Haas, who cleans house on the ANX. Haas German suplexes Titus twice and then hits the Angle Slam. He locks in the Haas of Pain. King knee drops Haas to break it. Haas whips Titus chest first into the turnbuckle. Benjamin and Haas wear down Titus for a bit, but all it takes is one knee from Titus to Benjamin’s ribs to free himself and tag in King. King drops Benjamin with a reverse STO. He hits a standing moonsault for two. King headstad enzuigiri’s him and delivers a spinebuster for two. Benjamin counters King’s sunset flip with an Air Raid Crash for two. Benjamin superkicks King after Haas delivers an atomic drop. Titus breaks their pin. Titus kicks Haas in the chest. Titus slingshots right into a backbreaker from Haas. King shoves Haas off the top rope. Benjamin jumps up for a superplex, but gets caught with the One Night Stand from the ANX. Benjamin somehow is able to kick out. King dives onto Haas so Titus can hit a frog splash without interruption. Benjamin however gets his knees up. He drops Titus with Pay Dirt for two. King and Haas kick one another while yelling F YOU at one another. Haas and Benjamin catch King with the Broken Arrow. They hit a tandem powerbomb for the pin at 22:03. I give Titus and King a lot of credit. I have no interest any more in WGTT being champs, but they were able to get me somewhat invested in the match. In fact, I would have switched the belts here. Regardless, the action and story were both good, King and Titus looked great hanging with the champs, but the finish was really flat compared to what we had seen throughout the rest of the match. So it goes. ***
Backstage we join Haas and Benjamin. Haas puts over the All Night Express, and he respects how close they came to defeating them. Benjamin agrees but reaffirms that they are at the top of the ROH tag division. Benjamin makes some wacky duck joke. Haas says that the Briscoes are next.
ROH World Championship
Davey Richards vs. El Generico
Richards controls the early going. Generico armdrags Richards to the corner and gives him a nice “OLE!” Richards slaps Generico’s handshake motion away. Richards dropkicks Generico to the floor and fakes a dive. Generico is table to hit two armdrags and a toreador to send Richards out. Generico fakes a dive himself. Richards puts Generico in a straight jacket choke. Generico reverses. Richards sends Generico to the apron. Generico elbows Richards and crossbody’s back in for two. Richards sends Generico back out to the floor and punts him from the ring apron. Richards suicide dives onto him. Richards kicks Generico against the guardrails a few times. Richards throws kicks back in the ring and puts on a headscissors. Richards skull f*cks his head into the mat then stomps on Generico’s knees. Generico sends Richards to the floor. He follows with a tope con hilo. Generico hits a Blue Thunder Bomb back in the ring for two. He attempts the Michinoku Driver. Richards slips out of it the first time, as well as a half-nelson suplex, but Generico catches Richards coming off the ropes with the Michinoku Driver for two. Richards evades a yakuza kick. Richards pulls him out of the corner into a chest kick for two. Richards places Generico up top after delivering a knee strike. He lands a superplex for two. Generico and Richards each look for a big move mid-ring. Richards catches Generic with the Alarm Clock. Generico responds with a yakuza kick. Richards turns around Generico’s brainbuster and hits it himself for two. Generico recovers and walks the ropes for a tornado DDT. Richards blocks an applies an ankle lock. Generico grabs the ropes to escape. Richards kicks Generico in the chest. He waits for Generico to try and get up, kicking him again when he does. Generico smacks Richards in the face. Richards responds with multiple punches. Generico dropkicks Richards to block the Damage Reflex. He hits a yakuza kick and half-nelson suplex for two. Richards places Generico on the apron to block another brainbuster. He tries to kick him to the floor but Generico holds tight to the top rope. Generico kicks Richards from the apron. He brings him out and gives him a brainbuster onto the ring frame! About a minute later, Generico gets Richards back in the ring for a two count. Generico goes for another brainbuster on the apron, but Richards blocks by giving him a dragonscrew in the ropes. Richards calls for the shooting star press. Generico catches him on the top rope and sets up for the top rope brainbuster. Richards fights off. He tries for a sunset bomb but Generico holds still. Richards comes back up and hits dragon superplex. A regular German suplex gets Richards two. Richards kicks Generico right in the side of the head for two. Generico gets in a corner suplex/yakuza kick/half-nelson suplex combo. Richards’ fires up but gets put in a sleeper hold body vice from Generico. Richards turns it into an ankle lock. Generico prawn holds him for two. Generico then puts on his own ankle lock. Richards small packages Generico for two. He kicks Generico a couple times and hits a discuss lariat for two. Richards hits a brainbuster for two as well. Richards gives Generico three swift kicks to the head to finally put him down at 30:01. That onslaught of finishers at the end got a bit tiresome and even deflated the crowd. This also could have trimmed about 10 or so minutes and been a much tighter overall package. As it was, it was still an entertaining title bout and Generico is the master of making a comeback. The “we’ll sell when we feel like it” attitude of some of these matches has GOT to go. ***1/2
Kevin Steen comes back into the building, this time wearing his own shirt. He gets in a fight with Richards which multiple officials and wrestlers have to break up. Corino also gets his hands on Steen. The situation is finally diffused and Steen is once again taken outside of the building. Richards tells Steen if he wants a fight, all he has to do is ask. He then turns his attention to Generico, whose reaction is to immediately give Generico a hug. Richards then leads the crowd into cheering for Generico. Steen tries to get back into the building but the door is locked. Richards tells Corino for what it is worth, he has gained his respect. That means a lot to Corino.