Los Angeles, CA – 1.28.2011
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 Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak.
The show opens with the Kings of Wrestling coming out to the ring. Hero says a year ago they stood in the ring as uncrowned Kings, and now one year later they are the longest reigning tag team champions in ROH history. Hero lists some of the teams they have defeated over the past year, including their opponents for tonight, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin. As the fans chant “overrated”, Claudio calls Los Angeles, their sports teams, and Disneyland overrated. Hero puts down some obnoxious fans standing in the back of the room. Hero says that no one will knock them down because Kings Reign Supreme.
The Bravado Bros. (Lance & Harlem Bravado) vs. Cedric Alexander & Caleb Konley
Lance impresses himself and Harlem by taking Konley down with a pair of armdrags. Konley and Lance go back and forth until Konley catches Lance with a deep armdrag of his own. Alexander tags in. Konley hits Lance with a forearm in the corner and Alexander follows with a flying knee strike for two. Lance pushes Alexander to his corner and tags in Harlem. Alexander and Konley send the Bravados to the floor. Alexander follows out with a suicide dive. Konley moonsaults onto everyone. Alexander pins Harlem for two in the ring. Lance kicks Alexander from the apron. Harlem gives him a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. The Bravados take turns wearing down Alexander in their corner. Alexander escapes by giving Lance a Pele Kick. Konley tags in and knocks the Bravado’s down with Polish hammers. Konley O’Conner rolls Harlem for two. Konley gives him a tornado DDT while kicking Lance in the process for two. Lance enzuigiri’s Konley into a German suplex from Harlem. Alexander breaks the pin. Konley tags in Alexander who hits a double springboard dropkick. Lance pushes Konley off the top rope to avoid Harlem from being hit with a tandem maneuver. Harlem rolls up Alexander for the pin at 7:50. Solid tag match to open the show. The Bravado’s have certainly found their role within the company and are improving with every match, but need a bit more polish and variety in their shtick before truly breaking out. Konley and Alexander were serviceable foils and have a lot of upside as well. **
Colt Cabana vs. Jay Briscoe
Cabana rubs Jay’s armpits with a towel after being appalled by his stench. Jay takes Cabana down with a wristlock, but Cabana keeps popping up. Cabana tries a kneeling frog press for two. Cabana wiggles out of a headscissors on the mat and tries a second kneeling frog press for two. Jay takes Cabana down with a headscissors and a leg lariat for two as the pace and intensity picks up. Jay nails a clothesline in the corner. He snapmares Cabana into a basement dropkick for two. Jay and Cabana go chop for forearm. Jay puts his feet on the ropes for a pin but only gets two. Jay drops Cabana into the corner with a reverse STO. Cabana knocks Jay down with a clothesline. Cabana gives Jay the Flip Flop & Fly and a flying hip attack for two. Jay hits Cabana with an enzuigiri. Jay hits a Death Valley Driver for two. Jay calls for the Jay Driller. Cabana reverses into a backdrop. Cabana hits the Flying Asshole. Jay kicks Cabana and hits the Jay Driller for the pin at 7:08. Another solid bout, but not nearly as good as I was expecting. This was more of a paint-by-numbers encounter as opposed to anything truly exciting or special. **
The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) vs. The Cutler Bros. (Brandon & Dustin Cutler)
ANX attack The Cutlers before the bell. King brings Dustin to his corner where Titus nails him with a running boot. Titus hip swivels before executing a suplex for two. Dustin avoids an attack from King. Brandon jumps in with a forearm. Brandon boots King down in the corner. Brandon backdrops King, and King rolls to the floor. Brandon throws Titus to the floor as well. Dustin pops Brandon up and over the top onto the ANX. The Cutlers hit a rolling double shoulder block onto King for two. Dustin chokes King behind the referee’s back with some exercise equipment. Brandon hits Titus with a modified Thesz Press. Titus trips Brandon off the second rope for a two count. Titus and King isolate Brandon from Dustin. Brandon escapes a back suplex from King and tags in Dustin. He pops King up into an atomic drop and toreadors into a stunner for two. King and Dustin trade forearms. Brandon pops King up into a German suplex from Dustin for two. King snaps Dustin’s throat Savage style on the top rope. ANX deliver furious feet to Dustin’s face for two. King gives Dustin a blockbuster across Titus’ knees and Brandon breaks the pin. Brandon pescado’s onto Titus as Dustin drops King with a TKO for two. Dustin catches Titus with a flatliner and Brandon flies in with an elbow drop for two. The Cutlers go for their tandem piledriver. King blows them off as Titus throws Dustin to the corner. King gives him shot gun knees. The ANX hit a backbreaker/top rope knee strike combination for the pin 10:58. I’ve been waiting forever for the Cutlers to get a shot in Ring of Honor and they did not disappoint. Both teams but in a very good performance, and had the benefit of a crowd knowledgeable of the Cutlers to help out. **3/4
Davey Richards vs. TJ Perkins
Perkins backs Richards to the corner and kicks him in the back of his knee. Richards brings Perkins to the mat, but Perkins takes the mount. Richards reverses into a grapevine leg stretch which causes Perkins to grab the ropes right away. Perkins breaks a wristlock and dropkicks him. Both guys block each others kicks and reach a stalemate. Perkins clutches Richards’ hands and tries to put his shoulders down for a pin. Richards escapes and gets a two count with a crucifix pin. Perkins blocks a powerbomb and drops his knees onto Richards’ chest. Perkins chokes Richards with his boot. Perkins ties up Richards’s legs and again clutches his hands. He kicks Richards multiple times in the chest and hits a kneeDT. Perkins targets his attack on Richards’ left leg. Richards takes Perkins down with a cross armbreaker and Perkins breaks it immediately by getting the ropes. Richards turns his attack to Perkins’ arm. Richards Perkins’ arm with a diving headbutt before applying another stretch. Richards applies a step-over armbar. Richards hits the alarm clock. Perkins suplexes Richards and himself out to the floor. In the ring, Perkins and Richards trade strikes and kicks. Richards cracks him with a big boot. Perkins locks himself in the ropes but gets dropkicked to the floor. Perkins comes back win with a huracanrana for two. Richards connects with a sole butt. Perkins hits a flying knee strike and kicks Richards repeatedly in the corner. Perkins blocks an alarm clock with a sit-out powerbomb for two. Perkins rolls through a cross armbreaker. Richards pummels him with kicks to the chest. He kicks Perkins to the apron. Perkins comes off the top rope, right into a Fujiwara armbar from Richards. Perkins escapes. Richards blocks an enzuigiri with one of his own. He hits a step-up knee strike before placing Perkins on the top rope. Richards hits a superplex for two. He transitions into a Fujiwara armbar. Perkins turns it into a modified sharpshooter. Richards cradles Perkins for two. Perkins and Richards trade kicks to the face. Perkins hits an STO with a knee strike to the face for two. Richards evades a 450 splash. Richards hits a running knee strike and a German suplex for two. Perkins gets two with a small package. Richards knocks him down with a rolling clothesline. Richards kicks him in the head. He drops Perkins with a Falcon Arrow. He puts on the cross armbreaker and Perkins immediately taps out at 18:54. This is exactly the match you’d expect out of these two, and that’s a compliment. This was great counter wrestling filled with the strikes, submissions, and fake out nearfalls you have come to know and love. It didn’t feel overdone and the time flew by. This was a fantastic bout that had the crowd going nuts from bell to bell. ****
ROH Television Championship
Christopher Daniels vs. Mark Briscoe
A nice blast from the past, as Allison Danger accompanies Christoper Daniels to the ring. Daniels and Mark trade control on the mat. Mark knocks him down with a shoulder block. He slides under Daniels and hits an armdrag. Daniels hits one and reaches a stalemate with Mark. Mark takes Daniels down with an armdrag and a headlock. Daniels struggles to break the headlock, only to eat a spinwheel kick right after. Mark drops him with a neckbreaker for two. Daniels twists Mark’s neck and forearms his back. Daniels drops him with a suplex for two. Daniels hits a twisting neckbreaker for two. Mark fights back but quickly gets dropped with a Death Valley Driver for two. Mark mows down Daniels with a clothesline. Daniels goes to the floor. Mark dives out with a tope con hilo. Mark busts out some chops. Daniels responds with palm strikes. Mark hits a throat thrust and an enzuigiri for two. Mark comes off the top rope with a sunset flip. He transitions into a deadlift powerbomb for two. Daniels avoids a frog elbow and applies the Koji Clutch. Mark gets the bottom rope to break. Daniels hits the Iconoclasm for two. Mark hits a flying knee strike in the corner. He connects with the frog elbow for two. Daniels hits a uranage. Mark evades the BME. Daniels lands on his feet and is met with a superkick. Daniels counters an exploder suplex and hits the Angel’s Wings for two. Daniels successfully hits the BME for the pin at 12:18. Pretty disappointing for a title match, but still enjoyable throughout. Any time Mark Briscoe gets an opportunity to show his stuff in a singles match, I consider it a victory since it doesn’t seem to happen very often (unless it’s at the expense of Jay Briscoe getting a bigger singles match that same night). Like I said, good match overall but not up to the snuff of a usual title bout. ***
The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli) vs. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin)
Benjamin takes control after a little showboating from Claudio. Haas tags in and aggressively whips Claudio into the corner. Claudio knees him in the stomach and tags in Hero. Hero gives him a few chops and Haas responds with some of his own. Hero pokes him in the eyes. Claudio tags in. Haas takes him over with a fireman’s carry and a pair of armdrags. Benjamin takes Claudio over with a Northern Lights suplex for two. Benjamin kicks Claudio in the face and Haas nails him with a clothesline for two. Claudio comes back with an uppercut and dropkick. Haas gives Claudio his own dropkick. Hero tags in and pummels Haas with knees and kicks as Claudio assists from the apron. The Kings maintain the advantage until Haas takes Claudio down with an Angle Slam. Benjamin tags in and waylays Hero with a flurry of strikes. He hits a flying splash and a backbreaker for two. Benjamin blocks aboot from Hero and the Swiss Chin Music from Claudio. Benjamin hits Claudio with an exploder suplex for two. Claudio goes up top, but Benjamin hops up to catch him. Claudio pushes him down, and the Kings hit a modified Doomsday Device. Haas breaks the pin. The Kings work over Benjamin in their corner until Benjamin comes back with a blockbuster on Claudio. Haas tags in. He ducks an elbow from Hero and drops him with a German suplex. He gives Claudio a satellite headscissors and a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Haas hotshots Hero and holds up his legs. Claudio knocks Benjamin down with the Swiss Chin Music. Hero elbows Haas in the neck. He and Claudio set up for the KRS-1. Benjamin spears Hero and Haas small packages Claudio for two. Claudio nails Haas with a pop-up European uppercut for two. Claudio and Hero give Haas the King’s Swing for two. Claudio throws Benjamin back to the floor as he comes in. Haas ducks an elbow and backdrops Hero over Claudio. Claudio O’Conner rolls Haas. Benjamin superkicks Claudio and Haas rolls up Claudio and Hero kicks him. Hero spins Benjamin into a rolling elbow. Benjamin nails Hero with a superkick. Claudio looks for the Ricola Bomb on Haas. Haas counters into an exploder suplex. He puts Claudio in the Haas of Pain. Hero puts on the Golden elbow pad. Benjamin kicks him off the top rope. Claudio taps out at 17:01. Haas and Benjamin were tailor made for Ring of Honor and may have out shined the Kings of Wrestling here. This was a fitting rematch with the right time going over to set-up a future tag team title bout. Really good stuff all around that had the fans whipped into a frenzy by the finish. ***3/4
ROH World Championship
Roderick Strong vs. El Generico
Generico and Strong timidly go after each other. Generico throws the first chop, and Strong throws one back. Generico takes Strong to the mat. Strong applies a headscissors. Generico gets the ropes to break a front chancery. Generico gets in a few armdrags. Strong takes Generico over with a headlock. Strong shoulder blocks Generico down and then chops him in the corner. Generico comes back with two armdrags and a toreador. Generico chops strong in the corner. Strong boots him away, but Generico responds with ten punches in the corner. Generico hits a leg lariat for two. Generico goes up top for a tornado DDT, but Strong crotches him on the top rope to counter. Strong stomps Generico down in the corner and stands on his chest. On the floor, Generico whips Strong into the barricades twice. In the ring, Strong kicks Generico’s leg out and gives him a backbreaker for two. Strong chops Generico on the ring apron before throwing him into the barricade repeatedly. Strong goes for a backbreaker on the apron, but Generico slides off into the ring. He yakuza kicks Strong off the apron and into the barricades. Generico follows up with a tope con hilo. In the ring Generico hits a crossbody for two. Generico hits a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Strong evades a yakuza kick and nails a pair of forearms and a knee strike for two. Strong hits a half-nelson backbreaker for two. He puts on a Boston Crab. Generico grabs the bottom rope to break. Strong twists Generico in a crab for two. Strong kicks Generico in the face and spits in his face. Generico fights back with an overhand chop. Generico connects with a yakuza kick. Strong responds with a hard forearm. Strong hits a yakuza kick and an enzuigiri. Generico blocks a Sick Kick with the Michinoku Driver for two. Generico blocks a gut buster and puts on a Boston Crab. Strong tranistions into a LaBell Lock. Generico rolls back into a pin attempt for two. Strong knees and kicks Generico in the head. Another forearm gets him two. Strong hits the Gut Buster and a superkick for two. Strong suplexes Generico into a backbreaker for two. Generico hits a half-nelson suplex. He drops Strong with a brainbuster, only for Strong to get his foot on the bottom rope. Strong drives Generico’s face into the second turnbuckle. He throws a chair in the ring to distract referee Todd Sinclair. Strong hits Generico with his title belt. Strong follows up with the Sick Kick and a Tiger Driver for the win at 21:58. The finish was no doubt disappointing, but the story told during the match made it much more palpable. Generico took everything Strong had and then some, leaving Strong desperate for the win. He resorted to cheap tactics to retain the title which made sense in the end. Generico had the fans believing on multiple occasions that he was going to win the title which I didn’t think was possible. Kudos to these two for ending the night on a high note, even with a unclean finish. ****
Strong runs his mouth on the microphone. Christopher Daniels, Davey Richards, and Jay Briscoe chase him off. Daniels tells Strong that his time is coming and puts over a handful of legends who are in attendance for WrestleReunion.