Dearborn, MI – 5.6.2011
ROH World Champion: Eddie Edwards
ROH Television Champion: Christopher Daniels
ROH World Tag Team Champions: Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Eric Santamaria.
The entire Embassy (Prince Nana, Princess Mia, Ernesto Osiris, RD Evans, and Tommasso Ciampa) is backstage. Nana recalls how Homicide threw a chair at the head of RD Evans at “Honor Takes Center Stage: Night 2” in Atlanta. Evans says tonight will be Homicide’s last night in ROH, as Tommaso Ciampa will take the proverbial torch from him.
Homicide vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Fists fly right off the bat. Ciampa lands a suplex but eats a back elbow from Homicide. Homicide delivers ten punches in the corner. A butterfly suplex gets him two. Homicide snaps Ciampa neck first on the ropes, sending him to the floor. Ciampa slides back in to evade a dive. Ernesto Osiris grabs Homicide’s leg, allowing Ciampa to lariat Homicide on the ring apron. Nana gets in a cheap shot as Ciampa beats down Homicide in the corner. He kicks Homicide’s head into the ring post. Homicide throws him back in the ring after a back elbow. Ciampa hits a chinbreaker and chokes Homicide with his boot. He blasts his knee into Homicide’s face. Ciamapa whips him into the corner and lays in elbows to Homicide’s face. Homicide comes back with a swinging DDT out of the corner. Homicide delivers two-thirds of the three amigos and a t-bone suplex for two. Ciampa escapes the Cop Killa. He delivers a Death Valley Falcon Arrow for two. Annoyed, Ciampa grabs a chair on the floor. Homicide dives onto him with tope suicida. In the ring, Homicide hits an ace crusher. RD Evans grabs Homicide’s leg as he hits the ropes. Nana hands Ciampa his crown behind the ref’s back. Ciampa nails Homicide with it for the pin at 8:05. The BS finish wasn’t too upsetting because the match was more about continuing Homicide and The Embassy’s issue than providing a good match. It worked effectively, and I think with more actual wrestlers involved The Embassy could be a strong group. **
Post match, The Embassy fills the ring. Homicide counters Ciampa’s attempt at the Cop Killa and pitches him to the floor. Evans weakly throws a chair at Homicide’s head and celebrates like he accomplished something huge. He freaks out when he sees Homicide is still standing. Evans pushes Ernestro into Homicide’s projectory. He gives Osiris the Cop Killa and the rest Embassy flees to the back.
Michael Elgin vs. Andy Ridge
Elgin tosses Ridge, escaping a headlock. Ridge wisely kicks Elgin in the legs and chips him. Ridge runs into a shoulder block. Ridge pushes Elgin to the corner and flurry of kicks. He sends Elgin to the floor with an enzuigiri. Elgin catches Ridge’s pescado attempt and vertical slams him on the floor. Elgin shoves Ridge into the guardrail. In the ring, Elgin gets a two count. Elgin slams Ridge into opposite corners before suplexing him for two. Elgin puts Ridge in a straight-jacket Gory Gallows. Ridge escapes and lands a chinbreaker. Elgin blocks a kick and drops him with a spinebuster for two. Ridge slingshots into an ace crusher for one. Ridge kicks Elgin after avoiding a sit-down splash. Elgin crotches himself in the corner. Ridge hits a yakuza kick to his face for two. Elgin hits a pump-handle suplex for two. Elgin nails a spinning backfist. Ridge tries a huracanrana. Elgin catches him and powerbombs Ridge for the pin at 7:19. Ridge has been directionless since his Trial series, which is a shame because he has skill and potential. Why not put someone like him in the Embassy? Ridge got a nice showing, but with Elgin getting the win it seemed all for naught. *1/2
Earlier in the night, Grizzly Redwood cut a promo. He says he doesn’t want Steve Corino’s guidance that he offered, because he doesn’t feel like fighting Corino’s battles. All Redwood wants to do is wrestle.
We then cut to the ring where Steve Corino comes out for an address. Steve Corino admits he’s an evil person and has been for the past seventeen years. He says day by day he tries to change his ways by helping the young guys. He says he wanted to help out Christopher Daniels when he faced Mike Bennett back at “Defy or Deny”, but at the time didn’t realize that Daniels was a sell-out (referring to Daniels joining the House of Truth it Atlanta). He says he took a month off in Puerto Rico to recoup. During that time, Corino was in contact with an old friend who was also exiled from Ring of Honor and is evil. Corino says this man is also on a road to recovery and wants back into ROH. The fans immediately assume this person is Kevin Steen. Corino is about to reveal the name of his new sponsor but is interrupted by Mike Bennett. Corino says his beef with Bennett is over since Corino lost to him at Manhattan Mayhem IV. Corino tells Bennett to get rid of his manager “Brutal” Bob Evans if he wants to be respected. Bennett says he keeps Evans around because he’s helping him become a superstar. Bennett says if Corino won’t willingly “fall off the wagon” and become evil again, he’ll push Corino off. Bennett challenges Corino to a fight. As Corino takes off his jacket to accept, Bennett’s originally scheduled opponent Grizzly Redwood comes out.
Mike Bennett vs. Grizzly Redwood
Bennett punches Corino. Redwood comes in and schoolboys Bennett for two. Redwood log rolls Bennett’s legs out and dropkicks him. Redwood crossbody’s onto him. Bennett catches Redwood, but Redwood crucifix pins Bennett for two. Bennett delivers a spinebuster. Bennett boots Redwood down in the corner. Bennett tosses Redwood to the mat for two. Redwood slips on a rear-naked choke. Bennett throws Redwood off of him. Redwood hits a boot and a DDT for two. Evans grabs Redwood’s foot. Corino chases Evans away. Bennett buckle bombs Redwood and drops him with a piledriver for the pin at 4:05. This was a lot like the previous bout; an extended squash that gave Redwood a few openings to show some promise, only for it to not amount to anything. Bennett and Elgin are over already, they don’t need to be doing these kinds of matches anymore. Especially when it’s at the expense of guys who could use a decent push. *
After the match, Corino tends to Redwood. Bennett sneak attacks him. Corino gets in a few punches before Bennett delivers his patented sit-out uranage slam. Outside the arena, Prince Nana and RD Evans agree that they should take a case against Homicide to court. Evans notices the pain Osiris is in and tells him to stay there. He seems to have an idea.
First Blood Match
The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
The match starts with ANX attacking the Briscoes on the floor. Jay pairs off with Titus while King and Mark slug it out. Mark and King throw chairs at each other while Jay and Titus make it into the ring. Titus strings a series of manuevers to Jay’s head. Mark throws a barricade sign onto King. Jay slides to the floor. As Titus goes for a dive, Mark boots him in the head from the apron. King hops off the apron with a tumbleweed senton to Mark. Titus backdrops Jay on the floor. King whips Mark into a corner. ANX hit a legdrop/splash combo on Mark. King knocks Mark down with a spinwheel kick. Jay nails Titus with a boot to the face. Mark chokes Titus on the second rope while biting his forehead. The Briscoes double dropkick the barricade cover into Titus’ face. The Briscoes team up on Titus as King patiently waits in the corner. What for? It’s a First Blood match! King does go after Mark on the floor but gets a low blow for his troubles. Titus drops Jay face first on a steel chair in the corner (after Jay himself set it up). King tags in and nails Mark with a pair of clotheslines. He hits a cartwheel enzuigiri and a tornado kick. He bludgeons Mark’s forehead with his fist and throws him into a dropkick from Titus. King low blows Jay for retribution. ANX go for a spike piledriver to Mark on a chair. Jay frees him and throws King face first into the chair. Titus and Mark brawl on the floor. In the ring, Jay throws King in a fireman’s position into the top turnbuckle. Pissed that there’s no blood, Jay rips off a middle rope turnbuckle cover. Titus boots Jay to save King. Mark crotches Titus on the top rope. King pitches Jay to the floor as Mark hits a top rope ace crusher. Mark and King trade punches. On the floor, King sends Mark into the barriacade with shotgun knees. Titus flies off the apron into a chair from Jay. King hits a twisting tope on King. Mark is busted open but the referee is too busy with Jay and King to notice. Mark hides as Titus emerges with a bloody forehead. As Titus goes up top, the referee calls for the bell at 13:53 to award the match to the Briscoes. This stipulation was by far the best way to follow up their match in Atlanta, but this fell short of the epic brawl these two teams are capable of providing. When this match switched over to a regular tag bout in the middle, I was greatly annoyed, but it came off more as the referee being overly involved more than the wrestlers subsiding their hatred for one another. **3/4
The ANX deliver a backbreaker/flying knee strike combo on Jay anyway. Mark drags Jay out of the ring. King says he’s tired of their wars and challenges them to a Chicago Street Fight on May 21st. King calls them faggots as the Briscoes trash talk from the aisleway.
Colt Cabana vs. Christopher Daniels
Daniels cuts the same promo he did online before this match. He does mention that he will not be defending his Television title as the future of the title is uncertain. Martini grabs Cabana’s arm to allow Daniels a sneak attack. Cabana comes back with a pair of clotheslines and a head clasp. Cabana goes for the Billy Goat’s Curse, but Daniels wiggles out and hits the floor. When he comes back in, Cabana grabs a front chancery. Cabana sunset flips Daniels for two. He tricks Daniels into a hammerlock. Daniels snapmares Cabana. He misses a few elbow drops. Cabana tries a few pin attempts but only gets two with them. Daniels boots Cabana and throws him to the floor. Martini gets in a few cheap shots before throwing Cabana back in. Daniels elbows Cabana back out to the floor after a short exchange. Daniels throws Cabana into the guardrail and then back in the ring. Daniels teases a slingshot maneuver, but just walks on top of Cabana instead. Cabana fires up and gets in a few punches. Daniels tries throwing Cabana off the second rope, but Cabana rolls through and hits a flying hip attack. Cabana delivers the Flip, Flop and Fly. Cabana hits a moonsault press and ten punches in the corner. Cabana misses the Flying Asshole. Martini hits him with the Book of Truth behind the referee’s back. Daniels drops him with the Angel’s Wings for the pin at 9:04. The match was fine, but never really got out of first gear. If nothing else it showcased Daniels to be a perfect fit for the House of Truth. **1/2
Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly
Haas and Cole vie for control on the mat. Haas takes control, so Cole delivers a few forearms. He hits a leaping leg lariat for two. O’Reilly tags in and delivers a tandem flapjack and stereo basement dropkicks with Cole for one. Haas brings O’Reilly to his corner and tags in Benjamin. Benjamin and O’Reilly aggressively fight for control on the mat. O’Reilly tries a crucifix pin annd gets two. Benjamin gets a one count after jockeying for position. They each sneak in a pin attempt in but with no avail. Benjamin boots O’Reilly as O’Reilly comes off the ropes. Benjamin drops O’Reilly back first across his knee and tags in Haas. Haas targets his attack on O’Reilly’s arm. O’Reilly goes for an arm submission of his own, but Haas picks O’Reilly up and slams him down. Cole blind tags in and delivers a tandem Northern Lights suplex on Haas for two. Cole gets in some kicks before Haas tosses him over with a suplex. Cole flips in from the apron and Haas catches him with a backbreaker. Benjamin slams Cole onto Haas’ knee. Benjamin focuses his attack on Cole’s back, keeping him from tagging O’Reilly in. Haas does some work too and gives O’Reilly the evil eye. Cole finally tags O’Reilly in. O’Reilly takes Benjamin down with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and Haas with a huracanrana. O’Reilly and Cole nail both of them with stereo superkicks. Cole suicide dives onto Haas. O’Reilly comes off the top rope with a crossbody to Benjamin for two. O’Reilly rolls him up for two. O’Reilly hits a wheelbarrow bulldog and Haas kicks him in the face to break the pin. Haas kicks Cole in the head and whips O’Reilly into a superkick from Benjamin. Benjamin and Haas give Cole the Broken Arrow. Benjain drops O’Reilly with the Pay Dirt for the pin at 17:36. I really liked this match. Both Haas and Benjamin kept their focus when Cole and O’Reilly got worked over, making it seem like they were completely credible opponents. The action never dragged during the heat segment and kept the crowd engaged. This pumped life into a rather sub-par show, so kudos to these four guys. ***1/2
El Generico vs. Roderick Strong
Strong sneak attacks Generico as Martini comes out of the entrance by himself. Strong pummels Generico in the corners. Generico comes back with two clotheslines and a backdrop. Generico chases Martini around the ring. Strong nails him with a rope asissted baseball slide. Strong whips Generico in the barricade. Strong levels Generico with multiple forearms and throws him head first into the barricade. Generico fires back with a pair of chops. He moonsaults off the barricade onto Strong. In the ring Generico hits a crossbody for two. On the floor, Strong lays in some chops and promises he’ll end Generico. He misses a chair shot, so Generico puts a chair on Strong’s back and then slams a second chair into that chair. Got that? A fight on the apron ends with Strong giving Generico a backbreaker on the edge of the ring. Generico recovers and gives Strong an Atomic drop. Strong crotches Generico on the top as he goes for a tornado DDT. Strong follows up with a backbreaker for two. Generico yakuza kicks Strong off the apron and into the barricades. Martini grabs Generico’s legs as he hits the ropes. Generico chases Martini. He runs into Strong and gives him a tornado DDT on the mats. In the ring, Generico delivers a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Strong looks to hit Generico with the Book of Truth. Generico blocks the attack, but eats an elbow anyway. Generico hits a yakuza kick and Strong responds with a knee strike. Strong hits a backbreaker for two. Strong drops Generico stomach first on a set-up chair. He hits a Sick Kick for two then transitions into the Stronghold. Strong sets up Generico on the chair in the corner. He lays in some forearms. Generico throws Strong onto the chair with a t-bone suplex for two. Generico brings a table into the ring. Strong delivers a superkick for two. Generico makes a quick recovery and splashes Strong through table for two. After a bit of struggle, Generico hits a brainbuster. Martini breaks the pin. Michael Elgin runs in but Generico throws him to the floor. Generico nails Martini with a yakuza kick in the corner. Generico drops Strong with another brainbuster. Elgin pulls the referee out of the ring and throws him into the barricade. Christopher Daniels stomps Generico down in the corner as Elgin brings in a second table. Elgin goes for a powerbomb, but Cabana runs out to stop. Elgin and Daniels take Cabana out on the floor. Generico dives onto both of them. Another referee enters as Generico yakuza kicks Strong. Generico looks for a top rope brainbuster through the table. Instead, Strong tosses Generico off the top and through the table for the pin at 20:48. This match actually flew by, as both Strong and Generico managed to keep the match moving with no stalling whatsoever. This actually would have been a much better match without the interference, but given the stipulation and the fact that it’s purpose was to build towards a steel cage match down the line, I can forgive it. ***1/2
The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli)
The Kings come out with Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey. The Kings attack the Wolves before the bell. Claudio throws Richards into the guardrails. Hero nails Edwards with two rolling elbows for two. The Kings then give him the King’s Swing. Richards breaks the pin and kicks Claudio to the floor. Richards dives onto him after ducking a clothesline from Hero. Richards dives onto Caludio in the crowd. Edwards delivers a superkick and Hero responds with a suplex. Hero delivers a Liger Bomb for two. Richards kicks Hero from the apron. Claudio wheelbarrows Richards head first into the barricade. With Richards incapaciated, the Kings spend their time wearing down Edwards. Edwards takes both Kings down and finds the time to tag in Richards. He delivers kicks to both Hero and Claudio. Richards sends both of them to the floor and kicks Hero from the apron. He then gives Claudio a DDT on the floor. In the ring Richards hits a missile dropkick for two. As Richards goes up top, Shane Hagadorn distracts the referee and Sara grabs his leg. Claudio grabs Richards for a UFO, but Richards quickly rolls Claudio into an ankle lock. Claudio rolls Richards into an elbow from hero. Claudio then gives him the UFO for two. Hero elbows Richards out of a Bear Hug from Claudio. Hero stretches out Richards’ arm while cranking on his neck. Richards escapes. He gives Hero a Northern Lights suplex whilst trapping Claudio, pinning both of them for two. Claudio tries to force his larger frame onto Richards’ for a pin. Richards pops up and gives him an enzuigiri and a suplex. Hero and Edwards trade big boots. Edwards superkicks Hero as Hero tries to skin the cat. Edwards sends Claudio out with him and Asai moonsaults onto both Kings. Edwards lights up Hero with chops in the corner. A fisherman’s buster gets him two. Edwards come off the middle rope with a Code Breaker. He hits a tiger suplex for two. Edwards goes for a backpack stunner. Hero escapes and seatbelt pins Edwards for two. The Wolves give Hero a superkick/German suplex combo for two. Hero elbows Richards and nails Edwards with the Death Blow. Hero nails Edwards with the Cyclone Kick for two. Hero hits a second Death Blow for two. Edwards gets Hero in the Achilles Lock. Claudio DDT’s Edwards to free Hero. Hero and Claudio both get suplexed, then hit the Wolves with stereo boots. The Wolves fire up and hit double suplexes again. The Kings get battered in the corners. Edwards puts Hero in an Achilles Lock while Richards puts Claudio in a cross armbreaker. Claudio escapes so Richards gives him a DDT on the floor. As Edwards goes up top, Hero nails him with a yakuza kick. Richards runs up and German suplexes Hero off the top. Edwards double stomps him and Richards delivers one as well. Edwards turns Hero back into the Achilles Lock. Edwards keeps the hold on, absorbing a series of kicks from Claudio. Richards fights Claudio off, but accidentally knees Edwards in the face and breaks Edwards’ hold. Hero hits the Death Blow and gets the pin at 23:22. This did a great job setting up two future matches; Hero’s title shot against Edwards tomorrow night and Edwards and Richards’ inevitable singles match down the line. There was the usual annoying no selling near the finish, but the crowd ate it up so there’s only so much complaining I can do. I loved the opening with Kings trying to get the win with big moves and cheap attacks. Both teams delivered the goods, providing an entertaining match that was much better than their first encounter. I assume shaving 12 minutes off was a major help. ****
Shane Hagadorn’s instructs the Kings of Wrestling to beat down Edwards to give Hero a leg-up in his title match tomorrow. Richards saves his partner. Edwards is upset about the miscommunication earlier and tells Richards he can take care of himself. Richards is clearly not pleased with this retort.
Bonus: 10 Questions with Grizzly Redwood, done in the ROH merchandise storage room. Funny to see how many flippin copies of Boiling Point are just hanging out.
Overall: This is a very top heavy show, with WGTT vs. O’Reilly/Cole, Generico vs. Strong, and the Wolves and KoW delivering three worthwhile bouts. However, the undercard was a bore and at times a mess. There were a lot of run-ins which made this show feel like nothing more than build up to something much more important and worthwhile down the line. If the last three matches really interest you, then by all means pick this up. However, I’d recommend many other ROH shows from 2011 over this.