Chicago Ridge, IL – 5.21.2011
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 and Eric Santamaria
Homicide vs. Michael Elgin
Elgin throws Homicide out of a lock-up. He misses a corner splash. Homicide lays in a few punches before taking Elgin down with a headscissors. He delivers a couple dropkicks to Elgin’s knee and sends him to the floor with a back elbow. Homicide follows with a cannonball senton off the apron. In the ring, Elgin catches Homicide with a backbreaker for two. Elgin torques Homicide’s back in the ropes. Elgin boots Homicide in the corner. Elgin blocks a hip toss with a bodyslam for two. Elgin blocks a DDT. Homicide drops out of the Oklahoma Stampede. Elgin rams Homicide spine first into two corners before suplexing him for two. Elgin clamps on a Bear Hug. Homicide bits Elgin’s ear to escape. Homicide delivers a neckbreaker. A tornado DDT gets him two. Homicide fights for a suplex. Elgin hits the Boss Man Slam for two. Elgin misses a tumbleweed senton. Homicide hits a super huracanrana. Elgin hits some strikes to Homicide’s face. Homicide escapes a powerbomb and delivers an ace crusher for the pin at 9:28. This was a nice action packed opener to get the crowd riled up. It was fine in execution though the quick recovery after such big moves was bothersome. **1/2
Backstage Cole and O’Reilly say that talk is cheap, and they will use actions to prove they’re better than The Bravados tonight.
Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The Bravado Bros. (Lance & Harlem Bravado)
Before Harlem can talk, Cole and O’Reilly hit the ring. Lance and Harlem jump Cole and O’Reilly from behind. O’Reilly hits a double top rope dropkick to both Bravados. Cole suicide dives onto both of them. A barrage of kicks are delivered to Lance, but O’Reilly can only get a two count. O’Reilly hits two butterfly suplexes, then turns a third into a cross armbreaker. Lance gets the ropes to break. Harlem knees O’Reilly from the apron. Lance knees O’Reilly to the floor where Harlem slams him into the ring frame and barricades. The Bravados isolate O’Reilly in their corner. O’Reilly finally escapes their grasp by giving them a double dragonscrew leg sweep. Cole tags in. He hits Harlem with two back elbows and a dropkick. He blocks a Bravados double team with enzuigiris to both men. Cole pescado’s onto Lance then crossbody’s onto Harlem in the ring for two. O’Reilly leaps off the apron with a dropkick to Lance into the barriacde. Cole Death Valley Driver’s Harlem neck first onto his knee for two. Cole superkicks Harlem into a rolling lariat from O’Reilly. Lance breaks the pin. O’Reilly and Harlem exchange forearms. The Bravados deliver a neckbreaker/suplex combo for two. Harlem enzuigiri’s Cole into a German suplex from Harlem for two. Cole and O’Reilly hit double kicks to his head. Cole wheelbarrows Harlem into a lungblower from O’Reilly. Cole hoists him into a back cracker for the pin at 9:46. This was just as fun and exciting as their other bouts. The Bravados are becoming more well-rounded and Cole and O’Reilly are just as fantastic as ever. ***
Steve Corino comes to the ring. He says he’s been trying hard to become a good person and thanks the fans for sticking with him. Corino says he took a month off of wrestling because he was on a losing streak and because Mike Bennett was hell bent on pushing him “off the wagon.” In that time he says he reconnected with someone who is also looking for redemption in Ring of Honor and was just as evil as him. Corino gets ready to announce his sponsor when Mike Bennett, Corino’s opponent for tonight, makes his way out. Bennett doesn’t believe that Corino has a sponsor because nobody likes him and he’s burned all his bridges. Corino says as an old man he’s realized how wrong he was and tries to tell Bennett that he’s conducting himself the wrong way. From the crowd, Jimmy Jacobs runs into the ring and gives Corino a big hug. The fans chant “welcome back” as Corino confirms that Jacobs is his sponsor. Jacobs says two years of ago he walked out of Ring of Honor and at that time everyone was happy to see him go. He admits he did a lot of things he regrets in ROH, but has gotten physically and mentally better over the past two years which is why Corino called him. He says the final road to recovery was returning to ROH and making sure Steve Corino would never fall off the wagon again. He says he’s only back if the ROH officials will allow him to be back. He says although he’s fought tons of great opponents, at the time he was fighting for the wrong reasons. He says for the first time ever, he wants to fight for honor. Multiple officials, including Jim Cornette, come out to dismiss Jacobs from the building.
Steve Corino vs. Mike Bennett
Bennett gets on the mic and eggs on Corino to hit him. Bennett says even his son wouldn’t help him. Corino and Bennett throw punches at each other. Corino hits a single leg dropkick. Corino whips Bennett into the barricades. Corino places the ring bell on Bennett’s crotch. He hits it with the ring hammer behind the referee’s back. He does it a second time. Bennett asks for a handshake as he holds his crotch. Corino catches his kick and puts him in an abdominal stretch. Bennett escapes and slams Corino on his head for two. Bennett dropkicks Corino, then pitches him to the floor. Bennett snapmares Corino in the ring. He elbows Corino in the head to cut off Corino’s comeback. Corino backdrops his way out of a piledriver. Corino and Bennett deliver rapid strikes simultaneously. Corino hits a running chop in the corner. Corino drops Bennett with the Colby Shock for two. Corino drops him with a Michinoku Driver for two. Corino nails the Emerald Dream for two. He deliver a running knee, but Bennett gets his foot on the rope to break the pin. Bennett drops Corino with a spinebuster. A sit-out uranage gets him two. Corino applies an abdominal stretch and can’t help but shove his thumb in Bennett’s bum. The referee prevents him from doing it a second time. Bennett catches Corino with a piledriver for the pin at 10:02. I really enjoyed the pre-match promo with Corino and Jacobs, but this feud ending bout fell flat. Funny enough, I think they would have done better ending the feud with their last encounter in Canada. If nothing else, I’m for more interested in Corino than Bennett. I think it’s supposed to be the other way around. **
El Generico vs. Chris Hero
Shane Hagadorn accompanies Hero to the ring. Generico brings out a Nerf Thor hammer to mock Hero’s shocking resemblance. Hero bonks Generico with it. Hero boots Generico in the mid-section. Generico delivers a few overhand chops and a backdrop. Hero angrily rolls to the floor. Hero comes in and shoulder blocks Generico down. Generico comes back with a pair of armdrags and a toreador. Hero gets his knees up to block a split-legged moonsault. Hero delivers a yakuza kick and suplex for two. Hero drops Generico and delivers a senton splash for two. Hero applies a chinlock. Generico escapes. Hero comes off the apron with the KTFO. Generico makes his way back in the ring just in time. Hero immediately hits a low boot for two. Generico fights his way up to the top rope and comes off with a huracanrana. Generico sends Hero to the floor and follows with a tope con hilo. In the ring Generico hits a crossbody for two. Generico blocks the KTFO into a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Hero catches Generico with a boot. Generico blocks an elbow. Hero nails one anyway for two. Hero connects with the Cyclone Kick. He pins Generico with his feet on the ropes. However, the fans inform referee Todd Sinclair of this and he decides to re-start the match. Generico hits a yakuza kick and a half nelson suplex for the pin at 10:53. Why did we need the silliness with the finish? Couldn’t they just have Generico just win? Why have both guys pin each other? Who does that do any good too? The work from both guys was there, but the story was just stupid. **1/2
Charlie Haas vs. Davey Richards
Haas and Richards vie for control on the mat. Richards gets a guillotine choke. Haas escapes and shrugs off Richards’ shoulder block attempts. Richards takes him down with a dropkick. Haas rolls to the floor. Richards punts him from the apron. Richards tries to slingshot back in the ring, but Haas catches him with a backbreaker. Haas delivers a quebradora for two. He clamps on a bodyscissors/headlock combo. Richards turns it into a seated surfboard. He rolls into a Gedo Clutch for two. Haas whips Richards back first into the corner. Richards and Haas fight on the ring apron. Richards sweeps his leg and kicks Haas to the floor. I guess Richards did learn something from Mochizuki in Dragon Gate. Richards then hits a suicide dive. In the ring Richards hits a top rope dropkick, and Richards immediately grabs his back to show pain. Richards and Haas trade punches. Richards hits the Damage Reflex for two. Richards’ back is too weak for him to hit a suplex. Haas suplexes him for two. Haas and Richards fight on the top rope. Although Haas knocks him off, Richards gets back up and delivers a flurry of headbutts. Richards hits a superplex. He transitions into a Falcon Arrow for two. He then applies an ankle lock. Haas rolls forward to send Richards to the floor. Haas whips Richards back first into the barricade. Haas Angle slams Richards into the ring post. Richards makes it back into the ring just in time. They each get in some German suplexes. Why would Richards do that? He’s landing on his back every time he does one! Strikes are traded, and Richards hits more German suplexes. Haas does the same. Richards rolls Haas into an ankle lock. Haas escapes and delivers an Angle Slam. Richards hits the Alarm Clock and a barrage of forearm strikes. Haas nails a clothesline for one. Richards pops up and Haas hits a second. Haas puts him in the Haas of Pain. Richards turns it into an ankle lock. Haas kicks his way free. Richards nails two enzuigiri’s and a sole butt. He kicks Haas in the back of the head for the pin at 18:48. I actually thought Haas was brilliant to work over Richards’s mid-section, as Richards selling when it comes to his arm and legs is spotty and at times non-existent. Then Richards just threw German suplexes like his mid-section didn’t hurt. True, he did sell his back at times, but when it came down to it the story of the match just died at one point. The action was good at least. ***1/4
Shelton Benjamin vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Claudio breaks a lock-up for the corner. Claudio grabs the ropes when Benjamin goes for a waistlock. Claudio and Benjamin exchange strikes and kicks. Claudio side steps Benjamin’s spinwheel kick. Benjamin escapes Claudio’s headscissors and pops out. Claudio and Benjamin go uppercut for punch. Benjamin hits his spinwheel kick for two. Benjamin grabs Claudio’s arm. Claudio catches Benjamin with a quebradora. Claudio applies a chinlock, then powerslams Benjamin for two. Claudio cranks on Benjamin’s arm. He whips Benjamin to the mat by his arm and continues to torque it. Claudio focuses most of his attack on Benjamin’s left arm. Charlie Haas and Chris Hero come to ringside to cheer on their respective partners. Benjamin nips up and punches his way out of a wristlock. Benjamin delivers a splash and a DDT. Benjamin delivers two German suplexes for two. Claudio catches Benjamin coming off the top rope with a European uppercut for two. Benjamin counters the Ricola Bomb with a sunset flip. He superkicks Claudio leaving both men laying. Claudio hits the Alpamare Water Slide for two. A European uppercut and lariat get him two. Benjamin catches Claudio in a triangle choke. Claudio picks him up into a powerbomb. Benjamin belly-to-belly superplexes Claudio for the pin at 17:21. Given how much I like both these guys, I was very disappointed in this match. It was boring and never really shifted out of first gear. Nothing was botched or looked bad, but I never cared either. **3/4
The Kings and WGTT have to be separated to avoid a physical altercation. These teams will meet next month in a four team elimination match.
Colt Cabana vs. Christopher Daniels
Truth Martini comes out with Daniels, but gets sent to the back by referee Todd Sinclair before the match begins. Daniels fails to jump Cabana from behind. Cabana delivers a flurry of right hands, then hip tosses Daniels to the floor. Cabana catches Daniels with a punch in the entrance way. Cabana punches him around ringside. Daniels asks for serious wrestling. Cabana wrenches Daniels arm, ramming his shoulder into Daniels’ shoulder to add more pressure. Daniels sends Cabana to the floor with a knee strike. Daniels mockingly walks across Cabana’s stomach. He drops an elbow for two. Cabana nails two running forearms. Daniels catches him with a spear. Daniels blocks a lionsault by getting his knees up. Daniels applies a seated abdominal stretch. Daniels turns it into a Finlay roll. Daniels gets a “Right Said Fred” chant which makes me love Chicago. Cabana throws him off the top rope. When Cabana sees Daniels gets his knees up, he stomps on Daniels instead of trying another lionsault. Cabana hits the Flying Asshole and a running crossbody for two. Daniels STO’s Cabana into the Koji Clutch. Cabana escapes and hits a flying hip attack for two. Daniels grabs the referee, allowing Michael Elgin to crotch Cabana on the top rope. Steve Corino attacks Elgin to even things up again. Cabana drops Daniels chest first on the top rope for the pin at 8:52. Both men’s personalities shined through in this fun nine minute match. I love Corino trying to fend off the HoT and helping out his sworn enemy from last year. This was a great way to transition Corino from a feud with Bennett to a feud with the House, and end their issue with Cabana.
Corino looks for a handshake from Cabana, but Cabana immediately denies it and heads to the back. Corino is taken out by Daniels and Elgin. Daniels tells Corino he’s evil and there’s no way he’s going to recover.
Chicago Street Fight
The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
Jay jabs Titus with a chair. The Briscoes attack King in the corner. King slides out of a powerbomb attempt. He throws Mark through the timekeeper’s table. He ducks a chair shot from Jay. Titus splashes Jay, then sends him into a spinwheel kick from King. King rams Jay into the barricade while Titus pulls a chain out from under the ring. Titus wraps it around his fist and punches Jay with it. The ANX try to tie up Jay around the ring post, but Mark flies onto them with a tope con hilo to prevent that from happening. Jay and Mark pummel Titus and King, throwing them into the barricades multiple times. King places the metal barricade sheet on top of Mark and moonsaults onto him. Titus lawn darts Jay into a ring post. King slams a chair onto the metal sheet over Mark. In the ring, Titus sends Mark into a chair with the Thrust Buster .Mark recovers and delivers an enzuigiri to Mark. Titus goes for the super Sex-Factor but gets shoved through a table on the floor by Jay. Jay doublestomps a chair on King’s mid-section. Jay wraps the steel chain around King’s neck, then throws him over the top rope in a makeshift noose. Jay throws a steel chair at Titus’ head. Titus fires up as the Briscoes throw right hands at him. He fights back until Jay kicks him in the groin. King blows a fire extinguisher into The Briscoes faces. He hits them with the actual extinguisher as well. King enzuigiri’s a chair into Mark’s face. Jay sends Titus to the floor and yakuza kicks King. He then drops King face first into a chair with an STO in the corner. Mark places King on a table on the floor. Jay climbs a ladder in the ring. Titus cuts him off with a chair shot, then throws the chair at Mark. King recovers and goes to the top rope. The ANX hit Jay with their blockbuster/powerbomb combo off the ladder! Mark breaks up the pin. Titus climbs the ladder. Mark catches him with a super snapmare. King chokes Mark with the hose of the fire extinguisher. King back flips off the ladder to prevent being whipped into it. He eats Mark’s superkick anyway. Mark delivers a frog elbow off the ladder to Titus. The Briscoes give Titus the Doomsday Device. King throws a chair at Jay and hip tosses Mark and himself to the floor. Jay collapses on top of Titus for the pin at 19:29. Titus kicked out right at three but it was too late. This was all the heart and violence you would have liked, but man did that finish leave a lot to be desired. That aside, this solidified King and Titus as more than just “the goofy team that has matches with top teams” and put them in the same breath as the Briscoes, the Kings of Wrestling and the WGTT. ***1/2
ROH World Championship
Eddie Edwards vs. Roderick Strong
Strong hits a jumping knee strike when shaking hands with Edwards. He pitches Edwards to the floor and blasts him with forearms. He whips Edwards into the barricades. Strong suplexes Edwards back first on the ring apron. Strong stomps on Edwards and chokes him with his boot. Strong gets a two count back in the ring. Strong boots and chokes Edwards in the corner. Edwards retaliates with a suplex. He kicks Strong in a tree of woe, then delivers a dropkick. Edwards delivers a running baseball slide from the floor. Strong blocks the backpack chin breaker. He drops Edwards with a backbreaker across the top turnbuckle for two. He turns Edwards into a Boston Crab. Truth Martini puts the boots to Edwards on the floor. Strong pummels Edwards with forearms when he’s back in the ring. Edwards rakes his eyes to stop Strong from choking him on the bottom rope. Strong dropkicks Edwards for two. Strong boots and strikes Edwards on the mat. Finally, Edwards fights his way up and trades forearms with Strong. Edwards drops Strong with a Saito suplex. Strong gets up and hits two forearms. Edwards drops Strong with a suplex into a facebuster. Edwards looks for the Achilles Lock in the ropes, but of course has to break. He moonsaults from the apron onto Strong on the floor. Edwards hits a top rope dropkick in the ring. He delivers a fisherman’s buster for two. Edwards successfully hits the Backpack chin breaker for two. Strong turns a crucifix position into an ace crusher for two. Strong drops Edwards with a backbreaker for two. Edwards hits an enzuigiri. He counters a gut buster. Strong blocks Edwards’ Achilles Lock with one of his own. Edwards kicks free, then turns Strong over into a Boston Crab. Strong tries to switch over, but Edwards sits down for a two count. Strong delivers multiple elbows to Edwards. Edwards picks up Strong and delivers a gut buster. Strong and Edwards exchange chops. Strong hits a jumping knee strike and a gut buster. Edwards superkicks Strong and comes off the middle rope with a Code Breaker. Strong blasts him with the Sick Kick, leaving both men laying. Strong goes for a super gut buster. Edwards reverses with a super huracanrana. Edwards powerbombs Strong for two. Edwards double stomps Strong across his back for two. He turns Strong into the Achilles Lock. Strong gets the ropes to break. Both men fight on the apron. Strong drops Edwards with the Tiger Driver on the ring frame. Strong kicks Edwards in the head. He gives him a second Tiger Driver on the floor. Strong puts him back in the ring but only gets a two count. Strong hits two low superkicks. Edwards ducks a third and rolls Strong into a an Achilles Lock whilst kicking Strong in the head. Strong gives up at 23:39. These two were able to switch the roles from their Manhattan Mayhem IV flawlessly. They teased the finish from that match, then used the story of each guy using each others finishers to try and beat the other. The emotion from the crowd didn’t compare, but that’s a tall order to ask. The story telling and the in-ring work was just as good however. ****
The House of Truth immediately attacks Edwards after the match. Davey Richards runs out with a chair to save him. Edwards says even though he’s ROH World champion and the first ever triple crown champion in ROH, he constantly feels like he has to prove himself. Edwards believes he’ll never be able to prove he’s champion until he beats Davey himself. Richards has refused to accept a title match with Edwards all along, but Edwards threatens to quit the company if Richards won’t accept the challenge. With that ultimatum, Richards accepts his challenge. The Wolves shake hands to close the show.