Greensboro, NC – 12.4.2011
ROH World Champion: Davey Richards
ROH Television Champion: Jay Lethal
ROH World Tag Team Champions: Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly and Jim Cornette.
TJ Perkins vs. Mike Bennett
Bennett jumps Perkins from behind after blowing off a handshake. He mockingly shakes Perkins hand after stomping him in the corner. Perkins is able to break a wristlock and armdrag Bennett to the mat. He turns an atomic drop into a Boston Crab. He lifts that into a pendulum before putting Bennett in an STF. Bennett brings Perkins into the corner. He mule kicks Perkins. Perkins hops over Bennett and delivers a neckbreaker. Perkins huracanrana’s Bennett to the floor. Bennett trips Perkins to the floor an throws him into the barricade. Bennett gets two with a backbreaker back in the ring. Bennet hits a reverse DDT/falling clothesline combo for another two count. Perkins baits Bennett to the corner. Bennett dropkicks Perkins in the back of his neck and blasts him with a haymaker. Perkins grasps the ropes when Bennett tries to throw him to the floor. He sends Bennett to the floor and follows with a suicide dive. Perkins missile dropkicks the back of Bennett’s head for two. Perkins blocks a kick and lifts Bennett into a powerbomb for two. Bennett fights off the Detonation Kick. Perkins does however connect with an enzuigiri. Bennett shoves referee Paul Turner into the ropes to crotch Perkins. Perkins fights Bennett off the top rope. Bennett rolls through Perkins’ crossbody and gets two. Bennett gets two with a spinebuster. Perkins evades the Box Office Smash. Bennett fights off the Detonation Kick again. Perkins slingshots into a sunset flip. Bennett sits down on it and grabs the ropes for the pin at 9:06. This was a solid opening match leading Bennett into his TV title shot at Final Battle. ROH made a wise choice in picking up Perkins for their roster. **1/2
The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) vs. The Bravado Bros. (Lancelot & Harlem Bravado)
The Young Bucks attack the ANX as they make their entrance. Nick Jackson takes a chair to Titus’ knee. Cornette rules that Titus’ leg is too hurt for him to compete. King suggests that he takes on either of the Bravados in a singles match. The Bravados say that they will only compete in a tag match. King agrees to take them on in a handicap match.
Kenny King vs. The Bravado Bros. (Lancelot & Harlem Bravado)
King takes Harlem over with a trifecta of armdrags. Harlem knees King in the mid-section and tags in Lancelot. Lancelot boots King down to the mat. Lancelot shoulder blocks King to the mat. King trips Lancelot into a side headlock. King lays in some knee strikes to Lancelot’s head. King snaps his neck across the top rope. Harlem comes off the apron with a knee strike to King’s face. He throws King into the guardrail before throwing him back to Lancelot for a two count. The Bravados deliver tandem elbows and elbow drops for two. The Bravados continue to keep control. King catches Harlem with a Manhattan drop and enzuigiri. King instinctively crawls to the opposite corner for a tag. Harlem stomps on King. He tags in Lancelot. King sends Harlem to the floor. He hits a cartwheel enzuigiri and spinebuster on Lancelot. Harlem breaks the pin. King overhead suplexes Harlem after catching one of his kicks. Rhett Titus limps back to the ring with his knee taped up. King tags him in. Titus is able to hang with and take down both Bravados. King sets up Harlem for the Coronation. He blocks and eats the Gentlemen’s Agreement. Titus breaks Lancelot’s German suplex pin. Titus sends Harlem to the floor. ANX manage to give Harlem the One Night Stand for the pin at 10:30. Loved the drama and reaction the crowd gave when Titus jumped back in. I did not love how weak the Bravados ended up looking. This was very average until Titus jumped in. *1/2
Proving Ground Match
Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole
If Cole is able to survive the 15 minute time limit, or defeat Lethal, he will earn a future shot at Lethal’s Television title. Lethal breaks a lock up against the ropes. Cole shoulder tackles Lethal to the mat. Lethal hip tosses him. They exchange a waistlock, ending with Cole delivering a huracanrana. Lethal comes back with a headscissors. They stare down one another after a short exchange on the mat. Lethal suplexes Cole for two. Lethal hip tosses him into a dropkick for two as well. Cole chops Lethal to the corner. Lethal comes off the second rope with a leg lariat for two. Lethal goes for the Lethal Injection. Cole German suplexes him to counter. Cole blocks a leapfrog with a Manhattan Drop. He turns that into a bridging suplex for two. Cole cuts off Lethal’s backdrop attempt with a neckbreaker. Lethal looks for a figure four leg lock. Cole cradles him for two. Lethal catches Cole with a handspring elbow strike. Cole delivers some strikes. He hits the ropes only for Lethal to catch him with the Lethal Combination for two. Cole hops over Lethal in the corner. He hits a back cracker for two. Lethal sends Cole to the floor. Cole catches him with an enzuigiri when he attempts to dive. Lethal dropkicks Cole back to the floor when Cole tries to re-enter the ring. Lethal goes for a baseball slide. Cole catches Lethal and German suplexes him on the ring apron! Lethal manages to get back in the ring before being counted out. Cole crossbody’s onto Lethal. Lethal rolls through for a two count. Cole sits down on a sunset flip for two. They roll around in a small package attempting to score the pin. Once they escape, Cole superkicks Lethal and falls on top of him for two. Cole kicks Lethal from the corner. He goes for the Panama Sunrise. Lethal catches Cole and drops him face first on his knee. Lethal then hits the Lethal Injection for the pin at 13:13. Much like the Proving Ground match from the night before, this did a tremendous job of making Cole look like a legitimate contender and Lethal a strong champion. Cole is really the best guy on a losing streak ROH may have ever had. Also like the other Proving Ground match, because I’d dig a rematch here. ***1/4
Backstage, Jay Lethal puts over Cole in a promo. We cut to Cole who says his string of losses is beginning to frustrate him. He knows he can be a top guy in the company, but just isn’t showing it. Eddie Edwards approaches Cole and says he showed a lot to him. They shake hands and go their separate ways. We see Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman working out backstage. Alexander says that the Young Bucks better be ready to go to work, because they’re ready to pick up a win in their hometown.
Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson)
Matt elbows and boots Alexander in the corner. Alexander responds with some strikes of his own. He delivers a headscissor and a dropkick. Coleman tags in and double elbows Matt with Alexander. Coleman hits a leg lariat and tags out. He suplexes Matt and Alexander slingshot sentons in. Coleman hits a running knee strike. Nick flies in and gets caught with double boots. They double suplex Nick into double dropkicks. Coleman and Nick spill to the floor as the action continues. Alexander gives Matt a neckbreaker for two. The Bucks clothesline their opponents in the corner. Matt holds Coleman on the ropes so Nick can come in with a double stomp. Nick then dives out onto Alexander on the floor. The Bucks bully Coleman in their corner, rubbing Coleman’s desperation in Alexander’s face. Alexander almost gets into the ring, but Matt traps his head with his legs so that Nick can dropkick him off the apron. Coleman manages to roll under a double clothesline and dropkick them both. He ducks a clothesline from Matt and tags in Alexander. He drops Nick with a full nelson facebuster and enzuigiri’s Matt. He suplexes Matt across his knees. Nick breaks the pin attempt. Coleman misses a corner attack on Nick. Alexander pitches Nick to the apron. Coleman trips him to the floor and hits a tiger feint kick. Alexander tope con hilo’s onto Nick afterwards. He springboard crossbody’s onto Matt in the ring for two. Nick knee strikes Coleman back in the ring. Matt delivers a tumble weed Ace Crusher for two. Coleman blocks the More Bang for Your Buck. He takes Nick off the top with a Leap of Faith. Alexander frog splashes onto him. A series of moves renders all four men taken out on the canvas. Alexander fights off the Bucks when he first gets up. Matt superkicks Coleman and both Bucks superkick Alexander to the floor. The Bucks give Coleman a double tombstone piledriver for the pin at 11:51. These two teams gelled together extremely well and put on a really entertaining match. The Bucks shtick worked even well in Alexander and Coleman’s hometown. Last night Coleman got the chance to stand out, but this time it was Alexander’s time to shine. Between these two shows, it’s clear to see that ROH’s tag division has been reborn. ***1/4
The Yung Bucks talk about how wrestling feeds their family and how one day they just might shake Alexander and Coleman’s hands.
Andy Ridge vs. Samson
Samson is a big dude that impressed ROH during a recent tryout. He’s easily able to power Ridge to the corner. Samson seems frightened when Ridge raises his leg for a kick. Samson blasts him with a punch. Ridge kicks Samson’s legs and delivers a chop. Samson goes to Ridge’s face to get control. Samson bites Ridge in his rib cage. Samson back elbows Ridge to the mat for two. Samson shoulder tackles Ridge in the corner for two. Samson misses a knee drop. Ridge boots Samson in the corner as Ridge bleeds from his nose. Ridge kicks Samson in his stomach and knees him in the face for two. Samson catches Ridge with his own stomach kick. Samson rams his posterior into Ridge’s face for two. Ridge fights off of Samson’s shoulders. He delivers his slingshot Ace Crusher for two. Samson pops up Ridge into a powerbomb for two. Ridge sunset flips Samson to avoid a second powerbomb, scoring the pin at 8:03. Thank God Ridge got the win here because Samson was completely bland and didn’t do anything to get the crowd into the match. ¾*
We get shown a segment from earlier where Jim Cornette brings out some Hooters girl who have a $10,000 novelty check. The winners of the main event will win the money. Cary Silken signs the check to make it official. We cut to a promo where The House of Truth and The Briscoes are standing by. Truth Martini says they’re not only going to win the match tonight but earn a nice winners’ purse. Mark Briscoe wonders how they’re going to distribute the money. Roderick Strong says they’ll split the wings right down the middle, plus 10% for the House of Truth foundation. This does not sit well with Briscoes. We cut to the other team (Eddie Edwards, El Generico, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin). Haas says the only thing they need to discuss who each of them will get their hands on. It’s pretty much decided that Edwards will go after Strong, Generico after Elgin, and Haas and Benjamin after the Briscoes.
Elimination Match: Two Hour Time Limit
Eddie Edwards, El Generico, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. The House of Truth (Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin) & The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
Much like the Honor Rumble, a match like this shouldn’t need a lot of play by play. I’ll cover the highlights and each elimination.
As you would expect, the teams took turns isolating and wearing down certain people from the other team. The Black Team (HoT and the Briscoes) targeted Benjamin’s injured ribs and worked over Generico’s back. The Red Team (Edwards, Generico and WGTT) took their time beating down Strong. Eventually things spilled out onto the floor where both teams were out of control. Referee Todd Sinclair (who was one of two referees on the floor) threatened both teams and said the teams had a minute to get back in the ring. Both teams agreed. Benjamin got beat down for awhile back in the ring (at this point the match had gone roughly thirty minutes). When Benjamin got the tag to Haas, things broke down outside of the ring again. Once again the referee threatens to disqualify the legal men (Charlie Haas and Jay Briscoe) if things don’t calm down. What happens in actuality is all eight men get back in the ring and continue their brawling. The Red Team throws the Black Team together to knock all four of them down. Jay manages to hit Benjamin with a steel chair in the ribs outside the ring. Mark then hits the Froggy Bow for the pin at 47:38. Shortly after, Haas gives Mark the Olympic Slam to eliminate him at 48:48. Jay distracted Haas on the floor, allowing Strong to nail an enzuigiri. Strong rolls up Haas to eliminate him at 49:23. Haas O’Conner rolls Generico. Generico shoves Jay off into a chair shot from Haas. Generico gives Jay a brainbuster to eliminate him at 50:10. We’re down to the House of Truth against El Generico and Eddie Edwards.
Strong and Elgin go back to work on Generico’s back. Generico suckers Elgin to the floor. He also sends Strong out and hits stereo dives onto the House with Edwards. Strong gives Edwards a backbreaker on the ring apron leaving Generico alone with Elgin in the ring. Generico is able to fight back a remarkable amount of times given how much damage he took. Elgin however is able to deliver his spinning powerbomb which eliminates Generico at 1:02:09. This leaves Edwards as easy pickings for the House of Truth. Edwards of course refuses to quit and does a pretty remarkable job of keeping the House of Truth in line. Edwards gives Strong the Chin Checker for two. He then puts him in the STF. When Strong breaks the begin to trade strikes while Elgin recovers on the floor. Edwards ducks Martini’s attempt to attack him with the Book of Truth. Strong then knee strikes Edwards for a two count. Elgin and Strong attempt to double team Edwards. Edwards whips Elgin into Strong in the corner, then rolls him up for the elimination at 1:13:41. Edwards and Strong begin to throw more strikes at each other. They then fight up the ropes where Strong throws Edwards off the top and through a table ringside! Edwards manages to get back in the ring where Strong immediately puts on the Strong Hold. Edwards counters into a roll-up for two. Martini interjects again and takes a Code Breaker for Edwards. Edwards then locks Strong in a Dragon Sleeper. Strong taps out at 1:20:22, making Edwards the sole survivor and the Red Team the winners of the contest.
As long as this match was, it flew by. The crowd never got bored, tired and maintained their enthusiasm for the entirety of the bout. A lot of that credit can be given to the wrestlers, who did a great job pacing the match and not shooting their wad in the opening moments of the contest. This match built up the “Final Battle 2011” PPV quite well and gives ROH a memorable match they can talk about for years. ****1/4
Generico, Haas and Benjamin come back out to celebrate with Edwards. Edwards thanks the fans and tells the crowd that they will see them at Hooters with their winnings.