Ring of Honor: WGTT: The Anthology Vol. 1

Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli
”Glory By Honor IX” – New York, NY – 9.11.2010

Shane Hagadorn is in Hero and Claudio’s corner. The two teams get in a shoving match instead of shaking hands. Benjamin and Claudio start off. Benjamin slaps Claudio after neither of man wins a lock-up. Benjamin snaps off a suplex. Hero tags in. He and Benjamin trade control on the mat. Benjamin shoves Hero to his corner and tags in Haas. Haas and Hero trade chops. Claudio tags in and rolls up Haas for two. Claudio gets to the ropes just as Haas begins to school him on the mat. They slap each other in the face, raising the tension. Haas uses some armdrags and a fireman’s carry to keep Claudio grounded. Benjamin tags in and uses the ropes to escape Claudio’s wrist lock. Benjamin lands on his feet out of a monkey flip, then gives Claudio his own monkey flip. Hero tags in. He and Claudio use some clever positioning to kick Haas off the apron and Benjamin. Haas and Benjamin set up Hero for the Broken Arrow, but the Kings bail to the floor just in time. Claudio exchanges uppercuts with Haas. Claudio whips Haas forcefully into the corner for two. The Kings isolate and wear down Haas in their corner. Haas is able to fight out of Claudio’s ankle lock and tags in Benjamin. Benjamin charges at the Kings, so Hero wisely drops down the top rope so Benjamin will spill to the floor. Hero shoves Benjamin back first into the guardrail. Claudio keeps control of Benjamin, with some of his moves targeting Benjamin’s damaged back. Hero also gets his share of licks in. Benjamin gets in a strike exchange with Hero. The Kings try for a double suplex. Benjamin turns it into a double neckbreaker and kicks Claudio to his corner. Haas tags in and cleans house on his opponents. He overhead suplexes Claudio for two. He struggles but successfully gives Claudio two German suplexes. Haas see-saw’s Claudio onto Benjamin’s shoulders for a Samoan Drop. Hero breaks the pin and pitches Haas to the floor. Claudio pops Benjamin up into a rolling elbow from Hero. Claudio only gets a two count. Hero elbows Benjamin in the back of the head out of Claudio’s vertical positioning for two. Benjamin spin kicks Hero and tags in Haas. They finally land the Broken Arrow on Hero for two. Haas has to fight off Claudio who runs in. Hero nails a rolling elbow. The Kings try for a Doomsday Device on Haas. Benjamin however leaps up top and superplexes Claudio back to the canvas. Haas puts Claudio in the Haas of Pain. Hagadorn distracts the referee so he can hit Haas with his loaded elbow pad. He puts Claudio on top of Haas. The referee turns around and counts Haas down for the pin at 20:41. It’s pretty standard knowledge that a lot of ROH fans have become disenchanted with Haas and Benjamin nowadays, but man were they going nuts for them in this debut match. Honestly, I thought the Kings looked better than they did. That’s not to say Haas and Benjamin looked bad; they also worked hard and served as perfect foils. This was a great way for them to debut, not-so-great finish withstanding. But the finish would be come important later… ***3/4

Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. The Bravado Bros. (Lancelot & Harlem Bravado)
”ROH on HDNet Episode 88” – Louisville, KY – 12.9.2010

Benjamin suplexes Harlem with ease. Haas tags in and whips him to the corner. He overhead suplexes Harlem for two. Haas picks up Harlem for an atomic drop. Lancelot blind tags in. Haas kicks Harlem to the floor and pops up Lancelot for a power slam. Benjamin tags back in and suplexes Lancelot. Lancelot trips Benjamin on the second rope and tags in Harlem. Benjamin catches him and Lancelot with a double Samoan Drop. Benjamin superkicks Lancelot after Haas gives him a Manhattan Drop. Harlem takes the Broken Arrow. Haas puts him in the Haas of Pain and Harlem taps out at 2:56. That was squash city. I’m all for ROH putting out exclusive matches on these Best of’s, but does a three minute squash belong on a set such as this? ½*

Jim Cornette interviews Haas and Benjamin on Episode 90 of ROH on HDNet. Haas says they feel they’re the best tag team in the world, but the only way to prove it is to win the ROH tag team championships. Haas says even though the Kings of Wrestling won their first encounter, the war is far from over. This brings out the Briscoes. The Briscoes say that while Haas and Benjamin may have been the best team elsewhere, they’re the best in Ring of Honor and have proved so over the past eight years. Cornette says since the All Night Express have a title shot at Hero and Claudio in Chicago for the 9th Anniversary Show, he will sign Haas & Benjamin vs. The Briscoes for the first time ever on the same show. They each claim they will win and then shake hands.

Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus
”ROH on HDNet Episode 91” – Louisville, KY – 12.10.2010

Benjamin and King reach a stalemate on the mat. The pace picks up as they come off the ropes and look for control. King scores a Japanese armdrag. Benjamin slaps King after King leapfrogs over him. Benjamin clotheslines King and tags in Haas. Haas does damage to King’s shoulder. King shoves Haas to the corner so Titus can tag in. Haas gives him a dragonscrew leg whip. He drags Titus by his leg over to Benjamin. Benjamin tags in and comes in with a slingshot splash to Titus’ leg. King clotheslines Benjamin from the apron. Titus brings Benjamin to the mat, driving his knee into Benjamin’s arm. ANX dissect Benjamin’s arm like he and Haas did to King previously. Benjamin escapes their grasp by hitting a spin kick when King grabs his leg. Haas tags in. He punches King and backdrops him. He takes out Titus with a boot and overhead suplexes King for two. Haas pitches Titus to the floor. Haas power slams King out of the corner for two. King gives Haas a chinbreaker. Titus tags in. He and King go for a double team move on Haas. Benjamin comes in and delivers stereo German suplexes with Haas. Benjamin picks up King for a powerbomb. King instead huracanrana’s them out to the floor. King delivers a springboard clothesline to Haas to prevent him from putting Titus in the Haas of Pain. The Kings of Wrestling come out to sneak attack King. Haas and Benjamin hit the Broken Arrow on Titus. Haas follows up with a German suplex for the pin at 11:39. That was pretty solid for a TV tag match. Nothing blow away occurred, but the psychology was there and it stayed entertaining for the most part. **3/4

Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli
”SoCal Showdown 2” – Los Angeles, CA – 1.28.2011

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 may have out shined the Kings of Wrestling here. This was a fitting rematch with the right team 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

Charlie Haas, Shelton Benjamin & The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli & The All Night Expess (Kenny King & Rhett Titus)
”ROH on HDNet Episode 93” – Louisville, KY – 12.9.2010

These teams consist of the two tag matches that will take place at the 9th Anniversary Show. Jay takes Titus to the mat in an overhead wristlock. He shoulder blocks Titus to the mat. Titus knees Jay in the gut and tags in King. ANX hit a tandem leg drop/splash for two. Mark blind tags in when Jay hits the ropes. Jay gives King a chinbreaker before leaving. Mark hits a running knee strike for two. King responds with some punches and a body slam. Hero and Claudio drop to the floor, leaving Titus as King’s only option when tagging out. Mark comes out of the corner with a shoulder block. Jay tags back in and dropkicks Titus. Jay throws him into the corner with a reverse STO. The Briscoes hit up Titus with some double team offense. King tries to rescue but gets mowed down with stereo shoulder blocks. Titus tags in Hero, which doesn’t make Hero happy. Mark spinwheel kicks Hero for two. The Briscoes double tackle Hero for two. Haas and Benjamin are getting frustrated that the Briscoes aren’t tagging out to them. Hero chops Mark and tags in Claudio. Hero and Claudio keep Mark trapped in their corner. Benjamin tags himself in when Mark gets close to their corner. Benjamin backdrops Claudio and gives two corner splashes. Hero breaks up Benjamin’s count after Benjamin suplexes Claudio. Benjamin blocks Hero and Claudio’s tandem offense. He gives Hero a backbreaker for two. Haas tags in. Benjamin slams Hero onto Haas’ knee. Haas overhead suplexes Hero for two. Claudio tags in and helps Hero violently whip Haas into the corner. Hero and Claudio seem content to wear down Haas by themselves, but Titus insists to help when he tags Claudio’s hand from the apron. King also helps to wear Haas down and keep The Briscoes at bay. Haas escapes by flipping out of a double suplex from Claudio and Hero. Benjamin and Jay come in and clear the ring and apron. Mark tope con hilo’s onto the ANX. Jay and Benjamin deliver a double flapjack to Hero. Mark comes in with a frogsplash elbow. A series of moves leaves Benjamin to give Titus a modified Samoan Drop. King shotgun knees Benjamin to the corner. Haas missile dropkicks King. Hero tags Haas with a rolling elbow. The ANX hold Jay and Benjamin for Hero and Claudio to kick. Jay and Benjamin move so that Hero and Claudio kick King and Titus accidentally. King and Titus decide to change focus and beat down on Hero and Claudio instead. After King and Titus lay them out they bail to the backstage area. This should be an easy win for The Briscoes, Haas and Benjamin but they can’t decide over who should get the pin. Those teams no start getting in an altercation. Referee Todd Sinclair throws out the match at 20:27 when he and multiple officials are unable to get the two teams in control. This was a fine way to lead up to the 9th Anniversary Show. Even though the match finish itself was a little deflating, I do leave the encounter wanting to see both teams matches at the PPV. The action itself was also really good and I liked the slow animosity building between the teammates. ***1/4

Charlie Haas, Shelton Benjamin & Davey Richards vs. Roderick Strong, Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli
”World’s Greatest” – Dayton, OH – 2.25.2011

Richards win the opening exchange with Claudio. Hero boots Richards to break a Fujiwara armbar. Strong tags in and applies an arm-capture chinlock. Richards turns him into a sharpshooter which Hero breaks. Benjamin tags in Strong and delivers a flurry of strikes. Haas tags in. Benjamin slams Strong across Haas’ knee for two. Strong nails Haas with a leg lariat and tags in Hero. Hero stomps on Haas’ chest and head. Claudio delivers some uppercuts to Haas in the corner. Haas ducks a clothesline and takes Claudio over with a headscissors. He follows up with a belly-to-belly suplex and Hero breaks the pin. Benjamin tags back in and gives Claudio’s arm a double axe handle. Benjamin armdrags Claudio down and drops multiple knees on his arm. Claudio backs Benjamin to his corner and Hero eye rakes him from the apron. Strong and The Kings isolate Benjamin in their corner and work over his left arm. Benjamin escapes by hitting Claudio with a hard right punch. Richards tags in and dropkicks Claudio to the corner. Richards lights him up with kicks and goes up top. Richards blocks Hero’s attempt to knock him down and gives Claudio a crossbody for one. Claudio headbutts Richards in the stomach. Richards fights off Claudio and Hero. Claudio catches a kick from the floor and Hero yakuza kicks Richards off the ring apron and into the barricade. The Kings and Strong take the opportunity to now isolate Richards from his team. At one point when it seems Richards was close to escape, the opposition slammed him on the floor. Richards finally comes back with a missile dropkick to Claudio. Benjamin tags in and lights up Hero with punches. Hero monkey flips Benjamin, but Benjamin turns it into a Stinger Splash on Claudio. He takes Hero down with an enzuigiri. Haas catapults Strong onto Benjamin’s shoulders for a Samoan drop. Benjamin suplexes Hero for two. Hero cracks Benjamin with a rolling boot. Benjamin falls victim to the King’s Swing. Haas breaks the pin and gets pitched to the floor by Hero. Claudio chokeslams Benjamin for two. Benjamin drops Claudio with a neckbreaker. Haas tags in and suplexes Strong. He clotheslines Hero to the floor. Benjamin superkicks Claudio. Haas puts Claudio in the Haas of Pain. Richards gives Claudio a diving headbut in the submission and comes out to the floor with a pescado to Strong. Hero breaks the submission. Hero goes for the head stomp/rolling elbow combo but Benjamin counters with the Pay Dirt. Richards and Strong end up the legal men. Strong delivers a boot and Richards hits an enzuigiri. A german suplex gets Richards two. Strong and Richards trade kicks and strikes. Richards hits another enzuigiri after Strong blocks the alarm clock. Both Kings break the pin. The Kings and WGTT fight to the back. Strong hits a modified Doctor Bomb on Richards for two. Richards blocks a backbreaker with a crucifix pin for two. Strong hits a gut buster and a superkick for two. Richards fights Strong off the top rope. Strong catches Richards’ top rope dropkick and applies a Boston Crab. Richards counters into a pin attempt for two. Richards ducks an elbow and applies a cross armbreaker. Richards connects with the alarm clock and a swinging DDT. He Falcon Arrows Strong into a cross armbreaker. Strong taps at 32:14. This had lots of great action, which is to be expected from these guys. However, it was needlessly long and didn’t mean much of anything long term. Sure, Richards beat the World champion and was going to get a title shot against him…except that never happened. The title changed hands before Richards could get the match. It boils down to this; the match was good and effectively built two feuds. However, I’ve already seen those feuds take place in the ring many times and this felt like “just another good match”. ***3/4

Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
”9th Anniversary Show” – Chicago, IL – 2.26.2011

Benjamin cleanly breaks a lock-up with Jay in the corner. Jay starts a shoving war but referee Sinclair cools them down. They exchange front chanceries on the mat. Jay cranks on Benjamin’s arm and tags in Mark. Mark brings Benjamin to the mat in a headscissors. Benjamin pops out and puts on a side headlock. Mark tosses Benjamin out. Benjamin skins the cat back in and sends Mark to the apron. Mark sunset flips Benjamin for two. Benjamin and Mark each get a two count before reaching a stalemate. Haas tags in works on damaging Mark’s left arm. Mark gives Haas some very loud overhand chops. Haas shakes them off. Mark shakes off Haas’ chops too. He knees Haas in the stomach and tags in Jay. The plow through Haas with a double shoulder tackle. Haas dropkicks Jay as Jay comes off the ropes for two. Benjamin sunset flips Jay out of the corner for two. Jay prawn holds Benjamin for two. Benjamin slams Jay onto Haas’ knee. Haas snapmares Jay and kicks him in the back. Jay responds in kind and tags in Mark. Jay blind tags in. Haas isn’t aware, which lets Jay boot Haas in the side of the head. The Briscoes cut the ring in half and beat down Haas both in and out of the ring. Haas flips out Jay’s suplex attempt and hits a German suplex of his own. Benjamin tags in. He takes out Mark with a flurry of offense. He suplexes Mark for two. Mark blocks the Pay Dirt and throws out some redneck kung fu. Jay blind tags in. Mark superkicks Benjamin and Jay nails a lariat for two. Benjamin hits a spin kick on Jay for two. Haas Angle slams Jay and sets up for the Broken Arrow. Mark springboard dropkicks Benjamin to ensure it doesn’t happen. Jay superkicks Haas. Jay gives Haas a Death Valley Driver. Mark goes up top only to be thrown off by Benjamin. Jay breaks the count. Benjamin cracks Mark with a hard superkick to end an exchange between them. Jay brings Benjamin into the corwd and Haas follows. Mark springboards from the ring onto all three men in the crowd. Back in the ring, Mark delivers a top rope elbow to Benjamin after Jay hits a Finlay Roll. Haas breaks the pin at the last moment. Benjamin helps Haas avoid a Doomsday Device. Haas and Benjamin hit a blockbuster version of it for the pin at 22:21. This makes Haas and Benjamin the #1 Contenders for the ROH Tag Team titles. Aside from the Dream Match it presented itself as at the time, nothing about this was really all that special. They didn’t convey a genuine disliking or hard desire to win for most of the contest which didn’t let me invest into much of what they were doing. The action was consistent and it never felt long or drawn out, but there was some intangible factor that was missing. ***1/4

ROH Tag Team Championship
Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli (Champions) vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin

”Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter One” – Atlanta, GA – 4.1.2011

This is Haas and Benajmin’s match that they earned from the previous 9th Anniversary Show. Sara Del Rey and Shane Hagadorn are in Hero and Claudio’s corner. Claudio poses when Benjamin can’t win an opening lock-up. Benjamin rolls him up quickly for two. Benjamin gets two again with a shoulder block. Hero tags in. Benjamin uses his amateur prowess to control Hero on the mat. Hero backs to the ropes to escape his grasp. Benjamin slaps Hero after schooling him on the mat again. This leads to a strike exchange. Haas tags in and boots Hero on the mat. Hero elbows Haas as Haas comes in the corner. Haas overhead suplexes Hero for two. Hero’s chop does nothing to Haas, so Hero goes to Haas’ eyes. Hero breaks a hammerlock with a chinbreaker. Haas kicks away and sits down on Claudio’s leg. Benjamin tags in and focuses his attack on the same leg of Claudio’s that Haas did damage to. Hero boots Benjamin to break Claudio out of a half crab. Benjamin and Haas back elbow Hero. They whip Claudio across the ring and backdrop him. Benjamin and Haas fight to deliver stereo German suplexes. Hero and Claudio retreat to the floor. Claudio baits Benjamin in so that he can snap his neck across the top rope. Benjamin grabs his waist, so Claudio pulls Benjamin to his corner so Hero can elbow him from the apron. As you’d suspect, Hero and Claudio beat down Benjamin while Haas looks on eagerly. Hero even uses Haas’ frustration to his advantage, baiting him to distract the referee so he and Claudio can do some illegally double team moves and deliver a closed fist. Benjamin spin kicks Hero so he can finally tag in Haas. He knocks down Claudio and Hero with clotheslines. He headscissors Claudio out to the floor and suplexes Hero for two. Haas powerslams Hero and Claudio breaks the pin. Haas huracanrana’s Claudio to the ropes. Benjamin superkicks Hero. Haas pushes Hero onto Claudio. Haas and Benjamin then set them up for a simultaneous Falcon Arrow. Haas pins Hero for two. Hero delivers a rolling elbow. Claudio and Haas hit a bicycle kick/cyclone kick combo for two. They follow up with the King’s Swing. Benjamin breaks the pin just in time. Benjamin ducks an elbow and drops Hero with Pay Dirt. Benjamin blocks Swiss Death with a DDT. Haas jumps in to pin Claudio for two. Claudio nails Haas with Swiss Death. When his pin fails he goes for the Ricola Bomb. Haas counters with an Angle Slam. Haas puts Claudio in the Haas of Pain. Hero puts on his loaded elbow pad, but Benjamin catches him and suplexes him off the top rope. Claudio taps out at 22:57, making Haas and Benjamin the new tag team champions! That was a great way to cap off this DVD. Haas and Benjamin’s work of Claudio’s legs in the middle of the match came back in the end to score them the pin. The dastardly elbow pad that cost them their debut against the Kings was foiled this time around which made the finish all that more satisfying. The Atlanta crowd was hot and responsive which also bumped this match up a notch. ***3/4

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s