Ring of Honor: Davey Richards – The Hunt For Glory

Disc One

The DVD opens up with a clip from “The Big Bang.” Davey Richards had just defeated Kenny King when Christopher Daniels comes out. He has an issue with Richards claiming to be the Best in the World when Daniels has worked so hard to make himself that over the past twelve years. He has returned to Ring of Honor to show that’s exactly what he is. Daniels doesn’t care where or when, but he tells Richards that he has to go through him if he wants to be considered Best in the World.

Davey Richards vs. Roderick Strong
ROH on HDNet Episode 70 – Philadelphia, PA – 7.16.2010

After some cautious approaches to one another, Richards slaps Strong in the face. Richards catches Strong in a seated reverse surfboard and gets two with a Gedo Clutch. So does Strong. Richards kicks Strong in the arm to break a wristlock. Strong takes a break on the floor. Richards sends him back out with a clothesline and punts him from the apron. Richards turcks Strong;s arm around his leg while stretching out Strong’s other leg and arm. Strong escapes and back elbows him to the floor. Strong chops him around ringside. In the ring Richards kicks him in the corner. He comes off the top rope with a headbutt to Strong’s arm he’s been working on. He then puts on a cross armbreaker. Strong rolls him up for two. Strong sends him to the floor and kicks him from inside the ring. Strong has control upon bringing him back in the ring. Richards uses repeated slaps to make a comeback and gets two with the Damage Reflex. He uses a Sankakugeri to kick Strong in the back. He gets two again with a missile dropkick. Strong suplexes him into a uranage for his own two count. The Death by Roderick gets him two as well. They fight on the apron. Richards drives Strong’s arm into the ring frame. In the ring he puts on a Fujiwara armbar. Strong escapes, but Richards is able to put it back on shortly afterwards. He turns into a pin for two. Strong enzuigiri’s Richards as he goes to the top rope. He gives Richards a backbreaker across the top turnbuckle for two. Strong drops him in sort of a Gory Gallows neckbreaker and Richards again kicks out. Richards sunset bombs Strong to block another backbreaker across the top turnbuckle. Richards kicks him in the head. Strong kicks out, so Richards goes for an armbar. Strong is too close to the ropes. Strong turns him into the Stronghold. When Richards escapes he throws a few kicks. Strong pulls referee Todd Sinclair in the way, causing him to be knocked down with a rolling clothesline. Shane Hagadorn comes out to hold Strong. Richards shoves Hagadorn off the apron as he doesn’t want his help. He turns into the Sick Kick, giving Strong the win at 19:20. There was good limb work, but it didn’t go anywhere and had no part in the finish of the match. I understand they were trying to distance Davey from Hagadorn but it’s debatable whether this was the right time or place to have done so. ***1/4

Davey Richards vs. Kevin Steen
“Champions Challenge” – Richmond, VA – 8.27.2010

Before the match, Steen tells Richards that the best part of his career is when he broke Eddie Edwards’ arm during Ladder War. Richards jumps him and throws forearms in the corner. He punts Steen in the chest on the floor from the apron. He boots Steen into the barricades. Richards kicks at his shoulder a few times. In the ring he puts on a cloverleaf. He turns that into the Trailer Hitch, with Steen breaks by grabbing the ropes. Steen rolls to the floor. Richards follows out and takes a spinebuster on the ring frame. After trading strikes in the ring, Steen sends Richards shoulder first into the ring post. Steen throws his arm into the barricades a few times. Steen proclaims he wins after knocking Richards down with a boot. Richards kicks him to break a courting hold on the canvas. Steen traps Richards’ arm behind his own back and gives him a Side Russian legsweep. Richards sends Steen to the apron. He sweeps the leg and kicks Steen off the apron and into the barricade. Richards suicide dives after him. He hits the Damage Reflex back in the ring for two. Steen goes for a pump-handle maneuver. Richards rolls through and applies the ankle lock. Steen rolls forward sending Richards to the floor. Steen knees him as he tries to enter the ring. He drives his knees into Richards stomach before hitting a cannonball senton. Richards fights out of the Package Piledriver. He Saito suplexes Steen. Steen German suplexes him and puts on the Crossface. Richards escapes and kicks him in the chest. He misses a top rope headbutt and is put back into the Crossface. Richards makes it to the ropes. Steen fights him off the top rope but then misses a moonsault. After repeated kicks and a German suplex, Steen kicks out. Steen spits in his face. He ducks a kick and gives Richards the Package Piledriver for two. Richards avoids a second one. He throws a flurry of Kawada kicks. A swift kick to the head gives Richards the pin at 18:46. This was a very good, intense back-and-forth match that really kicked the show up a notch. I actually attended the show live and remember the show lacking a lot of energy until this match came on and picked up everyone’s spirits. This is pretty similar to their other contests’ which is a compliment. ***3/4

Davey Richards vs. El Generico
ROH on HDNet Episode 76 – Philadelphia, PA – 8.20.2010

Richards rolls Generico into a body stretch after some initial feeling out. He turns that into a pin for two. Generico sends him to the corner with two armdrags and a toreador. Richards kicks Generico and Generico responds with a leg lariat. He only gets a one count with a backbreaker. Richards pulls Generico off the second rope and kicks him in the chest. He puts on a Trailer Hitch. Generico gets to the ropes. Richards stretches out his leg on the mat. He gets in an overhand chop battle with Generico, which he ends by kicking the inside of Generico’s leg. He gets two with a clothesline. Generico dropkicks Richards in the back to block the Damage Reflex. With Richards on the floor, Generico decides to tope con hilo after him. He crossbody’s Richards back in the ring for two. He gets two with a Blue Thunder Bomb as well. Richards switches positions with Generico until finally giving him a German suplex. They fight on the ropes in the corner. Richards wails on Generico’s back with forearms before bringing him down with a superplex. Generico fires up from it. He and Richards throw forearms. Richards gives him the Alarm Clock. Generico yakuza kicks him in the corner. Richards reverses the brainbuster for two. Generico crotches Richards on the top rope. He brings him down with a super half-nelson suplex. Richards grabs the bottom rope to break the cover. Generico brings him back to the corner. Richards dragonscrews his leg in the ropes. He puts on an ankle lock. Generico rolls forward to send Richards to the floor. Richards charges right away but gets sent shoulder first into the ring post. Richards gets on the ankle lock. When Generico begins kicking his shoulder, he turns it into a cloverleaf. Generico taps out at 16:17. While the storytelling was on point, some of the selling came and went and the crowd wasn’t getting as into it as you would expect. This fell just below their GBH X match but was still solid. ***1/4

Davey Richards vs. Tyler Black
ROH on HDNet Episode 78 – Philadelphia, PA – 8.21.2010

Richards forearms Black right away. That turns into a strike exchange. Black dropkicks him to the floor and into the barricades. Black tope con hilo’s onto him. Black stomps him down back in the ring. Richards sends him back to the floor and punts him in the chest. He puts on a Japanese stranglehold while stretching Black’s back out across his knees. Black turns it around. Richards escapes and suplexes him for two. He puts on a cloverleaf. He turns it into a pin for two. Black catches him with a Paroxysm. Richards rolls to the floor to avoid being pinned. Black brings him back into the ring to further wear him down. Richards begins throwing some slaps, so Black superkicks him and gets a two count. He locks up Richards’ knee until Richards makes it to the ropes. Richards knees Black off the apron. His suicide dive sends them both into the barricades. They once trade forearms. Richards hits the Damage Reflex. Black kicks out. Richards pops him up for a powerbomb and transitions back into the cloverleaf. Black gets the ropes to escape. Black ducks a kick and rolls Richards for his own head kick. He O’Conner Rolls Richards up to his shoulders and throws him to the floor. Black delivers a moonsault from the barricades. Black enzuigiri’s him from the apron and hits a springboard clothesline. The F5 follows and only earns him a two count. Black rakes Richards eyes to stop a superplex. He lands on his feet after Richards’ super German suplex attempt. He throws an enzuigiri and gives Richards a reverse huracanrana. Richards nails a clothesline before collapsing. Richards brings Black to the apron. He gives him a rope hanging DDT on the apron. Black makes it back into the ring before the twenty count. Richards kicks him in the side of the head and gets two with a German suplex. Richards misses a shooting star press. Black powerbombs him into the corner. The superkick that follows gets him two. He puts Richards in his own cloverleaf. Richards escapes. Black gives him another superkick before God’s Last Gift. Richards kicks out. Black goes up top. Richards follows and throws some chops. Black throws some back, making Richards hand in the tree of woe. Black stomps on him and then gives him a coast-to-coast dropkick for two. Black goes for the Phoenix Splash. Richards gets his knees up to block it. Richards gives him the DR Driver. When Black kicks out he powerbombs Black in the corner. He swiftly kicks him in the head and then gives Black his own God’s Last Gift. Black kicks out of that, so Richards puts on the cloverleaf. Black taps out at 26:53. Both guys conveyed just how important this victory was to them, and that’s why the finisher and nearfall overkill actually worked in their favor. It also helps that there was a clear progression from move to move. Richards using some of Black’s own tricks before putting him out with own submission was clever and cool. Black put on a lot of great matches on HDNet. This was his last match on that network and it was a strong final showing from him. ****

Davey Richards vs. Christopher Daniels
“Richards vs. Daniels” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 10.16.2010

Richards and Daniels stifle as they both go for a shoulder block. Richards shoves Daniels after Daniels tries a shoulder block. Daniels and Richards exchange holds on the mat. Daniels snapmares Richards out of a hammerlock. Richards cartwheels out of a wristlock and takes Daniels down with a dropkick and hip toss. Richards knocks Daniels down with a shoulder block and hits him with a spinwheel kick for two. Daniels takes Richards down. He hits a few jabs and a leg lariat for one. Richards rams his shoulder into Daniels’ stomach in the corner. Daniels gets sent to the floor. Richards hits a running kick to the chest. Richards whips Daniels into the barricades and follows up with a big boot. Richards applies an Indian Death Lock, which Daniels escapes by grabbing the bottom rope. Richards applies a headscissors on the mat. Richards transitions into an arm-capture cloverleaf. Daniels gets turned to his shoulders and gets pinned for a two count. Daniels suplexes Richards to the floor. He tries a baseball slide, but Richards heads back in the ring. Richards goes for a dive and Daniels hits him with a shotei to block. In the ring, Daniels hits a high crossbody for two. Daniels slams Richards and hits an Arabian Press for two. Daniels hits a running clothesline. Richards cracks Daniels with a kick to the head. Richards hits a running forearm and snap suplex. Richards hits a flying headbutt for two. Daniels backs Richards into the corner to avoid the DR Driver. Richards and Daniels fight on the middle rope. Richards takes Daniels down with a superplex. Daniels escapes an ankle lock. Richards and Daniels engage in a battle of strikes. Richards lays in some Kawada Kicks while Daniels’ gives Richards some palm strikes. Richards hits the Alarm Clock. Daniels drops Richards with the Blue Thunder Bomb. He transitions from an STO into the Koji Clutch. Richards turns it into an ankle lock, but Daniels then turns it into his own ankle lock. Richards rolls forward, throwing Daniels to the floor. Richards hits a suicide dive into the crowd. In the ring, Daniels peppers Richards with strikes. Richards hits a handspring enzuigiri. Richards kicks Daniels in the shoulder and places him on the top rope. Richards runs up and tosses Daniels off the top rope with a German suplex. Daniels chops Richards on the top rope. Richards headbutts Daniels to the mat. Richards misses a shooting star press. Daniels grabs Richards and locks the Koji Clutch back on. Richards gets his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Richards and Daniels fight on the ring apron. Daniels drops Richards on the apron with a Death Valley Driver. Both men make it back in before the 20 count. Daniels palm strikes Richards to the floor. Richards fires up and gets back in the ring. Richards and Daniels exchange strikes. Daniels hits the Angel’s Wings for two. As Daniels comes off the top rope with the best moonsault ever, Richards catches him in an ankle lock. Daniels rolls into a pin for two. Daniels hits an enzuigiri, and Richards hits a clothesline for two. Richards kicks Daniels right in the head for two. He drops Daniels with the DR Driver for two. Richards goes back to the ankle lock. Richards sits down on it and Daniels taps out at 29:31. That was one hell of a match. Daniels work when he first came back was underwhelming, but over the past couple of months he has really put on some great matches. This one was easily the best of them all. He has really re-earned his main event spot in ROH. Richards of course put in another great contest and had the Chicago fans going nuts at the end. The six months of build up led to a great pay off. If you’re a big fan of either guy, this is certainly a match you want to see. ****1/4

ROH World Championship
Roderick Strong (Champion) vs. Davey Richards

“Final Battle 2010” – New York, NY – 12.18.2010

Truth Martini is in Strong’s corner. They go to the mat initially. When Richards goes for the leg, Strong gets to the corner quickly. Richards puts him in a parachute stretch. Strong reverses it. Richards escapes that and puts on a Muta Lock. Strong elbows his way out. Richards goes for the all his signature submissions (ankle lock, cross armbreaker, Cloverleaf, Kimura) but Strong gets the ropes quickly each time. Martini pulls Strong’s foot to the rope on a second Kimura attempt. On the floor, Richards boots Strong against the barricades. Strong gamengiri’s Richards and kicks him into the barricades. In the ring, Strong puts on an abdominal stretch while driving his elbow into Richards’ head. Richards escapes and eats the Sick Kick for two. He puts on a bodyscissors with a headlock. Richards fights out. He goes for the Damage Reflex but gets dropkicked in the head. Richards dropkicks Strong to the floor. He kicks Strong off the apron when he tries to come back in, then tope con hilo’s so fiercely that he ends up in the front row. Richards and Strong trade strikes back in the ring. Richards nails an enzuigiri and Saito suplexes Strong for two. He turns right into the Kimura. Strong escapes but ends up taking the Alarm Clock. Richards’ diving headbutt gets him a two count. He Falcon Arrows Strong into a cross armbreaker. Strong gets his foot on the ropes. Strong blocks an oncoming charge with an enzuigiri. He gets two with a Falcon Arrow. He then suplexes Richards into a uranage. When that doesn’t get him the pin he puts on the Stronghold. Richards gets the ropes. They take turns throwing strikes in the corner (Strong unloads with chops while Richards wears him down with kicks). Richards ends up delivering a running chest kick and German suplexing Strong for two. Strong catches Richards on the top rope. Richards however turns things around and super belly-to-back superplexes him. Richards gets two with a lariat, and then again with a swift kick to the head. He puts on the ankle lock. Martini distracts the referee. Richards punts him from the apron. He then hits a shooting star press on Strong for two. Strong again catches him on the top rope. He brings him down with a backbreaker across the top rope. Richards kicks out. He drops Richards through the timekeeper’s table from the apron. He gives Richards a Tiger Driver on the floor and tosses him into the crowd so he can get a count out victory. Richards manages to make it back in just in the nick of time. Strong immediately gives him Death by Roderick and another Tiger Driver for two. He then puts him in the Stronghold. Richards puts on an ankle lock which Strong reverses. Richards turns him into the Cloverleaf. Strong transitions that into a LaBell Lock. Richards rolls up Strong for two. Richards gets two with a clothesline and his own Tiger Driver. Back to the ankle lock he goes. Strong escapes. He gives Richards a Backbreaker and the Sick Kick for two. Strong suplexes Richards across his knees. Another Sick Kick gets two. Back to the Stronghold he goes. Richards submits at 30:12. Those last three or so minutes killed a lot of the steam they had. They had the crowd going wild and dying for Richards to win, then they had a million nearfalls and made Strong’s offense look ineffective in the process. I actually liked what they were doing in the beginning with Strong being aware of Richards’ submission rapport and getting the ropes quickly when he could. Richards only went back to them when he felt he had Richards worn down a bit. If they had kept it with that and finished five minutes earlier, I’d be a lot more positive towards it. The match was still good but could have been a lot better with minor tweaks. ***1/2

Davey Richards vs. Chris Hero
“Only The Strong Survive” – Charlotte, NC – 1.15.2011

Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey accompany Hero to the ring. Hero and Richards go back and forth on the mat, reaching a stalemate. Hero sends Richards to the floor with a shoulder block. Richards comes back in with a spinwheel kick. Richards lights him up with a few kicks. Sara grabs Richards’ leg. Richards pulls her up to the apron. Hero knocks Richards from behind. Richards rolls through a big boot and dropkicks Hero down. Richards sends Hero to the floor and delivers a running kick from the apron. On the floor, Hagadorn distracts Richards, allowing Hero to boot him from behind. Hero hits a boot in the ring for two. Hero twists into a senton for two. Hero blocks a kick and cracks Richards with a big boot for two. Hero boots Richards from the apron. Hero puts his weight on Richards to try a pin, but Richards bridges up. Hero applies pressure with his forearms to either side of Richards’ head. After Richards seems a little loopy, he tries another pin but only gets one. Hero gives Richards a few chops. Richards gets in a few slaps and an enzuigiri. Hero suplexes Richards out to the floor. Richards avoids a dive and dives out onto Hero through the ropes. Hero lights up Richards with chops back in the ring. Richards hits a back handspring kick for two. Richards hits a tornado divorce court and then applies a Fujiwara armbar. Hero rolls through. Richards uses a headscissors to bring Hero back into the Fujiwara armbar. Hero puts his foot on the ropes to break. Hero hits an elbow strike for two. Hero hits a moonsault press for two. He applies the Stretch Plum. Richards escapes and Hero hits him with a rolling elbow. Richards evades a moonsault. Hero catches him with a slam. Richards suplexes Hero off the middle rope. Richards hits a belly-to-back suplex for two. Richards kicks Hero in the head for two. Hero kicks Richards in the back of the head and cracks him with a rolling elbow for two. Richards counters the Death Blow with a Falcon Arrow into an armbar. Richards furiously nails Hero with kicks in the corner. Hero hits two rolling elbows as Richards remains standing. Richards drops him with a rolling clothesline for two. Hero hits a big boot for two. He follows up with a piledriver for two. Richards backslides Hero for two. Referee Todd Sinclair catches Hero trying to use his loaded elbow pad. Richards missile dropkicks Hero’s arm. He follows up with a shooting star press for two. Richards transitions into the Kimura Lock. Hero rolls free and Richards puts on a leg-capture armbar and Hero taps out at 29:01. This was fantastic stuff, with Richards consistently going for Hero’s arm to weaken his elbow strikes and to make his submissions more effective. This was long for my liking, but I can’t deny that they held everyone in attendance’s attention. This is worth checking out. ****

Disc Two

Davey Richards vs. TJ Perkins
“SoCal Showdown II” – Los Angeles, CA – 1.28.2011

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. This was great counter wrestling filled with the strikes, submissions, and enough false finishes to get the crowd going without wearing them out. A fantastic and underrated match to be sure. ROH not using Perkins anymore just plain stinks. ****

Davey Richards vs. Colt Cabana
“9th Anniversary Show” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 2.26.2011

Cabana controls Richards by his wrist. Richards throws a kick so Cabana back off to avoid it. Cabana gets two with a Gedo Clutch. He baits Richards into a modified crab. Richards pops up into a guillotine causing Cabana to grab the ropes. Cabana rolls him up. Richards goes for ankle lock but gets kicked away. Richards dropkicks Cabana into the barricades and suicide dives after him. Richards hammerlocks Cabana’s arm back in the ring. He armdrags Cabana and bars the arm when Cabana tries to escape. He bends Cabana’s arm and stomps on his elbow. He kicks Cabana in the shoulder as well. Cabana kicks Richards away, but Richards dropkicks him in the face. Richards hammerlocks Cabana’s arm before giving him a belly-to-back suplex. Cabana gets his feet up to counter Richards’ top rope attack. He gives Richards the Flip, Flop and Fly. He overhand chops Richards with both hands four times. Richards boots him to stop the Flying Asshole. Cabana still manages to get two with a quebrada press. Richards tries for a superplex. Cabana counters with the Chicago Skyline for two. He gets two with a moonsault as well. Richards escapes a Colt 45 and sends Cabana shoulder first into the ring post. Richards missile dropkicks Cabana in the back of the head. After Cabana kicks out of a diving headbutt, Richards puts on a cross ambreaker. Cabana turns that into the Billy Goat’s Curse. Richards rolls him into a back bridge for two. Same with a German suplex. He Falcon Arrows Cabana back into the cross armbreaker. Cabana taps out at 12:10. This is the type of Cabana I love seeing: the crafty, clever wrestler who can keep up and work with the top guys when given the opportunity. This was a lot of fun to watch and got the crowd going. Definitely a smart choice to open the 9th Anniversary Show. ***

Davey Richards vs. Claudio Castagnoli
“Defy or Deny” – Plymouth, MA – 3.18.2011

Sara Del Rey and Shane Hagadorn are in Claudio’s corner. Claudio’s power allows him to get the early advantage. Richards takes Claudio over with a huracanrana. Richards slides to the floor as Claudio hits the ropes. Richards baits Claudio into being dropkicked to the floor. Richards follows out with a dive through the ropes. Richards headscissors Claudio into a Fujiwara armbar, which Claudio breaks via the bottom rope. Sara distracts the referee while Hagadorn holds Richards’ leg. Claudio boots Richards off the apron. Claudio whips Richards into the barricades. In the ring, Claudio delivers a gut wrench suplex for two. Richards boots Claudio as Claudio heads to the top rope. Claudio fights off a superplex and forearms Richards back to the mat. Claudio nails him with a diving European uppercut for two. Richards sends Claudio to the floor, shoving Sara off the mat at the same time. Richards kicks Hagadorn from the apron, then jumps off to give Claudio a tornado DDT. In the ring Richards hits a top rope dropkick for two. Richards gives Claudio a running knee strike in the corner before crotching Claudio on the top rope. Richards goes for a superplex, but both Richards and Claudio fall off the top and to the floor. Richards lands a crossbody for two. Claudio knocks him down with a boot for two. Richards counters a chokeslam, but Claudio turns his roll up into a wheelbarrow suplex. Claudio chokeslams Richards for two. After a strike exchange, Richards gives Claudio a suplex. Claudio counters the Damage Reflex into a U.F.O. for two. Richards rolls Claudio into a triangle choke. Claudio picks him up onto his shoulders and goes to the second rope. Claudio tosses Richards in a fallaway slam for two. Richards turns a Ricola Bomb into a Code Red for two. Richards blocks a pop-up European uppercut into a backslide for two. Richards kicks Claudio in the side of the head for two. Richards double stomps Claudio’s back and goes up top. He hits a shooting star press for the pin at 19:27. When you take two guys like this and put them in a match that’s long enough to showcase their ability, you’re bound to get something very good. The story they told was excellent and kept the crowd engaged for the lot of it. I’d love to see a rematch sometime. ***3/4

Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards
“Honor Takes Center Stage – Chapter 1” – Atlanta, GA – 4.1.2011

Truth Martini is in Strong’s corner. Strong hits the floor after being kicked in the shoulder. After reaching a stalemate, Richards kicks Strong against the ropes. Richards unloads with strikes when Strong slaps him in the face. Richards cloverleaf’s his legs while capturing Strong’s arm around his leg. It turns into a pin which Strong kicks out of. He puts on the Trailer Hitch and then snaps back on his legs. Strong gets the ropes. Richards gets distracted by Martini when climbing the ropes. Strong enzuigiri’s him to the floor. Richards is bleeding from his mouth as Strong takes control back in the ring. Strong drops him throat first onto the barricades. He slams his back into the edge of the ring. Strong gets a two count with a backbreaker. Richards rams his shoulder into Strong’s mid-section in the corner. Richards enzuigiri’s him out to the floor. He punts Strong from the apron and suicide dives after him. Richards lands a missile dropkick back in the ring. Strong is able to throw some forearms, but gets cut off with the Damage Reflex. Richards counters a backbreaker attempt with a crucifix pin. Strong counters an ankle lock with the LaBell Lock. When Richards escapes, Strong suplexes him into a uranage for two. Strong then gives him a backbreaker across the top turnbuckle. Strong pulls him back into the ring for a two count. Strong kicks Richards’ back as he turns him over for the Stronghold. Richards quickly gets the ropes. Strong chops Richards down to a seated position in the corner. Richards gets up and kicks Strong repeatedly. He hits the Alarm Clock. Richards throws a couple roundhouse kicks. Strong strikes him in the face with his knee and now both men lay on the mat. They both recover on the apron where the strikes keep coming. Strong suplexes Richards onto the ring frame. Richards tries to make a comeback when he comes back in, but is cut off with the Sick Kick for two. The combination of the backbreaker and Death by Roderick is only good for another two count. Richards catches Strong coming off the ropes with a knee. He suplexes Strong and gives him a rolling clothesline. Strong is able to kick out. Strong spits in Richards face when he gets kicked in the head. Two more kicks knock Strong down. Richards only gets a two count, so he puts on the ankle lock again. Martini gets on the apron. Richards goes after him but Martini jumps down. Strong suplexes Richards across his knees. Richards kicks out. Strong gives him the Tiger Driver for two, then turns him over for the Stronghold. Back to the ankle lock Richards goes. Martini jumps in the ring. Richards boots him out. Strong goes for the Sick Kick. Richards catches his foot and again puts on the ankle lock. Strong gets the ropes. Richards superplexes him. He then Falcon Arrows him back to the ankle lock with a grapevine. Strong taps at 27:06. The one thing this was missing that the Final Battle match had was a feeling of importance. Not much story to this outside of Richards’ being stubborn with the ankle lock and having it pay off. That I really liked, and by and large the match flew by because the exchanges and action were engaging. The Martini stuff was pretty annoying and again most of Strong’s offense seemed worthless. ***1/4

The next night, Richards teamed up with Eddie Edwards (The American Wolves) to battle Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin. Both of the Wolves had Haas and Benjamin into submissions. Benjamin shoved Richards into Edwards, breaking both submissions. Richards then turned into Benjamin’s Pay Dirt and was pinned. Edwards and Richards get into an argument after the bout but ultimately remain friendly.

The Wolves would team up again next month at “Revolution: USA” to take on The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli). In that match, Richards accidentally kicks Edwards in the chest while Edwards had Hero in the Achilles Lock. After that, Hero nails Edwards with the Death Blow to pick up the win for his team. The Kings try to give Edwards the KRS-ONE after the match but Richards chases them away. Edwards is upset about the miscommunication earlier and tells Richards he can take care of himself. Richards is clearly not pleased with this retort.

Davey Richards vs. Charlie Haas
“Supercard of Honor VI” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 5.21.2011

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 parachute stretch. He rolls Haas 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

In the main event, Eddie Edwards successfully defended the ROH title against House of Truth member Roderick Strong. 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 and they shake hands.

ROH World Championship
Eddie Edwards (Champion) vs. Davey Richards

“Best in the World 2011” – New York, NY – 6.26.2011

Both men break a lock-up cleanly. Edwards blocks Richards kick attempt. They each go for each others’ ankles but reach a stalemate. A wristlock battle ends with Richards kicking Edwards in the spine. Edwards retaliates in kind. They trade forearms. Richards kicks Edwards in the back and chest. Richards locks Edwards in an arm-capture grapevine stretch. Edwards escapes and rolls up Richards for two. He drops Richards on his stomach and face for two. Edwards grabs Richards arm. Richards gets the ropes before any damage can be done. Edwards boots Richards for one. Edwards gets in a few strikes to the corners. Richards sends Edwards to the floor and punts him from the apron. Richards follows with a suicide dive. Richards hits a few kicks back in the ring for two. Edwards hits the backpack chinbreaker. Richards no sells and grabs a cross armbreaker. He turns into a Fujiwara armbar. A Northern Lights suplex gets him two. He puts on the 14:59 submission move. Edwards escapes, so Richards kicks him in the corner. Both guys exchange headbutts on the top rope. Richards ultimately wins the exchange and superplexes Edwards. He rolls into a Falcon Arrow, transitioning into a cross armbreaker. Edwards escapes into the Achilles Lock. Richards rolls back into the armbreaker. Edwards rolls him up for two. Edwards blocks the Damage Reflex with a suplex into a facebuster. Edwards blocks the Alarm Clock with a fisherman’s buster for two. Edwards catches Richards with a Code Breaker. Richards rolls Edwards into a cross armbreaker. Edwards stomps on Richards’ face, but Richards doesn’t sell that and slaps the armbreaker back on. Edwards stomps his way free. Edwards kicks Richards to the floor. He moonsaults onto him, hitting the barricades in the process. Edwards connects with a top rope dropkick back in the ring. Edwards Tiger suplexes Richards for two. Richards and Edwards trade strikes. After Richards lights him up with forearms, Edwards knocks him down with a running kick to the chest. They fight on the apron. Edwards gives Richards a 2k1 Bomb on the apron. Once recovering, Edwards double stomps Richards through the timekeeper’s table. The fans are so enraptured they still make sure to chant “Twinkies” while counting Richards and Edwards out. Edwards double stomps Richards in the ring. Richards gives Edwards a dragonscrew in the ropes and a double stomp. Edwards had to beg Richards to do so, because Richards is his partner. Richards applies an ankle lock. Edwards breaks with an enzuigiri. Richards headbutts Edwards on the top rope. Richards German superplexes him off the top. Richards German suplexes him for two. Richards powerbombs Edwards for two. He rolls Edwards into an ankle lock. Edwards rolls into an ankle lock of his own and legscissors him. Richards turns it over. Edwards gets the rope. Once again they fight it out on the apron. Richards kicks the ring post by accident. They fight to the top rope. Richards goes for a powerbomb but Edwards turns it into a huracanrana. Edwards powerbombs Richards and hits a lariat for two. Edwards delivers the 2k1 Bomb for two. Edwards turns Richards into the Achilles Lock. Edwards stomps Richards in the head and turns into a cloverleaf. He sits down on the move for two. They each hit a Saito suplex for no reason. They exchange strikes and kicks some more. Richards kicks Edwards in the head for two. He kicks him some more for two. Richards hits a running kick to the chest for the pin at 36:00.

This match defines the word hollow. I think this match can be summed up by its ending: after Richards kicks Edwards in the head multiple times and fails to get a win, a running kick to the chest does him in. To me this was a “highlight reel” match, where the moves and strikes looked cool, but what came in between didn’t matter. Then again, this is the kind of wrestling ROH has conditioned its fans to expect from their main event matches. I think the worst part is that Edwards’ title reign, which was going very well up until this point, because ROH booked themselves into a corner where he had to lose. Like I said, this didn’t completely lack a story, and the fans bought many of the pins and submissions throughout the match and went crazy quite often. For that, this can’t be considered a total calamity. ***1/4

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