Honor Roll - Tenth Anniversary Show PPV and March 3, 2012By Matt Seagull
This week, you all get two reviews for the price of one, as I look back on Ring of Honor’s iPPV “Tenth Anniversary Show (Young Wolves Rising)” and this week’s ROH television show.While ROH’s previous iPPV offering, “Final Battle 2011” was a better card on paper, the Tenth Anniversary Show was much better in execution. The show was paced better than Final Battle. Every match ranged from decent to fantastic. The crowd was into the show throughout (propelled by the Daniel Bryan “YES! YES! YES!” chants which were awesome). While the event may have not escalated any storylines, it was exactly what I said it would be: a fantastic night of wrestling and easily a steal for $10.<!--more-->If you go back and read my predictions on the event last week, you’ll see that I went 5-2, with the only blemishes happening on the main event (which I actually predicted correctly on another message board…weird that I had two different predictions for the same match) and a failure to predict a time-limit draw in the Television Title match between Jay Lethal and Tomasso Ciampa. You’d think with all the time limit draws Lethal has gone to during his reign, that another draw would be a slam dunk. I actually did
foresee a time limit draw happening, but thought the match would be restarted at the request of both champion and challenger, with Ciampa pulling off the victory in the 5-minute overtime. Oh well…5-2 isn’t too shabby.I’ll get into rating each match shortly. A quick note on star ratings: I personally like using them and seeing other people use them as a method of comparing matches, but I recognize that the rating reflects the opinion of the reviewer, and in no way should be taken as gospel. Arguing that a match should be a half a star greater or lower than the rating it was given is nitpicking of the highest magnitude. It only means that the reviewer liked the match a little more or a little less than you did. For the Tenth Anniversary Show, while the matches are fresh in my head, I’m not going to go through the trouble of assigning fractions of stars without having to re-watch each match. So I’m going to give matches ratings like “low to mid three-star range” to give you all an idea of where each match fits in context.Match 1: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The All Night ExpressI was surprised to see this matchup open the show, as I thought the quickness of TJ Perkins and Amazing Red would have been just the right ingredients to kick off the show. However, ANX is a crowd-favorite (their theme music especially rocks), and it’s just too much fun to boo Charlie Haas, so this ended up being a wise choice to kick things off. I was really interested to see how Rhett Titus would fare after being put on the shelf for all of January and February after having knee surgery, and aside from looking a tad out of shape (understandable), he hadn’t lost a step. Leave it to the veterans like Haas and Benjamin to treat Titus’s knee like a bulls-eye and target it for the babyface-in-peril segment of the match. The crowd, to their credit, picked up on it immediately and booed accordingly (I was afraid that with WGTT now heel, they’d be cheered again in NYC because that’s what NYC fans do). The match fell apart a little bit after the hot tag to Kenny King, after a botched spot and an immediate tag to Rhett Titus after cleaning house for a little bit (I’ll never understand that part of tag team wrestling. It happens all the time. The babyface-in-peril is absolutely beat on for upwards of 5-7 minutes, FINALLY makes the hot tag, the fresh man cleans house, then tags back out to the guy who was already beat on, which most of the time leads to another babyface-in-peril segment. Can somebody in the biz explain to me the purpose behind that?). Still though, they managed to regain their footing and had a nice finish with Titus taking out Haas with a flying senton and King rolling up Benjamin for the win. I’d put the match in the high two-star, low three-star range. Overall, it did a great job setting the tone for the night, and Titus and King looked very good in the win.Match 2: Mike Bennett vs. HomicideBennett ties to cut a promo before the match but he’s drowned out by chants of “CM Punk!” and “Sloppy Seconds!” He says that he is the real “Best in the World” because he comes from Boston and he has Maria. Homicide comes out to his old “Natural Born Sinners” music and attire. For those that don’t know, Homicide started in ROH as part of a tag team with Boogalou called the Natural Born Sinners, and they wore Mike Meyers masks and came out to hard rock. Gotta admit, while the touch of nostalgia was nice, I would have rather heard the Kill Bill intro into Beanie Siegel’s “The Truth.” The match wasn’t bad, and Bennett again is a better wrestler than he gets credit for on the Internet, but the finish did Bennett absolutely no favors. Homicide wanted to pay tribute to CM Punk by hitting Bennett with the Go 2 Sleep, which he did, but instead of going for the cover, Cide wandered aimlessly around the ring showing Punk’s X symbol with his arms, allowing Bennett enough time to roll Homicide up for the victory. I get that Homicide is a legend and you don’t want to make him look too bad by having him lose so decisively to Bennett, but the bottom line is that Homicide is part time at this point, while Bennett is a full-time member of the roster. I love Homicide, but you have to look toward the future, and in a kayfabe sense, Bennett really had no business being in there with Homicide, which is not good for a guy that as recently as two months ago was being sold as a legitimate threat to the Television Title. The finish didn’t even make Homicide save face because he was seen as an idiot for not following up on the pin after hitting the GTS. As for the match itself, I’d put it in the low-to-mid two-star range.After the match, Homicide got on the mic and put over the company while getting a “Let’s Go Yankees” chant started.In-Ring Interview with Eddie KingstonAs part of ROH’s new partnership with CHIKARA, ROH management invited CHIKARA’s Grand Champion (equivalent of World Champion) Eddie Kingston to come out and sell the upcoming events on April 28th in Chicago. Long-time ROH fans will recall that Eddie had a near full-time run in ROH in 2009 and early 2010 before disappearing from the company. Eddie says it’s great to be back in ROH, and he has an idea for ROH World Champion Davey Richards, but before he can reveal the idea, Davey’s howl hits, followed immediately by a single gunshot, which fades into Kevin Steen’s music, and out comes “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” dressed in a Tuxedo shirt and carrying around a tennis racket with Davey Richards’s picture on the front. Steen tells Eddie that if he wants to do something with the ROH World Champion, he is looking at the next champion. Even though they may want to fight, Steen says they’re cut from the same cloth. Eddie was cast off from ROH once Jim Cornette took the reins, just like Steen was. If they team up, they can burn ROH to the ground. Eddie says he loves ROH as a company and doesn’t want to do something like that, and Steen replies that he thinks CHIKARA is a bullshit promotion, which sets Eddie off, and the fight is on. Members of The Colony (a CHIKARA stable of high fliers dressed in different colors and model themselves off of different types of ants) come out to help Eddie, and the brawl ends with Fire Ant hitting a springboard plancha on the outside wiping everybody out. This was a great segment that did more to build toward the ROH/CHIKARA doubleshot in Chicago, and I’m actually surprised they acknowledged it on PPV, as it seems this storyline is for house shows only.Match 3: TJ Perkins and Amazing Red vs. The House of Truth of Roderick Strong and Michael ElginAmazing Red got a tremendous ovation from the fans, including “Welcome Back” and “Fuck TNA” chants. He embraced the first chant while shrugging off the latter. This match stole the show as I expected it to, in a similar way that Elgin vs. Perkins in singles competition stole the show at Final Battle. The speed and quickness of Red and Perkins meshed well with the strength and power of Strong and Elgin. Red had some great moves, including three spinning heel kicks in a row, and the Code Red finisher. Elgin caught Perkins and Red in the middle of their high flying moves and turned them into backbreakers and powerslams, which drew Ooohs and Ahhhs from the crowd. Elgin has quietly became one of the best wrestlers on the show, and I really can’t wait for the eventual feud with Strong if and when the HOT breaks up. Red took the fall (as he should, being part time) when he succumbed to an Alabama Slam from Elgin on Strong’s knees. This match falls somewhere in the mid three-star range.Match 4: Television Title: Jay Lethal © vs. Tomasso CiampaThis is Ciampa’s first real test on the big stage after being put mostly in preliminary matches against lower-card talent. I was interested to see whether he’d thrive in this environment or not. Fortunately he was in there with one of the five best wrestlers on the roster right now, and more than held his own in keeping up with Lethal. The match of course was hampered by the 15-minute time limit, and when the announcement came that three minutes remained in the match, the majority of the crowd groaned because they knew what was happening. To their credit, Lethal and Ciampa made the race for the finish exciting, with Ciampa hitting Lethal with a sort of Emerald Fusion move on the ring apron, which drew a “Holy Shit” chant from the crowd. As they slugged it out with 30 seconds to go, the crowd began a Daniel Bryan-esque “YES! YES! YES! YES!” chant while pointing to the sky, which made the finish more exciting. Hell, I’ll take that instead of straight-up booing because they knew the clock would run out. At the sound of the bell, Lethal was pissed and immediately called for five more minutes (and I thought he was going to get it with Ciampa taking the belt in the overtime period), but Ciampa attacked Lethal and hit him with Project Ciampa, thus negating any chance at an overtime period. Tomasso then grabbed the Television Title belt, posed with over Lethal, then walked out with it. Belt stealing storylines have been done before, but they always generate good heat. The match was in the low-to-mid three-star range.In the time leading up to showtime, ROH played classic theme music, like Spanky’s “Danger Danger High Voltage” and Samoa Joe’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” which I thought was a fantastic nostalgic touch. They saved the best themes for intermission, however, as they played “The Final Countdown,” which was a nice treat for the fans who stayed in the arena and didn’t head to the merchandise table or snack bar outside. Frankly I think ROH should always play the classic themes instead of the rock songs during intermission.Match 5: ROH World Tag Team Titles: The Briscoes © vs. The Young BucksHoly hell were the Briscoes over in NYC, which is completely ironic because we were the town that turned them heel back at Manhattan Mayhem IV last year. Interestingly enough, #DemBoys was trending worldwide for a few minutes during the match. Not much should be made of it, but it’s at least satisfying to know that enough people were talking about the Briscoes at that particular point in time to get it to trend. The match was shorter than I expected it to be (or at least it just seemed that way). It was your typical tag team encounter featuring the two teams. They didn’t go as balls-out as I expected toward the end of the match. The Briscoes got the win after countering More Bang For Your Buck (with Mark pushing Matt off the top rope onto the barricade on the outside), then hitting the Doomsday Device on Nick for the victory. The match was in the low-to-mid three-star range, much like the TV title match.Match 6: No Disqualification: Kevin Steen vs. Jimmy JacobsJacobs came out with Steve Corino, who said it wasn’t worth it to have the match happen and tried to stop it from happening. Jacobs was wearing a fur coat. While Corino was trying to convince everybody to not have the match, Jacobs pulled out a chain, walloped Steen with it, and took off his fur coat to reveal the white, blood-stained coat from Age of the Fall, and he took his jeans off to reveal the black-and-white tights from his AOTF days. Very few in the crowd picked up on it, unfortunately, but I thought it was a nice touch. This brawl wasn’t as violent as the Steen/Corino brawl from Final Battle, but I think that’s a good thing, considering the health of both wrestlers. A memorable moment had Steen taking guardrails apart on the entranceway, then slamming Jacobs on them. Yet another found Jacobs spearing Steen through the ring ropes and through a table on the outside. Jimmy pulled out a railroad spike, and eventually used it on Steen, busting him open. Realizing what he had done, Jacobs became morose, then dropped the spike, which Steen picked up, spiked Jimmy in the groin area (ouch), then gave him the F-Cinq on two chairs which were set up back-to-back for the victory. Another good Steen brawl in the low three-star range.Main Event: Young Wolves Rising: Davey Richards and Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole and Eddie EdwardsI said before that the build to this match didn’t beat you over the head with who were the faces and who were the heels. ROH simply presented the four wrestlers as they were and left the decision of who to cheer and boo up to the fans. Well the fans made their choice. Edwards and Cole got a huge ovation while Davey and Kyle got booed (with Kyle receiving more of the boos, and I agree. He’s been making himself out to be quite the whiner). Davey getting booed concerned me, but I think it was mostly due to the fact that he wasn’t defending the ROH World Championship on the show (with maybe a little bit of backlash from the lackluster title match with Eddie from Final Battle thrown in). For simply being a tag team match, this match was pretty epic in scope, going well over 35 minutes. In the beginning, they were holding off on the two “money matchups” (Richards vs. Edwards, Cole vs. O’Reilly), keeping Richards in there against Cole and Edwards in there against O’Reilly. The trolls in the second balcony were starting to get restless as they got drunker, and it become borderline unbearable to watch the match with their catcalls that nobody could hear other than the people around them, so I went down to the floor and found the match to be more enjoyable from that level.There were some really unique spots in the match, including Davey and Eddie getting simultaneous half crabs on Cole and O’Reilly respectively, then facing each other and pulling up harder on their opponent. It seemed that Davey and Eddie were playing a game of one upsmanship. At one point, they had their opponent in opposite corners, and Eddie and Davey were getting into a chop/kick battle to see who could chop/kick the hardest, with poor Cole and O’Reilly taking the punishment for this “Anything you can do, I can do better” game. Adam Cole ended up getting the win of his lifetime when he pinned Davey after what I believe was a crossbody. This was an excellent, main event worthy match that ended up in the low four-star range.After the match, Davey was going to try and say something, but ended up speechless, so all he said was, “Congratulations Adam” and shook both men’s hand. O’Reilly stole the microphone and said he doesn’t shake the hand of people he doesn’t respect, and he doesn’t respect Edwards, and (in a shocker) he doesn’t respect Adam either! That got pretty good heel heat until Kevin Steen appeared on the balcony and cut a promo saying that the main event should have been Davey Richards vs. Kevin Steen for the ROH World Championship (and he's right). He said that “Young Wolves Rising” is the worst name ever for a show, and it should have been called “Steen Steals the Show…Again.” He calls Cole and O’Reilly “cute” and says that if they think they’re the future of ROH, the future is real ugly, because Kevin Steen is the future. He says that he doesn’t think Davey is scared to fight him…he thinks Jim Cornette is scared, so he begs Davey to convince Cornette to make the match happen. He calls Davey a “Ju Jitsu Jackoff,” and then says, “Oh, and JuJitsuJackoff? Trending worldwide.” Nice dig at The Rock there.Final PPV Thoughts
So overall, I really enjoyed the Pay Per View. Every match aside from Bennett/Homicide was three stars or higher, with the show building to a nice crescendo with the main event. As I said before, it was an absolute steal for $10. This show as a whole would be in the 9 territory if it seriously advanced any feuds, but it didn’t. The ANX are in a feud with the Young Bucks, and the Briscoes are in a feud with Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, but no team even acknowledged the other’s presence on this show. Steen said he was going after Davey Richards’s ROH title, but he did the same thing after Final Battle, and nothing has been resolved yet. I guess you could say that Ciampa walking off with the Television Title was a big advancement, but I’d say that a bigger advancement would have been Ciampa winning the belt. But with seven more weeks of unaired television already taped before the show even started, I should have expected that nothing earth-shattering would happen at this show. And there’s the rub of taping a month of television in a single night, and not being afforded the luxury of live TV show taping that WWE has. Still, Showdown in the Sun looks like it might further some feuds, so that’s something to be excited about. You can order both shows off gofightlive.tv for $20 total (which is $10 a show). So for $30 in the month of March, you get 9 hours of ROH wrestling vs. paying $50 for Wrestlemania and getting four hours (and maybe two hours of wrestling total?). Economically, it just makes more sense.Final Score for Tenth Anniversary Show: 8.75Now it’s time to review this week’s TV show, headlined by Roderick Strong vs. Eddie Edwards.Match 1: Mike Bennett vs. TJ Perkins Before the match, Bennett cuts a promo on Lance Storm, who has challenged him to a match at Showdown in the Sun. He says he'll take care of Storm, and then he and Maria can party. Perkins says that Bennett has neglected to mention him. He says "You might think I'm some young punk," which is an interesting thing to say considering Perkins is older than Bennett. He says the thing about lightning is that you don't know you're hit until it's too late.Spoiler alert: Perkins loses again. Such a shame, because he busts his ass every time he wrestles, and at least deserves a storyline, rather than being a jobber to the stars.Memorable Moment: Perkins does a springboard dropkick knocking Bennett to the outside, then as Brutal Bob is consoling his trainee, Perkins runs on the apron and hits a high flying crossbody taking out both men.
Maria become involved toward the end, and in the confusion, Bennett manages to hit the TKO finisher on Perkins for the victory. **1/2Winner: Mike Bennett
Match 2: Tomasso Ciampa vs. Guy AlexanderNo relation to Cedric Alexander, although Ring of Honor wouldn't know, because during the tale of the tape, Cedric's face was shown. Ciampa cuts a promo before the match on Jay Lethal, saying that he has nothing to lose at the PPV, but Lethal has everything to lose. Lethal will not only lose his belt, but he will lose his confidence, his health, and possibly his career.The announcers mention that Guy Alexander has recently returned from back surgery, and at the beginning of the match, Ciampa attacked Guy's back. That's pretty damn good psychology for a squash. And that's exactly what this was. Ciampa didn't even get the opportunity to hit his Project Ciampa finish, as he hit multiple running knees in the corner, and the referee stopped the match. 3/4*Winner: Tomasso Ciampa
Inside ROH With......Kevin Kelly running down the Tenth Anniversary Show card, with comments from the Briscoes and Kevin Steen. He also runs down the Showdown in the Sun Pay Per View, with the announcement that the All Night Express and the Young Bucks will face each other on both nights, called the "Dual's Duel." Both ANX and the Bucks had ideas for matches: ANX wanted a Street Fight, and Young Bucks wanted a Tornado Tag. ROH granted both of their wishes, having the Street Fight on Friday and the Tornado Tag on Saturday (which is weird...shouldn't the Street Fight come later? Whatever).For the first time on ROH TV, they recognize the CHIKARA promotion, explaining the style of the promotion while showing clips from some CHIKARA matches.Main Event: #1 Contender Match: Eddie Edwards vs. Roderick StrongIt's always a great wrestling match when Edwards faces Strong. It was one of the more underrated rivalries of 2011, as their matches at Manhattan Mayhem IV (when Edwards defeated Strong to win the ROH World Title), Supercard of Honor VI (the rematch), Death Before Dishonor IX (the Ringmaster Challenge) and Northern Aggression (as the remaining two members of the 8-Man Elimination Match) have all been **** or higher. The Ringmaster Challenge may have been the most underrated match of the year. So needless to say...my expectations are high.Memorable Moment 1: After trading strikes, Roderick catches Eddie's foot, then tries to hit him with three consecutive rolling elbows, but Eddie blocks the second one and ducks the third, and hits a german suplex that sends Roderick over in a 360.Memorable Moment 2: Roderick kicks Eddie twice in the corner, then goes for the first part of a Tully Blanchard style slingshot suplex, but instead just drops Eddie stomach first on the top rope. Memorable Moment 3: Roderick tries for a gutbuster off the top rope, but Eddie counters into a top rope huracanrana.
A really good match gets ruined at the end with yet another clusterfuck ending. Truth Martini tries to interfere, but Adam Cole comes down to ringside to stop him. Michael Elgin comes out to brawl with Cole, and Edwards dives out of the ring and takes Elgin out. In the meantime, Roderick puts something on his foot and hits the Sick Kick on Eddie when he rolls back into the ring and gets three.Winner: Roderick Strong
But wait! Referee Paul Turner comes down to the ring and tells Todd Sinclair (who made the original count) about what Roderick did. Eddie then hits Roderick with the Die Hard bomb, and Turner counts the three for Eddie.Winner: Eddie Edwards
But wait!!! Sinclair swears Strong won! Turner swears Edwards won! Who is the number one contender? Jim Cornette comes out and makes a decision...both men will get the opportunity to face Davey Richards at Showdown in the Sun Night 1 in a Triple Threat match. Davey comes out and surveys the scene to end the show. Match was ***1/4 and was seriously brought down by the shenanigans at the end.Final TV Show Thoughts
Good starting build to Showdown in the Sun, while still proving to be a decent go-home show for the Tenth Anniversary Show. Bennett vs. Perkins was alright, and the main event was good until the shmozz finish.Score: 8Next week I'll be providing short reviews of two ROH DVDs that I bought at the Tenth Anniversary Show Pay Per View: Glory By Honor X (from last November in Chicago) and The Homecoming 2012 (from January in Philadelphia). Make sure to follow me @PocketSeagull