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Ring Crew Reviews: Top 20 Matches from 2012, part I: Odds and Ends
Posted by Jack Bramma on 02.05.2013



• As promised, up next, I have a four-part series on what I thought were the best matches from 2012. Before diving into the top 21, here is a list of odds and ends that didn't quite make the list, but I reviewed none the less. I wouldn't necessarily call them honorable mentions as these aren't what I thought were the next five best matches, they were just good matches that I thought would make crack my top 21 but didn't.

• In case, this is your time first reading, you might want to check in with part 2 (#21-14), and part 3 (#13-8)

ROH World Television Championship: Eddie Edwards vs. Adam Cole (c). ROH Glory by Honor XI. Usual 10 minute time limit is extended to 30 for this iPPV bout. Kevin Kelly provides some astute analysis: “Cole is the champion. Edwards has to beat him.” Handshake to follow the code. Nigel says that EE has the mental advantage because he was the first TV champ in ROH. Lockup goes nowhere so they break. EE with a go behind into a drop toe hold and a front facelock. Cole tries a few counters but EE stays on top and grabs a chinlock. Cole with a go behind so EE gets a rope break. After some more chain, Eddie winds up on top with a top wristlock. Cole rolls through and kips into his own. EE does the same and catches a Cole dropkick so Cole rolls him up for a fleeting 1 count. ECW STANDOFF! Bots cue up the dueling chants. Test of strength next that EE bridges into a pin on Cole for a few 2 counts. Nigel namedrops Tony Charles in making the test of strength famous as now Eddie has to bridge to avoid a three count. Cole tries floating on top but EE monkey flips him over and now both bridge to get the shoulders up. Slick. They trade more roll ups and backslides for 2 counts. EE finally goes for the Achilles Lock but Cole rolls him into a small package for 2. Cole wants the F4 but EE small packages HIM for 2. They both go for dropkicks and it's the ECW STANDOFF.... PART II! Now the dueling chants have almost completely turned into chants for Eddie. It's now time to strike it out and that's a BAD move for Cole as Eddie brings the lumber with the chops. Cole rethinks and sends Eddie off and goes for a charge but gets dumped out to the floor. EE goes for a suicide dive but Cole cuts him off with an enzuigiri. Cole takes to take advantage but Eddie yakuza kicks him off the apron and now flies out with the suicide dive. SOARIN' AND SCORIN' sayeth Kevin Kelly.

• Back in, a BRUTAL Shining Wizard from EE gets 2. Eddie goes to the ab stretch and grinds his elbow into Cole's face. Cole with a basement dropkick to EE's knee to come back and now he clips the knee a few times. EE comes back with a DSLW to pay Cole back for the leg damage. Cole now tries slugging it out again with EE and that's just piss poor strategy. Cole fires up but runs into a chop. Cole blocks a suplex but so does EE. Cole dumps Eddie out to the apron and hits a leaping enzuigiri. EE is reeling so Cole slingshots out to the apron with a APRON DDT! Lethal stuff. Back in, Cole comes flying off the top with a splash for 1, 2, only 2. EE sells a stinger as Cole goes for a suplex but EE blocks. Cole gets him up for the FU neckbreaker. 1, 2, 2 ½. EE takes over with the backpack chinbreaker for 2. Cole slides out of a suplex and goes for a punt but EE catches the foot. DSLW! Double foot stomp off the top for EE gets 1, 2, 2 ½. EE rolls him into the Achilles Lock. Cole reaches for the ropes but EE pulls him back to the middle. Cole rolls over but EE curb stomps the hell outta him and rolls him back over for the Achilles Lock again! Cole tries counting again with more upkicks and wins the exchange! Cole with a wheelbarrow roll up into the FIGURE FOUR! WOOOOO! Eddie struggles but makes it to the ropes. Cole puts EE up top and preps a superplex. UH OH! EE gets him up in a fireman's carry in a top rope but Cole elbows his way free and both tumble to the floor. Both sell for the count but are back in to beat it. EE goes for the SUPER LARIATO but runs into a superkick from Cole. EE no sells to hit two superkicks. Cole no sells that to hit a Juvy shoulderbreaker. 1, 2, 2.999. Florida Key gets 1, 2, 3 to retain at 19:10. Some seamless chain stuff to start almost worthy of Bret-Owen at WMX (but not exactly) and some nicely timed counters and comebacks. Just a hair too much slug it out stuff for my taste and the psychology on the limbs went nowhere. ****

Ladder War IV for the ROH World Championship: El Generico vs. Kevin Steen (c). ROH Final Battle 2012. Steen turned on Generico a few years ago after faking retirement and saying that he carried Generico's generic ass all those years. Last year, after Steen forced his way back into ROH (kayfabe), he won the world title and appeared to be free of Generico until receiving his mask as a gift some weeks ago.

• KK dumps the tale of the tape because they come out slugging in rapid fire succession. Generico chops Steen and uses the lockup to hit a tornado DDT and the YAKUZA HOMICIDA! Steen bails out to regroup and Generico follows out with a tope con giro. Back in, Generico brings a ladder for a few waffles and then throws the ladder at Steen who goes down in a heap. Generico pummels him some more and bites Steen's fingers and drops the ladder on Steen. OLE OLE OLE! More shots to the lower back from Generico with the ladder. Steen fights back with an eye gouge. Generico wants a slam on the ladder but Steen flights out and backdrops Generico ON THE LADDER! THE LADDER BUCKLES! Brutal. Steen gathers up the remnants of the ladder and drops it on Generico. Steen again throws the ladder at Generico and talks smack. While Generico lays in the corner with the ladder on him, Steen charges in for the cannonball on the ladder.... on Generico. Nice. Generico takes his sweet time getting another ladder and one more to bring into the ring. Generico tries standing up so Steen tackles him with another ladder. Generico tries catching one and throwing it back at him but Steen counters by catching the ladder and throwing it BACK at Generico. Steen: “This ends when he's more broke than the fucking ladders.” Steen now bows for more effect and feedback from the crowd. Steen dumps out Generico and sends him hard into the barricade hard enough to break it apart. By the way, the new color guy for ROH who took over for Nigel (Caleb Seltzer I believe?) is terrible all through here. Hopefully, this is just a bad night for him because it's actively destroying my interest in the match. Steen now takes time out of his schedule to talk trash to a Generico fan in the front row wearing a mask. Back in, Steen tries a whip but Generico blocks so Steen gouges his eye and whips him HARD across the ring into the ladder. Steen now lays in the ring in response to a CM Punk chant for reasons that escape me. Steen does the Andre spot as KK calls this “psychotic brilliance.” Steen brings in like the fifth ladder of the ring and baseball slides the ladder into Generico for yet more damage. Generico tries climbing the apron but collapses and falls down in a heap which oddly draws some laughs from the Bots. Steen starts the climb but Generico pulls him down and catches Steen in a T-BONE TAZPLEX ON A LADDER!

• Generico now wants to climb but Steen pulls him down by the feet. HALF NELSON SUPLEX ON THE LADDER! Generico starts the climb again but Steen musters up enough strength to shove the ladder over and Generico eats turnbuckle. After both selling, they recover for a slug it out sequence. Generico goes for another tornado DDT but Steen counters nicely to a knee in the back. Steen climbs again but Generico is in to pull him down, so Steen shitcans him out. They repeat that sequence again so Steen can again whip Generico into the broken barricade. Steen bridges a ladder between the barricade and the ring apron as Seltzer says that Steen will “kill a man” to keep the ROH strap. Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Say cripple, say injure, say paralyze, say hurt, say disgrace or dishonor or deface or betray or embarrass. ANYTHING but kill because that's crazy. I get that the t-shirts and all say KILLSTEENKILL and that's the chant, but there's a difference between the front row bots smarkishly chanting something vs. the commentator gravely predicting a competitor's on-screen death. Steen gets a table which is downright allegorical for Seltzer: “Perhaps carrying the table as a symbol for Generico's last stand.” So the table is a cross that Steen is bearing? Shouldn't Generico be carrying the table then? Maybe once the table breaks then Generico's last stand will be broken... which still makes no sense and isn't idiomatic at all though it is idiotic. Steen now sets up the table on the bridged ladder. The crowd already starts a Please Don't Die chant. Generico thankfully slides out of the powerbomb and backdrops Steen through the table but misses the ladder. Not their fault but that was just an awkward spot to get right. Generico sends the ring crew on an errand and they break out the Tommy Dreamer Home Depot Ladder. Seltzer now calls the ladder the “nuclear missile of doomsday.” Steen works his way up to the top rope and blocks a BRAINBUSTAAAAA to give Generico an F5 off the apron through a table. KK wants the match stopped. Generico is toast and Steen climbs up the ladder. Generico no sells to come back in the ring and throw a ladder into Steen's back to take him down. Steen waffles Generico with another ladder as the crowd has been stunned a bit into silence more or less just waiting for the big ladder spot. Steen now declares TONIGHT, YOU DIE as he powerbombs Generico onto a bridged ladder. Steen climbs up but Generico pulls him down. PACKAGE GENERIC DRIVER! Generico starts the climb and of course Steen no sells to chase him down and knock him off the ladder. Steen sets up another ladder drawbridge between the two bigger ladders. Generico joins him as Steen fires up for a Package Piledriver THROUGH the top ladder. That was pretty damn cool even if it took forever to get there. Steen climbs up and pulls down the belt to retain at 28:05.

• Remarkably, even to myself, I remain underwhelmed by the Steenerico singles matches. Though I haven't seen the match from Final Battle 2010, I have seen all the others and they just don't mesh together for me. Generico's appeal to me has never been hardcore (though he's had great hardcore matches). It's his electric pace, selling, and smoothness even with something as crazy as the BRAINBUSTAAAA but a lot of that goes by the wayside in a match like this. While some may credit this for abandoning the “slow climb” crutch of fed ladder matches, I prefer the slow climb because it allows for the selling of moves. But here after a package piledriver or a half nelson suplex on a ladder, the other guy pops right up because it's time to cut off the guy climbing. Also, while I felt one of the flaws of the Showdown in the Sun street fight was just using chairs with signature spots and not having a more cohesive story (half nelson plex with a chair, cannonball with a chair, flipping leg drop with a chair), this match has story in spades, but it never gels together for me. ****

Hybrid Rules Match: Kyle O'Reilly vs. Adam Cole. ROH Best in the World: Hostage Crisis. They shake for the code of honor. O'Reilly with a takedown and drops Cole down. Cole with a go behind but again gets hiplocked over by Kyle. He poses so Cole takes him down and goes to the GnP. Unfortunately, that's Kyle's game so he immediately rolls over into full mount and some palm strikes GnP. He goes for the armbar but Cole stacks him up and gets a break. Cole blocks several strikes and then tries a few of his own but Kyle also has him scouted and it's a ECW STANDOFF! Nigel and KK talk over the strategy of whether or not to wear mouthguards in a mixed rules match. Kyle with a kick and goes for a back suplex but Cole floats over and tries his own. Kyle lands on his feet to counter but sells the taped up knee! Cole pounces and just on the knee with an elbow and a grapevine. Cole drops a few more elbows. Kyle comes back with a charge but runs into a boot and a missile dropkick... TO THE KNEE! Cole with a DSLW. He grabs the foot but Cole hits him with an enzuigiri. Cole no sells and Kyle goes for another but wipes out when Cole ducks and applies a kneebar. Cole hits several rights in the corner and Sinclair calls for a break but Cole goes right back to the closed fists as Kyle is woozy. He staggers but comes back, flips up and over and goes into a wheelbarrow roll up and transitions into the armbar. Slick. Cole quickly gets the ropes. Cole tries a whip but the arm gives out and Kyle has an armwringer TD and goes to work. Greco-Roman suplex follows and Kyle drives the arm into the mat. Kyle poses to mild boos. Cole comes back but Kyle smacks the hell out of him and knees him down brutally. Sinclair starts the count and gets up to 8 before Kyle applies an ab stretch and some STIFF closed fists of his own. Kyle with an armbreaker but Cole no sells to hit an enzuigiri and a Shining Wizard. Cole fires up for a few elbows and a dropkick. Crowd chants for Cole as he goes for a suplex but Kyle knees his way free. They go for dueling kicks only to both block and then both go for PUMP KICKS AND TAKE EACH OTHER OUT! That was cool.

• They get to their feet and slug it out before Cole loses that one and O'Reilly just blitzkriegs his ass with KAWADA KICKS! COLE LOSES SOME TEETH! Actually, it's a busted lip but the commentary is so earnest and it happens so fast that it might as well be some broken teeth, so just go with it. The crowd is jacked as Cole is easily to a 0.5 Muta inside of five seconds. Even O'Reilly has blood on his upper and lower body... from COLE. O'Reilly blasts him with a headbutt and gets a head of steam but Cole comes back with a jumping headbutt of his own. Kyle no sells for the high knee and rolls him into the DR FG but Cole ducks under. Small packages him into a kick to the knee and a SUPERKICK HOMICIDA! Double KO spot as both recover and Cole gets a root canal. They get up at the same time and Cole goes for the superkick but O'Reilly ducks and takes him down with a LARIATO! O'Reilly says it's over and wants Sinclair to count but Cole Hulks up and no sells. Crowd is FEELING IT as they slug and kick it out. Kyle has HAD IT and hits a spinkick, curb stomp, ROARING ELBOW AND BACKDROP DRIVER! DOUBLE KO! Not sure how much the double KO makes there since Kyle didn't no sell (like usual) he just had the upperhand but that was an awesome sequence anyway. Sinclair starts the count. BUT WAIT! THE DOCTORS HAVE COME OUT! Cole waves them off and says he's finishing the match. Kyle leaps and mounts with the guillotine. Cole fights out for the Cradle Neckbreaker! Double KO again as Sinclair gets to 8 on the count. COLE IS UP! He knocks Kyle out of the ring with a superkick! Cole drags his ass back into the ring and tries to send him off but Kyle collapses in a heap. Cole says it's over but Kyle comes alive and locks on the FLYING ARMBAR! Cole stacks him up! TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! Kyle rolls him over for the No Lock, but Cole goes back to the FIGURE FOUR! WOOO! O'Reilly taps out at 12:41. This feels like a Davey Richards match – stiff strikes, periods of no selling followed by periods of laying around – crammed into 10 minutes. Ironically, while no selling would make more sense in a shorter match, I think the extended periods of laying around make less sense so it's a wash in that regard. The pops for some exchanges are some of the loudest I heard all year long. Cole losing some teeth, O'Reilly having a crazy four move combo going for the win, and then dueling banjo submissions for the finale is great stuff. ****

GHC Heavyweight Championship: Go Shiozaki vs. Takeshi Morishima (c). NOAH 07/22/2012. They come out full steam ahead as usual and collide on stiff shoulderblocks. Go comes out on the losing end of a few attempts as Morishima is too much for him. Go comes back with a few chops and a leaping shoulderblock and Morishima goes down. Morishima hasn't had enough yet so Go brings the wood with CHOPS. Morishima boxes his ears a few times with forearms galore and a superkick. Go sidesteps a charging Morishima and shitcans him out. Go tries a whip but Morishima counters and sends him into the guardrail. Go recovers and attacks Morishima from behind and wants an ApronBomb but Morishima counters and Bonzai drops down on him. Nice. Morishima gets a chair to set Go up for the Runaway Japanese Semi ButtBomb on the floor. Morishima his and Go is toast already selling his chest like death. Back in, Morishima works the size advantage with the Andre spot and chokes away in the corner. Morishima gets a clap going for another Runaway Japanese Semi. Go struggles but is still alive so Morishima lays him out with a third. Morishima brings him to the apron and then hits a FOURTH and heads up top for the missile dropkick. Go musters up enough strength for a few chops but Morishima hits a bit of a crap dropkick and Go bails out again. Morishima goes for the suicide dive but Go cuts him off with a dropkick of his own. Both of those dropkick spots were sloppy and telegraphed. Go pulls up the mat and tries to beast Morishima with a brainbuster off the apron but Morishima plays dead and blocks. Go blocks a uranage with an elbow to the back of the head and a LARIATO to the leg! Go hoists him up in a fireman's carry and just runs him HEAD FIRST INTO THE GUARDRAIL! Now, Go capitalizes by chopping and hitting a kneebreaker into the guardrail... on the other leg. Would have had more sense to stay on the same leg that he lariated but we'll see. Morishima gets on the apron and now Go goes back to working the right leg with a dropkick and elbows to the injured... right leg. For those scoring at home, that's left then right then left. Go with a Frog Splash on the right leg and works a knee wrench. Go with a DSLW and hooks in an inverted cloverleaf. Morishima makes the ropes, so Go clubs him around with a few chops and a CHOP HOMICIDA!

• Go now with a kneebreaker on the left knee and Boston Crab. Go releases to roll Morishima into an inverted Indian Deathlock. Morishima makes the ropes and recovers long enough to hit an enzuigiri and an Exploder suplex and a LARIATO! Seems Morishima has regenerative properites in his knees after all that. Go bails out only to eat a Morishima suicide dive. Morishima brings him to the apron for a BACKDROP DRIVER but Go lands on his feet and pulls the bastard down to the floor. GO FLASHER ON THE FLOOR! Go works the count before throwing Morishima back in and it's Go time now. LARIATO gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Throat chop and DISCUS LARIATO get 1, 2, 2.7. Go with another leathery chop and a LARIATO TO THE RIGHT KNEE! TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! Morishima struggles so Go pulls him back to the middle only for Morishima to go back to the ropes. Go boots the knee only for Morishima to hit a desperation Backdrop Driver. Go up first though and BEASTS Morishima with a German suplex. Morishima no sells to hit another Exploder. Go with a LARIATO! No sells for Morishima to hit one. They both go for more and both no sell. EAR BOX! THROAT CHOP! SMACK! Morishima has HAD IT! FOREARM HOMICIDA! Morishima shoots but Go counters to a DDT. Double KO spot. Go up first for a LARIATO! Go Flasher gets 1, 2, 2.9. Go fires up for a RegalPlex but Morishima counters so Go puts him up top. They jockey for position but Morishima wins that one and hits a Super Exploder off the top. 1, 2, 2.99! Morishima with the EAR BOX FROM HELL! 1, 2, 2.999! BACKDROP DRIVER! 1, 2, 2.999999. They slug it out and Morishima wins it with a forearm rampage and the crowd senses the end is near. Another Backdrop Driver and Go is down for 1, 2, 3 at 24:45. Very good match but not up to the kamikaze heights of their January title change. The knee psychology was nice but went nowhere ultimately. Hard-hitting contest as usual. ****

Go Shiozaki vs. Takeshi Morishima. NOAH 11/11/2012. This is non-title and in the Global League tournament. A more strategic opening as they circle to soak in some chants. After a blocked shoulderblock, it's light out with the chops and forearms. Go hits ONE and Morishima rethinks that strategy and instead goes for another lockup. Crazy. After the warfare of the first two encounters and being the bigger man, Morishima wants a ground game. They trade wristlocks and hammerlocks until Morishima gets the ropes. Rather than clean break, he gives Go a cheap shot and goes for a ButtBomb but Go bails out to avoid. Morishima with a head of steam but Go clubs him to the head to cut him off and throws him into the guardrail a few times. Morishima counters one and yakuza kicks his ass into the first row. Morishima gets TWO chairs for the Runaway Japanese Semi spot and Go sells the impact. Go tries getting back in the ring so Morishima throws him into the guardrail again. So much for the ground game. Back in for the Andre spot and a running knee to the gut. Morishima hits another knee and a CLUBBINGBLOW. Go tries to Hulk up with chops so Morishima comes back with the forearms and clubs him down. Morishima with a corner clothesline but Go counters another with a CHOP HOMICIDA. He wants the brainbuster but Morishima blocks only for Go to hit a running shoulderblock. Perfect Driver gets 1, 2, 2 ½. They slug it out and Go again wins with a chop so Morishima headbutts him down and heads up top. Go cuts him off with a superplex. Morishima no sells so Go chops him down again. Kinda tame this time out other than the chops. They get to the apron where Morishima counters and throws Go into the guardrail. Go pulls up the mat and hits a DDT on the floor.

• Back in, Morishima chokes away in the corner. Morishima with another Semi in the corner and winds up for a third. Morishima hits YET another and Go is selling his throat. Morishima covers for 1, 2, only 2. LARIATO gets 1, 2, nearfall. Morishima catches Go in a Bossman slam. Splash gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Morishima goes for a LARIATO but Go blocks with a throat chop, German suplex, and Discus LARIATO for 1, 2, 2.8. Morishima catches him in an Exploder but Go no sells to duck under with a German suplex. Morishima no sells that for MOARLARIATOS. Both no sell until Go hits the definitive one. They get to their feet for the slug it out chop/forearm war. After a stalemate, they switch to boxing each others ears. Go no sells to hit a superkick so Morishima no sells to hit an enzuigiri. Morishima fires up for Backdrop Driver. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.9. Morishima goes for another but Go counters to another DDT. Double KO spot. They both go for LARIATOs and both no sell. Morishima with ANOTHER BOSS one that finally buckles Go. Go with TWO heads of steam and hits a LARIATO HOMICIDA! 1, 2, 2.999! Go Flasher gets 1, 2, 2.9999. Go picks him up with a wrist-capture Backdrop Driver and covers for 1, 2, 3 for the nontitle victory at 17:45. The year-long trilogy ends not with a bang, but with a whimper. This felt like they never got out of second gear. If I had never seen the first two matches, I would have said this is great, but everything is just a bit dialed down here from the high spots to the stiffness to the length to... everything. ***3/4

Steel Cage Match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship: James Storm vs. Bobby Roode (c). TNA Lockdown 2012. Storm drives his souped up truck out and brings some beer with him. Roode takes his sweet time stalling around the cage for an Undertaker-like entrance so Storm jumps him from behind and sends him into the guardrail. Storm sets up the stairs and throws Roode into them. Storm gives Roode a faceful of Coors Light and then climbs the announce table to play to the crowd. Storm with the AMERICAN'S MOST WANTED HAMMER and throws Roode into the guardrail again. They fight over a cage shot and Storms whips Roode into the rail for a fourth time. Roode gets knocked loopy and tries to take a walk but Storm gets a chair. He goes for the baseball swing but Roode ducks and tosses Storm into the cage. After one cage shot, Storm blades and then Roode spits some beer in his face. Earl tries to tell them to get in the ring. Bobby: “DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO, YOU SONUVABITCH!” Roode then brings him into the ring anyway showing that apparently Earl can tell him what to do and the bell finally rings. Roode shitcans him into the cage and starts working the cut. Just to be a dick, Roode rakes the back and then chokes. Roode: “C'MON, YOU WANT ME?! FIGHT, YOU PUSSY!” Roode with a vertical suplex and a knee drop for 2. Storm gets his second wind and is all BRING IT ON, MOTHERFUCKER! They slug it out and Roode does indeed bring it on with a back elbow and another knee for 2. Taz: “I'm telling ya, this Bobby Roode is as legit as legit comes.” Roode with a boot and then hocks a loogie on himself. Roode with more right hands. Look, when the feud and backstory are there, you don't have to try very hard for “intense” and “brutal.” You just beat the hell out of each other and talk a lot of trash, but other than that cage shot, Roode hasn't done anything worth talking trash about. If Storm wasn't busted open, this heat would appear much more run-of-the-mill like it is. Storm comes back with a boot in the corner but runs into a Roode clothesline for 2. Roode now grinds the cut a bit and poses. Roode is really dialing the asshole up to 11 on the trash talking to Storm which helps. “YOU'RE NOTHING TO ME!” “I NEVER WANTED YOU!” and such.

• Crowd gets a Cowboy chant going as Storm Hulks up again and throws Roode into the corner. He stomps a mudhole and hits a few clotheslines. Roode with a backdrop and the crowd gives him a mild applause. This is falling a bit flat. Roode heads up top and Storm knocks him off. Storm calls for the Eye of the Storm but Roode slides out. Storm counters back and catapults Roode into the cage. Roode blades. Storm now hits the Eye of the Storm and covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. Storm with a head of steam but runs into a Roode spinebuster for 2. Storm dodges a Spear and hits a Codebreaker/Backcracker combo for 1, 2, 2.7. Storm rakes the cut across the cage but Roode counters and backdrops him into the cage. Nice. Taz: “Backdrop-like thing... maneuver I should say.” Roode tries to crawl away but Storm pulls him in by the leg. Roode with the Crippler Crossface. Storm rolls through and gets the ropes. Roode puts Storm up top and preps a superplex. They slug it out and Roode, surprisingly wins that one by slamming Storm's head against the cage. Roode has had it with this back and forth nonsense and decides to just climb out. AWESOME! Roode boots Storm down and gets to the top. Storm pulls him back in by the hair. Another slug it out sequence and now they dispense with pleasantries and start smashing each other into the cage. YEAH! This is how the entire match should have been. Crowd gets into the BOO/YAY stuff for these. Storm lands the definitive one and Roode eats it to the mat. WAIT! WHAT'S THIS?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Storm also exercises the idiotic face logic by NOT climbing out when he could win because Roode flipped him off. Storm flies off and hits a Codebreaker off the top. Storm tunes up the band and goes for the Superkick but Roode pulls the ref in the way and he eats it instead. Roode with the BLATANTLOWBLOW. Now, Roode can walk out but instead decides he wants some cold refreshments. I hate this 50/50 booking. Roode now blasts Storm with the beer bottle and brings in Earl and covers for 1, 2, 2.9. Roode is in disbelief. Storm hits the Last Call superkick out of nowhere. He's too out of it to take advantage though. Roode lands near the door. Storm wants one more Last Call and he hits it but Roode gets launched through the open door and Roode lands on the ground to win via escape at 19:11 but really 25:00 if you throw in the brawling.

• I really WANTED this match to be the old school, *****, “I hate your guts and FUCK YOU” match that we hadn't seen in a while and that the feud and the video packages and the setting seemed to promise, but it never got there. Everything started to fall into place once they advanced beyond using the “brutality” of the brawl outside the ring as the story. That didn't work because well it just wasn't very brutal. If the beginning portion had been just direct, hard shots into the cage, it would have gelled better. Once Storm hit the Backcracker/Codebreaker, things seemed to fall into place. I also loved the simplicity of Roode abandoning the superplex to try and climb out. A million times you see the heel do something stupid but that was actually something smart. If he hits the superplex it could help him win, but at the first sign of adversity he gives up and tries to climb out. Simple but effective. Still the 50/50 stuff down the stretch really grates my nerves lately and takes me out of the match. ***3/4



The 411: Some very good matches but ones I couldn't find room for in the best matches of the year. *10.0 is a default rating for the best of the year.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  10.0   [ Virtually Perfect ]  legend





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