Zen Arcade Reviews: ROH 11th Anniversary Show
Posted by Jake St-Pierre on 03.17.2013
ROH continues to rebound, but Steve Corino and his gaggle of misfits are here to put that to a halt.
Here we are, back for another ROH iPPV. Itís been eleven years since The Era of Honor Begins, and itís hard to believe that it, in fact, has been eleven years. Weíve seen so many great matches, so many great storylines, and much more. So what do we have in store for tonight?
We are LIVE from the Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge, IL where we havenít been since the bad Death Before Dishonor X show. So far in 2013, weíve seen ROH really get their shit together with technology and booking, basically picking up where 2012 left off. However this time, instead of finishing out Jim Cornette's stories, Delirious gets to have a go. To say I've started gaining real interest in ROH instead of the stubborn loyalty †from 2012 would be an understatement.†
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and unfortunately, Caleb Seltzer. How awful is this dude? He needs to go ASAP. He is at his worst for this show, so just a heads up.†
Six Man Mayhem: Tadarius Thomas vs. QT Marshall vs. Adam Page vs. Silas Young vs. Mike Sydal vs. ACH
ACH is going to be a STAR. Mark my words. Everyone else besides Young and TD I really couldnít care less for, but I think I want QT around just so I can hear his entrance music every time he comes out. Yes, I will talk about his theme music every time I review one of his matches.
ACH is by far the most over guy in the match. Bet Sapolsky is kicking himself for not signing this kid when he could. Page and the aforementioned ACH start us off and ACH drops Page with a twisting headscissor takedown. Tadarius Thomas comes in and TD fireman carries Page onto ACHís knees. Silas Young comes in now to clip ACHís leg out from under him, but Mike Sydal comes in and tags him with a roundhouse. QT Marshall comes, but heís disposed of quickly. Out on the floor, Page COMES OFF OF THE APRON WITH A SHOOTING STAR SHOULDERBLOCK ONTO MARSHALL! ACH goes for Air Jordan, but RD Evans pulls the ULTIMATE DICK MOVE and sweeps his legs out from under him. SASUKE SPECIAL FROM THOMAS! Mike Sydal nails a moonsault off the top rope, but BUT HERE COMES ACH WITH AIR JORDAN! Heís gonna be a top guy somewhere, believe that. RD Evans goes up top to try to and do something, BUT ADAM PAGE SUPERPLEXES HIM ONTO THE PILE! Marshall hits an Alabama Slam on Page, but Marshall takes a Capo Kick from TD to send him out. Young nearly hits Sydal with a Peegee Waja Plunge, but ACH grabs him and nails a Cradle DDT for the three count in a hot 7 minutes. Afterwards, ACH and TD Thomas shake hands. ***Anything exciting as that earns this rating no matter how short it was. It accomplished exactly what it needed to as an opener and on top of that, ROH is doing such a supremely great job of putting ACH out there in little showcases like this to show him off. I know Iíve been gushing over him a lot, but youíd have to be stupid not to see the star quality this dude has. Great stuff to start us off.
† S.C.U.M. vs. The C&C Wrestle Factory
This has been a well-built match for the undercard, but itís a little overshadowed by Steve Corinoís proclamation that S.C.U.M.ís numbers will grow later tonight.†
Coleman and Alexander barely let Bobby Cruise introduce them before they go straight at Corino & Jacobs. The Wrestle Factory goes crazy with the early dives, and they connect with a Leg Lariat Hart Attack on Corino once they enter the ring. Jacobs is stretched over Colemanís knees, and Alexander gets major hangtime before he drops down onto the prone Zombie Princess. Corino comes in and drops Coleman with a Saito Suplex. C&C come back with stereo Northern Light Suplexes. Jacobs hits a partner-assisted Contra Code, followed by a Emerald Dream from Corino. C&C come back with a Full Nelson Facebuster and a Guillotine Leg Drop for 2, but Corino comes in to prevent it. S.C.U.M. picks up the win with a spike Cradle Piledriver in 8 minutes. **3/4I would imagine that these four will get a real match later on down the line, so Iím not too disappointed with how short this was. For the eight minutes they got, this was really good and itís been really interesting to see how Coleman and Alexander have matured as a team over the past couple years.
† No Holds Barred: Charlie Haas vs. BJ Whitmer
The only thing good about that campy car dealership brawl between these two was Olympic Slam on a car. Other than that, this is just a continuation of a tired feud, really.
A brawl predictably starts right from the get-go. Whitmer has the upperhand early as he whips The Outlaw into the guardrail. Whitmer grabs a trashcan and whacks Haas in the head with it, following it up with a can-assisted boot...and a "Charlie Swallows" chant from this hot Chicago crowd. Whitmer picks up a chair and HITS A LADDER INTO HAAS' BALLS! Charlie isn't fazed for very long as he back suplexes Whitmer on the guardrail. He tries to position a ladder on the top rope, but can't get it to stay. What is Charlie's solution? Flipping it off. He whips Whitmer face-first into it and here's Cheeseburger, who Charlie Cesaro'd in Cincinatti. He distracts Charlie enough to let Whitmer brain Haas with a cookie sheet. Charlie comes back with a garbage can lid to the head AND A BELLY-TO-BELLY THROUGH A TABLE ON THE OUTSIDE! That gets a couple of two counts in the ring. Charlie goes to fetch another table and HE SUPER BELLY-TO-BELLIES HIM THROUGH IT! Good psychology and continuity from Final Battle there. That only gets a 2 count. Charlie props a ladder up on two chairs, but BJ reverses an Olympic Slam by DESTROYING HIM WITH AN EXPLODER THROUGH THE LADDER! Nearfall only, but BJ gets the win shortly thereafter with knees to the side of Charlie's head in 12 minutes. ***1/4I don't know if this is the blowoff or not, but I'm perfectly content with that if so. It was a fun grudge match that thankfully didn't drag, although the short duration probably prevented that. The hot crowd saved the spots that could have fallen flat.
The American Wolves vs. Forever Hooligans
Forever Hooligans are Rocky Romero (Davey's former No Remorse Corps. and NJPW partner) and Alex Koslov. ROH hyped this up as a huge dream match, but I wouldn't go quite that far. It should rule though.
Alex Koslov calls for the mic before the introductions start. He just wants to say hello to Chi Town, and he wants them to stand up because he wants to sing the Russian National Anthem. He goes on to sing it without much fanfare, and gets a good amount of heat for it...fuckin' racists.†
Romero decks Davey with a dropkick early, and gyrates a bit to let him know who's boss. Davey drops Romero with a kick of his own, and does a little gyrating of his own as well. Score one for Davey. Romero tries to beg off and shake Davey's hand, but Romero just tries to cheapshot him afterwards. He pays for it with a barrage of stiff shots from the Wolves. The Wolves send the Hooligans outside for double Tope Suicidas! The Hooligans come back with a partner assisted knee drop for a 2 count. Koslov fights it out with Eddie while he and Romero isolate him for the time being. Romero goes all Eugene on Eddie in the corner, so Eddie comes back with a lariat. Davey gets the tag and comes down with a missile dropkick and a back handspring dropkick for a 2 count. Richards nails a German Suplex for 2, but Koslov comes back with an enzuigiri and a modified curb stomp for 2. A backbreaker/diving knee combo gives the Hooligans another 2 count. Eddie decks Romero with an enzuigiri, and he dims Koslov's lights with a superkick. Koslov falls to a superkick/tombstone for another two count. The Wolves hit a double stomp each for two, but Romero stops everything before they can finish it. The Hooligans hit a Super Rana/Frog Splash combo! Davey kicks out in a good nearfall. Eddie kicks Romero out of a springboard as Davey NEARLY gets the win with an O'Connor Roll. The Wolves pick up the win with a powerbomb/backstabber in 16 minutes. ***1/4I don't know if I'm just having a bad day, but I just wasn't feeling this one at all. There wasn't much substance to begin with and the finishing sequence--something The Wolves are experts at--was dry as well. Forever Hooligans didn't do much in the way of innovation, and subsequently didn't live up to the big amounts of hype. Unfortunately, that made for a disappointing bout between two teams who were forecasted †to steal the show and then some. You can't fault their effort, but I can fault the lack of excitement. It was a good, solid, and technically sound match, but nothing even close to the four star marks I've seen people stick on it.
INTERMISSION: We see the buildup for the Steen/Lethal match and I think it's actually been really, really good. Lethal has proved himself a viable main event player in and out of the ring. His promos vastly improved the moment he got a little bit of an edge to him, and not the 'aww shucks' TV champion that he was before. ROH is really looking up if this story has anything to say about it...maybe I'm just easily pleased.†
2 Out of 3 Falls: Roderick Strong vs. Michael Elgin
This feud needs to be over with, stat. Sure, it's fine wrestling-wise but this story ran its course by September last year.
They start with the obligatory mat wrestling. Why after such a "heated" feud? I don't know. Elgin does show some pretty good agility by getting out of the hold. Roddy starts throwing leather, but EATS A BACKFIST FROM HELL! BUCKLE BOMB! ELGIN BOMB! Michael Elgin wins the first fall in just under two minutes. So you're telling me after such a struggle with Roddy pinning him clean that Elgin all of a sudden can beat the dude in two minutes? Okay. Elgin leads 1-0.
Elgin follows Roddy out of the ring and batters him around. Roddy returns the favor with a back suplex on the floor! They head back to the ring, where they trade some stiff shots until Elgin drives Roddy down with a sideslam. Elgin hits a Black Hole Slam for a 2 count and transitions automatically into a crossface. Elgin puts Roddy down with Shock Treatment for another 2 count. I guess Abyss came back to ROH after his brother stole his spot in TNA. Roddy hits a pumphandle suplex for a 2 count. Roddy BRAINS Elgin with a superkick for another close 2 count. Elgin brings Roddy on the top rope and looks for a Super Elgin Bomb, but Roddy gets out and nails a backbreaker on the top turnbuckle, and the Orange Crush backbreaker earns him the second fall in 12 minutes. Tied 1-1.
Roddy wastes no time starting up again, hitting a big gutbuster for a nearfall. Elgin rolls through a Crucifix and drops Roddy with a DVD. Elgin tries to go for a corkscrew senton again, and even after a scare, he hits it for 2 count. Elgin hits 2 deadlift Germans for 2 nearfalls. Roddy counters a deadlift superplex AND NAILS A SITOUT POWERBOMB ON ELGIN! That only gets two. ELGIN BOMB! NEARFALL! Roderick Strong taps to a crossface in 16 minutes. ***This suffered from two things, I think: a lack of heat and a lack of time. It's a 2/3 falls match; it shouldn't be under 20 minutes, especially for the payoff of a long-running feud. The booking of the match pretty much sucked too. They did the best they could with what they got. They just didn't captivate me as much as I hoped they would. I think one of the big things with both of these guys is that they just don't have enough charisma or passion in their out of ring stuff to put over a feud like this. That hurt the match just as much as the lack of time did, I think. This just didn't do it for me like their Final Battle meeting did.
Truth Martini cuts a promo with his big balls in one hand and the Book of Truth in the other. Sexual innuendos are plenty in this promo, laced in between his thoughts on Matt Taven. He ends the promo with his big balls on his chin. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.
Matt Hardy comes out for a promo, and boy does Chicago HATE HIM. Matt does a good job getting through his promo, but this crowd is on him big time. Hardy joins the commentary booth for the next bout.
ROH TV Title: Adam Cole vs. Matt Taven (w/ Truth Martini)
Goddamn Truth, you've outdone yourself with this outfit. I'm glad Matt Taven is getting a real shot in ROH now, because a year ago he had the best 6 minute match I've ever seen with Mike Mondo and since then he's had great showings in every match. I guess everybody is SO CONVINCED that Adam Cole is going to WWE, but I'll believe it when I see it.†
Adam Cole schools Taven with some mat wrestling early, so Taven bails to talk strategy with Truth Martini. Taven walks right into a Manhattan Drop and eats a neckbreaker, but takes advantage when Martini distracts Cole. Taven looks for a tope suicida, but EATS an enzuigiri for his troubles. Cole chases after Truth, but he doesn't focus on Taven and eats a spin kick to the face. They head back to the ring, where Taven hits a sweet Springboard corkscrew senton for a two count. Taven rolls out of a corner attack and hits an enzuigiri for a 2 count. Cole starts coming back and hits a Fireman's Carry on his knee for a two count. Taven looks for a crossbody off the top rope, but Cole hits a dropkick in mid-air! LOL Matt Hardy: "I think Nigel McGuinness is racist towards Mattitude." Taven hits a jumping neckbreaker for †two count. Adam Cole puts the brakes on a Taven superplex, and DROPS HIM ON HIS FUCKING HEAD WITH A SUNSET POWERBOMB! GERMAN SUPLEX! SHINING WIZARD FOR A TWO COUNT! Cole exposes his knee and looks for another Shining Wizard, but Taven hits a springboard dropkick to the back of Cole's head! HUGE DDT ON THE RING APRON FROM COLE! Cole misses a crossbody, but recovers with a brainbuster on his knee. Taven kicks Cole off of a Figure Four attempt, but Cole connects with an enzuigiri. Truth WHACKS Cole in the back with the Book of Truth. TAVEN DESTROYS COLE WITH A HEADLOCK DRIVER! TAVEN WINS! Matt Hardy is crushed as Taven celebrates his TV Title win in 13 minutes. ***1/2It's probably not a popular opinion, but this is my favorite match of the night so far with an admittedly generous rating. Taven is really good and while it might be a tad early to give him the title, you won't know until you try. It seems that--since he's just started to do his own stuff--Delirious is throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks. Right now I'm all for it and I'm hoping Taven gets over as champion. He is a fun act with Truth Martini and he's an exciting wrestler, so I can't wait to see how well he does with the belt. It will be interesting to see where Cole goes from here, but I guess it's automatically a lock that he's going to WWE according to a lot of people, so who knows? This was a great match, which maybe could have been better with a cleaner finish and about 3-5 more minutes.
ROH World Tag Titles: The Briscoe Brothers (c) vs. reDRagon (Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish)
"If Bobby Fish was a real fish, what kind of fish do you think he'd be?" - Mark Briscoe. That's the only thing this feud needs for me.
O'Reilly and Mark start off, and Mark drops Kyle early with a spinning wheel kick. Nigel comes down to join commentary, saying that Matt Hardy held him up. He announces that--at the TV tapings--Hardy and Cole will face off and whoever wins there will get the next shot at Matt Taven. Jay comes in with Bobby Fish, and drops him with a big boot. Fish nearly eats some Redneck Kung Fu, but he hits Mark in the chest with a kick so he can tag O'Reilly back in. reDRagon hits a swift barrage of double teams, ending with a backbreaker/knee drop. Bobby kicks Jay's leg out from underneath him, and uses that to work him over in the challenger's corner. O'Reilly messes with Mark, allowing Paul Turner to be distracted enough to not see Fish coming off the top rope with a swandive headbutt. Jay is thrown outside and whipped into the chair in the corner, but he CLUBS a running O'Reilly with a jumping lariat on his good leg. Mark knocks Bobby Fish down and Jay tags in Mark! Redneck Kung Fu is on, and Mark hits the closest things to Kobashi's machine gun chops that I can see him doing. Fish eats a Fisherman's Suplex (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk) and a a VICIOUS Dragon Suplex! Fish kicks out, but he ate it. The Briscoes hit an Iconoclasm/Frog Splash combo for a nearfall. O'Reilly kicks Mark off of the apron, and Jay eats a boot to the chest from O'Reilly. TOTAL ELIMINATION! Nearfall! Fish goes up top, but Mark pushes him off and meets Kyle on the apron. Jay scoops Kyle up from the outside and Dem Boys MURDER KYLE WITH A DOOMSDAY DEVICE ON THE FLOOR! FROGGY 'BOY FROM MARK! NEARFALL! Jay puts Fish up for a Doomsday Device, but O'Reilly is up and distracts Jay long enough for BOBBY TO HIT A SAITO SUPLEX! HEADBUTTS ARE TRADED BETWEEN O'REILLY AND MARK! FISH DESTROYS MARK WITH AN EXPLODER FROM THE APRON TO THE FLOOR! Jay looks for a Super Jay Driller, and reDRagon HITS THE DOOMSDAY DEVICE! JAY KICKS OUT! CHASING THE DRAGON! NEW CHAMPIONS! Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly win a barnburner in 15 minutes. ***3/4This is the clear cut Match of the Night so far, and I'm glad ROH bit and put the titles on Fish and O'Reilly. I think that this is the only reason the Briscoes got the belts in New York in December, so they could drop the belts here. It wouldn't have made sense for S.C.U.M. or C&C to drop the belts here considering their stories at this point, so it's the best they could do I think. It also sets up a big rematch between the Wolves and reDRagon, so yay for that. As for the match, it was fantastic. The Briscoes haven't had any great tag matches since early 2012, so it's great to see them doing something of significance and putting over the great team of reDRagon. I'm hoping more tag teams are integrated into the division from here, if it's gonna be anything like this regularly.
ROH World Title: Kevin Steen (c) vs. Jay Lethal
After a really good five month build, Jay Lethal finally gets his shot after Kevin Steen spit on his mother in Rahway, making Lethal go beserk, ruling the title match a no-contest by flipping out on everything and even throwing Jim Cornette over a table in his hometown. Steen had a change of heart because he wanted to put ROH out of its misery, but when Cornette was disposed of, he saw life again and decided he didn't want to kill the promotion he loved. It's pretty crazy how much those sentiments reflect his real-life feelings. He gave Lethal the shot due to his help in killing Cornette off.†
Lethal forgoes the Code of Honor, and it takes no time at all for these two to slug it out. The brawl spills to the floor as Todd Sinclair counts. Back in the ring, Lethal hangs Steen on the second rope and dropkicks him in the face from the outside. Lethal dropkicks Steen to floor and nails two Tope Suicidas...a third one (similar to their Rahway match) is tripped up so STEEN CAN BREAK LETHAL'S SPINE WITH A POWERBOMB ON THR RING ARPON! Steen takes control from there and hits a senton for a two count. Lethal starts biting Steen and a slugfest breaks out, but Steen quickly stops that with a DDT for a 2 count. Steenton Bomb finds Lethal's knees, and Lethal hits a Backstabber for another 2 count. Steen comes back with a pumphandle buster onto his knee for 2, but misses a Cannonball and takes a back suplex/neckbreaker for a good nearfall. Steen looks for an F-Cinq, but bumps Todd Sinclair, allowing Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs to come out! THEY DROP LETHAL WITH THE SPIKE CRADLE PILEDRIVER! STEEN COVERS! NEARFALL! NIGEL MCGUINNESS IS HERE! NIGEL SENDS CORINO PACKING! It's overbooking sure, but that was fucking great. Both Lethal and Steen are up, and shit's real now. DRAGON SUPLEX! KEVIN STEEN DOESN'T GIVE A FUCK! ONE MORE! STEEN KICKS OUT! Lethal beckons Steen up and hits Trouble in Paradise, but STEEN CATCHES HIM ON A REBOUND WITH A POPUP SITOUT BOMB! That gets another nearfall in what has been a tremendous match so far. Lethal hits a barrage of superkicks into a Lethal Combination! HAIL TO THE KING! NEARFALL...INTO A KOJI CLUTCH~! They go out to the apron where STEEN MURDERS LETHAL WITH AN F-CINQ THROUGH THE TABLE! Jimmy Jacobs distracts Lethal and STEEN HITS A PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! LETHAL KICKS OUT~! Steen tells Jacobs to get out, and Lethal pushes Steen into him for a roll up! Nearfall! Superkick from Lethal is RETURNED WITH A LARIAT THAT SENDS LETHAL FLYING! What a match. They're up, and Steen meets Lethal on the top rope. Lethal punches Steen down, but Steen gets back up and KILLS LETHAL WITH A TOP ROPE BRAINBUSTER! ONE, TWO, THREE! Steen wins a MOTY candidate in 21 minutes. ****1/2This was such a good match. It had the intensity it needed to, and they stuck to the story throughout with Steen not wanting to hate Lethal, but Jay still feeling bitterness about what Steen did at Killer Instinct. I'm possibly being a little generous because I just came off of the match, but I still think I'll enjoy it this much watching it back. The overbooking actually helped the match in this situation, too. The pop Nigel McGuinness got when he took his jacket off to try and face Steve Corino was huge. The action from that point on between Steen and Lethal was off the charts fantastic. Think whatever you want about the near-five star rating, but I think for the story it told and the simultaneous excitement it gave off, it deserves it. Great way to cap off a night of wrestling, but it appears we aren't done...
After the match, all hell breaks loose as the babyface comes out to stop S.C.U.M. from beating everyone down, but here comes JIMMY RAVE! Rhett Titus and BJ Whitmer come out and RHETT TURNS ON BJ! HE HAS A S.C.U.M. SHIRT! Here comes CLIFF COMPTON! YES! Steen has no idea what to do as the new members of his group cause hell. The American Wolves come out, but they're outnumbered while we see Michael Elgin and Jay Briscoe strapped to the ropes. MATT HARDY JOINS S.C.U.M.! Steve Corino takes the mic and says that he told everyone that Evil was coming. Now Evil is here. We are witnessing the evolution of S.C.U.M. and the death of ROH. Steve says that Kevin Steen was proved that he's the greatest ROH champion of all time, and that he's the King of Pro Wrestling. Titus and Rave take out an ROH flag as Steve blames the ROH fans for what S.C.U.M. just did. Cliff Compton needs to be the champion of everything by the way. Just to piss the fans off, Corino puts over how much of an Icon Matt Hardy is. Corino says that everyone in this group has been burned by the company, so S.C.U.M. is going to murder it. They rip up the flag and Corino says that the war is declared, and Honor has died. We fade out with S.C.U.M. reigning supreme.
So I know people have been bitching about another angle involving a heel stable, but the thing is, this is a smart angle on paper. It's not trying to imitate Aces & Eights or The Shield, which I'm sure some would probably try get over to you if they dislike ROH enough. We can only wait and see where it all goes from here, but it makes the utmost sense in kayfabe. Rhett Titus was frustrated about not being booked for the show, so he turned on his partner and joined S.C.U.M. Jimmy Rave was thrown away by ROH, so he joined S.C.U.M. Matt Hardy feels that he isn't getting his proper due, so he joined S.C.U.M. Only God knows why Cliff Compton is here, but the dude has charisma oozing off of him and I pray to God Delirious lets him cut loose on the mic one day. Dude is Wrestling 101. So yeah, I'm highly intrigued by this angle and I really want to see where it goes. It's something big that ROH hasn't had in a long time. I have total faith in everyone involved that this angle is going to be compelling and if they do it right, one of the best faction angles since BDK's prime three years ago.†
The 411: In terms of significance to the current ROH landscape, this is a must-see show due to one of the biggest angles since Kevin Steen returned in June 2011. Match-wise, it trumps Final Battle in pretty much every way, due to the phenomenal one-two punch of Briscoes/reDRagon and Steen/Lethal. Everything else ranges from great (Cole/Taven, the opener for what it was) to short and harmless (S.C.U.M./C&C). The Wolves and Forever Hooligans under-delivered big time I would say, but they didn't bring the show down at all. If things keep going in this direction, 2012 will just be a distant memory. Definitely watch the tag title match, the MOTYC main event, and the great angle at the end if nothing else. Thumbs up for sure.