Mad Icarus Reviews: ROH Manhattan Mayhem V
Posted by Jake St-Pierre on 08.25.2013
With a name change, I get in pretentious ROH fanboy mode to review one of the best shows of the year...
After the disappointment of All Star Extravanganza V, my interest on ROH cooled down a bit. In terms of story advancement, nothing of note happened aside from a tag title change. It was a good night of wrestling, but I came away thinking I would have gotten the same out of it had I not watched much of it. However, for this show, a lot of hype for a new team trailed the famed Manhattan Mayhem name, where titles have changed hands and some of the best matches in ROH history have taken place. In what was meant to be ROH's next iPPV, reDRagon and The American Wolves finish their trilogy for the tag titles, and the World Title tournament continued with an exciting Anderson/Elgin rematch. On paper, it looked like it could easily top Toronto.
We are TAPED from the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, NY. It's not as full as usual, but there's still a sizeable crowd. I think they should have run a show like this in the Grand Ballroom instead, although admittedly it was scheduled before ROH ceased iPPV, so it makes sense.
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Prince Nana. Nigel McGuinness (along with Adam Cole) was in California for the Wrestling Cares Association, so there's a reason for his absence. Prince Nana was announced as ROH's new talent scout, and the hype behind this show was a new team that he presumably brought in.
Adam Page vs. Silas Young
These two had a GREAT five minute sprint on TV, reminiscent of Mike Mondo vs. Matt Taven last year, which is coincidentally on this card.
Silas comically gets upset at the numerous streamers being thrown at him, thus encouraging it more. Things start tentative, until Silas gets fed up with that shit and drops a few right hands. Page responds with a dropkick that sends Young outside, allowing Young to play mind games with the young Page. Page instead decides to chase him down and toss him back in the ring himself, but Silas catches Page as soon as he regains his bearings inside the ring. Page looks for a Victory Roll presumably, but Silas dumps him outside. Young drops Page with a stiff clothesline back inside, but Page comes back enough to have a strike exchange in the middle of the ring. A powerslam scores, as does a Falcon Arrow for a close two count. Page rolls through Young's backbreaker lariat and SCORES WITH A STANDING SSP! Young powers out just in time. Page puts Young on the top rope, but takes too much time with his punches and eats a powerbomb...feet on the ropes for a two count! Young punts Page out of a backslide and SCORES WITH THE PEEGEE WAJA PLUNGE! That's it for Page in 7 minutes. ***The perfect opener; short and sweet. It wasn't as crazy as their TV match, but it was miles better than Page/KUSHIDA from Toronto. You can't ask much more from a 7 minute match. Good stuff.
Steve Corino makes his way out to try and join the commentary booth, but gets ejected rather quickly. The best part is how hilariously oblivious Corino seems to be regarding this whole thing. I have a feeling he isn't done yet...
Scramble Match: Adrenaline RUSH vs. C&C Wrestle Factory
These four had a massively exciting opener all the way back at Border Wars, so I'm expecting much more of the same here.
ACH and Caprice start off fast and furious with a Guerrero/Malenko esque GENERIC INDY STANDOFF!~! ACH looks for a slingshot stunner, but eats a dropkick that sends him out. TD Thomas and Cedric Alexander come in, and Cedric disposes of Thomas. ACH comes back in and out-speeds Cedric with plethora of moves, too fast to call. Hart Attack/Leg-Drop scores for 2. Cedric and Caprice take control of ACH soon thereafter, slowing down the previously frenetic pace. ACH makes C&C collide, and dives out of the ring with a clothesline to Caprice, allowing TD to come back in for a HUGE kick sequence. Prince Nana: "Talk about black-on-black crime, Kevin Kelly." TD does a good job keeping Cedric at bay for a moment, but runs into a Coleman spinebuster and a botched double-team. Like, nearly really fucking bad for Tadarius Thomas. ACH chucks Cedric out of the ring and punts Caprice, but RUNS INTO A SPRINGBOARD KICK! HALF NELSON SUPLEX FROM TD...CEDRIC POPS BACK UP AND LARIATS HIM! Everyone's down, and the crowd is roaring. ACH disposes of Caprice and ENZUIGIRIS CEDRIC OFF OF THE APRON...INTO THE HIGHEST AIR JORDAN I'VE EVER SEEN HIM TO! TD tries to suplex Caprice, but Caprice sets him on the top rope and NAILS OVERTIME! C&C Wrestle Factory picks up the win in 9 minutes. ***1/4It started off a little rocky, but once they shifted gears, it was a whole different story. A spotfest with these four is always going to be good, so you could probably just copy and paste my Border Wars analysis of their match here and get my exact thoughts. This show is going great so far.
Proving Ground Match: Matt Taven (c) vs. Mike Mondo
After going on a hiatus due to being "in no condition to perform" at an ROH clinic (probably because the dude was five months removed from breaking his ankle), Mike Mondo makes return against the man he had one of ROH's best TV matches ever with in April 2012. Interestingly enough, Taven gets a sizeable pop from this crowd, which bodes well for his future. Now will they let him wrestle? I sure hope so.
Scarlett Bordeaux isn't here, so another dark-haired Hoopla Hottie takes her place. Mondo is bald and looks like the CAW template on Smackdown 2: Know Your Role or a fit QT Marshall. Take your pick. Taven looks for his headlock driver (apparently called The Climax, fittingly), but Mondo shoves him out of the ring. Some stupid cocksucker tries to grab Seleziya, and sadly doesn't get knocked the fuck out. I know us wrestling fans aren't generally known for rolling in the women, but are people really so stupid/desperate that they'd grab a manager's ass (and Seleziya of all girls, who looks like she could probably beat the shit out of that virginal pervert) in the front row of a 2000 person strong crowd? Go home and beat off, you pig. While I let my feminist side sprout, Mondo takes tentative control of the TV Champ. Things head to the outside, but not for long. Taven gets control and hits a springboard corkscrew senton for a two count. Mondo starts building a comeback and DROPS HIM with a Snapmare Driver for a nearfall. I love that move. Mondo rolls through with another Snapmare and Sunset Flips for a two count. Kneeling Angel's Wings scores for Taven, but only gets two. Taven misses a spinning bicycle kick, but hits it the second time for 2. Mondo dodges a Climax, so Taven goes up top only for No Fear to crotch him. Seleziya distracts the ref, Truth distracts Mondo, and THE OTHER HOTTIE COMES DOWN WITH A RANA ON MONDO! FROG SPLASH FROM TAVEN! NEARFALL! Taven misses with a Book of Truth shot and bounces his face off of it. MONDO DIVES DOWN WITH A BLACK-OUT ONTO THE BOOK OF TRUTH! TAVEN KICKS OUT! Mondo looks for a splash, but eats Taven's boot. The Climax hits and Taven wins in 12 minutes. ***1/4I'm going against everything I've ever said regarding this whole Hoopla thing, because the interference actually led to the best moments of the match. The crowd was molten by the end, and that's always better because it makes you care more when you aren't totally invested in the match itself. Taven got a big pop for HIS moves, which I am elated to see because I think the guy is the most underrated worker in ROH, and I'm glad to see him get some kind of recognition. I'd consider this a success.
The Young Bucks vs. Forever Hooligans
Oh hey look, The Bucks are in both ROH and DGUSA, and nothing bad has happened! Now can both promotions quit pissing and moaning and end this stupid contract thing? Or at least make it non-exclusive? God forbid a team wrestles somewhere else because their "home" promotion doesn't run enough shows to provide a good wage or keep up any decent momentum.
The Bucks' hilarious superkick taunts are so bad they're good. Matt and Koslov start off, and it's tentative early of course. Romero and Nick tag in, and it's basically more of the same. Romero slingshots his partner in for a splash, which only gets a two count. Romero hogs the corner clotheslines again, and argues with Koslov, but they hug it out. That's always a fun bit because they build it up more every time. Nick blind-tags his brother and uses that sneakiness to fold Romero up with a clothesline. The Bucks start working over Romero, but Rocky starts building a comeback until he tags Koslov, who cleans house. Koslov literally dances all over Matt's head, but only gets two. SUPERKICK IN MID DOUBLE TEAM FROM NICK! KNEE TO ROCKY'S FACE! SLICED BREAD NUMBER TWO! SPRINGBOARD X FACTOR! NICK MISSES A MOONSAULT AND ROMERO DIVES DOWN WITH A KNEE! TOPE SUICIDA FROM MATT! SOMERSAULT PLANCHA FROM KOSLOV! EVERYONE IS DOWN! See Jim Cornette, THAT'S the shit you missed with the Young Bucks. Nick and Koslov battle it out in the ring. SUPERKICK ON KOSLOV! ROMERO DISPOSES OF NICK! HE EATS A SUPERKICK FROM MATT! Matt puts on Koslov's hat, and mocks his dancing, but Koslov enzuigiris him! Koslov eats a spin kick from Nick, but counters a running knee in the corner so ROCKY CAN COME DOWN WITH A KNEE DOOMSDAY DEVICE! MATT BREAKS IT UP! Matt and Rocky duke it out now. SUPERKICK ON ROMERO! BUCKLE BOMB KNEE FROM THE BUCKS! TANDEM TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER! ROMERO BREAKS IT UP! Wow, this is PWG-level stuff. Koslov gets knees up on More Bang For Your Buck, and Romero throws Nick off. KNEE/STANDING BURNING HAMMER FROM THE HOOLIGANS! They finish off the Bucks in a great 16 minutes. ****This is everything Hooligans/Wolves should have been and miles more. If ROH doesn't bring the Bucks back after this, I'll be sorely, sorely disappointed. They showed why everyone harps on their pure ability as a tag team with their usual demonic finishing stretch, and their usual cohesion as a team. I loved this match and it's one of the best tag matches we've seen in ROH this year, even though it's not all that surprising. This has been Show of the Year candidate so far.
Swear it to the Sun (the best theme in wrestling, by Voodoo Johnson!) hits and out come QT Marshall and RD Evans, henceforth known as Marshall Law. RD takes the mic and wants to talk about injustice. He talks about Nigel blowing him off after he tried to represent Veda Scott for her injury after her DIRE match with MsChif on TV. Whatever you do, do not watch that match. Veda is terrible. RD talks about how Marshall Law isn't on the crowd, so he stages a sitdown strike until he gets a match. Prince Nana takes the mic and talks about his new talent scout job. His first job was to sign two guys who will end RD tonight, and the lights go out with some sirens going off. Guys in some fucking scary masks come out to confront Marshall Law, with a fantastic editing job. They unmask to be HOMICIDE AND EDDIE KINGSTON! So yeah, I approve. That's an awesome debut as far as I'm concerned, suits, ties, and everything. HONOR!~!
Marshall Law vs. Homicide and Eddie Kingston
So here we go!
RD jumps Eddie before the bell and hammers down on him in the corner. Eddie catches Evans coming down with a T-Bone Suplex, and gets two on a Northern Lights Suplex. Homicide tags in and resumes the ass-kicking. For reasons unbeknownst to me, Homicide is playing Ricky Morton. Why? I don't know. Homicide is awesome with his comeback though. Kingston tags in and chucks RD, and QT runs into a Sambo Suplex. Ace Crusher connects for Homicide, and the Sliding D gives Kingston the pin in 5 minutes. *1/2A relatively worthless match where a vicious attack would have accomplished the same thing. I do love this team, so I'll forgive it.
After the match, Homicide feigns the Code of Honor and snaps QT Marshall's finger. HONOR!~!
ROH World Title Tournament Quarterfinal: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Michael Bennett
So fresh off the BJ Whitmer scare, Bennett runs into a guy who would probably no-sell that shit and knee his face in. I don't think there's any doubt as to who wins this, though.
Ciampa gets played to the ring by the band that plays his entrance. As far as I know, they remember the lyrics to their own song. Suck on that, Motorhead. Ciampa is in firm control early, and goes to work on the leg after stifling some counters. Ciampa sells his knee in jest and begs Bennett off, and when Bennett turns his back, Ciampa hilariously crotch chops him. That was splendid. Ciampa's antics backfire and Bennett takes control on the floor, but Ciampa comes back with a running knee to a seated Bennett in the corner of the guardrail. GERMAN SUPLEX INTO THE GUARDRAIL! HUGE RUNNING KNEE THAT SENDS CIAMPA INTO THE CROWD! In a nice touch of continuity, Nana goes heel on Tommaso Ciampa when Bennett starts working over his leg. "Social media will break a happy home" says the wise Prince Nana. Ciampa starts building a comeback, and Bennett resorts to grabbing his knee-brace when he finds himself in trouble. Ciampa hits a lariat and locks up a Cobra Clutch Crossface. Ciampa's knee gives out on a running knee, and he turns right into a spear. Bennett teases a piledriver, but Ciampa gets out...and finds himself in a Liontamer-esque Cloverleaf. Ciampa counters a GTS AND STIFFS BENNETT WITH ONE OF HIS OWN! Bennett kicks out at two. Bennett TEASES THE PILEDRIVER ON THE APRON...BUT RUNS INTO A KNEE! AIR RAID CRASH ON THE FLOOR! That gets Ciampa the win in 14 minutes. ***1/4At times, this was painfully slow paced, but they kept it together with solid, solid psychology. In New York, that means it didn't get a huge crowd response, but I certainly appreciated their different approach. Bennett's teases of the piledriver were great and got the best reactions of the match, adding some much needed heat to an admittedly hollow crowd. I think I'll like this one more than most, but it's always nice to see variation in a card and it's not like this is something you see all the time in ROH.
ROH World Title Quarterfinal Match: Kevin Steen vs. Roderick Strong
I think Kevin Steen is the only guy who gets a real pop when his entrance music hits. He gets a massive streamer shower too.
Roddy hits a jumping knee and Death By Roderick immediately for two, but STEEN COUNTERS A DIVING DROPKICK INTO A POWERBOMB ON THE APRON! STEENTON BOMB! Roddy kicks out, but that's how you start a match. Steen spikes Roddy on his head with a rope-hung DDT for another two count. He proceeds to take control of the match. Roddy comes back with an Olympic Slam and begins to take control himself. Steen drops Roddy with a lariat, and they're both down. Pumphandle Neckbreaker scores for Steen, but only gets two. RODDY HITS A SUPERPLEX! Steen immediately finds the ropes during a Stronghold attempt, and nails a pop-up powerbomb for 2! Roddy escapes the Sharpshooter, but Steen counters Death by Roderick and locks it in! DEATH BY RODERICK! SICK KICK! STEEN KICKS OUT! Roddy puts Steen on top, but STEEN COMES DOWN WITH A SUPER FISHERMAN'S BUSTER! SLEEPER SUPLEX! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! Steen advances in 12 minutes. ***1/2Really good stuff, especially the hot beginning. It slowed down in the middle, but it began and ended with some really good stuff. I feel like I'm repeating myself throughout this show, but consistently good matches will do that. What an awesome show so far.
ROH World Title Quarterfinal Match: Karl Anderson vs. Michael Elgin
These two had a great match on TV five months ago, and I expect this to be even better. Elgin has had an incredible 2013 with MOTYC's like his matches with Tommaso Ciampa, Jay Lethal, and Paul London...will this top it?
They trade boots right off the bat, but Elgin wins the striking battle. GENERIC INDY STANDOFF!~! The Hammerstein goes all Hacksaw Jim Duggan on Elgin, who suplexes Karl Anderson, but runs into a spinebuster on the floor. Anderson goes straight to to work on the leg. Elgin stiffs Anderson with some short lariats and starts to go to town on him, finishing with a running powerslam for a two count. Black Hole Slam connects for a close two count. Anderson counters a lariat into a spinebuster, but only for two. Elgin hilariously plays up the Duggan chants from the crowd, but misses a corkscrew senton because of it. HE HITS A DEADLIFT GERMAN SUPLEX! Elgin goes up top, but Anderson meets him up there for a SUPER TKO! ELGIN KICKS OUT! ISLAND DRIVER! ELGIN KICKS OUT AGAIN! CROSSFACE FROM ELGIN! Anderson gets to the ropes. They head out to the apron, and knocks Elgin silly with a bicycle kick. Elgin meets Anderson up top, knocks him down, and DEADLIFTS HIM UP FOR A SUPERPLEX! ANDERSON KICKS OUT! BUCKLE BOMB! BICYCLE KICK FROM ANDERSON! BICYCLE KICK FROM ELGIN! STIFF ELBOW! HELLEVATOR BOMB BY ELGIN! ANDERSON KICKS OUT! HUGE BACKFIST! ONE MORE! BUCKLE BOMB! ELGIN BOMB SCORES! Elgin advances to Philadelphia in 17 minutes. ****Not quite up to par with Elgin's barnburner with Paul London, but that's certainly not to say this wasn't another excellent match in a plethora of them this year. I always love seeing a heavyweight fight in ROH because it's mainly populated with smaller guys, so it feels a little fresher when you get to see it. Anderson help up his end perfectly, and Elgin was his usual self, so I don't think I'm out of line in expecting something great from the get-go. I've gotten to the point where Michael Elgin is the guy I want to see most in ROH, and that bodes well for his future. For a guy that was the chubby Canadian Crazy Horse 5 years ago, he's come a long way to being ROH's resident juggernaut. Great stuff once again from both ends.
ROH World Tag Team Titles: The American Wolves (c) vs. reDRagon
After being bored out of my mind for thirty minutes during the Wolves' title win, I was delighted to hear that there would be a third match in this trilogy. These four have nothing but great matches against each other, whether they're doing it one-on-one or in a tag match. Would this be a worthy successor to their awesome match at Supercard of Honor VII? I sure as hell hope so.
Davey and Kyle start off and do their MMA stuff. Fish and Edwards come in now and actually do some chain wrestling (but what about the kicks?!) but nothing big. Davey and Kyle come in, and they wrestle too! Sidenote, I'm usually not a fan of loud, smartass fans, but one yells "Move 430: ARM DRAG!" and makes me chuckle. Eddie comes out and double stomps Fish's arm. He PLASTERS Fish with a chop. God damn. Fish comes back after Davey does a little gyrating, and tags in Kyle. Kyle kicks Eddie, who bitchslaps him after he punts his back. A CRINGE-WORTHY chop to the back connects for Eddie, but finds himself the victim of a running bitchslap. The Wolves take control of O'Reilly, despite some Fish distractions. Fish kicks Eddie in mid-Chinchecker, allowing O'Reilly to put in a cross armbreaker. Fish knocks Davey off the corner, and double teams Eddie furiously ending with a backbreaker/knee for which Davey breaks up the pinfall. Dragon Screw connects for Eddie, but Kyle knocks Davey down and prevents the tag. Eddie throws Kyle down with a belly-to-belly, but this time Fish knocks Davey off the apron. Eddie connects with a double diving lungblower, and now he has everyone down. Davey finally tags in and cleans house. Emerald Dream lariat scores for Davey, but Kyle gets his shoulder up at two. Fish Germans Davey, and reDRagon hits a variation of Total Elimination for two. KYLE COUNTERS AN ALARM CLOCK INTO A REGALPLEX ON DAVEY! FISH BACKDROP DRIVES EDDIE! Tree of Woe double dropkick scores for the Wolves. O'Reilly crotches Davey on the top rope, but Eddie catches him...but is RANA'D OUT OF THE RING. JUMP OVER THE TOP TURNBUCKLE FROM FISH! SUPER BACK SUPLEX FROM KYLE! BME FROM FISH! EDDIE BREAKS IT UP! SUPERKICK FROM EDDIE ONTO FISH! DAVEY LARIATS KYLE INSIDE OUT! Eddie and Fish fall outside in a heap. CROSS ARMBREAKER FROM KYLE...COUNTERED INTO THE ANKLE LOCK! ALARM CLOCK FROM THE WOLVES! POWERBOMB/LUNGBLOWER! KYLE KICKS OUT! FISH PUSHES EDDIE THROUGH A TABLE OUTSIDE OFF OF THE TOP ROPE! TOPE SUICIDA FROM DAVEY! DOUBLE STOMP FROM DAVEY! KYLE KICKS OUT AGAIN! RUNNING PUNT! BRAINBUSTER! ANOTHER NEARFALL! This is fantastic. Davey goes shoulder first into the ringpost and goes outside, where Fish holds it and LETS KYLE DIVE OUT ONTO DAVEY'S ARM! DIVORCE COURT FROM THE SECOND ROPE! CROWBAR BY KYLE! DAVEY DUCKS AN ELBOW THAT HITS FISH! SMALL PACKAGE! KYLE KICKS OUT! CHASING THE DRAGON SCORES!~! DAVEY KICKS OUT!~! CROSS ARMBREAKER! DAVEY TAPS! DAVEY TAPS! reDRagon wins the belts for the second time in 25 awesome minutes. ****1/4This was the polar opposite of Toronto's main event. It was fought with a sense of urgency and also kept things exciting, which is all I ask for a main event. This felt like a main event basically, and that's probably the first thing you'd look for when you're watching the last match on the show. Davey and Eddie worked cohesively, something they failed to do in Toronto, but I'm stuck on how excellent Kyle and Bobby were as a team. They have always been good, but tonight they showed chops as a heel team with some great team psychology throughout the match. I think this match came off about as seamlessly as you could want, and I call this comfortably the best reDRagon/Wolves match yet. I think I'd be willing to call it the Wolves' best match since they reunited. What a tremendous way to cap off an incredible event, tag team wrestling at its finest.
But it isn't over yet... Here comes Outlaw Inc! They attack reDRagon in the ring and HOMICIDE BREAKS KYLE'S FINGERS! "God Forgives, Outlaw Incorporated Don't" says Homicide. End scene...
The 411: If you read the teaser, you know my thoughts on this show; simply incredible. This was basically a blown up version of a PWG show, where you have a few fun matches to open, an insane match before intermission, a few more three star matches, and a double main event to blow your door back. Plus, an added bonus with the tremendous debut of Outlaw Inc. This had everything All Star Extravaganza V lacked, especially in the main event. It might not have been an iPPV, but it's Ring of Honor's best show so far and I hope to see them keep going in the right direction. Shows like this only serve to help that. Two thumbs way up.