Ring of Honor Review: 10th Anniversary Event Worthy of ROH Legacy

rites ofpatchesContributor IMarch 11, 2012

Ring of Honor Review: 10th Anniversary Event Worthy of ROH Legacy

0 of 10

    Last week, Ring of Honor held its 10th Anniversary Event pay-per-view live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, NY.

    The show began with an acknowledgement of 10 years of Ring of Honor Wrestling. Nigel McGuinness went so far as to say that for a time, it seemed as though sports entertainment had won the war. That was, of course, before Ring of Honor proved that professional wrestling was not dead.

    Overall, the 10th Anniversary Event was worthy of the Ring of Honor name. Even though a couple of matches disappointed, the main events showcased beautifully wrestled matches and beautifully told stories.

The All Night Express Defeated Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team

1 of 10

    Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team was always pretty good at playing the role of the technically proficient good guys. They were also always better at being technically proficient jerks.

    Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin have fully embraced their heelish nature. I hate them and they are my all-time favorite tag team.

    They flip off the crowd. They take advantage of every illegal move in the heel catalog. They seamlessly work together with quick tags and focus on injured limbs.

    When it comes to telling a story in the ring, Haas and Benjamin truly are wrestling’s greatest tag team.

    For their part, Kenny King and Rhett Titus were excellent underdogs. Titus’ atrophied leg helped tell their story—that of a team proving to themselves they are ready to return.

    In the end, All Night Express picked up the win with a roll-up.

    Verdict: thumbs up.

    Worst Moment: Can Ring of Honor make a decision about how to spell King and Titus’ team name? On their website, they wrote “All Night Xpress.” Their title card read “All Night Express.”

Mike Bennett Defeated Homicide

2 of 10

    I love what Ring of Honor is doing with Mike Bennett.

    Bennett is an incredible entertainer, but he needs more seasoning in the ring. So they are pairing him with great wrestlers, helping him get better.

    Homicide dominated most of the match. Only when Homicide was awkwardly distracted by Maria was Bennett able to roll him up for the win.

    I would have liked Bennett to look stronger. Homicide wiped the floor with Bennett until the end. That’s not going to help Bennett reach the next level.

    Unfortunately, I’m sure the same thing will happen against Lance Storm at Showdown in the Sun.

    Verdict: thumbs down.

    Best Moment: The teenager in the front row. First, I don’t know who would buy an R-Truth Little Jimmy shirt, unless you work for Vault-Tec. Second, His eyes followed Maria’s backside for the majority of the match. His mother would be disappointed.

    Worst Moment: Homicide’s “Let’s Go Yankees” chant. This needs no explanation unless you are a Yankees fan and lack self-awareness.

Chikara Promo

3 of 10

    Chikara Grand Champion Eddie Kingston came out to promote Synergy, Ring of Honor and Chikara Pro’s upcoming presentation.

    I know nothing about Chikara, so I will allow Hands of Stone Blankenship to fill you in here.

    Kevin Steen says some nasty things about Kingston, which culminates in a brawl featuring Steen, Kingston and several insectoid members of the Chikara roster.

    If this was WWE, I’d assume there is a Chikara vs. ROH Eight-Man Tag Match on the horizon. However, if we are going to get a showdown between Kingston and Steen, I’ll be a happy man.

    Verdict: thumbs up.

    Worst Moment: Kingston losing his wife and his kids because of Chikara. I assume he meant divorce. But I’d like to think he meant “lost” in a literal sense, like a building was burning down and he could only save either his family or his wrestling company. Either way, he might have some misplaced priorities.

The House of Truth Defeated the Amazing Red and TJ Perkins

4 of 10

    Michael Elgin is amazing.

    There are plenty of powerful professional wrestlers. However, Elgin is the only one I have seen catch moves the moment before impact.

    Outside of his truly horrendous mullet, Elgin is ready for the main event. He is insanely strong and almost as athletic. He’s not much on the microphone, but his terrifying stares say more than most Ring of Honor promos.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see Elgin’s position in the company changing until he breaks away from Truth Martini or until ROH’s inexplicable infatuation with Roderick Strong ends.

    This was the match of the night until Steen and Jacobs. The quickness of Perkins and Amazing Red meshed perfectly with House of Truth’s more methodical pace.

    House of Truth won after Elgin caught Amazing Red’s Super Sunset Flip attempt and Alabama Slammed him onto Strong’s double knees.

    Verdict: thumbs up.

    Best Moment: Michael Elgin was the best moment. He pulled off three amazing reversals in this match, but my favorite was Elgin catching a Tornado DDT the moment before impact, spinning Amazing Red into the Oklahoma position, and finally dropping him into a backbreaker.

Jay Lethal & Tommaso Ciampa Fought to a Draw for the ROH Television Championship

5 of 10

    If it seems like I’m not putting much energy into this analysis, it’s because neither did the wrestlers.

    Ciampa was undefeated. Jay Lethal has been a strong champion, even nearly winning the ROH Championship the week before.

    The time seemed right for Ciampa to win his first ROH title. Unfortunately, the match disappointed.

    We were treated to 10 minutes of inexplicably slow pacing. Even if they aren’t high speed, both Lethal and Ciampa typically have high-energy matches.

    The tension grew and the pace quickened as time ran out. I was positive Ciampa was going to win after Prince Nana and Embassy Ltd. distracted Lethal, but the two battled to a time-limit draw.

    Lethal called for five more minutes, but Ciampa hit the Project Ciampa and left with the belt before the match could be restarted.

    Verdict: thumbs down.

    Worst Moment: It hasn’t happened yet. I just know that belt-stealing storylines are rarely any good.


6 of 10

    As Ring of Honor prepped for the evening’s main events, they showed a video package featuring some of the greatest moments in Ring of Honor history.

    It was nice for a newcomer like me to see the foundations of the company and understand some of the rich history of Ring of Honor.

    That said, was the clothesline the only finisher in Ring of Honor their first five years? I’d really appreciate it if someone could explain why the clothesline and the roll-up comprised the majority of the finishes shown in the video package.

    Bonus Worst Moment: This was one of the worst crowds ever. It had a guy in a cardigan who pretended to be tough by yelling at guys he knows can’t legally touch him. It had a stupid woman who tried holding on to a barrier when Steen tore it down, spilling her to the floor.

    Then there were the “Yes!” chants. It was kind of funny the first time, but it went on all night, completely indifferent to its poor timing. It was a crowd trying to make themselves the story instead of a part of the story.

    This crowd was “that guy.”

    Don’t be “that guy.” Nobody likes “that guy.”

The Briscoes Defeated the Young Bucks for the ROH Tag Team Championship

7 of 10

    It was obvious that this was a placeholder match for both of these teams.

    Now that Rhett Titus’ knee is better, the Young Bucks will soon face off with All Night Express, and the Briscoes are in the middle of a nasty feud with Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team.

    The Briscoes retained after a Doomsday Device. This was a perfectly good match between two excellent tag teams.

    There was just no reason to care.

    Verdict: thumbs up.

    Best Moment: One of the Briscoes spit when he was hit with stereo superkicks. It looked like his teeth came flying out.

Kevin Steen Defeated Jimmy Jacobs in a No Disqualification Match

8 of 10

    When Jimmy Jacobs challenged Steen to this match, promising a showdown between the two most evil men in Ring of Honor history, I laughed. I couldn’t imagine the diminutive Jacobs as an evil-doer.

    Then I researched Age of the Fall.

    Dear God…

    This match almost never happened. Steve Corino tried to cancel the match, saying that Jacobs had rejected his inner demons.

    Unfortunately, it was a trap. Jacobs attacked Steen from behind, starting a brutal, bloody match. I haven’t seen blood in a wrestling match for so long that it was actually a little shocking.

    The match climaxed when Jacobs pulled out his trademark spike and drilled Steen in the face with it.

    Then something amazing happened.

    Jacobs realized what he had done and what it meant. He realized that evil was winning the battle for his soul. He recognized that there is a choice and that we are not slaves to our nature.

    He seemed oddly at peace when Steen F5ed him on top of two chairs for the win.

    Verdict: thumbs up.

    Best Moment: Kevin Steen eating a Twizzler from a fan in the middle of the match. That is why he is the best.

Eddie Edwards and Adam Cole Defeated Davey Richards and Kyle O'Reilly

9 of 10

    This match was storytelling perfection. All the elements of a well-written novel were in place.

    For the introduction, neither team seemed like they were on the same page. Both Richards and Edwards tagged themselves in at the start of the match. Then Cole tagged himself back in to take on Richards.

    The match was no longer about two teams vying for dominance. It was about four men with axes to grind.

    As the action rose, we were shown a combination of O’Reilly/Edwards and Richards/Cole, building the narrative before the former teammates faced off.

    When they did, the passion, the hatred and the betrayal spilled into the ring. The anger was palpable. The match even collapsed into a tornado tag match for 10 minutes.

    The story reached its climax when Richards and Edwards stared each other down while destroying the others’ younger partner.

    The best part was the falling action.

    The easy ending is Adam Cole getting pinned or submitting. He was the latest to the feud. He felt like the guy invited to play golf only because they needed a fourth.

    Adam Cole pinned Davey Richards after a flying crossbody.

    Richards, the ROH Champion, accepted defeat like a sportsman, but O’Reilly refused to shake anyone’s hand after the match. It increased my hatred for O’Reilly and convinced me that his whiny sycophancy over the last month was intentional.

    However, they were interrupted by Kevin Steen, who challenged Richards to convince Jim Cornette to set up a match between them. This was the first time that Kevin Steen detracted from what was happening.

    Verdict: thumbs up.

    Best Moment: Richards and Edwards facing each other with their partners locked in a single-leg Boston crab, seeing who could make someone tap first. That was awesome enough, but then they started slapping each other with their free hand. It was a microcosm of the entire storyline.

Show Verdict: Thumbs Up

10 of 10

    Despite a couple of flat matches, Ring of Honor’s 10th Anniversary Event did its legacy proud. The ability to consistently tell stories and develop characters makes Ring of Honor far more gripping theater than anything their competitors can do.

    This is why Ring of Honor can be more compelling than WWE. It’s not because they have better wrestling. It’s because they are better at using wrestling to showcase character development and tell a story.

    Congratulations to Ring of Honor for 10 years. I hope for many more.


    All photos courtesy of rohwrestling.com