So this morning I was awoken by one of my roommates telling me that a package had arrived me. So I went to the door, signed for the package, went inside and opened the box to find that my brand new ROH Honor DVDs had arrived. (My inner 12 year old went insane)
So I figured why not review the PPV's live seeing as how it would be nice way to build up to their new TV Deal, someone needs to talk about the companies product, and what it brings to the table.
Also why not spread the word on ROH, see if I can't get a few wrestling fans to check it out sometime, it's a great little alternative to the WWE or TNA, and if you watch them in combination, they balnace each other very well and keep the various styles fresh at the same time.
So over the course of the next few weeks I'll review Final Battle 2009, Final Battle 2010, Honor Takes Center Stage Days 1 &2, The 9th Anniversary Show, and Best in the World 2011. I might also review some of the older DVD's I own, but I'm not promising anything.
So today I'll review every match of Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 1 today, and Chapter 2 tomorrow or some other time in the near future.
Please note that I am not bias towards Ring of Honor. I was introduced to it as a company a few years back by a good friend of mine. To me it's a good reminder of how a company can be built on great wrestling, as opposed to other companies that focus more on the entertainment and the backstage storylines and the skits. (Not that theres anything wrong with that) That being said I'll try to hold the matches to the same standards I hold TNA and WWE matches to, but if I mark out a little while watching this and start typing that I'm watching the greatest match of all time, take it with a grain of salt please.
So without further ado, LET'S GET IT ON
Location: Center Stage Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia
1. El Generico vs. Michael Elgin
2. Four Corner Survival Match: Homicide vs. Colt Cabana vs. Caleb Konley vs. Tommaso Ciampa
3. Sara Del Rey & Serena Deeb vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto & Ayumi Kurihara
4. Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly
5. Final Battle 2010 Rematch: Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards
6. World Tag Team Title Match: The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli) vs. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin)
7. ROH World Title Match: Eddie Edwards vs. Christopher Daniels
Before we begin I gotta say the fact that that this event is taking place at the Center Stage Theater is bringing out the nostalgic side in me. You see kids back in my day WCW use to tape shows in this very ring in far ago time called the 90's. Oh Vince Russo, how I hate you, at least Vince doesn't kill everything I love. but i digress.
So let's begin, the show opens with a good wide angle shot showing that they certainly packed people in here. It's impressive how many people Ring of Honor get to buy tickets considering that they are at best the third largest company in North America. This is definitely a great crowd in attendance as "ROH" chants are already destroying my sound system. I'm definitely pumped for some great wrestling.
One more fun fact, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk are in attendance, Bryan wearing a hoodie to hide his secret identity, Bryan Danielson, CM Punk going as himself because he doesn't care what the WWE thinks. (If CM Punk walks on the WWE and returns to ROH, I may be the first person to die from marking too hard)
Our first match is between "The Generic Luchador" El Generico and House of Truth member Michael Elgin.
Out first is Michael Elgin and I must say he is one of the better young wrestlers that ROH has introduced this year, I'm slowly becoming a fan of his work. He has the look of a real good power wrestler in a company dominated by speedy and technical wrestlers, look for good things in the future for this kid. Interesting note, the House of Truth has been banned from ring side for this match.
Next out is El Generico, who as expected receives a huge pop from the crowd. "Ole!" chants are filling the house and I must say it is always nice to see El Generico in action, he may be wasted in the opening match, but at least he's on the card. Classic hand shake refusal by Elgin to start the match, gee I wonder who the Heel is.
Match starts off with Elgin using his power to push around Generico, but Generico responds with a fury of chops and punches. Elgin counters a tornado DDT and absolutely devastating backbreaker for a quick two count. That was a very impressive move.
The crowd is definitely into this match so far, I'm surprised how much heat Elgins getting.
Very impressive hurricanrana by "The Generic Luchador" followed by a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Generico hits an exploder suplex into the corner and follows it up with an attempted Yakuza Kick, which leads to a series of counters resulting in a big clothesline by Elgin leading to another near fall. Elgin then goes for a powerbomb, but is countered by Generico into a backdrop. Generico then runs right into a Bossman Slam for a very close two count. The action then spills out to the floor.
I must say so far I am very impressed by Michael Elgin, this is by far his best match so far.
Great spot where Generico dives through the corner to hit a swinging DDT on the floor. That was a fantastic move. Generico then sends Elgin back into the ring and calls for the Yakuza Kick, but is interrupted by a masked wrestler. The masked wrestler hangs Generico on the ropes which allows Elgin to hit a 360 sitout powerbomb for the three count at a time of 9:13.
Overall a great opening match, Elgin definitely impressed me in this match, that swinging DDT on the floor was probably the spot of the match. Not sure I like the finish, but it sets Generico up for a future feud so I'll take it.
Winner via Pinfall (Not Clean): Michael Elgin
Match two is a Four Corner Survival Match, featuring Homicide, Colt Cabana, Caleb Konley, and Tommaso Ciampa.
Before the match Truth Martini tells Caleb that if he wants to enter the House of Truth he has to put on a good show tonight. Looks like Homicide and Colt might be used to put over the two young guns in this next match, but we'll see. Tommaso is escorted to the ring by the Embassy, so we have The House of Truth and The Embassy at ringside, interesting. Homicide and Colt compete for who gets the louder pop coming out, if I had to choose I'd say Cabana, but it's close.
If you don't know, a Four Corner Survival Match is basically a Singles tag match. Two wrestlers in the ring at a time, you have to tag in, and it's one fall to a finish. Interesting idea for a match, but it's a little hard to follow at times.
Match starts off with Homicide and Konley doing a lot of basic back and forth moves before Cabana tags in for Homicide and goes to work on Caleb. I'm always a big fan of Colt's European style and he delivers a big flying ass for a two count. Homicide tags back in and goes to work on a groggy Konley.
The Heels then take advantage and start beating Homicide down with interchanging tags. So far this has basically been a tag match, still waiting for the Heels or the Faces to get in the ring together. Anyway Colt gets the hot tag and cleans house, before hitting the Quebrada for a near fall on Konley. Ciampa gets the blind tag and finally the heels are going at it. (I like this because it'll give me a good little evaluation on these two young stars)
Tommaso hits a sick backbreaker on Konley, almost like a modified back cracker (Where is Carlito anyway?). Homicide got the blind tag and tries to steal the pin, but Ciampa pulls him off and they start to brawl. Homicide then hits Colt on the outside with a tope con hilo, followed by Ciampa missing a cross body on to Homicide outside. This leads to Homicide hitting another tope con hilo on Tommaso, and you know what for good measure lets make it a trio, as he hits all three other men with one last tope con hilo, shades of Eddie Guerrero there.
Homicide rolls Konley into the ring and then hits a very sloppy Cop Killer for the three count at a time of 9:23. It was an ok match but not as exciting as you'd like, add to that the semi-sloppy finish and the fact that I was just never really into this match, I have to give it a verdict of entertaining, but nothing special.
Winner via Pinfall: Homicide
After the match Truth comes in and tells Konley that while he did lose, he showed heart, so he's in the House of Truth. Then he tells him that it's also April Fools Day and Elgrin comes in and hits his 360 sitout powerbomb.
Well that just happned, I don't know how to feel about this, it kind of leaves Konley out there to dry in that space between face and heel. Oh well sorry Konley, your the big loser tonight, time to put some ice on it and call it a day.
It's Shimmer time as the team of "The Queen" Sara Del Rey and Serena Deeb take on Ayumi Kurihara/Hiroyo Matsumoto. Take notes WWE, this is what womens wrestling should be. It's good to see Rey and Serena back together as a tag team, it's also good to see that Serena's hair is growing back from her days in the Straight Edge Society. None of the 4 women get a big pop from the crowd, which I gotta say saddens me a little, their 4 fantastic workers, but whatever.
Side Note: When Del Rey and Serena came out my buddy heard the music ran into the room and though Daniel Bryan was on TV. Funniest thing I've seen in a while, but you have to feel bad for him, he's a Bryan mark, what else is there to look forward to with him in the WWE, more jobs to Jack Swagger?
Second Side Note: This was the ROH debut of Kurihara and Matsumoto, I've seen some of their matches online and their a pretty exciting wrestlers, though they've never worked as a tag team before according to the announcers.
So the match starts out with Serena vs Hiroyo doing some basic back and forth arm takedowns. "The Queen of Wrestling" tags in and we get a "We Love Wrestling" chant from the crowd. Hiroyo and Ayumi then hit a great double team move in the corner, followed by a bridging northern light suplex from Ayumi for a near fall on Rey. Sara then hits a nasty back heel kick for a two count and tags in Deeb.
Deeb then gets put into a submission that I have no clue what to call (I'm told it's an Octopus stretch but I have no clue) from Kurihara. The submission is broken up by Sara who then gives Hiroyo a quick elbow sending her to the floor. So far a very well done match, as expected. Serena then misses the spear and the action spills out onto the floor, resulting in a huge top rope cross-body by the Japaneses duo onto Rey and Debb. That brought the crowd into this match big time.
The action returns to the ring as Kurihara applies a nasty cross-armbar on Deeb, stretching her arm over the top rope which Del Rey has to come break up. That looked sick, Serena is doing a great job of selling these submissions. Tag to the "The Queen", who preforms a couple of tandem kicks with Serena. Rey hits a nasty facebuster onto Kurihara for a near fall and then tags Debb back in with her signature queen wave. Hiroyo gets the hot tag and goes to work clearing the ring with some nice cross-body blocks. She then hits a beautiful torture rack to gutbuster combo on Del Rey for a near fall, that was a great little move there.
The match turns into an all out brawl leading up to the finish which sees Serena hit by one of the nastiest German suplexes I've seen in a long time from Kurihara followed by another from Matsumoto. Serena looks like she might never move again, and that turns out to be enough for the three count at a time of 9:01.
I don't know how to rate this match. As far a women's matches go this was one of the best I've seen in a long time, but when compared to men's matches it ranks a little above average, so I think I'll split the difference thanks to that sick, SICK finish.
Winner via 1st Degree Murder (and pinfall): Kurihara and Matsumoto
Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan or Cole and Reilly. Since coming to ROH several months ago they have put on some great tag matches. That being said I approach this match with a little hesitation because the Briscoe Brothers are hit and miss with me. I don't know why because everyone else I know that watches Ring of Honor loves them, but I just don't always enjoy their matches.
Cole and Reilly get a decent pop entering the ring and the Briscoes get none, thats interesting, you'd expect the a team on the level of Jay and Mark to get a bigger pop then the young guns.
So we start off with Mark and Cole doing a traditional arm series, very basic but still solid. Both tag out at the same time and Jay and Kyle start mixing it up. This match is heavy on quick submission attempts followed by tags, not exactly my type of tag match but it's whatever.
After a while the Brisocoe's isolate Cole and start working him over with double team moves and quick tags, you know, the typical heel tag team style. He finally gets a semi-hot tag to O'Reilly and you can feel the pace pick up here.
He starts clearing house and then catches kicks from both Jay and Mark and hits a DOUBLE DRAGON-SCREW.......wow, that was awesome. He follows that up with a double dropkick.
This young tag team is impressing me more and more each match, maybe they can do the impossible of replacing the Kings of Wrestling when they go to the WWE.
We then get some solid butterfly suplexes on Mark and the Cole hits a beautiful suplex for a pin attempt that is broken up by Jay. Crowd's chanting "That Was Awesome!" and I gotta agree.
Cole and O'Reilly are really picking up the pace here with a lot of Young Bucks-like double team moves and frequent tags. There was an awesome splash/corkscrew combo that looked beautiful.
We get a "Lets Go Briscoes Chant!" that gets booed by this crowd, they are digging the babyfaces right now.
Falcon Arrow on Cole, Kyle comes in and breaks it up only to get a Sperkick and a German Suplex for his troubles. Briscoes set up Cole for the Springboard Doomsday Device, connect with it and get the 1,2,3 at a time of 13:23.
Overall a solid tag match. Cole and O'Reilly continue to impress me and the Jay and Mark looked good as well. Looking forward to seeing Cole and O'Reilly take on the Kings on the second day of what so far is a great PPV.
Winner via Pinfall: The Briscoe Brothers
After the match the All Night Express (KEnny King and Rhett Titus) come out and brawl with Jay and Mark. It was a solid way of reminding us that these two teams are in a feud right now and are facing off tomorrow. Overall an effective segment.
Wow this is taking me longer to do then I expect, we are at hour 5 of writing a 3 hour PPV and I still have 3 long matches to go. (I'm going to do this a little different from now on, focus a little less on whats going on in the match and talk more about how it's going, basically I'm going into slightly less detail from now on.)
So apparently Strong dropped the belt a week before this match in what was a glorified House Show and instead of getting a rematch, he gets put in a singles match that barely makes it off the under-card. I'll say this though, these two put on a great match at Final Battle in December, hope they can repeat that match.
Davey comes out to a nice pop and Strong gets some solid heat, that's god to see. The Code of Honor is not followed, no surprise there.
We get a quick lock up that Davey ends up winning, Strong quickly backs away for a quick timeout before coming back in and re-locking up. Davey then hits a big boot and a snap suplex for a solid 2 count.
Davey starts working the leg and the crowd is obviously behind him completely. We get several pin attempts from Richards, but most are quick 1 counts.
Truth Martini interferes and Strong takes advantage hitting a great leg drop outside the ring. He sends Davey back into the ring and starts working the mid-section with an Abdominal Stretch and some vicious elbows to the face.
Strong then tosses him out onto the floor and stats doing the typical heel thing. Give the man some credit, since he became a heel he has cut down on his flashy moves and learned how to taunt the crowd. (Speaking of great heels, I miss Kevin Steen, I want him to come back soon.)
Davey turns things around with a boot on the apron and a huge suicide dive taking out Strong. The crowd is feeling Richards right now. After a few near falls Richards locks in an Ankle Lock which Strong reverses into a LeBelle Lock. Wow chain submissions, haven't seen that in a while.
The crowd gives this a big boo, apparently you don't go taking jabs at ROH gods like Bryan Danielson, reminds me of the time The Prodigy locked in an Anaconda Vice.
Strong changes it to a quick Strong Hold, but Richards grabs the ropes to break the hold. The two men start trading kicks until Strong hits a big backbreaker onto the edge of the ring. Strong follows this up with a Sick Kick and goes for the pin....1.....2...NO! Richards kicks out.
Strong is not happy about that one, he picks Richards up and hits a pair of backbreakers and a gut buster for another 2 count.
Both men start hitting kicks but Davey seems to be getting the better here. Davey hits 5 huge kicks to Strong's head and he looks like he's out cold. He locks in the Ankle Lock again, but Strong counters and hits a big Gibson Driver, which he follows with a Strong Hold, which gets countered back into Richards Ankle Lock.
Not since Benoit/Angle have I seen this type of chain submissions.
Truth tries to interfere but he gets a superkick for his troubles.
Superplex off the top from Davey, rolling right into a Falcon Arrow and then transitions back again into the ankle lock in a fantastic display of transition wrestling, finally forcing Roderick to tap out at 27:06.
Wow, this match delivered. Great way to kick off the main card and a nice sequel to their match at Final Battle, nice job ROH.
Winner by Submission: Davey Richards
This match is a rematch of the great showing we saw at Glory By Honor last September, I expect great things here.
The Kings have held the belts for about a year now, lets see if Wrestlings Greatest Tag Team can take the belts away. Kevin Kelly talks about how this match means everything for Charlie Hass, who is dedicating it to his late tag partner and brother Russ Hass (The inventor of the Hass of Pain sub move that Charlie has used since he debuted in the WWE.)
Shelton Benjamin and Chris Hero start off the match, each man trying to out wrestle the other. Benjamin seems to really enjoy were he is right now, financially secure and just having a good time with his best friend. they are the tag team ROH can build their future around.
Start of the match seems a little sloppy, but they're getting the rhythm down so I can forgive that.
Hass tags in and hits a HUGE Belly to Belly Suplex that was picture perfect. Claudio tags in but quickly gets beatdown by Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team (Dear Vince, stop copywriting team/wrestler names, it's not cool that they have to go by Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team and not The World's Greatest Tag Team.)
Hass and Benjamin hit tandum German Suplexes for two nearfalls, the Kings roll out of the ring where they start forming a gameplan with Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey.
Back in the ring the Kings start to take back the match after a distraction by Sara Del Rey, which distracted me as well. The Kings start teaming up on Benjamin and doing the typical heel stuff.
Shelton gets the hot tag after a big spin kick and Charlie clears house with a couple headscissors and a pair of side slams. Hero eats a superkick from Benjamin and they hit their trademark leapfrog top-rope choke move into a bridging German Suplex. Claudio breaks this up and throws Benjamin out of the ring as the Kings hit a pair of tandem bicycle kicks on Hass for a two count.
The Kings hit their Big Swing/Dropkick finisher, but Shelton breaks up the pin and hits a big Pay Dirt on Hero. He follows this up with a big DDT on Claudio, who tries to hit Hass with a Ricola Bomb, that is countered into an Angle Slam.
The crowd is hot right now and is chanting for the Hass of Pain (it actually is a pretty cool chant).
Hass locks it in and the crowd goes nuts. Hero tries to break it up but off a Del Rey distraction with the Loaded Elbow Pad of Doom, but Benjamin throws him off the top rope and Claudio taps.
Wow this was a great match to end one of the best tag title reigns I've ever seen. All the men had their spots and the crowd was loving it. The crowd added half a star to this match in my opinion and the "Hass of Pain" chant was one of the best I've heard in a while. Definitely a match of the year candidate.
Winners by Submission and New ROH Tag Team Champs: Hass and Benjamin, Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team
This was originally going to be Strong vs Daniels, but with Edwards winning the belt a week before at a house show, it changed to Edwards vs The Fallen Angle, and the man I consider to be the most underrated wrestler in the world today, Christopher Daniels. The last time these two met it went to a 30 minute draw, lets see what happens here.
The crowd seems drained to me, can't blame them, ROH PPV's feel long due to how much action they cram in here, maybe they should have more interview segments to give us a break from time to time.
Long feeling out process between both guys, lots of counters and holds. Edwards starts getting some great chops, Daniels reaction is gold. Daniels then hits a great Blue Thunder Bomb and follows it with an STO for a 2 count. Edwards then hits a big Codebreaker for a near fall. Daniels then avoids a Back-Pack Chinbreaker and hit a huge Yuranagi off the apron right through the ring announcer's table, amazing spot.
Daniels then sets up a pair of chairs and hits a big powerbomb through them. Big anti-TNA chants, which Daniels seems to be pumping up. He grabs the ROH Title which changes the chant to pro-ROH instead, good job Daniels.
Back inside Edwards counters a suplex with a massive dropkick and then the two trade several backslides and cradles until Edwards sends Daniels out of the ring and hits a big tope suicida. Huge crowd pop for that.
He then hits a cross body block in the ring and a huge Tiger Suplex for a close near fall. Daniels gets to lock in a quick Koji clutch, but Edwards quickly grabs the ropes. Sideslam from the top rope gains Daniels gains a near fall and the crowd is chanting "BME!" Edwards puts Daniels into a half Boston Crab and Daniels counters out of it into a Koji Clutch again. Edwards counters this and hits a big Irish Whip and then hits the 2K1 Bomb for a 2 count.
Daniels goes for a top rope Angles Wings and which Edwards counters with a back body drop. Edwards then hits a big double stomp from the top rope and then locks in a double underhook, Daniels counters this with an Angles Wings and the crowd goes nuts. Daniels slowly rolls Edwards over for a pin....1.....2....NO! Edwards kicks out there and the crowd felt they had a new champ.
Daniels looks up at the sky and then yells "It's over!" to the crowd and hits the BME. He goes for the pin again...1.......2.....NO! Again Edwards kicks out of Daniels finisher and The Fallen Angle looks like he's going to knockout the ref.
Daniels goes for another BME, but Edwards get the knees up and then locks in another half Boston Crab. Daniels doesn't want to tap and slaps Edwards off and then goes for another Yuranagi off the top rope but Edwards counters with a 2K1 Bomb off the top rope, amazing spot. Edwards hits another off the top rope for good measure, crawls over to Daniels for the pin.....1.......2......3! Edwards retains at a time of 30:12.
After the match Edwards offers a handshake to Daniels, who refuses it and walks away. This sets up a Daniels heel turn. Edwards then gets on the mic and puts over the fans and the company and we close with a great "ROH" chant.
Amazing Match, it's a hard task to follow the two best tag teams in North America, but Edwards/Daniels did a solid job. This wasn't as good as the match before it, but it was solid. A few amazing spots to close the show, but maybe a few more near falls would have made this match over the top, but now I'm nitpicking. Amazing match, a treat for fans, and a great way to end a great night of wrestling.
Winner by Pinfall and STILL ROH Champ: Eddie Edwards
For the opening show of a two day set, this was a great card. Elgin continues to impress me, Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team showed why they are exactly that, Edwards and Daniels put on a great show, overall this was fantastic. I would say that there were a few problems, but the opener was hot, the mid-card was pretty good and the main card delivered not one, but two matches that I will remember at the end of the year.
Overall I would say this is ROH's best PPV so far this year (Best in the World ended up being better, but at this point this was the best PPV). This was well worth the 15 bucks people paid to see for it on IPPV and well worth the 20 dollars I paid for this DVD.
Overall I can't say enough good things about this card.
Final Rating: 9 out of 10
(All I'm going to say is I miss Kevin Steen)
Thanks for reading, please comment bellow, and this DVD is available on ROHwrestling.com, give that props button some love, and as always take care and mark out safely.
So until next time...thanks for reading.
Youtube account: http://www.youtube.com/GrimWrestlingShow
And if you would like to check out my last article on why there shoudn't be a "Monday Night Wars" Part 3, click here: WWE vs. TNA vs. ROH: Why Wrestling Fans Don't Want Another "Monday Night Wars"
See you Space Cowboy...