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Frontier Fieldhouse – Chicago Ridge, IL – Saturday, May 21, 2011
Kevin Kelly and Eric Santamaria are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Homicide vs. Michael Elgin
Homicide is coming off a couple of losses to Tommaso Ciampa, while Elgin recently won the first-ever Double Danger Scramble match, so the momentum is clearly on Elgin’s side. Homicide attacks with vigor but has trouble countering Elgin’s impressive power. They have a solid back and forth matchup until Homicide is able to catch Elgin with the Ace Crusher to get the pin at 9:29. That was pretty typical selling for a Homicide match, but it worked as an opener and Elgin still looked pretty strong.
MATCH #2: Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The Bravado Brothers
The Bravados try to use chicanery to take the early advantage on their rivals but it backfires. They quickly settle into the tried and true tag team formula, and the crowd is eating it up with a spoon. These two teams so perfectly fit the mold of their characters and make such natural rivals it’s hard not to get invested in this feud. Cole and O’Reilly isolate Harlem and simultaneously kick him in the head. That may have knocked him out. Cole wheelbarrows Harlem right into an O’Reilly lungblower, and then Cole hits the backstabber to get the pin at 9:48. Simple formula with characters people are invested in is a surefire recipe for success.
MATCH #3: One Final Time – Steve Corino vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett
Corino comes out for a promo first. He talks about being evil and wants to reveal his sponsor, but Bennett comes out to interrupt him before that can happen. Bennett reminds Corino that he has no one who cares about him enough to save him from a beating. They argue back and forth a bit and then from out of the crowd comes Jimmy Jacobs! So he’s Corino’s sponsor. He’s greeted with a nice “Welcome Back” chant. Some actually chant “Age of the Fall.” Jacobs talks about how he left two years ago and says that he is the most evil person in ROH history. He goes through his history in ROH and says that for the first time he wants to fight for honor. Finally some referees come out and herd Jacobs out of the building. Meanwhile Bennett and Corino have a match to contest. They do their usual, and since this is their third match in a short span of time I feel like we’ve seen most of what they have to offer with each other. Bennett is able to hit the piledriver to get the pin at 9:22. The crowd was really into it even though it was dull, so that’s a testament to the effectiveness of the feud.
MATCH #4: Chris Hero vs. El Generico
Hero is accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. These two have battled many times over the years and should know each other well. Hero focuses on strikes to subdue Generico, who comes back with his high-flying, fast-paced offense. It’s Hero who has more success, landing a hard elbow to Generico’s head and then a huge kick to the face that turns the masked luchadore inside out. Hero even throws his feet on the ropes to help secure the pin at 9:05. Sinclair soon becomes wise to Hero’s nefarious tactics and says the match must be restarted. This seems unnecessary for a meaningless midcard match. Hero is upset with Sinclair and gets shoved for it. Generico then lands the Ole Kick and a half nelson suplex to get the real pin at 0:24 (9:29 total match time). The ending was weird and added nothing. Other than that this was okay but not the best from either guy.
MATCH #5: Special Challenge Match – Davey Richards vs. Charlie Haas
I don’t understand Haas’ skullcap. Nevertheless, Haas is one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions, and Richards is a former two-time Tag Team Champion himself. This is Haas’ first singles match in ROH, but he has been in the ring with Richards before, on the same team back at World’s Greatest and against each other (with Shelton Benjamin and Eddie Edwards, respectively) at Honor Takes Center Stage – Chapter 2. They wrestle on the mat to start and show each other what they got. Kevin Kelly makes some weird comparison of Eddie Edwards to Shawn Michaels. Keep dreamin’ dude. Meanwhile Haas and Richards are going back and forth with strikes and suplexes on each other. They get all intense and no-selly and curse at each other. Both guys use submission moves, Richards the Ankle Lock and Haas the Haas of Pain. It doesn’t come down to a submission though, as Richards lands a series of kicks to the head to knock Haas out for the pin at 18:49. I’ve said this about Richards before, but I feel like I’ve seen it all. Haas does nothing for me. Both guys are good at their style, but neither is someone I dig on is all.
MATCH #6: Grudge Match – Claudio Castagnoli vs. Shelton Benjamin
Castagnoli is accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. Benjamin is accompanied by his ROH World Tag Team Title belt. These two have faced off in four tag team matches, with Benjamin & Haas leading Hero & Castagnoli 3-1, including a victory for the Tag Team Titles in Atlanta at Honor Takes Center Stage – Chapter 1. Like his partner Haas, this is Benjamin’s first singles match in ROH. Castagnoli controls most of the first ten minutes or so, keeping the match down on the mat. Hero and Haas both make their way out to back up their partners. That gets Benjamin fired up and he unleashes a flurry of offense. Castagnoli fights back and goes to the top rope but Benjamin pops up and hits a super belly-to-belly suplex for the win at 17:21. I believe Castagnoli is incapable of having a bad match at this point, but this one never really took off. It was technically proficient though and not boring or anything.
MATCH #7: Non-Title Match – Christopher Daniels vs. Colt Cabana
Truth cuts a promo before the match, Cabana counters with one of his own, and referee Todd Sinclair removes Truth from ringside before the match can even start! Daniels beat Cabana in a non-title match at Revolution: USA, and Cabana issued the challenge for a rematch because Daniels used dirty tactics to win. They wrestle the exact match you would expect them to for a while, and Michael Elgin comes out to interfere but Steve Corino thwarts him. Cabana hits a gutbuster on the top turnbuckle to get the win at 8:51. These two have very few surprises left in them at this point, but the dynamic worked for them enough and they kept it short.
After the match Cabana chooses not to thank Corino for helping him, and leaves him to get beaten up by Elgin and Daniels. I’m actually interested in seeing Daniels versus Corino.
MATCH #8: Chicago Street Fight – The All Night Express vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe
This should be brutal. Everyone is wearing street clothes, which you know means war. It takes less than a minute for Mark to go crashing through the timekeeper’s table. Jay is the first one to bleed, and that takes just over five minutes. Most of the fight so far has happened outside the ring, but as they make their way in it looks like Mark is bleeding as well. Titus is next to go through a table, as he tries a Super Sex Factor on Mark but Jay pushes him off the top rope. That gives the Briscoes the chance to isolate King and hang him over the top rope with a chain. A bloody Titus tries to fight back but two Briscoes is a lot for any man to overcome. In the meantime King finds a fire extinguisher and blinds the Briscoes with it, and then bashes them in the face with it. The crowd LOVES the All Night Express. A ladder gets brought into the fray and everyone is looking a bit worn down. The Briscoes hit Titus with the Doomsday Device. King throws a chair at Jay, and then he and mark tumble to the floor. Jay stumbles around and falls on Titus to get the pin at 19:29. Not that I’m an advocate for guys going out and killing each other and doing something stupid, but in a Chicago Street Fight I’d like a bigger finish. Overall though I really liked it; it was brutal and intense and the crowd was super-hot for it.
MATCH #9: ROH World Title Match – Eddie Edwards vs. Roderick Strong
Strong is accompanied by Truth Martini. Edwards has been the champion since 3.19.11, and this is his third defense. Strong attacks right away and takes it right to the champion. The fight quickly spills to the floor and Edwards fights back. The offense comes fast and furious throughout the early going, with both guys using some big moves, including the Stronghold from Strong and the Achilles Lock from Edwards. They also both use each other’s submission moves but neither man will quit. Strong uses the Gibson Driver on the ring apron, and as soon as Edwards barely recovers, Strong joins him on the floor and hits him with another Gibson Driver! Man, Strong can be so awesome when he wants to be. From out of nowhere Edwards grabs Strong in the Achilles Lock and stomps on his head to get the win at 23:36. These two have tremendous chemistry together and they went almost non-stop the entire time.
Michael Elgin and Christopher Daniels come out to attack the Champion, and Davey Richards comes out to make the save. Edwards reiterates that he needs to fight Richards for the title, and threatens to quit if Richards won’t face him. They jerk each other off a little bit and then agree to fight.
Tags: Eddie Edwards, Ring of Honor, Roderick Strong, Supercard of Honor, The Briscoes