Inside Pulse » Jake Ziegler A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:00:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » Jake Ziegler A2Z Analysiz: WWE WrestleMania 29 (The Rock, John Cena) Sat, 28 Mar 2015 20:00:58 +0000 WrestleMania 29

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Met Life Stadium – East Rutherford, NJ – Sunday, April 7, 2013

MATCH #1: Randy Orton, Sheamus & Big Show vs. The Shield

Sheamus and Roman Reigns start the match. They immediately start slugging at each other with gusto, and it’s the burly Irishman who’s able to take control. Orton tags in, and Reigns is able to tag Rollins.Momentum continues to shift as tags continue to be made on both sides. Ambrose and Show end up in the ring and Show destroys him with chops. Show charges and Ambrose hits a low dropkick. Rollins flies in with a knee from the top rope and tries to keep Show on the mat. Reigns and Ambrose get their shots in on Show as well. Show doesn’t often play the face-in-peril but it’s working here. Finally Show is able to tag Sheamus, and he’s a pale house afire. Sheamus gets to hit the clubbering forearms on both Rollins and Ambrose, and then throws out a couple of Finlay Rolls. He goes up top and Reigns pulls him down to the floor. That ignites a brawl, and Rollins takes Orton out with a suicide dive. The Shield takes Sheamus into the ring and tries the triple powerbomb but Show breaks it up with a spear. Sheamus goes to make the tag to Show, but Orton steals it at the last second. Orton hits Ambrose with the Rope-hung DDT, and catches a flying Rollins with an RKO! Reigns sneaks in and drills Orton with a Spear and Ambrose scores the pin at 10:35. That was fun and energetic, but the Shield has had six-man tags twice that long on RAW, so this didn’t quite have an epic pay-per-view feel. Still, a good choice for opener.
Rating: ***¼

After the match a frustrated Big Show knocks out both Orton and Sheamus for not trusting him. I guess that’ll teach them.

MATCH #2: Ryback vs. Mark Henry

They start off with a staredown, both men trying to intimidate the other but having no success. Ryback lands the first few blows but can’t take Henry off his feet. He charges and Henry clobbers him with one shot. Henry delivers a running powerslam for a one-count. “The World’s Strongest Man” continues to dominate and sends Ryback to the floor. Ryback makes it back in before the count of 10 but he’s looking pretty worn down already. Henry locks on a bearhug to further wear his opponent down. He then clotheslines Ryback back to the floor. Once again Henry uses the bearhug. Finally Ryback fights out of it and forces Henry into the corner. Ryback follows up with the Meat Hook clothesline. He shockingly picks Henry up for the Shellshocked, but Henry grabs the top rope and is able to fall on the back of Ryback’s head. Ouch. That’s enough to get the pin at 8:03. That was pretty dull, with a huge portion of the match taken up with Ryback laying on the floor or Henry using a bearhug. The finish was creative but it came off a bit anti-climactic.
Rating: *¾

Henry goes back in to dish out more punishment, but Ryback catches him with a spinebuster! Ryback then picks up the massive Henry for Shellshocked, and this time he hits the maneuver. FEED ME MORE!

MATCH #3: WWE Tag Team Title Match – Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston

Daniel Bryan and Kane have been the Champions since 9.16.12, and this is their seventh defense. This is Langston’s first official WWE match. Ziggler gets a kiss from AJ Lee before the match and Bryan kicks his head off! That almost gets Bryan the pin and sweet redemption for last year. Bryan knocks Ziggler to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. Back in the ring tags are made, and the powerhouses are in the ring now. Langston impressively throws Kane around, delivering two solid backbreakers. He drives a shoulder into Kane’s midsection, and then runs into a big boot. Langston is tenacious though, and he bowls Kane over Vader style. The challengers isolate Kane and wear him down in their half o fth ering. Kane is able to catch Langston with a DDT. Ziggler gets a tag and Kane unloads on him, hitting a sidewalk slam for two. Kane goes up top but misses the top rope clothesline. Ziggler hits the Fame-Ass-Er (sort of) and Bryan breaks up the cover, only to get hit with a dropkick for his troubles. Now Ziggler goes up top and Kane cuts him down with an uppercut. Langston breaks up that cover. Things break down and the referee loses control. Bryan takes Langston out with a flying knee off the apron. Ziggler catches Kane with the Zig Zag but only gets two. Lee hands Ziggler his Money in the Bank briefcase, but he can’t make contact with it. Kane hits a Chokeslam and then makes the tag. Bryan delivers the diving headbutt to get the pin and retain the titles at 6:18. That was extremely short, and I feel that it could have gone twice as long and it would have gotten really good. As it is, it’s an adequate, TV-style match.
Rating: **½

MATCH #4: Chris Jericho vs. Fandango

This is Fandango’s first official match. Jericho strikes first and goes on the attack, so Fandango bails. Unfortunately for Fandango, Jericho chases him and continues the beating. Jericho hits an early Codebreaker and the momentum sends Fandango back to the floor. He drills Fandango with a baseball slide dropkick and then follows him out with a cross body block from the top rope. Back in the ring Jericho goes for the springboard dropkick but Fandango cuts him off with a kick to the face. Now Fandango is in control, but it doesn’t last too long before Jericho is right back in command. Jericho hits a high cross body off the top rope for a near-fall. Fandango grabs Jericho and hurls him shoulder-first into the ring post. He hits a Downward Spiral and then follows it up with the guillotine legdrop, but Jericho kicks out at two! Jericho tries to fight back but Fandango cuts him off with a hard clothesline. Fandango goes back up top and Jericho knocks him down. Jericho puts Fandango up top and goes for a superplex but Fandango shoves him back. Fandango goes for the guillotine legdrop again but misses. Jericho goes for the Lionsault and Fandango gets his knees up so Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho instead. Fandango counters that to an inside cradle to get the shocking upset pin at 9:13. These two meshed well together and Jericho knew how to make Fandango look good. This would have to be looked at as one of the biggest upsets in WrestleMania history.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #5: World Heavyweight Title Match – Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger

Del Rio has been the Champion since 1.11.13, and this is his third defense. Zeb Colter and Ricardo Rodriguez are in the respective corners, of course. Del Rio quickly sends Swagger to the floor and follows him out with a dropkick through the ropes. Back in the ring Del Rio gets distracted but Colter and Swagger pounces. Swagger begins dissecting Del Rio, wearing him down and keeping him on the mat. He hits a Swagger Bomb for a two-count. Del rio is able to fight back and he starts targeting the arm of course. He stomps on Colter’s fingers for fun, and then drills Swagger with a superkick to the jaw for a near-fall. Del Rio goes for the Cross Armbreaker but Swagger fights it off and hits a powerslam for two. Swagger attacks the knee and then puts on the Ankle Lock. Del Rio escapes and goes for the step-up enziguiri in the corner but he misses. Swagger tries another Swagger Bomb but Del Rio gets Swagger caught up in the ropes and he hits a mini Backstabber for two. Del Rio follows with a release German Suplex. He goes for the Cross Armbreaker but Swagger counters with the Gutwrench Powerbomb for a near-fall. Swagger puts on the Patriot Lock and Del Rio turns it into the Cross Armbreaker, which Swagger re-counters to the Patriot Lock. Del Rio reaches the ropes. Swagger goes for the Gutwrench Powerbomb again but Del Rio slips out and kicks Swagger right in the head. Del Rio hits the enziguiri this time and Colter has to put Swagger’s leg on the bottom rope. Rodriguez comes over to protest, and Colter is able to bully him because he is on crutches. Del Rio comes ot the rescue and Swagger takes the opportunity to capitalize and throws Del Rio into the barricade. Swagger pauses before getting back in the ring, and that’s the opening Del Rio needs to cinch in the Cross Armbreaker and Swagger taps out at 10:30. That was a lot of fun, with solid back and forth cain wrestling and reversals from both guys. It was a bit on the short side for a World Title match, but that allowed them to step up the pace and that worked.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #6: Undertaker vs. CM Punk

Punk has Paul Heyman in his corner. He gets cocky right away and slaps Undertaker in the face, twice. Undertaker responds with a boot to the face, and then he throws Punk to the floor. He whips Punk over the barricade and into the crowd. Undertaker continues to abuse Punk on the ring floor, and then sets him on the apron for the big legdrop. Back in the ring Undertaker keeps up the pressure. Undertaker goes for Old School but Punk whips him down to the mat. Punk takes control now, and he successfully executes Old School to a big pop from the crowd. Undertaker fights back and whips Punk into the corner. He charges but Punk moves, and Undertaker’s knee connects with the turnbuckles. Punk sends Undertaker to the floor and follows him out with an axhandle from the top rope. Back in the ring Punk continues to be one step ahead, keeping Undertaker on the mat and working the shoulder. Punk goes for Old School again, but Undertaker knocks him down and to the floor. Undertaker looks to be going for a dive, but Heyman gets in his way, allowing Punk to hit a springboard clothesline for a two-count. Punk hits the high knee in the corner and follows with a clothesline. He goes up top and lands the Diving elbow drop but it only gets two. Punk tries Go 2 Sleep but Undertaker slips out and hits a Chokeslam! That only gets a two-count. Undertaker keeps up the onslaught, hitting Snake Eyes and going for a big boot, but Punk cuts him off with a leg lariat for two. Punk clotheslines Undertaker to the floor and starts rearranging the furniture. He lays Undertaker out on the table and goes to the top rope, sailing down with a Diving elbow drop that does not break the table. Undertaker barely makes it back to the ring before the count of 10. Punk crawls over to make a cover but Undertaker grabs him in the Hell’s Gate! Luckily for Punk he is able to slip out and put on the Anaconda Vise! Undertaker stands up and goes for a Chokeslam, which Punk reverses to a Go 2 Sleep, and Undertaker rebounds off the ropes with a Tombstone Piledriver! Punk kicks out at two! They start throwing strikes at each other and the referee takes a bump. Punk hits the running knee in the corner, and Undertaker grabs him for the Last Ride! Heyman hands Punk the urn and Punk cracks Undertaker with it. Punk crosses the arms for the cover just like Undertaker but he only gets two! A series of reversals ends with Undertaker hitting another Tombstone Piledriver to finally put Punk away at 22:08! While the buildup was not exactly thrilling, this match managed to exceed just about everyone’s expectations. Undertaker gave Punk a lot more than he did the last time these two wrestled on pay-per-view in 2009, so Punk felt like a much bigger threat. The crowd stayed into it the entire way, reacting to all of the momentum shifts and near-falls. Punk and Undertaker worked a smart match, throwing in big spots where they made sense and finishing strong. I did not expect this match to be so good.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #7: No Holds Barred Match – Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar

If Triple H loses this match, his wrestling career is over. Shawn Michaels gets his own entrance just to be in his friend HHH’s corner. Lesnar of course has Paul Heyman in his corner. They start slugging right away and quickly spill to the floor. HHH has the early advantage but Lesnar cuts him off and throws him into the crowd. Lesnar picks up a chair but before he can use it HHH clotheslines him down. They go back to the ring and Lesnar tries to hit HHH with a chair again but HHH hits a high knee. Heyman grabs the chair and takes it out of the ring so HHH can’t use it. Momentum continues to shift and they go back to the floor, where Lesnar lands a belly-to-belly suplex. Lesnar throws HHH around, even dropping him on the Spanish Announce Table to finally break it. The Beast is fully in control, and they head back to the ring for some more abuse. This goes on for several minutes, with Lesnar beating on HHH and cutting off any of his comeback attempts. When they go back to the floor Lesnar gets distrac by Michaels, and HHH hits a hard clothesline, and then another one to send Lesnar into the timekeeper’s pit. HHH grabs a steel chair and finally gets to hit Lesnar with it, which must be satisfying for him. Back in the ring Lesnar ducks a clothesline and hits a German Suplex for two. Heyman gets up on the apron so Michaels responds in kind, and Lesnar cracks him int the mouth to knock him down. Lesnar turns around right into a spinebuster. HHH goes for the Pedigree, which Lesnar counters to the F-5. Michaels gets in the ring and tries a Superkick but Lesnar instead hits him with the F-5. That allows HHH to get up and hit Lesnar with the Pedigree, but it only gets two. HHH goes outside the ring and finds his sledgehammer. He goes to use it but Lesnar ducks and hits an F-5 for two! They go to the floor and Lesnar abuses HHH with a steel chair and then whips him into the steps. Lesnar continues the assault with the steps, but can’t keep HHH down. HHH tries to fight back with a Pedigree but Lesnar gets a hold of his arm and puts on the Kimura Lock! After a brief time HHH powers his way out of it but the damanage has been done. Lesnar charges into the corner but HHH moves and Lesnar’s shoulder connects with the ring post. HHH delivers a low blow, and that swings the momentum in his favor. The “Cerebral Assassin” targets Lesnar’s arm, wrapping it around the ring post and then bashing it with a steel chair. Back in the ring HHH continues to use the chair to his advantage. Now HHH uses the Kimura Lock and Heyman gets in the ring with a chair, but Michaels takes him out with Sweet Chin Music! Lesnar is able to pick HHH up and drop him on the steel steps. The tenacious HHH puts the Kimura back on and Lesnar slams him off the steps again. HHH puts the Kimura on for a third time and Lesnar picks him up, but this time HHH hits a DDT onto the steps! Finally HHH drills Lesnar with the sledgehammer, and then hits a Pedigree on the ring steps! That’s enough to slay the Beast at 24:00. A lot of people hated on that match, but I liked it. It wasn’t amazing, but they did a good job making the battle feel heated, and they didn’t do super ridiculous spots. The involvement of Michaels and Heyman was a nice addition and not overdone.
Rating: ***½

Hall of Fame Class of 2013

This year’s inductees are Mick Foley, Booker T, Trish Stratus, Bob Backlund, Donald Trump, and at long last Bruno Sammartino. That’s a really impressive slew of nominees.

MATCH #8: WWE Championship Match – The Rock vs. John Cena

The Rock has been the Champion since 1.27.13, and this is his second defense. Cena scores the first knockdown, but both men are approaching this match with caution with so much on the line. Rock fires back, and then puts on a headlock. He hits a big hiptoss and Cena takes a powder. Back in the ring Cena goes on offense but the Rock fights back and will not be denied. Momentum continues to shift between these two powerhouses. Rock puts on a Sleeper to slow Cena down. Cena powers out of it with a Protoplex for a two-count. Rock delivers a Samoan Drop and both men are down. It hasn’t even been ten minutes but both men have taken a lot out of each other. Cena hits a Fisherman Suplex for two. A quality series of reversals ends with Rock putting on a pretty good looking Sharpshooter. Cena powers his way out of that and hits another Protoplex. He goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but Rock avoids it and hits a hard DDT. Rock tries the Rock Bottom but Cena counters to the STF, which Rock counters to a cradle for two. Cena catapults Rock into the buckles and hits yet antoher Protoplex. This time Cena hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and he tries the Attitude Adjustment. Rock slips out and hits the spinebuster. He goes for the People’s Elbow but Cena counters and puts on the STF! Rock powers his way out and hits the Rock Bottom but Cena kicks out! Cena pops up and hits the AA but it only gets a two-count. He goes up top for the Cena Slice but Rock avoids it. Rock hits the spinebuster and connects on the People’s Elbow! Cena kicks out at two, and then wisely rolls to the floor. Back in the ring they trade shots and the crowd is fully behind The Rock. For some reason Rock tries a cross body block and Cena catches him. Rock reverses the AA attempt into a Rock Bottom but it only gets two! The People’s Champ goes for another People’s Elbow, first telling Cena that he can’t see him. That fires Cena up, and he is able to hit the AA again but it only gets two! That’s a nice callback to last year. They rise and trade strikes again. Cena gets a schoolboy rollup for two. He then hits a Rock Bottom for a near-fall! The crowd is hot. Cena looks at a downed Rock and thinks he has him in the perfect position for the People’s Elbow. Rock pops up, just like he did last year, but Cena holds on to the ropes! That was awesome. Cena goes for the AA but Rock counters to the Rock Bottom! Another series of reversals concludes with Rock hitting a solid DDT. Rock goes for the Rock Bottom but Cena counters with the AA to finally score the pin and win his eleventh WWE Championship at 25:00. I think this was another popular match to hate on, but I really liked it. I love matches with two titans throwing bombs at each other, and that’s exactly what this was. They did a lot of cool reversals and callbacks to last year’s match, and I certainly thought it was a fitting main event.
Rating: ****

After the match the two men embrace in a show of respect. Cena then cedes the ring to The Rock, as it is likely the last match for The People’s Champ. At the top of the ramp, Cena and Rock salute each other, and they both raise their arms.×120.jpg

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A2Z Analysiz: DGUSA Mercury Rising 2013 (SHINGO, Akira Tozawa) Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:51:16 +0000 Mercury Rising 2013

For a complete archive of all my DGUSA, EVOLVE, and SHINE reviews, please visit Ziegler Gate USA.

Meadowlands Expo Center – Secaucus, NJ – Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lenny Leonard and Drew Gulak are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Anthony Nese w/ Mr. A vs. Soldier Ant w/ Fire Ant

The commentators don’t know who Mr. A is at this point. Nese and Soldier start with some chain wrestling and take it to the mat. Soldier takes the early advantage and Nese powders. When Soldier tries a dive Nese quickly gets back in the ring and cuts him off with a clothesline. Nese then hits a dive of his own and gloats about it. Back in the ring Nese stays in control and hits a nice quebrada for two. Soldier is fighting back way too much, and his offense is looking way too choreographed. They trade some strikes and it leads to Nese hitting a one-armed Buckle Bomb. Nese follows with a running knee to the face. He goes up top and hits a perfect 450 Splash to get the pin at 5:08. Nese looked good here but Soldier Ant was a bit off. I also would have had Nese look more dominant.
Rating: *¾

After the match Nese introduces his “Director of Brand Imaging” Mr. A. The behemoth proceeds to chokeslam Fire Ant and then flatten him with a splash from the top rope just for fun.

MATCH #2: Caleb Konley vs. Scott Reed w/ Larry Dallas & Trina Michaels

Konley is all fired up but Reed gets the jump on him and they start brawling. Control shifts back and forth between these two former partners. As soon as Konley starts building momentum Dallas interferes to give Reed the advantage. Reed uses his power to beat Konley down, and even hits a dropkick for a two-count. Dallas and Michaels take cheap shots whenever the opportunity presents itself. Konley gets sick of it and wipes Dallas out with a dive, and then does the same to Reed, sending him into the front row. He follows Reed out and hiptosses him into a pile of chairs, and then drops him on the barricade. Back in the ring Konley hits a missile dropkick, a diving lariat, and a German Suplex for two. Reed comes back with a pumphandle backbreaker and then Splash Mountain for two. They battle to the top rope and Reed hits an impressive springboard hurricanrana. Konley no-sells it and hits a Best Moonsault Ever for a near-fall. Dallas puts a chair in the corner and gets in the ring. Michaels distracts the referee and Reed hits Konley with the chair and then hits Smash Mouth on the chair to get the win at 8:59. That was an okay brawl with a supremely lazy finish. The sooner The Scene (though not Konley) is just forgotten the better.
Rating: **

MATCH #3: The Super Smash Brothers (Player Uno & Player Dos) vs. The D.U.F. (Sami Callihan & Arik Cannon)

Callihan and Cannon try to attack before the bell and it’s a brief brawl before the referee can get it under control. Cannon and Dos go back and forth, as both teams try to set the tone in the early going. Callihan and Cannon take control on Uno and isolate him in their half of the ring. Cannon and Uno spill to the floor, and both Callihan and Dos decide to dive to the floor to wipe out their opponents. Back in the ring Callihan and Dos go back and forth with clotheslines and boots to the face. Callihan hits a Death Valley Driver for two. The referee has zero control over what’s going on here and things are getting awkward. Cannon and Dos fight on the floor while Callihan and Uno are in the ring. Uno tries to hold Callihan in place for the Fatality but he can’t hold him. Instead he holds Callihan’s legs while Dos hits a Frog Splash and that’s enough to get the pin at 8:38. That could generously be described as a disaster, with neither team appearing to be on their game and no one looking like they were on the same page. I’m glad they kept it relatively short because there was nothing holding this one together.
Rating: *½

MATCH #4: Brian Kendrick vs. Chuck Taylor w/ The Gentleman’s Club

Kendrick controls the early going with a variety of strikes and holds, mostly focusing on the arm. Every time Taylor tries to come back Kendrick has an answer for him. Since Taylor has three people at ringside with him they are able to assist him in taking control of the match. Taylor works Kendrick over for several minutes and talks trash to him at the same time. He hits Sole Food and then charges him, but Kendrick low bridges the top rope to send Taylor crashing to the floor. Kendrick hits a dive that takes Taylor and Orange Cassidy out. He then puts the Swamp Monster into Nolan Angus’ lap, and rolls the wheelchair into Taylor up against the barricade. I am aware how ridiculous that sounds. Back in the ring Kendrick goes up top and Swamp Monster holds him there. Taylor goes for a superplex but Kendrick shoves him down and hits a swinging DDT out of the corner for two. Kendrick keeps the momentum but can’t quite put Taylor away yet. Taylor fights back with a variety of moves and then locks on the Kentucky Crawdad but Kendrick escapes it. Kendrick tries to follow up but Taylor puts him right back in the Crawdad but this time Kendrick gets to the ropes. Kendrick hits the Sliced Bread No. 2 but Angus distracts the referee. The distracting allows Taylor to get a rollup for two. Taylor hits a uranage and then kicks Kendrick in the chest. He tries his own Sliced Bread No. 2 but Kendrick avoids it and hits the move the right way to get the win at 13:09. Kendrick can pretty much put on a solid match with anyone, and his style meshed well with Taylor here. The shenanigans with the Gentleman’s Club were there but not overwhelming, so this worked.
Rating: ***

MATCH #5: High-Flyers FRAY! Ladders Are Legal – Matt Jackson vs. Nick Jackson vs. AR Fox vs. Samuray del Sol vs. Uhaa Nation vs. Christina Von Eerie vs. Façade

This is like a regular FRAY! except that ladders will be legal once everyone is in the match. AR Fox is out first, and he’ll stat the match with Samuray del Sol. I expect all of this to be hard to keep up with. They start flipping and flying around right from the get-go and wrestle to a standoff. The back and forth continues and we get our next entrant, one half of the Open the United Gate Champions Matt Jackson. Matt tries a cross body from the top rope and hits nothing, so he rolls right to the floor. He makes his way back in and sends both del Sol and Fox to the floor. Everyone is fighting outside the ring and the next entrant is Christina Von Eerie. She takes everyone out with a springboard cross body from the second rope. Back in the ring she goes up top and this Matt with a clothesline. Von Eerie hits an enziguiri for two. She takes the fight right to Matt, attacking him with headbutts. They take it to the floor and Matt wipes her out with a dive. Fox and del Sol end up back in the ring as the other half of the Open the United Gate Champions Nick Jackson makes his way out. They set up a tag team battle with Fox and del Sol. The Bucks win that battle and then invite Von Eerie into the ring. Von Eerie foolishly accepts a handshake from Matt, which allows Nick to drill her with a superkick. Matt follows with one of his own. He holds her for Nick to hit a baby superkick to score the first elimination at 7:57. The Bucks are loving life and controlling the match as the sixth entrant comes out and it’s Uhaa Nation of Mad Blankey. Nation throws the Bucks around, and gives the same treatment to del Sol. He throws everyone to the floor and goes for a dive but Fox cuts him off and takes everyone out with the Lo Mein Rain. Matt goes up top and hits everyone with a moonsault. The final entrant is Façade and now everyone is out so ladders are legal. Façade takes everyone out with a dive and throws the first ladder into the ring. Now things are really going to get fast and hard to call. Del Sol hits Fox with the reverse rana for a two-count. He goes up top and Nick catches him with a superkick. Fox gets rid of Nick and then hits del Sol with Lo Mein Pain to eliminate him at 12:54. Façade comes in to battle Fox and Nation gets involved. The thing about Façade is that he’s actually pretty terrible. Fox gets up on a ladder and Façade tries to jump on the other side but it’s one of those ladders where you’re not supposed to climb the other side and he crumples to the mat. The referee has been holding the ladder for Fox, which I hate. Fox comes off the ladder with Meteora on Façade to eliminate him at 15:15. We’re down to Fox and Nation against the Young Bucks, essentially. Nation and Fox are working well as a team, but the Bucks are able to withstand their attacks. The Bucks grab a very tall ladder and smash it into Nation’s face. Back in the ring Nick rams the ladder into Fox’s groin. Nick slams Fox and climbs up the ladder but Fox gets back to his feet and shoves it over. Incredibly, Nick lands on the top rope and takes Nation out with a dive to the floor! Back in the ring Nick hits the slingshot X-Factor. The Bucks try to double team Fox, but he fights them off and is able to position Matt on a ladder between the barricade and the apron. Fox hits a kickflip moonsault and gets a nice pop for it. Back in the ring Fox sets Matt back on the ladder but Ricochet runs out and throws Fox off the top and onto the ladder! Ricochet hits the 630 and Nick scores the pin at 19:58. Now we’re down to Uhaa Nation versus the Young Bucks in essentially a handicap match. The Bucks use the ladder to wear Nation down. The resilient Nation is able to toss both Bucks into a ladder but he still has an uphill battle ahead of him. It’s time for a Superkick Party and Nation is in rough shape. The Bucks go for More Bang for Your Buck but Nation escapes and rolls Matt up to eliminate him at 23:32. Nation gorilla press slams Nick and then hits the Uhaa Combination to win the High Flyers FRAY! at 23:47. That certainly had a lot of action and was fairly fun to watch. Uhaa Nation going over was definitely the right call. It felt a little long, and the involvement of Von Eerie and Façade added very little to the finished product.
Rating: ***

MATCH #6: Jon Davis vs. Orange Cassidy w/ The Gentleman’s Club

Cassidy has Chuck Taylor, Drew Gulak, and The Swamp Monster in his corner. Apparently Cassidy has a “laid back approach” to wrestling, which I don’t understand. Neither Cassidy nor Davis seem eager to make any contact, so they both just stand around doing nothing to start. Davis tries to engage Cassidy, who has no interest in wrestling. They finally start doing stuff and Cassidy hits a few moves. Cassidy goes up top for a rana but Davis catches him and throws him over his head. Davis hits a knee strike and a lariat. He then dishes out a lariat to the referee as well for some reason and that’s a disqualification at 3:47. Drew Gulak and Chuck Taylor try coming to the rescue but Davis lays waste to both of them as well. Lastly the Swamp Monster comes in and Davis hits him with 3 Seconds Around the World. The crowd doesn’t seem to care much. As for the match, as it were, there was very little to see.
Rating: ¼*

MATCH #7: The Six Man Tradition Continues – CIMA, Eita & Tomahawk T.T. vs. Johnny Gargano, Rich Swann & Ricochet

Gargano is the Open the Freedom Gate Champion, and CIMA is the Open the Dream Gate Champion. The winner of the fall here will get a title match of his choosing. Swann and CIMA start the match. They go back and forth and the pace quickens. Swann dropkicks CIMA to the floor so Eita comes in to replace his partner. Eita chops Swann hard, so Swann rolls to the floor and Ricochet replaces him. The feeling out process continues and Eita gets the better of the exchange. Tags are made to Tomahawk and Gargano, so now everyone has been in the ring. Momentum continues to swing back and forth between the two teams, with everyone getting a chance to show their strengths. The first extended period of control goes to Team CIMA, as they isolate Swann in their half of the ring for several minutes. Eventually Swann is able to catch both CIMA and Eita with a simultaneous Ace Crusher, and he makes the tag to both Gargano and Ricochet. Things get fast and furious and the action is becoming hard to keep up with. Control shifts back and forth as offense is coming from all over the place. After several frenetic minutes we land on Gargano versus CIMA in the ring, Champion versus Champion. The two captains battle back and forth, reversing each other’s attacks. Gargano hits the Hurts Donut and locks on the GargaNo Escape and Tomahawk has to break it up. Swann comes in and unleashes a flurry of offense on Tomahawk, so Eita comes in to take over for his partner. Gargano saves the day with a superkick and Hurts Donut. Swann follows with the standing 450. Ricochet goes up top and nails the 630 to get the pin at 22:33. That was another great outing for this awesome yearly tradition. I love the interplay between Gargano and CIMA, and the youngsters Eita and Tomahawk T.T. were a great addition. Also knowing the tension between Ricochet and Gargano and how it played out in the end made this a big success.
Rating: ****

MATCH #8: Main Event – SHINGO vs. Akira Tozawa

This should be pretty awesome. They are former partners so they know each other well and are a bit tentative during the early feeling-out process. The crowd support is evenly split between the two competitors. SHINGO takes the first sustained advantage and sends Tozawa to the floor. He whips Tozawa into the guardrail, and then drops him face-first on the ring apron. Back in the ring SHINGO continues his dominance, keeping Tozawa on the mat. After several minutes Tozawa is able to fight back with a Shining Wizard. Tozawa sends SHINGO to the floor and wipes him out with two dives and a somersault senton off the apron. Back in the ring Tozawa hits a Brainbuster for two. Tozawa stays on offense for a bit, but it’s not to last, as SHINGO blocks a boot in the corner and ties Tozawa up so he can abuse him with punches and chops. SHINGO hits a neckbreaker and a diving lariat for two. Tozawa comes back with an enziguiri and a Saito Suplex. They fight up on the ropes and Tozawa brings SHINGO down with a superplex. Tozawa sends SHINGO to the floor and goes for a dive, but SHINGO catches him (!) and powerbombs him hard on the ring apron. Ouch. Back in the ring SHINGO covers for two. SHINGO hits a lariat in the corner and a gallon throw for another near-fall. Things get heated and both men start throwing suplexes on each other. Both men rise and continue beating the hell out of each other. SHINGO hits a Death Valley Driver, Tozawa counters with a release German Suplex, and SHINGO pops up with a Pumping Bomber. Both men are down. Back on their feet they continue the back and forth. Tozawa hits a bicycle kick to the back and a release German Suplex, followed by the high-angle German Suplex for a two-count. They trade forearm strikes and right hands. SHINGO tries Made in Japan and finally hits it after several attempts throughout the match. It only gets two, so he hits it again and Tozawa kicks out again! SHINGO kills Tozawa with the Pumping Bomber to finally get the pin at 23:08. You want to send a weekend of shows out on a high note – send Tozawa and SHINGO out there and tell them to do their thing. These two are so good, and they built the match up perfectly, with SHINGO needing three finishers to finally put Tozawa away. You probably didn’t need me to tell you that this is an awesome match.
Rating: ****¼×120.jpg

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A2Z Analysiz: DGUSA Mercury Rising 2012 (PAC, Low Ki) Sat, 28 Mar 2015 01:00:39 +0000 MercuryRising2012

Deauville Beach Resort – Miami Beach, FL – Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lenny Leonard is on commentary.

MATCH #1: Bobby Fish vs. Jon Davis

They take it down to the mat and exchange holds, much to the crowd’s delight. Davis definitely has the power advantage here and he’s not shy about using it. Fish hits a dropkick and then unleashes more kicks. Davis catches him in a big spinebuster for two. Now Davis is in control and he wears Fish down using his superior power. Davis hits a delayed vertical suplex for two. Fish fights back with kicks and knee strikes, and lands one right under Davis’ jaw for a two-count. He takes Davis down with a snap mare and goes up top for a moonsault but misses and lands on his feet. Fish hits a dragon screw out of the corner and goes for the Fish Hook but Davis kicks him off. Davis pops up and hits the Pounce. He goes for 3 Seconds Around the World but Fish counters it. Davis counters that into a powerslam for a two-count. A series of reversals ends with Fish cinching on the Fish Hook and Davis taps out at 9:32. That was a decent choice for an opener, as the crowd was into both guys but the wrestlers didn’t elevate it to anything more than “I do this, you do that,” etc.
Rating: **½

MATCH #2: Grudge Match – Arik Cannon w/ Pinkie Sanchez vs. AR Fox

Colt Cabana joins Leonard on commentary. Cannon attacks right away but Fox weathers the storm and hits a dropkick. Fox hits the Miz clothesline in the corner but then Cannon dumps him to the floor. Cannon throws Fox into the barricade and then throws him back in the ring. Fox recovers with a baseball slide and then hits the Kickflip to wipe out both Cannon and Sanchez. Back in the ring Fox gets a two-count. Cannon comes back with a neckbreaker. He continues to work Fox over and even pauses to drink some beer. Oh those cads. Fox comes back with a Stunner. He tries Lo Mein Pain but Cannon blocks it and Fox crashes to the canvas. Cannon goes back on offense but Fox counters him with his impressive athleticism. Fox hits a springboard missile dropkick that sends Cannon to the floor. He follows him out with a springboard 450, which also wipes out Sanchez again. Fox hits the guillotine legdrop on the apron for a two-count. He tries a rana off the second rope but Cannon counters with a Buckle Bomb. Cannon hits a huge lariat and then a big right hand. He connects with a superkick and then Total Anarchy for a very close near-fall. Fox comes back and hits a flatliner into the buckles and then a springboard Vader Bomb off the top rope for two. He locks on the End Time and Cannon counters it with a Brainbuster for two. Fox hits an enziguiri and then goes up top but misses a 450. He’s able to connect with a springboard Ace Crusher but only gets two. Fox hits a senton bomb in the corner and sets up for Lo Mein Pain. But from out of nowhere Sami Callihan throws a chair at Fox to draw the disqualification at 11:01. That was decent back and forth but there wasn’t a lot of cohesion tying the match together.
Rating; **½

MATCH #3: No Rules Fight – Sami Callihan vs. Sabu

Sabu obliges but since it’s a No Rules it starts off as a three-on-one assault. Jon Davis comes out to the rescue and runs Cannon and Sanchez off to the back. Meanwhile Callihan is going to work on Sabu in the ring. The fight spills to the floor and Callihan brings a table into the fray. Sabu kicks the table back into Callihan’s face and then brings a chair into the ring so he can jump off it, which he does, and lands right on the top rope. What the hell was that? Now they fight into the crowd. Not much happens and then they get back in the ring and swing chairs at each other. Sabu wins that battle. Callihan quickly resumes control and busts Sabu’s head open. He goes to work on Sabu’s hand, busting that open too. Sabu fights back, etc. He hits a DDT on a chair. Sabu puts on a Camel Clutch and then Davis, Sanchez, and Cannon make their way back to the ring. Davis dispatches Cannon and Sanchez again and then wipes them out with a plancha. Sabu throws Callihan to the floor and this time hits Air Sabu. Back in the ring Sabu continues the abuse until Callihan cuts him off by kicking a chair back into his shin. Callihan goes after the leg now, abusing it with a chair. He locks on the Stretch Muffler. Sabu escapes by using a chair. Callihan comes back and dumps his bottle of chew over Sabu’s head. Gross. Callihan goes up top with a steel chair but AR Fox comes running out and kicks it back into his face. Fox hits Lo Mein Pain and Sabu follows up with a huge chair shot. Callihan is set on the table. Sabu goes up top and hits the Arabian Facebuster to break the table and get the pin at 18:02. That went on way too long and was way too boring for my liking. I don’t see why Callihan wouldn’t go over here. At least Sabu showed up.
Rating: ½*

MATCH #4: The Chuck Taylor Invitational – Chuck Taylor vs. Rich Swann vs. Samuray del Sol vs. Lince Dorado vs. El Generico vs. CIMA

This was originally scheduled as Dorado versus Del Sol, but Chuck Taylor comes out to attack them both, in his bare feet no less. CIMA and Rich Swann come out to make the save. Then from out of nowhere EL GENERICO comes running out and enters himself in the invitational! The crowd is hot for him.

How is CIMA okay to wrestle this match but he was too injured to wrestle just last night? Regardless, he starts the match with Swann. They have a nice back and forth exchange and Swann dropkicks CIMA to the floor. Dorado and Del Sol come in and put on a high-flying exhibition. Del Sol is particularly impressive. Taylor comes in the ring and Generico ruins him off. That leaves us with Generico and Del Sol in the ring. They put on an even more impressive display than when Dorado was in the ring, because Generico is much better. Taylor takes a cheap shot at Generico and then tags Dorado on his way out of the ring. The match slows down a bit as everyone tries to gain an advantage. Taylor hits Del Sol with Sole Food for a two-count. Every time Taylor goes for a pin someone breaks it up. Eventually Generico gets the tag and he’s happy to hit Taylor with a swinging DDT. Things break down and bodies start flying in from everywhere to attack Taylor because he’s a jerk. Generico hits him with the running Yakuza Kick in the corner. They fight on the floor but the action continues in the ring. The action is getting too fast to follow. Swann hits Generico with a swank DDT for a two-count. Generico comes back with a Blue Thunder Powerbomb for two. CIMA hits Del Sol with a Tombstone Piledriver for a near-fall. He goes for Schwein but Taylor breaks that up. Del Sol hits Taylor with a pop-up rana with a cradle for two. Taylor comes back with a uranage and Dorado breaks up the cover. Dorado hits a Merosault on Taylor for two. Near-falls are happening all over the place. Generico hits Swann with an exploder into the turnbuckles. Dorado then flattens Generico with a beautiful Shooting Star Press. They go to the floor and Del Sol wipes them out with a dive. Swann looks for a dive but Taylor cheap shots him. Taylor goes for the Awful Waffle but CIMA breaks it up and hits Taylor with the Schwein. Dorado breaks up the cover. He hits CIMA with a one-man standing Spanish Fly for two. Dorado goes up top but Generico drills him with a boot to the face. Generico then hits the Top-Rope Brainbuster for the pin at 17:15. I actually thought that ran a little bit long but it was good fun for the most part and Generico got the crowd hyped up. Generico is definitely a good addition to the roster and I’m excited to see him around.
Rating: ***

MATCH #5: The Scene vs. Los Ben Dejos

The Scene is accompanied by Larry Dallas, Amber, and Shelly Martinez. Chuck Taylor has replaced Colt Cabana on commentary. Caleb Konley starts the match with Ben Dejo. Yes, that’s actually his name. The other one is named Marty Con, by the way. The two teams go back and forth in the early going, with the Scene using their power and the Dejos using their speed. This goes on for a little while. Larry Dallas interferes to give his team the advantage. Los Ben Dejos come back and get in quite a bit of offense. Konley and Reed cut them off and hit one of them with the Ob-Scene to get the win at 6:26. That was standard post-intermission fare. Los Ben Dejos haven’t been heard from since, and if DGUSA ever wants the Scene to be taken seriously they should be squashing jobber teams like this.
Rating: *½

MATCH #6: Open the Freedom Gate Title Match – Johnny Gargano vs. Masato Yoshino

Gargano has been the Champion since 11.13.11, and this is his second defense. He is accompanied by Rich Swann, even though he is part of the same stable that Yoshino is a part of. They start with some chain wrestling, just feeling each other out in the early going. Gargano dumps Yoshino to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. He goes to the apron and hits a somersault, and then chews his gum obnoxiously. What is it with wrestlers and gum? Back in the ring Gargano continues to wear Yoshino down. He focuses on the arm, which is one area that his submission finisher targets. Yoshino fights back and focuses on the neck, which makes sense for his submission finisher. I like the game of chess going on here. Gargano comes back and hits the Superman Spear. He puts on a version of the Tarantula and then nails a knee strike to the face. Yoshino tries a rana (you know, like he always does) and Gargano catches him with a sitout powerbomb for two. Gargano tries to capitalize but Yoshino hits him with Sling Blade. Yoshino goes up top and misses the missile dropkick. Gargano hits an Alabama Slam and a kick to the head for two. He goes for GargaNo Escape but Yoshino reaches the ropes. Yoshino comes back with a swinging DDT for two. He goes up top and this time hits the missile dropkick but only gets a two-count. An awesome series of reversals ends with Yoshino cinching in the GargaNo Escape! Gargano reaches the ropes. Yoshino hits Torbellino and locks on Sol Naciente! Gargano reverses it to the GargaNo Escape! Yoshino reaches the ropes. They exchange strikes and knock each other down. The crowd is juiced. Gargano hits the Lawn Dart and Yoshino hit the ring post. A series of reversals ends with Yoshino scoring a cradle for two. Gargano lands a superkick and hits Hurts Donut for a near-fall. He hits another Hurts Donut and locks on the GargaNo Escape and Yoshino taps out at 20:21. I never really bought Yoshino as a threat to the title but he made the most of the match, and they had some really cool reversal exchanges. Both guys also showed good strategy and psychology and it made for a very entertaining semi-main event.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #7: The Dragon Gate Six Man Tradition Continues – PAC, Ricochet & Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Low Ki, BxB Hulk & Akira Tozawa

Mad Blankey is accompanied by Christina Von Eerie. Hulk and Tozawa attack right away and the spectacle begins. They send Ricochet and PAC to the floor and focus on the veteran Mochizuki. It’s notable that Ki did not join in on their pre-bell attack. Mochizuki fights back as Arik Cannon replaces Taylor on commentary. Ricochet tags in and sends Hulk to the floor. Ki tags in and the fans want PAC. They get what they want and here we go. PAC and Ki resume their battle from last night and pick up right where they left off. Mochizuki tags in and he unloads on Ki with hard kicks. Ki responds in kind. Mochizuki dumps Ki to the apron and then kicks him into the guardrail. Back in the ring Ricochet covers for two. Ki comes back and blasts Ricochet with a kick to the chest. Ricochet knocks Ki to the floor and goes for a dive but Ki cuts him off with a kick. The referee loses control briefly and when order is restored Tozawa is in control of Ricochet. The referee gets distracted and Tozawa hits a chair-assisted senton. Mad Blankey isolates Ricochet and keeps him away from his partners. After several minutes of abuse Ricochet makes the big comeback and makes the tag. Mochizuki is a house afire, knocking Mad Blankey to the floor. Ricochet wipes out Tozawa and Hulk with a dive. That leaves PAC and Ki in the ring. Ki hits PAC with a hard double stomp for two. The referee is losing control. Mochizuki and Hulk are in the ring now trading kicks. Hulk goes for an enziguiri but Mochizuki catches it and puts on the Ankle Lock. Tozawa breaks that up. The action is getting too fast to call. Offense is coming from all over the place. Tozawa gets isolated and destroyed by Mochizuki, PAC, and Ricochet. PAC hits a sitout powerbomb but Hulk and Ki break it up. Hulk hits Mochizuki with Mouse and more kicks. Mochizuki counters First Flash with a leg sweep. Hulk and Tozawa hold PAC and Ki hits a huge Tidal Wave. PAC comes back and hits a shooting star kick to the back of the head. Tozawa and Mochizuki tear into each other now. Hulk catches Mochizuki with First Flash and Tozawa hits the dead lift German Suplex but only gets two! Tozawa then hits the Straightjacket German Suplex to get the pin at 21:23. That match was awesome in every possible way and kept the crowd going for over 20 minutes. Everyone looked good and the action never stopped. This is a worthy entry in the series.
Rating: ****¼×120.jpg

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A2Z Analysiz: WWE WrestleMania XXVIII (John Cena, The Rock) Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:00:16 +0000 wrestlemania 28

For an easy to navigate archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

Sun Life Stadium – Miami, FL – Sunday, April 1, 2012

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are on commentary.

MATCH #1: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus

Bryan has been the Champion since 12.18.11, and this is his sixth defense. He is accompanied by his girlfriend AJ. The Champ shares a kiss with his girlfriend and that distraction allows Sheamus to knock Bryan’s head off with a Brogue Kick and win the title in 19 seconds! So the Internet exploded with rage over that, but it may have been the best thing to happen to Bryan. The backlash the next night was a major factor in him getting even more over than he was, and forced the office to take notice of him. Bryan had a great rematch with Sheamus on the next pay-per-view and then had a run with WWE Champion CM Punk so he ended up okay. On its own though, this match was a kick in the dick.
Rating: DUD

MATCH #2: Randy Orton vs. Kane

They go back and forth a bit in the early going as Kane uses his power advantage to try and subdue Orton, but the Viper is determined. Kane drops Orton across the top rope and boots him in the face. That gets a two-count. Kane wears Orton down with strikes and rest holds. Orton tries to fire up but Kane cuts him right off. Kane hits a side suplex for two. Orton comes back with a swinging neckbreaker for a count of two. He tries to follow up but Kane hurls him into the top turnbuckle. Kane hits a vertical suplex for two. He goes for another side suplex and Orton flips out of it. Orton hits the backbreaker. He follows up with a couple of clotheslines and the powerslam. Orton sends Kane shoulder-first into the ring post, and then hits the Orton DDT. He tries the RKO but Kane counters and delivers a boot to the face for two. Kane goes up top for the clothesline but Orton cuts him out of the air with a dropkick. Orton goes for the Punt but Kane catches him in a Chokeslam! That only gets two. Orton almost hits the RKO again but Kane counters. Kane goes to the second rope and Orton slugs away at him. Orton goes up too, but Kane counters with a Super Chokeslam to get the upset pin at 10:57. The match was decent if a bid pedestrian, and I must admit the finish was quite surprising.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #3: Intercontinental Championship Match – Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show

Rhodes has been the Champion since 8.12.11, and this is his eighth defense. He immediately tries to avoid his massive challenger, but when he tries a dive to the floor Show catches him and press slams him back in the ring. Show is dominant, throwing Rhodes around the ring. He also forces his giant ass into Rhodes’ face. Show misses a charge in the corner and Rhodes tries to capitalize. Rhodes hits a series of dropkicks to take Show off his feet. He goes to work on Show’s left leg, which is very smart strategy. Rhodes goes up top and snaps Show’s arm off the top rope. He hits the Beautiful Disaster, but when he goes for another one Show cuts him out of the air with a spear. Show then hits the WMD to score the pin and his first Intercontinental Title at 5:19. That was decent for a TV style match, and it’s nice to see Show get a good moment at WrestleMania, he deserves it.
Rating: **

MATCH #4: Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix & Eve

Phoenix is the current Divas Champion. Kelly and Eve start the match. Eve tries to set the tone but Kelly lands a quick hurricanrana for two. Kelly goes for the handspring elbow but Eve kicks her in the back. Eve goes up top but Kelly knocks her down. Menounos tags in and they rub their asses in Eve’s face. Phoenix kicks Menounos in the ribs from the apron, since it was known that Menounos was coming in with two cracked ribs. Eve and Phoenix isolate Menounos and work on her injured ribs. When Eve goes for the standing moonsault with the ass shake, Menounos kicks her to the floor. Kelly gets the hot tag and she’s a house afire. She goes up top and hits the Molly-Go-Round for two. Eve saved her partner there. Phoenix goes for the Glam Slam but Kelly turns it into a bulldog. Menounos tags in and goes up top. She climbs very slowly so Phoenix grabs her in a press slam. Kelly rescues her partner and Menounos rolls Phoenix up to get the pin at 6:49. This was actually pretty decent tag team formula stuff, and Menounos didn’t try doing anything she couldn’t do. I would like to point out that this match got more time than the World Heavyweight and Intercontinental Title matches combined.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #5: End of an Era Hell in a Cell Match – Triple H vs. Undertaker w/ Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels

Jim Ross joins the commentary team. He mentions that there have been 24 Hell in a Cell matches, and these tow men have been in 19 of them. Undertaker wastes no time in unloading with strikes, but HHH is right there to match him. The battle quickly spills to the floor and Undertaker slams HHH into the ring steps. Undertaker whips HHH into the cell wall and back body drops him. He continues throwing HHH around ringside and otherwise dominating him. Back in the ring Undertaker remains in control. Undertaker hits Old School and then they go back to the floor, where he drives the steel ring steps into HHH’s face. Back in the ring HHH is able to hit a DDT from out of nowhere. He sets up a Pedigree on the steps but Undertaker backdrops his way out of it. Undertaker charges and HHH catches him with a spinebuster on the steps. Before HHH can follow up Undertaker grabs the Hell’s Gate but HHH powers out of it! That was awesome, and it gets a two-count. HHH uses a chair and sets up the steps in the corner to ram Undertaker’s face into. He then destroys Undertaker with a chair, focusing on the spine. HHH tells Michaels to end it, refusing to go for a cover. Michaels tries to ask Undertaker if he surrenders, and of course he doesn’t so HHH throws Michaels out of the way and beats on Undertaker some more with the chair. Undertaker begs Michaels not to stop it, so HHH continues the chair assault. HHH covers but only gets two. HHH uses the chair some more and Michaels isn’t happy with him. He tells Michaels to “end it or I will.” HHH brings the sledgehammer in and cracks Undertaker in the face with it. Undertaker kicks out! HHH goes to crush Undertaker’s skull and Michaels takes the sledgehammer away from his best friend. That’s bull crap, the referee shouldn’t get involved in a No Disqualification Match. Michaels almost calls for the bell because Undertaker is defenseless, but the Dead Man begs him not to again. Undertaker then grabs Michaels in the Hell’s Gate to prevent him from stopping the match! HHH breaks that up with the sledgehammer. He goes to hit Undertaker with it again but Undertaker blocks with a low blow! Undertaker locks on Hell’s Gate but there’s no referee. Charles Robinson makes his way down to replace Michaels, but Undertaker has released the hold. Undertaker hits a Chokeslam and Robinson counts two! An angry Undertaker then Chokeslams Robinson! Undertaker then goes for the Tombstone but HHH slips out and pushes him right into Sweet Chin Music! HHH then hits a Pedigree! Undertaker actually kicks out! That’s the most anyone has ever bought The Streak being over right there. Michaels tries to reason with HHH about using the sledgehammer, so HHH tosses him to the floor. Undertaker sits up and unleashes fury! HHH’s reaction to that was amazing. Undertaker hits the Tombstone and Michaels comes back in to make the count but only gets two! They rise and slug it out, and Undertaker goes for the Tombstone again but HHH slips out again and hits another Pedigree and it only gets two! Both men go for weapons, as Undertaker grabs a chair and HHH grabs the sledgehammer. Undertaker rises first and steps on the hammer to prevent HHH from picking it up. That’s awesome. Undertaker then unloads on HHH with the chair and covers but only gets two. HHH tries to use the sledgehammer but Undertaker simply takes it away from him. The defiant HHH delivers a crotch chop and Undertaker blasts him with the hammer. The straps come down and Undertaker makes the throat slash motion. Undertaker delivers the Tombstone to End the Era at 30:54. That was a huge improvement over last year’s match, and about as emotional and dramatic as a wrestling match could be. Taking this entire story going back to Shawn versus Flair from WrestleMania XXIV makes this an extremely dense and detailed storyline. The match itself was unique in the sense that no two other guys on the roster could have pulled it off. It never really felt long and they worked some great spots and some harsh brutality. As a match it may not be entirely perfect, but with the intangibles I think that pushes it all over the edge.
Rating: *****

WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012

This year’s inductees are Ron Simmons, Mil Mascaras, The Four Horsemen, Mike Tyson, Yokozuna (posthumous), and Edge.

MATCH #6: Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny – Booker T, Great Khali, R-Truth, Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston & Zack Ryder vs. Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre, David Otunga, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler & The Miz

Team Teddy has Teddy Long, Hornswoggle, Eve, Aksana, and Nikki Bella with them. Team Johnny has John Laurinaitis, Vickie Guerrero, and Brie Bella in their corner. Of all the guys on the teams, how are Santino Marella and David Otunga the team captains? Kingston and Ziggler start the match. They go back and forth and momentum switches often as they try to tag everyone in. Team Johnny is able to isolate on Booker, who may be showing a bit of ring rust. After several minutes Henry hits Booker with the World’s Strongest Slam. Khali comes in illegally and the match starts breaking down with everyone ignoring the tag rules and just doing what they want. Most of Team Johnny gets knocked to the floor and Ryder, Truth, and Kingston wipe them out with simultaneous dives. Aksana and Vickie get into a brawl and the Bellas break them up. Meanwhile Booker and Miz are in the ring and finally Santino gets the hot tag! Santino is a house afire and the Cobra makes an appearance! He hits Miz with the Cobra but Ziggler breaks up the pin at the very last second. Ryder tags in and hits Ziggler with the Rough Ryder. He sets Miz up for the Broski Boot and Eve gets in the ring for some reason to play cheerleader. The distraction allows Miz to hit the Skull Crushing Finale to get the pin at 10:37. After the match Eve kicks Ryder in the balls, just to really make him look like a pussy. Seriously, what is the deal with Ryder? The match was okay, a fine chaotic tag match to get everyone on the show, but the treatment of Ryder is baffling.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #7: WWE Championship Match – CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho

Punk has been the Champion since 11.20.11, and this is his sixth defense. Backstage before the entrances, John Laurinaitis tells Punk that if he gets disqualified he’ll lose the title. They start with some chain wrestling and quickly take it to the mat. Punk takes the first advantage so Jericho slaps him in the face to try and rile him up and get him disqualified. Jericho slaps him some more and is practically daring Punk to do something foolish. Punk goes up top and Jericho rolls to the floor so Punk follows him out with a clothesline. Jericho continues to taunt Punk about his family and Punk grabs a chair and Jericho encourages Punk to hit him with it. Punk shows restraint but Jericho is able to hit a dropkick off the second rope. The fight spills to the apron and Jericho clotheslines Punk back inside. Jericho picks Punk up and suplexes him all the way to the floor. Back in the ring Jericho covers for two. Jericho continues working Punk over, focusing on his back. Punk fights back with a flurry of offense, including a swinging neckbreaker for two. He hits the running knee in the corner and goes for the bulldog but Jericho counters. After a series of reversals Punk drills Jericho in the head with a knockout kick for two. Punk slams Jericho and goes up top for Hail to the King but Jericho gets his knees up. Jericho hits the Codebreaker and Punk rolls to the floor. Back in the ring Punk hits the Go to Sleep! Punk covers and Jericho gets his foot on the bottom rope. The Champ hits a snap powerslam for another two-count. A series of counters ends in Jericho dropping Punk across the top rope and then hitting the Lionsault for two. Jericho goes up top and Punk joins him to try a super rana but Jericho counters into the Walls of Jericho! Punk gets to the ropes. Jericho charges in and Punk backdrops him to the floor. Punk follows Jericho out with a suicide dive. He then hits Jericho with the running knee and Jericho’s head slams back into the ring post! Back in the ring Punk goes fro a springboard clothesline but Jericho catches him in the Codebreaker! That only gets two. Jericho talks trash and Punk tries Go to Sleep but Jericho avoids it. Y2J then goes up top and Jericho kicks him down. Punk pulls Jericho down into Go to Sleep but Jericho counters to the Walls of Jericho! That turns into a series of reversals and Punk locks on the Anaconda Vise Jericho gets out of it but Punk locks it back in and Jericho taps out at 22:20! What a fantastic wrestling match from two of the best of their eras. The opening minutes of Jericho trying to get Punk disqualified was great, and the strategy he showed after that working on the back was sound. They both displayed tremendous counters and the near-falls, and the crowd was hot.
Rating: ****½

MATCH #8: Once in a Lifetime – The Rock vs. John Cena

The crowd reaction at the bell is amazing. They love Rock and they despise Cena. The two warriors lock up and Cena throws Rock down. They chain wrestle a bit and Rock scores some armdrags and a La Magistral cradle for two. Cena looks surprised by that. He’s able to come back and ground Rock with a headlock. Rock powers out of it and tries a back body drop but Cena kicks him, and Rock responds with a hard right hand. Cena charges in and Rock takes him down for a Sharpshooter attempt and Cena powders. Back in the ring Cena forces Rock into the corner and delivers shoulderblocks. Cena hits a hard clothesline for two and then continues to work the midsection. Rock charges and Cena pulls down the top rope, sending Rock to the floor. Cena drops Rock down on the barricade, and then on the announce table. Back in the ring Cena covers for two. Cena continues focusing on the ribs, which should help take Rock’s wind away, which is smart given Rock has barely been in the ring in a very long time. Rock fights back with a hard DDT for two. They trade some strikes and Rock comes out on the better end of it. Rock hits a spinebuster and Rock appears to be going for the People’s Elbow. Cena picks the ankle and goes for the STF but Rock avoids it. Even so Cena unloads a flurry and hits the Protoplex. Cena hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He goes for the Attitude Adjustment but Rock slips out and they clothesline each other. Back on their feet both men trade bombs and Rock appears to win the battle and tells Cena he can’t see him, but Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment! That only gets two. Rock responds with a Rock Bottom but Cena kicks out! Cena comes back with a side suplex for two. He goes up top and hits the Cena Slice (hard) for another near-fall. Rock gets up and hits a Spear and locks on the Sharpshooter! Cena reaches the ropes. Rock puts the Sharpshooter back on and Cena reaches the ropes again. They go to the floor and Rock throws Cena into the steps. Back in the ring Cena executes a sunset flip and then turns it into the STF! Rock refuses to quit! He makes the ropes to break the hold. Rock hits a Samoan Drop to buy himself some time. Both men rise and trade shots again. Rock hits a spinebuster and the People’s Elbow! Cena kicks out! He then grabs a quick inside cradle for two. They rise to their feet and Cena catapults Rock into the top turnbuckle. Cena gets a schoolboy rollup for two. He puts Rock up on the top rope and Rock shoves him down. Rock goes up and hits a cross body block but Cena rolls through and throws Rock up on his shoulders to hit the Attitude Adjustment! Amazingly Rock kicks out. Cena gets cocky and goes for the People’s Elbow but Rock pops up and hits the Rock Bottom to score the pin at 30:34! People like to dump on these two, but I really liked this match. It was reminiscent of Cena and Batista, except with a much bigger star in place of Batista. Rock went half an hour and didn’t look that winded, and I didn’t feel like the match was long. Cena essentially beat himself by being too confident – he thought Rock would be rusty and Rock proved him wrong. The crowd helped give this an epic feel, a fitting main event for the biggest show of the year.
Rating: ****¼×120.jpg

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A2Z Analysiz: ROH Supercard of Honor VIII (Adam Cole, Jay Briscoe) Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:00:24 +0000 4PAN1TDVDSLM

For an easy to navigate archive of all my Ring of Honor DVD reviews, please visit RetROH Reviews!

John A. Alario Sr. Event Center – Westwego, LA – Friday, April 4, 2014

Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino, and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary.

MATCH #1: One on One – “Mr. ROH” Roderick Strong vs. Cedric Alexander

Strong has Jimmy Jacobs, BJ Whitmer, and Adam Page in his corner. They start with some chain wrestling and things get heated very quickly. Alexander lands a nice dropkick but Strong is quick to cut him off. Strong dominates Alexander and keeps him grounded, always good strategy against a high flyer. After several minutes Alexander fights back and lands a slingshot DDT for a near-fall. Alexander hits a face plant for another two-count. Strong comes back with a kitchen sink and the Olympic Slam for two. He hits a couple of strikes and tries a half-nelson backbreaker but Alexander counters with a crucifix for a near-fall. Strong catches a boot in this corner and this time hits the backbreaker for two. Both men rise and trade chops. Strong hits a knee strike and the gutbuster for a near-fall. A series of reversals ends with Alexander hitting the 540 Kick. Alexander hits an IED and then has to knock Page and Jacobs off the apron and hit Strong with Kick to Kill. He then takes Page and Whitmer out with a dive to the floor. Back in the ring Alexander tries a springboard but Strong cuts him out of the air with a dropkick. Strong hits End of Heartache to get the pin at 10:28. Great showing for Cedric Alexander right there, and the loss leaves the door open for a rematch. That was a perfect match to open the show with for setting the tone.
Rating ***¼

MATCH #2: Six Man Tag Team Match – The Decade vs. Andrew Everett & Adrenaline RUSH

Jimmy Jacobs, BJ Whitmer, and Adam Page are representing the Decade here. This is under scramble rules. ACH gets a little cocky before the bell even rings because the Decade won’t shake his hand and Jacobs pulls out the spike! Boy he just has that thing ready to go doesn’t he? TaDarius Thomas starts the match with Jacobs, but ACH blind tags himself it before any contact is made. Jacobs follows suit and tags Page in to the match. ACH and Page go back and forth at a rapid pace and trade maneuvers until they end up at a standoff. Whitmer tags in and ACH quickly sends him to the floor. Jacobs comes in and Thomas joins him. Thomas shows off his unique offense on Jacobs while Whitmer and ACH fight on the floor. Jacobs tosses Thomas to the floor and Everett comes right in. Everett shows off his high-flying abilities that send Jacobs outside. Page comes in and the pace stays quite fast. Everett sends Page to the floor and signals for a dive but Whitmer sweeps his leg out from under him. Thomas and Jacobs get back in the ring but Thomas quickly springboard moonsaults his way to the floor to wipe out Whitmer and Page. ACH interjects himself and Whitmer puts him on his shoulders. Jacobs comes through with a Doomsday Suicide Dive to take ACH out and everyone else with him. Back in the ring the Decade team isolates ACH. After several minutes ACH is able to send Whitmer to the floor and take him out with an insane dive. Thomas and Jacobs take over in the ring and Thomas uses his unusual kicks and a release Tiger Suplex to send Jacobs out. The pace quickens once again and the legal man changes often. Everett goes for a springboard maneuver but slips. That doesn’t stop Everett from hitting Page with a moonsault press. Page rolls out and Whitmer comes in. Everett takes everyone out on the floor with a springboard shooting star press and then goes back into the ring with another one on Whitmer for a two-count. He charges and Whitmer sends him to the floor, taking out a photographer on the way. Thomas tries to come in but Whitmer destroys him with a lariat. Jacobs and Whitmer then hit Thomas with the All-Seeing Eye to get the win at 10:15. That was a really fun scramble, with non-stop action and just enough high-flying moves to not be a ridiculous spot-fest. The Decade looks like a stellar unit with two big wins on tonight’s show.
Rating: ***

Jacobs looks to use his spike on Thomas while ACH lays on the floor, seeing nothing. That doesn’t really lend itself to any drama if ACH doesn’t know what’s happening.

MATCH #3: Grudge Match – Matt Taven vs. Truth Martini’s Surprise

Taven is scheduled to face a mystery opponent, the newest member of Truth Martini’s House of Truth. Martini makes his way out solo and announces that Kevin Kelly is the mystery opponent. Kelly of course says that he’s not. Taven looks irritated. Martini reads from the Book of Truth, and Taven takes it from him and reads his own version. When Taven opens the book it glows for a second, and that’s enough of a distraction for Martini to kick Taven in the groin. Boy if they were attempting to make Taven look like a giant doofus and a pussy they sure succeeded with flying colors.

MATCH #3: “Last Real Man” Silas Young vs. R.D. Evans w/ Veda Scott

Evans has Ramon with him as well. Young is in no mood for shenanigans and takes it to Evans right from the bell. Veda interferes early on, as does Ramon. That’s a lot of distraction for Young to deal with. It allows Evans to take him out with a flying forearm off the apron. Back in the ring Evans goes up top and Young slams him down to the mat. Young works Evans over, but the former Barrister is able to withstand the punishment and make a comeback. Evans gets a surprising amount of offense in, until he misses a splash from the top rope. Young hits the Killer Combo for a near-fall. The crowd irritates Young by chanting “You Can’t Beat Him.” They fight out to the apron and Young shoves Evans into the ring post and then hits an Electric Chair! Wow, that seems really dangerous. Somehow Evans is able to make it back to the ring before the count of 20. Evans gets a quick inside cradle on a frustrated Young for two. Veda gets on the apron to distract and Ramon gives Evans his belt. Young gets control of the belt and accidentally hits Turner in the face with it. Evans hits a neckbreaker and gets a visual pin for some reason. Young hits the Finlay Roll into the Pee Gee Waja Plunge and a new referee comes out to count the pin at 10:57. But wait! Original referee Paul Turner comes to and declares Evans the winner by disqualification, so The Streak continues! Evans’ little comedy gimmick is fine for something different, but this made Young look pretty foolish, as he was both outsmarted and at one point visually pinned by someone he should be able to beat.
Rating: **

MATCH #4: No Disqualification – Mark Briscoe vs. Michael Bennett w/ Maria Kanellis

Mark leaps off the apron to wipe Bennett out before he can even get in the ring! They quickly head inside and Mark is dominating. The tide turns when Mark charges into the corner and Bennett backdrops him to the floor. Bennett comes off the apron with a clothesline. They fight their way through the crowd and Bennett goes for a piledriver but Mark backdrops his way out of it. Mark flies around and they head back to ringside, where Bennett throws a chair at Mark’s head, and then does it again. Back in the ring Bennett stays in control, using the chair as an effective weapon. Bennett hits a spinebuster and then charges but Mark avoids him and Bennett crashes into a steel chair. Back to the arena floor Mark hits a Cactus Elbow, and then rolls Bennett back in for a near-fall. They go to the floor again and Mark brings Bennett up the ramp. Bennett is able to spear Mark off the stage and through a conveniently placed table. They make their way back to the ring and Mark finds a kendo stick. Maria gets in the ring to stand in front of her man but Bennett shoves her aside and says bring it! Mark does just that, drilling Bennett between the eyes with the stick. Maria grabs the stick and rips it away. That allows Bennett to hit a superkick, and Maria adds a shot with the stick. Bennett hits the Box Office Smash and then sets Mark’s neck inside a steel chair. He hits a one man Con-Chair-Toe. Instead of going for the pin he locks on the Go Back to Japan to get the win at 9:57. That was a fun hardcore brawl that was done right and had a good finish. This made Bennett look good and I’m all for that.
Rating: ***

Nigel McGuinness replaces Steve Corino on commentary for the second half of the show.

MATCH #5: Number One Contender’s for the ROH World Tag Team Championship Match – Forever Hooligans vs. Hanson & Rowe vs. reDRagon

Rowe and Kyle O’Reilly start the match. Things do not go well for either O’Reilly or Bobby Fish, as Hanson and Rowe dominate them at every possible turn. This goes on for several minutes, and reDRagon can’t get anything going so Fish tags Rocky Romero, who has much better luck against the monstrous Hanson. Alex Koslov tags in and the Hooligans expertly double-team Hanson. As soon as Hanson starts building momentum, O’Reilly tags himself in. The Hooligans control the action and Koslov does his little Russian dance thing. Then they pretend to get upset with each other and hug it out instead of fight. I think they do that all the time, it’s a weird spot. O’Reilly bails again and makes the tag to Rowe, who uses his power. reDRagon tag themselves in again at Rowe’s expense and they isolate Romero. The referee loses control and all six men are doing whatever they feel like with little regard for the rules. This is not ‘Nam, this is wrestling, there are rules! Koslov emerges from the fray and hits O’Reilly with a missile dropkick for two. Fish makes the save and dumps Koslov to the floor. He goes for a dive but Rowe catches him and slams him down hard. The action is getting hard to keep up with here. After a flurry of offense we wind up with Koslov and O’Reilly in the ring. They slug it out and Rowe pulls O’Reilly to the floor. Fish makes the save again and rams Rowe into the barricade, and O’Reilly follows with the dropkick off the apron. Love that move. Back in the ring O’Reilly leaps off the top rope but Hanson catches him in a powerslam. Hanson misses a charge at Koslov and falls to the floor. Koslov goes up top and hits O’Reilly with a Shooting Star Press and Fish breaks up the cover. The Hooligans go for a double-team move but Fish takes Romero out and O’Reilly surprises Koslov with a schoolboy rollup to get the pin at 13:48. That was tremendous stuff, with lots of action and each team getting a chance to shine. Even the rollup finish worked in context of the chaotic nature of the match.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #6: Two out of Three Falls ROH World Television Championship Match – “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jay Lethal

Ciampa has been the Champion since 12.14.13, and this is his tenth defense. These two have a lengthy history together and generally have had good matches. (53:09)Ciampa has a knee brace on, but in lieu of a pre-match handshake he takes the brace off and hands it to Lethal, who was responsible for the injury in the first place. That’s a neat little thing to do. Both men are a little tentative in the opening moments, but things quickly get heated. Lethal takes the first control and sends Ciampa to the floor. He follows him out with three consecutive dives, the final of which sends Ciampa over the barricade and into the crowd. Ciampa fights back and gets Lethal in position to hit a vicious running knee strike against the barricade. Back in the ring Ciampa covers for two. Lethal fights back and hits the hiptoss-cartwheel-dropkick combo for a two-count. He looks for the Lethal Injection but Ciampa blocks it with a (sort of) lungblower. They fight over a suplex and end up both tumbling over the top rope and to the floor. They both barely make it back in the ring at the count of 19. Lethal goes for the Lethal Injection but Ciampa catches him and tries an O’Connor Roll, which Lethal reverses and keeps Ciampa down to score the first fall at 10:20.

Ciampa is angry about that and goes for Project Ciampa, but Lethal counters and they trade some pinning combinations. Neither man can score a pin, but Ciampa gets awfully close when he drills Lethal with a knee to the face. Lethal comes back and hits the Lethal Combination and turns it into the Koji Clutch. Ciampa breaks that and puts on the Sicilian Stretch but Lethal gets to the ropes. Lethal tries the Lethal Injection again but Ciampa avoids it and hits an Ace Crusher for two. They fight over on the ropes and Lethal is able to pull Ciampa down with Project Ciampa but it only gets a near-fall. Lethal tries the Lethal Injection a third time but Ciampa ducks and Lethal takes referee Todd Sinclair out with a back elbow. McGuinness tries to wake Sinclair up as Ciampa destroys Lethal with a series of German Suplexes and a huge lariat. Both men are down. Truth Martini runs out and gives Lethal the knee brace! Lethal decks Ciampa with it and covers but Ciampa kicks out! He goes up top and hits Hail to the King but Ciampa kicks out at one! Lethal destroys Ciampa with three superkicks and finally hits the Lethal Injection to win his second straight fall and second TV Title at 6:52 (total match time) 17:12. Once again Lethal and Ciampa delivered, playing off the fact that they know each other well, and building up to the finish expertly. I’m not a huge fan of Truth Martini, but with the benefit of writing this review a year after the fact, I think I can say it worked out alright for Jay Lethal.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #7: Number One Contender for IWGP Heavyweight Championship – “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin

These two waste no time tearing into each other. They’ve faced off twice before, with each man holding one victory over the other. Steen strikes the first big blow with the Cannonball for a two-count. They head to the floor and trade chops with each other. They head to the floor and battle out there, with Steen mostly in control and thwarting all of Elgin’s comeback attempts. Steen tries a Package Piledriver but Elgin blocks it and hits the delayed vertical suplex right on the floor! Back in the ring Elgin covers for two. Elgin wears Steen down a bit until Steen comes back with the rope-hung DDT for a near-fall. Elgin responds with the deadlift release German Suplex. Both men are down. They get back up and clothesline each other a few times but neither man will budge. Both go for their submission holds, and a series of reversals ends with Elgin hitting a Black Hole Slam for two. Elgin goes up top and misses a senton. Steen hits a pumphandle neckbreaker for two. He goes for the Cannonball but Elgin catches him in a powerbomb. Elgin tries to follow up but Steen picks him up and hits the F-Cinq for a near-fall. Both men rise and start trading strikes. Elgin hits a bicycle kick and a huge forearm shot for a two-count. The fight spills to the floor and Steen hits the powerbomb on the apron! Steen tries a cannonball off the apron but Elgin moves and Steen crashes hard to the floor. Elgin then powerbombs Steen right into the ring post and rolls him back in the ring for two. He hits a Tombstone Piledriver for another near-fall. Steen comes back with the popup powerbomb and the Package Piledriver and Elgin somehow kicks out! A desperate Steen goes to the top rope and tries the Swanton but Elgin gets his knees up. Steen tries a charge in the corner and Elgin hits the STJoe, a back fist, a Buckle Bomb, and the Elgin Bomb but Steen kicks out! Elgin tries a superplex but Steen counters and brings him down with a suplex of his own. Once again Elgin kicks out! Steen goes for a Package Piledriver but Elgin counters out and delivers three consecutive powerbombs. Elgin picks Steen up and hits a Buckle Bomb, but Steen counters right back with a Sleeper Suplex! Steen charges and Elgin flattens him with a lariat. Elgin hits another Buckle Bomb and then hits the Package Piledriver to finally put Steen away at 19:12. What a war. I love when these two face each other because they just go all out with their big moves trying to destroy each other. They went non-stop and had the crowd with them for the duration.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #8: **Main Event** Ladder War V – ROH World Championship – Adam Cole vs. Jay Briscoe

Cole has been the Champion since 9.20.13, and this is his eighth defense. This is the third time for Jay Briscoe in Ladder War, and the first for the Champion. It doesn’t take long for the fists to start flying. Jay sends Cole to the floor and goes for a dive but Cole blasts him in the face with a steel chair. Cole brings the chair in the ring and continues to use it as part of his offensive attack. Jay has a small cut on his head already. Cole tries to bring a ladder in but Jay kicks it back into his face. Jay takes control and whips Cole all around the ringside area. Back in the ring Jay misses a charge and runs his head right into a chair. Cole delivers a suplex right on top of a ladder. Both men are already looking worn down. Cole makes the first attempt at climbing up for the belts, as the wound on Jay’s head is turning into a gusher. Jay takes Cole to the floor and suplexes him on the ramp. Jay continues the abuse, continuing to use a steel chair and various ladders to his advantage. He sets up a ladder between two chairs and lays Cole across it, then flies off the apron with a senton. Jay appears to have an opening to go after the belt, but he decides against it and brings out a table instead. He lays Cole out on the table and climbs up a very tall ladder. Cole gets off the table and punches Jay in the boy parts. He sets a ladder between a chair and the apron, but can’t get anything done with it just yet. Cole brings in a smaller ladder but it backfires when Jay powerbombs Cole onto it. That just sounded like it hurt. They fight up on the ropes and Cole superkicks Jay right back on that aforementioned ladder setup. That was sick. Jay’s back is bleeding now too. Cole climbs up the ladder but Jay gets back in the ring and brings Cole down with an electric chair toss right onto a ladder. Jay continues to abuse the Champion, delivering a series of strikes and a Death Valley Driver onto a sitting chair. He lays Cole across a ladder and goes for a splash but Cole moves out of the way. Both men pick up steel chairs and they sword fight with them. Cole wins that battle but Jay quickly fires back by throwing the chair at Cole’s face. Both men are down. They rise and climb a ladder toward the belts. Jay knocks Cole back to the mat and has a clear path to the titles, but Cole flips Jay the double bird and that brings Jay down for some more fightin’. Jay unloads with right hands and hits a vicious Jay Driller. He still doesn’t go for the belt, opting for more violence. Jay lays Cole across a ladder and eyeballs him with a chair in hand. Matt Hardy runs out to make the save and he drags Jay to the floor to hit a Twist of Fate. He gets in the ring and helps Cole climb the ladder but Mark Briscoe comes out to help his brother by putting a stop to that. Mark sets Hardy on top of a table and climbs up a ladder. Michael Bennett appears from out of nowhere and shoves the ladder over, sending Mark crashing through the table. Jay takes Bennett out and gets back in the ring for a face-to-face showdown with the ROH World Champion. Both men start slugging at each other and Jay hits another Jay Driller. Jay climbs up the ladder but Bennett gets in the ring and pulls Jay down, only to take a Jay Driller for his troubles. Once again Jay climbs up but Hardy gets back in the ring and pulls Jay down, and he gets hit with a Jay Driller too! Cole recovers and he and Jay both climb the ladder towards the belt, and Cole is able to knock Jay down and grab both belts and become the undisputed Champion at 28:34. That was brutal and violent and everything they promised it would be. I wasn’t a huge fan of all the interference, but in the context of the feud it’s not entirely out of the blue or anything. Both men gave a huge effort in this one and made it feel like they really do hate each other and really wanted to prove their superiority, and that works for me.
Rating: ****×120.jpg

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A2Z Analysiz: WrestleMania XXVII (John Cena, The Miz) Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:00:01 +0000 wrestlemania 27

For an easy to navigate archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

Georgia Dome – Atlanta, GA – Sunday, April 3, 2011

Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Josh Mathews are on commentary.

MATCH #1: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio

Edge has been the Champion since 2.18.11, and this is his second defense. He’s accompanied by his best friend Christian. Del Rio of course has his personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez with him, as well as his bodyguard Brodus Clay. Edge is coming off four straight WrestleMania losses, while Del Rio is making his debut. Del Rio wisely goes after Edge’s taped up arm right away. Edge backdrops Del Rio to the floor, but pays for it when he joins him, as Del Rio throws his arm into the barricade and the steel steps. Back in the ring Del Rio covers for two. Del Rio continues going after the arm but misses a charge into the ropes and falls hard to the floor. Edge follows him out with a somersault dive over the top rope. Back in the ring Edge goes up top but Del Rio armdrags him down for a two-count. Edge comes back with a boot to the face and both men are down. Back on their feet Edge unleashes a flurry, including the flapjack for two. Del Rio goes back to the arm and tries the Cross Armbreaker but Edge counters to the Edge-o-Matic for two. Edge tries an O’Connor Roll but Del Rio rolls into the Cross Armbreaker and Edge has to reach the ropes. A frustrated Del Rio argues with the referee, allowing Edge to snap his neck off the top rope. Now Edge goes back up top and Del Rio kicks him in the head for another two-count. Rodriguez threw Edge’s leg off the bottom rope there, so Christian runs over to fight Rodriguez and Clay, and gets kicked in the face by Del Rio and slammed down by Clay. Meanwhile Edge rolls Del Rio up for a near-fall. Edge hits the Impaler DDT and looks ready for the Spear. Del Rio avoids it and Clay takes a cheap shot from the floor. Once again Del Rio locks in the Cross Armbreaker but Edge turns it into a pinning combination for two. Edge then locks on the Edgecution. Clay tries to interfere again so Christian hits him with a tornado DDT out on the floor! Del Rio powers out of the hold but then turns right into a Spear and Edge gets the pin in what would prove to be his final match at 11:09. That was better than I remembered it, as Del Rio’s psychology was sound and the crowd was into Edge the entire time.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #2: Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes

Mysterio is paying homage to Captain America this year. He hits an immediate rana off the top rope before Rhodes can even take his jacket off. Rhodes cuts him off and goes to work, hitting an early Beautiful Disaster kick (not yet called as such) for two. Mysterio tries to fight back but Rhodes catches him with the Alabama Slam for a near-fall. Rhodes continues to pour it on, hitting a delayed superplex. That’s an awesome move and it gets two. Rhodes signals for Crossroads but Mysterio slips out and sends Rhodes to the floor. Mysterio hits a dropkick and misses a baseball slide but is able to connect on a headscissors that sends Rhodes crashing into the ring apron. That was cool. Back in the ring Mysterio hits the seated senton off the top rope for two. He continues the fast paced assault, but Rhodes catches him with a wheelbarrow suplex for a two-count. Mysterio comes back with a headscissors and tries the 619 but Rhodes catches him and slingshots catapults him into the middle rope for two. Rhodes goes after the knee brace now and removes it. Even without the knee brace, Mysterio hits a springboard moonsault for two. Rhodes’s mask falls off and Mysterio takes advantage, hitting a 619! Mysterio goes for a Superfly Splash and Rhodes catches him, but Mysterio counters that and kicks Rhodes right in the face for two. He puts Rhodes’s mask on and delivers a couple of headbutts. Mysterio goes up top and hits a diving headbutt for two. The referee removes the facemask from the ring while Rhodes slips to the floor and grabs the knee brace. When Mysterio tries a suicide dive Rhodes blasts him in the face with the brace! Back in the ring Rhodes hits the Crossroads to get the upset pin at 11:58. That was really good, as the match played into the feud perfectly and they did some cool spots relating to the mask and the brace. Rhodes getting the win is awesome too.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #3: Eight-Man Tag Team Match – Big Show, Kane, Kofi Kingston & Santino Marella vs. The Corre (Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel

Barrett is the current Intercontinental Champion, while Slater and Gabriel are the current WWE Tag Team Champions. Kingston was a last minute replacement for Vladimir Kozlov. Last year he was added to Money in the Bank at the last minute. What does that guy have to do to get a real spot on the card? Marella and Slater start it off. Show is quickly tagged in and he unloads on Slater. He crushes Slater in the corner and wipes him out with a shoulderblock. The referee loses control as everyone just starts coming into the ring regardless of tags. Marella hits Slater with the Cobra and Show hits him with the WMD to end this grueling contest at 1:34. I think they literally did everything they could possibly do in the time they were given.
Rating: *

MATCH #4: Randy Orton vs. CM Punk

Orton is coming into this match with his right leg taped up, but that doesn’t stop him from attacking right out of the gate. He knocks Punk to the floor and follows him out for more abuse. Punk kicks the steps into Orton’s injured leg. Back in the ring Punk hits a high cross body off the top rope for two. Orton hits the backbreaker but Punk cuts him off and goes right back to the leg. Punk hits the running knee in the corner and continues the leg abuse. He tries the Go 2 Sleep but Orton slips out and tries the RKO, and Punk slips out of that and kicks Orton in the face for two. Punk goes up top and Orton knocks him down. Orton hits a superplex for a two-count. Really, of the three commentators none of them mentions that Orton’s dad used that move as a finish? Punk comes right back and goes to work on the leg again. Orton fires up with clotheslines, the powerslam, and a Thesz Press. He follows up with an Angle Slam for two. Punk cuts him off and puts on the Anaconda Vise and Cole actually explains that Orton can’t use his injured leg to push out of the hold. That’s great insight. Orton gets to the ropes. Punk goes to the apron for some reason, likely so that Orton can trap him in the DDT. Orton looks for the Punt but his leg gives out on him. Punk looks confident and almost gets hit with the RKO but he’s able to avoid it. He goes for the springboard clothesline but Orton catches the RKO this time! That’s enough to for Orton to get the pin at 14:45. This is a bit of an overlooked gem, with great psychology from Punk, awesome selling by Orton, and a great finish.
Rating: ****

MATCH #5: Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. Michael Cole, with Special Guest Referee Stone Cold Steve Austin

Booker T and Jim Ross are on hand to call this match with Mathews. Cole tries to stall in the Cole Mine but Austin rings the bell and tells Lawler to go ahead and go after him! Lawler has to fight Swagger off first, which he does with little difficulty. Cole offers a handshake and wants bygones to be bygones. Of course Lawler will have none of it, pulling Cole’s head repeatedly into the Cole Mine wall. Lawler gets into the Cole Mine and continues the abuse. Then he throws Cole into the Anonymous Raw General Manager’s podium. Swagger attacks Lawler behind Austin’s back, allowing Cole to hit a baseball slide. Cole distracts Austin while Swagger puts the Ankle Lock on Lawler for a couple of seconds. Back in the ring Cole goes on offense. It’s not too often you get to type that sentence. This actually goes on for several minutes. Cole then pulls one strap down and then puts on the An-Cole Lock to absolutely no reaction. Lawler kicks his way out of it and then stomps a mudhole. Swagger throws the towel in but Austin chooses not to recognize that so Swagger gets in the ring to protest. Just take one guess how that ends for him (with a Stunner). Cole pleads with Austin and then slaps him! Lawler takes over now, hitting a series of punches and the dropkick! He goes to the second rope and hits the fist drop, but he pulls Cole up at the count of two. Lawler puts the Ankle Lock on and Cole immediately taps but Austin allows Lawler to keep the hold on as Cole begs for him to ring the bell, which he finally does at 13:45. That was much too long but they did some cute spots and the finish was good.
Rating: *½

Austin and Lawler celebrate, and Booker T decides he has to join them for a Spin-a-Roonie. Unfortunately for Booker he ends up on the receiving end of a Stunner. Then from out of nowhere the Anonymous Raw GM chimes in and says that since Austin was absurdly biased, he is reversing the decision to a disqualification win for Cole. Lawler throws Mathews in the ring to take a Stunner. What an absurdly stupid coda to a match that had no reason to not be a definitive end to this feud.

MATCH #6: No Holds Barred Match – Undertaker vs. Triple H

The Game comes out swinging but the Dead Man is up to the task, throwing HHH to the floor. Undertaker throws HHH into the steel steps, and HHH comes back by driving Undertaker through the Cole Mine. Back in the ring Undertaker looks more annoyed than hurt, and he hits the flying clothesline. Undertaker goes for Old School but HHH whips him down to the mat. They go back to the floor and HHH whips Undertaker into the barricade. HHH clears off the announce table and goes for the Pedigree but Undertaker backdrops him to the floor! Undertaker follows up with the flying tope and manages not to spike himself. Back up on their feet Undertaker charges and HHH catches him with a spinebuster through the Spanish Announce Table. Back in the ring Undertaker hits a Chokeslam for two. HHH comes back and tries mounted punches in the corner (you think he’d learn) and Undertaker tries the Last Ride but HHH slips out and hits another spinebuster for two. The Game goes outside and brings in a steel chair, but Undertaker books him in the face. Undertaker hits HHH with the chair a couple of times but HHH hits a Pedigree from out of nowhere for a two-count. HHH goes for a superplex but Undertaker reverses to the Last Ride! That only gets two. Undertaker hits the Tombstone Piledriver but HHH kicks out again! He goes for another one but HHH slips out and hits a DDT on the steel chair.

They sell their exhaustion for a while and when they get back up HHH hits a second Pedigree but Undertaker kicks out. HHH hits a third Pedigree and Undertaker kicks out again! Now HHH grabs the steel chair and goes all Stone Cold at WrestleMania X-Seven, and yells for Undertaker to “stay down.” Now while Undertaker is lying on the mat, why doesn’t HHH go for a cover? Undertaker gets up and HHH blasts him right in the face with the chair. HHH continues telling Undertaker to “stay down” and “die,” but I still can’t figure out why he won’t cover him. Undertaker grabs HHH by the throat but there’s not much behind it. He tells HHH to bring it, so HHH makes the throat slash gesture and then hits the Tombstone! The crowd buys it but Undertaker kicks out! A desperate HHH goes outside the ring and grabs the sledgehammer. Before he can use it, Undertaker grabs HHH in the Hell’s Gate! HHH grabs the sledgehammer but it falls from his hand and he taps out at 29:21. There are a lot of divergent opinions on this one, and I land somewhere in the middle. They did their damndest to make this one feel epic, and it worked to a point, but it definitely seemed like they were trying really hard and that’s always a turnoff. I liked HHH’s strategy of going for big moves throughout the match and Undertaker just doing his best to survive – other than the Shawn Michaels matches, which are perfect, this is the most vulnerable Undertaker has seemed during the Streak. Forced epic is always really hard to pull off, and I can’t fault the effort, and if they didn’t have to live up to the Shawn Michaels matches this might have seemed better, but it is what it is.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #7: Six-Person Mixed Tag Team Match – John Morrison, Trish Stratus & Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi vs. Dolph Ziggler & Laycool

Michelle McCool and Layla attack Stratus and Snooki right off the bat and the men split them up for some reason. Snooki slaps Ziggler and the referee separates everyone to start the match proper. McCool and Stratus start it off, and despite an early onslaught by the former seven-time Women’s Champion, McCool cuts off the Matrix move and goes for the Faithbreaker. Stratus counters that with a facebuster. She follows up with a Stratusphere attempt but McCool blocks it and they tumble hard to the floor. Layla comes over to help out but Stratus is able to take out both members of Laycool. Back in the ring Stratus gets a schoolgirl rollup for two, and then lands the Chick Kick. Ziggler breaks up that cover and Morrison comes in to clothesline him to the floor. Morrison then follows Ziggler out with Starship Pain! Snooki tags and the crowd boos, but they quickly turn to cheers as she hits a double handspring elbow on McCool in the corner, and then a handspring splash to get the pin at 3:17. That was perfectly harmless and you need to have a match like this between Triple H versus Undertaker and the main event. Watching Morrison give Stratus the cold shoulder is fun too.
Rating: **

MATCH #8: WWE Championship Match – The Miz vs. John Cena

The videos before the match are seriously awesome. Miz has been the Champion since 11.22.10, and this is his sixth defense. He’s accompanied by his protégé Alex Riley. They go back and forth to start and the crowd does NOT like John Cena. Miz hits the corner clothesline early for a two-count. Cena comes back with a gutwrench slam for two. They rise and Miz hits the Side Effect for two. Miz goes for the corner clothesline again but Cena avoids it this time. Cena goes up and hits the Cena Slice for two. He charges to the corner but misses and hits nothing but turnbuckle. Miz kicks Cena in the face and gets two. He continues slugging away at Cena, keeping him on the mat. These guys don’t appear to be on the same page. Cena misses a cross body block or something and lands awkwardly. Miz hits a kneelift for two. Even Ross and Lawler seem to notice that these guys don’t seem quite right, particularly Cena. Miz goes for the Skull Crushing Finale but Cena powers out and unleashes flurry. Cena hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and goes for the Attitude Adjustment but Miz slips out and hits the baby DDT for two. Miz hits a neckbreaker for another two-count. Miz removes a top turnbuckle pad, and while the referee is distracted with that Cena gets an inside cradle but it only gets two. Cena avoids getting thrown into the exposed turnbuckle and tries the Attitude Adjustment and Miz slips out, so Cena drop toeholds him and puts on the STF. Miz reaches the ropes and then distracts the referee, allowing Riley to grab Cena and throw him into the exposed turnbuckle. The Champion then hits the Skull Crushing Finale but it only gets two. Miz tries the Skull Crushing Finale again but the referee gets bumped and Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment. Of course there is no one to count now. Riley gets in the ring with the briefcase and decks Cena with it. The referee recovers in time to make a count, but Cena kicks out at two. Riley distracts the referee and Miz grabs the case, but Cena ducks and Riley takes it instead. Cena hits Miz with the Attitude Adjustment but Miz kicks out! They take it to the floor and Cena clotheslines Miz over the barricade. Cena clotheslines Miz further into the crowd and the referee count them both at out 14:43. What the hell?

The Rock makes his way out sweating like Mark Henry, but before he can say anything the anonymous Raw General Manager tries to chime in. Of course it doesn’t matter what the GM thinks, and Rock declares that this match has to restart with no-DQ rules. Back in the ring Cena tries an Attitude Adjustment but Miz slips out, and Rock hits Cena with the Rock Bottom! Miz crawls over and makes the pin to retain the title at a whopping 0:36 (total match time 15:19). What a shit sandwich. The match was not so very good to begin with, and that’s coming from a guy who likes both Cena and the Miz, but something was definitely off there. The double countout was stupid and Rock’s involvement in the finish cheapened the whole thing. It’s not the worst main event in WrestleMania history, but it’s probably one of the bottom five.
Rating: *¾

After the bell Rock attacks Miz, hitting him with the spinebuster and the People’s Elbow. Rock celebrates to end the show.×120.jpg

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A2Z Analysiz: Mercury Rising 2011 (CIMA, Johnny Gargano) Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:00:12 +0000 mercuryrising2011dvd

The Presidential Ballroom – Atlanta, GA – Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lenny Leonard and Chikarason are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Jon Moxley vs. Arik Cannon

Moxley has two women with him tonight, Valerie Malone and Trina Michaels. HGe attacks Cannon right away before the bell. Cannon weathers the storm and unleashes some offense, but the women interfere from ringside to give Moxley the advantage. Moxley uses a sleeper and adds a body scissors to it just for fun. Cannon fights out of that and hits a big neckbreaker complete with a hilarious sell from Moxley and both men are down. Back on their feet Cannon builds some momentum with a flurry of offense. Cannon hits an exploder suplex for two. Moxley fights back with an Ace Crusher and a Lariat for two. He tries to use a chair but Cannon avoids it and gets a rollup for two. Cannon then hits a right hand, a superkick, and the brainbuster but Valerie Malone gets in the ring to distract the referee and when Cannon turns his back that gives Moxley the chance to kick him low and wrap him up in a small package for the win at 7:31. That was adequate for the time given.
Rating: **

MATCH #2: Six Man Elimination Match – Brodie Lee vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Silas Young vs. AR Fox vs. Jon Davis vs. Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa

Ichikawa is making his debut tonight. He and Fox start the match and the crowd is introduced to his brand of comedy. I think it’s fair to say he’s in the same ballpark as Kikutaro insofar as they’re both comedy wrestlers. Lee doesn’t find him amusing though and slaps him down, which leads to a five-on-one assault. Ichikawa tries hard but continues to fail, and Davis murders him with a lariat for the first elimination at 3:20. Now it’s Lee and Davis going at it, the two big powerhouses. Lee hits a headscissors and a suicide dive to the floor. That’s just awesome. Fox and Young take over in the ring with some fast-paced back-and-forth, and Fox knocks him to the floor and takes everyone except Jacobs out with a dive. Jacobs then convinces Ichikawa to come back in the ring and try a dive, but of course he makes no contact. Everyone seems to be going after Lee, which is smart given that he’s the biggest dude out there. Jacobs is able to hit Fox and Young with a simultaneous leaping Ace Crusher off the second rope, and executes a simultaneous Contra Code. That’s enough to eliminate Fox at 8:20. Jacobs also tries to pin Young but he’s too close to the ropes. Davis comes back in the ring and asserts his power advantage. The match starts to get out of hand and Jacobs traps Young in the End Time for the tap out at 10:55. Jacobs then goes for a crucifix on Davis and Lee helps him out with a big boot to Davis’s face and Jacobs scores his third straight elimination at 11:23. We’re down to just Jacobs and Lee now. They take the fight outside and Jacobs hits a Contra Code on the floor! Back in the ring Jacobs hits another Contra Code but Lee kicks out. Jacobs goes up top and Lee is able to take him down with a super butterfly suplex. Lee then hits a big running boot to the face and the Truck Stop for the pin at 13:55. That was good clean fun and solid work from everyone involved.
Rating: ***

MATCH #3: Non-Title Match – Masato Yoshino vs. Sami Callihan

Yoshino doesn’t even come out with the Open the Dream Gate or Open the United Gate championship belt, so this is definitely a non-title match. They start out brawling at a rapid rate, which could favor Callihan. That turns out to be exactly the case in the opening minutes. Yoshino fights back with Sling Blade. That doesn’t last too long before Callihan fights back with a Zig Zag. Yoshino comes back and locks on From Jungle and turns it into a sunset flip for two. The champ focuses on Callihan’s arm, so Callihan comes back with hard strikes and kicks. Yoshino hits a perfect missile dropkick for two. Callihan fights back and drops the straps to hit a huge clothesline for two, and then a Rikishi Driver for another two-count! He then runs right into the Lightning Spiral but he’s able to kick out! Yoshino follows up with Torbellino and then locks on Sol Naciente for the submission victory at 9:28. That was a good styles clash and I’m digging Callihan in the ring if not the character outside it yet. Speaking of, Callihan gets on the mic and growls and curses a bit.
Rating: ***

MATCH #4: Open the Brave Gate Title Match – PAC vs. Akira Tozawa

PAC has been the champion since 8.29.10, and this is his sixth defense. Also, this is only the second time the belt has been defended in the United States, after Matt Sydal did it at an ROH show in Dayton against Austin Aries back on 2.23.07. They take it down to the mat, which would be a good idea for Tozawa throughout the match I’m sure. PAC gets a little bit of offense in but Tozawa mostly dominates in the early going. Finally PAC fights back by countering the diving headbutt attempt with two boots to the face. The cut on PAC’s forehead from last night has been opened back up. PAC works Tozawa over a bit before Tozawa knocks him to the floor and follows with two consecutive suicide dives. Tozawa then hits a senton off the apron. Back in the ring Tozawa hits a Saito Suplex for two, and then a Back Drop Driver for another near-fall. PAC is quickly back in control though as the crowd chants “This Is Awesome.” He this a springboard 450 but Tozawa kicks out! The offense continues fast and furious as the crowd chants “This Is Wrestling,” one of my least favorite chants. Tozawa finally hits one of his famous German Suplexes but PAC kicks out at two! He goes for another one but PAC reverses to one of his own and that’s enough to get the pin at 19:39. The finish seemed a bit abrupt but the action leading up to it was awesome, as Tozawa continues to be the best thing going in the company.
Rating: ****

MATCH #5: Danny Steel & Charade vs. the Sin City Saints

Apparently these four athletes impressed during an afternoon tryout/seminar. Right as the bell rings Sami Callihan runs out from the back and destroys the Sin City Saints, so this is a no-contest around 10 seconds in. Callihan cuts a promo loaded with curse words that I can’t totally comprehend. Arik Cannon runs out and adds more cursing. This is horrible. Cannon destroys Steel and Charade, and then they angry guys turn their attention to each other.
Rating: DUD

MATCH #6: Open the Freedom Gate Title Match – YAMATO vs. Austin Aries

YAMATO has been the champion since 1.28.11, and this is his first defense. You know, people give WWE crap about hammering home their points, but I’ve heard “first-ever in-house iPPV” a number of times on this DVD. Aries has vowed to leave DGUSA forever if he does not win the Open the Freedom Gate Title. YAMATO is accompanied by Kamikaze USA leader Jon Moxley, but before the match he tells Moxley to go to the back. Both men appear evenly matched as they show off their mat and chain wrestling skills early on. YAMATO gloats a little bit too early and Aries makes him pay with a Brainbuster for two and then a 450 Splash but YAMATO kicks out of that too! The champion wisely rolls to the floor but Aries follows him out, wanting so badly to win the title. Back in the ring Aries continues to control the action. YAMATO goes to the floor and crawls under the ring, and when Aries climbs to the top he sneaks out and tosses Aries into the guardrail. Referee Jason Harding gives a lot of leeway, as YAMATO uses a broom and doesn’t get disqualified. Back in the ring YAMATO works the lower extremities, using the Figure-Four Leglock and the Ankle Lock in his attack. Aries fights back and dumps Yamato to the floor, and then takes him out with the Heat Seeking Missile. They fight on the apron and Aries dumps YAMATO on his head back in the ring for a two-count. Aries switches up his attack and goes after the leg. YAMATO fights back with a powerbomb right into the Samoan Crab, a la Samoa Joe. Speaking of, will the Real Samoa Joe please stand up? Back on their feet they exchange strikes until YAMATO grabs a sleeper and then hits the sleeper suplex for two. YAMATO dumps Aries hard to the floor, and when they battle on the apron Aries is able to hit a Death Valley Driver! Back in the ring that only gets two. They fight up to the top rope and YAMATO goes for a superplex but Aries cradles the legs into a double-pin situation but both men get their shoulders off the apron before a three-count can be made. Aries recovers quickest and hits two straight IEDs and a Brainbuster but YAMATO kicks out! He goes up top for another 450 Splash but YAMATO avoids it and hits an enziguiri. YAMATO delivers a kick to the head and tries a Brainbuster but Aries rolls through and gets a quick schoolboy rollup for two. Aries hits the kick to the head and tries the Brainbuster but YAMATO reverses to his own and it only gets one! YAMATO goes for Galleria but Aries reverses to the Brainbuster for a very close near-fall! They trade forearm blasts now and Aries goes for another Brainbuster but YAMATO counters to Galleria and Aries kicks out! YAMATO delivers a hard kick to the face, and then one to the head. He then hits Galleria one more time and Aries is finally done at 25:23. They took a very simple story – two guys both trying to win with the same combination of moves – and created something extremely exciting and memorable, particularly down the stretch. This was one of the best DGUSA matches of the year so far. Aries will now have his last DGUSA match tomorrow night against Jimmy Jacobs.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #7: The Dragon Gate Six Man Tradition Continues – CIMA, Naruki Doi & Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano, Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann

CIMA finds Stalker Ichikawa on his way to the ring and beats him up just for fun. He and Ricochet are two-thirds of the Open the Triangle Gate Champions along with Dragon Kid. This is the fifth match in the series of them dating back to 2006 (there was no match in 2009). Blood Warriors attack right away and take early advantage on Swann. Leonard needs to retire “Right On the Button” from his vocabulary. Gargano and CIMA get a chance to resume their battle from last night, and then everyone gets a chance as the action comes at a rapid pace. The two teams both get a chance to pick on a member of the opposing team and work him over. Swann is the unfortunate victim of the Blood Warriors, and they do a number on him. Finally Swann is able to make a tag and both Taylor and Gargano are houses afire on Blood Warriors. The action comes at a breakneck pace and everyone gets to look good. About 23 minutes in the pace really quickens so it feels like they’re headed into the home stretch. Ricochet badly blows a dive to the floor, but nevertheless it eliminates Gargano and Taylor from the match, leaving CIMA and Swann in the ring. CIMA delivers the Schwein, Meteora, and then a Muscular Bomb to finally get the win at 25:51. This is a worthy entry in the WrestleMania six-man tag series, as I continue to love any and all things Ronin. Blood Warriors continue to look dominant over the whole promotion, but I like where this is all going.
Rating: ****×120.jpg

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A2Z Analysiz: ROH Supercard of Honor VII (Kevin Steen, Jay Briscoe) Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:00:00 +0000 SCOH7

For an easy to navigate archive of all my Ring of Honor DVD reviews, please visit RetROH Reviews!

Hammerstein Ballroom – New York City, NY – Friday, April 5, 2013

The show opens with a very detailed video package about the ROH versus SCUM feud. I must say ROH is getting really good with their video packages. Kevin Kelly and Caleb Seltzer are on commentary and run down the major matches.

MATCH #1: Tag Team Challenge Match – ACH & TaDarius Thomas vs. Q.T. Marshall & A Mystery Partner

Marshall makes his way out with Barrister R.D. Evans. The Barrister get on the microphone to introduce the mystery partner. Evans teases some big names before revealing himself as the mystery partner. He takes off his suit and has wrestling gear on underneath. Even Marshall looks surprised.

Evans and Thomas start the match. That doesn’t go so well for Evans so he quickly tags out. Thomas and ACH continue to control the pace with Marshall, which of course is fast and furious. Evans tries to help out but he proves to be ineffective. Marshall and Evans have to use some questionable tactics to take control. After a few minutes Thomas is able to make the tag and ACH is all fired up. Caleb Seltzer kind of sucks on commentary. ACH continues flying around, and even executes a Cloverleaf Giant Swing on Evans into a Cloverleaf proper, and Marshall has to break it up. Both Evans and Marshall get sent to the floor, and ACH wipes out Marshall with a dive. Evans tries a dive on ACH but misses and hits Marshall instead. Thomas then floors Evans and Marshall with a dive. Back in the ring Evans hits ACH with an inverted Styles Clash for two. Marshall and Evans go for a double-team on ACH but Thomas breaks it up. Thomas and ACH hit Marshall with some kicks and ACH finishes him off with ACH’s Big Bang Attack at 9:53. That was a surprisingly hot opener, as Marshall and Evans displayed some solid cheating teamwork, and Thomas and ACH are both absurdly fun to watch. This was a good choice to open.
Rating: ***

Shelton Benjamin makes his way out. He was supposed to face Charlie Haas to blow off Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, but Haas was canned the week before, leaving Benjamin with no opponent. Benjamin talks about this on the house mic, making two straight matches starting with a promo to open the show. He calls out Cheeseburger, a student that Haas had brutally attacked back in Cincinnati. Benjamin gives Cheeseburger props for standing up to Haas. All of a sudden, Mike Bennett makes his return after three months off, with both Brutal Bob and Maria Kanellis in tow. Bennett mocks Cheeseburger and is about to announce where he’s going to sign, but before he can Cheeseburger snatches the microphone away. Cheeseburger awkwardly tells the trio to go back to Boston, and gets punched in the mouth for it. Benjamin says he found his match. I didn’t know he got his own booking power.

MATCH #2: Shelton Benjamin vs. Mike Bennett w/ Maria Kanellis

Benjamin takes Bennett out with a punch and catches the Brutal one in a Samoan Drop. They quickly spill to the floor and Benjamin is throwing Bennett all over ringside. Back in the ring Benjamin continues the abuse. Benjamin goes after the leg to wear Bennett down. Bennett is able to come back with a spinebuster and Maria gives him some lovin’. Benjamin quickly fights back with a backbreaker. Both men rise and trade right hands. Benjamin gets the better of it and follows with a flurry of offense. He hits the Blinger Splash and the T-Bone Suplex for two. Bennett catches a charging Benjamin with the Box Office Smash for a near-fall. He hits a running knee in the corner and then tries Go 2 Sleep just to be a jerk, but Benjamin counters into a half crab. Maria gets up on the apron to distract referee Paul Turner and Benjamin, allowing Brutal Bob to take a cheap shot on Benjamin. Bennett goes up top and hits a guillotine legdrop. He pauses to make out with Maria and molest her. Maria continues dancing on the ring apron for some reason, with her back turned. Benjamin backs into her and she thinks it’s Bennett still. Benjamin cops a cheap feel and when Bennett goes for a superkick he misses and hits Maria! That gives Benjamin the chance to hit a superkick and a bridging German Suplex for two. Brutal Bob gets up on the apron and Benjamin knocks him down. Benjamin hits Bennett with a back suplex. He tries a sunset flip but Bennett kneels down and Bob grabs his hands for leverage and Bennett gets the pin at 9:01. That was the usual, but the stuff with Maria was weird and unnecessary. Benjamin has not made an appearance since this.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #3: Number One Contender’s Match – Jay Lethal vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin

These two start slowly, as a lot is on the line here. The pace quickens and they trade some pinning combinations for a series of near-falls. More back-and-forth wrestling follows, as both guys try to take the first sustained advantage. Lethal hits the hiptoss – cartwheel – dropkick sequence and keeps Elgin on the mat. Elgin comes back with a nice powerslam but only gets one. He puts Lethal in a Crossface and Lethal gets to the ropes. They take the fight to the apron and Lethal kicks Elgin down to the floor. Lethal follows with two straight dives and a Jericho Dropkick, and then a third dive. Back in the ring Lethal hits a Death Valley Driver and goes up top. Elgin stops him and goes up too. They fight on the top rope and Elgin hits the dead lift superplex. That gets a two-count. Both men rise and trade right hands. Elgin wins that battle and hits a Black Hole Slam for two. He thinks about the Buckle Bomb but Lethal backs him into the corner. Elgin recovers and hits a release German Suplex into the turnbuckles. He goes up top for the corkscrew senton but Lethal gets the knees up. Lethal hits the pop-up neckbreaker for a near-fall. He goes up top but can’t connect with anything. Lethal hits the Flatliner and rolls it right into the Koji Clutch. Elgin reaches the ropes. Lethal goes for the Lethal Injection but Elgin catches him and it leads to a series of reversals that ends with Lethal nabbing a victory roll for two. Elgin hits the spinning back fist and the Buckle Bomb but Lethal pops out and his a superkick. Lethal hits another superkick but Elgin shrugs it off and hits one of his own, a kick to the face, and a huge lariat for two. Elgin hits another Buckle Bomb and tries the Elgin Bomb but Lethal counters to a reverse rana! Lethal hits the Lethal Injection and Elgin pops up. Dumb. Lethal hits the Lethal Combination and hits Hail to the King for a near-fall. Both men rise and Lethal puts Elgin on the top rope for a super rana. Elgin counters with a powerbomb. Back on the mat Elgin hits the spinning back fist, the Buckle Bomb, and the Elgin Bomb to get the pin at 19:05. I’m not a huge fan of Elgin no-selling Lethal’s finish, but for the most part this was a really fun back and forth match between two top contenders. Both men looked good here and they kept the crowd with them the whole way.
Rating: ***½

S.C.U.M. makes their way out and attacks both men just to be jerks. Steve Corino cuts a quick promo about killing Ring of Honor, and he challenges five of their best to come out and face his crew. It doesn’t take long for ROH to respond, and here we go.

MATCH #4: Ten Man Tag Team War – BJ Whitmer, Mark Briscoe, Mike Mondo, Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. Rhett Titus, RHINO, Jimmy Jacobs, Jimmy Rave & Cliff Compton

The fight quickly spills to the floor and there is brawling going on all over the place. Everyone gets their shots in, and then they make it to the ring and SCUM is in control with Mondo isolated in their half of the ring. This goes on for a surprisingly long time, as Mondo gets worn down by all five members of the SCUM team. Finally Mondo makes a hot tag to Whitmer, and the Buzzsaw starts cutting through everyone. Coleman and Alexander take Compton and Titus out with stereo dives. Referee Paul Turner completely loses control and the brawl has resumed. This is a lot like a scramble match, with the legal man rule acting as a mere suggestion to the backdrop of this crazy fight. Steve Corino gets annoyed with Caleb Seltzer on commentary, so he slaps him around and then throws him into the guardrail! Good! Whitmer throws Corino into the ring but Jacobs and RHINO make the save. Titus hits Whitmer with the dropkick and then handcuffs Whitmer to the ropes. Compton throws powder into Mondo’s eyes and RHINO pitches him to the floor. Jacobs spikes Alexander. Coleman comes to the rescue and takes Jacobs out. Coleman hits Rave with a sick piledriver. RHINO grabs Coleman for a belly-to-belly suplex and then rips him in half with the Gore Gore Gore for the pin at 11:16. This was nonstop action from bell to bell, and was super fun all around. A match like this was much more effective in getting SCUM over than having them struggle to beat Grizzly Redwood. Corino promises to take the TV Title and retain the World Title tonight.
Rating: ***¼

Jay Briscoe’s Previous Title Matches

Briscoe has had many unsuccessful shots at the title, including against Xavier at All Star Extravaganza on 11.9.02, Samoa Joe at Tradition Continues on 10.16.03, Joe in a Steel Cage Match at At Our Best on 3.13.04, Takeshi Morishima at A Fight at the Roxbury on 6.8.07, Nigel McGuinness at Chaos at the Cow Palace on 10.21.07, Jerry Lynn at Validation on 5.9.09, and Roderick Strong at Only the Strong Survive on 1.15.11. That makes tonight his eighth shot at the title. This was a really cool addition to the show.

Nigel McGuinness is on commentary to replace the injured Caleb Seltzer.

MATCH #5: Special Attraction – Roderick Strong vs. Karl “Machine Gun” Anderson

They start with some chain wrestling. Back and forth they go in the early going, both men trying to set the pace and take control. Strong hits a leg lariat and starts going to work on the arm. Anderson responds with a dropkick to the knee. He focuses on the injured body part and they go to the floor. Anderson goes for the Ace Cutter on the guardrail but Strong pushes him off. Strong then drops Anderson’s midsection right on the guardrail. Back in the ring Strong covers for two. Strong continues working Anderson over. He uses an Angle Slam; maybe Kurt Angle should Tweet about it. Anderson fights back and they trade chops. Strong lands an enziguiri but then runs right into a spinebuster. That gets two. Strong gets a sunset flip for two and then hits a superkick for a near-fall. He tries the Stronghold but Anderson kicks his way free. They fight on the apron and Anderson hits the Baddest Kick in the World. Anderson goes up top and hits Too Badd for a two-count. He hits a Liger Bomb for two. Strong fights back with the Sick Kick for a near-fall. He hits the Death by Roderick and another Sick Kick but still only gets two. They get up and trace strikes. Anderson hits the Bernard Driver for a near-fall. A series of reversals ends with Anderson hitting an Ace Crusher to get the pin at 12:33. This was good solid work from both guys and their styles meshed well. It wasn’t overly memorable, but both of these guys are just really good. Strong is the perfect guy for anyone making a special appearance in ROH to face.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #6: World TV Title Elimination Match – Matt Taven vs. Adam Cole vs. Matt Hardy

Taven has been the Champion since 3.2.13, and this is his first defense. He’s accompanied by Truth Martini and Scarlett Bordeaux. Hardy has Steve Corino in his corner. The crowd is NOT enjoying Hardy’s presence, and they certainly don’t care for Corino handling his ring introduction. Cole and Hardy tear into each other and Taven hangs back. When Cole dropkicks Hardy to the floor, that’s when Taven pounces. Cole avoids Taven and wipes Hardy out with a dive. Taven tries a dive but Cole cuts him off with a kick. Cole throws Hardy into the barricades a few times. Taven hits Cole with a Jericho Dropkick as Kevin Kelly calls him nearly 6’4”. I have a hard time believing that. Taven lands a dive this time, taking out both Hardy and Cole. Back in the ring Taven covers Cole for a one-count. While the match goes on, Scarlett goes and sits on Nigel’s lap and distracts the crowd. Meanwhile Hardy has made his way back into the ring and Taven is outside. Hardy hits Cole with the legdrop off the second rope for two. The match actually continues even though the crowd and the commentators are distracted. Cole fights back with punches and an enziguiri. He knocks Taven off the apron and hits Hardy with a Shining Wizard for two. Cole follows up with a Death Valley Neckbreaker for another two-count. He then locks on the Figure-Four Leglock. Taven breaks that up with a Superfly Splash on Cole for two. Hardy grabs Taven in a DDT and Cole pulls Hardy down with a neckbreaker at the same time! That was cool. Cole covers both but can’t pin either. They continue to do more three-way spots and Hardy takes control. Hardy tries a bulldog on Taven but Cole cuts him off with a superkick. Taven rolls Hardy up for two. Cole hits Taven with a vertical suplex into a neckbreaker for two. He takes Hardy up to the top rope and they battle it out. Taven joins them for a Tower of Doom spot. Cole covers Taven for two. Hardy hits Cole with the Side Effect for a two-count. The pace continues to be quick here. Hardy hits Taven with the Twist of Fate and Martini jumps up on the apron to distract the referee. The crowd chants “same old shit.” Cole takes the opportunity to kick Hardy in the nuts and puts him in a small package for the first elimination at 10:05! That was awesome. A furious Corino gets in the ring and Cole is ready to fight, but Corino offers a handshake. That’s interesting. In all the confusion Taven hits Cole with the Bulldog Driver to get the win at 11:27. They packed a lot of action into that, but Taven looked like he could have been anyone out there. I do like the intrigue of Cole and Corino at the end there, but they’ve got to get the TV Title off Taven.
Rating: ***

MATCH #7: World Tag Team Title Match – reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs. The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards)

O’Reilly and Fish have been the Champions since 3.2.13, and this is their third defense. Richards and O’Reilly start the match. They go back and forth and get to a quick standoff. Tags are made. Edwards and Richards take control of Fish and start to wear him down. The champs come back on Edwards, but he quickly cuts O’Reilly off and the Wolves are back in control. Momentum continues to shift between the two evenly matched teams. The Champs work on Richards for a bit, and then Edwards gets a hot tag and cleans house. Richards and Edwards send Fish and O’Reilly to the floor and tease dives but get cut off. Back in the ring the Wolves hit dual hurricanranas that send reDRagon back to the floor. This time they hit the dives. Back in the ring the Champions reclaim control and send the Wolves to the floor. Fish hits Richards with a somersault dive and O’Reilly hits Edwards with the Missile Dropkick off the apron. Back in the ring the Champs work on Edwards until he comes back by chopping Fish down and suplexing O’Reilly on top of him. Richards gets the tag and hits a missile dropkick on both opponents. He is a house afire but can’t put anyone away yet. Referee Paul Turner loses control a bit and both the legal man and five second rule goes out the window. The action is getting much too fast to call. O’Reilly and Fish, despite their relative inexperience as a team, are able to match the Wolves in teamwork. O’Reilly almost puts Richards away with a sick Regalplex. The action continues and the crowd is going nuts. After a series of reversals, O’Reilly takes Edwards out with a reverse rana. Fish nails Richards with a kick to the head from the floor and O’Reilly rolls him up with a handful of tights to get the pin at 21:07. They could have cut a few minutes out, as I was thinking this was kind of ho-hum, but the last third of the match or so they really tore it up. The finish was a little cheap but the program is continuing so it makes perfect sense.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match – Kevin Steen vs. Jay Briscoe

Steen has been the Champion since 5.12.12, and this is his eighteenth defense. They start off slowly, trying to psyche each other out. Jay has a severely injured shoulder, so that could come into play here. Steen sends Jay to the floor and the fight carries on out there. He tries the powerbomb but Jay backdrops his way out of it. Back in the ring Jay continues going to work. Steen fights back with a DDT for two. Steen gets some offense in but Jay cuts him off with a big boot and a rolling punch. Jay tries to follow up but the Champion wisely throws Jay’s injured shoulder into the ring post. Steen attacks the injured body part now like shark smelling blood in the water. Jay fights back with a modified blockbuster, which looked really cool. Jimmy Jacobs makes his way out to interfere and he gets run off by Jay’s brother Mark. Jay hits a Death Valley Driver for two. He goes up top and Steen battles him there, pulling him down by the shoulder. Steen then hits the Cannonball for a near-fall. Nigel says “that move has knocked me out more than any other,” and I call bullshit on that. They go back to the floor and this time Steen hits the powerbomb on the apron. Steen goes to the top rope and tries the Swanton Bomb but Jay gets his knees up. Jay hits a nasty neckbreaker for two. Rhett Titus and Cliff Compton come out to interfere, and Veda Scott actually holds Compton’s leg to prevent him from interfering! Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander come out to run Titus and Compton to the back. Jay and Steen unload on each other with punches and then hit simultaneous clotheslines. Members of the ROH locker room and the Briscoe family make their way out to ringside to make sure S.C.U.M. doesn’t interfere anymore. Steen hits Jay with the F-Cinq but only gets two. He goes for the Package Piledriver but Jay backdrops his way out of it. Steen is resilient and hits a Sleeper Suplex and then lands the Package Piledriver! Jay kicks out! S.C.U.M. tries to come out but the locker room fights them to the back. Somehow Matt Hardy is able to sneak into the ring. Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate but Steen doesn’t want his help and he pitches him to the floor! Jay then hits the Jay Driller but Steen kicks out at two! He goes for a second Jay Driller but Steen counters into a Crossface. Jay rolls it into a cover for two. They slug it out more and Jay hits a release German Suplex. Jay follows with a lariat and another Jay Driller to score the pin and finally win the World Title at 18:20! That was tremendous stuff with ROH fighting off S.C.U.M. and just good back and forth stuff between two excellent brawlers. It felt like a huge moment and Jay has been a huge part of Ring of Honor and deserved to win the title. It’s too bad he tainted the moment by having his Twitter tantrum a few weeks after this and (apparently?) leaving the company, but at the time this was really cool.
Rating: ***¾×120.jpg

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A2Z Analysiz: WrestleMania XXVI (Shawn Michaels, Undertaker) Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:00:47 +0000 wrestlemania 26

For an easy to navigate archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

University of Phoenix Stadium – Phoenix, AZ – Sunday, March 28, 2010

Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Matt Striker are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Unified Tag Team Championship Match – Big Show & The Miz vs. John Morrison & R-Truth

Show-Miz has been the Champions since 2.8.10, and this is their fourth defense. R-Truth is making his WrestleMania debut here. The Miz is the current U.S. Champion. Former championship partners Morrison and Miz start the match. Cole notes that it’s been nine years since a Tag Team Title has changed hands at a WrestleMania as Morrison hits a dropkick and makes the tag. Truth comes off the top rope with a guillotine legdrop for two. He hits a kick that knocks Miz back into his corner, allowing a tag. Show hits Truth with a fallaway slam. He shoves Morrison off the apron and chops Truth down. Show goes up to the second rope and Morrison kicks him down. Truth covers but only gets two. Morrison and Miz tag back in and Morrison unloads on him, hitting the running knee to the face for two. He goes for Starship Pain but Show pulls Miz out of the way. Truth tries a house show dive on Show but gets caught and hurled into the ring post. Back to the ring Miz covers Morrison for two. Miz goes for the Skull Crushing Finale but Morrison counters to a cradle for two. Show tags himself in and as Morrison goes for a springboard he cuts him off with the WMD to get the pin at 3:24. They deserved more time but they did make the most out of what they were given.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #2: Triple Threat Match – Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase

Rhodes has pretty horrendous entrance music here. Orton gets a pretty sizable pop on his way out. DiBiase and Rhodes are still a tag team at this point, so this is more a handicap match less a triple threat. That’s exactly the way it starts, as Legacy double-teams Orton, which works out very well for them. Cole says that both Rhodes and DiBiase are making their WrestleMania debuts, but Rhodes was in the preshow battle royal at WrestleMania XXIV. Orton fights back and the crowd comes alive, but DiBiase cuts him right off with a clothesline. Rhodes hits a knee drop and goes up top for the moonsault and DiBiase tries to steal a pin. That doesn’t sit well with Rhodes, who hurls DiBiase to the floor and then hits Orton with the Alabama Slam for two. DiBiase takes offense to that and now the two Legacy members tear into each other. Orton recovers and goes on a rampage on both of them. He dumps DiBiase and hits Rhodes with the backbreaker. DiBiase pulls Orton to the floor and then Rhodes wipes out DiBiase with a house show dive. Legacy tries to get back in the ring but Orton catches both of them with the Orton DDT at the same time! Orton kicks DiBiase to the floor and then delivers the Punt Kick to Rhodes. DiBiase sneaks back in and tries to hit Dream Street but Orton counters to the RKO and gets the pin on DiBiase at 9:02. Rhodes and DiBiase had no shot, but they worked in a couple of nice spots and the crowd was really into Orton so it was fun.
Rating: **½

MATCH #3: Money in the Bank Ladder Match – Kofi Kingston vs. MVP vs. Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Matt Hardy vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kane vs. Christian

This is the WrestleMania debut for Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre. Obviously that makes it their first time in this match as well. This is the sixth ever Money in the Bank match, and it’s the second time for Kingston, the third time for MVP, the fifth time for Benjamin, the third time for Hardy, the third time for Kane, and the third time for Christian. McIntyre is the current Intercontinental Champion. In qualifying matches Christian beat Carlito, Ziggler beat John Morrison and R-Truth in a triple threat, Kane beat McIntyre, Benjamin beat CM Punk, Swagger beat Santino Marella, MVP beat Zack Ryder, Hardy also beat McIntyre, Bourne beat William Regal, McIntyre beat a local competitor, and Kingston beat Vladimir Kozlov.

This is the greatest number of competitors in the Money in the Bank match to date. Obviously this match is going to be hard to call. Bourne, MVP, and Hardy all work together to eliminate McIntyre early. A slew of guys go up for the case and Bourne gets the closest, but Kane pulls him down and throws him onto a gaggle of guys on the floor. More ladders get involved and bodies are flying all over the place. Of everyone, Christian and Hardy have the most experience in ladder matches, but Shelton isn’t too far behind them. Kingston, MVP, and Benjamin form a unit to battle Kane, but the Big Red Monster fights them off. Benjamin hits MVP with Paydirt and then kicks a ladder into McIntyre’s face on the floor. Swagger and Bourne go at it in the ring and Bourne takes him out. Christian and Hardy trap Swagger underneath a ladder and jam two more ladders into his ribs from either side. They climb up on either side and Bourne joins them from the side of the ladder. Swagger pushes Hardy’s ladder out from underneath him and Bourne kicks Christian down and then hits Air Bourne! Bourne tries to grab the case but Hardy throws him down. Swagger then throws Hardy down. MVP and Benjamin climb up next but it doesn’t take long for them to tumble to the floor. No one is even in the ring at this point. Kane is first in the ring and tries to climb but Ziggler climbs over him and almost gets the case but Kane pushes him over. He then Chokeslams Ziggler on top of a ladder and traps him inside of it and actually breaks it. Kingston gets back in and this Kane with Trouble in Paradise. He actually takes the broken ladder and uses it as stilts and almost gets to the case but McIntyre knocks him down. McIntyre climbs but Hardy knocks him down. Hardy gets his hands on the case and takes forever trying to unhook it so Christian and Kane stop him. Christian hits the falling inverted DDT off the ladder, which Cole identifies as the Twist of Fate. Now Christian and Swagger climb up and Christian gets his hands on the case. Swagger swings it into Christian’s face and pulls the case down at 13:28. I love Money in the Bank and they did some really creative spots in this one. Ten guys is too many but they made the most of it.
Rating: ****

MATCH #4: Triple H vs. Sheamus

This is Sheamus’ WrestleMania debut, and the fourteenth appearance at the Show of Shows for the King of Kings. They try to psyche each other out with the power game early on. HHH goes for a Pedigree but Sheamus slips out. Sheamus tries to overpower the Game, but instead takes a clothesline, a vertical suplex, and a knee drop for one. Wisely, Sheamus rolls to the floor but HHH quickly retrieves him. Back in the ring HHH goes to work on the legs, using a Figure-Four Leglock. Sheamus reaches the ropes and rolls back to the floor. HHH follows him out but Sheamus whips him into the steel steps. Back in the ring again Sheamus hits the Irish Curse backbreaker and then another one. Sheamus is fully in control now. HHH fights out of a chinlock with a back suplex. He follows up with a DDT and hits the high knee and the facebuster (called by some jackass in the front row) for two. HHH tries the Pedigree but Sheamus blocks it, but he can’t block the neckbreaker. A series of reversals ends with Sheamus hitting the Brogue Kick for a two-count. HHH fights back with the spinebuster for two. Sheamus rolls to the apron and is able to hit another Brogue Kick. Sheamus sets up for Pale Justice but HHH hits the Pedigree form out of nowhere to get the pin at 12:08. That was a pretty good power match but the finish seemed too abrupt. Sheamus would go on to get much better.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #5: Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk

Punk was cutting amazing promos at this time, especially the creepy rendition of Happy Birthday he sang to Rey’s daughter. He’s accompanied to the ring for this match by fellow Straight Edge Society members Luke Gallows and Serena, and he cuts a promo on his way to the ring. Mysterio’s gear tonight is inspired by the movie “Avatar,” and Punk has gear inspired by G.I. Joe. Gallows distracts Mysterio to start and Punk takes control. Serena also liberally interferes. Mysterio gets tied up in the Tree of Woe and Punk goes for a baseball slide but Mysterio avoids it. On the floor Punk is able to slam Mysterio’s face on the steel steps. Back in the ring Punk goes right back to work. Mysterio fights back with the seated senton but he tries a cross body block and Punk catches him in a powerslam for two. Every time Mysterio tries a comeback Punk is able to cut him off. Mysterio mostly hits the amazing DDT from Halloween Havoc ’97 and Punk kicks out at two. He follows up with the 619 but Punk catches him. Punk sets up for the Go 2 Sleep but Mysterio fights out of that. Mysterio kicks Punk in the face and goes up top to miss a Frog Splash. Punk covers but only gets two. He hits the high knee in the corner and tries a powerbomb but Mysterio counters by putting Punk in position for the 619. Serena and Gallows interfere, but Mysterio thwarts them and finally hits the 619 and follows up with the springboard splash to get the pin at 6:29. That was criminally short, but to be fair this was hardly a marquee match and the feud would go on to have longer, better matches.
Rating: ***

MATCH #6: No Holds Barred Match – Bret “Hit Man” Hart vs. Mr. McMahon

McMahon wants to screw Hart again, so he brings out a bunch of Hart family members, including Natalya, David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd, and a bunch of others. Bruce (in sunglasses) is going to be the special guest referee. Bret gets on the mic and laments his family’s decision. He then reveals that the family has actually double-crossed McMahon! McMahon looks stunned as Hart goes to work on his most hated rival ever. The Hart family even gets their shots in on the floor. This is just going to be a massacre. The Hart Dynasty even hits the Hart Attack out on the floor! Back in the ring Hart goes to work some more. McMahon rolls to the floor and gets beat on some more by the Hart family until he goes under the ring and grabs a crowbar. He tries to use it on Hart but can’t connect and the Hit Man gets a hold of the weapon instead. Hart thinks about going for the Sharpshooter but decides McMahon needs more punishment first. He kicks McMahon in the balls and then works him over with a steel chair for what seems like forever. Finally Hart locks in the Sharpshooter and McMahon taps out at 11:08. Given the age and limitations of both participants, that was the best they could do. It wasn’t a good match but it gives closure to the storyline and it had to happen.
Rating: *

MATCH #7: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Chris Jericho vs. Edge

Jericho has been the Champion since 2.21.10, and this is his first defense. Edge won the Royal Rumble to earn this title shot. Matt Striker tries to say that this is the first time these two have wrestled, but that is blatantly false. They start with some basic back and forth. Edge signals for an early Spear but Jericho bails to the floor. Striker tries to say that these two traveled the roads together before coming to WWE but that again is completely false. While I stew about the things Striker says, Jericho takes control. When Edge tries to come back the Champ cuts him off and continues the assault. Jericho goes for the springboard dropkick but Edge avoids it and knocks Jericho from the apron into the announce table. Edge hits Jericho with a clothesline off the apron. Back in the ring they fight up on the top rope and Edge hits a gourdbuster for a two-count. Jericho tries the Walls of Jericho but Edge pushes off. Edge tries a cross body block off the top rope but Jericho rolls through for two. Jericho tries the Walls again but Edge again counters it. Edge gets a sunset flip off the second rope for two, and then Jericho rolls through and kicks Edge right in the face. Jericho tries the Codebreaker but Edge blocks it. Edge tries the Spear again but Jericho catches him and locks on the Walls of Jericho, which Edge counters to a cradle for two. Jericho tries the Lionsault but Edge avoids it and hits the Edge-o-Matic for two. Back on their feet Jericho hits an enziguiri for two. Edge responds with an Impaler DDT for two. Jericho gets a boot up in the corner and goes to the second rope to hit a forearm to the back of the head. He signals for the Spear but Edge boots him right in the face. Now Edge signals for the Spear but Jericho cuts him off with the Codebreaker! That gets a two-count. Now Jericho focuses in on the ankle, putting on the Walls of Jericho. Edge almost makes the ropes but Jericho pulls him back to the center of the ring and switches it to a single leg crab, focusing right on the injured limb. Finally Edge reaches the ropes and is able to grab a cradle for two. They take a spill to the floor and Jericho goes for his belt. Back in the ring Edge inadvertently bumps the referee and Jericho cracks him with the belt. Jericho covers but only gets two! He hits another Codebreaker and Edge is done at 15:46. That was a well worked match and the crowd popped for all the signature moves and near-falls, but it just seemed to be lacking that little spark of hatred that would elevate it from a very good match to a great match.
Rating: ***¾

After the bell Jericho continues to attack the ankle. Edge gets angry and fights back, clearing off the announce table. He gets up on the table and Spears Jericho through the barricade! That was a cool spot and a good way to pop the crowd after the babyface lost.

MATCH #8: 10-Diva Tag Team Match – Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Eve, Gail Kim & Beth Phoenix vs. Michelle McCool, Maryse, Layla, Alicia Fox & Vickie Guerrero

McCool is the Women’s Champion and Maryse is the Divas Champion. I can’t believe they ever thought they needed two championships in the Women’s/Divas division. Phoenix looks positively massive in the lineup of her team. Kim and Guerrero start the match. Guerrero bumps Kim and gloats about it, so Phoenix tags in and runs Guerrero back into the corner. Eve tags in, then Kim, then James, then Kelly, so all the members of team Eve get a shot at Guerrero, who doesn’t really know how to sell. Not that I blame her, but why make her take the heat then? Kelly hits the K2 but McCool comes in and pulls Kelly right into the Faithbreaker. James comes in and hits McCool with the DDT. Layla hits James with a neckbreaker. Kim hits Layla with Eat Defeat. Maryse hits Kim with the French Kiss. Eve hits Maryse with a somersault senton. Fox hits Eve with the axe kick. Phoenix hits Fox with the Glam Slam. She tries to grab Guerrero but McCool kicks her in the head. McCool then encourages Guerrero to hit the Cougar Splash (paying tribute to Eddie a total babyface spot) on Kelly. Guerrero pulls Kelly’s shoulders up too far so the referee has to actually stop the pin and then restart it, but it’s enough to get the pin at 3:25. That was what you would expect from the Divas.
Rating: ½*

MATCH #9: WWE Championship Match – Batista vs. John Cena

Batista has been the Champion since 2.21.10, and this is his first defense. The careers of these two men are almost mirror images of each other, which makes this an awesome match to have right now. Cena starts off with a headlock to keep Batista grounded. Batista fires back and I expect we’re going to see a lot of offense in this match. Cena hits an awkward looking suplex and then his bulldog for a two-count. He tries the Attitude Adjustment but Batista counters to a sick DDT for two. Batista uses a chinlock and Cena powers up and out of it. They trade punches and the crowd is doing the boo (Cena) / yay (Batista) thing. Batista goes back to the chinlock and Cena powers out again with a back body drop. Cena unleashes a flurry of offense, hitting the Protoplex and signaling for the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Batista cuts him off with a spinebuster. Cena grabs the leg and puts on the STF. Batista gets to the ropes and then levels Cena with a Spear. He sets Cena up top and Cena knocks him down and hits a Five Knuckle Shuffle from the top rope. Cena goes for the Attitude Adjustment but Batista counters it to the Batista Bomb! Amazingly that only gets two. A series of reversals ends with Cena hitting a huge Attitude Adjustment but Batista kicks out at two! Cena goes up top and jumps right into a Batista Bomb, just like SummerSlam 2008. Batista goes for another Batista Bomb but Cena rolls through and locks on the STF, forcing Batista to tap the title away at 13:29! That makes Cena a seven-time WWE Champion and a nine-time overall World Champion. The ridiculousness of that fact aside, this match was all kinds of awesome, with two badass power wrestlers throwing everything they had at each other. These two had amazing chemistry together and this match felt like a big, epic WrestleMania match. I love it.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #10: Streak vs. Career – Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

Michaels makes the throat slashing gesture at Undertaker, which angers the big man and away we go. Undertaker hits Snake Eyes and a big boot right off the bat, as they’re setting a pretty torrid pace. He tries a Chokeslam but Michaels blocks it. Undertaker then tries a Tombstone but Michaels avoids that too. Michaels almost hits a Superkick but Undertaker is able to duck that. Now Michaels wisely goes after Undertaker’s knee, which seems to be the weak spot. Undertaker comes back and knocks Michaels to the floor. It looks like he’s going to go for the tope but Michaels catches him with a shoulder right to the knee. Undertaker fights back and targets Michaels’ back, which was actually injured in a match these two had together back at Royal Rumble 1998. He hits the leg drop on the apron. Back in the ring Michaels puts on the Figure-Four Leglock and Undertaker reverses the hold. Michaels hits the flying forearm but when he kips up Undertaker grabs him and hits the Chokeslam! That only gets two. What a great spot. Undertaker goes for the Tombstone but Michaels wriggles out and puts on the Ankle Lock but it gets broken. Michaels clotheslines Undertaker to the floor and then tries the springboard cross body block but Undertaker catches him and hits the Tombstone! That’s what beat Jake Roberts at WrestleMania VIII. A doctor tries to tend to Michaels but Undertaker shoves him away and throws Michaels back in the ring for a two-count. Undertaker goes for the Last Ride but Michaels counters with the X-Factor for two. Michaels goes up top and tries the elbow drop but Undertaker gets his knees up! Undertaker grabs Michaels in the Hell’s Gate but Michaels gets a jackknife pin for two. Michaels gets up and nails Sweet Chin Music! Undertaker kicks out at two. Michaels tunes up the band but Undertaker catches it and this time hits the Last Ride but Michaels kicks out! Undertaker pitches Michaels to the floor and follows him out. He gets the Spanish Announce Table ready for the Last Ride but Michaels slips out and this Sweet Chin Music! Undertaker is laid out on the table and Michaels goes to the top rope and breaks the table with a Moonsault! Michaels rolls Undertaker back in the ring and hits another Sweet Chin Music but Undertaker kicks out! This is amazing. Michaels tunes up the band again but Undertaker grabs him by the throat for another Chokeslam! Undertaker picks him up and hits the Tombstone but Michaels kicks out! The straps come down and Undertaker goes to make the throat slashing motion but he stops, looking at Michaels crumpled beneath him. Michaels pulls himself up, clawing at Undertaker’s chest, and he makes the throat slash, asking for Undertaker to put him away, slapping him across the face. Undertaker obliges, hitting a jumping Tombstone Piledriver to end the greatest career of all-time at 23:59. Technically this was just a shade under last year’s match, but with the added drama of it being Michaels’s last match, and the brilliant finish that literally gave me goose bumps, I can’t think of a reason not to rate this as high as I can.
Rating: *****×120.jpg

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A2Z Analysiz: Supercard of Honor VI (Eddie Edwards, Roderick Strong) Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:29 +0000 SCOH6

For an easy-to-search archive of all my ROH DVD reviews, please visit RetROH Reviews!

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.
Rating: **½

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.
Rating: ***¼

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.
Rating: **

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.
Rating: **¼

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.
Rating: ***

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.
Rating: ***

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.
Rating: **½

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.
Rating: ***¾

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.
Rating: ****¼

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.×120.jpg

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