A2Z Analysiz: Ring of Honor – Salvation (Tyler Black, Kevin Steen)

Chicago Ridge, IL – July 24, 2010

Joe Dombrowski and Dave Prazak are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Necro Butcher & Erick Stevens vs. Grizzly Redwood & Rasche Brown

This is an opening round Tag Wars 2010 Tournament match. The match starts off quickly as a brawl, with Stevens and Redwood doing battle in one corner while Brown and Butcher fight in another corner. Brown dumps Butcher to the floor, and then rescues Redwood by gorilla pressing Stevens. That’s pretty impressive. Stevens takes a powder and the babyfaces tease stereo dives but the Embassy avoids them. Butcher gets back in the ring and tries going to work on Brown but he ends up getting clotheslined over the top rope and to the floor once again. Stevens tags in and he goes to Brown’s eyes, which is always a good tactic. Unfortunately for him Brown comes back with a Chokeslam. Redwood tags in and Butcher follows suit. The Littlest Lumberjack no sells some offense and comes back with some of his own. Stevens tags in and backdrops Redwood to the apron. Nana tries to pull Redwood down to the floor but it initially backfires. Stevens then comes back for real and presses Redwood to the floor, and Butcher adds a punch to the face on his way down. That was neat. Redwood is busted open now, and back in the ring the Embassy works him over. Nana of course has no qualms with sticking Redwood. He will equalize him. Redwood comes back with a powerbomb out of the corner on the Butcher and both men make tags. Brown is a house afire, leveling Stevens with a lariat for two. Butcher grabs Brown’s foot from the floor, allowing Stevens to hit the Choo-Choo. No matter, as Brown comes right back with a big chokeslam for two. Butcher breaks up the cover, and then Redwood tosses him to the floor and follows him out with a dive. Brown appears to be going for a dive, but Stevens cuts him off with a schoolboy rollup to get the pin and advance at 8:55. This feud was so repetitive that it was hard to get invested in the matches. I admit I don’t really miss the Embassy.
Rating: *¾

MATCH #2: Sara Del Rey vs. Amazing Kong

Del Rey is accompanied by Shane Hagadorn and the ROH World Tag Team Champions the Kings of Wrestling. They start off cautiously and Del Rey lands the first kick. Del Rey goes for shoulderblocks but Kong won’t budge. Kong knocks Del Rey out of the ring with a Vader Bump. Del Rey takes her time regrouping, talking it over with the Kings. Back in the ring, Claudio Castagnoli distracts Kong, allowing Del Rey to go on the attack. Del Rey goes to work on the arm, which given Kong’s finishing moves is a great strategy. Kong comes back with a sleeper but Del Rey quickly breaks it with a jawbreaker. The Kings get some cheap shots in while Del Rey distracts referee Paul Turner. Kong gets mad and fights back with chops and a clothesline. Del Rey quickly goes right back to the arm. Once again Kong fights back with clotheslines and then a corner splash. Kong follows up with a traditional splash for a two-count. She sets up for the Amazing Bomb but Del Rey escapes it twice and goes to the apron. Kong knocks her off the apron and follows with a cross body off the apron to wipe out the Queen and both Kings! Back in the ring Kong hits the Implant Buster but Del Rey kicks out at two. Kong goes up to the second rope, and the Kings interfere again. Del Rey distracts the referee while Castagnoli kicks Kong in the head. She hits a Capo Kick in the corner and sets up for the Royal Butterfly but Kong rolls her up for the pin at 7:59. They could have let these two just go at it for 10-12 minutes with a clean finish and it would have been much better. This got bogged down by all the interference and a weak finish.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #3: The Briscoe Brothers vs. The House of Truth

This is another Tag Wars 2010 matchup; the winner will face the Embassy. Josh Raymond and Mark start the match for their teams. They take it down to the mat and trade holds. Mark backs Raymond into the corner and tags Jay. Raymond hits him with a jawbreaker and goes to the corner for the tag. Able tags in and goes to work. Jay fights back with a back elbow and a heel kick for one, and then makes the tag. The brothers hit the double shoulder tackle and Mark gets a two-count. They continue to work him over and hit a double biel out of the corner. Able fights back with a dropkick and tags out. Raymond tags in and goes to work on Jay, using his scientific wrestling skills. He foolishly decides to trade chops with Jay and loses that battle. Jay takes him down and hits a legdrop for two. Truth Martini tries to interfere from the floor but it backfires. The Briscoes work Raymond over again. Raymond uses some clever tactics to distract the referee and use his partner to take control. They work Jay over with a variety of moves and keep him grounded. Raymond goes for the Sky Twister Press but Jay gets his knees up, and then blasts Able with an enziguiri before making the tag. Mark is on fire, unleashing his usual brand of offense. He hits an Iconoclasm on Raymond for two. Able goes after him but Mark counters him with a brainbuster. Mark then hits Raymond with a t-bone suplex for two. They go up top and Able joins them. Able grabs Mark and lawn darts him into the opposite corner, and Raymond follows up with a Shooting Star Spear! That’s certainly different, but it only gets a two-count. Mark and able trade holds, and Able winds up with the Michigan Slam for a two-count. HOT follows up with the Decapitation Quebrada for two. The match has broken down and the referee has no control. Jay blasts Raymond with a superkick to send him to the floor, and then drills Able with a Death Valley Driver. The Briscoes go for the Doomsday Device but Raymond pushes Jay off the top rope and Able rolls through and powerslams Mark for two! Outside the ring Raymond whips Jay into the barricade. The HOT go for the reverse Rougeau Bomb but Jay throws Raymond off the top rope and Mark counters Able with a bulldog. Jay goes for the Jay Driller but Martini distracts him long enough to break it up. Moments later Jay connects with the Jay Driller to get the win at 15:58. That was a terrific tag team match even though I wasn’t nuts about the finish.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #4: Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong

They lock up and Strong forces Aries into the corner. These two of course have a long history together so both men are cautious in the early going. They take it down to the mat and Strong uses a headscissors. Aries counters with his own headscissors, but Strong uses a familiar escape. They continue exchanging holds, and when Strong lands his first chop Aries takes a quick powder. Back in the ring they go back to trading holds and it’s a very even contest. Strong hits a leg lariat and some more chops. Aries comes back by raking Strong’s eyes across the top rope. He goes up top and Truth Martini grabs his ankle, so the referee ejects Truth from ringside. Once again he was interfering behind Strong’s back, so Strong has no idea what happened and is confused as to why Truth has been kicked out. Meanwhile Aries knocks Strong to the floor and follows him out with the Heat Seeking Missile. Aries goes to work on the midsection and throws Strong back in the ring. He continues wearing Strong down, keeping him grounded. He tries a Boston Crab but Strong escapes with hard kicks to the face. Strong then hits a hard knee to the face to knock Aries loopy. He fires up with a quick flurry of offense, including a snap powerslam for two. Aries reverses a whip and hits a forearm. He then hits a neckbreaker, snapping Strong’s neck off the middle rope. He goes up and hits a missile dropkick. He tries to follow up with an IED but Strong catches him and hits an enziguiri. Strong hits a gutbuster but only gets two when Aries gets his foot on the bottom rope. He goes for a Gibson Driver but Aries forces him into the corner. Strong tries another one but Aries ranas his way out of it, and then armdrags Strong into the turnbuckles. Aries then hits the IED for two. He goes for the Last Chancery but Strong rolls through for a two-count. They trade chops and Aries wins the battle with a hot shot. Aries hits a modified jawbreaker but it only gets two. The battle spills to the apron and Strong is able to hit Aries with an enziguiri. Strong then drops Aries on the top turnbuckle with a backbreaker for two. He locks in the Stronghold but Aries escapes with a small package for two. Strong then hits a half nelson backbreaker. He tries another one but Aries counters with the Crucifix Bomb. Aries hits a kick to the head and goes for the brainbuster but Strong counters with a suplex into a backbreaker, and then hits the Sick Kick for the win at 17:56. These two have always been good together, whether teaming up or facing each other and this was no exception. Strong is looking good going into this title shot coming up at Glory by Honor IX.
Rating: ***½

Aries gets on the microphone to put Strong over and talk trash to Truth Martini. He also puts himself over. He then switches gears (literally) to put on his manager’s jacket. He taunts Delirious about what he did to Daizee Haze last night, and then introduces his boys, the All Night Express.

MATCH #5: Delirious & Jerry Lynn vs. The All Night Express

Delirious and Lynn charge the ring and away we go. The ANX bail and regroup with their manager. Back in the ring Delirious and Lynn continue to control their younger opponents. Titus and King quickly recover with some heel tactics, but of course Lynn wants to do all hope spots and comebacks, like every Jerry Lynn match ever. Delirious is back in and goes to work on King. Unfortunately for the masked man, Aries rejoins ringside wearing Daizee Haze’s gear. That’s disturbing, and it allows Titus and King to resume control. They work Delirious over and act like jerks about it. King drills him with a spinebuster for two. Eventually Delirious comes back with a headbutt to King’s midsection and then a short Flatliner. Lynn gets the hot tag and he’s the proverbial house afire. He subdues both opponents and tags out. Delirious hits Titus with a flying clothesline off the top rope and then hits King with a Cobra Clutch Suplex. Both members of the ANX get tossed to the floor and Lynn wipes them out with a dive. Delirious looks for a dive too, but decides to dive on Aries instead! The distraction allows King to hit the swinging backbreaker and Titus follows with the knee off the top rope and the All Night Express advance to the next round of Tag Wars at 11:56. This was perfectly adequate but I feel like we’ve seen it in various forms about 8,000 times.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #6: The American Wolves vs. Colt Cabana & El Generico

This is yet another Tag Wars match. Cabana and Edwards start the match, but before any contact can be made Richards tags in. Richards works on the arm but Cabana comes back by spitting at him. An angry Richards takes a powder to cool off. Back in the ring Cabana fools Richards down to the mat and befuddles the Wolf. Richards comes back and tries his own Flying Apple but of course that doesn’t work. The Cabana and Generico duo work Richards over in their half of the ring. Richards comes back with a clothesline on Generico and makes the tag, but Edwards immediately gets hit with a series of armdrags. The Wolves can’t get untracked here. Just as I say that the Wolves make their comeback that is kind of cool but becomes less cool when they use it in every match and it seems more contrived. The fight spills to the floor and Richards kicks Generico’s head off. Back in the ring the Wolves are in control, working over the masked man. Cabana tries illegally interfering illegally but the Wolves thwart him and continue to beat Generico up. Both Wolves stay in the ring forever and the referee doesn’t seem to care about getting one of them out. Finally Generico comes back and makes the hot tag. Cabana hits a quebrada on both of them and then unloads with jabs. He keeps the Wolves at bay with his unorthodox style. Edwards grabs Cabana’s leg from the floor so Generico wipes him out with a dive. Meanwhile Cabana is able to lock Richards in the Billy Goat’s Curse; Richards quickly gets to the ropes.

They trade strikes and Richards wins the battle, but then falls victim to some double teaming. Cabana once again locks Richards in the Curse but Edwards is able to break it up. Generico tosses Edwards to the floor, and then hits a Superfly Splash on Richards for two. Richards comes back with some kicks and makes the tag. Edwards hits a running kick to the face for two. He sets Generico up on the top rope but gets knocked down and hit with a cross body block for two. Generico kicks Richards off the apron and then walks into a superkick. He comes right back with a Michinoku Driver for two. I guess we’ve reached the Optional Selling point of the match. Generico makes the tag and holds Edwards in place for the Flying Apple. He then blasts Edwards with the running Yakuza kick and Cabana hits the Colt 45 but Richards breaks up the cover. Richards throws Generico to the floor and then takes on Cabana. The Wolves recover and double team Cabana with kicks but only get two. The referee loses control as Generico hits Richards with the Top Rope Brainbuster. Meanwhile Cabana locks Edwards in the Billy Goat’s Curse to get the win at 16:14. That took a few minutes to get going and once they did it was the usual Wolves stuff that’s fine but I’ve grown weary of. Shane Hagadorn comes out to talk and Richards kicks him in the gut.
Rating: ***

MATCH #7: The Kings of Wrestling vs. Generation Me

The Kings are accompanied by Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey. This is a non-title match.Claudio Castagnoli and Max Buck start the match. The much taller Castagnoli backs Max into the corner and tags Hero. They take it down to the mat and Max does surprisingly well for himself. They trade holds a bit and then Max tags his brother Jeremy Buck. Hero takes control of him and hits a couple of elbows. Castagnoli comes back in and continues wearing Jeremy down. Jeremy tries to come back and go after the arm but Castagnoli overpowers him back to the corner again. The Kings are tagging in and out frequently, keeping the fresh man in the ring. Hero tries a senton but Jeremy gets his knees up and makes the tag. The Bucks work Hero over with dropkicks and double teams. Hero takes Jeremy down and tags Castagnoli back in. Castagnoli works Jeremy over briefly before the comeback is made and now the Bucks take over on Castagnoli’s arm. The smaller competitors try to wear Castagnoli down, but he makes a blind tag to Hero and the Kings are back in control. The champs effectively use double team maneuvers and strikes to wear Max down. Hagadorn and Del Rey have no problem interfering from ringside to help the Kings keep the advantage.

After several minutes of a beat down, Max uses a victory roll to make a creative tag to his brother, and the pace quickens here to the Bucks’ advantage. Castagnoli comes back by dropping Jeremy on his head with a double choke lift. Hero tags in and unloads on Jeremy but can’t put him away. He goes for a Liger Bomb but Jeremy ranas his way out of it and makes the tag. Max charges into a boot and comes back with one of his own. He follows up with an Asai DDT for two. The referee has lost control of this one. The Bucks use impressive double team moves to stymie the Kings. Jeremy hits Castagnoli with a dive, and when Max goes for one Hero cuts him off with a rolling elbow but it only gets two. The Kings double team Max with elbows and European Uppercuts but Max won’t give in. Castagnoli executes the Giant Swing. Jeremy catches him with a super rana for two, but then Claudio grabs Jeremy in the UFO for another two-count. The Kings try the KRS-One but Max breaks it up. Hero blasts Jeremy with a rolling elbow but can’t get the pin. Max and Hero are the legal men in the ring, but the referee isn’t enforcing it at all. The Bucks hit Hero with an elevated 450 Splash for two. They try More Bang for Your Buck but Hero gets his knees up on the 450 Splash. Castagnoli catches Max and hits an awesome Pop-Up European Uppercut. The Kings then hit Max with the KRS-One for the win at 18:43. That was good fun, especially down the stretch, but it seems like every big tag team match in ROH is structured exactly the same way. That’s what keeps this a very good match rather than a great one.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match – Tyler Black vs. Kevin Steen

Black has been the champion since 2.13.08 and this is his seventh defense. Steen slaps the champion across the face, and Black doesn’t appreciate it so the fight is on. They take it right to the floor and Black is on fire. Steen catches him and rams his back into the ring post. He tries to whip Black into the barricade but the champ reverses it and Steen crashes into them instead. Back in the ring Black hits the springboard lariat for almost a two-count. Black stomps the face for a real two-count. He goes for a back body drop and Steen tries the Package Piledriver but gets back dropped to the floor. Steen grabs Black and pulls him to the floor for a powerbomb on the edge of the ring apron. The challenger goes to work and throws Black back in the ring. Black tries several comebacks but Steen cuts him off, including catching him out of the air with an Ace Crusher. Steen goes up top for the Swanton but Black gets his knees up. Black hits a belly-to-back suplex and a charging forearm. He follows up with a hangman’s neckbreaker and thinks about the Phoenix Splash, but Steen pushes him off the top rope and into the barricade on the floor. The champion has been busted open. Steen takes full advantage of Black’s bloody head. At this point I can’t tell if Steen is busted open too or if it’s just Black’s blood on him. Black flips out of a suplex and tries the Paroxysm, but Steen blocks it and locks on a Crossface, only for Black to reach the ropes. They take it to the apron and Steen’s trash talking fires the champion up. Black hits a boot to the face and then the Paroxysm on the ring apron! Black gets back in the ring first and convinces the referee not to count Steen out.

That proves to be a mistake, as Black signals for a dive but Steen cuts him off and hits a powerbomb for two, and then turns it into the Sharpshooter! Black reaches the ropes to break the hold. Steen tries the Pumphandle Neckbreaker but Black blocks it and hits a Pele Kick and the F-5 for two. Black misses the quebrada but hits the standing shooting star press for two. Moments later Steen hits the Pumphandle Neckbreaker on his second attempt and gets a two-count. Steen goes up to the middle rope but gets kicked in the face and then drilled with a Buckle Bomb and a superkick but it only gets two! Black sets Steen up on the top rope and hits a superplex. He rolls through it and Steen grabs him in a gutbuster, and then goes up top and hits the moonsault for two. Both men get to their feet and trade superkicks. Black wins that battle with three in a row but is so worn down he can’t even make a cover. Both men get up and Black charges into a kick. Steen goes up top but Black recovers in enough time to kick him in the head to knock Steen down to the timekeeper’s table. Black goes up top and hits a double stomp! Now the champ is fired up as he throws Steen back in the ring. Black hits another superkick and God’s Last Gift but Steen kicks out! Now Steen is legit busted open as Black misses the Phoenix Splash. Steen hits the Buckle Bomb, a superkick, and the Package Piledriver! Black kicks out at two! Steen goes for a super Package Piledriver but Black counters with a rana and rolls through into the Sharpshooter and Steen taps out at 23:04! That was even better than I thought it was going to be, and I think this feud had legs but due to Black’s departure and Steen’s feud with Generico this would be the last time they would fight. The hatred and intensity was there between these two and they both seemed intent on destroying the other rather than just winning the match.
Rating: ****¼


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July 20, 2010
August 3, 2010
August 24, 2010

The Pulse: The main event was awesome and the semi-main event was really good (and might be liked by others more than me), plus two ***½ matches on the undercard make this an easy recommendation for purchase. You can do so Right Here.

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