A2Z Analysiz: Ring of Honor Tag Title Classic II (Kings of Wrestling, American Wolves)

Plymouth, Massachusetts – December 17, 2010

MATCH #1: Kenny King vs. Adam Cole

King lands a hard forearm to start and Cole’s feelings look hurt. They lock up and King backs Cole into the corner and receives a slap to the face for his troubles. Cole unloads with a series of chops and a couple of dropkicks. King takes a powder but Cole follows him out with a dive. Back in the ring Cole gets a one-count. Cole hits a clothesline for two. He goes up to the top rope and King knocks him to the floor. King goes out and rams Cole’s head into the barricade a couple of times. Back in the ring King gets a two-count. King hits a vertical suplex and floats over to deliver some forearms, then covers for two. He misses a spinning leg lariat and Cole grabs a quick rollup for two. King cuts him right off with a drop toehold and turns it into a submission hold. Cole reverses it to a backslide for two. Once again King cuts him off with a clothesline. King hits an atomic drop and a hard enziguiri for two. He sets Cole up top but Cole knocks him down and hits a leg lariat. They get back to their feet and King tries a backslide but Cole reverses to one of his own for two. Cole then gets a sunset flip for two. King tries a sunset flip and it only gets two. He charges into the corner but Cole avoids him and goes up top and misses a cross body block. King gets cocky so Cole surprises him with a small package for two. Cole tries a superkick but King catches it and hits an enziguiri. Next time Cole lands the superkick and hits a bridging German Suplex for a near-fall. Cole charges but gets backdropped to the apron and then knocked to the floor. King tries to grab him but Cole surprises him with an enziguiri. Cole goes up top for a cross body block but King catches him and hits the Coronation to get the pin at 8:28. Cole actually looked kind of nervous so there were a few awkward spots, but otherwise that was a fine opener.
Rating: **½

MATCH #2: Colt Cabana vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett

Bennett of course is accompanied by his trainer “Brutal” Bob Evans. He scores the first knockdown with a shoulder tackle, and then confers with Brutal Bob about it. Cabana comes back with a hip toss and Bennett once again seeks the counsel of Brutal Bob. It doesn’t do much good yet though, as Cabana flusters Bennett with some creative chain wrestling. Cabana continues to outsmart and outmaneuver Bennett, even using referee Paul Turner to his advantage. Brutal Bob gets up on the ring apron, which distracts Cabana long enough for Bennett to take control. Bennett hits a bodyslam and a legdrop for two. He continues controlling the action with his brutally boring offense. A dropkick gets two, so he locks on a reverse chinlock. Cabana powers out of it but Bennett cuts him off with a boot and a shitty DDT for two. The crowd chants “you can’t wrestle.” Finally Cabana comes back and hits a clothesline and both men are down. Back up on their feet Cabana takes control with a series of jabs. Cabana whips Bennett into the corner and hits the Flying Apple, and then follows up with The Stroke for two. Bennett comes back with a creative backbreaker in the corner for two. He hits a spinebuster and both men are down. Cabana tosses Bennett to the apron and catches him in the Billy Goat’s Curse on the way back in. Brutal Bob grabs Cabana behind the referee’s back and Bennett gets a schoolboy rollup for the win at 8:55. The crowd is neither impressed with Bennett’s ability nor the finish to that match, and I don’t blame them one bit.
Rating: *½

Earlier tonight Andy Ridge cut a promo backstage about the concept of the Trial Series, and how it’s gone for him so far. So far he’s lost to Colt Cabana, Ricky Reyes, Homicide, and Mark Briscoe. He calls tonight the biggest match of his career, and vows to prove that he belongs in Ring of Honor.

MATCH #3: Trial Series – Match #5 – Andy “Right Leg” Ridge vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels (World TV Champion)

Daniels’s TV Championship is not on the line here as Ridge finishes up his trial series. They start off with some chain wrestling in the early going. Daniels has most of the advantage but Ridge doesn’t look to be too far off. The TV Champion focuses on the arm, keeping Ridge on the mat, which neutralizes his strength, the Right Leg. Ha! Every time Ridge tries to fight up the crafty veteran has an answer for him. Daniels keeps it basic, getting near falls with moves like a backbreaker and a vertical suplex. Ridge comes back out of nowhere with a small package and a sunset flip for near-falls, but Daniels cuts him off with a hard clothesline. Kevin Kelly goes off about how great Mike Bennett is (ugh) while Ridge takes Daniels down with a hard kick to the chest. Ridge gets a hiptoss, a dropkick, a kick to the gut, and a flying knee strike. He traps Daniels in the corner and kicks him in the back and then right in the face for a two-count. Now Ridge goes up top and misses a cross body but he rolls through and hurls Daniels chest-first into the corner. Daniels blocks a superkick and hits the uranage slam. He motions for the Best Moonsault Ever but Ridge grabs his foot and blasts him with a kick to the face, and then lands another hard superkick. Ridge celebrates while Daniels rolls to the floor, and when he turns around for the cover Daniels isn’t there. That’s a cool spot. Ridge rolls Daniels back in the ring but by then he can only get a two-count. He tries another kick but Daniels ducks it and grabs the Angel’s Wings. That’s enough to put Ridge away and end the Trial Series at 10:59. I think Daniels did more to put Ridge over than the previous four guys did, and I love that finishing sequence. Ridge looks well-trained and his moves are looking good, now he just needs a personality.
Rating: **¾

Daniels gets on the house mic to put Ridge over. He says that Ridge has heart, and there’s no shame in losing to the Fallen Angel. They shake hands and the crowd is appreciative.

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MATCH #4: “Pick Your Poison” Rematch – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Kevin Steen & Steve Corino

Steen and Corino don’t wait for the Briscoes to even get in the ring before bringing the fight to them. Mark and Steen are first back in the ring, and Jay quickly joins them. The Briscoes hit a double Side Effect for two. Jay goes to work on Steen now, hitting a dropkick for two. Steen avoids the double-biel out of the corner and tags Corino, but with both Briscoes still in the ring they’re able to take Corino down with a double shoulder tackle and Jay covers for two. The Briscoes work Corino over with some double-teams and keep him in their half of the ring. Steen interferes from the apron and clotheslines Jay’s neck on the top rope, and Corino follows up with the Seated Lariat to take control. Corino tags Steen in, and the first thing he does is bite Jay’s face. Steen hits a delayed vertical suplex for two. He tags in and out with Corino, keeping the fresh man in the ring as they wear Jay down. Corino hits the Colby Shock with an assist, and Steen follows up with a standing frog splash for two. The crowd gets to Steen with an “Ole!” chant, allowing Jay to get a boot to the face and a blockbuster. Tags are made and Mark unleashes Redneck Kung Fu! Mark hits the leg lariat to send Corino to the floor, and then wipes out both Corino and Steen with a somersault dive! Back in the ring the Briscoes hit Corino with the Sidewinder for two. Steen fights back with a powerbomb and the pumphandle neckbreaker on Mark. Corino follows up with the Northern Lights Bomb and Jay has to break it up. Jay throws Steen to the floor and nails Corino with a Death Valley Driver. Mark follows with a Frog Elbow for two. The Briscoes set up for some kind of Doomsday Cutthroat Driver, but Steen knocks Jay off the top rope. Corino then hits Mark with a low blow and Steen follows up with the Package Piledriver for the pin at 11:17. I’ve not been the biggest fan of Steen and Corino but this was a solid, well-worked tag team match.
Rating: ***

Earlier tonight Grizzly Redwood was backstage for a promo. He’s concerned about his four-way match tonight, because El Generico scares him so much right now. He promises to win anyway.

MATCH #5: Four Corner Survival Match – El Generico vs. Rhett Titus vs. Grizzly Redwood vs. Ricky Reyes

Generico is wearing an all-black mask and all-black tights. Redwood and Reyes start the match. They go back and forth with the usual chain wrestling and some punching and kicking. Redwood gets a schoolboy rollup for two. Reyes tags Titus and Redwood tags Generico. It’s a different El Generico as he tears into Titus with punches and strikes. A frightened Titus tags out to Reyes and Generico goes right after him too. Generico hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Reyes and then Redwood tags himself in. Redwood hits a rana to send Reyes to the floor, but when he goes for a dive Titus cuts him off. That allows Reyes to get back in the ring and take control. Titus tags in and hits the sexy suplex for two. He follows up with the Rough Ryder for another two. Reyes tags back in, as he and Titus appear to be working as a team to wear Redwood down. At one point he walks into the ring unannounced and slaps Titus in the face. That allows Redwood to get a small package for two, but Titus throws him right back into the corner and tags Reyes. Finally after some more abuse, Redwood makes the hot tag to Generico. Reyes and Titus give it their best shot but Generico is on fire. Generico knocks Titus and Reyes to the floor and wipes them out with an Arabian Press. Redwood follows with a dive off the top rope to wipe everyone out. Back in the ring Generico hits Reyes with a cross body off the top rope for two. Generico then hits a Michinoku Driver for another near-fall. Titus tags Generico out of the match and pulls him to the floor. He throws Generico into the barricade. Redwood tags in and hits Titus with a seated senton off the top, but then falls victim to a Reyes powerbomb. Titus hits Reyes with a dropkick and then covers Redwood for two. He sets up for the Muff Driver but Redwood counters and the match breaks down. Redwood hits Reyes with a Tornado DDT and the straps come down. Unfortunately for him Generico drills him with the running Yakuza Kick and the Brainbuster to get the pin at 12:49. That was solid action al around and was a good primer for Generico’s match tomorrow.
Rating: ***

After the match Generico sets Redwood up for a Package Piledriver but Steve Corino comes out to interrupt. He says the match tomorrow doesn’t have to happen if he will just take the mask off. Generico thinks about it momentarily, but then changes his mind and blasts Corino with the running Yakuza Kick. A bunch of goons come out to stop Generico doing any further damage to Corino.

MATCH #6: Kyle O’Reilly vs. TJ Perkins

This feels more like an EVOLVE match. They take it down to the mat and wrestle a bit. Perkins lands the first solid shot with a kick to the chest. He then tries going after the arm but O’Reilly counters. Now O’Reilly locks on a leg submission and Perkins gets to the ropes. They continue grapping back and forth on the mat a bit. O’Reilly backs Perkins into a corner and hits a solid kick to the chest, and then unleashes the rolling butterfly suplexes ending with a double-arm DDT for two. Perkins makes the comeback with knees to the chest from a seated position and then in the corner. He follows up with a vertical suplex for two. Now Perkins goes to work on the arm with some unique submission holds. O’Reilly recovers and both men try the same thing at the same time and knock each other down with a kick. They get up and Perkins does that thing where he hangs between the top and middle ropes and just waits for O’Reilly to dropkick him. Back in the ring he hits a rana with a cradle, and that leads to the fish out of water spot and the Samoa Joe rolling cradle. O’Reilly ends up on top in the sunset flip and gets a two-count. After a series of reversals O’Reilly lands a Dragon Suplex for two. Perkins comes back with a neckbreaker and goes up top but misses a somersault senton. O’Reilly then locks on a triangle choke variation. He adds elbow strikes to the head but Perkins escapes and hits an enziguiri. Perkins then hits a Michinoku Driver but it only gets two. Back on their feet Perkins hits a solid kick to the head and O’Reilly responds with one of his own. O’Reilly goes up top but misses a double stomp and Perkins locks on his version of the Sharpshooter. Perkins turns the move over and decides to try a double knee drop but O’Reilly avoids it. O’Reilly then lands a knockout kick to the head and tries La Magistral cradle but Perkins counters and holds O’Reilly down to get the pin at 10:43. That was a solid back and forth in a style that is a little different than what most ROH guys do.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #7: Non Title Special Challenge Match – Roderick Strong (ROH World Champion) vs. Sonjay Dutt

Dutt was a last minute replacement for Kenny Omega, who got injured just before this show. They lock up and Strong forces Dutt into the corner. The champ breaks clean and then targets the arm. Dutt responds in kind. He traps Strong in a sunset flip for two and then takes him down with a headlock. He switches up and locks in a Tarantula, which of course has to be broken. Truth Martini takes an opportunity to interfere, allowing Strong to land a forearm shot. Back in the ring Dutt catches Strong with an armdrag and then he dropkicks Truth right in the face! Dutt then ranas Strong to the floor and wipes them both out with a dive! He goes up top but this time Strong is able to knock him back down. Now the champion is firmly in control. Strong hits a solid dropkick for a two-count. Dutt makes the comeback and bulldogs Strong’s head into the top turnbuckle. That’s a cool move. Dutt follows up with a springboard splash for two. He hits an Ace Crusher and goes for the Camel Clutch but Strong blocks it and hits an enziguiri. Dutt comes right back with a superkick and an Asai DDT for two. He goes for Indian Summer but Strong avoids it and blasts him with a superkick for two. Strong hits the half-nelson backbreaker for another near-fall. He tries the Gibson Driver but Dutt rolls through to a sunset flip for two. Strong tries the gutbuster but Dutt reverses to a rana with a cradle for two. Dutt gets another sunset flip for two, but Strong gets right up and nails him with a superkick. Strong hits a vertical suplex backbreaker and that’s enough to get the pin at 9:45. That was a brisk little semi-main event. Dutt isn’t my favorite but on short notice they put together a solidly entertaining match.
Rating: ***

MATCH #8: World Tag Team Title 1st Time Dream Match – The Kings of Wrestling vs. The American Wolves

The Kings of Wrestling have been the champions since 4.3.10 and this is their eighth defense. They are accompanied by Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey. Claudio Castagnoli and Davey Richards start for their respective teams. Richards goes after the leg so Castagnoli takes an immediate powder. Chris Hero tags in and he engages Richards in some chain wrestling on the mat. They battle to a standoff and then Eddie Edwards tags in. Edwards knocks Hero down with a shoulder tackle, so Castagnoli tags back in. Castagnoli doesn’t fare any better so the Kings regroup on the floor. Back in the ring Castagnoli strikes first but Edwards strikes right back. Edwards knocks Castagnoli back to the floor and the Kings regroup again. Back in the ring the Wolves stay in control and Richards comes back in. Tags are made on both ends and the Kings are able to take Edwards down with a double boot to the face. Now the Kings take a sustained advantage on the weakened Edwards. After a few minutes Edwards makes enough of a comeback to make the hot tag. Richards unleashes kicks on both Kings, and then goes up top for a missile dropkick on Castagnoli for two. The match breaks down and the referee loses control. Richards goes for another missile dropkick but Castagnoli catches him and executes the Giant Swing, and Hero adds the boot to the head for a two-count. Castagnoli pitches Richards to the floor and Hero whips him into the barricade. Back in the ring Hero goes right to work on Richards, keeping him isolated from his partner. Castagnoli hits an impressive dead lift German Suplex for two. He then turns his focus to Richards’s knee, using a half crab and then a horse collar. Richards reaches the ropes. Hero tags in and covers three straight times for two-counts. He hits a couple of boots to the face but Richards shrugs them off and makes the tag.

Edwards takes out both Kings, hitting Hero with a cross body block off the top rope for two. He hits a Codebreaker off the second rope for two and then turns it into a half crab. Castagnoli breaks up the hold. Edwards low bridges both Kings to send them to the floor, and the Wolves follow them out with stereo dives. Now the Wolves control the tempo. Edwards hits Castagnoli with a double stomp on the apron. Meanwhile Richards kicks Hero in the face to set him up for an Edwards double stomp to the back. The Wolves double-kick Hero in the head and Castagnoli breaks up the cover. The Kings are able to reclaim control on Edwards. Castagnoli nails him with a Pop-Up European Uppercut and Richards breaks up the cover. Richards unleashes a series of kicks, even though he’s not the legal man in the ring. Castagnoli makes both Wolves pay with an Axe Bomber. That gets at two-count on Edwards. Castagnoli takes him up top for a superplex but Edwards fights it off and hits a rana. Richards tags in and tries the handspring kick but Castagnoli catches him in the UFO for two! The crowd bought that one. Castagnoli tries the Riccola Bomb but Richards reverses to a sunset flip for two.

Richards traps Castagnoli in the Ankle Lock and Hero breaks up the hold. Castagnoli comes back with a superplex and Hero follows with a moonsault but Edwards makes the save at two! Hero tags in and hits a running forearm and a superkick for two. He hits a rolling elbow and a Regalplex for another near-fall. Richards fights back with a series of strikes and a big clothesline for two. Edwards tags in and hits an enziguiri and a Tiger Suplex. The referee loses control again. Hero ends up back in the ring, and Edwards hits him with two superkicks and a Saito Suplex for two. Hero fights back with elbows for both Wolves, and gets a two-count on Edwards. The match has broken down once again. The Wolves hit Hero with the assisted Alarm Clock and the Big Wolf Combo but Castagnoli breaks up the cover. They hit him with the super assisted lung blower and Richards turns it right into the Achilles Lock. Hero reaches the ropes. Outside the ring Castagnoli whips Richards into the barricade. In the ring Hero hits a rolling Big Boot for two and then the Death Blow but Edwards kicks out! Edwards gets a small package out of nowhere for two, and then a schoolboy rollup for two. Hero responds with three rolling elbows and finally Edwards is finished at 35:14. Yes it was good but they could have easily cut 12-15 minutes out and it would have been dynamite. Going long for the sake of going long doesn’t do anyone any favors.
Rating: ***½

The Kings pick Richards up for the KRS-1 but Edwards breaks it up before the damage can be done. Richards gets on the mic and cuts his usual self-congratulatory promo.


– Steve Corino & Kevin Steen Talk Final Battle
Video Wire 12/13/10

The Pulse: Your mileage may vary on the main event, as the average ROH fan enjoys most Davey Richards matches more than I do, so take my rating with a grain of salt. As for the rest of the show, only the Mike Bennett match didn’t do it for me, as the rest was all solid middle of the road stuff that’s easy to get through. This is obviously filler before Final Battle the next night, but it’s satisfying filler. You can buy the show Right Here.

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