A2Z Analysiz – ROH WGTT The Anthology Vol 1 (Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas)

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MATCH #1: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The Kings of Wrestling, Glory By Honor IX, 9.11.10

The crowd dishes out dueling chants before the match even begins. Claudio Castagnoli starts the match with Benjamin. They lock up intensely and Benjamin wins that battle with a vertical suplex. Chris Hero tags in and they take it to the mat. More tags are made and momentum shifts back and forth multiple times. The Kings try an early KRS-One but that gets countered to that one signature move WGTT have, but Castagnoli pulls Hero to the floor to avoid that. Good spot there. Back in the ring the champions take control and wear Haas down in their half of the ring. Haas fights back with a t-bone suplex and makes the tag. Benjamin appears to be on fire but Hero immediately low bridges the ropes to send Benjamin crashing to the floor. That’s awesome. Now the Kings work on Benjamin, showing supreme tag team skills. Finally Benjamin makes the hot tag and Haas is all over the Kings. Referee Paul Turner loses control and all four men are brawling in the ring. Castagnoli launches Benjamin right into an elbow strike from Hero but that only gets two. The crowd bought that one hard. Hero hits another elbow strike to the back of Benjamin’s head but once again it gets only two! Benjamin fights back with the spin kick and makes the tag to Haas. This time Benjamin and Haas hit that one move (someone give it a name) but it only gets two. Hero comes back and blasts Haas with an elbow to the face. The match breaks down again and Benjamin hits Castagnoli with the pop-up super belly-to-belly suplex. Haas then locks Castagnoli in the Haas of Pain. Hagadorn distracts the referee while Hero puts on the loaded elbow pad and knocks Haas out with it. Hero rolls Castagnoli on top to get the pin at 20:41. The finish was a little lazy, but the work leading up to it was fantastic. I think it’s actually clear how much better the Kings of Wrestling are than Benjamin and Haas. After the match Benjamin and Haas get their heat back by stripping Hagadorn and whipping him with his belt.
Rating: ****

MATCH #2: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The Bravados, ROH on HDNet Episode 88, 1.3.11

This is Haas and Benjamin’s HDNet debut, from Louisville, Kentucky. Benjamin starts the match with Harlem. He immediately starts throwing him around, and Haas tags in for more of the same. Harlem is able to make a tag but Haas quickly takes control of Lance and tags Benjamin back in. The Bravados get a small amount of offense in, but Benjamin is able to cut that off with a simultaneous Samoan Drop on both brothers. Benjamin superkicks Lance to the floor and they hit Harlem with the Broken Arrow. Haas then locks on the Haas of Pain for the win at 2:56. That was a spirited squash but I’m not sure why it made a “Best of” compilation.
Rating: ½*

Two episodes later on 1.17.11, Jim Cornette conducted an in-ring interview with Haas and Benjamin, who put over ROH and the tag team division and all that. They say they want the tag team titles and the Briscoes come out to interrupt them. Cornette announces that since both teams are free for the 9th Anniversary Show, they should face each other, and the winners will get a Tag Team Title shot.

MATCH #3: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The All Night Express, ROH on HDNet Episode 91, 1.24.11

Benjamin and King start the match. They go back and forth to show off their athleticism to each other and the crowd. Benjamin takes control of the arm and makes the tag to Haas. The arm work continues but King fights it off and makes the tag. Haas switches it up on Titus, going after the leg. Benjamin tags in and King takes a cheap shot from the apron, allowing Titus to take control. The ANX focus on Benjamin’s arm I their half of the ring. Benjamin fights back with the big spin kick on King and both men are down. Haas gets the tag but King does not, which may come back to haunt the ANX. Charlie is a Haas afire, throwing both men around with reckless abandon. He throws Titus to the floor and hits King with a powerslam for two. Titus and Benjamin enter the ring and the referee loses control. King and Benjamin knock each other to the floor. Haas goes for the Haas of Pain on Titus but King breaks it up. The Kings of Wrestling come out and take King out on the floor. That leaves Titus all by himself, and he quickly falls victim to the Broken Arrow and then a bridging German Suplex from Haas for the win at 11:38. That was a solid TV main event.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #4: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The Kings of Wrestling, SoCal Showdown II, 1.28.11

Claudio Castagnoli and Benjamin start the match. Benjamin hits an immediate spinebuster and follows up with a snap suplex. Haas tags in and Castagnoli lifts a knee into the gut and tags out. Chris Hero goes to work on Haas now. The Kings tag in and out a few times before Haas makes the comeback on Castagnoli and targets the arm. Benjamin tags back in and hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Haas comes in and hits a clothesline for two. Castagnoli hits another kneelift and follows up with a dropkick. Haas no-sells it and hits his own dropkick. The Kings come right back and take control of Haas. They throw him to the floor and whip him into the barricade. Back in the ring the champs continue dominating Haas. Castagnoli seems to be totally in charge but Haas hits an Angle Slam out of nowhere. Tags are made and Benjamin is a WWE castoff afire. He hits a Stinger Splash on Hero and a backbreaker for two. The referee loses control as Castagnoli illegally enters the ring and walks right into an exploder. Castagnoli goes up top and Benjamin goes for the pop-up superplex but Hero cuts him off and holds him in place for Castagnoli to deliver a diving European Uppercut. Hero lands an elbow to the back of Benjamin’s head for a near-fall. He maintains the advantage and hits Moxicillin for two. Castagnoli is back in and he goes for a superplex but Benjamin fights him off and hits a nice Blockbuster. Both men are down and tags are made. Now it’s Haas’ turn to be a house afire. Haas hits a release overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Castagnoli for two. The referee loses control again. The Kings go for KRS-One on Haas but Benjamin breaks it up. Haas gets an inside cradle on Castagnoli for two. Castagnoli comes right back with a pop-up European Uppercut for two. He follows up with the Giant Swing and Hero adds the dropkick to the head for a near-fall. Benjamin gets dumped to the floor so Haas has to fight off both Kings. Castagnoli traps Haas in an O’Connor Roll but Benjamin breaks it up with a superkick. Benjamin goes for the whip kick but Hero counters it with a Rolling Elbow. Hero goes for another one but Benjamin nails him with a superkick. Castagnoli tries the Ricola Bomb but Haas counters it and locks on the Haas of Pain. Meanwhile Hero puts on the lucky elbow pad but Benjamin knocks him off the apron as Castagnoli taps out at 17:01. That was a lot of fun as a collection of moves and spots but there was no story whatsoever and I continue to wonder what people see in Charlie Haas.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #5: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team & The Briscoe Brothers vs. The Kings of Wrestling & The All Night Express, ROH on HDNet Episode 93, 2.7.11

Titus and Jay start the match. This is a preview of two separate tag team matches coming up at the 9th Anniversary Show. The teams that are joined together tonight will be facing each other at that show. The ANX takes control early on, and the Kings refuse to be tagged in. The Briscoes fight back as both teams try to establish dominance. Jay and Mark take control so Titus forces Hero into the ring with a harsh tag. #DemBoys keep tagging each other in and out, much to Haas and Benjamin’s chagrin. The Kings are able to isolate the Briscoes and go to work on them. Finally Benjamin tags himself in and he’s a house afire, throwing Claudio around. The Kings try to double-team Benjamin but he has an answer for all of their moves. Haas tags in for the first time and Hero looks to be in trouble. Hero weathers the storm though and tags Claudio, and they double-team Haas. Titus tags himself back in and continues to wear Haas down. Hero steals a tag from King and the champs go back to work. Claudio hits Haas with a powerslam for two. Finally the Kings and the ANX start working together a little better. Eventually Haas is able to make a tag to both Benjamin and Jay (how is that legal?), and the crowd perks up a bit. The referee loses control as bodies are flying all over the place. Even the partners start fighting each other as things get confusing. The ANX actually beat the Kings down and walk out on them! The Briscoes and WGTT can’t decide who gets to cover Hero and they start fighting each other. The referees try to break them up but order cannot be restored and Todd Sinclair calls for a no-contest at 20:26. That was a unique way to build up the two tag matches but they could have done it in a little less time.
Rating: ***

MATCH #6: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team & Davey Richards vs. The Kings of Wrestling & Roderick Strong, World’s Greatest, 2.25.11

Strong is the ROH World Champion, and the Kings are the ROH World Tag Team Champions. The Kings are accompanied by Sara Del Rey and Shane Hagadorn, and Strong is accompanied by Truth Martini, so there’s quite a cadre of managers out on the floor.

Richards and Castagnoli start for their respective teams. They chain wrestle and trade holds back and forth. Castagnoli strikes first with a hard clothesline for two. Richards comes back with a quick victory roll for two and then uses Torbellino right into a Fujiwara Armbar. Hero breaks that up. Castagnoli backs Richards into the corner and tags the ROH World Champion. Richards grabs Strong in a Texas Cloverleaf and Hero once again breaks it up. Benjamin tags in and drops the champ with a right hand. He throws more punches and then tags Haas. Benjamin slams Strong onto Haas’ knee for a two-count. Now Haas goes to work on Strong’s left arm. Strong tries to come back but Haas avoids the dropkick, only to get hit by a leg lariat. Hero tags in and now the Kings go to work on Haas. Of course that doesn’t last long before Haas makes the comeback and tags Benjamin back in. Castagnoli quickly backs Benjamin into the corner and the champions triple-team him. They are able to keep Benjamin isolated in their half of the ring. After quite a while, Benjamin is able to make the tag to Richards, who lights Castagnoli up with kicks to the chest. Richards gets a cross body block off the top rope but the referee was out of position so he only counts one. The Kings double-team Richards and he’s able to thwart them momentarily before getting kicked off the apron and to the floor. Now the title-holding trio keeps Richards in their half of the ring and works him over. Castagnoli shows impressive power, military pressing Richards. The beating continues on and Castagnoli executes the UFO for a two-count.

Moments later Richards makes the comeback and lands a missile dropkick on Castagnoli. Tags are made and Benjamin is all over both Kings. Benjamin throws out a Stinger Splash and a spin kick to take the Kings out. Strong comes in and gets double-teamed by the WGTT. Benjamin hits Hero with a bridging German Suplex for two. The Kings come back and hit Benjamin with the Giant Swing/Dropkick combo for two. The pace has really picked up and the crowd is into it. Castagnoli chokeslams Benjamin for two. He tries a delayed vertical suplex but Benjamin lands on his feet and hits a neckbreaker. Haas receives the hot tag and starts throwing everybody around. He locks Castagnoli in the Haas of Pain and Hero has to break it up. The match breaks down and Benjamin hits Hero with Paydirt. Strong and Richards get tagged in and tear into each other. Richards drills Strong with a kick to the head and a bridging German Suplex for two. He hits an enziguiri and a clothesline for two. The Kings and the WGTT battle on the floor and to the back while Richards and Strong battle in the ring. Strong blasts Richards with three forearm shots and a Protoplex for two. He hits a gutbuster and a superkick but again only gets two. The champ sets up for a super Gibson Driver but Richards knocks him down to the mat. Richards tries a missile dropkick but Strong catches him and locks on the Stronghold, which Richards counters to a victory roll for two. Richards is able to catch Strong in a Cross Armbreaker and the referee completely ignores that Strong was pretty much in the ropes at the start of the hold. Strong escapes but gets hit with the Alarm Clock, a running forearm and a running knee strike. Richards goes to the second rope and hits a DDT, and then hits a Falcon Arrow into the Cross Armbreaker and Strong taps immediately at 32:14. That was unnecessarily long but the action was good, especially the end between Richards and Strong.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #7: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The Briscoe Brothers, 9th Anniversary Show, 2.26.11

Benjamin and Jay start it off. The winners here will get a shot at the Tag Team Titles on April 1 in Atlanta during WrestleMania weekend. Things get heated pretty early, and with such high stakes that’s understandable. Jay takes control and tags Mark, and Benjamin quickly fights back on the younger Briscoe. Mark and Benjamin wrestle back and forth until the crowd chants for Haas for some reason, so Benjamin obliges and tags his partner. Haas no-sells Mark’s chops but can’t shrug off a kneelift and Jay tags in. Momentum continues to shift back and forth, as neither team can hold an advantage for very long. The Briscoes finally slow it down and focus on Haas, keeping him down in their half of the ring. After several minutes Haas is able to grab Jay with a release German Suplex and tags are made. Benjamin is a house afire, throwing Mark all over the ring. Mark comes back with his Redneck Kung Fu. Jay makes a blind tag and flattens Benjamin with a clothesline for two. Benjamin comes back with the whip kick and gets a two-count. Haas invades the ring and sends Mark to the floor and hits Jay with an Olympic Slam. WGTT go for the Broken Arrow but Mark breaks it up. The referee has lost control of this one. Jay hits Haas with a Death Valley Driver and Mark goes up top but Benjamin pops up and suplexes him all the way down. The referee has no idea who’s legal at this point. Benjamin and Mark get up and slug it out and Benjamin blasts him with a superkick. Haas, Benjamin and Jay fight into the crowd and Mark joins them with a crazy springboard dive into the first few rows. Back in the ring Mark hits a Finlay Roll, Jay hits a guillotine legdrop, and Mark hits a frog elbow for a near-fall. The Briscoes go for the Doomsday Device but Haas blocks it and Benjamin kicks Mark off the top rope. WGTT hit a double-team Blockbuster to get the pin at 22:21. The action was pretty much non-stop all the way through and the crowd was hot, but the finish seemed a little too sudden.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #8: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The Kings of Wrestling, Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 1, 4.1.11

Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli have been the Champions since 4.3.10, and this is their tenth defense. They’re accompanied by Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey, as usual. Castagnoli and Benjamin start the match. Benjamin gets the better of it so Hero tags in. Things between them get pretty heated and they start slugging. Haas tags in and goes right to work. Castagnoli comes in but Haas is able to maintain control and the challengers are looking good. Hero enters the ring illegally but gets dispatched quickly. The Kings try to make a comeback but WGTT has an answer for everything they try so the champs take a powder. That proves to be a good idea as the Kings are able to claim control for the first time when they get back in the ring. Hero and Castagnoli focus on Benjamin, keeping him away from his partner. Castagnoli perseveres to hit a Chokeslam for a two-count. The champs continue to keep Benjamin down and away from Haas, who is getting fired up on the apron. Finally Benjamin hits the whip kick and the tag is made. Charlie is a Haas afire, dominating both Kings with ease. He hits Hero with a powerslam for two. Benjamin recovers and all four men are battling in the ring now. Haas and Benjamin get Hero and Castagnoli in a position to hit both of them with the Broken Arrow at the same time and Hero kicks out at two. Hero catches Haas with a rolling elbow and then the Kings catch Haas with a double boot to the face but it only gets a two-count. Benjamin comes back in and nails Hero with Paydirt. Once again the referee has lost control of the match. Benjamin drills Castagnoli with a DDT and Haas covers for two. Castagnoli fights back and nails Haas with a pop-up European Uppercut. He tries the Riccola Bomb but Haas reverses to the Olympic Slam. I hope he checked with Kurt, he gets real uppity about that. Haas locks on the Haas of Pain but Hero puts on the loaded elbow pad. Benjamin throws Hero off the top rope and Castagnoli taps the titles away at 22:58! The Kings once again prove to be Haas and Benjamin’s best opponents, bringing out the best of the WGTT. For some reason Cary gets in the ring to hug the new champs. Anyway, that was a terrific match with great crowd heat.
Rating: ****

The Pulse: This is a really good sample of Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin’s early days in Ring of Honor and their road to capturing the Tag Team Titles. At one disc and less than three hours it breezes right by and with six matches at three stars or higher and the other two exclusive matches from ROH on HDNet, this is an easy recommendation to purchase. You can buy it at the ROH Store.

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