A2Z Analysiz – ROH Kings Reign Supreme: The Kings of Wrestling

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~DISC 1~

Reformation, Final Battle 2009, 12.19.09

The Briscoes had just won the ROH World Tag Team Titles from the American Wolves, making them six-time Champions. Claudio Castagnoli comes out to get in their faces, and Chris Hero sneaks in from behind, and the Kings of Wrestling are back! The Kings lay the Briscoes out and send a message that they want the Tag Team Titles. That was simple and effective.

MATCH #1: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Kings of Wrestling vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe, The Big Bang!, 4.3.10

The Briscoes have been the Champions since 12.19.09, and this is their fourth defense. Hero and Mark start the match. They take it to the mat and exchange holds. Hero hits a couple of elbows and Castagnoli tags in. Mark takes control and tags his brother. The Briscoes build some momentum and take it to Hero when Castagnoli bails. Hero bails too and the Kings try to regroup with Hagadorn. Back in the ring Castagnoli goes toe-to-toe with Jay. That doesn’t go well for Castagnoli, and Hero comes in to get roughly the same treatment. The Briscoes dominate both Kings for a majority of the early going. Finally Castagnoli makes a blind tag and Hero kicks Jay in the face. Hero then knocks Mark off the apron before covering Jay for two. Now the Kings isolate on Jay and keep him in their half of the ring. Jay catches Castagnoli with the Flatliner into the buckles and Mark tags in. Hero comes in illegally and Mark knocks him to the floor. Jay then wipes Hero out with a dive. Mark hits Hero with a high cross body block off the top rope for two. Castagnoli catches Mark charging in and Hero gets up on the apron to level him with an elbow strike. Hero covers for two. He continues the abuse on Mark, and the Kings go to great lengths to prevent Jay from tagging in. Finally Mark is able to make that tag and Jay is a house afire. Hero cuts him off and the Kings reclaim control. Castagnoli goes for the Riccola Bomb but Jay fights out of it, only to get caught with the Pop-Up European Uppercut for two. Jay ducks a bicycle kick and hits a big spinebuster and both men are down. Mark tags in and hits a missile dropkick. He follows with some Redneck Kung Fu and a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Mark hits an exploder suplex for another two-count. Castagnoli fights back with an impressive springboard European Uppercut. Hero tags in and starts hitting elbows. Mark hits an Iconoclasm for a near-fall. Hero responds with a huge boot to the head and a Liger Bomb for two. Castagnoli tags in and executes the Giant Swing. Jay breaks that up. The Briscoes hit Hero with their version of the Sidewinder for two. They follow with the double-team neckbreaker for another two-count. Castagnoli dumps Jay to the floor and hits Mark with a huge clothesline. He catches Mark with the UFO for another two-count. Castagnoli uses the Giant Swing again and this time Hero ads the dropkick. A slingshot into a Hero Elbow gets another two-count. Mark and Castagnoli tumble to the floor as Hero and Jay battle on the top rope. Castagnoli comes back in and hits a gut wrench superplex! Mark comes back in and hits Hero with the Super Ace Crusher! He tries to cover but Hero is not legal. Castagnoli hits Mark with a German Suplex for two. He tries the Riccola Bomb but Mark blocks it and hits a superkick. Jay tags in and goes for the Jay Driller but can’t hit it, but he can hit the Death Valley Driver. Hero breaks up the cover. Jay superkicks Hero to the floor and the Briscoes go for the Doomsday Device on Castagnoli but Mark gets caught and powerslammed! That gets a two-count for Castagnoli. Hero pulls Jay to the floor and pokes him in the eyes. Back in the ring the Kings hit the KRS-One but Mark kicks out! Hero accidentally elbows Castagnoli and Jay kicks Hero square in the face. Jay hits Castagnoli with the Jay Driller but Hero breaks up the cover. Hero distracts the referee as the Briscoes again go for the Doomsday Device. Hagadorn breaks that up and earns Jay’s ire. The distraction allows Hero to slip on the golden elbow pad and he cold cocks Jay with it. Castagnoli gets the pin and we have NEW World Tag Team Champions at 30:19. That match did not feel 30 minutes long at all. I swear these teams could fight each other all night and it would be entertaining.
Rating: ****

MATCH #2: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Kings of Wrestling vs. Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley, Supercard of Honor V, 5.8.10

The Kings of Wrestling have been the champions since 4.3.10 and this is their first defense. They’re accompanied by Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey. Sabin and Castagnoli start the match. Castagnoli shows off his superior power over the much smaller Sabin. He sets him up on the top turnbuckle just to be a jerk. Sabin comes back with an around the world headscissors and then shows Castagnoli where he’s from. Tags are made and the crowd appreciates both Hero and Shelley. They take it down to the mat. The fans are so into the match that they manage to chant “f*ck TNA.” Shelley gains control of the taller Hero, using leverage and agility. Hero comes back with an elbow strike and then makes a tag. Castagnoli takes a powder and the Guns are having none of it. The Guns use their exciting tandem offense to wear the champions down. They isolate Castagnoli in their corner. Out of nowhere Castagnoli decides to go on offense and the Kings target Sabin. Shelley gets tagged and he pitches Hero to the floor. He holds the ropes for Sabin to hit a suicide dive through the ropes on Hero. Back In the ring Shelley hits Hero with a missile dropkick. Shelley goes to work on Hero, using Hero’s long hair against him. The Kings use some synergistic albeit illegal double-teaming to take Shelley and Sabin down with boots to the faces.

The Kings work on Shelley now, using their strength advantage and teamwork to keep him down. Hero clobbers Shelley with an elbow to the back of the head and Sabin has to break up the cover. Shelley keeps going for the hot tag but the Kings make sure it doesn’t happen. Castagnoli hits Shelley with a running European Uppercut for two. Finally Shelley is able to make the comeback and throws all kinds of DDTs at Castagnoli and Hero. Sabin gets the hot tag and he is a house afire. He drills Hero with a tornado DDT but it only gets two. The referee loses control as there are Guns firing all over the place. The Guns hit the Skull and Bones and Castagnoli breaks up the cover. Castagnoli then throws Sabin to the floor. He tries the UFO but Shelley avoids it. Next he tries the Ricola Bomb but Sabin breaks that up, only to get jacked with an elbow by Hero. Shelley takes out Hero with an STO into the buckle, and Castagnoli blasts Shelley with a clothesline. Castagnoli delivers an impressively high Pop-Up European Uppercut but it only gets two. He then delivers the UFO while taunting the Machine Guns at the same time. That is why Claudio rules this company. Hero pulls Shelley to the floor and throws him into the barricade. The Kings execute their own version of the Hart Attack (with Hero hitting an elbow strike), and that leaves Sabin in perfect position for the Giant Swing capped off with a kick to the head from Hero for two. Hero goes for the Liger Bomb but Sabin counters with an inside cradle for two. Sabin hits an enziguiri and then makes the tag. Shelley tries a frog splash but misses and Hero hits him with an elbow for two. Hero hits another hard elbow strike but Shelley kicks out again! The match breaks down to a brawl with everyone in the ring, and the Guns are dominant. They hit a series of kicks on Hero for a two-count. The Guns go for Made in Detroit but Castagnoli breaks it up. Del Rey gets on the apron to distract the referee, allowing Hagadorn to toss Hero the elbow pad. Then from out of nowhere, to the thunderous boos of the crowd, Jay and Mark Briscoe come running out and attack the Kings. The Guns are disqualified at 22:06.

The crowd is pissed to say the least, so the Briscoes try to make up for it by hitting Del Rey with the Jay Driller, but they still get booed. I understand that the Guns probably weren’t allowed to job clean or whatever, but they damn sure should have found a better way to end the match than that. Alternatively, don’t book yourself into the kind of corner that necessitates a fuck finish that’s just going to piss off the entire crowd in your number one market. Great match, lousy finish.
Rating: ****

Altercation, ROH on HDNet #61, 6.14.10

Jay & Mark’s dad, Papa Mike, was in the front row for these TV tapings, and Chris Hero takes advantage. Hero talks trash to to Mike to put heat on the upcoming Tag Team Title match at Death Before Dishonor VIII. Mike doesn’t care for Hero telling him he should have worn a condom, twice, so he slaps him in the face. Hero responds with a hard elbow to knock Mike out. Jay and Mark make their way out (a little late boys) and they chase the Kings off before coming back to check on their dad. Good segment.

MATCH #3: ROH World Tag Team Title No DQ Match – Kings of Wrestling vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe, Death Before Dishonor VIII, 6.19.10

The Kings have been the champions since 4.3.10 and this is their second defense. Bobby Cruise announces that the Briscoes have still not arrived at the building. Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero get on the mic and talk some trash, and then the Briscoes run in from the crowd and the match WILL happen! It’s a huge brawl from the get-go with the brothers from Delaware dominating. Castagnoli is the first one to bleed. Mark is the second one to get busted open, from the guardrail, and it’s a gusher. The Kings isolate on Mark for a while until the hot tag, and Jay rams Hero’s head into the turnbuckle so many times that he busts him open! Hagadorn gets involved and produces a rope for Hero to tie Jay around the ring post by his neck! Referee Paul Turner tries to free Jay from the post while the Kings just destroy Mark in the ring. Eventually Jay gets free and the Briscoes go nuts on the champions. Shane Hagadorn tries to interfere but take the Doomsday Device for his troubles. Hero hits Mark with the loaded elbow pad but he kicks out! They go to the floor and Castagnoli takes Jay down with a European Uppercut. Hero dispatches of Mark and puts the loaded elbow pad on his foot and the Kings execute the Big Swing/Dropkick to get the win at 18:16. That was awesome – full of hate and blood and the crowd was nuts for it and these two teams just have tremendous chemistry.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #4: Kings of Wrestling & Sara Del Rey vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe and Amazing Kong, Hate: Chapter II, 7.23.10

This is the first time women have ever wrestled in the main event of a ROH show. Speaking of the women, they’re going to start this match. False alarm; Hero tags himself in and Kong doesn’t bother to tag out. Before any contact is made, Castagnoli tags in and kicks Kong in the midsection to take her down. Del Rey tags in and she goes to work with kicks. Kong fights back with chops and a Vader takedown. She tags Jay and Del Rey runs to the corner and the Kings and Queen regroup with Shane Hagadorn on the floor. Unfortunately for them, the Briscoes and Kong are having none of it and it turns into a big brawl on the floor. Back in the ring the brawl continues; the referee should really get control of this match. The Briscoes and Kong work over both Castagnoli and Hero until some clever triple teaming gives Team Royalty the advantage on Mark.

I like how the women are interacting with the men in this match and it seems totally natural. Mark gets worked over for a number of minutes, and Castagnoli even busts out a Bronco Buster of all things. Finally Jay gets the hot tag and Dombrowski says it’s on now. Jay is a house afire, sending Hero to the floor and using Del Rey to hit Castagnoli in the nuts. He hits a Death Valley Driver but Castagnoli kicks out at two. Team Royalty recovers and the match breaks down again. Jay has no problem knocking Del Rey on her ass, and then he tags Kong. Del Rey tries to make a tag, but neither of the Kings wants anything to do with her. Kong dismantles Del Rey, hitting the Implant Buster but the Kings break up the pin. They try to double team Kong but that doesn’t go so well for her. The Briscoes comes in and send the Kings to the floor. Del Rey rolls Kong up for a close near-fall. Hero comes back in and tries to knock Kong out but he can’t quite do it. The action is coming from all over the place and is getting tough to call. Hero drills Kong with a rolling elbow but she kicks out. He goes for another one but Kong hits one of her own and then the spinning back fist. The Briscoes take Castagnoli and Del Rey out, and Hero is stuck against three-on-one odds. Kong hits a splash off the second rope but the cover gets broken up. The battle spills to the floor and Kong hits a cross body off the apron to wipe everyone out! Back in the ring the Briscoes go for the Doomsday Device on Hero but Del Rey breaks it up. Hero hits Jay with an elbow strike, and then the Kings hit their own version of the Doomsday Device (with a European Uppercut). They go for KRS-One but Mark breaks it up and Jay rolls Hero up for the win at 23:23. That was a little bit long but they all did great work, and it was cool to see women mixing it up with the men in the main event.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #5: Kings of Wrestling vs. Generation Me, Salvation, 7.24.10

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 #6: ROH World Tag Team Title Ultimate Endurance Match – Kings of Wrestling vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The All Night Express vs. The Dark City Fight Club, Tag Wars 2010, 8.28.10

Hero and Castagnoli have been the Champions since 4.3.10, and this is their fifth defense. Jay and Mark Briscoe beat the House of Truth and Necro Butcher & Prince Nana to get here; Kenny King and Rhett Titus beat Jerry Lynn & Delirious and El Generico & Colt Cabana; and Jon Davis and Kory Chavis beat Shawn Daivari & Ernesto Osiris and the Bravado Brothers. The first fall is a four corner match where you can tag anyone. Wow, what incendiary stipulations!

King and Davis start the match. Davis and his partner Kory Chavis dominate King and Rhett Titus. I admit it’s weird to see Davis in an ROH ring since I so strongly associate him with DGUSA and EVOLVE now. After some meaningless back and forth, Hero tags in and goes to work on Chavis. Momentum shifts over to the DCFC as everyone is trying to set the tone early on. The Briscoes get the crowd fired up when they tag into the match. They wind up both getting tagged in at the same time and by the rules of the match they do have to fight each other. Jay and Mark fight each other briefly and sportsmanlike before tagging in both Kings! Hero and Castagnoli try to do the same thing the Briscoes did but they can’t pull it off. Finally Castagnoli is able to tag Chavis. The ANX get their chance too. This match is pretty boring. Chavis catches King in a Sky-Hi Powerbomb and both men are down. They tag their respective partners and Davis is a house afire. Davis catches Titus with a spinebuster and then catches King with a powerslam. He covers Titus for two. Titus sort of recovers but Davis cuts him off with the Pounce. Davis goes for 3 Seconds Around the World but King stops him. King hits a Blockbuster right onto Titus’ knees and that’s enough to eliminate Davis at 18:30.

The second fall is under tornado rules so everyone is allowed in the ring at the same time. Hero and Castagnoli get knocked to the floor and Jay wipes them out with a dive. The ANX battles Mark in the ring while the Kings take it to Jay on the floor. Jay is busted open. Mark comes back with an Iconoclasm on King but can’t follow up before the Kings hammer away on him. The ANX take the opportunity to beat on a bloody Jay out on the floor. Hero and Castagnoli double-team Mark in the ring and double-cover him several times but they can’t put him away. King and Titus take an opportunity to surprise the Champions with a double schoolboy rollup for two-counts. That doesn’t go over well with the Kings, and now they battle while the Briscoes get a chance to recover. Jay and Mark take it to everyone. Hagadorn gives Hero the loaded elbow pad while the Briscoes signal for the Doomsday Device on Titus and they hit it to eliminate the All Night Express at 28:09. The last fall is under scramble rules, which is pretty much the same thing as tornado rules. Hero cracks Jay with the loaded elbow pad to get the win at 28:26. That match was a chore, but three stipulations that weren’t really exciting and two that meant pretty much the same thing; not that it mattered given the length of the third fall. Usually the Kings and Briscoes are a guarantee but this whole thing fell flat.
Rating: **

MATCH #7: Kings of Wrestling vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin, Glory By Honor IX, 9.11.10

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: ****

~DISC 2~

MATCH #8: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Kings of Wrestling vs. Christopher Daniels & Davey Richards, Allied Forces, 10.15.10

The Kings of Wrestling have been the champions since 4.3.10 and this is their sixth defense. Richards and Daniels have never teamed together in ROH that I can remember, so I’m not sure how they got this title shot, but they are both former two-time champions (Richards with Rocky Romero and Eddie Edwards; Daniels with Donovan Morgan and Matt Sydal). Richards and Castagnoli start the match for their respective teams. It’s kind of amazing how much taller Castagnoli is. Before any contact is made both men make tags. Hero and Daniels commence the chain wrestling. Daniels hits a hiptoss and Hero backs off. Hero keeps trying leapfrogs but Daniels avoids four in a row and hits more hiptosses. Hero takes a powder, and Castagnoli interferes and suffers a hiptoss of his own. The Kings regroup on the floor. Back in the ring Richards and Castagnoli are set to square off. Richards goes right after the arm and tries a Cross Armbreaker. Castagnoli escapes and hits a brainbuster and then tags Hero. Richards fights right back at him with a series of kicks. That gives the challengers the advantage, and they seem to be working well together as a team. Hagadorn grabs Richards’ foot from the floor, allowing Hero to hit a powerslam for two. The Kings take control and go right to work on Richards. After several minutes of awesome offense from the Kings, Richards blasts Castagnoli in the face with a dropkick and makes the hot tag! Daniels is a house afire, fighting off both Kings simultaneously. He locks Castagnoli in the Koji Clutch and Hero breaks it up.

The Kings come back with an assisted springboard European Uppercut for a two-count. Castagnoli hits another European Uppercut and Hero follows up with the Death Blow for two. Daniels comes back with an STO on Castagnoli and makes the tag. Richards immediately goes up top and hits a dual missile dropkick. Castagnoli takes a powder but Richards makes him pay with a baseball slide dropkick. Hero joins Castagnoli on the floor and Richards makes HIM pay with a suicide dive, also wiping Castagnoli out. Back in the ring Richards hits a series of kicks on Castagnoli for two. Richards then locks on the Ankle Lock and Castagnoli rolls through, sending Richards to the floor. Back in the ring Castagnoli hits the pop-up European Uppercut for two. Castagnoli tries a Ricola Bomb but Richards counters with a Code Red for two. Richards avoids a kick and Hero takes it instead, allowing Richards to roll up Castagnoli for a near-fall. He tries the handspring kick but Castagnoli catches him in the UFO! It only gets two though, much to Castagnoli’s shock. Daniels gets in the ring and executes the Big Wolf Combo with Richards for a two-count. Hero gets back in the ring and blasts Daniels with a boot to the face. Richards responds with a Saito Suplex, and then Castagnoli takes him out with a hard clothesline, and then Daniels hits Castagnoli with a Codebreaker. Whew, all four men are down. Back on their feet it’s Hero and Daniels as the legal men in the ring. Hero hits the Liger Bomb but Daniels kicks out at two when Richards breaks it up. The referee has lost control. Richards and Daniels double-team Castagnoli; but before they can put him away, Hero rejoins the fray and knocks Richards out with a Rolling Elbow, and then delivers one to Daniels as well. Amazingly, Daniels kicks out at two! Hero pulls down the elbow pad but can’t connect with the Death Blow. Daniels hits the Angels Wings but Castagnoli breaks up the cover. Richards locks Castagnoli in the Ankle Lock. Meanwhile Daniels hits Hero with a uranage. The Kings kick Daniels and Richards into each other, leading to some miscommunication. Hero hits Daniels again, causing Daniels to accidentally knock Richards to the floor. The Kings then hit Daniels with the KRS-One to get the pin at 25:16. That was a well executed and put together tag team match with really good action throughout.
Rating: ****

MATCH #9: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Kings of Wrestling vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe, ROH on HDNet Episode #79, 10.25.10

Hero and Castagnoli have been the Champions since 4.3.10, and this is technically their third defense (the match was taped the week before the Ultimate Endurance match). Mark and Hero start the match but it quickly breaks down into a brawl and the Kings take a powder. Back in the ring the momentum shifts back and forth as these teams know each other very well after the 1,423 matches they’ve had against each other. The Briscoes start to build momentum again so the Kings take another powder. It doesn’t do much good as Jay and Mark continue the punishment back in the ring. The Briscoes knock the Kings back to the floor and Mark wipes them out with a dive. Back in the ring Castagnoli avoids a clothesline and hits a springboard European Uppercut. Hero tags in and the Briscoes go right back on offense. Mark goes for an exploder but Hero reverses and this an almost Regalplex. Sara Del Rey takes a cheap shot from the floor and referee Paul Turner sends her to the back. Shane Hagadorn is still out there though. The Kings have isolated Mark and they keep him I their half of the ring. They beat on Mark both in and out of the ring. Jay gets in the ring and distracts the referee while trying to get at the Kings, and that’s when Mark makes his comeback, avoiding a Hero elbow strike and hitting a back suplex. Mark makes the tag and Jay is a house afire. Jay knocks Hero to the floor and hits Castagnoli with the Jay Driller! Hero breaks up the cover. All four men are in the ring now and Mark quickly sends Hero back to the floor. The Briscoes go for the Doomsday Device but the Kings break it up. The referee gets distracted and Hagadorn comes in and kicks Jay in the balls. That’s actually enough for Castagnoli to get the pin at 18:10. Usually these teams are a safe bet for greatness but this one just never caught fire and it felt more like a back and forth exhibition with an exceptionally weak finish.
Rating: **½

Papa Mike Briscoe jumps over the guardrail and gets in the ring to attack Hagadorn and the Kings have to pull him to safety. Mike even cuts a promo! Bless that Briscoe family.

MATCH #10: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Kings of Wrestling vs. The American Wolves, Tag Title Classic II, 12.17.10

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

MATCH #11: Kings of Wrestling & Shane Hagadorn vs. Jay, Mark & Mike ‘Papa’ Briscoe, Final Battle 2010, 12.18.10

Jay and Hero start the match. Hero immediately knocks Papa Mike off the apron, earning Jay’s ire. The Briscoe family isolate Hero in their half of the ring and make him pay for his transgressions. Hagadorn tries to get involved but he blows it and the Briscoes stay in control. Castagnoli is able to tag in and after a brief period on defense he’s able to catch Jay with a gutwrench suplex. The Kings take control but foolishly tag Hagadorn. Papa Mike tags in and puts the boots to him but Hagadorn quickly crawls to the corner and tags Castagnoli. Impressively, Papa Mike shows no fear and takes Castagnoli down with a headscissors! Del Rey pulls Mike to the floor and receives a kiss for her troubles. The referee then pours salt in the wound by ejecting Del Rey from ringside! The crowd chants “Papa Briscoe” but the Kings take advantage on Mark. Some miscommunication allows Jay to get the hot tag and he unleashes the fury. Hero slips out of a Death Valley Driver and hits a knee to the face and a huge rolling boot. Castagnoli comes in and hits a pop-up European Uppercut for two. Jay comes back with a Death Valley Driver and makes the tag. Mark hits the Froggy Bow for a two-count. He and Castagnoli then clothesline each other and both men are down. Hagadorn and Papa Mike get the tags but the real wrestlers intercede before anything can happen. In all the confusion Hagadorn kicks Jay right in the balls. Papa Mike comes in with a spear. Jay and Mark take out the Kings with simultaneous dives. Papa Mike teases one but Hagadorn pulls him to the floor. Back in the ring Hero hits Papa Mike with the Rolling Elbow! The Kings set Papa Mike up for the KRS-One but Jay breaks it up and Papa Mike hits Castagnoli with a Stunner! The Briscoes then hit Hagadorn with the Doomsday Device, but Papa Mike hits the clothesline! That was awesome, and enough to get the pin at 15:49. That was tons of fun and the finish was great.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #12: World Tag Team Title Match – Kings of Wrestling vs. The All Night Express, 9th Anniversary Show, 2.26.11

Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli have been the champions since 4.3.10, and this is their ninth defense. They’re accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. Hero and Rhett Titus start the match and try to psyche each other out. Titus hits a high knee strike for two and then tags are made. Hero comes back in quickly and the ANX takes control of him. Even when Claudio tags in the challengers maintain the advantage, scoring offense both in and out of the ring. Finally Claudio is able to land a European Uppercut and the Kings go to work on Titus. After several minutes of abuse Titus is able to drop Castagnoli off the top rope with Snake Eyes and the hot tag is made. King is very much on fire, throwing both champions around with ease. Hero cuts him off with a rolling boot to the face and both men are down. Castagnoli gets the tag and uses knee strikes to take King down for a two-count. He blasts King with a clothesline for a two-count. They take the battle to the top rope and King drills Claudio with a kick to the head, and then Titus rushes in with the Super Sex Factor, which gets a close near-fall. The ANX dispatches Hero and then King goes up top to land an impressive Shooting Star Press on Claudio, but Hero is just able to break up the pin. All four men then knock each other down and the referee puts the count on. As they make their way to their feet, Hagadorn tries to pass Hero the elbow pad but King intercepts it, briefly. Unfortunately Hero is able to gain control of it and drills King, allowing Claudio to get the pin at 15:56. That was going along really well but the elbow pad finish is beyond played. Still it was a good effort by both teams and a very good showing by the All Night Express.
Rating: ***¼

Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 1, 4.1.11

Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, were able to end the Kings’ nearly year-long title reign when Haas forced Castagnoli to tap out to the Haas of Pain. It was a pretty good match.

MATCH #13: Kings of Wrestling vs. Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly, Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 2, 4.2.11

The Kings attack right away and get the match going. Hero shitcans O’Reilly to the floor and they focus on Cole for a bit. Cole comes back with a bulldog off the top rope and makes the tag. O’Reilly is a house afire and almost pins Castagnoli with a backslide. He foolishly allows Hero to get the tag and he pays for it, getting slammed hard to the canvas by both Kings. The Atlanta crowd is supportive of Hero and Castagnoli’s efforts. After several minutes O’Reilly is able to make the tag and now Cole is the fired up one. Cole thwarts both Kings and hits Hero with a leg lariat off the second rope. He sends Castagnoli to the floor with a dropkick and follows him with a slingshot hurricanrana. O’Reilly adds a missile dropkick off the apron. Back in the ring Cole hits a high cross body block off the top rope on Hero for two. Cole and O’Reilly try to make Hero Ride the Lightning but Hero fights out and hits everyone with rolling elbows. Castagnoli tags back in and O’Reilly hits him with a tornado DDT and then locks on the guillotine choke. Hero tries to break it up but O’Reilly won’t give it up. Cole knocks Hero to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. Castagnoli finally powers out of the choke and hits a pop-up European Uppercut. The Kings then hit a double boot to the face to get the pin at 9:16. That was an excellent high-energy opener and a good showing for Cole and O’Reilly. The Kings needed that win after dropping their titles the night before.
Rating: *** ¼

MATCH #14: Kings of Wrestling vs. The American Wolves, ROH Revolution USA, 5.7.11

This is a rematch from Tag Title Classic II in Plymouth last December. In the meantime, Eddie Edwards won the ROH World Championship from Roderick Strong at Manhattan Mayhem IV in March, and the Kings lost the ROH World Tag Team Titles to Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team at Honor Takes Center Stage – Chapter 1 in Atlanta in April. The Kings attack early to seize the advantage but the Wolves fight right back both in and out of the ring. They use a lot of their big moves early on and isolate Edwards, going for an early win. Interesting to note is that Edwards and Richards are now wearing two different color tights. As one would expect, this match features tons of striking and suplexing from everyone involved. Sara Del Rey and Shane Hagadorn of course do their best to interfere and give the Kings an advantage when they can. Near the end of the match, Richards accidentally cracks Edwards in the face with a knee. Hero follows up with the Death Blow to pin the ROH World Champion at 23:29. I’m glad they kept this one a lot shorter than the last one that’s for sure. This was a lot of fun and nonstop action, but it was exactly the match I was expecting to see from these four guys, if that makes sense.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #15: World Tag Team Title Match – Kings of Wrestling vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin, Ring of Honor Wrestling Episode 1, 9.24.11

Haas and Benjamin have been the Champions since 4.1.11, and this is their fourth defense. Castagnoli and Haas start the match. They take it down to the mat and exchange holds. Haas is somewhat of an amateur wrestling expert, so he controls the early parts of the match. Benjamin tags in and hits a flying clothesline off the top rope. Someone once tried to sell me on that being a “reverse bulldog,” as if there is such a thing. Hero tags in and trades holds with Benjamin. The champs are looking sharp here in the early going. Hero and Castagnoli have to use some chicanery to gain an advantage. Kevin Kelly says they have to go to commercial but will be back in two minutes! Back from the break Castagnoli has Benjamin down on the mat. During the break Benjamin tried a Stinger Splash on the floor and hit nothing but ring post. The Kings work Benjamin over and Haas tries to help out but does more harm than good. Benjamin counters a double-suplex and hits a neckbreaker on both Kings. Finally he makes the tag and Haas is a house afire. Haas hits Castagnoli with a t-bone suplex for two. He even hits a hurricanrana off the second rope and then a big boot for two. Castagnoli comes back with a flapjack. Hero hits the KTFO but Haas kicks out. He hits another elbow and tags Castagnoli, and they hit the Helicopter Crash for a two-count. The Kings go for the KRS-One but Benjamin breaks it up with a spear and Haas rolls Hero up for a two-count. Benjamin drills Hero with a superkick. The champs hit the Leap of Faith and then Wrestling’s Greatest Finisher to get the win at 14:28 (shown). That was a solid TV main event and a decent send-off for the Kings of Wrestling as a team. Castagnoli was done after this match and Hero worked just a couple more before heading off to WWE.
Rating: ***¼

The Pulse: This is another tremendous effort from the fine folks at ROH. The Kings of Wrestling are definitely two of the most talented guys to step foot in an ROH ring and together they were dynamite. It’s exciting to see Castagnoli doing so well in WWE and hopefully Hero can follow suit. The match selection was a little bit Briscoes heavy, but setting the DVD in a certain time frame will do that, and most of the matches are very good anyway so it’s a minor nitpick. Fans of tag team wrestling would do well to pick up this set, which you can do at the ROH Shop.

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