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Hammerstein Ballroom – New York City, New York – Sunday, March 4, 2012
Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness welcome everyone to the show and hype up the card.
MATCH #1: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) vs. The All Night Express (Rhett Titus & Kenny King)
Titus and Benjamin start for their respective teams. They chain wrestle a bit and then King tags in. King has the advantage until Benjamin hits a low blow, but referee Paul Turner calls it the inner thigh. Whatever, Paul. Haas tags in and the WGTT are in control. King fires back with a dropkick and makes the tag. Titus presses the advantage and Haas takes a powder. Benjamin comes in and the ANX send him reeling to the floor as well. King and Titus follow them out with stereo suicide dives. Back in the ring Haas and Benjamin use some questionable tactics to gain control. Haas and Benjamin savagely attack Titus’ previously injured left knee. King tries to help his partner but is unsuccessful. After several minutes Titus is finally able to make the tag. King is a house afire, but he and Haas manage to blow a simple spot. He puts Haas in a half crab for some reason and Benjamin breaks it up. King hits Benjamin with the shotgun knees for two. Benjamin gets an inside cradle for two. King foolishly tags the worn down Titus back in. The ANX double-teams Benjamin with a series of kicks. Haas comes back in and drills Titus with a boot to the face and a release German Suplex. King gets tagged in and immediately suffers some double-team abuse. Titus clotheslines Haas to the floor and goes tumbling out with him. Benjamin tries a powerbomb but King reverses to the Code Red! That only gets two. Benjamin tries a jackknife cradle but King reverses that to a sunset flip to get the pin at 13:33. That got a little sloppy down the stretch but for the most part it was solid tag team formula stuff.
MATCH #2: “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett (w/ Maria & Brutal Bob) vs. “Notorious 187” Homicide
Bennett cuts the standard generic heel promo before the match. Homicide charges the ring and takes it to the Prodigy, causing the Boston native to take a powder. Bennett tricks Homicide to the floor, but he should have known that’s where Homicide is at his best. Back in the ring Bennett takes control with his basic offense. Homicide avoids a charge in the corner and hits an exploder suplex to send Bennett back to the floor. When Homicide goes for the Tope Con Hilo, Brutal Bob throws himself in front of the bullet, so to speak. That gives Bennett a firm advantage. Back in the ring Bennett continues to wear Homicide down. Bennett hits a spinebuster. He rips the Yankees shirt off Homicide and wipes his ass with it. Homicide fights back and hits an Ace Crusher. Back on their feet they exchange right hands. Homicide hits a powerbomb for two and turns it into an STF like Samoa Joe used to do. Well, kind of. Bennett elbows his way out of it. He charges into the corner and Homicide catches him with an elbow. Homicide goes up top and Bennett is able to backdrop him down to the mat. Homicide comes right back with a neckbreaker. He tries the Go 2 Sleep for some reason. Maria gets up on the apron to distract him. Homicide doesn’t fall for it and then does hit the Go 2 Sleep. Maria tries to get in the ring but Brutal Bob pulls her back out. She fights him off and distracts Homicide long enough for Bennett to roll him up for the flash pin at 10:47. The action had its moments, and I like the idea of Homicide competing on the Anniversary Show. But given how limited Homicide is at this point, it’s a better idea in theory than in practice.
Homicide is a sore loser and attacks Brutal Bob after the match. He then sets his sights on Maria but Bennett and Bob save her before any damage can be done. Homicide cuts a promo after the match, but who can tell what he’s actually saying? Nigel McGuinness says Homicide won bragging rights in this match, but I question that logic. He got outsmarted and pinned and then attacked an old man and a woman. Homicide then says some more things, but damned if I can make them out.
Kevin Kelly Interviews the Grand Champion of CHIKARA Eddie Kingston
Kingston is a special guest of Ring of Honor. He wears a dress shirt and a bandana around his neck. Okay then. Kelly announces that ROH will be co-promoting shows with CHIKARA in Chicago on April 28. Kingston says that he’s excited to be here and wastes little time in calling out ROH World Champion Davey Richards. Kevin Steen comes out instead and asks Kingston when he became such a bitch. Steen asks Kingston why it’s great to be here when last time he was around ROH chased him out. He proposes an alliance between them and they could destroy ROH and CHIKARA and rebuild them. Kingston doesn’t want to do that because he loves both CHIKARA and ROH. Steen calls CHIKARA a “bullshit Mickey Mouse promotion.” Kingston gets mad and tells Steen he lost his wife and kids for that promotion, which doesn’t make me want to cheer him, that just makes him sound pathetic. Steen said he didn’t plan on fighting Kingston, but plans change and the brawl is on! Referees and security try to split them up. Kingston gets cleared from the ring and Steen is alone with the CHIKARA title belt. Steen makes appears ready to literally piss on the belt, which brings out the Colony to defend CHIKARA’s honor. That was a good segment to set up Steen versus Kingston.
MATCH #3: The House of Truth (Roderick Strong & “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin) w/ Truth Martini vs. “Technical Lightning” TJ Perkins & Amazing Red
I do love Red being on this show, since he wrestled in the first official match in ROH history against Jay Briscoe back at The Era of Honor Begins. Strong and Perkins start the match. They go back and forth a bit and neither man can gain a solid advantage so they make tags. Elgin and Red are in, and just guess how that goes. Red uses his impressive agility to send both Elgin and Strong retreating to the floor. Perkins and Red work together to keep the House of Truth reeling. Elgin catches Perkins in a powerslam and now the H.O.T. is in control. Strong and Elgin use a variety of power and submission maneuvers to wear Perkins down. After a few minutes Perkins uses some unique maneuvers to get in position to make the tag. Red comes flying in and he’s a house afire. He hits a swank tornado DDT on Elgin for two. The referee loses control and bodies are flying all over the place. Perkins and Red take out all THREE members of the House with some stereo dives. Back in the ring Red hits Elgin with the Code Red for a close near-fall. Strong and Perkins slug it out and Strong gets the better of it with a knee to the jaw. Red tries the Code Red but Strong rolls through and hits a gutbuster. Elgin follows with a huge lariat for two! Perkins comes back in and hits Strong with a neckbreaker. Red goes up top and leaps on Elgin but gets caught in an Alabama Slam position. Elgin throws Red into a a lungblower by Strong and that’s enough to get the pin at 11:10. That was almost non-stop action and tons of fun. It’s too bad ROH couldn’t make it work with Perkins, and if he could put on those kinds of performances I wouldn’t mind seeing Red around more too. Strong and Elgin were such a great team for them to go against.
MATCH #4: ROH World TV Championship – Jay Lethal vs. “The Dominant Male” Tommaso Ciampa w/ The Embassy Ltd.
Lethal has been the Champion since 8.13.11, and this is his fifth defense. The Embassy Ltd. is in full effect tonight, with Prince Nana, R.D. Evans, Mia Yim, and Ernesto Osiris in Ciampa’s corner. Ciampa beat Lethal in a Proving Ground match at ROH Underground back in January. The challenger dominates early on but Lethal won’t be intimidated. Lethal does something the cameras don’t catch and Ciampa takes a powder. Back in the ring Lethal hits the hiptoss dropkick combo and Ciampa goes to the apron. Lethal hits the Jericho Dropkick to knock Ciampa back onto the barricade. He decides to hit Evans with a suicide dive, and that gives Ciampa the chance to level him with a clothesline. Ciampa repeatedly throws Lethal into the barricades and then the ring apron. Back in the ring Ciampa continues to dominate. Lethal fights back and they exchange chops. Ciampa switches it up with a headbutt and that just fires Lethal up. #JYD. Ciampa responds with an IED. He follows with the unprotected knee strikes to the face. Lethal pops up from out of nowhere and levels Ciampa with a superkick. McGuinness notes that there are four minutes left in the time limit. Lethal hits a handspring back elbow for two. He goes up top for Hail to the King and Ciampa joins him up there. Lethal knocks him back as Bobby Cruise announces three minutes are left. Black Machismo then hits Hail to the King for a near-fall. The fight migrates to the apron and Ciampa hits Schwein! Both men are down on the floor and one minute is left. Both men make it back to the ring. Lethal hits the Lethal Combination and the Embassy all tries distracting Lethal in various forms. The match breaks down to a slug fest and time runs out at 15:43 by my clock, but there was a video glitch in there too so that might have something to do with it. I really liked the net two matches these two had at Border Wars and Boiling Point 2012, but this one was kind of disjointed and just lacked the spark those other two matches managed to produce until the closing minute or so.
The brawl continues after the bell and Ciampa is in control of it. Ciampa hits Project Ciampa and then steals the TV Title belt. Backstage The Embassy Ltd. celebrates the procurement of the title belt, even if they didn’t win it fairly. R.D. Evans says that ROH officials are trying to get the belt back from them so they better split.
MATCH #5: ROH World Tag Team Championship – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson)
The Briscoes have been the Champions since 12.23.11, and this is their fourth defense. Bobby Cruise can’t even finish introducing the champions before the Bucks attack, sending the Briscoes to the floor. The Bucks pose too early and the Briscoes make them pay for it. The Briscoes throw Matt to the floor and then heave Nick out on top of him. New York City loves them some Briscoes that’s for sure. Jay and Mark continue the fight on the floor, dominating. Back in the ring the Briscoes continue to destroy the Bucks. Finally the Bucks use some chicanery to turn things around. Momentum continues to shift and the referee has more or less lost control. Every time the Bucks get some offense in the Briscoes basically shrug it off and go back on offense. Kevin Kelly is shilling Twitter comments during the match. I guess he probably did learn a few lessons from Michael Cole. The Bucks throw a lot of superkicks but none of them can put the Briscoes away. Eventually the Briscoes hit the Doomsday Device on Nick to get the pin at 13:11. Both of these teams are great but something definitely did not click with this match. The Briscoes sold almost nothing and no internal story ever developed.
Backstage the Briscoes celebrate with some beer. Mark Briscoe is wearing the same Andre the Giant shirt that I have. I assume a lot of other people have it too since I just found it at Kmart.
MATCH #6: No DQ Match – “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” Kevin Steen vs. Jimmy Jacobs w/ Steve Corino
Corino gets on the microphone and pleads with Steen to stop the madness. He says it’s all gone too far. Corino doesn’t want the match to take place. Steen disagrees. While Steen is arguing with Corino, Jacobs pulls out a chain and pelts Steen with it! Jacobs takes off his long fur coat and reveals the blood-stained white jacket from the night The Age of The Fall debuted at the Man Up! pay-per-view in September 2007! Steen goes to the floor and Jacobs follows him. Jacobs chokes Steen with a wire hanger and then abuses him with a chair. He throws a bunch of chairs into the ring. Jacobs sets Steen on a chair and flattens him with a dive. Back in the ring Jacobs tries to use one of the chairs but misses and Steen hits a chair-assisted Codebreaker. Steen tries a cannonball but misses. They go back to the floor and Steen hits a fallaway slam into the barricade. Steen throws Jacobs around ringside and the aisle. He gets up on the barricade and Jacobs slams him down on the entrance ramp! Back up by ringside Steen shoves Jacobs into the ring post. Steen hits Jacobs with a chair and ten slams him onto one of the barricades. He tries to use another barricade but Jacobs hits him with a DDT! Back in the ring Jacobs covers for two. Jacobs produces a table and sets it up at ringside. He goes for a suplex from the apron but Steen counters and pulls Jacobs into the ring. Steen tries the powerbomb but Jacobs slips out. They go back to the floor on the other side and Steen hits the powerbomb on the ring apron. Steen hits another one just to be a dick. He tries to powerbomb Jacobs through the table again but Jacobs avoids it. Jacobs goes back in the ring and flies out with a spear on Steen to finally break the table! Back in the ring Jacobs covers for two. Jacobs sets up a couple of chairs and tries the Contra Code but Steen blocks it and Slams Jacobs on the chairs for a two-count. Steen goes up top and tries the Swanton but Jacobs gets his knees up. Jacobs pulls out the spike! HE charges but misses and stabs the turnbuckle. Steen hits the F-Cinq but he doesn’t cover right away. HE sets up some chairs but that gives Jacobs time to recover and grab his spike! Jacobs stabs Steen in the face with it and busts him open! As Steen bleeds Jacobs questions his own actions. Jacobs drops the spike and allows Steen to pick it up. Steen stabs Jacobs in the balls with the spike and hits the F-Cinq on the chairs for the win at 15:17. That was a tremendous hardcore match, as Jacobs continues to be one of the most underrated guys around at putting on that kind of match. Steen was his awesome self as well. The story of the match was very well told and elevated it past the standard garbage brawl.
MATCH #7: Young Wolves Rising – Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly vs. “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards & Adam Cole
Before this match gets underway, I would like to point out that I like the idea of this match. The ROH World Champion and a young up-and comer facing one of the top contenders and another young up and comer, two sets of former partners on opposing sides. Giving Cole and O’Reilly the chance to shine was a great idea. The two Young Wolves (Rising) start the match. Before any contact is made several tags occur on either side and we end up with Cole and Richards battling first. Cole and Richards go back and forth, feeling each other out. Tags are made. Edwards and O’Reilly fight back and forth for a bit and then make tags again. Richards takes control and tags out. The former Future Shock go at it for the first time in the match now. More back-and-forth wrestling commences and many tags are made. Richards and O’Reilly get the first real advantage about 12 minutes into the match. O’Reilly hits Edwards with a belly-to-back superplex and tries to follow it up with a cross armbreaker but Edwards counters to the Achilles Lock, and O’Reilly counters that to a Crossface. Edwards is able to escape. O’Reilly hits a Regalplex for two. Edwards takes O’Reilly’s head off with a lariat. Cole tags in and the pace continues to be rapid. Richards and O’Reilly isolate Cole and wear him down. Cole is able to fight back and make the tag. Edwards and Cole are able to send Richards and O’Reilly to the floor and Edwards backdrops Cole to the floor to wipe both of them out. Then Edwards follows with an Asai Moonsault. Back in the ring Edwards and Cole work Richards over but can’t put him away. Richards puts Cole in the Ankle Lock and Edwards tries to break it up. O’Reilly grabs Edwards in the guillotine choke. Edwards counters to the Achilles Lock and Richards does the same to Cole. Richards and Edwards exchange slaps and then release the holds to go at each other. Cole and O’Reilly hit their respective opponents with German Suplexes and then take it to each other. They tumble to the floor, leaving the veterans alone in the ring. Richards wins that battle with a sort of brainbuster. All four men are in the ring and the veterans suplex the Young Wolves (Rising) to the floor and all four men are down. Back in the ring Richards and Edwards abuse the other’s respective opponents, trying to one-up the other. Richards and Edwards take each other out, leaving Cole and O’Reilly to fight. Cole lands a hard superkick for two. Edwards takes O’Reilly to the top rope and drops him face-first to the mat. He and Cole double-team him but still can’t get a pin. O’Reilly backdrops Edwards to the floor and makes the tag. Richards hits Cole with a double stomp tot he back and O’Reilly hits Edwards with the missile dropkick off the apron. Then Richards goes up and hits another double stomp, this one to the chest, but again only gets two. Richards keeps up the offense but Cole will not give in. Cole slaps Richards in the face and drills him with an enziguiri. Richards comes back with the Alarm Clock and O’Reilly hits a brainbuster. That only gets two. Edwards tags in and puts Richards in the Achilles Lock. Richards kicks his way out of it but then falls victim a Cole superkick and more double-teams. Edwards and Richards fight up on the top rope and Edwards hits a super hurricanrana. Cole then joins Edwards for the powerbomb / lungblower combination for a two-count. They didn’t quite hit it crisp, and the jackasses in the audience chant “You Fucked Up.” I don’t care for this crowd, with the exception of Brad Garoon. Cole goes to the top rope and O’Reilly tries to stop him, only to receive a tornado DDT throuh the timekeeper’s table! That was awesome. Richards and Edwards go back and forth. Edwards tries the Boston Knee Party but Richards catches it and puts him in the Ankle Lock. Edwards crawls over and tags Cole, who hits Richards with a high cross body block to get the shocking pin at 39:33! You know, shave 15 minutes off that match and cut out some of the more homoerotic moments, and give it a finish better than a CROSS BODY BLOCK and it would be a pretty good match. As it was, it was little more than a wank-fest between four admittedly talented performers that went long for the sake of long. I like Cole getting the pin, but a Cross Body Block?
Richards immediately grabs the microphone and congratulates Cole on his win. He shakes Edwards’ hand as well. O’Reilly grabs the mic and says he doesn’t shake the hand of people he doesn’t respect, so he won’t be shaking their hands! The DVD abruptly cuts off there.
Tags: Adam Cole, Anniversary Show, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Ring of Honor