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Frontier Fieldhouse – Chicago Ridge, IL – April 28, 2012
Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are handling commentary. We cold open to the arena and get right to the first match.
MATCH #1: First Time Ever Tag Team Match – The All Night Express vs. Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin
Strong is the current ROH World Television Champion. Rhett Titus and Elgin start the match. They go back and forth, with Elgin using his power and Titus countering with his speed. Titus tries working the arm and is able to hit a dropkick. Strong and Kenny King tag in. They trade holds and King is all fired up. The ANX is able to isolate Strong and work him over in their half of the ring. Strong fights back long enough to make a tag. Elgin is fresh and he uses his power to send Titus to the apron, where Strong grabs him and drops him knee-first on the apron. Now the House of Truth has a focus. Titus comes back with a back suplex on Strong. Tags are made and King is a house afire. King is all over the H.O.T., hitting Elgin with the shotgun knees for a two-count. Titus comes back in and the ANX tries a double-team move but Elgin picks both of them up and slams them down at the same time. King and Strong battle to the floor and it looks like Strong has hurt his knee. Meanwhile Elgin hits Titus with the Buckle Bomb and then a Spiral Bomb but referee Paul Turner is outside the ring checking on Strong. Elgin takes Titus up for a superplex but Titus counters and the ANX hit the One Night Stand to get the win at 14:58. I like the storytelling of Elgin only getting beaten because his partner was injured on the floor. Was Strong really hurt or was he just trying to sabotage Elgin? Good stuff there. The match was okay.
MATCH #2: “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett vs. Mike Sydal
Bennett makes his way out with his girlfriend Maria Kanellis. He starts cutting a pretty generic heel promo, saying things like “you people paid to see me,” etc. Bennett says he was supposed to find a tag team partner for tonight so he thought of Brutal Bob, but Bob was unavailable. Since he couldn’t team with Brutal Bob, he decides to make out with Maria instead. Then from out of nowhere Mike Sydal runs out to break it up. He challenges Bennett by badmouthing Maria and the impromptu match is on.
Sydal starts off on fire and when Bennett fights back and charges Sydal avoids him. Bennett crashes to the floor and Sydal follows him out with a big moonsault. Sydal goes for an Asai Moonsault but Bennett blocks it and drops Sydal in the splits on the apron. Back in the ring Bennett takes control and slows down the pace. Bennett misses a charge against the ropes and bounces back to the canvas. Sydal fights back with a dropkick, a leg lariat, and a move that his brother used to do for a two-count. Bennett responds with a punch but Sydal cuts him off with an enziguiri and a standing moonsault for two. Sydal goes up top for a cross body block but Bennett gets his knees up. Bennett then hits a devastating TKO to get the pin at 5:13. That was a fine squash and Bennett is getting more palatable.
Maria cuts a promo after the match insulting Chicago fans and the city in general. She also addresses the CM Punk chants and says that he still wishes he was still with her. Bennett and Maria make out a little before heading to the back.
Backstage Veda Scott is with the Bravado Brothers, who just got back from a tour of Japan in the Pro Wrestling NOAH dojo. They say they’re better than ever.
MATCH #3: The Young Bucks vs. The Bravado Brothers
Matt Jackson and Lance Bravado start the match with some chain wrestling. Lance uses a surfboard and Nick Jackson tries to break it up but gets thwarted. Nick and Harlem get tagged in and they resume the back-and-forth action. Harlem targets the arm and takes Nick down to the mat. Nick is able to get to his corner and tag his brother, and now the Bucks go to work. Harlem pushes Matt back into the corner, knocking Nick off the top rope and causing him to land crotch-first. He then catapults Matt into Nick, and follows with a sick tornado DDT on Matt for two. Lance tags in and Nick illegally hits him with a slingshot X-Factor. The Bucks isolate Lance now and work him over for several minutes. Eventually he fights back and makes the hot tag. Harlem is on fire and the fans love it. He hits a Perfect-Plex on Nick for two. The Bravados are showing off all kinds of new offense here. Matt throws Lance to the floor and follows him out with a dropkick through the ropes. Back in the ring Matt hits Harlem with a suplex into the turnbuckles for two. The Bucks double-team Harlem but can’t put him away. Harlem comes back with an enziguiri and makes the tag. Lance is on fire and he hits Matt with a belly-to-belly suplex for two. He follows with a big lariat for another two-count. The referee loses control as all four men are brawling in the ring. The Bravados hit Matt with the enziguiri/German Suplex combo and Nick breaks it up. The Bucks come back with some creative double-teaming but the Bravados won’t give in yet. They hit a Buckle Bomb/Enziguiri combo and then set up for More Bang For Your Buck but Lance counters with a crucifix to get the upset pin at 13:34! The Bravados have improved tenfold and the Bucks were their usual awesome selves. A few awkward spots aside this was tons of fun and a big upset.
Veda Scott introduces Ring of Honor CEO Joe Koff, who announces that Death Before Dishonor X in Chicago will be an iPPV and all three ROH titles will be defended. Kevin Steen and Jimmy Jacobs come out to interrupt him. Steen says that he will be the ROH Champion by then. He calls out El Generico and BJ Whitmer and the brawl begins. Referee Todd Sinclair tries to get control of the match before calling for the bell but that proves difficult as everyone takes the fight to the floor. Sinclair even gets on the mic and pleads since this was signed as a regular match, but Steen counters by asking to make it a no-DQ match. For some reason Sinclair says he can’t do that, even though Whitmer and Generico want it too. Referee Paul Turner comes down with a cell phone, and apparently it’s Jim Cornette on the other line and he okays the No-DQ stipulation! That’s a roundabout way to get to somewhere simple, but I suppose Cornette just HAD to be on the show somehow.
MATCH #4: Grudge Tag Team Match – Kevin Steen & Jimmy Jacobs vs. El Generico & BJ Whitmer
The competitors are energized by this announcement and take the fight right to the floor. Steen battles Whitmer and Jacobs fights Generico on either side of the ring. Generico hits a moonsault off the guardrail on Jacobs, and then Steen cuts him off with a chair. Whitmer then grabs the chair and uses it on Steen. Now Generico and Steen make their way into the ring to continue their war. Generico hits a DDT that sends Steen to the floor. Jacobs comes in and kicks Generico to the floor. Whitmer gets in the ring to battle his former tag team championship partner and unloads on him with suplexes. Generico and Whitmer successfully double-team their opponents. They go outside to grab chairs but both Jacobs and Steen are able to turn the tables, so to speak. Steen focuses on Generico while Jacobs takes Whitmer to the floor to fight. Jacobs and Steen are totally in control, wearing their opponents out. They use the tennis racket as a weapon to mock Jim Cornette. After several minutes Generico fights back with a cross body block off the top rope onto both men. Generico hits Steen with a Michinoku Driver. He tries the Blue Thunder Bomb on Jacobs but can’t hit it. Whitmer rejoins the fray and hits Jacobs with a big boot while Generico wipes Steen out with a dive to the floor. Back in the ring Whitmer unloads on Jacobs with suplexes. Steen hits Generico with a powerbomb on the ring apron. Jacobs hits Whitmer with the Contra Code. Steen follows with a Cannonball into a chair and Jacobs covers for two. The brawling continues and Jacobs brings another chair into the ring. It backfires as Whitmer hits Jacobs with a brainbuster onto said chair. Steen breaks up that cover. Generico hits Steen with a Half-Nelson Suplex into the turnbuckles. He then goes for the running Yakuza Kick but Steen cuts him off with a superkick. Now Steen and Jacobs bring tables out from under the ring. Generico stops Steen on the apron and drills him with a Brainbuster! Jacobs then knocks Generico off the apron with the railroad spike. Whitmer hits Jacobs with a nasty release German Suplex. He sets up a table but Jacobs fights back and sets Whitmer across it. Whitmer fights off of it and hits a Super Exploder through the table! That’s enough for Whitmer to score the pin at 18:26. That was a wild brawl and very fitting for all four men involved.
MATCH #5: ROH vs. CHIKARA – Jay Lethal, Adam Cole & TJ Perkins vs. The Colony (Green Ant, Soldier Ant & Fire Ant)
Gavin Loudspeaker is here to introduce this match. Cary Silkin comes out to flip a coin to decide who is going to referee the match. The guy from CHIKARA wins. Green and Lethal start the match with some crazy mat wrestling. They make way for Fire and Perkins and the pace stays quick. Cole and Soldier come in and within the first few minutes all six guys have gotten a chance to show off. This match is being held under CHIKARA trios rules, so the action is going to be very hard to keep up with. The Colony uses some impressive double and triple-team maneuvers, but the ROH team comes back with a triple superkick on Fire for a two-count. Team ROH now tries to focus on Fire and keep him away from his partners. Lethal dropkicks Fire to the floor so Soldier takes his place. The match breaks down and the Colony comes together to hit Perkins and Cole with a tandem suplex. Soldier and Green then launch Fire over the ropes to wipe out all three opponents. The Colony focuses on Lethal now, keeping him away from Cole and Perkins. Lethal is able to make a comeback with a dual Lethal Combination on Fire and Solider, and he makes the tag. Cole comes in and cleans house. Fire cuts him off with a tornado DDT. The mach breaks down again and the referee inadvertently gets in Perkins’s way. After some dives to the floor Perkins traps Fire in an STF and it gets broken up. All six men are in the ring and the action is hard to follow. Perkins traps Fire in a small package but the referee is out of position. Green comes in and reverses the small package, putting Fire on top for the pin at 15:08. I like the idea of the finish but the actual small package reversal always looks kind of weak. The match was tons of fun and a great showcase for CHIKARA. ROH could bring back the Colony any time really.
Backstage – Team Ambition is getting ready to face Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team. Davey Richards looks uncomfortable as Kyle O’Reilly badmouths Adam Cole, which gives this team a bit of an interesting dynamic.
MATCH #6: First Time Ever Tag Team Match – Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) vs. Team Ambition (Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly)
Benjamin and Richards each cut a brief promo before the match. Richards and Haas then start the match, but before anything can happen O’Reilly tags himself in. O’Reilly and Haas go back and forth with some strikes and O’Reilly gets frustrated so he tags Richards and then goes to the floor to regroup. Benjamin tags in and he and Richards start chain wrestling. Richards sends Benjamin to the floor with a dropkick and when Haas comes in the ring illegally he gets the same treatment. Back in the ring Haas tags in and O’Reilly comes in as well. WGTT is able to isolate on O’Reilly for a few minutes. Richards gets a hot tag and hits a missile dropkick on both opponents. He continues the assault and even gets a hand from O’Reilly. Richards hits a double stomp off the top rope on Benjamin for two, and then immediately puts on the Ankle Lock. Benjamin escapes that and then they trade hard strikes. Richards hits an enziguiri and O’Reilly lands a brainbuster, which gets two. Team Ambition wears their opponents out with a series of kicks. Apparently Richards thinks O’Reilly has dished out too many and gets mad. Um, what? Haas shoves O’Reilly into Richards from behind, causing some miscommunication between the training partners. That also gives WGTT the advantage over the ROH World Champion. Richards gets several hope spots of course, but WGTT is able to beat him down for a while. Eventually O’Reilly gets the hot tag. O’Reilly traps Benjamin in the guillotine choke and when Benjamin pushes him off he puts Haas in it. He puts it back on Benjamin as Richards wipes Haas out with a dive to the floor. Richards comes in and adds an Ankle Lock, which Haas breaks up with an Olympic Slam. Haas tries an Olympic Slam on O’Reilly but it’s countered to an armdrag. O’Reilly low bridges Haas to send him to the floor, but then turns around into the Paydirt from Benjamin. WGTT gets the win at 21:28. I like how they played the dissension between Richards and O’Reilly, and it makes me want to see them wrestle. WGTT continues to tread water, but this match was solid.
MATCH #7: World Tag Team Title Match – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Jigsaw & Hallowicked
The Briscoes have been Champions since 12.23.11, and this is their sixth defense. Jigsaw & Hallowicked earned this shot by beating the Briscoes in a Proving Ground match back at Homecoming 2012. Mark and Hallowicked start the match with some fast-packed back-and-forth. The Briscoes are fired up and they slug away at the masked men. Everyone spills to the floor and the CHIKARA duo fights back with dives. The Briscoes take the fight right back to them. Back in the ring Hallowicked and Jigsaw try to go to work on Jay, but Jay grabs Jigsaw from the floor and swings him hard into the barricade. Now the Briscoes focus on Jigsaw, who after a few minutes is able to slip out of a suplex and make the tag. Hallowicked tries to unload on offense but the Briscoes cut him right off. The champs are looking good here. The Briscoes go for the Doomsday Device but Hallowicked slips out and Jigsaw pushes Mark off the top rope through a table! Jigsaw and Hallowicked hit their own version of the Doomsday Device on Jay for a two-count. They work on Jay for just a few minutes before Mark gets the tag and unleashes some redneck kung fu. Mark hits a rolling Death Valley Driver on Hallowicked and a shotgun dropkick on Jigsaw for two. He hits Jigsaw with the Iconoclasm for another two-count. Jay and Hallowicked fight on the floor while Jigsaw hits Mark with a brainbuster for two. The referee has lost control as all four men are fighting in the ring. Speaking of the referee he gets accidentally bumped, so the CHIKARA referee slides in to make a count but he can only get two. Jigsaw argues with the referee, allowing Mark to make a tag. Jay accidentally punches the ref in the face but doesn’t seem all that concerned. He then clobbers Jigsaw with a lariat and hits Hallowicked with a superkick. The Briscoes then hit the Doomsday Device and Todd Sinclair has to run out from the back to count two. The Colony runs out from the back to try and fire up their boys, so Team ROH comes out to even the sides. A slugfest ensues and Jay hits Jigsaw with a Death Valley Driver for two. Jigsaw comes back with a small package for two, but then runs right into a spinebuster. Mark comes off with the Froggy ‘Bow and Jay gets the pin at 16:40. The match was really good but would have been better with a finish that wasn’t quite so out of nowhere.
The Pulse: If you like tag team wrestling, this is the ROH show for you. They probably should have called it Tag Wars 2012, as six of the seven matches on the card were tag bouts. The match quality is also high, with four of the seven matches rating at 3.5 stars or higher, and only the squash singles match rating below 2.75. Hopefully this opens the door for more CHIKARA involvement in the future, as the two interpromotional matches had some gravitas to them. You can (and should) pick up this show at the ROH Shop.