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New York, New York – September 17, 2011
It’s a cold open to the arena for this very important iPPV event. Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Grudge Tag Team Match – Homicide & Jay Lethal vs. Tommaso Ciampa & Rhino
Ciampa and Rhino weigh a combined 503 pounds. They are accompanied by Prince Nana, Mia Yim, R.D. Evans, and Ernesto Osiris. Homicide and Lethal weigh in at 433 pounds. Lethal is the current ROH Television Champion. Homicide and Lethal charge the ring and clear out the Embassy. Ciampa and Lethal start the match. They exchange holds a bit and Lethal takes the first advantage. Rhino tags in, and I wonder if he ever crossed paths with Lethal in TNA. They barely cross paths here, as Homicide quickly tags in. The Embassy tries to use their numbers game to put Homicide down but that’s not happening just yet. Lethal tags back in and Ciampa dropkicks him off the apron and into the barricade. The Embassy isolates Lethal in their half of the ring, keeping him away from Homicide. Rhino is in tremendous shape, by the way. He misses his first attempt at a Gore and Lethal lands a superkick so both men are down. Tags are made and Homicide goes right at Ciampa. Homicide knocks Rhino to the floor and takes him out with a Tope Con Hilo. Back in the ring Ciampa takes Homicide down in the corner and hits a series of running knees to the face. Homicide responds with an Ace Crusher for two. Rhino comes back in the ring and Lethal takes him out with a hurricanrana. Homicide goes for the Gringo Killer but Ciampa counters to Project Ciampa to get the win at 10:15. That’s a solid opener, and I appreciate how Homicide has been putting Ciampa over so clean every time.
The Embassy continues the attack on Homicide after the bell until Lethal comes in swinging his TV Title belt to send them scurrying away.
MATCH #2: Special Challenge Match – Shelton Benjamin vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett
Bennett weighs in at 226 pounds and hails from Boston, Massachusetts. He is accompanied by his trainer “Brutal” Bob Evans. Benjamin weighs 248 pounds and is from Orangeburg, South Carolina. The crowd is openly hostile to Bennett before he even does anything, which I love. Bennett stalls a lot in the early going as Benjamin is the aggressor. Brutal Bob interferes to give Bennett the advantage, which is always my favorite part of any ROH DVD. Bennett focuses on the back as the crowd heckles him. Benjamin fights back with a neckbreaker and both men are down. Back up on their feet Benjamin is on fire, unleashing a flurry of offense. Benjamin hits the Samoan Drop for two. He hits a Sky-Hi Powerbomb for another two-count. Benjamin goes for Paydirt but Bennett counters with a backbreaker for two. Bennett goes up top (which is rare) and hits a missile dropkick for another two-count. He goes for the Box Office Smash but Benjamin counters with a rollup for two and then launches Bennett over his head with a release German Suplex for another two-count when Brutal Bob puts Bennett’s foot on the bottom rope. Benjamin chases Brutal Bob into the ring and hits both him and Bennett with a superkick. He then delivers Paydirt on Bennett to get the pin at 10:54. That was perfectly adequate and unexciting.
MATCH #3: Three Way Elimination Tag Team Match – Future Shock vs. The Young Bucks vs. The Bravado Brothers
One member from each team will be in the ring at all times, and a wrestler can only tag his own tag team partner. Eliminations are by pinfall or submission. The Bravado Brothers are a combined 408 pounds, and come to us from Draper, North Carolina. Future Shock weighs in at a combined 403 pounds. The Young Bucks are at 402 pounds, and hail from Los Angeles, California. The Bravados feign going for the handshake with Future Shock, but they just attack them instead. The Bucks object to this so the Bravados throw them to the floor. The action gets pretty fast pretty quickly, with bodies flying all over the place in and out of the ring. Referee Todd Sinclair actually gains control of the match, with Nick, O’Reilly, and Lancelot starting the match proper. The Bucks and the Shock work together on their annoying opponents. The Bravados get to show off their double-team arsenal, and it really is amazing how far they’ve come. That being said, Future Shock hits Harlem with the Ride the Lighting for the first elimination at 6:43. The Bucks and Shock tear into each other at a frenzied pace. Nick and Matt execute an awesome spiked Tombstone on Cole but O’Reilly breaks it up. O’Reilly dominates both Bucks and locks Nick in a Triangle Choke with elbow strikes, while Cole puts Matt in a guillotine choke. The four men collide and both holds are broken. Superkicks start getting thrown everywhere, but O’Reilly trumps everyone with a huge lariat and all four men are down. Back up on their feet, the Bucks are able to send O’Reilly to the floor and hit Cole with More Bang for Your Buck to get the win at 10:50. That was awesome in so many ways. I love the ROH Tag Team Division.
MATCH #4: One-On-One – El Generico vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Generico is at 196 pounds and is wrestling out of Tijuana, Mexico. Jacobs weighs in at 181 pounds and comes to us from Grand Rapids, Michigan. This was supposed to be Steve Corino facing Generico, but Corino was afraid that he might relapse at the sight of the Generic Luchadore, so his sponsor Jacobs is taking his place. They start off with some chain wresting, as Jacobs is eager to prove he is a changed man. Generico targets the back early on as Jacobs begs the crowd to get into it. Jacobs shrugs off a couple of chops and hits a couple of clotheslines and a neckbreaker. He low-bridges Generico to the floor, and then follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Jacobs hits a tornado vertical suplex for two. Generico fights back with the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. A Michinoku Driver also gets two. Generico hits a half nelson suplex and goes for the Ole Kick but Jacobs cuts him off with the End Time! Jacobs turns that into a rollup for two. He then hits the leaping Ace Crusher for another two-count. Generico is able to connect on his second Ole Kick attempt, and ten he goes for the Top-Rope Brainbuster but Jacobs fights his way out of it. He delivers a Spear on the ring apron and gets a two-count back in the ring. Jacobs goes up top and Generico cuts him off with another Ole Kick and once again goes for the Top-Rope Brainbuster, but Jacobs reverses it into an awesome super DDT. As both men are down, Kevin Steen comes running out from the crowd! I guess the match is a No Contest around 10:36 (no bell). Bummer that there was no real finish because the match was getting good.
Steen starts cutting a promo but the mic gets cut off. Wrestlers come running out to try and get Steen to leave, and Jacobs comes after him! Steen grabs Jacobs and powerbombs him on the ring apron. Generico comes flying out of the ring to wipe out the security but not Steen. Now Steen is in the ring, fighting off security left and right. Cary Silkin gets in the ring to try and talk some sense into Steen, extending his hand. Steen shakes it, but then pulls him into position for the Package Piledriver! Security stops him before he can do it. Jim Cornette is out now and takes a swing at Steen. Security drags Steen out while Jacobs and Cornette argue at ringside. The crowd went nuts for all of this, and so did I. That was really awesome.
MATCH #5: Special Challenge Match – Charlie Haas vs. Michael Elgin
Elgin weighs 245 pounds and hails from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is accompanied by Truth Martini. Haas is also 245 pounds and comes from Dallas, Texas. His skullcap and necklace are so that you know he’s cool. Kevin Kelly tells us that Haas is missing his daughter’s third birthday to be here tonight. That just makes me sad. They quickly start in with the mat wrestling. Haas takes the first advantage and Martini quickly interferes to give Elgin the opening he needs to take control. Elgin hits a shoulder tackle off the top rope for two. He controls the action for a little bit until they clothesline each other and both men are down. They get up and trade punches. Haas wins that battle and then starts throwing suplexes. Elgin comes back from that with a series of clotheslines and strikes. Haas dropkicks Elgin to the floor but then gets whipped into the barricade. He comes right back from that with a back suplex onto the guardrail. Back in the ring Haas goes up top but Elgin meets him up there and delivers a superplex for two. Haas tries to fight up but Elgin cuts him off with an enziguiri for another two-count. Elgin goes up top but Haas springs to his feet and hits an overhead release German Superplex. Haas then takes Elgin’s head off with a lariat to get the pin at 12:42. That was proficient but dull.
MATCH #6: Ringmaster’s Challenge – Roderick Strong vs. Eddie Edwards
The first fall can only be won by pinfall, the second fall only by submission, and if necessary the third fall will be a 15-minute Iron Man match. Also, the wrestlers get a 30-second rest period between falls. Strong weighs in at 200 pounds and is from Tampa, Florida. He is accompanied by Truth Martini. Edwards is 211 pounds and comes to us from Boston, Massachusetts. Having that little bit of Rocky dialogue before his music is exceptionally lame. I really enjoyed the matches between these two at Manhattan Mayhem IV and Supercard of Honor VI so I hope this one is as good. (24:49)
The crowd is a bit split, but Edwards is the slight favorite. They show off how well they know each other early on, and Strong takes the first powder. Back in the ring they trade pinning combinations for a series of near-falls. We lose the commentators as the back-and-forth action continues. They spill to the floor, where Strong has the advantage. Back in the ring Strong continues his onslaught, hitting his first backbreaker of the match for a two-count. Edwards ignores a series of strikes and hits a release German Suplex and both men are down. Audio issues have been rectified and the commentators are back as Edwards is in control. Edwards tries the Chin Checker but Strong counters out and slams Edwards to the mat for two. Strong charges into the corner and walks into a chop. Edwards follows up with the leaping Codebreaker, but Strong comes back with the vertical suplex backbreaker to win the first fall at 12:01.
They actually got 40 seconds to rest. I call shenanigans! Strong attacks Edwards right away and continues working the back. Edwards comes back and uses an STF but Strong reaches the ropes. They spill to the floor and Strong reclaims the advantage. Strong hits a backbreaker on a chair, just to be a jerk. Back in the ring Strong puts on the Stronghold, but Edwards gets to the ropes, twice. Edwards fights back and puts on the Achilles Lock and Strong taps out at 7:42 (20:23 total)! That evens things up at 1-1.
Strong takes a powder and the third fall begins with Edwards soaring through the ropes to wipe him out with a suicide dive! Edwards dominates the early parts of the Iron Man match, abusing Strong both in and out of the ring. Martini interferes to give Strong the advantage, so Strong starts working the back. Five minutes go by and there haven’t been any falls yet. Strong throws Edwards around ringside, and hits a Gibson Driver up on the entrance ramp. Edwards barely makes it back to the ring before the count of 20. Strong wisely goes for a cover but only gets two. Man, that would have been an awesome fall – Edwards expends all his energy getting back to the ring only to get pinned. Why didn’t they do that? Anyway, Edwards makes a comeback and hits the Chin Checker but Strong kicks out at two. The ten-minute mark goes by and still no one has gotten a fall yet. Edwards kicks Strong to the floor and both men look exhausted. Back in the ring Edwards hits a superplex as ring announcer Bobby Cruise announces three minutes left. They do a fish out of water sequences as Cruise announces two minutes remaining. Strong then traps Edwards in a backslide and Martini holds Edwards’s foot, allowing Strong to get the first pin at 13:21. Now they get a 30-second rest period, and during that time Martini accidentally hits Strong with the Book of Truth and Edwards hits the Die Hard to even the score at 14:08. By the time the rest period is over only 15 seconds remain and time expires at an exact 15:00 (35:23 total match time).
The official decision of the match is a draw. Jim Cornette comes out and declares that the match will continue under sudden death rules! They come to the center of the ring and start trading forearms and chops. Edwards hits a Tiger Suplex for a close near-fall. He tries to use the Achilles Lock but Strong kicks his way out of it and hits a knee strike and the Sick Kick but Edwards kicks out! Strong hits a Gibson Driver but again only gets two. He goes for a super gutbuster but Edwards ranas his way out of it and hits his own gutbuster. Strong runs right back and delivers the Sick Kick but he can’t cover right away and Edwards kicks out. They fight up to the top rope and Edwards knocks Strong to the apron with a kick to the head. Edwards follows him down with a double stomp! Back in the ring Edwards hits a double stomp to the back but only gets two. Edwards hits a powerbomb followed by a sitout powerbomb for a two-count. He hits a big lariat and then a sitout Die Hard to get the decisive win at 6:44 (42:07 total). Prazak says this guarantees Edwards a future title shot, but shouldn’t he have one anyway with the rematch clause? Anyway, this match was really good if a bit of a wankfest. I feel like it would have been more effective as a straight two-out-of-three falls match, but you can’t fault the effort of either guy.
MATCH #7: Ladder War III – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The All Night Express
The Briscoes were in the first Ladder War, successfully defending the ROH World Tag Team Titles against Kevin Steen & El Generico at the Man Up! pay-per-view in Chicago on September 15, 2007. At stake in this match is a shot at the ROH World Tag Team Championship on November 19 in Chicago. This feud has been really awesome. The Briscoes weigh a combined 462 pounds and hail from Sandy Fork, Delaware. The ANX check in at 463 pounds. Mark and Titus battle on one side of the ring while Jay and King battle on the other. Titus gets dumped to the floor and grabs a ladder as the fans chant “we want blood.” The war quickly spills to the floor, where King is the first one to go through a table, via a back body drop. Titus is the first one busted open, and it’s a gusher. He responds by suplexing Mark from the apron onto a ladder, and then wiping out everyone at ringside with a dive. The ANX takes control now, using ladders to their advantage. Jay is the next one busted open, and that’s a gusher too. These guys are going all out that’s for sure. Somewhere in the melee Mark has been busted open too. There’s a lot of blood out there as the violence continues. Blood is literally squirting out of Jay’s head. Oy I hope whatever they got paid for this match was worth it. The Briscoes try a spiked Jay Driller on a chair on King, but Titus pushes Mark off the top rope and through a table at ringside. Jay goes through a table next, courtesy of the powerbomb/blockbuster combination. Finally about 20 minutes into the match Titus makes the first attempt at climbing the ladder to retrieve the contract. Mark recovers and knocks Titus off the ladder with a dropkick. The Briscoes go under the ring and find an even bigger ladder than the ones they’ve already used. They set it up in the aisle next to a table and drag Titus over to set him on it. Mark goes up top and delivers a splash through the table! That was insane. The action continues and King busts out a shooting star press! I didn’t know he could do that. King climbs up the tall ladder and Jay climbs the other side. They slug it out and King punches Jay right off the ladder and grabs the contract to win the Ladder War at 27:51. The pool of blood under Jay’s head is truly sickening. This lived up to the standards of previous ladder wars, which is no small feat. I believe the All Night Express are now truly main event players in ROH.
The Pulse: That was a solid show up and down, with two excellent matches on the top of the card. The All Night Express and the Briscoe Brothers did some insanely violent things to each other in an effort to make Kenny King and Rhett Titus look like a million bucks and it worked. Edwards and Strong tore it up, and the tag team division got a chance to shine with Future Shock, the Young Bucks, and the Bravado Brothers all looking great. This is one of the best all-around shows of the year for ROH, and you should purchase it at the ROH Store.