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Frontier Fieldhouse – Chicago Ridge, Illinois – November 19, 2011
Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak are on commentary.
PRELIMINARY MATCH: Andy “Right Leg” Ridge vs. Mike Sydal
Sydal is Matt’s shoot younger brother. Kevin Steen shows up to sit ringside and watch the action. Ridge and Sydal go back and forth as Steen heckles them, drawing the attention of the crowd. Jim Cornette and Cary Silkin come out and try to make Steen leave, but since he bought a ticket they can’t force him. Meanwhile, Ridge is in control of the less experienced Sydal, working on his arm. Steen and Cornette continue to keep the crowd distracted while Sydal has somehow made a comeback. Ridge comes back with kicks. He follows up with the slingshot Ace Crusher to get the pin at 6:19. It’s a little hard to rate that given that they didn’t show a lot of it due to Cornette and Steen, but I don’t think we missed much.
After the match Jim Cornette comes down to confront Steen again, and the crowd is totally on Steen’s side. Cornette makes some lame jokes and homophobic remarks and then heads to the back.
MATCH #1: Four Corner Survival Match – “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett vs. Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin vs. Grizzly Redwood
Bennett is 222 pounds and is from Boston, Massachusetts. Elgin, with Truth Martini, is at 245 pounds and hails from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Cole weighs in at 202 pounds and is wrestling out of Panama City, Florida. Redwood is a sparse 140 pounds and comes to us from Yukon, Canada. Cole and Bennett start the match. The crowd is on Bennett’s pace right from the get-go. Redwood and Elgin tag in and take one guess how that goes. Just as he did last night at Survival of the Fittest 2011, Elgin uses his power to throw everyone around. Bennett finds himself a target, likely because he’s been such a giant douche bag since debuting in late 2010. The pace in this one is fast and furious, making it a good choice for an opener. Redwood traps Bennett in a Sleeper but can’t hang on to it. Cole comes in and hits Redwood with a nice wheelbarrow suplex. Elgin throws Redwood on top of Cole, and then throws Redwood right into a DDT on Bennett. He then powerslams Redwood on top of Bennett and covers, but referee Paul Turner won’t count because Bennett isn’t legal. I love it. Elgin then Buckle Bombs Redwood right into Cole. Bennett cuts Elgin off with a spinebuster, but then turns into another Redwood DDT. Redwood hits Elgin with an enziguiri and then tries a Cannonball, but Elgin picks him up and powerbombs him over the ropes and onto Bennett on the floor! Cole tries a sunset flip but Elgin powers out of that too, only to eat a superkick. He hits an enziguiri and another superkick, but Elgin still won’t go down. Elgin responds with a big lariat and the spinning sitout powerbomb to get the pin at 9:25. Counting his victory in a Four Corner Survival and the main event of Survival of the Fittest last night, Elgin has gone over 11 fellow wrestlers in two nights. That’s a good run, and his use of Redwood as his own personal weapon made this great fun.
MATCH #2: Singles Action – Jimmy Jacobs with Steve Corino vs. Tommaso Ciampa with The Embassy
Jacobs is 181 pounds and wrestles out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He cuts a quick promo, taunting Steen for not being able to fight him tonight. The Embassy is in full force tonight, with Prince Nana, Mia Yim, R.D. Evans, and Ernesto Osiris accompanying “The Dominant Male” to the ring. Ciampa is 211 pounds and hails from Palermo, Sicily. Jacobs lets himself get distracted by Steen and Ciampa puts the boots to him. When Jacobs comes back with the headscissors, he rolls right to the floor to confront Steen. Corino talks him back into the ring, and with referee Todd Sinclair distracted, the Embassy interferes to give Ciampa the advantage. Ciampa hits a big lariat for two. He continues to work Jacobs over, but Jacobs fires back and executes a cannonball in the corner. Ciampa rolls to the floor and Jacobs wipes him out with a dive. Steen throws a beverage at Jacobs, so Corino and Jacobs pull Steen over the barricade and the brawl is on! This is ruled a no-contest at about 5:00. Ciampa and Jacobs had solid chemistry together and I’d like to see them do a rematch. This was good angle advancement, not much of a match though.
The brawl goes outside the building, which we see on the picture-in-picture, while the Embassy issues an open challenge. Harlem Bravado answers the challenge.
MATCH #3: Impromptu Match – Tommaso Ciampa with The Embassy vs. Harlem Bravado
Harlem gets in the ring and Ciampa immediately hits him with a running knee lift and then Project Ciampa to get the pin at 0:18. I like Ciampa.
MATCH #4: Special Challenge Match – Eddie Edwards vs. Kyle O’Reilly
O’Reilly weighs 204 pounds and hails from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Edwards is 211 pounds and is wrestling out of Boston, Massachusetts. This is a big singles match for O’Reilly. Tonight’s match stems from a tag team match back at No Escape, when Edwards continued to abuse O’Reilly after the bell because he didn’t hear it. The match was great, by the way. They start off on the mat and chain wrestle back and forth. The crowd supports both men, but the chants for Edwards are definitely louder. Both men try to out-Wolf each other with hard strikes. O’Reilly hits two rolling Butterfly Suplexes but Edwards blocks the third one and drops O’Reilly directly on his head. Wisely, O’Reilly rolls to the floor to regain his sense. Edwards follows him out and throws him into the barricade. Back in the ring Edwards looks confident as he works O’Reilly over. O’Reilly is able to counter with a hard DDT and both men are down. He runs at Edwards and gets hit with a hard chop, but is able to persevere and grab a cross armbreaker. O’Reilly turns that into a Crossface and Edwards is able to reach the ropes. Edwards fights back and goes for a double stomp off the top rope and misses, and O’Reilly drills him with a kick to the head for two. O’Reilly unleashes with kicks to the chest and Edwards gives it right back to him. They each throw superkicks at each other, and this is getting heated. Edwards hits a couple of brutal chops to the face and gets a two-count. He goes back up top and this time hits the Double Stomp. Now Edwards tries a powerbomb and O’Reilly turns it into a guillotine choke. Edwards turns that into the Die Hard, and then hits a second one. He locks on the Dragon Sleeper and O’Reilly has to tap out at 15:21. These two have good chemistry together, and O’Reilly has been booked really well on his way up the card.
MATCH #5: Tag Team Challenge Match – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The Young Bucks
The Bucks weigh a combined 402 pounds and hail from Los Angeles, California. Jay and Mark Briscoe weigh in at 470 pounds and are wrestling out of Sandy Fork, Delaware. Nick and Matt Jackson act like jerks before the bell, so Dem Boys attack and take the fight right to the floor. Mark takes Matt into the ring and then throws him right back out. Meanwhile Jay is using the barricades to abuse Nick. The Briscoes are beating the Bucks like they owe them money. It takes almost four minutes for the Bucks to get any offense in whatsoever, as they knock Jay to the floor and focus on Mark. For some reason Matt is wrestling this match with a t-shirt on. Not that I don’t see enough shirtless men on a wrestling show, but that’s what makes it curious. Pretty much right as I type that he takes the shirt off. Okay then. Eventually Mark makes the tag and Jay is a house afire. Jay hits Nick with a Falcon Arrow for two. The Bucks cut Jay off and double-team him, despite referee Paul Turner’s objections. Nick hits a 450 Splash for a two-count. Mark pulls Matt to the floor and levels him with a clothesline. He then illegally gets in the ring to hit Nick with an exploder suplex. Mark legally tags in and hits the Iconoclasm for two. He goes up top but Matt pushes him off right into a Superkick from Nick. Now Matt takes in and they go for More Bang for Your Buck, but Mark was able to make a blind tag. The Briscoes try the Doomsday Device but the Bucks break that up. Mark settles for a Death Valley Driver and Jay follows with a Froggy ‘Bow for a near-fall. All four men are in the ring and the referee has lost all control. The Briscoes send Nick to the floor and hit Matt with the Doomsday Device to get the pin at 12:16. Jay and Mark are arguably the best thing going in ROH today, and the Bucks more than held up their end too. This seemed a bit short but I assume there will be more matches between the teams so it’s wise not to give it all away.
MATCH #6: Proving Ground Match – World TV Champion Jay Lethal vs. Roderick Strong with Truth Martini
Strong is an even 200 pounds and is wrestling out of Tampa, Florida. Lethal, the TV Champion, weighs in at 215 pounds and is also wrestling out of Tampa. If Strong wins or lasts the 15-minute time limit, he earns a guaranteed shot at the TV Title. They start with some fast-paced chain wrestling, which the crowd appreciates. Strong takes the early advantage and hits an early backbreaker. Lethal comes back with a slingshot senton and then kicks Strong to the floor. When Lethal throws Strong back in the ring, Martini takes his opportunity to interfere, giving the advantage back to his charge. Strong resumes targeting the back. He hits the dropkick but only gets two. Lethal looks to be in rough shape at this point. Apparently I’m wrong though because Lethal unleashes a series of chops, but Strong cuts him off and drives him back into the corner. Strong charges right into a boot and Lethal hits the lag lariat. Both men are down. Up on their feet Lethal goes on offense but he can’t put Strong away. Bobby Cruise announces three minutes left. Strong comes back with a modified Chaos Theory for a two-count. He hits the gutbuster for two as Cruise announces two minutes left. Now Strong locks on the Stronghold and Lethal reaches the ropes. Another gutbuster gets another two-count for Strong as one minute is left. Strong wisely decides to start running now, which is smart strategy. Lethal catches up with him though and puts on the Figure-Four Leglock with 30 seconds remaining. Strong is able to withstand the hold and the time limit expires at an even 15:00.
The fans and Lethal ask for five more minutes, which brings Jim Cornette for a ruling. Cornette says that Strong has earned his shot at the TV Title no matter what, and also that Strong is a pussy if he doesn’t take the five more minutes. Strong acquiesces and here we go! They slug away at each other and the crowd is amped up. Strong hits the Sick Kick for a two-count. Lethal counters with the Lethal Combination for a two-count of his own. Strong locks on the Stronghold but Lethal kicks out of it and grabs an inside cradle for two. Lethal shrugs off a gutbuster and hits a superkick and a handspring Ace Crusher and that’s enough to get the win at 2:05 (17:05 total match time). Strong is pretty automatic at this point and Lethal has been a good addition to the roster since coming back.
MATCH #7: World Tag Team Title Match – Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) vs. The All Night Express
Benjamin and Haas have been the champions since 4.1.11, and this is their sixth defense. The champs weigh in at 509 pounds combined. Kenny King and Rhett Titus weigh a combined 458 pounds. They earned this title shot by beating the Briscoes in Ladder War III at Death Before Dishonor IX. Haas and Titus start the match. The champions take the early control and work Titus over. Benjamin still has his ribs taped up, so I expect that to be a target. A few seconds after I type that Titus does attack the ribs and then is able to make the tag. Benjamin and King go back and forth a bit, cautiously. King takes a powder to regroup. Back in the ring the challengers isolate Benjamin and focus on his injured ribs. Eventually Haas gets the tag and the crowd goes mild. Haas hits a couple of German Suplexes and an Olympic Slam before putting on the Haas of Pain. King breaks that up. The champs focus on Titus for a while before the tag is made to King. This match has just been all back and forth, like every WGTT match – no real story. The referee loses control and all four men are in the ring. At least the crowd is getting interested. King knocks Haas to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. Titus tries a Frog Splash but Benjamin gets his knees up and hits Paydirt but Titus kicks out at two! Tags are made and Haas and King throw punches. For some reason Haas finds it necessary to stick up both middle fingers at King and scream “FUCK YOU!” I dislike him a great deal. Benjamin knocks Titus to the floor and WGTT then hits King with the Leap of Faith and a double powerbomb to get the win at 22:03. Haas and Benjamin just aren’t interesting enough to go more than 20 minutes, or really to be in ROH at all. I just don’t like anything about them. King and Titus clearly outshined them.
Backstage – The ROH World Tag Team Champions cut a promo putting over the ROH tag team division and the All Night Express. Benjamin declares the tag division the best in the “universes.” He also says, and I quote: “Donald and Daffy came out on top to show you there’s no ducking you.” Seriously, get these guys off my show.
MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match – Davey Richards vs. El Generico
Richards has been the champion since 6.26.11, and this is his fourth defense. They chain wrestle to start and both men have their game faces on. Richards hits a dropkick and Generico powders. Back in the ring Generico unleashes a flurry of armdrags and now Richards takes a powder. When Richards gets back inside they continue to go back and forth and Generico takes the advantage. Richards fights back and dumps Generico to the floor and drills him with a running kick to the chest. The champ then wipes Generico out with a suicide dive. Now Richards is firmly in control. He wears Generico down with a series of submission holds and strikes. Generico fights back with a low bridge to send Richards to the floor, and then he wipes him out with a dive. Back in the ring Generico hits a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two-count. Generico follows up with a Michinoku Driver for two. Richards sells those moves for about 10 seconds before coming back with a kick to the chest for two. He follows with a running knee strike in the corner and a superplex for another near-fall. They trade forearm shots now and Generico wins that battle with a kick to the face. Generico tries the Brainbuster twice but Richards avoids it and hits the Alarm Clock. Richards hits a running forearm in the corner and Generico comes right back with a running Yakuza kick. Generico tries the Brainbuster again but Richards reverses to one of his own for two. Richards puts on the Ankle Lock but Generico won’t tap out. The champ tries the handspring but Generico dropkicks him in the face, then hits a running Yakuza Kick and the Half-Nelson Suplex for a close two-count. They take the fight to the apron and Generico hits a SICK Brainbuster on the apron. That’s nasty. By the time Generico is able to get Richards back in the ring to cover him, Richards is able to kick out at two. Of course he is. Generico takes Richards to the top rope but Richards counters and hits a Dragon Superplex. Richards follows up with a running kick and German Suplex with a bridge for two. The Buzzsaw Kick gets another two, and then Richards puts on the Ankle Lock again. Generico rolls out of it and hits the running Yakuza Kick and a Half-Nelson Suplex, and then he locks on a Sleeper. Richards escapes but Generico catches him in the Ankle Lock. The champ escapes out of that too and hits a lariat for two. Another brainbuster by Richards gets another two-count. Richards hits a trio of kicks to the head (similar to how he won the title from Edwards) to finally get the pin at 30:01. The crowd was pretty into it because they love Richards, but I believe no one really bough that Generico could win the title. As a result the match just felt long and the selling came and went as they saw fit. It was a good match, but anyone who reads me knows I’m just not into Richards’s style as much as most ROHBots.
Kevin Steen makes his way out from the crowd and attacks the worn-down Champion. The locker room empties to try and keep them apart, and Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs make their way out to attack Steen. Steen gets chased out of the building and Richards cuts a promo that’s hard to hear because they show Steen getting removed from the building on the picture-in-picture.