Only the Strong

Metrolina Tradeshow Expo – Charlotte, NC – Saturday, January 15, 2011

MATCH #1: Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The Bravado Brothers

Lance Bravado and O’Reilly begin the match, and they immediately start striking. O’Reilly knocks Harlem Bravado off the apron and dumps Lance to the floor as well. Cole then wipes out both brothers with a suicide dive. O’Reilly goes to the apron and nails Harlem with a missile dropkick. Back in the ring Cole and O’Reilly hit a suplex/cross body block combination on Lance for two. O’Reilly goes for a Cross Armbreaker on Lance, and then tags out. Cole hits a leg lariat off the second rope for two. Harlem hits Cole with a knee to the back from the apron (sort of), and Lance hits a solid clothesline. Now Harlem tags in legally and goes to work on Cole. The brothers tag in and out and keep the fresh man in the ring while they keep Cole away from his partner. After a few minutes Cole makes the tag to little fanfare and O’Reilly is a house afire. O’Reilly hits a series of kicks on Lance and follows up with the rolling butterfly suplexes into a Double-Arm DDT for two. He goes up top but can’t connect, but Cole joins him in the ring to hit the Big Cole/O’Reilly combo for two. Harlem comes in the ring illegally and dumps Cole to the floor. Harlem hits an enziguiri and Lance follows up with the Chaos Theory on O’Reilly for a near-fall as Cole breaks it up. Cole is a house afire, taking Harlem to the floor but then missing a dive. O’Reilly kicks Harlem off the apron and that gives Lance the chance to score a schoolboy rollup with a handful of tights to get the upset victory at 7:52. I used to be pretty hard on the Bravado Brothers but they have improved a ton and this match is proof.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #2: Rhett Titus vs. Caprice Coleman

Titus comes out first and cuts a promo on Homicide, who busted Titus’s head open with a headbutt last night in Richmond. Coleman worked a handful of shows for ROH in 2004 but didn’t really catch on. He gets a little mic time too, since he’s in his hometown. Titus immediately grounds the high-flying Coleman with a headlock. Coleman escapes and quickens the pace, hitting Titus with a dropkick. He backdrops Titus to the floor and tries to follow him out with an Asai Moonsault but Titus yanks him to the floor. He swings around the ring post for a dropkick, kind of like a 619. Back in the ring Coleman hits a springboard dropkick for two. He goes for another springboard (not sure what move really) and Titus cuts him out of the air with a dropkick. Titus controls the action now but can’t put Coleman away. Coleman comes back with a swinging Edge-O-Matic for two. Titus responds with a hangman’s neckbreaker. He goes up top and lands a double knee drop to the gut for two. He hits a boot to the face but Coleman comes back with a kick to the gut and a spinning axe kick. Both men are down now. They rise up and Coleman is a house afire. Coleman hits a springboard cross body block for two. He hits a series of three Northern Lights Suplexes but Titus is somehow able to kick out. He sets Titus on the top turnbuckle hits a leaping hurricanrana for two. Now Coleman goes up top but Titus sweeps the leg and Coleman’s head hits the turnbuckle. Titus hits the Zack Attack to get the pin at 9:03. Coleman looked solid and Titus is coming into his own as a singles wrestler.
Rating: **½

MATCH #3: Colt Cabana vs. Grizzly Redwood

Cabana offers Redwood the first hold, and the littlest lumberjack complies with an armbar. That doesn’t really work out for him. Redwood tries a headlock next, and surprisingly turns it into an Octopus hold and a crucifix pin for a close near-fall! Cabana looks shocked, as he seems to have underestimated his opponent. If Larry Zbyszko was there, he’d slap Colt. Redwood tries some Three Stooges tactics, but Cabana no-sells it. The match gets a little heated and Cabana chases Redwood around the ring. That results in a log roll spot and Todd Sinclair gets tripped up. Cabana takes Redwood down with an armdrag and then a couple of double chops. He hits Moxicillin and gloats around the ring. He throws Redwood around a little bit, but Redwood comes back with a hurricanrana that sends Cabana into the middle turnbuckle. Redwood takes the straps down and hits another rana. He follows that up with a swinging DDT for two, and then a mini bulldog for another two-count. He tries a rana off the top rope but Cabana catches him in a powerbomb. Cabana then locks on the Billy Goat’s Curse for the win at 7:22. That’s a nice little break to see a different style like that. It’s not my favorite, but it’s hard to deny that Cabana and Redwood can pull it off.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #4: “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett vs. Cedric Alexander

Alexander foolishly turns his back and Bennett takes advantage with his basic offensive attack. He uses some punches and knees. Alexander comes back with a headscissors and a dropkick. Bennett takes a powder and Alexander follows him out with a somersault dive. Back in the ring Alexander hits a flying knee off the top rope for two. Alexander goes for another springboard but this one misses and Bennett catches him with a spinebuster. Bennett hits a vertical suplex. He then picks Alexander up and runs him into the corner. The Prodigy hits a running clothesline to the back of the neck, and then pulls Alexander into a backbreaker. Alexander comes back with a nice enziguiri. He goes for mounted punches in the corner and Bennett counters with a Buckle Bomb. Alexander has one final burst but Bennett moves out of the way and Alexander’s shoulder makes contact with the ring post. Bennett then locks on an armbar and Alexander taps out at 4:22. Bennett is not the slightest bit entertaining. I think this was my first time seeing Cedric Alexander, and he seemed pretty solid for this role.
Rating: *½

MATCH #5: World TV Title Match – Christopher Daniels vs. Claudio Castagnoli (with Shane Hagadorn)

Daniels has been the champion since 12.10.10 and this is his first defense. Castagnoli is accompanied by Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey. The challenger asserts his power advantage early on, thwarting all the champion’s attacks. Daniels then blocks a bodyslam and mocks Castagnoli, so the challenger takes a powder to mentally regroup. Back in the ring Castagnoli goes to the side headlock. Daniels escapes and Castagnoli knocks him down with a shoulder tackle. Castagnoli then executes a press slam into the Snake Eyes for a two-count. He takes Daniels down with a Greco Roman Knuckle Lock. Daniels fights out of it with a clever shoulderbreaker. The TV champ goes to work on the shoulder for a while. Castagnoli fights back with a clothesline. He chokes Daniels on the top rope. Daniels comes back with a couple of chops and then bulldogs Castagnoli into the ropes. He locks on a headscissors in the ropes and referee Paul Turner of course makes him break it. The champ goes up top and delivers a rana, sending Castagnoli to the floor. That’s impressive for a guy Daniels’s age. Daniels then jumps off the apron to try another rana, but Hagadorn holds Castagnoli up, allowing the challenger to catch Daniels and slam him into the barricade twice. Back in the ring Castagnoli hits a European Uppercut with the injured arm, but he sells it so that’s #winning. Castagnoli is firmly in control now, and he hits a powerslam for two. A Dino Bravo side suplex gets two. Castagnoli hits a Hogan Leg Drop for two. He has none of his own moves! (I’m kidding of course). Castagnoli goes for another powerslam but Daniels counters with a small package for two. The challenger tries a pop-up European Uppercut but Daniels counters with a DDT. Both men regain their feet and Castagnoli runs into a boot in the corner. Daniels is a house afire now. He hits an STO for two. He then locks on the Knuckle Lock and goes to the second rope in order to stomp Castagnoli down for two. Daniels tries the Angel’s Wings but Castagnoli counters it and hits the Crackerjack. The monkeys in the crowd chant “this is wrestling.” Castagnoli hits a running European Uppercut and a knee strike for two. He goes for the UFO but Daniels counters with a victory roll for two. On the next attempt Castagnoli successfully executes the UFO and Daniels kicks out at two! Castagnoli unleashes more European Uppercuts. When he tries a springboard version, Daniels grabs him in a Flatliner and locks on the Koji Clutch! Hagadorn gets up on the apron to distract the referee and ends up getting knocked down by Daniels. Castagnoli hits a pop-up European Uppercut but Daniels kicks out at two. For some reason Mike Bennett gets up on the apron to protest the count. Hagadorn also gets up on the apron to distract the referee. Bennett tries to toss Castagnoli the TV Title belt, but the referee turns around so Castagnoli tosses it right back. Daniels hits the uranage slam and goes for the Best Moonsault Ever, but he slips and ends up kneeing Castagnoli in the head. He’s lucky he didn’t break his neck on that; it was almost a scary bump. Castagnoli hits a bicycle kick for two. He follows up with a European Uppercut but misses a charge in the corner. Daniels hits the Angel’s Wings but it only gets two! He then goes up and hits the Best Moonsault Ever this time to get the win at 21:25. That was awesome most of the way through, but Bennett getting involved and the botched BME kept it from being really great.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #6: Steve Corino vs. Andy “Right Leg” Ridge

Before the match can begin, Steve Corino grabs a microphone. He goes on for a bit about what happened at Final Battle with Kevin Steen and he blames himself for Steen not being around anymore. The crowd forgives him. He puts Ridge over and asks him to be his partner instead of his opponent. He has picked Mike Posey and Corey Hollis, collectively known as Alabama Attitude, to be their opponents. You might recognize Mike Posey as a former TNA referee. Corino puts them over too, but isn’t complimentary to their attitudes.

MATCH #6: Steve Corino & Andy “Right Leg” Ridge vs. Alabama Attitude

Hollis and Corino start the match. Corino goes after the arm so Hollis hits a chinbreaker and makes the tag. Posey runs right into an armdrag and Corino tags out. Ridge follows up working on the arm, just like Corino was doing. Corino tags back in and Hollis blasts him with a forearm, and then catches him with a back elbow. Hollis backs Corino into the corner and hits some forearms. He distracts the referee and Posey pulls Corino to the floor. That’s a bad move though, since Corino throws Posey into the barricade, hard. As Corino tries to get back in the ring, Hollis hits a headscissors that clotheslines Corino’s neck on the top rope. Corino falls to the floor and this time Posey whips him into the guardrail. Posey throws Corino back in the ring and they set him in the Tree of Woe. Hollis botches a Face Wash and tags out. Posey hits a slingshot dropkick in the Tree of Woe for two. Corino comes back and hits the simultaneous Flatliner/DDT. He makes the hot tag and Ridge is a house afire. Ridge unleashes a brutal series of kicks on Hollis but only gets two. He calls for the Superkick and Kevin Kelly makes fun of him for it. Corino tags back in and Posey cuts him off with a knee strike. Hollis follows up with a McGillicutty neckbreaker for two. AA go for the double-team Side Russian Legsweep but Ridge breaks it up with a kick. Corino hits Hollis with a left-arm lariat, and then the Seated Lariat. He tags out and Ridge finishes Hollis with a superkick at 6:04. That was pretty much a squash but a necessary one as they are in the very early stages of a whole new character direction for Corino so it’s a well-used squash.
Rating: *¾

MATCH #7: Kings VS Wolves – Chris Hero (with Shane Hagadorn) vs. Davey Richards

Hero is also accompanied by Sara Del Rey. They stall a bit to start. That quickly changes to some chain wrestling. Hero takes Richards down to the mat and attacks the arm. Richards responds in kind. They continue trading holds back and forth, neither man gaining a sustained advantage. Hero hits a hard shoulderblock and Richards takes a powder. Back in the ring they continue trying to one-up each other. Richards lands a leg lariat and Hero takes a powder this time. Back in the ring Richards unloads with kicks. Del Rey interferes from the floor, distracting Richards long enough for Hero to take him down. Richards fights back with a dropkick. He locks on a modified Tequila Sunrise and Hero escapes. Hero reverses a whip and sends Richards into the corner. He charges and gets backdropped to the floor. Richards goes to the apron and hits a hard running kick to the chest. He tries to whip Hero into the barricade but Hero jumps over it into the crowd. Hagadorn distracts Richards, allowing Hero to kick him in the back of the head. Back in the ring Hero hits another kick to the head for two. Hero hits a solid knee strike and a senton for another near-fall. Richards tries fighting back with kicks but Hero cuts him off with a big boot to the face for two. They battle spills to the floor and Hero lands another shot to the head. Back in the ring Hero hits a belly-to-back suplex. Hero continues to unleash strikes and Richards tries to fight back with his own but he doesn’t have as much power as Hero at this point. The match turns into a chop battle and Hero wins. Richards comes back with an enziguiri but then Hero backdrops him to the floor. Hero goes for a dive and misses, but Richards doesn’t miss his! Back in the ring they trade boots to the face and forearms. Richards hits the handspring kick for two. He goes back to the arm, hitting a Tornado Divorce Court and then locking in a Fujiwara Armbar. Hero escapes and they trade holds, but Richards ends up right back in the Fujiwara Armbar and this time Hero reaches the ropes. Richards tries a German Suplex but Hero blocks it and hits an elbow strike for two. They get up and trade kicks and Hero surprises probably everyone by landing a nice Asai Moonsault for two. Hero locks on the Stretch Plum and Richards reaches the ropes. They trade strikes again and Hero wins that battle with a boot to the head for two. Hero hits another Rolling Elbow and goes up top. Richards knocks him down and hits a super release German Suplex. He hits a running elbow, a flying knee strike, and then a Saito Suplex for two. More strikes and kicks get Richards another two-count. Hero comes back with another Rolling Elbow for two. Referee Todd Sinclair tries to check on Richards’s status but Hero won’t let him. Hero tries the Death Blow but Richards counters it to a Falcon Arrow into a Cross Armbreaker. Richards then unleashes kicks in the corner. Hero counters with chops. He hits two more Rolling Elbows but Richards stays on his feet. Richards delivers a hard clothesline for two. Hero comes back with a rolling boot to the face for two. He then nails Richards with a huge piledriver for another near-fall. Del Rey gives Hero the golden elbow pad. Richards gets a backslide for two. Hero hits a knee to the head and then Sinclair spots the elbow pad and gets rid of it. Richards hits Hero with a missile dropkick. He goes to the apron and nails Hagadorn with a running kick. Then he goes up top and hits a Shooting Star Press. Richards rolls that right into the Kimura Lock, and then turns that into a Cross Armbreaker. Hero taps out at 29:03. That was way too long and it felt like going 30 minutes just for the sake of it. However there was some great action mixed in with the usual no-selling Richards strike-fests, and the crowd being hot all the way through certainly helped. Richards has good chemistry with both Kings of Wrestling, and if this match was closer to 20 minutes I think it would have been pretty great.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #8: Four Corner Survival – Homicide vs. El Generico vs. Kenny King vs. Mark Briscoe

King and Mark start the match with some chain wrestling. Mark quickly unleashes the Redneck Kung Fu. Tags are made in both corners. Homicide and Generico go back and forth a bit and trade armdrags. Generico sends Homicide to the floor and the Notorious 187 goes all the way into the crowd just for funsies. I’ve updated my Microsoft Word dictionary to include the word “funsies” since I enjoy using it so much. King tags back in and Homicide responds by tagging Mark back in. They go back and forth briefly and then make tags again. Homicide takes Generico down with a submission hold. King tags back in and now he goes to work on the masked man. Homicide comes back in and hits the Three Amigos. I’m sorry but the only reason guys like Homicide do that move is for the cheap pop. Mark comes in and hits a brainbuster. Generico comes back with an exploder into the turnbuckle. King tags in and Generico nails him with a tornado DDT. Homicide tags in and runs right into a Michinoku Driver, which gets two for the Generic Luchadore. Generico then hits the running Yakuza Kick on Homicide, and then wipes King out with a dive to the floor. Meanwhile, Mark gets a sunset flip off the top rope for two, and then follows up with a Buckle Bomb and a Fisherman’s Buster for two. Outside the ring King throws Generico into the barricade. Homicide hits Mark with an Ace Crusher. He sets up for the Lariat but King cuts him off with a Blockbuster for two. King throws Mark to the floor. He puts Generico up top but Generico pushes him off and nails him with the running Yakuza Kick. Mark hits Generico with a missile dropkick and then Homicide nails Mark with a Lariat. All four men are down. King and Homicide get up first and throw hands. Homicide wins that battle, and then delivers Face Washes to Generico and Mark. He goes for the Cop Killa on King but King blocks it and hits two spinwheel kicks. King hits the shotgun double knees. Generico hits a half-nelson suplex on King but Mark follows right up with a Frog Elbow. The referee won’t make the count though since Mark isn’t legal. In all the chaos Generico nails King with the Brainbuster and that gets the pin at 15:00. After the match Homicide hits Generico with the Cop Killa and drapes the Puerto Rican flag over him. Paul Turner and I believe the girl that sells programs help Generico to the back. That was a fun Four Corner Survival, even with Homicide in it.
Rating: ***

MATCH #9: ROH World Title Match – Roderick Strong vs. Jay Briscoe

Strong has been the champion since 9.11.10 and this is his third defense. These two had a really good string of matches in 2009. They start off with some chain wrestling and take it down to the mat and eventually wrestle to a standoff. Strong takes control and starts going after the arm. Jay comes back and quickens the pace, hitting a flurry of offense on the champ for a near-fall. A vertical suplex also gets two. Strong comes back with a dropkick to the knee. Jay fights back and wins a strike battle. He hits a running kick to the face for two. Strong gets a quick crucifix for a two-count. Jay kicks him to the floor and follows him out. They trade shots and Strong starts trying to avoid the challenger. Jay will have none of it though, as he catches up to Strong and abuses him with chops. Strong comes back with a knee to the face and then whips Briscoe face first into the barricade several times. Jay has a nasty cut on his head now, and Strong goes right after it. Back in the ring Strong hits a delayed vertical suplex for two. Strong follows up with a piledriver and then rubs Briscoe’s face into the canvas. That’s disgusting. Jay fights up and they trade right hands. Strong catches Jay in the End Time. Jay fights out of it but gets decked with an enziguiri for two. Out of nowhere Jay grabs Strong with a Death Valley Driver. Jay unleashes a flurry of punches, chops, and kicks. He hits a dropkick and a running boot to the face for two. A Falcon Arrow gets two. Jay goes for the Jay Driller but settles for a sunset flip for two. Strong pops up and hits a knee to the face and a forearm. Both men are down now. He hits another forearm and a Protoplex for two. A gutbuster gets a near-fall. Strong goes for the Stronghold but Jay counters with an inside cradle. The champ then channels his former nemesis by putting on the LeBell Lock. Jay counters that with another cradle for two. Strong comes back and hits a Gibson Driver for two, and then locks on the Stronghold. Jay reaches the ropes and rolls to the apron. Strong takes it to the timekeeper’s table but he pays for it when Jay hits a Jay Driller! Jay has to drag Strong back into the ring, barely beating the 20 count, and then Strong kicks out at two! Now they trade chops and Jay wins the battle with a superkick and a big clothesline for two. Jay gets a cradle for two and then hits the Jay Driller! Strong rolled towards the ropes though and he’s able to grab the bottom rope at two! Jay puts Strong up on the top rope and sets up a Super Jay Driller. Strong slips down to the apron and lands a chop. He then hits a backbreaker onto the top turnbuckle but Jay kicks out at two! The champ hits the Torture Rack Backbreaker and the Sick Kick but Jay kicks out again! Strong goes for the Gibson Driver but Jay counters with a jackknife pin for two! Both men rise and Strong lands a hard forearm. Strong hits a vertical suplex into a backbreaker and another Gibson Driver to finally get the pin at 25:08. These two have always been good opponents for each other and this was yet another heated match. Had they cut a little time out and not kicked out of as many finishers I think it would have been even better.
Rating: ****