SoCal

Hilton Los Angeles Airport – Los Angeles, CA – Friday, January 28, 2011

MATCH #1: The Bravado Brothers vs. Cedric Alexander & Caleb Konley

Harlem Bravado and Konley start the match with some chain wrestling. Konley takes first control and goes after the arm. Alexander tags in and they double-team poor Harlem. The makeshift duo continues to control, and Konley sadly blows it when he tries to clothesline one of the Bravados to the floor. The crowd forgives though when Alexander and Konley both hit dives to the floor. Back in the ring Alexander looks to capitalize but Lance interferes from the floor, giving his brother the chance to hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Now the Bravados take control and work Alexander over in their half of the ring. Lance hits a running knee to the face for two. After a couple minutes Alexander hits a jumping spin kick and makes the tag. Konley is on fire here, and almost pins Lance with an O’Connor Roll. He hits an inverted atomic drop and a tornado DDT for two. The referee loses control of the match. Alexander tags in and hits both Bravados with one dropkick. He takes Lance over to the corner and Konley goes up top for a double-team but Harlem throws Konley to the floor and Lance gets a rana with a cradle on Alexander to get the big win at 7:50. They looked a little nervous but for the most part this was solid formula stuff and a fine opener. The Bravados are becoming quite entertaining characters.
Rating: **

MATCH #2: Colt Cabana vs. Jay Briscoe

Prazak and Kelly mention that this is the first time these two have ever faced off in a singles match, despite numerous tag team encounters. Both men are fan favorites so they engage in some early shenanigans. They turn it into some chain wrestling, which Cabana dominates and gets a couple of near-falls with some creative cradles. Jay comes back with a shoulder tackle and a headscissors. He hits a leg lariat for two. More strikes get more near-falls for Jay. Cabana fights back and blasts Jay with a big clothesline and both men are down. Back on their feet Cabana unloads with a series of jabs and an elbow to the head. Cabana hits the reverse flying ass for two. He goes for the Flying Apple but Jay avoids it and hits an enziguiri. Jay hits a superkick and the Death Valley Driver for two. He goes for the Jay Driller but Cabana backdrops him. This time Cabana hits the Flying Apple but when he tries to follow up Jay catches him in the Jay Driller to get the pin at 7:08. That was a harmless yet pointless back and forth matchup between the two of the longest tenured ROH stars.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #3: The All Night Express vs. The Cutler Brothers

The Cutler Brothers are Dustin and Brandon. The ANX attack right away and throw Brandon to the floor and go to work on Dustin. Brandon is able to help his brother from the apron and makes the tag. Now King is getting worked over in the Cutler corner so he takes a powder. Dustin hurls his brother out to the floor to wipe both King and Titus out. They throw King back in the ring and hit a double shoulder tackle for two. The Cutlers continue double-teaming King in their half of the ring. King comes back with a kneelift on Brandon and tags Titus. Brandon hits Titus with a Thesz Press and goes to the second rope but Titus sweeps his legs out from under him. King tags back in and hits a running clothesline for two. The ANX double-teams Brandon to keep him away from his partner. King hits a nice spin kick for a near-fall. Eventually Brandon fights back and makes the hot tag. Dustin is a house afire, nailing King with an Ace Crusher for two. A double-team belly-to-back suplex gets another near-fall. King fights back by snapping Dustin’s throat off the top rope Randy Savage style. The ANX unleashes a series of kicks culminating in a Titus dropkick for two. King hits a blockbuster across Titus’s knees (cool spot) for a two-count. The Cutlers make the comeback out of nowhere and Dustin hits a modified TKO on King for two. Brandon hits a splash off the top rope to almost put Titus away but it only gets two. King gets back in the ring to help his partner and they dump Dustin to the floor. King then hits Brandon with a backbreaker and holds him while Titus delivers a flying knee off the top rope to get the pin at 10:59. King and Titus are definitely a step above the Cutlers, but they worked well together.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #4: Battle of Mat Technicians – Davey Richards vs. TJ Perkins

This one will probably be more of an Evolve style match. Say what you will about Evolve, but it’s already an adjective in Indy Wrestling vernacular. That proves to be true as they take it right down to the mat. Richards goes after the leg and Perkins reaches the ropes. Perkins comes back with a dropkick. Then both guys go for a kick and they both catch the leg. That leaves them in a stalemate and the crowd cheers. Perkins goes after the arm but Richards escapes and gets a cradle for two. They continue going back and forth with neither man gaining a sustained advantage. Perkins drops both knees on Richards, who rolls to the floor. Back in the ring Perkins attacks. Perkins uses a headlock and otherwise keeps Richards on the mat. He starts going after the leg and works over it viciously. Richards comes back with a cross armbreaker and Perkins reaches the ropes. He continues working Perkins’ arm. He hits a diving headbutt for two and then goes right back to the arm. Richards hits the Alarm Clock and Perkins responds by executing a suplex that sends both men crashing to the floor. Back in the ring they exchange forearms. Perkins does that stupid thing where he holds himself in the ropes and waits for Richards to dropkick him to the floor. Richards goes for the dive but Perkins gets back in the ring and cuts him off with a Frankensteiner for two. The crowd gets behind Richards so he makes the comeback with a series of kicks. Perkins shrugs them off and hits his own series of kicks to a chorus of boos. Richards goes for another Alarm Clock but Perkins counters with a sitout powerbomb for two. They trade more strikes. Perkins goes up top but Richards catches him in a Fujiwara Armbar. Richards hits an enziguiri, a running forearm, and a running knee strike. He puts Perkins up top and hits a nasty looking superplex for two. Richards rolls the cover right into a Cross Armbreaker. Perkins counters into his version of the Sharpshooter and the crowd boos, so Richards counters with an inside cradle for a two-count. They get up and trade kicks. Perkins wins that battle and gets a very close near-fall. He goes up top for a 450 Splash but Richards avoids it. Richards hits a running knee to the chest and a bridging German Suplex for two. He goes for a brainbuster but Perkins counters with a knee strike and an inside cradle for two. Richards delivers a hard lariat and a series of strikes. He hits a Falcon Arrow into the Cross Armbreaker to get the tap-out win at 18:55. Those two have good chemistry, and they worked toward a finish that made sense. Plus a Falcon Arrow into a Cross Armbreaker is just cool. The crowd was super into it too, which always helps.
Rating: ****

MATCH #5: World TV Title Match – Christopher Daniels vs. Mark Briscoe

Daniels has been the champion since 12.10.10 and this is his fourth defense. He’s accompanied by Allison Danger, who was in the neighborhood for Wrestle Reunion. They feel each other out in the early going. Here are the other two longest tenured wrestlers in ROH, excluding the two times he took an extended leave. Kevin Kelly mentions with some skepticism that Mark Briscoe was in fact a member of the Prophecy at one point in time (briefly). Meanwhile they wrestle to a standoff. Mark then takes Daniels down with a side headlock. He hits a leg lariat and a neckbreaker for two. Daniels fights back with a Saito Suplex. Mark tries to fight back but Daniels cuts him off with another suplex. Daniels hits a Death Valley Driver for two. Mark fights back with a huge clothesline that sends Daniels to the floor. He follows out with a somersault dive to wipe out the TV Champion. Back in the ring Mark tries Redneck Kung Fu but Daniels comes back with some of his own strikes. Mark fights back with an enziguiri for two. He goes up top and gets a sunset flip for two, and then picks Daniels up for a powerbomb to get another two-count. Now Mark goes up top but misses the frog elbow and Daniels grabs him in the Koji Clutch! Fortunately for Mark he’s able to reach the ropes. Daniels hits the Iconoclasm for two. Mark fights back with a running knee to the face and this time connects on the Frog Elbow but Daniels kicks out at two. Daniels avoids the Cutthroat Driver and drops Mark with a uranage slam. He misses the BME and Mark blasts him with a superkick. Daniels comes back and hits the Angel’s Wings but Mark kicks out at two! Once again Daniels tries the BME and this time it hits to get the pin at 12:19. That was solid all around but it didn’t generate a ton of drama.
Rating: ***

MATCH #6: Non-Title Rematch – Kings of Wrestling vs. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas

Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team coming out to a song like AC/DC’s “Dynamite” is so bush league. Claudio Castagnoli and Benjamin start the match. Benjamin hits an immediate spinebuster and follows up with a snap suplex. Haas tags in and Castagnoli lifts a knee into the gut and tags out. Chris Hero goes to work on Haas now. The Kings tag in and out a few times before Haas makes the comeback on Castagnoli and targets the arm. Benjamin tags back in and hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Haas comes in and hits a clothesline for two. Castagnoli hits another kneelift and follows up with a dropkick. Haas no-sells it and hits his own dropkick. The Kings come right back and take control of Haas. They throw him to the floor and whip him into the barricade. Back in the ring the champs continue dominating Haas. Castagnoli seems to be totally in charge but Haas hits an Angle Slam out of nowhere. Tags are made and Benjamin is a WWE castoff afire. He hits a Stinger Splash on Hero and a backbreaker for two. The referee loses control as Castagnoli illegally enters the ring and walks right into an exploder. Castagnoli goes up top and Benjamin goes for the pop-up superplex but Hero cuts him off and holds him in place for Castagnoli to deliver a diving European Uppercut. Hero lands an elbow to the back of Benjamin’s head for a near-fall. He maintains the advantage and hits Moxicillin for two. Castagnoli is back in and he goes for a superplex but Benjamin fights him off and hits a nice Blockbuster. Both men are down and tags are made. Now it’s Haas’ turn to be a house afire. Haas hits a release overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Castagnoli for two. The referee loses control again. The Kings go for KRS-One on Haas but Benjamin breaks it up. Haas gets an inside cradle on Castagnoli for two. Castagnoli comes right back with a pop-up European Uppercut for two. He follows up with the Giant Swing and Hero adds the dropkick to the head for a near-fall. Benjamin gets dumped to the floor so Haas has to fight off both Kings. Castagnoli traps Haas in an O’Connor Roll but Benjamin breaks it up with a superkick. Benjamin goes for the whip kick but Hero counters it with a Rolling Elbow. Hero goes for another one but Benjamin nails him with a superkick. Castagnoli tries the Ricola Bomb but Haas counters it and locks on the Haas of Pain. Meanwhile Hero puts on the lucky elbow pad but Benjamin knocks him off the apron as Castagnoli taps out at 17:01. That was a lot of fun as a collection of moves and spots but there was no story whatsoever and I continue to wonder what people see in Charlie Haas. Oh good, he cuts a promo after the match too. There should be a limit of one guy doing that per show.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #7: ROH World Title Match – Roderick Strong vs. El Generico

Strong has been the champion since 9.11.10 and this is his fourth defense. They start off slowly, as I’m pretty sure these two have fought multiple times in ROH. Strong unloads with some chops early on, so Generico tries to ground him with a headlock. They trade holds on the mat as the crowd tries to get to the ROH World Champion. Strong uses chops whenever he can and Generico fights back with armdrags. Generico goes up top but Strong crotches him on the top rope. Now the champ goes to work. The battle spills to the floor and Generico is able to whip Strong into the barricade. Back in the ring Strong attacks the knee and hits a backbreaker for two. A legdrop gets another two-count. Strong hits a hard dropkick for yet another near-fall. Generico seeks solace on the apron but Strong follows him out there and whips him into the barricade twice. Strong goes for the apron backbreaker but Generico avoids it and hits a Yakuza Kick that sends Strong flying off the apron and into the barricade. Generico then follows with a dive to wipe the champion out. Back in the ring Generico hits a cross body block off the top rope for two. Generico follows up with a Blue Thunder Driver for another near-fall. He goes for the running Yakuza Kick but Strong avoids it and unloads with forearms and a knee strike for two. Strong hits the Half Nelson Backbreaker for two. He locks on the Stronghold and Generico has to reach the ropes. Generico fights back with a big boot but Strong blasts him with a forearm to the face. Strong hits a boot to the face and an enziguiri. Generico responds with a Michinoku Driver for two. Both men are down now. They rise and trade forearms. Strong tries the gutbuster but Generico counters it to the Stronghold! The champ counters and puts on the LeBell Lock! Generico rolls that into a pinning combination for two. Strong hits a series of forearms for a two-count. He lands the gutbuster and a superkick but Generico kicks out! Strong hits a running boot to the face and the suplex into a backbreaker but Generico kicks out again! He goes for the Gibson Driver but Generico escapes and hits a half nelson suplex, the running Yakuza Kick, and the Brainbuster but Strong is able to get his foot across the bottom rope. While Generico signals to the crowd, Strong grabs him and drives his face into the turnbuckle. Strong goes outside the ring and throws a chair into the ring, and while the referee removes the chair Strong blasts Generico in the face with the title belt. The champ follows up with the Sick Kick and the Gibson Driver to get the win at 21:59. That was a great main event, and while it never seemed like a real possibility that Generico would win the belt they did a great job of building drama for near-falls, and the crowd is always into Generico so that’s a big help.
Rating: ****

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