man may 4

Manhattan Center – New York City, NY – Saturday, March 19, 2011

MATCH #1: Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. Michael Elgin & Mike Mondo

Elgin and O’Reilly start for their respective teams. They feel each other out in the early going, with O’Reilly looking for strikes and Elgin countering with his power. Cole tags himself in and Elgin knocks both opponents down with a shoulderblock. They quickly get back to their feet and take Elgin down with a double hiptoss. Mondo tags in and Cole takes him down with an armdrag. Cole and O’Reilly isolate Mondo now, working him over in their half of the ring. After a few minutes Mondo comes back with a jawbreaker and a dropkick on O’Reilly and then tags out. O’Reilly sweeps Elgin’s legs and gets a one-count. Elgin accidentally hits Mondo in the corner, and then O’Reilly knocks him off the apron with a kick to the face. However that allows Elgin to drill O’Reilly with a clothesline to send him to the floor. Elgin then delivers one to Cole as well just for fun. Mondo is back in and hammering away on O’Reilly. The House of Truth keeps O’Reilly isolated, and Elgin impressively counters a tornado DDT with a backbreaker. Moments later O’Reilly tries the tornado DDT again and this time he hits it. Cole gets the hot tag and he’s a house afire. He hits a leg lariat off the second rope on Mondo for a two-count. Cole hits a boot to the side of the head and then a high cross body block off the top rope for another two-count. Elgin tries to interfere but gets kicked in the head for his trouble. Even so Elgin tags in and hits a slingshot back elbow. Mondo tags right back in and goes to the top rope, but unfortunately he slips before hitting the diving headbutt, and the super clever crowd chants “You F*cked Up.” I think it’s time to retire that one, it’s just dick. Elgin goes to the top rope and tries a turnaround senton (pretty impressive) but misses. O’Reilly tags back in and lands a huge superkick. The match breaks down and the referee is losing control. Elgin grabs both Cole and O’Reilly and hits a simultaneous Samoan Drop / Fallaway Slam, which is also way cool. He gets a two-count on Cole and then makes the tag. They try a flapjack but Cole dropkicks his way out of it. O’Reilly drills Elgin with a missile dropkick. They hit the lungblower / backstabber combo but it only gets two. Cole then finishes Mondo with a superkick and a bridging German Suplex at 12:22. They had a few awkward spots in the early going but it got pretty good down the stretch and was a solid opener. Cole and O’Reilly are really getting good.
Rating: ***

MATCH #2: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Grizzly Redwood

Prince Nana cuts a brief promo introducing the crowd to Princess Mia Yim and Barrister R.D. Evans. Ernesto Osiris of course you know. Redwood uses a headlock in the early going and Ciampa throws him off and knocks him down with a shoulderblock. Ciampa continues trying to use his power and Redwood counteracts with his agility. Redwood sends Ciampa to the floor and then wipes him out with a dive. Princess Mia tries to interfere so Redwood forces himself on her. The Barrister is apoplectic about that. Redwood whips Ciampa into the barricade, and then turns right into a Princess Mia dropkick! Well you can’t say Redwood didn’t have that coming. Back in the ring Ciampa gets a two-count. Redwood tries to fight back with a jawbreaker but Ciampa hits a flapjack and a neckbreaker for two. Ciampa keeps Redwood grounded but the plucky little lumberjack keeps fighting back. Redwood unleashes a flurry of offense until Ciampa cuts him off with a hard clothesline for two. Finally Ciampa catches Redwood off a hurricanrana and hits the Powerbomb Backstabber to get the pin at 7:53. I like Ciampa but this match should have been shorter and squashier. No offense to Redwood, but sometimes a guy needs to look more dominant and Redwood got entirely too much offense in.
Rating: *½

After the match the Embassy attacks Redwood en masse. Steve Corino runs out to make the save, and apparently Corino is too much for five people to overcome because the Embassy bails. That brings out Mike Bennett and Brutal Bob Evans. Bennett calms Brutal Bob down, and then tells Corino that tonight he’s going to fall off the wagon. They make some lame New York versus Boston comments and invoke the Yankees versus Red Sox. Bennett challenges Corino to fight him, and tries to goad him into being evil again. When Bennett badmouths Kevin Steen, that’s all Corino needs to unload with a right hand and start the match.

MATCH #3: Steve Corino vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett

They trade hands and Corino apparently hits harder because he takes the advantage. Corino hits a dropkick but misses a second one. Bennett misses an elbow drop so Corino hits a leg lariat and Bennett powders. Corino joins him on the floor and punches him in the face. He whips Bennett into the barricade, but when he tries it again the Prodigy reverses and sends Corino into the steel. Back in the ring Bennett takes control, but quickly sends Corino back to the floor. Bennett tries a house show dive but Corino avoids it. Corino goes for his own dive but Bennett cuts him off with a dropkick to the face. Back in the ring Bennett gets two. Corino fights back by snapping Bennett’s neck off the top rope. He goes up top but Bennett punches him in the face and lands a superplex for two. Bennett sets up for a piledriver but Corino backdrops his way out of it. They trade right hands and Corino hits an STF. Corino follows up with Colby Shock for two. A powerslam gets another two-count for the veteran. Corino removes the elbow pad and hits a Northern Lariat and Eternal Dreams but Bennett kicks out at two. He locks on the abdominal stretch and delivers the Thumb in the Bum. Gross. Bennett escapes and distracts the referee, allowing Brutal Bob to sneak in and punch Corino with a foreign object. It only gets a two-count. Bennett hits two side slams but Corino kicks out again! The crowd is majorly into Corino. Bennett hits a third side-slam (give that thing a name) and this time it’s enough for the win at 9:36. I’ve given Bennett a lot of flak so far, but Corino of all people pulled the best match out of him so far. I was not interested in this feud at first but I definitely am now.
Rating: ***

Bennett and Brutal Bob attack after the bell, as the commentators note that no one from the locker room would be in a hurry to help Corino out. That’s a bummer for him because Bennett delivers a piledriver and leaves him lying.

MATCH #4: Tag Team Challenge Match – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The All Night Express

There is some hatred here as both teams get right in each other’s faces before the bell. Rhett Titus and Jay start the match. They exchange slaps and Jay forcibly backs Titus into the corner. That turns into mat wrestling, but both guys are still aggressive about it. Titus hits a nice dropkick and both men make tags. Mark takes Kenny King down with a shoulderblock and King fights right back and locks on a headlock. King hits a spinwheel kick and Titus comes back in. The ANX hit the springboard legdrop / big splash combination for two. The Briscoes come back with some double-teams of their own to take advantage of King. Titus is able to tag his way back in and he is a house afire. He hits Mark with a Stinger Splash and a big boot to send him to the apron. Jay illegally enters the ring so King does as well, but they quickly take their battle to the floor. Titus takes Jay out with an interesting dive, but as he gloats Mark grabs him and throws him into the barricade repeatedly. Referee Paul Turner is offering a lot of leeway for this fight. Titus’s head is busted open now as the Briscoes take him back to the ring for more abuse. The Briscoes are dominant for several minutes, keeping Titus away from his partner. They go for a double-team move off the top rope but Titus fights them off, pushing Mark down and dropping Jay with Snake Eyes! King gets the hot tag and the crowd is living the ANX. King is all over both Briscoes, hitting Jay with a big spinebuster for two. The match breaks down and all four men are in the ring. The referee has lost control here. Jay hits Titus with a Falcon Arrow for two. Out on the floor King hits Mark with the shotgun double knees into the barricade. Back in the ring Jay hits King with a wicked spinebuster. Jay goes for the Jay Driller on Titus but it’s blocked and Titus goes for the Muff Driver but Jay slips out. The Briscoes go for the Doomsday Device but Titus ducks the clothesline and traps Jay in a victory roll to get the huge upset win at 14:03! That was a terrific tag team match that really felt heated. This feud is absolutely making Rhett Titus and Kenny King.
Rating: ***¾

The angry Briscoes attack the ANX after the bell. The job squad comes out to try and break it up but they get dispatched. The Briscoes pull up the mats on the floor and set up for a Jay Driller on Titus but thankfully King saves the day with a dive off the top rope! The ANX tear into the Briscoes now and this is a big time brawl. Jay throws a chair at King and Mark does the same to Titus.

MATCH #5: El Generico vs. TJ Perkins

This should be an interesting style clash. They trade holds in the early going. Perkins strikes first with a dropkick. He locks on a headlock but Generico escapes and executes a series of armdrags. Generico chops Perkins in the corner and climbs up for diez punches. Perkins comes back with double knees to the chest and a vertical suplex for two. He lands some kicks to the chest and then hits a Knee-DT. Perkins keeps Generico on the mat, even executing the Skull-F*cker. He follows up with a quick legdrop for two. Generico fights up with some forearms but Perkins cuts him off with a superkick, only to run into a Michinoku Driver for two. Now Generico goes for the Half Nelson Suplex but Perkins avoids it so he hits the Blue Thunder Driver instead for two. The action gets quick and they trade holds a bit before Perkins lands a sitout powerbomb for two. Perkins takes Generico off his feet again and locks in his version of the Sharpshooter (give that thing a name) but Generico reaches the ropes. Out of nowhere Generico hits the running Yakuza kick and goes for the brainbuster, but Perkins reverses it to an elevated enziguiri that sends Generico to the floor. Perkins goes for a dive but Generico catches him and delivers a Brainbuster onto the ring apron and then shoves Perkins back in the ring for the win at 7:30. That was about as good of a seven and a half minute midcard match as I have seen. They did a great job and I would love to see a rematch with some more time.
Rating: ***

MATCH #6: Non-Title Dream Tag Team Match – The Kings of Wrestling vs. Homicide & Hernandez

The dueling chants start during the entrances, so the crowd should be really hot for this one. I wish it was a title match. The Kings are accompanied by Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey. Homicide and Chris Hero start the match. They take it down to the mat and exchange holds a bit early on. Hero takes advantage and tags Claudio Castagnoli in for the first time. Moments later Hernandez tags in so the two stronger men are in the ring together. Hernandez hits a shoulderblock and Castagnoli almost goes down. Castagnoli then takes Hernandez down with a clothesline. He hits a series of forearms but charges right into his own clothesline. Castagnoli comes right back with an impressive stalling vertical suplex. Hernandez responds with one of his own, and he amazingly holds Castagnoli in the air for a full minute before dropping him down. Homicide tags in and they double-team Castagnoli for a two-count. Hero is able to tag in and he immediately suplexes Homicide onto Castagnoli’s knees. He goes to work on Homicide, who doesn’t seem too concerned about selling it. The Kings keep Homicide isolated in their half of the ring for a while. Castagnoli goes for a diving European Uppercut but Homicide grabs him with an Ace Crusher. Hero pulls Hernandez off the apron to prevent the tag, but seconds later Hernandez is back up and the tag is made. Super-Mex is a house afire, reigning offense down on the Kings. He hits a spinebuster on Castagnoli for two. Castagnoli comes back and executes the UFO! It only gets two. Castagnoli hits a running European Uppercut in the corner but then runs into a boot. Hernandez pulls himself up to the top rope but Castagnoli climbs the ladder and boots him in the face. The Kings then hit the Royal Power & Glory for a two-count. Hero drills Hernandez with a kick to the head and a big elbow strike for another two-count. Hernandez catches Hero coming off the ropes with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Homicide tags back in and hits Two Amigos and Hero breaks it up. Hernandez and Castagnoli end up in the ring together and Hernandez goes for the Border Toss, but Hero stops him with a rolling elbow. Homicide comes back in with a tornado DDT on Hero. Hernandez Border Tosses Homicide from the ring to the floor to wipe out both Kings. Then Hernandez follows out with a dive of his own! Back in the ring Hernandez hits Hero with a sitout powerbomb and Homicide follows with a Superfly Splash for two. Homicide goes for the Lariat but Del Rey grabs his leg from the floor. Hero puts on the gold elbow pad but Homicide is able to take it off him. Homicide goes for the Cop Killa but Hero lands on his feet. Castagnoli tags in and the Kings hit stereo kicks to Homicide’s face for a two-count. Seconds later Castagnoli bounces off the ropes for a big European Uppercut to get the pin at 17:11. That was tons of fun and will probably be the most I enjoy a Homicide match all year.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #7: Pure Rules Match – Christopher Daniels vs. Davey Richards

Daniels’ TV Championship is not on the line here. Referee Paul Turner explains the rules: each opponent is only given three rope breaks. Once these rope breaks have been used, their opponent does not have to release a submission if the wrestler reaches the ropes again. If you use a closed fist, the referee can dock you a rope break. If you have rope breaks, the wrestler may be disqualified.

This is a rematch from October in Chicago Ridge, and it was good but overhyped. They trade arm work in the early going. Richards scores a knockdown. AMERICAN WOLVES! They continue going back and forth and Daniels uses a closed fist behind the referee’s back! Daniels sends Richards to the floor and kicks him back into the barricade. He then suplexes Richards right onto the steel ring frame. Back in the ring Daniels focuses on the back. Daniels uses a submission in the ropes and the referee charges Richards a rope break for it. That doesn’t’ seem fair. Daniels continues on offense and locks in a headscissors choke and Richards uses his second rope break. Finally Richards fights back with some kicks and backdrops Daniels to the floor. Richards misses the running kick but he is able to land a moonsault and both men are down. Back in the ring Richards hits a missile dropkick. Daniels comes back and they trade forearm shots. Richards hits the handspring spin kick to the face for two. Daniels tries a rana, as if he does them often, but Richards powerbombs him and locks on the Texas Cloverleaf and Daniels has to use his first rope break. The TV Champ recovers and tries the Angel’s Wings but Richards counters and they do a pin reversal sequence for two-counts. Richards tries another Cloverleaf but Daniels counters with an inside cradle for two, so Richards goes to the Ankle Lock. Daniels uses his second rope break. He gets up and hits a jawbreaker. Richards fights back with Kawada kicks and the Alarm Clock. He runs right into an STO and Daniels locks on the Koji Clutch. Richards is able to reverse it to the Ankle Lock but Daniels rolls out of it. Daniels puts the Koji Clutch back on and Richards uses his third rope break. Richards rolls to the floor and Daniels tries an Arabian Press but misses and gets dropkicked back into the crowd. I’m expecting the unsafe dive, but instead Richards drapes Daniels across the barricade and executes a sick double stomp off the top rope! Back in the ring he only gets a two-count. Richards is on fire now, hitting the running knee in the corner and a superplex. He holds on from the superplex and turns it into a Cross Armbreaker, causing Daniels to use his third and final rope break. Out on the apron Richards delivers a series of kicks and goes for a Death Valley Driver but Daniels turns it into a modified Koji Clutch and the ropes can no longer save Richards. Daniels lets Richards drop to the floor for a possible countout. Richards makes it back in at 12. Daniels hits the uranage slam but misses the Best Moonsault Ever. They trade strikes and Daniels catches on and takes Richards over to the ropes for the modified Koji Clutch again. Richards turns it into an Ankle Lock with Daniels in the ropes! Daniels uses a headscissors to break the hold and send Richards to the floor. Richards quickly goes up top and gets pelted with palm strikes. Daniels goes for a Super Angel’s Wings but then opts for a triangle choke. Richards headbutts his way out of it and locks on a Texas Cloverleaf up on the ropes. Daniels doesn’t quit so Richards shoves him down and hits a nasty double stomp to the back. Richards goes to the opposite corner and goes for the Shooting Star Press but he must have slipped because he lands himself on the top rope. Wow, he’s lucky that’s where he landed, that could have been really bad. Daniels goes for Angel’s Wings and Richards jackknife cradles him to get the pin at 21:46. They made clever use of the stipulations and busted ass for 20 minutes, which is all I would have asked them for.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match – Roderick Strong vs. Eddie Edwards

Strong has been the champion since 9.11.10 and this is his sixth defense. Before the match can begin the Champ tells Truth Martini that he wants to do this on his own and sends him to the back. As with most of the matches tonight, they start off with some mat wrestling. Both men also try strikes but they are quite evenly matched and neither man can get a pronounced advantage. Edwards gets a headscissors and chops Strong in the corner. Strong responds with chops of his own. Edwards hits a back elbow for two. Strong’s chest is already bleeding, and Edwards isn’t shy about making it worse for him. The Champ delivers a mule kick, and then backs Edwards into the corner for chops. Strong locks on a Crossface but Edwards rolls it into a cradle for two. Edwards strikes with a flying knee and then an F5 for two. He sets Strong on the top rope and knocks him down with a kick to the face. Edwards ties Strong in the Tree of Woe and hits the running kick to the face. Moments later Strong comes back and pitches Edwards hard to the floor. Strong launches Edwards back-first into the ring frame. Back in the ring Strong continues to focus on the back. Strong weathers Edwards’ comeback attempts and locks on the Stronghold and Edwards reaches the ropes. He goes for the Gibson Driver on the apron but Edwards counters with a rana to the floor! Edwards launches himself through the ropes and sends Strong crashing into the barricade. Strong’s head is also busted open now as well. Back in the ring Edwards hits a missile dropkick and a shining wizard for a two-count. Edwards goes to the second rope for a Codebreaker, and then hits the inside-out slam for another two. Strong fights back with a hard elbow strike and a side slam for two. He lands a superkick and a running clothesline in the corner. Strong sets Edwards up top for a super backbreaker and it gets two. Edwards rises and they trade chops. The challenger goes all Kobashi, so Strong cuts him off with a flying knee. Edwards strikes right back with a big clothesline and both men are down. Strong gets up and hits another big knee strike and Edwards hits another big clothesline for a near-fall. They battle to the top rope and Edwards knocks Strong down to the apron and follows him down with a double stomp. Back in the ring Edwards hits another double stomp, this one to the back. Edwards hits a running kick to the face and a powerbomb for two, and then rolls right into the Achilles Lock. Truth Martini runs out to interfere and Strong gets a quick rollup for two! Strong hits a superkick, the gutbuster, and the Sick Kick but Edwards kicks out! He spits on Edwards and hits a superkick and the vertical suplex backbreaker but Edwards kicks out again! Strong locks on the Stronghold again and Edwards turns it into the Achilles Lock, and when Strong tries to turn his way out of it Edwards gets a cradle for the shocking pin at 25:35! I can’t say I saw that one coming. The crowd is definitely on board, and that was a terrific back and forth match with a surprising finish. I’m not the biggest Edwards fan but he certainly stepped up when it counted.
Rating: ****

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