no escape

Metrolina Tradeshow Expo – Charlotte, NC – Saturday, July 9, 2011

Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak are on commentary.

MATCH #1: “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett vs. Andy “Right Leg” Ridge

Bennett weighs 225 pounds and hails from Boston, Massachusetts. Ridge weighs 185 pounds and hails from Staten Island, New York. These two faced each other in the semifinals of the Top Prospect Tournament back in March on HDNet; Bennett won on his way to defeating Kyle O’Reilly in the finals. Before the match, Bennett cuts a quick promo, noting that he’s been on a losing streak, and that he has decided he will not lose another match because he is “The Prodigy.” When he sets the microphone down he gets rolled up by Ridge right as the bell rings and almost gets pinned! Ridge takes advantage of Bennett’s cockiness and scores another quick near-fall before Bennett takes a powder. Undaunted, Ridge tries to follow Bennett to the floor but suffers a backbreaker on the ring apron. So that’s a spot Bennett does now. The Prodigy takes control now. Goody. Ridge fights back with more right-leg themed offense, keeping Bennett stymied. He hits an Ace Crusher for a near-fall. Bennett comes back with a spinebuster for two. Moments later Bennett hits the Piledriver to score the pin at 5:22. I can tolerate Bennett in five minute doses.
Rating: **

MATCH #2: Grudge Match – Kenny King vs. Mark Briscoe

Mark weighs 215 pounds and hails from Sandy Fork, Delaware. He is accompanied by his brother Jay. King weighs in at 218 pounds and is from Las Vegas, Nevada. He is accompanied by Rhett Titus. The twist in this match is that Jay and Titus will be handcuffed to ring posts to keep them from interfering. King is aggressive early on and takes the advantage. Jay is the first one who figures out ways to interfere even while handcuffed to the post. This is fun. Mark controls the first several minutes until Titus is able to trip him up and give King the advantage. The ANX duplicate the Briscoes’ earlier double-team moves. Mark fights back and whips King into a superkick from Jay. After some brief action back in the ring, they go to the floor again and King whips Mark into a back body drop from Titus. King takes control and nearly puts Mark away with a springboard clothesline. He hits a spinebuster for another two-count. Mark avoids a springboard senton attempt and puts King up top for an Iconoclasm for two. He goes for the Cutthroat Driver but King escapes and after a series of reversals King hits the Coronation to get the win at 8:37. These teams have great chemistry in any combination.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #3: Grudge Match – Rhett Titus vs. Jay Briscoe

The switch the cuffs and we’re ready to go with Grudge Match #2. Titus starts on fire, hitting a Thesz Press and clotheslining Jay to the floor. He follows Jay out and hurls him right into his brother! That’s cool. Back in the ring Titus continues to set the pace. Jay fights back with a lariat and a neckbreaker but it only gets one. Titus just will not stay down and is soon back in control, dropkicking Jay to the floor. He follows Jay out with a Tope Con Hilo, and the crowd chants “ROH.” Back in the ring Titus misses a Frog Splash and Jay rolls to the floor to grab a pair of bolt cutters! Kevin Kelly explains that those are there just in case for some reason they lost the key or whatever, and that is a damn fine explanation. Jay knocks out the referee and sets Mark free! King has to watch on powerlessly as his partner gets brutalized. Jay hits Titus with a Jay Driller, and referee Todd Sinclair comes out and calls for the disqualification at 10:01. After the bell the Briscoes continue to beat Titus up, hitting a Doomsday Device. Finally, Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team comes out to make the late save. The match wasn’t technically amazing or anything, but it was a great part of the feud between the All Night Express and the Briscoe Brothers, and that’s good enough for me.
Rating: ***

MATCH #4: Tag Team Challenge Match – The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly

Richards is the reigning ROH World Champion, having just defeated his own partner back at Best in the World 2011 in New York. Edwards and Cole start the match. This starts similarly to last night’s Wolves match, with both teams a little bit cautious in feeling each other out early on. Richards and O’Reilly tag in, and these two are training partners so I bet they’re going to beat the crap out of each other. O’Reilly gets the better of that exchange and makes the tag. Cole hits a dropkick for two. He and O’Reilly tag in and out to keep a fresh man in on Richards. O’Reilly and Richards exchange strikes, with O’Reilly surprisingly winning with a knockout kick. No matter, Richards is soon on offense again and showing no ill effects. Edwards tags in and the Wolves go to work. Amazingly, O’Reilly is able to fight off both Wolves and make a hot tag. Cole is on fire, throwing dropkicks all over the place. He hits Edwards with a Death Valley Neckbreaker for two. Edwards comes back with the Die Hard for two. The Wolves accidentally kick each other in the leg and that gives Cole and O’Reilly the advantage. Edwards is quickly back in control, putting Cole in the Achilles Lock. Meanwhile, O’Reilly locks Richards in the guillotine choke. Cole almost counters out but Edwards puts it back on, and Richards reverses to the Ankle Lock. That’s such a cool spot. Cole and O’Reilly kick their way out of the holds, and Cole hits Richards with a reverse rana, but Richards does the #FightingSpirit sell and pops up to hit a clothesline before collapsing again. Tags are made and we’re back to Richards versus O’Reilly. They slug it out and Richards wins that battle with a lariat for two. Richards goes back to the Ankle Lock and grapevines it. Cole takes Edwards out with a DDT on the apron. O’Reilly counters Richards and puts him in a Sharpshooter, and Richards counters that with a small package for two. Cole comes back in and they double-team Richards, including simultaneous kicks to the head, and Edwards makes the save. Edwards gets knocked to the floor and Cole goes for a dive but misses. Edwards illegally catches O’Reilly with a dragon screw in the ropes, and then he legally tags in. He hits a double stomp off the top rope but it only gets two. Edwards hits a huge lariat but once again it only gets two! Cole tries to jump back in but Richards sends him right back to the floor. The Wolves hit O’Reilly with a powerbomb/lungblower combination for two. Edwards once again puts on the Achilles Lock and Cole breaks it. Cole then takes Richards out with a dive to the floor. O’Reilly grabs a quick inside cradle for two, but Edwards goes back to the Achilles Lock, except this time he adds a series of kicks to the back of the head and Sinclair calls for the bell, but the timekeeper must be sleeping and the bell doesn’t ring until 21:49. Edwards, having not heard a bell, kept the hold on, and Richards takes offense to this. That’s a great subtle bit of storytelling right there. The match, as are most things involving Cole and O’Reilly, was great and the finish was amazing. This is one of the better ROH matches this year and yet another great showing for Cole and particularly O’Reilly, who looks like 10 million ROH Bucks after this match.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #5: Michael Elgin & Chase Owens vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander

I admit that I know nothing about Chase Owens, other than that he and Elgin are accompanied by Truth Martini. The H.O.T. leader cuts a promo before the match, threatening El Generico, who will face his charge Roderick Strong in a steel cage in tonight’s main event. Elgin and Coleman start the match. That goes about how you would expect, with Elgin showing his power and Coleman countering with his speed and agility. Owens tags in and that doesn’t go well for him. Alexander comes in for the first time with a slingshot senton for two. Elgin gets back in and shows off his impressive power by hitting a running powerslam with one opponent over each shoulder. That’s really cool. The H.O.T. works on Coleman now, keeping him in their half of the ring. Elgin goes out of his comfort zone to the top rope and misses a twisting senton, which allows Coleman to make the hot tag. Alexander is on fire, hitting Owens with a DDT for two. C&C hits a double gourdbuster and Elgin breaks up the pin. The match breaks down as referee Paul Turner has lost control. Elgin gets knocked to the floor and Alexander wipes him out with a dive. Coleman hits Owens with a rana off the top rope and Alexander follows in with a Superfly Splash to get the pin at 9:15. C&C looked good and Elgin stayed strong, which is all this match needed to do so it was successful.
Rating: **½

After the match Truth Martini decides that Owens does not make the cut, and Elgin delivers a Buckle Bomb and a spinning twisting powerbomb to drive the point home.

MATCH #6: Chris Hero vs. Colt Cabana

Hero weighs 235 pounds and he hails from “Metropolis.” He is accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. Cabana weighs 244 pounds and is from Chicago, Illinois. Fun fact – this is the last ROH house show match for either of these men, and Hero would only work once more at the first SBG taping. They start off in earnest with some chain wrestling, just as Cabana had hoped for. Cabana wisely avoids Hero’s elbow strikes. He outsmarts Hero and sends him powdering to the floor to regroup with Hagadorn. Back in the ring Cabana continues to control Hero with his Johnny Saint-like offense, so Hero resorts to illegal interference from Hagadorn to take advantage. They battle back and forth some more and Hero boots Cabana to the floor. Hero hits an elbow strike way up by the entrance and the count is on. Cabana barely makes it back to the ring at the count of 19. Hero immediately goes on the attack but can’t put Cabana away. Cabana gets a second wind and sends Hero to the floor, and follows him back in the ring with a Steamboat Chop off the top rope. He then Flips, Flops, and Flies, followed by a quebrada for two. He locks on the Billy Goat’s Curse and Hero reaches the ropes. Hero fights back by targeting Cabana’s head. He hits a Hero’s Welcome for two. Cabana comes back with the Butt-Butt from out of nowhere and gets a two-count. The referee gets inadvertently struck by Cabana, so Hagadorn jumps up on the apron. Cabana knocks Hagadorn down but then turns right into a rolling boot for the pin at 15:56. That was a solid showcase for both guys doing what they do well. It’s certainly an unceremonious exit for two guys who have meant a lot to ROH over the years.
Rating: ***

MATCH #7: Non-Title Match – Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) vs. The Bravado Brothers

The Bravados get a decent amount of fan support since they’re from the area. Benjamin and Harlem start the match. Kevin Kelly actually apologizes for Benjamin’s performance in Richmond last night. Well that’s mighty right of him. Lancelot tags in and Benjamin continues to dominate him too. Haas comes in and the Bravado abuse continues. After some chicanery the Bravados do get some token offense on Haas before he makes the lukewarm tag. Benjamin is on fire on both Bravados, hitting Lancelot with the elevated neckbreaker. Harlem gets drilled with a superkick, and then Lancelot takes the leapfrog splash and Benjamin gets the pin at 6:20. The Bravados at no point in time appeared to be a threat to the champions. This would have been better served earlier on the card.
Rating: *½

The Briscoe Brothers come out and challenge Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team to a fight, and they get what they asked for! The fight goes on for a while and no one comes out to break them up. A table gets set up in one of the corners and the Briscoes whip Haas into it. They go for a spiked Jay Driller on Benjamin and finally Kenny King comes out to make the save with a chair.

MATCH #8: Steel Cage Match – Roderick Strong vs. El Generico

Generico weighs in at 199 pounds and comes to us from Tijuana, Mexico. Strong checks in at 205 pounds and hails from Tampa, Florida. He is accompanied by Truth Martini. Generico’s ROH Television Championship is not on the line here. The Generic Luchador attacks in the aisle and we’re underway! They should have waited to ring the bell until both men were in the cage. Generico foolishly lets himself get distracted by Martini, and Strong slams the cage door in his face a couple of times. Strong is firmly in control as they finally make their way into the cage. He wears Generico down with a variety of strikes and suplexes. Generico gets a quick inside cradle for two, and moments later backdrops Strong into the cage for his first real advantage since they were outside the cage. He repeatedly whips Strong into the cage walls as the crowd fires up behind him. Generico hits a swinging DDT and then the Ole Kick up against the cage. He lands the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Strong tries to fight back but charges right into a Michinoku Driver for another two-count. Generico sets up for another Ole Kick but Strong avoids it and hits a superkick of his own for a near-fall. Strong connects with a series of strikes for another two-count. He charges into the corner and Generico catches him with an exploder right into the buckles. Generico hits an Ole Kick and goes for the Brainbuster but Strong counters out and hits the Sick Kick but it only gets two! Generico lands another Ole Kick and this time hits the Brainbuster but Strong kicks out! Now Generico goes up top and Strong crotches him. Both men take some time to recover and Strong is on the attack first. Strong hits a series of strikes and another Sick Kick but Generico kicks out again! A gutbuster and a Gibson Driver is STILL not enough to keep Generico down! They take it up to the top rope and Generico knocks Strong down to the canvas. Generico goes to the top of the cage and Martini climbs up there as well. That allows Strong to pull Generico down. Martini gets knocked off the cage, and then Generico hits another Ole Kick and the Top-Rope Brainbuster to finally get the pin at 17:53. I’ve long been a fan of the matches between these two, and this one was another excellent contest. They kicked out of a lot of stuff, but to end the feud that works for me.
Rating: ****