Ring of Honor - December 10, 2011
-From Louisville, KY. Our hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness. Nigel is pretty stoked for the Michael Elgin/Davey Richards main event.
-”Die Hard” Eddie Edwards interview. Eddie explains that Dan Severn has trained him specifically to fight out of Davey Richards’ Achilles lock. At Final Battle, he will reclaim his ROH World Championship.
“Right Leg” Andy Ridge vs. “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards
Edwards MUST do something in this match to put over that Dan Severn’s training has changed him. Truth Martini joins the commentary booth as the bell rings. Edwards immediately grounds Ridge. Edwards scores again with a waist lock takedown. Ridge is fortunate to keep getting the ropes, as Edwards is aggressive. They block stiff shots and both attempt drop-kicks. Edwards ties Ridge up in the ropes after a Greco-Roman knuckle lock. Edwards brings the chops! Ridge lights up Edwards’ chest but gets chopped off his feet. Hard kick by Ridge but Edwards kicks out at 1. Belly to belly suplex by Edwards followed by more chopping. Ridge blocks a package stunner and delivers hard kicks. Ridge escapes the STF. Slingshot ace crusher by Ridge gets 2. Hard lariat by Edwards and a power bomb! The Dragon Sleeper finishes it at 5:55. That was the correct finish. This really should have been more of a squash to put over the effectiveness of Edwards’ training. Eddie has some new tricks but otherwise wrestles just like he did before.
Winner: Eddie Edwards
-Truth Martini applauds Eddie Edwards’ victory. Eddie doesn’t seem as disgusted with Martini as Davey Richards has in recent weeks. The plot thickens.
-Video package recapping the Briscoes/WGTT feud. This is a fairly straightforward storyline but it works. New viewers should appreciate this.
-We are treated to another video package! This one looks back at the history of Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards feuding for the World title. This includes Roderick Strong’s role in the storyline, as well as Truth Martini and the House of Truth getting involved. Seriously, these packages are great. It lays everything out in an easily understood timeline. It catches new viewers up and it makes the television show seem compelling.
Proving Ground match:
Elgin sets the tone by refusing a handshake. Slow start with some clean breaks in the ropes. Elgin smashes Richards hard enough to send him to ringside. Richards returns and targets the leg. Elgin uses his size and strength advantage effectively but Richards answers with his speed. Elgin catches Richards in mid-air for a spinning sidewalk slam! They fight at ringside with Elgin using the ring apron as a weapon. The ref lectures Elgin while Martini gets in a cheap shot. Elgin targets the back with a mix of power moves and submission holds. Richards rebounds with a suicide dive to send us to commercial. After the break, Richards is attempting a comeback. Elgin delivers an improvised muscle buster on the floor! Richards barely makes it to the ring before a count-out. Richards is alive enough to spit in the face, which only prompts Elgin to continue delivering power moves. Richards blocks a power bomb and nails a double stomp. They battle on the top rope with Richards nailing a well-earned superplex! Elgin no-sells the move and challenges Richards to hit him with everything he’s got! They trade stiff shots until they both go down. German suplex by Davey gets 2! Martini grabs Richards by the ankle, as we get the 3 minute warning. Richards kicks Martini in the chest and follows up with a flying double stomp on Elgin! Richards nails a knockout kick and applies an armbar. Elgin powers into a counter, rolling Davey onto his back. Richards rolls into a sunset flip for the victory at 16:43 (shown). Plenty of good action here as Richards picks up an impressive victory heading into Final Battle, ***½.
“Unbreakable” Michael Elgin (with Truth Martini) vs. ROH World Champion Davey Richards
Winner: Davey Richards
-Truth Martini gets into Richards face after the match. Richards is about to put a hurting on Martini when Elgin jumps him with an overhead suplex. Martini poses with the ROH title but Eddie Edwards runs in and attacks. Edwards uses the belt as a weapon to clear the ring of Martini and Elgin. Richards is on his feet and sees Edwards holding his title. Richards doesn’t understand why Eddie has the title and attacks his friend! Edwards catches Richards with the dragon sleeper! They’re separated but continue to brawl anyway. The show ends with the now-former best friends at each other’s throat.
Final Thoughts: Perhaps WWE and TNA should study how ROH executed this “go home” show. I haven’t been this interested in a pay-per-view event in ages. I can nitpick the Edwards match, but it got the job done. The main event was great and had plenty of time to tell a story and give Richards the shine he needs heading into Final Battle. They’ve told a great story going into Richards/Edwards III as it seems that not only the championship is on the line, but so is their friendship. Big thumbs up this week.
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