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ROH Manhattan Mayhem IV- March 19, 2011
-Happy March! Seeing as I’m completely snowed in, let’s kick things off with a modern classic from March of last year!
-From New York, NY. Our hosts are Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak.
-Truth Martini and his team enter the building. Martini talks some smack towards The American Wolves. Eddie Edwards has bit off more than he can chew because tonight he’s facing one of the greatest ROH World Champions that ever lived in Roderick Strong. Michael Elgin starts doing squats with Martini perched on his shoulders as the crowd chants something homophobic at them. Martini says Mike Mondo is an unofficial member of the House of Truth and tonight he must pass his final test to prove he belongs in the group.
Michael Elgin and Mike Mondo (with Truth Martini) vs. Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly
O’Reilly starts tentatively against Elgin. O’Reilly slips out of a knuckle lock and goes for the head. Cole joins the match but Elgin shoulder blocks both Future Shock members. Elgin runs into a double hip toss and eats stereo drop-kicks. Mondo tags himself in and runs into some arm drags. Future Shock isolate Mondo with some hard offense. Mondo mounts a comeback on O’Reilly and makes a needed tag. Elgin misses an elbow drop and O’Reilly lights him up with a series of strikes. Elgin misses a running forearm smash and big boot, sending his own partner to the floor. O’Reilly goes for a running missile drop-kick but Elgin clotheslines him off the apron. Cole eats a clothesline as well, leaving Mondo to take control of O’Reilly. The House of Truth quicken the tags and wear down poor O’Reilly. “You can’t wrestle” chants towards Elgin inspire a tirt-a-whirl backbreaker. Have I mentioned that these NYC mutant fans jumped the shark a long time ago? O’Reilly counters with a tornado DDT and sneaks through Mondo’s legs to make a hot tag. Cole cleans house on Mondo. Elgin tags himself in and delivers a slingshot elbow. Mondo slips on the ropes briefly, much to the delight of the fans, before landing a splash. Elgin misses a somersault back senton! O’Reilly is back and Mondo has to save Elgin after taking a super kick/power bomb combo. Elgin catches both Future Shock members on his shoulders for a big fall away slam! Who can’t wrestle now? Future Shock nails a lung blower/back cracker combo on Mondo. Cole nails a German suplex with a bridge for the win at 12:23. These four shook off an obnoxious crowd to deliver a fine opener, **¾.
Winners: Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole
-Mike Mondo begs forgiveness from Truth Martini and Michael Elgin. Truth gives Mondo a thumbs down, signaling for Elgin to kick his Spirit Squad ass. The spinning power bomb gets the job done.
-Grizzly Redwood says it seems like he’ll never be free of The Embassy. Beating after beating, he doesn’t care, he’ll always be back with a smile on his face. He has one mission: chop down The Embassy.
-The entire Embassy come to the ring for the next match. Prince Nana insults the live crowd, earning baby face heat from me in the process. Nana introduces the fans to R.D. Evans, a good friend of his.
Tommaso Ciampa (with Prince Nana, R.D. Evans, Mia Yim, and Ernesto Osiris) vs. Grizzly Redwood
Ciampa starts by shoving Grizzly down. Redwood repeatedly goes for a headlock but Ciampa continually swats him off. Headlock takeover by Redwood brings Ciampa down to his level. Stand and switch by Ciampa but Redwood takes him down. Grizzly soars with a dive, knocking Ciampa into the barricade. Mia Yim tries to interfere but Redwood plants a kiss on her. Mia returns with a standing drop-kick! Ciampa takes charge of the match, planting Grizzly with a spinning neck breaker. Ciampa grabs Grizzly by the beard and throws him into the turnbuckles. Redwood counters a chinlock but gets violently whipped into the corner. Ciampa lands his running kick to the face but Grizzly kicks out. The crowd sarcastically chants “match of the year” as Grizzly counters and makes a jobber comeback. Project Ciampa ends it at 7:53. Once again, the crowd didn’t do them any favors. This would have come across much better in a television setting, *.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa
-Steve Corino runs in to save Redwood from any further punishment. Corino says he was there for Redwood but needs to know if Redwood will be there for him too. Before we can get an answer, Mike Bennett’s music hits. Bennett is decked out in a Boston Red Sox shirt and has something to say. Evans says he’s sick of washed up old athletes. Bennett calms his trainer down, saying not to get all worked up over “Old Man Corino.” Corino responds by saying no one hates him as much as NYC, but at least he’s not from Boston. Corino adds that he waited weeks to say that. Corino fears that if he wrestles Bennett, he’ll fall off the wagon and relapse into becoming an evil person again. Corino is willing to lay down for Bennett, but the Prodigy isn’t having it. Corino is overwhelmed and blurts out “Kevin, I’m sorry!” Bennett is offended at having been referred to as Kevin Steen, saying he’s not fat and unemployed. Corino calls for the bell!
Steve Corino vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett (with Brutal Bob Evans)
The match starts with both men throwing wild punches. Bennett misses an elbow drop and eats a leg lariat. Corino directs traffic, tossing Bennett around the ringside area. Corino is caught up with emotion and finds himself whipped into the barricade. Bennett sets Corino up for a dive, but misses. Corino goes for a dive but it’s countered by a Bennett drop-kick. Superplex by Bennett gets 2. They trade hard shots to the head. STO by Corino! Colby Shock gets 2. Bennett runs into a power slam. Corino dishes out more punishment but can’t put Bennett away. Cue the ever so classy Thumb in the Bum. Evans slips in for a cheap shot, allowing a near fall. A duo of side slams isn’t enough to pin Corino. The third side slam is the charm and Bennett gains the victory at 9:35. Solid showing for Bennett, who avoided the same toxic crowd reactions he’d been getting at the time, **.
Winner: Mike Bennett
-Bennett isn’t finished and stomps a mud hole into Corino. Evans joins the fun, as they seem to be daring Grizzly Redwood to come back and save him. Bennett serves a pile driver but there’s no sign of help. Well, that’s too bad.
The All Night Express vs. The Briscoes
The Briscoes are trying to get a new heel persona over but the crowd is fully behind them. Rhett Titus and Jay Briscoe exchange slaps. Titus outmaneuvers Jay and nails a drop-kick. Mark tags in to face Kenny King. Titus tags and helps King overwhelm Mark. The ANX try to isolate but Jay tags himself in for a big boot/suplex combo. The Briscoes launch King into the air. Titus tags and builds some momentum on Mark. Titus delivers a dive to the floor. Mark takes control, driving Rhett into the steel barricade. Jay joins in on the beating and manages to bust Titus open on the forehead. Titus is effectively isolated as the Briscoes bend the rules to punish him. Titus counters with snake eyes on the turnbuckles. King gets a hot tag and unloads on the Briscoes. Jay and Mark cut off the momentum, blocking the ANX’s double team attempt. Things break down with all four men in the ring. The crowd is disappointed when a cool looking doomsday variation doesn’t play out. King delivers double knees to the chest of Mark Briscoe at ringside. King runs into a Jay Briscoe spinebuster. Titus blocks the J-Driller but his Razor’s Edge is blocked too. King prevents the springboard doomsday device, allowing Titus to score a roll-up for the win at 14:00! The Briscoes are beside themselves! Lively match, with bell to bell action and mostly crisp work. A few miscues aside, this was a *** affair.
Winners: The All Night Express
-The Briscoes are sore losers and they attack the ANX after the match. The Briscoes pull up the floor mats. They look for a J-Driller on Titus but Kenny King makes the save with a dive off the turnbuckles. The ANX are back in the driver’s seat and officials and students run in to separate them. Jay and Mark grab chairs and throw them at the ANX. Titus and King receive a nice ovation as they get back to their feet.
TJ Perkins vs. El Generico
They kick things off with a fun stalemate sequence. Perkins scores with a nice drop-kick. Generico delivers turnbuckle punches. Perkins rolls through a sunset flip and drives his knees into the head of El Generico. Perkins applies a head scissors and repeatedly smashes Generico’s face into the mat. Generico bounces back with a Michinoku Driver. Perkins misses a high kick and eats Blue Thunder. The Yakuza Kick is blocked and Perkins scores with a power bomb. Perkins counters another Yakuza Kick attempt, driving his boots into Generico’s neck. Generico escapes a cloverleaf in the ropes. Generico finally nails the Yakuza Kick but Perkins counters the Brainbuster. Generico catches Perkins on a dive and nails a Brainbuster onto the apron! That’s more than enough for the win at 7:30. Nothing to see here, except a bunch of cool MOVES! **½.
Winner: El Generico
erico is a nice guy and puts over Perkins’ effort. The crowd gives Perkins the “Please come back” treatment.
ROH Tag Team Champions Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli (with Sara Del Rey and Shane Hagadorn) vs. Homicide and Hernandez
Chris Hero starts the match against Homicide. Homicide delivers a hurricanrana. Claudio tags and pounds away on the back. Hernandez makes a tag and takes a moment to size up Castagnoli. Claudio is caught off-guard by the strength of Hernandez. They exchange shoulder blocks until Claudio tricks with a clothesline. Hernandez shakes off a vertical suplex and returns the favor. Homicide tags and uses some double team work to gain the advantage. Hero tags himself in and suplexes Homicide onto Claudio’s knees. Homicide defiantly spits and curses as the KOW take control. Homicide counters a springboard uppercut with the ace crusher! Hero yanks Hernandez off the apron to prevent a tag. Homicide escapes a double suplex and Hernandez gets the hot tag. Hernandez tosses the KOW around but can’t gain the pinfall. Claudio manages to hit the UFO on the big man! Superplex/moonsault combo by the KOW! Roaring elbow by Hero! Hernandez counters with a tirt-a-whirl backbreaker on Hero, but Claudio breaks the cover. Running shoulder tackle by Hernandez sends Castagnoli crashing. Homicide dishes out the Three Amigos, but Hero cuts him off at two. The match breaks down. Hero saves Claudio from the Border Toss. Tornado DDT by Homicide. Hernandez tosses Homicide over the ropes onto the KOW! Hernandez soars to the floor onto Hero. L.A.X. serve a sit out power bomb/frog splash combo. Del Rey trips Homicide and gets pulled up by the hair. Homicide ducks a loaded elbow pad and rips it off. Hero blocks Cop Killa. The KOW hit stereo kicks. A big time uppercut by Claudio puts Homicide away at 17:11. This developed into an exciting match up. The KOW were so confident during this time, their personalities really elevated the match, ***½.
Winners: Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli
-Backstage, Homicide is recovering from the epic beating he just took. Hernandez tells him it’s no big deal and leaves him to get ice. Julius Smokes shows up and warns Homicide that he’s on a losing streak. Homicide agrees. It’s time to open the gates of hell.
Pure Rules match:
ROH Television Champion Christopher Daniels vs. Davey Richards
Pure Rules means that each wrestler only gets three rope breaks and more than one closed fist results in a DQ. Richards howls like a wolf as the bell rings, something he has thankfully stopped doing since. They exchange holds in the early going. Daniels throws a closed fist behind the referee’s back. Daniels suplexes Richards onto the ring apron. Daniels drives his boot into Richards’ chest off the ropes. Daniels tempts fate with a submission in the ropes. Daniels argues that it should count as a rope break and the referee shockingly agrees. Richards uses rope break #2 to escape a head scissors variation. Richards fights back, dropping Daniels to the floor. Richards connects with a springboard moonsault! Back to the ring, they trade forearm shots. Handspring kick by Davey gets 2. Power bomb by Richards and a cloverleaf! Daniels uses rope break #1 to escape. They trade counters and Daniels nearly steals the pinfall. Daniels escapes an ankle lock with rope break #2. They exchange stiff shots. STO by Daniels and the Koji Clutch! Richards counters into the ankle lock but the hold is broken. Richards uses his final rope break to escape the Koji Clutch. Daniels misses the Arabian press and gets sent into the crowd with a basement drop-kick. Top rope double stomp by Richards! Davey holds on through a superplex and applies a cross arm breaker! Daniels uses his final rope break to escape. The rules say the ropes can legally be used for leverage now. They immediately use the ropes to their advantage as they duel on the ring apron. Best Moonsault Ever misses. Daniels regroups and locks on a submission in the ropes. Richards counters into an ankle lock in the ropes! They trade holds on the top rope! Richards screws up a shooting star press and lands on the turnbuckles! Richards rebounds and counters Angels Wings for the victory at 21:55. Botched finish aside, this was an excellent match. They used the stipulations to tell a great story, ****¼.
Winner: Davey Richards
-Davey offers a handshake to Daniels after the match. Daniels accepts, which is a big deal considering Daniels’ storied history of refusing handshakes. I’ll add just how impressed I am that the fans didn’t chant “You fucked up” when Richards botched the shooting star press, there’s hope for them yet.
-Roderick Strong takes a moment during ring introductions to send Truth Martini to the back.
ROH World Championship:
Roderick Strong © vs. “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards
Strong and Edwards trade holds in the early going. Strong connects with a hard kick to the chest. They come to a stalemate. They exchange hard chops to the chest. Edwards notices that Strong is bleeding from the chest and aims his chop at the laceration. Strong stomps Eddie into the corner and spits on him. Eddie bounces back with a leg lariat. Edwards blocks Strong’s worst moves and plants him on the chest. Edwards sets up a tree of woe for a running drop-kick from the ramp. Strong rebounds, tossing Eddie to ringside. Strong throws Eddie against the ring frame in sickening fashion. Roderick enjoys the advantage, bending the rules at times. Strong blocks a backpack chin breaker and applies the Strong Hold. Strong attempts a Gibson Driver on the apron but Edwards counters with a hurricanrana! Suicide dive by Edwards connects! Roderick is busted open as Eddie is relentless with his chops. Flying missile drop-kick by Eddie! Strong is hapless as Edwards delivers a series of hard kicks. Eddie plants Roderick again but can’t gain the pinfall. Strong rebounds with a slam for 2. Backbreaker on the turnbuckles by Strong! They summon their fighting spirit and trade chops. Edwards counters Strong’s spinning elbow attempts. Strong runs into a hard lariat for 2. Eddie climbs the ropes but Strong meets him. Eddie blocks a Gibson Driver and slaps him off. Double stomp on the apron! Eddie hits another double stomp. Power bomb into an Achilles Lock! Truth Martini hops on the apron to distract the referee, but Eddie boots him off. Strong rolls Eddie up for a close near fall. Gut buster and Sick Kick by Roderick gets 2.9! Strong spits in the face and delivers a nasty back breaker. Eddie reverses the Strong Hold into the Achilles Lock! Strong kicks the head but Eddie turns into a pinning predicament for the win at 25:35! The building explodes as Eddie is declared the winner! Fantastic match, both men carried themselves like top guys and pulled out all the stops, ****½.
Winner and new ROH World Champion: Eddie Edwards
-Edwards can’t seem to believe he won either. Eddie basks in the glow of victory. Davey Richards enters the ring and embraces Edwards.
Final Thoughts: This was a well built card. The under card put over the newcomers and progressed storylines. The Briscoes and ANX kicked off a feud that would last all summer. The second half of the show featured great wrestling that was entertaining, but didn’t burn the crowd out like more recent ROH outings have. Everything built to the epic climax of the Strong/Edwards match and the surprise title change was a welcome change of pace. Great show, thumbs up.
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