411’s Instant Access 02.26.11: ROH 9th Anniversary Show

February 27, 2011 | Posted by Scott Slimmer

Hey kids, I’m Scott, and this is 411’s Instant Access: ROH 9th Anniversary Show. 411’s Instant Access is the companion piece to 411 Live Pay-Per-View Coverage and features immediate reaction to wrestling pay-per-views. The focus in Instant Access is on first thoughts and initial reactions instead of play-by-play with the goal of providing you with instant access to one writer’s thoughts on the show. Okay kids, enough with the explanations. Let’s get to the wrestling.

Special Attraction
Colt Cabana vs. Davey Richards
Match Result: Davey Richards defeats Colt Cabana with the cross arm breaker.
Match Length: 12:12
Match Analysis: I didn’t expect this match to open the show, but it actually makes perfect sense to have Colt Cabana be the first man through the curtain. The Chicago crowd was in love with Cabana, but they were also strongly behind Davey Richards as well. The face / face dynamic really got the crowd into the match and did a great job of getting the fans excited for the rest of the show. You know that Richards is always going to bring an extremely technical and hard-hitting arsenal to the ring, and Cabana did a fine job of adapting his in-ring style to keep up with Richards every step of the way. Richards needed to pick up a win here after losing to Roderick Strong at Final Battle 2010, so I absolutely agree with the decision to give him the victory. The ROH fans were begging for Richards to win the title for most of 2010, so I hope that he’s given a run with the belt before the fans begin to lose interest.
Match Rating: ***¼

Four Corner Survival Match
Steve Corino vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Grizzly Redwood vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett w/ Brutal Bob
Match Result: Mike Bennett defeats Steve Corino with Awesome Coolness.
Match Length: 11:03
Match Analysis: This was a rather chaotic and unstructured match, but it did a decent job of spotlighting the strengths of all four men. Kyle O’Reilly and Mike Bennett were the stars of the match and definitely made the case that they will be the stars of the future in ROH. Bennett seems to be getting the biggest push of the four at the moment, so it made sense to give him the win. Now we’ll see if he can look this impressive as he begins to challenge increasingly high-profile opponents.
Match Rating: **

Special Challenge Match
Michael Elgin w/ Truth Martini vs. El Generico
Match Result: El Generico defeats Michael Elgin with a roll-up pin.
Match Length: 10:28
Match Analysis: This match seemed designed to give Generico something to do tonight while giving Elgin the chance to show off his power game, and it accomplished both of those goals. Generico put in a fine performance, but almost any match he could have been in tonight would have seemed mediocre when coming off of his epic one year feud with Kevin Steen. On the other hand, Elgin looked like a beast in there, and much of the credit should go to Generico for bumping like a pinball. I’m not sure if Elgin will look nearly as good when he in there with a bigger opponent with a more power-based style, but tonight he definitely showed that he can have a good match with the right opponent.
Match Rating: **¼

ROH World Title Match – No Holds Barred Barrio Street Fight
Roderick Strong (Champion) w/ Truth Martini vs. Homicide
Match Result: Roderick Strong defeats Homicide with a backbreaker onto the knees.
Match Length: 14:45
Match Analysis: I was concerned about this match and whether or not it could really deliver the kind of action we’ve come to expect from a ROH World Title Match. I almost always enjoy Strong’s ring work, but I’ve never really been sold on him as ROH World Champion. Homicide bored me in almost every match I saw him in in 2010, and he simply seemed unmotivated in most of his matches over the course of the last year. These factors combined to give me relatively low expectations for this match, and someone behind the scenes in ROH must have had similar feelings. Taking this match out of the main event slot was absolutely the right decision, and it was able to serve as a fine conclusion to the first half of the show. Strong and Homicide made good use of the Street Fight rules, and both guys were able to showcase their own style at one point or another. The match actually exceeded my expectations, and I’m glad that it was given the opportunity to be a decent mid-card match instead of a disappointing main event match.
Match Rating: **¾

Women of Honor
Sara Del Rey vs. MsChif
Match Result: Sara Del Rey defeats MsChif with the Del Razor.
Match Length: 3:58
Match Analysis: Sara Del Rey and MsChif are phenomenal athletes and incredibly talented professional wrestlers. We all know this to be true. There’s no way to deny it. Unfortunately, for some reason they were completely denied the chance to showcase their talent tonight. Four minutes might be all you want for a WWE Divas Match, but it’s a joke and an insult for a Women of Honor match of this caliber. These ladies easily could have gone ten to fifteen minutes and put on a match that rivaled (and probably surpassed) every match the came before the intermission. They still managed to cram a decent amount of high-quality action into four minutes, but there’s really only so much you can do when you’re working under such limited conditions. This match could have been so much better, and I’m sorry that Del Rey and MsChif weren’t given the opportunity to really show why they are two of the best female professional wrestlers in the world.
Match Rating:

World Tag Team Title Match
The Kings of Wrestling (Champions) w/ Shane Hagadorn vs. The All Night Express
Match Result: Claudio Castagnoli defeats Kenny King after a Rolling Elbow from Chris Hero.
Match Length: 15:55
Match Analysis: I was looking forward to this match not because I expected it to be a five star classic, but rather because I was curious about how well the All Night Express would perform in this kind of big-match atmosphere. King and Titus definitely came to play, and they went move-for-move with the greatest tag team in the world for fifteen minutes. Don’t get me wrong; they’re not ready to be the top tag team in ROH, and they’re not ready to win the World Tag Team Titles. However, they are a tag team on the rise, and I’m glad to see that ROH is building their next generation of tag teams. That being said, the Kings of Wrestling were definitely the right choice to pick up the win tonight, and having them defend the titles against the winner of the Dream Tag Team Match will certainly built anticipation for the April 1 show in Atlanta.
Match Rating: ***½

World TV Title Match – 2/3 Falls with a 30 Minute Time Limit
Christopher Daniels (Champion) vs. Eddie Edwards
Match Result: The match ends in a 1 – 1 time-limit draw.
Match Length: 30:00
Match Analysis: And now we come to the show-stealer. I have a soft spot in my heart for two guys that can take a “secondary title” match and steal the damn show. Think Steamboat / Savage, Bret / Davey, HBK / Razor, or RVD / Jerry Lynn. That’s exactly what Christopher Daniels and Eddie Edwards did tonight. The busted their asses for half an hour and put on the kind of technical spectacle that epitomizes what ROH does best. The match started as a respectful mat-based chess match, but it escalated move by move and counter by counter until both guys had nothing left to give. The big story coming out of the match is obviously the apparent injury to Christopher Daniels, and I’ll admit that right now I have no idea if the injury is a work or not. The super hurricanrana did look nasty, and that seems like a strange moment for Daniels to have bladed on purpose. Daniels looked incredibly fuzzy after the match, and Edwards seemed legitimately concerned. All of that would seem to point to the injury being legit. However, having the match end in a draw plays off of the history between Daniels and Edwards, and it gives Edwards the ability to maintain his claim that no one can beat him twice in one night. I guess I’m saying that I can see the logic behind booking a worked injury leading to a draw, and I have no doubt that two guys as talented as Daniels and Edwards could sell such an injury when needed. Could this match have been better with an epic closing sequence and a clear winner? Maybe, but that’s not even really the point. The point is that the match was great just as it was, and a great match is a great match. Period.
Match Rating: ****¼

First Time Ever – Dream Tag Team Match
The Briscoe Brothers vs. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas
Match Result: Shelton Benjamin defeats Jay Brisco after a spinebuster / blockbuster combination.
Match Length: 22:21
Match Analysis: There are times when I think that the greatest role that ROH plays in the world of North American professional wrestling is to keep tag team wrestling alive, vibrant, and flourishing. Tag team wrestling is dead in WWE. That’s just a fact. TNA can produce great tag team matches from time to time, but the systemic flaws in TNA’s booking are often enough to significantly detract from any high-quality in-ring product they are able to provide. That leaves TNA to carry the torch, and they’ve doing a hell of a good job. I give a ton of credit to any promotion that has the good sense to book a “dream match” in the main event even though there may not be a title on the line. This match would have upstaged any match on the card except for Daniels / Edwards, and giving this match the main event slot was a good way to show that ROH is behind Benjamin & Haas. Benjamin & Haas once again showed that they have far more to offer than they were allowed to give us in WWE, and yet I found it interesting that they didn’t completely adopt the insane balls-to-the-wall style that we often see from top-level ROH tag team matches. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I’m simply saying that it’s interesting to watch two guys that were brought up in the WWE style actually employ bits and pieces of that underlying philosophy in a new setting. They gave us a top-notch tag team match while still staying true to their style and their history. Given the fact that this match became a number one contenders match, I’m happy that Benjamin & Haas picked up the win. The Briscoe Brothers vs. The Kings of Wrestlers is always a good time, but we’ve seen that match on several occasions. We’ve only seen Benjamin & Haas vs. The Kings of Wrestling once, and I’m betting they’ll have no problem surpassing that first match on April 1.
Match Rating: ****

Final Thoughts

Match of the Night: Christopher Daniels vs. Eddie Edwards (****¼)
Daniels and Edwards gave us thirty minutes of world class in-ring action and once again proved why you don’t have to be in the top title match or the main even to steal the show. This match was all about escalating offense, creative counters, and phenomenal athletic competition, and that is the essence of what makes ROH great.

Trash of the Night: Sara Del Rey vs. MsChif (*½)
It pains me to do this, because we all know that Sara Del Rey and MsChif are capable of much better than they were allowed to give us tonight. They packed as much as they could into a four minute match, and I don’t blame them one bit for the fact that they weren’t given more time. ROH booked this match as useless filler, and women as talented as Del Rey and MsChif deserve so much more than that.

Final Analysis: This wasn’t a home-run show of the same caliber as Death Before Dishonor VIII, but it was a solid show that built steadily from beginning to end. The four matches before the intermission may have been a bit underwhelming, but at least they were all entertaining in one way or another. The second half of the show started a bit slow with the Women of Honor mini-match, but the final three matches were all outstanding. The two tag team matches told the story of the night and did a great job of setting up the next iPPV in Atlanta. This show was well worth $14.95 and a hell of a good way to spend a Saturday evening.

Verdict: ***½

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Scott Slimmer