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Ring Crew Reviews: ROH Death Before Dishonor VIII

September 23, 2011 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: ROH Death Before Dishonor VIII  

Relevant Storylines: Generico and Steen can’t wait to fight each other. Daiviri is cursed by Billy Goats. Aries is the greatest man to ever live, just ask him. Even after the match, Steen and Generico can’t even take an intermission from fighting each other. And Tyler Black and Davey Richards shoot for the moon in trying to put on the performance of a lifetime.

Scheduled Card:
1. All Night Express vs. Up In Smoke.
2. Grudge Match: El Generico vs. Kevin Steen.
3. Austin Aries vs. Delirious.
4. Tornado Gauntlet Match: Tyson Dux vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Daiviri vs. Colt Cabana vs. Steve Corino vs. Roddy Strong.
5. Kenny Omega vs. Christopher Daniels.
6. No DQ Match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Briscoes vs. The Kings of Wrestling (c).
7. ROH World Championship: Davey Richards vs. Tyler Black (c).

All Night Express vs. Up In Smoke. UIS is on their way out when Generico busts through them and says he wants Steen RIGHT FUCKING NOW! That brings out Corino. He called Generico a “masked retard” and says this is PPV and Steen is all about the main event. Generico’s retort: “STEEN! NOW! NOWWWWWW!” Steen comes blazing out and goes head to head with Generico but Corino tries to call him off. Steen says he’s got it and THIS ENDS NOW!

All Night Express vs. Up In Smoke Grudge Match: El Generico vs. Kevin Steen. They slug it out with both hitting a flurry of rights. Generico tries a shitcan but Steen no sells and comes back with some shots. He gets a head of steam but Generico gets the shitcan this time and then follows out with the TOPE CON HILO! ELECTRIC start to the show! Generico sends him into the guardrail a couple of times. Back in, Generico goes up top and hits a crossbody for 2. Generico goes to the GnP. Cue the dueling chants. They exchange some LETHAL chops and then Generico boots away in the corner. Steen tries a flapjack but Generico counters midair with the dropkick. Steen rolls to the apron and gets a Stun Gun to come back but he runs into a leg lariat. OLE! Generico gets the knucklelock and tries the Tornado DDT but Steen counters to a beautiful backbreaker. Steen then hits a senton across the back and he taunts for the crowd. They exchange shots for the boo/yay but Steen gets the superkick to win that. Steen chokes in the corner and pulls the camera’s lense to be pointed toward him. Steen blows the snot rocket and the Director’s Cut boots on Generico. FUCK YOU STEEN! Steen with more choking and the cannonball in the corner. Crowd tries getting behind Generico but Steen lays him out with a forearm. Generico with some right hands but Steen back elbows him down. Generico no sells and gets a couple of clotheslines. Steen comes back with a SHOTGUN chop. Steen tries a kick but again Generico no sells and clotheslines him down. Steen gets the elbow up in the corner but Generico comes back with a JuvyDriver for 2. Cue the INSANELY early, “This is Awesome” chant. We’re 8 minutes into a rather pedestrian brawl at this point with only the periodic no sells and the stiffness being highlights. Generico again tries the knucklelock tornado DDT but Steen crotches him. They roll to the apron and Steen teases the Package Piledriver on the apron but Generico counters to a hellacious backdrop in a absolutely BRUTAL bump. On the floor, Generico suicide dives OVER THE TURNBUCKLE and catches Steen in the chancery and floats into the TORNADO DDT! Awesome! Back in, Generico heads up top and hits the splash for 2. Generico wants the Brainbuster but Steen counters to the pumphandle backbreaker for 2. Steen wants the Sharpshooter but Generico punches him way free. He tries a standing rana but Steen counters to the Low Down powerbomb for 2. We upgrade to the smack it out portion. Generico is on his last legs but won’t stay down. Steen gets the CLUBBINGBLOWS. Generico with a kick but Steen no sells and gets a superkick. Steen with a clothesline in the corner but Generico no sells and comes back with a yakuza kick and a half nelson suplex. But Steen no sells THAT and flips him with the LARIATO! Double KO spot. Steen up first and heads up top and tries the moonsault but eats canvas. Generico now hooks in the Sharpshooter and does it well considering how often that move is botched by first timers. Steen crawls and barely gets the ropes to boos. Steen wants the PP but Generico blocks and tries another half nelson suplex. Generico with a yakuza kick instead and gets Steen up for the brainbuster but Steen PERFECTLY drops down into the Package Piledriver and SPIKES HIM DOWN! Cover gets 1, 2—only 2. Steen can’t believe it and is distraught. He slowly heads up top and goes for the Swanton but Generico gets the knees up. He hits a couple of yakuza kicks and picks him up for the BRAINBUSTAAAAA! Sinclair calls him off long enough for Steen to tear loose a TURNBUCKLE BOLT AND STAB HIM IN THE FACE WITH IT! Steen gets him up and hits a PERFECT DRIVER OFF THE TOP! Cover gets 1, 2, 3 TO win it at 16:55. Steen going over deflated the crowd just a tad but what a way to open the show. That might be the first time I’ve ever seen the visceral hatred between two guys be so uncontrollable that they HAVE to have their match first. Brilliant choice. Things started to pick up once Generico hits the tornado DDT on the floor. The back and forth no selling is always an iffy call but this is a blood feud so it gets a pass. It was still obvious they were holding back a tad for the final blowoff later but still a great moment and a good match. ***1/2

• Next up, we get wrestlers commenting on who will win between Davey and Tyler. The highlight is Steen giving it some serious thought and then saying: “El Generico is going to die tonight in Toronto and that’s all you need to know.” No screaming or shouting. Just calm and devious like Jake the Snake use to do.

All Night Express vs. Up In Smoke. Announcers are giving ANX the hard sell as wanting to get serious and drop the comedy act. They are managed by A double, Austin Aries. We get the handshakes but Kenny pulls in Cloudy to cheap shot him and goes to work. King with a clothesline in the corner and he struts. Rhett in. They try a double shoulderblock but Cloudy puts the brakes on and Cheech slips them from behind and gets a double headscissors armdrag that sends them to the floor. They want a double splash but the ANX moves. Instead, they relocate to the apron and one of them backdrops the other onto the ANX in a cool spot. Back in, they hit a back suplex and a dropkick combo and get a roll up for 1. Kenny gets a blind tag but runs into a boot only for Rhett to hit a atomic drop and Kenny to come back with a spinebuster for 2. The ANX pound away in the corner and work some quick tags. Rhett with some chops but runs into a boot and eats a dropkick from Cloudy off the top. Kenny prevents the tag through some heel chicanery. King with a bodyslam and botches a springboard dropkick for 2 a couple of times. Fans let him hear it as King goes to a chinlock. King tries the Royal Flush but Cloudy ducks under and tags in Cheech. He hits a couple of rights and a leg lariat. He hits a back elbow in the corner and another kick and the IED facewash. Cloudy in with the Elijah Express on a prone King and Cheech gets the 619 to the turnbuckle from the outside. Nice. Cheech with a roll up for 2. Cheech with a Perfectplex for 2. Up in Smoke wants a double team but Rhett breaks it up. Now the ANX hit some double team kicks for 2. Rhett wants a powerbomb with King helping to spike him down. Cloudy blocks before they try it again and King gets the blockbuster to combo with the powerbomb. Cover gets 2. That should have been the finish. King tries the Coronation but Cloudy is in to block and gets flapjacked into a tornado DDT for 2. Rhett in to help but he eats some combo strikes and a dropkick/619. They try the Tidal Wave but King breaks it up. He hits the Black Hole Slam into a backbreaker and Rhett flies off with the knee drop for the 3 to win it at 8:46. Up in Smoke have some enthusiasm and cool combo moves but work really soft, which isn’t necessarily a negative, but they were barely connecting at times. Still a solid match if a bit messy in spots. **3/4

• Aries comes out and gets the stick with ANX watching his back. Aries says that just because he has the mic now instantly all of the money everyone spent to watch this is instantly worth it. He says he knows he went too far with Delirious but he tried to apologize and instead tonight he’s going to end it. DELIRIOUS, GET OUT HERE!

Austin Aries vs. Delirious. Paul Turner tosses ANX to the back. Delirious is wearing the “Red Poison” garb tonight and has taped up ribs. Aries with a throat thrust to start but Delirious spits the mist at him to a big pop. Delirious with a chop and chokes with some of the streamers. Delirious with a choke toss and goes to the Cobra Clutch but Aries gets a rope break. Aries is basically blind but manages to hit an elbow. Aries is still disoriented and Delirious clubs him down from behind. Aries recovers and grabs the ref thinking it’s Delirious. Delirious waffles him from behind and hits a back suplex. Aries powders out to the floor but Delirious follows for some ringside violence. Aries slides out of a fireman’s carry and sends him into the guardrail. Aries washes the mist away with some water and goes back to work and then throws the water bottle at Delirious. Aries breaks the count and heads up top for a double ax handle but Delirious moves and Aries eats rail. Delirious bites him and brings him back in and heads up top but Aries rebounds on the ropes and crotches him. Aries gives him a crucial neckbreaker across the top rope and Delirious falls off the apron onto the guardrail. Aries follows out with a slingshot crossbody. Aries goes to a choke with Delirious’s tassels. Aries with more choking and gut chops. Delirious comes back with chops but gets caught in a hotshot for 2. Austin goes to the lying triangle choke and gives Delirious a couple shots and continues pulling him around by the mask. Aries with more rights and tries something off the top but Delirious bites him again. Delirious gets a running headbutt and the Cobra Clutch suplex. Delirious with a head of steam but runs into a LARIATO. Double KO spot. Delirious with a TD and goes to the GnP. Delirious with a BLATANTCHOKE and the ref is threatening to DQ him. More headbutts from Delirious. Delirious with some Bas Rutten liver shots and a few sentons. Delirious with a Downward Spiral and back to the Cobra Clutch. Aries runs toward the ropes and dumps him. Aries tries a suicide dive but Delirious moves and Aries eats barricade. Back in, Delirious grunts and heads up top but ANX has come back out and they toss Delirious and that’s enough for the DQ at 13:04. Standard angle advancement match. The mist beginning was useful and good for the story if the workrate suffered because of it. Not a lot to see here really. **1/2

• Post-match, Rhett lowers the trunks to dance. Delirious punts him to the stones and hits a flip splash off the top.

Tornado Gauntlet Match: Tyson Dux vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Daiviri vs. Colt Cabana vs. Steve Corino vs. Roddy Strong. The winner gets a nebulous “future title shot.” Ask Cryme Tyme about those future title shots. Tyson is a local guy. Eddie is TV champ at this point. Prazak says that EE has done everything in ROH “short of winning a world title.” Intentional foreshadowing? Unintentional? Cool looking back either way. Lock up takes them into the corner and Dux reluctantly gives the clean break. Dux with a hammerlock and a takedown but Eddie rotates and escapes a headscissors. More mat reversals and Eddie gets a front facelock. Dux back to the top wristlock. Eddie kips up and snapmares him down. They trade headlocks and Dux gets a shoulderblock to boos. They trade a few armdrags and it’s a stalemate. Dux pauses to pose to a mixed reaction. Eddie with a chop and another and shoves Dux into the corner who comes back with chops. Eddie runs out into a backdrop and more chops. Eddie comes back with a headbutt and a Batista kick. They trade suplex attempts before Dux gets a Mongolian chop and a Australian style TIGER SUPLEX! NICE! Dux gets a head of steam but Eddie dumps him and follows out with a suicide dive. Eddie recovers first and yakuza kicks him into the crowd. Back in, Eddie rolls through something off the top and then rolls into the CANADIAN MAPLELEAF! Dux gets the ropes. Eddie goes to a chinlock and then adds in the fishhook. Eddie releases but gets a headbutt and a couple of yakuza kicks. Dux gets a couple of burritos and a back suplex. Dux with the Pounce to a seated EE for 2. Dux hits a gordbuster and follows into a crisp DDT for a close 2. Dux wants the DVD but EE slides out. They counter a couple more until EE gets the LEFTYLARIATO for 2. Eddie puts him up top and gets a nice running boot. Dux hits a beautiful MDK bomb and flips him with a clothesline for another close 2. Dux tries the DVD but EE slides out again. Eddie enzuigiris him up top and wants the Backpack Jawbreaker but Dux shoves his way free. Eddie comes off the second turnbuckle with a Codebreaker and then rolls him into the half crab. Dux gets the ropes surprisingly and then small packages him FOR THE THREE AT 10:36! Great chemistry between these two with a really effective match. ***1/4

Daiviri vs. Tyson Dux. Daviri clips the leg to start from the back and drops a few elbows and grapevines it. Daiviri covers for a 2 but Dux legwhips him to the floor. Sinclair starts the count on Daiviri but behind his back Nana trips Dux up and wraps his worked over leg from the half crab around the ringpost a few times to HUGE boos. Perfect cheating is a beauty to watch. Daiviri back in hooks in the Figure Four. Nana helps give Daiviri leverage but Sinclair sees it and breaks it up. I would have been OK with that as a finish but Dux shoves him to the floor again. Dux hits a top rope superplex but sells the leg on impact. Nice. Dux gets an enzuigiri, Backdrop Driver and a LEFTYLARIATO for a close 2. Dux keeps selling the leg and the leg buckles on the DVD. A second attempt and he hits it but Daiviri kicks out at 2. They chop it out and Daiviri clips the leg. Dux slingshots him off the ropes with a suplex into a neckbreaker. He covers but Nana puts the foot on the ropes. Dux grabs Nana and waffles him and tries to suplex Daiviri back in but he floats into a crossbody and Nana grabs his leg to keep him down for the 3 at 4:36 (16:12 total). Decent encounter that played on the psychology of the first and had some good cheating. *3/4

Daiviri vs. Colt Cabana. Colt slides in but Nana pulls him back to the floor like my hero to allow Daiviri to get some cheap shots in. Colt recovers and hooks in the immediate Billy Goat’s Curse and Daiviri taps out at 1:03 (17:15 total). DUD

Colt Cabana vs. Steve Corino. Corino in with a shoulderblock and taunts to boos. Colt comes back with jabs and the Dusty elbow. Colt with an atomic drop but Corino gives him a gutshot. Colt trips him up and rolls him into the BGC as well. Corino gets the ropes and powders out but Colt gets a plancha. Some fan awkwardly gives Colt a back massage and Colt worries he’s making a move, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Colt gives a series of high fives to the fans and then right hands to follow each one. Back in, Corino gets a fork and tries to stab him with him but Sinclair steals it. That allows Corino to hit a low blow behind his back and a clothesline for 2. More choking from Corino but Colt hits some chops and right hands but Corino pokes him in the eye. Corino stays on the eyes but Sinclair demands a break. Corino says it’s over and hits a LEFTYLARIATO. He takes off the elbow pad and tries a seated one but Cabana crucifixes him for the 3 at 4:56 (22:11 total). More angle advancement and a modicum of justice for the babyfaces. *

Colt Cabana vs. Roddy Strong. Cabana distracts him long enough post match for Roddy to barnstorm in and take down Colt with the sick kick. Cover gets a close 2. Corino and Roddy have words until Sinclair separates them. Roddy boots away in the corner and hits some chops. Colt comes back with elbows but runs into a Bluechipper dropkick. Announcers are playing up Roddy’s anger and quest to win the world belt. Roddy goes to a chinlock. More boots and a snap suplex for 2. Roddy with more chops but Colt Hulks up and comes back with double chops and some Dusty elbows. Colt with the haymaker and more chops. Colt ducks a shot and gets a Lionsault into a bridge for 2. But FUCK, Roddy’s leg got caught under him on the bump and that looked BRUTAL, shoot. Roddy grabs his ankle but manages to kick Colt away and roll to the floor to regroup. Sinclair wants to know if Roddy can continue as he tries to walk it off. Truth waffles Colt with the book from behind and Roddy slides in and covers for the dubious victory at 5:25 (27:36 total). * for the last segment althought I’m sure Roddy’s legit leg issues made them take it home early. ***1/2 for the whole thing but almost entirely for the first two segments. Off the top of my head I can’t remember any cheap number 1 contenders paths I’m a fan of for heels and this one is no different. Pretty good all around, but as a vehicle to put over Roddy as any worthwhile contender, it’s a minor flop, especially for ROH who are normally great about making all contenders seem strong and worthy even heels.

• After part of the intermission, Generico and Steen start brawling from the back down the aisle and catch most of the fans off guard. Generico brings him into the guardrail a few times and that brings out Corino which brings out Colt which brings out the locker room. Colt and Generico fight off the school and Generico hits a brainbuster and shoves away a few refs. Generico steals the announcer’s tie and then chokes Steen with it in one of those ironic references to Bryan Danielson doing the same thing during the Nexus angle. Corino finally pulls Steen away. OLE OLE OLE OLE!

• Cornette out to officially begin after intermission. Cornette says it’s never cold in Canada when they are in town. He talks up Toronto as a wrestling town. He calls this the Mecca of pro wrestling in North America. That seems a stretch.

Kenny Omega vs. Christopher Daniels. Daniels is face here. Mild dueling chants to start. CD counters into a headlock and Omega tries to send him off but he hangs on it. Omega tries another counter but CD puts it back on and gets a headlock TD. Nice. Omega with a headscissors out but runs into another one from CD. Omega escapes out again, hits a shoulderblock and wants another but CD drop toe holds him and gets… ANOTHER HEADLOCK~! It’s a headlock but it’s the Dickensian Bret Hart headlock so it’s a beautiful. Omega armdrags out and goes to the top wristlock. Omega tries to send him off but CD wants the Throat Slam but Omega rolls under. Hadouken attempt but CD wants no part of that. CD with a shoulderblock and avoids an Omega monkey flip attempt. More counters until Omega gets a backdrop and a back elbow in the corner. CD backdrops him to the apron but Omega runs up the apron and gets a crossbody off the top for 2. Flawless stuff all through here. Omega kicks CD away and then teases a moonsault to the floor but CD in to cut him off. CD now teases a back suplex. Instead, he gives him an enzuigiri and a neckbreaker on the apron. Announcer not Prazak: “STEEL MEETS WOOD!” Back in, CD gets a clothesline for 2 and a neck wrench and poses heelishly. That’s a bit unexpected. Omega elbows out of a resthold and slides behind a whip but runs into a leg lariat. CD with another clothesline on the back of the head and a back suplex for 2. CD with a Sling Blade for 2. CD with kicks to the neck, a vertical suplex, Arabian press and floats right into the JUST FACELOCK! Again just seamless execution from both. Omega quickly reaches the ropes. Omega fights him off in the corner and hits a headbutt. But CD wants an Angel’s Wings off the top. That goes nowhere as Omega backdrops him off the top. Omega ducks a charge in the corner and hits a few CANADIAN SICKLES! Omega with a few go behinds and then a dropkick to CD’s leg and a Rocker Dropper for 2. Crowd’s not really buying Omega to win this despite cheering for him early. Omega springboards in with a dropkick for 2 to what I swear are mild boos which is INSANE considering how good this match is. CD rolls under a Dragon Suplex and gets the Downward Spiral and floats into the Koji Clutch and now the crowd comes to life. Omega gets the ropes and more booing as the crowd has subtly turned on Omega. CD hits the Straitjacket Iconoclasm out of the corner for a close 2. CD with some elbows to the neck and folds him up with a SICK neckbreaker for 2. Omega fights back with rights and tries a roundhouse. CD ducks and wants the Angel’s Wings but Omega nicely counters to an Island Driver to mostly crickets. Cover gets 2. Some fans try an Omega chant and it dies. Omega with some rights and an enzuigiri but CD gets the Throat Slam and the crowd perks up for the BME attempt. Daniels lands on his feet but Omega flips out of the corner and hits a rana. Omega with a 2k1 bomb for a 2 count. Now the crowd is into the match, but not Omega as they chant, “This is Awesome!” CD avoids another Hadouken attempt and hits the Angel’s Wings for 1, 2, —only 2. The whole building thought that was it because they’ve written Omega off. Now, suddenly, the Omega contingent starts chanting for him again. CD is in disbelief that that didn’t win him the match. Omega gets a desperation jawbreaker, an Australian style Dragon suplex(!) and the lethal HADOUKEN! Cover gets only 2. Omega now can’t believe it. Omega gets him in the Electric Chair position but CD slides out. They both go for clotheslines and both collide a couple times. Omega with a series of strikes but runs into the STO from CD. CD hits the BME to end it clean at 16:50.

• For about 10 minutes, that was a perfect match and everything was falling into place exquisitely until the crowd turned on Omega for a few minutes only to come back around after the kickout from the Angel’s Wings. Strange. I guess it was Omega’s first unenthusiastic comeback with mainly rights and a dropkick that didn’t sit well with them. That said, the crowd loved Daniels and all of his stuff was spotless and crisp and he put over Omega huge by letting him kick out of the Angel’s Wings and the crowd reacted just like he wanted I’m sure. One more thing of note, the announcers early were calling CD “a pioneer of the ROH style” and one thing that struck me about this match is that it is very NOT current ROH style. There wasn’t a go-to plancha spot after the stalemate. There wasn’t the Strong Style chop and kick it out sequence multiple times. I like that stuff but I love that CD and Omega didn’t need to go to that well hardly any. ****1/4

No DQ Match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Briscoes vs. The Kings of Wrestling (c). Bobby Cruise says The Briscoes have not arrived at the arena due to immigration issues. Announcer: “This sucks. This sucks.” Crowd boos the hell out of that. Claudio gets the stick and says they would like to thank Canada for their great border policy and this is why they love coming to Toronto. Hero gets the stick now and says he’s disappointed because The Briscoes couldn’t “man up” and make it through customs. The Briscoes jump the rail and attack them from behind and get showered in streamers. Nice. The Briscoes steal the belts and start waffling the KOW with them. MAN UP! MAN UP! They’ve already rung the bell but Cruise gives the intros anyway as Mark dives to the floor with a no hands plancha. Back in, the Briscoes have isolated Hero and take him down with a double shoulderblock. Mark goes to the BLATANTCHOKE and a vertical suplex for 2 as Claudio continues to reel on the floor. Jay in with a back elbow. Claudio tries to get to the apron with Hagadorn’s help and Jay knocks him back to the floor. Mark in with a gargoyle suplex as they continue to knock Claudio off. Hagadorn runs his mouth and both Briscoes give chase. They run into the KOW and sends Claudio into the guardrail. Back in, Briscoes hit a double flapjack. They send Hero into Claudio for a backdrop and then superkick Claudio. Jay with a facewash on Claudio but Hero pulls Mark to the floor and throws him into the crowd. Claudio lowers the bridge on Jay and takes out a cameraman in the process. Claudio pulls Mark in and he’s bladed. Claudio with a gutwrench and goes to a chinlock. This is some loud woman in the front row shouting through all of this and it’s pretty annoying because she’s right next to the camera. More double teaming from the Kings including some boots and Euro uppercuts. The Kings choke behind the ref’s back as Jay tries to get in. Hero knocks Jay off the apron after a double backdrop. Claudio goes back to a rest hold and some elbows as Mark’s blood starts POURING and now Claudio has it all over his arms, chest and his forehead. 0.7 ish Muta territory. Claudio tells Paul Turner to stop the match but that goes nowhere. More doubleteaming but Mark manages to throw Hero into a pump kick from Claudio and then give him an enzuigiri. Mark springboards off the top with a crossbody and finally makes the tag to Jay who hits a series of right hands and dropkicks. Jay hits a DVD on Claudio and then he sends Hero into the turnbuckle THIRTY TIMES! Hero’s now busted open. Hagadorn on the apron and Jay boots him to the floor to a pop. Jay with an O’Connor roll for 2 but Hero kicks out and Hagadorn gives him a Sabu chairshot to come back. Claudio flips Mark with the LARIATO! 10 minutes in and the first “This is Awesome” chant of the match. Hero ties Jay to the ringpost with some shoestrings or a rope or something. Claudio hooks in the Camel Clutch on Mark. Jay bladed sometime in the meantime as well. The Kings hit the gordbuster/elbow combo for 2. The Kings hits a European Doomsday Device for a close 2. They don’t like the count so they toss Turner. Hero with a big boot on Mark and he’s toast. Turner recovers and tries to untie Jay who looks DOA. He’s not even trying to escape. Another big boot from Claudio and a ROARINGELBOW from Hero for a close 2. Turner finally cuts Jay loose. Hero hooks in the Stretch Plum but Jay’s got a fire extinguisher and blasts both with the CO2. Jay with the Downward Spiral into the turnbuckle and a boot. Announcer: “YOU CANNOT EXTINGUISH THE BRISCOES’ DESIRE!” Corny bastard. Mark BLASTS Claudio with a hubcap (I think?). Hero’s trashed. The Briscoes prop up a table and send Claudio into it and then stack Hero onto it as well for the Flair Flip. The Briscoes hit the powerbomb/neckbreaker combo. They try a double hiptoss but Claudio lands on his feet only to turn around into a double POUNCE THROUGH THE TABLE! Cover for a close 2. Fans are loving all of this. The Briscoes want the DD but Hero and Hagadorn break it up. They bring Hagadorn in and give HIM the DD to a pop. Mark and Claudio pair off. Hero sneaks in with the loaded pad and waffles Jay just like in Charlotte at BB. Hero covers for a 1, 2—only 2. Hero’s pissed but Mark shitcans him. Claudio with the UFO on Jay but he slides out for a school boy for 1, 2, THR—VERY close 2. Hero and Mark brawl on the floor as Claudio gets Jay in the Big Swing and Hero slides in with the loaded pad on his feet and LEVELS Jay with the dropkick. That’s enough to retain at 18:15. Sick brawl, more for the bladejobs and general chaos of the pseudo Texas tornado, no tags layout than for any spots in particular. I like the callbacks to the BB match and especially like having the KOW retain against the Briscoes in a street fight atmosphere to show how their toughened over the years. ****

ROH World Championship: Davey Richards vs. Tyler Black (c). Mostly boos for Tyler and the crowd is solidly behind Davey. Cornette joins on commentary. Davey spits his gum at Tyler rather than shake. Davey’s pumped up at the bell. Tyler switches to a headlock but Davey gets a rope break. Rather than a clean break, they smack and shove until Davey grabs a headlock now and Tyler switches to a headscissors. Davey counters to the STF but that’s over quickly. Davey with a shoulderblock and an O’Connor roll for 2. Rather than a roll up sequence, Davey hooks in a surfboard variation. Davey rolls him over but two but now Black switches to the same surfboard. One particularly obnoxious fan tries a, “Fuck you, Tyler” chant that goes nowhere. More waistlock reversals until Davey hooks in the straitjacket as Cornette takes shots at Triple H and WWE that seem really out of place. Tyler rolls over Davey and switches to his own straitjacket. Davey pulls him through and gets an armdrag and now a crucifix rollup for 2. Davey goes back to the arm. Tyler sends him off and does the standing backflip but tries another dropkick only for Davey to hold off again and Tyler to whiff. Tyler gets the SWAT roll and THIS time hits the dropkick. Nice. Tyler wants the no clap stomp and gets it for 2. Tyler heads up top and springboards in but Davey cuts him off with a dropkick. Tyler looks to have shoot kicked Davey right in the face on the stomp and Davey lost a tooth and is PISSED. Davey goes to the kicks and a clothesline. Davey rolls him into the Tequila Sunrise Cloverleaf. Tyler gets the ropes. Davey with a back suplex for 1. More kicks but Tyler comes back with a smack so Davey drives him into the corner for a bunch of kicks. Davey with a forearm and another kick but runs into an enzuigiri from Tyler. Double KO spot. Tyler gets him in the fireman’s carry but Davey slides out. Tyler wants the O’Connor roll and rather than cover, picks Davey up and just DROPS HIM TO THE FLOOR! Black follows out with the flip splash. The same asshole and his posse vehemently shout, “You still suck!” but it sounds like four people to be honest. Black with a springboard clothesline for 2. Davey comes back with a headbutt as Cornette says the fans are giving Black a “raw deal.” I agree but 5 minutes ago he was running down the fed for being Big Brother and trying to control what the fans think and now he’s doing the same thing. Black with Paroxysm for 2. Black is incredulous at the cheers for Davey so he stalks to the corner and in a PERFECT little touch steps on Davey’s face on his way to the corner. I love that. Davey cuts him off and wants the POP UP SUPER GERMAN RELEASE SUPLEX! Tyler miraculously LANDS ON HIS FEET! Davey doesn’t see and in turns around into a big boot and the REVERSE FRANKENSTEINER! Black follows it up with the Rubik’s Cube. Cover gets only 2. Davey rolls out to the floor to regroup. Black follows him for the obligatory floor portion of the match. On the circuit around ringside, we can see the Tyler Black hater as he continues shouting by himself and he looks to fulfill all of the worst stereotypes possible for his ilk. Cornette: “Ring of Honor is leaving their DNA all over Toronto tonight!” Back in, Tyler with a vertical suplex for 2 and goes into GnP as Cornette continues to make intentional double entendres about ROH and its “virility.” Davey flips out of a suplex and lowers the bridge and then kicks Tyler off the apron. Davey follows out with the TOPE CON HILO SUICIDA! They sell for a while and out of just sheer randomness, one fan in the front row has a TERRIFIC old school Bret Hart shirt that is worth mentioning.

• Back in, they slug it out and Tyler wins that one but Davey comes back with the Damage Reflex for 2. Davey is in disbelief but when the hell has that ever won a match? Tyler backdrops Davey to the apron but Davey grabs the leg and for some puro flavor gives him the Dragon Screw LW in the ropes. Davey with the double foot stomp off the top and a series of kicks. Tyler wants a suplex but Davey lands on his feet. Tyler runs for the standing moonsault but Davey counters to the Low Down and rolls him into the Texas Cloverleaf. Crowd is into it big time and expects a tap but Tyler gets the ropes. Davey heads up top for the SSP but Tyler cuts him off with an enzuigiri and a TOP ROPE SUPLEX! Black hangs on(!) and rolls straight into the F5. Cover gets only 2. They both trade headbutts on the top and Davey gives him a stiff one (TM Cornette) and tells him to COMEONTYLER! Tyler mans up and chops the shit out of him back to the mat. Tyler goes for the Phoenix Splash but eats mat as Davey avoids. Davey with the wheelbarrow roll up into the AnkleLock. Tyler boots him away and ducks a DR FG but Davey covers for a close 2. Cue the roll up sequence and the Flair/Steamboat bridge. They trade kicks and both no sell but Davey catches the Pele and rolls right into the AnkleLock again. Nice transition. Tyler gets the ropes so Davey gets a German for 2. Davey does the UBER INSANE BRET HART “FUCK IT, I’M GOING OVER THE TOP WITH HIM” SUPLEX TO THE FLOOR! On the floor, Davey sends him into the guardrail and boots him into the crowd. Davey works the count so he can recover. Hagadorn comes out with a chair but Davey runs him off and says he doesn’t want it that way. Sinclair drives Hagadorn to the back and that allows Tyler to superkick the chair back into Davey’s face. Back in, Black wants the God’s Last Gift but Davey shoves his way free. They battle to the apron and Black gives him PAROXYSM TO THE FLOOR! Cue Black’s biggest fan to shout his latest screed. Fortieth verse same as the first. Black slides in and looks to win by countout but Davey beats it back at 19. Black now plays up the whiny, bitch portion of his character by pleading with Sinclair to stop it anyway. Davey with a smack that is more out of disrespect than anything else. Black superkicks him and hits God’s Last Gift for 2. Crowd chants for Davey so Black spazzes out and starts mocking Davey’s antics and gives him the finger. Black with the BuckleBomb and tries another superkick but Davey catches him in another DSLW and hooks in the Cloverleaf again. Black ALMOST gets the ropes but Davey pulls him back to the middle. They repeat it again but Black small packages him for 1, 2,–only 2. Fans start chanting “Match of the Year!” That sort of critical insight in the moment is uncanny, although I’d be more impressed if they were able in unison to chant “Second Best Match of the Year Behind HBK/Undertaker II” or maybe “Best Match on the Card but Need to Revisit on DVD as I tend to Overrate Live.” They both go for kicks at the same time and hit them. Cue the Davey Kawada Kick rampage and then Tyler no sells and comes back with smacks and they do it again. Davey with the Alarm Clock but Tyler no sells and hits a superkick so Davey no sells and flips him with a LARIATO! Cover gets 1, 2, –2.9. More kicks from Davey and now he gives Tyler a BuckleBomb and a DR FG ENZUIGIRI! He follows it up with a DR DRIVER! Cover gets 1, 2,–2.999. Davey shouts that he wants Tyler to just die. He wants the SSP but Tyler cuts him off. Davey is hung in the Tree of Woe on the apron and Tyler boots him to the floor with the DOUBLE FOOT STOMP OFF THE TOP! Back in, cover gets only 2. Tyler with another BuckleBomb and a superkick for another 2. Fans now chant that Tyler “can’t beat him.” Davey collapses in a heap as Tyler gives another another superkick and a wrist clutch God’s Last Gift to retain at 34:49. Thankfully, most of the crowd applauds the performance and effort put forth even if Comic Book Guy isn’t crazy about Tyler.

• Well, it’s a very interesting match and it brings to mind some observations and questions. It’s hard fought and 30+ minutes of wall to wall intensity and back and forth stuff. You’ve got finishers galore and finisher kick outs galore. You’ve got the two top names and performers in the company (at the time) going at it toe to toe with no gimmicks or bullshit cop out endings. You’ve got an electric crowd, if HEAVILY slanted toward smarkish even for an ROH crowd and that’s saying something. You’ve got the built-in story of Davey’s drive to be the BitW with Tyler’s preening, whiny quest to get the crowd to like him and upping the ante in trying to do that. (For the record, I prefer Nigel’s “Fuck You, Wankers” spin on the same material). Anytime you’ve got all of the above in a match, it’s virtually guaranteed into the ****+, MOTYC territory.

• But you don’t have a lot of Anderson body part psychology or a lot of selling from either guy, outside of selling exhaustion and fatigue. That kind of shortcoming can be overcome if enough other elements are in place. But I also think the match drags in like the last 5-10 minutes without adding a whole lot of quality with the additional false finishes. If they segue into the last few minutes right after the superkick into the chair and the Paroxysm on the floor, I think they’d have a better pace toward the finish and be saved from Davey’s last gasp to getting an umpteenth wind and going for a submission. I think this match and other similar matches lately have made me question whether or not, a longer match is necessarily a better one. Obviously you can do more in 10 minutes than 5 minutes and so on, but at a certain point, the match has reached its climax and needs to be brought home and another five finishers and five kickouts aren’t making the match better, even if they are heavily protecting the people kicking out. Would Macho/Steamboat be better if it was a few minutes longer, would it be worse if it was a few minutes shorter? I think the obvious answer is that it depends on what you are cutting, what you are adding and what you do with those minutes, BUT I just don’t necessarily think Davey/Tyler is better because it went 35 minutes instead of 30 or even 25. ****1/4

The 411: Slam dunk of a show compared to any and almost every thing else from the past couple years. While to me the company has put on better matches at various shows since 2009, this is one of the strongest top to bottom cards out there.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  9.0   [  Amazing ]  legend

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