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Ring Crew Reviews: Top 20 Matches from 2012, part III: 13-8

February 7, 2013 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: Top 20 Matches from 2012, part III: 13-8  

• In case, this is your time first reading, you might want to check in with part 1 (Odds and Ends), part 2 (#21-14)

More ****1/4 Matches.

13. The Bravado Brothers vs. Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander. ROH Caged Hostility. This is a hometown, homegrown special as all four are from NC and the show is in Charlotte, NC. Harlem and Cedric to start. They work the count for some dueling chants. They trade wristlocks and kip ups before Cedric takes over with the TD. Harlem counters and snapmares him down. Cedric with a go behind and sunset flips but Harlem rolls through so Cedric cues up the anti-Newtonian rana in a slick spot. After a leap frog series, Cedric goes for a dropkick but Harlem sniffs it out and struts to avoid for some Flair pops. Harlem with a head of steam but runs into a Bluechipper dropkick. Harlem bails out and he and Lance talk strategy. Back in, Harlem with a few boots and tags in Lancelot for a backdrop. They knock Caprice off the apron with a cheapshot and go to work. They hit a combo elbow drop for 1, 2, only 2 as Harlem is back in. Harlem with a Bluechipper dropkick but Caprice is back up to hit a double crossbody on both Bravados. Corino on commentary pipes in: “THERE WAS NO TAG! THAT’S SHADY! THAT WAS CHEATING!”

• Now with a combo SSP and leg drop on Lance to take over. Cedrice slingshots in with a senton and a vertical suplex. Caprice now slingshots in with the same. Caprice rolls Lance into a suplex and bridges for a cover but gets no count because there was some miscommunication. Instead, they cover with a spinebuster/clothesline combo for 2. Harlem grabs Caprice from behind by the arm, drags it across the ropes, and Lance capitalizes with a single arm DDT. Harlem in and works the shoulder surges on the bad arm and covers for a fleeting 1 count. Harlem hooks in a hanging vertical suplex and then leg drops the arm nicely for a 2 count. Lance in. He goes for a suplex but Caprice blocks. They exchange several counters before Lance gets him with a hammerlock TD. Nice psychology there. Harlem double foot stomps the arm off the top and then talks trash to Cedric to sucker him into some cheapshots.

• Harlem with a back suplex for 2. He goes to a wristlock as Cedric tries a rally clap from the apron for Caprice. Lance tags in and catches Caprice trying an up and over and rides the shoulder into the turnbuckle and hits a SWEET shoulderbreakr for 1, 2, 2 ½ as Cedric breaks up the pin. Bravados work some quick tags with more general bastardy. Harlem boots the turnbuckle back into Caprice’s face and hits a Karenlin deadlift German for 2 again as Cedric is forced to break it up again. Caprice comes back with a springboard clothesline off the top and makes the tag to Cedric. He comes rolling in with clotheslines and kicks on Harlem. Cedric hits a tilt-a-whirl slam and an Arabian press for 1, 2, 2.7. Now, things are picking up in pace and intensity. Cedric heads up top but Harlem crotches him. Cedric shoves Harlem away into the double foot stomp/FU/backcracker combo for 1, 2, 2.99. Harlem comes back with a hotshot and tags in Lance with a slingshot DDT and he knocks Caprice off the apron. Lance fires up for a belly to belly suplex for 2. Lance misses the big LARIATO but they still hit the combo carousel enzuigiri and another German for 1, 2, 2.9. Cedric hits a Pele and tags in Caprice. Caprice hits his assortment of kicks and a leg lariat for 2. He runs Lance into the corner for the rolling Northern Lights suplexes for 1, 2, 2.99. Caprice cartwheels into the corner for a pseudo Fosbury Flop on Harlem on the floor.

• Caprice might have been overplaying his hand a bit there. Back in, Caprice hits a Low Down bomb for another 2 count. Caprice goes to the Stump Puller but Harlem breaks it up with an enzuigiri. Harlem hits some STUFF chops and the big pump kick. Harlem hits a Blockbuster off the top for 1, 2, 2.999. Fans break out the This is Awesome chant and they aren’t wrong. Now, a LARIATO and a Diamond Dust from Harlem gets another 1, 2, 2.99999999. Harlem rolls Caprice into the wrist Camel Clutch but Caprice lunges and makes the ropes. On the floor. Cedric finally comes to and sends Lance into the barricade. He springboards in with a CnC hammer on Harlem. Lance recovers long enough to FLIP CEDRIC WITH A LARITO HOMICIDA! Caprice takes him out with a Shining Wizard. Harlem comes back with a ROARINGELBOW! Cedric partially sells to hit a roundhouse enzuigiri and now all four sell. This is really cooking. Cedric and Lance up to slug it out with forearms. They both cut each other off before Cedric folds him up with a Perfect Driver. Harlem is all NOOOO and pump kicks Cedric into next week. Caprice with a small package for 1, 2, nearfall. Caprice hits the PRAISE BE TO JESUS STO and Harlem is toast. IED dropkick pins Harlem in the corner. Caprice ranas him off the top and Cedric hits the big Frog Splash for 1, 2, 3 to win it clean at 19:53.

• Star-making performance for all four. Rather than just a usual (but still awesome) indy spotfest, this had the arm psychology and MUCH superior pacing, starting off with a slow burn on the heat for the first 10 minutes, and then gradually getting faster and faster with nearfalls down the stretch. It’s about time ROH gave the Bravados something to do other than job and CnC should have rolled this along with a string of other good matches into a run with the ROH belts by now, but we’ll see how things go. ****1/4

12. Torneo Cibernetico: Team Chikara (Eddie Kingston, 3.0, Gran Akuma, Hallowicked, Frightmare, UltraMantis Black, and Tim Donst) vs. Team ROH (Kevin Steen, Jimmy Jacobs, The Bravados, The Young Bucks, The Briscoes). Chikara Cibernetico Rises 2012. Rules are fairly simple. It’s a giant lucha 8-on-8 elimination match where no tags are needed, however the participants must stay in order and they line up along the apron on the floor. Here is the order they must stay in

• ROH: Jimmy Jacobs, Harlem Bravado, Lance Bravado, Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson, Kevin Steen

• Chikara: Frightmare, Ultra Mantis Black, Hallowicked, Tim Donst, Gran Akuma, Scott Parker, Shane Matthews, Eddie Kingston

• Also, there can be only one survivor/one winner. There’s a lot of intersecting storylines but the biggest one is that Tim Donst is gunning for Eddie Kingston despite being on his team. Steen and ROH want the Code of Honor to start but instead Eddie piefaces JJ and a pier-16 brawl erupts because how many times can you have a 16-man brawl and it actually make sense. In fact, part of the appeal of this match is just the sheer spectacle of it, especially for an indy. It’s easy to have bad matches with the entire promotion in it, but it’s very difficult to have a finely-tuned 16 man match without Pat Patterson running the show. Surprisingly, the crowd is 50-50 with maybe a slight lean toward Chikara since it IS their show and them being the faces and ROH being the heels.

• JJ and Frightmare to start as JJ stomps a mudhole on the SURGICALLYREPAIREDKNEE! THAT NO GOOD BASTARD! Frightmare arm drags him through a few times and hits a rana. JJ alley oops him into a burrito and JJ is toast. Crowd gets a big Ultra Mantis chant going as he’s next in. Rather than engage, JJ brings in Harlem Bravado. Harlem piefaces for the cheap break as the announcer puts over how most of Steen’s team has never competed in a Torneo Cibernetico before but the Chikara team is very experienced. Harlem gets a little too close to the Chikara side as Kingston holds him down for a beating. Nice. UMB armdrags Harlem to the floor. He blocks a splash and sunset flips back in only to eat a clothesline for 1, 2, only 2. Now it’s chop time as Harlem lays into UMB. UMB floats over into a DDT for 2. Hallowicked tags in for a double hiptoss for 2. . Harlem comes back with a jawbreaker and brings in brother Lance Bravado. They hit the double elbow drop to big heat. Lance and HW go through some ground chain before HW takes over with a headlock. HW with a quick shoulderblock and a school boy for 2. HW flips out of the cover and slingshots back in with another school boy for 2. HW with up and over and wants ANOTHER school boy but Steen grabs his leg to hold him off. Nice symmetry with Kingston doing the same earlier. Lance puts the boots to HW and cues up the Mexican surfboard. HW takes back over with a rana. Lance bails out and that means JAY MOTHERFUCKIN’ BRISCOE! MAN UP!

• One yakuza kick from Jay and HW is out and Donst is in. Jay with a few stiff chops as the announcers note this is the Briscoes first appearance in Chikara since 2007. I appreciate that kind of historical research. Jay backdrops to the apron and Donst brings him back in with a belly to belly suplex. Jay comes back with a full nelson slam. Mark Briscoe in and hits a tight rope, frog splash, elbow drop. Akuma comes in but eats the Redneck-Fu. Akuma comes back with some kicks but runs into a karate chop. Akuma boots him to the head and cuts off a Mark Crane Kick with a roundhouse. But enough of that as Nick Jackson of the Young Bucks and Scott Parker of 3.0 are in. Nick brings in Matt for some combo stuff, a handstand into stereo dropkicks. Shane Matthews tags in next as 3.0 and the Bucks are feuding over the Chikara tag belts. Matthews atomic drops Matt into a Boston Crab attempt but Matt fights it off only to eat a back elbow. They slug it out but Matthews takes over with a Bluechipper dropkick. Matt dumps him out and hits the suicide dropkick, Bossman attack but Kingston sneaks him and clotheslines him out. Now, it’s STEEN-KINGSTON TIME! They slug it out fiercely and both dump out. Now, both entire teams have to pull them apart. That’s awesome as it’s been basically 15 minutes of feeling out but it’s blown by because it’s basically a minute for each guy so far.

• We’re back to Frightmare and JJ. Frightmare harpoons JJ off the apron and Harlem ducks back in with a chop block. Harlem boots him around and plays air guitar and rolls FM into a half crab. FM rolls him up for 2 but Harlem takes back over with a kneebreaker and grapevines the leg. Harlem splashes the leg but FM rolls him up again for 2. Lance tags in and clips the knee as well. Lance works the leg with the spinning toe hold and the F4 as Team Steen talks trash from the corner. FM struggles but makes the ropes. Jay Briscoe back in with a back suplex throw and then just DESTROYS FM with a Jackknife in response to a fan shouting “Delaware Sucks.” Jay works over the knee and tags in Mark. He dropkicks the knee and hits a brainbuster for 1, 2, only 2. This is quite the long heat sequence on FM in such a crowded match. Mark hits a Finlay Roll and a moonsault for a cover but Kingston breaks it up. Nick Jackson in to steal Eddie Guerrero’s moveset and then pose. He goes to the 3 Amigos and kips up to hit the front double bi. Matt joins him in with more gloating and covers for 2. Matt fires up for the handspring CHEST RAKE! AIR GUITAR! He piefaces UMB with his shirt as Steen comes in. Steen bites his back and then mocks the similar names and attire of the Spectral Envoy. FM comes back with a tornado DDT and goes for Kneecalypse. Steen avoids and rolls him into a Sharpshooter and Frightmare gives up at 21:38.

• UMB takes over with a Bubba-Bomb on Steen so he bails out and JJ comes in. JJ jumps off into an Ace Crusher on UMB. 1, 2, only 2. HW tags in for some combo iconoclasms snapmares. HW follows up with a HUGE Swanton across the ring. Cover gets 1, 2, only 2 as Harlem breaks it up. Harlem gets a rally clap going as he hits a Diamond Dust out of the corner and a tornado DDT. He covers for another nearfall. Lance in for the combo enzuigiri and a deadlift German that gets 1, 2—Donst breaks it up. Donst gets shoved into a pump kick from Harlem as the announcers put over how much that Donst looks up to Hallowicked. Donst is shitcanned out as Akuma and Jay take back over. Akuma hits a MP4 but Mark comes in and so does Parker. Rapid fire tag ins. Parker hits a big Stunner on Mark but Nick Jackson appears to hit a backdrop. Parker bails out to hit a suicide dive. Matthews and Matt take center stage for Matt to flip into a Diamond Dust for 2. Matt piefaces him a few times as a fan gets into his head by calling him a TNA REJECT. Matthews with a small package for 2. Matt hits a superkick and then mouths off, “I QUIT, YOU DORK!” Matt cartwheels into the stereo dropkick but his partner this time is Steen who just gives him a thumbs up and hits a… kind of dropkick to Matthews which draws laughs from the crowd. Steen covers for 2. Now, he and Matthews slug it out and Steen wins that one. Steen no sells some LARIATOS only to eat a third one and Steen sells that. Kingston is in. SHOWDOWN TIME! STEEN BAILS OUT! BOOOOOOO! Kingston has HAD IT and hits a suicide dive INTO THE FRONT ROW! KEVIN STEEN CAN RUN BUT HE CAN’T HIDE! JJ and UMB are the legal men now. UMB with a few clotheslines and a bridging Electric Chair for 1, 2, only 2. UMB follows up with Cosmic Doom also for 2 as Harlem breaks it up. Harlem flips out of Cosmic Doom only to eat it a second time. 1, 2, 3 and Harlem is out at 28:01.

• Lance in to put the boots to UMB. Lance avoids a charge with a knee and hits a TKO neckbreaker for a 2 count. Lance goes for another deadlift German but UMB takes over with a Cobra Clutch, Regal plex. Cover gets 1, 2, 3 to eliminate both Bravados at 28:52.

• Jay Briscoe now in for ROH. Briscoe hits a series of jabs and a ROARINGELBOW! UMB goes down for 1, 2, 3 at 29:24.

• Hallowicked in for Chikara. He goes for another ROARINGELBOW but HW hits a Low Down powerbomb for a 2 count. MAN UP! Donst tags in as he and HW miscommunicate. Donst hits an Ace Crusher for a 2 count. Donst crossfaces Jay a few times but gets BITCHed into the second turnbuckle with a Downward Spiral. Akuma comes in immediately to hit the corner enzuigiri and a missile dropkick. He rolls Jay into another gamengiri for a 2 count. Akuma with a Tombstone into a gutbuster. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Mark in with a belly to belly suplex. Akuma cuts him off but the Briscoes take back over with the DOOMSDAY DEVICE! 1, 2, 3 and Akuma is out at 32:33.

• Parker of 3.0 is in with a leg lariat on Mark for 1, 2, only 2. Parker tries to fly off into a DDT but they kinda botch it, so Parker sunset flips him over into 1, 2, 3. Mark is out at 33:19.

• Nick Jackson in and it’s now 5-on-5 with the Briscoes and Mark gone from ROH and UMB, FM, and Akuma gone from Chikara. Matt tags in with an ax handle on Parker’s arm. Steen cheats and then yells at the ref that he has til 5 which draws a pop… which has to be for Danielson more than the cheating. YESYESYESYESYES! Steen tries to go up top but can’t get the footing right so he comes down to deliver a KILLHAMMERKILL from the first turnbuckle. Steen mocks 3.0 so Kingston stares him off. JJ tags in to hit a few harpoons on Parker. Parker avoids another and small packages him for 2. JJ telegraphs but still hits an Earthquake… earthquake. JJ now works the body triangle. He pulls Parker down by the hair. After hitting a splash, Jay tags in to hit a big slash and an elbow drop. He covers Parker for 2. Nick in to work over Parker’s ribs. Kingston takes offense: “I HATE YOU! OH MY GOD, I HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU! I HATE YOUR FACE!” Nick hits a backbreaker and mocks 3.0’s chant. Nick springboards in with an X-Factor and tries another springboard for a splash but Parker gets the knees up. Parker comes VERY close to tagging in Matthews but The Bucks cut him off and now it’s another brawl on the floor. Matt pulls Parker to the floor to help Nick with a suicide dive but Parker moves and the Bucks collide. Back in, Matthews and Steen are the legal men. They hit a combo forearm and elbow drop on Steen for 2. Matthews goes for a clothesline but Steen blocks to hit a Downward Spiral. Kingston tries to pummel Steen but JJ slides in to jump him from behind. Kingston hits a belly to belly on JJ. He gets up a head of steam but Team ROH trips him up and Jay Briscoe comes in. Kingston hits a LARIATO for 1, 2, 2 ½. Jay hits a yakuza kick to avoid the backfist. HW comes in and boots Jay and hits a big step up gamengiri. Jay blocks the Go to Sleepy Hollow to hit a JAYDRILLAAAA! 1, 2, 3 and Hallowicked is out at 43:12.

Donst hits a Gator Roll and applies the From Dusk to Dunst and Jay gives up at 43:47. Nick Jackson in and he dumps out Donst with a YB combo anti-Newtonian dropkick. Parker in but flies into a superkick from Matt Jackson. Matt grinds an ab stretch on Parker. Matt works the ribs with a gutbuster for 2. Steen in with another gutbuster. He sits on Parker for 1, 2, 2 ½. Steen does the Andre spot with no rope assistant and sentons down on Parker. He blows a kiss to Matthews who rejects it and then they have a funny pantomime exchange between kissing and rejecting before Steen blows a snot rocket on him. JJ tags in to hit some ButtBombs on Parker. He hits several double foot stomps as this second heat sequence on his ribs goes on for a while. JJ tries a senton off the top but Parker gets the knees up. JJ pulls him back to the corner anyway to bring in Nick Jackson. He hits a senton on Parker’s back for 2. Nick hammerlocks and Chicken Wings Parker into an ab stretch. Matt in for a quick neckbreaker for 2 but Nick is still the legal man. Matt puts the boots to Parker and so does JJ behind the ref’s back. Matt finally comes in legally with an elbow drop for 2. Steen now in to hit a few kicks and an elbow drop. He drives the knees into Parker’s breadbasket and tags in JJ. He, Steen, and NJ hit a triple hammer. Matt Jackson tags in but they collide on a step up knee in the corner and Parker escapes to tag in Matthews. Matthews takes out MJ with a headscissors and NJ with one as well. Steen in for…. another headscissors. Matthews rolls Steen into the Boston Crab. TAP TAP TAP TAP! But JJ comes in to break it up but Matthews no sells the Kobashi chops and Spears him outta the ring. Kingston in to hit the SPINNING BACKFIST on JJ. 1, 2, 3 and Jacobs is eliminated at 53:44.

• Nick Jackson pounds down Kingston. Kingston no sells to lunge at Steen but the numbers overcome him and he finally sells the beatdown. Matt Jackson in with a few chest rakes. Kingston still fights off both Bucks with chops and headbutts. Matt goes back to the headlock and steals the C’MON BABY for nothing. Matt now speaks around Kingston and of course he loses that one as Eddie smacks the hell out of him. Steen FINALLY tags in for Steen-Kingston after an hour. They slug it with smacks and forearms so Steen bites Eddie. The Bucks tag in for some combo stuff on Eddie in the corner and Steen seizes the opportunity to sneak him with a Cannonball and senton. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½ for Nick Jackson. Kingston gets to his feet for the double superkick, double superkicks from the knees and then the final STEREO SUPERKICK. Kingston FINALLY goes down but rolls to the floor. Donst is in and he fires up to… TURN ON KINGSTON! SUICIDE DIVE ON KINGSTON! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! 3.0 and the Young Bucks now collide with a series of reversals until 3.0 takes over with clotheslines. Nick is alley ooped into a SPEAR but Matt breaks up the cover. The Bucks stack up 3.0 in the corner but both get cut off. They come back with enzuigiris and a bucklebomb/enzuigiri combo on Matthews. Matthews no sells to help Parker eliminate Matt Jackson with a gutbuster for 1, 2, 3 at 1:01:13.

• Donst and Kingston continue brawling on the floor. Nick hits a 450 on Parker to eliminate him at 1:01:57.

• Matthews rolls through a sunset flip and puts Nick into the Boston Crab. Nick taps out at 1:02:24.

• Steen hits the F5 on Matthews but he kicks out at 2.999999! Steen destroys him with the Package Piledriver and he’s out at 1:02:51.

• Now, it’s just Donst, Kingston, and Steen. Donst throws Kingston into the guardrail again and delivers him with a ribbon wrapped around him to Steen. Steen says this will be better than sex but Kingston spits in his face and rolls him up for 1, 2, 3 at 1:04:13.

• After an hour of tease and jobbing in ROH, that’s Kingston’s payback? A roll up? I guess they couldn’t have Kingston completely bury Donst’s beatdown but that’s not exactly satisfying. Donst gets some help from Jakob Hammermeier in the form of the DEADLY BLACK BAG. He waffles Kingston for 1, 2, 3 to win the Cibernetico at 1:05:04.

• Post-match, Donst and Jakob tie him to the ropes. Donst cuts a promo saying in two weeks, he’ll take the belt from Kingston. Kingston eventually frees himself, mocks a few ROH and Steen fans, and then says he’ll end Donst on December 2nd.

• After over an hour of heat, it’s hard not to feel a tad bait ‘n switched with the ending. We barely get any payoff to the Steen-Kingston heat and instead, try to pull a slight of hand and slide the heat onto Dunst which didn’t go over as much as I’m sure they wanted. It’s an hour-long angle advancement match, so if you can get with that, then you’re in the game. That being said, I thought this was awesome and flew by where pretty much everyone got their chance to look awesome and get beatdown for a while. Plus, the set-up with the intimate setting and the crowd right on top of them is incredible and only adds to the ambiance. Also, it’s a compliment to say that even if I wasn’t thrilled with the last 5 minutes, the first 60 did an incredible job of making me want to see Kingston kick Steen’s ass. Good stuff. ****1/4

****1/2 Matches.

11. ROH World Championship: Michael Elgin vs. Kevin Steen (c). ROH Glory by Honor XI. Steen gets the stick pre-match and gloats that the package piledriver is no longer banned and is now legal. TONIGHT, UNBREAKABLE WILL BE BROKEN! Steen to be a dick offers a shake to Elgin for the Code of Honor but Elgin ain’t having it and shoves Steen away. Steen shoves him back as Roddy looks on from the front row. They slug it out with forearms to start and Steen tries a shoulderblock but Elgin stands stiff. They both no sell a few more attempts from each other and it’s THE UNSTOPPABLE FORCE MEETING THE IMMOVABLE OBJECT! Steen with a charge but Elgin catches him in a Bossman slam. Steen takes a breather to regroup but Elgin follows him out so they can continue slugging it out. Elgin sends Steen into the guardrail knee-first. Steen comes back with an eye rake and throws Elgin into the guardrail. Steen gets the Canadian flag and chokes Elgin with it. Elgin counters a whip and throws Steen into it and now gives the Devil his due by choking Steen with the flag back. Back in, Elgin with a powerslam for 1, 2, only 2. Steen blocks a suplex so Elgin tries a few forearms to loosen him up and goes for the hanging vertical suplex. Solid fifteen seconds on that one.

• Elgin covers for 2 as the crowd is fired up for Elgin. Elgin with some STIFF LARIATOS in the corner and a flying shoulderblock off the top. Elgin covers for 1 this time. After some back and forth in the corner, Steen takes over with the Orton apron DDT and an ApronBomb. Elgin sells the back big time and lays around trying to regrew a spinal cord, so Steen stays on the offense with a Frog Splash off the apron. Crowd cues up the Generico chant, but Cornette is still in charge so no go for Canadian luchadores. Back in, Steen covers for 2. Elgin blocks a suplex so Steen goes to the eyes and poses for the FRONT DOUBLE BI! Steen chokes and then shouts at Nigel that he has TIL FIVE! YES YES YES YES YES YES! Steen with a yakuza kick. He avoids one from Elgin to hit a back suplex. He blows a kiss to the camera and covers for 2 again. Mr. Wrestling chant for Steen because the crowd digs blowing the kiss. Elgin comes back with a few Harpoons but runs into a knee from Steen and a senton. Steen covers for 2 more. Several counters ends with Elgin hitting the Pele. Double KO spot. As they get to their feet, they slug it out with forearms. Steen avoids a dropkick and goes for the Sharpshooter but Elgin overpowers him. They both go for clotheslines and collide. Elgin steamrolls Steen into the corner and hits a ROARING ELBOW to the back of the heat. DIAMOND DUST! Elgin covers for 1, 2, only 2.

• Elgin says it’s over. He goes for the powerbomb but Steen counters to the Package Piledriver attempt. Elgin slides out for the fireman’s carry ribbreaker. Nearfall. Elgin says he can feel it and the belt is his. He goes for Snake Eyes but Steen counters to a neckbreaker and the Cannonball senton in the corner. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Steen puts Elgin up top for a STUMP PULLER on the top turnbuckle. NICE! Elgin comes back to knock Steen off the top and go for the corkscrew swanton but Steen gets the knee up. Elgin lowers the bridge and dumps Steen out. Elgin follows out with a plancha. Roddy continues watching on from the front row and rubbing it in to Elgin. Roddy tries jokingly wishing him luck so Elgin smacks him around and tosses him to ringside. Elgin throws him into the guardrail and just DESTROYS him and throws his carcass backstage. Beast. Elgin is FIRED UP! HE HOISTS STEEN UP! RINGPOST BOMB! CORKSCREW SWANTON! 1, 2, 2 ½. Elgin wants another powerbomb but Steen counters and rolls him into the Sharpshooter. Elgin escapes and goes to the Crippler Crossface. Steen grasps and makes the ropes. They move out to the apron for the next slug it out spot. Steen tries a Sleeper but Elgin backs him into the ringpost. Steen won’t back down and reapplies! Elgin spins him around and both of them take a tumble off the apron through a table. Awesome counter. Sinclair gets to 19 before Steen slides in and Elgin JUST beats the count. Nigel again feels like it’s a classic and he must stand up the rest of the match. In the ring, they both fire up and collide on LARIATO attempts. Elgin is spins Steen around for the ROARING ELBOW and hits it. He musters up his strength but runs into a LOW DOWN BOMB! 1, 2, 2.7.

• Steen wants the Package Piledriver but Elgin slides out and goes back to the CC. Steen stacks him up for 1, 2, only 2. They both no sell corner clotheslines so Elgin follows behind for the O’Connor Roll for 1, 2, 2.9. Steen tries playing dead so Elgin beasts him up for the DEADLIFT GERMAN! 1, 2, 2.9999! Elgin hooks Steen in a cravat for the MMA knees. Steen tries no selling so Elgin hits several more knees. Steen hits a desperation jawbreaker so Elgin hits the LARIATO for 1, 2, 2.999. Dueling chants from the fans. BuckleBomb from Elgin but Steen no sells! LARIATO! DOUBLE KO! Elgin up first for more MMA knees so Steen no sells and hits an F5. Nearfall. AB takedown and CC from Elgin. Steen lunges for the ropes and bites Elgin’s hand to get his way free. Steen locks the Sleerper back in and hits the Sleeper Neckbreaker! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! 1, 2, 2.9999999! Steen now argues the count with Sinclair and gets shoved into a small package! 1! 2! Nearfall! Steen goes for another Cannonball but Elgin CATCHES HIM! PICKS HIM UP FOR THE DEADLIFT POWERBOMB! BUCKLEBOMB! LIGERBOMB! 1, 2, 2.999999999999999999999999999999999999999! Crazy nearfall. They both sell the fatigue and Elgin fires up yet again and gives Steen a spinning back fist on the top rope. Steen bites him to come back and hits a SUPER PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! That’s gotta be it. 1, 2, 3 to retain at 31:31. Solid but unspectacular match that kicks into another, MOTYC gear once Roddy decides to put his ante in and gets thrown out with the trash by Elgin… in the middle of a match no less. All of the spots revolving around Elgin having to use his strength to beat some sense into Steen are the real mark-out moments of the match. The final stretch with Elgin kicking out of the F5 and PP and then hoisting Steen up for his go home and Steen kicking out of all that is some CRAZY stuff. ****1/2

10. Hell in a Cell: Triple H vs. Undertaker. WWE Wrestlemania XXVIII. HBK is special ref. This is the END! OF! AN! ERA! And fitting such an occasion is JR is on commentary. After a solid 10 minutes of pomp and circumstance, Taker lowers his cowl to reveal that he’s shaved his head. They go eye-to-eye and then eyes-to-cell as it gets the champ’s honor of last entrance to a Metallica song.

• They slug it out to start and UT wins that with shots to the breadbasket and Trips go down. Those deadly “carcinogenic” right hands of UT as labeled by JR. Trips gets the boot up in the corner and now he brings the fists of fury. UT no sells and throws him into the corner for the soup bones and shitcans The Game out. UT sends H into the stairs as Lawler botches the backstory and Cole has to correct him. H gets thrown into the cage and then backdropped on the floor as the camera man has to scramble to avoid the carnage. UT with a few headbutts to drive the point home and then throws H into the cage again. UT with a goozle but H pulls himself free. HBK tries calling for a break and Taker casually dismisses him. OOOOOOOOOOO, the crowd likes that one. JR: “Shawn Michaels must remain unemotional in an emotional situation. That is the rite of passage of officiating.” Taker weakly throws H into the stairs a couple of times but the second time is a bit more emphatic. Back in, H ghosts UT on a right hand so they go through it again and H hits the jawbreaker but UT no sells and clotheslines him down. Taker hits a shoulder surge and tightropes for Old School. JR: “No Spring Break for Undertaker as he stays in class.” Slow going so far but this series has always been about emotion and storytelling and we’re just not there yet. UT shitcans H out again. UT gathers the stairs up and waffles H with them. Now, Taker slides in the bottom section of the steps. But first, UT hits the apron leg drop and H is getting squashed. Back in, Trips takes over with a DDT. He smashes UT into the stairs and wants the Pedigree but Taker counters to a backdrop. JR: “UT realizes how close he was to 19-1.” UT moves in but Trips catches him in a SPINEBUSTER ON THE STAIRS!

• H now tries to capitalize but UT catches him in Hell’s Gate. Trips got caught in that last year and lost, so this time he’s ready and stacks up UT for the Rampage powerbomb. JR: “SINFUL STRENGTH!” H covers for 1, 2, only 2 for the first pinfall of the match. Game goes under the ring for the hardware and pulls out a chair. He waffles UT to the gut and the back. Trips sets up the stairs and whips UT into them. More chairshots and now HBK is beginning to plead with the H’s to show some remorse. Triple H ignores to hit upwards of FIFTEEN more chairshots. Now, THAT’S what I’ve been waiting for. Trips tells Shawn that he won’t show mercy and instead he’ll have to end it. Shawn: “YOU KNOW HE WON’T QUIT! PIN HIM!” HBK tries conversing with UT but instead H pulls him out of the way for MORE CHAIRSHOTS! Triple H: “YOU END IT! OR I WILL!” UT: “Don’t stop it… Do. Not. Stop It.” H covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. Trips goes under the ring and brings out the trusty Sledge. UT still won’t budge, so Trips lays him THE FUCK OUT! 1, 2, 2.999! Trips cues up a sledge shot to the head but HBK pulls away the hammer to BOOs. HBK can’t bring himself to start the count. After some prodding from the Hs, he slowly walks over but a disoriented UT grabs the first thing moving and it’s HBK and he’s in the HELL’S GATE! TRIPS BREAKS IT UP WITH A SLEDGE TO THE HEAD! He moves in for another but UT counters with a BLATANTLOWBLOW! HELL’S GATE ON TRIPLE H! H reaches for the sledge but UT deep seats it and H collapses. JR: “THE MALIGNANCY OF HELL’S GATE!”

• All are down and here comes Charles Robinson. He unlocks the cell in time for a UT ChokeSlam. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.999! UT eyeballs Lil Naitch and CHOKESLAM! UT fires up for the Tombstone but H slides out and shoves UT into a SWEET CHIN MUSIC! UT FLIES INTO A PEDIGREE! 1, 2, 2.9999999999999999! The whole building marks out and the match is still going on. HBK’s expression of anguish and heartbreak is great. H gets the sledge again and HBK wants him to stop so H shitcans him out. ZOMBIE SITUP! UT goes through his sequence and hits the corner clothesline. Snake Eyes and the BOOT OF FEAR follow. Leg drop and UT hits the Tombstone. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.99999999999 and UT can’t believe it. The crowd starts the chants and then the boo/yay sequence as UT and Trips slug it out from their knees. H wins it and then floats over into a PEDIGREE! 1, 2, 2.999999! I’m running out of 9’s. HBK is distraught. UT recovers with another Zombie situp. Trips goes for the sledge but UT stomps his hand away and breaks out the chair for several waffles. UT hits about 10 before HBK now begs him to stop. UT scares him away with a look and then hits five more chairshots. UT covers for 1, 2, THREEOHNOHEALMOSTGOT’IM! H gets the sledge out of desperation but he’s moving slowly and can’t move his arm. UT tells him to stay down and steals away the sledge. Trips even though he can’t fight still is defiant and shoves away UT. H tells him one more time to SUCK IT! UT responds with a SLEDGE TO THE HEAD! UT drops the straps and it’s Tombstone time again. Rest in peace for the Attitude Era at 30:51. Post-match, all three help each other up and to the back.

• After a methodical but respectable opening stretch of a standard HITC, things picked up when H took over with a DDT and broke out the stairs and the chairs for a plethora of hard shots. In no way is this a template for a classic match, but the hype and emotion of the match is built on the characters, the promos, the history, and the reverence of 5 years solid of streak-threatening matches. It’s hard for a match between any other wrestlers in the world to match the magnitude of a Sweet Chin Music into a Pedigree only to kickout. This match’s cousin is the Edge-UT HITC from a few Summerslams ago, but this one has a more cohesive structure with better transitions. ****1/2

9. KO-D Openweight Championship: Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi (c). DDT Budokan Peter Pan 2012. Handshake to start for these two. Lock up takes them into the ropes and Omega grinds the face like a dick before giving a clean break. They go through a sequence ending with an Omega shoulderblock and a victory lap. Ibushi tries a shoulderblock but Omega stands stiff and tells him to try again. Another gets the same result and Omega wants the GAIJIN FIRE UP! They exchange yakuza kicks and duck roundhouses before Ibushi avoids a Hadouken attempt by Omega. Crowd loved the sudden fury of counters. Omega offers a shake of mutual respect and Ibushi obliges in a show of sportsmanship. Omega pounces and starts working the arm and suplexes Ibushi over. Omega drives the arm into the mat and then toys with Ibushi by rolling him into the Danielson chickenwing, behind-the-back bridge. Omega releases the hold only to boot Ibushi in the face a few times and go back to work on the arm. Ibushi rolls under but Omega knocks him own with a chop. Omega hoists up Ibushi by the damaged arm and then rolls the arm into a wristlock and an ARMBREAKER! This is good stuff and Ibushi is laying it on thick with the selling.

• Ibushi escapes out, baseball slides through, and front kicks Omega to a OOOOO pop. Omega takes back over with a kick to the arm, only to run into a Bluechopper dropkick that sends him reeling. Ibushi goes for the old Jericho double-jump moonsault only to get tripped up and brutally snap German suplexed on the apron. Omega preens and postures for self gratification. Back in, Omega hits a ButtBomb in the corner and wants a suplex but Ibushi blocks. Omega is distraught and hits a few CLUBBINGBLOWS to ease into a hanging vertical suplex for 1, 2, only 2. Omega goes to an Americana and elbows the neck a few times. Omega just loses his shit and goes bananas dropping elbows on the neck and hits a basement dropkick for 1, 2, only 2. After spending the majority of the opening 10 minutes working the left arm, Omega hooks in the RIGHT arm in an armbar. It’s a good one and Ibushi is selling the torquing well, but why not the left? Ibushi boots his way free and it’s slug it out time with elbows. Omega wins that by hitting a double ax handle on the LEFT arm and wrapping it around the top rope. Ibush flips up and over and hits a quick powerslam and springboards up for a moonsault but Omega is one step ahead and gets up the knees. That was lightning fast.

• BACK TO THE ARMBAR! Luckily, Ibushi is right next to the ropes and gets the break. Omega stays on the offense with CLUBBINGBLOWS but runs into more Ibushi front kicks. They slug it out again and Ibushi wins with some stiff kicks. He springboards in but jumps into a Omega dropkick. 1, 2, nearfall for Omega. Omega Figure Fours the legs and tries a suplex but Ibushi knees his way free. Omega flips over out of the corner and hits a rana. Ibushi rolls right through and counters to his own rana and sends Omega to the floor. Ibushi flies to the floor with a corkscrew plancha. Back in, Ibushi connects with a missile dropkick. Omega bails out to the ramp so Ibushi hits a springboard missile dropkick to capitalize. Omega fires up for a DRAGON SUPLEX ON THE RUNWAY! COUNTER! HALF NELSON SUPLEX FROM IBUSHI! Double KO spot after all that. They work the count but both get back to the ring. Ibushi hits a few kicks and hits standing moonsault press for 1, 2, only 2. Ibushi feints a school boy and then feints a DR FG only to hit a standing corkscrew moonsault for 1, 2, 2 ½. We’re at 20 minutes in and these guys are barely breaking a sweat. Omega flips out of a suplex and goes for the Hadouken but Ibushi smacks him away so Omega hits a enzuigiri. Omega with a few heads of steam and clips the knee with a dropkick and follows behind with a Kotaro Krusher. 1, 2, nearfall. Omega gets Ibushi up for the Finlay Roll and follows with a standing moonsault for 1, 2, 2 ½. Ibushi hits a dropkick enzuigiri and hits a snap Dragon Suplex after Ibushi tried unsuccessfully to fight it off. Ibushi falls out to the floor and Omega goes flying out with a tope con giro.

• Omega takes over and drags Ibushi over to the end of the arena to throw him into the far wall. Omega starts climbing up part of the set but Ibushi pulls him down and is like NOT FOR YOU and scales the wall like he’s Spiderman and then hits a NEW JACK MOONSAULT OFF THE SECOND FLOOR! That was awesome but it’s so random to even walk over there for that spot. Conveniently enough now both guys just start to walk back to ringside until Ibushi remembers that Omega shouldn’t want to follow him and pulls him by the hair. Again, crazy spot but the excessive walking back and forth with zero brawling almost offsets it. Back in, Ibushi goes for a super-rana but Omega counters to the AVALANCHE SNAKE EYES! BUCKLEBOMB! HADOUKEN! NO! Ibushi breaks it up and tries a suplex but Omega lands on his attempt. Hadouken attempt avoided with a rebound kip up. SNAP GERMAN! Omega no sells to hit a OMEGA HAMMER for 1, 2, 2.7. Omega goes for the BEAST Croyt’s Wrath. 1, 2, 2.9. Omega says it’s over but runs into a LARIATO from Ibushi. SITOUT WILDBOMB! 1, 2, 2.99! Ibushi heads up top but Omega cuts him off and hits the SUPER CROYT’S WRATH AND FOLDS UP IBUSHI! That was BRUTAL. Omega ties him up for 1, 2, 2.99999999! Ibushi is out on his feet and Omega heads back up top but Ibushi cuts him off. They jockey for position until Omega throws him off the top and Ibushi handsprings back into the corner with a MOONSAULT ENZUIGIRI! They jockey for position again only for Ibushi to LEAP onto the top rope and SUPER RANA OMEGA TO THE FLOOR! INSANITY!

• The young boys try interrogating Ibushi about the attempted homicide of Omega, but Ibushi invokes his Miranda rights, pleads the 5th, and rolls back in the ring. Omega writhes in pain but comes out of the medically-induced coma long enough to beat the count at 19. They are both exhausted and barely able to stand. Omega wants to smack it out but Ibushi has other ideas and roundhouses him into next week. Omega recovers so now they slug it out. Omega sneaks behind for the SNAP DRAGON SUPLEX! IBUSHI NO SELLS! ENZUIGIRI KO! Ibushi says it’s over and goes for the Phoenix Splash but he rolls through. Omega meets him in the middle with a YAKUZA HOMICIDA! CRADLE SHOCK! 1, 2, 2.99999! Ibushi tries firing up but he swings wildly and connects… with the turnbuckle because he’s so out of it. Awesome selling. They now crawl to the middle of the ring and slug it out… FROM THEIR KNEES! They fight their way to their feet and fires up for STEREO LARIATOS! STEREO NO SELLS! Ibushi hits another Moonsault Enzuigiri. Omega no sells long enough to hit a Northern Lights suplex and float over into an armbar. Ibushi fights but makes the ropes. Omega fires up ONE MORE TIME and gets Ibushi up on the top rope. Ibushi elbows his way free and sends Omega reeling with another enzuigiri. SUPER PHOENIXPLEX! 1, 2, 2.999999999999! Omega gets the arm up but he’s still trashed. Phoenix Splash gets 1, 2, 3 to retain at 37:28. This is Davey-Eddie of 2012: two guys going toe-to-toe and blow-for-blow for 40 minutes, moreso on manhood and mutual diehard attitude than anything else, and one guy just giving it his all and collapsing in defeat in the final moments. The arm psychology was pretty awesome while it lasted but then disappeared for TWENTY MINUTES only to return in a false submission finish that didn’t really work because of the lack of arm follow up in the meantime. Also, while the moonsault off the balcony is deliriously crazy, it’s also a miles-off detour from the ring and the rest of the match and just seemed thrown in there. Still a terrifically superb match. ****1/2

8. WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk (c). WWE Over the Limit 2012. DB is still riding the YES wave despite being heel. Big Punk chant though that drowns out the YES chants. Whoa, what’s this? Book and the crew putting over the independent circuit as proven stomping grounds for earning your stripes. I thought they were losers who wrestled in bingo halls in front of 20 people? Jackasses. DB blocks a few kicks as they feel it out. Mild dueling chants to start as the smark contingent is a bit heavy. They go through a leap frog sequence and DB eats a hiptoss. Punk ignores a Euro uppercut to bring DB into the corner and tie him up in a pseudo Tree of Woe and boot the leg several times. Punk with a headlock TD and works the headlock as Book puts over DB’s “mad mad skillz.” Punk now goes back to working the hamstrings. YES! As he mocks DB’s chant. DB comes back with a STIFF Euro uppercut and more kicks in the corner. Punk sends him into the corner but DB with the up and over and a head of steam but Punk takes back over by clipping the hamstring. Punk covers for a 1 count. Punk now ties DB in the INDIAN DEATHLOCK! Cole: “Bryan knows over 100 submissions. If anyone’s going to know a counter, it’s Bryan.” On cue, DB rolls Punk over for some BRUTAL GNP FOREARMS! That was SICK.

• DB with more strikes but telegraphs a dropkick and Punk rolls DB over into… OH NO! THE MEXICAN SURFBOARD! Punk stealing Daniel’s move and then BOOTS HIM INTO THE MAT to steal his other spot. That’s gimmick infringement, you bastard. Punk with a kneebreaker and just THROWS DB TO THE FLOOR! WOOOO! Dragon ducks a baseball slide and drives Punk into the barricade. OUTTATHEWAY! DB gordbusts Punk on the barricade and tosses him into the crowd. Ref’s count gets up to 7 before they get back to the ring. Back in, DB with a missile dropkick for another 2 count. DB snapmares Punk down and goes into the seated ab stretch. He grinds the elbow into the ribs and reclines in the hold. Punk fights back with knees so DB is all THE HELL WITH THIS and drops a knee on his face to sit his ass down. Punk tries fighting back with a Figure Four but Dragon boots him away so Punk tries reapplying so DB AGAIN counters to a small package for 1, 2, 2 ½. DB knees him back top to take over. YES! DB gives Punk a receipt by locking in the REAL DEAL Surfboard and fish hooks Punk’s nose for good measure. DB rolls him back and bridges to the DRAGON SLEEPER! An oldie but a goodie.

• Punk finally elbows his way free rather than tap and goes to his old stiff GnP. Cover gets a 1 count as DB shoves Punk away. Punk is still wiped out from the surfboard so DB with a few flying knees to the ribs. YES! YES! He goes for a third but Punk moves and hits a Fisherman’s Suplex for 1, 2, only 2. They chop it out as the crowd goes to the dueling chants. DB ends the flurry with a snap suplex. He heads up top for the HALFWAY ACROSS THE RING DIVING HEADBUTT! 1, 2, 2.7! DB now jumps on Punk with a STF as Book pontificates about how many people have retired due to neck injuries sustained from chinlocks. Punk elbows his way free and they collide on a double crossbody. They both get to their feet and Punk hits several elbows and he’s fired up for his go home of clotheslines and a swinging neckbreaker. He hits a powerslam for another 2 count. We’re in very good, but not life-altering territory thus far. DB slides out of a suplex but Punk backdrops him all the way out and TO THE FLOOR! Punk follows out with another suicide dive. Back in, Punk tries a springboard but DB counters with a dropkick to the worked on ribs so far. Several DR FG’s from Dragon but Punk blocks another with a DSLW and the FIGURE FOUR IN FLAIR COUNTRY! WOOOOOOOOOOOO!

• They smack it out in the hold and Punk torques the hold to end that man up spot. DB escapes out and grabs the ropes. Punk: “I’ve got til 5. Hahaha!” Punk goes for another kneebreaker but DB rolls through for a roll up for 2. LA MAGISTRAL FROM PUNK! NEARFALL! Punk goes for it again but DB wants it now. Instead, DR FG ENZUIGIR! 1, 2, 2.99! DB hits several knees to Punk’s ribs as Cole brings up Dragon’s detached retina injury against MORISHIMA! But neglects the namedrop. RESPECT NOAH! DB heads up top but Punk crotches him. King puts over both big time: “A few years ago neither guy would have imagined being here. The truth is the cream rises to the top. These guys are both the best at what they do and that’s why they are here.” Until they start demanding respect and beating John Cena, then they’re assholes. Punk follows up with the SPRINGBOARD NIGEL-LINE! ROH! Cover gets 1, 2, 2.99!

• They headbutt it out from their knees and Punk takes over with a MONGOLIAN CHOP! They both go for DR FG Enzuigiris but duck so Punk hoists DB up for the G2S! DB slides out with a roll up for 1, 2, only 2. Another roll up for 2. DB goes for the No Lock so Punk counters and slingshots him out to the apron. DB skins the cat back in but Punk lays him out with an enzuigiri. 1, 2, FOOT ON THE ROPES! Punk heads up top for the Macho elbow and hits it but hurts the injured ribs! YES YES! Delayed cover gets 1, 2, still 2. DB takes over with a few Rashad and Anderson Silva knees to the gut for the Silva/Sonnen 2 finish! YES YES YES YES! DB goes for the DROPKICK SUICIDA! Punk moves and he whiffs. Punk with the step up knee but DB no sells and locks in the NO LOCK! Punk rolls him back and cradles for 1, 2, 3 to retain at 24:08. A phenomenal match and an almost perfect hybrid of the WWE/ROH style. There were 5 moves of doom sequences and slug it out phases for boo/yay but some ROH backstory with traded signature holds from several years ago. I would have LOVED for a Pepsi Plunge or Cattle Mutilation spot but that wasn’t in the cards. The psychology both ways is terrific as is the commentary stoutly putting over both guys and their backgrounds. ****1/2

The 411: *10.0 is a default rating for the best of the year.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  10.0   [ Virtually Perfect ]  legend

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