Match 1: Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. Michael Elgin & Mike Mondo
These four men are out to open up the show and I feel like this is Elgin’s chance to really show off in ROH in front of their biggest market. Elgin didn’t disappoint, neither did Cole & O’Reilly. A very fast and full of action from bell to bell and it was these three guys who looked like they’ve been stringing the crowd for years in that ring. Mike Mondo didn’t really do much for me once again and the New York crowd was all over him. I like his enthusiasm but I just don’t see why he should be in the company when he honestly doesn’t have much to bring to the table. Only main gripe was the match went on too long and overstayed it’s welcome. I love the back and fourth action but it tends to get repetitive and this was the case. Cole & O’Reilly finally finish off the match which leads to Elgin & Truth Martini destroying Mondo afterwards.
Winners: Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly
Match 2: Tomasso Ciampa vs. Grizzly Redwood
The Embassy once again brings their problems to New York against Grizzly Redwood as Tomasso Ciampa looks to toss him around. I honestly don’t understand this match, I really don’t. We’re trying to make this Ciampa guy look like a beast yet he can hardly beat this little dude. Granted, some of the action was pretty entertaining but it went on way too long. Ciampa finishes Redwood by driving his knees into Redwood’s back and the match gracefully ends. Embassy beats him down afterwards to which Corino arrives at the scene to make the save which was probably the only reason why this match took place.
Winner: Tomasso Ciampa
Match 3: Steve Corino vs. Mike Bennett
Bennett comes out and has a few words to Corino who is doing his best not to throw blows. Bennett begs him to fight until Corino finally tells the referee to ring the bell and we’re off. Corino did a great job in playing his role and trying not to stick his thumb in Bennett’s “bum.” This is where Bennett shines where his constant teasing with the crowd angers Corino to the point where he finally sticks it in! That sounded wrong but you get the idea! Decent affair with Bennett picking up the win. Afterwards, Bennett & Bob Evans beat down Corino. That seems to be the pattern for every match tonight. Both men were great in their roles and Bennett is really growing on me while Corino’s storyline is drawing more interest.
Winner: Mike Bennett
Match 4: The Briscoes vs. The All Night Express
Your eyes are not deceiving you, it’s another New York match between these two teams. However, what’s different this time is that The Briscoes are actually the heels this time around and it makes things much more interesting. The stiffness between all four men is just unexplainable, they looked like they legit wanted to kill each other! Each team looked great and the crowd was into it step by step. I did somewhat feel like this match suffered the same thing the past matches did in that they went on for just a bit too long. But it didn’t drag on too long and the finish was great as Rhett Titus was about to get clobbered before getting the quick roll up pin victory. Afterwards, you get another post match beat down but the only difference is that this one looked badass as The Briscoes and All Night Express looked like they were in a prison fight! You get your awesome tough action with some great storyline progression here. A really good match that didn’t drag on too badly like the others. You can sense a big feud in the air coming up.
Winners: The All Night Express
Match 5: TJ Perkins vs. El Generico
These two in a match could only mean that we are going to be seeing some great technical wrestling. As a matter of fact, they would make a pretty cool tag team. Anyway, to get straight to the point, there was some good wrestling while it lasted and good back and fourth action but nothing here that really stands out. Crowd wasn’t too invested into the action and the match lasted shorter than the opening bout, or at least it seemed that way. Finish comes when Generico catches Perkins going through the middle ropes and planting Perkins’ skull on the apron with a Brainbuster! Great finish in an underwhelming match. I’m sure my opinions on this match will totally differentiate from everyone else’s but I just felt like there should have been so much more.
Winner: El Generico
Match 6: The Kings of Wrestling vs. Homicide & Hernandez
This was being built as a dream match and with the way the crowd sounded, you could certainly feel that big time atmosphere in the air. The crowd was absolutely hot from start to finish and they loved seeing Hernandez in that ROH ring! It was evenly split throughout as both teams managed to look fantastic and play with the crowd. Hernandez is quick to show off his strength and dominance by delaying a suplex upon Claudio Castagnoli for at least ten seconds! Crowd is invested into the action as both teams collide back and fourth as Hernandez even manages to Border Toss Homicide over the ring post and onto The Kings! I like the story of Hernandez seemingly being the only reason why Homicide is still in this fight against The Kings considering the losing streak he has managed to build up. Even with the help of Hernandez, The Kings manage to pick up the victory after Claudio lands a nasty uppercut on Homicide! Great match with a hot crowd with an open door left for another Hernandez return.
Winners: The Kings of Wrestling
Match 7: Pure Rules – Davey Richards vs. Christopher Daniels
It’s time for the big rematch between Richards and Daniels as the crowd chants for Davey during Daniels’ entrance. You can already feel the surge of electricity in the air. The only difference between this match and the last is the Pure Rules in which each competitor gets a given amount of rope breaks before they are tossed out the window and warnings before being disqualified. Crowd has cooled since the last bout but are still pretty pumped for this one. Really smart action from the start as both men try to eliminate their opponent’s rope breaks with lots of submissions early on. Daniels is first to this goal and manages to lock Richards in an array of submissions early on. However, Richards gets right back into the game by kicking Daniels outside and stomping Daniels who was laying on the guardrails off the top rope. The momentum has quickly shifted in Richards’ favor who then locks up Daniels into a submission who then gets his last rope break! Crowd is pumped and this match has officially shifted into another gear. Both men quickly go back to their submission arsenal but neither men are able to capitalize. Davey gets on the top rope and goes for a Shooting Star Press who completely miscalculates the situation and lands onto of the turnbuckle! He then gets a pin on Daniels for the win. Extremely disappointing with an extremely disappointing ending. I wasn’t expecting anything we saw from last October but this and the odd finish shouldn’t take anything away from the match. Richards looked pissed after botching the end finish but mistakes do happen and no one should let that spot judge their entire outlook on the match. The Pure Rules stipulation made things extra interesting as the psychology was definitely there in all the different submissions. A great match but again, I was hoping for a lot more. There needs to be another match between these two sometime down the line…
Winner: Davey Richards
Match 8: ROH World Championship – Roderick Strong (c) vs. Eddie Edwards
It is now time for the epic main event as the 2010 Survival of the Fittest winner takes on Roderick Strong for the ROH World Championship. Let’s just start off by saying that this crowd is hot! Fans are expecting a hard hitting contest between two of the world’s finest and that is exactly what they just got. Getting straight to the point, this was such an evenly fought match with unpredictability which is hard to come by these days. Strong decides to send Truth Martini to the back as he thinks he can topple Edwards easily without anyone’s help. Strong looked dominant but Edwards hung toe for toe against him as the two battled it out in nasty wars of chops across the chest. At one point, Strong’s chest was bleeding from the impact of Edwards’ chops. Crowd is reacting to every single move that they are unleashing upon each other and I mean it. They are waging a war upon each other. However, it looks as if Strong has the slightest advantages as the champ looks to be one step ahead of his competition.
Edwards finally gained the momentum late in the match until Martini decided to show up who gets a boot in the face for his troubles. Strong capitalizes on the situation and lands a Sick Kick! Edwards kicks out and Strong goes back on the offensive onslaught and lands nasty backbreakers! Strong thinks he’s got this one but Edwards will not back down! Strong looks to make Edwards submit by placing him in the Stronghold but Edwards reverses it into the patented Achilles Lock! Strong won’t back down and looks to pin Edwards who puts Strong in a pin of his own and gets the win! Both men and the crowd cannot believe what just happened! The crowd erupts as chills flow down my spine. Edwards is embraced by Cary Silkin who shakes Edwards’ hand and gives him a hug. Davey Richards comes out as the crowd silences and the music stops. Richards hugs Edwards and the music resumes as the crowd once again erupts.
Words don’t do justice for the last half of the match and the celebration at the end. I was simply awed, amazed and inspired. What a match. What a moment. The abrupt ending was surprising and different from any other title victory. I loved it. The crowd was on fire. I loved it. The showing of embrace at the end was real and incredibly emotional. I loved it. I wanted Richards vs. Daniels II to close out the show considering my love for their rivalry but this, this was it. This is professional wrestling in thirty minutes.
Winner: Eddie Edwards
Overall Show Thoughts and Rating:
A forgettable first half to say the least followed by a strong second half with a superb main event. Go out of your way to watch Edwards capture the ROH World Championship. It defines this show and Ring of Honor as a whole.