“Manhattan Mayhem IV” took place March 19, 2011 in Grand Ballroom located in Manhattan, New York and it provided one of the most shocking moments in Ring of Honor history. It is a loaded card that features the reunited Homicide and Hernandez and the return of the Pure Rules match. The main event features ROH World Champion Roderick Strong defending his belt against Eddie Edwards, who was awarded this title shot after winning Survival of the Fittest 2010. I have heard nothing but good things about this show, so let’s get to it.
Michael Elgin and Mike Mondo w/ Truth Martini vs Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly
Martini gets on the microphone before the match and says Eddie Edwards has bitten off more than he can chew. He says Roderick Strong always gets what he wants and he is the greatest ROH champion ever. He says Elgin is officially a member of the House of Truth and Mondo is unofficially a member of the stable. This match is his final test to prove he has what it takes to be a part of the House of Truth.
Elgin and O’Reilly start the match out for their respective teams. Elgin uses his power to take both Cole and O’Reilly of their feet, but a series of double team moves gives Cole and O’Reilly the advantage. They are using frequent tags and double team moves on Mondo and O’Reilly gets a two count on him. They tie Mondo in a tree of woe and they connect with double dropkicks. Mondo is able to fight back and tags in Elgin. He is met by a flurry of strikes by O’Reilly. Elgin ducks a big boot from O’Reilly and it connects with Mondo. He goes for the dropkick to the floor, but Elgin hits him with a clothesline. This is enough to give the House of Truth the advantage in the match. O’Reilly goes for a tornado DDT but Elgin counters into a backbreaker in a cool looking spot. O’Reilly is finally able to hit the tornado DDT and both he and Elgin are down.
Mondo and Cole get tagged in and Cole is taking the fight right to him and he gets a quick two count. A huge crossbody gets another two count for Cole. Elgin makes the blind tag and takes Cole out. Mondo gets tagged back in and hits a top rope dive for a two count on Cole. Elgin goes for some kind of crazy flipping dive off the top but Cole rolls out of the way, which gives him the opportunity to tag in O’Reilly. Elgin caught both Cole and O’Reilly in mid-air and threw them over his head in a great show of power. A superkick and German suplex combination by Cole is enough to put Mondo away for the three count.
Rating: *** 1/4 This was a great way to start of the show. It was one of the best opening matches I have seen in a long time. ROH has something special in Cole and O’Reilly and they have done nothing but impress in every match they’ve had. This was a great match and an awesome way to start the night.
Mondo gets the thumbs down from Martini after the match and gets attacked by Elgin.
Grizzly Redwood says he is going to chop the Embassy down.
Tomasso Ciampa vs Grizzly Redwood
Prince Nana introduces Mia Yum, oops, I mean Yim and RD Evans to the crowd. They lock up to start and Ciampa has the clear power advantage and Redwood has the speed advantage. Redwood is repeatedly using the side headlock to wear Ciampa down. Ciampa gets sent to the outside and Redwood hits a suicide dive. Yim tries to interfere but Redwood plants a kiss on her. She then hits a standing dropkick on him! That was awesome! That dropkick is enough to give Ciampa the upper hand in the match as he is just picking Redwood apart. Nothing of note is really happening as Ciampa is just slowly beating Redwood up. Redwood makes a comeback with a hurricarana and he gets a two count. It doesn’t take long for Ciampa to be on top of the match once again as he hits a clothesline. A cool looking backbreaker gets Ciampa the victory.
Rating: ** It was a harmless little match. There was nothing special other than Yim’s dropkick. They went out there and did their thing and the Embassy got a much needed win. It went a couple of minutes too long, but still nothing wrong with it.
The Embassy beat down Redwood after the match until Steve Corino makes the save. He tells Redwood he was there for him and wants to know if Redwood was there for him. Before we can get his answer, Mike Bennett comes out.
Steve Corino vs Mike Bennett w/ Brutal Bob
Bennett tells Corino that tonight is when he falls off the wagon. Corino says there won’t be a match because a match will halt his road to recovery. Bennett says he is better than Corino and he wants a match. Corino says “Kevin, I’m sorry,” which gets a Mr. Wrestling chant. He tells Todd Sinclair to ring the bell and the match is on!
The two slug it out to start the match out. Corino hits a leg lariat that sends the Prodigy to the outside. Corino follows him out and throws him into the barricade several times. He goes to the well one too many times as Bennett reverses it and sends him into the barricade. Bennett goes for a dive over the top, but Corino moves and he misses. Corino teases a dive to the outside but Bennett hits him with a dropkick before he can do it. Corino goes to the top rope but is stopped by Bennett, who connects with a superplex for a two count. Corino and Bennett trade blows in the middle of the ring once again and Corino gets the better of it after an STO. A powerslam is good for another two count for Corino. He hits the Eternal Dream but Bennett is once again able to kick out. Thumb in the bum! Thumb in the bum! Corino looks to regret what he did and Brutal Bob connects with a big shot that allows Bennett to get a two count. He hits two side slams, but Corino kicks out. Bennett connects with another side slam and this time it was enough to pick up the win.
Rating: ** ½ Corino and Bennett put on a good match here. It wasn’t anything great, but it was an enjoyable and fun match. It helped advance the storyline of Corino trying to keep it clean and helped Bennett look strong by beating someone like Corino. It was a good little match.
Bennett hits a piledriver on Corino after the match.
The Briscoes vs The All Night Express
Titus and Jay exchange slaps as the opening bell rings. Titus hits a perfect dropkick and both men tag in their partners. King hits the cartwheel kick and he and Titus hit a double team combination. The Briscoes gain the advantage with Jay hitting a big boot on King, which Mark followed up with a suplex. Titus reenters the ring with a springboard shoulder tackle. The fight spills to the floor and Titus flies over the top onto King and Jay Briscoe! Mark meets him outside and smashes Titus’s skull against the barricade. Titus has been busted open due to the assault on the outside. The Briscoes have gained full control of the match. The double shoulder block further punishes Titus. Mark illegally pulls Titus to the floor and hits a suplex. Titus tries to fight back, but he was in the Briscoes’ corner so the comeback didn’t last long. Titus gets a surprise roll-up on Jay for a two count, but that only pisses him off more. The Briscoes attempt a double superplex, but Jay eats the top turnbuckle and Titus finally makes the tag to King.
King enters the match and takes both Briscoes out using his speed and athleticism. He gets a two count after a spinebuster. King tags Titus back in, who is once again unable able to get much going. A huge Tower of Doom gets broken up in the corner, which is a shame. King connects with brutal double knees to Mark on the floor. Jay goes for the Jay Driller, but Titus is able to counter out of it. The Briscoes go for a springboard Doomsday Device with Mark on the apron. King charges Mark, but he ducks and King goes flying to the floor! Mark springboards, but Titus is able to get a victory roll on Jay for the win! A huge upset for the All Night Express!
Rating: *** ½ This was a great tag team match that executed everything perfectly. The Briscoes were turning heel and this win helped cement the All Night Express as a legitimate face tag team. The ending was very nice as it made it look like the All Night Express kind of got lucky, but still in the same league as the Briscoes. This match was exciting from start to finish.
The Briscoes attack the All Night Express after the match. The locker room clears t separate the two teams. They attempt a Jay Driller on the floor, but King flies off the top to save his partner! The teams continue to brawl on the outside before the Briscoes are able to be contained and taken to the back. The crowd chants ANX as King and Titus leave.
El Generico vs TJ Perkins
The two wrestle to a stalemate in the opening moments of the match. Perkins is able to get out of a hammerlock by Generico and connect with a dropkick. Generico hits a series of arm drags that sends Perkins to the outside. He reenters the ring, but is immediately met by 10 punches in the corner. Perkins is able to gain the advantage after double knees. Perkins locks in a headscissors and then rolls Generico over and rams his face repeatedly into the mat. They exchange blows in the middle of the ring and Generico connects with a Michinoku Driver for a two count. Generico hits a Blue Thunder powerbomb for another two count. Perkins blocks a Yakuza Kick. Generico Irish Whips him but Perkins catches himself in the ropes. Generico charges him but Perkins moves, which sends Generico to the floor. He gets back in the ring before Perkins can dive on him. Big powerbomb from Perkins gets a two count. Perkins hits a cool looking double stomp and then locks in a sharpshooter. Generico finally reaches the ropes. Perkins drops Generico off his shoulders and kicks him in the face and he rolls to the outside. Perkins once again goes for a dive, and once again Generico is able to avoid it, this time he catches his head. Brainbuster on the apron! Generico rolls him back in the ring for the pinfall. That’s it?
Rating: ** ¾ This was a very good match, but it was also a very short match as it didn’t break the eight minute mark. That is hugely disappointing when there are two great wrestlers like Generico and Perkins in the ring. Still, they made the most with the little amount of time they had to work with and put on a very good match. With another five to 10 minutes, this could have been a classic.
Kings of Wrestling w/ Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey vs Homicide and Hernandez
This match is non-title by the way. Homicide and Chris Hero start the match off for their respective teams. They go to a quick stalemate. Homicide uses his speed to take Hero of his feet. Hero with a cheap shot in the corner and here is Claudio Castagnoli after a tag. Homicide reverses a suplex and tags in Hernandez. They each try shoulder blocks with no success until Castagnoli hits a clothesline. Hernandez answers right back with a clothesline of his own. Castagnoli hit a vertical suplex on Hernandez and held him up for about 10 seconds. Hernandez answers with one of his own and holds Castagnoli up for nearly a minute! That was awesome! Hero suplexed Homicide onto the knees of Castagnoli and follows it up with a senton. Hero is beating Homicide down in the corner and he just keeps asking for more, so Hero gives it to him. The Kings of Wrestling are using their power to beat Homicide down and not allow him to make the tag to Hernandez. Homicide catches Castagnoli with an Ace Crusher and both men are down! Homicide is close to getting the tag, but Hero pulls Hernandez off the apron. They go for a double team move and Homicide reverses it and tags in Hernandez.
Hernandez immediately connects with a slingshot double clothesline. He uses his shirt to throw Castagnoli across the ring. Castagnoli with the UFO on Hernandez! That’s amazing! Hernandez goes to the top, but eats a big boot from Castagnoli. Castagnoli hits a superplex and Hero lands a moonsault for a two count. Hernandez gets a two count on Hero after a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Homicide gets tagged in and goes for the Three Amigos on Castagnoli but Hero puts the stop to it. Hernandez goes for the Border Toss and gets hit by a Rolling Elbow from Hero. A tornado DDT by Homicide sends Hero to the floor. Hernandez Border Tosses Homicide from the ring to the floor onto both Kings! Holy crap! Hernandez follows it up with a spectacular dive over the top! Back in the ring, Del Rey distracts Homicide and Hero puts on the Golden Elbow Pad. Homicide sees it and rips it off. Hero reverses the Cop Killer and Homicide charges him in the corner, but is met by a knee to the face. Castagnoli connects with a European Uppercut on Homicide and it is enough for them to pick up the pinfall.
Rating: *** ½ This dream match delivered everything it promised it would. It was an entertaining match from start to finish and it was the best Homicide has looked in a long time. It’s a shame Hernandez is stuck in TNA as he was great in this match. The Kings continues to prove that they are one of the greatest tag teams in the world.
Backstage Julius Smokes talks to Homicide about his losing streak. I wish he would just go away.
Christopher Daniels vs Davey Richards
The rules to a Pure Rules match are as follows: Each wrestler gets three rope breaks. Once a wrestler uses all three rope breaks, then the ropes are in play for their opponents. Closed fist strikes to the face are prohibited. The first time the referee catches a wrestler, it is a warning. The second time, he is penalized a rope break. It is an automatic disqualification if a wrestler is caught for a third time. Got that?
The crowd is split 50/50 on support in this match. Richards gets a quick two count and locks in an arm lock. Richards continues to work over the arm of Daniels. Daniels uses a punch to the face behind the referee’s back. The match spills to the floor and Daniels drops Richards back-first into the ring frame. Back in the ring, Daniels hits a stomp of the top onto Richards for a two count. He locks in a headscissors over the top rope, which causes Richards to use his first rope break. Daniels locks in a nifty looking choke hold and Richards uses his second rope break. Richards reverses a side suplex attempt and fights back with a flurry of kicks. He sends Daniels to the floor and hits a moonsault off the second turnbuckle onto the floor! He throws Daniels back into the ring and connects with a missile dropkick. The two men trade forearms in the middle of the ring and Richards hits the handspring kick for a two count. Richards locks in the Cloverleaf, which causes Daniels to use his first rope break. Richards goes for the Cloverleaf again and Daniels rolls it into a near fall. Richards locks in an ankle lock and Daniels is forced to use his second rope break. Both men have only one rope break remaining.
They again trade blows in the middle of the ring. Richards hits the alarm clock and Daniels answers right back with an STO. He locks in the Koji Clutch and Richards reverses it into an ankle lock. Daniels rolls through and sends Richards in the corner and once again locks in the Koji Clutch, which forces Richards to use his final rope break. Richards cannot use the ropes to break submission now. Daniels goes for the Arabian Press to the floor, but Richards moves out of the way and answers back with a baseball slide that sends Daniels into the front row. Richards drapes Daniels across the barricade and climbs to the top turnbuckle and hits a huge double stomp to the floor! Good Lord! Back in the ring Richards locks on a cross armbreaker and Daniels loses his last rope break. The ropes are now in play for both men.
They go to the apron and Richards kicks Daniels across the chest about 20 times. He puts Daniels onto his shoulders and Daniels locks in a choke on the apron using the ropes. Daniels goes for the BME but Richards moves. Daniels puts on another submission in the ropes. Richards escapes and locks in an ankle lock in the ropes. Richards climbs to the top and Daniels connects with a palm strike. He goes for a super Angel’s Wings, but locks in a guillotine on the top instead. This is dangerous, to say the least. Richards fights back and locks in the Cloverleaf on the top rope! He drops Daniels and hits a double stomp. He climbs to the turnbuckle and goes for a Shooting Star Press, but he botches it badly! I have no idea how he didn’t just seriously injure himself! That was nasty! Daniels goes for the Angel’s Wings, but Richards rolls him over for the three count! That ending looked improvised.
Rating: *** ½ The match was going great until the botch, which obviously hurt it. They told a great story in the match where Daniels used his experience in Pure Rules to try and take Richards out quickly. Both guys used the rules to their advantage and came up with some creative ways of using the ring. A very fine match and I’m happy Richards didn’t seriously injure himself.
ROH World Title
Roderick Strong (C) vs Eddie Edwards
Strong sends Truth Martini to the back before the match gets underway. They wrestle to a stalemate in the opening moments of the match. Edwards sends Strong into the ropes and is met by a kick when Strong comes back. The crowd is firmly behind Edwards in this match. They once again wrestle to a stalemate. Edwards connects with chops in the corner and Strong answers back with kicks to the gut. Strong is bleeding from the chest from the chops. Strong connects with chops of his own in the corner and chokes the challenger. Strong locks in a crossface in the middle of the ring and Edwards rolls him over for a two count. Edwards hit an F5 for a two count after avoiding the Gut Buster. Edwards misses a double stomp and Strong launches him to the floor. Strong throws Edwards back first against the ring frame. That’s got to hurt. He is just beating Edwards down on the floor.
Back in the ring Strong continues to wear Edwards down. Edwards fights out of a sleeper, but Strong locks in the Strong Hold. Edwards eventually makes it to the ropes to force the break. The go back out to the apron and Strong tries a Gibson Driver, but Edwards counters with a hurricarana to the floor! Edwards climbs back in the ring, only to dive right back out with a big dive onto the champion! Strong’s head is busted open now. Edwards throws Strong back in the ring and climbs to the top and hits a missile dropkick. He hits a Shining Wizard for a two count. Edwards hits a second rope Codebreaker for another near fall. Strong fights back and hits a suplex variation for a two count. Strong connects with a superkick and follows it up with a backbreaker across the top turnbuckle! That was pretty cool! It was only good for a two count.
They once again slug it out in the middle of the ring with Edwards seemingly getting the better of the exchange. They have been exchanging chops for a good two minutes now as their chests have to be killing them. Strong ends that with a flying knee, but Edwards answers back with a super kick and clothesline and both men are down. Strong hits another knee and Edwards answers back with another clothesline, this time for a two count. Strong rolls to the apron and Edwards climbs to the top. Strong joins him at the top as the crowd chants “Please don’t die.” Strong is sent back to the apron and Edwards connects with a double stomp. He goes back to the top and hits a double stomp to the back. He locks in the Achilles Lock and Strong looks to be on the verge of tapping. Out comes Martini and he eats the foot of Edwards. Strong connects with the Gut Buster and Sick Kick, but Edwards kicks out at two! Strong hits one of the sickest backbreakers I have ever seen and lock in the Strong Hold. Edwards rolls him over into the Achilles Lock. He grabs Strong’s leg and sits down for the pin and gets the three count to become the NEW ROH World Champion!
The crowd is going crazy and Edwards looks unbelievably happy. This is an all-around great moment. Cary Silkin enters the ring and Edwards gives him a hug as the crowd chants his name. Edwards celebrates and Davey Richards makes his way to the ring. Richards gives Edwards a big hug and puts the belt around the new champion’s waist. Edwards continues to celebrate with the crowd as the show airs.
Rating: **** ¼ This was a great match with one of ROH’s most shocking moments ever. Almost nobody saw the title change coming, and when it happened the crowd lost their minds. Edwards and Strong have great chemistry together and they delivered a great match that was worthy of a title match of its magnitude. Everything about this match worked to perfection and it delivered with one of the best moments in ROH’s history.
Show Rating: “Manhattan Mayhem IV” definitely lived up to its namesake. There was craziness from top to bottom with the post-match brawls, Briscoes heel turn and the crowning of Eddie Edwards as the new ROH World Champion. I hope he holds the title for a long time. The show was also consistent as well as there were no bad matches and everything was watchable at worst. It is easily recommended and I give it an 8 out of 10.