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Ring of Honor celebrated nine years of wrestling Saturday night in Chicago with their “9th Anniversary Show.”
Colt Cabana vs. Davey Richards
The show opened up, surprisingly enough, with the match between Colt Cabana and Davey Richards. I thought this would go on later in the show, but it was the opener and it started the show off the right way. These two wrestlers put on a very good match that got the already hot crowd even hotter. They had a little bit of everything in this match, from technical mat wrestling to high-flying as Cabana hit a moonsault, which was the first time I’ve ever seen him hit one. Richards worked over Cabana’s right arm throughout the match, which led to Richards winning the match via a cross arm breaker. This was a great way to start the show and both men had a good showing. Richards is now one step closer to reaching another World Title match.
Winner by submission – Davey Richards
Steve Corino vs. Grizzly Redwood vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Mike Bennett w/Bob Evans
Next up is the match I thought would start the show; the “4 Corner Survival” that featured Steve Corino, Kyle O’Reilly, Grizzly Redwood and “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett with Brutal Bob. This was a fun match that actually told a pretty good story. Corino has been trying to turn a new leaf and become a good person after his actions of 2010 and he had to fight urges of resorting to his old ways. There was fast-paced action throughout the match. The standout spot was O’ Reilly hitting a missile dropkick from the apron to the floor on Bennett and Brutal Bob. In the end, however, Bennett was able to pick up the victory by pinning Corino. This will continue their feud as Bennett continues to rise up the ranks of Ring of Honor.
Winner by pinfall – Mike Bennett
Michael Elgin vs. El Generico
The next match on the “9th Anniversary Show” was Michael Elgin with Truth Martini going one-on-one with El Generico. This was my first time seeing Elgin in action and I was impressed by his ability and strength. He was able to throw Generico around the ring at will. At one point, while both men were on the outside, Elgin caught Generico on his shoulder and ran from one side of ringside to the other before driving Generico into the barricade. Back in the ring, Elgin knocked the referee down as Generico was going for a move. This allowed Martini to interfere as Elgin held Generico up. Martini tried to come of the top turnbuckle onto Generico, but Generico was able to move. Elgin was able to catch Martini on his shoulders and then power bomb Generico with him still on his shoulders. Generico was able to pick up the victory with a roll up. It was a good match that made both men look impressive.
Winner by pinfall – El Generico
ROH World Championship – Roderick Strong (c) w/Truth Martini vs. Homicide
ROH World Champion Roderick Strong entered the ring after the match and beat down Generico. He told the crowd that he was going to beat Homicide later in the night, which caused Homicide to storm the ring. He wanted the World Title match to start then, but Martini was trying to talk Strong out of it. Homicide took matters into his own hands and hit both Strong and Martini with a suicide dive to start the title match!
They battled through the crowd and hit each other with chairs. They set up a chair in every corner of the ring, and Strong was sent through each one. Martini interfered and hit Homicide with a low blow and that allowed Strong to hit the Sick Kick and a Back Breaker for the win to retain his belt. It was a decent match, but I was expecting more out of these two. Homicide will be disappointed not to have regained the belt in his first rematch but I’m sure he’ll get another.
Winner by pinfall – Roderick Strong
Sara Del Rey w/Shane Hagadorn vs. MsChif
Sara Del Rey battled MsChif after intermission. Del Rey was accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. This match was not given a lot of time and was pretty one-sided in favor of Del Rey. But I still thought it was an enjoyable women’s match. Del Rey picked up the victory following a wrist clutch slam that Dave Prazak called the Del Raiser. After the match, Del Rey talked trash to MsChif, but was blinded by MsChif’s green mist. This might set up a feud between the two in the future, which would be pretty good.
Winner by pinfall – Sara Del Rey
ROH World Tag Team Championship – Kings of Wrestling (c) vs. All Night Express
The World Tag Team Title match was next as Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli) defended their belts against the All Night Express (Rhett Titus and Kenny King). I was not expecting much out of this match, but it ended up being my favorite match of the night. Any questions people might have about the All Night Express contending for the Tag Team Titles were answered last night as they looked like a million bucks against the Kings of Wrestling. The two teams were able to put on a great tag team match that had me questioning who was going to win almost the entire time. King was the star of the match and the highlight of the match was him hitting a Shooting Star Press, which Prazak thought was the first time he had ever landed one in Ring of Honor. The Kings of Wrestling retained their belts after King was holding Castagnoli and got nailed by Hero’s Golden Elbow, which caused King to fall back and for Castagnoli to land on him for the pin fall. Both teams went out and gave it their all and it resulted in a great tag team match. The dusty finish could lead to a rematch between the two teams in the future, which I am completely in favour of. This was just a fantastic match.
Winners by pinfall – Kings of Wrestling
ROH World Television Championship – Christopher Daniels vs. Eddie Edwards
In the next match, “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels defended his World Television Title against former-title holder Eddie Edwards in a 2/3 Falls Match with a 30 minute time limit. This was another amazing match. Both men pulled out all the stops while trying to win the match. During the first fall, Edwards put it all on the line and jumped from the top turnbuckle into the crowd onto Daniels. As the match wore on, both men traded submission attempts. Daniels was able to reverse a Koji Clutch attempt by Edwards into a pin for a three count to gain the 1-0 advantage in the match. It took over 20 minutes for the first fall to happen and it was 20 minutes full of action.
The second fall did not take nearly as long to happen. Edwards was able to lock in the Achilles Lock after Daniels tried a top rope knee attack. Daniels had no choice but to tap out and it tied the match with one fall apiece with roughly two minutes remained in the match. The battle for the third fall was brutal. Edwards hit a super-hurricarana off the top rope that busted Daniels open. Daniels was bleeding buckets from the laceration on his head. Both men went crashing to the floor with less than a minute remaining in the time limit. Edwards was able to re-enter the ring, but it did not matter as the time limit expired and the match ended in a draw. Ring of Honor officials came down to check on Daniels and Jim Cornette said Daniels was too injured to go another five minutes to determine a winner. Regardless, it was a very good match that sets up another match between the two in the future, which should be great.
Christopher Daniels and Eddie Edwards fought to draw
Tag Team Dream Match – World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The Briscoes
The main event was next as Jay and Mark Briscoe took on World’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas). This was supposed to go on earlier in the show, but was made the main even after the World Title match happened earlier. These four men proved they deserved the main event spot by putting on a great match. The Briscoes had the advantage for most of the match and worked over Haas. He was eventually able to tag in Benjamin and to give their team the upper hand. The highlight of the match was Mark Briscoe hitting a springboard front flip into the crowd to take out his opponents. Haas and Benjamin were able to pick up the victory after hitting a spine buster and neck breaker combination. The win means they are facing the Kings of Wrestling in Atlanta during WrestleMania weekend for the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Titles. These two teams put on an amazing match. Some people are calling it a Match of the Year contender, and while I would not go that far, it was a great way to end a very good show.
Winners by pinfall – Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
All of the matches delivered at or, in most cases, above expectations. The match of the night belongs to the Kings of Wrestling and the All Night Express, although you can put up very strong arguments for two other matches that could easily have that claim. In the end, it was a fun night of wrestling and if you were on the fence about buying the show, go ahead and make the purchase. It was well worth the $15 it costs. Ring of Honor returns to iPPV April 1 and 2 with Ring of Honor Takes Center Stage from Atlanta, Georgia.