Ring of Honor makes a rare trip to Los Angeles, CA for ‘SoCal Showdown II’. ‘SoCal Showdown’ was a great success so they decided to do it again! The event coincided with the Wrestle Reunion event in the city that weekend. Roderick Strong defends his ROH World Title against El Generico, The Kings and WGTT do battle once more and Davey Richards faces TJ Perkins. All that and more as ROHWorld.com reviews ‘SoCal Showdown II’ (1/28/11):
Bravados vs. Cedric Alexander & Caleb Konley
Wow, you don’t realise how much the Bravados have improved over the past six or so months until you see them from a while ago. They look like a completely different team now and that’s definitely a good thing. Alexander now tags with Caprice Coleman and looked pretty decent with Konley being known as the ‘Brian Kendrick lookalike’. Match was sloppy with a couple of decent spots saving it from being a disaster. The Bravados got the win with a roll-up. Yep, they had to get cheap wins over random teams back in January, now they seem like genuine members of the roster.
Colt Cabana vs. Jay Briscoe
We’re reliably informed that this is the first singles match between these two which is quite surprising considering both have been in Ring of Honor for quite some time. I must say that the Briscoes are much better as heels and a face Jay just doesn’t seem right! The usual comedy shtick from Cabana means the first few minutes suck as usual. The match never really gets going but both guys have a brief period of dominance. Jay gets the win with the Jay Driller. Nothing special and these two just don’t have much chemistry together.
All Night Express vs. The Cutler Brothers
The Cutlers are apparently quite big in PWG and are making their debuts here in Ring of Honor. They are two scary looking dudes, very lanky! It’s another case of how much a team has improves as ANX look a lot better recently. This wasn’t a bad match at all; some nice back-and-forth action and quite a dominating win for ANX. King hit a swinging backbreaker onto his knee on Dustin Cutler before Titus hit a knee drop from the top rope to grab the win. Not bad at all but the Cutlers didn’t really impress as they failed to get any of their tag team moves into the match.
Davey Richards vs. TJ Perkins
TJP is another that isn’t a regular fixture on the roster although I think he should be. The first five or so minutes of this one are more like an MMA match than a wrestling one and it works as both are so good at it. Richards starts going to work on the left arm of TJP before both men exchange some lethal kicks. We then get a number of near falls and this match really has it all. Dives, technical wrestling, submissions, kicks, near falls – awesome! Perkins almost grabs the win but then misses with 450 splash which allows Davey to hit a German Suplex and the Falcon Arrow followed by a cross armbreaker which leaves TJP no option but to tap out. TJP needs to be a regular fixture on the ROH roster; he brings so much to the table and would be a good match with a lot of the roster. Brilliant match.
ROH World TV Championship
Christopher Daniels (c) vs. Mark Briscoe
This one started off a lot different to what I expected. Mark Briscoe is considered more of a brawler than anything but the first five or so minutes were mainly mat based with some nice chain wrestling. Both men exchange strikes, Briscoe pulls out the redneck kung-fu before Daniels responds with a flurry of palm strikes. Mark goes for an elbow drop off the top rope but Daniels moves and then locks in the Koji clutch with Briscoe just getting to the ropes. Daniels misses with the BME and walks into a superkick. ‘The Fallen Angel’ adjusts and hits the Angel’s Wings but Briscoe kicks out, he then goes for the BME again and hits it for the victory. I liked the ending as it put over the BME as a legit finisher move and also made Mark look tough. I think Jay is always considered the better of the two in terms of singles matches but he put on a good show for a very solid TV title match.
Kings of Wrestling vs. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team
This is a rematch from Glory by Honor IX where Haas & Benjamin debuted in ROH, the Kings won that one and once again – this is a non-title match. The match started surprisingly quickly with both teams getting lots of offense in during the early stages. They build up to the hot tag of Shelton but the Kings diffuse it with a nice jumping European from Claudio. After a period of punishment, Shelton hits a blockbuster and Haas clears house, they go for the Leap of Faith but Claudio takes out Shelton. The Kings set up the KRS-1 but Shelton spears Hero and Haas rolls Claudio up but they get a near fall.
Big pop-up European from Claudio on Haas only gets him two. They hit the big swing/dropkick combo but Haas kicks out again! Man, I will miss that move! Hero goes for a rolling elbow but Shelton hits a superkick that just sounds brutal. Haas locks in the Haas of Pain on Claudio but Hero gets the lucky elbow pad and goes to the top, Shelton hits a jumping kick which sends Hero to the outside and Claudio has no option but to tap out. This wasn’t quite as good as their first match but was still great. Both teams work so well together and their styles mesh well. Maybe a lack of double team moves and the ending always seemed inevitable but still, good stuff.
ROH World Championship
Roderick Strong (c) vs. El Generico
These two have a bit of history and always seem to put on a good match. Strong has apparently told Truth Martini to stay in the back for this one so it’s a 1-on-1 contest. Strong dominates early on and uses a lot of submission holds to ground the high-flyer. Strong continues to pick apart the challenger with him taking lots of damage – like he always does. Generico fights back with a Yakuza kick that ends Strong to the outside and follows up with a topè con hilo. Again the champion takes control and Generico manages to squirm to the ropes to get out of the Strong Hold.
A gutbuster and Sick Kick get Strong two and then he hits a running boot in the corner followed up by a suplex onto his knees but the challenger just won’t stay down! Generico always takes a ridiculous amount of pain. He fights back with a Yakuza Kick and a brainbuster, the fans start to get to their feet but Strong gets his foot on the bottom rope! The champion goes to the outside and throws a chair into the ring, while Todd Sinclair gets rid of it, he grabs his title belt and hits Generico over the head with it. He follows up with a Sick Kick and the Gibson Driver for the victory.
After the match, Christopher Daniels, Jay Briscoe and Davey Richards hit the ring to chase the champion off, Daniels and Briscoe cut promos saying that eventually, Strong will stop being lucky and lose the title. This match promised a lot and didn’t disappoint. It had periods of submission based wrestling and then really sparked into life with some brilliant sequences. A match that always kept you on the edge of your seat.
Overall Thoughts: While this show isn’t a blockbuster, it delivers on many different levels. The three main matches all deliver in spades. You have the very technical match between Davey and TJP (why isn’t he a regular on the ROH roster???), a great tag match with the Kings and WGTT and the main event is awesome too. The other matches aren’t anything special but none of them are bad and as this show is on the shorter side, it’s easy to get through. If you’re looking for an easy watch, go for this one.
Overall Score: 7/10