Friday

January 14

Richmond, Virginia

Richmond Raceway Complex

 

That was the site of Ring of Honor’s first live event of 2011. It was the second time that ROH has come to Richmond. Before, when they came to Virginia, they would show up right in my backyard, Manassas. But the bigger city makes sense for a company trying to make money. Oh well. It’s only an hour-and-a-half drive, and I went to grad school in Richmond so I love going back there any chance I can. 

 

But apparently it was the right move to head further south because of the four ROH shows I’ve been to, this was definitely the best!.

 

Dark Match:

Alabama Attitude vs The Set

One half of Alabama Attitude was Mike Posey, the former TNA and WWECW referee. He looked great in the ring. I didn’t recognize his partner. They took on Richmond’s own The Set: J-Synn and Lance Lude. I know these guys from my time reffing for Pro Wrestling Mid-Atlantic. I worked with them both. They’re awesome guys and really good workers. The match had a 10-minute time limit, which they filled all the way down to the final second. The Set picked up the win after a Top Rope Double Knee/Power Bomb combo.

 

The show proper started next following the introduction from our ring announcer. He told us that the main event was an historic one: For the first time ever, all four ROH world champions (Roderick Strong, Christopher Daniels, The Kings of Wrestling) would team up to take on a team of Ring of Honor All-Stars (Davey Richards, El Generico, The Briscoe Brothers)!

 

After the intro, ROH World Champion Roderick Strong made his way to the ring. He cut a promo talking about defeating Davey Richards at Final Battle 2010 back in December. After a few more minutes of gloating, the ROH World Television Champion “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels walked out to tell Roderick to get his head in the game and prepare for the main event. The two went back and forth, arguing which inevitably led to...

 

ROH World Champion Roderick Strong vs ROH World Television Champion “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels

It’s no exaggeration when I say that these guys are two of the best wrestlers in the world. They kicked off the night with a fast-paced, hard-hitting wrestling clinic. It was a hell of a way to kick of 2011 in Ring of Honor. Eventually, their partners for the night, The Kings of Wrestling (Claudio Castignoli and Chris Hero) ran out to break up the match. Daniels was able to take advantage of the confusion and roll up Strong for the win.

 

The Bravado Brothers vs Grizzly Redwood & Andy “Right Leg” Ridge

I’d heard the name but this was my first time actually seeing The Bravado Brothers First impression: eeeesh, not good. I’m not one of those people that gets hung up on wrestlers’ physiques but these guys make Generation Me look like The Road Warriors. I couldn’t buy into them. Grizzly and Right leg got the win following a stiff shot from Right Leg’s.....right leg.

 

“The Prodigy” Mike Bennett vs Adam Cole

This turned out to be a night of “first looks” for me. Adam Cole and Mike Bennett were both new to me. I’d seen Bennett’s promos and heard a little about him but never actually seen him work. I was really impressed with both guys in this match. The crowd was all over Bennett, throwing almost X-Pac levels of heat his way. Cole, on the other hand, had their full support. He was riding high on that, taking The Prodigy to the limit before one misstep found him caught in Bennett’s finisher. The Prodigy got the win, but Cole got a post-match standing ovation.

 

Kings of Wrestling Promo

The Tag Team Champs were out next to address the actions of their tag partners for the night from the beginning of the show. Chris Hero said that since the opening match left Daniels and Strong at less-than-100%, the only fair thing to do was for Davey Richards and El Generico to come out and wrestle each other. Richards and Generico made their way to the ring to turn down the Kings’ offer. The Kings ended up jumping their opponents and getting in a few good shots before the Briscoes ran them off.

 

“Addicted to Love” Rhett Titus vs Homicide

I’m a big fan of Titus. I think the guy has a great future ahead of him. Each time I’ve seen him as been better than the last. He took on the former ROH World Champ, The Notorious 187. They were having a really good match that was just starting to heat up when Homicide nailed Titus with a stiff elbow and busted him wide open. Virginia has a ridiculously strict regulatory committee. Yeah, even for wrestling. Bleeding is one thing that they don’t tolerate at all. The rules state that if a wrestler gets cut during a match, they have two more moves that they’re allowed to perform before they have to end the match. That being the case, Titus bled and Homicide immediately followed up with a brainbuster for the victory.

 

Steve Corino vs Caleb Connolly

Steve Corino remains one of the best promos in the business. He’s put on some pudge with his age but he’s still an incredible worker who can have a five-star match with just about anyone. After spending the last year as a sort of cult-like father figure to Kevin Steen, Corino entered the ring and told the crowd that he was a great dad, an active member in his community, and an all good person. He said that it was only in wrestling where he had dark urges. He said that Kevin Steen is no longer with ROH because of him, and he won’t let that happen to anyone else ever again. He told us that in 2011 he wanted to change his ways and be as equally good a man in wrestling as he was outside of it. He finished his speech with “I’m Steve Corino, and I’m an evil person.” He then called out Caleb Connolly, who he claimed was headed down a dark path. He wanted to change that before it was too late. It was a hell of a promo, and followed up by a really entertaining match. Corino’s new gimmick is fantastic. He kept looking for ways to cheat, to get the cheap win, and would come so close before cutting himself off and reminding himself of his new vow. I think it’s a gimmick that’s got a lot of legs and should be a great way to add some new life to his (shockingly!) 20 year career. I would have liked to have seen his evil side overpower him a little more, costing him the match. Instead Corino got the clean win with tight rollup. Still, it was amazing seeing someone so talented reinvent themselves in such an interesting way.

 

Caprice Coleman vs Colt Cabana

Speaking of amazing, if you’ve never seen Colt Cabana live then do yourself a favor and buy tickets to the closest ROH show to your town right NOW! The guy is unbelievable. Sure, his matches tend to veer towards comedy a lot, but wrestling has always had room for great comedy when done right. Colt Cabana does it better than anyone. He involves the whole crowd, he makes it interactive, AND he actually puts on great matches too. Given how family-friendly WWE is trying to be these days, they were beyond stupid to let Cabana go a couple of years ago. They never even gave his Scotty Goldman character a chance. This is a guy who is perfect for today’s WWE. If nothing else, they could have used his Matt Classic gimmick (which if you’ve never seen, YouTube it right now. It’s got RAW guest host written all over it!) He took on Caprice Coleman, a named I’d heard but was not familiar with. Coleman has a great look and seemed like he knew what he was doing in the ring (given the type of match it was I couldn’t get the best feel for his talent, but he played his part really well nonetheless). Colt got the W, but Coleman got a standing ovation and a “Please Come Back” chant from the crowd. 

 

“The Pretty Boy Pitbull” Kenny King vs Kyle O’Reilly

I really like Kenny King. He’s not the best worker in the world and his promos are nothing groundbreaking. But I like that he’s made it. Kenny was one of the finalists of WWE Tough Enough 2. He lost to Linda Miles and Jackie Gayda (to this day that remains one of the stupidest decisions in WWE history). Still, he pushed on, kept training, and is now a respected mainstay in Ring of Honor. I think he’s got a future and am excited to see how his career progresses. He faced Kyle O’Reilly, yet another new name to me. O’Reilly looked good in the ring. Stiff hitter. King got the win after hitting his finisher.

 

Ring of Honor Champions (ROH World Champion Roderick Strong, ROH World Television Champion “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels, ROH World Tag Team Champions The Kings of Wrestling) vs The Ring of Honor All-Stars (Davey Richards, El Generico, The Briscoe Brothers)

The main event was a fun, intense, and insane exhibition of the top talent in Ring of Honor. Everyone in the match looked great in the ring. The action was non-stop right from the get go. Ultimately, everything broke down into a wild brawl on the floor with the guys each hitting their respective big spots. The highlight was Davey Richards pulling out a picture-perfect Shooting Star Press from the top rope to the floor onto all 7 of the other wrestlers. It may have been a step above a spot fest, but it was a match that had the whole building on its feet, and only added to the already-incredible show we had seen. The finish came with Chris Daniels and Mark Briscoe battling on the top rope. Brisco ended up winning out, pushing Daniels to the mat and the nailing him with a huge flying elbow drop for the win. After the match, Davey Richards thanked his partners and Christopher Daniels for being such great wrestlers. He also announced that as a result of his win, Mark Briscoe was now in line for a shot at Daniels’ TV Title. Then he thanked us for supporting ROH and coming to the show.

 

Overall it was an A+ night from the Ring of Honor crew. By far, it was the best out of the four ROH events that I’ve seen. I can’t recommend this company enough. If you’ve never seen them live, you’re absolutely missing out. I can’t wait for the next one!