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RADICAN'S ROH "FINAL BATTLE 2011" iPPV REPORT 12/23 - Richards defends ROH World Title vs. Edwards, Haas & Benjamin vs. Briscoes

Dec 23, 2011 - 11:07:16 PM
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RADICAN’S ROH “FINAL BATTLE 2011” iPPV REPORT
DECEMBER 23, 2011
MANHATTAN, N.Y.
AIRED LIVE ON GOFIGHTLIVE.TV
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The show started with Jim Cornette, Kevin Kelly, Nigel McGuinness, Cary Silkin, and Joe Koff in the ring. They decided to cut the mic as McGuinness cut a promo. Cornette said preliminary numbers indicated more people would see this event than any other event in ROH history. Cornette introduced Joe Koff with a special Christmas message. Koff thanked Cary Silkin, who he incorrectly called the founder of ROH. Koff wished everyone happy holidays.

Sinclair has apparently spared no expense with the debut of a sliver curtain for the entranceway.

1 - - T.J. PERKINS vs. MICHAEL ELGIN (w/Truth Martini)

Kevin Kelly said he’d gotten tweets from all over the world and plugged the hashtag for twitter for “Final Battle.” Perkins sent Elgin to the outside and went for a dive. Elgin got out of the way, so Perkins went for a dive off the apron, but Elgin caught him and tossed him into the barricade. That was impressive. Perkins tried to mount a comeback with a headscissors takedown, but Elgin caught him and slammed him to the mat. Perkins caught Elgin with a headscissors and sent him to the outside. He followed up with a dive to the outside and the crowd applauded. Perkins went for a sunset flip, but Elgin wouldn’t go down. Elgin tried to sit down on Perkins, but he rolled out of the way and hit a standing twisting corkscrew senton for a one count.

Perkins went up top, but Elgin cut him off. Perkins shoved Elgin off and went for a dive, but Elgin caught him in the suplex position and then slammed him down to the mat for a nearfall. Perkins slipped out of a powerbomb, but Elgin caught him with a weak looking back breaker. Elgin followed up with another backbreaker across his shoulders for a 2 count. Perkins countered another powerbomb attempt with an inverted hurricanrana for a 2 count. Elgin blocked the detonation kick. Perkins went for it again, but Elgin caught him with a back fist. Elgin hit a buckle bomb and then a spinning powerbomb for the win.

Winner: Michael Elgin – This was fine for an opener with some nice exchanges, but it was also slow in spots with both men seemingly not on the same page.

Some audio played that sounded like a bad acid trip after the match ended.

The Embassy came out and Nana was upset with Jimmy Rave. R.D. Evans got on the mic and the crowd chanted “Shut the f--- up.” Evans told the fans to watch their language. Evans said Rave showing up was like a desperate ex-girlfriend crashing a Christmas dinner. Evans said Rave could spend a silent night Christmas with Ciampa.

Jimmy Rave came out to a small ovation. He’s looking very slim these days and is sporting a bushy chinstrap beard.

2 - - TOMASSO CIAMPA (w/The Embassy) vs. JIMMY RAVE

Ciampa drove Rave into the corner and offered a clean break. They did some chain wrestling with Rave working Ciampa’s arm. Ciampa pulled off a reversal and went to work on Rave’s arm. Ciampa took Rave down, but he immediately grabbed an arm bar. Both men exchanged some slaps. Rave spit in Ciampa’s face and the pace picked up with Ciampa hitting a big clothesline that sent Rave to the outside. Ciampa slammed Rave into the ring barrier. Rave fired back with a chop as the crowd entertaining themselves by chanting “Twinkies” while the ref counted out both men. Ciampa caught Rave with a running knee in the corner. Ciampa followed up with another running knee in the corner to Rave’s head for a 2 count.

Ciampa continued to dominate the action as he whipped Rave into the corner. Rave fired back with some chops and caught Ciampa with a clothesline. Rave tripped Ciampa and applied the heel hook submission. The crowd chanted for Ciampa to tap, but he got the ropes. Rave nailed Ciampa with a running knee on the apron. Ciampa flew into the ring barrier and Rave went for a baseball slide, but Ciampa caught him and swung him into the barrier. Ciampa sold his leg as he tried to bring Rave back into the ring. Rave went for a sunset flip, but Ciampa rolled through and caught him with a dropkick. Rave fired right back with a running kick and hit the Rave clash for a nearfall.

The crowd chanted “A.J. Styles” after Rave hit the Rave clash. Nana got on the apron with Rave’s old Embassy robe and offered it to Rave. Rave stared at the robe and tried to hit Nana, but the ref stopped him. Several members of the Embassy tried to attack Rave with the ref distracted, but Rave fought them off. Ciampa then caught Rave with project Ciampa for the win.

Winner: Tomasso Ciampa

Star rating: (**1/2) – There was some solid action in this match. Rave looked good, but they didn’t get very much time to flush out the story they were trying to tell. The ending certainly felt rushed.

After the match, Ciampa put on Rave’s Embassy robe.

I believe they’re trying to show replays tonight, but they’re just not working.

Maria got a bigger pop than Bennett coming out for the triple threat TV title match. The crowd chanted “C.M. Punk” at Maria. Bennett asked who the crowd was chanting for and made out with Maria. Bennett said nothing was better than Christmas in New York. Maria’s jacket said “Prodigy Girlfriend” on the back. Bennett said he had a Playboy model with him and everyone else was jacking off. Maria grinded around for the fans while Bennett talked. Bennett said he was going to let Generico and Lethal fight it out and then he would take the TV title.

El Generico came out next to a big pop. Lethal came out next to a slightly smaller pop than Generico got. Bobby Cruise then did the formal introductions.

3 - - JAY LETHAL vs. MIKE BENNETT (w/Maria & Brutal Bob) vs. EL GENERICO – ROH World TV Title elimination match

Bennett left the ring after the bell rang and smiled at ringside. Bob got on commentary and said Bennett was going to win the title tonight. The crowd chanted “pussy” at Bennett. Generico and Lethal went to lock up, but Bennett ran in and nailed Generico from behind before leaving the ring again. Lethal and Bennett attacked Bennett from the front and behind and nailed him with some punches. They tossed him into the ring and took turns nailing him with punches and chops. They both then clotheslined Bennett to the outside. Lethal and Generico argued about who was going to dive to the outside. Time stood still and they both ended up hitting a tandem dive through the ropes to the outside on Bennett.

Generico and Lethal went at it as the pace picked up. Lethal took Generico down with a dropkick for a 2 count. Lethal went for a springboard, but Bennett tripped him onto the apron. Bennett got in the ring and went to work on Generico. Bennett hit a slam and covered Generico for a 2 count. Generico telegraphed pulling down the ropes on Bennett as he charged at him by a wide margin, but Bennett still spilled to the outside. Generico set up for a dive, but Lethal cut him off with a missile dropkick.

Lethal continued to work over Generico with Bennett on the outside. Generico caught Lethal with a backbreaker for a 2 count. Bennett ran back into the ring and nailed Generico from behind. He sent Generico out of the ring and went after Lethal with a big clothesline in the corner. The crowd woke back up to tell Bennett that he sucks. Bennett hit a legdrop for a 2 count and taunted Lethal. Lethal fired back with a handspring elbow. Lethal followed up with a springboard dropkick off the turnbuckles that sent Bennett to the outside. Generico then caught Lethal by surprise with a dropkick off the top. Lethal and Generico traded some shots. The pace picked up with Generico hitting arm drags on Lethal and Bennett and the crowd woke up a little.

Generico mounted Bennett in the corner and nailed him with punches, but Bennett caught him with an atomic drop. Lethal then stacked Generico on top of Bennett and nailed them both with kicks. He covered Bennett, but only got a 2 count. Generico suplexed Lethal into the corner moments later. He tried to go for the Yokuza kick, but Bennett grabbed him from the outside. Bennett put Bob in front of him and Lethal took him out. Bennett then shoved Maria into Generico and nailed him with a punch. This is a dead crowd.

Bennett ran into the ring and took out Generico with a TKO. Bennett then went after Lethal, but Generico must have cut him off and the cameras missed it. Lethal ended up hitting a superkick on Generico and everyone was down. Lethal hit the Lethal combination on Generico for a nearfall. Wait…this is an elimination match? Bennett hit a spinebuster on Lethal for a nearfall. A short time later, Lethal went up top with Generico grounded, but got caught with a Yokuza kick from Generico. Lethal spilled to the outside as Generico hit a rope-to-rope dive to wipe out Lethal. He then took out Bennett with a DDT through the ropes on the outside. Generico hit a Yokuza kick on Bennett and a half-nelson suplex for a nearfall. Leave it to Generico to wake up the crowd.

Lethal hit a neckbreaker on Generico inside the ring. Lethal went up top and went for the elbow drop to a mixed reaction. Lethal connected with the elbow drop, but Generico kicked out. Generico fired up and went for the top rope brainbuster on Lethal, but Bennett broke it up and rolled up Generico while grabbing the tights to eliminate Generico. Lethal immediately hit the Lethal injection on Bennett for the win.

Winner: Jay Lethal to retain the ROH World TV Title

Star rating: (*3/4) – Leave it to Generico to wake up what was mostly a dead crowd once they got sick of heckling Bennett. This match really dragged outside of a small hope spot from Generico here and there that got the crowd going.

They tried to show replays after, but weren’t very successful with acid trip audio and out-of-sync footage of the action in the ring.

Generico ended up shaking hands with Lethal after the match. Lethal posed with the ROH TV title to a nice golf clap from the crowd.

Jimmy Jacobs came out to referee the Kevin Steen vs. Steve Corino match. Steve Corino made his entrance to very little reaction. Kevin Steen then made his entrance. They turned out all of the lights and when they came on Steen was in the balcony and Steen got a nice ovation. Steen made his way to ringside through the fans.

Bobby Cruise did the formal introductions. He said that Jim Cornette and Cary Silkin were at ringside. Jimmy Jacobs got no reaction when he was announced as the guest referee. Steve Corino got a nice ovation. Kevin Steen then got a good reaction when Cruise introduced him. The crowd chanted kill Steen Kill before the match started.

4 - - KEVIN STEEN vs. STEVE CORINO – No DQ match

Both men charged at each other and began exchanging blows as the crowd applauded. Corino caught Steen with a dropkick as he came off the ropes. Corino went for a sliding kick, but Steen tossed him into the barricade. Steen set up Corino on the apron against the ringpost and nailed him with a cannonball and the crowd gasped. Corino fired right back with a flying attack off the apron to take out Steen on the outside. Corino maintained the upper hand on the outside as the action was interrupted with some odd camera shots and cuts. Corino got a running start and nailed Steen over the head with a chair. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Steen fired right back and kicked the chair into Corino’s arm. Steen set up Corino on the outside and powerbombed him on the apron.

McGuinness hilariously asked for a replay of the powerbomb. Steen followed up with a frogsplash off the apron. Steen got one of the guardrails and nailed Corino with it. Corino fired back and nailed Steen with a chair. He set up a chair over the guardrails, but Steen fired right back and powerbombed him onto the chair and the crowd went nuts. Steen went up to McGuinness and told him he was happy to see him. Steen got a table from under the ring as the camera wobbled like a drunken sailor around him. Steen set up the table between the ring and the barricade. Cornette flipped off Steen as he tried to powerbomb Corino from the ring through the table outside. Corino cut him off and nailed him with a clothesline. Corino tossed chairs into the ring that landed on Steen’s knees. Steen ducked a shot from the trashcan lid and nailed Corino over the head with it. Steen then put the lid on Corino’s head and hit his standing flipping legdrop. He then taunted Cornette at ringside. Corino came up bleeding and Steen bit away at his cut and the crowd went nuts.

Corino fired back and drove the bottom of the trashcan into Steen’s head. Corino nailed Steen with the trashcan to the head. He followed up with a suplex onto the trashcan. Corino piled up several chairs in the ring before slamming Steen onto them. Corino then went up top and hit a splash on Steen for a 2 count. There have been way too many shots to the head with chairs and trashcans in this one. Corino set up several chairs in the ring. Steen fired back and went up top, but Corino cut him off. Corino looked over his shoulder and superplexed Steen onto the barrier, which had no give. Steen kicked out at two.

Corino went up top, but Steen cut him off a few minutes later. Steen shoved Corino to the ring apron and began setting up some plunder. Steen went after Corino and nailed him with a chairshot to the back. Kelly and McGuinness talked about how scary Steen is. Steen constructed a pile of chairs on top of the table that was wedged between the barrier and the apron. Steen dragged Corino up top and the crowd gasped. Steen bit at Corino’s ear. Corino fell off, but he grabbed the lid and slammed Steen over the head. Steen fell through the pile of chairs and the table on the outside. The crowd chanted that they wanted fire. Corino threw more chairs into the ring before going back after Steen. He threw Steen back into the ring, but only got a 2 count. Corino put a chair over Steen’s head and then got another chair. Corino slammed the chair into the chair over Steen, but that only got a 2 count. Cornette and Silkin were not happy. Steen countered a suplex on a chair and suplexed Corino. Steen followed up with an arm capture exploder that drove Corino through the chair for a nearfall. The crowd chanted “ROH, ROH.”

Corino spit in Steen’s face and Steen nailed Corino with a chairshot to the head for a 2 count. Steen went to hit Corino with another chairshot, but Jacobs stopped him. Corino then nailed Steen with a foreign object to the head, but Steen kicked out. Of course, they missed the shot with the camera. Corino set up more chairs and tossed a chair into Steen’s head. Corino set up Steen on the chairs, but Steen hit a low blow and then hit the package piledriver on Corino through the chairs. Jacobs counted very slowly. He got to 2 and looked at Cornette. Cornette told him to count the pin and Jacobs hit the mat a third time.

Winner: Kevin Steen

Star rating: (n/a) – This was a ridiculous display of carelessness from both guys. There were way too many blows to the head here that were unprotected. This match set independent wrestling back several years with both guys taking a ton of punishment and not selling anything. The superplex onto the guardrails was especially disturbing given that it had no give when both men landed. It also sets up the rest of the card for failure as it will be impossible for any of the other action on the card to match what these two did in the ring.

Steen got on the mic and said, “Merry Christmas, the devil is back.” Steen said he came to do three things. He said he came to destroy Corino and win his job back. Steen said number two and then hit a package piledriver on Jacobs. The crowd applauded as Steen smiled and turned his attention to Cornette. Steen held up three fingers at Cornette. Cornette begged off, but Steen grabbed him. Generico ran into the ring and went face-to-face with Steen and the crowd applauded louder than they did for most of the Corino-Steen match. Both men began exchanging blows. Generico hit a running Yokuza kick on Steen. Generico then set up Steen on the top rope, but Steen pushed him away. Steen hit a low blow and hit the package piledriver on Generico through a table at ringside. The crowd went ballistic as Steen looked at Generico and smiled.

Cornette and several ROH officials ran down to ringside. Kelly called Steen a son of a b---- on commentary as the crowd chanted welcome back. McGuinness left the commentary booth to check on Generico. Steen said something to the camera that couldn’t be heard. They called for medical attention at ringside as Kelly announced intermission would be taking place.

Kelly came back from intermission and said Generico had been taken by ambulance to the hospital.

5 - -THE BRAVADOS (Lancelot & Harlem Bravado) vs. RHETT TITUS & KENNY KING vs. MATT & NICK JACKSON vs. CAPRICE COLEMAN & CEDRICK ALEXANDER – Tag Team Gauntlet match with winner earning a shot at the ROH Tag Team Titles.

A - - THE BRAVADOS vs. CAPRICE COLEMAN & CEDRICK ALEXANDER

The Bravados jumped Coleman and Alexander and sent them to the outside. Alexander caught both Bravados with a flip dive over the top to the outside moments later. The crowd seemed dead as Alexander went to work on Harlem. Lancelot caught Coleman with a kick on the outside. The Bravados then hit a double team to ground Alexander in the ring. Alexander fired back on the Bravados and Coleman took out Lancelot with a dive off the top. They missed a shot of Alexander hitting a move on Harlem for a nearfall. Alexander hit a superkick on Harlem and went for a suplex, but Harlem countered. He got a small package for a 2 count. Alexander rolled up Harlem a short time later for the pin.

Winners: Cedrick Alexander & Caprice Coleman

B - - CEDRICK ALEXANDER & CAPRICE COLEMAN vs. FUTURE SHOCK (Kyle O’Reilly & Adam Cole)

O’Reilly and Alexander immediately began exchanging forearms. O’Reilly caught Alexander with a flying knee and following up with a running kick for a 2 count. Cole & O’Reilly then hit a series of moves on Alexander capped by a dropkick from Cole for a 2 count. Alexander tried to fire back, but O’Reilly grounded him. Coleman made the blind tag. Coleman & Alexander then hit a heart attack legdrop on O’Reilly for a nearfall. Cole made a blind tag and help O’Reilly hit a double team northern lights suplex on Coleman with a bridge from O’Reilly for a 2 count. Cole and O’Reilly tagged in and out of the match to work over Coleman. Coleman fired back and took out both members of Future Shock with a dropkick. Alexander got the hot tag and ran wild to no reaction.

O’Reilly hit an enzuguri, but Alexander no-sold it and hit one of his own. Cole went for a superkick on Alexander, but he countered. Coleman and Alexander then ran wild with double team moves on O’Reilly, but Cole made the save. Coleman went for a dive to the outside, but Cole nailed him with a kick to the head. O’Reilly and Cole then hit a double dropkick on Alexander in the corner. Cole and O’Reilly then hit ride the lightning on Alexander for the win.

Winners: Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly

C - - THE YOUNG BUCKS (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. FUTURE SHOCK (Kyle O’Reilly & Adam Cole)

The Young Bucks posed on the outside, so Cole and O’Reilly wiped them out with a pair of dropkicks through the ropes. The Young Bucks caught Cole going for a dive, but O’Reilly took out everyone with a dive of his own. The Young Bucks fired right back and Nick hit a springboard frogsplash on Cole for a 2 count. The Young Bucks continued to work over Cole and posed for the crowd after they hit high-flying maneuvers. Kelly said Corino and Jacobs were also being attended to by medical staff. Cole tried to fire back, but couldn’t make the tag. The Bucks began working a more deliberate style, as Matt grabbed a rear chinlock on Cole.

Matt knocked O’Reilly off the apron. Matt hung up Cole on the ropes and Nick came down with a doublestomp. He then wiped out O’Reilly with a dive that wasn’t shown on camera. Cole finally managed to tag in O’Reilly, who ran wild. O’Reilly hit a double dragon screw on the Bucks and the crowd applauded. O’Reilly hit 9 butterfly suplexes on Matt, who managed to stumble into a tag to Nick. Nick took a tandem German suplex with a bridge, but Matt broke up the pin. A short time later, Cole dragged Nick to the outside and hit a German suplex on the apron. O’Reilly went for a flying knee off the apron on Nick, but he got out of the way. Cole and Matt went at it alone in the ring. Nick came back into the ring and the bucks hit stereo superkicks on Cole. The Bucks then hit more bang for your buck for the win.

Winners: Matt & Nick Jackson

D - - THE YOUNG BUCKS (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. ANX (Kenny King & Rhett Titus)

Nick went for a springboard dive as ANX made their entrance, but they got out of the way. ANX tossed Matt into a barrier at ringside as Kelly mentioned the Bucks had injured Titus’s knee at a recent live event. They missed a shot of King hitting a move off the ring barrier onto Matt. King hit another dive off the apron onto Matt. King and Titus tossed Matt into the ring, but Nick grabbed Titus from the outside and drove his knee into the ringpost. King went at it alone, but the Bucks sent him to the outside. Nick tossed King back into the ring and Matt taunted him as Titus crawled around at ringside.

The Bucks continued to work over King with Titus unable to get up at ringside while he sold his knee. Matt choked King in the corner and the crowd didn’t react at all. Nick went for a superkick, but King caught his leg and suplexed him. The crowd woke up and tried to rally behind King. Titus finally got the hot tag and went to town on the Bucks. Titus limped around while going after the Bucks, but managed to maintain the advantage. Matt hit Titus from behind, but Titus caught him moments later with a sit out powerbomb for a 2 count. Nick broke up the pin and wiped out King, who landed awkwardly. The Bucks went for a springboard on King’s knee, but King caught Matt and hit the coronation. Matt caught King a short time later with a springboard DDT on the apron.

Titus and Nick went at it in the ring. Nick hit a big elbow and kicked Titus’s knee, but Titus fired back with a big clothesline. Titus set up for a suplex on Nick and the crowd woke up a little, but Matt took out his legs from under him from behind. Matt locked in a leg submission and taunted Titus. Nick then came off the top and hit Titus with a 450. The ref called for the bell and awarded the match to the Bucks.

Winners: Matt & Nick Jackson to earn a future shot at the ROH World Tag Team Titles.

Star rating: (**1/2) – There were some bright spots, especially when the Bucks took on Future Shock, but the crowd was dead for most of the match and didn’t really get behind the injury angle with Titus’s knee that took place once it came down to the Bucks vs. ANX. The Bucks did a good job slowing things down and working as heels, but this only partially connected with the crowd.

After the match, Nick hit another 450 on Titus. King then ran into the ring with a chair to make the save. King checked on Titus after the match and several referees came out to help him to the back.

Kelly asked McGuinness if he had been considered for the Roderick Strong Invitational Challenge. McGuiness brushed it off and said Truth Martini didn’t want Strong to wrestle.

Roderick Strong made his entrance with Truth Martini for the Roderick Strong invitational challenge. Strong got on the mic. He said ROH said they had enlisted has-beens and no-names to face him. Strong asked for the bell to be rung so he could go party. Martini got on the mic and said he was going to count until 10. He asked the fans to count along with him. Martini said this was going to be a lot of fun. Truth got to 10 and Chris Hero’s music played. The crowd exploded as Hero made his entrance.

6 - - RODERICK STRONG vs. CHRIS HERO – Roderick Strong Invitational Challenge

Strong tried to take down Hero with a shoulder tackle, but he wouldn’t go down. He flipped around the ropes and nailed Strong with a kick for a one count. Martini came in on commentary, but he could barely be heard. He seemed to be complaining about Hero being in the match. Hero began lighting up Strong with chops as the crowd chanted for Hero. Strong fired back, but Hero caught him with a running kick and Strong went to the outside. Hero missed a charge on the apron, but landed on his feet on the outside. Martini then nailed Hero with the Book of Truth to give Strong the upper hand.

Strong lifted Hero up and dropped him back-first onto the apron. Strong tossed Hero back into the ring and continued to work him over in the ring. The crowd started chanting for both men as Strong choked Hero with his boot in the ring. Strong put the boots to Hero and stood on him using the ropes for leverage. Hero tried to shove Strong away, but Strong nailed him with a running kick. Strong took Hero outside and tossed him into the guardrail. Strong distracted to the ref and Martini went to work over Hero again on the outside. Strong tossed Hero back into the ring, but Hero nailed him with a dropkick and Strong fell to the outside. They brawled on the outside and Strong ended up driving Hero knee-first into the barricade.

Strong grounded Hero inside the ring and covered him for a 2 count. Strong put the boots to Hero. Hero kept sitting up and Strong kept kicking him back down to the mat. Hero fired back with a chop and Strong replied with a forearm. Both men began exchanging forearms and Hero finally caught Strong with a dropkick off the ropes. Both men were down as the ref began to count. Strong sold his arm after Hero’s dropkick. Hero mounted some offense and hit a big powerslam followed by a back senton. Strong rolled to the outside. Hero went for dive, but ended up flipping over the ropes and landing on his feet. Hero then caught Strong with a dropkick through the ropes on the other side of the ring. Hero measured Strong in the corner and nailed him with a boot to the head.

The crowd took turns chanting for both men. Strong countered a neckbreaker into a running knee on Hero for a 2 count. Strong draped Hero over the top turnbuckle. Hero tried to fight back, but Strong nailed him with a kick to the back. Strong followed up with a backbreaker on the top rope for a nearfall. Strong then applied the Stronghold. Hero fired back and escaped the hold before nailing Strong with a cravat suplex. Hero nailed Strong with a rolling elbow moments later for another 2 count. Strong fired back and hit a series of moves on Hero. Strong hit a gut buster and then a Gibson driver, but Hero kicked out.

Strong hit several punches, but Hero fired back with an elbow. They began exchanging chops. Hero caught Strong with an elbow and a roaring elbow. Hero hit another rolling elbow, but Strong got right up and ate a roaring kick to the head for a 2 count. Hero set up Strong and hit the death blow, but Martini broke up the pin. The ref stared at Martini, but didn’t throw the match out. Hero went after Martini, but Strong rolled him up for a 2 count. Hero went for a kick on Strong, but connected with Martini. Strong then connected with the sick kick on Hero for the pin.

Winner: Roderick Strong

Star rating: (***) – This was a good match that featured a lot of solid exchanges from both men. The crowd was excited to see Hero, but it’s hard to get a hang on how the crowd is reacting with the audio levels going up and down. Martini’s constant interference took things down a notch at times, but it helps play up Strong’s heel character. Strong is still failing to come across like a heel when he wrestles.

Kelly said they were going to go to a video package for the Briscoes-WGTT match, but they ended up just going to the Briscoes entrance.

The Briscoes came out to a big pop from the crowd. Haas & Benjamin then came out to a mixed reaction. The fans chanted for the Briscoes as Bobby Cruise began to do the formal ring introductions. Haas & Benjamin got a lot of boos when they were introduced confirming ROH did a great job building the Briscoes as heels on television.

Haas and Benjamin nailed the Briscoes with the titles before the bell rang.

7 - - WGTT (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) vs. THE BRISCOES (Jay & Mark Briscoe) – ROH World Tag Team Title match

The action spilled to the outside and Haas suplexed Jay onto the barricade. Benjamin suplexed Mark on the entrance ramp. Back at ringside, Haas went to town on Jay. Benjamin appeared to be hitting Mark with a chair, but the camera cut away. Shelton slammed Mark face-first into a chair that was set up on the apron. Benjamin then whipped Mark into an unprotected chairshot from Haas. Shelton wore out Jay inside the ring with chairshots to the back. On the outside, Mark took a suplex onto the barricade from Haas. The announcers said the match still hadn’t officially started. Haas nailed Jay with several hard chairshots to the back and then chased away the ref. The crowd chanted “F--- you, Charlie” at Haas. Haas dragged Jay into the ring and held him up for Shelton. Shelton grabbed a chair and drove it into Jay’s mid-section. Shelton held Jay’s arm and Haas nailed it with a chair. Haas drove the point of the chair into Mark’s head. McGuinness called another chairshot to the head. Jay took another unprotected chairshot to the head.

Haas and Benjamin posed for the crowd as Jay bled. The ref tried to restore order, but couldn’t. The bell finally rung and the match started. Mark took on Haas & Benjamin by himself after Jay took the leap of faith. Shelton spiked Mark with a big DDT as the crowd tried to rally behind Mark. Jay ran into the ring and cut off Shelton going for the leap of faith on Mark with a superkick. The fans chanted for the Briscoes as Jay went face-to-face with Haas. The crowd cheered each time Jay hit a strike and booed each time Haas hit one. Haas won the exchange and Shelton went for a dive in the corner and sold his ribs after. Mark recovered and hit a spear before tagging in Jay. The Briscoe tossed Shelton across the ring with a double team toss. Jay then went to work on Benjamin’s ribs.

Benjamin fired back and tagged in Haas, who took out Mark and Jay. Haas then hit a big exploder suplex on Jay for a 2 count. Haas hit a powerslam on Jay, but Mark broke it up. Benjamin immediately tossed Mark to the outside. Benjamin ended up getting tossed into the ring barrier by forces of nature because the camera shot missed it. Mark fired back on Haas in the ring and sent him into the turnbuckles with a dropkick. Jay covered Haas, but the cameras showed Mark walking around the ring and not the pin.

The Briscoes went for a springboard Jay-driller on Haas, but Shelton broke it up. Haas then hit a series of German suplexes on Mark. The crowd booed as Haas got up and posed. Kelly said he was shocked Haas and Benjamin were getting boos. What show has he been watching? Haas applied the Haas of pain on Jay. Mark came off the top, but Benjamin got in the way and took the blow on his ribs for Haas. The Briscoes stood tall over Haas. Jay held up Haas as Shelton was taken to the back by officials. Mark went to town on Haas with punches. Haas fired back and took out both Briscoes, but ended up hitting the ref with Mark when attempting an Olympic slam. Benjamin crawled back out through the curtain with a piece of woods. Benjamin cracked the board over Mark’s head and the crowd booed. The crowd chanted “USA” in tribute to Jim Duggan. Haas nailed Jay with a shot to the back with the board. Haas & Benjamin set up Jay for the doomsday device, but Mark broke it up by hitting Shelton with a piece of the broken table. The Briscoes then hit the doomsday device on Haas for the pin.

Winners: The Briscoes to become the new ROH World Tag Team Champions

Star rating: (n/a) – The unprotected chairshots to the head took me out of the match. The commentary was ridiculous with McGuinness, who has suffered several concussions in the ring, urging the Briscoes to get their hands up to block them. The best part was that the Briscoes didn’t block the unprotected chairshots. The match told a decent enough story, but the booking blew up in Cornette’s face, as the fans didn’t get behind Haas & Benjamin getting their revenge with the Briscoes never getting over as heels on television. I’m really disappointed with ROH management tolerating this type of reckless action on the card.

Kelly said Edwards vs. Richards would take place next.

Both men got good pops coming out it seems, although the audio is muted. Richards was showered with streamers once he got into the ring. Cruise then did the formal ring introductions. The crowd roared as both men went face-to-face. They ended up shaking hands before the ref rang the bell.

8 - - DAVEY RICHARDS (w/Tony Kozina & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. EDDIE EDWARDS (w/Dan Severn) – ROH World Title match

Edwards charged at Richards. Richards fired back, but Edwards caught him with a chop. Edwards nearly got the dragon sleeper, but Richards slipped out and they eventually came to a stalemate. The crowd was split and took turns chanting for both men. It seemed that Richards was getting a bigger chant than Edwards. Edwards took Richards down to the mat, but Richards countered and went after his leg with a submission. Richards backed Edwards into the ropes and offered a clean break, but Edwards shoved him away and sent him down to the mat. Edwards grounded Richards and grabbed a chinlock. Edwards backed Richards into the corner and nailed him with a big chop.

Richards fired back and grounded Edwards. Severn shouted encouragement as Richards locked in a version of the scorpion death lock with a hammerlock on Edwards. Edwards struggled, but got the ropes. Richards came off the ropes, but Edwards hit him with a suplex. Richards rolled to the outside and Edwards nailed him with a chop. Both men exchanged blows on the outside. Richards ended up driving Edwards into the barricade and he followed up with a running kick. Richards sent Edwards back into the ring where Edwards met him with a chop. Edwards locked in a leg submission and bridged his weight onto his neck. Richards eventually broke Edwards’s bridge to escape the hold. Richards ducked Edwards charging him in the corner and Edwards spilled to the floor.

Richards followed up with a kick off the apron. He then hit a dive through the ropes and it sounded like a few people clapped. Richards got to his feet and pumped his fist. Richards followed up with a doublestomp off the top for a 2 count. Richards pummeled Edwards with left and right forearm shots. Edwards slumped against the ropes, but didn’t go down. Richards nailed him with a running knee and suplexed Edwards to the mat for a 2 count. Richards hit a running knee in the corner. Edwards went for a chop, but Richards caught his arm. Richards eventually rolled through on Edwards after a series of counters and grabbed an ankle lock. Edwards shoved Richards off and grabbed a single leg crab. Richards escaped and countered it into a small package for a 2 count.

Edwards ended up getting up and hit a modified Michinoku driver that left both men down. Edwards hit a big chop in the corner and the camera went wonky. Apparently, Edwards grounded Richards for a 2 count. Edwards told Richards to bring it and they began exchanging strikes. Richards went for a handspring, but Edwards caught him and tossed him over the ropes to the outside. Edwards then went for a springboard moonsault and it looked nasty as he went right into the barricade. Back inside the ring, Edwards hit a backpack chinbreaker as the fans appeared to be in a trance in the background.

The fans tried to start clapping and Richards went for a cross-arm breaker, but Edwards rolled his weight on top of him for a nearfall. Edwards then applied an STF. Edwards grabbed both of Richards’s arms and stomped away at him in a shout out to Daniel Bryan’s days in ROH. Richards and Edwards went face-to-face and Richards nailed Edwards with a hard slap to the face. Both men began exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. Edwards caught Richards with a superkick, but Edwards hit a big clothesline. Edwards kicked out at one and Richards hit another big clothesline a short time later for a 2 count.

Richards hit a running kick to Edwards’s chest and a doublestomp off the top for a 2 count. Both men were down as the crowd tried to rally behind them. Now I can hear them! Edwards and Richards began exchanging headbutts on the top rope. Richards nailed Edwards with a kick and climbed back up top. Richards hit a superplex, but Edwards rolled through and suplexed Richards over the ropes to the outside and the crowd popped.

The ref counted with both men down on the outside. Both men hit kicks at the same time. They then began exchanging strikes in the middle of the ring. Richards hit a big kick to Edwards’s chest, but Edwards fired back with a chop. The crowd chanted for both men as they exchanged strikes. Edwards drove Richards into the corner and nailed him with Kobashi chops. Richards fired back with a series of kicks. Edwards fired back with more chops in the corner, but the crowd just isn’t reacting to their exchanges this time around. Richards finally grounded Edwards and nailed him with a big kick to the chest.

Edwards staggered out of the corner and told Richards to bring it. Edwards slapped Davey across the face and they began exchanging chops and kicks. Richards kicked Edwards in the face several times. Edwards slapped Richards. They repeated the spot several times. Neither man would go down. Both men no-sold suplexes on their heads. The crowd isn’t reacting at all except for a polite applause. Both men went down after no-selling suplexes. Richards hit the alarm clock, but Edwards nailed him with a kick to the head and both men were down.

Roderick Strong came down to ringside. O’Reilly got in his face and got tossed into the barricade. Strong then tossed Kozina into the barricade. Severn confronted Strong. Strong tried to back off, but Severn nailed him with several shots. Elgin ran out and Severn took him out. Severn got his hands on Truth Martini and carried him to the back.

Edwards and Richards were down after the brawl at ringside. They got to their feet and went face-to-face. Richards dug deep and nailed Edwards with a forearm. They began exchanging blows in the middle of the ring again. They traded some running boots and Edwards finally took Richards down with a double underhook suplex that launched Richards into the turnbuckles. The crowd began clapping the barriers at ringside as Edwards set up Richards on the top turnbuckle. Richards fought back, but Edwards caught him with a knee.

Edwards hit a top rope hurricanrana. Richards got up and Edwards pummeled him with a series of power moves capped by a sit out powerbomb for a nearfall. Of course, Kelly said new champion during that spot. Edwards hit a superkick on Richards. He then hit a chop and covered Richards for a 2 count. Edwards locked in the dragon sleeper, but Richards slipped out and got a bridging pin for a 2 count. Eddie got the dragon sleeper again, but the crowd didn’t react at all. Edwards then lifted Richards up and hit a tombstone. Edwards followed up with the die hard, but Richards kicked out. The crowd chanted “this is awesome” as Edwards went back on the attack.

Both men battled up top again. Richards went for a sunset powerbomb, but Edwards blocked it. Richards eventually hit a half-nelson superplex for another nearfall and the crowd applauded. Richards dragged Edwards out to the apron. Edwards countered a suplex attempt. They then began exchanging chops and kicks, but Richards ended up tossing Edwards to the floor over his shoulder and the crowd applauded. The ref counted as Edwards was down on the outside and Richards was down inside the ring. The ref’s count reached 19, but Edwards walked right into a kick to the head from Richards. Richards then followed up with a German on the apron and Edwards went back to the outside.

The crowd chanted for Richards as the ref counted. Edwards struggled, but beat the ref’s count as Richards sold frustration sitting in the corner. The crowd entertained themselves with a “this is wrestling” chant. Richards stood over Edwards as he crawled towards him. Richards looked at Edwards and told him it ends right now. Richards kicked Edwards in the head twice, but he kicked out. Richards grabbed an ankle lock, but Edwards countered and rolled him up for a 2 count. Edwards fought him off and Richards awkwardly went around him to bounce off the ropes and kick him in the head for a nearfall. Richards looked at Edwards, who was on his knees. Richards kicked Edwards in the head several times, capped by a spinning kick for the win.

Winner: Davey Richards to retain the ROH World Title

Star rating: (***1/2) – The match started really slow, but they got the crowd into towards the end. I’d like to see Edwards and Richards both work and sell their submissions better. They did a lot of submission work in this match and the crowd just didn’t buy into it very much. There were times when the crowd bought into certain spots, but it didn’t feel like they were emotionally invested in the action.

After the match, Richards got on the mic. He said when he got to the building today Cornette something to him about putting over the winner as a tough guy. Richards said he didn’t need to put over how tough Edwards is. Richards said he would be there for him when he got over whatever was tearing him apart.

Steen came out and mocked tears for Richards. He promised to take Richards apart. He told Richards to take his MMA group and finish his jerk-fest in the back. Steen said what matters tonight is that he’s back. Steen promised to take the ROH title from Richards. Steen promised to hold the company hostage. Steen concluded that he’s Kevin Steen, the anti-Christ of pro wrestling. Steen left after saying, Merry Christmas, b----“ to Richards. Kelly wondered if ROH would be held hostage. Kelly signed off wishing everyone a happy holiday and a happy new year.

Overall thoughts: (3.5) – This was an exhausting and disappointing show in many ways. The crowd seemed to get burned out after the first half of the show. A big hamper on the show was the production, which was awful in terms of missed shots and bad audio quality. An even bigger issue here was the number of unprotected blows to the head during the Corino-Steen and Briscoes-WGTT matches. That’s unacceptable in 2011 given all of the long-term ramifications.

If anyone knows about concussions, it’s Nigel McGuinness, who sat at ringside and ironically urged Jay Briscoe to get his hands up right before he took an unprotected chairshot flush to the head. ROH management has to put an end to any and all chairshots to the head immediately. At the very least, the locker room has to band together and insist they end.

I was uncomfortable and upset by a lot of things I saw on this show. Instead of thinking about matches and storylines, I’m wondering where Kevin Steen, Steve Corino, Charlie Haas, Shelton Benjamin, Jay Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe are going to be in terms of their health in ten years. If a wrestler knows how to work they don’t have to resort to chairshots and brutal bumps to sell DVDs and pop a crowd on the independent scene. I hope to never see a show filled with this many dangerous bumps and unprotected chairshots again.




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