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Published: March 5, 2012
By Jared Silberkleit - ROH’s 10th Anniversary Show wasn’t a bad show by any means, but compared to most ROH iPPV outings it was a bit weak. The show seemed primarily focused on advancing storylines and continuing the build to the Showdown in the Sun shows, which are due to take place on the weekend of Wrestlemania XXVIII. I attended the show live, and this was my sixth consecutive live ROH show in the Manhattan Center in New York City. Typically when ROH runs this venue, they pull out all the stops to deliver a fantastic card full of great matches. Here we got one great match, and nothing else really hit that level nor was given enough time to do so. In addition, the production of this show was very choppy, with inconsistent audio and poorly handled video packages that overlapped the commentary. Still, for those thinking about checking the show out on iPPV, it is only $10 to order the replay on GoFightLive, so it’s worth that price. In the end it was a good show, but ROH iPPV shows usually far surpass “good”. The highlight of the show was actually the crowd consistently imitating the Daniel Bryan “Yes” chants throughout the entire night. They did it between every match, and even during some matches. So Bryan, even though he hasn’t been in ROH in 3 years, is still the most over guy in the company.
The show began with a short in-ring promo with Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness. They briefly introduced the audience to the iPPV and Nigel cut a great promo where he talked about the company getting started in 2002 and proving that pro wrestling was still alive. Kevin then led us into the first match of the night.
This was not the type of match you want to open a show. Usually opening matches are fairly fast-paced and designed to pop the crowd to get them into the show early on. This was very slow, methodical, and honestly a little boring. Rhett Titus made his return from a knee injury in this match and didn’t look very impressive. He’s put on a little bit of weight in the time off and he was a little rusty. Most of the match consisted of Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin working over Rhett’s leg. They played strong heels and the crowd was into the match but the wrestling was just dull. Live this came off a little better due to the crowd reactions, but the crowd wasn’t mic’d well tonight so this was a bit less enjoyable on GFL. Eventually Kenny King got a hot tag and they had decent 2-3 minute finishing sequence. King hit a Code Red for a near fall before getting the pin on Shelton by reversing a roll-up into one of his own. Putting ANX over was the right call but this was far beneath the potential of both teams. Match Time: 13:34 Star Rating: **1/4
Just like at Final Battle, ROH is attempting to do post-match replays. They once again had issues as the audio was all screwed up. Good intentions but the production team just doesn’t seem capable of doing this stuff effectively right now. This unfortunately continued throughout the show.
Bennett cut his usual heel, anti-NYC promo before the bell. Homicide was crazy over tonight. Most ROH fans were crapping on him in the early part of last year when he was a full-time roster member and being pushed towards the main event, but he can be really effective in a part-time role, especially at the NYC shows. As for this match though, it was pretty much your typical Bennett match, with him working over Homicide with his methodical offense. Fairly average for the most part aside from the crowd being into Homicide. The crowd was chanting “CM Punk” at Maria Kanellis, who was at ringside, so Homicide played into that by hitting Bennett with the Go to Sleep towards the end. Homicide gets distracted with Maria and Bennett rolls him up for the pin. After the match Homicide led the crowd in a “Let’s Go Yankees” chant and wished ROH a happy birthday. Live this was a little more enjoyable because of Homicide’s antics. Match Time: 10:47 Star Rating: **1/4
Eddie Kingston, the CHIKARA Grand Champion, then comes out for a promo. ROH will be partnering with CHIKARA for a special double-header in Chicago on April 28, and it looks like the two will be co-promoting on shows to build up to that. Kingston was talking about how great it was to be back in NYC before Kevin Steen comes out. A hilarious moment occurred early on when a fan chanted “Show Your Tits” at Kevin Steen, playing off the same chant being directed at Maria in the last match. Steen proposes that Kingston align with him to destroy ROH and CHIKARA and rebuild both together. Kingston declines, saying that CHIKARA is his home and that ROH is a great company. Steen calls CHIKARA a bull***t Mickey Mouse promotion, infuriating Kingston. The two then come to blows and security quickly runs out to separate them. Fire Ant, Green Ant, and Jigsaw then run out to attack Steen, with Fire Ant hitting a huge flip dive onto everybody on the outside. As a diehard fan of both ROH and CHIKARA I thought this was outstanding, but I think a lot of the fans in attendance were unfamiliar with CHIKARA and didn’t understand the significance. Still, it looks like we’ve got a hell of a main event for that Chicago show.
This was Red’s first ROH appearance since 2003. This would have been a perfect choice as the opener, but it is understandable that ROH wanted Red to be anticipated a little bit since it was his return. This was a ton of fun to watch. Elgin is so great as part of a big man-little man dynamic and this match had wall-to-wall action throughout. TJ and Red’s fast-paced offense was really exciting and they clicked well as a tag team, while Strong and Elgin brought the goods with the high-impact power offense. Red scored with the Code Red for a near fall, which got a big reaction. Strong and Elgin get the win at the end with an Alabama Slam-backbreaker combination on Red while Truth Martini holds TJ’s foot from the apron. Very good match, I’d love to see Red make future appearances for ROH. Match Time: 11:10 Star Rating: ***1/4
After picking up some momentum with the Steen/Kingston segment and the previous match, the show sank back to mediocrity with this match. Ciampa has been improving in recent months but took several steps backward with this match. The first 10 minutes were very boring, and the crowd was just not reacting to Ciampa’s dull offense whatsoever. Lethal hit a superkick out of nowhere and the match then finally got going. Lethal scored a near fall with the Savage elbow drop and Ciampa hit a crazy Celtic Cross on the ring apron. They went back into the ring for a bit of back and forth before the 15 minute time limit expires while Lethal unloads on Ciampa with punches in the corner. The fans chant 5 more minutes but we didn’t get it. After the bell Ciampa hit the Project Ciampa before leaving with the TV title. What a crappy finish. Live I thought the draw was telegraphed based on the pacing, but on GFL it was even more telegraphed based on the commentary. A non-finish to a championship match on PPV is just ridiculous, and a terrible way to end the first half of the show. Not just that, but the whole time limit draw has already been so played out on the TV show, which left an even worse taste in the mouth. Match Time: 15:00 Star Rating: **1/4
During intermission, on GFL they aired a nice video package that recapped some of the best moments/matches in ROH history. This included Bryan Danielson vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Low Ki from The Era of Honor Begins, Samoa Joe vs. Kenta Kobashi, Nigel McGuinness and Eddie Edwards’ title wins, and CM Punk’s farewell among others.
This was disappointing considering that these are two of the best tag teams in the entire world. It was still a good match, but these teams can have good matches in their sleep. The TV show has mainly been building up Briscoes/WGTT rather than Briscoes/Bucks, so the Bucks were already at a disadvantage going in. Action was fairly well paced and you can tell the teams have chemistry together, but they’ve had several great matches against each other in the past and seemed to be holding back here. Bucks hit a lot of superkicks throughout but the Briscoes dominated most of the match. Ending saw the Bucks go for More Bang For Your Buck, but Jay Briscoe blocked the 450 splash and Mark shoved Matt Jackson off the top rope to the floor. Briscoes hit the Doomsday Device to Nick for the pin. Good, but nowhere close to what these teams are capable of. Match Time: 13:12 Star Rating: ***1/4
After the entrances for the next match, Steve Corino got on the mic. He said that things had gone too far with Steen, and that he wasn’t going to allow what happened to him at Final Battle happen to Jacobs tonight. Corino tried to call off the match and Steen confronted him, but Jacobs attacked Steen from behind and the match began anyway.
Jacobs had the old Age of the Fall overcoat on, the one that had the Briscoes’ blood on it from Man Up 2007. Live the action was very difficult to follow because everyone was standing up. Steen stood on the barricade near the entrance ramp but Jacobs slammed him off the barricade onto the ramp. Steen grabbed one of the barricades, laid it flat on the ground, and slammed Jacobs on it twice. Jacobs hit a tornado DDT off the ramp onto another barricade on the ground. Great spot where Jacobs speared Steen off the apron through a table on the floor. Steen countered the Contra Code by dropping Jacobs back-first on two chairs set up side-by-side. The finish was excellent. Jacobs stabbed Steen with the spike and Steen’s face was a bloody mess. However, Jacobs was stunned at what he had done and even a bit remorseful. This allowed Steen to take the spike and spike Jacobs in the crotch before hitting the F-Cinque on 2 chairs set up back-to-back for the win. Devastating. This wasn’t on the level of Corino/Steen from Final Battle, but still was a very good hardcore match with some really cool spots and even some storytelling. They didn’t go too crazy, but they didn’t need to because the feud didn’t call for something as extreme as the Final Battle match. Steen continues to build momentum. Match Time: 14:56 Star Rating: ***1/2
The buildup for this on the TV show wasn’t very good, mainly due to the weak promos by almost all of the participants leading into the match. In addition, fans just aren’t nearly as into Davey or Eddie as they were when they clashed at Best in the World 2011. Still, all four of these guys are great in-ring wrestlers and they put together a great main event. Great grappling sequences early on, especially between Eddie and O’Reilly. O’Reilly is very young but he’s one of the best guys on the independent scene when it comes to incorporating MMA-style offense into his repertoire and making it believable. O’Reilly applied a crossface at one point, which fired up the “Yes” chants from the crowd. Eddie launched Cole over the ropes onto Davey and O’Reilly on the outside before doing an asai moonsault himself. Eddie and Davey stared each other in the face as they both applied single leg crabs. Davey and Eddie hit simultaneous suplexes over the ropes to the floor on Cole and O’Reilly. Eddie chopped O’Reilly repeatedly in one corner while Davey kicked Cole repeatedly in another. Davey hit a top rope double stomp to Cole as O’Reilly hit a running dropkick off the apron to Eddie. Cole hit a crazy tornado DDT to O’Reilly off the apron through a table at ringside. Davey and Eddie went back and forth with some great counters before Cole got a sudden tag and pinned Davey with a cross body off the top. That finish put Cole over like a million bucks, and the crowd at times was actually more into him than Davey. Great decision to let him get the win. The match was interesting in that it was well paced from start-to-finish, but didn’t have a tremendous amount of believable near falls where you thought the match was over. The only complaint I have is the length. Once again, we got a marathon ROH main event that didn’t need to be as long as it was. Shave 15 minutes off of this thing and it would have been just as effective. Still, there was really good storytelling and it was great to see Cole and O’Reilly get a chance in the main event. Match Time: 39:35 Star Rating: ****1/4
After the match, Davey is man enough to congratulate Cole, but O’Reilly gets on the mic and says he doesn’t respect Eddie or Cole. Davey is about to respond but Kevin Steen appears in the lower balcony with a mic and cuts him off. Steen says he doesn’t respect any of the 4 and says that the real main event tonight should have been him vs. Davey for the ROH World Title. Steen says until Davey can get Jim Cornette to change his mind and grant him a title match, he is going to be Davey’s worst nightmare. He calls Davey a ju-jitsu jackoff and ends the promo mocking The Rock by saying “ju-jitsu jackoff, trending worldwide!” They’ve been building Davey/Steen very well thus far, but it’s just unfortunate that the wait is so long for the match. The fans are into Steen so much more than the current main event scene, so by delaying this Steen/Davey match they’re really making a lot of main events very tough to sit through because the fans all know that the big match isn’t here yet. Overall Kevin Steen was not just the star, but the lifeblood of this show. He is literally carrying ROH on his back right now.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Tagged with: 10th Anniversary, Anniversary Show, Chants, Daniel Bryan, Fantastic Card, Ippv, Jared, Kevin Kelly, Manhattan Center, Night Express, Pro Wrestling, Replay, Roh, Storylines, Tag Team, Th Anniversary, Video Packages, Wolves, Wrestlemania, Young Wolves