1.) Kyle O'Reilly & Adam Cole vs. The All Night Express - G:6 B:5
Geo: This match really showed how the team of Kenny King and Rhett Titus are really coming into their own. I believe Prazak said that Rhett Titus was the most improved ROH wrestler of 2010 -- no doubt. He's become more clean in the execution of his moves and his selling has improved by leaps and bounds. Kenny King has always been rather high on my list because of his athletic prowess, but this match didn't show much in his selling ability, which was disappointing. Now, the team of O'Reilly and Cole are absolutely tearing it up in ROH. Kudos to whoever thought of that team because these two guys play off one another so well and work a similar style. Kyle O'Reilly is everything I like about Davey Richards and nothing I dislike. Kid is going to go places. The sprint atmosphere in the match set the bar for the rest of the night, with both men busting out huge spots and great sequences.
Brian: This was a fun way to start their biggest show of the year, fast-paced, no lulls, good action throughout. I dug Titus' kneebreaker/back suplex combo. I nearly spilled my bowl of popcorn when King hit a flying DDT on the apron on Cole which was so ill. They kept the big spots coming. O'Reilly hit a beautiful flying missile dropkick out to the floor on King. They got a great nearfall off of King's shotgun knees in the corner. You can see why PWI ranked King #96 in the world in '10, although, he'd rank a bit higher on my ballot.
2.) Colt Cabana vs. TJP - B:4 G:4
Brian: The mileage you'll get out of this will vary on your ability to stomach each guy's respective shtick. It's a match that I took zero notes on because it amounted to a lot of countering, posturing, and jockeying for control and a roll-up finish that crept up out of nowhere. Still, these guys are damn good at what they do, seamless transitions, maestro mat work, etc. so if you're a fan of high-level actual wrestling you'll probably at least find this as an enjoyable diversion as I did.
Geo: Was happy to see that TJP hung in with Cabana's mat style. He worked with Colt really well and showed that he was indeed able to stay up with Cabana's comedy catch style. TJP went from being an indy slob to a legitimate worker in record breaking time, and watching him put uo with Cabana only spoke more to his versatility in the ring. Cabana was goofy as usual and tried his best to make TJP looked good tonight.
3.) Daizee Haze & Awesome Kong vs. Serena Deeb & Sara Del Rey - G:5 B:4
Geo: The team of Deeb and Del Rey is something I can definitely dig. Both have a presence in the ring that is unrivaled on the women's independent scene. Seeing Haze, Del Rey, and Kong mix it up earlier in the year in CHIKARA, I knew that I should expect some great stuff. This match served as a jumping off point for Deeb, making her return to the indy scene after a lackluster run in WWE. Serena looked good. She was stiff and wasn't timid to get in the ring with Kong. This might sound crazy, but I sensed a bit of laziness in the work of Kong. She really looked like she was phoning it in a bit. You can't pull that shit at FB! Del Rey and Haze, being the well-traveled and experienced American joshi stars they are, gave it their all and pulled out some nice maneuvers. Good match. Also, I'm going on record and saying this: Sara Del Rey is the best Shimmer wrestler today. There.
Brian: I liked this well enough but didn't find it particularly special or worthy of the lengthy build it received over the last few months on ROH on HDNet. I didn't feel the hate. I didn't feel like Serena showed enough to really get a sense of how she'd contribute positively to ROH. Kong's Implant Buster on Del Rey was fucking dope! I loved that shit. Geo, as far as Del Rey being the best in Shimmer? I don't buy it. I'd put her definitely behind Stock (Sarita), Hamada, and LuFisto, and I could see a case for Kurihara, Perez, and Martinez as being better, too.
4.) Eddie Edwards vs. Sonjay Dutt - B:5 G:4
Brian: Dutt busted out a very Sabu-like spot, draping Eddie across the guardrail, then busting out a flying legdrop. Dutt and Sabu are both bald, now they're borrowing each other's stuff? Edwards sat Dutt on the top rope and tried a flying hurricanrana that didn't come off real precise but I applaud the effort. I really loved the sequence where they were countering each other's signature submissions, Dutt's camel clutch and Edwards' Achilles lock respectively. Dutt did a great sell off of Edwards' Chin Checker (backpack stunner), very understated and nuanced but I've got a keen eye for that sort of detail. Dueling superkick spot was stupid. I liked this more than I'd anticipated.
Geo: About the match you'd expect these two to have. Sonjay doesn't look like he's missed a beat since being let go from TNA. His use of the ring as a weapon was great, especially using the ropes to assist him with his fancy footwork. Edwards looked a bit more "off" than he usually does. His speed wasn't there and his style looked very cooperative with Sonjay. Almost like he had an bowel issue. Thinking more about this, it was probably an attempt to get Sonjay over again with the ROH faithful. Edwards hit a sick powerbomb which folded Sonjay in half. Decent little match, but by no means the best these two can do.
5.) Homicide vs. Christopher Daniels - G:4 B:2
Geo: Homicide has packed it on like a plate of biscuits at Waffle House, but he still works great. The mat wrestling was a really great way to start the match, allowing ample build to a finish. Homicide still shows that recklessness and craziness with his tope con hilo, which he put a little extra oomph on. Daniels look crisp, clean, and professional by willing to sell and bump for 'Cide, making him look like a guy twice his size. There was an absolutely stupid ref bump in the match that wasn't necessary. I'm noticing something here: none of these guys are wrestling to their full potential. The past matches have been "good" at best, sans the opener. This is probably an effort not to overshadow the upper card.
Brian: I didn't care for this at all. Geo liked the opening matwork, in terms of it being a story cog, I guess it laid the foundation, but in terms of its execution it was perfunctory at best. It felt like two trainees in the gym warming up by taking turns doing side headlocks. Two guys that have been in this business this long should have used this as an opportunity to break some new ground but these guys rested on their laurels worse than George Lucas. This felt like an ROH on HDNet opener at best.
6.) Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, & Shane Hagedorn vs. Mark, Jay, and Mike "Papa" Briscoe - B:6 G:5
Brian: This was a lot of fun. It wasn't the best example of the rather solid KoW vs. Briscoes feud but was a nice change of pace in contrast to all of the straight-forward wrestling on the show. Papa Briscoe, my hats off, he really was the MVP in this. I was shocked and marked out when the Briscoes' old man busted out a spinning headscissors. The spot where he kissed the evil valet (in this case Sara Del Rey) was so '80's and was done a bunch (inc. an innumerable amount of times to Sherri Martel) but worked great here. Papa ate a Hero rolling knockout elbow with gusto and later, in the finish, with a son pulled off a devastating Doomsday Device that made Road Warrior Animal regret his last WWE run where he showed up 45lbs. overweight.
Geo: Papa looks more like grandpapa, more saggy than Ric Flair. Hero was trying his damnedest to make Papa look like a legitimate threat, but I didn't buy it. As a matter of fact, I really couldn't buy this guy A: being a Briscoe, and B: being able to function at any capacity in the ring at all. Claudio also bumped around for Papa, selling a Stunner like he was hit by a truck. Not buyin' it. Jay was the MVP of this match. His intensity and level of aggression was unrivaled by anyone thus far, and he looked like he was on a mission to have the KoW's heads. The novelty of having an old man and a piece of crap like Hagedorn in the match held it back. A lot.
7.) Davey Richards vs. Roderick Strong - G:7 B:6
Geo: I'm going into this with an open mind, seeing as how the rest of the card has been lackluster. Roderick having to need Truth Martini with him takes away from his ability to be the champ. Truth adds a sense of goofiness to Roderick that he just doesn't need. Match-wise, this was good. Davey was bringing it tonight, and Roderick wasn't letting up. Some great boots by Davey, along witha sickening tope to the outside that saw Davey hit his back on the top of the guardrail. Davey went for his handspring elbow, but Roderick counted with a dropkick to the abdomen, which Davey sold by clutching his stomach and writing in pain. Davey also had some great transitions, including a powerbomb into a cross arm breaker. Nearfalls were a bit overdone, but both guys brought it and looked great.
Brian: This was pretty good, it lacked the emotional wallop of a lot of other big ROH main events from previous years, thanks to guys like Nigel sitting the bar so high. While there were a lot of nearfalls, as Geo mentioned, and is per normal when talking about '10 Richards, I admit I got pulled into the back-and-forth and found myself excited. My favorite moment in the match was in fact a sequence that I'd put up against anything from ROH this past year. Strong held Davey up in a back suplex position on the apron then just let him drop back-first through a nearby table. Instead of giving that moment time to absorb, like you usually would to milk it and let the crowd pop, he immediately hopped down, hoisted Richards up, and gave him a Gibson Driver on the floor. From there he threw Davey about three rows deep into the audience and dove into the ring asking the referee to count. I've never really seen that. A guy demolish his opponent then toss him into the audience and retreating back to the ring looking for a countout victory. The cherry on top was when the fans helped pick Davey up, dust him off, and toss his ass back over the rail where he made it back into the ring at the count of 19. Another cool Roderick moment during the finishing stretch was as Richards was kicking out of a pinfall in mid-kickout Strong was already transitioning into the Stong Hold. Its a match style that has its critics but I love seeing two guys just throwing everything in their arsenal at each other until one of them can't anymore.
8.) Kevin Steen vs. El Generico - Fight Without Honor - B:7 G:8
Brian: So it finally came down to this, after feuding all year, in what would win the Wrestling Observer Feud of the Year award, former partners Steen and Generico settled it once and for all in an unsanctioned post-show fight. It was said it was not recognized by ROH and yet an ROH referee (or in this case three of them) were used strangely. This had everything you'd want: blood, big dangerous bumps, boiling hatred, seething rage, and a rousing finale. There's so many big spots that it'd be dry to prattle off a list here. I will mention one I particularly liked: a ladder had been laid out bridging the ring apron and guardrail, a table was then opened and set atop it, Generico with a running start somehow dove between the two in a visual spectacle the likes of the best bits of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The amount of blood here was enough to stock and satiate even the hungriest of shirtless teenage glistening vampire gangs. Steen lapping up Generico's plasma like a kitten to milk was -- interesting. All in all I was satisfied with this blow-off and fan favorite Generico finally vanquishing the putrid Steen was as good a show ender as any they could have drummed up.
Geo: This was hatred in it's purest form. Both of these guys went all out and took some really nasty bumps. Steen got his ass handed to him the entire match, taking bumps that only a sadistic son-of-a-bitch would even dream about. Generico had this aggressive fire about him that was so unlike him. The hatred poured out of him through his emotions and stiffness. Steen made great connection with the fans by wiping both his and Generico's blood not only on his body but also in his mouth! Both guys were just laying everything in, taking all sorts of unnecessary risks, and bumping like crazy just to let everyone know that this feud was brutal. Great match. Can't imagine how awesome it must have been live. MOTYC for sure.