As you're reading this I'm down in sunny magical Orlando, Floida for a week at the four Walt Disney World theme parks discovering and measuring exactly how much fun one person can have. Here's a review I wrote pre-vacation to kick your eyes' ass:
1. Briscoe Bros. and Davey Richards vs. Kings of Wrestling and Roderick Strong - 5
This is the final ever episode of ROH on HDNet and it's been a fun run. It never really found an audience but I'm glad to say I've either seen or have saved every episode. Allegedly the bulk of the footage shot for the final episodes mysteriously disappeared so this last episode is made up of (well-made) video packages and this 30+ min. bout. Opening mat work is sort of perfunctory in the way a lot of ROH opening sections are which is a common but cogent complaint. There's some interesting dynamics between these six especially if you've been following the patchy late-'10/'early-'11 ROH scene. I saw a variation of this match (except WGTT replaced the Briscoes) in Dayton earlier this year that also went a half-hour but these guys put enough touches and subtler character moments to make this its own. Richards' flying headbutt was one of the worst he's ever done and makes Dynamite Kid want to roll his wheelchair into a busy freeway. A bit macabre but with Richards' shtick being a borderline Benoit fetishist they should have him cut a promo at his graveside if he was in fact buried. Remember what Bischoff said about controversy?
To paraphrase film critic A.O. Scott I imagine some of the adventures youngsters acted out on the salt and French fry-littered backseats of family minivans with their wrestling figures were as exciting and imaginative as portions of this. You've probably picked up on a duality in this review and that in itself is the crux of being an ROH fan nowadays and the love/hate relationship I have for their product. When you've put out such strong output for so long consistently you build a hell of a reputation to uphold and that can be a lot of pressure. Back to the in-ring action, Mark's facials, missing teeth and all, make stuff like a basic Claudio backbreaker so much cooler. Oh no. Hero's Quebrada was a fucking eyesore. Dude, you're too tall to bust that one out, leave it for the tinier dudes and stick to smashing peoples' faces. Hero takes a bump for a Davey missile dropkick that reminded me of my infant son falling back on his butt as he's learning to stand. I loved Hero cutting off a Richards tope suicida with a stiff elbow shot from the floor. Jay wrecks himself doing a somersault over the top onto the KoW on the floor but lands legs-first on the security railing. Everyone brawls into the crowd so Mark climbs up top and does a somersault of his own all the way out into the fifth row. We're having fun now!
Strong and Richards are left to duke it out in the ring. Truth Martini looks like the killer from My Soul to Take which is no easy feat. Davey gets Strong to tap and the crowd erupts like Mount Vesuvius. A fun, fitting end to this show which, again, while under-appreciated and overlooked had tons of great moments and matches. The music video montage at the end highlighting the show's history was great including one of my favorite moments when Kevin Steen powerbombed El Generico on the hood of a car in the parking lot.