Honor Among Thieves #1
ROH Champions vs. All Stars 1/14/11
Brian: The show starts off overly talky like a Tarantino script. I'm just wanting to see guys chop each other's chests into salami and awkwardly drop each other on their necks/heads.
Jess: Yeah for a heel, Daniels is awfully nice esp. when Roddy called him the weak link.
1. Non Title Champion Vs. Champion- World Champion Roderick Strong vs. TV Champion Christopher Daniels - B: 3 J: 3
Brian: An impromptu match prompts me to say: "Get out of my yard!" Wrong prompt. Strong hit a flying knee outside that'd make Carlos Condit blush (and do an extra rep of squats in the gym the next day). Story is that these guys are forcibly teaming together in the main event but have animosity and need to blow off some steam like an enraged footballer the coach tells to take a lap. Daniels got the flash roll-up after KoW interjected themselves. This was sort of like the film Red, passably acceptable as a diversion but about as substantial as your pet iguana's last dump or Stan Lee's old black and white home movies (kudos if you get that staggeringly obscure reference).
J: I couldn’t tell if they were into this performance or not. Saw a lot of nice snapping strikes from both guys that was kind of pulling me into but then I was like “okay, what else you got?” Strong’s physique doesn’t work for his gimmick anymore. He needed his pudge and upper arms bigger to pull off and make people fear the power shit he does. Now, he’s smaller than old man Daniels! I’m all for furthering stuff so Daniels with the quick pin on the champ was fine for this.
2. Grizzly Redwood and Andy "Right Leg" Ridge vs. The Bravado Brothers - J: 3 B: 2
Jessie: My 1st look at the Bravado Bros. Wasn’t overly impressed. I think them for Jacobs/Whitmer is a bad trade. Grizzly is still hanging in there and has great movement in the ring. So Right Leg is named that for kicks right? He was lighting up the matching green ensemble of the brothers Bravado. You’d think with that name they’d have some charisma. Didn’t think all their double team stuff worked but the finish actually surprised me which I liked.
Brian: Some of the Bravado's stuff looked soft and low-impact. I dig how they've built credibility in Ridge's right leg being a potential match-ender as it was here with the savate kick. Inoffensive yet unmemorable.
3. Adam Cole vs. "The Prodigy" Mike Bennett - B: 4 J: 3
Brian: The ROH landscape has changed drastically from its beloved '05 era but change is unavoidable. You can argue where this fits in their oeuvre but young talent's getting opportunities and I'm on board. Pretty classic formula of brash, arrogant heel versus determined fiery babyface. Besides rudimentary story cogs this had some decent stuff tossed in, a Cole dive that wasn't entirely bad (landing on your feet always robs the move of its impact), etc. The finish was as flat as a soda left out on the counter overnight. Bennett hits a powerbomb into the turnbuckles which looked good but then followed it with a tepid sitout side slam -- that's like a waitress bringing you a steak then following with a dish of coleslaw.
Jess: I was just thinking that watching this. Bennett feels like the exact opposite of everything ROH stood for in it’s heyday. He seemed like Chris Masters-lite with none of the experience. I’m not bagging the guy but I didn’t see much that impressed. Cole is popping up everywhere on the indy scene these days and I dig his dickhead character from CZW. With the tropical island tights that look like Delfino Island from Super Mario Sunshine you’d think he’d be more bubbily; but Cole works this pretty seriously. The powerbomb nearly made me do an Orange Kool-Aid spit take for stiffness but yeah, you’re right that finish would have felt passé in 2002.
4. Homicide vs. Rhett Titus - J: 3 B: 5
Jess: I may look like the ROH cynic with these scores but this had too much I didn’t like. First off, never been a huge Homicide fan. Think he shows bouts of laziness here and there. Thought he looked like a tool letting Titus rub his balls and ass sweat in his face and then just firing back with a few weak punches. Def. some of his trademark stuff was there, the cannonball dive, the lariat that took Titus head off. But Rhett was never really shining here and I think Homicide could have helped. The hardway blood at the end and the strike exchange was grabbing my attention but a lazy brainbuster that Eddie Guerrero would have avoided in his darkest days is not a finish that excites me.
Brian: Titus' head was rocking back taking shots like he was being sprayed in the face by Mario's FLUDD in Super Mario Sunshine. Homicide did a splash off of the top but Rhett got his knees up on and Homicide sold the damage like he had a bad case of indigestion from a Chipotle burrito. Unlike Jessie, I've always dug Homicide, and am partial to Titus also after sharing an interesting experience riding jet-skis together in Pennsylvania (don't ask). Homicide's lariat makes DJ Hyde's look tamer than a shrew. The match-closing strike exchange was short but fierce although I concede the brainbuster was risible.
5. Steve Corino vs. Kaleb Conley - B: 3 J: 3
Brian: Watching this bout from the auspices of a dentist office's lobby. In general I'd rather have excruciating dental work done then watch a lot of Corino's output. This is the start of his "road to recovery" angle where he wrestles the youngsters and tries to keep it clean -- sounds like a shitty Hallmark Channel movie to me. Corino's waistline is scarier than any horror flick. Corino should re-dub the move the "Sliding Double D" with his glorious moobs. The finish was hokey with Corino feigning sticking a finger up Kaleb's anus then rolling him up instead, I'm sure it seemed clever when he thought it up at whatever fast-food joint he was stuffing his face that afternoon. I wonder if they have Hardee's in Richmond?
Jess: Corino immediately kills the legitimacy of this angle by saying he’s picking Caleb first because he’s the next big superstar. Watching this I realized, is any more unlikely a pro wrestler than this guy? His selling looks like a weird dance move the 90’s would have regurgitated into society. I thought the “Sliding Double D” did come off good even though with him doing it, can ‘t see it as a finisher. The finish….wow, no comment. There were some good strikes thrown but these two just didn’t mesh; smart call to keep this one short
6. Colt Cabana vs. Caprice Coleman - J: 4 B: 3
Jess: I’m the last guy to go out on a limb and herald Colt’s comedy schtick as entertaining but on a show filled with dry, stale matches this was a refreshing change of pace. Caprice looks athletic as hell, and could be a good pickup to this roster. Liked Colt having a conference with some local hooligan children on what tactic to take next; crowd participation is always a plus in this sport. Caprice pulled off a Tony Jaa-like kick late in the match that left Colt scratching his head like he did doing a dumb stunt with Punk and the boys on the streets of Chicago after their epic night. Finish wasn’t creative but it fit the character.
Brian: Seeing this match on the card had me as nervous as a Zevo Toys stockholder when Lt. General Leland took over and started making weapons instead of toys. Caprice is oddly wearing those very Scott Hall circa '98-like black trunks with unknown white drippings down them I never quite understood then or now. Coleman gets big air on a standing legdrop -- dude was higher than Amy Winehouse in her last seconds alive. Caprice's animated histrionics call to mind movie actors pre-sound but the talkies are here so he could use to channel less Al Jolson.
Jess: Did you just make a “Toys” reference? Haha, that’s an NHO first folks!
7. Kenny King vs. Kyle O'Reilly - B: 5 J: 5
Brian: Kyle's eyes seemed baggy and tired. Hell, I'd imagine mine would be too being Davey Richards' protege. Can you imagine those late-night training sessions? "Okay, kid, now I want you to somersault through the ropes and five rows deep in this area over here where the audience would be. You know, on the chairs?" I like seeing King working semi-main. I'm sure he occasionally misses the old days going to IHOP with Damballah after Pro Wrestling Riot shows. O'Reilly's strike flurries still feel a bit rote and mechanical but this match is bringing some much-needed athleticism to the show. Kyle doing a running dropkick from the apron onto King in a chair on the floor was a joy to behold. Kyle kind of looks like Miles Teller. I wonder if that means he makes homemade comics about parallel universes and runs over peoples' kids. I think Kenny would be killing it on the SmackDown! brand circa now. On an old ROH show this may not have stood out but nowadays it's filet mignon instead of a sloppy joe. King countering the triangle choke into the Royal Flush was pimp.
Jess: Again, like the Colt match this is a different flavor of ice cream past what we’ve been watching the whole show. The opening kick sequence was the most fun spot of this whole show to this point. Didn’t know if I was watching old tryout tapes for WMAC Masters or an actual fight? O’Reilly, I see good and bad in him. Letting Davey Richards train wrestlers feels sort of like letting anyone be a parent; it just shouldn’t be. I don’t know, I think this could have stood out on an older show, King being the athlete he is really does stand out. Cool finish for sure.
8. Champions Vs. All Stars: World Champion Roderick Strong, TV Champion Christopher Daniels, and World Tag Team Champions The Kings of Wrestling vs. Davey Richards, El Generico, and The Briscoe Brothers - J: 5 B: 5
Jess: It’s been a few days since I peeped this giant star studded main event so my thoughts will probably be more concise than normal. Started out as similarly as any 8 man tag where each guy comes in and works against someone else then trade off with 2 other guys. Liked Mark and Roddy trading chops early on. Hero actually stood out as a huge star among all these guys, at least in my eyes, from the manner he carried himself, the way he was getting people over on defense. Thought Davey looked really awkward in the ring, esp. his sequences with Daniels. This had a lot of time too, but I didn’t feel a real story developed during it (and I’m not counting the hackneyed Daniels is outed by his other team members). I gave the last bout a 5 so it feels strange giving this the same marks but I honestly didn’t care for it over the King singles.
Brian: While I gave the last bout a mild "5" and Jessie was more enthusiastic about it, conversely, he gave this a "5" begrudgingly while I actively enjoyed it. I thought not just Hero but both the KoW guys looked good, no wonder Triple H is wanting to hire them, they'd be a nice acquisition for any company. Roderick looked sharper here than in the opener including one particularly mean knee into Richards' face in the corner. I enjoyed watching this unfold, the strategies, etc. but it was never consistently good or engaging enough to hit recommendable status. We got some mindless stuff like a dive sequence and the finish wasn't strong. This was slightly made up for by the weird post-match antics of Mark Briscoe doing a ludicrous jig in the ring while the crowd chanted "Olé!" and Generico played ersatz ringleader.