Only The Strong Survive 1/15/11
1. Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly vs. The Bravado Brothers - B: 3 J: 3
Brian: Not a real promising start to the show. Kept short, but little of note, Adam Cole's fighting spirit facials were a hoot. Bravado Bros. matches are what babies see when you can't figure out why they're crying.
J: The last thing i wanted was to see the shaggy haired Bravado to do a Chaos German Suplex and then do an elbow exchange with Adam Cole, who looks like the guy that designed Chris Sabin's alien trunks. Liked the superkick/ lariat combo but it didn't finish so boo
2. Rhett Titus vs. Caprice Coleman - J: 5 B: 3
Jess: These guys get mic work, Rhett even seems shocked Caprice did. Coleman was stumbling over his words like the guy he borrowed those awful tights does, but he pulled it back in towards the end with even more catch phrases than "Dwayne" ever used in a row. Nice to see Rhett not just a base for Caprice to show off, as I've seen Rhett in lately too much for my liking. I believe the Bible stated "there's nothing new created under the sun," and certainly not in this match but this has the feel of a match between two unknowns busting out all this stuff no one else is using and getting over with it. The logistics of Caprice's hurricanra from the ground on a guy on the buckle just doesn't work but i enjoyed myself watching this; especially Caprice's glad handing to get himself employed afterwards.
Brian: I found this pretty mundane. I never believed Coleman stood a chance of winning which lessened any drama and further took me out of the proceedings. Titus showed so much personality in '10 as one-half of the All-Night Express but was quite jejune here. The finish was bad too.
3. Colt Cabana vs. Grizzly Redwood - B: 3 J: 4
Brian: My wife asked me the other day what we should dress our toddler son up as for Halloween this year. I suggested Colt Cabana. A little bandana with the Star of David and a little shirt proclaiming "I'm a professional wrestler!" I'm sure if I sent a picture of that to CM Punk he'd tweet it and thousands of people would see it. Is Punk really petitioning for WWE to re-sign him? Does the world really need a Cabana and Tyson Kidd feud to play out on NXT? It's rare to see Colt playing the bigger or more physically imposing guy in a match but he seemed to relish cutting Grizzly off and laying some stuff in on the little guy. I felt pretty apathetic in the end.
J: Really though does Colt even want to be re-signed? he seems pretty happy with the comedy schtick he's doing here, plus being the senior member of the roster, I'm sure he's making good money. I don't really agree with Punk's idea that the best performers in the world should be in WWE, as they don't all fit. I enjoyed the goofiness of the opening stuff mainly because Colt pulls it off well. Also, he's toned down the end runs of his matches waaaaay back since 2005 when he was doing AJW '94 thing in 2nd matches on the card.
4. "The Prodigy" Mike Bennett vs. Cedric Alexander - J:3 B: 3
Jess: Bennett looks like he should be in WWE, he just has that cookie cutter training school look they’ve dug for so long. Alexander was all fired up which helped the cause of this a bit, had a nearfall I liked but he just felt like a strange amalgamation of several other top notch indy guys we all know. Bennett needs a new finish too.
Brian: Cedric seemed a bit aloof yet had a quality about him, a rawness I guess you could say, that made him more interesting than a lot of guys in ROH who seem on autopilot routine some nights. His staggering selling was good and he seemed like a guy intent on working on his game and craft. I would have liked to gave this more but it was too short, just like the FCW trainers will probably say to Bennett when he comes looking for a job.
5. Claudio Castognoli vs. Christopher Daniels - B: 4 J: 4
Brian: During the in-ring introductions Daniels did a little twirl when his name was called and tripped over his own feet like a drunken sophomore on ladies' night. In some respects, this deserved higher acclaim, but it had a few glaring problems that hurt it overall. First, the match needlessly went 22 min., and I only say that because a big chunk of it was Daniels doing arm work on Claudio that ended up going absolutely nowhere. They spent a major chunk of time on that story cog and it was quickly forgotten like Dane Cook. Also, the finish, we got some interference, a ref distraction, funny that the BME, or Best Moonsault Ever, was anything but. Daniels ended up repeating the BME but this isn't Muta in '89 NWA and I had difficultly buying big Claudio going down to it.
Jess: Daniels is a guy who is respected in the biz just for his time put in and hard work ethic; sometimes I think he tries too hard to live up to that. Both guys largely are stellar workings but whenever a match gets a “This is Wrestling” chant a few minutes in, I examine much closer. Hurricanara spot was kind of nutty that he pulled off the apron and was a good middle ground after the unnecessary limb work. I can’t explain it but the match felt in fast forward, like cutting through the manager interference, the top notch moves, the 1st BME was botch city but I thought the stuff after that was just in hopes of making up for it but it didn’t; match went too long for my tastes.
6. Steve Corino and Andy "Ridge Leg" Ridge vs. Alabama Attitude - J: 2 B: 2
Jess: A “2” on the NHO scale is pretty worthless, and even though nothing really struck me as horrible about the work, the whole match just felt limp. Felt similar in vein to the opener, younger team trying to snapping kicks and loud screams while Corino was in his own world working his nice guy gimmick. This was as tame as Simon Baker is handsome.
Brian: Attitude looked nervous and nosh and indeed they were a small snack for Corino and Ridge. Some people have a six-pack of abs but Corino's got an entire bottling plant. It's safe to say the halcyon days are over.
7. Chris Hero vs. Davey Richards - B: 7 J: 6
Brian: I thought these guys matched up pretty well, Richards' kicks versus Hero's elbows, knees, etc. I think this suits Davey better, a war of attrition, and against a guy physically bigger than him instead of Richards playing domineering bully. They maybe could have cut a bit out down the stretch but I was caught up unsure of who was going to win. After both guys delivered their best shots it only fueled Richards making him more irascible and choleric than usual. I liked the clean crucifix armbar finish, too. Nearly two shows down and this is the best thing we've seen from ROH so far.
Jess: Davey shined here as guy who’s fighting with a strategy. Early on, every time he takes a huge shot (elbow, shoulder tackle, etc.) he ducks out and re thinks what’s going on. The strikes here were phenomenal and easily became the story of this match; who was going to break, from the kicks, elbows and chops. Even Davey’s much maligned German from the top took a back seat to the punishment they were doleing out with strikes. I do think this could have shaved some time off and in my opinion, this should have ended in a KO, not a submission. Surprising yes, but feels like we veered off course at the end when you end with an armlock where as all those strikes weren’t good enough to finish. But overall, yep, best thing in 2011 so far (chronologically). And damn, can’t believe I forgot to mention one of the most boss piledrivers that’s been done since Memphis ’82 by Hero. See this match for that alone
8. Four Corner Survival Match: Homicide vs. El Generico vs. Kenny King vs. Mark Briscoe - B: 5
Brian: This thing was about as by the numbers as the instructions you get with IKEA furniture. I did start getting sucked into it near the melee near the end. Homicide hit the Facewash running kick on Generico and Briscoe and it looked like crap both times. I didn't like seeing my boy Kenny taking the pin.
9. ROH World Title Match: Roderick Strong vs. Jay Briscoe - B: 7
Brian: If you would have told me 4-5 years ago these two would have been the main event I would have been surprised, as in years past, these guys paired off in a singles would typically have been on the lower-undercard (or if on an FIP show semi-main underneath a crummy DP Associates tag). After just watching the three-disc Best of the Indies in 2001 DVD set awhile ago and Jay being in arguably the two best matches on the whole thing I must say my expectations were high to see him perform here. This was a good match, then Briscoe started gushing blood from his head, upping the ante and entertainment. The story was simple enough, Briscoe was a wounded animal, how much damage could he endure before Roderick put him out of his misery? This had the gore, the big moves (and subsequent kickouts), and I could see someone liking it more, the reason I'm not going higher on my score is while this had the same amount of hemoglobin as the Jerry Lynn vs. Roderick Strong classic from Dayton (which I'd rate an "8") it didn't have the same drama or nail-biting excitement.