May 21st, 2011 in Chicago Ridge, Illinois
ROH World Champion: Eddie Edwards (since 3/19/11)
ROH World Tag Team Champions: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) (since 4/1/11)
ROH World Television Champion: Christopher Daniels (since 12/10/10)
Opening Match: Homicide vs. Michael Elgin
Homicide connects with a series of punches and snaps off a headscissors. He sends Elgin to the floor and lands a dive off the apron. In the ring, Elgin impressively catches Homicide with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He takes control until Homicide fights out of a bearhug and hits a neckbreaker. Homicide comes off the middle rope with a tornado DDT but falls victim to a side slam. Elgin misses a senton from the top rope and Homicide hurricanranas him off the middle rope. Homicide escapes a powerbomb and hits an ace crusher for the win at 9:27. Aside from a few impressive power displays from Elgin, there wasn’t anything special about this opener. Their exchanges looked too mechanical and the crowd only came alive for the finish. Elgin is ready to break out and hopefully he receives the chance to do so in the coming months. **¼
Match #2: Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly vs. Harlem and Lance Bravado
Harlem attempts a pre-match promo but gets interrupted by his opponents’ entrance music. The Bravados blindside Cole early on but get taken down by a double missile dropkick from O’Reilly. Cole lands a dive to the outside onto the Bravados. Back in, O’Reilly hits rolling butterfly suplexes on Lance. Harlem interferes from the apron, allowing the Bravados to isolate O’Reilly. He fights back with a double dragon screw leg whip and makes the tag. Cole connects with a flurry of kicks and lands a plancha onto Lance. He follows with a flying crossbody onto Harlem. O’Reilly comes off the apron with a sick dropkick on Lance. Cole hits a fireman’s carry neckbreaker on Harlem for a nearfall. Cole and O’Reilly lay out Harlem with a superkick-lariat combination for a two count. The Bravados answer with a neckbreaker-back suplex combination on O’Reilly. Harlem connects with an enzuigiri on Cole and Lance adds a german suplex for a nearfall. Cole and O’Reilly connect with stereo knockout kicks on Lance and hit a lungblower-backcracker combination for the victory at 9:45. This was an incredibly fun and energetic tag team match that made great use of its ten minutes. The Bravados are tremendous personalities and I’m starting to notice that they aren’t too shabby in the ring either. A rematch to end this feud should be on its way and I have to admit that I’m looking forward to it. ***
Steve Corino makes his way to the ring. He says that being a good guy in the professional wrestling world is tough. Due to a losing streak, he took a month off of wrestling. During that time, he reconnected with an old friend that wants back in Ring of Honor. Tonight, he will reveal his sponsor. Mike Bennett interrupts before Corino can say anything more. Bennett doesn’t even believe that Corino has a sponsor. They bicker back and forth for awhile until JIMMY JACOBS RUNS INTO THE RING! Corino and Jacobs hug as the crowd chants “welcome back.” Corino officially reveals that Jacobs is his sponsor. Jacobs says that everyone was happy to see him go when he left a few years ago. Since then, he has cleaned up his life and overcame some personal issues. The final step on his road to recovery was to come back to Ring of Honor. Jim Cornette and numerous staff members come to the ring and escort Jacobs from the building. Bennett sneaks in a cheap shot on Corino, leading to…
Match #3: Steve Corino vs. Mike Bennett
Bennett grabs a microphone and dares Corino to fall off the wagon. They trade punches and Corino connects with a leg lariat. He throws Bennett into the barricade and utilizes the ring bell like he did at the last show. In the ring, Bennett elbows out of an abdominal stretch and hits a side slam. He connects with a dropkick and takes over. Corino fights back by winning a punch exchange. He hits the Colby Shock and connects with the Eternal Dream. Bennett responds with a spinebuster and a uranagi. Corino applies an abdominal stretch and Bennett falls victim to a thumb in the bumb. Corino spends too much time arguing with the referee and Bennett hits a piledriver for the win at 10:02. This match was being billed as the final encounter between these two. After seeing how things played out, I think their match at Revolution: Canada provided a more satisfying and decisive end to this feud. While everything involving Jacobs before the match was handled well, I can’t say that I’m sad to see this feud end. **¼
Match #4: Chris Hero vs. El Generico
Generico gives Hero a fake hammer before the match, insinuating that he looks like Thor. Hero tries to use the hammer to no avail and takes some time to regroup. Generico snaps off a few armdrags and hits a backbreaker. A distraction from Shane Hagadorn allows Hero to block a split-legged moonsault. He takes control after connecting with a mafia kick followed by his stomp-roaring elbow combination. Generico comes off the top rope with a hurricanrana and lands a dive to the floor. He adds a flying crossbody in the ring and hits a blue thunder bomb. Hero blocks a corner yakuza kick and connects with a roaring elbow. He blasts Generico with a roaring mafia kick. Hero makes the cover with his feet on the ropes for the victory at…WAIT A MINUTE! The crowd informs Todd Sinclair that Hero had his feet on the ropes and he restarts the match! Generico connects with a corner yakuza kick and hits a half nelson suplex for the victory at 10:53. This match was going along nicely until all of the wackiness involved with the finish kicked in. My main problem with the restart is that it sets a precedent that I don’t think ROH will maintain. So from now on, the crowd can inform the referee of cheating and he will restart the match? Generico winning so quickly after the restart also left me disappointed. These two are more than capable of putting on a great match together but the booking unfortunately prevented that here. **½
Match #5: Charlie Haas vs. Davey Richards
They trade control on the mat and wrestle to a stalemate. Richards applies a guillotine choke and connects with a dropkick. Haas retreats to the outside where Richards punts him from the apron. Richards slingshots back into the ring but lands across Haas’ knee. Haas hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker along with a butterfly suplex. Richards kicks him off the apron and lands a dive to the floor. In the ring, Richards connects with a missile dropkick and follows with a handspring gamenguiri. He can’t find the back strength to hit a suplex and falls victim to an exploder. Haas goes up top but Richards catches him with a superplex. Richards transitions into a falcon arrow and synchs in an ankle lock. Haas rolls through, sending Richards to the floor. Haas hits an olympic slam into the ringpost. Richards barely makes the twenty count. He escapes another olympic slam and hits rolling german suplexes. Haas responds with rolling german suplexes of his own. They go back and forth trading german suplexes. After a brief strike exchange, they start trading german suplexes again. Richards applies an ankle lock but Haas rolls through. Haas hits an olympic slam and both men are down. Richards connects with the Alarm Clock but runs into a lariat. Haas locks in the Haas of Pain but Richards reverses into an ankle lock. Haas is able to fight out of the hold. Richards connects with two enzuigiris and a knockout kick for the win at 18:50. Perhaps allowing Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team to have singles matches on this show was a good idea, as this was the best performance that I can ever remember seeing from Haas. He was able to hang with Richards for nearly nineteen minutes while wrestling a predominantly back and forth match. They didn’t need many nearfalls down the stretch to capture the crowd’s attention as everyone just seemed fascinated by watching these two give it their all. While some people might be annoyed with the constant german suplexes or lack of selling at times, I thought that everything worked in context and these two managed to blow away expectations. ***¾
Match #6: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Shelton Benjamin
After a tentative start, they trade strikes and Shelton grabs hold of a side headlock. He connects with a spin kick but Claudio catches him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Claudio hits a powerslam and takes control, working over the left hand. He’s actually focusing most of his offense on Shelton’s left hand. Chris Hero and Charlie Haas come to ringside to show support for their partners. Shelton fights back with a DDT and hits rolling german suplexes. Claudio connects with an uppercut but gets caught by a superkick. Both men are down. Claudio hits the Alpamare Waterslide and connects with a lariat. Shelton traps him in a triangle choke but he’s able to power out. Claudio goes up top. Shelton leaps to the top rope and hits a superplex for the victory at 17:21. To be honest, this match felt even longer than seventeen minutes. The action took a significant amount of time to get going and the finishing stretch wasn’t as satisfying as you would expect. Claudio works well with almost everyone. When he’s put into the ring with someone as athletic as Shelton, there’s an endless amount of innovative exchanges that could happen. Unfortunately, none of them happened here and the finish came out of nowhere (a frequent problem with Shelton’s tag team matches). While Richards/Haas blew away expectations, this match didn’t even come close to reaching its potential. **¾
After the match, Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team and the Kings of Wrestling exchange words and shove each other. Staff members come out to break up the teams before they can start brawling.
Match #7: Christopher Daniels vs. Colt Cabana
Todd Sinclair ejects Truth Martini from ringside before the match. Cabana connects with a series of punches and hip tosses Daniels over the top rope. Daniels finds an opening after a knee to the gut and rams Cabana into the apron. He hits a spear and takes over. Cabana tries to mount some offense with a springboard moonsault but Daniels is able to get his knees up. Daniels tries the same counter again but gets stomped in the chest. Cabana hits the flying asshole and lands a crossbody. Daniels responds with a flatliner and applies a koji clutch. Cabana turns the hold into a pin attempt for a two count and hits a flying hip attack. Daniels distracts the referee while Michael Elgin crotches Cabana on the top rope. Steve Corino runs out and throws Elgin into the barricade. Cabana drapes Daniels across the top rope for the win at 8:52. These two showcased their entertaining personalities and produced a fine nine-minute match. The finish helped setup a future Corino/Elgin match and Cabana was able to get his win back from Revolution: USA. **½
Truth Martini tries to attack Cabana after the match but Corino chases him away. Cabana leaves Corino alone in the ring and Elgin lays him out with a uranagi. Daniels calls Corino a liar and the House of Truth stand tall.
Match #8: Chicago Street Fight: Jay and Mark Briscoe vs. Kenny King and Rhett Titus
King sends Mark through a table at ringside. The All Night Express double team Jay with Titus utilizing a chain. They attempt to tie him around the ringpost but Mark takes them out with a dive. The Briscoes throw ANX into the barricade. King suplexes Mark onto the floor and uses the barricade to land a moonsault. Titus lawn darts Jay into the ringpost. The Briscoes are busted open. In the ring, Titus bulldogs Mark onto a propped chair. He sets a table between the apron and the barricade. Mark connects with an enzuigiri on King. Titus goes up top but Jay pushes him through the table between the apron and the barricade. The Briscoes work over King in the ring. They use chains to hang him over the top rope. A bloodied Titus tries to make the save to no avail. King uses a fire extinguisher to find an opening. He kicks a chair into Mark’s face but gets caught by a yakuza kick from Jay. King falls victim to a flatliner into a chair. Mark brings a ladder into the ring and sets up a table at ringside. He places King onto the table. Jay climbs the ladder but Titus catches him with a chair shot. ANX hit their blockbuster-powerbomb combination, sending Jay off the ladder. Mark iconoclasms Titus off the ladder but King chokes him with the fire extinguisher cord. King impressively springboards off the ladder but gets caught by a superkick from Mark. Mark comes off the ladder with his frog elbow drop onto Titus. The Briscoes follow with the doomsday device on Titus. King throws a chair at Jay and sends Mark to the floor. By chance, Jay falls on top of Titus for the victory at 19:29. There are a lot of things to like about this match. First of all, this was a relatively smart street fight. They kept a nice pace, made their big spots count, and had the crowd standing for the entire duration. It’s also nice to see King and Titus continuously raising their stock, as they proved that they could hang with the Briscoes in this type of setting. Still, I think others will enjoy this match more than me. When I think about a Chicago Street Fight, I find that most of this match fit the description. However, the finish left a lot to be desired. I understand that this feud needs to continue and that’s okay. Additionally, I think the concept of Jay falling onto Titus by happenstance for the win is a decent concept. I just didn’t like how the finish came off in execution and I think there were some better options that would have achieved the same result. With all of that said, I can safely say that this match is definitely worth watching and I’m looking forward to the blowoff between these two teams. ***¾
Match #9: ROH World Title: Eddie Edwards © vs. Roderick Strong
Strong catches Edwards off-guard with a knee strike. The action goes to the floor where the champion is thrown into the barricade. Strong hits a suplex into the apron and maintains control in the ring. They battle over a suplex and Edwards eventually finds success. He connects with a hesitation dropkick followed by a running dropkick from the floor. Strong escapes a backpack chinbreaker and drops Edwards across the top rope. He applies the Stronghold but Edwards reaches the bottom rope. Strong takes control until Edwards hits a saito suplex along with a sit-out gourdbuster. He applies the achilles locks in the ropes and lands a moonsault from the apron. Edwards connects with a missile dropkick and hits a fisherman buster. Strong blocks a charge but falls victim to a backpack chinbreaker. He recovers with a slam out of a splash mountain position and hits a backbreaker. Edwards blocks a gutbuster but Strong synchs in an achilles lock. Edwards reverses into the Stronghold. They trade pin attempts and Edwards hits a gutbuster. They exchange chops and Strong hits a gutbuster of his own. Edwards connects with a superkick and comes off the middle rope with a lungblower. Strong responds with the Sick Kick and both men are down. They battle up top and Edwards snaps off a hurricanrana. He hits a powerbomb and connects with a flying double stomp. Edwards transitions into an achilles lock but Strong is able to reach the bottom rope. The action goes to the apron where Strong hits the Gibson Driver. He hits another Gibson Driver on the floor but Edwards won’t stay down for a three count. Strong connects with two superkicks. Edwards dodges a third one and applies the achilles lock to retain his title at 23:39. With the roles reversed, these two were able to deliver another outstanding match that rivals their previous outing at Manhattan Mayhem IV in terms of quality. Strong brought the fight early on and what followed was almost twenty-four minutes of constant action. They also managed to make this contest stand out from their last match together by playing off of the finish to their encounter at Manhattan Mayhem IV and adding in new elements such as when they stole each other’s signature moves and submissions. The finish was also a high point, as it made Edwards look extremely resourceful and felt like a satisfying conclusion. Speaking of Edwards, he has been absolutely on fire since winning the title. Strong did his part as well and I don’t know what more you could have asked from these two in the main event on one of the bigger shows of the year. ****¼
Michel Elgin and Christopher Daniels attack Edwards after the match. Davey Richards runs to the ring and the House of Truth scatter. Edwards grabs a microphone and says that he has to defeat Richards to prove to himself that he’s the best. Edwards threatens to quit if Richards won’t battle him. To give his partner closure, Richards finally accepts the challenge. They shake hands as the show comes to a close.
Overall: The “Supercard of Honor” title always carries lofty expectations. This year, Ring of Honor didn’t bring in any outside talent and had to rely on its core roster to produce an excellent show. I’m happy to report that they wholeheartedly succeeded. Richards and Haas blew away expectations on route to delivering a great match, the Briscoes and All Night Express continued their feud with a tremendous street fight, and the main event was one of the best matches that I’ve seen from ROH this year. Despite a disappointing outing from Claudio and Shelton, the rest of the card was decent enough and didn’t hinder the show. ROH undoubtedly delivered with Supercard of Honor VI and I can easily give this show a strong recommendation.