RADICAN'S TAKE RADICAN'S ROH DVD REVIEW SERIES: "Underground" 1/21 - Cole-Steen, Richards & O'Reilly vs. Elgin & Strong
Jun 8, 2012 - 5:08:49 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN’S ROH DVD REVIEW SERIES
“RISE AND PROVE”
FEB. 17, 2012
“ROH UNDERGROUND” (bonus disc)
JANUARY 21, 2012
Note: “ROH Underground” from Jan. 21 in Norfolk, Va. is included as a bonus disc on the “Rise and Prove” DVD. I’m reviewing this show first since it was taped before “Rise and Prove.”
Jim Cornette came out and introduced Eddie Edwards, who said he was sorry he couldn’t wrestle because of a staph infection.
Veda Scott interviewed Andy Ridge. She asked him about his match against Kenny King tonight. Ridge said he had done the trial series a year ago and he was frustrated because the wins weren’t adding up. He promised to take out his frustrations on King. Scott made a funny face and said we were seeing a new side of Ridge tonight.
Kevin Kelly was joined by Steve Corino on commentary. They kept the lights on for this show and the small venue looks packed.
1 - - ANDY RIDGE vs. KENNY KING
King dominated the action early, but Ridge fired up and nailed him with a kick. King bailed to the outside, but Ridge followed up and they exchanged blows. Ridge charged at King, but King lifted him up and slammed him down on the apron. King nailed Ridge with a leg lariat back inside the ring for a 2 count. King worked over Ridge for a long period of time and cut off his comeback attempts. Ridge finally got some momentum and nailed King with a running knee for a 2 count. Ridge continued to gain momentum and hit a slingshot ace crusher for a 2 count. King fired back with a cartwheel kick and a spinning kick. He hit the shotgun knees in the corner and the coronation for the pin.
Winner: Kenny King – The match was short, but good while it lasted. The crowd was into the action, but this wasn’t anything memorable.
King shook Ridge’s hand after the match.
King cut a promo backstage. He put over Ridge’s kicks. King said he thought he was going to run through Ridge, but he had slept on him. King put Ridge over and told him to keep working and he’d climb the ladder.
Bennett vs. Redwood is up next. Bennett got on the mic and the crowd booed. Bennett said Edwards was supposed him to face him, but he had chicken pox. Bennett said he couldn’t risk getting whatever Edwards had and then give it to his girlfriend. A fan shouted that she already had herpes. The fans chanted that Bennett has herpes. Bennett said ROH should allow him to talk and entertain these people in Maryland. The crowd booed. Bennett told Redwood he could walk away now. Redwood grabbed the mic and the fans cheered. Redwood promised to shut Bennett’s big mouth and the crowd cheered. Bennett turned his back and Redwood went under the ring. Bennett went looking for Redwood, who finally snuck up behind him.
2 - - MIKE BENNETT vs. GRIZZLY REDWOOD
Redwood rolled up Bennett for a nearfall, but Bennett cut him off with a shoulder tackle. Redwood tripped Bennett a short time later and hit a running bulldog for a 2 count. Bennett cut off Redwood and decked him with a punch. Bennett went up top, but Redwood crotched him and shook the ropes as the fans applauded. Redwood set up for a dive, but Bennett cut him off with a running kick. Bennett tossed Redwood hard into the corner and he collapsed to the mat. The crowd was hot and tried to rally behind Redwood, who grabbed a sleeper. Bennett tried to charge Redwood in the corner, but missed and Redwood rammed him into the turnbuckle. Redwood then hit a dive off the top for a 2 count. Redwood went for a springboard, but Bennett caught him. Redwood fought him off and hit a hurricanrana off the top. Bennett caught Redwood going for a second dive and hit a TKO for the win.
Winner: Mike Bennett – This was short, but fun. The crowd was all over Redwood and booed the heck out of Bennett. Bennett is definitely getting over as a heel in ROH.
Scott was backstage with Adam Cole. She asked him if he was nervous about facing Steen. Cole said he’s nervous, but sick of being underestimated. Cole said he’s a big advantage and asked Scott who the dangerous man really is tonight.
The crowd fired up for Steen’s entrance and he got a big pop coming through the curtain. Cole came out next and got into the ring, but the crowd was chanting with Steen, who wouldn’t follow the Code of Honor.
3 - - KEVIN STEEN vs. ADAM COLE
Cole sent Steen to the outside during the early going. He followed Steen to the outside and slammed him face-first into the apron. Cole went for a dropkick through the ropes to the outside, but Steen caught him and tripped him to the floor. Steen then slammed Steen into the barricade and the crowd roared. Steen nailed Cole with some big chops on the floor and the crowd popped. Steen continued to interact with the crowd while putting a beating on Cole inside the ring. Steen nailed Cole with a punch and told the ref to count him. He told the ref to count and counted along with him, but stopped and put the boots to Cole. Steen tossed Cole into the turnbuckles and he collapsed to the mat. Steen talked some trash to Cole as he writhed in pain before biting at his ear.
Cole got his boot up in the corner and hit a DDT off the second turnbuckle. Cole nailed Steen with a superkick to the back of the head and a flying knee for a 2 count. The crowd fired up behind Cole, but Steen backdropped him to the floor. Cole fired right back with a kick to Steen’s head from the floor. He went for a springboard, but Steen cut him off and hit a DDT through the ropes. Steen hit a cannonball in the corner for a 2 count. Cole fired back and hit a lung blower for a 2 count. Corino talked about Steen’s conditioning. Cole nailed Steen with a big superkick, but ran right into a pop-up powerbomb. Steen followed up with a huge clothesline and shouted out Richards before hitting the F5 for the win.
Winner: Kevin Steen
Star rating: (***) – This was a good match. Steen spent a lot of time jawing with the fans and dominated a lot of the action, although Cole made some nice comebacks. It was hard to tell who the crowd favored at times, as they cheered loudly for most of the match.
After the match, Steen teased giving the package piledriver to Steen, but Edwards broke it up and nailed Steen with a big boot. Several ROH officials ran out. Cornette eventually also came down to the ring. Steen laughed at Edwards and Cornette before leaving.
Caprice Coleman and Cedrick Alexander cut a promo saying they had a shot at the ROH World Tag Team titles. Coleman fired up and said the Briscoes had brought their family tonight. Coleman said they were excited tonight because this was the place where they became a tag team. This was a fun promo.
Alexander and Coleman came out to a good reaction. The Briscoes then came out to a big pop.
4 - - ROH World Tag Team Champions THE BRISCOES (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. CEDRICK ALEXANDER & CAPRCICE COLEMAN
Coleman and Mark exchanged nearfalls on the mat and came to a stalemate during the early stages of the match. Coleman took out both Briscoes with a dropkick and went to work on Jay. He nailed Jay with a splash in the corner and flipped right over him to take out Mark on the outside and the fans applauded. Jay cut off Alexander a short time later and tagged in Mark, who nailed him with a big running dropkick that got the fans excited. The Briscoes worked over Alexander for a long period of time before nailing him with a series of kicks in the corner. Alexander fired back on the Briscoes and Coleman ran in and hit a dropkick off the top on Mark. Coleman finally got the tag and hit a pop up legdrop on Mark for a 2 count.
Coleman missed a charge in the corner and the Briscoes nailed him with a kick/dragon suplex combination. Jay worked over Coleman, but Alexander made a blind tag and nailed him with a springboard clothesline. Alexander hit a face buster on Jay, but Mark broke up the pin. The action broke down and Alexander and Coleman hit a running kick/modified bulldog combination for a nearfall on Jay. Jay fired back on Coleman and Alexander and took them out. The Briscoes then hit the doomsday device on Alexander for the win.
Winners: The Briscoes to retain the ROH World Tag Team titles
Star rating: (**3/4) – There was some good action here with the Briscoes dominating a lot of the action. The match didn’t really ever build to a higher gear until the end when the Briscoes quickly won once the action broke down.
The Briscoes teased a hand shake after, but pulled their hands back and left the ring.
Jay and Mark cut a promo after the match on Alexander & Coleman. Mark said they aren’t ready yet. Jay said they need a little seasoning before they’re ready.
WGTT came out to a mixed reaction. Haas got on the mic and the crowd booed. Haas said they have wrestled all over the world while the people in the building have never been out of the town. Haas said now they were stuck in a garage to display their ability in front of these people. Benjamin got on the mic and the fans booed. He ran down the venue and the crowd. He said ROH hadn’t given them a match against Briscoes for the title and they had signed them to face nobodies just like the people in the crowd. It was hard to hear some of what Shelton was saying as he talked to the crowd. Shelton asked for their opponents to come out so they could get out of Norfolk. Haas got on the mic and called out their opponents.
A1 came out to a big pop.
5 - - WGTT (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) vs. A1 (Jeff Early & Zak Hilton)
Benjamin worked over Hilton during the early going. Haas tagged into the match and put the boots to him. The crowd tried to rally behind Hilton as he continued to take a sustained beating from Benjamin. Early tagged in and got a big pop. He tried to take Benjamin down with a single leg, but that didn’t work out so well. Benjamin nailed Hilton with a big clothesline and went to work on him. Hilton fired back and tagged in Hilton. They took out Haas and Benjamin with tandem dropkicks and the crowd applauded. Haas and Benjamin dragged them to the outside after blocking a double dropkick attempt. Haas and Benjamin went back to work on early back inside the ring. Hilton took a big belly-to-belly suplex from Haas, but managed to kick out. Hilton finally escaped Benjamin and tagged in early, who took out Benjamin with some awkward clotheslines. Benjamin fired right back with a spinebuster.
Hilton tagged back in, but got cut off right away. They hit an atomic drop/superkick combo on Hilton, but Haas lifted him up to break the pin. Haas and Benjamin shoved the ref for the DQ a short time later.
Winners: Jeff Early & Zak Hilton
Star rating: (-*) – This was a long squash from WGTT that ended in a DQ. This was totally pointless and boring while it lasted.
After the match, Haas and Benjamin took out Team A1, but the Briscoes ran down and took out Haas & Benjamin to make the save. They continued to brawl and several officials and Jim Cornette ran down to try to break up the brawl. The Briscoes raised Team A1’s hands after the ring was cleared.
Jay Lethal cut a promo hyping his Proving Ground match against Tomasso Ciampa. He said Ciampa only has his winning streak because of the Embassy. Lethal said Ciampa would lose to the lethal injection tonight.
Ciampa came out first to some boos from the crowd. Lethal came out next and got a good reaction.
6 - - ROH TV Champion JAY LETHAL vs. TOMASSO CIAMPA (w/Embassy Ltd.) – Proving Ground match
Lethal hit a cartwheel into a dropkick on Ciampa during the early stages of the match and Ciampa bailed to the outside. They exchanged counters back inside the ring and Lethal ended up nailing a seated Ciampa with an enzuguri. Lethal went to work on Ciampa with a unique elevated arm/leg submission. Lethal sent Ciampa to the outside with a springboard dropkick and the crowd roared as he followed up with a springboard. Ciampa fired back on the outside and went to work on Lethal. Ciampa tossed Lethal back into the ring and continued to work him over. Ciampa hit an awkward looking clothesline and covered Lethal for a 2 count. Lethal tried to fire back on Ciampa with the crowd behind and went for the lethal injection, but Ciampa nailed him with a dropkick.
Both men began exchanging punches, but Ciampa whipped Lethal hard into the corner and he fell to the mat. Ciampa taunted Lethal and nailed him with some light slaps to the head. Lethal fired up as the crowd applauded and nailed Ciampa with several punches and chops in the corner. Ciampa countered Lethal trying to jump over him and nailed him with a series of running knee strikes, but Lethal popped up out of nowhere and caught him with a superkick that left both men down. The crowd applauded as the ref began to count for both men. Ciampa and Lethal exchanged blows in the middle of the ring again.
Neither man would go down and the crowd cheered for Lethal’s punches and booed for Ciampa’s. Lethal fired up and took Ciampa down with a clothesline. He followed up with a handspring elbow for a 2 count with less than 3 minutes left in the time limit. Lethal hit the lethal combination for another 2 count. Lethal went up top and took off his elbow pad. Ciampa cut him off and they battled up top. Ciampa lifted Lethal onto his shoulders and dropped him down to the mat for a nearfall. The announcer said there was one minute left in the match. Ciampa went for a steel chair, but Nana took it from him. Lethal went for the lethal injection. All four members of the Embassy got up on the apron. Lethal took them out and kissed Mia, but Ciampa nailed him from behind with project Ciampa for the win.
Winner: Tomasso Ciampa to earn an ROH TV title shot
Star rating: (**3/4) – The match started slowly, but the last five minutes of the match were really good. Ciampa’s offense while he was working over Lethal during the early stages of the match wasn’t very exciting. They managed to turn the tide late in the match and the crowd was very much behind Lethal.
7 - - MICHAEL ELGIN & RODERICK STRONG (w/Truth Martini) vs. ROH World Champion DAVEY RICHARDS & KYLE O’REILLY
O’Reilly and Strong went at it during the early going before tagging in their partners. Richards hit Elgin with a kick, but Elgin no-sold it and told Richards to bring it. Richards eventually took Elgin down with a dropkick, but got greeted with a belly-to-belly suplex from Richards. Richards bailed to the outside to regroup and sold his back before tagging in O’Reilly. Strong tagged himself in and lit up O’Reilly with forearms in the corner. O’Reilly fired back and took Strong down before tagging in Richards who continued to work him over. The crowd continued to be hot for the action, as they have been all night. I still can barely hear Corino and Kelly on commentary. Strong fired back and tagged in Elgin, who went to work on Richards with a series of stomps. The fans began chanting for Richards.
Richards and Elgin had a great exchange of pinning combinations. Richards ended up taking down Elgin with a cross-arm breaker. Elgin dead-lifted Richards and powerbombed him into the turnbuckles. Elgin continued to work over Richards for a long period of time. Richards fired back and nailed Strong with a kick. He low-bridged Elgin, who spilled to the floor. Richards nailed Elgin with a running kick from the apron to the outside. O’Reilly then hit a flip dive over the top to take out Elgin and Strong and the crowd erupted. O’Reilly began working over Elgin inside the ring. He nailed Elgin with a big kick and Elgin told him to bring it. Elgin chopped O’Reilly down to the mat. O’Reilly hit Elgin with another kick and Elgin nailed him with a forearm that sent him down to the mat. They exchanged blows again and Elgin took O’Reilly out with an enzuguri before tagging in Strong.
O’Reilly tried to fire back and take Elgin off the apron, but Strong nailed him with a running knee strike. Elgin then slammed O’Reilly on the floor. Elgin continued to work over O’Reilly inside the ring. He gave O’Reilly some light slaps in the face before whipping him hard into the turnbuckles. O’Reilly fired back and went for a tornado DDT, but Elgin countered it into a backbreaker. That was impressive. Strong and Elgin tagged in and out to continue to work over O’Reilly. Elgin went nuts on O’Reilly in the corner at one point and nailed him with a series of kicks and punches. The ref was slow to count the pinfall because he had his hands full trying to keep Richards out of the ring. The crowd tried to rally behind O’Reilly as Elgin cinched in a rear naked choke. O’Reilly fired up and nailed Richards on the apron with a running kick, but ran right into a spinebuster. O’Reilly caught Elgin by surprise with an arm bar. Elgin dead-lifted O’Reilly and slammed him to the mat. Strong tagged in and covered O’Reilly for a nearfall.
Elgin taunted O’Reilly, who fired back with knee strikes. Elgin took him down before he could tag out and nailed him with some clubbing blows to the chest on the apron followed by a big leg drop, which drew some boos from the crowd. Elgin grabbed another chinlock on the mat as the crowd tried to rally behind O’Reilly. O’Reilly fired back on Strong and Elgin after breaking up a double team attempt that left all three men down. O’Reilly tagged in Richards, who took out Elgin and Strong with a missile dropkick. Richards kicked Elgin over and over against the ropes and the crowd fired up. Elgin and Strong tried to double team Richards, but he countered it into a bridging pin/suplex combination on both men that fired up the crowd.
Richards hit a German with a bridge on Elgin for a nearfall. Elgin caught Richards and O’Reilly ran at him, but Elgin caught him as well and suplexed both men over his head. That was impressive. Strong tagged in and hit a Saito suplex on Richards for a 2 count. The crowd fired up as both men exchanged strikes in the middle of the ring. Strong knocked O’Reilly off the apron and hit a big gut buster for a 2 count. Strong then applied the stronghold on Richards. O’Reilly got back in the ring and tried to break up the submission. Elgin went for a powerbomb, but O’Reilly turned it into a dragon sleeper. Richards locked in an ankle lock on Elgin at the same time. Elgin and Strong countered both submissions into pinning combinations for a double nearfall. The action broke down and Elgin nailed Richards with a spinning back fist. Strong and O’Reilly then went at it, but O’Reilly took him down with a superkick and everyone was down on the mat as the crowd went insane.
O’Reilly got up and hit a series of butterfly suplexes on Strong. Elgin tried to break up the pin, but landed on Strong. The action spilled outside and Richards held Elgin for a running kick off the apron from O’Reilly. O’Reilly then got a nearfall on Strong with a missile dropkick. O’Reilly and Richards nailed Strong with a series of moves capped by an O’Reilly suplex with a bridge for a nearfall and the crowd went insane. Elgin ran into the ring and caught O’Reilly with the black hole slam. Strong crawled over to O’Reilly and covered him for a nearfall. The action broke down again with Richards and Elgin brawling on the floor. O’Reilly got a small package on Strong for a nearfall. Strong fired back with a knee strike and went for a suplex, but O’Reilly turned it into a guillotine. Martini tried to run in with his book, but the ref took it away from him. Martini kicked O’Reilly. O’Reilly went after Martini, who swung at O’Reilly with a foreign object, but he hit Strong. O’Reilly then rolled him up for a nearfall.
Winners: Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly
Star rating: (****) – I’m guessing this match gave the winners a shot at the Briscoes for the tag titles at the next DVD taping, but it was hard to make out what was being said on commentary. That being said this was a match that drove an already hot crowd to insane levels at times. Elgin looked fantastic here hitting various power moves and the nearfalls down the stretch were awesome. I wasn’t a huge fan of Martini’s interference leading to the finish in a match as good as this, but other than that, this match is well-worth checking out.
Richards got on the mic after the match and told the fans to chant for O’Reilly. Richards thanked the fans for coming to the show. He said ROH is about young talent like O’Reilly and not him. The fans began chanting “ROH, ROH.” Richards said tonight was just a preview of what ROH is capable of. ROH promised the promotion would rise to new heights and he would lead the promotion. Richards said the promotion would overcome everything as it grows.
The House of Truth was shown arguing backstage. Strong got mad at Martini. Martini told him he accidentally hit him. Nana was shown backstage with Princess Mia. Ernesto was rubbing her feet. Nana told Mia about the things he had bought for her. Nana said because Ciampa had won the Proving Ground match, they had a chance to prove to their investors who they were. Evans said Ciampa had provided a return on the investment they were looking for. Nana said he’d take the TV title back to Gana as Ciampa glared at the camera.
Overall thoughts: (5.0) – This show had a lot of matches that just weren’t all that fun to sit through at home. The live crowd enjoyed just about everything on the show, but most of the matches were short and featured average action. One of the major problems with the show was the announcer volume was low and often drowned out by the hot crowd in Norfolk.
I do like that ROH featured several interviews during the show so that it felt like this was an important show. I know this show was packaged as a bonus disc with the “Rise and Prove” event, but ROH needs to provide better action than they did on this show to keep the fans coming back in different markets. The WGTT-A1 match is one of the worst matches/angles I’ve seen in ROH in quite some time. It was a long squash that built to a Briscoes-WGTT brawl. Haas & Benjamin’s heel work on the mic prior to the match was uninspired and these two should be way more over than they are at this point, but their performances in the ring and on the mic have become totally stale.
The sole reason to check out this show is for the awesome main event. Richards & O’Reilly vs. Strong & Elgin built and built to the point that the crowd was going insane by the time the finish came. Elgin looked like a beast in this match hitting several power moves. I didn’t think this match would be good enough to get to the 4 star level about halfway through, but the crowd heat and fantastic exchanges during the second of the match took it up to that level. I wasn’t a fan of the finish with Martini’s interference leading to the pin, but other than that complaint, this match is well-worth checking out.
I’ll be back in the near future with my “Rise and Prove” DVD review. You can purchase “Underground,” which is packaged as a bonus disc with “Rise and Prove” at ROHWrestling.com.
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