Welcome back to Rest Hold Party Ladies and Gentlemen, I am your Local Hero and your Review Guy Cameron McDonley, and I am back for installment number 2 of the Retro Review series. This time, we turn the clock back to 2013 for a celebration of a rich history and a culmination of many feuds in one particular company, and that company’s name is Ring Of Honor. That’s right, we are gonna be taking a look back at the 11th Anniversary show ROH put on in Chicago Ridge, which saw a main event that pitted two of the best the company had to offer against one another, a multitude of solid tag team matches, a shocking conclusion to a World TV Title match and a physical street fight, amongst many other things you would see if you tune in to this show. So without further ado, let’s adhere to the Code Of Honor, blast Unsettling Differences and review this IPPV!
Our first contest of the night was a 6-Man Mayhem match to determine who deserves a spot on the roster in ROH between ACH, QT Marshall, Adam Page, Silas Young, Mike Sydal and Tadarius Thomas. As you would expect from any multi-man affair in Ring Of Honor, let alone wrestling, this was a hotly contested match that was fast paced and very frantic, as these six phenomenal wrestlers not only were competing for a Ring Of Honor contract, but had a once in a lifetime chance to make a first impression on one of the biggest nights of the calendar year in this company, and all of these men for sure did just that. At the conclusion of this contest, ACH, who was just one win away from winning the Top Prospect Tournament, was able to secure a victory here and would be a member of this promotion’s roster for quite some time, as he would eventually gain a very sizable following due to his athleticism and his wrestling ability. All in all it was a really fun opener to start off the broadcast.
Match Rating: 3/5
The next match on this card was one of many exceptional tag team matches on this IPPV, as Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs would square off against two high-caliber professional wrestlers Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander. The story behind this one is one of simplicity, but also one of unfathomable intensity, as SCUM were hellbent on killing Ring Of Honor and everything it stands for, while their opponents on this night put themselves on the frontline and went to war for Ring Of Honor against two despicable men. As you would expect from the backstory, it’s a very physical affair, as both teams were settling a grudge bigger than themselves and were willing to do anything to complete their primary objective. However, as competitive as it was, the inevitable came to fruition, as SCUM eventually got the win once again, still dominant as ever before. That win didn’t come without something devastating enough to put their adversaries away however, as Corino & Jacobs executed one of the nastiest Spike Piledrivers I’ve ever seen on Alexander to get the win. The victory, plus that spot at the end were a highlight of this event. A very solid match as well.
Match Rating: 3.5/5
We now turn our attention to another feud that is not at all sunshine and shenanigans, as Charlie Haas takes on ROH Veteran BJ Whitmer in a No Holds Barred Match. The reason that this match has no rules is because Haas threw all the rules out the window and decided to attack Whitmer in the parking lot for seemingly no reason, so for this feud to be settled, a no holds barred contest would be the only way these two would get past their anger towards each other. As much as people were not entirely sold on the match heading into it, it more than delivered, as there were many notable spots in this match that took place. One being a belly to belly suplex to the outside through a table. There were some other spots as well, such as Haas placing a ladder over Whitmer’s body and absolutely brutalizing the man with a steel chair, Irish whipping the man towards a horizontally leaning ladder, and a Greco-Roman like throw through a table in the ring. Basically BJ took a majority of the punishment here until the end of the match when he hit Haas with a T-Bone Suplex onto a ladder and proceeded to knee his enemy in the skull multiple times until the referee stopped it due to knockout. This match was surely not for the weak at heart, but it certainly exceeded expectations.
Match Rating: 3.5/5
This next bout is another one with some history behind it for sure, but instead of it being a blood feud, it’s all about competition and a dream match that fans of tag team wrestling would surely salivate over for a long while. You had the long-established tag team of the American Wolves making a comeback against the very popular team known as the Forever Hooligans facing each other in a contest that was certainly a fun one to watch. Both teams got their moves in, giving everything they had to beat the other simply for their own pride, but in the bitter end, the just reformed American Wolves would obtain the victory against his former tag team partner Rocky Romero and his new partner at the time Alex Koslov. Not much else to say about this match other than it was nice to see the Code Of Honor there between two former friends and that it was another enjoyable tag match.
Match Rating: 3.5/5
After a series of great matches, we are finally down to the four main matches on this card. The first of which is a whole series of matches on its own and a testament to endurance, as it is a Two-Out-Of-Three Falls match. The contestants in this display of power and will are none other than Michael Elgin and Roderick Strong, two of the best wrestlers in the entire world, so you can expect this one to be a clinic. If you’re not familiar with either man however, you’re in for a treat, let me tell you that. In one of the best matches of the entire night, they were taken to their absolute limits both physically and mentally, as they were trying to figure out just how to put away the other man two times over. It wasn’t easy, and it surely was not a merry walk in the park either, but “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin picked up the victory against Mr. ROH, presumably etching him even closer to a shot at either the ROH World Television Title, or the Ring Of Honor World Title in the near future. This is definitely a match from this event I’d go out of my way to see if I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve already seen it twice and it’s definitely one for the books. If you haven’t seen it, find it somewhere and watch it. You won’t regret it.
Match Rating: 4/5
The next contest on this fine show is one of three championship matches, and it’s one that undoubtedly shows the distant future of ROH, as eventual megastar Adam Cole defends his world television title against a man who has had his fair share of success in the company, Matt Taven. Both men would at one point be allies, but on this night they were enemies, and Cole was the hero that everyone was supposed to cheer and Taven was seen as the villain. Matt Hardy who had a match against Cole the next night for a TV Taping would join Kevin Kelly and his broadcast partner at ringside for guest commentary for this match, hoping and almost praying that Cole retains so he gets a world television title shot 24 hours later. The match itself was a good one, as these two athletes showed why they’re at this level in the company, but it was certainly one of the less memorable matches of the entire night, except for the shocking ending in which the Panama City Playboy lost his championship to Taven in startling fashion, making this match become easily remembered as one of the biggest upsets in ROH history. Matt looked seemingly depressed about the whole thing, even more upset than the man who lost his belt. At least their match the next night became a #1 contenders match, so that was a decent consolation prize.
Match Rating: 3/5
Up next was an absolute barnburner, as two excellent teams would compete for the right to call themselves the ROH World Tag Team Champions. You have the grizzled veteran team of the Briscoes putting their championships on the line against what was an up and coming team consisting of Kyle O’ Reilly and Bobby Fish, collectively known as ReDragon. Both teams were at the top of their game here, giving everything they had in order to reach the highest plateau you could ever grasp in tag team wrestling. Throwing caution to the wind was what these four wrestlers needed to do to get the pinfall, and they surely threw everything but the kitchen sink at one another to get it. The most notable spot of the match at least for me was when Bobby Fish hit a Belly To Belly Suplex on Jay Briscoe off the apron to the floor. Everyone involved were at their best but in the end ReDragon became the new Ring Of Honor World Tag Team Champions to a sea of boos. How crazy is it to think that there was a time when ReDragon was hated? Anyway, that was easily match of the night. Another match I would suggest for everyone to go out of their way to watch. Exceptional performance by these athletes.
Match Rating: 4.5/5
Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, it is the main event of the evening! And it is for the Ring Of Honor World Championship!!! In one corner, you have the franchise of Ring Of Honor and a mainstay in the promotion Jay Lethal, and in the other corner you have the leader of SCUM, Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare, and the ROH World Champion rolled into one, Kevin Steen. This match has all the makings of a war, especially with the warpath SCUM was on for the majority of 2012 and early 2013, and how badly Lethal wanted to see Honor live and SCUM fade away and die. The intensity was up to a ten in this contest, as there was no respect there between these two adversaries. They just fought until there was a victor, and a broken man. Some of the biggest spots in this match were an F-5 through the timekeeper’s table and a powerbomb on the ring apron. After a hellacious match and a beating from Corino & Jacobs while the referee was down, the ending of this one became clearly inevitable, as Kevin Steen hit his signature Package Piledriver for the 1,2,3. Although there were some signs that Mr. Wrestling was gonna turn against his brethren and become a babyface, he ultimately gave in to his sadistic, evil nature.
However, the already chaotic nature of this situation was amplified after the final bell rung, as Corino, Jacobs and Rhino all savagely destroyed Lethal to the point that he was incapacitated. Jimmy Rave returned, and it seemed like he was there to take out SCUM, but he ended up joining. After that, the numbers began to multiply, as Matt Hardy, Cliff Compton and Rhett Titus all joined this group of renegades who desperately wanted to be the reason that Honor Died. Caprice Coleman, Cedric Alexander, the Briscoes, The Wolves, Michael Elgin and a few others tried to save the day and restore order to this situation, but were outnumbered and viciously assaulted and dissected by this evil faction. All of this went on as Kevin Steen watched with his championship in hand. After that, they cut a flag of the ROH flag in half, signifying exactly what their mission was and that war was indeed declared. The show cut away with SCUM still in the ring.
Match Rating: 4.5/5
This was a phenomenal show from top to bottom, as you had a perfect blend of top-notch wrestling and quality storytelling for the entire IPPV. Not much else to say, other than it was a fun show to watch and if you are an ROH fan, you should consider buying a DVD or subscribing to a Ringside Membership just to see this show.
Overall Show Rating: 4.8/5
(Credit to rohworld.com for the images, go check them out)
Well that is it for this installment of the Retro Review, I am your Local Hero and your Review Guy, Cameron McDonley signing off. Until next time, so long everybody!!