Wheelman for James Ellsworth
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: New England
Re: Official Indy DVD Discussion Thread
Only-sort-of-random ROH rewatch night, focusing, as was my whim this evening, on matches from 2012.
ROH World Title
Davey Richards (c) vs. Jay Lethal (The Homecoming 2012, 1/20) ★★★★
After a decidedly lackluster first year as champion, Davey started to build a respectable reign with this match, which I attribute to the fact that for the first time since winning the belt and honestly, probably since failing to win it at Final Battle '10 he once again spent an entire match showing what (IMO) made him a star in the first place: his once-vaunted perfect execution. And, to the match's tremendous benefit, Lethal matched him in that area. The work on Lethal's arm was nowhere near as finely detail-oriented as the similar bodywork from the likes of Tanahashi and Okada, but he sold it well (meaning believably) for the rest of the match. No flaws that actually hurt the match; even a couple of potential deal-breaking moments are greatly minimized in context. Great match.
ROH World Tag Team Titles
The Briscoes (c) vs. Davey Richards & Kyle O'Reilly (Rise and Prove, 2/17) ★★★¾
The Briscoes' careers following their blockbuster 2007 can be charitably called "uneven," but the ROH base continues to respect them, and they can still put on a hell of a tag title main event when they feel like it. Case in point: this straight-up, action-packed main event from an otherwise nothing show. Dem Boys bring the goods, but the real story here is O'Reilly getting to look like a credible threat against the established ROH team to beat. (Davey hangs back a bit more than I'd expect, but I guess all the better to showcase his protégé.) I know Kyle is arguably even less popular around here than Davey or the Briscoes, but for those (like me) who like what he does at his best, this is yet another of the "future main-eventer" performances he specialized in around this time.
Eddie Edwards vs. Tommaso Ciampa (Live Strong, 6/30) ★★★½
You know a match between these two isn't going to be rocket science, so it's to the match's benefit that it's kept fairly short and simple. Just a hard-hitting, action-packed, back-and-forth wrestling match with no story beyond the good old standby of "Two guys fight; who's gonna win?" Sometimes, that's all you need for a really good match, and that's the case here. Very good match, and quite possibly still the best of Ciampa's career.
Michael Elgin vs. Silas Young (Brew City Beatdown, 7/14) ★★★¾
If this isn't Young's ROH debut, then it's certainly one of the first times most of the fanbase will have seen him in action. What I love about this match is the fact that ROH perhaps motivated by the possibility that he's a familiar face to upper-Midwest fans like this Milwaukee crowd lets him be his best self right from the get-go. He's paired up with a guy who (I assume) he'd faced before in this region and let them have the kind of match they've probably headlined another company's show with, which seems to me a better way of establishing Silas than I might have expected.
The Bravado Brothers vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander (Caged Hostility, 9/8) ★★★¾
Is this the most unlikely great match of the past few years? It's certainly a candidate for the most unexpected. C & C had had some fun outings prior to this, and the Bravados' improvement since their NOAH excursion was well-established by this point, but I still can't say I was expecting anything more than a whole bunch of nothing from this pairing. Instead, all four guys came in with their best workin' boots on and put on as state-of-the-art yet fundamentally sound an indy tag match as anybody else has in recent memory. They played the tag formula to perfection, with the Bravados getting downright Andersonian in their work on Coleman's arm, and still found time to bust out all the movez, AND kept the home-state fans hot from beginning to end. Just great stuff all around.
My Ratings System
DUD/No Stars = I hated it.
★ = I didn't like it.
★★ = Eh. It was there.
★★★ = I liked it.
★★★★ = I loved it.
★★★★★ = This is as good as wrestling gets.