It’s time to step into Ring of Honor territory again as we take a look at another DVD release, with World Champion Roderick Strong taking on three top challengers in a stipulation riddled encounter at this past March’s Defy or Deny.
After an in-ring confrontation between Steve Corino and “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett it was on to the first match, with Mark Briscoe taking on Kyle O’Reilly.
This battle between rookie and veteran was an outstanding match. As a show opener it was full of fast pace hard hitting back and forth action, and it was a joy to behold.
If I go on much longer I’ll just keep spewing out superlatives, so let’s cut to the chase. After a slugfest developed both men unleashed with chops and forearm smashes. Briscoe finally got the better of his man when he took him down with a power bomb, sealing the deal with a top rope frog elbow for the winning pin.
Steve Corino then made his second appearance of the evening, teaming with Grizzly Redwood against Kenny King and Rhett Titus, the All Night Express.
The rehabilitation of Corino is proving to be an interesting angle. He’s still putting on great performances but resisting the temptation to break the rules, despite the urging of the fans.
But while his team with Redwood continues to show promise they’ve got some way to go compared to King and Titus. Once again they put in another great performance, especially with their double team moves.
Corino ended up costing his team the match, accidentally hitting Redwood with a clothesline before ANX finished the job with their back breaker/top rope knee drop combination for the winning pin.
Afterwards Corino tried to apologise for his mistake, but Redwood was having none of it as he left the ring.
It was back to singles action for the next match as Tommaso Ciampa, accompanied by Prince Nana and his Embassy boys, went up against Adam Cole.
These two relatively new additions to the roster were looking to make a good impression, and they certainly did that.
From the moment it started it was full of great action. Cole and Ciampa looked tailor-made for each other as they put on a hell of a contest.
Of course, the odds were against Cole as the various members of the Embassy took their turn to get involved, before Ciampa took Cole down with a power bomb into a back breaker.
Well, it was great to see someone called Cole who actually deserved to be in the ring.
Then it was on to one half of the Tag Team Champions, Chris Hero, accompanied by Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Ray, as he went up against T.J. Perkins.
The tremendous action continued with this match. Perkins outwrestled Hero early on, and throughout the match he pulled out a variety of unique submission moves.
Hero, as always, put in a solid effort, countering his man whenever he could, and heaving his cohorts outside to do some damage while he distracted the referee.
After a ton of false finishes Hero was able to get the pin, taking Perkins down with a rolling elbow and finishing the job with a rolling boot.
Then it was on to an impromptu encounter as the Bravado Brothers faced Matt Taven and Guy Alexander. The Bravados had hand picked Taven and Alexander because they hadn’t been booked for the show.
A nice little encounter saw Taven and Alexander really taking it to their opponents at first, and they looked the better of the two teams throughout the match.
But in the end Grandma’s boys got the tainted win as one of them (I still don’t know which one is which!) reversed Taven’s cross body block off the top rope and took the pin with a handful of tights.
And what is it with the Bravado’s new ring gear? They looked like refugees from a golf club!
The “special challenge match” followed as Eddie Edwards faced Michal Elgin, accompanied by his manager Truth Martini.
With Edwards 24 hours away from his World title shot against Roderick Strong Elgin’s job was simple; to make sure that Edwards didn’t get there.
This was a tremendous match, filled with no nonsense hard hitting action, one of those battles you could watch over and over again.
Elgin impressed the hell out of me. He has that “Rhyno” quality about him. He’s not the tallest of wrestlers but he’s built like a brick wall and he’s incredibly intense.
Edwards was, as ever, highly dependable, going toe to tope with his much stronger opponent, refusing to back down.
The American Wolf got the job done in the end. Although Elgin managed to escape from the Achilles lock by getting to the ropes Edwards took him down with a 2K1 bomb for the winning pin.
Then it was on to the only title match as Mike Bennett, making his second appearance here and accompanied by his trainer Bob Evans, challenged Christopher Daniels for the TV title.
The crowd were really hot for this one, and they were treated to a great encounter between veteran and up and comer.
Bennett did a great job of taking it to his more illustrious opponent, with a little help from his friend, while Daniels put in his usual excellent performance.
Bennett was about to use the title belt on Daniels, but then Steve Corino ran in and snatched it from him. A short time later Daniels took his man out with the BME to get the pin.
When then saw a slightly heated confrontation as Corino tried to give the title belt back to Daniels, who was convinced that Corino had ulterior motives.
The penultimate match saw the other half of the Tag Team Champions, Claudio Castagnoli, accompanied by Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Ray, going up against Davey Richards.
These former stablemates put on an incredible match. Double C frustrated Richards at first, using his size and strength advantage to good effect.
But it wasn’t long before Richards started unloading with the heavy stuff, and from there the action got better and better, and not even the inevitable interference from Hagadorn and Del Ray could stop Richards.
So after plenty of great moves and near falls Richards finally got the win after a shooting star press.
The main event featured four way elimination action between World Champion Roderick Strong, accompanied by his manager Truth Martini, El Generico, Homicide and Jay Briscoe.
A few stipulations for this one; if strong won then his opponents wouldn’t get title shots while he was still champion, but if any of them pinned him then they’d get the next title shot. Did the TNA booking team slip a piece of paper into the script here?
Before the match began Strong took to the microphone to remind his opponents that they had one thing in common, that he’d beaten them all before. He then offered Homicide the chance to become a makeshift unit for the night.
Needless to say that this alliance didn’t last that long. They did okay to begin with, but Homicide felt slighted when Strong used the three amigos suplex sequence.
The inevitable mass brawl happened shortly afterwards, and it wasn’t long until the first elimination with Briscoe taking Homicide out with the jay driller.
Briscoe himself was the next one to go as he felt victim to Strong’s brain buster, leaving the champion alone with Generico.
It was then that things got taken up a notch, and after a series of fast paced moves Generico put Strong on to the top rope in anticipation of his trademark brain buster.
But as Martini argued with the referee Michael Elgin rushed to the ring and took Generico down with a power bomb. With the referee none the wiser Strong connected with his sick kick for the winning pin.
Strong and Elgin then proceeded to attack the masked man until Christopher Daniels, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards made the save.
No extras on this DVD, so let’s get on with things.
In conclusion - I’ve used many superlatives to describe the various matches on this DVD, and all of those could be used to describe this release.
From top to bottom this is filled with great matches, and because they’re all that good it’s hard to pick out a match of the night.
So with that being said Defy or Deny gets the big thumbs up, because it’s a darn sight better that anything the big two have put out this year.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. ROH Defy or Deny is available to buy online at www.rohwrestling.com.