Ring of Honor is on the agenda once more, and this time we’re heading back to last October and Mississauga, Ontario to see Michael Elgin challenge Kevin Steen for the World title in the main event of Glory by Honor XI.
The show began with tag team action as the Bravado Brothers, Lancelot and Harlem, faced Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander in a Caged Hostility rematch.
These Bravado boys have certainly come a long way since I first saw them. Back then they were a couple of Grandma’s boys. Now they’re a well-oiled wrestling machine.
They showed how far they’ve come in this exciting opener. Their teamwork as they used Alexander for target practice was spot on, the best I’ve ever seen from them.
As for Alexander and Coleman they’re also becoming an impressive unit, and if it wasn’t for their input this match wouldn’t have been half as good.
Despite their improvement the brothers fell short in this one as Lancelot fell to Coleman and Alexander’s one-two punch, a top rope hurricanrana followed by a top rope frog splash for the winning pin.
The singles action began with Mike Bennett, accompanied by Maria Kanellis, facing Mike Mondo in a grudge match.
The grudge in this one was all about Mondo’s unwanted advances towards the lovely Maria. It was something that Bennett didn’t take too kindly to.
As for the match they spent more time brawling around the ring than they did in it. It was pretty entertaining stuff, particularly when Bennett power slammed Mondo on the floor as he flew off the ring apron.
The holy you know what moment came when Mondo climbed to the top of the entrance scaffold and came crashing down on Bennett.
When they eventually returned to the ring Mondo looked like he was going to fall for Maria’s charms. It was all part of an evil plan, and although it almost failed Bennett soon came out on top when he took Mondo down with a TKO for the winning pin.
The grudge match action continued with Rhett Titus and B.J. Whitmer taking on Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin.
They didn’t even wait to get to the ring to start this one. Benjamin and Haas attacked Titus and Whitmer as they made their entrance, and it was Whitmer who took the brunt of the early punishment until Titus tagged into the match.
Benjamin and Titus then proceeded to tae Titus apart with their usual wide variety of moves, until the former ladies man managed to reach his own corner.
Whitmer came into the match like a house on fire as he took both men down with a wide array of suplexes. It looked like the new team were going to get the win until Whitmer was pushed into Titus when he was on the top rope.
Haas and Benjamin then lifted Whitmer high into the air before taking him down with their double spine buster for Haas’ winning pin.
Then it was on to the one I really wanted to see as Jay Lethal faced Davey Richards in a Survival of the Fittest finals rematch.
It didn’t disappoint. For over 20 minutes these two put on a classic back and forth battle, the sort of match ROH has become renowned for over the past few years.
This one had everything. From the early exchange of submission holds through the striking exchanges and the countless false finishes towards the end, Richards and Lethal put on a match that would have been worth of the main event, let alone the mid-card.
It really was one of those matches that could have gone either way, and it almost went the way of Lethal after he sent Richards crashing onto a table from the top rope.
Richards barely beat the count back into the ring, and as they brought out the hard hitting exchanges and the big moves everyone in the building was eating up everything that was on offer.
The end eventually came when Lethal went back to a hold he’d tried earlier in the match, the Koji Clutch. When he applied it for a second time Richards passed out, giving Lethal the stoppage win and earning both men a standing ovation.
The special challenge match was next as Tadarius Thomas went up against Truth Martini’s man Roderick Strong.
Well, that was what was meant to happen. Strong came out and promptly quit the House of Truth before returning backstage with Martini in hot pursuit.
He returned a few moments later with a rather reluctant Rhino in tow. Martini stated that all was well in his camp before putting the Man Beast in as Strong’s replacement, even though Rhino said he wasn’t ready.
Rhino began the match minus a knee pad and his wrist tape, and he was easy prey for Thomas’ unique striking combinations early on.
He soon established control though, but when Martini interfered the Man Beast chastised him, especially when he hit Thomas as Rhino prepared for the Gore.
So Rhino prepared for the Gore again, but when he came forward Thomas connected with a kick to the head that sent him into the middle of next week, and a Magistral roll-up later gave Thomas the upset win.
To say that Rhino was annoyed when he came to would be an understatement. Martini tried to plead with him, even offering him cash at one point. Rhino was having none of it though as he press slammed Martini from the ring right on to the top of the ring barrier.
The first title match of the evening saw Eddie Edwards challenging Adam Cole for the TV title.
Nothing like a good old fashioned friendly rivalry to get the pulse racing, and thankfully the normal time limit for TV title matches was extended to 30 minutes here. If it hadn’t this match would have been half as good.
It began with some nice chain wrestling as they exchanged moves and holds as well as a few stiff chops. But when Cole leapt over the top rope and took Edwards down with a DDT on the ring apron things got a little more serious.
As Edwards began to favour his neck the big guns came out as both men went for their leg submission of choice. Neither of them worked though and eventually Cole took his man down with his Florida Key suplex for the title retaining pin and the second standing ovation of the evening.
The title action continued with Jay and Mark Briscoe challenging the SCUM team of Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs for the Tag Team titles.
If you were expecting this to be a technical classic then you’d probably be bitterly disappointed. This was a fight, and a pretty entertaining one at that.
It began before the bell sounded, and the action quickly spilled out to ringside as they began to knock the proverbial out of each other for what seemed like an age.
They eventually made it to the ring, but when Corino clobbered Mark with a roll of coins in his hand it became a handicap match more or less as the SCUM boys used Jay for target practice.
Mark managed to make his way back into the match after getting checked over at ringside as the even bigger brawl started, and just when it looked like the brothers were going to get the win with the Doomsday Device Corino pushed the referee into the ropes, crotching Mark in the corner. He then kicked Jay below the belt, and when the referee returned his attention back to the match the first thing he saw was Jacobs taking Jay down with a Victory Roll for the winning pin.
The main event saw Michael Elgin challenging Kevin Steen for the World title.
Before the introductions began Steen took to the microphone to tell the crowd that all of his demands had been met and that the Package Piledriver was legal once again.
Oh, and mention must be made of Roderick Strong taking a seat in the front row. Remember that one folks, it may be important later.
As someone who has witnessed countless main event technical classics on ROH shows it still seems a bit off to see two big guys beating the snot out of each other with the World title on the line.
That was basically what you had in this match. For nearly 30 minutes these two traded big blows and power moves, and if I’m to be perfectly honest it seemed a little overlong.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a good match, and the performances of those involved can’t be faulted, but it could have done with being about ten minutes shorter.
So what were the highlights then, I hear you ask. The answer to that is simple: Elgin’s power moves. To be able to throw a big unit like Steen around the ring takes some doing, and Elgin made it look easy.
As for the aforementioned Roderick Strong he tried to clobber Elgin when the action spilled out of the ring, but Elgin soon took care of him, throwing him into the barricades before throwing him out of the arena.
We also had plenty of false finishes towards the end as they kicked out of each other’s big moves before Steen finally put his man away with a Package Piledriver from the top rope.
Then, as a couple of referees were helping Elgin to his feet Strong returned to the ring and took him down with a Sick Kick before scurrying away like a thief in the night.
It was then that another referee gave announcer Nigel McGuinness a box to give to Steen, and when the champion opened it up the celebratory look on his face disappeared when he saw that it contained the mask of his old nemesis El Generico.
In conclusion - so did Ring of Honor deliver once again? For the most part yes, yes they did.
There were some great matches on this show, a couple of them rightfully earning a standing ovation, and some of the continuing storylines were well played out.
But the main event kind of bugged me for the reasons I mentioned. Steen/Elgin was good, but it didn’t really feel like an ROH main event.
As for my match of the night no-prize that’s going to Jay Lethal and Davey Richards, although it nearly went to Adam Cole and Eddie Edwards.
So with all of that out of the way let’s wrap this thing up by giving Glory by Honor XI the thumbs up.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. Glory by Honor XI can be purchased online at www.rohwrestling.com.