ATLANTA – This just in: Tag team wrestling is not dead.
It may be nearly extinct except for angle-driven matches at the two largest wrestling promotions, but it’s alive and well in Ring of Honor. That much was abundantly clear during the second day of “Honor Takes Center Stage,” as the main event, the match with the biggest crowd reaction and an excellent women’s match were all tag team affairs.
The final bout on the card saw Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas, take on the American Wolves team of Davey Richards and ROH World Champion Eddie Edwards. The ROH Tag Team Titles were not on the line for Benjamin and Haas, but that fact had no bearing on an excellent match with both teams enjoying plenty of support from the fans.
Benjamin eventually got the pin for WGTT, setting off a bit of bickering between the Wolves. That was the payoff from a segment right after intermission on the eight-match card, when Jim Cornette had Richards in the ring and suggested that a title match between the two Wolves would be the biggest event in ROH history.
Richards initially said he’d decline the offer because he felt it was Edwards’ time to shine – a notion that Eddie took exception to a few minutes later when he felt his partner’s answer was patronizing. After the main event loss, it appeared Richards may have changed his tune anyway, as chants of “Next world champ” rained down from a sellout crowd at Atlanta’s Center Stage.
The tag match between the Briscoe Brothers and The All Night Express also got the fans out of their seats after it turned into a bloody affair that ranged all over the auditorium. The Briscoes eventually pulled out the win, cutting a heel promo after the pinfall that left no doubt that the fans’ opinions of them wouldn’t matter going forward.
Heels also emerged triumphant from the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship match when Daizee Haze and Tomoko Nakagawa successfully retained their straps against the team of Ayumi Kurihara and Hiroyo Matsumoto. All four women displayed a level of psychology and athleticism not often seen from female wrestlers in the bigger North American promotions, and the crowd recognized that with a showering of applause after the bout.
Tag team wrestling also opened the card, as the Kings of Wrestling team of Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli defeated the smaller but still dangerous pairing of Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly. The four singles matches featured a highly technical affair between Colt Cabana and Dave Taylor and a compelling mix of styles when Christopher Daniels faced Michael Elgin.
Besides the American Wolves drama, the other notable angle occurred after El Generico defeated Roderick Strong. Elgin came out to help Strong get revenge after the bell, and the two of them were able to fend off an attempted save by Cabana.
Daniels also raced from the back and teased a save of his own, but he eventually aided Strong and Elgin, and all three wrestlers looked to be united under the guidance of Truth Martini as they headed to the back.
Honor Takes Center Stage Day 2 Full Results
Kings of Wrestling def. Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly by pinfall Colt Cabana def. Dave Taylor by pinfall Tommaso Ciampa def. Homicide by pinfall Christopher Daniels def. Michael Elgin by pinfall Daizee Haze and Tomoko Nakagawa def. Ayumi Kurihara and Hiroyo Matsumoto by pinfall to retain the SHIMMER Tag Team Championships The Briscoe Brothers def. The All Night Express by pinfall El Generico def. Roderick Strong by pinfall Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team def. The American Wolves by pinfall
Nick Tylwalk regrets that he generally only gets to see Ring of Honor live once a year. Follow his Tweets from WrestleMania weekend at @Nick_Tylwalk.