A decade ago, when Ring of Honor began, few really gave it much thought or chance — and why should they have really? It looked to be just another independent wrestling company trying to come together and make a name for itself. But luckily ROH wasn’t just like any other company, and as time went by the company grew and grew.
One Sunday night, with an iPPV, that once small company based in Bristol, Penn., which ran its first show at the Murphy Rec Centre on February 16, 2002, celebrated its tenth anniversary in front of a packed house at the Manhattan Center in New York City with a main event of Davey Richards and Kyle O’Reilly against Eddie Edwards and Adam Cole.
Edwards and O’Reilly took a spin first and after battling in a test of strength and head-butting each other a little they each went for submissions, O’Reilly with a Kimura and Edwards with an STF but both escaped and tagged out.
Lots of tags in the early going but the match finally settled into a groove as Cole and Edwards isolated Davey, until he managed to take both on single-handed. O’Reilly flew in and went nuts with evasions and strikes. Back Superplex by O’Reilly! He tried for a cross armbreaker but Eddie turned it into the Achilles Lock but O’Reilly reversed it into a Crossface and the fans went nuts.
Cole tagged in and he took it to O’Reilly for a moment, but a blind tag allowed Richards to take him down. O’Reilly hit the Rolling Butterflies and turned the third into a cross armbreaker but Cole immediately reversed. Richards accidentally kicked O’Reilly and then Cole hit a neckbreaker that made O’Reilly DDT Richards on the way down.
Eddie assisted Cole on a dive to the outside and then hit an asai moonsault of his own. They doubled up on Richards back inside the ring but once again he was able to fight off both men and got Cole into the Ankle Lock. Eddie tried to break it up but Richards wouldn’t let go. O’Reilly locked in a Guillotine Choke, Eddie reversed. This created a great image of both Wolves, who were now on opposite sides, having half-crabs while looking each other in the eyes.
Brilliant, they then started fighting; however, O’Reilly and Cole hit German suplexes on them both.
Cole and O’Reilly then took turns to bicycle kick each other, and then suplex one another, and then rolling elbowed each other.
Richards moved in for the kill on Cole but he wouldn’t stay down. Cole tagged in Edwards who double stomped Richards and then got him in the Achilles Lock, Richards kicked his way free but ran into an Alarm Clock Superkick.
Richards got Edwards in an Ankle Lock but he escaped. He tried the flying codebreaker again but Richards turned it into an Ankle Lock. Eddie managed to tag Cole who hit a Crossbody, of all things, on Richards for the win.
A slow burner, which took a while to get going but once it did, this match was good. For it being one of if not their first main event showing on iPPV, Cole and O’Reilly worked well. I was glad to see Edwards and Richards not produce another kick fest like their contest at Final Battle. Surpised that Cole pinned the World Champion, could this be the start of something for Adam Cole in ROH this year? Who knows…
Winners: Eddie Edwards & Adam Cole
ROH Young Wolves Rising — Tenth Anniversary Show FULL RESULTS
Match #1: Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin vs. The All Night Express (Kenny King and Rhett Titus)
Charlie Haas comes out sporting a beard, because that’s what all heels do. Action starts off at a fairly speedy pace, with ANX taking control until Benjamin hit a blatant low blow, which was wrongly called as a blow to the thigh area. ANX get back into the match however and hit stereo dives to the outside.
Haas and Benjamin start working Titus’ previously-injured knee. Benjamin teases a chair shot to the knee on the outside, but instead uses a figure four with Titus’ leg wrapped around the ring post.
Titus clotheslines Haas to the outside leaving King and Benjamin to face off, nice combination of pin attempts by both men and eventually King reverses one of Benjamin’s cradles into one of his own for the win.
Winner: The All Night Express
Match rating: 6/10
Match #2: Homicide vs. Mike Bennett (w/ Brutal Bob & Maria)
Love this chant. The NYC crowd, once again produce loud CM Punk chants for the Prodigy and his main squeeze Maria. Homicide wears a jump suit, just like old school. Fast paced and intense start to this one as they brawl around ringside, with Homicide in command. Bennett controls methodically for a few minutes.
Homicide gives props to Samoa Joe with a powerbomb right into a Stepover Toehold Facelock, but Bennett escapes in the ropes. They battle on the top rope as Homicide teases a Pepsi Plunge, a nice shout out to CM Punk, but Bennett backdrops him off the top rope.
Homicide however fights back and in another shout out to Punk, he hits the Go 2 Sleep as Maria flips out on the outside, thus distracting Homicide and allowing Bennett to roll him up for the three count.
Surprisingly good match. The brawl at the beginning set the tone for what was to follow. Homicide, with his costume, music and tributes to Joe and Punk added some real niche nostalgia.
Winner: Mike Bennett
Match rating: 7/10
Nice comments from Homicide after the match, saying happy birthday to ROH and stating it is the greatest company in the world, he then leads the crowd in the famous “R-O-H” chant.
After some comments from announcers Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness about ROH not being a place where the “old folks” end up, CHIKARA pro wrestling’s Grand Champion, Eddie Kingston, comes out for an interview with Kevin Kelly.
As Kingston says he has an idea that he would like to tell Davey Richards, Kevin Steen interrupts with Richards’ music playing. Steen insults Kingston and CHIKARA itself by stating that it is a “Mickey Mouse promotion.” This gets Kingston hot. The two start fighting and then the two are pulled apart by officials.
Steen then picks up the Grand Championship and threatens to piss on the title, this leads to The Colony and Jigsaw of CHIKARA coming out and attacking Steen with Fire Ant diving from inside the ring to the outside on everyone. The brawl erupts again, through the curtain to the back.
Amazing Red drives his legs into Michael Elgin and Roderick Strong.
Match #3: House of Truth (Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin) vs. TJ Perkins & The Amazing Red
The fans welcome back Amazing Red, who as Kelly noted, was in the first-ever ROH match against Jay Briscoe.
Perkins and Red seem to work well as a team and overwhelm the House of Truth with speed for the early parts of the contest, until Elgin squashes Perkins with a powerslam as he attempted a slingshot move.
Red goes on the attack with variations of kicks as the fans go wild for him. He tries a suicide dive on Elgin but gets caught, however. Perkins from inside the ring does his own dive, which connects on Elgin. Later on, stereo dives by Red and Perkins onto Strong and Truth Martini on the other side of the ring.
Code Red connects on Elgin, which should have been contest over but Strong made the save. Elgin and Strong hit an Alabama Slam into a Back Stabber on Red for the win.
Nice chants of “please come back” aimed towards Amazing Red. This was a fun match, which saw the fans really get into Red and Perkins’ high-flying offense. This match seemed to be a showcase for Red, re-introducing him to ROH fans.
Winners: House of Truth
Match rating: 7/10
Match #4: ROH Television Championship Jay Lethal (Champion) vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Very slow pace throughout the majority of this one, and it took a couple of minutes before Lethal was able to turn up the tempo, sending Ciampa to the outside with a springboard dropkick.
It seems this match is going to go the distance with the way they have structured this bout, especially because with about eight minutes left in the time limit, Ciampa is still taking the match real slow, using nothing but kicks and punches.
Lethal and Ciampa fight on the top rope, until Lethal knocks him off and hits Hail to the King for a two count. They fight on the apron and Ciampa hits a dangerous Air Raid Crash, which sees Lethal’s body smack the edge of the ring.
Thrilling last few seconds in this one, with both men desperate to get the win and beat the clock. But to no avail.
Not a great match this one, far too slow with not much going on for long periods of time. Looks like ROH is wanting to build this into a long-term program.
After the match, Lethal wanted five more minutes but wasn’t given it. Ciampa hit Project Ciampa to lay the champion out before stealing the belt and leaving.
Time Limit Draw, therefore still ROH TV Champion: Jay Lethal
Match rating: 3/10
Match #5: ROH Tag Team Championship Match — The Briscoes (Champions) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)
Straight after the interval and this match got off to a frantic pace, with The Briscoes dominating the early exchange. A nice spot saw The Briscoes double hip toss Matt Jackson out of the ring onto Nick.
The Briscoes were in control for large periods of this and were wearing out Matt until Nick distracted Jay as he ran the ropes and the Bucks double teamed their way back into the match. The Bucks used some kicks but Mark blocks a suicide dive and unleashes Red Neck Kung Fu, which gained a nice response from the crowd.
Nick hit a moonsault off the apron on Mark and then the Bucks double teamed Jay in the corner, followed by a rope-hung 450 Splash. Jay tried to fight both Jacksons but got double superkicked and Mark had to break up the pin.
The Bucks went for More Bang For Your Buck but Jay got his knees up to block the 450, Mark shoved Matt off the top to the outside and then took his place on the top rope, hitting the Doomsday Device for the three.
Given how much TV time and build was put into this match, it was so surprising to see how The Young Bucks barely looked like a threat. There wasn’t much drama to the match and this was solely because The Briscoes were booked so strong that it was near impossible to fathom that they would lose. Very disappointing if you were expecting a competitive encounter.
Winners and still ROH Tag Team Champions: The Briscoes
Match rating: 5/10
Match #6: No DQ Match — Kevin Steen vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Steen wrestled in his tuxedo shirt, which was funny. Jacobs wore street clothes. Steve Corino came out with Jacobs and proclaimed to Steen that enough is enough and this match wasn’t happening. Steen insulted Corino, so Jacobs attacked him and then removes his big coat and pants to reveal his Age of the Fall tights and coat. Didn’t get much of a reaction from the live crowd.
Steen hit a codebreaker while Jacobs was holding a chair and then hit a fallaway slam into the guard rail, ouch. Steen beats Jacobs down on the ramp and tried to jump on him off the rail but Jacobs threw him down onto the ramp.
Tornado DDT from Jacobs to Steen on the guard rail, looked sick. Jacobs took too long setting up a table and Steen powerbombed him into the ring frame twice but couldn’t hit a third as Jacobs speared him from the ring off the apron through a table. Which drew a huge response from the live crowd.
Steen went for a Swanton but Jacobs got his knees up. F-5 by Steen! But he didn’t go for the pin and instead set up two chairs back to back looking for a backbreaker. Jacobs escaped but couldn’t hold onto offense for long as Steen hit an F-5 through the chairs for the win, which looked absolutely brutal.
Great match, a little slow and sloppy in places but once the two of them got going it was good. One criticism could be made that perhaps Steen was given too much of an invisibility aura about, with Jacobs hitting a lot of big moves only for Steen to bounce right back.
Winner: Kevin Steen
Match rating: 7/10
Match #7: Davey Richards and Kyle O’Reilly vs. Eddie Edwards and Adam Cole
Winners: Eddie Edwards and Adam Cole
Match rating: 8/10
Richards shook hands with Edwards and Cole but O’Reilly says he respects neither man — which drew a negative response from the crowd. Kevin Steen interrupted them and said he respected none of them, Steen continues by claiming Richards is scared of him and that the show should have been him wrestling for the world title.
Event Rating: 6/10