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LIVE BLOG: ROH SoCal Showdown 2 (COMPLETE THOUGHTS)

by on March 29, 2011

WE ARE LIVE!

I’m currently live-blogging my thoughts of Ring of Honor’s “SoCal Showdown 2” DVD, recorded on January 28, 2011, featuring  TJ Perkins against Davey Richards, El Generico versus Roderick Strong for the ROH Title, and a Kings of Wrestling/Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team rematch from Glory By Honor in September!

I’ll update the post underneath the cut with my thoughts as I watch the show live! If you have the show and want to watch along or have already seen it and want to give your thoughts, just click on the Comments section underneath the post and leave your thoughts. If you haven’t seen the show and this interests you, go to ROHWrestling.com to order the DVD! Let’s create conversation!

We open the show with the Kings of Wrestling coming out to the ring for what I assume is a promo to hype their match with Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin)…
-The dangling lights from the ceiling are kind of cute in a “My Super Sweet 16” type of way.
-Chris Hero is running down some of the big teams that the Kings have defeated. Oddly enough, the two TNA teams (Generation Me and the Motor City Machine Guns) got booed. Right as I say that, they chant “Overrated” when Hero says that Haas & Benjamin were overrated, so me thinks the crowd is just incredibly pro-Kings.
-Claudio trying to get heat by bashing Disneyland and American basketball is kind of adorable.

THE BRAVADO BROTHERS (Harlem & Lance) vs. CALEB KONLEY & CEDRIC ALEXANDER
-There’s something ridiculous about Lance & Harlem doing the good ol’, wholesome, delusionaly tight-knit family gimmick, yet coming out to the proverbial R&B summer jam of 1996.
-Caleb Konley has a GORGEOUS armdrag. Just sayin’.
-Cedric Alexander kind of looks like if Jonathan Gresham and Tomasso Ciampa had a baby.
-Nice to see Konley & Alexander bust out Jacey North’s old Tope Penisida.
-Cedric Alexander did the Yakuza fakeout into the spinning front kick one hundred times better than 90% of anyone who tries it.
-There’s something about Konley that I really dig, but I can’t put my finger on it. It’s like he has all of the potential of Silas Young from 2006, but more of a willingness to live up to it. Right as I say that, Konley dies for our sins on a HYOOOOGE bump off of the top to the floor, leading to the Bravados reversing a Alexander powerbomb into a rana for the win.
-Solid opening match. Oddly enough, the Highspots.com duo impressed me more than the Bravados, who are usually the highlight of anyone’s day. The one cool Bravados spot was Lance grabbing Konley’s leg and running around his brother Harlem so Harlem can hit a surprise German suplex.
-Looks like they shot a little angle for Konley afterwards, where he refused to follow the Code of Honor and Alexander was appalled.

COLT CABANA vs JAY BRISCOE
-The commentators mention that this is the first singles match these two have had, which is shockingly true.
-The crowd is performing the dueling chant of “You’re Not Funny”-“Yes, He Is!”. The joys of a wrestling convention crowd.
-This is absolutely Jay Briscoe working a Colt Cabana match, which is bizarre to see, but not nearly as screwy-looking as you’d think.
-Briscoe is working subtle heel and starts to get the heat after cradling Cabana in the corner
-Jay wins a shockingly quick, condensed match with the J-Driller. I honestly didn’t mind this only getting around six or seven minutes since it was the second match on the card and it’s not like either guy NEEDED to have a big, epic match on this card, especially when it’d take away from the matches that really needed the time and attention.

ALL NIGHT EXPRESS (Rhett Titus & Kenny King w/stripper) vs THE CUTLER BROTHERS (Brandon & Dustin)
-Nice to see this match booked so that we finally can declare that Rhett Titus is neither Brandon or Dustin Cutler.
-The Cutlers are quite over. Normally I wouldn’t be shocked since this was in Southern California, but they also did this show at WrestleReunion, so I’m sure there were a ton of out-of-towners in attendance.
-I love Rhett Titus, but slapping that thigh for a toe kick to the gut isn’t necessary.
-Observation that might get some curious looks: the Cutlers have John Morrison butt.
-I said earlier that the Cutlers were over, but Kevin Kelly is making it sound on commentary like Titus & King might get stabbed or something, throwing around terms like “hostile crowd”.
-The All Night Express are doing an impressive job of making the Cutlers look to be on their “level” in terms of bumping around for them and eating a ton of their offense early on.
-For as sharp as the Cutlers looked at the beginning of the match, the hot tag flurry of offense was more lukewarm than anything.
-The Cutler who took Rhett’s version of the Johnny Gargano lawn dart in the corner DIED on it.
-The All Night Express go over after a flurry of double-team offense that made them look super-strong going into their tag title match on iPPV weeks later.
-The Cutlers looked a bit nervous at times, but that’s to be expected since it was their debut for Ring of Honor. The ANX did a good job of making the Cutlers look like a credible team before chopping them down and destroying them at the end, so that they helped the Cutlers out, but they still did their business and kept themselves over.
-Interesting to note that, if not for the first time ever then definitely one of the first times, Pro Wrestling Guerilla was mentioned by name on commentary.

TJ PERKINS vs DAVEY RICHARDS
-Kevin Kelly does a great job telling the TJ Perkins story on commentary.
-This isn’t necessarily being worked “shoot-style”, in that some of the holds and transitions you probably wouldn’t see in a real fight, but the aggressiveness and physicality make it certainly feel more “real” than some of the other stuff you’ll see on an ROH show.
-I understand he’s in a team called the “American Wolves”, but Davey howling after a shouldertackle made him look stupid.
-There’s a point here where TJ Perkins has Davey in a side headlock and Davey tries to hook TJ’s leg with his own, so TJ transitions into half-guard and it looked really cool. TJ Perkins is insanely smooth.
-Oddly enough, fan favorite Richards works over Perkins’ arm and Perkins has to fight from underneath. Of course, Davey seems to know his crowd better than I do, since they’re chanting his name throughout.
-GREAT sequence where Davey sends Perkins to the floor for a dive, Davey signals for it so the crowd comes to their feet…then Perkins rushes into the ring and cuts it off with a QUICK rana.
-The crowd comes up for the near-falls in this one more than they have for anything on the show yet.
-GO TO PELE! It lived up to Rob Naylor, Joe Gagne and Ben Pasco’s hype.
-Davey wins it with the Falcon Arrow into the cross armbreaker.
-Really good match; best on the show. The nearfalls went a bit long for me personally, but the stuff they did was awesome and they kept the crowd. Oddly enough though, TJ Perkins might be the first guy to have a better match with Kyle O’Reilly than Davey Richards. O’Reilly and Perkins’ styles seemed to mesh better and with Richards, the middle part felt like more of an ordinary wrestling match than something cool and different.
-Richards cuts a promo after the match, thanking Perkins for the match and giving him credit for helping himself and other guys who’ve come through PWG (which got mentioned by name again).

We go to a Christopher Daniels promo from “Only the Strong Survive” two weeks prior. It’s incredible how much more human Daniels looks without the stupid guyliner. Daniels addresses his building feud with Mike Bennett before Mark Briscoe comes up and asks for a TV Title shot. The acting in this baby is…something.

ROH TV Title: MARK BRISCOE vs CHRISTOPHER DANIELS (C) (w/Allison Danger)
-Danger was in Daniels’ corner since she was in town for WrestleReunion.
-Prazak and Kelly mockingly refer to Mark Briscoe’s short run in the Prophecy in 2002.
-Early on, they really work a headlock applied by Briscoe. I dig it.
-Daniels literally started chopping Briscoe in the back of the head when he started gaining advantage on offense. Jeez.
-It looks like these guys are working hard, but I really do suffer from Chris Daniels Syndrome, where no matter how hard I try, I cannot keep my attention level up during one of his matches.
-Awkward moment where Daniels gets out of the Cutthroat Driver and they just stare at each other confused for a moment.
-Briscoe kicked out of the Angel’s Wings (which totally wasn’t necessary for being the cool-down match after TJP/Davey) before losing the match to Daniels’ Best Moonsault Ever (That Isn’t The Best Moonsault Ever, Ben Pasco Says Teddy Hart’s Moonsault is the Best Moonsault Ever).
-My least favorite match on the card thus far, but it wasn’t actively bad. In fact, I’m sure if you can keep attention when Chris Daniels wrestles, you can totally love this match. Just not my bag.

WRESTLING’S GREATEST TAG TEAM (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) vs KINGS OF WRESTLING (Claudio Castagnoli & Chris Hero)
-Charlie Haas, when he’s in front of ROH non-TV taping crowds, might be the single most excited person to ever do anything ever.
-Man alive, Shelton Benjamin throws bad punches.
-Early in the match, Charlie Haas might have thrown the single most ridiculously-hard Irish whip of all-time. Haas himself took a bump onto his face just performing it.
-After three straight matches of it, the dueling chants should really go back to their rightful owner: 2003.
-So far, this is weaker than the NYC match. The atmosphere isn’t there and it’s more of a straight-up tag with your usual elements than being worked like this meteoric super-team showdown.
-Shelton gets the hot tag…but then the KOW chop him down with double-teams and go back to getting the heat.
-I’ll give them credit: usually two heat segments would be dumb, but it’s working for this crowd since they weren’t up too high after the Haas segment, but the crowd was LOUD during Shelton’s reach out to get the tag to Haas.
-Haas busted out a surprisingly pretty flying headscissors. Doesn’t really match the whole pure wrestler/suplex deal he’s got going, but it looked damned good.
-AWESOME spot where Haas did a backdrop to Hero, but as Hero was in the air, Claudio charged up behind Haas and got an O’Connor Roll.
-Haas wins for his team with the Haas of Pain (where it looked like he got too excited and almost turned it over too far). Cool spot where Hero went up top, teasing the illegal elbow pad off of the top rope, but Shelton ran up out of nowhere and knocked him down with a climbing Yakuza kick.
-GREAT shit. Overall, I enjoyed the Glory By Honor match better, but the ending sequence of this match was as good as ANYTHING Haas & Benjamin have ever done. Much recommended.
-Haas grabbed the microphone and I was dreading some painful WWE bashing, but he didn’t really do any, which made me happy. He just thanked the crowd and proclaimed that Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team “kicked ass”.

BRAVADO TIME! Lance did this incredibly ridiculous airplane dance when Harlem brought up flying out to the West Coast. Sadly, this couldn’t touch the segment from “Only the Strong Survive” where they recruited Bravado Bandwagon members in the bathroom, but what can?

ROH World Title: EL GENERICO vs RODERICK STRONG (C)
-Doesn’t look like Truth Martini made the trip out to Los Angeles.
-Roderick Strong might be the only heel on the show to get actual heat. There were a couple of good guys who got booed for being against bad guys that the crowd liked more, but Roddy was the first heel to get genuine boos.
-Dug the deal where Generico tried to go for a chop early, but Roderick immediately out-chopped him to establish Roderick’s chop power.
-You wouldn’t think it, but Roderick Strong’s skill with the little touches is (no pun intended) strong. For instance: Generico went for the ten punches in the corner and Strong positioned his hands to make you think he was going to powerbomb Generico out of the corner so that it was a pleasant surprise when it didn’t happen.
-El Generico’s selling is just gorgeous. I know it’s been said a million times, but I’m sure it’s easy as anything to get behind that dude when you’re at a live show he’s working on and he reaches out to the crowd in pain.
-Great spot where Generico goes in for his signature Yakuza kick in the corner, but Roderick responds by catching Generico with a Yakuza of his own first.
-HEATED false finish when Generico got Strong locked into his own Stronghold (Boston Crab).
-Strong busted out a version of the Sick Kick in the corner, much like Generico’s Yakuza, that looked like it broke Generico’s jaw!
-Wasn’t a fan of the belt shot finish since they most likely knew by this point that Eddie Edwards was going to be champion before Generico would face Roderick next and all it did was give Generico more momentum to beat Strong for the belt.

Strong cut a promo, antagonizing all of the men he’s beaten in title defenses so far, but was run off by Davey Richards, Jay Briscoe and Christopher Daniels (who were all mentioned). Briscoe and Daniels both challenged Strong for future title matches over the house microphone before Daniels gave thanks to the legends at WrestleReunion that weekend. I wasn’t a huge fan of Christopher Daniels being used as the voice of Ring of Honor in this segment, but hey…he’s over.

Overall, while it wasn’t the best Ring of Honor show I’ve seen, it was probably the second strongest non-iPPV show (the first being the Wolves/KOW show from Boston in December) I’ve seen since the iPPV’s began. The top two matches and Davey/Perkins give me no choice but to give this a recommendation, especially if you can catch it during one of ROH’s many website sales.

Thank you all very much for joining us for our second Live-Blog review. We should be back next Tuesday night with another wrestling show new to DVD, fresh for review!

-TOM.
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