“A Night of Wrestling”
ROH Manhattan Mayhem IV (Manhattan Center)
WWE Raw Road to Wrestlemania (Madison Square Garden)
By: Jose Marrero of Wrestleview.com

It’s time for a night of wrestling with yours truly Jose Marrero. I had the pleasure of attending both the Ring of Honor Manhattan Mayhem IV show at the Manhattan Center and WWE’s Raw Road to Wrestlemania MSG show. A action packed filled evening which I will start with the ROH show.

Going into this show I had high hopes as I had been to the previous two Manhattan Mayhem shows and with Wrestlemania weekend approaching I figured ROH would do something to generate interest. Especially with WWE having booted them off of their regular show time. Needless to say ROH didn’t disappoint me.

First match out of the gate was Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole vs. The House of Truth’s Mike Elgin and House of Truth prospect Mike Mondo formerly of the Spirit Squad in WWE. Truth Martini came out cut a promo about how Roderick Strong is the greatest Ring of Honor champion ever. He mentioned Mike Mondo being there and how he was a prospect and tonight would be his final test. I really enjoyed this match as O’Reilly and Cole are just a fun little mid card tag team and usually when I see them live they are jobbing that was not to be the case tonight though . It was established early on that Elgin was the powerhouse of the team and the focal point as they did a good job of making him look like this powerhouse unstoppable heel and even when O’Reilly and Cole took offense on him it took two of them to take him down as it reminded me of the days when you would see The Rockers take on the Twin Towers and the Towers wouldn’t even sell for them unless it was both of them getting shots in on one. Of course with Elgin looking strong someone had to look weak and that was Mondo who pretty much took all the shine from the babyfaces. One thing I have to point out with this match that I don’t generally see in many matches these days was the fact that every time something was done that could have ended the match you saw someone go for a pin fall as a matter of fact I’d wager this match was 100% called in the ring. Match was really good but finish which was supposed to be a backcracker into a codebreaker got botched leading Cole to just beating Mondo with a superkick at the 12 minute mark. Again I was very happy to see Cole and O’Reilly get a win and hopefully get a chance to move up the card here in Ring of Honor. After the match Truth Martini gave Mondo the thumbs down this led to Elgin beating him up and pretty much destroying him. I don’t know where this puts Mondo going forward as he was probably just here for the weekend although I have to say physically he looked the best I’d ever seen him and I wouldn’t mind seeing him back somewhere someday.

Next up we got an announcement for Dave LaGreca who they announced as the host of Busted Open a show on Sirius Satellite radio which incited a “Who are you” chant from the crowd. Lebreca introduced the Embassy and was embarrassed by Prince Nana who referred to him as Dave LaCrackhead. He went on to introduce all the other Embassy members that were present including Ernie Osiris, Mia Yimm who he referred to as his women, Robert Evans whose wardrobe he made fun of and of course Tommasso Ciampa who was in action to face Grizzly Redwood. He said there would be a war and he basically called out Redwood who came out and the match was on. This match just didn’t click for me as these two together just looked very clunky together. Redwood for a lower card guy is pretty good and he didn’t look like he had good chemistry together with Ciampa as nothing really flowed smooth. This is not to say the match didn’t have its moments such as when Yimm hit an excellent dropkick on Redwood on the outside leading to an Embassy gang beating. However Ciampa just couldn’t maintain that interest when he got the heat as fans were even giving sarcastic “Match of the Year” and “This is Awesome” chants. I will say this much though when Redwood made his comeback and fired up he had such charisma that almost all was forgotten, almost. Ciampa got the win here with a powerbomb into a backcracker at 8 minutes and after the match the Embassy beat on Redwood again until Steve Corino came out and made the save for Redwood.

Corino proceeded to remind Redwood that he had his back and had hoped Redwood would have his. I guess Redwood didn’t get the memo cause he was out of here on the first thing smoking as “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett accompanied by “Brutal” Bob Evans came out. Bennett grabbed the mic for a promo but was cut off by Bob who called Corino washed up and said he had enough of him, Bennett grabbed the mic and told Bob to relax and called Corino an old man and said he would fall off the wagon tonight. Steve Corino did some bad comedy and then said he would forfeit the match and even lay down for Bennett because the last thing he wanted was Bennett to be the one that pushed him off the wagon. They bickered back and forth forever which culminated with Corino finally attacking Bennett to get the match started. It was a decent match with Benett looking strong with his control sequences. My only real knock on the match was that I felt Corino could have received a stronger comeback but I guess with Bennett having lost to Christopher Daniels the night before the thought was he needed to look strong here. Bennett wound up getting the duke after Bob Evans interfered allowing him to hit a series of Rock Bottoms on Corino for the win at about the 9 minute mark. Both guys would beat on Corino after the match and call on anyone to come and save him. Of course no one did and the beat down culminated with a spike piledriver and normally when I see a beat down like that I want to see some sort of deal where the guy is helped to the back but that didn’t happen here as Corino left under his own power.

Jim Cornette came out next and took some jabs at TNA by mentioning how an ROH show main event goes longer than a minute and a half. He said if anyone still wants to put money into PPV’s they should order the ROH iPPV’s in Atlanta on Wrestlemania weekend and then announced that this would be the last Manhattan Center show for awhile because the next time out ROH would be back in the Hammerstein Ballroom which is a bigger building. He said this show would take place on June 26th a rare Sunday show and would be the biggest ROH show in history and mentioned that Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas would be on the card as would every other ROH talent and that the theme of the show would be “a lot of guys trying to prove themselves to be the best in the world”. I don’t know if this is going to be an iPPV but I would think that if ROH is trying to put their biggest show ever on they should put it on to the biggest audience available but I guess time will tell.

Next match out was the Bricoes vs. The All Night Express. I’m not sure if this was happening the night before but The Briscoes worked heel this entire match. I kind of felt this move coming when I saw them last in this building at Final Battle and I have to say it was the right move. The Bricoes got heat majority of the match but did it the right way where they kept the valiant babyfaces alive for one of the best hot tags I’ve seen at a live show in a long time. For anyone who likes the art of tag team wrestling watch Kenny King get a hot tag and the energy he has with him. They basically beat the snot out of the ANX with the story being that the babyfaces wouldn’t say die and the end came when Jay got Rhett Titus up on his shoulders for a slingshot clothesline from Mark and Mark missed leading to Titus rolling up Jay for the win at about the 12 minute mark. The whole thing just degenerated to the Bricoes beating down the ANX and trying to hit a jaydriller on Titus on the concrete floor and that was broken up by a spectacular dive to the outside by the athletic King. Both teams brawled with The Bricoes finally laying both guys out with chair shots and I thought it was a great heel turn. Believe me it was ten times more exciting than I am printing it out here.

We got to intermission and when we come back we get El Generico vs. TJ Perkins. This was a very good babyface vs. babyface match that culminated with Generico catching Perkins on a dive on the outside of the ring and hitting him with the brainbuster on the ring apron which looked really brutal to get the win at about 8 minutes. Fans were really appreciative of TJP as he got the “Please come back” chant and well he should get another chance. If given the proper push he could become something in Ring of Honor.

We had the Kings of Wrestling taking on LAX in a nontitle match up. I think most people would agree that this wasn’t as good as when the Kings took on the WGTT but what is? It was still a good match and well the KOW has to be considered the best tag team in wrestling right now as everything they do is just crisp and spot on. There was some pretty good spots here such as Claudio doing his airplane spin where he lets go of the guy and continues to spin on the much larger Hernandez and Hernandez border tossing Homicide onto the KOW on the outside of the ring. I think this match should’ve been a title match since the KOW wound up going over anyway after a running Claudio uppercut on Homicide at about 18 minutes that took Homicide out of his shoes. Fans wound up chanting “. TNA” after the match and for LAX and Homicide cut a promo asking the fans to applaud themselves.

We got Davey Richards vs. Christopher Daniels who is the reigning ROH TV Champion in a pure rules match. The rules of this match are as follows: match can end on pin fall, DQ, submission, count out or knockout and each wrestler gets three rope breaks which after all are used the ropes are in play and closed fists are illegal with the first one getting a warning and the second one costing the wrestler the match. I really love technical wrestling matches and I loved this match as there was just one wacky submission attempt after another and things got even better once all the rope breaks were used. I thought this was the best match of the show and the only thing that really killed it was Davey botching a shooting star press badly which led to him leaping so high…but no far that he crashed and burned on the ropes. He quickly improvised and got the win after a roll up. Daniels teased the heel turn after but wound up shaking Davey’s hand and at the moment I didn’t understand Daniels not going over here. After all he is the TV champion and he is getting the next title shot, it would make more sense to me later but I still think this could have been handled better.

We had the ROH world title match between Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards next and it’s funny how big my mouth could be sometimes. For those who don’t know WWE had a show also tonight that was right across from the Manhattan Center at Madison Square Garden and the ROH show ran long and at one point I considered getting out of dodge because I figured “There was no way Eddie Edwards was going to win the title” those words would ultimately get eaten because tonight was Eddie’s night. This match was very good and I think the fact that I didn’t have Eddie winning in my head made it even better for me. Strong early on told Truth that he didn’t need his help and sent him to the back and it was a hard hitting affair from that point forward. I don’t have a time on it as at that point I stopped tracking that thing since I was late for WWE but it went at least 25 minutes with the finish coming when Eddie Edwards got a rollup out of nowhere for a three count and shockingly became the new ROH champion. It was a very festive moment as Davey Richards came out to celebrate with him and put the belt on him.

All in all it was a very solid show. I am guessing ROH made this decision to go into Wrestlemania weekend hot and sort of counter WWE tonight who bumped this show out of its originally scheduled evening time slot but in saying this I do recall saying in a previous recap how I thought it was just a matter of time before we got Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards for the title. I just always thought it would be Edwards as the challenger and not the champion. In the meantime we do have Christopher Daniels as the next contender which should be interesting since he beat Edwards for the TV title so at least it’s an easy story to tell as Eddie looks to avenge (and will) his loss of that title. I am just wondering how long until we get Davey vs. Eddie and just who will ultimately play the heel in that feud and if Davey will even come out of it with the title. It would make a nice main event for this supershow on June 26th though if anyone is listening.

So I took and after this show ran my ass over to MSG because I had a WWE show to cover and well even though I arrived after this angle had taken place I was told that the show opened with the Miz coming out and cutting a promo and actually asking for his match with Randy Orton to take place right then and there. Orton came out they went for a few minutes until CM Punk came in for the DQ. Then what happened was really stupid as the GM dinged in (how does the GM know what’s going on without a TV show?) and said how the fans had a choice of Miz defending his title later on against Orton or Miz and Punk teaming up against Cena and Orton with the fans choosing the tag team match rather than the world title match.

We then had the real opener with Evan Bourne, Santino and Vladmir Koslov taking on Zack Ryder, Tyson Kidd and Primo. I was really getting settled in at this point and just couldn’t get into this match but the finish came with Santino hitting the Cobra on Ryder and then following it up with Bourne hitting the Air Bourne for the win.

We had Alex Riley come out afterwards in street clothes and cut a promo about how he was back after forcing his way back and how great of a champion the Miz was. He said he would have a match on Raw that would allow him to come back and corner the Miz if he won but the GM dinged in and announced that instead of waiting till Raw he would have that match tonight against The Great Khali right now. Khali came out and sold the beating from Monday heavily bandaged but beat Riley in about 30 seconds with a chop and Tree slam so Riley is not on Raw…yet.

We then had The Bellas taking on Eve Torres and Kelly Kelly and just when I was getting ready to make a concession stand run we had the announcement that Sunny was going to be the special guest referee and all I can say is she looked as fantastic as she did when I saw her last year around Wrestlemania weekend. Match was nothing special as there were really no moments of tension for special referee Sunny the match came to an end when the Bellas tried twin magic and were busted and Eve hit one of the Bellas with a sunset flip for the win. The Bellas afterwards jumped the babyfaces and Sunny made the save and ended it celebrating with Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres. I thought this was a nice little surprise for the fans.

Vickie Guerrero came out and cut a promo hyping up Wrestlemania and introduced Dolph Ziggler who took on John Morrisson. I thought this was one of the better matches on the show and sort of felt bad as these two could probably have had a great wrestlemania match if given the proper buildup and instead will be the window dressing to Snooki. Finish came when Morrison crashed and burned on a Starship Pain attempt and Ziggler got the pin with his feet on the ropes only to have another referee come down and say what happened and have the match restarted after which he hit Starship Pain for the win.

We had a really bad R Truth segment in which it was made official that MSG would be the home of this year’s Survivor Series. We had a contest for Survivor Series tickets in which there was bad dancing and one girl who I almost thought may strip for the tickets and save the deal but alas it was not to be…moving on.

We had Daniel Bryan with Gail Kim vs. Ted Dibiase with Maryse who showed up late next. This was a solid match but nothing special as they just had a match. Its funny how much less important Bryan feels without the US title and it left me wondering just what will happen now that he no longer has that title. The women of course got involved which led to a small little catfight between them and the end came with Bryan tapping out Dibiase with the LeBell lock.

Afterwards Bryan was attacked by Sheamus who cut a promo saying how a few weeks ago on Raw he was assaulted and how he ended a “four month undefeated streak” by winning the US title (he said it not me) He promised to end HHH’s career and of course that led to HHH vs. Sheamus in a streetfight. I was really curious as to how HHH would look in this match as to the best of my knowledge it was his first real one on one match since returning. He looked OK but the match was nothing really special as they both had the safest streetfight you could have. They did beat each other with Kendo Sticks and Stairs as the crowd was really hoping HHH would break out the sledge hammer but that didn’t happen as I guess he is saving that for Wrestlemania. If HHH is indeed retiring his MSG swansong was lacking that punch but the end of the match came with HHH pinning Sheamus after a pedigree.

We had the main event of John Cena and Randy Orton against CM Punk and The Miz. I was curious as to how this match would go with Cena having the concussion earlier in the week but he looked really good. It was a good tag match that had Miz once again mocking the Rock with a people’s elbow and even hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Orton for a nearfall. The finish came after a ref bump which left Orton and The Miz and Orton hitting the RKO on Punk with no ref to count. He did attempt to hit Punk with the punt kick but was cut off by the Miz which bought in Cena and the whole thing broke down and led to Cena hitting the AA on Punk and Orton hitting the RKO on the Miz and both guys pinning them at the same time to send everyone home happy.

This was a simple paint by numbers house show as you notice by the results not a single heel went over. I expected a bit more with Wrestlemania right around the corner but didn’t get it. Even still this show unlike the ROH show I attended with a bunch of kids and they all seemed very happy with it so I am not going to knock it. All in all it was a good night of wrestling and a good warm up for what I expect will be a very busy couple of days in Atlanta Georgia for Wrestlemania weekend. I did two shows here in Atlanta, GA I will of course be on hand for five. Until then keep your eyes posted to “Wrestling Rumblings” and be on the lookout for the free FYB Radio’s that will chronicle the misadventures of yours truly and David Miranda until then I am out.