It’s time to enter Ring of Honor territory once again as we go back to December 2011 to look at the recently released Battle in the Carolinas two disc set. The first part of this two part review sees us travelling to Spartanburg in South Carolina for the first ever singles meeting in ROH of Eddie Edwards and El Generico, as well as the 20 man Honor Rumble. The show in question is Southern Defiance.
The show began with Mike Bennett, sans Brutal Bob, taking on Adam Cole.
This was the usual ROH-style opener, a short and sweet affair which saw both guys putting in great performances. The absence of Coach Evans meant that Bennett had to rely on his own skills throughout as he tried to take the tag team star down.
Cole was more than a match for him however as he put in a sterling effort which sadly wasn’t enough as Bennett took him out with his box office side slam for the winning pin. A nice way to start the show.
Then it was on to tag team action as Lancelot and Harlem Bravado went up against the Los Ben Dejos team of Rios and Cruz.
This was more or less a trial match for the newcomers. Cruz and Rios looked pretty good early on with their fast-paced offence before the brothers took control.
The Ben Dejos boys managed to get in some good offence later on, but in the end Lancelot took the pin for his team with a bridging roll-up.
The first Proving Ground match saw T.J. Perkins taking on TV Champion Jay Lethal, with Perkins getting a title shot if he could either defeat the champion or last the distance.
No babyface/heel divide in this one. This was a fast-paced encounter contested by two men with a great deal of respect for each other.
I’ve seen plenty of Lethal’s matches since he returned to ROH and this may have been the best of them. He was, as always, as solid as ever, putting in a great performance which, once again, left me wondering why TNA gave him the push in the first place. Perkins, for his part, looked more than up to the task with his no limits-style offence.
After nearly 15 minutes of top notch action Lethal dispatched the latest pretender to his throne when he took Perkins out with his lethal injection finisher.
Tag team challenger match #1 saw Matt and Nick Jackson, the Young Bucks, taking on the All Night Express, Kenny King and Rhett Titus.
Entertaining would be the best way to describe this one. The All Nighters attacked early on after the Jacksons ignored the Code of Honor. However, it wasn’t long before the brothers took control, using Titus’ taped-up left knee for target practice.
But just when it looked all over for the former lady’s man he managed to tag King into the match as both teams went into top gear. Both came close to getting the win until the Jacksons sealed the deal by taking King out with their more bang for your buck finishing combination.
Tag team challenge match #2 saw Jay and Mark Briscoe going up against Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander.
This one began with #DemBoys taking their opponents to the proverbial woodshed, throwing them around ringside and into the barriers, more or less beating the hell out of them.
When they finally got to the ring there was more of the same, but just when I thought this would be a squash match Alexander made the hot tag to Coleman.
Coleman pulled off some great moves, the best being when he made standing jump to the top rope and took one of the brothers down with a hurricanrana.
But despite looking like they were going to cause an upset the brothers took Alexander out with the doomsday device for the winning pin.
The second Proving Ground match saw Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin, accompanied by Truth Martini, taking on Tag Team Champions Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin.
Once again Benjamin went into a match with his ribs taped, and once again it came as no surprise when his opponents began to target that injury.
Strong and Elgin did a good job in trying to put Benjamin away, and although they didn’t look as polished as a unit as their opponents they were still pretty impressive.
Benjamin solid like a you know what as Martini’s men worked him over before he tagged in an enraged Haas, who proceeded to clean house. Martini tried to get involved, but he soon ended up singing a few octaves higher.
Elgin coon came back with his impressive array of power moves, but when he went to the top rope intent on taking Haas out with a moonsault Benjamin raced up to the top and suplexed him back into the ring. It was enough to get the winning pin for his team.
The penultimate match saw El Generico going up against Eddie Edwards, the first time they’ve faced each other in a singles match in an ROH ring.
This was everything I thought it would be and more. From start to finish these two put on a match that would have been the main event on any other ROH show.
From the chain wrestling at the beginning to the him impact moves later on Edwards and Generico put it all on the line.
There were numerous near falls, and at one point it looked like they were going to get counted out when a suplex sent them both flying over the top rope.
Both men managed to make it back into the ring, but only just, setting up the eventual finish as Generico tapped out to Edwards Achilles lock.
The main event was the 20 man Honor Rumble, with the winner getting a World title shot. Hmm, I wonder where they got that idea from?
Beginning with T.J. Perkins and Matt Jackson, this one featured almost everyone who had appeared earlier, with the exception of Eddie Edwards, who was already a short time away from a World title shot anyway. The remaining place was taken by perennial underdog Grizzly Redwood.
There were some pretty good moments here. When Jay Briscoe entered at number six he ended up eliminating everyone who had entered before him.
Roderick Strong, the last man in, caused some tension in the House of Truth. While his stable-mate Michael Elgin was trying to eliminate El Generico Strong came up from behind and threw both of them over the top.
Strong and the 16th entrant Jay Lethal were the last two men in the ring, and they engaged in a lengthy battle of wills on the ring apron until Lethal finally pushed Strong to the floor to get the win and the title shot.
In conclusion – another entertaining offering from the Ring of Honor crew. They may have been missing some of their heavy hitters but those who were there put in strong performances.
I must also make mention of the commentary team. With Dave Prazak and Nigel McGuinness absent Jim Cornette took the chair next to Kevin Kelly and showed just how good an announcer he still is. It’s a shame we don’t see more from him in this capacity.
So with that being said Southern Defiance gets the thumbs up from this particular writer.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. ROH Southern Defiance forms part of the Battle in the Carolinas two disc set and is available to buy online at www.rohwrestling.com.