ROH: Race to the Top Tournament

ROHRTTT

Night 1 – Deer Park, NY – 7.27.2007

Race to the Top Tournament Opening Round
Jigsaw vs. Davey Richards

Richards spits at Jigsaw instead of shaking his hand. He backs Jigsaw to the ropes and breaks cleanly. Richards trips him and throws forearms to the face and neck. After exchanging wristlocks, Jigsaw scouts a kick and throws some chops. He sends Richards to the corner with a toreador. After a Frankensteiner and backdrop he dropkicks Richards to the floor. Jigsaw misses a pescado. Back in the ring Richards throws some chops. He kicks Jigsaw in the back and chest. Richards pulls him out of a pumphandle and into a shoulder breaker. He gets two with a clothesline. He places Jigsaw over his shoulder and drives him stomach first into the corner. He leaves Jigsaw there and comes in with a running dropkick to the back. Richards tries an Irish whip. Jigsaw counters with a back elbow and enzuigiri. Jigsaw clotheslines Richards with his good arm and gets two with a leg lariat. Richards attacks the arm. Jigsaw double stomps his back and delivers a tornado DDT. He rolls up Richards for two. Richards gives him a chinbreaker. Jigsaw fights off the DR Driver. He tries a victory roll but Richards sits down on it. Richards kicks his shoulder and German suplexes him for two. He rolls Jigsaw into the 14:59 for the submission victory at 7:28. Funny, that’s the same way Richards defeated Jigsaw in the TPI last year. Jigsaw got in a couple hope spots but this way by and large this was the Davey Richards show. **½

Race to the Top Tournament Opening Round
Claudio Castagnoli vs. Hallowicked

Both guys go for an early pin and don’t get it. Hallowicked works his away from having his ankle picked to applying a side headlock. He and Claudio criss-cross the ropes. Hallowicked ends up tripping Claudio. He leaps over Claudio as he rolls towards him. He armdrags Claudio to the corner and kicks him from the apron. Hallowicked gets two with a slingshot school boy. Claudio armdrags him to the corner. Hallowicked lands on his feet to block a monkey flip. He cascades up Claudio and delivers an armdrag. Claudio hits a diving uppercut from the second rope. He tries a leapfrog but Hallowicked catches him with a roll-up instead. Claudio forearms him right after kicking out. The Giant Swing is good for two. Hallowicked hops over Claudio out of the corner. He brings Claudio down with a Super Snapmare. He big boots him for two. Claudio reverses a whip with the Match Killer. Hallowicked kicks out of that, and the Alpamare Water Slide right after. Claudio spins him into a gut buster. Hallowicked ducks Swiss Chin Music and hits the Rydeen Bomb for two. Multiple pin attempts are a bust. Claudio picks him up off the mat and hits the Ricola Bomb for the pin at 7:02. Of course these two worked together really well. I’m impressed with how much Hallowicked got to do, because there was nobody who figured he was going over here. **½

Race to the Top Tournament Opening Round
Mike Quackenbush vs. Matt Sydal

Sweet N’ Sour Inc. (Larry Sweeney, Tank Toland, Sara Del Rey, and Bobby Dempsey) accompany Sydal to the ring, but all have reasons to not stay ringside. Sweeney isn’t worried about Sydal losing to Quackenbush. Sydal kills some time on the floor. He takes Quackenbush to the mat, but Quackenbush takes control of Sydal’s arms. Sydal reverses and snapmares Quackenbush into a back stretch. Quackenbush maneuvers Sydal’s arms down almost getting a pin. Sydal comes back with a headscissors and an elbow drop. Quackenbush gives him an armdrag and a backbreaker. He sends Sydal to the floor and follows with a tope con hilo. Back in the ring he ties up Sydal’s body like a pretzel. Sydal escapes and its a leg lariat. He stretches out Quackenbush’s back across his knees while also holding a chinlock. He gets two with a cannonball legdrop. He knocks down Quackenbush in the corner and hits him with a slingshot dropkick. Quackenbush catches him with a tornado clutch. Sydal rolls Quackenbush into a crossface. Quackenbush gets his foot on the ropes. After a chop battle, Sydal sweeps Quackenbush’s legs. Quackenbush gets his feet up to block a standing moonsault. He wins the fight for a suplex. He strings a clothesline and bulldog together. Off the second ropes he drives his knees into Sydal’s chest. Quackenbush rolls through a sunset flip. He drops Sydal onto his chest and gets two with a Magistral cradle. Sydal brings Quackenbush off the top rope with a headscissors. Sydal avoids a reverse brainbuster but takes a backpack chin breaker. Quackenbush puts on a full nelson, switching it into a facebuster. Sydal gives him an enzuigiri. A DDT and standing shooting star press only get him two. Shockingly, Quackenbush kicks out of the Here It Is Driver. Sydal misses a shooting star press. Quackenbush drops him with the Black Tornado Slam and gets the upset victory at 14:12. I have to say I am a little disappointed. This wasn’t the high octane, fast paced exciting bout I anticipated. It was good and solid but nothing spectacular outside of the final minutes and the finish. ***

FIP World Heavyweight Championship – Elimination Match
Roderick Strong (Champion) vs. Gran Akuma vs. Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Rave

Aries goes right after Strong but Strong bails to the floor. While they fight on the floor, Akuma snaps off some armdrags on Rave. He throws some kicks. Strong chops Akuma in the back. Akuma gives him an armdrag and kicks. Rave spears Akuma. Strong gives him a Samoan drop. Aries missile dropkicks Strong and hits the IED. Rave stops Aries from giving Strong the brainbuster. Aries misses the IED on Rave. Rave hits the Doppler Effect. He sets up for the Pedigree. Akuma enzuigiri’s Rave. Aries backdrops Rave onto Strong on the floor. Aries comes out onto Strong with a twisting pescado. Akuma slingshots onto both of them. Akuma and Aries go at it back in the ring. Akuma hits the Yoshi Tonic for two. Aries fires up from some of Akuma’s kicks. He gives Akuma a knee breaker/suplex combo. The IED and brainbuster lead to Aries going to the top rope. Rave catches him. Aries fights him off but it gives Akuma time to recover and also ascend the ropes. Aries drops him down and calls for the 450 splash. Strong shoves Aries down and all three men cover him for the elimination at 5:13. The crowd is displeased. Rave and Akuma gang up on Strong. Akuma takes him down with fall away kick. Rave blocks one of Akuma’s kicks and applies the Heel Hook. Akuma taps out at 6:39. Rave and Strong trade chops. Strong hits a dropkick causing Rave to roll to the apron. Strong follows and goes for a backbreaker. Rave however drives Strong into the apron with an STF. In the ring Rave delivers a swinging DDT for two. Strong comes back with the Sick Kick, Death by Roderick, and a half-nelson backbreaker. Rave kicks out. Two uranage backbreakers and an Orange Crush backbreaker lead to Strong putting on the Strong Hold. Rave taps at 9:38, making Strong the victor. This was such a strange match. The crowd immediately stopped caring once Aries was eliminated, Akuma got eliminated so quickly after, and Strong gave Rave absolutely every one of his finishers to no response and no drama, probably since they’re two of ROH’s biggest heels. I would have them rather done a story with Akuma vs. Strong if they didn’t want to do Aries vs. Strong so early. **¼

Night 2 – Edison, NJ – 7.28.2007

In an unreleased dark match, Gran Akuma teamed with Ernie Osiris and Mitch Franklin and defeated the triumvirate of Alex Payne, Rhett Titus, and Shane Hagadorn.

Race to the Top Tournament Quarter-Final Round
Claudio Castagnoli vs. Mike Quackenbush

We start off with a wristlock exchange. Claudio key locks his legs. Quackenbush hops up and armdrags Claudio across the ring. After engaging the crowd in some “HEY!” chants, he goes back to Quackenbush’s leg. He gets kicked in the face. Claudio armdrags him to the corner. Quackenbush gets in his own armdrag which Claudio turns into a headlock on the mat. Quackenbush sneaks out and goes back to the wrist. He gets whipped to the corners and ducks Claudio’s dropkicks. He snaps off a pair of armdrags before schoolboy tripping Claudio. Quackenbush quebrada’s into an armdrag that sends Claudio to the apron. He monkey flips Claudio from the apron and to the floor. He then follows with a corkscrew splash off the top rope. Back in the ring Quackenbush gets two after a senton. Claudio avoids a leapfrog out of the corner and uppercuts Quackenbush in the neck. He gets two with a reverse suplex and a legdrop. He delivers an elbow drop from the second rope. Both a gutwrench suplex and the Match Killer get two counts. Quackenbush palm strikes Claudio on the top rope. He brings him down with a super Frankensteiner. He comes off the top rope with knees to the chest. The Black Tornado Slam gets two. Claudio uppercuts Quackenbush to block his palm strike attempts. Swiss Chin Music gets him two, so he then hits a straight-jacket German suplex for another two count. Quackenbush palm strikes Claudio to block the Ricola Bomb. He gets thrown off the top rope but rolls though. He headbutts Claudio from the apron. He jumps off the top into a quesdora rolling prawn hold. Claudio kicks out. After a sequence, Quackenbush uses a neck-tie headscissors to roll up Claudio. Claudio headscissors him off the top rope. A running uppercut puts him down for the pin at 12:26. I cannot tell you how much I love that Quackenbush lost to Claudio’s running uppercut both here and in their “Fight at the Roxbury” encounter. The small stuff that carries over is the best, and Claudio knew that it worked before so he did it again. Of course, the wrestling was great as it usually is between these two. ***½

Hallowicked vs. Jigsaw vs. Kevin Steen vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Erick Stevens vs. Matt Cross

Steen attacks everyone. He knocks Jigsaw down. Everybody else attacks Steen and tosses him out. Cross and Stevens also get dumped, leaving Whitmer and Hallowicked to trade chops. Hallowicked gives him a step-up Frankensteiner. Cross dropkicks him to the floor. Jigsaw armdrags Cross into a crucifix pin for two. Cross sweeps the legs but misses a standing moonsault. Jigsaw tries a headscissors and gets dropped on his face. Cross and Stevens get in some tandem offense on Jigsaw. He rolls out. Whitmer and Stevens trade chops. Steen drops down the top rope to bring Whitmer out. Hallowicked kicks Stevens from the apron and slingshots in with a schoolboy for two. Steen fights Whitmer on the floor while Hallowicked attempts more schoolboys. He armdrags Stevens and dropkicks him to the floor. Hallowicked and Jigsaw utilize various armdrags. Steen attacks Jigsaw from behind. He delivers a flipping legdrop to the neck. Whitmer boots Steen in the face. He suplexes Hallowicked and drops him onto the top rope. He knees Hallowicked in the head before knocking him to the floor. Jigsaw cuts off Whitmer’s dive with a leg lariat. Jigsaw then suicide dives onto Hallowicked. Stevens dives onto them, then Steen dives onto everybody. On the other side of the ring Cross dives onto Whitmer. Cross comes back in with a springboard headscissors to Steen. Steen gives him the Go Home Driver for two. Whitmer stops Steen from delivering a Package Piledriver. He German suplexes Steen. Jigsaw crossbody’s onto Whitmer. Stevens breaks the pin. Jigsaw counters the Doctor Bomb with a DDT. Cross breaks that cover. He gives Jigsaw a neckbreaker across his knee before coming off the top with a twisting splash. Hallowicked makes the save. He Rydeen Bombs Cross. Whitmer breaks the pin. Hallowicked gives him Go 2 Sleepy Hollow for two. Whitmer drops him with a spinebuster. Hallowicked and Whitmer spill to the floor out of a suplex attempt. Steen and Stevens go at it in the ring. Cross double stomps Steen. Jigsaw superkicks Cross. Stevens gives Jigsaw the Choo Choo. Jigsaw ducks a lariat. He strings a back elbow and enzuigiri together. Stevens pops him up into a powerslam. The Doctor Bomb gets Stevens the win at 10:58. That was really fun and action packed match. It helps that the CHIKARA guys are so akin to matches with this many participants and Stevens/Cross are a regular duo. The Resilience came off looking like a force to be reckoned with which I presume was the goal all along. ***

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