Background: With Davey Richards gearing up for his ROH World title shot, he and his tag team partner Eddie Edwards looked to do the seemingly impossible and trump Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli to end The Kings’ second reign as ROH World Tag Team champions.
Tag Title Classic II
The Kings of Wrestling vs. The American Wolves
In a bit of foreshadowing, during a “Next World champ” chant, Davey immediately pointed to Eddie Edwards. Davey Richards quickly came face to chest with Claudio Castagnoli, taking off his feet just as hastily with a single leg takedown. After cornering Davey, Claudio tagged himself out. Hero stepped in, trying to stop Richards’ possible kick onslaught by grabbing a hold of Davey’s head. The grappling display by two of ROH’s hardest hitters ended in a stalemate. Tagging in Eddie Edwards brought a huge chant in the Wolf’s favor. Eddie took a shoulder block from the legal Claudio after Hero tagged out when he felt the same maneuver from a charging Edwards. Edwards picked up the pace, dropkicking Claudio outside. Eddie took every strike Claudio threw when he reentered the ring before firing back with knife-edge chops that knocked Claudio and Hero to the outside.
The Wolves worked together, downing Claudio while keeping Hero at bay. Hero recovered, tagging in so he and Claudio could hit that double team big boot on Eddie after Hero’s Irish whip into the ropes. Davey was angry that the referee wasn’t enforcing the five count better as the champions double-teamed Eddie. Big delayed vertical suplex on Edwards by Claudio almost gained his team the victory. Hero returned as the legal man, downing Edwards with several forearms to Eddie’s jaw. After hitting the turnbuckles, Eddie avoided a charging Claudio before exploding out of the corner to hurricarana Hero. Turning around, Edwards super kicked and dropkicked Castagnoli and Hero respectively.
Richards tagged in like a house of fire. Ducking the double team big boot and flipping out of a Claudio German suplex, Davey almost pinned Claudio following a missile dropkick. Davey lured a reeling Claudio into Edwards’ flying knee strike, as well as the Wolves dropkick/enzuguri combination. Before Davey could do something off the top, Hero stopped him. Richards fought Hero away, going for another missile dropkick on Castagnoli. Claudio caught Richards’ incoming legs, big swinging Davey into Hero’s dropkick … for a near fall!
Claudio pitched Davey outside, allowing Hero to slam Richards against the barricades that almost saw Richards be counted out. The waterslide by Claudio almost gained Castagnoli the three count, but didn’t stop the fire of Richards as he tried to palm strike his way from a bad position. Unfortunately, Davey ran into a knee to the jaw, followed by the deadlift German suplex. The Kings had Davey stuck on the wrong part of town, hitting hard and tagging out frequently. Davey showed the heart of a man ready to become an ROH World champion by kicking his way toward Eddie.
Claudio caught one of those kicks with his arms, using a one arm big swing transitioned into the stretch muffler! Somehow, Davey held on long enough for Claudio to give up and tag out. Davey rallied to his feet, kicking Claudio into the chest before taking a kick from Hero. Whipping Davey into the ropes, Hero ran after Richards, only for Richards to drop and send Hero face first into Edwards’ boot. Edwards immediately tagged in, kicking Claudio before hitting a cross body on Hero for a two count. Leaping lung blower almost pinned Hero, but Eddie converted his failed pin into the Achilles Lock. Thankfully for Hero, Claudio made the save by kicking Edwards square on the jaw.
Edwards recovered, avoiding the charging champions, sending them careening to the floor. With The Kings outside, Davey and Eddie sailed through the ropes to take down the champions. When the action returned inside, Eddie scaled the ropes after slamming Hero. Davey kicked Claudio before Castagnoli could yank Eddie off his perch. With Claudio lying across the apron, Eddie jumped off the top rope, double stomping Claudio’s chest. Richards took his partner’s place, kicking Hero in position for Edwards’ double stomp to the back. Hero scrambled to his knees, only meeting stereo kicks to the head. Claudio slipped in at the last second, saving Hero from a sure pin. The fans were on their feet as Eddie pulled Hero off the mat. Hero got the blind tag off an Irish whip, allowing Claudio to bicycle kick an unsuspecting Edwards … for a near fall!
Eddie fired back with kicks of his own, only to run into the pop up European uppercut. Before Claudio could go for the pin, Davey came in with Kobashi fire kicks that only fired Claudio up to run through both Wolves with clotheslines. Eddie stopped Claudio’s follow up superplex, hitting the super hurricarana after shoving Claudio across the ropes. Eddie tagged out, only for a leaping Davey to get caught in the UFO! To the shock of everyone, Davey kicked out before the three count. Claudio followed suit by stopping a three count off the Ricola Bomb sunset flip counter by Davey.<br>Claudio stumbled to his feet, only to be taken down by a sweep into the Ankle Lock. Before Claudio could tap out, Hero kicked Davey’s head. Davey regained his wits, scaling the ropes. Claudio stopped him, superplexing Davey in position for Royal Power & Glory … for another two count!
As the legal man again, Hero super kicked Davey even when Richards avoided Hero’s moonsault. Davey stopped a Liger Bomb, but not the Rolling Elbow. Great heart by Richards as he kicked out following a cradle belly to back suplex. Hero was furious, mouthing off as he went for another Rolling Elbow. Davey stopped the elbow with a discus clothesline that left Hero down long enough for Eddie to tag in. White-hot Eddie connected with a series and slew of combination strikes on “That Young Knockout Kid”. All four men entered the ring, throwing bombs in hopes of someone staying down. Eddie thought he hit the match-ending maneuver by backdrop driving Hero, but the champion kicked out right before the three count. Hero stopped a double team, throwing a Rolling Elbows that downed both Wolves. Royal Deathblow ended in another two count for The Kings.
Hero pulled Eddie to his feet, hitting the ropes, only to run into the Alarm Clock and the super kick/bridging German suplex combo that ended with Edwards’ pin being broken up by Claudio. After pitching Castagnoli to the floor, The Wolves hooked Hero for that Doomsday Knee Strike. Hero clawed Edwards’s face, scaling the ropes to meet Davey. Eddie got underneath Hero, pulling him off the ropes for a Doomsday Back Cracker! When Hero valiantly kicked out, Eddie spun Hero into the Achilles Lock. Hero was on the verge of submitting when he made it to the ropes. Claudio whipped Davey into the barricades as Eddie hooked Hero for the 2K1 Bomb. Hero broke free, hitting a rolling big boot topped off by the Deathblow … for another near fall!
Desperate, Edwards tried to catch Hero in a pinning predicament while avoiding the Rolling Elbow. Unfortunately, Eddie’s failed cradle put him in position for three Rolling Elbows that knocked Eddie out, and allowed Hero to pin Edwards.
Winner: The Kings of Wrestling (35:16)
Is It A Classic: There’s a good sense of polarization that comes with this match. Going nearly forty minutes and centering around an extended period where tag team rules just didn’t apply, and all four men were duking it out really had the live fans going all over the spectrum in their opinions. In the end, it’s definitely one of those matches where a section of the wrestling community will herald it for the classic it’s promoted as, and others will deem it overrated. Either way you sway after seeing the match, it’s worth a viewing.