Tuesday, April 17, 2012

3/31/12 Richards v. Elgin (ROH)

On March 31, 2012, Ring of Honor held the second day of their PPV, named "Showdown in the Sun." While there were some stellar matches, none created a bigger buzz than the World Title match between "American Wolf" Davey Richards and "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin. Elgin came into the match still deemed a midcarder or upper midcard at best, part of the House of Truth (managed by Truth Martini).

Here's the entire match: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xq4z3x_davey-richards-vs-michael-elgin-5-star-match_sport (as of this post, the link still works)

Why am I devoting an entire article to just this one match? Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez both gave it FIVE stars, an extremely rare occurrence. What would I rate it? Check out my recap below:

Elgin comes out in a hooded vest, Truth Martini at his side. Crowd fairly lukewarm at best. Howling sounds and Davey Richards enters. Crowd pounds the barricade in appreciation. Main event intros for this challenge match. 60-minute time limit for the ROH world title. Vintage streamers!

BTW, Nigel McGuinness is doing color commentary.

Bell rings and Davey comes in flying with kicks. No breathers in the early going. Davey suicide dive. Davey brings Elgin around for kicks. Elgin back in control. Perched on the top. Clotheslines Davey back in the ring. Standing delayed vertical suplex, impressive Elgin strength. Guillotine legdrop on the ring apron from Elgin. Basic moves, yet so effective.

Elgin continues to counter Davey's offense. Handspring from Davey but Elgin catches him in mid-air! Into a fireman's carry and into a variation of Abyss' Shock Treatment for two. Davey crawls to the corner. Crowd with faint Davey Richards chants. Chops from both guys, Elgin retains control. Double armbar resthold from Elgin. Richards gets out, gets to the apron. Good enzuguiri from Richards. Davey to the top. Missile dropkick to the head for two.

Elgin is up and wants more! Trading blows! Big shots and exploder suplex to Elgin gets two. Trying another exploder suplex. Elgin blocks. Knee to Elgin, though. Elgin sits on the top. Davey headbutts. Big superplex from Davey...BUT ELGIN IS GETTING UP. Davey is shocked. Kicks, palm strikes, no sell! Enzuguiri from Elgin!! German from Davey! Clothesline for two! Ankle lock from Davey. Elgin to the ropes and the outside. Davey wants to punt Elgin,but misses. Elgin fisherman's suplex to the floor! Elgin POWERBOMBS Richards into the barricade! Elgin rolls Davey in...only TWO! Now it's getting good.

Elgin to the top...CORKSCREW splash for two! That one was real close. Crowd now amped up more. Some even supporting ELGIN now! Davey perched on the top. Elgin tries for his spinning powerbomb (his finisher) out of the corner. Davey blocks it. Kimura from Davey! Elbows! Sunset flip powerbomb blocked by Elgin! Punches to Davey. Elgin caught on the top again. Nigel references Bryan Danielson. Elgin fights it off twice. Davey comes in a THIRD time. HUGE full nelson belly-to-back superplex! Elgin flipped over on his stomach! Davey covers...TWO!

Ankle lock immediately! Crowd is going apeshit! Martini is pleading for Elgin to hold on, and he gets to the ropes! Crowd REALLY behind Elgin now.

Richards with one kick. Elgin's on one knee. A second. He signals and hits a third. Elgin...STANDS UP. WHAT? (Or should they really be saying YES?!) Davey is shocked again. Pieface from Elgin! Davey with more kicks to Elgin's neck.

BUT Elgin counters with knees of his own! They trade multiple kicks and knees. Davey puts Elgin against the ropes. About 8-10 more kicks. Elgin is rocked. Davey off the ropes...WAIT! ELGIN OKANA ROLL...CHAOS THEORY! ONE, TWO, NO!!! Close near fall there.

Davey to his knees. ELGIN SUPERKICK. Elgin for suplex...BIG SLAM! ONLY TWO. CROSSFACE! ELGIN WITH A CROSSFACE. Crowd is going bonkers. Richards is FADING. Crowd chanting "please don't tap!" Martini pleading with Elgin to crank harder. Davey teases the tapping out part, then gets his foot on the ropes. Wow.

"This is awesome!" chants. Both guys can't even stand.

Elgin and Davey both on the apron. Corner turnbuckle separates them. They fight to the top. Forearms and headbutts. Davey with a leg whip. Davey to the top. DOUBLE STOMP TO ELGIN. Elgin rolls in the ring. Davey to the top again. ANOTHER DOUBLE STOMP...ONE, TWO, NO!!!! Forearms and a lariat from Richards! Richards with a Saito suplex for two! Both guys are exhausted.

Richards to his feet. Elgin on his knees. Throat slash from Davey. Kick blocked! Enziguiri from Davey rocks Elgin. Strikes and a kick from Davey, but spinning forearm from Elgin rocks the champ! Front inverted facelock. Elgin picks Davey up and slams him back and head-first for two! Crowd is on their feet. "THIS IS WRESTLING!"

Martini with more instructions. Buckle bomb from Elgin! Kick from Davey! LARIAT from Elgin turns Davey inside out! Elgin for the spinning powerbomb, countered out! ANKLE LOCK FROM RICHARDS! Center of the ring!

Elgin twists out! LEBELL LOCK! Or is it the YES LOCK?! What a counter! Richards shifts his weight to counter for a pin...ONLY TWO! Richards runs right into a huge knee! How does Nigel still have his damn voice?!?!

Elgin with a spinning back fist! SPINNING POWER BOMB! ONE! TWO! NOOOOOOO!!! WTF!!! I think Truth Martini had a heart attack on the outside from the shock.

LeBell Lock again from Elgin! Good grief, Davey can't be all there. "Please don't tap!!!" from the crowd. Richards so close to the ropes! THEY ROLL BACK TO THE CENTER! Oh man, Richards has nowhere to go!

More Richards teasing. Davey grabs Elgin's left leg! Ankle lock! How the hell?! Davey can barely keep the hold on, but Elgin's nearly sapped of strength. Elgin's close to the ropes. Davey looks to the heavens and drags Elgin back to the center!

Elgin to his back. Three kicks! Davey turns him back over into the ankle lock! He teases the tapping out. One more roll through! Davey into the corner. Elgin tries to stand but can't. Shining Wizard to Elgin.


Davey quickly back up. Elgin on his knees AGAIN!!! SPINNING KICK TO ELGIN! ONE! TWO! THREE! Good damn holy crapbomb grief almighty, it's over.

Both guys are beyond spent. Standing ovation. Unbelievable match. Only made better with the crowd and announcing.

Davey on the mic post-match giving high praise to Elgin. Elgin's definitely becoming world champ one day. No doubt. Davey references Bryan Danielson, and the "YES YES YES" chants start! Davey even indirectly references WWE, but pretty much tells Elgin to stay in ROH and fight for these fans. Very classy move from Davey to close the show.

I never knew Elgin had this in him. ROH created a new star on this night. For only the 13th time in my ratings history -- spanning tens of thousands of matches -- I'm giving five stars. Very well deserved. This left a permanent mark in not just ROH lore, but probably even pro wrestling history. It was the perfect all-out heavyweight fight, pro wrestling style. No weapons or blood, just pure heart and adrenaline. *****

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