Richards v. Elgin

Holy CRAP.  I was kind of looking for something to get me primed for Wrestlemania tomorrow, so I checked out the second part of the ROH IPPV (which, by the way, looked great on the replay, so any technical issues were strictly the live showing), and if ever there was a match to justify the $9.99 price tag, this was it.  I had never seen Michael Elgin before and now he gets the honor of a ***** rating in his first match seen by me.  Just an amazing piece of business, made all the better by Nigel going crazy on commentary.  And the best thing is that none of it was the overly dangerous head-kicky stuff like in the Edwards-Richards matches, it was all safe spots that were made insane by both guys showing FIRE.  Perfect example:  Very late in the match, they’re trading crossface v. anklelock reversals and Elgin is literally biting his own hand to keep himself from tapping, and you can read it in his face, until he finally powers out.  Richards promptly hits him in the face with a Shining Wizard, but Elgin (40 minutes or so into the match) immediately pops up, SPITS IN RICHARDS’ FACE, and then gets leveled by a head kick again because both guys are just so pissed off and want that fucking title so badly.  By the end of the match you’re actually cheering for Elgin just to see how much punishment he can absorb and keep coming.  It was an exhausting match in the best way and well worth of the praise and the full monty.

Also, Strong winning the TV title from Jay Lethal was really good albeit with a bit of a fuck finish for ROH, and Kevin Steen continues his weird rise to top heel in the company in a good brawl with Eddie Edwards.  Plus Maria and her boyfriend indulge in a SHOOT makeout session in the ring that goes from annoying to over-the-top awesome.   Totally recommended show.