Life and Limb on the Line

Other wrestlers play to the crowd or to the camera. These two play off each other.

"Aggression, violence, and pain," says commentator Nigel McGuinness, "that's all these guys know." "These guys" are then-champ Davey Richards and challenger (and ex-champ) Roderick Strong, in one of many battles that comprise one of the best feuds in ROH history. This blowup occurred in 2011. Roddy's injury last month, while battling AJ Styles, was one more reminder of just how dangerous an art form professional wrestling can be.  We've seen worse, and thankfully Strong was spared that, and as this match demonstrates, Strong is no stranger to bumps on the head. 

Richards and Strong alike had no shortage of other wrestlers who wanted to kick their asses, but nobody kicks Roddy's ass as well as Davey, and nobody hates Davey more than Roddy. The two epitomize for me what a good rivalry should be. Roddy personifies the privileged country-club brat from the name "Roderick" to his full pouty lips. Davey looks like the guy who grew up rough and never took to civilized manners--and if you bend the rules, he's ready to cross that line too.

This match has fine corner slapfests and showdowns out of the ring and on the ring apron. I love Davey's meticulous (that is, sadistic) way of working Roddy's ankle and elbow on the mat and Roddy's ability to convey arrogance through the way he stands and moves. Strong doesn't have to say a word to convey the sense that he feels naturally entitled to Richards' belt. Both men know how to take a bump and sell it. The chemistry between these two is as good as it is because both are consummate workers and athletes.

A big thank-you to our friend Eli, who sent me the link to the video from which I took the screen captures above.


  1. It looks really exciting. Is it on YouTube?

    1. Yes. The URL is ... or click the link on the words "This blowup" above.


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