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Kevin Steen vs. El Generico: A Blood Feud for the Ages A match retrospective of one of the most brutal feuds on the indies

#1 User is offline   TheDementedOne 

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 04:11 PM

Kevin Steen vs. El Generico (ROH Death Before Dishonor VIII)

This is the first one on one encounter between the two after Steen attacked Generico at Final Battle 2009. As such, it starts off HOT AS HELL especially since both men are performing in front of their hometown crowd in Canada.

These two exchange some heated strikes and as this was their first match in the feud, they are entirely focused on each other and they channel the hatred and heat of the feud extremely well and the crowd just eats it up. For the first half, Generico has a great control segment, taking it to the despicable heel in Steen. Steen tries several times to make a comeback but Generico is quick to cut them off with his speed.

As soon as Steen does make his brutal and damn well earned transition, his control segment is more methodical and somewhat stunts the momentum of the action however it fits within the story as Steen was never interested in defeating Generico as much as he was interested in just killing Generico. Of course, Generico bumps and sells like crazy as he usually does and he looks great as the babyface in peril. There are some great cut off transitions too and I love me some cut off transitions.

The fighting spirit spots work well because both men make sure to sell the effects of them which makes for some heated and dramatic exchanges and Generico has a talent of making a lot of his comebacks and offense just reek of desperation. Even with the mask, Generico is far and away more charismatic than Steen.

There was a believable and organic ref bump for the finish and it was decidedly brutal while allowing for more things to come.

★★★★¼ [82%]

Kevin Steen vs. El Generico (ROH Hate: Chapter II)


Their rematch from the Death Before Dishonor match, the majority of this match is one big control segment for Kevin Steen. Generico makes the offense look good though with charismatic and expressive selling. Generico’s transitions are more engaging than Steen’s because of his selling as well as the desperation in his offense.

Some bright spots in this match are the exchange in front of the Generico fan, which helped put over Steen’s psychotic character, the tornado DDT on the ramp, and some of Generico’s great toukon moments. The crowd isn’t as hot as the Tornoto crowd for DBD8 but they definitely bought into Generico’s comebacks (cause who wouldn’t?). The struggle for the BRAINBUSTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA was good and the callback to the first match was a good nearfall.

The finish is one of the best DQ finishes I’ve seen as it’s decidedly brutal enough to satisfyingly end a match but leaves open possibilities for future encounters.

★★★¾ [79%]

Kevin Steen vs. El Generico – Fight Without Honor (ROH Final Battle 2010)


For the past two matches, Steen and Generico start the match without waiting for the bell which is why it’s a bit jarring to see these two calmly stare each other down while waiting for the introductions especially in the blow off to their feud (at the time anyways).

Even watching this when it first happened, I was bothered by the pacing of the match. The slow methodical control segments just didn’t gel with the themes of the rest of the feud which have been all out unmitigated fast paced violence. Not only that, the flow and momentum of the match is often disrupted by the two setting up the weapons for the next spot in the match. That being said though, the spots are fucking cool and brutal.

The match succeeds in paying off all the loose ends of the feud, even involving Cabana and Corino in the action. There’s a lot of brutality and Generico and Steen both bump like crazy to put over the hatred of the feud. Steen tearing Generico’s mask was brilliant and the visual of Generico bleeding through the tear in his mask made for one compelling babyface performance.

The match does go into overkill as the two are always trying to top the last brutal spot. Only a few nearfalls stand out, the most significant being Generico finally hitting the BRAINBUSTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA on Steen. The finish itself was good and was a nice callback to how the feud all started in the first place.

Overall, this match does what it should in terms of booking and story but in terms of ringwork, the structure and pacing were flawed to be sure. Still, an entertaining spotfest which delivered the brutality and paid off all the ends of this storyline up to that point with its delightful overbooking and over the top violence.

★★★★¼ [83%] (The dramatic elements really pull up this rating and upon further viewings, may still go up)

Kevin Steen vs. El Generico (PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2011)

Since the ROH break up, this was Generico and Steen’s first singles match (that I know of) in PWG. They’d wrestled earlier in the year in some tag matches but this was the first time in PWG that year that they wrestled in singles action and it was in the finals of the Battle of Los Angeles tournament. The match starts HOT with both men going for each other even before the bell. It’s a normal match which means that neither guy is bogged down by trying to figure out how to set up the next hardcore spot which gives the match a nice organic flow and feel to it as for the most part, the two focus on each other and their hatred for each other (which they are really good at selling).

Another good thing is that much of the match takes place on the outside of the ring so that all the spots inside seem more important and are better paced. The nearfalls in this match (unlike most PWG affairs) are kept to a minimum with only three or four really meant to shock and because of that, they feel more important. The two Package Piledriver nearfalls feel important and Steen returning to the Sharpshooter makes sense because of his earlier victories that night.

Both men do a good job selling (Generico more than Steen) and Steen actually does a damn good job cutting off some of Generico’s transitions. A lot of spots felt really heated and important such as the three Yakuza Kicks Generico uses to make his main comeback, the spectacular tornado DDT off the wall, and the Brainbuster Steen countered into a Package Piledriver. The finish was the peak of the match and ended it satisfyingly and brutally. Overall, this is one of their finest singles matches because the lack of stipulations gave them focus.

★★★★½ [85%]

Kevin Steen vs. El Generico – Ladder Match (PWG Steen Wolf)

I honestly believe that the venue REALLY helped this match. The smaller arena created a more intimate heated atmosphere as well as aided the ring work because having the tighter space made for more tension and less need for pointless set up. Everything is nearby, every weapon within reach, and thus things flowed more organically.

This match is a fucking joy to watch. Everything flowed really well and the carnage and violence was fun as hell to watch. The spots were not unnecessarily convoluted and everything leading up to each spot was delightfully violent in its own right with some great bumps taken by both men. And I’m talking some SICK SICK SICK FUCKING BUMPS. The exchanges were intense and heated and Generico is once again top notch in his selling, and Steen is, as usual, fun at being a dickbag heel.

The spots were visually appealing, the hatred was up to 9000, the crowd hot as hell, the transitions were earned and even when they weren’t were brutal enough to be justified. This is an amazing match and without a doubt, probably their best. Although it doesn’t have the dramatic elements that the Fight Without Honor had, it has nonstop brutal action that just carries you along on an exciting ride.

★★★★¾ [88%] (This one definitely has potential to maybe get a full 5 stars upon further viewings)

Kevin Steen vs. El Generico – Last Man Standing (ROH Showdown in the Sun Night 1)

This match is pretty middle of the road when it comes to Steen-Generico. The typical spots are there with the usual exchanges. The crowd is pretty out of it for a while but the two are able to get a rise out of them around the middle as they usually do.

This match suffers some pretty bad problems in pacing and set up. The most terrible example would probably be how Steen and Generico initiated their brawl on the stage. It was forced, unrealistic, and poorly sold. Once Steen and Generico started brawling on the stage though, things picked up really nicely. Generico brought his typical brand of TOUKON~! and desperation which he does really well.

The two really lost the crowd during the finishing stretch with Jimmy Jacobs. It killed the crowd and really it wasn’t anything special in terms of a finish. The callback to the Fight Without Honor and the start of the feud was nice but it just didn’t grab the attention of the crowd and the Jimmy Jacobs heel turn just didn’t click with anybody.

Middle of the road for these two.

★★★¾ [78%]

Kevin Steen vs. El Generico – Ladder War (ROH Final Battle 2012)

This match is so damn frustrating, it’s ridiculous. SO. FUCKING. FRUSTRATING. As you can see by my review above, I am a HUGE fan of their Ladder Match from PWG which is what makes this match so annoying to me. This match felt like everything from the PWG match was just turned down a notch and part of that is the crowd.

The crowd didn’t feel nearly as hot and the offense in the match didn’t feel quite as urgent as it usually does with Steen and Generico. The spots were spectacular and exciting, for sure, but everything in between was GODDAMN HORRENDOUS. It was particularly frustrating because at times, you can see bursts of brilliance such as the struggle with the eye poke and the biting early in the match. They’d do something so wonderful and then follow it up by a minute of Steen trying to set up a ladder for the next spot. It felt so forced and it completely just ruined the flow of the match.

On the bright side, both men bump like insane and Generico is clearly putting in some of the best effort (more than Steen anyways). Generico’s selling is top class in this match and his transitions are acceptable but whenever it comes time to set up another goddamn spot, all the heat Generico’s been building up just simmers away.

One other thing, not only was the RING WORK poor, the BOOKING was poor. Steen going over? Just NO. This match is (sadly) the weakest outing these two have had.

★★★¼ [72%] (A lot of that rating is for Generico’s selling)

Feel free to leave your own thoughts and comments about this feud and the matches in it below! :D/>/>

This post has been edited by TheDementedOne: 22 December 2012 - 04:31 PM

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#2 User is offline   Sean Carleton 

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 04:14 PM

I used to think this was great wrestling, but it was mostly just a compelling angle with career threatening spot-fests strewn throughout it.

This post has been edited by Sean Carleton: 22 December 2012 - 04:15 PM

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#3 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 11:44 PM

View PostSean Carleton, on 22 December 2012 - 04:14 PM, said:

I used to think this was great wrestling, but it was mostly just a compelling angle with career threatening spot-fests strewn throughout it.


I think that's a statement that covers my view of the two Steen/Generico matches I saw. Because I didn't care at all for the angle, I was left pretty unimpressed - in the context of the matches being pimped to me as MOTY.
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#4 User is offline   Gus Sanderson 

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:39 AM

I've only seen their PWG ladder match but I thought it was pretty great. Yeah, it was spot fest but I don't see anything inherently wrong with that. It wasn't like some Marufuji or Ibushi match where it's obvious they're just doing flippiez to try to wow the crowd and they do a shitty job of filling time between them. This was worked like a fucking war between 2 guys who fucking wanted to kill each other. I thought the match was really well thought out with them doing really brutal and violent looking spots that gave a progressively stronger impression that they were both going to wind up cripples. I'm not going to pretend there was some deep storytelling going on but I think something like that at least deserves a mention as a MOTYC.
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#5 User is offline   TelkEvolon 

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:27 AM

As a mega of the Steenerico vs Briscoes feud I don't feel I can comment snobishly on spotfest rivalries.

Also, as a fan who pretty much got into ROH just as Steenerico arrived seeing their entire story arch meant a hell of a lot more, thought their match a Final Battle 2010 was a classic and played on all their past tag team wars really well, also having a fairly large level of drama going into it; having the show officially end before the match, Generico's extended enterance and everything from the opening handshake to the final chairshot was a great finish to what I cosindered to be an awesome feud.

Their ladder match in PWG had that great feeling of guys not caring what they did to each other and many literaly kill each other to have the final say in that match. Sick stuff.


I think my favorite thing to do as a viewer of wrestling is to watch it by the feuds and use it as an entry point to a promotion. I remember I used to just buy indy DVD's for the matches featured in a rivalry. So a year long epic like Steen vs Generico was right up my alley. I think the feuds almost define a company.
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#6 User is offline   Sean Carleton 

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:29 PM

The feud was incredible, and both men were protected when it became one-on-one, until it got near the end, and I loved that. The problem was these guys almost killed each other for something that may be forgotten in 10 years. Steen should have brawled more and said fuck 450 splashes and crowd pleasing spots, and Generico should have been more of an underdog. Hindsight, right?

I don't know why a HUGE series of big death-spot is required when the fans are ALREADY emotionally invested in the feud. That's the new generation for you.

This post has been edited by Sean Carleton: 23 December 2012 - 02:31 PM

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#7 User is offline   TheDementedOne 

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:59 PM

I actually think that the stips sometimes hurt their feud unless it legit happens to aid the story and or blow off the feud. The PWG Ladder match and Fight Without Honor were their two best stip matches mainly because they served as big blow offs to their feuds (albeit in two separate companies). The other times they're made to wrestle in stipulation matches, it feels forced and unnecessary and detracts from their ringwork.
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#8 User is offline   edworth 

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:16 PM

Kevin Steen vs. El Generico – Ladder Match (PWG Steen Wolf)

Way to generous to this piece of crap, they hit a crazy spot then one guy lies there while the other guy sets up the ladders for the next spot. This match would of been better if after every spot they both got up and worked together to set up the ladders for the next one, not even bothering to try to make it look like they were competing against each other, at least that way there wouldn't be all that dead air.

This post has been edited by edworth: 23 December 2012 - 09:23 PM

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#9 User is offline   新世界の神だ 

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 10:23 PM

Just watched Ladder War IV. Even with lowered expectations it was a huge disappointment. Like.........*** at max. Brainless as it gets. Not gonna rewatch it since I'd surely like it a lot less. The fact they used ONE transition during a 30 minute match tells the whole story.
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#10 User is offline   Newbury 

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 04:01 AM

Quote

I used to think this was great wrestling, but it was mostly just a compelling angle with career threatening spot-fests strewn throughout it.


I think this pretty much sums it up for what I think when looking back on the series. I've been meaning to re-watch some of their stuff, but have never really had the desire to do it. I think it stood out in the sense that it was different. Although, that said, I think the Bitter Friends Stiffer Enemies 2 tag match including Corino and Cabana is one of the best matches I've seen from a storytelling perspective. I watched 6 weeks of ROH TV leading up to the chain match tag at Glory by Honor in September. A couple months later, I watched the Bitter Friends Stiffer Enemies tag. I didn't care at all for the promos they did leading up to the September iPPV, the BFSE tag put everything in perspective rather easily I always felt.
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#11 User is offline   TheDementedOne 

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 01:45 PM

Speaking of...I was planning on reviewing that match on this thread.
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