Ring of Honor: Underground

Norfolk, VA – 1.21.2012

Championship Rundown
ROH World Champion: Davey Richards
ROH Television Champion: Jay Lethal
ROH World Tag Team Champions: The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino.

Eddie Edwards informs the live crowd that he has a staph infection and cannot compete tonight. Jim Cornette puts him over for being tough, but can’t in his well being let him compete no matter how badly Edwards wants to. Edwards thanks everyone for coming out regardless of his predicament.

Veda Scott wants to get some words from Andy Ridge before he takes on Kenny King. Ridge mentions how he has gone nowhere since his Trial Series. That has built up some frustration in him, which he plans to take out on King tonight. So rather than make something out of Ridge’s Trial Series, he’s just going to complain about being aimless. Terrific.

Kenny King vs. Andy Ridge

King throws Ridge down out of two lock-ups. King breaks a lock-up in the corner cleanly. Ridge comes out kicking but does not connect. King instead shoulder blocks him. Ridge catches him with a chest kick. Ridge throws a few chops. He blocks King’s hip toss and gets two with a backslide. King delivers a boot. Ridge gives one right back. Ridge hits another chest kick. King rolls to the floor. Ridge follows and chops King against the barricades. King responds with punches. Ridge forearms King from behind. King drops Ridge on the ring apron. Back in the ring he nails a spinwheel kick. King stomps him down in the corner. Even though Ridge is able to escape a headlock, King knocks him back down with a hard clothesline. King ducks a kick and delivers a leg-capture suplex. Ridge gets his foot on the ropes to break the pin. Ridge gets his knees up to block King’s slingshot splash. Ridge delivers a running knee to the side of King’s head for two. Ridge nails a superkick. From the apron he hits another slingshot Ace Crusher for two. King catches Ridge with a couple enzuigiri’s. Shotgun knees and the Coronation get him the pin at 7:53. Ridge looks great and is clearly poised to move past the position he has been in since he debuted in ROH. However, I have no faith in ROH to make that move. King is also ready for the next level and I hope and pray that he and Titus are our next tag champions. **1/2

Backstage King gives Ridge props. He admits that he took Ridge for granted, but thinks if Ridge keeps working that he could be near the top of the card in no time. Somehow I am doubtful.

Mike Bennett vs. Grizzly Redwood

Bennett was supposed to face Eddie Edwards, but due to his staph infection he takes on the littlest lumberjack instead. Bennett claims Edwards is scared of Bennett which is the real reason he can’t wrestle tonight. He gives Redwood a chance to back down. He of course declines and the match is underway.

Redwood goes to hide under the ring as Bennett gets rid of the microphone. Redwood ends up coming in and gets two with a schoolboy. Bennett shoulder blocks him to cut off his momentum. Redwood log rolls his legs out and gives Bennett a bulldog for two. Bennett slams Redwood and goes up top. Redwood crotches him on the top rope and shakes the top rope. Bennett catches Redwood with a boot to cut off his dive. Bennett stomps him down in the corner. Bennett whips Redwood across the ring. Bennett looks for a suplex. Redwood slips into a sleeper hold instead. Bennett backs Redwood to the corner. Bennett accidentally crotches himself in the corner on the second rope. Redwood comes off the top with a seated senton for two. Bennett catches his crossbody attempt. Redwood however huracanrana’s Bennett into the second rope. Bennett catches another crossbody. He turns it into a TKO for the pin at 5:03. Redwood had a couple of neat hope spots, but overall there wasn’t anything to this. *3/4

Veda Scott asks Adam Cole if he’s nervous about his match tonight. Cole admits he is, but he also says that he thinks Steen is underestimating him. He thinks that will give him an advantage.

Adam Cole vs. Kevin Steen

Steen tackles Cole to the corner and lays in a barrage of punches and stomps. Cole fires back with forearms. Steen rakes his eyes and chops him against the ropes. Cole sends Steen out with a dropkick. Steen trips Cole off the apron. Cole however throws his face into the ring apron. They trade punches around ringside. Cole kicks Steen from the apron. Steen catches a baseball slide and pulls Cole out to drop him on the floor. He then tosses Cole ribs first into the ring post. Steen teases throwing Cole into the crowd but instead throws him back in the ring. Steen stands on Cole’s hair while pulling his arms. Cole throws some punches, but it just takes one forearm from Steen to knock him back down. Steen chokes him with his boot. Steen bites Cole’s ear. Cole kicks Steen in the corner. He hits a Flying DDT to even things up. Cole lands an enzuigiri and a superkick to the back of his head. A running knee strike gets him a two count. Steen sends Cole back to the floor. Steen reaches for him, but Cole hits an enzuigiri from the floor. Steen forearms Cole and brings him in with a DDT. Steen hits a cannonball senton for two. Steen blocks an O’Conner roll. Cole instead delivers a back cracker for two. Cole then nails two superkicks. Steen pops Cole up for a powerbomb as he comes off the ropes. A clothesline and the F-Cinq for the pin at 10:05. Steen is far and away the most entertaining part of ROH. Cole is so good and it pains me to see him lose consistently. I know his time is coming though, so I can be patient. This was a fun match where both guys got the chance to shine. ***

Steen pretends like he is going to shake Cole’s hand. He instead kicks Cole and goes for the Package Piledriver (which is banned). Eddie Edwards runs out to make the save. Steen grabs Maffew of Botchamania fame and makes him flip off a bunch of officials and Jim Cornette who has come ringside.

Cedric Alexander is excited he and Caprice Coleman are getting a tag title shot in the state where he and Coleman first became a team (back at Tag Team Turmoil 2011). Coleman is pumped up because he feels it is their destiny to win the belts this evening.

ROH Tag Team Championship
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander

Mark and Coleman start off on the mat. Coleman gets on a hammerlock. He rolls Mark into a Gedo Clutch for one. Another mat exchange leads to Coleman holding Mark’s arm after a fireman’s carry. Coleman snapmares him for one. Mark boots Coleman and throws him to his corner. Jay tags in. Coleman dropkicks both Briscoes, sending Mark out. Coleman kicks Jay in the corner, falling onto Mark on the floor (intentionally). Coleman gets two with a flying crossbody. Alexander tags in and helps Coleman suplex Jay. They both kick Jay in the chest as well. Alexander dropkicks the side of his head. Jay thros Alexander into the middle turnbuckle with a Complete Shot. Mark hits a shotgun dropkick. The Briscoes continue to wear down Alexander until he slips out of the Redneck Boogie. He hits Mark with an enzuigiri as Coleman disposes of Jay on the floor. Coleman hits a missile dropkick. He then officially tags in. He kicks Mark in the back of the head. A reverse X-Factor gets a two count. Coleman misses a flying move in the corner. Jay kicks him into Mark’s Dragon suplex. Jay gets two with a Falcon Arrow. Coleman trades punches with Jay once he recovers. Coleman gets the better of the exchange but still eats a boot. Alexander blind tags in. He hits a springboard clothesline and the IED. A full nelson facebuster gets two when Mark breaks the pin. Coleman sends Mark to the floor. Alexander superkicks Jay into a face crusher from Coleman. That gets a two count. Mark grabs Alexander from the apron. Jay gives Coleman a spinebuster and boots Alexander. The Briscoes hit Alexander with the Doomsday Device for the pin at 10:03. I never thought Alexander and Coleman had a real chance at winning, but I will be damned if they didn’t do a good job making me think the contrary and got the crowd going. This was a nice surprise of a title defense that I sadly think will go unnoticed. Regardless, Alexander and Coleman I feel are very underrated and have the chance to be in a bigger role then they are currently. ***1/4

The Briscoes use their racist names for Coleman and Alexander to run them down. That’s about all there was to this promo.

Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin make their way out to cut a promo. Haas laments to Benjamin that they’re stuck in Norfolk after wrestling in so many great venues around the world. Benjamin runs down some of the fans. He then lays out a challenge for anybody in the back. This prompts local team A1 (Jefferson Early and Zachary Hilton) to come out and accept the request. The fans are into them, so that’s a good thing.

Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. Team A1 (Jefferson Early & Zachary Hilton)

Benjamin starts off with Hilton. With Benjamin being larger than Hilton, it’s very easy for him to beat him down. Haas gets in on the fun, because why not? Benjamin shoves Hilton to the corner and Early tags in. He goes for the leg but just ends up getting destroyed as well. Hilton and Early double dropkick both Benjamin and Haas to the floor. Early and Hilton flub tandem baseball slides and get kicked in the face. Back in the ring Haas and Benjamin beat down Early some more. Early fights off Benjamin and manages to tag Hilton. Hilton gets in a few punches and clotheslines. Benjamin gives him a spinebuster. They beat him down and then bring Early back in. Benjamin superkicks Early after Haas’ atomic drop. Haas picks him up off the mat instead of pinning him. The referee gets in Haas’ face. Haas shoves him down, causing them to get disqualified at 9:50. That was dreadful. Team A1 looked absolutely terrible in the little offense they got. If this was meant to be a squash with a DQ, do it in a minute, not ten. Ridiculous. ¼*

Benjamin and Haas continue to beat down Team A1 after the bell. The Briscoes end up making the save and disposing of Haas and Benjamin. Things eventually get settled down. There’s some yelling. This was all just one big debacle.

Jay Lethal thinks the only reason Tommaso Ciampa been so successful because he has so many people around him. He claims tonight Ciampa will fall to the Lethal Injection.

Proving Ground Match
Jay Lethal vs. Tommaso Ciampa

If Ciampa is able to survive the 15 minute time limit, or defeat Lethal, he will earn a future shot at Lethal’s Television title. The Embassy is in full force in Ciampa’s corner. Ciampa delivers a shoulder block. Lethal hip tosses him into a low dropkick. Lethal does the Macho finger twirl after a shoulder block. Ciampa avoids another low dropkick. Lethal however rolls him into an enzuigiri for a one count. Lethal puts him a parachute hold. Ciampa grabs the ropes to break. Lethal sends Ciampa to the apron. He dropkicks him to the floor and hits a pescado. Ciampa is able to clothesline Lethal off the ring apron thanks to the Embassy’s distraction. This allows Ciampa to take control back in the ring. Lethal ducks one clothesline but eats a forearm for two. Ciampa kicks his head into the ring post for two. Lethal goes for a Lethal Injection. Ciampa dropkicks him as he springboards for a two count. Ciampa whips Lethal hard across the ring. Lethal unloads a barrage of chops. Ciampa still catches him in the corner and blasts him with many running knee strikes. Lethal superkicks Ciampa out of desperation. When he’s able to fully recover he throws a flurry of offense. He hits a handspring elbow for two. Ciampa goes for a clothesline. Lethal instead hits the Lethal Combination for two. Lethal goes up top. Ciampa fights Lethal into an Air Raid Crash off the second rope. The one minute warning comes. Ciampa goes for a chair but is discouraged by The Embassy. Lethal gives him a chinbreaker on his knee. Lethal knocks down the Embassy members who try to interfere. He gives Mia Yim a kiss however. Ciampa hits the Project Ciampa for the pin at 15:20. Yes, the match went over the fifteen minute time limit (regardless of what the timekeeper says). Seriously, is time THAT hard to keep? This had some flashes of good wrestling but lacked an overall story. The hot crowd helped out the match a lot. I really think Ciampa has a lot of potential. **3/4

Ciampa steals the belt, but leaves it in the aisleway. He will get his title shot at ROH’s 10th Anniversary Show.

Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The House of Truth (Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin)

The winning team gets an ROH Tag Team Championship match in Cincinatti in February. When O’Reilly fails to take control of Strong, he tags in Richards. Strong circles Richards but then quickly tags in Elgin. Richards kicks him in the chest with little effect. Richards takes him down with a dropkick. Elgin comes back with a belly-to-back suplex. Strong chops and forearms O’Reilly like a madman in the corner. O’Reilly creates some distance before lighting Strong up with some kicks of his own. Richards snapmares Strong into a modified Sharpshooter. Elgin breaks the hold. Strong suplexes Richards before tagging out. Elgin and Richards trade pins. Richards goes for a cross armbreaker. He picks up Richards for a Buckle Bomb. Elgin clotheslines him in the corner. Richards avoid a second one and enzuigiri’s Strong of the apron. He also sends Elgin out and kicks him in the chest. O’Reilly tope con hilo’s onto both House of Truth members. Back in the ring, Elgin eats double chest kicks for two. O’Reilly tries to fight Elgin on his own. Elgin is just too big for him to manage. Because of it, Strong and Elgin are able to trap O’Reilly and wear him down in their corner. After a lengthy (and I do mean lengthy) beat down, O’Reilly finally manages to block a double clothesline, take both men down and tag in Richards. He comes in with a double missile dropkick. He kicks up Elgin against the ropes. Richards hits the Damage Reflex for two. Richards suplexes Strong while cradling Elgin’s legs for two. Richards kicks Elgin before giving him a bridging German suplex. Elgin kicks out. Elgin manages to Samoan Drop Richards while giving O’Reilly a fallaway slam at the same time. Strong tags in. A pair of running forearm and a Saito suplex get him a two count on Richards. Richards fights out of the Death by Roderick. He and Strong trade boots. Strong kicks O’Reilly off the ring apron. He hits the Death by Roderick on Richards for two. He then puts on the Stronghold. Ricchards turns that into an ankle lock while O’Reilly puts Elgin in a front facelock. Elgin suplexes out while Strong rolls Richards up for two. Elgin backfists O’Reilly. Richards knee strikes Elgin. Strong gives Richards. O’Reilly superkicks Strong to leave all four men laying. O’Reilly gives Strong two butterfly suplexes and a DDT. Elgin accidentally knee drops Strong. Richards holds Elgin so that O’Reilly can come off the ring apron with a dropkick. O’Reilly missile dropkicks Strong for two. O’Reilly suplexes Strong for two. Elgin Bossman slams O’Reilly. He follows up with a TKO. Strong superkicks O’Reilly and Richards breaks the cover. O’Reilly has Strong in a Guillotine. Truth Martini breaks it behind the referee’s back. O’Reilly thwarts a second attack and jackknife pins Strong at 29:42. Like most Richards matches, this was unnecessarily long. I mean O’Reilly got beaten down for what seemed like ages. Luckily, the rest of the action was really good and the crowd was hot so I had a lot of fun watching this. Have I mentioned how awesome Roderick Strong is before? ***3/4

Davey Richards promo. You’ve heard it before I am sure. Backstage the House of Truth are upset and can’t get along. Meanwhile, the Embassy are pleased with Tommaso Ciampa’s victory. Nana is certain he will be the next TV Champion.

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