Ring of Honor: Rise & Prove

Cincinnati, OH – 2.17.2012

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

Commentary is solely provided by Kevin Kelly.

Veda Scott wants to know how Adam Cole feels about fighting Michael Elgin with Truth Martini tonight. Cole recalls that Elgin interfered in his match against Roderick Strong which he ultimately lost. Cole predicts tonight will go much different.

Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin

Truth Martini is in Elgin’s corner. Elgin smacks Cole in the chest after breaking a lock-up in the corner. Cole gets fired up but shoulder tackled to the mat. Elgin shrugs off Cole’s shoulder block attempts. Cole comes off the second rope with a huracanrana that sends Elgin to the floor. Cole suicide dives after him. Martini grabs Cole’s leg as he goes up top. Elgin German suplexes him into the corner for two. Elgin forearms Cole in the chest. Elgin fails at throwing Cole to the floor. He does however powerslam him for a two count. Elgin forearms Cole from behind. Cole boots him from the corner. Cole shoves him to the corner. Cole slingshot DDT’s Elgin onto the ring apron. Cole comes back in with a high crossbody. Cole fights off a suplex. He hits a superkick. Elgin delivers a backfist. Cole superkicks Elgin twice. Elgin nails a desperation shotgun lariat for two. They fight in the corner. Cole gets in a sunset bomb. Elgin stops a running knee strike with a Buckle Bomb. The spinning powerbomb gets him the pin at 8:02. I really think both guys have potential to be on top. Elgin is getting closer, but it being at Cole’s expense is a tad irritating. Still, this was a hot opener where both guys got to showcase some of their best offense. **3/4

Veda Scott is with Sean Casey and Chris Silvio (a team in tonight’s Rise and Prove tournament). They both look like wrestlers out of the 80s. No wonder why Jim Cornette brought them in. They can’t agree over who will get the win, but do agree they will win. She then talks to their opponents Shiloh Jonez and Rudy Switchblade. They say they’re going to Rise and Prove. Hey, that’s the name of the tournament!

Rise & Prove Tag Team Tournament Semi-Finals
Shiloh Jonez & Rudy Switchblade vs. Sean Casey & Chris Silvio

Know what’s awesome? ROH puts up the wrong match graphic before this match (and it spoils the tournament finals). Great job Ring of Honor. Silvio and Casey won’t shake hands. Silvio forearms Jonez after Jonez breaks a lock-up. Jonze flips Silvio to the mat in a wristlock. Silvio misses an elbow after a hip toss. They trade hip tosses some more and stand-off. Switchblade tags in. He and Jonze double leg sweep and double elbow drop Silvio for two. Casey tags in and chops Switchblade in the corner. Switchblade brings him out with a bulldog. Switchblade hits a low dropkick for two. Switchblade and Jonez get in some tandem offense on both their opponents. Casey and Silvio’s faces end up in each others’ crotches which is ALWAYS so hilarious and definitely not overplayed. Casey shoves Jonze off the top rope. He and Silvio take turns beating Jonze down. Jonze gets his feet up to block a second rope attack from Casey. Switchblade tags in and elbows Silvio a few times. Switchblade crossbody’s onto both of his opponents for two. Casey grabs Switchblade’s foot. Silvio knocks him down, but Jonze hits a tornado kick. Switchblade hits a frog splash at 7:52. That was corny, and not in a charming way. That had its place in its time, but it’s not at all what I expect or want from Ring of Honor. *

Alabama Attitude (Mike Posey & Corey Hollis) are standing by with Veda Scott. Mike Posey says their opponents will find out that they’re one of the best teams in the world. Hollis wants to prove they belong in Ring of Honor. We then go to TMDK (Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls). Nicholls says they have faced and beaten the best in the world, so it doesn’t matter who they face in the tournament. They will be the winners. Haste tells Alabama Attitude to be prepared from them to be run through.

Rise & Prove Tag Team Tournament Semi-Finals
Alabama Attitude (Mike Posey & Corey Hollis) vs. TMDK (Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls)

Wrong match graphic again, which spoils the winner of this match. TMDK tear Cincinnati apart on the microphone before the match. Haste place Hollis on the top rope and smacks his chest. Hollis twists his arm. He and Posey whip Haste to the corner. A few kicks get Posey a two count. Attitude double hip toss Haste. They drop some legdrops and a knee drop for two. Nicholls tags in. He takes Posey down with ease. He forearms Hollis off the apron for good measure. Nicholls throws some chops in the corner. TMDK now go to work on Posey with some quick tags to keep each other fresh. Nicholls goes for a slam, but since it appeases the fans he doesn’t go through with it. Posey ends up catching Haste with a neckbreaker to give himself time to tag in Hollis. Hollis knees Nicholls off the apron before giving Haste a double underhook suplex. He rolls Haste into a facebuster and a diving uppercut for two. Haste palm strikes Hollis on the middle ropes. He huracanrana’s him down and nails a clothesline. Nicholls and Hollis trade forearms. Nicholls delivers a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Hollis fights out of the corner, nailing an enzuigiri. Posey slingshot legdrops in for two. Posey dangles Nicholls on the ropes, dropping him into a Falcon Arrow for two. Haste breaks the pin. Hollis sends him out to the floor. Hollis follows out with a headscissors. Hollis gives Nicholls the Rollback Driver. A top rope legdrop from Posey only gets two when Haste throws Hollis into the pin. Nicholls powerslams Hollis. Haste dives off his back into a cannonball senton. Haste DDT’s Hollis off of Nicholls’ shoulders for the pin at 10:32. Now this is more like it. These were two teams who I could realistically see being in ROH, especially TMDK. I really liked what I saw out of everybody and am happy we will see TMDK for at least one more match. **3/4

Veda Scott wants to know Edwards’ strategy for his and Roderick Strong’s No Holds Barred match. Edwards says Strong will get the ass kicking he’s been deserving for a long time. Edwards will also have someone looking out for him in case Truth Martini tries to get involved. Before the match however, Jim Cornette decides to handcuff Truth Martini to the ring post to try and make sure he can’t interfere in the match. Martini tries to run away but is carried back out by officials and cuffed. He gives Todd Sinclair the key to put around his neck.

No Holds Barred
Eddie Edwards vs. Roderick Strong

Strong jumps Edwards from behind. They exchange chops. Strong pounds and stomps Edwards down in the corner. Edwards brings Strong to the floor and whips him into the barricades. Edwards throws a chop while Strong is seated in a chair. Strong jabs Edwards with the chair and gives him a back drop on the ring apron. Strong puts a chinlock on back in the ring. Edwards grabs at Strong’s face to break it. This leads to Strong booting him in the chest and stomping away at his right arm. Edwards punches Strong when he goes for the Book of Truth. Strong nails a dropkick for two. Strong gets two with a backbreaker as well. They fight for a body slam near the entrance ramp. Edwards ends up slamming Storng on the entrance ramp itself. Strong fights back and drops Edwards stomach first on the barricades. Edwards elbows Strong and lands a moonsault off the apron. Edwards gamengiri’s Strong back in the ring. The Chin Checker gets a two count. A chair is set up mid-ring. Edwards tries to hit Die Hard on it but instead Strong drops Edwards crotch first on the edge of it. Edwards still manages to kick out. Strong goes for Death by Roderick. Edwards huracanrana’s his way free. Even after some strikes Strong hits Death by Roderick for two. He then drops Edwards ribs first onto the edge of the chair for two. Strong sets chairs up in every corner of the ring. He and Edwards battle over who will be able to use them first. Edwards wins by throwing Strong head first into one of them. Edwards hangs him in a tree of woe and dropkicks him. Edwards then hits a running chair-assisted dropkick from the floor. Edwards double stomps Strong’s back for two. Edwards and Strong fight on the top rope. Edwards misses a double stomp on the apron after pushing Strong off. Strong drops him back first on the ring frame. He quickly goes for a pin but only gets two. Strong brings a table ringside. He wants the Tiger Driver through the apron. Edwards fights out. A battle of kicks ends up with Todd Sinclair accidentally being hit with a gamengiri. While he is down, Edwards double stomps Strong through the table. Michael Elgin runs out to stomp on Edwards. Adam Cole comes in to even the odds. As Cole is taking him out, Martini frees himself with the key around Sinclair’s neck. Edwards ends up catching him. Martini discreetly gives Strong the Book of Truth. Strong whacks Edwards in the face with it to get the pin at 17:31. That was just as good as Strong and Cole’s match from The Homecoming. I was plenty tired of these guys facing each other in regular matches, but the No Holds Barred element allowed them to add a fresh coat of paint to their usual routine. Of course the feud wasn’t truly resolved, but now I’m less inclined to oppose a rematch. ***1/2

Samson Walker plans to show Mike Mondo that it’s his time. He goes on about being a real tough guy, or something. The House of Truth is together. Truth Martini is so happy both his men were winners tonight. Elgin says he is one of the rising young wolves in the company. Strong says he did to Edwards’ exactly what he said he would do. He tells Davey Richards that he is next.

Mike Mondo vs. Samson Walker

Mondo becomes frustrated when Walker is able to win a lock-up so easily. He ends up slapping Walker in the face. Walker shoulder blocks him in response. He whips Mondo so hard into the corner that he bounces back. Mondo rolls to the floor for a time out. When Walker tries to pull him in, Mondo snaps his neck across the top rope. Walker whips Mondo to the corner. He boots him as he dangles on the top rope and clotheslines him to the floor. Mondo pulls a referee in front of him to block a knee strike. Mondo then sneaks in from behind to boot Walker multiple times. Walker comes back with chops. He misses a knee strike. Mondo’s low dropkick gets a one count. Walker brings him to the corner. Mondo dropkicks him from the second rope. Mondo chokes Walker with his wrist tape behind the referee’s back. Mondo goes to take off a top turnbuckle. When the referee fixes it he chokes Walker again. Walker is able to throw a few big punches. He drops a knee for two. Walker misses a splash in the corner, allowing Mondo to roll him up and put his feet on the ropes for the pin at 7:38. It looks like Mondo is the winner until Todd Sinclair comes out. He informs the official that Mondo had his feet on the ropes and re-starts the match. Mondo is upset with the referee. He turns into a spinebuster and Walker gets the pin at 0:15. What was the point of all that? Both guys got pinned and nobody gets to look good. I guess the match was fine but the ending was very irritating. *1/2

Mike Mondo says Walker knows he beat him fair and square but he had to pay off a second referee to take his side. If Walker ever cross him again, he will show him he is the better man.

Rise & Prove Tag Team Tournament Finals
Shiloh Jonez & Rudy Switchblade vs. TMDK (Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls)

The winning team gets a Proving Ground match against the ROH Tag Team Champions at “Showdown in the Sun: Day 1” at the end of March. TMDK attack their opponents when they ask for a handshake. They hit a standing moonsault/fist drop combo on Switchblade. A falling headbutt from Haste gets a two count. Nicholls kicks him from the apron. Switchblade ducks a clothesline and tags in Jonez. He huracanrana’s Haste for two. Nicholls trips Jonez as he hits the ropes. Haste hits a sliding dropkick and a slingshot double stomp for two. TMDK uses the “isolate and dismantle” strategy that worked so well for them in their previous bout. Haste even sneaks in a body slam on the floor. Jonez side steps Nicholls’ elbow drop. He backdrops him and tags in Switchblade. He mows down Haste. He stomps on his mid-section and hits a senton for two. Haste throws a few kicks, including a running pump kick for two. Nicholls kicks out his legs. Switchblade’s chinbreaker leads to a neckbreaker from Jonez. Haste leg lariats Jonez. Nicholls powerslams him. Haste wipes out on his cannonball senton attempt. The fans actually are booing when Switchblade hits a frog splash. They are very happy that Haste breaks the count. Haste distracts the referee while Nicholls kicks him in the groin. The DDT off of Nicholls shoulders that won them their first match gets the pin here at 8:52. TMDK were so tremendous that the fans turned on the other team and cheered for them. They were the easy choices to win and I look forward to their Proving Ground match. **3/4

BJ Whitmer is surprised that he has to go through a Proving Ground match after being in ROH for five years (even though he was gone for four). He’s not going to complain about it though, and says he’s going to go through Lethal so he can make a name for himself in ROH again. We cut to TMDK. Nicholls says they proved everything they said they would. Haste makes fun of The Briscoes and says they will get their asses kicked. Welp, guess we know who is winning the main event.

Proving Ground Match
Jay Lethal vs. BJ Whitmer

If Whitmer is able to survive the 15 minute time limit, or defeat Lethal, he will earn a future shot at Lethal’s Television title. Whitmer breaks an aggressive lock-up against the ropes. Whitmer wins a wristlock exchange, sitting down on Lethal’s arm. Lethal kicks Whitmer in the back to escape. Whitmer takes him back to the mat in a waistlock. Lethal rolls him up for one. Whitmer breaks a waistlock in the corner. He chops Lethal upon escape. Lethal chops back after soaking Whitmer’s chop in. Even though Whitmer throws some forearms, Lethal still manages to hip toss him into a dropkick. Lethal turn a Russian leg sweep into a modified Octopus stretch. Whitmer gets his foot on the bottom rope. Lethal snaps Whitmer’s neck on the top rope and a double axe handle off the top rope, Savage style. Whitmer charges. Lethal holds down to the top rope to send him to the apron. Lethal dropkicks him to the floor. Whitmer boots Lethal to cut off his dive. Whitmer tope con hilo’s after him. In the ring, Whitmer back elbows him for two. Whitmer also gets two with a belly-to-back suplex. Lethal hits a leg lariat out of the corner. This leads to a forearm exchange. Lethal spinwheel kicks Whitmer to end it. Lethal’s back handspring elbow gets two. Although Whitmer side steps Lethal’s top rope attack, Lethal is able to snap off the Lethal Combination. Whitmer kicks out. He hits a running knee in the corner. He suplexes Lethal into a Northern Lights variation for two. Whitmer shrugs off a superkick. An enzuigiri and superkick takes him off his feet. Lethal hits a top rope elbow drop for two. Whitmer stops the Lethal Injection. He strings two fisherman suplexes together for two just as the one minute warning is called. Lethal escapes an exploder suplex. Lethal hits the Lethal Injection for the pin at 14:31. I have enjoyed every BJ Whitmer match I have seen since he has come back. He’s just as good as he ever was, if not better. Lethal and him had a solid match that I think proves Whitmer deserves to be in any top indy company that would take him. ***

Backstage Jay Lethal puts over BJ Whitmer. He apologizes to him because he admits all he could think about was Tommaso Ciampa and their match at the 10th Anniversary Show. He’s excited to be the one to end Ciampa’s winning streak in New York City.

ROH Tag Team Championship
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly

O’Reilly looks to start, but Richards tags himself in. Richards almost kick Mark in the head. Mark cradles him for two. O’Reilly and Jay tag in. Jay gets the ropes to break a hammerlock on the mat. Richards tags back in. When neither of them take control, they tag in their partners. O’Reilly goes for a cross armbreaker. Mark throws some forearms and goes for it again. Mark quickly gets the ropes. Richards and Mark throw forearms. Neither of them budge from one anothers’ shoulder block. Richards connects with a dropkick then boots Jay off the apron. Jay bocks Richards kick. Mark dropkicks Richards through the ropes as Jay holds onto him. The Briscoes throw their opponents into the barricades. The Briscoes get in a small bit of offense on Richards. Richards hits the Damage Reflex on Mark. O’Reilly tags in. He butterfly suplexes Mark twice. Mark blocks a third with two Northern Light suplexes. O’Reilly blocks another and butterfly suplexes Mark into a cross armbreaker. Mark grabs the ropes. The Briscoes take control of the match, cutting the ring in half and beating O’Reilly down. Mark and O’Reilly collide mid-air when both going for a crossbody. With Richards knocked off the apron previously, O’Reilly has to try and fight off the Briscoes by himself. He does a good job with a double dragonscrew leg whip. Richards comes back in with a forearm to Jay in the corner and cannonball senton through the ropes to Mark. O’Reilly gives Jay a tornado DDT for two. Richards hits the Alarm Clock on Jay. O’Reilly delivers a rolling clothesline and a German suplex. Mark breaks the cover and sends Richards to the floor. O’Reilly throws strikes at Mark. Jay catches him with a Death Valley Driver. Richards forearms Mark in the corner. Mark dropkicks him into O’Reilly. Mark throws O’Reilly off the top with an Iconoclasm for two. The Briscoes hit the Redneck Boogie and Richards breaks the pin. Richards jumps up top to Mark to block the Doomsday Device. Jay takes O’Reilly down and puts Richards on his shoulder. Richards rolls through and puts Jay in an ankle lock. O’Reilly simultaneously rolls Mark into an armbar, switching to a Guillotine. Jay rolls Richards into O’Reilly, breaking the submission. Each team throw boots at each other. A series of kicks and clotheslines knocks all four men down. O’Reilly tags out once recovered. Richards blocks Jay’s clothesline and puts on a cross armbreaker. When Jay begins stomping him, Richards puts on an ankle lock. Richards hits a running chest kick. He kicks Mark from the apron before heading to the top rope. Richards double stomps Jay for two. O’Reilly hits a diving dropkick off the apron onto Mark who’s seated ringside. Richards kicks Jay in the head for two. Richards chokes Mark on the floor while O’Reilly brings Jay up top. O’Reilly superplexes him for two. Richards kicks Jay into O’Reilly’s brainbuster. Mark manages to make the save. He rids of Richards with a suplex. O’Reilly puts on a Guillotine. Jay lifts him into a Falcon Arrow. Mark lands the Froggy Bow for two. The Briscoes then hit the Doomsday Device for the pin at 21:30. Really fun, athletic action with a story. Not much more to ask from in a main event title match. For a nothing show these worked pretty damn hard and gave the crowd a great bout. Even though he got pinned, O’Reilly looked fantastic while being in the ring with three of the company’s champions. That I dig. ***3/4

Davey Richards promo. Same as it ever was. Backstage The Briscoes talk about how tough they are. They say “better luck next time” to Richards and O’Reilly.

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