Ft. Lauderdale, FL – 3.30.2012
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 & Nigel McGuinness.
Proving Ground Match
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. TMDK (Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls)
TMDK earned this Proving Ground match by winning the “Rise & Prove” tournament in Cincinatti. If TMDK defeat The Briscoes, or last the 15 minute time limit, they will earn a shot at the ROH Tag Team titles. Haste shoulder blocks Mark. Mark punches him in the stomach and pitches him to the floor. Jay throws him into the barricades. Mark throws Nicholls into them as well. Mark suplexes Nicholls on the floor and Haste back in the ring. Jay blind tags in and clotheslines Haste inside out. Haste fights his way out of the Briscoes corner. Nicholls trips Mark from the floor. Haste double stomps him on the ring apron. A moonsault/fist drop combo get TMDK a two count. Mark fires up from headbutts and chops. Even so, Haste delivers the Leap of Faith for two. Mark ducks Nicholls’ clotheslines, evades a backdrop and tags in Jay. He boots Nicholls after a series of punches. Jay gets two with a Falcon Arrow. Haste leg lariats both Briscoes. Nicholls powerslams Mark and Haste hops of Nicholls’ back for a cannonball senton on Jay in the corner. Haste DDT’s Jay off of Nicholls’ shoulders. Jay kicks out. Mark crossbody’s Haste. Mark shotgun dropkicks Nicholls into the corner. The Froggy Bow only gets a two count. The Doomsday Device get The Briscoes the pin at 7:19 (roughly; there was no opening bell). Between this and “Rise & Prove”, TMDK showed that they have what it takes to hang in Ring of Honor. If we (finally) get more NOAH crossover in ROH, these guys should definitely be brought back. This was a fun, energetic opener and a great way to kick the weekend off. **3/4
Last night, NWA Ring Warriors held a show where NWA World Champion Adam Pearce successfully defended the title against Adam Cole. With that, Jim Cornette brings Adam Pearce out. Cornette questions Pearce’s retention, as he gave Cole a low blow before finishing him off with a piledriver (which is apparently banned in ROH). Pearce says the marquee read NWA and paraphrases Jesse Ventura to justify his actions. He does admit that Adam Cole gave him a heck of a fight, but says Cole is not great like him. This of course brings out Adam Cole himself. Cole won’t make any excuses for his loss. He told Cornette that he wanted to give him a test, so he suggests a rematch between him and Pearce tonight. He guarantees a victory. Pearce doesn’t like Cole’s attitude so he suggests doing the match right now. Cornette isn’t convinced at first but Pearce and Cole talk him into it. The match will be non-title since Cornette does not have the power to make it a title bout. Pearce is wrestling in jeans.
Adam Cole vs. Adam Pearce
Pearce jumps Cole before the bell. He nails a headbutt. Cole dropkicks him to the floor and suicide dives after him. Cole whips Pearce into the barricades. Pearce asks for mercy back in the ring. Cole doesn’t oblige and gets chokeslammed for his troubles. Pearce backdrops him for two. Cole kicks Pearce to block another backdrop. Pearce however hits a leg-capture pump-handle piledriver for two. Cole rolls to the floor. When Pearce grabs his hair he hits a leaping enzuigiri. Cole misses a crossbody. Pearce misses a corner splash. Cole hits a shining wizard for two. Pearce fights out of a waistlock. Referee Todd Sinclair stops his piledriver attempt. Cole back flips him and kneels down to pin Pearce at 4:30. This was a good victory to keep Cole’s momentum from pinning Davey Richards at “Young Wolves Rising.” The match was pretty standard, but at least it was short and the crowd was into it. **
Dual Duel Match #1 – Tornado Tag Team Match
The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) vs. The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson)
Tornado Rules means no tags are necessary and all four men can be in the ring at the same time. The Bucks win the opening strike battle. ANX send Nick to the floor. King snaps Matt’s neck across the top rope and Titus gives him a neckbreaker for two. King gives him a spinwheel kick. The Bucks regroup on the floor. King and Titus fly onto them with stereo tope con hilo’s. The Bucks catch ANX as they come back in the ring. Nick disposes of King. He and Matt deliver an enzuigiri/forearm combo. Nick double stomps Titus and dives onto King. Matt twists on Titus’ rehabbed knee. King shoves Nick off the top rope and gives Matt a spinebuster for two. Nick drops the top rope to send Titus out. He slingshots in for an X-Factor on King. Nick dropkicks Titus off the apron. Matt gives King a flip neckbreaker across Nick’s knee. Matt pescado’s onto Titus. The Bucks team up on King. He’s able to give Matt an enzuigiri but Nick knocks him down to stop his comeback. Titus surprises the Bucks with stereo clotheslines. He strings together a boot and clothesline on Matt. Nick goes right for Titus’ leg. Titus kicks him in the face and delivers a dropkick. Matt pulls Titus’ bad leg. Titus blocks his superkick. King suplexes Matt and delivers shotgun knees to Nick. Titus pops him up into a Samoan Drop for two. King sends Matt out. ANX set up for the One Night Stand. Matt superkicks Titus, then he and Nick both superkick King. The Bucks go up top for stereo 450 splashes. Both King and Titus kick out. They set up for More BangfFor Your Buck. King stops that plan. Matt superkicks King to block his enzuigiri. Titus rolls him into a Gedo Clutch for the pin at 8:36. The tornado stipulation was used well and made the match much more exciting. This was a good follow up to their encounters during Battle of the Carolinas weekend. To set up for tomorrow’s match, Nick attacks Titus’ leg with a chair. I also dig that. ***
Out comes The Embassy of Prince Nana, Tommaso Ciampa, and Barrister RD Evans. Last we saw, Ciampa had stolen Jay Lethal’s TV Title at “Young Wolves Rising” after the time limit in the match ran out and he did not win the title. ROH told Ciampa that he had to surrender the title belt to Lethal this weekend. However, he does not have title belt with him. Evans says because he office received ROH’s injuction after they were already in Florida, they did not bring the belt with them. RD Evans informs us that Ernesto Osiris is going to get the title now. Tomorrow night, Ciampa will present the champion with the belt. Nana sings “We’re in the Money” like only he can.
ROH Television Championship
Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly
Ciampa takes a seat ringside to watch the bout. An aggressive lock-up sees no winner. Lethal holds onto a wristlock, no matter what O’Reilly does to try and break it. O’Reilly finally rolls free and slaps Lethal across the face. Lethal armdrags him twice. O’Reilly shrugs off the third time. Lethal blocks a Magistral cradle for two. He then hip tosses O’Reilly into a dropkick for two. Lethal turns a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker into a side Russian leg sweep. He applies a modified Octopus. O’Reilly gets his foot on the ropes. O’Reilly knees Lethal in the mid-section for one. Lethal dropkicks O’Reilly off the ring apron. Lethal chops O’Reilly on the floor. Both men jump on the stage. O’Reilly sweeps his legs out, causing Lethal to land back first on a hard wood floor. Back in the ring O’Reilly puts on a regular Octopus stretch. O’Reilly rolls him into a crucifix pin for two. Lethal tries to fight out of a front chancery. O’Reilly clamps on the Guillotine Choke and won’t let go. Lethal cleverly uses the Lethal Combination to break free. Lethal follows up with a back handspring elbow. O’Reilly kicks out at two. O’Reilly forearms and boots Lethal in the corner. O’Reilly superplexes him and Lethal somehow kicks out. O’Reilly taunts Lethal by giving slight kicks to his head repeatedly. Lethal evades a leg sweep. He superkicks O’Reilly and hits the Lethal Injection for the pin at 11:31. I like O’Reilly breaking out on his own as a heel rather than being Richards’ lackey, so I hope we get a conclusion to that team soon. This was some really excellent back-and-forth wrestling that made O’Reilly look like he could hang with one of ROH’s top players. I look forward to seeing what his future holds. ***
We’re shown a clip from ROH TV where Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander scored an upset victory Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin. This happened because the Briscoes waffled Haas with a chair shot behind the referee’s back. Coleman and Alexander don’t like that Haas and Benjamin saw them as a “warm-up team”, so they look to prove themselves again tonight.
Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
Haas and Benjamin throw punches instead of shaking hands. Alexander clotheslines Benjamin to the floor. Coleman legdrops Haas’ neck. He hops off Alexander’s back with a splash in the corner. Coleman and Alexander double dropkick Benjamin. Alexander gives him a jump-up neckbreaker. Benjamin disposes of Alexander and superkicks Coleman. Haas and Benjamin bully Coleman in their corner for awhile. They of course taunt Alexander a couple times as well. Coleman manages to fit a double dropkick in. He evades a splash from Benjamin and hops over Haas to tag in Alexander. He enzuigiri’s Benjamin and boots Haas. Alexander uses the ropes for a tornado DDT on Benjamin. Haas breaks the pin. Coleman crossbody’s onto Haas from the bottom rope. Alexander spin kicks Haas in the corner and falls onto Benjamin on the floor (intentionally). Alexander backdrops Haas. Coleman gives him a Leap of Faith. Benjamin whips Coleman into the ropes so Alexander falls off the top onto his crotch. Haas Angel slams Coleman. Benjamin belly-to-belly superplexes Alexander for the pin at 10:08. Some moments of sloppiness and a dull middle didn’t make for the best match, but it was serviceable in getting Haas and Benjamin some heat going into their title match tomorrow. **1/2
Lance Storm vs. Mike Bennett
Maria Kanellis is in Bennett’s corner. I honestly believe she has saved Bennett from being totally devoid of worth. Lance Storm coming out to Fozzy is pretty great. They trade wristlocks. Storm armdrags him and Bennett hits the floor. Storm goes after him but Bennett puts Maria in front of him to stop Storm from approaching. Storm fireman’s carry’s Bennett and holds onto his arm. Bennett misses an elbow drop. He inflicts more damage onto Bennett’s arm. Bennett trips him to reverse the pressure. Storm switches back. Storm puts on a hammerlock, transitioning into a seated abdominal stretch. Bennett escapes and puts on a headlock. He shoulder blocks Storm and hits the ropes. Storm lands a dropkick for two. Storm throws Bennett to the floor. Bennett drags him out. Storm blocks a punch and lays in a couple of his own. Bennett uses Todd Sinclair to distract Storm and hit a rope assisted neckbreaker. Bennett tosses Storm to the floor. Storm gets in a few strikes before bringing Bennett back in. Bennett punches Storm quickly and delivers a dropkick for two. Bennett boots Storm out of the corner. Storm rolls through a sunset flip. Bennett kicks him away before Storm can put on a half crab. Bennett whips Storm to the corner and gets a two count. Storm and Bennett exchange punches. Storm gets the better of it. He hits a leg lariat for two. He gets another with a springboard clothesline. Bennett comes back with a spinebuster for two. Storm blocks the first Box Office Smash attempt. Bennett blocks Storm’s kick and hits it the second time around. Storm kicks out. Storm scores with his trademark superkick. Bennett is able to kick out, much to Storm’s dismay. Bennett avoids a single leg and spears Storm. Storm is dazed from Bennett’s punches, but still manages to trip him and tweak his knee. Bennett crawls to the ropes. He uses the ropes to pull Storm in for a boot to the face. Storm blocks the TKO and rolls Bennett into the Canadian Maple Leaf. Bennett crawls to the ropes to escape. Storm catches Bennett on the top rope. Maria holds onto Bennett’s foot to block Storm’s superplex. This allows Bennett to give Storm the Box Office Smash off the second rope. Storm kicks out! Bennett hits the TKO to end the match at 16:18. I would have ended that at the Box Office Smash. There was no reaction for the TKO and plenty for that move. That aside, this was probably Bennett’s best ROH match to date. Not only that, but it feels like he has some momentum behind him and the opportunity to jump to the next level. We will see if ROH can keep that going. Kudos to Storm for still being able to get it done. ***1/4
Bennett goes to shake Storm’s hand. He does, but then pulls him in for another Box Office Smash. Looks like this is not the last we have seen of Storm in ROH.
La Revancha – Last Man Standing Match
El Generico vs. Kevin Steen
Generico wastes no time, giving Steen a yakuza kick during the introductions. An exploder suplex into the corner and a tope con hilo to the floor follow. Well, I guess we can forget about a feeling out process. Steen sneaks in a forearm and chokes Generico with a fan’s Canadian flag. Generico pulls Steen into the barricades. Generico throws some chairs into the ring. He throws the metal portion of some extra ring ropes at Steen. He moves, and throws Generico into the barricades. Generico responds in kind. Generico lands ten punches in the corner. Generico slingshots in but Steen catches him with an Ace Crusher. Steen delivers a chair shot. He blocks Generico’s chair shot with a Codebreaker. He legdrops a chair onto Generico’s head. Generico runs the ropes for a tornado DDT. Steen blocks it with a backbreaker. He cannonball sentons Generico in the corner twice. Generico makes it up before the ten count. Generico throws some forearms. He drops the top rope to send Steen to the floor. Steen trips Generico and powerbombs him onto the ring frame. Steen goes for a superkick by accidentally hits a ringside attendant. Generico gives Steen a yakuza kick while he’s stunned. He hits another against the stage. Steen thumbs Generico in the eyes when he comes on the stage. They each fight for a big move on the wooden floor. Generico ends up giving Steen a Michinoku Driver on it. Steen rolls off the stage onto his feet to break the ten count. Generico dives off the stage with a tope con hilo! Generico then walks the barricades so he can give Steen a tornado DDT! Somehow, Steen makes it up just in time. Generico introduces a table outside of the ring and puts Steen on top of it. Steen grabs Generico and throws his head into the ring post. He puts Generico on the table and crashes onto him with a tope con hilo. Steen sets up two chairs in the ring. Generico however is the one who drops Steen onto them with a half-nelson suplex. Steen makes it up before ten. Generico looks for a brainbuster on the chair. Steen instead gives him a pump-handle brainbuster through the chair! Steen puts a chair on Generico and heads up top. Generico was playing possum, as he jumps up and yakuza kicks Steen off the top and through the ringside timekeeper’s table! Steen makes it back into the ring but is clearly in bad shape. They spit at and flip each other off in a forearm exchange. Generico delivers a yakuza kick and a half-nelson suplex. Generico fights for and delivers a brainbuster. This leads to them swinging chairs at each other. Steen kicks Generico in the balls which prompts Jimmy Jacobs to come out. He puts himself between Steen and Generico. Generico half-nelson suplexes Steen while he is distracted. Jacobs hands Generico a chair. Just then, Jacobs pulls out his spike and stabs Generico in the face! Jacobs nails Generico with a chair. Steen awesomely falls next to him. Generico does not get up at the count of ten, making Steen the winner at 23:24. This was insanity. El Generico may be the most fun wrestler to watch in the world right now. That guy just knows how to make a match fun, interesting, captivating, and is really creative. This was brutal in a totally different way from their Final Battle 2010 match. He and Steen just laid into each other and the fans ate every second of it up. Jacobs becoming a part of this issue will add another new fresh layer to Steen’s feud against ROH. Far and away the best match on the show. ****
ROH World Championship- Elimination Match
Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards v. Roderick Strong
Truth Martini is in Strong’s corner. Knowing that they are former partners, Strong goes after both Richards and Edwards. Strong O’Conner rolls Edwards. Richards kicks Strong to break the pin. Richards and Edwards then begin to trade forearms. That devolves into a boots and slaps. A running knee takes Richards down. Edwards get one with a back elbow. Richards nails a dropkick. Richards keylocks Edwards’ legs while hooking his arm. Strong stomps Richards down in the corner. Strong goes back to fighting both men off. Strong and Edwards trade chops. Richards suplexes Strong while locking Edwards’ legs for a two count. Everybody knocks each other down. We get a three way slugfest once they all recover. Edwards and Richards quietly decide to go for a tandem kick. Strong ducks so they accidentally kick each other. Strong gives Richards a backbreaker and a side slam for two. Richards blocks the Tiger Driver. Strong enzuigiri’s him into a suplex from Edwards. Edwards gives Strong the Chin Checker for two. Strong recovers and goes for the Death by Roderick on Richards. Richards blocks and puts on an ankle lock. He turns that into the Trailer Hitch. Edwards stupidly kicks Richards to break the hold. Hey moron, it’s an elimination match. Richards holds onto the ankle lock while keeping Strong in the Hitch. Both guys grab the ropes. Edwards enzuigiri’s Strong and goes for Die Hard on the ring apron. Strong gives him a backbreaker on the apron instead. Richards suicide dives onto Strong. Edwards Asai moonsaults onto both of them. Back in the ring Edwards rolls Strong into the Die Hard for two. Richards catches Edwards on the top rope. Richards strings a superplex, falcon arrow, and cross armbreaker together. Strong breaks it to put on the Stronghold. Edwards breaks that. Edwards pops him into the alarm clock. Strong gives Edwards the Sick Kick for two. Strong sets both men up on opposite turnbuckles. Richards double stomps his back. Edwards breaks Richards’ count with a double stomp. Edwards hits the Die Hard on Strong for two. Edwards and Richards hit a powerbomb/backbreaker combo on Strong. Edwards stops Truth Martini from interfering. Strong small packages Edwards to eliminate him at 17:53. Michael Elgin is now looking on from ringside. Richards puts Strong in the ankle lock. Strong kicks him off. He gets two with the Sick Kick. Death by Roderick and the Tiger Driver also only get him a two count. Richards boots Martini from the apron and double stomps Strong’s back. Another double stomp gets two. He gives Strong a Tiger Driver for two. A round house kick to the head gets Richards the pin at 21:02. You have seen it all from these three before multiple times. Either you love it or hate it. I didn’t so much mind the action, but it irritated the hell out of me how everybody kept breaking people’s pins and submissions when it was all three of them in the ring. If the point was that “they wanted the glory of the pinfall”, that did not come across whatsoever at any time. I’m tired of these three wrestling and I think ROH needs to keep them separated for a very long time. ***
Elgin attacks Richards after the match. His singles match with Richards tomorrow night will now be for the World title. Martini proclaims that Elgin will be victorious. Strong does not seem totally down with that.