Ring of Honor: Live Strong

Belle Vernon, PA – 6.30.2012

Championship Rundown
ROH World Champion: Kevin Steen
ROH Television Champion: Adam Cole
ROH World Tag Team Champions: The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus)

Commentary is provided by Bill Berger and Steve Corino.

Bonus Match

Winner Gets a ROH World Championship Match
Roderick Strong vs. Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole vs. Mike Bennett

“ROH on SBG” – Baltimore, MD – 5.18.2012

This is a bonus match on the DVD and was part of a Ring of Honor Television taping. The winner of this match receives a World Title shot on this show. Cole gets in a few shots on Bennett before dropping him with a neckbreaker. Bennett tags in Strong, whole Cole takes down right away with an armdrag. Strong knees and chops him against the ropes. Lethal blind tags in when Cole hits the ropes he drops Strong and Cole simultaneously with a DDT/Complete Shot combo. Bennett knees Lethal from the apron. Strong dropkicks Lethal for one. He and Bennett take turns wearing Lethal down. Lethal catches Strong with the Lethal Combination. Cole tags in and unloads on Bennett. He gets two with a running knee strike thanks to Strong breaking the cover. Lethal gives Strong and Cole a dropkick. Bennett gives him a spinebuster on the edge of the ring. Maria distracts the referee. Bob Evans comes in to distract Cole. Strong sends Bennett to the floor and gives Cole a suplex into the Death by Roderick for the pin at 5:01. That was non-stop, entertaining action for five minutes. **1/2

Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly

O’Reilly tries to convince the fans that he didn’t submit to Adam Cole at “Best in the World”, but it does not work. He considers himself the victor of that match sent he made Cole bleed and sent him to the emergency room. He plans to tap out Jay Lethal tonight. O’Reilly kicks Lethal away to get him off of his arm. They evade each others’ kicks and stand-off. Lethal hip tosses O’Reilly into a dropkick for two. An elbow and another dropkick each give him the same result. He key locks O’Reilly’s legs before putting him in a parachute stretch. O’Reilly prawn holds Lethal into a cross armbreaker. Lethal gets to the ropes to break it. O’Reilly gives him a backbreaker. Lethal throws some chops. He goes for the Lethal Injection, but O’Reilly counters back into the cross armbreaker. Again Lethal gets the ropes. O’Reilly throws some kicks and sweeps out Lethal’s leg for two. O’Reilly softens up Lethal’s arm some more. Lethal comes back with a back handspring elbow. Lethal enzuigiri’s O’Reilly to the floor and follows with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Lethal gets two with a top rope elbow drop. They each throw kicks at each others’ chest. O’Reilly gives Lethal a Saito suplex for two. Lethal manages to catch O’Reilly with a dropkick in the corner. He hits a Lethal Injection for the pin at 10:25. Both guys wrestled a smart match, kept the action going, and kicked things up in the closing minutes. Essentially, this was a picture perfect opening match. ***

Joe Koff comes out, with the Ring of Honor locker room surrounding the ring, to present an Lifetime Achievement award to Bruno Sammartino. He talks a little bit about his career and thanks the fans and ROH as a whole.

Veda Scott is backstage with Pepper Parks. He knows the fans probably don’t take him seriously because of his name, but he knows how big an opportunity his match with Adam Cole is and he won’t take it for granted.

Adam Cole vs. Pepper Parks

Adam Cole won the Television title last night in Baltimore during ROH’s TV tapings. They trade armdrags and quick pins before standing off. Parks sends Cole to the apron and dropkicks him to the floor. Cole stops his suicide dive with an enzuigiri. That gets him a two count. Parks knees Cole in the face on the ring apron. Parks counters an Irish whip with a powerslam. Both guys collide mid-air when they go for simultaneous crossbody’s. Cole gives him an enzuigiri and a running knee strike for two. He gives Parks a neckbreaker across his knee for another two. Parks blocks a boot and gives Cole the Golden Gate Swing. Cole kicks out. Cole headbutts Parks off the top rope, but misses a crossbody. Parks comes off the top with a flying neckbreaker for two. Cole superkicks Parks into a straight-jacket German suplex for the pin at 9:54. I had just about given up on this match until the double crossbody spot. They really picked things up from there until the end and really saved this match. Parks lacks some charisma, but I think if he worked on that he would be a welcome addition to the regular roster. **3/4

Veda Scott is then backstage with Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis. Maria sends her off and takes over the interview. Bennett believes he should have been in a World title match tonight, and that tonight’s four way is just a roadblock on his path to the title. We then go to Adam Cole who puts over Pepper Parks for being a worthy opponent. He promises that he is going to do the fans proud during his Television title reign.

Kenny King vs. Mike Bennett vs. Mike Mondo vs. Mike Sydal

Sydal does surprisingly well holding his own against Mondo. King blind tags in when Mondo gets sent to the corner. King trips him down into aside headlock. Bennett does the same thing when Sydal shoves King to the ropes. Bennett though chops King back into the ring for…a reason? Bennett blind tags himself in again (?!?!) and Sydal sends King to the floor. Bennett tosses Sydal onto him. Bennett pretends he’s going for a dive. Mondo clotheslines him to the floor and dives onto everybody. Bennett sends him into the barricades. King throws some punches at Bennett and Sydal suicide dives onto King. Bennett gives Sydal a spinebuster on the ring apron. Back in the ring he suplexes Sydal for two. Mondo breaks the cover and throws in a few punches. Bennett accidentally crotches himself on the middle rope, which allows Sydal to tag in King. He knocks Bennett down with a spinwheel kick. He gives Bennett a cartwheel kick. Mondo tags in and gets knocked down with some clotheslines. King tornado kicks him in the back of the head and gets two with a spinebuster. Mondo punches King to the corner. Sydal blind tags in. King and Mondo each throw punches at Bennett until Sydal moonsaults onto both of them. A chain of sleepers is formed with King in the back. Mondo breaks it with a jawbreaker chain. A series of moves knocks everyone down. Mondo gives Sydal a double armed DDT for the pin at 11:25. The beginning of this match was really annoying and sort of pointless. Just like the last match however, one spot (Mondo’s dive to the floor) turned things around and let this match get into its own rhythm. It by no means was amazing, but a fun watch and a nice win for Mondo who I don’t think is nearly as bad as people make him out to be. **1/2

Eddie Edwards vs. Tommaso Ciampa

Prince Nana, Princess Mia Yim and RD Evans are in Ciampa’s corner. That is, until Ciampa attacks Nana and he has to be taken backstage. Now it is only Mia and Evans in his corner. Initially neither man is able to gain control on the mat. Edwards slaps Ciampa twice, causing Ciampa to bring Edwards down and slam his face into the canvas. Edwards puts him in a tree of woe. He comes in with a delayed dropkick from the corner and then from the floor. Ciampa ducks a clothesline and lariats Edwards in the back of his head. He back chops Edwards after a snapmare. Ciampa blocks one of his kicks. Edwards however smacks him in the face and gives him an enzuigiri. Ciampa fights out of the Chin Checker. He then gives Edwards a face buster out of an electric chair drop. He follows that with a wheelbarrow suplex for two. Ciampa chops him down in the corner. Edwards gets up in time to avoid the running knee strike. Edwards kicks Ciampa from the apron and moonsaults after him. Ciampa shoves Edwards into the barricades, caving the barricade in. RD Evans has been awesome this whole match, by the way. Best facial expressions in wrestling. Edwards belly-to-belly suplexes Ciampa on the mats. Back in the ring he gets two with a running chest kick. He comes off the second ropes with a Code Breaker. When Ciampa kicks out, he turns him over for the Achilles Lock. Ciampa grabs the ropes before getting it fully applied. Ciampa knees him from the apron. He hops back in the rig to deliver a running knee strike in the corner. Ciampa gives Edwards an Air Raid Crash off the second rope! Edwards gets his foot on the bottom rope to avoid being pinned. Edwards huracanrana’s out of the Project Ciampa. He rolls Ciampa into the Achilles Lock. Ciampa escapes. Edwards side steps a kick and Gedo Clutches Ciampa for the pin at 16:08. That was unexpectedly great. This was very competitive and Ciampa looked AWESOME. I know many people like Ciampa, but he keeps having great match after great match without any noticeable climb up the cards. I hope now that he seems to be distancing himself from the Embassy that Ciampa can be a big player in ROH (when he returns from injury, that is). ***1/2

Veda Scott talks to BJ Whitmer about his feud with Jimmy Jacobs. He couldn’t believe the person he became during his feud with Jacobs, and he feels part of that feud is what caused him to leave the wrestling business for so many years. He wants to put the feud to rest once and for all tonight.

BJ Whitmer vs. Jimmy Jacobs

They throw punches with reckless abandon to start. Whitmer forearms Jacobs to the floor. Jacobs drags him out and throws some strikes. Whitmer throws him into the barricades. Jacobs trips him face first into a steel chair. Jacobs tries a spear and ends up sending himself into the barricades. Jacobs does however throw Whitmer into the barricades once more. Back in the ring, Whitmer knocks Jacobs down with a back elbow and gets two with a backbreaker. Jacobs sends him into the corner with a huracanrana. From the floor he boots Whitmer in the side of the head. Whitmer fires up from Jacobs’ slaps and gives him an exploder suplex. He gets two with a big boot. Jacobs comes out of the corner with a springback Ace Crusher for two. Whitmer comes back with the Golden Gate Swing and a fisherman’s suplex. Jacobs ducks a boot. He kicks Whitmer and hits the Contra Code. Whitmer kicks out. Jacobs comes off the top with a senton. Whitmer gets his knees up to block. Jacobs puts on the End Time. Whitmer tries to suplex his way out but to no avail. Whitmer purposefully tumbles over the topes and to the floor to break the hold. Jacobs gets back in the ring around the count of 18. Kevin Steen runs out to distract Whitmer, causing him to be counted out at 11:41. These two obviously have really good chemistry, so even with a dirty finish this was a fine affair. I’d really like to see Whitmer vs. Steen for the title, though Whitmer makes it clear afterwards that he is not done with Jacobs. **3/4

Prince Nana laments the fact that Tommaso Ciampa threw the good life he had away. Princess Mia and Nana get in an argument. Mia wants to gold dig while Nana wants to get some business taken care of. Mia walks away unhappy.

Rhett Titus vs. Charlie Haas

Haas stalls in the beginning, yelling by a specific fan in the front row. Titus attacks him from behind and throws him into the barricades. In the ring, Titus throws punches after a Thesz Press. Haas drops the top rope to send Titus to the floor. He backdrops him onto the hard edge of the barricades. Titus tries to slingshot his way back in, but Haas catches him in a backbreaker. Haas throws Titus to the mat by his hair. He whips him back first into the corner for two. Titus side steps a corner attack. Haas crotches himself on the ropes by accident. Titus drops Haas with a neckbreaker for two. He gets two with a powerslam also. Haas ducks a clothesline and German suplexes Titus for two. He snaps off a belly-to-belly suplex, also getting two. He grabs a chair from ringside. The referee stops him from swinging it. Titus schoolboys Haas for two because the referee was busy ridding of the chair. Haas grabs Titus’ title belt. Titus kicks Haas and picks up the belt himself. The referee grabs the belt. Behind his back, Haas DDT’s Titus onto a chair for the pin at 14:14. What a boring match this was. Is Haas complete devoid of doing something interesting? I am amazed that ROH keeps him around, because to say he has warned out his welcome would be an understatement. I hope nothing but the best for Titus, and less cheap finishes in the future. *1/2

Jay Briscoe says he’s going to beat up the House of Truth tonight for Bruno Sammartino. Mark claims the beating they will give the HoT won’t be pretty, just like a pile of rhino manure isn’t pretty.

The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. The House of Truth (Michael Elgin & Rhino)

Turth Martini is in the HoT corner. Elgin resists Mark’s initial attacks. He powerslams Mark for two. Mark kicks him to the corner and Rhino tags in. Mark is able to duck Rhino’s offense. A chin breaker and running knee takes him off his feet. Jay stomps Rhino in the corner. A few jabs and a running clothesline takes Rhino down. Elgin attacks from the apron. Jay kicks him to the floor and tags Mark back in. They send Rhino out with stereo shoulder blocks. Mark comes off the apron with a somersault senton to Rhino. Elgin throws Jay back first into the barricades to turn the tide in his and Rhino’s favor. After being beaten down for a few minutes, Jay is able to send Elgin into a corner with a Complete Shot to the second turnbuckle. Mark flies in with a crossbody. He dropkicks Elgin into the corner. He does the same to Rhino. A suplex to Elgin gets him two. Mark sets up for the Froggy Bow when Truth Martini jumps up. Elgin catches him momentarily. Jay then gives Elgin a side Russian Leg Sweep off the second rope. Mark hits that Froggy Bow and Rhino breaks the cover. Elgin gives The Briscoes waterwheel slams at the same time! Rhino goes for a Gore on Mark. Mark evades the move and rolls up Rhino for two. Jay superkicks him. Elgin blocks the superkick and lariats Jay down. Mark rolls through a Death Valley Driver on Elgin. He goes to attack Rhino and ends up getting Gored for the pin at 12:23. That was just the pick me up the show needed. This had some great power spots and was a lot of fun from start to finish. Elgin never fails to impress. He and Rhino are an awesome power team, and the Briscoes were perfect opponents for them. ***

ROH World Championship
Kevin Steen vs. Roderick Strong

Truth Martini is in Strong’s corner while Jimmy Jacobs’ is in Steen’s. Strong jumps Steen in the corner at the bell. They trade forearms and throw each other to the floor. Steen rakes the eyes. Strong responds with a dropkick. Strong spears Steen as he is trapped in the ropes. Steen uses the ropes to deliver a dangling DDT. Steen throws him into the barricades a couple times. Strong accidentally chops the ring post. Steen attacks Strong’s hand, including biting it. He rams Strong crotch first into the ring post and gets a two count back in the ring. When Strong begins to fight back, Steen kicks his hand. He side steps a splash and gives Steen an enzuigiri. Steen gives him a neckbreaker across his knee for two. Strong fights back with a flurry of forearms off the ropes. Another enzuigiri and a leg lariat off the second rope take Steen down for two. Steen sends Strong to the corner with a Code Breaker. The cannonball senton follows for two. He goes up top. Strong kicks him and brings him down with a superplex. Steen kicks out. He snaps Strong’s neck on the top rope. He superkicks Martini to stop him from interfering. Strong kicks Steen intot he guardrails. He leapfrogs over Jacobs, who ends up hitting the barricades. Steen powerbombs Strong on the ring apron for two. Steen goes for a Swanton. Strong gets his knees up. Steen gives Strong a sleeper suplex for two. Strong softens Steen up before giving him the Death by Roderick. The Sick Kick gets him two. Steen blocks a suplex with the F-Cinq. That gets Steen the pin at 12:17. I loved the story of this match, how Strong attacked Steen from the get go and only let up when Steen attacked his hand. What I loved most of all was how both Steen and Strong neutralized the others’ outside support to give us a definitive winner. The action was also very good, and it made for another fun Steen title defense. ***1/2

Kevin Steen tells us that he has defeated the last three Ring of Honor World Champions in two weeks. He’s right, and that’s pretty damn impressive. He vows to be the last ROH Champion.

Tommaso Ciampa is going a little psychotic backstage. RD Evans calms him down and offers to be the guy who takes care of all of Ciampa’s legal obligations, like contracts and whatnot. Ciampa agrees. Princess Mia tries her feminine wiles on Evans to become his assistant. Evans agrees, but instead of utilizing her in a sexual manner, he hands her some papers to shred instead. Mia is not pleased.

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