Ring of Honor: Adam Cole – Panama’s Finest

adamcoleDVD

Disc One

This starts out with a 75 minute shoot interview. It’s really interesting to hear Adam Cole’s take on his ROH career, and it’s a refreshingly positive look. Cole is very thankful for all the opportunities he has received and it shows. In addition to his ROH career and how much work he put in to get to theat spot, you get to hear about Cole’s upbringing as a fan and his days in the CZW wrestling school. He also goes into a little a bit about debuting in PWG, working for wXw, and his thoughts on teaming with Kyle O’Reilly overall. It’s a fun listen and a nice compliment to the matches that follow.

Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus)
“Final Battle 2010” – New York, NY – 12.18.2010

O’Reilly goes for an early cross armbreaker on Titus. Titus avoids it but eats a few kicks. Cole tags in and with O’Reilly delivers a flapjack/facebuster combo for two. Cole comes off the second rope with a leg lariat. O’Reilly throws more kicks before sweeping out Titus’ legs. King drags Titus out of the floor to regroup. O’Reilly tries a pescado but gets caught. Cole however suicide dives onto all of them. Titus pokes O’Reilly n the eyes back in the ring. He gives him a knee breaker/suplex combo for two. King gives O’Reilly a springboard legdrop to accentuate Titus’ splash. O’Reilly gets isolated by the ANX until King accidentally clotheslines Titus. O’Reilly dragonscrew leg whips both of them at the same time and tags in Cole. He sends King to the floor and enzuigiri’s Titus. He slingshot DDT’s King onto the ring apron! Cole enzuigiri’s Titus from the floor into O’Reilly’s butterfly suplexes and DDT. O’Reilly comes off the apron and dropkicks King into the barricades. Cole lands a high crossbody onto Titus for two. Cole goes for a superplex on Titus. King back rakes Cole to stop him and Titus drops him face first on the top rope. King hits Cole with Shotgun Knees and Titus rolls him up for two. King gives Cole a leg cradle suplex. O’Reilly double stomps King to stop the count. He drops him with a tornado DDT. Titus drives his knees into O’Reilly’s chest. Cole superkicks Titus rendering all four participants on the mat. Cole missile dropkicks King. He and O’Reilly baseball slide into Titus at the same time as he hangs in a tree of woe. Cole superkicks King into O’Reilly’s rolling clothesline for two. Titus drops down the top rope to send O’Reilly out. Titus dropkicks Cole. He and King hit the One Night Stand for the pin at 10:24. You could not ask for a hotter opening match. Both teams came to make a name for themselves. I believe they did so, but you could tell it was Cole and O’Reilly who the crowd was more impressed with. ***¼

Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
“Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 1” – Atlanta, GA – 4.1.2011

Cole and Mark wrestle to a stalemate. Jay mows down O’Reilly with a shoulder tackle. O’Reilly hip tosses him into a cross armbreaker which Jay escapes from. He then boots O’Reilly in the face. Cole blind tags in. O’Reilly snapmares Jay into Cole’s basement dropkick. Jay backs him to the corner so Mark can tag in. He throws punches to Cole’s mid-section as well as some chops to the chest. Cole throws his own chops. O’Reilly flapjacks Mark and Cole drives his face into the mat for two. O’Reilly throws some kicks. Mark gives him a chinbreaker and Jay lariats him inside out. Jay boots Cole off the ring apron so he and Mark can go to work on O’Reilly. O’Reilly does end up fighting them both off and tagging Cole in. He dropkicks Mark and chops up Jay. Cole enzuigiri’s Jay to the floor and follows with a suicide dive. In the ring Jay drops him with a big spinebuster. Cole finds himself trapped in the Briscoes corner now. Cole dropkicks Mark to escape. O’Reilly boots Jay off the apron and lights up Mark with kicks. He sweeps out his legs. O’Reilly ducks a Briscoes double clothesline and takes them out with stereo dragonscrew leg whips. O’Reilly missile dropkicks them simultaneously for two. O’Reilly gives Mark two butterfly suplexes. He DDT’s him into a German suplex from Cole. Jay breaks the pin and sends O’Reilly to the floor. Jay drags Cole out. Cole enzuigiri’s Mark to stop a suicide dive. O’Reilly comes off the apron and dropkicks Jay into the barricades. Cole crossbody’s Mark for two. Cole and O’Reilly enzuigiri’s him at the same time for two. Jay drags O’Reilly to the floor and shoves him into the barricades. Mark enzuigiri’s Cole. Jay does the deal with a Falcon Arrow. O’Reilly kicks Jay to break the cover. He and Mark exchange strikes. Jay ends up superkicking O’Reilly into Mark’s exploder suplex. The Briscoes put Cole away with the Doomsday Device at 13:24. At the time this was Cole and O’Reilly’s biggest test as a team. They didn’t disappoint as they proved they could hang in the ring with the most legendary and prolific team in ROH history. The Briscoes characters were undergoing some changes that were also highlighted here, so it was a big win everyone involved. ***¼

Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli)
“Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 2” – Atlanta, GA – 4.2.2011

The Kings jump Cole and O’Reilly right before the bell. Claudio stomps Cole silly and knocks him down with a back elbow. Cole slides out of a military press. He forearms Claudio from the apron and comes off the top with a bulldog. O’Reilly tags in. He fires up from Claudio’s offense and gets two with a Backslide. The Kings double hip toss O’Reilly into a tandem slam. He gets isolated by the Kings until he rolls under a double clothesline attempt. Cole uses Hero to give Claudio a headscissors. He gets his knees up to block Hero’s senton. Cole comes off the second rope with a leg lariat. He enzuigiri’s both Kings, sending Claudio to the floor. Cole follows him out with a slingshot headscissors. O’Reilly comes off the apron with a dropkick to Claudio into the barricades. Cole crossbody’s onto Hero for two. Hero escapes O’Reilly and Cole’s onslaught and tags them both with elbows. O’Reilly kicks Hero as he tornado DDT’s Claudio into a butterfly lock. Hero’s kicks to O’Reilly don’t get him to release. Cole sends Hero to the floor and suicide dives after him. Claudio pops up O’Reilly into Swiss Death. A combination Cyclone Kick/Swiss Chin Music put O’Reilly down at 9:18. This was a great way to open the show, as it not only showed how far the Kings fell in one night after losing the titles, but it let them get out their aggression in a match that got the crowd going and raised Cole and O’Reilly’s stock. It was everything an opening bout should be. ***

Future Shock (Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson)
“Best in the World 2011” – New York, NY – 6.26.2011

O’Reilly and Nick start off quickly. O’Reilly lands a few kicks and sweeps Nick’s leg. Cole tags in. O’Reilly snapmares Nick into a back kick and Cole delivers a low dropkick. Matt tags in. He sends O’Reilly to the apron. O’Reilly sends Nick to the floor and Cole clotheslines Matt out as well. Cole suicide dives onto Matt and O’Reilly hits Nick with a missile dropkick into the barricade. In the ring, Cole catches Matt with a crossbody for two. Matt trips Cole as Cole hits the ropes, allowing Nick to hit him with a dropkick to the floor. The Bucks isolate O’Reilly in their corner. Cole ducks a double clothesline and drops Nick with a chinbreaker. He ducks Matt and tags in O’Reilly. O’Reilly kicks Nick off the apron. He kicks both Bucks in the chest and delivers an enzuigiri to Matt. He sets them up for a double dragonscrew legwhip. O’Reilly dropkicks them from the top simultaneously for two. Cole blind tags in. O’Reilly gives Matt two butterfly suplexes. He DDT’s Matt into a German suplex from Cole. Nick breaks the pin. O’Reilly pitches Nick to the floor. Matt catches O’Reilly with a tumbleweed ace crusher for two. Nick superkicks Cole to the floor. Nick hits a slingshot ace crusher on O’Reilly, then back flips to the apron and delivers a moonsault to Cole. Matt hits O’Reilly with a 450 splash for two. Nick accidentally hits Matt with a knee strike. Cole sends Nick to the floor. O’Reilly drops Matt with a tornado DDT. Cole superkicks Matt into a brainbuster from O’Reilly. O’Reilly applies a guillotine choke. Cole then applies one to Nick. The Bravado Bros. hit the ring to end the bout in a no contest at 7:12. This was an incredibly fun sprint from bell to bell. Lame finish aside (though it’s obvious why it went down that way) it was maybe the best seven minute match you will see. ***

Future Shock (Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards)
“No Escape” – Charlotte, NC – 7.9.2011

Edwards and Cole reach a stalemate after a fun opening exchange. O’Reilly and Richards do the same but have a very different and more strike heavy encounter. O’Reilly goes toe-to-toe with Richards when exchanging kicks to the chest. O’Reilly manages to knock Richards off his feet and tags in Cole. A series of tandem kicks gets Cole a two count. A pair of back elbows gets O’Reilly two. He goes for a triangle choke, but Richards rolls into a jackknife pin for two. O’Reilly and Richards trade strikes in the corner, O’Reilly kicks him in the side of the head for two. Richards crotches O’Reilly on the top rope. Edwards kicks him into a tree of woe, and The Wolves deliver stereo dropkicks to O’Reilly’s face. The Wolves isolate O’Reilly and methodically wear him down. O’Reilly blocks a kick from Richards, just in time to sneak in an enzuigiri. He throws Richards’ leg to Edwards, allowing him to dragonscrew leg whip both Wolves simultaneously. He tags in Cole who missile dropkicks Richards to the floor. He knocks down Edwards with a dropkick. Cole blocks a suplex with an enzuigiri and sunset flips Edwards for two. Cole hits a second rope leg lariat for two. Both men trade forearm strikes and chops. Cole drops Edwards neck first across his knee for two. Edwards drops Cole with the backpack chin breaker for two. The Wolves accidentally kick each other trying to go for Cole. O’Reilly blind tags in and drops Edwards with a tornado DDT. Cole and O’Reilly hit a crossbody/suplex combo for two. Edwards fights Cole on the second rope. Cole evades a double stomp, but Edwards rolls him into the Achilles Lock. O’Reilly puts Richards in a Guillotine choke at the same time. Richards counters into the ankle lock, leaving O’Reilly and Cole trapped in submissions. A series of moves knocks everyone down. O’Reilly and Richards go back to trading kicks and strikes. A rolling lariat from Richards gets him a two count. He immediately turns into the ankle lock. Edwards stops Cole from breaking, until Cole DDT’s him on the ring apron. O’Reilly turns the hold into a sharpshooter. Richards small packages him for two. Cole enzuigiri’s Richards from the floor, and O’Reilly gives him two butterfly suplexes. O’Reilly DDT’s Richards into a German suplex from Cole. They deliver stereo kicks but Edwards breaks the pin attempt. Cole misses a pescado. Edwards dragonscrews O’Reilly in the ropes. Edwards double stomps O’Reilly in the ropes for two. Edwards lariats O’Reilly for two. O’Reilly counters a powerbomb by putting Edwards in a Guillotine choke. Edwards pops O’Reilly off. Richards suplexes O’Reilly and Cole breaks Edwards’ pin. The Wolves deliver a powerbomb/back cracker combo on O’Reilly for two. Edwards turns O’Reilly into the Achilles Lock. Cole hits an enzuigiri from the apron to break the hold. Cole then dives onto Richards. O’Reilly small packages Edwards for two. Edwards reapplies the Achilles Lock. He stomps on O’Reilly’s head. O’Reilly passes out at 21:23 giving The Wolves the win. By far the best match Cole and O’Reilly have had so far. The action was non-stop, the crowd made noise from bell-to-bell, it got more exciting as the match progressed, and unlike a lot of American Wolves matches, a story was told. Greatness all around. ****

Elimination Match
Future Shock (Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) vs. The Bravado Bros. (Harlem & Lancelot Bravado)

“Death Before Dishonor IX” – New York, NY – 9.17.2011

Harlem and Lance jump Future Shock after shaking their hands. They send the Young Bucks to the floor and stomp on Future Shock some more. Cole and O’Reilly send the Bravado’s out. Cole pescado’s onto Lance. The Bucks take Cole and Lance out with the Crazy Dive. Harlem dropkicks the Bucks to the floor and moonsaults onto Lance and Nick. Matt superkicks Harlem and O’Reilly dives off the apron to dropkick him into the guardrail. Lance throws shots at O’Reilly and Nick. O’Reilly lights him up with kicks. Nick and O’Reilly double elbow Lance. Cole tags in and takes out Lance with some tandem offense. Nick hits a springboard splash and Harlem breaks the pin. Nick superkicks Harlem to the floor. Nick tags in and drop Lance with a wheelbarrow facebuster/ace crusher combo. Harlem attacks Cole from behind just as Cole and Matt are about to battle. Harlem back elbows Cole for two. Harlem suplexes Cole for two. Cole crucifix pins Harlem for two. Harlem enzuigiri’s Cole into a German suplex from Lance. O’Reilly breaks the pin. Matt drops Harlem with an Asai DDT. Harlem pump kicks him. Nick comes in from the apron with a slingshot X-Factor. O’Reilly puts Nick on his shoulders on the floor. Cole suicide dives onto Nick. Matt suplexes Lance off the apron onto the floor. Cole crossbody’s onto Harlem for two. Harlem rolls him up for two. Cole superkicks Harlem into the Ride The Lightning from O’Reilly and Cole for the elimination. The Bucks and Future Shock trade forearms. Nick dropkicks O’Reilly off the apron. Matt powerbombs Cole twice. He hits a Buckle Bomb. The Bucks drop Cole with a tandem tombstone piledriver and O’Reilly makes the save. O’Reilly takes the Bucks out with a double dragonscrew leg whip. O’Reilly suplexes Matt and baits Nick into a triangle choke with elbow strikes. Cole puts Matt in a Guillotine choke. Matt falls onto Nick and O’Reilly to break both holds. O’Reilly enzuigiri’s Matt. Nick superkicks Cole to block Ride The Lightning. A sequence of superkicks and a lariat knock all four men down. The Bucks hit Cole with More Bang For Your Buck for the victory at 10:50. This match to me is what Ring of Honor should be about: old school psychology with a new, fresh style of wrestling. The Bravados left the flash and panache to the other two teams since they’re heels. When it comes to the flash, the other two teams delivered in spades. I really like all three teams and see just how awesome ROH’s tag division has become. The Bucks refuse to shake hands afterward. ***½

ROH Tag Team Championship
Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin (Champions) vs. Future Shock (Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly)

“Gateway to Honor” – Collinsville, IL – 11.6.2011

Future Shock earned this title shot by winning a mini tournament back at “Tag Team Turmoil 2011” in July. Cole gets the ropes to stop Haas from schooling him on the mat. Cole shoulder tackles Haas and tags in O’Reilly. Haas thinks for a moment, then tags in Benjamin (whose ribs are taped up). Benjamin breaks out of a headscissions and puts on a side headlock. O’Reilly escapes by punching Benjamin in his ribs. Benjamin and O’Reilly fight for an advantage on the mat. O’Reilly gets it with a cross armbreaker. Benjamin powerbombs O’Reilly to free himself. O’Reilly kicks Benjamin in the ribs. Benjamin and Haas re-group on the floor. Cole puts Benjamin in a waistlock when Benjamin comes back in. Benjamin Northern Lights suplexes Cole for two. Cole stomps Benjamin down in the corner. O’Reilly drives his knee into Benjamin’s ribs multiple times. Cole and O’Reilly continue their assault on Benjamin until Benjamin clotheslines O’Reilly. Haas tags in. O’Reilly holds his own with the veteran until Haas catches O’Reilly’s slingshot senton with a backbreaker. Haas and Benjamin cut the ring in half, isolating O’Reilly in their corner. After a few minutes, O’Reilly kicks Benjamin away and tags in Cole. Cole delivers an onslaught of strikes and kicks to Benjamin. He delivers a neckbreaker for two. Haas comes in and gets taken to the foor with a huracanrana. Cole crossbody’s off the top onto Haas. Cole hits Benjamin with an enzuigiri from the floor. Cole gets two with a missile dropkick. Cole and O’Reilly double yakuza kick Benjamin in the corner. They also hit a tandem suplex. Haas breaks O’Reilly’s pin attempt. Future Shock double superkick Haas back to the floor. Cole pescado’s out after him. O’Reilly puts Benjamin in a Guilltoine choke. Cole puts Haas in the same move. Haas and Benjamin escape, and give Cole and O’Reilly two German suplexes. They go for the third, but Future Shock put them back in the Guillotines. Benjamin suplexes O’Reilly off, then superkicks Cole off of Haas. He drops Cole with a Samoan Drop. Haas and Benjamin flub a double powerbomb on O’Reilly, but excellently play it off like Benjamin’s hurt ribs were to blame. Haas puts O’Reilly in the Haas of Pain for the submission at 19:31. I much preferred the match these teams had at “Revolution: USA”. Cole and O’Reilly worked hard here, but never got to show much cohesion as a team. Haas and Benjamin on the other hand just sort of went through the motions. The finish was extremely deflating as well. This was still a good match, but disappointing considering how much I enjoyed their previous encounter. ***

Disc Two

No Holds Barred
Adam Cole vs. Roderick Strong

“The Homecoming 2012” – Philadelphia, PA – 1.20.2012

Strong boots Cole vigorously on the mat. Cole leapfrogs over Strong and connects with a dropkick. Cole enzuigiri’s Strong off the ring apron and suicide dives onto him. Strong baits Cole into a gamengiri on the ring apron. Strong chops Cole and throws him rib first into the ring post. Strong body slams Cole onto the ring apron. Strong throws punches back in the ring. Cole fights back with forearms. He gives Strong a neckbreaker across his knee for two. Strong drives the back of a chair into Cole’s leg. Strong slams him on the chair for two. Strong digs the seat of the chair into Cole’s throat in a Camel Clutch. He then stomps Cole’s head into the chair for two. Strong boots Cole when Cole begins to mount of a comeback. Strong sets a chair up in between the top and middle turnbuckle of every corner. He then whacks Cole in the shoulder with Martini’s Book of Truth repeatedly. Cole reverses Strong’s Irish whip, sending Strong into a chair in the corner. Cole proceeds to send Strong into all four chairs. Cole German suplexes Strong and hits a running knee strike for two. Cole seats Strong onto a chair. Strong catches Cole going up top with a gamengiri. Cole reverses Strong’s tornado DDT and suplexes Strong onto the chair for two. Strong enzuigiri’s Cole and drops him back first on the ring frame. Strong chops Cole while he’s hung in the ropes. Strong gives him the Death by Roderick for two. Strong then gives him a backbreaker onto a chair for two. Strong puts on the Stronghold. Cole reaches the ropes to break it. Strong stomps a chair into Cole’s head and hand. Cole trips Strong to the floor and German suplexes him onto the ring frame. Cole desperately brings Strong into the ring for a two count. Michael Elgin runs out and attacks Cole. Eddie Edwards comes out to even the score and fights Elgin all the way back to the backstage area. Strong and Cole throw strikes at each other. Cole Falcon Arrows Strong through two chairs. Martini pulls referee Paul Turner out of the ring to break the count. Cole pulls Martini up to the apron. Strong kicks Cole in the head and suplexes him into a backbreaker. This gives Strong the win at 16:24. This really was Cole’s coming out party as a singles wrestler. Never has he had the chance to show how tough he is or that he could stand alone against ROH’s top guys. This was just what Cole needed to break out on his own and I give him and Strong credit for making it so. ***½

Adam Cole & Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly
“10th Anniversary Show: Young Wolves Rising” – New York, NY – 3.4.2012

Cole and Richards start out after some debate. Cole does pretty well in the opening exchange, sending Richards to the corner and causing him to beg off from a superkick. Cole tags out with Richards in a side headlock. O’Reilly tags in to lock horns with Edwards. After a fairly intense exchange they reach a stalemate. Cole and Richards tag back in and pick up the pace. Richards catches him with a dropkick. O’Reilly gets in a few shots before tagging back out. Cole catches Richards with a leg lariat off the second rope. Richards and Edwards exchange strikes. Cole comes in to try and help. Richards catches him with a Northern Lights suplex while trapping Edwards in an O’Conner Roll position. O’Reilly boots Cole off the apron before taking down Edwards with a lot of kicks. Richards suicide dives onto Cole while O’Reilly boots Edwards in the corner. O’Reilly and Edwards trade submissions. Edwards lariats O’Reilly and tags in Cole. They trade control until Richards tags himself in and delivers a running kick to Cole’s chest. Team Ambition isolate Cole until Richards accidentally enzuigiri’s O’Reilly, allowing Cole to give them a neckbreaker/DDT combo and tag in Edwards. Edwards comes in with a double top rope dropkick. He fights both O’Reilly and Richards off, eventually sending them to the floor. He then suplexes Cole out onto both of them. Edwards then Asai moonsaults onto everyone. He’s able to get a few nearfalls on Richards with help from Cole while O’Reilly recovers. O’Reilly comes in and puts Edwards in a Guillotine while Richards has Cole in an ankle lock. Edwards turns the guillotine into an Achilles Lock. Richards and Edwards release the holds once they start trading shots with one another. Cole and O’Reilly German suplex the Wolves and then throw forearms at each other. Cole Cactus clotheslines O’Reilly to the floor. Edwards and Richards fight until each other is knocked down. Cole and O’Reilly begin to fight. All four men tumble to the ground with suplex attempts that spill over the top rope. The former Wolves wear down the former Future Shock in opposite corners. Once Edwards and Richards turn their attention back to each other, they once again knock each other down. Cole and O’Reilly also trade strikes. O’Reilly gets the most fired up, but Cole knocks him down with a superkick for two. Edwards gives O’Reilly a lungblower into a back cracker from Cole, also for two. Edwards and Cole chop and superkick O’Reilly. Richards breaks the pin attempt. O’Reilly sends Edwards to the floor. Richards boots him from the apron and double stomps Cole. O’Reilly comes off the apron to dropkick Edwards into the barricades. Richards double stomps Cole for two. He also gets two with an arm capture German suplex thanks to Edwards jumping in. Richards and O’Reilly get two with a head kick/brainbuster combo. Cole escapes Richards ankle lock. Edwards gets a few pin attempts and almost an Achilles Lock submission. Cole even helps him out with a back cracker/powerbomb combo. O’Reilly breaks the pin. Cole tornado DDT’s him through the timekeeper’s table! Richards and Edwards fight for a submission. Cole tags in and comes in with a high crossbody on Richards for the pin at 39:33. There’s a lot of criticisms to make; too long, a little self-indulgent, and selling coming and going. The crossbody finish was also quite lame though I am thrilled they had Cole come out with the W. That being said, the rivalries between the partners added a unique dynamic and everybody worked hard. It could have been better, but I still say this was a solid bout. ***¼

ROH World Championship
Davey Richards vs. Adam Cole

“Rising Above 2012” – Dayton, OH – 4.29.2012

Cole earned this shot when he pinned Davey Richards in the tag team main event of “Young Wolves Rising.” Cole surprisingly wins a wristlock exchange. Richards actually heads to the floor because bridging back hurt his ribs. Richards kicks Cole in the chest when he comes back in the ring. Cole blocks a second kick and gives Richards a dragonscrew leg whip. Richards sends him out with a dropkick. Richards kicks Cole from the ring apron. Cole enzuigiri’s Richards from the floor. Cole suicide dives after Richards bails to the floor. Cole goes after Richards on the other side of the ring. Richards gives him a Saito suplex onto the stage. He enters the ring to take a breather in the corner. Cole makes it back into the ring before the twenty count. Richards sole butts Cole to stop his comeback. Richards cloverleafs the legs while locking his own leg around Cole’s arm. Cole grabs the bottom rope to escape. Richards kicks Cole in the chest. Richards applies a headscissors. Cole rolls to the ropes. Richards has a grim look on his face when he throws more chest kicks. Cole catches one of them and begins to exchange forearms with Richards. Cole enzuigiri’s and knee strikes him for two. Cole superkicks Richards to block the Damage Reflex. Cole gets two with a neckbreaker across his knee. Cole goes for a crossbody. Richards dropkicks him on his way down. Cole bicycle kicks Richards after he recovers in the corner. Richards German suplexes him for two. Richards throws Kawada kicks. Cole throws slaps. Richards delivers the Alarm Clock. They kick each other in the head. Richards blocks the jumping enzuigiri and puts on an ankle lock. Cole rolls through to send Richards out. Cole DDT’s Richards on the ring apron and gets a two count. The wheelbarrow back cracker has the same result. Richards fights Cole on the second ropes in the corner. Richards headbutts Cole to the timekeeper’s table. Richards double stomps Cole through it. Quickly Richards throws him back in the ring. Another double stomp only gets a two count. Richards swiftly kicks him in the head for another two count. Back to the ankle lock he goes. Cole gets the ropes. Richards clobbers Cole with clotheslines to the side of the head on the second rope. Cole fights back with elbows. Richards blocks a Sunset Bomb. Cole punches Richards in his injured ribs. Cole superplexes Richards and follows with the Florida Key (an arm-capture German Suplex) for two. Cole uses a high crossbody, the same move he pinned Richards with at “Young Wolves Rising.” This time though it’s only good enough for a two count. Richards spits at Cole after Cole throws a superkick. Two more superkicks take Richards down. He gives Richards a brainbuster across his knee for two. Cole gets two with a Superfly Splash as well. He puts on a Cloverleaf. Richards turns that into an ankle lock. Cole rolls that into a prawn hold for two. Two German suplexes and a clothesline aren’t enough to keep Cole down. A swift kick to the side of the head doesn’t do it either. Richards reapplies the ankle lock. He then turns it into a reverse figure four. Cole taps out at 20:42. When Richards sold his ribs a minute in, I was expecting that to be a pivotal point of the match. It really resulted in nothing, and instead the match led to the usual annoying overkill of moves and kick outs. I am such a huge fan of Cole that I was hoping he and Richards would be able to do something really unique and not the usual screaming, superkicking nonsense I am so burnt out on. Not only that, but it took place on a show I can’t imagine a ton of fans are overly interested in. Your mileage may vary if you like this kind of wrestling, but personally I got tired of it well before the finish. ***¼

Hybrid Fighting Rules
Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly

“Best in the World 2012” – New York, NY – 6.24.2012

So here are the rules for this match. There’s a fifteen minute time limit. You can NOT win by pinfall. You can win by a 10-count K.O., Submission, Tap Out, TKO or Disqualification. There are two types of fouls: Regular and Critical. Critical fouls are given when someone intentionally cheats or does something mischievous. Critical fouls result in an automatic disqualification. Regular fouls are given if someone exits the ring, tosses their opponent out of the ring, for using the ropes, hooking the tights, or accidental eye/groin attacks. If three regular fouls are accumulated, that person is disqualified. Got all that?

O’Reilly throws Cole down in a waistlock. O’Reilly palm strikes Cole and goes for an armbar. Cole gets out of it quickly. They evade each others’ kicks, reaching a stalemate. Cole notices O’Reilly’s knee seemed hurt when O’Reilly slipped out of his suplex. Wisely, Cole goes right for it. Cole dropkicks the leg from the second rope. Cole throws some closed fists to a seated O’Reilly in the corner. O’Reilly hops over Cole and wheelbarrows him into a cross armbreaker. He releases when Cole doesn’t submit. He begins to work over the arm, presumably to pay off another armbreaker later. O’Reilly kicks Cole back down. Cole hits an enzuigiri and a running knee strike. They throw simultaneous boots and bicycle kicks, knocking each other down. Cole and O’Reilly begin to throw strikes, including one that busts open Cole’s mouth. Cole covers up and O’Reilly throws palm strikes. Cole gives him some headbutts. O’Reilly knees him in the face. Cole rolls him and superkicks his knee. He superkicks O’Reilly and then takes a breather in the corner. O’Reilly blocks a superkick and gives Cole a rolling clothesline. Cole fires up! His bloody face! Oh God that face! O’Reilly sole butts him, elbows him and gives him a Saito suplex. Cole tells the ringside doctor that he is not stopping the match. O’Reilly applies a guillotine choke. Cole fights out for a brainbuster across his knee. Cole superkicks O’Reilly to the floor and the fans go ape. I guess that’s a foul for Cole? At this point Cole has the fans in the palm of his hand. O’Reilly crumbles under the weight of his knee when Cole whips him. O’Reilly rolls Cole into a cross armbreaker anyways. Cole turns it into a cloverleaf. O’Reilly escapes, so Cole puts on a figure four leg lock. O’Reilly taps out at 12:39. This was the most important match in Adam Cole’s ROH run and maybe his career. This was a bigger breakout moment for him than pinning Davey Richards in a tag match, or facing Richards for the title. This was one of those moments where Cole won the respect of every single New York ROH fan. This was pretty good in the beginning, but once Cole bled the intensity and crowd reaction kicked up tremendously. This not only positioned Cole to be the company’s next top babyface, but made O’Reilly more of a heel too. He even slaps Cole before leaving the ring. ***½

ROH Television Championship
Roderick Strong (Champion) vs. Adam Cole

“ROH on SBG” – Baltimore, MD – 6.29.2012

Truth Martini is in Strong’s corner. Strong gets in a cheap dropkick that sends Cole to the floor. He throws Cole shoulder first into the barricades and gives him a backbreaker on the ring apron. Strong focuses his attack on Cole’s mid-section back in the ring as well as throwing some chops. Cole responds with some forearms and a bicycle kick. Strong hot shots him on the top rope and gets two with a backbreaker. Strong brings Cole back to the floor but ends up being sent into the barricades. However, he throws Cole ribs first into the ring post. We come back from commercial with both guys throwing strikes. Strong kicks out Cole’s leg. Cole gets a succession of two counts in various pinning methods. Strong puts him in the Stronghold. Cole makes it to the ropes. He nails an enzuigiri to block a backbreaker. Cole clotheslines Strong to the floor and follows with a suicide dive. In the ring he gets two with a high crossbody. He also gets two with a Shining Wizard. He goes for the Florida Key but Strong trips him. Strong gives him a backbreaker across the top turnbuckle! Strong hits Death by Roderick for two. He tries for the Tiger Driver. Cole Frankensteiners out of it. He DDT’s Strong on the ring apron for two. Martini tries to interfere with the Book of Truth. Cole catches him and tosses him out to the floor. Strong attacks him from behind. Cole blocks the Orange Crush backbreaker. When a small package fails, he superkicks Strong and gives him a brainbuster across his knee for another two count. He applies a figure four leg lock. Michael Elgin comes out but does not help Strong, his stable mate. Strong gets the ropes. Cole gets two with another small package. Two superkicks and a Florida Key give Cole the win and the title at 12:10 (shown). Cole has definitely worked hard to get to this point. While he didn’t necessarily need the title, it was a nice way to get him into higher profile bouts. Strong worked his butt of to make Cole look tough and even the House of Truth chicanery couldn’t put a damper on a really fun bout. ***½

Adam Cole & Eddie Edwards vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
“Killer Instinct” – Rahway, NJ – 10.6.2012

Mark gets the ropes when Edwards gets the best of him on the mat. Edwards tries suplexing his way out of a side headlock but Mark holds on. Cole tags in when Edwards shoves Mark to the corner. He kicks out Mark’s knee and gives him a running knee strike to the face. Jay stomps down Cole in the corner. Cole reverses Mark’s suplex and tags Edwards back in. Edwards enzuigiri’s Mark to the corner. Mark boots him down. Jay throws some uppercuts. Edwards backs Jay to the corner. Cole tags in and back elbows Jay for one. Cole places Jay on the top rope so that Edwards can gamengiri him from the apron. Cole knocks Mark off the apron. Edwards dropkicks Jay in the tree of woe while Cole at the same time hits a delayed dropkick. Cole and Edwards wear down Jay in their corner. Mark blind tags in and springboard dropkicks Cole. Edwards gets knocked off the apron so that the Briscoes can beat down Cole. Cole fights out of a double team predicament, booting Mark and giving Jay an enzuigiri. Edwards comes in with a top rope dropkick to Mark. He does an admirable job fighting off both Briscoes himself. He spinewheel kicks Jay to the floor. He brings Mark out of the corner with the Chin Checker. Cole follows up with a splash for two. Mark catches Edwards with a rolling Death Valley Driver. Cole and Jay throw forearms at one another. Jay knocks Cole down with a rolling variation and gives him a neckbreaker for two. He also gets two with a Falcon Arrow. Jay drops him with a reverse DDT. Mark hits a split-legged tumbleweed senton. Cole kicks out. The Briscoes hit a Death Valley Driver/Froggy Bow combo. Edwards makes the save. He sends Mark to the apron. Edwards pops up Cole, and Cole DDT’s Mark on the ring apron. He enzuigiri’s Jay from the floor. Edwards double stomps his back. Cole gives Jay a brainbuster across his knee for two. He puts on a figure four. Edwards rolls Mark into a Half Crab. Mark chops Cole while in the hold to break his submission, then rolls out of Edwards’. He suplexes Edwards, causing Edwards to roll out. Mark super snapmares Cole off the top. The Brisoces put him away with the Doomsday Device at 16:39. This was another good match with solid back and forth wrestling. The crowd did not get into it almost at all, which hurt some of the drama, but I’ll be damned if all four guys didn’t put in a heck of an effort. ***¼

ROH Television Championship
Adam Cole vs. Eddie Edwards

“Glory By Honor IX” – Misissauga, ONT – 10.13.2012

This match has a 30 minute time limit, unlike the usual 20 minute time limit most TV title matches have. Neither man can get control in the early going. They get in a double knuckle lock. Cole bridges Edwards to the mat. They hold onto the knuckle lock when Edwards monkey flips him. They trade various pin attempts to no avail. They each stop each other from locking on their signature submissions (Achilles Lock and figure four) in the process. Stereo dropkicks bring them back to square one. They go punch for chop. Edwards sends Cole to the floor. When he tries a suicide dive, Cole hits him with a jumping enzuigiri. Edwards kicks Cole back to the floor and successfully scores with a suicide dive this time around. They fight back in the ring. Cole enzuigiri’s Edwards and then slingshot DDT’s him onto the ring frame! He follows up with a Superfly Splash for two. He also gets two with a brainbuster across his knee. Edwards comes back with the Chin Checker. Cole sends him to the apron. Edwards ends up giving him a dragonscrew leg whip in the ropes. He double stomps Cole’s back for two, then turns him into the Achilles Lock. He kicks Cole’s head a few times. Cole kicks back and gets Edwards to release the hold. Cole puts on the figure four leg lock. Edwards escapes. Both guys fight on the ropes until they crash to the floor. Edwards goes for a lariat. Cole blocks it. Edwards superkicks him twice. Cole responds with a brainbuster across his knee and a superkick to the back of Edwards’ head. The Florida Key follows and gets him the pin at 19:09. The one thought I had watching this match was that everything came off extremely choreographed. Because of that, it was really tough to buy into anything they were doing. I won’t deny that the wrestling was good, but it was very “connect the dots” style and there was nothing to hold it together. ***

ROH Television Championship
Adam Cole (Champion) vs. Kyle O’Reilly

“ROH on SBG” – Belle Vernon, PA – 11.3.2012

O’Reilly earned this shot from a Proving Ground match at “Caged Hostility.” An aggressive lock-up sees both men in the corner. They avoid one another’s punches. Cole catches O’Reilly with a Manhattan drop and a clothesline. He enzuigiri’s O’Reilly to the floor. He goes for a suicide dive but gets caught with a forearm strike. O’Reilly’s suicide dive attempt is caught with an enzuigiri. Cole then successfully pulls off a suicide dive. He throws O’Reilly into the barricades a few times before taking him back into the ring. Cole tries a high crossbody but O’Reilly catches him mid-air with a dropkick. We return from commercial with O’Reilly tripping Cole off of the second rope for two. O’Reilly puts Cole in an abdominal stretch. Cole escapes with a pin attempt leading to a strike exchange. O’Reilly sweeps out Cole’s legs for two. Cole catches O’Reilly on the apron with a slingshot DDT. He gets two with a Superfly splash. O’Reilly delivers an axe kick. Cole rolls through a Saito suplex but gets cradled for two. O’Reilly gets two with a Regalplex as well. He rolls Cole into a triangle. Cole turns it into a jackknife pin for two. Forearms and punches are thrown. O’Reilly gives Cole a tornado DDT and a brainbuster. Cole kicks out so O’Reilly puts on a Guillotine. Cole picks him up and gives him a brainbuster across his knee. Cole hits the Florida Key for the pin at 8:57 (shown). They were able to pack a lot of action into a short amount of time and keep focus (unlike the Proving Ground match). I think my favorite thing to watch these guys do is counter each others’ offense. I guess that’s what happens when you wrestle a former tag partner. ***

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