Ring of Honor: Border Wars

Toronto, Ontario, Canada – 5.12.2012

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

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.

Eddie Edwards vs. Rhino

Truth Martini is in Rhino’s corner. Rhino throws Edwards out of a lock-up. Edwards gets the better of a wristlock exchange. Rhino punches Edwards and chops him in the corner. Edwards armdrags Rhino and bars the arm. Rhino mows through Edwards with a shoulder block. Edwards dishes out some chops and huracanrana’s Rhino to the floor. Edwards dropkicks him into the barricades. Rhino trips Edwards off the ring apron. Back in the ring Rhino shoulder tackles Edwards in the mid-section in the corner. Edwards enzuigiri’s Rhino after blocking a suplex. Rhino press slams Edwards to the floor! Edwards kicks out from the pin attempt. Edwards headbutts Rhino to escape a bear hug. Rhino forearms him in the mid-section. Rhino goes for another press slam. Edwards slips out and lifts Rhino into a German suplex. Edwards chops Rhino back to the corner. Edwards sole butts him and delivers a running kick to the chest for two. Martini grabs Edwards’ leg. Rhino charges but Edwards leapfrogs over him. Edwards moonsaults off the apron onto him. Edwards missile dropkicks Rhino back in the ring for two. Rhino sneaks in a belly-to-belly suplex. Edwards dropkicks Rhino to block the gore. Martini almost hits Rhino with the Book of Truth from the apron when going for Edwards. He stops, but Edwards is able to roll-up Rhino for the pin at 10:53. That was a hot opener with a lot of good action. If the crowd keeps this energy up for the rest of this show, it’s going to elevate just about everything on the card. **3/4

Rhino almost attacks Martini. Martini shoves a handful of twenty’s in his face, which is good enough for Rhino to let Martini go unharmed. He even shakes Martini’s hand.

The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) & TJ Perkins vs. The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) & Mike Mondo

The Bucks bail to the floor after shoving King and Titus. Perkins spits water in Mondo’s face and sends him to the floor. Matt hops in but gets punched in the stomach. Perkins headscissors Matt to the corner. Perkins lifts Nick in a pendulum and King dropkicks him for two. Nick gives King a chinbreaker and tags in Mondo. King suplexes him. King throws punches after a spinebuster. Titus boots Mondo in the corner. ANX deliver a splash/legdrop combo. Perkins slingshot sentons onto Mondo as well. Mondo knees King so he can tag in Matt. King greets him with a pair of armdrags. Titus gives Matt the Thrust Buster. King drop toe holds him into a dropkick from Titus. Nick grabs Titus’ leg. Titus follows Nick to the floor. Matt grabs Titus with his legs so Nick can dropkick him off the apron. Mondo throws Titus into the guardrail and follows that with a moonsault. Now the Young Bucks and Mondo isolate and wear down Titus in their corner. Titus is able to send Nick and Mondo to the floor and Snake Eyes Matt in the corner after a bit of time. However, Mondo and Nick pull Perkins and King off the ring apron so they can continue their assault. Nick accidentally knocks Mondo off the apron. Titus backdrops Matt. Mondo grabs Titus’ leg but gets kicked away. King tags in and nails everyone with clotheslines. He tornado kicks Mondo in the back of the head. Matt dropkicks him. Perkins blind tags in and crossbody’s both Bucks. Perkins powerbombs Matt and Mondo breaks the cover. Titus dropkicks Mondo to prevent the double arm DDT. Mondo gives Titus a snapmare driver and stomps his face into the mat. Perkins missile dropkicks Mondo in the back of the head. Lots of enzuigiri’s and superkicks are thrown. Titus turns the Bucks inside out with double clotheslines. Matt buckle bombs Titus into an enzuigiri from Matt. Mondo headscissors Titus off the top rope. Nick follows with a frog splash, but King breaks the pin. Nick dives onto the ANX on the floor. Mondo then dives onto Titus, Perkins and Nick. Matt sends King to the apron. King dives onto everyone. Titus strings a big boot and a rolling clothesline to Matt back in the ring. ANX hit the One Night Stand. Perkins follows with the 450 splash, and Titus pins Matt at 11:57. This was a really fun, exciting trios match. A couple slip ups aside the action never stalled and was always interesting. If these six are going to be an integral part of ROH’s future, I approve. ***1/2

Jay Lethal vs. Tommaso Ciampa

Even though neither man is the TV Champion, they still have a score to settle. Lethal wants to end Ciampa’s winning streak tonight. The Embassy Ltd. (Prince Nana, Barrister RD Evans, and Ernesto Osiris) are in Ciampa’s corner. Before the bell, Ciampa and Lethal trade blows on the ring apron and on the floor. Ciampa bites Lethal’s forehead. Ciampa goes for his trademark running knee strike and ends up smacking it against the barricades. Ciampa grabs the Section C sign from the crowd. He goes to lawn dart Lethal into it, but Lethal counters with a slingshot into the sign that crashes Ciampa onto the entrance ramp. Lethal hip tosses Ciampa into a dropkick. Evans blocks Lethal from a dive. Lethal dropkicks him off the apron. Ciampa knee strikes Lethal to block his second dive attempt. The bell rings and Ciampa gets a two count right off the bat. Ciampa drives some elbows into Lethal’s neck. He goes after the eyes in the corner. Lethal comes off the second rope with a leg lariat. Both men exchange punches mid-ring. Lethal drops him with a flapjack. He gives Ciampa a TKO onto his knee for two. Lethal hits a back handspring elbow. Ciampa ends up giving Lethal his own Lethal Combination for a two count. Nana and Osiris get on the apron when Lethal calls for the Lethal Injection. He knocks them both down. Ciampa lariats Lethal for two. Lethal counters Project Ciampa with a huracanrana. Ciampa clobbers Lethal with a knee strike. Lethal somehow kicks out. Ciampa delivers the running knee thrice in the corner. Lethal blocks Project Ciampa with a waterwheel slam into the corner. Nana gets in the ring. Todd Sinclair sends him out with a punch. Ciampa cradles Lethal but Sinclair is distracted. When he does count, Lethal kicks out. Lethal comes back with a flurry of punches. He hits the Lethal Injection. RD Evans pulls Sinclair out of the ring. Lethal dropkicks him into the barricade. Lethal then delivers the top rope elbow to Ciampa for two. Lethal gives Ciampa ten backbreakers before finishing the Lethal Combination. That gets him the pin at 10:50. That was a significant step-up from their “Young Wolves Rising” encounter. The only thing that bugged me in this bout was Ciampa’s initial knee strike into the barricades not meaning much of anything in the end. Otherwise, this started out as a war, turned into a great match, and really showed just how incompetent The Embassy has become. ***1/2

Ciampa is furious over his loss. He stomps to the back and The Embassy Ltd. follow after him. Lethal looks a little confused, but basks in his victory.

Lance Storm vs. Mike Bennett

This is a rematch from “Showdown in the Sun – Day One” where Bennett disrespected Storm after defeating him, by attacking him after the match. “Brutal” Bob Evans is in Bennett’s corner this time since Maria “doesn’t do re-runs.” Storm wins an aggressive lock-up. He elbows Bennett in the neck. Storm uppercuts Bennett to the corner and drives his knee into the mid-section. Storm shoulder blocks Bennett’s stomach in the corner for two. He puts on an abdominal stretch. A hip toss trade brings Storm to the apron. Bennett whips Storm back first into the ring post. Bennett throws Storm back first into the barricades. Bennett whips Storm’s back into the corner back in the ring. Bennett stretches Storm’s knee out across his back. Storm kicks his way free. Bennett backdrops Storm and goes to work once again on his back. A punch exchange ends when Storm comes off the top rope with a back spring elbow. Storm gives Bennett the Code Breaker for two. Bennett catches Storm coming off the ropes with a spinebuster for two. Storm grabs the ropes to block the TKO. He comes in from the apron missing a clothesline. Bennett spears Storm for two. Bennett hits the Box Office Smash. Storm kicks out. Bennett dragon screw leg whips Storm, hurting both his leg and back. Bennett mocks Storm by putting him in the Canadian Maple Leaf. Storm reverses it. Brutal Bob pulls Bennett out of the hold and to the floor. Storm pescado’s out after him. Bennett tries to use a steel chair while Bob distracts referee Jimmy Korderas. It backfires, as Storm is the one who uses the chair. He then superkicks Bennett to pick up the win at 12:34. That was a nice follow up to their first encounter. If I did not have the knowledge that a third and final match was coming, I might feel differently about the finish, but it was good as it was. Storm winning his home country was the right call and a good way to keep this feud going. Storm puts over the fans and ROH after the match. ***1/4

Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin

Truth Martini is in Elgin’s corner. This is a “Rise & Prove” rematch. Elgin shoves Cole to the corner. Cole dropkicks Elgin and gives him a few punches. Elgin easily shoves him off. Cole boots his way out of the corner and dropkicks Elgin from the second rope for a one count. Elgin pops him up, and Cole huracanrana’s him to the floor. Elgin catches Cole’s suicide dive and powerslams him onto the entrance ramp! Cole kicks out back in the ring. Elgin gets another two after multiple stomps. Cole gives him a chinbreaker. Elgin blocks a tornado DDT. Cole shoves him to the corner. Elgin clobbers him with a forearm strike. Elgin waterwheel slams Cole for two. Elgin stretches Cole’s back out across his knee. Cole side steps a splash and rolls up Elgin for two. Elgin fires up when Cole throws his own forearm. Cole ends up giving Elgin a tilt-a-whirl DDT. Cole DDT’s Elgin on the ring apron. Cole splashes Elgin for two back in the ring. Elgin backs Cole to the corner to block a suplex. Elgin gives Cole the Chaos Theory for two. Elgin powers Cole up. Cole cradles Elgin and nails a running knee strike for two. Elgin sends Cole out with a rolling clothesline. Elgin goes to pull Cole back in and eats an enzuigiri. Elgin gamengiri’s Cole as Cole climbs to the top rope. Elgin lifts Cole up into a Falcon Arrow from the second rope. Cole kicks out. Elgin puts on a crossface. Cole rolls out. Elgin blocks a superkick and delivers a forearm. Cole counters a suplex with a brainbuster onto his knee. Elgin kicks out. Cole tries a crossbody and gets caught. The Buckle Bomb and spinning powerbomb gets Elgin the win at 13:54. That started a bit slowly and the crowd seemed relatively quiet to the rest of the show, but this still turned out to be pretty darn good. These two are clearly going to be ROH’s future, so I don’t know how much more I would have Cole lose (it feels like he loses the majority of matches he is in). Elgin however has been built very strongly. ***

Truth Martini said he proved that he’s going to be the future of ROH. He sends Elgin to the back. He talks about how he’s going to feel even better after Roderick Strong defeats Finlay. Cole gives Truth a superkick. Elgin casually turns around, picks up Martini, and carries him backstage.

ROH Television Championship – No Time Limit
Roderick Strong vs. Fit Finlay

Strong shoves Finlay instead of shaking his hand. Finlay brings him to the mat in a side headlock. Strong backs Finlay to the corner. Finlay takes him back to the mat in that headlock. Strong gets up when Finlay goes for a pin. Strong throws a knee in the chest when Finlay backs him to the corner. Finlay twists up his knee. Strong rolls to the floor for a break. He comes back in and goes for a Kimura. Finlay gets to the ropes before he can get it applied. Finlay trips Strong and goes back to the knee after Strong chops him. Finlay drives his elbow into Strong’s face. Finlay whips him into a hard clothesline. Outside the ring, Strong chops Finlay hard. Finlay just pokes him in the eyes and drops him stomach first on the barricades. Strong drives Finlay’s back into the ring apron. He whips Finlay’s back into the ring post. Finlay is able to get a jawbreaker in back in the ring. Strong dropkicks him for one. Strong clubs him in the face. Strong kicks Finlay in the corner. Finlay fights back. He splashes and shoulder block Strong. He stomps Strong in the gut. Finlay’s back is too hurt to get up quickly, allowing Strong to get in a kick. He suplexes Finlay for two. Strong puts Finlay in the Strong Hold. Finlay rolls out and punches Strong in the face. Finlay somehow delivers a Finlay Roll. He gets two with the Celtic Cross. Strong shoves Finlay off the top rope, causing Finlay to land back first on the ring apron. Strong dives out after but Finlay catches him in the ring apron. He punches Strong and throws him back in the ring. Strong kicks Finlay as he comes back in. He gets two with Death by Roderick. Finlay clotheslines him. A seated senton gets him two. Strong connects with a rolling forearm. The Sick Kick gets him the pin at 17:15. I don’t know what it was about this match, but it just did not have the special feeling you think it would have. It was fine and had a good story, but the fans for whatever reason could not seem to care. I wouldn’t mind seeing Finlay as a semi-regular like Rhino seems to be. ***

ROH Tag Team Championship; Fight Without Honor
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin

Mark sneak attacks Haas and Benjamin dressed up like a hockey player. Jay and Mark beat down Haas and Benjamin separately. Mark clotheslines them both with a hockey stick to the floor and dives after them. Mark throws a chair at Benjamin’s head while Jay beats down Haas. In the ring, Mark drop toe holds Benjamin onto a steel chair. Haas pulls him out of the ring. Mark and Jay dropkick them into the barricades. Mark throws a chair on Benjamin while Jay sets a chair up in the corner. Haas suplexes Jay for two. Benjamin backdrops Mark on the floor. Jay drives Haas’ face into the chair in the corner. Benjamin attacks Jay from behind. Benjamin delivers a spinwheel kick. Mark dropkicks a chair into Benjamin’s face. Jay slingshots Haas into the ring post. With Benjamin on the floor, Mark dives off the apron with a senton. He does it again. Jay grabs a bike wheel from a fan and slams it on Haas’ back. Mark goes up top. Benjamin throws Mark through the timekeeper’s table. Jay gives Benjamin a Death Valley Driver. Haas stops Jay from climbing the ropes. Benjamin hops up and super hip tosses Jay for two. With Haas’ help, Benjamin pulls of a super spinebuster for two. Benjamin and Haas try to ram Jay’s groin into the ring post, just like in Florida. Mark however saves him. Mark throws some Redneck Kung Fu at Haas and Benjamin back in the ring. Mark gives Haas an Iconoclasm. The Froggy Bow gets him a two when Benjamin breaks the cover. Jay sets up a table in the aisle and places Benjamin on it. Mark walks the ropes looking for a dive. Haas stomps him with an Angle Slam. Jay and Benjamin fight on the ring apron. Benjamin tries to superplex Jay through the table. Even though Jay blocks that, he gets put through the table with an Electric Chair drop. Haas sprays a towel with ether. He places it over Mark’s face to make him pass out. That gets Haas the pin and the titles at 15:09. You know, when a large percentage of your fan base is getting behind the “Ring of Smoky Mountain” insult for your company, a finish like this only adds credence to the naysayers. This was a huge slap in the face to the fans, and now the belts are back in the hands in a team people have long since given up on caring about. This match was actually going along pretty well but that finish just left a really sour taste in my mouth. **1/2

ROH World Championship
Davey Richards vs. Kevin Steen

This is Steen’s last chance at the World title. In this match, the Package Piledriver is legal. Jimmy Jacobs is in Steen’s corner. Steve Corino is on commentary, but is not saying a word. Steen goes for the Package Piledriver right away. Richards blocks it. Steen throws some forearms. Richards kicks Steen and clotheslines him to the floor. He follows with a suicide dive. Richards boots Steen after throwing him to the barricades. Jacobs distracts Richards for a moment so that Steen can deliver a dangling DDT back in the ring. Steen throws Richards into a Canadian flag that’s hanging on the barricades. Steen crotches him on the ring post. Richards and Steen fight on the ring apron. Richards suplexes Steen onto his head for a two count. Richards key locks his legs. Steen escapes but gets punched in the face. Richards puts on the Trailer Hitch. Steen grabs the ropes to escape. Steen gets gamengiri’d to the floor. Richards goes for his chest kick from the apron. Steen ducks and Richards kicks Jacobs. Steen pulls Richards down for a powerbomb on the ring apron. He does it a second time for good measure. Steen cannonball sentons Richards back in the ring for two. Richards catches Steen on the top rope. Steen bites him to send him back to the mat. Richards however gets his knees up to block a Swanton bomb. Richards kicks Steen and German suplexes him. Steen fires up, only to eat a lariat. Each guy kicks each other, then Steen lariats Richards to leave both men on the mat. On their feet, Richards unloads with forearms. Steen gives him a pump-handle neckbreaker across his knee for two. Steen puts in Richards’ mouth piece which fell out and calls for the Package Piledriver. Richards resists and we get a forearm battle. Richards kicks Steen’s knee out. Steen pops him into a powerbomb. He puts on the Sharpshooter when Richards kicks out. Richards grabs the bottom rope. Richards dragonscrews Steen’s leg in the middle rope. Richards ties his leg up and comes off the top rope with a double stomp. Another double stomp gets a two count. Richards puts on the ankle lock. Steen kicks his way free. He ducks a chest kick and rolls up Richards for two. Richards gives Steen the DR Driver for two. Richards throws some Kawada Kicks. Steen spits in his face. More Kawada kicks. Steen slaps him in the face. They slap each other silly until Steen hits the F-Cinq. Richards kicks out. Steen hits a moonsault. His knee is hurting, but he still musters a two count. Steen’s knee hurts too much for a Package Piledriver. Richards desperately hits a running chest kick for two. Richards kicks Steen in the head. Steen flips off Richards and spits at him. Steen blocks another kick and puts on his own ankle lock. Richards rolls and puts on the ankle lock himself. Steen sits up and turns it into the Sharpshooter. Richards escapes and reapplies the ankle lock. Steen crawls up the ropes in the corner, ripping off a turnbuckle in the process. He rolls Richards face first into the turnbuckle. Steen gives him a sleeper suplex. He hits the Package Piledriver for the win and the title at 24:24. I’ve given Richards a lot of flack during his title reign, but I give him and Steen credit for putting together a great main event and a good story to go along with it. Steen fought through all the work Richards did to his ankle all because the World title meant so much to him, especially winning it in his home country. Richards did a great job portraying how desperate and worried he became during the end of the match. All I can say about Steen winning is “finally.” Let the reign of Mr. Wrestling begin! ***3/4

Cary Silkin comes in to hand Steen the title. He’s so angry with the result that he passes the title to referee Todd Sinclair and storms off to the back. Steve Corino comes in from the commentary table. He looks at Steen for a moment, and then gives him a hug. They and Jacobs embrace in the ring as the show goes off the air.

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