New York, NY – 6.24.2012
ROH World Champion: Kevin Steen
ROH Television Champion: Roderick Strong
ROH World Tag Team Champions: Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. The Guardians of Truth
Of course, Truth Martini is in the corner of the Guardians. The Guardians are masked, nameless fellows. Of course we all know it’s the Headbangers under hoods, and for those who didn’t know, I am not kidding. The Guardians send Jay out and double team Mark. Jay brings one of the Guardians out while Mark hits the other with a spinwheel kick. Jay gives the one in the ring a spinebuster. Mark walks the middle rope before delivering a somersault senton. The Briscoes keep one of them in their corner and take turns beating him down. The Guardians take control and beat down Jay. The fans chant “Mosh and Thrasher” at them. I should really use that as their names, but that would require paying attention to their tattoos and that just sounds like more work than this match is worth. Anyways, Mark tags in and gives the Guardians some redneck kung-fu. Mark hits the Froggy Bow on one of them. The other one breaks the pin. The Briscoes set up for the Doomsday Device. The Guardian on Jay’s shoulder goes for a victory roll, but Jay sits down on it to get the pin at 6:00. That was totally pointless. Can we please give The Briscoes something worthwhile that doesn’t include these guys or WGTT? Maybe program them with an undercard team who could use the rub? ¼*
After the match the Briscoes go for Truth Martini. The Guardians attack Jay. Mark scares them off. I guess this feud will continue. Damn it.
Eddie Edwards vs. Homicide
Homicide spits in Edwards’ hand instead of following the Code of Honor. Edwards slaps him in the face and gives him a side suplex. Homicide slides to the floor so Edwards suicide dives after him. Edwards chops him up against the barricades. Homicide rakes his eyes and his back. In the ring Edwards hits a top rope dropkick for two. He gives him a modified German suplex and a running knee strike for another two count. They get in a chop battle mid-ring. Homicide gets control with an overhead suplex. Homicide side steps an attack, sending Edwards’ hurt shoulder into the ring post. Homicide throws him into it a second time. Referee Paul Turner stops Homicide from bringing a chair into the ring. He twists up Edwards’ arm in the ropes. Homicide fish hooks Edwards while he torques the arm on the canvas. Edwards dropkicks Homicide on the top rope. Edwards brings him down with a superplex. He gives Homicide a facebuster and a fisherman’s buster. Homicide kicks out. Edwards comes off the second rope with a Code Breaker. Edwards floats over into a STF. Homicide escapes and gives him a tornado DDT for two. Edwards goes for the Chin Checker. Homicide slips out and hits an Ace Crusher for two. Homicide lariats him in the neck. Edwards throws a superkick, but Homicide shrugs it off and hits a regular lariat. Edwards block the Cop Killer with a Gedo Clutch for two. Edwards rolls Homicide into the Achilles Lock. Homicide kicks free from it and cradles Edwards for two. Homicide elbows Edwards’ hurt am. He hits the Cop Killer for the pin at 12:45. This was both surprising, both in how good the match was and in the result. I would have expected Edwards to walk through Homicide but instead they had a competitive match with Homicide going over. Probably the best match Homicide has had in ROH in about a year. ***
Hybrid Fighting Rules
Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly
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. ***1/2
Truth Martini is backstage with House of Truth members Michael Elgin and Roderick Strong. He reminds us that Finlay fell to Roderick Strong at “Border Wars”, and says tonight he will fall to Michael Elgin. Elgin reiterates the point. Strong says he win won’t be impressive since he already defeated Finlay. He calls Elgin porky and says he will be there to save Elgin if he needs help. Elgin grabs Strong’s hand. He says he doesn’t want either he or Truth ringside for his match, stating he can do things on his own.
Fit Finlay vs. Michael Elgin
Elgin shakes hands with Finlay, just like he did against Jay Lethal last weekend. Finlay cleanly breaks a lock-up in the corner. Finlay throws him down for a quick cover. Elgin shoves Finlay after kicking out. Elgin backs him to the ropes to break a side headlock. Finlay takes him down by his leg. He steps on Elgin’s hand, causing Elgin to fire back with a forearm smash. Finlay drives his elbow into his face. Finlay trips him into a facelock. Elgin throws more forearms when he gets back to his feet. Again Finlay trips Elgin to the mat. He twists on the knee and ankle and gets a one count. Finlay lightly smacks Elgin in the face. Elgin shoulder blocks him in the corner multiple times. Finlay goes back to the leg. Elgin gets his feet on the ropes to break Finlay’s overhead wristlock. Finlay kicks him in the knee. Finlay throws a couple boots. He comes off the second rope. Elgin catches him and nails a short-arm lariat. Finlay clotheslines Elgin on the floor. He slams Elgin back first into the ring apron and chest first on the barricades. Elgin gets to the apron where Finlay gives him some forearms. He puts on a side headlock back in the ring. Elgin suplexes his way free, but Finlay reapplies it quickly. Elgin puts on a headscissors. He goes for the leg when Elgin escapes. Elgin connects with an enzuigiri. He side steps an attack which sends Finlay’s shoulder into the ring post. He throws multiple clotheslines in the corner. A low superkick leads to a deadlift type slam. Elgin kicks Finlay from the corner. Finlay shoves Elgin off the ropes and to the floor. Elgin landed on his hurt knee. When he comes back in, Finlay gives him the Finlay Roll for two. He follows up with the Celtic Cross for another two count. Not even a tombstone piledriver can put Elgin away. Elgin gives him a spinning chop and a buckle bomb. He follows up with the spinning powerbomb for the pin at 19:15. I really liked the methodical pace they took and how they saved the power displays for the end. I thought the match built well, regardless of the idiot fans chanting “boring.” I guess that’s what happens when you follow a spectacle like Cole/O’Reilly. Really happy to see Elgin get the win. ***1/4
Truth Martini comes out afterwards to celebrate with Elgin. Finlay extends his hand for a handshake which Martini says will not happen. Elgin pushes Martini aside and shakes Finlay’s hand. Martini gives Elgin some unkind words. Elgin backs Martini to the corner and he cowers. Elgin cools off and leaves with Martini.
Mike Bennett, “Brutal” Bob Evans, and Maria come out for a Prodigy Service Announcement. Bennett does some trash talking before making out Maria. This brings out Mike Mondo who doesn’t like the disparaging remarks he had about New York. He calls Bennett a bitch and a proposes that they have a fight. He says after he fights Bennett he’s going to fuck Maria. Mondo punches out Evans and beats the crap out of Bennett on the mat. Evans pulls him out to safety. Mondo jumps off the apron onto Evans. Bennett gives him a spinebuster on the ring apron. They fight some more in the ring. This was actually kind of interesting at first, but now it has worn out its welcome. Mondo scores a pin somewhere. Not sure when that turned into an actual match, so I don’t have a match time.
ROH Television Championship – Elimination Match
Roderick Strong vs. Jay Lethal vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Prince Nana, Barrister RD Evans and Mia Yim are in Ciampa’s corner. Truth Martini is in Strong’s corner. Ciampa and Lethal spill out to the floor right away. Lethal takes control before throwing him back in. Ciampa catches him with a clothesline. Strong kicks Ciampa from the corner. Lethal hip tosses Strong into a dropkick. Lethal ducks Ciampa’s clothesline and suicide dives onto Strong. Yim superkicks Lethal while Ciampa distracts the referee! Ciampa charges at him with three knee strikes in the corner. Strong catches Ciampa with a gamengiri and a knee strike for two. Strong forearms Lethal in the corner. He gets two with a backbreaker. Ciampa catches Strong on his knees and drops him face first. He picks him up for a wheelbarrow suplex and gets a two count. Ciampa chops Lethal down in the corner. Lethal blocks a running knee strike with a superkick. Ciampa knees him anyways for two. Strong pitches Ciampa to the floor to get his own two count on Lethal. He gets two again with a suplex, then two again with a dropkick. They get in a chop battle. Ciampa comes in and becomes the victim of both men’s chops. Lethal throws shots back and forth between his opponents. He hits a back handspring elbow on Ciampa. He gives Strong the Lethal Combination for two. Lethal runs up Strong to give Ciampa a tornado DDT. He trips Strong and puts on a figure four leg lock. He has Ciampa in a crossface at the same time! Strong punches his (and by proxy Ciampa’s) way free. Lethal suplexes Strong into a neckbreaker for two. Ciampa knee strikes Lethal from the apron. He connects with a top rope elbow smash for two. Ciampa goes for Project Ciampa. Strong gives Ciampa a knee strike. Lethal superkicks Strong. Strong elbows Lethal and superplexes Ciampa. Lethal hits the top rope elbow drop on Ciampa for two. Both Martini and Nana try to attack Lethal on the floor, but Lethal stops them. In the ring Ciampa has Strong up for Project Ciampa. Nana rolls in the ring to avoid Lethal and ends up knocking down Ciampa by accident. Strong sits down on Ciampa and cradles his legs to get the pin and elimination at 12:48. While Todd Sinclair is disposing of Ciampa, Martini clocks Lethal with the Book of Truth. Strong gives Lethal the Death by Roderick and hooks his tights to pick up the pin and the win at 13:09. The wrestling was consistent and fun throughout the entire match. I thought all three competitors got ample time to do their stuff and the stuff with the managers made sense. It sounds a little convoluted on paper, but I think it all worked out really well in the end. ***1/2
ROH Tag Team Championship
Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus)
Haas tags out when the fans won’t stop giving him grief. Benjamin gives King a slam to shut up the NYC naysayers. King responds with an armdrag and some other offense that causes Benjamin to hit the floor. When he comes back in, King whips Benjamin to the corner and backdrops him. Benjamin backs King to his corner so Haas can tag in. Haas gives him a butterfly suplex. King fights off Benjamin’s shoulders and hit him with a dropkick. Titus tags in and knee Benjamin in the ribs (which were injured in the past). ANX throw multiple kicks to his head but only get a two count. They give Haas a springboard legdrop/splash combo for two. Titus clothesline Haas and bulldogs him out of the corner. King gives him a spinwheel kick. Haas chokes King on the ropes in his corner. Benjamin kicks him in the face from the apron. Haas and Benjamin take turns beating down King in their corner. King gets a couple quick pin attempts in, but for the most part Haas and Benjamin have his number. Titus even has to save him from being pinned. King DDT’s both of them simultaneously and finally tags Titus in. Titus slingshot dropkicks Haas and throws multiple punches at Benjamin. He backdrops Benjamin. He gives Haas the Thrust Buster. A rolling clothesline on Benjamin earns him a two count. Benjamin hops up top to give Titus and superplex, but Titus drops him face first on the top rope instead. King gives him shotgun knees. Haas breaks the cover and German suplexes King. He also Angle Slams Titus and Benjamin covers him for two. King pulls an Eddie Guerrero by throwing a chair to Benjamin and accusing him of using it. Haas gets in King’s face while Titus DDT’s Benjamin on the chair behind the referee’s back. Benjamin still manages to kick out. King whips Haas into the barricades. He comes back in the ring so he can dive onto Haas. Titus positions for a dive. He gets clotheslined out by Benjamin instead. Benjamin throws Titus head first into the barricades. Titus’ head is busted open after being hit with a title belt. Haas and Benjamin target Titus’ head once he’s back in the ring. Haas gets on the microphone and tells the referee that he better call the match before he kills Titus. Titus grabs Paul Turner’s leg and tells him not to stop the match. Haas seems fine with that and goes back to throwing punches. Haas and Benjamin set him up for the Broken Arrow. King dives in to wipe out Benjamin. Haas boots King. Titus schoolboys Haas for the pin and the titles at 22:49. Even though that went too long, they told a good story and the fans seemed invested in the match for its entirety. At the time, this was absolutely the right call and ANX holding the titles was a long time calling. It’s just a shame that the situation with King arose so they couldn’t enjoy a long, prosperous reign as champs. Haas and Benjamin attack them after the match because they’re dicks. ***
ROH World Championship – Anything Goes Match
Kevin Steen vs. Davey Richards
This is Davey Richards last chance at the ROH World title with Steen as champion and Steen’s Package Piledriver is legal in this match. Steve Corino says he’s going to join the commentary table so somebody can tell the truth on Steen’s behalf. Jim Cornette takes a seat ringside to keep an eye on Corino to make sure he does not interfere. Jimmy Jacobs is also in Steen’s corner. Kyle O’Reilly comes out to explain why he’s not in Davey’s corner. Apparently, Davey didn’t like how O’Reilly reacted when losing to Cole. O’Reilly isn’t here to stab him in the back, but in the face. He’s not going to stand around and let Richards push him around any longer. He officially separates himself through Richards and tells New York City to kiss his ass.
Steen offers Richards a streamer to cry into. Richards boots Steen off the apron, causing him to crash through the timekeeper’s table. Richards throws him into the barricades and gives him a and yakuza kick. He kicks Steen from the ring apron. Jacobs tries to interfere. Richards chokes him with his boot and kicks him in the chest. Steen pops up Richards for a powerbomb on the ring apron. Steen puts three of the metal barricade sheets on top of Davey and frog splashes onto him. He whips the barricade sheets with a chain. In the ring, Steen points to Jim Cornette from the top rope. He goes for a swanton, but Richards gets his knees up to block. Steen gives Richards a dangling DDT. Steen notices ring announcer Bobby Cruise ringside and superkicks him. Steen is eyeing Cary Silken when Richards suicide dives onto him. Steen and Richards fight on the ring apron. Richards suplexes Steen head first onto it. He kicks Steen in the side of the head and brings a table out from under the ring. He sets it up ringside and places Steen on it. Richards double stomps him through it! Richards hits another double stomp back in the ring for two. He comes at Steen with a chair. Steen gives him a Code Breaker to block. He then delivers a chair-assisted cannonball senton for two. He buries Richards in chairs before going to the top rope. Richards is able to recover and crotch Steen. Richards superplexes him onto the chairs! Steen kicks out. Richards gets another table from under the ring. He sets up near one of the corners in the ring. He brings Steen up top, presumably for another superplex. Steen bites Richards to stop him and gives him a fisherman’s buster through the table instead! Richards kicks out. Steen puts Richards’ mouth guard in his own mouth and sets up two chairs next to each other mid-ring. Richards slips off Steen’s shoulders. He German suplexes Steen onto the chairs! Steen kicks out again. Richards gives Steen some chain-assisted Kawada kicks. Steen spits in his face. Richards kicks him in the side of the head with the chain. Richards is shocked and Cornette is pissed when Steen kicks out. Richards’ anger gets the best of him and he gives Todd Sinclair a sole butt. Richards enters a ladder into the ring. Steen musters the energy to give Richards the F-Cinq. Referee Paul Turner to count. The lapse in time gave Richards time to recover enough for a kick out. Steen gives Turner the Package Piledriver. Steen goes for it on Richards. Instead, Richards gives Steen the move onto the ladder! There’s no referee to make the count. Richards brings Sinclair back in the ring. Richards sets up the ladder in the corner. Jacobs jumps on his back and digs at his eyes. Richards fights him off. Jacobs pulls out the railroad spike from his boot. Cornette pulls it out of Jacobs’ hand and threatens to spike him. Corino comes in and kicks Cornette in the groin. He throws punches at Cornette on the floor. Richards gives Jacobs an exploder suplex on the ladder! Both Richards and Steen’s have spikes know. Steen spikes Richards in the groin and gives him the Package Piledriver for the pin at 21:20. Sometimes, overbooking works. This is one of those cases. The match was absolute mayhem in the best way possible. Both Cornette and Richards portrayed how desperate to get the belt off of Steen, and Steen and his crew showed how desperate they were to keep it on him. These guys promised to bring chaos and they delivered. Such a fun way to end the show. ***3/4
Corino pronounces Steen the victor. Steen then grabs the microphone. He says one thing he cannot stand is hypocritical people. A prime example in his eyes is Jim Cornette. He also proclaims he was a hypocrite for the past 18 months, but he had to be so he could get a title match with him. He admits all the stuff he said about Richards being an undeserving champion was a farce. Truly he thinks Richards is the best in the world and a hard worker. He then turns to the fans and calls them the most hypocritical people in wrestling. He points to “Final Battle 2010” as an example, where the fans cheered and celebrated Generico winning and exiling him from Ring of Honor and then cheered for him when he re-appeared at last year’s “Best in the World” show. He points out some more examples, like the fans cheering for Daniel Bryan and CM Punk when they have a history of turning on ROH World champions. They did it to Nigel, Tyler Black, and Davey. He doesn’t care at all about the fans now that he is champion. He vows to be the last champion since he, Jacobs and Corino will kill the company. He tells the fans that they will have themselves to blame for that. At last years “Best in the World” he said “fuck Ring of Honor”, but what he meant to say was “fuck New York City.” With that, he, Corino and Jacobs leave the ring.