Milwaukee, WI – 7.14.2012
ROH World Champion: Kevin Steen
ROH Television Champion: Adam Cole
ROH World Tag Team Champions: Vacant
Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino.
Rhett Titus vs. Mike Sydal
Neither guy gets control on the mat. Titus puts on a headscissors. Sydal pops out and trades armdrags and leg sweeps with Titus. Sydal gets two with a hip toss. Titus rolls through a backslide and gives Sydal a butterfly suplex. Titus uses the ropes to deliver a suplex. Sydal comes off the middle ropes and gets caught with a dropkick. Titus puts on a waistlock to zap energy from Sydal. Sydal breaks out, ducks a boot, and gives Titus a neckbreaker. Titus pops him up for a powerbomb, but gets sent to the corner with a huracanrana. He buts out his brother’s standing legdrop/standing moonsault combo for two. He looks for the Here It Is Driver. Titus fights out and knees Sydal in the mid-section. Sydal reverse rana’s Titus to the floor! Sydal also moonsaults onto him. In the ring, he comes off the top with double knees for two. Sydal looks for a super huracanrana. Titus drops him face first on the top turnbuckle, then dropkicks him in the corner. Titus gets the pin with a brainbuster at 10:21. These are the kinds of matches Sydal needs to be having if he wants to be taken seriously. This is the best he’s ever looked to the point where Titus actually looked like he was lucky to win. Maybe they can hook him up with someone higher up the cards to legitimize him. It’s taken a long time, but I finally hope in Mike Sydal. **3/4
Jay Lethal vs. Mike Mondo
Lethal shoulder blocks Mondo and cradles him for two. Mondo counters with a crucifix for two. Mondo Gedo clutches him when Lethal goes to the mat. He goes for his underhook DDT but Lethal rolls away. Lethal shoulder blocks him from the apron and slingshots in with a huracanrana. He sends Mondo to the floor with a back handspring elbow. He follows with a suicide dive. Back in the ring he hip tosses Mondo into a dropkick for two. Mondo gives him a snapmare driver for two when he notices Lethal setting up for the Lethal Injection. Mondo digs his knee into Lethal’s neck. Mondo works over Lethal’s back on the floor. He locks up Lethal’s legs around his own and leans back for extra pressure. Mondo throws him back first into the corners. Lethal fires up and gets in a few strikes before getting a two count with the Lethal Combination. Mondo clotheslines him in the corner, drops him chest first on the mat, and stomps on the back of his head for two. Mondo feigns a knee injury when Lethal goes for his finisher. Jim Cornette comes out to check on him, but still Mondo fights on. He and Lethal trade punches. Mondo can’t get him up on his shoulders. Lethal gives him the Lethal Injection for the pin at 15:18. The Cornette and knee stuff was pretty needless, but there’s no denying that Mondo’s in ring work is solid. If he worked on his character some more I think the fans would be less hostile towards him. Lethal has yet to have a bad match since coming back. Backstage, Lethal says he will grant Mondo a rematch anytime. ***
Tony Kozina, Shiloh Jones & Adam Revolver vs. Samson Walker, Chris Silvio & Mohamad Ali Vaez
Silvio smacks Jones in the face. Jones hops over him and snaps off an armdrag. He hits a dropkick and tags in Revolver for a tandem gut buster. Revolver suplexes Silvio to the corner where he tags in Vaez. Revolver gives him a Northern Lights suplex for two. Kozina controls Vaez by his arm. Walker tags in after Vaez takes an armdrag. He intimidates Kozina, who tags out to the unafraid Revolver. Revolver avoids a hip attack and tags in Jones. Walker lariats him. He catches Kozina’s crossbody and powerslams him. That allows Walker and his teammates to isolate and wear down Kozina in their corner. He finally escapes when Silvio misses a top rope knee drop. Jones tags in and cleans house on Vaez and Silvio. He comes off the top with a flying forearm to Silvio. Jones tornado kicks him as well. Revolver and Jones backdrop Vaez. Revolver Cactus clotheslines him to the floor. Walker superkicks Jones and boots Kozina off the apron. Walker drops Jones with a Death Valley Driver for the pin at 11:18. The action here was solid, but I am having difficulty bringing myself to care about any of these guys. Walker got over with the crowd because he’s huge and does power moves, but even he received a “you’ve got tits” chant and looks like a giant baby in a onesie. My point here is that fans don’t seem to want to see the gimmicky guys from OVW or guys like Kozina. If ROH wants to change that, they need to do more than put them in an exhibition match with one anothe, or get people the fans do want to see. **1/2
Kyle O’Reilly is proud that he sent Adam Cole to the hospital at “Best in the World 2012” and that he finally left Davey Richards. He welcomes Davey to step in the ring with him when he returns from Japan. He tells Cole to watch his back.
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Tadarius Thomas
Just like he did at “Live Strong”, O’Reilly insists he didn’t tap out at “Best in the World.” He plans to make an example of Thomas. O’Reilly goes for a cross armbreaker early but can’t get it on just right. Thomas is able to evade a series of kicks. He goes for his own cross armbreaker. O’Reilly turns that into a STF. Thomas armdrags him to the mat twice. He throws some chest kicks for two. O’Reilly knees him and rolls him into a running chest kick. He gets two with a butterfly suplex. Back on their feet, they exchange strikes until knocking each other down with kicks. Thomas comes back with some nice punches and kicks. He kicks out O’Reilly’s leg and drops him with the Sling Blade for two. Thomas powerslams him for another two count. More chest kicks are thrown. O’Reilly Regalplexes him for two. Thomas cartwheels to avoid a leg sweep. He Dragon suplexes O’Reilly for two. O’Reilly dragonscrews his leg. Thomas trips O’Reilly into an enzuigiri. O’Reilly wins a forearm battle. He sole butts Thomas before giving him a Saito suplex. When Thomas kicks out, he goes for the cross armbreaker. Thomas reverses. O’Reilly puts on the Fujiwara armbar. Thomas taps out at 12:15. THIS is how you debut a guy (on the DVD chronology anyways). He looked like an equal to O’Reilly, got the crowd behind him and actually showed potential. If ROH doesn’t try to sign Thomas they’re silly, he’s easily one of the best prospects they have brought in recently. O’Reilly also looks good and I like the progress he has been making lately. ***1/4
O’Reilly won’t release the armbar right away. Tony Kozina, one of his friends and mentors comes out to calm him down. Instead, O’Reilly puts him in the Fujiwara! It takes three officials to get him off. O’Reilly proudly walks to the back while Kozina and Thomas are left recovering in the ring.
BJ Whitmer vs. Roderick Strong
Truth Martini is in Strong’s corner. Strong key locks Whitmer’s legs. When Strong loses his grip, Whitmer goes after his leg. Strong gets the ropes to keep Whitmer away. Whitmer armdrags him and bars the arm. Strong chops him in the corner. All that does is make Whitmer mad, and he throws his own chops. He gets two with a leg lariat. Strong kicks Whitmer’s arm. He back elbows Strong and sends him to the floor. Whitmer gets distracted by Martini. Strong drops Whitmer face first on the ring apron. Strong chops him against the barricades. In the ring he gets two with a belly-to-back suplex. Same goes for a dropkick. Whitmer hops over Strong and suplexes him across the ring. Stringing two suplexes him together only gets him two. So does a spinebuster. Strong comes back with a forearm and step-up knee strike. He’s surprised when his signature backbreaker doesn’t put Whitmer away. The Death by Roderick failing also surprises him. As Strong comes off the ropes, Whitmer gives him an exploder suplex. Strong kicks out. Whitmer Liger Bombs him for two. The Golden Gate Swing and a Northern Lights suplex don’t do it either. Strong side steps a boot. He pulls the referee so Martini can nail him with the Book of Truth. Strong then hits the Sick Kick for the pin at 11:47. That was a fun sprint, even if I think they went a tad overboard on the nearfalls. With a cleaner finish this would have been even better, but as is it was still damn good. ***1/4
Silas Young says he’s the last real man in professional wrestling. He got to Ring of Honor because he’s the best. He and Elgin have had battles before in companies like AAW, and Young plans to win tonight even it is on Elgin’s home turf. We then cut to Truth Martini and Rhino. Martini insists Edwards’ victory over Rhino at “Border Wars” was a fluke. Rhino plans to break Edwards in half with a gore.
Truth Martini comes out with Michael Elgin for his match with Young. However, Elgin sends Martini to the back because he does not want the kind of help he gave Strong in the last match. Martini reluctantly agrees.
Michael Elgin vs. Silas Young
They start off mildly, but after they throw forearms, things pick up. Young dropkicks Elgin to the corner. Elgin catches him with a powerslam for a one count. Young flips out of Elgin’s attack. Young slips off his shoulder and rolls him up for two. He huracanrana’s Elgin to the ropes. Elgin forearms Young to the apron. Young tosses Elgin to the floor and follows with a tope con hilo. He gets one with a neckbreaker. He gives Elgin a Finlay roll. He misses the Pee Gee Waja Plunge. Elgin German suplexes him head first into the corner. Elgin legdrops him on the ring apron. Young whips him into the barricades. Elgin takes control back in the ring, clobbering Young repeatedly in the chest. Young does however try a small package, which only makes Elgin angrier. Young throws a couple slaps. Elgin nails him with a rolling elbow. Young knees out of a suplex. Elgin misses a charge to the corner. Young catches him with a backbreaker into a seated lariat. He boots Elgin before hitting a quebrada for two. Elgin clotheslines him in two corners, then drops him with the Boss Man Slam. Young kicks out. Elgin kicks Young as he heads up top. He brings in Young with a superplex from the apron. He powerbombs Young to the corner. Young slips out of another one and drops him with the Angels Wings for two. Elgin clobbers Young with clotheslines to the chest and back. Young Finlay Rolls him again. This time he successfully hits the Pee Gee Waja Plunge for two. Young jumps off the middle rope. Elgin clobbers him with a dropkick. A low running boot and a buckle bomb follow. Elgin gives Young the spinning powerbomb for the pin at 17:42. Remember how I said Tadarius Thomas’ match was a good example on how to bring someone into the company? Scratch that – THIS is how you bring someone in. I was expecting this to be good given Elgin and Young’s familiarity with each other, but I really did not expect Young to get in so much offense. The crowd was also hot for everything since Young was the hometown guy and Elgin wrestles a lot in that area. It would be borderline irresponsible for ROH not to use Young more after this match. ***3/4
Truth Martini comes out to congratulate Elgin. For doing a good job, he sends Elgin to the back for the rest of the night. He brings out Rhino for his match with Edwards
Eddie Edwards vs. Rhino
Rhino powers Edwards to the corner. He mows him down with a shoulder block. Edwards hops over Rhino and huracanrana’s him. He lands a senton for two. Rhino trips Edwards off the apron, causing him to crash face first. He also shoves him back first into the ring frame. In the ring he drops his knee across Edwards’ chest. Martini chokes him on the ropes when the referee is tied up. Edwards gets his foot up in the corner to stop Rhino’s charge. He rolls Rhino looking for the Achilles Lock. Rhino evades it and gives Edwards a spinebuster. A second rope splash gets him two. Edwards kicks him when he goes back up top. He superplexes Rhino, but hurt his arm in the process. Edwards light Rhino up with chops. Rhino charges and gets sent to the floor. Edwards suicide dives onto him. Back in the ring, Edwards delivers a running chest kick for two. He Gemran suplexes Rhino and goes up top. He double stomps Rhino on the back, then turns him over into the Achilles Lock. Rhino suplexes Edwards. He positions for the Gore as Edwards recovers. Edwards kicks him in the face and rolls him up for two. He reapplies the Achilles lock. Truth Martini runs in. Edwards trips him and puts him in the Achilles Lock. He release and superkicks Martini to the floor. He turns around and eats the Gore, giving Rhino the pin at 13:42. This was a step up from their “Border Wars” encounter. The intensity and importance of the encounter were both more prominent and it’s not often where Rhino is the weak one looking for retribution. Just like Strong/Whitmer, Martini’s interference took away just a little from the match, but it was still excellent. ***1/4
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. Kevin Steen & Jimmy Jacobs
Steen extends his hand for a shake sarcastically, so the Briscoes attack him and Jacobs. They send Steen to the floor and double shoulder tackle Jacobs. Mark elbow drops him from the second rope and gives him a brainbuster. After the Briscoes give Jacobs double boots, Steen comes in to send Mark to the floor. Steen gives Jay a dangling DDT. Steen and Jacobs continue their attack on Jay in their corner. Jay elbows and punches his way free. Mark tags in and gives both opponents some Redneck Kung-Fu. Mark enzuigiri’s Steen and goes up top. Jacobs shoves him to the ring apron. Jay throws Jacobs into the barricades. Steen does the same to Jay. Mark throws Steen into the ring post and bulldogs him on the entrance ramp. As both teams brawl ringside, the bell rings at 5:35. As both teams brawl ringside, the bell rings at 5:35. The match has been ruled a Draw due to a double count out. Jim Cornette comes out to overturn that decision. He wants Steen to see his ass kicked. He is restarting the match under Anything Goes rules.
The bell rings and Mark tope con hilo’s onto Steen and Jacobs! Jay slams a beer into Steen’s head. Mark throws water bottles at Jacobs. Mark boots Steen into the barricades while Jay sets a chair up in the ring. Jay military presses Jacobs into a Death Valley Driver on the chair. Steen pulls Jay out of the ring and powerbombs him on the ring apron. Mark brings Steen back in the ring. He goes for the Cut-Throat Driver on a chair. Steen ends up giving Mark a neckbreaker through the chair instead. Steen brings a table into the ring. Jay boots Steen out. Jacobs spears Jay and Mark dropkicks Jacobs to the corner. Steen pops up Mark for a powerbomb, leaving all four men down. Mark and Jacobs fight to the entrance ramp where Jacobs backdrops Mark onto it. They then fight backstage. Jay goes for the Jay Driller on Steen. Steen instead gives him the F-Cinq. Jay kicks out! Steen sets up a table in the ring. Mark appears in the balcony. Jay laces Steen on the table, and Mark dives off the balcony and through Steen on the table! Jacobs emerges with a Spike. Jay ducks the attack. He gives Jacobs the Jay Driller for the pin at 7:55. That dive was absolutely crazy and will be a very memorable ROH moment years down the line. Total craziness and chaos from both teams is what That dive was absolutely crazy and will be a very memorable ROH moment years down the line. Total craziness and chaos from both teams is what you would expect and want, and that’s just what we got. ***1/4
Steen clobbers both Briscoes with the World title post match. Jim Cornette comes out to yell at Steen and Jacobs. Steen is about to give Mark a Package Piledriver when Rhett Titus runs out to save him. Rhett Titus tells them off as they go up the ramp. He wants to rid ROH of scum like them. He then turns to the Briscoes. He recruits them to be on his side in his war against Steen and his army.