Dearborn, MI – 1.18.2013
ROH World Champion: Kevin Steen
ROH Television Champion: Adam Cole
ROH World Tag Team Champions: The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.
BJ Whitmer & Rhett Titus vs. Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly
O’Reilly trips Whitmer out of a double knuckle lock for a two count. They each go for the others’ arm. Whitmer shoulder blocks O’Reilly down. O’Reilly monkey flips Whitmer but he lands on his feet. They evade each others’ offense until reaching a stalemate. Fish kicks Titus. Titus charges so Fish takes solace in the corner. He throws some kicks until Titus throws some forearms and takes him down in a side headlock. Fish escapes. Titus snapmares him into a dropkick. O’Reilly jumps in and takes a dropkick right away. Titus tope con hilo’s onto them as they recover on the floor. O’Reilly knees Titus in the back as he hits the ropes. He knocks O’Reilly to the mat, but that distraction enables Fish to get in a kick and a suplex for two. Fish and O’Reilly isolate Titus and work over his mid-section while keeping Whitmer at bay. He does manage to break up a pin at one point however. Titus ends up avoiding a splash from Fish and driving him face first into the middle turnbuckle. Whitmer tags in and cleans house. He gives O’Reilly a spinebuster for two. He strings a pair of suplexes together for another two count. A Golden Gate Swing leads to a fisherman’s suplex. O’Reilly kicks out of that as well. Fish saves him from taking the exploder suplex. Whitmer gives it to Fish instead. O’Reilly rolls up Whitmer and holds the tights for two. Whitmer boots O’Reilly into Titus’ Thrust Buster. O’Reilly again kicks out. Fish elbows Titus in the corner and dropkicks Whitmer to the floor. O’Reilly comes off the apron and dropkicks Whitmer into the barricades. Titus boots Fish into a lariat. O’Reilly breaks the cover. Fish and O’Reilly throw a series of kicks at Titus. Fish kicks him into O’Reilly’s brainbuster for the pin at 12:50. Both of these teams got a chance to shine through and establish themselves as units. The action was fun to follow and got the crowd heated up. Not a bad way to kick of 2013. **3/4
Jay Lethal vs. Steve Corino
This is a grudge match due to Corino attacking Lethal after his match with Rhino at “Final Battle 2012.” He tries talking some sense into Lethal before talking trash about his mother. This angers Lethal who throws punches. Corino hits the floor. Lethal suicide dives after him and throws him into the barricades. Corino kicks Lethal low behind referee Brian Gorie’s back. He punches and elbows Lethal in the corner. Lethal comes back with his own strikes. Corino knees him in the stomach and drops him with the Colby Shock. Lethal ducks a few clotheslines but gets caught with a sleeper hold. He manages to escape and hit a springboard dropkick. A back handspring elbow gets him a two count. He crotches Corino in the corner and kicks him in the back of the head. Corino grabs the ropes to break the pin. Lethal goes for the Lethal Injection. Corino catches him with a Saito suplex and gets two. He knocks down Lethal with a clothesline. A sliding variation gets another two count. Lethal comes back with the Lethal Combination. Corino kicks out. Lethal goes for Hail to the King (his top rope elbow) but Corino follows him up. Lethal goes for a Sunset Bomb. Corino blocks it but eats a superkick. The Lethal Injection and Hail to the King put him down at 8:06. For as much as the Northeast fans don’t seem to buy Lethal as an ROH World Championship contender, this crowd was really into him. I think this was a helpful way to build his credibility. I like Lethal putting down members of S.C.U.M. on his way to challenging Steen and they put together a fairly entertaining match in the process. **1/2
Steve Corino makes a threat to McGuinness who is doing commentary. He heads to the back to diffuse the situation.
Roderick Strong vs. Silas Young
Truth Martini joins commentary, replacing Nigel. An intense lock-up is broken in the corner. Strong breaks out of a headscissors. Young then uses his legs to push out of a wristlock. Strong fakes a chop after bringing him to the corner. Young shoves him. Strong slaps him in the face and throws some chops. Young shoulder blocks him down but Strong comes right back with a leg lariat. He throws more chops. Young sends Strong to the apron. Strong tries to suplex him to the floor. When that fails he gets two with an O’Conner Roll. Young ducks a rolling elbow and drives Strong’s face into his knee. He throws his knee into Strong’s face a couple more times. He gets two with a fisherman’s buster. He sets up for the Pee Gee Waja Plunge. Strong slides off his shoulders and nails a dropkick. A running knee strike and a uranage backbreaker earn Strong a two count. He knees Young to the floor and pescados after him. Back in the ring Young hot shots Strong into a roll-up. Strong kicks out and knees Young in the face. Young fights off a superplex. He misses a boot and fights off the Strong Hold. He strings together a backbreaker and short-arm lariat for two. Young can’t complete the Plunge. Strong gives him Death by Roderick and the Sick Kick for the pin at 12:16. Young has the potential to be a strong full time heel with more performances like this. Strong is a really good guy to “test” newer guys, becaue most of the time he’s a good gauge for whether or not they have what it takes. It happened with Tadarius Thomas back in July and happened with Young here too. Between this match and his match with Elgin, I think Young has earned a place in ROH. ***
ROH World Championship
Kevin Steen vs. Tadarius Thomas
Steen pulls Thomas into a clothesline after shaking his hand. He throws some strikes in the corner and stands on Thomas’ throat. Thomas throws some forearms on the floor. Steen blocks being whipped into the barricades and instead sends Thomas into them multiple times. Steen jaw jacks with some fans, allowing Thomas to send him hip first into the barricades. Steen rams his back and crotch into the ring post. He mocks Thomas back in the by rolling around and kicking him in the leg. Thomas blocks an Irish whip with a cartwheel kick. Steen sends him to the apron and gives him a rope assisted DDT. He runs the ropes but ends up applying a chinlock. Thomas escapes and kicks Steen to the corner. Steen kicks his legs out and heads up top. Thomas throws some strikes to stop his momentum. Steen bites Thomas to send him back to the mat. He goes for a Swanton but Thomas gets his knees up. He kicks Steen in the face and hooks his arms for a Tiger suplex. Steen escapes but gets caught with a rope assisted face kick. Thomas gets two with a high crossbody. Steen delivers a boot. Thomas drops him with the Sling Blade for two. Steen goes for the F-Cinq. Thomas slips out. Steen catches him with a pop-up powerbomb for two. Thomas throws some kicks from the apron and successfully pulls off the Tiger suplex. Steen kicks out in the nick of time. He drops Thomas hamstring first onto the top rope before hitting the F-Cinq. Thomas kicks out. He busts out the Package Piledriver for the pin at 10:33. The only thing missing from his match was the crowd buying Thomas as a legitimate threat. That’s one of the unfortunate side effects of every singles match Steen is in being for the title. Otherwise, both guys worked hard and put on a really good match. Thomas is poised to be a star. ***
Trey Miguel vs. Brent Daniels
As these two are feeling each other out, Charlie Haas appears ringside and grabs a microphone. He bad mouths the guys in the ring and throws beer on referee Brian Gorie. He shoots his mouth off, throws more beer, and flips off the fans. He challenges both Miguel and Daniels to wrestle him.
Charlie Haas vs. Trey Miguel & Brent Daniels
Haas beats them both down. Miguel and Daniels each get in a dropkick but are suplexed overhead quickly after. Haas slams them down side by side, then submits them both in stereo Haas of Pains at 1:16. That sure was something. N/R
Proving Ground Match
Adam Cole vs. Jimmy Jacobs
If Jacobs wins the match or is able to last the time limit with Cole, he will earn a shot at the Television Championship. Nigel is back on commentary and Steve Corino has joined him. After a lock-up goes to the corner, Jacobs armdrags Cole to the middle of the ring. He controls Cole by his arms while digging his feet into his shoulders. Jacobs puts him in an abdominal stretch which Cole hip tosses out of. He snaps off some armdrags and gets two with an Oklahoma Roll. Jacobs goes for a leapfrog but Cole catches him with an atomic drop. He gives Jacobs a neckbreaker and a dropkick. Jacobs sends him to the floor. Cole tries skinning the cat before Jacobs dropkicks him to the floor. He throws Cole into the barricades. Pinfalls are exchanged back in the ring. Jacobs applies the Rings of Saturn. He floats over into a suplex for two. He gives him a belly-to-back suplex. He verbally berates Cole before biting him. Cole bicycle kicks Jacobs to the floor and pescados onto him. In the ring Cole nails an enzuigiri and a Shining Wizard for two. He also gets two with a dropkick from the second rope. Jacobs evades the figure four leg lock. He leaps back off the second rope with an Ace Crusher for two. Cole holds the ropes to avoid a super Frankensteiner. He also avoids a springback Ace Crusher with a back cracker. He gives Jacobs a neckbreaker across his knee for two. Jacobs goes for the End Time. Cole shoves him off and superkicks him. Jacobs then successfully applies the End Time. Cole flips forward but Jacobs re-applies it. He drives Jacobs into the corner. Jacobs goes for it again. Cole turns it into a brainbuster across his knee, but Jacobs kicks out. Cole goes for the Florida Key. Jacobs brings them to the apron and gives him the Contra Code onto it! They both make it back into the ring right before the 20 count. Jacobs anxiously heads up top. He connects with a senton splash for two. He headbutts Cole while applying a cravate. He goes for the Contra Code. Cole drops him face first on the top rope. Jacobs rolls through a Florida Key. Cole superkicks Jacobs, Jacobs spears him, and both men are down. They trade strikes when they get to their feet. Cole superkicks Jacobs to block a spear. He hits the Florida Key for the pin at 18:20. That was awesome. Cole proved why he is one of the best in ROH today and Jacobs showed just how good he is when the opportunity presents itself. The action was hot, the fans were into all the nearfalls, and they kept finding clever ways to out maneuver one another. We’re just one show into 2013 and we already have ourselves a sleeper hit of the year. ****
Michael Elgin vs. Rhino
This is a rematch from “Survival of the Fittest 2012.” Rhino gets himself over with his hometown crowd before the bell. Elgin cleanly breaks a lock up. They each try to suplex the other. Rhino ends up winning that battle. He sets up for the Gore. Elgin evades it and sends Rhino to the floor. He dropkicks him into the barricades and comes to the floor himself. They fight amongst the crowd and around the arena. Rhino has control for the majority of the time spent out there, using a trash bin and throwing Elgin face first into a chair. Ringside Elgin shoves Rhino into the barricades and jams a chair into his mid-section. He slingshots in with a back elbow for two. He drives his knee into Rhino’s stomach. Elgin misses a tumbleweed senton from the top rope. Rhino belly-to-belly suplexes Elgin out of the corner. Elgin applies a crossface. Rhino gets the ropes. He shoves Elgin away to avoid being suplexed in from the apron. He superplexes Elgin for two. They trade forearms. Elgin nails an enzuigiri. He deadlifts Rhino into a German suplex for two. Rhino elbows Elgin as he comes charging. He turns him inside out with a clothesline before positioning himself for the Gore. Rhino nails it but Elgin manages to kick out. He goes for another Gore. Elgin blocks it with a forearm. When Rhino blocks the Revolution Bomb, Elgin takes him down in the Crossface. Rhino taps out at 14:53. This was a step above their Survival of the Fittest match for a few reasons. It didn’t have the House of Truth interference, they had more time, the crowd was more invested, and they did a better job teasing both the Gore and Crossface making the ending stretch more fun to watch. Of course, seeing two fairly agile big men beat each other up is usually a good time anyways. ***1/4
ROH World Tag Team Championship
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards)
Richards and Mark look for control. They exchange shoulder blocks without budging. Armdrags are also exchanged. They duck each others’ offense and stand-off. Edwards and Jay wrestle to a stalemate as well. They vie for position in a double knuckle lock. Jay ends up stomping Edwards’ chest. Edwards pulls Jay to the corner so Richards can tag in. The Wolves double back elbow him and Richards boots Mark. The Wolves stretch Jay out. Jay ducks Edwards’ clothesline and Mark comes in with a springboard clothesline. He gets two with a brainbuster. The Briscoes pummel Edwards as Richards looks on. Edwards avoids a double backdrop and suplexes Jay onto Mark. Richards lights up The Briscoes with non-stop kicks to the chest. Jay boots him in the face, but Richards comes right back with the Damage Reflex for two. He puts on the Trailer Hitch. Mark kicks Richards to try to break it, but Richards puts him in an ankle lock. He releases both holds. Edwards sends Jay into the barricades and yakuza kicks him. Jay is once again trapped by the Wolves. Jay escapes fairly quickly and tags in Mark who delivers some Redneck Kung Fu. He gives Richards a uranage suplex and Edwards a rolling Death Valley Driver. Edwards superkicks Mark. He suplexes him inside out before Richards missile dropkicks him. Jay breaks the pin. Richards puts Mark in a Muta Lock until Jay breaks it. Edwards does more damage to his legs. Mark gets his feet up to block a diving headbutt. Richards gives him a German suplex and Mark responds with another uranage suplex. Jay tags in. He drops Edwards in the Uncle Slam and does the deal with a Falcon Arrow, but only earns a two count. Edwards blocks the Jay Driller and boots Jay. Jay drills him with a forearm. Richards breaks the pin. Jay superkicks him to the floor. He gives Edwards a Death Valley Driver. Mark hits the Froggy Bow for two. They call for the Doomsday Device. Richards superplexes Mark to put that to a halt. Edwards and Jay boot each other silly. Jay takes him down with a lariat. Edwards blocks the Jay Driller and stomps him. Mark Jon Woo dropkicks him to the corner. The Wolves kick The Briscoes off of the apron and suicide dive after them. They double stomp Jay back in the ring. When he kicks out of the pin, Edwards puts on the Achilles Lock. Mark comes in and gets put in a knee bar from Richards. They both get the ropes. The Wolves set Jay up for the Doomsday Device. Mark shoves Richards through the commentary table! The Briscoes then hit the Doomsday Device on Edwards for two, though the bell rings by accident. The Jay Driller however puts him down at 24:16. That was about as good, if not better, than all of their 2010 encounters. Just like those matches, selling and storytelling came and went, but it was still an enjoyable, exciting match by the end of it so I’d chalk it up as a success. ***3/4
Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish are shown sneering in scarves from the aisleway.