For an easy to navigate archive of my ROH reviews, just Click Right Here!
Cincinnati Masonic Center – Cincinnati, Ohio – February 17, 2012
Backstage – Veda Scott is with Adam Cole, who is facing Michael Elgin in the opening match. He’s had a few weeks to prepare for this match and he promises that he is ready.
Kevin Kelly is on commentary.
MATCH #1: Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin
Elgin is accompanied by Truth Martini. He asserts his power advantage early on and Cole has to regroup. Cole hits a headscissors off the second rope that sends Elgin to the floor, and he follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Cole goes up top and Martini distracts him, allowing Elgin to back suplex Cole into the turnbuckles. Now Elgin is in complete control and he commences to wearing Cole down. Elgin dominates using his impressive strength until Cole fights back with a slingshot DDT onto the ring apron. Cole gets back into the ring with a cross body block off the top rope for a two-count. They trade strikes and Elgin wins that battle with a big clothesline for two. Elgin goes for a powerbomb but Cole avoids it and goes to the top rope and is able to hit a sunset bomb. Cole charges at Elgin but runs right into a Buckle Bomb. Elgin follows with the Spiral Bomb for the win at 8:03. Cole always finds a way to look good losing, and he has good chemistry with Elgin. These two won’t be wrestling each other in the opening match by the end of this year I can promise that.
Backstage – Veda Scott is with “The Psychedelic Superstar” Chris Silvio and Sean Casey, who look like generic Indy guys.
Elsewhere – Veda Scott gets a word with Shiloh Jonze and Rudy Switchblade, who promise to Rise to the occasion and Prove that they belong in ROH.
MATCH #2: Rise and Prove Tournament Match – Shiloh Jonze & Rudy Switchblade vs. Sean Casey & Chris Silvio
Silvio is definitely ripping off Superstar Billy Graham. He starts the match with Jonze. They exchange holds and both kip up at the same to polite applause. Jonze lands a hard chop and makes the tag. Switchblade goes to work on Silvio, but runs into a boot in the corner. Casey tags in but Switchblade takes over and brings Jonze back in. Switchblade and Jonze control both of their opponents, thwarting all their attacks and dumping them both to the floor. Jonze follows them out with a huge dive off the top rope. Back in the ring Jonze goes up top but Casey pushes him down and Silvio covers for two. Casey and Silvio get a brief bit of offense in on Jonze before Switchblade gets the hot tag. The referee loses control and bodies are flying all over the place. Switchblade hits Silvio with a Frog Splash to get the pin at 7:51. Everyone worked hard to impress, but I wouldn’t book Casey or Silvio again. Jonze and Switchblade looked solid, so at least the right team went over.
Backstage – Veda Scott is with Alabama Attitude, Corey Hollis and Mike Posey, who have wrestled in ROH before. They vow to prove that they belong in ROH.
Elsewhere – Veda gets a word with Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls, who promise to defeat Alabama Attitude and win the tournament.
MATCH #3: Rise and Prove Tournament Match – Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls vs. Alabama Attitude
Haste and Nicholls, who are from Australia, cut a promo on Cincinnati, saying they can’t wait to win the tournament and get out of there. Haste and Hollis start the match with some mat wrestling. Hollis gets the better of it and makes the tag. Posey takes Haste down and hits a mini enziguiri for two. Nicholls tags himself in after Haste stumbles into the corner. The momentum completely changes, as Nicholls grounds Posey and works him over. He tags Haste back in and they show some great teamwork in isolating Posey in their half of the ring. This goes on for several minutes and things don’t look good for the Alabama duo. Finally Posey comes back with a neckbreaker and he makes the hot tag. Hollis is on fire, throwing dropkicks and suplexes all over the place. He hits Haste with a front suplex and a diving European Uppercut for two. Hollis tries a tornado DDT but Haste counters it with a headscissors and a huge lariat. Nicholls makes the tag and hits a Blue Thunder Driver for two. Hollis comes back and makes the tag to Posey, who hits a slingshot legdrop for two. Posey continues the offense and then the referee loses control. Hollis sends Haste to the floor and follows him out with a headscissors. He hits Nicholls with a nasty Asai DDT and Posey follows with the Alabama Jam for two. Nicholls and Haste reverse the momentum and take Hollis out, leaving Posey prey to an Au Revoir for the win at 10:42. That was a bit of a surprise, as both teams looked great here. The action never stopped and they both looked strong.
Backstage – Veda Scott is with Eddie Edwards, who says the House of Truth has been a thorn in his side for the last year. Tonight is No Holds Barred with Roderick Strong, and if anyone wants to interfere that’s okay because Edwards has someone watching his back.
MATCH #4: No Holds Barred Match – Eddie Edwards vs. Roderick Strong
Strong is accompanied by Truth Martini. Before the match can start, Jim Cornette makes his way out and declares that Martini will be handcuffed to the ring post for this match! Strong attacks right away and the brawl is on. They quickly spill to the floor and Edwards takes control. Strong fights back and drops Edwards back-first on the ring frame. Back in the ring Strong gets a two-count. Edwards fights back but Strong cuts him off and goes to work on the arm. Strong tries to use the Book of Truth but Edwards avoids it, only to get hit with a dropkick for two. They go back to the floor and Edwards bodyslams Strong on the entrance ramp. Edwards sets Strong on a table but gets distracted by Martini and Strong resumes control. Even with Martini handcuffed he’s able to interfere, as Strong drags Edwards over and holds him for his manager to get a few shots in. Strong hurls Edwards into the barricade and continues the abuse. He picks Edwards up and drops him chest-first on the barricade. Edwards recovers rather quickly and hits a moonsault off the ring apron. Back in the ring Edwards hits the backpack chinbreaker for two. Edwards sets up a chair and goes for the Die Hard but Strong counters it and drops Edwards nuts-first on the chair for a two-count. Strong tries the Gutbuster but Edwards counters with a hurricanrana and they slug it out. Moments later Strong lands the gutbuster and gets a two-count. Strong drops Edwards chest-first on the chair and gets two again. He sets up chairs in the corners but it backfires as Edwards avoids a charge and sends Strong face-first into one of the chairs. Edwards sets up the Tree of Woe and hits a dropkick. He follows with a chair-assisted dropkick and then a double stomp off the top rope for a near-fall. They take the fight up top and Edwards knocks Strong down and tries a double stomp but Strong moves and sweeps Edwards’s legs for a nasty bump off the ring apron. Back in the ring Edwards is somehow able to kick out at two. Strong sets up a table outside the ring and tries a Gibson Driver off the apron but Edwards avoids it and they trade kicks. Referee Todd Sinclair gets in the way and gets kicked in the face. Edwards gets Strong on the table and follows him down with a double stomp off the top rope to break the table. Back in the ring Edwards covers but there’s no one there to count. Michael Elgin comes running out and Adam Cole is right behind him. Cole takes Elgin out to the floor and then hits a dive. Martini is able to grab the key from Sinclair and he frees himself. He grabs the Book and Edwards gets distracted by him. Edwards hits a superkick to send Martini to the floor, but then turns around and gets waffled by the Book of Truth and Strong covers for the win at 17:31. These two have fought so many times and they have good chemistry. This was a step below some of their prior matches, mostly because the finish was a bit overdone. Why overbook a match that already has no disqualifications with referee bumps and run-ins.
Backstage – Veda Scott gets a word with Samson Walker, who tells his opponent Mike Mondo that lifting weights doesn’t make you a tough guy, but watching your little brothers go to bed hungry or your mom cry because she can’t pay a bill does. Mike Mondo doesn’t even know, at least according to Samson Walker.
Elsewhere – The House of Truth is celebrating their dominance tonight, with victories over Adam Cole and Eddie Edwards under their belts.
MATCH #5: Mike Mondo vs. Samson Walker
Walker dominates early on with his power, as Mondo can’t figure out what to do with him. Mondo gives it a game effort but Walker just bowls him over, clotheslining him off the apron and to the floor. Back in the ring Mondo pulls the referee in front of him and is able to gain his first advantage. Mike Mondo on offense is about as exciting as it sounds. He uses his wrist tape to choke his much larger opponent, all behind the referee’s back. After what seems like forever Walker comes back and hits a big knee drop for two. Walker misses a charge in the corner and Mondo rolls him up with his feet on the ropes to get the pin at 7:23. Referee Todd Sinclair shows up and tells the original referee that Mondo used the ropes. The original referee then restarts the match and Walker hits a spinebuster to get the pin in about 15 seconds, or 7:38 total. I don’t know why ROH books either of these guys, and then gives them such a stupid finish on top of a boring match.
MATCH #6: Rise and Prove Tournament Final – Shiloh Jonze & Rudy Switchblade vs. Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls
Haste and Nicholls attack right away, sending Jonze to the floor. They double-team Switchblade and isolate him in their half of the ring. That doesn’t last too long before Jonze gets the hot tag and he’s all over Haste. Nicholls grabs Jonze’s leg from the floor to trip him up, and that gives his team the advantage again. Haste and Nicholls isolate Jonze and use legal and illegal double-team maneuvers to keep him down. Eventually Jonze makes the hot tag and Switchblade is a house afire. Haste cuts him off and hits a flying knee to the chest for two. Nicholls tags in and he trades forearms with Switchblade, who gets the better of it. Switchblade hits a chinbreaker and Jonze follows with a neckbreaker for two. The referee loses control and there are bodies flying everywhere. Nicholls hits a running powerslam on Jonze. Haste wipes out on an attempted Cannonball in the corner. Jonze hits Nicholls with an enziguiri. Switchblade follows with a Frog Splash for two. Jonze tries a dive to the floor but Haste avoids it. While the referee is looking elsewhere, Nicholls blatantly kicks Switchblade in the junk. Haste and Nicholls follow with the Au Revoir to get the pin and win the tournament at 8:55. The right team definitely won the tournament, and I’d say it turned out a bit better than I anticipated it being when I first heard these matches announced.
Backstage – Veda Scott is with BJ Whitmer, who makes his return to ROH after a four-year absence. He thinks it’s a bit silly that he has to be in a Proving Ground match after his history in ROH, but he then decides not to complain about it. Whitmer tells Lethal that it’s just business, nothing personal.
Elsewhere – Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls brag about their victory in the tournament, and tell the Briscoes that they’re coming for them.
MATCH #7: Proving Ground Match – Jay Lethal vs. BJ Whitmer
Whitmer is in phenomenal shape, by the way. They wrestle back and forth in the early going to establish that Whitmer is worthy of returning to ROH competition. Things get heated and they trade chops. Whitmer wins that battle but Lethal fights back with the hiptoss/dropkick combination for a one-count. Lethal hits a Russian Legsweep and then locks on a version of the Koji Clutch. Whitmer reaches the ropes. Lethal channels Randy Savage by clotheslining Whitmer’s neck across the top rope. He goes up top and hits the flying axe handle for two. Lethal hits the Chris Jericho springboard dropkick and signals for a dive but Whitmer cuts him off with a big boot to the face, sending the TV Champion to the floor. Whitmer follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Whitmer wears Lethal down, keeping him on the mat. Lethal tries to fire up but Whitmer cuts him off with an exploder for two. Whitmer follows up with a belly-to-back suplex for two. Ten minutes have gone by as Whitmer is in complete control. Lethal fights back with a nice leg lariat off the second rope. Both men make it back to their feet at the count of eight and start trading strikes. Lethal gets the better of it and unleashes a flurry of offense. He hits the handspring back elbow for a two-count. Lethal follows with the Lethal Combination for another two-count. Whitmer fights back with chops and a high knee. He hits a vertical suplex into a Northern Lights Suplex with abridge for two. Lethal hits a superkick, an enziguiri, and another superkick to take Whitmer off his feet. He hits Hail to the King but Whitmer kicks out! Whitmer comes back with a Perfect-Plex for two as there is one minute remaining. Lethal is able to hit the Lethal Injection to get the pin and deny Whitmer a title shot at 14:32. Whitmer looked great and should definitely be brought back. Lethal continue his streak of good matches with everyone. I was very against taking the title off El Generico so fast, but Lethal has put together a very good reign.
Backstage – Jay Lethal is reflecting on tonight’s match. He puts over Whitmer’s effort tonight, but admits that he is more focused on Tommaso Ciampa.
MATCH #8: ROH World Tag Team Championship Match – The Briscoes vs. Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly
The Briscoes have been the Champions since 12.23.11, and this is their third defense. Richards and O’Reilly earned this shot by beating Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin at ROH Underground in January. Mark and O’Reilly start the match, but before anything can happen Richards tags himself in. Richards and Mark go back and forth briefly before making tags. O’Reilly schools Jay and then tags out. Jay and Richards mat wrestle and Richards gets the better of it. Tags are made again and things get heated between Mark and O’Reilly. Richards tags back in and the Briscoes use some double-team moves to take the advantage. The fight spills to the floor and that’s where the Briscoes really take an advantage, whipping the challengers into the ring post and barricades. Back in the ring the champions continue to work on Richards, keeping him isolated in their half of the ring. Richards fights back with an enziguiri and makes the tag. O’Reilly hits Mark with two butterfly suplexes and Mark counters with a series of Northern Lights suplexes, but O’Reilly catches Mark with a cross armbreaker on the mat. Mark reaches the ropes. O’Reilly tries to focus on the arm but Jay makes a blind tag and clobbers him with a clothesline. Jay knocks Richards off the apron as well just for fun. The Briscoes continue to work on O’Reilly and Mark knocks Richards off the apron again. O’Reilly gamely fights back and executes a double dragon screw leg whip. That sends Mark to the floor. Richards illegally enters the ring and clobbers Jay and then dives to the floor to wipe Mark out. Meanwhile O’Reilly hits Jay with a missile dropkick for two. O’Reilly follows up with a DDT for another two-count.
Richards gets back in the ring and hits Jay with the Alarm Clock and O’Reilly clobbers him with a clothesline. O’Reilly then hits a Dragon Suplex for two when Mark breaks it up. Mark sends Richards to the floor. Jay grabs O’Reilly in a Death Valley Driver. The referee has no control of the match whatsoever. Mark hits O’Reilly with the Iconoclasm for two. The Briscoes set O’Reilly up for the Doomsday Device but Richards breaks it up. Team Ambition lock the Briscoes in dueling submission holds but the brothers are able to break them. All four men start kicking each other in the face and the crowd loves it. They knock each other out and all four men are down. Back on their feet Richards and Jay become the legal men. Richards puts on a cross armbreaker and then turns it into the Ankle Lock. He drills Jay with a kick to the chest and then goes to the ring apron to give one to Mark as well. Richards goes to the top rope and hits a double stomp for a two-count. Meanwhile O’Reilly hits Mark with the dropkick off the apron. Richards hits Jay with a knockout kick but it only gets two. O’Reilly tags in and hits a belly-to-back superplex but Jay kicks out. Richards gets back in the ring and Team Ambition hits a kick to the head/brainbuster combination for two. O’Reilly hooks Jay in a guillotine choke but Jay counters it with a Falcon Arrow. Mark then lands the Froggy ‘Bow and Jay covers for a two-count. The Briscoes hit O’Reilly with the Doomsday Device to get the pin at 21:31. There wasn’t much in the way of selling or a story, but these four kicked the crap out of each other for 20 minutes and the crowd was into it so it was quite a bit of fun.
PS – Don’t think for one second that Richards doesn’t cut his customary post-match promo. Does he have it in his contract that he gets to do that after every match?
Backstage – The Briscoes reflect on their victory in their usual style.
The Pulse: The tournament worked out pretty well, the last two matches finish the show strong, the opener is good and the No Holds Barred match is fun, so Rise & Prove is definitely worth taking a look at. I don’t think anything from this show will have long-term repercussions but on its own it’s a good show and a breeze to get through. You can purchase this show at the ROH Store.