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Hammerstein Ballroom – New York City, NY – Friday, April 5, 2013
The show opens with a very detailed video package about the ROH versus SCUM feud. I must say ROH is getting really good with their video packages. Kevin Kelly and Caleb Seltzer are on commentary and run down the major matches.
MATCH #1: Tag Team Challenge Match – ACH & TaDarius Thomas vs. Q.T. Marshall & A Mystery Partner
Marshall makes his way out with Barrister R.D. Evans. The Barrister get on the microphone to introduce the mystery partner. Evans teases some big names before revealing himself as the mystery partner. He takes off his suit and has wrestling gear on underneath. Even Marshall looks surprised.
Evans and Thomas start the match. That doesn’t go so well for Evans so he quickly tags out. Thomas and ACH continue to control the pace with Marshall, which of course is fast and furious. Evans tries to help out but he proves to be ineffective. Marshall and Evans have to use some questionable tactics to take control. After a few minutes Thomas is able to make the tag and ACH is all fired up. Caleb Seltzer kind of sucks on commentary. ACH continues flying around, and even executes a Cloverleaf Giant Swing on Evans into a Cloverleaf proper, and Marshall has to break it up. Both Evans and Marshall get sent to the floor, and ACH wipes out Marshall with a dive. Evans tries a dive on ACH but misses and hits Marshall instead. Thomas then floors Evans and Marshall with a dive. Back in the ring Evans hits ACH with an inverted Styles Clash for two. Marshall and Evans go for a double-team on ACH but Thomas breaks it up. Thomas and ACH hit Marshall with some kicks and ACH finishes him off with ACH’s Big Bang Attack at 9:53. That was a surprisingly hot opener, as Marshall and Evans displayed some solid cheating teamwork, and Thomas and ACH are both absurdly fun to watch. This was a good choice to open.
Shelton Benjamin makes his way out. He was supposed to face Charlie Haas to blow off Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, but Haas was canned the week before, leaving Benjamin with no opponent. Benjamin talks about this on the house mic, making two straight matches starting with a promo to open the show. He calls out Cheeseburger, a student that Haas had brutally attacked back in Cincinnati. Benjamin gives Cheeseburger props for standing up to Haas. All of a sudden, Mike Bennett makes his return after three months off, with both Brutal Bob and Maria Kanellis in tow. Bennett mocks Cheeseburger and is about to announce where he’s going to sign, but before he can Cheeseburger snatches the microphone away. Cheeseburger awkwardly tells the trio to go back to Boston, and gets punched in the mouth for it. Benjamin says he found his match. I didn’t know he got his own booking power.
MATCH #2: Shelton Benjamin vs. Mike Bennett w/ Maria Kanellis
Benjamin takes Bennett out with a punch and catches the Brutal one in a Samoan Drop. They quickly spill to the floor and Benjamin is throwing Bennett all over ringside. Back in the ring Benjamin continues the abuse. Benjamin goes after the leg to wear Bennett down. Bennett is able to come back with a spinebuster and Maria gives him some lovin’. Benjamin quickly fights back with a backbreaker. Both men rise and trade right hands. Benjamin gets the better of it and follows with a flurry of offense. He hits the Blinger Splash and the T-Bone Suplex for two. Bennett catches a charging Benjamin with the Box Office Smash for a near-fall. He hits a running knee in the corner and then tries Go 2 Sleep just to be a jerk, but Benjamin counters into a half crab. Maria gets up on the apron to distract referee Paul Turner and Benjamin, allowing Brutal Bob to take a cheap shot on Benjamin. Bennett goes up top and hits a guillotine legdrop. He pauses to make out with Maria and molest her. Maria continues dancing on the ring apron for some reason, with her back turned. Benjamin backs into her and she thinks it’s Bennett still. Benjamin cops a cheap feel and when Bennett goes for a superkick he misses and hits Maria! That gives Benjamin the chance to hit a superkick and a bridging German Suplex for two. Brutal Bob gets up on the apron and Benjamin knocks him down. Benjamin hits Bennett with a back suplex. He tries a sunset flip but Bennett kneels down and Bob grabs his hands for leverage and Bennett gets the pin at 9:01. That was the usual, but the stuff with Maria was weird and unnecessary. Benjamin has not made an appearance since this.
MATCH #3: Number One Contender’s Match – Jay Lethal vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin
These two start slowly, as a lot is on the line here. The pace quickens and they trade some pinning combinations for a series of near-falls. More back-and-forth wrestling follows, as both guys try to take the first sustained advantage. Lethal hits the hiptoss – cartwheel – dropkick sequence and keeps Elgin on the mat. Elgin comes back with a nice powerslam but only gets one. He puts Lethal in a Crossface and Lethal gets to the ropes. They take the fight to the apron and Lethal kicks Elgin down to the floor. Lethal follows with two straight dives and a Jericho Dropkick, and then a third dive. Back in the ring Lethal hits a Death Valley Driver and goes up top. Elgin stops him and goes up too. They fight on the top rope and Elgin hits the dead lift superplex. That gets a two-count. Both men rise and trade right hands. Elgin wins that battle and hits a Black Hole Slam for two. He thinks about the Buckle Bomb but Lethal backs him into the corner. Elgin recovers and hits a release German Suplex into the turnbuckles. He goes up top for the corkscrew senton but Lethal gets the knees up. Lethal hits the pop-up neckbreaker for a near-fall. He goes up top but can’t connect with anything. Lethal hits the Flatliner and rolls it right into the Koji Clutch. Elgin reaches the ropes. Lethal goes for the Lethal Injection but Elgin catches him and it leads to a series of reversals that ends with Lethal nabbing a victory roll for two. Elgin hits the spinning back fist and the Buckle Bomb but Lethal pops out and his a superkick. Lethal hits another superkick but Elgin shrugs it off and hits one of his own, a kick to the face, and a huge lariat for two. Elgin hits another Buckle Bomb and tries the Elgin Bomb but Lethal counters to a reverse rana! Lethal hits the Lethal Injection and Elgin pops up. Dumb. Lethal hits the Lethal Combination and hits Hail to the King for a near-fall. Both men rise and Lethal puts Elgin on the top rope for a super rana. Elgin counters with a powerbomb. Back on the mat Elgin hits the spinning back fist, the Buckle Bomb, and the Elgin Bomb to get the pin at 19:05. I’m not a huge fan of Elgin no-selling Lethal’s finish, but for the most part this was a really fun back and forth match between two top contenders. Both men looked good here and they kept the crowd with them the whole way.
S.C.U.M. makes their way out and attacks both men just to be jerks. Steve Corino cuts a quick promo about killing Ring of Honor, and he challenges five of their best to come out and face his crew. It doesn’t take long for ROH to respond, and here we go.
MATCH #4: Ten Man Tag Team War – BJ Whitmer, Mark Briscoe, Mike Mondo, Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. Rhett Titus, RHINO, Jimmy Jacobs, Jimmy Rave & Cliff Compton
The fight quickly spills to the floor and there is brawling going on all over the place. Everyone gets their shots in, and then they make it to the ring and SCUM is in control with Mondo isolated in their half of the ring. This goes on for a surprisingly long time, as Mondo gets worn down by all five members of the SCUM team. Finally Mondo makes a hot tag to Whitmer, and the Buzzsaw starts cutting through everyone. Coleman and Alexander take Compton and Titus out with stereo dives. Referee Paul Turner completely loses control and the brawl has resumed. This is a lot like a scramble match, with the legal man rule acting as a mere suggestion to the backdrop of this crazy fight. Steve Corino gets annoyed with Caleb Seltzer on commentary, so he slaps him around and then throws him into the guardrail! Good! Whitmer throws Corino into the ring but Jacobs and RHINO make the save. Titus hits Whitmer with the dropkick and then handcuffs Whitmer to the ropes. Compton throws powder into Mondo’s eyes and RHINO pitches him to the floor. Jacobs spikes Alexander. Coleman comes to the rescue and takes Jacobs out. Coleman hits Rave with a sick piledriver. RHINO grabs Coleman for a belly-to-belly suplex and then rips him in half with the Gore Gore Gore for the pin at 11:16. This was nonstop action from bell to bell, and was super fun all around. A match like this was much more effective in getting SCUM over than having them struggle to beat Grizzly Redwood. Corino promises to take the TV Title and retain the World Title tonight.
Jay Briscoe’s Previous Title Matches
Briscoe has had many unsuccessful shots at the title, including against Xavier at All Star Extravaganza on 11.9.02, Samoa Joe at Tradition Continues on 10.16.03, Joe in a Steel Cage Match at At Our Best on 3.13.04, Takeshi Morishima at A Fight at the Roxbury on 6.8.07, Nigel McGuinness at Chaos at the Cow Palace on 10.21.07, Jerry Lynn at Validation on 5.9.09, and Roderick Strong at Only the Strong Survive on 1.15.11. That makes tonight his eighth shot at the title. This was a really cool addition to the show.
Nigel McGuinness is on commentary to replace the injured Caleb Seltzer.
MATCH #5: Special Attraction – Roderick Strong vs. Karl “Machine Gun” Anderson
They start with some chain wrestling. Back and forth they go in the early going, both men trying to set the pace and take control. Strong hits a leg lariat and starts going to work on the arm. Anderson responds with a dropkick to the knee. He focuses on the injured body part and they go to the floor. Anderson goes for the Ace Cutter on the guardrail but Strong pushes him off. Strong then drops Anderson’s midsection right on the guardrail. Back in the ring Strong covers for two. Strong continues working Anderson over. He uses an Angle Slam; maybe Kurt Angle should Tweet about it. Anderson fights back and they trade chops. Strong lands an enziguiri but then runs right into a spinebuster. That gets two. Strong gets a sunset flip for two and then hits a superkick for a near-fall. He tries the Stronghold but Anderson kicks his way free. They fight on the apron and Anderson hits the Baddest Kick in the World. Anderson goes up top and hits Too Badd for a two-count. He hits a Liger Bomb for two. Strong fights back with the Sick Kick for a near-fall. He hits the Death by Roderick and another Sick Kick but still only gets two. They get up and trace strikes. Anderson hits the Bernard Driver for a near-fall. A series of reversals ends with Anderson hitting an Ace Crusher to get the pin at 12:33. This was good solid work from both guys and their styles meshed well. It wasn’t overly memorable, but both of these guys are just really good. Strong is the perfect guy for anyone making a special appearance in ROH to face.
MATCH #6: World TV Title Elimination Match – Matt Taven vs. Adam Cole vs. Matt Hardy
Taven has been the Champion since 3.2.13, and this is his first defense. He’s accompanied by Truth Martini and Scarlett Bordeaux. Hardy has Steve Corino in his corner. The crowd is NOT enjoying Hardy’s presence, and they certainly don’t care for Corino handling his ring introduction. Cole and Hardy tear into each other and Taven hangs back. When Cole dropkicks Hardy to the floor, that’s when Taven pounces. Cole avoids Taven and wipes Hardy out with a dive. Taven tries a dive but Cole cuts him off with a kick. Cole throws Hardy into the barricades a few times. Taven hits Cole with a Jericho Dropkick as Kevin Kelly calls him nearly 6’4”. I have a hard time believing that. Taven lands a dive this time, taking out both Hardy and Cole. Back in the ring Taven covers Cole for a one-count. While the match goes on, Scarlett goes and sits on Nigel’s lap and distracts the crowd. Meanwhile Hardy has made his way back into the ring and Taven is outside. Hardy hits Cole with the legdrop off the second rope for two. The match actually continues even though the crowd and the commentators are distracted. Cole fights back with punches and an enziguiri. He knocks Taven off the apron and hits Hardy with a Shining Wizard for two. Cole follows up with a Death Valley Neckbreaker for another two-count. He then locks on the Figure-Four Leglock. Taven breaks that up with a Superfly Splash on Cole for two. Hardy grabs Taven in a DDT and Cole pulls Hardy down with a neckbreaker at the same time! That was cool. Cole covers both but can’t pin either. They continue to do more three-way spots and Hardy takes control. Hardy tries a bulldog on Taven but Cole cuts him off with a superkick. Taven rolls Hardy up for two. Cole hits Taven with a vertical suplex into a neckbreaker for two. He takes Hardy up to the top rope and they battle it out. Taven joins them for a Tower of Doom spot. Cole covers Taven for two. Hardy hits Cole with the Side Effect for a two-count. The pace continues to be quick here. Hardy hits Taven with the Twist of Fate and Martini jumps up on the apron to distract the referee. The crowd chants “same old shit.” Cole takes the opportunity to kick Hardy in the nuts and puts him in a small package for the first elimination at 10:05! That was awesome. A furious Corino gets in the ring and Cole is ready to fight, but Corino offers a handshake. That’s interesting. In all the confusion Taven hits Cole with the Bulldog Driver to get the win at 11:27. They packed a lot of action into that, but Taven looked like he could have been anyone out there. I do like the intrigue of Cole and Corino at the end there, but they’ve got to get the TV Title off Taven.
MATCH #7: World Tag Team Title Match – reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs. The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards)
O’Reilly and Fish have been the Champions since 3.2.13, and this is their third defense. Richards and O’Reilly start the match. They go back and forth and get to a quick standoff. Tags are made. Edwards and Richards take control of Fish and start to wear him down. The champs come back on Edwards, but he quickly cuts O’Reilly off and the Wolves are back in control. Momentum continues to shift between the two evenly matched teams. The Champs work on Richards for a bit, and then Edwards gets a hot tag and cleans house. Richards and Edwards send Fish and O’Reilly to the floor and tease dives but get cut off. Back in the ring the Wolves hit dual hurricanranas that send reDRagon back to the floor. This time they hit the dives. Back in the ring the Champions reclaim control and send the Wolves to the floor. Fish hits Richards with a somersault dive and O’Reilly hits Edwards with the Missile Dropkick off the apron. Back in the ring the Champs work on Edwards until he comes back by chopping Fish down and suplexing O’Reilly on top of him. Richards gets the tag and hits a missile dropkick on both opponents. He is a house afire but can’t put anyone away yet. Referee Paul Turner loses control a bit and both the legal man and five second rule goes out the window. The action is getting much too fast to call. O’Reilly and Fish, despite their relative inexperience as a team, are able to match the Wolves in teamwork. O’Reilly almost puts Richards away with a sick Regalplex. The action continues and the crowd is going nuts. After a series of reversals, O’Reilly takes Edwards out with a reverse rana. Fish nails Richards with a kick to the head from the floor and O’Reilly rolls him up with a handful of tights to get the pin at 21:07. They could have cut a few minutes out, as I was thinking this was kind of ho-hum, but the last third of the match or so they really tore it up. The finish was a little cheap but the program is continuing so it makes perfect sense.
MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match – Kevin Steen vs. Jay Briscoe
Steen has been the Champion since 5.12.12, and this is his eighteenth defense. They start off slowly, trying to psyche each other out. Jay has a severely injured shoulder, so that could come into play here. Steen sends Jay to the floor and the fight carries on out there. He tries the powerbomb but Jay backdrops his way out of it. Back in the ring Jay continues going to work. Steen fights back with a DDT for two. Steen gets some offense in but Jay cuts him off with a big boot and a rolling punch. Jay tries to follow up but the Champion wisely throws Jay’s injured shoulder into the ring post. Steen attacks the injured body part now like shark smelling blood in the water. Jay fights back with a modified blockbuster, which looked really cool. Jimmy Jacobs makes his way out to interfere and he gets run off by Jay’s brother Mark. Jay hits a Death Valley Driver for two. He goes up top and Steen battles him there, pulling him down by the shoulder. Steen then hits the Cannonball for a near-fall. Nigel says “that move has knocked me out more than any other,” and I call bullshit on that. They go back to the floor and this time Steen hits the powerbomb on the apron. Steen goes to the top rope and tries the Swanton Bomb but Jay gets his knees up. Jay hits a nasty neckbreaker for two. Rhett Titus and Cliff Compton come out to interfere, and Veda Scott actually holds Compton’s leg to prevent him from interfering! Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander come out to run Titus and Compton to the back. Jay and Steen unload on each other with punches and then hit simultaneous clotheslines. Members of the ROH locker room and the Briscoe family make their way out to ringside to make sure S.C.U.M. doesn’t interfere anymore. Steen hits Jay with the F-Cinq but only gets two. He goes for the Package Piledriver but Jay backdrops his way out of it. Steen is resilient and hits a Sleeper Suplex and then lands the Package Piledriver! Jay kicks out! S.C.U.M. tries to come out but the locker room fights them to the back. Somehow Matt Hardy is able to sneak into the ring. Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate but Steen doesn’t want his help and he pitches him to the floor! Jay then hits the Jay Driller but Steen kicks out at two! He goes for a second Jay Driller but Steen counters into a Crossface. Jay rolls it into a cover for two. They slug it out more and Jay hits a release German Suplex. Jay follows with a lariat and another Jay Driller to score the pin and finally win the World Title at 18:20! That was tremendous stuff with ROH fighting off S.C.U.M. and just good back and forth stuff between two excellent brawlers. It felt like a huge moment and Jay has been a huge part of Ring of Honor and deserved to win the title. It’s too bad he tainted the moment by having his Twitter tantrum a few weeks after this and (apparently?) leaving the company, but at the time this was really cool.
Tags: Jay Briscoe, Kevin Steen, Michael Elgin, Ring of Honor, Supercard of Honor