Inside Pulse 12

A2Z Analysiz: ROH Supercard of Honor VIII (Adam Cole, Jay Briscoe)

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John A. Alario Sr. Event Center – Westwego, LA – Friday, April 4, 2014

Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino, and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary.

MATCH #1: One on One – “Mr. ROH” Roderick Strong vs. Cedric Alexander

Strong has Jimmy Jacobs, BJ Whitmer, and Adam Page in his corner. They start with some chain wrestling and things get heated very quickly. Alexander lands a nice dropkick but Strong is quick to cut him off. Strong dominates Alexander and keeps him grounded, always good strategy against a high flyer. After several minutes Alexander fights back and lands a slingshot DDT for a near-fall. Alexander hits a face plant for another two-count. Strong comes back with a kitchen sink and the Olympic Slam for two. He hits a couple of strikes and tries a half-nelson backbreaker but Alexander counters with a crucifix for a near-fall. Strong catches a boot in this corner and this time hits the backbreaker for two. Both men rise and trade chops. Strong hits a knee strike and the gutbuster for a near-fall. A series of reversals ends with Alexander hitting the 540 Kick. Alexander hits an IED and then has to knock Page and Jacobs off the apron and hit Strong with Kick to Kill. He then takes Page and Whitmer out with a dive to the floor. Back in the ring Alexander tries a springboard but Strong cuts him out of the air with a dropkick. Strong hits End of Heartache to get the pin at 10:28. Great showing for Cedric Alexander right there, and the loss leaves the door open for a rematch. That was a perfect match to open the show with for setting the tone.
Rating ***¼

MATCH #2: Six Man Tag Team Match – The Decade vs. Andrew Everett & Adrenaline RUSH

Jimmy Jacobs, BJ Whitmer, and Adam Page are representing the Decade here. This is under scramble rules. ACH gets a little cocky before the bell even rings because the Decade won’t shake his hand and Jacobs pulls out the spike! Boy he just has that thing ready to go doesn’t he? TaDarius Thomas starts the match with Jacobs, but ACH blind tags himself it before any contact is made. Jacobs follows suit and tags Page in to the match. ACH and Page go back and forth at a rapid pace and trade maneuvers until they end up at a standoff. Whitmer tags in and ACH quickly sends him to the floor. Jacobs comes in and Thomas joins him. Thomas shows off his unique offense on Jacobs while Whitmer and ACH fight on the floor. Jacobs tosses Thomas to the floor and Everett comes right in. Everett shows off his high-flying abilities that send Jacobs outside. Page comes in and the pace stays quite fast. Everett sends Page to the floor and signals for a dive but Whitmer sweeps his leg out from under him. Thomas and Jacobs get back in the ring but Thomas quickly springboard moonsaults his way to the floor to wipe out Whitmer and Page. ACH interjects himself and Whitmer puts him on his shoulders. Jacobs comes through with a Doomsday Suicide Dive to take ACH out and everyone else with him. Back in the ring the Decade team isolates ACH. After several minutes ACH is able to send Whitmer to the floor and take him out with an insane dive. Thomas and Jacobs take over in the ring and Thomas uses his unusual kicks and a release Tiger Suplex to send Jacobs out. The pace quickens once again and the legal man changes often. Everett goes for a springboard maneuver but slips. That doesn’t stop Everett from hitting Page with a moonsault press. Page rolls out and Whitmer comes in. Everett takes everyone out on the floor with a springboard shooting star press and then goes back into the ring with another one on Whitmer for a two-count. He charges and Whitmer sends him to the floor, taking out a photographer on the way. Thomas tries to come in but Whitmer destroys him with a lariat. Jacobs and Whitmer then hit Thomas with the All-Seeing Eye to get the win at 10:15. That was a really fun scramble, with non-stop action and just enough high-flying moves to not be a ridiculous spot-fest. The Decade looks like a stellar unit with two big wins on tonight’s show.
Rating: ***

Jacobs looks to use his spike on Thomas while ACH lays on the floor, seeing nothing. That doesn’t really lend itself to any drama if ACH doesn’t know what’s happening.

MATCH #3: Grudge Match – Matt Taven vs. Truth Martini’s Surprise

Taven is scheduled to face a mystery opponent, the newest member of Truth Martini’s House of Truth. Martini makes his way out solo and announces that Kevin Kelly is the mystery opponent. Kelly of course says that he’s not. Taven looks irritated. Martini reads from the Book of Truth, and Taven takes it from him and reads his own version. When Taven opens the book it glows for a second, and that’s enough of a distraction for Martini to kick Taven in the groin. Boy if they were attempting to make Taven look like a giant doofus and a pussy they sure succeeded with flying colors.

MATCH #3: “Last Real Man” Silas Young vs. R.D. Evans w/ Veda Scott

Evans has Ramon with him as well. Young is in no mood for shenanigans and takes it to Evans right from the bell. Veda interferes early on, as does Ramon. That’s a lot of distraction for Young to deal with. It allows Evans to take him out with a flying forearm off the apron. Back in the ring Evans goes up top and Young slams him down to the mat. Young works Evans over, but the former Barrister is able to withstand the punishment and make a comeback. Evans gets a surprising amount of offense in, until he misses a splash from the top rope. Young hits the Killer Combo for a near-fall. The crowd irritates Young by chanting “You Can’t Beat Him.” They fight out to the apron and Young shoves Evans into the ring post and then hits an Electric Chair! Wow, that seems really dangerous. Somehow Evans is able to make it back to the ring before the count of 20. Evans gets a quick inside cradle on a frustrated Young for two. Veda gets on the apron to distract and Ramon gives Evans his belt. Young gets control of the belt and accidentally hits Turner in the face with it. Evans hits a neckbreaker and gets a visual pin for some reason. Young hits the Finlay Roll into the Pee Gee Waja Plunge and a new referee comes out to count the pin at 10:57. But wait! Original referee Paul Turner comes to and declares Evans the winner by disqualification, so The Streak continues! Evans’ little comedy gimmick is fine for something different, but this made Young look pretty foolish, as he was both outsmarted and at one point visually pinned by someone he should be able to beat.
Rating: **

MATCH #4: No Disqualification – Mark Briscoe vs. Michael Bennett w/ Maria Kanellis

Mark leaps off the apron to wipe Bennett out before he can even get in the ring! They quickly head inside and Mark is dominating. The tide turns when Mark charges into the corner and Bennett backdrops him to the floor. Bennett comes off the apron with a clothesline. They fight their way through the crowd and Bennett goes for a piledriver but Mark backdrops his way out of it. Mark flies around and they head back to ringside, where Bennett throws a chair at Mark’s head, and then does it again. Back in the ring Bennett stays in control, using the chair as an effective weapon. Bennett hits a spinebuster and then charges but Mark avoids him and Bennett crashes into a steel chair. Back to the arena floor Mark hits a Cactus Elbow, and then rolls Bennett back in for a near-fall. They go to the floor again and Mark brings Bennett up the ramp. Bennett is able to spear Mark off the stage and through a conveniently placed table. They make their way back to the ring and Mark finds a kendo stick. Maria gets in the ring to stand in front of her man but Bennett shoves her aside and says bring it! Mark does just that, drilling Bennett between the eyes with the stick. Maria grabs the stick and rips it away. That allows Bennett to hit a superkick, and Maria adds a shot with the stick. Bennett hits the Box Office Smash and then sets Mark’s neck inside a steel chair. He hits a one man Con-Chair-Toe. Instead of going for the pin he locks on the Go Back to Japan to get the win at 9:57. That was a fun hardcore brawl that was done right and had a good finish. This made Bennett look good and I’m all for that.
Rating: ***

Nigel McGuinness replaces Steve Corino on commentary for the second half of the show.

MATCH #5: Number One Contender’s for the ROH World Tag Team Championship Match – Forever Hooligans vs. Hanson & Rowe vs. reDRagon

Rowe and Kyle O’Reilly start the match. Things do not go well for either O’Reilly or Bobby Fish, as Hanson and Rowe dominate them at every possible turn. This goes on for several minutes, and reDRagon can’t get anything going so Fish tags Rocky Romero, who has much better luck against the monstrous Hanson. Alex Koslov tags in and the Hooligans expertly double-team Hanson. As soon as Hanson starts building momentum, O’Reilly tags himself in. The Hooligans control the action and Koslov does his little Russian dance thing. Then they pretend to get upset with each other and hug it out instead of fight. I think they do that all the time, it’s a weird spot. O’Reilly bails again and makes the tag to Rowe, who uses his power. reDRagon tag themselves in again at Rowe’s expense and they isolate Romero. The referee loses control and all six men are doing whatever they feel like with little regard for the rules. This is not ‘Nam, this is wrestling, there are rules! Koslov emerges from the fray and hits O’Reilly with a missile dropkick for two. Fish makes the save and dumps Koslov to the floor. He goes for a dive but Rowe catches him and slams him down hard. The action is getting hard to keep up with here. After a flurry of offense we wind up with Koslov and O’Reilly in the ring. They slug it out and Rowe pulls O’Reilly to the floor. Fish makes the save again and rams Rowe into the barricade, and O’Reilly follows with the dropkick off the apron. Love that move. Back in the ring O’Reilly leaps off the top rope but Hanson catches him in a powerslam. Hanson misses a charge at Koslov and falls to the floor. Koslov goes up top and hits O’Reilly with a Shooting Star Press and Fish breaks up the cover. The Hooligans go for a double-team move but Fish takes Romero out and O’Reilly surprises Koslov with a schoolboy rollup to get the pin at 13:48. That was tremendous stuff, with lots of action and each team getting a chance to shine. Even the rollup finish worked in context of the chaotic nature of the match.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #6: Two out of Three Falls ROH World Television Championship Match – “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jay Lethal

Ciampa has been the Champion since 12.14.13, and this is his tenth defense. These two have a lengthy history together and generally have had good matches. (53:09)Ciampa has a knee brace on, but in lieu of a pre-match handshake he takes the brace off and hands it to Lethal, who was responsible for the injury in the first place. That’s a neat little thing to do. Both men are a little tentative in the opening moments, but things quickly get heated. Lethal takes the first control and sends Ciampa to the floor. He follows him out with three consecutive dives, the final of which sends Ciampa over the barricade and into the crowd. Ciampa fights back and gets Lethal in position to hit a vicious running knee strike against the barricade. Back in the ring Ciampa covers for two. Lethal fights back and hits the hiptoss-cartwheel-dropkick combo for a two-count. He looks for the Lethal Injection but Ciampa blocks it with a (sort of) lungblower. They fight over a suplex and end up both tumbling over the top rope and to the floor. They both barely make it back in the ring at the count of 19. Lethal goes for the Lethal Injection but Ciampa catches him and tries an O’Connor Roll, which Lethal reverses and keeps Ciampa down to score the first fall at 10:20.

Ciampa is angry about that and goes for Project Ciampa, but Lethal counters and they trade some pinning combinations. Neither man can score a pin, but Ciampa gets awfully close when he drills Lethal with a knee to the face. Lethal comes back and hits the Lethal Combination and turns it into the Koji Clutch. Ciampa breaks that and puts on the Sicilian Stretch but Lethal gets to the ropes. Lethal tries the Lethal Injection again but Ciampa avoids it and hits an Ace Crusher for two. They fight over on the ropes and Lethal is able to pull Ciampa down with Project Ciampa but it only gets a near-fall. Lethal tries the Lethal Injection a third time but Ciampa ducks and Lethal takes referee Todd Sinclair out with a back elbow. McGuinness tries to wake Sinclair up as Ciampa destroys Lethal with a series of German Suplexes and a huge lariat. Both men are down. Truth Martini runs out and gives Lethal the knee brace! Lethal decks Ciampa with it and covers but Ciampa kicks out! He goes up top and hits Hail to the King but Ciampa kicks out at one! Lethal destroys Ciampa with three superkicks and finally hits the Lethal Injection to win his second straight fall and second TV Title at 6:52 (total match time) 17:12. Once again Lethal and Ciampa delivered, playing off the fact that they know each other well, and building up to the finish expertly. I’m not a huge fan of Truth Martini, but with the benefit of writing this review a year after the fact, I think I can say it worked out alright for Jay Lethal.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #7: Number One Contender for IWGP Heavyweight Championship – “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin

These two waste no time tearing into each other. They’ve faced off twice before, with each man holding one victory over the other. Steen strikes the first big blow with the Cannonball for a two-count. They head to the floor and trade chops with each other. They head to the floor and battle out there, with Steen mostly in control and thwarting all of Elgin’s comeback attempts. Steen tries a Package Piledriver but Elgin blocks it and hits the delayed vertical suplex right on the floor! Back in the ring Elgin covers for two. Elgin wears Steen down a bit until Steen comes back with the rope-hung DDT for a near-fall. Elgin responds with the deadlift release German Suplex. Both men are down. They get back up and clothesline each other a few times but neither man will budge. Both go for their submission holds, and a series of reversals ends with Elgin hitting a Black Hole Slam for two. Elgin goes up top and misses a senton. Steen hits a pumphandle neckbreaker for two. He goes for the Cannonball but Elgin catches him in a powerbomb. Elgin tries to follow up but Steen picks him up and hits the F-Cinq for a near-fall. Both men rise and start trading strikes. Elgin hits a bicycle kick and a huge forearm shot for a two-count. The fight spills to the floor and Steen hits the powerbomb on the apron! Steen tries a cannonball off the apron but Elgin moves and Steen crashes hard to the floor. Elgin then powerbombs Steen right into the ring post and rolls him back in the ring for two. He hits a Tombstone Piledriver for another near-fall. Steen comes back with the popup powerbomb and the Package Piledriver and Elgin somehow kicks out! A desperate Steen goes to the top rope and tries the Swanton but Elgin gets his knees up. Steen tries a charge in the corner and Elgin hits the STJoe, a back fist, a Buckle Bomb, and the Elgin Bomb but Steen kicks out! Elgin tries a superplex but Steen counters and brings him down with a suplex of his own. Once again Elgin kicks out! Steen goes for a Package Piledriver but Elgin counters out and delivers three consecutive powerbombs. Elgin picks Steen up and hits a Buckle Bomb, but Steen counters right back with a Sleeper Suplex! Steen charges and Elgin flattens him with a lariat. Elgin hits another Buckle Bomb and then hits the Package Piledriver to finally put Steen away at 19:12. What a war. I love when these two face each other because they just go all out with their big moves trying to destroy each other. They went non-stop and had the crowd with them for the duration.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #8: **Main Event** Ladder War V – ROH World Championship – Adam Cole vs. Jay Briscoe

Cole has been the Champion since 9.20.13, and this is his eighth defense. This is the third time for Jay Briscoe in Ladder War, and the first for the Champion. It doesn’t take long for the fists to start flying. Jay sends Cole to the floor and goes for a dive but Cole blasts him in the face with a steel chair. Cole brings the chair in the ring and continues to use it as part of his offensive attack. Jay has a small cut on his head already. Cole tries to bring a ladder in but Jay kicks it back into his face. Jay takes control and whips Cole all around the ringside area. Back in the ring Jay misses a charge and runs his head right into a chair. Cole delivers a suplex right on top of a ladder. Both men are already looking worn down. Cole makes the first attempt at climbing up for the belts, as the wound on Jay’s head is turning into a gusher. Jay takes Cole to the floor and suplexes him on the ramp. Jay continues the abuse, continuing to use a steel chair and various ladders to his advantage. He sets up a ladder between two chairs and lays Cole across it, then flies off the apron with a senton. Jay appears to have an opening to go after the belt, but he decides against it and brings out a table instead. He lays Cole out on the table and climbs up a very tall ladder. Cole gets off the table and punches Jay in the boy parts. He sets a ladder between a chair and the apron, but can’t get anything done with it just yet. Cole brings in a smaller ladder but it backfires when Jay powerbombs Cole onto it. That just sounded like it hurt. They fight up on the ropes and Cole superkicks Jay right back on that aforementioned ladder setup. That was sick. Jay’s back is bleeding now too. Cole climbs up the ladder but Jay gets back in the ring and brings Cole down with an electric chair toss right onto a ladder. Jay continues to abuse the Champion, delivering a series of strikes and a Death Valley Driver onto a sitting chair. He lays Cole across a ladder and goes for a splash but Cole moves out of the way. Both men pick up steel chairs and they sword fight with them. Cole wins that battle but Jay quickly fires back by throwing the chair at Cole’s face. Both men are down. They rise and climb a ladder toward the belts. Jay knocks Cole back to the mat and has a clear path to the titles, but Cole flips Jay the double bird and that brings Jay down for some more fightin’. Jay unloads with right hands and hits a vicious Jay Driller. He still doesn’t go for the belt, opting for more violence. Jay lays Cole across a ladder and eyeballs him with a chair in hand. Matt Hardy runs out to make the save and he drags Jay to the floor to hit a Twist of Fate. He gets in the ring and helps Cole climb the ladder but Mark Briscoe comes out to help his brother by putting a stop to that. Mark sets Hardy on top of a table and climbs up a ladder. Michael Bennett appears from out of nowhere and shoves the ladder over, sending Mark crashing through the table. Jay takes Bennett out and gets back in the ring for a face-to-face showdown with the ROH World Champion. Both men start slugging at each other and Jay hits another Jay Driller. Jay climbs up the ladder but Bennett gets in the ring and pulls Jay down, only to take a Jay Driller for his troubles. Once again Jay climbs up but Hardy gets back in the ring and pulls Jay down, and he gets hit with a Jay Driller too! Cole recovers and he and Jay both climb the ladder towards the belt, and Cole is able to knock Jay down and grab both belts and become the undisputed Champion at 28:34. That was brutal and violent and everything they promised it would be. I wasn’t a huge fan of all the interference, but in the context of the feud it’s not entirely out of the blue or anything. Both men gave a huge effort in this one and made it feel like they really do hate each other and really wanted to prove their superiority, and that works for me.
Rating: ****

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