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Orleans Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV – Sunday, March 1, 2015
Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are on commentary.
The Decade (Jimmy Jacobs & Adam Page) defeat Reno SCUM (Adam Thornstowe & Luster The Legend) at 6:49. Thornstowe and Legend are energized by being in front of their home-state crowd, but Jacobs and Page are in a rather ornery mood so this actually gets a little heated for a pre-show match. Despite the solid showing from newcomers Reno SCUM, Page and Jacobs keep it together and show great continuity as a unit. The Decade puts one of their opponents (sorry I’m not too familiar with who’s who) away with an assisted Rite of Passage. Even though it was silly for Jacobs to be on the preshow, this was solid stuff.
Matt Sydal defeats Cedric Alexander at 9:39. As one would expect, both men are amped up and ready to fly right from the beginning. Sydal takes the first big advantage and goes to work on Alexander’s left leg. Alexander fights back and shows off his new, more aggressive side. Both men score a lot of big moves, and Alexander even lands the Lumbar Check (which Sydal sells awesomely) but it only gets two. Sydal avoids a charge in the corner and Alexander lands awkwardly on his head. That gives Sydal the chance to hit the Shooting Sydal Press to get the pin. That was a hot opener with lots of action, a great way to start the pay-per-view.
Moose (w/ Stokely Hathaway & Veda Scott) defeats Mark Briscoe at 5:15. Mark attacks right away to try and press the advantage, but Moose quickly cuts him off and starts throwing him around. Moose uses his size and strength, and Mark fights back with his crazy. From relatively out of nowhere, Moose hits the big Spear to get the pin. It still sort of means something to beat Mark Briscoe in a singles match, so that’s a good win for Moose right there. The match wasn’t special, but it didn’t need to be any more than it was.
The Kingdom (Michael Bennett & Matt Taven) defeat Karl Anderson and The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) in a Three Way Tag Team Match at 11:58. Anderson was supposed to team with Doc Gallows here, but travel complications stranded Gallows and Anderson decides to go it alone. All three teams spend some time controlling the action and dishing out plenty of punishment to their opponents. Referee Todd Sinclair completely loses control, and allows the Kingdom to hit Anderson with a Spiked Piledriver to get the win. The Kingdom beat The Briscoes at the Atlanta show, so this is two in a row for them. This was fun enough, with plenty of action to keep from getting bored and a good finish.
Roderick Strong defeats BJ Whitmer (w/ Adam Page) in a Grudge Match at 11:00. Jimmy Jacobs is on commentary with Corino and Kelly. The two Decade members tear into each other and quickly take the fight to the floor. Whitmer controls the bout for a good chunk of time, keeping the pace slow and Strong on the mat. When Strong fights back the energy picks up tremendously. Page interferes multiple times, and it gets him kicked hard in the face. Strong hits the gutbuster and the Sick Kick but Whitmer is able to kick out. After some more back and forth Strong catches Whitmer with a flurry of knee strikes and then hits The End of Heartache for the pin. Good solid stuff here from two of ROH’s longest-tenured wrestlers with a solid story behind it.
ODB (w/ Mark Briscoe) defeats Maria Kanellis (w/ Michael Bennett) at 5:20. Maria tries to back out of the match by announcing that she’s pregnant. Of course it’s all a ruse and Bennett sneaks in to superkick Mark and Maria takes control. That doesn’t last long before ODB is abusing Maria all over ringside. Back in the ring Maria hits a decent superkick and then calls Bennett into the ring. Bennett accidentally superkicks Maria, and then Mark takes him out to the floor. Maria kicks out of her husband’s superkick, so now we can never buy that as a false finish anymore. The referee completely loses control as Bennett and Mark continue to get involved. Bennett accidentally hits his wife with a Spear. Mark and ODB hit Bennett with the Doomsday Device on the floor, and the crowd is sweet on that. Back in the ring ODB puts Maria away with Bam to get the pin. This was actually a fine place on the card to overbook a chaotic brawl, so this really wasn’t terrible.
AJ Styles defeats ACH at 15:30. Styles is the current IWGP Champion but the title is not on the line here. They show respect for each other in the early going and start the back and forth. Both men show off their athleticism, though Styles is a little more ground-oriented in his attacks. ACH keeps up with the more experienced and more traveled Styles, showing everyone what he can do. He almost hits Styles with a 450 Splash but Styles avoids it and puts on the Calf Killer! ACH rolls that into a cradle, but Styles kicks out and hits a vicious brainbuster. One Styles Clash later and AJ Styles gets the pin. Great showing here for ACH, as Styles made him look great but still overcame him. I would say Styles is better than he’s ever been at this point.
ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) (w/ UFC fighter Shayna Braszler) defeat The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) at 15:41 to retain the titles. Fish and O’Reilly have been the Champions since 5.17.14, and this is their thirteenth defense. Rocky Romero joins Kelly and Corino on commentary. These two teams have faced each other a crap ton of times. It doesn’t take long for this match to get heated with all four men in the ring at the same time. The Bucks are the first team in control but the Champs won’t take that lying down. Braszler distracts the Bucks long enough for her boys to take control. Meanwhile, the Knights of the Rising Dawn are shown out in the crowd. The KRD are quickly forgotten as these two terrific teams go back and forth at a breakneck pace. The brothers Jackson take O’Reilly out with a spiked Tombstone Piledriver on the floor, and they isolate on Fish. Braszler again distracts the Bucks, and after a series of reversals and finishing moves, reDRagon are able to hit Nick with Chasing the Dragon to get the win. This was just nearly non-stop insanity, but I have to question whether O’Reilly should’ve taken that Tombstone on the floor if he was going to make it back to the ring. That’s kinda bullcrap to be honest. But aside from that, this was another tremendous contest between two awesome teams.
ROH World Television Champion Jay Lethal (w/ Truth Martini & J. Diesel) defeats Alberto El Patron) at 12:34 to retain the title. Lethal has been the Champion since 4.4.14, and this is his twenty-third defense. Patron takes the first advantage and abuses Lethal outside the ring for a while. Lethal withstands the early onslaught and takes control, and is happy to accept outside interference from Martini and Diesel. He wears Patron down and hits his three suicide dives, the last one sending Patron into the crowd. That almost earns Lethal a countout victory. Eventually Martini straight up gets in the ring and Patron traps him in the Cross Armbreaker. Lethal breaks that up but gets put in the Cross Armbreaker as well. Unfortunately for the challenger, Lethal had grabbed The Book of Truth and he drills Patron with it for two. It takes a shot with the book from Martini to give Lethal the opportunity to hit the Lethal Injection to get the pin. This was going along just fine until the overreliance on Truth Martini interference kicked in yet again. I like that Lethal went over, but he had a three-on-one advantage and needed to shots with that stupid book to get it done, and that’s just irritating.
Before we can get to the main event, SAMOA JOE makes his surprise (sort of) return to the company he did so much for in the early years. Joe briefly runs down the history of Ring of Honor and declares that he is back, and he will be the next ROH World Champion.
ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe defeats Hanson, Michael Elgin, and Tommaso Ciampa in a High Stakes Four Corner Survival Match at 16:22 to retain the title. Jay has been the Champion since 9.6.14, and this is his seventh defense. Nigel McGuinness joins the commentary team. All four men are eager to dish out punishment to their rivals and take home the gold. There is very little resting going on here, with four brutes just tearing into each other. Everyone fights in and out of the ring, and late in the match when referee Todd Sinclair tries to get back in the ring Briscoe accidentally knocks him off the apron. With the referee out, the Knights of the Rising Dawn come out to interfere, taking out both Hanson and Ciampa. They heavily tease their identity as The Kingdom, and Raymond Rowe makes his return from injury to chase them off. With the referee out several visual pins are made but obviously no fall is counted. Elgin tries to blast Jay with a con-chair-toe, but Nigel gets in the ring to stop him. When Elgin tries to powerbomb him in retaliation, Ciampa makes the save. Referee Paul Turner comes out to take over. Elgin hits Ciampa with a sit-out powerbomb and Briscoe breaks up that pin. Hanson hits Briscoe with the Spin Kick of Doom, and Elgin pulls Hanson to the floor. But, Briscoe fell right on top of Ciampa and that’s enough to get the pin. That could’ve been a tremendous, hard-hitting match, but they really overdid it with the KRD and Nigel. The finish was also pretty uninspired. Very disappointed here.
The semi-main and main events were both disappointing for similar reasons, so the show sputters to a finish after some very solid work during the undercard. Still, six of the nine matches reach three stars or higher, so that’s a pretty good percentage. Just imagine if the last two matches delivered the way they could’ve, and this show would have been dynamite.
Tags: Anniversary Show, Jay Briscoe, Michael Elgin, Ring of Honor, Tommaso Ciampa