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MATCH #1: Special Challenge – Roderick Strong w/ Truth Martini vs. “No Fear” Mike Mondo
They take it right down to the mat as the commentators put over how evenly matched they are. Mondo chases Strong to the floor and Strong regroups. Back in the ring they trade chops and that’s a dangerous game to play with Roderick Strong. Things get heated between them pretty quickly. Mondo tries working the leg but Strong quickly dumps him out to the floor. Strong follows him out and unleashes some more chops. Mondo responds with headbutts. One of those headbutts may have broken Strong’s nose, as he has blood coming from his proboscis. Strong catches Mondo with a kick to the mouth. Back in the ring Strong is in control. Strong chops Mondo right back to the floor and goes out after him. Mondo rams Strong back-first into the barricade. Strong responds by throwing Mondo head-first into the steel ring post. Mondo crashes into the barricade on the way down. Strong hits a vertical suplex on the floor, and then rolls Mondo back in for a two-count. Mondo fires back with a flurry and they go right back to the floor. Perhaps inspired by Fit Finlay, Mondo traps Strong in the ring apron and stomps on his head. That gets a two-count. Mondo then hits a moonsault for two. Strong rolls to the floor and Mondo delivers a headscissors that sends Strong crashing into the barricade. Mondo goes all the way up the entrance ramp to get a running start for a big shoulderblock into the barricade, hurting himself in the process. Back in the ring referee Todd Sinclair wants to call the match but Mondo makes sure he doesn’t. Strong unleashes and hits a half-nelson backbreaker for a near-fall. Mondo catches Strong with a spinebuster for two. Strong responds with the LeBell Lock and Mondo rolls that into a cradle for two. A gutbuster only gets two again for Strong. Mondo gets an inside cradle for two, and a schoolboy rollup for two. Strong lands a solid knee strike and then hits the Sick Kick for the win at 12:40. That was a decent opener and got the crowd going, but there was never any sustained heat period, it was all just back and forth so none of the moves felt like they really meant anything or had any impact on the guy taking them.
MATCH #2: Four Way Match for an ROH Contract – Matt Taven vs. Antonio Thomas vs. Vinny Marseglia vs. Q.T. Marshall
Antonio Thomas is nicknamed “Promise.” Marshall is also known as “God’s Gift.” Thomas and Taven start the match. They do some back-and-forth that ends awkwardly and Marseglia tags in to try his hand with Taven. Marshall and Thomas don’t want to let Marseglia and Taven have all the fun, so they get in the ring illegally. Taven and Marseglia dispose of them quickly. Marseglia goes for a dive but gets cut off. Taven is able to connect on his dive. Back in the ring Marshall tags himself in and hits Marseglia with a hard clothesline. Marseglia comes back with a Russian Legsweep for two. He goes for a cross body block off the second rope but Marshall cuts him out of the air with a dropkick. Thomas tags in and hits Marseglia with a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Marshall tags back in and hits a dropkick. Thomas and Marshall work as a unit to wear Marseglia down, but when it comes to Thomas trying to score a pin the unit quickly dissolves. They do one of those complicated spots with all four guys involved to be cute. The referee has lost control and all four men are coming in and out of the ring as they please. Marshall tags in legally and hits Taven with a leg lariat off the second rope for two. He hits Marseglia with a belly-to-belly suplex. Taven hits a springboard kick on Marshall and then a quebrada for two. He hits a big DDT but Marshall is able to get his foot on the bottom rope at the count of two. Marshall and Thomas get knocked to the floor and Marseglia wipes them out with a dive. Marseglia goes up top and Taven kicks him down, but Marseglia perseveres and hits a sunset bomb. Marshall then pulls Marseglia crotch-first into the ring post. Taven hits Marshall with a spin kick but misses a springboard version. Marshall then hits a running Dominator to get the pin and win a contract at 10:56. All four guys looked okay enough but nobody really blew me away. I’d certainly give any of them another chance.
MATCH #3: Proving Ground Match – ROH World TV Champion Adam Cole vs. Brutal Bob Evans
Brutal Bob cuts a quick promo before the match promising to mouth rape Adam Cole. No really, that’s pretty much what he said. They start slowly, because it’s Brutal Bob, what do you expect? Cole goes to work on the left leg. Bob comes back with some weird no-selling and Cole dumps him to the floor. Cole follows him out and Bob drops him chest-first on the guardrail. Bob follows with a backbreaker on the edge of the ring frame. Back in the ring Bob works Cole over with his boring offense. Brutal Bob is aptly named. Cole fights back with an enziguiri and a Shining Wizard for two. He goes to the floor and hits another enziguiri. Cole re-enters the ring via the top rope but misses a cross body block. Bob hits a big shoulderblock for a two-count. He follows with a Sky-Hi Powerbomb for two. Cole gets up and hits a superkick for a near-fall. He then hits a superkick to the knee and locks on the Figure-Four Leglock. Bob eventually taps out at 10:02. Whoever had the idea of letting Brutal Bob go 10 minutes and look competitive with the current TV Champion and one of the company’s rising stars better have gotten fired for that boner. (SPOILER ALERT: He did.)
Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis come out to attack Cole. Eddie Edwards and Sara Del Rey come out to make the save. None of that did any favors for Adam Cole.
Kevin Kelly Interviews the House of Truth
Truth Martini says that the House of Truth a cohesive unit. He says that he can see the future, and Kevin Steen will retain his title tonight against Eddie Kingston because the ROH World Title has a different destiny. Martini announces that RHINO will get a title shot on September 15 at Death Before Dishonor X: State of Emergency He says that Strong and Elgin will win the World Tag Team Titles. Elgin says that he will challenge for the title on October 13 at Glory By Honor XI: An Unbreakable Hope. Strong does not like this one bit. He goes on strike from the House of Truth, and says he’s going to be in the front row watching Elgin fail.
MATCH #4: Death Before Dishonor IX Rematch – “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin w/ Truth Martini vs. “The Outlaw” Charlie Haas
Elgin is fired up in the early going and he throws Haas around a bit. He hits a shoulderblock off the second rope for a two-count. Elgin follows with an impressive delayed vertical suplex for another near-fall. Strong comes out to distract Elgin, allowing Haas to hit him in the knee from behind. Elgin rolls to the floor to regroup and Haas follows him out. Haas is like a shark smelling blood as he goes after Elgin’s injured leg. Elgin fires back with some punches but Haas cuts him off and goes right back to the leg. Moments later Elgin hits a slingshot back elbow and some corner clotheslines. Elgin hits a Shining Wizard for two. He hits a nasty release German Suplex for two. Elgin goes for the powerbomb but settles for an enziguiri instead, which knocks Haas to the floor. Strong taunts Haas, which indirectly prevents Elgin from hitting a suicide dive. The distraction allows Haas to sweep Elgin’s legs out form under him. Strong tries to have a beet with Haas, who throws it into Martini’s eyes. Haas then does have that beer, and Elgin drives him and Strong into the barricade at the same time. Elgin then drinks a beer while spilling one on Strong. Back in the ring Elgin goes for the powerbomb but Strong spits beer in his eyes. Haas rolls Elgin up for the win at 14:42. That finish took forever to set up and the match was nothing all that interesting to begin with. I have little need for Haas as a singles wrestler.
MATCH #5: Tag Team Challenge Match – Jay & Mark, The Briscoes vs. S.C.U.M. (Steve Corino & “Zombie Princess” Jimmy Jacobs
Corino and Jay start the match. The Briscoes take first control and take Corino down with a double shoulderblock. Corino takes a powder and Mark kicks him in the face. Mark goes after Jacobs as well and throws him around ringside. Back in the ring Corino recklessly dumps Jay over the top rope to the floor. Mark drills Corino with a spin kick that sends him to the floor. He follows with a moonsault off the top rope to wipe out everyone outside the ring. The match turns into a brawl on the floor as the referee has completely lost control. Back in the ring the match calms down a bit. Mark hits Corino with a senton of the second rope. Corino fights back and tags out. Jacobs is in now and S.C.U.M. takes control. It doesn’t take long for Mark to make a tag. Jay is a house afire but the combined efforts of Jacobs and Corino are too much for him to overcome. Corino and Jay battle for a bit and Jay hits the Flatliner into the turnbuckle. Tags are made and Mark unleashes his Redneck Kung Fu on Jacobs. Mark goes for the Iconoclasm but Jacobs counters with a tornado suplex. Corino tags in and hits Mark with Colby Shock for a two-count. Mark catches Corino with a jawbreaker and makes the tag. Jay hits a series of jabs and a Death Valley Driver for a two-count. He follows with a neckbreaker for another near-fall. Corino grabs a Back Drop Driver from out of nowhere and makes the tag. Jacobs goes for a senton off the top rope but Jay gets his knees up. Jay charges and Jacobs cuts him off with a Spear for two. Mark pulls Corino to the floor and hits a Russian Legsweep into the barricade. Jay hits Jacobs with a spinebuster. Mark hits Jacobs with the Froggy ‘Bow for two. Jacobs hits Jay with the springboard Ace Crusher for a two-count. Mark hits Corino with a suplex out on the floor. The Briscoes then hit Jacobs with the Doomsday Device to get the pin at 12:45. That was perfectly acceptable tag team wrestling but knowing that the Steel Cage Warfare match was already signed it just felt like a placeholder match so it lacked drama.
MATCH #6: Two out of Three Falls Grudge Match – Jay Lethal vs. “The Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa
Ciampa is accompanied by R.D. Evans. There will be a 30-second rest period between the falls in this one. Evans offers to shake Lethal’s hand, but that’s no good so Lethal slaps him. Ciampa charges and the fight is on. It’s all Lethal in the early going, as he’s able to thwart both Ciampa and Evans in the opening minutes. Lethal hits a superkick and the Lethal Injection but only gets a two-count. He follows up with the Lethal Combination to score the first fall at 1:28. That was a pretty anticlimactic first fall, and as it turns out Ciampa seriously injured himself so I can see why. Lethal continues to press the advantage as the second fall gets underway. He goes for a suplex to the floor and both men tumble to the floor. Back in the ring Lethal hits a Jericho dropkick to send Ciampa right back down to the floor. Ciampa fires back and throws Lethal’s head into the barricade. He goes for a suplex on the floor but Lethal reverses and hits one of his own. Evans tries to hit Lethal with a suplex but the same thing happens to him. Back in the ring Lethal stays in control. Ciampa catches Jay with a back elbow and a hard knee strike to the face. He follows with Project Ciampa to take the second fall at 7:59.
Ciampa continues trying to work the back, but Lethal gets fired up. Lethal unloads a series of chops but Ciampa cuts him off with a knee lift. Ciampa goes for the exposed knee strike in the corner but Lethal catches him with the Lethal Combination into the turnbuckle for a two-count. Lethal goes up top and Ciampa joins him only to get knocked back and drilled with a double ax handle. Black Machismo follows up with a pop-up neckbreaker for two. Lethal then hits an unsolicited suicide dive on R.D. Evans. He gets back in the ring with Hail to the King, which shockingly only gets a two-count. I bought that as a finish. Lethal knocks Ciampa to the apron but pays for it when Ciampa catches him with an Air Raid Crash! Both men are down on the floor. They barely make it back in the ring at the count of 19. Ciampa gives Lethal the double middle finger. They start trading haymakers and Ciampa wins that battle with an exposed knee strike. Lethal comes back with two superkicks for a near-fall. Evans distracts the referee and Ciampa hits a blatant low blow. Prince Nana of all people comes out and throws Evans into the barricade to take him out! Ciampa then clotheslines Nana into the crowd. Back in the ring Lethal hits a blatant low blow and the Lethal Injection to get the pin at 15:59. I really love this feud, because unlike others in ROH it’s really about two guys that just don’t like each other and do mean stuff to each other to get wins. I love the additional activity from Nana and Evans, and kudos to Ciampa for going with an injury.
MATCH #7: Mixed Tag Team Grudge Match – “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards & “The Queen of Wrestling” Sara Del Rey vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett & Maria Kanellis
The ladies start it off but Maria bails before any contact is made. This is Maria’s first official match in ROH, and her last WWE match would have been in early 2010. The men engage in some chain wrestling and Edwards takes control. Edwards hits a Shining Wizard for two. Bennett comes back with a jawbreaker. Edwards makes a blind tag and Del Rey surprises Bennett with a hard kick to the chest. Del Rey and Edwards double-team Bennett, which is smart since Maria has shown herself to be afraid of her counterpart. That doesn’t mean Maria won’t take a cheap shot or two from the apron. Maria tags in when Del Rey is in a defensive position of course. Edwards tags back in and hits Bennett with a missile dropkick. He continues to dominate Bennett, tying him up in the Tree of Woe and hitting a hesitation dropkick. Del Rey adds some kicks and then Edwards hits the sliding dropkick for a two-count. Maria briefly distracts Edwards, so when he jumps off the apron Bennett cuts him out of the air with a Spear. Bennett throws Edwards into the barricade. Back in the ring Bennett and Maria are firmly in control. Edwards comes back with the Boston Knee Party but can’t capitalize. Bennett hits a right hand, Edwards hits a superkick, and Bennett hits a clothesline to win that battle. Maria tags in and covers for one. She puts the boots to Edwards, but he catches one and trips her. Del Rey tags in and goes to work on poor Maria. Bennett saves Maria from a Koppou Kick by taking it himself. That sends Bennett to the floor, and Edwards wipes him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Edwards hits the Chin Checker for two. They fight up on the top rope and Bennett tries a super Box Office Smash but Edwards rolls through to the Achilles Lock. Maria tries to break it up but has no luck and Del Rey puts her in the Ankle Lock. Bennett reverses the Achilles Lock as Maria goes under the ring and Del Rey follows her. Del Rey comes out form under the ring with Maria’s clothes, which distracts Bennett long enough to put on the Achilles Lock and Bennett taps out at 13:06. That was going along all well and good but the under the ring stuff was just silly. It would have ended just fine with Bennett in the Achilles Lock and Maria in the Ankle Lock. The crowd gives Del Rey a nice “thank you Sara” chant as she’s on her way to train the women of the WWE now.
MATCH #8: ROH World Championship – Kevin Steen vs. Eddie Kingston
Steen has been the Champion since 5.12.12, and this is his sixth defense. He has Jimmy Jacobs in his corner and Steve Corino is on hand to do commentary. Kingston is the current CHIKARA Grand Champion. Bobby Cruise makes the last minute announcement that this match will have NO DISQUALIFICATIONS.
Kingston attacks Corino right at the beginning of the match, drawing a pop from the crowd. Steen goes outside and the fight is on. Kingston goes back in the ring while S.C.U.M. Tries to regroup, and Kingston wipes them all out with a dive. He then drags Jacobs and Corino to the back by their ears. Why wouldn’t they just come back out? Back in the ring Kingston tries to use a chair but Steen counters with a Codebreaker. Steen then hits the somersault legdrop on the chair for a two-count. They go back outside and Steen whips Kingston into the barricade. Steen says in control and uses a variety of weapons to his advantage. He sets up a table but it backfires when Kingston suplexes him through it. Kingston throws Steen back in the ring and grabs another table, but Steen kicks it back in his face. Steen sets up a table between the apron and the barricade and goes for a suplex but can’t hit it, so he executes a powerbomb instead! The referee checks on Kingston while Steen gloats in the ring. Steen gets on the microphone and taunts some people in the crowd. He reminds Kingston that he dedicated this match to Larry Sweeney, and he says that Sweeney thinks Kingston is a pussy. Them’s fightin’ words and Kingston is back in the ring to continue the fight! Kingston hits a big lariat for two. He follows with a half nelson suplex for another two-count. Kingston goes out and gets a chair, but Steen comes back and hits the Orton DDT right on the chair. Steen then hits the Cannonball with a chair. He covers but Kingston kicks out! Steen gets another table but Kingston is the one who uses it, hitting a Back Drop Driver for a two-count. Kingston sets up a chair and hits another Back Drop Driver! Corino appears to have missed his cue to pull the referee to the floor but let’s just pretend he didn’t. Rhett Titus comes out to fight Corino to the back. Jacobs comes back with a chain but Kingston cuts him off with a spinning back fist. Steen hits Kingston with a low blow for a two-count. He then hits the F-Cinq but Kingston kicks out again! Steen abuses Kingston with a chair and then sets two chairs up side by side. Kingston spits in Steen’s face, so Steen kisses him and delivers the F-Cinq on the chairs. That’s enough to get the pin at 18:44. The garbage brawl parts of the match were pretty good and these two are good opponents for each other. But the stuff with Sweeney really dragged the match down quite a bit. It wasn’t cool when WWE did it with Eddie Guerrero, it’s not cool when ROH does it with Larry Sweeney.
Kevin Steen Pre-Show Promo
Roderick Strong Pre-Show Promo
“Ten Long Years” Eddie Kingston’s Unedited Promo from ROH TV
BONUS MATCH: The Bravado Brothers vs. “Rock ‘N Roll” Mike Sydal & “The Firebird” Jorge Santi
Lance and Sydal start the match with some chain wrestling. Sydal gets the advantage and tags Santi, who is making his ROH debut here. Santi continues the advantage Sydal started until he gets dropkicked in the knee. Harlem tags in and goes to work on the Firebird. The Bravados use a variety of double-team maneuvers to keep Santi isolated in their half of the ring. Santi is able to make a hot tag and Sydal starts flying all over the place. Sydal hits Harlem with a headscissors and a dropkick. He tries a Frankensteiner but can’t hit it, so he settles for a knockout kick to the head. That gets a two-count. Santi comes in and hits a Russian Legsweep and Sydal follows with a standing moonsault for two. The referee loses control and everyone is brawling in the ring. The Bravados are able to dispatch Santi and then they hit Au Revoir on Sydal for the pin at 5:40. That was a fine little pre-show match but I really wish they’d find something for the Bravado Brothers to actually do.
The Pulse: I’m not sure why they wanted to put this one on iPPV, as it was pretty underwhelming for the most part. I really liked the Jay Lethal versus Tommaso Ciampa match, and I enjoyed parts of the main event but they just overdid it and it left a sour taste in my mouth. The Adam Cole versus Brutal Bob match was one of the dumber ideas the booking team had, and that dragged the show down as well. If you’re a big fan of Kingston you’ll probably like the main event more than I did, or if you’re a big fan of Sara Del Rey and want to see her last Ring of Honor match, you should get this show. You can purchase it at the ROH Shop.
Tags: Eddie Edwards, Eddie Kingston, Kevin Steen, maria kanellis, Mike Bennett, Ring of Honor, ROH, Sara Del Rey