A2Z Analysiz – Adam Cole: Panama’s Finest (Two Disc Set)


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~Disc 1~

75 minute sit down shoot interview with Adam Cole

This is a great addition to any ROH compilation, and Cole is a particularly great interview. Cole comes off as enthusiastic about wrestling and goes in detail about his days as a fan and how he came to love wrestling. He is very forthright and honest and covers everything up to where he is today, and I highly recommend watching this.

MATCH #1: Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The All Night Express, Final Battle 2010, 12.18.10

Rhett Titus and O’Reilly start the match. They go back and forth a bit and O’Reilly unleashes some early kicks to take first control. Cole tags in for some double-teaming. He keeps up the pressure and hits Titus with a leg lariat off the second rope for a one-count. King rescues his partner from further beating and the ANX tries to regroup on the floor. O’Reilly tries a dive but the ANX catches him, so Cole follows out with a second dive to wipe them out. Back in the ring Cole and O’Reilly stay in control. Titus pokes O’Reilly in the eyes and hits the shinbreaker/back suplex combination for two. King tags in and the ANX is firmly in control. O’Reilly is able to fight back and takes out both members of ANX before making the tag. Cole comes in a house afire. He hits King with a nasty slingshot DDT on the apron! Cole kicks Titus in the head and O’Reilly hits the two butterfly suplexes / double-arm DDT combo O’Reilly goes to the apron and NAILS King with the running missile dropkick. Cole goes up top and hits Titus with a high cross body block for two. He puts Titus on the top rope and King is able to provide enough distraction for Titus to slip out and drop Cole face-to-top-turnbuckle, and then King follows with shotgun knees. Titus rolls Cole up for two. Cole fights back but King catches him in a bridging leg cradle suplex for two. O’Reilly makes the save and the referee loses control. All four men are down. Everyone gets back to their feet and Cole and O’Reilly appear to be in better shape. They hit King with Ride the Lightning but it only gets two! Titus is able to drop the top rope and O’Reilly tumbles to the floor. He then rescues King with a dropkick on Cole. ANX then hit the One Night Stand to get the win at 9:24. That was a great showing for Cole and O’Reilly, who were wrestling like they had someone to impress. ANX had really jelled as a team by this time, and the two duos worked well together.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #2: Adam Cole & Kyle & O’Reilly vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe, Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 1, 4.1.11

Cole and Mark start the match with some mat wrestling. They wrestle to a standoff like it’s 2002. Tags are made and O’Reilly and Jay continue the chain wrestling. Jay wins the first battle with a big boot to the face. The momentum shifts back and forth several times as Cole and O’Reilly desperately want to show that they can hang with a top team. The Briscoes use their size and strength advantage to isolate O’Reilly in their half of the ring. O’Reilly uses kicks to fight back and make the tag. Cole is a house afire and sends Jay to the floor. He follows him out with a nice suicide dive. Back in the ring Jay cuts him off with a hard spinebuster. The Briscoes double-team Cole now and he’s in trouble. Cole fights back with the leg lariat off the second rope. O’Reilly makes the tag and he takes it to Mark with vicious strikes. Cole and O’Reilly show some impressive double-team maneuvers and get the crowd chanting “This Is Awesome.” Jay and Cole fight on the floor and O’Reilly finds Jay in perfect position to hit the missile dropkick off the apron. Back in the ring Cole hits Mark with a high cross body block for two. Cole and O’Reilly hit more double-team moves but still can’t put Mark away. Cole gets caught in the ring alone and Jay hits him with the Falcon Arrow for two. O’Reilly comes to the rescue and he trades strikes with the younger Briscoe. Jay blasts O’Reilly with a superkick and Mark drops him on his head with a release German Suplex. The Briscoes then hit Cole with the Springboard Doomsday Device to get the win at 13:24. This match was HUGE in establishing Cole and O’Reilly’s credibility. They went toe-to-toe with the best and baddest tag team in ROH history and looked totally at home. The pace was fast and furious and the Briscoes really made their opponents look good. Cole and O’Reilly were just on fire at this time.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #3: Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The Kings of Wrestling, Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 2, 4.2.11

The Kings attack right away and get the match going. Hero shitcans O’Reilly to the floor and they focus on Cole for a bit. Cole comes back with a bulldog off the top rope and makes the tag. O’Reilly is a house afire and almost pins Castagnoli with a backslide. He foolishly allows Hero to get the tag and he pays for it, getting slammed hard to the canvas by both Kings. The Atlanta crowd is supportive of Hero and Castagnoli’s efforts. After several minutes O’Reilly is able to make the tag and now Cole is the fired up one. Cole thwarts both Kings and hits Hero with a leg lariat off the second rope. He sends Castagnoli to the floor with a dropkick and follows him with a slingshot hurricanrana. O’Reilly adds a missile dropkick off the apron. Back in the ring Cole hits a high cross body block off the top rope on Hero for two. Cole and O’Reilly try to make Hero Ride the Lightning but Hero fights out and hits everyone with rolling elbows. Castagnoli tags back in and O’Reilly hits him with a tornado DDT and then locks on the guillotine choke. Hero tries to break it up but O’Reilly won’t give it up. Cole knocks Hero to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. Castagnoli finally powers out of the choke and hits a pop-up European Uppercut. The Kings then hit a double boot to the face to get the pin at 9:16. That was an excellent high-energy opener and a good showing for Cole and O’Reilly. The Kings needed that win after dropping their titles the night before.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #4: Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. Generation Me, Best in the World 2011, 6.26.11

This should be a ton of fun. There’s no commentary for some reason. As one might think the pace is ridiculous from the get-go, with both teams showing off their stuff. Max and Jeremy isolate on Cole until O’Reilly gets the hot tag and unleashes a series of kicks. Gen Me comes back and the match breaks down into an awesome pier-six. Unfortunately, and probably too soon, the Bravado Brothers run in from out of nowhere and attack Gen Me to give them the DQ win at 7:11. That was about as awesome of a seven minute tag team match as you are likely to see.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #5: Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The American Wolves, No Escape, 7.9.11

Richards is the reigning ROH World Champion, having just defeated his own partner back at Best in the World 2011 in New York. Edwards and Cole start the match. This starts similarly to last night’s Wolves match, with both teams a little bit cautious in feeling each other out early on. Richards and O’Reilly tag in, and these two are training partners so I bet they’re going to beat the crap out of each other. O’Reilly gets the better of that exchange and makes the tag. Cole hits a dropkick for two. He and O’Reilly tag in and out to keep a fresh man in on Richards. O’Reilly and Richards exchange strikes, with O’Reilly surprisingly winning with a knockout kick. No matter, Richards is soon on offense again and showing no ill effects. Edwards tags in and the Wolves go to work. Amazingly, O’Reilly is able to fight off both Wolves and make a hot tag. Cole is on fire, throwing dropkicks all over the place. He hits Edwards with a Death Valley Neckbreaker for two. Edwards comes back with the Die Hard for two. The Wolves accidentally kick each other in the leg and that gives Cole and O’Reilly the advantage. Edwards is quickly back in control, putting Cole in the Achilles Lock. Meanwhile, O’Reilly locks Richards in the guillotine choke. Cole almost counters out but Edwards puts it back on, and Richards reverses to the Ankle Lock. That’s such a cool spot. Cole and O’Reilly kick their way out of the holds, and Cole hits Richards with a reverse rana, but Richards does the #FightingSpirit sell and pops up to hit a clothesline before collapsing again. Tags are made and we’re back to Richards versus O’Reilly. They slug it out and Richards wins that battle with a lariat for two. Richards goes back to the Ankle Lock and grapevines it. Cole takes Edwards out with a DDT on the apron. O’Reilly counters Richards and puts him in a Sharpshooter, and Richards counters that with a small package for two. Cole comes back in and they double-team Richards, including simultaneous kicks to the head, and Edwards makes the save. Edwards gets knocked to the floor and Cole goes for a dive but misses. Edwards illegally catches O’Reilly with a dragon screw in the ropes, and then he legally tags in. He hits a double stomp off the top rope but it only gets two. Edwards hits a huge lariat but once again it only gets two! Cole tries to jump back in but Richards sends him right back to the floor. The Wolves hit O’Reilly with a powerbomb/lungblower combination for two. Edwards once again puts on the Achilles Lock and Cole breaks it. Cole then takes Richards out with a dive to the floor. O’Reilly grabs a quick inside cradle for two, but Edwards goes back to the Achilles Lock, except this time he adds a series of kicks to the back of the head and Sinclair calls for the bell, but the timekeeper must be sleeping and the bell doesn’t ring until 21:49. Edwards, having not heard a bell, kept the hold on, and Richards takes offense to this. That’s a great subtle bit of storytelling right there. The match, as are most things involving Cole and O’Reilly, was great and the finish was amazing. This is one of the better ROH matches this year and yet another great showing for Cole and particularly O’Reilly, who looks like 10 million ROH Bucks after this match.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #6: Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The Young Bucks vs. The Bravado Brother, Death Before Dishonor IX, 9.17.11

One member from each team will be in the ring at all times, and a wrestler can only tag his own tag team partner. Eliminations are by pinfall or submission. The Bravado Brothers are a combined 408 pounds, and come to us from Draper, North Carolina. Future Shock weighs in at a combined 403 pounds. The Young Bucks are at 402 pounds, and hail from Los Angeles, California. The Bravados feign going for the handshake with Future Shock, but they just attack them instead. The Bucks object to this so the Bravados throw them to the floor. The action gets pretty fast pretty quickly, with bodies flying all over the place in and out of the ring. Referee Todd Sinclair actually gains control of the match, with Nick, O’Reilly, and Lancelot starting the match proper. The Bucks and the Shock work together on their annoying opponents. The Bravados get to show off their double-team arsenal, and it really is amazing how far they’ve come. That being said, Future Shock hits Harlem with the Ride the Lighting for the first elimination at 6:43. The Bucks and Shock tear into each other at a frenzied pace. Nick and Matt execute an awesome spiked Tombstone on Cole but O’Reilly breaks it up. O’Reilly dominates both Bucks and locks Nick in a Triangle Choke with elbow strikes, while Cole puts Matt in a guillotine choke. The four men collide and both holds are broken. Superkicks start getting thrown everywhere, but O’Reilly trumps everyone with a huge lariat and all four men are down. Back up on their feet, the Bucks are able to send O’Reilly to the floor and hit Cole with More Bang for Your Buck to get the win at 10:50. That was awesome in so many ways. I love the ROH Tag Team Division.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #7: World Tag Team Title Match – Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, Gateway to Honor, 11.6.11

Benjamin and Haas have been the champions since 4.1.11, and this is their fifth defense. Future Shock earned this shot by defeating Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander and the Bravado Brothers at Tag Team Turmoil 2011 on July 8 in Richmond. Cole and Haas start the match and take it right down to the mat. After a couple of minutes tags are made and Benjamin and O’Reilly also wrestle on the mat. Benjamin is coming in to this match injured, and Haas is showing visible concern for his partner. Cole and O’Reilly wisely focus on Benjamin’s injured ribs. Benjamin is able to come back and hit O’Reilly with a hard clothesline. Haas tags in and he goes to work on O’Reilly. Benjamin recovers enough to join his partner in the attack. After several minutes Cole gets the hot tag and he’s a house afire. Cole hits Benjamin with a missile dropkick for two. The referee loses control a bit and the challengers lock the champions in simultaneous guillotine chokes but Benjamin and Haas free themselves. All four men continue to stay in the ring as the crowd chants “this is awesome.” The champs get rid of Cole but then blow a double spinebuster on O’Reilly and the crowd lets them hear it. Haas then locks O’Reilly in the Haas of Pain and he taps out immediately at 19:31. That ran a little long and the finish took a little wind out of the sails but it was pretty solid aside from that. Haas puts on his stupid little hat before cutting a self-congratulatory promo. Who does he think he is, Davey Richards?
Rating: ***

~Disc 2~

MATCH #8: No Holds Barred Match – Adam Cole vs. Roderick Strong, The Homecoming 2012, 1.20.02

Strong is accompanied by Truth Martini, and they come out not knowing who Strong is about to face. He says everyone is all booked up so the referee should just ring the bell and award him the match, but Adam Cole comes out to challenge that claim! Cole even agrees to keep the No Holds Barred stipulation. Truth thinks this is foolish but the challenge is accepted. Cole superkicks Truth out of the ring and then Strong attacks Cole to start the match.

Strong takes the early advantage but Cole is ready for a fight. They trade strikes and Cole knocks Strong to the floor, and then wipes him out with a dive. Strong is able to regain control with a solid kick to the face. He follows up with some chops and then bodyslams Cole into the ring apron. Back in the ring Strong keeps up the offense but Cole shows fire and won’t be intimidated. Cole hits the Death Valley Neckbreaker for two. Strong cuts him off with a boot to the gut and then grabs a chair. He uses it on Cole’s knee and then further attacks it. Strong slams Cole on the chair for a two-count and then puts on a Camel Clutch with added leverage from said chair. He stomps Cole’s face into the chair and gets a two-count. Cole tries to fight back but Strong cuts him off with a big boot for two. Strong continues the abuse and even uses the Book of Truth as a weapon. He sets up chairs in all four corners but it backfires as Cole throws him into all four chairs, and then hits a release German Suplex and a flying chuck for a near-fall. Cole sits Strong up in a chair and goes to the top rope but Strong kicks him right in the face. Strong tries to suplex him down but Cole reverses it and hits a brainbuster right on the chair! That only gets two. They fight to the apron and Strong hits an enziguiri and a back suplex right on the edge of the ring frame. Back in the ring Strong gets a two-count. Strong presses the advantage and hits the gutbuster for two. He sets up a chair and hits the Half-Nelson Backbreaker and amazingly Cole kicks out! Strong puts on the Stronghold and Cole is nearly bent in half but is still able to reach the ropes. They go back to the floor and Strong grabs another chair. Strong gets cocky though and Cole is able to grab Strong’s legs and hit the Wheelbarrow Suplex onto the apron! Back in the ring Cole covers but only gets two. Michael Elgin makes his way down and puts the boots to Cole, which of course is completely legal. Eddie Edwards comes out to make the save. Back on their feet Cole and Strong trade strikes. Cole catches Strong with a superkick and then hits a Falcon Arrow onto two previously set up chairs, and Martini has to save Strong by pulling the referee to the floor. This distracts Cole long enough for Strong to hit an enziguiri and the suplex backbreaker to get the pin at 16:24. That was a really good match and an excellent showing for Cole; probably his best singles match to date. Strong of course is pretty much automatic at this point. The crowd gives Cole a standing ovation and chants his name.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #9: Adam Cole & Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly, 10th Anniversary, 3.4.12

Before this match gets underway, I would like to point out that I like the idea of this match. The ROH World Champion and a young up-and comer facing one of the top contenders and another young up and comer, two sets of former partners on opposing sides. Giving Cole and O’Reilly the chance to shine was a great idea. The two Young Wolves (Rising) start the match. Before any contact is made several tags occur on either side and we end up with Cole and Richards battling first. Cole and Richards go back and forth, feeling each other out. Tags are made. Edwards and O’Reilly fight back and forth for a bit and then make tags again. Richards takes control and tags out. The former Future Shock go at it for the first time in the match now. More back-and-forth wrestling commences and many tags are made. Richards and O’Reilly get the first real advantage about 12 minutes into the match. O’Reilly hits Edwards with a belly-to-back superplex and tries to follow it up with a cross armbreaker but Edwards counters to the Achilles Lock, and O’Reilly counters that to a Crossface. Edwards is able to escape. O’Reilly hits a Regalplex for two. Edwards takes O’Reilly’s head off with a lariat. Cole tags in and the pace continues to be rapid. Richards and O’Reilly isolate Cole and wear him down. Cole is able to fight back and make the tag. Edwards and Cole are able to send Richards and O’Reilly to the floor and Edwards backdrops Cole to the floor to wipe both of them out. Then Edwards follows with an Asai Moonsault. Back in the ring Edwards and Cole work Richards over but can’t put him away. Richards puts Cole in the Ankle Lock and Edwards tries to break it up. O’Reilly grabs Edwards in the guillotine choke. Edwards counters to the Achilles Lock and Richards does the same to Cole. Richards and Edwards exchange slaps and then release the holds to go at each other. Cole and O’Reilly hit their respective opponents with German Suplexes and then take it to each other. They tumble to the floor, leaving the veterans alone in the ring. Richards wins that battle with a sort of brainbuster. All four men are in the ring and the veterans suplex the Young Wolves (Rising) to the floor and all four men are down. Back in the ring Richards and Edwards abuse the other’s respective opponents, trying to one-up the other. Richards and Edwards take each other out, leaving Cole and O’Reilly to fight. Cole lands a hard superkick for two. Edwards takes O’Reilly to the top rope and drops him face-first to the mat. He and Cole double-team him but still can’t get a pin. O’Reilly backdrops Edwards to the floor and makes the tag. Richards hits Cole with a double stomp tot he back and O’Reilly hits Edwards with the missile dropkick off the apron. Then Richards goes up and hits another double stomp, this one to the chest, but again only gets two. Richards keeps up the offense but Cole will not give in. Cole slaps Richards in the face and drills him with an enziguiri. Richards comes back with the Alarm Clock and O’Reilly hits a brainbuster. That only gets two. Edwards tags in and puts Richards in the Achilles Lock. Richards kicks his way out of it but then falls victim a Cole superkick and more double-teams. Edwards and Richards fight up on the top rope and Edwards hits a super hurricanrana. Cole then joins Edwards for the powerbomb / lungblower combination for a two-count. They didn’t quite hit it crisp, and the jackasses in the audience chant “You Fucked Up.” I don’t care for this crowd, with the exception of Brad Garoon. Cole goes to the top rope and O’Reilly tries to stop him, only to receive a tornado DDT throuh the timekeeper’s table! That was awesome. Richards and Edwards go back and forth. Edwards tries the Boston Knee Party but Richards catches it and puts him in the Ankle Lock. Edwards crawls over and tags Cole, who hits Richards with a high cross body block to get the shocking pin at 39:33! You know, shave 15 minutes off that match and cut out some of the more homoerotic moments, and give it a finish better than a CROSS BODY BLOCK and it would be a pretty good match. As it was, it was little more than a wank-fest between four admittedly talented performers that went long for the sake of long. I like Cole getting the pin, but a Cross Body Block?
Rating: **¾

MATCH #10: ROH World Title Match – Adam Cole vs. Davey Richards, Rising Above 2012, 4.29.12

Richards has been the Champion since 6.26.11, and this is his tenth defense. They start with some chain wrestling and Richards appears to injure his ribs during a bridge. Richards takes a quick powder and then gets back in the ring to start throwing kicks and strikes. Cole comes back with a dragon screw leg whip. Richards hits a dropkick that sends Cole to the floor. He hits the running kick to the chest on the apron. Richards goes for a dive but Cole cuts him off with an enziguiri. Cole then hits the suicide dive that Richards was going for. They fight up the aisle and Richards hits a Saito Suplex on the ramp. Cole makes it back to the ring before the count of 20 and Richards goes to work on him. Richards panders to the crowd and puts on a Texas Cloverleaf. Cole gets to the ropes. Richards continues the abuse, mostly keeping Cole on the mat. He hits a couple of kicks but Cole catches one and gets up to trade forearms. Cole hits an enziguiri and a Shining Wizard for two. Richards tries the stupid handspring kick but Cole superkicks him in the back of the head. Cole hits a Death Valley Neckbreaker for two. He goes up to the top rope and Richards cuts him out of the air with a dropkick. Richards hits a superkick and a bridging German Suplex for a two-count. They trade a bunch of strikes and Cole goes for an enziguiri but Richards catches him in the Ankle Lock. Cole kicks Richards to the apron and hits a slingshot DDT. That gets a two-count. Cole hits a wheelbarrow lungblower for another near-fall. They take the fight to the top rope and Richards headbutts Cole down to the timekeeper’s table. Richards hits a double stomp to break the table and throws Cole back in the ring. Back in the ring Richards hits another double stomp off the top rope but he only gets two. A knockout kick gets another two-count. Richards locks on the Ankle Lock again and Cole reaches the ropes. They go back to the top rope and Cole hits a super German Suplex and then hits the Florida Key for two! Cole hits the top rope cross body block, which is what he used to pin Richards at the 10th Anniversary Show, but this time it only gets two. Richards begs for it so Cole hits a couple of superkicks and a suplex onto his knee for another two-count. Cole hits a Superfly Splash for two. He then locks on a Texas Cloverleaf, which Richards used earlier. Richards turns it into an Ankle Lock. Cole counters that to a Victory Roll for two. Richards hits a release German Suplex, a lariat, and a bridging Dragon Suplex for two. He follows with hard kicks to the chest and head but Cole kicks out! Richards puts the Ankle Lock back on and then turns it into the Trailer Hitch. Cole taps out at 19:42. That was good in the same way a lot of Richards matches are, but I feel like it would have been more effective as a Proving Ground match like it was originally scheduled. A Proving Ground match would have yielded more drama because as a title match there was no chance Cole was going to win. It was a good showing for Cole but not quite the memorable match I was hoping for.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #11: Hybrid Rules Match – Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly, Best in the World 2012, 6.24.12

The rules are complicated, and here they are – 15 minute time limit; victory by 10-count K.O., submission, tap out, TKO, or disqualification; critical fouls are grounds for immediate disqualification and they include eye gouging, groin attacks, biting, hair pulling, foreign objects, outside interference, and abusing the official; three regular fouls will also result in a disqualification, and they include exiting the ring, using the ropes, hooking the tights, and accidental eye/groin shots. The winner will be the most accomplished in all fighting styles. What the hell does that mean? This is way too complicated.

The former tag team partners start chain wrestling and O’Reilly is cocky from the get-go. They wrestle to a standoff like it’s 2002 or something. These two made it look pretty good though. Cole goes after O’Reilly’s leg, which is taped up coming into the match. O’Reilly counters by going after the arm, particularly with a Cross Armbreaker. They continue going back and forth, showing how evenly matched they are. That leads to them kicking each other in the face at the same time and both men go down. Back on their feet they trade strikes and Cole’s mouth is busted open something nasty. The strike exchange gets fierce as we’re told that Cole’s two front teeth have been knocked out and he’s pouring blood. Cole fights back with a superkick and knocks O’Reilly’s mouth guard out. Kevin Kelly’s “God Bless You Adam Cole” cheerleading is really annoying. Be a professional. Both men get back to their feet. Cole tries a superkick but O’Reilly catches it hits a huge clothesline. Amazingly Cole gets right back to his feet and they trade blows. The image of Cole squirting blood from his mouth is pretty sick. O’Reilly hits a Back Drop Driver. Both men are down again as the official doctor comes out to check on Cole, who refuses medical attention! O’Reilly locks on the End Time but Cole counters it into a vertical suplex neckbreaker. Both men are down and the crowd is chanting “Adam Cole” very loudly. They rise and Cole hits a huge superkick that sends O’Reilly to the floor. Cole throws him back in the ring and they trade submission holds. O’Reilly tries the Cross Armbreaker and Cole responds with leg submissions, including the Figure-Four Leglock, and he forces O’Reilly to tap out at 12:38! The rules in that match were stupid are barely came into play, but damn this match is quite the spectacle. It’s rare a crowd goes as nuts for someone as they did for Cole in this match, and it’s a totally star making performance. Even with his eventual TV Title win I would maintain that this is the quintessential Adam Cole match so far.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #12: World TV Title Match – Adam Cole vs. Roderick Strong, ROH TV Episode #45, 7.28.12

Strong has been the Champion since 3.31.12, and this is his fifth defense. Truth Martini distracts Cole during the pre-match handshake, allowing Strong to start off with a hard dropkick. Strong pitches Cole to the floor and follows him out with a chop. He throws Cole into the barricade, and then drops him back-first on the edge of the ring. Back in the ring Strong covers for two. Strong continues to dominate. Cole tries to fire up but Strong cuts him off and hits a half-nelson backbreaker for two. Strong pitches Cole back to the floor. Once again it looks like Cole is going to start building momentum but Strong cuts him off and hurls him ribs-first into the steel ring post! That was way cool. Strong follows with a vertical suplex on the floor. Back in the ring Strong covers for two. Strong puts Cole in a chinlock, right in time for the commercial break. Back from the break Cole is firing back but Strong cuts him off with a low dropkick. Strong goes for the gutbuster but Cole reverses to a crucifix for a near-fall. Cole follows with a backslide for another two-count. He tries a suplex but his back is too injured. Strong pounces, locking on the Stronghold. He turns it into a Cloverleaf and Cole reaches the ropes. Cole lands an enziguiri He unleashes a flurry of offense and clotheslines Strong to the floor. Cole follows the Champ out with a suicide dive! Back in the ring Cole hits the high cross body block off the top rope for a near-fall. Cole hits a low dropkick and a Shining Wizard for two. He goes for the Florida Key but it turns into a series of reversals. Strong puts Cole on the top rope and hits a backbreaker on the top turnbuckle! That only gets two. Strong goes for a suplex but Cole slips out. Cole can’t avoid the gutbuster though but he kicks out again! Strong tries the Gibson Driver but Cole counters with a rana. Cole hits a slingshot DDT on the apron! Strong kicks out at two. Martini tries to hit Cole with the Book of Truth but Cole ducks and dumps Martini to the apron. Strong lands a hard forearm and then gets an inside cradle for two. Cole hits a superkick and a suplex into a neckbreaker for two. Michael Elgin makes his way out as Cole traps Strong in the Figure-Four Leglock! Strong makes it to the ropes. He gets distracted by Elgin on the floor and Cole almost gets the pin with an inside cradle. Cole hits a superkick and the Florida Key to get the pin and win the title at 12:10 (shown)! Strong is so good and he and Cole’s styles meshed together really well. This was a heck of a performance by Cole as well, with great selling and timing on the comebacks. The finish was more centered on Strong and Elgin, but Cole has been pushed really well so this didn’t tarnish his title victory at all.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #13: Adam Cole & Eddie Edwards vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe, Killer Instinct, 10.6.12

Mike Bennett joins Kelly on commentary for this match. Edwards and Mark start the match. They take it right down to the mat and exchange holds. Mark works a headlock but Edwards is able to force him back to his corner and make the tag. Jay also tags in so both fresh guys are in. The TV Champion takes the advantage and Jay backs off. After regrouping Jay takes Cole over to the Briscoe corner and makes the tag. Momentum continues to shift and several tags are made on either side. The Briscoes focus on Cole and isolate him in their half of the ring. Eventually Cole makes the comeback and tags Edwards for the requisite house afire. Edwards nails Mark with a missile dropkick and a face plant. He hits a Shining Wizard for two. Jay comes in the ring illegally and Edwards handles both Briscoes and sends Jay back to the floor. Cole tries to help Edwards but Mark dumps him out. Edwards hits Mark with the Chin Checker and Cole follows with a Superfly Splash but it only gets two. Mark comes back with a rolling Death Valley Driver on Edwards and both men are down. Tags are made and Jay takes control. Jay hits a hard neckbreaker for two and then a Falcon Arrow for another two-count. The Briscoes double-team Cole and keep Edwards at bay. Jay hits a Death Valley Driver and Mark connects on the Froggy ‘Bow but this time Edwards is able to break it up. Pandemonium ensues and Cole locks Jay in the Figure-Four Leglock and Edwards puts Mark in the Achilles Lock. Mark uses Redneck Kung Fu to break Cole’s hold on Jay. That’s neat. The referee has no control of the match-up here. Mark hits Cole with the Iconoclasm and Jay covers for two. The Briscoes hit Cole with the Doomsday Device and that’s all at 16:39. That was fun and all but it never really felt like anything was at stake and there was no internal story going on, just moves.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #14: World TV Title Match – Adam Cole vs. Eddie Edwards, Glory By Honor XI, 10.13.11

Cole has been the Champion since 6.29.12, and this is his third defense. This match has been granted a 30-minute time limit. These two teamed up on the last show, so this should be a friendly yet competitive match. They wrestle on the mat to start and come to standoff. It goes back and forth several times with both guys scoring multiple pinning combinations for two-counts and trying their submission maneuvers on each other to no avail. Edwards throws Cole to the floor and goes for a suicide dive but Cole cuts him off with an enziguiri. Cole gets up on the apron and Edwards kicks him down and this time hits the suicide dive. Back in the ring Edwards goes to work. Cole hits a basement dropkick. Edwards responds by also going after the knee. They get up to trade forearms and chops. The fight spills to the apron and Cole hits another enziguiri. Cole then hits a nasty looking slingshot DDT and both men are down on the floor. Back in the ring Cole hits a Superfly Splash for a two-count. Cole hits a Death Valley Neckbreaker for another near-fall. Edwards sells for about a second before coming back with the Chin Checker for two. The challenger goes back to the leg and then hits a double stomp off the top rope to the back. Edwards puts on the Achilles Lock and adds some kicks to the back of the head. Cole kicks his way out of it and then locks on the Figure-Four Leglock from a very unique position. Edwards reaches the ropes. Cole goes for a superplex but Edwards counters with a Death Valley Driver (sort of) to the floor! I don’t think that’s what they were going for but that’s what it looked like. Back in the ring they trade kicks to the face. Cole hits a suplex into a neckbreaker and then kicks Edwards in the back of the head for two. He follows up with the Florida Key to get the pin at 19:10. Both guys seemed to be going all-out to have a great match and I appreciate that. However they just kind of went from one sequence to another without anything tying it together. The action was fun and it didn’t feel as long as it was, it just never reached levels of greatness.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #15: World TV Title Match – Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly, ROH TV Episode #61, 11.17.12

Cole has been the Champion since 6.29.12, and this is his fourth defense. They lock up fiercely to start. They go back and forth with counters, emphasizing how well they know each other from their future Shock days. Cole lands a hard enziguiri to send O’Reilly to the floor. He goes for a dive but O’Reilly cuts him off with a forearm. O’Reilly goes for a dive but Cole stops him with an enziguiri. Cole then hits the dive. He throws O’Reilly into the barricade twice. Back in the ring Cole goes up top for the cross body block but O’Reilly blocks it with a dropkick. O’Reilly covers for two. We take a break with O’Reilly in control. Back from the break O’Reilly is still in control, working Cole over. Davey Richards makes his way out and joins Kelly and Nigel on commentary. He has to ask Nigel for time to speak to O’Reilly next week. That could have been done in a backstage segment or some other way that would not take away from the match. O’Reilly takes his eye off the ball and Cole hits a slingshot DDT on the apron. Back in the ring Cole goes up top again and hits a big splash for a near-fall. Cole goes for the Figure-Four Leglock but O’Reilly avoids it and then gets an inside cradle for two. They get up and trade strikes. O’Reilly gets a Regalplex for two. He follows with a triangle choke and Cole counters it into a cradle for two. They trade strikes from their knees and get up to continue laying into each other. O’Reilly hits a tornado DDT into a brainbuster. He covers Cole as homoerotically as possible for a two-count. O’Reilly locks on the Guillotine Choke. Cole powers up and turns it into a neckbreaker! He hits a superkick to the back of the head and then lands the Florida Key to get the win at 8:57 (shown). They kept the action hot all the way through and it felt like these two had a legitimate reason to fight each other. They are great partners and opponents.
Rating: ***½


The best days of Adam Cole’s career are certainly ahead of him, but this is an excellent chronicle of his rise to prominence in the third biggest company in the U.S.A. The match selection is excellent, with all the high moments being represented and a nice variety of tag team and singles matches. This is a very worthy purchase and you can pick it up at the ROH Shop.

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