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Ford Community & Performing Arts Center – Dearborn, Michigan – January 18, 2013
Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish vs. BJ Whitmer & Rhett Titus
O’Reilly and Whitmer start it off. They go back and forth a bit, trying to set the pace. Is that an Angry Bird on Whitmer’s tights? Titus and Fish tag in and they continue on the same path as their partners. Fish attacks the leg but Titus comes back with a dropkick. O’Reilly comes in and he eats a dropkick too. Fish and O’Reilly try to regroup on the floor but Titus wipes them out with a somersault dive. Back in the ring Titus works Fish over. O’Reilly hits Titus with a knee to the back from the apron. That fives Fish the chance to take control. O’Reilly and Fish are in control now, working Titus over and using double-team moves to their advantage. After several minutes Titus is able to avoid a charge in the corner and then hit a tilt-a-whirl Snake Eyes. Tags are made. Whitmer tears into both Fish and O’Reilly, hitting O’Reilly with a hard spinebuster for two. He keeps up the pressure and the referee somewhat loses control. Whitmer gets knocked off the apron and O’Reilly hits the Missile Dropkick. Back in the ring Titus hits Fish with a clothesline for two. O’Reilly makes the save and they double-team Titus but can’t put him away. Moments later a Knockout Kick / Brainbuster combination is enough to put Titus down at 12:50. That was solid tag team formula stuff to open, and a good win for Fish and O’Reilly.
MATCH #2: Steve Corino vs. Jay Lethal
Corino tries to talk Lethal out of being so mad at him, but Lethal isn’t buying it. Lethal would rather throw punches so here we go. Corino bails to avoid the onslaught but Lethal follows him out with a suicide dive. Lethal introduces Corino to the barricade, throwing him around the ringside area. Back in the ring Corino kicks the ropes into Lethal’s junk. That gives Corino control, and he hits the Colby Shock. Corino then uses a sleeper to slow Lethal down. Lethal escapes and unleashes a flurry of offense. He lands a handspring back elbow for two. Lethal runs Corino into the turnbuckles and then hits a spin kick to the back of the head. Corino is too close to the ropes on the cover. Lethal tries the Lethal Injection but Corino catches him and hits a Lou Thesz Backdrop Driver for a near-fall. Corino hits a big lariat and then the Eternal Dream for two. Lethal catches Corino coming off the ropes in the Lethal Combination for a two-count. He goes up top and takes too long so Corino joins him. Back on the mat Lethal hits a superkick and then the Lethal Injection. Lethal goes back up top and this time hits Hail to the King to get the pin at 8:07. That was perfectly solid and a good placeholder match for Lethal on his way to a rematch with Kevin Steen.
Corino gets in Nigel’s face and makes some threats, to the ROH Authority Figure heads backstage to allegedly put his foot down. Truth Martini will replace him on commentary.
MATCH #3: Roderick Strong vs. Silas Young
Things get heated pretty quickly as both guys try to establish dominance in the early going. These are two very tough, hard-hitting individuals. Strong is just a half step ahead of Young in the opening minutes here. He unleashes the hard chops, reddening Young’s chest. Young finally catches Strong with a knee to the face and Strong rolls to the floor. Back in the ring Young keeps Strong grounded and works him over. After several near-falls Strong avoids a charge in the corner and hits the best dropkick in ROH. Strong hits a half-nelson backbreaker for a two-count. They go to the floor and Strong unloads with chops. Back in the ring Young hot shots Strong on the top rope and rolls him up for a near-fall. Strong hits a hard knee strike to the face for a two-count. They go up to the top rope and Young fights back so they both tumble to the ground. Strong is able to put on the Stronghold but Young escapes it. Young catches Strong in the backbreaker / clothesline combo for two. He follows with the Finlay Roll and goes for the Pee Jee Waja Plunge but Strong avoids it. Strong hits a hard forearm, the gutbuster, and the Sick Kick for the pin at 12:16. That was another good showing for Young and I’m begging ROH to put him in a feud already. He went toe-to-toe with Strong, and that’s a good litmus test for success in ROH.
MATCH #4: ROH World Title Match – Kevin Steen vs. TaDarius Thomas
Steen has been the Champion since 5.12.12, and this is his fifteenth defense. This is an interesting concept, as ROH match maker Nigel McGuinness just decided to award a title shot to a newcomer, a relative unknown, a la Rocky. Thomas is from the Detroit area too. Steen attacks Thomas during the handshake and goes to work on him. He pitches Thomas to the floor and follows him out. Thomas fights back but Steen whips him hard into the barricade. Steen continues the beating, and back in the ring shows how not seriously he is taking this challenge. Thomas tries to fight back but Steen cuts him off with an Orton DDT. Each time Thomas appears ready to fight back Steen cuts him off. Steen goes up top Thomas hits a forearm and then hops up there too. Thomas tries a superplex but Steen bites him to send him back to the mat. Steen tries the Swanton but Thomas gets his knees up! Thomas now has a chance to show off his unique offensive and defensive skills. He goes up top and hits a high cross body block for two. Thomas follows up with Sling Blade for a near-fall. A series of reversals ends with Steen hitting the pop-up powerbomb for two. Thomas lands a low kick and a high kick before finally hitting the Tiger Suplex for a very close near-fall! Steen drops Thomas on the top rope and then hits the F-Cinq but Thomas kicks out. Really? Steen hits the Package Piledriver and that’s enough to put Thomas down at 10:33. I was down on this match when it was first announced, but watching it now I appreciate that it was a different kind of ROH Title match. Of course Thomas wasn’t going to win, but it was a fun little match while it happened.
MATCH #5: Brent Daniels vs. Troy Miguel
I know nothing about either of these guys. They start with some basics and about a minute into the match Charlie Haas makes his way to ringside and I guess it’s a no-contest.
Charlie Haas is Pissed Off
Haas is indeed pissed off, insulting the wrestlers and the crowd, and then throwing beer on referee Brian Gorie. He continues lurking around all angry and stuff, and then he challenges the both of them to a handicap match. Just guess how that goes. Haas dominates both men and finishes them off with a double Haas of Pain at 1:16. The Charlie Haas character does nothing for me.
MATCH #6: Proving Ground Match – World TV Champion Adam Cole vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Jacobs is accompanied by fellow S.C.U.M. member Steve Corino, who also joins Kelly and McGuinness on commentary. Jacobs hasn’t had a singles match in over six months so lets see how he does. He scores first with an armdrag off the top rope and looks awfully pleased with himself. He appears to be a step ahead of Cole in the early going. Jacobs uses an abdominal stretch and Cole busts out of it. They do a nice back and forth counter exchange and the crowd appreciates them. Cole hits Jacobs with a neckbreaker and a dropkick. Jacobs comes back and sends Cole to the floor. He follows him out and hurls him into the barricade. Back in the ring Jacobs covers for two. Jacobs controls the next several minutes, looking impressive against the TV Champion. He even gets cocky and open mouth kisses Cole before slapping him across the face. Cole gets pissed off and sends Jacobs to the floor. He follows him out with a dive. Back in the ring Jacobs catches a superkick but Cole counters to an enziguiri. Cole hits a Shining Wizard for two. A series of reversals ends with Jacobs hitting the HUSS Crusher for two. Jacobs hits the Eye of the Hurricane for another two-count. He tries the HUSS Crusher again but Cole counters with a Backstabber. Cole hits the Death Valley Neckbreaker for a two-count. Jacobs comes back with the End Time, which Cole breaks out of. Cole hits a superkick and tries a suplex but Jacobs counters back to the End Time! Once again Cole counters and Jacobs tries again, but this time Cole hits the vertical suplex neckbreaker for a near-fall. They fight to the apron and Jacobs hits the Contra Code to the floor! Cole barely makes it back in the ring before the 20-count. Jacobs covers right away but only gets two! Jacobs goes up top and lands the senton but Cole kicks out! He goes for the Contra Code but Cole counters it to a Snake Eyes! Cole tries the Florida Key but Jacobs counters to a victory roll for two. They clothesline each other, Cole hits a superkick, Jacobs hits a spear, and both men are down. They rise up and trade strikes and Cole hits an enziguiri and a superkick. Jacobs tries a spear but Cole superkicks him out of the air! That was awesome. Cole then hits the Florida Key to get the pin at 18:19. My only selfish complaint about this match is that I wish Jacobs would have won or gone to the time limit so there would be reason to have a rematch. Everything these two did just clicked and the reversal sequences were awesome, particularly at the finish. I really want to see this again.
MATCH #7: “Survival of the Fittest” Rematch – “Man Beast” RHINO vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin
Both men start out with the same strategy: out power the other guy! RHINO hits the first suplex and signals for the Gore but Elgin avoids it. A series of reversals ends with Elgin tossing RHINO to the floor. Elgin dropkicks RHINO back into the barricade. He follows RHINO out and they fight up the aisle and into the crowd. The commentators have trouble seeing the action and don’t much know what’s going on. Elgin and RHINO make it back into the ring and Elgin hits a slingshot back elbow for two. Elgin controls RHINO now and wears him down. He goes up top and tries the corkscrew somersault senton but RHINO avoids it. Back on their feet RHINO unloads with some right hands and hits a belly-to-belly suplex for a two-count. Elgin comes back with a Crossface. RHINO reaches the ropes. They fight to the apron and Elgin tries the dead lift superplex but RHINO fights it off. RHINO is then able to hit his own superplex and both men are down. They rise to their feet and slug it out. Elgin hits an enziguiri. He hits an amazing dead lift German Suplex for a near-fall. RHINO fires back with a hard clothesline. He follows with the GORE but Elgin kicks out! RHINO sets up for another GORE but Elgin kicks him to stop it. Elgin locks on the Crossface again and RHINO taps out at 14:54. That was a really good power match between arguably the two best at that style in ROH. I like Elgin getting a submission finish over too, that makes him even more well-rounded and will create more drama in his matches.
MATCH #8: World Tag Team Title Match – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The American Wolves
The Briscoes have been the Champions since 12.16.12, and this is their second defense. Mark and Richards start the match. These two teams have faced each other many times in the past. Richards and Mark exchange holds and reversals for a bit and then make tags. Edwards and Jay keep up the fast pace, displaying how well everyone here knows each other. The Briscoes take the first sustained control and focus on Edwards. After several minutes Edwards comes back and makes the tag. Richards is a house afire, unleashing kicks on the Champions. He’s able to trap Jay and Mark in a simultaneous Trailer Hitch and Ankle Lock. That looks neat. Mark reaches the ropes and then slugs Richards to break it up. The battle spills to the floor, where Edwards throws Jay into the barricade and drills him with a running boot. Back in the ring the Wolves focus on Jay. Eventually Mark gets the hot tag and he uses the vaunted Redneck Kung Fu. The Wolves weather the storm though and isolate Mark in their half of the ring. I always laugh when Davey does his little wolf howl. More stuff happens and tags are made. Jay hits Edwards with several big moves but can’t put him away. The Briscoes call for the Doomsday Device on Edwards but Richards breaks it up with a huge superplex. The referee totally loses control and all four men are brawling in the ring. The Briscoes take the advantage but the Wolves dump them to the floor and follow them out with suicide dives. Back in the ring Edwards hits a double stomp to Jay’s back and Richards follows with one to the chest for a two-count. Edwards locks Jay in the the Achilles Lock and Richards puts Mark in a knee bar. Mark reaches the ropes and Jay follows suit. The Wolves go for a Doomsday Device but Mark knocks Richards down. The Briscoes then hit their own Doomsday Device for a two-count. The bell rings but Sinclair makes sure everyone knows it was a two-count. Jay follows up with a Jay Driller to get the pin at 24:16. This just didn’t click for me, as it was technically fine but it never felt like anything more. They hit all the moves and everything, it just felt like there was no real stakes here, even with the titles on the line. Color me disappointed.
The Proving Ground match between Jacobs and Cole is the obvious highlight of the show, but everything else hovers right around the three-star neighborhood (except the charlie Haas stuff), so this is a pretty easy show to get through. Nothing is supremely memorable but guys like TaDarius Thomas and Silas Young got to shine while Jimmy Jacobs reminded everyone how good he can be. You can pick this show up at the ROH Shop.
Tags: Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, ROH