For an easy to navigate archive of all of my Ring of Honor DVD reviews, please visit RetROH Reviews!
San Antonio Shrine Auditorium – San Antonio, Texas – June 1, 2013
PRESHOW MATCH: Ricky Starks & Carson vs. AJ Summers & Rudy Russo
Carson has his name on his trunks, which is very helpful since I don’t know any of these four guys. He starts with Russo, who takes advantage and the crowd cheers so I guess they are the babyfaces. Starks tags in and Russo continues the advantage. Summers comes in for some double-teaming. He drills Starks with a nasty DDT. Summers neglects to cover and gets hit with a kick in the face and a half nelson suplex for it. Starks is wise enough to cover but he only gets two. Carson tags back in and continues to wear Summers down. Starks comes in and pulls a Kleenex or something out of his tights and spits on it, then rubs the spit in Summers’ face. That’s just gross. Summers fights back (sort of) and makes the tag. Russo is a house afire, dropkicking Carson to the floor. He then traps Starks in La Mistica to get the win at 5:19. I’m all for giving local guys a chance when ROH comes to a new market, but if this is the best San Antonio has to offer I feel bad for wrestling fans there.
Kevin Kelly is on commentary for the main show.
MATCH #1: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Mike Sydal
O’Reilly is accompanied by his tag team championship partner Bobby Fish. They start with some basic back and forth stuff, and Sydal surprises O’Reilly by hanging with him early on. O’Reilly uses strikes to subdue Sydal and take the first advantage. Sydal fires right back with a knockout kick of his own, and then hits a standing moonsault for two. He puts on a Muta Lock and O’Reilly is able to get to the ropes. O’Reilly starts going after the arm now. Sydal fights back and shows off his flexibility. Kelly says that he is a certified Yoga instructor. I like little details like that. Sydal continues flying around the ring but can’t put O’Reilly away. An enziguiri sends O’Reilly to the floor, and Sydal follows him out with a moonsault off the top rope. Back in the ring O’Reilly avoids a charge and Sydal crashes shoulder-first into the post. O’Reilly hits the trio of butterfly suplexes into the Cross Armbreaker. With his arm at a severely awkward angle Sydal has no choice but to tap out at 9:37. That was a decent little opener and a solid win for O’Reilly.
MATCH #2: Mark Briscoe vs. a member of S.C.U.M.
Ernie Zuniga of Fox San Antonio is in the ring. Zuniga talks about how yesterday he was interviewing hometown hero ACH when they were interrupted by Steve Corino. That mean man Corino had a lot of mean things to say about Zuniga and the city of San Antonio. That brings Corino out to the ring. Corino continues to smack talk the city and the fans in attendance. Mark Briscoe comes out for some reason, and talks crap about Matt Hardy. That angers Corino to the point that he is willing to fight about it.
Corino is wrestling in a suit and tie. Mark is all over him right from the bell, hammering him from corner to corner. Corino fights back and chokes Mark with his tie. The jacket comes off and Corino is wearing a sleeveless shirt underneath and has some wrist guards. Perhaps this was his plan all along! What a plan! S.C.U.M. is really taking over now! Mark snaps Corino’s neck off the top rope and then pulls him to the floor. He shoves Corino into the ring post and then goes back in the ring to hit him with a dropkick through the ropes. Mark throws Corino into the barricades repeatedly. As Mark is reentering the ring Corino kicks the middle rope into his groin. Corino resumes control and uses some questionable tactics. He tries a back body drop but Mark lands on his feet. Mark is able to get to the top rope and hit a karate chop. It’s Redneck Kung Fu time. Mark hits a rolling Death Valley Driver and goes up top. He hits a Superfly Splash. Rhett Titus and Jimmy Jacobs come down to break up the three-count and Corino is disqualified at 6:48. That was rather dull, but at least it didn’t go too long.
Corino, Jacobs, and Titus assault Mark after the bell, and Corino decks him with a handful of chain. Michael Elgin and BJ Whitmer run out to make the save. Whitmer cuts a brief promo, letting Jacobs and Titus know what they’re in for tonight.
MATCH #3: Women of Honor – Athena vs. Barbie Hayden
This is Hayden’s ROH debut. Athena is also known as “The Wrestling Goddess.” They chain wrestle to start and it’s a little ugly. Athena scores a surprise monkey flip and Hayden takes a powder. Hayden taunts the crowd and takes her eye off the ball so Athena dropkicks her through the ropes. Back in the ring Athena covers for two. Kevin Kelly sucks really hard on commentary when he’s by himself. Anyway Hayden has made a comeback and she’s in control. Athena tries to build some momentum but Hayden cuts her off with a tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Hayden works Athena over for a bit until Athena catches a kick and puts on an Ankle Lock. The hold is broken when Hayden gets to the ropes. Athena hits a handspring clothesline. She tries it again but Hayden avoids this one. Hayden shows her mean streak as she works Athena over again. She puts Athena up top for a superplex but it’s a terrible idea because Athena’s legs are on the inside. Athena shoves her down and hits the O Face (a leaping, spinning cutter from the top rope) to get the pin at 7:01. The finish was amazing, the rest of the match not so much. Again, if Barbie Hayden is the best woman ROH could find, that’s too bad for women’s wrestling in San Antonio.
MATCH #4: Proving Ground Match – ROH TV Champion Matt Taven vs. “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards
Edwards is a former TV Champion, and if he either wins here or lasts the time limit he’ll get another shot at the gold. As I remember it, Proving Ground matches have a 15-minute time limit. Taven has no Truth Martini or Hoopla Hotties with him tonight. They go back and forth with chain and mat wrestling, and it occurs to me that Taven really has more to prove in this Proving Ground match. Edwards controls early on and looks pretty confident. He certainly has the crowd support here in Texas. Taven makes a brief comeback and they go to the floor. Edwards quickly regains control and people in the crowd actually hold Taven for Edwards to chop the TV Champion. Edwards also hits Taven with a water bottle. Apparently there are no disqualifications in Texas. Back in the ring Taven is able to catch Edwards with a big boot. Taven then traps Edwards on the top rope and hits a spinning neckbreaker for two. The TV Champion finally has a period of sustained offense, and Taven keeps Edwards on the mat. Edwards comes back and kicks Taven to the floor. He goes for a dive but Taven cuts him off. The resilient Edwards is able to knock Taven back to the floor and this time connects on the dive. Back in the ring Edwards hits a missile dropkick, or as Kelly redundantly calls it, “missile dropkick from the top.” Edwards unloads with chops in the corner and an enziguiri. He hits the facebuster for two. Edwards goes for the Chin Checker but Taven avoids it. Taven can’t avoid the Achilles Lock though, and the TV Champion is in trouble. Luckily for Taven he’s able to counter the Achilles Lock into an inside cradle for a near-fall. Taven hits a rolling boot and a butterfly facebuster for a two-count. He goes up top and Edwards kicks him in the face. Edwards goes for a top-rope hurricanrana but Taven shoves him down. Taven hits a Frog Splash but only gets two. He puts Edwards on the top rope and Edwards knocks him down. Edwards comes down with the double stomp and follows up with a powerbomb. He hits the Die Hard to get the pin at 15:56. That was Taven’s strongest showing to date, as Edwards really brought out the best in him. Not having Martini and the Hotties there proved that Taven can go without all the Hoopla, so to speak. Good stuff here.
MATCH #5: ACH vs. Jay Lethal
Kevin Kelly says that this is the hometown hero versus his childhood hero, but Lethal is all of three years older than ACH. Lethal and ACH soak in the cheers of the crowd for a minute before taking it to each other. They go back and forth a bit and ACH is showing no signs of being intimidated. Lethal hits the hiptoss / cartwheel / dropkick combo and ACH takes a powder. Back in the ring the back and forth continues and the crowd is loving it. This time ACH sends Lethal regrouping to the floor. Both men take turns sending each other to the floor and teasing dives. Lethal is the first one to connect on a dive, wiping ACH out on the floor. Back in the ring Lethal covers for two. Lethal stays in control, keeping the high flying ACH grounded. ACH fights back and hits the Ready or Not Here I Come followed by the Free Bird Crossbody for a two-count. He hits a dropkick for another near-fall. Lethal tries fighting back but ACH cuts him off. This has been a tremendous back-and-forth contest. Lethal is able to escape ACH’s grasp and both men collide and are down on the mat. They rise and trade strikes. ACH knocks Lethal to the floor and wipes him out with a tremendous dive. Back in the ring ACH hits a slingshot Stunner for two. A series of reversals ends with Lethal slamming ACH right on his face for a two-count. ACH comes back with kicks and a Greetings from Ghana for two. Lethal hits a couple of superkicks and goes up top for Hail to the King. That only gets two. Lethal hits the Lethal Combination and the Lethal Injection to score the pin at 17:41. These two meshed together really well, and the added crowd heat from being in ACH’s hometown really made the match feel important. Lethal is so god at this point, and ACH is really something special.
Lethal gets on the microphone and says that was one of the toughest matches he’s ever had in his life. He puts ACH over for being awesome, and they shake hands.
MATCH #6: Bobby Fish vs. Raymond Rowe
This is the first time I’ve seen Rowe in action. Fish has his Tag Team Championship partner Kyle O’Reilly with him. They are wearing a bandana around their necks, and chewing on some straw. Fish cuts a condescending promo insulting the crowd for being podunk hillbillies.
They start with some chain wrestling and Fish is arrogant from the get-go. Rowe shows off his power early on, so Fish does his best to avoid him. O’Reilly distracts Rowe long enough for Fish to take a cheap shot to the knee. Fish zeroes in on the limb now, wearing it down. This goes on for several minutes. Rowe powers up and hits a series of clotheslines and a Saito Suplex. He hits another clothesline for two. Fish hits a Saito Suplex of his own, and then drills Rowe with a kick to the head for a two-count. Rowe fights back with shotgun knees for a near-fall. He hits a dead lift release German Suplex for two. Fish retaliates with kicks but Rowe catches him in a spinebuster for another two-count. Rowe tries a Full Nelson Slam but Fish counters to a crucifix to get the pin at 11:44. That was decent enough and a fine introduction to Rowe’s power style. Oddly though at under 12 minutes it felt a little long.
MATCH #7: Special Challenge Match – Adam Cole vs. Roderick Strong
Cole is now announced as “The Panama City Playboy.” They take it right down to the mat. These are two of the best in ROH today and a good match for each other. Strong scores the first real near-fall with an inside cradle. They trade more holds and pinning combos, both men trying hard to set the pace early on. Strong goes for an early Stronghold but can’t lock it in, so he hits a leg lariat instead for two. He keeps the pressure on, hitting a gutbuster for a two-count. Cole retaliates with a snap suplex and then locks on a chinlock. He lands a neckbreaker for two. Cole continues to wear Strong down with a variety of offense. A series of reversals ends with both men trying a cross body block and knocking the wind out of each other. They rise and trade strikes. Strong wins that battle with a hard dropkick. Strong follows with a powerslam for two. Cole comes back with a Death Valley Neckbreaker for a near-fall. Strong responds with a rolling elbow and Cole dropkicks him low. Cole hits the Shining Wizard for two. He goes for the Florida Key but Strong avoids it. An awesome series of reversals ends with Cole cinching on a Figure-Four Leglock. Strong reaches the ropes. They battle on the apron and Cole hits an enziguiri to knock Strong to the floor. Cole then wipes Strong out with a dive. Back in the ring Cole goes up top and Strong knocks him down. Strong hits a superplex for two. They trade strikes again and Strong hits Death by Roderick but then runs right into a Superkick. Cole hits the vertical suplex neckbreaker for a near-fall. They trade more reversals and Strong lands the Gibson Driver to get the pin at 15:27. These two know each other well and some of the reversal sequences here were very cool. Strong offers his hand after the match and Cole walks away! I like the new edge on Adam Cole.
MATCH #8: Texas Tornado Match – Team ROH (Michael Elgin & BJ Whitmer) vs. S.C.U.M. (Jimmy Jacobs & Rhett Titus)
The fight starts outside the ring and away we go. Elgin and Whitmer are in control early on, with Elgin fighting Jacobs and Whitmer battling Titus. They fight all over the building and eventually switch dance partners. Eventually they switch again and Titus and Whitmer make their way into the ring. Elgin has been dominating Jacobs in the meantime. Titus tries to escape to the floor and Whitmer wipes him out with a dive. Elgin throws Jacobs into the ring and press slams him. S.C.U.M. has gotten almost no offense in so far and we’re about seven minutes in. Whitmer and Elgin deliver dual delayed vertical suplexes. Finally Jacobs and Titus are able to string some offense together. Jacobs takes Elgin out with a dive on the floor, leaving Whitmer to fend for himself in the ring. Elgin quickly makes his way back to the ring and sends Jacobs to the floor. Titus sends Elgin out so he can face Whitmer on his own. That doesn’t go so well for Titus, unfortunately. Whitmer is dominating, and that continues when Elgin gets back in the ring. Jacobs and Titus fight back and work a little bit of offense in. Titus removes the padding from the floor and S.C.U.M. goes for a double-team maneuver. Elgin breaks it up and tries to hit Jacobs with the dead lift superplex but Titus breaks that up. Unfortunately for Titus he then gets hit with the dead lift superplex. Elgin covers and Jacobs breaks that up. Jacobs hits Elgin with the Ace Crusher from the second rope. He goes for the Contra Code but Elgin avoids it and hits the spinning back fist and the Buckle Bomb. Elgin goes for the Spiral Bomb but Jacobs counters to the End Time! Whitmer breaks that up. Titus hits Whitmer with the Thrust Buster for a two-count. Elgin hits Titus with a Black Hole Slam. Jacobs tries to hit Elgin with a Spear but gets caught and powerbombed into Titus. Elgin then picks up Titus and Jacobs at the same time and hits a dual Fallaway Slam / Samoan Drop. He covers both but can’t get a pinfall on either. Elgin hits Jacobs with a Buckle Bomb. He goes for another one but Steve Corino runs in and drills Elgin with a chain. Mark Briscoe runs out with a bigger chain and chases Corino away. Titus has the chain now but Whitmer kicks him in the face before he can use it. Whitmer goes for the Wrist-Clutch Exploder but Jacobs sneaks up behind Whitmer and rolls him up for the pin at 19:30. Elgin and Whitmer dominated that entire match and S.CU.M. won with interference and a fluke rollup. I’m totally worried for the safety of Ring of Honor’s future now. The match itself was a fine brawl that I enjoyed, but S.C.U.M. was booked so weakly.
MATCH #9: ROH World Championship Match – Jay Briscoe vs. Davey Richards
Jay has been the Champion since 4.5.13, and this is his third defense. This is Richards’ first shot at the title since losing his rematch to Kevin Steen at Best in the World 2012: Hostage Crisis. The fans throw rainbow streamers at the Champion, which should happen in every Jay Briscoe match for the rest of time. Homophobic hick.
These two have been in the ring together many times in tag team matches, so they do know each other. Thus they take some time feeling each other out, taking it slow in the early going. Surprisingly the crowd is wet for a test of strength, which ends up not even happening. Jay is determined to do it though, and this time when Richards goes for it Jay double-crosses him. The pace quickens and they go back and forth before coming to a standoff. Finally the people get to see the test of strength they’ve been juicing for. It pretty much goes nowhere. Jay knocks Richards to the floor and wipes him out with a somersault over the top rope. They engage in a test of strength on the floor, which just leads to Richards hitting the running kick from the apron. Richards and Briscoe continue trading strikes and make their way back in the ring. The challenger is in control and he goes to work on the Champion’s leg. That doesn’t last too long before Jay just stops selling and fights back. Richards retaliates with kicks, but Jay wins that battle with a big boot to the face. They continue to trade strikes as if this is some kind of peeing race. Richards hits the Alarm Clock but Jay shrugs it off and hits a superkick. Jay goes for a suplex but Richards reverses to one of his own. They roll to the apron and Jay slugs away. Richards catches Jay coming back in the ring with a dragon screw leg whip. He goes for the running kick again but Jay avoids it and hits a Death Valley Driver on the apron. Back in the ring Jay goes up top to hit a Superfly Splash for two. Richards comes back and knocks Jay to the floor. He follows him out with the dangerous Tope Con Hilo, landing in the crowd. Back in the ring Richards goes for a double stomp off the top rope but misses. Jay tries to capitalize with a Tombstone but Richards counters and hits the Tombstone instead. Richards goes back up and hits the double stomp but only gets two. Jay hits the STO into the middle turnbuckle. Jay goes up top but Richards cuts him off. Richards goes for a superplex but Briscoe counters to a super gourdbuster! That only gets two. Kevin Kelly calls it a Falcon Arrow but he’s wrong. Jay goes for the Jay Driller but Richards avoids it and hits a German Suplex, which Jay no-sells. They awkwardly wrestle around and end up with Richards putting on an Ankle Lock. Jay rolls his way out of it but Richards drills him with a Shining Wizard and a knockout kick. Richards then hits a Jay Driller for two and then goes back to the Ankle Lock. Jay counters that with an inside cradle for two. He levels Richards with a lariat for a one-count. They trade strikes now and Jay grabs Richards for a Falcon Arrow. That gets two. Jay then hits the Jay Driller to get the pin at 23:20. They picked it up quite a bit down the stretch but for the most part this was a lot of back and forth and no one selling anything. There really was no cohesive story going here, and I don’t see why Richards would use Jay’s finish. This was just all around underhwelming.
ROH Honor Roll 5-30-13
Davey Richards Pre Show (DVD Exclusive)
Jay Lethal versus ACH is worth going out of your way to see, and I also enjoyed Eddie Edwards versus Matt Taven and Adam Cole versus Roderick Strong (particularly for Cole’s character development). Everything else was pretty blah, but many could like the main event more than I did so that would tip the scales to making this a solid recommendation. You can purchase the DVD at the ROH Shop or watch it On Demand.