Paul London takes on ROH mainstay Roderick Strong, but first Tommaso Ciampa welcomes Jesse Sorensen to Ring of Honor in his own way.
Match 1: Tommaso Ciampa vs Jesse Sorensen
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa via submission
Jesse Sorensen makes his Ring of Honor debut after losing a year of his career to Zima Ion and an ill-executed moonsault. Corino puts it as “He has BJ Whitmer disease”. The Code of Honor is followed.
Ciampa backs Sorensen into the ropes to force a break. Sorensen slips behind but Ciampa quickly breaks it to a headlock. Off the ropes, Sorensen goes down to a shoulder but kips right up on impact. Sorensen tries the same trick but Ciampa puts him down then catches him for a Kryptonite Krunch, but Sorensen rolls away then dodges an exposed knee attempt. Ciampa hits a huge chop and tries a cravat which Sorensen answers by grabbing his leg. Ciampa slaps Sorensen who answers with a dropkick and a right fist. Sorensen hits an elevated Fameasser and another dropkick off a whip. Ciampa elevates Sorensen to the apron then pounds him in the head with a knee sending him to the floor. The Sicilian gives chase and clubs his back, then rips up the floor mats. Sorensen avoids a suplex attempt then heads back in the ring to land a plancha on Ciampa and take us into a break.
Back to action, Ciampa hits a huge clothesline for a two count. Forearms and elbows back and forth ends with Sorensen hitting a leaping neckbreaker, then a swinging one. Sorensen makes it three with a McGillicutter for two. Sorensen with a fireman’s carry that Ciampa elbows down and out of. Sorensen reverses a full nelson into a roll up for two and hits an enziguiri that rocks Ciampa into the ropes. Ciampa reverses a whip into an Argentine lift spun out to a facebuster for two. Ciampa with a leaping forearm in one corner but he gets caught in the second one. Ciampa stands his ground with a discus elbow and lands an exposed knee in the corner. Ciampa makes it two then lifts Sorensen for a second rope Krunch; Sorensen counters with a sunset flip but Ciampa lands on Sorensen’s leg which had to suck. Sorensen crawls over for a two count. Sorensen wants something from a reverse DDT position but gets countered into a Project Ciampa attempt. Sorensen lands on his feet but ends up in Ciampa’s version of the Rings of Saturn, the Sicilian Stretch. Sorensen taps.
Quick recap of Outlaw Inc’s shenanigans since their arrival, which is basically snapping people’s fingers and getting the Tag Team Champions’ name wrong.
Match 2: Adrenaline Rush vs Outlaw Inc (From Glory by Honor XII)
Winners: Outlaw Inc via pinfall
They said “Outlaw Inc were in action”. They forgot to mention it was from a different event. No worries though because anytime ACH is on TV, it’s a good day. I still do not understand this clown mask nonsense.
Homicide offers handshakes but gives out hugs. Kingston starts with ACH and takes him down quickly. Kingston spins him around into a cravat. ACH slips out for a headlock then ends up in one himself. Kingston with a shoulder off the ropes but he gets outsped and eats a dropkick. ACH elevated to the apron and hits an enziguiri and a diving back elbow. Kingston bails to the floor and ACH feints a dive. Early commercial and back from it, Homicide is bashing ACH and makes a tag back to Kingston. They continue to work the leg to ground the flier. Kingston with a reverse Cloverleaf and ACH manages to nab the ropes. ACH tries to fight back but gets leveled by a Kingston elbow. Homicide wraps ACH’s leg in the ropes to keep the pressure on. Homicide teases a Figure Four but settles into an STF…which just ends up with him ripping at ACH’s face. ACH avoids the Ace Crusher and hits Paydirt then manages the tag to TD who rolls up Homicide and kicks everybody. Homicide reveres a whip so TD dives at Kingston. He walks back into a mule kick and Homicide wants a Tornado DDT. TD puts him back on the top rope then meets him there for a superplex and a two count. Kingston manages a blind tag and he and Homicide hit a neckbreaker/low forearm combo for two, then ACH flies in from literally nowhere and lands on Kingston. TD reverses the Gringo Killer and sets Homicide up top. Kingston backfists TD in the leg and takes him up for a Doomsday Bulldog to win it.
Kingston grabs a mic and says that once again “The Red Dragons”, his “two snowflakes” (which the crowd now chants) have ducked Outlaw Inc. Kingston calls reDRagon pussies.
Match 3: Paul London vs Roderick Strong
Winner: Paul London via pinfall
Strong comes out in a World Series of Poker t-shirt. Not sure if that or the “We are 18” sponsorship is worse. Corino’s harshest criticism of Roddy: “He chops too hard”.
Quick exchange on the mat and both men reset. Roddy with a quick take down and a float over to a chancery. London tries a single leg and gets a one count. Strong grabs a single leg of his own and they leapfrog a dozen times before London dropkicks Roddy to the floor. London tries a plancha but gets punched mid-dive. Back from a commercial, London has a chinlock in then Roddy blocks a suplex. London ends up on the apron and dives into a butterfly backbreaker for two. Roddy stomps London in the corner then chops him. London flips out of a belly to back and chops Roddy back to the corner. London goes up and over in the corner but gets slid into the ringpost shoulder first. Roddy stretches London across the post then boots him in the chest. Roddy with a grounded bearhug that London quickly elbows out of. They duck a dozen clotheslines this time then collide as both try a cross body. Roddy is first to his feet but they exchange forearms. Chops from Strong but he runs into a boot and a belly to back suplex. London hits clotheslines and a spinning heel kick then flips over Roddy and hits a heel kick for two. Strong eats another boot as he rushes the corner then dropkicks London out of the air. Strong wants a backbreaker on the apron but London fights it off. London dropsaults Roddy to the floor then hits a flip dive which leaves both of them grounded.
London hits a springboard dropkick back in the ring for two. Roddy elbows London after he sits himself on the top rope then drags him off and into a belly to back backbreaker in one swift motion for two. Strong wants Death by Roderick but London ties himself in the ropes and ends up sat up top again. Roddy with a chop and an enziguiri then a top rope superplex for a very near fall. Roddy wants the Stronghold and cinches it mid-ring. Strong tries to adjust and London rolls him up for two. Strong dodges a superkick then goes for Death by Roderick again – London elevates high enough to spin midair and double stomp him (A “Davey Richards Special” courtesy of Corino) for a near fall. That’s one of the coolest counters I’ve seen in a long time. Forearms midring again and now Roddy wants chops. This sets London off and he nails a super kick then a double chickenwing facebuster but only gets two. London heads up top for the Shooting Star but Roddy gets out to the apron. London tries another Davey Richards special but whiffs – Roddy escapes to the floor and wheelbarrows London, then transitions it to a half nelson backbreaker against the ring apron. Death by Roderick and the Sick Kick but London stays alive at 2. London flips up and over on the Gibson Driver for a two of his own, but Roddy hits a jumping knee and the Gibson Driver for two, transitioned over to the Stronghold. London gets the ropebreak for about the fifth time this match should have ended. London boots Roddy away from the apron then skins the cat to catch Roddy with a headscissors and transition to a Tombstone on the floor. London hits a double stomp to the back and the Shooting Star to seal the deal with a three count.
Sorensen didn’t look out of place here like a lot of TNA talent would. Definitely a bit of sloppiness, but that might just be “rust” that needs to be shaken off. Ciampa stands strong as always. Astounding this man hasn’t held ROH gold yet. Since his return, the crowd has been strongly behind him. Take notice, ROH.
Corino on commentary is gold. “Bill Watts would roll over in his grave if he saw someone fly off the top rope like that”…”And if he was dead”…”WHAT”. I’m still waiting for some payoff with Outlaw Inc. and Nana, but this is a really slow burn. I’m not big on double standards, so I’m not digging Kingston cutting these promos that reDRagon can’t answer in turn. It also reeks of laziness and poor writing/lack of creativity. And seriously, get their name right. It’s SO disrespectful. One time I could understand as misspeaking. Doing it every time means he can’t be bothered. Match was really good and Outlaw Inc getting a clean win where they don’t break someone’s fingers is a good thing for everyone involved. These promos are bottom barrel though and don’t advance anything. It’s lazy pandering to the “haha he said bad words” crowd. There’s still no real explanation of why Outlaw Inc are here and acting the way they are or their involvement with Nana (if there is any). That’s…a bad thing.
Paul London survives and defies death multiple times to come back and beat Roderick Strong…in a match with likely no title implications. Now don’t get me wrong, that was a damn good match in the ROH style of “throw everything at each other” but these types of over the top fights should be reserved for title matches or at least matches that could determine contenders. This was a great TV main event, but for the hell these guys went through, neither one is elevated any higher than they were before. This hasn’t sold tickets or PPV (not that that’s an issue for ROH anymore). I just always wonder how ROH decides where they’re going to sprinkle in these “all-out” bouts. Strong continues to be a great workhorse for the company, despite being left in the ROH equivalent of mid-card Hell, not even really in the TV Title hunt. Meanwhile the just-returned Jimmy Jacobs got an ROH Title shot. It’s all over the place. London only shows up once in a while, but it’s always for a great 15 minutes of action. Curious to see if they make anything of his occasional jaunts in Ring of Honor or if he’s just a “showcase” talent.
Champions vs All Stars will be condensed down to 42 minutes of television, and we likely all benefit for it.
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Tags: ach, Eddie Kingston, Homicide, Jesse Sorensen, Paul London, Ring of Honor, Roderick Strong, ROH, Steve Corino, Tommaso Ciampa