After Final Battle, Adam Cole has joined forces with Matt Hardy to help him keep the Ring of Honor World Title on his waist. Chris Hero has made it known that he wants that belt and he’s going to do what it takes to get it. Possibly the most disappointing bracket for the Top Prospect Tournament yet starts tonight.
Match 1: Ray Rowe vs Kongo, Top Prospect Tournament 1st Round
Winner: Ray Rowe via pinfall
Rowe has never been seen before and is covered in douche tattoos. Kongo is the fat guy who wrestles dark matches at TV tapings. This is ZERO buys.
Strikes back and forth for a while before Kongo takes a tumble to the floor and gets his head bashed into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Kongo catches Rowe with a suplex but Rowe immediately fires back and delivers a huge German suplex. Kongo is out at one and now the crowd cares. Boot and a forearm from Rowe followed by shotgun knees and a two count this time. Kongo hits a big shoulder and Rowe manages to land without making a sound. Kongo hits a running ass to the face while Rowe is down but whiffs a Vader Bomb. Rowe hits a full nelson lifted into a knee to the back of the head to win. On Kongo. The 350lb human boulder.
Elgin walks toward the ring and Kongo gets in his face and roars. He gets a backfist and a release strait jacket powerbomb for his troubles. Elgin expresses how upset he is about not becoming the ROH World Champion at Final Battle. Elgin touts that his W/L record was the best in ROH in 2013 and that he had Match of the Year contenders. Elgin says not to worry about Briscoe, Hero or Styles – they’re just in his way. Hero steps out to voice his concerns with Elgin’s points. Hero and Elgin need to team up in a 3 way tag match soon, so they seem content to wait until after that to settle their differences. Kevin Steen’s turn to wander out and contribute – What is this, the opening to a Raw?
Steen’s mic is fuzzy, but the long and short is he still has a rematch pending for the World Title. He welcomes Hero back and says he’ll kick his ass tonight.
Match 2: Corey Hollis vs
“Benchmark” Bill Daly Mike Posey, Top Prospect Tournament 1st Round
Winner: Corey Hollis via pinfall
The Benchmark Bill Daly isn’t competing because of an ankle sprain. This Retro Fitness sponsorship gimmick is lame. Daly demands a TV title shot when he feels better because he’s “already the top prospect”. Hollis is about to win by forfeit until Mike Posey (already in the ring, in his gear, mind you) says he should wrestle him instead. It takes them all the way until the end of the discussion to point out these guys are tag team partners, which is lazy as hell. These guys have been on TV once or twice but they’re dark match runners like Kongo.
The commentators have no idea if this tournament or exhibition while Hollis dropkicks his partner to the floor and tags him with a plancha. Posey immeidately turns the tables and throws Hollis in for a near fall. Posey focuses on the arm of his partner and gets another two count. Scoop slam and Posey hits the slowest version of “the Xpac leg drops” ever for another two. Inverted atomic drop from Hollis followed by right hands and a calf kick. Hollis with a low kick to the thigh and a McGillicutter (are you kidding me, why would you steal THAT move) for two, then Posey escapes a fireman’s carry and butterflies Hollis, puts his legs on the top rope and spirals him face first into the mat. Still only good for a two. Exchange of lollipop strikes until Hollis tags Posey with a lariat to the back. Posey dodges a backfist and hits a neck breaker then a guillotine leg drop for two. Hollis hits a huge back elbow as Posey runs the ropes and wins.
Match 3: Caprice Coleman vs Jay Lethal
Winner: Jay Lethal via pinfall
So Coleman and Alexander broke up via friendly promo on a show that wasn’t televised? Sure.
They exchange hammerlocks for about a minute before Lethal shoves Coleman to the floor and hits a dive. One count back in the ring. Lethal hits his hip toss and dropkick for two. Coleman low bridges Lethal to the floor but before he hits a dive of his own, Lethal drags him out. Coleman whips around the ring post and hangs up Lethal for a head kick then hits an asai moonsault. Coleman’s turn for a near fall. Lethal is up and over in the corner and does a back handspring before hitting a hurricanrana. Coleman jumps up top and hits a top rope Rough Ryder for two. Scoop slam from the preacher, then a senton and a quebrada, but Lethal gets knees up. Lethal wants the Injection but Coleman starts in with a trio of northern lights (The Trinity) suplexes to counter. Lethal Combination out of the corner and Jay wants Hail to the King. Coleman hits a Frankensteiner from the floor to the top then an STO grabbing Lethal’s head. Lethal tags him with a super kick and the Lethal Injection to win.
Jay says he underestimated Coleman and wishes him luck and a bright future (Coleman is years older than Lethal). Then he calls out Ciampa and says he’ll be on commentary for Ciampa’s match next week. Could be a Lethal heel turn incoming.
Match 4: Chris Hero vs Kevin Steen
Winner: Kevin Steen via pinfall
Big WWE star Kassius Ohno has quickly made his way to Ring of Honor and the crowd seems eager to welcome him!
Hero goes right into his famous cravat and Steen grabs the ropes. Hero locks the arm this time and Steen grabs the ropes again. Steen sweeps the leg and tries a chinlock but Hero quickly reverses into a chancery and it’s rope break number three. Headlock from Hero this time but he can’t get Steen over for the takedown. “Steen refuses to go over” – Kevin Kelly has got to be aware of what he just said there. Steen breaks free and stands his ground on some Hero shoulders. Steen feints running the ropes for a shoulder and throws a dropkick to Hero’s face. Hero goes up and over and hits a single leg dropkick and a senton for two. Back from a commercial, Steen has Hero on the apron and shoulders him to the floor. Steen hits a slingshot senton back into the ring for two. Mid-ring strike exchange before Hero flips to the apron and boots Steen, then hits a low boot to the head. Hero hits the big elbow in the corner and another boot right in the mouth but Steen is out at two. Hero wants a Deathblow, but Steen spins out. Hero escapes the Package Piledriver but eats an F-Cinq for two. Steen springs up top for a Swanton and another two count. Hero bellows and they exchange a face push and a jab that KO’s Steen for some reason but he’s still out at two. Hero runs into a pop-up powerbomb but answers with a Roaring Elbow and a rolling boot for two. Jacobs and Whitmer hit ringside to distract and after Hero disposes of them, Steen hits a sleeper suplex and wins it.
So Whitmer, Strong and Jacobs are “The Decade”. Steen pokes at Jacobs with a boot, so at least for now, he’s not affiliated with them. As Steen is walking out, Cliff Compton grabs him with a rope or something around the neck from inside the barricades and chokes him out.
I kind of feel bad for being down on this entire thing already, but at least Kongo looks different and can move well for a big fat bastard.. The rest of the guys in this tournament are just more generic dudes and that’s absolutely the last thing that ROH needs. This is a case where the unknown guy should have had a “big guy” finisher in his back pocket because that looked silly.
Moves moves moves. Strikes strikes strikes. This looked like two guys “playing at” an ROH match. Not good. And to be quite frank, having a “top prospect” win with a back elbow when you just brought back Chris Hero borders on stupid. Who’s going to mark for this guy throwing an elbow when Hero is going to be in a match later? This tournament does not have a star yet.
Lethal gets the win to build toward him and Ciampa for the TV Title. I don’t know if it was just this match, but Lethal seemed half a step behind on most of what he tried. A suicide dive 30 seconds into a match ruins the pacing for the rest of it and Lethal has been doing that for a while. Coleman is solid in the ring, but it stands to see what he can offer outside the C&C tag team.
Great return for Hero, but he’s one of the guys you don’t expect any less from. Shame to see his first match back tainted, but ROH always has to be running an angle like this. Steen takes the win, but isn’t happy about Jacobs getting involved. I guess Compton will be involved with The Decade as well, which doesn’t excite me in the least.
The Top Prospect Tournament continues, Ciampa is in action and Jay Briscoe is calling Adam Cole out for the “real” ROH World Title.
As always, if you like what you read here, let me know in the comments or on twitter @sbfantom. I sincerely would like to hear what people think and strike up some conversation!
Tags: Chris Hero, Cody Rhodes, Jay Lethal, Kevin Steen, Michael Elgin, Ring of Honor, ROH, Steve Corino