The Top Prospect tournament continues and we get a rematch from last year’s as well. How long will RD Evans’ win streak continue?
Match 1: Ray Rowe vs Corey Hollis, Top Prospect Tournament Semi-Final
Winner: Ray Rowe via pinfall
Rowe with a huge size advantage pressures Hollis into the corner and shrugs off a chop from the smaller man. Hollis goes with a stick and move strategy but gets rocked by a couple big strikes. Hollis gets up a boot in the corner then slides under and lands a big right hand. Rowe eats a dropkick and falls to the floor, which Hollis follows with a plancha. Hollis tries a dive from the top but gets caught in a powerbomb position. Hollis tries to fight out and Rowe transitions to an overhead belly to belly for two. Another belly to belly and another two count. Hollis gets caught for a powerbomb off the ropes then Rowe connects with his full nelson GTS thing to win.
Match 2: RD Evans vs Mat Sells
Winner: RD Evans via pinfall – 14 & 0!
RD Evans is on some kind of winning streak and has Veda Scott accompanying him because there’s nothing better for her to do in ROH.
Evans tries a cheap shot and an enziguiri but gets rolled up to almost end the “big” win streak. Evans answers back with a sunset flip neckbreaker of some sort and a leg drop for two. Evans runs into a leg drop then takes a snapmare russian leg sweep (I swear I need to continually make up names for stuff some of these guys pull out). Evans goes to the apron and gets kneed to the floor. Veda grabs the leg of Sells as he runs the ropes and the distraction lets Evans land a lariat takedown and a diving headbutt to win.
Veda takes the mic and says Evans should go for 15-0 tonight and she offers an open challenge. She begins dropping names and when she gets to Elgin, he heads to the ring (wearing his entrance robe, which is of course silly). Elgin asks for the bell and it’s on.
Match 3: RD Evans vs Michael Elgin
Winner: RD Evans via disqualification – 15 & 0!
“Don’t die, RD, don’t die” chant from the crowd sets the mood.
Elgin pulls Evans in for a black hole slam right off the hand shake then sends him into the barricade on the floor. Elgin sends him to the opposite barricade and jaws at Adam Cole through the camera. Elgin powerslams Evans on the floor then boots him right in the forehead. Evans is rolled back into the ring and put up on the top rope. Veda gets in the way and Evans tries a super sunset flip, only to get decked in the head. Evans lands a boot as Elgin runs in then heads to the top, but gets dropkicked down to the apron. Deadlift stalling superplex to a count of 20 followed by a buckle bomb and and Elginbomb. Elgin opts to not go for the pinfall and grabs a pair of chairs. Elgin screams Adam Cole’s name and powerbombs Evans across the chairs to get DQ’d.
All of security comes out to settle the beast that is Michael Elgin and shoves about 15 human bodies to the ground like they’re nothing.
Match 4: Matt Taven vs Tadarius Thomas
Winner: Matt Taven via pinfall
Taven coming out to Truth Martini’s Hoopla music with nobody in tow looks wildly stupid.
The usual arm wringer exchange from an ROH mid card match to start. Eventually they move to headlock exchanges and snapmares. TD lands his first kick of the match, then Taven fights back with a boot and a missile dropkick for two. TD rolls out of a hurricanrana then gets a justified kick in the mouth for posturing for the crowd about it. Taven kips up after a stalling suplex and hits a twisting senton from the second rope for two. TD drops Taven face first into the turnbuckle and hits a slingblade. Kicks and knees from TD then a half nelson suplex for two. TD flips Taven to the apron and we get an awkward pause followed by an enziguiri and a moonsault to the floor. TD throws Taven back in and heads up top but eats a pair of rope hung enziguiris. Taven heads up top and gets shoved off of a frankensteiner attempt but catches TD with a super kick and a frog splash to win.
Jay Briscoe wants Adam Cole’s answer but Bobby Fish comes out first to explain the difference between a “real” champion in ROH and Jay Briscoe. Fish is insulted by Jay carrying around a false World Title. Fish continues that Cole won’t tarnish the real World Title by involving it with Jay’s “homemade” title. Bobby says he’ll represent ROH and beat Jay Briscoe.
Match 5: Bobby Fish (ROH Tag Team Champion) vs Jay Briscoe (c), “Real” ROH World Championship
Winner: Jay Briscoe via pinfall
So Bobby Fish is challenging Jay Briscoe for the World Title he just declared false?
Fish tries early strikes but Briscoe fights right through them. Fish goes right after the leg of Briscoe but runs into a boot and bails to the floor. Jay gives chase and throws Fish all over the place. Back into the ring Jay lands jabs and a headbutt followed by a back elbow for one. Briscoe lays in European uppercuts and a huge dropkick after Fish tries to run away. As Briscoe beats on Fish on the floor once again, ROH goes to commercial.
Back from a break, Briscoe is still hammering on the ROH Tag Champ. Fish runs Briscoe into the barricade to even things up then mounts him on the floor to lay in rights. Fish brings Jay into the ring for strikes and near falls. Fish with a snapmare and a senton from the apron. Fish delivers a belly to back for another near fall. More strikes, another near fall. Briscoe elbows out of the corner and lands headbutts after Fish whiffs a kick. Back body drop and mounted punches in the corner from Briscoe, then a super kick for two. Fish starts to fight back but runs into a rolling elbow and a hangman’s neckbreaker for two, then the falcon arrow for another two. Fish fights out of a Jay Driller and kicks Briscoe to the mat but can’t put him away. Fish puts Jay up top and wants a superplex but gets tossed half way across the ring. Jay gives chase with a splash and both men are down. Adam Cole chooses now to come out to ring side and cheer on Bobby Fish. Time for the mid-ring forearm exchange (almost went an entire episode of ROH without one of these) and Fish completely runs out of steam. Jay gets distracted by Cole picking up his title which lets Fish hit a low blow and a saito suplex but Jay still kicks out at two. Fish whiffs a kill shot and gets shoved into Cole on the apron, followed by a Jay Driller for the win.
Cole tries a cheap shot with his belt after the match but needs to run away from a Jay Driller after Jay ducks. In the confusion, Cole leaves his belt in the ring. Jay picks it up then discards it (I don’t really like that part), standing tall for the end of the show.
It’s not that the action was incompetent, but there was just no psychology in this one. Given the idea is to take a bunch of rookies (or unknowns in some cases) and see how they do, see who’s a worthwhile prospect but these guys need a load of work to get up to snuff and have good matches. Also that full nelson reverse GTS deal looks SO dangerous. A knee to a falling exposed back of the neck just sort of screams “oh god no”, doesn’t it?
Veda must have a deathwish for her man. Ultimately served to further the Elgin hunt for Adam Cole and the ROH world title. I think Evans’ shtick with the streak would be great with some hyperbole – Just come out every week with an exponential increase to the numbers until it gets absolutely ludicrous.
That was moderately sloppy. The gimmick seems to be that Taven is trying to make amends for being a scumbag for the last year with handshakes and such. You’re going to need to change your look for that to matter, buddy. TD always seems to be choking himself on space for all his goofy kicks and such and then ends up too close to people on spots. It’s always a two way street, but I feel like I find myself talking about this regardless of his opponent. TD is fine in ROH, but he’s never going to be a main eventer in the organization.
Well that’s about what I expected. They talked up how Fish has only been beaten once in singles competition before, and that’s usually a good sign someone’s about to lose. And it made sense for him to lose here. Even though Jay got to hoist the real World Title, he chooses to keep his own. Figured this was going to be a “I’ve got your belt” feud, but Jay is sticking to the idea that he has the real one, so that’s something. The match, of course, was well executed. So Michael Elgin is hunting Adam Cole and Jay Briscoe thinks he’s already the world champion. Ought to be an interesting 2014…maybe CM Punk will show up!
Get ready to fly, it’s the return of AJ Styles to take on the messiah of the backbreaker, Roderick Strong.
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: Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Jay Briscoe, matt taven, rd evans, ROH, Steve Corino