National Guard Armory – Philadelphia, PA – Friday, February 21, 2014
Kevin Kelly and either Steve Corino or Nigel McGuinness are on commentary, depending on the match.
PRESHOW MATCH: Caprice Coleman vs. Amasis
They start with some chain wrestling. Kelly calls this Amasis’ ROH debut, but that’s not true – The Osirian Portal wrestled Kevin Steen & El Generico back in October of 2008. Back and forth they go, and something just seems to be off here. Everything looks pretty choreographed, and Coleman appears to be working heel for some reason. Coleman hits Trinity but only gets a two-count. He misses a charge in the corner and Amasis takes him down with a Northern Lariat. Amasis goes up top and Coleman takes him down with the Leap of Faith. Coleman goes up top and hits The Sky Splitta to get the pin at 4:58. That was bad, even by preshow standards. They just didn’t appear to be on the same page and the action was supremely awkward. Not sure what happened here.
MATCH #1: “Last Real Man” Silas Young vs. Matt Taven
Hey look it’s Matt Taven, I’m already bored. They start with some aggressive chain wrestling and Young throws in some strikes. Taven fights back with an armdrag and a dropkick. He lands a standing moonsault for two. Young rolls to the floor to catch a breather. Taven gets distracted by Truth Martini coming out to ringside, and Young takes advantage. Even with the presence of Martini, Taven comes back and goes up top for a cross body block. That gets two. Young uses the referee for extra leverage and takes control again. Taven catches Young with an enziguiri and both men are down. Back on their feet Taven unloads with a flurry of offense, including some kicks. A big superkick is followed by a quebrada and Taven gets two. Young catches Taven with a jawbreaker and a backbreaker. He follows with a vicious short-arm clothesline for two. Young hits the Finlay Roll and tries the Pee Gee Waja Plunge but Taven avoids it. Taven hits a big swinging kick. He goes up top and hits the Frog Splash to get the pin at 6:47. That had decent energy and worked well enough for an opener, but Taven sucks no matter who they book him to go over. Young must agree with me because he attacks Taven after the bell for fun, and even blows off Truth Martini when Truth goes for a handshake.
MATCH #2: The Decade (Roderick Strong, Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer) vs. Mark Briscoe, Cedric Alexander & Adam Page
Jacobs and Page start the match. They go back and forth a bit and when Page appears to be building momentum Jacobs slaps him in the face. Mark tags himself in and takes it to Jacobs, so Strong makes a blind tag. Strong is able to take control and the Decade isolates Mark in their half of the ring. After a short time Mark is able to make a hot tag to Alexander, but the Decade quickly cuts him off and go right back on offense. After a few minutes of abuse Alexander catches Whitmer with a spin kick to the face and he’s able to make the hot tag to Mark. The younger Briscoe brother comes in a house afire, flying all over the ring and taking everyone out. Page wants in and Mark obliges. The referee has lost control here, and Mark, Page, and Alexander each hit a dive on one of their opponents and the crowd goes nutty. The brawl continues and action is coming from everyone and everywhere. In all the madness Jacobs and Whitmer are able to capture Page and hit the All-Seeing Eye to get the pin at 10:33. That was rock solid action and good clean fun for everyone.
MATCH #3: ROH World TV Championship – ROH World TV Champion “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa vs. 2014 Top Prospect Tournament Winner Hanson
Ciampa has been the Champion since 12.14.13, and this is his third defense. Hanson had to beat CHEESEBURGER, Andrew Everett, and Raymond Rowe in the Top Prospect Tournament to earn this title shot. They tear right into each other at the bell with hard strikes. Ciampa dumps Hanson to the floor and follows him out with a dive, almost not making it. He follows up with a running knee to the face. Back in the ring Hanson catches Ciampa with a powerslam for a two-count. Ciampa fires back with an Air Raid Crash for two. They trade strikes and Hanson wins the battle with a cartwheel into a hard clothesline for a near-fall. Ciampa fires back with a knee strike for two. He sets up for Project Ciampa but Hanson fights out of it and squashes Ciampa in the corner. Hanson goes up top and hits a moonsault but Ciampa kicks out! Ciampa rolls right into the Sicilian Stretch but Hanson powers out and lands a hard spin kick. The Champion rolls over to the ropes to avoid being covered, which is always smart. They fight up to the top rope and Ciampa is able to slip out and bring Hanson down with Project Ciampa to get the pin at 6:42. That was brief but lots of fun, a very different style than most of what the guys in ROH are doing. Hanson looked strong going against the TV Champion, and they show respect to each other after the match.
”Unbreakable” Michael Elgin Interview
Elgin was supposed to face Matt Hardy tonight, but I think Matt got injured and was unable to make the show. That upsets Elgin, who came here to have a match. Elgin says Ring of Honor is all about giving opportunity, so he calls out Raymond Rowe to give him an opportunity right here on the 12th Anniversary of ROH! Rowe of course gladly accepts and here we go.
Rowe attacks right away with a flying knee. Elgin counters with an STJoe and then tries a delayed vertical suplex. Rowe tries to fight out of it but Elgin hold strong and hits the move for a two-count. These two bruisers start throwing bombs at each other and Rowe is able to take control. They fight over in a corner and Elgin is able to hit the deadlift superplex for two. More strikes are thrown but Elgin has just a little more stank on his. Elgin puts on the Crossface and Rowe is able to reach the ropes. Rowe slides to the apron and Elgin brings him back in with a German Suplex over the ropes for a near-fall. That was pretty cool. Elgin hangs on and delivers another German Suplex for two. Rowe is able to catch Elgin in a spinebuster for a two-count. Elgin tries a boot but Rowe catches it and powerbombs Elgin down for two. A series of reversals ends with Elgin hitting an enziguiri. Back on their feet Rowe hits an exploder and Elgin comes back with one of his own. They trade some clotheslines but neither man can knock the other down. Elgin finally hits a big one to take Rowe off his feet for a one-count, and then another to get a two-count. He tries a powerbomb but Rowe slips out and hits a belly-to-belly suplex that sends Elgin to the floor. Rowe tries a dive but Elgin moves and Rowe crashes hard on the outside. Elgin powerbombs Rowe into the barricade and quickly throws him back in the ring. He hits the Elgin Bomb for the win at 12:37. That was a very good showing for Rowe, and a fun back and forth power display from two bruisers.
After the match the two opponents shake hands. ROH World Champion Adam Cole comes out to attack Elgin from behind, but Rowe makes the save. Elgin goes for a powerbomb but Michael Bennett runs out and delivers low blows to save the Champion. Jay Briscoe then runs out and attacks Bennett, and he’s ready to start their match!
MATCH #5: Real World Championship Match – Real World Champion Jay Briscoe vs. Michael Bennett w/ Maria Kanellis
The brawl is on and they go right to the floor. Jay is dominating, throwing Bennett around ringside and feeding off the cheers of the crowd. He hits a suplex onto the ring apron. Maria distracts Jay long enough for Bennett to take control, but when he tries a suplex Jay is able to reverse it and drop Bennett right on the entrance ramp. Ouch. They finally make it back to the ring and Jay is in control. Bennett finally comes back with a hard spinebuster for two. Of course Jay refuses to sell for any length of time and quickly goes back on offense. Every time Bennett tries to fight back Jay is quick to cut him off. This goes on for a while. Adam Cole runs out to distract Jay, allowing Bennett to hit a low blow. Bennett rolls Jay up for two. Maria distracts the referee and Jay returns the favor on Bennett with a low blow of his own. Jay then hits Bennett with the Jay Driller to get the pin at 10:50. That was like an extended squash, with Jay showing very little interest in making Bennett look like any sort of threat.
MATCH #6: ROH World Tag Team Championship – ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs. Adrenaline RUSH (ACH & TaDarius Thomas)
Fish and O’Reilly have been Champions since 8.17.13, and this is their fifth defense. Thomas and Fish start the match. They take it down to the canvas with some aggressive mat wrestling. Fish scores a knockdown and gets cocky, so Thomas makes him pay for it with a kick to the face. O’Reilly and ACH tag in, which is a throwback to ACH’s first match in Ring of Honor at Death Before Dishonor X: State of Emergency. ACH is able to outsmart both of his opponents and embarrass them with slaps to the face. Thomas gets a blind tag and the challengers are rolling here. O’Reilly fights back and now the Champions use their tag team expertise to isolate Thomas in their half of the ring. After several minutes of abuse Thomas is able to block a suplex attempt and deliver a swinging neckbreaker. ACH gets the hot tag and he comes in a house afire on both Champions. The action gets fast and furious, with all four men coming in and out of the ring. The referee has lost all control here. Thomas and ACH are able to fly around the ring and get the champions reeling. O’Reilly rolls to the floor and ACH wipes him out with a dive. ACH then hits Fish with a slingshot Ace Crusher for a two-count. Thomas takes O’Reilly out with another dive, and ACH flattens Fish with a beautiful Frog Splash. Referee Todd Sinclair counts three, but notices that Fish’s leg is on the bottom rope so it will not stand. ACH is frustrated but it’s definitely the right call. The action continues and the Champions have the upper hand now. Thomas gets sent to the floor and Fish rams him into the barricade. O’Reilly follows with the missile dropkick off the apron. ACH then wipes out both champions with a sick dive. Back in the ring ACH goes up top again for the frog splash, but this time O’Reilly catches him and puts on a Triangle Choke and ACH has to tap out at 16:42. Terrific tag team action there from two outstanding teams with different styles that meshed together very well. I really like the closing minutes, as it keeps both teams strong and presents a good reason to have a rematch.
MATCH #7: First Time in Ring of Honor – “The Phenomenal AJ Styles” vs. Jay Lethal
The crowd is excited to see this match, cheering both men as they start off with some chain wrestling. These two faced each other before in TNA, but this is the first time in ROH, which is a totally different atmosphere. Things pick up when Lethal sends Styles to the apron and then dropkicks him to the floor. Lethal goes for a dive but Styles cuts him off with a clothesline to the floor. Styles goes for the Asai Inverted DDT but Lethal avoids it and then takes Styles out with a suicide dive. Lethal whips Styles hard into the barricade, and then brings him back in the ring for more abuse. He uses a variety of strikes and holds to keep Styles on defense. They battle over to the apron and Styles is able to deliver a suplex right on the edge of the ring frame. Ouch. Styles whips Lethal into the barricade. Back in the ring Styles stays on offense, hitting Lethal with The Dropkick. Styles puts on a Muta Lock and Lethal quickly reaches the ropes. Lethal fights back and the exchange chops and strikes, with Lethal getting the better of it. He hits the Lethal Combination and then a pop-up neckbreaker for two. Lethal goes for a superplex but Styles slips out and pulls Lethal’s legs out from under him. Styles hits the springboard flying forearm for a two-count. Lethal comes back and hits a superkick, and Styles fires right back with a sick clothesline. Styles goes for the Styles Clash but Lethal avoids it and hits a leg lariat from the second rope. Both men get back to their feet and Styles hits the Pele. Lethal responds with the release Dragon Suplex (the former Lethal Injection), and then heads up top to hit Hail to the King. Styles kicks out at two! He tries the Lethal Injection but Styles catches him and drops him on his head with a rack bomb. Styles hits a powerbomb and the Styles Clash to get the pin at 18:12. This was just a fantastic wrestling match between two excellent wrestlers. Styles had to go over of course, but Lethal looked great in losing.
Outlaw Inc. (Homicide & Eddie Kingston) Interview
Eddie Kingston gets on the microphone and complains about being suspended stuff, being particularly mean to Scarlett Bordeaux. He says they’ve been recruiting and teases a new member to the group sooner than later. Thank G-d that never actually happened.
MATCH #8: **Main Event ROH World Championship** – ROH World Champion Adam Cole vs. “Knockout Artist” Chris Hero
Cole has been the Champion since 9.20.13, and this is his fifth defense. Both men are cautious early on. They quickly take it to the mat, and Hero sends Cole scurrying to the floor. Cole comes back in but Hero stays in control, thwarting everything the Champion tries. Hero continues to wear down the Champion and Cole takes another powder. This time Hero goes out as well and catches Hero with a boot to the face. Hero hits another one and then throws Cole back in the ring. Cole tries to escape and Hero kicks him in the face again, sending the Champ crashing to the floor. Hero goes out again and Cole drills him with an enziguiri to the face. Back in the ring Cole tries to keep Hero grounded to avoid the challenger’s strikes. Cole hits a nice Shining Wizard for two. Every time Hero tries to fight up Cole is able to cut him right back down. Finally when Cole tries a suplex Hero is able to counter with the Crash Landing. Both men are down. Back on their feet Hero has gained a second wind, and he’s on fire. A series of strikes sends Cole to the floor, and Hero kicks him right in the skull. Back in the ring Hero lands a huge forearm strike but Cole kicks out at two. A series of reversals ends with Hero kicking Cole square in the face. Hero hits a cravat suplex for another two-count. They fight up to the top rope and Cole comes back. Cole is able to hit a rope-hung piledriver for a near-fall. Sweet move. Cole gets a little too cocky and Hero makes him pay for it with a knockout punch to the face for a near-fall. Hero puts Cole up on his shoulders and hits the Rolling Elbow that sends Cole outside. The challenger tries to put the Champion back in the ring but Cole makes it very difficult to do so. Hero responds to that with a boot to the face. Cole shrugs it off and hits a release German Suplex. Back in the ring Cole hits the vertical suplex into a neckbreaker for a two-count. Referee Todd Sinclair finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets elbowed in the face. He should’ve known better. Hero hits the Hero’s Welcome and then locks in the Hangman’s Clutch and Cole taps out but there is no referee. Both men get back to their feet and trade strikes, and Cole hits the Florida Key and Sinclair is back to count two. Cole hits another Florida Key, and then a third to finally put Hero away and retain the title at 18:16. This was fine enough, not unlike most Hero matches, but I’m not so into the finish. I’m okay with the bad guy cheating behind the referee’s back, but doing the whole tap out just makes the Champ look weak. I know they needed a reason for a rematch, but I’m just not that into Hero so it all fell a little flat for me.
MATCH #9: Unsanctioned Philly Street Fight – “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen vs. Cliff Compton
Steen comes out and tells Cole he’ll be seeing him real soon, and then tells Compton to get out here and start their brawl. Compton comes through the crowd and the fight is on. Since this is unsanctioned there is no commentary, and thus I will invoke my old rule and not do any play-by-play, but I’ll be back to report on the finish. After an insane brawl that incorporated many weapons and sick spots, Steen was able to deliver the Package Piledriver on top of a ladder to get the hard-fought victory at 20:28. That was a bit on the long side for what they had going on, but as a hardcore brawl it was certainly entertaining enough.
BONUS MATCH #1: Women of Honor Match – Seleziya Sparx vs. Jenny Rose, TV Taping, 2.22.14
Kevin Kelly and Maria Kanellis are on commentary. Sparx has Scarlett Bordeaux in her corner. They start off slowly, feeling each other out with some chain wrestling in the opening moments. Rose is the more experienced competitor, and it shows when she takes the first advantage. Sparx cuts her off and uses her power advantage to keep Rose grounded. She tries a Vader Bomb from the top rope but Rose avoids it. Rose goes up top and tries a flying something but hits nothing. We’re falling off the rails here. Sparx uses her power again and unleashes some strikes, but Rose fights back with some forearm shots of her own. The fight eventually migrates to the top rope and Rose brings Sparx down with a superplex. Rose goes back up top and Scarlett takes a cheap shot. That allows Sparx to bring Rose down with an Electric Chair Drop to get the pin at 5:04. I give points for effort, but this just never clicked. Both seem to need more experience, so it’d be nice if ROH actually gave them that opportunity instead of like, one or two matches a year.
BONUS MATCH #2: Complete Unedited Match – “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin, TV Taping, 2.22.14
Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino, and ROH World Champion Adam Cole are on commentary. They start off slowly, as they are clearly planning to be here a while. Both men are feeling each other out, trying to set the tone and pace of the match. Styles tries to keep Elgin grounded and works his arm to do so. Elgin gets fired up and hurls Styles to the floor. We take our first commercial break just over seven minutes in, but we get to continue watching the action on this DVD bonus feature. Styles gets back in the ring and now he tosses Elgin to the floor. He follows him out with a baseball slide. Back in the ring Styles works Elgin over, keeping the big man grounded and wearing him down. Elgin powers up and hits a quite delayed vertical suplex for a one-count. He continues working Styles’ back. Styles turns the tide with a headscissors that sends Elgin to the floor. A series of reversals ends with Elgin catching a springboard Styles with a powerslam. Styles has been consistently kicking out at one, just to play mind games. That’s unique. They go back to the floor again and Elgin boots Styles right in the face. Back in the ring Elgin goes up top and hits a diving shoulderblock for a two-count. The larger Elgin is using his size and power advantage to keep Styles on the mat. Styles is able to hit a desperation Pele and that gives him a chance to recover. He charges right into an STJoe (good move for Elgin to use) and he’s right back down. Once again they go to the floor and Styles hits the Asai Inverted DDT. The crowd digs that. Back in the ring Styles hits the springboard flying forearm and Elgin gets up pretty quickly. Styles hits the Death Valley Neckbreaker for two. Elgin catches Styles in a Black Hole Slam for two. He follows with a bicycle kick and a deadlift German Suplex for a near-fall. Elgin locks on the Crossface and Styles is able to reach the ropes. They fight up on the top rope and Styles is able to come down and hit Elgin with a Rack Bomb. Styles follows with a Brainbuster but only gets two. They go back and forth some more and Styles tries the Asai Inverted DDT again but Elgin catches him and hits a Tombstone Piledriver for a two-count. Great spot. Elgin sets up for the Buckle Bomb but Styles fights out. Styles goes after the leg and cinches on the Calf Killer. Elgin breaks out of that by slamming Styles’ head into the mat repeatedly. Styles hits an enziguiri and puts Elgin to the top rope. Apparently the time limit is close to running out as Styles brings Elgin down with a hurricanrana. Styles goes to the apron and tries the springboard 450 but it ends up as more of a double stomp. Ouch. Even so that only gets two. Time expires at 30:00.
Everyone wants to continue but Adam Cole wants nothing to do with that, since these are two of his top contenders he would rather they leave things with no winner. Cole gets in the ring and decks both men with the ROH World Title belt. Jay Briscoe comes out and runs him off. Cole heads towards the back but Kevin Steen comes out to cut him off and Cole has to escape through the crowd. This was a very good match but felt long at 30 minutes. They definitely worked in some cool spots and made it feel like winning was of utmost importance, and I can always dig that. Just sometimes ROH matches have the tendency to feel forced when they go to a length of even 30 minutes. Sometimes less is more.
Tags: Adam Cole, Anniversary Show, Chris Hero, Kevin Steen, Ring of Honor