For an easy to navigate archive of all of my Ring of Honor DVD reviews, please visit RetROH Reviews!
Mattamy Athletic Center – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Saturday, August 3, 2013
Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary.
MATCH #1: International Showdown – New Japan’s KUSHIDA vs. Adam Page
They start with some chain wrestling, just feeling each other out in the early going. KUSHIDA strikes first with a hard dropkick to take control. He sends Page to the floor and goes for a house show dive but Page avoids it. That gives Page control of the match and he brings it back in the ring. Page hits a nice powerslam for a two-count. He continues to wear KUSHIDA down, going for frequent covers to try and pick up what would be a big win. KUSHIDA fights his way back into it and hits a springboard flying chop and a flurry of offense. He goes up top for a moonsault but Page gets his knees up and covers for two. They get up and trade strikes, and KUSHIDA scores a near-fall with a small package. A rana with a cradle gets another two-count and Page turns that into a sunset flip for two. Page hits a standing shooting star press for a near-fall, and then a Falcon Arrow for another two-count. A series of reversals ends with KUSHIDA landing a handspring kick and then a Buzzsaw Kick but Page kicks out. KUSHIDA goes up top and hits the Midnight Express (corkscrew moonsault) to get the pin at 8:24. That was a good choice to open the show, and both men came out of the match looking good.
MATCH #2: ROH World Championship Tournament First Round Match – “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa vs. Silas Young
Young had to beat Page and Q.T. Marshall in a three-way match just to gain entry into this tournament. They start with an intense lockup and tumble to the floor. Back in the ring the aggression continues, as everything they do seems to have an extra edge of anger attached to it. Ciampa takes the advantage and wears Young down with his unique attacks. He goes for the knee strikes but Young avoids one and clubs Ciampa in the head. Young kicks Ciampa in the head and they take the fight to the apron. Ciampa lands a knee strike and goes for a suplex but Young reverses it and suplexes Ciampa down to the floor! They both barely make it back to the ring and they start throwing headbutts at each other. Ciampa hits a release Dragon Suplex for two. Young comes back with a low dropkick and a rollup for two. He hits the backbreaker/clothesline combination for a two-count. Young hits the Finlay Roll and goes for the Pee Gee Waja Plunge but Ciampa gets up and kicks him right in the chest. Ciampa brings Young up top and gets knocked back. Young leaps off the second rope but gets caught and slammed down for a two-count. They trade more strikes and Young lands a hue lariat. Ciampa pops up and they continue laying into each other. Young comes charging in and Ciampa is able to catch him and throw him right into position for Project Ciampa to get the pin at 10:54. I really enjoyed that, as both men bring a different style to the ring and their aggression meshed really well together. They beat the hell out of each other for our amusement and I can appreciate that.
MATCH #3: ROH World Championship Tournament First Round Match – “Buzzsaw” BJ Whitmer vs. Michael Bennett w/ Maria Kanellis
These two have wrestled twice in the recent past, with one win for each, so this is the rubber match in addition to being a tournament match. The winner will go on to face Tommaso Ciampa. Bennett tries to attack before the bell but Whitmer catches him in an exploder suplex and almost pins him right off the bat. The stunned Bennett rolls to the floor and Whitmer wipes him out with a suicide dive. Whitmer continues the abuse on the floor and then brings Bennett back inside the ring to beat him up some more. Bennett makes a comeback and starts dishing out punishment both in and out of the ring, pausing to make out with Maria of course. He misses a charge in the corner and Whitmer takes back over with chops and a back suplex for two. Bennett catches a charging Whitmer in a spinebuster for a two-count. He focuses on the neck area, which Whitmer has had problems with in the past. Both men get to their feet to slug it out, and they collide and knock each other down. Maria tries to give Bennett her shoe to use as a weapon, but ROH Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness catches her, literally, and carries her back to the locker room. McGuinness for some reason spanks her on the butt and gets cheered, which is pretty terrible. Bennett is upset and doesn’t see Whitmer flying off the top rope to wipe him out on the floor with a cross body block. Back in the ring Whitmer is all fired up, hitting a snap powerslam for a two-count. Whitmer hits a suplex combination for another near-fall. Bennett responds with a TKO for two. Whitmer hits a Perfectplex for a two-count. Bennett rolls to the apron and Whitmer follows. Whitmer tries an exploder but Bennett blocks it and hits a piledriver right on the apron, seriously injuring Whitmer in the process. Referee Todd Sinclair calls for the bell at 10:06. Bennett is the winner because Whitmer’s career was believed to be over. The match itself was pretty solid, and being part of the World Title tournament definitely made both guys seem motivated and not just wrestling another match.
MATCH #4: ROH World Championship Tournament First Round Match – Matt Taven w/ The H.O.T. vs. Roderick Strong
Before the match can even begin, McGuinness gets involved again and makes Scarlett Bordeaux sit next to him at the commentary table. Truth Martini can stay because he has a manager’s license, and Seleziya Sparx can stay because she has a bodyguard’s license. Pro wrestling, folks. Taven is the current ROH World TV Champion, but obviously that title is not on the line here. They start with some chain wrestling and Strong appears to have the upper hand in the early going. Taven takes a powder. Back in the ring Strong beats on Taven some more until Martini is able to interfere and give the TV Champion his first advantage. Taven wears Strong down for several minutes with a variety of offense. He goes up top for a moonsault but Strong gets his knees up. Strong fires up and unloads with a series of chops and a spinning slam for two. He sends Taven to the floor and follows him out. Seleziya distracts the referee long enough for Martini to hit Strong with The Book of Truth. Of course McGuinness sees it and he goes over to get in Martini’s face. Taven comes charging and McGuinness pulls Strong out of the way so Taven kicks Martini in the face. Strong hits a backbreaker on the apron and rolls Taven back in the ring for a two-count. Taven fights back and hits a modified Pedigree for two. He goes up top and Strong catches him with an enziguiri. Strong goes up and brings Taven down with a superplex for a near-fall. He then locks Taven in the Stronghold and Taven is just barely able to reach the bottom rope to break the hold. I thought that was it. Taven hits a rolling neckbreaker and goes up top for a beautiful Frog Splash. Strong kicks out at two! Taven goes for the Climax but Strong counters it and hits a backbreaker. Strong hits Sick Kick and follows with the End of Heartache to get the pin at 13:08. That was all well and good but for the second match in a row Nigel McGuinness was all over it, and that’s irritating. Authority figures have been all too present in pro wrestling in the last few years and it would be nice if ROH didn’t fall into that trap.
MATCH #5: ROH World Championship Tournament First Round Match – “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. “Intrepid Traveler” Paul London
Winner faces Karl Anderson. London was in the original ROH Title tournament back in 2002, losing to Spanky in the first round. They start off slowly, feeling each other out in the early going. This match was supposed to happen back in May, but Davey Richards stomped on London’s head and face really hard and injured him so they’re fighting now instead. This time there is much more on the line. London takes a powder and when he comes back in Elgin wants a test of strength. They continue going back and forth, with Elgin using his obvious power advantage and London countering with speed and agility. London tries to run a faster pace, as that would be to his advantage. He sends Elgin to the floor and then goes for a dive but Elgin cuts him off and takes London down with a shoulderblock. Neither man can hold the advantage for very long, as both have something to prove in this tournament and both are being cheered on by the fans. Elgin works London over for a short time, focusing on his back. He goes up top for the corkscrew senton but London avoids it. London charges in and Elgin catches him with an STJoe. They fight out on the apron and London is able to go to the second rope and take Elgin down with a rana! That was neat. Back in the ring London hits a springboard missile dropkick. He flies all over the place until Elgin catches him in a side slam for a two-count. Elgin continues to use his power advantage but London won’t back down from him. London hits an enziguiri but then runs right into a rip cord elbow. Elgin goes to follow up and London hits him with a dropsault. That sends Elgin back to the floor and London wipes him out with a dive. London goes up top and lands on Elgin with a double stomp. Back in the ring London covers but only gets two! London takes another trip to the top rope and Elgin slugs him down. He perseveres and tries another springboard but Elgin catches him with a dropkick. Elgin lifts London up for the deadlift superplex, which only gets a near-fall. He hits the Buckle Bomb and tries the Elgin Bomb but London counters with a reverse rana! London goes up top and lands a perfect Shooting Star Press but he only gets two! He tries a super rana but Elgin powerbombs him down! Elgin decks London with a spinning back fist, a Buckle Bomb, and finally the Elgin Bomb to get the emphatic pin at 19:59. That was tremendous stuff, a great styles clash between a bruiser and a high flyer. London didn’t look to have lost much in his time off, and he worked really well with Elgin and made him look like a million bucks.
MATCH #6: Triple Threat Tag Team Match – The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) vs. Adrenaline RUSH (ACH & TaDarius Thomas) vs. C&C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander)
R.D. Evans replaces Nigel McGuinness on commentary for reasons I don’t catch. Alexander and Thomas start the match and I imagine this is going to be plenty difficult to keep up with. That turns out to be exactly the case, so the Young Bucks come in illegally and clear the ring of all opposition. They celebrate too much though and get sent to the floor for their troubles. Alexander wipes them out with a dive. Bodies are flying all over the place in this fast-paced matchup. None of the teams can stay in control for very long because they’re all so evenly matched. Of course, just as I type that the Young Bucks take pretty firm control of Thomas and begin to wear him down. This goes on for a few minutes and then things break down in a major way. Action starts happening inside and outside the ring, with dives coming from all over. The Bucks start the Superkick Party and dish out a few. People start flying from the top rope and somewhere in the mass confusion ACH is able to hit Alexander with a 450 Splash to earn the win at 10:57. Well that was tons of fun. Non-stop action from three high-flying teams that the fans enjoy makes for quite a spectacle. It’s also a nice break from the tournament action, so kudos to the match and the match placement on the card.
MATCH #7: ROH World Championship Tournament First Round Match – “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen vs. Brian Kendrick
This is the last first-round tournament match. Kendrick was involved in the original ROH World Title tournament back in 2002, defeating Paul London in the first round and Jody Fleisch in the second round to advance to the finals, which was won by Low Ki. Steen of course is a former Champion, so the Pedigree in this match is strong. The winner will face Roderick Strong in the next round.
I believe this is the first time these two men have faced each other, so they start off slowly. Steen uses his size and strength advantage, taking Kendrick off his feet a few times and then sending him to the floor with a dropkick. Kendrick takes his time getting back to the ring, so Steen goes out after him. Steen goes for the powerbomb on the apron but Kendrick avoids it. Kendrick instead is able to hit Sliced Bread #2 right on the ring frame! Nice spot. Back in the ring Kendrick tries to keep his larger opponent grounded with a Sleeper. Steen breaks out of that and hits the pumphandle neckbreaker for a two-count. Kendrick comes back and (sort of) hits a Death Valley Driver for two. He follows with a nice swinging DDT for another near-fall. Steen comes back with the F-Cinq for two. He hits a Sleeper Suplex for another two-count. Kendrick uses the referee as a shield and then kicks Steen right in the stones. Despite that, Steen hits Kendrick with a Chokeslam and then the Cannonball. Steen then locks on the Sharpshooter and Kendrick taps out at 12:49. For two extremely charismatic and entertaining wrestlers, this was a rather lifeless match. I’m not sure what they were going for but the chemistry was off here. It wasn’t bad, just disappointing given the caliber of performers.
MATCH #8: ROH World Championship Tournament Quarterfinal Match – Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole
In the first round, Lethal beat Sonjay Dutt and Cole got by Mark Briscoe on ROH TV matches that hadn’t even aired yet at the time of this show. They start off fairly cautiously, and Cole controls early on with a headlock. Lethal fights back and it’s a very even match so far. They trade submission holds as well, as the momentum continues to frequently shift. A series of reversals ends with Cole on the floor, and Lethal follows him out with a suicide dive. Both men struggle to make it back to the ring. They start slugging it out with intensity. Cole catches Lethal with the Death Valley Neckbreaker for two. He follows with a sunset bomb and a shining wizard for a near-fall. Lethal fights back and hits the Lethal Combination for two. He tries a missile dropkick but Cole (sort of) catches it. Lethal tries the Lethal Injection but Cole blocks it with a Superkick. Cole hits the vertical suplex neckbreaker for a very close near-fall. They continue to trade moves and counter-moves. Lethal drills Cole with a Superkick and then lands Hail to the King but Cole kicks out. Despite kicking out, Cole is looking worse for wear. Lethal picks him up but Cole was faking it! Cole hits a Superkick and then lands one to the back of the head. Lethal counters and hits the Lethal Injection but Cole kicks out again! They fight up on the top rope and Cole brings Lethal down with a German Superplex. Cole hits a Superkick and the Florida Key to get the pin at 16:42. That was quite proficient and got exciting down the stretch, but it took a few minutes to get there.
Paul London Interview
“The Intrepid Traveler” appears to be on his way out of the building. He stops to talk about tonight’s match, and really goes out of his way to put Michael Elgin over. London even goes so far as to call Elgin the next ROH World Champion. I like Paul.
MATCH #9: **Main Event – ROH World Tag Team Championship** – Forever Hooligans (Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov) vs. The American Wolves (Davey Richards & “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards
The Hooligans have been the Champions since 7.27.13, and this is their first defense. They are also the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. Romero and Richards start the match; fitting since they were once ROH World Tag Team Champions together. They work in some supposed comedy spots, which I think make no sense in a big main event title match. The alleged comedy allows the Champions to take control. Romero and Koslov work Richards over for a spell, and then turn their attention to Edwards as well. The Hooligans are looking dominant in the opening minutes of the match. They do their little spot where they pretend like they’re going to fight but then they hug instead. All that gives Edwards the chance to fight back, and he tags Richards. The Wolves target Romero and they keep him isolated in their half of the ring. Richards gets a bug up his butt and starts heeling it up in awesome fashion. I like this Richards. Eventually Koslov makes the hot tag and Koslov is flying all over the place. Koslov gets his little hat and does the Russian Dance with kicks. The non-stop action part of the match has started to kick in, and all four men are aggressive and moving quickly. The referee has completely given up even trying to take control of the match. The Hooligans hit the Doomsday Flying Knee on Edwards, who somehow manages to kick out. Edwards fights back and is able to get Romero in perfect position on the apron for a spot familiar to the Toronto fans. I love that the fans know what Richards is thinking, which is using the same move that gave Paul London a concussion back at Border Wars 2013. Koslov breaks that up, and the Hooligans execute a doomsday rana, with Koslov following with a shooting star press! Edwards breaks up the cover. The Wolves reclaim control and send Koslov to the floor. They double-team Romero but can’t put him away. Edwards and Richards hit the double-team Alarm Clock and then Richards takes Koslov out with a dive to the floor. Back in the ring Edwards levels Romero with a clothesline. The Wolves then hit the super backstabber to get the win and their second ROH World Tag Team Titles at 26:38. That was pretty long but they did a solid job of not making it feel too long. Both teams worked in some creative spots, and all four men went balls to the wall for the last half or so of the match. No real story was told throughout the match, but they kept it going 90 MPH the entire time, which at least makes it entertaining.
Tags: Adam Cole, All Star Extravaganza, American Wolves, forever hooligans, ROH