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Du Burns Arena – Baltimore, Maryland – June 22, 2013
Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Grudge Match – “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett w/ Maria Kanellis vs. “Buzzsaw” BJ Whitmer
Bennett also has his trainer Brutal Bob with him tonight. Whitmer attacks before the bell and away we go. He sends Bennett to the floor and wipes him out with a suicide dive. Whitmer gets distracted by Brutal Bob, and Bennett pounces. Bennett hurls Whitmer into the barricade, and then delivers a flying clothesline off the apron. Back in the ring Bennett continues to punish Whitmer but he misses a charge in the corner. Whitmer works Bennett over for a bit, but gets distracted by Brutal Bob again. He tries to charge at Bennett in the corner but runs right into a superkick. That puts Bennett right back in control, and he wears Whitmer down with a variety of maneuvers. Whitmer eventually fights back with a flurry of strikes and a nice powerslam. He hits the vertical suplex rolled into a Northern Lights suplex for a two-count. Bennett comes back with a spinebuster for two. He follows with a TKO for another near-fall. Bennett goes for a piledriver but Whitmer back body drops his way out of it. Brutal Bob runs into the ring and Whitmer easily hurls him to the floor. Whitmer then catches Bennett with the Wrist-Clutch Exploder to get the pin at 8:56. That was a really solid opener, with good action and a hot crowd. Bennett continues to improve every time out.
MATCH #2: The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. Adrenaline RUSH (ACH & TaDarius Thomas)
Richards and ACH start the match with some fast paced chain wrestling. They catch each other’s kick attempts and mutually agree to let go at the same time. As soon as it happens Richards takes a cheap shot and the Wolves are in control. Edwards tags in and continues the advantage. Momentum shifts back and forth and tags are made on both sides. Everyone gets to showcase their strengths, and it’s Thomas looking particularly sharp in the opening minutes. Even so, the Wolves are able to cut Thomas off and isolate him from his partner. Thomas is resilient though, and he cometakes Ric hards out with a Pele kick. ACH and Edwards get tags and ACH is a house afire. Edwards fights right back but ACH uses his incredible agility to combat him. The referee loses control and all four men are in the ring. Adrenaline RUSH are looking good here until the Wolves land the assisted Alarm Clock and the German Suplex/Superkick/Jackknife Pin combo on ACH that almost ends the match. Richards and ACH battle on the top rope and ACH knocks Richards down. Edwards takes Richards’ place, but Thomas comes in to save his partner. The referee has completely lost control and offense is coming in from every angle. Thomas dumps Edwards to the floor and tries a moonsault but misses. Edwards nails Thomas with a superkick but then ACH takes Edwards out with a dive. ACH goes to the top rope for a 450 Splash but Richards gets his knees up and cradles ACH to get the pin at 12:55. That was just terrific tag action from bell to bell, and a great showing for ACH and TaDarius Thomas. I even like the finish, as you live by the top rope, you die by the top rope. Good stuff here.
MATCH #3: Honor in the Heart of Texas Rematch – Adam Cole vs. Roderick Strong
These two are pretty evenly matched, and they go back and forth in the opening minutes. Cole has his left arm taped so Strong targets it for attack. Strong takes the first sustained advantage, wearing Cole down with a variety of offense. Cole comes back with the Death Valley Neckbreaker for a two-count. He continues the assault, sending Strong to the floor and wiping him out with a dive. Cole focuses on the leg, which could effectively take away the Sick Kick. He goes up top and Strong joins him, only to get knocked back. Cole goes for a cross body block but Strong slices him out of the air with a dropkick. Back on their feet Strong quickens the pace and unleashes a flurry of offense. Cole fights back with an enziguiri and a shining wizard for two. More reversals ends with Cole locking on the Figure-Four Leglock. Strong reaches the ropes. Cole tries to follow up but Strong strikes with a hard knee, the gutbuster, and the Sick Kick, but Cole kicks out at two! Strong cinches in the Stronghold and Cole is able to kick his way out of it. Cole hits a superkick and the vertical suplex neckbreaker for a near-fall. They take the fight to the apron and Cole hits a superkick that sends Strong crashing through the timekeeper’s table! Cole thinks about picking Strong up but Strong is just deadweight so he decides to drop him back down and take the countout win at 15:20 with a big smile on his face. Countouts are used so rarely in Ring of Honor and I found this one extremely effective. This was a really good back and forth encounter, and did a lot to further Cole’s changing character. Strong is just so good.
MATCH #4: Special Challenge Match – “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa
R.D. Evans replaces Corino on commentary for this match. These two don’t waste any time taking it to each other. They both go for finishers and both men avoid them. A test of strength ends well for Elgin, who then tries the stalling vertical suplex but Ciampa reverses it to one of his own. Ciampa goes for the running knee but Elgin catches him in a Black Hole Slam. Elgin puts on the Crossface and Ciampa counters with a cradle for two. Ciampa puts on his own Crossface and Elgin powers out with a Death Valley Driver into the buckles for a two-count. Elgin hits the stalling vertical suplex this time and gets another near-fall. Ciampa fights back and they clothesline each other repeatedly, eventually spilling to the floor. That works out well for Ciampa, who is able to ram Elgin into the barricade. Ciampa removes the ringside padding and goes for a supelx but Elgin stops him. Elgin cuts off Ciampa’s suicide dive attempt, and pulls Ciampa to the floor with a vertical suplex on the exposed concrete. Before the referee can count to 20, Elgin goes back out and powerbombs Elgin into the barricade! Back in the ring Elgin hits the twisting senton from the top rope for a two-count. Elgin hits a Buckle Bomb and then goes for the Elgin Bomb but Ciampa reverses to the Air Raid Crash for two. Ciampa pulls down the knee pad and hits a series of running knees to the face. He brings Elgin to the middle rope and hits a Super Air Raid Crash! That somehow only gets two. Elgin comes back with an STJoe and then a vertical suplex into a sidewalk slam for a near-fall. He sends Ciampa to the apron and tries the dead-lift German Superplex, but Ciampa counters with Project Ciampa for two! Elgin is lucky he was close to the ropes on that one. They take it to the apron and Ciampa hits an Air Raid Crash! Ciampa then hits another Air Raid Crash on the concrete floor! Back in the ring Ciampa only gets two! Elgin avoids Project Ciampa and hits a Buckle Bomb and the Elgin Bomb! Ciampa not only kicks out but turns it into a triangle choke! Elgin breaks free with a Buckle Bomb and tries the Elgin Bomb but Ciampa slips out and drills Elgin with a knee to the face. Elgin kicks out at one! He blasts Ciampa with a lariat and gets two. Elgin unloads with a series of back spinning fists, a rolling elbow to the back of the head, and one more devastating clothesline to finally get the pin at 19:55. That was the wrestling equivalent of a Home Run Derby, with tons of big moves and hard hits from both guys for nearly 20 minutes. That was tons of fun and I’d pay to watch it again.
Q.T. Marshall strolls down in a suit, looking to pick the bones of the exhausted Ciampa. When Marshall sees that Ciampa is willing to fight him, he turns right around and leaves with Evans.
Nigel McGuinness joins Kevin Kelly for commentary for the remainder of the show.
MATCH #5: ROH World TV Championship Triple Threat Match – Matt Taven (C) vs. Jay Lethal vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Taven has been the Champion since 3.2.13, and this is his fourth defense. He has Truth Martini, Scarlett Bordeaux, and Seliziya Sparx in his corner. Lethal immediately hits Jacobs with a superkick that sends him to the floor and Lethal goes out after him. Taven follows both of them out with a dive that sends him into the first row. The brawl continues on the floor, with all three men landing shots on each other. Jacobs goes to the apron to try a dive on Taven, but Taven catches him with a powerslam. Lethal grabs Taven and hurls him into the barricade. Back in the ring Lethal works Taven over but can’t put him away. Jacobs rejoins the fray and the action remains fast and furious on all fronts. Lethal and Jacobs have particular animosity, and Jacobs sends Taven to the floor so he can battle his rival. Martini interferes to distract Jacobs and allow Taven to re-enter the match and take control. It doesn’t last long though, as Jacobs hits Taven with the Contra Code and rolls immediately into the spinning headscissors on Lethal, who immediately comes back by slamming Jacobs on his face. Lethal puts Taven on the top rope for a superplex but Taven shoves him down. He’s able to hit Jacobs with the Lethal Combination, and Taven comes flying down with a Frog Splash on Lethal for a near-fall. Lethal comes back with a neckbreaker on Taven and he goes up top to hit Hail to the King. Jacobs breaks up the cover. And goes for the Contra Code but Lethal throws him to the floor. Lethal sends Taven outside as well, and he follows him out with a suicide dive. He looks ready to go for another one, but Scarlett gets in the ring and slaps Lethal hard. Scarlett tries to run away and Lethal pulls her top off. Truth takes offense to that and gets in the ring to confront Lethal but is soon begging for mercy. Jacobs drills Lethal with a Spear and then turns his attention to Truth. Seliziya gets in between the two men and picks Jacobs up for an Air Raid Crash but Lethal superkicks her! That’s awesome. Jacobs hits the Ace Crusher on Lethal, but Truth grabs his leg to prevent him from making the cover. Taven steals the pin at 12:54. That was going along really well until the House of Truth tomfoolery kicked in and things kind of fell apart. Truth Martini interference is just played out. I like the idea of the finish, except that Jacobs’ Ace Crusher, while a good move, has never really finished anybody. Still, this was mostly good stuff with non-stop action and a hot crowd.
MATCH #6: ROH World Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match – reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) (C) vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. Rhett Titus & Cliff Compton
reDRagon have been the Champions since 3.2.13, and this is their fifth defense. SCUM and C&C go right after each other, and then reDRagon joins forces with C&C to take out Titus and Compton. Fish and O’Reilly hit simultaneous baseball slides on Titus and Compton, and then hold the ropes down for Alexander to hit a dive. Coleman goes for adive, and this is when Fish and O’Reilly turn on them. Alexander makes them pay with a missile dropkick that connects on both of them. C&C take the Champions out, and then SCUM makes their way back in to take control of the match. Lots of action going on here. SCUM focuses on Coleman, while everyone else recovers on the floor. Eventually Coleman is able to fight back and he tags his partner. Alexander is a house afire as he quickens the pace and goes after everyone. SCUM gets thrown to the floor and C&C hit O’Reilly with Overtime. SCUM pulls O’Reilly to the floor so he can’t be pinned, and Coleman takes all of them out with a dive from the top rope. Back in the ring Alexander hits O’Reilly with a brainbuster. Fish sneaks in and drills Alexander with a kick to the head. He puts O’Reilly’s arm over Alexander and reDRagon retains at 6:58. That was curiously short but I guess the show was running a bit long at this point. The actionw as fine but the presence of Titus and Compton added nothing, and the finish wasn’t particularly inspiring.
MATCH #7: Grudge Match – “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen vs. Matt Hardy
Corino cuts a promo to incite the crowd and put Hardy over. Steen gets on the mic and asks Nigel McGuinness to make this a No DQ Match. Nigel agrees, and here we go. Steen and Hardy tear into each other, exchanging fisticuffs. Hardy attacks Steen’s leg and tries to keep him on the canvas. Steen comes back with a pop-up powerbomb and they spill to the floor. This is Steen’s comfort zone, and he throws Hardy around and beats on him with a fan’s crutch. Hardy comes back and slams Steen’s head repeatedly off the barricade. Back in the ring Hardy assaults Steen with a trash can. Hardy keeps Steen down and goes up top but misses the moonsault. Steen whips Hardy into the corner and follows him with a Cannonball. He puts the trash can on top of Hardy and hits another Cannonball for a two-count. Steen goes outside the ring to find a table. He sets it up at ringside and goes back inside th ering. Rhett Titus comes out to interfere and takes a Package Piledriver for his troubles. Hardy hits Steen with a Side Effect for a two-count. Another Side Effect puts Steen in a bad way, and they take the fight to the apron. Steen looks poised to put Hardy through the table, but Jimmy Jacobs runs out and moves the table out of the way. That goes poorly for Jacobs, as Steen hits him with two powerbombs onto the ring apron. Steen then hits the apron powerbomb on Hardy. Cliff Compton runs out and cracks Steen with a steel chair. Back in the ring Hardy abuses Steen with a ladder until Steen is able to catch a ladder-assisted Codebreaker for two. Steen sets up for the Package Piledriver but Corino distracts Steen long enough for Hardy to hit the Twist of Fate for a near-fall. Hardy goes for another Twist of Fate but Steen slips out and hits a low blow and the F-Cinq for a two-count. Steen goes for the Package Piledriver but Hardy escapes and hits his own low blow, and then lands a Side Effect right on top of the ladder. That gets a very close two-count. Hardy sets up a couple of chairs and Steen spits in his face. That doesn’t stop Hardy from hitting a Twist of Fate on the chairs to get the pin at 14:10. The interference by SCUM was a foregone conclusion, but given the context of the storyline I don’t think it was overkill. Steen is not hurt by the loss, and Hardy gets a big win going into his title shot on TV, so this worked.
MATCH #8: **Main Event – ROH World Championship** – Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe
Jay has been the Champion since 4.5.13, and this is his fifth defense. The brothers start with some chain wrestling as the crowd alternates between chanting Jay and Mark. They start off slowly, as neither man wants to be the first one to make a mistake when he’s in the ring with the man who knows him better than anyone else. Mark scores first with a leg lariat and Jay shakes his hand. The younger Briscoe continues to control the early flow of the match, and Jay extends his hand again but this time Mark fakes him out. Jay gets angry and walks right into a rolling Death Valley Driver. He pops right up and hits a hard forearm and then they stall some more. Mark sends Jay to the floor and follows him out with a dropkick. Jay is able to fight back with a big boot to the face. Mark responds with a suplex that lands Jay on the edge of the ring frame. Back in the ring Mark starts in with the Redneck Kung Fu, and Jay fights back with jabs. Jay hits a big clothesline and that puts him in control. He hits a big superkick and a roaring forearm. Every time Mark tries to fight back, Jay is able to cut him off. Finally Mark hits an enziguiri and that’s enough for baby brother to take control. They go to the floor and set up a table together. Back and forth the fight continues and they take it up to the top rope. Jay is able to slam Mark from the top rope all the way down to the floor! Ouch. Back in the ring Jay continues to beat on his brother. The crowd chants “This Is Awesome” for some reason. Mark regains control and hits an Iconoclasm for a near-fall. They go back to the apron and fight right above the table. Mark knocks Jay off the apron and takes him down with a dive. He lays Jay across the table and takes him out with a Froggy ‘Bow! Back in the ring Mark hits a traditional Froggy ‘Bow but only gets a two-count! Mark hits a Cutthroat Driver for a near-fall. He goes for another one but Jay slips out. They trade strikes and Jay is able to land a Jay Driller for two. Jay hit sa big lariat and another Jay Driller and this time it only gets one! A series of superkicks and a third Jay Driller is enough to keep Mark down at 21:11. That just never connected with me on any sort of level. They spent a lot of the early part of the match stalling and then they did some moves and then it was over. The buildup just felt perfunctory and kept me from investing in this match emotionally.
Tags: Best in the World, Jay Briscoe, Kevin Steen, Mark Briscoe, Ring of Honor