MARK BRISCOE VS. CAPRICE COLEMAN VS. JIMMY JACOBS VS. HANSON
Hanson pinned Coleman with a spin kick. The lighting here is really bad, even by ROH standards. Just the look is dark and minor league. Match was designed to get Hanson over as a monster and seemed to work. The match was okay, some cool moves but not convincing in other ways. Coleman did two straight Northern Lights suplexes on Jacobs and then gave Briscoe and Jacobs Northern Lights suplexes at the same time. Hanson then did a dive over the toip onto Briscoe and Jacobs. Coleman did an Asai moonsault on Hanson. But in the ring, Hansen laid out Coleman and pinned him.
RODERICK STRONG VS. ADAM PAGE
Jimmy Jacobs and B.J. Whitmer are out with Page. The whole idea here is to elevate Page into a serious wrestler. The idea is Whitmer hand picked Page, while Strong didn’t buy it and Jacobs has questions.
Strong won the match with the stronghold, which is the WCW Jericho Lion tamer. Whitmer told him no matter what, don’t tap. Page didn’t tap but passed out and the ref stopped it. Jacobs was impressed by Page’s toughness and shook his hand. After the match, Whitmer confronted announcer Steve Corino. The crowd got behind Corino and reacted strong to it. The match had a lot of near falls, mostly big moves by Strong that Page kicked out of. It was your classic trying to get a young guy over. Page is still pretty green and while he did a lot, he didn’t feel on the level of a pushed ROH guy inthis match.
MICHAEL ELGIN VS. TOMMASO CIAMPA
Elgin won with a double arm DDT and said that he wanted his title back. Another match with a lot of near falls. Ciampa kicked out of the pinning power bomb and Elgin kicked out of Project Ciampa. The pops for the kick outs weren’t that big. The big part of the story was that near the finish, Ciampa accidentally clotheslined ref Paul Turner. Ciampa had a zero tolerance policy so Nigel McGuinness got up furious, and walked away. Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino speculated that McGuinness may be firing Ciampa. Good match, they tried to work Japanese style but something was missing.
They announced the 13th anniversary show from Las Vegas at The Orleans on 3/1. That’s the day after the UFC show on 2/28 in Los Angeles.
YOUNG BUCKS & ACH VS. FRANKIE KAZARIAN & CHRISTOPHER DANIELS & CEDRIC ALEXANDER
This entire match was a never ending highlight reel. I mean this was ridiculous. If you like the Bucks style, which this crowd did, this was just tremendous. It was nothing but big moves, the crowd loved it before it started and loved it throughout. Everyone looked great. Some people wouldn’t like it because it was that Dragon Gate style all acction and they do everything in the world. Endless big moves for no breaks. The finish saw Alexander try a Frankensteiner off the top on ACH, but ACH blocked it, the Bucks did a superkick onto Alexander, the Bucks did the Meltzer driver on Alexander and then ACH pinned Alexander after a 450 splash.
MOOSE VS. RD EVANS
This was the takedown the crowd after the prior match. It was some comedy by Evans. Moose threw a hell of a dropkick. Of course he’s really green. Evans, who was the face, had Moose in the sharpshooter. Stokley Hathaway threw in a chair but ref Gino Calucci kicked Hathaway and Prince Nana out. Moose was about to spear Evans when Veda Scott jumped in the ring to block Moose. But then Scott turned on Evans, giving him a low blow. Moose then pinned Evans after a spear. Even though Evans was the face, there was a period where he missed three springboard spots on purpose to get a “You f**** up”chant. The crowd responded but it was weird for a face to blow moves to get that reaction on purpose.
JAY LETHAL VS. MATT SYDAL FOR THE TV TITLE
Lethal retained the title with a cool finish. Sydal used the shooting star press but Truth Martini pulled ref Todd Sinclair out of the ring to break up the count. Sydal ran after Martini, hit J Diesel with a flying knee. Sydal then gave Martini a spin kick into the book of Truth. Sydal went for the top for the shooting star press. As he did the move, Lethal got up and hit the diamond cutter as Sydal was out to land from the shooting star. Lethal then got the pin with the Lethal Injection. Good match, second best so far.
KYLE O’REILLY & BOBBY FISH VS. ALEX SHELLEY & KUSHIDA FOR THE ROH TAG TITLES
Crowd really into this one before it started. They are pushing this as the third match of the trilogy, bringing up their two PPV matches in Japan.
This match in some ways was fantastic, particularly the last few minutes. The crowd was in and out. At times it felt more like a New Japan spot show reaction. So many great moves. Actually as far as the work went, I think was better than their Japan matches but the crowd took it down. The best spot may have been Kushida doing a backbreaker and moonsault on O’Reilly, but when he landed, O’Reilly did the triangle, but there was a save by Shelley. The finish saw Kushida kick out of chasing the Dragon, but O’Reilly got Kushida i the armbar and Kushida tapped out. I wonder if that means Kushida & Shelley win the IWGP jr. belts back at the Tokyo dome.
JAY BRISCOE VS. ADAM COLE FOR THE ROH TITLE
This was a sick match. Jay retained by using one Jay driller, which Cole kicked out of, and then hit a second Jay driller on the title belt and got the pin. It was a fight without honor, so essentially a no DQ weapons match. Early in the match Cole used a staple gun that Jay introduced to the match. Jay ended up bleeding from Cole staping a piece of paper which read Mr. Briscoe’s chair (Cole attacked Papa Briscoe who wasn’t there in a big TV angle). Cole had put it on an empty ringside chair that Cole had left for Papa Briscoe to rub it in. There was a chair shot to the head by Cole on Jay. Each guy went through a table. Jay brought in thumb tacks and Cole put the thumb tacks in Jay’s mouth and superkicked him. Later Cole took a high backdrop onto the thumb tacks. That was the move that set up the first Jay driller. There was also a spot where, when Cole was pulled head first into the post and came up bleeding (old school under the ring gigging), they had the commission tease stopping the match and Jay was throwing security everywhere. Cole and Jay were both tremendous. It was an attempt to do a grudge match style from another era and for the most part, it worked. The blood set up the commission spot which worked since people were genuinely scared the match would be stopped, but the blood itself didn’t pop the crowd. The performance of both guys was great and it was an excellent match. Whether double juice and chairs to the head should be in modern wrestling is a different question.