ROH Best In The World 6/24/2012

ROH 307 – Best In The World 2012: Hostage Crisis – 24th June 2012

I really like this card. It might turn out to be a stinker of a show, but on paper I think this is one of the strongest line-ups Ring Of Honor have promoted in some time. Every match has something on it – literally everything from the opening contest (which sees the Briscoes take on Truth Martini’s debuting Guardians Of Truth) to the main event (the Anything Goes rematch between Kevin Steen and Davey Richards for the World Championship). In between that we have both the TV and Tag Titles on the line, the first ever Hybrid Fighting Rules Match, Fit Finlay in action again and much more. Credit where it’s due, the booking to take us from Border Wars to this ippv event has been really decent. Here’s hoping for a good show as pay off to that. We’re in Manhattan, NY. Kevin Kelly and former ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness are on commentary.

Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Guardians Of Truth
Lets not beat around the subject as it was pretty common knowledge by this point – the Guardians Of Truth are the Headbangers under hoods. Yes, in 2012 ROH (a company founded on principles of athleticism, hard work and giving new talent a chance to shine) has decided to bring in a team who weren’t even popular in WWF’s Attitude Era…when EVERYONE was popular. Literally all I can remember from their WWE career is The Rock listing Headbanger Mosh as one of his biggest threats in the 2000 Royal Rumble as a joke. Still, Martini has been promoting his new team, saying that if people knew their real names they would run a mile (no argument here pal). He laid down the challenge to ROH’s longest serving team on behalf of his new clients…and here we are.

‘Everyone [has been] banging their heads trying to figure this out’ – Nigel on the identities of the new team. The Guardians jump the Briscoes before the bell and immediately snatch the initiative. Mark is beaten into the corner, but fights out using his Redneck Kung Fu then a crab-walk senton on Thrasher. The ropes appear to be loose and broken which isn’t helping things either. The Briscoes set about trying to isolate Thrasher, but Mosh pulls a switcheroo (since they are in identical gear and masks) behind the referee’s back and pops up to attack Jay. Fans start chanting ‘Mosh and Thrasher’, I presume to point out they know who they are rather than to show support for them as they take turns choking the older Briscoe brother in the corner. Mark drives Mosh into the corner with a dropkick then comes off the top with the Froggy Bow. Doomsday Device blocked, so Jay rolls Mosh up at 06:02

Rating – ** – A brief and inoffensive way to start the show. I’m not going to sit here and support the Headbangers in ROH as a full time act as I think it’s ridiculous. But, if they are on the undercard and only working a handful of shows it’s not the end of the world – and this one wasn’t long enough for them to do anything bad. To be honest the busted ring ropes provided more action than the four wrestlers involved though…

The Briscoes try to give Martini the Doomsday Device only for the Guardians to save their manager.

Homicide vs Eddie Edwards
I think this is the first time Homicide has seen ROH action since the 10th Anniversary. He returns as part of the Die Hard Challenge series – with Eddie looking to take on former World Champions in a bid to earn himself another title shot. Of course, that’s now slightly irrelevant as he just had his title shot at The Nightmare Begins. There is heat on this however, since the Notorious 187 showed up at the Sinclair TV show this week and dropped Edwards with the Cop Killa. Kevin Kelly announces that Eddie is competing with an injured arm too. Homicide is documented as saying he wants his full-time spot in ROH back, and knows he needs a win here to go towards achieving that.

Homicide spits in the hand that Edwards extends him…so Eddie slaps him in the face then almost jumps OVER the commentators to land an ELBOW SUICIDA! Taking the fight to the floor probably wasn’t Eddie’s brightest idea though as Homicide is a top class brawler and looks comfortable trading shots with him all around ringside. Edwards drops him on his head with a German suplex then drills him with a sliding enziguri strike for 2. They angrily trade chops in the centre of the ring, roared on by a vocal and totally split crowd. Homicide flips Edwards with a belly to belly, then sends him flying into the ringpost injured arm-first. Shades of old school Homicide come out as he grabs a chair and chases the ref about…but ultimately he grabs the arm and starts stretching it in the ropes. Three Amigos comes out, using the injured arm…only for Eddie to counter into his version of the Three Amigos. He boots Cide in the corner as a set up for a big superplex – but he can’t follow up as his arm is really messed up. Doi 555…into a fisherman buster for another nearfall. Boston Knee Party nailed, and floated into the STF! As Nigel points out though, he can’t maintain the hold thanks to his injury and Homicide makes it to the ropes then drops him with a tornado DDT. Backpack Stunner countered to the Ace Crusher…but Eddie kicks out! Northern Lariat…superkick from Eddie…HOMICIDE WITH THE LARIAT FOR 2! Cop Killa blocked and turned into the Achilles Lock! Homicide kicks at the injured arm to free himself though. COP KILLA NAILED! HOMICIDE WINS! It’s over at 12:45

Rating – *** – I didn’t see that coming. I didn’t see Homicide winning, and I certainly didn’t see him delivering his best ROH match in years. Other than his crazy HDNet brawl with Necro, I really can’t think of anything better than this one since he made his return to the company in 2010. This was a cracking little back and forth contest in front of a hot crowd. Edwards has been great thus far in 2012, and Homicide produced a vintage performance mixing strong brawling, competitive wrestling skill and a slightly unhinged wildman persona. If he can do that on a regular basis he needs his roster spot back.

Kyle O’Reilly vs Adam Cole – Hybrid Fighting Rules Match
This is a first time ever match for ROH, and is arguably a creation of Kyle O’Reilly’s as he looks to make an example out of his former tag team partner. There are a multitude of rules to remember for this one – but in essence there are no pins, with a winner declared by referee stoppage, submission, knockout or disqualification. There are critical fouls resulting in immediate dq (fairly standard – low blows, eye gouging, attacking the ref etc), as well as ‘regular’ fouls, which are accumulated and result in a dq if you rack up three – they include leaving the ring, using the ropes, hooking the tights or accidental eye/groin attacks. The Future Shock split was far from amicable, with O’Reilly leaving the team to focus on his commitments to Team Ambition then growing increasingly jealous of Cole’s success since going solo. They met at Showdown In The Sun in a match ruined by technical difficulties with the ppv stream – so are looking to continue their feud in spectacular fashion here this afternoon.

Kyle starts by easily throwing Cole to the mat a couple of times – cockily posing to the crowd to demonstrate his jiu jitsu prowess. Cole tries to ground Kyle instead, and whilst he doesn’t succeed, he does show he’s able to counter Kyle’s submission holds and the two men come up in a near-miss strike exchange. Adam makes a beeline for O’Reilly’s leg, which has medical tape around the knee, landing a missile dropkick to that body part then a dragon screw. Kyle kicks his way free – but of course that really hurts his leg. Things aren’t going to plan for O’Reilly, so it’s to his credit that he catches Cole coming in and locks into a cross armbreaker. It’s not enough to win but he maintains the hold for long enough to open up an injury on his former partner. Strike exchanges…and this time Kyle uses his good leg to batter Cole to the canvas. Adam lands a Shining Wizard out of desperation, and comes up clutching the arm in pain. DUELLING BIG BOOTS! BOTH MEN DOWN! The crowd are bored and crapping on this match by the way, despite it being really decent thus far. Cole gets up POURING blood from the mouth. Oh – now they are interested. KAWADA KICKS FROM KYLE – SENDING TEETH AND BLOOD FLYING EVERYWHERE! HEADBUTT DUEL! O’REILLY SELLS THE KNEE…BASEMENT SUPERKICK FROM COLE! Cole has lost his front teeth and both guys are covered in his blood! Oh now the asshole New York fans give a sh*t. Discus lariat from O’Reilly – BUT COLE GETS UP! BACK DROP DRIVER! A doctor is already at ringside, but Cole visibly tells him to f*ck off. GUILLOTINE BY O’REILLY…COUNTERED TO A CRADLEBREAKER! SUPERKICK RIGHT TO THE FACE! O’Reilly falls out of the ring, and Cole gives chase meaning he gets a regular foul (not that it matters). CROSS ARMBREAKER BY O’REILLY! COUNTERED TO THE CLOVERLEAF – DAVEY’S HOLD! LEBELL LOCK…COUNTERED TO A FIGURE 4! KYLE TAPS! COLE WINS! It’s over at 12:39

Rating – ****1/2 – A phenomenal match. I felt so bad for these guys when they got f*cked over in Florida and made to stall and work a lousy match whilst ROH and GoFightLive tried to fix the ppv problems. Tonight they got to show what they can really do, and they produced a legitimate MOTYC. Lets talk about it first up – that injury to Cole was horrific. The visuals of his mouth split open, with blood and teeth going everywhere was every bit as graphic, and ultimately iconic as Jay Briscoe’s blood clotting and hanging from his head against Samoa Joe. It will define the match for right or wrong, but if I’m honest I thought they were doing a great job even before that. They were telling a great story with O’Reilly in charge (since it’s his match) and both men working within the confines of the unique rules to open up injuries. The live crowd were bored which annoyed me, but they showed why New York gets all ROH’s biggest shows as they went batsh*t crazy for the last five minutes. Nigel ended the match saying ‘a star is born’ in reference to Cole – and he’s absolutely right.

The camera zooms in on Cole’s teeth lying on the mat, and then refocuses on Cole declaring their feud over and asking Kyle for a handshake. O’Reilly refuses, slaps him in the face and leaves…

Earlier today in the House Of Truth locker room Roderick Strong belittles Elgin, and points out that he already beat Finlay so it won’t be impressive even if Unbreakable does win tonight. Elgin is furious and tells both Strong and Truth Martini to stay in the locker room for his match.

Fit Finlay vs Michael Elgin
The Belfast Bruiser made his ROH debut at Border Wars last month in a losing challenge to Roderick Strong and the Television Championship. But he certainly made an impression with his forthright, uncompromising and physical style, and ROH were quick to sign him up for another show. Finlay again faces a member of the House Of Truth – and will want to even up his ROH won/loss record.

Finlay is more than double Michael Elgin’s age by the way. They start tentatively, which makes sense as they are so evenly matched physically. Elgin is obviously psyched up but struggles to match up to the wily veteran in the opening minutes. Finlay continually finds a way to ground the younger man, be it through takedowns or strikes, and completely negates the power advantage of his opponent. He doesn’t seem to be focusing on a specific body part – he seems to be content with wearing the 2011 Survival Of The Fittest winner down. We’re past the five minute mark and Michael is still yet to mount any meaningful offence in the match. Literally every time he gets back to a vertical base and tries to throw strikes at the Irishman Fit effortlessly finds a way to ground him again. As with the previous match, the New York fans are now bored and trying to be funny by starting random retarded chants. Elgin has looked completely outclassed…but finally Finlay makes an error trying a shoulder tackle from the ropes. Elgin catches him and FLATTENS him with a lariat. Even then the veteran has a strategy, quickly rolling out of the ring and waiting for the younger man to chase before clobbering him to the hard floor with a lariat of his own. He dumps Elgin chest-first over the guardrails…then drills him with elbows as he tries to drag himself back into the ring. Credit to Unbreakable though, he lives up to his name by continually getting back to his feet and going back into battle. At last he gets Fit off his feet again, countering a chinlock into a back suplex. Audible ‘boring’ chants now, as Finlay shuts down another comeback attempt by grabbing a single leg takedown. At last Elgin succeeds with something – sending Finlay into the ringpost then battering him with clotheslines in the corner. DEAD LIFT FRONT SLAM (albeit slightly botched) gets 2. Fit easily escapes a Spiral Bomb attempt so Unbreakable tries something desperate and climbs the ropes. The inevitable happens and Finlay shoves him all the way to the floor – injuring his knee in the process. Finlay Roll gets 2, followed by the Air Raid Crash…but still just 2. TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER…Elgin kicks out again! What happened to piledrivers being banned in ROH? Isn’t that a DQ? Elgin comes up and scoops Finlay into the Buckle Bomb. SPIRAL BOMB wins it at 19:15

Rating – *** – I’ll be honest and say this is a slightly generous 3* rating as this wasn’t that great. But I’ll also admit to taking pleasure in giving it a decent rating just to spite some of the idiotic New York fans who seem to think it’s ok to openly disrespect the wrestlers as they work hard to entertain them. Although not a favourite of mine, Finlay is a respected veteran in this sport, a legendary mat technician and at 50+ years old, certainly doesn’t need to work in front of disrespectful pricks like some of vocal minority in the Hammerstein this afternoon. I liked the story they told, with Finlay using his skill and experience to totally dominate Elgin and stop him using any of his power moves. In the end he made one mistake, allowed Unbreakable to land one sequence of big offensive bombs – and that was enough to see Finlay go 0-2. It was too long, and the use of the piledriver really annoyed me. But the sh*t crowd wasn’t their fault, the fact they had to go on after Cole/O’Reilly wasn’t their fault and this would have seemed a lot better in front of a more respectful audience. It was streets ahead of the butt ugly Strong/Finlay match from last month.

Truth Martini sprints to the ring and dances in celebration at the big victory for his charge. He tries to stop Elgin shaking hands with Finlay, so Unbreakable shoves him aside and shakes hands anyway.

INTERMISSION – Kevin Kelly gives an update on Adam Cole, announcing that he needed stitches but they are attempting to put his teeth back in.

Live Prodigy Service Announcement time. Bennett immediately goofs by calling it the ‘first’ Live PSA – forgetting that he did one at Showdown In The Sun. He brings it back by sending up CM Punk by sitting cross legged and declaring himself ‘better than the best’. As ever, it ends in a cringing make out session between Bennett and Maria…interrupted by Mike Mondo. He complains about not getting to wrestle in the Hammerstein as it’s his dream, whilst Bennett opted to do a Live PSA rather than wrestle tonight. After much profanity it breaks down into a fist fight…which Bob Evans has to save The Prodigy from. Bennett gives him a spinebuster into the apron as Mondo starts succumbing to the superior numbers. This segment really starts to drag…and apparently it was actually an impromptu match? Mondo pins Bennett and wins…but lets be honest that went on way too long.

Roderick Strong vs Tommaso Ciampa vs Jay Lethal – ROH TV Title Match
There’s a lot of history between these three men, but in reality that’s not the focus here. Sure Ciampa and Lethal have been at odds for most of the year with Tommaso costing Jay the TV Title, then seeing his undefeated streak end at Jay’s hands last month. And of course Lethal wants to get back at Roddy for taking his TV Title. HOWEVER, the real issue here is how much collusion and conspiracy there is between the House Of Truth and The Embassy Ltd. Nana and co. sold Rhino to the HOT earlier in the year, and supposedly part of that deal was that Ciampa wouldn’t challenge Strong. However, since then Tommaso has demanded a shot at the belt, and was given not only this match, but a singles match on TV. That ended when RD Evans and Nana ‘accidentally’ got their man disqualified, further raising suspicious about the nature of the business arrangements between the two factions. Lethal wants his belt back. Tommaso has gone off the deep end and wants both a title and to injury Jay. Roderick supposedly knows of the deal and has been given assurances by Truth that there is something in place to ensure he leaves with the championship this evening.

What the f*ck is going on with Lethal’s hair tonight? Ciampa does a great job of acting like a total whackjob during the introductions. Bobby Cruise just about gets through the formalities before Tommaso charges the ring and launches into an attack on Lethal. The former champ survives that, then heads across the ring to level Roderick with the hiptoss dropkick combo. Tope suicida nailed as Lethal continues to be at the centre of proceedings…and he’s still basking in the success of that when Mia Yim sneaks up on him and blasts him with a superkick. BARE KNEE STRIKES from Ciampa! Roderick basically stood and watched the whole thing, then sneaks in to drop Jay with the Half Nelson Backbreaker for 2. Ciampa hits the electric chair drop STRAIGHT INTO THE OCEAN CYCLONE SUPLEX FOR 2! Tommaso is nuts, and demonstrates that as he drags Lethal to the canvas, biting and scratching at his face like an animal. Once more it’s Strong who opportunistically swoops and grabs at a chance to beat on a fallen Lethal. Strong and Lethal take it in turns chopping lumps out of Ciampa’s chest before going back to work on each other…and it’s Jay who comes out on top with the Lethal Combination which gets 2. DUELLING SUBMISSIONS from Lethal to both opponents! He then gets another nearfall on Roderick with a pop-up neckbreaker. Tommaso goes to the top ropes…AND HITS THE MACHO ELBOW ON LETHAL! FOR 2! Project Ciampa interrupted with a jumping knee strike from the champion. He takes Ciampa up the ropes and drills him with a superplex. MACHO ELBOW from Lethal! Tommaso kicks out! Martini tries to level Lethal with the Book Of Truth, and gets punched out for his issues. The Embassy run round the ring trying to help Martini…and somehow Nana gets shoved into Tommaso as he sets up for Project Ciampa. Strong counters with a roll-up…and eliminates the Dominant Male at 12:46. Martini blasts Lethal with the Book Of Truth as he sets up for the Lethal Injection. ORANGE CRUSH BACKBREAKER! Strong retains at 13:06

Rating – *** – Really exciting little TV Title Match there. The interventions from the cast on the outside was kept to a tolerable level, whilst the displays of athleticism and violence from the three men actually taking part in the match were allowed to take centre stage. Ciampa was the undeniable star of the show, from his increasingly impressive workrate to his amazing grasp of his new character. Lethal and Strong are experienced pros and held up their end of the deal – but it was Tommaso who emerges with all the credit from this, if not the TV Title (which I still think he should have taken from Jay). Although I gave it the same rating, this was much better and more exciting than the other TV Title 3-way – which saw Lethal defend against Generico and Bennett at Final Battle 2011.

Strong makes a point of going up to RD Evans and offering him words of thanks as he skulks away with the belt. Tommaso is irate and chases his Embassy colleagues to the back.

Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin vs All Night Express – ROH Tag Title Match
There’s no denying that ANX were the breakout team of 2011. Their violent feud with the Briscoes took them from midcard playboys to legitimate top level players in the tag division. But after winning their feud with the Briscoes at Death Before Dishonor 9 in Ladder War 3, they started to fade into the background. The Briscoes/WGTT feud took centre stage on the Sinclair TV show, they lost whatever title opportunities that came their way and got sidetracked through injury (to Rhett’s knee) and the interjections of the Young Bucks. Their momentum was lost. But they never forgot about the Tag Title shot they earned in the Proving Ground with WGTT, and with Haas and Benjamin’s long-running feud with the Briscoes now finally over, ANX decided they couldn’t wait anymore and demanded their shot. They were selected as top contenders and challengers for this show…and finally appear to be getting their rhythm back with Titus looking more mobile in the ring/trimmer round the waist and their issue with the Bucks now finally put to bed. Can they at last deliver on all that potential they showed in 2011? Halfway through 2012, can 2011’s breakout team at last smash through the glass ceiling and take the belts that have thus far eluded them?

After what happened at The Battle Of Richmond, officials have announced that if WGTT get themselves disqualified the belts can still change hands. Haas gets nuclear heat – literally rows of people standing up, flipping him off and throwing trash at him. It’s Benjamin who ends up starting with King though – looking confident and making an example of the younger man with a couple of early takedowns. Kenny fires back with a flurry of armdrags and gets a round of applause as Shelton dives out of the ring and runs all the way back to the locker room in distress. WGTT look to maintain a deliberate and slow pace and soon cut King off from his partner. It’s a full five minutes before Rhett is finally brought into the contest. He gets a nearfall after a bulldog on Charlie. Haas responds by throttling King over the ropes, holding him in position for Benjamin to blast him with an illegal kick from the apron. Again it’s King isolated in the ring and taking a beating at the hands of the champions. It’s a brutally slow pace WGTT work, but it does the trick as Kenny is in a world of trouble and looks out on his feet. CHICKENWING GUTBUSTER from Benjamin gets 2! At last King counters a double suplex attempt with a double DDT and completes the hot tag to Titus. Thrust Buster on Haas, then a spinning clothesline on Benjamin for 2. ROPE RUN BELLY TO BELLY…COUNTERED into snake eyes and SHOTGUN KNEES! Haas breaks the fall then sends King flying across the ring with a German suplex. Olympic Slam on Rhett…gets 2. King throws a chair in the ring at Shelton, trying to get WGTT disqualified…and Rhett capitalises with an IMPLANT DDT ON THE CHAIR! Benjamin barely kicks out. CORKSCREW PESCADO ON HAAS! Titus thinks about a dive too only for Shelton to clothesline him over the top rope. He blasts Rhett in the face with a title belt – and busts him open. Nigel barely maintains kayfabe as he rants about that by the way. If you’ve seen his ‘Last Of McGuinness’ documentary film you’ll know he’s a very outspoken critic of guys blading. He can’t let it impact his commentary work though. Benjamin drops him on his bloody head again with a DDT, and Haas feels so confident that he grabs the microphone and demands that the referee stop the match. Leap Of Faith set up when he refuses…but King BLOCKS it with a springboard mega botch! TITUS ROLLS UP HAAS! ANX WIN! NEW CHAMPIONS! Huge pop as the All Nights win it at 22:49

Rating – *** – I was generous for Elgin/Finlay so I can be generous for this as well. The scorching hot crowd really helped carry this. Honestly, they weren’t even that into ANX, but they were so fiercely anti-WGTT that the whole match was really watchable. The heat segment on Kenny was really dull, and as you’d expect in a match with both King and Benjamin, there were quite a few sloppy moments and mishaps. BUT, they kept the crowd into it, and the big pop at the end when the All Nights won the match and finally got their hands on the belts they should have got in 2011 was a special moment.

SIDENOTE – Anybody who thinks Kenny didn’t care about ROH when he jumped to TNA in the next few weeks – check out his reaction to winning the belts. He goes batsh*t crazy and is almost overcome with emotion. Who knows where they could have taken this team had ROH pulled the trigger on them in 2011 like they should have. I believe this is actually the last time they teamed together. They are both booked for Live Strong in Pittsburgh next week – but in singles action. And as mentioned, Kenny’s contract expired in May and was already in negotiations to go back to Florida with TNA.

Haas and Benjamin aren’t happy, and put a beating on the new champions before walking out.

Steve Corino joins commentary for the main event, and is soon followed by Jim Cornette who also decides to sit ringside. The crowd’s reaction to Steen is jaw-dropping. And they pop big again when Steen demands that Cruise announce him as ‘Mr Wrestling’ rather than ‘Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare. And the match is further delayed as Kyle O’Reilly limps out, gloats putting Adam Cole in hospital and unleashes a stream of a profanity as he quits Team Ambition and leaves. That was awesome!
Kevin Steen vs Davey Richards – ROH World Title Anything Goes Match
Neither man is particularly well-liked by the Executive Producer at this point. Steen has been the bane of Jim Cornette’s existence since Best In The World 2011 when he made his unwelcome and unscheduled return to ROH. Davey, meanwhile, has openly protested being labelled ‘Cornette’s boy’ and raised the his ire when he lost the belt to Mr Wrestling at Border Wars. He demanded his rematch for this ppv – which Cornette agreed to, on the stipulation that if he couldn’t get the job done then he doesn’t get another shot whilst Steen is champion. Both men asked for these Anything Goes rules. Davey wants to use it to beat up Steen, and the champion simply wants his Package Piledriver legal for him to use.

DAVEY BOOTS STEEN THROUGH THE TIMEKEEPING TABLE! Corino begs Cary Silkin to buy back the company and control the ‘anarchy’ as Richards beats the snot out of the champion all around ringside. But he gets distracted choking Jimmy Jacobs…and Steen POWERBOMBS HIM INTO THE APRON! He starts burying him under sheet metal ‘ROH’ signs…FROG SPLASH THROUGH THE SIGNS! Now it’s Steen’s turn to get distracted – he gets preoccupied screaming at Cornette and Steen-ton Bombs right into Davey’s knees. ‘You’re my 8th favourite ROH World Champion’ – Corino to Nigel. STEEN SUPERKICKS BOBBY CRUISE! Richards levels him with a tope suicida as Cornette and Cary help Bobby out. EXPLODER ON THE APRON! Amusingly Nigel and Kevin’s microphones both go out leaving Corino cracking jokes uninterrupted. Richards sets Kevin up for a TOP ROPE DOUBLE STOMP THROUGH A TABLE! Double stomp back into the ring as well…for 2. Richards can’t believe the fans are cheering for Steen rather than him, shaking his head in disbelief as he begins to fill the ring with chairs. Unfortunately for him Steen grabs one for a CODEBREAKER WITH A CHAIR! CANNONBALL THROUGH A CHAIR! GETS 2! The two men fight on the top, with Davey finally hooking Steen up for a SUPERPLEX INTO A STACK OF CHAIRS!

Corino is totally ignoring the match now, and instead trying to convince Nigel to return to the ring and form a team with Grizzly Redwood. Steen grabs Richards for an AVALANCHE FISHERMAN BUSTER THROUGH A TABLE! Davey kicks out! His mouthpiece went flying with that bump, so Jacobs retrieves it and hands it to Kevin who puts it in his mouth. F-5 COUNTERED WITH A GERMAN SUPLEX THROUGH TWO OPEN CHAIRS! The American Wolf is on a rampage, and laces a chain around his right boot for some CHAIN-ENFORCED KAWADA KICKS! CHAIN-WRAPPED BUZZSAW KICK GETS 2! DAVEY KNOCKS OUT TODD SINCLAIR! Everyone in the building is on their feet now and this is just chaos. He drags a ladder into the ring, but takes so long untangling it from all the streamers that he walks into the F-5. It’s two again – SO STEEN GIVES PAUL TURNER A PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! DR DRIVER ONTO THE F*CKING LADDER! But there’s no referee left to count the fall! ‘I didn’t kick you that hard’ – Davey to Sinclair as he tries to get him back in. Jacobs tries to get involved…only for Cornette to steal the railroad spike! CORINO KICKS CORNETTE IN THE BALLS! RICHARDS THROWS JACOBS THROUGH THE LADDER WITH AN EXPLODER! Richards and Steen both have spikes! STEEN SPIKES RICHARDS IN THE BALLS! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! Steen retains the title in a completely crazy 21:20

Rating – ****1/2 – I don’t want to hear people calling this a simple spotfest, or a hardcore stunt show. This was a spectacular main event and absolutely one of the best matches of 2012. Sure it was overbooked, but that was the whole point. The show is called Hostage Crisis. Steen is World Champion – against the wishes of ROH, Jim Cornette and Davey Richards. And this match was exactly that – a crisis unfolding before our very eyes. This was the chaos Steen vowed to unleash upon ROH when he became champion. His SCUM allies were causing mayhem at ringside, Cornette and Cruise were violently attacked. And the moment when Richards snapped, after losing the title in Toronto, having the entire ROH fanbase turn on him and his best friends leave him was absolute poetry. The whole point of this angle is that Steen, Jacobs and Corino think being evil is the way to go. When Davey snapped and attacked Todd Sinclair it was symbolic of him sinking to their level. The reign of Steen took Cornette’s golden boy and turned him into a psycho who was willing to attack referees – just like Mr Wrestling. Amazing story-telling, violent and brutal wrestling in front of a ravenous crowd. Like I said after the Hybrid Rules Match – this is why New York gets the big shows. They can almost ruin matches like they did with Elgin/Finlay tonight. But they can take a great match and turn it into one of those epic moments you don’t forget. Stunning main event…

Steen puts Davey over and tries to turn heel…but the crowd just cheer him anyway. He calls the New York crowd hypocritical ‘pieces of sh*t’ for cheering when he was forced out of ROH in 2010 then treated him like a god when he returned at Best In The World 2011. It’s honestly amazing. He starts trashing Bryan Danielson and CM Punk – and they still cheer him to the rafters.

Tape Rating – **** – For all that the house shows have been sub-par this year, ROH continues to deliver decent value for money on their ippvs (when they can get their feeds working of course). This was a really strong top-to-bottom show with only a 6-minute Headbangers match and the Bennett/Mondo brawl to drag it down. Sure a couple of matches were low end 3* (Finlay/Elgin and WGTT/ANX), but this show is still well over 3 hours of solid and at times utterly spectacular wrestling. Cole/O’Reilly and Steen/Richards were both classic matches which need to be seen. It’s far from a 2-match show, but even if it was I’d still recommend purchasing this DVD just to pick up those two matches.

Top 3 Matches
3) Roderick Strong vs Tommaso Ciampa vs Jay Lethal (***)
2) Adam Cole vs Kyle O’Reilly (****1/2)
1) Kevin Steen vs Davey Richards (****1/2)

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