ROH Boiling Point 8/11/2012

ROH 310 – Boiling Point 2012 – 11th August 2012

So Ring Of Honor returns to pay-per-view far earlier than expected here tonight. After Best In The World we were originally supposed to go to Death Before Dishonor 10 without an ippv event. But the cancellation of the late-July Carolinas double shot forced a rethink, and this was hastily rescheduled as a ppv. The card, although not stunning by recent ROH ppv standards, is really decent and it promises to be a fun night of pro-wrestling. Kevin Steen defends the World Championship in an inter-promotional Champion vs Champion match – as he faces Chikara Grand Champion Eddie Kingston in the main event. Eddie Edwards and Mike Bennett look to settle their rivalry in a Mixed Tag Match also featuring Maria Kanellis and the returning Sara Del Rey, and it’s the end of the Lethal/Ciampa feud too as those two finish up their series in a 2/3 Falls Match. We also have Briscoes/SCUM, Strong/Mondo, TV Title Proving Ground action and four outsiders competing for an ROH contract so there’s lots to look forward to. Lets join Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness in Providence, RI.

Roderick Strong vs Mike Mondo
No titles and no particular feud at stake here, but the importance of this match can’t be understated. Roddy just lost the TV Title, whilst Mondo just blew his big World Title shot when he lost to Kevin Steen on the SBG show. Both of these two want to be in the World Championship picture, and so need a win over the other person here to elevate themselves up the pecking order.

‘Standing room only crowd tonight’ – Kevin Kelly as the crowd sits down in unison after the entrance of the two wrestlers. Mondo is so intense he actually chain-wrestles Roderick out of the ring – forcing Roddy into a tactical rethink with Truth Martini on the floor. Strong tries to fire off a series of chops, and this gets STIFF IN A HURRY! Headbutts, fists and chops fly as these guys just lay waste to each other! No Fear tries to come off the ropes only to be shoved to the floor as Roderick looks to keep this as a fight rather than a wrestling match. They exchange chops and headbutts on the floor in absolutely vicious fashion. Strong gets his nose busted open…SO HE BOOTS MONDO IN THE F*CKING FACE! They’re not done…slaps next, even with Mike fighting from his knees. Strong delivers a sliding boot to the face for 2 then chops him over the ropes and back to the outside. He picks him up to ram him shoulder and head-first into the ringpost, and it’s unrelenting as he picks him up for a BRAINBUSTER ON THE CONCRETE! Somehow Mondo stays in the match, and starts to return fire with a flurry of knee strikes! He ties Strong in the ring apron, allowing him to deliver an unprotected stomp to the exposed head. Quebrada nailed for 2 – with No Fear clearly switching up his game to defeat the ROH veteran. REBOUND HEADSCISSORS OFF THE ROPES INTO THE RAILS! And Mondo isn’t finished – he heads up the ramp for a run up…POOOUUUUUUUUUNCE!!! These two have beaten the hell out of each other – to the extent that Todd Sinclair thinks about stopping the match. Strong capitalises on the respite to hit a jumping knee strike into the URINAGE BACKBREAKER FOR 2! Death By Roderick blocked and countered into a spinebuster from No Fear! LEBELL LOCK! Mondo counters to a schoolboy pin…and it’s 2 again. DEATH BY RODERICK! MONDO KICKS OUT AGAIN! Orange Crush Backbreaker…countered with a small package. JUMPING KNEE! SICK KICK! Strong finally puts Mondo away at 12:39

Rating – **** – There’s a chance I’m over-rating this a little, but f*ck it. Forget Mondo/Richards or Mondo/Steen – this is the best Mike Mondo match in ROH thus far…and what a war it was. I’d also say it was easily the best opening match from ROH in 2012. In fact, other than Edwards/Rhino at Border Wars I’m struggling to remember anything coming close. So rugged, tough and physical as these two just beat the sh*t out of each other. Nothing clever, nothing complicated – just unrelenting strong-style physicality. Red hot way to start the ppv and bring the crowd to life. Nobody saw this coming!

Antonio Thomas vs Vinny Marseglia vs QT Marshall vs Matt Taven
Four corner survival action – with the added incentive of an ROH contract for the winner here. It’s only Thomas who makes his ROH debut though (I think). He’s a former WWE talent (The Heart-Throbs) and is now involved in training a lot of guys in the North East – as you may have seen in Colt Cabana’s ‘Wrestling Road Diaries’. Marseglia, Marshall and Taven have all been on the Sinclair TV show with varying degrees of success. Vinny was decimated by Rhino in less than a minute, whilst Marshall’s debut was equally unsuccessful and short-lived. Taven has been the most successful, delivering some critically-acclaimed matches with the likes of Mike Mondo and Tommaso Ciampa…but he hasn’t won many. Who will take the win and secure a future with Ring Of Honor? Caleb Seltzer joins commentary.

Thomas and Taven start out, criss-crossing the ropes, with The Promise finally coming out on top then tagging in Marseglia. Those two run through a fast-paced exchange of strikes and pin-falls, drawing a round of applause from the local crowd. Thomas and Marshall don’t like that and jump them both from behind. Cactus clothesline from Raven to Antonio…as QT batters Marseglia setting up for a tope suicida. SUICIDE DIVE FROM TAVEN ONTO EVERYONE! Such is Taven’s success that QT forcibly tags him out of the match, enabling himself to do some damage on the worn down Marseglia. Vinny tries a springboard crossbody and succeeds only in diving into a dropkick to the ribs from QT. That was hit with such force that it knocks one of Vinny’s piercings out. Marseglia is in real trouble as Thomas and Marshall start teaming up to wear him down. With the prize of a contract at stake that alliance inevitably comes to an end. Antonio grapevine’s Vinny’s legs then hits a fisherman suplex on Marshall…AS TAVEN HITS A FLYING DOUBLE STOMP TO SQUASH THEM ALL! Matt is tagged in legally, lifting Marshall into the lights with a back drop then scoring with a SLINGSHOT NECKBREAKER on Marseglia. Marshall interrupts proceedings with a SPRINGBOARD leg lariat which wipes out Taven…who retaliates with a springboard enzi! Swinging DDT drops QT on his head for 2. SOMERSAULT HILO TO THE FLOOR from Vinny! He returns to the ring with a sunset flip bomb on Taven…but behind the ref’s back Marshall crotches him against the ringpost. Marshall hits a Dominator…and wins the match and the contract at 10:55

Rating – *** – Matt Taven was undeniably the star of the show here. He’s looked absolute quality when he’s appeared on TV and, when given more time to play with here, he really shone in the ppv spotlight. Sadly ROH can’t sign him to a deal with rumours of the WWE still sniffing around him, meaning he was the show-stealer…but not the victor. ROH had already booked QT for a couple of TV tapings by this point, and he clearly has the physique and experience level (8+ years in the business) that Jim Cornette likes in his talent recruitment policy. In fairness, Marseglia doesn’t look ROH-ready yet and, with all due respect, Antonio Thomas has never been that good anyway, so with Taven off the table QT is the best of a bad bunch. Good match though, with four guys letting it all hang out and definitely not working within themselves.

SIDENOTE – The guest announcer, Caleb Seltzer, did ok too. His voice is very Joey Styles-esque. He struggled to get a word in edgeways with Kevin Kelly happily chattering away, and in one match it’s hard to tell how good he is. He clearly made enough of an impression to be invited back – as he would be by the end of the year to commentate on Final Battle 2012.

Adam Cole vs Bob Evans
Brutal Bob continues his quest to get more ROH ringtime, and tonight he’s been granted a massive opportunity. Three weeks ago we saw Cole team with Eddie Edwards to face Evans and Mike Bennett. It was Cole who beat Bob to score the win…but then he was attacked by Bennett, Evans and Maria. He didn’t like that, and has offered Evans a TV Title Proving Ground Match in an effort to get him in the ring for some retribution.

Evans makes some strange cuts a promo with strange, inappropriately sexual undertones which instantly makes everyone quite uncomfortable. He has an obvious size advantage, despite his age, and the TV Champion wisely starts trying to pick apart his leg to ground him and negate that size difference. Evans is staggered and finally knocked out of the ring with a flurry of forearm strikes. But turning it into a street fight on the floor is exactly what Brutal Bob wants – and he attacks Cole with gusto and scoops him up for a gutbuster over the guardrail. Elbows to the neck next, followed by a camel clutch – with fingers clawing and scraping at the mouth which needed to be sewn back together after Adam’s last ppv appearance. He continues to attack Cole’s face with knees, punches, kicks and anything else distributed amongst a plethora of basic slams, drops and suplexes. Cole fires back with a corkscrew enzi, setting Bob up for the Shining Wizard seconds later. To the top he goes…but he misses the Flying Crossbody then turns into a football tackle from Brutal Bob for 2. Saito Suplex blocked, so Evans scoops Cole up for a big sidewalk slam instead – but it’s still just a nearfall. Despite being on the back foot, Adam displays his striking power by emerging from the ropes to deliver a thundering superkick. Bob judo throws out of the Florida Key…so Cole puts him in the Figure 4. It’s over at 10:02

Rating – ** – This could have been a lot worse. They actually told a decent story – which played all the way to the end with Cole exploiting the leg injury he’d opened up early in the match to take the victory. The problem I have is that after such a breakout couple of months for Cole – with his epic Hybrid Rules fight with O’Reilly then his TV Title victory over Roddy – he shouldn’t be slumming it trying to make a near-50-year-old secondary character look good. It’s a total waste and having Evans last over ten minutes with him definitely hurts his credibility.

Mike Bennett and Maria run in to assault Cole…of course bring out Edwards and Del Rey for the save.

Michael Elgin vs Charlie Haas
This is a rematch from last year’s Death Before Dishonor. Haas is being forced to wrestle solo for the time-being since ROH has suspended Shelton Benjamin following his assault on ANX on television recently. He’s in a bad mood and is ready to take it out on anyone – even one of the year’s top rising stars in Unbreakable Michael Elgin. The 2011 Survival Of The Fittest winner is still to cash in his guaranteed title shot remember, and will want to start scoring significant singles victories if he is to prepare correctly for when he eventually does challenge for the title.

Truth Martini accompanies Elgin, and brings Roderick Strong (swollen nose and all) out with him to show House Of Truth solidarity. Elgin tries to announce he’s cashing in his title shot at Glory By Honor in Toronto…only to be interrupted by Roderick Strong who demands that he was promised it. He goes on strike from the House Of Truth if Elgin gets the title shot. From there we start the match, with Haas struggling to live with the power of Unbreakable. Stalling suplex nailed, as is an overhead belly to belly suplex…but Roderick Strong then appears at ringside again, distracting Elgin and allowing Charlie to attack him from behind. Haas starts picking apart Elgin’s leg – a smart strategy as it disables the power moves and sets up or the Haas Of Pain. It only works so much though, with Elgin kicking him THROUGH the guardrails! He tries the dead-lift superplex but Haas kicks the leg from under him – ramming it into the ringpost to do yet more damage. The pace grinds to a near-standstill, with Charlie methodically and meticulously picking apart Elgin’s knee. Amusingly Strong is at ringside trying to give his beers to Veda Scott – who is apparently underage. That’s more entertaining than the clinical but increasingly tedious beatdown we’re seeing inside the ring. After a few minute minutes of interminably dull offence, Elgin propels himself into a slingshot tackle to kick-start his comeback attempt. Dead-lift German suplex blocked, but Elgin simply spins Charlie round and delivers a standard German suplex variant for 2. He tries the Buckle Bomb but doesn’t have the power in his knee to execute the manoeuvre. Strong tries to revive Charlie with a pep-talk, and inadvertently stops Elgin’s offensive charge in the process. Haas and Strong drink beers together…until Elgin SPEARS BOTH OF THEM INTO THE GUARDRAILS! Spiral Bomb set up…but Strong interferes again to spit beer into Elgin’s face. Haas capitalises to roll him for three in a time of 14:40

Rating – ** – The psychology behind this match wasn’t actually that bad. The problem was it went way too long and Haas’ heat segment became incredibly boring. I was almost falling asleep whilst typing, it was that dull. I also don’t see the logic in putting Haas over your top breakout star – even to further the House Of Truth split angle, but there you go. Roderick Strong was the best part about this.

Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Jimmy Jacobs/Steve Corino
This is a rematch of sorts from Brew City Beatdown. That night the Briscoes defeated SCUM (Steen and Jacobs) following a suicidal balcony dive from Mark. SCUM didn’t enjoy being on the losing end of that and are coming to avenge that defeat. With Steen working the main event Corino steps into the ring as part of this alliance for the first time, teaming with Jimmy Jacobs against the 7-time tag champs.

Corino is as slim as I’ve seen him in years here. He’s working in full new SCUM gear as well which looks really cool. It doesn’t stop him being wiped out by the double football tackle from the Briscoes though. Mark dropkicks him into the guardrails, and of course this quickly becomes a big brawl on the outside. SAITO SUPLEX TO THE FLOOR from Corino to Jay! TOP ROPE MOONSAULT TO THE OUTSIDE BY MARK! He recovers quickly from that bump to hotshot Jacobs into the apron. Back in the ring Jay tries to take it to both SCUM members only to be taken down with a neckbreaker/running STO combo. He retaliates with the turnbuckle flatliner and makes a hot tag to Mark and the Redneck Kung Fu. SHOTGUN DROPKICK literally sends Jacobs flying across the ring for 2. Iconoclasm blocked though, with Jimmy countering it into the tornado snap suplex. Corino nails Mark with the Colby Shock for 2. Eternal Dream blocked…SAITO SUPLEXES INSTEAD! Jay has to save his brother at the last. Saito Suplex on Jay as well to leave both men down…and Jacobs ready to capitalise with the senton bomb. He plunges into Jay’s knees, but bounces right back up to hit the spear. Guardrail legsweep from Mark to Corino…followed by the Froggy Bow. Steve shows unexpected agility to lunge into the ring and save the match. Jimmy sets up the Contra Code…COUNTERED WITH THE DOOMSDAY DEVICE! The Briscoes beat SCUM again at 12:46

Rating – *** – Clearly it wasn’t approaching the craziness of Brew City Beatdown, but this was a heated brawl allowing all guys to show real skill, put over the growing heat between the teams whilst keeping a lot in the tank and protecting their bodies when not in the main event. This match shows where Jay and Mark have improved. They were unparalled as a tag team during their 2007 run, but with three years of TV under their belts, they have streamlined their work meaning they can produce really entertaining undercard bouts without resorting to the crazy, spot-heavy madness which used to be the highlight of their matches. It may not be to everyone’s tastes, and I’ll admit we’ve not seen the Briscoes going at full-pelt with no restraints for some time, but for their career longevity it’s a really important skill to have mastered.

Tommaso Ciampa vs Jay Lethal – 2/3 Falls Match
These two men crossed paths during the first weekend of live events in 2012 (Ciampa beat Lethal in a Proving Ground Match at Underground) and have been at war ever since. Tommaso flipped when he could only manage a time-limit draw with Jay at the 10th Anniversary Show, and wasn’t happy weeks later at Showdown In The Sun when he goaded Lethal into defending the TV Title in an unscheduled match – then watched at ringside as he lost it to Roderick Strong. It was then Lethal who ended the Sicilian Psychopath’s much-hyped undefeated streak in a real battle at Border Wars – a loss which sent Tommaso off at the deep end. He tried to win the TV Title, but was screwed out of it by a shady deal between The Embassy Ltd and the House Of Truth. With Prince Nana and The Embassy now by the wayside, but RD Evans still in his corner as his Barrister, Ciampa attempts to finally settle the score with Lethal and avenge the end of his streak. Jay, as well as wanting to end his rivalry with Tommaso the victor, also has his eyes set on getting into the World Title picture. With Cornette handing out title shots to anyone he thinks can beat Kevin Steen, Lethal will know a few decent victories should convince the Executive Producer that he deserves an opportunity.

RD Evans tries to follow the Code Of Honor on behalf of his client…and gets slapped in the face by Lethal. Ciampa tries to attack Jay…and blows out his ACL. Literally in the first ten seconds of the match – and it’s an injury which could potentially be career-threatening for Tommaso. He can’t even run the ropes and is noticeably screaming in pain as he leaves the ring for some respite. Lethal is unsympathetic and DROPS him with a superkick…INTO THE LETHAL INJECTION! Ciampa kicks out and we’re still in the first minute. Lethal Combination nailed, and Jay does pick up the first fall at 01:22 – but it’s clear something is seriously wrong with Ciampa by this point. We go into a rest period, and Tommaso on the outside clearly discussing with RD Evans how the f*ck he’s going to get through the match. Even a simple chop has him dropping down clutching at the blown out knee. Lethal tries a suplex AND THEY BOTH FALL TO THE FLOOR! With no working knee how does Tommaso even protect himself on that? Ciampa tries to get onto the apron only to be knocked to the floor again with a springboard dropkick. Nigel is excellent on commentary here, drawing on his own experience of wrestling through injury to give an insight into exactly what the Dominant Male is going through. Even limping Tommaso finds a way to steal McGuinness’ headset and tell the world he’s going to break Lethal in half…then turns round to be suplexed ONTO THE FLOOR! RD Evans tries to help his client and gets the same treatment too!

Despite the knee somehow Ciampa FLIPS onto his feet out of the corner, then counters a hurricanrana by DEAD-LIFTING LETHAL! KNEE STRIKE TO THE FACE! PROJECT CIAMPA ON THE BUSTED KNEE! Are you kidding me? It’s 1-1 in falls as Tommaso takes the second at 07:51. This is a courageous effort from Ciampa, who spends the entire rest period pulling down his knee pad and checking on his f*cked up left knee. Both men get to their feet and lay into each other with chops – until the Sicilian Psychopath cuts his opponent off with a knee to the stomach. Bare Knee Strike COUNTERED WITH A LETHAL COMBINATION TO THE TURNBUCKLES! FOR 2! He climbs the ropes for the Macho Axehandle, then gets another nearfall with a back suplex neckbreaker. TOPE SUICIDA ON EVANS! MACHO ELBOW NAILED! STILL JUST 2! He thinks about the Lethal Injection again, only to see Tommaso roll to the apron. The former TV Champion makes the mistake of pursuing him…AIR RAID CRASH ON THE APRON! And both competitors are so weary it’s all they have to beat the 20 and avoid a double count-out. Even from their knees they come up swinging punches, with their every moved cheered on by a raucous crowd. JUMPING KNEE FROM TOMMASO! SUPERKICK BY LETHAL! The Barrister tries to get involved again, but here comes Prince Nana! He beats up Evans…but Tommaso low blows Lethal then CLOTHESLINES NANA INTO THE CROWD! Lethal with a low blow on Ciampa…INTO THE BACK FLIP LETHAL INJECTION! Lethal takes the hard-fought victory at 15:52

Rating – **** – For quality and execution Border Wars was better, but for a stunning fight and a stellar display of courage and willingness to perform amidst horrific circumstances this one is absolutely must see. It’s literally in the first seconds of the match that Ciampa blows out his knee. He can hardly walk, yet somehow finds the guts to run through an awesome 2/3 Falls match. And credit has to go to Lethal who realised right away he was hurt, and he was obviously going out of his way to look after Tommaso, carrying him along every step of the way to help him complete the match. Ordinarily you could say the stuff with RD Evans (and then Nana) was a distraction, but with Tommaso hurting it was welcome respite, a useful smoke and mirrors tactic, and was kept minimal enough so as to actually add to the contest rather than detract from it.

SIDENOTE – This was the last time Ciampa would wrestle in 2012. It’s a real shame as, up until then, he was possibly the most improved guy on the roster and had consistently been one of the most entertaining performers in a tough year for ROH. Having seen the likes of Jimmy Jacobs, Amazing Red and Rhett Titus try to come back from such serious knee injuries way too early, to the detriment of their wrestling skill, I really hope ROH looks after him properly, doesn’t rush him back and gives him all the time he needs to properly rehabilitate from what can be, as I said, a career-threatening injury.

Mike Bennett/Maria Kanellis vs Eddie Edwards/Sara Del Rey
This is a Mixed Tag Match, and is to settle the rivalry between Edwards and Bennett which has been raging back and forth for months. They’ve traded wins, but it’s mostly been Eddie on the receiving end of post-match beatings and humiliation from Bennett, along with Brutal Bob and Maria. Having seen it once too often, Eddie reached out to an old Sweet’n’Sour Inc. colleague, and a woman who deeply resents Maria calling herself the ‘First Lady Of ROH’. The Queen Of Wrestling, and former Women Of Honor staple Sara Del Rey made her return on TV and nearly snapped Maria’s leg with an Anklelock. Bennett knows he’s almost going this alone and needs to make sure that he’s not only beating Eddie, but that he protects his girlfriend from the clutches of the former SHIMMER Champion.

Maria acts like she’s going to start, and of course tags out before Del Rey gets close to laying a hand on her. Eddie comes in with Bennett and, as has become customary, wrestles circles around The Prodigy. Sliding enziguri gets an early 2-count. Sara tags in and belts Bennett with a series of kicks, ending with a big axe kick to the back of the head. Bennett tries to fight back…only to walk into a superkick from the Queen! Finally Kanellis pulls Sara’s hair, giving ‘Team Sexy’ the advantage and allowing Bennett to choke her in the ropes like a gentleman. Such is Sara’s power though, she has no problems in kicking past Mike and tagging Edwards back – and he chases him into the corner to pummel him with Machine Gun Chops. Tree of woe dropkick combo, with added kicks to the sternum from Del Rey. This is becoming more like a handicap match for The Prodigy. Edwards dives off the apron at Bennett, COUNTERED IN MID-AIR WITH A SPEAR! Big moment in the match as The Prodigy at last delivers a significant offensive strike and gives his team a significant advantage for the first time. He takes some real punishment, but fires back with the Boston Knee Party. Bennett returns fire with a HUGE lariat, flipping Die Hard through the air and leaving both men down. Maria blind tags and tries to steal a laughable cheap victory over the former World Champion. Del Rey tags and KILLS Maria with a big boot flurry. Big elbows nearly take her head off…but Bennett blind tags and dives into the ring to take the full force of Sara’s Capo Kick. ELBOW SUICIDA FROM EDWARDS TO MIKE! Backpack Stunner brings him back in the ring for a 2-count. AVALANCHE BOX OFFICE SMASH COUNTERED WITH A BACK FLIP! ACHILLES LOCK! Maria tries to slap her man free, only for Eddie to laugh at her. ANKLELOCK FROM DEL REY TO MARIA! The First Lady crawls under the ring and hides…as Bennett counters and puts Edwards in the Half Crab! Del Rey emerges from under the ring with Maria’s clothes…and Bennett is so pissed that he lets go of the submission. ACHILLES LOCK ON BENNETT AGAIN! He taps, giving Eddie and Sara the win at 13:07

Rating – *** – This won’t be winning any MOTY awards, but it was something a bit different from ROH and I found it quite enjoyable. It was also good to see Eddie win a match with one of his finishing moves – possibly for the first time in 2012. To be fair to Maria, she really doesn’t have to be working matches in ROH. She might not be a huge star but she certainly has enough fame and finance behind her that she doesn’t need to be getting kicked in the face by Sara Del Rey in Rhode Island convention centres. Fair play to her for stepping into the Ring Of Honor ring, and she was entertaining enough in her role. It was a nice ROH send-off for Sara as well. She found out she was removed from Sinclair’s ROH only when they didn’t put her on the roster page of the new website. Nobody ever called her or had the courtesy to tell her they weren’t booking her anymore. That’s not on, and it was cool to see her work this show before getting a well-deserved WWE contract (I think she’s a trainer for them now).

Mike Bennett has to steal Bobby Cruise’s jacket to escort a topless Maria to the locker room, as Nigel McGuinness enquires about where one can obtain back-issues of Playboy. Sara Del Rey then gets a well deserved standing ovation, and a fitting send-off to end her ROH career.

Kevin Steen vs Eddie Kingston – ROH World Title Match
We know that Executive Producer Jim Cornette is so desperate to get the ROH Championship away from Steen that he has declared every Steen singles match a title match. He’s also sent out feelers all over the wrestling world, inviting outsiders with no claim to the belt to come in and challenge if it will help end Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare. That includes Chikara Grand Champion Eddie Kingston – who appeared at the 10th Anniversary Show and got into a fight with Steen. Eddie has been in ROH before – mostly during the HDNet era – but fell away from the roster after his semi-feud with Chris Hero ended at Final Battle 2009. He doesn’t fit Cornette’s typical ROH wrestler mould, and even fought against ROH for CZW back in the Cage Of Death in 2006…but such is his desperation that Jim has sanction the Last Of A Dying Breed’s championship opportunity. Can King end a decade of hard-work as World Champion, or will Steen again emerge victorious?

Jim Cornette has a last minute surprise – as Bobby Cruise announces this is an Anything Goes Match. Both competitors seem perfectly happy with that announcement. Corino tries to join commentary…only to be attacked by Kingston! Nigel’s reaction to that is hilarious! Eddie turns around to start hammering Steen with big chops until Jimmy Jacobs dives in front of him to save the champ. ELBOW SUICIDA ONTO ALL THREE SCUM MEMBERS! King then forcibly ejects Jacobs and Corino from ringside for good measure. That delay gives Steen time to recover, allowing him to hit a chair-enforced Codebreaker for 2. Suplex onto a torn off guardrail section comes next! He props a table up against the railings, but takes too long about it allowing Eddie to hook him up – SUPLEX THROUGH THE TABLE! He tries to pull out another table, but himself takes too long and finds it baseball slid into his face. Steen balances the table between ring and guardrail – deliberately upside down with the metal fixings exposed to do more damage. POWERBOMB THROUGH THE TABLE! Kingston is motionless after that, with Todd Sinclair seemingly debating whether to end the match. More referees and medical personnel rush to the ring to check on Eddie as Steen kills time by grabbing a microphone and hurling abuse at a few fans. He is stretchered to the back with Steen abusing Cary Silkin and mocking ROH’s lousy ippv feeds. ‘Larry Sweeney thinks you’re a f*cking pussy’ – Steen to Kingston! Oh sh*t is on now! Eddie limps back to the ring and drops Mr Wrestling with a big lariat for 2. Spinning Back Fist blocked…F-5 blocked…BACK DROP DRIVER NAILED! Still Steen kicks out! Kingston is limping badly, and takes a low blow before a HANGING DDT ON A CHAIR! CHAIR-ENFORCED CANNONBALL NAILED! Steen tries to set up a table, and gets it half propped up before King grabs him…BACK DROP DRIVER THROUGH THE TABLE…GETS 2! BACK DROP DRIVER THROUGH AN OPEN CHAIR! CORINO DRAGS THE REF OUT OF THE RING! RHETT TITUS IS HERE! He runs in to assault Steve Corino…so Jimmy Jacobs runs in wearing Maria’s ‘I’m A Lady’ shirt. SPINNING BACK FIST ON JIMMY! F-5 ON EDDIE! KINGSTON GETS A SHOULDER UP! Steen has lost it and starts wearing out Eddie’s back chair shots. Still Kingston gets up to spit in his face. F-5 THROUGH TWO OPEN CHAIRS! Steen retains at 18:45

Rating – **** – Much as you’d expect from these two in an Anything Goes Match – this was intensely physical with some sickening neck bumps along the way. Was that angle with Kingston’s injury a work or legit? I’m not sure, but it certainly cut off their momentum (although it did allow Steen to deliver some killer comedic quips). The amount of outside interference at the end was annoying too, and got to the point where it was taking away from the match – although the nearfall with Corino pulling Sinclair out of the ring was electric. It really seemed like we had a new champion for just a split-second. For the thrown-together main event of a last-minute ppv, this was still a hell of a fight though.

Tape Rating – *** – There have been some incredibly negative things written about this show – I have absolutely no idea why though. It wasn’t the best ROH ppv of the year for sure, but I’ve seen WWE and TNA put out multiple ppvs far worse than this over the years. I’ll admit the middle of the show dragged somewhat – but it started and ended really hot. Strong/Mondo was the best opener of 2012 in my opinion, whilst the three main events all delivered. Steen/Kingston was a hot title match, the Mixed Tag provided some welcome sports-entertainment influenced relief after what had been a heavy night of wrestling…whilst Tommaso Ciampa and Jay Lethal delivered a show-stealer in incredible circumstances considering Ciampa blew out his knee in the first minute. ROH have given us some really mediocre shows this year. This really isn’t one of them. Had they not had that sag in the middle (Cole/Evans and Elgin/Haas) we’d be talking an easy 4* rating

Top 3 Matches
3) Roderick Strong vs Mike Mondo (****)
2) Kevin Steen vs Eddie Kingston (****)
1) Jay Lethal vs Tommaso Ciampa (****)

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