ROH 360 – Death Before Dishonor 12: Night 2 – 23rd August 2014
Death Before Dishonor 12 weekend got off to a promising start with the Milwaukee DVD. I felt let down by the main event and loathed some of the booking, but there were some good matches and a noticeable effort to start giving some unexposed talent more opportunities (Page, Hanson, ACH for example). Now we move to Night 2 and another pretty stacked card. The headline act is the 8-man dream match, putting four of the finest tag teams in the world in the same time at the same time. The Briscoes team with Chris Daniels and Frankie Kazarian to take on the ROH Tag Champions reDRagon, and the Young Bucks. Michael Elgin defends the World Championship again, this time against the dangerously unstable Tommaso Ciampa, whilst the TV Title is also on the line with Jay Lethal defending against Caprice Coleman. Cedric Alexander looks to continue an outstanding 2014 by stepping into the ring with AJ Styles, Hanson squares off with Adam Cole, plus more from the likes of Adam Pearce and Monster Mafia. Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are in Chicago Ridge, IL.
The first production error comes early tonight, with a graphic for the Elgin/Silas match shown rather than the Elgin/Ciampa match we have scheduled.
Monster Mafia vs Roderick Strong/Jimmy Jacobs
Owens and Alexander aren’t exactly rookies, but they are still prime targets for The Decade. They are popular, have plenty of flashy moves, and are new talents trying to force their way into the promotion that Strong and Jacobs have played a huge role in for the last ten years. Roddy and Jimmy will look to make them humble and teach them respect as they battle to earn full-time spots.
Monster Mafia quickly start isolating Roderick…so Owens is slapped in the face by an irate Jacobs. EGO knocks him to the apron…where he is DESTROYED with a barrel roll from Josh. SPEAR through the ropes from Jacobs to Ethan! The Decade, of course, have their young boys at ringside who help to snare Owens in the ring apron before Jacobs sprints all the way down the aisle into a crossbody block at him. Both members of Decade start assaulting the midsection of #AllEGO for a couple of minutes, until he escapes the End Time with a release suplex and makes the tag. Strong fails to fight off both members of the Mafia, and Jimmy has to save him from the Loch Ness Lowdown. Owens eats an Olympic Slam/senton bomb combo, so Josh elbows Jacobs in the face! LOCH NESS LOWDOWN gets 2! Sick Kick on Owens! Alexander is pinned at 10:45 after a Death By Roderick/Spear combo.
Rating – *** – I actually liked this more than the Kingdom/Addiction tag match that opened the show last night. This was every bit as fundamentally sound within the well-trodden tag team formula, but featured a lot more innovation and exciting combo moves from both teams. Owens and Alexander continue to look extremely impressive in their Ring Of Honor showings. But for visa issues you have to believe they’d start getting booked more often.
Caprice Coleman talks about how Lethal has changed since he sold out to House Of Truth. He wants to ‘save the ratings’ by defeating him tonight…
SIDENOTE – I’m not sure if it’s something he’d be willing to do, but I’ve felt for a while that Caprice would get seriously over doing a heel preacher gimmick. Nothing too sacrilegious, but he certainly has charisma, can really turn a phrase, and I think he could sell an obnoxious, preacher/leader gimmick to an ROH crowd in much the same way CM Punk got over as with the ‘Straight Edge means I’m better than you’ promos. Give him a few guys to lead and I think they’d be heat magnets. Presumably it would be pretty edgy though, which makes me wonder whether he or SBG would go with it.
SIDENOTE – Jay Lethal’s heel entrance theme is such a cliché, uninspired ‘evil’ piece of music that it may as well have a voice saying ‘boo this guy’ repeatedly over the top of it. I hate it. There are a lot of pretty crap themes going around at the moment – Lethal, The Addiction and Matt Taven are the ones that immediately come to mind. There could be more though, as the majority are so generic and forgettable (Bucks, Elgin, Decade…). And since I’ll get emails for being negative – I’ll point out the ones I like too. Michael Bennett, Tommaso Ciampa, ACH, Adam Cole, AJ Styles, reDRagon and Kevin Steen all come to mind as having really strong, appropriate entrance music. Silas Young’s and Steve Corino’s are pretty good too, though I haven’t heard them quite as often as the other acts listed above.
Jay Lethal vs Caprice Coleman – ROH TV Title Match
Did Caprice earn this title shot? I find a lot of the TV episodes tend to blur into one, so he may have won a #1 contendership match that I’ve forgotten somewhere along the way (or at the Philadelphia tapings which haven’t aired yet but preceded DBD weekend). Jay’s ego has gotten out of control since joining the HOT and regaining the Television Title. It makes him a natural enemy for the hard working and humble opponent he faces this evening.
The start is really fast, which apparently gives Coleman the edge. He’s also done his research as he counters the cartwheel dropkick spot into an armbar. Lethal retreats from the ring and complains that Caprice has been watching his matches! He tries to prove he can he as quick as his challenger, but has the Lethal Injection swiftly countered into a boot to the face which has him fleeing for the floor again. Coleman keeps outwitting the champion – 619’ing around the ringpost to evade him once, countering his springboard dropkick next then flying at him THROUGH the turnbuckles into a dropkick of his own. In the end the champ resorts to a malicious rake to the eyes to finally put him on the back foot. Now the pace slows as Lethal arrogantly and dismissively tries to grind his opponent into the dirt – and irritate the Chicago crowd at the same time. He also has no time for Caprice’s rather nonsensical ‘One Inch Punch’ spot…and clatters into his jaw with a superkick. THEN SELLS THE EXPLODING HEART PUNCH! Loved that! SUPERFLY SPLASH gets 2 for Caprice! Bless-TO followed by a Slingblade too but still Jay clings to his title. Lethal Combination in retaliation and now it’s Coleman’s turn to barely avoid defeat. Standing frankensteiner by Caprice! Seleziya has seen enough and starts distracting the ref…before getting inadvertently tackled off the apron by Lethal! Caprice drops Jay with the Trinity prompting Martini to try to pass the Book Of Truth to his man. It throws Caprice off his game again, and this time Jay polishes him off with a Lethal Injection at 11:54
Rating – *** – I like both guys, but didn’t have much interest in seeing the ring together…so it really caught me off guard how good this one was. Caprice brought a big match performance here, realising that it was his biggest Ring Of Honor match in a long time. He showed why he is still on the roster, with a display filled with intelligence, speed and multiple layers of legitimate wrestling skill. Lethal is quietly having a really solid year too. He’s probably proving why many people consider Matt Taven a flop as TV Champion. He’s got a very similar gimmick to Taven in 2013, a lot of his matches have House Of Truth interference just like Taven. The difference is that he oozes quality, credibility and star power on his end too. I can’t wait to see the Lethal/ACH time limit draw from the Philly tapings.
Silas Young vs BJ Whitmer vs ACH vs Michael Bennett
It seems like ROH are really starting to get behind a sustained ACH push. He defeated the TV Champion last night in a Six Man Mayhem, after (chronologically speaking – the episode hasn’t aired yet) already taking him to a time limit draw in an actual TV Title Match. Tonight Kevin Kelly plays him up as a ‘superhero’ facing up to three villains at once. Whitmer is his most obvious enemy since The Decade are on record as disliking him. However, Young is another dangerous threat, having lost his World Title match last night and now presumably going right to the back of the queue. Bennett is part of The Kingdom although would love a win here to progress his own career beyond being Adam Cole’s sidekick and Maria Kanellis’ fiancé. Scramble rules for this…
The look of sheer disgust on Maria’s face as BJ and Tadarius Thomas accidentally stand in her way during Bennett’s entrance will probably be a highlight of this DVD. Whitmer starts out disrespecting ACH, then bails after the smaller man’s speed and athleticism start to catch up with him. He only returns after ACH has become distracted by fighting off both Bennett and Young. Thankfully the heat between BJ and Bennett following the infamous apron Piledriver from last year is acknowledged and they don’t form an alliance for the sake of being heels. SUPERKICK from Bennett to counter an ACH pescado! All the bad guys take turns abusing the sole babyface – although every tag is noticeably a forced, blind tag rather than them deliberately choosing to work together. Eventually ACH spins on heels multiple times over before crashing into a corkscrew enzi on Silas…before getting booted off the apron by a well-placed Michael Bennett! But at least the spill to the floor means he is technically tagged out. BENNETT TRIES TO PILEDRIVE BJ ON THE APRON! ACH inadvertently comes to BJ’s rescue…then gets decapitated by a Young lariat for 2. Exploder ’98 blocked by Silas, into a TKO! Bennett wipes Silas out with a spear for 2 as well. ACH tries to fly at Bennett…but it’s COUNTERED to a mid-air spinebuster! Bennett and Whitmer then go at it – with BJ going after his neck by hitting a swift Saito suplex. Young knocks them both over before BJ can recreate the apron piledriver though. Maria stops ACH from hitting Air Jordan, and distracts him so Bennett can superkick him in the face. She wants Bennett to dive instead! PESCADO MISSES! RUNNING MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR BY ACH! 450 Splash misses…so ACH kicks TD Thomas out of frustration! Hero’s Grip German suplex on Whitmer! ACH wins at 13:04
Rating – *** – After nearly two years of consistently producing outstanding, unappreciated undercard performances it really does seem like ROH are starting to pull the trigger on an ACH push. Several wrestlers have gone on record as saying he’s not the easiest to get along with backstage, but as a fan that’s not my concern. Inside the ring he’s been ready for a more prominent role for a long time, so it’s nice to finally see it happen. After two multi-man match victories this weekend, plus the 30-minute draw with Jay Lethal he certainly seems on the cusp of something. Having said that, he wasn’t the star of this match – Bennett was. Mike was involved in all the best spots, all the best moments of comedy, and the exchanges between him and BJ Whitmer were all outstanding. I normally find these throw away undercard spot matches pretty forgettable but this one had a lot going for it.
BJ Whitmer laments Tadarius Thomas for another screw up. He orders him to stay home for the upcoming All Star Extravaganza iPPV too, and picks Adam Page to be his partner that night.
Hanson vs Adam Cole
At Night 1 Hanson scored the biggest win of his ROH career thus far when he defeated former World Champion Roderick Strong – despite heavy interference from The Decade. Can he go 2-0 over ex-champs with a win over Cole this evening? Adam, meanwhile, has been relegated to the back of the line following his Field Of Honor defeat so knows he needs to start racking up victories if he is to force his way back into the title picture
Cole piefaces Hanson…and of course runs away right afterwards so there are no repercussions. Guillotine choke on the ropes knocks the big man back, but everything Cole tries has little effect and he is soon propelled backwards with countless big punches. Back body drop on the floor next which, given the size of Hanson, means a pretty colossal bump for Adam. He gets repeatedly shot into the ringpost soon afterwards too. Cole superkicks the knee, which given his Figure 4 finisher is a sound strategy, and gets swift revenge for his ringpost shots by bashing the leg into the post. Instantly Hanson is slowed and unable to get back to his feet as the former champ flies at him with the Shining Wizard. Despite the knee problems Hanson still manages to hit the Bronco Buster for 2, although he is noticeably slower to get back to his feet. The inverted powerslam gets another nearfall again with obvious knee problems in the aftermath. Spin Kick Of Doom ducked…Figure 4 blocked! TOPE CON HILO BY HANSON…MISSES! Classic Adam Cole tactics next as he slithers back into the ring and slumps in the corner looking for a count-out win. No dice there so he BRUTALLY kicks Hanson in the face as he slides back in. Sexy Figure 4 (thanks Corino!) applied! HANSON POWERS OUT! I’ve never seen the Figure 4 countered like that. Cole kicks at the knee…then superkicks the face after Hanson tries to cartwheel away from him. Lariat by Hanson! But as he tries to polish Cole off, Adam drops to the mat, grabs the bad leg and pulls him into a small package! Cole wins at 10:33
Rating – *** – He’s had matches which were perhaps more exciting, but in a lot of ways this was Hanson’s best ROH performance thus far. Last night I voiced concerns that he looked to be struggling in longer matches, with bigger name opponents, in front of crowds who weren’t necessarily buying into his act. And I stand by that, because I don’t think his match with Roderick Strong was particularly good. However, he proved all my doubts wrong here with a dramatically improved performance. I won’t say much about Cole here because he performed at the same outstanding level he has been for well over a year now – and in my mind should still be the ROH Champion. Hanson deserves a lot of praise, and really didn’t look out of place. He sold his knee well enough to make Cole’s offence plausible, he took some huge bumps for a guy of his size, and he won a crowd who weren’t necessarily that familiar or into him over through sheer workrate. They told a great story, emphasised both their respective strengths, and built to a finish which serves both workers well. It was too short and too lacking in obvious excitement to go higher, but I do think any doubts ROH management had about a Hanson singles push will have been put to rest with this showing.
Bennett and Maria Kanellis appear at ringside, with Bennett hitting the ring to help Cole conduct a 2-on-1 assault. Mike singing Edge’s theme music as he hits a Spear is a nice touch. Michael Elgin eventually runs in to make the save. His presence in the ring swiftly brings his challenger for the evening, Tommaso Ciampa, out as well. Elgin doesn’t want to wait for later it seems…
Michael Elgin vs Tommaso Ciampa – ROH World Title Match
Have I missed the match where Ciampa earned this title shot? Hasn’t he been going mental because he’s on a losing streak? Perhaps it was at the Philly tapings. Either way, since Elgin is so desperate to defend his belt against all comers it doesn’t really matter whether Tommaso actually earned a shot or not. These two had one of my favourite matches of 2013 when they engaged in a gruelling slug-out at Best In The World. They’ve mostly been kept apart since then so we’ve had to wait a long time for a serious rematch. Can Elgin, growing in confidence as World Champion (in kayfabe at least – from a non-kayfabe perspective he seems to be getting more insecure by the day), put down the challenge of the dangerously unhinged Sicilian Psychopath?
Elgin goes right for a back fist, but finds it ducked and gets battered into the corner by the violent Sicilian. Repeated Bare Knee strikes find the mark – and great commentary from Kevin Kelly as he points out that this was Ciampa’s non-stop approach which led him to the TV Title. Ole Ole knee strikes on the outside next, delivered with such force that Tommaso ends up several rows deep in the crowd. ST-JOE THROUGH A CHAIR BY ELGIN! GUARDRAIL BOMB NEXT! Two huge blows from the champ bring him straight back into the match and have such impact that he’s actually able to hit the corkscrew senton spot he tries in every match but normally misses. Ciampa is still in the fight though and uses a Testicular Claw to escape the stalling vertical suplex. Shades of Low Ki and Bryan Danielson in 2002 now as they take turns displaying their toughness and delivering bone-crunching kicks to the spine. Elgin eventually has enough and scoops Ciampa into ROLLING dead-lift Germans! DEAD-LIFT GERMAN INTO THE TURNBUCKLE! Dead-lift superplex blocked though, allowing Tommaso to slide out of the ring and expose the wooden floor of the building. He takes so long that Elgin is able to haul his ass onto the apron for a DEATH VALLEY BOMB THROUGH THE TIMEKEEPING TABLE! Somehow Tommaso battles back into the ring…only to be knocked out with a knee to the head. ONE COUNT OF DISRESPECT! LARIATOOOOO! BUCKLE BOMB! NO SOLD! LARIAT BY CIAMPA! He then rocks the champ with a kryptonite neckbreaker for 2. Up the ropes they go, knocking heads as they go…with Elgin reversing the avalanche Air Raid Crash into the SPIRAL BOMB for 2! Crossface applied, but way too close to the ropes. Dead-lift superplex COUNTERED TO PROJECT CIAMPA! ELGIN KICKS OUT! MMA ELBOWS! SICILIAN STRETCH! COUNTERED TO THE CROSSFACE! ROARING ELBOW BY ELGIN! BACK FIST! KNEE STRIKES! Sinclair dives in, stopping the match as Elgin sets about murdering Ciampa. The champ retains his title at 15:58
Rating – **** – This was insane. I understand why some people haven’t necessarily rated it as highly as me because non-stop, frequent no-selling violence party matches like this aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Nevertheless I thought this was outstanding. I really liked Kelly pointing out Ciampa’s TV Title success using a total blitzkrieg approach in the first five minutes, and when Elgin survived that it developed into a sh*t k*cking contest – with both looking to notch their guns and see who the tougher man was. The finish was well played out, with a succession of counters, then a referee stoppage which is brilliantly in keeping with Ciampa’s current creative direction. The reason I didn’t rate it as highly as BITW 2013 is that I felt the shortened time allowance hampered them a little. I understand the point of the match is to cram as much violence in as possible, therefore some no selling is par for the course. However, they got the best part of twenty minutes last year. Cutting a quarter of that down gave them even less time, so at points this felt like a greatest hits package from their prior match – only on fast forward with absolutely zero time to let the big spots breathe. Hopefully it doesn’t take ROH a year to book another rematch – because these two need to lock horns again after this.
Tommaso regains his consciousness and is absolutely distraught to find out he lost. He then goes berserk and starts assaulting the ring crew. THEN KEVIN KELLY! Steve Corino saves Kevin from Project Ciampa and eventually the ring is cleared. Tommaso is alone again…and he rounds on Bobby Cruise! BARE KNEE STRIKES ON BOBBY! Absolutely outstanding segment.
INTERMISSION – Kevin Kelly returns to the table for the second half. Bobby Cruise doesn’t though, and is replaced by Scarlett Bordeaux.
Adam Page vs Adam Pearce
Jimmy Jacobs and Roderick Strong have brought in Pearce to teach their young boys in the ways of the business. We saw that last night when he used a low blow to defeat Tadarius Thomas. Interestingly, we also saw some dissension in The Decade, as BJ Whitmer didn’t seem as pleased as the other two that Pearce was being brought in (going back to Pearce’s treatment of him during the Hangman 3 storyline). Tonight Page steps into the ring with the Scrap Daddy hoping to better TD’s effort at Night 1.
BJ doesn’t shake Pearce’s hand, but unfortunately for Page he does. Just like TD last night, he gets socked for it and has to start the match on the defensive. Dropsaults from Page knock Scrap Iron to the floor – into position for a shooting star tackle off the apron. On commentary Jimmy Jacobs is putting Tadarius over as more talented than Page which is interesting. Pearce quickly recovers from that flashy spot and begins assaulting the young boy against the barriers. Page gamely tries to fight back (whilst Whitmer and Corino start intimidating each other at the announce table)…only to walk into a spinebuster. Jimmy berates Page for having a limited moveset (‘dainty dropkicks’), so he chases Pearce up the ropes to deliver a superplex. Lariat ducked…and the Scrap Daddy retorts with a massive lariat of his own. Roderick Strong is in the aisle now, seemingly applauding Pearce for beating up Page after what happened last night. Page responds by countering the Piledriver into a pin! He wins at 08:00
Rating – ** – Same rating as last night. If I’m honest I preferred the actual wrestling in Pearce/TD last night, but I appreciated the fact that Page won here and the way they juggled the multiple threads to this current Decade angle was really clever. Decade haven’t really been close to main events, but they’ve easily been one of the most interesting and unique things about the ROH product all year.
BJ Whitmer rushes into the ring to congratulate Page, and even Jacobs and Pearce show him some begrudging respect. Roderick, meanwhile, isn’t pleased and complains when Pearce offers a handshake. Page accepts – and promptly fails his final lesson. Jacobs and Pearce beat him down, much to Strong’s amusement (and BJ’s annoyance). Whitmer is still praising Page on the way out…
Cedric Alexander vs AJ Styles
Back at War Of The Worlds Cedric was devastated when he missed out on a dream match with Kazuchika Okada thanks to an assault by The Decade. Perhaps a dream match with the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion will make up for it though. AJ’s record since returning to Ring Of Honor is outstanding. Only one man has pinned him (the current World Champion), and in the ring he is having a career-best year. Alexander will know a win, or even a strong performance, could be a break-out moment in his Ring Of Honor career.
Now Steen has gone, Styles is the biggest star on the roster by a considerable distance. Just his entrance gets comparable amounts of streamers to CM Punk’s farewell. Cedric clearly watched AJ’s match last night though, and tries to go right after the arm Kyle O’Reilly targeted in Milwaukee. Multiple armdrags hit the mark and it’s clear that Styles is desperate to avoid sitting in armbars for too long. AJ eventually fights back and almost knocks him out with his dropkick though! He stays on the neck with all his follow-up offence – eventually nipping up into a hurricanrana as the naïve Alexander sprints straight at him. More evidence of Cedric watching his tapes next though – as he blocks the signature flying elbow strike AJ likes to use and counters it into a swinging facebuster. Styles tries to escape his full nelson driver…SO CEDRIC SPIKES HIM WITH A TOMBSTONE! The IWGP Champ’s neck is injured too now, so cleverly Alexander targets that as well as the arm with a Japanese stranglehold. Corkscrew enzi misses though – and in a flash Styles flies at him with a jumping enziguri to the neck. They battle up to the top…where Styles counters a superplex into an avalanche gourdbuster. Both men stay down selling various injuries after that. Cedric looked to have tweaked his knee…and reacts so defensively that when Styles tries to capitalise he BACK DROPS HIM INTO THE RINGPOST! The way AJ wrapped around the buckles then slid down before hitting the floor with a splat looked really nasty. Eventually Styles is brought back in – drilling his opponent down onto his neck again with a hammerlock back suplex. Styles Clash blocked into the rebound 540 Kick…then countered again seconds later into a SPLASH MOUNTAIN DDT for 2. Alexander is still limping though, and the increasingly desperate AJ tries to go after the leg with a Calf Killer. MICHINOKU DRIVER drops Styles on his neck again though. He thinks about Overtime, but such is his limp that he can’t get up to the top rope though. PELE KICK! Alexander clings to the ropes to protect himself from the Styles Clash…and crawls back into the ring to hit the LUMBAR CHECK! But the move uses his injured leg, and he isn’t able to pin AJ! CALF KILLER! Cedric taps at 17:24
Rating – **** – This match was completely different from how I expected it to play out, but nonetheless it was extremely good. I definitely didn’t expect to see Cedric take the lead on offence for so much of it – but to my surprise he really excelled. I loved that he started out trying to work AJ’s arm after what happened last night, and you could argue that played all the way through to the finish since his opponent was rendered unable to execute the Styles Clash. The way he moved that on to focus on the neck as well, in preparation for his own finisher, was rather skilful. I’m not sure New Japan will be thrilled to see their champion taking neck bumps and splattering himself into ringposts though. And one of the big criticisms of Cedric is that he can’t sell. In truth, he’s deserved that criticism in several of his matches. However, in this – one of his highest profile ROH matches to date – he proved he definitely can sell when he puts his mind to it. As soon as they picked at the ‘injured leg’ thread he went to town with his selling. He limped around, he screamed in pain when he used it, he struggled to climb the ropes – and once again that played all the way through to the finish since he was polished off with the Calf Killer. Definitely his most rounded ROH performance to date.
Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe/Christopher Daniels/Frankie Kazarian vs reDRagon/Young Bucks
This is an 8-man TEAM elimination match, meaning that when one member of a team is pinned they are both eliminated. On paper I’m not sure I like it, but I’ll see how it plays out before passing judgement. Everyone in the match wants a shot at reDRagon and the ROH Tag Titles. The Addiction have already lost twice so know they’ll need a big win here to get them back in the hunt. The Briscoes, meanwhile, have a terrible record against reDRagon (including losing the belts to them for Fish and O’Reilly’s first ever reign). Much like their partners they’ll need a dominant victory to force their names to the front of the queue. The Bucks are somewhat unlikely partners for the champs, considering they have something of a rivalry going this year and have shared some outstanding matches. However, the Jacksons have lost to both opposing teams recently (though their match with Addiction in Philadelphia hasn’t aired yet) so they’ll want payback for that. If they lead their squad to victory they’ll be the ones in prime position to claim #1 contendership also. And with everyone gunning for them, the champs themselves can view this as an opportunity to push some of their toughest rivals to the back of the line.
The Bucks are, unsurprisingly, SO over. Nick Jackson starts for his team, still heavily bruised after battling the Briscoes last night. Maybe it’s those wounds that cause him to get out-manoeuvred by the veteran Chris Daniels. Matt eventually comes to his aid, helping him to hit a gutbuster/neckbreaker combo on Kazarian. The Addiction are no slouches though and hit back with a combo sequence of their own. Daniels shows incredible resilience, rarely leaves the ring in the opening minutes and continually finds a way to one-up whomever he’s in the ring with. reDRagon eventually join forces and batter him with strikes to put him on the mat. The Briscoes are on hand to come to his rescue, bringing their unique brand of unrelenting physicality as they look to isolate O’Reilly. Briscoe double tackle nailed, except it’s Mark and Kaz that execute it! After a cheap shot from Fish Kyle is able to unleash a barrage of strikes on Frankie – then hands them off to the Jacksons who quickly set about wearing him down as only they can. Even reDRagon are impressed – and try to do their own version of Nick’s handspring back rake spot. Eventually Frankie WALKS over three opponents into a tag to Mark. Froggy Bow dropped on Matt, only for Nick to break the count. Back flip blockbuster from Matt to Daniels…before Kaz slingshots him into a cutter. Jay and Kyle trade strikes at a death-defying pace, as men start piling in and out with great speed. Nick superkicks Jay off the apron, before getting Jerry Lynn’d in the ropes by Kazarian. SLINGSHOT DDT ON THE APRON! Arabian press to the floor by Daniels! FLYING KNEE STRIKE OFF THE APRON BY O’REILLY! CACTUS ELBOW BY MARK! He is then escorted up the ropes by the Bucks…WHO DOUBLE SUPERPLEX HIM INTO A CROWD ON THE FLOOR! MORE BANG FOR YOUR F*CK GETS 2! Daniels rescued Mark there, as O’Reilly forcibly tags the Young Bucks out. reDRagon want the glory of eliminating Daniels…and O’Reilly inadvertently gets a DOUBLE SUPERKICK from the Jacksons. BEST MOONSAULT EVER! reDRagon are the first team eliminated as Daniels pins Kyle at 17:21. Bobby Fish steals the bell hammer on the way out in a tantrum, leaving the Bucks to contemplate the 4-on-2 disadvantage they find themselves in. They respond the only way they know how…SUPERKICKS! MORE BANG FOR YOUR F*CK AGAIN! The Addiction are eliminated at 18:54. We’re down to the Briscoes and the Young Bucks in a direct rematch from the previous evening. Mark blocks a Superkick and throws a urinage in Nick’s direction, knocking him out so the Briscoes can join forces to hit Matt with the Splash Mountain Neckbreaker. Nick returns with the slingshot facebuster on Jay…THEN BACK FLIPS INTO A TORNADO DDT ON THE FLOOR on Mark! More Bang For Your Buck blocked! JAY DRILLER ON MATT! NICK SAVES! SOMERSAULT BLOCKBUSTER TO THE FLOOR BY MARK! Doomsday Device misses! MATT LANDS ON HIS FEET! SUPERKIIIIIIIIIIIICKS! MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK! YOUNG BUCKS WIN! It’s over at 23:05
Rating – **** – Four of the best teams on the indies throwing spots around, so there really isn’t much to dislike about this. And, to give credit to the booking where it is due, the lay-out of this was absolutely perfect. reDRagon have the belts and have gone over all these teams, so didn’t need the win here. They were rightly the first team to go, setting up future contenders in the process. The Addiction, having been brought back with minimal fanfare and having already jobbed to reDRagon twice, were easily the least over of the four teams. It was vital they were protected and presented well here to capitalise on their (reportedly) strong showing in Philadelphia against the Bucks. That happened as they got to be the ones eliminating the champions. Likewise the Briscoes and the Bucks were the most over two teams by a distance. Credit to Delirious for resisting the temptation to ‘protect’ the ROH teams (remember, the Bucks are freelancers) – and correctly booking those guys as the final two. Indeed, they are building up Bucks/reDRagon III for All Star Extravaganza next month, so it was absolutely the correct decision to give the Jacksons a huge rub here – coming from a 4-on-2 disadvantage to win the match. You could complain they didn’t get more time, and argue that these four have the potential to produce much more than an elongated spotfest. I’d agree on that score, as these guys definitely had the ability to give us something along the lines of the Generation Next debut 8-man, or the epic Champions vs All Stars 8-man from Glory By Honor last year. However, it’s impossible to deny this was a very well laid out and enjoyable match, which entertained fans and set up a number of forthcoming title matches extremely efficiently.
Post-match the Bucks hail ROH’s tag division as the best in the world. That’s quite the compliment considering they are part of the NJPW junior tag division too. They want their belts back from reDRagon when they collide at All Star Extravaganza.
Tape Rating – **** – This one snuck under the radar as one of ROH’s best shows this year in my opinion. There’s nothing really bad on the entire show, and the three big matches you paid to see (the main event, Styles/Cedric and Elgin/Ciampa) all delivered. Admittedly most of the undercard was filled with low-end 3* matches, but nonetheless it is extremely consistent. The TV Title match was solid, the opener did it’s job, The Decade storyline continues to be one of the most deep, rich and thought-provoking angles anywhere in wrestling and Hanson/Cole was a pleasing affirmation of the 2014 Top Prospect winner’s in-ring credentials too. Night 1 had the stunning AJ/O’Reilly battle, but definitely felt like more of an inconsistent, unbalanced and less enjoyable all-round watch than this. Both shows are recommended, but for top-to-bottom action this DVD provides a better night of wrestling.
Top 3 Matches
3) reDRagon/Young Bucks vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe/The Addiction (****)
2) Michael Elgin vs Tommaso Ciampa (****)
1) AJ Styles vs Cedric Alexander (****)
Top 5 Death Before Dishonor 12 Weekend Matches
5) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Young Bucks (**** – Night 1)
4) reDRagon/Young Bucks vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe/The Addiction (**** – Night 2)
3) Michael Elgin vs Tommaso Ciampa (**** – Night 2)
2) AJ Styles vs Cedric Alexander (**** – Night 2)
1) AJ Styles vs Kyle O’Reilly (****1/2 – Night 1)
SIDENOTE – That Top 5 is a striking indication of how much better ROH shows are when they are able to book the high profile freelance guys. Getting more contracted talent up to that level, or signing existing talent of that calibre to Ring Of Honor contracts needs to be a high priority for the company as we move into 2015.