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ROH Glory By Honor XII 10/26/2013

 

ROH 339 – Glory By Honor 12 – 26th October 2013

How the hell are we at the TWELFTH annual Glory By Honor? Where the hell did my life go? I remember reviewing the first Glory By Honor in my college halls of residence (dorm) room at ridiculous o’clock in the morning and having the night security guard bang on my door because I had the volume too loud during Low Ki vs Samoa Joe. Now somehow it’s years later, I’m a married home-owner and still tuning in to write about this stuff. Amazing how time flies! Enough auto-biographical nonsense, lets get on with the show as the card looks fantastic. Normally when a promotion runs a huge multi-man match as their main event the undercard tends to suffer, but somehow Ring Of Honor seem to have avoided that. The main event is the 2-hour time-limit, elimination 8-man tag pitting the ROH Champions (Adam Cole, Matt Taven and reDRagon) against the ‘All-Star’ line-up of Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal, Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander. But as I said, the undercard is really stacked too. Paul London returns to face ROH veteran Roderick Strong in what has the potential to be a classic. Kevin Steen meets Michael Bennett in the ‘Battle Of The Piledrivers’, Outlaw Inc. face Adrenaline RUSH, Mark Briscoe squares off in a grudge match with Silas Young, the Jimmy Jacobs Trial Series continues, Jesse Sorensen makes an unlikely debut against Tommaso Ciampa and ‘Real World Champion’ Jay Briscoe has been cleared to wrestle and will be in the building tonight. Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness welcome us to Chicago Ridge, IL.

Silas Young vs Mark Briscoe
This is a grudge match, stemming from a number of altercations between these two men at A New Dawn. Mark defeated Silas, only to be attacked after the bell by the ‘Pro-Wrestling’s Last Real Man’. And it didn’t stop there, as Briscoe would later eliminate Young from the Honor Rumble then fall victim to another assault from him seconds later.

No Code Of Honor obviously, and the two men spill straight to the floor throwing punches at each other. Young hits a back body drop on the outside, only for Mark to retaliate with a suplex FROM THE FLOOR TO THE APRON! BERMUDA TRIANGLE MOONSAULT! Those two high impact moves put Briscoe in charge…until he listens to the crowd and tries to break out some Redneck Kung Fu too early. Silas back drops him OVER THE TURNBUCKLES to the floor! Full nelson atomic drop, then a sliding lariat get a nearfall for him. Briscoe returns to his feet to hit the urinage, visibly injuring Young and softening him up for some Redneck Kung Fu. Iconoclasm blocked, with Silas flipping out of the corner to hit the backbreaker/clothesline combo. Mark dropkicks him to the floor…CACTUS ELBOW OFF THE APRON! Karate thrusts to the neck have Silas reeling, and the rolling DVD gives Briscoe enough time to head upstairs. Young evades the Froggy Bow and uses the ropes to pin Mark at 09:01

Rating – *** – I hated the lousy, cheap, unoriginal finish…but I really liked the match, I really want Silas to get over and I really appreciate Delirious trying to make an effort to book undercard feuds so I went generous on the rating. Certainly before the crap finish these two were producing the goods. An intense, physical, fast-paced match which truly felt like two professional wrestlers who hated each other. Both of them took some wicked bumps and they really got the crowd going. Ultimately Young needs the win and rub far more than Mark, so it’s appropriate that he wins, even in this fashion.

Mark is far from happy about the way this one concluded, and tries to attack Silas only to get punched in the balls. Young takes referee Todd Sinclair’s belt and starts flogging Briscoe with it

Jimmy Jacobs vs Adam Page – Trial Series Match #4
Jacobs is in last chance saloon as part of the Trial Series now. Having fought valiantly so far he may well get his ROH job back, but if he is to win three matches and secure a World Title shot in Dearborn he needs to win both of the final two, as he currently stands 1-2. The victory came over Silas Young on television, but was followed by defeats to Kevin Steen and Michael Bennett. On paper this is certainly an easier match, but with Page hungry to prove himself, being the guy that took away Jimmy Jacobs’ chance of a World Title shot in his hometown would certainly gain the youngster some notoriety.

Jimmy tries to work a methodical pace, presumably as he feels he can control it with his veteran skills. He clotheslines Page out of the ring…only for Adam to knee him right in the face when he lines up a tope suicida. SHOOTING STAR PRESS TO THE FLOOR! Page re-enters the ring with a flying crossbody for 2. Rings Of Saturn applied; Page seemingly targeting the shoulder of his experienced foe. Grounded abdominal stretch next, and Jimmy’s championship opportunity is hanging by a thread here. Somehow he delivers a neckbreaker and follows it with the tornado snap suplex to get a 2-count. Page blocks the spear with a knee strike, and scores another nearfall with a powerslam. The Chicago crowd are really starting to get on Page now. Which isn’t surprising considering that Jimmy is an ROH veteran, whilst Page is some kid who has been around for over a year without ever having anything interesting to do. Jacobs drops him with the rebound Ace Crusher but is back on the deck moments later with a falcon arrow. Inverted Piledriver blocked, and Jacobs puts knees right into Page’s FACE! Contra Code gets 2! He tries another rebound Ace Crusher, only for Adam to block and convert it to the Red Star Press. They fight up the ropes…AVALANCHE CONTRA CODE! Jacobs wins at 11:00

Rating – ** – Here we had the opposite problem to the Briscoe/Young opening contest. The match that came before it was underwhelming, but the finish was absolutely spectacular. I like both wrestlers here, but they never clicked at any point. I hate to keep bringing it up, but a big part of the issue is how Delirious has booked Adam Page. Chicago has been an ROH market for a LONG time. The fans here are, for the most part, the hardcore fans. They’ve watched Jimmy Jacobs in this company for a long time, and respect the things he’s done here. For a house show in a fresh TV market town you can get away with Page’s lack of character or credibility. But it was ruthlessly found out by the Chi-town fans here. They had no interest in him, and were either booing or dead silent for everything he did. That’s not the kid’s fault. He has a lot of talent. But he has no character, has had no interview time, his music sucks, the wrestling he’s allowed to display is no more than generic American junior heavyweight stuff and he looks about as average as a pro-wrestler gets too. Jacobs rightly gets the win, but in this market this match should have been a squash. Trying to play Page off as a credible opponent for Jimmy was a total flop.

Michael Bennett vs Kevin Steen
This is billed as the ‘Battle Of The Piledrivers’, with both men claiming to have the most devastating piledriver in wrestling as of late. Bennett used his piledriver to end BJ Whitmer’s career back at All Star Extravaganza, whilst Steen’s Package Piledriver is so lethal that Jim Cornette actually banned it during his time as ROH’s Executive Producer. They got into a war of words at the television tapings in Philadelphia, which wound up being bad for Steen as Bennett came out to give him the aforementioned Piledriver right before his scheduled match with Eddie Edwards. Steen would fall victim to the same move again in Hopkins, MN courtesy of some distraction from Maria Kanellis…and at the last live event (Charm City Challenge) we saw the show end with Bennett launching another run-in assault on Mr Wrestling.

We don’t get any cursory collar-and-elbows here. They start swinging punches and throwing chops from the get-go. Bennett is the first to blink, as he retreats to the floor into the arms of Maria. Back in the ring Steen hammers him with a somersault leg drop…then chases him out of the ring to deliver a vicious guardrail whip when he tries to flee again. He is crotched against the ringpost too, much to the disgust of his devastated fiancé just feet away. He just keeps doing that, until Bennett decides he doesn’t like that spot anymore – and Russian legsweeps him into the guardrails! But he then takes way too long antagonising the Chicago fans in the aftermath of that, and is eventually crotched into the fourth ringpost. Steen-ton Bomb gets knees though, leading to the Box Office Smash for 2. Spinebuster next, as Bennett runs through his full arsenal of moves he’s used as finishers in his ROH career. To that end, he lines up the TKO as well, but soon has to abort that as Steen tries to drag him into a sleeper suplex. Tornado DDT from Mr Wrestling instead. He wants the F-5, but has to settle for a lungblower when Bennett blocks it. Cannonball senton blocked…Piledriver countered! Bennett rattles Steen’s jaw with a superkick for 2. Steen is too heavy for the TKO and he finally counters it with a devastating powerbomb. GO 2 SLEEP! That was for Maria’s benefit, and she is so angry she breaks the pinfall by throwing her shoe at the referee. TKO! PILEDRIVER! FOR 2! Kevin starts biting Bennett’s face, but as he lines up the Package Piledriver Maria climbs onto the apron. LOW BLOW! PILEDRIVER! This time it is all over, and Bennett scores a huge win over Steen at 12:25

Rating – *** – For a free TV main event this was decent. And unfortunately that’s what it was. If I’ve not mentioned it before, whilst this is being called ‘Glory By Honor’, it’s actually just an elaborate cover up to get better attendance for a TV taping in Chicago. Everything is being taped in episodic format. This was announced as ‘your television main event’. Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are commentating as if it is being split into three weeks of TV. That’s not necessarily a big deal, but formatting this one for TV rather than concentrating on making it a great match really held these two back. Bennett is a great worker in this sort of format – just check out his encounter with Jimmy Jacobs in Baltimore. But with a tight time allowance, a necessity to work a match where they could slot commercial breaks in and so forth, they were really handicapped. With no ippv and TV now the main focus of Ring Of Honor’s product I understand why it needs to take priority. However, I am formally voicing my disapproval for using major shows like Glory By Honor as TV tapings. This match was massively hurt by it.

Bennett wants to put Steen out of wrestling for good with a Piledriver on the apron…but it’s his turn to get distracted as Lisa Marie Varon (Victoria from WWE/Tara in TNA) runs out to attack Maria. Apparently they had an altercation at her wrestling-themed restaurant previously, and Lisa has come for revenge. Security storms the ring as Bennett and Steen continue to fight, and Varon has to be physically restrained from further assaulting Maria. STEEN HITS A SOMERSAULT PLANCHA FROM THE TOP ROPE UP THE AISLE! That takes out all the security and Mike Bennett. It also leaves Lisa alone with Maria…for the WIDOW’S PEAK!

It’s the start of the ‘next episode’ in terms of the TV tapings, and as a result of his legal proceedings, Steve Corino is brought out to replace Nigel McGuinness on commentary.

Tommaso Ciampa vs Jesse Sorensen
I think this is a debut nobody saw coming. Jesse was making a decent career for himself in TNA, until a catastrophic neck injury nearly left him in a wheelchair, let alone able to continue a wrestling career. He was rather unceremoniously dumped by TNA (there’s plenty you can read online if you feel the need to) with many speculating whether he’d ever wrestle again. It was a real surprise therefore, when ROH booked him for this show. On the face of it you can see why Sinclair would be interested. He’s a well-built, good-looking young kid. He was showing glimpses of decent wrestling ability before his injury, has experience of a televised wrestling product thanks to his time with TNA and is still so young he really should only get better. It did leave many fans wondering whether he was healthy enough to complete in a high-octane, extremely physical wrestling promotion such as ROH. That scepticism wasn’t exactly nullified when they booked him with Ciampa who is making his first appearance since losing in the World Title tournament semi-finals and being ‘injured’ at the hands of Adam Cole’s Figure 4 Leglock.

Early shoulder tackle from Ciampa…but Sorensen barely flinches before bouncing off the canvas and getting right back into Tommaso’s face. Ciampa goes for an early Air Raid Crash, but is again fought off by Jesse who has clearly done his homework on the Sicilian Psychopath. Kevin Kelly openly addresses Sorensen’s situation and says ROH did ask for full medical details on his condition before booking him. He shows impressive athleticism as he leaps into a dropkick. Ciampa puts a knee in his face though, causing him to crumple to the floor. Not done with that, Tommaso drags him outside and tries to drop him on the exposed hard-wood floor. Sorensen escapes though, wiping him out with a pescado. Ciampa clubs away at Jesse’s neck then drops him with a neckbreaker. Neckbreaker over the knee comes next and Sorensen is really struggling now. But he shows incredible guts, continually getting back to his feet and finally springing into a flurry of neckbreakers right back at Ciampa. Doi 555 gets 2 for Tommaso. He then exposes the knee for those violent Bare Knee strikes. They go to the top, but somehow Jesse counters the avalanche Air Raid Crash into a sunset bomb that leaves both men down. Project Ciampa blocked, only for Tommaso to roll through on the canvas and start elbowing the neck again. SICILIAN STRETCH! The referee stops it and awards the match to Tommaso at 09:59

Rating – *** – I liked this more than Steen/Bennett to be honest. I’m not sure I’d like to see Jesse Sorensen in ROH full-time, particularly having read some uncomfortable articles speculating about the true extent of the injury he suffered in TNA. But, it made for undeniably compelling viewing in this match. You had a kid showing incredible heart and courage to overcome what would apparently be life-altering injuries…and you had Ciampa who is so hell-bent on victory he had no problem testing that surgically repaired neck to it’s absolute limits. It was a fine story, it certainly had me caught up in the drama (although the live crowd didn’t seem as into it), and I loved Tommaso’s new finisher.

Adrenaline RUSH vs Outlaw Inc.
Their presence in tonight’s main event suggests that Nigel McGuinness considers C&C WrestleFactory to be the top contenders to reDRagon’s ROH Tag Championship. With that in mind, these two teams also vying for a title shot must be aware that the winner here presumably moves to the front of the queue as and when Caprice and Cedric take their chance. This should be an interesting clash of styles as it pits the chaotic, brawling style of Homicide and Kingston against the athleticism, high-flying and completely unique offence their opponents bring to the table.

The referee has to remove a foreign object from Eddie Kingston’s hands as he looks to lock up with ACH for the first time…which turns out to be a lighter. ACH bests Eddie with his speed, and scales the ropes for a HUGE flying reverse elbow! Much more up Eddie’s street is a test of strength, which he uses an excuse to poke ACH in the eyes. Homicide tags and starts working over the arm, prompting ACH to make a desperate tag to Thomas. The Outlaws use tandem offence and their marauding, brawling style to complete negate the capoeira skills of Tadarius. ACH comes to his partner’s aid, and shows how quickly he’s adapted to his rule-breaking opponents – by scraping his eyes along the top rope. Homicide dropkicks the knees out from under him…then tags King who applies an inverted cloverleaf. SLAP TO THE HAMSTRING! Homicide is back, applying the STF and throwing up John Cena hand signals. ACH gets the hot tag to Tadarius, who this time does manage to put together a succession of capoeira strikes to both Outlaws. He hits a gorgeous tope suicida to wipe out Eddie, then chases Homicide up the ropes for a superplex. Hanging neckbreaker from Homicide, setting TD up for a BRUTAL running elbow to the back of the head from Kingston. FROG SPLASH to break the fall by ACH! Homicide lines Thomas up for the Cop Killa, only for Thomas to COUNTER with a spear into the corner. DOOMSDAY BULLDOG! The Outlaws win at 11:23

Rating – *** – I’d heard bad things about this one, so was really surprised by it. This won’t win any MOTY awards, but it was a solid tag team match, which positively showcased the clash of styles between the four guys and turned it into an enjoyable match. Clearly the aim here was to get the Outlaws over, and it undoubtedly succeeded at that. They did a hell of a job working over ACH, they did a decent job neutralising Thomas (who didn’t actually do much of anything during the match) and continued to showcase their unsettling, anarchic gimmick. Some critics haven’t given the warmest reception to the Outlaw Inc. gimmick or their matches. Personally I hope ROH stick with it. It’s completely different to anything else they have at the moment and in Homicide and Eddie they have two veterans who absolutely NAIL a character.

Eddie Kingston won’t let Homicide talk on the microphone – as apparently ROH officials don’t like him talking on television. He calls reDRagon pussies for continuing to duck them.

Paul London vs Roderick Strong
The success of London’s return to Ring Of Honor can’t be understated. He’s had two outstanding matches this year – against Davey Richards and Michael Elgin. Those matches erased any doubts about whether he could still deliver the goods in an ROH ring even after his near-decade away. However, he lost both of them, and he’ll be desperate to score his first win in ROH in well over ten years. In his way is the man calling himself ‘Mr ROH’ – Roderick Strong. In the ten years Paul has been away, Roddy has established himself as a mainstay on the roster, won every championship and become a truly legendary competitor in this promotion.

They work the canvas, with London having no problems hanging with Roderick there. Strong wants a test of strength…only for Paul to boot him in the face! He mows Roddy down with a dropkick too, prompting him to flee the ring. On the outside Strong absolutely dominates London though, hammering him with chops and forearms strikes. MOONSAULT OFF THE RAILS BY LONDON! He tries to slingshot through the middle ropes…only to be caught into a DOUBLE UNDERHOOK HANGING BACKBREAKER! And the brutality doesn’t end there, Strong legitimately grabs Paul and throws him UNDER the ropes, ribs-first into the ringpost. Bearhug applied next, and when London escapes that the two men meet in a mid-air, crossbody collision which inevitably impacts Paul more than Roderick. German suplex by London! He then lands on his feet as Strong attempts a back body drop and puts a jumping heel kick into his face! MID-AIR DROPKICK from Roddy to counter another attempted slingshot manoeuvre. DROPSAULT knocks Strong off the apron! SOMERSAULT PLANCHA NAILED! Back in the ring London hits a springboard dropkick, but it hurts his back and means he can’t cover immediately. STRONG PULLS LONDON OFF THE ROPES INTO A CRADLE BACKBREAKER! Superplex follows that and gets Mr ROH a nearfall. STRONGHOLD! London counters into a pinning combination for 2! Cradle backbreaker countered…DEATH BY RODERICK COUNTERED IN MID-AIR TO A FREAKING DOUBLE STOMP! These two are killing each other here! SUPERKICK by London! CHICKENWING FACEBUSTER for 2! But Paul is exhausted, and takes too long to climb the ropes for the London Star Press. Strong rolls to the apron…AND PAUL TRIES THE FLYING DOUBLE STOMP TO THE APRON! RODDY EVADES IT AND HITS A F*CKING HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER ON THE APRON! DEATH BY RODERICK! SICK KICK NAILED! LONDON KICKS OUT! GIBSON DRIVER! TWO AGAIN! STRONGHOLD! LONDON MAKES THE ROPES! The crowd are going crazy! London headscissors Strong…OVER THE ROPES INTO A TOMBSTONE ON THE FLOOR! DOUBLE STOMP TO THE BACK! LONDON STAR PRESS! LONDON WINS! LONDON WINS! It’s over at 16:52

Rating – ****1/2 – Paul London is an incredible athlete. A few years ago the guy was so mentally exhausted of pro-wrestling that he basically walked away. He’d lost his WWE job, and he’d even left PWG where his whacky personality had always found a home. To go from that to once again performing at this level is nothing short of incredible. Ten years ago, when he left ROH, the guy had all the talent needed to genuinely become one of the best professional wrestlers ever. His career hasn’t worked out as perhaps it should have, but his return to ROH this year has once again showcased that incredible natural ability. This was absolutely spectacular, and deserves to be called an MOTYC. Roderick rolled back the years, delivering an absolutely vintage Roddy Strong performance – working the back, hitting like a motherf*cker and dishing out backbreakers from seemingly impossible situations. And Paul hung with him, producing a classic sympathetic babyface performance, and producing utterly jaw-dropping moments of magic. The double stomp counter to the Death By Roderick was one of the coolest counter spots I’ve ever seen. This will be on ROHwrestling.com for Ringside Members as it was taped to main event an SBG TV episode. Even if you don’t want to pay for the Glory By Honor VOD or DVD, if you have Ringside Membership it’s well worth finding the TV episode to check this out. One of ROH’s finest matches of 2013.

Adam Cole/Matt Taven/Bobby Fish/Kyle O’Reilly vs Michael Elgin/Jay Lethal/Caprice Coleman/Cedric Alexander 
This is your Champions vs All-Stars main event – pitting the current Ring Of Honor World, Television and Tag Champions against those considered to be their top contenders. There is a slight point to raise against Elgin’s inclusion – in that Jay Briscoe, whom many consider to be the top challenger to Adam Cole’s World Championship, wasn’t actually cleared to compete when Nigel McGuinness was putting the match together. If anyone can pin Cole tonight they get a title shot in the future. This one has a 2-hour time limit, and it seems unlikely Sinclair would have added that stipulation, and dedicated a whole episode of the TV show around this if it wasn’t going long.

The All-Stars are happy to let Elgin start for them, but on the Champion’s team Cole and Taven have a full-blown argument about it prompting Bobby Fish to be the voice of reason. Ironically, Cole then spends the first minute running away from Unbreakable before forcibly tagging Matt in anyway. Lethal succeeds in landing one chop on Taven before he too leaves the ring – for a rubdown from Kasey Rae and Scarlett. The first serious offensive strikes from Alexander, as he hits a running boot to the back of Fish’s head. Cole is still avoiding getting in the ring with Elgin…so Taven goes in instead and hits a STALLING SUPLEX on him! Elgin absolutely HATES that, and is on his feet before his opponent. Stalling suplex on Taven…even with reDRagon hitting him! Randy Savage Axehandle from Lethal to Taven, so he hauls Jay to the Champions’ corner so all four of them can choke him! Lethal retaliates with a quebrada on O’Reilly. The All-Stars start isolating Fish, and as we pass the 12-minute mark a team is starting to dominate for the first time. Eventually Kyle has to save his partner, stepping in to pick Cedric apart with a flurry of strikes. The Champions now start wearing down Alexander, although reDRagon find themselves distracted as they see Outlaw Inc. hanging over the guardrails. In the ring that leads to a terrific strike exchange between O’Reilly and Alexander…and with tags all round once again Cole finds himself having to run away from Michael Elgin! ST-JOE on Taven instead! Black Hole Slam next, and Fish has to save Matt from elimination. Elgin starts beating up both Tag Champions at the same time…and still Cole runs away!

All eight men are on the floor brawling now. Hilariously, Homicide is trying to give anyone fighting reDRagon a chair. We’re at 20-minutes now and it’s a completely chaotic scene. When a semblance of order is restored we have Taven beating on a disorientated Michael Elgin, then tagging in a gleeful Adam Cole who wants to beat his rival up now he’s injured. But it’s all a scheme, and Cole is on the run again to avoid the Spiral Bomb. PESCADO by Elgin! He then PRESS SLAMS Bobby Fish into O’Reilly! Taven saves the World Champion from the Spiral Bomb again…and now everyone piles into the ring for a brawl. FOUR WAY TREE OF WOE DROPKICKS FROM THE ALL-STARS! In response the Champions try to isolate Lethal, spending several minutes wearing him down – including a brief Future Shock reunion which Bobby Fish really doesn’t like. Alexander gets a hot tag at the half hour mark, coming in dishing out high-octane kicks to all comers. DETONATION KICK on Cole for 2! Adam retaliates with a jumping enzi through the ropes. SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR BY CAPRICE! SPEAR INTO THE GUARDRAILS BY FISH! MISSILE DROPKICK OFF THE APRON BY O’REILLY! And now Outlaw Inc. have jumped the rails! They start brawling with reDRagon…as Taven dives onto everyone! SOMERSAULT PLANCHA FROM ALEXANDER! There are security guys all over ringside trying to eject Homicide and Eddie Kingston as the eight men in the ring recover. In the ring Cedric springboards into a superkick from Cole…and becomes the first man eliminated at 33:14. Cole celebrates…and doesn’t see Elgin in the ring behind him! CROSSFACE ON COLE! Lethal breaks it! He wants the World Title shot!

Taven tags in, and eats the Lethal Combination. Scarlett Bordeaux shows off her FANTASTIC backside before planting a liplock on Jay! LETHAL COMBINATION ON TAVEN AGAIN! Now Kasey Rae tries to distract him as he goes to the top rope. TAVEN SUPERKICKS THEM BOTH THROUGH THE TIMEKEEPING TABLE! Coleman and Taven are legal apparently, with Caprice delivering the rolling northern lights suplexes for 2. CLIMAX on Coleman! But he’s not legal as Cole blind-tagged himself in! Clearly he wants to eliminate everyone, but the delay means Caprice was able to kick out. FLORIDA KEY! Caprice is eliminated at 38:12, so it’s now 4-on-2, with Elgin and Lethal not on great terms after Jay broke the Crossface earlier! Jay also hasn’t moved since he went through the table, and he now has Nigel McGuinness out checking on him. All four Champions jump Unbreakable, stomping him into the ground like it was a gang attack. They take turns beating Elgin down. Lethal still hasn’t moved from the wreckage of the table, and Nigel has joined commentary to discuss whether he has a concussion or not. Somehow Elgin rocks Kyle with a TKO over the knee…only to turn towards his corner and see nobody there to tag. O’Reilly follows him to apply the Cross Armbreaker – the move he tapped Davey Richards out with! Elgin breaks it with a powerbomb! LARIAT ON TAVEN! Kyle captures him again, this time with a guillotine choke. ELGIN COUNTERS TO A FRONT SLAM! Fish has to break the count at 45-minutes. He climbs onto his back applying a sleeper. DEAD-LIFT GERMAN ON TAVEN – WITH FISH ON HIS BACK! BACK FIST ON O’REILLY! LARIATOOOOO! Elgin eliminates O’Reilly at 46:42!

As he succumbs to another 3-on-1 attack from the remaining Champions, Lethal is on his feet and trying to convince referees and Nigel to let him back into the match. Taven inadvertently levels Fish with a superkick, and is punished with an exploder suplex! DEAD-LIFT SUPERPLEX ON COLE! And that’s after nearly FIFTY minutes! And at the same time Jay shoves all those helping him away to get onto the apron! Hot tag to Lethal! ROLLING TOPE SUICIDAS FOR EVERYONE! And a superkick on Truth Martini for good measure! COLE SUPERKICKS HIM IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD! CRADLEBREAKER! Lethal is eliminated at 51:34. That means Elgin is now formally left on his own, whilst Adam Cole has eliminated every one of the All-Stars so far. Taven MISSES the Five Star Frog Splash, but as Elgin desperately locks in the Crossface Fish and Cole are right there to break the hold. CLIMAX – COUNTERED TO THE CROSSFACE! Taven taps and is eliminated at 52:55! Fish slides in and nearly wins it seconds later with his Knock-Out Kick. Saito suplex gets 2 as well.  Florida Key blocked…and with Fish unfortunately positioned on Cole’s shoulders ELGIN GERMAN SUPLEXES BOTH OF THEM! RUNNING DVD INTO THE BUCKLES for Fish! FALLAWAY SLAM/SAMOAN DROP COMBO! How is Elgin still doing this? They’ve been wrestling for an hour! SPIRAL BOMB! Elgin eliminates Fish, becoming the first man to pin him in ROH at 57:35! Fish gets a standing ovation for his performance (he fought most of the match with a huge gash over his ear).

As the clock ticks past the hour mark we’re all set for Elgin vs Cole again…with a World Title shot up for grabs! FISH NAILS ELGIN WITH A CHAIR! Somehow that’s not a DQ, and the match continues as Elgin gets the shoulder up! Michael is out on his feat, but somehow he drags Cole into a CHAOS THEORY for 2! Cole scales the ropes, but the Panama Sunrise is countered…so he rolls through into a DVD over the knee instead! Great counter-wrestling, and he is rewarded with a nearfall off a Shining Wizard. Both of these guys look absolutely knackered now…but somehow Elgin gets a shoulder up even after enduring a superkick flurry. Florida Key blocked with an ST-Joe! LARIAT KNOCKS COLE ON HIS NECK! They go outside, where Cole blocks a Ringpost Bomb…FLORIDA KEY ON THE FLOOR! He is happy to win by count-out as he did against Roddy at Best In The World. Elgin, of course, makes it back in…but rolls straight into the Figure 4! Elgin sits up and literally SCREAMS at Cole that he won’t tap out! COUNTERED TO THE CROSSFACE! ‘I’m going to be the second colour commentator to have a heart attack this year’ – Corino. Can he say that?? Buckle Bomb! SPIRAL BOMB COUNTERED! BACK FIST INSTEAD! BOTH MEN DOWN! They wearily climb the ropes, and as Michael sets up the avalanche Elgin Bomb COLE COUNTERS WITH A SUPER RANA! PANAMA SUNRISE! GETS 2! And incredibly they start climbing the ropes again. TOP ROPE ELGIN BOMB…BACKWARDS OUT OF THE CORNER! ELGIN WINS! It’s over at 71:38!

Rating – ****1/2 – I was so prepared to dislike this match. I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to be ‘bad’ per se, but I was so prepared for it to be like the marathon 8-man they did at Battle In The Carolinas weekend under Jim Cornette’s run with the book. That was pretty decent, but as with that one, I was expecting this to feature lots of stalling for TV, lots of repetitive action, very little storyline – and essentially showcase eight good wrestlers working a 70+ minute match for the sake of it. Boy was I wrong! What an utterly fantastic match this was. I’m not sure how they will cut it up for TV, because I thought the way this one flowed was utterly genius. There were so many intricate little touches – all sewn up in the bigger ‘Cole vs Elgin’ picture. You had the dangled carrot of the World Title shot incentive for the All-Star team (which paid off when Lethal broke up Elgin’s submission hold). You had C&C’s ongoing quest to get a 2-vs-2 shot at reDRagon, which again they didn’t get here and were ultimately vanquished. We saw Outlaw Inc. get involved to further their chase of reDRagon. You had Cole trying to beat everyone. Taven provided one of the big selling points of the match – that being the Lethal table spot which effectively put him out of the match, and intensified their perceived ‘rivalry’ over the TV Title (which going into this show was pretty lukewarm). You had Bobby Fish’s undefeated streak. Elgin continually being thwarted in his quest to get his hands on Cole. And the big pay-off in the final ten minutes, with Elgin having fought basically on his own for half an hour, having eliminated the TV Champion, having ended Fish’s unbeaten streak going back and forth with the World Champion was absolutely epic. I can’t stress how underwhelmed I was expecting to be by this, and in turn I can’t stress how excellent this on was if you’re prepared to sit through it. And ultimately, you have to praise the incredible stamina of Adam Cole and Michael Elgin. Everyone contributed of course (including the Outlaws, Scarlett, Kasey Rae, Truth Martini, Nigel McGuinness etc), but the whole thing was carried on the back of those two phenomenal performers – who have now stepped forward to become the defining rivalry of the ‘new Ring Of Honor’. Elgin is a big guy, and it was borderline super-human to see him picking two or three guys up at once after wrestling for well over an hour. An incredible effort, and a fantastic match that I can’t praise highly enough. I’d imagine this will be pushing right to the top of my ROH Top 10 matches of 2013 come Final Battle.

Both Elgin and Cole stay down needing medical attention. With those two being checked over by officials, the crowd pops as Jay Briscoe makes his way to the ring carrying an ominous black bag. He’s been medically cleared to wrestle, and wants to settle things apparently! As Elgin tries to reason with him Briscoe knocks him unconscious with whatever is in the bag! SUPERKICK ON COLE! Poetic justice there, and Jay once again calls himself the ‘Real World Champion’. He pulls his ‘Real World Title’ belt out of the bag and poses with it as the show ends!

Tape Rating – **** – I’ll go on record as saying that I really do HATE ROH turning live events (particularly major shows like Glory By Honor) into TV tapings. I understand the economics behind it, in that the TV tapings just aren’t drawing like live shows do, and since TV is now the main focus they need to do it…but I don’t like it. So it’s to the credit of the great talent booked that I really loved this event anyway. The two main events were two of ROH’s best matches all year. London vs Strong was a stunning athletic spectacle. The biggest compliment I can give it was that it reminded me of London vs AJ Styles from Night Of The Grudges back in 2003 – which is rightly credited as one of ROH’s greatest matches of all time. And I don’t know what more I can say about the Champions vs All-Stars headliner. I went in with admittedly low expectations, but was completely blown away. Amidst all the criticism of ROH in 2013, it’s clear that Michael Elgin and Adam Cole have now stepped up to carry the promotion. Their respective performances in the main event were superb and I truly can’t wait to see where they go next with that rivalry – and I’ve not felt that way about anything in ROH for a long time. Despite the situation with taping TV at one of ROH’s biggest shows of the year, and despite the undercard being decent but largely forgettable, I come away from this feeling as positive about Ring Of Honor as I have since Sinclair took over.

Top 3 Matches 
3) Tommaso Ciampa vs Jesse Sorensen (***)
2) Paul London vs Roderick Strong (****1/2)
1) Adam Cole/Matt Taven/reDRagon vs Michael Elgin/Jay Lethal/C&C WrestleFactory (****1/2)

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