ROH Reclamation: Night Two 7/13/2013

ROH 331 – Reclamation: Night 2 – 13th July 2013

Last night was another overwhelmingly successful evening in Milwaukee, which is becoming a real stronghold for Ring Of Honor. Can ROH complete a successful triple shot weekend another good show tonight? The American Wolves have had an incredible year so far, and are in another main event this evening – opposing Michael Elgin and Jay Lethal in what should be a great bout. After the great singles matches reDRagon came up with last night, they are in singles matches once again. It’s Adrenaline RUSH are looking to step up and prove their championship credentials with O’Reilly facing Tadarius Thomas and Fish squaring off with ACH in a battle of 2013’s break-out stars for ROH. TV Champion Matt Taven has a huge challenge awaiting him in the shape of Kevin Steen, and there’s other promising matches such as Cole/Whitmer and Ciampa/Silas in store. Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary again tonight, in Dearborn, MI.

Kyle O’Reilly vs Tadarius Thomas
Last night we saw Kyle involved in one of the best matches of the year when he pushed Eddie Edwards to the limit. Ultimately though, it was another high profile singles defeat for O’Reilly, who really is struggling for victories when he’s not teaming with Fish. It’s certainly not an easy night for him here either. He and Tadarius had a hugely competitive match last summer, and TD has improved hugely since then. Thomas will know a win here ensures Adrenaline RUSH are still in the hunt for the Tag Titles, with his partner also able to make a similar point later in the show when he faces Bobby Fish.

Tadarius has an awesome entrance, with other members of his local capoeira fighting team appearing around the building showing off their skills before he finally comes through the curtain. It’s much more impressive than O’Reilly, who comes to the ring covered in welts and bruises from his match the previous night. Despite TD being a hometown boy, the crowd is completely silent as they battle for superiority in the opening minutes. Kyle obviously wants to go after the arm but is kept at bay by some impressive countering from Thomas. A cartwheel enziguri from TD lands right on O’Reilly’s scarred up chest and causes him to slump into the corner. He keeps kicking at the chest – with every kick dropping Kyle. Clearly that’s going to be the target of his offense this evening, so it’s almost a defensive move that sees O’Reilly land a violent flurry of kicks, punches and knee strikes. His chest is busted open now but still he persists with the striking approach, booting him repeatedly into the corner. He then slows the pace with a Japanese stranglehold. TD escapes, then BACK FLIPS over Kyle’s kicks. Next he blocks some punches with headbutts and scores a nearfall with the Sling Blade. O’Reilly desperately tries to cover up but Thomas is kicking him from CRAZY angles! HEAD DROP GERMAN gets 2! He tries a headstand in the corner only to wind up crotched on the top rope. O’Reilly hits a back superplex, then rolls it into the Regalplex. TRIANGLE CHOKE! WITH ELBOWS! Incredibly Tadarius manages to somersault his way out of that. BLOCKED KICK DUEL! Except then they both go down clutching their shins in pain! O’Reilly rocks Thomas with an elbow, but is then totally bewildered by his whacky escapes! Bridging pin…TD WINS! That’s an upset! 11:56 is the time

Rating – *** – I thought this was on par with their match from 2012, which surprised me as most people I’ve heard from liked Brew City Beatdown more. It’s hard to call this a successful opening contest when the crowd sat on their hands for the whole match (even though Tadarius is from Detroit) but I thought it was solid. They meshed well, and produced a surprisingly fluent and only slightly cliché’d MMA-influenced pro-wrestling match. Kyle is a lot more comfortable wrestling Tadarius than a lot of people, which meant TD got to show off some utterly ridiculous (in a good way) counters and kicks that he doesn’t normally get to do. Certainly guys like Mike Sydal and Zizou Middoux (who he wrestled yesterday) just don’t have the training and experience to showcase TD to the best of his ability.

Leah Von Dutch speeds through a promo, and is clearly so nervous she doesn’t actually pause between her words at all. Really awful promo, and a perplexing decision to give the interview time to Leah (making her debut) rather than Athena who is being pushed as MsChif’s chief rival in the Women Of Honor division.

Leah Von Dutch vs Jenny Rose vs Athena vs MsChif
It’s been a good weekend for the Women Of Honor division. Athena and MsChif tore it up in the entertaining main event at A Night Of Hoopla, whilst last night we saw Athena break MsChif’s dominance of the division with a popular singles victory. Now they are joined by two debutants. LVD apparently impressed at a recent try-out camp. Jenny Rose has wrestled in Japan, and Kevin Kelly also informs us that she’s an original product of the ROH Dojo – which I didn’t know at all.

MsChif is dressed like Freddy Krueger. That’s just plain terrifying. She demands to start with Athena, then plays head-games by immediately tagging out to Rose and refusing to wrestle her! And not content with that, MsChif then starts distracting Jenny by waving the Freddy Krueger glove in her direction. It gets easier for Rose when Leah tags in…as she only seems interested in protecting her hair. Athena then toasts LVD with a couple of superkicks. Leah’s screaming is incredibly annoying – so it’s almost fun to watch as Athena drops her on her neck with a sloppy armdrag. MsChif screams at everyone…so Athena flattens her too (with a springboard crossbody). Four-way submission spot next which pops the crowd…and ends with Rose hitting MsChif with the Mind Trip. Choke-bomb by MsChif! X-Factor by Von Dutch! Athena, not wanting to be out-done, dives onto all her opponents on the outside with a pescado. She smashes MsChif with a handspring elbow but is the victim of some misfortune as Jenny sunset flips MsChif into a WILD German suplex on her. Rose hits a f*cking atrocious looking spinning sidewalk slam on LVD…and the diving lariat she hits seconds later doesn’t look any better. This is so ugly Nigel is literally stunned into silence, almost dreading one of these ladies seriously hurting each other with their poor execution. O-FACE ON ROSE! MsChif heaves Athena to the floor…and is nearly beaten for the second time this weekend as Leah hits the Edge-O-Matic. Apparently she went to the same wrestling school as Edge. I presume she only went there for a few days though, as everything she hits is awful. MsChif puts her out of her misery with the Desecrator at 09:57.

Rating – DUD – Perhaps the worst ROH match you’ll see all year. So much sloppiness it was unreal, and it wasn’t just that these ladies weren’t hitting moves cleanly – it was that they were trying things they blatantly weren’t capable of executing correctly and dropping themselves and their opponents on their necks or heads – risking serious injuries. There was no real story-line. The MsChif/Athena thing reared its head every now and then but was mostly tossed by the wayside in favour of god-awful spot exchanges. Leah was beyond terrible and I can’t imagine how bad the rest of the talent at that ROH training camp was if she was the wrestler picked to work this show. Save yourself the time and skip right over this one.

Silas Young comes out to tell the Women Of Honor that they don’t belong in the ring. Based on that last match he has a valid point.

Silas Young vs Tommaso Ciampa
It’s been quite the return from injury for the Sicilian Psychopath. He laid waste to RD Evans and QT Marshall. He put on a classic with Michael Elgin at Best In The World – and last night scored a huge win when he defeated Rhino with a knee strike. He has his work cut out for him again though, as he now faces the impressive and increasingly prominent Silas Young who is really starting to make waves and get some momentum going in his ROH career.

Both guys are incredibly fired up and wildly jostle for position from the opening bell. Ciampa shows some impressive mat-wrestling skills and Young needs every bit of his veteran instinct and experience just to stay in the match. He catches Tommaso on his shoulders, throttling him on the top rope to take all the wind out of his sails. He grinds his face into the deck but just when he thinks he’s in charge Ciampa explodes back into life with a short-range lariat. Flipping neckbreaker scores for 2. Never one to stay down, Silas boots Tommaso right in the face then double axe’s him in the back of the head as he tries to leave the ring. DRAGON SUPLEX from Ciampa – quickly followed by a bare knee strike which gets another 2! Young escapes the Air Raid Crash and counters it with the backbreaker/lariat combo! He tries a headstand SO CIAMPA KNEES HIM IN THE FACE! Silas elbows free of another Air Raid Crash attempt only for Tommaso to muscle him up for a BELLY TO BELLY SUPERPLEX! They still come up swinging for each other! Project Ciampa blocked…and a Cactus clothesline from Tommaso sends them both over the top rope. RUNNING KNEE STRIKE AGAINST THE RAILS! And if Silas wasn’t already dead, Ciampa makes it worse by hurling him remorselessly into the barricade. SILAS GETS UP AND GERMANS HIM ON THE EXPOSED WOODEN FLOOR! The entire team of referees are out at ringside now trying to convince both athletes back into the ring. As they do so Silas scoops up the bell hammer and blasts Tommaso with it. That gives him the win at 12:57. Nigel McGuinness is up from his seat in a flash – and convinces Paul Turner to restart the match. Young is furious but doesn’t have long to air his grievances before Tommaso is on him with strikes. PROJECT CIAMPA! Tommaso wins at 13:24 (total time).

Rating – *** – An unrelentingly physical and violent match. From the first moments these two really looked like they were out to seriously injure their opponent and that intensity carried the match. The finish was hugely frustrating, as it killed their momentum for a gimmicked finish. I get the point (Nigel is trying to restore honour to ROH now SCUM have gone) but this was simply the wrong time. If Silas doesn’t have an ROH contract after his last four matches in this promotion then Sinclair are crazy. He tore it up on TV with Adam Page and has delivered three high quality, completely different but equally entertaining undercard matches this weekend. It is now time to pull the trigger and get him onto as many shows as they can. His gimmick is getting over, his crowd responses are good and his wrestling skill is speaking for itself.

BJ Whitmer vs Adam Cole
There’s an interesting promo before the match, with BJ dressing in an ‘Adam Cole’ shirt and trying to see what it’s like to ‘have women fawning all over him…and to have all the potential in the world’. I like the idea that he, as a grizzled, frustrated and largely unappreciated ROH veteran would be envious of all the success a talented up and comer like Cole would have. It soon degenerates into a typical ‘I want momentum going into the World Title tournament’ promo, but I like the theme. Cole defeated BJ in defence of his TV Title on television earlier this year – but Whitmer did actually score a pin over Adam a couple of months ago too (in a triple threat at Dragon’s Reign). That makes tonight a rubber match of sorts. Will it be the veteran or the increasingly brash but enormously talented young gun who leave Michigan with a victory to take into the forthcoming title tournament?

It’s a pretty generic opening sequence…until they botch a basic leapfrog spot like they’re pulling off a tribute act to Leah Von Dutch. BJ seems to come off worse and stays down clutching at his neck. Even after coming back with a spinebuster he comes up and is noticeably off his balance as he favours the neck. Cole leaves the ring, then jumps up for an enzi kick as Whitmer looks for an ill-advised tope suicida. Figure 4 around the ringpost next, making it hard for BJ to walk as well as having him struggle with that earlier injury. ‘A stunned silence across the crowd’ – Nigel McGuinness. I think you’ll find that’s boredom Nige. The old reliable staple of a no-selling strike-fest rekindles their interest somewhat, and leaves both men down after Whitmer clatters into Cole with a lariat. The veteran is up first, whipping Adam into a powerslam…before he stands stomping in the corner like an idiot. It gives Cole time to recover and lay him out with a superkick. DVD over the knee gets 2, and once again piles on the damage to Whitmer’s neck. Rolling suplexes by Whitmer, an equally boneheaded move as that bridge at the end will hurt his neck again. In absolute contrast to that Cole shows some real smart wrestling – superkicking the bad leg when Whitmer holds his arms up trying to protect his head. Figure 4 Leglock applied, only for Whitmer to prolong the match by getting the ropes. He drags his aching body back up to drop Adam with the exploder for 2. Cole absorbs that impact and comes back to drop him on his neck again, this time with the cradlebreaker. Florida Key blocked…and again it’s a f*cking retarded move by Whitmer as he thinks about a superplex. Adam jumps away from the turnbuckles, and seems to injure his knee on landing…but it’s all a ploy. He pins an unsuspecting BJ at 12:53

Rating – ** – A fittingly underwhelming conclusion to a really tedious match. I’d criticise the finish for being unoriginal and making Whitmer look like an idiot, but in truth he’d already make himself look dumb countless times throughout the match anway. These two had a really fun TV main event earlier in the year, which was substantially better than this dull, heatless mess of a match. The crowd haven’t been great tonight, and this one nearly put them into a coma. At least the right man won…

Michael Bennett vs Andy Muscat
The Artist formerly known as ‘The Prodigy’ had a good night in Milwaukee yesterday. He debuted his new look and streamlined gimmick before securing a resounding victory over BJ Whitmer to gain revenge for his defeat on internet pay-per-view to the Buzzsaw. Tonight he’ll want to make short work of the debuting local talent (who is nearly 40 – so much for giving young talent a chance).

Maria makes a point of ordering her man into battle, and Bennett’s response is to be hugely aggressive from the outset. Muscat’s old-man cruiserweight style is passable, but it’s very contrived and false looking…and thankfully doesn’t last long before Michael is planting him with the spear. Flying crossbody gets Andy a nearfall, much to Maria’s irritation. Having seen enough, Bennett scoops Muscat up for the piledriver and wins at 02:57

Rating – DUD – Even in three minutes, there was far too much offence from the debutant. Without wanting to be disrespectful, Muscat is never going to be an ROH-level competitor and seeing his bang average, completely generic junior heavyweight spots having to be sold by Bennett completely negated the effectiveness of this as a vehicle to put the ‘new Prodigy’ (so to speak) over.

Maria is in the ring, and she demands Bennett give Muscat another piledriver. Before he can do so another Detroit-native wrestler comes out to help him – it’s Rhino! He tries to Gore Bennett, who clears the ring in a hurry to save himself. The Man Beast wants a match…and Maria eventually agrees

Michael Bennett vs Rhino
What was that I was saying about ineffective ways to put Bennett over? Beating Rhino in his hometown would certainly raise his stock significantly – even if the War Machine has lost pretty much every singles match he’s had recently.

It’s another aggressive start from Bennett but against a much larger opponent than Andy Muscat it isn’t anywhere near as successful. He has to toss Rhino into the guardrails just to get away from him. Maria wants him to kick Rhino in the face…only for him to catch Michael’s boot for an atomic drop over the rails! Bennett regains control by shoving the Man Beast off the top rope! He tries to adopt a sensible wrestling strategy, focusing on Rhino’s back and deliberately trying to keep him on the mat where he can’t use his power. Indeed, Rhino’s comeback only begins when he manages to muscle his way back to a vertical base and start crashing into Bennett with a series of shoulder tackles. Michael takes an age climbing the ropes – but it’s worth his trouble as he dives into a sunset bomb for 2. Spinebuster by Rhino, who doesn’t look like he’s got much left. Maria SLAPS Bennett to motivate him – and he responds by blocking the Gore and hitting the BOX OFFICE SMASH! He wins at 08:11

Rating – ** – Another dull match, and one which indicates that Rhino may well have reached the end of his usefulness with ROH. He’s had a good run, but if people aren’t getting emotionally invested in his matches (and it’s hard to when he loses every show) then he becomes a limited performer. Credit to him, again, for tossing himself around and working harder than anyone could expect him to – and this was certainly a better way to get Bennett over. I wish they’d have played up Bennett’s history beating old ECW guys in ROH (he’s now beaten Steve Corino, Lance Storm, Jerry Lynn and Rhino) as that could have been a neat little added dimension to the match – but maybe it’s wishful thinking to expect Kevin Kelly to remember back further than a couple of months.

Once again Maria isn’t satisfied. She wants Bennett to put Rhino on the injured list ‘in front of all his fans…and his little daughter’. Perhaps it would have been better to quit whilst they were ahead, as their attack fails and Bennett ends up getting the goreGoreGORE!

Bobby Fish vs ACH
Very few people are having better 2013’s than these two guys. Fish has been a revelation in Ring Of Honor. His charismatic, slimy and hugely entertaining heel persona has seen him become hugely effective both as a wrestler, on promos and has seen him make regular guest appearances at the commentary table. After bouncing around the American indies and never really nailing down an ROH spot (perhaps thanks to his extensive international commitments), he’s been a real break-out star so far. And you can’t talk about break-out stars without mentioning his opponent. ACH earned a full-time contract earlier this year and has produced a few classics, as well as forming a successful team with Tadarius Thomas. After TD overcame Kyle O’Reilly earlier, ACH will know a win here will put Adrenaline RUSH at the very front of the queue for the next title shot.

Fish has to be hugely confident after beating Davey Richards yesterday, but still begins extremely cautiously and is clearly aware of just how dangerous his opponent can be. It’s actually ACH who initiates the first grapple and takes the match to the canvas for the first time – mirroring the reDRagon vs Adrenaline RUSH Proving Ground Match in Columbus when the challengers tried to match wrestling skills with the champions rather than go straight for high-flying. Interestingly, this time ACH doesn’t repeat that mistake and is soon hitting crazy armdrags and a flying headscissors. The sliding lariat in the corner connects as well! He has Bobby completely off his game and nearly snatches an early victory with a flying crossbody. Michinoku Driver gets another nearfall. Fish can’t get going and tries to leave…then busts out an AWESOME counter to ACH’s pescado attempt as he drops onto his back and drives the knees into his ribs! Bobby starts attacking the midsection from there, establishing himself in the match after a really shaky start. He clings to a bearhug…but can’t keep ACH down and is bounced outside! They have a slight miscommunication on a blocked dive spot, and just can’t seem to get it on the same page until ACH manages to hit a slingshot Ace Crusher for 2. That whole segment was really sloppy. Fish puts another knee into ACH’s ribs, and absolutely HURLS him into the turnbuckles with a belly to belly suplex. Springboard moonsault misses…and even though he lands on his feet ACH is there to meet him with an enzi strike combo. They re-run the botched dive spot from earlier…and this time Bobby does counter it with a tilta-whirl backbreaker. MOONSAULT gets 2. ACH scales the ropes only miss a 450 Splash…and Fish kicks him in the head to win at 12:52

Rating – ** – What is going on with this show? This match had some good ideas but ended up being a bowling shoe ugly clash of styles. Fish is a brilliant and hugely intelligent wrestler, and some of the counters he came up with to ACH’s moveset were really fun, but there was just too much sloppiness and obvious botching from both men to go higher on my rating. For the second night in a row Fish really didn’t connect properly with his big ‘knock out kick’ which left the finish feeling very flat too.

Matt Taven is in the back, telling everyone he’s going to prove the critics wrong tonight – and prove that he doesn’t need Truth Martini’s help to win his matches

Matt Taven vs Kevin Steen
This isn’t billed as a Proving Ground Match, so I guess there’s no official TV Title opportunity up for grabs for Steen – although he’d have a good shout for one if he could win. As he’s already been a World and Tag Champion he could potentially slot in alongside Eddie Edwards and Roderick Strong as only the third ever Triple Crown Champion. Will he be too much for Taven and the Hoopla circus, or will Matt pull off perhaps his biggest upset to date?

Steen doesn’t look to be sweating Taven in the slightest, and enjoys himself dishing out multiple armdrags and strikes in front of an appreciative crowd. In the end it’s his over-exuberance with the Hoopla Hotties which allows Matt to hit his first serious offensive move of the match. It doesn’t last long though, with Steen evading his springboard enziguri attempt to give him a really nasty looking Apron Bomb. Truth Martini is furious, and interrupts commentary to ask why the referee isn’t ordering Steen to take it back inside the ring – as Steen escorts his client all around ringside for some rough trips into the guardrails. It gets no better as Taven finds himself crotched against the ringpost too! The TV Champion throws some punches which are pretty much no sold before Mr Wrestling decks him again. Tree of woe cannonball comes next…and just when Taven seems to have nothing left he manages to get the knees up to block the Steen-ton Bomb. In response Steen escapes the Headlock Driver and powerbombs Matt into the canvas. F-5…gets 2. Truth Martini has to get involved at this point, distracting Steen for long enough to allow Taven to hit a couple of kicks. Sharpshooter by Steen! Martini is in the ring…and Taven pins Steen using the ropes at 10:13

Rating – * – I’m not sure Delirious could have booked this match ANY worse. Steen is his hottest act, and he looks like a total chump with the manner of his loss. Taven is his TV Champion, and just got made to look like a jobber with this 10-minute-long ass kicking. Some of it was entertaining, but in the end it completely buries both guys. I understand ROH are trying to protect Steen, let him heal and reposition him on the card…but he can’t be losing too often, and certainly shouldn’t be losing in this manner. Surely having Taven lose a competitive 15-20 minute wrestling match gets him over more than winning after being beaten around the ring like a jobber all evening?

Steen wants to kick Martini’s ass…and since Nigel McGuinness is so fed up of Truth interfering in Taven’s matches, he agrees to punish him by booking an impromptu match

Kevin Steen vs Truth Martini
Has Martini wrestled any singles matches before in ROH? He is a trained wrestler, but has spent almost all his time in Ring Of Honor as a manager. Can he escape from Dearborn with his life?

For some reason Taven and the Hoopla Hotties leave Truth by himself. Martini tries to leave too…meaning Nigel has to leave commentary and physically drag Truth back from the locker room. He tries to run next, but can’t escape and is dragged into the ring by Steen. The referee is bumped, and Taven runs in to throw powder in Steen’s eyes. Martini smashes Steen with the Book Of Truth, and gets a close nearfall – more than Taven managed. Bronco Buster misses and a half-blinded Steen squashes Truth with the cannonball, followed by the Steen-ton. Taven takes a NASTY bump over the top rope. PACKAGE PILEDRIVER on Martini! Steen wins at 04:39

Rating – * – Much like the last match, it had it’s humorous moments, but I really don’t get the booking in the slightest. Why did Truth Martini get almost twice as much offence in four minutes as Taven got in ten? Why, when ROH haven’t found time to book ANY match to go over fifteen minutes so far tonight, did they manage to find two minutes of Truth Martini standing outside the ring? This is becoming a candidate for worst ROH show ever. Was Delirious smoking crack before booking this?

reDRagon are excited that the uncertainty around the World Title means the Tag Championship is taking centre stage. They will be watching the main event, but after the beatings they gave the Wolves last week they already can’t wait for another Wolves/reDRagon title match. With the Forever Hooligans and the Young Bucks on the way back, and ROH now having to ‘create teams’ (like Elgin and Lethal tonight), Fish and O’Reilly are welcoming all comers. Nice little promo…

Michael Elgin/Jay Lethal vs American Wolves
As the champions just said, the tag division is being spotlighted as ROH’s feature attraction right now in the absence of a World Champion. After mixed fortunes yesterday the Wolves now have the chance to prove themselves one of the world’s elite tag teams in another main event for them. Their opponents tonight are the unproven duo of Elgin and Lethal. Individually Michael and Jay have both fought some immense battles with the Wolves (especially Davey), and their credentials as singles wrestlers speak for themselves. Can they make waves on the tag scene with a huge win over former Tag Champions?

The handshake between Richards and Elgin is particularly tense. Lethal tries to start with Davey, but is wrestled out of the ring by a focused American Wolf. Eddie and Elgin in next…and when Edwards fails to take Unbreakable off his feet with a series of shoulder tackles, he finds success with a volley of chops to his opponent’s sizeable chest. Davey tags only for Michael to shake off the effects of his kick flurry to pick him up for a near-90 second stalling suplex! Davey has to tag out, with Eddie coming in and delivering a chop to Jay’s chest with such force that it takes the audience’s breath away. All four guys in, with Elgin BACK FLIPPING Lethal into a moonsault splash to Edwards, then tossing him out of the ring into a TOPE SUICIDA on Richards! Oklahoma Stampede gets 2 for the big man. Eddie is in trouble, but clings to the ropes as Elgin goes for the dead-lift superplex – delaying it for long enough to allow his partner to sneak in for a sunset bomb. Richards captures Elgin in a Strykerlock…only for Lethal to step in and angrily punt him in the head. But even in that short time it seems like he has inflicted some damage to Unbreakable’s leg. It’s not enough though, and as he goes for the Handspring Enzi far too early Elgin COUNTERS it with an airplane spin neckbreaker. Lethal shows him how it’s done by nailing the handspring elbow on Edwards. Eddie retaliates with a dragon screw on Elgin’s bad leg though. The tag team experience of the Wolves starts to show, with Richards wrestling circles around Elgin and Lethal and finding multiple ways to take it to both of them at the same time. Chaos Theory COUNTERED by the back suplex gourdbuster from Edwards – leaving Elgin in position for the flying double stomp from his partner.

Elgin refuses to lie down though, and gets back to his feet despite a barrage soccer punts from Richards. TURNBUCKLE GERMAN! On the other side the ring Eddie KILLS Lethal with a mafia kick off the apron! Double Alarm Clock blocked, and Elgin scoops both Wolves up for the tandem fallaway slam/Samoan drop. HEAD KICK/FACE CHOP COMBO from the Wolves to Jay! Unbreakable saves his partner from the Powerbomb Lungblower and suddenly all four are in the ring teeing off on each other. ANKLELOCK/ACHILLES LOCK IN TANDEM! STEREO SMALL PACKAGE COUNTERS FOR 2! EVERYONE KICKS EVERYONE…and they’re all down! Lethal is the first man up – and he climbs the turnbuckles thinking about the Macho Elbow. Another vicious running kick from Die Hard puts a halt to that attempt. ELGIN LARIATS HIM ON HIS HEAD! He tries to do the same to Davey AND GETS SLAPPED INTO THE CROSS ARMBREAKER! Michael powers back to his feet…HEAD DROP GERMAN BY DAVEY! NO SOLD! BRAINBUSTER ON ELGIN! HAIL TO THE KING ON DAVEY! FOR 2! Lethal Injection blocked…SPINNING BACK FIST! LETHAL COMBINATION! SUPERKICK/DEAD-LIFT GERMAN COMBO! EDDIE SAVES! That was an awesome send-up of one of the trademark American Wolves finishers. It breaks down to old rivals Richards and Elgin, who look set to give Dearborn a repeat of Showdown In The Sun Day 2. Elgin SLAPS THE SH*T out of Davey! KICK OF DEATH TOMBSTONE! LETHAL SNEAKS IN…AND NEARLY FLASH PINS DAVEY! DOUBLE ALARM CLOCK ON JAY! DOOMSDAY LUNGBLOWER! LETHAL KICKS OUT! ACHILLES LOCK ON LETHAL! RICHARDS TOPE’S OUT OF THE RING AT ELGIN! Jay has to tap at 23:34

Rating – **** – A show-saving, tremendous main event which thankfully wasn’t in keeping with what has been a massively lacklustre undercard. The Wolves are in incredible form as of late, and the sheer quality of Lethal and Elgin meant that, even with their inexperience as a team, they easily hung with the veterans of the tag division. I liked what they went for here, with the Wolves dominating for long periods, frequently overwhelming their opponents with flurries, combinations and tandem moves that come from years of experience teaming together. In return, Elgin and Lethal showed great resilience and skill – pushing the Wolves to the limits but ultimately succumbing to one last flurry of sequential manoeuvres by Davey and Eddie.

reDRagon watched the conclusion of that match from the aisle, and look on in reluctant admiration for the performance of their great rivals the American Wolves as the show ends.

Tape Rating – ** – Absolutely unrecognisable from the fantastic show we got yesterday. This one goes past WAR and becomes the worst show of 2013. Up until the main event it was going down as one of the worst Ring Of Honor shows EVER. It truly was that bad – delivering bad matches, botched spots and absolutely horrendous booking all over the place. What the hell was Delirious smoking with the Steen/Taven match? Why ruin Silas/Tommaso with THAT finish? Who the f*ck signed off on letting the Women Of Honor nearly cripple each other (and not in a ‘good’ way)? How the hell did the crowd stay awake during Whitmer/Cole? Could Fish and ACH have had a worse match if they tried? In many ways this show really emphasises my point about how important the American Wolves are to Ring Of Honor, and why it will be disastrous (in the short term) if WWE do sign them up. They are delivering an incredible run of 4* matches – and keep saving (and making) shows with their performances. Elgin is another guy who is having a stellar year – so when you put them all in one main event the rest of the roster are horribly exposed on the undercard. Tadarius/O’Reilly and Ciampa/Young were ok – but who on that undercard really stepped up, raised their hand and proved they wanted to advance to the next level in ROH tonight? The truth is nobody did. The Women Of Honor division flopped spectacularly. Fish and ACH wilted under the weight of expectation for their match. ‘Next big thing’ Adam Cole continues to have a particularly underwhelming 2013. BJ Whitmer, a respected veteran, wrestled like a buffoon. The main event was great, and I did like the hard-hitting violence of Young vs Ciampa until Delirious’ stupid booking ruined it. But that’s not enough to recommend this to anybody other than the most staunch and hardcore of ROH fans. Delirious is getting lots of credit for turning round the fortunes of ROH in the post-Cornette era. Certainly he’s done some positive things. But, there are some real issues with ROH right now. This show was bad. The last ippv wasn’t great. The lack of on-going storylines is deeply troubling. These are genuine concerns that need to be addressed in the second half of 2013.

Top 3 Matches
3) Tadarius Thomas vs Kyle O’Reilly (***)
2) Tommaso Ciampa vs Silas Young (***)
1) American Wolves vs Michael Elgin/Jay Lethal (****)

Top 7 Night Of Hoopla/Reclamation Weekend Matches
7) Tommaso Ciampa vs Silas Young (*** – Reclamation Night 2)
6) reDRagon vs Roderick Strong/Cheeseburger (*** – A Night Of Hoopla)
5) Michael Elgin/BJ Whitmer/MsChif vs Tadarius Thomas/ACH/Athena (**** – A Night Of Hoopla)
4) Michael Elgin vs Adam Cole vs Jay Lethal vs Matt Taven (**** – Reclamation Night 1)
3) American Wolves vs Michael Elgin/Jay Lethal (**** – Reclamation Night 2)
2) Bobby Fish vs Davey Richards (**** – Reclamation Night 1)
1) Eddie Edwards vs Kyle O’Reilly (****1/2 – Reclamation Night 1)

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