Good morning everyone! Welcome to another edition of Ring of Honor Wrestling! I’m Drew Koscelek, I’ll be your guide today.
Gonna try something a bit different here - less play by play, more reaction to the matches. Let’s see how this goes.
We are in Pittsburgh, PA, and Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are welcoming us to the show. Our main event is TV Champion Tomasso Ciampa defending against Matt Taven and Jay Lethal.
First up, some tag team action!
Adrenaline Rush (ACH & Taddarius Thomas) vs. The Decade (Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer w/ Roderick Strong)
Before the Bell: A refusal for the Code of Honor from The Decade sets the tone.
The Match: Jimmy Jacobs is quick on his feet, but Adrenaline Rush are quicker and it shows. BJ Whitmer is the powerhouse in the ring. Whitmer sends Jacobs spearing into ACH in a pretty cool spot. Roderick Strong takes photos from ringside. The Decade control the pace of the match throughout. Hot tag to TD and we get the Ring of Honor spot (dive outside the ring) after a nice series of offense. It’s back and forth, and Jimmy Jacobs hits a crazy spear onto the apron and through the ropes. The Decade hit their tandem finisher, The All Seeing Eye, to pick up the win.
After the Bell: I don’t remember. I decided to start doing this section after watching the Main Event. Sorry.
What Worked: Nice back and forth action. Adrenaline Rush really does stand up to their name, and it’s not just because they’re high fliers. They have some really nice offense, especially with their kicks. The heels did heel things, and did them well. This match knew its’ place on the card and didn’t try to fit in too many crazy spots. I like The Decade’s finisher.
What Didn’t: BJ Whitmer entered the ring on two separate occasions with no tag and no repercussions from the ref. I know they’re heels, but the ref needs to at least appear to have some sort of control, or at least attempt to get them back in the corner. The Decade didn’t seem quite as crisp as I’ve seen them in the past, either.
The Summary: A good tag team match that doesn’t try to be more than an early contest. I’m ok with that. Really. ROH needs more of that, to be honest.
We get a nice video package highlighting the two finalists in the Top Prospects Tournament: Raymond Rowe and Hanson. The winner will get a World Television Title Shot.
Hanson vs. Raymond Rowe
Before the Bell: Hanson takes advantage of the Code of Honor.
The Match: It takes about two seconds for the match to end up outside. Rowe teases the Ring of Honor spot (dive to the outside) but gets cut off. Hanson has control most of the match. Rowe is the smaller guy and uses his speed, but he’s not that much smaller. Nice German Suplex from Rowe. For some reason, Michael Elgin watches from ringside. Hanson missed a Bronco Buster. Rowe hits another suplex. Nice sequence, but Hanson hits his spinning crescent kick for the finish.
After the Bell: Hanson extends his hand to Rowe and they shake.
What Worked: Rowe is full of suplexes, and I love that. Both men are deceptively fast for their size.
What Didn’t: Raymond Rowe is too big of a guy to be diving through the ropes outside. I mean, he can do it. I can eat a lot of cheeseburgers too, but that doesn’t mean I should. A guy Hanson’s size shouldn’t be doing cartwheels or Bronco Busters. Both of these guys seem to have an identity crisis between size and “cool moves.” You can be large and fast without doing things that really should be reserved for the small guys that need it.
The Summary: A look of things to come with two guys that obviously have a lot of talent, but need some tweaking, in my opinion. Good match. Worth checking out.
Brief promo for The Briscoe Brothers about their match next week.
We see a highlight package recapping the story thus far with Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Taven, and Jay Lethal.
Matt Taven vs. Jay Lethal vs. Tommaso Ciampa © for the Ring of Honor World Television Championship
Before the Bell: Matt Taven comes out to the ring alone, then is surprised to see the Hoopla Hotties come out to the ring shortly after him. Truth Martini comes out as well. Truth looks completely different. Truth comes out to the ring and talks about all the things he gave him. Once Taven lost the title, he killed their lifestyle. He tells the Hotties to head back. He says from this moment, Hoopla is dead. Taven grabs the mic and says he let Martini do all the talking for too long. He thanks him for guiding him to the title, but he outgrew him and when he needed him most, Truth wasn’t there for him. He tells Truth he doesn’t need him anymore either, and sends him to the back.
Jay Lethal and our champion, Tommaso Ciampa, come out to the ring with far less drama.
The Match: Tommaso hits the ring and attacks both men immediately, even though streamers are still flying. There is no Code of Honor. Ciampa is on a tear and floors everyone. Taven goes for the Ring of Honor spot, but Lethal cuts him off and does it himself instead. In fact, he does it twice. No make that three times. Actually, four. Five. Six. Let’s call it at six since there’s a commercial break. After the break it’s still outside. Concrete is exposed. Bodies everywhere. Taven sneaks in the ring and hits a nice suplex. There’s some really good action with all three men getting in their spots. Lethal locks in the Koji Clutch, but Ciampa breaks it on the ropes. Lethal nails his Lethal Injection, but Taven hits a body splash from the top. Truth Martini is on commentary the entire time, and at this point slides in the Book of Truth. Taven sends it back to him. They argue, and Lethal takes advantage. Lethal gets a rollup on Ciampa, but the ref is checking on Taven and misses it. Ciampa with a near fall. Truth trips up Taven, and Ciampa hits his finisher for the win.
After the Bell: Lethal extends his hand to Taven. Taven to Ciampa. Lethal and Ciampa jaw back and forth a bit, but they still shake hands. It looks like these two might not quite be done with each other.
What Worked: I like the intensity of the match. Ciampa brings a level of intensity to everything he does that makes his matches feel like real fights. There’s some really cool three-man spots that are worth seeing. Some exciting action at the end, and this is clearly setting up a feud between Taven and Martini.
What Didn’t: Does the ref even bother to count if all the participants are outside the ring? I feel like Ciampa comes off as a bit invincible sometimes, to a fault. When all three men are laid out in the ring, THEN the ref counts. Why not earlier? Triple Threat matches can be a bit of a mess, and this one became one towards the end. A little bit too much going on, and having Truth Martini in the mix may have been unnecessary.
The Summary: An enjoyable match. All three men work well. Ciampa is making a fine TV champ but I feel like some of the things he improved upon last time he’s kind of defaulted back to, such as no-selling certain moves. He doesn’t have the size or stature to pull that sort of thing off properly. Lethal is a great worker and I would like to see him featured more prominently. Taven’s involvement in the match was a bit on the weak side and this was more about setting up his next feud than anything.
Overall Show Impressions: Well, if you like good action, Ring of Honor is the way to go. Having a title match close the show is always good, and I like that ROH continues to give importance to their titles. However, if you’re pressed for time, this week is probably a week you could skip.
Best Match: This is sort of a tough one, but I think I have to give it to Hanson vs. Rowe. These guys worked really hard and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go from here.
Worst Match: Adrenaline Rush vs. The Decade. Just the nature of the situation, and this isn’t a knock on the match (or the guys) at all. It wasn’t meant to be a blockbuster match and it wasn’t.
Thanks for tuning in this week, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @PsionStorm, and follow our site @RingRap, and our weekly podcast @RingRapAudio! Please let me know if you like the new format or would prefer a return to the traditional play-by-play!