Hey everyone! Drew Koscelek here. We kick off with highlights of Adam Cole vs. Jay Briscoe in Ladder War at Supercard of Honor VIII. Our undisputed Ring of Honor Champion is Adam Cole. It was a bloody affair, but Jay Briscoe just couldn’t get the job done.
Ring of Honor time… here we go!
We are in New Orleans, LA for this week’s action. Later on, Alex Koslov will challenge our new ROH TV Champ Jay Lethal. But first, our Undisputed Champ, Adam Cole, heads out to the ring, flanked by Matt Hardy. Cole holds Briscoe’s version of the belt over his shoulder. He wears the traditional title. Matt Hardy cheers him on.
Cole takes the mic. He says there is no dispute or doubt. There is only one undisputed Ring of Honor Champion, “and his name is Adam Cole, baby!” He says noone knows what it’s like to wake up and go to bed knowing you’re the best pro-wrestler on the planet. He says he’s taken on all comers, and he’s beaten every one of them. At Ladder War, he went to hell and back, but Jay Briscoe went to hell and stayed there. He says Jay Briscoe will never be the same again. He talks about the shame Jay Briscoe has after the loss.
Cole talks about Michael Bennett beating both Briscoes. Cole says the rumors are true: they briscoes will never appear in Ring of Honor again.
Cole talks about having the real championship already, but Briscoe’s version deserves to be around the waist of someone that walks and breathes, and knows what it’s like to be a champion. Cole turns to Hardy: “Will you do me the honor of accepting this championship?” Hardy reluctantly takes the belt. He takes a mic and thanks Cole profusely. He says the belt needs a little work and needs to be renamed. He calls it “The Iconic Title.” “Thank you Adam, you are the man!”
They begin to celebrate, but Kevin Steen interrupts - he’s not amused. Steen stands on the ramp, and says Adam Cole has no idea what hell is. “I am the devil, my friend, and I will make sure you know exactly what hell is. Because hell, for you, is in Ontario, Canada, when you put that belt on the line against Kevin Steen.” Steen says being the undisputed champion is a lie. He says he lost the title last year to Jay Briscoe, and never got a rematch. He says he pinned Cole clean in the ring two weeks before Cole won the title, but didn’t get a shot. Then he earned a title match a few weeks later, but Cole pulled out of the match because he “was too hurt.” “By the way, pulling out only works for so long.” He puts over his upcoming title shot - he’s earned it 4 times. Steen says it’s not personal. Noone stands between him and his goals. He calls Cole an obstacle.
Cole says he’s the best damn wrestler, and Steen will fall like everyone else. Steen calls Cole out on his Canadian error. Steen blindsides Cole with a fist, then attacks Hardy. Michael Bennett hits the ring and attacks Steen. All three men are attacking, Maria at ringside calling the shots. Hardy and Bennett set Steen up, and Cole slams him in the face with the belt. The three stand tall above Kevin Steen, who’s laid out.
Strong segment to set up Steen vs. Cole. The stuff with the other belt was cute, but unnecessary. Hardy will make it work, and sell it like a champ, however.
Cedrick Alexander vs. BJ Whitmer (w/ The Decade)
Before the Bell: We join the entrance in progress. All men in the ring. Adam Page rinses off Whitmer’s mouthguard, gives him some water.
The Match: The bell rings, and they tie up. Alexander uses some nice chain wrestling to escape a wristlock. Clean break in the corner. Roderick Strong joins in on commentary. Alexander gets a two-count. They trade chops. Alexander picks up steam, but Whitmer cuts him off. Gut buster. They trade punches, but Whitmer continues to whittle Alexander down. He stretches him out in the middle of the ring.
Whitmer whips Alexander into the corner, and that’s all he needs to start firing back. He slides under the legs and hits a kick to the head for a two-count. Alexander tweaks his knee, but continues the match. Kick to the gut, but Whitmer catches him with a powerslam for a two-count. He hits a pair of fishermen suplexes for a near fall. We go to break.
Back from break, Alexander rolls Whitmer up. He hits the Lumbar Check out of nowhere, and Jimmy Jacobs distracts the ref. Alexander takes him out. Whitmer uses the advantage to recover long enough to hit a fierce clothesline for the victory.
Winner: BJ Whitmer
After the Bell: The Decade hit the ring. Jacobs grabs a mic. He says Cedric will never get it. Meanwhile, Adam Page stretches him out. Jacobs says kids like him have no respect. He tells him to lick the dirt off his boot. He talks trash about his wife and daughter, asks if they’ll be proud of daddy. Alexander spit in his face. Strong hits a Sick Kick, and a backbreaker to put the cherry on top.
What Worked: A well worked match.
What Didn’t: The audience was dead here, and these two didn’t do much to amp it up.
The Summary: Decent match, but skippable.
Adam Cole cuts another pre-recorded promo about his match against Kevin Steen.
Andrew Everett vs. ACH (w/ Tadarius Thomas)
Before the Bell: The commentary team put this match over as a highlight reel, and it certainly could be. These men can fly. Everett out first, ACH and TD second. They shake.
The Match: Coverage could be sparse here, because these guys are so fast. Shoulder block, and ACH flips for no reason. Everett hits a nice dropkick. Both men go back and forth. ACH locks in a cloverleaf and wrenches into Everett’s back. Elbow to the face. Everett hits a nice springboard to the apron, then a springboard dropkick. Nice.
Everett hits a nice sequence ending in a spike hurricarana. Two-count. Suplex to ACH. Everett misses a moonsault. ACH hits a stomp to the back of the head. Everett tosses ACH out, but he hangs on. Nice sequence leading to Everett hitting a flip over the top rope to the outside. They roll back into the ring, and Everett climbs up top. He misses a double moonsault (looked close to the mat, by the way.) ACH kicks him, then climbs up top and hits a 450 for the win.
After the Bell: TD heads in the ring and holds up ACH’s hand, but ACH checks on Everett. TD looks a little disheartened. Jacobs stirs up some crap between TD and ACH. Looks like they’re playing up a separation between Adrenaline Rush.
What Worked: Nice highspots.
What Didn’t: It looked a bit rehearsed for my liking.
The Summary: I’ve seen better matches out of these guys, but if you like high flying action, it’s worth seeing.
Another promo from Truth Martini. He says he’s not here to hurt. He’s here to help. “Fire me?” They’re highlighting the feud between Truth and Matt Taven, with highlights on Martini burning Taven’s face.
We get a recap of Jay Lethal winning the TV Title from Tomasso Ciampa, with a little help from Martini.
Alex Koslov vs. Jay Lethal (c) for the Ring of Honor Television Champion
Before the Bell: Koslov comes out to the ring by himself. Truth Martini escorts Jay Lethal, or TV Champ. Bobby Cruise gives us a championship match intro. They shake hands and it’s on.
The Match: Admittedly, I’ve never seen Koslov before, though I’m familiar with his work. Martini gives Lethal some advice, and Lethal goes for another handshake. Koslov denies it. Koslov gets some early offense, then in the middle of a sequence, tosses Lethal a handshake. He takes it, and Koslov takes him down. Koslov is trying to get into Lethal’s head. He hits a Ring of Honor spot, diving out of the ring, as we go to break.
After the break, Lethal tosses Koslov into the barricade. Back in the ring, Lethal goes for the Lethal Combination, but Koslov catches him. Lethal hits a dropkick. Two count. Koslov hits a dropkick and both are laid out. Trading punches. Lethal gets the gut, but Koslov hits a spring crossbody, then an enzuigiri. Koslov puts on his fuzzy hat. I guess this gives him power. He hits a series of “Russian” kicks. I guess he calls it “Putin the Boots.” Cute.
Lethal sends Koslov out to the apron, and hits a dropkick. Lethal runs the ropes. Koslov cuts him off with a kick. He goes for a springboard and *almost* trips it up, but he recovers and dives outside the ring. More impressive that he recovered than anything.
Back in the ring, Lethal Combination into the Koji Clutch. Lethal rolls him over back into the Clutch again. Koslov rolls out and locks in a submission of his own.
Both men climb up top, and Koslov goes for a superplex, but Lethal cuts it off, and headbutts him down. Lethal goes up top for the Elbow, but Koslov puts up the boot. Lethal tries for the Lethal Injection, Koslov counters with a Burning Hammer. Two-count.
Truth Martini tries to interrupt the ref, but Matt Taven runs out to the ring, bandaged around the head. They fight into the ring, and Lethal attacks Taven. The bandages come off and it’s a massive fight. Koslov just stays back as Taven tries to get his hands on Truth. The show comes to a close.
Winner: Alex Koslov via DQ? No title change here.
After the Bell: Fade to black as the above fight occurs.
What Worked: Well, the fans woke up for this match, and rightfully so. Good action. Both men worked really well together.
What Didn’t: Sadly, this ended up being more about Taven and Martini.
The Summary: A good match, but with the non-finish, it’s skippable.
Well folks, if you’re looking for a week to skip Ring of Honor, this was it. Tonight was all about setting up storylines, which is fine, but if you’re tuning in for match quality, this wasn’t the episode. If I’m not mistaken, the show was filmed the day after Supercard of Honor, which was Wrestlemania weekend. To put it bluntly: The crowd seemed worn out and it showed.