ROH live event (Collinsville, Ill. at The Gateway Center)
The show opened with The Embassy coming out and RD Evans talking on the stick, and sort of scoffed that Delirious could not compete against Ciampa due to conflicting interests. As Delirious is the head booker for the promotions. So it sort of sucks that a hometown talent cannot compete, but we indeed get a few surprises later on. In the wake of Delirious not being able to compete, his top student Andy Ridge will be competing in his place.
1. Tommaso Ciampa (w/The Embassy) defeated Andy “Right Leg” Ridge. The match starts off heavily in the favor of Ciampa easily showing his skill and power over the young up and comer. Ciampa with some solid running knees a bit into the match was really noteworthy. Ridge got knocked out of the ring, but this is where it got better for Ridge as he was able to gain some ground after putting Ciampa in to the guard rail. Things didn’t stay in the full control over Ridge as Ciampa gained control again and put on the hurt.
Ridge gets an opening and trying to deliver a Springboard Ace Crusher, but Ciampa with a great counter that laid Ridge out flat. The Embassy try to get involved, but Delirious out of nowhere appears and chases Nana around the ring. I big game of cat and mouse ensues as Delirious chases Nana and the rest of The Embassy are trying to catch Delirious. Back in the ring Ridge gets another shot to land the Springboard Ace Crusher and lands is solid to Ciampa.
Only a two count, though. Ridge is not able to get any more offense in after the pin attempt and Ciampa ultimately delivers a very solid Project Ciampa II aka a Powerbomb to Double Knee Backbreaker.
2. Jay Briscoe defeated T.J. Perkins in a Special Challenge Match. TJP is looking to make a name for himself since being signed to ROH and nothing says that better than taking on one of the tops in the company today. This match had a lot of back and forth action with TJP easily holding his own and seemingly looking like he could have won on a few spots, but it was all said and done after Jay delivered the Jay Driller that put TJP down for the count.
3. Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs defeated The Bravado Brothers. Jimmy Jacobs came into the match still sporting a knee brace on his left knee, and it definitely seemed to hold him back for a few spots. The Bravado’s definitely sort of seem to be the joke team in the promotion now, not saying they are a bad team, but they carry the banner of not being that serious. I could sort of say in a way like the All Night Express a few years back, now look they are headlining show. So maybe one day the Bravado’s can earn the same.
The match had a couple funny and memorable spots. One with Jacobs over selling a sleeper attempt from Lance that say Jacobs hitting his back within a few mere seconds of the moving being applied. Of course this was all a bait and it almost cost them the match. Then we got Corino with the old Abdominal Stretch to thumb in the butt trick that what used in tandem with Jacobs to the other Bravado Bros. It was a fun match all in all, Corino and Jacobs having a following a get the crowds attention no matter what. The match would end following the Eternal Dream (Sliding Lariat) from Corino.
Probably the biggest disappointment was that Kevin Steen did not make an appearance. You would think after what happened for the TV tapings the TV tapings the night prior that he could make an appearance.
4. Michael Elgin (w/Truth Martini) defeated Grizzly Redwood. Elgin from the moment I first saw him reminds a bit like Taz from ECW. He may be a bit short, but is built like an ox. Just a burly dude even though not carrying the highest stature. It was pretty much thought of from the start that this match would be nothing more than a squash match with Redwood being chopped down before he even gets anything going.
5. Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas defeated Future Shock (Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly) to retain the ROH Tag Titles. Shelton was sporting some bandages around his waist (possibly an injury from the tv tapings) and it did appear to be keeping him down maybe a bit more than planned. Either he did a good job of selling or he had an straight up injured rib(s).
Shelton was definitely being target because of his injured ribs early on and Cole and O’Reilly came off looking like a very solid team in the place. Granted they are still a young team but they held their own against the tag team champions.
Haas ended up doing a lot more work in the match, but he kept the pace going. Benjamin worked throw the injury as well as he could and had a couple cool spots to show from it.
The ending had a bad spot, sort of becoming a theme, but Haas with the Haas of pain (on O’Relly) for the victory. All in all this was a descent match until the off ending. After the match Haas had good words to say for Future Shock. That they are the future as well as in line for a tag team title run sooner than later.
6. MsChif defeated Mia Yim. This match was the sort of last minute addition to the card, but it saw Yim making her in ring debut fir ROH with a very touch challenge of facing the St. Louis grown MsChif. I don’t normally get into these things, but honestly I don’t know if I am the only one who notices it, but Yim needs to make her kicks more solid.
She seems to be all for the kicks, but there is a serious lack of pop or thud from the moves. I know you are not supposed to drill the opponent straight on, but there are tricks to make these moves more believable. Hopefully she picks up on this sooner than later. MsChif of course looked as strong as ever, pretty much taking Yim through the ringer and in the end picking up the win following the Desecrator.
7. Jay Lethal defeated Mark Briscoe in a Proving Ground match. Lots of back and forth action, both men looked solid and the match seemed to have been able to go either way. Both guys landed solid moves in the match from Lethal with the Lethal Injection and Mark with the T-Bone Suplex. Lethal, though, would pick up the win following the Lethal Combination and then following that up with the Diving Elbow Drop.
8. El Generico defeated “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett (w/”Brutal” Bob Evans). How this match is Semi-Main Event level is beyond me. Generico I could say yes that he deserved the spot, but I have not really seen too much from Bennett. Generico is super over with the crowd and always get a resounding “Ole!” every time he lands a solid maneuver on his opponents. Within no time Bob tries to run the interference, and Bennett slips into the offensive territory.
Generico though eventually gets the shot and gets Bennet outside of the ring and delivers the Tope Con Hilo. The crowd goes wild for Generico. Eventually back in the ring Bennett tries to take charge, but Generico lands a big Blue Thunder Driver. Only a 2 count. Bennett gets back to his feet and the action goes back and forth until Bennett lands a Spinebuster on Generico.
Both men get back to their feet and Generico soon tries for a Brainbuster, the attempt is not a success, and both go back and forth. Eventually Bennett gets caught in the corner and he is soon met with a big Running Boot. He hooks Bennett’s head and delivers a Brainbuster.
Only a count, and Bob tries to interfere in the match yet again. Bennett sees the opening and tries to go for a move of his own. Generico is prepared though and hooks and drops Bennett on his head with another Brainbuster for the win. Following the match Bennett and Bob continue assaulting Generico in the ring. Bennett with a Side slam for the exclamation point to Generico. It was a descent match, maybe not in the position it was placed, but Generico carried a lot of fan love and appreciation.
9. The All Night Express (Kenny King and Rhett Titus) defeated The American Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards). This has to be one of the top contenders as match of the night. Lots of great team work and presence. It is cool to see how far ANX has come up in the last few years, as originally being seen as the joke team, now they have honed their skills into a perfect duo. I would say ANX definitely came off as the stronger team in the night. The Wolves may have a strong history, but not being partners for such a long time definitely has should there is some rust between the both of them. Though in the end their was lots of great spots and both teams worked the match well.
The match ended in defeat for Eddie Edwards after a Pump Frog Splash and King with a Shooting Star Press. Definitely awesome to see King throw something new in the mix and they are definitely solidifying themselves as a team to beat in ROH.
Following the match, Richards congratulated ANX on the win and said that they have solidified themselves as a team to face in ROH. After a win like this you have to think that they will be lined up for a title opportunity against WGTT sooner than later.