Report by Dave Musgrave and F4WOnline.com …
The show opens with footage of Jim Cornette declaring the ROH tag team titles vacant due to a contract dispute between ROH and Kenny King. Footage is shown of last week’s first round match with Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander vs the Young Bucks with Coleman and Alexander advancing to the second round.
Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness introduce this week’s show from the Du Burns Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. They preview tonight’s show including tournament matches with the Guardians of Truth facing Charlie Haas and Rhett Titus. They note that next week Jay and Mark Briscoe will face Blk-Out.
The Bravado Brothers of Harlem and Lancelot come to the ring for tonight’s first tournament match followed by their opponents Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs. Corino is on the microphone saying that there is a quandary in ROH as there is always drama. He talks about Haas and Titus and says that it leaves one spot open in the tournament. Corino says they aren’t Cornette’s boys so it wasn’t going to happen but they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse which has been signed. Corino says that he and Jacobs are team # 8 and Cornette wanted them to put something up so if he and Jacobs lose any match in the tournament they will leave Ring of Honor. Corino tells the people of Baltimore and the people at home not to worry as the most dangerous men are men that have everything to lose and tells Cornette that he is looking at the new World Tag Team Champions.
Corino and Jacobs refuse to shake hands with the Bravados. The match starts with Jacobs elbowing Lance off of the apron and then tying up with Harlem. Jacobs slides out of the ring and gets punched by Lance who rolls him back in. Harlem chops him and tags in Lance. They double-whip Jacobs and Harlem hits a dropkick on him before punching Corino who is coming in for the assist. Lance goes for a pin and then hits a vertical suplex. Truth Martini joins the commentary team as the Bravados hits stereo elbows on Jacobs. Harlem hits a belly-to-back suplex and then tags in Lance who snapmares Jacobs and applies a front facelock. Jacobs takes him into the corner where he hits both Jacobs and Corino with forearms Jacobs charges Lance and he gets out of the way but takes an elbow from Corino on the apron. Corino tags in and works him over with forearms and a back-rake before running him into Jimmy’s boot. Corino holds Lance as Jimmy comes off the top with an axe-handle. Jacobs argues with the referee as Corino chokes Harlem on the ropes. Jacobs then takes him to the corner and starts punching him in the head. Jacobs tags in Corino and they whip Lance into the ropes and both punches him in the face at the same time. Corino starts again with a back-rake and punches. Harlem runs in for a save but gets redirected by the referee allowing Corino to kick Lance outside and then whip him into the ring barrier. The show goes to commercials and upon return Corino lays out Lance with an elbow. Jacobs follows up with boots in the corner and then charges him in the other corner but Lance trips him up. Harlem tags in and hits punches and elbows on his opponents followed by a big boot to Corino. He throws Jacobs out of the ring and then hits a tope con giro onto both Jacobs and Corino. Jacobs and Harlem go back in the ring where Harlem goes to the top and hits a blockbuster on Jacobs for a near-fall. Jacobs pushes Harlem into the corner but Harlem grabs Jacobs’ head and hits a tornado DDT with a kick off the top rope for another near-fall. Harlem takes Jacobs to the top rope again but gets kicked in the face. The camera is on Martini as Jacobs gets the tag to Corino hits two running knees to Harlem. Corino and Jacobs then hit what can best be described as a combination STO and neckbreaker for a nearfall. Corino does a reverse Russian Leg Sweep. Harlem fights back and hits a neckbreaker before tagging Lancelot who vaults into a DDT on Corino and then elbows Jacobs off the apron. Lancelot elbows Corino in the corner and then hits a belly-to-bell suplex for a near-fall. Lancelot then hits a number of clotheslines and a pin attempt is broken up by Jacobs. Harlem comes in and hits an enzuiguiri on Corino who was held by Lance who then hits a German suplex on Corino. Harlem goes to the top rope but is cut off by Jacobs. Lance rushes Jacobs from behind who jumps back into an Ace Crusher on Lance. Harlem jumps off the top rope at Jacobs who hits Harlem with a spear. Corino grabs Lance and hits an atomic drop followed by a backdrop driver for a near-fall. Corino then goes for a near-fall on a seated Lancelot but gets caught in a roll-up. Corino kicks out and then gets to his feet and hits a backdrop driver on Lancelot for the pinfall. Corino and Jacobs advance to the second round of the tournament but as they are celebrating they are jumped by the Guardians of Truth. Kevin Steen comes in for the save and fights them off but Rhino hits the ring and delivers a gore to Steen while Martini runs to ringside and cheers on his faction.
On “Inside Ring of Honor” Kevin Kelly reviews last week’s six-man mayhem match in which Mike Mondo pinned Mike Bennett to earn a shot at the ROH TV title at Death Before Dishonor in Chicago. Kelly says that before Chicago current TV champ Adam Cole must get past Michael Elgin on ROH TV next week. Cole is interviewed and says that last week Mondo shocked the world in earning the TV title shot in Chicago. Cole says that as champion he has a target on his back and has to face Elgin next week. Cole says last time they faced was in Toronto where Elgin beat him and was the better man that night. Cole says he has gained experience and a little bit of weight since then. Cole says that when Elgin faces him on ROH television he will have to kill him to take the championship away from him. Cole says that when he retains the title he will go on to face Mondo in Chicago. Cole says that there is a lot he respects about Mondo including his principles which will make him a great opponent. Cole says that Mondo is sadly mistaken if he thinks that he will let the years he has put toward being ROH Champion, he is dead wrong. Cole says he looks forward to the challenge but will walk away as champion.
Kelly also previews the Chicago main event with ROH World Champion defending against Rhino who is interviewed. Rhino says that Truth Martini promised Jim Cornette a solution to the Kevin Steen problem and that that is where he comes in. Rhino says he gets paid a lot of money to take people out which is what he’ll do Steen in Chicago. Rhino says that he is going to make Steen bleed and wish he was never born and that he will curse his own mother for giving birth to him. Rhino says if he had any compassion he would feel sorry for him which is what the people in Chicago and around the world will be feeling for him. Rhino says he knows what he’s capable of and he will leave him in Chicago laying in a pool of his own (censored) and standing over him as the new Ring Of Honor World Champion. Rhino chants “Gore! Gore! Gore!” as the interview ends.
Kelly previews that the Chicago show will also have the semi-finals and finals of the tag team title tournament with Coleman and Alexander facing Alexander and Coleman. Kelly notes that the winner of the Guardians of Truth vs Haas and Titus will face the winners of the Briscoes vs Blk-Out. The Briscoes are interviewed and Jay refers to Blk-Out as the wildcard team. Jay says they may be the Ace of Spades or the Two of Clubs and Mark says the Five of Diamonds. Jay looks at Mark and says he doesn’t think they’re playing the same game but after next week on tv Blk-Out will be called Black and Blue or Blacked-Out because they’re gonna whoop their asses and go to Chicago to take the straps.
After the commercial a musical vignette is shown for Jay Lethal who says that he spent six years somewhere else trying to be someone else. Lethal says he has come back to Ring of Honor because it is where a professional wrestler can prove he is the best in the world.
Matt Taven is shown coming to the ring followed by his opponent Jay Lethal. Nigel says that he’s never seen Lethal in the kind of mood he was in before they went on the air and Kelly says it was very unlike him. Lethal takes the microphone and says that something happened backstage. He says that he ran into Jim Cornette in the back and said that Cornette has looked high and low in his quest to find someone to unseat Kevin Steen but has not looked to him. Lethal says he asked Cornette why and Cornette told him he knows for a fact that Lethal is a better wrestler and athlete than Steen but he can’t beat Steen. Lethal says that Cornette said he doesn’t think Lethal is mean enough, he isn’t angry enough and doesn’t have that killer instinct. Lethal says he wanted the fans to know just why he hasn’t gotten a title shot against Steen. As Lethal and Taven shake hands Lethal kicks him in the groin and then hits a Lethal Injection on the referee. A number of other referees and officials come to the ring and Lethal takes the microphone and says “Hey Jim, how’s that for killer instinct?” and leaves the ring.
After a commercial break footage is shown from last week of Charlie Haas and Rhett Titus agreeing to team with each other in the tournament. Interviews are shown with both with Titus saying that people are saying he is crazy to team with Haas but the only thing Haas said that made sense is that they are the only two who should be fighting for the titles. Haas says he got exactly what he wanted and they only have to win three matches and then he is going to kick Titus’s ass. Titus says in the end they will square off and see who really deserves the titles.
The Guardians of Truth come to the ring followed by Titus and Haas who come to the ring separately. Martini teases unmasking the Guardians. Haas points out a young fan for Titus to wave to and then throws Titus out of the ring so he can start the match. Haas locks up with one of the guardians and takes his back before gut-wrenching him and taking him to the mat. Haas grabs a front facelock and gator-rolls toward the ropes. They get to their feet and lock up again but Haas breaks it up in the ropes. They lock up yet again and the Guardian stomps him to the mat and tags in his partner. Haas fights back with punches before getting beat down with forearms. Haas gets whipped into the ropes and then kicked in the stomach. Both Guardians are in and whip Haas into the ropes and knock him backward onto the mat. Haas tags Titus who trades wrist-locks with the Guardian in the ring. Titus grabs a headlock but ends up in a head-scissors. He escapes and grabs a headlock. They trade wristlocks and headscissors. Titus hits an armdrag and avoids a kick to hit one of his own and then backdrops the Guardian. The Guardian backs up into Haas`s corner and takes a punch but responds with his own. Haas comes in and gets held back by the referee allowing the Guardian to hit a reverse DDT. The other Guardian comes in with no tag as the referee is distracted and hits a short-arm clothesline. Titus tries to fight out but takes a knee to the gut. The Guardians tag and Titus takes an axe-handle of the top rope. The show goes to commercials and one back Titus is fighting back and hits a chinbreaker on a Guardian. Titus slides to the outside and Haas comes around to yell at him. The Guardians throw Titus into the ropes on the outside causing him to rebound face-first on the floor. Titus gets rolled back inside and the Guardians tag in and out and work over Titus. One of the Guardians hits a bodyslam and then holds Titus in a surfboard as his partner comes of the top rope with a combination of an elbow drop and a curb-stomp as called by Nigel. Titus fights back and tries to hit the tag but Haas gets knocked off the apron. Titus does fight back and hits a belly-to-back suplex followed by a dropkick to both Guardians. Titus hits a big boot followed by a facebuster. Titus continues to fight through but does get hit with a powerslam. Titus is held for a powerbomb by one Guardian as the other goes to the top rope but Haas pulls him off and while the other Guardian is distracted Titus rolls him up for the victory. Kelly and McGuiness put over Haas celebrating the victory after Titus did all the work. Corino and Jacobs hit the ring and jump the Guardians and the two teams are brawling on the outside of the ring as the show goes off the air. Kelly previews that next week will have the Briscoes against Blk-Out in a tournament match as well as Cole vs Elgin.
The opening match this week was really good as I like both teams and still see Corino and Jacobs as the likely winners of the tournament, although I was hoping they’d face Alexander and Coleman in the finals. The Lethal angle was fine although I don’t know where it will go unless they do plan on pushing Lethal to the top. The last match was booked well in terms of the Haas and Titus storyline but the masked gimmick for the Guardians should probably go. I may be biased as it makes their matches hard to write up but I do think it would work better if they unmasked a la Doom. I also think they would then work better as babyfaces with Titus teaming with Chris Silvio as a heel team but perhaps that is more fantasy booking than I should put in a review. I am looking forward to the Chicago show and predict it will be Haas and Titus vs Haas and Titus in the finals.