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War Memorial Auditorium – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – March 30, 2012
Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are in the ring to welcome the live audience as well as the iPPV audience to the show. They put over “professional wrestling,” as well as the top three matches – Lance Storm versus Mike Bennett, El Generico versus Kevin Steen, and Davey Richards versus Eddie Edwards versus Roderick Strong for the ROH World Championship.
MATCH #1: Proving Ground Match – ROH World Tag Team Champions Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Mikey Nicholls & Shane Haste
They show a little highlight video from Rise & Prove to show how Nicholls and Haste qualified to face the Briscoes in this Proving Ground match. Haste and Mark start the match. They start slugging and the match quickly spills to the floor. The Briscoes throw their opponents around a bit and then take it back to the ring. Haste gets decimated with double-teams, and Nicholls isn’t even safe on the apron. Nicholls grabs Mark’s leg from the floor, allowing Haste to hit a double stomp on the apron. Now Haste and Nicholls take control and wear Mark down. After a few minutes Mark lands on his feet from a back body drop and makes the tag. Jay is a house afire, hitting Nicholls with a Falcon Arrow for two. All four men are in the ring brawling now. Haste and Nicholls use some creative double-team maneuvers but can’t put Jay away. Mark gets a blind tag and the Briscoes are back in control. Nicholls is able to kick out of the Froggy Bow but the Briscoes still have him where they want him. The Champs hit the Doomsday Device to get the win at 7:24. Nicholls and Haste are a great team and I would like to see them more in ROH. This was a hot opener.
At an NWA show last night, ROH wrestler Adam Cole unsuccessfully challenged NWA Champion Adam Pearce for the title. As a result, Jim Cornette has invited former ROH star Adam Pearce to the show tonight. Pearce and Cornette talk about the match last night and how good Cole is, which brings out the man himself. Cole says that if he gets one more shot he knows he can defeat Pearce. The Scrap-Daddy accepts the challenge and we’ve got an impromptu match!
MATCH #2: Adam Cole vs. “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce
Pearce attacks Cole before the bell and away we go. Cole fights back with a dropkick to send Pearce to the floor, and then follows him out with a suicide dive. He whips Pearce into the barricade. Back in the ring Pearce grabs a running Cole by the throat and flattens him with a chokeslam. Pearce hits a pumphandle falcon arrow (I think?) for a close near-fall. Cole fights back way too quickly with an enziguiri, but then misses a cross body block. Pearce misses a Stinger Splash and Cole hits a Shining Wizard for two. Cole tries a waistlock but Pearce fights out of it. Pearce goes for the Piledriver but Cole backdrops him and then kneels down to get the cradle pin at 4:31. That was a decent little sprint and a good victory for Cole. Pearce puts him over after the match.
MATCH #3: Dual Duel Match #1 – The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) vs. The All Night Express (Rhett Titus & Kenny King)
Tonight’s match in the Dual Duel is a Tornado match. The Bucks attacks right away but the ANX quickly fights back. Titus pairs off with Matt in the ring while King and Nick fight on the floor. The Bucks try to regroup on the floor but the ANX wipes them out with stereo dives. Back in the ring the Bucks go on offense and use Tornado Rules to their advantage. Matt works on Titus’s (recently) surgically repaired knee. King gets back in the ring to throw Nick off the top rope and hit Matt with a spinebuster for two. Nick low-bridges Titus and then hits King with the slingshot X-Factor for two. The Bucks keep Titus and King isolated from each other and use their high flying skills to keep the ANX down. Titus sneaks back in the ring and unloads on the Bucks. King hits Matt with an exploder suplex. Titus follows with a Samoan Drop on Nick for two. The Bucks come back with a double superkick on King. They hit stereo 450 splashes on both King and Titus and get simultaneous two-counts. It looks like More Bang For Your Buck is about to happen but King breaks out it and Titus traps Matt in a leg cradle to get the pin at 8:37 and win the first match of the “Dual Duel” series. These teams have good chemistry and I’m interested in seeing what they can do in a street fight tomorrow night.
After the match Nick Jackson attacks Rhett Titus’s knee with a steel chair. That’s just uncalled for!
Tommaso Ciampa, Prince Nana, and R.D. Evans make their way out. At the “10th Anniversary Show: Young Wolves Rising,” Ciampa stole the ROH TV Championship belt form Jay Lethal, and ROH officials have ordered Ciampa to give it back this weekend. Evans explains that the Embassy was already in Florida by the time they received word about giving the title back. He says that Ernesto Osiris is on his way to pick up the belt, and Ciampa will give it to whomever the Champion is tomorrow night.
MATCH #4: ROH World TV Championship – Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly
Lethal has been the Champion since 8.13.11, and this is his sixth defense. Ciampa pulls up a chair to watch the match up close. Lethal and O’Reilly start with some chain wrestling back-and-forth. Things get heated pretty quickly but Lethal is able to keep his composure and maintain the advantage. O’Reilly fights back with knee strikes. Lethal responds with a springboard dropkick that knocks O’Reilly to the floor. He follows O’Reilly out and they fight on the stage. O’Reilly sweeps the leg and Lethal crashes hard. Back in the ring O’Reilly locks on an abdominal stretch and turns it into a cradle for two. O’Reilly locks on the guillotine choke and Lethal fights out of it with the Lethal Combination. Both men are down. Back on their feet they trade strikes. Lethal hits the handspring elbow for a two-count. He tries a suplex but O’Reilly fights out and hits a couple of kicks. O’Reilly than connects with the belly-to-back superplex for a two-count. He gets cocky and Lethal is able to blast him with a superkick. Lethal follows up with the Lethal Injection to retain the title at 11:31. O’Reilly is really growing into himself and Lethal is still on quite the hot streak.
MATCH #5: Tag Team Return Match – Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander
Recently on ROH TV, Coleman and Alexander were able to get a win over WGTT thanks to help from the Briscoes. Haas and Benjamin forego the handshake and attack right away because they’re so ANGRY now. Coleman and Alexander weather the early storm and double-team both of their opponents. Alexander misses a dive, and then Benjamin nails Coleman with a superkick on the apron, putting WGTT back in control. Haas and Benjamin isolate on Coleman, keeping him in their half of the ring. Haas pulls Coleman to the floor and drops him back-first on the barricade. After several more minutes of abuse Coleman is able to make the hot tag. Alexander is flying all over the ring. Coleman and Benjamin take it to the floor while Alexander keeps Haas at bay in the ring. That doesn’t last too long before WGTT makes the comeback. Haas hits Coleman with the Olympic Slam and Benjamin hits Alexander with a pop up belly-to-belly superplex to get the pin at 10:08. That was solid formula stuff. Coleman and Alexander continue to impress.
MATCH #6: Icon vs. Prodigy – Lance Storm vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett w/ Maria Kanellis
Bennett and Maria are decked out in pink tonight. Their obnoxious make-out session in the ring is pretty awesome. They start with some back-and-forth chain wrestling. Storm gets an armdrag and Bennett takes a powder. The crowd chants “You Still Got It” after an armdrag, really. Back in the ring Storm continues to work the arm and Bennett tries to do the same but fails. Storm hits a nice dropkick and keeps working the arm. They briefly take the fight to the floor, and on the way back in the ring Bennett cuts Storm off with a kick and then hits a neckbreaker for a two-count. Bennett is firmly in control now, wearing Storm down both in and out of the ring. Storm fights back with punches and strikes. He goes to the top rope and hits a nice clothesline. He’s 43-years-old, I get it. Storm tries a superkick but Bennett catches it and hits a spinebuster for two. Bennett follows with the Box Office Smash but again he only gets a two-count. He tries the half-crab but Storm breaks free and nails the superkick for a near-fall. Storm tries the half-crab but Bennett avoids it and hits a Spear for two. Does everyone do a spear now? Bennett taunts Storm and he pays for it, as Storm goes to work on the knee. Storm applies the half-crab and Bennett is able to reach the ropes. When Storm goes for a superplex Maria grabs Bennett’s leg to prevent the move from happening. Bennett then hits a Super Box Office Smash but it only gets two! That could have been a finish. Nigel again reminds us that Storm is 43. I GET IT! Bennett then hits a TKO to get the pin at 16:19. That was likely Bennett’s best match to date in ROH, and I would have rated it higher if the Super Box Office Smash was the finish. The TKO was very anti-climactic.
After the match Bennett shakes Storm’s hand, but then pulls him in to deliver the Box Office Smash. This really angers Kevin Kelly.
MATCH #7: La Revancha – Last Man Standing Match – “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” Kevin Steen vs. El Generico
Bobby Cruise tries to do special ring introductions but Generico is all like “F That” and hits Steen with a running Yakuza Kick right off the bat! Generico knocks Steen to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. The Masked Luchador is all over Steen, and he even starts throwing chairs in the ring. Generico finds some extra ring ropes under the ring and he uses tem as weapons. Steen then avoids them and throws Generico into the barricade. Generico comes back by whipping Steen into the barricade and then heaving him back into the ring. Steen fights back and catches Generico with an Ace Crusher. He blasts Generico with a steel chair but Generico will not stay down. Steen hits a chair-assisted Codebreaker and then the somersault legdrop right onto the chair. Generico tries to fight back with a tornado DDT but Steen counters that with a hard backbreaker. That was awesome. Steen follows up with a cannonball, and then a chair-assisted cannonball. The crowd has collective wood at this point. They spill to the floor, where Steen powerbombs Generico into the ring apron. Then they steal a spot from the Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII, as Steen goes for a superkick on a seated Generico but misses and takes out one of the ring crew (though it was neither Dunn nor Marcos). Generico kicks Steen up to the stage area, where he hits a sick Michinoku Driver. Steen barely makes it back to his feet at nine by rolling off the stage. Generico responds by hitting a somersault senton off the stage! This match totally rules. Generico hits a tornado DDT off the barricade. He busts out a table but it backfires, as Steen place shim on it and delivers a somersault senton over the ropes to break said table. Generico gets up at nine. Back in the ring Generico hits a tiger suplex onto two chairs! Generico goes for a Brainbuster onto one of the chairs but Steen blocks it and hits the pumphandle neckbreaker instead. Steen goes up top and Generico pops up to kick him trough the timekeeper’s table! Back in the ring Generico unleashes a flurry of his signature moves, including the Brainbuster! Both men make it back to their feet with chairs in hand. They swing at each other and Steen hits a low blow to take advantage. As Steen readies himself to brain Generico with the chair, Jimmy Jacobs makes his way out and tries to convince him otherwise. Generico pops up and hits a half-nelson suplex. Jacobs picks up a chair and hands it to Generico, but then pulls out his spike and stabs Generico in the face with it! Evil Jimmy Jacobs is back! Jacobs then clobbers Generico with the chair, and that’s enough to give Steen the win at 23:22. That was all kinds of awesome, with great work from both guys and a hot crowd throughout.
MATCH #8: Triple Threat Elimination Match for the ROH World Championship – Davey Richards vs. Roderick Strong w/ Truth Martini vs. “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards
Richards has been the Champion since 6.26.11, and this is his eighth defense. Kevin Kelly says that this weekend will be the first time in ROH history that the World Title will be defended back-to-back, but this is false in every way possible. All three men start off hot, eager to prove their superiority to the other guys. Richards gets rid of Strong so that he and Edwards can strike each other really hard. Strong makes his way back to the ring and is able to subdue both of his opponents. Of course it doesn’t last long, and more strikes are thrown from all three competitors. Edwards hits Strong with the backpack stunner for a two-count. Richards grabs Strong in the Ankle Lock, and then turns it into the Trailer Hitch. Edwards tries to break it up for some reason, which makes no sense. Why wouldn’t Edwards want Strong out of the match? Anyway, Richards catches Edwards’s leg and locks him in an Ankle Lock as well, and both Strong and Edwards are forced to reach the ropes. Edwards and Strong fight to the apron, where Strong hits a backbreaker. Richards then wipes Strong out with a suicide dive. Edwards wipes both of them out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Edwards hits Strong with a Fisherman’s Buster for two. Richards gets back in the ring and hits Edwards with a superplex. He holds on and turns it into a cross armbreaker. Strong breaks that up by putting the Champion in the Stronghold. Edwards breaks that up. Strong nails Edwards with the Sick Kick for a near-fall. They do more back and forth, you know the usual stuff these guys do by now. Michael Elgin makes his way out to watch the festivities. Martini gets on the top rope but Edwards knocks him back into Elgin. That distraction allows Strong to trap Edwards in a small package to finally score the first elimination at 17:53.
Richards tears into Strong with kicks but can’t put him away just yet. He locks on the Ankle Lock but Strong pushes off. Strong hits a Sick Kick for two. He follows with the gutbuster and the Gibson Driver for another two-count. They fight up to the top rope and Richards stops to kick Martini in the chest before hitting a double stomp to the back. Richards goes to the other corner and hits another double stomp for two. The Champ follows with a Gibson Driver for another near-fall. Richards then hits a knockout kick to the head to get the pin and retain the title at 21:02. The action was non-stop but the finish was anti-climactic and they’ve done every combination of Richards, Edwards, and Strong to death.
Michael Elgin gets in the ring to attack Richards, since we now know that Richards will defend the title against Elgin tomorrow night. Martini says that tomorrow night they will crowd a new ROH World Champion. Strong looks a little miffed by that.
The Pulse: The main event may excite you more than it did me, but the semi-main is more than enough to warrant a recommendation here. The undercard is all solid stuff too and the show has a really good flow. The best of ROH is showcased in effective ways, and it set up the next night very effectively. You can purchase the show at the ROH Store.