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War Memorial Auditorium – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – March 31, 2012
Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness welcome us to the show, just like they did last night. They hype the Tag Team Title match, and then get cut off by Jimmy Jacobs. “The Zombie Princess” talks about Steve Corino’s path to redemption and how it just wasn’t working for him. He says that sometimes being evil wins, and then he gets cut off by El Generico’s music. Generico unloads on Jacobs with punches that send him to the floor, and then Generico wipes him out with a dive. Bobby Cruise announces that Generico asked for this match and it was granted, and it will happen RIGHT NOW.
MATCH #1: Grudge Match – “Zombie Princess” Jimmy Jacobs vs. El Generico
Generico is all over Jacobs from the get-go, and since Jacobs spiked him in the face last night I’d say it’s with good reason. Jacobs is able to knock Generico off the top rope to the floor, and he then hits a baseball slide. Back in the ring Generico fights back but Jacobs cuts him off and hits mounted punches in the corner. Jacobs continues on offense until Generico cuts him off with a clothesline and a cross body block off the top rope for two. Generico hits a blue thunder powerbomb for another two-count. Jacobs comes back with the tornado suplex for a near-fall. He follows with the leaping Ace Crusher for another two-count. Jacobs goes up top and Generico knocks him down. Generico brings Jacobs down and hits an exploder suplex into the turnbuckle He goes for the running Yakuza Kick but Jacobs catches him in the End Time! That’s cool. Generico reaches the ropes. Jacobs pulls out the spike but thankfully misses and stabs the turnbuckle. Generico hits a half-nelson suplex for two. Jacobs gets a hold of the spike again but Generico blocks it. Generico tries to use the spike now but Jacobs ducks and gets a schoolboy rollup for the pin at 8:02. That was a great way to start the show but the match was too short to really kick into a higher gear. I’m sure they’ll meet again.
MATCH #2: “The Dominant Male” Tommaso Ciampa w/ The Embassy Ltd. vs. Cedric Alexander w/ Caprice Coleman
The Embassy Ltd. is Prince Nana, R.D. Evans, and Ernesto Osiris tonight, with Mia Yim nowhere to be found. Osiris was supposed to have the TV Title belt with him but that is nowhere to be found either. Ciampa attacks before the bell as Evans joins the commentary team. They spill to the floor and Ciampa threatens to use a chair but the referee talks him out of it. Alexander fights back but Ciampa is able to get him on the chair and hit a sort-of Ole Kick. Back in the ring Ciampa goes to work. Alexander fights back and hits a rope-hung Flatliner. He follows that with a full-nelson face-slam for a two-count. Alexander hits an IED that sends Ciampa to the floor. He follows him out and hits an exploder into the barricade! Back in the ring Alexander covers but they’re too close to the ropes. Ciampa is able to dump Alexander to the apron, and then runs him right into the bottom turnbuckle. He then hits the running knee to the face, and then another one. That’s enough for the pin at 5:26. That was short but very energetic, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Alexander get a few more singles matches.
Caprice Coleman tries to go after Nana, but Ciampa grabs him from behind and hits Project Ciampa.
MATCH #3: ROH vs. CHIKARA Match – “Technical Lightning” TJ Perkins vs. Fire Ant
They take it to the mat for some chain wrestling right away. The back-and-forth continues at a rapid pace, as neither man can gain a sustained advantage. Ant dropkicks Perkins to the floor and signals for a dive, but Perkins gets back in the ring and catches him with a slam. Perkins follows with a legdrop for two. Momentum continues to shift back and forth. Once again Ant knocks Perkins to the floor, and this time he connects with a suicide dive, and then sort of connects on a second dive. Back in the ring Ant keeps up the pressure but Perkins fights back with a neckbreaker. Perkins tries the powerbomb but Ant counters to an Ace Crusher. Ant lands a kick to the chest and then a tilt-a-whirl basement DDT for two. He puts Perkins on top but Perkins counters into a sunset powerbomb. Perkins hits the Detonation Kick for a two-count. He goes up top and hits a 450 Splash to get the pin at 8:18. These two are well matched opponents and this was a good showcase for the upcoming ROH/CHIKARA joint show in Chicago.
MATCH #4: Battle of Future Shock – Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole
They take it to the mat and exchange headlocks. O’Reilly traps Cole in a Bow and Arrow and Cole slips out right into a cover for two. Cole works an armbar now. O’Reilly escapes out of it but Cole hits a Shining Wizard for two. They continue going back and forth, trying to establish dominance. O’Reilly hits tornado DDT and tries to follow up with a suplex but Cole counters and drops O’Reilly’s neck across his knee. They trade punches and Cole wins the battle and hits a superkick for two. Cole goes up top for the cross body block (the same move he used to beat Davey Richards) but O’Reilly rolls through and grabs the tights to get the pin at 7:49. I think they were having problems with the internet feed during this match, and they definitely suffered for it. I like the finish because it plays off the 10th Anniversary Show finish and it leads to rematches, but match-wise these guys can do much better.
MATCH #5: Dual Duel Match #2 – The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) vs. The All Night Express (Rhett Titus & Kenny King)
Everyone is dressed in their street clothes so you know it’s a street fight. King goes after Matt while Titus pairs off with Nick. The ANX is on fire in the early going. They put a trash can over Matt’s head and abuse him with kicks and weapons. Out on the floor the ANX continues to press the advantage, but the Bucks use their high-flying ability to fight back and take Titus and King down. Now it’s the Bucks using weapons to their advantage, including a shopping cart that King and Titus brought with them. For some reason the Bucks get back in the ring just to gloat, which gives Titus a chance to recover. Titus brings a chair in the ring and hits both brothers with it. Nick and Titus battle to the apron and Nick gets knocked onto a security guard at ringside. King tries to hit Nick with the shotgun knees but he moves and the security guard gets knocked out. Matt then hits Titus with DDT on the apron. Nick goes to grab a table from under the ring but King wipes him out with a big dive. King puts the table in the ring as Titus slams Matt on the barricade at ringside. Back in the ring the ANX hit Matt with the One Night Stand through a table, but for some reason Matt gets his arm over King for the pin at 11:14. That was a fun garbage match between two skilled teams, but man what a stupid finish.
Mike Bennett and Maria Visit
Bennett is coming off the biggest win of his career last night against Lance Storm. The fans chant “CM Punk” related things at Maria, who proceeds to put them in their place. Bennett trash talks Storm and then calls him out, even though he knows Storm is already home. He says they’re going to go down to South Beach to hang out with people almost as good looking as they are. Bennett and Maria then make out for an obnoxiously long time and the crowd chants “Yes.” That’s awesome.
MATCH #6: ROH World Tag Team Championship Match – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin)
The Briscoes have been the Champions since 12.23.11, and this is their fifth defense. Haas and Mark start the match, and Haas immediately bails. Back in the ring they lock up and trade knockdowns. Mark starts to build some momentum so Haas bails again. The Briscoes take the fight to the challengers on the floor, and it’s a big brawl now. Back in the ring the Briscoes continue controlling the action, so WGTT cheat to gain the advantage. The challengers target Jay’s knee, keeping him from tagging his brother. After a short beating Jay is able to tag Mark, who unleashes his redneck kung fu. Mark hits Benjamin with an Iconoclasm for two. He ends up on the apron and after some awkward brawling Benjamin grabs Mark’s arm and whips him into the turnbuckles, sending him crashing to the floor. The WGTT take control of Mark now, isolating him in their half of the ring. Mark has been busted open. Benjamin goes for a belly-to-back superplex but Mark falls on top of him. Now Mark is able to make the hot tag and Jay is all over both Benjamin and Haas. Jay hits Haas with a cross body block off the top rope for two. A falcon arrow gets him another two-count. The referee loses control and the match breaks down, with all four men brawling in the ring. They all knock each other out and the ref begins the count. Everyone gets to their feet and starts trading blows and the Briscoes win that battle. WGTT come right back as Haas hits Jay with a German Suplex and Benjamin hits Mark with a springboard DDT on the apron. Haas hits Jay with the Angle Slam and then locks on the Haas of Pain. Jay reaches the ropes. WGTT sets up for the Broken Arrow but Mark breaks it up with a dropkick. Jay then traps Haas in a cradle for the pin at 16:14. That was better than I was expecting, with great action within the tried and true tag team formula. I would have preferred to see some kind of finisher end the match, but the feud had to go on so I see why they ended it this way.
After the match Haas and Benjamin continue to attack the World Tag Team Champions, and then hold the belt sup over their heads. Oh yes, this feud will continue.
MATCH #7: “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards vs. “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” Kevin Steen
The crowd loves Steen, but they love Edwards too. Edwards and Steen start the match by trying to knock each other down. Steen scores the first knockdown with a drop toehold and then hits the somersault legdrop to the back of the head. That allows Steen to take control and he starts wearing Edwards down. It doesn’t last long, as Edwards fights back with a Codebreaker off the second rope into a rollup for two. Edwards then puts on a Crossface and Steen gets the bottom rope. Steen dumps Edwards to the apron and brings him back in with a hard DDT. He follows up with the cannonball and Edwards rolls to the floor. Steen follows him out and tries a powerbomb but Edwards counters with a hurricanrana. Edwards charges but Steen catches him and this time hits the powerbomb onto the ring apron. Steen throws Edwards up onto the stage and sets him onto a chair. He hits a cannonball to the delight of the crowd. Edwards kicks his way back, knocking Steen off the stage. He then jumps off the stage with a double stomp! That was cool. Back in the ring Edwards hits the Die Hard for a two-count. Edwards continues the offensive onslaught, but then runs right into a powerbomb. Steen goes for the Sharpshooter, Edwards reverses it to the Achilles Lock, and Steen reverses that to an inside cradle for the pin at 10:41. Another rollup finish, really? The match was going along really well until the abrupt finish.
MATCH #8: ROH World TV Championship – Jay Lethal vs. Roderick Strong w/ Truth Martini
Before the match can begin, Tommaso Ciampa makes his way out to ringside with the TV Title belt. Ciampa challenges Lethal to give Strong a title shot. He says that if he can defeat Strong he will give him the belt back and shake his hand. Lethal grants the title shot, which counts as the title shot Strong earned back at Glory By Honor X.
Lethal has been the Champion since 8.13.1, and this is his seventh defense. They take it down to the mat to start and wrestle to a standoff. Things quickly get heated and they start striking at each other. Lethal hits a vertical suplex for two. He knocks Strong to the apron and dropkicks him down to the floor. Lethal follows him out with a suicide dive. He gets up on the apron and gets distracted by Martini, allowing Strong to take control. Strong suplexes Lethal on the edge of the ring frame, which gets almost no reaction from the crowd or the commentators. Back in the ring Strong goes to work, and cuts Lethal off when he tries to fire up. Strong cinches in the Stronghold and Lethal reaches the ropes. Moments later Lethal is able to hit the hiptoss/dropkick combination and both men are down. Back on their feet Lethal is a house afire. The TV Champion hits a series of dropkicks and the handspring elbow for a two-count. Strong grabs a quick small package for two. He then lands a knee strike and the gutbuster for a near-fall. Strong tries the Gibson Driver but Lethal counters with a rana and then hits a superkick for two. Cruise announces that three minutes are left. Lethal hits the Lethal Combination and then hits Hail to the King but it only gets two. He tries the Lethal Injection but Strong dropkicks him to the floor. With the referee distracted Ciampa throws Lethal into the ring post and then back in the ring. Strong then hits the suplex into a backbreaker to become the second Triple Crown winner at 13:19. These two work well together and this was a very good back-and-forth contest. I also like Ciampa’s interference and the way the commentators sold it as how he would rather give Strong the TV Title than show respect to Lethal was very effective. It adds a new wrinkle to the TV Title picture and I like it.
MATCH #9: ROH World Championship Match – Davey Richards vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin w/ Truth Martini
Richards has been the Champion since 6.26.11, and this is his ninth defense. They start off hot and Richards hits a dropkick, and then kicks Elgin right to the floor. Richards hits a suicide dive to wipe Elgin out near the stage. They fight on the ring apron and Elgin clotheslines Richards back into the ring for a two-count. Elgin goes to work now with a variety of suplexes and strikes, wearing Richards down. Richards tries a handspring spin kick but Elgin catches him and hits Shock Treatment for two. Elgin continues the abuse with a bridging Northern Lights suplex for a two-count. Richards is able to hit a missile dropkick, and then they start trading forearms. The Champ hits an exploder suplex for a two-count. They fight up on the top rope and Richards hits a huge superplex. Elgin gets right up and tells Richards to bring it! Elgin hits a hard enziguiri but Richards counters with a German Suplex. Richards puts on the Ankle Lock but Elgin crawls to the floor. Elgin catches a kick and drops Richards with a suplex. That was cool. Elgin then powerbombs Richards into the barricade and quickly throws him back in the ring for a two-count. He goes up top for a turnaround somersault senton for a very close near-fall. The crowd is chanting for Elgin now. They fight up on the top rope and Richards tries a sunset bomb but can’t hit it. Instead Richards hits an enormous German Superplex for a two-count and then rolls it right into the Ankle Lock! Elgin reaches the ropes and the crowd continues to chant for him. Richards unloads with kicks but Elgin gets right in his face! They trade Kawada Kicks for knee strikes. Richards seems to get the better of it and hits even more kicks. Elgin responds with a Chaos Theory for two! He follows with a superkick and a suplex into a uranage for another two-count! Elgin then locks on the Crossface and Richards reaches the ropes. They fight to the apron and Richards hits a double stomp off the top rope, and then another double stomp back in the ring but it only gets a two-count. Richards continues the offensive flurry but he can’t put Elgin away. Elgin comes back and hits Galleria and gets a two-count. He follows with a Buckle Bomb and then clotheslines Richards’s head off. Elgin tries a powerbomb but Richards rolls through to the Ankle Lock and Elgin turns it into the Crossface. Richards rolls that into a cradle for two. Elgin catches a charging Richards with a knee to the face. He follows with a spinning back fist and then the Spiral Bomb but it only gets two! Elgin locks on the Crossface again, and Richards reverses it to the Ankle Lock, and Elgin is able to roll out of it. Richards hits a flying knee and Elgin kicks out at one and spits in his face! The Champ hits another series of kicks but Elgin kicks out at two! Richards finally lands a knockout kick to the head to get the pin at 26:18. That was an awesome match and a star-making performance by Elgin.
Richards cuts a promo after the match. I mean of course he does! He says that while he gives his body to MMA training, he gives his heart and soul to Ring of Honor. Ugh, really. He then takes unnecessary shots at WWE and TNA. Richards then puts over Elgin and tells him to fight for the people instead of Truth Martini. He thanks the fans and says good night.
The Pulse: The undercard is all pretty solid stuff, the last three matches leading up to the main event are all over three stars, and the main event is tremendous, blow-away stuff. It was a good showcase of the roster over WrestleMania weekend, when more eyes are on the product, and it was a fun show from top to bottom. You can (and should) purchase the show at the ROH Shop.