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Hara Arena – Dayton, Ohio – April 29, 2012
We cold open to the arena as Silvio and Vaez are making their entrance. Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are on commentary.
MATCH #1: The All Night Express vs. Chris Silvio & Mohammad Ali Vaez
Silvio and Kenny King start the match with some mat wrestling. King gets the better of it so Silvio tags Vaez, and King dominates him too. Rhett Titus tags in and the ANX show off their tag team moves to keep Vaez away from his partner. King comes back in and hits a suplex. The ANX continue to use quick tags and good teamwork to stymie their opponents. Titus runs to the ropes but Vaez trips him up and pulls him to the floor. Vaez throws Titus into the barricade. Now Silvio and Vaez start wearing Titus down. Vaez trips Titus again and tries to whip him into the barricade but this time Titus reverses it. Titus slingshots himself back in the ring with a shoulder tackler on Silvio and makes the tag. King is a house afire, hitting Silvio with a spinebuster for two. The Pretty Boy Pitbull goes to the top rope and Vaez grabs his leg, allowing Silvio to pop up and hit a super belly-to-belly suplex for two. The referee loses control with all four men in the ring. King helps him out by clotheslining Vaez to the floor and tumbling out with him. Titus clobbers Silvio with a lariat. The ANX follows with the One Night Stand for the win at 9:53. That was a nice, inoffensive opener and a good win for the All Night Express.
Rhett Titus cuts an in-ring promo after the match that is just horrendous. He speaks in “promo voice” and it sounds awful. King shows him how it’s done, saying that ANX should be Tag Team Champions and that until that happens everyone has a bulls-eye on their backs.
Backstage – Veda Scott is with Truth Martini and Michael Elgin, who will face Sampson Walker momentarily. Elgin and Truth say their usual.
Elsewhere – Sampson Walker says he’s going to overcome the odds, and that Martini and Elgin don’t even know. That’s a pretty stupid catchphrase.
MATCH #2: Michael Elgin vs. Sampson Walker
It’s rare to see Elgin face someone who can match him in the power department. That’s exactly what happens in the early going, as both men try to out-muscle each other. Walker strikes first with a powerslam for a one-count. He follows up with a Samoan Drop. Martini interferes, allowing Elgin to hit a German Suplex into the turnbuckles for two. They go to the floor and Elgin throws Walker into the barricade. Elgin goes for another whip but Walker reverses it. Back in the ring Elgin tries a hiptoss but they blow it so he goes for an immediate Crossface. Walker reaches the ropes. Elgin hits a leg drop on the ring frame for a two-count. He goes for a powerbomb but Walker backdrops his way out of it. Walker hits a superkick to the back of the head and a running butt splash to the back of the head for a two-count. They trade forearm strikes and Walker lands a superkick and a Death Valley Driver for two. Elgin fights back with a big boot, an elbow to the back of the head and a Saito Suplex for two. He hits an impressive German Suplex for another two-count. They trade suplex attempts and Elgin breaks it and hits a spinning back fist. Elgin hits a huge Buckle Bomb but Walker pops out of the corner with a lariat. Back on their feet Elgin forces Walker down into the Crossface and Walker taps out at 9:31. That was a decent power match but Elgin should have been much more dominant over someone not on the roster, even if he is the size of Walker.
MATCH #3: Special Attraction – “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” Kevin Steen vs. BJ Whitmer
Steen is accompanied by Jimmy Jacobs. After last night’s wild tag team brawl it should be no surprise that this picks up right where that left off. They slug it out and almost immediately go to the floor. Whitmer whips Steen into the barricade. Back in the ring Whitmer stomps away. Steen rolls back to the floor so Whitmer throws him into the barricade again. The same thing happens again, so Steen has been thrown into the barricade three times in this match. Back in the ring Whitmer stomps some more and covers for two. Steen throws Whitmer to the floor this time and tries to throw him into the barricade, but Whitmer reverses it. Back in the ring Steen hits an Orton DDT and takes the advantage. Steen hits an elbow drop for two. Whitmer comes back with a basement dropkick. Steen throws Whitmer back to the floor and distracts the referee, allowing Jacobs to take a couple of cheap shots and throw Whitmer into the barricade. Back in the ring Steen hits a senton. Whitmer comes back with an exploder from out of nowhere. He unloads a flurry of offense and dumps Steen to the floor. Whitmer then surprises with a suicide dive to wipe out both Steen and Jacobs. He throws Jacobs into the barricade and then throws Steen back in the ring. Whitmer hits an enziguiri and then a vertical suplex rolled into a Northern Lights suplex with a bridge for two. Steen fights back with a powerbomb and tries the Sharpshooter but can’t put it on so he hits a superkick instead. He goes up top for the Swanton but Whitmer gets his knees up. Whitmer hits a big lariat for two. Jacobs tries to hit Whitmer with the Spike but Whitmer knocks him off the apron. That gives Steen the chance to hit an F-5 for the win at 9:36. I enjoyed that but the finish was a little cliché. It makes sense in context, it’s just played. Steen could have looked stronger going into his title shot, but getting the win still helps.
MATCH #4: First Time Ever in ROH – El Generico vs. Kyle O’Reilly
This should be good. Both men are cautious in the early going, as both know what the other is capable of. They go back and forth a bit. Generico scores the first near-fall with a leg lariat. He hits diez mounted punches in the corner and a snap mare for two. O’Reilly fights back with a knee strike right to the chin and a running knee strike to the jaw. He turns his focus to the back and keeps the high-flyer close to the ground, which is wise. Generico gets a couple of rollups and then unleashes some clotheslines. He low bridges the top rope and O’Reilly goes crashing to the floor. Generico follows him out with a flip dive over the top rope. Back in the ring Generico hits a cross body block off the top rope for two. A Blue Thunder Drive gets another two-count. O’Reilly fights back with the two butterfly suplexes into a double-arm DDT. He locks on a Cross Armbreaker and Generico rolls it into a pinning combination for two. Generico hits a jawbreaker and goes for the running Yakuza Kick in the corner but O’Reilly catches it and hits a hard clothesline for two. O’Reilly ducks another running Yakuza Kick and dumps Generico to the floor. He hits the running dropkick off the apron. Back in the ring O’Reilly goes up top and Generico joins him, only to be pushed back. O’Reilly comes down and charges right into a half-nelson suplex right into the buckles. Generico finally lands the running Yakuza Kick. He goes for the Super Brainbuster but Jimmy Jacobs comes out and pulls Generico down. Jacobs interfered right in front of the referee yet no disqualification? Steen comes out to further the attack and now the referee calls for the bell at 14:44. That was going along really well and could have used a real finish.
O’Reilly doesn’t take kindly to Steen and Jacobs interfering in his match so he tries to fight them off but he can’t do it. Steen smashes his ankle with a chair and then puts on the Ankle Lock. The Job Squad comes out and tries to break it up but it takes Davey Richards to actually accomplish anything. Richards puts Steen in the Ankle Lock and Jacobs breaks it with a steel chair. Steen hits Richards with the F-5 on top of the chair. Finally BJ Whitmer and the All Night Express come down to make the save. Jim Cornette is out there for some reason too. The match is declared a no-contest, though really since he was attacked Generico should be the winner by disqualification.
Backstage – Veda Scott is with Mike Mondo, who has gone 1-1 with TJ Perkins on ROH TV, so this is a rubber match. Mondo promises that Perkins will never beat him again, and that it’s #GutCheckTime. Of course it is.
MATCH #5: Special Challenge Match – “No Fear” Mike Mondo vs. “Technical Lightning” TJ Perkins
They lock up and Mondo uses his power to take control. Mondo unleashes a series of strikes. Perkins comes back with a dropkick and a springboard cross body block for a one-count. He then hits a couple of armdrags and bars the arm. Perkins hits a headscissors and they take the fight to the apron, where Mondo knocks Perkins down to the floor. Mondo then rams Perkins’s shoulder into the ring post. He uses the ring skirt to trap Perkins and stomp at the arm. Mondo continues the arm work. Perkins gets a crucifix from out of nowhere for two. Mondo cuts him off and goes right back to work on the arm. Perkins gets a headscissors to send Mondo to the floor, and he follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Perkins hits a springboard dropkick and a springboard missile dropkick to the back for two. Mondo comes back with a shoulderbreaker for a two-count. They trade reversals and Perkins lands a neckbreaker. Perkins goes up top and hits a 450 Splash to get the pin at 8:06. This flew right by but the finish really came out of nowhere.
MATCH #6: “Showdown in the Sun” Rematch, Two out of Three Falls – World TV Champion Roderick Strong vs. Jay Lethal
Strong is accompanied by Truth Martini. His World Television Championship is not on the line tonight, since this is neither TV nor iPPV. Before the match can begin, Strong gets on the microphone and announces that today is Jay Lethal’s birthday, and says that everyone should sing Happy Birthday. Lethal doesn’t take too kindly to Strong’s singing so he decks him and is a house afire in the early going. Martini distracts Lethal long enough for Strong to get a quick schoolboy rollup and win the first fall at just 0:25. Strong’s over the top celebration is pretty funny.
The second fall begins and they take it to the floor. Lethal is fired up after getting outsmarted in the first fall and eager to tie things up. Back in the ring Lethal continues the assault, Irish whipping Strong into the corner and hitting a back body drop. Lethal goes up top and hits a double axe handle for two. He locks on a Figure-Four Leglock and Strong reaches the ropes. Lethal hits a rolling clothesline a la Konnan for a two-count. He hits mounted punches in the corner and a short-arm clothesline for two. Lethal tries a headscissors out of the corner but Strong drops him crotch-first on the top rope. Strong catapults Lethal throat-first into the bottom rope, sending Lethal to the floor. One person in the crowd chants Boring. Strong goes out after Lethal and chops away. Back in the ring Strong covers for two. Now Strong uses the Figure-Four Leglock and Lethal reaches the ropes. Strong continues working the leg, which is good strategy with high-flying capabilities like Lethal. He goes for a suplex but Lethal slips out and traps Strong in a crucifix to even the score at 10:47.
Lethal is still recovering so Strong takes it to him to start the third round. Strong puts on a Camel Clutch to make Lethal humble. Lethal powers out of it but rungs right into a dropkick for two. Strong continues to cut of Lethal’s comeback attempts. Martini takes cheap shots from the floor of course. Finally Lethal gets a boot up in the corner and then lands a leg lariat from the second rope. Both men are down. Back on their feet they trade strikes and Lethal gets the better of the exchange and covers for two. Lethal hits a big neckbreaker for two. Strong comes back with some knee strikes for a two-count. They trade reversals and Lethal hits the Lethal Combination. Lethal goes up top and hits Hail to the King but Strong kicks out! Strong avoids the Lethal Injection and hits a Sick Kick but that only gets two. Martini gets on the apron and Lethal is able to hit the Lethal Injection, knocking Martini off the apron in the process, to win the third fall and the match at 19:33. I like these two together and they did some good stuff in there and kept the match moving at a really good pace for a two out of three falls match.
MATCH #7: World Tag Team Title Match – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team
The Briscoes have been the Champions since 12.23.11, and this is their seventh defense. Corino points out that this feud has been going on forever. Jay and Charlie Haas battle on one side of the ring while Mark takes it to Shelton Benjamin on the other. They make it to the ring and the Briscoes are firmly in control on Benjamin. Haas tags in but the Briscoes maintain the advantage. Mark hits Haas with a bulldog for two. Haas slips out of a suplex and hits a release German suplex. Benjamin tags in and he takes Jay to the floor for a suplex on the ramp. Now Haas and Benjamin have Jay isolated from his brother. Haas hits a powerslam for two. The All Night Express has made their way out to ringside to get an up-close view of the action. Eventually Jay ducks a clothesline and hits a big boot to the face. Mark gets the hot tag and he’s a redneck afire. He hits an Iconoclasm on Benjamin for two. The Briscoes hit a double-team Side Effect for two. They go for the Doomsday Device but Haas breaks it up. Benjamin hits Jay with a release German Suplex. WGTT goes for the Leap of Faith but Mark breaks it up. The ANX gets into it with Haas on the floor and they lay a beatdown on him. Meanwhile in the ring Jay hits Benjamin with the Death Valley Driver and Mark hits the Froggy Bow to get the win and retain at 12:15. That was adequate but pretty dull, like a lot of WGTT matches.
Kenny King and Rhett Titus get in the ring to remind the Briscoes that they are the Number One Contenders. The Briscoes say they will fight any time, any place. The shirts come off and everyone is ready but officials and security come out to break them up.
Backstage – Adam Cole says that the wrestlers in Ring of Honor are the best. Tonight is his chance to win the ROH World Title, and he will prove that he is not a fluke.
MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match – Davey Richards vs. Adam Cole
Richards has been the Champion since 6.26.11, and this is his tenth defense. They start with some chain wrestling and Richards appears to injure his ribs during a bridge. Richards takes a quick powder and then gets back in the ring to start throwing kicks and strikes. Cole comes back with a dragon screw leg whip. Richards hits a dropkick that sends Cole to the floor. He hits the running kick to the chest on the apron. Richards goes for a dive but Cole cuts him off with an enziguiri. Cole then hits the suicide dive that Richards was going for. They fight up the aisle and Richards hits a Saito Suplex on the ramp. Cole makes it back to the ring before the count of 20 and Richards goes to work on him. Richards panders to the crowd and puts on a Texas Cloverleaf. Cole gets to the ropes. Richards continues the abuse, mostly keeping Cole on the mat. He hits a couple of kicks but Cole catches one and gets up to trade forearms. Cole hits an enziguiri and a Shining Wizard for two. Richards tries the stupid handspring kick but Cole superkicks him in the back of the head. Cole hits a Death Valley Neckbreaker for two. He goes up to the top rope and Richards cuts him out of the air with a dropkick. Richards hits a superkick and a bridging German Suplex for a two-count. They trade a bunch of strikes and Cole goes for an enziguiri but Richards catches him in the Ankle Lock. Cole kicks Richards to the apron and hits a slingshot DDT. That gets a two-count. Cole hits a wheelbarrow lungblower for another near-fall. They take the fight to the top rope and Richards headbutts Cole down to the timekeeper’s table. Richards hits a double stomp to break the table and throws Cole back in the ring. Back in the ring Richards hits another double stomp off the top rope but he only gets two. A knockout kick gets another two-count. Richards locks on the Ankle Lock again and Cole reaches the ropes. They go back to the top rope and Cole hits a super German Suplex and then hits the Florida Key for two! Cole hits the top rope cross body block, which is what he used to pin Richards at the 10th Anniversary Show, but this time it only gets two. Richards begs for it so Cole hits a couple of superkicks and a suplex onto his knee for another two-count. Cole hits a Superfly Splash for two. He then locks on a Texas Cloverleaf, which Richards used earlier. Richards turns it into an Ankle Lock. Cole counters that to a Victory Roll for two. Richards hits a release German Suplex, a lariat, and a bridging Dragon Suplex for two. He follows with hard kicks to the chest and head but Cole kicks out! Richards puts the Ankle Lock back on and then turns it into the Trailer Hitch. Cole taps out at 19:42. That was good in the same way a lot of Richards matches are, but I feel like it would have been more effective as a Proving Ground match like it was originally scheduled. A Proving Ground match would have yielded more drama because as a title match there was no chance Cole was going to win. It was a good showing for Cole but not quite the memorable match I was hoping for.
Richards cuts a promo after the match. Of course he does.
The Pulse: This is a solid show from top to bottom, with no matches dipping below 2.25 stars. Conversely, nothing goes above 3.5, but a show with good matches all throughout is certainly worth watching. Adam Cole fans should check this out regardless of what I say about it, and the undercards has some good, variant stuff on it with matches like O’Reilly versus Generico, Steen versus Whitmer, and Strong versus Lethal. This is quite good for a Dayton show, and you can pick it up at the ROH Shop.