Roderick Strong defends the ROH Television Championship against Adam Cole tonight!
Match1 1: Rhino vs Rocco Abruzzi
Winner: Rhino via pinfall
Rhino with quick aggression, a belly to belly suplex and The Gore. Tommaso Ciampa comes to the ring with Nana and RD Evans and says everyone must think he’s stupid. Ciampa wants answers for the goings on; Truth Martini interrupts and says that Nana should be truthful with Ciampa and tell him about “the deal”.
Evans grabs the mic and says he is renowned for his honesty – He can be trusted. Evans rolls Nana under the bus and blames him, which leads to Ciampa delivering his version of the Kryptonite Krunch to the prince after saying “The embassy is dead” in Italian. Ciampa is in action next.
Match 2: Tommaso Ciampa vs Mike Sydal
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa via pinfall
Evan Bourne’s brother is about to take a beating. Sydal tries to roll up Ciampa right away, which just serves to anger the Sicilian Psychopath. Ciampa catches Sydal in the ropes and stomps him from waist height to the mat. Sydal fights back with a bridging dodge, enzuigiri to Ciampa on the apron and a moonsault to the floor. Sydal escapes an attempt at Project Ciampa, but takes a knee to the skull after being forced to do a split. Now Project Ciampa lands.
All Night Express In-Ring
ANX will react to Haas and Benjamin violently attacking them after they won the Tag Titles, as well as WGTT complaining about the win last week. Kenny King says only champions make demands; not cowards like Haas and Benjamin. King plays up Titus’ toughness, saying he wouldn’t go to war with anyone else. Titus says if they beat WGTT again it proves it wasn’t a fluke. He then reminds the crowd that ANX are the Tag Team Champions. WGTT comes out to ruin the mood.
Shelton Benjamin asks if ANX really think they’re champions. He continues to say that they either want their rematch or ANX can just hand the tag titles over now. King says ANX fight, they don’t run. Benjamin says they won’t fight tonight because the titles aren’t on the line. Titus calls WGTT old and Haas tackles him. Shelton grabs a chair and whallops both members of the ANX. Security comes down and two of them end up taking Paydirt. Haas stops Benjamin from striking Titus’ knee with a chair.
Kevin Steen will face Chikara’s Grand Champion Eddie Kingston for the ROH World Title and the focus is on him tonight. They recap Kingston being out of control and eventually being banned from ROH. Kingston is Cornette’s choice to face Steen, since they are so similar. Last time the men faced each other, Steen got himself disqualified with a blatant low blow.
Next, a recap of why we’ll see Mike Bennett and Maria team up against Sara del Rey and Eddie Edwards. Death Rey takes offense to Maria saying she’s ROH’s number one lady. Sara says she’ll break Maria when they fight. Maria tells Bennett if she gets beat up, he’s not getting any. Terrible promo on their side.
Match 3: Adam Cole vs Roderick Strong (c), ROH TV Championship
Winner: Adam Cole via pinfall
The speed and flying of Cole vs the hardest chops in ROH. Martini offers the Code of Honor handshake and Roddy dropkicks Cole in the side of the head to open up dirty. Strong gives a torture rack on the floor and then drops Cole back first on the apron. Roddy stops a comeback on the floor and throws Cole ribs first into the ring post from a fireman’s carry. Settling into a chinlock, ROH goes to commercial.
Quick pinfall attempts from Cole are countered into the Stronghold. Strong transitions to a Cloverleaf, but Cole gets the ropes. Cole throws an enzuigiri and gets some breathing room after Nigel McGuinness makes a Mick Foley/Hell in a Cell reference. Cole continues with a suicide dive and then lands a top rope cross body for a very near fall. Cole with a low dropkick and shining wizard for another near fall. Strong gets Cole in the corner and hits the backbreaker across the top turnbuckle, but Cole kicks out in two.
Strong wants the suplex backbreaker, but Cole stops it – He then suffers Death by Roderick for another two count. Cole counters a Gibson Driver into a hurricanrana then leaps to the apron and DDT’s Strong’s head onto it. Strong stays alive kicking out at at two. Martini wants a cheap shot, but gets caught by the hair and goes over the turnbuckle on the apron to the floor. Strong misses the suplex backbreaker and Cole tries for a Figure Four, followed by a small package from Roddy. Cole gets out and lands a brainbuster onto his knee for two then transitions to a Figure Four. Michael Elgin approaches the ring, but is hesitant to interfere.
Cole releases the Figure Four and Martini is furious that Elgin has done nothing yet. A series of strikes in the ring and Cole hits the Florida Keys straight jacket German Suplex for the win and his first ROH title. Elgin is still on the floor and Roderick storms out.
A name I’ve never heard to be fed to Rhino; ROH doesn’t have the time for squash matches. Everyone knows Rhino is tough, there’s no need for “establishing” him.
Ciampa proves tough as always – The “psychopath” part of his moniker is showing much stronger now and we get a rare promo from him. Ciampa quickly defeats a much smaller opponent. In this case, as a contrast to the first match, Ciampa needed to show strength and dominance, so kudos to that choice. The build to Ciampa cutting ties with The Embassy Ltd was very slow and the payoff came pretty abruptly. Ciampa was the last active wrestler in The Embassy Ltd, so this would seem to point to that stable ceasing to exist.
The chat between ANX and WGTT was pretty painful all around. Titus steps all over himself as he speaks and everyone else just sounds like they’re ready for a fight out in the street. Interesting to hear King cut a promo saying he won’t go to war with anyone else, considering he already bailed on Rhett Titus as this airs.
Interesting – Eddie Edwards finds himself Sara del Rey because he can’t/won’t put his hands on Maria. Del Rey is happy to help out and Maria is scared; Bennett will have his hands full when the teams meet.
Top notch TV match between Strong and Cole. It was only a matter of time before ROH put the TV title on Adam Cole – he’s been the co-break out star of 2012 along with Michael Elgin and ROH is showing their faith in him. Right out of the gate, the action was intense in the manner we’re accustomed to from ROH title matches. Cole has an interesting mix of high flying, speed, and O’Reilly/Richards style striking and it makes for an interesting contrast. Glad to see that Martini’s intrusion was minimal and just fodder for a manager bump, which he’s the king of. Martini absolutely goes flying when it’s needed. Elgin has basically turned his back on Martini and Strong at this point – It’s about time he breaks out on his own, although he really needs a mouth piece.
Like I said before: ROH does not have the airtime to doodle around with a squash match. We all know how tough Rhyno is – The time should be used to reinforce how tough somebody else is for standing up to him. There’s no need to “establish” Rhyno against some nobody goof.
Ciampa at least had the decency to squash a known goof instead of somebody that just floats around. Sydal has been in and out of ROH serving this purpose for a long time now. Ciampa’s match was secondary to the story at hand – He is all but done with the Embassy Ltd. Unless I missed something, they didn’t define the deal between Martini and Nana, which likely means this needs to be visited at least once more. Ciampa has a unique look with his facial hair, and although he isn’t stellar on the mic, he definitely has “the look” for any other wrestling promotion to take a good look at him. Ciampa, like Elgin, might stumble out on his own without a group and a mouthpiece to show him off.
Maria is withholding sex from Mike Bennett if she gets beat up against Sara del Rey. Part of me wants to laugh at that; the part of me that’s typing this just thinks it’s stupid. Sara del Rey is one of the toughest women in pro wrestling (at least in the US); Maria is a fire-crotched barbie doll. Maria needs to “get hers” but we can’t expect an actual match between the two women. This “feud” also doesn’t have legs, since SDR has signed with WWE in some capacity. When Daniel Bryan made his second move into WWE, they let him finish up some pre-scheduled indy shows, so this could be the same kind of deal. Odd that as Death Rey signs on with WWE, the Divas have been absent from TV for two weeks. We used to get one divas match every two hour Raw but with three hours they can’t fit it in?
“Rants” are negative – There’s nothing negative to say about Cole vs Strong. Cole should have a good run with the TV title and give some great performances with guys like Jay Lethal. Strong could potentially move back to ROH World Title shots, but with the Steen storyline it doesn’t make a ton of sense. If Cornette brings in someone like Eddie Kingston to take on Steen and he fails, is really going to fall back to Roderick Strong at 200lbs to get the job done?
No Steen match means no Steve Corino on commentary. That has to change; put the man on the mic every week, damnit!
The Briscoe Brothers take on the Guardians of Truth again and Lance Storm faces Mike Bennett