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Hammerstein Ballroom – New York, New York – Sunday, December 16, 2012
The show opens with a very well done and very thorough video package on the Kevin Steen versus El Generico main event for tonight. Kevin Kelly and Caleb Seltzer are on commentary.
MATCH #1: The House of Truth Collides – “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Roderick Strong
Truth Martini is nowhere to be found here. These two really don’t like each other and it shows right from the opening bell. Strong dumps Elgin to the floor and tires a house show dive but Elgin catches him! Elgin goes for a powerbomb but Strong slips out and tries a chop, but Elgin ducks and Strong chops the post! Back in the ring Strong kicks Elgin in the face and takes control. Martini makes his way down to the ring, but neither guy is a big fan of him right now so who is he out here for? Elgin dumps Strong out to the floor and hits a flying shoulder tackle off the apron. He throws Strong into the barricade and then hits a running powerslam. They fight on the apron, where Strong hits an enziguiri and a back suplex. Martini is celebrating whenever either guy is in control. Strong and Elgin trade chops on the floor and slug it out. Back in the ring they slug it out some more. Elgin hits a Black Hole Slam for two. He follows with a Death Valley Driver into the buckles for another two-count. They fight up on the ropes and Strong hits a backbreaker on the top turnbuckle. That gets a two-count. Strong hits a jumping knee strike for two. He tries the Stronghold but Elgin kicks out of it. They fight in the corner again and Elgin hits a superplex as Strong was on the apron. That’s awesome. It gets a two-count. Elgin hits the Buckle Bomb and Strong pops out with a knee strike. They trade a few shots and Strong hits a gutbuster. Elgin responds with a big clothesline. Martini gets on the ring apron to distract referee Brian Gorie, and he slips the Book of Truth into the ring. Elgin goes for a powerbomb but Strong grabbed the book and he hits Elgin with it. Strong then hits the End of Heartache and that’s enough to get the pin at 11:31. After everything Elgin went through with Steen that seems pretty silly that the Book of Truth would knock him out that much. Kelly says “who knows what that’s loaded with” but it’s very clearly loaded with nothing. Aside from that this was a good not great match, which is understandable given that the feud just started and more matches are bound to come.
After the match, Martini tries to get on Strong’s good side again but Strong won’t have it. Strong reiterates that he wants nothing to do with the House of Truth. Martini then tries to get Elgin back in the fold by telling him he loves him and giving him a hug. Elgin goes for a powerbomb but Martini begs him to give him a chance. Martini rambles on for a while and then delivers a slap. Elgin delivers a Buckle Bomb and a spinning back first to send Martini crashing to the floor.
MATCH #2: Jay Lethal vs. “The Man Beast” RHINO
They show a video package on the recent events involving Lethal and Kevin Steen. Lethal has promised to fight the ROH World Champion one way or another tonight. Steve Corino comes out to join the commentary team. RHINO stalls a bit to start. Lethal hits a springboard cross body block and then dumps RHINO to the floor. He hits the Jericho dropkick to knock RHINO off the apron. Lethal tries a house show dive but misses. He doesn’t miss the superkick though. Lethal then hits a suicide dive. He throws RHINO around ringside a bit and then they go back in the ring. Lethal tries the Lethal Injection but RHINO avoids it and hits a spinebuster for two. RHINO goes to work on Lethal now, keeping him on the mat and working his midsection. He slaps on a bear hug. Lethal slugs his way out of it and unleashes a flurry of offense, including a hard clothesline for two. RHINO reverses a whip in the corner and drives a shoulder to the midsection. He hits a belly-to-belly suplex and sets up for the GORE. Lethal cuts him off with a superkick! He hits a Flatliner and locks on the Koji Clutch. RHINO powers his way out of that and slams Lethal down for a two-count. Lethal then hits the 9:32. That was perfectly adequate, but a good win for Lethal as he moves his way up the card.
Steve Corino gets on the house mic and bad mouths Lethal in regards to facing and/or defeating Kevin Steen for the ROH World Champion. Lethal challenges Corino to get in the ring and fight him, so Jimmy Jacobs comes out and attacks Lethal from behind. The Tag Team Champions hold Lethal in place for the GORE and RHINO cuts him in half. Corino reiterates that Lethal will never beat Steen for the ROH World Title.
MATCH #3: The Embassy Explodes – “Barrister” R.D. Evans w/ Q.T. Marshall vs. Prince Nana
Nana is the aggressor early on and dominates Evans. While rarely used as such in ROH, both men are trained wrestlers. Nana actually has the distinction of having wrestled on the first ever ROH show. Evans throws Nana to the floor and tries a house show dive but misses. Nana then connects on a suicide dive to wipe out both Evans and Marshall. Back in the ring Evans goes back on offense. Evans goes to work on the back. Nana tries to escape a rear chin lock but Evans takes him back down with a back suplex. Evans goes for an elbow off the second rope but Nana catches him with a boot to the face. Nana hits a spinning sidewalk slam and a senton for two. He knocks Evans to the apron and when Evans tries a springboard maneuver, Nana catches him in an Ace Crusher! Marshall pulls the referee out of the ring before a three-count can be made. Ernesto Osiris comes back from out of nowhere and gets hurled into the barricade. Meanwhile, Evans hits what looks like the Old School Bomb. Evans goes up top and Nana knocks him down. Nana hits a superplex for two. Evans comes back with an inverted Styles Clash to get the pin at 6:40. For a match between two managers that was really solid.
After the match, Tommaso Ciampa hops the apron and wants to get at Evans and Marshall. Unfortunately that does not happen tonight.
MATCH #4: NYC Street Fight – BJ Whitmer & Rhett Titus vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
All four men come out in street clothes, so you know it’s a real street fight. Titus and Whitmer attack during WGTT’s entrance and IT…IS…ON! They fight on the floor for a minute and then they take it to the ring where Whitmer and Titus use big candy canes for weapons. To be fair they did look like they would hurt. Christmas themed plunder continues to be used by both teams. Haas and Benjamin take control and use belts and crutches to assault their rivals. Whitmer fights back and dumps Benjamin to the floor. He takes it to Haas, but The Outlaw comes back with the Olympic Slam for two. Titus drives Benjamin’s face into a chair with that leaping Rocker Dropper that he does. He then hiptosses Haas into a piece of guardrail that was brought into the ring for a two-count. Benjamin fights back and he fights Titus on the apron right above a table. They trade strikes until Benjamin hits Paydirt off the apron through the table! Good spot there. Whitmer and Haas battle it out in the ring and Whitmer hits an exploder for two. He goes out and grabs another table. They take the fight to the top rope and Haas hits a belly-to-belly suplex through the table that appears to kill Whitmer, or at very least break his neck. That’s enough to get the pin at 15:26. Knowing that Whitmer ended up okay makes it somewhat easier to watch, but that finish was disgusting. Whitmer is tough as nails, clearly. The match was actually pretty fun and they almost always had something going on so that’s good. These two teams do appear to dislike each other, which also helps make their matches feel more heated, something WGTT has lacked in the past.
MATCH #5: Jerry Lynn vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett w/ Brutal Bob & Maria Kanellis
They show a quick clip of Jerry Lynn winning the ROH World Title from Nigel McGuinness in April 2009 before getting to the match. Bennett has both his trainer “Brutal” Bob Evans and his girlfriend Maria Kanellis with him tonight. Lynn is wrestling with a sleeveless shirt on for some reason. Kevin Kelly oversells it by calling it a “hero’s return.” They take it right down to the mat and Lynn dominates there because he’s the wily veteran. Even Maria looks bored at ringside. Lynn goes for an early Cradle Piledriver but Bennett is able to slip out. Bennett takes a quick break to regroup. Lynn then hits a headscissors to send Bennett to the floor and follows him out with a house show dive. Bennett actually hides behind Maria, which is awesome. Lynn gives chase and Evans takes a cheap shot clothesline. Bennett is totally in control now. Well, as much as you can be in a Jerry Lynn match because he’s constantly fighting back. Lynn does indeed fight back and hit some lame offense. He hits a DDT for a two-count. Lynn takes Bennett to the apron and hits an Ace Crusher to the floor. Back in the ring Lynn covers for two. Bennett hits a spinebuster for two. Maria distracts the referee and Brutal Bob throws a chair in. Lynn hits a TKO onto the chair and then throws it at Bob just for fun. Bennett is able to kick out at two. Now Brutal Bob distracts the referee and Maria distracts Lynn. Maria distracts Lynn and then snaps his neck off the top rope. Bennett hits the Box Office Smash to get the pin at 10:07. So it takes three people to beat Jerry Lynn? That seems like a lot of protection for a guy admittedly wrestling his last match in the company. Why not just let Bennett go over clean? I guess it wouldn’t have been a much better match either way.
After the match Lynn beats up both Bennett and Evans, and then hits Maria with a DDT. Lynn then hits Bennett with the Cradle Piledriver to get his non-existent heat back. He cuts a promo, thanking Cary Silkin for his efforts in keeping ROH alive. Of course Lynn thanks “the boys in the back.” Nigel McGuinness comes out and tells some stories about Lynn and then presents him with a plaque. Lynn thanks everyone again and heads to the back.
Before McGuinness can leave the ring, Jay Lethal comes out and says he’s been trying to talk to him and he’s been ducking him. Lethal demands to be put in the main event for the ROH World Title tonight. He says he’s going to fight the ROH World Champion one way or another, and that if El Generico has a problem with that he can deal with it personally. McGuinness tells Lethal that his proposal is rejected, but that if Generico wins the title Lethal will be first in line. Lethal doesn’t like that so he spits on McGuinness, triggering a pull-apart. Oh great, another loose cannon versus authority figure, haven’t seen one of those in ROH in a few weeks.
Interview with Mike Mondo
They return from intermission with MORE talking, as Kevin Kelly introduces the injured Mike Mondo. Apparently Mondo was supposed to be out for a year, but is actually going to be back in five weeks. He cuts one of his idiotic promos and then Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly come out to interrupt him. Fish and O’Reilly trash talk the American Wolves, their opponents for tonight, saying that Eddie Edwards told Nigel McGuinness there will be no reunion tonight. Then they take advantage of the wounded Mondo and beat him down. Davey Richards comes out to make the save, and Edwards soon follows. Edwards appears ready to superkick Richards, but instead delivers the shot to Fish! The Wolves then hit O’Reilly with the double-team Alarm Clock. Richards and Edwards shake hands to a big pop and then kick their opponents to the floor and follow them out with stereo dives.
MATCH #6: Tag Team Grudge Match – The American Wolves vs. Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly
Referee Todd Sinclair calls for the bell, even though all four men are on the floor. That seems wrong. Back in the ring the Wolves double-team Fish and the crowd is loving them some Wolves. O’Reilly gets the same treatment. Fish and O’Reilly use some chicanery to take the battle back to the floor, where Fish subdues Edwards. Richards tries the kick from the apron, but Fish catches it and O’Reilly boots Richards to the floor. O’Reilly follows with the missile dropkick off the apron, knocking the wind out of Edwards. Back in the ring Fish covers Edwards for two. Fish and O’Reilly isolate Edwards and wear him down. Richards gets fed up and enters the ring illegally. The referee has lost control completely. The Wolves suplex Fish and O’Reilly over the ropes simultaneously and all four men tumble hard to the floor. Back in the ring Richards and O’Reilly exchange strikes. O’Reilly locks on a Dragon Sleeper, and Richards counters with an Ankle Lock! That was cool. O’Reilly escapes but gets blasted in the face with an Edwards kick. Edwards then hits a Super Boston Knee Party. Richards grabs O’Reilly for a Tombstone Piledriver and lets Edwards kick him in the head before dropping him down. Edwards covers for two. O’Reilly fights back and the momentum continues to shift. He locks Edwards in a Dragon Sleeper. Richards goes to the top rope and Fish knocks him down. Edwards rolls over into a cover but Fish is right there with a huge moonsault! O’Reilly kicks Edwards in the head and Richards has to break up the cover. Richards throws Fish to the floor and once again exchanges strikes with O’Reilly. This time Richards gets the better of it and hits a huge lariat. The Wolves hit the double-team lungblower and Edwards puts on the Achilles Lock. Richards adds a knee off the top rope and Edwards stomps O’Reilly’s head until Sinclair calls for the bell at 12:27. That was a lot of fun and a good choice to bring the Wolves back. The only bummer about this match is that Fish and O’Reilly had to lose pretty decisively, so they don’t really have a lot of grounds to ask for a rematch. Still, this was good stuff.
MATCH #7: Special Challenge Match – ROH World TV Champion Adam Cole vs. Matt Hardy
I am not looking forward to this. Kevin Kelly says he has never heard such hatred from the fans, but I think they hated Jeff Hardy even more than the elder Hardy. Cole’s TV Title is not on the line here, so that seems to telegraph the finish. They start slowly with some chain wrestling. Cole quickens the pace and sends Hardy powdering to the floor. The TV Champ surprises Hardy with a dive to the floor, wiping him out. Cole hits another dive and keeps the pressure on. The crowd is loving him. They fight on the apron and Hardy hits a Side Effect. That’s a good spot. Back in the ring Hardy controls Cole. Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate but Cole sweeps the legs and locks on the Figure-Four Leglock. When Hardy turns it over Cole is able to reach the ropes. Hardy hits the Side Effect for two. He hits it twice more but still only gets a two-count. Hardy hits another Side Effect. He tries the Twist of Fate but Cole avoids it. Hardy hits the elbow to the back of the head off the second rope, but Cole immediately hits him with a superkick for a two-count. Cole unleashes some offense. Hardy tries another Twist of Fate but Cole counters with a backslide for two. Cole then hits the Twist of Fate for a near-fall. He follows with an enziguiri and a Shining Wizard for two. Hardy comes back with Splash Mountain for a two- count. They trade some reversals and tumble to the floor. Cole hits the Florida Key on the floor! Back in the ring Cole covers for two. Hardy finally hits the Twist of Fate but only gets a two-count. He goes for the legdrop off the second rope but Cole sweeps his legs and locks on the Figure-Four Leglock and Hardy reaches the ropes. Cole tries the Florida Key again but Hardy repositions the referee and kicks Cole square in the junk. Hardy grabs an inside cradle to get the cheap pin at 11:42. Cole tried his hardest, but Hardy was the opposite of impressive in his return to ROH.
MATCH #8: ROH World Tag Team Championship – SCUM (C) vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. The Briscoes
Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino have been the Champions since 9.15.12, and this is their fifth defense. This match has the slight twist that the Briscoes and C&C have to actually beat the Champions to win the titles. The challengers all go after the Champions, which makes complete sense. Mark and Alexander go after Corino, while Jay and Coleman go after Jacobs, all on the floor. That’s an interesting pairing. Everyone gets back to the ring and it’s not long before the challengers start messing with each other. Mark unleashes some Redneck Kung Fu early. Jacobs and Corino try to take a walk while the challengers fight each other. The Briscoes go and retrieve the Champions and bring them back to the ring. Jacobs tries to hit the Contra Code on Mark but instead hits the Ace Crusher from the second rope for two. The action is very hard to keep up with, as all six men are dishing out offense every chance they get. The Champs isolate Coleman and try to put him away but cannot. Corino grabs a roll of quarters but Alexander stops him from using them. Jacobs distracts the referee long enough for Corino to blast Alexander with the roll of quarters but Alexander kicks out! Now Jacobs tries to use one of the tag team title belts but the Briscoes stop him from using it. The Briscoes then hit Jacobs with the Doomsday Device to get the pin and win the ROH World Tag Team Titles for the eighth time at 7:06. That was surprisingly brief but the action never stopped so I enjoyed it for the most part. I don’t see what the benefit is of having the Briscoes be the Champions AGAIN though. I would have rather seen Jacobs and Corino retain, and then let Coleman and Alexander chase them to either the 11th Anniversary or Supercard of Honor VII. That would at least be fresh. Nothing against the Briscoes, but EIGHT times? Jeez.
Jay cuts a promo after the match, talking about how awesome he and his brother are. They issue an open challenge to any team to just step up and take the shot. Jay then announces that Coleman and Alexander have earned the first crack at the titles.
MATCH #9: ROH World Championship Ladder War – Kevin Steen vs. El Generico
Steen has been the Champion since 5.12.12, and this is his thirteenth defense. They immediately start slugging and away we go. Generico strikes the first big blows with a tornado DDT and the running Yakuza Kick. Steen takes a powder and Generico wipes him out with a Tope Suicida. Back in the ring Generico uses the ladder first. Steen is able to backdrop Generico onto the ladder to stop his masked rival’s momentum. The Champion is totally in control now, wearing Generico down in sadistic fashion. They go to the floor and Steen whips Generico through the barricade. Back in the ring Steen continues to throw Generico around and into ladders. Steen tries to climb a big ladder up to grab the belt but Generico pulls him down. Generico hits a t-bone suplex into a ladder! He tries to climb up but Steen pulls him down. Generico hits a half suplex onto another ladder! He climbs up again and this time Steen shoves the ladder over. Generico tries another tornado DDT but Steen counters with a backbreaker. Steen climbs up the ladder but Generico stops him. They go back to the floor and Steen whips Generico through the guardrail again. Steen sets up both a ladder and a table on top of it between the apron and the barricade. He tries a powerbomb but Generico escapes and backdrops Steen through the table and the ladder! Generico sends the ring crew to the back to get a really, really tall ladder. He sets it up in the ring. Steen climbs up top and Generico meets him up there. Steen hits the F-Cinq through a table! Steen climbs the really tall ladder. Generico hits him with another ladder to knock him down. He grabs a third ladder but Steen boots him in the gut and hits him with said ladder. Steen sets the third ladder between the other two ladders and hits a nasty powerbomb. Generico fights back with a Package Piledriver! The crowd is really behind him now. Generico tries to climb the ladder but Steen pulls him down. Steen sets another ladder in between the two tall ladders and the two men fight it out on that ladder. They fight each other while trying not to fall off. Steen is able to land a low blow and then hits the Package Piledriver! That looked brutal, and it’s enough for Steen to climb up and retrieve the title at 28:04. That was slower paced than some of their other matches but I think it worked really well with the stipulation. At 28 minutes it never felt too long and the spots were well put together. This will likely be the last time these two face each other in Ring of Honor, and it was a fitting final entry in the series.