Ring of Honor returned to Belle Vernon, PA, hoping to continue its hot streak of entertaining shows. The card looked promising with an ROH World Tag Team title match headlining the show as reDRagon defended against the Briscoes. The show also marked the in-ring return of Tommaso Ciampa and showed exactly why Michael Elgin and ACH are two of the best things in wrestling today. The show looks good on paper, so let’s see how ‘Dragon’s Reign’ (5/11/13) turned out!
Larry Legend is our ring announcer for the evening with Steve Corino joining Kevin Kelly on commentary.
We kick off the show with QT Marshall & RD Evans taking on the American Wolves. On paper this match didn’t really excite me but it turned out to be a really entertaining opener. I like the team of QT and RD, they’re a good comedy tag team and have done well so far. The Wolves are always great and the crowd really popped for them. At one point, Davey kicked QT twice in the ‘ding ding’, as Corino so eloquently put it, before the Wolves won. Davey had QT in an ankle lock as Eddie put RD in the Achilles lock as both men tapped out. It was a contrast of styles and RD & QT came close to winning on a couple of occasions but it was a really fun match that earned the ‘this is awesome chants’ it received.
Up next, we see the in-ring return of Tommaso Ciampa against Vinny Marseglia. Ciampa came out to the same entrance he had at Border Wars and it looked awesome. The crowd loved Ciampa and he really took control of the match, suplexing Marseglia onto the bare floor after he had removed the padding. Marseglia began to get some more offense in towards the end but after three knees in the corner, Ciampa hit an Air Raid Crash off the second rope for the win. In my opinion, this match just went on too long. Ciampa should have come in and destroyed Marseglia in five minutes. Instead it was dragged out for over ten minutes. It was a good match but I didn’t understand the booking much in this one. Regardless, it was great to see Ciampa back in action and he looks in great condition.
We now enter the Proving Ground as ROH World TV champion Matt Taven takes on Tadarius Thomas. The last time these two faced each other was in the finals of the Top Prospect tournament, where Taven joined the House of Truth and won a TV title shot in the process. Truth and the hoopla hotties finally get ejected after a few interferences and it finally gives Taven chance to shine on his own. The match itself was good, without ever getting to that next level. Taven still needs to shown off more but I think he’s slowly getting there and this was one of, if not the best, match he’s had since he signed with ROH. Another good match on this show.
Another interesting match next up as ACH goes up against Michael Elgin. On paper this is a complete mismatch but Elgin has worked well with much smaller opponents before and both guys are on a roll. Elgin dominated a lot of the early goings but it made ACH look even better when he eventually fought back. Both of these guys come up with such innovative offense which is part of the reason why they’re both so exciting to watch. At one point Elgin hits a deadlift Falcon Arrow but ACH kicks out. It was your typical big man versus little man match and ACH looked to have won after reversing the Elgin bomb into a reverse hurricanrana and hitting a 450 splash but Elgin kicked out. Elgin then comes back with a spinning backfist, buckle bomb and the Elgin bomb for the win. This was a fantastic match between two of the best guys in ROH. Just when you thought the match was wrapping up, it took another twist. ACH lost but once again looked awesome and Elgin was brilliant as usual. A terrific match that could well be in the match of the year discussions.
Our next scheduled match is between Dalton Castle and Jimmy Nutts. One of these guys is covered in glitter and called the ‘party peacock’ while the other is wearing hipster glasses. Thankfully after a few minutes we’re saved by Rhett Titus who destroys both men and we have a no contest. Kevin Steen‘s music hits and then our following match between the pair begins. Quite a bit of this match was spent on the outside and I think that was wise. The two didn’t seem to have a lot of chemistry but turning it more into a brawl helped hide that a bit. Titus almost won after hitting a low blow with the referee’s back turned but Steen kicked out. With the referee unable to see, Steen hit a low blow of his own on Titus before the package piledriver got him the three count. This turned out to be a fun brawl which is all it needed to be. After the match, Steen hit another low blow and two more package piledrivers which plays perfectly into the SCUM storyline with Steen trying to win ROH’s faith back and destroy SCUM in the process.
Triple threat action up next as BJ Whitmer, Roderick Strong and Adam Cole do battle. All three guys are terrific talents and this was one I was looking forward to. It ended up being a good match but never got to the next level, mainly down to the fact that it wasn’t given enough time. I guess with other matches going long, one had to suffer and this was it. They packed a lot, maybe too much, into a time they were given and it was a fun match. But it would have been much better had they paced the action out over a longer period. BJ picked up the win with an exploder suplex on Cole after all three men had traded moves. It’s no surprise they wanted to make Whitmer look strong heading into his ROH World Title match against Jay Briscoe.
Before our main event we have a No DQ match which sees Jay Lethal take on Jimmy Jacobs. The match quickly spills to the outside as a steel chair is introduced into play. Jacobs goes after Lethal’s bad knee which causes Lethal problems throughout the match. At one point, Lethal goes to put Jacobs through a table until Corino interrupts and clotheslines him. Kevin Steen then comes to the ring and tries to piledrive Corino but is stopped by Jacobs. Lethal then tried to superkick Jacobs but he ducks and Lethal ends up kicking Steen. That allows Jacobs to take advantage as he spears Lethal through a table and picks up the win. Another good match on this show and I’m glad Jimmy is starting to pick up wins in high profile matches. Again, this continued the Steen/ROH/SCUM storyline as well as providing us with a great brawl with plenty of weapons.
Our main event of the evening is for the ROH World Tag Team Titles as champions reDRagon defend against The Briscoes. BJ Whitmer joins Kelly on commentary for this match ahead of his title match against Jay Briscoe. This was yet another great reDRagon defence and they haven’t had a disappointing match since they started teaming. I’m not sure anybody really bought into the Briscoes winning but it didn’t really take too much away from the match. It wasn’t quite as good as the match they had at the ’11th Anniversary Show’ where reDRagon won the belts but was still a fun watch. Jay didn’t get much offense in and that may be due to his controversial recent tweets. It did, however, allow Mark to look great as the centrepiece of the team. O’Reilly and Fish retain after Mark is hit in the back with one of the titles as Fish rolled him up for the win. After the match, the American Wolves throw reDRagon back into the ring and BJ Whitmer also gets in to as we have a wild brawl between all seven men in the ring. Security pulls them apart as Michael Elgin watches on from ringside.
Final Thoughts: This was a really consistent show. Everything on the card was good to great and there wasn’t one match I’d skip if I was to watch this show back again. The Elgin/ACH match was definitely one you should go out of your way to see and really showed the best of both men and why they are so highly regarded by ROH fans. The No DQ match was very good and had the hardcore spots some people like to see on a show. The SCUM/Kevin Steen/ROH storyline was also well continued throughout the show without taking anything away from the matches and on the whole, it was a really well booked show. A quality event all round, especially seeing as it was a house show and it’s definitely worth the $14.99 for view on demand.