Ring of Honor made its Columbus debut June 8 with “Live and Let Die.” The show featured some fresh matches as underutilized talents were given a chance to shine. Jay Briscoe also defended the ROH World Title against Eddie Edwards in the main event. How did the last stop on the road to “Best in the World 2013” go? Let’s find out!
The show kicked off with Adam Cole going one-on-one with Caprice Coleman. This match is exactly what viewers would expect out of these two, and that’s a good thing. The contest featured a lot of past-paced and high-flying offense. Although it was a relatively short match, both wrestlers looked really good throughout the duration of it. It was for the best that the match didn’t go too long as it got the crowd warmed up for the rest of the show without burning them out early. Coleman showed he could be a singles star, but unfortunately he won’t be much more than a midcarder due to his age. Cole was great as always, and picked up the win with the Florida Key. This was a great choice for an opener and got the show off to a strong start.
Up next, QT Marshall battled Roderick Strong. If I had to use one word to describe this match, that word would be “fun.” It wasn’t a great wrestling match by any means, but it was enjoyable from start to finish. Marshall seems to be finding his niche as the annoying heel who borderlines on comedy and everyone hates, while Strong was his reliable self. There were a couple of funny spots in the match; most notably when Marshall attempted the People’s Elbow. The match maybe should have ended right there as the remainder of the contest didn’t get to that level again, but that’s just a minor nitpick. Strong got the submission victory by forcing Marshall to tap to the Strong Hold. This was a fun match to keep the show rolling.
Cedric Alexander wrestled Davey Richards in the third match, which was easily Match of the Night. I had high expectations going into this match, and they somehow found a way to exceed them. Alexander looked like a star throughout the match and it’s not farfetched to consider him a ROH World Title contender in a couple of years. He was great in this match as his high-flying style meshed extremely well with Richards. Speaking of Richards, he did a fantastic job of making Alexander look like his equal. Richards looks like he’s having more fun than ever in the ring and it adds an extra dynamic to an already talented wrestler. This was the American Wolf that originally made me a fan. Again to nitpick, the ending was a little lame with Alexander weakly tapping out in the Texas Cloverleaf, but it didn’t hurt the match t all. This was Alexander’s coming out party and he’s someone wrestling fans should watch out for in the coming years.
ACH and Tadarius Thomas, who are now collective known as Adrenaline RUSH, stepped into Proving Ground to take on the ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon. This match was surprisingly dull for most of it. ACH and Thomas kept their offense grounded for much of it and the action didn’t pick up until the end. Even then, things got really messy as the tag rules were completely forgotten and it was impossible to tell who the legal man was. In the end, Kyle O’Reilly forced ACH to tap out in a Fujiwara armbar. This was highly disappointing considering the level caliber of talent in the match.
Truth Martini and his Hoopla Hotties made their way to the ring for Hoopla Uncut. This was everything we’ve come to expect from Martini in recent months. It involved immature humor that revolved around sex. So, in a word, it was hilarious. Martini’s guest was none other than Cheeseburger. Martini was impressed by Cheeseburger kissing Maria at “Border Wars,” and the leader of the House of Truth had to know if the kiss gave the young wrestling hopeful a boner. And, to the surprise of no one, it did. Cheeseburger’s honesty got him a lap dance from the Hoopla Hotties, but he wanted more. He asked Martini if he could kiss the Hotties, and Martini said he could kiss both of them under one condition: Cheeseburger had to take his pants off. Without much hesitation Cheesebuger dropped his pants and began hopping his way across the ring to get his reward, but he was cut off by Rhino and a Gore, which brought an extremely entertaining end to a funny segment.
Rhino’s presence immediately led to his match with Kevin Steen. This was another short match and it wasn’t much more than a brawl. This was pretty much par for the course from what we’ve already seen from the Steen vs SCUM feud over the past month or so. It was a decent match and was watchable, but I can’t say it was anything more than that. Steen picked up the win after avoiding a Gore from Rhino before hitting one of his own. He was then able to hit an F Cinq to get the three count.
Matt Hardy hit the ring moments after the bell rang and connected with a Twist of Fate on Steen. Steve Corino went on a spiel about how SCUM will kill Ring of Honor at “Best in the World” before Hardy’s opponent, Mark Briscoe, made his way to the ring. I knew going into this that this wasn’t going to be a great match, but I hoped Hardy and Mark’s strong characters would have made it enjoyable. It sadly didn’t work out that way as the match was boring. It seemed like they were going through the motions until the stupid ending. Steen chased Rhett Titus from the back and into the ring, which distracted the referee. This allowed Corino to enter the ring and clock Mark with brass knuckles. Hardy followed it up with a Twist of Fate to pick up the three count. I understand that both wrestlers had titles matches on the horizon so they had to protect Mark, but interference is starting to getting annoying.
Titus, Jimmy Jacobs and Cliff Compton attempt to beat down Mark, but Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal and BJ Whitmer stop them, which leads into the next match. Much like the previous two matches, this one was no different than what we’re used to seeing from SCUM matches. Sure, the angle is good, but the matches just aren’t delivering. SCUM’s involvement has really bogged down the second half of the show. For a NO DQ match, this wasn’t all too crazy. There was a brawl through the crowd at the beginning of the match, but nothing memorable happened. Well, almost nothing. The once unbeatable Lethal got pinned once again after getting hit by a chair attempting the Lethal Injection, which allowed Compton to connect with an F5 to give SCUM the win. This was just another average match for the faction, which is quickly running out of steam.
It’s main event time as ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe defended the belt against Eddie Edwards. Much like the main event at “Border Wars,” Jay’s title defense here was a very good match, but it didn’t live up to the lofty expectations fans have for ROH World Title matches. This one may have worked a little better than the aforementioned iPPV main event because he was facing a better technical wrestler in Edwards, which made the technical sequences better. Jay seems to have tried changing his style since winning the title, but I think he should resort back to his wild brawling days that made his previous title challenges so entertaining. That being said, this was still a very good 20-minute match. Jay retained the title with a Jay Driller. The closing minutes were exactly what you’d hope for in a title match; they didn’t go into overkill with finishers and kickouts, and ended the match at the perfect time. It was a solid way to end the show.
Overall Thoughts: The first-half of this show was great, as there were a few fun matches and a borderline ROH MOTYC in Alexender vs Richards. Unfortunately, the second half really dragged down the quality of the show. SCUM’s matches are pretty much the same every time, which has started to get boring. The show ended with a good title match, but it wasn’t enough to make “Live or Let Die” a must-see show. Check out Alexander vs Richards, but there isn’t anything else worth going out of your way to see.