The show kicked off with the new ROH World Champion Adam Cole coming out to the ring to address his victory over Michael Elgin at Death Before Dishonor XI. In a brief promo, he basically glorified himself and stated that the winner of the Honor Rumble later tonight would ultimately come out a loser. He was interrupted by Jay Briscoe, who threatened Cole and stated that once he was medically cleared, he would dethrone Cole and take back what is rightfully his.
This was a nice way to start Cole’s championship reign by solidifying him as ROH’s #1 heel and once again restating that Cole’s big showdown will eventually be against a returning Jay Briscoe.
The first match featured reDRagon, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly, against the debuting Monster Mafia, Josh Alexander and “All Ego” Ethan Page. This was a back and forth match between the two teams, with the crowd solidly behind Monster Mafia, who displayed an impressive array of double team maneuvers. Admittedly, I felt as if Alexander impressed much more than Page here, who was a tad clunky, but they both deserve one or two more “tryouts,” so to speak, at ROH. In the end, reDRagon was able to pick up the win after a devastating tornado DDT from O’Reilly and then Chasing the Dragon.
Up next, Silas Young took on Mark Briscoe. Here, Young continued his streak of good performances, putting up quite the battle against the more established Briscoe, who tried to fight back with his Redneck Kung-Fu. Eventually, Young missed his headstand moonsault and Mark was able to capitalize with a sunset flip for the pinfall victory. Post-match, Young did not adhere to the Code of Honor and assaulted Mark until he was restrained by referees. This was a passable match, but you could easily skip it and not miss anything.The most important performancein Mark Briscoe‘s night would come later.
A New Dawn rolled on with Adrenaline RUSH, TaDarius Thomas and ACH, taking on the team of Michael Elgin and Jay Lethal. In a nice touch, Lethal and Elgin sported matching attires, which is something more tag teams need nowadays. This was an exciting match from bell-to-bell, but the winners were never in question, as Elgin has way too much momentum to be losing to Adrenaline RUSH. There were some nice sequences during the match involving TD’s capoeira-style offense and Elgin’s brute strength. In the end, Elgin would get the decisive pinfall off a vicious Elgin Bomb.
Matt Taven and Jay Lethal were the first competitors in the Honor Rumble, which featured Adam Cole on commentary. All of the night’s competitors were involved in the match, along with Cheeseburger and Delirious, who was eliminated by Michael Bennett in under a minute. The last four men in the match were Matt Taven, Jay Lethal (the first two entries), Mark Briscoe, and Bobby Fish (the last entrant). In the end, Fish would eliminate Taven and Lethal, but get eliminated by Mark Briscoe who hung on after Fish attempted to throw him over the top rope. An entertaining match, but not much to write about. Bobby Fish’s antics were fun as always and Matt Taven put on a pretty good performance.
In the next match of the night, Michael Bennett, accompanied by Maria Kanellis, took on Eddie Edwards. This was a good effort by both men, with commentary really focusing on the Piledriver vs. Piledriver story that has been brewing between Bennett and Kevin Steen. There were several moments in the match where both men could have won, including a brutal Shining Wizard by Edwards and an Avalanche Box Office Smash by Bennett, but both men were able to keep fighting. In the closing moments of the match, Maria held on to Eddie’s foot long enough to hinder his momentum, allowing Bennett to hit him with a piledriver for the win. Good match by both guys and Bennett is really starting to get something going. I could see him becoming ROH World Champion by 2014 if he doesn’t go to a bigger company first. On the other hand, Eddie Edwards is nearly always impressive, so this was the norm for him.
The show continued with Jimmy Jacobs taking on Kevin Steen. The story here is that Jacobs was given one last chance with ROH due to BJ Whitmer‘s retirement, so if Jacobs wins three out of five try-out matches, he will earn a contract and a shot at the ROH World Championship. This match was intense right from the get-go with Jacobs scoring a nearfall seconds after the bell rang with a spear. The action was hot and heavy with senton bombs, sleeper suplexes and even a spear off the apron onto a table that failed to break. Safe to say, this is one of the reasons as to why you should watch A New Dawn. Despite Jacobs’ efforts, Steen was able to knock him off with the Package Piledriver and get the win. After the match, Maria Kanellis distracted Steen while Michael Bennett attacked him from behind and laid him out with his second piledriver of the night. Don’t let the length of this match distract you, as both Steen and Jacobs told a great story that didn’t let you forget their rivalry while SCUM was trying to take over Ring of Honor. Probably the most entertaining match of the show so far.
In the semi-main event of the night, Matt Taven, escorted to the ring by Scarlett Bordeaux and Seleziya Sparx, defended his ROH World Television Championship against Davey Richards and Roderick Strong. In a very entertaining contest, Taven proved that he did indeed belong as ROH’s TV Champion. Although Roddy and Davey united at times against a common enemy, they were unable to pick up the win when Scarlett distracted the referee and Seleziya was caught in an ankle lock, allowing the savvy Taven to roll up Richards from behind, hook his tights, and retain his title. This was another very good match with some nice spots. Taven is on a roll as the TV Champion and it’s obvious that ROH brass is high on him, and for a good reason. Due to his presentation and ability, he comes off as a big deal to the casual fan and is a great asset for the company.
In the main event of the evening, Adam Cole defended his ROH World Championship against Mark Briscoe, the winner of the 15-man Honor Rumble earlier in the night. Reminiscent of their encounter in the first round of ROH’s World Title tournament, Cole focused on Briscoe’s previously concussed head, scoring various nearfalls throughout the course of the match. With Cole having pulled out all of his big moves, Briscoe fought back and was able to hit the Froggybow. Instead of going for the pin, Mark pulled Cole up and hit the Jay Driller. Just when it seemed like Cole’s title reign was going to end the same way that Mark’s World Title aspirations ended, he was able to place his foot on the bottom rope. Down and out, Cole tricked referee Todd Sinclair into thinking that he couldn’t move, prompting the official to restrain Briscoe from attacking Cole any further. With Mark distracted, Cole capitalized off a superkick and hit Florida Key to win his first title defense.After the match, Jay Briscoe returned through the crowd, distracting Cole as Michael Elgin crept up behind him. However, Cole narrowly avoided an Elgin Bomb and was able to leave the arena before Briscoe or Elgin could get their hands on him. To close A New Dawn, Elgin cut a promo assuring his fans that he would become champion very soon.
Overall, A New Dawn was an alright show for Ring of Honor. It featured some good wrestling and I would recommend checking it out, if only just to see how Cole’s title reign advances and to watch the opening match, Jacobs vs. Steen, and the TV Title match.