Kevin Kelly welcomes us to the show and hypes up tonight’s main event between the American Wolves and the Briscoe Brothers.
Before the opening match, Martini gets on the mic and says at Best In The World, we’ll see if Jay Lethal has what it takes to take the TV title. He then makes an open challenge to anybody in back who wants a Proving Ground match. Pepper Parks is the man to accept the challenge.
Proving Ground: Matt Taven w/Truth Martini vs. Pepper Parks
Parks goes straight after Taven from the bell to try and get a quick advantage. If he wins or lasts the time limit, he’ll get a future title shot. Russian leg sweep gets Parks two but Taven comes back with a spin kick for a two count of his own. Parks gets caught on the top rope and Taven drives him down to the mat with a swinging neckbreaker. Parks back with a sunset flip powerbomb and then goes for a move off the top rope which Taven evades. The champion then quickly hits his modified DDT for the victory.
ROHWorld.com’s thoughts: This was a decent start to the show but considering Taven really needs to start looking like a strong champion, this didn’t really help. Even though it was a ‘clean’ victory, it still felt like he was lucky. Parks looked good and it’ll be interesting to see if he features more often for ROH.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Rip Impact
I absolutely love Ciampa’s new entrance, it just makes him look like a beast. And a very dangerous one at that. This is Impact’s Ring of Honor debut and he goes straight for Ciampa from the off. That doesn’t work too well though as Ciampa hits repeated punches in the corner before two running knees. Impact reverses the Project Ciampa but then is on the end of a Dragon Suplex and a clothesline for two. Ciampa hits a stalling suplex, much like Michael Elgin does, and Elgin gets on the apron to stare him down. Impact fights back with a neckbreaker and then goes to the top but is stopped and Ciampa hits another running knee before the Air Raid Crash off the second rope gets him the win.
ROHWorld.com’s thoughts: Great way to reintroduce Ciampa. He looked completely dominant and that’s what needed to happen. The interaction with Elgin was also well done and hypes up their match at Best In The World which should be brilliant.
Now onto this week’s ‘Inside ROH’. We see highlights from Ciampa’s return last week when he destroyed QT Marshall and RD Evans and confronted Michael Elgin. At Best In The World, Ciampa and Elgin will face off. Elgin says he understands what Ciampa is doing and he would have done the exact same thing. We then hear from Adam Cole who says his integrity hasn’t changed. He says losing the TV title made him realise that the only thing that matters is wins and loses. Kevin Steen says Matt Hardy may have experienced pain before but when they meet in Baltimore, he’s going to make him wish he was falling off ladders and through tables and chairs.
Steve Corino, along with Jimmy Jacobs, Rhett Titus and Cliff Compton then comes down to the ring. He says ROH have made mistake after mistake for 11 years. He says Nigel made three of the worst mistakes by not giving Matt Hardy a World title shot earlier. He adds that Nigel made #1 contenders matches and left out Compton, Jacobs and Titus. Corino then says he could have sued Nigel for what he did to him at Border Wars. Nigel gets up and is joined by Caprice Coleman, Cedric Alexander and Jay Lethal and they all stand on the apron before getting in the ring. Corino says ‘Ring of Homies’ which then gets a ‘that was racist’ chant! Corino and Nigel stare each other down as the six men brawl until security breaks them up.
The American Wolves vs. The Briscoe Brothers
Davey and Jay go at it early on, Davey hits a dropkick before going for a suicide dive that Jay cuts off. Mark tagged in and walks into an enziguri before he is bodyslammed onto the outside by Edwards. Jay and Mark both end up on the outside with Jay getting kicked by Davey as Eddie takes out Mark with a suicide dive. Nice double team moves from the Wolves as a missile dropkick on Jay gets them two. Another enziguri from Eddie on Jay and he then goes for the backpack chinbreaker but Jay blocks it and hits a spinebuster. Hot tag to Mark who takes out Davey with some redneck kung-fu and then gets two after a belly-to-back suplex. Double team neckbreaker on Davey gets the Briscoes two.
The Briscoes go for the Doomsday but Edwards takes out Mark on the top rope. Jay and Davey then battle out with Davey locking in an armbar until Mark hits the froggy elbow drop from the top for two. ‘This is awesome’ chants from the crowd as Mark gets hit by an Alarm Clock and Jay is knocked to the outside by a superkick. Mark is hit by a double stomp from both Wolves but kicks out at two. The Briscoes fight back but Mark goes for a right hand on Davey who ducks and he ends up hitting his brother Jay instead. The Wolves take advantage with the kick to the head/tombstone piledriver combo on Mark for the win.
ROHWorld.com’s thoughts: This was a really great main event, especially for TV. Plenty of back-and-forth action and all four men helped produce a really entertaining match. The ending obviously plays into the ROH World Title match between the brothers, with Jay thinking Mark hit him on purpose building tension. A great end to the show which really made me look forward to Best In The World.