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RADICAN'S ROH "Best in the World 2013" iPPV review 6/2: Elgin-Ciampa steals show, Briscoe vs. Briscoe for ROH World Title, Steen-Hardy No DQ match

Jun 29, 2013 - 6:19:14 PM

By Sean Radican, Torch columnist


JUNE 22, 2013

Steve Corino and Kevin Kelly introduced the show. Corino said S.C.U.M. had two title opportunities and Matt Hardy would take down Kevin Steen. The crowd chanted “Man up” in the background.

(1) B.J. Whitmer beat Mike Bennett (w/Maria & Brutal Bob Evans). Maria got on commentary and said Whitmer had looked at her rear end. Whitmer dominated the action early, but Bennett cut him off on the outside. Whitmer ducked a charge in the corner and went on the attack. Evans distracted Whitmer and the footage went forward to Bennett grabbing a chinlock. Bennett dominated the action for a long period of time and the crowd wasn’t into the action, but Corino kept things lively by making sexist comments about Maria. Whitmer mounted a comeback and hit a big power slam. Later in the match, Bob ran into the ring, but Whitmer side-stepped him and sent him out of the ring. Whitmer then hit an exploder suplex for the win.

Star rating: (*3/4) – This was a basic opening match that featured some solid action. The crowd wasn’t really into it and the match didn’t set the tone for the rest of the card like the electric tag matches have in previous months.

After the match, Bennett and Maria argued with Bob and blamed him for not being there for them.

(2) The American Wolves (Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards) beat Adrenaline Rush (ACH & Tadarius Thomas). Corino ran down Richards on commentary during the early stages of the match. Neither team could get the upper hand during the early stages of the match. The Wolves eventually cut Thomas off and Richards went to work on him after connecting with a diving headbutt. Thomas eventually caught Richards with a kick to the head and ACH got the hot tag. The pace picked up with ACH working over Edwards with a flurry of offense. The action broke down with all four men in the ring. Thomas and ACH hit a flurry of kicks on Edwards for a nearfall. The fans fired up with a “This is awesome” chant. Edwards and Richards hit a superkick/German combo on ACH for a nearfall. Richards kicked ACH several times in the corner. They ended up battling up top and ACH sent Richards to the mat, but Edwards ran over and nailed him with a kick. Thomas then ran in behind Edwards and went for a powerbomb, but Edwards turned it into a hurricanrana only for Thomas to land on his feet. Thomas took down Edwards, but Richards wiped him out with a running kick. The action continued at a rapid pace. ACH capped a big sequence wiping out Richards to a flip dive to the floor. ACH went for a 450, but Edwards caught him with his knees and rolled him up for the win.

Star rating: (**1/4) – I just couldn’t get into this match beyond enjoying the rapid exchanges. There was no story, no selling, and nothing beyond rapid-fire action that seemed to break out after they tried to establish a slower pace during the early going. I usually like matches of this style, but something about this didn’t click.

A video package aired focusing the highlights of Strong pinning Cole at “Honor in the Heart of Texas.” The footage showed Cole blowing off a post-match handshake from Strong. They then went to footage of Cole apologizing for not shaking his hand.

Steve Corino stood and applauded when Adam Cole made his entrance.

(3) Adam Cole beat Roderick Strong via count out. Corino said Cole is his friend outside of wrestling. They started the match with some chain wrestling. Strong eventually targeted Cole’s arm, which Cole injured in their encounter at “Honor in the Heart of Texas.” Strong continued to dominate the action during the early stages of the match. Cole mounted a comeback and went to work on Strong. Strong countered Cole in the corner and hung him upside down before nailing him with a running charge in the corner. Strong tied up Cole in a standing bow and arrow variation, but Cole fought free and hit a neck breaker over his knee on Strong a short time later. Cole fired back and sent Strong to the outside off the apron with an enzuguri. He followed up with a dive through the ropes and the fans fired up. Cole began working over Strong’s leg inside the ring. Cole went up top a short time later, but Strong cut him off. They battled up top and Cole punched Strong to the mat. Cole went for a cross body, but Strong got his knees up and both men were down. Strong sold his legs while he was down on the mat.

The pace picked up when both men got to their feet and Strong hit a jumping knee strike in the corner followed by a bulldog. Strong tossed Cole stomach-first over the top rope a short time later and covered him for a 2 count. Cole fired back and hit a shining wizard for a two count. Strong ducked a running kick attempt and rolled up Cole, but Cole kicked out and applied the figure 4. Strong struggled, but ended up getting the ropes. Both men exchanged strikes and Strong ended up hitting a running knee to the head followed by the sick kick, but Cole kicked out. Strong applied the Stronghold, but Cole fought free. Strong applied it again, but Cole fought free once again. Cole got up and hit a superkick and a neck breaker over his knee on Strong for a 2 count and the fans fired up. Both men battled on the apron and Cole ended up super kicking Strong off the apron and through the table where the ring announcer was sitting. Cole went to lift Strong up and then tossed Strong to the ground. Corino laughed on commentary at Cole’s actions. The ref’s count neared 20 and Strong tried to get into the ring, but couldn’t.

Corino chased Cole up the aisle and congratulated him after the match.

Star rating: (***) – There was some good action in this match, particularly during the second half. The match was geared towards further teasing Cole’s heel turn. Cole taking a count out win certainly points towards a heel turn. I’m still not sure what to make of Strong at this point, as they haven’t done much to define his character since his split with the HOT.

Veda Scott and R.D. Evans came down to ringside. Kelly asked Scott if Evans could join them. Scott left and Evans sat down next to Kelly. That was weird.

Kelly previewed the Elgin-Ciampa match that was coming up next. A highlight package showed Ciampa making his ROH return at “Border Wards 2013” in May. They showed Elgin helping Ciampa get his hands on R.D. Evans next. They showed Elgin cutting a promo saying he wasn’t upset with Ciampa picking a fight with him.

Ciampa came out first and the fans threw streamers at him. Why is Ciampa the only one in the company with a cool entrance by independent standards? Elgin entered the ring like he was just another wrestler on an independent wrestling show.

(4) Michael Elgin beat Tomasso Ciampa. Both men went face-to-face and shook hands before the referee separated them. Elgin got the better of a test of strength between both men and went for a delayed vertical suplex, but Ciampa countered it and applied a long delayed vertical suplex of his own. Wow! Evans wondered how Ciampa hit that move coming off a knee injury. Ciampa charge at Elgin, who caught him with a side slam for a 2 count. Elgin applied the crossface, but Ciampa rolled him up for a 2 count. Ciampa caught Elgin with his version of the crossface from the right side, but Elgin fought free and lifted Ciampa on his shoulders before dumping him into the turnbuckles with a DVD. Elgin lifted Ciampa for a delayed vertical suplex. The crowd counted and then began clapping, as Elgin seemingly held him in the position for a minute before dumping him to the mat. The crowd popped before Elgin covered Ciampa for a 2 count. They went to a big exchange and Ciampa clotheslined Elgin over the top and both men spilled to the floor. They went back and forth on the floor and Ciampa ended up picking up Elgin and he rammed him into the barricade.

Ciampa picked up one of the mats covering the floor to reveal the concrete underneath it. Ciampa ended up going for a dive a short time later only for Elgin to cut him off with a forearm as he came through the ropes. Elgin then lifted Ciampa through the ropes and in one motion lifted him into the suplex position before dumping him down onto the exposed concrete. The fans fired up as the ref counted with Ciampa down on the floor. Ciampa struggled, but easily beat the count of the ref. Elgin dragged Ciampa back to the floor and powerbombed him into the barricade. Elgin then went up top and the fans went nuts. Elgin connected with a twisting senton off the top, but Ciampa kicked out. Elgin hit a buckle bomb and went for another powerbomb, but Ciampa countered it into kryptonite crunch for a 2 count and the fans went nuts again. Ciampa put the boots to Elgin in the corner and pulled down his knee pad before hitting a running knee strike in the corner. Ciampa hit a second running knee strike and went for a third, but Elgin got to his feet. Ciampa countered Elgin and hit a discus elbow that sent Elgin back into the corner. Ciampa connected with several more knee strikes in the corner. Ciampa carried Elgin on his back and climbed to the second turnbuckle before hitting a super kryptonite crunch for a nearfall and the crowd went nuts again.

The fans were split chanting for both men as Elgin struggled to his feet. Ciampa tried to charge Elgin in the corner a short time later, but Elgin caught him and slammed him to the mat. Elgin dead-lifted Ciampa into the suplex position and drove him down to the mat for another nearfall and the fans erupted again. Ciampa countered a dead-lift superplex and hit project Ciampa, but Elgin kicked out at the last second and the fans went nuts again. They ended up out on the apron a short time later and Ciampa hit kryptonite crunch on the apron and then again on the exposed concrete. Ciampa rolled Elgin back into the ring and Kelly telegraphed the kick out from Elgin by saying the match was over. After a series of counters, Elgin dead-lifted Ciampa and hit a buckle bomb and a powerbomb, but Ciampa kicked out and applied a triangle. Elgin tried to powerbomb his way out of it, but Ciampa held on. Elgin powered out and hit a buckle bomb, but Ciampa slipped out of a powerbomb and hit a running knee for a one count. The fans fired up as Elgin nailed Ciampa with three spinning back-fists. Elgin hit another back-fist to the back of Ciampa’s head and followed up with a short-arm clothesline for the win.

Q.T. Marshall came down to ringside as the referees checked on Elgin and Ciampa. He took forever to take off his suit, which gave Elgin and Ciampa time to recover behind him. Marshall finally turned around to see Elgin and Ciampa waiting for him. Marshall ended up putting his jacket back on and he left ring and walked to the back with Evans.

Elgin and Ciampa shook hands and the fans applauded. Elgin signaled that he wanted the ROH World Title.

Star rating: (****1/4) – This was an incredible effort from both men. They hit each other with some incredible power moves and built up to some fantastic nearfalls down the stretch. Although Ciampa lost, this was his breakout match. The crowd heat was good for this match, but I was expecting the fans to get on their feet down the stretch and they didn’t.

(5) ROH TV Champion Matt Taven (w/The House of Truth) beat Jimmy Jacobs and Jay Lethal in a Triple Threat match. Jacobs superkicked Lethal to the outside after the bell sounded. Taven then wiped both men out with a dive over the top to the outside and the crowd applauded. All three men battled on the outside. Jacobs ducked a charge from Martini on the apron and went for a dive on Taven, but Taven caught him with a power slam. Lethal took control of the action back inside of the ring and worked over Taven with Jacobs on the outside. Jacobs eventually got into the ring and sent Taven to the outside before going to work on Lethal inside the ring. Martini distracted Jacobs and Taven capitalized taking out both men. Taven hit a variation of angel’s wings on Jacobs and dumped him on top of Lethal. Taven then covered Lethal for a 2 count. Something happened on the outside to give Taven the advantage, but the camera was on Martini on commentary. Lethal went for a sunset flip and pulled down Taven’s tights. Lethal hit a bulldog/DDT combination on Taven and Jacobs. Taven bumped with his bare cheeks hanging in the air. They went to a big sequence that ended with Lethal slamming Jacobs face-first into the mat for a nearfall. Lethal hit the Lethal combination on Jacobs only for Taven to immediately hit him with a frog splash off the top for a 2 count. Letal hit hail to the king on Taven, but Jacobs broke up the pin.

Lethal sent Taven and Jacobs to the floor. He wiped out Taven with a dive through the ropes and the fans fired up. One of the Hoopla Hotties got into the ring and Lethal pulled her vest off for a wardrobe malfunction. The fans chanted “Yes, yes, yes.” Martini ran into the ring. Jacobs took out Lethal with a spear. Martini begged Jacobs not to attack him. The other Hoopla girl got into the ring. Jacobs shoved her away and she tried to hit Jacobs with an air raid crash, but Jacobs slipped out. Jacobs hit an ace crusher on Lethal, but one of the girls on the outside grabbed his leg, which allowed Taven to get the win.

Star rating: (**1/2) - Taven got more of a chance to show he can wrestle during the first half of the match, but once again, this was the Truth Martini show with his girls playing a supporting role. One of them had a wardrobe malfunction, which the crowd was red hot for.

(6) ROH Tag Team Champions ReDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) beat Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander) and S.C.U.M. (Cliff Compton & Rhett Titus) in a Triple Threat match. Coleman and Alexander went after S.C.U.M. while ReDRagon watched. Kelly said one team should be on the apron, but the ref didn’t force a team out of the ring. Everyone went after S.C.U.M. and dumped them to the outside. O’Reilly and Fish pulled the ropes down and Alexander wiped out Compton and Titus with a big dive to the outside. Coleman went for another dive, but O’Reilly and Fish cut him off and began working him over in the ring. Alexander went up top and took out ReDRagon with a missile dropkick. Titus and Compton recovered and broke up a double team attempt on O’Reilly. Titus began working over Coleman inside the ring. Coleman finally fired back and tagged in Alexander. O’Reilly tagged himself in, but got cut off by Alexander as the pace quickened. Coleman and Alexander hit overtime on O’Reilly, but Titus and Compton dragged O’Reilly to the outside. Coleman wiped out S.C.U.M. with a dive to the outside off the turnbuckles. Fish hit big kick to Alexander’s head and O’Reilly managed to get an arm over him for the win.

Star rating: (**1/4) – There was some good action in the match, but it seemed to be just getting going when Fish hit a big kick to Alexander’s head and O’Reilly covered him for the win.

Matt Hardy came out for his match with Kevin Steen. Steve Corino did a long introduction for Hardy. He ran down the fans and city of Baltimore. He said Hardy is an icon. The fans chanted for Corino to shut up. Hardy threw his shirt into the crowd and the fans threw it back into the ring. This is such a great introductions. Corino finally introduced Hardy as the most beautiful man to enter an ROH ring.

Steen then came out to a big pop. Steen got on the mic and the fans chanted for him. Steen asked McGuinness to make the match a No DQ match. The fans applauded and McGuinness said it would be a No DQ match. Steen asked Matt if his brother was the one with the balls in the family and they began brawling.

(7) Matt Hardy beat Kevin Steen in a No DQ match. Steen went for a rolling senton in the corner, but Hardy grabbed the ref and dragged him in front of him. Hardy then went low and took out Steen’s legs. Hardy went on the attack and targeted Steen’s leg. Steen fired back and caught Hardy with a pop-up powerbomb. The action quickly brawled outside where Steen took control after whipping Hardy into the barricade. The fans were into Steen dominating the action during the early going on the outside. Hardy fired back and drove Steen into the barricade and then he slammed his head into it several times. Hardy tossed Steen into the ring and began working him over. Corino went to the back and began feeding Hardy weapons to use on Steen in the ring. Hardy went for a moonsault, but Steen rolled out of the way. Steen hit a running cannonball in the corner and the fans fired up. Steen put a trash can on top of Hardy in the corner and hit another running cannonball and the fans fired up again. Steen set up a table on the floor and went back into the ring to go after Hardy, but Titus ran down. Steen took out Titus, but walked right into a side effect from Hardy for a 2 count. The fans got all over Hardy with a “Same old s---“ chant. Corino looked like he was going to cry on the outside. Hardy dragged Steen to the apron and went for a side effect through the table on the floor, but Steen blocked it. Steen went for the package piledriver, but Jacobs ran down and pushed the table out of the way. Steen went after Jacobs and powerbombed him twice onto the apron. He then went after Hardy and powerbombed him onto the apron, but Compton ran down and nailed him with several chair shots to the back.

Hardy tossed Steen into the ring before going under the ring for a small ladder. Hardy nailed Steen with the ladder several times and then posed with it for the crowd. Hardy turned around and walked right into a code breaker on the ladder from Steen for a 2 count. Corino distracted Steen and he turned around into a TOF from Hardy for a nearfall and the fans fired up. Steen blocked a second TOF attempt and hit a low blow. Steen then hit the f cinq for a nearfall. The fans chanted “F--- your jacket” at Corino. Steen went for a package piledriver, but Hardy hit a low blow and followed up with a side effect on the ladder for a 2 count. Hardy set up two chairs and hit a TOF through the chairs on Steen for the win.

The fans booed the finish of the match as S.C.U.M. celebrated with Steen. A replay aired of the finish of the match. Corino got on the mic and announced Hardy as the winner of the match as the fans booed. S.C.U.M. then began putting a beating on Steen. Several officials came down to the ring to help Steen and S.C.U.M. posed for the crowd before beating up Steen again before leaving the ring.

Star rating: (***1/2) – The crowd was into this match more than any other match on the card. Corino got a lot of heat on Hardy before the match and the fans were really into Steen trying to overcome a stacked deck after he asked for a No DQ match. Eventually the numbers game became too much for Steen to overcome, but this match told a good story and set up Hardy as a threat in his upcoming ROH World Title shot against the winner of the main event.

Larry Mercer interviewed the Briscoe’s family members at ringside. Papa Briscoe said it was about to get real. He said it was on tonight.

Mark Briscoe came out first to a good reaction from the fans. Kelly mentioned there were over 60 members of the Briscoe family in attendance. ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe came out next to a good reaction as well. The crowd chanted “Man up” before the match began. Jay refused a handshake before the match started.

(8) ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe beat Mark Briscoe. The crowd was split during the early going and chanted for both men. After a big exchange Mark caught Jay with a leg lariat. He gave Jay time to recover and they shook hands after Jay got to his feet. Mark countered Jay and offered him a handshake, but ended up pulling his hand away. The Briscoe family was very much into the action at ringside. Mark sent Jay to the floor and nailed him with a dropkick through the ropes. Jay fired back on the outside and caught Mark by surprise with a running kick. Mark fired back and suplexed Jay onto the apron. The fans chanted “Man up” as both men squared off in the middle of the ring. Jay ended up nailing Mark with several punches before taking him down with a clothesline. The pace slowed with Jay on the attack. Mark tried to fire back, but Jay drove him head-first into the second turnbuckle. They battled up top and ended up back on the mat. Mark ended up hitting Jay with a superkick and he went on the attack. Mark made the first pinfall attempt after slamming Jay to the mat, but he only got a 2 count. Jay went to the outside and dragged a table out from under the ring. Mark went to the outside and helped him set up the table. Both men then began exchanging blows on the outside. That was an odd sequence. They battled up to the turnbuckles. Mark ended up pushing Jay to the apron, but Jay lifted him and tossed him to the floor and the fans fired up.

Jay tossed Mark into the ring and nailed him with a running kick. Jay went for a Jay-driller, but Mark blocked it. Mark ended up catching Jay with an exploder. He followed up with a mule kick that sent Jay into the corner. Mark then slammed Jay off the top to the floor for a 2 count. The fans chanted for both men as Mark went on the attack. Mark ended up sending Jay to the floor before he nailed him with a slingshot splash. Mark put Jay on top of the table on the outside and climbed the turnbuckles. Mark then hit the froggy bow, which put Jay through the table and the fans went nuts. Mark tossed Jay into the ring and hit another froggy bow, but Jay kicked out at the last second. Jay blocked a kick from Mark and nailed him with a kick of his own. Mark fired back and hit a cutthroat driver on Jay for a nearfall. Mark went for another cutthroat driver, but Jay managed to fight out of it. They exchanged blows and Jay hit a Jay-driller, but Mark kicked out at the last second. Jay hit a second Jay-driller, but Mark kicked out at 1. They showed the crowd instead of the action taking place in the ring. Jay hit a superkick and a third Jay-driller for the win.

After the match, several officials and members of the Briscoe family came into the ring to check on Mark and Jay. Kelly announced Jay would defend the ROH World Title next against Matt Hardy before signing off.

Star rating: (***1/4) – I was expecting a much better match, but this match started slowly and didn’t pick up until the final stretch. There were some good exchanges during the course of the match, but the match never felt like a war. The crowd was into the match as well, but the ending didn’t build to a fever pitch.

Overall thoughts: (6.5) – This didn’t feel like a very important show. ROH has done a good job the last couple of months making iPPVs feel meaningful, but it didn’t feel like there was much at stake on this show, especially given the rushed nature of the main event between the Briscoe Brothers.

There was some good action on the card. Cole-Strong was a good match, but it seemed to be designed to get over Cole’s heel turn, as he took a count out victory. The highlight of the show was the Elgin-Ciampa match. These two had an all-out war and although the crowd was hot for the action, they weren’t as hot as I expected them to be given the action in the ring.

A lot of the matches on the card were average. It wasn’t a surprise that the Triple Threat match for the TV Title wasn’t a great in-ring encounter given that Truth Martini tends to take over any match that Matt Taven is involved in. There was some good action and Taven got to stand out more than usual, but once again, the focus in the end was on Martini and his Hoopla Hotties. The Triple Threat match for the Tag Titles was fine, but it wasn’t given much time to tell a story and ended out of nowhere. Going into the TV title and Tag title matches, there wasn’t much of a story in either match for the fans to engage in, so hopefully that gets addressed in the near future. Title matches shouldn’t feel meaningless, as these two matches did.

Matt Hardy gets a ton of heat and Steve Corino has done a great job enhancing him on the mic. The Steen-Hardy match had the crowd more hot than they’ve been all night cheering for Steen and booing Hardy. I’m still baffled as to why Steen would ask for a No DQ match against a member of S.C.U.M. Steen gave a valiant effort, but was unable to overcome the numbers game in the end.

The main event was good, but there was an odd pacing to the match and it felt like it took a long time for the match to get going. The crowd seemed like they really wanted to get into the action, but the pace of the match didn’t allow them to until the end when out of nowhere both men started hitting their finishers and doing nearfalls and kick outs at one.

There are some good matches on this card and Elgin-Ciampa is definitely worth a look. Hardy-Steen was very good as well. The main event between Jay and Mark was good, but fell well below what I expected out of a match from these two with the ROH World Title on the line. They’ve had some great singles matches against each other in the past, but on this night they didn’t engage the crowd at the level that I thought they would. Mild thumbs up.

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