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RADICAN'S ROH DVD REVIEW SERIES: "Border Wars 2013" 5/5 - Edwards-Ishimori, London's return to ROH, Briscoe defends ROH Title vs. Cole

Jul 13, 2013 - 3:06:11 PM

By Sean Radican, Torch columnist


MAY 5, 2013

Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness opened the show previewing the card. The crowd was really hot to start the show. RIP silver curtain. The new entrance set is a nice improvement on the look of the entrance set.

(1) Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander beat ACH & Tadarius Thomas. Thomas and Coleman exchanged pinning combinations for 2 counts during the early going before tagging in their partners. ACH got a big reception from the fans once he got into the ring with Alexander. The action between ACH and Alexander was too fast to keep track of, but ACH eventually got the upper hand and began working him over before tagging in Thomas. Alexander eventually hit Thomas with a big drop kick and tagged in Coleman, who went for a dive. ACH cut him, but after a crazy sequence near the apron, Alexander nailed ACH with a big flip dive to the floor and the crowd went nuts. Thomas and Coleman went at it in the ring and Thomas went for a kick, but Coleman caught his boot and Alexander ran in and nailed him with a dropkick. Coleman and Alexander tagged in and out to work over Thomas. Thomas finally hit a double kick on Coleman and Alexander. ACH eventually got the hot tag and ran wild on Coleman. ACH elevated Alexander up over the turnbuckle and nailed him with a dropkick as he came back down. Wow! Thomas and then ACH both hit crazy dives on opposite sides of the ring to take out Coleman and Alexander and the crowd went nuts. The action continued at a rapid pace with the crowd red hot alongside the action. Coleman hit a series of suplexes on ACH for a nearfall and the crowd gasped when he kicked out. ACH bounced Alexander onto the ropes and catapulted him backwards into a stunner for a nearfall. Coleman hit a no hands hurricanrana off the top on ACH and Alexander finished him off with a frogsplash for the win.

Star rating: (***1/2) – You can question some of the maneuvers they did that only resulted in two counts, but my gosh was this an incredible opening match. These four guys are studs.

Kelly and McGuinness announced Mondo had suffered a training injury and wouldn’t be wrestling tonight, which changed the Triple Threat match to a singles match between Bennett and Strong.

Bennett made his entrance with Maria sporting a new short haircut. I liked his old hair better because it made him come across more like a heel, but I’m no style expert. Bennett slapped Strong’s hand lightly to follow the code of honor.

(2) Roderick Strong beat Mike Bennett (w/Maria). Strong hit a big chop early and Bennett bailed. The crowd was a bit flat with the heel vs. heel dynamic during the early stages of the match. Strong dominated the action and Maria got up on the apron, but Strong took a step at her and she jumped off. Strong went back after Bennett and applied the Strong hold, but he got the ropes immediately. Strong hit some chops on the outside and slapped hands with the fans, which allowed Bennett to spine buster him into the apron when he turned back around. Bennett dominated on the outside before the action spilled back into the ring. The fans rallied behind Strong, who tried to fire back, but ate an elbow coming off the ropes. Maria came in on commentary and McGuinness looked really happy. Maria said a championship was in Bennett’s future. Strong mounted a comeback capped by a big dropkick on Bennett as he came off the ropes and the crowd fired up. They went back and forth and Strong hit a flurry of offense capped by a big back breaker for a 2 count. Bennett fired back a short time later after countering Strong and capped another sequence with a spear for a 2 count. Strong eventually got Bennett in the Strong hold, but Maria got on the apron and distracted the ref while Bennett was tapping. Strong went after Maria and Bennett hit the box office smash for a good nearfall. Cheeseburger came out and made out with Maria. Bennett went to chase him away and ran right into the sick kick from Strong for the win.

Star rating: (**3/4) – This was a good match. The crowd wasn’t into the match at first, but eventually chose to get behind Strong. I’m not a big fan of outside interference like this ending the match because the victory doesn’t do a lot for Strong because without Cheeseburger interfering, he might not have won.

They aired a video package featuring Kevin Steen before the Whitmer-Titus match. It ties into this match, but it doesn’t focus much on the Whitmer-Titus feud.

Steve Corino came out through the crowd and cut a promo. Titus was shown strutting behind him. The fans booed as Corino said Titus would make Whitmer quit. Corino said S.C.U.M. would defeat Elgin & Lethal and would get to commentate every week. The fans booed Corino as he called Whitmer out to the ring. Whitmer made his entrance and ran into the ring and went right after Titus.

(3) B.J. Whitmer beat Rhett Titus in an I Quit match. Whitmer dominated and Corino tripped him from the outside. McGuinness went to the back and brought up some referees, who tossed Corino out of the match. Whitmer continued to dominate the action after hitting a dive through the ropes. The fans chanted “Get the f—k out” at Corino, who left through the crowd. Why didn’t McGuinness just handle the situation himself? Whitmer went for a move off the top, but Titus hit a hot shot over the top turnbuckle. Titus worked a chinlock against the ropes and the ref asked Whitmer if he wanted to quit. Whitmer said he didn’t want to quit and the action spilled to the outside. Titus nailed Whitmer with a shot on the apron that sent him head-first into the ringpost, but Whitmer wouldn’t quit. Titus bit Whitmer’s face back inside the ring. Titus locked in the last chancery, but couldn’t get Whitmer to quit. Whitmer fired up and told Titus to bring it. Whitmer fired back and hit a series of punches before catching Titus with an exploder as he came off the ropes. Titus tried to zip tie Whitmer to the ropes, but Whitmer fought him off. Whitmer took the zip ties and tied Titus to the ropes and the crowd liked it. Whitmer punished Titus with punches, but he wouldn’t quit. Titus spit in Whitmer’s face, so he went and got a chair. Corino got into the ring and got on his knees and raised his hands with his back to Whitmer. Titus then quit before Whitmer hit Corino.

Star rating: (*3/4) – This was a match that was hard to get into and there was no drama teased of Whitmer being in any danger of quitting during the match. Titus quitting so Whitmer wouldn’t hit Corino came off as a really flat finish before they went into the next match.

Corino smiled and Jacobs & Compton ran into the ring and beat down Whitmer. Music played and Elgin & Lethal ran down to the ring. The ref got in the ring and called for the bell with Titus still tied to the ropes. I have no explanation.

(4) S.C.U.M. (Jimmy Jacobs & Cliff Compton) w/Steve Corino beat Jay Lethal & Michael Elgin. Lethal took care of Titus with a huge superkick, as he was still tied to the ropes. The action spilled to the floor and the fans ate it up. Jacobs is sporting a new haircut with just one side having some long hair. They finally freed Titus, as Lethal and Elgin dominated on the outside. Jacobs ended up cutting off Lethal and began working him over in the ring. Lethal fired back and tagged in Elgin a short time later. Elgin walked around with Jacobs in a delayed vertical suplex and the crowd got to 41 and went bonkers. Elgin held him for a while longer before suplexing him to the mat. Kelly said if S.C.U.M. wins he doesn’t know what he will say or do in the broadcast booth as a full-time commentator. Compton tagged in, but Lethal caught him with a handspring elbow. Elgin got Compton in the delayed vertical suplex position. Jacobs tried to interfere, but Lethal cut him off and they did stereo delayed vertical suplexes. The crowd went nuts as Elgin posed on the ropes. Lethal and Elgin continued to dominate the action for a long period of time. Lethal hit a dive to the outside on Jacobs and sold a leg injury.

The feed seemed to be uneven as Elgin continued to work over Compton, but it came back quickly. Corino told the ref to count Lethal out, as Elgin and Nigel checked on him. The crowd booed as Compton and Jacobs strutted around the ring. Elgin got back into the ring and went at it alone against Compton and Jacobs. Jacobs went for a spear, but Elgin caught him and powerbombed him into Compton in the corner. Elgin then lifted both men and tossed them over his head. Compton eventually broke up a powerbomb attempt on Jacobs and shoved Elgin shoulder-first into the ringpost. The ref allowed Jacobs and Compton to work over Elgin without tags. Corino taunted Elgin from ringside and told him that he should slap him right now. The ref finally restored order and Elgin tried to fight back against both men. Jacobs had a chinlock on Elgin, but Elgin grabbed Compton and hit a dead-lift German with Jacobs on his back. The crowd went nuts with everyone down in the ring. Kevin Steen ran out through the crowd and got up on the apron. The ref waved him off, but McGuinness said it was alright for Steen to be in the match. The fans threw streamers as Steen ran wild on Compton and Jacobs. Streamers filled the ring as Nigel went mental on commentary. What happened to the ref’s decision being final? Maybe I’m looking too deep into this. Elgin had Jacobs set up for the spinning powerbomb, but Jacobs ran in and chop blocked his leg out from under him. Steen went for the package piledriver, but Jacobs ran in and rolled him up for the win.

This means a member of S.C.U.M. gets a future ROH World Title shot and Corino is now a permanent announcer for ROH TV. Nigel and Steen looked upset after the match as Corino celebrated on the outside. Elgin seemed upset with Steen after the match and yelled at Nigel for putting him into the match. Elgin left the ring and gestured at Steen to back off.

Star rating: (***1/2) – Elgin showed incredible power during the match and did some fantastic spots with Compton and Jacobs that the crowd ate up. The crowd was red hot after Lethal suffered a leg injury and Steen ended up coming out to replace him. This was a fun match, although all the outside shenanigans on the undercard so far have been a distraction.

R.D. Evans and Q.T. Marshall came out after intermission. Kelly seemed upset they were coming down to the ring. Evans got on the mic and said his voice was horse and asked the fans to be completely silent while he talked. The fans began Fandangoing and Evans asked if they were singing the Canadian National Anthem. Evans ran down the fans and said it was a shame that they didn’t get a tag team title match tonight. He said O’Reilly & Fish should be stripped and new tag team champions should be crowned tonight. A light flashed and a beep could be heard. The tiny television screen began flashing shots of Tomasso Ciampa. The building went dark and Ciampa made his way out to a big pop. That was a really nice way to introduce Ciampa back into the mix. Ciampa got into the ring and hit a big knee on Marshall. He went for a running knee in the corner, but Evans pulled Marshall out of the ring. Evans and Marshall ended up running to the back. Kelly wondered what this means for Marshall and ROH. Kelly said Ciampa was supposed to be wrestling in Massachusetts tonight, but had shown up at “Border Wars.”

Corino came down to ringside and joined the commentary booth. Corino said he had something to unveil tonight, but at the next TV show he’d be in on commentary. Corino then left the commentary table.

Edwards wore a special Red Sox themed shirt that ROH is going to auction off to help victims of the Boston bombings last month. Ishimori then came down to the ring to a good ovation.

(5) Eddie Edwards beat GHC Jr. Hvt. Champion Taiji Ishimori in a Non-Title match. Kelly mentioned these two have wrestled in NOAH against each other a number of times. They had a fantastic exchange of counters to start the match. Ishimori sent Edwards to the outside with a head scissors. Ishimori hit an incredible moonsault off the top to the outside. The only thing that didn’t look good was Edwards stood there waiting for him for a long period of time. Edwards fired back a short time later and sent Ishimori to the outside before nailing him with a huge dive that sent Ishimori into the barricade. Edwards maintained the upper hand for a long period of time before applying the Achilles lock. Ishimori struggled, but eventually got the ropes. Ishimori finally fired back and hit a handspring kick to Edwards’s head and both men were slow to get up. Ishimori went on the attack and the fans fired up as he set up and connected with a meteora variation off the top. Edwards countered a handspring attempt into a falcon arrow variation a short time later and both men were down again. Edwards hit a series of rapid-fire chops in the corner and the crowd fired up. Edwards continued to get the better of Ishimori and finished another big sequence with a fisherman suplex. Ishimori slipped out of the 2K1 bomb and then countered a tombstone into a double knees to the chest. He then hit a shining wizard on Edwards for a 2 count.

They went back and forth and ended up going to a big exchange of pinning combinations as the crowd fired up. They continued to go at it at a rapid pace until Edwards hit an inverted hurricanrana followed by a huge clothesline and the crowd stood and applauded. Both men were down and the fans went crazy as the ref counted for both men. They went to a big exchange of forearms and chops. Ishimori caught Edwards by surprise with a superkick and a roundhouse kick to the head for a nearfall. Ishimori went for a 450, but Edwards got his knees up. Edwards and Ishimori ended up standing on the top turnbuckle and Edwards connected with a super hurricanrana. Edwards hit a series of power bombs on Ishimori, but he kicked out and the crowd exploded. Edwards followed up with the die hard driver for the win.

Edwards signaled to Ishimori that he wanted a title shot and they shook hands. The fans chanted please come back at Ishimori after the match ended.

Star rating: (****) – This was an awesome match. They had a number of really fantastic exchanges and wrestled at a heck of pace. The fans really got into the match about halfway through and got on their feet after a big exchange between both men. Matches like this make ROH stand out from the pack.

They went to a video package for the Taven-Briscoe TV title match.

Mark Briscoe came out to a big pop. Taven came out next and did an entrance very similar to The Scene’s in DGUSA/EVOLVE with two women bending over and kissing his title that he wore hanging down his crotch.

(6) ROH TV Champion Matt Taven (w/HOT) beat Mark Briscoe. Mark dominated Taven on the mat during the stages of the match and worked him over on the mat. Taven bailed to the outside to regroup and fix his hair. Taven backed Mark into the corner and slapped him in the face. The pace picked up and Taven missed a kick. Mark then got on top of him and landed a series of blows. They botched a clothesline spot and Taven rolled to the outside. Mark hit Taven with a dropkick and then suplexed him onto the apron. Mark went up top for a dive to the outside, but one of the women distracted the ref and Martini pushed Mark off the top and he landed crotch-first on the ropes. Taven went to work on Mark inside the ring. Taven began working over Mark’s arm and grounded him with a big kick as he came off the ropes. Mark fired back, but Martini distracted him on the outside allowing Taven to maintain the upper hand. Mark mounted a comeback with his patented kung fu. Mark nailed Taven with a big suplex into the turnbuckles, but he kicked out at the last second. He then went for the froggy bow, but Taven got his knees up. Mark fired back a short time later and hit a powerbomb for a nearfall. Taven went for a springboard and slipped. Mark walked up to him and hit a big spinebuster as he held himself on the ropes. Martini got into the ring and tried to hit Mark with his book, but missed. The girls got up on the apron and began making it. The ref looked like he was going to have an orgasm. Mark came over and scared the girls away. Taven then rolled up Mark from behind for the win.

Truth got into the ring after the match, but Mark nailed him with a karate chop. The girls then carried him to the back.

Star rating: (*3/4) – The crowd was into Mark, but this was yet another match on the card filled with shenanigans and outside interference. It also didn’t help that there were some sloppy exchanges during the match.

Kelly and McGuinness discussed the Richards-London match on commentary. They put London over strong as a big part of the early days of ROH.

Richards came out for his match against London to a good pop. London came out next for his first appearance in ROH in nearly 10 years. London got a big welcome back chant from the fans. London wore his old school gear as well as his old t shirt from the 2003 era of ROH. London looks to be in much better shape than the last time I saw him wrestle a couple of years back. London and Richards followed the code of honor.

(7) Davey Richards beat Paul London. London escaped an early head scissors submission on the mat and patted Richards on the head, which caused the crowd to fire up. The pace picked up once they went at it again. London countered Richards and got a nice rollup for a nearfall. They then went back and forth on the mat before coming to a stalemate and the fan applauded. London sent Richards to the outside and went for a dive, but Richards got out of the way and London held himself on the ropes. The fans booed Richards as he regrouped on the outside. London went for a head scissors out of the corner, but Richards tossed him over the top to the floor. London accidentally landed on a photographer, but she appeared to be alright. Richards hit a big kick from the apron and posed for the fans, who booed him. McGuinness and Kelly continually talked about London’s conditioning, but he appeared to be staying with Richards just fine. London fired back on Richards and took him down with a jumping hurricanrana. He went for a springboard, but Richards caught him with an enzuguri from the apron. Richards applied a leg submission and taunted the crowd before doing the sexy party dance. Richards then dropped down to the mat and put more pressure on London’s leg.

McGuinness said he doesn’t like this side of Richards, who continued to jaw with the fans. They went to another rapid exchange and London sent Richards out of the ring and nailed him with a flip dive over the top causing the fans to fire up. London began working over Richards in the ring and hit standing SSP for a 2 count. Richards mounted a comeback after London dominated for several minutes with a kick to the head and a snap German suplex with a bridge for a 2 count. They went to a big exchange and London finally hit a dragon suplex with a bridge for a 2 count. They did a crazy exchange near the apron where London got a head scissors on Richards and took him to the floor in the tombstone position, but Richards countered and hit a tombstone of his own. The crowd fired up as the ref counted for London on the floor. London beat the count, but Richards nailed him with a dropkick as he got back into the ring. Richards then nailed London with a double stomp right to the face. Richards and the ref checked on London. That was really scary. The crowd chanted you killed Paul at Richards. They battled up top and London countered Richards and hit a sunset bomb. London then went for a SSP, but Richards got his knees up and caught him with a pinning combination for the win.

Richards got on the mic after the match. He said he doesn’t always get along with Toronto. Richards put over London and said ROH wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. Richards said he respected London and shook his hand. Richards called for the crowd to give London an ovation and everyone stood and applauded. London got on the mic and asked Richards to get back into the ring. London said he’d been out of it for years, but it was nice to be back in ROH. London raised Richards hand and thanked the fans.

Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a really good match, but Richards nearly killing London with a double stomp to the apron was downright scary and the match should have been stopped at that point. London is very lucky he didn’t get hurt attempting a SSP after taking that double stomp. They had a couple exchanges that weren’t crisp, but London looked better than he has in years during the match and he could be a big addition to the ROH roster if they brought him back full-time.

Kelly said Marufuji would be in ROH once he was healthy. He then pitched to a video package previewing the Jay Briscoe-Adam Cole main event for the ROH World title.

Adam Cole came out first for the main event, but didn’t get a huge reaction. ROH Champion Jay Briscoe was out next to a good response for the fans.

(8) ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe beat Adam Cole. Jay hit a shoulder tackle after an early exchange and Cole bailed to the outside. Kelly said he had talked to Cole earlier today and he could tell Cole was nervous. The action picked up after Cole didn’t offer a clean break in the corner. Jay fired up and nailed Cole with a series of forearms before taking him to the mat with a big elbow. Cole sent Jay with an enzuguri and followed up with a dive through the ropes and the fans fired up. Cole grounded Jay and worked him over on the mat with a chin lock. Jay mounted a comeback with a full-nelson slam. He then began working over Cole after hitting a leg drop for a 2 count. The pace slowed as Jay worked a chin lock on the mat. Cole caught Jay with a boot out of the corner and hit a dropkick off the turnbuckles to Jay’s knee. Cole began working over Jay’s knee by applying a figure 4 around the ringpost. Jay tried to fire back with a series of punches, but Cole kicked his leg. Cole went after Jay in the corner, but Jay drove him into the turnbuckles and tried to regroup with Cole down in the corner. Jay sold his knee as he went after Cole. He eventually hit a roundhouse punch for a 2 count. The crowd tried to get behind Jay, but Cole caught him coming off the ropes with a neck breaker over his knee. Cole went for a figure 4, but Jay fought him off. Jay hit a falcon arrow a short time later, but only got a 2 count. Jay went for the Jay-driller, but his knee gave out. Cole hit another neck breaker over his knee and got another 2 count.

They battled on the apron a short time later. Cole charged at Jay, but got caught with a DVD on the edge of the ring. Jay sold his leg as went after Cole on the outside and the crowd woke up. Jay went on the attack and caught Cole with a neck breaker over his shoulder for a 2 count. The crowd fired up as Jay set up for his finish, but Cole countered it and applied a figure 4 in the middle of the ring. Jay struggled, but eventually got to the ropes. They battled up top and Cole eventually hit a super German suplex. Cole followed up with a superkick to the front and back of the head. Cole then hit the Florida Keys for a nearfall. Cole applied the figure 4 again in the middle of the ring. Jay struggled, but managed to get the ropes again to break the hold. McGuinness and Kelly did a nice job on commentary of highlighting the story of the match. Jay shoved Cole off and sent him into the referee. Corino came down to the ring and offered Cole a S.C.U.M. shirt. McGuinness confronted Corino on the apron. McGuinness teased going to get some help, but instead he ran back to the ring and crotched Corino. He then hit the tower of London on Corino and the fans went nuts. Cole stared at Corino and McGuinness on the outside and Jay came up from behind and hit the Jay-driller for the win.

Jay tossed the S.C.U.M. shirt away and shook hands with Cole. He turned away and Cole teased going after him, but he stopped and left the ring looking frustrated. Kelly then signed off to end the show.

Star rating: (***1/4) – The match dragged in spots, but picked up steam down the stretch. Corino’s interference followed by McGuinness hitting him with the tower of London really got the crowd going. It would have come off better had there not been so much outside interference in many of the matches on the card.

Overall thoughts: (7.5) – ROH did a nice job of cleaning up the issues with the live feed with this DVD release. The audio mix and picture are much improved over what I saw on the iPPV offering of this show. They also did a nice job of editing the show down to around three hours by cutting out the intermission video packages.

There was some really good wrestling on this card, but the problem was it seemed like there was some sort of outside interference or shenanigans leading to the finish in nearly every match. The show also suffered from being so long, as it was hard to stay into the action on a non-major iPPV that went over three hours once again.

The undercard started off with a red hot tag match between ACH & Thomas and Coleman & Alexander. They delivered an action packed opener that got the card off to a great start. The crowd in Toronto was hot for most of the night, although they died down by the time the main event rolled around.

The S.C.U.M. vs. Lethal & Elgin match was another highlight of the undercard. Elgin looked extremely impressive in the match and he’s off to a great start in 2013. Steen coming down and volunteering to be his partner after Lethal got hurt during the match escalated the crowd heat before S.C.U.M. predictably won given the stipulations.

Tomasso Ciampa’s return was impressively done from a production standpoint. I’m hoping ROH does more things like this to enhance their talent. The only downside was he returned to go after Q.T. Marshall, who is barely a step above being a jobber on the roster right now.

The TV title picture seems to be a mess. Taven hadn’t benefitted much from his title reign at this point in time, as he continued to be completely overshadowed by Truth Martini and the women that accompany him to the ring. His match was a down note on this card.

The highlight of the card was the Edwards-Ishimori contest. They put together a fantastic hard-hitting match filled with some great high-speed exchanges that set the crowd on fire. I’d love to see more of Ishimori in ROH in the future. This match is well-worth going out of your way to see.

London looked to be in good shape and had a really good match against Richards. It was a lot of fun seeing the ovation he got for his return to ROH. London was a huge deal in ROH during the early years of the company and the fans in Toronto showed him a lot of appreciation. ROH did a good job finding a last minute substitution for the injured Marufuji, who was originally supposed to face Richards on this show.

London and Richards had some great exchanges and the fans provided a fun atmosphere as they forced Richards to show some heel-like tendencies during the match. The finish of the match was scary, as Richards overshot a double stomp attempt and landed right on London’s head. The match should have been stopped right there, as London had no business attempting a SSP press off the top after taking that kind of a blow to the head. ROH should examine having stricter measures in place to ensure someone in London’s condition doesn’t continue in a match in the future.

The main event with Jay Briscoe defending the ROH World title was good, but it dragged in spots. Things heated up when Corino came down and tried to get Cole to join S.C.U.M. The match itself also told a good story with Cole working over Jay’s leg throughout the match, but ultimately there wasn’t a good story behind the match going in and the fans had a hard time investing in the match. The tease of a Cole heel turn and the tease of him joining S.C.U.M. brought about some interesting possibilities for his character at the time.

This show is worth checking out due to the quality of the matches up and down the card. The booking got in the way at times during the show, but there are a lot of good matches to be found on this card. The company should consider cutting down the length of their iPPVs offerings. It is fine when ROH has a big show go over three hours, but for a show like this that featured so many matches with outside interference; it was tiring to watch at certain points. Otherwise, there was a lot to enjoy here that outweighed the negatives on the show. Thumbs up.

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