RADICAN'S TAKE RADICAN'S ROH DVD REVIEW SERIES "Death Before Dishonor XI" 9/20 - ROH Title Tournament concludes, Hooligans-Wolves
Dec 23, 2013 - 4:09:14 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN’S ROH REVIEW SERIES
“DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR XI”
SEPT. 20, 2013
A disheveled looking Jay Briscoe came out to begin the show. Jay said he started wrestling in ROH 11 years ago and he had tried to make the company the best company for his entire run. Jay said Kevin Steen and SCUM had been trying to take over ROH and he stepped up and took the ROH World Title from him. Jay talked about his shoulder injury and said the higher ups felt he was unable to defend his championship. Jay told Nigel McGuinness that he likes him, but he wants to know why Nigel was allowed to defend the title when he was injured. Jay said McGuinness is just the messenger and a lot of people have a problem standing up for what they believe in. He told McGuinness he thought this was bulls---. The fans chanted bulls---. Jay said all he could do was move forward. Jay said if the person that one the title did it like a man with no shortcuts, he would come to the ring and hand his title over to that person. Jay said as soon as he’s cleared to wrestle, he will be in line for a shot at the title. Jay said if the four remaining competitors won the belt like a man, he’d have no choice but to hand the title over.
McGuinness said he’s been in the same position as Jay, but he went out and defended his title. He said he could guarantee Jay would get a title shot.
(1) Jay Lethal beat Silas Young. Lethal hit Young with a series of dives through the ropes during the early going and the crowd exploded. I don’t like that spot because it makes dives through the ropes seem ineffective if just one dive can’t take someone down. Young fired back and cut Lethal off once they got back inside the ring. Lethal mounted a comeback and hit the lethal combination for a 2 count. Lethal went for hail to the king, but Young rolled out of the way. He caught Lethal with a backbreaker into a clothesline combination for a 2 count. Lethal went for the lethal injection a short time later, but Young turned it into a German with a bridge for a 2 count and the fans fired up. Young went for the Fujiwara plunge, but Lethal got out of the way and hit a handspring lethal injection for the win. This was a good opening match that got the fans into the action, especially late in the match when the action heated up. (**3/4)
Young blew off a post-match handshake.
(2) Adam Cole beat Tomasso Ciampa in an ROH Title Tournament Semi-Final match. Ciampa jumped Cole, but Cole fired back and caught him with a kick to the face when Ciampa went for a running knee into the corner. Cole then wiped out Ciampa with a dive through the ropes. Ciampa popped right up on the outside and picked up Cole and drove him into the guardrail. Ciampa then hit a running knee. Cole tried to block another running knee on the outside, but Ciampa caught his kick and powerbombed him into the guardrail. Ciampa then hit another running knee and the fans went nuts. Ciampa exposed the mats on the outside and after a series of counters, Ciampa hit a suplex on the floor and the fans went nuts. Cole fired back inside the ring and caught Ciampa with a kick to the knee. He followed up with a shining wizard for a 2 count. Cole continued to go for the Florida Keys German, but Ciampa blocked it once again and hit a burning hammer for a 2 count. Ciampa hit a series of running knees in the corner and climbed the ropes with Cole on his back. Ciampa then jumped backwards and hit kryptonite crunch for a 2 count. The fans fired up and chanted that the match was awesome.
Cole slipped out from under Ciampa, who had climbed the turnbuckles and superkicked his leg. Cole then dragged Ciampa into the corner and applied a figure 4 around the ringpost. Cole got the figure 4, but Ciampa eventually rolled over and Cole managed to get the ropes. Cole continued to work over Ciampa’s leg, but Ciampa fired back and hit project Ciampa for a nearfall. In the process of hitting the move, Ciampa further damaged his leg. Ciampa’s leg gave out when he got to his feet. Cole hit a neck breaker over his knee. He then applied the figure 4 once again. Ciampa tried to break free, but Cole began nailing Ciampa with kicks to the head while holding the figure 4. The ref ended up counting the pin with Ciampa knocked out from the kicks from Cole out of the figure 4 position. This was a really good match with some great exchanges and a good story with Cole working over Ciampa’s leg. (***1/2)
(3) Michael Elgin beat Kevin Steen in an ROH Title Tournament Semi-Final match. Elgin teased going for the buckle bomb during the early stages of the match, but Steen escaped and rolled to the floor. Elgin knocked Steen down and hit a springboard moonsault for a 2 count. I haven’t seen Elgin do that before. Steen fired back and caught Elgin with a thumb to the eye. Elgin fired back and Steen rolled to the floor. They ended up battling near the apron. Steen caught Elgin with a kick and hit a DDT through the ropes for a 2 count. Both men ended up going back and forth and they ended up both going for a shoulder tackle off the ropes at the same time. Both men went down, but were quickly back to their feet exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. Elgin finally ended the exchange with a lariat to the back and then a lariat right across Steen’s chest. Elgin was slow to cover Steen, so he only got a 2 count. They went to an exchange of counters. Elgin managed to duck a charge into the corner and Steen went shoulder-first into the ringpost. Elgin then applied the crossface, but Steen got the ropes right away. Elgin went for a deadlift superplex, but Steen tripped him and hit a swanton for a 2 count. Elgin caught Steen with a slam out of the corner and went for a corkscrew senton, but Steen got his knees up and hit the F cinq for a 2 count. Elgin ducked a cannonball in the corner and hit a deadlift German with a bridge for a 2 count. Elgin then locked in the crossface, but Steen eventually got his foot on the ropes.
They went to a big exchange and Steen went for the package piledriver, but Elgin blocked it. Elgin hit a deadlift powerbomb and a bucklebomb, but Steen countered the Elgin bomb into the sharpshooter. Steen grabbed his shoulder as he tried to apply pressure on the hold and ended up having to drop Elgin’s legs. Steen went for a sleeper suplex, but Elgin blocked it. They went back and forth exchanging strikes and counters until Steen hit a sleeper suplex for a nearfall. The fans exploded and chanted for Steen after Elgin kicked out. Steen went for the package piledriver, but sold his shoulder. Steen ended up hitting a pair of sleeper suplexes, but Elgin got up and hit a huge clothesline and both men were down on the mat. Steen went for the package piledriver again, but Elgin blocked it and applied the crossface. Steen struggled, but ended up tapping out. This was a match that started slowly, but once it kicked into gear with Elgin working over Steen’s shoulder, they told a really good story and the fans got into the action down the stretch. (***3/4)
After the match, Elgin and Steen were slow to get to their feet. After the match, Steen shook off help and checked on Elgin, who still hadn’t gotten to his feet. Steen and Elgin ended up shaking hands after the match. Steen continued to refuse help from the referees. Steen eventually took the ice pack from the ref and tossed it into the crowd.
Alex Koslov got on the mic and sang the Russian National Anthem before he and Romero faced the American Wolves. Richards got behind Koslov as the fans booed and started dancing. Koslov and Romero never knew what had happened.
(4) IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champions Forever Hooligans (Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov) beat The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards). The fans chanted USA, so Koslov tried to get a Russia chant going, but the fans booed. The fans then chanted Rocky IV, which was pretty funny. The Wolves nailed the Hooligans with a pair of double boots on the apron that sent them to the floor. They then hit stereo dives to the outside to wipe out Romero and Koslov and the fans chanted USA. The Wolves then used the Hooligans own tandem move against them when Richards and Edwards lifted Romero and launched him knees first into Koslov in the corner. Romero caught Edwards with a knee to the jaw after Koslov caught him with a knee to the back from the apron. The Hooligans then put the boots to Edwards in the corner and began working him over. Edwards got worked over for a long period of time before Richards got the hot tag. Richards ran wild on Romero for a long period of time before nailing him with a running kick for a 2 count. Richards ducked the tandem knee attack in the corner and the Wolves hit tandem running kicks on Romero in the corner. Richards followed up with a German on Romero for a 2 count and the fans fired up.
Richards accidentally kicked Edwards when Romero ducked. Edwards ended up on the floor while the Hooligans worked over Richards inside the ring. They hit a flurry of moves on Richards capped by a running knee to the head by Romero for a 2 count. Koslov put his hat on and nailed Richards with his signature dancing kicks. He then hit a running double stomp to the head for a 2 count. The Hooligans finally hit the tandem double knee attack in the corner and went for a double team on Richards, but Edwards broke it up. Richards eventually got Koslov in a trailer hitch submission. Romero tried to nail him with a kick, but Richards caught his leg and applied an ankle lock. Koslov got to the ropes to force Richards to break both submissions. The action picked up with both teams going back and forth. Richards and Edwards took turns hitting double stomps off the top on Koslov, but they only got a 2 count. They set up for a doomsday device, but Koslov managed to fight it off. Romero then hit a hurricanrana off the top on Richards. Romero then held Richards down for a SSP from Koslov, but Edwards broke up the pin at the last second and the fans applauded. The Hooligans tossed Edwards out of the ring and hit the burning hammer/springboard knee strike combination on Richards for the win. The action dragged in spots, but there were also some really nice fast-paced sequences and comedy mixed in. I don’t know if the crowd wasn’t mic’d well, but it seemed dead at times during the match. (***1/2)
Both teams shook hands after the match.
R.D. Evans came out with Veda Scott after intermission selling his hand injury at the hands of Outlaws Inc. Scott said she had disappointing news. She said Q.T. Marshall was not in the building tonight. She said she was here to represent Evans. Scott said Outlaws Inc. attack was unprovoked and she said McGuinness would answer for this injustice. Evans got on the mic and said he keeps experiencing injustice in ROH. He threatened to go somewhere where he would be treated right. The fans applauded, but Evans told them his council, Ms. Veda Scott, told him to stand up for what was right. Evans vowed not to leave the ring until he got justice. Adam Page came down to the ring and Kelly said he was on standby in the back tonight. Page got on the mic and told Evans he and the fans don’t care. Page challenged Evans to a match to blow off some steam. McGuinness mentioned that he ought to do something about this on commentary since he’s the matchmaker. The match started anyway without Nigel’s approval.
(5) Adam Page beat R.D. Evans (w/Veda Scott). Page ran wild on Evans early after Evans tried to jump him from behind. Evans cut Page off and put his hat on. This made page angry and he hit Evans with an inverted piledriver for the win. Well, that was what it was.
McGuinness and Kelly discussed Elgin’s condition. McGuinness said he wasn’t at 100%. Kelly then pitched to the next match with the debut of Ricky Marvin, who was set to take on Roderick Strong. They talked about his background in Japan and Mexico.
(6) Roderick Strong beat Ricky Marvin. Marvin got the better of Strong during the early stages of the match. He ended up hitting a handspring hurricanrana on the floor and the fans applauded. Strong cut Marvin off and worked him over, but Marvin fired back with a handspring elbow. Marvin slid behind Strong and tripped him before hitting a moonsault off the apron for a 2 count. Marvin sent Strong to the floor with a nice snapping head scissors from the apron before nailing Strong with a double spring splash to the outside and both men were down. It didn’t look like Marvin got a lot of Strong on the dive. Marvin walked the ropes a short time later and hit a dropkick on Strong in the opposite corner, but Strong kicked out. Marvin appeared to have injured his leg. Marvin appeared a step slow during one sequence off the ropes where Strong managed to dump him to the mat for a 2 count. Strong hit a kick in the corner and then a back breaker on Marvin for a 2 count. They went to a big sequence where Marvin countered Strong and caught him with a big kick and both men were down. They went to another exchange that was awkward in spots, but Marvin managed to catch Strong with a twisting neck breaker for a 2 count. Both men battled up top and Strong eventually hit a superplex for a 2 count. Marvin countered Strong and hit a reverse hurricanrana and a big clothesline for a 2 count. Marvin missed a double stomp. Strong hit a double knee gutbuster and the sick kick. Kelly said the match was over, but Marvin kicked out. Strong then hit the Gibson driver for the win. There were some nice sequences, but it appeared Marvin had a hard time executing some spots during the match after hurting his leg. (*3/4)
They pitched to a highlight package focusing on Whitmer’s neck injury after taking a piledriver from Bennett on the ring apron. Kelly said McGuinness would introduce Whitmer to the crowd right now. B.J. Whitmer came out to a good pop from the crowd. Whitmer thanked the fans for their support and his trainer Les Thatcher. Whitmer then thanked Gabe Sapolsky for giving him his first job. Whitmer then thanked Cary Silkin for all he had done for him. Whitmer said after undergoing several tests, he had made the decision to end his career. Whitmer thanked the fans for their support. The fans chanted thank you B.J. Whitmer said he had to do one thing before he left. He said he knew Nigel didn’t like this guy, but he was going to call out Jimmy Jacobs.
Jacobs came to the ring through the crowd. Whitmer said in the history of the company there had never been a more violent feud than the one between them. Whitmer said Jacobs sat at his bedside in Toronto and called and texted him every day since he got hurt. Whitmer said it proved that Jacobs had more heart than anyone he had ever met in the business. Both Jacobs and Whitmer were crying as Whitmer spoke. Whitmer said he had one last favor to ask of McGuinness. He said he wasn’t asking Jacobs to get his job back. He said he wanted Nigel to give Jacobs an opportunity to prove that he’s honorable. He said ROH was built on guys with heart like Jimmy Jacobs. Whitmer said ROH needs a guy like Jimmy Jacobs. Whitmer said when Corino was trying to set the ring on fire at Steel Cage Warfare, Jacobs stopped him. Whitmer told McGuinness not to let two careers to end. Whitmer said he didn’t want to make this decision right now. McGuinness said he would give Jacobs a chance. The fans chanted yes, yes, yes. McGuinness told Jacobs he would start tomorrow. Whitmer and Jacobs then shook hands and hugged to close the segment. The fans chanted thank you B.J. Several wrestlers came out on the entrance ramp and called for Whitmer. It was nice to see Whitmer get this kind of sendoff. Whitmer went around the ring and shook hands with the fans. He then hugged several wrestlers on his way to the back. McGuinness said everyone had said we had heard that Whitmer would leave this business in a wheelchair, so it was good to see him walking out. That was a sobering comment.
(7) Michael Bennett & ReDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) & Matt Taven (w/Maria & The HOT) vs. C & C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander) & Adrenaline Rush (ACH & Tadarius Thomas). Bobby FIsh came in on commentary during the early stages of the match. Maria said the all black team was ganging up on Bennett and emphasized the word ganging. The babyfaces continued to dominate the action during the early going. O’Reilly made a blind tag and put the boots to ACH, but he tagged out right away to Coleman and the action broke down. Fish said the faces weren’t playing by the rules. Truth then nailed ACH in the leg with the Book of Truth behind the referees back to gives the heels the upper hand. ACH took a beating for a long period of time. Fish came in on commentary. While this was going on, ACH mounted a comeback and tagged in Thomas, who ran wild. Maria yelled at Fish to get in the ring. He went after Thomas, but ended up getting caught with a neckbreaker. Alexander got the tag a short time later and ran wild on Bennett and Taven. Coleman then got a tag and dished out elbows to the heels, who ran into them over and over again. Alexander then joined in on the fun and cleared the ring with elbows. All of the faces went for dives, but the women cut them off and the men eventually jumped the faces from behind. They went to a big sequence with everyone hitting moves. ACH then hit air Jordan onto Bennett and Taven and the fans went nuts. Alexander and Coleman isolated O’Reilly and hit overtime on him for the win. This was a fun dose of action while it lasted and it gave Coleman and Alexander a big win over one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions. (***)
After the match Outlaws Inc. music plays and they came down and cleared the ring. Kingston got on the mic. He said whoever won the title tonight was on notice just like ReDragon. He said god forgives, but Outlaws Inc. doesn’t. Kingston and Homicide went over and harassed Kelly before leaving the ringside area.
Nigel McGuinness said there were three judges at ringside in case the match went to a 60 minute draw and they would declare a winner if the match wasn’t decided after the time limit expired. Nigel called out judges Cary Silkin, Joe Koff, and Prince Nana. They might be better judges than the ones that judge some of the fights in UFC.
(8) Adam Cole beat Michael Elgin in the ROH World Title Tournament Finale to become the new ROH World Champion. Elgin sold a neck injury coming down to the ring and during the formal ring introductions. Both men went for the finishers early, but neither man was successful. They set a methodical pace during the early stages of the match. Elgin went for a delayed vertical suplex, but let go of Cole and sold a head/neck injury. Cole immediately hit a DDT and went to work on Elgin. Cole continually targeted Elgin’s head and Elgin was slow to recover each time he managed to hit a big move on Cole. Elgin finally strung together some offense and caught Cole with a variation of the black hole slam for a 2 count. Cole blocked a German and hit an enzuguri and a shining wizard for a 2 count. He went for a figure 4, but Elgin kicked him to the outside. Elgin went after Cole, but Cole hit a jumping enzuguri. Elgin fired up and hit a deadlift German off the apron for a 2 count. Elgin followed up with another German with a bridge, but Cole kicked out again and Elgin was slow to go back on the attack. Elgin set up for a buckle bomb, but Cole slipped out and hit a neckbreaker on Elgin over his knee for a 2 count. They went to a big exchange. Elgin hit a huge clothesline and Cole kicked out at one. Elgin then hit a diving lariat, but Cole managed to kick out at the last second and both men were slow to get to their feet as the fans fired up.
Cole blocked a deadlift suplex on the apron and ended up hitting a sunset bomb. He followed up with a shining wizard, but only got a 2 count. McGuinness said Cole made a mistake making a lackadaisical cover. Elgin fired up and caught Cole with a dropkick as he went for a springboard. Elgin then turned a deadlift vertical suplex on the apron into a falcon arrow for a 2 count. Elgin hit the buckle bomb, but Cole fired back with a kick. Elgin then hit a huge backfist that sent Cole flying through the ropes. Elgin tried to powerbomb Cole off the apron through a table on the floor, but Cole blocked it. Cole went for a German off the apron through the table, but Elgin blocked it. Elgin went for a belly to back through the table, but Cole turned over on Elgin as they were in the air. Both men crashed through the table and the crowd fired up as the ref counted them out inside the ring. Several officials came down and checked on Elgin, who was holding his neck. Cole beat the ref’s count, but Elgin tripped over the table trying to get back into the ring. Elgin managed to barely beat the ref’s count as he slid under the ropes. Cole nailed Elgin with a superkick and hit the Florida Keys German, but Elgin kicked out and the fans fired up as Cole sold disbelief. Cole held up his finger and said I am number 1. They went at it up top until Elgin hit a super sit out powerbomb. Elgin hit the buckle bomb, but Cole turned the Elgin bomb into a rollup for a nearfall. Elgin hit a backfist and a buckle bomb. He hit the spinning powerbomb, but Cole’s feet hit the ref and Kelly counted a visual fall. Cole rolled to the outside and Elgin went to the floor to pitch him back into the ring.
Cole surprised Elgin with a dropkick to the leg as he came back into the ring through the ropes. Elgin applied the figure 4. Elgin crawled to the ropes and managed to break the hold. Cole fired up and hit a neck breaker on the floor. He tossed Elgin back into the ring and covered him for a 2 count. Cole went up to the second rope and hit a jumping code red for a nearfall. He nearly attacked the ref, but held up at the last second. Cole’s facials were great selling frustration. The fans fired up and chanted this is wrestling and ROH, ROH, ROH. Cole went for the jumping code red again, but Elgin sat down on top of him for a nearfall. Elgin then locked in the crossface. Cole turned it into a pinning combination, which forced Elgin to let it go. They went back and forth and Cole hit a big German. Cole hit another German and then the Florida Keys for the win. This was an excellent match with Cole holding back frustration and not getting himself DQ’d late in the match. They told a really good story with Elgin selling a neck injury going into the match and Cole worked it over the entire match. They had some great sequences and nearfalls down the stretch before Cole put Elgin away. (****1/4)
Jay Briscoe came out after the match. He stared at the ROH World Title for a long time before handing it to Cole. Cole said thank you to Jay. They then shook hands. Jay turned around and Cole nailed him with a superkick to the back of his head solidifying his heel turn. Cole then nailed Elgin in the head with the ROH World Title. Kelly sold outrage on commentary. Cole laughed and held up the ROH World Title.
Overall thoughts: (7.5) – This was a very good show from ROH, but the production seemed to hamper things a bit, as the crowd sounded muted. You could hear the crowd reacting at times during different matches, but it was barely audible. There were very few down moments on this show, but the lack of crowd energy definitely hampered the show at times. I was expecting a bigger turnout for the semi-finals and finals of the ROH World Title tournament, but there didn’t appear to be a huge crowd in Philadelphia for this show.
One of the things that might have hampered fan interest in the show was that the ROH World Title tournament was predictable. It was evident Cole was going to turn heel throughout the course of the tournament. It also made the most sense to have Cole win the tournament and have the faces chase him for the title, as the other choice, Michael Elgin, had few fresh opponents set up for him coming out of the tournament had he won it. The whole idea of the tournament was a bad idea in the first place and it wasn’t something ROH had to do, but as a whole, the tournament had a lot of good matches and it’s not surprising that Michael Elgin was in the two best matches in the tournament against Paul London and Adam Cole.
The semi-final matches were both very good. Cole and Ciampa had a hard hitting match and it was good to see some psychology in it with Cole working over Ciampa’s leg throughout the match. Steen-Elgin was also a very good match. It started slow and methodical, but once the pace picked up, there were some really good exchanges leading up to the finish to set up Elgin being more banged up than Cole going into the finals.
The tag matches on the show were both good. The Hooligans-Wolves match had some good exchanges, but the crowd seemed dead for a lot of the action and some of the segments in the match dragged, but once things picked up, it was very good. The 8 Man Tag was exciting to watch, but with all of the comedy spots with the heels mixed into the match and Bobby Fish going into the commentary booth during the match, it was hard to take things seriously. Coleman & Alexander got the win to presumably set themselves up for a shot at the ROH World Title, but nobody stood out among the collection of spots during the match.
The Elgin-Cole ROH World Title Tournament finale was a really good match with Cole going after Elgin’s injured neck and also working over his legs at times. Elgin showed a ton of fire at times during the match, as he refused to stay down, despite his condition. The match was a well told story and it is definitely worth checking out.
Cole completing his heel turn after the match by superkicking Jay wasn’t a total surprise, but it was the right thing to do. Coming out of the tournament, Cole was set up to feud with Jay Briscoe and Michael Elgin. It’s going to be interesting to see if ROH can spark some interest in Cole feuding with Briscoe and Elgin. I like what ROH has done with Jay’s character, as he has grown out his hair and beard after being told he was going to be stripped of the title. If ROH could find a way to market Jay better as a star, alongside Elgin, they could both draw in a program with Cole.
You can purchase ROH’s “Death Before Dishonor” on DVD by clicking HERE or by visiting ROHWrestling.com. For more information on ROH visit ROHWrestling.com.
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