RADICAN'S TAKE RADICAN'S ROH REVIEW SERIES: "Aftershock" 7/12 - Alexander-O'Reilly, Steen farewell tour begins, Hardy-Elgin main event
Jul 21, 2014 - 7:19:09 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN'S ROH REVIEW SERIES
JULY 12, 2014
Michael Elgin came out first to cut a promo, but was interrupted by Cole, who told him he would take back the ROH World Title. The rest of the Kingdom came down to the ring, but Elgin said he had backup and out came War Machine. All six men brawled around ringside before Elgin and War Machine eventually stood tall in the ring. Elgin asked for the scheduled match to begin and it was on.
(1) The Kingdom (Matt Hardy & Adam Cole & Michael Bennett w/Maria) vs. ROH World Champion Michael Elgin & Hanson & Raymond Rowe. The babyfaces dominated early before a long heat segment on Rowe. Hardy kept his Iconic Title on while wrestling, high was hilarious. Hanson eventually got the hot tag and ran wild. The crowd was hot for the action. Elgin had Bennett set up for a powerbomb, but he drove him into the corner. Bennett countered another powerbomb a short time later, but Elgin managed to backdrop him over the top. Elgin then hit a flip dive over the top to the floor to wipe out the kingdom.
Jay Briscoe ran down as Hardy was about to nail Elgin with his title. Cole dropkicked Jay into Elgin and the match was thrown out. Bennett ended up alone in the ring and took a pounding while Hardy looked on in horror.
Elgin got on the mic and challenged Hardy to an ROH World Title match as War Machine and the Briscoes went face-to-face. Hardy accepted. Elgin promised to destroy the Kingdom and get rid of Hardy.
Winners: Elgin & War Machine via DQ
Star rating: (**3/4) - The action was really good and the crowd was red hot for the action before the DQ took place to set up the real main event for the evening.
ReDRagon came out for a live edition of the Fish Tank. The fans booed O'Reilly and Fish and they put each other over. Fish introduced hamburger. Cheeseburger then came down to the ring. The announcers speculated that Cheeseburger should have known better than to agree to be a guest on this segment.
Cheeseburger said they owed him an apology for giving him vodka on the first edition of the Fish Tank. Fish tried to put Cheeseburger down on the mic. Cheeseburger told Fish he'd rather be a Cheeseburger than a wiener. Fish said he wanted a match with Cheeseburger and he accepted. Fish then offered to put his tag title on the line. O'Reilly seemed upset, but Fish said he could beat him. Fish told Cheeseburger he would be one half if the ROH Tag Team Champions with O'Reilly if he beat him.
(2) Cheeseburger vs. Bobby Fish (w/Kyle O'Reilly). Cheeseburger shoved Fish and he claimed he tripped after he fell down. Fish toyed with Cheeseburger, but Cheeseburger fired back and hit a palm strike that he learned from Liger. Fish quickly cut him off, but Cheeseburger surprised him with a pair of pinning combinations that each got a two count. Fish got up and obliterated Cheeseburger with a diving forearm for the win.
O'Reilly got on the mic and told him he wouldn't be his tag partner if he was the last Cheeseburger in the planet. They set him up for chasing the dragon, but Alexander made the save.
Winner: Bobby Fish
They went right to Alexander vs. O'Reilly.
(3) Cedric Alexander vs. Kyle O'Reilly (w/Bobby Fish). Alexander hit a huge flip dive early and continued to run wild on O'Reilly. O'Reilly fired back and lit up Alexander with a series of kicks and strikes to get the upper hand. O'Reilly teased a running kick, but stopped short and slapped Alexander in the face. Alexander returned the favor a short time later. He managed to fend off Fish on the outside before going back after O'Reilly. Fish ended up tripping Alexander from the outside to give O'Reilly the upper hand.
O'Reilly began to work over Alexander on the mat flipping over him an nailing him with knee strikes on both sides of his body before nailing him worn a running knee. Alexander tried to fire back, but O'Reilly caught him with a big boot out of the corner. O'Reilly blocked a sunset flip and immediately applied a cross-arm breaker, but Alexander for the ropes. O'Reilly began working over Alexander's arm. Alexander mounted a comeback and went for a springboard, but ended slipping. Alexander mounted another comeback later, but appeared to be favoring his shoulder from the missed springboard.
O'Reilly went for a dragon sleeper, but Alexander lifted him onto his shoulders and hit kick 2 kill for a near fall. Alexander tried to work over O'Reilly's leg, but he shoved him off and his ax and smash for a near fall. The fans fired up and changed this is awesome. O'Reilly got the guillotine again a short time later. Alexander tried to counter, but O'Reilly got the cross-arm breaker. Alexander escaped and applied a single leg crab, but O'Reilly fought out. They went to a big exchange and Alexander hit a big kick to O'Reilly's head for a near fall. Fish grabbed Alexander from the apron and O'Reilly nearly hit him when Alexander got out of the way. Alexander then slipped behind O'Reilly and hit a big lumbar jack for the win.
Winner: Cedric Alexander
Star rating: (****3/4) - this was a really good match. O'Reilly's offense is so crisp and fluid in the ring. His mat work and striking are impeccable. What more is left to be said about Alexander. He slipped going for a springboard, but he's getting a big push and had a fantastic performance here. I like how he plays the underdog role, as he's good at selling.
(4) The Briscoes (Mark & Jay Briscoe) vs. The Decade (B.J. Whitmer & Roderick Strong w/Tadarius Thomas). Whitmer jumped Jay from behind and double teamed him with Strong. Jay quickly fought back and tagged in Mark who hit a series of Kung-Fu strikes on Strong and Whitmer. The announcers mentioned that Jay still wants to get his version of the ROH World Title back from Matt Hardy, The Briscoes isolated Whitmer and began working him over. Strong ended up nailing Mark from behind with a kick to the head with Whitmer down on the outside. Whitmer eventually tagged in Strong and they began working over Mark. Kelly said the Decade doesn't need to take shortcuts like they had taken during this match. The fans tried to rally behind Mark, but Whitmer quickly cut off his comeback attempt.
Mark finally made the hot tag to Jay, who ran wild on Whitmer and Strong. Whitmer cut off Jay and then he and Strong began nailing Jay with a series of strikes and kicks in the corner. Mark and Whitmer brawled on the outside. Jay managed to hit a DVD on Strong inside the ring for a near fall. Strong blocked a Jay-driller inside the ring. They began exchanging strikes and kicks in the middle of the ring. Strong hit a double knee gut buster and a sick kick on Jay, but Mark broke up the pin at the last second. The action really picked up and Jay managed to connect with the Jay-drill on Strong as Mark held Whitmer back from making the save.
After the match, Whitmer told Thomas of was his fault that they lost. The Briscoes came to his aid, but Thomas went after Mark. Whitmer and Strong then wiped out Jay. The Briscoes managed to slip to the outside and they began tossing chairs into the ring. The fans booed as Whitmer stood in the ring.
Winners: Mark & Jay Briscoe
Star rating: (***1/4) - I liked how this match built up nicely with a long heat segment on Mark before the action picked up with Jay getting the hot tag. The pace picked up several notches down the stretch and the fans were into the final exchanges between Jay and Strong. I like the post-match development with Thomas as well.
(5) ROH TV Champion Jay Lethal (w/Truth Martini) vs. Watanabe in a Proving Ground match. Martini and Lethal followed the code of honor prior to the match. Martini’s outfit was surprisingly toned down this evening. The fans started a chant for Watanabe before both men locked up. Lethal frustrated Watanabe early, but he finally got the upper hand with a dropkick. The action spilled to the floor and Watanabe had the upper hand until Lethal tripped him into a chair. Lethal eventually tossed Watanabe back into the ring and began working him over. Lethal choked Watanabe over the ropes and then posed for a picture for social media according to Larry Mercer. Lethal continued to dominate the action for a long period of time, as he methodically worked over Watanabe. The fans tried to rally behind Watanabe and he managed to escape a single-leg crab by grabbing the ropes. Lethal went up top for hail to the king, but took a very long time and Watanabe managed to roll out of the way.
Both men began exchanging punches in the middle of the ring. Watanabe finally fired up and hit a big clothesline on Lethal much to the delight of the fans. Lethal fired back and hit the Lethal combination and hail to the king, but Watanabe kicked out at 2. Watanabe fired back and hit a big suplex for a 2 count. The fans fired up as Watanabe went up top. He went for a splash, but Lethal hit a superkick and went for the Lethal injection, but Watanabe nailed him with a clothesline. Lethal went over the ropes and skinned the cat right into the Lethal injection for the win.
Watanabe shook hands with Martini and Lethal after the match. Romantic Touch then came down to the ring after Watanabe left. Lethal attacked Romantic Touch, but Taven ran in from the crowd and hit the climax on Lethal. Romantic Touch then placed his rose on Lethal’s chest as Martini sold dismay on the floor. Taven held the TV Title up to very little reaction from the fans.
Winner: Jay Lethal
Star rating: (**) – The match was slow to start and picked up late. The fans weren’t hot for the action, but they rallied behind Watanabe late. The finish was beyond ridiculous, as Watanabe just stood there for seemingly forever while Lethal skinned the car and hit the Lethal injection.
Tomasso Ciampa is Kevin Steen’s first hand-picked opponent during his farewell tour. Steen got a big reaction coming down to the ring. The fans covered the mat in streamers and Steen did snow angels in them. Steen looked like a swamp monster covered in streamers when he got to his feet. He asked the ref to take the streamers off of him. The fans chanted “Thanks Steen Thanks.”
(6) Kevin Steen vs. Tomasso Ciampa. They did some comedy early with Ciampa grabbing an arm bar and Steen screaming in pain and yelling for the ref to break the hold. Ciampa sold disgust with Steen’s antics. One fan told Steen to fight and he told the fans that he had a strategy. Tomasso went for another arm bar and Steen began going for the ropes, but Tomasso let go of the hold right away. Steen asked Ciampa to grab his arm and Ciampa went for and Steen immediately screamed as soon as he grabbed his arm. Steen told Ciampa to grab an arm submission again, but this time Steen reversed it and took Ciampa down to the mat with an arm bar and the fans applauded. Both men began exchanging blows in the ring until Steen caught Ciampa with an elbow off the ropes. Ciampa bailed to the floor to gather himself. Steen offered to open the ropes for Ciampa, but Ciampa dumped him to the floor and sent him into the barricade. The action really picked up on the outside. Ciampa whipped Steen into a chair in the corner and hit a running knee against the guardrail.
Ciampa tossed Steen into the ring and began working him over. Kelly said Ciampa wasn’t interested in having an exhibition match. Ciampa dominated the action and nailed Steen with several elbows in the corner. Steen tried to fire back, but Ciampa took him down with a series of strikes. Ciampa dominated the action for a long period of time. Steen finally fired back and connected with a dropkick from the second rope and a running senton for a 2 count. They ended up battling near the apron and Steen eventually caught Ciampa with a DDT through the ropes for a 2 count. Steen climbed on Ciampa in the corner, but Ciampa grabbed him and hit project Ciampa. Ciampa ended up selling his leg and was unable to cover Steen. Steen fired right back and got Ciampa in the sharpshooter, but he got the ropes right away. Ciampa set up Steen in the corner for a running knee a short time later, but Steen popped up and nailed him with a superkick. Steen then hit a running cannonball in the corner and followed up with a swanton. The fans fired up, but Ciampa kicked out at the last second. Steen eventually got the sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Ciampa teased tapping out, but eventually fought free by going after Steen’s shoulder.
Ciampa caught Steen in a variation of the rings of Saturn, but Steen got the ropes. They ended up back on the floor and Steen hit an apron bomb on Ciampa. He tossed him into the ring and covered him right away, but Ciampa kicked out at the last second. The fans chanted for Steen as both men regrouped. Ciampa slipped out of the F5 and hit a running knee strike for a 2 count. Ciampa lifted Steen up, but Steen suddenly grabbed him and hit a sleeper suplex for a near fall. Steen then grabbed Ciampa and went for the package piledriver, but Ciampa escaped and rolled him into a running knee. Ciampa set up Steen in the corner and nailed him with a pair of running knees. Ciampa’s knee went out when he went for project Ciampa and Steen hit the package piledriver for the win.
The fans chanted for Ciampa after the match. Ciampa initially blew off a handshake and acted upset. Ciampa went face-to-face with Steen before aggressively shaking hands and leaving the ring. Steen got on the mic and said he caught a lot of backlash for his last dates being in cities like Hopkins. Steen said all the big shows happen in Toronto, New York, and Toronto, but Hopkins just showed them what a wrestling crowd is. The fans popped big for that statement from Steen. Steen said it might seem like shameless ass kissing, but he said he’s 100% genuine to a fault and if tonight didn’t mean something to him he wouldn’t be saying this. Steen said he was honored for one of his last matches to take place here. The fans chanted “Thank you Kevin.” Steen thanked the fans to close the segment.
Winner: Kevin Steen
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a really good match. The crowd was a little flat at times, but Steen started the match out with some comedy and the match became a brawl as it went on. Ciampa went after Steen’s shoulder and Ciampa injured his leg and Steen began targeting it as the match went on. They had a nice finishing sequence and this was a satisfying start to Steen’s farewell tour.
Kevin Kelly said the winner of the next match would get an ROH World Title shot on Aug. 22 in Milwaukee. Jimmy Jacobs was scheduled to compete in the four-way, but he wasn’t dressed to wrestle when he came down to the ring with Tadarius Thomas. Jacobs said something had changed in ROH. He said people always say the Decade are bullies. He said something made him proud and that was Thomas standing up to the Briscoes. Jacobs said he was giving Thomas his spot in the four-way. Jacobs said he was giving him a potential shot at the ROH World Title. He said it was more important to give it Thomas than to win a title for the sake of being the best. Jacobs said he was worried about building the next decade in this company. Jacobs told Thomas to take advantage of the opportunity he was giving him.
(7) Tadarius Thomas (w/Jimmy Jacobs) vs. Silas Young vs. ACH vs. Matt Taven in a Four-way match for a future ROH World Title shot. Thomas kicked away ACH’s handshake offer. Thomas backed ACH into the corner and hit him with a light slap. The rules are a new man can enter on a tag or when a wrestler in the ring leaves the ring. Taven got the upper hand on ACH and began working him over in the ring. Young took a cheap shot at Taven from the apron, so Taven nailed him with a dive. ACH ended up alone in the ring and he taunted Jacobs. Taven ended up hitting a moonsault to the floor to wipe out Young. ACH went for a dive, but everyone got out of the way. ACH managed to catch himself, but Thomas crotched him on the top rope. The action settled back into the ring and Young worked over ACH with a chin lock. Thomas blind tagged himself into the match and went after a worn down ACH. Young returned the favor and blind tagged himself into the match. ACH managed to fend off Young and Thomas. He finally made the tag to Taven, who ran wild on Thomas and Young.
The action broke down with Young, Taven, and Thomas going at it. ACH got a running start a short time later and hit a big flip dive to the floor onto everyone. He went for a 450 on Thomas, but he got out of the way. Taven clotheslined Thomas and himself to the floor. Young then stalked ACH and eventually hit a back breaker/clothesline combination for the win.
Jacobs made sure that Thomas didn’t follow the code of honor after the match. Jacobs jawed with Taven and ACH. ACH glared at Thomas and Jacobs. Jacobs began slapping Thomas and told him that was his opportunity. Thomas stood up with angry look on his face, but ended up leaving the ring. Kelly said Jacobs was like a little league father that never won the big won yelling at Thomas.
Winner: Silas Young to earn a future ROH World Title shot
Star rating: (**1/2) – This was nice dose of high octane action, but Young didn’t exactly overcome a tough batch of title contenders to earn an ROH World Title shot. Young’s back breaker/clothesline combination almost never finishes his opponents with that move.
Matt Hardy came out with Maria. He said now that he was going to become ROH World Champion, he wanted to pass on his Iconic Title to the immaculate angel Maria. Maria got on her knees and Hardy could barely keep a straight face telling Maria he was granting her eternal salvation by giving her his belt. That was hilarious. Maria got on her knees and kissed Matt’s feet.
Hardy told the crowd he will win the title and continue to make ROH the greatest wrestling promotion in the world. Elgin came out next and good a good reaction from the fans.
(8) ROH World Champion Michael Elgin vs. Matt Hardy (w/Maria). Elgin went for an arm submission early and Hardy rolled out of the ring. Kelly said the reason they were here was because of Matt Hardy. Kelly said over the years Matt Hardy has changed. Elgin worked over Hardy and nailed him with a shoulder tackle and Hardy bailed outside once again. Elgin worked over Hardy’s mid-section in the corner and then whipped him into the corner, which caused Hardy to collapse to the mat. Hardy countered a suplex attempt and rolled to the floor, but Elgin got on the apron and nailed him with a shoulder tackle. Elgin set up for a dead-lift suplex on the apron, but Hardy shoved him to the mat. Elgin got up and nailed Hardy with a dropkick as he climbed the turnbuckles. They ended up on the apron and Hardy caught him with a side effect. Hardy hit another side effect inside the ring, but only got a 2 count. Hardy hit another side effect and the fans booed. Hardy hit a fourth side effect and the fans got on his case again as he flexed in the ring.
Elgin blocked another side effect attempt and hit one of his own. Hardy ended up catching Elgin with a clothesline as he bounced off the ropes to regain the advantage. Hardy went up top and hit a big elbow drop for a 2 count. The announcers wondered what Hardy would do to the ROH World Title if he won the belt after he put his face on Jay Briscoe’s version of the ROH World Title. Elgin tried to mount a comeback, but Hardy grabbed a sleeper hold. Elgin dropped down to his knees as Hardy worked the hold. Elgin ended up backing Hardy into the corner, but he grabbed the sleeper again. Elgin ran Hardy face-first into the top turnbuckle and tried to mount another comeback with a flurry of punches. Elgin finally hit an enzuguri and the fans fired up. Elgin connected with a German a short time later for a 2 count. They ended up battling up top. Hardy shoved Elgin to the mat and hit a moonsault for a near fall. Hardy tossed Elgin into the ringpost. Elgin ended up on the floor. Cole and Bennett ran down and put the boots to Elgin with the ref distracted. They tossed Elgin back into the ring and Hardy danced around with Maria, Bennett, and Cole dancing on the outside. Hardy went for the TOF, but Elgin countered it. Cole and Bennett got up on the apron. Elgin fended them off and nailed Hardy with an enzuguri from the apron. Elgin then hit a code breaker off the second turnbuckle for a 2 count. Elgin took his straps down and signaled for the buckle bomb, but Maria got into the ring. Elgin went after Maria and she ran to the floor. Hanson and Rowe came out to even the odds. Elgin blocked a punch from Hardy and hit a backfist. Elgin then hit the buckle bomb and the Elgin bomb, but Maria jumped on the ref. She told the ref that Hanson and Rowe threw her into the ring. Cole wiped out Hanson and Rowe with the Iconic title. The ref was about to throw everyone out, but Bennett nailed him from behind. Cole nailed Elgin with a superkick and Hardy hit the TOF on Elgin. Cole and Bennett taunted Elgin, but the Briscoes ran down to make the save. Jay got into the ring and went for the Jay-driller on Hardy, but Elgin shoved him off. Elgin yelled at the Briscoes and said he wanted Hardy for himself.
Everyone brawled on the outside and Hardy caught Elgin from behind with a TOF. The ref woke up and counted the pin, but Elgin kicked out at the last second. The fans chanted for Elgin. Hardy set up for another TOF, but Elgin countered it into the crossface and Hardy tapped out.
Winner: Michael Elgin to retain the ROH World Title
Star rating: (***1/2) – They used a lot of smoke and mirrors down the stretch to make the match exciting, but it made sense given the feud between Elgin and Hardy coming into the match. The action was good and Hardy is a lot of fun to watch as a heel. The match leaves room for Elgin to continue his quest to end the Kingdom, as Hardy, Cole, and Maria interfered down the stretch.
Overall thoughts: (7.0) – This was a good house show from ROH. They did the commentary in post-production and the show came across well from a production standpoint, as the large Hopkins crowd was well-lit. There wasn’t a bad match on the card and there were a lot of good matches and down the card to make this show worthy of a purchase.
The highlight of the undercard was the Alexander-O’Reilly match. They really worked well together and had a hard-hitting athletic contest that is worth checking out, as Alexander’s climb up the card continued with a big win over O’Reilly on this show. It’s hard not to see how much O’Reilly has improved on the mic and in the ring. He’s in fantastic shape and I wouldn’t be surprised if WWE comes calling soon.
The Kevin Steen Farewell Tour began on this show during the second half of the card. They started with some comedy with Steen yelling for the ref to break the hold every time Ciampa grabbed an arm bar. Steen was great during the early stages of the match before things got serious. Ciampa and Steen engaged in a really good hard-hitting match that built to a satisfying finish. I really enjoyed Steen’s farewell speech as well. He’s great on the mic and genuinely engaged the crowd while saying goodbye.
The Four-way for a future ROH World Title shot wasn’t a bad match, but it wasn’t a great way to set up Young as a title contender. Young has been feuding with Steen, but he didn’t exactly overcome three other top contenders to win a future ROH World Title shot in this match. I was also disappointed to see ACH lose to Young’s back breaker/clothesline combination given that it is usually only good for a near fall.
I really enjoyed the main event. Matt Hardy was absolutely hilarious before the match presenting Maria with Iconic Title before the match, as he claimed he didn’t need it anymore because he was going to be the ROH World Title. I love how Hardy works matches a heel to get heat and he was great here against Elgin. This was a match you wouldn’t have seen in ROH five years ago, as it was slow and spots and wrestled to get a story over, but it was really entertaining. My favorite spot of the match was when Hardy set up for the TOF and did a dance behind Elgin as Cole, Elgin, and Maria did the same dance on the outside. I didn’t mind the outside interference and the Elgin looked strong overcoming the odds to get the win.
Overall, this was a good show. There were several good to very good matches on the card and this was a good showcase of what ROH is bringing to the table in 2014. Elgin needs to build his connection with the ROH fan base as Champion and tonight was a good first step towards building that connection. It’s sad to see Hardy leave ROH. He worked really hard on his way out and he has been a credit to the promotion, especially in 2014.
You can purchase ROH “Aftershock” on VOD by clicking HERE. For more information on Ring of Honor visit ROHWrestling.com.
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