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RADICAN'S ROH "Raising the Bar: Night 1" report 3/7 - Briscoes & Elgin vs. Steen & Young Bucks standout Six Man Tag match, Hero-Strong, Cole defends ROH World Title against Taven

Nov 17, 2014 - 5:45:07 PM

By Sean Radican, Torch columnist


MARCH 7, 2014

Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are your commentators for the show.

ROH World Champion Adam Cole came out to cut a promo and the fans booed. Kelly said Cole would defend against Matt Taven tonight. Cole mentioned he had challengers like Steen, Hero, Elgin, and that fake dumb redneck champion Jay Briscoe. He said everyone wants the ROH World Title and they also want to test themselves against the best wrestler of this federation. Cole said his match tonight against Taven was a warmup match. He said tomorrow he faces Hero in a Ringmaster's Challenge match.

Taven came out and said the last time he looked past Taven he took another piece of gold from around his waist. Taven said Cole had a fake confidence and said he had a cheap suit. Come said the reality is the only reason anyone ever paid attention to him was the House of Truth. Taven said why he knew he would beat him was because of history. Taven said Cole had never beaten him. The fans applauded after Taven said he was celebrate at a local bar. He told Cole he could cry his boyfriend, Matt Hardy's, shoulder after the match. Cole went for a punch, but Taven fired back and Cole bailed. Taven said he would buy the fans shots after he won the match to a big pop.

(1) Jay Lethal vs. Silas Young. Young got a bigger pop than Lethal, as he hails from the mid-west. The fans were very pro Young before the opening bell. Lethal eventually caught Young with three dives through the ropes after Young had cowered under the ropes when Lethal went for a chop. Young ended up grabbing the ref and be kicked Lethal low. Truth Martini came down the aisle to a mixed reaction. Young worked a head lock for a long time until Lethal fired back and caught him with the Lethal combination. The crowd was into it as both men traded punches. Lethal got the upper hand and began working Young over. Lethal finally ended a big sequence with a leg lariat off the second rope for a 2 count. Both men went for their finish, but neither man was successful. Young eventually hit a back breaker/clothesline combination for a near fall. The fans went nuts chanting for both men. Silas went for the handstand into the moonsault, but Lethal got his knees up. Lethal hit a low blow a short time later and the ref didn't see it. He followed up with the Lethal injection for the win, which got a mixed response from the crowd.

Kelly questioned Lethal's intentions when it came to hitting the low blow on Young. Martini smiled from the outside and Young bailed on a handshake from Lethal.

Winner: Jay Lethal

Star rating: (***) - This was a good opening match. The crowd really got into the action and there was an interesting dynamic given the mixed response they gave to both men. The action was good late and ultimately served the ongoing storyline with Martini recruiting a new wrestler into his stable.

You would smile too if this happened to you.

(2) Tyson Dux vs. Michael Bennett (w/Maria). The fans got on Bennett and Maria when they came out, so they shared a long kiss and the fans booed even more. Both men exchanged chops until Bennett raked Dux's eyes. Bennett worked over Dux for a long period of time and hit a nice dropkick as Dux came off the ropes at one point. Dux finally mounted a comeback and suplexed Bennett into the turnbuckles. The fans got behind Dux as he worked over Bennett. Bennett fired back and nailed Dux with a superkick, but he kicked out at the last second. They went back and forth and Dux hit a car crusher variation, but Bennett got his foot on the ropes. Dux went for a leg submission, but Bennett countered it into a trip. Bennett then applied the anaconda vice for the win, which drew C.M. Punk chants.

Winner: Michael Bennett

Star rating: (**3/4) - The action was a bit basic at time, but they had some good exchanges down the stretch and the finish was nicely executed by Bennett.

(3) ROH World Tag Team Champions ReDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly) vs. Outlaw Inc. (Homicide & Eddie Kingston) vs. Adrenaline Rush (ACH & Tadarius Thomas) in a non-title Instant Reward Three Way Tag Team match. If Outlaw Inc. or Adrenaline Rush beat ReDragon, they get an immediate shot at the tag titles. The fans fired up for RedDRagon's entrance. The match quickly broke down into a brawl and all six men ended up in the outside. The ref finally rang the bell once O'Reilly and Homicide got into the ring. Homicide managed to block chasing the dragon and he wiped out Fish & O'Reilly with a huge tope con hilo. The action broke down and McGuinness mentioned it does no good for Outlaw Inc. or Adrenaline Rush to try to pin each other in this match. Homicide blind-tagged himself into the match by tagging O'Reilly, but the announcers mentioned that does him no good. Thomas took a beating in the ring for a long period of time. Fish made a blind tag and tried to pin Thomas, but he managed to kick out. ReDRagon tagged in and out and putting a beating on Thomas. Thomas got a small package on O'Reilly for a near fall, but O'Reilly wiped him out right away.

Homicide made a blind tag on O'Reilly and the announcers didn't say it was a bad move this time around. Thomas fired back on Homicide. They went back and forth, but Fish made a blind tag while Homicide was going for the three amigos on Thomas. Thomas finally mounted a comeback and tagged in ACH, who ran wild on O'Reilly. The action broke down, but the fans weren't into the action. Kingston and Homicide hit a doomsday device on ACH, but Fish made the save. I don't understand why he did that. ACH hit a 450 O'Reilly after a big sequence to get the win.

Kingston wiped ACH after the match. Homicide and Kingston hit a spiked brain buster on Fish. Several officials ran down to take Kingston and Homicide to the back. Adrenaline Rush and ReDRagon were all down on the match.

Winners: ACH & Tadarius Thomas to get an immediate ROH World Tag Team Title shot

Star rating: (*1/2) - The fans didn't invest in the match until the end. The rules seemed to hamper the match and the wrestlers didn't wrestle as if they knew the rules with Fish breaking up a pin at one point that would have ensured they didn't have to defend the tag titles.

(4) ROH World Tag Team Champions RedDRagon (Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs.
Adrenaline Rush (ACH & Tadarius Thomas). The ref rang the bell with all four men still down. ACH and O’Reilly went face-to-face and began to exchange blows. O’Reilly got the upper hand on ACH. Thomas entered the ring and eventually got the better of O’Reilly, but Fish wiped him out with a Saito suplex. The announcers said the rules were relaxed, but ACH and O’Reilly were still the legal men. Fish drove Thomas into the guardrail and O’Reilly followed up with a running knee off the apron. Fish ended up cutting off ACH and rolling him up for the win while he was setting up for a dive to the floor on O’Reilly.

Winners: Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish – This whole segment was a mess and the fans didn’t react to the convoluted booking of the match. Instead of simply giving the fans a match between Adrenaline Rush and ReDRagon for the tag titles, the fans were given a match with an odd stipulation followed by a really short match that ended with a rollup.

Steve Corino came in to do commentary with Kelly on the second half of the show. Roderick Strong was in the booth as well to discuss The Decade vs. Alexander & Page match.

(5) Cedric Alexander & Adam Page vs. The Decade (Jimmy Jacobs & B.J. Whitmer). Strong said The Decade would teach Alexander and Page a lesson. He seemed to think The Decade could have more influence on Page with Alexander wasn’t in his ear. Jacobs shoved Page and slapped him across the face. He turned his back to Page, but he wouldn’t hit him. Alexander and Whitmer tagged into the match and went at it. The fans chanted for Jacobs as the match continued. Whitmer tagged in and slapped Page across the face. Jacobs snapped his neck over the top rope and Whitmer then followed with an exploder. Page took a beating for a long period of time. Strong said they just wanted to make ROH better. Jacobs pretended to raise his leg like a dog and pee on Page at one point as the announcers debated whether tough love was the right thing for guys like Page and Alexander with Strong. Page finally mounted a comeback and hit a big DDT on Whitmer. He finally made the hot tag to Alexander, who ran wild on The Decade. Alexander continued to be a house of fire and the fans fired up. Alexander hit the lumbar check on Whitmer and posed for the cameras. The announcers said he was calling out Strong. Jacobs ended up catching Alexander with a spear. Page eventually got the tag and hit a standing SSP on Whitmer for a near fall. Page hit a big cross body off the top, but Jacobs made the save. Page hit a springboard moonsault that took out Whitmer and Jacobs. Whitmer went for a German, but Page landed on his feet. Whitmer pointed to his neck and the announcers urged Page to go after Whitmer, but he wouldn’t. Jacobs hit a spear on Alexander on the apron. Whitmer then popped up from behind and wiped out Page from behind. Jacobs & Whitmer then hit the all seeing eye on Page for the win.

After the match Jacobs told Alexander and Page to get out of his ring. Jacobs then told Page to stay as he drank a beer. Jacobs said Page has a good head on his shoulders and he shouldn’t listen to someone like Alexander that would steer him the wrong way. Jacobs told Page if he wants to be a star, he should follow them. Alexander didn’t leave the ring and Jacobs kept telling him to get out of the ring. Jacobs told Page to make his decision. Page held the ropes open for Jacobs to leave Alexander sold shock. Alexander asked Page not to leave with The Decade, but he ended up walking to the back with them.

Winners: B.J. Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs

Star rating: (**1/2) – This match was about building the ongoing storyline involving The Decade and the young wrestlers on the ROH roster. The action dragged at times, especially during the long heat segment on Page. The pace picked up during the second half of the match once Alexander got the hot tag and they had a good finish that fit the storyline. The angle paid off after the match with Page joining The Decade.

Roderick Strong came out to a mixed reaction before his match with Chris Hero. Chris Hero came out next to a good pop from the fans.

(6) Roderick Strong vs. Chris Hero. The announcers talked about the Cole-Hero match on the next show for the ROH World Title. Jacobs came into the commentary booth during the early stages of the match and asked the announcers if they have ever felt a strong passion about something. He said he doesn’t think everyone comprehends what The Decade is about. They went back and forth on the mat during the early going and came to a stalemate. The fans chanted for both men before they locked up again. Hero took control after catching Strong with a big boot as he came off the ropes. Hero set up for a dive to the floor. Strong got out of the way and Hero did a cartwheel over the top to the floor and ended up catching Strong with a big running boot on the floor. Hero went for a slingshot splash, but Strong got his knees up and went to work on Strong on the outside a short time later. Strong began working over Hero’s back inside the ring a short time later. Hero tried to mount a comeback, but Strong caught him with an enzuguri when he rolled over the ropes onto the apron. He then covered Hero for a 2 count. Strong taunted Hero and gave him some light kicks to the head. Hero told Strong to bring it and he nailed him with a huge chop. They began exchanging chops until Hero caught Strong with a straight right. They went at it again in the corner and Hero ducked an enzuguri and nailed Strong with a big boot to the head and both men were down on the mat.

Roderick Strong demonstrates the effects of a Hero roaring elbow on your brain.

Hero fired up and ran wild on Strong. He nailed Strong with a combination of moves capped by a running boot for a 2 count. Strong fired back and hit an Angle slam a short time later. He ducked a kick from Hero and hit a big back breaker that was good for a two count. The fans fired up and tried to rally behind Hero. Both men exchanged pinning combinations for near falls. They began exchanging hard chops in the middle of the ring. Hero finally countered Strong and dumped him to the mat out of the suplex position for a two count. He then hit a big elbow for near fall. That was a fantastic exchange right there. The fans fired up after the near fall as Hero sold shock that Strong had kicked out. They went back and forth and Strong hit a lung blower and a sick kick, but Hero kicked out at the last second. Strong then applied the Stronghold and the fans fired up big time. Hero countered Strong and got him in a pinning combination for a 2 count. Hero screamed and hit a pair of rolling elbows in the corner. Hero hit a third rolling elbow. He lifted Strong onto his shoulders and dropped him down into the death blow. Hero then applied the stretch plumb and the ref stopped the match.

The fans stood and applauded after the match ended. Hero did a stage dive after the match into the crowd. Jacobs called Hero disrespectful for celebrating like that after the match.

Winner: Chris Hero

Star rating: (***1/2) – This match had a couple of slow spots during the first half, but the fans really got into the second half of the match once Hero mounted a comeback and both men engaged in some really good hard hitting exchanges. They had some good near falls late with both men coming close to getting the three count before Hero got a decisive win heading into his ROH World Title shot against Cole.

Kevin Steen and The Young Bucks came out first for the semi-main event to a mixed reaction. The Young Bucks were carrying the IWGP Jr. Hvt Titles with them. The Briscoes and Michael Elgin came out next to a good pop. The fans chanted “This is awesome” before the match started. Both teams followed the Code of Honor before the match began.

(7) The Briscoes (Mark & Jay Briscoe) & Michael Elgin vs. Kevin Steen & The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson). Steen and Jay had a fast-paced exchange during the early going. They went back and forth in the corner. Steen finally ended the exchange with a big dropkick and the fans fired up. Jay cut off Matt when he tagged in. Mark got the tag and began working over Matt with his redneck Kung-Fu. Matt fired back and hit a big dropkick on Mark before tossing some crotch chops his way. Elgin tagged in to go at it with Nick. Elgin got the upper hand on Nick and hit a long delayed vertical suplex as the fans counted along. Matt tried to break it up, but Elgin lifted Nick back up into the suplex position. Steen tried to break it up, but Elgin didn’t let go into Matt nailed him with a superkick to the back of the head. Steen choked Elgin on the ropes and the fans counted along. Steen then did some push-ups as the fans counted along. Nick set up Elgin for a delayed vertical suplex, but Elgin blocked it. Jay tagged in and eventually hit a neck breaker on Nick. Matt grabbed Jay’s leg from the apron to thwart a double team attempt on Nick. The action broke down until Steen began working over Mark. Matt took tassels out of his trunk and gave Mark the mandible claw with the tassels on his cast. Mark tried to mount a comeback, but he went up top and Steen crotched him and nailed him with a big cannonball and the fans fired up.

Insane counter of the doomsday device into a superkick by The Young Bucks.

The fans tried to rally behind Mark, but Nick hit a handspring back rake and the fans fired up. Mark finally made the hot tag to Elgin, who ran wild. He picked up both of The Young Bucks and hit a double belly-to-back suplex. Elgin continued to run wild going 3 on 1. He nailed Steen with a deadlift German with a bridge for a near fall and the fans fired up. Elgin went for a buckle bomb on Steen, but the action broke down. The Young Bucks nailed Elgin with a combination of moves capped by a running senton from Steen for a near fall. Elgin lifted up Steen and Matt and tossed them both over his head and the fans fired up. He then tagged in Mark, who ran wild. Nick took a combination of moves capped by a corkscrew senton from Elgin for a good near fall. The Briscoes went for the doomsday device on Nick, but he rolled up Jay and Matt nailed Jay with a superkick as he came off the top. That was nuts! The action continued at a rapid pace with everyone hitting big moves. Elgin hit a buckle bomb on Steen, but The Young Bucks nailed him with a double superkick. Steen then hit a package piledriver on Jay. Steen and The Young Bucks then hit a triple team Indy Taker on Jay, but the pin got broken up and the fans went nuts. Good lord! Elgin made a blind tag and broke up more bang for your buck on Mark. Elgin went up top, but Nick nailed him with a huge superkick. Nick went for a hurricanrana, but Elgin turned it into a super Elgin bomb for the win. This was an insane match.

Winners: Michael Elgin & Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe

Star rating: (****1/4) – The match started a bit slowly with some long heat segments, but they built up the pace nicely and the fans got into the action once things picked up. It’s always a pleasure to watch The Young Bucks and they were great in this match. Their counter of the doomsday device from The Briscoes was insane. Elgin looked really good in this match as well and him finishing off Nick with a super Elgin bomb off the top was nuts as well. This match is worth seeking out if you haven’t seen it.

Steve Corino hilariously went nuts when Adam Cole came out for the main event. Cary Silkin came down to ringside to take the ROH World Title after the formal introductions. Both men followed the Code of Honor prior to the opening bell.

Taven nearly dies going for a dive to the floor.

(8) ROH Champion Adam Cole vs. Matt Taven. The fans chanted for shots during the opening moments of the match. Cole hit a slap to Taven’s face and bailed. Taven went for a leap frog a short time later, but Cole stopped short and slapped him across the face before bailing again. Taven caught Cole with a huge dive over the ropes as he was walking around on the outside and the fans fired up. That looked like an awful landing for Taven. Taven tossed Cole into the barricade several times on the outside before pitching him into the ring. Taven returned the favor and nailed Cole with a slap to the face a short time later. The fans chanted for Taven as he ran wild in the ring during the early going. The announcers talked about the crowded ROH World Title picture. Cole fired back and shoved Taven shoulder-first through the turnbuckles into the ringpost. Cole tossed Taven shoulder-first into the turnbuckles and flexed for the crowd while smirking. Cole taunted Taven, who nailed him with a series of slaps from his knees. Cole fired back and nailed him with a big kick to the arm off the ropes a short time later and went back to work on his arms. Corino’s commentary during this match has been hilarious so far, as he’s talked about marriage and Adam Cole not giving him his phone number so far.

Taven fired back with chops and the fans fired up. The fans chanted “shots” as Taven mounted his comeback. Taven finally grounded Cole with a kick and both men were down on the mat. Taven landed a series of punches and the fans continued to chant for shots. The atmosphere for this match has been tremendous so far. Taven hit a twisting neck breaker on Cole, but he kicked out at the last second. Cole fired back and hit a shining wizard on Taven. He followed up with a neck breaker over his knee for a 2 count. The fans booed as Cole took his knee pad down and went for a shining wizard, but Taven countered it into a rollup for a 2 count. They went back and forth and Cole hit another shining wizard for a near fall. Cole did some deep breathing exercises and Corino said he learned that from Matt Hardy. Cole went for the Panama sunrise, but Taven countered it into a backslide for a 2 count. Taven followed up with angel’s wings for a 2 count. Taven favored his arm as he worked over Cole. Taven hit a big suplex on Cole and the fans fired up. Taven missed a springboard moonsault and landed on his feet, so Cole superkicked him right in the leg. The fans chanted “Shots are awesome” as Cole and Taven battled up top. Taven fought Cole off and came off the top, but Cole nailed him with a superkick. Taven rolled up Cole a short time later for a 2 count and ate another superkick and a neck breaker over Cole’s knee for a near fall.

Cole got in the ref’s face and argued the count. Cole taunted Taven and Taven spit at Cole. They began exchanging blows as the fans went nuts chanting for shots when Taven hit a punch. Taven nailed Cole with a kick and went up top. He nailed Cole with a huge frog splash, but Cole grabbed the bottom rope at the very last second and the fans booed. Truth Martini came down to ringside and the fans booed. Taven tossed his wrist tape at Martini. Cole blocked a super hurricanrana and hit the Panama sunrise as the fans booed. Martini smiled at ringside and the fans booed Cole as he raised his hands in victory. The announcers discussed Martini taking Taven’s attention away from Cole for a split-second costing him the match.

After the match Jay Briscoe and then Michael Elgin came down to the ring. Corino called them moment stealers. Kevin Steen then came down the ramp to a big pop. Cole was about to leave, but Hero came out and waved to Cole. All four men stood up on the apron, but Cole managed to duck them once they tried to get into the ring. The fans booed as Cole ran up the entrance ramp to the back. Corino put Cole over for getting away from four men and called him a role model. The fans fired up as the babyface challengers stood tall in the ring and chanted “ROH, ROH.”

Hero got on the mic and thanked Milwaukee for everyone in the locker room. Hero said the energy they gave them enables them to do what they do. The fans cheered. Hero said ROH had the best wrestling on the planet and the fans cheered. Hero said Cole had 15 pounds of gold that says he’s the best in the world, but when he looks in the ring he sees Jay Briscoe, Michael Elgin, and Kevin Steen. The fans applauded as Hero introduced himself. Hero said they are the best in the world. He then said Cole was on borrowed time because at any time, one of them could take the title from Cole. Hero said he had a shot at the title tomorrow in Chicago. The fans chanted “This is wrestling” and Hero paused. The fans chanted for shots. Hero asked them if they wanted drinking shots or elbow shots. The fans cheered for drinking shots. Hero said it’s an honor to share the ring with them and it would be an honor to defend the ROH World Title against them if he wins. Hero shook hands with Jay, Elgin, and Steen to end the show.

Winner: Adam Cole to retain the ROH World Title

Star rating: (***3/4) – This match had a great atmosphere with the fans heavily behind Taven, who had promised them shots if he won the match. The fans chanted for shots throughout the match and were behind Cole. Cole worked over Taven’s arm and leg throughout the match, but he made several spirited comeback and they had some good near falls down the stretch leading into the finish. The post-match angle was a good way to hammer home the current ROH World Title picture and send the fans home happy.

Overall thoughts: (7.5) For a show that was designed to build to the next night in Chicago for the most part and further ongoing storylines, this was very good. The show started off with a good Lethal-Young match and although there was a lull in the middle of the card, the show closed with three very strong matches propped up by a hot crowd in Milwaukee.

The opening Lethal-Young match was good as ROH planted the seeds for Lethal joining forces later in the year with Truth Martini. The crowd was red hot and Young did a good job of heeling on the crowd even they were cheering for him before Lethal got the win.

The card hit a lull from this point forward for several matches. The only thing that stood out as frustrating was the Instant Reward Three Way Tag match segment. The fans just weren’t into ReDragon putting a title shot on the line immediately if Outlaw Inc. or Adrenaline Rush could beat them. The wrestlers seemed to have a hard time making the match logical as ReDRagon was breaking up what looked to be a sure pin when they weren’t legally in the ring at one point. To make matters worse, once Adrenaline Rush beat ReDragon, the two teams had a short match that ended in a rollup.

The card picked up with the Strong-Hero match, which had some excellent hard-hitting action. The fans were into the match and they built to some nice near falls late before Hero eventually put Strong away. This was a good way to make Hero look Strong getting an emphatic win over Strong heading into his ROH World Title shot the following night in Chicago.

The highlight of the show was the Six Man Tag with The Briscoes & Elgin taking on The Young Bucks & Steen. They paced the match nicely by having some heat segments early before building up to the crazy sequences late in the match. The fans were great and added a ton of heat down the stretch. Elgin was impressive hitting some great power moves during the match. The Young Bucks are so much fun to watch and they set the crowd on fire by throwing a bevy of superkicks during the match. Their counter of a doomsday device into a superkick on Mark was just crazy. Elgin finishing off Nick with an Elgin bomb off the top was a fitting way to end a match that is well-worth seeking out.

Taven got the fans behind him by promising to buy them shots if he beat Cole for the ROH World Title at the beginning of the show. The fans really got behind Taven during the match and it was great to watch them enthusiastically chant for shots when he had the advantage. Cole is so good and he showed why he is one of the best young wrestlers in the U.S. today. Cole’s heel mannerisms and facial expressions were spot-on during the match and he picked apart Taven working over his arm and leg throughout the match. The finish was a bit of a down note with Martini coming out and distracting Taven leading to Cole hitting the Panama sunrise for the win, but otherwise this was a fantastic showing from both men.

The post-match segment with Elgin, Briscoe, Steen, and finally Hero surrounding the ring with Cole cowering was well-done. It did a good job of hammering home that there were several top challengers to Cole’s title at this point. Hero did a good job with his promo to set up his match with Cole the next night and they sent the fans home happy with this segment.

This show is well-worth checking out on DVD or VOD. The middle of the card is a little thin, but several angles were nicely moved forward during the show and there were three really good matches on the card. The Milwaukee crowd was great and although the crowd could have been lit better, their enthusiasm really bolstered this show throughout most of the night.

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