We open with footage from outside the arena, where the Briscoe Brothers approach the building. Jay doesn’t want to walk in to hand his title over, but Mark talks sense into him and tells him to be a big boy and do what he has to do. That takes us to our opening animation and then inside the studio where Kevin Kelly stands to set up he show. He says this is the most important hour in company history as the nineteenth ROH World Champion will be crowned. The tournament final features Adam Cole battling Michael Elgin for the vacant title. The entire hour is dedicated solely to this match. That is a great touch and makes the whole final seem super important. Tons of hype and build has gone into this night, we shall see how it pays off.
First up, is a video package taking us weaving through the tournament from the perspective of Adam Cole, featuring clips of all his victories interspersed with comments. We also see highlights of Elgin’s march to the final as well. After that, the Briscoes continue to prep backstage. Mark asks Jay to stay cool with his task tonight.
We then cut inside the arena where Jay slowly ambles to the ring, belt in tow. Briscoe cuts an impassioned promo about his trek through the wrestling business and the concurrent growth of ROH. He also discusses his title victory, his injury and the decision to strip him of the title. He isn’t very happy with Nigel McGuinness and that decision. He wants to know why Nigel was permitted tot defend the title back when he had the torn bicep. He knows that Nigel is the fall guy, the messenger and just did what he was told, but he thinks this is bullshit. He vows that once he is cleared to wrestle, he will be in line for a shot. Until then, he will hand the belt over to the winner like a man.
After a break, we have a vignette for some creepy-ass clowns known as Outlaw Inc. They debut next week. Back in the arena, Nigel is in the ring and sets up the finals for us. There are three judges at ringside to determine the winner if the match goes to the full sixty minute time limit. The judges are Cary Silkin, Joe Koff and Prince Nana. The fans don’t seem to care for any of them. And with that, the time is at hand.
Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin – ROH World Title Tournament Final
Cole is out first and KK discusses his background and quick rise through the ranks to get to this point. He documents how Cole has done whatever it has taken to get here. As he comes out, Elgin is holding his neck, a battle wound from his semifinal war with Kevin Steen. Remember, Elgin refused to be handed the title, which prompted this entire tournament. KK tells us the judges may also decide a winner in event of a count-out. Cole takes his time here, bailing to the floor as Elgin lands a couple of early shots. KK and Nigel discuss whether or not either guy would have been better off against other opponents. Elgin uses his power to control, even driving Cole to the mat early on. The fans are a bit quiet, as is the commentary. I am sure that will change dramatically as we move along. KK wonders if Cole had envisioned getting off to a fast start like he did against Ciampa, but it hasn’t gone that way. Elgin gets a near fall after a press slam, followed by a delayed suplex attempt, but Cole wriggles free after ten seconds and lands a big blow. After a commercial, we see that Cole has worn Elgin down and clamped on a reverse chinlock. KK runs down the ROH title history in this building, including Morishima winning the strap from Homicide as well as Samoa Joe’s epic reign coming to an end at the hands of Austin Aries. Cole rocks a DDT and then continues to wear out Elgin with submission holds. Elgin starts to come back with some strikes, but is slow on his follow up. He catches a charging Cole and spikes him to the mat with one hand.
Nigel thinks Cole just has to survive this onslaught and let Elgin wear himself out. Cole strikes with an Enziguri and Shining Wizard for two. Cole gets dumped to the floor but lands a stiff kick to the skull of Elgin. As Cole tries to get back in, Elgin grabs hold and snaps him over with a German into the ring, followed by a second one for a near fall. Both are slow to get up as Kevin polls the judges who all pretty much have it even except Nana, who has Elgin with the advantage. Cole survives a German into the corner and hits a DVD neckbreaker for another near fall. Lots of high impact offense but the crowd has a very low buzz going and isn’t very loud just yet. Cole drills some kicks to the head of Elgin as the crowd comes alive a bit with some dueling chants. Elgin gets a big burst and starts steamrolling Cole, crunching him with a lariat for two as we hit a break. Nigel still thinks Cole is letting Elgin wear himself out.
As we return, Cole has escaped to the ring apron as Elgin is sucking wind in the ring. Both guys are pretty spent, as you would expect. Elgin staggers to the corner and ascends the buckle before deadlifting Cole to the top. He can’t complete the superplex, allowing Cole to hit a sunset powerbomb and a kick to the face for a near fall. Elgin battles back again and goes right back to the corner and this time he hits a deadlift super falcon arrow for two. Cole shrugs off a bucklebomb but Elgin knocks him to the floor with a spinning backfist. Elgin follows him outside and pulls a table over towards the apron. He drags Cole up to the apron and tries to powerbomb him, but Cole battles free. Elgin blocks a German and then goes for one of his own, but Cole reverses momentum and drives Elgin through the table with a cross body block. Both men are wrecked on the floor as the referee starts to count. Cole makes it back in first followed by Elgin, who just barely beats the count back in. Cole catches him with a superkick into the Florida Key, but Elgin survives. Elgin can barely move here as Cole pulls him up and pushes him to the top rope. Elgin blocks Cole, but Cole is relentless, kicks him in the head and climbs up top. Elgin blocks him again and spikes him down with a super powerbomb. He follows that with a bucklebomb but Cole bounces out and gets a jackknife pin attempt for a really close near fall. Elgin blocks a superkick and starts a series of reversals ending in a backfist and yet another bucklebomb. He follows with an Elginbomb but the referee is bumped mid-move and can’t count the fall. Elgin had him beat and he is disappointed as he had it won. Cole slides to the floor as Elgin is distraught in the corner. The crowd tries to get him going as we take our final break.
Back from commercial, Elgin fetches Cole, but Cole dropkicks Elgin, who gets his leg twisted in the rope. He is hurting as Cole quickly takes advantage with a figure four. Elgin gets the ropes to force the break. He wriggles to the apron, but Cole snaps him into the apron and then spikes him with a falcon arrow on the floor. Back in, Cole still can’t get the pin and you can feel the frustration spilling over on both men. Nigel apologizes for pushing for Elgin to get back on track earlier, because he hated to see something like that affect the finish. Cole comes off the middle rope and hits a Canadian Destroyer for a hot near fall. Cole pops up and nearly shoves the referee out of anger, but realized what he was doing and stopped. Cole goes for another Key, but Elgin runs him into the corner but is unable to take advantage of it. Elgin blocks another Destroyer and then drops Cole with a front Russian legsweep into a Crossface. Cole rolls through to break it, but eats a spinning punch. He slips free of a powerbomb and snaps Elgin over with a pair of Germans and the Florida Key for the win. Adam Cole is YOUR Ring of Honor World Champion, with a very well-earned tournament win. There is no doubt that he worked his ass off and defeated some stiff competition en route to the belt. The streamers fall as the fans chant for the new champion, who is moved to tears in the ring. KK tells his life story to really put the moment over.
As Cole celebrates, Jay Briscoe appears and slowly marches to the ring. He stands face to face with Cole and regretfully hands over his title. Cole accepts it and thanks the former champion, however when Briscoe turns around Cole cracks him with a superkick to the back of the head. Everyone is shocked as Cole grabs his belt and pastes Elgin in the face with it. KK nails a great line about Cole’s title win always now being associated with treachery and the heel turn is officially complete. That just adds to the subtle threads woven throughout the tournament.
That was a fantastic match with a great story as both men were exhausted and unloading their arsenal to do anything they could to take the gold. It will be interesting to see where Elgin takes things now. I do have one issue, however. THIS is the kind of match that warrants tons of huge, high impact moves and lots of kickouts and reversals. The problem is we get that all too often week to week and it hurts the build to a finish in a match like this, where we have been conditioned to not expect the final sequence until guys have kicked out of dozens of big moves. I think it affected the crowd here as well. Again, that is more of a comment on the style and booking of ROH and not this match at all. This was a very worthy final that delivered.
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