We open this week’s show with a look back at the closing moments of last week’s huge eight man elimination war. Michael Elgin was the sole survivor, picking up the pin over Adam Cole, guaranteeing him a future title shot. That was followed by Jay Briscoe stalking out and smacking both men with his new custom-made World Title, a title he claims to have never lost. After our opening animation, we head inside the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn, MI where Kevin Kelly welcomes us to another week of great wrestling action. He is alongside Steve Corino as the rowdy fans are all sorts of fired up for ROH action. KK runs down tonight’s card and then ships up to the ring for our opener.
Matt Taven (c) vs. Zach Gowen – ROH Television Title
Hey Zach Gowen back on TV! He makes his way out as KK gives his impressive back story and Corino vows that he will not make any comments about Gowen’s leg. And then he immediately does. Taven is joined by the House of Truth as always and a win here moves him on to New York City to face the challenge of Tommaso Ciampa, who won the title shot in Cincinnati. Gowen is the hometown boy and is welcomed as such. Corino alternates between leg jokes and leering at Scarlett Bordeaux. I know KK could NOT WAIT to make the “Johnny Ace one-legged wrestler mix up” dig and he nails it with stinging efficiency. Truth barely had the set up line out of his mouth before KK pounced with the punchline. He acted so fast you would think there was a jar of preserves rolling around the ringside floor. This is a good test for Taven, who has really stepped up his game as of late. Truth nails a fantastic line of his own: “the only thing you have better than Matt Taven is a parking spot”. Corino says this is a once in a lifetime opportunity…for himself, to make one-legged wrestler jokes. And also states that all of Detroit is handicapped. I am not going to survive this 60 minutes if this greatness keeps up. Taven tosses Gowen around off the bell and mocks him a bit. As if Corino couldn’t get any better, HE hates George Steele TOO! We are meant to be buds. Taven bails to the floor to regroup as we take a break.
When we come back, Taven traps Gowen and hooks his leg as Corino explains how having one leg can be an advantage. Gowen starts to pepper back but Taven kicks him in the head and sends him crashing to the floor. Taven is back to his choppy, stalling style here, which is what I was afraid of. The fans start a “Pauly Shore” chant. Detroit, always on the cutting edge of pop culture. Taven takes Gowen over with a suplex and is getting awfully cocky here. He follows that with a big charging clothesline, turning Gowen inside out. Corino calls out KK for cheating on him with other color commentators. Gowen is able to knock Taven to the floor and follow him with a somersault senton as the fans work to rally him. Back inside, Gowen heads up top but Taven slows him down and Truth eventually shoves him down to the mat. Gowen recovers and gets a flurry of near falls before hooking in a nice submission hold. Taven breaks free but gets tangled in the ropes, allowing Gowen to hit a moonsault. Referee Paul Turner is tied up with Truth, allowing Taven to recover. After Scarlett also runs interference, Taven hits the Climax for the win. Truth and Taven are about to smack Gowen with a crutch, but Ciampa makes the save. This picked up a bit late, but nothing special. Still, it is always impressive to see Gowen out there working. I just like Taven better when he doesn’t have all the…hoopla…involved, like we saw lats month in his battle with Jay Lethal.
After a break, KK recaps all the issues surrounding the ROH World Title and Elgin, Briscoe and Cole, starting with the Glory by Honor elimination match and followed by a look at a match between Briscoe and Kevin Steen from Cincinnati. We also find out that Cole will defend his title against Elgin at Final Battle. But that it would be a triple threat match including the winner of Briscoe/Steen, which Briscoe won. So, long story short: Cole vs. Elgin vs. Briscoe at Final Battle. That match will settle this world title kerfuffle for good.
We are back from commercial and Jay Briscoe is heading to the ring, real World Title slung around his shoulder. Corino doesn’t understand how someone can just a title belt and declare themselves a champion. Briscoe rants a bit and then issues an open challenge for his strap. And that challenge is answered by…Silas Young! Yes! Silas bags on him for making up a title when he is only a joke, not a champion. The match is on and here we go!
Jay Briscoe (c) vs. Silas Young – ROH Real World Title
This is a nice rub for my boy Silas. Briscoe rattles him with a back elbow and some kicks to start things off. Briscoe is wrestling with great aggression here, really playing into this manic obsessive character he has going on right now. Silas tries to slug his way back in but Briscoe is just shrugging him off and hammering him to the mat. Silas gets desperate, heading outside and chucking a chair into the ring. He uses that distraction to grab the ring bell hammer, but Mark Briscoe shows up to yank it from his hand. Jay then goes low and finishes Silas with the Jay Driller for the win. I would have loved Silas to get more shine, but this was a needed continuation of Briscoe’s storyline, so all good here. Also, Corino needs to use “ding ding” more to describe low blows.
Back from break, we go back to Death Before Dishonor when BJ Whitmer retired and pushed Nigel to rehire Jimmy Jacobs. We hear Nigel’s proclamation about giving Jacobs five matches for a shot at redemption. If he wins three, he is back in ROH and will compete for the World Title. And…he did it! Jacobs will face Cole in Jacobs’ hometown of Dearborn and we will see that huge match next week. We also find out that BJ will be there in Jimmy’s corner. Very good promo package there to set up next week’s show.
Eddie Edwards vs. Jay Lethal
This is our main event and it should be a good one. Davey Richards is with Eddie and we should enjoy this one because it may be the last time we see the Wolves on ROH TV. Eddie is fresh off another tour of Japan and Corino shares his experience, gleaned from 79 tours throughout his career. We have a lot of feeling out and mat work early here as you would expect. I really like the story of the match here, focusing on Eddie’s jet lag and how it will affect him as the match wears on. It is a unique match hook and allows Corino to shine (even more) by using his experience to further the angle. Corino blasts Richards about being a glory hog, the same claims we always hear from Bobby Fish, as KK points out. Lethal has controlled most of this and now he is grinding Eddie down with a chin lock. EE powers up and blocks a charge with a big boot to the face. Corino channels Joey Lawrence as EE tie-up Lethal in the Tree of WHOA!
After a break, EE is laying some sick chops in on Lethal. Corino thinks chops should be outlawed and he isn’t wrong. Lethal dumps EE to the floor and follows with a pair of suicide dives. EE blocks the third and hits two of his own to get the crowd revved back up. He tries for a third but Lethal slips into the ring and cracks him with a stiff superkick to bust it up. Lethal dropkicks EE to the floor and follows with that third dive. Davey comes over to check on EE as both men are down and out. This Dearborn crowd is fantastic. They eventually make it back inside and start trading heavy blows and chops in the center of the ring as Corino yells “cheese and crackers, make it stop!” This guy is locked in. Lethal gets a frog splash for two but can’t capitalize right away. EE comes back with a front suplex for two, followed up by a trip to the top rope that is quickly aborted. Some fan yells at KK to move so he can see and we all heard it. Corino wants to create a “Stop the Chop” shirt for Christmas. They battle on the top rope until EE sends Lethal to the mat but comes up empty with a double stomp attempt. He bounces back with a chinchecker for a near fall and then turns right into a heel lock that is broken up by Lethal. They follow that by trading off a dozen near falls via roll up until Lethal hits the Lethal Injection for the clean win. No surprise with the finish there. Corino gives a tip of his hat and KK’s toupee for the action we just saw. Very fun match aided by a rabid crowd and a good closing segment.
We have a big match on deck next week and if this Dearborn crowd can keep up the energy, we should be in for a treat. Until then, take care and respect the code.