We open this week’s show with our intro animation before heading inside the Nashville Fairgrounds, where we are welcomed in by Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino and Prince Nana. If Nana is here, that means it is Top Prospect Tourney time!
Andrew Everett vs. The Romantic Touch – Top Prospect Tournament Opening Round
Corino talks about knowing Everett since he was just 12 years old and thinks he is the future of the business. Touch is Rhett Titus in a mask doing a mysterious seductive lover gimmick. It will be interesting to see how a gimmick like this gets over in the world of ROH. Everett takes to the air early, dumping Touch to the floor and then flying out after him with a corkscrew. Back inside, Everett stays hot with a hurricanrana into a standing moonsault for a near fall. Touch comes back with a springboard back elbow to stop Everett cold in his tracks. Nana thinks Touch has been wrestling for a while. Touch unleashes a chop, sending Corino into the start of an anti-chop rant that gets quickly cut off. Everett cuts Touch off and takes him over with a suplex but eats the mat when Touch dodges a springboard moonsault. Touch crunches him with a really nice dropkick but Everett kicks free. Veda Scott joins the commentary table and bitches about the tournament being a sham. She calls Everett “Spots” and then outs Touch as Rhett Titus! KK and crew quickly quiet her down but she says anyone that doesn’t see it is an idiot. Corino is adamant that Titus left for a different territory but Veda is steadfast. Touch comes out and blows Veda a kiss, but she is repulsed. Corino thinks she may now be pregnant from the kiss. Veda is disgusted but quickly turns to excited when Everett rolls Touch up for the win. That was a surprise to me, I thought for sure Touch would advance. I am curious to see where they go with this Veda angle.
We flash back to Final Battle, where BJ Whitmer turned heel and formed The Decade with Jimmy Jacobs and Roddy Strong. The official turn came by assaulting Eddie Edwards after his final ROH math. The impetus behind this group is that they have been in ROH for ten years but are under appreciated and looked over as guys came and went.
Jay Briscoe saunters out to the ring as we return from break. He still has his homemade World Title belt in his hand. Briscoe is still waiting an answer from Adam Cole as he has offered to put his “real” World Title on the line in a match between the two. He calls out Cole, who obliges and comes out into the aisle, laughing off the idea of a match for Briscoe’s belt. Cole disparages Briscoe and says he doesn’t care about what anyone besides Matt Hardy has to say about him from now on. Cole hops in the ring and tells Briscoe he will have an answer for him next week.
Cheeseburger vs. Hanson – Top Prospect Tournament Opening Round
Cheeseburger is over like rover in Nashville. He is still skinny as hell, but we will see what goods he has. KK tells us he graduated the ROH dojo and that he and Bob Evans have been teaming up as of late. Hanson is a big mother fucker. mmmBOP indeed. Burger bails to the floor to rethink this career choice as Hanson stomps around in the ring. Hanson manhandles him in the corner, but Burger uses his speed to momentarily dodge the mammoth. Burger lands a shot here and there, but that all ends when Hanson whips him over with a big suplex and then mashes him with forearms to the chest. I enjoy the stylings of Hanson. He hoists Burger up and lawn darts him into the corner, but eats an elbow on a charge. Burger lands a flurry of strikes but is turned inside out with a lariat and that is all she wrote. That was a really fun big man/little man side of squash, Saturday morning style. Can you tell me if Hanson will win the tournament? No you can’t, cause you don’t know.
Adam Page vs. Mark Briscoe
Page is out first and he is looking for a breakout 2014 in his first full year on the roster. This will be quite the test for him. Both of these guys took tough losses at Final Battle so they are looking to turn things around a bit. Corino talks about how he had a nice conversation with Briscoe while they were both peeing earlier today. Before the bout can start, we are joined by The Decade. They hop into the ring and if you look closely you can see Jacobs trying to find Steve Wille in the crowd, hoping for another smooch. Jacobs says they can interrupt whenever they want to after being around for ten years. He then offers Briscoe a spot in The Decade, saying it is where he belongs. He accuses Page of using ROH as a stepping stone and then smacks him in the face, triggering a brawl. The Decade retreats as we hit a break.
Mark Briscoe & Adam Page vs. BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs
During the break things settled down into a tag match and we are under way. All four men brawl for a few minutes until we end up with Page and Jacobs going at it. Whitmer trips Page up, allowing Jacobs to snap off a DDT. Corino is awesome as he references Jacobs’ “feud with ROH earlier in 2013” without ever mentioning SCUM. He basically recaps the birth of The Decade and the path each man took to this union. In the ring, Whitmer hammers on Page as Decade continues to control the action. Corino reaffirms his belief that Whitmer has always been a piece of garbage. Briscoe gets the tag and he and Whitmer trade bombs in the middle of the ring. Mark unleashes Redneck King Fu and then clotheslines Whitmer to the floor. Page flies out onto him with a shooting star as Jacobs was tying up Briscoe. He recovers and hits a Cactus Jack elbow off the apron to the floor, BANG BANG and all. Roddy hops in on commentary and again tells us about why The Decade was formed. Briscoe hits a rolling plunge and then tags in Page, who comes in and knocks Jacobs to the floor. He hits a standing shooting star on Whitmer, but BJ kicks free. Roddy talks about his upcoming match with AJ Styles, which we will see in two weeks time. Jacobs smacks Page as he scaled the top rope, allowing Whitmer to hit a super exploder for a near fall thanks to Briscoe making the save. Briscoe charges Whitmer in the corner but gets back dropped over to the floor. BJ survives a roll up and then hoists him over his shoulder for a double team dominator/neckbreaker combo. BJ covers Page and The Decade gets the win. That was a nice showcase for Decade that kept Briscoe strong while sacrificing Page at a time when he can afford it. Good stuff all around there.
Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Silas Young – ROH Television Title
Before the match, we see clips of Ciampa destroying the House of Truth en route to winning the TV title from Matt Taven at Final Battle. Nana is out of the booth and Jay Lethal is in his place as he wants an up close view at the man who challenged him a week ago. Silas is out first and being as awesome as ever, shit talking the camera. He is also carrying the strap he used to beat Mark Briscoe at Final Battle. It his souvenir, and I think it will be a swank new gimmick for my boy. Before this one gets under way, Taven hops in the ring. He reminds us that he was the longest running TV champion, holding it for nine months. KK points out that he is alone out there. He vows that the TV strap will be his again and then extends his hand to Ciampa. Before they can shake, Young decks Taven. Taven chases him around the ring until security breaks it up. I guess we have a face turn? I am all for Silas beating the piss out of Taven over the next few weeks. With Taven gone, the match gets under way and Silas wastes no time attacking the champ, pouncing immediately. KK talks about the speculation that the HOT is done for good. Ciampa comes back with a series of side headlock take overs, pummeling Young’s head each time. Corino blames Lethal for turning Ciampa into this possessed monster and then bags on his whole family until KK stops him. The brawl spills to the floor where Silas ends up pinned to the barricade as Ciampa tries to cave his face in with running knee lifts. Silas is able to slow him down by booting the middle rope into his groin as they headed back inside the ring. As Silas works him over, we take our final break.
When we return, Ciampa is fending Silas off with a boot to the face leading to a chop exchange between the two, capped by a Ciampa dropkick. Corino thinks Ciampa has gotten inside Lethal’s head by challenging him instead of the other way around. Lethal denies, natch, but Corino has a point. Silas tries to use the strap, but he gets tripped up and eats a stiff knee to the face, one so hard that it busted his nose up. Silas does his best to get back into this, but he is clearly rattled. He shakes the cobwebs, hits a rolling plunge and his great springboard moonsault, but Ciampa kicks free. Silas tries for the strap again, but referee Paul Turner stops him, leading to a Ciampa roll up for a near fall. Silas saunters over, but walks right into Project Ciampa. Silas kicks out at one! Awesome. He tries for another plunge, but Ciampa rolls through and hooks in the Sicilian Stretch for the victory. Damn. Silas attacks Ciampa after the bell. Yes! But Lethal makes the save before the strap can be used. Damn. Now Taven is back out and he sends Silas to the floor with a superkick. Corino doesn’t like this new Taven. Neither do the fans in Nashville. Ciampa, Lethal and Taven all have a staredown in the ring as we fade out.
I really enjoyed this week’s show, as it was a really good blend of wrestling and storyline developments. The roster has been shuffled and freshened up and it has led to some new feuds, for better or worse. We are now just a few days away from Pittsburgh and yours truly will be in the house along with a large delegation from Place to Be Nation. Stay tuned to the PTBN network for updates from the Steel City throughout the weekend and also be sure to check out the brand new Kevin Kelly Show exclusively at Place to Be Nation! Until next week, take care and respect the code!