After our opening animation, we head inside the Ted Reeve Arena in Toronto as the road to Best in the World rolls on, now just two weeks away. Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuiness have the call as Steve Corino is still missing since he stormed off angry last week. And with that we head to the ring for our opening bout.
Matt Taven vs. Pepper Parks
Our TV champ is out first, escorted by Truth Martini and the Hoopla Hotties. I feel like it has been forever since the House of Truth has graced us with their presence. Truth’s outfit continues to give me nightmares. Truth grabs the mic and derides Jay Lethal, who is now in line for a TV title shot. Truth issues an open challenge for Taven and it is quickly answered by Pepper Parks. If Pepper wins this match, he earns a title match. So, to be clear, this is non-title. Truth rips on Pepper, but he gives it right back to him. Taven tries to attack, but Pepper meets him with a right hand to officially kick off the match. Nigel talks about Pepper’s career, and KK discusses how Pepper was thinking about retirement in the past but rededicated himself and kept his career going. Pepper really controls early, blocking all of Taven’s comeback attempts. Kevin reminds us that Taven will in fact defend against Lethal at BITW. He wonders how much a loss here would really mess up Taven’s momentum for the PPV. Pepper continues to dominate, not giving Taven any daylight. Taven finally slows Pepper down, but he misses a splash off the top. Taven returns the favor by side stepping a dive off the top. He takes advantage of that opening and puts Pepper away for the win. That was an interesting match as Taven really got no offense at all. Maybe that is the story though, as KK makes a point of how this wasn’t much of a tune up for Lethal. We will see in two weeks time.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Rip Impact
Tommaso Ciampa is back in action for the first time since his rough injury suffered last year. He made his TV return last week, destroying QT Marshall and RD Evans. This is Impact’s debut and KK thinks he must be scared to death having to face Ciampa. Impact doesn’t seem too scared as he smacks Ciampa off the bell, but that is the last piece of offense he may get in as Ciampa starts to destroy him. He pounds him with knees in the corner, but I stand corrected as Impact starts to battle back. Ciampa sends a subtle shot to Michael Elgin with a really long delayed suplex. And that shot lands, as Elgin stomps down to ringside and hops on the apron. They smack talk a bit as KK tells us they are set to fight at BITW. Impact is getting a lot more offense than I expected, courtesy of the Elgin distraction. Ciampa quickly regains control and hits a superplex for the win. I would have liked to see more of a squash there to reintroduce Ciampa, especially considering his opponent, who really didn’t need or deserve much a showcase just yet. Elgin hops in the ring and sets the stage for BITW. That should be a stiff slugfest for sure.
After a break, we are back with Inside ROH. We start with clips of Ciampa’s return last week, when he just plowed through Evans and Marshall and then had a stare down with Elgin. KK confirms the two will meet at BITW and then brings us an Elgin promo. KK then shows us some clips of Adam Cole’s recent machinations, where it looks like he may be undergoing an attitude change. We hear from Cole, who confirms that losing the TV title changed something in him. The only thing that matters is wins and losses, and at BITW he will defeat Roddy Strong. Also in Baltimore, Kevin Steen will face off with Matt Hardy. We hear from Steen, and he talks about never imagining wrestling Hardy on iPPV ten years ago. Well, Kevin, not sure iPPV was really well known at the time, so yeah, probably right. Steen is not a very good promo at all some times. Next week is a Road Rage show with footage from Richmond, Virginia. Break time! Text “ROH” to “TODAY” for a picture of the Hoopla Hottie! Definitely ask your parents about that one, kids!
When we return, Steve Corino makes his return, leading out Titus, Jacobs and Campbell. He talks about all the mistakes ROH has made over the years, but Nigel has made three major ones lately. Corino can forgive Hardy not getting the BITW title shot, because Hardy becoming ROH World Champ is inevitable. Nigel made a big mistake leaving SCUM out of the number one contender matches last week in the name of hooking up his boys. He calls Nigel a “no good limey piece of garbage”, which is awesome. He continues on, telling Nigel he is lucky that Corino didn’t go to HR or file a lawsuit after Nigel messed with him at Border Wars. Corino is really laying it on here, telling Nigel he should go down with the ship. Now Jay Lethal, Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman come out. Corino points out that those three top contenders all lost clean matches to Campbell, Titus and Jacobs recently. Corino is amazing and 100% completely accurate in what he says, which makes it all the better. He calls them “Ring of Homies” which gets a gasp from the fans. A brawl triggers amongst the six as Corino and Nigel just stand face to face in the ring, unfazed by the fighting. Officials filter in to break things up as Corino hops to the floor. The fight rages on as we take a break.
American Wolves vs. Briscoe Brothers
We are back from commercial and Nigel is back in the booth. This should be a good match but I am curious to see if we get any issues between the Briscoes as their title match looms. The Wolves are out first, followed by Jay & Mark. KK believes these are the two most evenly-matched tag teams in pro wrestling and are the measuring stick of tag team competition. The matchup is rock solid out of the gate, with the Briscoes taking the early advantage, but the Wolves battle back with their usual array of strikes and aerial assault. The Wolves are working the double team as we take our final break of the night. When we come back, KK is selling BITW for us as the Wolves have maintained control. I just realized we haven’t seen much of reDRagon lately, although they do like to cycle talent in and out on these shows. Jay finally makes the hot tag to Mark, who is all over Davey. I think the Ted Reeve crowd was a bit burnt out at this point, as they have really quieted down for this one. Mark gets a close near fall but Eddie makes the save. Jay and Eddie spill outside as Mark heads up top, but Davey pops up and blocks the frog splash. Davey locks in a cross armbreaker on Jay, who has come back inside the ring, but Mark comes off and connects on the splash to bust it up. The fans are waking up now as KK tells us ROH will be back in Toronto at Maple Leaf Gardens (!) in August. I hope they have the old school ramp. Eddie and Mark trade chops and kung fu strikes. Davey connects with the double stomp on Mark, but he stays alive. And we get the expected miscommunication from the Briscoes, leading to a Davey tombstone on Mark for the win. KK tells us this is the first time in their long and storied rivalry that the Wolves have defeated the Briscoes. The Wolves celebrate and we are done for this week, as we don’t see any fallout from the Briscoes. That was odd, I thought for sure we would at least see a little arguing, but I guess they wanted to leave it subtle.
This was a solid episode, but I am ready for Best in the World to be done with as I am maxed on some of the hype. Briscoe vs. Briscoe should be an interesting matchup, but the build has been blasé and just doesn’t have a lot of heat behind it. Corino continues to be the best part of ROH as he cuts another fantastic promo. The BITW card is shaping up nicely, with some good stiff matchups on the docket. I do think the company needs to cycle in some new blood to help mix things up a bit. SCUM also needs another big name to replace Steen in the near future. Next week we head to Richmond for some Road Rage action. Until then, take care and respect the code.