This week’s episode of ROH TV opens with a look back at last week’s episode, where Jay Lethal was the first man to advance to round two of the World Championship Tournament. This week, the tourney continues with two more big matches as we catch the final episode of the Providence tapings. After the opening animation, we head inside the jam packed, rowdy Providence Convention Center where Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness welcome us to the show by sending us right to the ring for our opening match.
Brian Fury vs. Matt Taven (c) for the ROH TV Title
Fury earned this title match a week ago by winning a four way battle involving other local talents. Taven is led out by Truth Martini and the Hotties. Nigel talks about how the two Hotties, Casey Ray and Seleziya, now have licenses, one as a bodyguard and one as a wrestler, which means they are now permitted at ringside. Fury has quite an edge on the experience side and you could argue he should be the favorite here on some levels. Truth hops on commentary and again talks about how he obtained the licenses. Fury controls early and picks up a few near falls before Taven uses the ropes to turn things around. Nigel is going to work with the lawyers to get the licenses revoked due to the constant interference and distractions. And right on cue, Truth hops on the apron to distract Fury. Nigel pops out of the booth and yanks Truth to the floor, but that allows Casey to take Fury down with a hurricanrana off the top rope. Taven drops a frog splash but Fury stays alive. Nice false finish as I thought that was it. Nigel orders officials down to sit with Truth on the floor and make sure he doesn’t get involved any further. Fury gets one last flurry of offense, but Taven spikes him with his modified DDT to pick up the win and retain his belt. Good to see Taven win relatively clean as he really needs to start picking up legitimate victories at some point. Truth shoves a page from his book in Fury’s mouth as Taven celebrates. The lights are gonna fully turn on for Taven at some point and when they do, this whole thing may finally take off if it doesn’t run its course first.
Next up, we hear from Mark Briscoe, who shuts down the internet rumors that the Briscoes were knocked out of ROH by SCUM. SCUM is gone and he is still there. He has a doctor’s note that clears him to compete since his concussion is fully healed. He vows to put a whooping on Adam Cole tonight.
Sail away on the Block Island Ferry! And text “ROH” to “TODAY” for a piece of Kevin Steen memorabilia. Kind of weird to see Steen acting so goofy, but it is infectious.
Back inside the Convention Center, Michael Elgin now joins us. KK regales us his story, about how he refused to be handed the title and opted to fight for it in the tournament instead. Elgin’s mullet is glorious. He puts over the title as usual and discusses the importance of winning that gold in the ring and not via forfeit. As he speaks, he is interrupted by Kevin Steen, who calls Elgin a liar for claiming he isn’t worried about anyone else in the tournament. Steen believes Elgin knows he can’t beat him, so he should be worried. For months, fans believed Elgin would be the one to end Steen’s reign. He didn’t, and the same now goes for this tournament. Elgin promises Steen that we won’t see the same result the next time they face off. Next up is Michael Bennett and Maria. Steen jokes “hey, it’s Maria and somebody!” Bennett bitches about Steen & Elgin already having received plenty of main event and title chances. They are the past of ROH, but Bennett is the future and he is tired of waiting week after week. “Mike Bennett is leaving ROH, but Michael Bennett is staying”. Interesting. Before he can continue, Tomasso Ciampa makes his presence felt. He gets in everyone’s face and then lays his claim to the title before walking out. Security floods the ring as we take a break. Just a quick note from the live taping. I wasn’t quite sure why they filmed that promo so late in the taping because the crowd was really starting to get a bit burnt out. They took a pretty lengthy intermission and this something they could have done going into it or just sometime earlier in the night. At this point, everyone just wanted to see the last two matches and it showed during the segment. Just my two cents.
ACH vs. Karl Anderson – ROH World Title Tournament, Opening Round
The tournament rolls on here as ACH makes his way to the ring. ACH has to be looked at as one of the underdogs in this tournament but we will see if he can steal a win and advance over the Machine Gun. We saw Anderson back at both Supercard of Honor and the TV tapings in New York and he returns here to join the quest for the gold. Nigels talks about the increased confidence of ACH, wondering if it will be enough to drive him over Anderson. ACH tries to fly, but Anderson bails to the floor and backs off, letting ACH cool down in a shrewd move. The fans are actually behind ACH here, waking up a bit after that previous segment.Back inside, Anderson slows things down now, hammering on ACH and picking apart ACH. Nigel points that exact fact out, noting he picked up this style and pacing in Japan. They spill out to the floor where Anderson cracks him with a leaping boot to the face. After a break, Anderson is still in control and taking ACH over with a big vertical suplex for two. KK reminds us that ACH was voted into the tournament by the fans. He also puts over Anderson’s international resume and his big win over Michael Elgin in NYC. ACH shows his trademark heart, firing back at Anderson, but the Machine Gun keeps clubbing him back down. ACH finally takes to the air and turns the tables and the crowd is rallying right with him. He follows with a big high cross body for a near fall. ACH keeps landing blows but can’t finish Anderson off. That allows Karl a gap to crack ACH with a big boot and running powerbomb. ACH stays alive and even reverses a suplex attempt with an STO. He quickly scampers to the top rope and hits a 450 splash for a close near fall. KK thinks this may be the first time someone kicked out of the 450. ACH again stays alive and picks up a two count off a kick to the face, but Anderson shrugs him off and hits the Ace Crusher for the victory. That was a really good showing for ACH as he proved he was more than worthy of that slot, regardless of how he was voted in. He does need new theme music, though. Anderson remains a favorite and a threat.
Back from break, we see footage from the vicious SCUM assault on the Briscoes weeks back. That attack led to severe injuries and the vacating of the World Title. Mark has finally been cleared from his concussion issues and will compete here tonight.
Adam Cole vs. Mark Briscoe – ROH World Title Tournament, Opening Round
Cole is out first for the main event. I really like his Corona knock off gear. Nigel gives good insight into concussions and what Briscoe has been through. He reinforces the thorough concussion testing and we are told Briscoe was cleared just a day ago. Both men feel each other out a bit off the bell and it is clear that Briscoe is a bit apprehensive and cautious here. Things continue to develop slowly until Mark hits some Redneck Kung Fu for a near fall. Cole cannot get on track at all here as Briscoe keeps beating him to the punch. Briscoe can ensure safety and protect his head here if he can just stave off Cole completely. That plan ends immediately as Cole cracks Briscoe with a superkick on the floor taking us into break. When the show returns, Cole is working Briscoe over and Nigel is talking about ‘Second Impact Syndrome” which often happens to those recovering from a concussion. Nigel on commentary is a great touch for this match and angle as he adds credibility to the issue. Briscoe bounds out of the corner but collides into Cole, where they slam skulls. Briscoe is rattled as Cole toss some right hands at him. Briscoe shakes that off and brings a full assault at Cole, including an enziguri and half nelson suplex for a two count. Briscoe heads to the top but Cole catches him with a superkick on the way down. Cole hoists him up and drops him with a neckbreaker across his knee for two. The fans start to rally Briscoe but Cole looks pissed and focuses. He kicks Briscoe in the face, but Mark won’t stay down at all, popping up and trading right hands. Cole goes for the Florida Key, but Briscoe rams him into the corner to break it. He charges Cole in the corner but eats a boot. Briscoe comes back with a rolling plunge but gets caught when he heads back up top. Briscoe headbutts Cole to the mat but it it’s clear his head is not in good shape. Briscoe comes off with an elbow but he has no chance to cover and is clearly a bit out of it. Mark Sinclair checks on Briscoe for any signs of a concussion and backs Cole off. Cole looks annoyed because Briscoe is clearly being given a chance to recover. KK agrees with Sinclair. I do not. Cole finally has enough, kicks Briscoe in the face and then drops him with a Jay Driller to win and advance! Good for Cole. I know they tried to make him seem like an asshole, but I dug it. The World Title is on the line and he didn’t ask to face Briscoe. Stick it, Kevin! Officials check on Briscoe, Cole celebrates and we are out.
That was a quick hour, filled with matches and not very much fluff. The interview segment in the middle was good for what it was, I just didn’t care for the logistics behind the taping of it. With the Providence show now in the books, I will say that I thought RI showed it could be a little ROH hotbed. The fans were amped and stayed hot throughout a very long taping. The state, and Providence in particular, has been lauded on the internet lately as becoming a bit of an indy hub, mainly thanks to the success of Beyond Wrestling. This ROH show proves the point as well, and we can only hope the promotion returns again soon.
The World Title tournament is now under way and three men have advanced. Next week we see the continuation of the first round, plus much more. Until then, take care and respect the code!