Advertised main event is a proving ground match between the ROH Tag-Team champions reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish) and IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team champions from New Japan, the Forever Hooligans (Rockey Romero and Alex Koslov). Also tonight we’ll see Adrenaline Rush in action and a qualifying match for the World title tournament.
Show opens with a recap video of Steel Cage Warfare from last week.
Kevin Kelly welcomes us and the crowd looks great, easily the most people they’ve had for TV in a while. The broadcast team talks about tonight being the first step in ROH’s rebirth following the death of S.C.U.M. Nigel turns it over to Bobby Cruise for ring announcements…
3.0 VS Adrenaline Rush
Scott “Jagged” Parker and Shane Mathews are the members of “Canada’s most professional tag team” and were regulars in Chikara. I’ll take 10-year indy scene vets like these guys on job duty over losers like Zizou Middoux any day of the week. ACH and Parker start. It’s chain wrestling to start until ACH lands a dropkick. ACH tries a springboard but gets knocked down mid move by Mathews on the apron; the crowed is PISSED OFF, the heat Mathews got for such a basic heel move was nuts. Mathews is tagged in and his team takes advantage of the shortest heat segment in recorded history at about 3.0 seconds when ACH just beats them both up. ACH wants a tag but Parker is tagged back in first and he knocks TD off the apron. It proves an exercise in futility, however when Parker turns around into the world’s most charismatic back body drop courtesy of ACH allowing the faces to make a tag. Thomas isn’t feeling the flow…of 3.0 anymore as ACH chucks Mathews before hitting Parker with wacky kick #1, wacky kick #2, and a bridging half-nelson suplex that Mathews jumps back in to break up at two. Mathews is welcomed back to the fold with a series of knees to the face and a decidedly not wacky roundhouse kick from Thomas. ACH is tagged in, but his springboard is intercepted by a back elbow from Parker. Parker lifts ACH for a flapjack and Mathews spears him out of midair for two! That’s a hell of a move to be the first real offensive maneuver landed by a team in a match. ACH is pushed into the corner by Mathews and Parker hits the first jumping enzuigiri of the night (want to get smashed, take a shot every time someone lands an enzuigiri on any given ROH show). Parker takes out TD then flapjacks ACH. Matthews follows with a powerbomb and applies the Boston Crab. Thomas jumps up on the apron and dumps Parker, and then breaks the Boston crab with wacky kick #3. Thomas moonsaults out of the ring to take Parker out of the equation while ACH hits Mathews with the Package DDT for the win. ** TaDarius Thomas might be my pick for most improved wrestler of the year–through the pure power of osmosis teaming with ACH has taught him how to wrestle–learning about timing and how to mix those wacky kicks into his offense rather than being the only thing he does. Match was too short to be anything memorable but it made it clear that Adrenaline Rush (and specifically ACH) are crowd-pleasers. The tag ranks might be too cluttered for these guys to win the straps, but they’ll fit in great replacing C&C as perennial challengers…especially since C&C have proven themselves bigger chokers then Lex Luger and seemingly any chance of them eventually winning the tag titles has evaporated.
Nigel McGuiness is in the ring to catch the 1% of their audience that isn’t online up on the world title situation the rest of us have known about for a month. This was way, way too long and now even ROH is showing us why Authority figures are played out–Make the announcement and be done with it–We don’t need your whole life story Nigel! He announces that to bridge the gap between now and the crowning of a new world champion, there will be an increased emphasis on the Tag-Team division, thus the Forever Hooligans and The Young Bucks (more on this in a few weeks) are making their returns to the promotion. reDRagon is out to interrupt and thank god Nigel’s droning is over. Fish takes the mic then takes credit for increased ratings and ticket sales in ROH since reDRagon won the tag-titles. He then gets massive face heat for telling an annoying heckler in the audience to shut up. Bobby has a proposition for tonight’s main event, he says forget the proving ground, the match will now be for the belts. Nigel is surprised but is happy to oblige their request. The familiar howl sounds over the PA system and now the Wolves are out with something to say. Summarized–Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards asked to be left out of the World Title tournament, because they are focused on taking their rightful spot as ROH tag team champions. Richards says it doesn’t matter who wins tonight, the American Wolves are winning those belts when they get their shot in Toronto. Everything after reDRagon came out was good stuff–but Nigel’s monologue was way too long and then inside ROH RECAPPED EVERYTHING HE JUST SAID, rendering it even more pointless.
Title Tournament Qualifying match: Adam Page VS “Pro Wrestling’s Last Real Man” Silas Young
We’re all set to start when QT Marshal gets in the ring and demands Nigel put him in the match. He says it was ridiculous that it was up to a fan poll to determine if he were in the tournament when each and every one of them would have him fired if they had their way. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. Adam Page takes the mic and tells Nigel to do it if it will shut Marshal (It’s Marshaaal, QT protests) up. McGuiness begrudgingly says ok because he doesn’t want the show delayed any longer. Nigel then commits the most epic burial I’ve ever seen committed by a commentator when he says that he decided to let Marshal in because he doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning anyways. Well with that career homicide out of the way the bell rings for our new match…
Title Tournament Qualifying match: Adam Page VS “Pro Wrestling’s Last Real Man” Silas Young VS “Gods Shit Gift” QT Marshal
Page wastes no time going after both guys. Young tries to drive a real man’s spear into the kid but Page dodges and QT eats it in the corner. Young slips out of a back suplex from Page but is countered into an inverted atomic drop to the last real junk and a dropkick that puts him on the floor. Page jumps for a plancha but is grabbed out of mid air by QT who hits him with a dominater for two. Young springboards back into the ring but his elbow gets nothing but air; QT then rolls him up for a two count. The heels trade blows with QT eventually gaining the advantage. A standing guillotine leg drop gets two for God’s (re)gift(ed). Page is back up and he has some knife-edge chops for QT. Page’s attempt at an Irish whip is reversed into a back elbow, but QT runs the ropes only to be wheel kicked by Page. It gets 2 but the pin is broken up by Young. Page thanks him with an enzuigiri. Page makes a charge at QT who has crawled his way into the corner but gets back body dropped over the top rope; he landed on his feet however and is elbowed by Page into a MANLY lariat from Silas Young. Young wrestles Page to the top rope and is looking for a superplex–but Adam won’t give it to him easy. QT is up and gets into position to powerbomb Young, completing the tower of doom. Silas is somewhat opposed to this plan so he bites QT on the face to make him let go. The distraction lets Page push Young off and dive for a cross-body; Young dodges, but QT takes the full impact. Page sweeps Young’s legs and then…hesitates while QT gets into position…then dropkicks Marshal and lands a shooting star press on Young all in the same move!!! Cool innovative spots are awesome as long as they don’t seem awkward and over choreographed, QT is the veteran–Page is green, it’s on QT to make sure he’s where he needs to be. QT bounces of the ropes and breaks Page’s pin up at two. QT tries to toss Page but he again lands on the apron and back body drops Marshal to the floor. Young grabs Page and hits a rolling fireman’s carry slam, but he takes too much time showboating with a headstand on the top turnbuckle and his springboard moonsault misses. Page goes up top and signals for the shooting star press, but QT pushes him of the top all the way to floor. Marshal comes in and OFF COME THE ELBOW PADS. He turns around ready to clean house but gets caught in the “Last Real Man’s” small package for the three count! **3/4 Run of the mill 3-way. This result means that Silas Young qualified as Tomasso Ciampa’s victim opponent in the title tournament’s first round at All-Star Extravaganza 5 in Toronto, and that Adam Page will wrestle NJPW’s Kushida (One half of the former Jr. Heavyweight tag champions with Alex Shelly as The Time Splitters).
ROH Tag Team Title: reDRagon (c) VS The Forever Hooligans
Kevin Kelly questions what reDRagon’s motive for making this a title match could be. Code of Honor is adhered to. Fish and Romero in to start and the crowd is firmly behind the Hooligans. We begin with some chain wrestling. Fish briefly gains position on Romero and slaps the back of his head to some decent heel heat, but is made to pay for it when Romero reverses their positions and gives it back to him 10-fold. Fish keeps trying to escape Rocky’s waist lock but he won’t let go. Fish gets to his feet but is thrown back to the mat. Realizing breaking the hold was more effort than it was worth Fish makes the ropes to force the break. Bobby gets in a cheap shot on the break but whiffs on a roundhouse. Romero takes him down with a dropkick and does a little jig to celebrate. Koslov is tagged and enters the ring with a splash that gets two. Fish rakes the eyes to get away and tags in Kyle O’Reilly, but he finds no greater success then his partner. O’Reilly whips Koslov into the ropes, but Koslov back flips over him and puts him down with a dropkick. Fish is knocked off the apron and O’Reilly is tossed. Koslov picks up speed for a dive out onto O’Reilly but is cut off by Fish. Koslov is Irish whipped but he ducks Fish on two passes and dives out onto O’Reilly at full speed! Romero comes in illegally and Fish Irish whips him towards the side of the ring Koslov and O’Reilly are at. Romero catches himself in the ropes and holds himself there. Fish charges and ends up on the floor. New rule Bobby, stop Irish whipping these guys, it keeps backfiring on you. Suicide Dive by Romero takes out both members of reDRagon and the Hooligans stand tall as we fade to commercial
We come back with Koslov holding O’Reilly in an arm bar and tagging Romero into the match. The Hooligans double whip O’Reilly into the corner and Romero scores a running clothesline. Koslov was following to do the same but had to stop dead in his tracks because Romero turned around to hit another…and another…and another. Finally Koslov has enough of waiting for his turn and turns Romero around for an argument–pushing and shoving ensues and they raise their fists to fight. Suddenly they drop their guard and hug it out in the middle of the ring to a huge ovation from the crowd. It’s an atomic drop and a clothesline for O’Reilly when Fish comes out of nowhere with a clothesline on Romero. Fish’s facials when the ref admonishes him are great (who, me?). O Reilly chucks Koslov outside and Fish kills him with a full speed tackle into the barricade. O’Reilly hits his trademark running dropkick from the apron to the corner of the barricade and Koslov is out. Fish is beating on Romero in the ring but is forced to leave by the ref and be tagged in so he’s legal. Where the fuck is that officiating when my head’s exploding about no-one keeping track of who the legal man is! Snap suplex gets two for Fish. Tag to O’Reilly and reDRagon double teams Romero. A Running knee from Fish, running knee from O’Reilly, tilt-a-whirl back breaker by Fish and a diving knee drop off the top from O’Reilly all in quick succession get a very close two count. O’Reilly locks on the abdominal stretch, and then rolls it into another near fall as Rocky desperately needs a tag. Tag to Fish who enters with a senton. Fish takes his sweet time before pinning Romero for two. Fish keeps on the beat down but is arrogant and gives Romero an opening. Fish catches a kick from Romero, and then dodges the enzuigiri that came next–but he was caught by the mule kick coming back the other way. O’Reilly comes in illegally to try and stop the tag but Romero just pushes him off and makes the hot tag to Koslov. The Russian is a house of fire, flying all over the place and neutralizing both his opponents. O’Reilly is drop-kicked to the outside and Fish suffers an enzuigiri. Koslov signals for Romero to toss him his Russian hat; Rocky obliges and Koslov dons the cap. He gets the crowd clapping so he has a rhythm then starts alternating between squats and some nasty looking kicks to the back of the sitting Bobby Fish’s head. Koslov runs the ropes and STANDING DOUBLE STOMPS FISH’S FACE INTO THE MAT! Even Nigel freaked out at that one. Romero comes in to even the numbers but is cut off by a combo of O’Reilly strikes. He tries for a rolling elbow but Romero just uppercuts him dead on the approach. O’Reilly takes a Dooms-Knee-Device from the Hooligans and rolls to the outside. Romero hops into his partner’s arms and Koslov runs him into Fish knee first. Romero signals for the end and lands a cradle tombstone on Fish. Koslov looks to put the finishing touches on it with a gorgeous shooting star press–but Romero celebrated too early and didn’t see O’Reilly jumping back in the ring to save the match and he’s able to break up the pin at two. O’Reilly takes out Romero with a Roundhouse, Koslov knocks out O’Reilly with an enzuigiri, and Bobby Fish uses his last bit of strength to land a back drop driver on Koslov and now everybody is dead in the ring. Double tags to O’Reilly and Romero and they do the boo/yay spot. Romero jumps a leg sweep and nails O’Reilly with a jumping knee, so Kyle gives him one of his own (seriously was Triple H the road agent for this match?). Fish comes in and the two take turns kicking Romero until a textbook bridging fisherman suplex from O’Reilly is broken up by Koslov. The Russian is tossed and O’Reilly hits Romero with a Yakuza Kick. Total elimination only gets two for reDRagon but Romero is clearly in trouble. O’Reilly lifts him for Chasing the Dragon, but Koslov trips Fish from the outside behind O’Reilly’s back. Romero escapes the brainbuster and hauls O’Reilly down with a backslide that gets the three count while Koslov holds Fish back! You’re winners and NEW ROH world tag-team champions are the Hooligans, may their reign last Forever! **** Knee heavy, yes–but this was just plain fun. Fish and O’Reilly look like dorks for losing after they decided to put the belts back on the line–but I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll regain the tag titles at Manhattan Mayhem on August 10th anyway.
All in all a great show–you should fast forward through Nigel and Inside ROH this week, but all of the actual wrestling was pretty great.