We open the show with a few clips of the Briscoe family war from Best in the World before hitting our opening animation and heading inside the studio where Kevin Kelly welcomes us to a Best in the World showcase. He recaps the Briscoe/Briscoe match with a handful of superlatives and ponders the future of the brothers after the physical toll they suffered. We will not be seeing that match tonight, but we will see two big title bouts leading up to our main event.
Matt Taven (C) vs. Jay Lethal vs. Jimmy Jacobs
We kick off with a SCUM vs. ROH triple threat battle for the television championship. The three waste no time getting into things, but Taven lands the first big strike with a dive to the floor onto both men. Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuiness have the call on this one. Truth Martini and the Hoopla Hotties are at ringside, natch. The brawl on the floor continues, as we have had no action in the ring so far. Kevin puts over the great year Jacobs has had, coinciding with joining SCUM. Truth runs some interference on Jacobs, allowing Taven to snap off a powerslam on the floor. Kevin believes Matt Hardy is the favorite within SCUM, and Nigel wonders what Jacobs would think of that. Finally inside, Lethal dominates Taven until Jacobs makes it back inside the ring to turn the tide. Taven gets tossed to the floor and gets tended to by the Hotties as we take a break. When we return, Taven is back in the ring and in control of Jacobs. Kevin and Nigel discuss the Hotties as this match has slowed way down. Jacobs whiffs on a plancha as Truth pops into the booth to gush about Taven. All three men are back inside and we end up with a pixelated view of Taven’s ass courtesy Lethal. Taven just smirks and steps on Lethal’s throat with his ass hanging out, which may be the highlight of this one. Jacobs has been the star of this one so far, looking the most in synch and aggressive. Somehow, Lethal has sort of disappeared here. He hits a pancake slam for two on Jacobs before Taven can get involved again. Lethal hits the Lethal Combination on Jacobs, but Taven crashes on to him with a frog splash for a near fall. Lethal recovers and hits a Macho Man elbow onto Taven amidst “Randy Savage” chants. We end up back on the floor with Lethal in control after a tope. One of the Hotties slips in the ring and smacks Lethal across the face. Lethal yanks her tank top off but CW pixilates the goodness until the referee can cover her up. Now Truth gets in the ring, providing just enough of a distraction to allow Jacobs to drop Lethal with a spear. Now Truth distracts Jacobs, as does the other Hottie. She grabs Jacobs and hoists him on her shoulders, but she eats a stiff superkick from Lethal! Jacobs catches Lethal with sliced bread, but Taven steals the pin and the win. OK, this one was all over the place. I really want to like Taven, but something is just missing there. Just like we talked about Jeff Jarrett on the podcast, when a guy needs piles of gimmicks but still doesn’t get over, it is a sure sign that the “it factor” is not within immediate reach. I was disappointed that Lethal vanished here a bit, with his hottest spot coming when he superkicked a woman. Jacobs definitely got the most shine and I think he deserved to take the belt. Hopefully he does soon enough.
Two items of note from that break, not related but kind of related: visit RI Dolls right now and text “ROH” to TODAY for a picture of Maria! Hache Mache!
reDRagon (C) vs. C&C Wrestle Factory vs. Titus & Compton
The champs hang back as C&C goes right at SCUM. All six men brawl as Kevin tries to figure out the rules for this one. Alexander wipes out SCUM with a dive to the floor, leading to the champs tricking Coleman, who walks right into a double team assault. That beatdown is broken up by a Coleman missile dropkick. Alexander takes a nasty fall off the top to the floor, snapping his back across the apron on the way. As he recovers we take a quick break. When we return, he is still down on the floor, shaking off that bump. SCUM has now wrested control of this one, working over Alexander as reDRagon are trapped on the apron, hoping for a tag. Kevin ponders the future of SCUM and what happens to the members if the troupe is run out of ROH for good at some point. Coleman finally tags out to Alexander, but Compton accidentally tumbles into the corner of the champs, allowing them to finally tag in. Alexander has O’Reilly beat, but Compton makes the save. C&C stave him off and knock him outside before sending Titus flying out on top of him. C&C hit Overtime, but Alexander is too banged up to make the cover. Coleman turns his attention to SCUM, flying out on top of them. Back inside, Alexander hits O’Reilly with a brainbuster, but Fish kicks him in the head before he can capitalize. Fish drags O’Reilly on top and the champs retain. Decent tag match there, but they never got into a flow. I think this would have been better without the SCUM team in the mix. I was glad reDRagon retained, but they need to find a new feud with a team that can hang in there with them.
After a break, we recap the dismissal of Kevin Steen from SCUM, mainly centered on Steen not trusting Matt Hardy. That was followed by Steen eating the pin at Border Wars, leading to SCUM earning a World Title match, and issues evolving into this match here.
Kevin Steen vs. Matt Hardy
Steve Corino has a pimp yellow suit jacked on. Steen grabs the mic and asks Nigel to make this a No DQ match because he knows SCUM will get involved at some point and doesn’t want a DQ finish. Nigel obliges and as Adam Carolla would say, we got to get it on. Steen beats on Hardy to start, only slowing up when Hardy begs off and grabs the ref. That gives Hardy an opening to clip the knee and slow Steen down. Steen battles back and hits a powerbomb, sending Hardy outside. Kevin points out that things have not gone SCUM’s way tonight. He also informs us that Hardy will face the winner of the Briscoe/Briscoe title match. On the floor, Steen starts grabbing items from the fans and beating on Hardy with them. Kevin jokes about some poor fan with a sprained ankle having his crutch stolen and used as a weapon. Steen is just wrecking Hardy on the floor as Kevin wonders why Corino idolizes Hardy so much. Hardy finally finds an opening and swings momentum as we take our final break. That means one last word from RI Dolls. And Honey Nut Cheerios! We are back and the fight on the floor spills near the Briscoe family before Corino ushers his boy away. Back inside, Hardy beats on Steen with a trashcan as Corino heads to the back. Nigel wonders if anyone from ROH will help Steen if SCUM gets involved. Hardy comes up empty on a moonsault as we see that Corino has returned. And as I type that, a spider drops on my head and leaps to my shoulder, scaring the shit out of me. Steen hits a cannonball splash into the trashcan for a near fall. My heart races. Steen goes scavaging around ringside and digs up a table, which he sets up at ringside. Kevin talks about Steen running through SCUM, including defeating Compton in an Empty Arena match in Columbus. Rhett Titus shows up, but Steen quickly wipes him out. Hardy takes advantage and hits a pair of side effects for a near fall. Hardy drags Steen to the apron, but Kevin fights him off and preps him for a piledriver through the wood, but Jimmy Jacobs runs in and tosses away the table. Steen makes him pay with two powerbombs on the apron. Hardy gets the same fate, but Compton stops Steen with a chair shot to his back. Hardy tosses Steen back inside before digging up a ladder, which he uses as a weapon. Steen fights back as the fans dig deep and bust out an “Ole” chant. Hardy stops that short with a Twist of Fate for a close near fall. The near falls on both sides continue as Hardy survives an F-Cinq. Hardy comes back and drops Steen across two open chairs with a Twist of Fate to pick up the relatively clean win. Hardy really needed to go over strong here, so nice going by ROH on that one. This was hard fought and very entertaining, easily the match of the night on this cut-down program.
Corino and SCUM alternate celebrating and beating down Steen. It looks like nobody from ROH is going to help Steen out, so Nigel calls for security. Solid enough episode this week, but it was definitely carried by the main event. Looking forward to the new storylines kicking off on next week’s TV, so until then, take care and always respect the code.