The episode opens with a quick video narrated by Nigel McGuinness as he resets the story of the World Title tournament, which kicks off tonight. We then hit the opening animation and head inside the area! This is week three emanating from the Providence Convention Center, and we will see if the rowdy crowd can stay hot for this week’s show. Kevin Kelly welcomes us to the show and runs down tonight’s card. We kick off the show with a proving ground match, with the winner earning a TV title match next week.
Vinny Marseglia vs. Todd Hanson vs. Brian Fury vs. Kongo
This match will feature all local guys as Marseglia is from RI, Hanson is from MA, Fury is from NH and…OK, maybe not all four are local. Fury has quite the following that travelled down to support him in this one. KK is flying solo here on this episode. He tells us that all four these impressed at tryout camps, earning them the match tonight. Kongo is kind of a goofy gimmick that stands out quite a bit…not sure if that is a good or bad thing. Truth Martini & Matt Taven join KK in the booth and Taven wastes no time making fun of KK for being out of shape. Marseglia is controlling things early until Hanson plants him with a side slam for a near fall. Truth shows KK that he has gotten manager licenses for the Hoopla Hotties so they can now be allowed at ringside. Kongo is in now but Vinny ducks a charge and the big man tumbles to the floor. Fury dives out onto Kongo and Hanson and as they recover, Vinny comes off the top with a somersault senton. Back inside, Vinny and Hanson trade blows as Taven asks “when did Grizzly Redwood find the Secret of the Ooze?” Heh. Kongo gets a nice cross body for two but the pin is broken up. He follows that with a jumping Samoan drop on Vinny. Kongo charges but he eats a superkick from Fury and a boot from Hanson. Hanson has a cool look, I hope he hangs around a bit to flesh out the bottom of the card. KK notes the great pace of this match, and I would agree as they haven’t slowed down. Vinny has definitely gotten the most shine so far here. And on cue, he drops Fury with a DDT for a near fall. Taven is pretty good on commentary, finally showing some confidence out there. Fury gets the pin on Vinny but we kind of miss it due to Taven’s ranting. He badmouths Fury after the match and talks about how he is more concerned with the list of hotties that are headed to his hotel room after. The pace was definitely good but the match was a bit disjointed, although to be honest that kind of fit the gimmick of the match, as these guys are young and unpolished and striving to impress. Fury got the win but I thought Vinny looked the strongest and should have gotten the win in his home state.
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Mike Sydal & Zizou Middoux vs. C&C Wrestle Factory
Sydal & Middoux are kind of goofy, as evidenced by the handsome fan in the red shirt during their entrance. They are doing a party rocker gimmick that feels quite Indy. C&C are out next and KK thinks they may need just one more chance at the belts before they finally become champions. Sydal has some…interesting back tattoos. Coleman and Sydal kick us off here as the crowd rallies C&C to start. KK puts over Sydal’s athleticism. CC dominates the action and picks up a near fall before tagging Alexander in. Sydal staves off CA long enough to make a tag of his own. Middoux is from South Africa, but KK doesn’t tell us if he is related to Col. DeBeers at all. The fans fire up a “Justin Bieber” fan, and they aren’t wrong in this case. Sydal & Middoux trained in the ROH DoJo. The party boys turn the tide with some chicanery, leading to Sydal stomping away at CA on the floor. Sydal tags back in and starts to crank on the neck of CA before kicking him in the face for a two count. Sydal’s tattoo is just terrible. Middoux channels Dude Love with some jiving but it backfires as he comes up empty on a somersault legdrop. CA takes advantage, kicks off both party boys and tags in Coleman, who flies in with a dive off the top rope. CC snaps off three Northern Lights suplexes leading to a hot near fall. That was pretty cool. Coleman misses a dive to the corner and eats a jump kick from Middoux, who gets a two count. Both party boys get dumped to the floor, but Sydal is able to derail a CA dive with a knee to the face. C&C trip up Sydal on the apron, leading to him doing a straight hard split to the mat. Ouch. C&C is pumped and the crowd is with them as they look to wrap this puppy up. Middoux gets tossed back in and meets his fate via Overtime. That was a solid match and Middoux & Sydal definitely picked things up as the match went along. Sydal badly needs to change up his look though, because that shit ain’t going anywhere. Middoux’s Bieber Fever look has some legs though.
We are back and it is time to go Inside ROH with Kevin. He starts the rundown but he is interrupted by Steve Corino. Corino is delusional and wants to call the action but KK breaks the news to him that he is no longer employed. Corino is incredulous and wants to know what he did to deserve this. Good stuff as always from those two. KK talks about how the title became vacated and shows us the official tournament bracket. He also notes that Jay Briscoe will be on the shelf for a while after his beatdown at the hands of SCUM. KK also gets into the tag division, leading to a promo from C&C, who want one more shot at the gold. KK also announces that the American Wolves captured the tag team titles from Forever Hooliganz at a show in Toronto BUT the Wolves have since lost those titles. KK doesn’t tell us who the new champs are, but just uses this as an example to show how hot the division currently is. Back to the World Title, KK has an exclusive chat with Adam Cole, who is one of the entrants in the field. Cole talks about his friendship with Steve Corino but is adament that he had nothing to do with SCUM or Corino when it came to his ROH career. His focus is solely on the title and he battles Mark Briscoe next week.
We return to see Nigel in the ring with ROH ambassador Cary Silkin and ROH COO Joe Koff. Both men put over the importance of the World Title to both ROH and Sinclair Broadcasting. Koff officially kicks off the tournament and Nigel invites them to sit ringside for this match.
Sonjay Dutt vs. Jay Lethal
Dutt is making his return to ROH here tonight. His shoulder is taped up due to injury suffered in TNA. KK notes that there is a darkhorse in every tournament and Dutt could be that guy. Nigel joins KK in the booth as we take a break. These guys are pretty dead even with the Tale of the Tape, but as KK notes, Lethal has been involved in more big time matches. We start with a stalemate as they trade near falls and counters before slowing down and resetting the match. They spill outside briefly but once they head back inside, Dutt takes over and starts wearing Lethal down. KK thinks the knock on Dutt has always been a lack of focus, but thinks he is ready to put it all together. Lethal comes back with a cartwheel legdrop for two as we get a look at Silkin & Koff at ringside. Lethal has really slowed things down here as Nigel and KK talk about everyone filling out their brackets and picking favorites for the tournament. I love the hype and focus they are giving the brackets, which always helps make a tournament a much bigger deal. Lethal knocks Dutt to the floor and follows with a suicide dive as we hit our final break on the night. When we return, Dutt has rallied but Lethal stops him in his tracks with a spear to the gut. Dutt reverses out of a Tombstone and transitions it into a DDT. The fans liked that one. Nigel puts over Dutt’s finisher as the two trade blows. It feels like these fans want to explode here but aren’t fully being given the chance in this one. Both men end up on the top turnbuckle and Dutt takes Lethal off with a headscissors and transitions right into a standing moonsault for a near fall. Dutt seems to be at a loss for ideas and starts playing to the crowd, leading to a Lethal rollup. Dutt kicks out and turns Lethal inside out with a clothesline. Lethal dodges a moonsault but eats a superkick. He recovers and gets the Lethal Combination for a near fall. I thought that may have been it. The fans are hot behind Lethal now. Dutt is about out of gas as Lethal slams him and heads up top. Dutt has enough left to bounce up and avoid Lethal’s leap. He takes Lethal down but misses a dive off the top. Lethal goes for the Lethal Injection but Dutt dropkicks him before he can connect. Lethal rolls to the floor but Dutt dives out after him as this thing is finally picking up steam. Dutt gets a springboard splash for two. After a few more reversals by both, Lethal gets the Lethal Injection for the win. Jay Lethal advances to round two. He celebrates as KK wraps things up for us.
This was a solid episode of ROH, but definitely a step behind the previous two Providence episodes as it lacked that marquee match. The main event was good, but not great as Dutt clearly looked to be banged up and moving a bit slower than normal. Lethal did his best though and the finish was hot. I am a big tournament mark so I am loving all the focus on the brackets and hype for the quest for the gold and can’t wait to see it unfold. We will see you next week back in the Ocean State, until then…always take care and respect the code!