Earlier this week Jim Cornette himself mentioned that if you logged on a full 30 minutes early you could check to see that the stream was working and – yessir – it’s on! You might ask “hey Joe from Mississauga – why are you not at the actual event?” and the answer would be “none of your business wiseass!”. But – yes – it does seem maybe a little ironic that I’m anxiously awaiting the start of my first ROH iPPV experience when the event itself is happening a mere 25 miles from my house. 2 minutes to go and the 720p version of the stream is running just fine in full-screen mode (no choppiness – audio sounds fine – gettin’ excited!). Then the screen went dark – and I held my breath and… it worked! (yes!). Can you tell I’m rooting for this company?). The stream looks amazing.
COLEMAN & ALEXANDER VS. THE BRAVADO BROTHERS Code of honor is obeyed by all participants. Early advantage by the Bravado Brothers. Coleman and Alexander turn the tables pretty quick with their inventive tag moves. Bravados are kinda sorta wrestling as heels in this match. The Bravados have definitely improved since working for the NOAH organization. Bravados work over Alexander for some time. Lancelot applies a surfboard on Alexander. Coleman gets the hot tag and takes on both Bravados. Coleman’s a master of the bridging suplex and at one point does it to both Bravados at the same time (very cool spot). Alexander hits a plancha on the Bravados. Harlan Bravado hits a moonsault to the floor. Coleman flies to the outside as well. We go into a whole lot of near falls with both sides nailing their tandem finishers. Harlan takes Coleman’s head off with a Superkick. Another tandem finisher applied to Alexander but he kicks out. In the end Coleman and Alexander win it with a combination Frankensteiner/5-star Frog Splash. Solid curtain jerker. Winner – Coleman & Alexander
MIKE BENNETT VS MIKE MONDO Bennett and Maria get a standing ovation by the (Toronto) crowd. Mondo takes the early advantage and gets in a little ground and pound on the Prodigy. Mondo slides under the ring and then blindsides Bennett on the floor. These guys are doing a lot of work outside the ring. At one point Bennett spears Mondo (still outside the ring). Back in the ring Bennett continues to work over the former cheerleader. Bennett looks to be going for a Superplex but Mondo fights out but not enough as he’s then knocked to the floor. Mondo throws Bennett into the fan barricade. Bennett takes back the momentum inside the ring and applies a rest hold. Mondo easily powers out. Both men go for the high cross body block in the middle of the ring. Both men fight outside the ring again and Bennett even tries for a piledriver on the entrance ramp (Mondo backdrops his way out). Mondo tries to crotch Bennett on a fan barrier but the barrier falls over (d’oh!). Mondo climbs the light fixture and jumps off it to hit an axehandle (cool – I think I just saw Wai Ting!). Both men struggle to make it back into the ring and Maria starts to flirt aggressively with Mondo. Bennett hits his finisher for the win. After it seemed like Mondo couldn’t get up and the commentators threw to storyline footage to cover (more on this as the card progresses). Winner – Mike Bennett
WGTT VS TITUS & WHITMER Good to see B.J. Whitmer back in ROH. Haas and Benjamin attack their opponents as soon as they come through the curtain. WGTT go right to work on Whitmer who’s eventually saved by Titus. Whitmer takes out Haas on the floor with a tope. Titus covers Benjamin in the ring. Titus ends up taking on Benjamin in the ring and Haas on the apron at the same time but eventually loses the numbers game. Things get back to normal with all four men back in the ring. WGTT manage to cut the ring in half nicely – continuing to work over Rhett Titus. Has anyone else noticed that Shelton Benjamin just hasn’t aged at all in 10 years? (seriously – this guy looks and moves that same as he did a decade ago). Titus works in a brief hope spot but continues to sell for the heels. Benjamin goes for a top-rope move twice but is pushed down by Titus both times. Titus eventually hits a high cross body. Both men fight to a vertical base. Both men trade chops and punches. Both men go for a lariat and a double down ensues. Simultaneous hot tags are made. Whitmer hits Haas with multiple suplexes and everntuallly goes for the cover. Benjamin makes the save and is sent to the floor. Funny part follows this where Haas is all “F.U. I’m Charlie Haas” and Whitmer follows with “F.U. I’m B.J. Whitmer”. Haas hits a number of suplexes and then our stream froze for just a bit (a tiny bit). When everything cleared up the faces were in charge but not for long. Tandem finisher on B.J. Whitmer and it’s another Toronto win for WGTT! Winner(s) – WGTT We get a break in the action while Kelly and McGuinness talk about what went down last week between Jay Lethal and Kevin Steen (this was crazy – Cornette took a table bump in the catering area – it looked like a safe spot though). Seems like a lot of work to explain Cornette’s non-presence at tonight’s event (c’mon – everybody knows the dude has trouble getting into our country). Lethal cuts a promo regarding what happened in New Jersey.
DAVEY RICHARDS VS. JAY LETHAL Toronto loves Davey Richards (and with good reason – that Main Event at Border Wars was amazing – an incredible showing from both men). There’s a long feeling out process at the beginning of this match. They both work for holds and counters. Richards transitions from a pinning combination into a submission surfboard type move. Lethal reverses that and puts him in the same move. Stand off ensues. Another lockup. Lethal with a dropkick and a cover and then a flying shoulderblock into the corner. Richards applies a brutal submission that I cannot name. Richards drops a knee. Enzugiri out of nowhere by Lethal. Lethal and Richards start to trade forearms and chops. Lethal works a long headscissors spot in the center of the ring. Richards turns this into another brutal submission spot. Richards with a dropkick. Lethal rolls out to the floor. Richards hits his running soccer kick off the apron. If that wasn’t enough he sets up Lethal for the Ole! kick over the fan barricade. Back in the ring we get a snap suplex by Richards. Richards is really in control of the match at this point with Lethal selling for a good five minutes. Lethal turns the tide with Jericho’s old move where he dropkicks his opponent off the apron to the floor. Lethal follows with a tope. Lethal tries for an Ace Crusher on the apron. Richards tries for another soccer kick but misses. Lethal hits the Ace Crusher on the apron (damn!). Both men end up back in the ring trading blows. Lethal eventually hits the Lethal Combination and transitions into a submission (awesome!). Suplex/Superkick/Suplex combo by the American Wolf. More offense and a clever pinning combination by Lethal. Lethal climbs the ropes but Richards is right there to meet him. Looks like a Superplex spot. Both men trade blows and Richards starts to rain down headbutts on Lethal. Richards hits the Superplex and hangs on! Lethal rolls him up for a nearfall! Richards hits the Double Stomp from the top rope. Richards hits the Soccer Kick. Lethal with 2 consecutive Superkicks. Can’t tell if the crowd are chanting “Ring of Honor” or “This is awesome”. They end up in the Superplex position again and things get a little scary when Lethal slips out of position and teases powerbombing Richards to the floor. Richards ends up falling off the apron through a table. Lethal hits the Savage elbow. Lethal goes for an Ace Crusher but Richards avoids it and transitions into an Ankle Lock. A whole series of crazy reversals follows. Lethal hits the Ace Crusher. Richards still kicks out. Lethal locks on a submission for the win by knockout. Wow – now THAT was one hell of a match! Winner – Jay Lethal After the match Eddie Edwards checks up on his former American Wolves teammate. Lethal raises Richards’ hand in a show of respect.
INTERMISSION (yay!) Like every other sensible creature I went and grabbed a coffee. This intermission spot pretty much featured a rundown of all the events leading to tonight’s Main Event of Kevin Steen vs. Michael Elgin. As the intermission ends Kevin Kelly reminds us that this is the 2nd half and that there are 3 matches to go. He also mentions that Mike Mondo was taken to a nearby medical facility and that he may well have a broken ankle (which handily explains why he couldn’t get out of the ring on his own power after his match earlier in the night).
TADARIOUS THOMAS VS. RHYNO Strong comes out in his street clothes. He refuses to do this match with Thomas. He quits the House of Truth and walks away. Does this mean Thomas wins the match by default? Yep – the ref starts a 10 count after which the match is forfeit. But before the 10 count happens Truth Martini shows up with… Rhyno? Yep – Rhyno’s doin’ the match instead. Truth cuts a promo and the match is on! Rhyno’s lookin’ a little slimmer these days. Thomas actually owns Rhyno in the opening minutes. Rhyno takes things back with one hell of a neckbreaker. Martini comes back out from the back and Rhyno stops working over Thomas to tape up his own wrists. Rhyno sends Thomas to the floor and Truth takes some cheap shots. Rhyno sends Thomas hard into the fan barricade. Bear hug applied in the center of the ring by Rhyno. Cover by the Man Beast. Another bear hug applied. Both men trade offense and Thomas actually takes Rhyno down. Belly-to-belly by Rhyno. Rhyno prepares for the Gore but Truth interferes. Rhyno goes for the Gore again but this time Thomas evades it and manages to roll up the Man Beast for the upset win. After the match Rhyno press slams Martini out to the floor. Winner – Tadarious Thomas
ADAM COLE VS. EDDIE EDWARDS TV CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH I gotta admit that – personally – I began to like Edwards a whole lot more after he appeared on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling (he talked about being so into oldschool metal band Savatage that he named one of his early tag teams after the band). These two are friends and with your typical ‘face vs. ‘face matches there’s a whole lot of science in the early going with holds and counters (haven’t seen the Test of Strength spot in awhile – that’s kinda cool). This is – so far – my favourite match of the night (these guys are totally going for the old Eddy Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko dynamic here – even going so far as to have the classic standoff 5 minutes in). McGuiness and Kelly are all over the positive aspects of this match (and rightfully so). Edwards goes for a tope but Cole connects with a kick. Edwards does hit his tope on the 2nd attempt. The challenger rolls the champ into the ring and hits a low dropkick and a cover. Rest hold applied by the challenger. Cole hits a low dropkick and follows with some kicks. Edwards reverses things and chops Cole. The 2 start to trade forearm shots. Cole attempts to suplex Edwards out to the floor but Edwards slips out. Cole hits an enziguri. Cole then hits a jumping DDT off the apron to the floor (scariest spot of the night). Cole goes to the top rope and hits a 5-star splash for a nearfall. Cole hits his GTS neckbreaker for another nearfall. Cole goes to the top rope again and Edwards catches him. Edwards follows with the Super Atomic Ass Smasher (alright – I don’t actually know what the move is called). Edwards hits the Double Stomp off the top rope for a nearfall. Not wasting a moment – Edwards applies an Achilles lock. Cole tries to kick his way out and eventually does so. Cole transitions through a wheelbarrow into a Figure 4. Cole sets up Edwards for a Superplex. Edwards gets him into the Fireman’s Carry but then both men fall down to the floor. Bicycle Kick by Edwards. Superkick by Cole. GTS neckbreaker by Cole. Cole picks up the win with his Florida Key bridging suplex.
Winner – Adam Cole
BRISCOE BROTHERS VS. CORINO & JACOBS
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Toronto loves the Briscoes! (the place went CRAZY for their match at Border Wars) This is all brawling in the early going with all the action taking place outside the ring. At one point one of the Briscoes hiked up his shorts but no one (not even the commentators) knew what that was supposed to mean. Mark hits the first wrestling move of the match by hitting Corino with a suplex. Corino hits a reverse flying armbar. Mark lands on his feet on a backdrop by Corino and Jacobs and then tags in Jay. Mark goes for his crowd-pleasing rope-walking move but Corino hits him with a roll of quarters. Mark is still out a minute later and it’s Jay taking a 2-on-1 beating. Jay turns the tide with a clever move that sends Corino face first into the 2nd buckle. Jay makes the hot tag and Mark comes to life – taking the barnyard kung fu to the tag champs. Now the Briscoes realize the 2-on-1 advantage. Both Briscoes are amazing but Mark is clearly the star of this match. All four men struggle to a vertical base and a slugfest ensues in the middle of the ring. Jacobs hits Sliced Bread on Jay for a nearfall. Mark hits Corino with a Death Valley Driver outside the ring. Jay hits a top rope elbow on Jacobs for a near fall. The Briscoes are about to hit the Doomsday Device on Jacobs but Corino lowblows Jay out of the referee’s sightline and Jabobs rolls through for the tainted win.
Winner(s) – Corino & Jacobs
ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
MICHAEL ELGIN VS. KEVIN STEENI’ve been told that this is the first time ever that a ROH ppv has been headlined by 2 Canadians. Steen offers his hand and Elgin refuses – shoving the champ instead. Prior to the match Steen cut a promo outlining that the Package Piledriver is once again legal. Elgin hits a Black Hole Slam early in the match. It’s all brawling and it’s all Elgin in the early going. Steen chokes out Elgin with a Canadian flag. Elgin returns the favour. Belly-to-belly suplex and a cover by Elgin. Elgin does the delayed suplex spot (definitely a crowd pleaser). Elgin rocks Steen with multiple clotheslines in the corner and then a Flying Battering Ram from the top rope. Elgin continues to work over Steen in the corner. Elgin shoulderblocks Steen from the apron but Steen then managed a draping DDT. Steen powerbombs Elgin on the apron. Steen hits a Frog Splash to the floor (damn!). Cover by the champ. Steen slowly works over the challenger but Elgin starts to no-sell. Belly-to-back suplex by the champ. Senton by the champ and a cover. Steen tries for an F-cinq but doesn’t get it. Enzugiri outta nowhere by Elgin. Both men start trading forearm shots. Elgin telegraphs a backdrop and pays the price. Elgin misses a dropkick. Elgin hits a great move from the top rope (I wish I could tell you what it’s called but it was awesome). Elgin hits Sheamus’ White Noise for a nearfall. Steen hits Elgin with the forward rolling crack smash (shades of Mick Foley). Elgin tries for a corkscrew off the top rope but Steen gets his knees up! Undaunted – Elgin follows up with a forward rolling plancha to the floor. Elgin grabs Roderick Strong from the front row and tosses him into the backstage area. Elgin teases powerbombing Steen on the entrance ramp. Elgin hits the corkscrew for another nearfall. Steen pulls out a Sharpshooter out of nowhere. Elgin escapes and applies a Cross Face in the center of the ring! Steen makes it to the ropes. Champ and challenger end up trading forearms on the apron. Steen locks on a sleeper with Elgin breaks by putting them both through a table. Both men barely make it back into the ring in time to break the count. This time I’m sure the crowd is actually chanting “This is awesome!”. Both men struggle to their feet. Steen hits a powerbomb for a nearfall. Steen stalks his opponent and works for the Package Piledriver but then switches it up and goes for the F-cinq but Elgin slips out and applies a Cross Face! Steen turns this into a pinning combination and Elgin kicks out. Elgin hits 10 consecutive knee lifts and a stiff lariat for another nearfall (this match is insane!). Elgin powerbombs Steen into the 2nd turnbuckle but Steen explodes out of the corner with a lariat. Double down situation ensues. Roundhouse forearm by Elgin. F-cinq by the champ! Cover by the champ. Cross Face by Elgin! Steen reaches the ropes. Steen hits an awesome suplex and follows up with the Package Piledriver! Steen shoves the ref and it almost costs him the match as Elgin rolls him up. Steen hits that old crack smash move again only this time Elgin holds onto him. Elgin powerbombs the champ into the 2nd buckle and then follows up with his spinning powerbomb. The 2 men go into Superplex territory. Steen looks like he’s biting the challenger. Suddenly Steen works Elgin into position for the Package Piledriver and hits it from the top rope. Winner (and still champion) – Kevin Steen After the match Roderick Strong attacks a fallen Michael Elgin. In the midst of that someone delivered a package to commentator Nigel McGuinness. McGuinness hands the parcel to Steen who slowly opens it and finds …the mask of El Generico! Excellent iPPV – no technical glitches, solid matches – a joy to watch (fingers crossed this is a sign of things to come!)