Show opens with hype for the main event. Kevin Kelly confirms that Steen has been added to team ROH for Steel Cage Warefare in 2-weeks. Steve Corino explains that he is royally pissed about the situation. With that set it's time for the opening contest.
Grudge Match: "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa VS "God's Gift" QT Marshall
Story here of course is that RD Evans stabbed Ciampa in the back and made QT his new client after Ciampa was injured in a match with Jay Lethal last August. A side note on Ciampa, Someone asked me to explain what quality made him stand out from the rest of the roster as a star, and the answer is intensity. Brace yourselves because some MAJOR hyperbole is coming soon: Ciampa's intensity is, dare I say it, Austin-esq. I'm not saying something absurd like Tomaso Ciampa's the next Austin (I don't even know that there WILL be a "Next Austin") but when he gets into the zone he exudes the same sense of danger Stone Cold did in '97. No code of honor as Ciampa just flips QT off, much to the crowds approval. QT dives for Ciampa's bad knee but he just jams his GOOD knee into Marshall's face to score a 2.999 count. I really thought that was the finish for 2.999 seconds. Marshall rolls outside and Ciampa gives chase. Marshall gets speared right through the barricade. Ciampa whips QT off the turnbuckle and onto another section of barricade. Ciampa starts hitting QT with incredibly stiff overhand chops and then smacks him around with an even stiffer slap. Everyone's favorite psychopath beats Marshall back into the ring and gets into position to deliver his trademark running knees in the corner. He gets one, but RD Evans involves himself to stop Ciampa's onslaught. Ciampa doesn't appreciate the barrister's concern for his client and pulls him into the ring. He sits Evans in the corner and wants to give HIM running knees but Marshall clips him with a clothesline on his way by to score his first offensive move of the contest. Marshall tries to give Ciampa a Kryptonite Krunch off the top rope, but he fights out. QT has to settle for simply drop kicking him off the turnbuckle instead. Tomaso falls back and his Knee is hung on the top rope. The ref unties Ciampa and he falls to the apron, clutching his knee and writhing in pain. Marshall starts the beat down as we fade to commercial.
When we come back both guys are on the floor and the concrete floor has been reveled. Well fuck that was an eventful commercial break. Back in the ring Ciampa tries fighting back with his infinitely superior skills, but he cant overcome his re-injured knee. QT pushes Tommaso into the corner then gives him a kneebreaker. Marshall's offense stays simple but effective with a diving tackle to the knee. This is brilliant booking to someone's strengths, Marshall's overly simple (boring) offense actually works to tell the story of the match. Marshall takes Ciampa outside and sets up a chair. He drops his knee over the chair with a bodyslam. Back in and it's a 2-count for God's Gift. QT puts on the Indian Deathlock and somewhere Triple H started MARKING THE FUCK OUT!!! Ciampa bites Marshall's face to get loose. They trade forearms in the middle of the ring with Ciampa getting the upper hand by continuing to stiff the shit our of QT Marshall. It's for not however as QT shows his heart and kicks Ciampa's leg right out of his leg. Marshall runs the ropes but Ciampa fights up to deliver a clothesline and a back body drop, but he can't capitalize because his knee gives out. QT leans on the ropes to get up, and Ciampa hops over on one leg to Marshall, jumps on that one leg, then Knees him in the face with that same leg to send QT over the top and on to the apron! Ciampa wants the Kryptonite Crunch on the apron, but QT escapes and puts Ciampa on the top rope. Ciampa wants none of what QT is selling and launches him down to the floor back first on the exposed concrete. Marshall gets up only to find an uncharacteristic FLYING CIAMPA which wipes him out. Ciampa further injures his knee on the move. Back from the dead Prince Nana appears in the aisleway! Evans rolls his man back in at 15 and wants Ciampa to be counted out from his own dive. Match continues with him just barely rolling in at 19. Ciampa is clearly hurt as QT just keeps beating him down. Ciampa flips the bird and Marshall gets pissed, stomping Ciampa down then stopping to gloat with his own middle finger. Big mistake, Ciampa forces himself up and finally hits the Krypotonite Krunch--It only gets 2. Project Ciampa looks to finish, but RD Evans runs in again. Tommaso looks for project Ciampa on the barrister instead but he slips out and runs for the back...where he comes face to face with the man he stole the embassy from in the first place. Evans does what every dumb shit cowardly heel does in this situation and runs right back into the ring for Project Ciampa. Marshall pounces immediately and rolls Ciampa up for a near fall, then locks on the stretch muffler (Knee bar). After a tense few moments Ciampa cradles into a small package for 2. As QT was standing up from the kickout Ciampa puts him back unto his knees with yet another knee strike to the face. Marshall is out when Ciampa signals for the end, pulling the pad on his bad knee down and smashing his knee brace into Marshall's face for the 3-count. *** Without a doubt the best match of Marshall's ROH career and an awesome performance by Ciampa. They actually convinced me Marshall might win towards the end, which is completely on Ciampa's selling the knee. This match really illustrated why Ciampa reminds me of '97 Austin, A bad ass determinater who won't stop fighting till you kill him, If ROH keeps booking him like this, he might just end up the most over guy in the company.
Inside ROH tells us nothing we don't already know, airing the same hype for Steel Cage Warfare and Matt Hardy's title shot for those who missed last week.
"The Prodigy Mike Bennett VS Nick Merriman
ROH debut for Merriman. The code of honor is adhered to, but Bennett pulls Merriman in for the Box Office Smash on the handshake. Bennett picks the kid back up and hits a TKO for the 3-count in what I believe is the shortest match in ROH TV history. I'm not rating this since it was just set up for Bennett's promo.
Bennett references the rumors of him leaving for greener pastures asking the crowd "Should I stay, or Should I go?" He asks if he should "collect a paycheck in Connecticut". He has Brutal Bob present an ROH contract and reminds the crowd that they need him more then he needs them. ROH fans wouldn't know a star if it bit them on the ass--they boo a man like him but cheer for a guy like Cheeseburger. (the fact the guy is still called that with Charlie Hass out of the company is astounding, almost as astounding as the fact that it somehow got over and this 110-pound kid is getting some of the best reactions at the live events) He calls Cheeseburger into the ring and gives him the contract, telling him he should be the next ROH star. Cheeseburger starts reading it, when Bennett super-kicks him in the face! Bennett should never ever use the super-kick, he looks as awkward as HHH looks when he tries to hit SCM in tribute to HBK. Bennett starts the hellish beat-down of evil when Brutal Bob pulls him off! Bob tries telling his student to control himself but gets a Box Office Smash for his trouble. Bennett announces that he is no longer Bob's prodigy...the prodigy is dead. As he leaves Corino claims to see what the offer on the contract is. "Kevin Kelly, It's like if we added what you are paid and I'm paid together, then multiplied that by two-and we're not even close. That was almost Matt Hardy Money!!!"
This was good, for whatever reason people like chanting cheeseburger, and Bob got a huge babyface reaction for saving him. If this is leading where I think it is, with Bob wanting to teach his former student a lesson in humility by training the underdog lightweight to overcome him then I'm all in favor of this. It's a story that's as old as dirt, but it's one of those timeless tales that will always pop the crowd when the arrogant prick gets his comeuppance.
Jay Briscoe is out to address Matt Hardy. He confirms that he's not to injured to wrestle "next week" and that if Matt wants the belt, he'll have to pry it from Jay's cold, dead hands. He says he'll do his talking in the ring and that's all he has to say and walks out. This didn't serve that much of a purpose but it was super short and inoffensive.
ROH Tag Team Titles: C&C Wrestle Factory VS reDRagon (c)
Kelly explains that the capitalization of the DR is an obvious shot at Davey Richards. Bullshit that's obvious, I thought it was just some hipster "we liked capitals in the middle of words before it was cool" nonsense to go with the characters they've got going. I actually like the reasoning I just don't know how they expected anyone to actually pick up on that without being told! Kyle O'Reilly and Cedric Alexander in to Start. Some chain wrestling Alexander getting the advantage. Cedric and Caprice bounce O'Reilly back and forth with inverted atomic drops and punches. Tag to Coleman. O'Reilly creates some space and tags in Fish,but he has no more luck then his partner and suffers a hip toss and a pair of bionic elbows. there's a racist joke about stealing from the American dream in there somewhere. Leaping leg drop from Coleman misses, but so does Fish's counter kick so Coleman gets an O'Connor roll for 2. Coleman hits a Fame-Ass-er for 2, then tags in Cedric Alexander who comes in with a senton. Alexander throws forearms and slams Fish down. O'Reilly tries to dive in with an Axe Handle but gets hit in the midsection on the way down as the champs just can't get anything going. reDRagon attempts a double suplex but Coleman catches his partner and sets him down softly. What an awesomely simple counter. Double dropkick puts Fish in the corner and O'Reilly on the floor. Coleman scores a running back elbow on Fish and uses the momentum to flip right over the top rope and land a moonsault on O'Reilly. Real cool spot. Fish is sent to the outside by Alexander and Caprice makes a TERRIBLE attempts to 619 off the turnbuckle and hit Fish. fortunately for Coleman, even though his feet don't come close to hitting Fish, the force of the air sends him flying back into the barricade! Alexander wipes out both his opponents with a suicide dive and we take a break
Back with the American Wolves out to watch and C&C beating Fish down in their corner. It's rare you see the heels ineptly struggling to make tags. Fish rakes the eyes and tags in Kyle O'Reilly, who runs right into a back body drop from Coleman. Bodyslam and leaping legdrop get a 2 count for Coleman. Tag in Cedric, and they double Irish-whip O'Reilly into the corner. Caprice scores charging in, then clotheslines Fish right off the apron. Cedric gets nothing but boot when he charges in O'Reilly back body drops Caprice to the floor. O'Reilly ties Alexander up and Bobby Fish sweeps his leg from the outside to give the champions control for the first time in the match, Fish forces Coleman onto a chair against the corner of the barricade, and then O'Reilly runs full tilt down the apron to missile dropkick him at max velocity. Fish heads in to deal with Alexander but he's put back out on the floor. Dive by Alexander misses but he lands on his feet, he ducks Fish's clothesline but gets hit by O'Reilly's. Corino provokes the Wolves into coming down the ramp and Richards grabs a hold of him. Titus and Compton come out and the brawl is on outside the ring. Adrenaline Rush run out and join the brawl shortly thereafter. Way to much going on to follow it all. Back in the ring O'Reilly locks a cross-arm breaker on Alexander, when Coleman re-enters the match out of nowhere, using his mastery over the wind to fly through the air and connect a diving headbutt on O'Reilly. Fish comes in hits a Falcon Arrow on Coleman, then he takes turns with O'Reilly hitting a variety of strikes on Alexander. Fish gets a back suplex and O'Reilly makes the cover. Cedric slides away and gives Caprice the hot tag. He takes out O'Reilly and boots Fish into a Cedric Alexander enzugiri. Fish up in fireman's carry position; Cedric double stomps on the back of his head then lays down with his knees up so Coleman can drop Fish on them. O'Reilly breaks the pin up at 2. Fish is sent over the top into the massive brawl outside which now includes six wrestlers and 6-12 security guys. Alexander dives to take out the entire damn crowd EXCEPT Fish who snuck out through the brawl. Back in the ring Caprice is setting up the super hurricanranna, but Fish jumps up and holds O'Reilly down to block the move. Kyle leaps to land a tornado DDT, rolls through into brainbuster position, and Chasing the Dragon gets a three count and the titles are retained. The brawl outside spills into the ring now and we go off the air to chaos. **1/2 Good match, but nothing we haven't seen from the Perennial challengers in C&C either.
Great show this week, 2 good matches and a nice angle for Bennett make it a thumbs up show. Keep your eye on Tommaso Ciampa--whatever "it": is, he's got it.
ROH has announced the Brackets for their World Title Tournament.
I've included my predictions for fun
Adam Cole(W) vs Mark Briscoe
Jay Lethal (W) vs Sonjay Dutt
Karl Anderson (W) vs ACH
Tommaso Ciampa (W) vs Silas Young/Adam Page
Michael Bennett (W) vs BJ Whitmer
Kevin Steen (W) vs Brian Kendrick
Michael Elgin (W) vs Paul London
Roderick Strong vs Matt Taven (W)
Adam Cole (W) vs Jay Lethal
Tommaso Ciampa (W) vs Michael Bennett
Karl Anderson vs Michael Elgin (W)
Matt Taven vs Kevin Steen (W)
Adam Cole (W) vs Tommaso Ciampa
Michael Elgin (W) vs Kevin Steen
Adam Cole vs Michael Elgin (W)
Discuss your thoughts on the tournament match-ups in the comments below