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Ring of Honor - Sep 7, 2013

by SamoaRowe

-From Toronto, Ontario. Our hosts are Nigel McGuinness and Kevin Kelly.

ROH Championship Tournament - First Round
Silas Young vs. Tommaso Ciampa

They kick things off with an epic lock-up that spills to ringside. Back to the ring, Young reverses a chinlock with a suplex. Ciampa absorbs some clubbing offense and nails a big boot for 2. Ciampa goes after the face but Young manages to ambush him from behind. Commercial time! After the break, they’re jockeying for position on the apron. Young suplexes Ciampa to the floor in sickening fashion! They crawl into the ring and trade head butts. Dragon Suplex by Ciampa only gets 2! Young drop-kicks the knee and delivers a backbreaker for a near fall. After an exchange of counters, Young dives into a botched power slam counter. Ciampa absorbs a combination of moves and nails Project Ciampa for the win at 9:03 (shown). This had some great moments, but was also sloppy at times and it was an uphill battle to keep the fans interested, **½.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa

ROH Championship Tournament - First Round
Michael Bennett (with Maria Kanellis) vs. BJ Whitmer

Bennett attempts a sneak attack and eats an exploder suplex. Whitmer follows up with a slick suicide dive. Whitmer delivers a suplex on the floor and brings the fight back to the ring. Bennett comes back with a drop toe hold into the ropes, setting up a drop-kick from the floor. Cue the commercial. After the break, Whitmer desperately hits a belly to back suplex. Bennett bounces back with a spinebuster for 2. They trade punches and both go down after double clothesline attempts. Maria tosses her spiked heel shoe into the ring for Bennett to use, but Nigel McGuinness and the referee foil the scheme. Nigel makes it his personal responsibility to carry Maria out. Whitmer catches a distracted Bennett with a dive. Whitmer unloads a series of finishers but can’t get the pinfall. Bennett cuts Whitmer off with a TKO. BJ delivers a second cradled suplex for only 2. Bennett delivers a piledriver on the ring apron! Whitmer is hurt and the match is called off at 8:40 (shown). I honestly thought Whitmer’s injury happened at a DVD taping, so I wasn’t bracing myself for that spot. The scary and potentially tragic result of this match ruins what was previously a solid outing.
Winner: Mike Bennett

ROH Championship Tournament - First Round
Paul London vs. Michael Elgin

They feel each other out, with London using his speed to match Elgin’s power. London outmaneuvers Elgin, connecting with quick drop-kicks. They keep nearly botching counters, but Elgin’s power slam is impressive. Elgin hoists London for a delayed vertical suplex. Commercial time! After the break, they’re battling on the apron (which might not be a great idea due to the Whitmer incident earlier). London wipes Elgin out with a hurricanrana to “Please don’t die” chants. They trade counters in the ring until London nails a standing Shooting Star Press. Bicycle kick by Elgin and a well earned Black Hole Slam. Dead lift German suplex by Elgin! Double stomp by London, who then exhausts Elgin in a slug-fest. After an awkward exchange, London delivers a dive to the floor. Flying double stomp by London only gets 2. Elgin counters a springboard with a drop-kick! Dead lift superplex by Elgin but London kicks out! Buckle bomb by Elgin, but London comes back with a reverse hurricanrana. Shooting Star Press by London but Elgin kicks out! Sit-out power bomb off the ropes by Elgin! The Buckle Bomb and Spinning Sitout Powerbomb finally ends it at 17:20 (shown). This was all moves with very little storytelling to sink my teeth into. I might have finally “outgrown” this style, as I would have adored this match 10 years ago. Now, I think it’s merely a *** effort due to the hard work, but interchangeable with most ROH main events.
Winner: Michael Elgin

Final Thoughts: A couple of not-very-over midcarders had a solid match, BJ Whitmer’s career likely ended, and an ROH legend had a forced main event with the current hot act. That’s not an overly inspiring list of ingredients for an enjoyable television show. I expect most ROH fans will love the Elgin/London match, I just couldn’t get into it (and this is coming from a long-time Paul London mark). There are some big improvements to this show in that the “Inside ROH” segment is gone and a renewed investment in big matches, but ROH is still in a creative rut and I don’t see that changing any time soon. It breaks my heart to have to say Thumbs Down.

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