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Ring of Honor: Supercard of Honor IX

by Samoa Rowe

Samoa Joe

March 27th, 2015

-From Redwood City, CA. ROH was forced to run their annual Supercard of Honor event outside the San Jose/Santa Clara city limits because WWE is sick of independent groups latching on to their Wrestlemania weekend festivities and blocked them from running too close to Levi Stadium. Wrestlecon was only able to be held in San Jose because they found the one hotel that wasn’t beholden to the shut-out agreement. I doubt ROH or WWN running in the area of ‘Mania weekend loses WWE a dime, if anything it makes the wrestling weekend vacation seem more enticing, and it looks petty of a massive, public company to act threatened at all by the little guys. Anyhow, our hosts for the evening are Kevin Kelly and Adam Cole.

ACH vs. Mark Briscoe

They wrestle to a stalemate, but Briscoe gets annoyed by ACH’s showboating and turns up the aggression. ACH keeps up with a series of drop-kicks. They seem to reach a second stalemate, but Mark catches ACH off-guard with a big boot. Mark establishes his dominance with a power bomb counter. They earn some jeers by botching a clothesline over the ropes. ACH counters Mark’s dive with a leaping kick. ACH sprints around the ring for his Spider-man swing around the ring post to knock Briscoe down. A flying neck breaker by ACH earns the first near fall and he drops a leg for another. Mark breaks a chinlock and fires away with REDNECK KUNG FU! ACH kicks out after an exploder suplex and isn’t impressed by Mark’s crane stance. Mark plants ACH on the floor to set up a Cactus Jack-style elbow drop. ACH comes back with a stunner and German suplex for 2. After a series of pin predicament counters, ACH catches Mark with a roll-up for the win at 11:16. This was just about everything you’d want from an opener, featuring lively action that sets the tone but didn’t wear out the fans, ***.
Winner: ACH

Michael Elgin vs. Frankie Kazarian

Elgin wastes no time hitting hard shots. Kazarian hangs in there with his speed advantage, hitting a leg drop on the apron. Elgin counters a springboard DDT and delivers a neck breaker into the ropes. Elgin tricks the referee into taking the ring bell from him and missing him using a chair to further injure Kazarian’s neck. Kazarian desperately hits an overhead belly to belly suplex and sells his neck through a comeback. Kazarian absorbs a neck snap on the ropes and finally hits the tornado DDT. Elgin nails a somersault leg drop onto the hurt neck. Kazarian counters with an interesting arm breaker variation Elgin goes after the neck again, hitting a dead lift German suplex. Kazarian’s hope spots keep getting cut off, but he super kicks Elgin on the top rope and nails a slingshot cutter for 2. A top rope Elgin Bomb only gets 2, and that should have been the finish. A spinning back fist and sit-out power bomb is enough for the 3 count at 10:53. I would have reversed those last two spots. This was pretty indie-riffic, despite the attempt at psychology with the neck injury, **½.
Winner: Michael Elgin

-Christopher Daniels comes to check on his buddy, Kazarian, and finds himself the victim of an Elgin beat down.

Six Man Mayhem:
Andrew Everett vs. Moose (with Veda Scott and Stokely Hathaway) vs. Caprice Coleman vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Matt Sydal

I can’t help but be annoyed when the commentators refer to Alexander as a “newcomer.” He’s been in ROH for something like 4 years, but the booking has kept him treading water. We’re eternally supposed to be impressed by how well he loses and we must know he’s on the verge of a breakthrough. Anyways, bell rings, and this will be hard to recap. Sydal and Everett exchange holds, but I’m distracted by Sydal’s cool new beard. They punish me for that comment by sprinting to a spectacular stalemate. Alexander and Moose square off next, and Moose moves pretty well for a big, green guy and nails a drop-kick. Ciampa and Coleman tag themselves in and Coleman’s “one inch punch” has a delayed effect on Ciampa, who acts like he’s having a heart attack. Coleman and Alexander have a brief reunion to clear the ring, before Cedric turns on his former partner. Meanwhile, Moose fails to catch Everett on a dive but manages to power bomb him into the ropes. Cue the diving portion of the match, which pops the fans every time. Ciampa has a great hot streak, nearly pinning Everett with Project Ciampa. Sydal overwhelms Ciampa, hitting a standing moonsault for 2. Sydal’s hot streak ends when Moose tosses him over the ropes onto Ciampa. Moose destroys Everett with a lariat, but walks into Coleman’s flying leg drop. Cedric places Ciampa in a precarious position on the ropes and drop-kicks the head through his legs. The match completely breaks down and bodies go flying until Sydal finishes Everett with a Shooting Star Press at 10:17! Aside from one unfortunate botch by Moose, this was the type of fun spot-fest that elevates everyone involved, ***.
Winner: Matt Sydal

-The fans chant “That was awesome” after the match as most of the participants congratulate each other. Veda Scott orders Moose not to shake any hands, while Cedric Alexander refuses to shake hands with Coleman. I like this, it opens up possibilities for future match-ups.

No Disqualifications:
BJ Whitmer (with Colby Corino) vs. Jimmy Jacobs

This is Jimmy Jacobs’ final match in ROH before leaving for WWE Creative. Whitmer is a fitting last opponent, as he and Jacobs had an incredible feud in 2006-2007, that culminated in my MOTY at Supercard of Honor II. They shake hands and embrace before immediately trading punches. They both tumble over the ropes in a suplex spot, which is a nod to their previous feud. I cringe as Jacobs drives Whitmer into a fan-held chair. They duel chairs in the ring and Whitmer comes out on top, delivering a backbreaker. BJ earns his heat, whipping Jimmy into a bridged chair. Jacobs pops back with a spear. Jacobs continues to roll with a drop toe hold into a chair. BJ blocks the Contra Code, but Jacobs nails an Ace crusher onto the chair. Meanwhile, Adam Cole loses his patience with Kevin Kelly, and leaves commentary. The match continues to rule as Whitmer nails a combination of suplexes for 2. Jimmy rebounds with the Contra Code for only 2. Jimmy finds a table buried under streamers and sets it up in the ring. They tease table spots until Jacobs hits a back senton that fails to break the table. Cue the unnecessary “You f*cked up” chant. Jimmy positions the partially broken table against the ring apron and heads to the top rope for a flying elbow! That sure showed the obnoxious “fans” in attendance. BJ powers out of the End Times for a Brainbuster. A second Brainbuster through a chair isn’t enough for 3. Jacobs counters with a top rope backdrop, but Whitmer crotches him on an exposed turnbuckle. After teasing a power bomb into the crowd (another homage) Jimmy counters with a Contra Code for another two count! BJ sizes up the situation and nails an exploder suplex onto a pair of standing chairs for the win at 15:42. This was a fitting end to Jacobs’ ROH career and rewarded the longtime fans in the process, ***¾.
Winner: Jimmy Jacobs

-BJ Whitmer refuses to shake Jimmy’s hand, saying he only shakes hands with people who belong in ROH. Whitmer strolls from the ring as Colby Corino attacks Jimmy from behind. Lacey (!!!) runs in for the save and tosses Corino from the ring. Between this and EVOLVE, Lacey had a busy Wrestlemania weekend. Jimmy and Lacey embrace to a nice pop, while the “Ballad of Lacey” plays. This was a great moment that makes me happy to have ordered this show. Anything else this show has to offer is just gravy.

Christopher Daniels vs. Roderick Strong

They shake hands like old friends having a get-together and lock up in sportsmanlike fashion. They quicken the pace and the new sense of urgency leads to Strong throwing chops. I’d completely forgotten about Daniels’ back injury from earlier until Kevin Kelly mentions it and Daniels starts selling right on cue. Daniels misses a split legged moonsault to the floor and Strong capitalizes with a backbreaker onto the ring frame. Roderick goes to work on the back to gain the advantage. Daniels punches his way back and desperately nails an STO. A back suplex and power bomb isn’t enough to put Strong away. Daniels drives Strong off the top rope for another near fall. Strong comes back with an Olympic Slam for 2. A backbreaker allows Strong to set Daniels up for a superplex! Daniels recovers for a Uranage, but BME misses. Roderick applies the Strong Hold, but it’s reversed into a roll-up. Sick Kick by Strong only gets 2. Gut-buster and a double knee backbreaker allows Strong to reapply the Strong Hold for the win at 12:48. A refreshingly no-nonsense, straight forward wrestling match between two old favorites, ***¼.
Winner: Roderick Strong

-Strong and Daniels share a second handshake, as there’s no hard feelings.

ROH Tag Team Championship:
reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, with Filthy Tom Lawler) © vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett, with Maria Kanellis)

The Kingdom are coming off a big victory over the Briscoes, so they’re a convincing threat to the internet darling team of reDRagon. I have no idea who Lawler is, but I’m told he’s an apparently semi-notorious MMA fighter. Both teams shake hands, though Fish tells The Kingdom he’s got something else they can shake. An even start leads to O’Reilly nearly finishing Bennett with a cross arm breaker at the 90 second mark. Bennett thinks his punches count as “Strong Style” so O’Reilly freaks him out with stiff chest kicks. Fish and Taven square off and once again the match almost ends suddenly with a Fish arm breaker. Taven gets caught in reDRagon territory and gets his arm worked over. Bennett gets involved and reDRagon knock him off the apron for a hard landing. Bennett retaliates with a spear on the apron, allowing Taven escape his isolation and turn the match around in The Kingdom’s favor. O’Reilly becomes the face in peril and takes a beating. O’Reilly makes a one-man comeback, but Fish gets pulled off the apron to prevent a tag. O’Reilly tricks The Kingdom into clothes lining each other, and Fish gets the hot tag. The champions double team Taven with a guillotine leg drop. Fish wipes out Taven on the floor, leaving Bennett to get murdered with a moonsault onto the head. The Kingdom get caught in simultaneous submissions, prompting Maria to leap on the apron. Filthy Tom carries Maria out on his shoulders. With all distractions gone, the match breaks down with the four men trading finishers and making saves, including The Kingdom hitting a nifty backpack chin breaker into a bicycle kick. The Kingdom miscalculate a dive, allowing O’Reilly to destroy his own knee with a running knee strike off the apron. Fish goes it alone from here, but a hooded man in red face paint runs in. This is a KRD member, or so I’m told, and the interference backfires. Fish manages to plant Bennett for the win at 17:42. This was developing into a great match until O’Reilly’s apparently legitimate injury derailed the action, ***½.
Winners and still ROH Tag Team Champions: reDRagon

-Jushin Liger gets one of ROH’s lame attempts at a Titantron video like Samoa Joe has. Again, don’t do entrance videos unless you can make it look professional. Adam Cole rejoins commentary around this time and reminds us that he beat Liger the last time he was in ROH.

ROH Television Championship:
Jay Lethal © vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger

A victory here will put Lethal’s TV title reign over the one year mark, having won the title at SCOH8 last year. Liger takes Lethal to school in the feeling out period, prompting Lethal to turn up the aggression. Lethal takes a time out after avoiding a palm strike. Lethal misses a cross body and gets caught in a surfboard stretch (love that hold). Lethal misses the cartwheel drop-kick, allowing Liger to continue his submission game. Lethal finally gains an advantage when he drives Liger back-first into the barricade. Lethal works over random body parts for a while. Lethal blows his nose on Liger but misses the Hail to the King elbow drop. Liger desperately hits a rolling kick, leading to a slugfest. Liger avoids the Lethal Injection and nails a palm strike. Top rope rana by Liger connects for a 2 count. Lethal counters a frog splash and delivers the Lethal Combination for 2. Liger blocks a suicide dive and hits a Brainbuster on the floor. They avoid a double count-out, but Lethal nearly pins Ligher by grabbing the ropes. Lethal misses a belt shot but manages to hit the Lethal Injection for the win at 15:00. There is still novelty and prestige in bringing Liger in for a showcase match, but at age 50 you’re going to get solid outings rather than MOTYC’s. This was a perfectly enjoyable *** match in its own right.
Winner and still ROH Television Champion: Jay Lethal

-Lethal tells the camera that as long as he holds the ROH TV title, it’s the number one belt in ROH. If this is leading to Lethal vs. Briscoe in an eventual title vs. title match, then this is brilliant. Meanwhile, the fans chant “Thank you, Liger” and boo Lethal for a handshake.

ROH World Championship:
Jay Briscoe © vs. Samoa Joe

Joe’s goofy Titantron has been cut, thus validating my complaining from before. Joe enters to a hero’s welcome, and Jay earns a mixed reaction. It’s funny to think back to when Joe was the champion and Jay was an underdog challenger, all the way back around 2004. Now, Jay has morphed into one of the most credible ROH champions of all time. Sunrise, sunset, amiright? This is the first time Joe has challenged for the ROH title since Homicide was the champion in 2007, so this is a rather historic outing.

A short feeling out period leads to Joe answering Jay’s forearm smashes with jabs into the turnbuckles. Jay hits a big boot, but Joe bounces back into an enziguri. Joe makes Jay earn a snap suplex. Briscoe goes to toss Joe, but he fails to clear the ropes and tweaks his knee. Joe quickly recovers and nails a leaping kick in the corner. Despite the knee setback, Joe soars into a suicide dive, driving Jay into the barricade. Joe goes for an Ole kick, but Jay throws a chair into his face. Joe sweeps Jay’s legs and the apron and swings him into the barricade. Joe embarrasses Jay with a pair of Ole kicks. Briscoe avoids the Musclebuster and hits a neck breaker. Jay hits a dazed Joe with a series of jabs, and nails a Backdrop Driver for 2! Briscoe blocks a Rear Naked Choke and punches Joe in the face for another near fall. Death Valley Driver by Jay also isn’t enough. Joe counters the J-Driller and builds some steam, including his patented back senton. Briscoe runs into Joe’s power slam, leading to Joe’s combination of submission holds. Jay gets a desperate rope break, and comes up short in a striking contest, but Joe’s leaping kick leaves them both down. Joe delivers his Uranage on his way to the Musclebuster, but Jay hangs him on the neck. Joe rolls through a Sunset Flip, but Briscoe nails the J-Driller for the win at 20:12! Holy crap, someone won a match with their finisher on the first attempt! Another refreshingly straightforward match. They worked hard to overcome Joe’s hurt knee and put together a satisfying match that rose above Joe’s nostalgia formula, ***¾.
Winner and still ROH World Champion: Jay Briscoe

-Jay and Joe have a long embrace, and you get the impression Joe is saying a bunch of nice things to the current champ. Great moment, fitting of the ROH title history.

Final Thoughts: This was a start to finish pleasing event to watch. Yeah, there were no MOTYC’s, but the worst match was **½, and had enough great, memorable moments to make it worth my while. I really like the direction ROH is heading in, and the best part is that it’s finally starting to feel like the ROH of old, but on a higher level. I highly recommend you check out this Thumbs Up event.

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