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Ring of Honor - Sep 14, 2013
-Nigel McGuinness announces in a video package that BJ Whitmer was seriously injured against Mike Bennett and is waiting for further word on his condition. Mike Bennett is advancing in the ROH title tournament anyhow.
-From Toronto, Ontario. Our hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.
ROH Championship Tournament - First Round
TV Champion Matt Taven (with Truth Martini and the Hoopla Hotties) vs. Roderick Strong
Before the match, Nigel McGuinness orders Hoopla Hottie Scarlett to sit with him since she has no license to be at ringside. Does this mean the other Hottie has a license? Kevin Kelly answers my question, the other Hottie has a “bodyguard” license. I digress. The match starts off with the sort of arm work you’d expect from Roderick. Taven is hapless as Strong delivers a drop-kick and some chops. Taven survives a backbreaker, but Truth’s distraction attempt doesn’t work as Strong continues to roll. Truth grabs the ankle again, allowing Taven to score a kick to send us to commercial. After the break, Taven is in the driver’s seat. Strong counters a moonsault and makes his not-very-dramatic comeback. The official Hottie distracts the ref while Martini clocks Strong with the Book of Truth. Nigel steps in to stop this, causing Taven to unwittingly kick Martini. Strong power bombs Taven onto the apron, and I roll my eyes when Taven kicks out. Martini is kicked out, leaving Taven behind to trade stiff shots with Roderick. Superplex by Strong, but Taven gets the ropes to escape the Strong Hold. Rolling neck breaker by Taven and the Frog Splash only gets 2. SERIOUSLY, GUYS! Strong no-sells and delivers a pair of backbreakers. The Sick Kick and third backbreaker end this at 10:11 (shown). Lots of bad habits on display here, with the no-selling and ridiculous false finishes. Strong is spinning his wheels, **.
Winner: Roderick Strong
ROH Championship Tournament - First Round
Brian Kendrick vs. Kevin Steen
Things start off evenly, with Kendrick’s speed matching Steen’s power. Kendrick stalls for time at ringside, but Steen pursues him. Kendrick blocks a power bomb on the apron and delivers a modified Sliced Bread #2! Commercial time! After the break, Steen counters a sleeper by ramming Kendrick into the turnbuckles before slamming him. Pump handle neck breaker by Steen gets a 2 count. Kendrick counters with a nearly botched Death Valley Driver. Sunset flip by Steen, but the Sharpshooter is blocked. Kendrick bounces back with a tornado DDT for 2. The F5 only gets 2 for Steen, which annoys me, Kendrick should not be kicking out of Steen’s finisher. Steen counters into a Sleeper Suplex for another eye-rolling near fall. Kendrick shields himself with the referee and nails a low blow. Steen absorbs it and nails a choke slam. Running cannonball by Steen and the Sharpshooter ends it at 9:41 (shown). Dominant win by Steen, but this was another match highlighting the bad habits of the promotion (guest star Kendrick kicking out of the F5 was hard to stomach), **½.
Winner: Kevin Steen
ROH Championship Tournament - Quarter Final:
Adam Cole vs. Jay Lethal
They feel each other out and trade holds in the early going. They trade pinning predicaments, and Cole goes back to the side headlock. Lethal escapes with a cartwheel and drop-kicks the head. Backbreaker by Lethal, and I was about to say he was targeting the head, but I guess it’s better to be random. Back suplex by Lethal sets up a reverse chinlock. Cole bounces back with a neck breaker and it’s commercial time. After the break, Cole hits a nifty enziguri from the floor. Lethal no-sells and delivers a nice suicide dive. They take their time crawling back in and a slug fest erupts. Cole scores a neck breaker and heads to the top rope for a sunset flip power bomb. Jay comes back with the Lethal Combination for only 2. Lethal misses a missile drop-kick, and Cole counters the Lethal Injection with a super kick/neck breaker combination. Chinbreaker by Lethal, but Cole rebounds with an enziguri. Super kicks by Lethal set up the Macho Man flying elbow! Cole plays possum for a super kick, but Lethal hits the Lethal Injection anyway. Cole escapes a superplex and super-kicks Lethal’s leg on the ropes. Back superplex by Cole and the Florida Key ends it at 13:36 (shown). I really liked that finishing sequence, but otherwise this was the same old exchanging of moves with no story to support the action, **¾.
Winner: Adam Cole
Final Thoughts: If ROH ever wants to grow, they need to sit the roster down and teach them how to incorporate some psychology into their matches. This sort of spotty action just won’t cut it when CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Antonio Cesaro are beating them at their own game with smarter matches on WWE TV. It’s downright frustrating to see talent that have so much potential spinning their wheels with high-impact matches that don’t mean much. Thumbs down for an aggravating week.
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