1/4 ROH TV taping spoilers: A details report on the taping headlined by A.J. Styles vs. Roderick Strong, Chris Hero vs. Kevin Steen, plus WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper appears before the show (spoilers)
Ring of Honor TV taping
Report by Dot Net reader Matt Brink
Episode One Taping (airs on January 11)
1. Raymond Rowe beat Kongo by pinfall in the first round of the Top Prospect Tournament. A good opening match. The crowd wasn't super into it, but I remember seeing both in the past few months. Rowe was working on the Road to Greatness shows in September as I saw him in Birmingham. Kongo worked the dark match versus another top prospect in Corey Hollis at Supercard of Honor VII in NYC in April. Kongo is a big dude, but Rowe looks like a stud.
After the match, Kongo was laid out in the ring, and out came Michael Elgin. Elgin picked up the large man in Kongo and power bombed him and cut a promo about he won't rest until he gets Adam Cole.
2. Corey Hollis pinned Mike Posey in the first round of the Top Prospect Tournament. Corey Hollis vs The Benchmark was supposed to happen but the Benchmark came out and forfeited due to a high ankle sprain. Hollis's tag team partner in Alabama Attitude, Mike Posey, challenged him to a match for the first round of the tournament. Solid match as those two guys have known each other for five years or so.
3. Jay Lethal pinned Caprice Coleman. A high paced, fast energy match which got the crowd excited. Lethal won with the Lethal Injection. Afterwards, Lethal gave a nice rub to Coleman saying that he'd be the first to tell him that Coleman has a bright future
4. Kevin Steen beat Chris Hero. Hero looks like he toned up a lot, as he looks really lean nowadays. He trimmed down his beard as well. They put on a fantastic match in which most of the crowd was split 50/50. After the win by Steen, Hero exited first, which let Steen get a standing ovation. On the way out, what looked like to be Cliff Compton grabbed Steen as he was walking out and just put him in a sleeper hold. They crowd was buzzing after this thinking it was a random fan.
1. Andrew Everett beat The Romantic in the first round of the Top Prospect Tournament. A few people in the crowd including my buddy who was with me mentioned Romantic Touch looked a lot like Rhett Titus under the mask. They put on an entertaining match and Everett advanced.
2. Hanson beat Cheeseburger in the first round of the Top Prospect Tournament. Cheeseburger was the most over wrestler in the tournament, but man was he undersized to Hanson (who I swear they called "Dixie" all night long). Hanson was billed at 250+ while Cheeseburger was billed at 125 lbs. Cheeseburger got limited offense in as this was a squash match.
3. Jimmy Jacobs and BJ Whitmer beat Mark Briscoe and Adam Page. Mark Briscoe and Adam Page were supposed to have a match but that was interrupted by "The Decade" (Strong, Whitmer, and Jacobs). After a few promos, it ended up being a tag team match with Page and Briscoe facing Jacobs and Whitmer (who I thought retired at Final Battle). Jacobs and Whitmer won.
Jay Briscoe came out and issued his open challenge to Adam Cole for the "Real World Title" that Briscoe claims he has. Adam Cole came out and after a promo said he would answer "next week."
4. Tommaso Ciampa pinned Silas Young to retain the ROH TV Title. Ciampa and Young were about to fight but Matt Taven (minus the Hoopla Hotties and Truth Martini) came out and said he wanted a rematch. Silas Young got in his face and Taven pushed him and they brawled. Lethal was at ringside for commentary and after a good match that Ciampa won, Lethal, Ciampa and Taven, who came back out, had a staredown for the belt.
1. Raymond Rowe over Corey Hollis to advance in the semifinals of the Top Prospect Tournament. Both looked a bit sloppy in this match. It's probably due to being tired from previous matches, but both look like they have a bright future. Hollis is only 23 or 24 and has been wrestling for 5 years already and Rowe is booked to look like a stud. I think he will win the tournament after advancing to the Finals.
2. RD Evans beat Mike Sells. RD Evans came out with Veda Scott and faced what is reported as Mike Sells. Sells had "Sex Sells" on his tights so we all called him Sex Sells in the crowd and heckled him for it. RD Evans got the win via pinfall.
After the match, Veda Scott got on the microphone and issued an open challenge to anyone on the ROH roster to face RD Evans, who is 14-0 in Ring of Honor.
3. RD Evans beat Michael Elgin by DQ in a special challenge match. Elgin came out and just decimated RD Evans from the start. Throwing him into barricade after barricade and just manhandling him all throughout ringside. After a buckle bomb and a power bomb by Elgin, it wasn't enough as he grabbed two chairs and did a power bomb on the chairs on Evans. As a result of that, Evans is 15-0 by winning via DQ.
4. Matt Taven defeated Tadarius Thomas. Matt Taven, once again without the hotties or Truth, came out to face Tadarius Thomas. Taven even abided by the Code of Honor. Shocking face turn as he isn't as fun or interesting without the Hotties or Truth. Taven won an entertaining match with Thomas.
5. Jay Briscoe beat Bobby Fish. Briscoe came out and wanted an answer from Cole from the previous week's open challenge. Instead of Cole answering, Bobby Fish came out and cut a promo which lead to a match. After a solid 15 minute match and a run in by Adam Cole, Jay Briscoe hit his Jay Driller on Fish to win the match.
After this match, they announced a return for Best in the World on June 21. While in line waiting for my ticket, which they had on sale there, I asked the ticket guys if they were happy with the turnout. They didn't give an attendance figure but said this was the "Best show they've ever had coming into a new city for the first time." The show was practically sold out, even in the general admission. I got my front row seat for Best in the World as well. There also was about a 10-15 minute intermission after the announcement.
1. Hansen pinned Andrew Everett in the semifinals of the Top Prospect Tournament. A fun match that the crowd really was into after feeling rejuvenated from the intermission. Everett is a high flyer who really can work his spots, and Hanson or "Dixie" as I swear Bobby Cruise was calling him, showed an insane amount of strength as he caught Everett off a moonsault off the second rope to the floor. Hanson got the win to set up a match with Raymond Rowe in Pittsburgh.
2. Mike Bennett (w/Maria) beat Cedric Alexander. A grueling and high paced match. Bennett and Maria came out and talked trash before the match, insulting most Nashvillians. Bennett looks like a major star in the making. He really knows how to get in people's head and to have heat on him. At one point, he threw Alexander repeatedly into the barrier right in my corner where I was sitting, and got into the face of a fan. The fan had been annoying all night, even to other fans around us, and whimpered away when Bennett asked him to do something. Bennett got the win using a former boyfriend of Maria's finishing maneuver, the Anaconda Vice. This got major heat on Bennett as the crowd moaned and groaned.
3. A.J. Styles defeated Roderick Strong. AJ got a hero's welcome. Streamers flew in more than they did throughout the night for Styles' return to RoH. Styles and Strong put on a really good match that was extremely stiff. Lots of chops, kicks and punches. About 3/4 of the way through the match. AJ looked like he was going for his springboard 450 splash but lost his footing on the ropes and landed very awkwardly. He was noticeably in pain, as he immediately grabbed his knee and limping noticeably afterwards.
They went for the finish and after a Sick Kick by Strong, AJ put Strong in the hold for the Styles Clash. Strong tucked his head down after looking at the video posted on Prowrestling.net instead of pulling it back so he could land on his chest. He landed on his neck very awkwardly and the crowd was horrified and nervous. AJ pinned him for the win, and after the match, it looked like Strong said "I can't feel my arm" as he was holding his left arm. However, the rest of the The Decade ran in and beat down on AJ Styles which Strong moved out of the way on his own. That got a sigh of relief out of the crowd. The rest of the ROH locker room made the save and Lethal cut a promo thanking Nashville, and thanking AJ Styles for "Coming Home."
Notes: Before the show, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and AJ Styles were doing autographs and pictures, but the line for Piper was so long and Styles wasn't getting much business from the fans. Styles packed up about 30 minutes before bell time. Piper was really pleasant and a joy to be around and actually seemed like he wanted to be there.
All in all, a fun, but draining night. The lack of an intermission after week two brought the energy down a bit, but I tried keeping the buzz and chants going all night, especially in the big matches. I've been to a few other PPVs or One Night Only type shows that wasn't restrictive on chants or gestures, but the TV taping obviously restricted the chants that could be used. I am looking forward to the Best in the World PPV in June, however.
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