It’s been weeks in the making. A.J. Styles comes home to Ring of Honor! Plus, the second semi-final of the 2014 Top Prospect tournament took place.
We are still in Nashville, TN. Steve Corino, Kevin Kelly and Prince Nana were your announce team.
Hanson vs Andrew Everett
Top Prospect 2014 Semi-Final Tournament Match
Hanson looks like Mike Knox (in his ECW days) combined with John “The Berserker” Nord (with a touch of Bruiser Brody thrown in). From me, that is serious praise.
The Code of Honor Handshake and Andrew with the Go Behind. Hanson took him to the top rope and hit a couple of Open Hand Slaps. Andrew with a Missile Dropkick but Hanson stayed on his feet. Hanson also blocked the Running Head Scissors. A Dropkick sent Hanson to the floor. Andrew with a Flip Dive but Hanson caught him. Lawn Dart into the ring post! I so like this guy. Huge clubbing blows by Hanson. 2 count. Andrew tried to fight back but Hanson with a Clothesline to the back of the head.
Andrew kicked out, but just barely. Andrew fought out of a Suplex and hit a ton of Forearms. Hanson took then and shoved him down. Andrew with a Head Scissors to send Hanson to the corner. Hurancanrana sent Hanson flying. Hanson flipped Andrew onto the apron. Huge Springboard Dropkick by Andrew. 2 count. Hanson pitched Andrew into the corner. Everett with the Sunset Flip but he couldn’t take Hanson over. Hanson lifted Andrew , from a seated position, for a Suplex Attempt. That was incredible. Hanson went for a Suicide Dive but Andrew moved. Jeez. Flipping Crossbody, to the floor, by Andrew. The fans were loving it. Andrew psyched himself up and went for another Springboard move. Hanson nailed the (Leg) Lariat.
Your Winner: Hanson
Honor Roll Ranking: 3.5 out of a possible 5
That puts Hanson up against Raymond Rowe to determine the 2014 Top Prospect.
Michael Bennett came out with Maria Kanellis. Maria talked about the Power Couple taking a break after Final Battle. Maria was mad that Kevin Steen got the victory over her man. She wasn’t even mad that Steen struck her in that match. Maria went off on Steen for being ugly. Maria said she brought in Cliff Compton to take care of Steen. She said Bennett had invented a new finisher. She told everyone that when she and Bennett were inside the ropes, it wasn’t a Ring of Honor…it was a Ring of Power!
Michael Bennett vs Cedric Alexander
Code of Honor Handshake. Cedric ducked a punch and blasted Bennett, several times. RVD Back Roll into a Dropkick by Cedric. Knife Edge Chops by Ceddy. Bennett reversed a Whip and nailed the Back Elbow. Bennett yelled at the crowd. Knife Edge Chop by Bennett. Suplex by Bennett. 2 count. Cedric blocked a punch and hit a few of his own. European Uppercut by Cedric. Bennett with a kick and some punches. Whip but Cedric slid out of the ring. Ceddy slid back in and hit a Back Elbow on Bennett. Maria got on the apron to prevent the Flip Dive. Cedric thought about it and then went ahead and flipped over Maria. Awesome. RoH took a quick break.
The two were fighting on the floor and Cedric ended up crashing into the barrier. Bennett ushered Cedric back into the ring. Maria cooed about her sexy her man looked. Bennett sent Cedric back to the outside. Bennett with a Spinebuster onto the ring apron. Bennett threw Cedric back into the ring. Bennett waited like a serpent. He flew at Cedric and ended up straddling the turnbuckles.
Cedric blocked the Whip. Bennett with a hard right hand. Boot by Cedric and a Sky High Back Body Drop. Maria cheered her man. Cedric with a Head Scissors Takeover. Springboard Clothesline by Cedric. Cedric with a wild Trouble in Paradise Kick for a two count. Cedric went for a Springboard move but Bennett with a Spear. Uranage Side Slam by Bennett. 1-2-no. Corner Dropkicks by Cedric. Kick to Kill by Cedric but Bennett rolled out to the floor. Cedric went out and got him. Cedric went up the ropes but got distracted by Maria. Cedric with a Frog Splash…into Bennett’s knees. Hammerlock Spin into a Clothesline by Bennett. Bennett then unveiled his “new” finisher…The Anaconda Vise. Cedric tapped out.
Your Winner (by Submission): Michael Bennett
Honor Roll Ranking: 3.5
Steve Corino nearly had a coronary as he tried to pretend that it was a completely new move. Really? Bennett says the move is called “Go Back to Japan”. Ok.
A promotional video aired for A.J. Styles.
Roderick Strong vs A.J. Styles
Nigel McGuinness was at ringside for this one. The Streamers were flying higher than a fleet of kites. The crowd raised the roof, calling for Styles. Styles came out to a monster pop. I really hate his new music, though. I knew he couldn’t’ use “Get Ready to Fly” but this rap number is annoying. Styles clapped hands with as many fans as he could as he circled the ring. The ring was almost “Whited Out” by the streamers of all colors.
Strong got up in Styles’ face. Code of Honor handshake. Collar and Elbow into a Go Behind by Strong. Keylock by Styles into a takedown. 1 count. Strong into a Double Wrist Lock. Styles with an Arm Bar Roll. Head Scissors by Strong. Styles flipped out and clamped on a Side Headlock. He turned it into a Rear Chin Lock. Clean break and Strong screamed “You’re in MY ring, A..J.”. He also told Styles that he could actually wrestle. Front Face Lock by Strong. Styles broke it and caught Strong in a Seated Go Behind. “This is Wrestling” rang out.
Side Headlock by Strong. Push Off into a Strong Shoulder Block. Universal but Strong put on the brakes. Another Universal into a Styles Dropkick. Strong hit the floor to slow Styles down. Baseball Slide Dropkick, by Styles, through the ropes. RoH went to break.
Jay Lethal cut a quick promo about next week’s Triple Threat match for the TV Title. The three men involved will be: Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Tavin and Lethal.
We’re back and Styles with a Pumphandle Gutbuster. Styles drove his knee into Strong’s chest and pulled on the head. Strong worked on the ribs of Styles but Styles kept hitting hard strikes. Strong reversed a Whip. Styles went for a Springboard but Strong stopped him with a Dropkick. Wow! Strong took Styles out nad threw him into the barrier. Whip into the barrier by Strong. This is what made me love wrestling, so many years ago. Strong Forearm Shiver by Styles. Strong caught Styles and spun him into a Uranage Slam into the ring apron. Strong tried for a pin but only got 2.
Go Behind by Strong but Styles Elbowed free. Strong went for a Back Drop Suplex but Styles escaped. Crossbody Collision, mid-ring. Nigel talked about how injured Styles’ lower back was. Clothesline, Back Elbow and Spin Kick by Styles. Strong flipped Styles to the apron. Springboard Flying Forearm by Styles. Shoulder Driver by Styles as RoH took their final break.
Styles wanted the Styles Clash but Strong wasn’t ready to go. Styles rolled through a Back Body Drop and tried, again, for the Styles Clash. Strong with an Olympic Slam to Styles. Elevator Knee and Running Knee Strike by Strong. Uranage Side Breaker by Strong. Styles and Strong with Standing Switches. Styles tried for the Springboard Back DDT but Strong blocked it. Styles did hit it on the second attempt. Styles went up top but got caught. Strong smacked him, a few times. Strong wanted the Top Rope Superplex and he got it. Could be…might be…not quite yet. Styles kicked out of the Tiger Driver and nailed the Pele . Brainbuster by Styles for the 2 plus. Styles went onto the apron but slipped. He crashed onto Strong’s head. That was a major error. Styles seemed to injure his knee, on the landing. Styles to the corner as Strong said “A.J. Now”. I think that might have been a cue that Strong was hurt. Double Knee Gutbuster by Strong but he couldn’t get the 3. My wife walked in to tell me something and ended up standing and watching the last few minutes of the match. She said it so well “Jay, this is what real wrestling should be”.
The two traded Forearms and Knee Strikes. Calf Cutter by Styles. Strong rolled it into a Small Package for two. Styles and Strong went back to the Forearm and Knife Edge Chops. Styles with his wild Flurry. Running Kick by Strong for the two. How the Hell did he kick out of that? Styles took a knee but came back with the Discuss Forearm. Styles Clash!
Your Winner: A.J. Styles
Honor Roll Ranking: 4.95
After the match, B.J. Whitmer and Jimmy Jacobs (of The Decade) hit the ring and attacked Styles. They were giving him a good trashing until Jay Lethal, Michael Elgin T.D. Thomas, Chris Hero and Marc Briscoe hit the ring to rescue Styles.