Welcome to Ring of Honor’s 12th Anniversary Show. This week, Jay Lethal battled A.J. Styles in the main event. Plus, there were several other great matches. Let’s take a look…
Steve Corino and Kevin Kelly were our ring announcers, as usual. I give them credit as the current best announcing duo in the business.
This is Philadelphia!
“Unbreakable” Michael Elgin came out to explain to the crowd that Matt Hardy would not be fighting him tonight. It had nothing to do with fear or anything like that. Mother Nature buffeted the East Coast with a nasty snowstorm that cancelled Hardy’s flight. It happens. Elgin said he wanted to win the World Title and to destroy Matt Hardy but the weather gave him an out. Elgin wasn’t sure if it was a legit excuse or not. Elgin still wanted to celebrate the best wrestling company on the planet. He talked about how RoH gives wrestlers a chance by taking the virtually unknown and make them a star. Elgin was ready to give an opportunity to…Raymond Rowe! He invited Rowe to come out and face him.
“Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs Raymond Rowe
Special Challenge Match
Code of Honor Handshake. The bell rang and Rowe with a Running Dropkick. Elgin avoided Death Rowe and hit a Uranage Slam. Full Lift Stall Suplex by Elbin. Rowe fought out of it, initially, but Elgin would not be denied. He held it for almost a full minute. The fans were popping big time for the move. RoH took their first break.
Ring of Honor talked about being in New Orleans during Wrestlemania Week-end. Many of their stars will be at Wrestlecon, as well. I can officially announce that I will also be at Wrestlecon, alongside Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Andy Anderson (from the film, “The Wrestler” as well as being a fantastic Indy star). Look for me in either my 1wrestling.com scrub shirt or my RCW polo shirt.
Back to the action. Reverse Bear Hug by Rowe. The men went into a series of Standing Switches and then Elgin nailed the Enziguri. Rowe Elbowed out of a Gut Wench. The two went back and forth and Rowe with the T-Bone Suplex. Elgin with a complete No Sold and hit his on T-Bone. Stereo Clotheslines. Elgin came out on top of that one. Elgin missed with a Right Arm Clothesline so he hit a Left, instead. 1 count, only. Rowe escaped a Powerbomb and sent Elgin flying with an Overhead Belly to Belly. Rowe went for a Suicide Dive…and missed. Elgin wanted the Powerbomb and hit it…sending Rowe into the barrier! Back in the ring and Elgin finished off Rowe with the Spiral Bomb.
Your Winner: “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin
Honor Roll Ranking: 3.0 out of a possible 5
After the match, the two men shook hands and then Rowe collapsed. Adam Cole rushed the ring to attack Elgin. Rowe stopped him and sent him to Elgin. Elgin was ready to hit the Spiral Bomb but Michael Bennett rushed in and hit Low Blows on both men. Jay Briscoe ran down and went off on Bennett with punches. Cole took off running. Briscoe sent Bennett out to the floor.
Highlights of the 12th Anniversary show aired.
Jay Briscoe went off on a somewhat obscenity-laced rant. Nigel McGuiness came out to sanction the match.
Jay Briscoe vs Michael Bennett
“Real” World Title Match
Jay blasted Bennett. The TV Title Match will be shown, next week. Jay sent Bennett into the barrier and choked Bennett with a shirt. Bennett yelled “Screw You, Redneck!” and threw Jay into the barrier. Jay Whipped Bennett into the barrier and then Suplexed Bennett onto the edge of the ring apron. Jay with hard Headbutts. Maria came out to distract Jay (not hard to do when you look like Maria). Jay was sent into the barriers, over and over. Jay blocked a Suplex and then Suplexed Bennett onto the ring ramp. Maria screamed at Bennett to get up. Jay dragged Bennett to the ring and threw him in.
Jay with wild Headbutts. Maria played innocent in sending Bennett to attack Elgin. Jay with a nice Dropkick and Big Boot. Camel Clutch by Jay. Whip by Jay but he missed a Corner Rush. Scoop Slam by Bennett. Elbow Drop by Bennett for a two count. The two traded hard punches and Bennett sent Jay into the corner. Bennett missed the Full Body Clothesline. Whip by Jay into a Back Elbow. 2 count. Jay went back to the Headbutts. Bennett threw a few punches that grew in effectiveness. Double A Spinebuster by Bennett. 2 count. It was time for another break.
Adam Cole talked about facing Chris Hero, next week. Cole went off on a typical rant about what he was going to do to Chris Hero. Next week, he was ready to prove that Hero would never be as great as Adam Cole.
We’re back and Jay went wild with punches. Superkick by Bennett and Jay with a Funk Neckbreaker. Fireman’s Carry Drop by Jay. Briscoe then went up top. Bennett popped up and popped Briscoe. Bennett wanted a Superplex but Jay used Headbutts to rock Bennett. Bennett fell to the canvas and Jay got the crowd going. FrogSplash! 2 count. “Man Up!” rang out from the crowd. Fireman’s Carry but Bennett punched out. Side Effect by Bennett for a two count. Maria called for the Anaconda Vise but Jay fought out of the move and nailed a Thrust Kick and Falcon Arrow. 1-2-no.
Jay yelled at Maria and went for the Jay Driller. Adam Cole rushed out and spat on Jay. Weak Low Blow by Bennett. Could be…might be…No! Maria screamed at the ref. Jay with his own wild Low Blow. Jay Driller!
Your Winner: Jay Briscoe
Honor Roll Ranking: 3.25
Jay Lethal cut a classy promo about A.J. Styles and the match the two of them were about to have. This one should be incredible.
Jay Lethal vs A.J. Styles
Nigel McGuinness joined the announce team for this one. Scarlett is the new ring announcer and she is incredibly hot. Forget Christy Hemme. Forget Lilian Garcia. She’s the top female ring announcer going. There was an extended delay between the entrances. Both men were allowed time to accept the praise of their fans.
The streamers exploded like crazy. I am so going to bring home a piece of streamer if my schedule allows me the opportunity to go the to RoH show in New Orleans. The fans exploded for Styles. Code of Honor Handshake and a little quick talk before the match. The microphone couldn’t pick up what was said. The bell went.…
The two both looked for an advantage. Knuckle Lock into the Test of Strength. They were pretty much evenly matched. Styles took Jay to the corner. Clean break. Collar and Elbow into a Styles Side Headlock. The fans were split, right down the middle. Back Roll by Styles. Side Headlock by Styles. Jay forced Styles to his knees and took his own Side Headlock. Jay refused to release on the Push Off. Styles with an Arm Wringer. Jay reversed it and held Styles’ arm. “This is Wrestling!” rang out. I agree. Jay took Styles down and kept the pressure on the arm.
Styles took Jay to the ropes and they went into a Universal. Jay held the ropes. Jay threw Styles over the ropes and then Dropkicked him off the apron. Lethal went fro a Suicide Dive but Styles rushed in and sent Jay sailing with the La Bandera Clothesline. Styles missed a Moonsault but Lethal connected with the Suicide Dive. Break time.
The action was still hot and heavy. Hip Toss into a Dropkick by Lethal. 2 count. Lethal wrapped up the legs for a variation of a Reverse Surfboard. Interesting move. That one gets put in the vault for my new students (more on that another time). Styles blasted Lethal but Jay hit a Knife Edge that sent Styles to the apron. Styles blocked a Suplex. Lethal did the same. Styles eventually almost destroyed Lethal with a Suplex…on the apron! That edge has almost no padding (I’ve put up my share of wrestling rings, over the years).
Styles sent Jay into the barrier. The ref yelled at them to get in the ring. Styles obliged by throwing Lethal in and then following him. Styles with a Corner Suplex. Lethal folded up and Styles dragged him to the middle for a two count. Jay punched the mid-section and nailed a Thrust to the jaw. Jay with a kick but Styles nearly took his head off with a Dropkick. The crowd chanted for Styles. Styles with a Bridging Indian Death Lock. Lethal got to the ropes but Styles snapped the legs before releasing. Styles kicked at Lethal’s legs. Snap Mare and Rear Chin Lock by Styles. Jay punched away but Styles kept a Front Face Lock on. Styles tried for a Belly to Belly but Jay with a Headbutt. Knife Edge Chops, back and forth. The two just took turns throwing chops and punches. Lethal Combination! Pup Up Neckbreaker by Styles.
Jay with another Knife Edge Chop and then he put Styles on the top rope. Styles slid under the Superplex and pulled Jay down off the ropes. Springboard Flying Forearm. 2 count, again. Styles wanted the Styles Clash but Jay easily escaped. Jay with a hard Clothesline. Superkick by Lethal. Styles with his Flurry. Lethal fought out of the Styles Clash but using the ropes. Leg Lariat, off the ropes, by Lethal. The ref started to count..
Both men began to stir about half way through the count. Jay ducked a punch. Standing Switches. Pele Kick! Jay’s knees buckled. Jay with a Reverse German. Jay went up top and the “Randy Savage” chant started. Incredible Savage Elbow for a 2 ¾ count. Jay waited for Styles to get to his feet. Jay wanted the Lethal Injection but Styles with a lightning-quick combo of a Samoan Drop, Powerbomb and Styles Clash.
Your Winner: A.J. Styles
Honor Roll Ranking: 4.75
Styles will next face Michael Elgin. After the match, the two men showed respect to each other. An “R.O.H” chant erupted as the two men shook hands.