This week’s episode begins with a recap of last week’s main event. If you missed it, that was a three way elimination tag match, with the added bonus that if anyone pins Adam Cole, they get an ROH World title shot. Chris Hero got the pin on Cole that night, putting him as the next contender for Adam Cole’s championship.
Andrew Everett vs. Cedric Alexander: Roderick Strong joins Corino and Kelly at the commentary table, though this isn’t a Decade match. Both men adhere to the “Code of Honor”. Alexander and Everett exchange headlocks to start. Alexander gets a wristlock, but some fancy footwork turns the tables. Neither man is able to get the jump on the other; both show agility in spades.
Alexander eats a big boot when he charges Everett in the corner. Everett gets an arm drag take down on Alexander, who rolls out of the ring. Everett claps his hand, warming up the crowd, and hits the ropes, looking to tope onto Alexander. Alexander slides back into the ring to avoid that, but Everett doesn’t finish his dive. He grabs the top rope and rolls over it, landing on the ring apron. Alexander drop kicks him off.
The match returns from a commercial break with Alexander working a headlock on Everett. Everett gets out with a jawbreaker. Biiiig back body drop from Alexander. Everett got way up for that. Both men exchange hard rights. Alexander tries a roundhouse kick, Everett ducks under. Alexander doesn’t miss with an enzugiri. Everett dropkicks Alexander out of the ring. Everett sizes Alexander up, grabs the top rope, and lands a springboard shooting star press onto Alexander. Mostly. Alexander didn’t do a great job catching him. Everett springboards his way back in after rolling Alexander back between the ropes. This time it’s a springboard missile dropkick.
Everett spikes Alexander with a hurricanrana. Two count. Everett goes up top. Alexander charges, Everett jumps over him and rolls. Everett tries a hurricanrana, but Alexander catches him this time and counters it into a fireman’s carry that he spun into a facebuster. It was fancy, but not fancy enough for a three count. Alexander friggin’ kills Everett with a hard dropkick to the side of Alexander’s head. Alexander sits Everett up on the top turnbuckle. Alexander headbutts Everett as the fans count out the ten blows. Superplex? Nope. Everett tosses Alexander off the top. He rises up to the top. 630. Alexander got his knees up! Alexander takes a page out of Roderick Strong’s book and breaks Everett’s back with a double knee backbreaker. Three count and we’re done. **1/4
Entertaining affair, enough to get the crowd to chant “That was awesome.” If you love pure work rate and some high flying, then you’ll rate this higher than I did. Everett had to be hurting the next day after the offense he ate. Three or four different moves looked like hell on him.
ROH is going right to the main event again, so only two matches this week. But first, there’s a recap of “the night the hoopla died” two weeks ago, where Truth Martini declared hoopla dead and Taven dismissed his former manager.
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Kevin Steen: Steen comes across as a huge star during his entrance, or as big of a star as ROH has. The flashing lights, the music, and a whole lot of crowd noise, all of them make Steen look like a big deal. Steen and O’Reilly tie up. O’Reilly immediately turns that into a waist lock. Steen isn’t going to out-grapple O’Reilly, so he simply grabs the nearest rope. “Wrestling!” he yells. The crowd loves it, but O’Reilly is not so amused. They tie up again. This time O’Reilly gets a standing arm lock. Steen grabs the rope right away. Third lock up. O’Reilly cranks on the arm as he holds a wristlock. He won’t let Steen get to the ropes, yanking him away time and time again. Steen rolls is way out of it, slaps O’Reilly’s arms off him, and dropkicks O’Reilly. Then he grabs the rope, just ’cause.
Steen takes O’Reilly down with deep, Steamboat-esque arm drags. O’Reilly takes control of the match with a series of hard kicks. He sits Steen down and looks like he is about to blast Steen in the chest with another kick, but instead gives him a little slap across the face. Steen looks disgusted. He gets up and slaps the hell out of O’Reilly, sending O’Reilly backwards through the ropes.
O’Reilly tries to hide from Steen on the outside. Steen chases O’Reilly down and chops his chest again and again. O’Reilly is about to take a powerbomb on the apron, but he manages to grab the ropes and pull himself to safety.
Steen chops O’Reilly two more times when the show returns from a break. O’Reilly uses a flurry of kicks, knees, and then a leg sweep to take down Steen. O’Reilly starts to work over Steen’s arm. O’Reilly works a wristlock to crank on the arm. O’Reilly shoves Steen into the turnbuckles. Steen bounces off then flattens O’Reilly with a desperation lariat. He’s down to one good arm. Steen sells the wounded one like it’s useless.
O’Reilly takes the action back out of the ring. He shoves Steen shoulder first into the ring post. Steen stumbles away and takes a seat. O’Reilly hops back up on the apron and tries to dive onto Steen. Steen cuts him off with a boot to the gut. Steen finally gets that apron powerbomb in. He shoves O’Reilly into the ring then climbs up top. Senton. Two count.
Missile dropkick attempt from O’Reilly. Steen evades. Steen goes for a sharpshooter. O’Reilly pushes Steen away. O’Reilly goes for a guillotine. Steen rams him into the corner to get out of that. Steen sees his chance for a cannonball senton. O’Reilly gets out of a package piledriver and then an F-5 attempt. O’Reilly pulls Steen down into an arm bar. Steen manages to get the ropes, but his arm took more damage.
Steen is sitting up on the top turnbuckle. O’Reilly wants to bring him down with a superplex. Steen is not about to let that happen. He fights his way out with hard body blows and a bite. Steen lifts O’Reilly onto his shoulder. Avalanche death valley driver! O’Reilly is done for the moment, but Steen is clutching his arm. Hee landed on that first. By the time he gets the cover, O’Reilly has come to. Two count only.
O’Reilly pulls Steen down into another arm bar. Steen is trying with all his might to get a foot on the ropes. He grimaces in pain as O’Reilly cranks back on his arm. Finally he gets a foot on the ropes. O’Reilly punishes Steen’s chest with hard kicks. O’Reilly bounces off the ropes. Steen throws him up into the air and then brings him down with authority via powerbomb. Steen pulls O’Reilly back up. Package piledriver. One, two, but no three. O’Reilly got his foot on the rope.
Steen can’t believe that didn’t end it. But something else catches his attention: Cliff Compton in the crowd. Compton is jawing at Steen. Steen being who he is has to go out there and yell back. O’Reilly gets enough time to recover. Steen turns around just in time for O’Reilly to land the missile dropkick that he wanted before. O’Reilly is all hustle. He shoves Steen back into the ring and hits his ax and smash kicks. Two count, Steen gets a shoulder up. O’Reilly nabs Steen’s arm and throws on a cross armbreaker. Steen is dead center in the ring. He’s refusing to tap. Steen rolls onto his feet. O’Reilly won’t let go of his hold, so Steen drops him in a short powerbomb. A sharpshooter follows. Steen pulls O’Reilly to the center of the ring. He cinches the hold in deep and O’Reilly has to tap.
Compton continues taunting Steen, so Steen gets in the mic. He challenges Compton to a fight right here right now. Compton wants it but the ROH security crew keeps him at bay. The ref holds Steen back, which infuriates Steen so much that he drops the ref with an F-5. Compton and Steen start to brawl. Security swarms and the two wrestlers fend them off. Steen boots Compton and pulls him off for another F-5. He throws Compton over the top rope and onto the mats outside. Steen starts beating the hell out of Compton. Compton is bumping like crazy. He throws himself full force into the mats and the railings outside. Steen gets the ring announcer’s table and walks it over. Steen pulls Compton onto the ring apron. He’s about to powerbomb Compton through the table when a security guard grabs his leg. Steen shoves the guard away, but that bought Compton enough time to low blow Steen. Compton clubs Steen and rolls him onto the table. Compton swats away another security guard as he goes up top. Frog splash through the table! ROH TV ends with both men laid out on the floor over the wreckage of a table. ***
The post match brawl gets ****. Steen’s selling was excellent here. He limited his offense to reflect the damage he took and made it clear that he was hurting badly. O’Reilly looked good too. I’m not his biggest fan and I think his selling got a little goofy at times, but he did a fine job bumping for Steen and getting heat. The ending was something of a non-sequitur. Steen never really did anything to make a sharpshooter a good finish, O’Reilly had no choice but to tap since had it in so deep and it was in the middle of the ring. Compton gets a big, big thumbs up for how hard he was slamming into the guard rails. He must hate his back.
Next week’s main event: Hanson vs. Tommaso Ciampa! Plus AJ Styles vs. Jay Lethal. Should be a couple of good matches.