This week’s episode of ROH television emanates from the Meyers Pavilion in Baltimore, Maryland. As usual Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are on commentary. The scheduled main event is Deny or Defy 3 between ROH World Champion Adam Cole, Mark Briscoe and Jimmy Jacobs.

The Decade vs. War Machine: B.J. Whitmer is out first flanked by The Decade’s water boy Adam Page and newly acquired young boy T.D. Thomas. Their opponents were the team of Hanson and Ray Rowe, otherwise known as War Machine, who received a surprising streamer bath from the Baltimore crowd. I am really high on both members of War Machine. Ray Rowe has an interesting look and a unique finisher. Besides having an epic beard, Hanson is a powerhouse with Vader like agility. Adam Page started the match for his team and spent the opening minutes taking hard strikes and slams from War Machine. A sneaky running knee by Whitmer allowed for The Decade to briefly take control. However, every time The Decade started to gain some momentum they were cut down by MMA takedowns from Rowe or power moves from Hanson. War Machine would pick up the win with The Fallout, a belly to back suplex, diving leg drop combination. ** ¼

This was a pretty basic tag. Page bumped well for War Machine’s offense. Ray Rowe displayed some technical acumen that I had not seen from him before. The star of the match was Hanson. His power moves were very crisp and he got to show off his athleticism by doing his cartwheel counter into a lariat spot and nailing the diving leg drop portion of The Fallout.

The R.D. Evans hype team of Ramone and the lovely Veda Scott are out to sing the praises of the 113-0 record Evan’s has compiled over the last few months. Sadly Veda informs the audience that the stream will not be defended this week as Evans is overseas competing in Africa. She is cut off by some sexy guitar music, which means only one thing the arrival of the mysterious Romantic Touch! I’ll give the Touch credit nobody plays a better air guitar solo on a red rose like him. Ms. Scott apologizes for not spending enough time with the masked love machine. Touch tried to woo Veda with some flattery. She told him to close his eyes and proceeded to kick the Romantic Touch in the balls. Poor guy.

Future of Honor Showcase: Team Benchmark and Zizou Middoux vs. J. Diesel, Moose and Vinny Marseglia: I’ve seen a few of the guys in this match work, like Team Benchmark and Zizou Middoux, and Moose has worked a few dates in DGUSA. My first impressions of most of them were not that great. I was hoping that this match would change my opinion. Billy Daly and J. Diesel started the match off. Daly worked Diesel over with double tilt-a-whirl backbreakers before Diesel made a comeback with some jabs to the body. Diesel showed some nice power with a beautiful fall away slam before he tagged in Marseglia, who used his athleticism to with some nice counters and a school boy into the bottom turn buckle. Will Ferrara, the other member of Team Benchmark, traded running elbows with Marseglia in the corner before Marseglia cradled him for a close two count. Billy Daly saved his partner with a blind tag and floored Marseglia with a nice right hand followed by a knee drop. Another quick tag brought in the South African patriot Zizou Middoux who found himself at the mercy of Moose, who was also tagged in. Moose started drilling the heels with a series of head butts and cleared the ring with a beautiful drop kick and back body drop to the floor. J. Diesel took to the air and wiped out the heels with a should block from the ring apron. Marseglia took Team Benchmark moments later with a somersault plancha to the floor. Moose hit Middoux with a spear for the 1-2-3. **

Team Benchmark impressed with their selling and bumping in this match. Combine that with their annoying overly sponsored athlete gimmick and they could be a nice jobber team for the rest of the year. Moose showed a lot of energy during this match that his DGUSA matches have lacked and was the stand out for his team. Everybody else in the match got to hit a nice spot or two but did not really stand out to me. Marseglia really needs to work on executing his moves with more finesse as he botched a couple of sequences.

Adam Cole vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Mark Briscoe: Defy or Deny 3: The stipulations for the match are as follows: it is contested under elimination rules, if Cole pins either man they do not get a shot at the belt while Cole is champ but if either Jacobs or Briscoe eliminates Cole than they get a future title shot.

The crowd chanted “Man Up” to show their support for Mark Briscoe. After the bell rang Jacobs went to attack Cole but was foiled by Mark Briscoe. Cole took advantage and bailed. Briscoe slid out of the ring and went on the attack but missed both his chop attempts and Cole fled back into the ring. Jimmy Jacobs took advantage of the distracted champion and locked in his End Times finisher. Before Jacobs could lock the hold in tight Mark Briscoe broke up the submission with a series of stomps to both men. For the next minutes of the match Briscoe and the “Zombie Princess” took turns beating up on the champ in the corner. As the show went into its final commercial break Jacobs and Briscoe turned their sights on each other and allowed Cole to slink away to the outside for a breather.

When the show came from commercial the ROH World Champion was still watching his opponents trade punches. Cole paid for his cowardice via a Mark Briscoe drop kick through the ring ropes. Jimmy Jacobs meet the same fate with a spring board version of the move. The man known as “Chicken” turned his sights back to Cole. The champ received a throw in the barricade and a suplex to the floor for his troubles. Back in the ring Cole back dropped a charging Briscoe. Mark landed on his feet but ate a spring board ace crusher from Jacobs. Cole superkicked Jacobs a few seconds later and attempted the first unsuccessful pinfall of the match. Undeterred Cole continued to lay the boots to his opponents. His flurry of offense was stopped by Briscoe just as Cole had placed Jacobs on the top rope. That allowed for Jacobs to use a senton to break up another a pinfall attempt by Briscoe. Jacobs went for the quick cover but Briscoe kicked out at two and slid out of the ring. Another spring board ace crusher attempt by Jacobs was countered into a back stabber by Cole. A Florida Key attempt by Cole was broken up with a saito suplex from Briscoe. As Briscoe charged a beaten Cole in the corner he was met by a boot to the face and irish whipped to a waiting Jimmy Jacobs. What followed was a quick flurry of offense where Jacobs hit a Slice Bread Number 2 on Briscoe, a head scissors and spear on Cole before transitioning into the End Times. Cole reversed the hold into a neck breaker across the knees before being hit with a mule kick from “Chicken”. Seconds later Briscoe delivered a Froggy Bow to the downed Jacobs but ate a super kick from Cole who stole the pin and eliminated Jimmy Jacobs.

For the next few minutes Cole and Briscoe traded shots. A shining wizard by Cole was met by another kick out from Mark Briscoe. Mark took control with a death valley driver and went up top for another Froggy Bow. Cole kipped back up and crotched the former ROH Tag Team Champion. A super plex attempt by Cole was countered with a hard slam by Briscoe who finally hit his second Froggy Bow of the match. Thankfully for Cole he was close enough to the ropes to break up the pin before the referee counted the three. Another close near fall came after a Cactus Jack style elbow by Briscoe from the ring apron. Cole reversed another death valley driver attempt and looked for the Florida Key. Briscoe kept backing him into the corner. Finally, a frustrated Cole was able to put Briscoe away with two super kicks and the Florida Key. *** ½

This was a unexpectedly good match. The dynamic between Jacobs and Briscoe trying to undercut each other made a lot of sense. As always Adam Cole was at his cowardly best hiding from his challengers and striking at opportune times. There were not dull moments in the match and all the competitors kept the spots simple. If you are a fan of either three men go out of your way to watch this match as it is a very fun TV main event.

Final Thoughts:

This was a very pedestrian episode of ROH on Sinclair. The first two matches can be skipped unless you want to check out any of the men involved. I enjoyed the segment with Veda Scott and the Romantic Touch but I could see a lot of viewers cringing while watch it. Defy or Deny 3 saved the show from being vanilla and is the one part of the show to seek out. I’ll give this show ** ½.