By Andrew Berg
Michael Elgin, Tommaso Ciampa, and Hanson Wrestled to a No Contest in a #1 Contender Match
Hanson and Ciampa dispatched Elgin to the outside early in the match to isolate one another for a traditional matchup. The fight spilled out to the floor and Elgin swung Ciampa into Hanson while the latter attempted a suicide dive. He nearly won off of that move and a codebreaker to Hanson to follow. Hanson responded with a side slam on Elgin and pounded both opponents with forearms in the corner. Elgin kicked his way out and hit a fireman’s carry slam to Ciampa that landed him on Hanson. He followed it up with a top rope splash to get a two count on Ciampa. Elgin tried a fallaway slam on Ciampa, but Hanson lifted Elgin for a German suplex to hurl both of them over his head. He added a double-underhook powerbomb to get a two count on Elgin. Ciampa put together a rally that included a belly-to-back piledriver on Hanson, but Elgin recovered and hit a front-flip leg drop with Ciampa pinned in the ropes. Elgin continued to display his surprisingly agility with a top rope frankensteiner that landed him on top of Ciampa for another near fall. He turned his attention to Hanson and delivered a deadlift powerbomb. He hit Ciampa with a buckle bomb, but Ciampa quickly recovered with a lariat and Elgin rolled to the floor. With Hanson and Ciampa isolated, Hanson hit a lariat of his own. He went to the top for a moonsault and Ciampa got to his feet and delivered Project Ciampa. Before the referee could count three, Elgin pulled him out of the ring and used him as a human shield to guard himself from the irate Ciampa. Undeterred, Hanson crushed all three of them with a suicide dive. The brawl continued on the floor and a second referee ruled the match a no contest. The match ended with no #1 Contender, but plenty of chaos and excitement by the fans. It was a great main event and I can’t wait to see them go at it again.
Nigel McGuinness Addressed Tommaso Ciampa
McGuinness announced that he talked the ROH Board out of firing McGuinness for his technical violation of the zero tolerance policy when he inadvertently hit a referee at Final Battle. McGuinness said that the zero tolerance policy would stay in effect and that Ciampa would owe him one. Ciampa responded that he should be in the #1 Contender match between Michael Elgin and Hanson because he pinned Jay Briscoe over the summer. Elgin interrupted him and said that he proved that Ciampa can’t beat him. The tension escalated while Ciampa said that the fans and the other wrestlers all wanted Elgin gone. Elgin invited Ciampa into the main event by saying that he could not beat him anyway. As the rivalry between malcontents Ciampa and Elgin continues, Ciampa has become more of a fan-favorite. It should help because fans were very ambivalent when they wrestled at Final Battle.
Roderick Strong def. Mark Briscoe
I often write about how overexposure makes it difficult for WWE to create fresh matchups and rivalries. With only an hour of TV time per week, ROH has a very different situation with regard to matchmaking. Strong and Briscoe are exactly the type of wrestlers who can have an entertaining, competitive match without feeling stale. They have crossed paths as members of elite tag teams in the past, but their singles match with an eye toward the eventual #1 Contendership was unique. Strong looked great with a series of enzuigiris and a big superplex. Briscoe used his redneck kung fu and a splash to the outside to stay competitive. Strong suddenly responded with his double-knee backbreaker to get the win. After the match, Strong grabbed a mic and vowed to make himself the king of ROH in 2015. He finished 2014 well and the win certainly puts him in a good position headed into his big match with Alberto El Patron next week.
Will Ferrara def. J. Diesel in the Top Prospect Tournament
It was surprising to see the two most established wrestlers in the 2015 Top Prospect Tournament pitted against one another in round one. Diesel came to the ring with Truth Martini to give him a numbers advantage to go with his edge in size. Ferrara hit a suicide dive early on, but Diesel started to wear him down and nearly made him tap out to a half Boston Crab. Diesel continued his assault with a stomp to the back of the head and a pair of big powerslams for a near fall. Ferrara fought back with a sunset flip powrbomb called the Sonic Boom. When Diesel tried an electric chair, Ferrara flipped into a victory roll to pull off the upset.