AJ Styles def. Mark Briscoe
The lack of star power on the ROH regular roster was on display when Briscoe got the call to face Styles. One of the top wrestlers in the world came to the company for a limited engagement, and had to wrestle a televised match against someone who has become a glorified jobber as a singles wrestler. Briscoe is certainly talented and charismatic, but he has eaten so many pins to preserve his brother’s undefeated streak that it’s hard to take him seriously as a threat. Even so, Styles is so entertaining that the match is well worth watching.
Styles grounded his unpredictable opponent early with a hammerlock to keep him from using his unconventional offense. After an extended stretch with both men on the mat, Briscoe took control outside. The pace slowed again back in the ring until Styles briefly applied his Calf Killer submission. Briscoe freed himself and fought back with his Redneck Kung Fu. He stayed in control with a fisherman’s suplex brain buster for a near fall.
Back on his feet, Styles ducked a clothesline and hit a version of a sidewalk slam. He sprung out of the corner with a backflip and nailed Briscoe with an inverted DDT. The scuffled on the apron until Briscoe dropkicked him to the floor and hit the Cactus Jack elbow to the floor. Styles tried to springboard back into the ring, but Briscoe caught him for a fireman’s carry slam. Styles got his knees up to block Briscoe’s attempt at the Froggy-bow. He followed it with Bloody Sunday and the Styles Clash to get the pin.
The result of the match was never in doubt. I was more surprised that Briscoe was able to create the illusion of a competitive match. Styles gets plenty of credit, too, because he has become very adept at creating compelling matches even when he is the prohibitive favorite to eventually get the win.
Michael Elgin def. Wil Ferrera
Elgin physically dominated his smaller opponent for much of the match. Ferrera managed a guillotine choke and a sunset flip powerbomb for a surprising near fall. Elgin took control with a kick and threatened to put Ferrera through the timekeeper’s table. Instead, he finished him off with a buckle bomb and a sit-down powerbomb for a relatively easy win.
War Machine def. Jobbers; Michael Elgin
Ray Rowe returned to the ring after his debilitating arm injury with a dominant performance. It didn’t hurt that he and Hanson outweighed their opponents by about 75 pounds each. They manhandled the smaller men until Hanson hit a lariat and a leg drop while Rowe held one of their adversaries. After the match, Elgin returned to ringside and said that he plans to take out the team that he originally endorsed in a handicap match.
The second match for both sides started immediately after that. Elgin was able to stave off the big tag team with some counters and well-timed kicks. Nonetheless, the two man advantage overpowered Elgin when Hanson powerbombed Rowe onto Elgin and he left the ring to regroup. Elgin found a chair and ambushed Rowe to get himself disqualified. It was a good way to make Elgin even more unlikeable. Elgin is in an interesting spot because fans seem to not want to see him in the main event, but he has the talent to perform at that level.
ACH def. QT Marshall
Marshall used his power advantage and even matched ACH’s speed early in the match. ACH finally responded with a drop toehold to send Marshall into the turnbuckle and bridged a German suplex for a near fall. Marshall countered with a suplex and failed miserably at ACH’s 450 splash. ACH looked at Marshall dumbfounded and hit the splash to get the win.
After the match, The Decade confronted ACH and said that he did not deserve the opportunities he got against wrestlers like AJ Styles and Alberto El Patron. Colby Corino sucker punched ACH from behind, which allowed Adam Page to hit a reverse piledriver to a chorus of boos while Steve Corino looked on very upset.