Michael Elgin def. Cedric Alexander
Alexander got the treatment of a true main eventer when he got over 20 minutes to wrestler the former champion Elgin to close out ROH’s San Antonio show. He got off to a good start in the match with a tope con giro and almost hit a frog splash that could have put the match away. Elgin rolled out of the way and turned the momentum with a flipping leg drop and a side slam.
Alexander got a near fall when he hit a springboard cross body and another off of Michinoku driver. Elgin responded with a lariat for a two count. Alexander caught Elgin in the ropes and hit a series of dropkicks. He followed it with a frog splash, but when he went for another, Elgin blocked it with his knees. Elgin fought back and almost won the match with a sit-out fireman’s carry slam. Alexander responded with a jackknife and his patented backbreaker. Elgin barely got his foot on the ropes before the three count. Alexander tried a hurricanrana from the top rope, but Elgin rolled through into a powerbomb. He hit the sit-down powerbomb and got the three count to win.
I enjoyed the story that Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino told throughout the match about how Elgin and Alexander came into the match on the cusp of the title picture and needed the win to elevate themselves. Although there were no specific stakes in the match, it gave the impression that the result was important. Moreover, ROH has done a good job of rehabilitating Elgin and getting him back to a main event status. What looked like a hopeless case several months ago now looks like an eventual main eventer once again.
Donovan Dijak def. Dalton Castle
ROH pitted two of its brighter young wrestlers against one another to open the show. Castle’s flamboyance confused and frustrated Dijak early in the match. Eventually, his cocky style allowed Dijak to hit him with a big lariat and regain control. Dijak overpowered Castle outside until Castle hit a hurricanrana off of the apron and a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Dijak bodyslammed Castle into the turnbuckle. He showed his athleticism with a springboard corkscrew senton and paraded around the ring like his manager, Truth Martini. Castle fought out of an attempt at Feast Your Eyes and stayed alive. Castle hit a bridging deadlift German suplex for a near fall. On his second attempt, Castle nailed a modified Alabama Slam for a very close two count. When Castle went for another German suplex, Martini held Dijak’s foot to block it. Dijak took advantage with Feast Your Eyes and got the pin. After the bell, Martini tried to attack Castle, but Castle grabbed him in the groin to chase him away.
I thought of Dijak as a potential future main eventer from the first time I saw him, so it’s nice to see him coming along in ROH. His heel mannerisms were much improved in this match. I also like the focus on a powerhouse style with some added athleticism sprinkled in for seasoning- it’s a more believable fit for a wrestler his size. Finally, the pacing and psychology in this longer match made sense, as did the semi-cheap finish for the heel winner. Ring psychology can be the hardest thing for a young wrestler to develop, and Dijak is headed in the right direction.
War Machine Rolls
Hanson and Rowe got an easy win over two enhancement talents. Rowe lifted one of the opponents into the air and Hanson hit a leg drop as retaliation for one of them refusing to shake Rowe’s hand before the match. War Machine is a solid team and on track for a tag team title shot in the near future.
Jay Lethal Appears on the Fish Tank
Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish acted as sarcastic fan favorites as they insulted Jay Lethal on their talk show. Lethal bristled as they made fun of his new compilation DVD. Lethal lost his cool when Redragon mentioned Jay Briscoe as the ROH Champion, which set the stage for an upcoming TV Title match between Lethal and O’Reilly.
As Lethal continued to insult Briscoe by saying his name was equivalent to used toilet paper, Briscoe came to the ring and brawled with Lethal. Once that brawl was under control, the KRD jumped Redragon. ACH, Christopher Daniels, and Matt Sydal saved the tag champions to seemingly reinforce their gradual face turn. The KRD storyline has not yet found its groove, but Briscoe-Lethal is probably the best possible main event ROH can offer at the moment. The injection of O’Reilly in the proceedings makes it even more interesting.