Ring of Honor Review – Two Big Matches Set for 14th Anniversary

1/27/16 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Nigel McGuinness announces triple-threat main event for 14th Anniversary

Nigel was about to make an announcement, but was interrupted by The House of Truth. Jay Lethal told Nigel that if he has an announcement to make, it was probably about him, so he might as well be out there for it. Nigel said that Lethal had beaten AJ Styles and Michael Elgin decisively, and he doesn’t need Nigel to tell him he’s the best wrestler in the world.

Nigel said that when he thinks of credible contenders, he thinks of Kyle O’Reilly, because if it wasn’t for Adam Cole’s interference, O’Reilly might be the title-holder already. Lethal said that a one-on-one match with O’Reilly is “a night off for me.” Nigel said that while O’Reilly is a worthy competitor, because Cole beat O’Reilly at Final Battle, Cole is the true No. 1 Contender.

Cole entered and asked the crowd if they were ready for “story time with Adam Cole.” He said that O’Reilly has no business in the ROH title picture, then reminded Lethal that he hasn’t beaten him since he won the title. Cole swore to win the title at 14th Anniversary, but Nigel said that he had one more caveat.

Nigel said that O’Reilly wants to get his hands on Cole badly, and that he assumes Cole wants to get his hands on O’Reilly as well. Nigel made the 14th Anniversary match a triple threat with O’Reilly “to kill two birds with one stone.” O’Reilly entered and said that he can’t wait for Las Vegas to get a piece of Cole and Lethal. Nigel responded by making a match between the team of Lethal and Cole vs. ReDragon for next week’s show.

Scott’s Thoughts: With the recent departure of AJ Styles, this triple threat is the biggest match ROH can book right now, without including the incoming NJPW talent working 14th Anniversary. I like the way they’re working two storylines into Lethal’s title picture: Cole’s quest to regain the belt, and O’Reilly’s personal beef with Cole.

Jay Briscoe (w/ Mark Briscoe) def. Michael Elgin and Moose (w/ Stokely Hathaway) in a triple threat match

Before the scheduled Briscoe/Elgin singles match began, Moose and Stokely Hathaway entered. Stokely said that since Nigel is in the mood to book triple threats, he had asked him to make this match a triple threat as well. Nigel agreed, and the match got underway.

Jay clotheslined Moose over the top rope to begin the match, and Elgin hit a plancha onto both men on the floor. Elgin tossed Jay back into the ring and held him up for a delayed vertical suplex. Moose returned to the ring and kicked Elgin twice, but instead of dropping Jay, he set him on Moose’s shoulders. Elgin hit Moose with a DDT, which sent Jay into a neckbreaker, in a clever three-way spot.

Moose responded with a dropkick that sent Elgin off the second rope to the floor, but Jay hit Moose with three big boots and a basement dropkick for a near-fall. Moose took Jay up top and set up for a superplex, but Elgin turned it into a Tower of Doom by powerbombing Moose. Elgin hit a springboard splash on Moose, following up with a schoolboy powerbomb, in an incredible show of strength.

Jay broke up the pinfall, but Elgin hit him with an enziguiri. Jay answered with a death valley driver for two, but Moose recovered and speared Jay. Elgin landed an enziguiri on Moose, who answered with a pop-up clothesline for a near-fall.

Elgin dodged a Moose spear, but ran right into a superkick from Jay. Elgin knocked Jay down with a lariat, but Jay quickly slipped Elgin into a backslide to earn the pinfall victory. After the match, Elgin commended Jay, saying that they’re 1-1 in singles matches, but tonight it had taken both Jay and Moose to defeat him.

Elgin told the Briscoes that tonight doesn’t sit well with him, so he challenged them to team up against himself and Hiroshi Tanahashi at 14th Anniversary. The Briscoes immediately accepted, shaking hands with Elgin to close the show.

Scott’s Thoughts: It was good to see Jay pick up a high-profile victory in the main event, because he’s been slightly overlooked since losing the title. The Briscoes vs. Elgin/Tanahashi is a great match for 14th Anniversary, because Elgin has gained so much popularity in Japan.

Brian Fury def. Shaheem Ali by pinfall in the first round of the Top Prospect Tournament

Fury — trainer of 2015 ROH Top Prospect Donovan Dijak and WWE’s Sasha Banks — met with Ali in the tournament’s first round. Neither man could gain an advantage early on, with Ali hitting a basement dropkick for the first near-fall. Ali followed up with a gorilla press slam and a splash for another two-count.

Fury fought back with a schoolboy that sent Ali into the turnbuckles, then hit a side suplex. Ali answered with a heel kick and a gutwrench powerbomb, but Fury kicked out. Fury nailed Ali with a running neckbreaker and tried for a springboard crossbody to the outside, but Ali caught him and countered with a fisherman’s suplex on the floor.

Back in the ring, Ali climbed up top, but Fury grabbed the referee’s foot. Ali jumped back down to the mat and hit a pop-up powerbomb for the pinfall.

Scott’s Thoughts: The foot-grab was a bit of an odd ref spot, but the match was solid on the whole. Both men looked good, and Ali clearly has a future in the industry despite his first-round loss here.

Cedric Alexander (w/ Veda Scott) def. Cheeseburger by pinfall
Jonathan Gresham def. Cedric Alexander (w/ Veda Scott) by disqualification

Veda cut a pre-match promo bragging about how much money she had gotten for Cedric in his legal settlement, referring to Cedric’s loss to Gresham as a fluke, and saying that they were moving on to bigger and better things. Scott said Cedric is the best in the world, and challenged the locker room, only for Cheeseburger to answer the call. Cheeseburger rolled Cedric up twice to earn early near-falls, following up with a hurricanrana for a near-fall.

Cheeseburger hit a springboard knee strike but came up empty on the palm strike. Cedric hit the Lumbar Check to quickly end the match. After the match, Cedric beat up on Cheeseburger until Gresham made the save. Veda asked him if he wanted another shot at Cedric, and Gresham accepted.

Gresham quickly locked in a cobra twist, and Scott jumped in the ring and attacked him, causing the DQ. Cedric hit Gresham with a superkick and three single-leg dropkicks, followed by a Lumbar Check. Finally, several referees hit the ring and separated Cedric from Gresham.

Scott’s Thoughts: I still don’t really get where the Cedric/Gresham feud is going, but as far as filler goes, it gets much worse than Veda Scott-feuled filler.