Jay Briscoe def. Matt Taven
Briscoe suggested to Nigel McGuinness that he create a fourway elimination match for the ROH Title at their next show in Las Vegas. He said that Hanson, Michael Elgin, and Tommaso Ciampa could all have a shot at him since no one could win the #1 Contender’s match last week. The challenge got a big pop for Briscoe and excited the fans for his match with Taven.
Taven tried to jump Briscoe while Maria Kanellis and Michael Bennett distracted him outside the ring, but Briscoe remained focused. Taven eventually used The Kingdom to his advantage. Briscoe stalked Maria and tried to regain his old title belt and Taven hit him with a plancha on the floor. He could not maintain that advantage, though, as Briscoe got his knees up on a frog splash attempt.
After a Taven superkick, Briscoe hurled Taven into the turnbuckle with an STO. He blocked a top rope hurricanrana and hit Taven with a Jay Driller to get the clean win in the middle of the ring. Bennett and Maria jumped him and taunted him after the win until Mark Briscoe rescued his brother. He challenged The Kingdom to a tag match last week to create a loaded card.
Frankie Kazarian def. Cedric Alexander
The lively match at the top of the card had the side benefit of serving as a promotion for next week’s main event. Kazarian’s tag partner, Christopher Daniels, is set to face Alberto El Patron in his first ROH match next week, and he sat in on commentary to discuss that big match.
There was no bad blood between Kazarian and Alexander after they teamed together and lost at Final Battle. Alexander got a near fall off a series of suplexes and another from a nice Michinoku Driver. He got overzealous and charged Kazarian out of control, which allowed Kazarian to counter with an overhead throw. Kazarian sprung over the apron and nailed a DDT to daze Alexander. Alexander gathered himself with a pair of enzuigiris, but Kazarian countered a springboard splash with a cutter. He finished Alexander with an Unprettier.
Alberto El Patron Debuted on the Mic
The former Alberto Del Rio positioned himself in an unfamiliar role as a fan favorite in a brief promo. He expressed some of his frustration about leaving WWE and said “I am a wrestler, I’m not a [expletive] sports entertainer.” It only took him a couple of minutes before he called out Jay Briscoe and asked for a shot at the ROH Title.
Instead, Jay Lethal and Truth Martini came to the ring to confront him. They insisted that Lethal is the #1 wrestler in ROH, not Briscoe. He added that his TV Title is the most prestigious title in the world and demanded an apology and threatened to prematurely end El Patron’s ROH career if he would not apologize. El Patron that he meant no disrespect, but challenged Lethal to a match. Martini interrupted and said he would have to earn a shot at Lethal.
In a smaller setting, El Patron’s charisma and polish- which sometimes got lost in WWE- were obvious. It was also impressive that he stood a solid 6” taller than Lethal even though he was never known as a big wrestler in WWE.
Donovan Dijak def. Jake Dirden in the Top Prospect Tournament
Dirden got everyone’s attention right away with a look and attitude that combines Cactus Jack and Bruiser Brody. At a billed 6’7 and 270 pounds, Dijak stood out himself with impressive speed and agility in the ring. He threw Dirden to the outside and delivered a somersault plancha to the floor. Back in the ring, Dirden countered Dijak’s attempt at a discus clothesline with a chokeslam for a two count. Dijak hit an inverted fireman’s carry into a knee to the face- it looked like a combination between an AA and a GTS (GATAS?”) that he called Feast Your Eyes to win. Dirden’s distinctive look will get him a chance somewhere and it appeared that he has the basics to work. Dijak, though, looked more polished and seems to have real potential as a big man and an athlete.