Jay Lethal def. Roderick Strong to Retain the TV Title
To no one’s surprise, Lethal and Strong started their match with a wrestling clinic, full of so many chained holds on the mat that it was hard to process all of them. The match quickly turned up to another level and Lethal hit three consecutive suicide dives to Strong on the outside to give himself a decided advantage in the early part of the confrontation.
As Strong rallied, he dropkicked J Diesel outside the ring and put Lethal down with a fireman’s carry slam. Lethal quickly swung the match back in his favor with a Lethal Combination into a Koji Clutch. Strong only escaped by pivoting his hips to get his leg under the bottom rope.
Strong again started to build momentum with a knee strike and a forearm smash, but BJ Whitmer ran in an attacked Strong. He hit a pair of exploder suplexes to cause a disqualification. As Lethal started to walk away, Strong called him a coward and asked for the ring to be restarted and Lethal obliged.
Lethal took advantage of the damage Whitmer did and quickly went for the Lethal Injection, only for Strong to counter it with a backbreaker. Letha hit a cutter and Strong responded with a superplex for a two count. Strong countered a gutbuster into the Strong Hold, but Lethal was just able to reach the ropes before he had to tap out. Lethal slowly recovered and hit Hail to the King for another near fall. Lethal came off the ropes to try the Lethal Injection again and Strong exploded into a Sick Kick to counter for a count of 2 9/10. Lethal rebounded with a pair of superkicks and a Lethal Injection to finally win.
While Lethal celebrated, Strong tracked down Whitmer backstage and they brawled to take their growing rialry to another level. Lethal posed in the ring with his TV Title and Alberto El Patron came to the ring and chased him away to tease their match at the 13th Anniversary Show.
I complimented ROH for the way it has systematically rebuilt Strong into a viable main event babyface on a recent Going Over podcast and this match only served to reinforce that status. He overcame interference from Whitmer to nearly win the TV Title and put together a tremendous main event match. Meanwhile, Lethal continues his streak of outstanding work and has put the TV Title on a pedestal for the upcoming PPV.
Alberto El Patron def. ACH
Despite an awkwardly large height advantage for El Patron, ACH stood up to his more famous opponent after they showed mutual respect in adhering to the code of honor. ACH struggled with El Patron with some mat-based grappling to start, but turned things around when he picked up the pace. After a great top rope cross-body, El Patron fought back with an inverted superplex for a two count.
ACH avoided the cross-armbreaker and El Patron hit the post with an attempted shoulder block. ACH went to the top with a double foot stomp and got a near fall from it. He overcame a superkick from El Patron and performed an athletic reverse corkscrew plancha to the outside. He dodged another cross-armbreaker and hit a German Suplex for a two count.
The match culminated when ACH went to the top rope for a 450 splash, but El Patron got his knees up to block it. He immediately locked in the cross-armbreaker and forced ACH to tap. It was a very good match in a line of them for El Patron in ROH. Getting the match was a good break for ACH and he did himself a big favor in how good he looked in the match.
Michael Elgin def. Mark Briscoe
Elgin and Briscoe provided an interesting contrast in styles between a straightforward powerhouse and an unconventional risk taker. Briscoe hit a tope con giro over the corner early and continued to dominate with punches and chops. Elgin’s power got him back in the match and he hit a 360 leg drop with Briscoe stuck between the ropes.
After Elgin missed a moonsault, Briscoe tried a tornado DDT, but Elgin blocked him. Instead, Elgin propped Briscoe on the top rope and did a version of a spinning neckbreaker. Elgin tried to stomp the life out of Briscoe and punctuated it with a top rope splash for a two count. Briscoe had a last gasp of energy as he went to the top rope, but Elgin caught him into a power bomb. He followed it with a deadlift buckle bomb and a Jay Driller to mock the Briscoe family and get the win.
After the match, Elgin found a turnbuckle crank under the ring and threatened Briscoe with it to lure his brother out from backstage. As Jay tended to Mark, Elgin clocked the champion with the ROH Title belt. Tommaso Ciampa and Hanson successively came to the ring and posed with the belt and the situation devolved into a bloody brawl. In the end, Elgin- the only true heel in the bunch- walked away with the belt.
ROH has done a fantastic job of promoting the World Title match over the previous two shows leading to the 13th Anniversary show. The TV Title was the focus of the initial promotion, but the four-way tension between over the World Title has given the show an incredibly compelling double main event.