We’re heading off into Ring of Honor territory for my next review as we head back to last January for the show where Tadarius Thomas challenged Kevin Steen for the World title and the American Wolves and the Briscoes renewed their rivalry. The show in question is The Hunt for Gold.
The show began with tag team action as Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly faced B.J. Whitmer and Rhett Titus.
I really enjoyed this one. It began with some nice sequences between Whitmer and O’Reilly, and this continued when Titus tagged in. However, a few moments later Fish and O’Reilly showed how much they’ve improved as a team when they took Titus down with a variety of double team moves.
Eventually Titus managed to get back to his corner. Whitmer came in and impressed with a series of suplexes before the mass brawl, which included an outstanding move when O’Reilly ran across the ring apron and connected with a dropkick on Whitmer as he sat slumped against the barricade.
Moments later it was all over. As O’Reilly lifted Titus up for a suplex Fish delivered a stiff kick to his back, with O’Reilly finishing the move when he brought his man down with a brain buster. Fish then took the three count and pin for his team.
The singles action began with SCUM’s Steve Corino taking on Jay Lethal.
Before the match began Corino took to the microphone to talk to Lethal about respect, and how he should apologise to him and his cohorts for his previous actions. When Lethal refused Corino made some lewd comments about Lethal’s mother.
This was enough to send Lethal into overdrive as the match began. He tried to take Corino apart, but the SCUM man soon worked his way back into the match.
Corino was his usual cocky self, and as the match went on he survived the Lethal Combination and avoided the Injection. Later on he managed to stop Lethal coming down off the top rope, but he soon found himself on the wrong end of a Superkick.
Seconds later Corino was finally taken down with the Lethal Injection, with the man himself sealing the deal with a Macho Man elbow for the three count and win.
Afterwards an irate Corino vented his anger towards head honcho Nigel McGuinness at the commentary table before going backstage. McGuinness soon followed him, keen to assert his authority.
The singles action continued with Silas Young going up against Roderick Strong.
I may be mistaken here but I think this is the first time I’ve seen Young in action, and I have to admit he looked pretty good. He was more than able to hold his own with one of the best in the world.
From the start this was a hard hitting encounter, with Young eager to prove he was deserving of a regular spot on the roster. Early on he tried to show that he could chop as hard as his opponent. A bit of a bad idea I though, considering who his opponent was.
The match went along nicely as Young pulled off some impressive moves as he took control, but it wasn’t long before Strong took that control away, and although Young came close to getting the win it was Strong who took it when he connected with a gut buster and followed up with a sick kick for the winning pin.
The first title match of the evening saw Tadarius Thomas challenging Kevin Steen for the World title.
As you can probably tell from it’s place on the card this wasn’t your usual kind of World title match. It was good, but it was no thirty minute classic.
Steen spent the early stages whipping Thomas into the ringside barricades, and although he took one of these shots himself he soon regained control when he crotched his man on the ring post.
When the action returned to the ring it was obvious Steen wasn’t taking his challenger seriously, and although Thomas managed to get in a few good blows Steen maintained his control.
However, he soon took his man more seriously when Thomas made his comeback, and when he almost got the pin with his bridging under-hook suplex the champion finally realised that his challenger was the real deal.
So out came his version of the F5, and when that didn’t get the job done Steen took Thomas down with the package piledriver for the title retaining pin.
The next match saw Troy Miguel taking on Brent Daniels.
Well, that was the plan. These two began what was billed as an amateur showcase, but after just a few moments Charlie Haas came out with a case of beer in his hand. He then grabbed the microphone and did his best Stone Cold impression before challenging the youngsters to a handicap match.
They didn’t stand a chance. Although they got off a couple of good moves it wasn’t long before they were tapping out to a Haas of Pain as the Outlaw took the submission win.
Then it was on to the Proving Ground match as TV Champion Adam Cole faced Jimmy Jacobs.
Before the match began Nigel McGuinness returned to the commentary position with Steve Corino in tow, and while he didn’t reveal any details about their chat backstage it was obvious that our Nigel wanted to keep an eye on him.
So while our now three man commentary team talked about everything apart from the match Cole and Jacobs put together an excellent encounter. It was filled with tremendous back and forth action as they spent nearly twenty minutes tying each other in knots and beating the hell out of each other.
I really can’t speak too highly about this match, it was that good. This was the best I’ve seen from Jacobs in years, while Cole once again showed why he’s so highly valued by the powers that be.
Jacobs came really close to getting the win with his End Time choke hold. Cole fought it for what seemed like an age before he eventually rammed Jacobs into the turnbuckles, forcing him to release the hold.
The intensity levels went up a notch or two afterwards. Jacobs’ next chance came when he took Cole down with a Contra Code on the ring apron, with the champion just beating the referee’s count. We then saw a ton of high impact moves before Cole finally took his man down with his Florida Key for the pin, therefore denying Jacobs a title shot but earning both men a standing ovation.
The penultimate encounter was a Survival of the Fittest rematch between Rhino and Michael Elgin.
The premise for this one was simple, it was two big guys beating the proverbial out of each other, and it was pretty effective.
They began in the ring as they tested their respective strength before the action spilled outside. This began the brawl through the crowd segment that took them all around the arena before they eventually made it back to the ring.
Then the big bombs came out, but when Rhino connected with the gore Elgin surprised everyone by kicking out of the pin attempt. Rhino went for the move again a few moments later, with Elgin countering with a boot to the head. Elgin took immediate control, and when he applied the crossface for a second time Rhino had no choice but to tap out.
The main event saw the American Wolves, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, challenging Jay and Mark Briscoe for the Tag Team titles.
Now this was pretty good. It began with some nice technical exchanges, first between Mark and Richards, and then between Edwards and Jay, but when the niceties were completed and they took the action quota up a notch the match got even better.
All four men took their turn as the crash test dummy, which meant that the all hell breaking loose moments were kept to a bare minimum until the end, and as the bodies began to fly and the big guns came into play both teams had numerous chances to take the win.
The big turning point came when the Wolves signalled their intention to use the Briscoe’s finisher, the Doomsday Device, to get the win. The brothers stopped them from achieving this, with Richards crashing form the time keeper’s table, before they took Edwards down with the move themselves.
There was then a brief moment of confusion when the ring bell sounded, even though Edwards had kicked out of the pin. The referee went to great pains to point out that he’d only made a two count, and while all of this was going on Jay was taking Edwards down with the Jay Driller as the brothers retained their titles.
In conclusion - if you ever wanted an example of how ROH has changed since the Sinclair boys took over then this is it.
This definitely had a “B” show vibe about it. Kevin Kelly served as commentator and ring announcer, and early on he referred to this as a house show, which meant that we weren’t going to get any major storyline revelations here.
But despite that this was a pretty good show. All of the matches delivered in their own way, and it was very entertaining throughout.
As for my match of the night no-prize I was tempted to go for the Wolves/Briscoes encounter, but that came a close second to the Adam Cole/Jimmy Jacobs Proving Ground match.
So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing to do, and that’s to give this thing the thumbs up.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. ROH The Hunt for Gold can be purchased online at www.rohwrestling.com.