Ring of Honor is on the agenda next, and for the first time in a while we're going to look at an event DVD as we go back to April 5th, 2013, with Jay Briscoe challenging Kevin Steen for the World title in the main event of Supercard of Honor VII.
The show began with tag team action as ACH and Tadarius Thomas went up against Q.T. Marshall, accompanied by his barrister R.D. Evans, and his mystery partner.
There was a ton of jaw-jacking at the beginning of this one, and after much hype Evans revealed that after a worldwide search Marshall's mystery partner was none other than....R.D. Evans himself. Needless to say that Marshall was none too pleased with Evans' choice.
So when the match eventually began it turned into one of those nice little short and sweet encounters. ACH and Thomas had the best of the early going until Marshall and his legal mind took control and used Thomas for a spot of target practice. Evans pulled off some good moves, although there were a few communication problems between barrister and client.
Thomas soon made it back to his corner, and that was the cue for ACH to go through the gears as he mixed lightning-fast attacks with high flying. Thomas soon joined him in that respect, and even though Evans came close to getting the pin when he took ACH down with an inverted Styles clash-like move ACH quickly came back and pinned Marshall after his DDT variation, the big bang attack.
We then had an appearance from Shelton Benjamin. Benjamin had originally been scheduled to face his former tag partner Charlie Haas on the show, but after Haas promptly retired a week before he found himself without an opponent, and after he briefly addressed that situation he called one of the ring crew team, a young lad who went by the name Cheeseburger, into the ring.
Benjamin spoke briefly about Cheeseburger's wish to become a pro wrestler before they were quickly interrupted by the returning Mike Bennett, his coach Brutal Bob, and his girlfriend Maria. Bennett gave us the usual stuff about how he was also without a match before insulting young Cheeseburger. Then, to the surprise of many, Cheeseburger snatched the microphone away from Bennett and proceeded to insult him with words I can't put here, mainly because of some of the family-friendly places this review will appear.
Bennett was none too please and slugged Cheeseburger, knocking him out cold, and after the youngster was carted out of the ring Benjamin announced that he'd finally found himself a match.
What followed was quite an eventful encounter. It began with Benjamin taking his man to school before Bennett stopped him in his tracks with a spinebuster. We then had plenty of back and forth action, as well as a little interference from Brutal Bob, and little smooching with the lovely Maria, and Bennett accidentally super kicking his girl off the ring apron.
Benjamin then came close to getting the win a few times, but when he flew off the top rope and tried to take Bennett down with a sunset flip Bennett held onto the ropes to counter the move, while his coach also assisted him as the somewhat unsighted referee counted the winning pin.
The singles action continued with the number one contender's match as Michael Elgin took on Jay Lethal.
Before this match began I was all set to call it your typical power versus speed battle, but after just a few minutes it became obvious that this was more than that.
Both guys put on tremendous performances here as they sought to get a crack at the gold. Lethal looked absolutely brilliant with his speed and agility, and while Elgin brought a great deal of power into the equation he was able to more than match Lethal in the agility department.
All of these ingredients gave us one hall of a back and forth encounter. There was so much great stuff it would take too long to list here, and even though I've raved about Elgin's agility it was his power that gave me my highlight of the match when, while standing on the middle rope, he dead-lifted Lethal into a superplex.
Elgin put on another tremendous display of power later on in the match. As they jockeyed for position on the top rope he eventually won out and took him down with a super powerbomb. He then grabbed hold of Lethal again and powerbombed him into the corner before taking him down with a final sit-down powerbomb to take the winning pin, earning him a future shot at the title and earning both men a standing ovation.
Sadly there was no time for a post-match celebration as Steve Corino and his SCUM boys, Rhett Titus, Rhino, Jimmy Jacobs, Jimmy Rave and Cliff Compton hit the ring and cleaned house. Corino then took to the microphone demanding that ROH's team come out for their match. B.J. Whitmer, Mark Briscoe, Mike Mondo, Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander promptly responded to Corino's request.
Thus began the mass brawl as all ten men began to fight around ringside. Eventually a wrestling match broke out as Mondo took the punching bag treatment for his side, and after taking a ton of punishment from all five of his opponents he managed to make it back to his corner for the hot tag to Whitmer.
Thus began the mass brawl.....again, this time with bodies flying all over the place, as well as Corino brawling with commentator Caleb Seltzer, throwing him into the ringside barricade. Then we had the obligatory segment where one man would execute a big move before being taken down by another man's big move.
All of this led to Whitmer getting handcuffed to the bottom rope, and while the rest of the SCUM boys battered him Rhino took Alexander down with the gore for the winning pin.
The special attraction followed as Roderick Strong went up against Karl Anderson.
I have to admit that I don't know much about Anderson, apart from what was said here by our esteemed commentators, but what I saw impressed the hell out of me, because these two put together a hell of a back and forth encounter.
It may have lasted a tad under fifteen minutes but they certainly fitted a lot of action into this one. Strong was his usual solid self, and if the Machine Gun was looking to make a favourable first impression on ROH fans then it was definitely mission accomplished.
The best exchanges came towards the end of the match. They were so fast at times I'm surprised the announcers managed to fit everything in. Strong managed to counter Anderson's finisher of choice so many times, but just when it looked like he was about to take the upper hand Anderson finally connected with the ace crusher to take the winning pin and the second standing ovation of the evening.
The first title match of the evening saw Matt Hardy and Adam Cole challenging Truth Martini guy Matt Taven for the World TV title in an elimination match.
Now this was an interesting one. Along with the well executed action in the ring you also had quite a bit going on at ringside, beginning with Martini offering his hoopla hottie to commentator/match-maker Nigel McGuinness. If I tell you that puppies were almost involved you can probably guess what almost happened. Then, a few minutes later, Hardy's "best friend" and personal SCUM ring announcer Steve Corino almost got into a fight with McGuinness.
As for the match it was pretty decent. All three men put in good performances, and I think this is the first time I've seen a decent performance from Matt Hardy during his second stint in ROH. As for the eliminations.....
Hardy was the first man eliminated. After he'd taken Taven down with a twist of fate Martini jumped onto the ring apron to argue with the referee, which meant that the official couldn't count his pin. This gave Cole the opportunity to kick Hardy below the belt, and when the referee turned his attention back to the match the first thing he saw was Cole pinning Hardy with a small package.
Cole himself went a few seconds later. Hardy and Corino were outraged at the way that Cole had gained his pin, even though that was a tactic they'd used on Cole before, and when Corino got into the ring to shake Cole's hand Cole grabbed him by the tie. While this was going on Taven came up on Cole from behind, and although Cole managed to reverse the positions and go for a roll-up when Taven kicked out it knocked Cole into Corino, sending him flying out of the ring. Taven then took Cole down with his modified DDT for the title retaining pin.
The penultimate match saw Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards of the American Wolves challenging reDRagon's Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish for the Tag Team titles.
Fast paced and hard hitting action was very much the order of the day in this one. Early on our esteemed commentators said that these teams were mirror images of each other, and it showed throughout with the way they put together their tremendous exchanges.
Both of the Wolves took turns at taking the punching bag treatment, and after Edwards finished his stint it signalled the start of the all hell breaking loose segment. This part went on for some time, and it ultimately proved to be the best part of the match with it's countless near falls and the two teams kicking the proverbial out of each other.
The Wolves came close to getting the pin so many times, but at the end of the day it just wasn't meant to be. After O'Reilly accidentally clobbered Fish on the ring apron Richards rolled him up, but when the former protégé kicked out Fish kicked Richards in the head. This gave O'Reilly the chance to get his own roll-up as he used a handful of tights to help get the title retaining pin.
The main event saw Jay Briscoe challenging Kevin Steen for the World title.
If you've read my other ROH show reviews you'll know that I was never really a fan of Steen as World Champion. To me his title matches just seemed a little lacklustre compared to those of previous champions. This one, though, was a whole different kettle of fish.
It possessed an absolute ton of drama throughout, and a perfect storyline. It began with Steen working over the shoulder that his SCUM buddy Rhino had previously injured, and as the match went on it became one of those knock down, drag out affairs you just couldn't take your eyes off.
The drama quotient was taken up a notch when various members of SCUM tried to interject themselves into the proceedings. First Jimmy Jacobs found himself blocked off by Jay's brother Mark, and when Rhett Titus and Cliff Compton tried to interfere Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman ran them off.
As the match reached it's fever pitch, with both men having beaten the proverbial out of each other, the ROH locker room emptied as they cheered Briscoe on. Both men brought out the big guns and became increasingly frustrated at their ability to put each other away, especially after they kicked out of each other's finisher.
Then the entire SCUM faction returned, and after the ROH boys brawled with them and the referee left the ring to make sure they wouldn't interfere Matt Hardy sneaked into the ring. Then came the big surprise. As Hardy was about to take Briscoe down with a twist of fate Steen booted him in the bread basket before throwing him over the top rope. This left Steen wide open though, and within seconds he'd taken him down with a Jay driller for the winning pin.
Then, while Briscoe was celebrating with his family, the beaten Steen grabbed the microphone, but instead of saying anything he shook the new champion's hand before leaving the ring, earning the plaudits of the crowd in the process.
In conclusion - even though I keep hearing about how Ring of Honor are past their best and have been going downhill for years that's something I can't agree with, judging by the quality of this release.
Supercard of Honor VII was a great show from top to bottom. All of the matches delivered big time, and there were fine performances throughout, including from the guys that I've been somewhat critical of in past reviews.
As for my match of the night no-prize there were several contenders, and this time around I'm going for the hard hitting encounter between the American Wolves and reDRagon, although Steen and Briscoe ran them very close.
So with all of that out of the way there's just one more thing left to do, and that's to give this thing the big thumbs up.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. ROH Supercard of Honor VII is available to buy online at www.rohwrestling.com.