ROH State Of The Art
San Antonio, Texas 2/8/14
1.) Jessica James vs. Angel Blue: **
Maria Kanellis is out to join Kevin Kelly on commentary. Angel Blue is from Alaska, which I find very interesting. Don't know any wrestlers from Alaska so she's definitely the first. This was actually a pretty decent pre-show match. Both women got to show what they had and looked impressive. Jessica James gets the win.
Things start off hot as Jay Briscoe, the "Real" World Champion, makes his way out. He says San Antonio came to see him whip Adam Cole's ass, and tells him to get out here right now! Cole surprisingly answers Briscoe's challenge and here we go!
1.) "Real" World Title - Jay Briscoe vs. ROH World Champion Adam Cole: ***3/4
This was going to be the Main Event, but they didn't want to wait. Jay Briscoe's version of the World Title is on the line here. Cole immediately goes to hit Briscoe with the ROH World Title but Briscoe ducks and the match starts off hot!! This was a really great match. The crowd was hot from the very beginning and I think having this go first was ultimately a good call. Lots of good action here. Eventually, after getting into it with Referee Todd Sinclair when he tried to his Briscoe with the "Real" World Title Belt, Jay is able to hit the Jay Driller and successfully defeat Cole to retain his version of the World Title.
2.) The Romantic Touch vs. Caprice Coleman: **1/2
Here we have a match where both men are looking for their first wins in 2014. Solid action here. The match was mostly ok but picked up near the end. Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino speculate that Veda Scott isn't at the show tonight because of The Romantic Touch and the "intimate interactions" they supposedly might have had. Coleman gets the win.
3.) BJ Whitmer (with Jimmy Jacobs & Roderick Strong) vs. Raymond Rowe: **3/4
Rowe is coming off being in the finals of the 2014 Top Prospect Tournament, where he lost to Hanson. Again, another decent match, but nothing that's really worth nothing. Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino did a good job on commentary explains The Decade's views and the reasons why they're going after the young talent. BJ Whitmer gets the win over Rowe.
After the match, Jimmy Jacobs cuts a promo, explaining The Decades motivations and why they are targeting people like Chris Hero & AJ Styles, who have returning to the company, and the younger stars like Cedric Alexander and Adrenaline RUSH. He tells BJ to relax since he's done for the night, and calls out Cedric Alexander for their match.
4.) Jimmy Jacobs (with Roderick Strong) vs. Cedric Alexander: ***1/4
This took a while to get going, but when it did, it got good. It told a solid story between the younger Alexander and the veteran Jacobs. A funny moment during the match saw Strong getting into it verbally with an older gentleman and (presumably) his grandson who were sitting in the front row. Towards the end of the match, Cedric Alexander calls out Strong before he hits his backbreaker variation, the Lumbar Check, on Jimmy Jacobs. Strong gets on the apron and distracts Cedric long enough for Jacobs to hit a spear and pin him for the win.
After the match, Strong takes the mic and tells Cedric that his performance tonight didn't earn their respect. He lectures Cedric about not stealing other people's moves and then tells Cedric to unlace Jimmy Jacobs' boots. Alexander refuses multiple times so The Decade decide to kick him out of the locker room. BJ Whitmer brings out and throws Cedric's bag around and they block Cedric from going backstage.
5.) Alex Reigns vs. Weezy Woo: *3/4
Here we have a match that's being billed as a local showcase. Nothing really much to say here. Just your basic stuff. This served mainly to set up the next segment.
After Weezy Woo got the victory, RD Evans came out (in very colorful ring attire) with his own personal referee, Ramon, and quickly pinned Alex Reigns with Ramon counting the pin. He then goes to pin Weezy Woo but he kicks out. Evans quickly grabs the mic and tries to apologize by saying he just wanted to pin the other guy and got caught up in the moment. He seemingly congratulates Weezy Woo on his win but when his back is turned, Evans rolls him up and Ramon counts 3!! The New Streak continues!! RD Evans touts his success, and says he should be called Mr. ROH. This brings out Roderick Strong, who is not pleased, and leads to a match between the two...
6.) "Barrister" RD Evans vs. Roderick Strong: **1/4
Something like this would normally be seen as a squash, but RD Evans got in some offense in so I decided to rate it. This was more of a match within an overall segment that advanced both The New Streak & The Decade's storyline with Cedric Alexander, who after being kicked out of the locker room, joins Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino on commentary. Towards the end of the match, Strong spits on Cedric twice. This leads to Alexander getting in the ring, and while he goes to hit Strong, he ducks and hits RD Evans instead. Strong & Alexander brawl to the back, while a dazed RD Evans is declared the winner by DQ, thus keeping The New Streak alive at 32-0, much to the crowd's delight!!
7.) Michael Bennett (with Maria Kanellis) vs. Mark Briscoe: ***1/4
This was a pretty solid match. Good back & forth action between both guys. Mark Briscoe is always entertaining (he came out in a cowboy hat) and Bennett is always improving and has gotten to the point where he doesn't have bad matches anymore. Bennett would end up getting the win with the Anaconda Vice (or as he likes to call it, "Go Back To Japan").
After the match, Bennett cuts a promo with Maria in the ring. He talks about how great of a World Champion Adam Cole is and essentially challenges Jay Briscoe for his version of the World Title. This brings out Jay who goes to fight with Bennett, but it appears to be a setup as Adam Cole shows up and attacks from behind. Mark Briscoe recovers and joins the fight with his brother as Cole, Bennett & Maria retreat to the back, leaving The Briscoes standing tall in the ring.
8.) Proving Ground Match - ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon vs. Adrenaline RUSH: ****
If ACH & TaDarius Thomas get the win here, they earn a future World Tag Team Title Match. This was a great match. Started off slow, put picked up a lot in the second half and got really good down the stretch. All four of these guys are very good wrestlers so it proved to be very entertaining to watch. Towards the end of the match, ACH hits a massive dive to the outside, leading to a huge frog splash and the pin!! Adrenaline RUSH earn themselves a future ROH World Tag Team Title Shot as Fish & O'Reilly are visibly upset about losing the match.
9.) Fatal Four-Way #1 Contender's Match - Jay Lethal vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. ROH World TV Champion "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. Kevin Steen: ****
So with Adam Cole & Jay Briscoe deciding the have their match at the start of the show, that meant this was now the Main Event. Not only that, but it now a Fatal Four-Way (They called it a Four Corner Survival with Texas Tornado Rules, but dammit, it's a Fatal Four-Way) and the winner will receive a future ROH World Title Shot. I really enjoyed this. All four guys in this match are great wrestlers so it's no surprise that we got a really good Main Event. Everyone got a chance to shine, but it was seemingly Kevin Steen who shined brightest, winning the match after giving Jay Lethal the Package Piledriver on top of Michael Elgin.
After the match, Kevin Steen takes the mic to cut a promo. He talks about how, over the last year, he hasn't felt like he belonged in ROH since he hasn't been focused on what's important after dealing with S.C.U.M. and most recently Cliff Compton. He mentions how Jay Lethal & Michael Elgin have shown him what he should be like (in terms of their goals of becoming champions in ROH) and talks about the lineage of the ROH World Title. He says before he's done with ROH, he wants to win the ROH World Title back and have another reign, but this time, he wants to have a reign he can be proud of and that will live up to legacy of the ROH World Title.
On the whole, I'd say that this was a relatively enjoyable show. You have a really hot opener that furthered the Adam Cole/Jay Briscoe rivalry and two top matches in the form of the Proving Ground Match and the Fatal Four-Way that definitely delivered at the top of the card. The undercard had some good to decent wrestling on it but it felt like at times that the middle of show dragged a bit. The good thing is the San Antonio Crowd was very good the whole night so it made the show easy to watch and enjoy. A solid outing from ROH.