Mount Rushmore comes to ROH and Matt Taven challenges Adam Cole for the World Title!
ROH Raising The Bar: Night 1
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 3/7/14
The show starts off with a promo from ROH World Champion Adam Cole. He talks about the importance of the ROH World Title and all the challengers that are coming after his title. Cole mentions that tonight's title match will be a warm up, and this brings out his challenger for tonight, Matt Taven. He brings up the fact that he took the World TV Title from Cole last year as well as the fact that Cole has never beaten him. Cole tries to attack Taven but he counters, and Cole makes a quick escape. Taven then promises that if he wins the World Title tonight, he's going to buy shots for everyone in the crowd, which gets a massive reaction (as you would expect).
1.) Silas Young vs. Jay Lethal: ***1/4
Here we have a rematch from Death Before Dishonor XI a several months prior. Young gets a big reaction in his hometown. This was a pretty solid opener. Definitely thought this was a step up from their previous singles match. At one point, Truth Martini comes out to seemingly scout both guys. Midway through the match, Young hits a low blow on Lethal while the referee was distracted. Lethal returns the favor later on by hitting a low blow of his own and follows up with a Lethal Injection for the win.
2.) Tyson Dux vs. Michael Bennett (with Maria Kanellis): ***
It's awesome to see Tyson Dux in ROH again. He's make a few ROH appearances in 2010 and from what I saw, he's pretty good. An underrated wrestler in my eyes. A pretty good match here with Michael Bennett. The crowd didn't seem quite as into it as the rest of the show, but it was still solid. Bennett gets the win with the Anaconda Vice.
3.) Instant Reward Match - ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon vs. Adrenaline RUSH vs. Outlaw Inc.: ***1/4
So if Outlaw Inc. or Adrenaline RUSH pin or submit reDRagon, then they get an immediate World Tag Team Title Shot. These three teams start brawling right out of the gate. It had its slow moments, but then at the same time, it had some good stuff as well. Eventually, ACH is able to hit a 450 Splash and pins Kyle O'Reilly!! Adrenaline RUSH gets an instant Title Shot. Before that match could start, however, Outlaw Inc., upset by the result, attack both Adrenaline RUSH & reDRagon, laying both teams out. When they finally get Eddie Kingston & Homicide to the back, they start the title match. It goes for a minute or two when, I believe Bobby Fish, gets a quick rollup, or backslide (can't remember which) to win the match for reDRagon. The match rating is both for the Instant Reward Match and the subsequent World Tag Team Title Match.
4.) Cedric Alexander & Adam Page vs. The Decade (Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer): ***
This is part of the growing rivalry between Cedric Alexander & The Decade. Roderick Strong joined Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino on commentary for this one. A pretty solid tag team match here. It had some good action, which was mostly in the latter half of the match. They continued the story of Adam Page not standing up for himself against The Decade. Towards the end, BJ Whitmer faked injuring his neck again, and Page failed to capitalize. Once Jacobs attacked Alexander on the outside, Whitmer revealed his ruse and hit Page hard. He & Jacobs then hit the All Seeing Eye for the win.
After the match, Jacobs & Whitmer demand that Cedric Alexander get out of their ring, but they stop Adam Page from leaving. Jacobs says that they see potential in Page and want him to join them so that he can learn from true veterans. Alexander tries to warn Page against this, but he seemingly accepts The Decade's offer. He holds the ropes and the curtain open for The Decade as they exit.
5.) Roderick Strong vs. Chris Hero: ****
These two have had several matches against each other in ROH before, and I'd have to say, this was probably the best one they've ever had. I'm not sure what it was, but this was by far the best encounter between these two, and the crowd definitely helped as well. Lots great back & forth action between both guys. I should also mention that Jimmy Jacobs was on commentary, and he did explain a little bit about why Page joined them. Eventually Chris Hero gets win following a series of brutal elbows and a Stretch Plum, which Strong passed out to.
6.) Kevin Steen & The Young Bucks vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin & The Briscoes: ****1/2
This is the first, and only, time that Mount Rushmore have teamed together in ROH (though sadly, we did not see Kevin Steen's Young Bucks Attire), but they were not referred to as Mount Rushmore. Simply put, this was an AWESOME match!!! Absolutely loved it!! You know whenever you get these six guys in the ring, it's going to be great, and it delivered in spades! Just amazing action from both teams. Eventually, Elgin is able to pick up the win for his team. One of the best ROH matches of 2014 for sure.
7.) ROH World Title - Adam Cole vs. Matt Taven: ***3/4
As mentioned previously, Taven won the World TV Title from Adam Cole in March of 2013, and Cole has never beaten Matt Taven. This was a pretty good World Title Match. The wrestling was good (though at one point, Taven seemed to misjudge a dive he took to the outside towards Cole), but the crowd reactions really made this fun. They were chanting "Shots" at several points during the match, and it just made for an entertaining match. Towards the end of the match, Truth Martini comes out, but does not get involve. Taven is distracted by Truth's presence, and this allows Cole to take advantage and hit the Panama Sunrise for the win.
While Adam Cole is celebrating after the match, Jay Briscoe appears and come down to ringside. He is then followed by Michael Elgin and Kevin Steen, who surround the ringside area, as Cole tries to back up the ramp, Chris Hero comes up from behind and blocks his exit. Cole somehow finds away to escape. Then we get to hear a few words from Chris Hero. He talks about how Ring of Honor is the best wrestling company in the world and mentions how he respects the three other guys in the ring with him (Briscoe, Elgin & Steen). Hero says that when he wins the World Title in Chicago Ridge, he'll be looking forward to defending the title against the three men in the ring.
I found this to be a really enjoyable show. You had a number of pretty solid undercard action, which included some storyline developments with Adam Page seemingly accepting the tutelage of The Decade. The three top match all delivered, with the Six Man Tag being especially awesome. Plus you have the Milwaukee Crowd show its greatness once again, as they were loud and entertaining for pretty much the whole night. A pretty good show all around.