ROH Winter Warriors Tour: Dearborn
Dearborn, Michigan 1/30/15
The show kicks off with the Ring of Honor World Champion, Jay Briscoe! He says he doesn’t want to wait until later in the show to defend his title against Michael Bennett. He wants to face him right now! Bennett comes out with Maria, and it looks like we are indeed getting that match now!
1.) ROH World Title - Jay Briscoe vs. Michael Bennett (with Maria Kanellis): **3/4
For those wondering, Maria was still in possession of the “Title of Love” (Jay Briscoe’s cameo belt). It’s so weird seeing a match for the ROH World Title open a show. For an opening match, this was fine, but as a ROH World Title Match, it was easily the weakest of Jay Briscoe’s reign. Of course, nobody expected a title change here, and Briscoe eventually retained with the Jay Driller.
After the match, Jay Briscoe tried to get his cameo belt (“The Title of Love”) back, but Matt Taven stops him. Mark Briscoe comes out for the save, but Maria escapes with the belt. Jay Briscoe then takes the mic and says that The Briscoes & The Kingdom need to settle their feud once and for all.
2.) BJ Whitmer vs. Hanson: **½
I thought this was a pretty solid match. Not quite as good as the opener, but perfectly fine for the second match on the show. Given that he would be in the Main Event of the 13th Anniversary Show (A Four-Corner Survival Match for the ROH World Title), it made sense that Hanson would get the win here over Whitmer, which he did.
3.) "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. Tyson Dux: ***1/4
It’s always nice to see Tyson Dux get more booking with ROH. I feel like he could be a solid hand in the mid-card. Here, he’s got a big task ahead of him in the form of Tommaso Ciampa. This was a pretty solid match, easily the best on the show up to this point. Ciampa is also a participant in the Four-Corner Survival Match for the ROH World Title at the 13th Anniversary Show, so much like Hanson in the previous match, him getting a strong win here over Dux makes sense, as he builds momentum towards the PPV.
4.) Jimmy Jacobs vs. TaDarius Thomas: ***1/2
It had been announced that this would be the last match in ROH for TaDarius Thomas, as he decided to leave wrestling all together to focus on his MMA career. I know people had mixed opinions on TaDarius Thomas, but he went out on a very good note here against Jimmy Jacobs. A really solid match between these two, who are both hometown guys. I enjoyed it a lot. You could really tell that these two are very familiar with each other. Jacobs gets the win here.
Afterwords, Jacobs takes the mic and says that he only shakes hands with people who belong in ROH. He says that Thomas belongs in MMA, and while he won’t shake his hand, he does say “Thank You”.
5.) Matt Sydal vs. Matt Taven: ***¼
This was a match that I was looking forward to coming in, and while it wasn’t a specular match, by any means, it was still a very solid match. What’s important to note here is that Adam Cole came out for commentary with Kevin Kelly. While Cole was still injured, he had a habit of doing this thing where he would come out on commentary and just not say anything. He tries to interfere late in the match to help Taven, but it didn’t work out for The Kingdom, as Sydal got the win.
After the match, Sydal wants Taven to shake his hand. He does, but gives him an obscene on the way out.
6.) The Romantic Touch vs. Dru Onyx: *
Here were have a late addition to the show. This wasn’t very good, and that was mainly due to the match length. If you want to give The Romantic Touch a win over a local guy, that’s fine, but don’t have the match go nearly NINE minutes! At most, it should be a five minute match. The Romantic Touch wins, and we move on with the show...
7.) "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. Mark Briscoe: ***¼
Elgin is also a participant in the Four-Corner Survival Match for the ROH World Title at the 13th Anniversary Show, and to prepare, he taking on Mark Briscoe. This was a very solid match, in my opinion. Elgin gets the win with the Jay Driller, which was a clear shot at Jay Briscoe.
After the match, Elgin continues to attack Mark, until his brother Jay comes out for the save. Elgin backs down, but then goes after Jay! Ciampa came out and attack Elgin, and then Hanson came out to attack Ciampa! It turned into a big brawl between the four, but Elgin would escape and pose with the ROH World Title.
8.) ACH vs. Alberto El Patron: ***3/4
This is El Patron’s second match in ROH, and he’s taking on the always entertaining ACH! I thought this was a really good match! It was easily the best match on the show. While it started off a bit slow, it did pick up, and we ended up getting a very enjoyable match. Both guys looked good, and the crowd was into them. ACH got a good deal of offense in on El Patron during the second part of the match, which was good to see. Despite an impressive outing here, ACH would eventually tap out to El Patron’s Cross Armbreaker. The two would shake hands after the match.
9.) ROH World TV Title - Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini & J. Diesel) vs. Roderick Strong: ***1/2
The Main Event sees Roderick Strong challenging Jay Lethal for the ROH World Title. This isn’t the first time these two have clashed over this title, and Strong won it from Lethal almost (at this point) three years prior in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. While this wasn’t able to top ACH vs. Alberto El Patron, this was still a very good match. It could have been great, but BJ Whitmer came down and attacked Strong, forcing the referee to call for the bell. Strong, however, demands that Jay Lethal (who was in the process of leaving) get back in the ring so they could restart the match. After calling Lethal a coward, the ROH World TV Champion returns to the ring and the match is restarted. Lethal would eventually retain with the Lethal Injection. Again, this could have been great, but everything that went down with the match being restarted hurt the match, in my view.
Afterwords, Strong went to the back and brawled with BJ Whitmer. Alberto El Patron then came out to the ring and brawled with Lethal, who eventually bailed and went to the back. El Patron celebrated with the fans to close the show.
This was a very fascinating show in the sense that every match on this card was a regular one-on-one match. As far as the match quality goes, there was only one bad match on the show, but everything else is decent to solid to really good. Alberto El Patron vs. ACH was easily Match of the Night. Jimmy Jacobs vs. TaDarius Thomas was very solid as well. Despite it’s shortcomings with the booking, Lethal vs. Strong was also really good. The rest of the undercard was fine, but unremarkable. If there’s something this show did really well, it’s that it built up to the 13th Anniversary Show very well. Some of this stuff did show up on Ring of Honor Wrestling Television, so I’d only pick up the DVD if there’s a sale going on.