These are live spoilers and impressions from the third ROH TV taping from the Du Burns Arena in Baltimore on June 23. This taping will air this weekend.
WHAT TO WATCH: There are only two matches on this show. You’ll want to check out the main event for the ROH title, but I didn’t find it exciting live. We in the crowd suspected correctly that ROH wouldn’t change the title to Hardy at a TV taping, there were so many Twist of Fates they stopped mattering, and Jay was on defense most of the time. Not terrible, but not nearly as good as the main event of Best in the World. The Roderick Strong vs Adam Cole match was average for both of them. If you like their stuff normally, check it out.
Match 1: Roderick Strong def. Adam Cole by DQ in 12 minutes – Adam Cole (who completely ignored an expectant Steve Corino on the way in) was scheduled to face Wes Ferrara, but before the match Roderick came to the ring.
RODERICK: Excuse me for a second. Adam, I really just wanted to come out here and get this off my chest. At Best in the World, I think you made a decision that wasn’t as honorable as you say you are. Adam, you’re the type of guy who comes in the locker room, shakes everybody’s hand and tells everybody that you’re their friend. But at Best in the World you had an opportunity to do the right thing, and that you didn’t do. You would think I would be mad at you, Adam, but the more and more I watched, the more I got disappointed.
(Adam Cole, slightly exasperated, beckoned for the microphone)
COLE: Roderick, since I started here I have prided myself on fighting with honor. When me and you faced each other at Best in the World, I saw the opportunity. I’d been so obsessed with wins and losses that when the chance for me to beat one of the very best in Ring of Honor, whether it be by countout, came, I took it. Roderick, if I disrespected you in any way or disrespected this company by not being honorable, I apologize.
COLE: (to Wes Ferrara) As a matter of fact, listen, you deserved your opportunity here tonight. You’re a very hard worker and I’d be happy to have this match with you at some point, but it cannot happen right now. Because I think the people of Baltimore would like to see a Best in the World rematch! (crowd: yes!) You guys want to see Adam Cole vs Roderick Strong right now? Roderick, I’m going to prove to you tonight that Adam Cole does have honor.
After two quick flurries led to standoffs, Adam Cole controlled Roderick at a slow pace with suplexes and submissions. But after a couple minutes, Roderick hit a big standing dropkick and took over with speed, power and precision. He nailed some nasty chops, a muay thai knee, running bulldog, backbreaker and Olympic slam.
Cole slipped over the top and forced Roderick’s back into the ringside apron. Worse for wear, but recovering quickly, Cole locked on the Figure 4. They fought to the top turnbuckle where Roderick executed the superplex. He followed with a spinning elbow and gutbuster, but Cole kicked out his legs and applied the Figure 4 again. Roderick reversed into a small package and then a Stronghold when that didn’t work. Cole kicked Roderick off, sending him into the referee.
With the ref down, both men rained elbows on the other. Roderick quit that game with a jumping knee to the face followed by a flurry of shots to the head. But Adam had just enough to connect with his own superkick. Now everyone was down.
Steve Corino ran to the apron, encouraging Cole to get up. He threw a chain in his direction, but Roderick picked it up instead. Cole, thinking that Roderick intended to hit him with it, grabbed the chain and crushed Roddy in head. The referee saw the shot and DQ’ed Cole. Adam shouted once loudly at Corino and stormed out.
Match 2: Jay Briscoe successfully defends the ROH World Championship against Matt Hardy (with Steve Corino) in 14 minutes – Papa Briscoe watched from the corner.
CORINO: Ladies and gentlemen. The following contest is your television main event. It is set for one
fall. (he grabbed the ROH cover of the microphone and threw it to the ground) Introducing first, the icon, the living legend, beauty that has stepped foot in the ring, a man that has had eras named after him, a man that has invented more pro wrestling style matches than you can even count, a man that can walk on water(!), a man that is stronger than death, ladies and gentlemen, you all remember when JFK was popped in the head, you remember when that 9/11 thing happened…tonight you’re going to remember where you were when this man becomes the next, and final, Ring of Honor Champion. From Cameron, North Carolina, he weighs in tonight at 235.976 pounds. I give to you, your savior, Maaaaaaatttttt, Maaaaattttttt, MAAAAAAAAATTTTT HARDY!!!!!
(crowd: man up!)
HARDY (to Jay): You can’t stop it.
The story of the match was Matt Hardy’s working over of Jay Briscoe’s wrapped, injured left shoulder and bicep. Hardy ran Jay into the ringpost and barricade multiple times, hit a single arm DDT, elbowed him repeatedly in the back of the neck, torqued his arm over the top rope and then hit a Side Effect followed shortly thereafter by a Twist of Fate. Jay kicked out at two. He got some hope spots by hitting a superkick and neckbreaker, but Corino’s interference led to a second Twist of Fate. But still a two count! The champ won’t go down that easy!
(crowd: man up!)
Jay Driver out of nowhere! But only a two count. Jay decided he didn’t like Hardy’s ankle, so he stomped it so bad Hardy took his boot off…and promptly clunked Jay over the head with it. He then hit not one, but TWO more Twists of Fate to get the 1-2-NO! Jay kicked out! After a second turnbuckle suplex, the men traded shots on their knees. Matt quick gut-kicked Jay and went for a FIFTH Twist of Fate, but Jay quickly reversed into a small package to get the three count.
Rhino immediately hit the ring and gored Jay into early retirement. This drew Mark Briscoe out, but Corino just handful-of-quarters’ed him to the back of the skull. Elgin, Lethal and Whitmer raced out, but S.C.U.M. wrist-tied them to the bottom rope. S.C.U.M. placed the ROH Title around Matt Hardy’s waist while Rhino bludgeoned Mark with a chair. Then they placed Jay’s injured arm and shoulder in the chair.
CORINO: Finish Jay Briscoe once and for all. Whitmer, Elgin, Lethal, everybody – I want you to watch.
Matt Hardy jumped from the turnbuckle onto chair which obliterated Jay’s elbow. Nigel was screaming to get him out of there.
CORINO: Steel Cage Warfare. ROH not only dies, but ROH will burn.
KELLY: (to Matt Hardy) You broke his shoulder!
The ROH officials cut Elgin, Whitmer and Lethal loose.
NIGEL: Get them!
Elgin and Whitmer tended to the fallen Briscoes as everyone else raced to the back.