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The Turner Hall Ballroom – Milwaukee, WI – Friday, July 12, 2013

PRESHOW MATCH: Beer City Bruisers (Matt Winchester & Nick Colucci) vs. Benjamin Boone & CHEESEBURGER

I have no idea who Boone or the Beer City Bruisers are. Boone and Winchester start the match. Winchester lands the first shot but Boone quickly cuts him off and takes control. The crowd wants CHEESEBURGER and that’s exactly what they get. Winchester uses his size to try and intimidate the younger, less experienced CHEESEBURGER, but the man named after Brad Garoon’s Favorite Food shows a lot of fight. Colucci tags in and the Bruisers are able to take control. The Bruisers isolate Boone but are unable to put him away. Boone catches Colucci with a release German Suplex and he makes the hot tag. CHEESEBURGER is a house afire and gets an assist from Boone, who knocks Winchester to the floor and slams Colucci down. Boone and CHEESEBURGER then hit Winchester with the Rocket Launcher to get the pin at 4:27. That was perfectly acceptable preshow fluff.
Rating: *½

Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Adrenaline RUSH (ACH & TaDarius Thomas) vs. Mike Sydal & Zizou Middoux

Sydal and Middoux are known as the #PartyBoys. Middoux looks a lot like Andrew Garfield. Apparently they party by drinking energy drinks and staying up all night watching wrestling DVDs. Thomas and Sydal start the match. The more experienced duo of Thomas and ACH control the early going. Middoux manages to blow an Irish Whip. Even so, after a few minutes the #PartyBoys are able to take control on Thomas. Some miscommunication allows Thomas to finally make the hot tag. ACH is a house afire until he gets double-teamed by Sydal and Middoux. Thomas gets involved too and the referee has totally lost control. Everyone ends up on the top rope. Thomas takes Mddoux down with a Side Russian Legsweep. ACH knocks Sydal down and delivers a perfect 450 Splash to get the pin at 9:07. The #PartyBoys seemed a little nervous but they pulled it together and this turned out to be a perfectly solid opener.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #2: Women of Honor – MsChif vs. Athena

Kevin Kelly tries to sell the idea that women’s wrestling has always been important in Ring of Honor. No disrespect to the women, because it’s not their fault they get booked like crap, but Kelly is lying. MsChif is confident in the early going but Athena won’t be intimidated. The momentum shifts back and forth in the early going, and Athena appears to have the upper hand. MsChif takes a powder and then gets back on the apron, where she snaps Athena’s neck off the top rope. Now MsChif is completely in control, and she zeroes in on Athena’s neck. Athena fights back with a flurry of offense but MsChif cuts her off and refocuses on the neck. MsChif is looking dominant, but Athena is able to German Suplex MsChif from the second rope and both women are down. Back on their feet MsChif hits a headbutt and a Sky-Hi Powerbomb for two. MsChif goes for the Desecrator but Athena blocks it with a nice Electric Chair Drop for two. Athena goes up top and hits the O-Face to get the upset pin at 10:18. If the women’s division is ever going to get over in ROH, competitive matches of this length or more will certainly help. Both women looked good here and Athena getting the win goes a long way for her credibility in ROH. Athena goes for a handshake but MsChif spits the Green Mist at her instead. That’s just being a poor sport. I don’t think Michael Elgin would approve.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #3: BJ Whitmer vs. Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis

Bennett announces that he is no longer the Prodigy, and he is just Michael Bennett now. This is a rematch from Best in the World 2013, which I have not yet seen. Kelly notes that both of these men are in the upcoming ROH World Title Tournament, necessitated by Jay Briscoe’s injury. Bennett tries to attack before the bell but Whitmer is ready for him. Whitmer sends Bennett to the floor and wipes him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Whitmer covers for two. Whitmer continues the abuse but Bennett cuts him off with a neckbreaker. Working the neck is always a good strategy against Whitmer. Bennett hits a spinebuster but only gets two. After a little while Whitmer fires up and unleashes a flurry of offense, including a powerslam. A big boot gets two. Bennett comes back with the TKO for a two-count. He goes for a piledriver but Whitmer backdrops his way out of it. Whitmer charges into a superkick, but then grabs a charging Benett with an Exploder into the turnbuckles for two. He goes for another Exploder but Bennett avoids it and hits a Spear. Bennett hits the Box Office Smash but Whitmer kicks out! Whitmer grabs an inside cradle but Maria distracts the referee. That allows Bennett to get up and hit the Piledriver to get the pin at 9:41. That was solid enough and continued the feud, but would it kill them to give a heel a clean win?
Rating: **½

MATCH #4: Grudge Match – “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards vs. Kyle O’Reilly

Nigel McGuinness went backstage after the last match, so Bobby Fish replaces him on commentary. Edwards and O’Reilly start with some mat wrestling, with neither man able to gain any kind of advantage. They are very evenly matches from the get-go and the crowd is collectively hard for them. Tempers start to flare and the strikes get harder and harder. Finally Edwards is able to frustrate O’Reilly and take control. O’Reilly fights back and targets the arm, viciously assaulting it. After several minutes of abuse Edwards is able to fight back with a clothesline that flips O’Reilly over. Both men are down. Back on their feet Edwards is able to kick O’Reilly off the apron and to the floor. Edwards soars and scores, wiping O’Reilly out. Back in the ring Edwards uses a Crossface as Fish says the words “bad wing” about 50,000 times. O’Reilly reaches the ropes. He gets up and goes right back to the arm. Edwards tries a charge in the corner but O’Reilly moves and Edwards crashes to the floor. O’Reilly follows with the missile dropkick off the apron. Back in the ring Edwards hits the Chin Checker but O’Reilly turns that into a Cross Armbreaker. Edwards turns that into the Achilles Lock and O’Reilly turns that into a cradle for two. O’Reilly hits a nice Regalplex for two. He goes back to the Cross Armbreaker and Edwards reaches the ropes. They battle up on the top rope and Edwards knocks O’Reilly down. O’Reilly goes back up and Edwards hits a super TKO. Edwards hits a nasty powerbomb for two and rolls that into the Achilles Lock with stomps to the head and Paul Turner stops the match without a tapout at 21:34. That was a great back and forth contest between two heated rivals that have great chemistry together. This would have been a good time to give O’Reilly a big win, but I guess they want to put heat on another Wolves title shot. Still, tremendous match here.
Rating: ****

MATCH #5: Tommaso Ciampa vs. RHINO

Ciampa attacks right away and here we go. He goes for the unprotected knee strike but RHINO cuts him off with a clothesline. The battle quickly spills to the floor, where Ciampa hurls RHINO into the barricade. Ciampa pulls back the padding on the floor but it backfires, as RHINO hits a suplex. Back in the ring momentum shifts back and forth, with neither man keeping control for very long. Ciampa busts out a new submission hold, the seated Cobra Clutch. That’s a good move for him. It doesn’t get a win and the back and forth continues. Ciampa finaly hits the unprotected knee strikes, and adds two more for fun. They go up top and Ciampa hits a superplex for two. RHINO fights back with a belly-to-belly suplex. He goes for the Gore but Ciampa cuts him off with a knee strike! That was cool, and it’s enough to get the pin at 9:32. There wasn’t a whole lot to that match but it was a solid, hard-hitting affair and a good win for Ciampa on his way into the World Title tournament.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #6: Kevin Steen vs. Silas Young

Young initially refuses to shake hands, and tells Steen he has something to get off his chest first. He is not fond of the fact that Steen is a former World Champion. Steen responds with a punch to the face and it is on. They trade some shots and Steen hits a dropkick from out of nowhere. Out on the floor Steen continues the assault. Young is able to mount a comeback and they take it back to the ring. Steen responds with a DDT to catch a breather. He follows up with the Cannonball for two. Young fights back and hits the backbreaker/lariat combo for two. They spill back to the floor and Steen hits the Powerbomb on the apron. Back in the ring Steen hits the Swanton Bomb for two. Young is able to pick Steen up for a Finlay Roll but he can’t land the Pee Gee Waja Plunge. Steen hits a pop-up powerbomb and the Package Piledriver to get the pin at 7:57. These two worked well together and probably could have had an even longer match with a more traditional heat segment and stuff, but this still worked well enough for what it was.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #7: Non-Title Four Corner Survival – Matt Taven vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Adam Cole vs. Jay Lethal

Taven is the current ROH World TV Champion but the title is not on the line here. He’s accompanied by Truth Martini, Scarlett Bordeaux, and Seleziya Sparx. In a backstage promo that airs during the entrances, Elgin says the same stuff he usually does. Elgin and Cole tart the match. As to be expected, Elgin uses his power and Cole tries to counter with speed and agility. Taven tags himself in and he wants Lethal. Elgin obliges and tags Lethal into the match. Lethal dominates with chops both in and outside the ring. Seleziya and Truth get involved on the floor but it doesn’t really lead to very much. Back in the ring Cole comes back in to square off with Lethal. That doesn’t go well for Cole, and it gets worse when Elgin tags back in. The match begins to break down and the referee loses control. Taven takes the advantage thanks to Truth. Momentum continues to shift, as all four men take turns holding the advantage for varying lengths of time. Down the stretch Elgin starts to dominate using his superior power. A superkick party erupts and all four men are down. Everyone gets up and the action picks up right where it left off. Lethal knocks Cole to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. He follows with a dive on Elgin, and then tries to deliver one on Taven but Truth gets in his way. Lethal brings Truth into the ring and while the referee’s back is turned Seleziya gives Lethal an Air Raid Crash! Taven follows with a Frog Splash but only gets two! Elgin comes in and Lethal hits him with the Lethal Combination. Lethal goes up top and Cole crotches him. Cole tags himself in and gets beat up for it. Elgin hits him with a Buckle Bomb right onto Lethal’s back. He follows with the Elgin Bomb to get the pin at 22:02. Cole refuses to shake hands after the match. That was absurdly fun, with all four guys getting a chance to shine in their own unique ways. Getting to review this months after the fact, they did a great job setting up some stuff for the future, but also making it worthwhile in the present. This is one of the better Four Corner Survival matches in a great long while.
Rating: ****

MATCH #8: Grudge Match – “The American Wolf” Davey Richards vs. Bobby Fish

They waste no time an immediately start striking each other. The pace slows down a bit and they change it up to mat/chain wrestling. Richards takes control and works the leg, always good strategy against a hard kicker like Fish. A frustrated Fish takes a powder to regroup. Back in the ring Fish assumes control and keeps Richards off guard. That doesn’t last too long and Richards sends Fish back outside with a dropkick. Richards goes for the running kick on the apron but Fish blocks it with a kick of his own, right to the leg. That really swings the momentum in Fish’s favor and he capitalizes, wearing Richards down with a variety of offense both inside and outside the ring. After several minutes of abuse Richards is able to avoid a dive on the floor, and then finally land the running kick on the apron. I like the callback to that, very cool. Back in the ring Richards hits a missile dropkick and nips up, which is silly given how much abuse to the leg he’s taken, but at least he sells it. Richards continues to use kicks to wear Fish out, and then he locks on a painful looking armbar. Fish rolls to the ropes. They battle up to the top rope and Fish hits a super Falcon Arrow! That only gets two. The fight spills to the ring apron, where they trade hard kicks. Fish grabs Richards and hits a Fisherman’s Buster and both men fall to the floor! That looked nasty. Kyle O’Reilly and Eddie Edwards come out to check on their respective partners. Fish gets back in the ring first and Richards barely makes it back in at 19. The fight will go on. Fish hits a nice springboard moonsault but only gets two. Richards comes back and cinches on an Ankle Lock. Fish reverses to the Fish Hook, and Richards turns that into a Sharpshooter, which Fish counters to an inside cradle for two. Richards low bridges the rope, sending Fish to the floor, and he follows him out with a ridiculous Tope Con Hilo, landing in the fourth row. Back in the ring Richards unleashes a flurry of offense but Fish kicks out at one! Fish shows Fighting Spirit but Richards cuts him off with an Alarm Clock. Richards goes back up and this time hits the double stomp but it only gets two! He locks on the Ankle Lock and Fish kicks his way out of it. O’Reilly grabs Richards’ ankle to distract him briefly, and Fish lands a kick to the head to get the pin at 22:42. I was initially sour on the idea of this being the main event, but they really got me into it. Richards could have sold the leg a little more consistently, and the finish didn’t look as devastating as I think they were hoping. But even so this was a heck of a main event fight and I’m happy to see Fish get the big win.
Rating: ***¾

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