State of the Art San Antonio

San Antonio Shrine – San Antonio, TX – Saturday, February 8, 2014

Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are on commentary. They freak out as Jay Briscoe comes out at the start of the show, but that’s not what the format sheet says! Jay has his “real” ROH World Title belt with him. He challenges the actual ROH World Champion, Adam Cole, to come out and fight him for the fake belt right now. Cole obliges and here we go.

~MATCH #1~
Jay Briscoe defeats Adam Cole at 11:23. This was supposed to be the main event, so the fans are juiced to see these two fight. Jay controls the early going, letting his anger and frustration from being stripped of the World Title last summer carry over into his assault on the current Champion. Cole withstands the onslaught and targets Jay’s left knee. They go back and forth until a frustrated Cole tries to use Jay’s fake title belt and referee Todd Sinclair stops him. That gives Jay the opening to hit a superkick and then the Jay Driller to score the pin. Solid opening contest here, but it never felt like a main event, as it was initially scheduled. So good choice to open then.
Rating: ***¼

~MATCH #2~
Caprice Coleman defeats The Romantic Touch at 9:24. This one starts off with the basics and the shenanigans you can expect from an R.T. match. Coleman controls, then Touch controls, etc. They wrestle a basic house show match. Touch gets a little too confident up on the top rope, and Coleman brings him down with the Leap of Faith. Coleman follows with the Sky Splitter to get the win. Nothing much to see here, but not terrible or anything.
Rating: **¼

~MATCH #3~
BJ Whitmer (w/ Jimmy Jacobs & Roderick Strong) defeats Raymond Rowe at 10:08. This is a big ole hoss battle, the kind Jim Ross would likely enjoy. They mat wrestle briefly, but that quickly changes into more of a power contest. Control goes back and forth, with Rowe not backing down from his veteran adversary. Rowe sticks with Whitmer through an exchange of forearms, but Whitmer wins that battle with a vicious lariat. One wrist-clutch exploder later and Whitmer gets the win. Solid showing for Rowe and a good win for Whitmer as the Decade needs the credibility right now. Nothing wrong with any of this.
Rating: **½

~MATCH #4~
Jimmy Jacobs (w/ Roderick Strong) defeats Cedric Alexander at 10:41. Jacobs cuts a brief promo, sending Whitmer to the back after his big win, and putting over the Decade’s mission statement. He tells Alexander it’s time to earn his place. Jacobs is the aggressor early on, yelling at Alexander to fight back. Eventually, Alexander does exactly that, even hitting a nice suicide dive to the floor. Alexander antagonizes Strong by utilizing the Lumbar Check, but then allows himself to be distracted. Jacobs takes advantage and this a Spear for the win. Jacobs recovered from the Lumbar Check pretty quickly, but other than that this was a good match and a nice piece in the Strong/Alexander rivalry.
Rating: ***

After the match, Jacobs and Strong try to humiliate Alexander by making him unlace Jacobs’ boots. Alexander refuses and everyone basically argues their way to the back, and the Decade tells Alexander he can’t come into the locker room. Well, that’s one way to put heat on an angle.

~MATCH #5~
Weazy Woo defeats Alex Reigns at 6:55. I’m surprised this match didn’t get edited out, since I’m pretty sure neither guy ever showed up in ROH again. Woo would go on to compete in the first Cruiserweight Classic under his real name, Kenneth Johnson. They wrestle a pretty basic match, with Woo showing off his agility a couple of times. Reigns has more of a power approach. This goes on for a while, with Reigns controlling the bulk of the action. Woo hits a Blockbuster from out of nowhere to get the pin. This is the kind of match that would be on the ROH YouTube channel today.
Rating: **

Some familiar music hits, and R.D. Evans comes out with his own referee to count a pin on Reigns. Evans tries the same on Woo but Woo kicks out! The crafty Evans lulls Woo into a false sense of security, then rolls him up for the pin. Neither of those wins are official, by the way. Roderick Strong makes his way out, objecting to Evans calling himself “Mr. ROH.” Strong attacks and away we go.

~MATCH #6~
R.D. Evans defeats Roderick Strong by disqualification at 7:41. Strong dominates in the early going, obviously. Evans gets a few little hope spots in, but this is mostly a squash. Alexander joins the commentary team, and that distracts Strong enough to the point that he spits at him – twice! Alexander jumps in the ring and goes for the Neuralizer, but he hits Evans instead! That’s enough for the disqualification, and Evans move to 32-0! Not much of a match here, but it does add more to the Alexander v Strong issue, so that’s fine by me.
Rating: *½

~MATCH #7~
Michael Bennett (w/ Maria Kanellis) defeats Mark Briscoe at 9:21. Mark starts the match with a goofy hat on, which Bennett takes offense to. Bennett controls the bulk of the early action, both in and out of the ring. Mark fights back with his Redneck Kung Fu. When Mark gets in position to hit the Froggy ‘Bow, Maria distracts the referee. Bennett drills Mark with a chair and then locks on Go Back to Japan to get the win. Standard, acceptable match between two standard, acceptable wrestlers.
Rating: **½

After the match, Maria encourages Bennett to continue the attack. Bennett calls out Jay Briscoe and his fake World Title, and Jay comes out to fight. Adam Cole makes the save and a brawl ensues. Referees and trainees get everyone split up.

~MATCH #8~
Adrenaline RUSH (ACH & TaDarius Thomas) defeat ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) at 22:44 in a Proving Ground match. The rules of Proving Ground match state that if the challengers win or take the Champs to a time-limit draw, they will earn a future title shot. reDRagon is in no hurry, knowing they’ve got time on their side and a slower pace might frustrate their young high-flying opponents. ACH and TD use their unique skillset to keep the Champions off guard for a while, but Fish and O’Reilly come back and are able to ground their opponents. TD gets worked over for a while, playing a good Ricky Morton. ACH gets the hot tag and he starts flying all over the place. The referee loses control and the five second rule flies right out the window. ACH gets O’Reilly down in the ring and flattens him with a beautiful Frog Splash to get the pin and earn a title shot! These two teams had great chemistry, their styles just meshed so well. This was well executed on both sides and made Adrenaline RUSH especially look like a million ROH Bucks.
Rating: ***¾

~MATCH #9~
Kevin Steen defeats Jay Lethal, Michael Elgin, and Tommaso Ciampa in a #1 Contender’s Four Corner Survival match at 17:46. Ciampa is the current ROH Television Champion. The winner here gets a shot at the ROH World Championship. Shenanigans are the name of the game early on, but things quickly get heated. Quite a bit of brawling goes on outside the ring, which the crowd is all about, especially when dives are involved. The action is non-stop and a bit hard to keep up with. All four men take a ridiculous amount of punishment, but Steen survives the longest and hits Lethal with a Package Piledriver ON TOP OF Elgin to get the pin. Great, non-stop action and a fun main event. It lacked an overall story thread to tie it all together, but it was certainly a lot of fun to watch.
Rating: ***¾

JZ Says
The last two matches send this show out on a high note, and if you add in the solid opener and solid Jacobs/Alexander match in the middle, this is a very palatable show at two hours and 45 minutes. They furthered a few stories along and set a few matches for the future, so this is a low key good show from the early part of 2014. Honor Club members can check this show out Right Here.