9/7 ROH "Road to Greatness Night 2" in Birmingham, Alabama: Roderick Strong vs. Adam Cole in a Ringmaster's Challenge match, ROH TV Champion Matt Taven vs. Jay Lethal in a Proving Ground match, Davey Richards vs. Michael Bennett
ROH Road to Greatness Night 2
Report by Dot Net reader Daniel Hill
This was my first ROH event since 2011's Honor Takes Center Stage Night 2. I drove from Atlanta just for this event. Doors opened at 6:30 local time. They had a meet and greet with many members of the roster prior to the show. Wrestlers appearing: Kevin Steen, Jay Lethal, Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reilly, Maria Kannelis, Adam Cole, Tomasso Ciampa and Michael Elgin.
At the start of the show they had a local celebrity duo come out and warm up the crowd. One of them sang the National Anthem. The crowd looked to be under 200 people. The floor level seats housed the majority of the audience, the stadium seats were pretty empty.
1. Tommaso Ciampa beat Luke Hawx. Hawx came out first to little or no reaction. Ciampa came out to a decent reaction. Hawx's chest was messed up from what I assume was a stiff chopfest the night before. Ciampa did his best to play up the crowd. Match was so-so. Ciampa wins with a second rope Air Raid Crash. Both men upheld the Code of Honor before and after the match.
2. Kevin Steen defeated Q.T. Marshall (w/Veda Scott). QT and Veda came out first. Veda cut a promo putting down the crowd and putting over Marshall. Steen came out to a nice ovation. Both men trade poses at the start of the match. Early on Steen clotheslines QT over the top to the floor. Marshall tries to walk away. Steen grabs QT's ring robe. Puts it on and poses. QT comes back for his robe, Steen takes it off and throws it at Veda. At one point QT does Cena's "You can't see me" pose then hits the AA. Crowd boos, then cheers when Steen kicks up at one. Steen wins the match after a cannonball in the corner to a seated Marshall, then Steen goes up and nails the Swanton Bomb for the three count. Code of Honor upheld.
3. Michael Elgin over Raymond Rowe. Both men trade strength tests and power shots early on. Crowd loved Elgin. Chants of "Next World Champ" throughout. Both guys are hitting stiff bombs. Elgin gets Rowe up in a delayed vertical suplex for an audience count of 60. Elgin puts together a combo of a rolling elbow,a spinning backfist, a turnbuckle powerbomb and a spinning Elgin Bomb for the three count. Code of Honor upheld.
4. Michael Bennett (w/Maria) defeated Davey Richards. Davey was the most over person yet. He is super intense and an amazing athlete. Davey controlled the match until Bennett hit a neckbreaker that Davey sold hard. Bennett then focused his attack on the neck. Each time Davey tried to mount a comeback, his neck would give out. Match ended with a scuffle as Maria distracted the ref. Davey went to grab her, Bennett nailed a superkick to the back of Davey's neck and followed it up with a piledriver for the win. Bennett upholds the Code of Honor by shaking Davey's hand as he was on his back getting attended to by refs.
After Davey got back to his feet he grabs a mic. He put over Bennett as the better man on this night. He mentioned the interest WWE has been giving him. He he might stay in ROH for the love of the sport, not the money. He finished the promo saying Bennett won the battle but he declares war. "The hunt is on!"
This took us to a 15 minute intermission.
There was a goofy segment that opened the second half. President "JC"of the local CW affiliate that broadcasts ROH TV was there popping the crowd, putting over ROH. Truth Martini interrupted him. Truth and JC went back and forth in basic hometown heel/face promo. JC threatened Truth, who played the coward. When JC turned his back, Truth swung his book and missed. JC gave him a Stunner. The crowd was happy. On with the show...
5. Jay Lethal defeated ROH TV Champion Matt Taven in a Proving Ground match. The crowd loved Lethal. Lethal looked smooth and crisp throughout. Lethal hit the Lethal Injection and Taven rolls out of the ring. Truth and the Hoopla Hotties ran interference. Taven came back in and ate a superkick from Lethal, who nailed a double Lethal Injection on Taven and Truth. Taven was pinned and Lethal earned a future TV Title shot. The Code of Honor was upheld.
6. ROH Tag Champions Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly defeated Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander, Adrenaline Rush, and Alabama Attitude in an Instant Reward match. Attitude's Mike Posey (yes, that Mike Posey) was in great shape. The match was non-title. If one of the three other teams won the match they would have received an immediate tag team title match Fish and O'Reilly.
The match started with tag in and out/ back and forth standoffs. There was a scary moments when Coleman slipped running the ropes and fell awkwardly into them with the back of his head hitting the top rope. He tagged out quickly. He looked shaken, but okay. Red Dragon worked over Posey until a hot tag to his partner Corey Hollis. The match broke down.
Coleman summoned the powers of the American Dream and strutted while nailing everyone in the match with Bionic Elbows, even his partner by accident. There were men jumping in and out nailing big moves back and forth. They took turns doing suicide dives. Red Dragon gets the win on ACH with a stalling brainbuster by O'Reilly and a roundhouse kick by Fish before being dropped on his head. An exciting match that was the crowd favorite by far. No title match seemed to be no problem. All four teams uphold the Code of Honor.
7. Adam Cole defeated Roderick Strong in a Ringmaster's Challenge. Roderick was as stiff as ever. Cole has a great look and style. The action was solid and fast from the start with lots of unusual counters and moves. Cole won the first fall by pinfall when Strong went for a turn around dive and ate a superkick in mid-air, then took the Florida Key. Cole 1, Strong 0.
Cole went right to work on Strong's leg. Wrapping it around the ring post, then latching on the Figure Four around the ring post. Cole kept attacking Strong's leg, but Strong would not submit. A series of submission counters and reversals ends with Cole tapping to the Stronghold. Cole 1, Strong 1.
The final fall was a 15 minute Ironman Match. Strong earned the first point by pinfall with a superplex follow by a vertical suplex in a double knee backbreaker. Five minutes in, Cole came back hitting big move after big move for nearfall after nearfall. Cole wone the next point by pinfall after a superkick followed by the Florida Key.
Both men had one point each in this fall. Cole came back with more big moves. Strong was almost counted out after he was superkicked while on the top rope and falls to the floor. Strong made it in on a wounded leg at the count of 19. Cole locked on the Figure Four leg lock in the center of the ring. Strong eventually got to the ropes to break the hold.
The crowd is hot for this match with steady dueling chants throughout. Cole earned the third point of the fall with a small package. The Ironman Match was now 2-1 Cole as we reached the two minute warning. Cole was stalling and running away from Strong trying to run out the clock. Strong gave chase but the bad leg slowed him down and time expired in the Ironman match, meaning Cole defeated Roderick Strong in a Ringmaster's Challenge Rules matchup 2 falls to 1.
Post match Cole ran out of the arena as Strong gives chase. They upheld the Code of Honor to start the match but not to end it.
Michael Elgin came back out in street clothes. He thanked the crowd, put over ROH, and plugged the finals of the ROH Title Tournament in two weeks. He guaranteed he will be the next Ring of Honor World Champion.
The ring announcer thanked the crowd, reminded us to watch ROH TV, follow on social media, etc. No return date was announced (no surprise given the low turnout). The show concluded at 10:15 local time.
Good show overall. It started out slow and ended with two exciting matches. Thank you for reading. Support Independent Wrestling and Prowrestling.net.
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