Ring of Honor (ROH) once again invaded Baltimore, MD and the Du Burns Arena last night (June 29) for a round of television tapings.
Four episodes, in total, were filmed and will likely begin airing next weekend.
What can you expect to see over the course of the next month?
Kevin Steen took on Mike Mondo, who is coming off a huge win at Best in the World 2012 against "The Prodigy" Mike Bennett. Steen pulled double duty by tagging with BFFs Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino when they battled former World TV Champion Jay Lethal and new World Tag Team Champions The All Night Express.
Speaking of the TV strap, it's around the waist of someone new. That's right, Cagesiders, Roderick Strong lost his belt last night. To who, you ask? Well, you'll have to keep reading to find out!
All that plus the rubber match between Bennett and Lance Storm and some CHIKARA titans showed up!
Many props to Cagesider Jergs for the lengthy report!
Check it out after the jump!
First taping, likely for July 7
Eddie Edwards and Adam Cole defeat Mike Bennett and "Brutal" Bob Evans w/ Maria
Good opener. Cole got the win with a huge crossbody from the top rope. There was a post-match beatdown by the heels and Maria removed her huge boot to jab Cole in the face.
Side note - Maria looked even more ridiculously hot than usual with a pink cut off t-shirt.
Before she can use it she is stopped by... SARA DEL REY (EDITOR'S NOTE: ~!!!)! "The Queen of Wrestling" applied an ankle lock on Maria before all the heels retreated.
Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team (WGTT) defeated two jobbers
It was essentially a squash for WGTT and ended with a missed pin save to end this forgettable match. Haas challenged The All Night Express (ANX) for next week.
ROH World Champion Kevin Steen beat Mike Mondo
The push of Mike Mondo begins. Solid brawling to start the match. Steen unleashed a wicked power bomb on top of the guardrail from the top of the ramp! Some funny spots with Steen grabbing the mic and mocking Mondo as a legitimate contender. Mondo continued to fight back and gained a few near falls. Steen eventually put Mondo away with the F-Cinq for the win. Crowd was into Mondo and he came out of this match looking stronger even with the loss.
Jacobs led a post-match beatdown which set up the next surprise of the night... EDDIE KINGSTON (EDITOR'S NOTE: DOUBLE ~!!!) hits the ring. Huge pull apart brawl.
Second taping, likely for July 14
Rhyno w/ Truth Martini pinned Rocco Abruzzi
Total Squash. Gore! Gore! Gore! Tomasso Ciampa dragged Prince Nana and R.D. Evans out to the ring demanding answers. Martini takes the mic and tells Nana to spill their secret. Evans then stammers out it was all Nana's idea. Ciampa lays out The Embassy leader.
Tomasso Ciampa w/ R.D. Evans pinned "Rock and Roll" Mike Sydal
Project Ciampa for the victory. Evans tried to congratulate Ciampa but quickly stumbled back to the locker room as Ciampa looked to lay him out as well.
Kevin Kelly spoke with ANX, the new ROH World Tag Team Champions. WGTT interrupted and eventually they laid everyone out including security.
Adam Cole beat ROH World TV Champion Roderick Strong to win the title
Imagine that, a television title that's actually defended on television. Very good match with Cole winning via the Florida Key. Martini called Elgin to cause a disqualification but he stood in the aisle instead. More tension.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Ring of Honor actually released some "fan cam" footage, editing together the entrances of both wrestlers as well as the last few minutes or so of the match. There's also a promo delivered by Cole holding the TV strap at the end as well. Check it out.
Brilliant move by ROH to make this available online. There would be a buzz to see it as soon as possible and I don't think it will detract any viewers from watching the entire match once it hits the airwaves.
Third taping, likely for July 21
"Dem Boys" The Briscoes beat The Guardians of Truth w/ Truth Martini
Small package by Jay gets the duke. Post-match included beatdown by Strong and Rhyno. Elgin came in late but waved off and left before even getting to the ring. Faces led by Jay Lethal, Cole, and C&C Wrestle Factory clear the ring.
Kevin Kelly spoke with Eddie Kingston. Emotional promo from Kingston. He will face Steen on August 11, 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island at Boiling Point. He talked about Larry Sweeney, his ex-wife, and his son. Good mic work even though the crowd didn't seem into it.
Mike Bennett w/ Evans & Maria beat Lance Storm
Good match. Maria threw ref Paul Turner in between her boobs while Evans tossed a chair into the ring. Wow. Bennett delivered a cutter on to the chair for the win. Once again, Maria took off the boot but for the second time Del Rey along with Eddie Edwards made the save.
Storm gave a farewell promo. He said it would be his last match win or lose and he is a man of his word. Good stuff.
Fourth taping, likely for July 28
Kyle O'Reilly beat Matt Taven
Armbreaker got the finish. O'Reilly claimed that he never tapped to Cole. Decent action in this one.
Rhyno pinned a jobber
Another Rhyno squash. Gore! Gore! More like bore, bore.
The Bravado brothers beat Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin w/ Truth Martini
Bravados looked good with several double team moves. Strong kept blind tagging Elgin when he had the upper hand. Strong was in trouble and went to tag but Elgin faked an injury and left the corner. Strong was then pinned with a bridge. Strong and Elgin almost came to blows. When is this turn happening already?
Jay Lethal and ANX beat Kevin Steen, Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino
Lethal pinned Jacobs with a Lethal injection.
Random thoughts on the tapings:
Davey Richards did not appear last night. I think I read there was speculation that he might retire once again by the end of the year and since he supposedly received his last ROH World title shot at Best in the World, I wonder what his future might be in the company.
Kevin Steen did reference Richards during his match against Mike Mondo claiming Mondo "won" his match against Davey but that he didn't beat him. Mondo and Richards wrestled to a time limit in draw on June 18th in what was said to be a fantastic match-up.
Speaking of Mondo, his push up the card continues and so far it looks to be a success. The fans seemed split during his match with Steen and that really says something since I'd put Steen as the most popular singles wrestler in ROH. He came out looking strong after his match with the champion and looks ready to take the next step.
I've been critical of how the TV Title has been used before over the past months. Shouldn't a Television Title be defended on television? Well, not only did ROH answer my call for a defense at the tapings but we saw a title change with Adam Cole wresting the belt from Roderick Strong.
Fantastic match with plenty of near falls. The subplot to all this was the slow, slow turn of Michael Elgin. Truth Martini sensed that his champion was in trouble and called for Elgin to hit the ring. He refused and just stood watching. I'm all for not rushing and letting things build but they've been teasing Elgin's turn for months now. I thought we'd finally see the two come to blows after The Bravados went over them in tag team action but it was another false alarm. The House of Truth is packed right now and it's a perfect time for him to bolt.
I'm confused about what they're doing with Martini's faceless Guardians. This is now the second time they lost clean to the Briscoes. They did put a post-match beatdown on "Dem Boys" to gain a little heat back but I would have figured that they might have gotten a tainted win to get them over in the series.
I was pretty excited to see two prominent CHIKARA members hit the scene last night in Sara Del Rey and Eddie Kingston, although it seemed like Del Rey got the bigger pop from the crowd. Since Synergy I've wondered just what kind of relationship these groups would have and I was a bit worried things had already run their course. With the appearance of two wrestlers who already have history in ROH, it gives booking some new possibilities.
What about The Embassy? Ciampa appears totally unhinged and psychotic (at least that's what his new t-shirts say) at this point and I would think that his attack on Prince Nana would signal the end of his union with the stable. But maybe not. I can envision R.D. Evans' coaxing a situation where the two men would still try to continue to control Ciampa because he can make them so much money. By the way, Evans had to be roasting in his puffy turtleneck sweater/jacket combo with the temperature pushing around 100 degrees.
ROH will return to Baltimore August 3, 2012.