Ring of Honor emanated from Toronto, Canada last night (May 4) with Border Wars 2013 and delivered an overall strong show, so let's dive right in.
- Before I get things started off, let's talk about the production of the card. The stream was great throughout the card, except for one problem during Paul London's entrance -- which didn't last for long. The only real production problem was the volume on Nigel McGuinness' mic as the color commentator. It was low throughout the night, especially in comparison to Kevin Kelly's. It was bothersome, because I would much rather listen to the insight of McGuinness than Kevin Kelly.
- In an excellent opening match, C&C Wrestling Factory def. ACH and Tadarius Thomas, when ACH was hit with a no-hands hurricanrana and frogsplash combination from C&C. The match was well-paced and had a lot of great and unique moments throughout. ACH was over bigtime with the crowd. Hopefully, he will be moving up the card soon.
- In a solid match, Roderick Strong def. Mike Bennett (replacing an injured Mike Mondo) w/ Maria Kanellis via Sick Kick. Bennett seemed to be on his way to victory when Cheeseburger (a member of the ROH ring crew who Bennett had previously beaten up) came out and started kissing/assaulting Maria. It distracted Bennett long enough for Strong to recover and hit the Sick Kick.
- In a quick I Quit Match, BJ Whitmer def. Rhett Titus. The match didn't last long, but was entertaining throughout. And it had an ending that seems to have drawn strongly divided opinions. Whitmer had the S.C.U.M. member zip-tied to the ropes and was ready to go to town on him with a chair when Corino interfered. Corino turned his back to Whitmer, taunting him to go ahead and hit him with the chair. This led to Titus yelling, "I Quit" and conceding the match so that Corino wouldn't be hurt. I came down on the side that the ending was great since it really emphasized the importance that Corino holds to SCUM. After the match, Jimmy Jacobs and Cliff Compton came down to the ring to assault Whitmer. Michael Elgin and Jay Lethal made the save and the S.C.U.M.-ROH match started right up.
- S.C.U.M. (Jacobs and Compton) def. ROH (Elgin and
LethalSteen) via roll up on Steen. The match started while they were still brawling from the fallout of the previous match. Titus was still tied to the ropes (which was awesome) but was cut down after a couple of minutes (which was not awesome). Seriously, he should have stayed tied up for the entire match. The action was great throughout. Elgin was in full-on HOSS mode throughout the match. He was pulling out extremely long stalling suplexes and moves on both Jacobs and Compton at the same time. He had to do so because early on in the match Lethal was injured after hitting a dive to the outside. As Elgin was losing steam, and a loss for ROH seemed imminent, Kevin F'N Steen made his way through the crowd and to the ring, while a cavalcade of streamers showered down. After begging for and getting McGuinness to put him in the match, Steen began to clean house. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be for long, as Steen went for the package piledriver on Compton. Jacobs then snuck up behind him and got a rollup for the win. After the match, Elgin wasn't pleased with Steen and gave him an absolute death stare. This was a great match which moved forward the redemption of Kevin Steen.
- A quick note on streamers: Streamers are great, for the right moment. The Steen run-in was a great moment for them, but too often throughout the card streamers were used. Overuse of streamers reduces the meaning they have.
- After the intermission, R.D. Evans and QT Marshall were in the ring cutting a promo when they were interrupted by a video package teasing the return of The Sicilian Psychopath Tommaso Ciampa. After the video package was over Evans expressed his disinterest until Ciampa actually appeared and chased them off.
- In an action-packed match, Eddie Edwards def. Taiji Ishimori (in his American debut) via Diehard Driver. The match has a great chance to becoming the Match of the Night. Edwards and Ishimori were firing on all cylinders and the crowd returned their performance in kind.
- In a short but solid match, ROH TV Champion Matt Taven def. Mark Briscoe via rollup to retain as ROH TV Champion. Taven was able to get the rollup because the Hoopla Hotties (Scarlett Bordeaux and Seleziya Sparx) started making-out on the apron. Briscoe's surprised look and chasing of the ladies off the apron was pretty great. After the match, Briscoe utilized Redneck Kung Fu to beat up Taven's manager Truth Martini. Redneck Kung Fu is always great.
- Davey Richards def. Paul London via a counter to a shooting star press attempt from London. The match was good throughout, turning absolutely brutal towards the end. Following a lot of brutal spots, Richards nearly killed London with a double stomp after hitting London's chest and nearly crushing his head when his foot slipped.
- ROH World Championship Match: Jay Briscoe (c) def. Adam Cole via Jay Driller. The match was good, but not as great as these two are capable of. The match had a lot of good action and spots but just didn't do enough to make it great. The ending featured Corino trying to recruit Cole to S.C.U.M., but he was hit with the Tower of London by McGuinness, as Briscoe hit the Jay Driller on Cole. After the match, Cole seemed like he was going to attack Briscoe, but decided against it and left.
The card was solid throughout and didn't have any real weak spots, but there was something missing to push this into being a great card. I would still recommend buying the stream or DVD. Ring of Honor seems to be getting on a good roll and the redemption of Kevin Steen going forward is going to be really great to watch.