Match 1 - The Briscoes def. the Bravados in 6 minutes.
CROWD: Justin Bieber! Justin Bieber!
CROWD: Man up! Man up! Man up!
Mark Briscoe gains the early advantage on Harlem Bravado with the big boot. He holds Harlem in a side slam position while Jay Briscoe comes into the ring with a leg drop. Jay’s back elbow to Harlem gets a two count.
The Bravados work over Mark for a while, but he fights back with redneck kung fu. Mark tags in Jay then dropkicks Harlem. Jay hits a brainbuster on Lancelot. He sets Lancelot up for the doomsday device, but Harlem breaks up the attempt by pushing Mark off the top rope. Harlem flips back over the top rope and nails Jay with a cutter on the way down. Harlem hits a springboard neckbreaker. Two count.
Harlem throws Mark outside the ring, leaving Jay to fight off both Bravados. Jay kicks at Lancelot, but Lancelot catches his foot. Harlem kicks at Jay’s head from behind, but Jay ducks and the kick connects with Lancelot instead. This looked wicked cool! This provides the opening for the Briscoes to hit the doomsday device on Lancelot for the pin.
The Guardians of Truth step onto the entrance ramp as the Briscoes celebrate.
GUARDIAN 1: Hey, Briscoe sisters. We’ve got a little unfinished business with you two girls. When we came to Ring of Honor, Truth Martini promised us greatness. But lately, we’ve been a little busy trying to fix his broken House of Truth. So we’ve decided to do things our way. We are former WWF [emphasis on the “F”] Tag Team Champions. We are the most tremendous tag team in wrestling today. We are the HEADBANGERS!!! [They dramatically remove their masks to reveal that they are in fact the Headbangers.]
GUARDIAN 2: Hey, Briscoes, we know that you’re seven time, seven time, seven time world tag team champions, but frankly, we don’t care. We’ve beaten legends. We’ve held championships in the biggest companies in the world today. So, I have one question for you - are you gonna man up, or are you going to be chickens?
JAY: Are we gonna man up? Are we gonna man up!?
CROWD: Man up! Man up!
JAY: With all due respect, as far as tag team wrestling is concerned, until you prove yourself in an ROH ring, you ain’t done shit, boys.
GUARDIAN 2: Hey, Briscoes. Just remember this one thing. There’s the right way, there’s the wrong way, then there’s the Headbanger way. Ha ha ha hah!
CROWD: Man up! Man up!
Match 2 - The Headbangers def. Fusion DS in 6 minutes.
The Headbangers get a pretty decent reaction. They are wearing “Real Men Wear Skirts” T-shirts. As Dragon jumps off the top rope, both Headbangers catch him sideways. But Saigon jumps over the top rope and takes all of them out.
Fusion DS keeps up the tempo with some quality tag team offense including sandwich kicks and double dropkicks to Mosh.
Thrasher fakes an injury allowing Mosh to execute a torture rack into a faceplant. This is an unfair advantage! Mosh hits a swinging neckbreaker on Dragon. Two count. Mosh tags Trasher in. They look to execute a double delayed vertical suplex but instead throw Dragon all the way to the floor! Trasher with a Topé con Hilo onto Dragon.
The Headbangers try another double suplex on Dragon, but he shifts his weight and counters into a double DDT. He jumps and makes the tag to Saigon who cleans house with a top rope double dropkick, clotheslines and spin kicks. Saigon with a muay thai knee to Thrasher’s gut. He whips Thrasher to the opposite corner where Dragon meets him with a top rope dropkick. Mosh rushes him, but Saigon is there to meet him with a spinebuster.
Dragon climbs to the top rope. Thrasher runs in and knocks him off ALL THE WAY INTO THE BARRICADE where his leg gets tied up. This was just sick. It wasn’t quite as bad as what happened to Truth at Glory by Honor, but it sure was close. He really looks dead. Fans are legitimately concerned.
Back in the ring, the Headbangers hit the Stage Dive on Saigon for the pin.
After the match, three referees assist Damian Dragon to the back. He was hopping on one leg. I hope he’s ok, because that was a rough looking spot.
Match 3 - (Survival of the Fittest Finals) Michael Elgin vs. Adam Cole vs. Davey Richards vs. Mike Mondo vs. Jay Lethal vs. Roderick Strong goes 22 minutes.
This was absolutely freaking fantastic - a match of the year candidate. If you are reading this, there is zero reason why you shouldn’t do everything in your power to see this match. Things got especially awesome when it was down to the last three men. The audience around me reached a fevered pitch, which is unusual for the end of the fourth TV taping. It’s performances like this that justify why we wade through so much bad wrestling.
FIRST FALL - 5 minutes
As Davey tries to pump up the crowd, he starts a series of quick, athletic move/countermoves with Roderick Strong. They tag out to Mondo and Elgin. They rush into shoulderblocks, but neither man budges.
ELGIN: Come on! Do it!
Mondo shows no fear. Elgin runs off the ropes, hops over Mondo, bounces off the opposite ropes, catches Mondo’s leap frog and slams him down. One count. Strong ran in to break up the pin, but Elgin quickly meets him.
TRUTH: Please, stop it!
Mondo headbuts Elgin in the gut, driving him into the corner. Davey tags Elgin. As Elgin rolls out to the floor, Davey does his running kick from the apron to Elgin! Ouch! Roderick rushes up behind Davey and backdrops him onto the apron. Double ouch! Adam Cole runs and hits a Topé con hilo, taking out Davey. Jay Lethal then does a Topé onto Adam Cole. Mike Mondo climbs to the top rope and does a moonsault onto EVERYBODY! Awesome.
CROWD: ROH! ROH! ROH!
Mondo gets a two count on Davey. Roderick tags his way in and catches Mondo with a maneuver, pinning him at the 5 minute mark.
SECOND FALL - 2 minutes
Cole takes Mondo’s place against Roderick. Both men slug it out. Roderick spits at Elgin. Infuriated, Elgin has to be restrained by the referees. Cole and Roderick exchange boots and Irish whips which are punctuated with a big kick to the side of Cole’s head. Two count. Roderick lands a muay thai knee followed quickly by Death by Roderick. Only a two count!
Elgin hits Roderick with a spinning discus forearm, then a back elbow. Cole hits a superkick! Three count. Roderick’s gone at the 7 minute mark.
THIRD FALL - 1 minute
Davey’s in. Cole escapes his ankle lock, so Davey hits a Death Valley Driver into a neckbreaker over his knee. Two count. Elgin takes over. He looks to hit the Chaos Theory, but Cole reverses into a front roll. Two count. Cole hits a jumping spinning enzuigiri, then runs off the ropes to hit a knee to Elgin’s face. Elgin catches him. Uh oh. Bucklebomb! Spinning powerbomb. Goodnight, nurse. Adam Cole is eliminated at the 8 minute mark.
FOURTH FALL - 7 minutes
This is where things start to get really good. Lethal is in immediately and hits knees to Elgin’s face. Two count.
CROWD: Lethal! Lethal! Lethal!
Jay signals the Lethal Injection, but Elgin blocks it with elbows to the side of the head. Jay off the ropes, but Elgin catches him over his shoulders. Davey rushes in, but gets caught in the same position! DOUBLE SAMOAN DROP! I love Michael Elgin.
CROWD: Elgin! Elgin! Elgin!
CROWD: Feed me more! Feed me more! Feed me more!
Elgin climbs to the top turnbuckle but Roderick, who is still lurking at ringside, pushes him off and into the ring. Elgin rolls out and onto the ringside table. Davey and Jay are fighting inside and outside the ring. Davey is going for a suplex and he SENDS ELGIN CRASHING THROUGH THE TABLE!!
CROWD: Holy shit! Holy shit! Holy shit!
It takes a long time for Jay and Davey to fight their way back to their feet. Both men look truly exhausted. Davey’s like, bring it. Hit me in the chin. Do it. Jay winds up and hits him right in the chin. Davey shakes it off and begs it for it again. He punches Jay in the chin. Jay does the same. Ouch. His hand hurts. Davey punches Jay in the side of the head. Jay with a chop. Davey staggers. Davey kicks Jay in the chest. Both men are still staggered. Jay winds up, sizes him up and both men are throwing flurries back and forth. Both men are down.
After the slugfest, Elgin is climbing his way back into the ring like a monster rising from the deep. Jay and Davey are looking at each other in disbelief. They don’t know what to make of this. Davey looks for answers in the crowd.
CROWD: Elgin! Elgin! Elgin!
Davey kicks Elgin in the face. Elgin blocks. Jay kicks, but Elgin catches it. Davey misses an enzuigiri, but Jay hits Elgin with a DDT. Elgin is really reeling now. Jay and Davey are looking at each other thinking, what can we do to stop this guy? Davey points at Jay and they both to opposite top turnbuckles. Davey hits the double stomp! Jay hits Hail to the King! Both men cover Elgin simultaneously. It’s over. One. Two. ELGIN KICKS OUT! You have got to be kidding me.
Elgin is hulking up. He’s shaking his head no. Davey off the ropes hits a big clothesline. Elgin screams and brushes it off. Davey again, but Elgin will not budge. He spits in his face. Davey with a right, a left, a crescent kick. Lethal with a superkick, Davey with a spin kick, Jay with a boot to the face. Jay and Davey hit stereo kicks to Elgin’s head, Young Bucks-style. One. Two. Three. Elgin’s eliminated after 15 minutes. That was super cool.
FINAL FALL - 7 minutes
With Elgin out of the picture, Jay and Davey take their time to recover in opposite corners. They are staring each other down. This is starting to become epic.
The locker room empties out and wrestlers run to ringside - Tadarius Thomas, BJ Whitmer, Rhett Titus, Caprice Coleman, Cedric Alexander, the Briscoes, the Bravados, Matthew Justice, Marti Belle. They start pounding on the apron. Everyone in the building is standing.
Jay and Davey shake hands. Jay hits a cutter on him out of nowhere. He goes to the top and hits Hail to the King! Davey kicks out at two!
Davey hits the Alarm Clock. Davey’s clothesline is reversed into a Lethal Combination. Jay hits another Lethal Combination! Two count. The wrestlers are pounding the mat. Jay has a sort of crossface submission in. Davey reverses into the ankle lock. Jay reverses into that submission where Davey is face down, Jay laces his feet with his arms, then sticks his legs under his armpits and stretches him (he did this near the end of his match with Davey at Glory by Honor XI). Davey gets a rope break.
They trade shots including one kick to the side of Jay’s head that was just brutal. Davey hits a top rope double stomp. Jay kicks out at one. Now he’s hulking up! Davey’s not going to let him recover. Davey does the flurry that won him his match against Elgin at Showdown in the Sun - kick to the head, spin kick to the side of the head, big Daniel Bryan-style kick to the head. Still a two count!
Davey off the ropes - Jay with a superkick! One. Two. Kick out!
CROWD: ROH! ROH! ROH!
Davey is inching up. He’s not dead yet. The guys at ringside are pounding the ring. The floorboards underneath me are vibrating because of the passion of the fans. Davey counters the Lethal Injection and hits pinball forearms in the corners. Davey hits a superplex, but holds on! He hits another suplex! Two count! He hits a basement dropkick. Two count. Davey with the ankle lock.
DAVEY: Give up!
Jay crawls to the ropes. Davey pulls him back in, yanks him up, and chains a full nelson into a massive release fisherman suplex. Davey hulks up. He goes for a clothesline to end it, but Jay catches him, full nelson and hits a huge overhead belly-to-back suplex. Davey’s dead. One. Two. No! Pinfalls do not get much closer than that.
CROWD: Let’s go Lethal! Let’s Lethal!
Lethal has thrown off the elbow pads and the wrist pads. Davey is crawling to him.
CROWD: ROH! ROH! ROH!
Davey is standing arms akimbo as Davey gets back to his feet.
JAY: I’m sorry, I love you. (just kidding)
Jay chops him and Davey spits right in his face!
DAVEY: Come on! Bring it!
Davey hits a jumping enzuigiri, but Lethal goes off the ropes and hits the Lethal Injection. One. Two. Three.
There’s a HUGE REACTION from the crowd. Jay is getting a standing ovation and rightfully so. Fans are throwing streamers for literally a full minute after the match.
CROWD: Lethal! Lethal! Lethal!
Everyone in the building is standing. Kevin Kelly and Nigel are standing and applauding at the commentary position. Jay celebrates his win.
CROWD: That was awesome! That was awesome! That was awesome!
Jay does a victory lap and slaps hands with the fans at ringside.
BOBBY CRUISE: Thank you for a great 2012 for Ring of Honor here in Baltimore. And we’d like to see you kick off things in a big, big way when we come back to the Du Burns Arena on January 5.