ROH 304 – Border Wars – 12th May 2012
After the technical catastrophes of Showdown In The Sun weekend, ROH took their ippv production in house for the first time with this show. It’s been some time since the promotion ran a show in Canada, and they promised to return to the market with a blockbuster of a card. It’s fair to say they didn’t disappoint and, on paper, I’d go so far as to call this the card of the year so far. It’s headlined by the bout some are calling the ‘biggest ROH World Title Match of all time’. Whilst I might not quite go that far, there is huge excitement and anticipation surrounding the clash between the champion Davey Richards and the renegade anti-hero, Canada’s own Kevin Steen. That match would sell ppv buys alone, so it’s to Ring Of Honor’s credit they’ve stacked the rest of the line-up. We’re promised a conclusion to the year-long Briscoes/WGTT feud in a Fight Without Honor. Roderick Strong defends the TV Title against the debuting Fit Finlay. Lance Storm looks for revenge in his clash with Mike Bennett, and Jay Lethal is determined to end the undefeated streak of the Dominant Male. We’re in Toronto, ONT with Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.
SIDENOTE – Sadly for ROH, after rectifying the issues with their live streams that caused the fiasco in Florida, they had horrendous problems with their website for this ppv…and once again many paying customers were left unable to see the show they parted with their money to see. Those who could log onto the site and watch the show said the stream was fine…the problem was the vast majority couldn’t get in to see it. Another embarrassing shambles for a promotion that is really testing the patience of it’s loyal fanbase in 2012.
Rhino vs Eddie Edwards
The House Of Truth have set a simple objective for their paid mercenary in this one – destroy Eddie Edwards and remove him from World Title contention. With Eddie out of the picture it’s one less roadblock to stop the likes of Strong, Elgin, or even the Man Beast himself getting to the front of the line to face the winner of tonight’s main event.
Eddie is quick to grab an arm and try to use his wrestling skills to negate the power of the former ECW Champion. He tries using his speed too, only to let Rhino get some momentum…and soon Rhino totally mows him down with a running shoulder block. Chops from Edwards, but as the fight spills out of the ring (breaking a camera as they go) Rhino angrily drills him face-first into the apron. Shoulder tackle in the corner scores with such ferocity that it brings the crowd to their feet. PRESS SLAM TO THE FLOOR! Effortless power from the Man Beast! He is dismantling the midsection, and dropping him chest-first all the way out of the ring like that is a devastating move. He tries it a second time, but Eddie counters to a DEAD LIFT GERMAN SUPLEX! That took so much out of him he can’t even move to make a cover. Chops into a running enziguri nailed…for 2. Truth Martini tries to hold Edwards in place for the Gore…but he leapfrogs and watches as Rhino flies through the ropes. MOONSAULT OFF THE APRON SCORES! Missile dropkick nailed as well but it’s still just a nearfall. Rhino explodes back with the spinning belly to belly suplex. GORE COUNTERED WITH A DROPKICK! Eddie schoolboys Rhino for the three count at 10:54
Rating – *** – Very ‘eh’ finish, but before that this was such a hot start to a ppv. It’s easy to criticise ROH bringing in former WWE talent at the expense of younger guys, but the reaction Rhino got in this arena shows exactly why. Without doing anything particularly special these two had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands. Rhino works the ribs, Die Hard shows his resilience. It wasn’t rocket formula, but it worked…and if Rhino is coming in to work hard like that to put guys like Eddie over then I have no problem with him being here at all.
Rhino threatens to assault Martini after the match, until Truth pulls out a wad of cash to ensure he lives to fight another day.
Young Bucks/Mike Mondo vs All Night Express/TJ Perkins
This comes about as a result of what we saw on ROH TV last weekend. Perkins and Mondo have traded wins back and forth in 2012, but after getting into an altercation with the Bucks in the locker room, TJP found himself staring at the lights for ‘No Fear’ thanks in no small part to their illicit interference. ANX came to his aid since they aren’t fans of the ‘rockstars’ either, and we had this trios tag hastily added to tonight’s ppv.
Fast paced start, with Perkins spitting water into Mondo’s face to instigate a flurry of high octane takedowns. King and TJ score a 2 on Nick with a Boston crab/basement dropkick combo. The babyface team string together a few double and triple team sequences to really give their team the edge. Mondo starts falling around almost ripping out power cables and threatening the entire broadcast, but holds it together to take Titus out with a moonsault off the apron! He then hilariously botches a triple dropkick spot and looks like an idiot again. The Young Bucks smirking and laughing about it actually saves the match at that point. Rhett javelin’s Matt Jackson into the turnbuckles, but turns to see Nick dragging both his partners off the apron to prevent a tag. But Nick misfires and lays out Mondo with a flying forearm – this time allowing Titus to tag in King. Perkins dives in too with a double crossbody to wipe out the Young Bucks. Mondo saves and looks for the Double Arm DDT…only for Rhett to stop it with a dropkick. Mind Trip on Titus! BRUTAL springboard dropkick by TJP! DOUBLE SUPERKICK BY ON KING! DOUBLE SUPERKICK ON PERKINS! The Bucks clear houe…but all six are down! Mondo stops ANX hitting the Doomsday Blockbuster and the Bucks drag Titus to the top rope. SUPER RANA BY MONDO! It takes King and TJ to stop the fall there! CORKSCREW PESCADO BY MONDO! CORKSCREW SENTON TO THE FLOOR BY KING! DOOMSDAY BLOCKBUSTER ON MATT! TJP WITH THE 450 SPLASH! ANX and TJP win it at 12:57
Rating – *** – An outstanding spotfest which the live crowd absolutely lapped up. I’ve been hugely critical of Mondo and Titus this year, and despite being the obvious weak links of their respective teams, even they held up their ends of the bargain. Unfortunately, by the autumn of 2012 Rhett and Mondo would be the only guys still on the ROH roster.
Tommaso Ciampa vs Jay Lethal
Since he cost Lethal the TV Title in Florida, there isn’t a championship on the line in this increasingly personal feud anymore. It’s simple – Lethal wants to end Ciampa’s undefeated streak, whilst Tommaso wants to prove once and for all that he is the better man.
Ciampa is rocking the crazy bleach blond beard, and Nana has gone back to the short haircut he started in ROH with back in 2002. No Code Of Honor and no bell either as these two start tearing into each other on the floor. Tommaso beats Jay down but MISSES the Bare Knee Strike and violently collides with the guardrails. Even injured he still gets up and starts flinging the former champion around ringside. SLINGSHOT THROUGH THE SECTION C SIGN! Ciampa’s power is scary, but that’s twice Lethal has delivered a devastating offensive blow. HIPTOSS DROPKICK ON THE FLOOR! RD Evans tries to intervene and eats a springboard dropkick…but the distraction leads to Ciampa levelling Jay with a jumping knee. Stretch Plum applied, then he starts going after Lethal’s eye as Kevin Kelly takes a shot at an ROH history lesson and gets it hopelessly wrong. It breaks down into a total fight with both guys laying into each other with massive forearm strikes. Jay gets a nearfall with a TKO over the knee then the handspring elbow. Lethal Combination countered…LETHAL COMBO BY CIAMPA! Nana and Ernesto stop Lethal hitting the Lethal Injection, and he gets his head taken off with a huge lariat. Project Ciampa COUNTERED into a hurricanrana. KNOCK-OUT KNEE BY CIAMPA! FOR 2! BARE KNEE STRIKES IN THE CORNER! Lethal looks done only to power out of the Project Ciampa into a TURNBUCKLE ALABAMASLAM! Prince Nana storms the ring and gets SPARKED OUT BY TODD SINCLAIR! Ciampa is furious that Lethal won’t stay down, and the former TV Champion explodes out of the corner and KILLS him with strikes! LETHAL INJECTION NAILED! EVANS PULLS SINCLAIR OUT OF THE RING! Lethal blasts him with another dropkick, but has his window of opportunity to end the streak come and gone? MACHO ELBOW NAILED! TOMMASO KICKS OUT! Ciampa breaks out the Stone Cold salutes! ROLLING BACKBREAKERS! LETHAL COMBINATION! The streak is over! Lethal wins at 10:50.
Rating – **** – Total sports entertainment, but I thought this was a brilliant match. Ciampa just keeps getting better and better, whilst Lethal has been one of ROH’s most reliable workers so far this year. They worked a believable, hard-hitting and constantly exciting grudge match which had the Toronto crowd on their feet counting down every nearfall by the end. If I’m honest, I absolutely HATE Lethal ending Tommaso’s streak and don’t think it makes much sense. I really don’t understand why the TV Title was taken away from this feud to go round Roderick Strong’s waist for no real reason. BUT, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the match itself was, in a totally unconventional way for Ring Of Honor, a real thriller. It’s a big win for Lethal, but Tommaso needs to be managed carefully. Along with Elgin and Cole, he’s been one of ROH’s success stories in 2012. The streak was a big part of his gimmick, so I really hope Cornette has a plan to keep him looking strong as we move forward.
Mike Bennett vs Lance Storm
This is a Showdown In The Sun rematch. Storm wanted to teach Bennett some respect in Florida, and after a hard-fought match it seemed like he’d done just that as the two shared what seemed like a heartfelt handshake. The Prodigy soon shattered those illusions and laid him out with the Box Office Smash…and royally pissed off the Canadian legend in the process. This time it’s personal for Lance.
No Maria tonight, although Bob Evans is back for the first time in a while. Former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas is officiating at the request of Storm it seems. Lance immediately looks more aggressive and lays into Bennett with vicious chops and uppercuts. He hits repeated shoulders to the ribs then slaps on an abdominal stretch. Bennett is desperate and delivers a vicious Irish whip into the ringpost, injuring Lance’s back. After giving him a couple of bad trips into the metal barriers he brings it back into the ring to apply a surfboard – delivering yet more damage to the back. LANCE JUMPS TO THE TOP ROPE AND HITS A REBOUND ELBOW OUT OF NOWHERE! That really puts it into perspective when Shelton lazily stumbles up the ropes to do that! It gets 2, but Storm’s back is really starting to struggle. He aims a superkick AT THE RIBS, but Bennett COUNTERS into the spinebuster for 2. Springboard clothesline misses, into a spear from The Prodigy but it’s still 2. Storm tries to steal the TKO only for Mike to counter again into the Box Office Smash…TWO AGAIN! Mike begs Storm to stay down, then forcibly puts him there with a dragon screw. HALF CRAB ON LANCE! STORM COUNTERS HIS VERSION OF THE HALF CRAB! Bob Evans saves the match by dragging Bennett out of the ring…but with the referee’s attention taken Storm NAILS Mike with a steel chair. SUPERKICK! Storm wins at 12:33
Rating – *** – I love the chemistry these two have in the ring…and when you couple that with a ravenous Canadian crowd it really made for a great spectacle. Some of the stuff they were doing here was so intelligent and fun to watch. There was some psychology and meaning behind every move each man made – be it linked to their initial encounter or to the story they were telling in this one. The reason I’ve only gone 3* on this is that I didn’t like the finish. It was cheap and wasn’t really needed – that’s really all I have to say about it. This was still a great rematch, and I believe Lance was hastily booked to come to a TV taping in Baltimore to wrestle the final match in their trilogy which I cannot wait to see. These Storm/Bennett matches are easily The Prodigy’s best stuff in ROH so far.
Lance cuts an emotional promo thanking the fans, then leaves to a standing ovation. I just noticed that he uses a Fozzy song as his entrance music. Did he do that in Florida?
Adam Cole vs Michael Elgin
These two have already wrestled a few times in 2012, but ROH are still marketing this as a battle of the year’s two breakout stars. Both of them have had remarkable (and unsuccessful) challenges to the World Championship against Davey Richards, and both have been delivering consistently excellent in-ring performances all year. Cole hasn’t been on the best of terms with the House Of Truth since he started the year by fighting Roddy in a No Holds Barred Match.
Elgin is from Toronto so gets a huge ovation and tons of streamers for his entrance. His gaze remains cold and focused as he easily overpowers Cole in the opening moments. Adam tries to use his speed and gets thrown high across the ring to block it. Hurricanrana does finally get Unbreakable off his feet…but Elgin CATCHES HIM IN MID-AIR GOING FOR A TOPE SUICIDA! RUNNING POWERSLAM ON THE ENTRANCE RAMP! ‘If you ever did that to a baby you’d be put in jail’ – Nigel McGuinness. Cole is wounded and goes for an ill-advised German suplex. Unbreakable easily blocks that and gets 2 with an Alabamaslam. Elgin works a surfboard as Truth Martini gets into an argument with Kevin Kelly. Adam flails away at him with forearms which don’t do anything, then finally uses his speed and athleticism to hit a satellite DDT. Slingshot DDT on the apron scores too! Superfly Splash gets 2. Florida Key blocked and countered into a CHAOS THEORY! Adam responds with a Shining Wizard for another nearfall. Adam ducks the spinning backfist, superkicks the back of the head…then watches in amazement as Elgin shakes it off and HAMMERS him with a lariat. It connects with such force that Cole actually falls out of the ring. Elgin climbs to the second rope and hits a DEAD-LIFT AVALANCE FALCON ARROW! How is that even possible? CROSSFACE! Cole rolls out and hoists Elgin into a cradlebreaker for 2. Flying Crossbody COUNTERED to the Buckle Bomb. Spiral Bomb nailed for the win at 13:54
Rating – *** – This was one of the worst matches I’ve seen with these two together. Some of the big spots were phenomenal, but there were also some really dull and dead moments which dragged this one down. At times it felt slow, and even boring. Compared to the hard-hitting brilliance of Lethal/Ciampa, the technical intelligence of Storm/Bennett and the spotty mayhem of the trios tag, this one felt really subdued and underwhelming. Still decent, but check out some of the stuff they’ve done on the TV show which was way more fun.
Truth Martini takes the microphone and steals Elgin’s moment of ppv glory by sending him to the back…as it’s now time for Roderick Strong and his TV Title defence. Thankfully Cole then steals HIS moment by superkicking the taste out of his mouth. Elgin seems to grin at Cole as he carries Truth out.
Roderick Strong vs Fit Finlay – ROH TV Title Match
Following his release from WWE, indies across the US and Europe were in a rush to book the Belfast Bruiser. A veteran with decades of experience, his latest run in the WWE revitalises his career and introduced his talents to a whole new generation of fans. ROH were one of the companies that signed him up for a few shows, and reward him for a career of great service to this business by giving him an immediate Television Title shot.
Finlay’s music appears to have been stolen from a Lucky Charms commercial. No handshakes, and there’s also no time limit on this – at the request of the champion. Fit stalks Strong, ignoring what offence he throws at him to easily tie Roddy up in headlocks and wristlocks. Roderick just can’t get off the canvas and is continually tied up in submission stretches, and leaves the ring with a frustrated look on his face. Strong lands a chop…only for Finlay to grab him for a spectacular leg grapevine takedown. Shortarm clothesline connects right across Strong’s face for 2. Roddy tries to chop him again, and gets a poke in the eye then a drop across the guardrails. Strong is really desperate now, dropping Fit back first onto the apron in really ugly fashion. Now carrying an injury, at last Finlay is susceptible to a sustained period of offence from Roddy. The crowd are really starting to crap on this match now. It’s been fought at a brutally slow pace, and fans just aren’t interested by this point. Finally Fit picks up the pace with some chops to the throat and a body avalanche in the corner. Stronghold applied only for Finlay to EASILY counter and punch the champion straight in the face. Finlay Roll nailed, into the Air Raid Crash for 2. Roddy knocks the Irishman out of the ring to get some respite, and uses the recovery time to hit the Death By Roderick for 2. Sick Kick connects for 3 at 17:16
Rating – ** – It might not be ‘cool’ or anything, but I’ve never been a fan of Finlay. I didn’t particularly enjoy his WWE tenure, I never liked him on the classic World Of Sport stuff, and I wasn’t one of the guys who was excited about him coming to ROH. That said, he is much better than this match. I’ve no idea why they fought it in slow motion, but the styles clash between the two was staggering and made this absolutely bowling shoe ugly. Strong never once got on Fit’s wavelength and these two just bumbled along stiffing the sh*t out of each other and really getting beaten up – with nobody in the live crowd caring at all. The sheer physicality of this was fun, but I really didn’t enjoy two good wrestlers beating the hell out of each other and both looking legitimately hurt without achieving anything. Huge anticlimax of a match…
Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin – ROH Tag Title Fight Without Honor
This is billed as the final showdown between these two teams, and the last time they clash with the Tag Titles on the line. This bitter rivalry extends back to Best In The World 2011 and has rumbled on ever since without showing any signs of slowing. We now look to settle the score in one of Ring Of Honor’s signature grudge matches.
Jay Briscoe comes out alone…with Mark coming out of the crowd in full hockey gear to get the fight underway. His ‘Man Up’ hockey shirt is awesome! WGTT are scattered and have to endure a severe beating in the opening minutes. Haas saves Shelton from another ass kicking, then starts the comeback by dropping Jay on his neck with an exploier suplex. Unfortunately Jay shakes it off with ease to hit a flatliner into a chair! Benjamin hits him with the Dragon Whip…but it’s his turn to see his offence become almost ineffectual as Mark slides in to dropkick a chair into his face. REPEATED cannonball sentons from the apron score as well. Jay returns to view with a wheel from somebody’s wheelchair, which is comfortably one of the weirdest weapons used in ROH history. Charlie is bleeding and under attack from Jay, so doesn’t see Shelton ICONOCLASM MARK THROUGH A TIMEKEEPING TABLE! There is an noticeable clip so something must have gone seriously wrong there. We return with Benjamin hitting the rope run belly to belly superplex on Jay. Avalanche spinebuster follows for 2…then WGTT set him up for the crotch/ringpost assault we saw at Showdown In The Sun. Mark saves with the Redneck Kung Fu. Froggy Bow nailed on Haas…only for Shelton to break the count. He gets placed on a table in the aisle, but Charlie saves him with the Olympic Slam. Benjamin and Jay fight over that table, and both collapse through it after Briscoe pelts Shelton in the head with a chain. Haas sprays something on a towel, and uses it to choke Mark out to win at 14:07 (shown).
Rating – ** – To give credit where it’s due, this wasn’t the worst match in this feud at all. But, that finish was just horrible. Sorry Cornette, but it’s not the 70’s anymore…and in the 21st century adult wrestling fans will most likely find that finish pathetic. And that’s even before you get into talking about why WGTT have been given the belts again (whilst the likes of the Young Bucks and ANX drift around the undercard doing nothing, and teams like the Wolves and Future Shock have been split up by the booking teams). But, when it’s a worse Fight Without Honor than Carnage Crew vs Maff/Whitmer you have problems. Some average brawling and a couple of decent table spots didn’t save this one. Jay and Mark had their working boots on and did their best to make it entertaining, but ultimately this one was forgettable as a match and completely horrible as an advertisement for Cornette’s booking.
Kevin Kelly is acting like Haas used a gun and shot Mark Briscoe to win, whilst feigning the world’s worst coughing fit. It’s a Fight Without Honor you tool. Kelly is seriously starting to grate on me.
Davey Richards vs Kevin Steen – ROH World Title Match
Since he returned to ROH at Final Battle 2011 Steen has been begging for a World Title shot. He wants to win the belt and hold the company hostage. Executive Producer Jim Cornette tried desperately to block his path – even in the face of Mr Wrestling going undefeated in singles matches thus far in 2011. Finally it took Steen gatecrashing the Border Wars press conference and openly taunting Davey Richards to get the match booked. Richards demanded that Cornette book the match, and promised to deliver victory. In fact, Davey was so confident he also demanded that Steen’s Package Piledriver be made legal again for one night only. He’s maintained his silence in the face of some vicious abuse from Steen all year, and comes into this match having been in a car accident only weeks earlier. He’ll also face a hostile crowd as this is in Steen’s home country. Will a new champion be crowd or will the American Wolf deliver the victory he promised to end Steen’s title ambitions.
Jimmy Jacobs is in Steen’s corner, whilst Kyle O’Reilly was supposed to second Davey but instead had to go home due to a family tragedy. Steve Corino is at the announce table too. The crowd is as hot for this as any ROH crowd has been in years, and are vocally behind the challenger. Steen takes a nasty bump on the apron in the early going though, before Davey gets up and close with some of his haters after landing a tope suicida. Jimmy Jacobs gets into an argument with him, and that gives Steen a window to strike and nail a hanging DDT out of the ropes. He injured Davey’s ribs at Rising Above 2012 and continues to attack them with repeated trips into the guardrails. Weirdly Corino is yet to say a single word on commentary. EXPLODER ON THE APRON BY RICHARDS! Crowd absolutely hates that and it only gets worse as he stalks the ring hitting the Canadian challenger with multiple kicks. Trailer Hitch applied – the champion sensibly working the legs of the big man. Mr Wrestling falls out of the ring, but is able to hide behind Jacobs as Davey swings a punt at him.
Jimmy eats boot, but Steen again capitalises to POWERBOMB Richards into the side of the ring. Richards crawls to his feet, so it’s a POWERBOMB INTO THE APRON AGAIN! Cannonball senton squashes the ribcage again for 2. Steen’s leg is obviously bothering him though. He limps up the ropes but gets knees on the Steen-ton Bomb! HEAD DROP SUPLEX! STEEN NO SELLS! Davey clatters into him again with a lariat to put him down, with the crowd heckling him with a ‘you can’t beat him’ chant. F-5 blocked…KICK DUEL! DISCUS LARIAT BY STEEN! Both men are down! Steen absorbs some elbow strikes, then catches Davey with the pumphandle cradlebreaker for 2. STEEN PUTS DAVEY’S MOUTHPIECE IN! Package Piledriver blocked and Davey dropkicks out the knees. The challenger tries to apply the Sharpshooter but his leg buckles underneath him – casting real doubt over whether he has it in him to take the belt. Davey hits the dragon screw in the ropes to capitalise, hanging the leg there making him scream in pain as the champ climbs the ropes for a wild double stomp.
ANKLELOCK! It’s escaped, but Steen’s leg gives way again as he tries both the Package Piledriver and the F-5. Seemingly with no finishing moves, Steen is helpless as Davey hooks him up for the DR DRIVEEEEEER! STEEN KICKS OUT! Since the piledriver is legal in this, that move is legal again, but even that wasn’t enough to end Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare. Kawada kicks…STEEN SLAPS DAVEY IN THE FACE! His nose is busted open…BUT HE SLAPS THE SH*T OUT OF DAVEY! F-5! ONLY 2! MOONSAULT NAILED! Again it’s just 2, mostly thanks to the time it took the injured Steen to cover. He still wants to execute the Package Piledriver but just can’t get Richards up…and EATS a Shining Wizard. Kick to the face! STEEN FLIPS HIM OFF! ANKLELOCK ON DAVEY! COUNTERED TO THE ANKLELOCK ON STEEN! COUNTERED TO THE SHARPSHOOTER! BACK TO THE ANKLELOCK! Kevin climbs up the ropes, and actually rips off the turnbuckle pad in escaping. SLEEPER SUPLEX! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! STEEN WINS! STEEN WINS! A NEW CHAMPION IS CROWNED! 24:23 is the time!
Rating – ****1/2 – It might not have been as technically good as Richards/Elgin, as violent as Steen/Generico or as well laid out as the Young Wolves Rising tag, but for me this has to be considered a top MOTYC as we approach the halfway point of the year. It was everything pro-wrestling should be, and exactly the kind of match ROH was built on. Outstanding, physical, hard-hitting wrestling – telling a gripping story in front of a great crowd. The fans here reminded me of the Aries/Punk match at Death Before Dishonor 3, as they absolutely BEGGED Steen to take the belt. Davey was excellent too, heeling it up to the maximum and leading the increasingly tired Steen through an absolute classic. The closing sequence, with multiple submission counters into the Package Piledriver had the place going batsh*t crazy. I really think this may have been my favourite ROH match of 2012 thus far. It wasn’t always perfect, but for sheer emotion this is hard to top.
Cary Silkin gives the belt to Todd Sinclair and storms out, refusing to carry out his post-match tradition of handing the title to the new champion. Steve Corino, who was silent throughout his time on commentary, steps into the ring…AND HUGS STEEN! Steen, Corino and Jacobs share an evil hug as the show goes off the air.
Tape Rating – *** – This ppv gets some mixed reviews. Some call it ROH’s best show of the year, whilst others call it a disappointment – so take what I have to say with a pinch of salt. I thought this was a really solid show, although the second half was somewhat of a letdown. Strong/Finlay and Briscoes/WGTT were pretty poor, whilst Elgin and Cole have had better matches on quite a few occasions this year so that felt flat too. But, to concentrate on the positive, everything else was great. The first half of the show was absolutely superb. Lethal/Ciampa rocked, Edward/Rhino was better than most were expecting, the trios tag was a real diamond in the undercard rough…whilst Bennett and Storm continued to show the obvious chemistry they demonstrated in Florida last time ROH were on pay-per-view. When it comes down to it, people will say this DVD lives and dies by it’s main event. Since there have only been 16 World Champions crowned in the 300 show plus history of ROH, you should probably have this one in your collection regardless – but rest assured Richards/Steen was a cracker. I know people sh*t on Davey for his attitude and poor title reign, and to some extent I sympathise with that. But somewhere in all the heat he has, it seems to be overlooked that he’s still a f*cking amazing worker. Just because it’s cool on the internet to bash him now, it doesn’t stop him being incredible, and his performance in the main event was one of his best. Ultimately this probably wasn’t the best event of 2012, but in an average year for the promotion you should really go out of your way to pick this one up. From a booking perspective I have some concerns (ANX and Young Bucks doing nothing, Lethal needlessly going over Ciampa, WGTT in general), but from a match-quality viewpoint you can’t go wrong with this.
Top 3 Matches
3) All Night Express/TJ Perkins vs Young Bucks/Mike Mondo (***)
2) Jay Lethal vs Tommaso Ciampa (****)
1) Davey Richards vs Kevin Steen (****1/2)