ROH 311 – Caged Hostility – 8th September 2012
We are a week away from Death Before Dishonor 10, and we arrive back in the Carolinas with a big live event. No titles are on the line with the ppv just seven days away – but to make up for that we have a Steel Cage main event which pits SCUM against the Briscoes and Rhett Titus. Elsewhere on the card it’s up and coming talent that gets a chance to shine. Adam Page makes his ROH DVD debut to face Jay Lethal, whilst QT Marshall looks to step up to Mike Mondo and North Carolina’s own Bravado Brothers and C&C WrestleFactory do battle. Cole/O’Reilly III and WGTT/HOT are also on the line-up tonight so, for a house show, this looks full of potential. We’re in Charlotte, NC with the commentary team of Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino.
SIDENOTE – Sound and VQ on this show are utterly appalling. The hard cam is the worst, but even the mobile cams at ringside go in and out of focus. It’s good that ROH finally got the SBG graphics onto their DVD’s…but honestly this show looks like total sh*t.
Adam Page vs Jay Lethal
This is a big opportunity for Page, who is only a young kid and makes his DVD show debut today after impressing during his Sinclair TV maiden showing. He has a big ask though, as standing opposite from him is Jay Lethal – who has been tasked with showing more ‘killer instinct’ if he is to convince Jim Cornette that he deserves a World Title shot.
Jay Lethal throws his hat into the ring to challenge Steen at ROH’s return to New Jersey next month so knows he needs a win tonight. Page is noticeably on edge during the Code Of Honor after what happened to Matt Taven last week on TV. He ducks a springboard dropkick attempt…but leaves himself exposed on the apron for Lethal to HANDSPRING KICK him to the floor! Jay continues the ferocious assault on the floor…to the extent that it’s genuinely surprising with Page fires back at him with a spinning heel kick for 2. Sadly for him Lethal blocks a quebrada (apparently) and tosses him out of the ring into the path of a tope suicida. NECK DROP BACK SUPLEX NAILED! Holy f*ck he nearly murdered the youngster there! He’s also turned his chest a really ugly shade of crimson with some vicious chopping flurries. Somehow Adam crawls back to his feet…only to naively run into a turnbuckle flatliner. Jay is getting frustrated at the courage the kid is showing, and drags him onto the apron…to level him with a HUGE superkick! But Page shoves him away…SHOOTING STAR PRESS FROM THE APRON TO THE FLOOR! Shades of Paul London there, and Page just got the entire crowd to their feet! He evades another back suplex attempt and nearly steals a shock win with a rolling powerslam! Tornado DDT blocked…SATELLITE DDT INSTEAD FOR 2! Page to the top – BUT LETHAL COUNTERS A CROSSBODY WITH A MID-AIR SUPERKICK! He then dumps Adam on his neck with a fisherman buster for 2. Lethal Combination scores…STILL 2! Jay is in total disbelief by this point. ROLLING BACKBREAKERS…BACKFLIP LETHAL INJECTION! He wins at 11:10
Rating – *** – Scorching opener to the DVD, and Adam Page just got put on the map. The point of this was obviously to showcase Lethal’s new mean streak, with ROH clearly hyping him to be the next challenger to Steen after Death Before Dishonor. He showed the ‘killer instinct’ he needed to in abundance, and in the process did a hell of a job putting Page over. The young kid was getting beaten up for long periods of time, but he held up his end of the match so well and sparked the crowd into life with every comeback attempt. If his TV debut wasn’t enough to get him more bookings, this absolutely has to be. Sign him up!
In the locker room QT Marshall tells Veda Scott he’s ready to rack up the wins and get himself into title contention.
QT Marshall vs Mike Mondo
No Fear is just a week away from his big TV Title Match. He has Adam Cole to prepare for at the ppv, so won’t welcome the tough opponent he has this evening. Marshall is newly contracted and seemingly backing himself to storm through ROH straight to the championships. He’s got lots of momentum on his side after winning his contract at Boiling Point – and would surely be considered an instant player if he could beat the TV Title #1 contender here this evening.
The hardcam for this show looks like it’s being taped on a cellphone – it’s honestly that bad. Apparently Marshall is so easy to hate Mondo is the de facto babyface it seems. QT runs to the floor rather than getting involved with No Fear…with the commentators so interested in what’s going on they are deep in conversation about which Dudley Boy they prefer. It degenerates into Corino taking cheap shots at Jerry Lawler’s heart attack, and still very little is happening in the ring. Mondo is focusing on QT’s arm, doing significant damage to visibly injure God’s Gift. He sets up for the Double Arm DDT but it’s way too early and Marshall lifts him all the way to the floor. From there QT launches into the generic kick/punch/choke offence that Cornette seems to enjoy so much. To diversify it he hits a knee to the stomach or a body slam every now and then…and then a rear chinlock. He’s probably gassed after all that slow punching and kicking. The point of it is that QT is targeting the ribs and throat, making it hard for No Fear to catch his breath. Mondo has seen enough and puts Marshall in a shortarm scissors. F*ck me this is boring. I bet Cornette is loving this too – he’s that out of touch. Armbar DDT nailed for 2…so QT retaliates by scooping Mike up for a big powerslam. Shortarm scissors again with the crowd loudly chanting ‘boring’. Mondo misses that flying stomp…and pretends to injure his leg. QT turns his back…and eats Double Arm DDT. Mondo wins in a long 11:12
Rating – DUD – Like I said on play-by-play, I bet Jim Cornette loved this match. Two guys with good bodies lumbering around the ring endlessly punching and kicking each other like it’s Shotgun Saturday in the late 90’s. Mondo has proven himself to be a good worker with the right opponent in 2012, but QT definitely wasn’t that guy. I won’t dwell on it too much since I know pretty much every ROH fan has had his say on Marshall – but thus far he looks like nothing more than a budget version of Mike Bennett. Good look, moves ok…but his wrestling skill is so poor that he wouldn’t have got a look in under Gabe Sapolsky. Are we definitely sure we can’t give his contract to Matt Taven?
The Bravados tell Veda that they are coming for revenge on C&C for beating them and putting them out of ROH last year at Final Battle.
Bravado Brothers vs Caprice Coleman/Cedric Alexander
Both teams are from North Carolina, so this should have some added spice from the live crowd if nothing else. The Bravados have been back from Japan for months, but have been booked so infrequently ROH are still getting away with the whole ‘just back from Japan’ gimmick. They have noticeably improved since Final Battle 2011 – when they lost in the Tag Gauntlet (to their opponents tonight). It’s an emotional homecoming for them, and they’ll want to win the match and cement their successful return to Ring Of Honor.
Everyone is over here since it’s all local talent. Cedric and Harlem start with an evenly matched exchange of holds on the canvas. But when the pace quickens it’s clear Alexander has the edge and he sends Harlem out of the ring with a sweet dropkick. Lancelot tags in, and with Coleman knocked off the apron the Bravados string together a couple of double teams to put themselves into the ascendency. Caprice doesn’t like that, and ignores the tag rules to spring off the top rope into a gorgeous crossbody block to wipe out both Bravados. It’s C&C’s turn to bust out some combo moves, and within minutes they have Lancelot trapped in the ring and cut-off from his partner. Hart Attack leg lariat gets 2. From the apron Harlem grabs Coleman and snaps his arm over the ropes…and he rebounds straight into the path of an armbar DDT from Lance. Together they start working over the left arm of the veteran…with Harlem getting a chance to show off the extra strength he gained in the NOAH dojo by utilising a stalling vertical suplex. He works a Fujiwara armbar next, then breaks out an awesome arm stunner as Caprice powers out of that. OKLAHOMA SHOULDERBREAKER from Lancelot gets 2! DEAD LIFT GERMAN COMES NEXT! Again he dumped Coleman right on that busted up shoulder. But he basks in the success of that move for a little too long, and turns his back on Coleman long enough for him to scale the ropes to hit a diving lariat. Hot tag to Alexander who scores a close nearfall with an Arabian press on Harlem. Those two battle to the top ropes…with Caprice hauling Harlem down for C&C to hit the IRISH AIR RAID! 2 COUNT! Lance saves his brother with a slingshot DDT then flings Cedric across the ring with a belly to belly suplex. Lariat flurry…into the Gentleman’s Approach for 2! Alexander powers back with ROLLING NORTHERN LIGHTS! Running elbow into the rolling moonsault to the floor from Caprice! Stump Puller on Lancelot…bringing Harlem in to break the submission. BRUTAL bicycle kick from Harlem to Coleman, with Bravado following it up to hit a blockbuster for another nearfall. LONDON DUNGEON on Coleman’s injured arm! Caprice has to find a rope as his partner is on the outside brawling with Lancelot. SPRINGBOARD LARIAT from Cedric! Roaring Elbow from Harlem…ROLLING ENZI BY ALEXANDER! Everyone is down! Cedric and Lancelot drill each other elbows, until Alexander hits a MICHINOKU DRIVER for 2. Harlem hits another arm stunner on Caprice…but turns into an IED from Alexander. STANDING SUPER RANA! FROG SPLASH NAILED! Caprice and Cedric take the win at 19:56
Rating – **** – I think 4* is perhaps slightly generous as the quality of some of the work in the middle, as well as Caprice’s selling of the arm, was actually quite poor. But I’m being generous with my rating because of what this represents to both teams. C&C have gone under the radar for most of 2012. They’ve been very dependable in the ring, have produced a few really good TV matches…but mostly have bounced around with no character and no real reason to be on the roster. The Bravados have improved massively since coming back from Japan, and are hugely entertaining to boot. Sadly for them, Jim Cornette and ROH haven’t really given a sh*t about them and basically booked them to be the same goofy jobbers they were before they went to NOAH. All in all these four have had a pretty tough 2012 in Ring Of Honor. So for them to get 20 minutes in front of an enthusiastic local crowd was a big deal. It was a big stage for these four under-utilised talents, and they used it to produce one of ROH’s best tag matches of 2012. In truth that probably says more about how bad the tag division is now, but they still deserve a lot of credit. Well done to all four…
The next segment starts with a familiar howl – and for the first time since June, Davey Richards steps out in front of a Ring Of Honor crowd. He was supposed to make his comeback on ppv next week, but was so impatient he decided to show up here tonight instead. He admits he’s not been a brilliant person outside of the ring for the last year…but apparently that’s behind him and he promises that the American Wolf is back. He will be back later in the show to watch a very specific match from ringside.
Jeff Lewis Neal vs Mike Posey
Two local guys get a chance to impress. Posey is part of Alabama Attitude and has shown up in ROH a couple of times – but have no recollection of Neal appearing before. Not sure what to expect from this.
Corino is a fan of Neal since he was trained by CW Anderson. Other than that he and Kevin Kelly basically bury these two on commentary which seems a little harsh. Jeff has the size edge and uses it to splat Posey face-first into the canvas for 2. He continues to dominate and seems so comfortable that he finds time to argue with a few fans in the crowd as well. We’re basically at the five minute mark before Posey is able to land any significant offence – leaping into a Thesz Press then getting 2 with a slingshot double underhook DDT. JLN reacts angrily by butterfly suplexing Mike into the turnbuckles. Posey hits the Alabama Jam to win at a LONG 06:03
Rating – * – A couple of decent spots at the end saved this from being a total bust…but it was a giant waste of time. Posey is decent, and Alabama Attitude are an ok team to work the undercard every now and then. But I have no interest in seeing him work singles…and JLN did nothing for me as his opponent. He is big has a decent physique, but much of what he did was very plodding and dull to watch. In this day and age I really believe you need more in your locker than a few decent spots and a three minute chinlock sequence if you want to be successful. I respect ROH trying to give new talent a shot on this show. It worked with Adam Page, the Bravados and C&C. It failed miserably with these two though. I’d happily never see these guys in ROH again.
SCUM does a run-in after the match, drawing a huge pop. Kevin Steen sits in the middle of the ring and announces he is cancelling tonight’s main event since he doesn’t want to be in a Steel Cage just a week before he has to main event an ippv against Rhino. Rhett Titus and the Briscoes don’t like that and quickly arrive on the scene to run SCUM off. The sound on this show is terrible – particularly from the live microphones. It seems like ROH officials announce they are going to fine SCUM if they don’t participate in the scheduled main event…and Jay laughs about it as his microphone f*cks up some more.
Veda Scott is in the House Of Truth locker room. Truth Martini is happy to announce that Roderick Strong’s strike is over…having apparently offered Roddy three things he wanted. Strong says he’ll go on strike again in seconds if Elgin doesn’t follow his lead in their match
Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin vs Roderick Strong/Michael Elgin
Benjamin’s suspension is now over it seems – although sadly not in time for him to compete in the Tag Title tournament semi-finals. Haas is in the semis, teaming with Rhett Titus as a means to an end. WGTT believe themselves to be the rightful champions and still feel wronged that they weren’t allowed a rematch with ANX – then weren’t handed the belts back when Kenny King walked out. For the House Of Truth – both Strong and Elgin believe themselves to be top contenders to the World Title. Elgin is trying to cash in his SOTF title shot at Glory By Honor next month – but that’s still to be confirmed with Roderick Strong demanding HE get Michael’s title shot.
Nobody seems particularly happy as this one gets underway. Strong and Elgin don’t like each other, whilst WGTT are totally pissed off about the tag title situation. Charlie is so pissed off that Shelton has to physically restrain him. Roderick makes it worse by stealing Haas’ t-shirt and putting it on. Elgin is totally corpsing on the apron by the way and is in hysterics. Benjamin starts in the ring almost out of necessity, but gets to stand and watch as Roddy and Elgin stand in their corner arguing. WGTT are at least on the same page, and Haas is able to get some revenge for his t-shirt as he boots Strong relentlessly into the turnbuckles. Elgin comes to Roddy’s aid with a slingshot tackle on both opponents…but the House Of Truth get jumped as they stand around arguing again. Elgin keeps saving Roderick from punishment though – next shoving him aside to nail Shelton with a lariat. Roddy is pissed off with Elgin for constantly saving him…and bitches about it on the microphone until Benjamin shuts him up with a superkick. Elgin tags in to show off his power with a stalling vertical suplex on Shelton – which is broken by Haas who punts him in the ribs. Again the teamwork of WGTT is proving too much for the divided talents of the HOT duo, and Haas soon has Unbreakable isolated in the ring. It’s during this period that we get the infamous spot with Charlie spitting at Martini, then drinking up his own saliva as it drips off the ropes. Very disgusting, albeit pretty entertaining. Shelton shows his own power by easily lifting Elgin into a Samoan drop for 2. Roderick refuses to tag out, leaving Elgin in the ring to take a beating…but he doesn’t bank on Michael climbing the ropes to level Haas with a flying football tackle. Paydirt COUNTERED with the spinning backfist…but then Haas counters the Buckle Bomb with a NECK DROP German suplex. Elgin levels Haas with a jumping enzi, and finally Strong blind tags himself in. Elgin doesn’t like that, but watches as Strong hits Death By Roderick on Charlie. PAYDIRT from Shelton to block the Sick Kick. Haas Of Pain on Strong, with Elgin refusing to break the hold! Roderick has no choice but to tap at 14:54
Rating – ** – From a character standpoint this was a lot of fun. The constant dissension in the House Of Truth was well done, and Charlie Haas as a slightly nutty heel character is amusing – if not always great to watch as a wrestler. But the wrestling side of this let it down. Haas and HOT (I don’t include Shelton, as he was just going through the motions and not giving a sh*t as usual) were so caught up in their character directions that the actual match suffered. A lot of the action was bland, slow and boring. ROH have been dragging this House Of Truth split out for some-time now.
Michael Elgin walks out, leaving Truth Martini to carry an injured Roderick Strong to the back.
Adam Cole is still pissed off about what happened at Best In The World. He’s coming for some payback for his f*cked up face when he faces Kyle O’Reilly this evening
Adam Cole vs Kyle O’Reilly
This is a Proving Ground Match, meaning O’Reilly needs to win or last to the time limit (which Veda Scott says is 20 minutes, even though it’s only been 15 before – have they announced a change?) in order to earn himself a TV Title shot. The last time these two met it was a bloodbath. O’Reilly violently split Cole’s face open in their Hybrid Rules Match. But despite that bloody mouth, and a set of rules designed to favour Kyle, Adam still managed to emerge from Best In The World 2012 with a massive, star-making victory. He will want some revenge for that injury, and to shut down O’Reilly’s championship aspirations by defeating him again here.
Davey Richards sits at ringside to watch this one, and the two former partners charge into battle. Cole rattles Kyle with right hands before O’Reilly fires back with kicks. JUMPING ENZI FROM COLE to block an attempted tope! Tope suicida scores for the TV Champion instead. Out on the floor Kyle gives Adam a couple of big whips into the guardrails…but wastes time demanding Davey’s approval and is punished by a catapult into the ringpost. Adam targets O’Reilly’s leg – driving it into the barricade, apron and ringpost in quick succession. He adopted the same strategy at Best In The World and won with the Figure 4 remember. Speaking of that move – he locks in a hanging Figure 4 around the ringpost causing Kyle to scream in pain. It’s too early to go for the Flying Crossbody though – and O’Reilly blocks it in mid-air with a dropkick. They take turns slapping each other in the face, and getting into a strike exchange works in O’Reilly’s favour as he kicks Cole off his feet and starts to focus his offence on his midsection. He grabs the ropes to crank onto an abdominal stretch until the ref catches him in the act…so Kyle switches to a violent knee strike instead. Discus Lariat…NO SOLD! SUPERKICK! NO SOLD! JUMPING ENZI! Both men go down! They go into the duelling big boot spots that destroyed Cole’s face in New York. NECK DROP GERMAN FROM COLE! Shining Wizard nailed for 2. Florida Key blocked though, and O’Reilly drops Adam on his head with a tornado DDT. Cole pops up to hit a CRADLEBREAKER for 2! O’Reilly boots at the ribs to block the Figure 4…and small packages Cole as he rolls through the Back Drop Driver attempt. Cole hits a dragon screw, looking to attack the leg again…but takes too long to follow it and walks into the Guillotine Choke. REVERSE RANA…REGALPLEX! O’Reilly was so close to a TV Title shot then. Triangle Choke with elbows a’la Bryan Danielson…only for Adam to counter into a roll-up and we’re all even again. The fight goes through the ropes…COLE HITS COLE-LATERAL ON THE APRON! And somehow that doesn’t kill O’Reilly…SUPERKICK COUNTERS THE APRON MISSILE DROPKICK! FLYING CROSSBODY FOR 2! FIGURE 4 LEGLOCK! Unlike Best In The World O’Reilly makes the ropes. He’s hurt now, and falls out of the ring right on top of Richards. The distraction with Davey buys him some time…and he counters Cole into a roll-up to win at 15:48
Rating – **** – Lousy finish, but the match before that was great. The Cole injury at Best In The World made their Hybrid Rules match epic, but it also slightly took away from what great technical wrestlers these two are. Tonight they got to display their wonderfully fluid wrestling skills, and this 15 minute Proving Ground Match absolutely flew by. There were lots of references to the New York match, plus tons of familiarity counters to enjoy. The finish was still cheap and a bit of a buzzkill though. I’d rather have seen a time-limit draw if the end game was to give O’Reilly a title shot whilst protecting Cole. Not as good as Best In The World – but a worthy follow up.
Kevin Steen/Jimmy Jacobs/Steve Corino vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe/Rhett Titus – Steel Cage Match
I’m not sure this feud has really escalated to the point that we need a Cage Match, but it should be a fun main event nonetheless. The Briscoes and SCUM have shared a couple of hard-fought, physical encounters over recent shows – most memorably at Brew City Beatdown when Mark jumped off a balcony to put Steen through a table. It was that same night in Milwaukee that Titus got involved too. He saved the Briscoes from a beatdown, as he looked to turn the disappointment of Kenny King’s TNA defection into an opportunity to push himself into the main event picture. He and the Briscoes are looking to rid ROH of SCUM this evening.
Nobody waits to get into the cage and it’s a six-man brawl around ringside which gets us underway – despite the best efforts of referees and security personnel to get them into the ring. Corino busts Mark open with a broken beer bottle, and Steen grabbing shards of glass to do the same to Jay. In fact, Jay is soon bleeding heavily…not that it stops him drinking beers with the fans as he puts the boots to Jimmy. Five of the six are in the ring, and Steen locks the door behind him to prevent Mark from getting inside too. With a 3-on-2 advantage it isn’t long before SCUM assert themselves and begin really beating Jay and Rhett down. Mark tries to climb up the cage…so Steen HEADBUTTS HIM THROUGH A TABLE! Payback for Brew City Beatdown right there. It’s so easy for SCUM that Steen and Jacobs take a break to throw streamers and roll around in them. The camera pans to a still motionless Mark Briscoe on the floor, selling his injuries from that table bump with hilarious facials…until the refs pour beer into his mouth to revive him. Inside the ring Steen is painting Corino’s belly with Jay’s blood! Titus manages to drop Steve with a dropkick…and Jay drops Jimmy with the turnbuckle flatliner! Steen seems happy for his lackeys to take the punishment and they both take violent rides into the cage. One Night Stand from Rhett and Jay gets 2…only for Corino to shut down their comeback with the Colby Shock followed by a Saito Suplex. Jacobs then gets a nearfall with a senton bomb from the top. F-5 on Jay…still 2! Stereo low blows from Jay and Rhett…as Mark starts climbing the cage. MARK WITH A MOONSAULT FROM THE TOP OF THE CAGE INTO THE RING! Titus hits Steen with the Thrust Buster…as Jay hits the DVD on Corino. CONTRA CODE COUNTERED INTO THE DOOMSDAY DEVICE! MARK PINS JACOBS! The Briscoes and Rhett win at 11:04
Rating – *** – As I said, I’m not sure this feud has really progressed enough to warrant a Cage Match. As such, I don’t think there was much emotional connection or resonance to what they were doing. But, having said that, this was entertaining enough and a really fun main event. It had everything from big bumps, dazzling high spots, wild brawling to comedy spots as well. They definitely went above and beyond what was expected of them at a house show.
SCUM don’t take defeat well…and Kevin Steen lays out all three babyfaces with the World Title belt to make an emphatic statement at their expense. Jay Lethal runs in to attack Steen, looking to show some of that ‘killer instinct’ needed to get himself a title match. He fights Corino, Steen and Jacobs by himself, finally chasing Mr Wrestling all the way to the locker room.
Tape Rating – *** – There is some real crap on this show, lets not make any bones about that. Marshall/Mondo was utter tripe, and the Posey/Neal match was totally needless as well. But there was some awesome stuff sprinkled throughout the night, and it was also a DVD where the overwhelming focus was to let up and coming talent showcase their abilities. With six established top tier guys in the main event it left a hole for the rest of the roster to step up and fill. Adam Page delivered a spectacular opener which will surely earn him more bookings. C&C/Bravados was a little undercard diamond which really stole the show…and the Cole/O’Reilly rematch was a terrific junior heavyweight clash fought with real technical skill. I have to say this is probably one for the real hardcore collectors only. If you’re a selective ROH buyer, it’s hard to recommend this too strongly. Whilst it’s a good DVD, the Cage Match main event isn’t must-see by any means, Cole/O’Reilly has been done better before and I’m not quite sure the C&C/Bravados tag was good enough to sell the show by itself. The completists won’t find this a waste of time though. Considering how bad the TV show has been in the last few weeks this was, by and large, a breath of fresh air
Top 3 Matches
3) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe/Rhett Titus vs Kevin Steen/Jimmy Jacobs/Steve Corino (***)
2) Kyle O’Reilly vs Adam Cole (****)
1) Caprice Coleman/Cedric Alexander vs Bravado Brothers (****)