ROH 312 – Death Before Dishonor 10: State Of Emergency – 15th September 2012
Death Before Dishonor has become ROH’s traditional summer super-show. That’s why it’s weird that, although this is indeed closing out ROH’s summer schedule, there are actually only three live shows left after this for the year (plus some TV tapings of course). We’re live on ippv tonight (although I believe once again there were issues with the feed) and lots is at stake. Rhino looks to continue his career resurgence by becoming World Champion once again as he challenges Kevin Steen. Adam Cole defends the TV Title against Mike Mondo, and new Tag Champions will be crowned as the Briscoes, SCUM, Caprice & Cedric and the Haas/Titus odd couple compete in the semi-finals and finals of the tournament. To be honest those three main events aren’t hugely exciting – but at least ROH is rounding out the card with another genuine attempt to give young talent a chance to prove themselves. Tadarius Thomas and Silas Young both impressed in losing efforts at Brew City Beatdown – this evening they collide with entry into Survival Of The Fittest 2012 at stake. Irish Airborne are back for the first time in years, and impressive indy talent ACH makes his debut against Kyle O’Reilly. To balance out all the new talent coming in, Sinclair have forked out for another WWE reject – with Matt Hardy appearing live too. We’re in Chicago Ridge, IL with Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.
SIDENOTE – I think it was audio issues that caused problems this time around. Kevin and Nigel are at ringside announcing live – but the commentary track has clearly been re-recorded and added in at a later date. And since they are in the hard-cam shot is embarrassingly obvious most of the time. Sinclair were so cheap they haven’t even brought Nigel in to redub the commentary, which means it’s more of Kevin Kelly’s irritating solo commentary monologues.
Caprice Coleman/Cedric Alexander vs Jimmy Jacobs/Steve Corino
This is our first Tag Title tournament semi-final. C&C caused somewhat of an upset when they beat the Young Bucks in the qualifying round. Jacobs and Corino were denied entry to the tournament initially – but after Charlie Haas withdrew from his spot to partner Rhett Titus, Jim Cornette put them in under the condition that they leave ROH should they fail to win the belts. The Bravados tried and failed to end their ROH careers. They’ll either leave tonight jobless or as ROH Tag Champions.
Jacobs and Alexander start at a frenetic pace, with Cedric coming within a second of stealing a shock early victory. Coleman tags and makes fun of Corino for being old (despite only being a couple of years younger than him). On commentary Kevin Kelly even points out the technician trying to fix their audio, making it all the more obvious that the commentary has been dubbed in later. Eternal Dream countered into a crucifix pin for 2, and Caprice totally bewitches the King Of Old School into more nearfalls after that. He goes round the ringpost into a dropkick on Jacobs, before Alexander hits a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA onto both opponents. Hart Attack leg lariat scores too…but Jacobs manages to get Coleman out of the ring for a CACTUS ELBOW! That’s the turning point of the contest, with SCUM now in charge of Coleman. Any chance Alexander has of helping his partner is wiped out as Corino shoves him violently into the timekeeping table. Somehow the table doesn’t break though…and he recovers to finally help his partner with a corkscrew enzi on Corino. Jimmy cuts him off with the trampoline double stomps for 2. Tornado snap suplex nailed for another nearfall. Berserker Boot blocked though, allowing Caprice to tag in and deliver the rolling northern lights suplexes. Steve hits Colby Shock for another nearfall…only for Coleman to fire back with the Slingblade. Total Elimination from C&C to Corino for 2. Full nelson driver/top rope leg drop combo scores! Jacobs has to save his partner, with SCUM hitting Coleman with the neckbreaker/running STO combo. Eternal Dream for 2 again. Cedric saves his partner from the Contra Code by hitting a springboard lariat. SPEAR ON THE APRON! With Cedric taken out Jacobs throws a chair into Coleman’s face. The ref doesn’t spot it – and Corino lands the Saito Suplex for the win at 12:14
Rating – ** – The dead crowd and dubbed in audio made this one really hard to get into. The opening few minutes were ok, but after that it was just a succession of heatless spots and entirely undramatic nearfalls. The fact that ROH have booked themselves into a corner with this SCUM are fired if they lose gimmick has basically killed the drama of both their tournament matches so far.
Tadarius Thomas vs Silas Young
Brew City Beatdown was a significant show for both of these guys. Tadarius made his main show debut and impressed everyone with his unique fighting style in a highly competitive match against Kyle O’Reilly. On the same evening Silas returned to ROH and produced a show-stealer as he pushed Michael Elgin to the limit. The reward for those two impressive performances is a spot on the ppv tonight – and a chance for the winner to enter the 2012 Survival Of The Fittest tournament, which will air on Sinclair TV in October.
Live commentary kicks in as Young starts extremely cautiously. He’s clearly scouted Tadarius’ fighting style and doesn’t want to be kicked out of the fight before it even begins. To make that point Thomas cartwheels off the canvas into a headscissors takedown. The cartwheels keep coming as he uses one to hurdle a Young clothesline…only to be shoved into the guardrail. Sleeper in the ropes, then a springboard crossbody. Young, however, shows veteran instincts to roll through that into a backbreaker for 2. Tadarius seems impervious to Silas’ attacks though, to the extent that he starts HEADBUTTING Young’s hand to stop him punching. Back flip dropkick into his version of the Slingblade. Cartwheel kick combo…countered into another backbreaker from Young. He’s just not doing enough damage though, and Thomas counters another Young offensive move into a Golden Gate Swing. Finlay roll scores…but Tadarius evades the Arabian Press and levels Silas with a roundhouse kick to take the victory and advance into Survival Of The Fittest at 06:26
Rating – * – As an exhibition of what Tadarius can do this was ok. Silas got totally squashed though, which is a real shame considering how good his match with Elgin in Milwaukee was. Thomas is certainly the more unique of the two though, so I understand why he is being given the SOTF slot. I just wish this could have been more competitive since Silas deserves to be on the roster too.
SIDENOTE – Live audio came back during this match, with Kevin and Nigel ditching their headsets and monitors, instead using live audio mics which mean their volumes are up and down.
Kyle O’Reilly vs ACH
In June O’Reilly quit Team Richards, and it has to be said that he’s done ok for himself since then. Last week in Charlotte he earned himself a future TV Title shot by beating Adam Cole in a Proving Ground Match (with his old mentor Davey Richards watching from ringside) – and tonight he has an opportunity to continue that momentum against a guy making his ROH debut. ACH has been getting lots of hype around the internet for sometime, and given his existing connections to guys already on the DGUSA/Evolve roster it was a genuine surprise that ROH managed to sign him up to appear here. It’s not a contract or anything but he has a lot of buzz around him. A good performance here will almost certainly result in ACH being able to choose whether he wants a full-time ROH contract or to pursue Gabe’s promotions and their links to regular Japanese tours with Dragon Gate.
The crowd are seriously into ACH as he makes his entrance, which is a good sign. It’s a hugely even start, with ACH able to hold his own with Kyle on the mat then look to press home his apparent speed advantage. He hits a couple of armdrags – but that leads to an awesome spot with O’Reilly countering a third armdrag attempt into a cross armbreaker. ACH counters out, back flips over a kick attempt and we’re back where we started with everything level. O’Reilly shows some power by muscling him into a Saito suplex…hit with such force that ACH has to roll to the floor. But he recovers quickly to hit an axe kick between the ropes then springboards off the buckles into a MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! Kyle doesn’t like that, and gives him a BELLY TO BELLY ON THE CONCRETE! Abdominal stretch applied…only for ACH to escape and slap him in the face! Sh*t is on, and O’Reilly strikes ACH from all angles for a 2-count. Back to the abdominal stretch, this time with the additional leverage of the ropes. Inevitably the ref spots that, so O’Reilly opts to knee and kick ACH across the chest instead. ACH looks to quicken the pace, hitting a flying headscissors from the second rope then a slingshot Ace Crusher for 2. Sliding Lariat through the turnbuckles…but Kyle gets up and FLOORS him with an elbow strike! Strike exchange…ending when ACH spins O’Reilly in a circle with a tornado DDT. DDT INTO THE TURNBUCKLES! He tries a second rope 450…only for O’Reilly to COUNTER TO A TRIANGLE CHOKE! ACH taps, and it’s O’Reilly who wins at 09:54
Rating – *** – Impressive debut for ACH, who is by some distance the brightest new talent to come into ROH in 2012. He and O’Reilly produced a fun little match where he showed impressive athleticism, some unique offensive moves and more charisma than most guys who are already on the roster. From Ring Of Honor’s perspective, I’d be throwing a contract at him after that. From ACH’s, I’d listen to what they have to say, then go work a few DGUSA/Evolve shows. He is an ideal talent for them and, if be backs himself to flourish in an environment which already has the likes of AR Fox, Ricochet and Rich Swann, I’m sure he’d get himself regular Japanese tours before long. His call…
Kyle O’Reilly is a jerk and refuses to release the hold for the best part of a minute after the match.
Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Rhett Titus/Charlie Haas
Last week Jay and Mark were teaming with Rhett Titus in a Steel Cage Match against SCUM in Charlotte. Tonight they stand across the ring from him in the semi-finals of the Tag Title tournament. The Briscoes are looking to win their eighth ROH Tag Championship, whilst Haas and Titus are teaming with the sole ambition of winning the belts then fighting for them amongst themselves. The x-factor here is Shelton Benjamin, who wasn’t allowed to compete in the tournament but is here tonight in Charlie Haas’ corner. Will he have a part to play here?
Rhett starts with Jay and quickly succumbs to the tag team proficiency of the brothers. Finally he catches Mark with a dropkick and Haas acts fast to blind tag and force him out of the ring. Mark back flips out of a German suplex attempt though, landing on his feet to clobber the Outlaw with a running knee strike. Haas recovers to trip Jay out of the ring…where Benjamin tries to mount a cheap shot only for Rhett to stop him. WGTT don’t like that and Haas takes his anger out on Jay with a back suplex into the guardrails. That noticeably welts up his back, and Charlie makes it worse with a big spinebuster as he looks to lunge into a tag. Belly to belly suplex scores for 2…but Jay finally comes back with the turnbuckle flatliner and makes the hot tag. Venus Strike into the Iconoclasm – but rather than pin Mark climbs the ropes to deliver the Froggy Bow as well. Shelton has to save Haas by putting his boot on the rope! Titus tags himself in…but Mark blocks the Thrust Buster. Lariat scores instead only for Mark to get a shoulder up at 2. The Briscoes combine to deliver the Splash Mountain Neckbreaker and with Haas still out on the floor Rhettski is in trouble. Benjamin distracts Mark as they set up the Doomsday Device…and Haas capitalises to hit the rope-run belly to belly on him. Titus rolls down Jay’s back into a pinfall attempt – and wins at 10:47
Rating – * – Long, incredibly boring…and how with all the talent in this tournament (Briscoes, Young Bucks, C&C, BLK OUT) we have a final of Haas/Titus vs Corino/Jacobs I really don’t know. I like the idea of SCUM having all the gold, but why not at least give them a decent team to work with? Why is Haas still getting a push? Surely it does more to put over your tag division if Haas and Rhett lose here, meaning WGTT can continue their feud with Titus, then have the Briscoes produce a great match to put SCUM over. But clearly in Cornette’s head more Charlie Haas is the way to go…
Davey Richards makes only his second ROH appearance since Best In The World – for an in-ring interview with Kevin Kelly. He cuts a slightly more emotional version of the promo we saw at Caged Hostility with him promising that the American Wolf is back. He also announces his entry into the 2012 Survival Of The Fittest tournament.
Homicide vs Jay Lethal
This certainly won’t be the first time these Jersey-scene veterans have crossed paths. Lethal is trying to show the killer instinct Jim Cornette believes he lacks in order to be given a title shot. Tonight is a huge chance for him to stake his claim, seeing as he faces a former ROH World Champion. The Notorious 187 is getting more bookings with ROH recently, and has enough experience to know he’ll only be brought back if he produces strong performances and big wins over guys like Lethal.
It has to be said, Homicide looks in much better shape than he did during his comeback in 2010. He tries to throw punches, and it’s to Lethal’s credit that he takes his best shots and fires back. Tope con Hilo is teased…but to piss the fans off Homicide refuses to do it. Instead he tries a Thesz press off the apron and is caught by Jay and thrown into the ringpost. Tope suicida from Lethal, who appears to have no such problems pleasing the crowd. He sends Homicide into the guardrails, but both he and Todd Sinclair have real problems stopping Cide trying to use steel chairs. Next he tries to use the bell as a weapon – and tosses it into the ring along with a few more chairs. The crowd wants tables, and this time Homicide tries to oblige them with a piledriver through the timekeeping table. Lethal blocks that and they collide in mid-ring going for simultaneous crossbody blocks. Cide is up first, diving off the turnbuckles into a swinging DDT. Lariat blocked…Lethal Combination blocked…Dragon Suplex instead and it gets Jay a 2-count. Homicide sweeps the legs to block the Macho Elbow, but can’t hit the springboard Ace Crusher and allows Jay to counter with a running DVD. Lariat nailed…for 2. Ace Crusher follows…but Lethal blocks another Lariat with a superkick then heads up the ropes again. Macho Elbow scores – but he wants to show more killer instinct! Lethal Combination for 2. LETHAL COMBINATION AGAIN! Homicide kicks out! HEAD DROP fisherman buster scores – but Homicide is refusing to lose! HEAD DROP CRADLE DDT! Lethal finally wins at 14:34
Rating – ** – That finish was awesome, and a wonderful way to emphasise the Lethal/killer instinct stuff they’ve been running over the last few weeks. Before that though, the match was pretty sloppy and disjointed. The crowd is really badly mic’d up too, and the fact that this was fought in what felt like complete silence for long periods really didn’t help. The climax was great, but they probably could have shaved a few minutes off the match and not lost any impact. I feel bad saying it, but Homicide is a shadow of the spectacular worker he used to be. I love the guy, and he was unreal in the first five years of ROH’s existence…but at 35 years old it’s sad to watch him scraping around just to stay on the roster. His match with Eddie Edwards in June shows he can still go with the right opponents. But I don’t know how many more chances ROH will give him…
Roderick Strong/Michael Elgin vs Irish Airborne
Jake and Dave Crist have had multiple chances to nail down permanent spots in ROH. They were handed the metaphorical torch as far back as Generation Now in 2006 when they were part of the team that competed in Generation Next’s final match as a stable. It’s never quite happened for them, but they’ve worked hard and come back supposedly better than ever. They have a real opportunity tonight as their opponents are really struggling to get on the same page. Elgin is challenging for the World Title at the next ppv, but Roddy is threatening to go on strike from the House Of Truth if he does. Elgin also voluntarily watched his team lose a tag match at Caged Hostility last week by refusing to help Roddy out of the Haas Of Pain.
Dave Crist’s new look is unbelievably stupid. As is Nigel talking about Roderick being the ‘alpha male’ since high school – clearly forgetting the years he spent as a secondary figure to the likes of Aries and Shelley in GeNext. He puts his alpha male foot through Jake’s face, with the Chicago crowd heckling him with chants of ‘Elgin’s better’. Dave botches a springboard moonsault spot but recovers quickly to hit a gorgeous quebrada for 2. Elgin tags and belts Jake (who has got much fatter since he was last in ROH) in the back of the head. Despite the extra weight around Jake’s midsection, it’s no trouble at all for Unbreakable to lift him into a stalling vertical suplex. He tries a crossbody…with Dave on hand to hit a missile dropkick when Elgin catches his brother! Tornado DDT countered by Elgin to a backbreaker. Strong declines a tag…and Dave lands another really sloppy moonsault for 2. Pissed off at the refusal to tag him, Elgin goes after Strong on the floor. DAVE HITS A RUNNING MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! Elgin responds by scooping both Crists up for a Samoan drop/fallaway slam combo. Spinning Back Fist…into a brutal Buckle Bomb on Dave. He nearly MURDERS Jake with a Back Fist, only for Strong to blind tag and sneak in to steal the win at 08:45
Rating – * – The Strong/Elgin dysfunctional team gimmick is starting to wear on me now as we don’t ever seem closer to the actual split. Oh, and Irish Airborne were sloppy as f*ck. Loads of people seem to want them back in ROH. Every time they get another shot people say ‘they are loads better than they were last time in Ring Of Honor’…but they never are. They always seem exactly the same – a few fun spots with a load of sloppy botches and zero emotional engagement. They’re like the tag team version of ‘M-Dogg’ Matt Cross.
Before the next match Nigel McGuinness introduces a special guest commentator – Matt Hardy. It’s fair to say he doesn’t get a warm response. He’s still rather chunky too…
Adam Cole vs Mike Mondo – ROH TV Title Match
Since winning the belt from Roderick Strong, Cole has promised to be a fighting champion. We saw that just last week on TV when he stepped up to defend the TV Title against Michael Elgin despite having a ppv booking so soon after. Mondo has impressed many with his improvements in 2012. He earned this opportunity by beating five other athletes in a Six Man Mayhem on Sinclair TV, and will be looking to cement his rise up the ROH card with a championship belt around his waist.
Question – who the hell has referred to Adam Cole as a ‘young Matt Hardy’? I get that we’re trying to put him over and build to a Cole/Hardy match…but how is that even believable? Mondo, despite being totally sidetracked now Hardy is at ringside, does his best to make this title match seem like a big deal – and demands ‘Ring Of Mondo’ rules meaning no count-outs or time limits. Cole agrees, and the ensuing lock up is so intense they fall through the ropes, get up and come all the way back in still in the collar-and-elbow. Cole tries a tope suicida, but Mike slides right back in and emphatically says ‘hell no you’re not doing that’. To be fair to Hardy on commentary, he’s actually rather insightful and offers some interesting insights into the early going. Mondo manages to knock Cole to the floor, but the champion plays it smart and rebounds to jump into an enziguri right across the leg. He starts attacking that leg in earnest in an attempt to set up for the Figure 4. A missile dropkick literally shoots the knee out from under him and leaves No Fear really struggling on the canvas. He can’t even run the ropes, so it’s amazing he has the presence of mind to grab Cole’s arm and deliver an armbar DDT. Still limping heavily, the challenger starts to bear down on the champion’s arm, much like Cole to set up for his finishing move. Shortarm scissors applied – smart as it works the arm and allows him to rest the bad wheel whilst doing do. Cole has to smash Mondo’s knees into the turnbuckles to escape…and fights valiantly to get him outside for the TOPE SUICIDA! That hurts his arm, but he recovers quick enough to capitalise – and does so by repeatedly throwing Mike into the guardrails. Mondo isn’t having that though, and plants Cole head-first into the barricades himself. Double Arm DDT in the aisle countered into a GERMAN SUPLEX ON THE FLOOR! But with No Fear Rules in place there are no count-outs, meaning he has to drag Mondo’s dead-weight back to ringside…and that recovery time enables Mondo to drive him into the guardrails again. Both guys have taken some brutal bumps on the floor, and they crawl wearily back into the ring, still on their knees as they go back into battle. Figure 4 blocked so Cole superkicks him and delivers a GERMAN SUPLEX INTO THE TURNBUCKLES! Florida Key COUNTERED to the Double Arm DDT! Cole is fortunate to fall close to the ropes and grabs them at 2! The challenger takes an age setting up a curb stomp, eventually trying it from the top rope – and missing to further injure his leg. FIGURE 4! Mondo turns it over…only for Cole to turn it back over. He has no choice but to tap, and Cole retains the TV Title at 19:31
Rating – *** – On a relatively poor night for ROH, this was a real breath of fresh air. Not an all-time classic or anything, but a really physical and hard-fought wrestling match featuring two guys who were clearly busting their ass to produce the best match they possibly could. He’s not had it long, but I’m already really liking Cole as TV Champion. Realistically, nobody really cared about this match. It’s not like ROH fans want Mondo as the Television Champion. But he made this seem like a big deal, and made the challenger seem like a legitimate threat. This could have been a dead duck defence, but instead they turned it into a potential showstealer. Even Hardy’s commentary was decent.
Matt Hardy is roundly boo’d again as he grabs a microphone after the match. They, like me, can hardly contain their disbelief that anyone would call Adam Cole a ‘young Matt Hardy’. He heels it up by saying he’s better than Cole…then walks out.
Jimmy Jacobs/Steve Corino vs Rhett Titus/Charlie Haas – ROH Tag Title Tournament Final
This is basically a nightmare tournament final for Jim Cornette. If Corino and Jacobs win then SCUM control two thirds of ROH’s championships, whilst if Titus and Haas win then he has the prospect of another break in the Tag Title lineage as they want to fight each other to determine who gets to keep both belts. As with earlier, don’t forget Shelton Benjamin will be at ringside.
ROH have commissioned new title belts for the new champions. I quite liked the old ones, but since none of the belts have the new Sinclair-ROH logo a change was inevitable. Jacobs is in jovial spirits despite having his job at stake in this match, and he noticeably pisses Haas off before the opening bell. Two minutes into the match and nobody has touched anyone…and Jimmy pretends to be asleep on the apron he’s so bored. It doesn’t get much better once Corino and Titus start exchanging clumsy armdrags. Rhett is moving like an old man and really doesn’t look capable of working two matches in one night. It seems to take him an age to run the ropes, and he goes down like a sack of sh*t from a SCUM double shoulder block. Haas takes a cheap shot at Jacobs, then blind tags Titus out of the match – putting his team in the ascendancy for the first time. Corino amusingly retorts by taking a cheap shot at Charlie, leaving him exposed to an Ace Crusher from Jimmy for 2. SCUM acting like jerks to piss off an already rather surly Charlie Haas is really funny. Corino’s back rake is met with an angry back fist, and Haas’ revulsion at Jimmy putting his head up his skirt is awesome. It’s enough for him to tag Titus in…but SCUM have an easy time beating him up as he’s clearly exhausted. Titus counters the running STO/neckbreaker combo with a neckbreaker then lawn darts Jacobs into the turnbuckles…but refuses to tag Haas in. He keeps grabbing at his knee, so it’s surprising that he finds the strength to lift Jimmy into a Razor’s Edge. Haas backs it up with an Olympic Slam for 2. With Corino and Haas brawling Jacobs tries to spike Rhett…and when it goes loose Benjamin runs in and NAILS Jimmy with a superkick. Titus doesn’t want to win via interference…so Benjamin gives him Paydirt. A groggy Jimmy Jacobs crawls over Titus to win the match and the Tag Titles at 12:24
Rating – ** – If I’m honest, most of this show has been so bad I had really low expectations for this…and it was actually much better than I predicted it would be, even with Rhett looking completely horrendous. ROH have given him a chance to stake his claim as a singles guy since King left. But he didn’t pull up any trees in the Cage Match last week, his promos have been lousy and the fans just aren’t getting behind him. He clearly came back from that knee injury too quickly and his performance in this, his second match on the same show, was absolutely dismal. He could barely walk, kept grabbing his knee and looked gassed from the first minute. So, considering the other three were carrying him, this was reasonably entertaining. SCUM irritating grumpy old man Charlie Haas was really funny…and honestly had there been a better finish this might even have made it to 3*. I don’t see why Haas and Titus needed to go all the way to the finals (at the expense of the Briscoes, the Bucks, C&C or even the Bravados) if they were just going to lose…but there you are. SCUM with all the titles is an interesting prospect at least.
It’s the fifth time Jacobs has won a Tag Title (with his third different partner), and Corino, who’s career has been littered with countless championship wins looks absolutely delighted. They walk out, leaving WGTT to beat up Rhett Titus.
Kevin Steen vs Rhino – ROH World Title Match
With Cornette desperate to get Ring Of Honor’s top prize away from Kevin Steen, he turns to a former World Champion, a dominating powerhouse and a genuine threat to Steen’s reign of terror in the form of the Man Beast. The problem is, Rhino is controlled by Truth Martini and the House Of Truth. Such is his desire to remove Steen as champion, he’s even willing to let Truth Martini regain control of the belt it seems. Rhino has held championships wherever he’s been and has been on a real tear in ROH as of late. He earned this shot by beating Eddie Edwards – and put him on the injured list in the process. However, having beaten four former ROH Champions, Cornette’s golden boy Mike Mondo and even Chikara’s top guy in defence of his belt Steen’s confidence will be sky high.
Jim Cornette turns up to make it No DQ, just like Boiling Point. Steen starts off like a junior heavyweight, flying across the ring with a spinning heel kick to take the Man Beast off his feet. He then takes it outside to bash Rhino’s head against the rails and stop at the announce table for some impromptu commentary on his own match. Despite being a former ECW Champion, it actually suits Rhino to get the match back into the ring – as shown when he plants the current ROH Champion with a spinebuster for 2. Indeed, it’s only when he goes to the apron that Steen is able to make a comeback. He boots the middle rope into Rhino’s crotch then delivers a hanging DDT out of the ropes. The Man Beast takes an ugly spill from the turnbuckles to the floor…soon followed by more unpleasant trips into the barriers. Literally, he throws Rhino into them with such force that he knocks front row fans over. Truth Martini looks to nail him with the Book Of Truth…and Steen accidentally BOOTS poor Veda Scott. She sits ringside for no apparent reason, and Steen is so shocked at having flattened her that he is totally unprepared for Martini to blast him with the Book! Rhino capitalises…WITH A PESCADO THROUGH A TABLE! And he takes it straight back into the ring to score a nearfall. Even the commentators have to bail with a chair set up in the corner right above them…and it’s Steen who uses it on Rhino’s skull. STEEN-TON GETS 2! He sets up to do that again (this time with a chair) but Rhino pursues him up the ropes for a superplex. Martini feeds Rhino another table, which is positioned in the corner as we saw on Sinclair TV during the Rhino/Edwards match. Steve Corino walks into the ring, and come to blows as the crowd loudly chant ‘EC-DUB’ at them. GORE ON JIMMY JACOBS! GORE ON CORINO! GORE ON THE REFEREE! STEEN WITH A GORE ON RHINO! A new ref comes in and counts 2! F-5 NAILED…2 AGAIN! Martini tries to attack Steen…PACKAGE PILEDRIVER ON TRUTH MARTINI! Roderick Strong is at ringside too, distracting Steen for long enough to enable Rhino to hit another spinebuster. Gore through the table…MISSES! RHINO EATS TABLE! F-5 AGAIN! Steen retains the title in a chaotic 16:14
Rating – *** – This has been a totally mediocre ppv, but at least this was a fun little main event. I really can’t go higher than 3* on it because it was all smoke, mirrors and other shenanigans – but it was unpredictable, crazy and really entertaining. The last few minutes with multiple run-ins, ECW nostalgia, lots of Gores, table spots and the Package Piledriver on Martini were just nuts. I really don’t think ROH fans wanted this as a main event to one of the ‘big shows’…but for all the criticism the promotion has had to endure for bringing in old WWE stars (rightly so in most cases), Rhino continues to show a commendable work ethic and genuine quality in the ROH ring when booked properly. He has produced some good matches in 2012, and this is another one that falls into that category.
With bodies laying everywhere, Steen seems poised to celebrate another impressive victory until Michael Elgin makes his way to ringside. Corino shoves Strong into Elgin to save Steen from the Spiral Bomb…fuelling the heat between Strong and Elgin in the process. Remember Roderick nearly went on strike after Boiling Point when Unbreakable announced his intention to challenge Steen at Glory By Honor. SPIRAL BOMB ON STRONG! THE HOUSE OF TRUTH IMPLODES!
Tape Rating – ** – This was a really bad show. I’ve seen a few people be slightly more generous and positive in their assessment of it than me, but I thought this was really poor. Comfortably the worst ppv Ring Of Honor have ever produced, one of the most disappointing shows of 2012…and really not worthy of the historic Death Before Dishonor name. I don’t want to be critical of everything because I thought that, in pretty sh*tty circumstances Cole/Mondo and Steen/Rhino were way better than many were expecting. ACH’s debut match was half-decent and the angle with Elgin and Strong at the end was overdue but impactful nonetheless. But the majority of this ppv just dire. The booking of the entire Tag Title tournament was dreadful – and even if SCUM are interesting winners, the journey to get us there (particularly tonight) was pretty horrible. The Titus/WGTT feud is already annoying me so much I actually miss the endless Briscoes/WGTT feud. And why Matt Hardy is running around dragging Adam Cole down with this ‘young Matt Hardy’ bullsh*t is anyone’s guess. So much of this show left me really angry and I really can’t recommend it. It’s not all bad – but I found large parts of it to be pretty abysmal. Thankfully this ppv would turn out to be a mini-turning point for ROH, with Cornette (reportedly) removed from his lead creative position by the end of October.
Top 3 Matches
3) Kyle O’Reilly vs ACH (***)
2) Adam Cole vs Mike Mondo (***)
1) Kevin Steen vs Rhino (***)