ROH on Sinclair – Episode 042 – 7th July 2012
I’m not entirely sure how ROH have managed to cream two weeks worth of Road Rage content out of what was, at best, a solid middling B-show (The Nightmare Begins), but much as I repeatedly said last week – whilst they’re not giving ppv main events way for free I’m happy. Last week we saw a couple of decent matches from the DVD taping, and there’s more scheduled tonight. I think they are running the Lethal/Elgin and Steen/Edwards matches here. Kelly and Cornette are still in Charleston, WV.
I think the pre-match comments from Lethal and Elgin are exclusive to Road Rage, as I don’t recall them from the DVD.
The following is taken from my DVD review of The Nightmare Begins:
Jay Lethal vs Michael Elgin
These two haven’t crossed paths too often in the last year and this could be a decent match. Elgin has a title shot in his back pocket and wants to string some impressive wins together as he continues to enjoy a breakout year in his pro-wrestling career. Lethal, having ended Ciampa’s undefeated streak last month, is in a position where he could look to regain his TV Title, or he could start beating opponents of Elgin’s calibre on a regular basis and force his way into the World Title picture again.
We get off to a slow start with Lethal obviously keen to stay out of the clutches of his powerful opponent. He gets nowhere and starts getting frustrated…and is bowled over with a shoulder block after angrily punching Unbreakable in the mouth. Hiptoss Dropkick nailed…and Elgin quickly rolls outside for some recovery time. Truth Martini steps into the ring for a fight with the referee…and Paul Turner seems up for it! Truth flees…and Elgin blocks the Lethal Injection with a clubbing lariat to the back of the head. In a single shot Elgin just turned the bout on its head and puts himself in total control. He tosses Lethal out of the ring…where of course Martini is waiting to lay in some cheap shots. Back in the ring Michael gets 2 with a brutal neckbreaker. He maintains focus on Jay’s neck, and parks himself on top of the former TV Champion with a chinlock. Lethal is desperate to get this one over, and wildly goes for pinning combinations hoping to steal a flash pin. Lethal Combination blocked with a volley of elbow strikes. DEAD LIFT STALLING GERMAN SUPLEX…GETS 2! Lethal somehow absorbs that and blocks a running knee strike to deliver the Lethal Combination! Roderick Strong appears at ringside distracting Jay from hitting the Macho Elbow…and gets dropkicked for his trouble. Spiral Bomb set up…only for Roderick to stomp into the ring yelling at Elgin for letting him get dropkicked. The HOT argue…and Jay capitalises with the LETHAL INJECTION! He wins at 12:15
Rating – *** – I liked the match, although all the best bits were when Lethal and Elgin were allowed to just have a straight-forward, hard-hitting wrestling match rather than an overbooked, sports-entertainment style mess with Roderick Strong and Truth Martini involved. I get that this is being taped for TV and there are storylines to progress…but it doesn’t stop it being hugely frustrating. Obviously these guys are capable of better, and if ROH can hold onto them then I’m sure they’ll lock up again.
INSIDE ROH – More highlights from The Nightmare Begins, with lots of backstage footage and clips of the Briscoes making various local media appearances. Next week there’s MORE Road Rage…and this time they are giving away ppv content as it’s Best In The World content.
Kevin Steen vs Eddie Edwards – ROH World Title Match
Apparently this wasn’t scheduled to be a title match, but Cornette made it one after Steen pissed off some potential investors at a dinner. At least that is a slightly amusing way of explaining why Eddie is getting a title shot now, when he just started a program wrestling former World Champions (including a match set for the next ppv) to earn himself another title match. I like both these guys, and I hope the match is good. However, as with a lot of things in ROH recently, the booking here is f*cking terrible.
Jimmy Jacobs is in Steen’s corner (seriously, why is Jacobs basically a valet now?), and Corino joins commentary. Steen cuts an awesome promo demanding Cornette call him ‘Mr Wrestling’. Cornette counters by announcing that Steen will be defending the belt in every singles match he has until he loses it. Unfortunately that entire segment means Eddie becomes a massive heel. Jacobs immediately tries to distract Edwards…and is wiped out by a pescado from the challenger. He returns and nearly traps Steen in the Achilles Lock too! The champion flees…and hoists Edwards up for the apron powerbomb. COUNTERED with a rana by Eddie! But Steen isn’t finished…FALLAWAY SLAM INTO THE RAILS! Taking the fight to the floor was a big mistake it seems, and Eddie is getting severely punished. He gets his head bashed into the rails, and his face bitten as Corino encourages Jim Cornette to challenge Steen for the title next. Kevin Kelly laughably tries to say Edwards is more popular than Steen, as Eddie is getting boo’d out of the building and the entire building is chanting ‘Kill Steen Kill’ in unison. ‘You need to Wellness Test this guy’ – Corino to Cornette. The commentary is so funny it’s actually taking away from the match now. Steen points and laughs at the Executive Producer as he locks in a ‘from the 80’s’ chinlock! Edwards counters with a SUPLEX INTO THE TURNBUCKLES! Steen is rattled, but hoists the challenger into the pumphandle cradlebreaker for 2. ELBOW SUICIDA FROM EDDIE! AND A SECOND TO JIMMY JACOBS! Boston Knee Party (awesome name for that flying Codebreaker spot) gets 2! But Eddie misses a double stomp and gets powerbombed into the Sharpshooter. Edwards makes the ropes…and that comes back to haunt him as Steen hangs him in them for an elevated DDT! Cannonball Senton misses (because Steen spent too long hurling abuse at Cornette), and Edwards seizes the opportunity with a double stomp. DOUBLE STOMP ON THE APRON MISSES! STEEN POWERBOMBS EDWARDS THROUGH THE TIMEKEEPING TABLE! But STILL Eddie kicks out at 2! Steen-ton misses as usual…and Steen is so used to not hitting it that he just gets up into a SUPERKICK DUEL! Backpack Stunner COUNTERED TO A HEAD DROP SLEEPER SUPLEX! F-5! Steen retains at 15:16
Rating – **** – As a wrestling match this really wasn’t 4* quality. It was painfully one-sided and a total waste of Eddie challenging Steen for the belt. BUT, as a spectacle this was so much fun. The crowd (who have got louder and louder as the show has progressed) were so solidly behind Steen it was amazing, and the combination of that, Steen beating the sh*t out of Eddie in the ring and at times hysterical interactions between Corino, Kelly and Cornette on commentary made this a blast to sit through. If you want an insight into what is wrong with ROH – check out the moment Cornette and Kelly (booker and voice of the promotion) desperately try to insist Steen isn’t popular and isn’t what the fans want to see. It’s so painfully embarrassing and out of touch that Corino is visibly appalled and amused in equal measure. I’ve found a lot to criticise about ROH recently, but with Steen as champion it’s not all bad – and this match, ill-timed and damaging to Eddie Edwards as it was, was a terrific reinforcement of my belief that ROH is worth sticking with despite being at such a creative low.
Tape Rating – N/A – As with last week, both matches featured on this Road Rage instalment were really decent and made for a strong hour of television. They make buying the DVD slightly redundant, and I’m curious as to why ROH is now regularly giving away content fans COULD pay for through DVD and ppv buys for free on their TV show. That said, the Steen/Eddie match and the accompanying commentary from Kelly, Cornette and Corino is well worth checking out if you’ve not seen the DVD.