ROH on Sinclair – Episode 044 – 21st July 2012
It’s getting on for a month since Best In The World 2012, and we’ve had two DVD shows since then, but for the fans that only follow ROH through TV and ppv it’s been an awfully long wait for some fresh content. At last it’s some new ROH on SBG stuff tonight – with the World Title on the line and the Edwards/Cole team reuniting to face Mike Bennett and Bob Evans. As usual, we’re in Baltimore, MD with Nigel McGuinness and Kevin Kelly on commentary.
Mike Bennett/Bob Evans vs Eddie Edwards/Adam Cole
There’s lots of burning issues in this one. Eddie and Bennett have been embroiled in a rivalry of sorts over the last few months – trading wins on TV and at live events. Their won/loss records are pretty even, but more often than not it’s been The Prodigy getting the last laugh and putting a beating on Eddie with the help of Brutal Bob and Maria Kanellis. Bob Evans, as well as being Bennett’s trainer, has been vocal about wanting to get back into the ring himself – and gets another chance to prove his worth to ROH here.
Edwards and Bennett start, with Bennett managing to take the former World Champion down then going to the ropes and punching Cole for good measure. Adam recovers to hit a crossbody off the apron on Evans…as Eddie hits the ELBOW SUICIDA on Bennett! Sliding Enzi gets 2 for Edwards. Cole gets the tag and uses his speed to repeatedly take Bob off his feet. Edwards grounds Evans again with a hurricanrana…only for Bennett to distract him from the outside and leave him exposed to a big clothesline. We cut to a commercial break, but when we return it’s still Edwards stuck in the ring being worked over by Bennett and Evans. He tries to mount a comeback – landing the climbing enzi on Brutal Bob then rolling over The Prodigy into the hot tag. Shining Wizard from Cole to Evans…only for Bob to get back to his feet in time to stop Adam from hitting his signature Flying Crossbody. Edwards and Bennett take a tumble…and Cole nails the Crossbody to beat Evans at 07:20 (shown)
Rating – ** – This was ok. It wasn’t amazing, and there was far too much of Brutal Bob beating up a former World Champion for my liking, but whenever Bennett was in there with either opponent things definitely picked up. Ultimately it was a nice way to continue the Bennett/Edwards feud and give Cole another high profile victory at the same time.
Maria gives Cole a slap, and looks set to assault him with her boot until Sara Del Rey makes an impromptu return to ROH. She puts Maria in an Anklelock and refuses to let go until Evans and Bennett drag her to safety. The Queen Of Wrestling just took out the ‘First Lady Of ROH’!
INSIDE ROH – Kevin Kelly introduces highlights of the Cole/O’Reilly match from Best In The World, which ended up so graphic it has to be heavily censored just to put any of it on TV. They also broadcast Bruno Sammartino’s appearance at Live Strong.
Lance Storm gets some promo time, hyping his third encounter with Mike Bennett in two weeks time. It’s their rubber match and it may be his last match ever – so he doesn’t want to go out a loser.
NEXT WEEK – Roderick Strong vs Adam Cole for the TV Title.
Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin vs Fusion DS
I’m sure Fusion DS have appeared before somewhere – but don’t care enough to go back through my reviews to confirm whether I’m right or wrong, since this will surely be nothing more than a squash. WGTT aren’t happy bunnies after they dropped the Tag Titles to the All Night Express at Best In The World, and will be looking to vent some frustration on their opponents this evening.
Haas starts with Damien Dragon…and destroys him in the corner after Shelton distracts him. It’s totally one-sided, with Dragon getting in no offence whatsoever as WGTT dominate. Matt Saigon in, and he actually tries to land a dropkick before getting totally flattened with a lariat from Benjamin. Olympic Slam wins it at 03:05
Rating – DUD – Pointless in the extreme. WGTT don’t look any better for having won this, and the two noobs just got totally buried. If you’re not going to bump or let the other team get in any offence at all, what is the point in having this match go three minutes? It’s just wasted TV time. The referee botched the finish too.
Charlie Haas takes the microphone to call ANX’s win a fluke…and demand a rematch.
In the back Veda Scott is with Jim Cornette. The Executive Producer reiterates that Kevin Steen now has to defend the World Title every time he’s in singles action. Since he’s scheduled to wrestle in the main event – it means Cornette has a decision to make as to who gets a title shot tonight. Mike Mondo interrupts him and demands the opportunity. As if there was any doubt, Cornette ejaculates and grants him the match. It’s Steen vs Mondo in the main event.
Kevin Steen vs Mike Mondo – ROH World Title Match
Cornette has told the ROH roster they need to show desire, hunger and conviction that they’ll do whatever it takes to seize the World Championship from Steen to end Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare. As such, the confidence Mondo displayed in interrupting his interview moments earlier was all it took. Steen now has to defend the belt against all comers. Having overcome the three previous World Champions over the course of three weeks in June his schedule certainly isn’t letting up. Cornette forces him to defend the belt tonight…and he’s pencilled in to defend against Homicide at the end of the month (although that show ended up getting cancelled) and another ‘surprise challenger’ is coming in at the Rhode Island show in mid-August. Will his gruelling workload start to take it’s toll, or can he overcome No Fear and continue his reign of terror?
Mondo takes a swing at Steen before the bell rings, kicking things off in a hurry. Mr Wrestling tries to flee, leaving the ring and using the recovery time to grab Mondo and rake his eyes. No Fear keeps coming though, shoving the champion into the rail then repeatedly shoving his head against the sheet metal. POOOUUUUUUUUNCE AGAINST THE BARRIER! The fight on the floor continues with Steen tearing out guardrail and POWERBOMBING MONDO ONTO IT! Steen returns to the ring expecting a count-out victory…but despite the taunts he receives from Jimmy Jacobs Mondo somehow crawls back into the ring at 19. Back from commercials with a close-up of Steen choking Mike in the ropes and biting at his face. Such is the quality of this work that an ROH crowd are loudly behind Mondo, pleading with him to make a comeback. Steen grabs the microphone and angrily tells Mondo he doesn’t deserve the title shot…and amusingly keeps the mic to his mouth as No Fear mounts a comeback with a flurry of punches. He screams in terror as Mondo lands a CORKSCREW PESCADO! The challenger gets a 2-count with a flying knee drop to the back of the head. Back to the top rope goes Mondo, but it’s one chance too many as Steen catches him to deliver the hanging DDT out of the ropes. Cannonball senton nailed for 2. (‘Sinclair – You Fatty!’ – Steve Corino on commentary). Steen sets up the F-5…but Mondo COUNTERS into a small package and nearly wins it all! Double Arm DDT set up, but Steen is too fresh and hangs Mondo in the ropes. F-5! Steen retains at 10:07 (shown)
Rating – *** – This is up there with the Davey Richards match at The Nightmare Begins as Mondo’s best ROH match. For a free TV main event this was loads of fun. They threw in a few big spots, but mostly it was good, old school fun with a superb and dominant heel performance from Steen playing well off a plucky and resilient underdog in Mondo. I don’t think many guys have been good enough to get an entire crowd cheering for Mondo – but such is the quality of Kevin Steen in 2012 that he managed it. At the start of the year I was dead set against Mondo having a career in ROH. Even now he’s far from my favourite guy on the roster, but this was a solid effort and in the TV-era that Ring Of Honor find themselves in now he’s proving himself to be a dependable and versatile performer – capable of producing decent matches with the right opponents.
Jimmy Jacobs dives into the ring to continue the assault on No Fear…until Eddie Kingston runs in to put a halt to it. The Chikara Grand Champion has had issues with Kevin Steen all year and has now invaded ROH on television to get a piece of Mr Wrestling. It’s a chaotic brawl as the show ends…
Tape Rating – ** – The main event was good, and the ROH returns of Sara Del Rey and Eddie Kingston were noteworthy but other than that everything else was skippable. The WGTT squash wasn’t needed, they went overkill on the Best In The World highlights (when we’ve already had Road Rage and highlights last week) and the opening tag didn’t pull up any trees either. If you’re a Ringside Member then Steen/Mondo is a decent watch if you’ve got a spare 15 minutes…but other than that you can skip right past this.