ROH on Sinclair – Episode 045 – 28th July 2012
So last week we returned to fresh programming for ROH on Sinclair. Kevin Steen defended the World Championship against Mike Mondo and we saw the returns of Eddie Kingston and Sara Del Rey. This week ROH were supposed to be running live events in the Carolinas – including a Steen vs Homicide World Title clash that they promoted on television. However, those events wound up cancelled, and a ppv in mid-August was hastily added to the schedule in their place – meaning we now have two weeks of TV until Boiling Point 2012. Our scheduled main event this evening is the much-anticipated Television Title showdown between Roderick Strong and Adam Cole. Can Adam Cole continue his post-Best In The World momentum all the way to his first ROH championship? We return to the Du Burns Arena in Baltimore, MD to join Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.
Rhino vs Rocco Abruzzi
Apparently the debutant is another guy who impressed at an ROH training seminar. Supposedly he’s a street fighter with a mean streak and a criminal record. Will that be enough to stop the Man Beast, who has been finding his feet in ROH and chalked up wins at Live Strong and Brew City Beatdown?
What kind of street fighter tries to shake hands and leaves himself exposed to a kick to the stomach? That’s exactly what happens to Rocco, who is totally pummelled from the opening seconds of the match. Rhino hits the belly to belly suplex then the GORE! He wins at 00:57
Rating – DUD – Short and impactful. I quite liked Abruzzi’s look and supposed Tank Abbott-style gimmick. We saw none of it though as he was steamrollered by Rhino.
Tommaso Ciampa interrupts the celebrations, dragging Prince Nana and RD Evans by the collar as well. The Dominant Male demands answers, and wants to know about the deal between The Embassy and the House Of Truth. RD Evans says it was all Nana’s idea then runs for cover…heading for the hills as Tommaso lays waste to Nana with the Air Raid Crash.
Tommaso Ciampa vs Mike Sydal
All that is exceptionally bad luck for poor Mike Sydal – who now has to face an incredibly wound up Sicilian Psychopath in his big shot on ROH television. We’ve seen Sydal on house shows periodically, and he’s probably been on TV before – but it seems like the office are starting to get behind him and book him more regularly. He needs wins to back that up. One suspects that he won’t get one tonight…
As you’d expect, Ciampa quickly traps Sydal on the canvas and pummels him with a flurry of right hands. Mike bridges under a clothesline attempt to trip Tommaso onto the apron. MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! He tries a crossbody…is caught but then counters Project Ciampa into a victory roll for 2. Tommaso blasts him with the Bare Knee Strike then hits Project Ciampa to win at 03:22.
Rating – * – As a match in it’s own right this was quite exciting. Certainly it was one of Sydal’s best ROH performances to date. Personally I thought this was much better than the sloppy, ugly match he had with Rhett Titus at Brew City Beatdown that others seemed to love. But my problem here is with the booking. We just saw Rhino destroy a bigger guy in less than a minute. Having Ciampa follow that and struggle to beat little Mike Sydal in closer to four minutes makes him look weak in comparison.
Kevin Kelly introduces the All Night Express for some in-ring interview time. Rhett Titus points out that Best In The World was the third time they’ve beaten WGTT – proving beyond a shadow of a doubt they are the better team. That inevitably brings Charlie and Shelton out too. Kenny King wants to fight them, but WGTT refuse to fight until the belts are on the line…then lay the champions out with a chair. Shelton has a total meltdown and starts beating up referees, security and anyone else that crosses his path…and has to be restrained by Charlie as he tries to attack Rhett’s bad knee with the chair.
INSIDE ROH – Jim Cornette can barely contain his excitement at having secured Eddie Kingston to challenge Kevin Steen at Boiling Point. They spotlight Eddie’s ROH history with Cornette promising him his ROH career back if he can beat Steen in Providence. Kevin Kelly also announces a mixed tag pitting Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis against Eddie Edwards and Sara Del Rey.
Up next is an amusing backstage skit with Maria calling Sara the ‘Drag Queen of Wrestling’ then telling Bennett she won’t be putting out if Del Rey is allowed to lay a hand on her at Boiling Point.
Roderick Strong vs Adam Cole – ROH TV Title Match
What an opportunity this is for Adam Cole. People are already calling him the breakout star of 2012, and after his astonishing win at Best In The World he now looks to win some championship gold. He earned the right to challenge Strong by beating him in a Proving Ground Match at The Nightmare Begins – and it’s fitting that he challenges him given that he started 2012 in Philadelphia by stepping up to the Messiah Of The Backbreaker in a hard-hitting No Holds Barred Match. Up until The Nightmare Begins it had seemed like Strong always had the measure of Cole. But with Adam riding a ton of momentum and Strong seemingly sidetracked by wanting to be World Champion and the alpha male in the House Of Truth could we see a new champion crowned?
Rookie error by Cole, who fools for Truth Martini’s obvious distraction of offering him a handshake. As Adam shakes Truth’s hand Roderick is in position to blast him with a dropkick. ARGENTINE BACKBREAKER ON THE APRON! The challenger is in serious trouble already, and as he struggles to get back to his feet Martini is on hand to illegally choke him from the floor. Strong hotshots him then hits the urinage backbreaker for the first nearfall of the contest. Roddy boots Cole in his surgically repaired mouth – then hoists him into his shoulders for a torture rack through into the ringpost. SLINGSHOT SUPLEX TO THE FLOOR! That’s all we get before the last commercial break, and when we return Roddy is still firmly on top. Out of nowhere Cole counters Death By Roderick into a crucifix pin…only for Strong to counter out and lock in the Stronghold! Adam nearly escapes, so Roddy SWITCHES into a cloverleaf instead. Terrific innovation on the fly from the champion but it’s not enough to secure the victory, or even keep Cole on the mat as the challenger pops up to hit a jumping enzi kick. He clothesline Strong over the ropes to hit a TOPE SUICIDA! FLYING CROSSBODY…gets 2! Sick Kick blocked with a dropkick to the legs, and as Roddy stumbles to his knees Cole takes a run at him to land the Shining Wizard. Florida Key blocked though, with Strong lifting Adam to the top rope for the TURNBUCKLE BACKBREAKER! Still Cole refuses to be pinned! Orange Crush Backbreaker blocked, so it’s Death By Roderick instead…and still it’s just 2. Gibson Driver countered with a rana…then a SLINGSHOT DDT ON THE APRON! Martini swings the Book Of Truth at Cole…who gives him a horrible looking bump over the turnbuckles to the floor. ORANGE CRUSH BACKBREAKER…COUNTERED IN MID-AIR TO A FIGURE 4 ATTEMPT! STRONG COUNTERS THAT TO A SMALL PACKAGE FOR 2! CRADLEBREAKER NAILED! FIGURE 4 ON STRONG! Michael Elgin is at ringside…but seems hesitant to get involved to help Roderick despite the protestations of Truth Martini. Roaring Elbow from Roddy…SUPERKICK FROM COLE! FLORIDA KEY! COLE WINS! New champion crowned at 12:14 (shown).
Rating – **** – A thrilling sprint of a match – with both athletes going full throttle from the outset. It’s a formula you see used often, but when the ‘dominant champion versus courageous underdog who refuses to lose’ formula is done well it’s still such a blast to watch. Strong is experienced enough to work this kind of match in his sleep, whilst Cole was spectacular as the unrelenting babyface challenger – taking everything Strong dished out, then getting up and wanting more. By the time we got to the last few minutes the crowd were on their feet believing every nearfall. I still maintain giving Strong the TV Title was a giant waste of time (and killed Tommaso Ciampa’s push in the process), and he’s done nothing with the belt since having it. But he did a hell of a job putting Cole over here…and I’m hoping Adam can actually make the TV Title worthwhile with his reign as champion.
NEXT WEEK – Briscoes vs Guardians Of Truth II and Bennett vs Storm III
Tape Rating – *** – A complete show of two halves. The first half, featuring two squash matches and a WGTT/ANX segment which would be rendered redundant by Kenny King’s defection to TNA, was terrible. Literally nothing worth seeing at all and a total waste of 30 minutes of your life. But the second half – with the Inside ROH spotlight on the Boiling Point main events then the superb TV Title clash between Roderick Strong and Adam Cole – was well worth watching. Strong/Cole was one of the best free TV matches ROH have done all year.