ROH on Sinclair – Episode 047 – 11th August 2012
In many ways this episode has a couple of tough acts to follow. The previous two weeks of TV have featured two of the best ROH on SBG matches of 2012 (Strong/Cole and Storm/Bennett III). The main event here will have to go some way to top that. BUT, on the other hand, the Sinclair TV show has also gotten itself into a worrying, HDNet-ish trend of booking a subpar hour of television and saving it with a strong main event. Don’t get me wrong, I love the great matches on TV idea. But if you bore the sh*t out of everyone for the first 40 minutes nobody is going to stick around and watch that decent main event. Hopefully that’s a trend that can be reversed quickly. We’re in Baltimore, MD – remember we are pre-taped, and the ROH crew on this very same evening are at Boiling Point 2012. Commentary comes from Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness as always.
Kyle O’Reilly vs Matt Taven
This is the first time Kyle has been on TV since Best In The World, so it’s the first time Sinclair have chosen to publically acknowledge the Team Ambition split. His promo at Best In the World is one of the best of 2012 in my opinion – although I may be alone on that. So having struck out on his own, O’Reilly will have his sights set on a rematch with former Future Shock partner Adam Cole, and taking his TV Title from him. He needs wins to do it – even at the expense of promising newcomers like Taven.
Kyle prowls around the ring like he’s Low Ki, then beats Taven into the corner as soon as the bell rings. Matt retaliates with a gorgeous quebrada for 2. He handsprings into a side headlock takeover too, then flies at O’Reilly with a SUICIDE DIVE TO THE FLOOR! Taking it to the outside turns out to be a mistake though, with Kyle wrenching his arm off the ropes before giving him a running boot off the apron. MISSILE DROPKICK INTO THE RAILS! Back in the ring he nearly snaps Taven’s arm off with a Fujiwara armbar! Matt is fighting one-armed and is powerless to defend himself as O’Reilly beats him around the ring with a succession of rapid-fire strikes. The outsider hits a slingshot neckbreaker for 2…and both men come up hammering on each other with big strikes. Roaring Elbow from Kyle – into the BACK DROP DRIVER for 2! Taven fights him off the top rope…but gets knees as he takes to the airs again with a Five Star Frog Splash attempt. Kyle wins with an armbar at 05:29
Rating – *** – I’m not sure how much more they could have done in the allotted time. Taven probably could have tightened up his selling, and if I’m being ultra-critical I thought Kyle needed to make sure he carried his new heel gimmick through the match. At points he was AWESOME, but at others he seemed to forget where he was at drop back into generic babyface Kyle. But he’s a young kid on his first big heel run in ROH – and will obviously improve. But both of those are ultra-harsh criticisms on a perfectly good five-minute TV match. I’m a fan of both of them and am clueless as to why Taven isn’t at least getting a few more live event bookings – if not an angle, gimmick or contract.
Kyle O’Reilly, with his mouth bleeding, refuses to break the hold and looks like a psycho as he tries to snap Taven’s arm off. Effective visuals to cement his heel turn on SBG. His theme music is f*cking awful though.
Rhino vs Todd Sople
I imagine that Todd is extremely upset to be making his ROH television debut against the Man Beast. Rhino has a habit of decimating enhancement talent in less than a minute. For the record Sople could not look more like a bland, generic indy wrestler if he tried.
Rhino dismissively slaps Todd in the face as he extends a hand for the Code Of Honor, and so we’re underway. He flattens him in the corner with a couple of tackles then whips him out with the belly to belly suplex. You know what’s coming…GOOOOOOORE! Rhino wins in 01:03
Rating – DUD – I’ve given this the DUD treatment. I actually quite enjoy Rhino’s squash matches, but he doesn’t seem to do anything on TV but work squashes. At live events he’s produced some solid performances – and I want to see more of that on the TV show. This killing jobbers thing is getting old now, in almost the exact same way that Rasche Brown working the same squash on HDNet week after week became tedious. I’m also not sure why Sople, who looked as boring as it gets, was allowed more time in the ring with him than Marseglia or Abruzzi – who at the very least looked more interesting!
Truth Martini takes the microphone to announce that there is 100% unity in the House Of Truth. In fact, he’s going to demonstrate that as Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin team up next…
Roderick Strong/Michael Elgin vs Bravado Brothers
Is this the Bravados return to ROH TV? They returned to the promotion in Chicago a few months ago, had a really good comeback match against the Young Bucks, and basically went back to being jobbers right afterwards. Perhaps they’ll get a chance to show what they can do against a malfunctioning House Of Truth unit here. Martini is desperate to shut down the rumours of dissension within the House, but it’s clear during his team’s entrance that not all is well. Elgin was supposed to help Strong retain his TV Title against Adam Cole, but refused to get into the ring and watched from the aisle as Cole hit the Florida Key and took Roderick’s championship. He’s also positioning himself to cash in his SOTF World Title shot at Glory By Honor (as we saw at Boiling Point on ppv this same evening), with Strong thinking that he deserves another shot at Steen.
Elgin ignores Truth’s orders and happily follows the Code Of Honor before the match. He then blind tags himself in despite Strong’s insistence that he’ll start the match. Roddy blind tags right back as the problems continue! He tries to bully Harlem and is shocked to find that the Bieber-lookalike fires back with fierce elbow strikes and actually powers him back into the Bravado corner. They get an early nearfall with an atomic drop/neckbreaker combo…before Elgin finally tags in to assist his partner. Unbreakable absorbs more elbows from Harlem then nearly pancakes him face-first through the canvas. Gentleman’s Pass rocks Elgin…but not enough as he scoops up the pair of them for the SAMOAN DROP/FALLAWAY SLAM COMBO! Just as he sets up for the Spiral Bomb Roderick forcibly tags his way back in – arguably costing his team the match. Harlem takes advantage to nail Roddy with a bicycle kick. Judo DDT scores too…into another Gentleman’s Pass for 2. Truth Martini has to interject to help Roddy since Elgin refuses! Strong goes for a tag, only for Elgin to walk away. Bridging pin…BRAVADOS WIN! Harlem pins Roderick at 05:42!
Rating – ** – As a match it wasn’t anything more than ‘just there’, but this never failed to entertain from a storyline perspective. Strong and Elgin did a great job with the misfiring partners routine, and Kevin Kelly did a good job on commentary putting over the Bravados improvements in the NOAH dojo – to the extent that this is a win which puts the Bravados over, furthers the HOT split without in anyway damaging Roderick. Good work all round, even in a very average match.
INSIDE ROH – Kelly spotlights the Briscoes/Truthbangers rematch from last week and the ensuing post-match brawl. The Briscoes are on the hunt for revenge apparently.
Jay Lethal/Kenny King/Rhett Titus vs Kevin Steen/Jimmy Jacobs/Steve Corino
This is your main event, the last time the All Night Express teamed up in ROH (to date) and the last Kenny King match of this particular ROH run. There’s lots of opportunity for all the wrestlers in this one. ANX, at this point, were the new Tag Champions – and those are belts that SCUM would love to add to the World Title already within their possession. Meanwhile Jim Cornette has told the entire roster to step up – he’ll give them a World Title shot at Steen if he thinks they deserve it. Jay Lethal has already publically stated his desire to get a shot, whilst Rhett Titus made a statement at Brew City Beatdown when he interjected himself into the World Title picture and the hunt to rid ROH of SCUM.
Steen makes fun of that weird handshake routine that ANX always do before their matches, and is rightly smacked in the face by Kenny. Lethal drops Jacobs with the hiptoss dropkick combo before getting a whack in the head of his own from the King Of Old School. King knocks Steen out of the ring with a corkcrew and together the babyface team stand triumphant over the reeling SCUM group on the floor. Titus is first back in the ring, getting a 2 on Corino with a slingshot back suplex. ANX hit a nice rope-jump guillotine/slingshot tackle combo as they start isolating Steve from his two partners. Finally Jacobs and Steen ambush King from behind – allowing Corino to hit a Saito suplex for the tag out. When we come back from commercials it’s still Kenny in the ring but by this point he is well and truly trapped in the SCUM corner taking a beating. In the end it’s Corino that isn’t quick enough to hold him down, and at last he gets the hot tag to Lethal – who takes down both of Steen’s cohorts with a neckbreaker/DDT combo. Tope suicida landed…with ANX in the ring beating up the World Champ! MACHO ELBOW ON STEEN! Corino barely manages to break the count…but does a better job of dropping Jay with the Colby Shock. It all breaks down as Rhett lands the Thrust Buster, turns into a spear from Jacobs…who in turn is nearly knocked out with the SHOTGUN KNEES of Kenny King. Lethal Combination on Steen…and everyone is down. Corino saves Jacobs from the Lethal Injection, and together they hit a CONTRA CODE/ETERNAL DREAM COMBO! STEEN-TON BOMB! Lethal kicks out! Jacobs tries to pull out the Spike…only for Lethal to superkick it out of his hand! He stumbles into the LETHAL INJECTION! That’s enough for Jay to get the win at 10:15 (shown)
Rating – *** – I guess this is a generous rating since everything that happened before the commercial break was completely paint by numbers. But the second half was certainly action packed, and I loved all the false finishes and big spots at the end. Ultimately had this been on a DVD show I’d paid for I’d probably feel a little unhappy. For TV this was a decent main event.
Kevin Steen doesn’t like being on the losing team and assaults Lethal on the outside as ANX brawl with Jacobs and Corino. Steve picks King up for a BRAINBUSTER THROUGH AN OPEN CHAIR! I think that is Kenny’s sign-off from ROH competition – and it’s SCUM who pose with the World and Tag Title belts as the show ends.
Tape Rating – ** – Hard to rate in many ways. The show was way more consistent than either of the two previous weeks – but with nothing anywhere close to 4* standard (even the 3* matches were low-end of that scale) it’s hard to recommend this episode as highly as those. There is absolutely NOTHING must-see on this episode, which makes it a solid but totally skippable hour.