ROH on Sinclair – Episode 054 – September 29th 2012
To save you some time, the reality is that I’m going to give this show a DUD. I dislike the Road Rage concept being used to give away ppv content for free. I intensely dislike ROH choosing to do that three weeks in a row. Therefore I’m extremely unlikely to enjoy this, the third week of ppv Road Rage in a row – featuring content from Death Before Dishonor 10 (which was easily ROH’s worst ppv of 2012 anyway). I’ve made my peace with it, and I’m anxious to move on to October’s SBG shows and the 2012 Survival Of The Fittest tournament. We’re in Chicago Ridge with Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness
Kevin Kelly is in the ROH studio, and opens with highlights of the ROH Tag Title tournament. That’s the lead in to our first match of the night – Titus & Haas vs Jacobs & Corino which we join in progress
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 the show has been so bad I had really low expectations for this…and it was much better than I predicted it would be. Rhett Titus looked horrible though. 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 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, it 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
Up next the broadcast Davey Richards’ return to ppv. The headlines from that promo were that ‘the Wolf is back’, and he’s entering the 2012 Survival Of The Fittest tournament.
After the break it’s the closing moments of Lethal/Homicide. That was the best bit of the match anyway, and a great way to showcase Jay Lethal’s ‘killer instinct’ angle.
INSIDE ROH – The spotlight is on the House Of Truth (‘or…House of CARDS’ – Kevin Kelly) this week. Their actions at Death Before Dishonor are spotlighted, with Roddy and Elgin struggling to get along in their tag match, Rhino failing in his World Title attempt and Elgin ending the night by giving Roderick the Spiral Bomb.
NEXT WEEK – Survival Of The Fittest 2012 begins. Kevin Kelly runs down the participants.
Main event time for the TV show – 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.
Tape Rating – DUD – Death Before Dishonor was a pretty poor show this year, and that translated to Road Rage. In defence of Ring Of Honor, at least this time around they weren’t giving away the main event for free. They did give away two title matches, but ultimately the Tag Title Tournament sucked anyway, whilst Cole/Mondo was for the TV Title so was deservedly televised. Other than getting Matt Hardy onto their TV show this was really a giant waste of time. I can’t imagine even casual fans enjoyed a third consecutive week of highlights either. We’re 2 weeks away from a big pay-per-view, with Steen/Elgin was one of the biggest main events of the year. The fact that that show is getting almost zero exposure and promotion thanks to Road Rage and a lousy TV tapings schedule is inexcusable.