ROH on Sinclair – Episode 055 – 6th October 2012
Fresh content for ROH on SBG at last. Technically I’ve already reviewed all of October’s TV episodes, but that was mostly for the sake of continuity as Ring Of Honor chose to release the 2012 Survival Of The Fittest tournament on DVD as well. As far as the TV storyline canon is concerned this is new product, taped in the aftermath of Death Before Dishonor – kicking off the SOTF tournament and counting down the final week before Glory By Honor 11. Tonight we have Adam Cole and Tadarius Thomas doing battle in the first SOTF qualifier, and a scheduled main event of SCUM defending the Tag Titles against Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander. Kevin and Nigel are in Baltimore, MD.
Adam Cole vs Tadarius Thomas
This is our first SOTF qualifier. Cole is the current TV Champion and therefore has to be listed among the favourites to win the tournament. He comes in hot having scored big wins over the likes of Roderick Strong and Mike Mondo in recent weeks. Tadarius is an outsider, but impressively won his place in the field by dispatching Silas Young in a surprisingly one-sided encounter at Death Before Dishonor 10 in Chicago last weekend.
Cole tentatively locks up with Thomas, clearly concerned at being caught out by his unorthodox capoeira attacks. The TV Champion has an obvious power advantage though, and it’s he that scores the first nearfall with a northern lights suplex. He snaps off a neckbreaker next as Tadarius really struggles to get a foothold in the contest. Eventually he does find a way to deliver a few strikes to put Cole on the back foot for the first time. Adam doesn’t like that, so he springs off the canvas into a jumping enzi! CRADLEBREAKER from nowhere gets 2! Somehow Thomas shakes that off and starts blasting Cole from all parts with some ridiculous-looking kicks. Back flip dropkick into the Slingblade…but Cole leaves the ring to protect himself from more damage. Tadarius cartwheels across the apron…into a MID-AIR SUPERKICK FROM COLE! Figure 4 countered…so Cole SUPERKICKS HIM IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD! FLORIDA KEY! Cole is going to finals with a win at 06:42
Rating – *** – It felt less important than qualifiers in previous years, although that’s understandable given the time constraints of putting this tournament on television. In the time they had available this was actually a hell of a lot of fun. Thomas’ style takes a bit of getting used to, but I thought the way he and Cole worked his capoeira spots gradually into the match as it progressed was quite clever. This was the first time I felt that Tadarius’ style was presented as more of a legitimate threat and less of a gimmick, so credit to Adam Cole for making him look good even in defeat.
Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team are set to face Fusion DS, but they are interrupted by Rhett Titus – who is still pissed off at how he lost in the finals of the Tag Title tournament. He orders Saigon and Dragon to the back, and brings out BJ Whitmer to be his partner in an impromptu tag match…
Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin vs Rhett Titus/BJ Whitmer
The odd couple tandem of Charlie Haas and Rhett Titus made it all the way to the finals of the Tag Title tournament. But their fragile alliance finally broke down beyond repair, and in the end it was Haas’ partner Shelton Benjamin who laid Titus out to cost them the match. WGTT are now in pursuit of the new champions SCUM in their quest to get the Tag Titles back. Titus is looking for revenge of course…whilst BJ is just looking for a job and loves a fight so he fits perfectly too.
Whitmer absolutely tears into WGTT, leaving Shelton begging for an early time-out as his team take a pounding. Haas changes the course of the match by hanging Rhett in the ropes, exposing him to a big running punt from Benjamin. Haas and Benjamin do what they do best and cut the ring in half to work Rhett over. That lasts a couple of minutes before Titus finds a way to tag in his partner. Whitmer continues to tear through WGTT and evades Shelton’s Stinger Splash to pin him at 04:45
Rating – * – Whole lot of nothing. Seriously, the match was five minutes long and almost nothing happened. I’ve basically awarded a star for this because it was a neat way to put BJ over on his first significant Sinclair TV appearance. How ROH can still justify paying WGTT’s presumably sizeable appearance fees is anyone’s guess.
WGTT aren’t happy about their loss and put a post-match beating on both opponents. Whitmer gets the crotch-to-ringpost treatment we saw them give the Briscoes a couple of months ago.
INSIDE ROH – This is the final Sinclair TV show to air before Glory By Honor, and since absolutely no real TV time has been dedicated to building the ppv due to the taping schedules, these Inside ROH segments are basically all we’ve had. This instalment also sees Mike Mondo continue to be a sex-pest and force himself on Maria Kanellis again…which is still just awful booking for a babyface.
There is some confusion around Tommaso Ciampa. It’s common knowledge that he blew out his knee at Boiling Point and is now injured – but for some reason RD Evans has demanded his spot in SOTF 2012 be held and that he will compete. The Barrister says his man will definitely be in the tournament.
Kevin Kelly brings SCUM to the ring – all three proudly carrying championship belts. But as SCUM includes Steve Corino (who is technically still contracted as a commentator), he orders Kelly out of the ring and will conduct the interview with Steen for himself. The World Champion wants Michael Elgin, his opponent for Glory By Honor, to join him in the ring. He doesn’t like Elgin, and doesn’t think his challenger has sufficient back-up to go up against SCUM on ppv. Elgin is surprisingly smooth on the mic…then tries to fight off Steen, Corino and Jacobs all at once. Truth Martini tries to convince Roderick Strong to help…but he refuses. Rhino and the Guardians Of Truth finally save Elgin but the damage is already done.
Jimmy Jacobs/Steve Corino vs Caprice Coleman/Cedric Alexander – ROH Tag Title Match
This one has been booked as a title match because ROH officials felt that C&C got a ‘rough deal’ in their semi-final match at Death Before Dishonor 10 when Jimmy used a chair to knock Caprice out. Since C&C earned a title shot via the Proving Ground some time ago they have opted to award them the first title shot against the new champions.
ROH have laughably photo-shopped a tag title belt into their stock picture of SCUM for their Tale Of The Tape graphic. It is embarrassingly amateurish. C&C start quickly and aggressively as the challengers in this one – hitting a couple of suplex/slingshot senton combos in quick succession to temporarily neutralise Jacobs. Cedric blocks the Thumb In The Bum with a dropkick, and they then drop Corino with the Hart Attack leg lariat for 2. Inexperience catches up with Alexander though, as he over-excitedly tries a springboard crossbody and the veteran former ECW Champion easily avoids it. The champions isolate Alexander as we go to commercials (annoyingly ROH haven’t included the uncut matches on DVD). When we come back Cedric gets knees up to block Jimmy’s senton bomb and makes the hot tag to Coleman. He hits the rolling northern lights suplexes on Jacobs…then a DOUBLE NORTHERN LIGHTS on both champions for 2! SPRINGBOARD CROSSBODY TO THE FLOOR WIPES OUT CORINO! 619 ROUND THE RINGPOST! SOMERSAULT PLANCHA BY CEDRIC! Electrifying sequence by C&C! Coleman hits a top rope leg drop for a hot nearfall which requires Corino to break it up at the last. Contra Code blocked…and Alexander hits Impact Explosion Dropkicks. OVERTIME (super rana/frog splash combo) on Jacobs. But Corino levels Caprice with a roll of quarters causing his team to be disqualified at 07:09 (shown)
Rating – ** – Caprice and Cedric were absolutely on fire for this one, but the flat finish really let it down. Who the hell uses a few coins as a weapon? Such an anti-climax, which is a real shame as the C&C dive sequence which came before it was off the hook.
Michael Elgin runs in to save C&C when Corino and Jacobs threaten to beat them up. Steen is conspicuous by his absence as Elgin hammers his allies out of the ring and up the aisle.
Tape Rating – ** – An inauspicious start to a new batch of Sinclair programming. The SOTF match between Cole and Tadarius was of an unexpectedly high quality. It was obvious Cole was going over, but he led TD through a great little bout – his best in ROH so far. Certainly a strong way to get the tournament underway. The Steen/Elgin segment was a decent, better-late-than-never attempt to shill the ppv main event too. Unfortunately the two tag matches dragged it down. WGTT’s match was poor, which is hardly news anymore. The main event was ruined by a lousy finish, which in truth is hardly news in ROH since Gabe left either.