ROH on Sinclair – Episode 056 – 13th October 2012
This one went out on the night of the Glory By Honor ppv, so I’m sure Ring Of Honor are hoping that the majority of their fanbase are watching that show rather than this. In some ways that’s a shame since we won’t have the usual ‘dead duck’ episode tonight. Survival Of The Fittest continues this evening, and it should be a hot night of action. Davey Richards meets Mike Bennett in perhaps the pick of the SOTF qualification matches. Jay Lethal is scheduled to face Tommaso Ciampa too – although we know Tommaso is injured so something already smells fishy there. If that wasn’t enough for you, Kevin Steen also defends the World Title against Rhett Titus, in a title match Titus has been begging for since July. Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness join us from Baltimore, MD.
Mike Bennett vs Davey Richards
Many have this down as the pick of the SOTF qualifiers this year. It’s the first time Davey has been on ROH television for months following his back-to-back losses to Kevin Steen on ppv over the summer. He returned at Caged Hostility, telling everyone that the ‘Wolf is back’. There’s no better way than to emphasise that statement than by winning the SOTF tournament – something he’s never done before.
Davey looks to have dropped a little weight during his hiatus and looks good for it. He is relentless from the bell, kicking lumps out of The Prodigy in the corner. Anklelock applied early, prompting Bennett to desperately grab the ropes and flee. He actually hides behind Maria such is his desire to get away from Richards…and that distraction allows Brutal Bob to level the former World Champion with a clothesline. More kicks from Davey anyway…into a mafia kick against the rails which nearly takes Bennett’s head off. He even shows some personality, breaking out the Bryan Danielson gyrating hips deathlock. It’s all Richards…UNTIL BENNETT HITS A SPINEBUSTER ON THE APRON! That was frighteningly rapid, and it puts The Prodigy in the ascendency as we go to commercials. Back from the break and Bennett shows some of what he learned in his battles with Lance Storm as he blasts Richards with a superkick for 2. ‘I always wanted to see Maria’s pussy’ – Nigel. Kelly totally no sells that line…as Davey lands a TOPE SUICIDA! Exploder on the apron blocked…and Mike bails forcing Richards to deliver a violent kick to the metal ringpost. SPEAR ON THE APRON! ANKLELOCK ON DAVEY! Richards is limping now…but still manages to hit an exploder suplex followed by a running punt to Bob! Anklelock on Bennett…broken with a slap from Maria! Mike Mondo runs in for more sexual assault! The Prodigy chases Mondo off…then walks into the Alarm Clock. He’s already out of it, so it’s just a formality as Richards hits a SLIDING BUZZSAW KICK and wins at 09:59 (shown)
Rating – *** – Another decent TV match in the SOTF tournament, and say it quietly but it’s another really good Mike Bennett match in 2012. Had they focused more on the wrestling and less on Mondo, Maria and Brutal Bob getting involved this could easily have got into 4* territory. It was also good to have Davey back in an ROH ring. For all the criticisms of his gimmick and attitude over his run as World Champion, he has always been one of ROH’s best workers so getting him back into the promotion is a big deal. He didn’t really break out of second gear here but that was more than enough to deliver something really entertaining with the always-improving Bennett.
Up next it’s scheduled to be another round of the Lethal/Ciampa rivalry – this time in the SOTF tournament. Everyone knows Tommaso is on the injured list after Boiling Point, but for some reason RD Evans has insisted he’s fine and demanded his spot in the tournament be kept open. Ciampa comes to the ring on crutches (to a huge babyface response) and clearly isn’t wrestling. RD Evans seems to be putting Ciampa over…but of course it’s all a scam. He compares Tommaso to a racehorse with a broken leg needing to be shot, and brings out QT Marshall as his new client and presumed entrant into the tournament. Evans nails Tommaso in the leg with his own crutch – putting him on the mat for Marshall to do a number on him…
QT Marshall vs Jay Lethal
So instead of Tommaso, it’s now Marshall and Lethal competing for the right to join Davey Richards and Adam Cole in the Survival Of The Fittest finals. Lethal has been to the final before, and is a former TV and Pure Champion – but like Richards has never won it.
Lethal teases punting QT in the balls as he did to Taven a couple of weeks ago. Marshall blocks that, so Jay SPRINGBOARD DROPKICKS him out of the ring instead! Tope suicida soon follows as Jay’s hot start continues. It’s all Lethal until Evans interrupts him setting up the Lethal Injection – allowing Marshall to pounce with a tilta-whirl slam. Foot on the ropes pin gets 2 for God’s Gift. But QT isn’t doing enough damage and can’t keep Lethal down. Handspring elbow levels him, but he counters the Lethal Injection into a big lariat to put Jay back on the canvas. Lethal Combination nailed, but instead of pinning he wants to do more damage…which I guess is supposed to show Killer Instinct. In the aisle Prince Nana attacks the Barrister, distracting QT as Jay hits the LETHAL INJECTION to win at 06:24
Rating – ** – QT gets a lot of stick from ROH fans, and whilst a lot of it can be justified he really did nothing wrong in this one. His facials and body language were pretty decent and made him easy to hate, and given that all he had to do was bump around, hit a few spots then put Lethal over there wasn’t much more he could do. Personally I think he’s not needed in ROH, and he’s a MASSIVE waste of RD Evans’ managerial skills but nonetheless. He’s here, he did ok in this and the right guy went over…so there’s not too much I can complain about.
INSIDE ROH – Since this episode is broadcast over Glory By Honor weekend, there’s not a lot Kevin Kelly can progress storyline-wise on Inside ROH this week. He covers the on-going issues between Rhett Titus and WGTT (topical as Rhett is in the main event tonight) and the tension currently engulfing the House Of Truth.
Kevin Steen vs Rhett Titus – ROH World Title Match
Ordinarily there’s no way Rhett would be getting a World Championship opportunity. But these aren’t normal circumstances and, in Jim Cornette’s eyes, Steen is far from a normal champion. He’s doing everything he can to get the belt away from Mr Wrestling, and has of course forced him to defend it in every singles match. Titus faces him tonight, and is rewarded with a title match after voluntarily getting involved in the fight to rid Ring Of Honor of SCUM at Brew City Beatdown in July. He’s a former Tag Champion (and wasn’t defeated to lose those belts) and was on the winning team in the 6-man Steel Cage main event at Caged Hostility too. Will Steen send him packing back to the midcard or will Titus grab this unlikely opportunity with both hands?
No need for introductions, with Titus jumping Steen during his entrance as Corino and Nigel happily crack jokes on commentary. Interestingly Rhett has brought BJ Whitmer to the ring with him, meaning we have former Tag Champions BJ and Jimmy Jacobs at ringside too. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA from Titus to take out both Steen and Jacobs! Thrust Buster gets 2. F-5 blocked…so Kevin drops Titus with a hanging DDT out of the ropes instead. TREE OF WOE CANNONBALL NAILED! That’s going to do real damage to Rhett’s knee. Despite that he manages to hit a discus lariat which creates some distance. IED nailed for 2! Jacobs runs at Titus causing a distraction, and although he gets punched out it gives Steen the chance to land an APRON POWERBOMB! Moonsault misses, but Rhett is noticeably limping now. Whitmer and Jacobs are fighting now…and Jimmy’s spike falls into the ring! Titus tries to use it…and EATS F-5! Steen retains at 06:41
Rating – *** – Having Steen defend the belt in every match is starting to devalue the belt. Not that this wasn’t an entertaining TV main event (it was for the record), but the ROH World Title shouldn’t be about Rhett Titus losing in six minutes on national television. In the time they were allotted I’m not sure what more these guys could do. They ran through some really brutal spots. Corino and Nigel were solid gold on commentary, and the involvement of BJ and Jimmy was well-executed too. Like I said, the match was good…it just shouldn’t have been a title match.
Tape Rating – *** – A welcome return to form for the Sinclair TV show. For the first time in over month they’ve produced an episode of the show that was well-worth watching. Richards/Bennett is the best TV match we’ve had in ages, the main event was decent, and the QT Marshall angle was a decent effort to make the newcomer relevant to ongoing storylines (even if ROH fans absolutely hate him and it’s a waste of the fantastic RD Evans).