ROH on Sinclair – Episode 061 – 17th November 2012
It’s been a somewhat strange way for ROH to proceed through the final quarter of 2012. After an underwhelming first half of the year the rebound in Q3 (with some improved story-telling and vast pick-up in show quality) was welcome. But since the end of September the momentum seems to have stalled. Killer Instinct and Glory By Honor 11 were great shows, and the apparent change in creative direction very well-received by the ROH fanbase. But it feels like things are grinding to a standstill. The live event schedule is so empty that for 2 months between Glory By Honor 11 and Final Battle 2012 Ring Of Honor won’t have run a single event outside of television tapings. On TV we’ve been bombarded with Road Rage episodes, and even when we did get fresh content it was mostly geared towards Survival Of The Fittest 2012 rather than aggressively progressing storylines or doing much to promote anything else. Hopefully this episode of the SBG show is where business picks up. These shows were taped at the start of November, and for the first time in 2012 takes the Sinclair tapings away from Sinclair’s home base of Baltimore. Tonight we’re in Pittsburgh (Belle Vernon), PA – in the building ROH scoped when they ran the Live Strong event here earlier in the year. New building for TV, fresh crowd…and it’s the first tapings with Delirious in control. We have the new Match Maker to announce, we have a lot of great-looking matches to look forward to. We’re also now just a month away from Final Battle so there’s a lot of ground to cover if that is to be a momentous and memorable ppv conclusion to the year. Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are waiting for us.
It’s supposed to be the Women Of Honor getting us underway, but the Briscoes interrupt the show-opening formalities. Mark is draped in an ROH flag, whilst Jay gets on the mic and orders the entire locker room to come to the ring and hear what he has to say. He blames SCUM for all the hate ROH is getting, and has strong words for the fans who have crapped on the product this year. His rallying cry to the locker room is stirring stuff, all building to Jay being the one who announces that Nigel McGuinness is the new ‘troubleshooting Match Maker’. He is equally emotional and inspirational when talking about what ROH means to him…and his first act is to book the match everyone wants for Final Battle – Steen vs Generico. Oh, and it’s Ladder War 4. His second is forcing SCUM to defend the Tag Titles against both the Briscoes and C&C at Final Battle too.
Allysin Kay vs MsChif
So Delirious is in control and instantly his old green and black Midwest running buddy MsChif makes her return too. She’s been in and around ROH before, but outside of a brief run in Age Of The Fall she’s never really found a storyline that keeps her around permanently. Kay makes her debut tonight, and gets good write ups from those that follow the American Joshi scene.
Neither woman wants to back down, trading slaps in the corner. Allysin floors MsChif with a running kick, but then takes too long celebrating and is caught on the canvas with a succession of clubbing forearms. MsChif gets 2 with an arm-capture facecrusher…only for Kay to get up and hit a running Samoan drop. MsChif kicks her in the ‘Helen Hunt’ and wins with the Desecrator at 03:48
Rating – * – It doesn’t matter how many times Nigel and Kevin called this a ‘great match’…it absolutely wasn’t. Sloppy, clumsy and inexcusably slow and lazy considering how little time they had. MsChif was the same old MsChif…which is fine, but it’s an act that’s never gotten her over or booked regularly in ROH before. If she’s not changed why is she back again?
Tadarius Thomas vs Roderick Strong
This one was originally scheduled for Glory By Honor, but Roddy ended up declining to wrestle and quitting the House Of Truth instead. The night still ended up a good one for Thomas though, as he fought Rhino in an impromptu bout, and pulled out the surprise win. Beating the Man Beast was TD’s foot in the door. Now he needs to start producing great performances and winning matches against top level Ring Of Honor talent like Strong if he wants to stay.
Truth Martini chases Roderick to the ring still trying to persuade him to rejoin the HOT. Roddy and Tadarius work the canvas, with Strong clearly trying to keep his opponent on the canvas where his capoeira skills won’t become a factor. He peppers him with chops, taking the wind out of TD’s sails – but not doing enough damage to stop him back flipping into a kick to the jaw. TORTURE RACK BACKBREAKER ON THE TURNBUCKLES! Somehow Thomas kicks out at 2. Roaring Elbow ducked, and Tadarius breaks out a couple of silly-angle kicks again. Sling Blade gets a 2 for TD. Cradle backbreaker countered into another back flip kick! ORANGE CRUSH BACKBREAKER! Just like that Strong turns Thomas’ lights off and takes the victory at 05:58
Rating – ** – Not quite on the same level as Cole/Thomas from the SOTF tournament. I think Tadarius struggled more to incorporate his stuff into this match, and the fans just weren’t buying his comeback spots enough. That said they still provided some moments of genuine excitement, and I definitely think Tadarius has a unique talent that is worth persisting with. He’s been around for months but simply hasn’t been given enough time in an ROH ring yet – meaning he’s still working out the kinks and finding out what works for him at this level.
Roderick reiterates to Truth Martini that he has quit the House Of Truth – walking out to leave Martini once again alone in the ring seemingly with his entire empire gone.
INSIDE ROH – Kevin Kelly starts the hype machine for Final Battle. Steen/Generico, Cole/Hardy and SCUM/C&C/Briscoes have all been signed. Michael Elgin wants his request for a match with Roderick at Final Battle to be signed off ASAP too. Elsewhere Jay Lethal complains about being frozen out of the World Title picture until Steen loses – as part of his punishment for his actions at Killer Instinct.
NEXT WEEK – Scum vs Titus and Whitmer for the ROH Tag Titles.
Back from commercials and Nigel McGuinness reveals the new ROH TV Title belt, and announces that Jerry Lynn will be at Final Battle to work his last ever Ring Of Honor match.
Adam Cole vs Kyle O’Reilly – ROH TV Title Match
It seems that ROH are just ignoring the sham of a match they made these two work at Showdown In The Sun when they couldn’t fix their technological issues since they are calling this one the ‘rubber match’. Adam Cole delivered a star-making performance and won their Hybrid Rules match at Best In The World…only for O’Reilly to return the favour and win a Proving Ground match at Caged Hostility to earn this title shot. Who will prove themselves to be the superior member of Future Shock and go home with the brand new TV Title belt?
These two don’t like each other, but both start tentatively, demonstrating that they have great respect for each other’s skills. A jumping enzi knocks O’Reilly to the floor…but he pops up to nail Cole with an elbow strike as he attempts a tope. Adam does the same thing and tags Kyle with another jumping enzi! TOPE SUICIDA NAILED! Cole is fired up now, repeatedly tossing O’Reilly into the guardrails. He thinks he’s done enough damage to win it…but Kyle jumps to counter the Flying Crossbody with a mid-air dropkick. That caves in the ribs, and when we come back from commercials Kyle is still focusing on that body part with a grounded abdominal stretch. Davey Richards stomps to the announce table and demands some promo time from Nigel on next week’s show as O’Reilly tests Cole’s jaw with a flurry of rapid-fire strikes. Richards and O’Reilly lock eyes, distracting Kyle and giving the champion a window to deliver the SLINGSHOT APRON DDT! Superfly Splash gets 2! Florida Key blocked. Figure 4 blocked! BACK DROP DRIVER COUNTERED! FIGURE 4 COUNTERED! Awesome sequence! KICK DUEL! REGALPLEX! O’Reilly gets 2! Triangle Choke…only for Cole to use the Nigel McGuinness counter to that and somersault into a pinning combination for another 2! These two can’t be separated, and they get to their feet still swinging punches and kicks. TORNADO DDT ROLLED INTO A BRAINBUSTER! GUILLOTINE CHOKE! COLE COUNTERS TO A CRADLEBREAKER! FLORIDA KEY! Cole retains at 08:56 (shown)
Rating – **** – I’ll admit this is generous, and if I’m honest I’d rather have seen the Women Of Honor cut from this episode entirely to give these guys more time. They deserved more than ten minutes to end their feud with each other. But this was a freaking case study in making do with what you have. Some of the familiarity countering in this was just phenomenal. These two are both so young, and demonstrating the skill and expertise to give such a short match a really epic feel is something they should both be extremely proud of. These TV tapings were used as the launchpad for the ‘Honor Lives’ era. This was a fitting TV main event to get us started – as ROH’s two top young guns delivered another stellar episode in their rivalry. Hopefully it won’t be the last time they lock horns.
Tape Rating – *** – I wasn’t a massive fan of the middle of the show, but man alive did they ever start and end it hot. The opening segment, with great promo work from both the Briscoes and Nigel served as a great way to get this new era of ROH underway. A lot of what they were saying may have gone over some of the casual fans’ heads – but the passion with which they spoke carried the segment and, I believe, will have resonated with all fans of ROH, both new and old. The Women Of Honor match, as ever, was pretty pointless, whilst Tadarius and Strong didn’t really click as opponents. But with a sure-fire winner of a main event we needn’t have worried. Adam Cole has been producing fantastic television-length bouts all year, and this was one of his best yet.