ROH on Sinclair – Episode 074 – 16th February 2013
Ring Of Honor has just two weeks of television left to convince you to buy the 11th Anniversary Show. With a lot of the card now set (although we do still need to crown a Top Prospect Tournament winner to get a challenger to Adam Cole’s TV Title) it’s about telling stories that will convince enough money to spend their hard earned cash on getting see the conclusion of those tales at the start of next month in Chicago. This week the TPT semi-finals will get underway, and we have a scheduled main event of Jay Lethal vs Jimmy Jacobs, which should serve as an excellent prelude to the Steen/Lethal showdown which will headline the 11th Anniversary. Kevin Kelly and Caleb Seltzer are in Baltimore, MD.
Tadarius Thomas vs QT Marshall
This is the first Top Prospect Tournament semi-final, and with a place in the final as well as a potential TV Title shot on ppv at stake – both men will be willing to do whatever it takes to ensure victory. TD looked impressive in his first round, dusting aside former WWE wrestler Antonio Thomas convincingly. Marshall also scored a resounding victory, but will his chances be damaged by the fact that Barrister RD Evans won’t be in his corner this evening?
Marshall arrogantly tries to pin Thomas in the corner…and his slackness is instantly punished with a slap to the face. TD catches himself on the top, back flips over the advancing opponent then scores with a crisp capoeira kick. QT tries to shut him down…so Thomas back drops him OVER the top rope to the floor! CARTWHEEL off the apron by Thomas…only to be caught in a spinebuster against the ringpost by God’s Gift. Marshall goes right after the back, dropping a flurry of elbow drops down across the spine. It damages TD sufficiently to slow him down but doesn’t stop him rattling off a cartwheel kick combo. Sling Blade nailed for 2. Marshall hits a tilta-whirl backbreaker and rolls it straight into a powerslam to do more damage to the back. Sensing he is in trouble, Thomas hits one last kick combo and scores with the tiger suplex to win at 05:45
Rating – ** – I don’t think these two meshed particularly well, but for a succession of spots this was perfectly decent. Thomas needs the right opponent to get him over, as his lack of charisma and strange wrestling style often leaves his matches looking very disjointed and spotty. Marshall obviously isn’t that guy and if you’re being honest, QT was pretty much squashed here. Not that many people will complain about that mind you – but for the sake of his future credibility he definitely needed to look a little more capable of hanging with Tadarius.
We cut to video shot at a local car dealership, with Joe Koff (who is a terrible actor) bringing BJ Whitmer along to fill in on a public appearance originally scheduled for Charlie Haas – who is late. It breaks down into a laughable brawl between Whitmer and Haas, with significant damage done to a car when Charlie Olympic Slams BJ through the windshield. With different talent involved I would probably have enjoyed this angle a lot more.
Caprice Coleman/Cedric Alexander vs Nick Westgate/Brian Fury
It’s slightly strange to have C&C on the other side of one of these enhancement matches. They were hot going into late 2012 after a couple of strong matches against the Bravados, but their momentum is starting to die down so it’s good to see them given the chance to rack up a few victories. I can’t recall having seen Fury before, but Westgate has certainly appeared as job-fodder previously.
Alexander starts with Westgate, promptly tagging him in the mouth with a high dropkick. Hart Attack leg lariat nailed too…with Fury eating some C&C double teams too when he comes to help. Caprice hits the ropes for a SPRINGBOARD SUICIDE DIVE TO THE FLOOR! The crowd doesn’t even get to finish popping for that when Rhino appears to hit the goreGoreGORE on Cedric! Corino is on hand too, levelling Caprice…and causing an obvious disqualification at 01:00
Rating – N/A – Too short to mean much, and the fact that the jobbers got in zero offence at least gave C&C a brief moment to shine before the SCUM angle took over.
Steve Corino reiterates what he’s been saying for a while – that their numbers will grow at the 11th Anniversary Show, and that ROH will die that evening in Chicago.
Silas Young tells Veda Scott that he is going to break Matt Taven in half…up next.
Silas Young vs Matt Taven
At the outset of the tournament these two were among the favourites. Taven isn’t as well-travelled, but possesses a lot of raw potential and athleticism. Silas is older – and with age comes experience. He is a veteran of the independent scene and knows an awful lot of tricks to outwit his younger opponent this evening. Tadarius Thomas waits in the finals – scheduled for next week.
They start wonderfully, working the mat and easily countering back and forth. Great strength by Silas who catches Taven going for a leapfrog and literally MUSCLES him into the air, only for Matt to roll out and deliver a fluent armdrag. Young has had enough of Taven’s quickness getting the better of him, so pops him in the mouth as the referee tries to enforce a clean break. Taven just about musters a spinning bicycle kick…but as he tries to dive off the apron Young catches him for a POWERSLAM ON THE FLOOR! If that wasn’t bad enough he compounds Matt’s misery with a vicious stomp right to the heart. Silas thinks about a tope suicida only for Taven to move and hit a springboard enzi! BERMUDA TRIANGLE NAILED BY TAVEN! AIR TAVEN MISSES! Young capitalises on that miss to hit the cradle backbreaker, but as he looks to move that straight into the shortarm lariat he normally goes for Taven counters with a roll-up…and wins! Matt advances to the final at 05:46
Rating – *** – I’m not sure how much more these two could pack into less than six minutes. Taven has so much potential. He can be a little scruffy and wild with his work, but he has a star-quality about him which just can’t be replicated. Young maybe doesn’t have that obvious x-factor, but his years on the scene have made him such a clever performer. His work since the match he had with Michael Elgin last year has been solid pretty much every time out. This was another strong match and further proof of why both guys should really be appearing in Ring Of Honor far more regularly.
INSIDE ROH – Lots of stuff from this episode comes from Defy Or Deny 2, so kudos to ROH for promoting a DVD on their TV show. They show Matt Hardy beating BJ Whitmer then petitioning Nigel McGuinness for a TV Title shot. There’s an awesome promo from Cole in there too, easily his best microphone work since joining ROH. An altercation at that show also leads to Nigel booking a Briscoes/WGTT Tag Title Match for TV in a couple of weeks. Before you moan too much, if WGTT lose, they’ll be forced to split up.
Jimmy Jacobs vs Jay Lethal
With just two weeks until the 11th Anniversary Show (not one week as the announcers have been saying all episode), this match represents a real chance for SCUM to do damage to Jay Lethal before he gets to challenge Kevin Steen for the World Championship. It’s also an intriguing match due to Jacobs’ form in the ring in 2013. Everyone is raving about his performance against Adam Cole at The Hunt For Gold, but his showing in the 40-minute trios tag main event to Honor vs Evil was also very impressive. This is far from a pre-ppv formality for Lethal in our main event.
Jimmy has no desire to lock up with Lethal…and is chased out of the ring as a result. They take turns bashing each other’s skulls into the guardrails as the referee struggles to maintain control. Lethal snatches the initiative by smashing Jimmy into the ringpost then hanging him in the ropes for a dropkick to the exposed face. Jacobs retaliates with a swinging headscissors into the guardrails! PESCADO THROUGH A CHAIR MISSES! Despite that when we come back it’s still even and the two men are teeing off on each other with big right hands. Lethal hits an inverted DDT then follows it with the Lethal Combination for 2. Lethal Injection COUNTERED with a lungblower, and Jimmy pops up instantly to land the Contra Code for his own nearfall. He eats canvas going for a super rana, as Jay clings on to the top rope. MACHO ELBOW NAILED! Lethal wins at 05:33 (shown).
Rating – *** – Far too short, but that’s what happens when you try to fit way too much into 45-minutes of television time. As a result of their measly time allocation everything they did felt very rushed, but that’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable. Both men are in terrific form at the moment, so even working a five minute spotfest they produced something hugely watchable.
Rhino appears for the second time in the evening to do SCUM’s dirty work, and lines up Lethal for the Gore. Caprice Coleman tries to make the save…but only gets Gored for his efforts. Kevin Steen hits the ring and orders his team-mates to stop their gang attack on Lethal. Everyone is confused as the show goes off the air with Steen trying to shake Jay’s hand!
Tape Rating – ** – I credit Delirious for having a much more precise and palatable creative vision for ROH than his predecessor. I also salute him for being substantially more in touch with the Ring Of Honor fanbase than Cornette was. But, I think he’s struggling with these TV shows at the moment. Simply put, almost every episode of 2013 has suffered from trying to pack too much in. This is a company based around high quality pro-wrestling. Sure Lethal/Jacobs and Taven/Young were decent matches. But even on a 45-minute television show you should be finding more than 5 minutes for your main event. Even WWE make more time than that for their TV main events. The end game is good – in that the 11YA show is looking really decent, we have an appetising Top Prospect Tournament final and the mouth-watering possibility of WGTT splitting up in a couple of weeks. But at the moment every episode is flying by in a blur of short matches, scatter-gun angles and forgettable interviews. That means the TV show is becoming eminently skippable. It’s a problem which needs to be rectified with a few stronger episodes – and pretty sharpish.