Ring of Honor - March 17, 2012
-I’m relieved that the opening package is highlighting the happenings of the 10th Anniversary Show. Adam Cole pinned Davey Richards in a tag match, Kyle O’Reilly became a sore loser, and Kevin Steen proclaimed that he would haunt Richards until he gets a title shot.
-From Baltimore, MD. Our hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.
-Adam Cole is pumped up from winning the main event at the 10th Anniversary Show. However, he can’t ever forget how Kyle O’Reilly refused to shake his hand. That’s okay, some day Cole will get an opportunity to force Kyle to respect him. Not bad.
Adam Cole vs. Chris Silvio
Silvio is the “psychedelic superstar” from OVW. It’s nice to see that ROH is finally interested in building up a fresh baby face, as Cole should pick up the victory here. The match kicks off in standard form as Kyle O’Reilly joins the commentary booth. O’Reilly reiterates his lack of respect for Cole (and Eddie Edwards). Cole scores with a dive to the floor but Silvio cheap shots to earn the advantage. Swinging neck breaker by Silvio, who’s really heeling it up for the fans. Cole reverses a submission with a Samoan drop. Neck breaker by Cole and a flying missile drop-kick! Backbreaker variation by Cole but Silvio blocks the Florida Key. Silvio scores a kick and takes a break to meditate. Cole rebounds with an enziguri and finally connects with the Florida Key for the win at 4:50. This was fine, what really surprised me was how well O’Reilly did on commentary.
Winner: Adam Cole
-O’Reilly grabs a microphone and challenges Cole to a match at Showdown in the Sun (a match the live internet audience didn’t get to see due to production woes). Cole accepts so he can end O’Reilly’s “PMS” cycle. Kyle gets the final word, saying he’ll prove who the backbone of Future Shock really was.
-We are treated to a video package highlighting the violent Jimmy Jacobs/Kevin Steen match from the 10th Anniversary Show. Jacobs went back to his evil roots when he stabbed Steen in the face with a metal spike. It wasn’t enough, as Steen dropped him on a standing chair for the win.
- “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” Kevin Steen comes to the ring for an interview. He’s still wielding a tennis racket with Davey Richards’ face on it, a good way to mock Jim Cornette in the process. Kelly asks Steen about his entrance music being remixed to have Richards’ opening, but Steen just insults his intelligence. Steen talks about his “Blind Destiny” match with Eddie Edwards at Showdown in the Sun, which will be a title match if Eddie wins the belt at Part 1. Either way, he’s on his way to becoming ROH World Champion and then he’ll hold ROH hostage. Steen starts listing off all the gross things he’s going to force Cornette to kiss when he’s joined by the man himself. Cornette announces that Steen will face none other than El Generico at Showdown in the Sun! Steen says this doesn’t change anything because he’s going to take out anyone who stands in his way on his road to the title. Steen continues to become the true star of this show.
-Kevin Kelly hosts Inside Ring of Honor. This week will focus on the “countdown to Showdown in the Sun.”
-Lance Storm says he seems to have upset Mike Bennett. We see clips of Storm working out as he puts himself over as being a hard, passionate trainer. Storm says he sees passion and honor in every single member of the ROH locker room, except for Bennett. If Bennett is dismissing Storm as a washed-up, old fart, he’s in for quite a surprise. Why did we never get to see this side of Storm in WWE?
-ROH World Champion Davey Richards discusses his triple threat challengers, Roderick Strong and Eddie Edwards, as well as his second night challenger, Michael Elgin. Davey says this is a sport and since winning the title he’s been perfect. No one is going to take the title from him until they walk through the hell that he has. I’m starting to really like the understated approach Richards is taking to his interviews. These promos aren’t setting the world on fire, but they feel very real.
-ROH Tag Team Champions Jay and Mark Briscoe shout about Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team. Haas and Benjamin are millionaires and the Briscoes grew up on a chicken farm. They don’t like how Haas handcuffed Jay and beat up Mark, because they had to go tell Papa Briscoe that they got beat up by one man. They have revenge on their mind.
-Haas and Benjamin are about as sick of dealing with the Briscoes as we are.
-Tonight is the kick-off to the March Mayhem tournament. The 8 entrants are putting up $1,500, Ring of Honor is throwing in $12,000, so the winner will receive $24,000. Or basically, a fraction of what Daniel Bryan earned for his 18 seconds of work at Wrestlemania 28. All kidding aside, I don’t like seeing a tournament for a cash prize, as it kind of points out just how rinky dinky ROH is. The 4 winners of the opening round will go on to a 4-way match for the money.
March Mayhem qualifying match:
These two will be facing each other at Showdown in the Sun as well. Way to go, ROH, I rip WWE and TNA to shreds constantly for giving away their pay-per-view matches before asking their customers to pay for it. They trade submissions in the early going. The faster pace favors Lethal. The 10 punches in the corner seem to knock Strong loopy and he falls over. Strong shakes it off but gets knocked to the floor, setting up a Lethal suicide dive. Cue the commercial! After the break, Lethal runs into a power slam. Strong enjoys the advantage, but Lethal makes a cartoonish baby face comeback. Strong responds by utilizing a drop toe hold to unleash a flurry of punches to the back of the head. Lethal powers out of a sleeper variation and throws some chops. They trade hard shots and both go down. They pop back up but Lethal takes control with a series of quick attacks. Strong bounces Lethal off the ropes for a slam but can’t get the cover. Lethal counters a suplex and nails the handspring back elbow for 2. Martini provides a distraction on the apron, but Strong nearly knocks him off. Lethal clocks Martini, but Strong catches him with a rope-assisted cover for a close near fall. Strong nails the double knee gut buster for a silly 2 count. Jay bounces back with the Lethal Combination, but Martini is on the apron again. Michael Elgin runs in and attacks. The run-in backfires, as Strong accidentally knocks Elgin off the ropes, allowing Lethal to score the win at 13:37. This was superior to their Showdown in the Sun match, as it featured a greater sense of urgency and flow. I guess Lethal is more passionate about $24,000 than he was his Television title. ***½.
Roderick Strong (with Truth Martini) vs. ROH Television Champion Jay Lethal
Winner: Jay Lethal
Final Thoughts: I hate silly gimmicks like the March Mayhem tournament. I just can’t get into a storyline where wrestlers are putting everything on the line for just a cash prize. It should seem like a given that these wrestlers are well compensated enough that they should have to have a carrot dangled in front of their noses. Otherwise, the Steen angle continues to roll and we had a good main event, so huzzah. Thumbs in the middle.
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