Last Week: After months of build up, we get the full ROH World title match between Davey Richards and Kevin Steen from “Border Wars” tonight.
ROH TV Episode 36 - “Border Wars”
5/26/12; Taped 5/12/12
After getting the introduction from announcers Nigel McGuinness and Kevin Kelly, we saw some highlights and results from the event including Eddie Edwards pinning Rhino, The All Night Express & TJ Perkins successfully forming a team to topple The Young Bucks & Mike Mondo, Tommaso Ciampa’s undefeated streak ending at the hand of Jay Lethal, Lance Storm doing his country proud by besting Mike Bennett, Michael Elgin winning the “Battle of the Breakout Stars” against Adam Cole, Roderick Strong retaining his TV title against the debuting Fit Finlay, and Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team becoming two-time ROH World Tag Team champions by winning a Fight Without Honor against their rivals The Briscoes. For a full analysis of the event, check out the “Border Wars” edition of The ROHbot Report (http://www.worldwrestlinginsanity.com/am2/publish/ringofhonorlive/The_ROHbot_Report_51912.shtml).
Before heading to the main event, we saw what happened the week before on TV when Davey and Steen came to blows after Steen viciously attacked Richards’ teammate Kyle O’Reilly (http://www.worldwrestlinginsanity.com/am2/publish/ringofhonorlive/ROH_TV_Episode_33.shtml). But the week before that during a Dayton house show, Steen laid the champ out with his F Cinq. Kevin Kelly sent us to the back where Nigel was with former ROH World champion Eddie Edwards.
Nigel asked Edwards what Davey needed to do to win against Kevin Steen. Edwards expressed his belief that Richards being injured will make it a tougher night for Steen than before. According to Eddie, Davey hurt means a harder wrestling Richards. In Edwards’ opinion, if Richards’ loses it will be a bad night for ROH.
We got some words from champion and challenger. Davey pretty much repeated his statements from past promos in that he’ll embarrass and expose Kevin Steen for not being the true athlete/wrestler like the Bryan Danielsons and Samoa Joes before them and the Michael Elgins and Adam Coles that follow.
In a stairwell, Steen reflected on the fact that tonight marks the near twelve-year anniversary of his career - a career crafted unlike the way people like Jim Cornette would want. Steen didn’t really care what anyone, especially Cornette, called him because there’s only one thing they can call him and it will actually be true after tonight: ROH World champion.
ROH World title: Davey Richards (c) vs. Kevin Steen w/Jimmy Jacobs
Before the bell, Steve Corino came to ringside, taking a seat at the announce table. After coming face-to-face and trying to pull off the Hogan-Rock standoff to the sounds of “Next World champ!” Steen immediately went for the Package Piledriver. Davey fought his way through the move that is legal for one night only, knocking the challenger to the floor for a tope. The champion beat Steen around ringside before the action reentered the ring. Richards got distracted by the catcalls and heckling of the crowd and Jimmy Jacobs, allowing Steen to catch Davey on the apron with a hanging DDT. Once again, they were on the floor, but the tables had turned with Steen being the one in control. Steen celebrated with his people after whipping Davey from one area of ringside to the other prior to using an inverted atomic drop into the steel ring post to segue into another commercial break.
Coming back to the action, Davey Richards was in control, kicking the back of Steen as a set up to tie him up. The crowd was all over Davey, and Richards seemingly feed off the negative environment. Steen tried to rally himself off the mat, but took a slew of kicks to the chest for his trouble. Davey knocked Steen to the floor for that running kick off the apron. Steen moved at the last second, causing Jimmy to take the strike. When Richards turned around, Steen tripped him face first into the ring apron. A dazed champion was prey for the apron power bomb to a huge ovation. But the challenger wasn’t done, using another power bomb on the ring’s edge to set up the cannonball when he shoved the champion back in. Following a failed pin attempt, Steen started clutching his left knee.
Steen took a lot of time trying to scale the ropes, only to get caught by Richards. A head-butt exchange ensued until Steen bit Richards off the ropes. Swanton bomb by Steen hit nothing but knees.
Fighting spirit by Steen saw him take a kick to the head and a sick clothesline, but still kicked out of Davey’s lateral press. Richards tried to use that running knee in the corner, but almost got F Cinq’d. Steen exploded with a clothesline that knocked the mouthpiece from Richards’ mouth. Both men slowly rose, leading to a forearm exchange that ended with Steen catching a charging Richard via the Steenalizer … for a two count!
To show his sick nature, Steen put Richards’ mouthpiece in his own mouth before setting up the Package Piledriver. Richards stopped the Piledriver, but not the power bomb-sharpshooter combination. Richards survived and made it to the ropes to save himself as we headed to another commercial break.
We were back and Richards countered whatever apron move Steen had in mind with a dragon screw leg whip before tying Steen’s hurt limb in the ropes for a sick double stomp on that leg. Double stomp to Steen’s abdomen by the champ set up the Ankle Lock. Steen somehow freed himself, leading to an exchange over double underhooks. Richards somehow hoisted the big man up, executing his old finisher, the DR Driver … for a two count!
Steen insultingly spit and slapped Davey after feeling some Kawada kicks. F Cinq by the challenger also gained him a near fall to the dismay of a watching Steve Corino. Richards showed the same heart that made him a champion by kicking out of Steen’s pin off the moonsault from the top. Richards was breathing heavy, but had the wherewithal to flip out of the Package Piledriver and kick Steen in the face. Steen was still rising and adamant no matter how many times Davey kicked him or put him in the Ankle Lock. Steen thought about tapping out, but realized Davey using the grapevine Ankle Lock was open for a counter into the sharpshooter to a huge ovation. Once again, Richards countered Steen’s hold with another Ankle Lock. Steen clawed his way to the corner in front of him, only for Davey to yank the challenger backwards.
With Kevin Steen came the middle turnbuckle pad unbeknownst to Davey. Steen powered forward, rolling through Davey’s submission, sending the champ face first into the uncovered turnbuckle. Richards was out on his feet and open prey for the Package Piledriver. Steen hastily covered the potentially unconscious champion. As the crowd counted down with the referee, the fans grew louder and louder until the official three count and the declaration that Kevin Steen had just defeated Davey Richards to become the new ROH World champion.
Following the match, Cary Silkin refused to follow tradition and present the ROH World title belt to Kevin Steen. As Steen and Jacobs celebrated, Steve Corino entered the ring. After several tense seconds, Corino embraced his old friend as Kevin Kelly proclaimed, “Evil lives in Ring of Honor.”
In the back, Kevin Kelly tried to get a word with Davey Richards, but the doctor refused to let Kelly in as, in the background, Eddie Edwards argued with Cary Silkin over something.
Later, Kevin Kelly caught up with the new ROH World champion. Kevin Steen - who had a fan-made cake by his side and eventually in his mouth - noted how everything seen before the era of Steen was an illusion. Now it’s about to get ugly and dirty thanks to the new champ.
Overall: Going back to what I said last week still stands as showing the main event from one of your biggest iPPVs in recent memory two weeks after the show aired on free television is a double edged sword. On one side you have the fans that don’t know or didn’t see the match now understand what went down and what to look forward to with the era of Steen. For the other fans - the ones who bought the iPPV - this plain sucked as, most likely, the reason you bought the show was pretty much shown in full two weeks later (about a minute was cut out of the match due to the first commercial break, but everything else was in tact).
But the main point of this episode was to inform and entertain. The fans needed to know what went down between Richards and Steen, and they thought the best way to do that was to let the majority of the action speak louder than words (or still photos and/or video clips). The match itself was a joy to watch and the atmosphere was incredible. It would be wonderful if ROH made some new iPPV costumers with the performance, production, and overall feel of the show. This was easily one of the best one-match shows I’ve seen since the final ROH on HDNet show, and a must-see for anyone.