The ROHbot Report: Homecoming Brings Synergy, Norfolk Debut Results, TV Tapings Main Event Announced, Telephone Number Dem Boys, And More
By James Bullock Jan 28, 2012 - 11:10 AM
Here we are again for another edition of The ROHbot Report. Can’t you just feel the energy? Or should I say “synergy”? Pretty much that’s the only word going around right now when anyone brings up Ring of Honor. Why? Well, during ROH’s return to Philidelphia, a bringing together of two companies occurred, and both companies are promoting this unity as “synergy”. Rather than explain up here, lets move on to the results from “Homecoming 2012” and the rest of the ROH news you need to know.
“The Homecoming 2012”- Philadelphia, PA 1/20/12
- “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards came out to start the night to inform those in attendance that he was out of action for the weekend due to a Staph Infection.
1. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin beat Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly
2. Four Corner Survival Match: Tommaso Ciampa defeated Grizzly Redwood, Andy "Right Leg" Ridge, & Mike Bennett when he pinned Grizzly
- Steve Corino addressed the crowd, stating that after “Final Battle 2011” and the fight with Kevin Steen, he realized that he finally earned the respect of the fans and management. Kevin interrupted. Steen told Corino to do something to which Corino left and walked to the back.
3. Kevin Steen pinned Kenny King; after the match, Steen attacked Rhett Titus. Titus hit Steen with his crutch one time to no avail, and when he tried a second time, Steen kicked his surgically repaired knee and applied the Sharpshooter.
4. Michael Elgin pinned Chris Hero with only a few seconds left in the time limit. Pre-match, Shane Hagadorn came out to plead with Hero to let him manage him again. Hero states he appreciates what Hagadorn has done the past, but wants to go it alone. Following the match, Hagadorn returned and berated Hero, saying during KOW's time it was should have been "Claudio is Awesome" or maybe “Shane is Awesome” not Hero. He then calls Hero a bum that nobody wants. Hero responds with a KO elbow to Hagadorn.
- Roderick Strong comes out and wishes both Davey Richards & Jay Lethal good luck in the World Title match later tonight. Strong said he wants competition, which brought Adam Cole out, and he says he will take on Roderick in a No Holds Barred Match. Truth calls him silly and tries to dissuade him, but the match is on.
5. No Holds Barred Match: Roderick Strong beat Adam Cole; This match saw liberal interference from both Truth Martini & Michael Elgin but Eddie Edwards evened the odds at one point, running Elgin off to the back; The crowd gave Cole a standing ovation following the bout
6. Proving Ground Match: Jigsaw & Hallowicked defeated ROH World Tag Team Champions Jay & Mark Briscoe to earn a future ROH Tag Title match; In a moment that needs to be seen, a number of representatives from CHIKARA Pro came to ringside including Mike Quackenbush, Green Ant, & Ultramantis Black to rally behind their team, leading to the chaos that resulted in Team CHIKARA picking up the victory. Briscoes totally insulted the CHIKARA representatives following the loss and told them they would see them in Chicago in April.
7. ROH World Title Match: Davey Richards pinned ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal to retain
Easily the biggest story coming out of “Homecoming 2012” is the impending feud between ultra-serious Ring of Honor and the fun-loving, lucha-infused CHIKARA wrestling after Jigsaw and Hallowicked did what many thought wouldn’t happen with them defeating the ROH World Tag Team champs and legends alike. For those who don’t know about CHIKARA, and what kind of action they present, check out my review of their first iPPV, “High Noon” (http://www.worldwrestlinginsanity.com/am2/publish/ringofhonorlive/wym_Chikara.shtml). Immediately after the news hit the web of what happened, fans naturally started comparing the CHIKARA invasion to the CZW invasion of 2006 that saw the rivalry between the two companies rage for months over the philosophy of pure wrestling vs. hardcore wrestling. The big difference between this invasion and the CZW one is the fact that the good guy/bad guy scenario is out the window. Here, The Briscoes - who represent the company based on honor - disrespected the masks of their opponents - the ultimate insult to a luchador. Led by one of CHIKARA’s founder - Mike Quackenbush - to the ring, a slew of CHIKARA wrestlers rallied behind their fellow wrestlers and even helped them win with some well timed interference as seen in the video ROH released earlier this week. Rather than make you wait, here’s the video right now so you can see what I mean.
As seen in the video, Jay noted that at Chicago we’d get a rematch of the controversial Proving Ground match with ROH gold on the line on this occasion. On that night, ROH and CHIKARA will produce shows back to back in the same building under the banner of “Synergy”; and there’s no better name they could’ve come up with. The synchronized energy between the two companies has people talking about CHIKARA’s chance to make a slew of new fans thanks to their involvement. For ROH wrestlers, it’s an opportunity to shake up the roster as guys like The Briscoes aren’t stuck wrestling the same teams without much focus on new, interesting challengers in the near future. I went more in-depth about the invasion in the latest Honor Nation (http://www.worldwrestlinginsanity.com/am2/publish/FeaturedArticles/hn37.shtml), but I’ll write right now that this is definitely the shot in the arm ROH needed to entice the hardcore fans starting to lose interest in the product.
One person that reportedly had the fans’ attention, and made them feel for him was Adam Cole. Taking a sick Eddie Edwards’ place in the heavily promoted No Holds Barred match with Roderick Strong, Cole delivered a star-making performance that saw him gain the Benoit treatment afterwards (you know, getting a standing ovation after losing a hard-fought match. No, not the other treatment! That’s just rude). It’s definitely a match that I can’t wait to see as more and more proof is arriving to show that Adam Cole truly is a special talent that has all the potential to be a big star in ROH.
Davey Richards and Jay Lethal did their best at delivering a main event worthy of the grand occasion, and the fans went along with the ride the whole way. It’s incredible to think back some six years ago and find two men who were just trying to find their place in wrestling now not only headlining shows, but also stealing them with high caliber performances. This match was so good ROH decided to give it to the fans one more time in the near future (more on that later).
Kevin Steen had an uphill battle in terms of getting the fans to turn against him in Philly. While Steen is loved by a majority of the ROH audience everywhere he goes, Philadelphia definitely embraces him in a different way as he’s seen in the same way as a lot of their past favorites from the area by being an anti-establishment, I do it my way kind of guy who gets off on hurting people. The crazy and greatest thing about his character is the full circle actions. Here, after Corino confessed he wasn’t leaving ROH so he could continue his trek to be a better person, Steen pulled a Corino by doing his best to convince his old friend to stay and accept the evil that lurked deep down in his heart in the same way Corino did to Kevin Steen over two years ago. Steen followed up by having a back and forth battle against Kenny King where Steen teased the usage of the banned Package Piledriver before ending King’s night via his new finisher, the F5. As he said on this week’s edition of ROH TV (http://www.worldwrestlinginsanity.com/am2/publish/ringofhonorlive/ROH_TV_Episode_18.shtml), Kevin Steen is decimating a piece of the roster at each event; and the fans couldn’t love him anymore for doing so.
ROH is continuing their upward momentum with Tommaso Ciampa and Michael Elgin by having them survive the onslaught of three men and power of a grappler with the powerful elbows of three individuals respectively. While Hero isn’t booked for any more ROH events after this one, one must assume if Hero isn’t leaving for WWE that is ROH getting their ducks in a row to make sure they have something for Hero when he comes back full-time. Once again, that full circle feeling returns if that’s true with Hagadorn. Shane Hagadorn used The Kings of Wrestling to get back at The American Wolves after they dumped him as their manager. Now Hagadorn could find someone else he feels could stop another “disrespectful” past client. But that’s jumping the gun a little bit, right?
Overall, it seems ROH delivered on one of the heaviest promoted non-iPPVs since “Glory By Honor X” with quality action and a huge angle that got fans talking and writing. But did they follow up properly in their debut in Norfolk one night later? Lets see.
Norfolk, VA 1/21/12
- Eddie Edwards came out with Jim Cornette to inform the people of his Staph Infection and let them know he was not medically cleared to wrestle.
1. Kenny King defeated Andy "Right Leg" Ridge
2. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett beat Grizzly Redwood
3. Kevin Steen pinned Adam Cole; after the match, Steen attempted to use the banned Package Piledriver on Cole, but Eddie Edwards saved him.
4. ROH World Tag Team Title Match: Jay & Mark Briscoe beat Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander to retain their titles
- Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team came out to talk about how great they are, and insult the fans, Norfolk, but they get interrupted by the team of Jeff Early & Zak Hilton, a local team known as A1, leading to…
5. Jeff Early and Zak Hilton, A1 beat Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas via DQ when Hass struck the official. WGTT assaulted A1 post-match bringing out the Briscoes and a brawl ensued.
6. Proving Ground Match: Tommaso Ciampa w/ Prince Nana, Barrister R.D. Evans, Mr. Ernesto Osiris & Princess Mia defeated ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal just before the time limit was set to expire and earns a future World TV Title shot.
7. Davey Richards & Kyle O'Reilly beat Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin w/ Truth Martini when O'Reilly pinned Strong after an accidental shot from Truth to Roddy with The Book of Truth; Team Ambition will now face Jay & Mark Briscoe for the ROH World Tag Team Titles in Cincinnati on 2/17.
While it’s obvious there were no ground breaking story developments, or monumental clashes, ROH put together a solid card for the event helped turned very good by the wrestlers themselves. Once again, a tag match featuring Davey Richards, Roderick Strong, and Michael Elgin headlined the show, and stole the show. Kyle O’Reilly pulled an Elgin from “Tag Team Turmoil” by having a breakout bout that saw him come across as a true main eventer. Like I noted in the last Report, O’Reilly is going to have to step it up if he wants to hang with Davey as a partner, and if this match is any indication, O’Reilly knows that. Another thing that has to be noted is Martini’s interference costing Roderick another victory, and Elgin’s climb to becoming the most consistent winning member of The HOT. While it might not lead to anything significant, there’s a chance Roderick could be out on his butt in The House halfway through 2012.
Speaking of teams, WGTT had another night to embrace their changing personas of being “too good for the ROH fans”. It truly works for Haas & Benjamin as they’ve looked like outsiders since day one, and with WGTT finally embracing the ROHbots’ view of them makes them better than just two former WWE guys who got pushed to the top immediately after their debuts. WGTT played it up to the crowd wonderfully here against local team A1 before doing the dishonorable by attacking the referee; giving the fans the victors they wanted while solidifying Haas and Benjamin’s new personas. The brawl afterwards between The Briscoes and WGTT saw all four men tease giving or taking chair shots, but nothing worked. What a great way to play off of Chair-Gate following The Briscoes vs. WGTT from “Final Battle 2011”.
Tommaso Ciampa continued his hot streak by finally earning his TV title shot after going unpinned in ROH since his debut last March in a match that greatly showcased Ciampa’s abilities to come across as a true future main eventer. The great chemistry Ciampa and Lethal have didn’t start to shine through until the last five minutes of the match when they turned it up to avoid facing a time limit draw. While all minds were on Bennett being the man to dethrone Lethal as TV champion, here’s to Ciampa’s streak continuing all the way to ROH gold.
Unlike Ciampa, Adam Cole didn’t continue the streak of momentum in Philly. Cole and Kevin Steen had a good match, but with talk running about Cole’s match with Roderick from twenty-four hours earlier, Cole’s slight back and forth (more beat down than beat up) with Steen was a little bit of a let down. Thankfully, ROH has its sights set on making Eddie and Cole a genuine team, and Cole getting beaten down by a white-hot Steen won’t hurt Adam’s push alongside the former ROH World champion.
Everything else was paint-by-the-numbers booking as King beat Ridge soundly, Elgin killing Redwood once again, and Coleman & Alexander having another good showing against The Briscoes.
While the action was good to great (especially the main event), all wasn’t good with ROH’s debut in Norfolk.
The company ran a show in Norfolk, Virginia over the weekend, which caused some headaches. There was a general feeling that the ceiling was too low. There was a joke that it would be the first show since 2003 that wouldn't be released on DVD as it would be a big step down production-wise. Cary Silkin didn't make the show and Syd Eick left the night before.
To make those who didn’t experience the show understand better how bad the room was, the lighting was legit ceiling halogen light fixtures. With the room actually being underneath the Norfolk Scope, the ceiling took away the ability for ROH to bring in their lighting rigs/towers. In a lot of ways, the building was a few notches below the old Murphy Rec Center (where ROH held its first year and half of events); with more or less creepiness. The question of anyone from the office actually checking out the building beforehand has to be asked (I know Jim Cornette used to work in their, but times have changed, and things need to be verified for a company trying to produce a DVD worthy product). If the video looks as bad as it did in person, maybe they can call this show “Unplugged” or “Raw” because it was one of the most stripped down looking ROH events since the early days. While the Richmond Raceway building wasn’t the best-looking building on DVD, the Norfolk Scope Exhibition Hall made the Raceway look like the Manhattan Center.
To get off of the crappiness of ROH’s Norfolk debut building, there was a little bit of a shake up behind the scenes during the weekend. While Cary Silkin not being there kind of sucked, the news that Syd Eick left the company following “Homecoming 2012”. Eick is one of those polarizing figures in the world of wrestling as he’s been credited for helping companies book venues, pay the wrestlers, and keep an eye out for beneficial business ventures. On the other hand, Eick is blamed for many problems at those very same shows (ROH “Final Battle 2009” comes to mind) for double selling seats, thus costing the fan who bought the same ticket after the original buyer a chance to see the show they paid for. How Syd helped ROH grow in the early days by leading the charge in distributing the original shows on VHS and DVDs can’t be forgotten, but with Sinclair Broadcasting Group backing the company, there’s no need for a guy like Eick.
ROH champion Davey Richards vs. ROH TV champion Jay Lethal is the first announced main event for the February 4th ROH TV tapings. The tapings take place at the Du Burns Arena in Baltimore, MD.
So nice they’re going to do it twice. Davey Richards and Jay Lethal reportedly delivered in Philly, and have a chance to either match or outdo themselves in Baltimore. With TV time constraints, it might prove to be an uphill battle for them to produce a batter match, but both have the talent to do so.
Elgin vs. O’Reilly, Perkins vs. Bennett, and The Young Bucks vs. Coleman & Alexander! It all goes down on Saturday night, February 4th when ROH returns to Baltimore, MD!
To emphasize what I meant earlier about CHIKARA possibly helping freshening the ROH roster, all of these bouts are rematches from shows that happened no earlier than mid-November 2011. Michael Elgin and Kyle O’Reilly will continue their mini-rivalry in Baltimore after exchanging wins the last two times they were in the ring against each other. It was at “Survival of the Fittest 2011” where Elgin stopped Kyle to win the tournament. And just last weekend, Kyle gained a slight measure of revenge when he pinned Elgin’s “big brother” Roderick Strong in a tag match that included Elgin. Sadly, in one on one situations, O’Reilly has done nothing but lose to “Unbreakable”. With the spotlight on Kyle now that he’s teaming with Davey, will that statistic change? Probably not.
TJ Perkins was very similar to Kyle O’Reilly in being a talented guy who just couldn’t get that big win. After falling to Mike Bennett at “Northern Aggression”, TJ has a chance to pick up the pieces like O’Reilly did in Norfolk against Roderick. Perkins, while celebrated for his high impact style, is a calculating tactician that can turn a simple mistake into an advantage. And as seen in recent months, Bennett’s been making some big mistakes; costing him the TV title in the process. While it’s unlikely Perkins will defeat “The Prodigy” on TV, stranger things have happened. This might be the match that proves ROH is getting behind Perkins.
Also from “Northern Aggression” is the last match. With a Tag Team title shot in their back pockets after winning the Gauntlet match at “Final Battle 2011”, The Bucks are determined to continue the upward momentum toward ROH Tag gold. C & C have become hopeful spoilers of sorts in trying to stop the better, more established teams through hard fought matches, but inevitably lose. With The ANX lurking somewhere in the arena, and looking for revenge, Coleman and Alexander have their best chance ever to become the spoilers to a team who could unexpectedly unseat any team holding the ROH Tag title.
Strong vs. Edwards, No Holds Barred, Friday night February 17th in Cincinnati, OH!
This match was originally supposed to happen at “Homecoming”, but Edwards’ staph infection ended that dream. As with most matches involving Roderick Strong or Eddie Edwards these days, ROH World title implications are a given (whatever happened to Strong wanting to be the second ROH Grand Slam champion?). Eddie Edwards and Roderick Strong put on classic after classic match last year at three big events (and that’s not even mentioning their confrontations at “Survival of the Fittest” and “Northern Aggression”). All three times saw them beat the life out of each other with their bodies. Now, the two can use not only their bodies, but also anything they can get their hands on the beat each other. This might be the night Roderick finally one-ups Eddie with the rules allowing things like interference. Even though he’s gotten Adam Cole on his side, Edwards will definitely enter Cincinnati with the numbers advantage against him.
As a result of defeating Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin this past Saturday night in Norfolk, Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly will get their opportunity to challenge for the ROH World Tag Team Titles on February 17th when Ring of Honor makes its debut in Cincinnati, OH!
As noted earlier, O’Reilly and Richards now have their first shot at the ROH World Tag Team championship. On the ROH website, Jay Briscoe spoke on the match and how during their confrontations in tag team settings, Davey Richards hasn’t done too well against Dem Boys with two different partners (Rocky Romero and Eddie Edwards). It would be almost pretentious to predict the outcome being The Briscoes pinning O’Reilly after a great match, but more than likely that’s exactly what’s going to happen. CHIKARA, here come Dem Boys!
BJ Whitmer, who had a reign as ROH Tag Team Champion and was one of the promotion's top babyfaces, makes his return to the company on February 17th in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was a major goal of his. Whitmer will face Jay Lethal in a non-title Proving Ground match in his debut.
While many wouldn’t think of BJ Whitmer as one of the most polarizing figures in ROH history, the fact is he is exactly just that. There’s always been a great divide between the ROHbots that either love Whitmer or just loathe “Hillbilly Jesus”. Thinking back, Whitmer and Lethal grew leaps in bounds in ROH in completely different ways during their tenures, but rarely faced off in an ROH ring. Both times were multi-man matches (one a tag match and the other a four way), and involved Samoa Joe. Funny the common denominator is a man who decimated both Whitmer and Lethal in the past. But that was then, and this is now. Lethal has come into his own as a wrestler and as a character in the last few years while BJ returned from retirement, and remade a name for himself throughout the Midwest and Dragon Gate against Brodie Lee. We’ve seen a few old ROH wrestlers return in the last couple of months (Jimmy Rave for one), and do a great job showing why they deserve another shot at another ROH run. Expect Whitmer to continue that streak.
The company will be trying to bring in older faces for the March 4th Anniversary show.
With him working for Gabe Sapolsky again, might as well as forget about Low Ki showing up (would be awesome though). But there are so many other wrestlers ROH could bring back to commemorate the big day including Homicide, Julius Smokes, Red, Paul London, Colt Cabana, Jimmy Rave (another shot at his comeback opponent), Sara Del Rey, Adam Pearce, Dan Maff (since he and Homicide have seemingly buried the hatchet), BJ Whitmer (like Rave), The S.A.T., Michael Shane (London vs. Shane!), some of the Special K members, The Havana Pitbulls, The Carnage Crew, Allison Danger, and everyone’s favorite ROH champion Xavier if they’re available. If they can get enough guys, it would be great to give the event a “Past vs. Present” theme. We’ll find out what ROH has in mind in the coming weeks.
Period Briscoe Dash Brothers Period Com
And always remember, the Dodge song is not a rap song because it could lead to unwarranted insults to all Dodge drivers.