The ROHbot Report: "Showdown In The Sun" iPPV Analysis, Baltimore TV Taping Preview, The Debut Of A Man Who Loves To Fight, And More
By James Bullock Apr 7, 2012 - 8:57 AM
Hello, hello (in my best Bono voice) to another edition of The ROHbot Report. As you all know, last weekend was all about Wrestlemania. And as usual, Ring of Honor followed the Wrestlemania gravy train while trying to hook new fans with the action only ROH can provide. In Fort Lauderdale, ROH produced two iPPVs that hoped to be the perfect bait for those wrestling hungry fans. Lets see what were the rights and wrongs about Ring of Honor’s “Showdown in the Sun”.
ROH “Showdown in the Sun: Day 1”
Fort Lauderdale, FL
1. The Briscoes defeated TDMK in a Proving Ground match
2. Adam Cole defeated NWA World champion Adam Pearce in a non-title match
3. The All Night Express defeated The Young Bucks in a Tornado match
4. Jay Lethal defeated Kyle O’Reilly to retain the ROH TV title
5. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team defeated Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander
6. Mike Bennett defeated Lance Storm
7. Kevin Steen defeated El Generico in a La Revancha Last Man Standing match
8. Davey Richards successfully defended the ROH World title against Roderick Strong and Eddie Edwards by pinning Strong
Dem Boys Rise And Prove: ROH’s debut in Fort Lauderdale, Florida kicked off with, arguably, the most popular names in ROH in the Tag Team champions The Briscoes taking on TDMK of Haste and Nicholls after TDMK survived the “Rise & Prove” Tournament in Cincinnati a month and a half ago. It wasn’t long before the Australians understood the brothers’ Jack Daniels violence when The Briscoes took the fight to the floor to rattle any game plan their opponents had. But Haste and Nicholls did a great job tricking the wily Mark Briscoe by luring him into a double team that ended with an impressive slingshot double stomp to the prone head of Mark. TDMK isolated Mark, but the ability to man up wasn’t lost for Mark.
When Jay got the hot tag, everything broke down. Shockingly, things getting crazy didn’t work in the champs’ favor initially as Jay took their double team DDT that won them the Cincinnati tournament. Thanks to his brother, Jay tagged out, setting up Mark’s Froggy Bow on Nicholls. While the big elbow from Mark didn’t end the match, it did weaken him enough for The Briscoes to follow up with the Doomsday Device to win the match and push back another potential challenge to their title.
Short and simple, this was a wonderful opener. Not only did it get the crowd hot for the rest of the event, but also helped TDMK as they went from unproven talents to potential ROH Tag Team title contenders if ROH brings them back and allows them to showcase like they did here against the best ROH has to offer.
The NWA Invasion Begins: Before sending us back to the ring where Executive Producer Jim Cornette stood, Kevin Kelly reported that one night earlier, NWA World champion Adam Pearce defeated Adam Cole under questionable circumstances at a local NWA event. Cornette introduced “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce so Pearce could express his belief that while Cole is good, he isn’t great. This brought out a dressed to wrestle Adam Cole. Cole also reflected on what happened the night before and came to a realization that he can beat Pearce if he’s given one more shot. Unlike his time in ROH, Pearce proved to be one ready for any challenge. Though Cornette didn’t have the authority make a match for the NWA title, he could give us Pearce vs. Cole II. Cole was on fire when the bell rang after taking an initial sneak attack onslaught. Just when it seemed everything was going well for Cole, he ran into the brick wall that was the NWA champ in the form of Pearce’s spine buster. Pearce slowed Cole down and avoided such attacks as the cross body block off the top that helped Cole pin Davey Richards.
Not long after, Pearce had a momentary lapse of judgment. Pearce hooked Cole for the piledriver, only for the ref to stop the champ while reminding him the piledriver is illegal in ROH now. Cole back dropped his way out of the piledriver set up, rolling up Pearce to stop the champ’s sunset flip attempt. Before Pearce could realize what had just happened, Cole had pinned him. While nothing extraordinary, this short encounter continued the streak for Adam Cole and his rise to the top in ROH. But the loss didn’t hurt Pearce in the least. The champ lost due to his not remembering his finisher is banned. Definitely as good as you can get for a short, impromptu encounter that should leave the door open for another interpromotional match in the future.
The Express Runs Through The Bucks In A Tornado: After many months of waiting for revenge after The Bucks put him on the shelf “Final Battle 2011”, Titus was ready to take the fight to Matt and Nick Jackson in a realm that benefited the high flying brothers. The ANX did a great job of using the rules to their advantage early on, hitting a slew of high impact maneuvers and double teams - including stereo topes - to put them in the driver’s seat. But as noted by Kevin Kelly and others, a match where quickness and double team counters are a must, The Bucks pulled ahead by first downing Titus on the floor, then isolating King in the ring thanks to attacks like The Bucks’ headstand dropkick double team and the flipping neck breaker.
The fans rallied behind Titus and King as Rhett recovered on the floor. Titus fired himself up, using a double team Irish whip on King to his advantage by slipping behind King’s running legs, knocking the unsuspecting Bucks off their feet. The ANX were full steam ahead with their own double team prowess hurting Nick and stunning Matt. But it was that resilience that the world saw during their feud against The Briscoes that allowed The ANX to win when they survived stereo 450 splashes, and Titus rolled up Matt to pick up the first win in “Dual Duel” But The Bucks had the last laugh here as they clobbered Titus’ recovering left leg from behind with a chair to put a question mark on Titus’ status for tomorrow night’s rematch.
Everything you’d expect from this type of match involving The Bucks and The ANX happened here. Flashy moves, smart tag wrestling, and a finish that left the door open for tomorrow’s encounter. There’s something to be said about holding something back for next time, and it felt The ANX and The Bucks were on the cusp of something big for the next night without sacrificing a very good match here.
A Champion Is A Champion Even Without A Belt: After The Embassy entered the arena and informed everyone that they had to legally return the ROH TV title belt to Jay Lethal in the next twenty-four hours or face an injunction, Tomasso Ciampa took a seat at ringside to watch Kyle O’Reilly attempt to do what Ciampa didn’t almost a month ago in defeating Lethal to become the new TV champion. That bad attitude that O’Reilly’s been showing since the “10th Anniversary Show” was in Jay’s face during the early moments in the form of a slap. Lethal showed his championship composure, not being shaken mentally by O’Reilly’s antics and taking control of the match by using quick combinations and unique submission holds. But being the protégé of Davey Richards proved its worth for O’Reilly as he used his legs to turn the tides in his favor when he leg swept Lethal on the hardwood stage behind the announce table. The back and forth action went on for several more minutes. When it seemed Kyle was in complete control with a submission, Lethal would counter by using one of his patented combinations. When the champ was rolling strong, Kyle would almost kick Jay out of his boots.
The one thing Kyle felt he didn’t need to control was his attitude - and it came back to haunt him at the worst possible time. Following a sick belly to back superplex and the follow up near fall, Kyle took his time insulting Jay by playfully kicking his head while playing to the crowd. The fans understood the fire of Jay in moments like these, and Lethal found that fire by remembering Kyle’s combination that ended with a leg sweep from earlier. Jay avoided the leg sweep, kicking O’Reilly in position for the Lethal Injection, and the victory.
It’s painfully obvious something was lurking in O’Reilly behind that white bread babyface exterior we had seen during his time alongside Adam Cole. O’Reilly’s attitude was in full force during his moments of control, but it cost him in the end due to the championship experience of Jay Lethal. It’s great to see Lethal walk away from a title defense as the undisputed victor while his opponent looks better than ever by going toe to toe with the ROH vet following a smartly contested battle.
Hoping Lighting Strikes Twice: Last week on ROH TV (http://www.worldwrestlinginsanity.com/am2/publish/ringofhonorlive/ROH_TV_Episode_27.shtml), Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team took Alexander & Coleman lightly, allowing the underdogs to pick up a surprise win following some interference from The Briscoes. In Florida, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin wasn’t taking their opponents lightly. WGTT got the jump on C & C, but Alexander and Coleman survived the initial onslaught, and had WGTT reeling thanks to their highflying attacks. Sadly for C & C, those same high-risk maneuvers cost them as Benjamin avoided Alexander’s plancha and Haas propelled a leaping Coleman into Benjamin’s super kick. WGTT isolated Coleman, using their grappling skills and size advantage to ground the highflying Coleman. Even though they took C & C seriously at the start of the match, their dominance brought back Haas & Benjamin’s arrogance, allowing Coleman to get up and dropkick both opponents before tagging out.
Alexander was on fire as things went wild. Alexander displayed some tremendous strength by pushing and hoisting Haas around the ring after Coleman took out Shelton on the floor. But having the resiliency of a cat is what allowed Shelton to save his team from another crushing defeat. Before Alexander could finish Haas off with the frog splash following Coleman’s frankensteiner, Benjamin leapt to the top rope with Alexander, belly to belly superplexing Alexander to pick up the one, two, three.
While the outcome wasn’t out of the question, the action leading up to WGTT’s victory solidified C & C as threats to anyone in the ROH Tag Team division. The match was wholly different from their TV match, and the possibility of a rematch down the line is definitely something worth seeing.
Proving Age Is Just A Number: After expressing his dissatisfaction with “The Prodigy’s” attitude, Lance Storm came out of retirement to knock some sense into Bennett like only a veteran Storm’s status could. Bennett learned early that Storm was still in tremendous shape and still the great technical wrestler his made his name off of by arm dragging and arm barring Bennett with slight ease. Even though Nigel McGuinness questioned Storm’s ability to hang for a long period of time, Storm was seemingly in it for the long haul as he worked over Bennett’s left arm. Though Storm condemned Bennett for being too sure of himself, Lance fell to his own overconfidence by trying to prove himself the better brawler when Bennett rolled to the floor.
For the first time, Bennett was in complete control. Looking at Storm’s facial expressions and his body language, Nigel’s worry that Lance Storm couldn’t go as long as he once could was becoming a reality. Even when Storm gained some control, Bennett’s ability to register things a little bit quicker thanks to his age allowed him to stop Storm’s momentum.
Though Storm seemed to be the worse for wear as the match progressed, something in him refused to quit. Storm not only survived the Box Office Smash, a spine buster and a spear, Storm was able to counter the TKO into the Maple Leaf. The crowd was on its feet until Mike Bennett struggled to the ropes to save himself. Bennett shook away the pain, turning up the pressure. With the help of Maria, Bennett was able to super Box Office Smash Storm for a shocking near fall. One TKO later, and Bennett had pulled off the biggest win in his ROH tenure, and possibly, his career.
Following the match, Bennett feigned a handshake to Box Office Smash Storm as an exclamation point that he was the better man in Fort Lauderdale. Even though the match probably should’ve ended after the super BOS, it’s nice to see Bennett win a big match without direct interference. This was easily the best match featuring Mike Bennett in ROH, and a lot of that is thanks to the story of Storm fighting through the rigors of age in hopes of putting the cocky Bennett in his place that Nigel helped get over. If there’s any doubt Bennett has what it takes to thrive with the upper echelon of ROH, “The Prodigy” and Lance Storm helped erase some, if not all, of that doubt here.
La Revancha Brings Regresar: Fifteen months passed since their last match in ROH and three months after their last encounter, El Generico kicked off the Last Man Standing match with a bang by yakuza kicking and suplexing Steen against the turnbuckles. The action immediately spilled to the floor where they abused each other with the barricades and even an extra set of ring ropes. Generico tossed several chairs into the ring before reentering with Steen. This proved detrimental for the masked man when he ran into a chair assisted codebreaker and the somersault leg drop with a chair on his head after thirty mounted punches in the corner didn’t put Steen down for the ten count. Dragging Generico to the floor when the masked man seemed to be recovering, Steen power bombed Generico across the hard ring’s edge, only to be yakuza kicked onto the stage Lethal and O’Reilly fought on earlier. In a disgusting sight, Generico Michinoku drove Steen on the stage. The only thing that saved Steen was the ability to roll off the stage and land on his feet. Generico realized it would take an onslaught to put Steen down; and an onslaught he thought he found by running across the barricades before tornado DDT’ing Steen on the floor following a huge saomersault plancha off the stage connected.
The action took a bad turn for Generico when he introduced a table at ringside, only to be put through it by Steen’s somersaulting body. When Generico made it back into the ring before the ten count, he somehow turned the match in his favor by half nelson suplexing Steen through a pair of chairs. Steen was out on his feet after taking various chair shots, being yakuza kicked off the top rope through the timekeeper’s table and taking the Brain Buster. Rising to their feet, both men came at each other with chairs. A quick low blow by Steen dropped Generico in the same way it did at “Final Battle 2009” when this whole rivalry began. Before Steen could wind back with the final blow, Jimmy Jacobs entered the ring, coming behind the kneeling Generico and the bloodthirsty Steen. This moment of interference allowed Generico to recover and Jimmy hand Generico a chair.
Suddenly, Jacobs pulled his infamous railroad spike out of his jacket pocket, stabbing Generico’s masked head. Grabbing the chair Generico had seconds earlier, Jacobs pulled the trigger as Steen kneeled beside Generico, almost caving Generico’s skull in with a vicious chair shot. As Steen mockingly fell with his old, unconscious partner, the referee began counting Generico down. With a rocket of snot spewing from his nose, and Jimmy Jacobs in his embrace, Steen ended La Revancha with a rebirth.
What a barbaric story told so beautifully. After Steen and Generico continued to punish themselves beyond measure in one of the most sensible and believable LMS matches seen in the last decade, the story took another turn. While many could say the Jacobs turn was easy to see, the reality is it wasn’t, or isn’t. Being the unpredictable, yet calculating person that Jacobs is, it’s hard to believe Jacobs would just sacrifice his own mission for someone else. That’s what made the turn so great. While Jacobs accepted his true form - which started at the “10th Anniversary Show” when he stabbed Steen with the spike - it seemed like there’s something else we’re not getting. But what we did get was another body stacked on the pile Steen promised to create until he gains an ROH World title shot. And now with Jimmy in tow, what mayhem will they produce together?
The Match That Needed To Happen:After spending over a year and half feuding over the ROH World title, the three men who had become synonymous with the ROH World title scene finally fought in at the same time with the gold on the line. The action was fast and furious from the start as Roderick tried to gain a quick pin on Eddie after knocking Davey to the floor. When Edwards and Richards collided, they didn’t go hold for hold. Rather, they wanted to knock the other out and get an early elimination. Roderick watch the festivities from ringside, waiting for his chance to strike. Strong found his moment when he attacked Davey from behind while Richards tried to make Edwards submit in that modified Texas cloverleaf. Sadly for Roderick, he got into a strike exchange with Davey, and ended up being rocked by both American Wolves a couple of minutes.
They weren’t even eight minutes deep and the three warriors were breathing deeply following a huge exchange of strikes ended with champion and challengers alike on their backs. Once again, it was The Wolves’ focus on each other that helped Roderick as he avoided the running stereo kicks, kicking both men to set up several attacks. Eddie recovered first as the action spilled to the floor following Roderick’s apron back breaker and Davey’s tope, leading to an asai moonsault from Edwards. Everything seemed to be coming up Eddie thanks to some help from Davey when Truth Martini scaled the rope to save Roderick from Die Hard. Instead of hitting his finish, Eddie knocked Martini into the clutches of Elgin at ringside. Roderick quickly grabbed the stunned Edwards, rolling him up for the first elimination..
It was down to the final two, and Strong and Richards were swinging for the fences, throwing some of their biggest strikes and moves in hopes of ending this one right here and now. Kicking Martini out of his way, Richards was on a hot streak of moves including double stomps and the power bomb. Barely conscious, Strong couldn’t stop Richards’ discus buzz saw kick, falling to The American Wolf once again. But the action wasn’t over. To add some pressure to Davey now that they will fight for the title in less than a day, Elgin attacked Richards, using that Spiral Bomb to put Richards down before Martini proclaimed Elgin’s future being golden.
The first thing you have to note about the main event is the fact that it didn’t overstay its welcome. As seen in the past three ROH main events featuring Davey Richards, the matches tend to go north of forty minutes with a great amount of near falls. Here, they kept it simple with the action rarely slowing down during its entirety. The story of Roderick realizing that The Wolves, not matter their differences in the past few months, would team up to get rid of him forcing Strong to go on the offense was perfect. Strong tried his best to dictate the pace of the match, actually ended up wearing himself out by the end, allowing Davey to take over and almost crush Strong for the win. And that’s not even mentioning Strong being visibly upset with Martini focusing on Elgin rather than soothing the bruised ego of his top star.
In the end, you had three guys go out there and bust their butts like only they can. While Eddie didn’t come out golden, he wasn’t hurt by being the first eliminated thanks to him simply taking his eye off the prize and getting caught. And it seemed that the somewhat anti-Davey crowd started to come around by the match’s end - remembering why they loved the guy so much before he won the title. An excellent way to cap off the evening.
Technical Problems:While this was a review of the replay seen a couple of days after the original airing, the live event witnessed by many didn’t go off without a hitch. First there was audio and visual syncing, or lack thereof. By the night’s end, several people stated the audio was so out of whack alongside the video that they just muted the show to enjoy it. Not only that, but the feed died several times. Some people even missed the end of a few matches. Not only that, but the replay GFL put up a day after the show wasn’t much better. For some reason, the replay only lasted midway through Steen vs. Generico. This is totally unacceptable from both GFL and ROH after they’ve worked together for over two years. This plethora of problems should not be still happening - especially during the biggest weekend of the wrestling year. For any first time ROH iPPV viewers, this was a horrible impression to leave on them.
Overall:If the replay was in as bad a shape as the original broadcast, there’s no way this would get a recommendation. Thankfully, Day One is all sorted out and you can see some great action that kicked off ROH’s Florida weekend in a big way. Not a single match was a let down, and the biggest matches on the card could give any Match of the Year candidate thus far a run for its money.
ROH “Showdown in the Sun: Day 1” Is Worth Your Money. Order the replay at gofightlive.tv.
But that’s not all. Ring of Honor pressed forward a little over twelve hours later with nine more quality matches.
ROH “Showdown in the Sun: Day 2”
1. Jimmy Jacobs defeated El Generico
2. Tomasso Ciampa defeated Cedric Alexander
3. TJ Perkins defeated Fire Ant
4. Kyle O’Reilly defeated Adam Cole
5. The Young Bucks defeated The All Night Express in a Street Fight
6. The Briscoes defeated Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team to successfully defend the ROH World Tag Team title
7. Kevin Steen defeated Eddie Edwards
8. Roderick Strong defeated Jay Lethal to become the new ROH TV champion
9. Davey Richards retained the ROH World title against Michael Elgin
The Most Awkward Sexual Encounter Ever: During Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness’ introduction o the show, Jimmy Jacobs appeared in something you’d see Shang Tsung wear in Mortal Kombat 3 to explain that his trials and tribulations in trying to change were for naught. At the “10th Anniversary Show”, the once evil celibate Jacobs experienced his first evil orgasm in over a year. Yes, “The Zombie Princess” gave us way too much information to express his degeneration into the darkness. Before Jacobs could continue disturbing us, El Generico rushed the ring, taking down Jacobs with several attacks as it was announced this impromptu fight was now a legal match.
Jacobs slowed down the pace by countering Generico’s tornado arm drag off the top rope by tripping and crotching Generico on the top rope minutes after the first bell rang. As the match progressed, Generico fired himself up, getting several two counts off attacks such as the cross body block and his blue thunder driver. When all seemed to be going well for Generico, he ran into the End Time. Little did anyone know that the submission was just a set up for “The Zombie Princess” to retrieve his dreaded railroad spike. The struggle over the spike between Jacobs and Generico cost the masked man as Jacobs turned Generico’s stabbing attempt into a cradle that allowed Jacobs to pick up the win and give Generico another loss.
Like “Day One”, we witnessed a solid opening match that allowed Jacobs to get his character over on the microphone and in the ring for fans who have never seen Jacobs like this. It’s noticeable now that the belief Jacobs missing that special something since coming back had nothing to do with his ability, but who he was at the time. It’ll be truly interesting to see what Jacobs has in store in working alongside Kevin Steen if that’s the plan. As for Generico - while it isn’t fun to watch Generico lose all weekend, it seems the door is still open for something in the future if and when he returns.
Dominating, Can I Get An Amen: In what was supposed to be the opening match, The Embassy’s Tomasso Ciampa took on home area boy Cedric Alexander. Rather than being the squash you’d expect, Alexander did a great job surviving the initial onslaught of Ciampa, catching the overconfident Tomasso with the rope hanging DDT. Ciampa found himself reeling in and out of the ring as Alexander garnered support from the fans. Sadly for Alexander, he couldn’t pull off the upset as he fell prey to Tomasso in the same way “The Dominate Male” did minutes earlier. Using Cedric’s failed running attack to his advantage, Ciampa drove Alexander arm and chest first across the bottom turnbuckle. Stepping onto the apron, Ciampa ran across, kneeing Alexander’s prone head not once, but twice. Alexander was out cold when Ciampa got the three count. Caprice Coleman also got a taste of Tomasso by feeling Project Ciampa after the match.
Much better than the squash you’d expect with the parties involved. Alexander and Coleman are becoming the spoilers of ROH as everyone takes them lightly, only to be either beaten or taken to the limit. Then there was Nigel and Kelly doing a great job putting over the fact there was no TV title belt with The Embassy as promised one night earlier; building anticipation for a confrontation between Ciampa and Jay Lethal later in the day. Good stuff.
An Ant Avoiding Lighting: In this cross promotional encounter between CHIKARA standout Fire Ant and ROH perennial preliminary grappler TJ Perkins had all the makings of being a hybrid encounter of technical speed - and that’s exactly what happened. Following a short feeling out process, things picked up, and both men were going for broke in their chance for company superiority. For the match’s short duration, Fire Ant controlled the battle with his perfect counters, including an ace crusher off TJP’s power bomb attempt. But the night was Perkins’ (a rarity in ROH thus far). Using a slew of moves in a row - from the Detonation Kick to the 450 splash - Perkins was able to put Ant down, and prove that an undercard ROH wrestler is better than The Colony member from CHIKARA on this day.
While nothing incredibly special, or to a certain extent memorable, the car crash style match was fun from bell to bell; and something completely different from anything else on the show.
What’s Technical About A Handful Of Tights: After weeks of dissension and later hatred, Future Shock exploded when Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole fought for the first time in a one on one match in ROH. The action was highly technical for the first minutes as they weren’t really feeling each other out, but trying to assert their dominance early from a physical and mental perspective. As Nigel noted, O’Reilly’s training alongside Davey Richards gave him the advantage on the mat, so Cole instinctively turned this test of grappling skills into a brawl. Cole seemingly turned the match around in his favor when Kyle caught him with a sick discus clothesline. Similar to the night before, O’Reilly’s attitude was starting to show as he abused Cole with kicks.
Kyle was in complete control when Cole pulled out one of the sickest counters seen by using an over the knee brain buster. When the old partners got up throwing right forearms, little did Kyle know that Cole had a super kick in mind that would set up the move he used to defeat Davey Richards. Sailing off the top with the cross body block, O’Reilly refused to follow in his current partner’s footsteps. Kyle used the momentum of the attack to his advantage, rolling Cole over while hooking a handful of tights to hold him down for the three count
While not the blow away battle a lot of fans were expecting, O’Reilly and Cole had a solid undercard bout that set the stage perfectly for a rematch. Hopefully that match happens higher on the card when it happens where they can go all out a little bit more without worrying about hindering the upcoming matches.
Taking It To The Streets: Less than a day earlier, The Young Bucks fell to The All Night Express in the Jacksons’ style of match. This time, The Bucks found themselves in a realm Titus and King knew all too well thanks to their war with The Briscoes last year. The Bucks seemed overwhelmed with the plunder and violence The ANX had for them, trying to retreat before being beaten in and around the ring with trashcans, brooms, and the stage. Sadly, it was The ANX’s penchant for violence on the floor that cost them as Nick used an Irish whip to leap on the stage, moonsaulting off in one swift motion to drop his opponents.
Like “Day One”, The Bucks’ goal was to isolate one opponent at a time. After Nick leveled Titus with a face buster on the floor, The Jacksons used that hangman’s double team double stomp to slam King’s head against the unprotected floor. And when Titus tried to rally back, he was Swanton bombed through a trashcan. It would literally take the fans’ support for Titus to turn things around for his team by taking someone’s chair after Matt Jackson put King in the shopping cart The ANX brought out, pushing Kenny into Nick’s super kick. Titus was looking for retribution for what happened the night before, slamming the chair against Nick and Matt’s left legs. Everything seemed to be going in The ANX’s favor as King set up a table in the ring for the One Night Stand on Matt. Before Matt could meet the wood, Nick halted King’s leap. This interference allowed Matt to hook King’s head while still on Rhett’s shoulders. Titus fell backwards, unknowledgeable of his partner’s predicament. Pulling Matt down caused Titus to help Matt superplex King through the table. Before Titus could realize what happen, Nick yanked him to the floor, and Matt secured the victory for The Bucks.
As noted in the “Day One” review, it’s something to be said about holding back for the next encounter. While not bloody or horribly barbaric, The Bucks and ANX had another entertaining, innovative encounter where it seemed The ANX were finally on their way at gaining full retribution when it was literally yanked from them. Here’s to another showdown and maybe the return of Scramble Cage Melee where these two teams can go absolutely wild.
I Came For Wrestling, Then Tonsil Hockey Broke Out: “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett and Maria decided to make their presence known following the biggest win in his ROH tenure thus far in the form of an in-ring promo. The promo itself was typical Bennett as he proclaimed he was better than the best in the world (wink, wink) and his lack of wanting to be in Fort Lauderdale for any longer than he had to. But what really put this segment over the top was the near minute long make out session. It was truly disgusting to watch and you just wanted to see it end. It made you hate Bennett more for not only having the hot girl, but also rubbing in the fact he beat one of the most highly regarded technicians of the past decade without a hint of humility as Storm hoped he’d beat into him.
And This Feud … Must Continue: Feuding for months upon months, the end was here for The Briscoes-WGTT rivalry… or so we thought. The supposed grudge match started pretty tame with a high level of intensity. There wasn’t a long feeling out process with both teams knowing each other so well, but it seemed WGTT underestimated The Briscoes’ ability to counter Haas and Benjamin’s amateur wrestling with brawling. Rather than rely on what brought them to the dance, WGTT used some cheap tactics to turn the match around in their favor with Haas setting up Jay to get his legs clipped from an illegal Benjamin. WGTT dominated a majority of the match, even turning Jay’s hot tag to Mark into an advantage for them when Mark’s enthusiasm got the better of him and he couldn’t fight off both opponents before being whipped into the steel ring post.
When Jay reentered as the legal man, things finally were going right for The Briscoes. A series of high impact moves, big boot exchanges (tastefully complemented by middle fingers) and counters perfectly led to the match’s conclusion. Mark saved his brother from taking the Leap of Faith by springboard dropkicking Shelton. Before Haas realized what happened, Jay head scissored Charlie into a small package, and successfully retained the ROH Tag title in the process. But WGTT had bigger fish to fry. Both teams promised one duo wouldn’t walk out on their own power. Grabbing an unsuspecting Jay by his legs, Haas and Benjamin yanked Jay Briscoe groin first into the steel ring post three times. The visual of Jay’s family jewels meeting the steel over and over again was absolutely sickening. The match was very good, the ending was disturbing, and this feud must go on. There is a great argument that The Briscoes-WGTT has run its course and some other teams deserve the chance to shine. But the fact is money is still to be made between The Briscoes and WGTT thanks to one final showdown in a real feud ender style match. With the actions here, I’d hate to find out what that match would entail.
Is Eddie Edwards From Samoa Now: For the first time since returning to ROH, Kevin Steen faced a credible opponent in a regular wrestling match. Steen and Eddie relied on some of their past work during the opening minutes, including to an homage from their PWG “Battle of Los Angeles” (http://www.worldwrestlinginsanity.com/am2/publish/Other_Promotions_47/i_Worth_Your_Money_I_Pro_Wrestling_Guerilla_Battle_of_Los_Angeles.shtml) with the shoulder block exchange. Even though Steen was fine wrestling with Eddie, “Mr. Wrestling” thoroughly enjoyed turning their grappling battle into a brawl while reminding the referee that he has until five. Of course that brought some “Yes” chants. After using a hangman’s DDT-cannonball combination, Kevin Steen took Eddie to the floor to inflict damage like only “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” can. Steen’s focus was on the stage after power bombing Eddie across the ring apron. Seating Edwards in someone’s chair, Steen rushed through Eddie with the cannonball.
But that same heart that made him the first ROH Grand Slam champion allowed Eddie to fight back, knock Steen down, and hit a double stomp off the stage, onto the horizontal Steen on the floor. Steen was being abused by Edwards and the crowd was getting behind Eddie when Steen countered the Achilles Lock with a small package. Kicking as hard as he could didn’t help Eddie as the ref’s hand hit the mat for the third time. Similar to Samoa Joe during his ROH World title run, flash pins are becoming Eddie Edwards’ Achilles heel as of late. This is an interesting development to his character as it could mean a win for opponents that you wouldn’t expect Eddie to lose to. But with that, Kevin Steen wasn’t one of those opponents. If anything Eddie was the underdog here, and it was great to see Steen prove his wrestling superiority rather his brawling skills on iPPV for once. Definitely a very good undercard match that added to the overall feel that Kevin Steen’s time to win the ROH World title is coming near.
The TV Title Is No Longer Lethal, But Strong: Before the “Blind Destiny” match between Jay Lethal and Roderick Strong could happen, Tomasso Ciampa made his way to ringside with the TV title belt. Ciampa promised to be a man of his word and hand the title belt back to Lethal if he made this match for the championship. To add some incentive to his offer, Ciampa declared he’d not only hand the belt to Jay, but also declare him the better man. Lethal felt good about the situation, accepting Ciampa’s challenge, and giving us another title match. The wrestling between the two ROH vets was as crisp as you’d expect from them, with Jay dominating the early going with a noticeable high level of confidence. But like so many of Roderick’s matches over the past year, it wasn’t his talent, but Truth Martini that gave Strong the chance he needed to take the driver’s seat in this one.
The pace slowed tremendously in favor of Roderick as Ciampa watched on intently. Like so many of his past TV title defenses, Jay found something deep within himself to fight back after being grounded, worked over, and even put in the Stronghold. With three minutes left in the time limit, Lethal countered the Gibson Driver with a super kick. After the Lethal Combination and Hail to the King didn’t put Strong away, the champ set up for Lethal Injection. Strong hastily countered the attack, knocking Jay to the floor; with the champ landing at Ciampa’s feet. As the referee checked on Strong, Ciampa whipped Lethal into the steel ring post. When the referee and Strong turned around, Lethal was barely conscious in the ring, and open prey for Death By Roderick. Making the cover immediately, Strong gained the three count, and became the second Triple Crown champion in ROH history.
While the match’s result is questionable after ROH has spent so much time building up Ciampa’s feud with Lethal over the TV title, the match was another very good showing by both men. The possibility of a time limit draw wasn’t lost on the fans, and the fact they actually got a definitive outcome made the match all the better. And for those who are upset about Tomasso not being the one to dethrone Lethal, all is not lost for Ciampa. In actuality, Ciampa didn’t seem pleased with the outcome, as if he was forced to make the match happen even if it wasn’t in his best interests. For those who don’t know, a storyline is going on that The House of Truth and The Embassy are building a working relationship, and this could be the first stage in their agreement. This could mean something bigger for Jay in his feud with The Embassy and maybe The HOT, Ciampa pressing past the TV title into the World title scene, and possibly a feud between Strong and Michael Elgin over the TV title. Some good action that could set off a massive chain of events in the near future.
Welcome To The Big Time: Winning his Elimination match less than a day earlier, Davey Richards found himself in the ring with “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin and the grim possibility that Elgin had all the tools to stop Richards. The champ knew he had to take Elgin out of his game early, and did just that by taking the fight to Elgin rather than try to test himself against the big man as seen in Davey’s past matches against Elgin. Uncharacteristically, Davey got ahead of himself by scaling the ropes when Elgin wasn’t hurt, getting tossed to the canvas. It wasn’t long after the first bell sounded that Richards was fighting behind thanks to Elgin’s power and ability to close the distance on Davey every time the champ made a rush for something.
Richards manned up after Elgin mockingly forearmed him, firing off with some strikes that dropped Elgin due to their accuracy. What would become the story of the match, Elgin fired himself up, countering Richards’ strikes and suplexes with impressive displays of agility (an enzuguri) and well-timed power attacks (the fisherman buster on the floor to stop Richards’ running kick off the apron). Elgin realized that if he wanted to win, going for broke was a necessity. Sadly for Elgin, Davey realized the same thing. This was perfectly showed when Davey German superplexed Elgin on his head to set up a failed Ankle Lock. And then it happened. The chants for Elgin started to ring out, somewhat shocked Richards.
The two warriors met in the ring’s middle, exchanging kicks and knees. Elgin was rocking Davey with side slams and crossfaces, but the champ refused to say die. The ebb and flow of the battle had the fans going crazy, and truly believing history in the making was near - in the same way Tyler Black turned the fans in his favor during his “Take No Prisoners ‘08” match against Nigel McGuinness for the ROH World title. As Nigel exclaimed that the back and forth display of attrition was everything the ROH World title represented, Davey was doing everything in his power to avoid the Spiral Bomb. But little did Davey know, the Bomb was inevitable. To the shock of everyone, Davey kicked out right before the three count. Elgin kept his composure, turning his failed pin into the crossface again.
As the chants of “Please don’t tap!” rang out in favor of Richards, Davey countered the crossface with an Ankle Lock. Nigel vocally expressed the same emotion everyone was feeling as crowd stood in anticipation for a successful submission. Once again, Elgin defied the odds by rolling through. When Elgin got up, his legs gave out on him. Davey turned to see this, kicking Elgin on the jaw like he did Eddie Edwards to win the ROH World title … for a near fall! Elgin hastily rose to his knees, spitting in Davey’s face. This act of defiance became Elgin’s last battle cry as Richards discus buzz saw kicked his way to another hard-fought victory.
While Davey’s post-match promo where he sounded like he just jogged a mile rather than competed in a war while making fun of WWE and TNA wasn’t necessarily needed, but Richards declaring Elgin a future ROH World champion after their classic, and Elgin not needing Truth Martini was perfectly acceptable. As for the match itself - what can be said that the fans didn’t. In the end, Richards vs. Elgin was the epitome of a star-making encounter, and most importantly, what ROH is all about. Elgin brought out the best and most unique Davey Richards we’ve seen in quite some time. In all honesty, all the words can’t describe the greatness Richards and Elgin produced in a little over twenty-five minutes. This is pro-wrestling at its finest and Michael Elgin’s breakout performance.
“You Make Me Appreciate This Business More And More”: This could’ve been written in the “Day One” review because he was just as effective there as he was on “Day Two”, but Kevin Kelly didn’t say what was quoted above until the second day of ROH action toward Nigel McGuinness. McGuinness’ insightful commentary with a siding of enthusiasm only a true fan of wrestling could produce made listening to both broadcasts a joy. From his ability to reasonably question Storm’s durability due to his age against someone like Mike Bennett to his childlike zeal during Elgin’s breakout performance, Nigel represents everything Booker T. and Taz should and could be for their respective company’s announce table.
Browning Out:While ROH did rectify the problem for everyone who did or didn’t see the show by putting the matches not shown are promised (O’Reilly vs. Cole and The Street Fight) on their website, you can’t sit back and say “Day Two” was a complete success thanks to the now infamous “brownout”. Due to this phenomenon where the voltage dropped and the power supply just didn’t have enough to broadcast what was happening for the paying customer, ROH’s second and possibly most important show of the weekend was hurt tremendously as viewers became frustrated that their hard earned money wasn’t fully providing them what they paid for.
Hate to be redundant, but the replay GFL put up a day after the show wasn’t much better as neither match made it to the replay. This plethora of problems should not be still happening - especially during the biggest weekend of the wrestling year. For any first time ROH iPPV viewers, this was a horrible impression to leave on them.
Overall: This is definitely a catch 22 situation. The show truly depends on what you’re looking for. Can you ignore the fact you’re not getting the full show, and will have to look elsewhere (the ROH website) for the complete event? Are you buying on the strength of the main event? Or do you feel it would be better just to wait for the DVD release where everything will be as it should? If you answered “Yes” to the first two questions, then you won’t be disappointed.
Not only do you have several solid to very good matches up and down the card, but you also have one of the best ROH World title matches in recent memory. Michael Elgin and Davey Richards absolutely tore the house down, producing a match that needs to be seen by everyone. If you can forget about the technical issues that originally - and to a certain extent still do - plague this show, then you’ll walk away feeling exhausted, but with a huge smile on your face.
ROH “Showdown in the Sun: Day 2” Is Worth Your Money. Order the replay at gofightlive.tv.
So lets switch gears and see what ROH has ready for the fans in Baltimore as they return for another TV taping.
Proving Ground Match: "The Man Beast" Rhino w/ Truth Martini vs. the ROH World Champion Davey Richards
ROH World TV Championship Match: Adam Cole challenges NEW ROH World TV Champion Roderick Strong w/ Truth Martini
"Wrestling's Worst Nightmare" Kevin Steen vs. Kyle O'Reilly
CHIKARA Trios action featuring The Colony
“ROH TV” Rematch: Eddie Edwards vs. Mike Bennett with Maria Kanellis & Brutal Bob
Tag Team Grudge Match: The All Night Express vs. Young Bucks
Proving Ground Match: ROH World Tag Team Champions Mark & Jay Briscoe vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander
Definitely a good set of matches here. It’ll be interesting to see how well Davey and Rhino work together, and if they can capture just a smidgen of the magic Richards and Elgin made. Elgin and Rhino have similar styles, looks, and an ability to be great Goliaths. Davey works well against guys who can slow and shut him down because he becomes the underdog rather than the aggressor - something not seen against Eddie Edwards and Roderick Strong.
Speaking of Roderick - he’ll have to test himself against the man who defeated Davey just a month ago. Cole has been on a roller coaster as of late on TV as he hasn’t experienced the best win-loss record since his big win. But the biggest part of the story between the two stems from the ongoing March Mayhem tournament. In Cole’s qualifier against Michael Elgin, Strong interfered and cost Elgin the match. Afterwards, Roderick put the boots to Cole, only for Eddie Edwards to make the save. Cole is definitely going to be looking for revenge for the uncalled for attack, as well a chance to become the new TV champion. It would be surprising if Cole won, but that’s hard to see happening right now especially if Elgin decides he wants to prove he’s the better partner in The House of Truth by actually helping Roderick instead of hindering him. It would be nice to see no interference here, but if there’s a chance for it happening in any match, it’s this one thanks to so many eyes focused on its participates.
Cole’s rival Kyle O’Reilly will have his hands full thanks to O’Reilly taking it upon himself to defend the honor of Team Richards. It’s a very interesting battle as we have little Davey Richards taking on the man who wants to fight Davey more than anyone. Kyle is just getting some traction on his own, and it’d be horrible for Steen to derail O’Reilly’s momentum. Expect Davey to get involved somehow before it’s all said and done.
Another man looking for retribution is Eddie Edwards. This past week on ROH TV (http://www.worldwrestlinginsanity.com/am2/publish/ringofhonorlive/ROH_TV_Episode_28.shtml), Maria helped Bennett pin and eliminate Edwards from March Mayhem. Eddie Edwards has suffered from Samoa Joe Syndrome as of late in losing due to flash pins. It would be a huge knock to Edwards if he lost for the third time in eight days thanks to those pesky roll ups and cradles. But Mike Bennett is coming off of the biggest win of his ROH career. There’s no way they can have him lose here, either. A very interesting situation indeed.
And we have some tag action going down in B-More as well. First you have The Colony (Fire, Soldier, and Green Ant) from CHIKARA most likely disposing of the possible debuting Los Ice Creams. Seriously, who else could fit the description of a “Delicious Dairy Deviant”? The ANX and The Bucks will lock horns again as Titus and King attempt to finally gain revenge. And last, but certainly not least is the Proving Ground match. With WGTT scheduled to appear, one must assume they’ll try to do The Briscoes one better by costing them the match like Jay and Mark did to Haas and Benjamin a couple of weeks ago on TV. All in all, this is looking to be a warm welcome back to Baltimore as for the first time in a while we have a reason to be excited thanks to the announcement of some strong matches.
WGTT vs. Richards & O’Reilly goes down on Saturday April 28th in Chicago Ridge, IL!
With Richards being the only man of true honor at this point, it’ll be interesting to see if we get the pure wrestling match you’d expect with these names on the marquee or something a little more geared toward what happened on Saturday night when The Briscoes took on WGTT. The reason this is happening is because Haas and Benjamin want to beat someone down. And after defeating The American Wolves and Future Shock, WGTT felt no better team to set their sights on in Chicago was Team Ambition. If everything goes well, this could easily be the show stealer.
It’s ROH World Champion Davey Richards vs. Adam Cole in a Proving Ground Match on April 29th in Dayton, OH!
Not to be outdone, Adam Cole has a chance of a lifetime in Dayton some twenty-four hours after one of the biggest events in ROH history when he attempts to pin the ROH World champion once again. But as you know, this is a whole different situation than the “10th Anniversary Show”. Adam Cole won’t have Eddie Edwards watching his back. Adam Cole won’t have to look out for Kyle O’Reilly. And Adam Cole will be Davey’s sole focus. As seen many times in the past, when Davey is determined to prove a point by beating you, he’ll do it in the most humiliating fashion possible (Hi, Ryan McBride). This should be an absolutely exhilarating battle that would do wonders for Cole if he can survive the time limit and gain a future title shot rather than get eaten by the “American Wolf”.
After much fan demand, and weeks of back-and-forth talks, “The Belfast Bruiser” Fit Finlay comes to Ring of Honor just in time for “Border Wars” at The Ted Reeve Arena on May 12th!
This is great! After rumors hit that Finlay was going back to WWE, and Fit’s denial, everyone wondered what’s up with Finlay. One of those “what’s up” moments will be for ROH when Finlay brings his own style of butt kicking to Toronto. Here’s hoping that they put him in the ring with Kevin Steen and let them pick up where they left off in PWG. If not, let Finlay go right to the top and give us a dream match between himself and Richards. The possibilities are endless and it’s exciting to see what ROH does with this special appearance.
Mighty Morphin’ Mr. Wrestling
This was an interesting development a couple of weeks ago as Kevin Steen called out CHIKARA Grand champion for a match, and Kingston accepted. Unfortunately for ROH only fans, it will happen during the CHIKARA portion of “Synergy”. But don’t ostracize yourself from excellent wrestling and see some great action from both companies if you can. Plus, it’s freakin’ Steen vs. Kingston for the first time. That’s worth the ticket price alone.
Mike Bennett Shuts Lance Storm Up
Seriously, Mike Bennett’s got it. Everyone get on the bandwagon while you can.
”Where Dem Hoes At?”
ROH had alluded to the working relationship between The HOT and The Embassy for months, and now something is finally coming from it. Sadly for The Embassy, they didn’t have many other options for a sell. Outside of Tomasso Ciampa, who else did they have? There’s no women’s division right now - so that eliminates Princess Mia. Evans is a wonderful lawyer who looks a lot like that Peck guy from CHIKARA, and Martini seemingly isn’t needing of a lawyer. Who else does leave? Osiris. Ha! Not only that, but what does this mean Michael Elgin as he’s always been seen as the enforcer for The HOT. Do I smell an Elgin vs. Rhino match happening down the line? Smells stinky … but in a good way!
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole – “Showdown in the Sun: Day Two”
The Young Bucks vs. The All Night Express – “Showdown in the Sun: Day Two”