Monday, June 25, 2012

Ring of Honor: Hard Hits & A Few Misses

Yesterday I decided it was worth the 12 dollars with my ringside membership to watch Ring of Honor’s latest iPPV offering, “Best in the World 2012: Hostage Crisis”. An iPPV with a title as long as “Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol”, and equally as enjoyable. Who doesn’t love a film with Bobcat, Bubba Smith, and The Guttenburg? The same people who don’t like wrestling shows involving teeth missing, broken tables, and girls in tight outfits. Luckily for me I am a fan of all these things, especially the Guttenburg.
Like Police Academy movies, Ring of Honor had its flaws on Sunday, but it was overshadowed by a slew of successes. I mean who thought it was a good idea to give Bobcat a gun? Probably the same person who came up with idea for the Guardians of Truth, including having them open the show.  Then again who cares about that when Adam Cole is stealing the show!
The iPPV problems Ring of Honor had during Border Wars seem to be a thing of the past. The feed for this show was crystal clear, and had minimal glitches that are not uncommon with normal cable HD. After a few minutes I had forgotten I was watching an iPPV. It was that good of a picture.
ROH kicked things off with the Briscoe Brothers against Truth Martini’s new mystery tag team, The Guardians of Truth. The Guardians are former WWE tag team champions the Headbangers in all black including full masks that make them look like generic versions of the Villanos. I’ve seen the Briscoes wrestle for almost a decade, and this might have been the worst match in their RoH careers. It could have been the loose and sagging ring ropes that threw them off, but I would give more credit to the Guardians.
The former Headbangers seemed to be having a bad day at the office. Their timing was off, and it looked a lot like when old aging stars work young guys at an indie show. A perfect example of this was at the finish when one stood at ring side watching the other about to get demolished by the Briscoe finisher, and did the “it takes me 20 seconds to slide under these ropes & help you” thing. These two are supposed to be athletic killing machines that can’t even slide under a rope. It might just be me, but this match wasn’t my cup of tea.
When I’ve booked shows in the past I have always had one important rule. The main event is the most important match, the opener is the second. The opener sets the tone for the night. It is the pace car that every other match is going to be judged on. This match told me that tonight was going to be sloppy. Luckily that turned out to be wrong, but it did take until Adam Cole got his teeth knocked out two matches later for my spirits to change. This put a damper on a good Homicide & Eddie Edwards contest between the two matches.
Homicide & Eddie Edwards had a good back and forth match. The announcers focused on Eddie’s injured arm, and a part of me wished Homicide did too. The thing is that wouldn’t have been in character for Homicide. He did some stuff with Eddie’s arm, but I wouldn’t call it an all-out assault on his arm.
Homicide has developed this amazing brawler persona, and that means he shouldn’t be taking apart his opponents injured area. He should be tossing everything including the kitchen sink at them, which is exactly what happened to Eddie Edwards. In the end it was too much as Homicide hit the gringo killer, a neck/shoulder based finisher, for the win. Picking up a “W” against Edwards can only mean Homicide has big things in his future, possibly a World title shot.
Holy Shit is all I can say about Adam Cole. There are matches or moments you can point to that make a wrestler in the eyes of the fans. It happened for Eddie Edwards when he wrestled with a broken elbow, and it happened last night for Adam Cole when he had his two teeth knocked out.
The concept of the match between Cole and Kyle O’Reilly was idiotic. The Hybrid styles concept should just be put in a shredder and forgotten quickly. The whole thing stinks of the Bound for Glory series in TNA, which is the stupidest thing in pro wrestling today. There are all these rules and regulations that can lead to fouls, and then on top of that there are different types of fouls. Plus there is a standing ten count, and probably a five minute penalty for roughing. I don’t know, but it wouldn’t have surprised me with all the ins and outs of this match. Anytime you actually need something longer than the Ten Commandments to describe the regulations of your wrestling match then it is overbooked. Just follow some advice from my grandma, Keep It Simple Shithead. My grandma had a dirty pirate mouth.
The match itself was off the charts good. The two traded blows with such violence that at one point a kick knocked out Cole’s teeth. Credit goes to the RoH camera crew for the close up of the teeth on the mat. Both had an amazing showing but it was Cole, who embraced the waterfall of blood spewing from his mouth, that put his stamp on the match. In the end Cole won with a figure four leglock, but that doesn’t matter as he skyrocketed himself into something bigger in RoH. I’m talking Tommy Dreamer taking a caning in ECW bigger.
Fit Finley & Michael Elgin followed with a good technical match. It started out slow, but had to after what had just happened. Fit Finley is one of the best vets on the Indie scene, and he looked to be moving better than both members of the Guardians of Truth combined. The two turned it up in the second half of the match as Elgin picked up the win with his impressive power bomb combo. Elgin is beginning to start his face turn as a feud between he & Roderick Strong has begun to brew.
Ring of Honor had a logic slip up during the match as Fit Finley used a Tombstone pile driver on Elgin for a two count. The main event was built around pile drivers being illegal. Something that was later rectified by the announcers during the main event when they said the ref was fined for not disqualifying Finley. It isn’t major, but little brain farts like this can mar a promotion if they are kept unchecked. Especially when one of the major angles is based around a move being banned, it doesn’t sell the idea well if other wrestlers are doing the banned move.
After intermission Mike Bennett with Bob Evans and Maria came to the ring. If it wasn’t for Maria Kanellis then I don’t think I would ever get excited for a Mike Bennett segment. In fact if from now on the camera just focused on Maria, it would greatly improve the segment all together. Mike Bennett continues to follow the “Being a Heel for Dummies” handbook.
Mike Mondo comes out. He drops a lot of F-bombs. He talks about beating Bennett and after he’ll do the humpty dance with Maria. Now if only that was a real stipulation. The two fight. It kicks off a new feud for ROH TV. It was good for what it was. Plus it got Maria in front of the camera in the best daisy dukes outside of Hazard County.
The television title three way dance was a good change of pace as it really ratcheted up the speed on the card. All three men were great in their roles, but Roderick Strong is heads and shoulders above most in the ring. His dropkick is a thing of beauty. Mia Yim doing a super kick was a cool moment that I hope gets included in more matches.
The end was all circus to further the story line between Ciampa, the embassy, & the house of truth. Then the quick finish between Strong & Lethal caught almost everybody by surprise, which wasn’t a bad thing. It made sense with all the chaos going on. Strong’s finisher is something everyone should see. When it is done right it might be more impressive than the Canadian Destroyer.
The World’s Greatest Tag Team and the All Night Express had a good tag match. The referee played up the WGTT too much as he would warn Haas about being in the ring, but never warned the ANX about it. That and he told Haas he wasn’t the legal man because he never tagged but turned around & counted a school boy when Haas was rolled up seconds later. Stick to your logic, and don’t count the guy you said wasn’t legal.
In the end the ANX won the titles. The place went nuts. It’s good for them, but the attack after looks like things are far from over. It stinks that they couldn’t celebrate more to get over the title change.
The main event was off the charts good. Kevin Steen is probably the best character in the whole company. He has charisma, a unique look, and can wrestle his ass off in any style. Davey Richards is growing into more than just the MMA guy. These two killed each other in a brutal match that featured tables, ladders, chairs, spikes, and some of the nastiest falls I’ve seen in years. This wasn’t a technical match, it was a brawl.
For those that enjoy the old ECW style then this is a match you’ll want to hunt down. It had tons of unique spots including a great moment where Jim Cornette gets manhandled by Steve Corino. Jimmy Jacobs as the lackey of Steen is a great tool for the champ. The two work really well together. I don’t expect Steen to drop the belt anytime soon as he is easily the biggest draw for fans.
His post-match verbal assault on the crowd proved that smart wrestling fans are idiots. He basically opened their mouths and shit down their throats as they cheered every moment of it. Smart wrestling fan really is an oxymoron. His anti-New York rant has me believing that Homicide could be next in line to end the reign of terror known as Kevin Steen, with a possible blow off match at Final Battle in December back in New York City. I don’t know for sure, but the booker in me sees the biggest dollar signs in that.
Overall Ring of Honor delivered on the best “pay per view” of the month. It was easily better than WWE’s No Way Out, and edged out TNA’s slammiversary. If you have a couple dollars, and four hours, then I highly recommend getting the replay. Either that or go watch Police Academy 4 on Netflix because Maria’s daisy dukes might be as good as Lt. Callahan’s white t-shirt.

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