Honor Roll: Ring of Honor 12/10/11By Matt Seagull
I’ll begin this week’s Honor Roll with a random phenomenon I’ve observed in Ring of Honor since the debut of the television show back in late September. As far as the television show’s canon is concerned, the only events that exist are the Best in the World Pay Per View back in June, the television show itself, and the upcoming Final Battle Pay Per View. The events back in June set the stage for the events happening on the TV show, which in turn is affecting what will happen at Final Battle. As far as the ROH TV show is concerned, that’s all the past, present, and future that’s going on, and nothing else counts.<!--more-->The week before the television show aired, ROH held another Pay Per View, Death Before Dishonor IX. By all rights it was a good show, highlighted by a Ladder War between the Briscoes and the All Night Express for the #1 contenders to the ROH Tag Team Titles, a match the All Nights won. Was this fact ever acknowledged on ROH television? Nope. In fact, the next time they wrestled, it was again for the #1 contenders to the tag team titles, a match where the Briscoes won. The ANX would eventually “cash in” that #1 contendership at Glory By Honor, a straight-to-DVD show, but before that happened, there were basically two parallel ROH worlds, a world where the ANX were the #1 contenders and a world where the Briscoes were the #1 contenders. And if you only watched the television show (without checking the website), you would have no idea that the Ladder War even happened, because they refuse to acknowledge it! In fact, ROH has never mentioned the Death Before Dishonor PPV at all on their show.Look, I understand that there’s only an hour (really 44 minutes plus commercials) to not only put on great wrestling matches, but also sell the upcoming Pay Per View. There’s not really much time for anything else. But ROH ran their first shows in Spartanburg, SC and Greensboro, NC, two new markets where the TV show airs. As far as I know, there was no mention or build for the matches that were taking place at those shows, only that ROH was coming there live. So it was not surprising to me when I read the reports that the live attendance was disappointing for the Greensboro show, highlighted by the 80-minute eight man elimination tag. If that match had gotten any kind of acknowledgment on the television show, maybe more people would have attended.The HDNet show struck some kind of balance between the Pay Per Views and the normal live events. If a match was important enough, such as Austin Aries facing Japanese legend Jushin “Thunder” Liger at a live event in Los Angeles, they mentioned it on their show. But the HDNet show had the advantage of being post-produced. As far as I know, the Sinclair Broadcasting show is live to tape. The announcers at the time may not know about the matches that are booked for the shows that are airing the same weekend as the ROH TV show.In the past, the ROH Message Board had been a good place for live event hype, as the fans in the area would do the hyping themselves. ROH was essentially getting free press, as fans would chime in with “I’m really looking forward to (insert match here) because (insert reason here),” which may have convinced on-the-fence fans to attend. I know this works, because I’ve done it myself. I can write an entire column on the problems associated with the end of the Message Board (and plan on doing so eventually), but this is one of them. With no message board, the fans now have to rely on ROH and ROH only to hype their own shows, but they only seem concerned with hyping one show. Final Battle will sell very well, because it’s been hyped properly. But everything else will fall by the wayside. ROH needs to strike some sort of balance between selling the next Pay Per View and also selling the live events.With that said, let’s get into this week’s show.We start with a recap of Kevin Steen and Jim Cornette’s in-ring confrontation last week. Check out my review last week for my thoughts (spoiler alert: it was awesome).Match 1: Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander vs. The Bravado BrothersOh, those wacky Bravados…always expecting to win and always coming up disappointed. Caprice Coleman cuts a promo on the Briscoes before the match against the Bravados.Memorable Moment: A double suplex by Coleman and Alexander on Lancelot Bravado, but both Coleman and Alexander hold onto each of Lancelot’s arms, roll backwards and bring him to his feet, then give him a double kick to the chest. Really innovative double team there.
The fans weren’t really into this match (probably because at this point, they had seen three shows worth of action), but also because neither team was really that exciting or interesting. Cedric Alexander hit a nice flying senton onto the Bravados on the outside, but otherwise, it was a small little squash. I give it *.Winners: Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander
Immediately after that match, we go into the next match.Match 2: TJ Perkins vs. Chris SilvioChris Silvio is the “Psycahdelic Superstar,” and is an OVW regular. He looks like a much younger Superstar Billy Graham. Silvio actually gets a chance to cut a promo on ROH TV. Perkins cuts a promo as well, making some pretty terrible quips. Thank goodness the guy is known more for his wrestling.Silvio is really over with the Louisville crowd, more so than Perkins. This squash was a bit better than the previous one, simply because Perkins is more exciting to watch in the ring than Coleman and Alexander.Memorable moment: Perkins kicks Silvio, but Silvio catches the leg, and Perkins immediately rolls into an ankle lock seamlessly.
Perkins gets the win with a fireman’s carry into a Pele kick. Match is about *3/4.Winner: TJ Perkins
Inside ROH with……two of the three competitors for the ROH TV Title at Final Battle, Jay Lethal and Mike Bennett. They go over the Bennett/Lethal match from a month ago and the Generico/Lethal match from a couple weeks ago. Lethal and Bennett get to cut promos, and we don’t hear anything we don’t already know. Bennett thinks he’s the TV champ. Lethal doesn’t like Bennett. We get it. And Generico really seemed like an afterthought, as he wasn’t even given a chance to speak. No, he doesn’t know much English, but certainly enough to make a point. So I really don’t think that Generico has a chance in hell of winning the match at Final Battle if he’s not even being featured in the build. That’s a shame.Eddie Edwards and Dan Severn have some more words for Davey Richards heading into the main event at Final Battle.Davey Richards will face Michael Elgin in a Proving Ground match in the main event next week. Davey cuts a promo on Elgin and Truth Martini.Main Event: Proving Ground Non-Title Match: All Night Express vs. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag TeamThis match already happened at Glory By Honor X in November for the World Tag Team Titles, but ROH wouldn’t tell us this. Of course, why would they?If you’ll recall, a Proving Ground match is a non-title match with a 15-minute time limit. If the non-champions beat the champions or the match goes to a time limit draw, then the non-champions get a title shot in the next 90 days.Unfortunately, the beginning of this match was VERY sloppy, as it seems that both teams were not in sync. King and Benjamin had a nice idea for some moves and countermoves, but they weren’t executing them as crisply as they would like.Memorable Moment: Haas and Benjamin go for their trademark leapfrog, but Shelton gets pulled out of the ring, and the Briscoes hit him with a steel chair, and then the All Nights hit their Demolition Decapitation flying knee for the upset win!
I was really disappointed with this match. Haas and Benjamin are two pros, and the All Nights are one of my favorite teams, so it upsets me a little that it didn’t click. Maybe the tag team title match that the ANX earned will be better. **.Winners: The All Night Express
After the match, Shelton has trouble breathing thanks to the chair shot across his back. Haas says that he’ll take the Briscoes on 2 on 1. He says that Shelton is like a brother, and he knows something about losing a brother. Haas screams into the camera, so that’s a memorable ending.Final Thoughts
ROH couldn’t continue the momentum from the previous week. Two unmemorable squashes followed by a disappointing main event, and even the out-of-the-ring stuff was pretty boring this week. Things look more promising next week, as Davey Richards is in the main event. As for this week, it gets a middlin’ grade.Score: 5Join me next week as I give my in-depth Final Battle predictions. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @PocketSeagull.