Before we begin, my apologies for not writing about Ring of Honor these past two weeks. I just recently got a new job and had to shift my writing priorities. I was more concerned about getting the fantasy football columns out before the start of the regular season, and as such, I’ve been behind on my Ring of Honor. So while I hope to catch up, this week will be an overall review of the show as a whole and the major storylines.

August 18, 2012

This episode began the next set of tapings from August 3 which starts the build toward the Death Before Dishonor X: State of Emergency Pay Per View on Saturday, September 15.

They addressed the tag team title situation, as the All Night Express have been stripped of the titles due to Kenny King’s departure. An 8-team tournament was announced, beginning on the 8/25 episode of ROH TV, where the Young Bucks face Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander. The winner of that match faces the winner of the match featuring the Bravados vs. Rhett Titus and a partner of his choosing, which will air on the 9/1 episode. Also on the 9/1 episode, the Guardians of Truth will face Charlie Haas and a partner of his choosing, because Shelton Benjamin has been indefinitely suspended for hitting Kenny King in the head with a steel chair (in reality, Shelton was on an extended tour of Japan and wasn’t available for the date of the taping). The winner of that match will face the winner of the match featuring the Briscoes against the BLK-OUT combination of Ruckus and Black Jeez. Any CZW fans will know about BLK-OUT.

The first match of this week’s episode pit Mia Yim (who was still throwing up the Embassy hand signal even though the group had officially disbanded when Tomasso Ciampa attacked Prince Nana) against Sara Del Ray, making her final ROH TV appearance before heading off to WWE Developmental. It was a short, hard-hitting match that Del Ray came out victorious on, but Mia Yim looked good in defeat.

The next match was supposed to be another jobber squash for Rhino, but Truth Martini got on the mic and called out Jim Cornette. He states that Cornette has a problem, and that problem is Kevin Steen. He offers the solution: Rhino. Cornette has trepidations but is willing to hear Martini out before Eddie Edwards’s music hits. He pleads his case to Cornette for receiving the title shot. Edwards states that he and Rhino are 1-1 in two singles matches against each other and proposes a rubber match. Cornette says it sounds like a great idea, and the winner will get the title match against Steen at DBDX, and the match is Anything Goes! After another short, but hard-hitting match, Rhino gored Edwards through a table, and the referee immediately stopped the match and awarded it to Rhino. I thought that was an excellent way to put both Rhino and the Gore over, because Edwards was not your typical jobber. This was a former ROH World Champion that he put out of action, and the announcers should build it as such.

In the main event, Kevin Steen defeated Homicide to retain the ROH World Title. Again, it was another short match (for a World Title defense at least), and they played up how Steen had never defeated Homicide in ROH before, as well as Jim Cornette’s desperation for allowing a guy he hates to have a World Title shot. Steen won with the F-Cinq.

Final Thoughts: This did a good job of setting up the main event for DBDX. Rhino putting Edwards out of action with the Gore was a big way of shooting him up the rankings to the top of the card, where challengers for Steen’s title are so desperately needed. All three matches were solid, but none were blowaway. Obviously the table Gore spot with Rhino and Edwards was the biggest part of this episode.

Score: 7.25

August 25, 2012

This episode started with a first-round tag team title tournament match with the Young Bucks facing Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander. These two teams had a fantastic match earlier this year with nothing on the line, and they managed to top that match with this effort here. It managed to keep the traditional tag team match formula alive while still integrating newer and flashy double-team moves. There were tons of near falls toward the end of the match, and Coleman and Alexander actually ended up picking up the upset victory. I think this was the right call. The Bucks will be over and will be contenders no matter what happens. C&C obviously needed the win more.

Charlie Haas interrupted the show to complain about the tag title situation. He claims that ANX killed the division (and I’m hard pressed to argue with him), and demands that the titles be returned to Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team. Cornette comes out (again) to explain to Haas why Shelton is suspended and why the tournament must happen. Rhett Titus comes out, and Haas says that the two of them should fight one on one, winner takes both belts. Cornette claims the tournament is still on (although he concedes that Haas and Titus had a good idea, something that didn’t sit right with me because Cornette should have stuck to his guns that the tournament was the right idea…it makes management seem incompetent). So Haas comes up with an idea. Titus hasn’t picked a mystery partner yet. He dares Titus to pick him and the two of them can go through the tournament, win the belts, then fight each other, winner takes all. Cornette hates the idea, but Titus likes it, and just like that, a new tag team is born! Normally I wouldn’t like the “enemies become partners” story because it’s been done to death, but at least this time, the logic is sound. Both guys don’t feel like they should be in this tournament, so they’re going to play within the rules before absolutely breaking them. Pretty neat little development here.

QT Marshall (who I said was going to win the Four Way at Boiling Point!) gets a victory over Quinton Jackson in a match that was meant to showcase Marshall but ended up giving Jackson a little too much offense. That’s the problem with trying to make ROH so competitive.

The main event was a Six Man Mayhem match featuring six of the top mid- and upper-carders, with the winner to face Adam Cole for the TV Championship at Death Before Dishonor. It’s former champion Roderick Strong vs. former champion Jay Lethal vs. Tomasso Ciampa vs. Mike Mondo vs. Mike Bennett vs. TJ Perkins. This one was all action from start to finish. Mike Mondo got the surprise win by pinning Mike Bennett. Some might have issue with Mondo shooting up the card, but I’m looking for something (anything) to shake up the monotony that’s been the ROH hierarchy lately. Cole vs. Mondo is different, and both guys are great wrestlers who should put on an excellent match.

Final Thoughts: This show was a serious improvement over the week before. The quality of the matches were just better, and the in-ring development with Titus and Haas reluctantly teaming up was more intriguing than Rhino going for the World Title shot.

Score: 8.5

So after both shows, Death Before Dishonor looks like this:

  1. Kevin Steen defends the ROH World Championship vs. Rhino
  2. Adam Cole defends the ROH World TV Title vs. Mike Mondo
  3. Tag Title Tournament Semifinals: Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. Bravados/Haas and Titus winner
  4. Tag Title Tournament Semifinals: Guardians of Truth/??? winner vs. Briscoes/BLK-OUT winner
  5. Tag Title Tournament Finals

I expect four more matches to be booked for this show.

And here's a video of the 7/28 episode of ROH TV, where Adam Cole defeated Roderick Strong for the TV title.

That’s it for this week. Hopefully I’ll be back on track after Labor Day weekend. Thanks for reading, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @PocketSeagull