What a strange dilemma Ring of Honor has on its hands. As I type this, we are 11 days away from Border Wars, a Pay Per View that is shaping up to be one of ROH’s best. Its main event is easily the most anticipated match of the past year and a half. The card is loaded with big-name talent like Lance Storm, Fit Finlay and Rhino. ROH fans around the country should be salivating at the opportunity to watch this show.
The only problem? Nobody knows where or how to order it.
After the fiasco that took place during both Showdown in the Sun shows last month, the writing was on the wall regarding their relationship with GoFightLive. There was no way ROH would ever do business with them again, especially with no guarantees that the same problems that plagued those events wouldn’t ever happen again. Fine…good work. Now what?
The concerns among the ROH faithful, including yours truly, is that ROH doesn’t exactly know how they’ll air the show, for if they did, surely they would have announced it by now? The fans’ confidence in ROH’s ability to deliver a glitch-free show is shaky at best right now, and with no announcement of the means to watch this Pay Per View as of this writing, it’s not likely that our confidence will grow.
Now, by no means am I trying to dissuade you from ordering Border Wars. This is already one of ROH’s strongest cards on paper, and with ROH, you rarely ever have to worry about a strong-on-paper card not delivering. This week on the TV show, they just announced Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin. This is a match that will most likely main event ROH shows a year or two from now, but for Border Wars, it’s one of the lower card matches! That’s how stacked this lineup is!
For the money you’ll potentially drop down for this show, I say it’s worth rolling the dice one more time. The atmosphere for Davey vs. Steen will be electric, and expectations are for these two to put on a Match of the Year candidate. Storm vs. Bennett, Cole vs. Elgin, Strong vs. Finlay, and Edwards vs. Rhino all have the potential to steal the show. The Fight Without Honor between Briscoes and Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team is billed as their last match against each other, so there’s no more holding back.
I’ve said my piece. What are you all going to do? Respond below, or tell me on Twitter @PocketSeagull.
Before I get into this week, ROH is starting to upload full episodes of the TV show on Youtube! Here's the 4/14/12 episode with Road Rage from Showdown in the Sun, and here's the 4/7/12 episode with the Final Four Way and the awesome Mike Mondo vs. Matt Taven match. If ROH keeps uploading these shows, I'll keep posting them here!
This week on ROH television, we’re finally given fresh new matches out of the DuBurns Arena in Baltimore. In the main event, new ROH TV Champion Roderick Strong defends against Adam Cole, and Rhyno makes his debut against a poor unfortunate soul. But first, it’s Proving Ground time!
Match 1: Proving Ground - The Briscoes vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander
Before the match, footage is shown from Showdown in the Sun of Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team repeatedly ramming Jay’s little Briscoes into the steel post. Dem Boys come out, and they’re pissed off. So pissed off that they refuse to shake the hands of another face team. The announcers put over how frustrated they are, and how Coleman and Alexander could potentially catch them sleeping. Hmm…foreshadowing?
The match starts off innocently enough, with the Briscoes actually lightening up a little bit with Mark having some fun doing a tightrope across the second rope before dropping a froggy ‘bow. Things pick up a bit as the match wears on.
Memorable Moment: Coleman charges and hits a spinning heel kick on Mark in the corner and immediately transitions into a plancha onto Jay on the outside. I’ve seen this move done before, but it always looks breathtaking every time I see it.
While Jay’s outside, Haas and Benjamin come out and kick him squahre in the nuts, with neither Mark nor Coleman and Alexander seeing what’s happening. Left 2 on 1, Mark succumbs to a top-rope, no hands huracanrana from Coleman, followed immediately by a flying big splash from Alexander for the upset victory! This played off the Briscoes costing WGTT a match against Coleman and Alexander a couple weeks ago on ROH TV. Cedric and Caprice have really benefitted from the hatred that exists between WGTT, Jay and Mark! **1/2
Winners: Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander
With that victory, Coleman and Alexander are guaranteed a ROH World Tag Team Title match. I wouldn’t hold your breath for that one. The All Night Express were granted one from beating WGTT back in December, and still haven’t received it…a fact that ANX actually brought up on a ROH house show last Sunday, and here’s the video.
Match 2: Rhino vs. Vinny Marseglia
Before the match, Veda Scott is backstage with Truth Martini and Prince Nana, as Rhino was originally a part of the Embassy Limited. But thanks to a business deal between the dastardly heel managers, Rhino is now a property of the House of Truth, and his services are required solely to take out anybody who will threaten Roderick Strong’s path to the ROH World Title (I’m sure Michael Elgin is THRILLED to hear that). Rhino cuts an intense, yet confusing promo about making Eddie Edwards’s eyes bleed. Still, he ended it with GORE! GORE! GORE! and that’s all that anybody can ask for, really.
Poor, poor Vinny Marseglia. He never had a chance. Truth Martini gets on the mic before the match and tells Vin-man that he should have kissed his parents goodbye, because they’ll never see their son again. Match starts, running clothesline, GOREGOREGORE, finito. To his credit, Marseglia took the Gore like a champ, so the match gets a little half star from me. ½*
In-Ring Promo with Kevin Steen
Jim Cornette and Kevin Kelly call out Kevin Steen, who is with Jimmy Jacobs. Kevin’s got the Canadian flag with him. After he and Cornette exchange pleasantries (with Steen dropping a really great line about Cornette pretending this is 1997 all over again), Steen calls out Davey Richards, who obliges, bringing out the American flag. Kevin drops a bomb on us…he reveals that he has some serious beef with Davey. He brings up that they were pretty close friends, and after Kevin was unceremoniously kicked out of ROH, he picked Davey up from the airport, and as they were driving to a show for another company, Davey opened his heart up to Kevin about all the problems he was going through (he was dealing with a divorce that didn’t seem amicable). Kevin then opened up to Davey about his problems, mentioning how he thought that he shouldn’t have been kicked out of ROH. Davey apparently promised to talk to ROH, but nothing ended up happening, which Steen blames him for. Kevin then goes on to call Davey a hypocrite, because as much as Richards professes to love ROH, he has (apparently) threatened to quit multiple times and go to Japan if things didn’t go his way (a claim Davey never refuted). Richards rightfully says that there’s no way he’s winning a war of words with Kevin, so why don’t they just have a regular war in the ring.
Both men prepare to fight, and Cornette stops them, and pulls out a piece of paper. He says that since Davey demanded that they reinstate the piledriver for this match only, both men need to sign a waiver preventing them from suing ROH if somebody goes to the hospital. Both men sign, with Steen quipping that the only thing he could get from Cornette would be old Smokey Mountain tapes. Cornette then pulls a “Gotcha!” on Steen by stating that Steen also signed that this would be his one and only title match against Davey. Steen no-sells this news and states that he only needs one shot. Davey replies that Kevin has “no shot.”
This segment didn’t start out too great. Steen was burying Davey on the mic. If they’re trying to build babyface heat for Steen as they head into a match in his home country, it wasn’t necessary. The crowd will be molten for Steen no matter what. What this interview did, however, was turn Davey Richards into an unsympathetic figure, both with his failure to put in a good word for Steen combined with his apparent hypocrisy regarding his love for ROH. Keep in mind, as a babyface, Davey needs to get cheered everywhere but Canada, and this is doing him no favors. The segment was intense, however, and really picked up when Davey stopped trying to win a war of words and instead get down to business.
Inside ROH with…
…Kevin Kelly, as he runs down the Border Wards card Mean-Gene-style. They replay the Lance Storm promo from two weeks ago to promote the rematch against Mike Bennett. Two new matches were added to the card: the aforementioned Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin match, and Jay Lethal vs. Tomasso Ciampa in a grudge match, stemming from Ciampa’s actions which directly led to Lethal losing the TV Title to Roderick Strong. Lethal states that ending Ciampa’s undefeated streak will make him the Dominant Male, and Ciampa chided Lethal for even thinking Ciampa would ever shake his hand or call him the better man. Interestingly enough, the Roderick Strong/Fit Finlay match is now for the TV Title, provided Roddy can make it past his upcoming defense against Adam Cole in the main event.
Main Event: ROH Television Title: Roderick Strong © vs. Adam Cole
Roddy is so confident in himself that he actually shakes Cole’s hand to start the match. This was a nice dichotomy of Strong’s strength vs. Cole’s speed. Halfway through the match, Cole’s opponent at Border Wars, Michael Elgin, made his way to ringside.
Memorable Moment: After Strong throws Cole into Elgin who was standing on the apron (on purpose?), knocking Elgin to the floor, Cole goes for an Okada roll on Strong for a two count. Strong pushes Cole off with his legs, and Cole immediately flies through the ring ropes hitting a tope on Elgin on the outside.
In the ensuing chaos, Truth Martini hits Cole in the head with the Book of Truth, allowing Strong to capitalize with the suplex into double knees for the victory and successful title defense. ***
Winner, and STILL ROH TV Champion, Roderick Strong!
This was a loaded show from top to bottom. They managed to fit in two full matches, an entertaining squash, and a pretty important in-ring segment to pimp the main event for the next Pay Per View. Border Wars looks awesome…if only we knew how to order it!
Join me next week for another review, as Kevin Steen takes on Davey Richards’s protégé, Kyle O’Reilly. And as always, follow me on Twitter @PocketSeagull!