Before I begin, huge props to Steve Melo for the new Honor Roll banner, now with more Kevin Steen!This is the first show from the 3/3 taping in Baltimore, which took place the day before the Tenth Anniversary Show iPPV, but yet will further storylines that happen after
the iPPV. So things will be a bit off for the next four weeks. I’m really interested to see how they work around it. Still though, there’s another smaller angle going on within the confines of the TV show, and that’s the March Mayhem tournament (Don’t say March Madness! You don’t want to get sued!). There will be four singles matches over the next month, with the four winners to face off in a Four Corner Survival match (called the Final Four-way, get it?), and the winner will receive $24,000. How they came up with that figure I don’t know. <!--more-->The first match in this series is our main event tonight, and it’s a preview of Showdown in the Sun, Night 2 as Jay Lethal takes on Roderick Strong.But first, we get a spotlight on Adam Cole.Match 1: Adam Cole vs. Chris SilvioBefore the match, a clip is played of Cole’s big win over Davey Richards in the main event of the Tenth Anniversary Show. They cut to a promo from Cole reflecting on his win and his eagerness to get Kyle O’Reilly in the ring. O’Reilly joins commentary for the match, and it’s revealed during the match that O’Reilly will challenge Jay Lethal for the ROH Television Title on Night 1.Silvio is the Psychedelic Superstar and models himself off Billy Graham. Now, last week, Cole (who is in the midst of a big push) lost decisively to Kevin Steen. I can forgive that because it’s Kevin Steen. This week, Cole had more than his hands full with Chris Silvio, a guy who isn’t even close to a regular on the ROH roster and is even lower on the ROH totem pole than Mike Freakin’ Mondo. The match was way too even and didn’t do Cole any favors. Listen, ROH is in a tough position. They want to showcase the best professional wrestling, and the way you do that is with competitive matches. But there needs to be some hierarchy, and some matches shouldn’t be as competitive as others. It only makes the stars look bad when they are barely hanging with cast-offs from another promotion. Silvio looked really good in this match. The only problem was, he wasn’t supposed to. Either bring Silvio on full time or have Cole destroy him. You can’t have it both ways. Cole wins (barely) with the cross-armed German suplex that he dubbed “The Florida Key.” ¾*Winner: Adam Cole
After the match, O’Reilly gets on the microphone and challenges Cole to a match on Night 2, which Cole accepts, only after commenting how O’Reilly has been PMSing over the past couple months, which got a nice reaction. I look forward to both of O’Reilly’s matches on the Showdown weekend.Kevin Steen In-Ring PromoOut comes Mr. Wrestling, who has added Davey Richards’s wolf howl, followed by a single gunshot to the beginning of his entrance music. He talks about Blind Destiny and how Jim Cornette is blind for giving him an avenue to get to the ROH World Championship. Out comes Cornette to inform Steen that he’ll have a match on Night 1 against a man who has put him out of ROH before. A man who contacted Cornette with only two words, “La Revancha,” or “Revenge.” On Night 1, it’s Kevin Steen vs. El Generico. That should be a good one.Inside ROH With……The Showdown in the Sun Countdown with Kevin Kelly. Kelly runs down the card like Mean Gene used to do back in the early 90s, and throws it to Lance Storm, who cuts a promo on Mike Bennett from his wrestling academy. Shots are interspersed of Storm in training, and he still looks to be in great shape. “There’s a big difference between being washed up and being semi-retired,” says Storm. He says that everybody in the ROH locker room exhibits the passion for this business except Bennett.The World Title match for Night 1 is featured next, and as Edwards and Strong gave their thoughts last week, it’s Davey’s turn this week. He speaks about how well he knows both men, and the challenge that Elgin will pose on Night 2. Davey says that if he makes it out of Florida with his belt, he will have certainly earned it. Great way for Davey to put over his competition.Kevin Kelly turns his attention to Night 2, including the ROH World Tag Team Championship match between the Briscoes and Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team. The Briscoes cut an expletive-laced promo on WGTT, and Haas and Benjamin keep it cool and intense.Main Event: March Mayhem Qualifier: Jay Lethal vs. Roderick StrongBefore the match, ROH shows clips from Tenth Anniversary of the Lethal/Ciampa TV title match, with Ciampa stealing the TV title after the match. Of course, I think it was done so the live crowd wouldn't know if Lethal would retain the TV championship at the PPV the next night or not. Lethal came out without the belt.Memorable Moment 1: Lethal hits a springboard dropkick on Strong on the apron, knocking him to the floor. Lethal then follows up with a tope suicida through the ropes.Memorable Moment 2: Spurred on by the fans, Lethal fights his way to his feet and begins slugging it out with Roderick, but Strong quickly goes into a drop toe hold and rains down forearm shots on the back of Lethal's head.Memorable Moment 3: Lethal tries to run the ropes, but Roddy closes the gap with a knee in the stomach, followed by a hotshot Ace Crusher.
Lethal has the match won, but Truth Martini gets up on the apron, and Michael Elgin comes down to the ring. Elgin tries to interfere, but Lethal throws Strong into Elgin, then rolls him up for the victory. This match was pretty good, but I expect more from them on PPV. ***1/4Winner: Jay LethalFinal Thoughts
Pretty good show. More matches got signed for Showdown in the Sun, and anything involving Kevin Steen is excellent. My comments about Silvio getting too much offense does not take away from the fact that it was a decent match. The main event was good as well, although I could tell they didn't want to go all out to give away what could be a fantastic match on Night 2 of the PPV.Score: 7.75Since this ended up being a quick show review this week, and since matches have been booked left and right for Nights 1 and 2 for Showdown in the Sun, I think I’ll use this space to run down the full card for each show and compare the two.Night 1:1. ROH World Championship: Davey Richards © vs. Roderick Strong vs. Eddie Edwards2. Kevin Steen vs. El Generico3. Lance Storm vs. Mike Bennett4. ROH Television Title: Jay Lethal © vs. Kyle O’Reilly5. Dual Duel: Street Fight: The All Night Express vs. The Young Bucks6. Proving Ground Match: The Briscoes vs. Mikey Nichols and Shane HasteTwo more matches will be announced featuring Tomasso Ciampa, Michael Elgin, Adam Cole, Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, and Caprice Coleman/Cedric Alexander. I think the final two matches will be Cole and Alexander against WGTT, and either a Triple Threat or Four Corner Survival match with Ciampa vs. Elgin vs. Cole (with Grizzly Redwood possibly as the fourth man? That four corner already happened at Glory By Honor X).Night 2:1. ROH World Championship?: Davey Richards (if still champion) © vs. Michael Elgin2. ROH World Championship?: Roderick Strong (if champion) vs. Jay Lethal3. ROH World Championship?: Eddie Edwards (if champion) vs. Kevin Steen4. ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Briscoes © vs. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team5. Future Shock Explodes: Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly6. Dual Duel: Tornado Tag: The Young Bucks vs. The All Night Express7. ROH vs. CHIKARA: TJ Perkins vs. Fire AntOne more match will be announced with Mike Bennett, Tomasso Ciampa, Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander. Maybe Bennett and Ciampa will team up to face Coleman & Alexander.Comparing the two cards side by side, you have to give the edge to night 1 almost solely to the inclusion of Lance Storm. ROH fans aren’t thrilled that he’s facing Mike Bennett, but I’ll still give Bennett the benefit of the doubt that he’s not nearly as bad as everybody thinks he is, and maybe it’ll take working with a guy like Storm to turn some people around. Plus, I think Night 1 has the better match of the Dual Duel. Call it a hunch but I think the Street Fight will be better than the Tornado Tag.Where Night 1 has a weakness, however, it would be in the ROH World Championship Match. I have no concerns about the match being awesome. The top three guys in ROH are going to be in that match. But it seems dull with the lack in variety, because we’ve seen Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards in the main event of four of the past five Pay Per Views (and figuratively in all four because ROH doesn’t want you to think Death Before Dishonor IX was a Pay Per View). Night 2 gets a bit more intriguing because should Davey retain (and I think he will), Michael Elgin gets his first ever opportunity at the ROH World Championship. Plus, the Tag Team Title match should be a bloodbath, and I’m really interested to see Cole vs. O’Reilly.Bottom line, if you get both shows for $20, you’ll more than get your money’s worth.Follow me on Twitter @PocketSeagull.