Ring of Honor - December January 21, 2012
-We open with highlights from Richards vs. Edwards III from Final Battle 2011. The package puts over the intensity of the match. What’s more important, is it includes Kevin Steen interrupting Richards’ celebration, vowing to become champion in 2012. This should be the storyline that drives ROH TV going forward.
-From Baltimore, MD. Our hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness. I’m actually impressed by the apparent size of the live crowd, it looks bigger than what they were drawing in Louisville.
-Nigel McGuinness and Kevin Kelly are in the ring, pumping the crowd up for tonight’s Kenny King vs. Matt Jackson main event. King is looking for revenge after what The Young Bucks did to Rhett Titus at Final Battle.
-Mike Mondo wants to embarrass Eddie Edwards. After tonight, Edwards will no longer be known as “Die Hard” but as “Cry Hard.” That’s funny. Eddie Edwards says he’s not making excuses for what happened at Final Battle. He’s going to work hard to get back into the title picture. Wow, what a dark, twisted persona, this Eddie Edwards has, eh? I love Edwards, but memo to ROH, don’t let him talk anymore. Please and thank you.
Mike Mondo vs. “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards
Mondo offers an unfriendly handshake to set the tone. They exchange arm holds. Mondo nails a shoulder block, as his face gets lost in the glare. Seriously, ROH, fix this problem. Edwards gets a boot up and sets Mondo in the tree of woe for a running drop-kick. Edwards follows up with another drop-kick from the floor. Mondo retaliates with a shoulder breaker and begins to target the previously injured arm. Mondo blocks a chop with a knee lift in clever fashion. Mondo blocks a spear but Edwards nails a high knee for a 2 count. Edwards blocks a superplex and delivers a double stomp to the back. Eddie delivers Die Hard for the win at 5:40. What, they’ve already given up on Eddie using the Dragon Sleeper? Oh well. This was a fine credibility builder for Edwards after his big Final Battle loss.
Winner: Eddie Edwards
-Kevin Kelly hypes the upcoming two day iPPV, Showdown in the Sun! ROH Davey Richards joins him and says he’s good at knocking peoples’ lights out, so there will be no sun for his opponents. Lay off the jokes, Davey.
-We are “treated” to footage of the Briscoes vs. WGTT from Final Battle 2011. This is the match that caused an uproar among the IWC due to the unprotected chair shots to the head that Jay Briscoe took. It also caused an uproar from your’s truly for not in any way being consistent with the story that was being told on this fine television program. Anywhoo, the dastardly heel Briscoes made a heroic comeback and won the ROH Tag Team Championship for a 7th time.
-Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin have a sit-down interview. Haas says they made a rookie mistake by allowing the Briscoes to take them out of their element. Benjamin says that leading up to the match, the Briscoes painted themselves as underdogs and the “not smart” NYC fans fell for it. Haas is angry that he and Benjamin got in trouble for their violent actions, but where was the outrage when the Briscoes were violently beating them down over the last six months. They (properly) call out the NYC fans for turning on them after giving them a hero’s welcome in 2010. Jim Cornette responds, saying the fans are entitled to boo and cheer whoever they want. He says in ROH they aren’t going to tolerate chair shots to the head and stands by his decision to fine WGTT.
-Back to the arena, Jim Cornette introduces the new ROH Tag Team Champions, Jay and Mark Briscoe. The Briscoes receive a hero’s welcome from the live fans, so it looks like they’re going to embrace a face turn. Jay cuts Cornette off, asking who is getting the money that Haas and Benjamin were fined. Jay thinks he and Mark should get the money, seeing as they were the ones getting hit in the head. If they could get paid 5,000 dollars every time someone hits them in the head, bring out the whole locker room and they’ll have a hell of a retirement. Jay says people just love them, so of course the NYC fans gave WGTT a hostile reaction. Mark says they plan on knocking down all challengers. Anyone who messes with them had better be ready to man up! Good face turn here, as the Briscoes remain consistent characters in the process.
Ricky Reyes vs. Roderick Strong (with Truth Martini and Michael Elgin)
They start with an evenly fought sprint, until Reyes connects with an arm drag. Reyes delivers an overhead suplex. Strong finds an opening to unload some chops but Reyes hits back. Strong sends Reyes into the turnbuckle for a clever modified backbreaker. Strong works a waist lock. Suplex by Strong isn’t enough. Reyes surprises with a roll-up. Reyes is on a roll with a swinging neck breaker. Hard forearm by Reyes and an enziguri! Strong no-sells the punishment to reverse a roll-up. Strong pulls the tights for the win at 4:14. Strong had to cheat to beat a part-time jobber? Ouch. If this is leading towards Reyes being a more active competitor again, I could understand. This was actually the best showing I’ve seen from Reyes in a long while, so solid exhibition match all in all.
Winner: Roderick Strong
-Kevin Kelly hosts Inside Ring of Honor! First, we take a look at the recent events in the ongoing saga of Kevin Steen: Wrestling’s Antichrist. At Final Battle, Kevin Steen sent El Generico to the hospital with a package Piledriver through a table. Steen is interviewed and admits that Jim Cornette was right: he hurt a lot of people at Final Battle. That was only one night and it was just the beginning. Steen announces that he’ll be live on ROH TV in two weeks and will show the world why he’s pro wrestling’s worst nightmare.
-Meanwhile, there has been a change in ownership of the Embassy. Prince Nana, R.D. Evans, and Tommaso Ciampa are interviewed. Evans says that the focus has shifted to Ciampa. Evans says he’s licensed to practice law in the U.S. Thanks to his connections, they now have a multinational corporation backing The Embassy.
-Kelly announces that the 10th Anniversary Show will be a special $10 iPPV! But don’t forget about the Showdown in the Sun, where both events will be available for 19.99. The bottom line is that there is a lot to be excited about if you’re an ROH fans. I’ll add that it’s still a problem that they haven’t mentioned GoFightLive on television, simply leading fans to ROHWrestling.com if they want to order the shows.
-Kevin Steen will be at the 10th Anniversary Show! He spent four years building ROH and now on it’s 10th anniversary he’s going to start destroying it!
-Vegas Scott (who?) interviews ROH World Champion Davey Richards, along with Kyle O’Reilly. Richards and O’Reilly will be facing Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman next week. They are toting themselves as “Team Ambition.” O’Reilly’s Future Shock partner, Adam Cole, is cool with it. However, Kyle teases that there might soon be a new member of the American Wolves.
Kenny King (with Rhett Titus) vs. Matt Jackson (with Nick Jackson)
Titus is limping around on crutches after being injured by the Young Bucks at Final Battle. Matt refuses to shake King’s hand, instead choosing to shake Nick’s hand in mocking fashion. King is aggressive in the early going, shoving Matt into the corner. Matt nails a shoulder block but King counters into a headlock. Snap suplex by King who follows up with some ground and pound offense. Matt retreats to ringside, with a little help from Nick. The match continues with King reversing some arm work. King goes for a springboard move but has to dive onto Nick to prevent his interference. Matt takes advantage, blindsiding King, while Titus is unable to help. After a commercial, Matt is in full control and wearing down King. Matt goes for a running boot but it’s countered with an exploder suplex! King mounts a comeback with a series of quick offense. Spinebuster by King gets 2. Matt delivers a super kick and top rope neck breaker. Matt nails a tornado DDT onto the apron! King blocks a 450 splash and plants Matt. Meanwhile, Nick has one of Titus’ crutches and is trying to goad him into fighting. Nick swings the crutch at a spring boarding King, allowing Matt to pick up the win at 8:13 (shown). This was a good chapter in the escalating feud between the Bucks and ANX. Also makes for a **½ main event.
Winner: Matt Jackson
-Referees and officials have to separate the two teams as they go off the air.
Final Thoughts: It’s good to have this show back to normal after a month off. This episode did a good job of putting over the significance of the Final Battle iPPV and beginning to stir up interest in the next shows. ROH has a lot of strong feuds that are just starting to heat up. Thumbs up.
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