Ring of Honor - January 28, 2012
-We open with highlights of Kevin Steen destroying Steve Corino, Jimmy Jacobs, and El Generico at Final Battle. In the process, Steen won back a spot on the ROH roster.
-From Baltimore, MD. Our hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness. In tonight’s main event, “The New American Wolves” of Davey Richards and Kyle O’Reilly face off against Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman.
-Backstage interview with The Embassy Ltd. R.D. Evans reminds Prince Nana that the investors are looking for Tommaso Ciampa to face better competition. Ciampa has strong words for TJ Perkins, who has been bragging about being undefeated on television. Ciampa, on the other hand, has been completely undefeated for over a year in ROH.
TJ Perkins vs. Tommaso Ciampa (with The Embassy Ltd.)
Ciampa accepts a handshake but refuses to let go. Ciampa aggressive pummels Perkins in the early going, but Perkins has speed on his side. Ciampa retreats to ringside and eats a springboard drop-kick to the floor. Perkins sets up a tree of woe but Prince Nana trips him, allowing Ciampa to escape and sneak attack. Ciampa takes control, knocking Perkins out of the ropes to the floor. Ciampa wheelbarrows Perkins into the barricade! Back to the ring, Ciampa focuses on the head. Perkins mounts a bit of a comeback, complete with a missile drop-kick to the back. Perkins counters a big boot with a sit-out power bomb! Ciampa blocks an ace crusher and delivers the running knee to the face! Project Ciampa finishes it at 5:57. Perfectly acceptable wrestling, here. I think it’s time for ROH to pull the trigger on Ciampa.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa
-Grizzly Redwood is being put over as ROH’s most beloved star. Redwood was a premature baby and wasn’t expected to live past the age of 4. He needed repeated surgeries to repair his throat. Redwood fell in love with wrestling and entered the business despite the pleas of his family and doctors. He feels that every time he enters the ring, he’s a winner, because he’s overcome the odds so many times.
-Just before the bell rings for a Grizzly Redwood vs. Devon Storm match, Truth Martin, Roderick Strong, and Michael Elgin crash the party. Martini earns a “Willy Wonka” chant due to his unusual attire. Martini says life is all about choices and has a choice for Storm. He can accept $500 to allow Elgin to take his place in the match, or get his ass kicked. Storm accepts, of course. Martini then turns to Redwood and tells him that after this match, he’s going to wish he’d died as a child. Whoa, that’s a bit harsh. Redwood isn’t backing down.
Michael Elgin (with Truth Martini and Roderick Strong) vs. Grizzly Redwood
Redwood has a lot of heart but Elgin effortlessly knocks him off his feet. Martini continues to say horrible things about Redwood on commentary as the match continues in Elgin’s favor. Redwood counters into a sleeper. Elgin is sent through the ropes but he catches Redwood in a dive. Elgin slams Grizzly into the barricade! Elgin misses a somersault senton! Redwood counters Elgin for a face buster! Tornado DDT by Redwood gets 2! Elgin nails a buckle bomb and a spinning sit-out power bomb to end it at 3:34. This was well done, as I don’t usually find myself rooting for Redwood.
Winner: Michael Elgin
-We’re treated to extended highlights of the violent Kevin Steen vs. Steve Corino match from Final Battle. This includes the post-match attack on Jimmy Jacobs and El Generico. This transitions to Kevin Steen leaning against a cage wall. He feels like he’s been stuck in a cage over the past year but now he’s going to be unleashed on ROH TV. This show has been lacking unpredictability, chaos, and fear, but that’s over now, because Steen is here. Steen speculates that Jim Cornette doesn’t like him because they’re too much alike. Unlike Cornette, Steen will never go soft and conform. In seven days, everything will change.
-Jim Cornette responds to the Kevin Steen situation. Cornette defends his position on Steen, as three men went to the hospital because of Steen at Final Battle. Cornette admits that Steen is a popular guy but he doesn’t want to sell tickets at the expense of others’ welfare. He teases that he has a message for Steen next week, one that he’s not going to like.
-It’s time for Inside of Ring of Honor! We’re treated to back and forth interviews between Eddie Edwards and Kyle O’Reilly. Edwards says that after he won the ROH title, Kyle O’Reilly began to show resentment towards him. O’Reilly defends himself, saying that he didn’t like the way Edwards carried himself. He felt that it put Davey Richards in an awkward position, since Richards had vowed to leave if he didn’t win the title on his next try. Edwards retorts that he needed to get out of Davey’s shadow. Eddie thinks Kyle is jealous, and Kyle thinks Eddie has no loyalty. How sweet. Davey Richards chips in that the brewing feud between his two friends is a lose/lose situation for him. Richards admits that if forced to choose between them, he’d have to go with O’Reilly.
-Mike Bennett explains to his girlfriend, Maria Kanelis, that he had the Television title won before Jay Lethal jumped him from behind at Final Battle. Next week, he gets a rematch with Lethal in a match with no time limits.
-Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin are still upset over losing their titles at Final Battle. Benjamin says that after all the crap they took from the NYC fans, they deserve a rematch. The ROH officials turned them down, partly because they haven’t paid their fines for the chair shots yet. Haas demands to know whatever happened to the concept of an automatic rematch.
Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman vs. ROH World Champion Davey Richards and Kyle O’Reilly
Jim Cornette joins the commentary desk to rant about Kevin Steen. Meanwhile, the match kicks off with Richards and Alexander trading holds. Cedric quickens the pace, but misses a standing moonsault. O’Reilly tags but quickly eats a shoulder block. O’Reilly catches a mid-air drop-kick to take control. Alexander escapes being double teamed. Coleman tags and wipes out Richards in the corner and moonsaults onto O’Reilly in the same sequence. Alexander and Coleman overwhelm the New Wolves with their team work. Richards turns the tide as we head to a commercial. After the break, Caprice Coleman is trapped in the Wolves’ corner. Coleman outsmarts the Wolves and gets a hot tag to Alexander. O’Reilly is almost pinned after a face buster. Richards sets up an Electric Chair, but Alexander reverses. Top rope hurricanrana by Alexander on O’Reilly! Davey saves Kyle at the last second. O’Reilly barely kicks out after eating a double team maneuver from Coleman and Alexander. Richards prevents more double teaming. Superkicks are thrown left and right, leaving O’Reilly as the last man standing. O’Reilly nails a Regal-plex for 2. The Wolves go for a finishing sequence but Alexander kicks out. Richards double stomps Alexander while trapped in an O’Reilly guillotine! Cedric has no choice but to tap out at 8:40 (shown). Good main event. It gave Alexander and Coleman a chance to get over. It also told a nice story with Davey having to carry the team for Kyle. ***
Winners: Davey Richards and Kyle O’Reilly
-Eddie Edwards comes out and applauds the victory.
Final Thoughts: Kyle O’Reilly and Eddie Edwards feuding over who is a better friend to Davey Richards is a bit of a stretch, but it provided the background for a good main event this week. It also gives Edwards a fine spot to land on after coming up short at Final Battle. Speaking of Final Battle, the fallout from that event is still being felt, which should be making viewers who didn’t order the show feel like they missed something. If this show isn’t finding an audience, it really should be, because it’s telling a lot of nicely constructed, long-term stories. I’m looking forward to Steen’s return next week, as well as the blow off to Bennett/Lethal.
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