Rant of Honor: 7.7.2012 (Elgin/Lethal, Steen/Edwards)

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The Preview:

Eddie Edwards challenges Kevin Steen for the ROH World Title and Jay Lethal meets Michael Elgin for the first time on TV.  This was taped prior to Best in the World 2012, which makes some verbiage from Cornette possibly confusing for people who don’t realize how ROH’s taping schedule works.

The Action:

Jay Lethal jaws at Michael Elgin and says his finishers can break even the “Unbreakable” one and that he plans to get his TV title back.  Truth Martini gives Elgin a pep talk and Elgin tells Lethal he’s going to swallow blood.  Geez.  Roderick Strong trash talks Elgin for no good reason and then calls him “porky”; Elgin is quick to let Strong know he’s not happy about it.

Match 1:  Jay Lethal vs Michael Elgin

Winner:   Jay Lethal via pinfall

Highlight of my wrestling week?  Paul Turner poking Truth Martini right off the apron.  Slightly silly is the best silly in pro wrestling.

Lethal wins with the Lethal Injection after Roderick Strong runs interference and screws it up (or everything goes according to plan, depending on how you see it).

Inside ROH:

The Briscoes hob nob and do some radio time in Charleston, West Virginia as ROH’s Road Rage tour continues.  Next week, ROH TV will show Finley/Elgin and Ciampa/Strong/Lethal from Best in the World 2012, which you can see my views on here.

Match 2:  Eddie Edwards vs Kevin Steen (c), ROH World Championship

Winner:  Kevin Steen via pinfall

Jim Cornette announces that every singles match Steen takes part in will be for the ROH World Title.  Corino is great on commentary; he is so perfectly exasperated with everything Cornette says.

Steen delivers a sleeper suplex followed by the F-Cinq for the win after countering the backpack chinbreaker.

The Reaction:

That was a quick jump from a slight tease of the House of Truth breaking up to Roddy Strong basically inviting it.  To start the match, Lethal wants a handshake and Martini doesn’t want Elgin to accept; he does anyway.  Elgin seems to be moving toward a turn as a strong, imposing face.

Real match of power vs speed – Elgin blocks many a hip toss or shoulder block and Lethal ducks a ton of punches.  The deadlift German suplex might be one of my favorite moves to see – Really a good show of strength.  Strong comes down to interfere, but gets in the ring for no good reason, and it costs Elgin the match.  Strong gets on Elgin’s case for losing, and Elgin drops the straps; Martini wants to make peace but Elgin teases leaving, then grabs a mic.  Elgin says if Roddy screws up one more time, he’ll kill him.  Elgin tells Roderick this was the last mistake he’ll make; even though he’s giving him one more chance, apparently.  Oh well.  Elgin doesn’t spend much time on the mic and it shows; pretty much every statement from him on a mic consists of a threat and…that’s about it.

Crowd is strongly behind both of these guys and Elgin is going to continue to be one of the breakout stars, not just of ROH but of the industry, for 2012.

Next week’s ROH TV will be replays (likely edited for TV) of two matches from Best in the World 2012.  For people that ordered or attended the show (or watched it via nefarious means, you bad bad people), this makes the next episode of TV absolutely no draw to watch.  They need to have at least one actual match on these recap shows to give people a real reason to watch.

Cornette’s announcement that all singles matches that Steen takes part in are for the ROH World Title is backwards – This is the action of a heel GM.  Cornette is the face here and Steen is the heel, at least as far actions go.  ROH made a conscious effort to correct this at Best in the World 2012 with Steen turning on the NYC crowd, who is (or was) staunchly behind him.  ROH desperately needs someone to stand up for the company itself in this situation, and with Richards not getting any further title matches while Steen is the champion, there aren’t a whole lot of candidates to take that position.

Lots of fighting on the floor and chicanery from Jimmy Jacobs in the midst of the match.  Belly to belly suplex into the turnbuckle by Edwards was a great spot; just the kind of move to initiate the turn around point of a match.  Not an entirely clean win for Steen, with quite a few moments of Jacbobs getting involved and Steen putting Edwards through the timekeeper’s table, but the finish itself was clean; a reversal of the backpack chinbreaker and a two move combination for a three count.

The Rant:

The pretaped promos before the Lethal/Elgin match are one more example of something far too prevalent – ROH’s over use of pretaped promos.  These are fine when introducing someone, but for the guys to have any kind of dialogue or back and forth, videos don’t make any sense.  With a refocus on their TV product, I’m hoping to see more in ring promos, whether they’re conducted in interview fashion or face to face confrontations.

Michael Elgin has gone from sort of teasing a House of Truth breakup to being ready to tear Roderick Strong to pieces; the House of Truth’s days are numbered.  Speaking of HOT, where are Truth Martini’s “Guardians of Truth”?  Given the taping schedule, we can’t expect to see them for quite some time on TV, if not held off screen until the next PPV.  Their appearance was definitely one of the low points for Best in the World 2012.

Cornette’s complaints with Steve Corino at the commentators’ table are somewhere between real complaints and ones that are storyline; the energy and anger that he expresses are fueled by years of frustration with an industry that seems to be waning.  Speaking of Steve Corino on commentary – He should be there far more often.  When Nigel McGuinness isn’t at the table, you lose that wrestler/ex-wrestler perspective that can make matches far more interesting.  McGuinness especially is good at this, but Corino always sounds blatantly honest, which is a welcome voice from a wrestling commentator

Finally, the Die Hard Challenge.  Eddie Edwards posed this challenge to himself, taking on former ROH Champions, most recently losing to Homicide on PPV.  For this, he was rewarded with an ROH Title Match because Jim Cornette is desperate to get the title off of Steen.  No mention of if the Die Hard Challenge continues or if it was just a waste of time leading to an impromptu title match.  Edwards isn’t exactly a “company” man for ROH, so he’s likely not the guy to stand up to Steen on ROH’s behalf, which they desperately need.

The Preview:

Seeing as next week will be essentially replaying two matches from Best in the World 2012, I’ll take that opportunity to discuss the current goings on with Kenny King and the effects it is and could be having on himself, TNA, ROH and Rhett Titus, who really got the short end of the stick on this deal.

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