Rant of Honor: 7.21.2012 (Edwards/Cole vs Bennett/Evans, Steen/Mondo)

Apologies for tardiness this week, folks – A job plus wedding planning makes for minimal free time.  Now on to the show!

The Glimpse:

Mike Bennett and “Brutal” Bob Evans team up against Eddie Edwards and Adam Cole.  ROH World Champion Kevin Steen defends his title on television tonight!

The Action:

Match 1: Mike Bennett and “Brutal” Bob Evans vs Adam Cole and Eddie Edwards

Winners: Adam Cole and Eddie Edwards via pinfall

Edwards’ offense continues to be strongly strike-based.  As Richards rolls out of action for a time, Edwards will definitely take over as the premiere striker in Ring of Honor.  Bob Evans isn’t just a “body” on the apron; he actively tags in and out and takes part in the action.  We once again get Edwards vs Bob Evans – Former ROH Champion should not at all be getting leveled by this man.

Edwards does the “suplex opponent over the top and follow” spot, sending himself and Bennett to the floor, leaving Adam Cole to land a flying cross body on Bob Evans for the win.  Maria distracts Cole after the match and Evans holds him up for Maria to pop him in the face with a boot.  After the shot, Sara del Rey hits the ring and stops Maria.  With the word around that SDR has signed with WWE in one capacity or another, I guess she worked one angle for tapings and then split.

Inside ROH:

Discussion of Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly’s hybrid fighting rules match from Best in the World 2012.  Brutal striking back and forth and a ton of blood.  As a fan in my 20’s, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a place go crazier for a victory via figure four.

In two weeks, Lance Storm takes on Mike Bennett in match #3.  A huge rub for Bennett.  And any time Lance Storm spends in the ring is time well spent.

A recap shows of All Night Express capturing the ROH Tag Team Championship, which will now be up for grabs in a tournament due to Kenny King jumping ship over to TNA.  I still say that ROH missed out on a potential big angle to reestablish Titus as a singles star, fighting on his own.

Match 2: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team vs Fusion DS

Winners:  Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team via pinfall

Haas and Benjamin open up dirty, which is to be expected from them at this point.  The crowd lays into Haas as they’ve grown wont to do; Haas is one of the best hate-able heels in recent years.  A combo attack in the corner followed by the Olympic Slam means the three count for WGTT.

Match 3:  Mike Mondo vs Kevin Steen (c), ROH World Championship

Winner:  Kevin Steen via pinfall

Steen goes over how ludicrous it is that Mondo gets a title shot just for not losing to Davey Richards.  Mondo takes exception and slaps Steen to start the match off aggressively.  Steve Corino is on commentary, as he is for every Steen match lately.  Definitely a welcome change of voice.  Having a second veteran of the ring at the table is an interesting dynamic, similar to Booker T and Jerry Lawler.

Mondo takes the control early on the floor, but Steen turns the tide with a powerbomb onto a piece of the barricade.  After getting back in after a 19 count, Mondo continues to be beaten by the ROH Champion.  Steen grabs a mic mid-match to tell Mondo he doesn’t deserve this title shot and it serves to fire Mondo up.  Steen ends up on the floor and Mondo flies at him; Steen still has the mic in hand, so we hear his scream of fear.

Steen takes back over with a middle rope spike DDT and a cannonball in the corner.  Mondo counters the F-Cinq into a small package then hits a huge elbow.  Mondo wants his double arm DDT, but Steen hot shots him, then hits the F-Cinq, leaving Mondo a pile of limbs and picking up the win.  Eddie Kingston hits the ring to protect Mondo after Jimmy Jacobs joins in the fray; Kingston and Steen have had issues as of late.

The Reaction:

Still nutty to me that Bob Evans is wrestling on ROH television.  I mean, good for him for being able to go, but this isn’t the man that ROH needs in the ring at any given time.  It makes their roster look incredibly shallow.  Solid action; Evans doesn’t take away from the match being there.  Mike Bennett is a guy that has huge potential but needs to develop a character beyond “cocky prick”.  He’s just the type that WWE should be looking for.

Seeing the hybrid fighting rules match live, I can’t say I’ve ever seen a crowd turn faster from “boring” to “this is awesome” chants before.  The match absolutely made Adam Cole and solidified Kyle O’Reilly as a self-important heel.

Standard tag squash from WGTT and an interesting finish – One of the members of Fusion DS thought better of breaking up the pinfall and stopped short.  Don’t think I’ve ever seen that one before.  Problem with a match like this is there’s not much to react to; Haas and Benjamin hit signature offense, then won.

So Mike Mondo gets an ROH World Title shot for showing passion; Cornette is really showing himself to be a goof of an authority figure.  He’s so hyper obsessed with getting the belt off of Steen, that he seems to have no focus elsewhere.

The bell rang and the men immediately spilled outside, but the ref doesn’t begin to count until after the champion powerbombs the challenger onto the barricade.  Count the things wrong with that in terms of rules.  Regardless, there’s an honest split in the crowd between Mondo and Steen chants.

Corino puts over Mike Mondo as a legitimate threat on the mic; word is that Mondo is supposed to get a proper push, so that may be a part of it.  A televised title shot where he gets to show as a legit threat is definitely a step in the right direction.

The Rant:

I said it last time, I’ll say it again – It makes everyone look ridiculous when Bob Evans cleanly dominates a former ROH World Champion in Eddie Edwards.  Another young heel would be a far better tag partner for Bennett, despite Evans actually being decent for his age.  Due to the time frame of the tapings vs Best in the World and Destination X, the commentators are talking about the new Tag Team Champions, one of whom is working for TNA now, which makes everything seem silly when looked at analytically.

Haas runs his mouth at All Night Express; due to the taping schedule, there might actually be a confrontation next week.  But ultimately, the tag titles will be decided in a tournament which continues to get more participants.  It’s an odd situation, made more odd by the scheduling.

Jim Cornette is playing the heel here, where his champion is supposed to be the heel.  It’s really not apparent if this is being done on purpose or just really odd booking, but the authority figure should always be at least slightly credible; Cornette looks like he’s losing all control.  He’s making rash decisions and it shows.  But that might be what the programming needs.

As a total aside, I enjoyed hearing Corino call referee Paul Turner a “turd” – It shows that when on commentary it’s a full extension of his own personality.  On Twitter (@stevecorino) and on his Extreme Oddcouple Podcast, “turd” is one of his favorite insults.

Although I think the Cornette/Steen dynamic is pretty backwards, I don’t really want to rant all that much on it because the match itself was good aside from the lax refereeing at the outset.

The Preview:

Adam Cole will challenge Roderick Strong for the ROH TV Title next week and Rhyno will make an appearance.

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