Rant of Honor 08.11.2012 (O’Reilly, Bravados vs Elgin/Strong, ANX/Lethal vs Corino/Jacbos/Steen)

The Glimpse:

Kyle O’Reilly in action after separating from Team Ambition and ROH Champion Kevin Steen tags with Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino to take on All Night Express and Jay Lethal, plus Elgin, Strong and Rhino.

The Action:

Match 1: Kyle O’Reilly vs Matt Taven

Winner:  Kyle O’Reilly via submission

O’Reilly says he didn’t tap out at Best in the World; he was beating the blood back into his leg.  Taven takes over early with speed, but O’Reilly steals the control by draping Taven’s arm over the top rope and booting him into the barricade.  Taven lands sitting on a chair and O’Reilly dropkicks him from the apron.  O’Reilly now with a missile dropkick for two and right into a Cross Armbreaker.  Taven humps his way over to the ropes to force the break.

O’Reilly with a hammerlock pendulum backbreaker; that’s a new one.  More back and forth action, with a strike combination and backdrop driver to Taven, who kicks out at two.  Taven fights out of a superplex attempt and tries a frog splash, but gets caught on O’Reilly’s knees; O’Reilly transitions to a Fujiwara armbar for the win.

Match 2:  Todd Sople vs Rhino

Winner:  Rhino via pinfall

Rhino out with Truth Martini.  Rhino levels Sople with a slap to open up, then clotheslines him down.  Rhino continues with a belly to belly suplex across the ring and readies for The Gore.  He strikes, he wins.  Another Rhino squash.

Martini grabs a mic and says loyalty and and unity reign supreme in the House of Truth.  Elgin and Strong “work together like a Swiss watch” and will be in action tonight.

Match 3: Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin vs Bravado Brothers

Winners: Bravado Brothers via pinfall

Strong and Elgin enter together but tentatively, as well as selling being wary of one another in the ring.  The Bravados return from Noah in Japan after a few months.  Elgin follows the Code of Honor, even though Martini tells him not to.  Elgin and Roddy tag themselves in and out multiple times, further selling that tension before the action even begins.

Bravados with a more aggressive style than their last ROH stint.  Roddy makes a tag to Elgin after taking a beating from both Bravados and he takes control with his power.  Off a blind tag, the Bravados hit a team enzuigiri, but Elgin stands strong, picking one Bravado up in a fireman’s carry and lifting the other in front of him, to hit a tandem samoan drop and fallaway slam.  Elgin readies for the powerbomb, but Strong tags himself in once again.  Lancelot tags Harlem in and goes to town on Roddy; they hit the double team enzuigiri again and a team German suplex, but Roddy gets out.  Strong wants the tag, but Elgin is “shaking the feeling into his leg” on the apron, which leaves Strong out in the cold.  Harlem hits an okana roll on Strong and bridges for the win.

Inside ROH

The Guardians of Truth debut on TV against the Briscoes in a rematch from Best in the World 2012.  They wrestled essentially the same match as the PPV event, but were at least a bit sharper.  Rhino and Strong help after the match, but Elgin does not.  Jay and Mark Briscoe are not happy with what Truth Martini did to them; they make it a point to say they appreciate Elgin not getting involved and vow to take down the House of Truth.

Build for who is the “first lady” of ROH, recapping Bennett/Storm III and Maria’s involvement, followed by Eddie Edwards making the save and Sara del Rey showing up.  Still not a fan of ending a trilogy with Lance Storm via shenanigans.  Rubber match should be decisive.

Rhino wants a shot at Kevin Steen’s ROH World Title.

Match 4:  Jay Lethal and All Night Express (ROH Tag Team Champions) vs Steve Corino, Jimmy Jacobs and Kevin Steen (ROH World Champion)

Winners: Jay Lethal and All Night Express via pinfall

The ploy at hand is that “Team Evil” is trying to destroy ROH from the inside out.  The match starts as a brawl after Kenny King slaps Steen in response to some disrespect.  ROH always does a poor-to-mediocre job of covering a six man tag – They try to focus on the guys on the floor, where action does happen, but often miss important moments in the ring, where the focus should be.

With some semblance of control and order restored, Titus tags in King and they double team Corino in their corner.  Back to Titus for more tag team offense and a two count.  King back in and a cheap shot from Steen and Jacobs lets Corino hit a saito suplex and tag Jacobs in.  Team Evil takes control and ROH goes to commercial.

Now Kevin Steen is in the ring with King, strongly in control.  King tries a desperation roll up, but Steen keeps him down and tags back out to Jacobs for a double team bite, drawing Titus and Lethal in – The ref is distracted and King gets a triple team set of stomps.  Corino reenters the match and gets rolled up by King in the corner.  King rolls under a clothesline from Corino to tag Lethal, even though he rolled under the wrong arm.  Lethal hits a neckbreaker/DDT on Jacobs and Corino, but Corino is out at two.  Steen with a blind tag; Lethal suicide dives Corino after an enzuigiri that knocks him to the floor.  The ANX double team Steen in the ring and Lethal heads to the top for Hail to the King.  Corino breaks up the pin attempt and hits the Colbyshock/hammerlock reverse STO.  Titus in with a wild Fameasser that misses its mark, then a spear for him from Jacobs.  King with knees to Jacobs, but runs into a popup poewrbomb from Steen.  Lethal Combination to Steen and everyone is out on the mat.

Lethal elevates Steen to the top rope, but in his own corner, allowing Jacobs to tag in.  Lethal wants the Lethal Injection but takes a superkick from Corino and a Contra Code from Jacobs, then Corino follows up with the Eternal Dream sliding lariat.  Steen keeps it going with a Swanton Bomb and Lethal kicks out in two.  The match breaks down again and Jacobs pulls out the metal spike – Lethal kicks him in the face and hits the Lethal Injection for the win.  Steen isn’t happy and takes Lethal and then Titus out.  King gets a lariat from Corino and Steen introduces a chair into the ring.  Jacobs sets it up and Corino suplexes King onto it.  Corino and Jacobs hoist the tag team titles – The old “heel stable with all the gold” gimmick could be incoming!

The Reaction:

Taven’s kind of become the de facto jobber for when someone needs to make a point in ROH.  Incredibly average match to open the show.  If O’Reilly had some heat on him, this would be the start of a brutal character change for him.  Problem is nobody gives a damn about him, because he’s a Davey Richards clone with way less muscle and personality.  Yes, less personality than Richards.  Plus he lacks the credibility of Richards.  This is a common issue for ROH in general; not just an O’Reilly specific one.

Not just another Rhino squash; another unnecessary Rhino squash.  ROH seems to be trying to capitalize on Ryback’s rising popularity.  It’s not working.  It’s just a waste of the incredibly limited air time that ROH has and that makes them look foolish.  Give Mike Mondo this air time, as they seem to be legitimately pushing him.

Welcome back, Bravados – Their time in Pro Wrestling Noah has done them a world of good, even if the new style doesn’t quite match their “grandma’s boy” gimmick.  Much stiffer and some interesting double team combinations.  Elgin is ROH’s Ryback without the constant squashes; both men are encouraged to run interesting feats of strength in matches.  Ryback is known for his double Shellshocked move and Elgin pulls one I’ve never seen before – A tandem samoan drop and fallaway slam, which was a great visual.  No question that Elgin will be leaving the House of Truth soon; there’s a bit of redundancy with him and Rhino in the same stable anyway.  I’m more concerned with what you do with Elgin all on his own.  All in all a good match – The Bravados get a welcome back win and Elgin gets a leg up on Roddy by being the reason he lost.  Ultimately, this will all lead to Strong/Elgin – That will be a brutally hard hitting match.

Great six man match.  I usually enjoy the chicanery provided by Kevin Steen, but it was a bit much in this match.  It felt like every time he was in the ring, he was goofing around.  All in all, I’d still take that over Steen losing the personality that keeps the crowd cheering for him regardless of what he says or does.  Lethal kicking out of a superkick, Contra Code, Eternal Dream and a Swanton all in a row is a bit ridiculous.  I wager a guess that one of the ANX boys was supposed to be there and they called the audible to have him kick out in lieu of a break up.  Kelly and McGuinness didn’t really react too strongly to Lethal getting out of that combination in Cena-like fashion which really took away from the moment.  If they were teasing Corino/Jacobs with the tag straps, I’m not sure why they wouldn’t win this match, but it was before the Kenny King debacle, so they may not have had the insight to change it a big.  Corino and Jacobs are a team in the Tag Title Tournament, so the possibility is there.  ROH just has to pull the trigger now.

The Rant:

It’s hard to pin it down, but things are just…”off” in Ring of Honor right now.  They’ve got what could be a hot angle with the beloved-heel world champ and potential heel stable holding all the “major” gold.  If ROH doesn’t go with that, I’m not sure what station the ROH train is pulling into.  You’ve got guys like Mike Mondo, who while in his own respect is great in the ring, getting ROH World Title shots.  You want someone to get the belt away from Steen?  Why not have Rhino try – His gimmick is a hired mercenary who will Gore anyone for the right price.  How about Ciampa, who’s off his rocker and an incredibly dominant force?  Why not have him run a gauntlet of former champions who want to save ROH?

Because the authority figure is the face and can’t do those things.  That’s why.  It’s backwards – The only thing he’s done is tell Steen that all singles matches moving forward are for the ROH title that he wants off his waist so badly.  So this week he wrestled in a six man tag.  The other issue is that you’ve got these babyfaces who have been with ROH in some capacity for so long, like Eddie Edwards, Jay Lethal, etc…but nobody sticks up for the company.  If CM Punk vowed to take down the WWE from inside as the WWE Champion, John Cena would immediately stand up for his company.  While not as important, guys like Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Zack Ryder and even career-minded heels like Dolph Ziggler would stand with him for the greater good.  But in the badlands of ROH, nobody cowboys up for the company; only for themselves.  To keep things interesting, Cornette will have to throw the rule book out at some point and get the ROH Title to a “safe place” by any means necessary.  Until then, Steen will continue to run roughshod over the ROH name, which isn’t exactly in high regard at the moment.

The Preview:

Next week there is “ROH World Championship action”, but the show ended more abruptly than normal and not much of a preview was provided.

The Shill:

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