Rant of Honor 11.03.2012 (My Return, Road Rage)

The Glimpse:

First and foremost – I’m back!  A wedding, a honeymoon and a hurricane have kept me from you, but I’ve made my return.  Life gets in the way sometimes, but real fans always end up coming back to wrestling.  It’s been quite some time, but we’re back on schedule as we head to Final Battle 2012, which I’ll be attending (and live tweeting)!

Lethal/Richards go one on one and Roderick Strong takes on new mainstay in ROH Tedarius Thomas (matches from Glory by Honor)

The Action:

Match 1:  Roderick Strong vs Tedarius Thomas (From Glory by Honor)

Roderick Strong quits the House of Truth and Martini has Rhino fight Thomas instead.

Actual Match 1:  Rhino vs Tedarius Thomas

Winner:  Tedarius Thomas via pinfall

Rhino gets rolled up after Truth screws up.  Rhino jettisons Truth Martini over the top rope onto the guardrail in what must be the most painful landing of 2012.  And this year, a guy jumped from space.

Video: 

Summary of Jay Lethal’s ROH title shot against Kevin Steen and his going ballistic after Steen spits on his mother.  Jim Cornette is physically beaten to remove him from a TV presence.

Inside Ring of Honor:

Matt Hardy’s opinions on ROH stars.  Hardy delivers back-handed compliments to the top stars of Ring of Honor.  Matt implies that ROH needs a name like him.

Elgin/Steen highlights from another top notch match involving “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin.  A deadlift German suplex to Kevin Steen is something that deserves to be pointed out in particular.  THAT is real strength.  Strong delivers a Sick Kick after the match to cement he and Elgin’s rivalry.  Nigel McGuinness delivers a package to Kevin Steen – An El Generico mask.  This has set up Steen/Generico in a Ladder War at Final Battle 2012.

Match 2:  Jay Lethal vs Davey Richards

Winner:  Jay Lethal via referee stoppage

The usual Richards open including the surfboard switch.  Astounding that EVERY wrestler in Ring of Honor knows how to counter this move but Davey Richards falls for it EVERY time.  Minutes and minutes and minutes of amazing action just as you’d expect from two of the best wrestlers on the circuit.  Richrads’ bump onto the table at ringside was another brutal landing on the show; definitely one of those ones where you know immediately how much it hurt the guy.  Great exchange of suplexes and submissions prior to Lethal busting out the Koji Clutch out of the Lethal Injection which was an interesting switch up to a normal Lethal finish.

The Reaction:

Truth Martini cuts the promo for Strong because…well, Strong is atrocious on the mic.  Squash after squash after squash on TV, only for Rhino to lose to a newcomer on PPV.  Makes Rhino look like a fool and TD just opportunistic.  I watched the landing of Truth Martini repeatedly and it is one of the most painful things I’ve seen in quite some time.  At the very least, TD is a great athlete, but the capoeira stuff is a bit much.  The occasional strike would be fine, but it feels like it’s the majority of his offense.

It had to happen, since the positions in the back have changed and Cornette needed to be off TV and the entire angle has been Lethal getting “an edge” (which has been borrowed by Kofi Kingston over in the land of Sports Entertainment).  Jay Lethal seems like such a nice guy; it’s hard to buy him as a badass.

Matt Hardy will be interesting to see back – I’m a total moves guy when it comes to my wrestling fandom and Cutter variants are some of my favorites.  The Twist of Fate is one of my faves in that subset, so I’d like to see one on ROH television.  I’m personally hopeful that Hardy appears at Final Battle.

We’ve seen Richards pass out and not tap to a submission a billion times, but it still always makes a dramatic finish.  Lethal taking a page out of Richards’ playbook and kicking out early from a big move near the end of the match was a big time turning point in the match.  Not to mention that beating a “submission guy” like that is always a great way to get momentum behind a guy.

The Rant:

These “Road Rage” episodes are the cool down time for the guys on the road in between tapings.  Kind of a necessary evil, but not the most invigorating episode to come back to and discuss.

Roddy quitting the HOT was one of those “matter of time” things, but Roderick Strong is a key example of why so many people are critical of ROH:  He’s a great athlete with absolutely no substance beyond that.  His personality is that of a prick frat boy, but on the mic and in his mannerisms he screams of a guy “acting” like this persona – Not someone who actually is that persona.  I go as wild as anyone when Roddy throws someone up for the vertical suplex backbreaker, but I curl up in a ball of fear everytime he grabs a mic because I know it’s going to be a curse word, a bad line and a poorly delivered promo.  Having Truth Martini cut a pre-tape promo on his behalf just kind of summarizes this too well.

Jay Lethal is a wild man now and he hurt an old man – I guess now he has his “edge”.  Curious to see if he retains it, since he already blew his title shot.  People love Lethal and he’ll have to watch crossing the line to heeldom.

Richards matches all start the same – Surfboard, Trailer Hitch, etc.  It’s like when Elgin took on Finlay – On paper, that’s amazing.  But Finlay wrestled the exact same first ten minutes of every match of the last decade and lost the crowd until Elgin started in with the power offense.  It’s without a doubt part of the reason the ROH crowd was so fast to turn on Richards earlier this year.  Some time away helped them get back behind him and they seem eager to stay there.  All that said, I’m still a big fan of Richards and always enjoy a hard hitting match.

All in all, a disappointing episode to make a return rant on after three months, considering none of it is new footage.  Also, the entire build to Final Battle is a mask being delivered?  There MUST be more to this before December.

The Preview:

Next week, Eddie Edwards takes on Adam Cole for the TV Title.

The Shill:

As always, if you like what you read here, let me know in the comments or on twitter @sbfantom.  Come on over to The Geek Asylum – we’re currently on hiatus, but we’ll soon be back!

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