Rant of Honor 12.29.12 (Match of the Year, Richards v Elgin)

The Glimpse:  The New Year’s edition – Kevin Kelly takes us through the highlights of 2012 for Ring of Honor.

The Action:

Match 1:  The Briscoes (Mark, Jay and Papa) vs Michael Elgin, Roderick Strong and Truth Martini

Winners:  The Clan Briscoe via pinfall

Highlights of the Briscoes controlling Elgin until Martini would distract, allowing the House of Truth to take over.  As expected, Mark gets a hot tag and unleashes some Redneck Kungfu on the HoT boys, then Papa hits a chokeslam on Roddy.  Martini wants to hit Papa with some powder in the eyes, but Papa avoids and hits a Stunner for the win.

Injuries:

Tommaso Ciampa and Mike Mondo were injured during the year and have not properly returned as of yet.

Match 2:  Mike Mondo vs Kevin Steen (c), ROH World Championship

Winner:  Kevin Steen via pinfall

Before Mondo’s leg injury, he was one of the men Jim Cornette afforded a title shot to in order to rid himself of Steen being the champion.  Early on, Mondo would take it to the champion physically, before getting powerbombed onto a guardrail.  Mondo crawls in at a 19 count and continues to be beaten and berated until he fires himself up and hits Steen with a top rope double stomp for a two.  Steen catches him on the apron and hits his version of the spike DDT and a cannonball in the corner.  Mondo would counter the F-Cinq, but suffer it moments later.

Jay Lethal’s New Attitude

Jay Lethal was told that he lacked a “killer instinct” and when Kevin Steen spit on his mother, that was enough to push him over the edge, attacking Steen and Jim Cornette.  Lethal retains his “my way” attitude into 2013, and wants it to elevate him to the ROH World Title.  With Kevin Steen as the champ, however, he is currently “frozen” out of the title picture.

Match 3:  Jay Lethal vs Davey Richards (Survival of the Fittest)

Winner:  Jay Lethal via pinfall

Cutting to the end of the match, we see Lethal hit a pair of Lethal Combinations, then a series of kicks.  Richards would counter the Lethal Injection into an Ankle Lock, then hits the Superplex/Brainbuster combination.  Lethal answered with a dragon suplex and a Lethal Injection after a series of strikes to win.

Match of the Year:  Davey Richards (c) vs Michael Elgin, ROH World Championship

Winner:  Davey Richards via pinfall

Shy of recounting the entire match, which would be pages long, I will just point out that anyone that has the desire to navigate to a website called “Pulse Wrestling” should see this match.  WWE fan, Impact die hard, CHIKARA crusader – You should all watch this match the whole way through.  Whatever means necessary, get a copy of Showdown in the Sun Day 2 – March 31, 2012.  This is one of those matches that “made” a professional wrestler.  Hell, you get a top rope dragon suplex; who can possibly argue with that?  Listen to Nigel McGuinness during this fight because he will make you believe again.

The Reaction:

Good fun all around.  You get the excellent wrestling of Roddy, Elgin and Dem Boys, plus good old fashioned manager shenanigans and comedy from Truth.  And Papa Briscoe could and would put a whoopin on any of us, so it’s fine to see him once in a blue moon.

Good match between Mondo and Steen, although I still think it was a bit of an unwarranted title shot.  Mondo definitely showed the “No Fear” part of his character, but with the injury he suffered, his momentum is going to be completely shot upon his return.

Lethal and Richards would stand to have an excellent, extremely physical match.  Lethal did whatever he had to in order to win, including pulling out the Koji Clutch.  The aggression and attitude shown were indicative of the “new’ Jay Lethal, but being frozen out of the title picture while Steen remains champ, it’s an odd situation – Where does Lethal go with all this killer instinct if NOT to the world title?

For pure, unadulterated wrestling action, Richards/Elgin I was absolutely the perfect choice for Match of the Year.  For fans that want a story the likes of which you find in WWE/TNA, this kind of match can seem lacking.  I hear you and I understand you.  The story told at Money in the Bank 2011 between Cena and Punk was a MOTY contender for different, but incredibly equivalent reasons.  This match is a great example of what ROH offers – If you can watch this match the whole way through and not truly enjoy yourself, then Ring of Honor is definitely not the place for you as a fan.  And no, that’s not a dig or some backhanded implication that WWE fans are “worse” or anything of the sort.  They are simply two different products that have some crossover between a shared fanbase.  These are the matches that keep me going to Final Battle two years in a row and 2013 will be number three.

The Rant:

No rant this week.  An hour of the best of Ring of Honor’s 2012.  Nothing to rant about.

Ok, ok – Mike Mondo, you’re still an incredible doofus for managing the injury that you suffered and then jumping off of a trestle that high.  Get well soon.

The Preview:

2013 kicks off with a Road Rage episode from Final Battle.

The Shill:

As always, if you like what you read here, let me know in the comments or on twitter @sbfantom.  If you don’t, I want to hear that too; if you’re not enjoying what’s here, tell us what to change!  Come on over to The Geek Asylum – we’re currently on hiatus, but we’ll soon be back for extended Raw and Smackdown reactions.

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