Zen Arcade Reviews: ROH The Hunt For Gold
Posted by Jake St-Pierre on 02.24.2013
A few technological (!) changes for ROH benefit them greatly in their return to Dearborn.
Before you wonder why, I am not going to be reviewing ROH house shows regularly, because Kevin Ford handles those just fine and there's no reason to duplicate something that is just fine where it is. I just wanted to see what the house show direction is for ROH now that Delirious is booking again. I've noticed so much improvement so far, what with MUCH better graphics, better quality shows (cosmetically and wrestling-wise) on television. Plus, in one of the best moves ROH has made in years, they put their house shows online on rohwrestling.com TWO WEEKS after they happened. That's unheard of for ROH, who usually has a month or two turnaround on releases. It isn't a DVD release but a Video on Demand release, the first time ROH has done so. It's still great and I'm glad to see ROH making such positive steps in their production after an abysmal 2012. It's great to see a promotion so many lost faith in stepping in the right direction.
As I said about the graphics, the opening video package is lightyears better than what it was from 2011-2012. Instead of Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team putting on skull caps and boots, it's a slick little montage of spots. It might seem like a small improvement to some, but it's far less generic and gives off an actual ROH vibe.
We are TAPED from Dearborn, MI in a nice little building. The ring is a little different, with the second rope being white and the top and bottom black. At least it's not like Rise & Prove OVW yellow...sheesh, that was bad.
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and a returning (not permanently, though...goddamn Caleb Seltzer) Nigel McGuinness. Nigel's documentary is SO DEPRESSING. Jeez, it just bums you out. It's great and all (really great) but it's a lot to take in.
Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Rhett Titus and BJ Whitmer
Fish and O'Reilly are coming fresh off of a loss against the newly reunited American Wolves while Titus and Whitmer are recovering (especially Whitmer) from a Street Fight loss to Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team. With Kenny King being gone for 6 months now, I've really gotten to see how bland Rhett Titus is. I know it's negative, but lately he's just come off as an overachieving ROH School graduate. Fortune must suck, because I thought I'd never see the day where the Bravado Brothers would be the best graduate out of any wrestling school.
Kyle and BJ start off and do some of your regular fast scientific stuff to a GENERIC INDY STANDOFF!~! Tag on both sides, so here come Fish and Titus. Titus takes Fish down with a dropkick, and totally misses on on O'Reilly. Titus redeems himself with a big somersault plancha, garnering the first real pop of the night from the Dearborn crowd. Fish takes advantage of an interference from O'Reilly to let Titus have it, and Whitmer is no exception to the cheapshots that Fish and O'Reilly are giving out. Whitmer--apparently still not happy after his various barrages on Charlie Haas--gives off a hearty "fuck you" to Fish, who just no-sells it. Whitmer finally gets the hot tag and rattles off a spinebuster on O'Reilly for a two count. He follows up with a PerfectPlex for another nearfall. BJ gives Fish an Exploder, which allows O'Reilly to roll Whitmer up for a close 2 count. Rhett tags in and hits a Fameasser for a nearfall. O'Reilly dropkicks Whitmer off of the apron and dropkicks him on the chair by the guardrails! In the ring, Titus hits a rolling lariat only for the pinfall to be broken up by O'Reilly. Fish and O'Reilly get a clean win with a roundhouse/brainbuster in 13 minutes. **3/4Solid but wholly unspectacular. It was a house show opener, so a few cool spots wrapped into a run-of-the-mill tag match got the job done.
Jay Lethal vs. Steve Corino
This match makes sense because of the attack at Final Battle, and you can't hate Steve Corino. Although, he call me stupid on MySpace 7 years ago...dick.
Corino takes the mic and says "I came out here to talk some sense into you, young man." Corino says that Lethal has done a lot to get an ROH Title shot, with Lethal using his family as a pawn. He squeaks in some pretty good cheap heat jokes at Dearborn. Corino implores Lethal to apologize to S.C.U.M....Lethal: "You can all go to Hell." Corino fires off a pretty snappy line: "Unlike that turd from Notre Dame that made up his girlfriend, I actually dated your mother. And Jay...we went all the way."
That line prompts Jay to unload on Corino, and action quickly spills to the outside. We head back to the ring, where a singlet-less Steve Corino connects with Colby Shock. Lethal gets out of a sleeper hold and starts to fire back, dropping Corino with a back-handspring elbow for a 2 count. Corino stalls Lethal's momentum until Lethal catches him with the Lethal Combination for a nearfall. Corino eats a Lethal Injection, and Hail to the King gets Jay Lethal the win in 8 minutes. **This was just an opportunity to put Lethal over a member of the faction he so despises, and it worked because he had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Corino's promo before the match was better than anything they did during the match, though. No harm, no foul.
Roderick Strong vs. Silas Young
Now I approve of this match. Glad Silas is finally getting a real opportunity in Ring of Honor, because from what I've seen of him in AAW has impressed me to no end. He looks like a 1970's porn mogul here instead of a wrestler though. I mean that in the nicest way possible.
Truth Martini is out on commentary as Strong and Young break in the corner. If I wasn't a bit smarter, I'd say that Silas Young looks like a more athletic Joey Ryan here. But it's blasphemy to compare anyone to Joey. A fast sequence ends with Strong connecting with a leg lariat, and the crowd is hot for this one. Young smashes Roddy's face on his knee, which sends Strong out of the ring so he can regroup. Roddy blocks a couple of suplexes, which causes Silas to elbow Roddy in the corner and hit a Fisherman's Buster for 2. A slugfest threatens to break out until Roddy sends Silas to the floor and drops him with a pescado. They re-enter the ring, where Strong nails a jumping knee for a two count. Silas counters out of a Stronghold and nails a backbreaker for a long two count. Strong dodges the Peegee Waja Plunge and hits a Sick Kick for the win in 12 minutes. ***This was a fun match that could fit right at home on an ROH TV show. Silas needs a full-time ROH position stat, because he is an untapped resource on the independent scene and his performances have been great since his ROH re-debut in Milwaukee last year. He showed good heel characteristics and his personality immediately set him apart. Roddy can wrestle this type of match in his sleep, but you could say that this showed how Silas Young would fare in a moderately short television match. Good stuff.
ROH World Title Match: Kevin Steen (c) vs. Tadarius Thomas
This is a huge opportunity for Thomas, getting an undeserved title match against Mr. Wrestling. I'm not bitching about that or anything, because as predictable as this is, it's a good opportunity to see if hometown boy Thomas is actually any decent.
Steen follows the Code of Honor, only to lariat TD right out of his shoes. Thomas tries to get the upperhand by whipping Steen into the guardrails, but Steen reverses and sends TD flying into the barricades. We head back to the ring where Steen starts toying with the challenger while dicking around with the crowd. He even does a little breakdance and a Capo Kick just to fuck with Thomas, who hits a cartwheel kick to respond. Steen spikes TD on his head with a rope-elevated DDT. Steen gets three 2 counts so he can yell to Todd Sinclair "THAT WAS SIX!" Steen pretty much sprints across the ropes only to put in a chinlock. Thomas looks for a superplex, but Steen bites him and chucks him down...but TD gets the knees up on a Steen-ton Bomb! Thomas catches Steen with a crossbody for 2! TD catches Steen with a Sling Blade for another 2 count. Hey, he's not that bad after all. He actually knows wrestling moves! I kid, I kid. Steen hits his pop-up powerbomb for a close two count, but THOMAS CATCHES HIM WITH A TIGER SUPLEX! That only got a two count obviously, but it's a great spot. Steen nails an F-Cinq, but TD kicks out! Package Piledriver gives Kevin Steen the win in 11 minutes. ***While no Kobashi/Honda (you'll know if you've seen the match) this was exactly what this match needed to be. Steen underestimated TD for the bulk of the match and nearly got caught with his pants down, but he got over a scare and retained cleanly. This proved to me that Tadarius is a lot better than most give him credit for, as well. He sells well, he's agile, and his Capo stuff isn't contrived. This accomplished everything it needed to and I look forward to seeing Thomas grow out of his lowercard position.
Charlie Haas interrupts a match between two really skinny local guys. He takes the mic and sprays beer all over the ref just because he can. Haas says something that's mostly indistinct because of the hecklers in the crowd, but you catch the tail end where Haas basically makes them wrestle him in a handicap match.
Trey Miguel & Brent Daniels vs. Charlie Haas
Brent Daniels is a damn toothpick. He doesn't look like he'd break 150 pounds soaking wet with a brick hanging from his neck.
This hardly even lasts a minute, as Haas wins in short order with a double Haas of Pain. At least they didn't drag it out. N/RIt served its purpose, but there's no reason for this to get a rating. I do enjoy Charlie Haas.
Proving Ground Match: Adam Cole vs. Jimmy Jacobs
I've heard awesome things about this match. I'm glad that Jacobs is wrestling in singles matches again, because he's very underrated and he hasn't wrestling a one-on-one match since March in ROH.
Jacobs snaps off an armbar as I grin at Steve Corino and Nigel McGuinness being on commentary at the same time. Cole and Jacobs go through a fast sequence and Cole comes out on top, so it's not quite a GENERIC INDY STANDOFF!~! Cole nails a jumping neckbreaker to a good pop, but Jacobs kicks him right in the face when he tries to skin the cat. Jacobs hits a tornado suplex for a 2 count and while I'm at it--since the Super Bowl ended right as I'm writing this--fuck you Ray Lewis. Sorry. Jacobs kisses Cole and bitchslaps him, so Cole jumps him and nails a Shining Wizard for 2. HAHAHAHAHAH Kevin Kelly just forgot Caleb Seltzer's name. That's awesome. Jacobs hits an Ace Crusher off of the second rope for a two count. Cole sandbags a super rana, so Jacobs comes off the top only for COLE TO CATCH HIM WITH A BACKSTABBER IN MID-AIR! Jacobs puts in End Time, but Cole counters with a superkick. Cole looks for a knee brainbuster, but JACOBS COUNTERS RIGHT BACK INTO END TIME! Cole breaks it and COUNTERS ANOTHER ONE INTO A KNEE BRAINBUSTER! NEARFALL! Jacobs fights his way onto the apron AND NAILS COLE WITH A CONTRA CODE ON THE APRON! Man, this match is great. "Look out for the deaf photographer." - Corino. "I don't think he heard you." - Kevin Kelly. "Kevin Kelly!" - Corino. Kelly - "I meant Jacobs." - Kelly. HA! We head back to the ring where Jimmy desperately tries for another Contra Code, but Cole counters into a snake eyes! Cole cracks Jimmy with a superkick, and Jacobs comes back with a Running Hug! Jacobs and Cole trade strikes in the center of the ring until Cole COUNTERS A SPEAR INTO A SUPERKICK! Cole wins with the Florida Key in 18 minutes. ***3/4Man, this was good. Jacobs has been criminally underutilized since he came back 2 years ago, so I'm glad to see that he's getting chances to put on great matches like he did here. Cole is impressive as ever and I hope WWE stays away from him until he really fleshes out as a worker, even though I say that selfishly as an indies fan. Either way, this was a fantastic match that is marred only a little bit by the pandering first couple of minutes. Great stuff.
Michael Elgin vs. Rhino
This is a clash of former H.O.T. members, and it ought to be a pretty awesome heavyweight brawl. If Elgin could cut a decent promo, he'd be on top of the world right now. The guy is insanely talented. Oh yeah, dude needs to nix the mullet too.
Rhino gets on the mic and tells Kevin Kelly that he fucked up the introductions, and blah blah blah Detroit Dearborn Michigan lost my virginity blah blah blah. No one goes down on an early shoulderblock battle and neither man wants to go up for a suplex either, but Rhino gets Elgin up. Elgin dodges a Gore and in a flash, we're outside the ring. They go out into the crowd for a pandering ECW-esque brawl, with throwing of trashcans even. I guess it's okay since it's not like it happens every single show. We're finally back in the ring after five minutes, and an Irish whip sends Rhino into the corner, apparently moving the ring a bit. Rhino dodges a corkscrew senton and they trade strikes in the middle of the ring. Elgin locks on a crossface rather easily in the center of the ring, but Rhino doesn't struggle much to the ropes. Rhino puts Elgin up top and drops him down with a big superplex, which rips up the cover on the mat. We're back to trading strikes in the center of the ring, where Elgin drops Rhino with an enzuigiri and A DEADLIFT GERMAN SUPLEX! That only gets two as even Elgin looks surprised that he pulled that off. GORE GORE GORE!~! NEARFALL! I'm glad they didn't waste that nearfall on some smaller guy, at least. Rhino looks for another Gore, but Elgin telegraphs it and goes back into a crossface. Rhino taps in 15 minutes. ***You could tell that they were in pure house show mode, but they picked it enough during the last few minutes to remedy that for the most part. I think they wasted too much time brawling in the crowd with nothing real significant coming out of it, which marred the quality more than anything else. Everything else served its purpose and it was just fine in the grand scheme of things, but three stars and nothing more.
ROH World Tag Team Titles: The Briscoe Brothers (c) vs. The American Wolves
Oh hell yeah, this is the good stuff. Think about how long it's been since the Briscoes had one of their killer matches that we used to see so much of. Seriously, 2012 was one of their worst years in terms of quality I think, even that Rise and Prove match against Team Ambition ruled. I pray to God Delirious really amps up this tag division because God knows Cornette (and Kenny King I guess) killed it dead.
Mark and Davey start off, and Davey puts on a quick ankle lock, but Mark gets to the bottom rope just as quick. Mark fires off a couple of armdrags and we find ourselves in a GENERIC (except for Mark's chicken squawking) INDY STANDOFF!~! Eddie and Jay tag in and it's more of the same. GENERIC INDY STANDOFF!~! #2 occurs. I think the record for any GENERIC INDY STANDOFF!~! is held by the tremendous tag team main event at Young Wolves Rising last year between Team Ambition and Eddie Edwards & Adam Cole...I think I counted about 7. Don't quote me on that though. Coincidentally that ended up being one of the best ROH matches of 2012. The Wolves start to isolate Jay after the obligatory feeling-out-process. Jay rolls out after tagging his brother in, who flies in with a missile dropkick and a brainbuster. Davey tags in after Eddie finds himself in trouble, and he just goes all kicking machine both of the Briscoes. Davey locks on the Trailer Hitch on Jay, so Mark comes in to try and boot him off...only to find himself in an ankle lock! Mark tags in and it's Redneck Kung-Fu time. He's better than Steven Segal at any rate. Eddie decks Mark with a superkick in the ring while Jay clears out a spot on the timekeeper's table for whatever the hell. Davey hits a missile dropkick on Mark for a two count, but Jay slips in to break up the pinfall. Mark starts fighting back and trades strikes with Davey in the ring, and he gets the upperhand with a Saito Suplex. Jay tags in and goes to work with rapid fire jabs on Davey and a Falcon Arrow on Eddie. Mark goes up top for the Froggy 'Bow, but Davey distracts him. That earns Richards a superkick, and Eddie eats a Froggy 'Bow anyway. The Briscoes look for a Doomsday Device, but Davey stops that by superplexing Mark. Eddie and Jay trade strikes in the middle of the ring, and Jay turns Eddie inside out with a lariat. Mark dropkicks Davey into the turnbuckles after Davey takes Jay out with a double stomp. They're all four in the ring now, so the Wolves solve that problem with STEREO TOPE SUICIDAS~! Eddie outs in an Achilles Lock on Jay in the ring, while Richards puts Mark in a kneebar. The Wolves looks for a Doomsday Device, but MARK KNOCKS DAVEY THROUGH THE TIMEKEEPER'S TABLE~! DOOMSDAY DEVICE BY THE BRISCOES! EDDIE KICKS OUT! JAY DRILLER! The Briscoes retain their titles in 25 minutes. ***1/2Total house show mode again, but these guys' 80% is most wrestler's 110%, so it's not like I'm ragging on them. They didn't re-invent the wheel or do any spots we haven't seen before, but they provided a good main event, which is all they needed to do. Now if this was an iPPV match, I'd be a little disappointed, but why bitch about a perfectly satisfactory house show match? It's probably the Briscoe's best stuff since Rise and Prove last year, so there's that. I will admit that I was expecting more, but I'm not disappointed. Good stuff
The 411: With ROH house shows, you don't always have much to sink your teeth into. Yes, this show was consistently good and Jacobs/Cole ruled, but nothing else of significance really happened. That being said, I enjoyed this more than any ROH house show since last year's Homecoming 2012 if I recall that being as good as I remember. Don't pick this up thinking you'll get something that defines an era, but for 2 and 1/2 hours of solid, fun wrestling, I recommend this a lot. Thumbs up.