Ring of Honor 11th Anniversary iPPV Preview
Written by: Jason Namako of Wrestleview.com
Tonight, Ring of Honor presents its 1st iPPV of 2013 with its 11th Anniversary show from the Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge, Illinois. This will also be the 1st ROH iPPV in the WrestleView predictions game. So, this will be a preview for readers & staff members who are not avid viewers of the ROH TV product that airs online. I also in this preview have th help of fellow staff member, Anthony Valvo, who gives his predictions for tonight's show. So, without further adieu, let's get to the matches!
6-Man Mayhem: ACH vs. Tadarius Thomas vs. Silas Young vs. Adam Page vs. Mike Sydal vs. QT Marshall
These are the 6 guys who did not win the 2013 Top Prospect Tournament that took place during ROH TV in the months of January & February, but they will still receive an opportunity to impress on iPPV. ACH is from Texas and has recently signed an ROH contract, due to his very innovate high-flying style. Tadarius Thomas is known for his unique Capoiera fighting style and made it to the finals of the Top Prospect Tournament. Thomas also has had impressive performances in matches with the 2 guys in the main event, Kevin Steen & Jay Lethal. Silas Young is a veteran of the mid-west independent scene, mainly for the AAW promotion in Illinois. Silas is known as the "last real man in pro wrestling" and brings a smash-mouth style in his matches and his trash talk. Adam Page is a newcomer from the Carolinas, but has had impressive performances in matches with Jay Lethal & Mike Bennett. Mike Sydal is the younger brother of WWE star Evan Bourne, but his look wouldn't suggest that as he looks like a very young Jeff Jarrett. Sydal's nickname is "Rock & Roll" and his "balls to the wall" attitude he brings to his matches would suggest that. Finally, QT Marshall, or "God's Gift", has been in ROH for about a year and now has Barrister RD Evans, formerly the manager of Tomasso Ciampa, as his new manager. Marshall has an old-school flair to him and his ability to incite a crowd brings out his potential.
I see this being a fun opener and while there many ways they can go with the winner, my choice is to the one that has gotten the most time to shine so far.
Jason's Pick: Tadarius Thomas
Mr. V - I will be honest, I don’t know too much about Page and Thomas so I won’t extend any further than I saw them a couple times and they are not bad talents to have on a potentially depleting ROH roster. I’ve heard of Mike Sydal, who happens to be the brother of WWE’s Evan Bourne and outside of what I saw in recent months I recall him as a “jobber” during the HDNet era.
However, I am pretty familiar with the other group of wrestlers. ACH is a hot prospect in the Independent promotions who happens to be one of the most athletic wrestlers in the world right now. He had an incredible showing last month in National Pro Wrestling Day and now has a contract with ROH. Personally, this guy will make one completely forget about Kenny King in terms of character and talent. Marshall I believe is still associated with R.D. Evans and while I feel that he needs a lot of work, he does have a great character that will get the crowd against him. Young will bring a wide array of wrestling skills as well. While not the most charismatic wrestler, he will hold his own in this Six Man Mayhem Match.
In the end, I think the moment they “signed” ACH that they have big things for him. I am on board and if I was the booker ACH gets the push out of these six wrestlers.
Mr. V's Pick: ACH
Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. S.C.U.M. (Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs)
These 2 teams have been feuding for a few months, 1st meeting in the Tag Title Semi-Finals at the Death before Dishonor X iPPV back in September, with SCUM getting the win and eventually winning the titles. They would face-off as part of the 3-way match at Final Battle that saw the Briscoes win the Tag Titles. Recently, with the addition of Rhino to SCUM and rekindling his friendship with Steve Corino, SCUM has laid out Coleman & Alexander multiple times on ROH TV, thanks to the Gore from Rhino. Coleman & Alexander are a team on the rise, much like the All Night Express 2 years ago, while Corino & Jacobs are ROH veterans. However, while I see a lot of promise in C & C, the addition of Rhino will prove to be too much for them to overcome.
Jason's Pick: SCUM
Mr. V - This is a match that has many contrasting factors, but it will work.
Corino and Jacobs are characters with talent to boot. Both guys are still keeping their SCUM faction strong and while the wins are not always there they can still hype up their upcoming matches by amazing promos. Expect them to slow the match down to a crawl against Coleman and Alexander.
A year ago, I was shaky about Coleman and Alexander (mainly Alexander). However, I think Alexander developed into a fine young wrestler that is one to watch. His biggest improvement is his timing. He’s timed his spots well and this match is a reward for him. Coleman is a great mentor for Alexander, and for (hopefully) the entire ROH roster. Coleman may be up there age, but he wrestles like a guy in his 20s and holds his own. I think he is (outside of Michael Elgin) the most underrated wrestler in ROH.
They had a minor feud recently, and with SCUM still wanting to dominate ROH I think the evil faction ends up as the winner. So SCUM takes the match, but it may be one of the best matches on the card. Keep an eye on all four wrestlers. They could have the match of the night.
Mr. V's Pick: SCUM
No Holds Barred: Charlie Haas vs. BJ Whitmer
This feud started back at Final Battle when Charlie Haas suplexed Whitmer through a table off the top rope, with Whitmer landing head-first and suffering a stinger in his neck. When Whitmer received a TV Title shot on ROH TV in January, this incensed Haas, who is now known as the "Outlaw" and goes on rants on multiple YouTube videos on the ROH YouTube channel about what p***es him off. Haas would attack a young, skinny ROH attendant named Brandel, or as Haas called him, Chesseburger. Then, the Haas/Whitmer feud would get real violent 2 weeks ago on ROH TV with the following video:
Now tonight, these two square off in a No Holds Barred match. While I believe Haas is doing some of the best character work of his career with the "Outlaw" persona, I think that finally, Whitmer will get some payback on Haas and win this brutal contest.
Jason's Pick: BJ Whitmer
Mr. V - There is a story to this match that lasted for a few months, and every time Haas appeared to gain the upper hand. Both wrestlers are seasoned veterans in professional wrestling with Whitmer gaining exposure in ROH and Japan. Hass had a moderately successful run in the WWE years ago and is an established heel in ROH after showing that intensity that he sorely lacked while touring with the WWE.
Now, as I mentioned before Haas gained advantages left and right against Whitmer and rightfully so. Haas is the star. However, when one booked a feud that went on for months you have to throw WHITMER a victory. In this No Holds Barred match, with no real associates for Haas anymore I say Whitmer finally gets a chance to shine.
Mr. V's Pick: BJ Whitmer
Dream Tag Team Match: The American Wolves (Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards) vs. The Forever Hooligans (Rocky Romero & Alex Kozlov)
Now while I don't personally consider this a "dream" tag match, there is history here as Davey Richards & Rocky Romero are former ROH & IWGP Tag Team Champions as part of the No Remorse Corps, winning the ROH titles in 2008 and the IWGP Jr. Tag Titles in 2011 and 2012 on 2 occasions. The Forever Hooligans, who began teaming after Richards left New Japan, are also former IWGP Jr. Tag Champions, losing the titles recently to KUSHIDA and former TNA star Alex Shelley. The Hooligans will also be a part of the ROH TV Tapings the next day, receiving a Tag Title shot, so while you look at this match on its face and think the Wolves, who have recently reunited, would go over, due to the Hooligans receiving a title shot on the TV Tapings, it wouldn't make sense for them to lose in their 1st match, so I have the Hooligans going over.
Jason's Pick: The Forever Hooligans
Mr. V - All four wrestlers are seasoned and could make for a very athletic contest. The American Wolves are up there with The Briscoes as one of the best tag teams in the history of ROH. That is understandable, Both Richards and Edwards have complemented themselves well and show respect for each other. This team is mainly about reputation and nostalgia, but there is nothing wrong with that.
Romero and Koslov are not new to the game. Romero was an integral part to ROH’s early success and has been performing all over the world. Koslov’s career is also impressive since his time in WWE Developmental. Both are perfect for The Wolves, they will be wrestling their end of the match and are pretty good storytellers as well.
Now I am going to pick THE FOREVER HOOLIGANS and here is why. The American Wolves have nothing to neither gain or lose in this match. The Hooligans are booked to have a tag team title match in the future and when booking a company I feel that you have to keep the contenders strong. Hooligans prevail.
Mr. V's Pick: The Forever Hooligans
2/3 Falls (Truth Martini banned from ringside): Michael Elgin vs. Roderick Strong
This feud has been going on for a while as both men were part of Martini's House of Truth. Elgin turned on Strong back in September and was showing signs of a face turn following. Strong then attacked Elgin after Elgin's match with Kevin Steen in October on iPPV. At Final Battle, the two finally met, but they had both broke away from Martini before the match. Martini would go to help Strong win the match, but Strong told Martini off afterwards and then Elgin attacked Martini after Martini slapped Elgin. Strong has since won 2 more matches against Elgin, pinning him in a 4-way elimination match at Defy or Deny II and as part of a 6-man tag last week on ROH TV. By virtue of that, its time for the "Unbreakable" one to get some payback, so I have Elgin going over and I think its very possible he could win in 2 straight falls as well.
Jason's Pick: Michael Elgin
Mr. V - Booking this as a 2 out of 3 falls is a brilliant idea. Also, ROH booking Martini’s ban is great as well. This is no longer about their association with The House of Truth. Both wrestlers are now bigger than a faction, there is nothing to it.
After over a year of feuding within, now both get off to a great start at making the top of the ROH roster again. Strong is already established. He is a World Champion, a Television Champion, and (before his involvement with the H.O.T.) a Tag Team Champion. Strong is a good adversary to Michael Elgin.
Elgin is a powerhouse, and he reminds me of Dr. Death Steve Williams. ROH is based on quickness, and while Elgin has that for his size it is his unique power that makes him a showcase for the brand.
Recently, Strong got the upper hand with the help from Martini and winning in the cheapest ways possible. I think it is time for another changing of the guard. ELGIN should be booked to win this match because ROH really needs to market him as a main event wrestler. I’ve been typing and saying this for months and possibly years. Once he cuts a promo, ROH is set. But that is for a different story.
Mr. V's Pick: Michael Elgin
ROH TV Title: Adam Cole (c) vs. Matt Taven w/Truth Martini
This stems from the 2013 Top Prospect Tournament, that Taven won, thanks to Truth Martini. Martini had been on commentary for all of the tournament, scouting talent. He eventually helped Taven win and convinced Taven to join his House of Truth, which Taven accepted. By virtue of winning the tournament, Taven earns a TV Title match tonight against the long-reigning champion in Cole, who has been involved in a feud with Matt Hardy and will defend his title against him on the TV Tapings tomorrow. I think even if are not an ROH viewer that you can easily tell who is going over here. Taven was the wrong choice to win this tournament and while Martini brings his managerial prowess to the table, it won't be enough for Taven as Adam Cole retains his title and moves on to face his arch-rival in Hardy.
Jason's Pick: Adam Cole
Mr. V - I don’t think I need to go too much into this match. On paper, Cole should easily retain this title, right? He is the #1 prospect (yes, I am going THAT far) that both TNA and the WWE would crave. He can play both a babyface and heel. He has a great moveset to match both characters. If Wrestleview conducts another “Top 10 under 30 years old” list, Cole is in my top spot.
So why is Taven in this match? Well, he won the Top Prospects Tournament with the help from Truth Martini to earn this title shot. I’ve seen a bit of Taven to realize that while he has improved as a wrestler I just don’t think he should be booked as a champion for ROH yet.
However, Cole could lose this match. The reason involves two scenarios:
1) Cole gets an offer by the WWE. Cole had a tryout last month so it is possible.
2) Truth Martini aids Taven, and BOOM Taven is TV champion.
I think the title will be changing hands…but not at this show. ADAM COLE retains the championship, then probably drops it to someone on ROH television. Cole will be successful, but will Taven? That is the question I want answered.
Mr. V's Pick: Adam Cole
ROH Tag Team Titles: The Briscoes (c's) vs. reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly)
This is the Briscoes 1st title defense on iPPV since winning the titles at Final Battle. reDRagon, who formed as a team a few months ago, won the right to challenge for the titles in a 4-team Gauntlet match, last beating the American Wolves, a few weeks ago on ROH TV. While I like the new team of Fish & O'Reilly and the fact that both have improved in their characters and in the ring since forming a team, #DemBoys will be too much to overcome and they retain the titles.
Jason's Pick: The Briscoes
Mr. V - I should be excited for this tag team match, as I believe ROH produces the best tag team wrestling out of the big three US promotions. Jay and Mark are the foundation tag team and easily the most recognizable team in ROH. They prove that as the 8-Time ROH Tag Team Champions. Mark brings the quickness and charisma, while Jay brings the no-nonsense attitude and power. Together, no team can compare this early in 2013.
Fish and O’Reilly are fine young wrestlers. Both mesh well with each other, as they use MMA backgrounds and work on their opposition with submissions and strikes. The weakness with these guys (when I watched them) is the lack of selling. They will have to do a better job with that against The Briscoes to keep the fans invested in this match.
Long story short, I think THE BRISCOES retain. They are a complete machine who I think need a long run unless they want to wrestle as singles competitors (which is unlikely and I am fine with that). Fish is a good wrestler and O’Reilly is improving, but they are not ready to hold a championship. It should be booked as the up and coming team “just missing it”.
Mr. V's Pick: The Briscoes
Main Event for the ROH World Title: Kevin Steen (c) vs. Jay Lethal
This has been a long time coming, dating back to October at the "Killer Instinct" show in Lethal's hometown of Rahway, New Jersey where Lethal faced Steen for the title and nearly had the match won when Steen spit at Lethal's parents and Lethal snapped, causing the match to be thrown out. Lethal then attacked Jim Cornette backstage after the match and caused Cornette's departure from ROH. Lethal won Survival of the Fittest 2012, but Steen had made demands after the Lethal match that he would not defend the title against Michael Elgin on iPPV unless it was put in contract that Steen would never have to wrestle Lethal again. ROH agreed and so while Lethal earned a ROH World Title match, he could not use it as long as Steen was champion. Lethal became angry and furious, going so far as to spit in match-maker Nigel McGuinness's face at Final Battle, causing Lethal to be removed from the building. Lethal was then told he would have to convince Steen to give him a title shot and when he did on ROH TV in January, Steen shockingly accepted, much to the dismay of Steen's fellow SCUM members.
Since Final Battle, Steen has showed a different side to him. No longer is he the Kevin Steen out to destroy ROH, he is now proud to be the ROH World Champion. Steen explained his actions last week on ROH TV, saying that he was only out to destroy ROH due to what Jim Cornette was doing to it. Steen said he loved and still loves ROH and because Lethal took out Cornette, Steen accepted his challenge to defend the title against him. However, Lethal does not believe Steen's change of heart and thinks its mind games. Finally, the big elephant in the room is the other members of SCUM, who Steen has not been buddy-buddy with in the last 2 months, stealing a win from Rhino in an 8-man tag and preventing Rhino from Goring Lethal.
So, what will go down tonight? Does Lethal win the title? Does Steen take out yet another challenger to his throne? Finally, what role will SCUM play in all of this because Corino has promised that SCUM's numbers will grow tonight? My belief is that the seeds of Steen turning face are set in stone, while Lethal, who has played almost a whiny babyface as of late, a heel turn could be refreshing for him and what better way to do that than to join SCUM. So, I think Jay Lethal wins the ROH World Title tonight and a double-turn goes down that sees Lethal join SCUM and Kevin Steen be kicked out of his own group and going forward, go on a path of redemption in Ring of Honor.
Jason's Pick: Jay Lethal
Mr. V - The feud all started months ago when Steen apparently spit on a family member of Lethal to a point where it became an all-out brawl! Lethal’s been craving a world title shot and Steen finally allowed the match to happen (booking sense, it was designed beautifully…so Gold Star to ROH Booker Delirious).
This match is a classic Brawler vs. High-Flyer match. Steen is unique, but with the Jim Cornette variable no longer on ROH Television Steen is at the crossroads of this gimmick and championship run. He is making decision that questions his alliance with SCUM so that is one to watch. Steen will move outside the ring to have a big “off the barricade” spot in which I feel will give him a lot of control. I think Steen will honestly hold his end of the bargain in this main event.
Lethal is established, and a great addition to the main event for their Anniversary Show. I think it was high time he got another chance at the World Title. Lethal is known for his quickness, but since his return to ROH I felt that he became well-balanced and a great fit to their main event card since his reign as ROH TV Champion, which ended in March of last year. He was a bit lost in the shuffle, but after discovering his “killer instinct” he is ready for a potential World Title run.
However, I don’t think KEVIN STEEN is done as ROH World Champion. He is still the face of ROH and I don’t think Lethal is ready. However, give this feud and deeper story and we may see a new champion during WrestleMania weekend.
So, there you have it, everyone, myself and Mister V's preview and predictions for tonight's ROH iPPV. We will be doing a podcast review of the show for WrestleView VIPs, so if you wanna hear a review of the show, become a VIP at vip.wrestleview.com. Also, if you wanna order tonight's ROH iPPV, go to www.rohwrestling.com/ippv. Tonight, follow me on Twitter @Jason_Namako as I will be live tweeting during the show and finally, I will be in the Wrestleview chatroom at tinychat.com/wrestleview, so come join in the discussion of tonight's ROH iPPV. I look forward to chatting with all of you who decide to check out the show as tonight, let's celebrate honor, let's celebrate ROH's 11th Anniversary because HONOR LIVES!!