Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s ROH on Sinclair recap. If you all are ready, then let’s get on with the show!
Video is shown highlighting last week’s match between Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly and the post-match brawl between Team Richards & The House of Truth.
Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness welcome us to the show from the Davis Arena in Louisville, KY. Kelly & McGuinness hype the main event “Proving Ground” match between Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team and The C & C Wrestle Factory.
We go to the ring where ROH Executive Producer Jim Cornette brings out “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards, who will be the man to challenge Davey Richards for the ROH World Title at Final Battle. Edwards says that the fans have been wondering when we will see Richards/Edwards 3, but now it will be at Final Battle. Edwards says he won the 1st time, Richards won the 2nd time, so this will be the rubber match of the Wolves. Edwards says he knows the type of training that Team Richards does and how much of a maniac Richards is. So because of that, Edwards says that he has a new head trainer who is teaching him new things. Cornette wants to know who this trainer is, but Edwards says that we will know in due time. Edwards says that the last time they met in the ring, Richards won the match. At Final Battle, there will be two wolves, but only one beast.
Davey Richards makes his way to the ring and they shake hands. Cornette asks Richards if he has any comments. Richards asks Edwards if they are going to do this one more time for one of the few titles that mean anything in this business. Richards says that it is befitting in the era of the American Wolves that they go out with a bang. Richards says that he has one small piece of business to attend to. Richards says that there are a few guys that he doesn’t like, that the fans don’t like, that Jim Cornette doesn’t like, and that Edwards probably doesn’t like. Richards says that he is talking about The House of Truth. Davey says that they should do it one more time as the American Wolves. Edwards says that is all well and good, but he tells Richards to remember that when the fans would chant ‘Next World Champ’ during their matches, they were talking about him as the next World Champ. If the fans chant that again, Richards will know who they are talking about.
During commercial, we see a video promoting Final Battle as Kevin Kelly interviews the Briscoes regarding their Tag Team Title match against Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team. Jay Briscoe says that at Final Battle, they will become the 7-time ROH Tag Team Champions.
Back from commercial, Kevin Kelly talks about the Richards/Edwards match at Final Battle and what this means now for Roderick Strong. Video is shown of Edwards’ match with Michael Elgin a couple of weeks back.
Video is shown where Truth Martini is telling Michael Elgin that his job is to tell the Truth even when it hurts. He says that it hurts Elgin to let people down. Elgin agrees. Martini reminds Elgin that he was in the car with his brother and he could have easily taken the keys from him but Elgin chose not to and he will have to live with that for a long time. The words he said to his father the last time he spoke to him were words of anger and he never got the chance to apologize. Martini says that Elgin let Strong down. If Elgin had beaten Eddie Edwards, Strong might be champion right now. Martini says that he can take all of the anger away but it is up to Elgin to do what he knows what he has to do. Martini says that people say that God made everyone equal, and Elgin says that they were wrong.
Video is shown of pre-match comments from Shiloh Jonze, who is an OVW regular. Jonze says that for 2 years, he has working hard to get the chance to make a name for himself. Tonight is that chance, and he will either win, or die trying.
“Unbreakable” Michael Elgin w/Truth Martini vs. Shiloh Jonze
Elgin drives Jonze into the corner to start things and drills him with shoulders to the gut and clubs to the back. Elgin with a hard forearm blow to the chest and then Irish whips Jonze to the corner. Elgin charges, but Jonze is able to get out of the way. Jonze tries to come back with right hands, but Elgin shoves him away. Jonze comes back in, but Elgin lifts him up, and drives him chest first to the mat. Jonze tries to pick himself back up in the corner, as Elgin gets ready to charge. Elgin charges, and connects with a running avalanche, then brings Jonze to the other corner and drives him headfirst off the top turnbuckle. Elgin goes up to the middle turnbuckle and connects with a flying shoulder tackle for a nearfall. Elgin with another club to the back, as Jonze then tries to fight back with a gut shot. Jonze with a back elbow and another gut shot, but Elgin shoves him hard into the corner. Elgin charges and hits a running forearm, then Irish whips Jonze to the other corner. Elgin charges again, but this time Jonze gets the boot up. Jonze goes up to the middle rope, and tries to hit a tornado DDT. However, Elgin, using his raw power, blocks it in mid-move and scoops up Jonze and connects with a powerslam for a nearfall. Elgin with a club to the chest and then locks in a seated surfboard. Louisville crowd tries to will on Jonze, who gets back to his feet and breaks the hold with a jawbreaker, stunning Elgin. Jonze hits 2 clotheslines on Elgin, but Elgin doesn’t go down. Jonze goes off the ropes, and tries for a Sunset Flip, but Elgin is too strong. However, when Elgin tries to go for a Banzai Drop, Jonze gets out of the way. Jonze goes up top, and connects with a flying forearm, but only gets a 1 count. Jonze tries for an Irish whip, but Elgin uses his power to block it. Elgin then breaks Jonze’s grip, and drills him with a backfist. Elgin lifts him up and connects with the Buckle Bomb.
Elgin then lifts up Jonze and scores with the 360* Powerbomb for the win.
Winner: “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin w/Truth Martini by pinfall (360* Powerbomb)
Elgin & Martini celebrate the win as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial, we go to this week’s “Inside ROH” with Kevin Kelly. The first thing that they discuss is the demand by the fans for the return of Kevin Steen. Kelly mentions that Jim Cornette has banned the mention of Steen’s name on television. We go to comments from Jim Cornette from last week’s show. Kelly mentions that Jim Cornette was served with papers and Cornette will respond in due time. Video is then shown from Kevin Steen’s legal team and he says that they have obtained a temporary injunction to allow Kevin Steen to return to Ring of Honor. They claim that Jim Cornette has engaged in coercion, misrepresentation, fraud, and collusion with referees licensed in New York to influence the outcome of a sporting event. They will also sue Ring of Honor if they find out that they are part of the conspiracy. They give Jim Cornette four weeks to make a settlement offer or they will make more details of Cornette’s misconduct available to the public. The only acceptable settlement is the full reinstatement of Kevin Steen to the Ring of Honor roster.
Steen says that his attorney told everyone what they are doing but he wants to tell Cornette why they are doing this. He says that he is finally doing things Cornette’s way. Cornette told him if he was not happy with what Cornette was doing, that he should sue him. That is why he went to Louisville to sue him. If he was doing things his way, he would just beat the s*** out of Cornette, but his attorneys would get him off. Steen says that Cornette is lucky that he did not add slander for calling him insane. Kevin says that he thinks that it is just a different point of view on things. Cornette says that he is keeping Steen out of Ring of Honor because Steen is a danger to the company. Steen says that they are keeping him out of the company because he will not lay down, roll over, and play dead like everyone else. Steen says that he is not going away. Steen says that he is sick of not being in the best wrestling company in the world because he belongs there. The best people could not be controlled. Steen says that there are a few things that he wants to do when he gets back. He wants to see his good old buddy Steve Corino. Steen says that Corino is the legend who neutered himself because of Cornette. Steen also wants to see Jimmy Jacobs who is trying to get a career revival out of this by following Corino around like a cute little puppy. Steen says he is coming back for El Generico because he said that he was going to be a never ending nightmare for him. Steen says he is going to prove that he is the best until Jim Cornette admits it. Steen says he does not care if it means beating up Davey Richards, something that nobody else can do, but that is what is going to happen. When he stands in front of Cornette with the World Title, Cornette will have to admit that he belongs.
Kelly turns the attention to the TV Title situation between Jay Lethal and Mike Bennett. Kelly mentions the potential controversy over Bennett refusing to wrestle for five more minutes after their time limit draw. Bennett says that he did not run away, and that he is not a coward. Bennett says that he did not go back into the match because he already beat Lethal. Footage is shown of the last half minute of the match while Bennett talks about how the referee refused to stop the match. Bennett says that he was not going to continue the match with that referee because he was screwed already. Bennett says that with him as television champion, he would triple the ratings, especially with the women demographic. Bennett demands a rematch as soon as possible, but with a different referee.
Referee Todd Sinclair says that Bennett was all over Lethal but Lethal was defending himself and Lethal refused to give up. Sinclair says that he does not care if Bennett has a problem with his decision during that match. Jay Lethal says that Mike Bennett’s ego is so big that he cannot see around it to know what really happened. Lethal mentions that when he missed the elbow, Lethal says it messed him up and it gave Bennett the chance to capitalize but Bennett did not hurt him. Lethal says that he waited for that one opportunity and he said that he was not ready to give up.
Kevin Kelly finishes the segment by saying next week’s “Inside ROH” will take a look at “The Crimes of Kevin Steen” as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial, we see highlights from last week’s main event as The Briscoes defeated The All Night Express to become #1 Contenders to the ROH Tag Team Titles. Kelly & McGuinness then hype up the 2 big matches at Final Battle, then take us to a video discussing what the Proving Ground is all about.
Jim Cornette says that they want to give the fans great matches and have the champions face the best competition. The champion cannot defend their title all the time so they have the Proving Ground system. A credible opponent, whether in Ring of Honor or outside the roster, can challenge a champion to a match. If ROH approves, they will get a match with a set time limit. If the wrestler wins the match or goes to a time limit draw, they will get a contract for a title match within the next 90 days.
Ring Announcer Bobby Cruise gives the pre-match introductions of both teams in the main event before we go to commercial.
During the commercial break, we see another video promoting Final Battle as Jim Cornette interviews Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team regarding their match with the Briscoes at Final Battle. Charlie Haas says that it isn’t about wrestling, or a Code of Honor, its about a vendetta with The Briscoes. Shelton Benjamin says that at Final Battle, it will be The Briscoes’ Final Battle.
Main Event in The Proving Ground: ROH Tag Team Champions Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) vs. The C & C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander)
Before the match gets underway, we see a “Tale of the Tape” graphic. Both teams adhere to the Code of Honor as the bell sounds. Benjamin & Coleman will start things off for their respective teams. “Let’s go Shelton” chants from the crowd as they lock up. Benjamin with a side headlock as Coleman Irish whips him. Benjamin knocks him down with a shoulder tackle. Lock-up and Benjamin with a waistlock into a side headlock and then takes down Coleman. Coleman counters with a headscissors but Benjamin bridges out and goes back to the side headlock. Coleman slips out of it and locks in a hammerlock. Benjamin gets back up to his feet and counters with a hammerlock of his own. Benjamin takes down Coleman with the hammerlock and his knee driven into Coleman’s back. Coleman gets out of the hold and back to his feet, applying a wristlock to Benjamin. Benjamin uses the ropes to spring off and armdrags Coleman, breaking the hold. Benjamin keeps the grip out of the armdrag and goes into an armbar, but Coleman is able to get to the ropes to break it. Both men back up to their feet as Benjamin delivers a knee to the gut, then Irish whips Coleman. Coleman ducks Benjamin’s clothesline attempt and springs off the middle ropes, looking for a cross body. However, Benjamin catches him and sets him up for a scoop slam, but Coleman lands on his feet and waistlocks Benjamin. Coleman tries to go for the O’Connor roll, but Benjamin holds on to the ropes. Benjamin charges for a running boot attempt, but Coleman ducks and leg sweeps Benjamin. Coleman goes off the ropes, looking for a Shining Wizard, but Benjamin ducks and as Coleman goes back off the ropes, he stops in his tracks and we have a stalemate.
Benjamin is impressed by the ability of Coleman as he makes the tag to Haas. Haas waistlocks Coleman and takes him down. Haas with a Gator roll, then locks in a front chancery. Coleman gets back up to his feet, as Haas wrenches out his arm, then drives his shoulder into Coleman’s shoulder. Haas with a club to the back, then drives another shoulder. Haas takes down Coleman, and applies a wristlock, with his knee driven into the side of Coleman’s head. Coleman fights out with kicks to the head of Haas, then kips up and armdrags Haas, breaking the hold. Coleman makes the tag to Alexander, who scores with a running dropkick, taking Haas’ leg out from under him. Coleman hits a leg drop across the back of Haas’ neck, and Alexander gets a nearfall. Haas goes to the corner to collect himself as Alexander gets ready to charge. Alexander charges, and connects with a running knee in the corner. Alexander with a forearm and a chop as Benjamin blind tags in. Alexander with an Irish whip, but Haas reverses. Haas sets up for a back body drop, but Alexander counters with a Tiger flip. However, Alexander doesn’t realize that Benjamin was tagged in, and Benjamin drills with a superkick to the ribs, and Haas nails him with a running boot for a nearfall.
Benjamin brings Alexander to his side of the ring, and applies a leglock. Benjamin makes the tag to Haas and Haas stomps the leg of Alexander. Haas kicks the back of Alexander’s leg, then leg drops it. Haas with a kick to the face of Alexander, as Alexander tries to fight back with gut shots. Haas comes right back with a shot to the gut, then back heel trips Alexander down, while holding on to his injured leg. Haas brings him over to the corner, and goes up to the middle turnbuckle. Haas comes off and hits a leg snap maneuver on Alexander, who is writhing in pain. Haas gets a nearfall and goes for a half crab as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial, Alexander fights back on Benjamin with gut shots and right hands, but Benjamin comes right back with forearms and drills Alexander with a kick to the chest for a nearfall. We see that during the commercial, Alexander tries to fight back on Benjamin, but Benjamin kicked him square in Alexander’s injured knee. Back to live action, as Benjamin as a rear naked choke applied on Alexander as Coleman tries to get the crowd behind him. Alexander gets back to his feet and breaks Benjamin’s grip with back elbows. However, Benjamin drop toe holds him right back down and brings Alexander back over to his side of the ring as he tags back in Haas. Haas delivers a stiff kick to the ribs of Alexander, and then a knee to the small of the back. Haas stomps on the injured leg of Alexander, then kicks him in the head. Haas locks in a half crab, then steps over and squats down, using all of his weight to do further damage to the leg of Alexander. Alexander, however, is able to reach the ropes, forcing Haas to break the hold. Haas stomps away at Alexander, but as Alexander tries to fight back with gut shots, Haas drills him with a right hand. Haas lifts Alexander up for a knee breaker, but Alexander counters and rolls up Haas for a nearfall. Haas gets back up and kicks Alexander right in the injured leg, then shoves him into the corner. Haas charges, but Alexander catches him with a back elbow. Alexander goes up to the middle rope and connects with a tornado DDT. Both men are down, as Alexander tries to will himself to get over and make the tag to Coleman. Haas makes the tag to Benjamin, and Alexander makes the tag to Coleman.
Coleman with right hands to Benjamin, then Irish whips him. Benjamin reverses it, but Coleman with a Sunset flip for a nearfall. Benjamin misses a clothesline, and Coleman connects with a leg lariat for another nearfall. Another Irish whip by Coleman, reversed by Benjamin, who sends Coleman to the corner. Coleman though, goes up and over Benjamin but as he charges, Benjamin catches him with a back elbow. Benjamin goes up to the middle rope, but Coleman springs from the mat and brings down Benjamin with a rana. Alexander now in as both men baseball slide dropkick Haas off the apron to the outside. Alexander hits a spin kick to the side of Benjamin’s head, and Coleman connects with another leg lariat for a close nearfall. With 3 minutes left in the 15-minute time limit for this 1st Proving Ground match, Alexander & Coleman double Irish whip Benjamin. Benjamin comes off and Coleman & Alexander miss the double clothesline as Haas pulls Alexander out to the outside. Coleman comes in with a kick to the gut and Irish whips Benjamin. Benjamin reverses the whip and Haas, now back in, waistlocks Coleman and connects with a German Suplex. Alexander back in, misses a clothesline on Haas and Benjamin drills him with a superkick and Haas hotshots him across the top rope. Haas lifts up Alexander across the ropes, setting up for something. Benjamin goes off the ropes and leaps over Haas, connecting with the Leap of Faith onto Alexander, sending him to the outside.
Coleman tries to pick himself back, as Haas & Benjamin lift him up and connect with Wrestling’s Greatest Finisher(Double Team Powerbomb) for the victory with 2 minutes left in the time limit.
Winners: ROH Tag Team Champions Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team by pinfall (Wrestling’s Greatest Finisher)
Both teams shake hands after the match, but are interrupted by The Briscoes, who congratulate Haas & Benjamin on beating the biggest greenhorn rookies on the ROH roster. Jay Briscoe says it won’t go down like that. Jay says at Final Battle, Haas & Benjamin have to face “The Baddest Tag Team on the Planet” aka #DemBoys, and that at Final Battle, The Briscoes will become the 7-time ROH Tag Team Champions. Both teams talk trash to one another as we go to credits.
This week’s episode of Ring of Honor to me was a tale of 2 cities. From a wrestling standpoint, it was just 2 showcase matches getting over Haas & Benjamin and Michael Elgin in their respective outings, nothing much to it there. On the flip side, from a storyline progression and building the main matches to Final Battle, they did a good job on this episode.
First, they started the tension between Richards/Edwards, which has been building for some time, and it will reach its climax with 1 of the 2 turning heel. The question is which one you turn. The obvious choice looking at things is Edwards, the person in the shadow of Richards, the fans’ choice to be champion. However, 9 times out of 10, in ROH’s history when a champion has been a babyface, usually before the end of their reign they turn heel. It happened with Black, Nigel, Danielson, Punk, etc. So while I think it will be Edwards that turns, especially with the new wrinkle of his “new head trainer” that will be revealed at a later date, I think there is a possibility that Richards turns, much to the chagrin of the fans, to continue that trend. Will see at Final Battle.
Like the continued zealot, mind control stuff that Martini continues to bring out with his character in the promo backstage with Elgin. Elgin is the monster that Martini programs and it will just be IMO, a matter of time Elgin snaps and breaks away from Martini and becomes his own man as a single babyface in ROH. But, what Martini does to convey his character is really good, it reminds me in a lot of ways of a new-age Jim Mitchell, where he manipulates guys to do his bidding, but unlike Mitchell, Martini doesn’t have the “devil” overtones that Mitchell had, but instead is using this “life intervention” gimmick to be almost a new-age Mitchell, and that to me, has been really fun to watch. Good stuff.
While I think it’s a little goofy with the whole lawyer stuff, I did like a lot the Kevin Steen promo. Steen, to me, is one of the best right now at portraying a character. He is so natural as this madman with his demeanor in his speech, the tone he uses where he can go from being quiet to raising his voice at the drop of a hat, just really good stuff.
The promo work of Bennett explaining why he left and didn’t ask for 5 more minutes with Lethal was solid, Bennett has been real good on the mic since coming into ROH and the whole gimmick with him and Evans, as the mentor/head student combo works really well, and it gives off a lot of heat to the ROH fans who think Bennett can’t wrestle, that its all the better when he shows that he can. Bennett is the perfect anti-ROH guy for these ROH fans to boo, and he gets better each and every time out on his in-ring work, and the cocky, “I’m better than you” persona that he wants to portray to the fans.
Briscoes at the end, were good here by saying to Haas & Benjamin, yeah you went 13 minutes with a couple of rookies, which Coleman & Alexander honestly are at least on the ROH roster, but it ain’t gonna be that easy against us, and we ain’t losing. Feud here has been nicely built between the two teams since Best in the World, and the Briscoes, ever since turning heel back in March, have done a great job at getting over their bully, redneck characters over to the crowd, although this Louisville crowd just didn’t want to boo them at all, which can happen from time to time. However, in New York, they are ALWAYS booed, so it should be interesting to see what goes down in this match as Haas & Benjamin have been solid in their ROH run in the ring, on promos they continue to show why they never got chances to move up the ladder in WWE because they are not good at it. However, this tag match should be really good and something I am looking forward to see.
In conclusion, wrestling-wise, not a show I’d recommend viewing this week, it was just there with 2 showcase matches. However, from a storyline standpoint, if you want to get caught up in what is taking place on the Final Battle iPPV, then this is a show I’d recommend as it continued and started a lot of things that will climax at Final Battle.
My Grade: B-
Well, that will do it for me this week, I want to thank you all for reading the recap and I will be back next week for more Ring of Honor!