ROH Border Wars – 12/5/12 By Adam Timmins

Posted: November 8, 2012 in Uncategorized


Typically with an ROH iPPV we begin by noting what a disaster the PPV streaming was. Following SITS, ROH decided to ditch Go Fight Live and move the production of iPPV’s in-house. By all accounts the problem wasn’t the stream per-se, but the fact the ROH server couldn’t cope with everyone trying to log into it. The company did apologise afterwards and make restitution, but still, you can imagine the impression it makes considering the product is at an all time low in the eyes of the wrestling world.

Eddie Edwards vs. Rhynoa solid opener. Rhyno’s a solid, if bland worker, but Edwards was able to work around him to produce a good match. Edwards rolls up Rhyno at 10.53 after Martini accidentally distracts the latter. Rhyno threatens to deck Martini afterwards, but Truth pays him off.

The Young Bucks & Mike Mondo vs. Kenny King, Rhett Titus & TJ Perkins – a six-man tag which sagged a little bit in the middle: but the start and the finish were extremely exciting. King and Titus hit the Doomsday Blockbuster on Matt, and Perkins finishes him off with the 450 splash at 11.57. That reminded me of some of the ROH undercard matches in the good old days!

Jay Lethal vs. Tomasso Ciampa – I wasn’t particularly enthused for another Lethal vs. Ciampa bout, but this one turned into a little corker. A mini-brawl provides a nice preamble to the bout itself. Archibald Peck takes a tremendous bump off the apron at one point: he is so wasted in ROH. Lethal makes the early-onset Huntington’s comeback and hits the Lethal Bizzle; but Peck drags the referee out of the ring. Lethal hits the BM Funkster, but only gets two. Lethal then hits ten over the knee back-breakers as part of a super-Max Weber combo to finally land the three at 10.50. Can’t argue with the match itself, but I’m still slightly bemused as how a Ciampa/ Lethal feud over the TV title can end with Ciampa losing his undefeated streak, and Roderick Strong being the TV champ.

Lance Storm vs. Mike Bennett – a rematch from SITS Day One, and like that one, this was a solid effort. Bennett tries to use a steel chair, but it backfires and Storm wallops him across the back with it. He then follows up with the superkick at 12.34. Why Storm couldn’t go over clean in Canada – especially as they knew they were going to book a rubber match on the TV show – requires some of that Cornette logic to explain. But still, the crowd seemed happy enough.

Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin – let’s get the booking gaffe out of the way first. Cole desperately needs wins, yet is booked in a match where he’s clearly destined to do yet another job. Secondly, Cole is supposed to be babyface; Elgin a heel – yet they book this match in Canada where Elgin will be cheered because he’s Canadian. #SmokeyMountainofHonor. Anyway, the good news is that this match was very good indeed, better than Cole’s match with Richards at Rising Above. Although Cole ended up doing the job, he looked quite competitive in doing so. Elgin picked up the win at 13.54 with Spin City. If ROH has a future, it surely lies with these two guys.

Roderick Strong vs. Fit Finlay – I enjoyed this one, but a lot of people didn’t, and I can understand why. I think most people were expecting a Finlay/Callihan style knock-down-drag-out affair, whereas this was completely different, much more slow-paced and deliberate. If I wanted to be cynical I suppose you might say that it says a lot that Finlay had a real cutting-edge match in EVOLVE, but not in ROH: but then, we have plenty of time to go into ROH booking failures before the card’s end. Credit to Nigel McGuinness on commentary, who was amazing in the way he talked about Finlay and British wrestling. So nice to have a wrestling commentator who actually, y’know, knows stuff about wrestling. Strong gets the win with the Flying Yakuza at 17.15.

The Briscoe Brothers vs. World’s Greatest Tag Team – Fight Without Honor – hard to know where to begin here. This is the umpteenth match between the Briscoes and WGTT, and everyone is sincerely hoping it will be the last, as the FWH stipulation would seem to indicate. Like the last couple of WGTT/ Briscoes matches, this was a decent effort while never threatening to become a classic. There were a couple of bizarre spots: the electric chair move that Shelton give Jay through a table just looked odd. But they didn’t really detract from anything. But the finish…Charlie Haas sprays a towel with what is said to be ether, and holds it over Mark’s face for the win at 15.09, to become tag team champions. Man, if you’d have set out to construct a finish where the purpose was to shit on your own fans, you couldn’t have done a better job. Let me quote the words of a guy called Kevin Ford who reviews ROH a lot, as I couldn’t have put it better than he did: “when a large percentage of your fan base is getting behind the “Ring of Smoky Mountain” insult for your company, a finish like this only adds credence to the naysayers. This was a huge slap in the face to the fans, and now the belts are back in the hands in a team people have long since given up on caring about.” Amen to that.

Kevin Steen vs. Davey Richards – fortunately the bad taste left by the previous farce had disappeared by the end of this match, which was a scorcher. For me this was better than Richards vs. Elgin; at times the atmosphere was reminiscent of Punk vs. Aries at DBD3. Richards is a far better heel than babyface, and got to play the heel here as you would expect. For once, Steen completely cut the clowning and got on with things, and the result was a truly epic title match. And importantly, the result was right; Steen winning with the Package Piledriver at 24.24. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, this was a reminder of how good ROH used to be, and maybe – a BIG maybe – can be again.

Overall – take the tag title match out of the equation, and you have a card which wouldn’t look to shabby compared with some of ROH’s stuff from the glory days. A one-off fluke or a sign of recovery? The rest of 2012 will tell I guess….


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