Mt. Killamanjaro — @MikeKillam
Off the heels of the 11th Anniversary pay-per-view, the heel faction known as S.C.U.M. – lead by Steve Corino and represented by ROH World Champion Kevin Steen – has grown in numbers, and looks to "kill" the legacy of the Ring of Honor. That show saw the debut of Jimmy Rave and Cliff Compton (Domino), and the turn of a few other stars to th dark side. Tonight's event will pit S.C.U.M. in a series of contests against the company faithful, culminating in Jay Briscoe fighting for Steen's title, for what the long-time ROH veteran considers his family's livelihood.
Charlie Haas and his recent outburst threw a monkey wrench into the undercard of this iPPV, as he was scheduled to face former partner Shelton Benjamin in singles action. Instead we saw the return of Mike Bennett to Ring of Honor – not exactly the technical masterpiece that Haas/Benjamin had the potential to be, but as a big fan of Bennett and "Team Sexy" I was happy to receive this match to fill the void. By the time the finish came around I was growing weary of over-booking and managerial interference, but we'll touch more on that later.
At the start of the night, the story was supposed to be the "big reveal" of Qt Marshall's mystery partner, set to take on the up-and-coming ACH and Tadarius Thomas in tag team action. As polarizing as RD Evans can be on the mic – and you have to admit he can sell a bump and hold his own when he has to – I was expecting more of a surprise to kick off this last week's huge wrestling weekend. It's not that I'm against RD Evans continuing to get himself and Marshall over, but they ended up losing anyways, and bringing in an outside name for a one-time appearance could have been a huge way to put over ACH and Thomas. For what it's worth, I enjoyed their match, and the young team needs to continue working together. Both guys are human highlight reals, and they have great chemistry that I want to see explored in the next few months; particularly with the ROH tag roster thinning out as of late.
In a fantastic singles match with future ROH World title implications, Michael Elgin and Jay Lethal – as per usual – tore the house down. Certainly one of the best matches of the weekend; THE match to watch according to Dave Metlzer, who seems to be a permanent passenger on the Elgin train. And why not? I don't remember the last time he had a bad match, and Lethal is able to perform at such a high level consistently, that they were bound to put on a great contest.
Personally, and this is due in full to my obsession with tag team wrestling, I thought the American Wolves stole the show with ReDRagon. Literally my only complaint with that match was Kyle O'Reilly hamming it up every time he got hit with a kick from Davey Richards. I love a guy who can sell a move – Dolph Ziggler has made a career out of it – but Kyle went way overboard; he doesn't fake "dizzy" very well. It's honestly a very small gripe because, as I said, I thought they put on the match of the night. I heard a few guys complain about what perhaps could be construed as a lackluster finish, but to that I say…they're heels; it happens.
Side note: I was watching the recent Highspots shoot with Kevin Steen and Davey Richards, and they talk all about how Davey is obsessed with putting on great matches, while Steen is obsessed with making big moments via his promos and character. And while I definitely agree with Kevin in that its his persona that creates awesome moments, I think Davey really sells himself short. Richards even went so far as to say he has no place in professional wrestling, and that's just simply not true.
Kevin Steen makes great wrestling matches happen because his character sets up moments that fans remember. I will probably never forget him opening a box with El Generico's mask inside, or the main event of this iPPV when he kicked Matt Hardy out of the ring to put over Jay Briscoe. But Davey Richards is a different animal in pro wrestling – that doesn't mean he doesn't have big moments. The only difference is, his matches produce those moments. In this tag match, there was a point where he locked in the Texas Cloverleaf on (I think) Bobby Fish, and then ended up hooking the other with an ankle lock at the same time. Yes, that was a technical move in a great wrestling match; it was also a MOMENT.
Kevin Steen makes great matches with his moments – Davey Richards makes great moments with his matches. They're both going out there and making the same thing happen, but taking two different roads to get there. That's what pro wrestling has always been about – when it's good, anyways – and I hope Davey can eventually get to a point where he sees that, and stops selling himself short for what he does.
Back to "Supercard of Honor VII", with the ROH TV title on the line. Matt Taven defends against both Adam Cole and Matt Hardy in a match that found to be entertaining, but not technically great. I love Adam Cole; he's the first guy I ever interviewed in pro wrestling. I think Taven is a great wrestler, and Hardy draws so much heat form ROH fans that it adds to the drama of his matches. They probably pulled off some great moves and put on a hell of a match, but I'll never know because whoever booked all that didnt' let me actually watch it. Instead, the entire match was over-booked with slutty managers giving Nigel a lap dance, Steve Corino getting involved, and Truth Martini being obnoxious. Like I said, the "segment" as a whole was quite entertaining, but the match might as well have never happened, for all I remember of it.
Now, to the subject of booking convoluted and rampant matches during this iPPV. The whole point of the show was that S.C.U.M. was trying to take over, and in turn murder Ring of Honor. So I never had a problem when the matches they were involved with got chaotic, or didn't end in technical bliss. When the 10-man war started and ended with an all-out brawl, I never once thought "well this is too convoluted". In fact, I loved that match, and it tied in so well with what ended up going down during the main even, that I applaud Ring of Honor from taking a step back from the traditional technical approach to their shows. "SCUM vs. ROH" told a great story!
The problem I found, was that too many other matches were also over-booked. If you're going to have Corino be so involved with Hardy's match and the 10-man war, maybe using Maria and "Brutal" Bob as a booking point for Bennett's match with Shelton Benjamin was a bit too much. Maybe the "Hoopla Hottie" didn't need to literally block half the TV title match. These are subtle things that add chaos and anarchy to a show, when they distract from the product as a whole, rather than add to it like S.C.U.M. was booked to do.
That being said, the World title match was great, and I loved all the run-ins and counter attacks by the Ring of Honor roster. I certainly don't think it was Kevin Steen's best wrestling match, but that may have had something to do with my lack of investment in Jay Briscoe as a chaser. Don't take that to mean it was a bad move; I'm just one fan with one perspective – plenty of people love the Briscoes and thought it was a great decision. The moment where he won was fantastic, and not being a Briscoe mark in no way stopped be from loving the finish. The whole thing was put together so well, and it really put a cap on the story told over the last few months. Which is something I think Ring of Honor is doing now, that maybe they were struggling with a few yearse ago.
It's simple: I loved "Supercard of Honor VII". I was absolutely pissed off when the feed cut out and ruined the main event – I will probably never be sold on Jay Briscoe as World Champion because that happened. It's nothing against him, I just haven't been watching ROH for eleven years, and I really like Kevin Steen.
Watching the replay helped me better appreciate the iPPV, but I still couldn't quite build up the same excitement for the World title match, already knowing what to expect. It's just sad that such as special moment in wrestling was taken, not just from me, but a lot of other fans, because of a small technical failure that wasn't even Ring of Honor's fault (most likely).
"Supercard of Honor" easily had the best match card of the weekend, even with WrestleMania on the table. WWE's juggernaut was the bigger spectacle, and you can't take anything away from CM Punk and the Undertaker, but Mania was just one of those big events that happened, and nobody really came out of it feeling a sense of awe or unexpected shock. This ROH event, more than probably any other iPPV in recent member (except maybe last December) delivered in wrestling value, in great memories, and telling a story with twists, turns and excitement.
My angry rant about technical difficulties aside, Ring of Honor "wins" WrestleMania weekend. But that's just one guy on the internet – what's your opinion?
adam coledavey richardsjay briscoekevin steenRing of Honorroh wrestlingscumsupercard of honor VIIWrestleMania 29Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?