Shore's ROH Supercard of Honor Hitlist: Jay Lethal vs. Michael Elgin steals the show, TV title match is too distracted, Mike Bennett's return, Redragon vs. American Wolves disappoints, and Jay Briscoe wins the World Championship
By Chris Shore
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ROH Supercard of Honor Hits
Jay Lethal vs. Michael Elgin: Even though the world title match had more impact, for pure wrestling, Elgin vs. Lethal was a major Hit and match of the night. Lethal's character has left a lot to be desired, and Elgin doesn't seem to have a character, but they both left it in the ring and put on a hell of a match. Elgin was the right guy to win too. Lethal has had his shot and it didn't quite pan out like ROH had hoped. Elgin is a stud in the ring who announced his arrival last year in a match over WrestleMania weekend against Davey Richards and has done nothing but improve since then. That said, ROH needs to build a real character for Elgin going forward if they want him to truly be a main event attraction.
Jay Briscoe vs. Kevin Steen: Technical issues aside, this was a big Hit for the company. I have to admit, I am confused by the switch simply because they didn't position the change like a real possibility until the actual show when they started playing video after video of Jay coming up short over the years. I almost thought it was overkill, but they struck a nice balance by the time the match came. I'm also confused as to how this plays into the overall SCUM vs. ROH storyline, but they need to break Steen away from SCUM, and this should ultimately work. Can Jay Briscoe carry the company? A lot of people have their doubts, but no one is more over than the Briscoe Brothers, and rabid fans will tell you no one is more deserving than Jay. Winning was a great moment for him, but the hard works of being champion starts today.
Shelton Benjamin vs. Mike Bennett: Bennett's surprise return was a Hit for this viewer because I think Bennett might be the most overall talented guy on the roster. Why he hasn't been picked up yet by TNA or WWE is still a mystery to me, but it was good to see him again on my TV. Shelton was working inspired, and we got a better match than we probably would have gotten had Charlie Haas not gone on his drunken rampage last week. A special bonus Hit for Maria who took a superkick on the apron and bumped to the floor like a champ. It takes a lot nowadays to get me to pop out of my chair, but that spot did it.
ACH and Tadarius Thomas vs. QT Marshall and RD Evans: Evans is a total buffoon, but he's also very talented, and his addition to the match worked better than I thought. This was a Hit because it was the perfect opener. We got to see some flashy moves that got the crowd hot, yet didn't burn them out. I like ACH better as a singles act, but a brief run as a tag team with TD will serve to establish him with the fans for what should be a good run in ROH.
Overall Show: Even though the show had a few misses (see below) and the worst possible timing on a technical glitch evah, this was a good show and well worth the replay for those who held off. The misses aren't that bad, and what little there is to quibble about is more than made up for by the rest of the show and the feel good moment of Jay Briscoe winning the title. I know a number of fans were raging last night about the glitch, but such is the nature of the Internet sometimes. Don't let those people sour you on what might have been ROH's best show since being purchased by Sinclair.
ROH Supercard of Honor Misses
TV Title match: I specifically didn't mention the men in the match because this wasn't a miss because of them, it was a miss because there was too much other stuff going on. There were a few sloppy spots, and too many obvious three man setup spots, but that's indy wrestling. The real problem was Scarlett grinding on Nigel McGuiness to the point that even Kevin Kelly started acting like he was distracted. That would have been bad enough, but we had almost as much camera time on the shenanigans on the floor as we did on the moves in the ring. Couple that with a sloppily executed finish and this was the biggest miss of the night.
Commentary: Speaking of Kevin Kelly, he was bad on the show, and his biggest sin was his tame calling of the main event. I don't know if he was tired or what, but when the core of your storytelling is that the world champion is a member of a group trying to destroy your company and he might lose the title, you have to show more emotion on those nearfalls and big moves. By the end of the night, Kelly sounded like he wanted to be anywhere but in the Hammerstein Ballroom. Nigel McGuiness took over in the second half for Caleb Seltzer, who isn't getting any better, and between the TV title match and overselling the main event, did more to distract from the ring than he did to enhance it.
Redragon vs. American Wolves: Admittedly, this might be a miss because of high expectations, but it's still a miss for this viewer. I really thought this had the potential to be the best match on the show, and it just didn't live up. The match had all the big spots, but as so often happens with American Wolves matches, those spots came across and staged as opposed to an organic flow. Perhaps the biggest miss of the match was the finishing sequence. After kicking out of 372 finishing moves, Davey Richards can't get out of a rollup? I realize O'Reilly had the tights, but that stretches the suspension of disbelief just too far for me.
SCUM vs. ROH: The match itself wasn't great, but the bigger miss of this match was how it took away from the great Lethal vs. Elgon match. The fans had no chance to digest what they had just seen before SCUM hit the ring and called out their opponents. More than a few promotions have been guilty of this mistake, but it doesn't make it any easier to watch play out. Lethal and Elgin deserved better.
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