Ring of Honor celebrates its 11th anniversary on Saturday night as it presents the ’11th Anniversary Show’ live on iPPV from Chicago Ridge, IL. Anniversary shows are always a big deal and this should be no different with all three titles on the line and one of the most stacked cards in recent memory. So, let’s take a closer look at each match.
ROH World Title Match
Kevin Steen (c) vs. Jay Lethal
This Saturday in Chicago Ridge, Jay Lethal finally gets the title shot he has been after for the last four months. Lethal’s match against Steen at ‘Killer Instinct’ in his home town of New Jersey ended in chaos as Steen clashed with Lethal’s parents. Steen demanded that Lethal would not be allowed to challenge the title again and ROH, with no other option, accepted. Lethal went on to win the Survival of the Fittest tournament but the only man who could give him his title shot was Steen himself.
Since Ladder War IV at ‘Final Battle 2012’ against old foe El Generico, Steen seems to be a changed man. The horror of that night has changed him and after Lethal once again confronted him on ROH TV, he accepted his challenge. Steen wants to be more honorable and a fighting champion and knows by facing Lethal, he is living up to those things. Steen and the rest of SCUM seem to be drifting apart and it will be interesting to see if they get involved in this one.
This match has been months in the making and has the potential to be a classic. The match at ‘Killer Instinct’ was brilliant until the rather messy finish. Steen has proven time and again that he is a top class wrestler and Lethal’s credentials have never been questioned. Will we see a new World champion or will Steen once again prove he is the stronger man and continue his reign? We’ll find out on iPPV.
ROH World Tag Team Title Match
The Briscoes (c) vs. Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly
Since Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly starting teaming together, they have stormed through the tag team ranks in ROH. Fish seemingly came from nowhere and instantly made his mark by attacking Davey Richards and aligning himself with O’Reilly. The pair may have lost to the reformed American Wolves at ‘Final Battle 2012’ but that was only the beginning.
That loss didn’t affect Fish & O’Reilly, collectively known as Team AmFishin’. On an episode of ROH on SBG, they were included in a four team gauntlet match featuring the Wolves, the Bravados and former champions SCUM. Granted, Fish & O’Reilly got lucky and were the final team but they took advantage of that to defeat the Wolves and get their shot at the Briscoes.
The Briscoes, who became eight-time champions at ‘Final Battle 2012′ are just as good as ever and have already successfully defended the belts against Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander. The Briscoes are always tough competitors and Team AmFishin’ will have to be at the top of their game if they are to walk out of Chicago as tag team champions. Regardless of who wins this, it should be a fascinating encounter between two great tag teams.
ROH World TV Title Match
Adam Cole (c) vs. Matt Taven w/ Truth Martini
Matt Taven was given a great opportunity by ROH when entered into the Top Prospect Tournament. Taven impressed in his matches on ROH TV last year, especially against Mike Mondo. He once again showed what he was about by getting to the final of the tournament. This past week on TV, he faced Tadarius Thomas and after a helping hand from Truth Martini, picked up the win and in turn, a title shot against Adam Cole in Chicago Ridge. Taven will be hoping Martini can have the same effect on him that he had on Roderick Strong and lead him to championship gold.
This might just be the best time for Taven to face Cole. Cole is obviously focussed on his match on Sunday against Matt Hardy and while that is being billed as a title match, Taven could well pick up a surprise victory. With Martini in his corner, anything is possible for Taven and he has a great opportunity to make a massive statement. Cole still has to be the favourite but even a competitive loss would introduce Taven into the fold and with Martini by his side, the future looks bright.
Dream Tag Team Match
American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards)
vs. The Forever Hooligans (Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov)
It’s been a while since we’ve seen either Rocky Romero or Alex Koslov in an ROH ring but the pair team up this Saturday to face the American Wolves in what is being billed as a dream tag team match. Romero has plenty of history in ROH; holding the tag team titles on two occasions, once with Richards and the other with Ricky Reyes. He is also a three time IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team champion and won two of those with Richards so there is obviously history between the men who also featured in the No Remorse Corps.
Koslov doesn’t have as much history in ROH but he and Romero have had plenty of success in Japan since they started teaming. The pair captured the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team titles and have quickly become a team to keep your eye on. The Wolves look like their old selves and are as hungry as ever for success in ROH with Team AmFishin’ the only stumbling block. That means we should get a fantastic match when these two teams collide in Chicago Ridge. It’s hard to look past the Wolves but with four guys with such great ability, anything could happen.
Two out of Three Falls Match
Roderick Strong vs. Michael Elgin
At ‘Final Battle 2012’ Strong stole the victory against Elgin thanks to Truth Martini’s book of truth. However, after both men ended their involvement with Truth, no outside elements will come into play as they face off in a two out of three falls match. Even since then, Strong has been getting the better of his former House of Truth partner. At ‘Defy or Deny 2’ he eliminated Elgin from the Defy or Deny match and then pinned him in last week’s six-man main event on ROH TV.
Elgin must be getting sick of Roddy by now and firmly believes he is the better man. ‘Unbreakable’ is aiming to get back in the ROH World title picture but knows he must get past Roddy before he can be considered for another shot. The two out of three falls stipulation may give Strong the advantage but we have seen what a great athlete Elgin is time and time again. Elgin is pissed off and that’s not a good thing for Roddy. I think Elgin wins this one and if their previous match and altercations are anything to go by, it should be damn entertaining and a potential show stealer.
No Holds Barred
Charlie Haas vs. BJ Whitmer
BJ Whitmer is still smarting from being put through a table head first by ‘The Outlaw’ at ‘Final Battle 2012’. Luckily for BJ, he wasn’t injured but it’s not as if Haas cares either way. In a recent episode of ROH TV, the pair clashed at a local car dealership in what was an excellent presented video package. Whitmer turned up for a personal appearance that Haas was late for but when Charlie turned up, all hell broke loose.
Haas, who has been clashing with Cheeseburger a lot lately, smashed BJ into a car window before slamming the door shut on him. He then proceeded to hit an Olympic slam onto the hood of another car. The brutal attack left BJ in even more pain but he is known for his incredible resilience. Whitmer demanded a match against Haas at the ’11th Anniversary Show’ with revenge in his mind. These are two volatile men and with no holds barred, we could well see quite a fight.
SCUM (Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs) vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander
If Steve Corino gets his way, Saturday night will see honor die and the Ring of Scum begin. It looks as if SCUM will be introducing a new member or even worse, members, in Chicago Ridge. The aim is simple: Kill ROH once and for all. With Rhino also in the picture, they have the weapons available to do just that. But there are some men in the ROH locker room who are willing to stand up and be counted.
Two of those are Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander. The pair were involved in the three team ROH World tag team title match at ‘Final Battle 2012’ but were unable to win the belts. Since then, they have been on the receiving end of attacks from SCUM on ROH TV. C&C have been close to winning the tag titles but now they must fight for honor and for ROH. This is their chance to get equal with SCUM and put a big dent in their plans to embrace the Ring of Scum. This is a fascinating match that could have big ramifications for the company.
Six Man Mayhem Match
QT Marshall vs. ACH vs. Silas Young vs. Mike Sydal vs. Adam Page vs. Tadarius Thomas
The recent Top Prospect Tournament on ROH TV aimed to put up-and-coming wrestlers in the spotlight. All six of these men featured in the tournament with variable success. They must put that behind them now, though, as on Saturday night, they have another massive chance live on iPPV.
Whoever wins this match will be making a huge statement and any of the six men could do with a boost. Personally, recent signee ACH would be my pick due to his recent performances and the buzz surrounding his signing. Regardless of who picks up the big win, this should be a great match to open the show as ROH does what it’s well known for in giving new guys a chance to shine.
So there you have it, Ring of Honor returns to iPPV in Chicago Ridge, IL, on Saturday, March 2 at the Frontier Fieldhouse with a bell time of 8.30pm EST. You can watch worldwide by ordering the iPPV for just $14.95 right here.