On a bitter December night, last year, Kevin Steen and El Generico tore each other apart.
In the days and weeks following their final battle, Steve Corino was racked by an unfamiliar feeling. For the first time, in his life in wrestling, Corino felt guilty. For the first time, he accepted blame.
Corino is now a self-confessed “evil person”, an admitted Devil’s Advocate. He acknowledges the fact that he drove a wedge between two best friends and, ultimately, ended a young man’s ROH career.
In the wake of the company’s fifth iPPV, in an attempt to rebuild bridges, between himself and the rest of the ROH family, Corino pledged to steer clear of controversy and made a commitment to stay within the confines of the Code of Honor, going forward.
Tests were inevitable and Corino’s road to redemption has been a bumpy one.
The antagonistic Mike Bennett was the first to push him to the limit. Indeed, it was during his series with Bennett that Corino first relapsed, cracking mid-match and returning to his bad old ways.
This did little to improve Corino’s reputation, amongst his peers. In fact, in the year to date, only one man, in the industry, has been able to empathise with him.
In a former life, as the lead voice of The Age of The Fall movement, Jacobs carved a reputation as one of the most vindictive individuals in Ring of Honor history.
After being banished from the promotion, Jacobs began to walk a similar road to Corino. He began looking for redemption. Seeking to conquer the “disappointment” that his life had become.
The understanding Jacobs was revealed as Corino’s sponsor, in wrestling rehabilitation, at ‘Supercard of Honor VI’. ROH officials were, at first, unsurprisingly, concerned by his re-emergence. However they, reluctantly, agreed to Corino’s request that he be accompanied to the ring by Jacobs, for his match, with Michael Elgin, at ‘Best in the World 2011’.
Corino, attempting to face his demons head on, also invited Kevin Steen to attend the show, as a fan, even going so far as to pay for his plane ticket. As a result of this miscalculation, Corino met another major bump in his road to recovery.
After going against the advice of the ROH office, Corino and Jacobs found themselves on the receiving end of a vicious assault, from the again-unleashed Frankenstein’s monster. The first iPPV of the SBG era was further marred by a foul-mouthed tirade, from the unpredictable Steen.
Full blame, for this embarassing incident, has been placed on Corino and Jacobs. They remain in management’s bad books and this has done nothing to improve their reputation as locker room pariahs.
Steen, himself, has now been erased from company history. Permanently blackballed from any and all association with the promotion.
With ROH management seeking the truth, the biggest challenge to Corino’s redemption was to come on September 17th.
Corino wasted an entire year of his life trying to chase El Generico out of the wrestling business. Corino’s closest involvement with the Generic Luchador, since the end of 2010, came in the aftermath of the, July, ‘Revolution: Canada’ match between Generico and the HOT member Christopher Daniels.
Generico came under attack from Truth Martini’s men, only to find an unlikely whiteknight racing to his assistance. Corino saved Generico from a beatdown, that night, inadvertantly putting himself in the firing line. Despite the fact that Corino had come to his aid, Generico still wasn’t convinced of the Trouble King’s credibility. Generico left Corino alone in the ring, where he was decimated by the House of Truth faction.
In an effort to truly test the integrity of the reborn Corino, for ‘Death Before Dishonor IX’, ROH booked him to go head-to-head with the ghost of Christmas past. In full knowledge of the competitors, respective, mental states, they signed a match between Corino and Generico.
Since that match announcement was made, Corino has cut an agitated figure. No more so than in the August 31st Videowire, where he confessed that, after meeting a number of different obstacles along the way, he isn’t quite far enough down the road, yet, to be able to face the masked man.
Corino, once the most arrogant of rulebreakers, has shown a new side of himself. ROH officials have made it clear that they respect his, apparent, honesty and newfound self-control.
To grease the wheels of the Generico-Corino cancellation, Corino’s one-man support network has now offered himself as a short notice replacement.
With the tentative consent of the booking committee, Jimmy Jacobs will return to active competition, in Ring of Honor, for the first time since June 2009’s ‘Violent Tendencies’ show. Corino, meanwhile, is off to spend time in the relative sanctuary of his home-from-home, Japan.
Even now, with Jacobs substituting for Corino, security levels will surely be raised, around this potential tinderbox of a contest. Once again Jacobs’ own integrity will be under scrutiny. Once again the potential for an unwanted invasion is high.
If anything untoward occurs at ‘Death Before Dishonor IX’, Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs could find that their road to redemption has reached a dead end.