Ring of Honor returns to Dearborn, Mich., Jan. 18 for its first house show of the year, and the company is looking to get off to a hot start. Friday will be Ring of Honor’s first trip back to Dearborn since May 2011, and they are presenting a loaded card with two title matches and a Proving Ground match.
The card looks good on paper, and let’s take a closer look at each match.
ROH World Tag Team Championship
The Briscoes (c) vs. The American Wolves
“Final Battle 2012” was a successful night for both of these teams; the Briscoes captured the ROH Word Tag Team Titles for the eighth time in their storied careers, while the American Wolves reunited to take out Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. The Briscoes promised the Wolves a shot at the titles in Dearborn, and the match is set to happen.
These two teams have a long history with each other. They feuded throughout 2009 after Richards and Edwards injured Mark Briscoe. The Briscoes eventually captured the tag team gold from the Wolves at “Final Battle 2009.” The teams have not met since July 2010, so this is a match almost three years in the making, and the Wolves would love nothing more than to get revenge on the Briscoes for dethroning them all those years ago.
This match pits two of the best tag teams in the world, and should be nothing short of a spectacular match. This match alone is going to be worth the price of admission.
ROH World TV Champion Adam Cole vs. Jimmy Jacobs
“Final Battle 2012” didn’t go how either wrestler wanted it to. Cole lost a non-title match to Matt Hardy, although it was due to underhanded tactics by Hardy. Jacobs loss was more costly; he and Corino lost the tag titles to the Briscoes in a sudden death three way match that also involved the team of Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander. Cole is looking to get back to his winning ways, while Jacobs is trying to get S.C.U.M. to possess the majority of the belts in Ring of Honor once again. If he is able to beat Cole or last the time limit, then Jacobs will earn a future chance to bring S.C.U.M. more championship gold. A win for Cole would go a long way in repairing his damaged psyche as he continues to prove himself as a worthy champion. If Cole and Jacobs are allowed to wrestle the way we all know they are capable of, this match could potentially steal the show. Both wrestlers are extremely talented and I hope they get to show that talent off in this match.
ROH World Title
Kevin Steen (c) vs. Tadarius Thomas
This match is being dubbed as an underdog challenge, and for good reason: Nobody is giving Thomas a shot in this match. Ring of Honor match maker Nigel McGuinness is giving Thomas the opportunity of a lifetime to shock the world in front of his home town and capture the Ring of Honor World Title. It’s going to be an uphill battle, but Thomas has been impressive thus far in his ROH career. But it’s still an almost impossible task trying to dethrone Steen. He has been dominant since capturing the gold in May 2012 and has defeated all challengers. He better not take Thomas lightly, however, as it could prove to be a fatal mistake. This should be an interesting match with two wrestlers with clashing styles. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out, as this could be Thomas’ coming out party in Ring of Honor.
Jay Lethal vs. Steve Corino
Lethal has had his eyes set on Steen’s ROH World Title for months now, but cannot face him due to Steen’s demands. Lethal has been trying to do everything he can to earn a shot, including spitting in Nigel McGuiness’ face at “Final Battle 2012.” Also at the show, he was a victim of a brutal beat down from S.C.U.M. He is going to try to get his revenge and move one step closer to challenging Steen by wrestling Corino in Dearborn. Corino will try to continue the assault from “Final Battle 2012” and make sure Lethal never sees another shot at the ROH Title. This is another interesting match due to a clash of styles, and I’m excited to see what happens.
Michael Elgin vs. Rhino
It’s a battle between the two most powerful men in Ring of Honor when Elgin steps in the ring against Rhino. They met once before in a Survival of the Fittest qualifying match, and Elgin came out victorious due to Truth Martini’s interference. Neither man is affiliated with Martini any longer, but Rhino has become a hired gun for S.C.U.M. Elgin is looking to move past Rhino to get another shot at Roderick Strong, while Rhino is looking for a big payday from S.C.U.M. This should be a very good and hard-hitting match.
BJ Whitmer & Rhett Titus vs. Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly
Both of these teams are coming off big losses at “Final Battle 2012.” Whitmer and Titus came up short in a NYC Street Fight after Whitmer was thrown head-first through a table. After months of taunting, Fish and O’Reilly lost to a reunited Americn Wolves team. Both teams are looking to get on the winning track and try to get into the tag title scene. A win in Dearborn would improve their chances of a future title shot. This should be a decent match, and it will be intriguing to see how their styles mesh.
Roderick Strong vs. Silas Young
Strong is coming off what a huge win at “Final Battle 2012” when he defeated Michael Elgin. Sure, he used the Book of Truth to help him secure the victory, but he glosses over that fact. After the match, however, he kicked Martini to the curb and is now without a manager. He is looking to prove he can win without Martini against Young, who was impressive in his several showings in 2012. Young is competing in the 2013 Top Prospects Tournament, and if he is able to win the tournament and defeat Strong, he would quickly establish himself as a major player in Ring of Honor. He’s someone who could give Strong a run for his money. This is a sleeper match that could turn out to surprise a lot of people.
Charlie Haas is also scheduled to appear, but he does not yet have a match. No matter what he does, you can bet he will be pissed off.
Prior to the show, there will be an autograph signing featuring the American Wolves, Jay Lethal and Michael Elgin.
Ring of Honor returns to Dearborn, Mich. Friday Jan. 18, at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center with a 7:30 p.m. bell time.