Ring of Honor makes its return to Milwaukee on Saturday night, 24 hours after the show in Dearborn, MI. The last time ROH were in the home of the Brewers was July last year. They look set to return with a bang as a stacked card has been lined up for the Turner Hall Ballroom. Let’s take a more detailed look at each match.
Defy or Deny
Kevin Steen vs. Roderick Strong vs. Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Edwards
Almost two years after the first ‘Defy or Deny’ match, the concept has returned. The rules are simple: it is an elimination match in which Kevin Steen will look to deny his opponents a chance at his ROH World title. If he is the last man standing, whoever he pins or submits to win the match will not compete for the title again while Steen is champion. However, if one of those three men wins the match, they will get a shot at ‘Mr. Wrestling’.
Steen has been champion for eight months after winning the belt at ‘Border Wars 2012’. His three opponents in Milwaukee have all had a chance of dethroning him – and all have failed. They get their final chance this Saturday evening. Strong is no stranger to this match having won the original when he was champion back in March 2011. El Generico, Jay Briscoe and Homicide were denied that day and he will be looking for another shot to regain the World title but will have stiff competition in Elgin, Edwards and champion Steen.
This is bound to be an intense match with all four men having a huge reward for winning. Can Strong, Elgin or Edwards earn another shot at Steen? Or will Steen continue his reign of terror? We’ll find out in Milwaukee.
Davey Richards vs. Kyle O’Reilly
These two men are no strangers to each other. Richards had taken O’Reilly under his wing, helped him into ROH and the pair formed ‘Team Ambition’. The team was short lived however and the cracks in the friendship began to show. O’Reilly accused Richards of holding him back and said he was going it alone. After a brief hiatus from ROH, Richards returned to action in the ‘Survival of the Fittest’ tournament and a couple of weeks later, O’Reilly lost to former tag team partner Adam Cole.
Richards tried to mend the friendship the week after on ROH TV but was attacked by his former partner who was joined by newcomer Bobby Fish. At ‘Final Battle 2012’ Richards got some kind of revenge as he and Eddie Edwards reformed the American Wolves to defeat O’Reilly and Fish but Richards still wants to teach O’Reilly a lesson. He will get that opportunity on Saturday when he goes one-on-one with him. Who will come out on top in this battle of student versus teacher? Regardless of who wins, we’re bound to get a hard-hitting match with both men aiming to prove that they’re the better man. This could turn out to be a classic.
Matt Hardy vs. BJ Whitmer
This match is all about proving which man is the tougher warrior. Since Hardy came into ROH he has been preaching about how he is ‘stronger than death’ and talked about the many things he has had to go through during his time in the wrestling business. Hardy beat Adam Cole at ‘Final Battle 2012’ after a low blow and that led to Nigel McGuinness refusing him a ROH Television title shot. This is Hardy’s chance to show he can win fairly. He faces a man that is one of the toughest wrestlers in ROH history – BJ Whitmer. BJ is renowned for being tough and taking large amounts of pain. That was highlighted at ‘Final Battle 2012’ as he was sent head first through a table by Charlie Haas. Despite that, BJ was straight back into the ring at the next ROH event and this match is his chance to prove to Hardy that he’s the biggest warrior in ROH. This won’t be pretty but could still end up being a fascinating contest.
The Briscoes & Jay Lethal vs. SCUM (Jimmy Jacobs & Steve Corino) & Rhino
The Briscoes became eight-time ROH World Tag Team champions at ‘Final Battle 2012’ beating SCUM for the belts in a three-way tag team match also involving the C&C Wrestle Factory. The night before this, they defend the belts against the American Wolves in what is sure to be a huge test. SCUM will be looking to get a win over ‘Dem Boys’ to prove they deserve a shot at getting their titles back. After the collapse of the House of Truth, Rhino was a free man and now looks to have been ‘hired’ by SCUM. He helped take out Lethal at ‘Final Battle 2012’ as SCUM aimed to keep him out of the main event involving Kevin Steen.
Lethal wants his match with Steen but before that, he has the chance to get his hands on the other members of SCUM. He will be looking for revenge on Rhino after that huge Gore at ‘Final Battle 2012’ and maybe get inside the head of the ROH World champion with a victory over one of his closest allies. This is bound to be a brawl and has big ramifications for all of those involved. Milwaukee: beware!
Adam Cole vs. Silas Young
Adam Cole is still reeling after the shock defeat to Matt Hardy at ‘Final Battle 2012’ but has a great opportunity to get back on track against Silas Young. Young is aiming to make his mark in ROH and is currently competing in the Top Prospects tournament. If he could go on to win that and maybe pick up a shock win against the ROH Television champion, Young could be on his way to a permanent spot on the ROH roster. Cole will have to guard against taking Young lightly as he is a man with years of experience and this is bound to be an interesting match-up with both men eager to come out on top. This could end up being the sleeper match of the night.
Bobby Fish vs. Tadarius Thomas
The night before this match, Tadarius Thomas gets the chance of a lifetime as he battles Kevin Steen for the ROH World title. How that match goes could greatly impact on his performance in this match against Bobby Fish. Fish has impressed since coming into ROH recently and he has already formed a team with Kyle O’Reilly. He’s no stranger to singles competition though and will be hoping to get another win to keep his momentum going. He will have a tough time against Thomas, though, who is an unpredictable wrestler that uses Brazilian martial art Capoeira. Both men use strikes as a key part of their offense and this should be an exciting, hard-hitting match that could turn out to be one of the best contests of the night.
Charlie Haas vs. Rhett Titus
Charlie Haas has been telling everybody how pissed off he is recently. He probably wasn’t too happy when this match was announced either, as he takes on a familiar foe of his in Rhett Titus. Haas has battled Titus numerous times over the past year or so, firstly when Titus was teaming with Kenny King as the All Night Express and then alongside BJ Whitmer. However, with Shelton Benjamin seemingly gone from ROH, Haas will go it alone. These two collided at ‘Live Strong’ and there’s plenty of bad blood between them which should make for a wild brawl. This should be an interesting match with both men wanting to badly beat the other. Will Rhett piss Haas off some more or will Charlie be tooting his horn come the end of the night? We’ll find out on Saturday.
Prior to the show, there will be an autograph signing with Matt Hardy, Roderick Strong and Charlie Haas. Nigel McGuinness will also be at the show to sign copies of his ‘The Last of McGuinness’ documentary.
Ring of Honor returns to Milwaukee, WI this Saturday, January 19, at the Turner Hall Ballroom with a bell time of 7.30pm.