Ring of Honor begins a new era Saturday August 13 as they will tape the first set of television shows for Sinclair Broadcast Group. The show features a loaded card and should be a great night of action that both long-time and new fans will enjoy.
Let’s take a closer look at each match.
ROH World Title Match
Davey Richards defends against Roderick Strong
There is a long history between these two wrestlers, but the intensity has really picked up over the past year. They wrestled to a 20-minute time limit draw at “Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies II” last year in a hard-hitting match. Richards wanted five more minutes, but Strong walked out on him. The two met again at “Final Battle 2010” when Strong, then-ROH World Champion, defended the belt against Richards. Strong defeated Richards when he locked Richards into the Stronghold, and Richards passed out. The last time the two met one-on-one was at “Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter One” when both men were considered top contenders for the title, which was held by Eddie Edwards. Richards defeated Strong by submission in another hard-fought, physical match.
The stakes have changed for Saturday’s match, however. Richards finally captured the ROH World Title at “Best In the World 2011” in June when he defeated Edwards. It would not be surprising to see Michael Elgin or Truth Martini get involved in the match on the challenger’s behalf, but I do not see Richards losing the belt this quickly. I think Richards will retain in a great match and he will hold the belt for a long time afterwards.
World Tag Team Title Match
Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin)
defend against the Kings of Wrestling (Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero)
There is also a lot of history between the two teams in this match. Wrestling’s greatest Tag Team made their Ring of Honor debut’s at “Glory by Honor IX” is September 2010 when they faced the then-ROH World Tag Team Champions the Kings of Wrestling in a non-title bout. The Kings won the match, but did so using Hero’s loaded elbow pad. The teams faced off in a non-title match once again in January at “SoCal Showdown II” and this time Haas and Benjamin defeated Hero and Castagnoli. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team finally got their title shot at “Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter One,” where they ended the Kings of Wrestling’s record-setting title reign. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team have defended the belt three times, including an Elimination Fourway Match at “Best In the World 2011” when they defeated the Kings of Wrestling to retain the belts.
There have been rumors for months that the Kings of Wrestling are going to the WWE. If that is the case, then this could possibly be their final match in Ring of Honor, and it is a fantastic match to go out on. I expect the crowd to be split for this match because of the respect they have for both teams. I think Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team will retain their belts here, but in this case I think the Kings of Wrestling going out in style is more important. If this truly is the Kings of Wrestling’s final match for the company, then they have had a great run and I wish them nothing but success in the WWE.
ROH World TV Title Match
El Generico defends against Jay Lethal
El Generico became the third ROH World Television Champion June 26 at “Best In the World 2011” when he defeated Christopher Daniels for the belt. It was at that same show that Jay Lethal made his return to the company with a win over “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett. Lethal, a former Pure Title holder, recently signed a contract with Ring of Honor.
This match could possibly steal the show in my opinion. There are two fan favorites wrestling each other and they both have an exciting and fun style to watch. I expect a fat, high-flying match between two great wrestlers who want to be the World Television Champion. I think this will be the main event of the first show when it makes its debut as there is a well-known wrestler in Lethal taking on a Ring of Honor mainstay in Generico and I think it’s the type of match-up that will draw new fans in. Generico will most likely retain the belt after a very exciting match. This is probably the match I’m most looking forward to.
Tag Team Grudge Match
Jay and Mark Briscoe vs The All Night Express (Kenny King and Rhett Titus)
These two teams have been at war with each other since the All Night Express picked up the upset win over the Briscoes at “Manhattan Mayhem IV” earlier this year. They have battled each other all over the country in brutal matches including a First Blood match and a Chicago Street Fight. These are two teams that just straight up hate each other and it all comes to a head Saturday at the television tapings.
I would expect a brutal brawl that goes all over the Frontier Fieldhouse. I expect there will be some blood spilled as well, and if it’s anything like their match at “Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter Two” it will be an insane bloodbath. I don’t see it getting quite that crazy, but I do expect an intense match that will leave all four men is worse shape. I’m not sure who will win the match, but I do expect to see something crazy go down between the two teams.
“Defy or Deny” Rematch
Eddie Edwards vs Michael Elgin
Eddie Edwards and Michael Elgin have only gone one-on-one in Ring of Honor once, although they have met several times in tag team matches. The one time they met one-on-one was at “Defy or Deny” in March when Edwards pinned Elgin just 24 hours before defeating Roderick Strong for the World Title. Edwards has since defeated Elgin again, but in a tag team match with Edwards and Richards, the American Wolves, defeating Elgin and Strong, the House of Truth.
This is an intriguing matchup. On one side, there is former Ring of Honor World Champion Eddie Edwards who uses a variety of strikes and submission holds to wear his opponent down before locking in the Achilles Lock or hitting the 2K1 Bomb. On the other side, there is Michael Elgin, a complete powerhouse who uses his strength advantage to brutalize his opponents. There is an interesting dynamic to this match and I think this could possibly be another great match. It wouldn’t surprise me to see either man win, but I am picking Elgin to pick up the upset victory in this match. With a win here, Elgin would have to be in contention for a title shot, whether it is for the World Title or the Television Title.
Tag Tam Challenge Match
Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly vs The Bravado Brothers (Lance and Harlem Bravado)
Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly made their debut as a tag team in Ring of Honor at “Richards vs Daniels” in October of 2010. Even though they have come up short in many of their matches, they have gone toe-to-toe with many of the great tag teams in Ring of Honor and have earned the respect of the fans. But there has been one thorn in their side during their Ring of Honor tenure, and that is the Bravado Brothers. Cole and O’Reilly have been victorious in most of the matches between the two teams, but the Bravados will just not go away. The Bravados took offense to Cole and O’Reilly getting a match against Generation Me at “Best In the World 2011” and interfered in the match causing it to end in a DQ. The last time the two teams faced each other was at “Tag Team Turmoil 2011” when Cole and O’Reilly defeated the Bravados in the finals of the ROH Contenders Tag Team Lottery Tournament and won $5000 and a future shot at the ROH World Tag Team Titles.
This should be a pretty fun match that the crowd, at home and in Chicago Ridge, should enjoy. The Bravados are pretty underrated in my opinion and are improving every time they step into the ring. Cole and O’Reilly are always a treat to watch. This should be a fast paced match with some hard-hitting moves thrown in that will equate to a fun match. I think Cole and O’Reilly will pick up the win to finally put the Bravado Brothers problem behind them once and for all, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Bravados used some underhanded tactics to pick up the win.
Jimmy Jacobs w/ Steve Corino vs “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett w/ Brutal Bob
Corino has been on a path of professional wrestling recovery throughout 2011 and has been showing remorse for his actions of 2010. Everything was going well until “Manhattan Mayhem IV” when Bennett caused him to fall off the wagon. Corino introduced Jacobs as his sponsor at “Supercard of Honor VI” in May before a match with Bennett. “The Prodigy” won the match, but the real story was the return of Jacobs. This will be his first match in a Ring of Honor ring since his departure in 2009. I expect Bennett to cheat to win the match, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Corino stops him from cheating to set up another match between the two. Any way this turns out, I expect this to set up a final match between Corino and Bennett, possibly at “Death Before Dishonor IX.”
Tommaso Ciampa w/ the Embassy vs Andy “Right Leg” Ridge
Ciampa is undefeated since making his Ring of Honor debut. He most recently defeated Colt Cabana at “Best In the World 2011” in June. His next challenge will be Andy Ridge, who had a good run in 2010. He was impressive during the Trials Series, although he didn’t win a match. Ridge does not have enough to beat Ciampa, though, as he not only has to worry about Ciampa himself, but he has Prince Nana and the Embassy on the outside as well. I expect Ciampa to pick up the victory in this match to keep his unbeaten streak alive.
Also, in addition to the matches listed, Grizzly Redwood will have a dark match that the fans in Chicago Ridge will get to see.
The line-up is set for the first Sinclair Broadcast Group television tapings. The show will begin airing September 24. If the show is not set to air in your area, you can watch it on Ring of Honor’s website.