Ring of Honor kicked off the biggest wrestling weekend of the year with Supercard of Honor VII from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. The show featured a stacked card with three title matches and outside talent being flown in. It got rave reviews live, so let’s see how it is recorded.
The show starts off with QT Marshall and RD Evans. Evans talks about how Marshall has a mystery partner for the show and teases who it could be. After a few minutes of beating around the bush, Evans reveals that the mystery partner is none other than … Mr. RD Evans! He ripped off his suit to reveal wrestling tights underneath it as ACH and Tadarius Thomas made their way to the ring. The opening contest was a lot of fun. Evans had some great comedy moments and Marshall did pretty good job playing the straight man to Evans’ stupidity. ACH and Thomas delivered good action as the former showed off his high-flying ability while the latter displayed his unique striking abilities. In the end, ACH hit Marshall with the Big Bang DDT to win the match. This was a ton of fun and was a perfect way to start the show.
Shelton Benjamin then made his way to the ring. He says Charlie Haas isn’t here, and calls out Cheeseburger. Benjamin tells him that he’s earned Benjamin’s respect for standing up to Haas. This brings out Mike Bennett, Maria and Brutal Bob! It’s so nice to see them back in ROH. Bennett says he’s the hottest free agent in entertainment, and he was going to announce who he signed with. Just as he’s ready to make the announcement, Cheeseburger Kanye’s the mic out of his hand. He unleashed a verbal assault on Team Sexy that would make Haas blush. This led to Bennett knocking him out and leading to match with Benjamin.
This was another fun match. It didn’t feature the best in-ring action, and it took a more sports-entertainment approach. It was still very entertaining and had some very funny moments. At one point, Maria was grinding on Bennett, and then Benjamin took his place and she allowed him to grope her before she realized it wasn’t Bennett. I’m sure Nigel McGuinness was jealous. Bennett got the win by sitting down on a sunset flip attempt and having Bob pull on his arms for more leverage. Hopefully this leads to bigger things for Bennett, as he has been one of the most misused talents on the roster for over a year. Still, this was another very entertaining match to keep the show rolling.
The No. 1 Contenders match between Michael Elgin and Jay Lethal was up next. This was a tremendous match with some fantastic action throughout the duration. They traded some amazing and innovative counters and that was the main story of the match. They each seemed to have an answer for everything the other was about to do and found a way to neutralize it. That story worked really well as this was one of the best matches of the year, which should come as no surprise with the caliber of the wrestlers in the ring. As usual, Elgin got to show off his freakish strength, which never gets old. The crowd exploded when he hit Lethal with the deadlift superplex. Lethal also got in some nice spurts of offense using his speed, which included a series of suicide dives. In the end, Elgin picked up the win with an Elgin Bomb and a look of astonishment on his face. This match was everything that made me fall in love with ROH to begin with, and it’s great to see action like this returning on a more regular basis.
After the match. Jimmy Jacobs, Cliff Compton, Rhett Titus, Rhino and Jimmy Rave hit the ring and attack Lethal and Elgin. Steve Corino calls out their opponents, Mark Briscoe, Mike Mondo, Caprice Coleman, Cedric Alexander and BJ Whitmer, who storm the ring. The match started off as a brawl around ringside, but quickly quieted into a standard tag match. I was surprised this match wasn’t as wild as everyone expected it to be. This match was decent enough, but was nowhere near the level of the other matches on the card. At one point, Corino attacked Caleb Seltzer and threw him into the barricade. SCUM picked up the win when Rhino hit the Gore (Gore! Gore!) on Coleman for the pin. The match itself was good, but nothing special.
After intermission, Nigel McGuinness joined Kevin Kelly at commentary.
The first match of the second-half was Karl Anderson facing off against Roderick Strong. This was my first time seeing Anderson, and I cam away extremely impressed. These two put together a very solid match that had good action throughout. There were some sick spots, including Anderson taking a gutbuster on the barricade. In the end, Anderson picked up the win with an Ace Crusher. I was surprised that he won, so hopefully it means that he makes more regular appearances. Also, where does this leave Strong? He really doesn’t have anything to do now that his feud with Elgin is over. He’s too talented to be floating around, so they need to find something for him to do ASAP. But this was a very good way to kick off the second-half of the show.
Up next, ROH World TV Champion Matt Taven defended the belt against Adam Cole and Matt Hardy. A lot of the action in the ring was overshadowed by what Truth Martini and the beautiful Scarlett were doing on the outside, which included Scarlett giving McGuinness a lap dance. The wrestling was decent enough but it didn’t do a lot to keep my interest. There was some nice continuity with Cole using a low blow and small package on Hardy to eliminate him from the match. Corino got into the ring to dispute it, which gave Taven the opportunity to hit Cole with a modified DDT to retain the title. This match was decent, but nothing too great.
ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon defended the belts against the American Wolves in the co-main event. This was exactly what everyone thought it would be, and that’s a great thing. This match featured some hard strikes and nice technical wrestling sequences. All four of these wrestlers are so familiar with each other and it has led to them having very good chemistry together. Their styles mesh perfectly and everything in this contest flowed really well. There were some amazing double team combinations and strike exchanges. Each team stole some signature moves from the other and it added an extra layer to the feud. In the end, Kyle O’Reilly rolled up Davey Richards and grabbed the tights to retain the belts. I was happy to see them retain as they have become such a good team in such a short amount of time, and they are extremely entertaining. I’m glad we’re going to get more time with them as champions.
Finally, it was main event time as ROH World Champion Kevin Steen defended the title against Jay Briscoe. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to talk about this match without first discussing the iPPV feed problems. The stream cut out for just a few minutes near the end of the match and didn’t return until after the contest had concluded. It came at the worst possible time and ruined what could have been one of the most magical moments in ROH history. As for the match itself, it started out slow but built drama perfectly until the end. The S.C.U.M. interference was perfectly done, as was the ROH roster’s reaction to it. The standoff between S.C.U.M. and the ROH wrestlers who had surrounded the ring was well done. Matt Hardy tried to get involved on Steen’s behalf, but the champion threw him out of the ring. Briscoe and Steen exchanged finishing moves as Nigel McGuinness marked out on commentary. In the end, Briscoe hit two Jay Drillers to pin Steen and become the NEW ROH World Champion! It was a major shock and everyone in the crowd lost their minds. It was perfectly executed and was one of the best moments in company history. Few people deserve to hold the belt more than Jay Briscoe, and I couldn’t help but smile as the whole Briscoe family celebrated in the ring as they crowd cheered them on. It was a truly great moment and a fantastic way to end the show.
Final Thoughts: It’s official: The Ring of Honor we all fell in love with is back. I’ve been hesitant to say that, but there’s no denying anymore. The string of iPPVs the company has put out now has been truly impressive. Feed issues aside, this was a great wrestling show. Every match on this show was good at the very least, and there were a few great matches. There was a good mix of styles, from comedy to technical to brawling, and it had something for everyone. The closing minutes of the title match have to be seen as it’s story telling to absolute perfection. This show is an easy recommendation. I’m so happy to see Ring of Honor is having such a great year. Thank you Kevin Steen being one of the few bright spots in 2012 as champion. Congratulations to Jay Briscoe for finally reaching the pinnacle of Ring of Honor and being crowned ROH World Champion.