WAR (3/30/13) Review

Ring of Honor looked to continue its hot streak of entertaining shows with War, which was the company’s debut in Asheville, N.C. The biggest news coming from the show was Charlie Haas’ abrupt retirement, but the card looks promising. The American Wolves battle Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman, which should be a show-stealer, while Mark Briscoe challenges Kevin Steen for the ROH World Title. In addition, S.C.U.M. continues its war on honor as there are a series of ROH vs. S.C.U.M. matches scheduled. The show looks good on paper, so let’s see how WAR (3/30/13) turned out!

The show kicks off with Michael Elgin going one-on-one with Adam Page. It was a classic power vs. speed match that worked well for an opening match. Elgin controlled the majority of the action with his strength advantage, but Page was able to make short bursts of offense using his quickness. Many of the highlights from the match were courtesy of Page’s high-flying abilities as he hit a nice standing shooting star press that brought the crowd to its feet. In the end, Elgin’s power was too much for the young Page, as he succumbed to the Elgin Bomb. It was a decent match that didn’t go overboard with near falls or crazy spots, and it did a good job getting the crowd warmed up for the rest of the show. It was a perfectly fine opener.

Before his match with Darren Dean, QT Marshall got on the microphone to hype his mystery partner for Supercard of Honor VII and run down the crowd. As for the match itself, it wasn’t anything special, but Marshall did a decent job heeling it up and getting the crowd to hate him. Dean looked like he had potential, but he will require more seasoning until he earns a full-time spot in Ring of Honor. The match may have ran five minutes before Jimmy Jacobs, Jimmy Rave and Steve Corino hit the ring to beat down Dean while Marshall escapes.

Corino got on the microphone and says S.C.U.M. wants to destroy Ring of Honor. Grizzly Redwood and Mike Mondo stormed the ring and the fight begun! Jacobs and Rave spent the majority of the opening minutes of the match working over Redwood, and the action wasn’t anything exciting or memorable. The action just kind of plodded along until Mondo go the hot tag, and then the pace quickened down the closing stretch. S.C.U.M. got the pin after Corino distracted Redwood and crotched Mondo on the top rope, but the match was dull and just there for the most part.

S.C.U.M. attacked Redwood and Mondo after the match and Rhett Titus joined in on the assault. They attempted to send Redwood through a table on the floor, B.J. Whitmer made the save, which led right into the scheduled Whitmer vs. Titus match. This match was yet another bland contest on this show. Titus was in control for the majority of the match by focusing his attack on Whitmer’s neck. Corino joined Kevin Kelly on commentary, but he overshadowed the action in the ring and his contributions were more distracting than helpful. The action got better in the closing moments and featured a number of S.C.U.M. distractions. Whitmer was able to thwart most of the interference, which included him launching Jacobs from the ring through the table at ring side. The distractions allowed Corino the slip a roll of coins to Titus and he used the foreign object to pick up the win. S.C.U.M. once again hit the ring and attacked Whitmer.

The American Wolves made the save and ran off S.C.U.M. Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander made their way to the ring for the scheduled tag match. Bobby Fish joined Kelly on commentary for the match and he did a great job putting over the tag team division and his issues with Davey Richards. As for the match itself, I have to agree with the crowd’s “This is awesome” chants. This was an amazing match with nonstop action from bell to bell. If this was on iPPV, it would have been a star-making performance for Coleman and Alexander. As it stands now, they continue to be the underrated tag team in wrestling. They consistently put on impressive performances, and it was no different in this match. After an initial technical wrestling sequence, the match built into an explosive series of high-flying moves and exciting near falls. The Wolves got the win with the kick/Tombstone combination, which is good to see that move actually get a pin. This is probably the best house show match this year in Ring of Honor and is more than worth going out of your way to watch.

Up next, Alabama Attitude challenged redDRagon for the ROH World Tag Team Titles. Alabama Attitude have made sporadic appearances on television over the past several months, but this is by far their biggest opportunity. The match starts of hot with Alabama Attitude flying all over the ring and taking out redDRagon. The pace slowed down once Fish and O’Reilly took control and the action never really reached the level it did in the opening minutes. It seemed to be just a series of moves, and while there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, it doesn’t do move for making me invested in the match. The match also went about five minutes too long. If they trimmed some of the fat from this match, it would have been a lot better. But what we got was an OK tag match that left something to be desired. I’m not clamoring for Alabama Attitude to return. redDRagon retained their titles with Chasing the Dragon.

The show continued with a Four Corner Survival Proving Ground Match featuring ACH, Roderick Strong and Jay Lethal vying for a future shot at Matt Taven’s ROH World TV Title. I had a hard time paying attention to the match itself as I found myself getting distracted by the beautiful Scarlett Bordeaux at ringside. However, this match was sadly disappointing. I had high hopes for it, but sloppiness and several blown spots really brought it down. A failed Tower of Doom spot near the end of the match was the worst of the botches and looked terrible and took the crowd out of it. Truth Martini’s commentary and Bordeaux’s presence at ringside kept this from being a complete letdown, and the match was fun when the wrestlers were on the same page. The blown spots were at crucial points in the match and they hurt the match greatly. In the end, ACH pinned Taven after surprising him with his finishing move. I don’t like Taven getting pinned in his first match after winning the title, but I’m happy ACH got the pin. Their match at the April 6 television taping should be a lot of fun. I guess everyone has off nights, and all four men must have been having one March 30.

It’s now time for the main event as ROH World Champion Kevin Steen defended the belt against Mark Briscoe. This match was a very fun brawl full of exciting action. Papa Briscoe and Uncle Jethro were in the crowd for the match, and Steen would jaw at them throughout the duration of the contest. Briscoe hit a couple of huge dives over the top, but Steen gained control of the match with a hard powerbomb on the outside. S.C.U.M. would eventually make their way to ringside, and Papa Briscoe, Cousin Jethro and Jay Briscoe would even the odds. A brawl broke out on the outside between the two side which resulted in Jethro being blasted with a steel chair and Rhett Titus being drove through a table. Back in the ring, Mark Briscoe and Steen traded a series of close near falls that had all the fans on the feet and cheering. Mark came within milliseconds of capturing the title following a Froggy Bow, and showed toughness by kicking out of an F-Cinq. In the end, however, Steen hit the Package Piledriver to retain his title once again. This was an incredibly fun match to cap off the show. It did a good job building to Supercard of Honor VII while providing a good match.

Final Thoughts: This was the weakest of Ring of Honor’s house shows so far this year. It wasn’t a bad show by any means, but other than the American Wolves vs. C&C match and the main event, everything on this show was skippable. Interestingly, the Charlie Haas incident was edited out of the video. This feels like a filler show as ROH bides its time until Supercard of Honor VII, and it seemed like a lot of the matches fell short of what they could have been. The only match worth going out of your way for is the previously mentioned tag match, as it is in contention for the best house show match so far. Nothing else is too memorable, but there are worse ways to spend two and a half hours.

Jon Shumake

Jon has been with ROHWorld since March 2011. The American Bearded Nightmare is one half of 'Team America' on ROHCast, which is available every week on ROHWorld, iTunes and Stitcher.