Ring of Honor Review (2/4/2012): Kevin Steen Makes Ring of Honor Debut

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Ring of Honor Review (2/4/2012): Kevin Steen Makes Ring of Honor Debut

A week after the rivalry between Eddie Edwards and Kyle O’Reilly began heating up in earnest, Ring of Honor returned from Baltimore, MD. After a pair of solid shows, Ring of Honor gave us their first complete disappointment since their Sinclair debut.

Jay Lethal defeated Mike Bennett for the ROH Television Title

I love Mike Bennett. He has complete mastery of most heel intangibles. His walk displays his contempt for anyone other than himself, furthered by his constant gum chewing.

He blames his failures on others. He inspires jealousy with his Playboy-model girlfriend and anger with the fact that he doesn’t value her beyond the status she brings.

Bennett was in rare form at the start of this match. He jawed with the crowd. He offered to follow the Code of Honor before withdrawing his hand and beating a hasty retreat as soon as Lethal attacked.

It’s a good thing that Bennett possesses the intangibles because he sure doesn’t have the tangibles right now. He’s stiff, his moveset is pretty limited, and few of his matches seem to flow as well as they should.

Jay Lethal is an incredible wrestler, but he couldn’t save this match from being a disappointment.

Rematches should build upon previous encounters, but aside from one referenced spot from Final Battle, this match neither built upon anything nor added anything new.

Verdict: Thumbs Down
Best Moment
: Can I make this about Maria’s attractiveness without losing all of my credibility as a thoughtful, reflective analyst?

 

Eddie Edwards & Kyle O’Reilly Promo

Let me summarize this segment for you. Edwards says that he’s a man and Kyle O’Reilly is not.

Kyle O’Reilly shows up, says that he’s a man and Eddie Edwards is not.

Match soon.

This segment is everything that is wrong with wrestling storytelling.

From CM Punk and Triple H in WWE to Edwards and O’Reilly here, everyone seems to be dead-set upon explaining what “a man” does. 

I’m not requiring every professional wrestler to minor in gender studies, but the idea that one cannot be a “man” unless one can beat up someone else is a distraction from intelligent storytelling.

Right now, Edwards vs. O’Reilly is about manliness. Edwards vs. O’Reilly should be about friendship, betrayal, and hypocrisy. Which of those two conflicts do you think would produce more compelling drama?

I can accept that wrestling relies upon violence as a means for conflict resolution. However, it shouldn’t be too much to ask to give people a decent reason to fight.

Verdict: Thumbs Down
Best Moment
: The return of “Eddie Edwards who poops himself whenever he needs to talk in front of a camera.”

Kevin Steen & Jim Cornette Confrontation

 

Steen and Cornette continued their updated story of the disgruntled employee.

Steen, ever the remorseless psychopath, is a danger to everyone around him. Cornette, in a little too deep to remain objective, is trying to protect everyone around him.

As they say, something’s gotta give.

Cornette spoke of Stone Cold Steve Austin and how piledrivers can end careers. In Cornette’s mind, banning the piledriver is doing the right thing.

Of course, Steen has a point too.

Would Cornette be doing this if Steen had a different finisher?

If the piledriver is so dangerous, why has it been legal for so long during Cornette’s tenure?

ROH is telling a beautifully complex story with interesting, flawed characters. I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

Verdict: Thumbs Up
Best Moment
: Kevin Steen directly insulting two fans who clapped for Cornette’s ban.

Giant String of Promos

Allowed to Speak: Kenny King, Rhett Titus, Davey Richards.

Not Allowed to Speak: Roderick Strong, Either Briscoe Brother, Either Young Buck.

 

Verdict: Thumbs Down
Best Moment
: Mark Briscoe’s odd infatuation with peacocks.

The Briscoes defeated the World’s Greatest Tag Team for the ROH Tag Team Titles

I love Haas and Benjamin’s heel turn.

After the shower of boos they received from the New York crowd at Final Battle, they seem to have incorporated a need for crowd validation into their gimmick.

If they take every crowd to task for not cheering them, I will be one happy man.

I assume that this disqualification was supposed to continue Haas and Benjamin’s journey down the path of darkness. Unfortunately, the match was so short that it felt completely unnecessary.

You don’t bust out the chairs three minutes into a match.

There was no drama or intensity at that moment in the match. In fact, it seemed like Shelton Benjamin was more surprised that he was using a chair than he was angry at the Briscoes.

Verdict: Thumbs Down
Worst Moment
: If that chair shot could “cave someone’s head in,” then I’m a Tibetan encyclopedia salesman.

Show Verdict: Thumbs Down

One match? And I refuse to count the last one. ROH needs to understand their strengths. They are a professional wrestling company. Leave the sports entertainment to WWE. Do your talking and storytelling in the ring. This was a thoroughly bad episode.

Next Week: The Briscoes take on House of Truth with a $5,000 side bet.

 

All photos courtesy of rohwrestling.com

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