BEST IN THE WORLD 2012: HOSTAGE CRISIS
June 24, 2012
Adam Cole . . . steps into the ring as an underdog, and leaves victorious (and a couple of teeth lighter).
Rhett Titus . . . outperforms the former WWE Tag Team Champions.
Davey Richards . . . shows his versatility with an original interpretation of ‘chain’ wrestling.
JAY BRISCOE/MARK BRISCOE vs. GUARDIAN OF TRUTH #1/GUARDIAN OF TRUTH #2
Sometimes a mask can bring something out of a wrestler’s personality, like becoming Badstreet did for the late Brad Armstrong, and, sometimes the result is like this. The G’s of T are as generic and vanilla as it gets. Their only notable spot is the switch behind the ref’s back, which leads to the reverse STO to Jay. Granted, the Briscoes aren’t a whole lot better, most likely due to how loose the ropes were, so, this probably never had a chance of getting out of first gear.
HOMICIDE vs. EDDIE EDWARDS
This is a nice example of how good a worker Eddie is, but, that’s the problem, Eddie shouldn’t be the one standing out. He’s going into the match with a hurt arm, but, aside from the two trips to the post, Homicide pretty much leaves it alone, instead preferring to show what a crazy heel he is by choking and biting, rather than doing things that make it seems like he’s trying to beat Eddie. Eddie seems no worse for wear for most of the match, he pretty much unloads his whole arsenal on Homicide. The last few minutes are a nice change of pace, with Homicide kicking the bad arm to escape the half crab, and Eddie countering the Kudo driver only for Homicide to go back to the arm, and then get the Kudo driver to win. The work itself is fine, but, it’s too bad neither felt like telling the story until the last couple of minutes. ***
KYLE O’REILLY vs. ADAM COLE (Hybrid Fighting Rules)
Before Cole’s teeth got knocked out, this was coming along nicely, and props to both of them for not freaking out and rushing to end the match, although those last couple of superkicks from Cole looked like they could have been KO shots. It was nice to see Kyle taking the backseat early on, to show that Cole wasn’t in over his head by being in this sort of match, and there are some nice touches like Cole being unable to whip Kyle into the ropes after Kyle gets that juji-gatame for the first time. Some may take issue with enzuigiri getting ignored, but, it was early enough in the match that it wasn’t that big a deal, and it worked in the vein of Cole showing how tenaciously he was going after Kyle’s leg.
Things fall apart afer Cole’s teeth come out, along with a river of blood. They start pasting each other with kicks and just stand there, it’s annoying, but it’s understandable with the adrenaline rush that they probably had going on. And, the way Kyle puts over Cole’s superkicks more than makes up for it. They also have a nice finishing sequence with Kyle and Adam countering each other’s submissions, Kyle’s shootstyle and Adam’s pro-style, with Cole getting the win with a figure four, and, if you look closely, you’ll see that Kyle looks more like he’s slapping at his bad leg instead of tapping out, which lends some credence to his slapping Cole and denial of the tap out.
FIT FINLAY vs. MICHAEL ELGIN
Unless one is a big fan of Finlay (as everyone should be), there isn’t much reason to seek this out. It’s fun to watch Finlay stretch and brutalize Elgin, but, he’s just doing it to do it, and doesn’t seem to be taking the match anywhere with it. The idea seems to be showing how ‘Unbreakable’ Elgin is, by taking the abuse and not staying down, but, it’s not like Finlay is doing anything to beat him or seriously hurt him, he’s pretty much just toying with him. Elgin doesn’t get any meaningful run of offense until the very end when he gets the backfist, buckle bomb, and Elgin bomb for the win, and, that was directly after he took two of Finlay’s finishers, rather than him making any real comeback. But, he’s not good about taking advantage of openings anyway, such as Finlay’s shoulder bump into the post that gets ignored. There’s nothing wrong with putting Elgin over Finlay, but, this was more about furthering the dissension angle with the House of Truth than it was about the actual match.
I suppose this nonsense between Bennett and Mondo is technically a match, since there was a bell, but, aside from Mondo’s dive off the apron, there’s nothing to see. Mondo brawls, Bennett brawls, and then Mondo gets a flash cradle for the win. It’s just as easy to skip it as it is to watch it, and, all the extracurricular bullshit with Bennett and Maria lasts longer than the actual match.
RODERICK STRONG © vs. TOMMASO CIAMPA vs. JAY LETHAL (ROH Television Title)
I wonder if it’s ever dawned on anyone that being the “television” title doesn’t mean that every match has to have the overbooking shenanigans commonly found on TV. It’s the same layout and structure as every other match of its kind, with a few creative spots and sequences, like Lethal’s figure four and crossface. And, this is elimination style, so there’s even less reason to be the same old three-way, since there’s no reason for the odd man out to suddenly appear to break up pins or spots. It’s nice to see Strong retain by pinning both opponents, but, they both come on the heels of manager interference, so it’s really just a footnote rather than anything to make Strong look like an especially worthy champion.
SHELTON BENJAMIN/CHARLIE HAAS © vs. RHETT TITUS/KENNY KING (ROH World Tag Team Titles)
If you’re expecting an epic passing of the torch sort of match (which is what this should have been, in all honesty), then you’re going to be sorely disappointed. It’s worked and structured like your typical formula tag team match, with Titus being the only one to show any real personality. Shelton gets in a couple of nice shots during the extended heat segment on Kenny, but, the Haas/King segments are dull as dishwater. Rhett may not be in the same league as Morton, Gibson, Rogers, or Fulton, but, his hot tag segment, and, later his own heat segment, are the best things to see here by a country mile. Sure, one can argue that Rhett getting busted open gives some extra meaning to Haas punching him, but, Haas did the exact same thing to King, and, Rhett’s selling is what makes it work. The bit with Kenny throwing Shelton the chair to try to get him disqualified (which would cause Haas and Benjamin to lose the titles) is just stupid. That’s the last thing that the underdog babyface team needs to do. They do at least have a smart finish. Haas and Benjamin go for the Broken Arrow, only for Kenny to break it up, and, the opening gives Titus the opening to surprise Haas with a flash cradle to give them the titles. King and Titus get a clean win over the champions, and it’s done in such a way that a rematch would make perfect sense, and, allow Kenny and Rhett to get a dominant win to cement them as the new top dogs.
KEVIN STEEN © vs. DAVEY RICHARDS (ROH World Heavyweight Title)
If one wants to see a great ‘wrestling’ match, then they need to look elsewhere. It’s a big brawl all over ringside with plenty of prop shots, run-ins, ref bumps, and not much of anything else. This is entertaining for what it is, but it’s far closer to a WWF main event from 1999 than it is to what one would expect from an ROH Title match. In fact, they actually take a page from the Austin/Rock WrestleMania main event from that year, with both Davey and Steen getting upset at a near fall and deciding that taking out the ref is the best solution. Steve Corino is no Bobby Heenan, but, he’s pretty damn funny on commentary, especially when Davey wraps the chain around his boot and Steve remarks that Davey usually does a different sort of chain wrestling. Probably the only positive thing to take away from this, from a wrestling perspective, is how well protected the Package Piledriver is, Steen and Davey do an ungodly amount of things to each other, but, it only takes a single piledriver to finish Davey off. Again, it’s fun to watch, for what it is, but, this is far from the sort of match that ROH should be headlining major shows with.
Conclusion: Overall, this isn’t too bad, with only the opener and Mondo match being skippable. But, there isn’t anything overly impressive. So, it’s more fun than it is good.