Ring of Honor presents their annual WrestleMania showcases this weekend as they present Showdown in the Sun, Night 1 (Friday, 8pm) and Night 2 (Saturday, 1pm), emanating live from the War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Feuds will be renewed, continued, and a new one or two is sure to form out of this weekend! Let’s take a look at both shows!
SHOWDOWN IN THE SUN: DAY ONE
FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2012
World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander
JIM: Coleman and Alexander got the big upset win on the TV show last week to set this one up. I expect it will open the show or be very early on in the show. The only way Alexander and Coleman get a win here is by DQ if WGTT just destroys them, which I think would be a mistake (if you were going to do that, don’t bury a new team that may yet get over). So, instead, I hope they have a good back and forth match, where C&C Wrestle Factory get to have some great spots and look good, and then in the end, even if by cheating, WGTT gets the win to set them up for the big blow off with the Briscoes on Saturday.
TOM: I see WGTT getting the win here as well. Agreeing with Jim that the only other outcome that makes sense would be C & C getting the win due to a DQ because of the aggressiveness of WGTT. This match is quite possibly the least interesting non-WrestleMania match of the weekend in my eyes.
Proving Ground Match
Jay & Mark Briscoe vs TMDK (Mikey Nicholls & Shane Haste)
JIM: I am very interested in this match. I haven’t seen much of TMDK, just a few clips here and there on YouTube, but I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve seen, so I’m glad that I’ll get a chance to see these guys against the best team going today in the Briscoes. I actually feel like TMDK may get a win here by WGTT interference (to set up a future title match between these two, and to further the issue with WGTT for Saturday). Kind of a payback for the win C&C got over WGTT on the TV show last week. If TMDK are going to be in on any sort of a regular basis here in ROH, I’d love to see them get a win here to immediately make them relevant in the tag division. The tag division in ROH is ok right now, but needs some fresh blood, and some fresh blood that gets wins (why they rarely gave Future Shock wins, and rarely give C&C wins is beyond me, ya gotta build these guys up folks!). So, I’m going to go with a mild upset here and pick TMDK, but I’m not at all confident in that pick.
TOM: Briscoes are my pick here. I think this will be a good match and can be billed as potential outside challengers coming for the titles. I think the Briscoe’s direction in ROH will be very clear after this weekend and do not think it involved TMDK.
Dual Duel Night #1 – Stipulation to be determined
The Young Bucks vs The All Night Express
JIM: On the ROH site they said they were going to flip a coin on Friday night to determine which night is the Tornado Match, and which night is the Street Fight. It would make the most sense to do the Tornado Match here, and build to the Street Fight on Saturday. Plus with Generico/Steen on this show already, you don’t really need another “hardcore” type match, so I think a Tornado Match here, with the Young Bucks getting a win by some sort of illegal means, setting up ANX to be looking for blood on Saturday.
TOM: This is a match and series for the weekend I am really looking forward to. I think ANX provides The Bucks with excellent opponents that can allow them to shine and that on the flip side, the Bucks can make ANX look great too. With them fighting on Saturday too, I just don’t know how or why The Bucks would not get a “dirty” win here giving more into their contest on Night 2.
Last Man Standing Match
Kevin Steen vs El Generico
JIM: This rematch makes the show for me. These two have always had amazing chemistry, and we haven’t seen a match between them in over a year in Ring of Honor, so it’s a welcome addition to this card. They’ve said in the 3/22/12 Newswire that we can expect a stipulation to be added to this match, and I’m interested to see what it is. Some rumors of a “Loser Leaves ROH” stipulation to get Generico out of the plans for the future. I certainly hope that isn’t the case, as I hope ROH and he can get on the same page for a contract (I’m very curious why they haven’t been able to reach agreement yet…though I’m not at all willing to lay that all on ROH by any means). This will be a war, and I can’t wait to catch this one this weekend. Steen makes everything he touches more interesting, as if this match needed that anyways! Steen wins here.
TOM: With the stipulation having been decided since Jim’s write-up, this is now a “Last Man Standing” match would could be a subtle way of the loser leaving ROH too. Kevin Steen has been the most entertaining wrestler in ROH and his path to the ROH World Title continues here with a win over Generico. These two are golden in the ring together and I fully expect this match to deliver and is a high candidate for Match of the Weekend.
ROH World TV Championship Match
Jay Lethal (C) vs. Kyle O'Reilly
JIM: I haven’t been the biggest Jay Lethal fan since his return to ROH. It’s not that he’s bad in the ring, he’s not, far from it. But I don’t know, he just doesn’t click for me as a top (or close to the top) guy. That being said, I think O’Reilly will be a main event level player for ROH in the next year or two easily. Heck, he’s already got his first iPPV main event under his belt in a tag match. All that being said though, I can’t see O’Reilly winning here, as his feud with Cole is just getting started, and frankly, it’s got enough juice on it right now that it doesn’t need the TV Title involved as well. And, Lethal still has an unresolved issue with Ciampa about the TV Title, so, Lethal keeps it here, but it should be a hell of a fun in ring matchup.
TOM: Like Jim, Jay Lethal just doesn’t “click” for me or get me excited. I often find that once he is into a match I get more invested, but rare is the time where ROH announces: “Jay Lethal vs. Opponent” and I proclaim, “I MUST see that match.” This might be as close to that as it gets, as I do greatly enjoy Kyle O’Reilly and his recent change in attitude makes him someone that I want to see get his butt kicked. I predict this will be very much back and forth, but Lethal will retain his title.
Lance Storm vs Mike Bennett
JIM: You have to give ROH credit. While I personally just can’t stand Bennett, they are obviously behind him, and are doing everything they can to try and get him over. So, kudos to ROH for the effort. He got a win against Homicide at the 10th Anniversary Show, and now faces former ECW Tag Team Champion, WWE Tag Team Champion, WWE Intercontinental Champion, WCW US Champion, WCW Hardcore Champion, and WCW Cruiserweight Champion, Lance Storm. If anyone can get a good match out of Bennett, Storm just may be that guy, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing this match. Storm has always been really good in the ring, and it will be interesting to see how much ring rust he has. Since he’s a very proud individual, I’m sure he feels he can still go, or he wouldn’t be here. In the end though, no chance Bennett loses this match.
TOM: It is hard to give anything more than what Jim wrote, as he summed everything up so well. It speaks volumes about Storm that he would be willing to agree to face Bennett, considering his previous ROH outings and appearances have been so purposeful and intentional. I do see Bennett getting the win, but with ROH having “Border Wars” in Toronto in May, I could see this being an undecisive finish where a re-match of Storm-Bennett gets set up for the big Canadian return.
ROH World Championship Triple Threat Match
Davey Richards (C) vs. Eddie Edwards vs, Roderick Strong
JIM: This match has a bit of a “been there, seen that” feeling to it, but I have no doubt it will deliver in the ring. These three have been the top three stars for the last year or more for ROH, and we’ve seen lots of matchups between the three of them, but I believe this is the first three way match between them. The way it’s being described on TV, I believe this match will be elimination rules, which I think works really well, as I hate the whole “champ can lose the title without being pinned” part in one fall triple threat matches. In looking ahead to Saturday’s show, where three men away these three, one of which will get a World Title Shot, I can’t see Strong winning it and defending against Lethal, and Steen’s desire and work towards a title shot can’t cash in this fast against Edwards, so to me, there is no way Davey Richards loses the title here. We’ll get Richards/Elgin for the title on Day 2, and I’d be willing to bet on that.
TOM: These three and the ROH World Title scene have been synonymous over the last year, with Edwards taking the title from Strong just over 1 year ago, Davey taking the title from Edwards in June and then Davey defending successfully against both in singles bouts since that time. I think this will be a fitting ending and then I do truly hope they all move on to new, fresh opponents. The only match I think has any marketability left would be Richards-Edwards III for, with the title on the line. Davey will win and retain here and I will be very interested in how the eliminations occur.
SHOWDOWN IN THE SUN: DAY TWO
SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2012
Chikara vs Ring of Honor
TJ Perkins vs Fire Ant
JIM: This match should be all kinds of fun and will help keep the heat going towards April 28th and “Synergy” in Chicago Ridge, IL with the Chikara/ROH double header. Super stoked that I’ll be there live for those shows! Fire Ant is really good, and Perkins just needs a direction in ROH (as both Tom and I have said numerous times here on 2SM). While I don’t think this will give him a direction in ROH by any means, I hope his performance here leads to more in ROH for him, and maybe a rematch or a Perkins/Red vs. Colony match at one of the Synergy shows. I think Ant gets the win here to “steal one for Chikara”.
TOM: The ROH-CHIKARA issue which is on the path towards the April 28th doubleshot gets another boost here. I am excited for this match and eager to see it play out. I agree that Fire Ant gets the win, as TJP has been the designated “enhancement” name wrestler for ROH and ROH is smart to keep CHIKARA looking strong before what will come to a head in April.
Kyle O'Reilly vs Adam Cole
JIM: Easily the match I want to see most over the course of this ROH weekend. These two are on their way to the top in ROH, and while I saw their original match in DGUSA, I’m expecting so much more here. I loved that match, and I expect that I will love this one either better. This will likely be the first of what will be many matches between these two, and I, for one, can not wait! I wish they hadn’t banned the piledriver, because this would be a great time for Panama’s Sunrise (a flipping piledriver) to make it’s ROH debut. I see O’Reilly winning here, likely by cheating, and then not shaking hands again.
TOM: This is my third most anticipated match of the weekend. The first singles bout between the two in ROH and on the heels of O’Reilly’s disrespect of Cole at the 10th Anniversary Show. This will be awesome. I actually am picking that it will end in a No Contest or Double DQ because of the issue between the two and that there is so much mileage between the two.
Dual Duel Night #2 – Stipulation to be determined
The Young Bucks vs The All Night Express
JIM: This should be the Street Fight if I’m right about how they put these two matches together. And honestly, this should be a war. I have no idea if the Bucks are any good at hardcore stuff, or how willing they are to bleed, etc, but this could be an all out brawl. All Night Express are most certainly willing to go there, so I hope the Bucks are too. To me, there is more upside to ANX, and they do have a title shot coming up sometime in the future, so I think that they’ve got to get the win here to propel them towards that title shot.
TOM: Unlike Jim, I’ve seen The Bucks do hardcore and brawling in PWG and they can hang. I expect this to be wild, violence and bloody, very similar to the ANX-Briscoes fight from Atlanta last year during WrestleMania weekend. ANX will get the win here and focus on the ROH World Tag Team Titles, with their Proving Ground shot earned in December in their back pocket.
ROH World Tag Team Championship Match
The Briscoes vs Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team
JIM: This as well could end up being a war. Cornette has promised that this match will have a definitive winner and this will end the issues between the Briscoes and World’s Greatest Tag Team. We’ll see if that comes to pass, but what is almost assuredly true is that these two teams are going to beat the hell out of each other. I think the Briscoes win it, but the question then becomes, what becomes of World’s Greatest Tag Team when this feud is over? Do they move to a feud with C&C Wrestle Factory? TMDK? Somehow get involved in the Chikara stuff? I have no idea where they go next.
TOM: I am glad to see this feud come to an end. To me, WGTT have just been less and less entertaining and engaging since their debut back in late-2010. They had a good run with the ROH World Tag Titles and memorable feuds with The Kings of Wrestling and Jay & Mark Briscoe. Much like Jim, I ask what is next? That statement can be made for both teams. The Briscoes are my pick to retain and I guess they will have another feud with ANX on the horizon, but it was just about 6 months ago when their feud ended in “Ladder War 3.” As for WGTT, I almost wish they’d split as a duo because I think there is more opportunity in singles matches, especially with Shelton Benjamin.
Blind Destiny Match #1 – Could be for ROH World Title
Jay Lethal vs Roderick Strong
JIM: Honestly, this is the match I’m least looking forward to, as I feel like I’ve seen it a couple of times recently, and neither of them blew me away. I’m wondering if they’ll turn it into a TV Title Match since Roddy has a title shot forthcoming. No chance I see this being a World Title match, so, go ahead and make it for the TV belt. With that being said, I see no point in putting the TV Title on Roderick Strong at this point, as he’s above that level (but seemingly to me, below the World Title at this point). So, I think Lethal is going to come through if it’s a TV Title shot. If it’s not, and they just leave it as a regular match, then I think Strong cheats to win.
TOM: I too would hope they make this a TV Title Match, as Roddy has had a shot from a “Proving Ground” match since Fall 2011. With Jay Lethal-Tommaso Ciampa’s feud unresolved and the TV Title being a big part of that, that makes me think that (title match or not) Lethal gets the win. On the contrary, I think with Strong being phased out of the World Title scene, he could really have a great run as a cocky TV champ with various nods and homage to what Rob Van Dam did in ECW back in the late 1990’s.
Blind Destiny Match #2 – Could be for ROH World Title
Eddie Edwards vs Kevin Steen
JIM: Edwards vs. Steen will be a lot of fun, as it’s two guys I really enjoy in the ring. This could be for the World Title as well, but I just don’t see Edwards winning it on Friday, nor do I see the Steen title shot happening this quickly (as the build to Richards/Steen is awesome, and going to result in a HUGE matchup when they finally meet up). That being said, I think this will be a lot of fun, with Steen looking to prove he’s worthy of a title shot by trying to defeat a former World Champion in Edwards. I think he gets the win after a hell of a match.
TOM: I’ve seen these two collide in PWG before and it was really, really good. I could see Steen seeking to make Edwards the example for what he wants/hopes to do to Davey Richards. Getting that win, as Jim stated, over a former ROH World Champion would give the added fuel to Steen in his quest to convince Jim Cornette/ROH to get that title shot. Steen wins.
Blind Destiny Match #3 – Could be for ROH World Title
Davey Richards vs Michael Elgin
JIM: I fully expect this to be a World Title Match. They had a really fun Proving Ground match on TV a while back, and I’m really looking forward to this rematch. One question that has not been answered is if this will count as Elgin’s title shot for winning Survival of the Fittest should it be for the title, or if he’ll still have another shot forthcoming if he needs it. There is a bit of me that things Elgin might get a short title reign, but I just can’t talk myself into it with the Steen/Richards feud on going and how that should absolutely be for the title. I think Elgin is going to just about have the match won, and then Roderick Strong is going to interfere, costing Elgin the title, and turning Elgin into a super over babyface in the process. It’s been coming for a bit, and I think Elgin/Strong is a feud that will help bring Elgin up to the next level when he will absolutely be ready for a World Title run later this year or early next year. Maybe even as the guy who gets the title eventually off of Kevin Steen. Richards wins here, but the Elgin turn will be the bigger story if it happens.
TOM: Here is my 2nd most anticipated ROH match of the weekend. Davey has not had an extremely high profile World Title Match since Final Battle (all due respect to Jay Lethal) and I believe that both he and Elgin view this as an opportunity to steal the show and do something very special. I agree with Jim that I believe Elgin is on the cusp of being embraced and accepted by fans as a big babyface and getting so close to the title, getting screwed by Roddy/Truth Martini and then getting put over by Davey could all be factors that lead to that occurring on Saturday. Since I think that is how this will play out, I do hope that Elgin retains his earned World Title shot for SoTF and then we get a re-match between these two that is part of the headline bouts for Toronto in May.
Ring of Honor offers another great alternative this weekend for wrestling fans and both shows can be purchased for $19.99 at GFL.TV – check them out!
We roll on again tomorrow with WrestleMania XXVIII and Head 2 Head, as Jim and Tom look to break the tie and take the lead in that competition! See you then.