Well ROH fans it has been quite a bit of time since I last reviewed an ROH TV episode. To those of you that enjoy these review I’m sorry for not keeping up. If you can forgive me than that is awesome. If not….WELL FORGET YOU! Wait, wait come back I just wanted attention.
Anyways, this week’s review will focus on a sad but glorious moment, the last ROH match of “Mr. Wrestling”, “The Antichrist of Pro-Wrestling” and “Zoo Enthusiast” Kevin Steen. The outspoken and very talented Quebec native has an ROH fixture for the last seven years. Whether it’s teaming with El Generico, hitting said luchador with a chair and trying to destroy him or being a pain in Jim Cornette’s the Honor faithful love them some Steen. While seeing him go is sad one can’t help but think one of the good guys is getting is shot in Vinnie Mac’s ring. So, in front of a packed house in Dearborn, Michigan with Nigel McGuiness and Kevin Kelly on commentary the last fifty minutes of Kevin Steen in ROH begins.
Adrenaline Rush Explodes: ACH. vs. T.D. Thomas: A few months prior both men were part of an up and coming tag team. Twice they had taken reDRagon to the limit and were looking like the team to dethrone everyone’s favorite shoot fighting hipsters. Then New Orleans happened.
Following a match with The Decade Jimmy Jacobs went to hit T.D. with a steel chair. His partner ACH was injured and laid out on the floor. Then Jacobs did something very uncharacteristic, he showed Thomas mercy and did not hit him with the chair. Furthermore he convinced Thomas that ACH did not have his back leaving T.D. to dissolve their partnership. Since then Thomas has been struggling while also dealing with the constant verbal abuse of being a Decade lackey. ACH has seen his stock go higher and higher. He won an excellent six man at Best in the World and has had excellent matches with the likes of Silas Young and Adam Cole. What happens when two former friends collide? Well in ROH they wrestle each other…anyways here are my thoughts on the match.
Indy wrestlers have a nasty habit of doing the whole both guys are evenly matched spot where they chain wrestle for a few minutes, pause and then get applauded. Thomas and ACH put a nice spin on this. ACH would dodge a move with a backflip and Thomas would cartwheel his way out of harm’s way. T.D. had a really nice spot where he dodged a kick attempt and fell into a back bridge that he turned into a handstand head scissors takedown!
Another nasty habit I’ve noticed is that for a guy whose offense is mainly strikes T.D. Thomas’ usually look like love taps. That makes it really hard to take his offense seriously. This time out though his strikes looked much more crisp. He had a great jumping kick that drilled ACH at the end of a suicide dive.
What can you say about ACH this summer? He has improved so much over the last few months in ROH and is having a really underrated year in the ring. His improvement was on full display in the match. Instead of going for his high spots early ACH used some nice strikes to keep building to his signature offense and his selling was superb as well. There was a fun spot late in the match where T.D. kept rolling out of an attempted double stomp before ACH absolutely planted Thomas in the back with a stomp. This was another solid match from ACH as he would pick up the win via a 450 Splash.
This was an outstanding and well-paced match with lots of unique counters that I encourage any fan to go out of their way to match. T.D. Thomas had a breakout match against his former tag team partner and I hope he continues to up his game. ACH. continues to prove why he deserves the push he is currently getting. Like I said this is an outstanding match and an easy 3 and ½ stars.
After the match B.J. Whitmer and Jimmy Jacobs berated and slapped around Thomas and Adam Page. It looked like Page and Thomas were finally going to stand up for themselves before they both backed down and held the ring ropes for B.J. and Jimmy as they exited the ring. Nice segment. The crowd was really hot for the young guys to “Man up”.
Thank You Kevin – Steve Corino vs. Kevin Steen: Steen and Corino. Friends and allies. Enemies and then friends again. No man has been more instrumental in the latter half of Kevin Steen’s ROH career than Steve Corino. It was under Corino’s influence that Steen lost his mind. Corino’s actions during the dying days of S.C.U.M. prompted Steen to see the error of his way and become a changed man…well kinda. Besides a certain retired luchador no man is more fitting to be Kevin Steen’s final ROH opponent than Steve Corino.
Before the match started Steve Corino had the ring announcer read a really nice send off message for Steen before it went into a speech touting the accolades of Corino himself. Nice. Steen looked really emotional beforehand and grateful to the adoration he received from the crowd.
The match itself was a ton of fun. Early on Corino sucker punched Steen and then cut his legs out from under him a few minutes later. Some people never change. Steen borrowed a fan’s El Generico mask and hit two Ole! Kicks for old times sake. Back in the ring Corino channeled his inner Dusty Rhodes and broke out the Bionic Elbow complete with awful middle aged white guy dancing. After some nice back and forth, which included Corino doing the best sliding forearm I have ever seen, Steen got the win with what else but a Package Piledriver.
Post-match The Decade tried to ruin the goodbye celebration but the faces made the save.
Kevin Steen’s goodbye match was a combination of the things that make him great: nice comedy spots, fun brawling and excellent wrestling. Steve Corino looked a little winded but he worked hard. Overall this was solid send off with some nice tribute spots that earned 2 and ¾ stars.
As the Kevin Steen era ends in ROH this episode highlights that the future is still bright for the company. ACH and T.D. Thomas prove that even after ten plus years of existence Ring of Honor can still find new talent to replace its proven stars. If both men and the other young talent in the company step up the rest of 2014 should be a good year for ROH. Give this episode a match for the opener and for the great send off to an ROH legend.