ROH TV 5/5/12

–Tonight we have Border Wars, ROH’s first iPPV of the summer where we will see “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” Kevin Steen take on “American Wolf” Davey Richards. Before that we have the most recent ROH TV, where Steen will take on Kyle O’Reilly,  Richard’s partner in Burt Macklin, FBI Agent’s favorite team Team Ambition. Also, “The Dominant Male” Tommaso Ciampa battles Matt Taven and “Technical Lightning” TJ Perkins squares off with “No Fear” Mike Mondo.

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–Ciampa is on his way to the ring for the first match, only accompanied by Prince Nana, Ernesto Osiris and Barrister RD Evans this time. So clearly he’s already coming in at a disadvantage, having only three managers instead of his customary four. Something I’d never really noticed about Ciampa & The Embassy’s entrance music: it’s title is “McDuck Money”. I’m surprised that’s never been a song title for Rick Ross or somebody. I’m imagining a mid-90s style No Limit album cover, except with Ross or Waka Flocka swimming in a bank vault full of gold coins. Anywho, Matt Taven, with cool tights that play off of the old MTV logo and “Did Matt just happen?” as a catchphrase, is his opponent. They start out with a cool moment where Taven skins the cat to make his entrance and Ciampa catches him on the way in and drops him with a Tiger Suplex. Jay Lethal is at ringside for this match but he never gets involved although Ciampa plays to him by dropping Taven with a Kryptonite Krunch to the outside. Ciampa spent most of this one on the defensive, letting Taven control most of the match. To this point we’ve seen Taven on ROH a few times but he’s mostly just been there to job & bump around. This match he got to show off his skills. He’s mostly a high flyer, but he works in a Ricky Morton/Shawn Michaels type underdog style where every spot he builds up to is a desperate last resort. That’s a good role for him to play, but his flying offense is a little sloppy. A tope suicida to Ciampa ended up seeing Taven wrap all the way around him, looking almost like he’s trying for a tornado DDT but not pulling it off. Taven did pull out a pretty emphatic looking frog splash, rivaling RVD or D-Lo Brown. Tommaso turned things around with a distraction and two running knee strikes from the Tree of Woe position, and ended it with the Project Ciampa. Like Scrooge McDuck’s vault, Ciampa’s fucking bank.

–TJ Perkins starts out with a promo that gets interrupted by The Young Bucks, and general sniping results. Perkins vs. Mondo was god awful, if only for the fact that TJ Perkins is someone who ROH should be getting behind due to his marketable look and talent, and Mike Mondo is a WWE castoff who does spots that amount to comedy and seems to be the only one that ever gets in any offense in his matches. His gimmick is stupid and unoriginal, his talent is negligible, and I’d be willing to bet that based on the way he doesn’t give his opponent anything in his matches, he’s probably got a bad attitude. At one point he set up a spot where he appeared to be attempting to bite Perkins’ eye. For some reason all of Mondo’s big “bully” spots seem to be like the kind of weird shit I’d expect Chang to do on Community. Anyhow, after what seemed like an eternity of Perkins doing nothing and Mondo hamming it up, the Bucks interfered and Mondo finished with a draping double arm DDT, and the heels did a post match beatdown until ANX made the save. If anyone from ROH is reading this: you’ll never make Mike Mondo happen. Let him spin his wheels in CZW or somewhere where he won’t be stealing TV time from people who actually can cut it in the ring.

–Kyle O’Reilly cut a promo that shows why they don’t let him cut a lot of promos, and then he went to the ring for the main event against Kevin Steen, who was accompanied by “Zombie Princess” Jimmy Jacobs. I am still waiting to see Jimmy Jacobs wrestle on the TV show, I can’t remember the last time I actually saw him compete on the show. I think it was jobbing to Mike Bennett from the first TV taping. Anyhow, as much as I love Kevin Steen’s character and his ring work, you could probably lob some of the same criticisms at him that you would at Mike Mondo: if it’s a TV match or if his opponent is lower on the card than him, it will pretty much be a squash for Steen. To be fair to him, in the build to a PPV main event against someone as unproven as KO, it probably should be one-sided, although KO had a few moments of hope in this one. Steen hit a bunch of his signatures like the apron powerbomb and the running flip butt smash in the corner. Steve Corino was on commentary here, and he & Nigel did a commendable job of discussing the different strategies they feel Davey & Steen should take in their title match. Steen at one point knocked O’Reilly’s mouthpiece out and put it in his own mouth, and slapped on Davey Richards’ ankle lock, leading to KO reversing into an enziguri with Steen spitting the mouthpiece out in a cool visual. He then threw it at Jacobs, who distracted KO long enough for Steen to drop him with the F-Cinq and get the win. Afterward Steen & Jacobs continued their beatdown, until Davey made the save and had Steen in his own ankle lock, before Jacobs scored a low blow to break it and the ROH officials came out for a pull-apart. Davey then cut a promo promising that at Border Wars, Steen is gonna see The Wolf.

–Well, pretty much a storyline-heavy week. It seems like every TV taping, they end up with one show’s worth of weaker material featuring Mike Mondo. Usually that’s at the end of the taping cycle, and it becomes predictable that they saved their “B” material for last. This time they put it on in the second show of the cycle, which is fine, but it’d be better if they just stopped featuring such a drab wrestler, especially when they’ve got guys like Jimmy Jacobs, El Generico, and the All Night Express at their disposal and they rarely appear on TV. They’d be better off if they spread the wealth out a little bit, just letting some of their up and coming talent shine with a basic jobber match. As it is, not utilizing some of the better talent they have while continuing to give Mike Mondo TV time is basically head-up-your-ass territory. Hopefully ROH learns this lesson before they turn off any more fans. Until next week, don’t take my word for it, go to ROHwrestling.com and check it out for yourself.