While ROH’s main competitors (WWE and TNA) have been at a stalemate when it comes to who can put on the most mediocre PPV of the month, ROH has recently done an efficient job branding itself as a company that cares about giving the preeminent content for a reasonable price. Even with their misfortune with the internet streams, they have handled the matter in the utmost professional way. They reimbursed everyone that had stream malfunctions so far. In short, ROH has done a good job getting on track since Jim Cornette’s departure from the company.
Now, after assembling several enthralling PPVS amidst the reign of the “Wrestling’s Nightmare”, Kevin Steen, ROH tries to deliver again but in Canada and without Kevin Steen. Will they keep their miniature hot streak going?
Border Wars 2013:
Pre-PPV Thoughts: I must admit that I am a little skeptical about this show. It unfortunately looks it could be shaping up to be their weakest PPV for ROH this year. Nevertheless, the card does have some good-looking matches on it that I am looking forward to. Besides, it’s about three times less Extreme Rules and must I say looks way better.
Lately, ROH has been utilizing their TV show resourcefully. They have actually used it to build upcoming PPV matches instead of just trying to have a lot of good matches . Frankly, the build up toward a PPV is more important than the PPV itself. Once you have the fans cash, it does not matter if the show does not deliver, unless the problem continues. Then there would become a problem in the long wrong, because it would become equivalent false advertising. After all, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
But yeah, it is better to have their money and then put on a bad show than vice-versa. That is why movies are investing more revenue into their previews: because they matter just as much as the movie does itself. And it makes the matches better as well, because it gives the match a purpose as well as importance. In fact, the match’s build can be done so well that people are completely engaged into it in spite of it sucking. A perfect example of this would be Hulk Hogan against André the Giant at Wrestlemania three.
Border Wars 2013, however, is lacking build, as too many matches on the PPV feel as if they were last minutely thrown-together. The main event even looks completely underwhelming, merely because both wrestlers have not been solidified as main event talent. There are matches, though, that have a good amount of build and others that look like flat-out great matches. Therefore, it looks like it has all the potential to be a good show. I just do not foresee it surpassing their recent passed PPVS, though.
Opening Match: Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander def. ACH and Tadarius Thomas: ACH threw Alexander into the ropes and hurled him rearward into an ace-cutter for a close near fall. Coleman nailed a hurricanrana off the top on ACH and then Alexander hit a frogsplash for the win @ 10:56.
The synopsis: Color me surprised. This was the perfect way to open. The match was able to get the crowd into the show right off the bat, but it did not overwhelm them too much to the point where they would be exhausted for the next match. And the opening match never wants to raise the bar too high where it becomes difficult to exceed. But yeah, they did a sufficient amount of stuff in a precise amount time, and set the tempo for the PPV. It was exactly what an opening match’s objective should be. *** ¼
Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness notified us that Mondo suffered an injury and thus would wrestle tonight. That means the Triple Threat match would be just a singles match. Out oh. Heel vs. Heel match. I actually feel bad for these two for having to do this match. They could not have added anyone else?
Roderick Strong def. Mike Bennett w/ Maria: They kept going back and forth until Strong executed a big back breaker for a near-fall. The future of WWE took control after countering the man of the 1000 backbreakers. Roderick ultimately got Bennett in the Stronghold. Maria to jumped on the apron in order to get the ref’s attention since Bennett was tapping out. Strong chanced Maria, but Bennett nailed the “box office smash” for a close nearfall. Cheeseburger and Paradise came out to make out with Maria, pissing off every wrestling fan in the world. Strong hit the sidekick on Bennett while he was distracted to pick up the win @ 9:58.
The synopsis: Talk about making lemonade with lemons. Holy shit, they were backed into a horrendous corner, but they totally made the most out of it. Maria’s involvement certainly made the match more enjoyable. She has solid timing for a manager, “I’m hotter than anyone you ever got” attitude, and good facial expressions—showing why her being squandered in WWE might have been a mistake.
The match walked that thin line. They did not want to turn either wrestler face, but they also wanted to put on a good match. I think the involvement with Maria and Cheeseburger really helped them walk that line. And sometimes it is fine to have some goofy fun and a sports entertainment finish on a show that takes itself seriously. The match had solid action and near-falls as well. ** ¾
Rhett Titus def. BJ Whitmer: Corino ran out (even though he was banned from the match) and stood in the ring. BJ saw him and held the chair up as if he was going to hit Corino with it. Corino turned around and got on his knees. He put his hands out as if he was sacrificing himself. BJ thought about it for ages, but before did it, Rhett quit to stop Whitmer from hitting Corino @ 11:23!?!?!?!?!??!!?!? After the match, both Jimmy Jacobs and Cliff Compton ran out to attack Whitmer, but Michael Elgin and Jay Lethal ran out with a ref that started the match. When this was all happening, Rhett Titus was still tied up. Fire Russo! Clap, clap, clap. Fire Russo!
The synopsis: Titus has always struck me as someone who was more outlandishly entertaining than technically sound or intimating; therefore, I just cannot take him seriously in SCUM. I do not know who’s to blame for the match, but it came across that they never worked an I Quit match in their life. They were just doing a regular match. And the match had no hatred, no intensity, no violence, no nothing.
The finish absolutely made no sense either. Why did Rhett Titus quit? And more importantly, why doesn’t Whitmer hit Corino with the chair anyway?This made him look like the biggest moron on the planet. Oh, it gets worse too. They have SCUM come down to beat up Whitmer only for Elgin and Lethal to make the save, and then declare their match vs. SCUM was next. Were they running out of time? Did they really have to overbook this anymore? Plus, I thought SCUM’s opponents were supposed to be a surprise, so how did Elgin and Lethal know it was them? I guess they just assumed. This entire thing made my head hurt. It’s the worst put together match I’ve seen this year. DUD
SCUM def. Michael Elgin and Kevin Steen/Jay Lethal: If SCUM lose, Steve Corino is fired. But if they win, he gets to be an announcer and a member of SCUM gets a title shot. Elign and Lethal were rolling until Lethal suicide dived outside the ring and hurt his knee. This led to a funny moment where Corino is advocating the referee to count him out. The numbers game™ was against Michael Eligg, but Kevin Steen came through the crowd to get up on the apron to help. The ref told him to leave, but McGuinness neglected the ref’s decision. Steen kicked Compton and Jacobs’ ass for a while, and then Elgin had Jacobs up for a powerbomb, but Jacobs ran in to chop blocked his leg. Thereafter, Steen picked Comton up for the package piledriver, but Jacobs rolled him up for the win @ 20:09
Synopsis: Good match. The match told a basic but effective story where Elgin had to overcome the odds due to a fluke injury to his partner. Later on, backwards and imprudent booking marred the match, though. I do not comprehend why they ever would stack the deck against the heels only for them to win. I get that they want to get the SCUM over as a force to be reckoned with, but do not make the babyfaces looks like complete morons in the process. The bulk of the match, though, was an amusing highlight reel that displayed inventive handicap spots as well as Elign’s ridiculous power and agility. *** ¼
R.D. Evans and Q.T. Marshall came out after a way too long intermission. The audio made it hard to hear what they were saying, but the crowd was doing the Fandango dance during the segment. Eventually, this led to a peculiar return of Tomasso Ciampa. It is good to see Ciampa back in action, but next time you are going to do a surprise return, do not play his music for two minutes before he comes out, ROH.
Eddie Edwards def. Taiji Ishimori: This is the first time I ever saw Ishimori wrestle. Great exchanges and pace early on. Ishimori hit Edwards with a superkick followed by roundhouse kick to the head for a nearfall. Ishimori tried a 450, but Edwards got his knees up. Later on, Edwards and Ishimori both stand on the top turnbuckle. Edwards drilled him with a super hurricanrana and then several power bombs, but only for two. Edwards finished it with the diehard driver @ 15:30. After the match, Edwards signaled he wanted a shot at Ishimori’s title. They shook hands as the crowd screamed “come back” to Ishimori.
The synopsis: Good God, what a fantastic match. This made any balls-to-the-wall WWE match look like shit. This has no down time, displayed state-of-the-art moves, and had oodles of epic wrestling exchanges and sequences. The only problem was it felt a bit rush. If they were given time to build the match and sell better, this could have received the full monty. Further, since Edwards indicated he wanted a title shot, it makes this match seem important looking back instead of being just an exhibition. Seriously, they need to do a rematch with more time and something prestigious on the line. ****
Matt Taven © w/ Truth Martini and the Hoopla Hotties def. Mark Briscoe to retain the ROH TV title: Martini entered the ring in order to try to hit Mark with the book of truth, but he missed. Later on, Taven rolled up Mark from behind for the win @ 13:42.
Synopsis: Boring match. I believe its designed purpose was to be a buffer. Everything felt phoned-in and through the motion. It was sloppy in parts as well. Eh, whatever. * ½
Davey Richards def. Paul London: Paul appeared to be in good shape. Lots and lots of wrestling exchanges early on. The crowd was shitting on Davey Richards, but he embraced it and ran with it. London took him down with a hurricanrana and then went for a springboard. However, Richards nailed him with an enzuguri from the apron. Richards clinched in a leg hold while taunting the crowd. Later on, London beat the 20-count outside the ring, but Richards drilled him with a dropkick when he tried getting back in the ring. Richards proceeded to drill London with a double stomp square in the face. London was noticeably out cold. The crowd chanted at Ricards “you killed Paul”. Once London woke up, they went up top and London executed a sunset bomb. London went for a SSP, but Richards got his knees up and turned into a pin to get the win @ 15:39. After the match, Richard cut lousy promo. He talked went too fast through it, not allowing anyone to process the information he was giving. The only thing I could was him mentioning Canada hates him and that he respect Paul.
Synopsis: Oh, Davey. I just do not know about you. He truly has all the potential in the world. Amazingly athletic, superbly agility, bat-shit crazy, great at wrestling exchanges, and so on and so on. However, he essentially defies logical and psychology in every match. He will execute a marvelous looking spot because it looks cool, disregarding that the spot makes no sense from a psychology viewpoint or for the match’s narrative. Because of that, it is hard for me to get emotionally invested into him. And while this match was entertaining, it didn’t have a story to invest into. *** ¼
Jay Briscoe © def. Adam Cole: Believe it or not, this is your main event of the evening. It’s not that bad so far. It is just that ROH hasn’t really given us a factual reason why these two are in the main event. During the end of the match, Nigel acted like he was going to get some help, but crotched Corino instead. He hit the tower of London on Corino. Cole stared at Corino and McGuinness, which allowed Jay to come up from behind and nail the Jay-driller for the win @ 21:00. After the match, Adam Cole appeared to be lining up Briscoe for a super kick until Briscoe saw him, teasing a heel turn.
Synopsis: Slightly overbooked, but the good news is this layered story keeps progressing. There are many directions they can go this, which always is a good thing if you want people on the edge of their seats. Again, neither guy in the match felt like they belonged. Briscoe’s title reign was out of nowhere in the first place. It was not as if he was built up for months. And Cole has been mid-carder in his tenure so far. Word around the bush is Cole is more suited as a heel, so I hope they turn him to see. It will also be interesting to see what ROH does with Briscoe after his distasteful tweets about homosexuality. Match was okay. ** ¾
Final Verdict: Despite some bad booking early on, this ended up being a strong PPV. There were only two bad matches. There were a lot of solid-to-good matches. And one really great match. They also added more layers to the SCUM angle and teased an Adam Cole heel turn, which they can build off for television. I do not think this will be called PPV of the year, but it surpassed all WWE and TNA’s PPVs this year.