Monday, October 12, 2015

RoH Supercard of Honor VIII

Welcome back to my continuing coverage of Supercard of Honor (SoH), the only major Ring of Honor (RoH) show I go out of my way to watch a year. Occasionally I will catch an episode or two of their weekly syndicated TV show off the RoH website a year, but SoH is the only major RoH event I try and watch each year because most of them transpire within miles of the hosting venue of Wrestlemania the day before the biggest WWE event of the year. So naturally RoH tries to put on a stacked show that usually draws one of their best crowds of the year.

Today I am covering 2014’s Supercard of Honor VIII. At SoH VII last year SCUM was the dominant bad guy faction that had a presence throughout most of the show. At some point between SoH VII and VIII, SCUM dissolved and from its ashes another dominant faction emerged called ‘The Decade.’ It consists of a bunch of RoH vets who have been there since the promotion’s early years and the faction had a big presence on SoH VIII’s opening matches. Roderick Strong represented The Decade in the opening match with a victory over Cederic Alexander. As I noted in past RoH blogs here I am not a fan of Strong because he usually is in one of the main events of the show and the guy is one of the least charismatic headliners I have seen, and most of his bouts I have seen tend to be a chore to get through. However in the opener here with Alexander, it is a very quick paced affair with plenty of quick highspot moves to get the crowd riled up like a good opener should, but does not overstay its welcome.

The rest of the Decade at ringside stuck around for their six man tag team match next which featured BJ Whitmer, Adam Page and Jimmy Jacobs of the Decade against ACH, Everett and TD. This was another match filled with rapid-fire action in a scramble format so no tags were necessary. ACH stood out as the most charismatic of the six and had an organic connection with the fans and Everett recovered from a botched flip and made up for it with a few other big moves that dazzled the crowd. However, the dirty tactics of the Decade secured them their second victory of the night. There was a pretty dumb angle next where Matt Taven was scheduled to face a mystery opponent representing the no-good Truth Martini. I am guessing a deal must have fell through for a mystery opponent because what we got instead was Truth Martini coming out and rambling on for a few minutes before shooting a flame out of his vintage “Book of Truth” he carries with him wherever he goes at Taven. Taven tried to seek revenge against Martini later on backstage, but Martini shot another fireball at him again off camera, and Taven finished off the night with medical aids at his side in a surprisingly poor angle that is usually rare from RoH. I wonder if this will result in Taven wearing an eye patch like Chris Harris did in TNA for nearly a year.

Something crazy must have happened to RD Evans in the last year, because at SoH VII he was just a manager, but a year later at SoH VIII he is now a wrestler with a lucky undefeated streak of 82-0 going into this show. Evans dresses like Fandango, but is just a little more acrobatic than the WWE dancer-turned-wrestler. He is facing off against Silas Young, who looks eerily like a carbon copy 80s AWA Scott Hall, complete with Magnum PI mustache. Just watching this match alone I am guessing Evans’ gimmick is that of a modern day Honky Tonk Man who keeps his record alive with lucky DQs and non-finishes because that is what happened here where it appeared Young got the victory, but it got reversed after the match’s original ref came to after a ref bump and disqualified Young.

Mark Briscoe and Mike Bennett face off next in a No DQ match that lived up to its name that featured all kinds of crazy brawling into the stands and plenty of weaponry getting involved. Briscoe looks legit-crazy and reckless as always and I love him for it, but Bennett got the W after knocking out Briscoe with a move before locking in his new crossface-style submission. RoH’s version of Hornswoggle, Cheeseburger is tossing out shirts to the crowd in the next segment when Matt Hardy interrupts to endorse RoH champ Adam Cole to the chagrin of the crowd who takes pleasure in absolutely shitting on Hardy. Hardy rewards the fans by beating up the loveable Cheeseburger.

Next up was a triangle tag team match between the ReDRagon, Hanson & Rowe and the Forever Hooligans. Match started off a little slow and disjointed, but eventually all three teams found their groove for an entertaining final few minutes with ReDRagon emerging victorious. Next match was for the TV title that saw Jay Lethal challenging the defending champ, Tomassa Ciampa. I just saw Ciampa compete this past month in a couple episodes of NXT in part of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. I think he is part of the roster there now, and hope he has success there because he looked promising in NXT and here where he lost the title to Lethal after Lethal accepted a weapon from Martini at ringside and used it against Ciampa to win the title and turn against the fans in the process. This was kind of a big moment because I cannot recall Lethal as a villain before, and I heard he went on to have a big year in RoH following this so it looks like this night was a big catalyst of future success for Lethal.

Kevin Steen (aka Kevin Owens) squared off against Michael Elgin next in this battle of the big men. For big guys, both are capable of doing high-flying moves so part of this match was a big-man slugfest and another part consisted of tons of high-flying spots that dominate a lot of RoH matches. Elgin won with Steens’ own cradle pilderiver move for the finish, and even though the crowd was really into this match I was just not feeling it. I cannot help but think whenever Steen wrestles that he really should drop a good 40 pounds with all the high-flying moves he does before he suffers a heart attack in the middle of a match. Elgin gets a pass because he has more of a natural-big bone body, much like Rusev in WWE where Steen/Owens is just straight up overweight.

Jay Briscoe challenged Adam Cole for his World Title in the main event in a ladder match. The two pulled out all the stops here with countless vicious looking spots that resulted in Jay bleeding all over the place. There were also countless chair shots to the head throughout this match, but I think sometime after this show RoH incorporated WWE and TNA’s policy of banning chair shots to the head. A lot of run-ins in the bout’s final moments made for an intense crowd, and it was too bad Cole struggled getting the titles unclamped from the hook for a moment too long that made for an awkard final minute of the match. Despite that hiccup, this was easily the best match on the show.

Closing thoughts on SoH VIII was overall this was probably one of the weaker SoH events. I am glad to see the lighting and TV production aspects of RoH continue to improve, and the first two matches were solid openers and the main event delivered, but the rest of the card was kind of all over the place in terms of quality. I love the Briscoes so to have them both lose their single matches was a bit of a bummer. Matt Hardy just does not seem like a proper fit in RoH, and the crowd definitely let him in on that here, and the whole Taven/Martini angle throughout the show took more away from it then added to it. It is worth noting there is a two disc version of this show available on RoH’s website with a bunch of bonus matches and promos from RoH TV on the bonus disc, but I stuck with the single disc version. The ladder match was the only standout match of the show, but I cannot give this DVD a recommendation based on that match alone, so feel free to give this show a pass, which is surprising to say about an RoH show that usually has a far better track record.

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
Dusty Rhodes WWE Network Specials
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Its Good to Be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story
Memphis Heat
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
RoH Supercard of Honor VII
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
Top 50 Superstars of All TimeTough Enough: Million Dollar Season
Warrior Week on WWE Network
Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
Wrestlemania 28
Wrestlemania 29
Wrestlemania 30
The Wrestler (2008)
Wrestling Road Diaries Too
WWE Network Original Specials Summer 2015

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