Jay Lethal laid unconscious, a shredded ROH banner draped over his body as Mark & Jay Briscoe, Adam Cole, Michael Elgin, Caprice Coleman, Cedric Alexander, BJ Whitmer, Davey Richards, and Eddie Edwards were beaten down and restrained while Steve Corino ranted about the death of honor on behalf of Kevin Steen & S.C.U.M. That was the scene that closed the “11th Anniversary Event” and one that has become the driving force for Nigel McGuinness and the ROH locker room. It is what propels us into Asheville this Saturday night for an event we had to call “WAR” and it is a war that Ring of Honor intends to win.
A list, of future title contenders have been named by Nigel as the effort to dethrone Steen is ramped up. BJ Whitmer, Adam Cole, and Jay Briscoe wait in the wings but it all begins with Mark Briscoe in Asheville. Underdogs will get their shot at the tag titles, the hunt continues in NC, the Proving Ground looms, and ROH defends itself against SCUM in a pair of Grudge Matches. This is “WAR”....
ROH World Championship Match
Kevin Steen defends against Mark Briscoe
Since he first showed his face on day one at “Era of Honor Begins” in February 2002...since his first match when he defeated his brother at “Honor Invades Boston”in August of that same year...Mark Briscoe has only had one chance to become Ring of Honor World Champion. During the midst of heated rivalry between the boys from Sandy Fork and Samoa Joe in late 2003/early 2004, Mark stepped up to the plate at “Final Battle 2003” and battled the legendary champion in Philadelphia. Mark lost, and not once in the last 9 plus years has the younger Briscoe had a second opportunity. That all changes on Saturday night at “WAR” when he steps into the ring with Kevin Steen with the ROH World Title on the line.
These are two men extremely familiar with one another, they have done battle one-on-one in the past (most notably at “A Fight At The Roxbury” in 2007”), to say nothing of their classic tag team rivalry that culminated in the first Ladder War at “Man Up”. In recent times, The Briscoes have stood tall against S.C.U.M at every turn, victorious in nearly every meeting regardless of the combination Jay & Mark faced, the only major exception was at “Glory by Honor XI” when Corino had to resort to a low blow to help secure a victory. The one thing that has eluded either Briscoe though, and truly has eluded every athlete on the ROH roster, is a victory over Steen directly.
Obviously he has not been beaten for the World Title since claiming in at “Border Wars” last year, but neither has he suffered a pinfall or submission in any multi-man match. It has been Corino or Jacobs who have suffered the losing fall, Steen remains untouched in that capacity since the day El Generico exiled him from ROH at “Final Battle 2010”. To his credit, come Saturday night Kevin will have eclipsed the length of every title reign since Nigel McGuinness' 545 day run (Lynn, Aries, Black, Strong, Edwards, & Richards) and has successfully defended the belt on 17 occasions, also more than every champion since our current Match Maker. His momentum is strong, he is a dominant champion regardless of the fashion in which he has conducted himself since returning to ROH, but this weekend he faces a hungry man, a starving man, one who, as you can tell from his video above, feels overlooked.
The fliers already read Kevin Steen versus Jay Briscoe at “Supercard of Honor VII”, the iPPV banner on ROHWrestling.com is a picture of Jay & Kevin, but all of that could change in three second. The Briscoes stand for honor, they are the driving force in this war against S.C.U.M, and what better way to declare to the world that honor lives, that honor is strong, than by main-eventing one of the biggest shows of the year in “Supercard of Honor VII” with a battle between the two Briscoes. That is the vision Mark and Jay have for ROH's future, not one of ashes and carnage like S.C.U.M, but one of hope and promise starting with Mark Briscoe being crowned World Champion....
Tag Team Challenge Match
The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander
Since their reunion at “Final Battle 2012”, The American Wolves of Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards have had their sights set on one goal: the World Tag Team Titles. To give the fans what they wanted right off the bat in 2012, Match Maker Nigel McGuinness granted the former World Tag Champions that opportunity at “The Hunt For Gold”.
That match against the Briscoes, despite notching an “L” for the Wolves, showed the world that Eddie & Davey still have what it takes to be a championship team; that night was just not the one to make it happen.
As for Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander, that duo has found themselves at the forefront of the fight against S.C.U.M with repeated battles against Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs having gone against them, including their latest at the “11th Anniversary Event”. C&C have also been on the receiving end of multiple attacks from S.C.U.M, including being repeat victims of a Gore from Rhino. For whatever reason, Caprice and Cedric have been marked for death by Corino but they has not, and will not, stop them from fighting the good fight.
Now the paths of these two teams will cross for the very first time when ROH debuts in Asheville, NC on March 30th for “WAR”!
“Caprice and Cedric have been an impressive team, no doubt.” said Eddie Edwards, “They've fought up from the bottom to get title matches, to earn the respect of not just the fans but also the guys in the locker room, and I've seen them stand up to Corino and Jimmy and Rhino repeatedly. They are two tough guys but they with the fights against WGTT and SCUM and everyone else, they have never faced a wolf. They have never faced a team as hungry for the fight, as hungry for the titles, as me and Davey are now. This is the kind of hunger for tag team dominance we had in 2009 when The Wolves were fighting to prove ourselves, only now it's balanced out with our experiences. Caprice, Cedric, let me just say it now that we respect the hell out of you guys but on that night in Asheville, you will be just another victim of the hunt!”
It's Coleman & Alexander vs. The American Wolves and it goes down on March 30th at “WAR” in Asheville, NC!!! With competition like this, the future of the tag team division is brighter than ever and reDRagon better have their eyes on this one!
Underdog Challenge - ROH World Tag Team Championship
reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly) defend versus Alabama Attitude (Corey Hollis & Mike Posey)
reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly) captured the World Tag Titles at the “11th Anniversary Event” by dethroning multi-time champions, and ROH founding fathers, Jay & Mark Briscoe. It was a shock to the world but, even if they were actually surprised by their victory, Fish & O'Reilly don't show it...
“Bobby and I have heard the word upset too many times to count.” said Kyle to ROHWrestling.com, “This was not an upset, that would imply we were underdogs heading into Chicago. How can you be an underdog when we had to beat one of the teams the ROH history books have deemed the best just to get a title shot? That same team had just LOST to the Briscoes a few weeks before too remember? Calling us underdogs going into Chicago, that was a slap in the face to all our hard work and training. Calling me and Bobby anything other than deserving champions would be spitting in the face of our success. We beat The Wolves, we beat The Briscoes, we will beat The Wolves again and again and The Briscoes again and again until Ring of Honor and the fans realize that it's everyone else who are the underdogs to reDRagon.”
Whether they were underdogs or not is now irrelevant because reDRagon must now be called champions, but a pair of true underdogs will be getting the opportunity of a lifetime against the champs on March 30th!
As he did at “The Hunt for Gold” with Tadarius Thomas' World Title Match, Nigel McGuinness is bringing the Underdog Challenge to Asheville! That night Alabama Attitude (Mike Posey & Corey Hollis) will get a chance to make their dreams come true as they challenge for the World Tag Team Titles!
“Posey and Hollis have been an impressive pair.” said McGuinness, “In their previous ROH appearances they have certainly stepped up their game each and every match, and held their own against reDRagon on TV earlier this year. This is Mike and Corey's chance to shock the world, just like Tadarius Thomas nearly did in Dearborn against Kevin Steen. All it takes is one win to erase the word underdog mates, and replace it with the word champion.”
Proving Ground for a future ROH World TV Title Shot
ROH World TV Champion Matt Taven w/ Truth Martini vs. ACH vs Roderick Strong vs Jay Lethal
*First pinfall wins*
**If ACH, Strong, or Lethal win they will receive a World TV Title match on April 6th in NYC**
The last time The Proving Ground was held under Four Corner Survival rules, Adam Cole picked up the victory, earned a future TV Title match against Roderick Strong, and would go on to defeat Strong on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV.
Three men, including two former TV champions, will have the opportunity to repeat history on March 30th at “WAR” in Asheville, NC when The Proving Ground comes to town!!
Newly crowned World TV Champion Matt Taven jumps right into the fire as he welcomes former TV Champion Jay Lethal, former TV Champion Roderick Strong, and ROH's newest acquisition ACH into the Proving Ground!
-ACH, the man Taven eliminated in the 1st Round of the 2013 TPT, gets this chance as a result of winning the 6 Man Mayhem at the “11th Anniversary Event”
-Lethal, the man who just fell from the #1 World Title Contender spot, is granted the opportunity in part due to that as well as his status as a former TV Title holder
-Roderick is another former TV champion, one who found his way to the title via a Proving Ground victory mind you, and has incessantly complained to Nigel about his lack of championship opportunities since losing to Steen at “Live Strong”. McGuinness essentially told Roddy to put up or shut up and gave him this chance;, one he is, of course, not happy about...
“I said it last time ROH stuck me in a Proving Ground match and I'll say it again.” Roderick told ROHWrestling.com, “How you put a Triple Crown Champion in a Proving Ground match is beyond me! World Title? Check! Tag Titles? Check! TV Title? Check! Survival of the Fittest? Check! Bro I've done it all but Nigel thinks he's cute by throwing me in a Proving Ground? Well guess I'll do the same damn thing I did last time and win the match then beat the champ, and make history again by becoming the first ever two-time TV champion.”
Quick refresher: generally in the Proving Ground someone can earn a future shot at an ROH Title, in this case the TV Title, by either lasting the time limit or defeating the champion, BUT in the case of a Four Corner Survival, there is NO TIME LIMIT nor does the winner have to pin the champion to earn their shot! It's a One Fall, Sudden Death situation for Taven if he wants to keep someone from coming after his title!
Four Corner Survival Proving Ground! Taven vs. Lethal vs. Strong vs. ACH...can Taven deny all three men?
Grudge Match - SCUM vs ROH
Rhett Titus vs. BJ Whitmer
At the "11th Anniversary Event", Rhett Titus threw away seven years of working his tail off for Ring of Honor when he aligned himself with S.C.U.M and rained down chaos on The Briscoes, Adam Cole, and most importantly, BJ Whitmer.
Whitmer was the man who stepped up to the plate when Titus found himself standing alone against Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin last year. BJ was the guy who, with no real relationship between them, offered his help to Titus to fend off WGTT and pursue the World Tag Team Titles held by Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs at that time. So what prompted this true ROH original to turn his back on honor? What turned this graduate of the ROH Dojo under Austin Aries, the final Top of the Class Trophy holder, and former World Tag Team champion with Kenny King, to spit in the face of the company that had given him the opportunity to live his dream?
These are the words of Steve Corino as it pertains to Rhett:
"We want to throw the word 'original' around like it was nothing, but Rhett Titus is a true ROH original. He trained at the ROH Wrestling Academy, he paid his dues, he did everything that was asked of him, and last June his dreams came true when he became one half of the ROH World tag team champions with Kenny King.
When Kenny decided to move on, what did ROH do to the guy that stayed loyal? Punished him. They let Kenny walk and replaced him with BJ Whitmer. Sure, just throw someone in there with Rhett, it doesn't matter was the idea. Talk among fans and even the backstage wrestlers was that Rhett was the 'Marty'. The Marty? How dare all of you. This 24 year old kid gave you everything he had and you stomped on him. Last Saturday night, he became a man. The man."
So with the words of Steve Corino in mind, this author looks back on the recent history and must question if Titus, and Hardy for that matter, had already signed on with S.C.U.M when Rhett threw in the towel for BJ at "Honor vs. Evil"? At what point did Titus decide that Steve Corino and company were the men he wanted to align himself with going forward?
Ultimately, will any of that matter come March 30th when, in Asheville at "WAR", Titus will have to answer for his actions against BJ! Whitmer has lived up to that nickname in recent bouts against Kyle O'Reilly and particularly in that No Holds Barred War against Charlie Haas at the "11th Anniversary Event", and now Titus is the next man BJ is looking to cut down!
Will Titus' first official match as S.C.U.M be one filled with suffering and chaos or will it be BJ who inflicts ugliness and mayhem on the man who has been his tag partner the last several months?
ROH vs SCUM Tag Team Match
"No Fear" Mike Mondo & Grizzly Redwood vs. Two Members of SCUM to be chosen by Steve Corino
As a result of what happened on "Ring of Honor Wrestling" TV this weekend when S.C.U.M assaulted Grizzly Redwood & Mike Mondo and essentially held Veda Scott hostage, a match has been signed for "WAR" this Saturday night in Asheville! It will be Grizzly Redwood & "No Fear" Mike Mondo vs. Two Members of S.C.U.M!
"Ring of Honor is my home." said Griz to ROHWrestling.com, "This is where Griz Redwood was born, and this is where I will make my last stand if that's what it takes. Steve Corino, once upon a time I thought you were making a change for the better. You looked me in the eye and told me I was your inspiration and you have no idea how much that meant to me. Now I look in your eyes and I see nothing inspired, nothing but evil. So in Asheville I want you or Jimmy Rave or Cliff Compton or whoever to come meet me and Mondo in the ring. This event is called 'War' and I'll be damned if I'm not on the front lines for ROH!"
Steve Corino has agreed to send two members of S.C.U.M to throwdown with Griz & Mondo on Saturday night but has elected to leave their identities a mystery. Who will it be? You will have to be there live to find out for yourselves as Griz Redwood & "No Fear" Mike Mondo go at it with S.C.U.M!
"Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. Adam Page
Elgin is facing a date with Jay Lethal at “Supercard of Honor VII” with a future World Title match on the line while Page is a man looking to earn his way into a regular spot on ROH events. Page has shown he has the talent in previous encounters with Jay Lethal, in the Top Prospect Tournament, and at the “11th Anniversary Event” but he just needs to put it all together and pick up crucial victories. One of those over a beast like Elgin would most certainly lock him into a spot on the roster but it is a test unlike any he has faced before. Elgin is a creature of combined power, speed, and agility that ROH has only really seen before out of perhaps Claudio Castagnoli...he is a threat to every man on the ROH roster and with his laser focus on the World Title, Page best be wary stepping into the ring. All it takes is one back fist and power bomb then, like Roderick in the first fall of their 2/3 Falls match, it could be lights out in two minutes...
“The Outlaw” Charlie Haas will be in the house on Saturday night, as will both Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs, and despite his injury, Jay Briscoe will be in the corner of his brother but he won't be alone! Jay has told ROHWrestling.com that Mike “Papa” Briscoe and Uncle Jethro will be on-hand as well to root Mark on to victory in his World Title challenge!!
Also, make sure you're there early because World Champion Kevin Steen and “The Outlaw” Charlie Haas will be available before the bell for an autograph signing with the fans!
Tickets for “WAR” THIS Saturday night, March 30th, in Asheville are still on-sale here in the ROH Store and will be available that night at the door. Join ROH on the road as the battle with S.C.U.M hits North Carolina and we fight for HONOR!