PWG

PWG DDT 4 Tag Team Title Tournament Preview

Pro Wrestling Powerhouse
PWG DDT 4 Preview

It’s that time again folks!  Yes, it is Royal Rumble season…but, there is a much more important season…a much more hard-hitting and intriguing time of the year that is upon us; and that is when PWG holds the DDT4 Tag Team Title Tournament!!

pwg-ddt4-tickets

This year’s show is on Friday night, January 31st and it will be bringing one hell of a packed show complete with two non-tournament matches as opposed to the normal of just one!  A few notable differences that fans will notice from years past.

Both pillars of the tournament, the Young Bucks (2009, 2011, & 2013 winners) and Roderick Strong (Winner of 2007 w/PAC & 2008 w/Jack Evans) will not be participating this year even though Roderick is on the card in a non-tournament match and the Bucks are the current reigning PWG Tag Team Champions (not to mention the current IWGP Tag Champs as well!) thus making this year’s tournament for a shot at their titles.

Another first for this tournament is Candice LeRae becoming the first female competitor in the tournament’s history by teaming with 4-time entrant and former PWG World Champion, Joey Ryan.

Both of the non-tournament matches are stellar as Roderick Strong faces Tommasso Ciampa in a high-profile match at this already action-packed card.  As if that alone wasn’t worth ticket price, PWG is spoiling their fans with a 4-way bout where the winner gets a future shot at Adam Cole’s PWG Title.

Could it be the man who just KO’ed him at ROH’s Final Battle, Chris Hero?  Or will it be Cole’s former Futureshock tag partner in Kyle O’Reilly?  Johnny Gargano and Drake Younger are tried and true contenders for any World Title in this business, which makes adding them to this match just that much more interesting.

Some new faces and new teams will be showing up in this tournament as they always do.  The rather new team of Ray Rosas and “Pretty” Peter Avalon (also known as Norv Fernum in TNA) make their debut in DDT4.  Kevin Steen and current PWG Champion Adam Cole will be entering the tournament together for the first time with their stable, Mount Rushmore (alongside The Young Bucks) still going strong.

Usually standout singles stars, the uber quick & high-flying duo of ACH and AR Fox will be joining forces in this tournament for the first time as well!  Last but not least, former WWE Superstar Trent? will be in the tournament as well, teaming with longtime buddy Chuck Taylor!

Through all of those changes, PWG fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that one thing will not change about DDT4 and that is the location of this must-see event.  Inside the American Legion in Reseda, California the tone for the rest of 2014 in PWG will be set…and by the looks of this card, 2014 is going to be off the charts exciting!!

Follow Ford on Twitter @PWP_FordTheFish for more!

(current card below,*subject to change, of course*)

Non-Tournament Match
Winner gets a PWG World Championship Shot on a future show

Chris Hero vs Johnny Gargano vs Drake Younger vs Kyle O’Reilly

Non-Tournament Match

Roderick Strong vs Tommaso Ciampa

First Round Tournament Matches

Adam Cole & Kevin Steen vs. Joey Ryan & Candice LeRae

Unbreakable F’N Machines (Michael Elgin & Brian Cage) vs. PPRay (Ray Rosas & Peter Avalon)

Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent?) vs. RockNES Monsters (Johnny Goodtime & Johnny Yuma)

Inner City Machine Guns (Ricochet & Rich Swann) vs. AR Fox & ACH

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NWA Smoky Mountain Cup Report – April 26, 2013

NWA Smoky Mountain Cup 2013 Review
By: Ford Fischer
(Follow Ford on Twitter @PWP_FordTheFish)

Hello folks, if you were not aware and had something else to do on a Friday night for some odd reason then you missed the NWA-Smoky Mountain show of the year!

They held their Smoky Mountain Cup for 2013, a 12-man tournament in its second year of existence where six different singles matches are held throughout the night with the six winners facing off in a “Scramble” elimination match for the #1 contendership to the NWA World Heavyweight Championship!

In 2012, the tournament was held in the same venue and town where four of the same wrestlers from this year’s Cup competed for the crown in which the very technically sound Sigmon was victorious.

This year, however, more names were thrown into the hat as Tony Kozina, Adam Pearce, Ricky Morton, and Kyle O’Reilly wanted to get their respective possible shots at the top prize in the NWA.  Three of the four ended up winning their bouts to gain entry to the finale while Jeff Connolly, Damien Wayne, and the 2012 Cup Winner, Sigmon, joined them for the 6-Man Scramble with stellar wins as well.

There were two other matches on the card to help round it out as six tag teams went in a gauntlet match for the NWA Tennessee Tag Team Titles held and won just the night before by the high-flying tandem of Air America followed up by the main event of Davey Richards challenging NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion, Chase Owens in their second encounter (the first being on August 4th, 2011.)

The first match of the night saw Zac Vincent face Jeff Connolly in a very high paced match to start the night off with a bang.  A lot of reversals and surprising counters to reversals in this one. This had many people probably wondering why both men didn’t make it into the finals.  Jeff Connolly won via submission just after the 12-minute mark.

“King” Shane Williams was up next against Damien Wayne. Shane Williams was the obvious heel in this bout, which even saw him try to tribute a certain fellow king with a fist drop from the middle rope. He only caught a boot to the jaw for his efforts there, which set up for a huge elbow drop from the top rope by Damien Wayne for the comeback win just after the 12 minute mark again ironically enough.

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Five-time former NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Adam Pearce, came out to a roaring chorus of boos for the next match-up as he faced off against the hometown hero in Vince Brent!  Both men worked over the crowd for several minutes and got them really excited to see if the Kingsport, TN native could topple the future NWA Legend.

Pearce pulled out all the stops in the match, even accusing Bent of pulling the hair on his baldhead during a headlock at one point! Brent showed his lack of experience compared to Pearce as he telegraphed a huge, game-changing Chokeslam that nearly ended the match in Pearce’s favor. Vince Brent refused to give in though, and forced “Scrap Iron” to distract the referee while he hit a low blow and an illegal piledriver for the win at 11:37.

The winner of last year’s Smoky Mountain Cup, Sigmon was up next as he went one-on-one with the current NWA Smoky Mountain Heavyweight Champion in probably the most high profile of the six 1st round bouts. This match saw the best chain wrestling of the night so far, which culminated in Sigmon flipping Kincaid over his back with a type of snapmare while holding Kincaid’s unusually long beard!

The commentators called it a “Beard-Drag”, which is most likely, the funniest thing they said all night.  Kincaid tweaks his knee during the match, and had to deal with constant interference from Sigmon’s stooge who ultimately led to a Sigmon Fisherman’s Suplex for the tainted win at 16:10.

rock-n-rollRicky Morton came out next for his match, which really got the crowd out of their seats and cheering! Morton went against Team Ambition member and 20 year veteran, Tony Kozina. The two men moved around the ring as if they were in their prime with numerous near-falls and very crisp, well-timed maneuvers. Kozina tried his hardest, but ultimately succumbed to the tried-and-true Ricky Morton knee lift and a roll-up at 7:27. Kozina attacked and bloodied Ricky Morton post-match so badly that the commentators wondered whether or not he would be cleared to wrestle in the six-way finale.

Team Ambition was up again as Kyle O’Reilly faced off against “The Blackanese Assassin” Menace in the next bout. Strikes were the most prominent part of the very quick paced match that saw very little selling for each other. Kyle O’Reilly ended up victorious at 11:30.

[INTERMISSION]

A six-team gauntlet was set to go next for the NWA Tennessee Tag Team Titles that Skylar Kruze and Gavin Daring of Air America had just won the night before.  The match was very convoluted and the iPPV feed actually cut out near the end of the match, which was the way I was watching the show.

NWA then tweeted apologies for the technical difficulties, but also mentioned that Air America won by defeating the team they won the titles from the night before in The Illuminati (Chris Richards & Tony Givens) at the 35:10.

The six-man Scramble match was next as Ricky Morton actually makes his way to the ring, much to the surprise of everyone in attendance! The winner faces NWA World Champion Rob Conway on May 18th.  Jeff Connolly was the first elimination very early on in the bout by Adam Pearce. Ricky Morton eliminated Kyle O’Reilly next after a short exchange and a small package. Damien Wayne was eliminated from the Final Four by DQ after hitting a Piledriver on Sigmon in front of the referee. Ricky Morton then took the opportunity to pin the KO’ed Sigmon.

All of a sudden, it is down to two:  Adam Pearce and Ricky Morton. The crowd begins to get their second wind as the two lock-up and have a short, but clean battle in the middle of the ring with Ricky Morton surprising Adam Pearce with none other than a roll-up for the win at 14:55.

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The Main Event was up next as Davey Richards, the challenger, made his way to the ring for this NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship match. The big question of the match was going to be whether Davey was going to fight clean or disrespect the promotion and go heel. Davey started out heel, but after losing a few tie-ups and being shown that Chase Owens is not the same youngster he kicked all around the arena in the Summer of 2011, he shook Owens’ hand to signifying going clean. At about 18 minutes in, Davey locked in an Ankle Lock for only about 10 seconds. Owens fought out only to tweak his knee coming off the top rope. The referee threw up the infamous “X” while the commentators’ kept a somber tone in their voices, saying that the match is going to be stopped by the referee.

Davey got on the microphone after grabbing the NWA Junior Heavyweight Title and proclaimed that if anyone were to hand the belt to Owens, then it would be him.

Davey does so and helps the referee put Owens on their shoulders to get him out of the ring.  All of the sudden, Davey kicks the hurt knee and continues the match with the Ankle Lock again! After a terrible struggle, Owens hops around on one foot, avoiding Richards at all cost.

He ends up creating enough space to clock Davey in the back of the head with Spinning Backfist, which pushed him into the ropes and back for a Roaring Elbow, which knocked him down and allowed Owens to lock in a version of the STF to retain at 23:20!

All in all, the show was a great outing for NWA: Smoky Mountain, as this was their very first foray into the world of iPPV.  While many of the matches had some kind of screwy ending or interference and maybe there were a couple too many roll-up finishes, the show really gave off an old-school vibe that would make any fan of professional wrestling feel right at home.

The iPPV can be found at www.nwasmokymountain.com for replay.

SCOH2013

WHY ROH’S SUPERCARD OF HONOR VII WILL BE BETTER THAN WRESTLEMANIA 29:

A bold statement is something that should grab everyone’s attention the instant they read just one line of what is said.  CM Punk made a bold statement during his infamous RAW rant that he is, “the best on this mic, in that ring, even on commentary…nobody can touch me!”  Kevin Nash made a bold statement in WCW when he proclaimed that he, along with the rest of the New World Order, were going to own WCW by belting out, “We’re taking over” in what is now one of the most recognizable phrases in professional wrestling history.

Kevin Steen has made a bold statement in Ring of Honor and did so way back on May 12th of last year just after winning the ROH World Title from Davey Richards at Boarder Wars by coming out right and saying, “I am taking this company hostage; I am going to tear it down and re-build it in my image.”

So far, Kevin Steen has been successful…until just recently.  He has rid himself of most of his enemies including most notably Jim Cornette.  Steen has been forced to steadily loosen his vice grip around ROH’s neck, however, in recent months.  In turn, he has been losing control of his teammates in SCUM slowly but surely, especially since the hiring of some new members in Cliff Compton, Matt Hardy, Rhett Titus, and Jimmy Rave.

He is narrowly escaping each title defense, getting closer and closer to losing his precious belt with each match that passes.  He recently defeated Mark Briscoe in Asheville, North Carolina but now has to turn around the very next weekend and face his older brother at Supercard of Honor this weekend on April 6th.  Jay Briscoe has historically put up some of the best fights in ROH World Title matches, notably against both Samoa Joe and Nigel McGuiness during their respective reigns.

Steen will have to up the violence to another level to put Jay Briscoe away.  Otherwise, the ROH faithful just might get to revel in getting to see an original roster member that participated in the very first ROH show finally own the top championship in the company!  If that is not better than a ridiculous Rock vs. Cena rematch or the preposterous match-up of Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger, there is no telling what is then.  Just looking at the numbers, Kevin Steen is 1-2 at this semi-annual show which includes a 6-man tag match where both he and Jay Briscoe were actually on the same team!

Jay, on the other hand, is 3-2 in his Supercard of Honor experiences.  Even though Jay Briscoe seems to be the most viable candidate and to finally defeat Kevin Steen for his title, Kevin might have the historical edge as past champions have all retained except for one when defending at a Supercard of Honor event.

WrestleMania is known as the be-all-end-all show for WWE and is the end of what they consider their calender year.  It ends feuds, starts new ones, and has unleashed some of the most influential and memorable moments in WWE history.  Supercard of Honor is not treated the same way in ROH, rather Final Battle in December every year is instead.

However, Supercard of Honor is known more for brutal bloodbaths and technical match of the year candidates.  At the very first Supercard of Honor in 2006, Bryan Danielson defended his World Title against Roderick Strong in a brilliant 56 minute match while Kevin Steen etched his own piece of history out in 2010 by having a disgustingly stomach-churning bout dubbed a “34th Street Deathmatch” against Colt Cabana, in which Steen barely earned the victory.  Jay Briscoe has shed blood all over a Supercard of Honor with his brother Mark as they fought The All-Night Express in back-to-back years, culminating in a Chicago Street Fight in 2011.

As for the rest of the line-up on Supercard of Honor VII, it looks to out-do WrestleMania in many ways.  There are just as many talented up-and-comers in Ring of Honor as there are in WWE and they are all being booked much better and much more conservatively so that two thirds of them do not simply become flashes in the pan and then toil in the mid-card as their career winds down and they eventually get released.

Ring of Honor is booking its newer stars in matches where they will get to showcase what they are paid to do on a nightly basis and only that.  No dancing, or prolonged microphone battles; no commentators becoming more important and getting more over than the wrestlers; very little drama outside of the tried and true idea of good vs. evil.

There are a handful of debuts at this year’s WrestleMania, many more than in recent memory.  Ten people will be making their WrestleMania debut while there will be 16 wrestlers making their debut at Supercard of Honor this weekend!  Probably the most notable of those debuting wrestlers is “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson.

333Anderson is visiting from New Japan Pro Wrestling and will be facing Roderick Strong this weekend only to follow that up the next night in a match against “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin at the scheduled television taping.  Anderson’s former tag team partner, Giant Bernard (AKA Albert in 2000 or Tensai as of late in WWE) will be performing on what is known as ‘the big stage’ in an 8-person mixed-tag match which will probably consist of an entrance and post-match celebration that ends up being at least five times longer than the match itself.  Just a few miles away, the other half of the now legendary NJPW tag team known as Bad Intentions will be having great wrestling clinics against the former House of Truth members in back-to-back days.

The money might not be the same, but the satisfaction of having an actual wrestling match and being able to prove what he can do and has always been able to do is what means gobs more in the long run to wrestlers like Karl Anderson.  Just another reason why Supercard of Honor VII will trump WrestleMania 29.

Something special just might happen this weekend at Supercard of Honor VII in New York City, and that something special just might be the Tag Team Title match stealing the show.  Instead of having an unproven team in Big-E Langston and Dolph Ziggler challenge the long-time reigning champions of Team Hell No, Ring of Honor is having one of the most popular and decorated tag teams in their history challenge the current tag team champions of Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly, otherwise known as reDragon.

The best part about it is that these teams are very intertwined and have been teaming or feuding with each other for years in some fashion.  Bobby Fish and Eddie Edwards are a well established junior tag team in New Japan Pro Wrestling while Davey Richards and Kyle O’Reilly were training partners for years and even teamed in the main event of a Ring of Honor event in 2011 where they lost to Adam Cole and Eddie Edwards.   Meanwhile, Davey and Eddie are probably the most solid team of all three mentioned which means that the current tag team champions had better hope that they can persevere because if they can prove that they can hang with The American Wolves then they will actually live up to their over-sized egos and overrated comments about themselves.

A match where each opponent knows the other so well like the Wolves and reDragon do certainly makes for a more interesting match than one between a should-be main eventer and his bodyguard making his in-ring debut against two comedy characters.

20130320_Light_WM_PreMatch_8Man_C-homepageThere are a handful of matches at WrestleMania that are obviously filler bouts just like the aforementioned 8-person tag match involving Tensai.  Others include Wade Barrett facing The Miz and the 6-man tag match involving the Shield.  When a stable is created to primarily defeat and destroy Ryback and they do not get to fight Ryback at WrestleMania, then it is a failure and a filler match.  It is hilariously ironic to make a fleeting joke when seeing CM Punk face off against Sheamus, Randy Orton, and Big Show and say that the winner gets to lose to Undertaker at WrestleMania while the three losers will get the consolation prize of getting a bout against The Shield at “The Showcase of the Immortals.”

Supercard of Honor, on the other hand, has very little filler in it.  Its only filler match is a 10 man tag team match between the likes of SCUM and the rest of what ROH has to offer in BJ Whitmer, Mark Briscoe, Mike Mondo, Cedric Alexander, and Caprice Coleman.  Every other match on the event’s line-up has a much better and more meaningful story behind than any match on WrestleMania’s card.  The show will pale in comparison years from now when analysts compare the two events and Ring of Honor is trumping WWE in the ratings.  There is a bold statement to send you off with, but above all else just remember to enjoy the weekend of wrestling ladies and gents!

ROH Supercard of Honor VII

wolves-hooligans

Is This Truly a Ring of Honor Dream Tag Team Match?

ROH DREAM TAG TEAM MATCH HEADLINES
11th Anniversary Show!
The American Wolves and The Forever Hooligans
WILL GO TO WAR!

The first word that comes to mind when I ask myself that question:  ABSOLUTELY!  Ring of Honor officials announced over the weekend of January 25th that they would have a “Dream Tag Team Match” booked for their 11th anniversary in Chicago on March 2nd.  The following Monday, they delivered on their promise by setting in stone a match between Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, The American Wolves, and the rather young tandem from New Japan of Rocky Romero and Alex Kozlov; The Forever Hooligans.

The initial reaction by many fans has been negative.  If you are one of those fans, then you should feel ashamed.  First off, as a fan of ROH, you must be a tad more informed than the every day John Cena mark and are committed enough to streaming wrestling online.

Secondly, you probably keep up with wrestling outside of North America in some way, shape, or form.  Whether it be through magazines, websites, or just looking at cards as they happen; you probably have a vague idea of what is happening in Japan, Mexico, and even sometimes Europe.

However, the story for this match breifly begins right here at home in Ring of Honor.  Back in 2007, Rocky Romero turned on his longtime tag partner of Ricky Reyes and ended the Havanna Pitbulls by joining the No Remorse Corps with Davey Richards and Roderick Strong.  The group only lasted about a year and a half.

NoRemorseCorps1Romero was used sparingly in the group as he was a very busy man, albeit under a mask in New Japan and Chikara as Black Tiger IV for nearly three years.  His run as Black Tiger IV ended in a Mask vs. Title match that he lost to Tiger Mask IV in April of 2009.

Romero made his eventual return to New Japan in late 2010, teaming again with his old No Remorse Corps buddy, Davey Richards in the Super J Tag League.  He also was lucky enough to join the elite and be a part of the top heel stable in the company, Shinsuke Nakamura’s stable named CHAOS (which also employed Japanese legends Gedo & Jado!)

Gedo and Jado ended up defeating Romero and Richards in the finals of that year’s Super J Tag League ironically enough.  Davey and Rocky began to gain traction in Japan for another year or so and began challenging Prince Devitt and his partner Ryusuke Taguchi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.  Their second challenge seemed to be the charm as they won the titles on October 10, 2011.

The two held the titles with honor and dignity for a solid three months before losing them back to the former champions in January, only to win them back the following month in Febrary 2012!

Their second reign lasted about another three months before being stripped of the titles because of Davey Richards’ infamous “travel issues” of 2012 (which is a topic for a totally different article and conversation.)

The tandem of Jushin “Thunder” Liger and Tiger Mask IV, their opponents that were scheduled for that night, were awarded the titles ultimately.

Another two months pass by and Rocky Romero has found a new partner in Alex Kozlov, calling themselves the Forever Hooligans.  Kozlov and Romero worked together a few times as Rudos in both AAA and CMLL, even though Romero was under a mask and known as Grey Shadow.

They won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles from Liger and Tiger Mask IV in late July and just lost them recently in November against a team that challenged them numerous times over their reign in the Time Splitters (Alex Shelley and KUSHIDA.)

rocky-koslov-iwgp-tag-champsNow, Romero is back in ROH and is back simply to prove to Davey Richards that his decisions and his actions cost him more than just his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title run and that deserting him was the worst decision of his life.

Many say that Kozlov is simply a ‘replacement’ for Davey while they in reality have solid chemistry and seem to actually be much smoother than the Rocky pairing with Davey.

Romero and Kozlov’s finisher combination of Kozlov hitting a reverse Death Valley Driver followed up by Romero coming off the apron with a Springboard Knee Splash across the back is easily one of the most vicious tag finishers in the business today.

Rocky has gained a ton of experience in the Land of the Rising Sun, and I believe he is coming into ROH to fight for the honor of New Japan and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Chamionship!

Meanwhile, looking at it from Davey Richards’ perspecitve; he has given Rocky Romero a plethora of opportunities thoughout his career by having him join No Remorse Corps and touring Japan as his tag team partner in 2011 while he was heavily involved in the American indy scene as Ring of Honor World Champion!

He even brought Rocky back in for a one-off match tagging with the American Wolves against The Briscoes and Alex Kozlov of all people in a six-man tag team match the night before Final Battle 2009 in Manassas, Virginia.

Since their recent return at Final Battle 2012, Davey and Eddie have had a couple of tag team matches against Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish along with a very noteworthy bout against The Briscoes for the ROH Tag Team Titles!  Davey Richards seems to have left Rocky Romero in the dust as he has not returned to Japan since being stripped of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.

Wolves-ROH-Tag-ChampsOne has to wonder if he has been blackballed altogether or if he simply is too ashamed to return on his own.  Whatever the case, Romero has decided to come to Richards and invade the 11th Anniversary Show for Ring of Honor in Chicago on March 2nd!

On this night, revenge is going to be sought after by Rocky Romero.  On his side, he has Alex Kozlov…a man from a country that hates everyone.  He will have to trust his partner as if he were his brother, becaue he is going to be his only lifeline in the Frontier Field House against Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards.

That is the one drawback to Romero going on the offensive and coming to ROH to fight Davey.  The American Wolves will have the entire ROH faithful behind them completely.  Not only will they have the fans, but they have everyone in the backstage area on their side (probably aside from SCUM, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish.)

These four men have a lot more in common than one would initially think when told about the match.  With the research done, I am completely sold on the fact that this is a “Dream Match” through and through.  I hope that fans will see the history and the great storytelling that could ensue during this match, because that is going to be the only way to truly enjoy the genius behind this bout.

With a show that has been half-booked as it is, I am going to go out on a limb and predict this to be the sleeper bout of the night.  Even though it is being tagged as a “Dream Match”, I feel like the amount of negative reactions to it simply being booked have demoted it so much so in everyone’s minds that it has given the ultimate opportunity to these four men.

There is no question in my mind that they could come in and absolutely steal the show on March 2nd in Chicago without thinking twice!

Kevin-Steen

ROH: Can Anyone Beat Kevin Steen?

Can Anyone Beat Kevin Steen?
By: Ford Fischer

As the 16th ROH World Champion, Kevin Steen has been unstoppable since defeating Davey Richards in May at Border Wars.  To date, he has 13 defenses in the eight months he has been champion.  He is absolutely the most frequently defending ROH titleholder since Austin Aries’ second reign three years ago!  However, Steen is not a fighting champion by choice.

It was Jim Cornette who decreed that Kevin Steen defend his title in every match he is in simply because Cornette feels that ANYONE would be a better champion than Kevin Steen.

Normally, El Generico would top everyone’s list for serious threats the ROH World Champion simply because of his history with Steen and the fact that he has been involved in a five year long tag team that turned into a white-hot feud.

Apparently, Generico is rumored to have been signed to WWE recently; which makes his motive for recent visits to CZW and ROH to challenge their world champions in MASADA and Kevin Steen respectively all the more visable.

Now, to ponder upon some other contenders that could crop up in the near future:

Jay-Lethal1.  Jay Lethal.  Lethal has been on a mean streak as of late, and showing us a side of him that we never expected to see.  Many fans saw him as a Kofi Kingston-type, a very complacent character that always tried to break that glass ceiling for upper mid-carders like himself but just could not seem to do it for one reason or another.

Lethal has the chops to take his game to the next level, but he needs to get his move-set as serious as his demeanor.  Doing a simple but to the point DDT or Neckbreaker might serve him better in the long run rather than doing handspring backflips, flashy moves like Hail to the King, and combination moves that take forever to set up and execute.

When Lethal learns to just go back to the basics and not be so over-the-top cutting edge with his moveset, he will have broken that glass ceiling and moved on in his ROH career.  Not to mention, he has been frozen out of the ROH title picture until just recently because of his actions in his hometown show of Rahway, New Jersey.

Lethal seems to be the next big contender for Steen’s championship, and it seems even more like he has a honest shot at winning the strap for the first time in his career!

2.  “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin.  Survival of the Fittest Winner 2011, Breakout Star of 2012, and Match of the Year 2012 winner…all before he is even 30 years old!  He had a fantastic match with Kevin Steen that saw him even hit his Spinning Sitout Powerbomb finisher on the champ for as close to a pinfall as possible!

Elgin is on a roll as he has broken out of the House of Truth, which seemed to be more of a prison than a house for him during most of 2012 anyway.  Elgin is such a serious future contender that Steen needs to sleep with one eye open every night in order to be prepared for him!

Jay-Briscoe3.  Jay Briscoe:  According to Adolfo Gomez in his recent article about the Briscoe Brothers…it is either time to “Man Up!” or “Break Up!”  People have been clamoring for it for years and they have been partially satisfied as Jay Briscoe actually seems to get a shot at the ROH Title every two years or so no matter who is champion. Granted, He’ll put them over in a bloody match that the champion really has to grind out to earn the win in, and then he’ll silently slip back into the elite tag team ranks.

But as Adolfo mentioned, this might be the first time in a long while that the tag division is going to be less than the most exciting part of any given ROH card.  Jay Briscoe is widely known as a locker room leader of sorts and has recently been the one to take the mic against SCUM as the main person backstage the wants to end SCUM’s stranglehold on ROH once and for all.  Briscoe has more of a serious chance than ever as he is in his late 20′s, the prime age for a male wrestler.

Plus, he and his brother have done nearly everything they can do on the independent scene together.  It’s about high time big brother got a chance on top.  One thing is for sure, giving the title to Jay Briscoe is like giving the title to family; there is positively no way he would walk out with the title or walk out without finishing his/their promised dates.

4 & 5.  Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs.  Formerly Steen’s bitter enemies, now allies.  Kevin shouldn’t trust his “friends” but so much, seeing as how he did main event Final Battle 2010 just two short years ago against Steve Corino in one of the bloodiest and most painful matches to watch in recent Ring of Honor history!

While Corino and Steen have had a love/hate relationship, Jimmy Jacobs and he have a much stranger one.  Jimmy was a lost soul and Steen hitting him with his Package Piledriver finisher at said Final Battle (when he was guest referee no less!) seemed to almost brainwash him and align him with Steen instantly.

Coincidentally, Jacobs has been seen holding the ROH World Title more often on TV shows, posing behind Steen while holding the title overhead.  Foreshadowing, anyone?

Rhino-ROH6.  Rhino.  The ECW alumnus had an above average match with Steen surprisingly enough.  Rhino has potential as champion mainly because he has been a strong entity in ECW, TNA, and WWE.

He has been a champion nearly everywhere he has been and would definitely bring a few more casual fans in, but it is doubtful he will win the strap from Steen seeing as how he is the newest addition to SCUM and probably the most volitle next to the champ himself!

Steen is certainly employing the age old mafia trick of keeping his friends close, but his enemies closer.  One has to wonder just how long this plan will continue to work or if Steen will crumble under his own momentum.

And now without further ado, the man who I feel has the greatest chance of defeating Kevin Steen for the Ring of Honor World Championship…

7.  Colt Cabana.  Colt helped El Generico stand up to Steen & Corino throughout 2010 countless times and is hated just about as much by SCUM as El Generico himself.  He has rekindled and been enthralled in a brutal rivalry with Adam Pearce over the NWA Heavyweight Title for the better part of 2012 which concluded in a Best of Seven series where each match would be a different stipulation bout…culminating with a Steel Cage Match!

Cabana ended up getting robbed of the title in screwy fashion, but was still a sport about it and shook Pearce’s hand to the utter surprise of everyone in attendance!  This is the perfect time for Colt to return to his home at Ring of Honor and get comfortable via his first ROH World Title win!

Cabana is the contender that makes the most sense storyline wise at the moment unless ROH creative comes up with something totally off-the-radar, which is a distinct possibility!

Regardless, an ROH Champion has never had a bigger target on his back than Steen does now.  Steen looks like the antithesis of a fit wrestler, which is what makes him as dangerous as ever and nearly impossible to topple.  Steen is well on his way to having control of ROH for one full calender year.

Colt-CabanaHis momentum seems to be growing just as quickly and exponentially as his belly has throughout this past year.  Before long, Steen will have choked all the life out of ROH and everyone in it.  Ring of Honor needs a savior, a true & honorable hero…NOW!

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