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:
1. 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!
3. 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?
6. 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.
His 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!