Tuesday 7 August 2012

Boiling Point preview

WWE take note: Ring of Honor have announced six matches for this Saturday’s Boiling Point iPPV and have also stated that there are more stars to be announced for the show. That’s how you should promote a wrestling (or even a sports entertainment) event if you want as many people as possible to buy it.

While this is not one of Ring of Honor’s flagship events it is still an important night for them. Technical difficulties have affected several of their live internet streams this year and while Best in the World (their June offering) went smoothly there is still concern that the group are not consistent enough with their programming quality. Boiling Point needs to be another fine offering as far as streaming is concerned if fans are to feel that they’re not wasting money on the ROH product.

Luckily there are few concerns regarding the quality of the in-ring product: ROH cards rarely disappoint in that area.

The headline match is an interesting one. It sees ROH world champion Kevin Steen defend his belt against CHIKARA Grand champion Eddie Kingston. This is part of a working agreement between the two promotions that has seen Kingston and Steen interact a few times over the last several months.

Frankly I’m puzzled by this match headlining a Ring of Honor pay-per-view. ROH is meant to be a promotion that puts athleticism and the sport of professional wrestling above gimmicks and storylines. Both men, Steen in particular, are good wrestlers, but neither exemplifies the ROH approach to pro wrestling because neither looks like an athlete.

ROH takes a very different approach to PPV posters than does WWE

‘Mr Wrestling’ being in the main event of an ROH show is fine. He’s the champion and he’s earned his way to the top of the card. Fans can accept Steen in the role of champion and in headline bouts. He doesn’t look like an athlete but pretty much everyone else on the roster does so it’s not an issue because when he faces an ROH wrestler at least one of them will look the part.

The same cannot be said for Eddie Kingston. He may have earned his way to the top of CHIKARA, but this is an ROH show starring ROH wrestlers being presented to ROH fans. It doesn’t help the company’s image if an out-of-shape outsider is being put against the out-of-shape reigning world champion. Such a match doesn’t help ROH appear to be the home of athletic wrestling does it?

It’s also disheartening that Ring of Honor would rather bring in an outsider than give one of their own wrestlers the chance to face Steen on iPPV. Adam Cole or Kyle O’Reilly would have made ideal opponents for ‘Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare’ and would have benefited from the spot too. Jim Cornette thinks differently though.

I’ll be pretty surprised if Kingston wins the ROH title on Saturday. Steen is ROH’s hottest star while Kingston isn’t even under contract. I’d also be surprised of Steen lost the gold just two and a half months after winning it.

The undercard boasts some interesting, but not always appealing, matchups. While I’m a fan of Michael Elgin and appreciate Charlie Haas as a great tag wrestler I don’t really want to see them wrestle in a singles match. Elgin could be having another great match with someone like Adam Cole or Kyle O’Reilly (y’know, those guys who are meant to be ROH’s future). To be honest if Shelton Benjamin is unavailable for a show then there’s little point in booking Haas. They should either be used as a unit or not at all.

I’ll predict an Elgin victory in this match. He’s still my pick to dethrone Steen for the world title. A loss to ‘The Outlaw’ isn’t going to help prepare him for that lofty spot.

Another relatively peculiar match is Jay Lethal v Tommaso Ciampa in a two-out-of-three falls match. These two have been feuding for several months now and while their matches haven’t been awful they haven’t been amazing enough to warrant a rivalry that has lasted as long as this one has either. Both men could do with a change of opponent.

Since senselessly suffering his first loss to Lethal a few months ago ‘The Sicilian Psychopath’ has become “just another” member of the roster. He’s good, but not good enough to stand out. The winning streak gimmick was what made him special. Without that he’s going nowhere fast.

This bout could really go either way. I’ll predict a win for Lethal because I suspect he’s going to be used as a world title contender over the next few months, mainly because Steen’s reign already seems more varied than Richards’ was. Whoever goes over I hope this contest signals an end to the rivalry.

The Briscoes v Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs match doesn’t hold much interest for me either, but I imagine it will be at least decent. As both teams are through to the semi-finals of the tag team title tournament it’s possible this could become a tournament bout. If that happens I think Corino and Jacobs will go over because I’m expecting them to get through to the finals. If it stays as just a regular encounter then my picks are the Briscoes.

Why do I think this? Because the stipulation is that the SCUM members will be fired if they lose a tournament match, which makes me think they’ll make it to the finals. If they lose a non-toruney match they keep their jobs, and generally speaking ‘Dem Boys’ are the more heavily pushed act, meaning they’re likelier to get the victory.

Roderick Strong v Mike Mondo is one of the most exciting bouts on the card as far as I’m concerned. It’s a fresh pairing involving a young star ROH are trying to elevate. Roderick Strong is one of the most reliable wrestlers on the roster. And Truth Martini will be at ringside. What’s not to like?

I suspect ‘No Fear’ will lose, but if they get fifteen minutes and have a competitive bout then that won’t matter: he should still be able to look strong in defeat. That’s not to say I want him to lose, because I don’t. I just think it’s the likelier outcome.

Finally there’s a mixed tag team match pitting the team of Eddie Edwards and Sara Del Ray against Mike Bennett and his on- and off-screen girlfriend Maria Kanellis. To my knowledge this is the first appearance ‘Death Ray’ has made for ROH since the Kings of Wrestling (who she was associated with for quite some time) left for WWE a year ago. It will be nice to see her wrestling for the company again but it may end up being her swansong if rumours of her signing with WWE are to be believed.

The other three performers in the match are staying put in ROH (for now), and likely staying put in their current spots too. Edwards is an upper mid-carder or a main eventer depending on the needs of the booking, whereas ‘The Prodigy’ is firmly wedged into the mid-card. This programme with ‘Die Hard’ is the latest attempt to raise his profile.

It doesn’t matter what is tried, nothing seems to get the guy over. It’s possible ROH fans assume it won’t be long until he signs a developmental deal with WWE and so there’s no point in getting attached to him… or not as the case may be. They may be right: Bennett has the look of a WWE superstar and already wrestles more like a sports entertainer than a wrestler.

This is one of the matches I’m most looking forward to. Maria has proven a great addition to the ROH roster and both her opponents are great workers. Bennett is tedious and slow, but as long as he doesn’t botch anything it will be hard for him to have a bad match. I assume this is yet another attempt to get him over as a big heel by giving him a win over a former world champion.

In addition to these announced matches Adam Cole is also confirmed to appear. I’d like to see a match for the TV title between him and TJ Perkins but I don’t think that’s likely. I’d like to think Ring of Honor would announce TJP’s return to the company in advance. It’d be a great match though.

I’d like to know why Rhett Titus hasn’t been announced for this event. I appreciate that the original plans for this show probably included him defending the tag belts alongside Kenny King but there’s been plenty of time to come up with a new direction for him since ‘The Pretty Boy Pitbull’ became a member of TNA’s X Division. Ring of Honor should be using this opportunity to push one of their most popular wrestlers as a solo act. Leaving him off the card isn’t going to help with that.

While Boiling Point doesn’t look like the best ROH iPPV offering of 2012 it does look better than the majority of WWE and TNA cards do on paper. If you’ve got a spare tenner and happen to be awake in the early hours of Sunday morning then this could well be worth your time and money.

Predictions summary:
Kevin Steen to defeat Eddie Kingston
Mark and Jay Briscoe to defeat Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs
Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis to defeat Eddie Edwards and Sara Del Ray
Jay Lethal to defeat Tommaso Ciampa
Michael Elgin to defeat Charlie Haas
Roderick Strong to defeat Mike Mondo

No comments:

Post a Comment