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006 ROH on HDNET 4/25/2009

ROH on HDNet – Episode 006 – 25th April 2009

In many ways Episode 5 was perhaps the best episode of ROH on HDNet thus far. Although there was no real knockout of a match, everything was punchy, flowed nicely, didn’t take up too much screen time and the show seemed to progress with a real purpose. Had the main event been better it probably would’ve drawn a lot more praise. Now we come to this week, with a huge scheduled main event of Bryan Danielson vs Tyler Black. It’s received lots of critical acclaim so lets see if it can live up to the hype. We join Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak in the studio…

Grizzly Redwood/Andy Ridge vs Dark City Fight Club

We’ve already seen the DCFC convincingly defeat Up In Smoke on HDNet. Now they’re up against two products of the ROH school and will be overwhelming favourites. Redwood seems like a decent enough character to get into the undercard on HDNet as the character definitely has a vague Spike Dudley vibe to it…whilst Ridge has only recently graduated from the school and started working the pre-shows and whatnot. I’ve not seen enough of his work to judge what he brings to the table.

Hog points out Ridge’s made up ‘Right Leg’ since that’s supposedly his big kicking leg. No chance for him to show that though as he gets decimated by Chavis and Davis in the first minute. They take him out with a powerbomb/Ace crusher combo before Davis tosses him aside and demands Grizzly tag in. He gets the same treatment as his partner and nearly gets put away by a stalling vertical suplex. Grizz tries to run at Rainman, but is wiped out by the POOOOUUUUNCE from Davis. Dark City Street Cutter wins it for DCFC at 4:30. SLAP THAT PORPOISE…

Rating – * –
For my money this went on MILES too long, but I certainly got the point that the Fight Club are built up as an intimidating and impressive force to be reckoned with in the tag division on HDNet. Not sure they really needed 5 minutes of totally uninterrupted offence to do that, but I definitely got the message. I can’t believe there wasn’t even room for one token ‘chopping the competition down to size’ comeback from Redwood at all either.

SIDENOTE – I just noticed ROH appear to have invested in new metal crash barriers for the HDNet series. I thought they were looking less shabby

Kyle Durden talks to Bryan Danielson about the main event. Dragon comes off as a little wooden tonight, but his general message is that he’s going to test Tyler Black’s claims to be the next big thing in ROH

Nigel McGuinness vs Alex Payne

Entrances are edited out of this one since Nigel was still champion at this point and would have come out with the belt. Nigel says he’s going to take his dislike for the fans out on his opponent tonight.

Payne flies out of his corner with real gusto, delivering a series of dropkicks. Hog flat out calls Sugarfoot ‘unimpressive’ which I totally agree with. McGuinness quells his offensive splurge with a wristlock suplex and starts attacking the arm. That Arm Submission locked in, with additional eye raking, but Sugarfoot finds a rope. McLariat nailed, then the Tower Of London. Payne is such a jobber that he doesn’t even get a novelty kick-out of that move. Nigel wins in 03:19

Rating – ** –
Much better squash match that the DCFC vs Students match that preceded it. Here we saw some token offence to keep the crowd interested, but essentially a totally dominant performance from Nigel, making short work of inferior competition.

Tyler Black says he’s grown up in this business idolising Bryan Danielson but says he wants to prove he’s got what it takes to hang with him in main event level matches tonight.

COMMERCIALS – HDNet shows too much MMA. That probably isn’t true…but I’m getting totally fed up of their ‘more live MMA than anyone else’ commercial

Chris Hero/Eddie Edwards vs Kevin Steen/Jay Briscoe

It’s a slightly inopportune night for this match to air given that the Steen/Briscoe alliance just shattered spectacularly in Chicago on the same evening. However, this rematch from Eliminating The Competition is a surprisingly strong bout that could probably main event a HDNet episode by itself, so it’s a pleasant surprise seeing it tossed into the undercard here. Steen and Jay picked up the win in Danbury in February (two nights earlier than this was taped)…

Larry Sweeney calls the Steen/Briscoe team ‘Hillbilly Bacon’ which is all kinds of awesome. I already miss him – is this his final ROH appearance? Hero and Edwards jump the Bacon before the bell and absolutely enrage Hog. Bacon…Hog…I totally didn’t plan that. Edwards must be pig-sick after getting stomped in the corner by Kevin Steen. Hero tags and gets largely similar treatment from Briscoe but Sweeney pulls at Jay’s foot, causing him to be distracted for long enough for Chris to plant a big boot to the face. That brings Mark Briscoe hobbling out to ringside to somewhat even the odds…although in his current state I reckon Sara Del Rey could make him squeal like a stuck pig. Eddie puts Jay in a leg submission just when he looks like sliding to his corner to make a tag. Cravat from Hero leaving Steen oinking in frustration on the sidelines. Finally Briscoe hits a flatliner on Eddie into Hero’s intimate parts and gets the hot tag to Mr Wrestling. Moonsault nailed…but Hero kicks out at 2. Rolling Elbow floors him, but this time it’s Steen kicking out at the last second. A second Rolling Elbow is blocked so Hero connects with the Flash Kick instead. Blind tag from Edwards, who distracts Steen for long enough to allow Hero to hit a Rolling Elbow to the BACK OF THE HEAD! Larry Sweeney is on the apron distracting Kevin Steen, but it doesn’t stop him landing the PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! Edwards is sausage meat staring at the lights in 09:57

Rating – *** –
This was as good as some of the main events we’ve seen over the past 5 weeks on HDNet. Nothing overly remarkable, but a really solid tag team encounter with some great wrestling, some nice contributions from the cast of characters on the floor, and a popular win for Steen which fuels the Wolves/Steen-erico feud on HDNet until Davey Richards arrives at the next tapings.

Tyler Black vs Bryan Danielson

Main event comes early this week which suggests it might get a decent time allowance. A major part of the reason Tyler became such a breakout singles star in 2008 was his amazing series of matches with Bryan Danielson. At Breakout, Southern Navigation and New Horizons they tore the house down with classic matches (the Breakout and New Horizons bouts were two of my favourites of ’08). It’s a wise move to try to capture that magic once again in 2009 with Danielson on the way out and ROH keen to push Tyler onto the HDNet audience as the face of the future. Both men are undefeated on HDNet having won main event bouts on Episodes 1 and 3 respectively.

Danielson goes for an early monkey flip, but turns around in surprise as Black athletically cartwheels to land on his feet. Next Danielson tries to pin him to the canvas and work the legs to negate that athleticism, but finds Black up to that challenge as he counters out to a hold of his own. Body slam from Tyler but it doesn’t do enough damage to keep Dragon down for the Stomp. They front up again, Danielson confidently beckoning Tyler towards another lock up with him, only to belt him with an uppercut in the corner. Unhappy with that arrogance, Tyler delivers a cheap shoulder block to the rips then backflips into a hurricanrana to give himself an advantage. This time he scores with the big Stomp and gets 2. And that aggression from Black is responded to in kind with absolutely vicious European uppercuts by Danielson, then the Mexican surfboard. INTO A DRAGON SLEEPER! Tyler doesn’t tap but is in real trouble now, unable to get off the mat before the former World Champion is all over him again. At the 10 minute mark he’d be losing significantly if it got decided on points and has been rendered totally defenceless by the onslaught of big strikes from the American Dragon. Black flees the ring, only for Bryan to fly at him again with a TOPE SUICIDAAAA! Nasty spill into the guardrail for both guys on that spot. Danielson scales the ropes going for his usual missile dropkick spot, but it’s something Black has seen plenty of times before and he meets it with a mid-air dropkick of his own. It’s Dragon to the outside this time…RUNNING SOMERSAULT PLANCHA by Tyler. God’s Last Gift blocked at this stage…Black goes for the Pele Kick but it’s COUNTERED IN MID-AIR to an Anklelock! Tyler tries to flip out and land on his feet out of a German suplex attempt, but doubles over clutching that bad ankle. Superkick attempted…TURNED TO THE ANKLELOCK AGAIN! LEG CAPTURE GERMAN SUPLEX GETS 2! Back superplex attempted, but this time it’s Black’s turn to counter in mid-flight and rolls into a crossbody to leave both men down. Roaring Elbow by Danielson, only for Tyler to absorb it, kick him in the head and deliver Peroxism for 2. 60 seconds left in the time limit. PHOENIX SPLASH MISSES! TRIANGLE CHOKE LOCKED IN! Can Black hold on? Or better…IT’S COUNTERED TO THE BUCKLE BOMB! 20:00 TIME LIMIT EXPIRES!

Rating – **** –
The best match on HDNet thus far by a sizeable distance. This was the first time I’ve felt that any Ring Of Honor fans who don’t have access to the TV show have actually missed on something special, since this was a real gem. Once again this was all about Tyler trying to prove he belonged on Bryan Danielson’s level and, just like all their great matches in 2008, they struck gold with that formula. It ticked all the right boxes to establish both of them as real players on HDNet, with Danielson presented as this iconic ROH figure who is literally so good it’s an honour just to wrestle him…and therefore by doing so well against him, duly elevating Tyler too. There were even subtle nods to their classics last year with lots of neat little familiarity counters – and for long term viewers of ROH, it adds credence to the ‘next World Champ’ tag Tyler has been given as he now progresses from LOSING to American Dragon to getting a time limit draw. I knocked points off for bringing Black’s ankle injury into things so well, then no-selling it in the last minute for Tyler to try the Phoenix Splash then having Danielson go for the Triangle Choke rather than another leg submission, but that’s a minor quibble. The first set of tapings ended with a real bang thanks to these two guys

A handshake between the two wrestlers closes the show. You’d imagine a rematch will come along soon enough…

NEXT WEEK – Ric Flair comes to HDNet, and former tag team partners collide in the main event as Austin Aries and Roderick Strong go one-on-one

Tape Rating – *** –
Comfortably the strongest episode of HDNet thus far. Admittedly that’s almost entirely because the main event was so good, but in an hour of TV, if ROH delivers a stellar 20 minute main event like they did tonight then you HAVE to call the show a success. With promos and entrances, Danielson/Black probably took up 50% of the episode, and that’s definitely a good thing. It’s on the ‘Best Of HDNet Volume 1’ DVD and that’s a purchase that I’d recommend making as this was a bout every Ring Of Honor fan would want to see. The rest of the show wasn’t too bad either with a fun little tag team match, and Nigel McGuinness making an appearance. This was the last match from the February TV tapings and with Ric Flair, Davey Richards, El Generico and more all set to come in for episodes 7-12 (taped in April) things should pick up after an inconsistent opening for the new televised product

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