ROH on HDNet – Episode 009 – 16th May 2009
There are a solid FIVE weeks of HDNet TV programming between the last ROH house show (Validation in Edison, NJ) and the next DVD taping (which is Contention in Manassas, VA) so I’m looking forward to really getting focused on the TV product between those two shows, and hoping they continue the evolution of the last couple of weeks which have been vastly improved shows. I know most people prefer the first Danielson/Black HDNet match, but I really enjoyed round 2 last week on Episode 008 and have it down as the best on HDNet thus far. If Ring Of Honor can continue improving like this it won’t be long until they have a really slick episodic televised product. Tonight in The Arena, in Philadelphia, PA we have of Brent Albright vs Claudio Castagnoli in a rematch from Episode 005. Lets join Dave Prazak and the Porpoise Slapper.
Claudio Castagnoli vs Brent Albright
This was hyped up as the main event match on last weeks episode so it’s interesting to see it being bumped down to opening the show. Hopefully they can produce HDNet’s best curtain jerker since Aries/Omega. These guys have been feuding all year, have traded somewhat unscrupulous victories, including their first HDNet match when Claudio used the ropes to steal a win.
They go straight into battle, with Albright muscling Castagnoli down to the mat and looking for the Crowbar almost immediately. He continues the assault on the outside but falls victim to Claudio raking his eyes along the ropes as they re-enter the ring. Belly to belly suplex, then a German suplex by Brent who has a Taz moment. Sadly he has a high flyer moment seconds later and misses a wild and ugly missile dropkick attempt. Double C capitalises with the Bicycle Kick. To the floor again, this time with Claudio in control, and he cravats Albright’s head right into the guardrails at a pretty graphic angle. Finally Brent monkey flips him OVER the top rope and all the way to the outside. Pescado nailed moments later and the crowd start to get into it at last. Flying crossbody nailed…and as Castagnoli goes for a counter, Brent quickly draws him into the Crowbar. Riccola Bomb countered…Air Raid Crash blocked. Springboard European IS CAUGHT! AIR RAID CRASH! Half Nelson Suplex blocked, and they neatly play off Castagnoli’s cheating last time, with Todd Sinclair managing to spot him grabbing the ropes this time. MULTIPLE REVOLUTION SATELLITE INTO THE CROWBAR! Prince Nana and Ernie Osiris are at ringside…with Ernie throwing a shoe into the ring to distract the official. Low blow from Claudio, and it’s another cheap win for him at 09:29
Rating – *** – I liked this one more than Episode 005 to be honest. In fact, this runs the Manhattan match close for my favourite Albright/Claudio match so far this year. Admittedly the sullen crowd didn’t help, but everything was physical, TV time constraints meant they had to work at a fast pace, they maintained a clear heel/face dynamic without making Claudio look like a pussy, and the shady finish plays up Claudio’s association with The Embassy for the HDNet audience. Had the crowd been better I think this would have been a lot more memorable.
Claudio looks set to stomp Albright’s head in a chair until Colt Cabana – who we saw in an altercation with Prince Nana on Episode 008 – runs in to make the save.
Kevin Steen and El Generico are in Kyle Durden’s dungeon. Generico is VERY excited about his HDNet debut apparently. They plan to send a message to the American Wolves with their match against Kenny King and Rhett Titus later tonight.
Dark City Fight Club vs Grizzly Redwood/Alex Payne
Chavis and Davis have been mowing through jobbers like nobody’s business thus far on HDNet. Next in their path of destruction lies ROH students Grizzly Redwood and Alex Payne. They are two of the more popular graduates from the school, but will they fare any better against the dominating DCFC?
Payne throws a few elbows but Rainman totally no sells them. Redwood in to chop him down to size, although what actually happens is that Chavis throws him face-first into the canvas. Double Ace crusher on Grizz gets 2. Running tackle from Davis to Sugarfoot, then the Dark City Cutter finishes the students off at 02:03
Rating – * – Another imposing performance by the DCFC. In general I think ROH has been over-doing the amount of squash matches they’re throwing out on HDNet, however, it’s certainly working for the Fight Club, who are really building their reputations well as part of the TV show.
BUZZ WORDS – This time it’s with Necro Butcher and Delirious. Once again Necro destroys his hardcore Wildman persona, but does show some decent comic timing as he reacts to Delirious’ gibberish buzz words. Strange segment…
BUZZ WORDS – Jimmy Jacobs and Brodie Lee next. More conventional stuff from them, and it turns out this was all a hype package to promote AOTF vs Necro/Delirious next week. Good move.
Ric Flair comes to the ring to make an official announcement as to who the #1 Contender to Jerry Lynn is considering the Danielson/Tyler draw we had last week. He totally steals heat from that announcement by implying HE might challenge for the title in future…thus making everything else a disappointment. Jerry Lynn is summoned to the ring to officially lay down the first ROH World Title defence on HDNet. Black and Danielson both come out moments later…quickly followed by Austin Aries to campaign for the title shot. Flair decides to give HDNet something really special…and declares that Lynn will defend it against all three of them in a four corner match.
In the back Kenny King shows awesome levels of charisma as he and Rhett Titus promise to make an impact in their non-title clash with the Tag Champions tonight.
Sami Callihan vs Jay Briscoe
I know he doesn’t wind up amounting to much in ROH (as yet anyway) and he’s really nothing more than an enhancement talent, but Sami’s appearances on HDNet thus far have bee really good. His match with Eddie Kingston, in particular, was memorable. Tonight he’ll be doing nothing more than making Jay Briscoe look good as Jay continues to tread water and wait for his brother to return.
Positive and impressive start from Jay as Dave Prazak casts doubts over his ability to be a singles wrestler in ROH. Callihan smartly drives him into the corner and lands a couple of strikes. Sliding clothesline scores for 2. Briscoe boots him in the face and nails a big lariat which drops Sami on his neck. Jay Driller wins it for Briscoe at 02:42. Porpoise slappingly emphatic…
Rating – * – I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Callihan, and everyone knows the money in Jay Briscoe is as part of a team. Still, with Mark injured they’ve got to put Jay on TV somehow so he may as well look impressive whilst doing so. Sami made him look good so job done.
Kyle Durden hits the ring, basically as an excuse for the Briscoes to hit their ‘Man Up’ catchphrase.
Kenny King/Rhett Titus vs Kevin Steen/El Generico
We saw Davey Richards debut on HDNet last week, completing the American Wolves for the first time on TV. They delivered a resounding victory and immediately proclaimed it a message for the champions Steen and Generico. Can Mr Wrestling and the Generic Luchador fire back with a message of their own at the expense of the All Night Express tonight?
Armdrags by Generico, then the Hispanic mounted punches on a stunned Rhettski. Steen joins him to flatten Titus with the double backpack senton for 2. More tandem action from the champions when King tags in, with Generico taking Kenny down into the path of Steen’s standing somersault leg drop. Finally the referee is distracted for long enough for Titus to land a cheap shot on Generico. King capitalises seconds later with the rope hurdling guillotine. Blindside clothesline combo gets the ANX a 2-count. Double springboard crossbody from Generico to Titus, allowing him to get the hot tag to Kevin Steen. King saves his partner from the Sharpshooter but eats the Yakuza Kick from El Generico. STEEN-TON BOMB! King kicks out at 2! Cradle Piledriver blocked by King…and he cuts off the Yakuza Kick with an AWESOME spinning heel kick. JUMPING ENZI! CORONATION! SPLASH by Titus but Steen breaks the fall. King is dropped on his head with a DDT, followed by a cannonball senton. SOMERSAULT VAN TERMINATOR BY GENERICO! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! BRAINBUSTER! The champs pick up a win at 09:14
Rating – *** – These two teams have really strong chemistry together it seems. They had an underrated match on DVD earlier in the year, and this was basically a condensed, TV version of that one. Steen and Generico looked great as a team, King continued to look like a strong prospect and Titus still shone as the comedy sleazeball. Exciting main event to cap off a strong episode of Ring Of Honor television.
No time for Steen and Generico to celebrate though, as the American Wolves (with Hagadorn) storm the ring. Edwards puts the Achilles Tendon Lock on Steen, taking advantage of his bad knee. DOOMSDAY ACE CRUSHER THROUGH A TABLE ON GENERICO! The Wolves pose with the belts to close the show
Tape Rating – *** – ROH is really starting to get into a groove with the HDNet show now. This completes a hat trick of commendably watchable TV episodes. Tonight we got a great opening match, fun segment in the middle which really underlines the strength of the World Title scene, and an exciting main event. But what particularly impressed me this week was how every match MEANT something. We’re done with the random thrown together matches just to get guys out there. The opener continued the Albright/Claudio feud AND made the point that Castagnoli is an associate of The Embassy. The DCFC continued their quiet ascension up the tag team ranks with a dominant victory. The Briscoes got to show some character and their major catchphrase after Briscoe/Callihan…and most importantly, there are now MAJOR title matches and feuds to look forward to. In three weeks time we’ve got the first ever ROH World Title Match on HDNet, whilst the feud between the Wolves and Steen-erico really kicked into a higher gear with that attack to close the show. The eventual HDNet match between those two teams is sure to be a spectacle. As I’ve said before, for an ROH on HDNet episode to be a success it needs to be relevant to what happened the previous week, needs to be entertaining and produce great wrestling on the night, AND needs to give the audience a reason to tune in next week. For a third week in a row ROH ticked all those boxes.