ROH on HDNet – Episode 011 – May 30th 2009
The closing two episodes from ROH’s second set of TV tapings are arguably the biggest two shows to date. Two major title matches are headed our way, with recent weeks having seen a lot of TV time dedicated to hyping those up. Tonight sees Kevin Steen and El Generico defend the Tag Titles in a Tables Match against the American Wolves, in a match which has had the drama considerably lessened by the fact that the Wolves have been Tag Champions on house shows for the last month. It’s also the go home show before next weeks historic first ROH World Title Match on HDNet, so expect some major hype for that to. Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak welcome us to The Arena.
Rhett Titus vs Roderick Strong
Not a whole lot of back story to this one although they’ve had a few matches this year. This is only Roderick’s second HDNet Match, having lost his debut showing to Austin Aries on Episode 007. Titus uses his pre-match interview to cast doubts over whether the ‘Messiah Of The Backbreaker’ could break a back like his. On the flip side, Roddy’s pre-match promo is beyond terrible.
Thrust Is A Must grounded headscissors in the early going by Titus. But he gets so preoccupied with thrusting that he doesn’t see Strong slingshot into a shoulder tackle. Strong land his first backbreaker, but tries that enzi out of the corner spot he always does only for Rhett to counter superbly into a modified Edge-o-Matic for 2. He gets another nearfall moments later with a running knee strike, before Roderick hits back with a springboard crossbody. Urinage backbreaker gets 2 but Titus thumbs the eyes and delivers a big facecrusher to even things up. Death By Roderick into the Sick Kick. Titus is put down for 3, giving Roddy the victory at 06:52
Tape Rating – ** – Decent enough, but when Roderick was on offence it was pretty low key. I have my concerns about Strong as a television performer. I’m not questioning his ability as a wrestler, but in YEARS with ROH skills his promo skills and charisma levels just haven’t improved at all. He, more than most, may struggle to project himself positively to the HDNet audience.
Austin Aries gets another hype video for the forthcoming ROH Title match. He discusses his strategy of playing his opponents’ egos against each other
Sara Del Rey vs Daizee Haze vs MsChif
Non-title SHIMMER action here. Fair play to ROH for at least attempting to promote their Women Of Honor division on TV, even if there’s very little place to go with it.
Jimmy Jacobs accompanies MsChif to ringside and doesn’t seem too upset about the fact he lost the main event last week. I don’t like that. Del Rey throws Haze out of the ring so she can go after MsChif, the woman who took the SHIMMER Title from her. Cristo by MsChif, but it’s broken by a missile dropkick from the Haze. Sara thanks her for that assistance by throat-tossing Daizee on top of Chif. Sara and MsChif start brawling on the floor, giving Haze time to climb to the top. She hits a crossbody plancha to the floor on Del Rey, who botches catching her so looks a little stupid. MsChif sprays Daizee in the face with Green Mist and hits the Desecrator to win at 02:37
Rating – * – It was fast and competitive, but that ugly botch and some general sloppiness definitely hurt this one. That’s the story of most Daizee Haze matches in fairness…
Jimmy Jacobs gets on the microphone to tell everyone that MsChif is the AOTF member who will take Daizee Haze and the other Women Of Honor out of ROH once and for all.
The final World Title Match hype video features Tyler Black…who thinks his youth and athleticism will give him the edge over his older opponents when the bell rings.
The Embassy get some promo time and introduce Claudio Castagnoli as a paid associate.
Erick Stevens vs Sami Callihan
I really don’t like Erick’s new ‘runaway train’ gimmick. I don’t like Callihan getting fed to him either, but I suppose Sami will make him look good. ‘My train has got wheels made of biscuits’ – Sami
Callihan tries to run away from Stevens, suckering him in to drill him face-first into the turnbuckles. He starts licking Erick’s face which is pretty weird, and nails the Sliding Lariat. Koji Clutch locked in but Stevens gets to a rope. Having seen enough, Stevens positions Sami for the Choo Choo Avalanche. Doctor Bomb ends proceedings in 02:49
Rating – * – Too short to be a good match, with Callihan getting in way too much for it to be considered an effective squash. Other than making Sami seem weird and slightly entertaining, I’m not sure what this segment accomplished. Even Prazak and Hog were saying on commentary that they’d rather see Stevens impress against people his own size…and Stevens’ gimmick makes him look like a goon.
Hog and Prazak conduct a ‘satellite interview’ with Nigel McGuinness. He declines to update them on his rehab progress and runs down the competitors in next weeks World Title match instead.
Kevin Steen/El Generico vs American Wolves – ROH Tag Title Tables Are Legal Match
Since the start of the HDNet series, it’s been pretty clear that the American Wolves and the World Tag Champions don’t like each other. From the first appearances with Kevin Steen defeating Eddie Edwards and wanting revenge for the Wolves injuring Generico’s knee and causing him to miss the first TV tapings, it’s been clear that there’s an intense hatred between the two. The Wolves first started singling out the champions at Final Battle 2008 – the situation has escalated rapidly, and the wild No DQ Match at the 7th Anniversary Show should show you how far these two teams are willing to take it. In purely HDNet terms, we saw the Wolves appear as a unit on HDNet for the first time in recent weeks, and interrupt a victorious Steen and Generico after a main event success to put El Generico through a table. Last week the champs took revenge by putting the Wolves’ manager Shane Hagadorn through a table…and ROH officials (including ROH Ambassador Ric Flair apparently) reacted quickly to book this clash to resolve things between the four.
The fight starts in the aisle as the defending champions make their entrance. Steen starts biting at Davey’s face then runs around the ring to save Generico as Edwards starts to tear at his mask. Into the ring for the first time now so the bell actually rings at last, and Steen drops the somersault leg drop across the back of Richards’ head. Backpack Double Senton from the champions crushed Edwards before Kevin leaves the ring to pull out the first table. He sets it up in the corner…as Generico hits an exploder on Eddie into the opposite turnbuckles. Richards flies in and dropkicks Steen’s bad wheel. DOUBLE ALARM CLOCK ON GENERICO! SUPERKICK GERMAN SUPLEX THROUGH THE TABLE! Generico took such a rough landing on it the table barely broke. Still, Davey uses that to his advantage by grabbing Steen for a SHINBREAKER THROUGH THE TABLE! AWESOME strategy right there. With Steen down, Richards teases a Figure 4, but with Flair now on board the fans get a little too excited, so he decide against it. Another table is brought into play, but before the Wolves can use it they’re both taken down by a rejuvenated El Generico. Michinoku Driver on Eddie gets 2. DR Driver blocked…SOMERSAULT PLANCHA TO EDDIE ON THE FLOOR! STEEN DRIVES DAVEY THROUGH A TABLE WITH A POWERBOMB! STEEN-TON SPLASH COMBO! EDDIE SAVES! A table stack is set up on the floor but Richards goes after Steen’s knee again before he can powerbomb Edwards through it. Eddie throws table #5 into the ring…AS RICHARDS MISSES THE SSP! THROUGH THE TURNBUCKLES TORNADO DDT ON THE FLOOR BY GENERICO! TOP ROPE SPLASH THROUGH A TABLE AND EDWARDS ON OUTSIDE! STEEN WITH THE SHARPSHOOTER ON DAVEY! Shane Hagadorn limps to ringside to help, but eats a Package Piledriver. Richards is positioned on a table next, but Steen takes too long climbing the ropes. RICHARDS SHOVES HIM THROUGH THE TABLE STACK TO THE FLOOR! YAKUZA KICK BY GENERICO! Edwards saves Richards from the Brainbustah…DOOMSDAY ACE CRUSHER THROUGH THE TABLE! New champions as the Wolves win it at 13:25
Rating – **** – A total blitzkrieg of wild high spots for 15 minutes there. It’s easily one of the best HDNet matches thus far…and the first one I think ROH fans who don’t follow the series will be disappointed to have missed (since Danielson/Tyler was done better on DVD multiple times last year). With less time to play with it didn’t have the degrees of story-telling that I liked about the No DQ Match in Manhattan, but they concentrated on popping the crowd with a succession of crazy spots. What I particularly liked about this match was how raw it was. This wasn’t a WWE style table match with gimmicky set ups, crisp, picture perfect table breaks etc. This was ugly, with tables NOT breaking perfectly in the middle, with wrestlers taking grotesque neck bumps and only the corners of the table giving way. It was a gritty, underground and totally engaging alternative to the WWE style matches in this genre we’ve been fed since the Dudley Boyz popularised the gimmick in the early 00’s. It’s on the Best Of ROH on HDNet Volume 1 DVD and that release is well worth a purchase to serious ROH collectors since this match was a tremendous instalment in ROH’s best feud in 2009.
Tape Rating – *** – As a complete episode this was the worst show in over a month. Average opener, a pointless women’s match and a lousy squash, coupled with a few promos – in truth, until the main event this was pretty mediocre. BUT the Tables Match was total gold and saved the episode entirely, going right up there with the Danielson/Tyler series (and Danielson/Aries from week 3) in the best matches thus far on HDNet.