ROH on HDNet – Episode 012 – 6th June 2009
ROH on HDNet is actually on a strong run at the moment. I haven’t seen too much praise of ROH’s early efforts on national TV, but in my opinion, the last month or so has been positive. Four weeks of solid, building TV culminated last week in the memorable Tables Match which saw new Tag Champions crowned, with another historic moment planned for tonight as Jerry Lynn makes the first ever nationally televised defence of the ROH World Title. This is the last episode drawn from the second set of TV tapings in Philadelphia, PA. Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak call the action.
Claudio Castagnoli/Ernie Osiris vs Brent Albright/Colt Cabana
Good week to week progression in this storyline here. 2 weeks ago we saw The Embassy cost Albright a victory over Double C, whilst continue to have their own issues with Cabana. Last week Brent and Colt had some promo time directed at Nana & co. so tonight we have a match.
Huge ovation for Cabana for his first official match on HDNet. Castagnoli shoves Ernie in to start with Albright and chills out on the floor to ensure he doesn’t have to get involved with his rival. Cabana tagged (with Double C then appearing on the apron) to have some fun with Osiris. Claudio in to exchange some whacky European stylings with Cabana. That is until Ernie distracts him by throwing another shoe and handing Castagnoli the advantage. Albright tagged and he powers Claudio into an overhead belly to belly for 2. Colt with the Flying Asshole then the Billy Goat’s Curse on Osiris, who taps out at 04:39. Claudio is already heading for higher ground to escape Albright by the way
Rating – ** – Fun start to the show. Cabana and Osiris provided pleasant comic relief to break up the intensity of the Albright/Claudio issue, which has actually come off far better on HDNet than it did on the DVD releases previously.
Kyle Durden tries to get a word with Brent Albright, but he’s so angry that he rams Ernie’s shoe in poor Kyle’s face then chucks him out of the ring.
A video package takes clips of the individual pieces we’ve seen over the last two weeks from all four participants in tonight’s main event.
Bobby Dempsey vs Sal Rinauro
When did Sal’s career nosedive so much that he had to accept a gig being job fodder for Bobby freakin’ Dempsey? I feel bad for the guy, he’s more talented than Dempsey will ever be. Although, as I always say, it’s not like Rinauro hasn’t had chances to get over in ROH before.
Sal is all shovy and mouthy with Dempsey…but then doesn’t even have the strength to get him over for a Russian Legsweep. NECK DROP DVD! Dempsey beats Sal at 00:46
Rating – N/A – The fact that the crowd was vocal in their support of Bobby meant this was a worthy use of TV time – since it put Bobby over as a cult hero type figure. I still feel bad for Rinauro, and this Bobby push can only go so far because he’s not actually that good in the ring. But in less than a minute this was perfectly fine.
Hogewood and Prazak interview Ric Flair and ask him about how he prepared for big World Title matches. He suggests the athletes in tonight’s main event know exactly what their opponent’s weaknesses are. He also says the pressure is on the challengers, not Lynn tonight. Again he sort of irritates me by implying he could still wrestle in ROH…and when he clearly had no intention of ever doing so. It’s just building fans up to let them down. Prazak asks him what he’s got to give back to ROH and pro-wrestling…and he spends 2 minutes putting himself over. Shocking…
Jerry Lynn vs Austin Aries vs Tyler Black vs Bryan Danielson – ROH World Title Match
Here it is – the main event of the show comes very early tonight so you know it’s going to get some time. This World Title has been absolutely SUPERBLY hyped, and set against a backdrop of meaningless throwaway World Title matches like Lynn/Briscoe, Lynn/Hero and Lynn/Strong with zero build, the effort and time that has gone into building this up has been very commendable and has made the title look like something really special to the HDNet audience. Ric Flair has built up Lynn and Aries with some in-ring segments, putting Lynn over as a hard working, worthy champion and whilst Austin has almost taken on a Nature Boy-like attitude in his dogged insistence he’s ROH’s star man and champion in waiting. And the hottest series to come out of HDNet series thus far has been the two superb Danielson/Tyler matches. They’re still to settle their own personal rivalry, but will have a chance to test each other’s skills again tonight on the way to World Title glory.
Philadelphia is vocally anti-Jerry tonight, which is really sad for an ECW alumni. Great editing as they go for commercials as the match is about to begin, but return WITHOUT joining the match in progress – something I really hate in a re-taped product. Hot start with Aries shoving Lynn out of the ring and running laps to celebrate. CANNONBALL SENTON off the apron by Lynn, which leaves Dragon and Tyler alone together once again. Black levels him with a dropkick and turns his attention to Jerry, with whom he also has some history. Danielson takes over with submission work on the champion whilst Black and A-Double brawl in the aisle. Just when Lynn manages to escape Danielson with a flying headscissors, Aries returns to attack him with back and chest rakes. Those two brawl to the floor now and Dragon uses the space to put Black in the Mexican Surfboard. Credit to Aries, he spots the vulnerable Danielson to pounce on him. Lynn then nearly beats Danielson with the same Unbreakable Small Package that Dragon defeated him with at All Star Extravaganza 4. Fourway chinlock into a fourway jawbreaker. More multiple man fun seconds later as Black and Lynn trade Figure 4’s whilst Aries tries a camel clutch on the World Champ.
Black goes for the springboard clothesline but gets shoved to the floor ON TOP OF DANIELSON by Austin. Now he has some time Aries starts working Lynn’s neck, first with a neckbreaker in the ropes then a rudimentary kick to the back of the head. He breaks off from the assault to continually knock Danielson and Tyler back to the outside, meaning he has the maximum possible opportunity to win the title. Jerry thrown to the floor now…but Dragon stops Aries before he can hit the Heat Seeking Missile. Leg drop in the ropes by Lynn…then the SPRINGBOARD LARIAT by Black. TKO from Jerry, then a running knee from Danielson as everyone starts to ally to beat down the irritating A-Double. GERMAN SUPLEX SUNSET FLIP COMBO between Lynn, Bryan and Black. Jerry and Danielson exchange nearfalls…until it’s broken with a LIONSAULT BY TYLER! DANIELSON BRIDGES UP ANYWAY! Black kicks Lynn in the head but gets his back raked by Aries before he can nail the Buckle Bomb. Shinbreak Back Suplex from Aries to Dragon…before Aries sprints into the HEAT SEEKING MISSILE on Jerry. RUNNING SOMERSAULT PLANCHA FROM BLACK! They all go into the crowd which can mean only one thing. SPRINGBOARD CROWD DIVE BY DANIELSON! He only ended up wiping out Tyler though as Aries evaded it at the last possible moment.
Indeed, he very nearly wins the match (and apparently the belt) via count-out until Jerry rolls in with a second to spare. Impact Explosion Dropkick on him, then the BRAINBUSTER! Foot in the ropes for Lynn…which the crowd hates! On the outside Black suplexes Dragon onto the concrete. Austin misses the 450 Splash and eats BUCKLE BOMB! SUPERKICK NAILED! LYNN SAVES! Tyler lays Austin and Jerry side by side, but Dragon stops him hitting the Phoenix Splash. BACK SUPERPLEX ON TOP OF ARIES AND LYNN! HOLY SH*T! All four men are down in a pile, with Dragon up first. KICK YOUR F’N HEAD IN STOMPS! TRIANGLE CHOKE ON TYLER! LAST CHANCERY FROM ARIES TO JERRY! BLACK POWERBOMBS DANIELSON ONTO ARIES TO BREAK IT! He hits the Pele on Danielson. GOD’S LAST GIFT SCORES! JERRY BREAKS IT AGAIN! ‘F*ck You Lynn’ – Philadelphia. Austin destroys both Tyler and Jerry with the IED then gets dropped on his neck off a Danielson Tiger suplex. Dragon goes for Cattle Mutilation…BUT LYNN CATCHES HIM FOR THE FREAKIN’ CRADLE PILEDRIVER! HE NAILS IT! JERRY WINS! It’s over at 21:37
Rating – ****1/2 – Incredible match, which should mean as much to the HDNet series as the amazing Ki/Danielson/Daniels triple threat match at Era Of Honor Begins meant to early ROH. Sure this was a little chaotic and spotty, but it was also a phenomenal display of athleticism, non-stop physicality and a wonderful showcase of how good all four men are. Aries was outstanding as the asshole of the piece, Tyler provided moments of incredible innovation (the Buckle Bomb onto Lynn, the powerbomb to stop the Last Chancery, the Lionsault onto Danielson and Jerry etc) whilst Danielson and Jerry held it together with their superb technical and pacing ability. It’s almost a shame they didn’t switch the belt to Aries here since he was (arguably) the star of the match, has come off like ROH’s top star on HDNet thus far…and when the crowd turned on Jerry like they did here, you’d argue it’s time to get the strap off him asap. Must-see match, deservedly up there with Nigel/KENTA, KENTA/Richards, the No DQ Steen-erico/Wolves match and a couple of others for ROH MOTY thus far.
Tape Rating – **** – Over half the episode is the outstanding main event, so of course this show gets a higher rating. That World Title match was a fittingly epic spectacle, and I really hope Pearce has learnt some lessons from how well received it was. Rather than throwing World Title matches out there, devaluing your talent and devaluing your title, putting some effort into building to major Championship matches like this one really does make a difference. People have been waiting to see this one for weeks and that made the emotional connection to all four men so tangible. This wasn’t Lynn/Strong, which people only cared about once Roddy was pissing blood. This wasn’t Lynn/Briscoe, which was actually a great little match but greeted with almost total silence from the audience. The people were RAVENOUS for this one. They loved Dragon and Black, they hated Aries…they REALLY hated Jerry Lynn too. The last month of TV has been dedicated to building this match up, so the fact that it delivered so spectacularly means this was a top top episode of ROH programming. The opener was forgettable fun, as was Bobby’s squash…and they shoehorned in another Flair appearance too. I’m now looking forward to next week, the first episode from the third set of tapings, with the likes of KENTA on hand. Emphatic thumbs up for HDNet Episode 012!