ROH on HDNet – Episode 013 – 13th June 2009
Last week on HDNet we witnessed what was undisputedly the pinnacle of the show’s existence thus far, as weeks of build came together for one terrific Four Corner MOTYC for Jerry Lynn’s ROH World Title. A week later on DVD planet, he was losing the World Championship to Austin Aries in Manhattan – a title change which HDNet will probably see the ramifications of in around two months! Tonight should have all the fall out from that incredible battle, and is the first episode from the third set of TV tapings from The Arena in Philadelphia, PA. Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak call the action.
Austin Aries opens the show and is understandably bitter about the ROH landscape right now. After years of giving to the fans, he’s ready to start taking things for himself – like the HDNet spotlight for starters. Next he wants to be handed the World Title he feels he deserves. Unsurprisingly Jerry Lynn doesn’t head to the ring to oblige him.
Kyle Durden is with Chris Hero ahead of tonight’s main event. He is coming for revenge for the defeat he suffered at Never Say Die. Shane Hagadorn is totally unnecessary as Hero is an amazing promo guy by himself.
Hog and Prazak then break the news that Ric Flair is stepping down as ‘ROH Ambassador’ and will no longer be appearing on HDNet. They give him a superfluous word of thanks – but the reality is Flair screwed ROH over and refused to appear when he thought being on national TV with Ring Of Honor might jeopardise his future prospects with the likes of WWE and TNA. He’ll still be at a handful of forthcoming DVD tapings to do the same boring promo though. After the great work that other respected veterans/legends like Ricky Steamboat, Mick Foley, Kenta Kobashi, Raven, Bobby Heenan, Jim Cornette and more have done in ROH, Flair has acted pretty disgracefully. Like I said during my Manhattan Mayhem 3 review – I really hope Cary was able to justify Flair’s massive appearance fees with an upturn in tickets/merch/autographs/meet and greet sales.
Jay Briscoe vs D-Lo Brown
But with one recognisable WWE face leaving Ring Of Honor’s TV show, another one arrives in the shape of D-Lo Brown. He’s made sporadic appearances on the DVD taping circuit this year, putting in some good performances and some absolutely lousy ones. But his presence on HDNet will certainly provide some accessibility for newcomers to the product looking for some familiar faces. Prazak plays up that this a rematch from a recent New York show which is a nice touch.
Briscoe nearly decapitates Brown with a Mafia kick before the bell even rings. D-Lo tries to leave but is brought right back in as Jay’s hot start continues. D-Lo hits back with a lungblower to quell the momentum of the early Briscoe onslaught. He stays on the offensive with lots of Attitude era kicks, punches and a tidy vertical suplex. Turnbuckle flatliner from Jay but he struggles to get Brown off his feet. He MUSCLES D-Lo up for a DVD that gets a 2-count. Sky High countered to a hurricanrana which sends D-Lo to the floor…and he decides to take a sit down out there rather than rush back into action. He stays on the floor for the full 20-count and is beaten at 04:54.
Rating – * – For a free TV opener this was ok. Brown’s offence was very basic, but he’s an experienced hand on television and he portrayed himself very effectively as a physically intimidating presence which Jay struggled to overcome. The finish was beyond sh*tty though so I’ve marked it down. ROH needs to get their act together with Jay Briscoe on HDNet. It’s fine to job him out and make him seem like a perennial midcard act on the DVD shows because the existing ROH fanbase already KNOW how good the Briscoes are. The fact is though, when they’re healthy and ready to go, the Briscoe brothers as a tag team are main event level guys and an act that ROH would look to promote as one of their main draws. Newcomers to ROH via HDNet are NOT going to buy into Jay as a legit main event talent if he keeps working matches like this.
Replay of the Wolves/Steen-erico Tables Match from 2 weeks ago (lazily rehashed from Episode 12, hence the ‘1 Week Ago’ graphic at the bottom of the screen). That’s lead in for the announcement that in 2 weeks time it will be the Wolves defending against HDNet rivals Bryan Danielson and Tyler Black in a Tag Title Classic rematch.
Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Silas Young/Bobby Fish
I thought Fish looked really good in his jobber match at Eliminating The Competition earlier this year, and Silas has had a few strong showings as an enhancement talent in 2009 too so both are deserving of this shot on TV. Steen and Generico will be looking to rebuild after losing their belts.
Steen floors Fish with a big spinning heel kick then brings Generico in for the drop toehold into a somersault leg drop. Young in and he takes Generico down with a clothersline after the masked man allowed himself to be distracted by Bobby. He then breaks out an awesome counter of a slingshot from Generico into a northern lights suplex for 2. Generico botches the rope run lucha armdrag, nicely covered as ‘the knee isn’t 100%’ by the commentators, but gets a hot tag to Steen anyway. He nails a sweet lungblower/senton combo on both opponents. STEEN-TON BOMB! But Young saves Fish at 2. Generico blasts him with the Yakuza Kick. Package Piledriver/Brainbuster sequence defeats Fish at 05:37. SLAP THE FISH!!!! DOUBLE SLAP THE FISH!
Rating – * – A little long for my personal taste in squash matches, but Steen and Generico got over whilst still allowing Fish and Young to show their stuff, so you can call it a success.
Steen steals Durden’s microphone to inform the American Wolves that their issue isn’t done yet. They want their belts back…
COMMERCIALS – It’s chick rock week for HDNet Concerts…
In the Back Lynn puts over last week as one of the toughest matches of his career. Which given the calibre of his classics with the likes of Van Dam and Waltman from years gone by, is a strong compliment. Nigel McGuinness skulks in and empathises with Jerry and his struggles to keep the fans happy.
Jimmy Rave vs Grizzly Redwood
This is the HDNet debut of The Embassy’s Crown Jewel. It’s a nice way to debut him and bring The Embassy’s issues with Grizzly to the TV market.
Rave clobbers the shoe-less Redwood from the bell, running into an STO for 2. Down come the straps for Redwood…only for him to be swept into Ghanarea. Rave wins at 01:35
Rating – * – This was how squashes should be. Commanding win for Rave, who without realising it, I’ve really missed in ROH. It’s a shame his 2009 run couldn’t have amounted to more.
Jimmy puts Grizzly in the Heel Hook until Necro Butcher comes to make the save.
Next week’s main event is Roderick Strong vs KENTA…sounds f’n awesome.
Chris Hero vs Jerry Lynn
This is non-title, which is appropriate given that Hero didn’t earn his last title shot in Boston and defeat there definitely shouldn’t grant him another opportunity. However, on HDNet he’s put in some impressive performances, and will look to cash in on Lynn’s weariness after a series of gruelling recent championship bouts. As Nigel pondered earlier – how is Jerry dealing with the recent fan mutiny against him?
Jerry starts quickly with armdrags and a high crossbody, emphasising his apparent speed advantage over his opponent. He works lots of armbars in between speed moves, possibly to negate the elbow strike ability. Springboard dropkick sends Hero to the floor, with Hog pondering whether Jerry’s aggressive start proves he wants to end this quickly to negate the effects of any fatigue. Finally Chris starts responding with chokes and heel tactics, slowing the pace right down to a methodical stalking. Lynn botches a roll-up, then walks into an elbow smash for 2. There are a few more messy moments and half botches on the way to Lynn coming off the second rope with a bulldog. Del Rey distracts the referee as Jerry thinks about a Cradle Piledriver…but Hero misses the Flash Kick to the floor, and Jerry SCORES with a cannonball senton off the apron. REBOUND ELBOW SMASH FROM THE RAIL BY HERO! But he tries to follow with the Floor Mat Senton and MISSES. ROLLING ELBOW TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD! Jerry kicks out at 2. They fight on the turnbuckles until Lynn topples over the ringpost and to the floor. Hero attempts Cradle Piledriver theft, but Jerry counters with a Rolling Elbow. NECKBREAK ELBOW SMASH! LYNN KICKS OUT! Loaded Elbow is in play…but Jerry counters to a small package. He beats Hero at 14:34
Rating – ** – Some of the stuff they were doing towards the end was really good, but the overall tedium and uncharacteristic sloppiness from both men caused me to bring the rating down. This wasn’t Lynn/Brodie bad, but certainly not of the calibre of recent HDNet main events. The Never Say Die match absolutely smoked this
Before Jerry can even celebrate the win Austin Aries does a run in to lay him out with the title belt. That’s it for this week…
Tape Rating – * – After some really good TV recently, and coming off the best match ROH on HDNet has produced so far last week, this episode felt very flat. It’s totally forgivable given that last week marked the culmination of nearly a month of programming, meaning this episode was the start of a new cycle…but it was a hell of a comedown after Episode 012. The match content was pretty bad which (for a workrate company) is a big no-no, even on free TV. Hero/Lynn wasn’t the greatest main event, and both men let themselves down with some ugly exchanges, whilst Brown/Briscoe had a bogus finish. But, focusing on the positives, from a storyline perspective, ROH got the ball rolling well. We have 2 weeks of exciting TV main events lined up with KENTA/Roddy next week and Wolves vs Dragon/Black the week after, Austin Aries stepping up to head the chasing pack for Jerry’s World Title, Nigel’s interesting character as an evil guardian for Lynn, Jimmy Rave was on HDNet for the first time and Steen-erico stayed in the hunt for the Tag Titles. So, as a standalone show this was bad, but it undeniably set things up to make me want to see future episodes, so it was far from a total bust.