ROH on HDNet – Episode 015 – 27th June 2009
In terms of in-ring quality, I can’t think of too many HDNet episodes thus far that could rival the one-two punch combo of matches that we saw on Episode 014 with King/Omega then KENTA/Strong. In a single hour time slot fitting two really exciting matches in like that is quite an achievement. In an era where you see minimal great wrestling on the weekly TV shows of the ‘major’ promotions, having lots of top notch matches can be a real selling point for ROH. Tonight though, we could see the same thing happen again, as we have two potential main event level bouts lined up. Jimmy Jacobs and Delirious look to settle their feud in a Fight Without Honor, whilst the main event is the much-anticipated Tag Title Classic rematch with the American Wolves defending against the American Dragon and the American Tyler Black. We’re in Philadelphia, PA. Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak with the mics.
Jimmy Jacobs vs Delirious – Fight Without Honor
This truly is the last stand of the Age Of The Fall. Having lost his Steel Cage war with Tyler Black in Detroit (the night before this episode aired), and on the same evening that this show was broadcast, was in Chicago being strung from the rafters and abandoned as the remnants of his revolution crumbled around him. ROH’s signature ‘grudge match’ is the Fight Without Honor, and tonight it comes to HDNet for the first time as the abandoned leader and reformed follower do battle one final time.
Angry red Delirious makes his return tonight and runs straight to the ring to get things going. Top rope Leaping Lariat scores inside the first 30 seconds, and as Jacobs tries to run, Delirious keeps running and scores with a tope suicida. Drop toehold into the barricades next, and of course, that’s just a set up for the GUARDRAIL PANIC ATTACK! Jimmy is busted open, and any suspicion that the Fight Without Honor concept might be made more family friendly for national TV goes straight out the door. He shakes off the blood loss to hit a diving clothesline off the guardrails. Delirious is sat in a chair for Jimmy to scale the ropes and hurl himself through his masked opponent and the chair. He tries the same thing on the floor…RUNNING PESCADO THROUGH A CHAIR MISSES! Jimmy took that bump flush on his ribs which looked horrifying. TOP ROPE chair shot to the outside by Delirious. Amazingly, Jacobs manages to summon up some reserves of energy and drop Delirious with the spear and cling on for End Time. He doesn’t quit though, so out comes the railroad spike. Stab attempt misses, and Delirious hits a COBRA CLUTCH SUPLEX! He thinks about Shadows Over Hell only for Jacobs to throw a chair into his face. He goes for a spear through the ropes…BUT MISSES AND EATS TABLE! SHADOWS OVER HELL THROUGH THAT SAME F*CKING TABLE ON THE FLOOR! That’s bat sh*t crazy…and is obviously enough for Delirious to win at 08:53
Rating – *** – Obviously in the ‘illustrious’ history of Fight Without Honor’s, this won’t be considered one of the best (although it’s definitely better than Maff/Whitmer vs Carnage Crew), but it was certainly a great effort. Considering the time confines, considering they had to go a little easier on the violence for TV, this was actually an amazing match. The near-silent crowd didn’t conjure up much of an atmosphere, which is a shame; and definitely didn’t contribute anything to making this match feel a lot more epic. But I wasn’t expecting much from this and thought that, with lots counting against them, they made the absolute best they possibly could. I’m going to miss Jacobs in ROH.
And as the fans start chanting ‘disappointment’ at him, Jimmy goes crazy in the ring and starts stabbing himself with the spike…then physically slicing his arm open with it. That’s pretty sick…
In the sh*t cupboard, Kyle Durden asks Bryan Danielson and Tyler Black if they can put their rivalry aside to win the Tag Titles tonight. Not the greatest promo segment.
And if you thought those guys were awkward on the mic, wait till you see the Young Bucks who were borderline horrifying. I really hope these two look more comfortable in front of a camera now they’re big in TNA than they did here!
Young Bucks vs Sal Rinauro/Other Jobber
I think Prazak said the other guy’s name was Brandon Day, but I didn’t catch it properly and didn’t care enough to rewind. This is Matt and Nick Jackson’s ROH debut. In a massive vote of confidence in their abilities, they were actually signed up to make TV appearances before they’d even worked a Ring Of Honor match on the DVD taping circuit. They’re promising to give the tag team division a shot of adrenaline with their incredible, fluid double teaming and high flying.
Sal and Jobber attack the Bucks, and get dropkicked straight to the floor. Somersault plancha to the outside by Nick. Apparently the jobber is called Brandon Day. He looks like a greasy weirdo who stole one of Rob Van Dam’s singlets. He and Sal try to string some double teams together on Matt but it doesn’t amount to much. Slingshot facebuster by Nick, followed by the neck/backbreaker on Rinauro. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK! The Jacksons win at 03:30
Rating – * – Star for the fact that the Young Bucks are an exciting act that people will definitely want to see more of on HDNet. Day and Rinauro got in way too much offence though…
Claudio Castagnoli has requested some interview time with Kyle Durden. Having beaten Brent Albright twice, and with July 4th approaching, he challenges Brent to a Flag Match.
Back from commercials and we have some special footage of Kyle Durden interviewing Austin Aries as he comes back through the curtain moments after winning the World Title. He tells everyone they should get HDNet, since ROH’s show is about to get interesting with him behind the wheel
Jesus there is a lot of Kyle Durden tonight. Now he’s with Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards. It’s Eddie that questions whether their opponents are 100% focused on being a team.
Ernie Osiris vs Brent Albright
As Claudio Castagnoli is now an associate of The Embassy, by extension Brent Albright’s problems are with The Embassy too. They ensured Castagnoli was able to pick up another tainted victory over him in the second of the two HDNet Albright/Claudio matches. This evening Brent wants revenge on the guy who threw the shoe that cost him that bout – Dirty Ernie.
Ernie looks less than thrilled about being booked into this one by Nana. Meanwhile the Philly crowd greets Brent’s entrance with a VERY audible ‘Albright Sucks’ chant. After they assassinated Jerry Lynn’s title reign at the last tapings, this Philly crowd is getting a really tough reputation. They then dial up the hatred for a ‘Brent Sucks Dick’ chant. Albright goes for a headlock, but realises that means he has to actually touch Osiris. BACK DROP DRIVER! Osiris fires back with a dirty armpit to the face. Seriously. RUNNING Air Raid Crash floors him again. Then it’s time for the Half Nelson Suplex and the inevitable Brent Albright victory at 02:23. Slap That Porpoise…
Rating – * – As a squash this was actually better (not to mention funnier) than the Bucks match that went on before commercials. Good build for Albright/Claudio (on HDNet) III.
Brent cuts an uber-patriotic promo and accepts the Flag Match challenge. I’m actually looking forward to it – a Flag Match is something that wouldn’t ever get over without HDNet.
As it’s Independence Day next week Episode 016 is in 2 weeks time. The scheduled main event is former World Champion Jerry Lynn, teaming with Erick Stevens and Kenny Omega to take on Austin Aries and his protégés Kenny King and Rhett Titus.
American Wolves vs Bryan Danielson/Tyler Black – ROH Tag Title Match
It’s been mentioned a few times on the show, but if you missed it, this is a rematch from the critically acclaimed Tag Title Classic these two teams contested in the Toronto area (it’s on the Double Feature 2 DVD if you missed that as well). I have that down as ROH’s top match in 2009 thus far. Since their original rematch, scheduled for Edison, got cancelled after Black picked up a neck injury, it was hastily pushed back to be a HDNet main event. Dragon and Tyler, in the midst of their own competitive rivalry with neither man able to score a decisive victory over the other on HDNet, will have to put their differences aside if they are to dethrone the Wolves, who are on a dominant run as champions. That run includes Eddie Edwards making Danielson tap out to the Achilles Tendon Lock at Validation.
Nigel McGuinness comes out to sow the seeds of doubt in the fragile alliance between the challengers. I’m loving Nigel’s twisted mind games persona he’s running with on HDNet. Tyler and Edwards start off and it’s pretty even. Tags all round…and Danielson quickly lands a dropkick on Davey, causing him to leave the ring and throw a tantrum. Black in again, impressively getting the best of both Wolves in turn and giving his team the first significant advantage. Edwards cheerfully blocks a kick from Dragon, only to take a knee to the jaw then a stiff kick to the torso. Richards evades Black’s face stomp once, but cockily celebrates and gets knocked back down and into the stomp second time of asking. He blocks Bryan’s Mexican surfboard only for Dragon to grab get all vicious and yank back on his mouth and jaw instead. Tyler softens Eddie up with a few chops and this time Danielson is able to hoist an opponent into the Mexican surfboard. He lines up an elbow suicida only for Edwards to sweep the legs from under him. Same thing happens to Eddie though, and Black lines up both champions, right in the path of a TOPE SUCIDA from Dragon. Mid-air dropkick from Davey to block a missile dropkick attempt from Danielson. That athletic move turns the tide of the match in the Wolves’ favour and they start to isolate American Dragon. Danielson does the Sayama flip, but as he tries to get a running start on the proceeding elbow strike, Richards leans in and kicks him in the head. Hot tag to Tyler who SCORES with a running somersault plancha. Quebrada into the Black Star Press gets 2 on Davey. Edwards saves with that back suplex buster move, and it leaves Tyler in prime position for a missile dropkick on Richards. DOUBLE ALARM CLOCK, then the powerbomb lungblower combo get 2 on Tyler. Richards tries to pepper Dragon with kicks too, only for Black to pop up into a Pele Kick to save his partner. Triangle Choke on Eddie, as Black hits the BUCKLE BOMB/SUPERKICK COMBO on Davey. But he lands with a foot on the ropes so isn’t done yet. KICK YOUR F’N HEAD IN STOMPS! But Dragon inadvertently knocks Black off the apron as he lines up the Phoenix Splash. Edwards capitalises on their ensuing argument to sneak a win at 18:27
Rating – *** – Really solid, but it never felt exciting, and seemed to be stuck in quite a dull second gear for the majority of the near 20 minutes of TV time it was given. It was never going to be patch on the 45-minute draw in Canada but I had high hopes and I’m not sure this quite hit them. Don’t get me wrong, the work is good and with four wrestlers of this calibre, it’s hardly going to be a bad match. Definitely could have been better though.
Danielson and Tyler get into a shoving match with each other before Dragon slaps him in the mouth. Their partnership is over as the show closes…
Tape Rating – *** – The two main events were good so this was a strong episode. I have the main event down as a slight disappointment, but it’s still a very watchable match, whilst the Fight Without Honor was a fun and surprisingly violent way to start the show. In between we got the set-up for ROH’s first ever Flag Match, Austin Aries hugely visible as the new World Champion and the debut of the Young Bucks, so storyline advancement-wise this ticked the right boxes too.
ROH on HDNet Episodes 11-15 – Top 5 Matches
5) Delirious vs Jimmy Jacobs (*** – Episode 015)
4) American Wolves vs Bryan Danielson/Tyler Black (*** – Episode 015)
3) KENTA vs Roderick Strong (**** – Episode 014)
2) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs American Wolves (**** – Episode 011)
1) Jerry Lynn vs Bryan Danielson vs Tyler Black vs Austin Aries (****1/2 – Episode 012)