ROH on HDNet – Episode 018 – 25th July 2009
Tonight is Black vs Dragon 3, it shouldn’t need more of an introduction than that. Tyler and Danielson’s rivalry has been one of the highlights of the HDNet show thus far, with two awesome singles matches, sensational exchanges in the epic World Title fourway, and a solid Tag Title main event thrown in too. They settle their differences in a fight to the finish here. Lets go to The Arena in Philadelphia, PA to join Hog and Dave Prazak.
Jimmy Rave/Ernie Osiris vs Necro Butcher/Grizzly Redwood
I like the parallels in this match with established talent competing as rivals, along with two ROH school grads, who have worked hard and committed to a gimmick for themselves, getting in on the act on national television as well.
Rave starts with Redwood, as Prazak points out these two had a recent singles bout on HDNet, which Jimmy convincingly won. No luck for Redwood there, but he fares better against Osiris. Ernie gets beaten right the way to the floor by Necro, and he receives no help from his partner as Rave is intent on staying as far away from the Butcher as possible. Chair Slam on Osiris, I guess out of sight of the referee as there’s no resulting disqualification. Rave tagged, and he delivers another vicious beating on Redwood. Dirty Ernie tags back to deliver a Bronco Buster as we cross the 5 minute mark. But finally Butcher does receive the tag, and immediately Jimmy leaves the ring and watches from there as Osiris takes a beating. Tiger Driver nailed, and finally Rave gets involved to help his partner. ONE PUNCH floors Jimmy! I think Nana and Rave have left ringside as Grizzly hits a 619 then a flying tornado DDT to slap the porpoise at 07:37.
Rating – ** – I was never that excited, but they packed in some gentle comedy, some solid wrestling and progressed the storylines adequately so this did it’s job well. I could have done with it being a little shorter though.
Kyle Durden has more interview time with the World Champion. Aries sends him away with his tail between his legs. He announces himself to be a believer in a 12/12/12 apocalypse, and says it doesn’t matter who wins between Dragon and Tyler as neither of them can take the belt from him.
MsChif/Sara Del Rey vs Daizee Haze/Nevaeh
I was pretty critical of the last Women Of Honor match featured on HDNet. I don’t have much higher hopes for this one. The team of Del Rey and MsChif is an intriguing one, but I’ve just seen Daizee and Sara in the same match so many times now I just don’t see how they have anything new to offer. The babyface team are supposedly pretty mad at losing (and getting misted) to MsChif on recent shows.
Prazak, the head of SHIMMER Wrestling, announces that Del Rey has only agreed to team with MsChif on the condition that she’ll get another SHIMMER Title shot in the near future. Strong start by Haze and Nevaeh, stringing some tandem offence together to work over MsChif…until Sara grabs Navaeh’s hair and throws her to the mat. Del Rey in legally, catching Navaeh going for a crossbody and delivering a fallaway slam for 2. Nevaeh is so average she tries to deliver a dropkick and barely gets higher than Sara’s hip. Haze ducks the mist from MsChif, but is powerless to do anything as Sara hits the Royal Butterfly on Nevaeh to put her out of her misery at 04:29
Rating – DUD – Seriously, who made the call to put Nevaeh on TV again? I know I’m harsh on the female talent in ROH, but in the near eight year existence of the company there have been only a handful of memorable womens bouts. It’s not like I’m expecting them all to be a Toyota, a Hokuto or a Kandori, but seriously, the WWE divas are better than Nevaeh. Sara Del Rey is decent so it’s great to see her on TV, but there is no point in having her wrestle if they’re not putting her in there with somebody who isn’t garbage. Like I said, last time, putting these matches on HDNet does nothing to advertise the SHIMMER brand since they’re total gash, and it makes Ring Of Honor look bad.
Nigel McGuinness gets more interview time where he ‘stirs the pot’ whilst saying very little. He does have the charisma to pull off this trouble maker gimmick though.
THE ART OF PRO-WRESTLING – Colt tries to teach Brent Albright how to pick up women, but gets interrupted by The Embassy. Dirty Ernie starts stealing ROH DVD’s before we fade out…
Eddie Kingston hijacks a HDNet camera and drags it through the locker room as he launches a vicious attack on Chris Hero. Their brawl spills all the way to ringside, with a trail of jobbers and referees hot on their heels trying to separate them.
Tyler Black vs Bryan Danielson
HDNet and ROH have put a lot of effort into hyping up the third match in this superb trilogy. Match one saw them go to a memorable time limit draw. The rematch went to a double count-out, although Danielson had to grab Tyler at the last possible gasp before Black re-entered the ring to claim his first win over Bryan. Since then they collided again in the World Title match on Episode 012, and even teamed up in an unsuccessful Tag Title challenge against the American Wolves. After that defeat Dragon dissolved their partnership by slapping Tyler in the face. Will we see a decisive winner here?
No handshake to indicate the heat between them at this stage of their relationship. Danielson wastes no time in slapping Black in the face once again, trying to get into his head in the opening minute. A second slap follows moments later. Finally Tyler mounts some offence, able to land a couple of armdrags. Prazak irritates the hell out of me by promoting their New Horizons match as their ‘first’ singles match. Their match at the ‘Breakout’ event was, and it was a superb clash in it’s own right. LeBell Lock applied (before Dragon used it as his WWE finisher) and drives Tyler into the ropes. Black tries to slap Dragon…and gets DRAGGED INTO AN ARMBREAKER! Fine example of why many call Bryan the ‘best in the world’ right there. Tempers start to flare, but it means that Black finally gets to use his agility, hitting the Lionsault on Danielson for 2. Super aggressive kicks and uppercuts from Dragon leave him flat on the canvas again though. Aware that he’s had neck injuries recently, Danielson starts to attack that body part. Sleeper Hold into a neck crank with added elbows to it and a rear choke – a succession of savage holds from the former World Champion to pick apart Black’s neck. Sleeper again, and Bryan holds on even when Tyler hoists him up into a back suplex. Tyler shows impressive resilience to lift Dragon up again and back drop him over the ropes to the floor. He thinks about a dive, only to get whacked in the face.
Missile dropkick from Dragon is BLOCKED! Springboard Lariat nailed for 2! Payback for Tyler as he starts slapping Dragon before powering him up for the F-5. No pinfall to follow though as he stays down favouring his neck. Superkick countered to an Anklelock…only for Black to shove him to the floor for a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! Both men take a while to recover after that. GERMAN SUPLEX drops Tyler on his neck again and gets a crazily close nearfall. I’m talking Joe/Daniels Glory By Honor 2 close. SUPER RANA TO TRIANGLE CHOKE! BEST SUBMISSION SPOT EVER! COUNTERED TO THE BUCKLE BOMB! SUPERKICK SCORES! But Danielson is able to crawl to the ropes, wasting valuable seconds before Tyler is able to cover. Tyler thinks about the Phoenix Splash…AND GETS SHOVED THREE ROWS DEEP INTO THE CROWD! SPRINGBOARD SUICIDE DIVE INTO THE CROWD BY DRAGON! Seriously, people in the crowed were getting murderised there! Unlike their second HDNet clash, Dragon is quick to get back to the ring…with Tyler only just beating the 20-count. Danielson batters Tyler with kicks…then goes to the Sleeper again. INTO A CROSSFACE! MMA ELBOWS TO THE NECK! PELE KICK FROM BLACK! RUNNING ENZI BY DRAGON! HEAD DROP GERMAN FROM TYLER…NO SOLD! SUPERKICK! SUPERKICK AGAIN! GOD’S LAST GIFT NAILED! BLACK WINS! BLACK WINS! BLACK WINS! Biggest win of his ROH career at 21:26.
Rating – ****1/2 – As good as anything Ring Of Honor has done all year. They combined some sensational, cutting edge, exciting wrestling with an unbelievable story that was good enough to send the traditionally sullen Philly HDNet crowd absolutely crazy. I loved the references to their previous matches, with Dragon starting all cocky just like he did at Breakout, taking the Buckle Bomb spot from New Horizons, the count-out sequence from the second HDNet match, and wrapping it all up with the amazing moment when Tyler was finally able to beat Bryan Danielson in a singles match. By the end of August it would be announced that Dragon had signed a WWE deal, so putting Tyler over here stands as one of his final acts as an ROH wrestler. The reprisal of the Black/Dragon series has given him the opportunity to make a total star out of Tyler on HDNet. I’m being deadly serious when I say their series of singles matches in the last two years has been as good as any rivalry ROH has produced. My personal favourite HDNet match to date. You NEED to buy Best Of HDNet Volume 2 for this…
Danielson stays in the ring to shake Tyler’s hand to end the show.
Tape Rating – *** – For the second week in a row, the first half of the show was pretty tough to watch, before a tremendous second half after the commercial break. The Hero/Kingston segment was something we’ve not seen out of ROH on HDNet before and it really worked. It certainly played up the dangerous edge to Eddie Kingston’s character and furthered interest in the growing rivalry he has with Chris Hero. And I’ve already written a full paragraph about how good the main event was, but it’s worth saying again. Black/Danielson III was superb and, in my opinion, the absolute highlight of the HDNet run thus far. I’d need to sit down and watch them all again to choose a favourite, but the match tonight was every bit as good as New Horizons and Breakout, and this one had the emotional pay-off of Tyler finally getting his singles win over American Dragon. An MOTYC means this was a top episode!