ROH on HDNet – Episode 020 – 8th August 2009
The build to the climactic battle between Kevin Steen, El Generico and the American Wolves begins in earnest tonight, as our scheduled main event sees Davey Richards battle the Generic Luchador in singles action. I’ve no idea what else is on tap for this episode, the final one before ROH made the jump to Monday nights. Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak are in Philadelphia, PA.
Jimmy Rave/Claudio Castagnoli vs Colt Cabana/Brent Albright
Two weeks ago The Embassy interrupted ‘The Art Of Pro-Wrestling’, the mini-show Colt has started hosting on HDNet. They sent a clear message to Cabana and Albright by doing so, and the result is this tag team encounter to continue this lengthy feud.
Rave and Claudio jump their opponents from behind to get things going. Loving Castagnoli’s powder blue tights tonight by the way…very heel. It all goes wrong for The Embassy as Colt and Albright PRESS SLAM Jimmy over the top rope to Claudio and Ernie Osiris on the outside. Brent tries to go after Nana though, and turns his back on a Bicycle Kick from Double C. Heat segment on Albright follows, including lots of cheating and Embassy horseplay to keep them in the ascendancy. For someone who takes so much offence to anyone criticising the US, Hog is frightening racist. OCEAN CYCLONE SUPLEX by Brent dumps Rave on his head and facilitates the hot tag to Cabana. Flying Asshole on Claudio and a quebrada press on Jimmy for 2. But with Albright still down The Embassy’s superior numbers once again see them become the aggressors in the match. Rock Bottom from Albright to Rave as he finally helps his partner out. 61-Knee into an Argentine backbreaker follows for Jimmy. Crowbar on Claudio, but Brent hasn’t seen Nana pull Cabana out of the ring. The Prince sneaks in to nutshot Brent…RICCOLA BOMB! Another cheap win for Claudio over Brent at 08:21
Rating – ** – Perfectly average for an opening match on TV. Lots for the crowd to cheer and boo at the appropriate stages so it did the job well. I’m quite enjoying Colt’s feud with The Embassy since his comedic chicanery plays quite nicely off the likes of Nana, Rave and Joey Ryan. However, it really is time to see the Claudio/Albright feud end. It’s gone on for the whole year, never got much better, never made people care that much about Brent as the babyface (even now he’s positioned as Colt’s sidekick). I appreciate the sentiment, but it’s time for Pearce to cut his losses and move onto new projects for these guys.
Double C brings a chair into the ring and STOMPS IT ONTO ALBRIGHT’S HEAD! Necro Butcher and Grizzly Redwood arrive for a save, but it’s too little, too late…
In the crap cupboard, Davey Richards is confused as to why Mark Briscoe returning to action tonight is more newsworthy than the American Wolves…and even more confused as to why Generico would accept a singles match with him tonight.
Nigel McGuinness cuts a promo ahead of his main event with Tyler Black next week. Once again he says Black can’t get the job done in the big match…
Silas Young also gets promo time too…which given the fact that he has a stupid voice, is an awful mistake. Pretty generic heel interview.
Silas Young vs Delirious
No real back story to discuss here. Silas is grumpy and heel now, whilst Delirious is cheerful having ridded Ring Of Honor of Age Of The Fall with recent back to back victories over Jimmy Jacobs and Brodie Lee. Young wants a roster spot, Delirious will look to start climbing the rankings again…
Straight to the mat where Young’s skills are pitted against the off-kilter tactics of the masked man. Finally he snaps and spits in Delirious’ face. Big mistake with the whacky Delirious, as he starts licking his hands and wiping them all over Silas’ face in return. Silas leaves the ring to threaten Daizee Haze, using the ensuing distraction to pop Delirious in the mouth. He has the Delirious running clotheslines scouted too, blocking them to hit a back suplex backbreaker for 2. Delirious fires back with the top rope Leaping Lariat for his own 2-count. Arabian Press into Delirious’ knee, and it’s followed by the Panic Attack. Shadows Over Hell slaps some porpoises for Delirious at 06:44
Rating – ** – Once again that was average and perfunctory. Not sure why ROH are trying to make Silas credible when they’ve got no plans to use him regularly. And I’m not sure if Pearce knows what to do with Delirious, but since he’s got a marketable kid-friendly gimmick, he needs to keep him on TV. The match was fine, but it was filler that could have been replaced by something more meaningful.
Mike Hogewood marks out for some fan holding up a ‘Slap The Porpoise’ sign. This guy is such a bonehead you can’t help but enjoy his commentary…possibly not for the reasons you’re supposed to.
Despite losing the main event last week, and having an uncertain future ahead of him (I wonder if the WWE deal was on the table when the promo was taped), American Dragon is happy in ROH and wants to continue having the best matches he can whilst he’s here.
Alex Payne vs Mark Briscoe
He’s been seen multiple times on HDNet, but always at the side of his brother. The knee injury sustained at the hands of the American Wolves at the end of 2008 has prevented him from any form of wrestling, and caused him to miss out on all the HDNet festivities thus far. Having now recovered from that injury, he’s ready to make his debut on TV tonight. Can Payne rain on his metaphorical parade?
Jay Briscoe comes out to do the ring introductions for Mark which is a nice touch. He beats Sugarfoot into the corner and absolutely pummels him with an assortment of violent strikes. Prazak says Mark made his ROH debut in Philadelphia, which is technically untrue, although I suppose you could call it his first appearance. Mounted forearms from Mark, who appears to have adopted a more physical, grounded style to cope with another injury after suffering with a succession of them in the last two years. Payne has taken a wicked beating, but shows real killer instinct by chopblocking the knee, dragon screwing the leg and going to a Strykerlock. Second rope Ace Crusher by Mark, then a powerbomb to pin him at 04:13
Rating – ** – Decent debut for Mark, and one which long time ROH fans will have found interesting too given the noticeable tweaks the younger Briscoe has made to his offence. Lots of ground and pound, lots of strikes…even his trademark second rope cutter wasn’t the springboard variant we used to see. Maybe a little long…maybe could’ve done without Payne getting in any offence at all, but this was ok.
Tyler Black admits that whilst he’s beaten World Champions (like Nigel, Jerry and Danielson), he’s never done it with the belt on the line. He needs to step up his game if he wants to realise his dream of becoming the Ring Of Honor champion.
Davey Richards vs El Generico
When Generico and Kevin Steen won a recent tag match at End Of An Age, they set up the opportunity to get one more rematch with the American Wolves, in any kind of stipulation they choose. We’re still to learn exactly what those will be, but this match kick starts the countdown to it. The Generic Luchador and Mr Wrestling are desperate to win back the belts they lost to Richards and Edwards on Episode 011 of ROH on HDNet. Which man will deliver a resounding message this one?
Davey has Shane Hagadorn, Sara Del Rey and Eddie Edwards in his corner, so naturally Generico bring Kevin Steen with him. YAKUZA KICK and a Blue Thunder Driver straight out of the gate from him sends Davey crawling into the crowd to find an escape. BACK SUPLEX OVER THE TOP ROPE! RUNNING SOMERSAULT PLANCHA ON BOTH WOLVES! Desperate to establish himself, Richards tries to go for the Texas Cloverleaf, attacking El Generico’s problem knee to gain a foothold. Eddie and Shane Hagadorn start choking him behind the official’s back. Snap suplex scores, but the Flying Wolverine doesn’t and gives Generico a route back into the match. HE DIVES THROUGH THE BUCKLES INTO A TORNADO DDT ON THE FLOOR! Love that spot! But Richards blocks a second Yakuza Kick to hit a big dragon screw. Immediately El Generico starts struggling to even walk on the leg, and falls victim to a quick Alarm Clock/German suplex sequence. Texas Cloverleaf applied mid-ring to do yet more damage. EXPLODER INTO THE TURNBUCKLES! Generico clutches the leg, then delivers the Yakuza Kick. He lines up the Turnbuckle Brainbuster, only for Edwards to make the save, shortly followed by Steen to force a no contest at 09:44
Rating – *** – Fun little match, and a nice instalment in the feud, but the finish makes it impossible to go any higher. Generico busting out a few big time spots made this one feel a lot more important than it had any right to be. I love these guys so even in a brief bout I thought they delivered
Kevin Steen is in the ring seconds later to start brawling with Edwards. Jobbers arrive to pull the two teams apart but there’s not enough manpower and the fight continues. GENERICO SPARKS OUT DEL REY! He and Edwards really start laying into each other in the crowd after that. I physically laugh out loud as the camera pans to Shane Hagadorn randomly attacking a referee. There’s a reprise of an old Sweet’n’Sour Inc. relationship as Sara Del Rey swings for Bobby Dempsey in the mayhem. Annoying camera work seems to miss most of the crowd brawling, but when it’s all said and done Kevin Steen and El Generico stand alone in the ring to posture with the Tag straps.
Tape Rating – ** – I loved the chaotic main event segment, and it was great to see Mark Briscoe back. Other than that, this was a mundane episode though. Nothing was too bad, but so much of this was utter filler. With the amount of wrestlers ROH has at their disposal for these tapings, there’s no excuse for not packing meaning and purpose into every single match. Forgettable, needless stuff like Silas/Delirious just doesn’t cut it for TV. Next week ROH makes the move to Monday nights and will come starkly into comparison with WWE’s flagship show. ROH on HDNet has let the standards it was setting a couple of months ago slip…and it will definitely need to up it’s game if it doesn’t want to get lost in the competitive world of Monday night wrestling.
ROH on HDNet Episodes 16-20 – Top 5 Matches
5) El Generico vs Davey Richards (*** – Episode 020)
4) Jerry Lynn/Kenny Omega/Erick Stevens vs Austin Aries/All Night Express (*** – Episode 016)
3) Kenny King/Rhett Titus vs Kenny Omega/Erick Stevens (*** – Episode 019)
2) Chris Hero/American Wolves Edwards vs KENTA/Kevin Steen/El Generico (**** – Episode 017)
1) Tyler Black vs Bryan Danielson (****1/2 – Episode 018)