ROH on HDNet – Episode 022 – 24th August 2009
Ring Of Honor’s Monday night adventure continues tonight, with the World Champion getting to take centre stage – facing former tag team partner Roderick Strong in a non-title main event. The man he beat for the belt, Jerry Lynn, will also address his own future in the ring. Hog and DP have the porpoises tied up and ready to slap. Lets get to Philadelphia, PA
Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Sami Callihan/Tony Kozina
The former ROH Tag Champions are building towards their last shot at the American Wolves in a stipulation match of their choosing. They’ll continue their preparations here against the jobber duo of Callihan and Kozina – both of whom seem to have slightly crazy personalities, and both will want to avenge defeats they suffered last week.
Kozina’s ‘you f*cked up’ gimmick is slightly strange. Generico and Sami start at a fast pace, with the luchador getting the better of the New Horror with an assortment of armdrags. Steen and Tony in next, with Kozina’s fate being pretty similar to when he fell over trying to get in the ring earlier. Sliding Ace Crusher from Callihan to Generico finally brings the jobber team onto offence. Mr Wrestling in again, and he powerbombs Kozina ONTO Sami for 2. Steen-ton attempted, but Callihan gets the knees up having seen him win a match with that last week. Kozina in to get 2 with a springboard bulldog. DOUBLE Yakuza Kick by Generico. DOUBLE DVD BY STEEN! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! BRAINBUSTER! Kozina is done for, and we can commence dolphin mutilating at 05:49
Rating – ** – Standard ROH HDNet squash match really…although the weird personas that Callihan and Kozina bring to the table did make this a slightly more fun watch. Credit to Tony in particular for that. It can’t be that much fun making yourself look like a total mug, but by doing so he’s being entertaining, and you never know, may get over enough to get more bookings. The great flurry of offence from Steen and Generico in the final 30 seconds was a pretty awesome conclusion too.
Roderick Strong tells Kyle Durden that he’ll prove to everyone that he’s worthy of a title shot.
D-Lo Brown vs John Kermon
No idea if I got the jobber’s name right. Lets face it, it’s not important. D-Lo is another guy that’s floating around ROH, sort of being useful with his name value and recognition to any floating WWE fans the show may catch, but Pearce has never really booked him with any great success. He deviates between heel and face at will, and his work has been just as inconsistent.
Kermon tries to forearm Brown, then gets destroyed by a big time lariat. The jobber is SO green. He can’t even run the ropes or face bump a turnbuckle convincingly. Sliding Lariat nailed, followed by a running knee in the corner. NEEDLESS POINTING LEG DROP OF DOOM SCORES! Except without the needless pointing so it wasn’t quite as fun. But you know, we got a lot closer to my favourite D-Lo spot than we normally get. Kermon optimistically tries a superplex, only to eat a massive dose of AVALANCHE SKY HIGH! Brown wins at 03:00
Rating – DUD – Kermon sucked, so this wasn’t even a good squash. Hell, if D-Lo is supposed to be a heel this was totally counter productive because I wanted him to slap the living sh*t out of the other guy. Seriously ROH, you can’t be putting chumps like Kermon on Monday night. Even with D-Lo in the ring, any WWE fans flicking through the channels that just found this…they turned it right back off again because he looked like a joke. It’s harsh…but Monday nights are harsh. The entire landscape of promoting a pro-wrestling show on TV is harsh. ROH, up to this point, have only been doing an average job of it. And average doesn’t get sports entertainment fans to watch.
Kyle Durden comes to the ring to ask D-Lo if he thinks Jerry Lynn should retire. Brown isn’t fond of being asked about other wrestlers. He does want him to retire (/die) though…
The Embassy have paid for some promo time ahead of an 8-Man Elimination next week. General gist of it is that they’re going to hurt their enemies etc etc
Back from commercials, Kyle Durden is back in the locker room to discuss Nigel McGuinness’ defeat last week. Nigel admits that it was he who took his eye off the ball for once. But unlike Tyler, he’s not a repeat offender in that department. He also tries to wade in on the Jerry Lynn debate…only to be interrupted by Tyler Black coming to the ring for his own promo time…
He’s out here to talk about Jerry Lynn…and like Jerry, even if it takes his entire career, he will become ROH Champion someday. Lynn comes to the ring to meet him, and immediately kills all the drama about what his decision will be since he’s WEARING WRESTLING GEAR! That is terrible! He then pretty much puts the crowd into a coma talking about the non-drama we now have. He’s not retiring, but does want another match with Tyler Black, since he was the guy who eliminated him in New York, therefore costing him the World Title at Manhattan Mayhem 3. Whoever let Jerry walk through the curtain with his tights already on needs to be hung from the ceiling Age Of The Fall style…
Austin Aries vs Roderick Strong
Obviously the title isn’t on the line here. It is however, a rematch from Episode 007 (and Steel City Clash) earlier this year, when A-Double proved his World Title credentials in front of Ric Flair by defeating his former tag partner, co-Tag Champion and stable-mate in Generation Next. We already know that Roddy’s purpose here is to get himself into contention for a Championship match. Austin just wants to be the star of the show on HDNet – so winning major main events is top priority for him.
Purposeful start from Strong, repeatedly using his wrestling skill to take the World Champion off his feet. Austin responds with knee strikes and the Last Chancery, but Strong is basically already in the ropes so doesn’t sustain major damage. Roderick goes for the Stronghold in return, but again, Aries is quick to find a rope before anything serious is inflicted. But he tries a random, unnecessary cartwheel and walks straight into a signature Roderick Strong chop. More chops in the corner, every one delivered with such force that Aries drops to the mat in pain. To the floor where Roddy continues to go for chops, but trundles into a back body drop from Aries and takes a pretty rough landing. The champ thinks about a Brainbuster on the exposed concrete…so Strong drops him with a FRONT SUPLEX ON THE FLOOR! A-Double pushes him into the ringpost then heads upstairs for the MACHO MAN AXE HANDLE SMASH! Argentine backbreaker puts Austin down again for 2, but still not enough is done to allow Roderick to apply the Stronghold. Half Nelson Backbreaker countered to the crucifix driver gets Aries a 2. Running back rake scores for him at ten minutes, but he can’t hit the IED yet. Death By Roderick blocked by snapping his neck over the ropes though, doing some real damage to a body part affected by the Last Chancery and Brainbuster. If you were in any doubts that that was his intention, he drags his woozy opponent into a second rope neckbreaker. Chops bring Strong back into things and get a major response from the fans, and another backbreaker gets the Floridian a nearfall. Death By Roderick evaded again…HEAT SEEKING MISSILE NAILED! URINAGE BACKBREAKER FROM STRONG! Austin hits the Kick Of Death, but crumples to the canvas and takes ages to follow up. Impact Explosion Dropkick hit when he does…then the LAST CHANCERY! But Roderick doesn’t quit, meaning Austin has to get drastic and try to take it to the apron. That proves to be a mistake when Strong delivers a slingshot falcon arrow. Half Nelson Suplex blocked…DEATH BY RODERICK INSTEAD! SICK KICK! ARIES IN THE ROPES! HALF NELSON SUPLEX! But Austin rides the Stronghold and gets his feet on the ropes to pin Strong at 16:55
Rating – **** – I think I’ll get a few critical emails saying I’ve over-rating this, and maybe they’re right. However, in my opinion this was one of the better Aries/Strong singles matches. For all the chemistry they had as partners, their matches against each other have always been very good rather than amazing or outstanding. It was the same again here, but I felt like they got a lot closer to channelling the levels of babyface sympathy that Strong was able to draw during his 2005/6 quadrilogy with Bryan Danielson, which really helped maintain my interest. It wasn’t all money, but drawing audible pops and ‘this is awesome’ chants from the tough to please, badly mic’d HDNet Arena crowd suggests this was doing a good job. I’d rag hard on the cheap finish, but given the whole story of Roderick trying to prove himself, but Aries constantly having the wherewithal to counter his trademark spots, getting the crowd more and more fired up in the process, Austin going so far as to cheat to win was a logical finish and one that keeps Strong relatively creditable despite a third straight singles loss to A-Double in 2009. This really saved the episode as it’s been really poor up to now.
Tape Rating – ** – The main event was good, particularly to established ROH fans, however, the rest of this show was really poor, and I don’t think having one 17 minute good match, even on free TV, is enough to warrant going 3* on this episode. John Kermon was horrific. The whole ‘will Jerry Lynn’ retire thing was stupid, pointless, uninteresting, not really warranted (given that the fans turned on him so spectacularly, I don’t think many people actually cared), and rendered totally mute when Lynn came out dressed in his f*cking tights. ROH on HDNet is really starting to frustrate me at the moment. From a creative point of view, the TV show isn’t good enough. From a wrestling point of view there isn’t enough GOOD, high quality wrestling to establish ROH as a workrate alternative to the big two. Every episode feels like 30-ish minutes of skippable filler, saved by a decent main event. I love the main events, but have little interest in sitting through what came before them…and I’m already a fan. What ROH is churning out at the moment is NOT going to get new fans to watch their show. They are NOT putting over a good representation of their product, and there’s no effort made to sell ROH DVD’s or boost live show attendances. It’s like ROH-lite week after week. It’s not convincing new fans to tune in again, and it’s definitely not enough to convince them to check out the website and start dropping some dollars on DVD’s, shirts, tickets and other merch.