ROH on HDNet – Episode 025 – 14th September 2009
This is the last episode of TV before the Final Countdown Tour gets underway – It’s been a long six weeks or so without a house show taping for the promotion. There are two high profile tag team encounters tonight, which is great booking by ROH in my eyes. The one thing they have over all their rival promotions is the faith and trust they have in their tag team division to carry shows. As ever, Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak will call the action, taped in Philadelphia, PA. I believe this is the first episode taken from the August HDNet tapings…
Hog and Prazak open the show by formally announcing that Bryan Danielson has signed a WWE contract, and will be finishing up his ROH commitments by the end of the month. It’s been coming for some time, and he’s been increasingly marginalised by Ring Of Honor this year as uncertainty over his future has continued to grow. However, the reality that, after seven plus years, we’ll be watching an ROH without the American Dragon is still a scary prospect.
Dark City Fight Club vs Young Bucks
Very hot way to start the show. At present there is an established trilogy of tag teams at the top of the division in ROH. You have the American Wolves as champions, with challengers/rivals/enemies the Briscoes Brothers and the Steen/Generico team leading the chasing pack. But behind that, there are teams like these two – who haven’t been in ROH for long, but have been exceptionally impressive during their short tenures here. The DCFC have mown down everyone in their path, and been particularly destructive on HDNet. Granted the Bucks were beaten in a spectacular debut by Steen and Generico at Contention, but since then have put some wins together and have thrilled audiences across the ROH circuit with their wild, high-flying antics. Which team gets the jump on the other in the hunt to climb the ranks?
Jon Davis starts with Nick, basically manhandling him, and effortlessly shaking off whatever offence Jackson mounts. Big powerslam puts Nick down for an easy 2-count. Chavis in, but he doesn’t have the same success, and is helpless as Nick holds his arm open for a MOONSAULT KICK to it from brother Matt. Rainman isn’t phased though, shaking it off to run down both Bucks with a double clothesline. Leg lariat/spinebuster combo get the DCFC another nearfall. The big men start to isolate Matt in the ring. Finally Matt hits a springboard somersault Ace crusher and makes the hot tag to Nick. Springboard splash/standing moonsault combo gets the Bucks a nearfall of their own…but Davis gets up for POOOOUUUUUNCE Nick in brutal fashion. Matt comes to his brother’s aid, and they line up More Bang For Your Buck on Chavis. Jon saves though, allowing Rainman to hit a big swinging front slam on Nick. TOP ROPE SUNSET FLIP…Nick Jackson pins Kory Chavis at 07:42
Rating – *** – Energetic opening match between two teams who we need to start seeing more of on the DVD shows. The coming together of speed guys and power guys is an age-old formula in pro-wrestling, and all four of these guys did an effective job in using that tried and tested strategy. DCFC were on the ball with their power moves and intimidations, whilst the Bucks were great as plucky underdogs with some impressive athleticism and double teams. They had a fine match here without taking anything off the huge Briscoes vs Steen-erico main event.
The Briscoes discuss their history with Kevin Steen and El Generico. Irritatingly, HDNet show no footage from their incredible 2007 feud which is pretty criminal.
Back to the ring, where Sal Rinauro is reunited with Prince Nana and The Embassy. It’s not a happy one for him though. After being massacred by Eddie Kingston last week, he now has to face Bison Smith in his HDNet debut.
Bison Smith vs Sal Rinauro
This is the first time Bison has made it to TV. Nana has mentioned him in a few promos, but he’s in the ring for the first time, and will look to make short work of former Embassy member, former ROH Tag Champion, former credible talent Sal Rinauro.
Rinauro crazily tries to slap Bison, and gets powerbombed to the turnbuckles for his trouble. Chokeslam follows…but Smith pulls his shoulders up before 3 so the beating can continue. Press slam to the buckles next, and when Sal falls out of the ring Smith follows him out to destroy him with the guardrails. GUARDRAIL JUMP SHOULDER BLOCK BY SMITH! And to emphasise his strength, Smith actually press slams Rinauro back into the ring too. Bison wins at 02:13
Rating – ** – Impressive squash, and a great debut for Smith. He looked dominant and impressive as he should do. Although his presence on HDNet sort of makes a mockery of the attempts to push Stevens as the big powerhouse of the Ring Of Honor roster.
Joey Ryan vs Colt Cabana
Embassy fun continues, as the other member we’ve not seen on HDNet thus far makes his in-ring debut (he was in a backstage vignette a few weeks ago) in Joey Ryan. Colt defied 3-on-1 odds to win the big 8-Man Elimination Tag that main evented episode 023 so is in hot form…but it was Ryan that cheated to beat him to win the same kind of match at Death Before Dishonor 7 weekend. Will Joey get some revenge for that big defeat of two weeks ago?
Colt goofs around, constantly throwing Ryan out of the ring to wind him up. He has more fun, and wrestles circles around the increasingly irritated Hired Magnum of The Embassy. Nana uses his headdress to trip Colt just as he did at Death Before Dishonor 7 to give his man the advantage. He works Cabana’s arm hard. Colt scores with the Flying Asshole, but hits the ropes and sprints right into a superkick. Moustache Ride blocked and Colt locks in the Billy Goat’s Curse. Ryan taps in 06:27
Rating – ** – Mildly entertaining, but they had a far better match in Canada recently, so compared to that one this was tame. It was a shame to see Joey Ryan debut on HDNet in such underwhelming fashion too. In PWG he’s been such a strong talent over the years because he’s been booked like one. He could have come in and been put over as a top guy and total force to be reckoned with (much as Bison Smith was earlier)…but instead he looks like a bit of a chump in convincing defeat.
Sal Rinauro, who had been hiding under the ring after taking his beating from Bison, comes to congratulate Cabana…who accidentally knocks him down again.
Just as Jay and Mark did earlier, Steen and Generico reminisce about their history with the Briscoes. It’s a shame they haven’t included any footage of their amazing work together, but at least it makes the point that these teams have a lot of history and makes tonight’s main seem like a suitably big deal.
Back from commercials and Prince Nana swears revenge on Colt Cabana and his associates. One of whom is Necro Butcher, who faces Jimmy Rave next week. Episode 026 will also feature Tyler Black discussing his career direction after suffering another high profile loss to Jerry Lynn last week.
Nigel McGuinness is in the crowd, basically to verbally berate them. The guy sitting next to him gets it both barrels unfortunately for him. He’s unhappy about how broken down his body is following his epic World Title run…and wants someone to blame for it. Next time he steps into the ring he promises he’ll be going out to hurt his opponent twice as much as he hurts now…
Austin Aries announces that next week will host the first ever A-Double L-Double. That’s his Lucky Lottery, and he’ll be putting the names of the entire roster into a hat and drawing out one to get a World Title match that night. However, his main concern is which hat to use…
Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe
Both teams have mentioned their history with each other. They engaged in a memorable and absolutely chaotic feud for most of 2007, culminating in the epic Ladder War at the Man Up ppv. They even briefly rekindled the rivalry late in 2008 when Steen and Generico chalked up two successful defences of their Tag Titles at Bound By Hate and Rising Above. Earlier this year it seemed like the two sides had become allies in the fight against the American Wolves – with Steen and Jay actually forming a tag team on a few occasions when their partners were out injured. However, after the Steen/Jay team lost a Tag Title shot to the Wolves, they imploded and their makeshift team subsequently dissolved. Last week they had a tense stand-off, joining forces to beat up the Tag Champs, then facing off with each other. The winner here emerges as the clear next in line to get a shot at Davey and Eddie.
The tension we saw last week is very much present once again as Mark and Steen square off. Briscoe gets the better of that exchange, so Generico makes a tag and goes nuts with some armdrags on him. Jay in, powering him to the mat and demanding Mr Wrestling return. Slaps, snot-rockets and gum spitting between those two, leaving the HDNet in little audience as to how much they dislike each other. Mark tries to match power with Steen, fails and eats a big suplex. But in return Steen and Generico fail to out-double team the Briscoes…with Jay and Mark dropping the luchador with a double football tackle. Steen helps out by dropping Jay with a DDT. Hog compares Steen and Generico, then he and Dave Prazak to married couples…then asks to take Prazak to the ring and ‘show him something’. Which sounds pretty odd in my opinion. Jay viciously drives Generico into the turnbuckles to give his team the advantage – a position Mark solidifies with a spinebuster. STEREO CORNER JUMP SOMERSAULT PLANCHAS BY MARK AND GENERICO! Those dives were amazingly quick, and they leave Generico alone to hit the Michinoku Driver on Mark. But Briscoe blocks the Yakuza with a big superkick and both men are now desperate for tags. Steen and Jay in to punch the sh*t out of each other. YAKUZA KICK FROM NOWHERE! URINAGE BY MARK! POWERBOMB BY STEEN! ALL FOUR DOWN! Steen is first up to hit a Codebreaker on Jay…STEEN-TON GETS KNEES! Generico takes an Ace Crusher from Mark…as Jay hoists Kevin up for a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER ON THE APRON! POWERBOMB NECKBREAKER on Generico for 2. The Briscoes want the Doomsday Device but Steen saves his partner…allowing him to EXPLODER SUPLEX Jay into the turnbuckles. Cannonball senton…Generico up for the SOMERSAULT VAN TERMINATOR! Steen lines up the Package Piledriver, but the American Wolves run in to force a no contest at 12:42
Rating – **** – The Briscoes are back. The Steen-erico/Wolves feud has been tearing it up all year, but throwing Jay and Mark back into the mix has totally changed things once again. Like I said a few weeks ago, even if they’re not the most psychologically complex matches, a trademark Briscoe spot onslaught like this is an amazing watch, and something that ROH should be using front and centre to get their product over. This was another terrific match between these four. It started slow, but the hatred between them festered, and built, and finally exploded into a violent war. The non-finish was disappointing of course, but we’ve seen lots of clean finishes between these two teams so I’m not too upset. By ending it this way it keeps both guys over as future challengers, and opens the way for more rematches somewhere down the line if needs be.
Once again Steen, Generico, Jay and Mark join forces to fight off the Wolves. Mr Wrestling gets on the stick and promises the Briscoes a rematch down the line. He also reminds the Wolves that, after beating them at End Of An Age, they earned a title shot of their choosing. He lays down the challenge for Glory By Honor 8 – LADDER…WAR…TWO!
Tape Rating – **** – Best episode of ROH on HDNet in absolutely ages. A kick-ass main event certainly helped, but this clicked on so many other levels too. You had the great Bucks/DCFC opener. You had the historical significance of Danielson’s leaving announcement. The Embassy dominated the middle of the show and we got to see two new talents show their stuff on HDNet for the first time. Austin Aries got more mic time and continued to excel as the franchise player…and after one of the best HDNet main events in ages, Steen laying down the challenge for Ladder War 2 was epic – and a sign of ROH finally using the HDNet show to start selling tickets, DVD’s and promoting their big house shows. Finally Ring Of Honor starts to make an impact on Monday nights…
ROH on HDNet Episodes 21-25 – Top 5 Matches
5) Jerry Lynn vs Tyler Black (*** – Episode 024)
4) Colt Cabana/Brent Albright/Necro Butcher/Grizzly Redwood vs The Embassy (*** – Episode 023)
3) Tyler Black vs Nigel McGuinness (**** – Episode 021)
2) Austin Aries vs Roderick Strong (**** – Episode 022)
1) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (**** – Episode 025)