ROH on HDNet – Episode 026 – 21st September 2009
In the midst of The Final Countdown Tour shows, which see Bryan Danielson say farewell to ROH with a sequence of four major main event matches, we have this episode of HDNet, which actually kicks off a mini-Countdown Tour for Dragon in it’s own right. Tonight he competes in the first of four main event level bouts he’s scheduled for over the next couple of months of Ring Of Honor programming before he finally leaves Ring Of Honor programming for good. In this episode we’ll see him team with Roderick Strong and KENTA to take on the Sweet’n’Sour splinter group of Chris Hero and the American Wolves. On top of that we’ve got the debut of the A-Double L-Double, with Aries promising to defend the belt tonight against one lucky challenger. We’ll join Dave Prazak and Mike Hogewood in Philadelphia, PA.
Austin Aries, flanked by Rhett Titus and Kenny King, heads straight to the ring to conduct his Lucky Lottery. The name that comes out of the (cricket club) hat is Kenny Omega…who isn’t here tonight, so he doesn’t get a shot. The alternate winner, so tonight’s challenger…Grizzly Redwood.
Austin Aries vs Grizzly Redwood – ROH World Title Match
Never thought I’d be putting Mitch Franklin’s name against an ROH Title match but there you go. I said he had the potential to be the ROH equivalent of Spike Dudley, particularly in the HDNet environment if he can get his gimmick over with the fans – I guess now would be the acid test. Of course he’s not going to win, but we’ll see here how much the ROH fans are into his work.
Aries mockingly offers a test of strength as Prazak amusingly compares the match to great World title classics like Flair/Steamboat. Redwood tries to chop him down, only to be grounded and dragged around by his sizeable beard. Grizzly tries some mounted punches…and hoists Aries up for an INCREDIBLE press slam for 2. The straps come down…before he gets thrown across the ring by the beard again. IED into the Brainbuster finishes Grizzly off at 03:55
Rating – ** – I found it pretty amusing, with Prazak doing a great job on commentary with it. Not sure Grizzly was getting much sympathy support though so the crowd felt pretty dead.
Aries grabs the stick to declare that an MOTYC…and still feels so good that he wants to do an A-Double L-Double sequel sometime soon.
The American Wolves get some promo time to shill Ladder War 2 in NYC. So good to see ROH finally use their TV show to promote the multiple live shows they run around it.
More promo time with Eddie Kingston and Chris Hero discussing their rivalry. They’ve officially signed for a match – once again in New York at Glory By Honor 8. Prazak then shills the shows taking place this weekend.
Erick Stevens vs Brandon Day
Having put Bison Smith on HDNet, ROH now have their work cut out keeping Stevens over as the resident powerhouse wrestler of the roster. He’s picked up a few significant wins but has spent most of his time over the first 26 episides beating on jobbers. You sort of wonder if they have any creative direction in mind for him at this stage…
Day rather stupidly piefaces Stevens, immediately getting planted into the canvas as punishment. He does hit back with a slingshot spear, following it up with body shots and a gutbuster, having made a clear decision to target the ribs. Abdominal stretch attempted but Erick has too much power and fights free to hit a German suplex. No sell explosion from Stevens as he hits the Choo Choo then Doctor Bomb to secure the porpoise slap at 02:55
Rating – * – Credit to Day for trying to work some psychology in…and I almost feel bad for him in that Stevens totally crushed it in four seconds flat. As I said, Stevens has been pushed as this impressive force ever since he first appeared on HDNet, but it’s just gone nowhere. He’s already starting to lose some house show bookings because he’s not getting over, and he won’t get over on TV unless he is given something meaningful to do and actually strikes up a connection with the Ring Of Honor fans the way he has with the Floridian guys he enjoys performing in front of.
Tyler Black discusses his loss to Jerry Lynn, and the allegations of ‘taking his eye of the ball’. Apparently Jerry has taken Tyler under his ring, and next week they’ll team up to face the All Night Express…not sure about that for getting Black over
Jimmy Rave vs Necro Butcher
It was only two nights prior to this episode airing that these two guys were brawling around the Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago in a bloody war. They delivered probably Rave’s best singles match since returning, and definitely Necro’s best singles match in a long time. Can they repeat that for the tv show? Will Necro finally actually get to have a fair fight with Jimmy on HDNet?
Rave jumps Butcher during his entrance but it doesn’t amount to much and he soon finds himself getting body slammed into the front row. Necro then tears up some guardrail to belt Jimmy in the head with. He then sets it up against the guardrail to go for an Awesome Bomb. Rave understandably isn’t keen and attacks the suspect leg of Necro to save himself. Ernie Osiris sneaks in behind the ref’s back to hit the SOMERSAULT CHAIR SENTON TO THE LEG! Jimmy swoops for the Heel Hook but finds Butcher already in the ropes. Necro back to his feet to BACK DROP RAVE INTO THE GUARD RAIL! Osiris tries to staple gun Necro…and gets gunned himself. Just as Rave looks set to suffer a similar fate Bison Smith does a run in, disqualifying Rave at 05:48
Rating – ** – This had a good energy and pace to it, but the shady finish and brief time allowance prevented me from going higher in the rating. I’ve enjoyed these last two Rave/Necro matches more than almost anything else I’ve seen from Necro all year, so clearly the 2009 edition of The Embassy is doing something right – for all their detractors.
Jobbers flock to the ring to separate Bison and Necro (dear god don’t book that) but of course end up taking a massive beating. I really liked this segment.
After commercials we have an Albright/Claudio feud highlights package. That’s the lead in to next week’s climactic bout between the two. It will be Brent vs Claudio in a Steel Cage
Chris Hero/Davey Richards/Eddie Edwards vs Bryan Danielson/Roderick Strong/KENTA
Lots of history between these three men. Obviously Roddy isn’t a big Davey fan after it was Richards who broke up the No Remorse Corps. As we say in Dayton this past weekend, Dragon and Hero have certainly got some physical exchanges within them. Bryan will also be desperate to pick up a win over the Wolves after losing two Tag Title matches to them when teaming with Tyler Black. And there’s also the small matter of KENTA, teaming with Danielson, a man with whom he’s had two epic Ring Of Honor battles in the past, and opposing his former American protégé in Richards.
Danielson and Hero go hold for hold and wind up pretty even. Strong in next to put the boots to Edwards, before he summons KENTA in as well to allow all three men to beat on Eddie with a European uppercut/chop/kick trilogy of strikes. Richards tagged and he sweeps Dragon into a cross armbreaker, which Danielson breaks and leads into a sensational mirror offence sequence. They do a top job wetting the appetite for their match in Boston the following weekend. KENTA and Hero start fighting on the floor as Edwards lifts Bryan out of the Triangle Choke into the powerbomb lungblower combo with Richards. Achilles Tendon Lock, a hold which has made Dragon tap in the past, locked in briefly. The heel team then take it in turns to victimise Dragon outside the ring, with Hero eventually crumpling him to the floor with a wicked elbow smash. Double Alarm Clock blocked though, and Bryan runs through Davey with a running enzi to make the hot tag to KENTA. EPIC KICK to the back of Edwards, then a combo of big boots in the corner to the other half of the tag champions. Go 2 Sleep countered, as is the DR Driver, so Richards rocks his former mentor with a handspring enzi. Tag to Hero who FLOORS him with another unbelievably brutal elbow. Death Blow is blocked, but he manages to land a Rolling Elbow instead to keep KENTA down. KENTA finally evades an elbow smash and gets a critical tag to Roderick. He lands a big chop on Hero who fires back with the Flash Kick. Back suplex pancake/missile dropkick combo from the Wolves gets 2. STANDING Shining Wizard then gets Eddie Edwards another close nearfall. Urinage backbreaker from Strong, into the Stronghold. Hero tries to save but is caught up KENTA and an octopus stretch. Strong goes for Death By Roderick only for Edwards to counter in mid-air with a rana. DOUBLE ALARM CLOCK! Hero in too…SUPERKICK/ROLLING ELBOW/GERMAN SUPLEX COMBO! DRAGON SAVES! All six men fight on the turnbuckles. SUPERPLEX BY STRONG! BACK SUPERPLEX BY DANIELSON! ROPE RUN FALCON ARROW BY KENTA! It’s Strong and Eddie in mid-ring dropping bombs on each other, Strong finally dropping Edwards with the Sick Kick, then the GIBSON DRIVER to score his biggest HDNet victory yet at 16:43
Rating – **** – The finish felt a little sudden, but the match leading up to it was non-stop awesome. And when I say non-stop, I really mean it. The pace was totally frenetic, with absolutely no time to catch your breath or collect yourself. Outstanding workrate from all six men, all of whom have extensive experience working 15-minute, junior heavyweight trios tags like this in Japan, which really stood them in good stead. Well worth checking out on Best Of HDNet V3
Tape Rating – *** – The A-Double L-Double was fairly amusing, I thought the chaotic Rave/Necro brawl was pretty effective, the main event was great and the whole episode was interwoven with non-stop shills for the Final Countdown shows in Boston and New York which are huge deals. Not quite as good as last week, but still a top night as HDNet continues to get back into gear after a rocky period.