ROH on HDNet – Episode 028 – 5th October 2009
Recent ROH on HDNet episodes have shown a drastic upwards trend in their overall quality and watchability. I said when they made the move to Monday nights that ROH needed to get focused and produce a slick, high quality, workrate centred alternative to the sports-entertainment spectacular that the mainstream is served up every week. It’s taken a while but recent shows have been better, with consistent storylines, some impressive matches and reasons to stay tuned for the full hour, not just the last 20 minutes for a great main event. And tonight ROH continues to try to hook in impressionable sports-entertainment fans by bring the Ring Of Honor take on the ‘Royal Rumble’ concept to HDNet. The first Honor Rumble was a dark match at a ppv taping last year. Now we get a sequel, except in a unique twist, it’s a tag team variant, with teams vying for a Tag Title shot at the American Wolves. Back to Philadelphia, PA we go, to join Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak.
Sonjay Dutt vs Delirious
Following his TNA departure, Dutt made his return to televised pro-wrestling with a match against Delirious a few weeks ago. Motivated by Daizee Haze, Delirious was able to pick up the win – and that’s a defeat Sonjay is coming to avenge tonight.
Hogewood claims to speak Deliri-ese. Delirious’ usual shenanigans see him gain the early advantage over a bewildered Sonjay. Next he breaks out some judo throws that he picked up from that random Japanese guy Daizee made him train with. Dutt hits a nifty flying headscissors combo to take things to the outside…but Delirious soon gets the upper hand again by tossing him to the railings. Suicide Flip lined up but Dutt hides behind the Haze to stop his opponent diving. That hesitation hands the initiative to Dutt. The masked man looks to fight back with Never Ending Story clotheslines but Sonjay jabs him in the throat, taking the wind out of his sails again. Leaping Lariat sends Sonjay outside…TOP ROPE SUICIDE DIVE TO THE FLOOR! Back inside he hits the Cobra Clutch-plex for 2. Shadows Over Hell evaded though, as is the Panic Attack to allow Dutt to land a slingshot leg drop in the ropes. Cobra Stretch locked in but Sonjay breaks free…so it’s the Panic Attack again. SHADOWS OVER HELL COUNTERED TO AN ACE CRUSHER! Camel Clutch locked in and Sonjay wins at 09:41
Rating – ** – Solid, competitive match with a couple of really exciting moments. I like Dutt’s weird, sleazy character a lot more than his TNA tribute act, so I’m curious to see where this leads. Not buying the Camel Clutch as a finisher at all though.
It turns out Dutt was choking Delirious with the tassels from his mask, technically making that hold illegal. He then grabs at Daizee before walking out having sent a clear message…
Eddie Kingston says that he’s not done with Chris Hero, even if he lost in New York. He’s going to beat up a jobber tonight to send a message to Hero.
Eddie Kingston vs Kyle Matthews
As we just saw, even without the win he wanted at Glory By Honor 8, he wants another shot at Hero and will use the match with this jobber here to send an emphatic message.
Machine gun chops in the corner followed immediately by an overhead belly to belly as the massacre begins. He encourages the crowd to chant ‘Hero’ as he continues to beat on the poor kid (who looks a lot like John Walters for anyone that remembers him). BACK DROP DRIVER plans Matthews on his neck, before the SPINNING BACK FIST floors him like a dead porpoise at 02:31
Rating – ** – Impressive, emphatic squash with Kingston showing great levels of personality in decimating a youngster and continuing his feud with Hero. I know people weren’t that high on the Glory By Honor 8 match but this is a feud I’m keen to see continue. He’s possibly not the easiest fit for ROH on DVD, but Kingston and his promo work are very entertaining on television. I genuinely enjoyed this squash as much as the Dutt/Delirious match
Several teams in the Honor Rumble get some promo time. Highlights include the Briscoes declaring that they don’t set the bar for tag wrestling in ROH, they ‘are the bar’ and the American Wolves, who I guess are entering the match to block everyone from challenging them.
COMMERCIALS – HDNet ‘Guys Night In’ looks like the most redneck, trashy collection of shows I’ve ever seen
In the back Chris Hero declares the issue with Eddie Kingston as over. He has strong words for KENTA, whom he faces in the main event next week.
Joey Ryan vs Roderick Strong
This is only Joey’s second HDNet appearance I think. PWG fans will tell you he’s made for TV, and hopefully this match will give him a real platform to demonstrate that. Roddy is coming off an impressive Glory By Honor 8 weekend, including a win over Nigel McGuinness.
Speaking of Nigel, he comes through the crowd to berate Strong for caring more about impressing the fans than the wellbeing of himself or his opponent. I guess that’s set up for the Final Countdown Boston match since the HDNet/DVD schedule, as ever, is all over the shop. Anyway, Joey uses Nigel’s distraction to jump Roderick and start the match. Strong returns fire with a volley of savage chops then drives Ryan’s back into the ring apron. Next he starts pulling chest hair, causing Prazak to rightly query why that isn’t being monitored by the referee as he has ‘a handful of hair…chest hair’. Joey punts him in the face, then chokes him against the middle rope to even things up. Moustache Ride attempted but Roddy shunts him off the ropes and delivers a back suplex for 2. Urinage backbreaker gets a nearfall as well, but Ryan still has enough in the tank to block the Stronghold. Pumphandle suplex from the Magnum leaves both men down. Joey is first up with a spear then a swinging neckbreaker which gets 2. Roderick to the corner to land a big superplex, and comes up to hit the Death By Roderick…only for Nana to pull him out of the ring. That distraction allows Ryan to steal a cheap one at 08:45
Rating – ** – Another solid, although entirely forgettable match. This wasn’t a contest which really allowed either Joey Ryan or The Embassy a chance to convey any of their natural charisma, which meant we were left with a pretty soulless exchange of spots. This is becoming a theme with Roddy at the moment. His HDNet main events are ok, but his little undercard matches like this feel really dead – and it’s something he’ll need to address if he wants to break that glass ceiling he’s been pushing on since 2005 and the Bryan Danielson trilogy.
Unhappy at the manner of his defeat, Strong mows down Ryan with the Sick Kick and says he’s coming for Nigel McGuinness
In the back Austin Aries tells Kyle Durden that his A-Double L-Double has been getting lots of positive feedback – so much so that he’s bringing it back next week for another go. Kyle asks if the Grizzly Redwood match was rigged…Aries denies
Tag Team Honor Rumble
The rules to this are fairly straight forward. Eight teams will enter, Royal Rumble style, at 90-second intervals. Both members of the team have to be eliminated by being over the top, to the floor, before they are considered removed from the match. Winners get a Tag Title shot, unless it’s the Wolves.
Team #1 are The Embassy of Jimmy Rave and Ernie Osiris, and they’re joined by the Young Bucks as team #2. Cheapshots from The Embassy, trying to throw the Jacksons out in the first ten seconds. Leapfrog into a double dropkick from the Bucks, then the backflip/stereo dropkick combo on Ernie. The hobo gets eliminated with a double superkick which rockets him off the apron. The next team enters (at 80, not 90 seconds) before the Jacksons can beat Rave up handicap style. It’s the Dark City Fight Club, who are still pissed at the Bucks for stealing a couple of wins on them. Dark City Street Cutter on Matt before Rave makes an ill-advised attempt at attacking Jon Davis. Titus and King in at #4, with Rhettski not letting the rules of the match stop him from heading around ringside handing out room keys. ANX Blindside Lariat floors Rave, who looks worse for wear having fought solo for over three minutes now. Team #5 are Albright and Stevens who waste no time in hurling Jimmy Rave out, eliminating The Embassy. They have a heavyweight staredown with DCFC but it’s broken up by the Bucks and ANX before they come to blows. #6 is Steen and Generico, wanting to get back into the Tag Title picture after losing Ladder War 2. The Young Bucks hit double dropkicks to eliminate the DCFC, stoking the fire in that rivalry still further. Titus then eliminates Matt Jackson with a running dropkick. Davis and Chavis attack Matt on the floor…and that assault is broken up by Nick, eliminating himself to deliver a SOMERSAULT PLACHA TO THE FLOOR! #7 is the Briscoes, walking right past DCFC and the Bucks who brawl to the back. Titus and Albright are tipped to the floor in quick succession, with King avenging his partner first by sending Stevens out with a jumping enzi kick. He celebrates that heartily, and doesn’t see the Briscoes and Steen-erico waiting to beat the hell out of him. YAKUZA KICK from Generico eliminates Kenny…as the American Wolves enter to complete the line-up. It’s Wolves vs Briscoes vs Steen-erico to decide it. Double Alarm Clock on Generico, before Steen and Briscoe floor the Wolves and go at it themselves. YAKUZA KICK ON JAY! ACE CRUSHER BY MARK! Urinage on Davey…NO SOLD! URINAGE AGAIN! Standing Wizard from Eddie to Mark leaving all six down. Steen throws Davey Richards to the floor, but referees are so preoccupied with Sara Del Rey that they don’t see it. Richards runs back in and eliminates both Steen and Generico, leaving us with two teams. Edwards eliminates Jay with an enzi kick in the corner, so it’s the Wolves alone with a still recuperating Mark Briscoe. Jay with a distraction…DAVEY IS GONE! Eddie thinks he’s eliminated Mark, but he skins the cat…SPRINGBOARD REDNECK KARATE! ENZI KICK OFF THE APRON! Mark eliminates Edwards to win at 13:47
Rating – *** – To hardened Ring Of Honor viewers this probably wasn’t overly enthralling, but you can’t over-state the importance of matches like this to hook in casual viewers. The Royal Rumble is a recognised and popular concept in contemporary professional wrestling. ROH running their own version is sure to please the casual fans. And doing a tag team version meant that it was ROH putting a unique twist on the familiar concept AND playing up the impressive tag division, which is one thing ROH probably has over it’s rivals. And credit has to go to all the teams, this could have turned into a real messy clusterf*ck and, whilst it wasn’t amazing, they did well to hold everything together. The Bucks/DCFC feud continued quietly, and the last couple of minutes with the premier teams of the Wolves, the Briscoes and the Steen/Generico duo were really exciting. Having the Briscoes win, and broadcasting it just over a week after Ladder War 2 is a great move – immediately establishing Jay and Mark as the major threat to the Wolves now they’ve ended the feud with Steen-erico.
Tape Rating – *** – Good show again. There’s a chance I may be over-rating this one, but I thought the undercard was solid (not a ‘bad’ match in sight), the development in the Hero/Kingston feud was strong, the build for next week was good with Hero/KENTA and another A-Double L-Double announced, and the main event, whilst not a great match by Ring Of Honor standards, was a great one to show the WWE fans and try to sell them on the product.