ROH on HDNet – Episode 033 – 9th November 2009
This week on HDNet features the in-ring TV debut of ‘Skullkrusher’ Rasche Brown, the surprisingly effective Midwest-based talent who has put in a number of impressive showings at recent DVD tapings. The main event has Bryan Danielson’s penultimate ROH on HDNet match, as he teams with Roderick Strong to face the American Wolves. Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak are in The Arena.
Austin Aries comes straight through the curtain to start the show. He runs down Philadelphia sports teams, then Tyler Black, then critics of his A-Double L-Double. He wants to conduct another instalment of the Lucky Lottery, and to prove the doubters wrong, he invites Tyler Black out to supervise and draw the name. It’s all a scheme for him to light a piece of paper into a fireball in Black’s face. Pretty shocking way to start the show…even if that fireball looked totally goofy.
BRYAN DANIELSON’S TOP 5 ROH MOMENTS – #3 is Manhattan Mayhem 2 and the classic match with Takeshi Morishima which saw him detach his retina. He views finishing that match as one of his greatest accomplishments.
Back to the studio and Mike Hogewood is still seething over the actions of the World Champion.
Super Smash Bros. vs Kevin Steen/El Generico
Although this is a HDNet debut for Player Uno and Player Dos, this is actually a big rematch, with the Smash Bros. scoring a huge upset over the former Tag Champions at a recent DVD show.
Generico drops Uno with so many armdrags that he quickly retreats and makes a tag to Dos. Steen floors Player Dos with a horrific chop, then catches him as he goes for some high-flying offence to land a powerful backbreaker. Camel clutch applied, with additional mockery…before Steen breaks it to clobber Player Uno off the apron. The former Tag Champions have isolated Dos now…that is until he matrix flips under a double clothesline to hit a DOUBLE BACK FLIP KICK and get the hot tag to Uno. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA TO THE FLOOR BY DOS! Generico lines up the Yakuza Kick and misses Uno…SPINEBUSTER/LUNGBLOWER COMBO gets the Smash Bros. a 2. Mr Wrestling returns to save his partner from further punishment…BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX ON DOS, INTO UNO IN THE CORNER! YAKUZA KICK! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! BRAINBUSTER! Epic finishing combo wins it for Steen and Generico at 07:03
Rating – *** – Super fun opening match. Of course it was nothing but spots, but these two teams are exceptionally good at this style of wrestling so this was a real blast to sit through. If the Smash Bros. were based somewhere a little closer than Canada I feel like they’d be booked on far more shows.
Kyle Durden interviews The Embassy. Ernie Osiris is injured, so Nana challenges Grizzly Redwood to face Joey Ryan in a Beard vs Beard match, except with Ernie’s beard and not Joey’s moustache being at stake…
Bobby Dempsey vs Chris Hero
I’m not sure how big a deal HDNet will make of this, but it’s actually a pretty significant grudge match. Chris Hero was part of the Sweet’n’Sour Inc. faction that blamed Bobby Dempsey for their spectacular defeat in the Steel Cage main event of the Caged Collision ppv…and the same faction that were annihilated by Bobby moments later. He’s coming for revenge on Dempsey tonight…
No handshake from Bobby, and he totally no sells Hero’s offence before throwing him around like a toy. Hero bails, waiting for Shane Hagadorn to distract Dempsey before striking with an elbow to the back of the head. Shane then lays in a cheap slap when the referee isn’t looking. Bobby hulks up, flooring Chris with the fatty avalanche, then dropping Hagadorn with a right hand. FATTY CANNON BALL MISSES! ROARING ELBOW! DEATH BLOW! Bobby is down and out at 03:34
Rating – ** – Surprisingly decent, with both guys telling a great little story inside the brief time allocation they were given. Dempsey, desperate to prove himself against his former abuser, started hot only to be distracted by Hagadorn, allowing Hero to pick him apart and ultimately prove victorious. Compared to some of the crappy squashes we’ve seen on the HDNet show this was first rate…
Eddie Kingston interrupts the victory celebrations. He congratulates Hero on his recent success, and concedes that maybe he needs to be ‘more like Hero’ in order to succeed in ROH.
Executive Producer Jim Cornette makes his first appearance on HDNet in a pre-taped interview. With him at the helm he promises a bright future for Ring Of Honor
Rasche Brown vs Sal Rinauro
Poor Sal. He’s in the firing line for the debut of the imposing Rasche Brown. The man known as the Skullkrusher has been a devastating force on recent DVD shows in the Midwest area (although he hasn’t necessarily won as many matches as he should) and is being rewarded with bookings on the television show.
Skullkrusher politely follows the Code Of Honor before launching into his assault on Rinauro. He spears Sal into the corner, then flings him through the air with a SPINNING military press slam. BURNING HAMMER! Rasche wins at 01:06
Rating – N/A – Too short to rate as a match, but it was certainly an effective debut for Brown. Sal did a good job making him look good and selling his presence with some really strong facials too.
Next week will be American Dragon’s last HDNet appearance, with one last match against Roderick Strong.
American Wolves vs Bryan Danielson/Roderick Strong
Although this was technically the first match ROH taped as part of The Final Countdown Tour, with the delay between taping and broadcast this becomes the penultimate match in the tour. Dragon has had a number of excellent matches with the American Wolves this year, as well as a singles victory over Eddie Edwards, whom he’s called one of his favourite guys to wrestle this year. Obviously as this is broadcast after the Final Countdown Tour Boston event, we also know Dragon lost a superb, MOTYC-level match to Davey Richards on that show. And his choice of partner is also hugely significant. Dragon made Roddy a believable main event talent with their wonderful series of matches in 2005/6, they formed a semi-regular team in PWG and get the chance to bring that team to ROH one time, before breaking it up next week for Danielson’s farewell. And bearing in mind Strong’s history with Richards, he’s hardly lacking in motivation himself. Tag Titles are not on the line.
Davey demands he be allowed to start with Danielson, and immediately regrets it as Dragon drags him down and stomps the wrist. Strong and Edwards in next, running through an impressive and concise wrestling exchange of their own. Bryan joins Strong in the ring for a double suplex, before pummelling Eddie in the corner with big kicks. Second rope Codebreaker by Eddie gets 2 as Davey FLIES OFF THE APRON with a DDT to wipe out Strong on the outside. Danielson is sent to the outside next, with Davey distracting the official to allow Edwards to assault him against the guardrails. The Wolves do a great job working Danielson over whilst keeping Strong from even getting on the apron, let alone make a tag. Dragon tries that Sayama flip to running elbow spot, but Richards is waiting to punt him in the back as he hits the ropes. He goes for the Handspring Enzi, but Dragon COUNTERS with a dropkick to the neck and finally makes the vital tag to Roderick. Urinage backbreaker gets 2 on Richards. But the numbers advantage stack up in the Wolves’ favour again, with the two of them overwhelming Strong and keeping Bryan out of the ring now. Danielson does return and look for Cattle Mutilation, but Davey CATCHES HIM WITH THE TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! ACHILLES TENDON LOCK ON STRONG! No submissions there, so the match continues. Strong escapes the Die Hard, then scoops Eddie up for the Hart Attack double team. Stronghold…Davey tries to break it with kicks. RODDY SPITS IN HIS FACE! DOUBLE TEAM ALARM CLOCK! CLIMBING WIZARD! SICK KICK! ALL FOUR DOWN! Dragon and Davey are the first two up, and slug it out as the fans chant ‘Best In The World’ at both of them. They collapse out of the ring leaving Strong and Eddie to have their own strike duel. Backpack Stunner gets 2 on the former FIP Champion. Richards joins Edwards to get another nearfall with a nifty little kick combo. Doomsday Ace Crusher halted by Danielson…who then sprints into a TOPE SUICIDA on Edwards! TOPE CON CRAZY BY RICHARDS! DEATH BY BACKBREAKER gets Roddy a 2! DEATH BY RODERICK! SICK BLOCK BLOCKED! STRONG NAILS THE SICK KICK ANYWAY FOR 2! Richards sneaks in to low blow Roderick, allowing the Wolves to hit the powerbomb/lungblower combo for 2. Achilles Tendon Lock forces Strong to tap, handing the American Wolves the victory at 16:49
Rating – **** – Up there with the best matches on HDNet thus far. It wasn’t necessarily perfect, but the way they gradually built the match up as it went along, eventually climaxing with this explosions of violence between Danielson and Richards, then Edwards and Strong was just spectacular. I just loved the moment when Bryan and Davey were smashing the sh*t out of each other, with fans roaring ‘Best In The World’ at both of them. The FCT Boston match was where we really saw Richards’ torch passing, but this was a superb prelude/epilogue (depending which way you look at it) to that excellent match. The American Wolves have absolutely carried ROH in 2009, and it’s nice to see matches like this on the TV show to tide us over whilst Eddie is on the shelf with an injury. Must see stuff…
Tape Rating – **** – I’m possibly over-rating a tad, but I thought that was a really slick episode of ROH on HDNet. The Aries/Black segment, whilst not exactly innovative or overly well produced, was at least a genuine attempt to throw Tyler Black very much back into the World Title picture, and giving him the ‘fireball injury’ treatment is a major step up from the ‘dropping the ball’ gimmick, so I’m viewing the opening portion as a very positive step. From there the Steen-erico/Smash Bros. tag was entertaining. Hero/Dempsey was a fun squash, Rasche Brown’s debut was well executed, and the main event was, I’m sure, comfortably the best wrestling match on free TV that week. You really can’t ask for a lot more than this on an 60-minute show.