ROH on HDNET 2/1/2010

ROH on HDNet – Episode 045 – 1st February 2010

So having picked their judges for the big World Title Match at the 8th Anniversary Show, the countdown is on to Tyler Black and Austin Aries clash in Manhattan in 2 weeks. Earlier in the weekend both men were victorious in singles matches at the LA debut and will need to continue that momentum for the next couple of TV shows too. Lets watch it unfold with Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak in Philadelphia, PA

Jim Cornette opens the show by announcing that tonight’s main event is Tyler Black facing his chosen judge in New York – Roderick Strong. Apparently both asked for the opportunity to compete against each other…

Rhett Titus vs Delirious
Interesting match here because these two have a lot of history. Rhett’s first big angle in ROH was the ‘love triangle’ of sorts that he, Delirious and Daizee Haze were involved in back in 2008. Daizee accompanies Delirious to the ring tonight and, although their feud is over, it would be a huge feather in the cap of Rhett if he could finally score a big win over the lizard man.

Delirious happily eats his own streamers before the match, then has a bell-induced tantrum so fierce he nearly topples Rhett out of the ring. He dominates the first minute until Titus voluntarily leaves the ring for a time-out. Delirious then hides under the ring as Daizee lures Rhettski in for a sneak attack. Finally Titus manages to throttle Delirious and starts working the throat of his masked opponent as a scrollbar at the bottom of the screen lists a number of fans favourite ROH moments, giving new fans a number of key ROH historical points to check out. Delirious desperately tries the Cobra Stretch but is too worn down to hit it. He wisely avoids Titus’ signature dropkick though. A big missile dropkick sends Rhett into the corner…but Delirious misses the Panic Attack. Thrustbuster gets Titus a nearfall but he then misses a charge in the corner and eats Panic Attack second time of asking. SUPER SEX FACTOR counters Shadows Over Hell! Delirious blocks the Muff Driver and lands the Bizarro Driver for the win at 07:42

Rating – ** – Being honest, I thought this was a little boring…which is weird given the big personalities of the two wrestlers involved. The whole thing felt very meandering and unfocused, and they never really found a spark to hook me into the match and make it seem like anything more than a meaningless exchange of basic spots. The Super Sex Factor counter to Shadows Over Hell was cool though, I think I added a star onto my rating just for that.

After hyping the Anniversary Show, Hogewood and Prazak send us to some pre-recorded comments from Roderick Strong. He wanted to wrestle Tyler tonight, so he can beat him and prove himself the top contender once Black has become World Champion in a couple of weeks.

Kyle Durden interviews Steve Corino, who is taking credit for Kevin Steen’s actions at Final Battle. Corino says he sees World Title potential in Mr Wrestling, so he got into his head and convinced him to dump the ‘dead weight’ that was El Generico. Steve calls in Alex Payne (who looks like a little kid) and asks him if he agrees with what Steen did. Sugarfoot doesn’t agree…which is unfortunate since Mr Wrestling is lurking behind him waiting to attack.

Sonjay Dutt vs Colt Cabana
There’s no real history here, but both these men have voiced an aspiration to get into World Title contention. To do that they need to chalk up some wins and earn themselves some Pick 6 opportunities.

Dutt makes the mistake of trying to ground Cabana…and immediately falls victim to his freaky European stuff. Sonjay gets knocked to the floor so angrily drags Cabana out after him, gaining an advantage from being on the outside where Colt can’t chain-wrestle him in circles. Back inside he works a basic chinlock to wear him down and keep well away from his grappling skills. Quebrada attempted…only for Cabana to get the feet up into the chest. Colt 45 is blocked, but so is the Asai DDT and Cabana picks up a 2 with a lifting gutbuster. Flying Asshole nailed, only for Dutt come come out of the corner with a satellite headscissors. Slingshot legdrop scores, as does a flying splash for 2. Camel Clutch countered…Colt 45 gives Cabana the win in 07:14

Rating – * – Much like Titus/Delirious, this was exceptional dull. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but at no point did ANYBODY have any reason to care about this match. I like both guys but this wasn’t working for me…

Tyler Black says he agreed to face Strong tonight to prove he’s a man of his word and will give him a title shot if he wins in New York.

Back from commercials and Kyle Durden has Prince Nana and Shane Hagadorn in the ring together to discuss the reformation of the Kings Of Wrestling. They seem to have come to a working agreement to allow their respective charges to team again, but are interrupted by Eddie Kingston before going into specifics. He wants to know if it was them that attacked him on the first HDNet show of the year. Prince Nana tells him that it wasn’t the KOW that laid him out…it was The Embassy. Erick Stevens and Joey Ryan appear to jump Eddie again, before Necro Butcher makes the save.

NEXT WEEK – The main event will be a Wolves/Bucks rematch, voted as the rematch people most wanted to see after their classic Tag Title match on HDNet back in November.

Roderick Strong vs Tyler Black – Pick 6 Series Match
These two had three terrific matches on DVD shows last year so it’s only natural they’d bring their rivalry to HDNet eventually. Tyler controversially defeated Strong to win Survival Of The Fittest. Then they went to a 20-minute draw…before Roddy scored a return win an underrated match at Eye Of The Storm 2 on the eve of Final Battle. Such was the nature of the fierce combat between them that both have built a level of mutual respect for the other – which led to Black asking Strong to be his judge at the 8th Anniversary Show, in exchange for a guaranteed title match if he wins. Roddy wants to make sure he’s undoubtedly the first in line for Tyler if he wins in New York by beating him here tonight, and Black is giving him the opportunity to do so to prove he’s a man of his word and to buy his impartiality as a judge for his title match.

The start is super even with lots of countering and near-miss sequences. Austin Aries comes out with popcorn and wine to scout his opponent. His entrance distracts the two wrestlers, but they quickly get back to it by laying in a flurry of nasty chops to each other’s chests. Tyler stomps Strong down in the corner as an unimpressed World Champion starts throwing popcorn at them. Black blocks the slingshot falcon arrow only to be back dropped out of the ring…right in front of Aries who pelts him with more popcorn. SUPERKICK TO ARIES! That was hilarious, but he distraction allows Roderick to hang Tyler into the ropes for an elevated backbreaker. He zones in on the back now, wrenching it with a camel clutch after another backbreaker in the centre of the ring. Kondo Clutch in the ropes follows next, doing more damage even though it’s an illegal hold. Tyler tries to return fire with that slingshot rolling heel kick he does, only for Roddy to effortlessly counter with another improvised backbreaker for 2. Pele Kick from Black…and now both men are down. Roderick is sent to the floor, but he lies in wait to lay in another chop. GUARDRAIL MOONSAULT BY TYLER! That hurts his back and he takes too long setting up for the Springboard Lariat…QUEBRADA PEROXISM INSTEAD! Black is on a roll, so Strong starts attacking the back again to shut him down – getting another nearfall with cradle backbreaker. He punts Tyler in the head then drops him all the way from the top rope with a superplex. Stronghold countered…and Black floors Strong with the kick from the mat he does in every match. Sick Kick COUNTERED to the F-5 for 2. Black thinks about a quebrada…but slips off the ropes, which looks pretty stupid but is actually in keeping with a match where he’s had his back attacked for most of it. TREE OF WOE DOUBLE STOMP BY TYLER! BUCKLE BOMB GETS 2! Austin Aries is back and is angrily trying to get into the ring…only for Black to throw Strong at him and knock him into a pile of referees on the floor. Strong is bloodied after knocking heads with Aries there…and Black finishes him with the Superkick at 15:57

Rating – **** – Another in the growing catalogue of really good Tyler/Roderick matches in recent months. Of course this was a lot more storyline-driven than their previous matches, but I’ve no issue with that since this is on TV, and it’s great to see HDNet actually booked with a purpose and desire to build to add ticket and DVD sales to ROH’s live events. The finish wasn’t the strongest, but the match that came before it was a lot of fun. I’m sure people will point to the obvious botch as a reason I should have knocked my rating down lower – but in truth I thought the messed up quebrada spot probably added more to the match and forced Tyler to sell the back far more than I’m guessing he’d intended to do so had he connected with that spot.

Austin Aries angrily rushes the ring again to assault Tyler Black…does so and then gets attacked in turn by Roderick Strong. Kenny King, A-Double’s judge in New York, arrives to rescue the champion as Black and Roderick look poised to beat the hell out of him.

Tape Rating – ** – The main event was superb – probably the best match on HDNet thus far this year – but the rest of the show was a complete non-event where nothing really happened. Of course you have the storyline development of The Embassy being revealed as Eddie Kingston’s mystery attackers, but that was 30 second skit and was the only noteworthy thing  to happen in the entire first half of the show. ROH had kicked the habit of making ROH on HDNet a one-match card every week, but slipped back into old ways here. Focusing on the positives, the build towards Aries/Black in NYC is GREAT!

ROH on HDNet Episodes 41-45 – Top 5 Matches
5) Jay Briscoe vs Mark Briscoe (*** – Episode 043)
4) Kenny King vs El Generico (*** – Episode 044)
3) Roderick Strong vs Davey Richards (*** – Episode 041)
2) Kenny Omega vs Chris Hero (**** – Episode 042)
1) Tyler Black vs Roderick Strong (**** – Episode 045)

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