ROH on HDNET 3/1/2010

ROH on HDNet – Episode 049 – 1st March 2010

Lets dive into another episode of ROH on HDNet. I think ROH have stacked the decks for their first episode of a packed March which culminates in Phoenix for Wrestlemania weekend. Headlining tonight is a match featuring all the key players from the 8th Anniversary Show main event – with Tyler Black teaming with Roderick Strong to face Austin Aries and Kenny King. As ever, we’re in The Arena with Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak.

Dark City Fight Club vs American Wolves
Big match for DCFC here. They’ve been talking up their skills and proclaiming themselves top Tag Title contenders for sometime – however, whenever they’ve faced one of the ‘name’ teams in the ROH tag division (such as the Briscoes or the Young Bucks) they’ve generally come up on the losing end. After these two teams were featured in a pull apart brawl a few episodes back, this match has been booked. Davis and Chavis will be desperate to prove themselves as legitimate forces in Ring Of Honor with a victory over the team that dominated the tag division for most of 2009.

As you’d expect, all four start in the ring laying waste to each other. Eddie gets an early nearfall with the diving Codebreaker on Rainman…then Davey puts him in the Texas Cloverleaf. Chavis shows great resilience to get to the ropes and avoid a humiliating defeat. He blocks the Superkick German and effortlessly throws Edwards all the way to the floor. Richards lines up the Handspring Enzi only for Davis to COUNTER in mid-air with a SPINNING RACK BOMB! The tide turns in favour of the Fight Club after that, with the two big guys using repeated tags and cutting the ring in half to isolate Davey. Eventually Richards DESTROYS DCFC with brutal kicks and makes the hot tag to Edwards, who jumps OVER Davis into a missile dropkick on Kory. Fisherman buster puts Rainman down for 2 before Davis makes the save. Eventually the numbers catch up with Edwards though, allowing the Fight Club to floor him with Total Elimination for 2. Davey tagged and he kicks lumps out of Davis on the apron. Then he gives Chavis  dragon screw in the ropes…putting him in position for the Achilles Lock from Edwards. DAVIS BREAKS IT WITH THE POOOUUUUNCE! He literally ran through Richards to do that. POUNCE ON DAVEY! SHINING WIZARD ON EDDIE! PROJECT MAYHEM! Dark City Fight Club pick up a huge victory at 10:31

Rating – *** – I know ROH are scared about losing Richards to DGUSA/Evolve right now, but should the American Wolves, the guys who carried the promotion through 2009, really be used to put over DCFC? In my opinion the answer to that is no, but I’ll roll with it. Credit where it’s due, this was DCFC’s best match since their debut weekend in Florida right at the start of last year. It helps that they were in there with the Wolves of course, but they more than carried their end of the bargain by ditching the boring, ponderous style they seem to have adopted in recent months and going back to being violent, unrelenting, unpleasant individuals with stiff strikes and impressive power moves.

Kyle Durden has convinced Rasche Brown to come into his dirty little hovel. He asks Skullkrusher whether he’ll sign with Prince Nana or Shane Hagadorn. In response Rasche shouts like a lunatic and doesn’t answer in any coherent fashion.

Bobby Dempsey vs Steve Corino
This is, quite literally, the biggest test of Corino’s HDNet return thus far. He’s played the demented puppet master in Kevin Steen’s recent attitude shift – however, he also has his own personal goals in ROH – and he needs to be beating up and comers like Bobby if he is to achieve them.

BIG forearm exchange gets us going here with Dempsey showing impressive power to toss Corino around like a baby. Steve hides behind the referee then dives out with a big boot into Dempsey’s face. Running STO takes the ROH School graduate off his feet for 2. But Bobby starts no-selling Corino’s offence to hit an overhead belly to belly suplex. Fatty DVD countered with a roll-up to give Steve a win at 02:57 – not in the convincing manner he would have liked though.

Rating – * – Of course the result of the match was never in doubt – however, I’ll credit Corino and Dempsey here because this is one of those rare squash matches where the guy getting squashed looks to have got as much out of it as the winner.

Bobby tries to give Corino a DVD after the bell only to be jumped from behind by Kevin Steen. Alex Payne, a previous victim of Corino/Steen bullying, comes out to try to save his fellow graduate…but they both end up taking a beating.

Sara Del Rey mumbles through a promo about how she hates all the ‘models’ in women’s pro-wrestling. She’s an athlete and proud of it. She’s also really cute without the silly facepaint.

Rasche Brown vs The Set
Having been crushing jobbers for weeks, the stakes are slightly raised for Skullkrusher tonight in that he faces TWO jobbers instead of just one. We’ve seen The Set a few times and, although they’re total cannon fodder, their ridiculous size difference does make for some amusing comedy spots.

Skullkrusher seems genuinely excited about getting to kill two b*tches instead of one. Both Prince Nana and Shane Hagadorn are on the ramp comparing notes and scouting him again. The Set try to throw him out of the ring…but no dice there and he mows through both of them. Sinn eats a spinning chokeslam…before Lance Lude goes for an ill-advised flying crossbody and nearly gets thrown through the ceiling of The Arena. Somersault Spear on J-Sinn, leaving him completely dead in the middle of the ring. Lude is dumped on top of him with the Burning Hammer. It’s over at 01:49

Rating – * – I said next time they did a Rasche vs Jobber match on HDNet I was going to give it a DUD because I’m a little bored of it now. Thankfully here they changed up the formula slightly by giving him two jobbers…and The Set are a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine so this was pretty entertaining. I would like the whole Nana/Hagadorn scouting thing to pay-off soon though.

Both Nana and Hagadorn try to talk to Skullkrusher on his way out but he blanks the pair of them. Apparently he isn’t signing with either one…

Sara Del Rey vs Portia Perez
Perez isn’t actually that bad. The few times I’ve seen her in SHIMMER she’s been a fairly solid hand. Sadly for her, she’s only here to put Del Rey over tonight, so don’t expect her to do anything but eat the mat.

Death Rey stomps Portia down in the corner then nearly puts a boot through her chest with a big mafia kick. Next she ties Perez in the ropes for a flurry of kicks to the exposed chest. Portia manages to fight back with a slow motion satellite DDT but it’s only brief. Del Rey hits a capo kick then a Tommy Dreamer-esque Piledriver for victory at 03:32

Rating – DUD – Three squash matches in one hour of TV is too much. This was a match I had no interest in seeing, and they did nothing to make me WANT to see it either. I understand they occasionally have to let Del Rey wrestle on TV to keep her over as this dominant figure in the non-existent women’s division – however, it was a lousy idea to let her do it on the same show that’s already had two other squashes.

The brackets for the ROH TV Title Tournament are announced next. The tournament starts next week, matches/seedings are as follows:

Kevin Steen (1) vs Rhett Titus (8)
Colt Cabana (3) vs Eddie Edwards (6)
Delirious (5) vs Davey Richards (4)
El Generico (7) vs Kenny King (2)

SIDENOTE – Those seedings are completely ridiculous. Davey Richards at #4? The guy is getting buried in ROH this year!

Tyler Black/Roderick Strong vs Austin Aries/Kenny King
This is the first time these individuals have been in the ring together since the 8th Anniversary Show. Black famously won the belt from Austin Aries in a wild climactic sequence – which even saw him superkick his own partner tonight in Roderick Strong. Roddy was quick to disrupt Tyler’s victory celebrations to demand the title shot Tyler had promised him in exchange for being his judge in that match. However, as former champion, Aries also has claim to the next title shot…as does his partner Kenny King who I believe remains in the Pick 6 standings at this time. Essentially, although he might want a shot at Black, it’s in his best interests to help him fight A-Double and K-Double tonight so he can guarantee his place at the front of the queue.

Aries petulantly demands that Kenny start the match for their team which is pretty amusing. King takes a bit of a beating from Strong and looks for a tag…only to be met with a motivational speech from A-Double then sent back into battle. Tyler tags in and kicks King in the spine, so Austin pulls his protégé out of the ring for another pep talk. Finally King gets an advantage by wrenching Strong’s arm…and this time the former champion does accept a tag. Roderick lands one chop and Austin immediately tags Kenny back in though. The heels start double teaming Strong in their corner, bringing Black over to make a save…but in the ensuing melee Aries lands another cheapshot on his former Generation Next stablemate and gives his team the advantage again. He dives off the top with the Macho Axehandle then, of course, makes sure Kenny King is once again the legal man in the ring and doing the work. Finally Roddy manages to kick through both his opponents and makes the hot tag to Black. Flatliner/Peroxism combo on both of them…then the F-5 on King for 2. Quebrada misses, Black Star Press doesn’t, meaning Austin has to save his partner from defeat. Black responds to that by diving over the ropes into a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA to Aries in the floor. SICK KICK from Strong to Kenny. Tyler re-enters and tries to level King with the Superkick as well…HE HITS STRONG! King opportunistically pins Roderick, and with Aries dragging Black away, Kenny gets the win at 12:19

Rating – *** – This wasn’t a ‘great’ HDNet main event by any stretch of the imagination, but it did a good job advancing the World Title storyline going into Tyler Black’s reign so to that end, you’d call this match a success. Aries making King do all the work was funny and the Black/Strong misfire finish, although predictable, had to happen as we start building towards a potential Tyler/Roddy World Title Match. Roderick has emerged as a genuine World Title threat again, and if ROH wants fans to take him seriously as a credible challenger, he absolutely HAD to sever any potential links to Black and any stigma of being Tyler’s ‘sidekick’. DCFC/Wolves from earlier in this episode was a better match though…

The episode ends with Tyler and Roderick having to be pulled apart by referees.

Tape Rating – ** – Good tag team matches started and ended the show – but everything in between them was complete filler. I’ll admit that all the squash matches had a purpose, but putting all three of them in the same episode was lazy and made this episode VERY hard to sit through. I did think the DCFC/Wolves match was very good though – so it’s a shame I don’t think it ever made it to a ‘Best Of HDNet’ compilation…

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