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ROH on HDNET 6/28/2010

ROH on HDNet – Episode 063 – 28th June 2010

I don’t think I pulled many punches in my summation of Episode 062 – it sucked. It was a horrible representation of the Ring Of Honor product, and very difficult to find any kind of positive to take away from it. To defend ROH, it must be exceedingly difficult to produce an up to date, viable episode to immediately follow an iPPV presentation when the shows are taped 6 weeks in advance. But that’s not my fault. The ROH fans/viewers didn’t make that ridiculous taping schedule. ROH and HDNet devised that, and therefore should be held accountable when a big episode of HDNet, coming off the back of one ROH’s biggest shows of the year, is a massive flop. Hopefully this week will see a marked improvement with reaction from Death Before Dishonor 8, Necro vs Erick Stevens and a non-title main event of Tyler Black facing El Generico all on tap. We’re in Philadelphia, PA. Hog and DP to call it…

Kevin Steen and Steve Corino come out and slate Dave Prazak and Mike Hogewood’s commentary. They are going to do better themselves so it seems…

Kevin Steen vs Bobby Shields
For a squash match, this sort of makes sense since Corino beat the snot out of Shields a few episodes ago. Tonight Bobby wants revenge on Corino’s partner Kevin Steen – which is unfortunately since Mr Wrestling is now positioned as one of the most dangerous and unstable men on the ROH roster. His disturbing t-shirt of El Generico’s decapitated head on a steel chair is testament to that.

Steen keeps hold of his microphone too and joins Corino on commentary/narration throughout the match. ‘Slap the porcupine he’s done’ – Corino after Steen powerbombs Shields. Sure enough Bobby is done. ‘I invented this move in 1984’ – Steen before winning with the Cripper Crossface at 02:03

Rating – ** – Fantastic, demented comedy from two of the best talkers in ROH today. Such a fun way to start the show and, a match which has already made Ring Of Honor seem twice as interesting as anything on last week’s show managed to.

Kyle Durden says Necro isn’t cleared to compete ‘after what happened to him in Dayton’ (the Pick Your Poison DVD release which saw Necro put out with a back injury). The continuity from DVD to iPPV to TV is all screwed up on this one…but the end result is Necro promising to show a whole new side to himself tonight…

It’s time for the Necro/Stevens match now, but Necro Butcher doesn’t come to the ring looking dressed or ready to wrestle in the slightest (which by his standards is no mean feat). He says that thanks to medical bills he had to pay, and will most likely to continue having to pay if he keeps having Butcher’s Rules matches with The Embassy…he simply can’t afford to wrestle tonight. He announces Grizzly Redwood as his replacement in the match then leaves.

Erick Stevens vs Grizzly Redwood
Even with Necro Butcher removing himself, this is still a grudge match since Grizz is a guy who’s had problems with Prince Nana and co. for almost as long. At Supercard Of Honor 5 we even saw Ballz Mahoney interject himself into proceedings on Redwood’s behalf to help fight The Embassy…

Redwood brings the overwhelming pluck, putting up a spirited fight and knocking Stevens out of the ring. Unfortunately he then attempts an ill-advised tope suicida and gets caught on the floor…then tossed brutally into the ringpost. Erick brings him back inside to start choking him with his own suspenders. CHOP TO THE BEARD! If that wasn’t enough of an insult, Grizz also finds himself on the receiving end of some kicks from Prince Nana and Ernesto Osiris whilst trying to recover on the outside. Stevens is focusing his attack on the ribs and stomach leaving Redwood noticeably short on breath as he valiantly tries to get back to his feet. Choo Choo misses and Redwood propels himself into a flying headscissors, then gets a 2 with the sliding bulldog. Springboard tornado DDT nailed as well but Erick gets the shoulder up again. NECK DROP German suplex from Stevens, then the Choo Choo scores second time of asking. Stevens has it won with a lariat, but then declines to take the win and lets Grizzly back up. He talks strategy with Nana…and Grizzly capitalises with a sneak roll-up at 07:17

Rating – ** – They possibly took a little long setting this up, but this was a believable, watchable match that everyone from ROH purists to casual fans could get on board with. There were so many wrestling ‘comfort zones’ that this fell within that it was impossible not to find something you liked. Mean-spirited bully, beating up a plucky underdog – check. Evil heel faction interfering behind the official’s back – check. Overly confident bigger man losing after having the match won – check. The key was that Grizzly Redwood is very much over right now as ROH’s Spike Dudley. The fact that the fans didn’t sit on their hands and were vocally behind Redwood was absolutely critical.

The Embassy are furious, and launch into a gang assault on poor Grizzly. Rasche Brown comes out to save him, dropping Stevens with a huge sit-out chokeslam in the process leaving him alone with Prince Nana. Stevens kicks him in the nuts before Nana suffers any real damage and the numbers soon mean Skullkrusher is getting beaten up too. Nana then brings out his new Crown Jewel (with Jimmy Rave’s old music and ring robe) – Necro Butcher.

Josh Raymond/Christin Able vs Up In Smoke
Two up and coming teams in the tag division looking for a significant and career-boosting win collide here. Up In Smoke come into this off their best ROH appearances to date after two great matches at Buffalo Stampede 2 and Death Before Dishonor 8, whilst the House Of Truth have really impressed in their two HDNet outings thus far.

Able overpowers Cloudy from the get-go as Mike Hogewood discusses the likelihood that Austin Aries is smoking drugs in his pipe. Raymond then socks him in the mouth as the ref is distracted to hand HOT the advantage. Cloudy manages to drive Josh into the turnbuckles with a headscissors and makes the tag to Cheech for some impressive, rapid-paced double teams. Another Josh Raymond cheap shot is response for putting House Of Truth on top once again. Cloudy is cut off from Cheech for a second time but of course, eventually does make a second hot tag after spectacularly fighting through both Able and Raymond. Cheech hits a tope suicida on Christin then runs the ropes for a FLYING suicide dive on both opponents. Moonsault/spinebuster combo from HOT gets 2. Up In Smoke fire back with Partly Cloudy With A Chance Of Cheech, followed by the Tidal Wave for 2. Able brutally lawn darts Cloudy into the turnbuckles incapacitating him and allowing the HOT to beat Cheech at 08:42

Rating – ** – Boring to start, but just kept getting better and better. Had this gone a little longer and allowed the four guys to really flesh out the entertaining double-team wrestling and counter spots then this would have crept into 3* territory.

Dark City Fight Club discuss why they’re so effective as a team. They also have some words for the Kings Of Wrestling – whom they face next week. The main event next week is scheduled to be a dream tag match pitting the American Wolves against Roderick Strong and Christopher Daniels so it should be a strong week of tag team wrestling

Tyler Black vs El Generico
This is the main event, and is easily one of the biggest matches we’ve had on HDNet in weeks. Tyler Black, still ROH Champion after that gruelling match with Davey Richards at Death Before Dishonor, is now readying himself for future challengers. Tonight he faces the popular El Generico in non-title action, but with the spectre of Kevin Steen, Christopher Daniels and Roderick Strong on the horizon as potential future challengers, he may well be looking past the Generic Luchador this evening.

Both men seem frightened of making an early mistake, but prove themselves to be very evenly matched as they run through a crisp near-miss/nearfall sequence. Generico is one of the few men who can match speed and athleticism with Tyler, so the champion opts to use his power and striking instead with a hard kick to the back then the Stomp to the face. Generico responds by quickening the pace and unleashing a flurry of armdrags. Tyler slows it down again with headbutts and a huge biel across the ring for 2. For the first time in the match it’s Black that starts to dominate. El Generico has to lure him into a spill to the floor, then sprint across the ring for a RUNNING SENTON OVER THE ROPES! The high-flying proves effective for Generico, taking to the skies again to land a flying crossbody for 2. Tyler boots him in the head…then runs into the MICHINOKU DRIVER for another nearfall. Mafia kicks by Generico…NO SOLD! PELE KICK! Both men are down with little birdies flying round their heads after that. F-5 blocked…so Black hits Peroxism instead but can’t put El Generico down. TREE OF WOE DOUBLE STOMP NAILED! Only the ropes save Generico that time. Phoenix Splash time, but it misses and Generico dumps him with a TURNBUCKLE EXPLOIDAAA! SOMERSAULT VAN TERMINATOR SCORES! Black kicks out right at the death. Yakuza Kick set up…but Kevin Steen shows up and crotches Generico against the ringpost…causing a disqualification at 11:07

Rating – *** – Great match ruined by Kevin Steen’s appearance and subsequent non-finish. However, this is exactly what ROH need to be doing more of. They need to be showcasing the great wrestling and superb matches they can have BEFORE doing all the lousy, predicable story-line advancement stuff. I’m quite sure Black and Generico could have a better ppv/DVD match if required, but this wasn’t a pay-per-view or a house show so there’s no need. What they did was produce a really well-worked 10 minute spotfest which entertained the live crowd and ROH fans, whilst remaining accessible and enticing to casual viewers…before doing the Steen/Generico stuff. Solid booking…

Steen keeps beating on El Generico until Tyler smashes him out of the ring with a Superkick. Given that they’re set to meet in Chicago next month with the World Title on the line that’s interesting…

Tape Rating – *** – Much better episode this week. Good main event, great opening segment, serious and significant storyline advancement throughout too. Up In Smoke vs HOT was the low point of this show and even that was a decent little match which nearly made 3*. Infinitely better than last week so kudos for a great rebound episode. Assuming Tyler/Generico makes the ‘Best Of HDNet’ DVD’s it’s well worth checking out

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