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ROH on HDNET 11/22/2010

ROH on HDNet – Episode 083 – 22nd November 2010

Last week two of the Final Battle 2010 main events were very much spotlighted, with lots of focus on both Steen/Generico and Strong/Richards. Tonight we’re set to find out what the Tag Team Champions will be up to at ROH’s big year end bash – with the Kings Of Wrestling’s opponents for the December iPPV to be announced. Davey Richards continues his preparation for his pending World Title shot with a match against Shawn Daivari too. Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak are in The Arena.

Erick Stevens vs Colt Cabana
No major issue here (although Colt did have problems with The Embassy in 2009), but the stakes are high as the winner will receive a future ROH TV Title shot.

Cabana looks set to play his usual games with both referee and opponent, so Stevens opts for a simple boot to the stomach to stop him in his tracks. Colt works a surfboard, which graphically demonstrates how much weight Erick has lost – with ribs and bones sticking out at all angles. He’s completely unrecognisable from the guy that debuted back in 2007 by this point. He rakes Cabana’s eyes, but is having problems concentrating thanks to all the abuse he’s getting from the Philadelphia fans. Ghanaian Legsweep scores though, followed by a big powerslam for 2. Stevens is clearly focusing on the back, and when the submissions and slams don’t work, he resorts to straight up clubbing strikes across the spine to deliver more damage. Rear bearhug applied…to which Colt escapes and duly hits a quebrada. At least he stops to sell that, but it’s still a ridiculous move that no man with an injured back would try. Cabana is caught on the second rope, dragged down and hammered with a big lariat, getting another close nearfall for Nana’s man. Flying Asshole COUNTERED TO A GERMAN SUPLEX! Choo Choo…COUNTERED WITH AN ASS STRIKE! Billy Goat’s Curse applied but Nana and Ernesto get on the apron to distract the referee. Stevens looks for the Doctor Bomb, but Cabana counters into a roll-up – and that’s enough for the win at 09:06

Rating – *** – Hot opening match, driven along by a terrific heel performance by Erick Stevens. What’s weird is, we’re right in the run-in to Stevens being cut from the roster now, but three times in recent months he’s put on a GREAT opening match on a show. He’s really grown into this heel role now and is actually so good at it he needs very little help from Prince Nana to get his act over. Honestly I thought Cabana was sleepwalking through this, but Stevens was busting his ass and carried Colt to something much better than I was expecting.

Jim Cornette has the Kings Of Wrestling in the ring, and raises questions about their policy of denying all teams title shots at this time because they feel nobody is worthy of a shot at them. Shane Hagadorn confirms that, if a team can beat them in a non-title match, they would be worthy of a title shot in the future. And since that is the case, Jim Cornette brings out the Briscoes – all three of them. Through some highly questionable legal jargon, eventually a Final Battle match is signed. Jim Cornette just tricked the Kings Of Wrestling AND Shane Hagadorn into wrestling Jay, Mark and their father on ppv. There’s a match which could be a load of fun or a complete car crash…

Sara Del Rey vs Daizee Haze
It’s that time again. After going round the circuits squashing various opponents, we all get on the never-ending Del Rey vs Haze series for the millionth time. This time the premise is they’ve both been campaigning for tougher competition in the Women Of Honor division – but after beating all comers, there’s nothing left to do but to fight again on HDNet.

It takes less than 10 seconds for the first botch, with Daizee failing to get out of the ring in time to ‘evade’ Sara’s Capo Kick, leading to a horrible mess in the corner. The point is still emphasised that Daizee is trying to use her speed and agility to get the better of her powerful opponent. SUICIDE DIVE MISSES! Del Rey then plasters her onto the solid floor in uncompromising fashion. But she tries a powerbomb and is again outmanoeuvred by the athleticism of Haze, who drags her into a lengthy headlock spot. Finally Sara has seen enough, coming out of the corner with a big boot to the sternum which almost knocks Daizee out of her boots. DISGUSTING hairmare nailed, which legitimately tears chunks of Haze’s hair out and leaves her spinning across the canvas. Next she delivers machine gun kicks in the ropes…then goes for one too many and Haze counters her again, into a dragon screw over the middle rope. Suicide dive is NAILED this time! Then she comes back in with a terrific flying headscissors, into a facecrusher for 2. KICK TO THE HEAD! That was so nonchalant and violent from Del Rey, but Daizee shows real guts to get right back up into rolling Regal cutters. Heart Punch nailed, only for Sara to counter the Yakuza Kick…but then Haze counters her counter into a victory roll for 2. WRIST CLUTCH OLYMPIC SLAM! You can tell Sara trains with Claudio Castagnoli now, her power is incredible. She looks for a submission with a Gory Special and nearly bends her in half! That was Danielson vs Jack Evans level…but Daizee actually counters into a standing crucifix! Capo Kick in the corner by Del Rey, into a powerbomb for 2. Haze blocks the piledriver, and the time limit expired at 10:00 minutes.

Rating – *** – I’ll make it clear that this was a generous 3*, but there was enough quality in that to get to the 3* mark. The story they were going for was fantastic, with Daizee using her speed and cunning to constantly find ways around Sara’s more crude and violent approach to the match. The problem with that story, though, is that it relies a lot on Daizee’s execution and, as ever, that was sloppy at times. These two have wrestled so many times in ROH, I honestly couldn’t tell you if it’s their best match in this promotion – they all blur together by this point. It’s certainly up there, and was definitely the best Women Of Honor match on HDNet thus far.

Kyle Durden wants Steve Corino’s opinion on Steen’s decision to put his career on the line against El Generico at Final Battle. He admits that he’s lost control of the situation and therefore fears for Generico’s life. He promises he’ll do all he can to save him – next week on the TV show.

More Mike Bennett hype – with Jim Cornette and Cary Silkin going into detail about the questionable methods and bad reputation of his trainer ‘Brutal’ Bob Evans.

Shawn Daivari vs Davey Richards
This has to be some form of unofficial ‘do or die’ match for Daivari. As a WWE cast-off, he can’t be that cheap to book, and for the money to bring him in he’s been a complete bust. He hasn’t gotten over in The Embassy angle at all and most of his matches have been really bad. Now he gets a chance to wrestle arguably Ring Of Honor’s top singles star – and needs to put in a good performance.

Shawn spits in his face during the handshake which seems a little tasteless. Nevertheless, Richards still gets a huge ovation – proving without a doubt he is ROH’s standard bearer by this point. He controls the opening minute with a headlock, but try as he might he struggles to over-power the jacked Embassy representative. Daivari absorbs a couple of kicks and easily shoulder blocks him all the way to the floor. Davey comes back in and retaliates by kicking Daivari off the apron. MAFIA KICK sends Shawn over the barricade and into the lap of a rather chesty female spectator. Richards tries a tornado DDT but is caught by Shawn and thrown BACK to the floor northern lights style. This time he distracts referee Todd Sinclair whilst Prince Nana puts the boots to the American Wolf. Daivari does his best to botch a tilta-whirl backbreaker, but that doesn’t disguise his intention to follow the example set by Erick Stevens earlier tonight and start working the back. That’s broken by Ernesto Osiris tripping Davey as he hits the ropes…then Richards responding to kick him in the mouth. Anklelock on Daivari who kicks his way free. Nana tries to distract Davey again but he still climbs the ropes and takes his opponent out again with a missile dropkick. He looks for the Handspring Enzi but Daivari catches him, smashes him in the back a couple of times then delivers ROLLING GERMANS! The last one dropped Davey right on his neck and gets a close 2-count. Daivari goes for a frog splash and sails straight into Richards’ knees to leave both men down and reeling. LUNGBLOWER from Daivari gets 2. He wants to finish Davey off – and spends so long indicating that that he walks into the Anklelock. He tries to kick away again and is turned into the CLOVERLEAF INSTEAD! He taps at 11:02

Rating – *** – Credit where it’s due, that was a fun little match and drew some of the loudest reactions from an ROH on HDNet crowd I can remember in 83 episodes. How much of that was down to the fact that 2010 is a career-best year for Davey Richards is up for debate – but personally I thought Daivari, much like Daizee Haze earlier, held his own in there despite a few very obvious execution problems. Certainly he visibly upped his workrate and didn’t look slow and gassed from the third minute onwards which is a major improvement from much of his ROH tenure thus far.

NEXT WEEK – Homicide vs Necro in a Butcher’s Rules match, and Mike Bennett is in The Arena

Tape Rating – *** – Solid building episode of the TV show here. All three matches reached a decent 3* level, and all three Final Battle main events got some hype – so it’s hard to argue with that. Much like the Briscoes/Team Aries main event last week, Richards/Daivari blew my very low expectations out of the water to produce a fun free-TV main event which was worth watching.

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