ROH on HDNet – Episode 094 – 7th February 2011
Tonight ROH on HDNet says goodbye to the Davis Arena with a stacked 8-man tag team main event. Tensions will be high with the 9th Anniversary Show now just weeks away, and this evening we’ll see the Briscoes team with their iPPV opponents Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin…to face the Kings Of Wrestling and their next challengers the All Night Express. For the last time we go to Louisville, KY to join Mike Hogewood and DP
Jim Cornette brings Christopher Daniels and Eddie Edwards to the ring to congratulate them on their stellar match last week. Daniels puts Eddie and his title reign over and acknowledges that it’s only Edwards’ fighting spirit and decision to forego a time limit draw that lead to him winning the belt. Eddie is similarly complimentary…and both men ask for a rematch. Daniels wants a rematch with more time, and Edwards doesn’t think anyone can beat him twice. Both get their way as a 2/3 Falls TV Title match is booked for the 9th Anniversary Show. Mike Bennett interrupts to call everyone boring and throws his hat in the ring for the next TV Title opportunity once that rematch takes place. Good segment, with another match for the iPPV booked and Bennett’s best showing on TV so far.
Kyle Durden announces that next week the ‘Top Prospect Tournament’ will begin, pitting all the great new talent flowing into ROH against each other to determine who is the ‘top prospect’. Steve Corino is with him and says he’ll be watching the tournament and ready to offer advise to all 8 participants.
Mike Bennett vs Grizzly Redwood
Given that The Prodigy just made some huge claims, and pissed off two big ROH names in Daniels and Edwards – he really need to back up his big mouth with a convincing win over the Littlest Lumberjack.
Grizzly tries a headlock but is nonchalantly hoisted to the top rope by Bennett. Clearly Mike hasn’t seen many Redwood matches as the lumberjack dives back off the ropes and sends him crashing into the turnbuckles with a hurricanrana. But Bennett blocks the ‘chop ‘em down’ offence to throw him out of the ring. He starts pissing fans off by testing a dive and then switching approach to stomp on Grizzly’s hands…then slowing it right down with a basic chinlock. Spinebuster gets 2, but the tenacious bearded man gets muscled back up into a running powerslam. Bennett wins at 04:34
Rating – ** – I know I’m in the minority of people that like The Prodigy, so I probably enjoyed this more than most people. The strength of this was that it actually got Bennett’s style over. Yes he’s a limited worker, who uses a WWE cut and paste style for cheap heat. But nobody else in ROH does that (if you ignore Mike Mondo) and as such that makes him viable. Redwood busted his ass and bumped like a workhorse to make Mike look good here too.
After commercials Roddy Strong formally welcomes Michael Elgin to the House Of Truth and says that, with Elgin by his side, nobody will be able to take the World Title from him.
Kings Of Wrestling/All Night Express vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe/Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin
In less than three weeks all these teams will explode with their own issues, but if they want a victory tonight then they need to work together – particularly with so much pride at stake. The Kings and the Briscoes were embroiled in a bitter feud through most of 2010, and when they weren’t contending with them, Jay and Mark often found themselves having to deal with the up and coming All Night Express. And as summer turned to autumn last year, the Kings were given new arch rivals as Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team made their way to ROH at Glory By Honor 9. The KOW won that night, but WGTT recently defeated them in a non-title match at SoCal Showdown 2 to prove that there’s nothing between the two teams. Haas and Benjamin also beat ANX a couple of weeks ago – but only after Hero and Claudio interfered. Rhett and Kenny will surely want to avenge that loss here and now.
There are huge arguments on both teams as nobody can even decide who gets to start in the ring. In the end referees have to organise an informal coin toss just to get the match underway. Jay and Titus get the nod and continue where they left off last October in Dayton with a nifty little exchange. ANX hit a leg drop/splash combo…so Mark comes into the ring and the Briscoes hit some double team moves of their own. Kenny wants a tag but is appalled as both Kings leave the apron rather than accept his invitation to enter the match. On one side it seems like the Kings want to let ANX do all the work, whilst on the other WGTT and the Briscoes are bickering over who actually gets to legally enter the match and dish out the beatings. King SOMERSAULTS out of the Briscoe Biel…only to be mown down with the double football tackle instead. Hero is forcibly tagged in for the first time after that. The Briscoes seem like they’re having fun by not involving Haas or Shelton, but the smiles are soon wiped off their faces as Mark falls victim to a few double teams from the reigning ROH Tag Champions. Finally Benjamin reaches over and tags himself in – quickly turning the match in favour of his team with an exploder suplex on Castagnoli. Dragon Whip on Double C, then a head cradle backbreaker on Hero for 2. He then slams That Young Knockout Kid over Haas’ knee.
The KOW team-work comes into play again though, as the champs join forces to deliver a hard Irish whip on Charlie Haas…and that is enough to put the KOW/ANX unit in the ascendancy. Having seen Shelton do it earlier, Titus reaches into the ring and blind tags his team back in for the first time in over five minutes. He works Charlie’s back but stops watching his own corner and the Kings tag their way back in again. Claudio stays on that back with a bear hug, followed by a powerslam. Despite not getting along at all, the Kings and ANX have combined do a real number on Charlie’s back as we cross the 15 minute mark. Even Sara Del Rey gets involved to deliver a couple of cheap shots, before Haas finally dives into the corner and tags as many people as possible. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA by Mark…as in the ring Jay and Shelton join forces to hit a flapjack for 2. Benjamin nearly breaks Titus’ neck with a Samoan drop and doesn’t see the SHOTGUN KNEES coming from Kenny King. Haas in with a missile dropkick, before turning into the ROARING ELBOW FROM HERO! There are bodies laying everywhere! The Kings inadvertently boot the ANX in the face…and like that King, Titus, Hero and Claudio start brawling amongst themselves. Royal Flush/One Night Stand on Hero…and the All Nights WALK OUT! They’ve made their point…but the Briscoes and WGTT start fighting over who gets to BEAT the unconscious Chris Hero. Referees and jobbers pile in…and Todd Sinclair has no choice but to call it a no contest with everyone fighting amongst themselves. 20:28 was the time
Rating – *** – Really fun match, where the constant dissension on both sides of the ring meant it never once got boring at all. Had they put a better finish on this (although, for the record, this is one of those times when a shady non-finish angle actually made sense) I’d have preferred it to the Champions vs All Stars match. In particular I thought this match did a great job of elevating the All Night Express to the same level as the other three teams involved.
NEXT WEEK – The Top Prospect Tournament begins and Homicide faces Mark Briscoe
Tape Rating – *** – This was another fun show. The Daniels/Edwards/Bennett stuff was great, Bennett/Redwood was a decent squash and the main event was good as a standalone event and a neat little way of advancing all the tag team feuds as we move towards Chicago at the end of the month too. It was the last of the Louisville shows, and it’s a shame there weren’t more GREAT moments and matches for the only time the HDNet show went on the road. In truth, outside of Daniels/Hero, Daniels/Edwards and a few WGTT matches, most of the in-ring stuff was pretty tame. But, considering it was taped before Christmas and before Final Battle, the work ROH has done to start promoting the 9YA show during their time in Kentucky has been impressive.