ROH on Sinclair – Episode 070 – 19th January 2013
After a couple of decent house shows, which drew some really positive reviews from the critics and featured some really decent wrestling action – this evening Ring Of Honor returns to television with fresh content for the first time in 2013. You can expect to see all the fallout from Final Battle 2012 (better late than never), and presumably the focus will then quickly shift to the next ippv event – the 11th Anniversary Show at the start of March. Judging my the graphic on ROHWrestling.com’s Ringside Membership TV archive the headline bout for this is the Briscoes defending the tag straps against C&C WrestleFactory. Kevin Kelly and Caleb Seltzer are in Baltimore, MD.
SIDENOTE – Much as with the house show DVD’s from this weekend, this episode is the first with the new 2013-updated entrance video and theme for the TV show. As I said during my ‘The Hunt For Gold’ review, it’s a colossal improvement on the old one.
Kyle O’Reilly/Bobby Fish vs Alabama Attitude
This should be nothing but an enhancement match for reDRagon, who will be looking to rebound strong considering this was (at the time of taping) their first match after their loss to the American Wolves at Final Battle. Alabama Attitude (Posey and Hollis) have featured a few times previously and are a perfectly serviceable, albeit completely bland tag team. They’re really searching for a gimmick or a breakout performance which really makes them noticeable to ROH’s creative team.
O’Reilly starts with Corey Hollis, who makes a real impression as he holds his own on the deck with Kyle. Fish and Posey collide next, with Bobby choking the former referee in the ropes before decking him following a cheap shot from O’Reilly. Tilta-whirl backbreaker/flying knee combo from reDRagon gets 2. Posey hurdles across the ring to make a tag, allowing Hollis (the youngest man in the match) to fly in and take it to both opponents. He literally tosses Fish across the ring with a judo DDT, then jumps off Posey into an ASSISTED SHIRANUI/DDT COMBO! Alabama Jam from Posey for 2! GERMAN SUPLEX ON THE FLOOR from O’Reilly to Hollis! That leaves reDRagon alone with Posey, who win it with the BUZZSAW KICK BRAINBUSTER at 05:34
Rating – ** – I quite enjoyed that. Fish and O’Reilly have gelled together surprisingly quickly to form a really exciting new team in the Ring Of Honor tag division. They seem a natural fit and everything they do is executed with a fluidity that belies their lack of experience together. As a match this was a decent way to show off their skills. As I said during my intro, Alabama Attitude aren’t a bad team. They just badly lack identity or anything to make them slightly less generic. Posey, in particular, is just so unimpressive. There are tons of other indie workers who can do all the same things he does. I wonder if he’d get as many bookings as he does if he wasn’t a former TNA referee. Hollis, at least, is a decade younger and does genuinely show some real promise as a worker.
Nigel McGuinness comes to the ring to address the situation with Jay Lethal (who is cordially invited out to join him). He isn’t going to fine or suspend him for spitting in his face at Final Battle – instead giving him a formal warning. Lethal responds by demanding a World Title shot…to which Nigel suggests he try to change Steen’s mind, as he’s the only one who can agree to the match.
INSIDE ROH – Despite beating the TV Champion at Final Battle, Matt Hardy still hasn’t been awarded a shot at the belt. Adam Cole will defend against BJ Whitmer next week…and Hardy is furious about it. Elsewhere Kevin Steen has gone AWOL since winning Ladder War 4, although that is strongly disputed by Steve Corino.
Inside ROH also formally announces the start of the 2013 Top Prospect Tournament. Mike Bennett won the last one in 2011 and went on to enjoy a decent amount of success in ROH. This year’s pool of talent features ROH returns for ACH and Matt Taven, contracted guys like Tadarius Thomas and QT Marshall, guys we’ve seen hunting for regular bookings like Adam Page, Silas Young and Mike Sydal – plus former WWE talent Antonio Thomas (although how a former WWE Tag Champion is a ‘Top Prospect’ is anyone’s guess). Truth Martini has been invited to join the commentary table throughout the Top Prospect Tournament – presumably scouting talent as he looks to rebuild the House Of Truth.
QT Marshall vs Mike Sydal
This is the first Top Prospect Tournament match, and on paper it is a huge mismatch. Marshall won an ROH contract for himself back at Boiling Point 2012, but has struggled to break out (despite the guidance of RD Evans in his corner). He’ll plan on using this stage to really springboard his ROH career. On the flip side of that, Mike Sydal is just looking for regular bookings and to start carving his own niche in a company where he remains very much in the shadow of his older brother.
Marshall isn’t popular, even with the usually supportive Baltimore crowd. Sydal starts hot and grounds him with some classical junior heavyweight style armdrags. They botch a back body drop segment, which leads to RD Evans grabbing Mike’s leg – and distracting him for long enough for Marshall to pop him in the mouth. Is it just me or does QT look like a fat Chavo Guerrero? His beer gut hangs over his trunks as he taunts the crowd after landing a flurry of elbows to Mike’s chest. He hits a tilta-whirl backbreaker, but takes too long following up and sees his running powerslam attempt countered to a DDT. Sydal capitalises, bridging under a clothesline and snapping off a neckbreaker. He sends QT to the outside with a flying headscissors, then heads upstairs for a TOP ROPE MOONSAULT which takes out both Marshall and Evans! Standing moonsault a’la Evan Bourne gets knees though. Marshall nails God’s Gift (the running Dominator) to advance at 05:35
Rating – ** – This genuinely wasn’t anywhere near as terrible as you might expect. I’m really not sure what QT Marshall offers when it comes to actual in-ring talent, but you can’t deny that he’s easy to hate. The biggest surprise in this match was Mike Sydal though. This was his best ROH performance by a mile. Most of what he hit was clean, and he actually played the underdog with real skill and presence – rather than just trying to do clever sh*t he’s not talented enough to pull off, followed by a succession of Matt Sydal/Evan Bourne tribute spots.
In the locker room Veda Scott interviews Caprice and Cedric, who thank the Briscoes for keeping their promise of giving them an immediate Tag Title shot. Caprice sings about being new champions…
Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Caprice Coleman/Cedric Alexander – ROH Tag Title Match
It was actually a year ago at Underground that Caprice and Cedric challenged the Briscoes during their seventh reign as ROH Tag Champions. They lost that night, just as they lost at Final Battle 2012, when Jay and Mark overcame both C&C and SCUM to get their belts back. But they immediately declared their respect for Coleman and Alexander, and promised them the first shot at the belts. Technically that honour went to the American Wolves (who challenged on January 18th in Dearborn), but as this was taped in early January before The Hunt For Gold they did stick to their word.
It’s all very respectful to start with, but Alexander shows his focus as he takes Mark down for a flurry of early pinfall attempts. Caprice moves with similar purpose as he takes Jay down a couple of times. Hart Attack leg lariat knocks Mark to the floor, with Jay soon sent packing too. SOMERSAULT PLANCHAS nailed! That’s where we go to commercials – and it’s all change when we return as it’s the Briscoes with Cedric isolated in the ring. They drastically slow the pace, clearly opting to work a really methodical and dominating style to negate the speed and athleticism of their challengers. In turn, when Coleman does get the tag things really pick up as he nails Jay with a running STO then drills Mark with the rolling northern lights. DOUBLE northern lights suplex gets 2! Irish Air Raid gets another nearfall and requires Jay to save his brother. Doomsday Device blocked…then countered to OVERTIME! STILL 2! Jay mashes Cedric into the guardrails then sprints into the ring to help his brother nail the Splash Mountain neckbreaker. Alexander barely kicks out of the Froggy Bow which comes seconds later. Doomsday Device does win it for the Briscoes at 10:09 (shown)
Rating – *** – This was decent, although probably not the breakout performance many people were hoping to see from C&C. They are a really talented team, but I just don’t get why a lot of fans think they should be the champions right now. I’m not saying the Briscoes as champs for the 8th time is particularly fresh, and I’m certainly not denying that C&C are hugely talented. But, in my opinion, they’re just not ready. Never once did fans buy them as a legitimate threat to the Briscoes here. Other than their matches with the Bravados, they’ve not really been stealing the show on a regular basis with their performances either. That’s the next step for Caprice and Cedric. People are starting to buy into them – and they now need to reward that with some strong in-ring performances. For free TV this was an ok main event, but one you’ll have forgotten about very quickly.
Steve Corino, Jimmy Jacobs and Rhino (who is acknowledged as part of SCUM) run in to assault all four wrestlers as the show comes to an end. No sign of Kevin Steen though…
NEXT WEEK – Cole/Whitmer for the TV Title, plus Matt Hardy’s SBG debut and more TPT action
Tape Rating – ** – An unremarkable return to TV for ROH, which lacked ambition and quality…but that said it was still solid viewing. reDRagon/Attitude and Marshall/Sydal were both better than you’d probably have predicted, whilst the main event was pretty decent. But the reality is, whilst the wrestling was ok, all I’ll really remember from this show is the Nigel/Lethal segment (which was pretty well done), and Kevin Kelly shilling the TV Title match for next week by saying ‘it’s important because Matt Hardy is NOT in it’. Genuinely. He actually said that.