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ROH TV 2/9/2013

ROH on Sinclair – Episode 073 – 9th February 2013

This is the last episode from ROH’s first tapings of 2013. As I said at the end of my Episode 72 review, thus far I’ve found this whole set of shows to be really underwhelming. There have been some decent performances, but honestly nothing that will really live for long in the memory. Maybe that will change tonight – particularly since there are some juicy matches announced. An 8-Man Tag main event will headline, pitting the Briscoes and the C&C WrestleFactory against all of SCUM. For me though, the one I’m looking forward to most is the returns of Matt Taven and ACH in the final first round encounter in the Top Prospect Tournament. I like both of those youngsters and am looking forward to seeing them lock horns. Kevin Kelly and Caleb Seltzer continue on commentary from Baltimore, MD.

Matt Taven vs ACH
When the talent for the 2013 Top Prospect Tournament was announced, these were the two names most people held up as their picks for potential winner and breakout act. In some respects it’s actually a disappointment that this is a first round clash rather than the final. Taven returns for the first time in a while, but he produced some quality matches for the Sinclair TV show in 2012. Obviously people remember his blockbuster match with Mike Mondo, but tend to overlook decent matches he had with the likes of Kyle O’Reilly and Tommaso Ciampa. It’s the first time we’ve seen ACH since his debut back in September. He impressed everyone with his showing at Death Before Dishonor 10 and his return has been demanded ever since. ROH finally got him booked again, and he has a chance to clinch that permanent roster spot with a strong showing in the tournament.

The athleticism of both guys is quickly on display as they cartwheel, duck and roll back and forth in an impressive exchange of holds. ACH lands the first significant strike with a clothesline in the ropes, only for Taven to instantly fire back with a springboard dropkick. SUICIDE DIVE TO THE FLOOR! It’s one risk too many though, as he misses a flying crossbody and eats ACH’s boot. Quebrada out of nothing for Taven though…only for ACH to blast him with an axe kick on the apron. SLAM DUNK SOMERSAULT PLANCHA BY ACH! ‘I can feel myself starting to get off’ – Truth Martini. He follows that up with the sliding flatliner for 2. ACH hits a flurry of strikes, but his diminutive stature means there’s not a lot of force behind those shots. It allows Matt to recover and nail him with a brutal bicycle kick. An unfortunate botch of an ambitious rope run spot somewhat derails their momentum, but the crowd stay with it as Taven nails a SLINGSHOT SWINGING NECKBREAKER! FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH! Taven claims the last TPT semi-final spot with the win at 05:08

Rating – *** – Best match of the tournament thus far, and some might even argue that it’s the best match at these entire tapings that we’ve seen by this point. I won’t call it a star-making performance for Taven since we’ve seen what he can do already. This was, however, a really stylish exhibition of what ACH brings to the table. In Dragon Gate USA and PWG his athletic high-flying is pretty much the norm. You’ve got guys like Rich Swann, Ricochet, AR Fox, Samuray Del Sol and more all doing this kind of thing. He would be a perfect fit for their roster – which is why he’s such a unique talent to ROH and why they really should be snapping him up to a contract after this match (they waited until after he stole the show with Roderick Strong in Cincinnati the following weekend to get his deal inked). The botch at the end was unfortunate, but of no real consequence as the match had already made the statement required of it. Taven and ACH both emerge looking like super-hot prospects.

Nigel McGuinness brings Adam Cole and Matt Hardy to the ring in an effort to defuse the escalating situation between them. The long and the short of it is that he is going to book a Cole/Hardy rematch, but it won’t be a title match. Hardy refuses, but is boo’d with such ferocity his promo is pretty much drowned out. He calls Nigel jealous, and buries his career into insignificance (which is perfectly sold by McGuinness). Cole sucker punches Hardy and they brawl until separated. The segment ends without confirmation as to whether Cole/Hardy 2 has actually been booked.

INSIDE ROH – Truth Martini joins Kevin Kelly and gives his thoughts on all four semi-finalists in the Top Prospect Tournament. There’s also a genuine effort to promote the live event being taped in Cincinnati next weekend with promos, matches announced and more.

In the locker room Caprice Coleman summons up all his abilities as a preacher to fire up Cedric Alexander and the Briscoes ahead of the main event. Mark’s reactions and ‘amens’ are side-splittingly hilarious. ROH doesn’t do enough fun little skits like this.

Athena vs MsChif
It’s no surprise that with Delirious back in charge he’s started trying to rebuild even a small Women Of Honor division. MsChif seems to have been chosen as the centrepiece this time around, and ROH fans should be familiar with her work – both in this company and elsewhere. I believe this is Athena’s Ring Of Honor debut, so she has much to prove. Veda Scott is on commentary to help promote the women’s division.

Hot start from Athena, as she springs off the canvas into a beautiful armbar takedown on the more experienced female. MsChif tries to shut that down quickly with a submission which folds Athena in half! Standing moonsault scores for 2. Athena retaliates with a handspring heel kick and gets her own nearfall…and is instantly punished with repeated double stomps against the turnbuckles. Athena scales the ropes…DIVING STUNNER NAILED! MsChif puts her feet on the ropes to avoid a shock defeat. Chif catches her opponent as she tries to go back to the top rope and ties her up in the second turnbuckle. OBLITERATION! That’s a SECOND ROPE Pedigree – and MsChif wins at 04:29

Rating – * – A few decent spots, but as ever with the Women Of Honor it seems, there were as many miscues and misses as there were hits. That being said, I really liked Athena. Not that I have anything against MsChif, I just think she isn’t over enough to be the focal point of Delirious’ attempt to rebuild the Women Of Honor. At just 24 years of age and with an electrifying finishing move, Athena would have been an interesting choice to bring in more often and start working more matches.

Kevin Steen/Steve Corino/Jimmy Jacobs/Rhino vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe/Caprice Coleman/Cedric Alexander
There are so many issues burning here, on top of the obvious ROH/Honor Lives movement vs SCUM. It’s a match which contains both the World and Tag Champions, which means there are opportunities on both sides to get into title reckoning. Corino and Jacobs want a rematch with the Briscoes, so know a win over them here would help their cause. The Briscoes have been feuding with SCUM since last summer so there certainly isn’t any love lost there – and C&C have also been on the losing end of SCUM’s antics in the past too.

Things break down in an instant and there are bodies flying all over ringside. There are three referees out there and still they have no control over proceedings. The clock has ticked well past three minutes and we’ve barely seen any action take place inside the ring. Jay tries to take it to Corino, but turns his back on the Man Beast and has no clue what hits him as Rhino nails a TKO. The SCUM team try to isolate Jay, much to the irritation of ‘Team ROH’. Interestingly, there are signs of tension on the SCUM side with Steen and Corino noticeably bickering at times. Perhaps that causes Steen to lose focus and gives Jay the chance to score with a turnbuckle flatliner. Mark gets the hot tag and brings the inevitable Redneck Kung Fu. Rhino refuses to put that over, and stands there looking irritated before punching Mark right between the eyes. Total Elimination from C&C to Steen gets 2…and things start to break down again. TOP ROPE SOMERSAULT PLANCHA FROM STEEN!! That takes as much out of the champion as it does out of everyone else though, and Cedric is the first man up to hit a springboard swinging DDT. Corino saves Jacobs from the Doomsday Device and helps Jimmy hit the assisted Shiranui for 2. GORE from Rhino to Caprice! Alexander is set up for the Gore too, but Steen steals his thunder to hit the Package Piledriver then pin Cedric at 10:43 (shown).

Rating – *** – Pretty much a by the numbers effort. Nobody was working particularly hard, and most of the wrestlers were wrestling their second match of the tapings. Thankfully there was more than enough talent to fill the 10+ minutes they were given with enough entertaining content that it made for a decent main event. The Steen/SCUM tension added depth to things too. Not worth seeking out to view on it’s own, but as the main event to what has comfortably been the strongest episode in this set of tapings this wasn’t bad at all

Steen walks out by himself, leaving Rhino, Corino and Jacobs behind looking at him in bewilderment.

NEXT WEEK – Jay Lethal vs Jimmy Jacobs is the main event, and the TPT semis get underway too.

Tape Rating – *** – I’ve given a generous 3* to this show, since it was clearly the best episode of the taping. The main event was chaotic, whilst Taven/ACH delivered easily the best 2013 Top Prospect Tournament to date. I could have lived without Matt Hardy being all over my screen again (but then again, I suppose ROH has to get their money’s worth out of him), but of the four episodes taped on this evening, to be frank, this is the only one worth watching.





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