030 ROH on HDNET 10/19/2009

ROH on HDNet – Episode 030 – 19th October 2009

There’s an argument to be made that this is the most stacked episode of ROH on HDNet to date. There are three announced matches, all of which could feasibly be television main events. Colt Cabana’s feud with The Embassy continues as he wrestles Claudio Castagnoli. Jerry Lynn faces Kenny King in an intriguing battle of youth and potential against age and experience. The main event is a big one too, with Austin Aries defending the World Title against Bryan Danielson. Without further delay, we join Dave Prazak and Mike Hogewood in Philadelphia, PA.

Kenny King vs Jerry Lynn

Two weeks ago on HDNet the new team of Tyler Black and adversary-turned-mentor Jerry Lynn defeated the All Night Express of Kenny King and Rhett Titus in a decent tag team encounter. That was followed last week by Black impressively beating Rhett in a singles encounter. Tonight Jerry will look to complete the sweep with a singles win over the impressive and improving Kenny King.

Even opening segment, ending when Kenny shows some experience by going for a wild pescado. Jerry moves and leaves King to eat floor mat. Cannonball senton off the apron by Lynn to follow. King retorts by hurdling the ropes into a guillotine then starts choking him in the ropes. Shotgun Knees score for a 2-count, and he stays right on Jerry with the snap suplex into mounted elbows. He goes for the rope hurdle a second time, but this time Lynn blocks it and delivers the guillotine leg drop in the ropes. Springboard sunset bomb out of the corner just about connects for 2. There’s a chance Jerry is too old for that spot now. Cradle Piledriver countered with the Royal Flush. But Lynn blocks the Coronation…only to find Rhett Titus standing on the apron to stop him delivering the Cradle Piledriver again. King gets a cheap win by holding the ropes at 06:41

Rating – ** – The match was only average and the finish was absolutely terrible. I think this rating is actually a rather generous one. There were a few flashes of good stuff in this battle of age vs experience, but too much dead time and aimless spots in a sub-7 minute match.

Jerry isn’t happy and tries to fight off both ANX members. SPIKE PILEDRIVER ON LYNN! Horrific angle on that, and officials (including Adam Pearce) flock straight to the ring. We go for an early commercial break…

Back from the break, Kyle Durden asks Tyler Black for an update on Jerry. He goes to find out, and we go back to ringside in time to see Lynn being carried out of the arena.

Nigel McGuinness vs Sal Rinauro

In recent weeks we’ve seen Nigel go from HDNet trouble maker to an incredibly bitter and angry individual following his defeat to Tyler Black. He promised that next time we saw him in the ring he’d be more aggressive and dangerous than ever. Enter Sal for him to prove his point.

Nigel reassures Sal that there’s no reason to be scared since he’s only going to be working basic wristlocks and hammerlocks to piss the crowd off. Rinauro actually does okay with that, so Nigel elbows him in the face then delivers the wristlock suplex. Sal isn’t happy, and moans about it on the stick, catching McGuinness off guard for a springboard crossbody. Nigel teases the Tower Of London on the apron, but then doesn’t do it, again, irritating the fans. London Dungeon for the win at 02:07

Rating – * – I liked that Sal got to show more personality in this match. But if Nigel’s new gimmick is working a tame style to piss the fans off, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of it. Not sure it’s the best way to pick up new fans either if I’m honest.

In the back Kyle Durden tries to give an update on Jerry Lynn…only to be interrupted by Kenny King. He says tonight he and Rhett helped Lynn to retire.

Claudio Castagnoli vs Colt Cabana

More Cabana vs Embassy games here. These two have fought a number of times in varying match formats over the course of the last six months in Ring Of Honor. Can Cabana score a win over a known associate of his rivals – or can Claudio continue to rebuild his career after the conclusion of the Brent Albright feud by beating a major fan favourite here?

Claudio really is in crazily good shape right now. He looks even better when standing next to the incredibly ugly singlet Cabana is wearing tonight. Very European start to the match, greeted by near silence from the crowd. Colt’s tomfoolery sees him in the ascendancy for the majority of their mat wrestling exchanges, but as soon as it breaks down to an exchange of strikes Claudio’s devastating European uppercut hands him the advantage. Les Artess Lift gets 2. Just like that the height and strength of Castagnoli come into play as he pins Cabana to the canvas in various submission holds. Big exchange of nearfalls ends with Cabana pinning Claudio down for the 3 at 07:34

Rating – ** – I actually quite liked this, but it was probably wildly unsuitable for an ROH on HDNet taping. Had this been on World Of Sport in the 80’s it would have been very well received, but for a product like ROH, this didn’t seem like a good fit. At best the crowd were taking a bathroom break, and at worst they were outright crapping on the match.

Recap of Austin Aries and his Lucky Lottery shenanigans of recent weeks on HDNet. After breezing past Grizzly Redwood and Alex Payne in recent weeks, tonight A-Double has his work cut out for him if he’s to beat American Dragon.

Austin Aries vs Bryan Danielson – ROH World Title Match

Dragon, a man who carried the Ring Of Honor World Championship with honour and pride for well over a year during his reign, has taken exception to Austin Aries’ conduct since he won the belt for a second time. The fixed A-Double L-Double’s have not gone down well with the ‘Best In The World’ and even on his way out of ROH, he wants the opportunity to take the belt from a man he doesn’t feel is treating it with the reverence and prestige it deserves. This is a rematch from HDNet Episode 003 when Danielson pulled out the victory over Aries – who technically evened the score at Final Countdown Tour Chicago when he successfully defended the belt against Dragon.

The opening minutes are surprisingly quick, which favours the explosive, athletic Word Champion more than it does the challenger. But as soon as the match goes to the canvas it’s Dragon in the ascendancy, capturing Aries in an anklelock and forcing the champion to flee. Danielson gives chase, scoring with a FLYING KNEE STRIKE from the apron. Unhappy with that, Austin drops Danielson throat-first over the ropes, then delivers a hanging neckbreaker in them. A-Double starts working the neck hard, an obvious set up for all his finishers. Dragon Sleeper applied, only for Danielson to counter with a sleeper into a back suplex which leaves both men down. Sayama flip by Dragon, but Aries knows the running elbow strike normally follows that and he blocks it. FOREARM SMASH BLOCKS THE HEAT SEEKING MISSILE! But Aries can sense when the back superplex is coming, and manages to knock Bryan out of the ring…for the HEAT SEEKING MISSILE second time around. He hits a missile dropkick, then nips up a’la Bryan Danielson…only to be caught in a Triangle Choke. Brainbuster blocked…anklelock on the champion again! ROARING ELBOW! Austin staggered, but he rallies with the KICK OF DEATH! LAST CHANCERY! Bryan makes the ropes and draws the pop of the night from the fans. Unhappy with that, Aries exposes one of the metal turnbuckle bolts but eats a tiger suplex from the challenger before he can use it. Cattle Mutilation follows, but Aries escapes to deliver a NECK DROP shinbreak back suplex. IED COUNTERED BACK TO THE ANKLELOCK! ARIES KICKS HIM INTO THE EXPOSED TURNBUCKLE! IED NAILED! Aries barely escapes with his belt at 14:55…

Rating – **** – I will probably get some flack for over-rating this, but for a free TV main event I thought this was fantastic. They adapted their ‘DVD main event’ style, cutting it right down to a very crisp and concise 15 minutes of great wrestling. Aries worked the neck like a bastard, with Dragon hanging with him every step of the way thanks to his own obvious skills. There was all the usual familiarity countering we’re used to seeing from these long term rivals, and the sports entertainment finish was extremely well done, providing a believable, heel finish to the match and keeping Aries over as the chickensh*t heel champion we’re all coming to know and hate. Was this their best match together – probably not. But for ROH on HDNet and the product they need to present to make the show viable, and make the roster marketable television commodities, this was a SUPERB bout.

Tape Rating – *** – This episode was a notable step down in quality from that which we’ve seen in recent weeks – however, the excellent main event and the effective, well-executed Jerry Lynn injury angle were good enough to save a decent rating for the show. That injury angle, in one move, takes the ANX from goofy undercard team to legitimised threats – and that’s something they deserve after having a terrific 2009 thus far. And, whilst the Aries/Danielson main event probably doesn’t even crack the Top 5 best encounters in their particular series of matches, I thought it was a cracking match, a wonderful way to represent Ring Of Honor on HDNet, and something ROH fans could show to more casual wrestling followers in an attempt to hook them on the product too.

ROH on HDNet Episodes 26-30 – Top 5 Matches

5) Jerry Lynn/Tyler Black vs Kenny King/Rhett Titus (*** – Episode 027)

4) Brent Albright vs Claudio Castagnoli (*** – Episode 027)

3) Austin Aries vs Bryan Danielson (**** – Episode 030)

2) Bryan Danielson/KENTA/Roderick Strong vs Chris Hero/American Wolves (**** – Episode 026)

1) KENTA vs Chris Hero (**** – Episode 029)