039 ROH on HDNET 12/21/2009

ROH on HDNet – Episode 039 – 21st December 2009

This is actually the last instalment of fresh ROH content for the year 2009. There is one more episode of ROH on HDNet to broadcast next week, but that’s a ‘Best Of 2009’ highlights show so in terms of new material, this is the last of it for this year. The Pick 6 Series continues tonight with Colt Cabana and Claudio Castagnoli set to pit their wits in pursuit of a birth in the first ever Pick 6 contendership rankings. Both guys want World Championship opportunities, so the stakes are as high as ever. We go to Philadelphia, PA for the final time this year – to join Dave Prazak and Mike Hogewood.

Shane Hagadorn brings Chris Hero to the ring for some promo time. He is furious that Jim Cornette forgot to include him when he read out the first round of Pick 6 matches. Claudio Castagnoli interrupts him, apparently to proclaim his European Uppercut to be better than Hero’s Knock-Out Elbows. Jim Cornette interrupts them both, tells Claudio to go away then tells Chris to stick around as he has something in store for him next.

Chris Hero vs Kyle O’Reilly
Jim Cornette has told Hero to back up his big talk with a decent performance in this match. It’s a first HDNet appearance for O’Reilly. He’s a student of Davey Richards and has appeared on a number of pre-shows over the past few months.

Kyle is a hell of a talent, but he looks jobber-iffic. He hits a sweet armdrag, ducks some wild elbow attempts before landing some big kicks on Hero. Such is their impact that Chris actually leaves the ring for some respite. O’Reilly tries to follow, but that turns out to be a mistake as he eats the Flash Kick in the ropes for 2. Still game, he tries a pinning combo and gets 2…before Hero punishes him with an elbow smash then another Flash Kick. More kicks from Kyle, this time with such ferocity that he takes Hero off his feet. Roaring Elbow BLOCKED WITH A JUMPING ENZI! O’Reilly lands a tornado DDT for 2. Roaring Elbow connects this time, and the youngster goes down in a heap. DEATH BLOW NAILED! Hero wins at 05:11

Rating – ** – Good start to the show with Hero getting to look dominant, whilst making sure to let Kyle land enough offence to still make him look good too. Credit to O’Reilly, ROH on HDNet has been through a ton of jobbers (Sal, Kozina, Callihan, Fish, Up In Smoke, Kermon etc) but he did more than most to get himself over whilst still getting squashed. In many ways this was the ideal squash match in that the victor got to look dominant and impressive, whilst the youngster got his first main show exposure in ROH and actually looked pretty decent. Given Kyle’s connections (Davey), and after his crisp performance here, I’m sure we’ll see more from him.

Kyle Durden is in the back with The Embassy. He asks what they want for Christmas. Joey Ryan says he’s going to GIVE the gift of getting Necro Butcher out of ROH.

We then go to Colt Cabana in the back where he cuts a very similar promo to the one he gave in the build up to Reverse The Curse. He wants to use the Pick 6 to bring the ROH Title to Chicago.

Necro Butcher discusses his character. At home he’s a normal guy who looks after his kids and watches Sesame Street…but when he gets in the ring he’s someone who wants to hurt people so he can provide for his family.

After commercials, we get more clips of Sonjay assaulting Daizee Haze during the Final Countdown Tour Boston show. Dutt has challenged Delirious to a Submission Match to settle their differences, and that’s a challenge Delirious has willingly accepted. Nice to see HDNet starting to promote awareness of the live shows. In 2010 ROH needs to get a LOT better at getting the storylines from the live events and TV show to mirror each other.

Joey Ryan vs Necro Butcher
This match is a continuation of the long-running Necro vs Embassy feud. Ryan is coming for a form of revenge after Necro put the Crown Jewel Jimmy Rave out of ROH in that wild Dog Collar Match at Final Countdown Tour Chicago.

Even Hog calls the Necro vs Embassy feud ‘never ending’. Butcher starts well but Joey fights back by choking him in the ropes. Necro counteracts that by taking Ryan out of the ring for a body slam into the crowd. In one of the most inventive spots Necro has done in ROH all year, he grabs a camera from the nearest cameraman for a first-person view of him slapping Joey silly. Wisely Ryan brings the match back into the ring, flooring the Butcher with a dropkick. The Magnum maintains his control of the match without doing much of any significance. He doesn’t do anything special, he doesn’t cheat. Just beats on Necro in a somewhat mundane, low key fashion. Finally he does take a chance, gets caught out and allows Butcher to hit the Necro-canrana. Ryan throws powder in his face to get DQ’d at 07:47

Rating – DUD – Lousy match and, outside of the first-person-video-game style spot with Necro and the camera, I hated every second of this. It’s not even that it was bad, it’s that it was a giant waste of time. The Necro vs Embassy feud has gone on forever. With Jimmy Rave gone there’s no real focal point to The Embassy…and since there’s no viable singles guy there’s nobody around for Necro to FINISH this feud against. I know Pearce wants it to be Erick Stevens but at this stage he hadn’t turned, and the reality is he’s never going to be over with the fans. Meanwhile Joey Ryan, a genuine talent and legitimate heat magnet if given the opportunity, is stuck as a second/third tier guy in the stable he could be leading, and as a result does little more than phone his matches in. The crappy finish really was the cherry on top of the dog turd sundae that was this match. I know I sound needlessly harsh. But Necro hasn’t contributed much to ROH since Age Of The Fall broke-up (regardless of his popularity with the fans) and canning Jimmy Rave after his best match in 2009 ROH (the Dog Collar match in Chicago) to replace him with Erick Stevens is a silly idea. Initially I liked the notion of bringing Erick into The Embassy. But that was when I thought he was going to be the replacement Bison Smith. The replacement enforcer if you will. I could buy him as Arn…but not in the Flair role.

Speaking of Erick Stevens, he arrives with a chair to prevent Nana, Ernesto and Joey putting a beatdown on Necro Butcher.

Claudio Castagnoli vs Colt Cabana – Pick 6 Series Match
These two met on HDNet pretty recently I recall. They always have very pleasant, midcard-ish, European-style matches, but this is the main event of the show. Can they step up their style to meet the demands of a HDNet main event. As we saw at the start of the show, Claudio believes himself to be at the top of his game – one of the best in ROH right now. To legitimise those claims, he needs to get into the Pick 6 and earn himself a title match…and he needs to do that at the expense of a motivated Colt Cabana. He’s desperate to break the Chicago ‘curse’ and finally bring a championship back to his hometown. He failed to do it against Aries at Reverse The Curse earlier this month, so needs to get back into the Pick 6 in order to earn another shot.

Colt dodges the glove slap and steals it, pissing Castagnoli off so much he’s nearly able to pin him in the first five seconds of the match. As you’d expect, they go straight to the mat where Cabana looks to use his wisecracking to throw Claudio off his game. And for all his joking, he’s also extremely proficient at the British style, and Castagnoli has his work cut out just keeping up with him. For the majority of the opening five minutes it seems like Cabana is making all the running as they continue to trade holds. Frustrated, Claudio slaps him in the mouth then runs off, allowing Prince Nana to distract Cabana. The distraction ensures Double C is able to flatten his opponent with a European uppercut for 2. Bicycle Kick nailed for the same result as the European athlete finally starts to establish himself in the match. It’s his turn to have taken Cabana off his game now – with Colt attempting a needless springboard off the ropes and dropping straight into another uppercut which splits his lip open. Claudio goes for another Bicycle, but this time Colt blocks it and lands the quebrada press. MAJOR power from Castagnoli though, catching him going for a crossbody and delivering a big backbreaker instead. But Cabana’s whacky pinning combinations are enough to give him a flash victory at 09:40

Rating – ** – Solid back and forth match, but very underwhelming for a main event. Much as I said during my intro, these guys normally put on entertaining midcard matches with lots of European influence. This wasn’t much different…except there wasn’t as much comedy therefore it wasn’t as entertaining. The first 5-6 minutes were painfully slow, which isn’t really excusable when they’re only working less than 10 minutes total. Compare this to Cabana/McGuinness from a few weeks ago which DID have some comedy and logically progressed from one point to the next throughout the match, and you can see why I gave that one 3* and tonight only 2*.

Show ends with an average rap/rock song with a music video shot at ROH shows with a number of ROH wrestlers involved. I believe it’s by the guy who does all the ROH HDNet music.

Tape Rating – ** – Disappointing show to end the year on. I liked the opening segment, and Hero/O’Reilly was a solid start for the in-ring stuff. However, after commercials it was pretty mediocre with a horrible Necro/Ryan match and an underwhelming main event. ROH has been really hot for much of the second half of the year, and after the quality of Final Battle 2009 it’s a shame that we end the year on such a low key note.

ROH on HDNet Episodes 36-39 – Top 5 Matches
5) Delirious vs Kenny King (*** – Episode 038)
4) Tyler Black vs Sonjay Dutt (*** – Episode 038)
3) Austin Aries vs Colt Cabana (*** – Episode 036)
2) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Kevin Steen/El Generico (**** – Episode 037)
1) Austin Aries vs Davey Richards vs Kenny Omega vs Roderick Strong (**** – Episode 037)

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