ROH on HDNET 10/18/2010

ROH on HDNet – Episode 078 – 18th October 2010

To many, this is considered the best episode of ROH on HDNet, largely because it consists almost entirely of the third and final encounter between Tyler Black and Davey Richards – which many consider the best match from ROH’s run on HDNet. That’s what we’ve got in store tonight. Tyler Black makes his last ROH appearance, and with both he and Davey scoring a victory over each other so far this year, both will be gunning to win the rubber match. This was taped in Philadelphia, PA with Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak in position to call the action.

Davey Richards and Tyler Black have to be separated in the locker room (including Kevin Kelly making his first HDNet appearance) so Jim Cornette brings them straight to the ring to air their grievances face to face. Black calls Davey stupid for turning down offers from TNA and WWE to stay in Ring Of Honor and suspects he’ll be crippled within three years if he stays in this promotion. Cornette tells Tyler to go and put his gear on, they’ll have the rest of the episode to settle it…

NEXT MONTH – Survival Of The Fittest 2010 is in Detroit, whilst the next night Chris Daniels challenges Roderick Strong for the ROH Championship in Toronto.

The editing of this episode (to make it look like a spontaneous decision to book this match and dedicate the whole episode to it) is really clever. They re-run the pre-ppv hype video for the Tyler/Davey match from Death Before Dishonor 8 to kill time. Even though lots of the World Title stuff is no longer relevant it’s still a really insightful and emotional little package that builds anticipation even for a third match in their series in 2010.

Kyle Durden has the Briscoes backstage. They’re booked for one more title match with the Kings Of Wrestling, but under the provision that if they don’t win, they don’t get anymore shots at Hero and Claudio. Despite being 6-time champions, Jay and Mark are more concerned about getting even for the assault on their father. That’s booked for next week…

Davey Richards vs Tyler Black
This is the third and final match between these two. They shared ROH’s MOTY in Toronto at Death Before Dishonor 8 in a match which saw Tyler Black barely escape with his World Title. Then in Charlotte at Tag Wars 2010 he faced Richards again, but refused to defend the belt for a second time. That was fortunate for him as he wound up losing to the American Wolf on that night. Now, having lost the belt to Strong, and in his final match for the promotion before leaving for WWE developmental – this match is all about definitively proving who the better man is.

No handshake, Davey sprints across the ring and starts hammering Black with shots. Tyler dropkicks him out of the ring and shows equally little desire to wait around – sprinting across the ring straight into a somersault plancha. He uses the guardrails to establish an advantage and quickly starts to use his size, strength and agility to dominate his opponent. Davey sends him out of the ring and delivers a HUGE kick from the apron, emphasising that striking is his one real superiority over the former World Champion. He continues to pelt him with kicks, weakening him enough to try a submission hold but then finding that Black’s size and wrestling skill make him more of a match there. Another big kick floors Black again, and this time he is weakened enough to allow Richards to start working submission holds and really wear him down. Black makes the mistake of trying to trade strikes with Davey and gets booted in the stomach for his troubles. PEROXISM NAILED! That came out of nowhere and Richards quickly rolls all the way out of the ring to separate himself from Black…who recognises his opportunity to strike and gives chase to hit a suplex on the floor.

Tyler has succeeded in putting a serious beating on Richards, and makes that point by engaging Davey in another exchange of strikes, and this time winning with a Superkick. Richards tries to topple Black out of the ring again, and when Black thinks he has the move countered Davey KICKS HIM IN THE BACK INSTEAD! TOPE CON HILO SCORES! DAVEY LANDED ON HIS NECK THOUGH! He recovers quickly though, bringing Tyler back in the ring for the Handspring Enziguri. DR Driver blocked as we approach 15 minutes though…so Richards turns him into the Cloverleaf instead. No submission, so he batters Black with kicks again. TYLER PICKS HIM UP AND THROWS HIM TO THE FLOOR! He follows that with a SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT off the rails and the Springboard Lariat back into the ring. F-5 scores too, but it’s not enough to win the match. He sets up for the Phoenix Splash but is stopped in his tracks. ROPE RUN GERMAN SUPERPLEX…BLACK LANDS ON HIS FEET! ALARM CLOCK! NO SOLD! SUPERKICK DUCKED! PELE KICK INSTEAD! REVERSE RANA DROPS DAVEY ON HIS HEAD! NO SOLD! LARIATOOOOOOO! How badly does Davey want this? He refuses to stay down!

He just won’t stay down. 20 minutes pass on the clock with both men wearily getting back to their feet Richards with machine gun kicks…ELEVATED DDT ON THE APRON! But he’s exhausted and collapses into the corner, using the referee’s count to recover rather than continue the attack on Black. Tyler scrambles back in, straight into a Saito suplex, then a bridging German for 2. SHOOTING STAR PRESS MISSES! BUCKLE BOMB! SUPERKICK! Only for Richards to kick out at 2…so Black puts him in his own Cloverleaf submission briefly. ALARM CLOCK SUPERKICK! GOD’S LAST GIFT! RICHARDS KICKS OUT AGAIN! Again Davey stops Black going for the Phoenix Splash and they resort to pasting each other with chops on the top rope. TREE OF WOE DOUBLE STOMP BY BLACK! VAN TERMINATOR NEXT! But still Richards won’t let himself be beaten! PHOENIX SPLASH INTO THE KNEES! SUPERKICK! DAVEY NO SELLS…DISCUS LARIAT! DR DRIVER SCORES! BLACK KICKS OUT! BUCKLE BOMB ON TYLER! BUZZSAW KICK! GOD’S LAST GIFT…TYLER KICKS OUT OF HIS OWN FINISHER! TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! BLACK TAPS! Davey wins the series 2-1 at 27:15

Rating – ****1/2 – Not quite as good as Death Before Dishonor 8, but definitely on the same excellent level as the Tag Wars 2010 rematch. What I liked so much here was that, again, they produced a different match showing a natural progression from one encounter to the next. The first match was all about Black being superior to Davey, who fought against the odds courageously but ultimately succumbed to a valiant defeat. Tag Wars 2010 was about the heel, arrogant Tyler being outfought by the more focused and determined Davey Richards. This one was about how Davey, defending ROH’s honor and the spirit of competition, was SO fired up to win here that it was Black who was actually fighting against the odds. There were still spots that emphasises Black’s strength, speed and aerial advantages – but in this match it was Davey making all the offensive running. His vicious strikes continually put him in charge, and always brought him back from defensive positions. Then, even when Black was able to land his big finishing moves, he couldn’t keep his nemesis down. The finish worked into this storyline brilliantly. Davey NEEDED to win this, and fought the whole match like his life depended on it. In the end he withstood everything Black could throw at him, and when he got into a position to apply his big submission finish, WWE-bound Tyler had no reason to carry on and simply HAD to submit. Great match to conclude an outstanding trilogy of matches – arguably the best since the great Joe/Punk series of 2004.

NEXT WEEK – Kings/Briscoes for the ROH Tag Titles. If Jay and Mark don’t win, they don’t get another shot whilst the Kings have the belts.

Tape Rating – **** – So the million dollar question: was this the best match on HDNet so far? It’s definitely up there. Honestly, I can’t pick between this and Tyler/Danielson III from last year, which I loved so much I even had it down as my ROH MOTY for 2009. But the fact that this match, in terms of quality, is as good (if not better) than my ROH MOTY for last year, and probably won’t make my Top 5 for 2010 should tell you all you need to know about how good it was. I thought this whole episode was outstandingly booked. You need to see it on Best Of HDNet Volume 9

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