ROH on HDNET 1/18/2010

ROH on HDNet – Episode 043 – 18th January 2010

As far as episodes of ROH on HDNet go, this is a stacked show here. Sonjay Dutt and Delirious will look to end their mini-feud in a Submission Match, Austin Aries and Tyler Black will share the ring for the first time since their controversial time limit draw at Final Battle 2009, whilst the Pick 6 Series sees Jay and Mark Briscoe wrestle each other for only the fourth time in ROH history. If any of their televised rivals put together a better line-up of matches for their weekly broadcasts I’d be surprised! Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak are in The Arena to call the action

Sonjay Dutt vs Delirious – Submission Match
Having traded wins, the matches between these two are generally pretty even. However, it’s Dutt’s creepy attitude towards Daizee Haze which has caused tension between them. First he was just sleazy, but he’s crossed the line on several occasions by kissing her, even putting her in the Camel Clutch. Now they settle their differences in a Submission Match – pitting Dutt’s Camel Clutch against Delirious’ Cobra Stretch.

Think Delirious is taking this seriously? He doesn’t wait for the bell before clobbering Sonjay in the corner. He goes straight for the Cobra Stretch but with less than a minute gone, Dutt is able to free himself. To the outside where Dutt tries a clothesline, only to end up clobbering the ringpost with his arm. Delirious attacks the arm immediately and has some success with that strategy…until Sonjay catches him being too aggressive and delivers a dragon screw in the ropes. Next Dutt ties Delirious’ legs in the ropes then scores with a quebrada. Half Crab locked in and although it doesn’t score a win, it puts Sonjay in complete control. Standing Shiranui is countered to the Cobra Stretch but Dutt fights out. Can a one-legged Delirious scale the ropes for Shadows Over Hell? No…he gets SHOVED off the top to the floor, injuring his back. Getting up clutching his back, Delirious presents Dutt with all the invitation he needs to start working that body part as well – setting up for the Camel Clutch. He applies that hold, but using the tassels from the mask making it an illegal hold. Daizee on the apron…SO DUTT SHOVES HER INTO THE GUARDRAILS! Inverted Tombstone crumbles Delirious’ spine again but Sonjay isn’t done. MUSCLEBUSTER! He has it won, but rather than apply the Camel Clutch, Sonjay goes outside and brings a chair in. The ref confiscates it…and behind his back Daizee Haze returns with a missile dropkick. CAMEL COBRA STRETCH! Delirious wins at 10:58

Rating – *** – For the third time in 2010, ROH on HDNet starts with a really top notch opening match. I can’t believe Sonjay was dropped after these tapings as his two most recent matches (Dutt/Black and Dutt/Delirious) have been as good as anything he’s done in his entire tenure. Admittedly the psychology and selling was a little patchy here, but Dutt kept a firm grip on his heel persona all through the match – and by the end the crowd were absolutely hating him.

In a promo taped after the Final Battle match exclusively for HDNet, A-Double points out that no matter how strong the challenge he’s faced in recent months, he’s always been the one to leave with the ROH World Title.

In the back the Briscoes lay down some ground rules for their match. No nutshots, no attacking the eyes, Jay won’t attack Mark’s knee…and the winner uses the $2500 to get the beers in.

Jay Briscoe vs Mark Briscoe – Pick 6 Series Match
This is the last of the initial six Pick 6 Series Matches, and it’s probably the most eagerly anticipated. The Briscoes have been the standard bearers for ROH’s tag division for a long time, but both harbour World Title aspirations too. The three previous encounters between these three are stuff of legend. The brothers spent the first year of Ring Of Honor’s existence feuding with each other – with Mark winning his first ever ROH match against Jay at Honor Invades Boston, before going on to join Christopher Daniels’ villainous Prophecy stable later in the year. Personal circumstances brought them back together, with the final match to settle their rivalry taking place at the First Anniversary Show. That one end up so competitive that it needed a stunning ROLLING Jay Driller sequence for Jay to put his brother away. Then in 2007, after losing their ROH Tag Titles the previous evening, Jay and Mark fought again at Fifth Year Festival: Finale to ‘toughen each other up’…and ended up doing such a good job of that it went to a double TKO. Who gets the bragging rights, the cash and the Pick 6 spot?

Fiercely competitive mat exchange gets us started…and not the overly rehearsed chain-wrestling stuff from 2002. It’s just down and dirty grappling with each man fighting for superiority. Prazak and Hog raise an interesting point about whether either one will want to hurt the other and subsequently put the success of their new Tag Title reign in jeopardy. Mark lands a spinning heel kick but Jay pops up with a hurricanrana so it’s all even again. They trade chops next before Jay puts his boot into Mark’s face and gets the first nearfall. But Mark comes right back into it with an urinage suplex, then a vertical suplex for his own 2-count. Knowing his brother is bigger, Mark looks to trap him on the canvas and wear him down with a grounded headscissors. No dice on that and after a flurry of elbows Jay manages to drag Mark into the turnbuckles with a flatliner…then wipes him out with a somersault senton to the floor as his little brother tries to escape. Crossbody attempted too but Mark counters by dropkicking the ribs. Jay is winded now and Mark capitalises with a bodyscissors. Jay goes for his DVD, but Mark has weakened him enough to block it and he hoists him up for a fisherman buster. TUMBLEWEED SENTON TO THE FLOOR! SHOOT BOXING OUTSIDE THE RING! Unfortunately they get so preoccupied with fighting each other they forget about the match and it’s a double count-out at 10:40. But here Executive Producer Jim Cornette and he gives them the chance to restart if they want. Naturally they agree, and don’t waste any time in going at it with big strikes again. Mark takes it to the second rope…but it’s Jay who delivers his brother’s trademark second rope Ace Crusher for 2. Jay Driller blocked and Mark scores with a Busaiku Knee then a dragon suplex for 2. Cut-Throat Driver blocked now and Jay rolls his brother into a flash pin for 3 at 13:15

Rating – *** – I didn’t care for the over-booked false finish, and I felt like that sort of killed their momentum just as they’d started to get going. The actual finish was pretty weak too. However, this is free TV, and what they did was provide a terrific, condensed TV version of what we’re used to seeing when these two go at it. Dave Prazak spent a good portion of the match talking about the Liverpool match from 2007, so hopefully this fine TV match entertained the viewers, and did enough to convince them to drop some dollars at the ROH Store and pick up a DVD too – which is what ROH started branching out into TV to do, make more money. Of course, on a personal level I’d like to have seen them go longer, not have to work a goofy overbooked TV-style finish…and to be honest having seen Jay work singles for a good portion of last year, I think having Mark win would’ve been a little more interesting. HOWEVER, it’s hard to deny that these two pulled off a great match WITHIN the confines of the job they’d been given to do.

Back from commercials with The Embassy – and Prince Nana formally introducing Erick Stevens as their newest member. He squashes Harlem Bravado in a very brief squash match to make a statement.

Next we get comments from Tyler Black, caught by the HDNet cameras moments after his controversial time limit draw with Aries at Final Battle. He vows to come back better than ever and promises that he will become ROH Champion…

Tyler Black/Colt Cabana vs Austin Aries/Kenny King
As 2009 closed out Austin Aries defended his World Title against both Cabana and Black – on both occasions escaping with his belt in contentious circumstances. First he was on the brink of defeat in his Cage Match with Colt at Reverse The Curse before he got a lucky break and fell through the broken cage to the floor. Then in New York his infamous stalling tactics saw him survive with an unpopular 60-minute draw. Both opponents want some payback and want to start positioning themselves for rematches with A-Double

Mike Hogewood calls Tyler and Colt his ‘dream tag team’…which sounds entirely homoerotic. Perhaps sensibly it’s Cabana that starts with the World Champion, rather than his hot-headed partner. He gets the better of Aries with his usual hijinx, only for Austin to slide out of the ring in terror when he gets a tag to Black. Cabana continues on his merry way, making fun of King too and happily taking it to him instead. He gets cut off from his mentor for a few minutes with the babyface team in total control. Even when Aries drags Black out of the ring Tyler comes out in the ascendancy by whipping him into the guardrails. But it’s from the floor that A-Double finally does strike, taking out Cabana’s legs as he looks for the quebrada press. As we pass the 5 minute mark the momentum shifts and it’s now the heel team dominating proceedings. Colt takes a beating, but makes a comeback when King gets too confident and overdoes the dance moves. Hot tag to Tyler follows, with him desperate to get his hands on his nemesis Aries. King goes for the Royal Flush…COUNTERED TO A SWINGING DDT! SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR BY CABANA! SOMERSAULT PLANCHA FROM TYLER! He lines up the Buckle Bomb on Aries but it’s countered with a rana. Flying Asshole from Cabana instead. He looks for the Colt 45 only for Kenny to save with the capoeira kick and a spinebuster. ROCKET LAUNCHER gets 2! Shotgun Knee/IED combo…into the Last Chancery but Tyler saves. PELE KICK on King, then the Buckle Bomb on Aries. King saves Aries from a Superkick…and sets up for the Jerry Lynn Driver on Colt. It’s blocked to an INVERTED COLT 45! Cabana pins King at 12:08 to take the win.

Rating – *** – Passable free TV main event. Not a must-see, hell, it’s not even the best match on this episode. However, it was fun, provided moments of comedy and moments of decent wrestling and quietly progressed the Aries/Tyler issue a little further as we build towards their rematch. Functional rather than outstanding, but it did it’s job well.

Tape Rating – *** – Solid episode here – with three decent matches through the show. Although there’s nothing that takes your breath away everything is watchable and done with real purpose. Dutt/Delirious was one of the better HDNet openers we’ve seen, whilst Briscoe/Briscoe delivered a competitive little match that maintained the standards set in their previous matches within the confines of free TV, and the main event was a fun way of continuing the 8YA build.

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