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ROH on HDNET 12/13/2010

ROH on HDNet – Episode 086 – 13th December 2010

This is the go-home show for Final Battle 2010 weekend. I’m hoping for a hard-sell on the iPPV, lots of focus on all the advertised matches, maybe even a little hype for the Plymouth show which has the first ROH Kings/Wolves match. Roderick Strong in non-title action against former tag partner, stable-mate and friend Austin Aries is the scheduled main event for this hour of programming. Once again this is in Philadelphia, PA (I think 2011 starts with the Louisville episodes) with Dave Prazak and Mike Hogewood on commentary.

Show starts with Jim Cornette in the ring to interview Davey Richards. He talks about his big weekend, with the final ‘Hunt’ of the American Wolves in Plymouth and his World Title shot in New York. It will be the last time he and Eddie team together as they are focusing on their singles aspirations – his aspiration being to become the ROH World Champion. Roderick Strong and Truth Martini don’t like that and soon arrive on the scene. Strong calls Davey jealous, disputes his allegations that Martini is interfering in his matches…and calls him a huge disappointment to his dead grandfather. Davey is duly pissed, and things are now extremely personal going into the ppv.

NEXT WEEK – ROH celebrates Christmas with the ‘Holiday Gauntlet Match’. 8 men battle to win a big cash prize. It can’t be any worse than this year’s Toronto Gauntlet right??

Daizee Haze vs Taeler Hendrix
The sole purpose for the Haze here will be to prepare for this weekend. She teams with Amazing Kong to face her perennial rival Sara Del Rey and an as yet unnamed partner of her choosing. It’s a big deal that the Women Of Honor are getting a hyped match on a major iPPV, so she’ll be desperate to put in a good showing this weekend. Tonight she looks to build momentum against Hendrix.

The first minute is spent working the mat, with both women working some nifty little headlock spots before Haze boots Taeler in the mouth. Interestingly, Haze mimics a popular Sara Del Rey tactic by tying Hendrix in the ropes – this time to apply an illegal armbar for a brief period. Hendrix tries a kick combo but it’s countered into a Muta Lock as Daizee continues to dominate. Heart Punch is blocked but Haze rounds her opponent to deliver a bridging German suplex for the win in 03:26

Rating – DUD – Very basic, a little sloppy in the final minute and a roundly dull encounter. Both women are capable of better than this – although it was kept thankfully brief so this didn’t hurt the momentum of the show that much. It gave Hog and DP plenty of time to shill the Women Of Honor tag this weekend and that’s all that was needed.

The Briscoe family are in the back, vowing to end the feud with the Kings Of Wrestling. Papa Briscoe cuts a better promo than either of his sons…and is ready to give Hagadorn a beating.

Kevin Steen vs Kory Chavis
This could be a bruising encounter. Steen has gone off the rails, such is his desire to murder El Generico in Manhattan this weekend. He comes out spitting violently into Generico’s mask, with Steve Corino clearly struggling to get him focused on beating Rainman tonight.

Chavis tries to rally some crowd support and is promptly jumped from behind by Mr Wrestling. Chavis is strong enough to completely ignore that, and drop Steen in response with a SPINNING DROPKICK! Did he even mean that? Impressive as that was, it doesn’t take Steen long to hit back with the pumphandle cradlebreaker. He might have won the match there and then but for the fact that he pauses to scream abuse at El Generico into one of the HDNet cameras. More spit for the mask next, and he’s so deranged he actually tries to dress Kory in the Generico hood…allowing Chavis to recover and drop him with a sidewalk slam, then the Rydien Bomb for 2. Mr Wrestling shows great resilience to absorb that an hit an impressive powerbomb/F-5/Package Piledriver combo to win at 04:09

Rating – ** – Entertaining squash match, packing a surprising amount of high impact spots into such a small amount of time. DCFC had to know the writing was on the wall for them and their future in ROH after this last weekend. Both Jon and Kory have been resoundingly squashed in singles matches in recent weeks…

After that match they run a great video package hyping the Steen/Generico Fight Without Honor. BUY BUY BUY the ppv…

Roderick Strong vs Austin Aries
This is a fitting way for A-Double’s ROH career to end. He and Roddy Strong made their names in ROH together as part of the legendary Generation Next faction, and were part of the group from it’s formation in 2004 to it’s end in 2007. When Austin Aries defeated Samoa Joe to win his first ROH Title at Final Battle 2004 – the first man to congratulate him was Roderick. As a tag team, these two are a big reason why ROH’s tag division is widely considered one of the best in the industry today. They won those belts at Final Battle 2005 and, through the course of their reign in 2006 transformed the previously messy, unpredictable and totally forgettable Ring Of Honor tag team division into a must-see attraction – putting on great matches against teams containing the likes of Bryan Danielson, Matt Sydal, AJ Styles, Jay Lethal, Christopher Daniels, Homicide, Jimmy Rave, Alex Shelley and of course the Briscoes. But the team bitterly broke apart when Roderick stabbed both his GeNext friends Austin Aries and Jack Evans in the back to form the No Remorse Corps – and 2007’s botched ‘stable warfare’ angle saw Strong’s NRC, Jack Evans’ Vulture Squad and Aries’ Resilience battle multiple times. In the subsequent years they’ve not been in direct competition, but have still found themselves wrestling multiple times – and most recently we saw A-Double extremely disappointed that Strong picked Truth Martini and not himself to be his new manager. Austin bows out of ROH tonight and will want to leave on a high, whilst Strong badly needs momentum to go into his Final Battle showdown.

Aries looks very up for this. He flies out of the blocks and easily gets the best of the first exchange – coming up with a broad and determined smile on his face. Truth Martini quickly leans into the ring to give his charge some words of advice as Austin continues to look extremely comfortable. Foolishly Strong headscissors’ Aries…and duly gets dropkicked in the face. Of all the guys to fall for that! Austin keeps running through his familiar repertoire, nailing the slingshot reverse elbow next, then scaling the ropes for the RANDY SAVAGE AXEHANDLE! He goes for the Heat Seeking Missile but is prevented from pulling it off by Truth Martini…and pauses to smack Roddy’s ‘life intervention expert’ in the face. After 6 minutes of Aries dominance, once again it is interference from Truth that gives him the advantage in a match. He tosses A-Double away going for the Last Chancery and clamps onto a bearhug – wearing his opponent down whilst recovering himself. Strong goes for the Death By Roderick…COUNTERED with a mid-air DDT by Aries! He hangs Roddy in the ropes before hitting the slingshot splash/quebrada combo that he used to do in every match circa 2006-2007. IED rattles Strong’s jaw next, before he breaks out the Last Chancery. Strong brilliantly counters that into a pinfall attempt. They fight on the ropes, leafing to the TURNBUCKLE BACKBREAKER on Aries! He’s in real pain now and has no answer to a second Death By Roderick attempt other than to kick out of the following pin at 2. Roaring Elbow countered…Half Nelson Backbreaker COUNTERED WITH THE CRUCIFIX DRIVER! BRAINBUSTER FOR 2! I am really enjoying this, even if the life crowd is almost completely silent. 450 SPLASH NAILED! But Roddy is in the ropes at 2! Roderick gets up to wildly deliver the Gibson Drive for 2. The counters are flowing too quickly for me to call it now. Brainbuster COUNTERED WITH THE SUPLEX FLIP BACKBREAKER! SICK KICK! Roderick gets the win going into Final Battle at 15:19

Rating – **** – Probably a bit generous, but I really enjoyed this one so I’m going high on the ratings. It made me realise how much I miss babyface, non-stop action Austin Aries. In 2009 his heel ‘A-Double’ persona was arguably the best thing in ROH, and he was rightly given the title to carry for the second half of the year. But without it since the 8th Anni Show, he’s drifted pretty aimlessly and has visibly been calling in a lot of his matches. Whether he knew this was going to be his last match in ROH or not, he clearly wrestled this with a lot more intensity – with a style much more akin to his ringwork of the 2005-2008 era. I’m not sure why the live crowd wasn’t into this, but they sat on their hands all the way through it – which definitely will hurt the enjoyment for a lot of people watching this on TV. In the end it’s a real low key and disappointingly handled exit for a true Ring Of Honor legend in Austin Aries. I’ve read that he’s extremely bitter about a lot of his time in ROH now and doesn’t appear to ever want to go back – which is a real shame. I’m certainly a Ring Of Honor fan who really appreciates his work, dedication and the sacrifices made for his company. Maybe people are quick to forget things like Unscripted 2 in 2006 when TNA called back all their talent due to inclement weather – meaning guys who had been in ROH for years like Joe, AJ, Daniels (I think maybe even Homicide) bailed out on the ROH booking. Aries and Strong refused and worked the show – and never really got another look in during their run with TNA that year. Aries is a definite ROH legend in my eyes.

Tape Rating – *** – Not a mind-blowing way to go into Final Battle, but certainly a perfunctory one. All the major matches were hyped to a varying degree which is good. I’d argue that there wasn’t enough focus on the Steen/Generico match which is headlining, and not putting El Generico or the Kings Of Wrestling on the episode at all was a big mistake in my eyes. They certainly made Strong vs Davey feel like a much bigger deal than it had done before though…and the great main event was well worth watching if Sinclair ever decide to release the remaining HDNet matches on DVD.

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