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ROH on HDNET 1/25/2010

ROH on HDNet – Episode 044 – 25th January 2010

With last week rounding out the initial Pick 6 Standings, we now go to the next set of TV tapings with everyone jostling for position for the next ROH World Title shot. As a brief video package at the start of the show points out – after failing to take the belt from Austin Aries at Final Battle, will Black be able to rebound over the coming weeks on HDNet and get himself back into the World Title hunt? Lets join Hog and DP in Philadelphia, PA.

Jim Cornette starts the show in the ring and says that both Tyler and Aries have requested some promo time after their time limit draw…so he’s letting the pair of them address the ROH fans now. Black accuses Aries of playing for the draw and that he can’t defeat him. He wants one more title shot. Naturally, A-Double retorts with a verse of ‘to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man’ and refuses a rematch. Jim wades in by berating the pair of them – calling Tyler a disappointment and Aries a coward. But since ROH fans didn’t like the match (I did), he has to rectify the situation, and books a rematch – set for February 13th at the 8th Anniversary Show. Except this time he’s going to put three judges at ringside to determine who wins the World Title in the event of another draw…with each of them (Black, Aries and Cornette) to pick a judge.

Up In Smoke vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe
This is a non-title match obviously – but it’s significant as it’s the first time that the Briscoes have appeared on HDNet with the ROH Tag Title belts they won at Final Battle 2009. They fought each other last week, but with the likes of the Wolves and the reunited Kings Of Wrestling quickly forming a queue to start challenging them, they need to get back on the same page in a hurry.

Impressive start from Cheech, taking Jay off his feet a couple of times before Briscoe clobbers him and emphatically puts the Tag Champions in the advantage. The lights go out, and when they come back on Cheech is throwing Cloudy into a tornado DDT on Mark. Little Cloudy tries an optimistic German suplex on Jay, only to be thrown down in a spinebuster for 2. Briscoe Biel moments later sends him into the malfunctioning lights and gets another nearfall. Tag to Cheech who takes Mark down with a moonsault press. Slingshot flatliner double team from Up In Smoke…but Mark is soon back on his feet with an urinage on Cheech. Iconoclasm on Cloudy for 2. Doomsday Device countered, so for his insolence Jay drops Cloudy on his neck with a military press DVD for the win at 05:57

Rating – ** – Elongated squash match which I’m not sure was totally necessary – particularly with the lighting issue which looked pretty amateur. I sort of get where they were going with this – trying to make out that Up In Smoke survived longer than expected so were somehow therefore being impressive, but getting beaten up for basically five of the six minutes this match lasted is just a lengthy beatdown in my book…and it could have been cut.

Afterwards Jay tells Kyle Durden that they’re the best tag team in the world before being interrupted by the American Wolves. Davey tells the Briscoes not to sweat the KOW, it’s he and Eddie they need to worry about. Dark City Fight Club come out to stake their own interest in a title shot leading to handbags and pullaparts between all three teams.

After the break Kyle Durden asks El Generico about Kevin Steen’s actions at Final Battle. He’s distraught and has to be led away by Colt Cabana.

Rasche Brown vs Bobby Shields
The Skullkrusher kills jobber tour continues tonight, with this Bobby Shields character next in the firing line. The obvious question is when do ROH start booking more credible talent to face Brown on the HDNet tapings?

Shields tries to jump Brown before the bell but gets totally no sold and wiped out with the SOMERSAULT SPEAR! Prince Nana is out scouting Rasche (that would be a good fit) and will surely be impressed as he finishes the jobber off with the Burning Hammer at 00:37

Rating – N/A – You can’t really count this as a match but it’s good to see ROH turning this constant Skullkrusher squashes into an angle with guys like Nana scouting him for potential recruitment. He’s been very impressive on HDNet thus far, but there comes a point when people will get bored of this unless they find a creative direction for him.

Kenny King vs El Generico – Pick 6 Series Match
Of course contendership to the ROH World Title is important – particularly when you consider the fact that Kenny King isn’t likely to challenge for the belt whilst his mentor Austin Aries is champion – therefore locking up a Pick 6 spot and meaning one less potential challenger to A-Double. However, the issue here has to be whether Generico is even in a fit state to compete after having a month to sit and stew on Kevin Steen’s actions at Final Battle.

Generico is subdued during his entrance, and things get worse for him when King attacks him from behind as the bell rings. Kenny continues to dominate the early exchanges as Dave Prazak does a good job of hyping his grudge match with Jerry Lynn in LA the following weekend. El Generico explodes into a life with a flurry of right hands and armdrags. Unable to handle that aggression, King argues with the ref to buy himself some time, then lands another cheapshot to put the luchador down again. He hurts Generico’s back with a fierce whip to the buckles, only for the angry masked man to fire up and hit a backbreaker of his own. But he foolishly hesitates as King calls for a time-out, allowing the Pitbull to hit a hotshot then a springboard legdrop for 2. More babyface fire from Generico, clotheslining Kenny to the floor then hitting a wild SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! King goes to the eyes then knees him into the guardrail though. THROUGH THE TURNBUCKLES TORNADO DDT ON THE FLOOR! Generico gets 2 with a Michinoku Driver as the confidence starts to flow through him again…until King hits a terrific jumping heel kick as he looks to deliver the Yakuza Kick. Flying crossbody COUNTERED TO THE ROYAL FLUSH FOR 2! But King tries a back flip out of the corner and pays for his cockiness with the YAKUZA KICK! Rope run tornado DDT from Generico, but he hit a similar move earlier in the match and this time King is able to counter with a northern lights suplex to the turnbuckles. Generico makes another mistake going for the Yakuza Kick again, and Kenny capitalises with the CORONATION to score the win at 12:32

Rating – *** – This was a little gem of a match (I’m talking ***1/2 level) with some AMAZING character development from El Generico providing an unexpected amount of depth. Kenny played the unsympathetic jerk role to perfection, and was the perfect sounding board for the emo Generico character confusion we saw in this match. He was aggressive but unfocused. He made mistakes, he got distracted…and in the end it cost him victory as he made one error too many and missed out on a chance to get into the Pick 6. El Generico has always been a fantastic babyface, but adding this new character-driven aspect to his matches just makes him an even more interesting member of the ROH roster right now.

The show ends with Jim Cornette summoning Tyler Black and Austin Aries back to the ring to announce their judges for the 8th Anniversary title match. Austin’s is Kenny King, and he comes to the ring in street clothes despite wrestling 30 seconds earlier. Kenny calls himself ‘K-Double’ and promises to judge things impartially. Tyler’s pick is a little more interesting, he’s chosen Roderick Strong as his judge. Roddy says he’s agreed to be Tyler’s judge on the condition that he gets the first title shot when he wins. Jim Cornette says he’ll be the third judge and will be there to ensure that the New York fans get the match they want to see this time.

Tape Rating – *** – ROH on HDNet is cooking at the moment. I wasn’t overly impressed with Briscoes/Up In Smoke, but the King/Generico match was really good, and the hype stuff for Aries/Tyler at the Anniversary Show was just awesome. After watching endless squash matches and hoopla for much of ROH’s TV run thus far, Jim Cornette’s introduction as HDNet Executive Producer has really helped to fine tune and focus ROH’s product for TV. There’s no pointless stuff now – every segment is done for a reason. The TV is being used to hype the main shows, and it’s being used to sell DVD’s and make the company money. Sure there were some great matches during the initial run on HDNet, but the show never went anywhere. Now when you miss an episode, you miss something important to the story. That’s the way it should be…

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