ROH on HDNET 12/6/2010

ROH on HDNet – Episode 085 – 6th December 2010

After last week’s completely senseless but nevertheless entertaining Homicide/Necro violence parade, ROH’s wrestling will return to more traditional ground tonight with the American Wolves scheduled for singles matches. Davey Richards faces Erick Stevens as the Wolves vs Embassy battles continue, whilst Eddie Edwards defends the TV Title against Colt Cabana. There are now less than two weeks to go until Final Battle 2010 so the pressure is very much on to deliver another decent hour of television and do as much as possible to shill the upcoming iPPV. Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak welcome us.

Eddie Edwards vs Colt Cabana – ROH TV Title Match
This is the third time these two have done battle on HDNet with the TV Title very much at the forefront of their minds. Edwards eliminated Cabana from the tournament to crown the first champion, then later defended the title against him – both times emerging victorious with a little unwanted help from Cabana’s enemy Steve Corino. But now Colt has declared his issues with Steen and Corino to be over, can he get his head in the game and take the belt from Edwards?

I like that ROH are much more focused on promoting the 15-minute time limit in TV Title matches. As you’d expect, this one starts on the mat with both men seemingly comfortable chaining back and forth. Mike Bennett and Bob Evans are at ringside watching the action as Edwards looks for the Achilles Lock early. Eddie seems to be more ruthless and aggressive in his approach to the matwork, but Colt frequently showcases his incredible mat acumen and finds multiple unique counters to the holds that are thrown at him. 5 minutes flies by, and although they seem to be boring the sh*t out of the live crowd, I am loving the tremendously even mat battle unfolding in front of me. Edwards is the first to increase the pace, landing a few strikes then dragging Cabana to his knees with a dragon screw. Cabana tries to leave the ring…but Eddie gives chase immediately with the TOPE SUICIDA! Eddie gets to his feet and almost looks surprised not to have injured himself this time. He dusts himself off to score a 2 with a missile dropkick. Cabana hits back with a nifty little facebuster combo for his own nearfall. Such is the desire to win they battle through a rolling cradle exchange without either man landing even a 1-count…and Colt is up first to NAIL a jumping ass attack. Flying Asshole lined up but BLOCKED with Eddie’s Climbing Wizard strike leaving both men down. Eddie chops at Colt…who retaliates with his usual Dusty Rhodes jab/elbow combo and the Flying Asshole. SUPERKICK FROM EDWARDS! Colt totally ignores that to clobber him with a lariat then score with a gorgeous moonsault for 2. Even Bennett and Brutal Bob look impressed with that. Edwards looks out on his feet, but Colt just can’t seem to put him away and now appears visibly frustrated. Colt 45 blocked….and they go right back to exchanging endless nearfalls. Eddie scores with the Backpack Stunner, gets 2 with it and then appears so worn down he can’t get up. Flying double stomp is blocked by Cabana as we approach the last minute of the time limit…but Edwards rolls him up from nowhere to win at 14:01

Rating – *** – Terrific little title match here, fought in a creative way that kept both fighters very even throughout the match – albeit with a pretty deflating and rushed finish. The TV Title was taken very seriously throughout, with both men trying to win at all times, and the constant focus on the time limits, coupled with new talent at ringside scouting them, made it seem very much like the TV Title division is the place to be once again. I actually really like Edwards as TV Champion, but the problem is he’s STILL waiting for that defining match. If you ignore the lousy Daivari defence at Glory By Honor 9, he’s been wonderfully consistent and putting on 3* matches every time he defends the belt. But nothing has really reached that breakthrough level of excellence yet. I’d also like to see the TV Title start main eventing the TV shows to give it some added prestige.

Mike Bennett jumps the guardrail after the match and hops onto the apron and mockingly offers to shake Eddie’s hand before walking away

Christopher Daniels gets some sit-down interview time which is pretty insightful. He disputes the people that say he’s past his best by claiming his big match and TV experience give him the edge over all the younger guys on the roster – and says he came back to ROH full time to prove he’s still got what it takes to be the best in the world. Nice way to focus on him when we haven’t seen him on HDNet since before Fate Of An Angel 2.

After commercials Kevin Steen and Steve Corino join Kyle Durden in the ring. Steen delivers an entire promo aimed at the stolen Generico mask which is simple but hugely effective. He says nothing new but I think it’s more not what he said but how he said it we’re supposed to take notice of.

Hog announces that Amazing Kong has signed on to team with Daizee Haze at Final Battle to face Sara Del Rey and her mystery partner. Sara and Daizee discuss their lengthy rivalry, their dedication to female wrestling and the tag match in 2 weeks.

El Generico vs Bobby Shields
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Bobby on HDNet, but he’s popped up every now and then throughout the entire ROH on HDNet run to serve as an enhancement talent to the core roster. Is tonight his chance to breakout, or will the sullen, distracted and possibly dangerous ‘Dark Generico’ be another guy pinning his shoulders to the mat?

Shields tries to seize the initiative by attacking Generico during his entrance…but the masked man angrily grabs him for a TURNBUCKLE EXPLODER! That was just so sudden and brutal! Yakuza Kick comes seconds later, and Generico stomps across the ring and immediately delivers a second. Brainbuster wins it at 01:07 – emphatic statement from Generico going into New York.

Rating – N/A – This squash gets the N/A treatment because I thought it did a fine job getting over the total character shift in El Generico. From happy, smiling, bouncing, generic luchador to an angry guy with a sour expression and a violent streak. The extent to which Steen and Generico have developed and twisted their personas this year has added such depth and made it truly one of the best feuds in Ring Of Honor history.

The crowd falls into a hushed silence as Generico opens up a chair in the middle of the ring then drapes one of those Kevin Steen decapitated Generico-head ‘Mr Wrestling’ shirts over it. He then grabs Bobby and BRAINBUSTERS HIM THROUGH IT!

We cut to commercials straight from that, and come back with the Kings Of Wrestling and Shane Hagadorn in the ring for a ‘public workout’ as they prepare for their encounter with the Briscoe family at Final Battle. Hero says he and Claudio are here to help Hagadorn train for the match…so we’re apparently ignoring that he’s a trained wrestler. They have a jobber to face Shane, and Claudio (with coffee in hand) will referee whilst Hero acts as Master Of Ceremonies. Every time the jobber goes to land some offence he is admonished by both Kings for not following the protocol of an ‘exhibition’. Eventually the enhancement talent snaps…and is promptly dropped with the KRS-1. Pretty funny…

Kyle Durden interviews Roderick Strong, focusing on his Final Battle tune-up bout against Austin Aries next week, and on his forthcoming defence against Davey Richards. Roddy wants to make his former partner a stepping stone to victory on iPPV, and says he’s never seen Truth Martini interfere in any of his matches so has no idea why people keep criticising him for it.

Davey Richards vs Erick Stevens
We’ve seen a number of Wolves/Embassy matches lately. Eddie Edwards has successfully defended the TV Title against Stevens, Daivari and Necro Butcher, whilst we recently saw Davey begin his preparations for Final Battle with an impressive victory over Shawn Daivari. Can he emulate his partner with back to back wins over Prince Nana’s charges?

Stevens doesn’t start badly, but as soon as he distracts himself by shouting things at the crowd Davey is waiting to pounce – blasting him across the face with an enziguri. And the second time Erick tries to taunt the crowd he’s punished again, this time beaten to the mat with a flurry of kicks and punches. Next he goes to the apron and acts all cocky…and is duly punted in the spine. At last Stevens gets focused and stops Davey going for his tope con hilo to mash his body into the guardrails. The Embassy man starts working the ribs with tackles, knees and shots against the ring apron before grounding him with a Ghanaian Legsweep into grounded abdominal stretch. He alters his usual Embassy Elbow move to drop across the ribs next and applies a rear bearhug to pile yet more pressure on the injured body part. Davey is wounded and clutches his stomach in pain even after landing a jumping enzi in the corner. They trade strikes on the second rope with Richards using a flurry of headbutts to get the upperhand then delivering a huge superplex. Handspring Enzi gets 2. Prince Nana tries to interfere but doesn’t stop Davey hitting a missile dropkick quickly succeeded by a diving headbutt for 2. LIFTING LARIAT across the ribs in retaliation by Stevens and after a flurry of no-selling, once again Davey is down grasping his midsection. TKO blocked and turned into the Anklelock though…but just like Daivari a couple of weeks ago Erick kicks free. Alarm Clock…NO SOLD by Stevens to land a German suplex then the Choo Choo Avalanche. Davey tries some kicks only to be flattened by a charging lariat. Doctor Bomb blocked BACK to the CLOVERLEAF ANKLELOCK! Stevens taps at 11:55

Rating – *** – If Davey could (or would) sell I may even have gone higher on this rating. Stevens, again, looked very good out there and produced an entertaining little ‘work the body part’ heat segment. Unfortunately Richards completely ignored that to start dishing out offence which was a little frustrating, albeit not a huge detraction from the closing sequence when the two guys just started unloading on each other. Physical, rugged and totally engaging. Free TV main events can’t all be Homicide and Necro killing each other, or Davey and Tyler Black producing ppv-quality main events and this was, for it’s spot, absolutely fine.

NEXT WEEK – The final countdown to Final Battle, featuring Roderick Strong vs Austin Aries in A-Double’s final ROH match (although obviously it’s not advertised as such).

Tape Rating – *** – I really liked this episode. I know I’m giving out the 3* rating a lot recently, but as a top to bottom hour of wrestling this felt very complete. Both Wolves singles matches delivered the appropriate quality, there were several decent little segments hyping the ppv, a great showcase of El Generico’s new character and a revealing little interview with Chris Daniels which keeps one of ROH’s most recognisable workers in the spotlight even when he’s been off TV for a few weeks. I don’t want to jinx things before we get to the ‘go home show’, but I really feel like Ring Of Honor has got to grips with the TV taping/live event/iPPV schedule at last. The promotion for this iPPV has been absolutely outstanding and there are now multiple matches being hyped properly and giving fans as many reasons as possible to sink their $15 into the product.

ROH on HDNet Episodes 81-85 – Top 5 Matches
5) Kings Of Wrestling vs Dark City Fight Club (*** – Episode 081)
4) Davey Richards vs Erick Stevens (*** – Episode 085)
3) Eddie Edwards vs Colt Cabana (*** – Episode 085)
2) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Austin Aries/Rhett Titus (*** – Episode 082)
1) Homicide vs Necro Butcher (**** – Episode 084)

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