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ROH on HDNET 1/31/2011

ROH on HDNet – Episode 093 – 31st January 2011

I’d actually argue this has been one of the best January’s ROH has ever had. Normally it’s a down time for ROH in ‘post-Final Battle’ season. But three solid live events in Richmond, Charlotte and LA all produced some really stellar matches, and HDNet has gotten better and better as the month has progressed, with a renewed focus on the upcoming 9YA iPPV. Tonight Eddie Edwards defends the TV Title against Chris Daniels in a match we all know who won because Daniels has been parading around with the belt since December. Hopefully the match is good enough that it delivers despite the result being spoilt and ROH can end a good month for them with a bang. This is the penultimate episode of the six taped in Louisville, KY. Dave Prazak and Mike Hogewood on commentary.

Mike Mondo vs Colt Cabana
We’ve seen him on HDNet before, but for some reason ROH decide to dedicate more promo time to getting Mondo’s ‘giant killer’ gimmick over which, as I’ve said before, just doesn’t work in this company. Both of these two are veterans of OVW competition in this building…

Mondo is very intense and his attitude makes for an interesting juxtaposition to Cabana’s jovial mood as he goofs through the opening minute. Having been made fun of, Mike eventually snaps and starts slamming Cabana into the turnbuckles repeatedly. He takes him down with a snapmare driver then drops a flying headbutt right into the small of the back. But he tries another headbutt like that and ends up jumping straight into Colt’s boots. Colt gets funky like a money…then Mondo puts him on the mat again with a Russian Legsweep. He sets up for the Superplex but Colt counters to the turnbuckle gutbuster. Billy Goat’s Curse wins it at 05:11

Rating – * – There’s nothing wrong with Mondo at all. But he’s a very ordinary talent and in a company like ROH, without a decent gimmick to keep him over he becomes incredibly boring. Colt did his best to keep things entertaining but Mondo was treading water out there. I don’t get what Cornette sees in him to be blunt about it. We have Mike Bennett who does the same thing but with better skills, more charisma and a better gimmick. Mondo is surplus to requirements at this point in time, unless they can find a vastly improved way to present him. Tank Toland becoming the Sweet’n’Sour personal trainer, Jimmy Rave becoming The Embassy’s ‘Crown Jewel’ and more recently, the Bravado Bandwagon are all examples of using fun gimmicks to get workers with in-ring limitations over.

Truth Martini and Roderick Strong are in the ring as we come back from commercials. He brings Michael Elgin out for his HDNet debut and tells everyone that Elgin needs to produce a good performance tonight to earn the approval of the ROH World Champion.

Roderick Strong/Michael Elgin vs Alex Silva/Chrisjen Hayme
We saw Elgin as part of the House Of Truth in Dearborn and Toronto as part of Survival Of The Fittest 2010 weekend. He looked impressive and did enough to convince Truth Martini that he deserved an opportunity to cement his spot in the stable here on television. Silva and Hayme are more OVW local talent looking to make a name for themselves too.

Elgin demands to start and immediately tosses Chrisjen across the ring. The beating continues with a flurry of chops and clotheslines in the corner for a 2-count. Hayme’s chest is a mess, and that’s before Roderick Strong is even tagged in. He lunges into a tag to Silva who manages to knock Elgin off his feet with a missile dropkick. More power from Michael as he BLOCKS a hurricanrana to decimate Alex with a buckle bomb. Spiral Bomb wins it for Elgin at 02:53

Rating – * – For such a one-sided affair my argument would be that this should have been even shorter. That said, you can’t deny that Michael Elgin looked impressive there and proved that he belonged in the House Of Truth line-up and he has a lot to offer to ROH moving forward.

Sara Del Rey vs Taeler Hendrix
Hendrix has been squashed on HDNet a few times and nobody is expecting anything different this time around. However, all eyes are on Sara after MsChif openly admitted last night that she wanted a fight with the self-proclaimed Queen Of Wrestling.

Sara cheerfully shakes hands with Hendrix the kills her with a trilogy of brutal running kicks. Another one follows to the back of the head, then Del Rey gets 2 with an Olympic Slam. Capo Kick nailed in the corner and she gets another nearfall with a gutwrench backbreaker. Hendrix is a mess and her head rattles back and forth as Del Rey keeps hammering her with kicks and forearms. GORY SPECIAL SLAM! You’d better believe that’s it. With Hendrix nearly dead, Del Rey wins at 03:18

Rating – * – The good part about these squash matches is that Sara beating the sh*t out of someone is fun to watch. The bad part is, we’ve seen it a million times. Hopefully this is building to a big Del Rey vs MsChif match on ppv.

NEXT WEEK – The two tag team main events at the 9th Anniversary Show collide in a huge 8-man tag. The #1 contendership bout will form one team as the Briscoes team with Haas and Benjamin. Their opponents will be the ROH Tag Title Match in Chicago as the Kings and ANX join forces.

All four teams get interview time to hype the main events in Chicago and they’re all really good. The Kings think they can beat ANX in five minutes, the Briscoes say ‘we don’t raise the bar in ROH, we ARE the bar’, whilst Haas and Benjamin think they’ll be far too good for them on ppv. This package was the best thing on the show thus far…hands down.

Eddie Edwards vs Christopher Daniels – ROH TV Title Match
The Fallen Angel earned this title shot by beating Chris Hero a couple of weeks ago. He also comes into this with the psychological edge over the champion given that he defeated Eddie last year at Supercard Of Honor 5. Since he dropped the ‘Ten Minute Hunt’ concept Edwards has done all he can to be a fighting champion…but tonight his challenger is on another level to guys like Shawn Daivari or Erick Stevens and this will undoubtedly be his toughest defence thus far.

Although we just saw a 20+ minute title defence in Charlotte, this is a televised TV Title Match and therefore has the 15-minute time limit strictly enforced. The opening exchanges are really even, and include an awesome counter from Edwards as Daniels tries a cartwheel only for Eddie to grab the arm and drag him into a hammerlock. The champion starts to focus on the arm and Daniels is shaken up by it. He engages Eddie in an uncharacteristic slugfest – and that style of match will play right into the hands of the defending title holder. At 5 minutes the momentum shifts though, with the challenger dumping his opponent straight on his neck with a Death Valley Driver. Edwards tries to leave the ring only for Fallen Angel to retrieve him and deliver a big neckbreaker for 2. Eddie tries to go back to trading strikes but is dropped on his neck with a Russian legsweep and put in a stretch which piles more pressure on that body part. Daniels goes to the second rope for a STOMP TO THE THROAT! He liked that so much he tries it a second time…and Edwards blocks it with a kick to the head. He starts headbutting Daniels and climbs all the way to the top to deliver a superplex which probably does as much damage to his opponent as it does to his own neck. Daniels leaves the ring…MOONSAULT OFF THE APRON BY EDWARDS! He absolutely smashed his legs against the guardrails on that though and once again comes of a high risk move as injured as his opponent.

SPRINGBOARD SUPER RANA GETS 2! Despite a neck injury and a leg injury Eddie just keeps throwing out high risk moves it seems. Daniels gets pissed and gives him another neckbreaker before pitching him to the floor for a pescado. There are only 3 minutes left in the time limit at this point. Daniels looks confident, as if he knows the injuries are now becoming too much for the champion…a point proven as Edwards almost falls out of the ring as Daniels knocks his headback with a palm strike. Eddie is desperate and climbs the ropes to DOUBLE STOMP DANIELS INTO THE APRON! He follows that with another double stomp into the ring for 2…THEN GOES TO THE ACHILLES LOCK! COUNTERED TO THE KOJI CLUTCH! TEN SECONDS LEFT! EDDIE HANGS ON! The 15:00 limit expires so he has the belt retained…but he doesn’t want a draw! He thinks he can outright beat Daniels and demands five minutes of overtime. Despite limping AND carrying a bad neck he charges back into battle…and is promptly dispatched over the ropes with a cactus clothesline. Then Daniels flings him into the ringpost for good measure. But Eddie actually bounces off the metal post and turns round to start throwing forearms leaving the challenger looking completely flummoxed by his fighting spirit. Brainbuster drops him on his neck for 2. Edwards launches into the Climbing Wizard then collapses in near-exhaustion. He hits another super rana has nothing left to offer. ANGEL’S WINGS! Daniels wins the belt at 19:14 total match time.

Rating – **** – The near-silent crowd hurt this, but it was still a great match. Edwards has a reputation in ROH for fighting through ridiculous injuries, and I loved how they worked that into the story of the match here. Rather than worry that Daniels had injured his neck, Eddie was so determined he thought he’d go for a random moonsault off the apron. And then, even though he’d injured his leg with that, AND survived the time limit, such is his desire to keep fighting and WIN, he demanded the overtime. It was so fun seeing if Daniels and his meticulous and constant attack on the neck, or Eddie with his almost insane need to keep fighting would win out.

Daniels is close to tears after winning his first Ring Of Honor singles title. Sportingly, he halts his own celebrations to help the fallen former champion to his feet and shake his hand.

Tape Rating – *** – We’re now 93 episodes deep into Ring Of Honor’s run on HDNet and, despite making a title specifically FOR television, this was really only the second time they’ve invested any serious time into putting on a great TV Title main event. That’s simply not good enough and a large part of the reason why Edwards’ title run was a bit of an anticlimax – even if Eddie himself is a really talented wrestler. That said, the match tonight was an outstanding and emotional match and a fitting way for Eddie to end his TV Title run. Being completely honest, I actually preferred this one to Edwards/Richards in the tournament finals, but I may be in the minority on that. Most of the rest of the show was pretty average, although the interview segment with the four teams in tag team main events at the 9th Anniversary Show was a great little piece.

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