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ROH on HDNET 2/21/2011

ROH on HDNet – Episode 096 – 21st February 2011

The build up to the 9th Anniversary Show has been really slated by some. I feel like maybe it’s more the fact that people don’t necessarily LIKE the planned main events of Strong/Homicide, Kings/ANX, Briscoes/WGTT and Daniels/Edwards, and don’t think the actual show will be as good as Final Battle, rather than poor build-up. Admittedly we all have concerns about how well-equipped Homicide is to go in an ROH Title Match, but the reality is not every show can be a Final Battle. I think the iPPV this weekend looks pretty decent, and some of the hype to it has been really good. The stuff they did with the Kings, the Briscoes, WGTT and ANX in Louisville in particular was really strong, elevated King and Titus massively and continues to hype ROH’s tag division as the strongest in wrestling. And it’s that Tag Title Match which is the focus tonight as the Kings and the All Night’s face off in singles action just one week out from their championship showdown. Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak are in the studio, and the show comes from Philadelphia, PA.

The show opens with Hog announcing that Strong/Homicide in Chicago is now a Street Fight. Good idea to throw in some smoke, mirrors and weapons to cover Homicide’s injury problems.

Davey Richards (who wasn’t at the Louisville tapings) makes his first appearance on HDNet since losing at Final Battle. He appreciates the fans support, but cuts a forlorn figure as he admits he’s not the ‘best in the world’ and, despite the chants, declines any offers of another World Title shot until he has trained, busted his ass and EARNT one. Richards also announces that if he fails to win the belt in his next title shot, he won’t ever challenge for it again…and that he’s signed on to face Colt Cabana in Colt’s hometown on pay-per-view to start testing himself.

SIDENOTE – The addition of Richards/Colt means that, through the HDNet show, we now have the following matches announced and/or heavily promoted for the ppv:

Roderick Strong vs Homicide (ROH World Title Match)
Kings Of Wrestling vs All Night Express (ROH Tag Title Match)
Christopher Daniels vs Eddie Edwards (ROH TV Title Match)
Briscoes vs Haas & Benjamin
Davey Richards vs Colt Cabana
Sara Del Rey vs MsChif

I don’t think they had that much of a ‘complete card’ built and hyped for Final Battle. I really don’t get where all the criticism that the 9th Anniversary Show wasn’t well-promoted has come from.

TOP 5 GREATEST ROH MOMENTS – Didn’t they already do something like this? Anyway, #5 is Kenta Kobashi vs Samoa Joe in their epic 2005 encounter.

Kyle Durden tries to interview the Briscoes…but Jay steals the mic and shoves him to the back of the shot. They say that, in ROH, they are the ‘greatest tag team’.

Christopher Daniels vs Devon Storm – ROH TV Title Match
How Crowbar (who nobody liked over a decade ago in WCW) qualifies for an instant TV Title shot is anyone’s guess. Apparently he works locally and wanted to come to ROH and have some fun matches.

The crowd are rightly unimpressed by the decision to put Storm into this match. He hits an inverted tiger suplex for 2 and clearly has a size advantage over the champion. Daniels tries to bring the technical wrestling…only for Storm to sucker punch him with a straight right hand in the ropes. Next he chokes the Fallen Angel in the corner…and takes him all the way to the floor with a crossbody over the ropes. How f*cking old is this guy? He moves like he’s working in slow motion. Back inside he hits a leg drop to the ‘groin’, then a version of the Dragon Clutch is applied. After 5 minutes of completely tedious Crowbar offence, Daniels actually does something and gets 2 with a spinning heel kick. We’re soon back to Storm lumbering around in control seconds later. Daniels randomly hits the urinage slam and the BME to win at 07:47

Rating – DUD – That was f*cking terrible. I want to know who in the ROH office seriously looked at all the talent they could bring in and then decided that, in 2011, people seriously wanted to see Devon f*cking Storm plod around and beat up the TV Champion for nearly 8 minutes. ROH is supposed to be about the future of wrestling, cutting edge athleticism and whatever. This guy sucked ten years ago and looked even worse now. Living locally and wanting to have some fun matches is NOT enough of a reason to bring him in. His name has NO drawing power to it, his wrestling skill is mediocre at best and there are probably a hundred guys working in the Philly area who could have had a better match with Chris Daniels if given this opportunity. ‘Don’t Come Back’ never felt more fitting. This is NOT why I got into Ring Of Honor nine years ago…

TOP 5 GREATEST ROH MOMENTS – CM Punk’s farewell to the company at Punk: The Final Chapter. I like that these videos are emphasising that some of the biggest names in wrestling came from this very company. Surprised they left Gabe’s commentary in the clips though…

Claudio Castagnoli vs Rhett Titus
This is the first half of the double main event. Bragging rights and momentum are up for grabs tonight as the Kings and the All Nights prepare for the Tag Title Match at the 9th Anni Show.

Through the whole build up to their ppv match, it’s clear that the Kings aren’t buying Titus and King as credible threats to the belts at all…and that’s an attitude which Claudio clearly carries into this match. Rhett sets about changing that by hitting the Austin Aries rolling reverse elbow strike out of the corner. HIPTOSS TO THE FLOOR by Double C! It was almost funny how easily Castagnoli found that. He heads to the outside and does a real number on Titus by dropping him over the rails then delivering a big body slam onto the apron. Titus looks to mount a comeback…so Claudio floors him again with the UFO. Riccola Bomb unexpectedly countered with the dropkick though! Rhett has to show real athleticism to hurdle Claudio and hit the Thrust Buster – and follows it with the double knee drop for 2. Hagadorn distracts Rhett…and Claudio bashes his face in for the win at 06:12

Rating – * – They did a few decent things, but considering ROH wants to be selling ppv view buys, I really don’t think having Claudio totally squash one half of the team challenging him this weekend is a sensible way to do that. A title match where everyone knows who will win doesn’t draw…

Kenny King yells at the referee for not spotting the interference…and is predictably jumped by Hero. Titus and Claudio are still brawling, and once we’re back from commercials the main event can begin

Chris Hero vs Kenny King
Can That Young Knockout Kid complete a dominant evening for the reigning Tag Champions ahead of the pay-per-view…or will Kenny King pull out a big upset and rattle a few cages before Chicago?

We return from the break with Hero and King fighting around the ring, so I don’t know if this is joined in progress or not. King appears to be on top after a few guardrail shots but Hero quickly recovers to deliver a few strikes. SENTON OFF THE RAILS by Kenny! That was a great move but as the fight returns to the ring Hero regains control with a straight kick to the jaw. He sends King flying into the barricades again by kicking him off the apron…and leaves Claudio, Hagadorn and Sara to all take their turn delivering some cheap shots on the floor. Back in the ring Chris floors him with a Roaring Elbow and almost wins by TKO right there. He lines up a second…but this time King BLOCKS it with a corkscrew enziguri. He follows that with a spinning heel kick, then the Capo Kick…THEN a spinebuster for 2 as the crowd really starts to get behind him. Hero tries to throw him off the top but is surprised as King regains his balance to hit the springboard Blockbuster. Shotgun Knees countered with the Rolling Flash Kick for 2. Once again Shane Hagadorn tries to interject himself…but this time it’s him that gets inadvertently levelled with a Hero elbow. King steals the win at 09:18

Rating – ** – Most of this was incredibly boring to be fair…but at least it did a decent job of getting the All Nights some babyface heat before the title match. I know there was some debate internally within ROH about whether to even show this match. They were having problem with the lights throughout this night of tapings – and the fact that the entire arena was in darkness other than the rig lights over the ring was actually more interesting than the match for most of the first half. That finish was painfully predictable too…

Hero and Claudio are sore losers and the whole KOW crew charge into the ring to beat up King, Titus and any refs or jobbers who come to try and help.

Tape Rating – * – Maybe this episode is why people crap on the whole build up to the 9th Anniversary Show as, in fairness, it was a pretty ordinary go-home show. I know I’m not an expert, but I don’t understand why they used the really boring Kings/ANX matches as the final footage before the ppv. The Strong/Homicide brawl was really fun last week, and would have created much more of a buzz for the show than these four men – particularly since they had no plans to put the Tag Title Match anywhere near the main event in Chicago. The boring and predictable double main event didn’t do much to build up the challengers as legit threats for the titles, Daniels/Storm was one of the low points of the entire ROH on HDNet run, and when the highlight of the show is Richards saying he is facing Colt Cabana you have a problem. And why wasn’t the Top Prospect Tournament even mentioned?

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