ROH on HDNET 3/8/2010

ROH on HDNet – Episode 050 – 8th March 2010

This episode will mark the halfway point in ROH’s complete run on HDNet. And Ring Of Honor has something special in store for the HDNet audience to mark the 50th episode – the beginning of a TV Title Tournament. The brackets were announced last week, and over the coming weeks we’ll see eight top contenders whittled down to one inaugural ROH Television Champion. Interestingly, this tournament will also feature the only ROH show (at time of writing) to be postponed due to weather problems. The Philadelphia was hit by a massive snowstorm during this weekend of tapings – and when it was announced that travel in the Philly area would be unsafe after night one, ROH made the decision to cancel the second night of tapings – meaning the four men who won their quarter final matches would have to come back at the NEXT tapings and pick up where they left off. Lets join Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak in The Arena.

Show opens with locker room footage from New York in the aftermath of Tyler’s title win. Jim Cornette interrupts the celebrations to berate Black for kicking him in the face. Elsewhere Aries demands a rematch (since Tyler got ‘like 167 rematches’), and Roderick angrily yells at Cary Silkin to give him the title shot he was promised.

TONIGHT – Jim Cornette promises to announce Tyler Black’s challenger at The Big Bang

Attractive redhead brings the TV Title belt into The Arena for it’s formal unveiling as DP and Hog discuss the brackets. The tournament gets underway now…

Kevin Steen vs Rhett Titus
This is an opening round match in the TV Title Tournament. Mr Wrestling’s threatening change of creative direction has earned him the spot as top seed to win the whole thing, whilst Rhett is the rank outsider and seeded last. It’d be a huge upset if he can go past Steen here.

Rhett Titus has some fans at ringside, so naturally Steen targets them for some abuse – stealing their sign and ripping it up. Never one to be deterred, Titus doesn’t let that stop him running through his usual assortment of thrusts and gyrations. Steen drops a knee across his arm from the second rope, then smashes the shoulder against the ringpost to open up an injury to that particular body part. Hammerlock into a Russian legsweep gets 2. Rhettski is noticeably weakened, but is still a crafty athlete in his own right and goes after Mr Wrestling’s eyes to buy some time. Steen recovers quickly to hit an armbar DDT though. Dropkick from Titus, followed by a Stinger Splash and the Thrustbuster for 2. Codebreaker then a somersault neckbreaker after that as Titus continues to press home his advantage. But Steen has done too much damage for him to hit the Muff Driver, and as Rhett clutches his arm in pain Steen pops up to hit a powerbomb. Super Sex Factor blocked…and Kevin turns it into a tree of woe cannonball senton. CRIPPLER CROSSFACE! Steen advances in 07:16

Rating – ** – Decent little match to get the tournament underway. There were a few sloppy moments but they told a nice little story which paid off in all the critical moments of the match – with Rhett not being able to hit his finisher because of his bad arm, then Steen USING a finishing move designed to target the same limb in order to secure victory. I also liked the fun little moments of Titus using traditionally heel spots to make babyface comebacks in his role as the de facto good guy in the piece.

Jim Cornette has gathered Tyler Black, Austin Aries and Roderick Strong to a darkened room to discuss a main event at the next ippv in Charlotte. Jim agrees that Aries and Roddy are top contenders for the ROH Title right now, and gives them BOTH the title shot – triple threat style. Roddy is absolutely furious and throws a hilarious temper tantrum – some of his best promo work ever. Aries tries to form an alliance with Tyler to get Strong out of the picture so they can settle it amongst themselves…

Kings Of Wrestling vs Bravado Brothers
Technically this is a rematch from the 8th Anniversary Show…although classifying it as a rematch would involve classifying the demolition job the KOW put on the Bravados in New York as an actual ‘match’. Can Lance and Harlem put up more of a fight than they did in the Manhattan Center? For Hero and Claudio this is all about preparing for their Tag Title shot at The Big Bang…

KOW totally decimate Lance from the opening bell, with Bravado mounting basically zero offence. Even Sara Del Rey gets a cheap shot in on the hapless Bravado brother. Harlem gets a blind tag and manages to land a couple of offensive blows on his opponents. POP-UP BACKBREAKER COMBO! That didn’t last long. Lance tries to help and eats the Big Swing/Flash Kick combo. KRS-1 puts Harlem Bravado down for the three at 03:57

Rating – * – Possibly too long, and, considering it’s length, I don’t think the Kings broke out enough awesome double team moves. This was all about making the point that they’re a dominant team as we build toward Briscoes/Kings at The Big Bang though…so mission accomplished here.

Back to the commentary studio/table/booth whatever we’re calling it…where Prazak and Hogewood announce that Necro Butcher has been suspended from HDNet indefinitely after he punched out the timekeeper whilst brawling with The Embassy a couple of weeks ago.

Prince Nana is in Kyle Durden’s batcave…once again offering Rasche Brown a spot in The Embassy

Rasche Brown vs Caleb Konley
Urgh…another Skullkrusher squash match. Admittedly I’ve not seen Konley in ROH before so his appearance does add some intrigue, but Pearce really needs to get Brown going with something creative now. People will start to turn on him if his ONLY job is to beat up jobbers on HDNet and work multi-man matches at Midwest DVD tapings.

Caleb tries to get feisty with Rasche, refusing to give him a clean break and promptly getting clouted to the canvas. Springboard crossbody misses to allow Brown to nail the Rolling Spear. Burning Hammer wins the match at 01:19

Rating – DUD – This is now one too many Rasche Brown squashes on HDNet. It’s the same thing every time and I am now officially bored of it. Time to take his contributions up a notch or get rid

Colt Cabana thinks he’s made for TV, so therefore would make a great TV Champion and is looking forward to his own tournament match next week. Steve Corino interrupts him to hype Steen’s progression to the Semis, and to tell Colt to concentrate on his own endeavours rather than get distracted by El Generico…

After more hype for The Big Bang, we go to a feature on the American Wolves, who have suffered some high profile losses in 2010 thus far. As the future of their team hangs in the balance, both men have entered the TV Title Tournament so will have a chance to showcase their skills as singles competitors next week.

Kenny King vs El Generico
These two have already clashed in a recent HDNet main event. It was a competitive bout then, with King picking up the victory over a supposedly distracted El Generico to retain his spot in the Pick 6 Series. Now they meet again with a place in the semi-finals of the TV Title Tournament at stake. With everything else El Generico has going on right now, is he in the right place to pull off a win and advance in the tournament tonight?

Hog bashing ‘Jerry McGuire’ makes me sad. I love Cuba Gooding in that movie! It’s a concentrated, low key start from El Generico, keeping the match grounded and avoiding anything offensive King throws in his direction. He scores with a flurry of armdrags and causes King to leave the ring to regroup. He returns to the ring and quickly reels off a Japanese armdrag, but the methodical approach of the Generic Luchador continues to pay dividends as he scoops King up for a backbreaker. ROPE LEAPING arm wrench by Kenny – at five minutes this is the first time he’s hit anything that has given him the advantage for any extended period of time. Much as we saw with Steen/Titus earlier, he targets the arm with ruthless precision – maybe Kenny saw how effective that strategy was at defeating his own tag partner? But too much cocky dancing proves to be Kenny’s downfall, as pausing to show off appears to give Generico enough time to recover and knock him out of the ring. ARABIAN PRESS TO THE FLOOR! Back in the ring the Michinoku Driver gets 2. Yakuza Kick COUNTERED WITH THE SHOTGUN KNEES! Capo Kick next, followed by a diving lariat for 2. Royal Flush blocked…HALF NELSON SUPLEX! YAKUZA KICK FOR 2! El Generico goes upstairs for one last big move, but is caught with that incredible vertical leap enzi kick from King. He crotches Kenny instead…VAN TERMINATOR SCORES! But that’s not good enough to win it for him and they wind up fighting on the turnbuckles again. AVALANCHE ROYAL FLUSH! King advances at 14:39

Rating – *** – Definitely as good as their Pick 6 Match from a few episodes ago, but I don’t think it was better. This one had a much better closing sequence which helped, but a lot of the body of this encounter felt quite paced and slow. The arm work was interesting but was only partially sold by Generico, and both guys just ignored it in favour of hitting big spots down the stretch. Good to see Kenny advance though – the chance for him to work a potential semi-final with Davey Richards is an interesting one…

Tape Rating – ** – On the one had this was a strong instalment of episodic pro-wrestling television. Every segment, in theory, gave you a reason to want to tune in again. We got LOTS of hype for The Big Bang, which is excellent and I’m delighted to see ROH using the HDNet platform to shill their iPPV venture properly. Black/Aries/Strong and Briscoes/Kings is a great main event double header to hype that show with. And of course, the TV Title Tournament started tonight and that’s going to be the theme of the next stretch of shows. But on the other hand, whilst this episode does point to lots of stuff you can look forward to in the future…there was nothing that worth watching here. King/Generico was a decent main event but no better than their last HDNet main event. In truth, other than the amusing Cornette interview with the World Title contenders and the ensuing Roddy Strong hissy fit, there wasn’t much memorable content at all here. So yeah…bit of a mixed bag. As a small part in a bigger picture this did a fine job…but as a standalone episode it was very average.

ROH on HDNet Episodes 46-50 – Top 5 Matches
5) Kenny King vs El Generico (*** – Episode 050)
4) Tyler Black/Roderick Strong vs Austin Aries/Kenny King (*** – Episode 049)
3) Dark City Fight Club vs American Wolves (*** – Episode 049)
2) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Young Bucks (**** – Episode 048)
1) Young Bucks vs American Wolves (**** – Episode 046)