ROH on HDNET 4/5/2010

ROH on HDNet – Episode 052 – 5th April 2010

It feels like a long time since we last visited the ECW Arena, Philadelphia and Mike Hogewood for ROH on HDNet. It’s been off the air for two weeks, and in that time Ring Of Honor managed to pack in five live events, culminating at last weekend’s The Big Bang iPPV which saw the Kings Of Wrestling reclaim the ROH Tag Titles, Tyler Black retain the World Title and Christopher Daniels make a shocking return. When we last saw HDNet action, we were in the midst of the TV Title Tournament, with Kevin Steen, Kenny King, Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards making the semi-finals of that. Outside of the TV Title situation, there will be much to reboot tonight given that ROH invested lots of television time into hyping The Big Bang. We join Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak in Philadelphia, PA.

Steve Corino vs Bobby Shields
Expect nothing more than a typical TV squash match here. Corino is preparing for the next Chicago show in April 24th when he and Kevin Steen face Colt Cabana and El Generico in a Street Fight.

Shields scores with an early dropkick, forcing the veteran to retreat to the floor. Rookie mistake though, he gets over-excited and thinks about a big dive spot…and is duly dumped into the guardrails by Corino. Crowd is so silent you could hear a pin drop even with the lousy HDNet crowd mics, and really couldn’t care less as Steve rakes Shields’ eyes and screams at them. Inverted Tombstone scores, as Colt Cabana strolls up the aisle in a repeat of the scenes we saw when Corino came out during the Cabana/Edwards TV Title Tournament match. Sliding Lariat wins it for Corino at 03:19

Rating – DUD – Too long, too boring, the live crowd didn’t care…making this basically a waste of TV time. They could have had this match last half as long and done the same Corino/Cabana stuff

Corino tries to warn Colt to be careful who he stands up for…and gets beaten up. Clearly Cabana has no intentions of leaving Steen and Corino alone

In the studio Prazak and Hog confess that this show was taped before The Big Bang – and duly encourage people to go to ROHWrestling.com or GoFightLive’s site to find out what happened. They air a load of Big Bang hype videos which I guess encourages people to order the replay.

Dark City Fight Club vs The Set
We’ve seen The Set a few times, mostly getting the snot beaten out of them. How will they fare against the intimidating DCFC – fresh of one of the biggest wins of their ROH careers when they defeated the American Wolves a few weeks ago?

Never ones to take the easy route, DCFC happily go after J-Sinn from the outset. Sinn fights them off using his own partner as a weapon…until Davis MASSACRES both of them. Total Elimination on Sinn, which leaves poor Lance Lude alone with them. Project Mayhem slaps his porpoise at 01:26

Rating – * – I’ve awarded 1* since this was a much better squash than Corino/Shields. I think it was important to give DCFC another emphatic win to back up their huge victory over the Wolves. But it’s not squash matches were DCFC have had problems – they always look decent in this environment. They need to continue delivering big performances in their ‘big matches’ if they want to progress up the ROH tag team division.

Jerry Lynn gets a video package detailing his 2009 in ROH. That includes winning the World Title then subsequently losing it, mentoring Tyler Black and finally getting put on the shelf by Kenny King and Rhett Titus. There’s also highlights of his return from that injury at SoCal Showdown in January. Apparently he returns to HDNet next week…and we’re pretending he wasn’t in Phoenix at all

Erick Stevens vs Pelle Primeau
Is this the first time that Pelle has made it to HDNet? Good for him – I hated him when he was a regular but he always struck me as a guy who worked hard so it’s nice to see him get on the TV show. I have no idea why we have another f*cking squash match though

Primeau tries to use his speed but gets caught going for a pescado and tossed mercilessly into the ringpost. Having damaged the ribs there Stevens intelligently goes for a bearhug inside the ring. Pelle escapes with a rana and counters a powerslam attempt into a DDT. Stevens retaliates with the Choo Choo into a big lariat. Doctor Bomb for the win in 04:06

Rating – * – 50+ episodes in, I’m getting a little bored of the typical HDNet squash match. This gets a star for the psychology around working the ribs, but there’s no excuse to run three matches like this in one hour of television. If I was a channel hopper and had stumbled onto ROH by accident, I’d have turned it off by now…

The Embassy beat down Primeau and as Necro Butcher ambles through the crowd for a save the screen goes black. After commercials Prazak and Hog announce that the feed was cut since he is banned from appearing on HDNet at this time. Cool gimmick…

Now it’s time for our third video package segment of the evening – this time recapping the first round of the TV Title Tournament. The semi-finals start next week with Steen/Edwards set for Episode 053 and Richards/Delirious set for Episode 054.

Chris Hero vs Jay Briscoe – Pick 6 Series Match
Given that we are a couple of days removed from the Kings defeating the Briscoes for the ROH Tag Titles, this match takes on even more intrigue than it already had. Hero has been in the Pick 6 for a while, but recently had a petition for a World Title shot turned down as officials deemed that both Aries and Strong were ahead of him in the pecking order. As half of the Tag Team Champions, Hero will now be looking to rack up another high profile singles win here and perhaps earn himself the next shot at the ROH World Champion.

Since Prazak and Hog were already honest about this being pre-taped, ROH have no need to edit the entrances meaning the Briscoes are still shown as champions here despite losing the belts over the weekend. Mark and Claudio are in their respective partner’s corner here. They engage in a really smooth chain-wrestling sequence to get things started. Three minutes in and they’re still going back and forth, entirely evenly matched thus far. First significant advantage goes to Briscoe as he manages to floor Hero with a shoulder block. Pace quickens and allows Jay to nail a double stomp…prompting Chris to leave the ring and seek solace with Shane Hagadorn, Sara Del Rey and Double C in his corner. Hagadorn ends up distracting Briscoe, causing a distraction which allows Castagnoli to ambush Jay. Thanks to the guys working his corner Hero is in charge now, repeatedly firing off big elbow strikes. Briscoe rallies and gets a 2-count with a mafia kick. Cradle suplex by Hero…DVD by Jay means he stays in charge. He absorbs a couple of jaw-rattling elbow smashes to nail a spinebuster but now both guys are slow to recover. Hero topples out of the ring and is quickly mown down with a big somersault plancha. ROARING ELBOWS drop Jay to his knees, only for him to pop up with a superkick and both men are reeling again. Jay Driller is blocked before Chris comes from the blindside with another wild elbow strike. Death Blow countered with a backslide, so Hero dishes out another Roaring Elbow as punishment. Claudio tries to get involved only to be drawn into a brawl on the floor with Mark. DEATH BLOW! Hero defeats Jay Briscoe at 14:10

Rating – *** – For a free TV match this was really good. Nothing fancy, but a really hard-hitting, physical 15 minutes of wrestling to somewhat save what has been a very poor show. The last few minutes with both men exhausted and dropping bombs on each other were gripping.

Tape Rating – * – I sort of understand the reasons for this show being so poor. Since they had to cancel a recent night of tapings due to inclement weather, I was expecting to see an increase in the amount of video packages to fill out TV time. There were three LENGTHY video packages here, including one to hype a match which already happened. I can also understand running a number of insignificant squash matches on this show. They openly admitted to taping it before The Big Bang and being unable to acknowledge the results of one of the biggest shows of the year thus far – as such making significant storyline advancement impossible too. There are clearly reasons that this had to be a total filler episode of ROH on HDNet. HOWEVER, after two weeks off their air, ROH definitely returned to weekly television with more of a whimper than a bang. 40 minutes of squashes and video packages were not particularly entertaining – and in my opinion will actively have driven new fans away from the product. ROH claims to be a workrate alternative to the major promotions. I guarantee you Monday Night Raw had more quality wrestling (and better video packages) than this episode – and that’s inexcusable in my opinion. Hero/Briscoe was a fun little match, but not good enough to salvage a completely skippable episode. Bottom line – this is one of the most insignificant, ultimately meaningless episodes of wrestling television I’ve ever seen. That can’t be a good thing