Powell's 10/22 ROH Wrestling Live Coverage: Jay Lethal vs. Mike "The Prodigy" Bennett for the ROH TV Title, Mike Mondo vs. T.J. Perkins, first show from the second set of television tapings
By Jason Powell
ROH Wrestling on SBG affiliates
Taped in Louisville, Ky.
[Q1] The first five minutes of the show didn't make the DVR cut apparently, as the show started with a tale of the tape for the opening match. Thanks a lot, local affiliate. Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness were on commentary...
1. T.J. Perkins defeated Mike Mondo in 7:15. They shook hands before the match. Nigel immediately sounded more comfortable on commentary than he did at the first taping. Perkins did a reverse rocking chair spot that popped the crowd early. Kelly did a nice job of explaining Mondo's background.
Kelly thanked Poison singer Bret Michaels for promoting the ROH TV debut on Twitter. In the end, Mondo showed good speed as he spun around Mondo and eventually rolled him up for the win. Mondo declined the handshake after the match...
Backstage, Kevin Kelly interviewed Jay Lethal about the Final Battle pay-per-view that airs on December 23...
Powell's POV: A solid opening television match. I can't comment on the pre-match presentation since my DVR listing didn't match the actual start time. Mondo has a major league look compared to most of the ROH roster, and Perkins is a crowd pleasing babyface.
The announcers hyped Jay Lethal vs. Mike Bennett for later in the show... The announcers sat at their desk and set up a video that recapped The Briscoes vs. The All Night Express match from last week...
Powell's POV: Dot Net reader Justin Madden emailed to say that ROH is now airing localized promo segments in the Dayton market for an upcoming show, which is a great move. I hope ROH takes it a step further by airing interviews taped at the show to air the week after. I grew up on the AWA and one of my favorite parts of their show were the interviewed taped backstage at the St. Paul Civic Center whenever the company held an even there. Those interviews made the show feel so important, whereas today's companies are in too big of a hurry to move on to the next event.
Jim Cornette interviewed The Briscoes in the ring. Cornette said the duo had to prove themselves and would still have to face All Night Express again. The Briscoes boasted that they are six-time tag champions and shouldn't have to prove anything. The Briscoes headbutted one another and the fans chanted "Man up," which probably isn't the reaction the top heel team should be getting...
A sitdown interview with Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin aired. They said they respect All Night Express, but want The Briscoes at the Final Battle online pay-per-view... An ad aired for the ROH website... [C]
Powell's POV: The top heel tag team shouldn't be getting so many cheers. The Briscoes need to work harder to turn the fans against them or perhaps ROH officials should consider a double turn since it's not like Haas and Benjamin get the mega-reaction.
Kevin Kelly hyped Final Battle for New York City and online pay-per-view. Kelly said Roderick Strong has excuses "as usual" for not defeating Davey Richards for the ROH Title. Richards said he was busy trying to save Truth Martini's life. Clips also aired of Martini saying that the referee should have disqualified Richards.
Strong said he's going to outshine Richards, and then he said wrestling Kyle O'Reilly next week is nothing but a warmup match. They cut to Davey Richards talking about walking into Final Battle as the champion. He spoke about surrounding himself with winners and putting himself through hell every day in training.
Richards said that the person he faces at Final Battle better be ready to go through hell in the ring. He said he cares about who his opponent is at Final Battle, but he isn't worried about who his opponent is... An ad aired for the ROH website...
Powell's POV: Is there anything more indy-riffic than wrestling personalities carrying books around with them? Truth looked pretty wild with his hair pulled back and the big shades on, but I roll my eyes every time I see "The Book of Truth." Meanwhile, Strong has to improve on the mic or at least play a similar role in the ring that he does on promos. He's made some progress on the mic, but he still hasn't broken out of his shell. Richards comes across like a straight forward athlete on the mic. He's not flashy, but he is believable.
Kelly plugged the TV Title match, and set up a video package that recapped Jay Lethal defeating El Generico to win the ROH TV Title...
Powell's POV: I like all of the video recaps. They're not just assuming that everyone watches their show religiously.
Ring introductions for the TV Title match took place. Mike Bennett and Bob Evans came to the ring first, and the popular Jay Lethal made his entrance next...
Powell's POV: The Bob Evans character is bush league. For a company that is essentially run creatively by a great manager, their current manager types leave a lot to be desired.
Jim Cornette interviewed Eddie Edwards about Final Battle. Edwards said there's no better place than to hold the event than in New York City, where he won the title. He encouraged viewers to tune in to see what he would do. Cornette called Final Battle the night where the stars come out. He encouraged viewers to check out the ROH website for more information about the show... [C]
2. Jay Lethal fought Mike "The Prodigy" Bennett (w/Bob Evans) to a time limit draw in an ROH TV Title match. Bennett declined Lethal's offer to shake hands, which drew some boos from the crowd. They showed a close up of the one guy who was pounding on the guardrail to start the match. Don't encourage him.
Lethal applied a surfboard-like submission move around 4:00. A minute later, Lethal was going for a move on the ring apron when Evans distracted him. Bennett took advantage of the distraction and went on the offensive. They cut to commercial with Bennett in charge at 5:45.
Match footage that took place during the commercial break was shown. After the footage was shown, Bennett hit a nice power slam for a near fall. Lethal had a steady cheering section throughout the match. He made his comeback and hit a good series of offense when the ring announcer told the crowd there were only three minutes of match time remaining. A countdown clock appeared at the bottom of the screen for the remainder of the match.
Lethal and Bennett exchanged blows. Bennett caught Lethal with a spinebuster at 2:00 for a near fall. Bennett followed up with a German suplex, but Lethal landed on his feet and DDT'd Bennett for a near fall of his own at 1:15. Lethal hit a superkick and went for a top rope elbow, but Bennett rolled out of the way. Bennett threw repeated punches at Lethal even though the time was counting down.
Lethal rolled him over and threw punches of his own as the time limit expired. Lethal said he wanted five more minutes. A small chant for five more minutes broke out. At ringside, Evans whispered into Bennett's ear, and then Bennett said no. Lethal held his belt in the ring as the announcers hyped The Briscoes vs. All Night Express for next week to close the show...
Powell's POV: A good television match and both guys came out of it looking good. The flurry of punches that Bennett threw looked odd and most of the punches looked bad, but the announcers did a good job of explaining that Bennett thought Lethal had given up. Ultimately, I liked that Lethal was willing to give his challenger more time, just as he received when he captured the TV Title under similar circumstances. However, I'm confused as to why Bennett wouldn't want five more minutes since he was the challenger and not the champion.
The show looked better visually at the Louisville taping than it did on the first four show that were taped in Chicago. I certainly wasn't blown away by the Louisville look, though the hard camera shot was the best of the bunch. There were too many moments when the ringside camera crew blinded viewers with shots that included bright lights as they filmed the wrestlers.
If ROH is going to be a throwback, then I'd love to see them bring back the interview set similar to those used on WCW Saturday Night, Memphis, etc. It would put a lot of pressure on the talent to go live to tape in front of a live audience, but I think it would help them improve over the long haul and bring back an awesome element that is missing from today's national television product. Overall, this was a solid hour of television, but I really hope the production upgrades continue and the show eventually airs in HD.
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