Powell's 12/15 ROH Wrestling TV review: The Briscoes vs. Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman for the ROH Tag Titles, Top Prospect tournament, Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Alabama Attitude
By Jason Powell
ROH Wrestling on SBG television affiliates
Taped in Baltimore, Md. at Du Burns Arena
[Q1] The opening video aired... Kevin Kelly and Caleb Seltzer were on commentary. Kelly hyped the beginning of the Top Prospect tournament...
1. Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Alabama Attitude (Mike Posey and Corey Hollis). The teams shook hands before the match. Fish and O'Reilly performed a good backbreaker followed by a knee drop off the ropes combo on Posey that drew gasps from the crowd. Hollis tagged in and had a nice flurry. Posey tagged in and caught Fish with a top rope legdrop for a two count. O'Reilly performed a German suplex on Hollis at ringside. Fish and O'Reilly worked over Posey in the ring and finished him off with a kick and brainbuster combo.
Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly defeated Alabama Attitude in 6:00.
Powell's POV: If Posey's name rings a bell, it's probably because he's a former TNA referee. He's also worked as an independent wrestler for several years. He has a solid look and did a good job of taking the bulk of the Fish and O'Reilly offense. Meanwhile, O'Reilly appears to be more tone than he has been in the past. He could still use a tan. He's a talented guy and I like him and Fish as a team, but the white skin makes him look a little too indy.
Backstage, Veda Scott hyped the 11th Anniversary iPPV for March 2, and the March 3 taping in Chicago Ridge, Illinois. Charlie Haas spoke about the people who piss him off. He said he hates Nigel McGuinness, The Briscoes, Rhett Titus, and B.J. Whitmer. He said he doesn't know who his opponent will be at the iPPV, but he intends to take out his hostility on their ass... [C]
Powell's POV: Haas has come a long way on the mic. He really struggled in this area for a long time, but he seems to have loosened up and is having fun with his new character.
In the ring, matchmaker Nigel McGuinness recalled kicking Jay Lethal out of the building at Final Battle. McGuinness called for Lethal to join him in the ring. Lethal made his entrance while dressed in street clothes. Nigel said he knew someone would try to step up and test him when he became matchmaker, but he didn't think it would be Lethal.
Nigel said he thought it might be Kevin Steen or Charlie Haas who challenged him, but it was Lethal who spat in his face. Nigel said he hopes Lethal understands why he had to kick him out of the building at Final Battle. Lethal nodded. McGuinness said he wasn't going to fine or suspend Lethal.
Nigel announced that he was giving Lethal a warning. The crowd mocked the warning announcement. McGuinness sternly told Lethal that it's the only warning he will get and he would regret it if he stepped out of line again. Lethal said he respects the warning and Nigel's position in ROH. However, Lethal said it doesn't help his situation with Steen. Lethal questioned what he would have to do to get a title shot.
[Q2] Lethal said he would not wait until Steen lost the belt. "What do I have to do?" Lethal said excitedly. McGuiness said his hands are tied because Steen has it written in stone that Lethal can't have a title shot. Nigel said the only person who can change that is Steen. Nigel said that until Lethal can change Steen's mind, he doesn't want to hear about the match ever again.
Lethal said he understands what he has to do. He started to leave the ring, but Nigel stopped him. "I've given you one warning and I won't give you a second," McGuinness said. Lethal replied, "That's funny, Nigel, because I was going to say the same to you"... [C]
Powell's POV: A good verbal exchange. Nigel did a good job of ignoring the live crowd when they mocked the warning. Rather than flinch, he kept a straight face and backed up the warning with a stern warning that there won't be another one. Lethal did a good job of being humble and building up his frustration...
Kevin Kelly hosted the Inside Ring of Honor segment. He focussed on Matt Hardy kicking Adam Cole below the belt and beating him at Final Battle. Kelly said a non-title win would normally lead to a title match. In this case, Cole will defend the ROH TV Title against B.J. Whitmer on television next week because Nigel McGuinness hated the way Hardy won.
Matt Hardy delivered a promo from a locker room and vented about not getting the title shot. Hardy said he won with a wrestling move. He said the last time he saw Whitmer he was being carted out of Final Battle. "Matt Hardy will not stand for this treatment," Hardy said.
Powell's POV: A good short promo from Hardy. I like the way he referred to himself in the third person.
Kelly set up a B.J. Whitmer promo and aired footage of Whitmer taking a header through the table at Final Battle. Whitmer delivered a brief promo and said he's taking the TV Title next week.
Kelly turned the focus to Kevin Steen and the ROH Title. He said a source told him that Steen has not called the office about his next opponent. He said that was very unlike Steen. Inside a locker room, Steve Corino cut a promo in which he accused Nigel of being the unnamed source who implied that Steen is a little too relaxed. Corino said they don't deal with rumors, they deal with fact.
Kelly hyped the Top Prospect tournament and the iPPV in Chicago Ridge. He said they will announce the first matches for the 11th Anniversary iPPV event next week, and provide updates on the futures of Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin... Ads aired for the ROH website and upcoming events... [C]
The announcers spoke about the Jay Lethal and Nigel McGuinness segment and then introduced Truth Martini as a guest commentator for the Top Prospect tournament match. They showed the brackets for the eight-man tournament...
[Q3] 2. "Rock-n-Roll" Mike Sydal vs. Q.T. Marshall (w/R.D. Evans) in a Top Prospect tournament match. The announcers acknowledged that Sydal is the brother of Evan Bourne. They shook hands before the match and Marshall had a cocky smile on his face.
Martini said everyone wants to know who the next member of the House of Truth will be. "It's just like that good old glory hole, it's going to be a surprise, but when you come it might leave..." Wow. Really? He reacted to a move in the ring. Sydal popped the crowd with a big moonsault off the top rope and onto Marshall and Evans at ringside. In the end, Marshall hit God's Gift for the win...
Q.T. Marshall defeated Mike Sydal in 5:35 to advance to the second round of the Top Prospect tournament.
Powell's POV: Sydal looks more like a young Jeff Jarrett with tattoos than his brother. Marshall was the obvious favorite to win the match, but Sydal got plenty of offense in to keep things interesting and the live crowd was into his high spots. Marshall will face the winner of Antonio Thomas vs. Tadarius Thomas in the second round. I'm still surprised Martini's glory hole comment made air. Bold.
Backstage, Veda Scott interviewed Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander. Cedric said the Briscoes are men of their word in that they promised them the first tag title shot and they are getting it. Alexander said the respect stops once they step inside the ring because they are going to win the tag titles "because we finally got a piece of the pie"...
Veda Scott hyped the iPPV and the TV taping, then interviewed Charlie Haas. It was the same segment that aired earlier in the show. Oops... [C]
Backstage, Veda Scott interviewed The Briscoes about their tag title defense against Alexander and Coleman. Jay said they respect Coleman and Alexander and might even call them friends, but they have no friends once the bell rings. Mark said it's the eighth time they've held the tag titles. He said that means they've lost them seven times before. He said this title reign is different because they are going to hold the title from now until kingdom come...
Bobby Cruise delivered the in-ring introductions for the ROH Tag Title match... Kelly ran through the tale of the tape, which is much better than the ridiculous TNA version. Kelly hyped Cole vs. Whitmer for the TV Title, Matt Hardy in a singles match, and the Top Prospect tournament for next week...
[Q4] 3. The Briscoes vs. Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander for the ROH Tag Titles. Kelly said Coleman was an up and coming singles star when injuries took their toll. He spoke about his training and now teaming with Alexander. Coleman and Alexander performed simultaneous flips over the top rope and onto the tag champions heading into the break. [C]
After the break, Mark was getting the better of Alexander in the ring. The announcers spoke about how split the crowd was. A loud "Briscoes" chant started up shortly thereafter. Later, the Briscoes set up for the Doomsday Device on Alexander, but Coleman broke it up. They followed up with a huracanrana and then Alexander performed a great frogsplash for a simultaneous pin attempt. Really good sequence.
The crowd chanted "this is awesome" as Mark Briscoe got the better of Coleman. Mark hit a top rope elbow on Alexander and made the cover. Jay counted the pin, but Alexander kicked out. Moments later, the Briscoes hit the Doomsday Device and got the clean pin.
The Briscoes defeated Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman to retain the ROH Tag Titles.
After the match, the two teams were shaking hands when Steve Corino, Jimmy Jacobs, and Rhino hit the ring and attacked all four men. Rhino was wearing a SCUM t-shirt. Rhino gored Alexander and the trio left all four men lying to close the show...
Powell's POV: It's nice to be finished with all of the Final Battle recap shows. They made sense over the holidays, but it felt like it was dragged out longer than it needed to be. It's good to give the viewers a taste of the pay-per-view action and I like the way the event feels like a big deal even after the fact in a day and age when everyone else just moves on to the next show. However, it was a little much for viewers who ordered the show.
Overall, this was a solid show with a good mix of in-ring hype and the beginning of the 11th Anniversary storylines. I'm still not feeling the Steen vs. Lethal feud, though they still have time to sell viewers on that before the iPPV in March. I hope the Top Prospect tournament is more than a vehicle to set up Truth Martini's next House of Truth member.
ROH could definitely do a better job of making viewers care about the prospects than they did here. Granted, both men are familiar to ROH fans, but I would still take this opportunity to do character pieces on the prospects so the fans are introduced to them and have a reason to care about their stories. The main event was very entertaining with good near falls for both teams. It feels like most of the Final Battle programs are still in play. That's good if you enjoy those programs but not so good if you were hoping they would freshen things up in the new year.
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