Powell's 1/28 ROH Wrestling TV review: Kevin Steen and Jay Lethal confrontation, Matt Hardy vs. Rhett Titus, Adam Cole vs. B.J. Whitmer for the ROH TV Title, Top Prospect Tournament continues
By Jason Powell
ROH Wrestling on SBG television affiliates
Taped in Baltimore, Md. at Du Burns Arena
[Q1] The opening video aired... Kevin Kelly introduced the show and set up an in-ring meeting with matchmaker Nigel McGuinness, Jay Lethal, and Kevin Steen. Security stood inside and outside the ring. Nigel introduced Lethal first. Steen came out with Steve Corino, Jimmy Jacobs, and Rhino.
Lethal said he was surprised Steen had the balls to come out, but he said his scumbags were sure to follow. He said this was about the two of them and he wants Steen to accept his challenge for the ROH Title. Corino stepped up and scolded Lethal. "This is the world champion," Corino said. "I thought your beautiful mother would have taught you more respect than that." Corino said Lethal's mother was spat upon because his father threw water at Steen when he should have been throwing in the towel.
Steen stepped forward. Lethal said Steen is not a real ROH Champion. "You are not like all of the other great Ring of Honor World Champions," Lethal said. He accused Steen of being a selfish human being who only cares about himself. He recalled Steen saying he was going to kill ROH because they wronged him.
Lethal said Steen is trying to kill ROH by destroying every ROH wrestler who believes honor lives. Lethal said the biggest believer is standing in front of him and Steen is telling the world that he is too scared. Lethal said Steen needs to defeat him to stick it to ROH by sticking it to one of the promotion's most honorable men.
"The sad part, Kevin, is that I know I can beat you for that Ring of Honor World Title," said Lethal. He added that he's fueled by his family, his hatred of Steen, and his confidence. "You know deep down inside that until you beat me, you ain't shit (censored)."
Steen took the mic. Jacobs yelled "move on" to Lethal. Steen teased talking, but then left the ring. He stopped on the ring apron and simply said, "I accept." Steen walked backstage. Lethal smiled while the members of SCUM flipped out...
Powell's POV: A good segment. Lethal's pursuit of Steen hasn't grabbed my attention, but I like the way he goaded Steen into accepting the match by playing on Steen's mission to end ROH. Steen was determined and likable here. He has a tendency to sound a bit whiney during promos, but that wasn't the case in this one. I was hoping for a strong promo from Steen, but his two word response was actually perfect.
Backstage, Veda Scott hyped the 11th Anniversary iPPV and brought in Michael Elgin to promote his best of three falls match with Roderick Strong. Elgin said Strong beat him once, but there's no chance he can take two of three falls from him... [C]
At ringside, Kevin Kelly and Caleb Seltzer spoke about the Steen and Lethal angle. They introduced Truth Martini, who sat in on commentary for the Top Prospect Tournament match...
[Q2] 1. Silas Young vs. Adam Page in a Top Prospect Tournament match. Kelly put over the tournament by recalling that Mike Bennett won it last year and Adam Cole competed in it. Young pulled Page through the ropes in the corner and performed a nice hanging DDT at 2:00. He teased kicking the back of Page's head, but he went over and then caught him with kick to the face.
Young followed up with a backbreaker and a clothesline from that position. Cool combo, but it looked like the clothesline was off. Page made his comeback and performed some good high spots, including a cross body block for a good near fall. Young came back with a Full Neslon Bomb and the Stock Clock submission hold for the win. They shook hands after the match, but Young was cocky... [C]
Silas Young defeated Adam Page to advance to the second round of the Top Prospect Tournament in 5:55.
Powell's POV: A good prospects match. Young controlled most of the action and Page had a good comeback with a shooting star press off the ring apron being the highlight. Page hits some impressive high spots, but needs to improve on making the routine moves look better. His shoulder blocks looked like he was just tapping his shoulder into Young's before Young took a back bump.
Charlie Haas came to the ring. Kelly said they were supposed to go to the Inside ROH segment, but Haas made an unscheduled appearance. He mocked the Baltimore crowd by saying Ray Lewis quit football because he's just a big pussy like they are. He said ROH sent him letters saying he can't curse or flip off the fans. He said he has the freedom of speech. He flipped off the camera and said, "Censor that (censor)."
Haas said no one knew who B.J. Whitmer was until he put him through a table head-first. He complained about Nigel booking a tag team gauntlet match even though he knew Shelton Benjamin wasn't there. He spotted a crew member clearing some of the debris from the ring.
Haas called the scrawny man named Brendel into the ring and told his new name is cheeseburger. Brendel said he is a wrestler. Haas challenged him to a match on the spot. The fans fired up as the scrawny ring attended took his shirt off. Haas shook his hand, but then pulled him in and gave him a wild suplex that sent Brendel across the ring. Haas flipped off the crowd and applied the Haas of Pain. Brendel tapped out and Haas eventually released the hold...
The upcoming live event dates were shown...
Powell's POV: Stone Cold Haas is better than the Haas who struggled on the mic for years. I do hope he finds a way to make this gimmick his own. The suplex was awesome on the scrawny crew member. The crowd was hot for Haas and popped big when the kid took his shirt off. It wasn't an official match, as no referee was present.
[Q3] [C] 2. Matt Hardy vs. Rhett Titus. Kelly said the Inside ROH segment would be available exclusively online since Haas interrupted them. Titus had his ribs taped. Hardy targeted Rhett's ribs. He went to the second rope and jumped off, but Titus caught him with a shot on the way down.
There were brief dueling chants for both wrestlers. Hardy hit the Side Effect for a two count. Later, Hardy powerslammed Titus at ringside. Hardy rolled him back inside the ring and hit the Twist of Fate for the clean win...
Matt Hardy beat Rhett Titus in 6:30.
Powell's POV: Hardy looks puffier than he did during his WWE run. He's carrying some extra weight and he appears to have aged rapidly since his last WWE stint. He put himself through a lot in those days, but perhaps he can improve his look as time goes on. I'd like to hear more from Hardy on the mic in ROH. The non-ROH regulars remember him best from his mostly babyface days in WWE. He's delivered some really good online promos as of late and I think he could generate a lot of heat.
The Veda Scott interview with Michael Elgin aired to promote the 11th Anniversary show...
Powell's POV: Why do they air the same brief interviews twice in the same show? They did the same thing last week.
3. Adam Cole vs. B.J. Whitmer for the ROH TV Title. Matt Hardy walked to ringside early in the match and joined the announcers on commentary. There was a commercial break a few minutes into the match. [C]
After the break, Hardy continued to heel it up on commentary. Whitmer performed a superplex. He came up holding the back of his head as Kelly noted that Whitmer hit the offensive move, yet he took the brunt of it. Cole walked over to check on him. Whitmer slapped him and mouthed off. Cole superkicked him and went on an offensive run. In the end, Cole hit a German suplex into a bridge for the win.
Whitner had a bag of ice on his neck when he shook hands with Cole. Hardy stood up at the announcers' area and had a brief staredown with Cole. Kelly hyped the tag team gauntlet match for next week with Corino and Jacobs vs. American Wolves vs. Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly vs. The Bravados with the winning team getting a tag title match...
Adam Cole beat B.J. Whitmer to retain the ROH TV Title in roughly 7:00 of television time.
Powell's POV: This didn't feel like a meaningful match going in because neither wrestler was given promo time within the hour. It was nice to hear Hardy on commentary heeling it up. I'd still rather see him in the ring and working to generate heat. Perhaps that will come, as he's still acting like he's there to help bring ROH up to his level. He's smug and all, but he needs to let loose a bit on the mic.
Overall, I enjoyed the first half of the show more than the second half. The TV Title match just wasn't positioned well enough to justify having it in the closing segment of the show rather than closing on a hot note with the Steen and Lethal segment. The atmosphere in the building didn't add much to the show once the matches took place. The fans came to life for the Haas promo, but they were fairly subdued during the actual matches.
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