Powell's 2/11 ROH Wrestling TV review: The Briscoes, Caprice Coleman, and Cedric Alexander vs. Kevin Steen, Jimmy Jacobs, Steve Corino, and Rhino, MsChif vs. Athena, Top Prospect Tournament
By Jason Powell
ROH Wrestling on SBG television affiliates
Taped in Baltimore, Md. at Du Burns Arena
[Q1] The opening video kicked off the show... Kevin Kelly, Caleb Seltzer, and Truth Martini checked in from the broadcast table and hyped three matches for the show. Truth was on commentary for the Top Prospect Tournament match...
1. Matt Taven vs. ACH in a Top Prospect Tournament first round match. Taven received a good reaction for his energetic entrance. ACH didn't get much of a reaction, but the announcers put him over big. Taven and ACH shook hands and exchanged good luck greetings.
ACH got the crowd worked up with a big flip dive onto Taven on the floor. Later, Taven was on the ropes when ACH caught him with a kick. Taven came back with a hangman's DDT and a frogsplash for the win.
Matt Taven defeated ACH in 5:15.
Powell's POV: It was impressive to see the crowd go from having a ho-hum reaction to ACH and even the match when it first started to getting fired up and into the action as it went on. They seemed to lose the crowd a bit by the end, as they didn't pop for the finish. I have no idea what Truth Martini's purpose is. He just says sleazy things like "smell my finger" and "I'm about to get off." It's not heat generating or entertaining. It just feels like he's trying to see how much he can get away with saying.
Backstage, Veda Scott hyped the 11th Anniversary iPPV event and then conducted a brief interview with Roderick Strong about his best of three falls match against Michael Elgin. He said he would do everyone a favor and accept the match because he's beaten Elgin before and won't have any problem beating Elgin in two straight falls... [C]
Powell's POV: Veda Scott should get more camera time. I was happy when they added her to the mix because it was such a sausage fest at one point. She does a good job on interviews and adds some needed sex appeal.
Nigel McGuinness stood in the ring and introduced Adam Cole and then Matt Hardy as the announcers recapped their Final Battle match. Hardy was smug during his entrance and once he entered the ring. Nigel noted that Hardy wants a title shot because he beat Cole. Meanwhile, Cole wants a rematch because Hardy used a kick to the balls to win the match.
[Q2] Nigel said he would grant Cole a match against Hardy. However, Nigel said the title would not be on the line because Hardy needs to beat Cole clean to earn the shot. Hardy declined the match. He said he had nothing else to prove because he beat Cole clean. In fact, he said he should be awarded the ROH TV Title after beating him.
Cole called Hardy "Mr. Washed Up" and said he doesn't have a problem putting the title on the line. Cole said he's not asking, he's insisting that their next match be for the title. Nigel asked him if his ROH contract calls him matchmaker. Nigel said that's his job and when he says it's not a title match then it will not be. Nigel said Hardy has to prove to him that he deserves a title match.
Hardy said his credentials should be enough. He ran through his history of title wins and got some boos. Hardy said Nigel is jealous of him. He said Nigel doesn't have the career he has nor would he have had it. Hardy said that while he was wrestling at Madison Square Garden, Nigel was working at flea markets. "It's all starting to make sense now," Hardy said. "You're envious of the career I've had and the career I continue to have."
Cole took the mic and stood up for Nigel by saying he earned the respect of every fan and person in the locker room. Cole asked Hardy is he could say the same. "I'll answer it for you, it's a big, fat no," he said. Cole said if Hardy needs a reason to face him without the title on the line he would give him one. Cole punched Hardy and they brawled briefly until they were pulled apart by security... [C]
Powell's POV: Hardy was very good here and was the standout performer of the segment. He was much better in this segment than he was on commentary last week. Cole was likable, yet also a bit of a generic babyface here. Cole is a talented guy and he's a bit of a throwback in that he's an old school white meat babyface.
Backstage, Kevin Kelly hosted the Inside Ring of Honor segment and focussed on the Top Prospect Tournament. Truth Martini checked in and gave his take on the four remaining wrestlers. He said he loves Tadarius Thomas, feels Silas Young is silent and deadly, raved about Q.T. Marshall and questioned his management, and said Matt Taven is a very controversial guy who might be missing a little something. Truth took his pants off and said it was, well, time to take his pants off.
Powell's POV: That was pretty worthless. I'm having a hard time caring about which wrestler ends up with Martini and his praise of all four men didn't really tell me anything or leave me more intrigued. Truth's comedy antics haven't clicked with me and removing his pants for no reason didn't help.
Kelly hyped the Cincinnati live event. An interviewed aired with Davey Richards, Michael Elgin, and Adam Cole heading into their six-man tag main event against SCUM. Kelly hyped the 11th Anniversary iPPV. A video promo with Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly was shown. They both wore preppy and said they would send the Briscoes back to the chicken farm broken, defeated, and retired. Kelly ran through the rest of the card and hyped more on Cole and Hardy for next week...
[Q3] [C] Backstage, The Briscoes, Caprice Coleman, and Cedric Alexander got fired up for the eight-man tag main event...
2. MsChif vs. Athena. Veda Scott sat in on commentary. MsChif entered to music that Jerry Lynn would approve of. Seltzer noted that Athena is one of only two survivors from Skandar Akbar's training camp. Late in the match, Athena jumped off the top rope and performed a Stunner on the way down. Scott said she calls that move the O Face. She went for the cover, but MsChif put her foot on the bottom rope. MsChif came back with Obliteration (second rope Pedigree) for the win...
MsChif defeated Athena in 4:20.
Scott's interview with Strong was replayed... [C]
Powell's POV: Good use of Scott on commentary. She spoke authoritatively while praising both wrestlers and was familiar with their moves. They spoke about a "report" that the women of Ring of Honor could be facing global competition soon. I'm all for it. The match was entertaining and there are more than enough talented female indy workers that they won't seem out of place in the work rate heavy ROH. Here's hoping the women start to get mic time to help establish their personas.
SCUM (Kevin Steen, Jimmy Jacobs, Steve Corino, and Rhino made their entrances and were introduced by Bobby Cruise. Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman made their entrance, and then The Briscoes made their entrance...
[Q4] 3. The Briscoes, Caprice Coleman, and Cedric Alexander vs. Kevin Steen, Steve Corino, Jimmy Jacobs, and Rhino in an eight-man tag. Jay Lethal sat in on commentary. The wrestlers brawled to start the match. They quickly paired up and brawled in and around the ring. After four minutes of brawling, the two teams settled into their respective corners. [C]
After the break, Coleman and Alexander hit Total Elimination on Steen, but Corino broke up the pin. Seven wrestlers ended up fighting at ringside to set up Steen performing a flip off the top rope onto all of them below. Alexander returned to the ring and performed a DDT on Steen. The announcers noted he made the mistake of not going for an immediate cover and it may have cost his team the win.
The heel team took control of the match with a series of moves on their opponents. Steen picked up Alexander and put him down with a package piledriver for the win. Afterward, Steen grabbed his belt and left the ring. Kelly questioned why he was leaving so quickly. Corino, Jacobs, and Rhino posed in the ring. Kelly hyped the continuation of the Top Prospect tournament for next week...
Kevin Steen, Steve Corino, Jimmy Jacobs, and Rhino defeated The Briscoes, Caprice Coleman, and Cedric Alexander.
Powell's POV: The main event was a decent brawl that lacked the feeling of any real meaning. A hotter crowd may have made a big difference. I'm not a fan of having wrestlers sit in on commentary during the main events. It's one thing if it's Steve Corino, who is great when he sits in, but Lethal didn't add anything and I wasn't left feeling more excited about his match with Steen. It would have worked better if he had been done the bit where he remains silent and was shown intensely watching the match. The biggest issue with guest commentators is that they prevent Kelly from getting as caught up in the action because he's busy trying to work them in.
The upgraded ROH production is much easier on the eyes. It makes the company look more professional. It went from being a notch below the production work I've seen from local indy wrestling television shows to now being acceptable for the third biggest promotion in the country. I am looking forward to ROH getting out of the Du Burns Arena more often in the months ahead because the crowd atmosphere was weak at times.
I enjoyed the overall show. They continue to make good use of the television time as every match and segment feels like serves a purpose and I rarely feel like I'm watching filler. It could be argued that the prospects tournament matches and the women's match were just that, but it didn't feel that way for me. The women's match was an especially nice change of pace. This wasn't the hottest or most newsworthy edition of ROH TV, but it was a solid one-hour pro wrestling show.
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