Powell's 2/25 ROH Wrestling TV review: American Wolves and Michael Elgin vs. Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reilly, and Roderick Strong, Top Prospect Tournament winner
By Jason Powell
ROH Wrestling on SBG television affiliates
Taped in Baltimore, Md. at Du Burns Arena
[Q1] Kevin Kelly and Caleb Seltzer introduced the show after the opening video played. They hyped the main event, the tournament final, and recapped the show ending angle from last week with Kevin Steen offering a handshake to Jay Lethal...
ROH Champion Kevin Steen headed to the ring for a promo and received the streamer treatment from the crowd. Steen said people say he has changed. He said Ring of Honor has changed quite a bit over the years. Steen said the only reason he wanted the ROH Title was because he thought it would help him kill the company.
Steen said he did not want to kill ROH because he hated it. "The truth is I love Ring of Honor, I always have," Steen said. "And that's exactly why I wanted to kill it. I wanted to put it out of its misery because of what Jim Cornette was doing to it. Ring of Honor was about young, talented wrestlers busting their asses to show that they belong in this industry. The truth is that since Jim Cornette is gone, this company exactly about what it should be and that is pro wrestling."
Steen said you can say whatever you want about him, but he loves pro wrestling and he's not stopping anytime soon. "Since Jim Cornette's departure, I care about this company and I am proud to be Ring of Honor World Champion," he said. Steen said he's giving Jay Lethal a title shot because he deserves it for getting rid of Jim Cornette.
Steen ran through a list of wrestlers he has beaten and he said he will do everything and anything to keep the title. "Jay Lethal, what makes you think you can beat me?" he asked. "The truth is, Jay Lethal, you can't beat me"...
Powell's POV: An interesting promo from Steen. It's nice to see him get away from the killing ROH talk and put over the current company. It opens the door for the other members of SCUM to turn on him and make him a babyface. It could also be swerve for a babyface turn. Either way, it's good to have the ROH Champion praising the company and putting over his title belt again.
The announcers hyped the six-man tag main event... A video feature aired on Top Prospect Tournament finalists Tadarius Thomas and Matt Taven. They were featured in separate sit-down interviews as highlights of their in-ring exploits were shown.
Powell's POV: A good piece. Both wrestlers came off well. They spoke in normal voices rather than delivering pro wrestling promos.
Backstage, Veda Scott interviewed Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman about their 11th Anniversary iPPV match against Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino... [C]
1. Matt Taven vs. Tadarius Thomas in the Top Prospect Tournament final. The announcers reminded viewers that the winner would challenge for the ROH TV Title at the iPPV. Thomas delivered some cool kicks to Taven early. Taven ducked a kick and there seemed to be a moment of confusion, but Taven performed a cross body block off the top rope for a two count.
[Q2] Truth Martini walked to ringside at 2:20 as the match continued. After some back and forth action, Thomas whipped Taven into the ropes. Martini reached in and grabbed his foot. Taven looked down at Martini. Taven turned back to Thomas and they had a sloppy exchange that resulted in Thomas knocking Taven down. The announcers questioned whether Thomas was even aware of Truth's interference.
Thomas remained on the offensive for the next couple minutes while Martini remained at ringside. Taven came back with an attempted kick, but Thomas ducked and Taven kicked the referee. Truth took his boot off and threw it to Thomas, who threw it back at him. Truth threw it again. Thomas threw it down in the ring. Taven picked up the boot and swung at Thomas and missed.
Thomas grabbed Taven around the waist. They went toward the ropes, and Truth struck Thomas with the book he carries. Taven covered Thomas and the referee recovered and made the count. After the match, Truth spoke with Taven, who then offered his hand. Truth shook Taven's hand and raised his arm...
Matt Taven defeated Tadarius Thomas to win the Top Prospect Tournament.
Powell's POV: The tournament was pretty straight forward until the very end when the expected Martini interference came into play. Yawn. There were some hiccups during the match, but both men are talented.
The Inside ROH segment featured Charlie Haas saying B.J. Whitmer won't make it to the 11th Anniversary show, Coleman and Alexander discussing their iPPV match against Corino and Jacobs, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards discussing their iPPV match against Rocky Romero and Alex Koslov, Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly discussing their title match against The Briscoes, Truth Martini closing it out by laughing, Michael Elgin speaking about his match against Roderick Strong, and Jay Lethal discussing his ROH Title match against Steen...
Powell's POV: Quick and to the point. The generic music and the graphics made it all feel low budget, but they delivered a little hype for the iPPV matches.
[Q3] [C] Jay Lethal cut a promo in the ring and said he has Kevin Steen all figured out. He said Steen is a master of mind games. He said he believes Steen told everyone what they wanted to hear. Lethal said the mind game that Steen played on Davey Richards to take the title from him was amazing, but it won't happen to him.
Lethal said he has removed all of his distractions. He said his parents will be miles away when they meet at the iPPV. Lethal said that when they talk about the great ROH Champions after March 2 they will mention Samoa Joe, C.M. Punk, Bryan Danielson, and either he or Steen. Lethal said he thinks he can beat Steen because Steen thinks that he can't...
Powell's POV: A decent promo from Lethal. The live crowd was engaged and popped biggest for the mention of Danielson (a/k/a Daniel Bryan) and there were some Yes! chants. The problem was that the fans didn't really seem to
Backstage, Veda Scott interviewed Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish about their tag title match at the iPPV... Ring introductions for the main event took place...
2. Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, and Michael Elgin vs. Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reilly, and Roderick Strong in a six-man tag match. Jay and Mark Briscoe sat in on commentary for the main event. No handshake to start the match, as both teams went right into brawling. They cut to commercial roughly a minute into the match. [C]
Backstage, Veda Scott interviewed Coleman and Alexander about their 11th Anniversary iPPV match...
The American Wolves and Elgin were in control after the break. The heel trio came back and worked over Richards.
[Q4] Richards continued to sell as Strong held him upside down in suplex position, only to have Richards catch him with an inside cradle on the way down. Strong recovered quickly and the heel trio continued to take turns roughing up Richards. "Y'all come back now, ya' hear," one of the Briscoes said going into the break. [C]
The Wolves and Elgin came back down the stretch and hit a lot of crowd pleasing offense. Elgin ended up alone in the ring and took Strong's finisher and the Total Elimination finisher, but the Wolves broke up the pin. Strong performed a double knee backbreaker on Richards, leaving Strong and Elgin in the ring. Strong hit a sick kick for a two count. Strong performed more offense and the double knee suplex and got the pin on Elgin...
Powell's POV: The Briscoes join Steve Corino as the wrestlers I am cool with hearing on commentary during TV main events. Corino is a very good color commentator, and the Briscoes are just plain entertaining. The main event was effective in showcasing the Wolves and the team of Fish and O'Reilly, and the finish obviously set up Strong vs. Elgin heading into their best of three match at the iPPV.
It was too late when it came to making the 11th Anniversary iPPV feel like a major event or even to create the anniversary show vibe. That said, they did a good job of giving attention to the iPPV main event and giving some hype to each of the matches. I would have wrapped up the prospects tournament last week to give them more time to focus on the bigger matches this week. The iPPV's TV Title match doesn't feel important and is actually overshadowed by the TV taping match involving Adam Cole and Matt Hardy, so why have the tournament play out on the go-home show?
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