Powell's 7/15 ROH Wrestling TV review: Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander for the ROH Tag Titles, Tommaso Ciampa vs. Q.T. Marshall, Mike Bennett breaks away
By Jason Powell
ROH Wrestling on SBG television affiliates
Taped in Baltimore, Maryland at Du Burns Arena
[Q1] The opening video kicked off the show... Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino checked in on commentary. Corino said he was angry because of Kevin Steen being added to Team ROH for the Steel Cage Warfare match in two weeks. The announcers hyped the ROH Tag Title main event...
Powell's POV: ROH is doing a good job of hyping the steel cage warfare match, but I still haven't gotten a feel for the high stakes simply from watching the television show. I don't know if that's something they are adding on television or if they're just overlooking that important part of the hype.
1. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Q.T. Marshall (w/R.D. Evans). Marshall offered up his hand, but Ciampa gave him the double bird (blurred out). The announcers spoke about Ciampa looking for revenge, so it was a case of it being logical that the babyface would blow off the Code of Honor.
Ciampa dominated early. Marshall had Ciampa's legs split around the post, but Ciampa kicked him away and then threw shots at him at ringside and played to the crowd. Evans tried to get involved from the floor, so Ciampa dragged him into the ring. He went to run the ropes for a move on Evans, but Marshall recovered and clotheslined him.
Marshall put Ciampa on the top rope and ended up drop kicking him. Ciampa got caught up in the ropes and Kelly blew a gasket about needing to help him out. It would have been a nice cliffhanger heading into the break, but instead they showed Ciampa freeing himself just before the break. It still worked, though, since it was his surgically repaired knee. [C]
Roderick Strong was featured in the text message plug of the week... After the break, Kelly did a good job of establishing that Ciampa may have injured his surgically repaired knee when it was hung up in the ropes. Marshall worked over the knee. At ringside, Marshall slammed Ciampa leg first onto a chair and then rolled him back inside the ring where he got a two count.
Marshall applied a leg hold. Ciampa tried to punch his way out of the hold. Marshall held it and slammed on Ciampa's leg before he ended up breaking it. Ciampa got back to his feet and traded punches while being mindful of selling the bad knee. Ciampa went on the offensive and threw his good knee at Marshall.
Ciampa ended up shoving Marshall to the floor with his good leg. He went to the top rope and sold the knee by using one leg to leap off the top rope with a dive onto Marshall. Prince Nana walked through the entrance ramp. Kelly said Nana performed a hostile takeover on Nana at one time.
[Q2] Ciampa barely beat the count to get back in the ring in time. He hit a Kryptonite Crunch, but Marshall kicked out at two. Evans ran into the ring, but slipped away from Ciampa. He stumbled up the ramp until he saw Nana, then ran back inside the ring, where Ciampa grabbed him and powerbombed him onto his knees.
Ciampa sold his bad knee after the move on Evans. Marshall covered him and got a two count. Moments later, Ciampa lowered his leg brace, flipped off Marshall, and hit him with the Bionic Knee before pinning him. Nana walked backstage while Ciampa celebrated and sold in the ring...
Powell's POV: A good television opener. Ciampa looked good hear despite giving up more offense than one might expect. It seems like they want to make him look like a badass without having him be a Warrior or Goldberg type that plows through opponents quickly. I like Marshall and they did a good job of incorporating Ciampa's knee surgery into the match. Evans antics were over the top heel manager fun.
Michael Elgin hyped the August 3 event in Toronto... [C]
Kevin Kelly hosted Inside ROH and set up a promo with Steve Corino hyping the Steel Cage Warfare match as Jimmy Jacobs, Cliff Compton, and Rhett Titus stood by. He hyped Jay Briscoe vs. Matt Hardy for the ROH Title for next week.
Kelly spoke about the ROH vs. SCUM steel cage warfare match and set up footage of Nigel McGuinness agreeing to allow Kevin Steen on Team ROH. Steen was shown speaking backstage about being placed in the match because Nigel didn't have any choice. He said Nigel is worried because he's Kevin Steen, but the reason he doesn't have to worry is because he's Kevin Steen. Kelly said ROH and SCUM will battle one final time in steel cage warfare.
Kelly set up a Michael Elgin promo regarding the Toronto event. Kelly once again hyped the next two television main events... [C] A spot aired for the Providence, R.I. television taping for July 27. B.J. Whitmer was featured in a brief promo to hype the taping... [C] Ring entrances took place for the next match...
[Q3] 2. Mike Bennett (w/Maria, Brutal Bob Evans) vs. Nick Merriman. The wrestlers shook hands, but Bennett pulled him in for a urinage. Bennett followed up with his Box Office Smash finisher for the win...
Mike Bennett defeated Nick Merriman in 0:10.
Powell's POV: I don't like when pre-match attacks lead to the bell ringing in any pro wrestling company, but it seems especially out of place in Ring of Honor.
Bennett took the mic after the match as the announcers questioned whether he would announce his future plans. Bennett questioned whether he should stay or go. He said that seems to be the six million dollar question. He said maybe he would stay in ROH or go to Connecticut collect a six-figure paycheck. "Whoa, guns are blazing," one of the announcers said. Ugh.
Bennett had Bob hand him a contract. Bennett said ROH has been begging him to stay just as the fans have. He said the fans need him and he doesn't need any of them. Bennett said the contract is long and lucrative, meaning the fans will be seeing him for a very long time. He said the ROH fans wouldn't know what a real star looks like if it bit them on the ass.
Bennett said the fans boo him, yet cheer for Cheeseburger. A small Cheeseburger chant broke out. He was shown standing up at ringside. Bennett said he was going to offer his contract to Cheeseburger and called him into the ring to sign it. Kelly said he wasn't sure whether it would be legal. Um, really?
Bennett said they've had their issues, but Cheesburger proved something to him. He told Maria to grab Cheesburger a pen so that he could sign the contract. Cheesburger looked at the contract and Bennett superkicked him. Bennett started throwing punches at Cheesburger. Bob grabbed Bennett and pulled him off and told him enough. Bennett performed a urinage on Evans.
Bennett took the mic and said The Prodigy has been portrayed as something for far too long. He said he's been portrayed as Bob's prodigy for too long. "The Prodigy is dead," Bennett said. Kelly said this was Maria's doing... [C]
Powell's POV: I didn't care for the segment even though I like what it represents. I didn't understand why Evans was still with Bennett because their acts really didn't mesh. I also liked seeing Bennett get more mic time. The problem is that Bennett has been portrayed as an undercard guy for some time now so it's not like the fans were really invested in whether he would stay or go. The announcers were no help here with the over the top reaction to Bennett's weak WWE tease and the unnecessary comment about Cheesburger signing the contract not being legal. Still, I am happy to see Bennett's character go in a new direction. If they are going to play this up as Maria being manipulative, they need to have her do more with her facial expressions to convey that.
The Roderick Strong text spot was shown again...
ROH Champion Jay Briscoe headed to the ring for a promo. He had his shoulder heavily taped. Jay said a lot of people have been wondering about his health coming out of Best int the World. He said it's true he re-injured his shoulder, but he would not forfeit the ROH Title. He said he would see Matt Hardy for their match next week.
The announcers spoke at ringside about the match. Kelly said the speculation had been that the match wouldn't take place, but now it's on. Corino said it would be the shortest ROH Title match in history because Matt Hardy was going to win the title in record time. Kelly transitioned to the ring introductions for the ROH Tag Title main event... [C]
Powell's POV: Jay's promo was quick and to the point. They didn't do enough to play up those rumors that he and Kelly referenced. That should have been a major talking point during the Inside ROH segment. If you've been following the Briscoes drama online, then perhaps it plays into that. Of course, you probably already know where this is going if you've been following along online. Either way, I like that it makes Jay look like the underdog headed into his title defense against Hardy next week.
[Q4] 3. Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander for the ROH Tag Titles. The teams shook hands before the match, but Fish held Coleman's hands and had some words for him beforehand. Alexander and O'Reilly started the match for their teams.
Corino said people remember where they were when 9/11 occurred and they will remember where they were when Matt Hardy won the ROH Title. The teams traded offense early and then Alexander hit a suicide dive onto both tag champions at ringside heading into the commercial break. [C]
After the break, The American Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards) were standing on the stage watching the match. Corino questioned why they couldn't watch the match backstage like everyone else. Inside the ring, Coleman had a couple of two counts on O'Reilly that the fans didn't really buy into.
The action picked up with Fish spearing Coleman into the barricade at ringside, then O'Reilly followed up with a crazy running dropkick off the ring apron and onto Coleman, who was against the corner of the barricade. The heels champions ended up getting the better of Alexander.
The Wolves walked to ringside and jawed with Corino. Richards grabbed Corino, but Rhett Titus and Cliff Compton made the save. ACH and Tadarius Thomas also came out and the tag wrestlers fought on the floor. Meanwhile, O'Reilly caught Alexander with a cross arm breaker in the ring, but Coleman broke it up with a top rope move.
The announcers questioned who the legal men were. The referee counted to two when O'Reilly had Alexander covered. Coleman and Aleander had their big offensive flurry on Fish and had him pinned, but O'Reilly recovered and broke it up. The brawling tag team silliness continued at ringside. Alexander ended up flipping over the top rope and landing on a bunch of people.
Inside the ring, O'Reilly and Coleman were battling. Coleman went for a huracanrana on O'Reilly, but Fish held onto his partner. O'Reilly came back with a tornado DDT, and then Fish and O'Reilly hit their kick/brainbuster combo on Coleman for the win. Fish was apparently flipping off the crowd while getting the pin, as he was blurred out.
Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly defeated Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander to retain the ROH Tag Titles.
All of the teams from ringside ran in and there was a big brawl with security trying to pull them apart to close the show. The brawl was only shown for a few seconds, and Kelly hyped the ROH Title match for next week to close out the show...
Powell's POV: That was too much unnecessary chaos. The ROH Tag Titles being defended on television should be more than enough. I know they're trying to build up the tag division more as a result of the upcoming tournament, but there had to be a better way than this. Whatever was happening at ringside was more distracting than entertaining. I am once again left disappointed by the lack of main event hype. Why couldn't we hear from both teams heading into the main event?
Overall, though, I continue to enjoy the ROH television product. The live crowd wasn't as lively as they were for the last show, which was the first of four shows that were taped. As frustrating as the presentation of the main event matches, they are doing a good job of hyping upcoming television main events. Hopefully we actually hear from Jay Briscoe and Matt Hardy during next week's show before their match takes place. Even little clips of the wrestlers warming up from the main event can help with the presentation.
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