ROH On HDNet Review – 2/14/11

It’s a Homicide extravaganza in this episode of ROH On HDNet, first the Notorious 187 takes on Mark Briscoe, and then calls out ROH World Champion Roderick Strong for an in-ring confrontation. Meanwhile the ROH Top Prospect Tournament kicks off as Jim Cornette introduces us to the competitors and Kyle O’Reilly takes on Jonathan Gresham in the first match of the tourney.

Opening Segment

R&R: A recap of the chaos from last week’s main event, two full minutes of it in fact.


Top Prospect Tournament Introduction

Recap: Jim Cornette introduced Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole, Andy Ridge, Grizzly Redwood, Michael Elgin, Jonathan Gresham and Bobby Dempsey, hyping each man nicely. Mike Bennett came out last and unsportingly wasn’t wearing an ROH t-shirt like the other 7. The Prodigy cut a promo about how he would win, asking why he was even in the tournament as he’s the best in the company.


Review: Don’t ask me why, but I like it when the ring is full of wrestlers. I liked the inception of the Pick 6, and I liked when the WWE had the whole roster surround the ring years ago. Cornette did a good job of giving each man an equal verbal push, and I’m shocked at the size of the pops Bobby Dempsey still gets. Seriously, they were chanting his name long after he’d been mentioned. Bennett continued to play to the anti-WWE sentiments he gets by condemning the fans for banging on the guard rails like morons. I kind of liked it. A simple but effective segment and it introduces a concept that ROH were very wise to bring in with their final episodes of television; the Top Prospect Tournament allows them to show off 8 new stars to as wide an audience as possible, rather than just start throwing them on to house shows and potentially hurting the fans’ excitement for future cards.


Mark Briscoe vs Homicide

Recap: Homicide continued his undefeated streak by putting away old rival Mark Briscoe in a competitive match. Homicide seemed to have the match won after countering a Briscoe uranage into an Ace Crusher, but surprisingly Mark kicked out. The Notorious 187 remained resilient, kicking out of the Frog Elbow and a Fisherman Buster and then cutting off an attempt at a top rope move and nailing a super Ace Crusher for the win.


Review: This match went about five minutes too long and should have ended with the regular Ace Crusher. For one thing, it weakens Homicide’s finisher, and for another, the longer a match goes, the more obvious Homicide’s shortcomings are. His strength is in his character and general presence. He shines in making an entrance and brawling with somebody after a brief verbal confrontation, not in putting on long singles matches. That being said, he did manage to execute a tope con hilo without flying into the crowd, so take that Davey Richards. As for Mark’s performance, well, I do enjoy the Frog Elbow as an alternative finisher if they’ve decided the Cut-Throat Driver is too dangerous, and his usual alternate is now Homicide’s main. Also, I don’t care who you are, Red-Neck Kung-Fu is just plain funny. Aside from the length, this match was ok, not too good, not too bad.


Kyle O’Reilly vs. Jonathan Gresham

Recap: In the first match of the Top Prospect Tournament, Kyle O’Reilly managed to defeat ROH newcomer Jonathan Gresham with a triangle choke combined with multiple elbow strikes. The two fought furiously but respectfully right from the opening bell, with multiple pin attempts and exchanging hard chops and stiff kicks. Near the end of the match Gresham tried another roll-up but O’Reilly countered into a shoulder-lock. Gresham tried to escape but inadvertently put himself in an even worse position and O’Reilly mounted him for multiple palm strikes and then locked in the triangle for the submission victory.


Review: I enjoyed this match, especially that they went at it right from the bell as it showed desperation and desire to win the tournament, something rather lacking these days in wrestling. Gresham’s timing was a half-second off in spots, and his height may have thrown things off ever so slightly, but one has to remember this was Kyle O’Reilly’s first big singles match on ROH TV, and Gresham’s first ROH match period. He was still pretty good, and I liked the Big Fat Kill. I’d enjoy seeing him again in ROH, and I hope this isn’t his one and only appearance, especially as I feel the company need to bring in about four or five more guys for the undercard. As for O’Reilly, I like the fact he borrows a couple of moves from Davey Richards to demonstrate they train together, but his style is unique enough so that he doesn’t just seem like DR-Lite. On the other hand, using one of Bryan Danielson’s past finishers may not be the best way to go; the fans will either embrace the tribute to ROH’s history, or reject him as an inferior wrestler. Given how impressive he has been so far and how many people are comparing him to the American Dragon, I think it’ll be OK.


Steve Corino Post-Match Interview

R&R: Corino offered some words of advice to O’Reilly after the match, encouraging O’Reilly to take the fight to his opponents more. I like Corino acting as the veteran expert to all these youngsters and it only helps fuel his path to redemption.


Homicide/Strong Confrontation

Recap: Homicide came to the ring and called out ROH Champion Roderick Strong who obliged him without hesitation. Strong abhorred Homicide for ruining his title celebration back in September, demanding an apology, and also threw some TNA related insults ‘cide’s way. Homicide declined the invitation to apologise and instead attacked Strong. With the help of Truth Martini and a shoe Homicide appeared to be on the losing end of the encounter, but managed to fight back and strip Roddy of his pants, forcing the champion to retreat in embarrassment.


Review: We were promised Chris Hero vs Kenny King and instead we got a silly old-school Jim Cornette segment. Being beaten up with a shoe made Homicide look bad, and Roddy being embarrassed about his underwear is silly considering his ring gear. I did like the fire Stong brought in his promo and his words were quite stinging, but Homicide just no-sold it and continued to come across as little more than a bitter veteran crying over what was a clean and decisive loss to Morishima 5 years ago. Still, that’s Homicide for you, a force unto himself. I’m not sure I like this closing the show as it effectively made O’Reilly vs Gresham the main event, but in principal it’s a good idea to promote the world title match.


Overall Thoughts

– I had hoped this episode would be better than the previous one and unfortunately it probably wasn’t, but it did offer something unique in the top prospect tournament. This concept is enough to keep me interested in the coming weeks, but as good as O’Reilly vs Gresham was, it wasn’t enough to carry the episode, even with the help of Mark Briscoe vs Homicide. Throw in the confrontation at the end of the show and there was a little too much Homicide for my liking.


– However, let me defend Ring of Honor for a moment. Coming out of this final set of TV tapings we were told that a great deal of the footage would in fact be lost due to technical difficulties on the part of HDNet. It’s possible that Hero vs King was intended to take place in this episode but due to lack of footage they have been forced to stretch things a little thinner than they’d have liked, like they did this time last year with the snowstorm that waylaid the TV Title Tournament. If not… maybe this just isn’t a great episode, we’ll see in the weeks to follow.


About Matt Waters
Brit dude who likes both things AND stuff and has delusions of being some kind of writer or something. Basketball, video games, comic books, films, music, other random stuff.

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