Ring of Honor - September 24, 2011
-This is the debut episode of Ring of Honor’s brand new syndicated series on Sinclair Broadcasting networks! I’ve heard some middling things about it on various forums and pod casts in the week since it aired so I’m cautiously bracing myself to either be pleasantly surprised or mildly depressed by this pilot.
-From Chicago, IL.
-We kick things off with Kevin Kelly in the ring. Yeah, that’s the guy I want new viewers to see first. Kelly will be providing commentary and introduces his broadcast partner, Nigel McGuinness! Nigel enters to a hero’s welcome from the live crowd. Nigel puts over ROH, claiming he just had to be a part of this new show.
-Pretaped interviews! Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly, together known as Futershock, are going to “shock” the Bravados! The Bravados have other plans.
Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole vs. Harlem and Lancelot Bravado
I could think of worse matches to put on first. O’Reilly and Cole have some serious talent, so I’m crossing my fingers they’ll get a chance to showcase that here. Cole starts against Harlem Bravado. O’Reilly tags and Futureshock overwhelms Harlem with some quick team work. Lancelot Bravado tries to save but both Bravados get tied up in simultaneous submissions. Cole takes charge until a blind tag from Lancelot turns the tide. The fans chant “Justin Bieber” at Harlem, due to his haircut and because the Bravados are trying too hard to be role models for children (perhaps a dig at John Cena’s WWE). Cole is the official isolated baby face for a long bit as the Bravados work him over. Cole smashes his way to freedom and O’Reilly gets a hot tag. O’Reilly lights the Bravados up with some chops and a double dragon-screw leg wrench! Missile drop-kick by O’Reilly only gets 2. O’Reilly suffers a double neck breaker but Cole makes the save. O’Reilly nails Harlem with his patented rolling butterfly suplexes. Cole connects with a suicide dive (which wakes up the sleepy audience) and O’Reilly hits a big-time double stomp off the apron! Futureshock hit Ride the Lightning for the victory at 7:24. This was an extended squash that nicely highlighted Futureshock’s bag of tricks.
Winner: Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole
-ROH is on tour! ROH Champion Davey Richards encourages new fans to experience the emotion that is Ring of Honor. This is not how I would have chosen to introduce Richards to new fans.
-Video highlight of the Best in the World iPPV. This includes interviews with fans waiting in line for the show and it’s as painful as you might imagine. We are treated to match highlights, such as El Generico pinning Christopher Daniels, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas retaining their tag titles, the Briscoe Brothers dishing out a harsh chair beat down on WGTT, and Davey Richards’ emotional World title win against Eddie Edwards. Richards explains that he had to crush Edwards, despite being friends and team mates. Seeing as this was the last major event ROH had before the television tapings, this did a fair job of informing new viewers on the what’s been going on.
-Welcome to the first edition of Inside Ring of Honor! This week, they’re explaining the Code of Honor! Jim Cornette says it’s not an official code, but most of the wrestlers in ROH follow it. Basically, it means shaking hands before and after matches and showing respect for professional wrestling.
-Jay Lethal puts himself over heading into a big Television title match against El Generico. When he was last in ROH, he was 21. Now, after spending six years trying to be someone else, he’s back and now a grown man. Nothing beats the rush he felt when he returned to ROH.
-ROH Flashback! It’s more footage of the WGTT/Briscoes/ANX/Kings of Wrestling four-way match from Best in the World. This serves as a mini-history lesson behind tonight’s main event, where the Kings of Wrestling challenge Haas and Benjamin for the ROH Tag Team Championship. Also, those mean old Briscoes beat up Haas and Benjamin with chairs. Booooooo.
-Nigel McGuinness interviews fans on who they think will win tonight. Ugh.
-ROH is on tour! Come see the Briscoes! Jay and Mark have been in ROH since day one and they are hell-bent on getting back their Tag Team Championship!
ROH Tag Team Championship:
Considering Castagnoli is already in FCW, and Hero is rumored to be following, this is one of, if not the last Kings of Wrestling match in Ring of Honor. Neither team are willing to shake hands, so booo. Haas squares off with Castagnoli in the early going. Benjamin makes a blind tag and enters with a flying clothesline. Hero makes a tag but Benjamin outmaneuvers him. Hero clears his head and connects with some chops. Benjamin fires back but has to fight off Claudio on the apron. Hero kicks Benjamin in the head and tosses him to ringside. Benjamin is your official face in peril. Cue the commercial! After the break, Benjamin is in a world of trouble. Benjamin desperately ducks to send Hero crashing to ringside. Benjamin lunges for the tag but Hero pulls Haas off the apron! I love it! Haas argues with the ref while the KOW double team Benjamin, those bastards. Benjamin takes more abuse before countering with a double neck breaker! Haas finally gets the hot tag and cleans house. Haas dishes out suplexes but can’t seem to pick up the win. Claudio plants Haas, allowing Hero to hit the KTFO. Hero nails the Knockout punch! Claudio tags and delivers the helicopter swing! The KOW set up the KRS1 on Haas but Benjamin makes the save with a spear! The WGTT hit the Leap of Faith on Claudio and Wrestling’s Greatest Finisher on Hero for the win at 14:27 (shown). Typical great work from these four, though nowhere near the classic they had at Glory by Honor in 2010. Still, I can’t ask for much more from the first main event of the Sinclair era, ***¾.
Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas © vs. Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli (with Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey)
Winners and still ROH Tag Team Champions: Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas
Final Thoughts: I can sort of see why people were let down with this debut. There was a LOT of filler in the middle, which I might not have had the patience to sit through had I watched it on broadcast television. The production quality isn’t as good as the HDNet show, as the camera work was about as good as your average ROH DVD, which is to say not very. However, I can’t complain about seeing matches like KOW vs. WGTT and I appreciated the work they put into catching viewers up on the Best in the World happenings. Minor gripes aside, I enjoyed this a lot. Thumbs up, I say.
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