Ring of Honor - October 22, 2011
-From Louisville, Kentucky. Our hosts are Nigel McGuinness and Kevin Kelly. Tonight, Jay Lethal defends his newly won Television title against Mike Bennett.
-TJ Perkins is honored to be making his ROH television debut. He’s made a name for himself all over the world and he’s ready to take the next step in Ring of Honor.
-Mike Mondo puts himself over as the “giant killer.” Sorry, Mike, there aren’t too many giants in ROH. He thinks TJ Perkins is a nice kid and sarcastically hopes he doesn’t hurt him. In his mind, Mondo is 7 feet tall, making him the modern day equivalent to Crash Holly.
“Giant Killer” Mike Mondo vs. TJ Perkins
Mondo scores with a takedown and works the arm. Perkins flips into a drop-kick. The camera work so far is particularly awful, hope that’s addressed soon. Perkins sets up Mondo in a reverse rocking chair, which earns the adoration of the fans. Perkins sets up a tree of woe for a basement drop-kick. Mondo drags Perkins to ringside and smashes him into the barricade. Flying leg lariat by Mondo establishes his dominance. Perkins summons his fighting spirit to hold his own in a forearm smash-fest. Perkins tricks Mondo, sending him to the floor for a suicide dive! Back to the ring, Perkins locks on the figure four death lock. Mondo escapes and snaps the neck of Perkins on the ropes. Mondo fakes a leg injury to lure Perkins into a Codebreaker. Drop-kick to the face by Mondo only gets 2. Perkins finally scores a super kick but misses a splash. Perkins reverses a pinning predicament with a cradle roll-up for the win at 7:16. Fun match, it could have gone either way at the end.
Winner: TJ Perkins
-Mondo refuses to shake hands after the match. Boo this man!
-Kevin Kelly pimps the upcoming Final Battle 2011 iPPV. Television Champion Jay Lethal cannot wait to be a part of this event. He hopes he’s part of something big at the show.
-Video package highlighting last week’s Briscoes/ANX match. Dem Damn Briscoes cheated 2 win. Now Jim Cornette has a decision to make.
-Jim Cornette hosts the Briscoes in the ring. I guess I misunderstood Cornette last week, as I thought the Briscoes were begrudgingly made the #1 contenders. Cornette announces a rematch between the Briscoes and the All-Night Express for a shot at the WGTT at Final Battle. This news infuriates Jay Briscoe, who vows to whoop the ANX’s asses again. Jay reminds us that he and Mark are 6-time champions, they don’t need to prove themselves. At Final Battle, they’re going to man up and become 7-time champs. I’m really enjoying what the Briscoes are doing these days.
-ROH Tag Team Champions Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin are interviewed. They’ve wanted to fight the Briscoes ever since the vicious chair attack that took place at Best in the World.
-Welcome to Inside Ring of Honor! Kevin Kelly spends some time hyping Final Battle 2011. It turns out Roderick Strong is not excited for this event due to not being in contention for the ROH World title. It turns out that Edwards’ victory over Michael Elgin last week shot Edwards to the front of the line to challenge Richards. Strong issues an open challenge to anyone in the world for Final Battle. Truth Martini says this open challenge will prove that Strong is the greatest wrestler in the world, which will outshine Davey Richards. Next week, Strong must face Kyle O’Reilly. Strong dismisses this as a warm-up match and will have fun beating up Kyle. Meanwhile, Davey Richards is feeling confident heading into Final Battle. The pressure is for him to prove once again that he’s the best. Richards has surrounded himself with Kyle O’Reilly and Tony Kozina to form Team Richards. They show footage of Richards wrestling in Japan, where he perfected his hard-hitting style. Richards says he isn’t worried about how his opponent at Final Battle is, he’s just that confident.
-Video package highlighting Jay Lethal defeating El Generico for the Television Championship. Speaking of El Generico, they really need to do more to get him on this program. I think Generico has the potential to be a big ratings draw for ROH, as he connects with young and old fans on an emotional level.
-Jim Cornette pimps Final Battle 2011. Eddie Edwards joins him to discuss the event. Edwards encourages us all to tune in and see what he does.
ROH Television Championship:
Bennett sets the tone for the match by refusing a handshake. Lethal takes the lead and tries to pick up an early victory. Bennett hits a drop-kick but Lethal answers with a drop-kick to the floor. They trade chops at ringside. There are a couple of planted fans screaming for Kevin Steen, which is worth mentioning. Back to the ring, Lethal locks on a painful leg submission. Bennett outlasts Lethal by refusing to quit. Wow, I think Bennett is at his best when he’s just bumping for Lethal’s offense. Unfortunately, Brutal Bob distracts, allowing Bennett to take control. Cue the commercial! Post-break, Lethal is showing signs of life, but Bennett cuts him off with a hard clothesline. Bennett wears Lethal down with basic heel offense. At least he’s executing the moves well. Lethal finds his second wind and makes his comeback. We get a three minute warning as Lethal nails a neck breaker. Bennett counters a springboard clothesline with a spinebuster! Lethal lands on his feet after a German suplex and delivers a DDT. Super kick by Lethal but the Lethal Injection misses! Bennett pounds Lethal into submission as the time limit expires at 15:00. Solid match here, as Bennett kept up with Lethal better than I expected he would, **½.
Jay Lethal © vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett (with Brutal Bob Evans)
-Jay Lethal offers Mike Bennett a five minute extension but it’s rejected. Evans shouts that Bennett should have been announced the winner and they storm off.
Final Thoughts: Kind of a middle of the road episode this week. I appreciated that we had a main event featuring two guys who had previously won matches on ROH TV, thus making it a more meaningful than usual contest. I think I need to see what the follow-up with Bennett and Lethal ends up being before I judge the match outcome too harshly. Otherwise, this episode got the ball rolling for Final Battle hype and it set up the next chapter in the Briscoes’ quest for the Tag Team titles. Kind of a shippable episode, even though I’m glad I didn’t skip it. Thumbs in the middle.
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