It seems odd that as a fan of ROH I’d never watched their weekly televised product, I watch their iPPV and buy their DVDs, but I figured it’s time to properly follow the brand, and while I’m doing that, might as well get some writing out of it, so here is my first weekly ROH TV review, I’ll be doing their weekly TV output as well as their iPPV.
We’re in Las Vegas, presumably as part of the TV taping the day after the Anniversary Show, and the advertised main event is a ‘Las Vegas Wild-card’ 8-Man Tag Match, where the winning team advances to a four corner survival match for the number one contender-ship, no participants are announced as it’s advertised as being randomly selected. Kevin Kelly and Ian Riccaboni are our commentators.
The first match we have tonight is Caprice Coleman of The Rebellion vs Chris Sabin of the Motor City Machine Guns. The announcers talk up how The Rebellion have put Sabin’s tag partner on the shelf through injury, setting up the story for this match. The match starts with Coleman rejecting the customary ‘Code of Honor’ handshake, and right from the off the match cuts a fast exciting pace, Coleman moves about very quickly for his age, and Kenny King provides assistance from the outside, this is neutralised when Sabin’s ally Lio Rush comes down to ringside to even the odds. We get a few near falls for each man, a stand out spot for me is a trio of Northern Lights suplexes from Caprice Coleman, this only gets two however, and soon after Sabin picks up the win with a sunset flip.
For a TV match this was quite exciting, I don’t really know what I was expecting coming in as to the quality of ROH TV’s presentation, but I’m impressed, the quality is very high and the attention to storytelling in this match was very good too, it was only short and a bit of a throw away but it felt like it added to the continuing story.
From there we’re shown a recap of how Bully Ray and The Briscoes won the World Six-Man Titles on last weeks broadcast, taking extra care to point out Silas Young’s involvement in The Kingdom losing the belts. After that the announcers hype ROH’s upcoming events, including the annual ‘War of the Worlds’ tour with New Japan.
Time for more action now, and it’s a tag team match pitting the former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Champions Roppongi Vice against two of ROH’s dojo graduates Cheeseburger and Will Ferrara. If you are unfamiliar with Cheeseburger, he’s somewhat of a cult symbol in ROH and occasionally in New Japan, in recent years he’s shown up in the annual New Japan Rumble to increasingly positive reactions, he barely looks like he’s 100lbs wet through but I suppose that’s his charm, the match was only short however we saw some good double teaming from RPG Vice, and it looked for a moment like ‘Burger and Ferrara would get the upset after a double team of their own, however the win was broken up and RPG Vice put Ferrara away with their Strong Zero finisher. Following the match Cheeseburger shook hands with both members of Roppongi Vice, however Will Ferrara bailed out of the ring and seemingly on his partner.
This was significantly shorter than the opening contest but it did it’s job admirably, it’s clear that Cheeseburger is popular among the ROH fans and RPG Vice are also popular with the crowd, so the match made for a crowd pleasing one, ‘Burger got in his fair share of offence and he didn’t get pinned so he comes out of this looking strong.
We now get a hype package for the Top Prospect Tournament Final, which will take place on next weeks broadcast, we get a recap of the tournament so far, we also get a look at the finalists, John Skyler and Josh Woods.
Now it’s main event time! It’s the previously mentioned ‘Les Vegas Wild-card’ match, and both teams are a mix of face and heels to further push the fact that they were drawn at random. The teams were: Silas Young, Hangman Page, Jay White and Jay Lethal and Colt Cabana, Lio Rush, Hanson and Bobby Fish.
Right from the start we see dissension in the ranks as Rush and Cabana clash as to who will start the match, Rush eventually wins out and we get Rush against White in the opening exchanges, there’s some really smooth sequences between the two, something tells me that they’d have a great match together down the line. Silas Young tags himself in just as Rush tags in Hanson, Young tries to back away and it results in his team attacking each other as we go to a commercial break.
Back from the break and Cabana is in control, not for long however as he tags in Hanson, who quickly tags out to Fish and we get a few minutes of Fish against Lethal, before Hangman Page tags himself in and takes control of Bobby Fish, and for a good section of the match, Silas Young and Hangman Page were the only two tagging each other in, taking turns in beating down Fish, on the outside Page hits a big shooting star press off the apron, and impressive sight from a big man. Fish fights back however as he suplexes Silas Young into Hangman Page and gets the hot tag to Hanson, who proceeds to take out the entire of the opposing team with continuous splashes in the corner, following this we get a cool spot where Hanson body-slams Lio Rush onto Young, and then Rush slams the 300lb Hanson onto him, that gets a two count before the pin is broken up and the action breaks down into a mass brawl on the outside, Rush ducks a Jay Lethal clothesline and hits a Tope Con Hilo onto everyone on the outside! Page abandons his team but gets jumped by Frankie Kazarian on the ramp and they brawl to the back, in the ring Lio Rush attempts his Frog Splash finisher, but that’s blocked and Lethal hits the Lethal Injection to pick up the win for his team. The three remaining members of the team stand tall to end the show.
If there’s anything ROH does better than most it’s multi man mayhem matches like this, matches where everyone gets a spot in to pop the crowd, although selling can fall somewhat by the wayside in these matches, they’re damn entertaining to watch and this one told an important story in the grand scheme of things. ROH TV sure has made one hell of a first impression.