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TV REPORTS
CALDWELL'S ROH TV REPORT 3/21: ROH debuts on HDNet with Jimmy Jacobs vs. Tyler Black

Mar 22, 2009 - 2:07:47 AM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch.com assistant editor

Ring of Honor TV Report
March 21, 2009 - Week 1 on HDNet
Taped 2/28 in Philadelphia , Pa.


The show opened with a video package in heavy red light showcasing ROH action in the ring. Very much a rapid-fire "ECW" feel, but heavy on red.

Live in-studio, Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak welcomed us to the ROH show. Very old school "WWF Action Zone" set-up inside an updated TV facility. Tonight's main event is Tyler Black vs. Jimmy Jacobs. Mike a little too "C-Show trying to be A-Show."

Inset promo: Delirious rambled through his pre-match promo. Not exactly the first person I would have cutting a promo on the debut show.

In-ring: Delirious came to the ring as a graphic to the left of the screen introduced him, including storyline, "character info," and finishing moves. ... Jerry Lynn had an inset promo introducing himself. Very short and to the point.

1 -- JERRY LYNN vs. DELIRIOUS

The opening camera shot made the ring look very small and had too much of a "WSX new-school feel" that made this seem like bit wrestling entertainment rather than a serious product. The ROH wrestling product sold itself and now ROH seems to be trying to sell itself with fancy camera shots and a generic sports announcer rather than the in-ring product. Granted, ROH's production value was terrible two years ago, but this feels a bit over-compensating. Mike was way over-the-top on a false finish, making Michael Cole sound like Jim Ross. Mike with some random interjections like in a video game. At least he didn't bust out "vintage Jerry Lynn." Lynn finished off Delirious with the Cradle Piledriver for the win.

WINNER: Lynn in 6:00. Hard to focus on the match trying to soak in the production value, adjust to the moving camerashots, and not being distracted by Hogewood. Here's the deal with Mike Hogewood: he's like a national TV broadcaster calling a baseball game on FOX with very little knowledge of the intricate details of the team he's calling. Or, in the case of FOX Sports calling college football's BCS games, they have knowledge of one or two main elements, but couldn't list the starting line-up of each team. His role is simply to lend a "professional voice" to ROH and let Prazak fill in the details. ROH has to walk a fine line between increased production value, but not over-compensating to take away from the wrestling product. (*1/4)

Backstage: Kyle Durden, ROH reporter, brought in Tyler Black for a promo. They picked up the Black vs. Jacobs feud and Black said their tandem was supposed to be about hope, but he sees through Jacobs now.

In-set promo: Sami Callihan said it's Halloween 365 days per year. His treats are a winning debut on HDNet. He then came to the ring for a match as a graphic on the left introduced us to him. ... Another inset promo, this time Kenny King. He thanked ROH and HDNet for bringing him back to TV. Finally, a stand-out promo. King then came out to a hip-hop mix.

2 -- KENNY KING vs. SAMI CALLIHAN

Mike said King is cocky and Sami is intense. It's like he's reading a generic horoscope that could apply to anyone. King looks legit in the ring, but Callihan looks like a generic independent wrestler who grew some sideburns and hair, slapped on a singlet, and decided he would stand out. Sami was babyface (I think?), but vocal portion of the crowd was in King's favor. Hogewood wouldn't let go of King's smile. Everything revolved around that smile. King avoided a corner splash and nailed the Coronation in center ring for the win. He's cocky, arrogant, and a winner, Hogewood let us know. How about that smile? Hogewood has us covered post-match.

WINNER: King in 6:00. Fine match. King stood out while Sami won't be remembered, unfortunately. Hogewood, oh Hogewood. (*1/2)

Backstage: Durden brought in Jimmy Jacobs, who went heavy on blue eye shadow for his national TV debut. Jacobs said he brought in Tyler Black to help him carry out a movement of spreading the message of the Age of the Fall. At some point, Black screwed up the plan, though.

[Commercial Break. No ad spots, just ROH and HDNet ads.]

ROH promo: They focused on ROH's alumni of wrestlers from past DVD releases. Focused on legendary stars participating in ROH, including Steamboat, Bruno, Foley, and Flair.

Inset promo: Rhett Titus introduced us to himself. He's got thighs that hypnotize. The thrust is a must. Titus came out with the inset graphic containing a ton of information, including finishing moves that no one will remember. ... Brent Albright had an inset promo about the intensity he's bringing to ROH. "Get out or tap out," he said. Generic rock music led Albright to the ring, creating a not-so-subtle reminder of WSX.

3 -- BRENT ALBRIGHT vs. RHETT TITUS

Match commentary pattern is developing where Prazak will give the name of a move, then Hogewood will repeat the name of the move in a re-structured sentence. Albright knocked Titus to the floor at 3:00, then Albright landed a plancha.Titus took control by smacking Albright on the ring apron, then Hogewood became very indignant at Titus's strutting. Albright made a comeback at 6:00 with an exploder suplex, but Titus nailed an elevated dropkick for a nearfall. Albright came back with a German suplex, then he slapped on the crowbar submission for the victory.

WINNER: Albright in 7:00. Good showcase match of some athleticism from Titus and solid mat work from Albright. Good step-up from the opening matches. (**1/4)

Video package: They focused on the bloody conclusion to the Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs feud leading to Black and Jacobs splitting up. Nice recap video package of how Aries fit into the mix. Fortunately, Prazak recapped the video to explain the details of what went down on previous ROH DVDs and PPVs to explain a very complicated storyline.

4 -- TYLER BLACK vs. JIMMY JACOBS

Black and Jacobs had a shoving match to start the match with the crowd firmly behind Black, who knocked Jacobs to the floor. Jacobs then retrieved two chairs and chucked them into the ring. Black turned around to move them out of the ring, allowing Jacobs to sneak up behind Black and gain the advantage. Two things I've noticed about the sound: they moved beyond the "random fan conservations near a house mic" that are utterly annoying on DVD releases, but the overall crowd isn't mic'ed as well. The audience seems like they're distant from the action rather than really into the matches.

At 10:00, Black made a comeback and hip-tossed Jacobs across the ring. Black then came off the top rope with a springboard lariat for a two count. He followed with a running shooting star press for a two count as Jacobs clutched his arm in pain. Not much chemistry between Hogewood and Prazak. Sounds like Prazak is trying to adjust to not calling with Lenny Leonard, unsure how to play off Hog. Black went for his finisher, but Jacobs countered into the End Times submission. Black nearly faded out, but he surprised Jacobs with a bridge pin in center ring for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Black in 14:00. Good match. Didn't seem like an "epic first-ever main event on national TV," though. Part of it was the lack of focus on crowd reactions and the poor mic'ing of the audience that is vital to the success of TV wrestling. Hogewood seemed to improve from the opening match to the main event, but that's not saying a lot. The chemistry is forced between the announcers, but hopefully that will develop with time. (**1/2)

Next week: ROH champion Nigel McGuinness debuts against Jay Briscoe. ... ROH returns to PPV on Friday, April 17 for Caged Collision. ... The show ended six minutes before the top of the hour after a brief 60-second commercial break in the middle of the show.

We welcome your 0-10 score and ROH TV Reax to pwtorch@gmail.com


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