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Ring of Honor
RADICAN'S ROH TV REPORT 10/29: Strong vs. O'Reilly, ANX vs. Briscoes #1 Contender match

Oct 31, 2011 - 5:16:53 PM

AIRED OCT. 29, 2011

The show started with highlights from ROH TV Champion Jay Lethal vs. Mike Bennett going to a draw last week.

The cameras panned the crowd as Kelly introduced the show. They went to ringside with Kelly and McGuinness. Kelly and McGuinness introduced the Briscoes vs. ANX main event with the winners getting a shot at the ROH World Tag Team Champions at “Final Battle 2011.”

They went to a video package with Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly. O’Reilly said he knows Strong is bigger than him and only took this match because he’s friends with Richards. Strong said O’Reilly is a punk kid and he usually doesn’t waste time with guys like him. He called O’Reilly Richards’s cheerleader. O’Reilly said Strong wants to be the best, but he doesn’t want to work for it. Strong said he would beat O’Reilly in about 2 minutes. Strong mocked O’Reilly for training and said he doesn’t get laid. O’Reilly said Strong may or may not win the match, but either way, he’s in a fight. Strong said he would beat and embarrass O’Reilly and Team Richards.

Radican’s thoughts: Strong was good here with his cocky comments and setting the stage for him taking O’Reilly lightly. My problem here is that O’Reilly basically put over that he’s cannon fodder for Strong by not promising to win the match. What’s the point of putting this match on if O’Reilly concedes he may or may not win?

O’Reilly came out first to a mild reaction. Strong came out to a mixed reaction with Truth Martini. Martin gave Bobby Cruise something to read. Cruise then reintroduced Truth Martini in an exaggerated manner. Kelly ran down the tale of the tape with O’Reilly having a size and weight advantage on Strong. Both men followed the Code of Honor before the match. Martini came into the commentary booth to start the match.

1 - - KYLE O’REILLY vs. RODERICK STRONG (w/Truth Martini)

Martini discussed the Roderick Strong Invitational Challenge at “Final Battle.” Strong worked an arm bar, but O’Reilly escaped and grabbed a leg submission. Strong countered and went for a crossface, but O’Reilly got the ropes. Martini discussed how Strong had now found his purpose under his guidance. After a fast-paced exchange both men came to a stalemate. Strong shoved Richards and they exchanged slaps. O’Reilly took down Strong with a dropkick and got a small pop from the crowd. Strong fired back and hit a big chop. O’Reilly fired back and took down Strong with a heel trip for a 2 count. O’Reilly continued to dominate the action and got a 2 count with a northern lights suplex. O’Reilly charged Strong in the corner, but he countered and nailed O’Reilly with a backbreaker for a 2 count.

They went to a commercial break with Kelly hyping “Final Battle 2011” with Jay Lethal.

When they came back to commercial, Strong was still dominating the action. Strong grabbed a waist-lock on the mat as they went to footage of Strong chopping O’Reilly on the outside during the break. O’Reilly drove Strong into the corner to break the hold. O’Reilly caught Strong with an overhead suplex moments later and both men were down. O’Reilly caught Strong with a series of kicks and strikes once they got to their feet. O’Reilly dropped Strong’s arm over the top rope and followed up with a missile dropkick to Strong’s arm. Strong countered O’Reilly, but O’Reilly slipped out of a suplex attempt and hit a series of butterfly suplexes on Strong for a 2 count. The crowd showing their investment in the characters in the ring chanted “this is wrestling.” Strong countered O’Reilly up top and sent O’Reilly to the apron.

Strong nailed O’Reilly with several strikes in the corner. Strong followed up with a sit out powerbomb for a nearfall. Kelly said we’d hear from Lethal and Edwards in the “Inside ROH” segment tonight. O’Reilly countered a suplex attempt, but Strong caught him with a kick against the ropes. Strong hit a gut buster, but O’Reilly kicked out. Strong locked in the Stronghold, but O’Reilly eventually got the ropes. Strong set up for the Gibson driver. O’Reilly countered, but Strong caught him with a forearm. O’Reilly got a flash rollup and hit a DDT moments later. O’Reilly locked in a guillotine choke right after the DDT. Strong struggled and finally bridged O’Reilly onto his shoulders for a pin and he had to let go. Strong hit a knee strike and a series of blows to O’Reilly’s head. Strong got a running start and hit the sick kick for the pin.

Winner: Roderick Strong

After the match they went to a replay of the finish. Martini got on the mic after the match and said he had a message for him to deliver to Richards. He said Team Richards is a bunch of losers. O’Reilly went after Martini, but Elgin ran into the ring. Strong and Elgin hit a double team spine buster/double knees to the back on O’Reilly. Tony Kozina from Team Richards ran out, but he got taken out quickly. Richards then ran out and went on the attack. Martini nailed Richards with a punch that had no effect. Richards went after Martini, but Elgin and Strong cut him off and put the boots to him. Edwards finally came out and went after Strong and Elgin. Richards recovered and they managed to clear the ring. Richards and Edwards had Martini isolated and they nailed him with a tandem alarm clock. The fans cheered as Edwards, Strong, and O’Reilly stood alone in the ring.

Radican’s thoughts: The Strong-O’Reilly match was solid, but unspectacular. The in-ring action was good, but the problem was that Strong doesn’t do things while he’s wrestling in the ring to get fans to boo him. I lost my interest in the match going in because of O’Reilly’s uninspiring promo and they never really drew me back in until the final minutes of the match.

The post-match angle was well-executed and it appears we’ll get a Richards & Edwards vs. Elgin & Strong match at some point down the line. I’m surprised Richards and Edwards got their hands on Martini so quickly. If they teased the spot with the American Wolves trying to get their hands on Martini for a long period of time before delivering a beating on him, it would likely have gotten a bigger reaction at a later date.

A commercial aired for

Cornette had come out to check on some of the security that had been injured during the brawl in the previous segment. He said Truth Martini, Strong, and Elgin had each been fined $2,500 each. A group of fans chanted for Kevin Steen. Cornette told the fans he understands Steen is a great wrestler, but they don’t have to deal with him. Cornette said ROH isn’t going to do business with Kevin Steen. Steen told one fan he thought they were on Steen’s payroll. Cornette said if Steen doesn’t like what he’s saying, he can sue him.

“Inside ROH” started with Kelly plugging “Final Battle 2011” on Dec. 23. Kelly said ROH had narrowed the list of challengers to the ROH World Title to Jay Lethal and Eddie Edwards. Lethal said it was an honor to be in the running for an ROH World Title shot. Lethal talked about the wins he’s had since returning to ROH. Lethal said he came back to ROH to prove he’s the best in the world and he quoted Ric Flair. Edwards was shown discussing how “Final Battle” is the biggest show of the year. He said if he gets a shot at the title, he’s got to train harder than he’s ever trained before. Edwards said if he faces Richards, it will be the rubber match with each man holding a win.

Kelly said next week Haas & Benjamin would face Cedric Alexander & Caprice Coleman in a Proving Ground match. Kelly explained that in a Proving Ground match if the challenger wins or goes to a time limit draw, they got a shot at the title within 90 days. Haas said this was a dangerous match for them. Benjamin said their only option is to win. Haas said, “That’s exactly what we’re going to do” and sneered into the camera. They showed Coleman and Alexander. Coleman said they were taking this opportunity to the top. I had a hard time understanding most of what Coleman said because he seemed to be mumbling.

Radican’s thoughts: I have a couple of problems with this segment. First of all, I’ve seen Lethal saying the ROH TV Title is the gateway to the ROH World Title, which essentially means in his eyes the TV title doesn’t mean much. Wouldn’t it be more effective if Lethal were presented as someone that believed he made the TV title every bit as important as the World title held by Richards?

Another thing that bothers me is the Proving Ground concept. The more I think about it, it seems that Alexander & Coleman should simply stall until the time limit expires and get their shot at the tag titles. What’s the point of trying to win the match with that stipulation? I think challengers should have to defeat champions to get a title shot if they’re going to go with this new gimmick.

I liked that the segment established why Edwards and Lethal are in line for a shot at Richards and the ROH World Title, but the promo work from both guys left a lot to be desired. The interviews with Haas & Benjamin continue to leave a lot to be desired when it comes to their promos. Coleman mumbled his way through his promo and neither he nor Alexander came across well at all.

Another commercial aired for

Kelly and McGuinness were joined at the commentary booth by Steve Corino. Corino said he is an evil person, but he’s trying to get better. Corino apologized for the problems with Steen and Kelly said they can’t talk about Steen. Kelly ran down the credentials for Alex Silva as he made his entrance. The Embassy then came out with Tomasso Ciampa. Kevin Kelly ran down the Tale of the Tape.

2 - - ALEX SILVA vs. TOMASSO CIAMPA (w/The Embassy)

Corino said Ciampa doesn’t need a guy like Prince Nana at his side. McGuinness said he could take or leave Nana. Ciampa jumped Silva at the bell and pounded him in the corner. Silva dragged Ciampa to the outside and nailed him with a series of strikes. Ciampa shoved him into the guardrail and nailed him with a big chop. Ciampa suplexed Silva on the outside and Corino said you can’t win matches on the outside. Ciampa rolled Silva into the ring and covered him for a 2 count.

Ciampa pounded on Silva’s chest and paused to glare at the crowd. Ciampa grabbed a chinlock. Silva got to his feet and tried to fight out, but Ciampa nailed him with a knee to the gut. Silva hit a kick to the back of Ciampa’s head and went for a rollup, but Ciampa slipped away and nailed him with a dropkick to the knees off his back. That was impressive. Ciampa followed up with a kick to Silva’s head and a knee drop. Silva ducked a charge in the corner and nailed Ciampa with a clothesline for a 2 count. Silva missed a springboard and Ciampa caught him with a neckbreaker. Ciampa dragged Silva to the corner and nailed him with a running knee strike. Ciampa hit several running knee strikes in the corner. Ciampa then held up the Embassy sign and hit project Ciampa for the pin.

Winner: Tomasso Ciampa

They went to a replay of the finish. They went close up on Ciampa staring intensely into the camera.

Radican’s thoughts: Why can’t they just give Ciampa a quick squash win? Ciampa looked impressive here at the end, but at one point Silva got a nearfall on him. It’s kind of ridiculous to not bring back complete squashes for someone like Ciampa. Kelly hyped the Briscoes vs. ANX main event as a graphic showed both teams appeared on the screen.

A commercial with Jim Cornette and Eddie Edwards hyping “Final Battle 2011” aired.

The Briscoes came out for the main event first. They got a nice pop from the crowd. Highlights aired from the previous Briscoes vs. ANX match where Jay pinned King after a low blow. ANX then made their entrance. King and Titus danced out to the ring. This must be a real rivalry between these two teams given the way King and Titus are acting.

Bobby Cruise got into the ring to do the introductions for the main event. Both teams went face-to-face and shoved each other. Cruise jumped out of the ring as both teams began exchanging blows.

3 - - ANX (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) ROH World Tag Team Titles #1 Contender match

Both teams quickly brawled to the outside. At least the intensity picked up once Titus and King were done dancing and posing for the fans. Kelly said neither team could risk a DQ here as Titus and King isolated Jay in their corner. Titus nailed Jay with a kick and followed him to the corner and nailed him with a chop. Jay fired back with a kick and drove Titus head-first into the middle turnbuckle. Mark tagged in and went on the attack as Kelly ran down things the Briscoes like such as beer and chickens. King nailed Mark with a shot from behind and tagged into the match. King went to work on Jay and nailed him with a suplex and some punches before tagging Titus back into the match.

Titus nailed Mark with some punches. King tagged back in a mounted Mark before nailing him with some punches. ANX continued to tag in and out of the match while working over mark with several combination maneuvers. Titus & King hit a double team suplex on Mark. King choked Mark in the corner, but Mark cut him off and whipped him into a clothesline from Jay after a blind tag. Jay went on the attack and worked over King with a series of punches as they went to commercial.

The Briscoes nailed King with a double team shoulder tackle when they came back from the commercial. They showed a replay of King trying to fire back, but getting cut off. King fired back and nailed Mark with an atomic drop and a spinning kick to the back of the head. King struggled to tag in Titus, but Jay knocked him off the apron. Jay tagged into the match and put the boots to King. The fans cheered as Jay put the boots to King. McGuinness said Titus is so good in the bedroom that when he’s finished the neighbors light a cigarette. Mark raked away at King’s face before cinching in a chinlock. King got a back slide on Mark for a one count, but Mark went right back on the attack. The Briscoe hit a tandem ace crusher on King, but Titus broke up the pin. King countered a Jay-driller and backdropped Jay. King tagged in Titus, who ran wild on the Briscoes. Kelly hyped some upcoming live events as Titus sent Mark to the floor. ANX hit a combination of moves on Jay in the corner, but Mark broke up the pin at the last second.

The fans chanted for the Briscoes as Titus and King had Jay isolated in the ring. Jay countered King and Mark held onto Titus. Jay hit a big spinebuster on King. He then went after Titus on the top turnbuckle, but Titus dropped him face-first onto the top turnbuckle. Mark ran into the ring and nailed Titus with a running dropkick. He put Titus on the top rope and nailed him with a springboard ace crusher as the fans applauded. King then caught Mark with a springboard blockbuster. Jay ran into the ring and hit a big DDT and all four men were down as the fans chanted “Man up.” Titus went after Mark, but Jay ran in broke it up. Mark was on King’s shoulders, so Jay clotheslined Mark into a rollup for the win.

Winners: The Briscoes to earn a ROH World Title shot at “Final Battle 2011.”

Radican’s thoughts: This was a good television main event with a lot of good back and forth action. The action really heated up towards the finish and the fans were into the action. I really didn’t like the finish of Jay clotheslining Mark, who was on King’s shoulders, into a rollup on Titus. I’ve never seen that before and it just makes no logical sense how that move worked that way. I guess a case could be made that Mark knew the clothesline was coming and could shift his weight just right to take the impact and roll through, but that was just a bad finish in my eyes.

Kelly hyped the Haas & Benjamin vs. Alexander & Coleman Proving Ground match next week to close the show.

Overall score: (4.5) – This was mostly a boring show with some solid in-ring action mixed in. The show featured several uninspiring promos outside of Roderick Strong, who was once again being really good in his cocky heel role. I lost interest in O’Reilly right away when he established that he wasn’t at Strong’s level during his sit down interview and even though they had a good match, I just don’t see Strong taking what he does in his promos and bringing it into the ring.

The Inside ROH segment featured a lot of below average interviews. Edwards, Lethal, Haas, and Benjamin aren’t very good on the mic at this point and none of them did anything to make me want to see them at “Final Battle 2011.” Alexander & Coleman came off as low-rent during their promo segment hyping their Proving Ground match against Haas & Benjamin. I didn’t understand much of what Coleman said during his promo and neither guy had a look that stood out and made me compelled to see them wrestle Haas & Benjamin next week.

I’m all in favor of ROH management giving their roster a chance to get themselves over through these backstage segments, but I don’t think new viewers that tuned in this week and saw Haas, Benjamin, Edwards, and Lethal are going to want to see them in the ring. I think Lethal has potential on the mic, but his delivery is over-the-top. He needs to find a middle ground where he can really get fans behind him and his quest for the ROH World Title.

The more I think about Proving Ground matches, the more I don’t like them. I don’t see the sense in giving someone a shot at a title because they went to a time limit draw with a champion in a non-title match. If teams or individuals can go to a time limit draw and get a title shot, why don’t they just stall until time expires?

The build around the Kevin Steen storyline is puzzling. Fans that are new to the product have no idea what is going on and right now ROH is only giving abstract clues as to why Steen is no longer in the company. Cornette basically said that Steen is a headache for him and he’s not coming back. There’s so much to the Steen storyline that it seems at the rate ROH is going that new fans will have no idea why the company is so against bringing him back.

The Briscoes vs. ANX #1 contender match started out a bit slow, but got really good by the end. I’m still puzzled as to why the Briscoes have been presented as heels through video packages and various segments and yet they’re still over as faces. The fans have been cheering them no matter what they do and it’s time for ROH creative to decide whether or not they’re going to press the issue of presenting the Briscoes as heels in a different manner. The main problem is that the Briscoes are more likeable than babyface acts such as ANX and Haas & Benjamin.

ROH does a lot of things well, but they need to fine-tune some of the things they are doing with the way title shots are earned and they wrestlers are presented on television. I thought the show hit a roadblock this week in a major way in terms of presenting a product that new fans are going to want to spend money on. The talent needs to be presented in a different light to hide their weaknesses on the mic and the way title contenders are determined needs to be changed because it just doesn’t make a lot of sense right now.

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