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Ring of Honor
RADICAN'S ROH TV REPORT 2/15: Bennett-Romantic Touch, standout Three-Way Tag Elimination match main event

Feb 17, 2014 - 3:53:00 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist

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Radican’s ROH TV Report
February 15, 2014
Taped in Pittsburgh, Pa.


The show opened with announcers Steve Corino and Kevin Kelly previewing a special Valentine’s Day weekend edition of ROH TV. They mentioned that the main event would feature a three team elimination match. Veda Scott joined Kelly and Corino on Commentary.

Romantic came down to the ring and gyrated around the ropes. Scott said Romantic Touch had a similar shimmy to Rhett Titus. She also claimed his tattoo moved every week. Kelly wondered what was in Touch’s box. Michael Bennett came out next with Maria.

Maria said men like Romantic Touch disgust her because they degrade women. Maria said she’s not afraid to be in the ring with someone like Romantic Touch. She said she could take whatever men want to give her because it gives her power. The fans chanted yes, yes, yes. Maria said she wanted to teach everyone that women in wrestling can have power.

Maria turned her attention to Bennett. She said he has power because she taught him his new finishing move. Bennett said he’s better than the best. He said from now on it’s about taking what he wants. Bennett said he would take all of the power that he wants.

1 - - Romantic Touch vs. Michael Bennett (w/Maria)

Touch kissed Bennett’s hand after following the Code of Honor. Touch dominated early, but Bennett cut him off and landed several punches from the mount position. Touch mounted a comeback and gyrated in front of Bennett before hitting a monkey flip out of the corner. Touch went after Maria on the outside. Kelly said Scott had a crush on Touch. Bennett used Maria’s distraction to wipe out Touch before they went to commercial break.

They came back from break with Bennett still in control. Touch mounted another comeback and side-stepped a charge from Bennett in the corner. Touch grinded around before sending Bennett crotch-first into the turnbuckles. Touch danced around as Corino called him his new favorite wrestler. Touch went for a dive, but Maria got in the way. Bennett tossed Maria at Touch and nailed him with a superkick. Bennett hit a TKO, but only got a 2 count. Touch countered a side effect and hit a big dropkick, but Maria broke up the pin by getting up on the apron and grinding around. Why would the ref stop counting because of that? Touch got his box and gave it to Maria. It was a box of chocolates. Maria flipped the box into Touch’s face. Bennett hit an arm trap clothesline and locked in the anaconda vice for the submission win.

Kelly said Touch’s heart was broken after the match ended. Scott said she didn’t feel bad. Scott laughed in his face after the match. She said Rhett Titus was a coward and hiding under a mask. Touch sniffed Scott’s hair and picked her up. Scott managed to wiggle free and she ran to the back.

“Romantic Touch is all about love. I guess Veda doesn’t want any.” – Kevin Kelly.

Winner: Michael Bennett – I’m surprised at this point in his ROH career the company isn’t doing more with Bennett. He was in a match with a goofy storyline. He needed multiple distractions to pin Romantic Touch, who is Rhett Titus under a mask. The stuff with Veda Scott on commentary was sophomoric. The in-ring action was solid, but this wasn’t a great way to grab the attentions of viewers to open the show.

The Briscoes cut a promo about the Three-Way Elimination tag main event. Jay said he wanted to get his hands on Matt Hardy, but Mark interrupted him. He said there were more people in the match than Matt Hardy. Jay said they were going to whoop everyone’s a--. This was a fun little promo.

The main event is up next. The rules are when one team is eliminated, so is his partner. Kelly said A.J. Styles would be returning to TV in just a few weeks. The audio mix seemed off as Hero & Elgin made their entrances. Hero appeared to get a huge reaction and the fans threw streamers at him once he got into the ring. The Briscoes came out next. ROH World Champion Adam Cole and Matt Hardy came out last. Corino went nuts and said the ratings were going to go through the roof with Cole and Hardy in the main event, which was funny.

Bobby Cruise got on the mic and said he had just been informed by Nigel McGuinness that anyone in the match that made Cole submit or beat him by pinfall would get an ROH World Title shot. The fans chanted “yes, yes, yes” for the announcement. Elgin was shown glaring at Hero, who looked excited about the opportunity.

2 - - Michael Elgin & Chris Hero vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. Adam Cole & Matt Hardy – Three-Way Elimination match

The announcers said Hero was back in ROH to get the ROH World Title, which has always alluded him. Elgin and Jay started the match. They went to a fast exchange off the ropes. Jay ducked a big clothesline and they came to a stalemate. Elgin and Jay started at Cole and Hardy and they jumped to the floor so that Cole wouldn’t be tagged in. Hero and Mark eventually tagged into the match and went at it. They went to an exchange off the ropes. Mark went for a leap frog, but Hero nailed him with a big running boot for a 2 count. The match went to commercial break with Elgin tagging in to continue to work over Mark.

They went to a recap of Styles making his return to ROH a couple of weeks back on TV. Jay Lethal told Styles he was glad he was back where he belonged. Styles was shown talking to the crowd. He told them he was here to entertain the fans of ROH. A graphic for Styles vs. Lethal in 2 weeks on ROH TV was shown to end the video package.

Back from commercial break, the Briscoes were back in control as they worked over Hero. Hardy and Cole cheered from the apron as Mark and Hero went at it. They tried to go after Hardy and Cole, but they jumped off the apron. Elgin and Hero managed to corner Hardy. They dragged him into the ring and began working him over.

“Every time he retweets me, I get 700 new followers.” – Corino on Matt Hardy.

Elgin lifted Hardy for a vertical suplex. Cole tried to interfere, but Elgin fought him off and delivered a delayed vertical suplex on Hardy that popped the fans. Mark tagged in and continued to work over Hardy. Hardy eventually managed to drive Mark into his own corner. Cole landed some punches after tagging in, but Mark fired up on him. Elgin tagged himself in and went right after Hardy with some boots in the corner. Corino said Elgin can’t beat Cole. He said Elgin couldn’t get the job done at “Final Battle,” but Kelly pointed out that Hardy’s interference cost Elgin the match. Hardy ended up nailing Jay from the apron, which allowed Cole to get the upper hand. Cole and Hardy tagged in and out to work over Jay. The crowd tried to rally behind Jay, but Hardy nailed him with a neck breaker. Jay mounted a comeback and tagged in Mark, who ran wild on Cole and Hardy with Kung Fu chops. Hero tagged himself into the match, so Mark hit a running elbow off the apron to the floor on Hardy as they went to commercial break.

Back from break, Mark and Elgin went at it in the ring. Mark went up top, but Hero cut him off. Jay sent Hero to the floor with a running kick. Elgin ended up lifting both Briscoes onto his back and he hit a double Samoan drop and the fans went nuts and chanted his name. Cole tagged himself into the match. Elgin went after Cole, but Hardy dragged him to the floor. Mark fired back on Cole and the Briscoes hit a tandem ace crusher on Cole, but Hero made the save. The action broke down with everyone brawling in the ring. The Briscoes isolated Hardy and Mark nailed him with a froggy bow, but Cole made the save. Hardy and Cole ended up alone in the ring with Mark. Cole nailed him with a superkick and Hardy hit the TOF. He covered Mark for the 3 count to eliminate the Briscoes.

The match was now down to Hero & Elgin vs. Cole & Hardy. The fans chanted “Hardy sucks.” Jay ran back to the ring and attacked Cole on the floor. Security then came down and separated them. Hero then rolled up Hardy from behind for a nearfall. Hero fired up on Hardy and nailed him with a rolling elbow. He then hit a cravat buster off the second rope for a nearfall as Corino urged Hardy to kick out. Hardy countered another rolling elbow attempt from Hero into a side effect for a 2 count. Cole tagged in and went to work on Hero. He nailed him with a neck breaker over his knee, but Elgin broke up the pin. The fans fired up as Cole blew a kiss to Elgin, who was on the apron. Elgin tagged himself in and knocked Hardy on the apron. He went after Cole, but Cole drove him into the corner. Elgin hit a big slam out of corner. They went to a big exchange that ended with Elgin hitting a huge clothesline for a 2 count.

The fans chanted for Elgin, who knocked Hardy off the apron. After exchanging counters, Elgin hit a backfist, but Hardy broke up a powerbomb attempt. Hero tagged himself in and hit a rolling kick for a nearfall on Cole. Hero fired up with Elgin and Hardy down on the floor. Cole fired back with a superkick to Hero’s knee. He went for a leaping code red, but Hero got out of the way. He lifted Cole on to his back and dropped him into the death blow for the win.

Hardy attacked Hero after the match. Elgin cut him off with a dead-lift German suplex. Cole went for a superkick on Elgin, but Elgin caught his foot. Hero then put on his loaded elbow pad and nailed Cole with a rolling elbow. The announcers said many thought Hero was out of title contention when he lost to Steen on TV several weeks ago, but now he had a title opportunity. After the match, Hero and Elgin went face to face. They eventually shook hands to close the show.

Winners: Chris Hero & Michael Elgin

Stars rating: (***3/4) – The star rating is a rough guess because parts of the match were cut out for commercial breaks. This was a really good TV match. The crowd got into the action and Hardy and Cole did a good job getting the crowd riled up by refusing to tag in during the first part of the match. The final stretch of the match was really good once it came down to Elgin & Hero vs. Cole & Hardy. Elgin continues to stay in the background of the title picture while Hero suddenly finds himself with a shot at Cole’s title after getting the pin in this match.

Overall thoughts: This is an episode of ROH TV worth checking out for the main event alone. The Three-Way Elimination Tag was a very good match bordering on excellent at times. ROH is doing a good job of getting some hot crowds at their TV tapings and the Pittsburg crowd added a lot to the match.

The opening match left me shaking my head. Michael Bennett is a talented performer who is deserving of more of a push than he gets. He was stuck in what amounted to a silly comedy match with The Romantic Touch. How many Bennett matches do people need to see where Maria interferes and allows him to get the win?

I was surprised that Bennett needed Maria to interfere multiple times in the opener to get the win over Romantic Touch, who is essentially a jobber right now. It was also annoying to listen to Veda Scott ramble on about how The Romantic Touch is actually Rhett Titus during the match. Every opening match should be designed to hook TV viewers in and I don’t think this match did a good job of making people want to stick around for the rest of the show.

The main event was really good. Hardy and Cole did a really good job of getting heat from the crowd. The fans were clearly into Elgin & Hero. The thing I didn’t like was that they randomly added on a stipulation where if someone pinned Cole during the match, they would get a future ROH World Title shot. One thing that’s been lacking in ROH for a long time is a good build for challengers to the ROH World Title. Champions should defend their titles against challengers that are built up and the natural progression of the storyline is the challenger being granted a title shot. It shouldn’t come from getting a pin in a tag match or some other arbitrary stipulation.

That being said, it seems like Jay Briscoe, Michael Elgin, and Chris Hero are being developed as challengers to Cole’s title. I’m hoping at least one of these men is inserted into a good long-term rivalry with Cole with a good storyline backing up the feud.

***

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Follow Sean on Twitter at Twitter.com/SeanRadican

Contact Sean at PWTorchSean@gmail.com


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