SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The American Nightmare Cody: Cody opens sitting in a chair smoking a cigar with a small handgun declaring that you know me as “the grandson of a plumber.” We catch a very quick glimpse of what appears to be one of Dusty Rhodes’ old boots with Rhodes on the side of it. He also declares that “you know me as the star that left them (WWE) in the dust.” And then Cody asks, “Is the world ready for The American Nightmare?” We then pan out to a graphic that states, “Cody Is Coming” and then Cody puts out his cigar on a Wrestle Kingdom 11 graphic. I have seen this before but it does not feel old and you can credit ROH for sliding this into the opening for those who have not seen it yet. Cody is a big deal being in ROH. I firmly believe there may come a time where he ends up back with that large company he left but in the meantime, let’s see how big of a splash Cody is going to continue making in ROH. If the reception he gets when he comes out after the opening match with Hangman Page vs. Matt Sells means anything, the ROH fans definitely are buying what Cody is selling as he got a resounding “Cody” and “Welcome Home” chants from the fans. So how does Cody respond to the welcome home chants? First, he says that he has waited 11 years for that reception. However, he then says I must pose the question, “Atlanta, what took you so long?” He then trashes the fans and the Atlanta area and states, “This is a garbage city!” With Cody being a heel and member of the Bullet Club, I loved it. This leads to Cody calling out Jay Lethal. Lethal, after being spit on by Cody as he stood on the ring apron, charges the ring after Cody. This leads to a bit of a free for all between Lio Rush, Jay White, Bobby Fish and more that come out to Lethal’s aid. Before we know it, our TV main event with Adam Cole and Cody vs. Lethal and Fish has started. More about that later.
Mark Briscoe: I have heard Mark Briscoe on commentary before in spot appearances and I always think he brings a different aspect to commentating. Mark has a little bit of comedy mixed with a little craziness and finished off with some seriousness. Is he a professional commentator? Heck no, but that is what makes him good and different on commentary.
Cody & Adam Cole vs. Jay Lethal & Bobby Fish: These are four of the best men on the ROH roster. I felt as I watched this that it was a slow-paced match at first; however, there is a super kick at the beginning of the match on the floor that Page delivers to Fish that would make the late great Gentleman Chris Adams proud. As a side not, for the younger readers, in my opinion Chris Adams has the best super kick of all time. Although a slow-paced match at the beginning, the heels do their job of being heels and get the best of Lethal and Fish during the match. Finally, things pick up. At one point Fish is being isolated in the corner being worked over by Cody and Cole. As Cole does his famous “Adam Cole Baby!” in the middle of the ring, Lethal says the heck with this and walks in and spins Cole around for a nice chop that gets a good reaction from the crowd before referee Todd Sinclair sends Lethal back to his corner. The match progresses and Fish finally makes the hot tag. Lethal works over Cody when this happens. Lethal ends up in the ring with Cole which he then proceeds to hit Lethal Injection on. As Lethal goes for the pin, referee Todd Sinclair reminds Lethal that Cole is not the legal man. The crowd reacts with boos! We then end up in a 4-way with everyone trading shots on each other. These four guys are working their tails off in this match and the live crowd is appreciating every bit of it. I loved the entire match but I do not know how much I liked the finish. I mean the finish was good and I did not hate it. Bobby Fish makes Adam Cole tap out but I dislike whenever a champion loses clean whether in a tag match or non-title type match. It is a small dislike but in the vein of being honest I have to admit it was not something I like. All in all, I am not into rating matches with stars but this was still a very good match on this week’s episode. Hats off to everyone in the match who made this one great.
Frankie Kazarian: Kazarian cuts a promo not for himself, but for his tag team partner Christopher Daniels. Kazarian says that he is scared to death for his friend. He says that for the other seven members of the Decade of Excellence tournament, it is an opportunity. However, for Daniels this could be his last chance to win the ROH World Title. Kazarian says this is not just an opportunity for Daniels but it is a must win. But, if anyone can do it, Kazarian tells us, it is his partner Christopher Daniels. I have said it since this tournament started that they have booked the tournament great and presented it on TV well. They continued doing that with this segment. You cannot be critical of the way ROH presents their storylines lately with the way they have built up and played out the tournament on TV over the last six weeks.
Mark Briscoe vs. Sal Rinuaro: As has been occurring on ROH TV the last couple of weeks, the color commentator ends up not sticking with Kevin Kelly the entire hour. Mark Briscoe leaves Kelly alone and heads to the ring for a match. Some may not be familiar with Briscoe’s opponent Sal Rinuaro, but he is actually a former ROH World Tag Champion with Tony Mamaluke many years ago. There is nothing fancy to this match. It is Mark Briscoe laying in some solid offense with some stiff knife edge chops to Rinuaro. Briscoe eventually gets the win with his frog splash. This was just a nice and quick, hard hitting match in the middle of the show.
Beer City Bruiser and Silas Young Join the Commentary During the Main Event: A few weeks back, Silas Young and Beer City Bruiser made it known that they would like a shot at the new six-man World Tag Titles. Kelly asked Young, “how’s the search coming for a third partner.” Young replied, “It’s just a matter of finding the right guy and those titles are as good as ours.” Here is another good example of ROH progressing storylines. They did not just leave us wondering what ever happened with Young and Bruiser finding a partner. They get a mention of it in here to let us know that it is still on the radar. Colt Cabana joins commentary part of the way through the main event. Bruiser ran out of beer so Cabana is out to the rescue bringing him a fresh six-pack. This leads to a small teaser where Young opens it up that Cabana could be a possible member and the third partner of Young and Bruiser’s team. Again, nice little progression and tease of Cabana possibly being their partner.
The Rebellion (Kenny King, Rhett Titus, and Caprice Coleman) vs. The Boys and Dalton Castle: Nice and solid main event match with these teams with plenty of action between all 6 guys throughout, although the commentary throughout mentioned above may have overshadowed the solid wrestling. The finish of the match was good which involved all three members of The Rebellion. First, Castle is getting the best of the Rebellion when Coleman takes him out. One of the boys then comes off the top rope to take out King but King impressively catches him in midair across the back of his neck and shoulder. King then drops to his knee launching The Boy off his shoulders into a stunner of sorts. This is immediately followed by Coleman delivering a very impressive leg drop off the top rope followed by The Big Dawg Rhett Titus nailing The Boy with a nice frog splash. The Rebellion get the win. Kevin Kelly leads us to believe that the Rebellion will get an opportunity at the six-man World Tag Titles. We also see The Kingdom on stage staring down The Rebellion.
Mark Briscoe and Kevin Kelly discussing Jay Briscoe’s shot at the ROH World Title: It is not that I think this was a bad interview as we heard Mark’s opinion on his brother gaining a chance at winning the world title again. I just do not think it was needed. You could have not included this segment in the episode and would not have missed it.
Bobby Fish Promo Placement: First off, I loved the promo. Fish is always good on the microphone and great in the ring. My critique is strictly of the placement of the promo. I am trying to figure out why it was positioned the way that it was where Fish discusses how since the title has been lost it has gone from the ROH World TV Title to the number two title. I get that he is claiming that the title is less valuable than it was when he had it but it felt like a strange placement. Maybe if Kevin Kelly prefaces the promo with some type of lead in it would have made more sense to me. Kelly possible prefacing it would have been easier to understand how it fits into an ongoing storyline. Hopefully this promo will make more sense a few weeks from now. I do find there are times when things do not appear to fit but when you look back in a month you see why it was placed the way it was. I guess we shall see.
This was a fantastic episode. The Cole/Cody vs. Lethal/Fish match was excellent. Cody’s promo on the fans of Atlanta set the tone of the episode. I wish more heels would do what Cody did. He came out to a grand reception but as a heel he would have none of it as he turned on the fans and told them how terrible they were and Atlanta was. Although we did not see any Decade of Excellence matches, ROH still progressed the story of the tournament with a very good promo from Frankie Kazarian on behalf of his tag partner Christopher Daniels. We also found new challengers and contenders for The Kingdom’s 6-man ROH World Tag Titles in The Rebellion. Lastly, Kevin gave us something to look forward to next week with Christopher Daniels facing Jay Briscoe in the finals of the Decade of Excellence tournament. Remember, the winner of the Decade of Excellence tournament gets a shot at the ROH World Title.
Mike Mills is the new PWTorch.com ROH TV Hits and Misses Specialist, providing his point of view on ROH TV weekly. You can follow Mike at @BTT_Podcast and @Mike504Saints on Twitter and e-mail him at BookingTheTerritory@gmail.com.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: 2/4 ROH TV HITS & MISSES: Colt Cabana on commentary, War Machine, Young Bucks, Dijak, Sabin, Shelly, Rush, Kingdom