SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Ian Riccaboni on Commentary: I thought Ian Riccaboni on commentary did a good job. He was not over the top on his calls and I think he’s got a good voice for play-by-play. If Riccaboni indeed ends up being at the commentary table going forward, I look forward to it. I still would like to see a main color commentator in the both. ROH has been rotating them lately which hasn’t been bad. I believe everyone that has been out in that spot has done well but at some point, there probably has to be some stability in the both. With all that said, credit Riccaboni for doing a great job this episode.
Bobby Fish: Bobby Fish cuts a nice promo at the end of the opening match with the Addiction and Cole/Page. He declares that Adam Cole isn’t fit to be the ROH World Champion. If I had to pick someone right now in the Adam Cole vs Bobby Fish match, I might just go with Bobby Fish to become the new ROH World Champion. Fish definitely could fill the shoes of being the ROH World Champion.
Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian vs. Adam Cole & Hangman Page: Great recap in the opening promo from Christopher Daniels on his win in the Decade of Excellence. As Daniels is discussing who he will fight at the 15th Anniversary show in Las Vegas between Adam Cole and Bobby Fish, Cole interrupts Daniels’ promo. This does not last long. Soon after Hangman Page interrupts and jumps Daniels from behind. Frankie Kazarian makes the save though as he comes out to assist his tag team partner. Kazarian challenges Page and Cole to a match and we’re off and running on this week’s episode. The early part of the match is a 4-way. Daniels hits a suicide dive through the ropes on to Page and Cole where he hit it so well he appeared to be flying. Plenty of other great spots as well throughout. The Kazarian Diamond Cutter type move on to Cole as Cole is flying back into the ring from the outside was beautiful. The finish was really good. Daniels’ moonsault is blocked by Cole then Cole gets the roll up and the 1-2-3 for the victory. Solid opening match of ROH TV. And at the end of the match you can clearly see that there appears to be some friction between Daniels and Kazarian, at least from Kazarian. They also show a short segment of the two exchanging words after the match in the back after the commercial. If you haven’t read any spoilers on ROH it leaves you wondering where this will lead and what is going on with this team.
The 2017 ROH Top Prospect Tournament Kicks Off: Historically, the ROH Top Prospect Tournament has helped put many of the now famous ROH, NJPW, Evolve, and Impact wrestling stars on the map. Even guys who haven’t won the tournament have become stars. Take Dalton Castle for example. He lost his first-round match in the 2015 tournament and now he’s one of ROH’s biggest stars with a very bright future in my opinion. Mike Bennett, Matt Taven, WarBeard Hanson, Donovan Dijak, and Lio Rush have all won the tournament. Even though he lost, former ROH World Champion Kyle O’Reilly competed in the tournament. My point is, competitors in this tournament whether they win or lose can end up as future stars of ROH and other well-known promotions around the world.
John Skyler vs. Sean Carr: I like the promos before the match. It’s good to hear a few words from the competitors that many of the TV viewers may not know much about. Skyler’s promo was short but good. I like the statement he made at the very end about the other 7 guys in the tournament being stepping stones and not competitors. These two guys worked hard and their hard work got the crowd into the match quickly. Skyler gets the win over Carr in a good first match of the ROH Top Prospect tournament. I know there is more to come with the tournament and this is only the first match but at first glance, I get the feeling that Skyler could go deep into the tournament.
Donovan Dijak vs. “The Villain” Marty Scurll: You read earlier that Donovan Dijak was the 2015 ROH Top Prospect Tournament winner. Dijak doesn’t disappoint from the start. Dijak is one of the most agile men of his size that you will ever see. From the beginning Dijak shows his agility when he nails his back flip over the top rope to the outside on to Scurll. He follows that up with a huge spring board elbow drop from the top rope which he gets a 2 count on Scurll. Scurll eventually gets the upper hand and hits a nice tornado DDT on to Dijak on the floor. The champion Scurll maintains his offense for a while. The crowd seems to be pro-Scurll here for much of the match. During the match, Lio Rush comes out to scout. Scurll and Dijak get a “THIS IS AWESOME CHANT” which I normally hate as an old-school wrestling fan, but in truth these guys deserved it. Scurll soon after hits Dijak with a pile driver that is impressive. I’m not sure if it was Dijak’s height and the length of his body that gave it a great visual but it was impressive. However, Dijak kicks out on one when Scurll goes for the pin after the pile driver. Dijak takes back the offense and hits Scurll with “Feast Your Eyes” but Scurll kicks out miraculously. Scurll eventually gets around to breaking Dijak’s fingers. However, Dijak takes back over. Then Dijak goes for a corkscrew off the top rope but misses. When he misses, Scurll puts Dijak in his submission finisher and Scurll gets the victory when Dijak submits. Scurll will now face Lio Rush March 10 at the 15th anniversary PPV in Las Vegas. Lio Rush ends up in the ring with Scurll after the match. Remember, Rush was scouting from the stage during the match. Scurll hits Rush with the ROH World Title belt and lays him out. The Rebellion come out to save Lio Rush. Then, the Motor City Machine Guns come out also. Recall, we were led to believe that the Motor City Machine Guns were attacked earlier in the hour. We go off the air with the two teams looking each other up and down. Additionally, for the foreseeable future, this is Dijak’s last ROH match. As a fan of ROH, I hate to see him leave the company. From the time Dijak has come into ROH, I have been a big supporter of his and wish him well going forward with Evolve.
Only one Top Prospect Match: I feel like in previous years we would get more than one Top Prospect Match in the beginning of the tournament during the first week it airs. I know they only taped round one a few weeks ago, but I thought we would at least get two of the opening round matches. I am nit-picking here because we will see the remainder of the opening round in the coming weeks but I was looking forward to seeing more of the first round this week from the newcomers. Again, just a small complaint.
Very good episode of Ring of Honor this week. I was impressed with the two Top Prospect competitors. I though Skyler and Carr had a very good match. Scurll and Dijak was great. I’ll miss seeing Dijak on ROH but wish him the best in the future. He is a great talent and I am sure this is only the beginning of what we will see him do in professional wrestling.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: 2/18 ROH HITS & MISSES: Decade of Excellence Final, Daniels, Jay Briscoe, Young, James, Cabana, The Boys