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ROH TV REPORT
DECEMBER 17, 2017
TAPED 11/12 IN LAKELAND, FLA. AT RP FUNDING CENTER
AIRED ON SINCLAIR AFFILIATES & ROHWRESTLING.COM
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana
[Q1] Opening theme. In the arena it was The Addiction and the announcers acknowledged that it was Final Battle weekend.
(1) THE ADDICTION (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs. COAST TO COAST (Shaheem Ali & LSG)
The Addiction laughed off the Code of Honor so Coast To Coast hit them with stereo dropkicks to start the match. Cabana mentioned the Final Battle development of The Addiction showing an interest in the six-man titles but Riccaboni encouraged us to check out the pay-per-view replay on their website to find out what exactly they were alluding to. Ali hit a weak knife-edge chop on Kaz in the corner, then looked at his hand in confusion. Kaz sent him to the far corner and gave him four hard ones of his own. Kaz spit at LSG, who complained to the ref, and The Addiction used the distraction to double-team Ali. Daniels tagged in and ran Ali into Kaz’s boots. Kaz tagged back in and double-stomped Ali’s back going into the break. [C]
Daniels tagged in and hit an Arabian moonsault on Ali before doing an arrogant one-foot cover. Ali tried to fight out of their corner and managed to hit an Olympic slam on Daniels. Ali with the hot tag to LSG. Jumping double clothesline on Daniels and Kaz. Kaz tried for the unprettier but LSG countered into a front-face DDT. Daniels broke up the pin. Coast To Coast took out Daniels, who rolled to ringside. Ali hung up Kaz in the corner and they went to opposite corners for Coast To Coast but Daniels yanked LSG out of the ring by his feet and Kaz pulled himself up and out of the way of Ali’s dropkick. Kaz with a lungblower to Ali and the unprettier. LSG springboarded back into the ring and traded punches with Kaz. The heels took over and Kaz set him up in tombstone piledriver position. Daniels to the corner and it’s the Best Meltzer Ever (Young Bucks’ Meltzer Driver + Daniel’s Best Moonsault Ever) for the victory.
WINNER: The Addiction by pinfall in 9:37.
-Riccaboni said Coast To Coast are doing everything a young team should do. Except winning, Cabana pointed out. LSG took a microphone. They’ve been in ROH for a year and haven’t accomplished anything. They haven’t won one match that matters. What do they need to do? Ali stole the mic. “What do we need to do? We need to win!” Ali puts it on the line: one more match. If they don’t win, they’re done as a team. [C]
(Analysis: A strong, clean win for The Addiction setting up them going after the six-man championship by taunting The Young Bucks with their own finisher at the same time. I think this is the first time a TV episode airing on the same weekend as the pay-per-view actually acknowledged the pay-per-view so big kudos to ROH for that. Alluding to results from the show without fully explaining what happened makes the show feel timely and relevant without causing any real continuity errors, considering these matches were taped over a month before Final Battle. Coast To Coast haven’t won a single televised match since first appearing in ROH in March 2015 so the post-match development is intriguing. Both men showed frustration with losing but not necessarily with one another. Will they finally pull off a win and begin a slow underdog climb into serious tag team contention? Will they pull the plug on the team but remain friendly with each other?)
[Q2] (2) SHANE TAYLOR vs. ELI ISOM
Isom was announced as “already in the ring” which Cabana laughed did not bode well for him. He made his company debut on Future Of Honor on ROH’s YouTube channel. Code of Honor to start but Taylor hung on for intimidation. Taylor threw Isom into the corner and laid a loud slap across his chest. Big clothesline. Knee to the face. Taylor looked crazed as he wound up his right hand. Taylor with the knockout punch. He thought about a cover but the referee shoved him back and called for the bell.
WINNER: Shane Taylor by referee stoppage in 2:44.
-The Young Bucks were backstage. They’re facing Rocky Romero and Best Friends tonight. The Bucks happened to bring their own best friend tonight. Enter Marty Scurll. They grimaced and had to break it to him that they weren’t talking about him. He exited, then Kenny Omega stood up from where he had been crouching behind the Jacksons the entire time. They chanted “The Elite.” [C]
-Coleman’s Pulpit: it was his first ever Woman of Honor guest, Brandi Rhodes! Rhodes is going to be a main cast member on a new reality series called WAGS Atlanta, premiering January 3 on the E! network. The show follows the personal and professional lives of a group of women and girlfriends of professional athletes. Coleman mentioned that Rhodes hasn’t won any matches in ROH yet but she pointed out that she’s only had two. She asked him if he won his first two matches and he admitted that he probably didn’t win any matches his entire first year.
[Q3] He asked if her being married to Cody should give her an edge. She said she likes to work hard and wants to work for everything in wrestling. Coleman said he used to feel that way too but he sees now that that’s just not how things work here. Caprice asked her about her figure skating background. They pitched WAGS again on the way out.
(Analysis: Having Brandi be the first female guest on the Pulpit elevates her and it obviously makes sense for ROH to publicize the other show, like they have with Kenny King and The Bachelorette. Brandi came across as confident and concise and they did discuss her ROH career so far, ensuring that this wasn’t just an extended advertisement for WAGS. That said, all her wrestling comments were very admirable, which seems to put her at odds with her husband, and there wasn’t one mention of the new Women’s Championship that was unveiled last night.)
(3) BEST FRIENDS (Beretta & Chuckie T.) & ROCKY ROMERO vs. THE ELITE (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson)
Big video opening, pyro, and a huge pop for Bullet Club. The streamers filled the ring. [C]
The bell rang and Romero and Matt Jackson started us off. Matt pie-faced him twice and spit on him. Romero responded with a slap. Romero tried for sliced bread and Matt countered into Meltzer Driver position, but Romero escaped. Matt milked tagging Omega into the match for the first time. Beretta wanted to face him but Chuckie tagged himself in. Chuckie and Omega with the Code of Honor only for Beretta to attack Omega from behind. Best Friends knocked the Young Bucks off the apron. Omega fought back and the Bucks returned to clean house. Triple dives through the ropes onto Best Friends and Romero. Matt tagged back in. Best Friends double-teamed him again in front of the referee. We’ve got a heel trio that gets cheered louder than anyone else in the company and a face trio that are double-teaming and attacking from behind at every opportunity. Bizarre. [C]
[Q4] Best Friends with Two Dog Night on Matt and a hug in the middle of the ring. Romero tried to join in but they side-stepped him and re-hugged without him. Chuckie with a cheap shot on Omega on the apron. Matt finally made a tag to Nick who unloaded with kicks on Chuckie and Beretta. Clothesline bulldog. Springboard kick to Romero on the apron. Nick tried for a senton on Beretta but the knees were up. Dudebuster countered with a kick to the face from Matt. Omega tagged in. Dragon rush suplexes on all three opponents. Young Bucks with double superkicks on Romero and Chuckie. Chuckie flipped over the top rope onto the Bucks at ringside. Beretta with a snap piledriver on Omega for two. [C]
Beretta tried for a suicide dive onto Omega at ringside. When Omega moved out of the way, Chuckie caught him with a hug instead. Both men turned into superkicks from the Bucks. Romero with a double hurricanrana on both Jacksons only to take a big jumping knee from Omega. Matt with a leaping DDT to Chuckie on the apron. Beretta piledrived Omega on the apron. Nick with a German suplex to Beretta on the apron. Romero with sliced bread on Nick from the apron onto everyone else at ringside. Romero and Matt are your legal men in the ring. They traded punches with Matt coming out on top. Romero with a series of clotheslines. Omega came in and was taken out too. Matt with the sharpshooter on Romero. Nick with a moonsault onto Best Friends at ringside. Omega with the crossface on Romero’s other half. Nick tried to hold back Best Friends but they managed to shove him into his teammates to break up the submission. Everyone was down.
The teams exchanged punches. The crowd booed Best Friends and Romero and cheered for The Elite. Three superkicks from The Elite; three high knees to The Elite. Triple hug among the babyfaces(?). Three piledrivers to the Bullet Club members followed by three pin attempts and three kickouts. Referee Todd Sinclair wasn’t making any attempt at all to get the four illegal men out of the ring. Romero and Best Friends with a super dudebuster to Matt but Nick broke up the pin. The Elite took over again. Omega and Matt picked up Best Friends in tombstone position. Nick went to the top rope and dropkicked them into tombstones while landing on Romero with a back senton. Best Friends rolled out of the ring. One-Winged Meltzer Driver on Romero. Sharpshooter/crossface submission from The Young Bucks on Romero for the win.
WINNER: The Elite by submission in 20:51.
(Analysis: Look, I understand that this was just a fast-paced match full of high spots to entertain the live crowd and won’t actually have any long-term storyline consequences. I just feel badly for every babyface team that competes against Bullet Club. Best Friends have already been struggling to get cheered by the ROH fans not familiar with them from their time in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. This is in part because they’ve had barely any promo time and in part because they started teaming in this company with ROH acting as if everybody already knew who Chuck Taylor was. Rocky Romero, meanwhile, had only made one televised ROH appearance in the seven months prior to this.
This is an issue I have with ROH television overall. There seem to be a lot of assumptions made that anybody who watches ROH must also be a dedicated follower of New Japan, PWG, CMLL, etc. I’m sure many ROH fans are. I’m also sure that there is a significant percentage of the ROH viewing audience who don’t watch those other companies. You don’t need to structure the show as if the average viewer at home has never watched a wrestling event before in their life but if you treat too many of the competitors as “Oh, you already know who this guy is” then you risk alienating new and casual fans. If there’s one thing Ring Of Honor should be striving to do the most in 2018, it’s bringing in new viewers and making them feel welcomed and informed, not like they’re trespassing in some private club.)
-Next week: it’s a Christmas surprise ten-man tag match with Dalton Castle captaining one team and Cody captaining the other.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 12/10 ROH TV Report: Final push for Final Battle PPV, Cody-Castle contract signing, King vs. Coleman for TV title, Lethal vs. Taven