SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Video Package and Clips from Last Week: There was a short but good video package recapping the important points from last week’s episode. It included Bully Ray introducing himself as an enforcer, the 6-man tag match that was restarted that saw The Hungs Bucks get the victory as the 6-man champs retained their titles. I’m still not sold on the enforcer role but more on this later, but this video package did summarize the end of last week very well.
SoCal Uncensored (Scorpio Sky & Frankie Kazarian) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson): This was another fantastic match to kick off ROH. Early on as the match was just underway, Cody walks out on to the stage and gets a loud “Cody” chant. Cody then joins Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana on commentary for the remainder of the match. I thought Scorpio Sky as a relative newcomer to ROH showed a lot of what he could do and was impressive. Matt Jackson hit a crazy dive off the stage and took out Kazarian and Sky midway through. As we got towards the finish, The Young Bucks put Sky & Kazarian in double sharpshooters. When we got back from commercial, the sharpshooters had been broken and after an exchange between both teams, The Young Bucks broke out the superkicks. I found something interesting during the match though that I never hear anyone question in ROH. I think it was Cody that questioned who the legal man was in the ring. It happens all the time in ROH where a tag match turns into a 4-man battle where the legal man is ignored. I wish ROH would adhere to traditional tag rules, but I get it. ROH does things a little different with their tag teams. We get back to the action though. The Youngs Bucks finish the superkick party and hit the Meltzer Driver to Sky. The Young Bucks get the victory. After the match, Daniels attacked The Young Bucks. Adam Page made the save and Cody eventually gets in the ring also. Hats off to Riccaboni who questioned Cabana on why Cody took so long to help his friends. We did not get an answer, but I loved that this was brought up. This was a really good opening match. I thoroughly enjoyed. I liked that The Young Bucks did not bring out the superkick party too soon. While The Young Bucks are not my cup of tea, credit them and SoCal Uncensored for a good opening match. Although, SoCal Uncensored lost, I feel like Daniels coming out and jumping The Young Bucks keeps SoCal Uncensored strong.
Beer City Bruiser, Brian Milonas, Silas Young, and Kenny King Backstage: First, we get a recap of the last 6-man tag match with Young, Bruiser, and Milonas losing to King, Shaheem Ali, and LSG from two weeks ago. Then we see Milonas and Bruiser run into King in the hallways backstage. Bruiser and Milonas are yapping to King as King is clearly angry with them and Young over everything that’s been going on. King tries to deliver a message to Bruiser and Milonas and King tells them to tell Young he’s coming after him. Bruiser tells King to tell Young yourself and at that moment Young attacks King from behind. Young proceeds to beat down King by himself mostly. Then Milonas and Bruiser hold up King as Young delivers a kick to King’s face. Young tells King he can have the ROH TV Title match against him if he wants as he leaves King laid out. I love this feud and I loved this segment. Heels being heels is a great thing in pro wrestling and Young is the epitome of what you should want in a heel. It’s all about storytelling and King and Young have told us a great story thus far.
Recap of The Briscoes & Motor City Machine Guns: Simply put, when the Briscoes speak, I’d like to think most people listen. While this was only a recap of the recent events between The Briscoes and Machine Guns, I still enjoyed it. And like I always point out, it’s great to mix these short segments in for the audience who do not see every single week and to build additional drama. Remember, these teams will face each other at the 16th anniversary event coming up on March 9, 2018. The Briscoes state they are coming to take their tag titles back. Good segment and good placement right here to give a little bit of final build to the 16th anniversary and the match between these two teams.
Women of Honor Update and Match Result Updates: I had mixed feelings about this segment but overall it was a hit because the WOH are getting more attention these days on ROH TV. I say mixed emotions because we do not get to see the full matches between Kelly Klein vs. Bonesaw Jessie Brooks and Deonna Purrazzo vs. Holidead but the package that they put together for this was done well as a recap. Now, before I go further, I do understand that one of the downfalls of only having an hour-long TV show is that you cannot get everything in. At the same time, the interview portions for all four ladies was exceptional. It was exceptional because it told a concise story for these ladies and their matches. Deonna Purrazzo’s story during the interview was tremendous as you could feel the emotion that was real. I liked all four promos especially Klein and Purrazzo’s. Something also to keep in mind is that you can watch the full matches on ROH’s website. Lastly, Purrazzo and Klein both get the victory in their respective matches.
ROH World TV Title Match – Kenny King vs. Silas Young (w/Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas): I was greatly looking forward to this one from the minute this week’s episode started. Early in the match, Bully Ray heads down to ringside and confronts Milonas and Bruiser. Bully tells the two big men to get the BLEEP out of here. Now again, I do not like to criticize ROH since I think nearly all of what the company does is good, but I am supposed to believe these two rule breakers who happen to weigh over 700 lbs. each are just going to run away from Bully and completely obey orders? This is why I despise the enforcer role that Bully is playing. I am trying not to beat a dead horse, but I cannot stand the “enforcer” role. However, let me get back to the positives here. King and Young put on another classic ROH match. At one point, Young is about to hit King with Misery but King counters it with a crucifix pin attempt. Later, in typical heel fashion, Young rolls out of the ring and appears to maybe want to take a count out loss. King is having none of it and comes and gets him and rolls him back in. Riccaboni does a great job of mentioning this when King rolls Young back in. As we work to the finish, I was shocked. I did not expect it, but King rolls up Young with a twisting roll up out of the corner and King pins Young to become the new ROH World TV Champion. What a great match and main event with a surprising finish in my opinion since I tend to stay away from spoilers.
Bully Ray: Bully Ray opens the show in front of the live crowd after the video package ends. He repeats numerous times that he is an enforcer. When I say repeats, he does so with emphasis numerous times as to throw us off from calling him a commissioner, authority figure, general manager, etc. I said it last week and I’ll repeat it this week, call it an enforcer if you want but it smells the same as the overused commissioner, general manager, authority figure, etc. roles that has been overused throughout pro wrestling. I really hope this ends quickly because the Bully Ray enforcer role was tired last week when it debuted. Bully ends his speech by telling the crowd at the Center Stage taping that “tonight is about all thriller, no filler” which I liked. Lastly, I did like that Bully stressed a few times that ROH is a professional wrestling company. I just wish we would end this enforcer nonsense now.
This was a very good episode. The tag match to open the show was a good one. We also got a few nice recaps in the show. Additionally, there was a series of short interviews before the main event that plugged a bunch of the matches that will take place at the 16th Anniversary show. ROH really used every minute of this episode wisely which is a credit to the company and their production team because it is not easy when you only have an hour. The episode closed with the ROH TV Title changing hands in the main event between King and Young.
Mike Mills is the 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 you can check out his old school wrestling podcasts at tinyurl.com/BTTPod