SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
– As has been the case for ROH, their pre-match video promos are generally hits. They provide insight into the wrestlers even if we have seen the wrestlers many times and allows the promotion to add flavor to the upcoming match. ROH is so far ahead of other promotions with these, and they must keep them up. (Some do fall short, see Eli Isom this week, but in general they are a great way to introduce the match.)
– ALLYSIN KAY vs. TRISH ADORA
The second match of the night featured another of the women’s tournament quarterfinal matches and was set up in the pre-taped promos as Lariat vs. Lariat and pretty much babyface vs. babyface. From the outset as the wrestlers started out with technical grappling, the lack of an audience was very evident and was notable in its absence. Crowd noise would have helped a ton in the early going. Looking from a pure action in the ring angle, the early part of the match was good, but dull (I hate to keep harping on this, but a crowd would have made a huge difference). As the action picked up and the wrestling moved to more strikes and big moves after the break, the enjoyment level also increased. There was a lot of trash talking (mostly from Kay) that I enjoyed and Adora sold Kay’s strikes very well, bringing me into the story of the match. I would also note that the announce team really did a good job in selling the action. As the match started to crank up to its conclusion there were several credible near falls but some sloppiness with the ultimate ending of Adora fighting back from adversity to hit her finisher and get the win.
I must take some points away for the crowd-less induced slowness at the start and some sloppiness near the end, but overall, a pretty good match and a mild hit.
– ELI ISOM vs. DRAGON LEE
A World Television Championship match? Okay, you have my attention. Have to say that while most of the pre-taped, pre-match promos are generally good, Eli Isom needs some major acting lessons. He was way, way, way overacting and was really pretty bad. To add some extra jazz to the match, Dalton Castle, who is scheduled to fight Isom at the Death before Dishonor PPV in a couple of weeks, joined the announce team and was helpful in adding excitement to the match, in the absence of a crowd.
Starting things off, Dragon Lee has a good ring presence, especially dressed in his “championship” white. The match got going after a respectful handshake and after some initial test of strength and clean breaks, the match went into more fast-paced action and high-flying moves that Dragon Lee is very good at. Both wrestlers traded big moves, huge strikes and several near falls with Dragon Lee finally getting the win with a vicious looking knee strike. A fun touch at the end, with Isom sprawled out on the mat a ring attendant put two bright blue ice bags on Isom’s upper chest, I guess to counteract the knee strike. I don’t know, I just laughed. All in all, a fun match to watch the wrestlers had good chemistry. This was a mild hit as well. Come on ROH, get back the crowds and you can turn these mild hits into real hits.
– ANGELINA LOVE vs. MAX THE IMPALER (w/Amy Rose)
This week we got the second set of the Women’s Tournament Quarterfinal matches starting off with Angelina (surprisingly without Mandy Leon at ringside) vs. the “monster” Max the Impaler. This match started off on the downside for me because I feel the “Impaler” gimmick is really pretty silly and just sets up a size mismatch that hurts my immersion in the match. As the match progressed, Max no sold everything and just abused Angelina for several minutes. As I expected, they didn’t want Max moving on in the tournament and to get out of this, they had Max ignore the referees two attempts to force a break when Max had Angelina in a sleeper while wrapped in the ropes, resulting in Max getting disqualified. As a storyline to put forward an arm injury for Angelina and the destructive nature of Max, the match may have served its purpose, but as a wrestling match to enjoy on TV, this one fell short as there was no chemistry between these two and was just boring with the cheap finish. This one was a miss.