ROH sent me free GA tickets this week, so I returned to the Arena after skipping out on the previous two sets of tapings. Also because Homicide was back.
Since my ticket was just General Admission, I took a seat in the bleachers, harking back to the days when ROH would run the National Guard Armory off of Roosevelt Boulevard. Seats are kind of a pain, but at least I’m a good distance away from rowdy kids and such. There were no pre-show matches, although one or two matches during the show could have served as crowd-only filler.
1. Jay & Mark Briscoe defeated Austin Aries & Rhett Titus after hitting Titus with the Doomsday Device. This will main event an episode, and it was a good hot start to the tapings. Very fun match.
- Kyle Durden introduced Christopher Daniels. It was hard to hear people speaking on the mic, at least from my seat. Durden broke the news of how Daniels will receive the first shot at new World Champion Roderick Strong on November 13th in the Toronto area. Daniels cut a promo of how much of a liar Strong is and how he’ll beat him again as he did on the previous set of tapings. Then Homicide came out and complained about not receiving a title shot. He felt it was because the beef he had with Jim Cornette, acknowledging the feud they had four years ago in ROH. He basically said he’ll get what he deserves, and told Daniels it’s nothing personal, just business.
2. Eddie Edwards defeated Necro Butcher (w/ Prince Nana & Mr. Ernesto Osiris) with a small package to retain the ROH World Television Title. Eddie was the huge babyface, and he made this match work. Necro tried using a chair early, but Nana and Ernesto stopped it so he wouldn’t get disqualified. A little later Nana and Ernesto took the ref’s attention as Necro gave Eddie a chair slam on the floor. Necro was about to do the second half of his shitty chokeslam/tiger driver combo when Eddie surprised him.
3. Davey Richards defeated Shawn Daivari (w/ Prince Nana & Mr. Ernesto Osiris) with the Texas Cloverleaf. Nana and Ernesto, in their second straight match as cornermen, came out in different clothes. To my surprise, this will be a TV main event. A little less so of a surprise, it was pretty competitive. Daivari certainly got the upper hand by cheating, but also was heavy on offense, which included a series of German suplexes. Davey was over huge.
- Jim Cornette came out and introduced Roderick Strong and Truth Martini. Cornette asked Strong for his thoughts on Davey Richards, his challenger at Final Battle. Strong said he was sick of Davey’s sob story and felt all of the focus should be on him and what he accomplished. Cornette asked what he thought about Martini interfering in his matches, but Strong didn’t believe him and asked why he’s not commended for his own merits. Truth himself said this was foolish, but Cornette had some tape he was willing to show. Truth looked worried and vehemently denied his involvement in Strong’s matches, and Strong believed him. That was that.
Neither of these interview segments were very over with the crowd.
4. Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze wrestled to a 10-minute draw. The Kings of Wrestling and Shane Hagadorn came out for Del Rey’s introduction, but then left her on her own for the match. I thought this was pretty good in that it didn’t feel like these two were wrestling to a draw. Also, no time cues, so Samoa Joe would approve.
5. The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli w/ Shane Hagadorn) defeated the Dark City Fight Club (Kory Chavis & Jon Davis) after Davis received an elbow to the back and an uppercut to the front in succession. This will be another TV main event, and I believe it was non-title. Very competitive, much stronger than the last time I had a TV match I believe.
6. Bobby Dempsey & Andy Ridge & Mike Sydal defeated Slyck Wagner Brown & Colby Godwin & Bobby Shields (w/ Agent Sly Stetson) when Dempsey pinned Godwin with a fall-away slam into a bridge. All of this actually happened. The finish was pretty impressive since Godwin is a big guy himself. This was no Chikara trios match, but it was still okay.
- Kyle Durden came out with an attractive young woman named Amy (I think), who carried a cardboard box with her. Durden promoted HDNet finally coming to Comcast in Philadelphia (doesn’t matter to me since I have Verizon), and then he and Amy threw t-shirts from the box into the crowd. People were insanely rabid to receive what appeared to be older t-shirts.
7. Colt Cabana defeated Erick Stevens (w/ Prince Nana & Mr. Ernesto Osiris) after reversing the Doctor Bomb into a rollup. Pretty good match, and Stevens has really trimmed up from the looks of it. Cabana earned a shot tomorrow at Eddie Edward’s TV Title by virtue of his victory.
8. Kevin Steen (w/ Steve Corino) defeated Grizzly Redwood with the package piledriver. Grizzly was finally wearing boots again to go with his new spandex jeans! Steen came to the ring holding the mask of El Generico he snatched at Glory By Honor IX, teasing the crowd with it and even working it like a hand puppet. Grizzly got a little bit of offense in after Steen missed the swanton bomb, but he was largely decimated, including getting dumped to the floor in a scary fashion. Steen put Generico’s mask on Grizzly just before giving him the package piledriver.
- Afterward, Steen gloated about the unmasking, then laid out the challenge for one more match with El Generico at Final Battle. If El Generico loses, he’ll have to remove his mask and reveal his face to the world. On the other hand, Steen said he’d leave ROH if he himself lost, as he wouldn’t be able to stand being in the same company with El Generico. So after Steen posed the challenge, El Generico came out on ramp with a towel covering his face. Either his mic wasn’t working or he opted for basic body language, but he removed his towel to reveal he was wearing a new all-black mask. Then he signified the match was on, so it’ll be Mask vs. Career at Final Battle.
9. Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly defeated Lance & Harlem Bravado after O’Reilly made Harlem tap to a guillotine choke. Good effort from all four men, especially by the team of new signees.
10. Homicide defeated Tony Kozina with an ace crusher. Decent stuff. It was easy to tell that the crowd was getting tired, but they still popped for finishes like this one. Kozina came flying at Homicide with an elbow toward the end, but Homicide avoided and overcame the tiny man above.
11. Roderick Strong (w/ Truth Martini) won the 8-Man Holiday Gauntlet. We didn’t see the eight names drawn from a Christmas stocking or anything, but we did see Amy come out with a giant novelty check! The winner would receive ten-thousand dollars, considerably less than TNA bounties in the past year or change. The Gauntlet began with Jay Briscoe vs. Steve Corino, ending when Jay avoided a lariat and scored the rollup. Corino kneed him in the gut in frustration afterward. Third entrant was Christopher Daniels, who allowed Jay to recover. They went at it for quite a while before Daniels beat Jay with the Angel’s Wings. Fourth entrant was Rhett Titus. It’s been over three hours at this point, and people in the crowd were getting tired and leaving. Daniels eliminated Titus with the Best Moonsault Ever, which people still popped for. Up next was Davey Richards, and this is where business (as in the match and crowd energy) picked up. Richards overcame the exhausted Daniels and finished him off with a buzzsaw kick to the head. Sixth entrant and Davey’s next opponent was Claudio Castagnoli, accompanied by Hagadorn and Del Rey. Very good stuff between these two, ending with Davey reversing the Ricola Bomb into a sunset flip for the pin. Claudio stuck around held onto Davey’s leg so that the seventh entrant, Chris Hero, could take advantage. Davey survived that and everything else that Hero threw at him, which was some very big stuff. Hero put on the golden elbow pad while Hagadorn distracted the ref, but Davey managed to duck it and pin Hero with a small package. Davey then went after Hagadorn, yanking him into the ring, allowing Hero to hit Davey from behind with the golden elbow in what was a pretty mistimed sequence. Then Strong ran out as the last entrant, looking to capitalize by going right for the pin, but he only scored a nearfall off of the golden elbow. The two of them went at it a bit more, but Strong sealed the deal after two running kicks. Cary Silken came out, signed the giant novelty check (dated December 20th), and made it out to Strong. Strong and Truth celebrated with the check and left to presumably cash it in at the giant novelty bank.
So that’s all. Pretty fun, but also pretty drawn out. I decided I won’t be going to the second day of tapings on Saturday afternoon. The likes of Chikara and Dragon Gate USA have spoiled me on crowds that, well, behave themselves and don’t have a bunch of kids running around, although considerably less trash was thrown into the ring. Plus this weekend poses much more interesting pursuits to me, including new Chikara DVDs and the Chris Jericho DVD on my “to-watch” shelf and The Social Network new to theaters. The next HDNet tapings will of course be in Louisville, KY at the Davis Arena in December, then return to Philadelphia in January.