The show began with a video package highlighting the Edwards-O’Reilly match and post-match activities last week.
McGuinness and Kelly introduced the show in the ring. Kelly and McGuinness discussed Richards & O’Reilly vs. Cole & Edwards in the main event of the March 4 iPPV event in Manhattan. McGuinness said the theme of the match was Young Wolves Rising. Kelly said Benjamin was still suspended for not paying his fine for hitting Mark Briscoe with a chairshot, so they were working on a new main event for tonight.
WGTT’s music played and Charlie Haas came down to the ring. Haas said Mark Briscoe ran into the steel chair that Benjamin had because he’s a moron. Haas said he wasn’t going to deny ROH fans watching the greatest wrestler in ROH. Haas challenged one of the Briscoes to face him in a match. Haas said he is that damn good.
The Briscoes music hit and they came down to the ring. Jay got on the mic and the crowd chanted Man up. Jay said the way he sees it there’s nothing between them but air and opportunity. Haas said he couldn’t decide which Briscoe he wanted. Cornette came down to the ring and told him to make a match. Haas said give me the dumb one or the other one. Haas said he wanted to face Mark, but he wanted Jay handcuffed to the ringpost because he doesn’t trust him. Jay said that’s fine because Mark will whip his a--.
Cornette asked Briscoes if they wanted the match. They said yes and Cornette said the main event would be Haas vs. Mark Briscoe with Jay Briscoe handcuffed to the ringpost. Kelly said Steen’s in-ring debut would be up next.
Radican’s thoughts: The picture is much sharper than it has ever been with the new cameras ROH used with the last set of tapings. This was a fantastic segment to open the show with Haas delivering his lines better than he ever has before. The Briscoes were also good here stepping up to Haas’s challenge and agreeing to the match after Cornette came to ringside.
(Commercial break) – Kelly hyped the March 4 iPPV. He brought in Edwards & Cole to talk about their match against Richards & O’Reilly. Cole said he thought he’d be in the main event with his former partner O’Reilly. He finished by saying the best team would win in NYC.
Steve Corino joined Kelly and McGuinness at ringside. Kelly hyped Kevin Steen’s in-ring debut on television. Corino said he’s here because he’s a Kevin Steen expert. They showed a video package from last week with Steen interrupting the Mondo vs. Taven match.
Andy Ridge came out to first to take on Kevin Steen. They darkened the arena before lights flashed near the entrance before Steen made his way down to the ring to a good ovation from the fans. Kelly ran down the Tale of the Tape noting Steen’s weight advantage. Corino said Steen is smart and crazy at the same time.
1 - - KEVIN STEEN vs. ANDY RIDGE
Steen shook hands and then took down Ridge right away. The action spilled to the outside and Steen suplexed Ridge into the guardrail. Ridge tried to fire back as the commentators put over Steen’s insane character. McGuinness even took about facing Steen for the ROH World Title with Steen taking him to the limit. McGuinness said Steen was even more dangerous now then he was when McGuinness faced him. Ridge tried to fire back, but he couldn’t take Steen down. He tied up Steen in the corner and nailed him with a running boot. Ridge went for a springboard, but Steen shoved him to the outside and then powerbombed him on the apron. Steen ended up hitting the F6 on Ridge for the pin.
After the match, Steen set up Ridge for the piledriver, but the ref stopped him. Steen got rid of the ref, but Corino got into the ring and confronted Steen. Jimmy Jacobs then ran out and speared Steen. They then began exchanging blows before several officials ran out to break them apart. The crowd wanted the officials to let Steen and Jacobs fight.
Jacobs got on the mic and said Steen’s piledriver wasn’t going to keep him down. Jacobs said he’s been beaten up and bled more times than he can count, but he has never stopped fighting. Steen mocked Jacobs on the outside. Jacobs said he wanted a match between the two most evil men in the history of ROH and challenged Steen to a match.
Winner: Kevin Steen – This was another effective segment on the show with the announcers all putting over Steen’s character. Steen’s offense looked devastating thanks to Ridge. The post-match activity did a good job of introducing Jacobs back to the television audience and setting up a potential match between them in the near future.
(Commercial break) – One of the commercials aired was for “Battle of the Carolinas.” (Radican note: I’ve started watching this two show set and the first leg of the Carolina tour is very enjoyable so far. Cornette is great on commentary with Kelly.)
Veda Scott interviewed Richards & O’Reilly backstage about their match against Edwards & Cole at the next iPPV on March 4. Richards said he didn’t see friends, but opponents for their match on March 4. Richards said don’t expecting loyalty from Eddie Edwards. Richards said don’t expect mercy from Team Ambition. O’Reilly then addressed Cole and said he’d picked the wrong wolf to side with.
Radican’s thoughts: This didn’t do much to excite me about the main event at the March 4 iPPV. Richards and O’Reilly just aren’t suited to deliver the promos needed to get this match over as an emotional issue between all four men involved.
Matt Taven & Mike Mondo came down to the ring for their first match as a tag team. Their theme is called “Just the Tip.” What a great choice for a theme song title. Adam Cole & Eddie Edwards then came out for their first match together as a tag team. The crowd chanted for Edwards before all four men shook hands.
2 - - MIKE MONDO & MATT TAVEN vs. EDDIE EDWARDS & ADAM COLE
Cole and Taven went back and forth until Cole caught Taven with a dropkick. Mondo tagged himself into the match and yelled at Taven. Mondo took Cole down and shouted at Taven. Mondo knocked Edwards off the apron and posed for Taven. Cole fired back and Edwards nailed him with a kick from the apron. Edwards and Cole then nailed Mondo with tandem dropkicks in the corner. Mondo tagged out, but Taven ran right into a chop from Edwards. Edwards lit up Taven with a series of chops in the corner and the crowd applauded. Edwards went for a springboard moonsault, but Taven got out of the way.
Mondo tagged himself back into the match and put the boots to Edwards before doing some pushups. Mondo grounded Edwards and grabbed a chinlock. The crowd rallied behind Edwards, who nailed Mondo with a big chop. Edwards then hit a code breaker off the second rope on Mondo. Taven tagged into the match, but Edwards took him down with a hurricanrana and tagged in Cole, who ran wild. Cole hit a nice cross body off the top on Taven for a 2 count. Cole knocked Mondo off the apron and hit a neckbreaker on Taven for a 2 count. Taven accidentally ran into Mondo. Cole then hit a German suplex on Taven for the win.
Taven shook hands with Cole and Edwards after the match. Mondo pouted in the corner and refused to shake hands. Cole and Edwards went backstage. Mondo then began jawing with Taven. They began exchanging blows. Mondo eventually took Taven down with a double arm DDT.
Winners: Eddie Edwards & Adam Cole – Cole and Edwards showed some good teamwork, but a lot of the story of the match was about Mondo and Taven not getting along. There was some solid development of Cole here showcasing a new German suplex with a bridge finisher on Taven, but it was laughable that Kelly didn’t know what to call the move.
Kelly hyped Inside ROH after the commercial break.
(Commercial break) – An ad for the “Final Battle 2011” DVD release aired. ROH also aired the ROH Fund Raiser commercial offering to bring ROH to local schools in exchange for a cut of the profits.
Kelly introduced the Inside ROH segment. First, Kelly focused on the Briscoes vs. House of Truth match with each team putting up a $5,000 side bet. Kelly said the Briscoes took the checks, but Martini put a stop payment on their portion of the bet. Martini was shown backstage. He said the Briscoes were upset he put a stop payment on the checks. Martini said they had won the match by DQ, so he put a stop payment on the check. Strong said if the Briscoes wanted their check they could call 1-800-b--- me. (Radican note: That’s not even seven digits!) Strong told the Briscoes to quit their complaining.
Kelly said the Briscoes had to defend their titles against the Young Bucks next on the March 4 iPPV. The Young Bucks cut a promo backstage. Matt and Nick made fun of the Briscoes. Matt said it’s all about the Young Bucks. Matt promised to buy Mark some new teeth and superkick them down his throat. Kelly ran down the rest of the announced card so far for ROH’s March 4 iPPV. They showed new graphics for each match with a “10th Anniversary Show” logo.
Lethal was shown cutting a promo for his match against ROH World Champion Davey Richards next week. Lethal said he wanted to be the first person to win the ROH World Title on television. Lethal then talked about his match with Ciampa at the March 4 iPPV. Lethal said he’d put up the ROH World Title against Ciampa if he beat Richards. Lethal said Ciampa was going to lose his undefeated streak in NYC.
Embassy Limited was shown cutting a promo backstage. R.D. Evans said dividends were being paid to the investors by Ciampa. Ciampa said he was going to strip Lethal of his confidence and take his title on March 4. Ciampa said he would bring the title home to Embassy Limited.
Kelly then shifted to the “Showdown in the Sun” iPPVs on March 30 and March 31 on iPPV. Kelly said next week they would announce the first matches for the “Showdown in the Sun” iPPVs.
Radican’s thoughts: A mixed bag for Inside ROH this week. Strong was funny discussing how the Briscoes could collect their $5,000 after Martini put a stop payment on the check, but it seems like the Briscoes have already turned the page and are focused on the Young Bucks. The Young Bucks then cut a promo and didn’t do much to build up their match against the Briscoes. The philosophy of having Matt and Nick make fun of the Briscoes is flawed when it didn’t do anything to make their match seem more exciting. It seems many wrestlers are more concerned about cutting down their opponents than building them up.
Lethal and Ciampa both did a very good job building up their match at the iPPV. Ciampa is improving on the mic and seems more poised with his delivery than in the past. Lethal gets better and better each time he’s allowed to cut a serious promo.
(Commercial break) – Kevin Kelly was shown hyping the “Showdown in the Sun” iPPVs. Kelly announced that Mike Bennett would face Lance Storm on March 30. Bennett and Maria came into the picture. Bennett said Storm was old enough to be his grandfather. He dared Lance to come to Florida and shut his mouth. He told Storm to keep his eyes off Maria. Maria then said she knows Lance and all he does is stare at her like a pervert. (Radican note: What the heck are they doing announcing this match during a commercial break segment after they just said on TV that matches for the WrestleMania weekend show would be talked about next week?)
Charlie Haas came out first for the main event. Haas held up a pair of handcuffs for the camera. The Briscoes then came out to a big ovation. Bobby Cruise did the formal introductions for the main event. Haas drew some boos from the crowd when he was introduced. Mark got a nice ovation from the crowd when he was introduced. The crowd then began chanting man up. The referee handcuffed Jay to the ringpost on the outside before the match.
Kelly ran down the Tale of the Tape prior to the match. Kelly said both men were experienced, but Haas had a weight advantage on Mark.
3 - - MARK BRISCOE vs. CHARLIE HAAS – Jay Briscoe handcuffed to the ringpost
The ref called for the Code of Honor to be followed, but Haas swung at Mark. They brawled around the ring before Mark took Haas down with a shoulder tackle. Haas rolled to the outside and Mark nailed Haas with a splash over the top to the outside. Mark went up top a short time later, but Haas cut him off. Kelly confirmed that Steen vs. Jacobs would take place on March 4 on iPPV. Haas continued to dominate the action as he whipped Mark into the corner and the impact took him off his feet. Haas hit a double arm suplex for a 2 count. He then grabbed a bear hug on the mat. The crowd tried to rally behind Mark, who fired back with a punch. Kelly hyped the Richards-Lethal match for next week.
Mark went for a springboard, but landed on Haas’s knee. The action spilled outside and Haas tossed Mark into the barricade. Haas taunted Jay after tossing Mark back into the ring. Mark fired back and nailed Haas with a kick. The crowd clapped as Mark fired up with some redneck kung fu on Haas. Mark hit a big running dropkick and Haas went crashing into the turnbuckles for a 2 count. Mark hit a big suplex as the crowd applauded. He went up top slowly, but connected with the froggy-bo. Mark covered Haas, but he kicked out at the last second. Mark conferred with Jay in the corner as both men were slow to get to their feet. Haas ducked a charge in the corner and hit a belly-to-belly suplex. Mark countered an Olympic slam attempt and rolled up Haas for the pin.
After the match, Haas hit an Olympic slam on Mark. Haas took the key to the cuffs from the refs and hit another Olympic slam on Mark. Haas got a chair and taunted Jay, who had gotten into the ring. Haas then connected with a protected chairshot on Mark. Haas went and took money out of an envelope and paid fines for himself and Benjamin. Haas said he had been playing with management all week. Haas said as far as he was concerned, the Briscoes were both dead. Kelly counted the cash with McGuinness at ringside. They said this was a pre-meditated attack from Haas. Kelly hyped the Richards-Lethal main event for next week to close the show.
Overall thoughts: (7.0) – This was an enjoyable show. I liked how the show was bookended with the ongoing issue between WGTT and The Briscoes. The end of the show when Haas paid fines for himself and Benjamin after hitting Mark Briscoe with a chairshot while Jay was handcuffed to the ringpost was a clever wrinkle that helped establish Haas as a cunning heel looking to take advantage of the Briscoes. The part of the angle that doesn’t work is using chairshots to the head to get heel heat on Haas & Benjamin. There are so many other ways Haas & Benjamin could attack the Briscoes and be much more effective. There’s not a casual or hardcore audience out there to justify using chairshots to the head to further the angle given that they introduce an uncomfortable element to the show that isn’t necessary.
ROH is building three iPPVs as well as episodic television and they seem to be pulled in a lot of different directions. It would be better for television purposes if wrestlers like the Briscoes, Richards, and Lethal were focused on one adversary instead of multiple adversaries at the same time. The Briscoes are especially being spread thin feuding with the Young Bucks, House of Truth, and WGTT at the same time.
The most effective segment of the show was Kevin Steen’s match against Andy Ridge. Ridge made Steen look good and the commentary was excellent during this match with Kelly, Steen, and Corino narrating the progressions of Steen’s character. I particularly liked McGuinness talking about being in the ring with Steen and comparing the Steen he faced as ROH World Champion with the madman Steen is being presented as now. Jacobs’s post-match save of Ridge was well-done, but once again, ROH crammed in a confirmation of a Steen-Jacobs match during the main event when it would have been easier to confirm it right after Jacobs confronted Steen in the ring.
Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Davey Richards, and Eddie Edwards just don’t have the ability to carry the type of emotional feud they’ve been booked in. Richards & O’Reilly’s backstage segment did nothing to make me want to see them face Cole & Edwards in the ring. It was fun to see Cole & Edwards team together for the first time, but the match was overbooked as they went against another debuting tag team in Taven & Mondo that couldn’t get along. Cole debut a new finisher, but his version of the German suplex with a bridge wasn’t anything spectacular compared to other German suplexes I’ve seen in the past. If creative is going to debut a new and dangerous move from Cole, it should be something unique that stands out as opposed to a common move that is kicked out of frequently in wrestling.
The show was enjoyable, but ROH seems to be pulled in a lot of different directions now hyping three iPPVs that will take place in March. The Bennett-Storm match announced should have been spotlighted on the show instead of thrown into one of their generic commercial break segments where they hype iPPVs. Who knows how many fans have been conditioned to ignore those segments. It might have been a better idea to put off experimenting with lower-priced iPPVs until after WrestleMania weekend given what I saw on this show.
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