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ROH TV - 02.11.12

ROH TV 2-11-12

This week's Ring of Honor brings us a pair of matches that were built towards last week: "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards takes on Kyle "KO" O'Reilly and The Briscoes face The House of Truth, Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin, in a $5000 Challenge match.

Eddie and KO (no, not Kassius Ohno) start us off. KO wants to prove to Eddie that he's not just Davey Richard's lackey, while Eddie believes that KO told Richards that Eddie was training with Dan Severn (possibly the stupidest thing for two people to be fighting over in the last year of wrestling, in any promotion) in order to steal Eddie's spot as Davey's partner. This was one hell of a technical battle. Even though Eddie is basically the heel here, they worked the match as Eddie trying to gain the upper hand and KO having a reversal or an answer for him at every turn. When Eddie missed a kick on the outside and whacked his knee off the ring post in a sick fashion, KO capitalized with frequent knee strikes. Still, Eddie played the part of the heel, applying Davey's Ankle Lock (which drew Davey out to ringside) and laying into Kyle with Kobashi-style chops to the face. Seeing Eddie live, you gain some respect for his opponents, because that fucker chops HARD. They sound like gunshots. As for KO, the kid is in line to be one of the standout young stars in ROH. His offense is a mix of martial arts and Euro-type suplexes and throws, redolent of Bryan Danielson. He could stand to work on his promo skills but I wouldn't doubt that he'll be holding ROH gold soon.

An Ankle Lock applied by KO draws his Future Shock partner, Adam Cole, out to ringside. As I predicted last week, Cole is siding with Eddie in this issue. Kevin Kelly makes the point on commentary that Cole's jealousy of Davey & KO's teaming is "one of the worst kept secrets in the locker room." (As an aside, I don't read the spoilers on these shows, so if I make any predictions that come true, it's just dumb luck.) The finish saw Eddie reversing a small package for the pin, almost stealing one. This match made KO look like a million bucks, and even though Eddie won, he did so by a hair. That is how you go over someone and still make them look good. The post-match sees Eddie invite Cole to join him as part of a team, and they challenge Davey and KO to a tag match.

Steve Corino joins Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuiness at the announce table for the next match. Corino is apparently staying on with ROH but will be Kelly's broadcast partner on ROH DVDs. While there's no reason to replace Nigel (....unless he's getting back in the ring....) Corino should do a great job. ROH probably has the best announce team in wrestling right now, and that's not something you could have ever said about them during the Prazak and Leonard era. Corino should be good in this role as he's a really entertaining guy (check out any of his shoot interviews, or his podcast appearances. The guy is hilarious.), and at least we'll still get Nigel on the tv show.

Trivia question: What wrestler on the ROH roster has had the longest Tag Title reign in WWE? The answer is neither Charlie Haas nor Shelton Benjamin: it's Mike Mondo, formerly Mikey of the Spirit Squad. I've always said that I feel for the guys in the Squad, as they have WWE experience and yet they couldn't even reasonably book an indie show based on their name after leaving because they were so interchangeable. While everything seems to have worked out for Dolph Ziggler, Mikey isn't in such a great position. He's doing, basically, the Crash Holly "little guy who pretends he's big" gimmick. He's also got some really weird two-tone Max Headroom hair. Mondo faces Matt Taven, a rising indie star making his ROH debut here. I was looking forward to getting a look at Taven since I haven't seen him work yet, but this match started off as nothing but a slow paced headlock fest. They didn't seem to be giving it their all and it seemed strange; that is, until Kevin Steen made an appearance. Steen takes issue with the fact that he has to wait until next week to make his ROH TV debut. Steen singles out Taven for being a new guy, and tells him he's a "cutie pie, just like Jim loves!" He offers to shake hands with Taven, and then drops him with an F5, and one for Mondo. Apparently the F5 will be his replacement finisher for the Package Piledriver. It's a good move for Steen to do and someone has needed to bring it back as a finisher since Brock left. I was hoping he'd bring back the Steenalizer (a powerbomb-lift flipped into a suplex, almost) but I guess that's a little more risky than he'd like for such a high-profile spot. Corino attempts to get in the ring and stare down Steen but Nigel stops him.

Inside ROH has promos from WGTT, cornette, The Briscoes, and a short one hyping the TV title match between Jay Lethal and Tomasso Ciampa. Ciampa is joined by Prince Nana and RD Evans of The Embassy, Ltd. While Nana has been in ROH since the beginning, Evans is great as an acerbic Ed Helms type, and he needs to be on TV way more, certainly more than the inferior Truth Martini. Ciampa is great in the ring, but I'll talk more about that the next time we see him wrestle.

Our TV main event is The Briscoes against Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin of House of Truth. The mini-feud is based off HoT and The Briscoes blaming each other for losing the 8 man tag against Edwards, Generico, and WGTT at "Battle in the Carolinas". Each team is putting up $5000 as a side bet in this match. I don't know which is weirder: that these guys are fighting over splitting a sum that is relatively small in kayfabe terms, or the fact that none of the guys will be getting paid anywhere near $2500 to work this match. This match was nothing too special, kind of a loose brawl but with some of Roddy & the Briscoes trademark spots. Elgin has some impressive strength but he is still extremely green and is pretty seriously deficient of charisma. The Briscoes mostly just worked standard tag formula, with a lot of their high-flying moves not landing. Strong and Elgin are, apparently, going to be a more regular team, because they're putting together a lot of double team type moves that play off of the "big man/little man" dynamic. The finish has Truth Martini blinding Jay Briscoe with powder. Jay appeared to bail on Mark, wandering back through the curtain. Jay, however, came back with a baseball bat, and took out Strong and Elgin with it for the DQ. The Briscoes then stole the 5-grand checks, and celebrated as we went off the air. As much as The Briscoes were great as heels in their bloody feud with the All Night Express last year, "Dem Boys" just work better as scrappy babyfaces. They're too charismatic, too talented, and too straight-forward bad ass for ROH fans to ever really boo them. While a lot of ROH fans got behind ANX during that feud, it was mainly because ANX were the underdogs. At heart, The Briscoes are always going to be babyfaces in Ring of Honor.

Another exciting show for ROH, who seem to have found their footing with their TV shows after a few shaky months. The Edwards/O'Reilly match was an easy ****, and even a no-frills tag match still shows The Briscoes and Roderick Strong doing what they do best. Next week, we see the ROH TV in-ring debut of Kevin Steen, so that should be particularly exciting. Until then, remember: Don't take my word for it, go to and check it out for yourself.