News for DirecTV customers: Sinclair is negotiating a new contract with DirecTV, and if it doesn’t work out all Sinclair stations will be pulled from the carrier on March 1st. This pisses me off more over the fact that I may lose my Fox affiliate than it does over losing ROH TV (which I can still watch on ROH.com, albeit 5 days later), especially with the first third of the NASCAR season being shown of Fox. In other news, ROH has signed ACH to a contract. Unfortunately, their first program for him is teaming him with TaDarius Thomas. Ugh…
Kevin Steen is out to try and officially turn, cutting a pretty intense face promo and sort of apologizing to the fans for being a dick. Basically he wanted to kill ROH because of Jim Cornette, but with Cornette gone he really has no reason to be pissed off anymore. He also informs us that he’s giving Jay Lethal the title shot as a reward for getting rid of Cornette. Usual good mic work from Steen here.
We see a pretty well done video package hyping the Top Prospect Tournament final. Matt Taven looks more like a guy you’d see in the X-Games than he does a wrestler when you see him in street clothes.
Top Prospect Tournament Final: Matt Taven vs. TaDarius Thomas: Truth Martini is absent from commentary, automatically making this match better than all the previous tourney matches. Winner of this gets a shot at the TV title against Adam Cole (who wasn’t even at this taping thanks to attending the WWE tryout camp) at the PPV on Saturday. Chain wrestling to start, Taven hits a dropkick to send Thomas down. He tries a soccer kick that misses, Thomas is back up with capoeira kicks that actually look pretty decent for 2. Taven ducks another kick and goes up top for a twisting bodypress that Thomas rolls through for 2. Thomas grabs a headlock, Taven fight free and hits a spinning wheel kick for 2. Thomas hits a couple armdrags and a dropkick as Martini shows up at ringside. Taven comes back with punches, Thomas is selling the ribs so Taven works the midsection in the corner. Backbreaker into a gutbuster gets 2 for Taven. Taven hits a stalling vertical suplex, kips up, and hits a twisting springboard somersault legdrop that makes contact with nothing but Thomas’ head. Ouch… It gets 2, at any rate. Thomas gets a sunset flip out of the corner for 2, La Magistral for 2, but he eats an enziguri. Irish whip by Taven is reversed, and as he comes off the ropes Martini grabs his foot. Thomas hits the distracted Taven with a legsweep, a running elbow and a kick to the face gets 2. Hangman’s clothesline by Thomas for 2, Dragon suplex only gets 2 this time. Taven reverses a suplex attempt but accidentally takes out the ref with a kick to the head. Now Martini tosses one his boots in to Thomas, but he throws it down because he’s a face, and in this promotion faces don’t act all heelish. Taven grabs it but swings and misses, both guys go into the ropes where Willie Wanker nails Thomas with the Book of Truth and Taven pins him at 8:27. Shockingly good match with pretty decent heat. ***, easily Thomas’ best match so far, as all the kicks looked nice and crisp and he’s starting to work non-kicking stuff into his moveset. After some initial reluctance Taven shakes hands with Martini.
Inside ROH: Just PPV hype. Quick promos from Charlie Hass, Coleman & Alexander, The American Wolves, Fish (who’s dressed like an accountant) & O’Reilly, Michael Elgin, and Jay Lethal.
Jay Lethal is out for a promo. He thinks Kevin Steen is full of shit, and he’s walking out of the PPV with the title. Daniel Bryan gets a good pop when Lethal name-drops him.
Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish (still dressed like he works at a bank or something), and Kyle O’Reilly are in the back with Veda Scott to cut a crappy promo.
Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, and Michael Elgin: Standard 6-man rules. They said last week that the Briscoes/WGTT match would be this week, but they also said last week that the PPV was this weekend, so who knows… Speaking of the Briscoes, they join us for commentary and are pretty much incoherent, or maybe I just don’t understand the hick language. The face team attacks to start and all 6 guys brawl out to the floor and we go to commercial about 30 seconds in.
Back from break and Fish is alone in the ring with the 3 faces, and he takes a powerslam from Elgin for 2. Delayed vertical suplex by Elgin, O’Reilly and Strong try to get back in the ring but the Wolves send them right back outside. Elgin finally gets 2 off the suplex after holding him upside-down for nearly a full minute. Richards in now, Fish reverses an Irish whip and Richards gets nailed from behind by O’Reilly and the heels take over. Strong chops away in the corner, both guys throw some weak-ass forearms before Strong hits a dropkick for 2. Fish in now with a senton for 2 and he kicks away. Now Strong tries the minute-long vertical suplex, but can only hold him up for about 10 seconds before Richards reverses it into a cradle. Another dropkick sends him right back down and the heels continue to beat down Richards in their corner with lots of quick tags. O’Reilly hits a spectacularly fucked-up Dragon Screw just before we go to another commercial (one of the Briscoes: “Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear”).
We return with Richards making the comeback, and getting the hot tag to Edwards off an incredibly stupid spot that ends with Fish DDTing O’Reilly. Edwards hits Fish and O’Reilly with a kick from the top and chops away on Fish, who reverses a whip but runs into a boot on a blind charge. Shining Wizard gets 2 for Edwards, Fish comes back with a Michinoku driver. Strong in now and he tries for the Stronghold, Edwards gets free and goes for the Achilles lock, Strong gets out of that and we have a chop battle. Elgin tags in as Fish and O’Reilly get dumped to the floor and the Wolves hit them with dives trough the ropes. That leaves Elgin and Strong in the ring and Elgin just beats the piss out of him. Black Hole Slam gets 2. He goes for a powerbomb but here’s O’Reilly with a sleeper to break it up. Elgin German suplexes Fish while O’Reilly is still on his back in a pretty impressive spot. Richards and Edwards both hit double stomps off the top on Strong, but they get dumped and it’s now 3 on 1 on Elgin. Strong hits the double knee gutbuster and Fish & O’Reilly hit Total Elimination, Edwards makes the save. Everyone but Elgin and Strong end up on the floor again, Strong hits 2 jumping knees and the Sick Kick for 2, a suplex into a double knee backbreaker finishes for Strong at 14:49 aired. A couple fucked up and/or stupid spots keep this from being great, but it was still really good. ***1/2
Easily the best show of 2013 so far. Next week: I don’t know, they didn’t bother to tell us. If there’s no review next weekend than the Sinclair stations have indeed been pulled from DirecTV, so it won’t be up until the following Thursday or Friday. Remember, if you lose your Sinclair stations (or don’t get any to begin with) you can just go to ROH.com and sign up for a free account, and ROH TV will be shown on the website the Thursday after it airs on TV.