We kick off the show with our opening animation before heading inside the Philadelphia National Guard Armory, where Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness welcome us to this week’s episode of ROH TV. New World Champion Adam Cole will make his first TV appearance since winning the tournament and the gold, but first up is our opening match.
TaDarius Thomas vs. Mark Briscoe
Our opener is a pretty interesting match-up, and both KK and Nigel agree that Briscoe is the favorite based on his edge in experience. KK also runs through TD’s martial arts training and background, but the question remains whether or not it is more effective than redneck kung fu! The two trade a lot of kicks, blocks and counters early on as this is a fairly even match-up, to be honest. Briscoe lands the first big blow with a belly-to-belly that sends TD crashing into the turnbuckles at a very awkward angle. TD crumbles to the floor, where Briscoe meets him with a dive off the top. KK tells us that if anybody pins Cole in the big eight man war, they will earn a future title shot. And bringing it all together, he confirms that Jay Briscoe will be left on the outside looking in at the show. TD comes back and snaps off a half-nelson German suplex for a near fall. TD is really hanging in there with Briscoe, despite the crowd siding with Mark. Apparently Mark is too busy with the chickens for the “tweeter”. Or it could be the homophobic slurs? Either or. Briscoe makes his comeback and drops Froggy Bow for the victory. This was a nice opener and I love these types of TV matches, with an up and coming competitor and an established star going at it. Mark bows to TD instead of a handshake and then scampers off as we take a break.
Before heading to commercial, we hear from C&C Wrestle Factory, amped about their tag title match coming later tonight. They are interrupted by the great Champions, reDRagon, led by my boy Bobby Fish.
After break, we see clips of the tournament final and then head inside the armory, where the man himself makes his way to the ring. Cole is decked out to the nines and walking with a lot of swag and the gold wrapped around his waist. Cole talks about his experience climbing the ladder and all the advice he received about how to smile and gladhand, but he is done with all that. He is no longer happy just being there, because he wanted to be a champion. He had to do things he had never done in order to get things he has always wanted. He explains why he attacked Jay Briscoe after the former champ handed his title over, but Cole felt like Briscoe was taking over his moment and deserved even more than just a kick to the head. Briscoe was able to celebrate with his whole family in NYC when he defeated Kevin Steen, but then tried to rain on Cole’s parade. He turns his attention to Michael Elgin, who he claims is ROH’s desired poster boy. He barely finishes that sentence before Elgin makes his way out to the ring. As he hits the ring, Cole bails but he is met in the aisle by an emerging Jay Briscoe. Cole ducks back into the ring but ducks an Elgin right hand. However, as he slid out, he dropped his title, which is grabbed by Elgin. Briscoe gets in the ring and now he and Elgin are arguing over the gold. Officials break things up as we hit a break.
Michael Bennett & Maria Kanellis vs. Brutal Burgers
Oh yes, howdy doody Ms. Kanellis. Maria and Bennett climb into the ring as Prince Nana joins KK on commentary. Nana is here to help manage the talent, and wants to scout this new team…well, kind of new. The team is comprised of our old pal, Bob Evans and ring boy Cheeseburger. These two were tortured and assaulted by Bennett & Kanellis back in the summer, but they are looking for some revenge now. Looks like Brutal Bob has slimmed down a bit since his singles battle with Bennett. After some posturing, Maria and Cheeseburger start things off with some comedy spots, including Maria shrugging off some charging Cheeseburger shoulderblocks. Bennett eventually clubs Burger to gain control for the team. After a couple minutes of abuse, Burger is able to tag in Evans, who slugs away on Bennett with quite a bit of anger. Evans drops Bennett with a powerbomb but eats a right hand on a charge. Burger gets back involved, and Evans ends up using him as a battering ram to wipe Bennett and Maria out. Evans covers after a stunner, but Maria breaks up the pin. Burger tags himself in, but Bennett avoids his leap off the top and the crunches him with a spear. Bennett takes out Evans and hits the Box Office Smash on Burger for the win. Nothing special here, just a mix of comedy spots and a dose of closure as this feud should finally be over. Bennett needs to get into a program with a quality wrestler that fans can really care about. Then we will finally see if this guy has what it takes to hang.
After the match, Bennett cuts a promo on how he injured BJ Whitmer and the ensuing fallout from that. He also puts over how devestating his piledriver is, but before he can decimate Burger, Kevin Steen saunters down to the ring, distracting Bennett long enough for Evans to pull Burger to safety. Steen is OK with Bennett trying to end careers, but he has issue with Bennett bragging about his piledriver. Steen claims that Bennett was backstage crying like a bitch after he injured Whitmer, leading to Maria smacking him. The two start to brawl but it is broken up as we hit commercial. It was almost like they read my mind. A feud with Steen is exactly what Bennett needs to really elevate himself.
When we return, we get a brief video package of all the upheaval in the tag team division. The package kicks off with Nigel discussing the emphasis that will be placed on the tag division, followed by clips of all the title changes: Forever Hooliganz knocking off reDRagon, the American Wolves beating the Hooligans and reDRagon regaining the gold from the Wolves. Back in the armory, KK talks about how unstable the tag straps have been. As Nana speaks, we are joined by the man, Steve Corino. Corino just sits down and is convinced this is supposed to be a three-man crew, but KK explains to him that this needs to stop. Corino agrees and takes off his headset, but then grabs a mic and slides into the ring. He is pissed about having been starved out since SCUM lost, but he has a valid contract that he signed back at Border Wars which lists him as the permanent color commentator of ROH. Nigel is back out but Corino gets right in his face and demands the money and respect he is owed as a legend. Corino asks Nigel to do what is right and then walks off. Corino just ignoring that SCUM ever even happened is pretty awesome. Give the man his damn job!
reDRagon vs. Forever Hooligans vs. C&C Wrestle Factory
It is main event time here, and this should be a very good contest between three very athletic teams. The straps have been hot potatoed a bit, but Fish & O’Reilly are back on top of the mountain. KK tells us that Ricky Marvin makes his ROH debut in a match against Davey Richards. Fish and Kozlov start things off, but Fish demands Romero instead. Kozlov grants his wish, but Fish promptly tags out to Alexander to finally get things rolling. C&C dominate the early going, using a double team to keep Romero on the mat. Things finally ebb when Fish tags in and levels CC with a clothesline. CC recovers and tags in CA, who comes off the top with a big clothesline. Things break down a bit as KK and Nana discuss Outlaw, Inc. CA heads up top, but Fish meets him there. CA slugs him down to the mat and C&C hit a double team for a near fall. Things spill to the floor, where CA cracks Kozlov with a somersault senton to take us to our final break of the night. When we return, Romeo is working over Fish in the ring. The champs finally gain control and quick tag as they beat down Romero. KK talks about the upcoming PPV and the huge eight man with heavy stakes on the line. The double teams continue as the champs hit a decapitation device for a near fall. Good point by KK, stating how FH are the only team to have really proven to have RD’s number in the ring. Kozlov tags in and puts his hat on as he cracks O’Reilly with this awesome Russian dance kicks. The match breaks down again as C&C gets dumped to the floor, leaving the champs to work over Kozlov and nearly win the match in the process. CC finally gets back in the ring and snaps Fish down by the head. All six men are brawling in the ring with the Hooligans hitting their double team top rope knee to the face. They follow with a double team knee battering ram barrage, but O’Reilly shrugs it off and snaps Kozlov down with a DDT. The champs take advantage and hit Chasing the Dragon for the win. That was fun, but definitely a bit choppy, never really finding that flow. C&C is screwed again, still not getting their clean one-on-one shot at the gold.
The celebration quickly ends as Outlaw, Inc hits the ring and tries to break Fish’s fingers, but O’Reilly is able to save him just in time. The champs sit on the floor, staring the madness in the face as we fade out.
Another good week of TV as far as angle development, but this week’s was a bit slower in ring. I know ROH has Bennett pegged as a top tier star, but he still needs that signature feud and match to get himself there. The Steen rivalry could be the one to get it done. I also like the intrigue surrounding the World title, with three top contenders all laying legit claim to the gold. Next week’s slate looks juicy, so we should get back on track when it comes to wrestling. So, until then, be sure to take care and always respect the code!