10 Thoughts on ROH on HDNet – 12.28.2009

1. It’s very fitting that the “Best of 2009” show starts with a recap of the tag team division. I feel pretty confident saying ROH has the best tag division in North America. Maybe at one time TNA could have given it a run for its money, but not right now. And honestly, what other promotion can have its tag division carry a show without it sucking?

2. The Young Bucks have to be next in line for an ROH Tag Title reign. They really broke out this year, got crazy over with the ROH faithful, and (I know I’ve said this before) really give off that Hardy Boyz circa 1999-2000 vibe. With Steen turning on Generico and Davey Richards transitioning into singles stardom, the Bucks are get a run with the straps, if they don’t leave first (haven’t heard how the TNA tryout went). Plus, they can use their prior success against the Briscoes in order to stake a legitimate claim for a tag title shot.

3. Claudio Castagnoli has really been shining as of late. If they continue to build him up, he could be a good challenger for whichever face eventually takes the World Title from Austin Aries. And thanks to the Pick 6 Series, they don’t have to break their back trying to think of a way to get him said title match.

4. I didn’t care for Eddie Kingston much the first few times I saw him, and I still don’t love his in-ring work, but he’s definitely growing on me as a promo. He sounds like a real person when he speaks, as opposed to someone trying to remember his lines or deliver them in the most over-the-top manner possible. And that’s very refreshing.

5. Watching highlights of title matches from earlier in the year, it’s crazy to see how hot the crowd was for Tyler Black then, as opposed to now. The perfect time to pull the trigger would have been at Manhattan Mayhem in June (the triple threat with Aries and Lynn). If he floundered, they could’ve always had him drop to Aries.

6. With that said, they’re definitely still trying to do the hard-sell with Tyler Black. Prazak and Hogwood made sure to point out twice tonight what a great 2009 he’s had, and mention that his quest for the title will continue in 2010. I think the draw with Aries at Final Battle (in what, from what I’ve heard, wasn’t a very good match) was the last straw for a lot of fans. If they’re still hell-bent on putting the belt on Black, it’s going to take some rebuilding.

7. The realism that Bryan Danielson brings to his matches is very Chris Benoit-like. Like Benoit, Danielson’s moveset is fairly basic (strikes, mat wrestling, submission holds), but the crispness of his moves and the timing with which he pulls them off makes everything he does very believable.

8. I wish people (especially those who are supposed to know wrestling, like commentators) would stop calling the Rock Bottom, or variants thereof (e.g., Strong’s Rock Bottom into a backbreaker), a Uranage. A Uranage (a judo throw) is actually more of a back throw, and not a front slam. Grab either one of Eddie Guerrero’s DVD sets and watch his WCW stuff – that is a Uranage.

9. After Danielson’s HDNet farewell match with Strong, I complained that they didn’t air his farewell promo. I don’t know if their intention was always to hold it for the year-end recap show, but if it was, I can’t think of a better way to cap off 2009. And just like in all of the matches of the Final Countdown Tour, Danielson went out like a consummate professional, putting over everyone else in his last promo, instead of himself. His professionalism makes him virtually impossible to dislike if you’re a true wrestling fan.

10. 2010 should be an interesting year for ROH. With the lack of credible main event faces, we are bound to see a couple of guys get elevated and/or turned (God, let Chris Hero be one of them). With Steen and Generico having broken up, and the American Wolves likely to do so eventually, we should see some fresh faces elevated in the tag scene as well (but please, no comedy acts like The Set or Cheech & Cloudy). I’m excited to see what the new year will bring.

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