1. Kudos to Delirious for his selling tonight. He sold the leg consistently, and his slow climb of the top turnbuckle (due to the leg) allowed Dutt to shove him to the outside, thus hurting his back, which he then also sold well. Delirious’ effort carried a pretty decent match between him and Dutt.
2. Dutt’s effort, on the other hand, was spotty. He completely lost interest in selling the arm once he went on the offensive. Hopefully this ends the feud. Delirious has won most of the matches, and Daizee Haze got her revenge on Dutt by costing him the match tonight. Both men need to move on to something different, and hopefully “different” will be “better” for Dutt, who has yet to hit his stride since returning to ROH.
3. Great promo from Austin Aries immediately following his Final Battle draw with Black. Aries really showed his range here, shelving his usual smug demeanor for a more intense delivery and telling all of his coming challengers to bring it. I’ve said it before, but I can’t praise the job he’s done with the belt enough.
4. A couple of interesting stories at play in the Briscoe vs. Briscoe match. The first one was their relationship as brothers. A different opponent would have certainly targeted Mark’s knee . . . and Jay would have likely done so, had his opponent been anyone else. The second, as commendably pointed out by Hogwood, was their relationship as Tag Team champions, which left open the possibility that both guys would wrestle a different style so as to not risk injuring his opponent, thus causing them to be stripped of the titles.
5. I don’t know what purpose the countout/restart served to the Briscoes match, other than allowing Cornette to show everyone that he and ROH are all about “pro wrestling”. It certainly had me momentarily concerned that they were going to deliver a non-finish to what was a tremendously fun match, but fortunately, they carried on.
6. Hard to come up with a thought on a 4-move squash like the one Erick Stevens delivered tonight, but it served its purpose – to introduce him into the Embassy with a bang. I like the crispness with which Stevens hits his power moves.
7. Black’s post-match promo at Final Battle was also good, and a lot better than his usual mic work. He managed to come across as intense without being either awkward or contrived, which he tends to be guilty of. Even if he never becomes a great promo, maybe he can improve to the point that he is functional, a la AJ Styles.
8. I was a little surprised to hear the “we want Tyler” chants during portions of the main event where Colt Cabana was in the ring. Some may be (justifiably) growing weary of Black, but it’s definitely to his credit that he has managed to stay as over as he is despite how poorly he has been booked.
9. Great main event. Cabana kept the comedy to a minimum – very appropriate, given the moment, and perhaps his consternation over the Steen/Generico situation. And Kenny King, the ony guy of the four who hasn’t been hailed as a World Title contender before, looked like he belonged out there with the other three. King has really stepped up his game as of late, and guys like him are the reason ROH should consider a secondary belt, such as a “TV Title”. Black pinning Aries would have helped justify Black getting another title shot, but at least the right team went over.
10. Tonight’s episode was the best since Jim Cornette’s TV debut, and the best hour of wrestling I’ve watched in the last two weeks. The main event and Briscoe vs. Briscoe were both tremendous. The opener was entertaining enough, and the Stevens squash made for good angle advancement. Thank you, ROH!
Tags: 10 Thoughts, Austin Aries, colt cabana, Delirious, Erick Stevens!, Jay Briscoe, Kenny King, Mark Briscoe, Ring of Honor, ROH, Sonjay Dutt, Tyler Black