1. I don’t know why Cornette is referring to the World Title match at Final Battle as “polarizing” and “controversial”. The “champion’s advantage” is hardly a novel concept in professional wrestling. If Cornette didn’t want Aries to take advantage of it, he should have added a stipulation that Aries could have lost the title if he got disqualified or counted out. Otherwise, it was up to Black to beat him.
2. I think Tyler Black has gotten and blown his share of title shots and, objectively speaking, shouldn’t get another one – at least not now. However, Cornette granting him another one is consistent with his mission, as Executive Producer of ROH on HDNet, to “give the fans what they want,” as they’re still firmly behind Black. So from a kayfabe standpoint, it works.
3. I didn’t get Hogwood’s joke about “last time I’ve seen that was during the Monday Night Wars” joke when the lights went out during the Briscoes vs. Cheech and Cloudy match. Oh well, must not have been very funny.
4. The segment with the tag match and ensuing confrontation was extremely well-booked. Cheech and Cloudy looked great in a hard-fought loss at the hand of Briscoes, which is good because ROH needs to elevate a couple of teams to replenish its tag division. The Wolves coming out and claiming they want their rematch and the Dark City Fight Club then hitting the ring for a brawl, put together, established the importance of the ROH Tag Titles, and likely the Briscoes’ next two challengers. Everything that needed to be accomplished was accomplished, with no worthless filler.
5. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that I’m in the minority when it comes to Rasche Brown. I’m still not a fan, and thought he wouldn’t get over with the ROH fans, but he got a pretty good reaction this week (and some of my readers seem to be into him too). It’ll be interesting to see how it goes once they move him past the squash match stage.
6. OK, Kenny King, I get it. You’re young and brash. You don’t need to dance around after every single offensive maneuver to convey this to me. In fact, until you learn to get your character across more subtly, I’ll have a hard time completely buying into you.
7. Fun match between King and Generico – not at the level of most ROH on HDNet main events, but close enough. Plus, it told a nice story, with Generico’s head clearly not being into the match at first, but with picking up steam as it went along, only to ultimately fall. The TV Title race is probably perfect for these two right now.
8. At first glance, it seems honorable of Black to promise Strong a title shot should Black win at the 8th Anniversary Show. But upon further review, can’t it just as easily be viewed as a desperate attempt to sway Strong’s vote, and even a little heelish?
9. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the “three judges” stipulation for Final Battle, but after giving it some thought, I like it. It opens up a number of different possible finishes and adds a new twist, which was a must if they want us to take iinterest in another Aries vs. Black matchup. At this point, the only given seems to be King voting for Aries. Most will assume Cornette will vote for Black, but is it so far-fetched to think that his character would want to remain objective and unbiased, and actually vote for Aries if Aries outwrestled Black (which is also not far-fetched)? And Strong, having had battles with both men in the past, is no given to go one way or another at this point. Or they could go the Flair/Funk “I Quit” route and have a pinfall or submission finish, in which case the match doesn’t go to the judges at all.
10. Second straight very enjoyable show by ROH. Storyline progression took priority over the matches tonight, but that has to happen sometimes. All the angles were well-done and the matches were fun. Maybe WWE and TNA could learn a thing or two from tonight’s ROH offering about building storylines without insulting your fans’ intelligence.
Tags: 10 Thoughts, Austin Aries, cheech and cloudy, El Generico, Jim Cornette, Kenny King, Rasche Brown, Ring of Honor, ROH, The Briscoes, Tyler Black