1. Tonight’s opener accomplished what squashes are supposed to. Grizzly Redwood knows how to take a beating, and he made Kevin Steen’s power moves (F-5? Air Raid Crash?) look like death. Steen’s mannerisms were also on point, as they’ve been most of the year, and putting the Generico mask on Redwood before delivering the Package Piledriver was a nice touch. I just wish they’d had Corino on commentary.
2. The post-match promo to set up the Mask vs. Quit at Final Battle was pretty great, too. I thought Steen should have played up how he got the upper hand on Generico last time we saw them, and thus have been more “in control”, but I liked that he gave a believable reason as to why he offered to leave ROH if he can’t beat Generico. It’s a testament to these guys’ work that they’ve been feuding all year, and yet I am interested in one last match.
3. I’ve only seen Mike Bennett once, when he appeared on HDNet not long ago, but I recall thinking he had a really good look and didn’t look out of place in the ring. The fact that they’re giving his “debut” (as a regular) some hype shows they’re pretty high on the guy. He’s probably someone who would be a good candidate for a future Trial Series.
4. Roderick Strong actually had a pretty good dynamic with Jim Cornette, with Cornette trying to be the voice of reason, but Strong seeming downright brainwashed by Truth Martini. I thought they should have used Daniels’ recent victory over Strong to feed into Strong’s paranoia, but Truth Martini’s given reason as to why he doesn’t allow members of the HoT to watch film actually made sense, given his character.
5. Most people watching ROH are probably familiar with Homicide, but those who aren’t couldn’t have been impressed by what they saw tonight. It’s nothing that Homicide did wrong, but Tony Kozina just wasn’t the right guy to make him look good. Sure, Homicide got most of the offense, but it wasn’t really a “showcase”. And no Cop Killa?
6. I’m thrilled that Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin are booked for the December set of HDNet tapings in Louisville. I don’t know how frequently they’re planning on appearing, but hopefully this is the start of a post-Final Battle program with the Kings of Wrestling over the belts.
7. Hogwood seemed pretty off his game tonight, but his remarks regarding Austin Aries were particularly bad. According to Hog, Aries was “doing a pretty good job” of filling in as Rhett Titus’ partner, and seemed surprised that Aries was “pretty athletic”. Um, the guy is the only two-time champion in ROH history, Hog. He’s not retired, or dead.
8. I liked the Frog Splash version of the Powerplex that Aries and Titus pulled off. I wonder if Aries’ Frog Splash and Homicide’s attempt at the Triple Verticals earlier in the show were intended as Eddie Guerrero tributes, since the guys likely knew when this show would air, and the 5-year anniversary of Eddie’s death was a couple of days ago.
9. I really enjoyed tonight’s main event, even more so than last week’s. The Briscoes showed their usual solid teamwork and exciting offense, Titus continues to look like he belongs with ROH’s top talents, and Aries was, well Aries. I enjoyed the departure from the usual tag formula, with the teams trading the momentum in lieu of a long heat segment, and it made sense for the more experienced team to get the win.
10. For someone who doesn’t regularly follow ROH news, tonight’s show was useful in beginning to set up the Final Battle card. For those who do keep up, however, everything leading up to the main event was pretty forgettable. There was some good promo work, but the first two matches were skippable.
Tags: 10 Thoughts, Austin Aries, Davey Richards, Grizzly Redwood, Homicide, Jay Briscoe, Kevin Steen, Mark Briscoe, Rhett Titus, Ring of Honor, Roderick Strong, ROH, The Briscoes