10 Thoughts on ROH on HDNet 12.20.2010 feat. Roderick Strong, Davey Richards, and the Holiday Gauntlet

Reviews, Shows, TV Shows

Yes, a day late, I know, and I apologize. In my household, however, Dallas and Chicago sports teams take precedence over just about everything else. With the Mavericks playing the Miami Heat’s Unholy Trinity, and the Bears on Monday Night Football, well . . . but hey, unlike me, Kyle Sparks would never abandon you, and once again, he came through with a great recap.

Let’s have some thoughts!

1. Well-done Final Battle recap video that did a great job of recapping what happened in the three main matches. The Briscoes-KoW six-man looked like a very fun match. Steen vs. Generico looked like it was excellent, and Corino’s face post-match as he knelt over a knocked-out Steen captured the moment perfectly. As for the ROH World Title match . . . I haven’t heard anything about plans being changed because of Davey’s injury during the match. That being the case, the wrong man went over.

2. With Steen out of the picture (for the time being, at least), I wonder what is going to happen to Steve Corino. He was splendid as the “puppet master” during the Steen-Generico feud, and has been better in the ring than I anticipated. However, ROH already has enough guys to find time for, and I just don’t know if they’ll have any for him.

3. Prazak did some really good work in commentary tonight, with some nice trivia (pointing out that Jay Briscoe and Daniels were a part of ROH’s first-ever show), some nice follow-up (mentioning that Briscoe, while a tag team specialist, has been in some lengthy tag battles, so he does have the endurance for the Gauntlet) and highlighting the psychology of the action. 2010 was a good year for Prazak.

4. I liked Daniels mouthing “f***” once Rhett Titus’ music hit, after Daniels had put away Briscoe. I don’t know if the camera intended to catch it, but t’s a nice, subtle way for Daniels to show he is concerned about facing Titus, thus helping the guy be perceived as an actual threat. The match between the two, however, while decent, may have been the most non-descript of all the Gauntlet matches.

5. I had a hard time figuring out if ROH wanted us to treat this show as actually happening after Final Battle. It certainly sounded like they did, judging from some of Prazak’s and Hogewood’s comments. If that’s the case, however, they could have played up Davey Richards’ heroics even more by pointing out that he was in a war with Strong just 48 hours before. Since this was taped before, Davey couldn’t possibly have played up the head injury, but acknowledging it would have been nice.

6. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually missed having video packages and angle advancement stuff. The Gauntlet action was very entertaining and top-notch wrestling, but it’s really nice to have a break in the action here and there.

7. I’ve never seen a singles match between Davey and either one of the Kings of Wrestling (I know, sue me). I hope to remedy that soon. The matches between Davey and Claudio and Davey and Hero were great stuff – the best of the gauntlet, in my opinion. I want to see what these guys can do with 20 minutes – and sooner, rather than later.

8. Gauntlet matches can often be pretty disjointed, but the 8 guys here did a fantastic job of telling eight separate stories that all flowed together seamlessly. Each match built off the previous ones, the psychology (often lost in matches like this) was fantastic from start to finish (e.g. Briscoe hitting Corino’s hurt arm before the roll-up, Daniels working the midsection and going for multiple covers to wear down Briscoe), and the result was a very entertaining near hour of wrestling.

9. Not only did the right guy go over, but the story told was the right one. Roderick Strong looks both strong (no pun intended, I swear) and opportunistic in victory. More importantly, however, Davey looks like an animal, taking 3 out of 4 matches against some of ROH’s finest AND absorbing a loaded elbow pad shot before ultimately wearing out. Even the finish, with the Sick Kick seemingly coming out of nowhere, fit perfectly in the context of all the punishment Davey had taken.

10. It’s strange to not have any fall-out the first TV show after a huge iPPV, but at least they did some build-up for the future. Given Davey’s performance and the Gauntlet’s ultimate outcome, I have to believe that we haven’t seen the last of Strong vs. Richards. I have no problem with that, as I believe that to have anyone besides Richards take the belt from Strong would be a letdown. I just hope ROH doesn’t drag it out too long.