This week’s reason: National Championship Game. Nuff said. That, however, is no excuse for you to not read Kyle Sparks’ great review of this week’s show. Now, let’s have some thoughts!
1. Pretty ho-hum debut for Mike Bennett. They did make him look dominant, not in the sense that he beat the crap out of Nick Dinsmore, but more in the sense that he was clearly the superior wrestler and was never really threatened in the match. He obviously has a great look, but ROH will have to provide a better representation of what he can do in the ring – and soon, given the hype leading up to his debut.
2. It was nice to see Nick Dinsmore out there. He didn’t look fantastic or anything, but he’s obviously a guy who’s had a fair share or setbacks, so I was glad to see him out there. The guy busted his ass to get the Eugene gimmick over, and succeeded for a while, before poor booking and the gimmick’s inherently short shelf life killed the whole thing.
3. I usually bust ROH for video packages that don’t lead into anything specific to that particular show, but I really liked the “highlight reel” of the Steen-Generico Final Battle match. I still haven’t seen the match, but have heard it was fantastic, and the video certainly corroborated that.
4. I strongly support the WWE’s stance to ban chair shots to the head, but do think they can have their place in wrestling, so long as they are used relatively sparingly and at the right moments, so they always mean something. The finish to the Steen-Generico match is one of those times, as not only did it fit with the brutality of the feud, but it mirrored the beginning of the feud perfectly.
5. The promo with the Kings of Wrestling and the All-Night Express was the highlight of this week’s show. I was worried about how ANX would hold up without Aries to lend them legitimacy, but they delivered a really solid promo on their own and looked like legitimate contenders. I especially enjoyed seeing Rhett Titus take the lead on the mic and denounce his past of bow ties and thrusts. I don’t know if the heel-heel dynamic will work, and I don’t expect ANX to win, but I am actually looking forward to the title match between these teams.
6. This is probably the best Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole have looked on HDNet since joining ROH. Their pre-taped promo wasn’t great, but with ROH needing to build up the face side of the tag scene, it was necessary. Their match tonight, while pretty average, was probably my favorite of theirs on HDNet. I think Posey and Hollis had a lot to do with that, as they did a great job of making Cole and O’Reilly look like up-and-coming studs.
7. So now Daniels wants to challenge for the Television Title. Wasn’t he all about the World Title when he came back to ROH? Is he putting that on the back burner already? I think having a veteran with skins on the wall like Daniels wanting the TV Title only adds to its credibility, but I wish he’d addressed the change in focus in his promo.
8. Colt Cabana showed some nice, innovative offense tonight. I always enjoy it when he wrestles a more straight-up style and doesn’t go overboard with the comedy. Colt’s obviously a talent, but I fear, however, that he is going to get lost in the shuffle right now, with so many other storylines requiring time for further development, and ROH seemingly having nothing for him to do with the Steen-Generico feud concluded.
9. Sadly, Cabana-Strong was not up to the expectations ROH has set for its HDNet main events. We all know Roddy can go in the ring, but his matches just don’t have the “big fight” atmosphere. ROH has had two other champions since I started this column – Austin Aries and Tyler Black. Black’s matches always felt important. Aries’ did for the most part, but even when they didn’t, he knew how to carry himself like a star. I can’t say the same for Strong.
10. This week’s show was nowhere nearly as good as last week’s. I can tell you I’ll have to read this column next week to remember any of the matches on this card, and if Bennett blows up in a few months or so, I won’t be able to tell you where it all began. The Steen-Generico Final Battle video recap was good, but what’s it going to do for ROH going forward? At least King and Titus good to look like stars, which, as someone who’s championed Titus in the past, makes me smile.