10 Thoughts on ROH on HDNet 01.31.2011 feat. Colt Cabana, Roderick Strong, and Christopher Daniels vs. Eddie Edwards

1. The opener for this show was not strong. I like Cabana and he always pulls his weight, but if you’ve seen one of his comedy matches, you’ve seen them all. Mondo wasn’t particularly good here – Cabana had his right leg wrapped up, and you don’t think to hit him there ONCE?

2. Good move on Truth Martini’s part to say that Michael Elgin needed to obtain Roderick Strong’s approval. As the manipulator that he is, Martini likely recognizes that in order to keep Strong under his “spell”, he needs to make him feel validated. Allowing him to give the “thumbs up” on the new guy does just that.

3. Elgin’s first match didn’t give much upon which to judge him. He obviously has good size and strength relative to the rest of the ROH roster, but he didn’t look particularly impressive in carrying out the squash. My favorite part of the match was actually Strong smartly letting Elgin do all the heavy lifting (whatever little of it there was), and only tagging in briefly. It was almost as if he was saying “here, you handle these jobbers.”

4. My favorite thing about Sara del Rey is how much she varies her offense from match to match. Every wrestler has signature moves, and del Rey is no different, but she always throws in some stuff outside her go-to moves. Even when she is squashing someone, you never feel like you are watching the same match.

5. Speaking of del Rey’s offense, that Gory Special Flatliner looked absolutely BRUTAL! It doesn’t seem like the kind of move she can do to any opponent (they have to be flexible enough for her to grab their head from the Gory Special position), but very impressive regardless.

6. The video package on the top 4 tag teams in ROH (Kings of Wrestling, Briscoes, Haas & Benjamin, All-Night Express) talking about themselves and each other was extremely well done. This four-way feud is my favorite thing going in ROH right now. It has successfully elevated King and Titus, introduced Haas and Benjamin into the mix, and it allows the Briscoes to stay in the title hunt while putting a much-needed buffer between them and the Kings of Wrestling.

7. Daniels’ work on Eddie Edwards’ neck during the early-to-middle portion of the match should have paid off in some fashion. Eddie sold it like a champ as it was happening, but then they just kind of dropped it. If Eddie had tried some kind of bridging pin towards the end, only to be unable to hold it because of his weakened neck, that would have been a nice touch. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see him cash in the title shot he won at Survival of the Fittest, although I’d prefer that they wait until Davey is the champion.

8. Even though Daniels arguably “downgraded” by going from chasing the World Title to chasing the TV Title so quickly and with no explanation (hopefully he’ll get some interview time to put over how much he wanted the belt), the result was the correct one. Edwards did as much for the belt as the belt did for him, and there was nothing left for him to accomplish as the Television Champion.

9. Minor psychology quips aside (wish Edwards had sold the ankle a little more, too), the main event was nothing short of outstanding. The pacing was great (from mat wrestling, to striking, and then to the high-impact stuff), there were no slow spots, and both guys did a great job of selling how much winning/retaining the television title meant.

10. A second consecutive “thumbs in the middle” show from ROH. ROH has really learned how to use its hour of television effectively (hopefully, not too late), so the show is always enjoyable. Definitely try to find the TV Title match somewhere on the Net, and the video package about the tag title scene is worth watching if ROH puts it up. Everything else was pretty forgettable.

BONUS: Over the past 16 months or so that I’ve done this, I’ve mentioned a couple of guys who were real favorites in the now-defunct Dallas-Fort Worth independent wrestling scene. Last week, I actually stumbled upon my favorite indy match that I have seen live – Robert Evans (who actually wrestled a dark match in one of ROH’s pre-Wrestlemania shows last year) vs. Jiggle-O James Johnson at PCW Genocide 2006, in a Hair vs. Hair Match for the Cruiserweight Title. Sit back, ignore the production values and bad announcing, and enjoy what I think is a fantastic match:

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