10 Thoughts on ROH on HDNet 02.07.2011 feat. Haas & Benjamin and The Briscoes vs. The Kings of Wrestling & The All-Night Express

1. Daniels, it must be said again, is a true professional. He could have used his promo time to put himself over, but instead he used it to put over Eddie Edwards even more, even crediting him for making the TV Title relevant. I’d still like to see Daniels use some promo time to explain why he decided to go after the TV Title, but this, after Edwards’ strong title reign, was the right thing to do.

2. The 2 out of 3 falls, 30-minute time limit match between Daniels and Edwards should be really good. I expect Daniels to retain and then go on to feud with Mike Bennett, with that feud stretching for a while before Bennett finally goes over. I have no problem with that, but Edwards gave the belt such credibility that I wonder if it wouldn’t have been just as good to have Edwards drop the strap to Bennett. Only argument against it? ROH wants to keep Edwards strong for a World Title program in the near future.

3. Hogwood didn’t do the new talent favors by saying he’s not “in the same world” as Daniels and Edwards, and that the crowd’s “you can’t wrestle” chants were called for. It would’ve been better to bust him for being a disrespectful punk, or for cutting a shitty promo. On a related note, Daniels really carried that opening segment. The gym bunny digs towards Bennett were pretty nice.

4. Steve Corino is such a great natural heel, and his work with Kevin Steen was so absurdly good, that I hope his interest in the Top Prospect Tournament is a disingenuous attempt to deceive and/or corrupt one of ROH’s bright young talents, and not a bona fide face turn.

5. Speaking of, the Top Prospect Tournament should make for good television. ROH has done a very good job of using its HDNet time slot to build stars, and I don’t expect this to be any different. If done properly, it could have a nice, King of the Ring-type impact for someone (on a smaller scale, of course).

6. Grizzly Redwood tried hard and always takes a good beating, but Bennett looked tentative and sloppy, dragging the match down. It’s too early to tell, but his heat seems to be more “we hate you because you’re not as good as your push”, as opposed to “we hate you because you’re a great heel”. I’ll withhold judgment until I see him matched up against someone farther up the card, but for now I am concerned his push won’t take.

7. Roderick Strong’s promo wasn’t great in tone and delivery, but at least he effectively set up Mike Elgin as his “muscle”. I’m actually pretty optimistic about this. If nothing else, Elgin cuts a more imposing figure than Josh Raymond or Christin Able, and he actually looked comfortable as Strong’s henchman last week.

8. The All-Night Express have done a very good job of “branding” themselves, between their shirts, their handshake, and Kenny King’s simple yet effective “all night long” hand gesture (which I love). The ROH crowd, however, hasn’t really taken to them yet. I hope it’s just because they’re not sure what they’re supposed to be (they’ve been heels in the past, yet they’re “tweening” a little bit because of their current feud), because this team has a ton of promise and deserves a fair shake.

9. Shelton Benjamin has had some very nice singles matches in the past, but he appears to be more at home as a tag team specialist. It allows him to hit all his big spots, have great flurries of athletic offense, and not worry about controlling the pacing of a match. It’s not a dig on him – it’s just where he appears most comfortable.

10. Really enjoyable main event tonight. With four teams in the ring, all having issues with each other, the possibility existed that there would be “too much” going on, but the eight men did a great job of interweaving all of the issues into the body of the match, without detracting from the match. The action was very fun to watch, the ANX got a very good reaction from laying out their partners, and the non-finish actually made sense.

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