ROH on HDNet Report 02.28.2011 – Featuring the Top Prospect Tournament

Finally, I make my glorious return to InsidePulse!  Unfortunately, there’s only about 4 or 5 more weeks of ROH on HDNet.  Truth be told, I haven’t the faintest idea what I’ll do for the Pulse after this gig ends–as I unfortunately had to turn down an offer to write another weekly column due to focusing on my “real-life” employment.  Or lack thereof.  In my theatrically related layoff, I became a victim of this charming American economy, and don’t feel like spending my days researching a wrestling column would be the best way to win more work and/or keep my wife happy with the situation.  I’d like to keep contributing in some fashion, because there are some tremendous wrestling minds on the site, but we’ll see what happens.

At any rate…

Reading is FUNdamental
*Ricardo Rochetti has kept fighting the good fight while I’ve been off being a mediocre thespian.  He’s the man, and I only live in his shadow.

*Pulse Glazer uses his Monday Morning Backlash column to discuss the build to WrestleMania.

*Kyle Fitta checks in with his first column.  Welcome, Kyle!

*And last, but not least, FLEA graces us with his presence.  Always a pleasure.

*Oh!  Before I forget…this week’s ROH on HDNet is brought to you by Bell’s Best Brown Ale.  If you can get Bell’s Beer in your area…virtually any kind…buy it, drink it and love it.  Bell’s is magnificent beer.

**As part of the pre-show, we go over the brackets once more for the ROH 2011 Top Prospect Tournament.  Last week, Kyle O’Reilly defeated John Gresham.  Yes, that was really his name.  Nevertheless, the three remaining first round matches will be tonight!  Now, let’s get to the ring!

**Your hosts as always are Dave Prazak and Mike Hogewood.

“The Prodigy” Mike Bennett vs. Adam Cole
As an FYI…if anyone has an idea as to who does Bennett’s music, I’d love to hear it.  Yes, I’m one of those types who likes to get copies of the music when I can.  Nevertheless, on to the match!

Bennett refuses the handshake.  That dastardly man!  Lockup, and they fight over a waistlock until Bennett grabs a side headlock.  Cole tries to whip him off, but can’t do so, so Cole counters into a side headlock of his own.  Bennett tries to lift Cole up, who shifts his weight into a headlock takeover, as Steve Corino looks on from ringside as he did last week.  Cole throws a couple of arm drags, frustrating Bennett, who piefaces him.  Cole responds with a series of slaps and chops, pausing periodically to mock Bennett and his muscle-bound figure.  Bennett takes a powder so Cole follows him to the outside with a hurricanrana off the apron.  Cole continues the assault on the floor and pauses to break the count.  Bennett rolls in and manages to mule kick Cole off into the barricade to turn the tide.

Back outside again, Bennett delivers a scoop slam and rolls in Cole for a 2 count.  With Cole down in a corner now, Bennett lays in the stomps and chokes Cole with a boot.  Bennett locks in a surfboard as I discuss his merits with my wife.  Bennett scores with a sort of inverted atomic drop type move for 2, and shortly after, Cole manages a counter into a DDT to put both men down.  Bennett charges into a boot and Cole takes down Bennett again off the second rope.  Bennett catches a second rope cross body and blocks an O’Connor Roll, but Cole baseball slides through the legs and hits a leaping enzugiri from the floor and a top rope cross body for 2.  Cole grabs a waistlock, but Bennett holds onto the ropes, so Cole responds with a superkick to the back of the head and a German Suplex for 2.  Out of nowhere, Bennett reverses an irish whip into his sit-out uranage slam for the win.

Mike Bennett def. Adam Cole in 7:41 via Sit-Out Uranage Slam.
Cole did his job well and made Bennett look good.  Cole is definitely the more sympathetic of his team with O’Reilly due partially to the good looks and partially to his style.  The ROH board seemed to think that Cole carried Bennett here, and part of me is inclined to agree.  Bennett continues to be a serviceable guy, but not one that appears worthy of the level of push he’s getting, and he’s rapidly running out of time to prove people wrong who say it. (**1/2)

**Post-match, Steve Corino offers some advice to Bennett–specifically to not get overconfident because anyone in the locker room can beat him any given night.  Bennett promptly blows him off, and that’s that.

Michael Elgin vs. Bobby Dempsey
I still can’t get over the fact that Elgin looks like the love child of Dr. Death Steve Williams and Rhino.  Elgin had a very solid outing against El Generico in a losing effort at the 9th Anniversary Show on Saturday night.  Generico sold like a champ for him and made him look like a killer.  And God help him, I think somehow Bobby Dempsey got bigger.

Lockup goes nowhere, so Elgin converses with Martini.  Elgin uses a go-behind and clubs away at Dempsey with forearms.  Elgin grabs a headlock and Dempsey whips him off into a shoulder block.  Nothing.  Another one goes nowhere.  Likewise with a third.  They go back and forth with each other for awhile until Elgin hits a charging elbow.  Elgin clubs away and whips Dempsey in but he gets reversed and hit with a body block.  Bobby misses the avalanche, and Elgin hits a nice samoan drop for 2.  Elgin goes for his powerbomb, but Dempsey backdrops out and hits a series of clotheslines.  The strap comes down, and both Hog and Prazak agree it should go back up.  Elgin escapes the Death Valley Driver, but runs into a sidewalk slam for 2.  Bobby goes up for a Vader Bomb, but Elgin stops it and hoists him up off the ropes for his powerbomb for the finish.

Michael Elgin def. Bobby Dempsey in 3:21 via Sit-Out Powerbomb.
Well, Bobby is still inexplicably not getting much better.  He’s a very nice guy, I’m sure, but he hasn’t exactly been missed since he’s been off TV.  Elgin adapted his game to be more of a striker for this one knowing he wouldn’t throw around Dempsey, but still worked in a couple of solid power spots (the powerbomb to finish, a big samoan drop, etc.) to maintain that aspect of his character.  For what it was supposed to do, it did it.  I guess you can’t complain about that. (*1/2)

**Post-match, Steve Corino offers some advice to Bennett–specifically to not get overconfident because anyone in the locker room can beat him any given night.  Bennett promptly blows him off, and that’s that.

**Earlier tonight, Kenny King joins Kyle Durden backstage.  King promises that every champion in ROH had better watch their back, as he’ll be coming after them all sooner or later.  King is still a solid interview, and it’ll be very interesting to see how the company handles him and Titus, since King is clearly the bigger star.

**Back from “commercials,” Durden is being joined now by both Grizzly Redwood and Andy Ridge.  Ridge actually cuts a halfway decent promo.  Grizzly rightly states that he’s been around 5 years, and thinks that he’s got more to prove than anyone else in the tournament.  Corino walks in and offers a little pep talk to them to seize the opportunity.

Grizzly Redwood vs. Andy “Right Leg” Ridge
Grizzly has some kind of hip-hop remix of his entrance music.  Because when I think of lumberjacks, I think of hip hop.  Lockup and Grizzly grabs an arm wringer.  Ridge responds and chain wrestling sees both men missing with strikes and dueling roll-ups into a staredown.  Another handshake is offered, and they circle again.  Ridge fires off a couple of kicks, but Grizzly dodges the third and grabs a headlock.  Ridge shoots him off, and Grizzly fires off a couple of low chops and grabs a side headlock again.  Off an irish whip, a log roll trips up Ridge and sends him outside.  Ridge answers an attempted dive with a nice kick, and adds another before Grizzly rolls him up for 2.  Ridge drops Grizzly with a big roundhouse kick for 2.  Ridge grabs a chinlock and Grizzly works up, but Ridge sends him into the corner where he lays in a couple of kicks.  Grizzly catches the third and puts Ridge into the corner where he lays in a couple of chops.  Back out, Grizzly adds a dropkick and catches Ridge in an arm capture abdominal stretch, which he converts into a crucifix variant for 2.  Ridge escapes and adds a big kneelift and another kick for 2.  The two trade strikes in a corner and soon after, Ridge gets a nearfall off a running kick to the back.  Ridge lays in some more kicks, and calls for a superkick to end it.  Grizzly blocks and lays in some forearms before a corner whip.  Ridge reverses, but Grizzly answers with a polish hammer.  Grizzly goes for a springboard crossbody, but Ridge meets him midair with a superkick for the 3.

Andy Ridge def. Grizzly Redwood in 5:55 via Superkick.
Pretty solid match, really.  Perfectly acceptable wrestling, but the selling seemed hit or miss.  Ridge’s offense is a little repetitive, but the crowd pops for it.  Redwood can still sell a beating like a champ. (**)

**Backstage, Prince Nana and Mr. Ernesto Osiris appear with someone he identifies as Princess Mia, if I understand him correctly.  I’m generally a sucker for The Embassy as a unit because Nana is such a phenomenal heat machine, but if they’re just going to be a bunch of jobbers again, why bother?

**Next week, Kyle Durden (with Roderick Strong and Truth Martini) reveal that the champ will face Jay Briscoe, El Generico and Homicide in a Four Corner Survival Match.  Nice!  Strong simply says that he is the best wrestler in the world, and Durden stirs the pot regarding Truth Martini’s interference.  Martini naturally cuts him off and we go to the image preview for next week–sadly still with the pre-Final Battle El Generico posed photo.  Come on truck guys, it’s been almost 2 months.  Get with it.

“The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels(c) vs. Kenny King – ROH World TV Title Match
They lock up and fight over the collar and elbow tie up until King backs Daniels into a corner.  We get a clean break as you can see the wheels turning in Daniels’ head.  Another lockup and Daniels grabs a side headlock.  King reverses out into a top wristlock and is winning the power battle until Daniels pivots around into another side headlock.  King slips out and reverses into a hammerlock.  King is able to reverse and throw Daniels with a couple of arm drags and controls the arm.  Daniels grabs a headscissors off a hip toss, but King is able to reverse out into a prone side headlock.  Daniels comes to his feet and fires off a series of forearms and whips King off, who bowls over Ddaniels with the shoulderblock.  The two trade nearfalls off a drop down and Daniels takes over in the coxrner with shoulder thrusts and chops.  King reverses and lands some chops of his own and now it’s a forearm battle.  King wins it when Daniels runs into a back elbow, and gets not quite a 2 count for his trouble.  King hits a charging corner clothesline for 2.  King with a vertical suplex and a float over with some strikes before covering for a 2 count.

A headbutt sends Daniels into the corner, and King whips him post to post.  Daniels reverses, however, but King is able to vault over back into the center of the ring where Daniels hits him with a charging neckbreaker for a 2 count.  Daniels adds a back suplex and a knee drop to the back of the neck.  Daniels throws a swinging neckbreaker for 2 as well.  Daniels grabs a neck vice variant, but King fights out with elbows and gets 2 off a small package.  Daniels is up quickly though and counters a charging King with a drop toe hold into a hotshot.  Side slam gets 2 for Daniels.  Daniels stomps away at a seated King in the corner and pulls him back out to hit a gourdbuster and grabs a crossface variant, until King reaches the ropes.  Daniels pulls up King who answers with an arm drag and a jumping spin kick to put both men down.

Daniels up first, but King strikes first with a series of clotheslines and an irish whip into a spinebuster for 2.  King dodges a corner charge from Daniels and adds a running double knee in the corner for 2.  Daniels escapes the spinning sit out uranage and drops King into the Koji Clutch, but King reaches the ropes.  Daniels places King up top and adds a big palm strike.  King lands on his feet after the Iconoclasm attempt and the two just trade punches.  Daniels scores with a series of palm strikes, but King responds.  King goes for the Royal Flush, but Daniels blocks.  Daniels goes for Angel’s Wings but King blocks.  King scores with the leg capture suplex for 2.  Daniels ducks a top rope springboard and catches King with the uranage slam, but misses the BME.  Daniels lands on his feet, however, and scores with the Angel’s Wings for 3!

Christopher Daniels def. Kenny King in 11:21 via Angel’s Wings.
High quality main event with two very talented athletes going out there and doing what they do best.  Hard to complain about that. (***1/4)

Post-match, Daniels offers the hand to King, who accepts, and leaves Daniels to celebrate with the TV Title.

**Well, let’s add it up.  All told, there were 4 matches, with a total wrestling time of 28:18.  Over 50% of the show was wrestling, and what wasn’t at least acceptable quality was kept fairly short and/or advanced a character.  A solid show coming out of the iPPV this past weekend, which probably was not as strong as their last few releases, but was still a quality show, worth the price.  Thanks for reading, and it feels good to be back!

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