10 Thoughts on ROH TV 11.05.11 – Charlie Haas, Glacier, Shelton Benjamin

1. We open up with Jim Cornette making an announcement that at Final Battle, Davey’s opponent will be Eddie Edwards. Eddie was out there. I think they hugged it out. They’ve got a match or something. I might have been sleeping through this.

2. Oh, Eddie hinted that he had a new trainer. So, I’d imagine that is setting up a heel turn? Hopefully the trainer won’t be that Brutal Bob Evans guy. Or Truth Martini. If they locked up Reginald VelJohnson to be his trainer and they only communicate via 2-way radio while Eddie is in matches, I’m completely on board with that.

3. Truth Martini is backstage telling Michael Elgin that it’s not his fault his brother drove drunk, but he could have taken the keys away. Something along those lines. If it wasn’t Truth Martini saying it, I would have likely paid closer attention. That seems to be a recurring theme with this program…

4. Then some guy named Shiloh Jonze starts talking. And, man is he lame.

4a. Young child with dreams Dream every dream on your own When children play Seems like you end up alone

Papa says he’d love to be with you If he had the time So you turn on the only friend you can find There in your mind

Shilo, when I was young I used to call your name When no one else would come Shilo, you always came And we’d play

5. Shilo Jonze then took on Michael Elgin. Jonze is just some random knucklehead. A legit jobber in the house! My beef with this match was not with the layout. ROH needs more matches like this. The problem is that I think it generally only works as a successful match in a vaccuum. For instance, do you care about the drama of a match, or that it looks like the match is dramatic? This felt hollow because how the hell do you know who Shiloh is and half the time you’re watching the match you’re just singing the Neil Diamond song I quoted above?

6. Ultimately, this was a four minute squash that did nothing to establish Jonze as someone with potential or Elgin as a beast. But, the idea of having a match that isn’t just a vapid back and forth to establish their talent is something they need and this show at least brought that in both matches. I just wished they would let guys expand on that by not making the outcomes so obvious.

7. Kevin Steen is on the show again, which is good. He sent in a tape with his legal defense team. Which consists of like six dudes who look cheesy as hell and are terrible at grinning. On some level I guess it is comforting that ROH is not shelling out riches for actors to play the attorneys. On the other hand, holy shit did this look silly.

8. Once Steen got down to talking I thought he cut a better promo than most stuff that fills these shows. But, that is to be expected as well. Certainly something they need more of, but, let’s get him back on the roster so we don’t have to set up awful surroundings like this for his promos to take place, y’know?

9. Main Event was a “Proving Ground” match with Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas against a new team in ROH in Caprice Coleman and Cedrick Alexander. Conceptually, it is a 15-minute time limit match and if the challenger to a champion gets a win or draw, they then get a Title shot.

10. I liked this match. One of the major differences between this match and the earlier match, aside from time they gave the match, was how they set this up. The concept of the Proving Ground match was something that played in here, in terms of setting up Coleman and Alexander as more than just dudes getting ready to get squashed. As well, it plays into the finish. More in a moment on that.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest problems I have with current ROH is the tendency to make anything competitive as a back and forth match. That’s silly. This match at the very least got outside of that formula in a good way. The opening mat sequence with Benjamin and Coleman wasn’t as vapid as the WGTT and most ROH opening mat sequences of late seem to be. Coleman didn’t get any offense in, he got an attempt at locking in a hold on the arm and Benjamin brushed it off and went with some arm work of his own. Not the largest of points, but, the opening sequence and how it was played by both guys allowed them to establish the new duo without those guys needing to hit offense.

That lack of offense for Coleman and Alexander was well done throughout. The new team doesn’t need to get tons of offense in order to show that they belong. ROH has moved so far away from that concept, but, it was refreshing to see that here. Haas and Benjamin do some good leg work on Alexander when he gets in, which adds to the match carrying through an overall theme.

I think in the final minutes they might have got away from it a bit, but, it was a good effort compared to most ROH matches of late. The Proving Ground concept comes in as they tease the draw, ultimately to see Coleman and Alexander fall short. Both teams were advanced through this match, simply because they were able to get away from what the normal ROH formula of late has been.

Look at all this praise for what is something like a 3 star match! Crazy! Bottomline, you just don’t see a ton of effort in the creative structure of matches from ROH or WWE these days. It wasn’t anything spectacular and they certainly kept it simple. But, in a good way. All wrestling right now needs more of that.

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