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Ring of Honor
RADICAN'S ROH TV REPORT 11/5 - Elgin vs. Jones, Haas & Benjamin vs. Coleman & Alexander

Nov 7, 2011 - 1:15:47 PM
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RADICAN’S ROH TV REPORT
AIRED Nov. 5, 2011
TAPED AT THE DAVIS ARENA
LOUSIVILLE, KY
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The show started with highlights from the Roderick Strong vs. Kyle O’Reilly match from last week. The package then focused on the post-match brawl between the House of truth and Richards, Kozina, Edwards, and Kozina.

Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness introduced the show from ringside. They previewed the main event with ROH World Tag Team Champions Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas taking on Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander in a Proving Ground match.

Kelly pitched to Jim Cornette in the ring. Cornette said “Final Battle” is the biggest show of the year and the main event is the biggest match of the year. Cornette said management had made the decision that Eddie Edwards would face ROH World Hvt. Champion Davey Richards. Edwards came down to the ring. Edwards said a lot of people had asked for Edwards vs. Richards III and now people knew when the match would take place. Edwards said he knows what type of training Team Richards does. Edwards said he knows Richards trains like a maniac. Edwards said he’s looked into his own training. Edwards said he has a new trainer. Cornette asked him who his trainer is, but Edwards wouldn’t reveal who his trainer was. Edwards said there will be two wolves in the ring at “Final Battle,” but there will only be one beast.

Music played and Davey Richards came to the ring to a decent reaction. Cornette asked Richards for his comments. Richards addressed Edwards. He said they were going to do it one more time for one of the belts in the business that actually mean something. Richards said they would fight with honor, intensity, and to the death. Richards said he had a small piece of business. Richards said there were a couple of guys that nobody liked. Richards ran down the House of Truth. Richards asked Edwards to team with him against Strong and Elgin. Edwards said all the times the fans would chant next world champ at them when they came out in the past, they were chanting for him. Edwards said Richards would know exactly who fans were chanting next world champ for when they teamed next week. Kelly said Michael Elgin would be in action after the commercial break.

Radican’s thoughts: It seemed arbitrary that Edwards was just granted a shot at Richards since he’s only won one match on television. Edwards didn’t show much charisma during the segment. Things got better once Richards got into the ring, but Edwards needs to improve his delivery, as his words as a challenger seemed to fall flat. Richards is improving on the mic, but he doesn’t carry himself like some of the ROH greats of the past like Samoa Joe or C.M. Punk.

A commercial for “Final Battle 2011” aired. There was no mention that it will air on GFL.tv. Kelly brought in the Briscoes, who cut a babyface promo on ROH World Tag Team Champions Haas & Benjamin.

Kelly and McGuinness were shown at ringside. Kelly said Strong coveted the opportunity to face Richards, but his lost to Richards coupled with Edwards defeating Elgin tipped the scales in Edwards’s favor. Kelly pitched to a video package of Edwards’s journey to an ROH World title shot. Highlights were shown of the Edwards vs. Elgin match.

Michael Elgin was shown with Truth Martini backstage. He told Elgin it hurts you to let other people down. Martini told Elgin he had the chance to take the keys and drive the car, but he didn’t. Martini said the last words Elgin spoke to his father were of such anger, but he never had a chance to apologize. Martini told Elgin he had let Strong down by not beating Edwards. Martini told Elgin he could take all of the guilt away. Martini told Elgin he knows what he has to do for him. Martini said god created all men equal and Elgin shouted “they were wrong.”

Radican’s thoughts: This segment had a really dark tone that didn’t fit with Martini’s over-the-top delivery of his lines. Elgin’s last line in the promo bordered on cheesy, as he finished the Martini’s cliché line about god creating all men equal. I didn’t take much away from this segment because it didn’t send home the intended message.

They went to a promo for Shiloh Jones. He said he had moved from Seattle to Louisville two years ago and had been working hard. Jones said Elgin’s head was messed up and he felt he had a chance to beat him.

Jones made his entrance to a nice reaction. Kelly said if Jones won he could become an overnight star. Elgin then came out with Martini. Kelly said he suffered from a lack of confidence that made him fall under Martini’s spell. McGuinness said he felt Elgin has a ton of confidence.

They went to the tale of the tape that showed Elgin holding advantages in all categories.

1 - - MICHAEL ELGIN (w/Truth Martini) vs. SHILOH JONES

Elgin drove Jones into the corner and beat him to a pulp. The crowd chanted for Jones, who tried to fire back, but he ended up taking a big slam. Kelly ran down ROH’s live event dates as Elgin hit a big shoulder tackle off the second turnbuckle. Jones tried to fire back again on Elgin, but got tossed into the corner. Elgin ate a boot, but managed to counter Jones moments later and hit a big powerslam. Elgin covered Jones with one finger and he managed to kick out. Kelly ran down the lineup for the rest of the show. Jones went for a sunset flip and Elgin tried to sit down on him, but Jones got out of the way. Jones hit a forearm off the top for a 2 count. Elgin fired back with a spinning back fist. Elgin followed up with a buckle bomb and a twisting powerbomb for the pin.

Winner: Michael Elgin –This was a good showcase of Elgin’s power in the ring. The crowd was behind OVW talent Shiloh Jones, so it created a good atmosphere for the squash. The announcers focused more on previewing live events and what was coming up on the show and didn’t spotlight Elgin on commentary like they should have here.

Kelly previewed the main event again and said next they would go to the Inside ROH segment before commercial.

A commercial aired for ROHWrestling.com.

Kelly previewed the Inside ROH segment. He talked about fans demanding the return of ex-ROH wrestling Kevin Steen. They showed Cornette saying Steen could sue him if he didn’t like being banned from ROH. Kelly said the ROH offices had been served with legal documents last week. Kelly went to a video of Kevin Steen with his legal team in Kentucky. Steen’s lawyer said they had just left court on Nov. 1. They showed Steen going into the Law Office with his lawyers. Steen’s lawyer said Cornette was accused of several things. The lawyer said they also reserved the right to sue ROH. Steen’s lawyer said the only acceptable settlement was reinstating Kevin Steen. Steen addressed Jim Cornette. Steen said he was finally doing things Cornette’s way. Steen said he came to Cornette’s town just like he asked and sued him. Steen’s lawyers hilariously rubbed their hands and smiled as Steen said if he was doing things his way; he would just come to ROH and beat the s--- out of Cornette. Steen said Cornette was lucky he hadn’t sued him for slander. Steen said Cornette wanted him out because he wouldn’t play dead for him. Steen said he was sick of not being in the best wrestling company in the world. Steen said the best guys in the business are the ones you can’t control. Steen said when he gets back to ROH he wants to see his friends Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs, who Cornette had neutered. Steen said he was coming back to get his hands on El Generico. Steen said he if he had to beat ROH World Champion, he would do it. Steen said when he stood in front of Cornette with the ROH World title, Cornette would have to admit he belongs in ROH.

Kelly then discussed the situation between ROH TV Champion Jay Lethal and Mike Bennett. They showed Bennett saying he didn’t run away from Lethal. He said he didn’t get back in the ring with Lethal because he had already won the match. Bennett was shown asking the ref if he was going to stop the match, which allowed Lethal to get some lucky shots in on Bennett as the time limit expired. Bennett said he would triple the ratings as TV Champion. Bennett said he wanted a different ref. They went to Todd Sinclair, who said Lethal said he didn’t want to give up. They showed Lethal, who said Bennett didn’t say what really happened in that match. Lethal said Bennett capitalized on him missing a top rope elbow drop, but he didn’t hurt him. Lethal said he told the ref he wasn’t going to give up while Bennett was beating him. Kelly said next week they would look at the crimes of Kevin Steen.

Radican’s thoughts: This was an entertaining segment all-around, although Steen’s feud with ROH still needs to be put in the proper perspective. Steen leapt off the screen immediately setting him apart from the other wrestlers in terms of his charisma and promo ability. The segment was made even better by Steen’s scumbag lawyer team smiling and rubbing their hands while Steen’s lead lawyer talked and then they did it more while Steen talked. The lawyers were hilarious and Steen was great closing out the promo by threatening to come back and take the ROH World Title from Richards. I don’t understand why Kevin Steen’s crazy character would get lawyers since he’s a nut, but this was fun to watch.

The part of the segment with Lethal and Bennett solid as Lethal, Bennett, and the referee in the match talked about the controversy to close the match. Bennett and Bob played the heel role well saying Lethal had given up and Bennett asking the ref if he was going to stop the match was the only way Lethal survived. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes from here.

A commercial for ROHWrestling.com aired.

They came back from commercial and highlights aired from the Briscoes vs. ANX feud. Kelly and McGuinness were shown at ringside discussing the Briscoes challenging ROH World Tag Team Champions Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin. They also discussed ROH World Hvt. Champion Davey Richards defending against Davey Richards.

Kevin Kelly pitched to a package about the Proving Ground concept. Cornette said a champion in any combat sport can’t defend their title 40 plus times per year. Cornette explained the rules for Proving Ground matches. Cornette said the competition was hot and the results could make or break a career anytime the competition steps in a Proving Ground match.

Radican’s thoughts: I don’t like the Proving Ground concept. I think a champion should defend their title as much as possible. I can see Proving Ground matches being done on occasion, but why add in the stipulation that wrestlers get a title shot if they got to a draw with the champion in a proving ground match. I didn’t like the comparisons to MMA either because UFC is totally different with their competitors only fighting a handful of times a year at the most.

Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman made their entrance to no reaction. Haas & Benjamin then came out to a good ovation from the crowd. Kelly said they were here to prove themselves in competition and not in entertainment wrestling. Haas & Benjamin got a lot of streamers when they got in the ring.

Bobby Cruise did the formal ring introductions.

A commercial aired with Cornette hyping “Final Battle 2011.” He brought in Haas and Benjamin, who talked about their match against the Briscoes. Haas said this was a vendetta between them and the Briscoes. Haas said it would be their final battle. Benjamin then said the same thing that Haas said.

Back from the break, Kelly ran down the tale of the tape with Haas & Benjamin holding an advantage in weight and experience. Both teams shook hands before the match.

2 - - ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS CHARLIE HAAS & SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER & CAPRICE COLEMAN – Proving Ground match

There was a terrible glare from the lights during a floor shot as Benjamin took down Coleman. Both men exchanged holds on the mat. Benjamin got an arm triangle, but Coleman got the ropes. The announcers talked about Coleman being an ordained minister. Coleman countered a slam and exchanged counters with Benjamin and they came to a stalemate as the crowd applauded. Haas tagged in and slammed Coleman. Haas went to work on Coleman’s arm on the mat and the crowd applauded. Coleman fired back with some kicks from the mat and tagged in Alexander. Alexander nailed Haas with a running knee in the corner. Benjamin blind-tagged himself into the match and caught Alexander with a superkick from behind. Benjamin went to work on Alexander’s leg. He tagged in Haas who continued to work over Alexander’s leg. Kelly talked about Alexander’s amateur wrestling background. Haas went to the second rope and snapped Alexander’s leg down to the mat.

They came back from break with no commercial aired. Highlights aired of some action during the break with Alexander trying to fire back on Benjamin, but he got cut off with a knee to the chest. Back to live action, Benjamin was still working over Alexander on the mat. Kelly said Alexander & Coleman had proven they are a cohesive team. McGuinness said they hadn’t proven much to him. Haas tagged in and locked in a leg submission on Alexander. Alexander struggled, but got the ropes. Kelly ran down some upcoming live events. Alexander tried to fire back, but Haas cut him off. Alexander fired back again with a tornado DDT off the second rope and both men were down.

The crowd clapped as both men struggled to get to their feet. Both men tagged out. Coleman took down Benjamin with a leaping leg drop for a 2 count. Kelly said there were less than four minutes left in the time limit as Coleman caught Benjamin with a hurricanrana off the turnbuckles. The action broke down with Coleman and Alexander working over Benjamin, but they missed the camera shot of the double team maneuver. Haas dragged Alexander to the outside. He came back into the ring and gave Coleman a suplex. Haas & Benjamin isolated Alexander and caught him with the leap of faith. They then caught Coleman with wrestling’s greatest finisher for the win.

Winners: Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin – This was a solid main event. Alexander & Coleman looked good in their television debut, but didn’t do a lot to stand out to new fans seeing them for the first time. The match was competitive at times, but you never got the sense Haas & Benjamin were in any danger.

Kelly narrated a replay of the finish of the match. Haas and Benjamin shook hands with Caprice and Alexander after the match. The Briscoes music played and they came down to the ring. Jay got on the mic and mocked them for beating two rookies. Jay said at “Final Battle” it wouldn’t go down like that. Jay said they had to put the titles up against the baddest tag team on the planet. Jay guaranteed they would win the titles in NYC as the crowd cheered. Kelly signed off hyping Richards & Edwards taking on Elgin & Strong next week.


Overall score: (4.5) – This was another bland show outside of a couple of segments. The wrestling on the show was largely forgettable with Elgin easily beating Jones and Haas & Benjamin handling Coleman & Alexander in a semi-competitive match.

The segments building towards “Final Battle 2011” in December were a mixed bag. Steen was very entertaining in his segment with the lawyers, but I don’t understand why his character would suddenly decide to get legal representation. They have mishandled the Steen angle since they started mentioning it on television and it doesn’t have the context needed to get fans invested in the angle.

The in-ring segment with Edwards and Cornette, who were later joined by Richards, just didn’t do a lot to get me excited about their match at “Final Battle.” Edwards doesn’t have a lot of charisma and doesn’t carry himself like a top challenger. ROH’s hardcore fans will tune in at “Final Battle” to see a great match, but I’m not sure Richards can bring in a lot of new fans on his own, despite showing improvement in the way he carries himself in the ring.

I thought the segment with Lethal and Bennett was solid. Bennett and Brutal Bob did a good job of cutting a heel promo here and giving their excuse as to why Bennett didn’t want his match to continue after it went to a draw.

They built up to a main event next week of Richards & Edwards facing Elgin & Strong, but the grudge between both teams doesn’t feel like a big main event. ROH needs to shake up their formula on television and make the program more exciting. It seems to be getting more bland and stale by the week with an endless series of commercials and talking segments. It didn’t help that both matches this week just weren’t very compelling.

If ROH is going to grow, the television needs to be more exciting and appeal to a variety of wrestling fans. New fans tuning in aren’t going to feel compelled to invest in the ROH product at this point by buying a DVD or a ticket to a live event based on what they’ve seen on television. The look and feel of the show doesn’t help either with the glaring lights from the floor camera and the bland production values. It will be interesting to see what ROH does to turn up the excitement in the coming weeks.

Contact Sean at PWTorchSean@gmail.com


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