We begin with a recap of last week’s main event and already the presentation has improved by leaps and bounds. The production is slick and polished, but the overly dramatic music is still pretty cheesy and takes the shine off a little.
Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are standing by the entrance ramp discussing last week’s main event, and announce tonight’s main event will be Davey Richards against his training partner Kyle O’Riley
And then we have a perfect example of everything that’s wrong with wrestling by cutting to a promo of Mike Mondo, aka Biff from Back To The Future. He tells people not to crowd him “’cause I take up a lot of space”. I actually rolled my eyes at that one. Basically the whole promo is about how strong he is and Mike thinks he’s the “biggest man in town”.
Again, the presentation improvements are very noticeable. Little background touches a fence over a fixed logo as opposed to a black ROH banner tacked onto a wall and a note about the name of the entrance music as a wrestler comes out just help give this show a more professional vibe and it’s really great to see these little changes from week to week. The stage, thankfully, is no longer a knock off of the old ECW set up and helps give ROH it’s own identity.
Match One: Alex Silva vs. Mike Mondo
It turns out that sign Mondo carries to the ring states “Godzilla Fears Mondo”. Right. Its such a shame that he’s been packaged with this jock bully gimmick, as he’s very agile and skilled in the ring.
Winner: Mike Mondo
Worth watching?: Yes. The match started with some very fun back and forth technical manoeuvres, rope running and tests of strength before Mondo gets a chance to show how fast and agile he is. Things like that are great showcases of how dynamic these performances can be and the match never had any let up or a dull moment. The finish was short and sharp. A solid opener.
We then cut to Jim Cornette backstage talking about the Kevin Steen situation. He will have a response to his legal council next week but he denies any wrong doing on his part. Its always fun seeing Cornette when he gets into a rythym but the way he kept repeating “I deny” made me expect to hear “I deny I had sexual relations with that woman.” He then ends it by saying that he will have a response next week but until then “you’ll just have to wait”. That’s pretty much the case with everything this show does, sadly.
Kevin Kelly announces that next week we will have a rematch between Jay Lethal and El Generico for the World Television Championship. Their last match was fantastic and I cannot wait to see that. Before the next match we see Lethal talking about Mike Bennet’s claims about being the champion. He basically puts down Bennett with some really corny lines. Shame about Lethal’s promos, they really need some work. Also, both this and the Cornette segment had some really random camera zooming and random colour grading changes. Odd. For a moment I felt like I was back in the 90s.
Match Two: Jamin Olivencia vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennet w/ “Brutal” Bob Evans
Before the match starts, Bennet grabs a mic and declares he is the TV champion, and out of the kindness of his heart he is going to give Olivencia a title shot. Really amusing promo and delivered with such conviction I couldn’t help but love it.
Winner: Mike Bennet, who successfully defends his championship I guess.
Worth Watching?: Kind of. There are some great moments and Olivencia has some really great and unique moments, but there’s nothing particularly exciting about this match. Maybe its because the first match was so good.
Inside Ring Of Honor time. Kevin Kelly puts over Eddie Edwards training with former UFC Heavyweight Champion Dan Severn. Davey Richards talks about it and says he feels hurt by it, and he feels its dishonest. Theres a great moment where the camera pans out and Davey is holding both the ROH World Championship and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. A subtle showing of Richard’s dominance without making him seem egotistical. Well played ROH. Kelly says next week they will have exclusive footage of Edwards training with Severn.
Over to the tag team situation and last week’s confrontation between Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team and The All Night Express. We get a recap of last week including that lame but highly amusing ducks line. Kelly then mentions how The Briscoes have challenged newcomers Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman in order to humiliate WGTT. The Briscoes complain about how they got a tag team shot instantly and Dem Boys had to wait. it’s a very funny segment where the Briscoes play up the drunken hick stereotypes very well. It then cuts to Coleman and Alexander but honestly I didn’t get what they were saying, all it was was was Coleman spouting a bunch of buzzwords with a bit of gusto. The two of them look like they have stepped out of the 70s and 80s respectively and Coleman over acts throughout. Needs work, Caprice!
Match Three: Kyle O’Riley w/ Tony Kozina vs. Ring Of Honor World Heavyweight Champion Davey Richards
Davey cuts a pre-match promo basically saying how he came for a fight but says good luck to Kyle. The match is about to start and then we get Truth Martini suddenly walk out. He’s joining the broadcast booth. Oh lord. Basically he puts over the House Of Truth and says if either Davey Richards or Eddie Edwards had him in his corner they would be a guaranteed winner at Final Battle.
Winner: Davey Richards via submission (Note: O’Riley never submitted, Kozina threw in the towel on his behalf)
Worth Watching?: Yes. Two very similar styles putting on an absolute clinic. A very fun and well paced technical affair. The exact sort of match that makes me love watching Ring Of Honor.
After the match Martini gets in the ring and tries to coax Edwards into joining him. He is rewarded for his efforts by Edwards and O’Riley whipping him into the corner.
And that’s the latest ROH. A solid, sharp and focused episode with fantastic production value considering their limitations. The Inside Ring Of Honor segments are fast becoming my favourite parts. I have always been a fan of behind the scenes presentations and ROH sidestep the problem having them based around the storylines (which often makes them come off as pointless and belittling to the audience’s intelligence if not handled well) by having them short and concise. Presentation wise ROH seems to have found its feet, downplaying the small scale and emphasising the roster members and their interactions a la UFC.
Though I say this every week, it warrants repeating: It is an utter joy to see the improvements in this show’s production week to week and this episode is the slickest yet. It’s only been a couple of month’s but I already think this show is superior to the older version of Ring Of Honor Wrestling.