July 10, 2011
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

ROH on HDNet
Philadelphia, PA
March 21, 2009

Your hosts are Dave Prazak and Mike Hogewood.

ROH fans know Prazak, but people who live in the Piedmont of North Carolina will recognize Hogewood from our local CBS affiliate, Carolina Kia commercials, and ACC sports. Not knowing he was going to be the color commentator for ROH TV, and then seeing him there was almost surreal. For me, it brings the seemingly far away Philadelphia-based promotion closer to home.

Right off the bat, Prazak and Hogewood introduce to any non-ROH fans watching that ROH wrestler must follow a Code of Honor where both guys shake hands before and after their match. They hype the Tyler Black vs. Jimmy Jacobs main event and go right into a segment called ďSmacktalkĒ where one or both of the wrestlers get a few moments to hype themselves up before their match. I like that idea because it doesnít assume that everybody watching already knows who these guys are. Seems like a small thing, but it welcomes the casual fan.

Jerry Lynn vs. Delirious
Because of copyright issues, lots of the ROH wrestlers have new music which is bad for the crowd because they donít know who is about to come out so they can pop for them. In another way that ROH wisely doesnít assume anything, they show individual detailed graphics including each wrestlerís recent activities in ROH, their strong points, and their finishers. Having Lynn in their first match is probably the best thing they could do with all his experience and exposure in all the major American promotions over the years. Delirious goes CRAZY right at the bell like he used to by dodging several times at Lynn. He slows Delirious down with a bow and arrow. Lynn stays on the back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Delirious comes back with a running senton for two. One thing Iíve noticed about Hogewood as a wrestling color man is that while he does give ROH a little more of an old-school charm than weíre used to, he seems to love saying ďThat had to hurt!Ē a lot. He sounds a little bit like Chris Cruise from WCW in that heís moderately excited and then BURSTS INTO FULL-ON EUPHORIA when somebody hits a big move. Just an observation. Iíd take him over Don West any day of the week. Lynn elbows out of a chinlock, but gets nailed with a series of running clotheslines. Lynn cuts him off with the inverted Gory Special into the Gory Bomb. Cover gets two. Delirious draws Lynn into the corner with a drop toehold to set up the Panic Attack, which Hogewood calls. Good job. SHADOWS OVER HELL misses, signaling a pair of rollups. Lynn stops Delirious up top for a hurracanrana and then hits the TKO. Cover, 1-2-NO! Delirious avoids one attempt at the CRADLE PILEDRIVER, but not the second one. That gets the win for Jerry Lynn. (5:41) Different pacing than youíre used to from an ROH match, but still solid and a good match to kick off the new series. Prazak mentions Lynnís quest to dethrone Nigel McGuinness of the ROH world title. **Ĺ

Backstage, ROH reporter Kyle Durden talks with Tyler Black. He gives a brief precise synopsis of the Black/Jacobs feud. Tyler says he will love beating up Jimmy, but hates that heíll have to have stoop to the level of Jimmy Jacobs in order to gain the necessary revenge.

Kenny King vs. Sami Callahan
Never seen Callahan before, but the internet says heís competed a lot in CZW. Well that explains why Iíve never seen him before. On the other hand, I expect to see Kenny King back in TNA in the next year or two. His attitude seems more tailor-made for sports entertainment. But then again, ROH is heading a little more in that direction, so he might just stay in ROH. King shows his agility and arrogance to start by just messing around with Callahan. Callahan is supposed to be quite psychotic (CZW? Hello?), so that doesnít last long. Callahan rolls Kenny King around on the mat with a front headlock. Kenny comes back with a running neck snap just like the old days like Randy Savage. King takes over on Callahan with boot chokes and rope chokes. You know, just choking in general. Callahan escapes a chinlock and surprises King with a roll up for two. King blasts Callahan with a half cartwheel kick and a spinebuster gets two. Callahan ducks under a spinning heel kick and nails King with a cradle overhead suplex. Callahan keeps the offense coming with a cutter and a sliding clothesline. KOJI CLUTCH! Thatís his finisher. Kenny makes the ropes and comes back with a running double knee to send Callahan crashing down face-first on the middle turnbuckle. THE CORONATION gets the win for Kenny King. (5:44) Another great effort on this show. Iím loving this so far. **Ĺ

In the back, Kyle Durden is standing by with Jimmy Jacobs. He brings Tyler Black into ROH in 2007 to help spread his message, but now Tyler Black abandons the message of the Age of the Fall and fights for the people. Instead of doing what is right, he does what is easy. Tonight, the war is NOW! Great promo from Jacobs.

Before the next match, they air a video package highlighting the history of seven year history of ROH. Lots of current WWE and TNA stars are shown as well as some of the crazier spots they have done over the years.

Brent Albright vs. Rhett Titus
Iím addicted to Rhett Titus. When your finisher is called the Muff Driver, Iím sold. But then again, I do love me some Brent Albright. Albright starts off chopping Titus around. Beautiful hourglass suplex by Albright is delivered. Titus catches Albright in the corner with a boot and heads up top to shake his booty, but that allows Albright to pull him down by his leg into a backbreaker. Albright hits Splash Mountain for two. Seems a little too close to the Muff Driver for Albright to be doing that. Albright knocks Titus to the floor for a pescado. Back in, Titus goes to the eyes and trips up Albright on the apron. Titus and his strutting gets the best of him momentarily as Albright chops back. Titus goes to the eyes and dropkicks Albright in the back of the head. That gets two. Knee drop gets another two-count. Albright punches out of a chinlock, but telegraphs a backdrop. Titus stops to twirl his backside only to charge right into a dropkick. HERE COMES ALBRIGHT! He hits an Exploder, but Titus puts in a last ditch effort to turn the tide with a dropkick. Titus charges into an Uranage, followed by the HALF-NELSON SUPLEX into the CROWBAR. Titus has no choice but to tap out. (6:34) Fun match that was never boring. **ľ

They show a video package of the brutal finish of the ďI QuitĒ match at Rising Above between Austin Aries and Jimmy Jacobs. Tyler Black was supposed to throw in the towel for Jacobs so he wouldnít have to say that he quits, but fellow AOTF member Lacey took the towel away from Black right before he was about to throw it into the ring. When Black was blamed for what happened by Jacobs, thatís when Tyler Black walked out on Jimmy Jacobs. Since then at Final Battle 2008, Aries beat Black in a #1 contenders match for the ROH world title. Afterwards, Jacobs attacked Black with a straight kick to the balls and Austin Aries joined in on the two-man beatdown of Tyler Black to form an odd hate-filled alliance Aries and Jacobs to take Tyler Black out of ROH.

Tyler Black vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Obviously to sell the feud, there is no handshakes in this one. We see angst-filled headlocks and shoves to start. Jacobs goes to the floor to escape Blackís onslaught of right hands. He throws a chair into the ring, which distracts Black long enough for Jacobs to jump him from behind. Jacobs chokes Black in the ropes for a little bit. Black reverses a whip into the ropes and does that REALLY cool back flip as Jacobs grabs hold of the ropes. Black nails Jacobs with a slingshot leg lariat and holds Jacobs head down on the mat with his boot. Jacobs comes back with a headscissors into the corner and hits a forearm smash off the middle rope for two. Black reverses a cross-corner whip and nails Jacobs with a backdrop. He gets caught up on the top rope though and shoved down to the guardrail! Jacobs hits Black with a running elbow drop off the apron ala Cactus Jack. He sits Black in a chair, but that goes nowhere for now. Jacobs delivers a spear in the corner and dropkick Tyler in the back of the head for two. Black charges into a choke and then gets dragged over into the corner for a barrage of double stomps and an elbow drop from Jacobs. Black gets fired up by the crowd and hits a press slam! NICE~! He charges Jacobs in the corner with a running forearm and catches Jacobs with an enziguri to set up a Springboard Clothesline. Cover, 1-2-NO! Quebrada misses, but a Standing SSP does not! That gets another nearfall for Tyler Black. Black lands on his feet after Jacobs moves away from his PHOENIX SPLASH, but then he runs into a spear for 1-2-NO! Out of a standing switch, Black delivers a Pele Kick! Jacobs dumps Black to the floor and hits him with a running plancha which causes Tyler to crash down on that chair that was set up earlier. Back in the ring, Jacobs covers for two. Jacobs heads up top for the FLYING SENTON, which hits knees. SMALL PACKAGE DRIVER? No! Jacobs counters that into THE END TIME (guillotine choke). With Black still standing, he tries backing Jacobs into the corner a couple times to break the hold, but Jacobs has that hold on tight. Black throws him off and calls for a superkick, but Jacobs ducks and rolls up Black for 1-2-NO! Back to THE END TIME! Will that be all? His arm falls twice, but then Black escapes the body scissors and flips over into a pinning combination for 1-2-3! (13:52) This was easily one of the best TV matches of the year Iíve seen so far in 2009. Granted, I donít watch TNA, but I have watched a lot of WWE programming. Everything in the match was toned down a bit compared to your usual ROH show, but thatís not a bad thing. You donít want it to be too drastically different so that WWE and TNA fans canít enjoy it. ***Ĺ

Next week on ROH on HDNet, ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness takes on Jay Briscoe!

Final Thoughts: I can imagine many ROH die-hards are saying that ROH has sold out, but I think they should just be happy that they get weekly ROH action that they donít have to PAY to see. Even a toned down ROH product is much more fresh and interesting than WWE or TNA these days. There was no time wasted and going into it, you didnít feel like you needed to be familiar with the product because they explained it all to you without insulting your intelligence. Hmm, a weekly wrestling show that doesnít insult your intelligence Ė what a great idea. Iím not saying the show was perfect because what show will be the first time out, but with time I think all the problems (and they are minor things like Hogewood and Prazak needing to get used to one another and the lack of crowd noise) will be fixed to better suit ROH. Check this show out if you can.

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