Dave Bodymore: Ring of Honor 11/01/14
After recapping Final Battle on last week’s episode, Ring of Honor started up properly this week with the first of their episodes recorded at the Nashville Fairgrounds on the 4th January. The main focus of this week was the start of the Top Prospect Tournament and the return of Chris Hero to ROH television.
The show opened with Raymond Rowe taking on Kongo in the first round of the Top Prospect Tournament. The Tournament, in its second year, gives young talent the opportunity to prove they have what it takes to compete in Ring of Honor. The winner earns a shot at the World Television title which is currently held by Tommaso Ciampa.
Rowe and Kongo showed how much they wanted to be in Ring of Honor, putting on a terrific hard hitting battle with Rowe earning himself the win with a full nelson into his knee. After the match Michael Elgin came to the ring and confronted Kongo, who reminds me of Yokozuna, and hits him with the spinning backfist followed by a huge powerbomb that really does need to be seen. Elgin then tells the crowd that what we just saw was a sign of things to come and when you stand in an ROH ring you are standing in Elgin’s ring. He warns Cole that he will need eyes in the back of his head as he is coming for him and that Hero, Briscoe and AJ Styles are just in the way.
This brought out Chris Hero, who got a good reaction from the crowd, who says that it has been a while since he was here and that while he’s been away Elgin has become the man and that after they tag together in the main event in Pittsburgh it will be every man for himself. Kevin Steen then comes to the ring and reminds them that he still hasn’t had his rematch and that Elgin can’t talk title matches till he gets his match for the title. He then turns to Hero, his opponent in the main event, and says whilst he received a Hero’s welcome tonight he hasn’t been here for 2 years and he can wait his turn.
After the in ring confrontation we return to the Top Prospect Tournament as Corey Hollis comes out for his match with ‘The Benchmark’ Bill Daly. Daly comes out and says that he will be withdrawing from the tournament as he has an ankle injury and that he must think of his career. Before returning to the locker room he says that he is 2013’s top prospect and so he demands a shot at the TV title.
With Daly withdrawing it is presumed that Hollis will advance in the tournament but before it can be announced Hollis’ tag team partner and mentor Mike Posey takes the microphone and says he knows Hollis is a man of honour and he won’t want to win this way. So why not see the two members of Alabama Attitude face off in the opening round of the Tournament? Hollis accepts and the match is made. Hollis has tagged with Posey since he was 18 years old, now 23, and knowing each other, as well as they do, helped them put on a really good match. Hollis picked up the win with the back elbow to see himself through to the next round.
The third match on the show gives us our first chance to see Caprice Coleman in singles action. Coleman split with his tag team partner Cedric Alexander before Christmas after they were unable to capture tag team gold and this was the first televised singles match Coleman has had. His opponent in the match was Jay Lethal who got himself a win with the Lethal Injection. Post-match Lethal took the mic and apologised to Coleman for underestimating him and I must admit I was in the same position. This match is a really good advert for the talent on show in ROH right now and if Coleman continues to produce these performances he would be a good shout for a TV title opportunity of his own. After apologising to Coleman, Lethal then turns his attention to Tommaso Ciampa. He accepts Ciampa’s challenge to a match and tells him he’ll go anytime, anyplace and that next week he will be at the commentary desk for next week’s match between Ciampa and Silas Young.
This week’s television Main Event gave us the return of Chris Hero to ROH against one of the men who has cemented himself as one of ROH stop guys in Hero’s absence, Kevin Steen. The two men put on a really good match with Steen getting the win with a sleeper suplex after Hero was distracted by The Decade. Jimmy Jacobs, Roderick Strong and BJ Whitmer, known as The Decade, have an axe to grind with guys that have left Ring of Honor and then returned and have obviously set their sights on Hero. As Steen was leaving the ring a “fan” grabbed him in a headlock. The “fan” was Cliff Compton and this furthered the ongoing feud between the two men.
In a week where Jim Cornette has taken more potshots at the way ROH is ran through his weekly podcast, ROH showed that the in ring action is capable of being the best on television. The fans in the Nashville Fairground were fantastic and hopeful this is a sign of things to come for the year ahead. You can view this week’s episode by going to http://www.rohwrestling.com/tv/current.