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COMMENT





ROH: Promotion makes national TV debut
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


Ring of Honor made its national television debut on HDNet on Saturday night. For many (myself included), it was their first exposure to the ROH product, making it critical for the promotion to set up the key feuds and introduce the new fans to its wrestlers. ROH succeed on both accounts, making a solid debut.

Tonight's show is broadcast from The Arena (formerly the ECW Arena) in Philadelphia, Pa. Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak are our hosts.

The broadcast was not unlike HDNet's mixed martial arts broadcasts. Each match received a "smack talk" video and "The 1...2...3!!!" with three notes on each wrestler. These tools were extremely effective in promoting the wrestlers and their characters. On top of this, ROH used a few video packages to build further.

They quickly got the fact that the wrestlers have to shake hands prior to each match over.

In tonight's main event, Tyler Black will meet Jimmy Jacobs.

Match #1 - Jerry Lynn (Minneapolis, Minn.) vs. Delirious (The Edge of Sanity)

Delirious is quite insane to start the match. It's a fast-paced, back-and-forth match to start.

Delirious hits for a string of clothesline but Lynn is able to counter. He hits a spin-o-rama and drops Delirious flat on his face. Lynn charges at Delirious but eats a drop-toe hold into the turnbuckle.

Delirious goes for Shadows Over Hell but misses. Lynn picks him up but Delirious counters into a sunset flip. Lynn props Delirious up on the top rope and hits a hurricarana and the TKO for a two count.

Delirious charges at Lynn in the corner, but Lynn moves and grabs the rebounding Delirious with the cradle piledriver for the fall.

Winner via pinfall: Jerry Lynn

Backstage reporter Kyle Durden welcomes in Tyler Black. They detail how Jimmy Jacobs turned his back on Black. Black talks about revenge. Black says seeking out revenge takes a lot out of someone. Black says he's going to kick Jacobs' head off his shoulders.

Match #2 - Sami Callihan vs. Kenny King (Las Vegas, NV)

King is nicknamed "The Pretty Boy Pitbull". I like this guy.

Callihan works a headlock in the early going, controlling King, but King explodes out of it and snaps Callihan's neck on the top rope, jumping clear out of the ring in the process.

King goes to work with a Level-5 Randy Orton Chinlock that Callihan escapes. King hits a big head kick and an even bigger spinebuster for a very close two count.

Callihan takes the edge with a suplex. Both wrestler are down and get up at the count of six. Callihan is working King with punches. Callihan hits two kicks and a chinbreaker and then after a scramble locks in his trademark Koji Clutch. King is able to fight through the get his foot on the ropes.

Callihan misses a corner charge, allowing King to hit what WWE fans would know as the Elijah Express and then the Coronation for the fall.

Winner via pinfall: Kenny King

Kyle Durden is backstage with Jimmy Jacobs. Jacobs says he brought Black into ROH for a movement to spread his message. He says instead of doing what's right, Black does what's easy. Jacobs says tonight, despite what Black thinks and what the fans want, he is going to break him.

(Ads)

Match #3 - Rhett Titus (Long Beach Island, NJ) vs. Brent Albright (Tulsa, Okla)

Titus' nickname is "Addicted to Love" and he is the tag team partner of Kenny King.

Albright hits Splash Mountain (Razor's Edge), but Titus gets his foot on the rope. Albright clotheslines Titus over the top and springboards out onto him. Albright throws Titus back in but Titus attacks him while he's on the apron which turns the tide of the match.

Albright starts to come back but Titus quells that with a rake to the eyes. Titus slams Albright and lands a knee drop for two. Titus goes to work with a chinlock with a knee in the back.

Titus gets too cocky and Albright hits a leg lariat, some clotheslines and a dropkick, but Titus gets his foot on the rope during the pin attempt. Albright then goes to work, hitting a Rock Bottom, a full nelson suplex and then applies the Crowbar for the quick tap.

Winner via submission: Brent Albright

Match #4 - Jimmy Jacobs (Grand Rapids, Mich.) vs. Tyler Black (Davenport, Iowa)

Jacobs throws some chairs into the ring and attacks Black when he turns his back to kick them out of the ring. In a cool spot, Black lifts Jacobs up in the corner, but in the air, Jacobs turns it into a head scissors into the turnbuckle.

Black gains brief control and goes to the top rope but Jacobs pushes him off into the guard rail. Jacobs dives off the apron for an elbow drop. He grabs a chair and sets it up and sits Black down in it. He punches him a few times before the referee stops him and forces the action back inside. (It is here where it was noted that there is a 20 count in ROH. That is good to know.)

Jacobs continues to go to work, hitting some double stomps. With Black hurting, Jacobs taunts him by slapping him in the hard a few times. Black doesn't like this and shoots a double-leg takedown. Black then military presses him down.

Now Black is in control, hitting a springboard clothesline. He then hits a standing moonsault for two. Black misses a top-rope maneuver and walks right into a spear. Jacobs sends Black to the outside and then springboards out on top of him.

Black gains control and goes for God's Last Gift, but Jacobs counters into a guillotine choke. Black eventually gets out and misses a superkick. Jacobs counters into a sunset flip for two. Jacobs locks in the guillotine again and it's tight and in the middle of the ring. The referee checks the arm. It drops twice, but on the third time, Black rolls through and gets the pinfall.

Winner via pinfall: Tyler Black

Well, it's safe to say Ring of Honor is not the same as WWE. Very safe. The show was very wrestling heavy and was aided by the fact that there was only one commercial break during the show. They set up the characters the best they could and made the main event seem like a big match.

Unfortunately, the only wrestler I'd heard of on this show was Brent Albright and, to a lesser extent, Jimmy Jacobs. Where was Nigel McGuinness? The Briscoes?

Watching the Sengoku MMA show early Friday morning on HDNet, they kept promoting ROH with McGuinness commercials. And then he's not even on the first show? Your world champion is not on your first show? Seriously?

Outside of that, the show was pretty good and it's a different style of wrestling if that is what you desire.

Matt Bishop is SLAM! Wrestling's ECW reporter. He can be reached at bishop20@msu.edu. Please include your name and hometown. If you're interested in mixed martial arts, check out Matt's weekly podcast -- Lights Out Radio. Should be a good one!.