ROH 01/21/17 TV Review
The show this week was the fourth episode taped at the Final Battle Aftermath tapings. The show started with a great video package of the Marty Scurll/Will Ospreay feud. Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness were on commentary for this episode.
First Match: Proving Ground Marty Scurll vs. Jonathan Gresham
Both men adhered to the code of honor to start, although Scurll obnoxiously would not let go, forcing Gresham to use his foot to pry the men apart. Scurll got the best of a Greco Roman knuckle lock and backed Gresham into the corner, backing away cleanly and flapping his arms. Gresham then locked in a wristlock and worked the arm as he scored a quick two count from a crucifix. Scurll broke a side headlock by grabbing the ropes and was repeatedly Gresham in an impressive sequences that ended with a Gresham headsisors submission. Scurll stood on his head to try to escape and did, but needed to reach the ropes to escape again.
Scurll then tossed Gresham to the outside and superkicked Gresham from the apron. AFter the break, Scurll worked Gresham’s legs as he raked the face. An exchange of chops ended with a Scurll elbow that allowed him to criss-cross Gresham’s arm, only to be reversed. Scurll missed a slingshot senton, giving Gresham a chance to hit an arm drag. Gresham stayed in control and focused on the arm again, but was faked out by Scurll’s superkick threat and took a kick to the leg instead. Scurll pun for his Chickenwing pose but Gresham escaped and bent Scurll’s fingers, only to have Scurll snap his fingers before locking the Chickenwing on for a submission victory. This is a match that needs to happen himself Gresham is past the point of proving ground matches. He needs to be part of this roster permanently. Excellent work from both men.
Winner: Marty Scurll
A clip of Adam Cole vs. O’Reilly played until the commercial break and we were promised more clips later in the show.
After the break, short promos from Jay Lethal and Jay Briscoe speaking about their impending match for the Decade of Excellence tournament. The intertwined promos are a great way to create the illusion of dialogue and has been an strength in ROH’s production.
Second Match: Decade of Excellence Tournament
Christopher Daniels vs. Chris Sabin
Frankie Kazarian escorted Daniels down to the ring and joined Kelly and McGuinness on commentary. Daniels gained the early advantage with a side headlock and a top wristlock, but Sabin was able to flip out, only to be run over with a shoulder block. Sabin bounded off the ropes and used his speed to send Daniels to the outside before hitting a tope suicida. After rolling Daniels back in Sabin worked Daniels over and locked in a chinlock that Daniels eventually escaped with elbows to the breadbasket. Sabin ensnared Daniel in a convoluted hurricanrana with the aide of the ropes. However, Sabin stopped to jaw at Kazarian and his attack on Daniels was simply too late and he went into the barricade as a result.
Upon return from some t-shirt advertisements, Daniels was in firm control of Sabin. Daniels stymied Sabin’s attack with a manhattan drop and an enziguri, but his Angels Wings attempt was reversed, allowing Sabin to use his speed to send Daniels to the outside again. Daniel tok a kick to the chest and then fell victim to a flipping senton off the apron. Sabin sent Daniels back inside and fly off the top, connecting with a missile dropkick, but Daniels was able to fight out of a pinfall attempt at two. A quick springboard moonsault earned Daniels a two count and he transitioned to a Koji clutch immediately. Sabin was able to reach the ropes and the two stayed evenly matches, exchanging first chops and then rights, with Daniels tossing Sabin with a Samoan drop, only to miss the BME. However, Sabin was slammed down with an uranage and Daniels did not miss the second BME, winning the match via pinfall and advancing in the tournament. Daniels and Sabin exchanged handshakes after the match as the show went to commercial. Good match from these two, Daniels is really building steam and is way over with the crowd.
Winner: Christopher Daniels
A video recap of Corino and Cody’s match was shown before a back alley vignette aired, with Punishment Martinez, Steve Corino, BJ Whitmer and Sullivan around a garbage fire discussing how Sullivan’s plan all along was for Corino to take one of the Rhodes boys out. Kevin Kelly seemed as confused as everybody else is.
Main Event: KUSHIDA vs. Dragon Lee vs. Will Ospreay
After the pleasantries were exchanged the three exchanged arm drags in an absurdly fast paced show of athleticism from the three, with Ospreay hitting his signature flip pose before an early commercial break.
Another clip of the Cole/Ospreay match aired, this time with Cole cracking a chair over O’Reilly’s arm.
Just as jarringly as the clip was, the match is rejoined in action, with Ospreay slingshotting himself over the top rope, only to have KUSHIDA lace him a kick. KUSHIDA hit a number of kicks on Lee before he was locked in an STF, only to escape and lock in an armbar. Ospreay broke up the maneuver and sent Lee to the outside and promptly have KUSHIDA work on Ospreay’s arm. KUSHIDA missed a handspring flip off the ropes, but Ospreay didn’t and connected with a kick to the head. Ospreay followed with a springboard forearm. KUSHIDA then was hit with a backflip over the top from Ospreay before Lee hit both of them with a flipping senton over the top. Ospreay missed a shooting star to the outside and caught a right hand from KUSHIDA to the jaw, who was caught with a hurricanrana from Lee then darted him into Ospreay. Just watch the match, seriously. Unbelieveable stuff here. Ospreay wantonly used shooting star presses and tornillos to break up pinfalls, but ultimately fell victim to a fisherman’s DDT/small package combination, allowing Kushida to pick up the win via pinfall. Great match, even if some of the pinfall break ups seemed a bit ludicrous and took me out of the match for a moment, the rest of the match more than made up for anything else.
The end of the Cole/O’Reilly match aired, which saw Cole hit three superkicks before a Last Shot, winning the ROH World title for an historic third time.
Final Reaction: A
This was a really strong showing from ROH this week. Having Scurll and Ospreay on the same show goes a long way to guaranteeing that an hour of television will feature strong matches. Gresham is someone who needs to be on ROH programming far more, as every time he is on screen he puts on a clinic with someone. Daniels’ climb through the Decade of Excellence tournament brackets has been heartening to watch and he is performing at an absurd level, regardless of age. The Corino/Whitmer/Sullivan angle grows more confusing, as Sullivan claimed that the end result was always to end Cody and the “Gold One”. How this plays out moving forward seems uncertain. The KUSHIDA/Dragon Lee/Ospreay match was top notch, showing the fruits of ROH’s partnership with CMLL and NJPW can be extremely fruitful. The match clips were a treat, but could have been placed differently, as the second to last one was a bid odd, airing during the middle of the main event. This is defintely a must watch episode.
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