OPENING SEGMENT- fine
We start off with Ian Riccaboni in the ring along with the four men who are currently due ROH World Title shots: Chris Sabin, Dalton Castle, Flip Gordon, and Marty Scurll. Ian announces that they will have a Four Corner Survival Match later tonight to determine who gets a shot at Lethal first (which will take place on January 13th at Honor Reigns Supreme 2019).
Ian then starts to bring out “the man who successfully retained the ROH World Title at Final Battle” but before Ian can say Jay Lethal’s name, Matt Taven comes out. The timing Taven’s music was absolutely perfect to make it feel like he was cutting Ian off. Taven said none of them deserve a shot at his “Real ROH World Title” and does stand-up comedy to bury them all.
Jay Lethal finally came out and got in Taven’s face about his fake title. Taven spit on the ROH World Title, starting a brawl. This segment should have happened MONTHS AGO. Referees and security came out to break it up and we went to a commercial.
PROVING GROUND MATCH: ROH TV Champion Jeff Cobb vs. Luchasaurus- 6/10
The match was short but good for the time it got. Cobb won a match full of high-impact moves.
One area where I think ROH could use some improvement is there upcoming events graphics. Ian just told us that the show on January 13th is going to be Honor Reigns Supreme 2019, but when they showed a graphic for it during this match they didn’t have the name and it made the show feel a lot less important than it previously had. It made it feel like “just another Honor Club show.”
KELLY KLEIN PROMO- not good
Kelly herself did not sound very confident speaking, and the content of her promo annoyed me for several reasons. Kelly announced that all of her singles matches are now going to be title matches. This is bad because
1. It comes off as way to close to what WWE seems to be doing with Ronda Rousey.
2. It completely goes against her “Gatekeeper” nickname.
3. This is a total babyface move. Is Kelly a babyface now? If so, that would be yet another non-turn, where someone is just a different alignment all of a sudden without anything actually demonstrating to us that a change happened. Why should we be cheering for Kelly Klein now? Sure, she won the belt cleanly and you definitely can’t dispute her worthiness to be the champion, but she’s still the same asshole bully we’ve known since the day she set foot in ROH.
4. With Kelly now a babyface, does the division have any heels left? Karen Q? Yeah, but she got eliminated first in the match at Final Battle so it’s going to take a while to build her back up. And meanwhile… what? Kelly keeps defending the title in matches against random women who everyone knows she’ll never lose to? We just had a babyface champion and all of the division’s top stars other than Kelly were babyfaces so why on Earth would you turn Kelly babyface?
WOMEN OF HONOR WORLD TITLE MATCH: Kelly Klein(c) vs. Nikki Addams- 2/10
Yup, Kelly is even offering handshakes now. Of course, because Kelly is offering one, this random Nikki Addams woman has to refuse it. I’d really like to see this be given as an on-air reason for Nikki not bring brought back after her unimpressive loss here. Do something to make it feel like there are consequences to not following the Code of Honor.
The match was very dull, and Kelly won with a knee that did not look like it went anywhere near her opponent’s head.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- didn’t like it
Jenny Rose came out and said that apparently she and Kelly have “unfinished business.” The announcers were thoroughly unhelpful as to the specifics of this. She said she wanted their match at Honor Reigns Supreme 2019 to be a Street Fight as well as being a title match (which it has now become by virtue of Kelly’s announcement.” Kelly responded to this by telling Jenny “I will see you in the streets of Concord.” To somehow make this response worse, she dramatically pointed at Jenny when she said “you” and did air-quotes when she said “streets.” I know I’ve been saying that they need to give more people time to cut promos if they want us to care about them, but not everyone is cut out for promos. In Kelly Klein’s case, I think she really needs to stick to wrestling and looking mean.
One other thing I noticed here is that neither the announcers nor the wrestlers used the name “Honor Reigns Supreme.” Instead they just kept talking about Concord. Between that and aforementioned graphic not using the name either, the most likely explanation to me seems to be that they had no idea what they were calling the show at the time this was all taped. In addition to really exposing the haphazard and painfully intentionally generic nature of the show names, this is a problem because giving the show a name is intended to make the show feel big, but if no one actually uses the name then it giving it a name is pointless.
BEER CITY BRUISER & BRIAN MILONAS IN A BAR- BCB is sad because Silas Young won’t return his calls or e-mails. Milonas tells Bruiser to quit f*ckuing around. He knows that Silas is going to be at the arena so just go talk to him there. This was the first time I have cared about either of these men. I still think there are much better options out there for ROH, but at least I don’t feel like these guys are an active waste of time now.
A weird heartrate type of graphic appeared on the screen. Either that or Braniac temporarily took over my TV.
CHRISTOPHER DANIELS RETIREMENT SPEECH & SEGMENT- Daniels gave a great speech. Joe Koff then came out and said that because Daniels saved Cary Silkin at Final Battle he showed that he loves ROH and so Koff is here to offer Daniels a contract for 2019 if he wants it. Before Daniels could accept the contract he was attacked by Shane Taylor, who is angry that Daniels has been offered a contract instead of him. Daniels made a short comeback but Taylor destroyed him, ripped up his contract, and stuffed it down his throat. This would be fine, but… a week or so before this aired (or, alternatively, two weeks after it was taped), Taylor Tweeted that he had signed a new contract with ROH. So either he already had a new contract- which case why is he angry?- or he was rewarded for this heinous attack by being given a new contract.
Also, they spent all of this time telling us how great Daniels was and how he’s such a legend, but no one came out to help him? And Joe Koff was standing right there, with a microphone. Should he have tried to say something to get Taylor to stop, like telling him he’d be fired if he kept going? It feels like Koff only gets involved and uses his authority to stop heels from committing heinous actions or punish them for doing so when Bully Ray is involved, and that’s a problem because it makes it seem like Koff, our babyface authority figure, just has a grudge against Bully rather than caring about enforcing the rules and protecting the wellbeing of the competitors.
As for the whole idea of doing this angle… I have come to terms with the fact that ROH seems to like to “write people out” like this and I have no problem with the logic of it, and especially when it’s being used to elevate someone like Taylor as opposed to just Bullet doing and overkill super-finisher on Mike Bennett for no reason. With the particular set-up here, though, I think is a mistake if Dainels isn’t going to stick around to feud with Taylor, because that is the natural follow-up to an angle like this. Daniels has proved that he belongs in ROH and management came around to seeing that, too, and offered him a contract. To have him just not come back after this attack would fly in the face of all of that.
ZACK SBARE JR. MAKES HIS ROH TV DEBUT NEXT WEEK- ZSJ vs. Tracy Williams! Hell yeah!
WINNER GETS AN ROH WORLD TITLE SHOT AT HONOR REIGNS SUPREME 2019: Flip Gordon vs. Marty Scurll vs. Chris Sabin vs. Dalton Castle (w/the Boys)- 7/10
Bobby Cruise became the first person to actually say “Honor Reigns Supreme” on this show.
Jay Lethal joined Ian & Colt on commentary for this match. He said that Taven is “really starting to get under [his] skin” now by going around and claiming to be the real ROH World Champion. “JUST STARTING?” He’s been doing this for almost six months now! And three months ago he and his buddies jumped you after a match and laid you out! Are you telling me that didn’t bother you?
Delirious’ booking seems to operate under the ridiculous assumption that unless someone says something directly to him/her or mentions him/her by name, a wrestler is completely unaware of everything that goes on in the promotion, and that any time that passes between two segments in a feud can just be ignored, so that even if something happened three months ago and a wrestler hasn’t done anything about it yet, the moment they decide to do something about it we’re supposed to take it as if it’s still fresh and happened yesterday, as opposed to the reality that it happened several months ago and if the wrestler didn’t feel the need to act on it in the intervening months then it really wasn’t very important to him/her.
This was spotty, but that was basically what they had to do with the pathetic nine minutes they were given for a #1 contendership match between four guys who already have title shots coming to them. Dalton pinned Flip clean, which I guess was inevitable but also seems to needlessly hurt Flip (especially because the match so short). Lethal and Dalton had a stare-down and handshake after the match.
This was an okay show from ROH. They are definitely improving from what they were the last time I did a full review of a show, but there are still some big issues with the philosophy of the booking that bother me a lot.
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