BANDIDO INTERVIEW AFTER LAST WEEK’S SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST VICTORY- okay
Quinn came off like too much of a mark here, jumping up and down with excitement when she saw the SOTF winner. Bandido hugging her and picking her up off the ground at the end didn’t help, either, but she didn’t initiate that so I can’t blame her for it. What I can blame her for is looking at the camera at the end and saying “never disappoints!”
Well… not all of the blame goes to Quinn. I wish she could have found something less obnoxious to say, (like just signing off of the interview and pitching to the announcers), but this is clearly a Creative choice being made to end these interviews with a zoom in on the interviewer so that she can say something corny, and that’s not good, as it takes the focus away from the wrestler and puts it on whatever supposedly-funny thing the interviewer is saying.
Bandido’s promo was a fine “I’m deliriously happy because I just won the big match so I don’t have anything to say other than the basic “I’m happy I won, and I’m coming for you, Mr. World Champion.”
Quinn told us that Mike Bennett would be challenging for the Pure Title at Best in the World 2021 because he won a Pure Rules gauntlet match (and thus shot up the rankings). When did that happen? I didn’t even know he was in the Pure Rules division!
His shot will come against the winner of today’s opening contest, where Jonathan Gresham will defend the Pure Title against Fred Yehi, who also won a Pure Rules gauntlet. When did that happen?
Wait. Hold on. I have some vague memories of this…
Ah. My notes say it was on the 3/26 episode. Since winning this big gauntlet and shooting up the rankings, Yehi has been on the show exactly ONCE, beating Rocky Romero a month ago. I appreciate that people are actually having to win matches to earn a title shot, but if the wins are spaced so far apart that I have to look at my notes to remember the last time he was on the show then the character has no momentum and you’re going into your title match completely cold! (Also, if I had to chose between Gresham and Yehi or Gresham and Bennett for the PPV, I’m picking Gresham and Yehi.)
FRED YEHI VIDEO PACKAGE/PROMO- decent
JONATHAN GRESHAM VIDEO PACKAGE/PROMO- very good
This video package right here did an excellent job of telling Yehi’s story in ROH right now; that after Dak Draper punched him in the face after a Pure Rules match, he began questioning the division and ROH’s general idea of honor. It’s possible that Yehi didn’t do a good job of conveying that important detail in that promo he cut before the match with Rocky where he was questioning honor, and if so, he bears some responsibility for this, but if a wrestler leaves some important framing out of a promo, the booker should tell the wrestler to do it again.
And, not to beat a dead horse, but it’s possible that Yehi did a great job of framing things in that promo and I just forgot because IT’S BEEN OVER A MONTH SINCE THAT PROMO AND THERE WAS NO FOLLOW-UP OF ANY KIND! We couldn’t get a post-match interview to air the next week (and maybe even Gresham getting in Yehi’s face a bit about doubting honor)? Really?
Anyway, Gresham tells Yehi to leave all of his complaining on the apron. Yehi should know that Gresham will wrestle cleanly, and so Yehi had better do so as well. Gresham says that they need allies in the fight to restore honor, and Yehi needs to choose a side.
ROH PURE TITLE MATCH: Jonathan Gresham(c) vs. Fred Yehi- 6.75/10
Mike Bennett was on commentary for this match. Ian told us that P.J. Black returned from his injury in this Pure Rules gauntlet that Bennett won and no one saw. That seems like a waste of a return.
I’m sure I liked this match for than others because I like mat wrestling more than most, but this was one of those matches that frustrates me about the current ROH product because it felt like a match that would have been amazing if it went another ten minutes, but they don’t have the time so it just ended after twelve. They did a good job telling their story of both men being even (I loved the touch of neither man using a rope-break, and when they wound up in the ropes it was essentially them just locking up and pushing each other around and both bumping into them by accident so Sinclair didn’t charge anyone a rope break because both were in the ropes and they didn’t actually grab them to try to break a hold), but it felt like they just jumped right to the roll-up finish because of time when there was so much more they could have done with the story by just countering each other’s big stuff for a few minutes.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- good
Gresham was a little annoyed that Yehi didn’t take his offer of a handshake, so he held the belt up in Yehi’s face. Yehi got annoyed, but did finally offer a handshake after this. I can totally see why people (Ian included) thought that Gresham was being a bit of a dick, but the lack of handshake from Yehi after a clean loss felt like it justified it to me. I think this was a situation where the intention was that some people might feel that Gresham was being a jerk but others wouldn’t, as they seem to be pushing that way with the Foundation as a whole.
QUINN MCKAY INTERVIEWS JONATHAN GRESHAM- very good
In his comments about Yehi, Gresham was a little more of a jerk here than I thought was necessary, but I can also understand why he feels offended by Gresham’s statements.
When asked about Bennett, he said he didn’t respect Bennett because Bennett thought of himself as Pure wrestler but hasn’t really showed that yet. This was once again needlessly confrontational, but I have to admit that it did ring very true to me in a way that is about three-quarters kayfabe and one quarter not. Bennett has been a babyface since returning, but this Mike Bennett doesn’t feel anything like the guy we had known in his first five years in ROH. So much of his gimmick during that time was that he was the “sports entertainment” guy with the complete and total character of a manager and hot chick former WWE Diva™ valet to hep him cheat, and he didn’t do any of the flashy moves or big dives or hard chops or grapplef*cky submissions that the consummate ROH wrestlers of the time (or of the past, for that matter).
And he doesn’t do any of that now, either, which I guess is some consistency of character, but at the same time, he… well… he feels like a babyface, but not like an ROH babyface. When Quinn said he was the guy getting the Pure Title shot at the PPV, my immediate reaction was “Mike Bennett? Really?” I’m not saying that all of ROH’s babyfaces should wrestle the same style, but I’d like to know that Bennett is at least capable of wrestling that style. And, based on Gresham’s framing, I guess that’s what this PPV match will be about.
FIGHT ON THE FARM VIDEO PACKAGE- EXCELLENT… although maybe a little too long. It definitely hit the point where I was saying “come on! I want to see the match already!”
We got a “don’t try this at home” disclaimer that used the word “stunts,” which is kind of kayfabe-breaking to me. Worse was that they put it on the screen intermittently during the match itself. It was very immersion-breaking. I don’t see that during movies, and there is plenty of dangerous stuff in movies that can be imitated.
FIGHT ON THE FARM: Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe- no rating, EXCELLENT segment
At one point Mark hit Jay in the nuts so Jay called him a “son of a bitch.” That made me laugh.
There were no pinfalls here. It was just Mark and Jay fighting under Papa Briscoe’s watchful eye to make sure things didn’t go too far (and the only time it felt like it went too far to me was when Mark choked Jay with a rope). The key here was that the tone, which both Papa Briscoes presence and Mark and Jay’s ever-present trash talk set perfectly. They punched each other and hit each other with stuff and Mark even dove off of a roof onto Jay (recreating a spot they had shown us in the video of them doing when they were kids, but now off of a higher roof), but there were no piledrivers or powerbombs. No Jay-Drillers or Cut-Throat Drivers. Once they left the ring in their shed, the only real wrestling “move” we got was biel. This was two brothers taking out their frustrations with each other. They wanted to punish, but not to maim. There was anger, but no hatred. It ended when they both acknowledged that the issue was now done with, at which point Papa Briscoe told them to go back to being the best tag team in the world. And to “clean this sh*t up!”
This was a very good episode of ROH. The Fight on the Farm is definitely worth your time to check out.
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