Last week Silas Young offered to give The Boys a second chance, and the feud between Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole moved forward. Both of these stories would continue this week, and we would also see the first match of the annual Top Prospect Tournament.
Mr. Wrestling 3 and Kevin Kelly were on commentary.
1st Round ROH Top Prospect Tournament – Brian Fury vs. Shaheem Ali
This was a back and forth match that lasted about six minutes. Ali landed the hard way onto the bottom turnbuckle after Fury slid in behind him into a roll up position and just threw him straight back. It was nasty enough that I almost sold it just watching it.
With Ali about to land a high spot from the top rope, the veteran Fury grabbed the referee’s ankle. This distraction allowed Fury to regain control, and to hit a sitdown powerbomb for the pinfall victory to advance in the tournament.
Analysis: This was a pretty good, opening tournament match. Brian Fury is a 17 year veteran, who also trained last year’s tournament winner, Donovan Dijak, and WWE’s Sasha Banks.
Shaheem Ali was the first graduate of the highly reputable Monster Factory, which trained famous wrestlers like The Big Show, Sheamus, Tony Atlas, and Bam Bam Bigelow. Ali’s strikes and motions in the ring were methodical, and he did a nice job of engaging the crowd.
Cedric Alexander w/Veda Scott vs. Cheeseburger
Veda gets on the mic, references the money she and Cedric received from the lawsuit against ROH, and says they can buy everyone a thousand times over, including Jonathan Gresham (a reference to the wrestler that upset Cedric weeks ago on episode 224 of ROH TV). Veda says that Cedric deserves the best in the world, and tells ROH to send them out. In this case, the best in the world is apparently Cheeseburger, who answers the challenge.
Cheeseburger and Alexander had a back and forth match, with Cheeseburger playing the underdog nicely. Cheeseburger teased the shotei palm strike, but Alexander was able to duck out of the way, and a short time later hit the lumbar check for the pinfall victory.
After the match, Alexander continued his assault on cheeseburger, and Jonathan Gresham came out to his rescue. Veda grabs a microphone and asks Gresham if he wants another shot at Alexander, which he does. The rematch then happens impromptu.
Analysis: It was nice to see the ultimate underdog Cheeseburger back on ROH TV, and I enjoyed Cedric getting some momentum back as well. This was a decent set-up into the rematch with Jonathan Gresham.
Cedric Alexander w/Veda Scott vs. Jonathan Gresham
This match was back and forth, nicely paced, and didn’t last overly long. Gresham locked Alexander in a cobra twist and Scott entered the ring and attacked Gresham before Alexander could tap out, causing the blatant disqualification. After the match, Alexander attacked Gresham, and several referees intervened to break it up.
Analysis: I’m enjoying the feud between these two, and it appears this will continue. They’ve done a good job of putting Gresham into the role of overlooked, babyface underdog, and Cedric’s current role is probably my favorite of his time in ROH.
Nigel Makes a Big Announcement Concerning the ROH World Championship
Out comes The House of Truth (Jay Lethal, Taeler Hendrix, and Truth Martini) to hear Nigel’s announcement. Nigel’s announcement is that he will name who will face Jay Lethal on the 14th Anniversary show on February 26th. Nigel says Kyle O’Reilly is a solid contender, but since he lost at Final Battle to Adam Cole, Cole is looking like a number one contender. Adam Cole comes out and proclaims a new champion will be crowned and his name is Adam Cole bay bay. Nigel says Cole didn’t let him finish. Nigel then announces Kyle O’Reilly to the match, to make it a triple threat match (Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly) for the ROH World Championship at the 14th Anniversary show. O’Reilly comes out and tells Nigel that he can’t wait to get his hands on Lethal and Cole. Nigel won’t make him either, as he books a tag team match for next week’s main event of Jay Lethal and Adam Cole versus reDRagon.
Analysis: This has the potential to be a great triple threat match, and it also makes the champion extra vulnerable to lose. After losing at Final Battle I’m not sure how Kyle O’Reilly has earned this opportunity, but I hope they’ll continue to build him as a legitimate threat to win heading into the match.
Silas Young promo
A video package is shown of Young defeating Castle. Similar to last week, Silas cuts a promo saying he will give The Boys one more chance to come back. Young warns that they’ll be sorry if they don’t.
Analysis: Not much to add here, other than they’re moving forward with this feud and I wouldn’t be surprised if a match came out of this at the 14th Anniversary show.
Michael Elgin vs. Jay Briscoe w/Mark Briscoe vs. Moose w/Stokely Hathaway
This match started out as a one-on-one encounter between Elgin and Briscoe. Moose and Stokely Hathaway interrupted and informed both of them that Nigel made this a triple threat match.
This turned out to be a solid main event triple threat match between three talented wrestlers, which is no surprise. Jay Briscoe pinned Elgin with a backslide outta nowhere (hopefully that doesn’t become a “thing”). After the match, Elgin grabs a microphone and challenges the Briscoes to a tag team match at the 14th anniversary show. Elgin says his partner will be someone he can completely trust, and then names NJPW’s Hiroshi Tanahashi. A handshake seals the deal for the match.
Analysis: Moose is losing far too much. I don’t care that they’re trying to protect him by putting him in triple threats, when that is overdone, it still hurts his momentum. He’s a star, lock him into a long term deal and push him.
Final Thoughts: Overall, this was a pretty good show. They advanced a couple of stories, and have begun setting up the card for the ROH 14th Anniversary show. I would recommend they put Donovan Dijak back on TV ASAP, or risk losing his momentum from his split from The House of Truth. I would also have The Young Bucks on TV more for the simple fact that they’re popular and ROH is paying them a lot of money.