ROH Saturday Night at Center Stage (8/24/2019)- Atlanta, GA
LIFEBLOOD (Mark Haskins & Tracy Williams) vs. VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (Brody King & PCO)- 6.75/10
Look… unless you’re going to actually explain exactly what PCO is supposed to be in kayfabe, this “electrical malfunction” spot where he goes and dives out of the wrong side of the ring is utterly moronic and needs to stop right away.
They had a match that was all action. PCO bled a lot. Villain Enterprises won when Flip Gordon came out hit Tracy in the back with a chair, the Brody King hit the Gonzo Bomb.
ROCK N’ ROLL EXPRESS PROMO & SEGMENT WITH THE BRISCOES- Ricky cut a good promo but… if this were real, would anyone think these old geezers have a snowball’s chance in hell of lasting more than five minutes against the Briscoes? Maybe if this were six or seven years ago and the RnRs were still in their mid-fifties I could believe that two famously tough guys with no quit in their bodies could make a good fight of it, but at this point they’re both north of sixty and the Brisoces are the f*cking Briscoes.
The Briscoes came out to interrupt them, although there seemed to be an odd problem with their entrance, and the video started way before their music. Jay cut a great promo on the RnRs and Ricky came back with another good promo and they were separated by security and this was a very good segment… except for the fact that I have no interest in seeing this match at this point due to the above issue.
SUMIE SAKAI vs. ANGELINA LOVE (w/Mandy Leon)- 4/10
Ian Riccaboni’s claim that Angelina Live and Sumie Sakai have had similar career paths was ridiculous enough to get me to mute the rest of this match. Stuff happened. It wasn’t very good. The story was Allure using the numbers game to get the advantage and the win. Said win came after Mandy sprayed Sumie in the eyes with hairspray and Angelina hit a bicycle kick which caught Sumie in the stomach instead of the chin. Sumie is 5’1’’. After the match Kelly Klein suggested that there might be a fourth member of Allure and then winked at the camera. Then Kelly allowed her hated enemies to just waltz right past her on their way out of the building. Please, G-d, don’t let them do a Russo Swerve.
SHINOBI SHADOW SQUAD vs. OKAMURA, FELINO, & SILAS YOUNG (w/Josh Woods)- 5/10
Josh Woods is apparently now Silas’ protégé and is sitting at ringside taking notes on Silas’ match. “This guy won the Top Prospect Tournament two years ago. This is not a gimmick he should be doing. Doing it devalues the entire tournament.” Those were my initial thoughts on this, but upon some more reflection, the world of sports often sees highly-touted prospects fail to make an impact at the major league level, and thus there is something of a story to be told here with Woods hooking up with a veteran who is willing to teach him in order to improve his game. Hopefully they actually tell that story well instead of this going the direction of Seek & Destroy or Adam Page’s tenure under the wing of BJ Whitmer.
Anyway, they had a fine match. Stuff happened and the heels won cleanly, which caught me by surprise. The crowd was really into Okamura.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- very good
We got handshakes all around and Silas was actually polite on the mic after the match. That was utterly shocking. Silas then called Woods in the ring and explained that guys like Felino and Okamura were big stars and respected veterans and he had Woods come to ringside for this match to learn. “So,” Silas asked, “have you learned what I’ve been teaching?”
And that right there was the signal for Woods to start the dastardly heel attack, which he did with a low blow on Okamura. Felino went after Woods but was quickly laid out. They did a great job of taking me from expecting a post-match assault to convincing me that there wouldn’t be one, only to then pull the rug out from under me in an unexpected way. Well done. Even better, we’ve set up a return match in such a way that I now actually care about these CMLL guys instead of them just being two of a troop of six to eight guys who come in every once in a while to fill up space on the cars so that ROH and CMLL can claim that their partnership isn’t just both guys being friends with New Japan and ROH reaping the occasional benefit of a Dragon Lee appearance.
TV TITLE #1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH: P.J. Black vs. LSG vs. Chase Owens- 6.25/10
I have no idea what any of these three men did to warrant being put in a #1 contendership match. Ian pushed that this was a match-up of three men who had never been ROH TV Champion before, but if that’s all you needed to qualify then why wasn’t, say, Josh Woods in this match? Or Ian’s commentary partner Caprice Coleman? Hell, even I technically qualify. Owens won a solid ten-minute match to earn a title shot tomorrow night that everyone knows he’ll lose.
DALTON CASTLE & JOE HENDRY SEGMENT- great
The short of this is that they both want the world title and both claims to be the most entertaining person in the company. And they both were certainly entertaining here. The crowd reacted to Dalton like he was the babyface and Hendry like someone they didn’t quite know what to think of yet. The announcers seemed to react to Hendry like he was the babyface and Dalton like he was… not quite a babyface, but also not really a heel. Personally, I saw two heels, and based off of Dalton’s promo he was definitely trying to be one, but the fans just weren’t having it.
MARTY SCURLL vs. BANDIDO- 7.75/10
Scurll wins clean, then puts Bandido over afterwards. These two factions are in the middle of a feud which Marty’s group started, and which featured VE cheating to beat LifeBlood earlier on this very show. Why is Marty suddenly being a total babyface about things?
CHAMPIONS VS. ALL-STARS EIGHT-MAN ELIMINATION TAG TEAM MATCH: ROH Champions (Matt Taven, Shane Taylor, & the Briscoes) vs. ROH All-Stars (Jay Lethal, Kenny King, Jeff Cobb, & Rush)- 7.75/10
Lanny Poffo was on commentary and did a great job of putting over the talent, even if he did spend a little too much time waxing on nostalgically. The other commentators had their moments where they were good, but also had their moments when they were… not. One of the big problems on commentary continues to be the feel. Ian and Caprice come across as if they are taking the action seriously, but things like Ian’s forced references and Caprice’s overselling on the chops (yeah, they hurt… but so do all of the other moves, because it’s supposed to be real) make it feel like they are people trying to be part of a performance, rather than observing a real situation. The phrase “big-time” (as in “big-time stars”) needs to be avoided at all costs. It’s just one of those phrases where merely saying it comes off as so desperately insistent that it makes clear that you’re not really big-time. Also, can we PLEASE stop reacting to the word ass like it’s some sort of major taboo word that is completely unfit for polite society? It’s 2019, but the things like this make the commentary feel like it belongs in the 1970s.
They did some good rising action for the first fifteen minutes or so before we got the first elimination. This came when Amy Rose brought Kenny King water. Jay Briscoe took exception to this and took the water away and dumped it on Amy, but this distraction allowed Kenny King to roll him up for the win. Instead of being happy that her man got the elimination, Amy Rose was upset that waster had been dumped on her. And it’s not like she was wearing a t-shirt that turned transparent or anything, either. She was just upset at having had water dumped on her. Maybe this would have been excusable if we were still at the “don’t know if they’re in cahoots” stage of the storyline, but it has been abundantly clear for months now that she is purposely helping Kenny King win matches, so why not just have her show the obvious and expected emotion?
After this happened Amy Rose either ejected from ringside or left on her own. Ian Riccaboni protested that she wasn’t doing anything wrong, but I strongly disagree. A wrestler getting water during a match has always been portrayed as a heel tactic, and thus Amy purposely aiding a wrestling in doing so is heelish as well. Jay Briscoe was right to be upset at her, and dumping the water onto Amy killed two birds with one stone (revenge on Amy, and preventing Kenny King from drinking the water).
Booking-wise this added some fuel to Rush vs. Taven, although that was done in the form of a frustrating “we really don’t want Taven to do a job but we had to have him in this match” DQ. This is the sort of thing that I’m fine with if you do it very rarely, but at the same time, doing it in this match is a little frustrating because one of the draws of Champions vs. All-Stars was to see how they would set up new challengers by having champions get pinned. More importantly, though, this match did a great job of making Taylor look strong, to the point where he almost feels like he fits in with the main eventers now. It also set up King & Lethal vs. Briscoes set up, which seems like it should make for a great match with a predictable yet well-told story. I actually really like the idea of King and Lethal being forced to work together more than I would in most situations like these. There is something about these two- especially coming off of the way they played off of each other in their ROH World Title shot at Summer Supercard that makes pairing them up for a “partner that don’t get along and we know they’ll never win” title shot more exciting to me than with most other people who have been in this situation over the years.
This was a pretty solid (albeit slightly disappointing) show from ROH in the ring, but it had enough storyline importance to make the viewing experience enjoyable all the way through, and it was nice to see Champions vs. All-Stars return. What wasn’t enjoyable, though, was having to wait ALMOST TWO WHOLE MONTHS before ROH finally fixed the video on Honor Club so that it didn’t cut out a few minutes before the end of the main event. Whoever takes care of uploading the videos and assuring their quality really needs to get their sh*t together, as this is not the first time this sort of thing has happened and it has taken well over a month to fix.
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