ROH decision-makers should be constantly telling themselves -- "we need to differentiate ourselves from WWE."
So far in its 2-week return to TV, ROH has succeeded in doing that in a number of ways.
The most important way the company is differentiating itself from WWE is by putting an emphasis on the in-ring action. Sure, WWE occasionally has great matches on PPV, and even more rarely on TV, but ROH is doing a good job of focusing each show around the main event match.
On this week's show, the unquestioned highlight was the main event of El Generico vs. Jay Lethal for the TV Championship. It was the type of match (both in the time allotted and in the spots they were allowed to do), that you'll never see on WWE TV.
The match went back-and-forth, establishing both guys as credible champions (although I'm not sure if I'm ever going to be able to fully look past Generico's silly gimmick).
In the end, the time limit expired, and Jim Cornette added 3 minutes in order to find out a winner. The crowd was into every move down the stretch and popped huge as the two wrestlers started laying into each other at the start of the overtime period.
After ducking a second Yakuza kick from Genrico, Lethal landed a superkick, and then hit the Lethal Injection to win the title.
Taking the title off of Generico so soon -- he won it from Christopher Daniels in June at the Best in the World iPPV -- shows that Lethal is going to be a big part of ROH going forward.
Other thoughts on the show ...
- Expect much of the same kind of action from next week's main event of Davey Richards vs. Roderick Strong for the ROH World Heavyweight Championship. On this week's show, a video package was used to show the differences between both men, and that Richards is trying to defeat Strong for the first time in his career.
- I think it's safe to say that at 36 and 39 years old, respectively, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas are never going to turn into guys who can deliver great promos. With that being said, their in-ring interview with Jim Cornette that opened the show was OK, and both guys showed a good amount of intensity in demanding a match with the Briscoes, Jay and Mark.
However, in another example of the show feeling dated, no mention was made of the All Night Express beating the Briscoes in the Ladder War 3 at Death Before Dishonor IX. So technically, Rhett Titus and Kenny King should be next in line for a shot at the titles. One of the announcers should have said that.
- The 'Focus On' segment featuring "The Prodigy" Mike Bennett set him up as a cocky heel who wants to use professional wrestling as a springboard to a career in Hollywood. (He said he was going to be like The Rock, only a better wrestler.) Cornette put him over as a future champion and star, but said the worst part is that Bennett knows it too.
Bennett picked up a victory over Jimmy Jacobs in the only other match on the show. Bennett won with 'The Box Office Smash,' a variation of 'The Rock Bottom'. I thought Jacobs got too much offence in on Bennett, but it was a decent match.
- There was a little less of Kevin Kelly on this week's show, which was a good thing. Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are already better than any commentating team in WWE and TNA (not saying much, right?), but there was just too much of the former WWE announcer last week.
It seems like Kelly will be doing most of the backstage/vignette interviews, with Cornette doing the in-ring interviews and vignette promos, and McGuinness interviewing the fans for their thoughts on the outcomes of certain matches.
- Aside from the main event, the other highlight of the show was a video package used to explain the origins of Eddie Edwards' nickname, "Die Hard." Edwards said that coming back months earlier than expected from a gruesome elbow injury helped endear him to ROH fans.
For the second week in a row, ROH has done a good job of using video packages to establish Edwards as the No. 2 babyface in the company.