For the third week in a row, the main event of ROH TV delivered.
Davey Richards and Roderick Strong had a 20+ minute match for the ROH Heavyweight Championship that started slowly, and then picked up after the commercial break.
The finishing sequence saw Davey apply the anklelock in the middle of the ring, while Strong's manager, Truth Martini, distracted the ref. Davey got rid of Martini by throwing him over the top rope, but this gave Strong the opportunity to hit the Sick Kick, and apply the Strong Hold (Boston crab).
Richards was able to reverse the Strong Hold, and after a series of strikes and kicks, re-apply the anklelock, forcing Strong to tap out.
The timing was a little off at the end, with Strong tapping out too early, not allowing anticipation to build to the finish.
But overall, the match was really good. And once again, it's the type of match you don't get a chance to see on WWE television.
Other thoughts on the show ...
- While the main event delivered, the rest of the show was lacklustre. This was the weakest of the first 3 shows.
Audio issues negated the effectiveness of the opening segment promo with the Briscoes and Jim Cornette. At one point, we could hear someone on the headset (presumably a producer). Even more distracting was that throughout the promo, the audio was seemingly coming from the house mic. It was indy-show quality.
- Once again, Death Before Dishonor IX was treated as if it never happened. The Briscoes said they've beaten the All Night Express every time they've faced them, and neither Cornette (more forgiveable since the match hadn't happened yet at the time of the tapings) nor the announcers (less forgiveable because this could have been fixed in post-production) mentioned that, in fact, ANX beat the Briscoes in their most recent battle.
Yes, the last iPPV was a bit of a lame duck show, and their buys were lower than previous offerings, but it's still a continuity error that one wouldn't expect to see from ROH.
Still, I'm confident that before they face each other on next week's show, they will at least mention the iPPV and the Ladder War 3 match, and possibly show a highlight package to catch the TV viewers up to date.
- The All Night Express vs. The Briscoes will be one of the main events on next week's show. After this week's main event, Kevin Kelly said there will be a Double Main Event next week, but did not announce the other match.
- Tommasa Ciampa got the Mike Bennett treatment this week. Following a video package that included comments from Cornette, Ciampa, and manager Prince Nana, Ciampa beat Andy "Right Leg" Ridge in convincing fashion.
However, I didn't think Ciampa's video package was as effective as Mike Bennett's was last week. Maybe it's because he's too much like Bennett, yet lacks the natural charisma that Bennett has.
They have very similar gimmicks -- both being relatively new to the promotion, having unique managers, and good looks. ROH has to be careful about promoting the two wrestlers in such similar ways.
- We got our first few hints on TV of the continuation of the Kevin Steen storyline. Corino began to talk about him while calling the Ciampa vs. Ridge match with Kevin Kelly, but Kelly cut him off before he could mention Steen's name.
Then later, while Nigel McGuinness was interviewing a fan at ringside as to who he thought would win the main event, the fan instead starting chanting, "Bring back Kevin Steen!"
- I'm interested in seeing next week's show. It'll be the first time the new ROH TV will be outside of Chicago Ridge, Illinois. The next 3 weeks of TV were taped at the Davis Arena in Louisville, Kentucky, supposedly a great venue from which to film TV.