Perhaps the best part about the Ring of Honor TV show is that everything on the show serves a purpose.
It's easy for the viewer to follow the major stories. And along those lines, it's easy for a new viewer, or anyone who has missed a show or two, to get caught up.
At the start of each show, they usually recap the major event of the previous show.
They use video packages throughout the show to both recap, and further, the major storylines.
And they use backstage promos to hype the upcoming matches for TV and iPPV.
On this week's show, the 3 major stories were:
- Eddie Edwards was announced as the No. 1 Contender to Davey Richards' ROH World Title, and will face Richards at Final Battle.
- Kevin Steen made his return to ROH TV in a video package, announcing that he is suing Jim Cornette for keeping him out of ROH.
- Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team defeated newcomers Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander in a Proving Ground Match. After the match, the Briscoes came down to the ring to speak their minds to the ROH Tag Team Champions.
It's that simple. No convoluted 20-minute promos to try to digest. No throw-away, meaningless matches. No jobbing out of the mid-card.
It's a refreshing one-hour of TV that flies by. I look forward to the show every week.
Other thoughts on the show ...
- Jim Cornette kicked off the show in the ring announcing Final Battle's main event. Edwards came down to the ring and said that more than anyone else, he knows what it takes to get ready for a match against Richards. (Edwards also teased that he has a new head trainer that will be helping him train for his match at Final Battle. It'll be interesting to see how that affects the storyline going forward.)
Richards came out to shake his partner's hand, and to ask Edwards to team up with him on next week's show to face Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin. Edwards accepted, but added that it was he who became World Champion before Richards, and that Edwards plans on being World Champion again.
In sum, this opening promo did a good job of promoting a fight between friends, while also showing that there may be some underlying jealousy reaching the surface.
- "Inside ROH" continues to be a strength of the show. This week, it was used as the vehicle for Kevin Steen's first appearance on ROH TV. Steen cut a fantastic promo (fast-forward to the 3:00 mark) that displayed his frustration in being out of ROH for nearly a year, and also dropped hints at possible matches we could see down the line (Kevin Steen vs. Davey Richards, for example).
Steen said that he's not going away no matter what Cornette says; that he belongs in the best wrestling organization in the world, ROH; and that he's coming after Steve Corino, Jimmy Jacobs, El Generico, and the ROH World Heavyweight Championship. When he becomes ROH Champ, Cornette will have to admit that Steen belongs in ROH.
The video is campy too, coming off like one of those cheesy lawyer ads. It also includes the greasiest looking lawyers you'll ever see. It's must-see stuff.
- The second part of the "Inside ROH" segment included Bennett's rationale for walking out of the TV Title main event from 2 weeks ago. Bennett said that the match should have been stopped when he was pounding Lethal towards the end of the time limit. He wants a re-match, with a different referee.
- The main event between WGTT and newcomers Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander was good. As expected, Haas and Benjamin won the match with 'Wrestling's Greatest Finisher'. Despite the loss, it was a good first showing for Coleman and Alexander, pushing the match to within 2 minutes of the time limit.
As I stated last week, the rules of Proving Ground Match are that any wrestler(s) from inside or outside of ROH can challenge one of the champions (World, TV, Tag Team). It's a non-title match with a time limit. The challenger(s) receive a future title shot if they can win the match, or take it to a draw.
It's an interesting concept in that it justifies the champions wrestling without defending the titles, while giving ROH the opportunity to introduce new wrestlers to the company, or give not-yet established wrestlers a chance in the spotlight.