This won't be a recurring theme, but since ROH made its re-debut on national television under the banner of Sinclair Broadcasting, I thought I'd take a look at the premiere episode. Check your local listings. Regrettably, this show doesn't air in my neck of the woods, but you can catch it for free on ROH's official website every Thursday.
~ The wrestling. This is a no-brainer. There were only two matches, but they added up to roughly 25 minutes of action.
~ The focus on the tag division. Both matches featured actual tag teams. Think about that. I'm sure that some of the folks who tuned in last weekend have never heard of this modest promotion, and the key stewards in charge of booking this "pilot" have chosen to introduce a product that thrives on the success of tag team wrestling. It's kind of brilliant. WWE and TNA are currently struggling to build a respectable tag division, so it makes sense to highlight an aspect of ROH that sets these guys apart from the competition.
~ The well-chosen clips from PPV's and live events. More fans need to know that Eddie Edwards versus Davey Richards at Best in the World has been the best match of 2011. Yes, it was better than John Cena versus CM Punk at Money in the Bank.
~ The commentary. I've always liked Kevin Kelly, and while Nigel McGuinness has room for improvement (he didn't contribute much in the way of levity or analysis), he is light years ahead of Taz. And Booker T. And Michael Cole.
~ Jay Lethal's promo. I'm shocked that the WWE hasn't spotted this motherfucker's talent on their radar.
~ I hate to say it, but Lethal cut the only exceptional promo of the night. If ROH is serious about evolving, they have got to put their sweet talkers front and center. By the same token, keep the microphone away from stilted orators such as The Bravado Brothers. Hey, I dig their gimmick, and their moveset kicks ass. But they were not blessed with the gift of gab.
That's a wrap. I don't mean to fellate myself (yes, I do), but I'm pleasantly surprised. I managed to squeeze plenty of content out of 51 minutes of entertainment. This column just might revisit ROH from time to time.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 10:08 PM