ROH News courtesy of Wrestling Observer


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Credit to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter

The first show from the second set of tapings premiers on 5/2 and HDNet has pushed hard the Ric Flair debut as a lot of commercials ran during its MMA programming this week. Flair will be appearing on just about every show from this point forward. Both HDNet and ROH are aware of the issues with the first set of tapings, such as lack of crowd noise coming through and lack of storylines. To me, they desperately need more features between matches. It seems like they came in with the idea of being different, so they’ll go with wall-to-wall wrestling, but they can still concentrate on wrestling and include features. There may be problems from an economic standpoint, since the company is built around producing live events and selling the DVDs as the prime revenue source, but the late 90s ECW methodology to me is better where you do features, angles and showcase good matches, and perhaps edit them to make them look better and use that as a platform to buy the DVD to get the uncensored version. Taping from different locations is going to result in hotter crowds but that’s not the plans. Even on 4/25, when they aired the Bryan Danielson vs. Tyler Black 20:00 draw, tried to tell a story with the match in the announcing and the two had a very good match, it was nowhere near as compelling as watching a big ROH match on PPV or DVD, and the TV version should, because of the better production, should come off as the easier-to-watch product to the casual audience. I also wonder if “The Best in the World” moniker for Danielson, which works for those who have watched him regularly for years, comes off well to new viewers. In time it probably will. The one thing this first set of tapes has shown to me is the importance of lighting the crowd and micing the crowd well because it’s crowd reactions that make stars, not work and not even promos. The other is the importance of entrance music in creating that reaction. There was no choice here, but until the audience is familiar with people’s entrance music, their immediate reactions aren’t going to be as strong. Another issue at this point is WWE now has Superstars and ECW that are largely in-ring match focused shows that feature good work, so what seemed like being different is no longer as unique. The goal for this run of TV’s is to start with storylines with several week builds of main event matches. The light and crowd noise are said to have improved and they brought David Lagana to Denver for voiceovers to help produce the announcers. The feeling is it’s a learning process for everyone, as ROH has never done television, and HDNet has never done wrestling.
El Generico’s MRI showed both meniscus and PCL damage. He’s out at least until the next set of TV tapings.

Roderick Strong and Jon Davis (of the Dark City Fight Club) were also injured on the 4/24 show in Dayton. Strong went to the hospital and needed ten stitches from a deep cut against Jerry Lynn. Davis suffered a dislocated wrist catching Kevin Steen when he was doing a dive. Steen is working on a bad shoulder. All worked the next night in Chicago.
Bryan Danielson’s contract expires imminently. He’s booked on most of the May cards and at this point he’s still with the company, but as noted before, without a contract he can take time off if he’d like. He’s telling people he hasn’t gotten an offer from WWE and that he wouldn’t go for a developmental deal. For whatever reason, we’ve never heard a lot of interest from the TNA side in him.

The 4/4 Houston show, with Claudio Castagnoli vs. Blue Demon Jr. vs. Brent Albright, Jerry Lynn winning a four-way to keep the title over Erick Stevens, D-Lo Brown and Danielson and Tyler Black & KENTA vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima & Austin Aries will air on PPV on 6/12.

Cary Silken said the original six-month contract with HDNet is being extended in an interview with the Southtown Star in Chicago.

El Generico missed the weekend shows with a knee injury.

Several shows were canceled this week, a 7/17 show in Danbury, CT, a 7/24 show in Montreal and a 9/25 show in Elizabeth, PA. It seems to be a business decision to pull out of money losing markets. The dates are expected to be replaced, such as the Montreal show will be replaced by a second show in the Toronto area. They were spending big money to bring Flair to Montreal and Montreal was never a strong Flair market. When I was there last week people noted that Abdullah the Butcher (who drew 550 for his “retirement” show) was something of a household name, as were the 70s and 80s stars when it was big on local TV and the major WWF names from the past, but while Flair did work in the city as NWA champion, it was only once or twice and WCW was never strong on TV in Quebec so Flair doesn’t have the name value there. The 4/17 show in Montreal did 330 paid and when they announced the July date and Flair being there, they only sold 17 tickets for the next show. In Markham, they sold 160 tickets at the event for the next show, which by ROH standards is good.

After the 5/29 and 5/30 TVs, the next sets are 6/19 and 6/20 and 7/17 and 7/18, all in Philadelphia. While nothing is signed, Flair is at this point scheduled for all the tapings. He is working the TV’s at less than his house show rate because when he does the house shows, they do autograph sessions with him where they can recoup his pay since he comes once to each market.

Besides Sonjay Dutt, also debuting on 5/8 in Boston are Joey Ryan and Ricky Reyes.

The house shows this week were 4/24 in Dayton before 500 fans and 4/25 in Chicago before 650, which are the normal level these days for each market. Dayton was a good sign because they were coming off two shows that didn’t get over because of screw job finishes but held the crowd and had the stronger show of the weekend. Chicago was coming off a PPV, but drew roughly the same, with Jerry Lynn beating the returning Colt Cabana on top to keep the title. In Dayton, Danielson beat Eddie Edwards in the opener in a good match with a small package. Skullcrusher Rasche Brown got good reviews for his charisma, playing a crazy jerk. Austin Aries, who teamed with Rhett Titus to beat the Phoenix Twins, compared the twins on the mic to the Mulkey Brothers. Too young a crowd because nobody reacted and Aries then had to explain who the Mulkeys were (an 80s Crockett jobber tag team that took huge bumps for the stars and were pretty famous). Cabana beat Chris Hero with an inverted Boston crab. Davey Richards beat Black in a good match with a roll-up holding tights. Steen & Jay Briscoe beat Dark City Fight Club. Steen & Briscoe did bot Steen & Generico moves and Briscoes moves. Great main event with Lynn over Strong in a title match. Strong was cut and bled heavy when he missed a dive and crashed into the guard rail. Lynn used two cradle piledrivers for the win and the two shook hands.

In Chicago, Jimmy Jacobs won a three-way over Strong and Claudio Castagnoli in a good match when Jacobs used the end game (guillotine) on Strong. Danielson beat Rave with a triangle in a match where Danielson concentrated on submissions. Black beat Hero with God’s Last Gift, and Jacobs attacked Black with a spike. Best match of the night and maybe the weekend was a 2/3 fall title match where the American Wolves beat Steen & Jay Briscoe. Steen accidentally gave Briscoe a low blow, which led to the Wolves top rope double-team Ace crusher finish. Steen and Briscoe started fighting each other after, so when Mark and Generico are back, the feud must restart. Lynn vs. Cabana headlined. Cabana got a great response, but Lynn retained with the cradle piledriver in 17:23 of a decent main event. They shook hands and Cabana put over Lynn and the promotion, and they announced Flair for the 6/27 return.

Nigel McGuinness worked commitments this past week in the U.K., which were his final commitments. He’s to be checked out by his doctor this week and see what he needs to do to recover. He said he hasn’t hurt himself much worse since taking a break from ROH.
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I am the woolrus
Really looking forward to Flair starting. Glad to see that they acknowledged the sound and production problems in the first few episodes. It's only a few things that need changing. One thing that i think NEEDS to be changed is Mike Hogewood as an announcer. He's one of the worst i've ever heard.