Top Prospect Tournament Round 1
Brian Fury took on Shahim Ali in a decent match. Fury played the disgruntled veteran that would do anything to advance, and he did so when he held the referee’s leg to keep Ali from hitting a top rope maneuver, causing Ali to decend the ropes and wind up getting hit with a pop up power bomb and being pinned. I like how this told the story of Fury being angry, and determined to do anything to finally have “his time” in the spot light. Ali looked good, and there’s no reason not to bring him back as well.
Veda Scott & Cedric Alexander come to the ring next, and begin to say how happy they are to have won all this money from ROH. I enjoy this story as it can be used more and more, in multiple ways, and I hope that it is. I’d like to see Cedric dressing better, and living a life of privilege from their law suit winnings. Veda then says Cedric deserves top of the line competition like Jay Lethal, and Adam Cole, but Cheeseburger is announced as his opponent.
I don’t for the life of me understand why Cheeseburger is so over, as you can’t rightfully, or believably, ever really put him over anyone of any importance, or relevance. Alexander defeats Cheeseburger, before Cheeseburger can hit his dreaded palm strike, inherited from Jushin Liger (ugh) with the lumbar check.
Alexander then attacks Cheeseburger after the match, brutally beating him down, until Jonathan Gresham comes out for the save. I love how ROH is building Gresham as a world traveled wrestler, who can reverse any hold known to man, and twist guys up like no other. Veda mocks Gresham, and tells him he can face Cedric again right now. Jonathan Gresham frustrates Cedric, and seem on his way to another victory until Veda jumps in the ring and attacks Gresham. Alexander then proceeds to destroy Gresham following the match. Good stuff here! Cedric is over as a heel, Veda really helps his character, and Gresham being the guy to thwart his plans for the main event, helps get both guys, and this angle very well. I hope this is a long angle between the two, as both will come out all the better for it.
Nigel McGuiness then comes out, but before he can say anything he’s interrupted by World Champion Jay Lethal and Truth Martini. Nigel announces Lethal’s opponent for ROH’s 14th Anniversary show, Kyle O Reilly! Lethal isn’t impressed, and says he’s beaten Kyle before. Nigel then tells Lethal and company that he wasn’t finished. Nigel says that since Adam Cole defeated Kyle O’Reilly at Final Battle, it would make Adam Cole the number one contender in Nigel’s eyes. Cole then comes out, and says he’ll become the new champ at 14th anniversary, because Lethal has never defeated him in a match for the title. Nigel tells Cole that he didn’t let him finish either, and that at the 14th Anniversary show, it will be a triple threat for the ROH title with Lethal defending against Col,e and O’Reilly. O’Reilly then hits the ring, and says he wants a piece of them well before February 26th, and that he wants Cole and Lethal right here in Charoltte! Nigel then agrees, and makes Jay Lethal & Adam Cole vs rEDragon for next week’s main event…This is great stuff because Lethal has proven to be incredible as the champion, and Cole, and O’Reilly, have been predicted to be the future of ROH for years now, and it’s great see them both positioned in that way.
In the main event, Michael Elgin faces Jay Briscoe, but before the match begins, Stokely Hathaway is out with Moose, and tells the crowd that he saw and asked Nigel in the back, that since he was in the mood to make triple threats, how about one more, and Nigel agreed, so tonight it would be Elgin vs Briscoe, vs. Moose! In a very good match, Jay Briscoe overcame, and pinned Michael Elgin with a back slide. Elgin isn’t happy, and challenges Mark and Jay to team up at the Anniversary show to face him, and someone that has his back….Tanahashi! Jay, Mark, and Big Mike shake on it, so the match is made.
Over all this week’s show was solid, and built the wrestlers involved, as well as all angles going forward. ROH fans got ton of hype for the Anniversary show this week, with the matches announced, and the Top Prospect tournament kicked with a bang too. I often feel ROH needs better storytelling, but tonight I feel they did a very good job with that. Going forward ROH looks great, with a lot to look forward to.