By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Brian Fury def. Shaheem Ali in a Top Prospect Tournament Round 1 Match
While it's always great to see fresh faces, the disadvantage of these matches (for me, anyway) is that I know very little if anything about them, so it makes it harder for me to care about either competitor. I've heard of Fury before, but never Ali. Nevertheless, both guys impressed me with their entertaining offense and the commentators did a good job of introducing them to viewers by talking about their respective backgrounds. Obviously, the crowd is much more familiar with these two than I am, so they didn't sit on their hands the whole time but were instead engaged in the action. I'm excited to see who else shows up in the tournament in the upcoming weeks.
Cedric Alexander def. Cheeseburger
Veda Scott tried her best to build up Alexander with her pre-match promo, but he's been heavily damaged these past few months since his feud with Moose ended in September. He's eaten one two many losses, and that's not to say he isn't a great wrestler. He was able to show off his moveset quite a bit in this bout, and although Cheeseburger was able to incorporate a few hope spots, Alexander went over strong as he should have.
Jonathon Gresham def. Cedric Alexander by Disqualification
Personally, I would have saved Alexander's rematch with Gresham until a later date and not held it immediately following his win over Cheeseuburger. That victory at least did a little to give him credibility, but losing again to Gresham (albeit by disqualification) did Alexander no favors. If they're trying to make an established star out of Gresham, that's fine, but it's coming at the expense of Alexander who isn't in the position to be losing so frequently. He has a lot of potential that's simply being wasted right now.
Nigel McGuinness Announced ROH World Champion Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly for the 14th Anniversary
I absolutely love how wins and losses matter in Ring of Honor. Cole beat O'Reilly at Final Battle, so that qualified him for a title shot. McGuinness' logic about putting O'Reilly in the match because he wants to get his hands on Cole despite losing was slightly questionable, but hey, I can't complain. Putting Cole and O'Reilly in the title picture right now furthers their feud (there was definitely unfinished business after Final Battle so I'm glad it's continuing) and will make for one hell of a match at the February pay-per-view.
Jay Briscoe def. Michael Elgin and Moose in a Triple Threat Match
Why was Moose added to the match exactly? It's similar to what I discussed in the previous paragraph that although he and Elgin are in a rivalry right now (or at least were in a rivalry), it was strange to see him put in this match for no apparent reason. From an in-ring standpoint, however, this was an excellent matchup as expected as all three guys shined at one point or another and hit their signature spots. The commentators acknowledging how Briscoe has lost only one or two times in recent years (one loss coming at the hands of Elgin) was an awesome touch and it made the win mean more because Briscoe got his victory back over Elgin after last year's Survival of the Fittest. The pending tag team match between the Briscoe Brothers and Elgin and Tanahashi should be stellar, though I wonder where they go from there with all four men. Could it be setting up something between Elgin and Tanahashi and a possible run for Elgin over in Japan?
There was a lot happening on this show, but everything seemed to serve a purpose and built toward something else down the road. The Top Prospect Tournament should be a ton of fun, next week's tag team main event was set up nicely, and I'm very much looking forward to the main event of the February pay-per-view. Even the Cedric Alexander angle could be good if they had better defined characters or if we knew where it was going. All in all, another enjoyable edition of ROH TV.