We’re into the finishing stretches on Dojo Pro now, as the “other half” of Extra Talented entered the arena.
It’s an interesting battle of partners here, and you know the template by now. Matt Lott in the studio tells us that Ricky Starks is keeping quiet about the injuries he got from Joey Janela last time out, so he’s not doing interviews… instead, it’s a solo Aaron Solow promo! Apparently Tatanka was one of Solow’s early inspirations, which of course bleeds into a photo of him and Tatanka at a convention. Lance Storm gets similar treatment since Solow trained with him, and then a slideshow of photos shows THAT HighSpots belt and…
Solow mentions his brief tour of England last year with Ricky Starks, as he mentions that he’s equally happy in tag or singles action. Jack of all trades? They show replays of Joey Janela working over Starks’ knee, while Solow says he’s been told not to take it easy on him just because they’re friends.
Ricky Starks vs. Aaron Solow
Starks has a blindingly-obvious limp on his walk to the ring, while Solow gets pretty loud cheers.
There’s duelling chants from the off as the pair jockeyed for position, but it’s a waistlock takedown from Solow that draws first blood. Starks’ knee buckles as he was sent into the ropes, but Solow doesn’t keep on top of him as he instead waited for his tag team partner to get back to his feet. We try again, but Starks again collapses, and the referee waves off the match, awarding the White belt to Solow.
Solow instantly checks on Ricky after that nothing-of-a-match, but he’s pulled away by the referee to do the obligatory pose-with-the-belt stuff before he cuts a promo. We’ve got ten minutes left, so I sense shenanigans, especially as Aaron says he “literally didn’t do anything” to win the belt.
He throws down the belt and offers an open challenge to make him “earn” the belt. Will it be someone who’s already been eliminated? Nope, it’s Cheeseburger! They call him a fan favourite without explaining anything of his background, which would annoy me, but they’ve largely done that for the entire field.
Aaron Solow vs. Cheeseburger
Cheeseburger’s the ROH representative here, and wouldn’t that be a fix if he came in and went all the way at this stage?
We’ve another respectful start as Cheeseburger looks to work the arm but instead gets a headlock takedown for his troubles as they go back-and-forth. A snapmarre from Cheeseburger comes before they exchange leapfrogs, but it’s Solow who edges ahead with armdrags as they again reach a stalemate after a stuffed roll-up.
From the restart, Cheeseburger teases some tests of strength, which he looked to lose out on as the sequences continued en route to a roll-up as Cheeseburger came close. All of the counters follow as Solow rolled through into an ankle lock, before a double clothesline left both men down on the mat.
They’re back with back-and-forth shots, which Cheeseburger edges out of with some Dusty punches and a bulldog, before he teases a Shotei and instead gets a superkick. Solow looked for a suplex, but Cheeseburger countered into a mounted key lock, only for Solow to power out and turn it into a cradle DDT for the win. This was a fun little match, although parts of it I found a little grating – as good as the technical sequences were, the tight filming perhaps showed a little too much of the guys shuffling into position. ***
After the match, Solow celebrates as we close out another episode… and this was a nice twist on the formula. Perhaps it’d have been better if they even teased a “redemption” against Joey Janela, but not knowing what the plans are going forth, it’s perhaps wise that they kept that in the proverbial bank. The one thing that is good to see though, is that the series isn’t petering out as one may have expected – and now we’re into the final few episodes, with the ROH TV title shot within sight…