Ring of Honor METZGER'S ROH TV REPORT 6/14 & 6/17: New Japan ace Tanahashi in main event, Briscoe-Lethal title contract signing, Streak ends, BITW PPV hype; Overall Reax
Jun 17, 2015 - 8:35:21 PM
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ROH TV Report
Aired June 14, 2015 in syndication
To air June 17, 2015 on Dest. America
Taped 5/16 in Toronto, Ont.
Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch contributor
The ROH TV opening aired.
Ringside: Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino announced there would be a contract signing for this Friday’s “Battle of the Belts” match at Best in the World between ROH World champion Jay Briscoe and ROH TV champion Jay Lethal!
Clips aired of Moose completely destroying Colby Corino a couple weeks ago on ROH TV. The Decade then made their entrance with Colby (sans any type of bandages or bruises) by their side. Their opponents War Machine were out next. They sported new t-shirts and Rowe’s beard rivaled Hanson’s in length. Before the match started, Whitmer gabbed the mic. The fans chanted “Shut up, Whitmer” before he even began speaking. B.J. addressed young Colby and said he “was an inch away” from beating Moose. Whitmer turned his attention to Steve Corino at ringside and encouraged Colby to take his spot in tonight’s match so his father can watch him “seize the opportunity.”
1 - THE DECADE (Adam Page & Colby Corino w/B.J. Whitmer) vs WAR MACHINE (Raymond Rowe & Hanson)
The bell rang and Page immediately tagged in Colby. Colby was wearing tights this time, but still looked more like a kid than a wrestler. Colby got in Rowe’s face, while his father begged his son not to go any further. Colby slapped Rowe. Rowe laughed and tagged in Hanson. The big man delivered a big side slam to Colby, while Steve Corino begged the referee to stop the match. Rowe tagged back in and delivered a series of backbreakers followed by a stiff powerbomb. Colby crawled over to Page, but his partner dropped to the floor and walked away! War Machine hit their back suplex/top rope leg drop combo for the victory.
WINNERS: War Machine via pinfall in 2:12.
After the match, Steve Corino stood up and traded words with Whitmer on the outside. Kevin Kelly jumped out of his seat to hold Steve back, as he demanded the production truck to cut to a break.
ANALYSIS: Very efficient use of everyone involved. War Machine gets a squash victory (but they stayed babyface by not going overboard on the beating). We also saw the next chapter of the Decade-Steve Corino saga, with Steve acting more outraged this time around. Not sure I really want to see the eventual Whitmer-Corino blow-off match, but this story is more interesting than what we’ve seen from the Decade in the past. (n/a)
Back from break, Cedric Alexander was in the ring with a microphone. He said that last year at this time he was a break-out star in Ring of Honor, but one year later his star no longer seemed to be on the rise. Cedric said the only thing he could do was to win matches and he would start tonight by challenging the undefeated Moose to a match!
2 - CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. MOOSE (w/Veda Scott & Stokely Hathaway)
Cedric looked much smaller paired against Moose. The former NFL player got the early advantage with a bodyslam. The match went to the outside, where Cedric took control when he rammed Moose into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Cedric tried to out-quick Moose by going to the top rope, but Moose came right at him with a dropkick that knocked Cedric all the way to the floor! The match went to a break at the 1:50 mark.
Back at 4:20, Cedric fought back with a clothesline from the top, followed up with a big flip dive to the outside! Cedric rolled Moose back into the ring and nailed him with some forearms. Cedric followed up with a Tornado DDT and a cover, but Moose kicked out at two. Cedric began to sell frustration, as he went to lift the big man off his feet. Moose seized the opportunity and countered with a standing lariat the turned Alexander inside-out! Moose went for the cover, but could only get a nearfall.
Both men got to their feet and traded blows, while the fans let out dueling chants. They went into a full back and forth sequence. Moose tried to come off the top, but Cedric caught him and then followed up with four consecutive charging dropkicks in the corner! After a brief hesitation, Cedric hit two more! He went for a seventh dropkick, but Moose exploded out of the corner with a spear to Alexander! Both men were down, as Veda grabbed a metal wrench from underneath the ring. Veda gave the foreign object to Moose, but the reluctant heel refused to use it. Cedric grabbed it from Moose’s hand, nailed his opponent in face with it, and then covered Moose for the victory!
WINNER: Cedric Alexander via pinfall in 9:05 to end Moose’s undefeated streak!
After the match, Veda Scott was in shock and Moose was still down on the mat. Cedric Alexander was ecstatic, though, as he ran over to the announcers proclaiming, “I knew I could do it!” The announcers wondered what kind of effect the loss would have on Moose, who is facing Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin in a three-way #1 contender match at the Best in the World PPV this Friday.
ANALYSIS: Another efficient use of two wrestlers and a finish I didn’t see coming. Cedric’s slow-burn heel turn has been booked well over the last month, although I didn’t expect the actual turn to happen this soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if Moose turns face sooner rather than later and this feud continues. It would give both Moose and Cedric a chance to develop in a meaningful way this summer. (**1/4)
Inside ROH: Mandy Leon introduced clips from the April 25 edition of ROH TV where The Addiction along with Chris Sabin were revealed to be the masked Knights of the Rising Dawn, as Daniels and Kaz captured the ROH Tag Team titles from reDRagon. Mandy then transitioned to clips from last week’s episode, which featured the Addiction being intentionally disqualified in a two-on-one handicap match against Kyle O’Reilly. Mandy announced that the Addiction would defend their newly-won titles against reDRagon this Friday at Best in the World.
Leon was then interrupted by Adam Cole. He said it was time for an important person to speak as he asked her to leave. Cole said he would return at Best in the World where he will team with Michael Bennett and Matt Taven to face the Bullet Club. He referenced the Bullet Club kicking Maria in the face in Philadelphia during the recent ROH/NJPW tour. Cole said two of pro wrestling’s best factions would go one-on-one at Best in the World and the Kingdom will come out as number one.
3 - MATT SYDAL & A.C.H. vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI & NAITO
The New Japan stars would not shake hands with Sydal and A.C.H. for some reason. Sydal seemed upset, but calmed down and started the match with Tanahashi. Sydal got the upper hand early and worked the knee, but a stalemate quickly ensued. They went at it again, and Sydal came out on top again with a couple of armdrags. Sydal hit a standing moonsault, which caused Tanahashi to tag Naito. Sydal responded by tagging in A.C.H. Both men traded wrist locks and then forearms. A.C.H. nailed Naito with a stiff chop, but Naito came back with a nice dropkick! After some acrobatics, A.C.H. then hit a beautiful dropkick of his own!
Tanahashi tripped A.C.H. from the apron and then dragged him to the outside. Tanahashi threw A.C.H. into the hockey boards, as the show went to a break at the 4:40 point in the match.
Back at 5:40, Tanahashi was in firm control of A.C.H. in the ring. He went for a middle rope senton splash, but A.C.H. moved out of the way! He went to tag Sydal, but Tanahashi dragged him back to his corner and tagged Naito. Naito delivered a side slam and covered A.C.H., but could only get two. Naito applied a chin lock, as the fans cheered on A.C.H. A.C.H. tried to fight back, but Naito cut off his momentum with an enziguri and then a running dropkick in the corner! Naito then positioned A.C.H. up top and went for a superplex, but A.C.H. shoved him down to the mat! A.C.H. hit a double foot stomp to the back of Naito’s head! A.C.H. crawled over to his corner and made the hot tag to Sydal!
Sydal hit Naito with a double foot stomp and then a hurricanrana! He kept Tanahashi at bay and then nailed Naito with a huracanrana from the top! Sydal went for his standing moonsault, but Tanahashi snuck in and German suplexed Sydal from behind! Sydal fought back, however, and hit Tanahashi with a legdrop. He tagged in A.C.H. who burst into a flurry of offense on Tanahashi. Sydal came in and hit a jumping knee to Tanahashi’s face, which allowed A.C.H. to then hit a German suplex! Tanahashi responded with a Dragon Screw legwhip and then locked on a Texas Clover Leaf! A.C.H. writhed in pain, while Sydal and Naito fought on the floor.
Sydal eventually ran back into the ring and kicked Tanahashi in the face to break the hold. Sydal then went for a double-dive on both his opponents, but they were able to knock him off the apron. The brief distraction allowed A.C.H. to hit his Air Jordan dive onto Tanahashi and Naito! Sydal hit his Shooting Star Press on Tanahashi, but Naito broke up the cover! Naito nailed Sydal with a Tornado DDT. A.C.H. was right there with a spin kick to Naito. A.C.H. went for a 450 on Naito, but he moved and A.C.H. nailed Sydal by mistake! Tanahashi then hit a neckbreaker on A.C.H., followed by his High Fly Flow frogsplash for the victory!
WINNERS: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Naito via pinfall in 13:40.
ANALYSIS: This was the best match to air on television since ROH debuted on Destination America. It’s a shame to see A.C.H. continually do jobs to special attraction stars, especially after he was called out on it by The Decade several weeks ago. It seems like it is by design, but I hope ROH knows what they are doing, as they can’t afford to waste talent at this point. (***1/4)
Main Event Contract Signing
ROH Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness was in the ring to oversee the contract signing. ROH TV champion Jay Lethal was out first with Truth Martini by his side. ROH World champion Jay Briscoe then came out with his brother Mark. Nigel went over the rules, as both champions stared each other down. Lethal signed first and Jay quickly followed. Nigel wanted it to be clear that it would be “the biggest match in ROH history” and invited final words from each competitor.
Lethal said the was one reason he wasn’t going to flip the table over right now was because he wanted Briscoe at his Best this Friday. Lethal said that Briscoe made the biggest mistake in his life by signing the contract. Briscoe said that after he beats Lethal at Best in the World, he’ll have to go back to being Black Machismo! Both champions got in each other’s faces and hoisted their belts in the air, as the show faded to black.
FINAL REAX: Solid PPV lead-in episode. Coincidentally or not, ROH has stepped up its use of angles and non-finishes, while toning down the in-ring action since debuting on Destination America. The contract signing seems like another step in that direction, although it was well done and did not end in the typical pull-apart brawl.
Tonight’s episode was ROH’s best since debuting on Destination America, as it featured key storyline developments and a great Sydal/A.C.H.-Tanahashi/Naito tag match. Despite not generating the same amount of buzz that it did for its inaugural traditional PPV last year, the build for Best in the World has been intriguing and fun to watch. It will be interesting to see if three weeks on national cable will translate to a substantial increase in PPV buys next Friday.
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