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This week’s episode of ROH TV features The Kingdom vs. ReDragon & Michael Elgin in a six-man tag match. Read PWTorch contributor Mike Metzger’s advanced report on the show, which originally aired in syndication over the weekend.
ROH TV Report
Aired October 25, 2015 in syndication
To air October 28, 2015 on Dest. America
Taped 9/19 in San Antonio, Tex.
Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch contributor
The ROH TV opening aired.
The camera panned the crowd, as Kevin Kelly and ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness were shown at ringside. Kelly quickly reminded viewers that Steve Corino “crossed the line” on ROH TV last week by putting his hands on B.J. Whitmer. Kelly asked McGuinness what repercussions Corino would face. Nigel basically deflected the question and only remarked that “there are going to be ramifications.”
1 — DONOVAN DIJAK (w/Truth Martini) vs. MOOSE (w/Stokely Hathaway)
During the introductions, Kevin Kelly mentioned that Moose had recently come up short in a “Proving Ground” match against ROH World & TV Champion Jay Lethal in Chicago, but still put him over as a top contender. Kelly built Dijak as a gatekeeper of sorts to Lethal’s potential challengers. Both men shook hands and then the bell rang. A huge “Moose” chant broke out, as both men tied up in the center. Martini got up on the apron and encouraged Dijak to hit a shoulder block. It had no effect on Moose, though. Stokely then encouraged Moose from the apron, but he had trouble taking DIjak off his feet.
After some jockeying for position, Moose nailed a huge standing dropkick that sent Dijak to the outside! Moose followed and threw his opponent into the hockey boards, but Dijak came right back with a big boot and then a chokeslam onto the apron! Dijak followed up with a huge moonsault from the middle rope to the outside! Dijak rolled Moose back into the ring and went for another moonsault, but Moose got his knees up! Moose hit a big shoulder tackle. Dijak fought out of the corner momentarily. He climbed to the second rope, but Moose jumped up and dropkicked him all the way to the outside! Moose then followed up with a huge flip dive!
Back in the ring, Moose went for the spear but Dijak leapfrogged out of the way. They traded some blows and then some big kicks. Dijak hit a chokeslam into a backbreaker, but Moose kicked out at two! Dijak tried to finish off Moose with Feast Your Eyes, but Moose escaped and then hit an enziguri off the top rope! Moose followed up with the spear for the victory.
WINNER: Moose via pinfall in 4:41.
ANALYSIS: Really good while it lasted. Dijak and Moose played the “irresistible force meets the immovable object” well early on and then completely transitioned to a high-flying spotfest. Amazing athleticism for two of ROH’s largest wrestlers. Also a great use of both men with Moose being kept strong and Dijak getting to sneak in a star-making performance where he can. ( **3/4)
2 — CEDRIC ALEXANDER (w/Veda Scott) vs. DALTON CASTLE (w/o “the boys”)
Castle came out wearing a black t-shirt, sans “the boys” and his over-the-top peacock robe. Castle still seemed energetic, but wasn’t quite his normal self. Cedric poked at Castle while the ref was asking for the Code of Honor. Castle responded with a suplex and then the bell rang. Dalton was very aggressive early on, utilizing several throws from his amateur background. Castle spun around and hit Cedric hard on the back. Cedric tried to escape, but Castle out-wrestled him and then hit a gut wrench suplex!
Castle charged at Cedric, but no one was home. Veda grabbed Castle’s leg, which opened him up to a dropkick from Cedric. Cedric stomped Castle in the corner and then hit another dropkick. He followed up with some chops, but Castle exploded out of the corner with chops of his own. Cedric jumped toward Castle, but Dalton caught him and hit yet another amateur-style throw. Castle hit his Bangarang finisher for the victory.
WINNER: Dalton Castle via pinfall in 3:40.
ANALYSIS: Another match that was really good despite being so short. I loved the old-school feel of Castle coming out in a normal t-shirt and wrestling a much more aggressive style after losing “the boys.” (**1/4)
After the match, Veda Scott got on the mic and verbally berated ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness for placing Cedric and herself in an “unsafe working environment” at All-Star Extravaganza. Veda said that she and Cedric were not barbarians, they would settle the score in the most civilized way possible- in the courtroom. Nigel looked disappointed as Kelly sold outrage.
Jay Lethal-Roderick Strong confrontation
ROH World & TV champion Jay Lethal and Truth Martini were out next. Fans threw streamers at Lethal, while Kevin Kelly wondered if Kyle O’Reilly would be champion today if it wasn’t for Adam Cole’s actions at All-Star Extravaganza. Martini grabbed a mic, but was cut off by chants of “A.J. Styles.” Martini blasted the fans, but was quickly cut off by Roderick Strong’s music.
Strong made his way to the ring and then congratulated the House of Truth for “making history.” Strong also wanted to congratulate “the man who beat him.” Lethal was happy to oblige, but Roddy faked him out and shook Martini’s hand instead! Strong said that Lethal wouldn’t be ROH World Champion without Martini. Lethal obviously took offense and asked Strong what he wanted. Strong said “one more match.” Lethal got back in Strong’s face maniacally yelled at him, saying that only he would make the decision if Strong were ready for him again.
Lethal demanded ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness get in the ring to set Strong straight on the current contendership picture. Nigel entered the ring and broke the bad news to Strong that he had his shot and A.J. Style was the #1 contender for the ROH World Title. Nigel wasn’t finished, though, as he reminded Lethal that there wasn’t currently a #1 contender for the ROH TV Title. Nigel asked the fans if they’d like to see one more match between Strong and Lethal. They cheered and McGuinness made the match on the spot. Lethal was irate, as the show cut to a break.
[Okay back-and-forth here. Strong was bland on the mic, but Lethal’s egomaniacal promo style is always fun to watch. Lethal’s metamorphosis over the past two years has been tremendous. This degree of character development is sorely missing from WWE’s presentation of pro wrestling.]
Inside ROH: Mandy Leon introduced clips of the first four matches in the Best of Five series between A.C.H. and Matt Sydal. Sydal won Match 1 with a Shooting Star Press in Dearborn, Michigan. A.C.H. tied it up with his Midnight Star 450 Splash the next night in Chicago Ridge, Illinois. A.C.H. then took a 2-1 lead with another Midnight Star at All Star Extravaganza. Sydal came right back and made it 2-2 two weeks ago on ROH TV in an excellent match.
The deciding match will take place on November 13 in Malwaukee, Wisconsin at Survival of the Fittest. Mandy broke the news that the winner of the match will automatically advance to the finals of the Survival of the Fittest tournament, where the winner will receive a future ROH World Title shot.
3 — THE KINGDOM (ADAM COLE & ROH World Tag Team champions MICHAEL BENNETT & MATT TAVEN w/Maria Kanellis) vs. MICHAEL ELGIN & REDRAGON (KYLE O’REILLY & BOBBY FISH) — six-man tag team match
The babyfaces charged the ring and the bell immediately rang. The Kingdom initially fought them off. They isolated O’Reilly for a moment, but he held his own and then launched Fish into a flip dive onto Bennett and Cole at ringside! O’Reilly locked Taven into an armbar in the ropes and then Elgin ran in and dove over them and onto a sea of humanity at ringside! The babyfaces stood tall in the ring. Taven came back in and was triple-teamed for a few moments. Things settled down and O’Reilly applied another armbar to Taven. O’Reilly tagged Fish, who then hit Taven with some knee strikes, as the show cut to a break at the 2:23 point in the match.
Back at 3:23, Elgin had Taven in a delayed vertical suplex before dropping him hard on the mat for a nearfall. Elgin tagged Fish, who came in and nailed Taven with a kick. Bennett ran in, but Fish held the tag champs off with a series of elbows. Cole distracted Fish which allowed Bennett to come back with a superkick, followed by a springboard enziguri from Taven. After a nearfall, Cole tagged in and stomped Fish before doing his signature “Adam Cole, bay bay” spot.
Cole stomped Fish some more and then taunted O’Reilly. Kyle tried to come in, but was held back by referee Paul Turner. Bennett tagged in and applied a chin lock. Fish fought out with some elbows, but quickly ate a dropkick from Bennett. Bennett hit a slingshot into an elbow from Cole on the apron and then held him for an second-rope elbow drop from Taven. Cole quickly tagged back in and slammed Fish. He dropped some elbows and then a knee. Cole went for the cover, but Fish kicked out at two.
Cole tagged Bennett, who threw Fish into Cole’s boot. Taven then came off the top rope with an flying cross body, which allowed Bennett to score another nearfall. Fish valiantly tried to make the tag, but was dragged back to the opposite corner. Cole came in and applied headlock, as the show went to another break at the 8:41 point in the match.
Back at 9:41, The Kingdom missed a triple superkick in their corner, which allowed Fish to hit an exploder suplex on Taven in the corner. Bennett tagged in. He was able to hold off the tag for a moment, but Fish hit a Samoan Drop and then made the hot tag to Elgin! “Big Mike” chants as Elgin manhandled Bennett. He nailed him with a a stiff elbow/forearm combo in the corner. Taven ran into to interfere, but Elgin grabbed both him and Bennett and then powerslammed them both at the same time! Elgin covered Bennett, but could only score a near fall.
Elgin called for a Buckle Bomb, but Bennett reversed into a back body drop Elgin came back with some forearms, but Bennett fought back with a fist. They traded some kicks until Elgin hit a stiff lariat. Taven tried to run in, but Elgin hit another lariat! Elgin tagged O’Reilly, who hit a missile dropkick on the tag champs simultaneously. Cole ran in after O’Reilly, but Kyle reversed into a rear naked choke on the former ROH champ! Bennett broke it up and Cole rolled to the outside, but Fish reappeared at ringside and speared him into the hockey boars! Back in the ring, reDRagon double-teamed Taven and then hit their wheelbarrow suplex combo on Bennett, which earned them another nearfall.
ReDRagon went for Chasing the Dragon, but Adam Cole pulled Fish out of the way, which allowed Taven and Bennett hit stereo superkicks on O’Reilly. The Kingdom then hit another set of stereo superkicks on Elgin. They hit a Proton Pack on O’Reilly, which was immediately followed up by a Shining Wizard from Cole, but O’Reilly somehow kicked out! Taven went up top for the Hail Mary spike piledriver, but Elgin broke it up and and then Buckle Bombed Bennett into a hunched over Taven in the corner! ReDRagon then hit Chasing the Dragon on Bennett for the victory!
WINNERS: Michael Elgin & reDRagon via pinfall in 15:02.
ANALYSIS: Great match with a really hot finish. It’s truly a spectacle to watch six of the world’s most talented wrestlers turn on the jets like these guys did during the closing moments of the match. My only critique is that ROH could have spent a few more weeks building to this big match, especially since there was a clean finish in the end. (***1/2)
After the match, Cole immediately ran in and nailed all three of his opponents with a title belt. The Kingdom walked away, but O’Reilly grabbed the mic and said, “Cole, you snake, you son of a b-itch! You can run, but you can’t hide. You can run around with your butt buddies all day, but you can’t hide from Kyle O’Reilly! I want you, Cole. I want you. I want you one-on-one. I want my revenge and I want it tonight in San Antonio, Texas!”
Kyle turned his attention to Nigel McGuinness at ringside and begged him to make the match. Kevin Kelly said they only had a minute left in TV time. Nigel said that Cole had already wrestled tonight. Nigel added that Cole was already scheduled to face A.J. Styles next week on TV. Nigel said he could not contractually take Cole out of that match, but he could add O’Reilly to the match! So, next week;s main event will be Cole vs. Styles vs. O’Reilly!
FINAL REAX: Star-making mic work from O’Reilly to close the show. Boy, did that get me pumped up to see him get his hands on Cole. Now is the time for ROH to at least begin pulling the trigger on perhaps the hottest rising star in the company right now. Jay Lethal is doing fine as champion, but there’s no denying there is a lack of buzz surrounding the ROH product right now.
Perhaps A.J. Styles will beat Lethal for the ROH World Title at Final Battle, but that might not be an option depending on Styles’s contractual obligations to NJPW. The good news for Ring of Honor is that there’s no need for drastic changes. They have some great acts in reDRagon, Elgin and The Kingdom that can draw some buzz at the top of the card. Add in hot up-and-comers like Dijak and Castle, and ROH might only need to make a few small adjustments to increase their market share in 2016.