This week’s ROH TV is the final episode airing on Destination America before. ROH ended their run with an epic ROH TV Title match between Jay Lethal and Roderick Strong…
ROH TV Report
Aired November 22, 2015 in syndication
To air November 25, 2015 on Dest. America
Taped 10/23 in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch Contributor
The ROH TV opening aired. This is the final edition of ROH’s syndicated show to air on Destination America.
1 – MOOSE (w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. DOMINICK CARTER
Both men shook hand and then the bell rang. Moose immediately hit the spear for the victory!
WINNER: MOOSE via pinfall in 0:07.
After the match, Stolely took the mic and addressed ROH World & TV champion Jay Lethal. He said it wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when Moose would become the next ROH World champion. Stokely stopped himself and realized what he said sounded very familiar. He referenced how Michael Elgin gave the same speech last week on ROH TV. Stokely went on to say, “bruh, you can’t beat Moose… so if I were you, I’d get to steppin’ to the back of that line.” Elgin’s music hit and out came “Big Mike!”
Elgin slowly entered the ring and grabbed a mic. Elgin just wanted to know if he was talking to Moose or to Stokely because Hathaway had been doing all the talking. Stokely heelishly said “hold on, bruh.” Elgin looked at Moose and said, “Big Mike is standing right here, so when you want to grab that microphone and speak for yourself, I’m standing in front of you and I don’t back down!” Moose stared Elgin down, as Stokely tried to get a word in. Moose grabbed Stokely’s mic and told Elgin, “we can do this right now!”
Both men were ready to fight when the House of Truth’s music began playing. Truth Martini came out with Diesel, Dijak and Taeler Hendrix. Martini called Moose a “big goof.” He said he kind of liked Big Mike, but then added, “psyche!” He said then threatened to make Stokely apologize. He went on to say that both men were not on the same level as Jay Lethal, and therefore Lethal would not be coming out. Truth said that his stable members all agreed that what the babyfaces were talking about was “whack!” Martini finished with his new catchphrase, “if life don’t check you, I will!”
Elgin said the only checking in would be done by Elgin, who would take Taeler and “check into a motel later.” He said he was going to take out Diesel and Dijak, and then he would show Taeler a good time. Martini was incensed and accepted their challenge.
ANALYSIS: Well, I guess we know what Moose and Elgin are doing at Final Battle. While I’m glad they found a meaningful spot on the card for both guys, Stokely’s heelish tendencies came a bit out of nowhere. I think Moose might hold the record for heel/face turns determined solely by his manager. Still, I’m intrigued to see if Elgin can bring a four-star match out of Moose, and if Moose will win based on Elgin’s contractual changes with ROH.
1b – MOOSE (w/Stokely Hathaway) & MICHAEL ELGIN vs. HOUSE OF TRUTH (J. DIESEL & DONOVAN DIJAK w/Truth Martini and Taeler Hendrix) – impromptu tag match
All four men began brawling at ringside until the bell rang. Moose and Elgin had the early advantaged after throwing their opponents into the hockey boards at ringside. Kevin Kelly quickly sent the show to a break at the 0:35 point in the match.
Back at 3:05, things had settled down with Elgin and Dijak in the ring. Dijak missed a charge at Elgin and then ate a dropkick in the center. Elgin hesitantly tagged Moose, who came in and hit a beautiful dropkick of his own. Moose took his time and then hit a big suplex. Moose tagged Elgin, who came in and hit a suplex of his own. Only, he held Dijak in the air for over a 30 count from the crowd before dropping him to the mat! Elgin didn’t capitalize, though, tagging Moose instead.
This allowed Dijak to tag Diesel. All four men were in the ring. Taeler grabbed Elgin’s leg which allowed Dijak to superkick Moose and then chokeslam Elgin over his knee! Diesel hit Moose with several kicks, but to no avail. Moose came right back with some big fists, as the fans chanted “Moose!” Moose went for a big right hand to finish, but Dijak cut him off from behind. Elgin got involved, so Diesel and Dijak charged at him. Elgin lowbridged the rope, though, which sent them to the outside and then followed up with a huge flip dive!
Elgin grabbed Taeler and bent her over for a kiss, but then let her go. Back in the ring Elgin hit a German suplex into a bridge, but DIesel kick out of the pin attempt. Dijak ran in, but Moose sent him to the outside. Meanhiwle, Elgin hit DIsel with a stiff slap. Moose made the blind tag and then speared Diesel out of his boots for the victory!
WINNERS: Moose & Michael Elgin via pinfall in 8:58.
After the match, Moose and Elgin stared each other down. Moose’s music was playing at first, but then Elgin’s started playing over it.
ANALYSIS: Pretty basic stuff here. There was a good story told with Elgin and Moose trying the one-up each other throughout the match. Taeler is a good fit for the House of Truth, although I’m not sure Martini really needs yet another person causing interference during H.O.T. matches. I really didn’t like Elgin’s treatment of Taeler, though. It’s one thing to make comments like “I’m going to take you to the nearest motel,” but its another thing when your wife is a wrestler in the same promotion and your marriage has been brought up on air in the past. (**1/4)
Inside ROH: Adam Cole hosted yet another edition of “Story Time with Adam Cole, bay bay.” Tonight’s edition would feature The Kingdom team of Michael Bennett and Matt Taven. Cole mentioned that The Kingdom retained the ROH Tag Team Titles against The Addiction last week, and then threw to clips of the match. Cole hyped The Kingdom’s dominance and then threw to the Final Battle graphic for The Kingdom vs. War Machine. Cole transitioned to himself and announced he would face Dalton Castle next week on ROH TV. Cole said that Castle lost his step since losing “the boys.” Cole wished him luck because he “would need it.”
ANALYSIS: While I praised the efficiency of Cole hosting the segment last week, I thought this was too much. It just seemed really corny for him to be hyping the Tag Title match like he did. Don’t get me wrong, Cole’s been great the past few weeks, but that was because he was talking about his feud with Kyle O’Reilly, which there was none of tonight.
Video Package: Clips aired from Death Before Dishonor when Jay Lethal and Roderick Strong wrestled to a 60-minute time limit draw for the ROH World Championship. The segment cut to backstage comments from Roderick Strong. He brought up the rematch and how he thought Lethal looked scared. Strong’s words “one more match” kept repeating throughout the video, as Strong said it was about pride and respect. The package concluded with Roddy saying that he would take not only the ROH TV Title, but Lethal’s pride as well.
The Decade was in the ring. Whitmer took the mic and said he didn’t know where to start. He referenced Steve Corino announcing his neck injury last week and that his career might be over. He called Corino a scared and frightened man, as the camera panned Colby Corino’s face. Whitmer accused Corino of lying and couldn’t believe that the fans bought his “lame excuse.” Whitmer really couldn’t believe that ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness bought into it.
Whitmer “went there” and talked about how Nigel was “on top of the world” a few years ago before things didn’t go his way. Whitmer accused Nigel of lying about his injuries just like Corino did. Kevin Kelly was enraged, as Nigel got up from the announce desk. He grabbed the mic and said he was sick of Whitmer interrupting ROH TV. He said the fans should be watching an ROH TV Title match, but instead they had to listen to Whitmer whine. Nigel said that if Steve Corino can’t be at Final Battle, then Whitmer and Page couldn’t be at “the biggest show of the year” either. Whitmer and Page were upset as they pushed around Colby.
ANALYSIS: Nice set up to give The Decade a reason to goad Corino into a match at Final Battle. This long-running storyline has gotten positive buzz online, but I feel that fans get the point already and this valuable one hour per week of TV time could go to building other matches (ahem, A.J. Styles, ahem) on the Final Battle card.
3 – ROH World & TV champion JAY LETHAL vs. RODERICK STRONG – ROH TV Title match
The announcers talked about how the House of Truth was banned from ringside for this match. Ring announcer Bobby Cruise did full in-ring intros before the bell. Both men adhered to the Code of Honor before the match and then tied up in the center. Lethal hit a shoulder tackle, but Strong wrestled him down to the mat. Lethal escaped and rolled out of the ring to catch his breath. Back in the ring, they tied up again. Strong wrestled Lethal to the mat. Lethal struggled a lot, but Strong was able to roll the champ into a one count. Lethal feigned walking out on the match, but Strong ran right after him and threw him back into the ring. He hit Lethal with a dropkick, as the show cut to break at the 2:25 point.
Back at 3:25, Lethal nailed Strong with a chop on the outside and then threw him into the hockey boards. Strong came back with a chop of his own, but Lethal whipped him into another section of guardrail. Lethal mouthed off to the fans, as Roddy caught his breath. Lethal chopped Strong, but Roddy fought back with a chop of his own. Lethal grabbed Roddy, though, and tossed him back into the ring. There Lethal took control with some stomps and then chops in the corner. Lethal whipped Strong hard into the turnbuckle, but Strong kicked out of the pin attempt.
Lethal applied a headlock on the mat. The fans cheered for Roddy as he broke free. Both men traded chops in the center, with Strong knocking Lethal off his feet. Lethal called for the Lethal Injection, but Strong reversed into a dropkick! Strong followed up with an enziguri and then both men were exhausted on the mat. Dueling chant from the crowd, as they got to their feet and traded more strikes. They jockeyed for position until Strong got Lethal stuck in the ropes and Roddy hit a series of charging forearms. Strong went for a knee strike in the corner, but Lethal got the boot up. There was an ugly struggle in the corner, until Strong hit a backbreaker out of nowhere! Lethal kicked out of the pin attempt and the show went to break at the 8:40 mark.
Back at 9:40, Lethal missed a dropkick from the second turnbuckle. Strong exploded into strikes, but Lethal reversed with a Lethal Combination. He got a two count and then smoothly transitioned into a Koji Clutch for about 20 seconds until Strong broke free. Strong rolled to the outside and Lethal motioned for a dive. Lethal went on to hit two dives, in fact. He went for the third, but Strong caught him and Olympic Slammed him down on the black mats at ringside! The crowd popped!
Strong rolled Lethal into the ring for a nearfall. Both men struggled to their feet and then traded blows at the 12:30 mark. Lethal hit a DDT and then pointed to the corner. He climbed up top for Hail to the King, but Strong cut him off and then chopped him. Strong climbed up, but Lethal fought him off. Lethal fought back, but Strong hit a modified back suplex from the top! He applied the Strong Hold to Lethal. Lethal tried to get to the ropes, but Strong pulled him back. Lethal used his momentum to roll Strong up for a nearfall. Lethal hit a superkick followed by a Lethal Injection, but Strong kicked out of the pin attempt!
Lethal called for the Lethal Injection, but Strong rolled him up for a two count. Strong hit three consecutive jumping knees in the corner. Strong positioned Lethal up top yet again, but Lethal reversed into an ace crusher in mid-air! Lethal covered Strong, but he kicked out at two! After a brief moment of hesitation, Lethal kept trying to pin Strong, but to no avail. They traded fists. Lethal hit a superkick and then Strong came back with a jumping knee, a double knee gutbuster a sick kick, the End of Heartache and then applied the Strong Hold for the victory!
WINNER: Roderick Strong via pinfall in 16:48 to win the ROH TV Title!
ANALYSIS: Great match all around. The build-up was months, perhaps years in the making. The match itself was excellent, perhaps the best in their 2015 series as Strong continued his year of stellar in-ring performances. The title change was satisfying and felt like icing on the cake. Not sure Strong needs the TV Title at this point in his career, but perhaps he will serve as a transitional champion for an up-and-coming heel. (****1/2)
After the match, Strong celebrated as the House of Truth came out to console Lethal. Kevin Kelly announced Strong as the new ROH TV champion and signed off.
FINAL REAX: Good show that built well toward Final Battle. The lack of hype for the Jay Lethal-A.J. Styles main event is a bit alarming, though. The match is being promoted in the Final Battle TV ads, but that’s about it with only three weeks to go before the PPV. My initial assumption was that Styles was unavailable for the TV taping, but after skimming through the spoilers, it appears that A.J. did in fact appear at the taping and will be featured on TV in the next few weeks. Unfortunately, viewers would have no idea based on watching this episode. This is compounded by the fact that this is the last show that will be replayed on Destination America, thus TNA cross-over viewers were not given a compelling reason to seek out ROH on Comet TV going forward.