SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Ring of Honor kicked off 2016 with a TV Title match on their weekly TV show, plus more fall-out from “Final Battle” and talk about ROH’s relationship with New Japan.
ROH TV Report
Aired January 3, 2016 in syndication
To air January 6, 2016 on Comet TV
Taped in Philadelphia, Pa.
Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch contributor
The ROH TV opening aired.
The camera panned the 2300 Arena, as Kevin Kelly wished viewers a
Happy New Year. Kelly was joined by Mr. Wrestling III (Steve Corino)
at the commentary desk. They announced that Michael Elgin will be
facing the House of Truth’s Donovan Dijak in tonight’s main event.
Roderick Strong made his entrance. He appeared to be more cocky as he
walked to the ring. He grabbed a mic, while fans chanted “You tapped
out” in reference to the referee not seeing Strong tap during his
match against Bobby Fish at Final Battle.
Strong told the crowd that he was still the ROH TV Champion and demanded they continue “this Roddy versus the world thing.” Apparently, he was referencing an open challenge for the ROH TV Title. Generic music played, but out came former ECW star Stevie Richards to a huge pop!
1 — ROH TV champion RODERICK STRONG vs. STEVIE RICHARDS – ROH TV Title match
Kevin Kelly hyped this as “the first match of 2016,” as both men shook
hands and the bell rang. There was a decent “Stevie Richards” chant
while Strong and Richards engaged in a chain wrestling sequence. There
was a stalemate at the 1:00 mark. They tied up again, as the
announcers wondered where Strong’s head was at after tapping to Fish
at the PPV. Stevie hit a stiff chop, but Strong came back with one of
his own. Stevie put him back down with a slam, which was only good for
a one count.
They ran the ropes a bit until Strong hit a beautiful dropkick. Strong
hit a belly-to-back suplex, but he could only get a one count. Strong
applied a chin lock. Stevie fought out of it, but Strong hit him with
an Olympic Slam, which was good for a two count. Stevie hit a back
suplex of his own, but Strong came right back with a heel kick, as the
show went to its first break at the 3:55 point in the match.
Back at 6:25, Strong was still in control, but Stevie was trying to
fight back. Roddy held him at bay, though, and scored another
nearfall. Roddy grabbed Stevie and went up top, but Richards broke
free and then superkicked Strong off the top rope! Strong quickly got
up and both men traded blows at the 7:30 mark. Stevie came out on top
with an Impaler DDT and then covered Strong, but could only get two.
Strong reversed an Irish whip and then hit some running knees and a
running forearm. Stevie tried to fight back, but Strong reversed into
a backbreaker, which was good for yet another nearfall.
Strong hit a double knee gut buster. He went to follow up, but Stevie
hit a superkick out of nowhere! He went for the cover, but Strong
kicked out at two! Richards applied a Boston Crab, but Strong was able
to kick his way out after a few seconds. Roddy hit a neckbreaker and
then applied his own version of the Boston Crab, the Strong Hold.
Stevie tried to fight it off and was eventually able to grab hold of
the bottom rope. Strong came right back with a jumping knee. He
quickly went for the cover and scored the victory!
WINNER: Roderick Strong via pinfall in 10:20 to retain the ROH TV Title.
ANALYSIS: Fine for what it was. Not a lot really happened over the ten
minutes, but Stevie looked good in putting Strong over. The finish
seemed to come out of nowhere, which was fine. The main focus was how
Strong was dealing with the Final Battle fallout, and this told that
story well. (**1/4)
ReDRagon’s music began playing, and out came Bobby Fish. Fish, donning
a three-piece suit, advised there would be an impromptu edition of The
Fish Tank up next. Several ring crew members were close behind with a
makeshift set, as the show cut to a…
Back from break, Fish sat down at a table in the ring. Roddy tossed
his chair away, which caused Fish to stand as well. Fish said 2015 was
a “banner year” for the ROH TV Title. He said that lineage dated back
to “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards. Mr. Wrestling III, tapping into the usual
Steve Corino schtick, wondered what had ever happened to Eddie
Fish said there had never been “more buzz surrounding the name of
Roderick Strong.” Fish claimed to have prepared some material that
showed what a great year it was for Roddy. The camera focused on the
big screen, where a still shot of Strong tapping out to Fish at Final
Battle was shown. Strong was irate, as Kevin Kelly agreed that Fish
had a point. Strong grabbed a mic and denied tapping out. He called
Fish a “sore loser” before throwing the mic in his face and walking
ANALYSIS: I’m not entirely sold on another heel run for Strong in ROH,
but that appears to be where they’re headed. While there are
definitely some positives in having a heel act as a gatekeeper in the
midcard, it just feels very been there/done that when it comes to
Clips aired from a few weeks ago ROH TV, when a match between Caprice
Coleman and Will Ferrara ended in a double-DQ when both men used
chairs against each other. Kevin Kelly talked about how both men had
been acting more aggressively since Prince Nana started giving them
his mysterious envelopes. Ferrara and Coleman made their entrances for
Coleman yelled at ring announcer Bobby Cruise, demanding he take his
ring jacket. Coleman then grabbed the mic and set the stage for his
no-DQ match with Ferrara. Coleman said that even though “Willy” got a
visit from the mailman, he was still a “giant turkey.” Coleman said he
was going to beat Ferrara because he had “the body of a god and the
face of an angel.” Ferrara responded with a forearm to Coleman’s
chest, and then the bell rang!
2 — CAPRICE COLEMAN vs. WILL FERRARA – No-Disqualification match
Coleman immediately rolled to the outside, which opened him up for a
big dive from Ferrara! Will threw Coleman into the barricade a few
times. He tried to throw Coleman back into the ring, but Caprice
fought back with some fists. After cursing at the crowd, Coleman hit
Ferrara in the mid-section and then nailed him with a kick. Coleman
grabbed his belt from the ringside and then proceesed to whip Ferrara
in the middle of the ring several times.
Ferrara grabbed onto the belt and then nailed Coleman with a huge
German suplex! Ferrara went back outside and grabbed a chair. Coleman
did the same. They met in the middle and then hit their chairs into
one another. Coleman won the duel and then set his chair up in the
corner. Ferrara tried to come back with a Tornado DDT, but Coleman was
able to reverse into a trifecta of Northern Lights suplexes, the third
of which was on top of the steel chair in the corner!
Coleman continued his onslaught by nailing Ferrara on the back with a
chair. Ferrara got to his feet. Coleman hit him again, but Ferrara
no-sold it! Ferrara then hit a DDT onto the chair and covered Caprice,
but could only get a two count. Ferrara rolled to the outside and
grabbed a table. He set it up in the ring and then positioned Coleman
on the top rope. Mr. Wrestling III commented on how the table already
looked broken. Ferrara went for a superplex, but Coleman fought him
off and then hit a Sky Splitter leg drop from the top rope and scored
WINNER: Caprice Coleman via pinfall in 5:45.
ANALYSIS: Shorter than tonight’s opener, but this was much more
action-packed. I am intrigued by Prince Nana’s envelopes. Ferrara had
some great moments during the match, even drawing some scattered
chants from the crowd. Not bad for ROH’s perennial jobber. (**1/2)
3 – CEDRIC ALEXANDER (w/ Veda Scott) vs. JONATHAN GRESHAM
Kevin Kelly brought up Veda Scott’s lawsuit against ROH for “unsafe
working conditions.” Kelly also pointed out that Cedric was wearing a
new diamond-crusted Rolex watch at Final Battle. The bell rang, as
Corino, err, Mr. Wrestling III compared Gresham to a young Bryan
Danielson. Cedric pinched Gresham’s cheek and then wrestled him into
the corner. Cedric followed up with a forearm and then a dropkick to
the back of Gresham’s head. Cedric followed up with more forearms.
Gresham tried to fight back, but Cedric immediately reversed into a
series of suplexes. Gresham was able to reverse the third one into a
small package, but Cedric kicked out of the pin attempt.
Gresham followed right up with a big dropkick. He nailed Cedric in the
head with some forearms and then hit a flying cross-body from the
second rope, which was good for a nearfall. Gresham then locked on the
Octopus hold, but Veda got up on the apron. Gresham was distracted,
but moved out of the way before Cedric’s could attack him from behind.
He rolled up Cedric for an O’Connor roll, but Cedric came right back
with a 540 Kick. Cedric hit a couple of charging dropkicks in the
corner and then followed up with the Lumbar Check. Cedric went for a
laxidasical cover, which Gresham reversed into a pinning combination
for the win!
WINNER: Jonathan Gresham in 3:32.
ANALYSIS: The announcers were pushing Gresham hard. I wasn’t that
impressed, but three-and-a-half minutes is hardly enough time to truly
evaluate someone. Nothing against Gresham, but he came across as just
another underdog babyface. If the pattern holds, he will get a few
wins before going on a losing streak and then turn heel. (*1/2)
Ad: “Come party with Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling at the
14th Anniversary PPV in Las Vegas!
The House of Truth was out next. Kevin Kelly reminded viewers that
Donovan Dijak won last year’s Top Prospect tournament. Dijak lifted
Martini on his shoulders in the ring, as Lethal joined the
commentators at ringside. Jerry Lynn appeared out of nowhere. He told
Lethal that he was big enough to admit he was wrong, and then
congratulated him for being the better man at Final Battle. Lethal was
ecstatic, as Lynn walked to the back.
4 – MICHAEL ELGIN vs. DONOVAN DIJAK (w/ROH World champion Jay Lethal and Truth Martini)
Kelly asked Lethal about his then-upcoming title defense against Elgin
at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 10 in Tokyo. Lethal simply said it would be
a “snowball effect” because he had already beaten “everybody.” In the
ring, both men shook hands and the bell rang. Elgin and Dijak tied up
in the center, while Lethal continued to gloat about what Jerry Lynn
said on commentary. Elgin hit a big forearm, but Dijak came right back
with an elbow. Dijak tried to knock Elgin off his feet, but Elgin
knocked Dijak to the mat instead.
Elgin lifted up Dijak for a press slam and then dropped him to the
mat. Elgin followed up with a clothesline in the corner, and then he
lifted him up for a delayed vertical suplex. The fans counted to 30
before Elgin finally suplexed Dijak to the mat. Elgin went for the
cover, but Dijak kicked out. Elgin charged at Dijak, but the big man
was able to get out of the way and then sent Elgin to the floor with a
big boot. Martini ran into the ring and did a spinaroonie, as the show
cut to a break at the the 2:49 point in the match.
Back at 3:49, Dijak was stomping Elgin in the center of the ring.
Lethal continued to talk trash about Elgin, as Dijak tossed him across
the ring. He went for a cover, but Elgin kicked out at two. Dijak
applied a modified chin lock. He only held on for about 15 seconds
before Elgin elbowed his way out. Dijak charged at Elgin in the
corner, but “Big Mike” caught him and then hit an overhead suplex.
Elgin slammed Dijak and then hit a springboard splash. Elgin hit Dijak
with a running forearm in the corner and then set him up for a
Dijak fought his way out, but then ate an enziguri from Elgin! Elgin
hit a deadlift German suplex into a bridge, but Dijak kicked out at
two! Dueling chants rang out from the crowd, as Dijak nailed Elgin
with some huge blows in the center. Elgin fought back with another
enziguri. He went for the Elgin Bomb, but Dijak kicked his way out and
then hit a chokeslam into a backbreaker. He followed up with a top
rope moonsault, but could only get a nearfall!
Dijak looked a little concerned, but not overly frustrated. He went
for Feast Your Eyes, but Elgin punched his way out of it. He nailed
Dijak with several forearm smashes, the last of which knocked Dijak
off his feet. Both men jockeyed for position, until Elgin was able to
hit a deadlift powerbomb. He immediately followed up with an Elgin
Bomb for the victory.
WINNER: Michael Elgin via pinfall in 9:15.
ANALYSIS: Good match, although I felt like it never got to the next
gear. Dijak continues to be under-utlilized as this was a glorified
squash for Elgin ahead of his ROH Title Match at Wrestle Kingdom 10.
After the match, Lethal entered the ring and got in ELgin’s face. Both
men exchanged words. Lethal raised his title belt in the air, as Kevin
Kelly hyped that both men would face off at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 10.
FINAL REAX: Okay show. Definitely not that hot first show of the new
year, but ROH took advantage of being involved with NJPW Wrestle
Kingdom 10, a show that actually generated a lot of buzz among ardent
wrestling fans. ROH’s mid-card is intriguing with Roderick Strong
turning heel, the ongoing envelopes saga, and a new act in Gresham,
but a lot of it just felt like a repeat. Hopefully, ROH brings a
stronger effort starting next week now that WK10 is in the record