SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This week’s ROH TV episode features basic matches following up on the Final Battle PPV building back to the anniversary PPV in February. Included is the duo of Mike Bennett & Maria appearing on the show taped in December while also appearing on a TNA TV episode taped in January.
ROH TV Report
Aired January 10, 2016 in syndication
To air January 13, 2016 on Comet TV
Taped 12/19 in Philadelphia, Penn.
Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch contributor
The ROH TV opening aired.
1 — ALL NIGHT EXPRESS (RHETT TITUS & KENNY KING) vs. ROPPONGI VICE (ROCKY ROMERO & TRENT BARRETA)
On commentary, Kevin Kelly and ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness did a good job of setting up ANX as the #1 contenders to the ROH World Tag Team Titles. The Philly crowd seemed to be more accepting of Titus and King, compared to the night before at Final Battle in the same building. Both teams shook hands and then the bell rang. King and Barreta started the match with some chain wrestling. King was impressive with his patented arm drag/kip-up combo. King remained in control with a shoulder tackle before tagging Titus.
ANX hit a legdrop/splash combo. Barreta tried to fight back, and did so once he catapulted a charging Titus over the top and to the outside! King was right there with a clothesline to Barreta, however, but Rocky wasn’t far behind with a running knee off the apron to King! ANX double-teamed Rocky on the outside, before throwing him into the hockey boards. Barreta reappeared and hit a corkscrew moonsault off the barricade and onto King and Titus! Back in the ring, Barreta nailed Titus with a knee strike in the corner. Barreta went up top, but took a nasty spill to the mat after Titus tripped him up. The show then cut to its first break at the 3:23 point in the match.
Back at 5:53, ANX was still in firm control of the match. King and Titus were double-teaming Barreta with a series of kicks. Titus hit a dropkick, which was good for a nearfall. Titus stretched Trent’s arms behind his back, but chose to let go and tag King back in. King talked some trash to Barreta before going for a back suplex. Baretta wriggled free and charged at King, but King reversed him into an Exploder suplex! The crowd turned against ANX at this point, with “you still suck” chants directed at King. Kenny charged at Barreta, but Trent was able to get his boots up just in the nick of time!
Barreta made the hot tag to Romero, who came in and cleaned house. He hit a cross-body on Titus and then a huracanrana on King, followed up with a series of running clotheslines on both King and Titus in opposite corners. Romero topped it off with a big double clothesline on both men in the center! He hit a standing Sliced Bread on Titus, but only got a two count. Romero stayed focused with some kicks to the body, before tagging Barreta back in the ring. Rocky held Titus in position, while Trent hit a top rope double-foot stomp, but Titus kicked out again.
There was a reset at the 9:45 mark when Barreta and Titus traded blows in the center. Titus got the upper-hand, but Rocky ran in and both he and Trent nailed Titus with running knee strikes! Trent dropkicked King off the apron and then Romero immediately followed up with a dive to the outside! RPG Vice hit their Strong Zero finisher on Titus, but the ref wouldn’t count. Apparently, King was the legal man, and he wasn’t far behind when he ran in and rolled up Barreta for the pin.
WINNERS: The All Night Express via pinfall in 10:50.
ANALYSIS: Hot opener that achieved its objective of firmly planting ANX on the heel side of the equation, with some great work from King especially. There were some exciting sequences with solid in-ring action to back it up. This didn’t quite hit three-stars in my book, but it was pretty close. (**3/4)
The Kingdom Speaks
All four members of The Kingdom were out next. Matt Taven was on crutches after the injury he suffered at Final Battle, while the announcers wondered what the future held for the group. There were brief “Taven” chants from the crowd as The Kingdom entered the ring. Several ROH ring crew and staffers surrounded the ring in what looked to be a security role. Cole wanted to know who was ready for “Story Time with The Kingdom, bay bay!” Cole said security was there to protect him against Kyle O’Reilly. He went on to say that some people won at Final Battle, while others lost. Cole reminded viewers that he beat O’Reilly, thus proving that O’Reilly “would never win the ROH World Title.”
Cole then turned his attention to Mike Bennett and Taven. He claimed that they had failed him at Final Battle. He was about to explain to them how they could get their titles back, when there was a stir at ringside. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish walked down the aisle. Fish talked up reDRagon, claiming that they had re-invented tag team wrestling. Fish suggested that perhaps it was time for them to reclaim the ROH World Tag Team Titles. Fish demanded McGuinness make a match. Nigel got on the mic. He said tonight’s card was booked, but announced that reDRagon would face The Kingdom “one last time” next week on ROH TV!
The Young Bucks’s music played and out came Nick and Matt Jackson. Matt said that if anyone was going to take out “those Bullet Club marks” (referring to The Kingdom), it would be them and they demanded a match against The Kingdom. Nigel announced a three-way between The Kingdom, reDRagon, and The Young Bucks in a Philly Street Fight next week on ROH TV! The crowd popped, as Kelly hyped the match.
ANALYSIS: Less-than-stellar segment. Nothing against any of these guys, but it just feels like the whole purpose of this was to set up yet another throw-away three-way between these talented teams. Hopefully, there is a good pay-off next week, with it being Bennett and Maria’s swan song with the company.
2 — ROH World Tag Team champions WAR MACHINE (RAY ROWE & HANSON) vs. THE HOUSE OF TRUTH (DONOVAN DIJAK & JOEY “DIESEL” DADDIEGO w/Truth Martini) – non-title match
Daddiego is the man formerly known as J. Diesel. War Machine came out without the Powers of Pain-esque face paint they donned at Final Battle. Dijak and Rowe started the match. Daddiego nailed Rowe from behind, but to no avail. Dijak capitalized on the distraction, however, and nailed Rowe with a big boot that took him off his feet. Dijak followed up with a suplex. Hanson ran in and charged at Dijak, but he low-bridged the rope and Hanson went to the floor. Dijak then hit a beautiful corkscrew plancha variation onto both members of War Machine, which drew a huge pop from the crowd!
Back in the ring, Martini threw the Book of Truth into the ring for Dijak, but he refused to use it. Daddiego tagged himself in, but was tossed across the ring and then kicked in the face by Rowe. Hanson tagged in and powerslammed Daddiego and then set up Dijak in the corner. Daddiego tried to interfere, but Hanson stacked him right on top of Dijak and pounded on their chests several times. Both men fell down in the corner, which set them up perfectly for a Bronco Buster from the big man! Dijak tried to fight back, but Hanson cartwheeled out of the way and clotheslined Dijak to the mat!
Rowe came in and they double-teamed the House of Truth. Rowe nailed Dijak with a Superman Punch, followed by a German suplex. Daddiego tried to fight back, but walked into a double-chokeslam from the champs! Dijak got stuck in the corner and ate Shotgun Knees from Rowe, followed by a Bronco Buster from Hanson! War Machine then hit Dijak with their Fallout finisher for the victory!
WINNERS: War Machine via pinfall in 3:32.
ANALYSIS: Glorified squash for War Machine, which is fine given they just won the titles. Both Hanson and Rowe are very athletic and agile for big men, which makes them fun to watch. Their title reign also opens up a lot of fresh match-ups, which should be a huge plus for ROH in 2016. (*1/2)
Back from break, The House of Truth was still in the ring. Dijak was still selling the effects of War Machine’s finisher, when Truth grabbed the mic. He talked up the other members of the H.O.T., but stopped short at Dijak. Instead, he accused Dijak of being the “weak link” of the group. Dijak looked upset. Martini urged him to calm down, but then asked about Dijak’s whereabouts during the main event of Final Battle. He called it a slap in the face, and then proceeded to literally slap Dijak right in his face!
Dijak tried to keep his cool, as the fans chanted, “that was weak” at Martini. Dijak grabbed Martini by the lapels, but Daddiego was right there to attack him from behind. Daddiego held Dijak in place while Martini talked trash to his face, but Dijak reversed Daddiego into his Feast Your Eyes finisher! Huge “Dijak” chant from the crowd, as Martini fired Dijak from the House of Truth! Prince Nana, who gave Dijak one of his mysterious envelopes a few weeks ago, looked on from ringside.
ANALYSIS: Huge development, as Dijak has finally broken away from House of Truth. This couldn’t have come a moment sooner, since Dijak was absolutely stagnating in his role as fodder in front of Jay Lethal. I do think that Dijak would have been better-served if he was kept stronger throughout 2015. He could have been a ready-made challenger for Lethal, but instead he’ll probably start with a feud against Daddiego. Regardless, Dijak has so much potential and should have a break-out year in 2016.
Backstage: ReDRagon cut a promo on next week’s Philadelphia Street Fight. O’Reilly said he was from the “mean streets” of Delta, British Columbia. O’Reilly broke into sophomoric humor about how a tree smashed through his garage one winter, and how he was going to chop down both teams next week. Fish didn’t recall any “mean streets” in Camelot or Rancho Cucamonga, but claimed to be from the mean streets of Colonie.
ANALYSIS: I absolutely hated this promo. I know it’s the usual reDRagon schtick, but it was extremely disheartening to see O’Reilly act like a goof during his first promo after being cheated out of a victory against his arch-rival at Final Battle. Hilarious line from Fish at the end, though. I live about a half-hour north of Colonie, N.Y., and it has a reputation of being one of the safest towns in America.)
Clips then aired from Final Battle when “the boys” turned their backs on Silas Young and reunited with Dalton Castle.
3 — DALTON CASTLE (w/”the boys”) vs. MOOSE (w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. MATT SYDAL vs. JAY BRISCOE – four-way match
Castle was back in full peacock garb, with “the boys” by his side. On commentary, Nigel explained that this was lucha rules, so a new competitor could enter the ring once another went to the outside. All four men adhered to the Code of Honor (including Castle and a tentative Jay Briscoe), and then the bell rang. Moose and Sydal started the match. Moose towered over Sydal. They took a while to tie up, but eventually Sydal threw some kicks. Moose came right back with the kick to the gut. They jockeyed for position before there was a stalemate at the 1:05 mark.
Moose called for a Test of Strength and Sydal obliged. Moose easily overpowered Sydal and just tossed him over the top rope and to the floor. Briscoe entered and then there was a dueling chant. Moose backed into the corner and Castle took the opportunity to tag himself into the match. It was unclear if the fans were chanting, “man up” or “fan up,” but both men chain-wrestled until there was another stalemate. Briscoe caught Castle off guard with a big boot, though, as the show cut to a break at the 3:08 point in the match.
Back at 4:08, Briscoe was still in control of Castle. He rammed him in the corner a few times and then headbutted him in the center. Briscoe tagged Moose, who came in and delivered a headbutt of his own to Castle. Moose went for a vertical suplex, but Castle reversed into a roll-up before Sydal broke it up. Briscoe nailed Sydal and then squared off with Moose. Jay threw several jabs, but Moose dodged a big boot and then threw several punches of his own. Sydal came off the top to try and break it up, but Moose cut him off and then took turns punching both men!
All four men fought in the ring. When the smoke cleared, Castle nailed Moose with a German suplex into a bridge, which was good for a two count. Briscoe knocked Castle out of the ring with a knee and then brawled with him on the outside. Sydal low-bridged Moose to the outside as well. Sydal then hit an Asai moonsault from the top turnbuckle onto his three opponents at ringside! “The boys” went to fan Castle, but Stokely stole their gimmicks and fanned Moose. Back in the ring, Sydal threw several kicks and then a jumping knee to Moose. He hit a huracanrana into pinning combination, but Briscoe ran in and broke it up.
Briscoe and Sydal were alone in the ring. Briscoe hit a swinging neckbreaker, which was good for a nearfall. Briscoe picked up Sydal, but Moose came out of nowhere and speared both men to the mat! Castle then reappeared and nailed Moose with a missile dropkick! Castle went for Bangarang on Sydal, but Sydal reversed into an inverted hurricanrana! Sydal went up top for the Shooting Star Press, but “the boys” got on the apron and tried to fan him off the top rope. It didn’t work, but it allowed Castle to move out of the way and then hit the Bangarang to put Sydal away!
WINNER: Dalton Castle via pinfall in 9:25.
ANALYSIS: Good main event, but there wasn’t enough time for all four men to really shine. The closing sequence was hot, though. It’s interesting to see “the boys” act in a heelish manner, especially toward a babyface like Sydal. I’m wondering if ROH is beginning to pivot Castle as a heel, or if “the boys” just picked up some bad habits from Silas Young. (**1/2)
The announcers signed off by hyping next week’s Philadelphia Street Fight between reDRagon, The Kingdom, and The Young Bucks!
FINAL REAX: Solid show that [mostly] focused on acts that ROH is going to have to lean on this year. War Machine, ANX, Dijak, and Castle all have bright futures ahead of them. I can easily see Diajk and Castle in main events by year’s end. Perhaps it was just me, but I was not a big fan of all the hype for next week’s Philadelphia Street Fight. It just feels very been there/done that. If ROH is going to make any headway in 2016, it’s going to be a result of meaningful one-on-one (or two-on-two) match-ups that people are willing to pay to see.