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ROH TV Report
Aired June 12, 2016 in syndication
Aired June 15, 2016 on Comet TV
Taped 5/11, 2016 in Toronto, Ont.
Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch contributor
The ROH TV opening aired.
Ringside: Mark Briscoe joined Kevin Kelly and ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness at the commentary desk. They hyped tonight’s main event of IWGP Jr. Hvt. champion KUSHIDA versus Kyle O’Reilly.
1 – IWGP Hvt. champion TETSUYA NAITO vs. MOOSE (w/Stokely Hathaway) – non-title match
The announcers spoke of Naito’s recent heelish actions in New Japan Pro Wrestling. There was no Code of Honor before the bell. Slow start, as McGuinness pointed out the type of athletic tape that Naito had on his knee. Moose caught Naito in the corner. He led some “Moose” chants, but Naito spat on him in response. Naito tried to mount some offense, but quickly ate a beautiful dropkick from Moose. Naito got his boots up when Moose charged at him. Naito went up top, but Moose immediately dropkicked him to the floor!
Naito dodged a dive attempt by Moose. Naito appeared to be going for a dive of his own, but then arrogantly stretched out in the middle of the ring, instead. Naito then went for a plancha, but Moose caught him and threw him into the hockey boards at ringside! Back in the ring, Naito jumped out of the way of a spear by Moose. Naito followed up with a legsweep and then dropkicked him in the corner, as the show cut to its first break at the 3:40 point in the match.
Back at 6:11, Naito was hammering on Moose in the center. Moose tried to psyche himself up and got to his feet. He threw some fists, as the crowd chanted “Moose.” However, Naito cut him off with a rolling kick. Naito charged at Moose and then set him on the top turnbuckle. Naito hit a super hurricanrana, but Moose no-sold it and then clotheslined Naito out of his boots! Moose went for the cover, but Naito kicked out at two. Moose blocked a Tornado DDT attempt from Naito, and then suplexed him into the corner!
Naito blocked a clothesline and hit an STO. Naito immediately applied a Koji Clutch, but McGuinness pointed out that he didn’t have it locked on all the way. Moose was able to hook his legs onto the ropes pretty quickly. Naito went for another Tornado DDT. Moose tried to reverse, but Naito was able to follow through with the DDT. Moose ran to the ropes and went for a flying cross body, but Naito casually walked out of the way! Naito quickly followed up with his Destino finisher for the victory.
WINNER: Tetsuya Naito via pinfall in 10:15.
ANALYSIS: Some great action, especially early on. The outcome was no surprise, given the participants. Moose has come a long way during his two-year stint. If the rumors of Moose’s impending departure are true, ROH will be losing a key talent just as he was blossoming in the ring. Such wasted potential. (**3/4)
Backstage: Rhett Titus and Kenny King were back for another “Make Wrestling Great Again” promo. They criticized pro wrestling in 2016 for “being too P.C.” and “having too many superkicks.” They promised to make wrestling great again, even if it kills them.
[Reax: This segment was a lot more coherent than last week’s edition. It came off more as a cheesy personal injury attorney advertisement than a political ad, but King and Titus were serviceable in this role.]
2 – ALL NIGHT EXPRESS (RHETT TITUS & KENNY KING) vs. JUSHIN “THUNDER” LIGER & CHEESEBURGER
ANX strutted to the ring with miniature megaphones to accentuate their new gimmick. On commentary, Mark Briscoe didn’t “get it.” Clips aired of ANX brutally attacking Cheeseburger in Las Vegas. Titus and King immediately kicked their opponents in their respective guts during the Code of Honor. ANX isolated Liger, but Jushin threw King into Titus and then delivered a couple of palm strikes that sent ANX to the outside. Cheeseburger went for a dive, but got caught. Liger backed up his partner with a baseball slide to the outside that took Titus and King off their feet!
Back in the ring, Cheeseburger and Liger double-teamed King. Liger scored a nearfall and then tagged in his partner. Burger hit some chops. He charged at King, but Kenny crotched him ion the top rope. King hit his signature modified enziguri kick, as the show cut to a break at the 2:35 point in the match.
(During the break, a Best in the World PPV commercial aired with some generic comments from ROH World Champion Jay Lethal and #1 contender Jay Briscoe.)
Back at 5:05, ANX was still in firm control of the match. They made quick tags, as they double-teamed Cheeseburger for about 90 seconds. Cheeseburger eventually kicked King away and made the hot tag! Liger was a house afire. He caught Titus up top and hit a superplex! He went for the cover, but King broke up the pin attempt. Liger responded with a rolling kick to King. He tagged Cheeseburger and then they hit a double-palm strike on King.
Titus reappeared and lifted up Cheebeurger for a double-team move, but Liger broke it up. Cheeseburger scored a nearfall on Titus. King then yanked Liger to the outside, while Cheeseburger hit a palm strike on Titus. King quickly re-entered with a handstand kick and then his Royal Flush finisher for the victory.
WINNERS: All Night Express via pinfall in 8:45.
ANALYSIS: Perfectly acceptable wrestling. Cheeseburger and Liger had some fun spots, but the right team went over, as ANX strengthens their new “Make Wrestling Great Again” gimmick. (**)
After the match, it was announced that Mark Briscoe will face Roderick Strong at the Best in the World PPV. On commentary, Mark felt slighted by how Roddy looked down on him as “the lesser Briscoe.” Meanwhile, Liger raised Cheeseburger’s hand and then the fans chanted “Thank You Liger.”
It was then announced that Bullet Club will face Jay Lethal, Roderick Strong, and The Briscoes in an eight-man tag next week on ROH TV. The announcers suggested that the Best in the World opponents will have to work together next week against Bullet Club. Roderick Strong appeared at ringside and got in Mark Briscoe’s face. They stared each other down, as security came down to settle things down. Briscoe responded to Strong by saying, “Mr. ROH, my a–,” before the show cut to another…
Backstage: Adam Cole and The Young Bucks were back for another Bullet Club promo. Matt said that he had a couple of superkicks with Jay Lethal’s name on it before “that big doofus” broke it up. Cole cut him off and again voiced his frustration with not being in the main event of Best in the World. The Young Bucks grabbed the camera and focused solely on Cole, who said, “ The Bullet Club will show the world who the best is at Best in the World.”
Ringside: Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness again hyped next week’s TV main event. They then transitioned to talking about Best in the World and a graphic for the ROH World Title match was shown. Silas Young walked to ringside and interrupted the PPV hype. A graphic then aired showing that Silas Young will indeed face A.C.H. at the PPV. Silas grabbed a mic and again blasted A.C.H. for playing video games. He accused A.C.H. of believing he was a Japanese cartoon hero. Silas said that A.C.H. was in for a reality check at Best in the World because he was going to prove that A.C.H. is just “a child in a man’s world.”
Young argued with some fans at ringside, and even grabbed a fan in the front row who was wearing an A.C.H. t-shirt. Security quickly appeared to break it up, and then out of nowhere, A.C.H. stormed the ring and hit his Air Jordan dive onto Silas at ringside!
Kyle O’Reilly then cut a backstage promo on KUSHIDA. He spoke of losing to KUSHIDA during the NJPW Best of the Super Juniors finals last year. O’Reilly said that at that moment, he vowed he would never lose to KUSHIDA again. He vowed to tap him out the next time they met and now, almost 365 days later, KUSHIDA was “out of time.”
3 – IWGP Jr. Hvt. champion KUSHIDA vs. KYLE O’REILLY – non-title match
Both men felt each other out on the mat to start. They each scored a cross arm-breaker attempt until there was a stalemate at the 0:55 mark. O’Reilly applied a headlock and then they ran the ropes. KUSHIDA hit an inverted atomic drop and then a dropkick to O’Reilly’s knee. KUSHIDA began to work Kyle’s elbow. KUSHIDA followed up with a cartwheel dropkick and then threw some chops. He nailed O’Reilly with a forearm in the corner. O’Reilly tried to fight back, but KUSHIDA just threw him over his shoulder.
O’Reilly would not be denied, however, as he fought back with some kicks. He dropped KUSHIDA’s knee over his own and then began working KUSHIDA’s knee, kicking his opponent’s knee out from under him. KUSHIDA countered with some strikes, but O’Reilly rolled him into a knee bar! KUSHIDA was quickly able to drape his foot over the bottom rope, however. KUSHIDA sold his knee, before fighting back with an enziguri and then a springboard dropkick. Both men got to their feet and then traded blows in the center. O’Reilly came out on top with a stiff knee to KUSHIDA’s head, as the show cut to its final break at 6:05.
Back at 7:05, KUSHIDA went for a kick, but got caught int he ankle lock by O’Reilly! KUSHIDA fought out, but O’Reilly cut him right off with a lariat. KUSHIDA came right back with a brainbuster out of nowhere. Both men were down. They struggled to get to their feet, and then KUSHIDA hit a handstand kick that sent O’Reilly to the outside. O’Reilly used the change of scenery to take control. however. He set up a chair and then dropped KUSHIDA’s knee onto it. Referee Todd Sinclair was not counting for some reason. O’Reilly hit KUSHIDA with several signature strikes. He got onto the apron and charged, but KUSHIDA caught him in mid-air and applied the cross arm-breaker on the outside! He let go, and then both men regrouped back in the ring.
Reset at 10:15, as both men traded some stiff shots in the center. O’Reilly hit his Ax & Smash combo, but KUSHIDA immediately responded with a stiff punch to the face! “This is awesome” chant, as KUSHIDA kicked O’Reilly. They jockeyed for position until O’Reilly applied a Guillotine Choke! Somehow, KUSHIDA reversed into a Kimura Lock. O’Reilly tried to roll through, but KUSHIDA caught him in a Hoverboard Lock! O’Reilly struggled, but then rolled up KUSHIDA out of nowhere for the victory!
WINNER: Kyle O’Reilly via pinfall in 11:47.
ANALYSIS: Action-packed main event with a surprise finish. When the match began, I couldn’t believe that O’Reilly was going to have to lose to yet another New Japan star, but I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Glad to see O’Reilly actually getting a push leading up to his upcoming ROH World Title shot at the next set of TV tapings later this month. The match itself was full of stiff strong-style and exhilarating submission sequences, and is worth going out of your way to see. (***1/2)
The announcers again hyped next week’s main event to close the show.
FINAL REAX: All in all, a good show with an outstanding main event. It’s obvious that ROH is pressed for time before Best in the World, as they have been cramming a lot into their TV shows the past couple weeks. The PPV card is coming together, but with just one episode remaining before the show, it feels more like a bunch of manufactured issues just thrown together instead of the culmination of major storylines leading into the second-biggest event of the year.