SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH TV Report
Aired July 31, 2016 in syndication
Aired August 3, 2016 on Comet TV
Taped June 25, 2016 in Concord, N.C.
Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch contributor
Video package: Last week, Adam Cole kept his promise that Kyle O’Reilly would never win the ROH World Title when Bullet Club brutally attacked O’Reilly before his title match against Jay Lethal. O’Reilly courageously wrestled the match later in the evening, but eventually came up short against Lethal. Bullet Club again attacked O’Reilly after the match, which prompted ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness to ban Adam Cole from challenging for the ROH World Title indefinitely.
The ROH TV opening aired.
ROH World Champion Jay Lethal was out first, as Kevin Kelly announced that there were no updates regarding O’Reilly’s condition following last week’s attack. Kelly also announced that Lethal would defend his title against Colt Cabana next week on ROH TV.
Lethal grabbed the mic and said what happened last week between him and O’Reilly “wasn’t right” because Kyle wasn’t 100 percent. He also didn’t think it was right that Bullet Club robbed O’Reilly of having a fair match. Lethal petitioned McGuinness, who was at ringside, to “make it right tonight.” Lethal brought up tonight’s main event between The Briscoes and The Young Bucks. Lethal knew that where The Young Bucks were, Adam Cole wasn’t far behind, so he asked Nigel to add both Cole and himself to make tonight’s main event a six-man tag! Nigel stood up and immediately agreed!
Ringside: Kevin Kelly asked Nigel McGuinness to reiterate what he said at last week’s episode. Nigel confirmed that Cole would not receive another title shot for as long as he was ROH matchmaker.
[MM Reax: Strong segment to start the show. This is exactly what ROH has been missing since the big Bullet Club angle at Global Wars-one of their victims coming out and actually vowing revenge. The entire opening segment from the video package to the announcers talking at ringside after the promo made last week’s angle feel important.]
Video package: Clips aired of Steve Corino sitting at a picnic table with Kevin Sullivan. There was a hazy, white filter over both this conversation and the clips of the Corino-Whitmer match that were woven in between. Corino wanted to know why Sullivan had forsaken him at Best in the World. Corino thought he had done what Sullivan had asked when he took Whitmer to “the depths of hell” with him. Sullivan talked of “our universe,” which was comprised of King Curtis Iaukea, then him, then his sons. Sullivan told Corino to go home and lay his head on his pillow, but warned that his dreams would turn to nightmares unless he “did the right thing.”
[MM Reax: Okay…]
Back in the arena, Mike “P-Dogg” Posey was with The Getalong Gang in the ring. P-Dogg called out Moose, as the fans chanted “boring.” It wasn’t long before the “Moose” theme song rang out through the arena!
1 – MOOSE (w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. P-DOGG (w/The Getalong Gang)
The Getalong Gang jumped Moose as soon as he entered the ring, but Moose quickly got to his feet and sent several Getalong Gang members flying around the ring. Moose tossed a one of the members onto the rest of the gang at ringside, and then powerbombed another onto the same sea of humanity! It was finally down to Moose and P-Dogg one-on-one, so the bell rang. P-Dogg hit Moose in the head with a microphone, but to no avail. Moose hit a headbutt and then delivered a Buckle Bomb. He tossed P-Dogg around the ring like a child and then hit a huge spear, which Kelly called a Hip Stick. The fans chanted “One more time,” so Moose obliged. Moose then put his foot on P-Dogg’s chest for the easy win.
WINNER: Moose via pinfall in 1:18.
ANALYSIS: Solid squash for Moose. It’s been said ad nauseum, but too bad things didn’t work out between Moose and ROH. (n/a)
After the match, Donovan Dijak and Prince Nana walked down to the ring. Nana praised Moose for doing what he does best-tossing bodies around. He said that was exactly the reason he brought Moose to Ring of Honor in the first place. Nana and Dijak entered the ring and again complimented Moose. Nana thought he had beaten some of the toughest guys in ROH, but he never beat Dijak. Nana petitioned Hathaway for a match, and Stokely quickly obliged!
2 – MOOSE (w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. DONOVAN DIJAK (w/Prince Nana)
Back from break, Dijak immediately punched Moose in the mouth, prompting the ref to call for the bell. Dijak came off the ropes, but ran right into a beautiful dropkick from Moose! Dijak rolled to the outside, but Moose was right behind him with an uppercut forearm, before tossing Dijak into the hockey boards at ringside several times. “Moose” chants from the crowd, as Moose charged at his opponent. Dijak caught him and reversed into a chokeslam onto the ring apron!
Both men rolled into the ring. Dijak threw some big forearms, but Moose came back with an uppercut. Dijak went up top. Moose called out “dropkick city, b—-,” but Dijak was able to kick him down to the mat! Dijak quickly followed up with a sit-out powerbomb, but Moose kicked out at two! Dijak struggled as he dragged Moose into position for a moonsault. He took too long, however, which allowed Moose to jump to his feet and nail Dijak with a dropkick that sent him all the way to the outside! Dijak responded by coming off the top rope, but Moose caught him in a sit-out powerbomb, which was good for a two-count!
Reset at 5:00, as both men traded blows in the center. Dijak exploded into a flurry of strikes, but then ran the ropes and right into an onslaught of blows from Moose. Dijak grabbed Moose and tossed him across the ring, but Moose no-sold it and nailed his opponent with a bicycle kick! He went for a flying cross-body off the top, but Dijak ducked. Dijak quickly went for Feast Your Eyes, but Moose landed on his feet and clotheslined Dijak out of his boots! Moose went for a charge, but missed. Dijak hit a chokeslam into a backbreaker, but Moose quickly fought back! Dijak again went for Feast Your Eyes and hit it for the victory.
After the match, Prince Nana offered words of encouragement to former protege Stokely Hathaway. However, it was all a set-up, as Dijak hit a huge boot on Hathaway out of nowhere. Kevin Kelly was outraged on commentary.
WINNER: Donovan Dijak via pinfall in 7:27.
ANALYSIS: Solid match between two of the industry’s fastest rising stars. Both men showed how far they’ve come in a short time, with some fun tit-for-tat spots that led up to some big power moves and a hot finish. Things might not have worked out between ROH and Moose, but at least the company able to get something out of him on his way out with a huge win for Dijak. I have not been a fan of how ROH has featured Dijak during his 18-month run with the company so far, but here is a chance for ROH to right the ship on one of the hottest prospects in the business. (***)
Backstage: ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction talked up ROH’s deep tag division. They talked trash about several other teams, claiming they, “shut them up because we shut them all down.” Kaz gave everyone permission to worship them to close out the generic promo.
Video package: Bullet Club interrupted the ROH World Title match between champion Jay Lethal and Colt Cabana at Global Wars. Next week on ROH TV, it’s Global Wars 2 as Lethal defends against Cabana in the long-awaited rematch.
Backstage: The Cabinet introduced themselves. King talked about the “out-pouring of support for the ‘Make Wrestling Great Again’ campaign.” King vowed to “build a wall” around The Young Bucks, making them pay for it with their 8×10 and t-shirt sales. Titus talked down to “little wrestlers,” but King cut him off and called out the less intelligent. They turned their attention to Moose, as Coleman claimed there was no room for him in ROH.
[MM Reax: It’s bad enough that Moose is still appearing on ROH TV weeks after jumping ship to TNA. This promo couldn’t have been edited out? It’s not like viewers are clamoring to see more of The Cabinet.]
3 – ROH World champion JAY LETHAL & IWGP Hvt. Tag Team champions THE BRISCOES (JAY & MARK BRISCOE) vs. ADAM COLE & IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team champions THE YOUNG BUCKS (NICK & MATT JACKSON) – six-man tag team match
Matt Taven joined the commentators at ringside. All six men stared each other down to start. They quickly came to blows, with the babyfaces sending their opponents to the outside. Lethal and Jay Briscoe hit dives-in-stereo, followed by a Blockbuster off the apron from Mark! Lethal and The Briscoes dominated on the outside for the next minute or so. Lethal and Mark set up a table on the outside, but Bullet Club quickly fought back with some of their signature triple-team offense. They isolated Jay in the corner, as things settled down around the 2:30 mark.
Cole worked on Jay Briscoe for 45 seconds and then tagged Nick. The quick tags continued, as Matt came in and hit a weak-looking double foot stomp on Jay’s arm. “That was too sweet” chant for the heels, as Briscoe fought back with a Death Valley Driver. Both men tagged their respective brothers, and then Mark tossed Nick out of the ring. He turned his attention to Cole and hit him with the cross-armed Falcon Arrow off the top for a two count. Jay re-entered and then the babyfaces triple-teamed Cole. Mark went up top, but he was shoved onto the table at ringside, as the show cut to a break at the 5:40 mark.
Back at 6:40, Mark Briscoe was being helped to the back by ROH security. In the ring, Lethal was fighting out of a side headlock from Cole. He broke free, but Cole quickly sent him back to the mat. Mark refused to be taken to the back, so McGuinness got up and personally escorted him to the locker room for his own safety. Quick tags continued in the ring, as Matt Jackson applied a chin lock to Lethal on the mat. Lethal punched his way out before long, but then ran right into a dropkick from Matt. Nick tagged in and then The Bucks hit their signature swinging neckbreaker/backbreaker combo. Briscoe reached out for the tag, but the heels kept Lethal on their side of the ring.
Lethal valiantly tried to fight out of enemy territory. He brawled with all three of his opponents on the outside and then nailed Cole with a superkick and then Matt Jackson with a Cutter. Lethal went for the hot tag, but Nick cut him off at the last second. Lethal was able to fight through, however, as he nailed Nick with the Lethal Combination! He finally made the tag to Jay Briscoe, who came in and superkicked everyone. He turned his attention to Cole and nailed him with some big forearms and then a neckbreaker, which was good for two. “Man up” chants, as Briscoe and Cole traded big boots. Cole was able to pick up Briscoe and deliver a neckbreaker over his knee, as the show cut to its final break at the 11:37 point!
Back at 12:37, Lethal was going for a Lethal Injection on both Bucks. They tried to reverse with a double-superkick, but Lethal threw Nick’s kick into Matt and then delivered one of his own to Nick! Lethal Went for the Lethal Injection, but The Bucks hit the double-superkick that time! Briscoe re-entered and hit a flurry of strikes on both Bucks, and then nailed them with a double-clothesline! Cole superkicked Briscoe and then Lethal hit the Lethal Injection on Cole. Nick tried to run over, but Lethal rolled him up for the pinfall victory!
WINNERS: Jay Lethal & The Briscoes via pinfall in 13:40.
After the match, The Bucks immediately attacked Lethal and Briscoe. Cole brought in a chair and hit the Jay Driller on Briscoe on top of it! Bullet Club followed up with a triple-superkick to Lethal, who was barely on his feet. Cole went to the outside and grabbed something from underneath the ring. They hit another triple-superkick. The Bucks then held Lethal’s arms, as Cole pulled out a pair of scissors! Cole proceeded to chop off Lethal’s signature cornrows, as the crowd booed. Cole pulled out electric clippers and proceeded to shave Lethal’s head, as the crowd booed even louder in disgust. ROH founder Cary Silkin stood up and looked on with great concern, as Bullet Club stood over the bald ROH World Champion.
ANALYSIS: Strong main event. It was what you’d expect from these six men-crazy spots and wild sequences throughout. It told a good story too, with Mark having to leave the match and Bullet Club using the numbers game to their advantage. The late commercial break made the ending feel a bit anti-climactic, but the post-match angle was anything but. ROH finally got around to getting Bullet Club over as heels, although it will be interesting to see if that type of reaction can be sustained for a trio as popular as Cole and The Young Bucks going forward. (***1/2)
FINAL REAX: The streak of solid ROH TV episodes continues, with apparently more to come when the Philly tapings begin airing next week. As much as the world champion opening the show with an in-ring promo is over-done in wrestling, the opening segment was a refreshing change of pace for a show that usually begins with a lower-card match. I thought the rest of the show was well-paced with an efficient use of ROH’s available talent roster.
While the substance of these episodes has improved, the fact remains that these shows feel so dated by the time they air. I understand that the company might not have complete control over the taping/syndication schedule, but ROH didn’t help its cause when it released photos of a bald Jay Lethal on social media to promote the on-sale date for December’s Final Battle PPV a few weeks ago. The show-closing angle was still effective, but I think some minor tweaks in ROH’s TV/online synergy could go a long way to make the Ring of Honor television product feel relevant in 2016.