SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH TV Report
Aired August 14, 2016 in syndication
Aired August 17, 2016 on Comet TV
Taped July 16, 2016 in Philadelphia, Penn.
Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch contributor
Video package: Last week, Adam Cole goaded ROH World Champion Jay Lethal and ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness into giving him a title shot at the Death Before Dishonor PPV.
The ROH TV opening aired.
The camera panned the 2300 Arena, as Kevin Kelly again hyped the ROH World Title match at Death Before Dishonor this Friday. The camera showed Kelly and ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness at ringside. Kelly asked McGuinness about his decision to make the match, and Nigel simply said that he stood by his decision because “this is the match that needed to happen.” Kelly also announced that there was some controversy regarding tonight’s ROH World Tag Team Title match that would be addressed later in the show.
1 – LIO RUSH vs. DONOVAN DIJAK (w/Prince Nana) – battle of the most recent Top Prospect Tournament winners
During entrances, clips aired of how each man won his respective tournament. Dijak had a huge height advantage over Rush. He mockingly crouched down to shake Lio’s hand and then the bell rang. Dijak dominated the early moments by just tossing Rush around the ring with ease. They went to the outside, where Dijak charged at Rush but missed. Lio fought back with some forearms, but Dijak shut him down with a knee. Rush was able to to hit a hurricanrana that sent Dijak into the barricade, however. Lio and Prince Nana got into a shoving match on the outside, which Rush won as he left Nana laying on the floor.
Rush came off the top, but ate a boot from Dijak in the ring. Dijak took control with a backbreaker, before tossing Rush across the ring yet again. Dijak chopped Rush in the corner, while Nana talked trash from the outside. All of a sudden, Rush exploded into a flurry of strikes and kicks that sent Dijak to the floor. Rush went for a dive, but got caught by Dijak. Rush was able to wriggle free and land on the apron. He kicked Dijak hard in the face a couple times, and then followed up with a huge flip dive! The show then cut to its first break at the 4:03 point in the match.
Back at 6:33, Lio nailed Dijak with a Tornado DDT, which was good for a two-count. The crowd was firmly behind Rush, who climbed up top. Dijak cut him off with some forearms, though. Dijak tried to capitalize, but ate an enziguri from Rush. Lio went for a frogsplash, but Dijak caught him by the neck as he came down! Dijak got to his feet and hit a sit-out powerbomb, which was good for a nearfall of his own. Dijak went for a chokeslam. Rush tried to counter, but Dijak then lifted up Lio for Feast Your Eyes. Rush escaped and then both men jockeyed for position until Rush hit a DDT, followed by a basement dropkick. He went for the cover, but Dijak kicked out again!
Dueling chant from the crowd, as Lio threw some forearms and slaps. Before long, Dijak grabbed Rush by the neck and chokeslammed him into a backbreaker. Nana encouraged Dijak to “teach him a lesson” from the outside. Dijak went for Feast Your Eyes, but Rush came back with a reverse rana, followed by a successfully frogsplash. He went for the cover, but somehow Dijak kicked out at two! Rush threw some forearms. He ran the ropes, but Dijak caught him. They jockeyed for position again, until Lio rolled up Dijak in a crucifix for the leverage pin!
WINNER: Lio Rush via pinfall in 11:27.
After the match, Dijak and Nana immediately attacked Rush. Jay White ran down to make the save, but was shortly intercepted by Kamaitachi. A graphic then aired, announcing for the first time a four-way #1 contender match for the ROH TV Title between Jay White, Kamaitachi, Dijak, and Rush at Death Before Dishonor this Friday.
ANALYSIS: Solid match between two of ROH’s up-and-coming stars. Rush looked credible against Dijak, despite Dijak’s over one-foot height advantage. The match built to a pretty convincing nearfall toward the end that brought things up a notch. I don’t agree with Dijak losing so soon after getting a big win over Moose a few weeks ago, although this was a match neither guy could afford to lose. I only wish it was built up on TV and saved for the PPV, instead of just having another thrown-together four-way. (***)
Backstage: Dalton Castle and “the boys” were talking about miniature horses when they were interrupted by The Cabinet. Caprice Coleman claimed to be able to see through their “smoke and mirrors.” Rhett Titus threatened “the boys,” claiming that Castle couldn’t protect them forever. Dalton said that “the boys” didn’t need his protection because they could “kick ass” just like he could. Kenny King interjected and referenced the “voting booth,” and how everyone wanted Castle removed from wrestling, before The Cabinet walked off-camera. Dalton looked puzzled, as “the boys” fanned him.
Ringside: Kevin Kelly and ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness promised to address the ROH World Title situation tonight. They also hyped that ROH World Champion Jay Lethal and Adam Cole would sign the contract for their title match later in the show. Clips from backstage were shown, where Taylor & Lee attacked War Machine backstage while they were doing an interview with Ian Riccaboni. Taylor & Lee left Hanson and Rowe laying before walking away.
[MM Reax: A lot of TV time has been spent developing the War Machine vs. Taylor-Lee feud, yet they aren’t booked for Death Before Dishonor. I understand wrestlers having other commitments, but why not feature other wrestlers on TV who, you know, actually have matches at the upcoming PPV?]
Kevin Kelly was then shown at ringside with “Hangman” Adam Page. Kelly referenced Page’s recent exploits in New Japan with Bullet Club. Page vowed that Bullet Club’s mission was to seize every piece of gold in both ROH and NJPW. Page turned his attention to reigning IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Champions The Briscoes. Page promised to take the titles from them, but said he would face Jay Briscoe at Death Before Dishonor first. Page threatened to kick Briscoe’s “mangy ass.” Briscoe immediately ran to ringside and both men brawled.
[MM Reax: Another thrown together “feud” airing just days before the PPV. The real shame here is that Briscoe and Page actually have a history, yet one quick ringside interview is not enough TV time to get that point across to viewers.]
Clips were shown of what just transpired between Page and Briscoe. The Taylor & Lee beat-down of War Machine was also replayed, as Kevin Kelly narrated. The next clip was of The Addiction addressing the crowd in the ring. Kaz announced that there would be no tag title match because of what had just happened. Rocky Romero and Trent Barreta weren’t happy with this apparently, so they entered the ring. RPG Vice said that since there was an ROH World Tag Team Title match advertised, The Addiction might as well defend against them!
Kevin Kelly’s narration continued, as he claimed that The Young Bucks were not happy about it. Nick and Matt Jackson appeared on the ramp and suggested they would bring a potential two-and-a-half star match between The Addiction and RPG Vice to a five-star match if it was made a three-way. ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness got to his feet and cut off The Bucks. He said that The Bucks weren’t included in tonight’s contracted tag title match and that they didn’t deserve a shot anyway because of their recent actions as part of Bullet Club. Nigel had a sudden change of heart, though, as he announced that RPG Vice would face The Bucks tonight and the winner would receive a title shot against The Addiction in two weeks on ROH TV!
2 – THE YOUNG BUCKS (NICK & MATT JACKSON) vs. ROPPONGI VICE (ROCKY ROMERO & TRENT BARRETA) – #1 contender match for the ROH World Tag Team Titles
The bell rang, as The Addiction joined the commentary desk. Matt and Rocky started the match. On commentary, Kaz bragged that he and Daniels were “the smartest men in the room.” Meanwhile in the ring, Rock hit a hurricanrana and then went for Sliced Bread, but Matt blocked. Romero tagged in Barreta, who ran over and knocked Nick off the apron. RPG Vice double-teamed Matt. A Barreta moonsault was good for a two-count. Romero and Barreta continued to isolate Matt with quick tags, while Kaz accused Barreta of having “a jerk face.” Trent was tagged back in. He did his spot where he ran back and forth on the apron, but Nick ran in and cut him off with a superkick!
The Young Bucks took control and called for their patented Terminator dive. The fans rallied them on as they nailed both members of RPG Vice in-stereo. Back in the ring, Matt tagged Nick and then The Bucks hit a neckbreaker/swanton combo. Nick went for the cover, but Romero broke up the pin attempt. Nick nailed Rocky with a back elbow, but Trent grabbed him from the outside and held him on his shoulders. This opened Nick up for a running knee from Romero off the apron, as the show cut to a break at the 5:09 mark!
Back at 6:09, Nick hit a spinning heel kick on Trent. Matt tagged in and nailed Trent with some clotheslines. He turned his attention to Rocky and dropkicked him through the ropes to the outside. He rolled out and followed up with a superkick. Matt then went up top, jumped down to the mat, and nailed Trent with a superkick. Matt went back up top and hit an elbow drop, but Barreta kicked out of the pin attempt. The fans clapped along to the Terminator theme, as Matt threw some fists in between making the “suck it” gesture. Romero re-entered and then he and Trent nailed Matt with running knees! Nick reappeared and hit some kicks, but Rocky was able to toss him back to the floor.
Romero then exploded into several clotheslines on Matt in the corner. Matt reversed with some running “suck it” clotheslines of his own. Rocky came back with a clothesline that turned Matt inside out. On the outside, Trent went for a Dudebuster on Matt, but Nick hit a running punt kick off the apron that allowed Matt to reverse into a sunset bomb on the floor!
The Addiction talked trash to The Bucks on the outside, which prompted the Bucks to nail them with a pair of superkicks! The Bucks nailed Trent with a double-superkick in the ring, and then hit Rocky with a pair on the apron. The Bucks hit a 450 splash on Trent while he was in the ropes. They went for the cover, but somehow Trent kicked out at two! “Meltzer” chant as The Bucks went for the Meltzer Driver. The Addiction went to cut them off, but Nick decided to change course and hit an Asai moonsault on Kaz and Daniels at ringside! Meanwhile, Trent reversed Matt into a Dudebuster! Matt and Trent jockeyed for position on the top turnbuckle. Trent eventually threw Matt off the top rope, and then Rocky hit a dive onto Nickl on the outside. Trent hit a running knee on Matt, but Matt was somehow able to reverse into a Crucifix pin for the victory!
After the match, The Addiction attacked The Bucks and then hit Celebrity Rehab on Matt.
WINNERS: The Young Bucks via pinfall in 12:15 to earn a shot at the ROH World Tag Team Titles.
ANALYSIS: Two matches, two leverage pinfalls via crucifix. Not a huge critique, but something ROH should look to avoid in the future. This match was a notch above the opener, albeit it was because of its insane action and pace rather than its storytelling. Speaking of storytelling, I don’t understand why ROH is moving toward Addiction-Young Bucks. I was all for it when The Bucks were the most over babyfaces in the company. Perhaps they are still the most over babyfaces in the company, but this whole situation is further proof that the big Bullet Club angle back at Global Wars was one of the biggest booking failures in recent history. (***1/2)
Back from break, a Kevin Kelly voiceover ran down the card for Death Before Dishonor this Friday.
ROH World Title contract signing
Bullet Club’s music blared throughout the arena, as Adam Cole walked to the ring. Clips aired of Bullet Club shaving Jay Lethal’s head a few weeks ago on ROH TV. Lethal then made his entrance. A table was set up in the ring with an ROH banner draped over it. ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness announced the main event of Death Before Dishonor to the live crowd. Nigel asked both men if they had any last words before the match. Cole immediately grabbed the mic and asked who was “ready for story time with Adam Cole, bay bay?”
Cole again accused Nigel of being Lethal’s puppet. He referenced shaving Lethal’s head, saying that it looked good and it proved that Cole could take whatever he wanted from Lethal, including the ROH World Title. Cole was angered that Lethal thought of himself as the greatest wrestler in Ring of Honor “because Adam Cole, bay bay, runs this show!” Cole hyped the match and said that he had no intention of stealing the show, just Lethal’s title.
Lethal grabbed the mic and immediately asked where to sign the contract. Nigel directed him where to sign, but Lethal wanted Cole to know something. Lethal claimed that every match he had revolved around an ROH championship. He referenced beating Alberto el Patron, Jay Briscoe, and Roderick Strong, again claiming that it was “always about a championship.” Lethal put over the titles, but said that his match with Cole was not about a championship- it was personal and about revenge. Lethal admitted that whenever he looked in the mirror, he was reminded of what Cole did to him. Lethal declared that he didn’t have cool catchphrases, he was just there to fight. Lethal then signed the contract.
Cole proclaimed “ladies first” in response to Lethal signing the contract first. Cole declared that Lethal had just signed away the ROH World Championship. Cole leaned over to sign, but Lethal then threw a pair of scissors onto the table. Cole looked up perplexed, and then Lethal jumped on him! Cole came out on top of the scuffle and declared that the title would be his. Lethal responded with a low blow and then mounted Cole. Lethal grabbed the scissors and went for Cole’s flowing locks, but The Young Bucks ran out to pull Cole away. “Lethal” chants, as the champ held up his title belt to close the show.
ANALYSIS: Hot closing angle before the PPV. This was “Booking 101” at its best- a sympathetic babyface looking for revenge against a cocky heel who did him wrong. The promo work from both men was stellar, perhaps the textbook definition of “talking them into the arena.” This whole Bullet Club angle has been far from perfect, but I am very much looking forward to the main event of Death Before Dishonor.
FINAL REAX: Strong lead-in show to Friday’s Death Before Dishonor PPV. On top of two great matches, there was the extraordinary promo exchange between Lethal and Cole. I hope this is replayed in its entirety on the pre-show, although I’d recommend seeking this out beforehand just to make sure you see it.
My only critique is that the show was too jam-packed. There was just so much that happened, which is perfectly highlighted by all of the mayhem that surrounded the ROH World Tag Team Title match in the middle of the show. I understand that ROH needed to hype some of the matches for the PPV, but when half of the matches are going to feature NJPW stars who don’t appear on TV, is it that hard to spend more time on matches involving ROH stars, like Adam Page and Jay Briscoe? Death Before Dishonor should be a solid show, but outside of the main event, most of it seems to be thrown together at the last minute.