KELLER & MARTIN FLAGSHIP (11/28)
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ROH TV Report
Aired September 4, 2016 in syndication
Aired September 7, 2016 on Comet TV
Taped August 20, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch contributor
The ROH TV opening aired.
The word “Evil” flashed on the big screen, as Steve Corino walked out to his familiar music. Corino was sporting bleach-blonde hair, as Kevin Kelly welcomed him back to the commentary desk with a hug. Kelly then announced tonight’s main event of ROH World Tag Team champions The Addiction and Kamaitachi against Kazuchika Okada and Roppongi Vice, while a “Steve Corino” chant rang out through the arena. Corino promised that he had “a lot to say.”
1 – THE ALL NIGHT EXPRESS (RHETT TITUS & KENNY KING w/ Caprice Coleman) vs. GUERRILLAS OF DESTINY (TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA)
Titus and King offered their hands for the Code of Honor, but The Guerrillas shoved them away. The bell rang, with Tonga and Titus starting the match. Kelly talked up Tonga’s impressive performance in this year’s G1 Climax tournament, as both men felt each other out. Tonga began working the arm, until the there was a break in the corner around the 1:25 mark. Titus complained of a hair-pull, and then quickly applied a side headlock.
Tonga escaped and made a blind tag to Loa. Loa immediately went for a cover, but Titus kicked out. Loa followed up with a scoop slam and a leg drop, which were good for another nearfall. Loa went for another slam, but Titus escaped and tagged King. Both men traded shoulder tackles, but neither went down. Titus nailed Loa from the apron with a kick, which allowed King to snap Loa’s throat across the top rope. The show then cut to its first commercial at the 3:48 point in the match.
Back at 6:18, Titus was in control of Loa, but Loa fought out with a back suplex. He tagged in his brother, who nailed Titus with a hurricanrana. Tonga missed a splash in the corner, which allowed Titus to tag King. King knocked Loa off the apron and then hit Tonga with an atomic drop. He followed up with a spinebuster and a two-count. King tagged Titus back in, and then ANX hit a spin kick/dropkick combo! Loa re-entered and then all four men furiously traded blows in the center. They eventually brawled to the outside, which allowed King to hit a corkscrew plancha onto both of his opponents at ringside!
Back in the ring, King and Titus went for a double-team on Tonga, but he fought back with a neckbreaker on Titus and then a flapjack on King! Loa re-entered and then The Gurerrillas hit a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo, which was good for another nearfall! King got back up and tossed Tonga to the outside. Meanwhile, Titus rolled up Loa for a two-count. ANX went back to some double-teaming. Coleman tried to get involved by climbing to the top rope, but was thrown into King by Tonga! The NJPW stars then hit their Guerrilla Warfare finisher for the victory!
WINNERS: Guerrillas of Destiny via pinfall in 10:30.
ANALYSIS: Decent opener. I’m not sure why ROH continually books heel vs. heel match-ups, but this was less offensive than some of the company’s other pairings. Some good action throughout, but not much else to it. (**1/4)
After the match, Caprice Coleman grabbed a headset and promised that ROH had not seen the last of The Cabinet. Coleman argued that this further proved that Bullet Club was dead, but Kevin Kelly just dismissed him as he segued to a video package.
Last week: Jay Lethal thought he had some back-up against Bullet Club with partners Tetsuya Naito and EVIL against. Unfortunately for Lethal, Naito and EVIL walked out on him. The package then cut to backstage comments from Lethal. Jay said that Naito made “the biggest mistake of his life” by walking out on him, and then promised that All Star Extravaganza would be the worst night of Naito’s life as he would have to step into the ring with “the greatest.”
Video package: Shane Taylor wanted to tell a story about himself and Raymond Rowe. He went into detail about how Rowe broke him into the business in Cleveland, Ohio. Taylor talked about their success during his early days, but claimed it all ended when Rowe began teaming with Hanson. Taylor then referenced his own successes after Rowe had left him and promised that Rowe’s past would catch up with him.
2 – SHANE TAYLOR & KEITH LEE vs. RICARDO ROJAS & KEN PHOENIX
The Code of Honor was adhered to before the bell. Lee and Phoenix began the match. Phoenix was much smaller than Lee, but didn’t lack confidence. Phoenix began chopping down Lee’s leg and eventually brought him down to a knee. Lee fought back with a vicious headbutt to Phoenix. Lee tagged Taylor. Rojas ran in and tried to intervene, but Taylor nailed him with a stiff right hand and then a nasty uranage. Lee powerbombed Phoenix and then Taylor immediately followed up with a huge top-rope splash for the victory!
WINNERS: Shane Taylor & Keith Lee via pinfall in 1:51.
ANALYSIS: Nice little squash to further put over Taylor and Lee as a threat. (n/a)
After the match, Taylor grabbed the microphone and proclaimed himself and Lee, “the baddest team in Ring of Honor.” Taylor bragged about “smashing” War Machine in Philly, but then said that Hanson and Rowe were “too stupid to stay down.” Taylor knew things wouldn’t end until one of the teams stopped breathing, so he called out Hanson and Rowe.
War Machine’s music played and out came the former tag champs! Rowe had the mic and told Taylor that he and Lee made the mistake of “not killing them.” Rowe spoke of his history with Taylor and thought Taylor would be the last guy who would stab him in the back. Rowe hoped Taylor enjoyed his 15 minutes in the spotlight because they would be his last 15 minutes. War Machine marched to the ring, as Kevin Kelly wondered if an official match would be made!
(During the break, ROH World champion Adam Cole announced that he and “Hangman” Page will face Michael Elgin and Tanahashi next week on ROH TV. Cole liked to refer to Elgin and Tanahashi as “wishful thinking” because that’s what their careers had been. Cole claimed they both only wished to be as dominant as Bullet Club and only wished to be ROH World champion. Cole promised to make an example out of them and that Elgin and Tanahashi “won’t like it.”)
3 – WAR MACHINE (RAYMOND ROWE & HANSON) vs. SHANE TAYLOR & KEITH LEE
Rowe immediately nailed Taylor with a Superman Punch, which prompted referee Todd Sinclair to call for the bell. Both men brawled in the ring. Rowe went for a discus forearm, but spun right into a stiff right hand from Taylor! Lee tagged in and chopped Rowe in the corner a few times. Rowe tried to fight out, but Lee shoulder-tackled him back into the corner. Taylor tagged back in and threw a chop at Rowe. The quick tags continued, as Lee came back in. Rowe went for a single-leg takedown, but Lee blocked and just pounded on Rowe’s back. Rowe fought out of the corner with some huge forearms in the corner and then a Superman Punch to Lee!
Rowe tagged Hanson, who came in and pounded away on both Taylor and Lee. Hanson proceeded to splash both of his opponents several times in separate corners until Lee got the boot up. Hanson no-sold it , though, and immediately hit a powerslam on Lee! Taylor tried to intervene, but Rowe came out of nowhere with Shotgun Knees! Lee popped up and hit a belly-to-belly suplex on Rowe, but Hanson was right there with a Cartwheel clothesline to Lee! Taylor then reappeared and nailed Rowe with a clothesline, before hitting Hanson with a Saito suplex! Lee followed up with a Death Valley Driver/powerslam combination, but Rowe re-entered and blasted Lee with a stiff running knee to the chin. Rowe then went for a dive onto Taylor on the outside, but his former friend launched a chair directly into his face, while Hanson nailed Lee with a chair on the other side of the ring! The referee immediately called for the bell.
WINNER: Double-disqualification at 4:25.
The brawling continued after the match, with Taylor and Lee gaining the upper-hand. They set up two chairs in the ring and then hit an assisted powerbomb on Rowe through them! ROH security ran out to break things up.
ANALYSIS: High-intensity brawl that was really good while it lasted. This feud has been one of the best things about ROH TV recently- two teams with a history, battling it out for supremacy. Taylor and Lee look like a typical indy tag team, but they certainly prove they belong in the ring. (**1/2)
A promo teaser featuring the history of the Ladder War in ROH aired. At ringside, Kevin Kelly hyped the three-way Ladder War that will take place between The Addiction, The Young Bucks, and The Motor City Machine guns at All Star Extravaganza. Kelly then introduced Matt Taven, who was joining the commentators for the main event. Taven had a big announcement: The Kingdom would participate in ROH’s upcoming Six-Man Tag Title tournament that begins at All Star Extravaganza on September 30.
4 – ROH World Tag Team champions THE ADDICTION (CHRISTOPHER DANIELS & FRANKIE KAZARIAN) & KAMAITACHI vs. IWGP Hvt. champion KAZUCHIKA OKADA & ROPPONGI VICE (ROCKY ROMERO & TRENT BARRETA) – six-man tag team match
Romero and Kamaitachi started the match. Kamaitachi talked trash in his opponents’ corner, before inviting Okada to enter the match. Okada obliged and tagged in. There was a clean break in the ropes, but Kamaitachi nailed Okada with a boot to the mid-section. Kamaitachi mocked Okada, but the IWGP champ responded with a couple of flapjacks! Kaz ran in and found himself on the receiving end of another flapjack, as the show cut to a break at the 2:03 point in the match.
Back at 3:03, Romero was hitting a series of Forever clotheslines on Kazarian. Daniels tried to break it up, but soon found himself in the opposite corner, as Romero continued to hit more Forever clotheslines! Romero slammed Daniels and then tagged Barreta. Trent ran back and forth on the apron for his patented boot rake, but Daniels rolled to the outside. Trent readjusted and dove onto Daniels and Kamaitachi at ringside! Trent threw Daniels back into the ring and finally raked Daniels’s eyes with his boot!
Kaz tripped Trent from the outside, which allowed Daniels to hit a moonsault to Barreta’s back. Kamaitachi tagged in and nailed Trent in the corner with several stiff chops. Kamaitachi followed up with a running basement dropkick. He taunted Okada, before tagging Daniels back into the match. Trent was in enemy territory, as Kaz choked him from the outside. Kaz then tagged into the match officially and hit Trent with a clothesline/footstomp combo with Daniels. The heels continued to dominate in their corner with quick tags for the next several moments. The Addiction hit a nice reverse STO combo, as the show cut to its final break at the 8:16 mark.
Back at 9:16, Trent was able to hit Daniels with a running knee strike. He finally made the tag to Okada, who came in and attacked all three of his opponents. He delivered a backdrop to Kamaitachi and then a DDT to Daniels. Okada followed up with an STO on Daniels, which was good for a nearfall. Okada nailed a top rope elbow smash and then hit The Rainmaker pose in the ring. He went for his finisher, but Kaz ran in and broke it up. Okada held them at bay and then tagged Romero. Romero came in and sent Kamaitachi to the outside with a headscissors. RPG vice then hit a nice springboard dropkick/basement knee strike combo on Daniels. Okada was right there with an over-the-knee neckbreaker, but Daniels kicked out at two.
A crazy sequence ensued with several wrestlers hitting big moves. RPG Vice eventually hit a double knee strike on Kaz and then reverse enziguri/Tornado DDT combo on Daniels. Romero then switched gears and dove onto Kamaitachi on the outside! RPG Vice went for Strong Zero, but Daniels reversed into Angel’s Wings on Trent. Romero went for Sliced Bread, but Kaz reversed him into Tombstone position and then The Addiction hit Best Meltzer Ever for the victory!
WINNERS: The Addiction & Kamaitachi via pinfall in 12:53.
ANALYSIS: Satisfying main event that actually put The Addiction over strong for once. I just wonder how much more intriguing this Ladder War at All Star Extravaganza would be if it was two-on-two between The Addiction and The Young Bucks, with The Bucks as babyfaces and Daniels/Kaz as heels. I feel that this could have been the climax of a money-drawing summer feud between two teams with similar finishers, yet ROH fans are stuck with yet another three-way mess. (***)
After the match, Daniels warned The Machine Guns and The Bucks that The Addiction would prevail in their upcoming Ladder War.
FINAL REAX: Another solid episode leading up to All Star Extravaganza. I thought the highlight of the show was the Taylor/Lee-War Machine segment mid-way through, as the entire feud up to this point has been Pro Wrestling 101 at its finest. As mentioned, the opener was a bit clunky because of the heel-heel dynamic. With only an hour of TV to fill per week, it’s hard to imagine why ROH feels the need to feature such awkward pairings.
The main event delivered in the ring, but ROH’s tag division is such a mess right now. It has been almost a year since the company signed the hottest tag team in the industry, yet The Young Bucks have accomplished close to nothing in the past 365 days. With all of the multiple-team tag title matches as of late, ROH might have been better-served to have kept the belts on War Machine, who are now in a meaningful two-on-two feud with Taylor and Lee. Not a blow-away show by any means, but worth watching if you want to catch up on ROH ahead of All Star Extravaganza on September 30.