SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH TV Report
Aired October 15, 2016 in syndication
Aired October 18, 2016 on Comet TV
Taped October 1, 2016 in Lowell, Mass.
Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch contributor
The show opened with clips of Ladder War VI from All-Star Extravaganza, where The Young Bucks defeated The Addiction and The Motor City Machine Guns to emerge as ROH World Tag Team champions.
The ROH TV opening aired.
Bullet Club entered the arena “stronger than ever,” in the words of Kevin Kelly, as the ROH portion of the stable now hold both the ROH World Title and ROH World Tag Team Championships. The announcers talked about how fans might have witnessed the final-ever Ladder War due to the brutality of the match at All-Star Extravaganza. The announcers also recapped that Adam Cole retained his title, but had many challengers in-line.
Matt Jackson took the mic first and said that Bullet Club renamed All-Star Extravaganza to “Five-Star Extravaganza.” He put over their victory and proclaimed The Bucks, “the greatest tag team of all time.” Cole took the mic and welcomed the fans to “story time with Adam Cole, bay bay.”. Cole talked about his win over Michael Elgin and declared that Elgin wasn’t in his league. Cole then recapped Bullet Club’s beat-down of Kyle O’Reilly after the match. Cole brought it back to The Bucks, again proclaiming them “the best of all time, all over the world.” Cole said that Bullet Club was in control and promised that some form of Bullet Club will win those titles also. He also said that Page would eventually win the ROH TV Title, and Bullet Club would then have all the gold in ROH. Bullet Club did their signature “too sweet” hand gesture in the ring to close the promo.)
METZGER’S ANALYSIS: Short, but sweet opening-segment-after-the-PPV promo from the victorious faction. While this type of promo has been played-out over the past 20 years in wrestling, I think previous post-PPV episodes were really missing something when they would jump right to an undercard match. The promo was pretty generic, but at least they issued a mission statement going forward.
ROH Update: Commentator Ian Riccaboni hyped that there were several non-televised events available for purchase on ROH’s official website. Riccaboni went on to recap what had happened during the company’s recent Reloaded Tour, including the debut of Bull James (NXT’s Bull Dempsey) and Silas Young’s victory in a gauntlet match that earned him a future title shot at Adam Cole. Riccaboni actually transitioned into a preview of tonight’s main event between Silas Young and Jay Lethal. Lethal and Young had faced off earlier in the evening during the live event where Silas won the Honor Rumble. The update continued with backstage comments from Jay Lethal. Lethal promised that tonight they would find out who was “the real man.” Lethal didn’t know how it began between them, but he knew it would end tonight.
METZGER’S ANALYSIS: This has to be one of my favorite segments on ROH TV in the last 5 years. For so long, I have critiqued the disconnect between the live event and TV portions of ROH’s business model. This tied everything together perfectly, as the viewer is now caught up on the recent happenings in ROH, knows that Silas in line for a future title shot, and has a reason to be invested in tonight’s main event.]
Clips aired from last month on ROH TV when Shane Taylor and Keith Lee powerbombed Raymond Rowe through two steel chairs.
1 – WAR MACHINE (HANSON & RAYMOND ROWE) vs. SHANE TAYLOR & KEITH LEE
Taylor and Lee walked toward the ring, but were immediately met by in-stereo dives from Hanson and Rowe! The bell rang, despite all four men being on the outside. War Machine dominated on the outside for the opening minute. Rowe slammed Lee onto the floor hard, and then proceeded to slam Hanson on top of Rowe! They turned their attention to Taylor, but Lee eventually broke things up. All four men continued to brawl on the outside, until Lee tossed Rowe into the barricade. Lee began pummeling Hanson, as the announcers remarked that the referee was being lenient because the fans deserved a clear winner.
Taylor and Lee stood tall for a moment, until Rowe sprang up and nailed both of his opponents. Taylor responded by knocking Rowe back down to the floor, while Hanson pounded on Lee’s chest. Hanson went to slam Lee, but Taylor ran and broke it up. Taylor and Lee proceeded to toss Hanson into the barricade. They threw him into the ring, but Rowe nailed Lee with a stiff knee to the face on the outside. Back in the ring, Hanson charged at Taylor, but Taylor back-dropped Hanson onto Rowe and Lee on the outside! Taylor then hit a huge flip dive onto the other three men, as the show cut to a break at the 4:23 point in the match.
Back at 6:53, all four men were actually in the ring. They were still brawling, as they traded power moves. Hanson eventually came out on top with a huge powerslam on Lee. War Machine went for a double-chokeslam on Taylor, but he fought out and nailed Rowe with a stiff right hand. Taylor Irish-whipped Hanson, who flipped over the ropes Ric Flair-style. Hanson got back in the ring and cartwheeled out of the way of a double-clothesline attempt, but ended up walking right into a double-chokeslam from Taylor and Lee. They went to follow up, but Rowe re-entered with Shotgun Knees to Taylor. War Machine isolated Lee and hit him with a powerslam. A bloodied Hanson went for the cover, but Lee kicked out. Hanson went to dive onto Taylor on the outside, but flew directly into a right hand. Taylor and Lee then hit a devastating DVD/powerslam combo. Lee went for the cover, but somehow Hanson kicked out!
“This is awesome” chant around the 10:30 mark, as Hanson fought back with a Whoopie Cushion out of the corner before making the hot tag to Rowe. Rowe hit Shotgun Knees on both of his opponents and then War Machine hit Fallout on Taylor, but he miraculously kicked out at two! Taylor and Lee fought back with an assisted powerbomb on Rowe, but he kicked out. Lee went up top, as Taylor powerbombed Rowe. Taylor went for a splash, but missed. Hanson went for a splash of his own, but Taylor rolled out of the way! Lee then went for a huge moonsault on Hanson, but missed! Rowe then hit a humongous Canadian Destoryer on Lee for the victory.
WINNERS: War Machine via pinfall in 12:42.
After the match, Taylor attacked Hanson and Rowe with a steel chair. ROH officials ran down to break things up.
METZGER’S ANALYSIS: A wild, hard-hitting brawl throughout. I’ve been a big fan of how ROH has booked this feud, as it’s Pro Wrestling 101 at its finest. All four men certainly backed it up in the ring with a stiff brawl that was truly captivating and fun to watch. Recommended viewing. (***)
Backstage: Caprice Coleman said that the nominees were set. He bragged about winning state after state, delegate after delegate. He proclaimed that The Cabinet was at the top of the ticket and would prevail as the inaugural ROH 6-Man Tag Team Champions.
The announcers were shown at a new commentary position. They appeared to be up on a stage, instead of the usual ringside location. They commented on the ROH 6-Man Tag Title tournament bracket and then threw to the next match.
2 – THE CABINET (RHETT TITUS & KENNY KING & CAPRICE COLEMAN) vs. LEON ST. GIOVANNI & JASON KINCAID & SHAHEEM ALI – ROH 6-Man Tag Team Title tournament match
Kelly noted that St. Giovanni, Kincaid, and Ali all competed in this year’s Top Prospect tournament. While The Cabinet made their entrance, Kelly commented on the trio vowing to “take a knee” during the Code of Honor out of protest. Coleman then took the microphone and announced to the crowd that they were “taking a knee.” They did so and then the bell rang. King and Ali started the match. They traded armdrags and then jockeyed for position until a double-dropkick caused a stalemate at the 0:45 point. King threw Ali into his corner and then all three Cabinet members attacked him. The Cabinet entered the ring and took another knee, but were then dropkicked by St. Giovanni and Kincaid from behind!
The babyfaces took control as Ali and St. Giovanni hit an uppercut/neckbreaker combo on Coleman, which was good for a two count. All three babyfaces then hit a nice double-roll/Backstabber combo. Kincaid went up top, but got caught by Coleman after a distraction from Titus. The show then cut to a break at 3:15.
Back at 5:45, The Cabinet was back in control. Titus was dominating Kincaid. Some quick tags commenced, as the heels isolated Kincaid in their corner. Before long, though, Kincaid was able to roll over to his corner and tag Ali! Ali nailed King with some knee strikes and then a basement dropkick. Titus came out of nowhere, though, with a left hand. St. Giovanni made a blind tag and hit a nice lariat combination. St. Giovanni and Ali then hit an STO/reverse STO combo on Titus, but he kicked out at two. King re-entered and then ANX hot some of their signature offense on St. Giovanni.
ANX went for One Night Stand, but Kincaid re-emerged and hit a variation of a stunner. They tied Titus to the Tree of Woe and then the babyfaces hit a triple dropkick on Titus in the corner! Titus somehow kicked out of the pin attempt. St. Giovanni went for a Phoenix splash, but Titus got his knees up and tagged Coleman. King ran in and hit St. Giovanni with a neckbreaker over his knee, immediately followed by a Sky Splitter top-rope leg drop from Coleman for the victory.
WINNERS: The Cabinet via pinfall in 9:31.
METZGER’S ANALYSIS: Fine for what it was. The babyfaces looked impressive, but this was just all action and no story. The Cabinet being the 2016 equivalent of The Decade doesn’t help matters, either. (**1/4)
3 – JAY LETHAL vs. SILAS YOUNG
The announcers hyped Young’s upcoming ROH World title match against Adam Cole during his entrance. Crowd was solidly behind Lethal to start. They tied up in the corner, but neither man gained an advantage. Both men jockeyed for position until there was a stalemate around the 1:00 mark. They locked up again, and this time Young took Lethal down with a shoulder tackle. Lethal came right back with an armdrag, followed by a cartwheel dropkick to Silas. Lethal then hit a dropkick that knocked Young to the outside, where he waited for a big dive from the former champ!
Lethal called for another dive and hit it. Lethal proceeded to chop Young and then re-entered the ring. He called for a third dive and then successfully scored the trifecta. Huge “Lethal” chant, as Adam Cole joined the commentary desk. The show then cut to its final break at 3:47.
Back at 4:47, Silas was in control. The show cut to action during the break where Silas hit a neckbreaker on Lethal. Silas chopped away on Lethal, while Cole talked up his busy schedule of title defenses on commentary. Meanwhile, Silas taunted Lethal in the ring. He went for a cover, but Lethal kicked out at two. Silas applied a chin lock around the 6:00 mark. The fans eventually rallied Lethal to his feet, but Silas knocked him right back down to the mat.
Silas went for a Boston Crab, but Lethal kicked out of it. Both men jockeyed for position again. Lethal came out on top with a couple of bicycle kicks and an enziguri. Silas charged at Lethal in the corner, but ran right into a boot. Lethal hit a Lethal Combination and then climbed up top. He called for the Hail to the King elbow smash and nailed it. Lethal covered Silas, but could only get two. Jay called for the Lethal Injection but Silas blocked it. Silas went for his Killer Combo, but Lethal blocked. Silas was still able to come out on top with an Ace Crusher and another nearfall.
Cole got up from the commentary desk to get a closer look at the action, but Kyle O’Reilly appeared right behind him and proceeded to attack the champion. O’Reilly pounded on Cole at ringside. Silas went for the Pee Wee Gaja Plunge, but ended up running into O’Reilly on the apron. The momentary distraction allowed Lethal to roll-up Young for the victory!
WINNER: Jay Lethal via pinfall in 10:02.
METZGER’S ANALYSIS: Good match before the shenanigans at the end brought it down a notch. I loved the pre-match build and the fact that this otherwise bland match was portrayed as a battle of top contenders. ROH booked itself into a corner, though, as Jay Lethal couldn’t lose to Silas immediately after his monumental victory over Tetsuya Naito at All-Star Extravaganza, hence the screwy finish. (**1/2)
After the match, Silas tossed Lethal to the floor. He stared down Cole, but Lehtal dragged Young to the outside. Lethal and Silas brawled on the floor, while O’Reilly and Cole faced off in the ring. Silas eventually walked away from the ring with the ROH World Title belt and raised it in the air to close the show.
FINAL REAX: One of the best one-hour shows in the history of ROH’s TV product. Sure, other episodes have featured matches with higher star ratings, but this was a coherent, disciplined effort at building the promotion around up-and-coming wrestlers who are fighting over titles and grudges. ROH has had difficulty in generating a buzz over the past couple years and a lot of talent has left for greener pastures (with some more possibly on the way out), but this apparent change in TV format could do a great deal to help stop the bleeding.