ROH TV REPORT
DECEMBER 24, 2017
TAPED 8/18 & 8/19 IN LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND AT OLYMPIA
AIRED ON SINCLAIR AFFILIATES & ROHWRESTLING.COM
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Ian Riccaboni, B.J. Whitmer
[Q1] Opening theme. Standing backstage Ian Riccaboni welcomed us to the final episode of a record-breaking 2017 featuring footage from the RevPro/NJPW/ROH/CMLL War Of The Worlds UK tour in August. Our opening contest is from a non-televised live event held August 18.
(1) KUSHIDA vs. TITÁN – ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Kushida was defending after defeating Marty Scurll for the title in May. Titán is from CMLL so it was a lot of the expected springboards, arm drags, and hurricanranas in the early part of the match. With Titán seated in a chair at ringside, Kushida hit a running dropkick, then rolled Titán into the ring for a two-count. Kushida wore Titán down some more before going for the hoverboard lock. Titán quickly escaped to the ropes, though. Titán took over with kicks before going for an Asai mooonsault. Titán hit Kushida but also landed stomach-first across the guardrail himself with his feet nearly taking out some fans. [C]
-Going into commercials a brief teaser ad aired for Honor Club – the subscriber-based streaming service/app that ROH will be launching in 2018. “It’s more than a network” was the tagline.
Titán hit a dragon screw leg whip and locked in a variation of a figure four. Kushida made it to the ropes to break the hold. Kushida caught Titán on the top turnbuckle and hit a flying armbar. Titán made it to the ropes for the break again. The men traded kicks mid-ring. Titán rolled up Kushida for two. Titán with a flying headscissor into a crucifix pin. The fans chanted “fight forever.” Kushida locked in the hoverboard lock in the center of the ring. Titán tried rolling out to escape and countered two Back To The Future attempts but Kushida eventually hit a third successfully for the win.
WINNER: Kushida in 15:09 to retain the ROH World TV Championship. [C]
(Analysis: A decent match but hardly deserving of the “fight forever” chant or heaps of praise the commentators threw on it afterward. Maybe a portion was cut out during the commercial break? ROH fans who don’t follow CMLL weren’t given any information about who Titán is or why he was deserving of a TV title shot considering he’d never wrestled in an ROH ring prior to this.)
[Q2] (2) JAY LETHAL vs. JOSH BODOM
This one was a repeat from the War Of The Worlds pay-per-view on August 19. Bodom is a British wrestler from Revolution Pro Wrestling and was their cruiserweight champion at the time of this match. The men traded wristlocks to begin. Lethal hit a spinning neckbreaker. He attempted his trio of suicide dives a couple times but Bodom prevented it each time. Bodom with a snap suplex and a standing moonsault. Lethal took over with a dropkick to the back of the head and some chops. [C]
Lethal called for a Lethal Injection but Bodom hit a reverse hurricanrana instead that sent Lethal to ringside. Suicide dive and Asai moonsault from Bodom. Back in the ring it was a double stomp to the back of Lethal’s head and a running moonsault. Lethal kicked out.
[Q3] Lethal got hung up in the corner and Bodom freed him with a dropkick. A Lethal Combination shifts the tide. Hail To The Chief elbow from the top and a figure four from Lethal on Bodom. Bodom made a rope break as Silas Young walked down to ringside to jaw at Lethal. Bodom attempted a roll-up but Lethal hit the Lethal Injection.
WINNER: Jay Lethal in 11:39.
-Young immediately jumped on Lethal and beat him down before three referees pulled him off. Bodom helped Lethal to his feet and they shook hands. [C]
(Analysis: This was also Bodom’s first appearance in front of an ROH audience. He was adequate but didn’t stand out in any particular way. It’s difficult to get too invested in these matches since we’re not privy to any sort of build-up or feud. Like the previous match, I know nothing more about Bodom than I did going in. Two matches in and both have featured Asai moonsaults, a surplus of hurricanranas, and a figure four. Variety night this is not.)
(3) BULLET CLUB (Cody & Marty Scurll & Hangman Page & Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson) vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito & Bushi & Evil, Sanada & Hiromu Takahashi)
Back to August 18 and the non-televised live event. The homegrown Scurll started things off. Takahashi stole his umbrella and threatened to lick it, which enraged Scurll. Cody and Sanada tagged in, facing off one night before Cody would defend the ROH World Title against Sanada at the pay-per-view. The fans sang a “Cody Rhodes” chant. When Cody took a cheap slap at someone on the apron, all ten men jumped in the ring and lined up. The fans sang “we want some superkicks.” Cody tagged out to Page. He told Sanada he wanted Naito, who accepted the tag. [C]
Evil tagged in. Page drooled into his own hand, acted like he was going to slap Evil, then lunged at Naito on the apron instead, pie-facing him. Evil held Page while Naito spit in his face. Ugh. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for some reason. As Naito posed in the ring, Scurll jumped him from behind with boots. Bullet Club were cleared from the apron and Naito isolated Scurll in the ring.
[Q4] Bushi entered the match for the first time and choked Scurll with a t-shirt. Both Jacksons came in and hit double-team moves on Bushi and Takahashi while referee Todd Sinclair just watched and the commentators questioned the legality. The Bullet Club members took turns flipping onto people at ringside. Page and Bushi were supposedly the legal men as we went to break. [C]
Page missed a top rope moonsault as did Nick Jackson and Matt Jackson with Bushi rolling out of the way each time. The entire Bullet Club hit in the ring and surrounded Bushi while Sinclair just let them. The others encouraged Scurll to attempt his first moonsault ever. He mostly missed, kind of landing with his arms on Bushi’s legs. Sanda tagged in and took out everyone. He put Page in the paradise lock. It was LIJ’s turn to quintuple-team in front of the useless referee. Next was the sequence where wrestlers come in one after another and trade off taking their opponent’s big move. This ended with The Young Bucks superkicking everyone.
The Bucks attempted a double superkick on Takahashi’s cat Daryl but were pulled out of the ring at the last second. Scurll and Daryl were left alone in the ring. Scurll called for the chickenwing but took a superkick from Takahashi. Takahashi was then dropped by the Bucks, who hit a Meltzer Driver on Daryl. Takahashi sobbed. The fans chanted “say you’re sorry.” Takahashi erupted with fists on all five Bullet Club members but ate a five-man superkick. Bushi sprayed mist into Page’s face behind the referee’s back (not like it matters) and Naito hit him with Destino.
WINNER: Los Ingobernables de Japon in 21:51.
(Analysis: Your typical ROH multi-man tag and hopefully the last one for a while. I know there are many people who love these kinds of matches but they do nothing for me. No individual move means anything, the concept of “legal men” is thrown completely out the window, and it never once feels like anybody is actually competing against anyone else or cares about winning. This match had all that plus people spitting on each other and a stuffed animal getting beat up.)
-Backstage Riccaboni again thanked the fans for making 2017 a history-making year and thanked the other promotions with which ROH has been working. Extended credits played listing all of the ROH production and front office staff. No mention of any matches or segments for next week’s episode.
(Analysis: Last week they said this would be a Best Of 2017 episode, which I would have greatly preferred. The choice of matches in particular was strange. The first two were decent affairs but not outstanding and I don’t understand the decision to showcase Titán and Bodom over actual ROH wrestlers. The first and third matches were at least new viewing but ROH pay-per-view customers already saw the Lethal match. Why not drop that one and include some video packages or interviews with your current champions instead? Or the Women of Honor are always in need of more airtime. The only positive I can spin from this week is that the show closed with Naito getting a pinfall victory going into his Wrestle Kingdom 12 main event on Thursday. If this were a NJPW show, that would be solid booking. Unfortunately this is an ROH show and we were left with nary a single mention of what we can expect from television next week or in 2018 in general. Bizarre.)
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 12/24 ROH TV Report: Christmas Surprise with Team Cody vs. Team Dalton Castle, The Dawgs vs. Flip Gordon & a debuting Simon Grimm