SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Jay Lethal vs. Will Ospreay: The crowd loved this match especially midway through when Lethal hit Ospreay with three straight dives through the ropes. Soon after that happened, Marty Scurll comes out and joins the announce table with Colt Cabana and Ian Riccaboni. Scurll is airing out his grievances asking why Lethal is so special that he can come out and just demand a title match like he did last week and be granted one. Riccaboni transitions well from this and gets us back to the match at hand telling Scurll that he has held his fair share of gold since coming to ROH. Back to the match – I haven’t watched tons of Ospreay matches but I continue to be impressed with him when I see him. His strikes and kicks are great. Great match with a great finish where at the end Ospreay has Lethal reeling from kicks but Lethal catches Ospreay in a cutter and then he quickly hits Lethal injection on Ospreay. It was a great match that was PPV quality. I thought we might see something from Scurll after the match, but nothing happened as we proceeded to the next segment.
Kenny King vs. Brian Milonas: For those who may not remember, Brian Milonas was a semi-finalist in the 2017 Top Prospect tournament. He lost to the eventual winner, Josh Woods. This was two contrasts of styles with the big man Milonas vs. the agile and quick King. After King got some offense in the beginning, Milonas dominated much of the middle of the match. King did come back though and showed some fire as these two had a good match given the contrast in styles that I referred to. In the end King proves that his experience at this level is too much and King defeats Milonas by pin. King even credited Milonas at the end of the match by telling Milonas he should be proud of what he showed in the ring tonight. King also calls Silas Young to the ring. Young comes out and gets in the ring, but King sends him running the other way. Then Bruiser comes out to console Young and check on him. While Bruiser is checking on Young, Milonas attacks King from behind. We see Milonas and Bruiser shake hands and Ian Riccaboni leads us to believe that it is Milonas who will be Beer City Bruiser’s new tag team partner that Bruiser promised us last week. I’m looking forward to seeing what these two do together. This was good and a nice surprise. Milonas is much more experienced that your average viewer realizes and I’m looking forward to seeing what these two big men can do together as a team.
SoCal Uncensored (SCU) and Joe Koff: After Christopher Daniels officially introduces SoCal Uncensored with their newest addition Scorpio Sky, Joe Koff comes out and has some words for SCU. Koff tells them that all they’ve been is a disruption to ROH and Koff threatens to fire SCU. Kazarian then threatens to beat up Koff. Daniels calms down Kazarian but then Daniels rips a heck of a promo and threatens Koff with going to his friends in Impact and WWE and telling them what ROH’s grand plans are. Now Daniels doesn’t mention Impact or WWE by name, but he mentions “his friend AJ” and his friend “Don Callis.” Koff ignores the threats. Koff then tells SCU to enjoy 2018 because after Final Battle 2018 The Addiction and SCU are done when their contract expires. There is a lot to take from this. Is Koff serious? Daniels is a veteran of the promotion. Surely, they’re not just going to let him walk away, or would they? The good news is this has potential for a year long storyline in ROH. We’ll have to see where this one goes and how it develops.
The Briscoes: It is clear at this point that The Briscoes have one thing in their sites after Final Battle and that is to get the ROH World tag team titles back. Jay Briscoe wraps up this promo with no doubt that they’re going after the Motor City Machine Guns. This promo was short and to the point and that is all it needed to be.
The Kingdom vs. Dalton Castle & The Boys: This one featured the inaugural ROH 6-man tag champions vs. the former 6-man tag champions. When the Kingdom came out they got a small cheer even though they’re very easy to boo given their antics. After Castle hits his normal great antics at the beginning including his peacock strut, the Boys end up in the mix for the middle portion of the match. Castle however eventually gets in and there is a nice exchange where Castle and Taven reverse each other’s tombstone piledriver at least 5 or 6 times with Castle eventually hitting it on Taven and going for the pin on Taven. It is broken up by TK O’Ryan. However, Castle soon after is able to put Marseglia in his finisher. Marseglia submits and Castle and The Boys get the victory in a solid main event. I was a little surprised by this. With all the talk of The Kingdom going after the tag titles and 6-man tag titles over the last few months, I thought for sure we were going to see one of The Boys take the pin in this one but that was not to be. With that said, we’ll have to see what is next for The Kingdom.
Coleman’s Pulpit with Jonathan Gresham: At the start, I thought this was one of the better Coleman’s Pulpits’ in a while. Coleman spent much of the early portion of the interview with Gresham by making fun of Gresham’s height or lack thereof. Gresham did a good job of telling Coleman that he didn’t appreciate the way he was talking to him. Once the short jokes are out of the way, Gresham talks about introducing some new rules for ROH surrounding around potentially benefitting his style. I can’t put a finger on it, but it was at this time that I felt the segment became stagnant. It wasn’t bad because I like the tease of what may be coming but it felt flat at the end and that’s why I made it a miss.
ROH has started the year with two solid episodes that are setting things up to start 2018 on the right foot. Beer City Bruiser now has a new tag team partner with veteran independent wrestler Brian Milonas. These guys are two huge men and should be formidable together. Joe Koff has put SCU on notice that this will be their last year in ROH as he eluded to the fact that they will not be resigned due to all the trouble they’ve caused in the past three to four months. Lethal and Ospreay was an exceptional opening match and lastly, I thought we had a surprise when Castle & The Boys defeated The Kingdom in the main event. This is a week that you don’t want to miss.
Mike Mills is the PWTorch.com ROH TV Hits and Misses Specialist, providing his point of view on ROH TV weekly. You can follow Mike at @BTT_Podcast and @Mike504Saints on Twitter. Also, check out his old school wrestling podcasts at tinyurl.com/BTTPod.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: ROH HITS & MISSES 1/9: Castle, Young vs. Grimm, Women of Honor Update, The Briscoes, The Young Bucks & Page, Gordon vs. Scurll