SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH TV REPORT
JULY 22, 2018
FAIRFAX, VA AT EAGLE BANK ARENA
AIRED ON SINCLAIR AFFILIATES & ROHWRESTLING.COM
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana
We opened with a video package on Best In The World including The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks, Austin Aries vs. Kenny King, Jay Lethal vs. Kushida, Punishment Martinez vs. Adam Page, Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon, and Marty Scurll vs. Cody vs. Dalton Castle with Castle retaining the world title.
-In the arena Jay Lethal’s music hit. He wore a dress shirt and slacks and recapped his road to redemption story and his BITW victory over Kushida. He said the only thing left to do now is put his name back into the world title picture. He told Dalton Castle that he wants a shot.
That brought out Matt Taven. He asked how many opportunities Lethal needs? In six years Taven’s only had two world title shots. Meanwhile he’s been tag team, six-man, and television champion. Taven called himself the uncrowned world champion and told Lethal to get in line behind him.
The lights went out and Cody’s entrance video played. He came out in a suit, wearing his ring of honor, and brought out Burnard The Business Bear to accompany him. Cody said Taven has a valid point and is in line for a title shot. “And you’re Jay Lethal. You’re obviously in line for a title shot.” But Cody is next in line.
Cue the world champion, Dalton Castle. He stood on the stage with the title over his shoulder. He said the last time this many people wanted something he had was when his mom bought him a Tamagotchi in 1997. Castle admitted that he was beat up and hurt but was still the world champion and still had a diamond heart. He insisted that he’ll take them all on and take them all on tonight. [C]
(Pageot’s Perspective: This was quite the Monday Night Raw opening but the difference is that we very rarely get ROH TV episodes opening with an in-ring promo, let alone a promo with multiple people interrupting. As a result it stood out in a good way. There were also parallels to the first ROH TV episode of this year, which opened with new world champion Dalton Castle being greeted by Jay Lethal, who asked for a world title shot. Cody never got his rematch after losing the title to Castle in December, Lethal just completed his road to redemption, and Taven was supposed to receive a title shot a few months ago but ended up having the match pulled due to Castle’s injury so all three men have legitimate claims to challenging for the belt. ROH’s delayed taping schedule is always awkward, though. For everybody here BITW was just one night earlier but for us watching at home it’s been a full three and a half weeks. It feels somewhat of a distant memory at this point.)
-Riccaboni and Cabana responded to the opening segment and confirmed that we would get a four-way for the world title tonight. Originally the six-man titles were going to be on the line in the main event with The Kingdom defending against Kenny King, Chuckie T, & Eli Isom but that’s been bumped to next week now.
(1) SUMIE SAKAI vs. HAZUKI (w/Hana Kimura & Kagetsu) – WOH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Hazuki slapped away the code of honor so Sakai unloaded with some chops. Hazuki took the champ down and facewashed her in the corner. The commentators put over the fact that Hazuki is only 20 years old and that Sakai eliminated both Kimura and Kagetsu from the tournament to crown the first WOH champion. (Hazuki was eliminated by Mayu Iwatani.) Hazuki hit a seated senton from the second rope to take out Sakai on the floor. [C]
Hazuki with a roll-up for a two-count. They traded forearms with the crowd firmly supporting Sakai. Quick, hard-hitting action. A northern lights suplex got Sakai a two-count. Full nelson slam and running senton from Hazuki for another two. Tornado DDT but Sakai rolled the shoulder up in time. Double knee facebreaker from Hazuki. Hazuki missed a top rope senton. TJ special from Sakai but Hazuki kicked out. Top rope dropkick from Sakai. Sakai with a top rope crossbody onto all three Oedo Tai women on the floor. “This is awesome” chant from the crowd. Fisherwoman’s buster but Hazuki kicked out again. Hazuki avoided Smash Mouth but took a double stomp to the stomach. Hazuki caught Sakai on the second rope and pulled her off into another double knee facebreaker. Sakai kicked out at two and a half. Kimura distracted the ref and Hazuki held Sakai for Kagetsu but Sakai ducked and Kagetsu kicked her own partner in the face. Sakai disposed of Kagetsu and hit Smash Mouth on Hazuki for the win.
WINNER: Sumie Sakai in 9:39 to retain the Women Of Honor title.
(Pageot’s Perspective: A terrific match as is always the case whenever the women from Stardom are involved. You knew there was no way Hazuki was winning the title considering they never advertised this match ahead of time or even mentioned it on last week’s show but it was still a lot of fun and marks another impressive title defense on Sakai’s résumé. Kelly Klein and Tenille Dashwood are the only really credible challengers to her title at this point, though.)
-Marty Scurll was backstage instructing a stagehand on where to hide his bag of powder under the ring. Investigative reporter Gregory Helms showed up and mocked Scurll for not winning the world title at Best In The World. As he walked away Scurll attacked him from behind. Two stagehands tried to intervene so Scurll beat them down and cracked Helms’ fingers before security dragged a crazed Scurll away.
(Pageot’s Perspective: They’re not actually trying to turn Scurll heel again, are they? Have you heard how the crowds react to him? Good luck.)
-Taven entered first for the four corner match. He tried to skin the cat into the ring but couldn’t with his six-man title and CMLL title belts around his waist. The crowd heckled him about it so he ditched the belts and successfully pulled himself up and in, wagging his finger at them. The other three men made their entrances heading into the break. [C]
(2) DALTON CASTLE (w/The Boys) vs. “THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE” CODY (w/Brandi Rhodes & Burnard The Business Bear) vs. JAY LETHAL vs. ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPION MATT TAVEN – ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Taven and Castle fought at ringside while Lethal chopped Cody in the ring. Lethal took out Cody and Taven entered. Taven got rid of Lethal, then got dumped by Cody. Castle went after Cody and clotheslined him to the floor. Castle peacocked in the center of the ring. Lethal wound up in the ring alone. Suicide dive to Castle and The Boys, then Taven, then Cody, then Castle and The Boys again, then Taven again, and finally Burnard. Brandi threw the ring of honor to Cody. As the ref took it away Cody kicked Lethal between the legs, then Taven. Cody and Castle threw hands. Castle pummeled Cody down and body slammed Lethal. American deathlock from Cody to Castle. Lethal wanted to break it up with his top rope elbow drop but Taven shoved him off and hit a top rope frog splash onto Cody and Castle instead. [C]
Lethal with a DDT + flatliner combo to Cody and Castle. Lethal dragged Castle into the center of the ring and went up top. Castle got a foot up to try to block Hail To The King but Lethal grabbed his leg and locked in the figure four instead. Cody pulled Lethal off and looked for CrossRhodes but Lethal avoided it. Taven returned, only to eat 20-30 chops from Lethal. Just The Tip of the knee from Taven to Lethal but Castle made the save. Lethal tweaked his knee and went down. As referee Todd Sinclair was checking on Lethal Taven got a roll-up on Castle for a visual eight-count. Taven flipped out on Sinclair and Cody hit CrossRhodes on Taven but Taven kicked out! Cody with a disaster kick but Taven with The Climax on Castle. Cody broke up the pin. Cody and Taven battled mid-ring and Lethal hit a Lethal Injection on both men at the same time. Another cutter to Castle and a Lethal Injection! One… two… and Taven pulled Sinclair from the ring! Brandi responded by angrily slapping Taven, even though she should be happy that he just kept the match from ending. [C]
Cody was carrying a steel chair around the ring when Lethal crashed into him with a suicide dive that took out Lethal. Taven flew over the ropes and crashed down onto Cody. Taven pulled a table out from under the ring. He set it up in the ring and told Cody that he’s going to end things between them once and for all. He set up Cody for a superplex through the table but Castle turned it into a tower of doom that put Cody and Taven through the table. Lethal covered Taven but Taven grabbed the bottom rope with his right hand. Sinclair struggled to get the broken table out of the ring with help from stagehands. With Cody and Taven dead at ringside Castle and Lethal threw hands. Castle avoided Lethal Injection, Lethal avoided Bang-a-rang, roll-up, kick out, Lethal Injection!
WINNER: Jay Lethal in 17:19 to capture the ROH world title.
-Streamers flew as Riccaboni and Cabana flipped out on commentary. Lethal started to cry as Sinclair handed him the world title and raised his hand. Ring announcer Bobby Cruise belted out “and newwww” as the fans chanted “Lethal, Lethal.” Lethal’s music cut out as Castle found his feet and stared at the new champion. Lethal laid the belt down between them and held out his hand. Castle shook.
(Pageot’s Perspective: This match was posted in its entirety on ROHwrestling.com a couple days after the taping and received considerable press so the title change shouldn’t be shocking to anyone watching this. At the time it seemed like a great move as Castle legitimately needs time off to heal and Lethal has been a pillar in ROH for years now. Unfortunately since then accusations against Lethal and ROH have surfaced from former ROH performer Taeler Hendrix so what that means for Lethal as champion and face of the company remains to be seen. Lethal wasn’t at Honor For All this past Friday but was presumably at the TV tapings on Saturday night.
The match itself was great. Lots of energy and the right mix of shenanigans and wonderful in-ring action, playing off the individual histories all four men have had with each other over the past year. Taven would seem to be first in line to challenge Lethal for the title now as Cody will likely be focused solely on the NWA title and All In for the month of August. Beyond that? It’s a whole new ball game.)
-Next week: it’s The Kingdom vs. Kenny King, Chuckie T, & Eli Isom for the six-man titles and Mayu Iwatani & Jenny Rose vs. Hana Kimura & Kagetsu.