Ring of Honor – February 22nd, 2017


Tonight, it’s the FINALS of the Decade of Excellence tournament, as Jay Briscoe takes on Christopher Daniels to find out who will face Adam Cole at the 15th Anniversary PPV!

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

Ring of Honor TV – 2/22/17

Video package starts us off recapping the Decade of Excellence tournament, showing us how we got to Briscoe/Daniels tonight.

We are TAPED from Center Stage in Atlanta, Georgia! Your host is Kevin Kelly.

And we’re wasting zero time this week, as we see that Silas Young is already on his way to the ring, Beer City Bruiser in tow! Young stands and awaits his opponent…..Bull James! The former Bull Dempsey makes his way out as Kelly reminds us that this match came about from Young and the Bruiser seemingly inviting James to join them to go after the *ahem* incredibly prestigious ROH World 6-Man tag titles, only to turn on him and beat him up! What a bunch of cads and louts!

Bull James vs Silas Young (w/ The Beer City Bruiser)

In words I never expected to type, Silas Young offers the Code of Honor! James ponders it for a moment, then gives Young a handshake that he doesn’t let go right away. Oooh. They circle and the Bruiser gets up on the apron, distracting James and allowing Young to attack. Silas takes him to the corner and attempts a cross-corner whip, but James drops down and takes Young over with a single-leg monkey flip. James charges Silas in the corner, but Young moves and Silas applies a side headlock.

When I say ‘charges’, I want to be sure to clarify that no actual speed was apparent from James, it’s just a figure of speech.

James attempts a suplex out of the headlock, but Young goes over the top and lands on his feet. They run the ropes and Bull takes Silas down with a double-leg takeover, sending Young to the floor. “More agility shown by Bull James!” Yeah! I loved the part where he laid on his back in the ring, barely lifted his legs up, and let Silas put them in place before doing a full somersault out of the ring! Awesome! Silas calls Bull out to the floor and James gives chase as Young runs, the Bruiser goes for a cheap shot, James ducks it and flattens the Bruiser. Young is back in the ring now and springs out over the top with a somersault plancha to take over. He tosses Bull back in the ring and slingshots in with a double stomp, then hits James with a running kick. He yells at the crowd for bit, then drops a knee as we’re going to drop out from all this thrilling action to watch these great ads!

We’re back with Silas applying a cravat to James. Bull manages to get back to his feet and throw Young off, then catches a kick from Silas and shoves him to the mat. James tries to bring him out of the corner the hard way, but Young lands on his feet and reverses a clothesline into a neckbreaker. That gets two. Young grabs James by the beard and lays in the badmouth, and Bull has had enough, shoving him off the ropes and dropping him with a clothesline. Bull with some of the worst jabs I’ve seen in ages, then a splash in the corner. Cross-corner whip by James, but Young stops a blind charge with an enzuigiri. Second rope for Young, but he comes off right into a double sledge from James. James off the ropes, Earthquake splash! 1, 2, NO! Silas rolls to the apron and James looks to suplex him back in, but the Bruiser grabs Young by the leg to prevent that, finally pulling him to the floor and causing James to fall backwards. Young goes for the slingshot double stomp again, but now James rolls to the apron, Silas goes over the top rope and charges Bull on the apron, James monkeyflips Silas back in over the top rope. Bull looks to go to the top, Young rolls to the far corner, Bull decides to come off the ropes and hit the Bruiser with a tornado DDT that was far more impressive than anything else he’s done in this dumpster fire. James gets back in, but Young meets him with a kick and goes for Misery, James gets out of that and goes for a double underhook, Young reverses out of that and hits a knee across the chest, then hits a half-assed Misery to end ours. Jesus.
(Silas Young over Bull James, pinfall, 7:10)

WORTH WATCHING? – And we have an early candidate for Worst ROH TV match of the year! NO, skip this abortion. I refuse to dignify it further by explaining why you should.

Post-match, Young applauds for himself; if I had been in that arena, I’d applaud him just for ending the match.

Let’s go to some comments from Jay Briscoe! “The Decade….of Excellence! We talkin’ ten years!” That is indeed the traditional definition of a decade, good to know that the schools in Sandy Fork are with the times. But with Jay Briscoe, we can take it back even further – 15 years! Day one! The first guy to work through the curtain was his 18 year old skinny ass! And now, 15 years later, the Briscoes are 8-time tag champs, and Jay is a 2-time ROH World champ! We can talk numbers, 15 years, 8-time, 2-time, but the only number that Jay Briscoe cares about is 1; that’s one more match he has to win to get his shot at World title #3!

I don’t think I say enough how excellent a promo I think Jay Briscoe is. I really think he’s fantastic at it. Let’s check out more promotional talent by watching the following great ads!

We’re back with highlights from Survival of the Fittest, as Bobby Fish makes Lio Rush submit to a kneebar to earn a shot at the ROH World champion! You know, ROH has a lot of flaws, don’t get me wrong, but they ALWAYS make the titles the most important thing in the company, and I give them credit for that. Let’s hear from Bobby! “For me, winning Survival of the Fittest was a means to an end!” It was a simple if a, then b equation – win SOTF, then become the next ROH World champion! Because each and every night, he hits the curtain barrels loaded, guns blazing, walking, talking, and wearing it! Adam Cole, March 4th will be no different – this opportunity will exist because Bobby Fish created it! Much like forming the greatest tag team this world will ever know, much like creating his opportunity and then taking his ROH World TV title! That’s not him being cocky, that’s just being Bobby Fish, and come March 4th, being Bobby Fish will be more than enough! Adam Cole, take a good goddamned look in his eyes, because the man you see looking back at you right now is the NEXT Ring of Honor World champ!

And we’re back to the ring with the music of Colt Cabana, evil remix style! Two weeks ago, Colt attacked the Boys as Cabana and the Boys were about to challenge for the 6-man tag team titles, and now it’s time for some revenge. And that’s the music of Dalton Castle! He and the Boys are out, and it appears that Dalton will be joining us on commentary. Colt calls for a mic. “Hello, Dalton.” Boys, boys, boys – it’s a sad day in Ring of Honor that you’re even allowed in this ring, the ring that Colt Cabana built! Don’t boo him; he’s a legend! Dalton, you don’t look happy – one fluke win doesn’t mean you’re better than me, and he’s going to prove it by literally destroying your schmucks! You boys wanna mess with Colt? Well, he’s going to show you why they call him the Iron Jew! Okey-dokey.

“The Iron Jew” Colt Cabana vs The Boys (w/ Dalton Castle) – Handicap match

Kelly asks Dalton for the names of the Boys, but that goes nowhere. No Code of Honor, as Colt tosses one of the Boys from the ring and slams the other Boy repeatedly before stepping on his chest. Irish whip by Colt, but the Boy catches himself on the top rope and the other Boy tags himself in. Cabana charges but takes a shot from the other Boy, then the first Boy hits him with an enzuigiri. Springboard crossbody from the Boy on the apron, Colt catches him but ends up falling over the Boy in the ring. 1, 2, no! Colt off the ropes, but the Boys stop him with a peacock pose. Cabana decides to take a break and head outside the ring to jaw at Dalton, and we’ll take a break to check out some fine ads!

We’re back with Cabana manhandling one of the Boys in the ring. Yep, just typed that. The Boy chops at Colt, who no-sells it and drops the Boy with one of his own. Jabs from Colt and the other Boy comes in, but he eats a bionic elbow, then another, then a third. Colt turns his attention back to the first Boy, but eats a knee. The second Boy comes off the ropes and takes crazy bump to the floor as Colt hiptosses him over the top rope. Colt with a flying butt splash in the corner to the Boy in the ring, then he heads out to retrieve the Boy on the floor. He taunts Castle on commentary for a few seconds, then tosses the Boy at him. Back in now, Colt hits the Boy in the ring with the Chicago Skyline, then slaps the Billy-Goat’s Curse onto the other Boy for the tapout. (Colt Cabana over the Boys, submission, 5:01)

WORTH WATCHING? – This was a 5 minute squash that could have been done in two. NO, there’s no point here except to continue the Castle/Cabana feud, which I could live without.

Post-match, Castle chases Colt from the ring as Cabana celebrates. Up next, our main event!

But first, let’s hear from Christopher Daniels! Yeah, let’s do that, because he’s been killing it on the mic lately. “If I look back on the list of accomplishments, the things that I have done in a Ring of Honor ring, any normal man would be happy with what I’ve accomplished!” The first ROH World tag team champion! The 2nd ROH TV Champ, the man who was in the first main event, the first man to wrestle an hour-long match in ROH, the matches he’s had with Joe, Punk, Bryan, Ki, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards; any other man would be happy with that, but not Daniels! Because there’s one other thing they call him, not just Hall of Famer, not just Legend, but the best…..that never was. And now, he’s going to change that, because he’s gone through all the time and injury and now he’s one step away from being ROH World champion, and his destiny is to be that champion!

Decent but not a blow-away promo from Chris. His character and storyline has been absolute fire right now though, as he truly is fighting for something, and that’s been reflected in how he’s treating this whole thing. I still don’t think he ends up with the World title, but the important thing is that I WANT him to, and that makes all the difference. Let’s take a second to imagine that while watching the following great ads!

We’re back with a graphic that tells us that the 2017 Top Prospect tournament starts next week! Nice little breakdown of all the past tournament winners; man, Lio Rush is something special. I can’t wait for him to end up in NJPW working with the juniors over there.

Back to the desk now, as Kelly has been joined by Frankie Kazarian and Mark Briscoe for the main event. Seems about right. Kelly reminds them that they’re just here to watch the match and cheer on Chris and Jay, and both guys agree to it. And we’re going to have that match after these great ads!

“Worship us!” We’re back and that’s the music of Christopher Daniels! He makes his way to the ring as we find out that earlier, we heard from Mr. Daniels. Do tell, Chris. “I said that destiny has no expiration date, and now my destiny is so close that I can touch it!” There’s only one obstacle in his way, and that’s you, Jay Briscoe! Are you ready?

“Reach for the sky, boy!” I guess we’ll find out, as that’s the music of Jay Briscoe! He makes his way to the ring as Kelly talks about the pressure that Jay puts on himself regarding the World title; you know, they’re setting Jay up for a hell of a heel turn if they want to go that route some time down the road, and I’m totally fine if they do. His character could use a bit of a freshener. Mark says that Jay has changed since he first won that title, that he feels incomplete without it on some level. Yeah, they’re definitely laying groundwork for Jay to turn at some point. Let’s hear from Jay! “I told you all from the start, man, I kind of take this personally.” Here we are, CD. Let’s do it.

Jay was selling being anxious and being nervous really well in that promo. Like he was really tight about the match. I’m just saying.

Quick research shows that despite the amount of time they’ve spent together in ROH, according to the Cagematch database this is only the 2nd time ever that these two will face off in a 1 on 1 match in Ring of Honor, which I wouldn’t have expected. Noted on commentary is that Jay Briscoe was in the very first match on the first ROH show, while Christopher Daniels was in the very first main event on the first ROH show. Big-time ring intros get us ready, and here we go!

Jay Briscoe vs Christopher Daniels – Decade of Excellence Tournament Final

Code of Honor is followed. Lockup and Jay controls with a side headlock, Daniels shoots him off and Jay runs over him with a shoulderblock. They run the ropes and Daniels kicks Briscoe in the head to counter a backdrop, Daniels off the ropes and Briscoe fires off a ‘rana. Kick and Jay goes for the early Jaydriller like he did against Lethal, Daniels backdrops out of that and turns a wristlock into an Angel’s Wings attempt, Briscoe counters that with a double-leg takedown, they trade a few pinfall attempts before we get reset to their feet. With that reset, we’re going to reset as well after the following great ads!

We’re back as Briscoe is caught in a headlock from Daniels. Jay tries to suplex out, Chris goes over the top and lands on his feet, then catches Jay with a drop toehold and applies a chinlock. Back up and Jay fires lefts to free himself, Briscoe sends Daniels to the corner, Chris goes over a charging Briscoe but Jay catches him with a back elbow, then levels Daniels with a big boot. Jay with a headbutt, european uppercut drops Daniels in the corner and Jay stomps away. More shots from Jay and he comes off the ropes, but Daniels drops him with a leg lariat. Clothesline from Daniels, double forearm from Daniels, Irish whip is reversed by Jay, but Briscoe ducks his head and Daniels hits a kick and follows with an STO. Daniels sends Jay chest-first to the buckles, then rams Jay’s head into the middle buckle. Chris off the second rope, moonsault gets two. Daniels with a Flatliner into the Koji Clutch now, and Jay has to stretch out to touch the bottom rope to break. Cross-corner whip by Daniels sends Jay to the buckles, and he hits elbows to the back of Briscoe’s head and follows that with a clothesline to the back of the head for two. Daniels with a cravat, Jay with right hands to free himself, Briscoe off the ropes and he gets flattened by a clothesline from Chris. Forearm sends Briscoe to the floor, and that’ll send us to this great ad break!

We’re back with Jay clotheslining Daniels to the floor over the top rope, Briscoe follows him out with a tope! Briscoe seems willing to take the countout, but Daniels makes it to the apron by 14, so Jay opts to nail him with a right instead. Another one and Jay runs the ropes again, but Daniels pulls down the top rope and Jay hits the floor, Daniels with a split-legged moonsault to put both guys down on the floor. Daniels rolls back in as Frankie and Mark abandon commentary to head ringside to pound the mat and root on their boys. Briscoe makes it back to the apron and Daniels tries to suplex him in, Briscoe ends up behind him and tries for a waistlock, Daniels with a back elbow, they run the ropes and smack each other with simultaneous crossbodies. Both guys back up, they run into each other with clotheslines. Again! Briscoe ducks on a third attempt and fires left jabs, he misses a European uppercut and now it’s Daniels with the jabs. Briscoe hits a couple of headbutts, but Daniels is right with him and hits a kick and rapid-fire headbutts of his own. Daniels off the ropes, Briscoe ducks and knocks him loopy with a Discus punch, Jay comes off the ropes and Daniels collapses to the mat before Briscoe can hit the lariat. Briscoe goes for the Driller, but Daniels was goldbricking and rolls him up for two, then follows with a kick and an attempt at Angel’s Wings, hits it! 1, 2, NO! Ref checks on Briscoe, pronounces him good to go, and Jay promptly hits a Death Valley Driver! Crowd chants for both guys now, sounding genuinely torn. Briscoe gets Daniels in position for the neckbreaker, Daniels counters out and they fight over a backslide, and Daniels just tosses Briscoe to the mat from there. Chris goes for the Best Moonsault Ever, but Jay catches him by the leg and rolls him up for two. Back up and Daniels tosses Briscoe down again, goes up, Best. Moonsault. EVER! Jay moves, Daniels lands on his feet, Briscoe drops him with a superkick, then comes off the ropes and LEVELS him with a lariat! 1, 2, NO! More dueling chants as Briscoe gets to his feet, he sets Chris up for the Jaydriller, but Daniels collapses back towards the corner to grab the ropes. Kicks from Jay, and he sets Daniels on the top rope. Jay goes all the way up to attempt a superplex, but Daniels is able to shove him off, Briscoe crotches himself on the top rope! Daniels grabs Jay and loads him up, ANGEL’S WINGS FROM THE SECOND ROPE TO JAY! 1, 2, 3!! (Christopher Daniels over Jay Briscoe, pinfall, 15:43)

WORTH WATCHING? – There are legit criticisms to be made here, as they had some issues with speed, blah, whatever. I loved this. Loved it. YES, I give this one my heartiest of watch it nows. I’ll tell you why; because this felt like a wrestling match with stakes, that built up slowly and called back on all sorts of things that happened throughout the tournament, like Jay’s early Jaydriller attempt, trying to finish Daniels with the lariat that finished Lethal, stuff like that. They knew how to pace themselves to allow the crowd to come along instead of being directed, to the point that the dueling chants felt legit between the two guys. They sold well throughout, with moves coming in-between pauses to sell accumulated damage, and that was a big part of why the build to the finish worked as well as it did. This was a well-done professional wrestling match.

Post-match, Daniels is in tears as streamers fly. He hugs Frankie and turns to Jay, offering him the Code of Honor, and Jay accepts, giving him a hug and raising his hand in victory before leaving the ring for Chris. And that’s where we’ll call a close to Ring of Honor this week.

FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: The first half of the show was junk, and whoever decided that Bull James and Silas Young needed 10 minutes has committed a crime against nature, but the second half of the show was excellent, with a great main event that was more than worth the time. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but I thought it totally worked to bring home the entire Decade of Excellence tournament, which turned out to be a surprisingly well-booked piece of business to carry ROH TV for the last several weeks. Daniels winning was clearly the right call, but I enjoyed the path in getting there. We’ll see what happens now.

I’ll see you all again this weekend, as I’ll be tag teaming with Ioan Morris to cover the Honor Rising shows from Japan!

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter