I’m extremely late with this, but it’s going to be a busy week for me here on the blog, with the ROH 15th Anniversary show this Friday, so we need to get up to speed.
Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?
ROH TV – 3/7/17
Opening video package takes us through Christopher Daniels’ run in the Decade of Excellence tournament, which was a phenomenally booked piece of business that has been the best thing outside of Marty Scurll about ROH recently. “There is NO expiration date on destiny!” You tell ’em, Chris!
Opening video is new, and has removed both Corino and Kyle O’Reilly. 3 guesses which one of those make me sad and the first two don’t count. And it’s not Corino.
We are TAPED from Stage AE in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! Your hosts are Ian Riccaboni (taking over for the departing Kevin Kelly) and Bobby Fish!
And we start with the music of the #1 Contender to the Ring of Honor World title, as Christopher Daniels makes his way to the ring! You know, Chris, I know you told Charlie a long time ago that the SS jacket thing was a way to garner heat, but you’re a FACE now; maybe it’s time to drop the whole Nazi look? Just a suggestion. Quick promo about Manhattan Mayhem here, as Fish got a title shot against Adam Cole just this last Saturday. While he didn’t win said world title, there were certainly OTHER happenings on that show that we’ll get to later on. But for now, let’s give Daniels the floor! “Pittsburgh, welcome to Ring of Honor!” ROH; let him tell you how important those letters have become to him over the last 15 years. Well, in 2002, there was a fresh, long-haired babyface in the main event of that very first show, and his name was Christopher Daniels! Well, maybe not fresh-faced or long-haired, but he was there, and from Day one, he always said that his destiny was to be the Ring of Honor World Champion! He didn’t know if he was ever going to get that chance again, but he finally did by beating one of the best in the world, Jay Briscoe, in the Finals of the Decade of Excellence tournament. And who will he face at the 15th? Bobby Fish? (Nope) Adam Cole? (Yep) Will he wrestle the 3-time ROH World champion, the leader of the Bullet Club?
“Bullet Club” Well, that music seems to indicate that said leader of the Bullet Club has something he wants to say, as Adam Cole has sauntered out to join us. “Who’s ready for Story Time with Adam Cole, bay-bay?” Who isn’t? I hear it got higher ratings than the last episode of Impact! Christopher Daniels, it seems that your old age has made you senile; he’s going to say this nice and slow so even someone as old as Daniels can understand it: he’s going to be the Ring of Honor World champion FOREVER. He will beat Fish in Manhattan and beat Daniels at the 15th Anniversary, because they’re simply not on his level! Daniels has removed his jacket and Cole observes that he’s looking for a fight right now; well, he’s in luck, because if it’s a fight with Bullet Club you want, then it’s a fight with Bullet Club that you’ll get!
And with that, Adam Page attacks Daniels from behind! The beatdown is on in the ring as Page and Cole set up for a belt shot, but Frankie Kazarian makes the save, with Fish noting that he took his time to get to the ring. Frankie: “Adam Cole, Adam Page, listen to me!” Whether they like it or not, they’re looking at the next ROH World champ! And since they’re in the Steel City, and they’re in the mood to fight, why not have Bullet Club/Addiction one more time, right here, right now? The Adams seem to be okay with this plan, as they slide in the ring and the match is on!
Bullet Club (Adam Page & Adam Cole) vs The Addiction (Frankie Kazarian & Christopher Daniels)
No Code of Honor. A ref slides in as Kazarian sends Page to the floor and follows him out with a crossbody, while Cole chokes Daniels in the corner with his boot. Cole stomps a mudhole and gives us our first ‘Adam Cole, bay-bay!’ of the match while Page sends Frankie into the guardrail on the outside. Cole off the ropes, Daniels drops him with a leg lariat as Fish continues to point out that Kazarian was late in saving Daniels. Chris comes off the ropes, but Page pulls Cole to safety on the floor. Daniels takes both of them out with a tope, then tosses Page back in to Kazarian while he keeps beating on Cole on the floor. Irish whip by Kazarian, Page catches himself on the top rope and yanks it down to send a charging Frankie to the floor. Daniels goes for a split-legged moonsault onto Cole on the floor, but Page catches his legs and holds him upside-down for Cole to hit a superkick. Daniels tumbles to the floor as the Bullet Club is firmly in control while we head out to watch these great ads!
We’re back as Page is stomping away at Daniels in the corner. Okay, Page has plenty of intensity in the ring, no doubt, but he doesn’t connect with the crowd at all and that’s the biggest thing he needs to work on. He’s a passable worker for sure, he just doesn’t do anything that stands out as a personality that is going to get him over, but remaining in the Bullet Club, where he’s just another guy, is NOT helping him at all, something that I thought was a similar problem for him when he was in the Decade. Cole just comes into the ring in clear view of the ref as Page takes out Frankie on the apron (Arrrghhh, ROH tag matches just drive me NUTS sometimes), and the ref is so distracted getting Kaz out of the ring that he misses the double-team Last Shot that the Adams hit on Daniels.
Hey, guys? Psssst: you’re supposed to have Page take out Kaz BEFORE Cole just wanders in the ring, because then he can do it behind the ref’s back, like, you know, the cheating heels they’re supposedly portraying here. (Which is a joke anyway, because the Bullet Club is always cheered, but whatever.)
Page covers for two, then we get a legal tag to Cole. He tosses Chris to a corner and follows with a cross-corner whip on Daniels, gives us another ‘Bay-bay!’ before charging, Daniels gets an elbow up, then catches Cole on a second try with a kick. Cole cuts off the tag and we get another Irish whip, Cole ducks his head and Daniels hits him with a kick, then follows with an STO. Daniels makes the tag, and Frankie is in. He hits Page with a shot, then hits Cole with a forearm and a spinning heel kick. Cole tries to regain control and whip him to the corner, but Kaz turns that into a running dropkick on Page, then follows up with a Lungblower to Cole. He charges Page in the corner, but Page gets the boot up to slow him down, Page charges, belly-to-belly throw into the buckles by Kaz! He goes over to Cole and slingshots him on off the apron, Cutter! 1, 2, no! Crowd chants for Frankie as he tags in Chris, double Irish whip on Cole, double hiptoss into the powerbomb/neckbreaker combo on Cole! 1, 2, Page saves it! He tosses Frankie to the apron, but Daniels hits him with a kneelift and tosses him to Frankie, who hits him with a scissors kick that sends Page to the floor. Cole and Daniels slug it out in the ring, Cole goes to the eyes and hits a kick to the knee of Chris, Cole blows him a kiss and sets up for a superkick, Daniels catches the foot and hits a uranage. Best. Moonsault. Ever! hits the foot of Cole, and he rolls Daniels up for the pin off that. (Adam Cole & Adam Page over Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian, pinfall, 5:56)
WORTH WATCHING? – The match was fine, but nothing to write home about. While I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a big fan of how they’ve handled Daniels, I don’t say enough about how they’ve handled Kaz, who’s been great in this story. That having been said, there wasn’t quite enough here, so NO, I’d skip this one. The work was okay, and the pacing was good, although it was slow-going in the beginning. Cole picking up the win to put further doubt in Daniels’ mind that he can win was the right call, though.
Post-match, Cole shows the title to the camera and tells us that Daniels will never get it, while Daniels sits in the ring as Frankie berates him for the loss. Meanwhile, Fish cuts a promo about Manhattan Mayhem before leaving the commentary booth, while we take our leave to watch these great ads!
We’re back as we see that during the break, Kaz was visibly frustrated in the back as Daniels enters, telling Kaz to wait. “Wait for what?” He tells Daniels that he’ll always love him, that Daniels is his brother, but Adam Cole is in Chris’ head! And you know what, Chris? You’re not the only one with everything on the line here, not the only one with everything to lose. Did you ever think about that, Chris? Daniels has no answer, as he slumps to a sitting position against the stairwell as Kaz stalks off.
Back at the commentary booth, we’ve been joined by Brutal Bob Evans on commentary! Looking dapper there, Bob. It’s time for this year’s Top Prospect tournament, and we’re going to have our first match…..right now!
Up first, we’ve got John Skyler! In his interview, he says that the entire world is ready to see the rise of the Southern Savior! And his opponent will be Sean Carr! Sean says that for years and years, all he’s heard is that he should be on television! Based on that interview I just witnessed, those people were LYING to you, Sean, because that promo was pretty fucking terrible, not just in its brevity but also its delivery. Let’s see who’s got the goods in the ring!
John Skyler vs Sean Carr – ROH Top Prospect tournament 2017, Round 1
Code of Honor is followed. Skyler starts us off with a wristlock, reversed by Carr, John gets a headlock. They exchange headlock takeovers, both breaking with a headscissors, then exchange legsweeps for one counts, Sean gets a cradle for two before Skyler comes with a kick to the midsection. Skyler with a few shots and an Irish whip, but Carr hooks the ropes and Skyler crashes and burns on a dropkick. Standing moonsault by Carr gets two. Sean with chops in the corner, cross-corner whip attempt is reversed by Skyler, Carr goes over the top on a blind charge from John. Skyler turns around and hits Carr with a lariat that Sean sells with a somersault that would probably have had Marty Janetty saying “hey, maybe you oversold that just a TOUCH, there.” You know, in-between lines of coke and all. Anyway, Skyler with a double underhook, Tiger Bomb by John! 1, 2, NO! Stomps by John, senton out of the corner by Skyler! 1, 2, NO! Chinlock by Skyler now, Carr elbows out and hits a back kick as they get to their feet, Carr off the ropes, Skyler with a superkick! Oh, silly rookie. Don’t you realize that superkicks in ROH basically have no effect? And indeed, Skyler tries to come off the ropes again, but now Carr hits him with a big boot, Carr off the ropes and Skyler tries to run behind, but Carr hits him with another superkick to send John to the floor. Tope by Sean! He sets John on the apron and then hoists him up there in a Fireman’s Carry, Skyler elbows out, big boot by Skyler, spear by Skyler! He tosses Carr back in, then slingshots in through the middle with another spear and covers for two. John comes at Sean in the corner, Carr with an enzuigiri and he goes up, Codebreaker by Carr off the second rope! 1, 2, NO! Carr follows that up with a second rope moonsault for two. Sean charges the corner on John, Skyler with a shot and he goes up, jumping kick from Carr to Skyler on top, but he ends up getting caught in a Fireman’s Carry on the second rope, and the Southern Salvation (rolling Fireman’s Carry slam) finishes this one for Skyler. (John Skyler over Sean Carr, pinfall, 6:03)
WORTH WATCHING? – Oh, why not? It IS the indiest match that has ever indied, but still, YES, I thought this was pretty decent. There’s not much here beyond the series of moves they did (no real psychology or story), but I thought they both hit their stuff relatively crisply and I want to see more of them down the road as they continue to improve. For the Top Prospect tournament, that should be the goal, one would think, that these matches will lead to better ones as these dudes get better. Neither guy was a blowaway like Lio Rush or Jason Kincaid were last year, but that’s alright, not everyone can be.
Post-match, Ian recaps the bracket (why? It was the first match and you already showed the damn thing in this segment and there’s only 8 guys and who am I kidding, they don’t care) before reminding us that tonight, our main event is Marty Scurll vs Donovan Dijak for the World TV title! But that can only happen if the show continues to be paid for, so in that vein, why not enjoy the following great ads?
We’re back with a promo from the Kingdom! “For as long as man has ruled over man, there have been kingdoms!” For as long as there have been said kingdoms, there have been rebellions, and those rebellions have been led by poor, sick, the peasants! But no peasant has ever toppled a Kingdom!
Hmmm. Let me call my Brother-in-Law, who has a Masters in History.
“Hey, Dan? Hey. Just wondering, have there been any examples in history of peasants toppling a Kingdom through rebelling? Oh. Literally hundreds? Got it. Yes, it’s for wrestling. Gotta go!”
Anyway, the long and short of it is that the Kingdom is going to take out the Rebellion when they meet for the World 6-Man tag titles, but don’t think they’ve forgotten about you, Dalton Castle – they’ll be beating you and the Boys at the 15th Anniversary!
Back to the ring now, as here come the Tempura Boyz! Sho and Yohei make their way to the ring, as we’re set for a little tag team action, it appears. And there’s the music of the Motor City Machine Guns! And…..still just the music. The theme plays all the way through, but no Guns. We cut to Ian, who just got word that there’s apparently been an attack in the back! Who could have done it? Well, it certainly wasn’t the advertisers who pay for the following fine ads!
We’re back to the music of Donovan Dijak! Sigh. I’m kind of going to miss the big guy, I have to admit. He makes his way out and gives way to another break for some great ads!
We’re back to the best entrance theme in wrestling, as “The Villain” Marty Scurll makes his way to the ring! Crowd chants for him, because they SHOULD.
“The Villain” Marty Scurll (c) vs Donovan Dijak – ROH World TV title match
Code of Honor is offered by Dijak, but Scrull kicks his hand away, and the crowd goes nuts for that. My word, if Scurll sticks around this company, he’s going to end up with the World title sooner rather than later. He carries himself and acts like a star, and the crowd just eats it out of his hand.
Marty thinks it over for a second, and decides to begin the match by charging Dijak…..right into a big boot. Whoops. Scurll rolls out to the floor, but forgets that Dijak can fly for a big man, running moonsault over the top rope by Dijak! Damn, that’s impressive for a guy his size. Dijak tosses Marty back in, springboard off the top rope into an elbowdrop! 1, 2, NO! Crowd chants for Dijak now as he hoists Scurll up for Feast Your Eyes, but Scurll goes to the eyes instead to break, then fires kicks to the midsection of Donovan. Suplex attempt by Marty is stopped by one from Dijak, Scurll hits him with a knee to the face to stop that, then drops Donovan to the mat with a wristlock takedown. Scurll off the ropes, Dijak catches him and drops him with a backbreaker, then hits a twisting senton that sounds better than it looked. Dijak, don’t try so fucking hard, man – sometimes, a simpler move makes more sense and looks better in the context of the match. Not everything needs a flip or a damn somersault. Dijak comes off the second rope with a splash for two, and we’ll take two right now to watch the following great ads!
We’re back with both guys on the floor, where Scurll reverses a whip attempt and fires chops, but Dijak isn’t selling much there. He goes for a kick, Scurll catches the leg and sets it on the apron, then runs the ropes inside the ring, leaps back outside to the apron and goes for a superkick, Dijak blocks that and puts Scurll in a Fireman’s carry, Marty elbows out of that and sends Donovan to the post. Marty puts on a front facelock, Tornado DDT off the ringpost to the floor! Awesome. Chops by Marty before tossing Dijak back in, and Scurll leaps over the top into the ring and fires a kick to Dijak. Dijak on the apron now, and Marty comes off the ropes with a forearm, Dijak hangs on, running European uppercut by Scurll, Dijak still hangs on, Scurll off the ropes again, Dijak with a backflip to the floor! He wants a handshake for that one and holds it out, only to have Marty kick it again. Come on, Dijak, he’s the VILLAIN. Like, it’s in his name. Marty springs to the apron, superkick to Dijak! Scurll tosses Dijak back in as Ian (who, by the way, has really been pretty good on commentary this week) reminds us that Lio Rush has the title shot at the 15th Anniversary show. Stomp by Scurll, he bends back the arm of Dijak to the mat and stomps on the elbow. More chops by Marty and he goes for a suplex again, but Dijak blocks it and hits a release suplex of his own, tossing Marty across the ring. Dijak with a running elbow in the corner, cross-corner whip by Donovan and he charges, Scurll hits him with an elbow to stop him. Scurll tries to send Dijak to the corner, but can’t do it and Dijak holds him a slam position, hits him with a knee to the back, and tosses him across the ring from there. Dijak sets up for the chokebreaker, but Scurll recovers and chops away, then fakes Dijak out with a high kick before kicking him in the knee. Meanwhile Lio Rush has come out on stage and set up a chair, taking a seat there and watching intently. Scurll off the ropes, Dijak catches him over the shoulders and drops him in a sitout powerbomb! 1, 2, NO! Both guys are down as Rush watches, and we’re going to watch the following great ads!
We’re back as Dijak hits Scurll with a superkick out of the corner. Off the ropes and Scurll hits Dijak with an elbow, but Dijak ignores that and kicks his head off, then follows with a NICE elbow, probably the nicest one I’ve ever seen Dijak throw. Discus lariat attempt is stopped by Scurll with a chop, Marty off the ropes, Discus boot from Dijak hits! Dijak goes for suplex, but Scurll reverses to a brainbuster! Man, they even paid off the earlier blocked suplexes that Scurll tried! This match rules. 1, 2, NO! Crowd thinks this is awesome, and I must agree. Scurll signals for the chickenwing, but gets caught around the throat by Donovan! Scurll fires elbows at Dijak, Dijak goes for the chokebreaker anyway, Scurll rolls him up in a counter for two. Scurll with a knee to the face of Dijak, then a superkick! Dijak looks like he’s going to DIJAK UP, but Marty hits him with a piledriver instead! 1, NO! Dijak kicked out at one! Dijak with a kick, Scurll avoids another shot and goes for the Chickenwing! He almost gets it locked on, but Dijak rolls through it and picks Scurll up, Feast Your Eyes hits!! 1, 2, NO!! Dijak can’t believe it, and he once AGAIN wants Scurll to shake his hand. So Scurll grabs his fingers and breaks them, because what an idiot. Scurll literally slaps Donovan around after that for a few minutes, and Dijak responds by grabbing Scurll and hitting a quick chokebreaker! Dijak goes up, springboard corkscrew moonsault misses! Marty jumps on the back of Dijak IMMEDIATELY, taking him down and applying the Crossface Chickenwing! Dijak tries to fight out, but Marty breaks his fingers again and continues to apply the hold, and Dijak gives it up. (Marty Scurll over Donovan Dijak, submission, 10:39)
WORTH WATCHING? – Best. Donovan. Dijak. Match. Ever. The biggest compliment I can give this one is that I wish I could have watched the entire thing, something that I’m not very well known for saying about Dijak matches. The timing and pace of this was great, with only a few missteps here and there, but not nearly enough to drag the match down. YES, this one is a keeper. Scurll cheated just enough to ensure that Dijak’s comebacks were well-received by the crowd, and there were at least two nearfalls that I thought might have been the end of the match. Kudos to both guys on this one, and as most people probably already know, this was indeed Donovan Dijak’s final match in Ring of Honor. To him: Good luck to wherever you end up, because you’re getting better by the match and if you keep that up, you’ll end up a fine worker when all is said and done. Good match here.
Post-match, Scurll kisses the belt as the replays are shown. And now, Lio Rush has made his way to the ring to confront Scurll, who shows him the belt and goes to leave. Rush turns his back and that gives Marty the opening he needs, as he hits Lio with a belt shot when Rush turns around; once again, people, his name is the VILLAIN. Why would you EVER turn your back on him? Scurll looks for the Chickenwing, but the Rebellion hits the ring to make the save for Rush as Marty takes off. Jay White and the Guns hit the ring after that as we have Lio Rush caught in the middle of the two factions, with the Guns noticeably holding their sides due to having been attacked earlier. The Rebellion takes off now as Ian tells us that next week, our main event is an 8-man tag with the Bullet Club taking on the Briscoes, Lethal, and Fish, and that’s going to do it for ROH TV this week.
FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: This episode was pretty good from top to bottom, actually. The first match wasn’t much to write home about, but it was pretty acceptable wrestling with a point, as Cole pinning Daniels was the right call considering the state of the characters right now. The Top Prospect match was fine, and the main event was obviously pretty damn good. Overall, the show did a good job at building to Manhattan Mayhem with the 15th Anniversary show right after, so this one can just be called a job well done.
This week, you’re going to be tired of me, as I’ll have the next ROH recap up hopefully early Thursday morning before you all get the BEST DAMN 15th Anniversary PPV Preview here on the Blog of Doom before Friday’s event! I’ll see you all then!
SIGN JONATHAN GRESHAM.
As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,
@MrSoze on Twitter