Let’s get the preliminaries out of the way here…
Notable news from around the world of ROH this week:
–The big continuing story, obviously, is the status and health of AJ Styles. As of last word, he has been sent home from Japan, where he was still attending shows even though he wasn’t wrestling. He had been attempting to rehabilitate his injury, believed to be a back hernia, while he was still over there, but the best course of action was apparently to send him back to the US. Unsubstantiated rumors are that if AJ can’t go, the match that will replace it will be a Lethal/Cole/O’Reilly 3-way dance for the belt.
–It has been announced that the ROH World Title will be defended at Wrestle Kingdom 10 – if Lethal retains against Styles at Final Battle, he’ll face Michael Elgin. If AJ wins, he’ll defend against Nakamura in what would assumedly be a title for title match.
–More matches were added to Final Battle this week; we’ll go over the card at the end of the recap.
Personally, I hope that AJ can go, I really do. But if it’s a choice between a half-crippled Styles against Lethal versus waiting for AJ to be healed up in hopefully 5-6 months, I’d prefer the latter. We’ll have to see what happens, but this admittedly not a great scenario for Ring of Honor. The build to Lethal defending against AJ simply can’t be replicated with anyone else on the ROH roster; to even come close, they’d have to fly in someone like Okada or Nakamura. And while I want Kyle to win that belt someday, I would like to see him finish his feud with Cole one on one instead of being put in a 3-way at the last minute. There aren’t many guys that can work in this scenario.
Unless maybe CM Punk wants a payday….
I kid, I kid.
Anyway, Final Battle is closing in fast! Let’s watch some ROH!
Ring of Honor TV – 12/9/15
We are TAPED from the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville, Tennessee! Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel Mcguinness. Tonight, our main event will see the Briscoes facing off against the Young Bucks! But right now, it appears the Silas Young and the Beer City Bruiser are on their way to the ring, with the Boys and a keg in tow! And right behind them, that’s the music of reDRagon! We’re starting off with some tag team action!
reDRagon vs Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser (w/ The Boys)
Code of Honor is….followed? Holy shit, Kyle O’Reilly is so awesome, he got Silas Young to follow the Code? Kyle is truly the last real man in wrestling. “Dalton Castle!” chant from the crowd gets Young to give them a few choice words as Kevin tell us that at Final Battle, Young and Castle will hook it up once again, and it looks like Fish and the Bruiser will start us off. Bruiser tosses Fish to the ground off a lock up, so Fish comes back up and wants a test of strength. Bruiser goes for it, so Fish kicks him in the midsection but gets punched off an arm-wringer. Bruiser whips Fish off the ropes, Fish shoulderblock fails to move the Bruiser. Bruiser tells him to try again, same result. Fish tries again, but this time Kyle blind tags him and comes in with a kick on the Bruiser after Bobby hooks the ropes. They both tee off on the Bruiser with kicks, and he tags in Silas. He comes in and promptly gets double-teamed with kicks by reDRagon. O’Reilly with uppercuts, tag to Fish, who comes in with a suplex on Young for one. Tag back to Kyle, and they hang Silas’ leg in the corner and tee off on him with kneelifts, followed by Kyle dropkicking the leg. Silas goes to the eyes to break and tags in the Bruiser, who gets into a fistfight with O’Reilly that he loses. He catches an O’Reilly kick and ducks an enzuigiri, but Kyle goes through the legs and looks for the guillotine, but Bruiser drives him to the heel corner and tags in Young. Young takes Fish off the apron and they double-team Kyle in the corner, finishing with a cannonball by the Bruiser that was awesome; so awesome, the Boys high-five each other at ringside. I don’t say this enough, but the Bruiser is just GREAT for a big man. He’s never going to set the world on fire with his workrate, but he’s agile as hell in that ring. That gets two on Kyle as Adam Cole is joining us at the commentary booth. This could get interesting. Young gets a suplex on O’Reilly for two as we’ve got to watch some ads!
We’re back with Kyle and the Bruiser exchanging rights, but the Bruiser puts him down and tags in Silas, who comes in with a kick to Kyle’s arm and tosses him face first to the mat off an arm wringer. Cole on commentary: “No one would pick Kyle O’Reilly over me!” Well, sure, if Kenny Reigns is doing the picking. Tag to the Bruiser who just PASTES Fish on the apron with a right hand. Double whip to the corner, but O’Reilly jumps over Young, who gets clotheslined by the Bruiser when Kyle ducks. Suplex attempt by the Bruiser is countered by Kyle, who gets kicks, a jumping knee, and a legsweep to put the Bruiser on the mat. Tag to Bobby Fish! Fish comes in with a seated clothesline on the Bruiser, and he goes to work on Silas in the corner. Cross-corner whip, splash by Fish, and he follows that by ducking an attempted Silas clothesline and getting a running cross-body. Cole: “Typical reDRagon, Bobby Fish doing all the work!” Silas gets a jawbreaker and they exchange rights and forearms, but Silas stops that by ducking a kick and getting a backrake that the Hulkster himself would be proud of. He charges, but now Bobby is pissed and gets an exploder into the turnbuckles. Jackknife pin gets two, which Fish immediately transitions into the kneebar, which forces the Bruiser to save. All 4 men back in the ring now, reDRagon with the double whip on the Bruiser, but he stops the double backdrop with a kick to Kyle and a forearm to Fish. Kyle comes back with kicks on the Bruiser’s leg, but gets caught with a big lariat. Fish with more kicks to the leg of the Bruiser and a dragonscrew legwhip to send him out. He tries to pull Silas out of the corner, but Young does a full flip and lands on his feet, grabs Fish, and DDTs him on the bottom buckle! That was sweet. He rolls Fish into position, Bruiser to the top rope…frog splash misses! One of the Boys gets up on the apron so Kyle kicks him in the head, which causes the Boy to fall to the floor like he had been shot. O’Reilly with a slingshot crossbody onto the Bruiser and the Boy to the floor! Meanwhile, the other Boy is up on the apron, he snaps Bobby on the top rope, Young up, Misery by Young to Bobby Fish! He’s covering, but the Boy is still distracting the ref! 1,2,3,4,5, but no referee. Ref finally turns around, 1,2, NO! Young is rightfully pissed at that one. Young looks for it again, but Fish wiggles out and gets a backslide, which Young flips through and kicks Fish in the face. He goes for a clothesline, but Fish ducks it and gets a Samoan Drop. Tags on both sides, here comes Kyle! He ducks a clothesline from the Bruiser and takes out Silas on the apron. Kicks by Kyle to a charging Bruiser, guillotine! He’s got it locked in! Bruiser tries to break by sending Kyle to the turnbuckles, but Kyle hangs on and gets the Bruiser to the mat with the legs wrapped around. Fish tries to hold back Young, but Young finally gets free and breaks up the choke before the Bruiser can tap. reDRagon decides that he must be punished for his insolence, and they go to town on Silas, sending him to the corner and getting a combination of running splashes and kicks to set up the Two-Man Smash Machine. That leaves the Bruiser alone with reDRagon, and Chasing the Dragon (barely) gets the 1,2,3. (reDRagon over Silas Young/The Beer City Bruiser, pinfall, 11:12)
WORTH WATCHING? You know it, Jack! In all seriousness, this was a fun tag match (something that ROH has been specializing in recently with their admittedly deep division), with a few stories scattered throughout it; namely, the Boys cheating on Young’s behalf, the fact that O’Reilly got the guillotine and would have won the match had Young not saved, and the idea that perhaps the Boys intended to distract the ref so Silas WOULDN’T win; but it was also just fine tag team wrestling. I will say that this one is a definite YES, you should check it out.
Post-match, we have ourselves some shenanigans. Cole and O’Reilly have a shoving match which Nigel gets in the middle of, and that continues with reDRagon all the way back to the dressing room, while Young is in the ring berating the Boys and referee. As he is apparently less than happy with the ref’s job in this match, he tells the Boys to attack, which they DO, DDT’ing the referee. Now that is interesting. Young is happier than a pig in shit, as he tells the Boys to be proud of themselves and shakes their hands. That brings Dalton Castle to the ring, as he tells the Boys to come with him. Young sends the Bruiser into the ring, but he’s still woozy from taking Chasing the Dragon, and Young hits him with the microphone to take care of that. The Boys tease getting into the ring, up on apron, but they hop down and rejoin Young! The look on Castle’s face is heartbreaking, and a reminder that he’s pretty awesome as an actor in this business we all know and love. The Boys leave with Young, and Castle knows that we need to recover from all this emotion with some ads!
We’re back with Chris Sabin in the middle of the ring. “Apparently, for the last couple of months, someone in the Ring of Honor locker room has decided to steal our gimmick.” And not only did this person do this, they cost his friends The Addiction the World Tag Team titles! Of the World! And this person wants everyone to believe that the person behind the mask is Chris Sabin, and that’s not true! So whoever is doing it, come on out and look him in eye and face him like a man, because you’re not going to see any more wrestling until they do, because Sabin is hijacking this show! And here’s the man in the mask making his way to the ring. He gets in the ring, lifts the mask….it’s Alex Shelley! Okay, that’s FUCKING SWEET. That reveal actually makes sense on a lot of levels, plus Alex Shelley is back in ROH! Sabin jumps from the ring, looking as though he’s seen a ghost as the crowd chants for Alex! After a reveal like that, the only solution is to take an ad break to process it!
We’re back with the music of one Samson Walker, who I don’t recognize, and he’s making his way to the ring to challenge Roderick Strong for the ROH World TV Championship! They show some footage of Walker while saying that he’s been a champion all over the world, including Puerto Rico! As we hear the music of Roderick Strong, we find out from Kevin Kelly that we’re being joined at ringside by one Bobby Fish, who will be challenging Strong at Final Battle for that TV Championship himself!
Samson Walker vs Roderick Strong – World TV Title match
Before we begin, Fish again pushes the narrative that Strong sure did get a lot of title shots at Jay Lethal, didn’t he? That seems to be the mantra they’re going to push for Roderick. Code of Honor is followed. Lockup, go-behind by Roddy but Walker just shoves him off. Knees and fists by Samson, but a cross-corner whip is jumped over by Strong on a Walker charge, Strong with a jumping heel kick and chops on Walker. Walker fights back with forearms, but Strong hooks the ropes on an Irish whip and pulls it down on a Samson charge to send Walker to the floor. Dropkick on Walker through the ropes by Strong, but he tries a second one and Walker catches him in a bearhug and sends him to the post. He picks Strong back up and sends him to the other post. Samson continues the assault on the floor, going to the eyes, and sends Strong back in for a one count. Bobby Fish: “I will take Roddy’s manhood, and by God if I have to, Kevin, I will rip the man’s heart out and I will show it to him.” Man, now that’s someone who WANTS the title. He’s willing to murder someone for it! I had time to type that out, by the way, because Samson is putting Strong in a bearhug and this match is extremely boring. Strong elbows out, but comes off the ropes and gets caught with a spinebuster. I’d rate that spinebuster at about a 0.6 Anderson. It gets two, regardless. Walker takes something out of his tights; it looks like an asthma inhaler? Whatever it is, he takes a hit off it and puts it back, so there you go. He wanders towards Roddy in the corner and Roddy gets kicks while Fish continues to be gold on commentary, saying that every guy in the locker room has to lay their heads down at night and ask themselves “am I as good as Bobby Fish, and when they wake up in the morning, they’ve got to tell themselves the answer’s still no!” Strong with chops in the ring now, leapfrog over Samson on a charge, but he comes back the other way and gets turned inside-out with a lariat by Walker! 1,2, no! And now Walker takes down the straps. Powerbomb attempt by Walker, Strong goes over the back but Walker just calmly turns around and hits Strong in the face. He comes off the ropes, big dropkick by Strong! Running knee in the corner by Strong, running elbow by Strong, Olympic slam by Strong! Meanwhile, Bobby Fish has retrieved the belt and placed it in front of himself at the commentary desk as Strong gets two. Strong attempts to get Walker up on his shoulders, but Walker throws forearms to Strong’s back to break. Strong comes up with the jumping knee! Double-knee gutbuster (well, sort of, as Walker didn’t take the move properly) followed by Strong getting the Sick Kick! 1,2,3. (Roderick Strong over Samson Walker, pinfall, 5:31)
WORTH WATCHING? No. More explanation? Okay, there was no chance that Strong would lose here, Walker is a pretty generic big man with generic big man offense, they didn’t really click in the ring, the match itself was boring for a 5-minute affair….need I keep going? They just didn’t mesh well. The only reason to watch was Bobby Fish heeling it up on commentary, but that isn’t enough for me.
Post-match, Fish comes into the ring wearing Strong’s belt around his waist, which Strong promptly rips off with a shove to Bobby. Nigel goes to get more referees to break this up as they jaw at each other while Roddy holds the title aloft. Let’s ponder that situation while we watch these ads!
We’re back with….aww crap, Mandy’s back. Guess that Storytime with Adam Cole is over for now. Damnit. Anyway, we’re back to Inside ROH, and Mandy is here to tell us about Survival of the Fittest weekend! Let’s check out some highlights, including ACH defeating Matt Sydal in the finals of their best of 5 series. The Final on the 2nd night came down to Elgin and Jay Briscoe, with Elgin winning the whole thing with a BURNING HAMMMER~! on Jay. That makes Elgin a 2-time winner of the SOTF, and he tells Jay Lethal that when he gets his shot at the World Title, he wants his shot in Japan! And that will probably be at Wrestle Kingdom, I would guess. Here’s some ads to give us time to think about that.
We’re back to music of the Young Bucks! It’s main event time, folks!
The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs The Briscoes (Mark & Jay)
“Reach for the sky, boy!” The Briscoes make their way to the ring as we’ve been joined by the All-Night Express on commentary, which has been a running trend tonight. Code of Honor is followed, which makes us 3 for 3 tonight, a rarity. Looks like Nick and Mark are going to start us off. Lockup, they trade go-behinds, Nick gets an armdrag. Kick by Mark misses and they go nose to nose, Nick telling Mark to suck it. Mark shoves him, Nick shoves back, here comes Matt, here comes Jay, and we’ve got a shoving match in the middle of the ring. Ref gets order restored, and Mark goes after Nick with a kick and some chops. Meanwhile, the ANX are on commentary claiming that they had the Bucks pinned for 14 seconds at SOTF, so for all intensive purposes, they’ve beat the Bucks and the Briscoes. Mark with a whip, reversed by Nick, Mark flips over the back bodydrop but Matt comes in and superkicks him as he lands. Jay comes in, but Matt ducks a clothesline and Nick superkicks Jay. Both Briscoes are on the floor, and the Bucks hit double topes on them. Nick with a rake of Mark’s back before he sends him back in. Oh man, Kenny King is going on about never being pinned to lose the tag team belts. Delirious must be the most forgiving dude of ALL TIME to let him go on like that. Chops in the corner on Mark by Nick, finishing with Nick poking him in the eye. He tries to send Mark across, but Mark reverses and Jay comes out of nowhere with a corner splash, followed by him sending Nick into a dropkick by Mark. Matt flies in, but Mark catches him and suplexes him and Jay tosses him back out. Mark goes back to working over Nick in the corner and tags Jay into the match. Jay fires kicks at the open midsection of Nick Jackson, with a kick to the head to finish the sequence. He uppercuts Nick and headbutts him, then tags Mark back in. Nick Jackson is taking a shit-kicking in there. Mark comes back in and gets a suplex for two. He tags Jay back in, and Jay gets a running elbow while Mark sends Matt to the floor from the apron. Meanwhile, Kevin attempts to address in a covert way the ‘controversy’ over ANX returning to ROH, whether or not there were bitter feelings, etc, but Nigel basically says that it’s all cool now after he put his neck on the line for them. And with that, we’ll take what should be our final ad break of the evening!
We’re back with Mark charging Nick in the corner; he gets alley-ooped to the apron, but gets a headbutt on Nick….before turning into a superkick from Matt. Nick takes the opportunity to make the tag….oh, silly me, instead he runs up the turnbuckles and dropkicks Jay to the floor. Luckily, he’s able to somersault over an attempt by Mark to grab him and finally tag in Matt. Matt takes Mark down and fires rights. Back to their feet, Irish whip by Matt is reversed and Matt goes through the ropes with a dropkick on Jay. He skins the cat back in and Mark catches him for a suplex, but Matt gets out and goes to the corner. Mark charges and gets a boot to the face for his troubles, Matt to the top rope, flip Diamond Cutter gets 2. Matt pulls Mark back to his feet, but Mark is ready with some Redneck Kung-Fu! Palm strikes by Mark , double chop by Mark, he goes to the crane position, but Nick is back in and there’s another superkick to Mark. He falls into his own corner, and Jay gets a tag as he goes down. He comes in with a big boot on Nick and a spinning discus punch on Matt. He charges Nick on the apron, but gets caught in the midsection and Nick comes in with a facebuster on Jay. Nick scoots back out to the apron and attempts a moonsault on Mark, but he moves and gets a blockbuster to Nick on the floor. Mark looks for a Cactus elbow onto a prone Nick, but Matt comes back around and superkicks Mark on the way down. The Bucks get back to their feet and turn around into a giant suicide dive by Jay that takes them all the way to the barricade. Jay tosses Matt back in and gets a clothesline that turns Matt inside out. Jaydriller attempt, but Nick is back and superkicks Jay to break it up. He taunts Jay, who simply comes back and superkicks Nick. Everyone is down. They slowly get back up and Jay starts teeing off on the Bucks with rights and headbutts until Nick pokes him in the eye. The Bucks attempt to come off the ropes, but Mark grabs Nick and pulls him out while Matt runs into a neckbreaker from Jay. Froggy-bow on Matt from Mark! 1,2, no! Jay tags Mark back in and hoists Matt onto his shoulders, Mark to the top rope, Doomsday Device by the Briscoes! Matt Jackson lands on his feet! Okay, that was pretty cool. Jay turns around and eats a superkick by Matt. Nick back in now, double superkick on Mark! Bucks set it up, IndyTaker on Mark! 1,2, NO! Jay Briscoe barely made the save! The Bucks regroup and toss Jay, with Nick getting the down the line kick from the apron. And Matt puts Mark on his shoulders, here go, More Bang for Your Buck! 1,2,3! (The Young Bucks over The Briscoes, pinfall, 9:17)
WORTH WATCHING? It’s a sign that I’ve softened on the Bucks in my old age, but YES, this one is worth watching. It’s spotty as hell, but it’s the Bucks and Briscoes – you know going in that no one is selling much, and I’ll even give Nick Jackson credit for doing a better job than he normally does in that area, so kudos to all involved, as we get a TV main event that is fun to watch and means that the Bucks are the only team that holds pinfalls over The Briscoes and ANX right now, which might end up interesting.
After the match, ANX gets in the ring and we get ourselves a little pushing and some shoving, and finally Kenny King just says ‘Fuck it’ and starts the fight by punching Matt Jackson. We get a huge brawl to end the show as security and the refs attempt to pull everyone apart.
FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: This was almost a polar opposite of last week’s show – all the promos were done through commentary on the matches, and the show itself was bookended by a pair of excellent tag team bouts. While I’ll certainly admit that Strong’s match wasn’t exactly notable, it allowed Fish to get on commentary and sell the match. Thumbs up for a couple of good matches this week.
Next week, you get TWO doses of me, as I’ll be writing up a preview for Final Battle similar to the one I did for All-Star Extravaganza, along with the final show before the biggest ROH PPV of the year! Speaking of said PPV, here’s your card as of today:
ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Jay Lethal vs.AJ Styles
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
War Machine vs. The Kingdom
ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Bobby Fish vs Roderick Strong
#1 CONTENDERS TRIPLE THREAT TAG TEAM MATCH
The Young Bucks vs ANX vs The Briscoes
Adam Cole vs Kyle O’Reilly
ACH, Matt Sydal, & Alex Shelley vs The Addiction & Chris Sabin
Michael Elgin vs Moose
Dalton Castle vs Silas Young
Cheeseburger vs Brutal Bob
That card is STACKED, man. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll see you all next week for the recap and the Final Battle Preview; hey, what else could be happening on that specific Friday night, right? I mean, it’s not like the PPV happens to be on the same day that a film that everyone on the planet earth is going to see comes out as well, right?
Thanks for reading,
@MrSoze on Twitter