Ring of Honor – February 3rd, 2016

Howdy!

Let’s get the preliminaries out of the way here….

Notable news from around the world of ROH this week:

–Let’s start with the bad news: Nakamura is out. ROH has issued a statement confirming that Shinsuke Nakamura will not be appearing at the 14th Anniversary show as previously advertised. I don’t think that an explanation as to ‘why’ is necessary, but it is curious that the WWE did indeed have Nakamura give up a previously-agreed upon booking, something that most observers said they would not do. AJ Styles, for example, is just finishing up his last indy date this week in Georgia. One would assume that because the ROH appearance is on PPV, combined with the fact that Nakamura is just reporting to the performance center this week is probably a big reason for Shinsuke getting pulled, but nothing was cited by ROH in their press release about the matter, and as far as I can tell, Nakamura hasn’t said anything either.

–On to the good news! Jay Lethal, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish have all resigned with ROH! Lethal made a public statement while the other two were referenced in an ROH press release, but regardless, they’re all locked up; reDRagon will apparently get to keep their NJPW bookings as part of the deal. No word on how long the contracts are, but who cares? It’s good to see some guys staying with ROH.

–While Hiroshi Tanahashi is injured, word coming from the sheets is that he will work through the injury and be Elgin’s tag partner at the 14th Anniversary show. This could change if his injury turns out to be more serious, but as of right now, he’s ready to go.

Good news, bad news….how about we watch some wrestling?

Ring of Honor TV – 2/3/2016

We are TAPED from the Cabarrus Event Center in Charlotte, North Carolina! Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Mr. Corino 3. And we’re not wasting a single second today, as we come right in with the music of our challenger for the World TV Title! Oh joy, it’s….Masada. I figured someone in CZW crippled him ages ago. And there’s the music of the World TV Champ, Mr. ROH, Roderick Strong!

Roderick Strong vs Masada – World Television Title match

Code of Honor is followed. I have seen Masada wrestle exactly ONE time, and that was a low-quality gorefest against Necro Butcher, so I’m hoping he can show me something different here. I know that he’s been in ROH before, but I don’t have any memory of him; quick search shows that he was part of the Carnage Crew, so there you go for anyone who remembers it. Test of strength goes Masada’s way to start, but Roddy fights back up with a kick. Arm-wringer and a go-behind by Strong, Masada drops to the mat. Back to his feet and he trips Strong into a kneebar, Strong immediately grabs the ropes. They circle and lockup again, Masada flipping Strong for a quick 2 count. They trade off that with Masada getting a bridge for two. Shoving match ensues, Masada puts Strong down with a forearm. Roddy gets back up and they start firing forearms at each other, then chops. Roddy breaks it with a knee and dumps Masada to the floor. Masada pulls him out and slams Strong on the floor. He tosses Strong back in and hits him with a shoulder, but Strong gets a high knee when Masada tries to get back in. Roddy goes to the apron and gets a belly-to-back suplex, dropping himself to the floor and Masada to the edge of the ring apron, and dropping us to our first ad break!

We’re back with Masada kneeing Strong in the midsection to take over. Chops and he ducks a shot from Strong and gets a short-arm clothesline. Belly-to-back suplex by Masada now. That gets two. Replay shows that Strong took his own knee to the nose on that one when he got folded in half. Powerbomb attempt, but Strong just sort of drops out of it? Not sure if he was supposed to land a different way there, but okay. Strong fires a kick at an approaching Masada, but tries for a discus lariat and runs right into a Death Valley Driver. 1,2, no! Masada tries a suplex, but Strong floats over and gets the Olympic slam. Strong with a running knee to Masada in the corner. Another one to the midsection of Masada. He puts Masada in position for a belly to back, but gets an overhead throw from that for two. Strong wants the Stronghold, but Masada kicks him off and blocks an exploder by countering into a cross-armbreaker! Strong puts his foot on the bottom rope to break. Masada reaches into his pocket for….something. Strong with a kick, then an enzuigiri to Masada. Another kick and Strong picks up the dropped foreign object as the match, which was going along fine, just gets silly now. Strong tries to hit Masada with said object, but Masada ducks and gets a kick, then a powerbomb. 1,2, no. Masada walks over to the object again, picking it up and tearing it open to reveal bamboo sticks. Oh, that’s just peachy keen. Masada tries to stick Strong in the head with a handful of them, but Strong blocks and pulls Masada through the ropes. Masada tries to get back in, but a vicious knee to the head by Strong is going to finish it here. 1,2,3. (Roderick Strong over Masada, pinfall, 7:27)

WORTH WATCHING? Until the dumbass finish, this one was fine. But for some reason, Masada really, REALLY wanted to stab Roderick Strong with something sharp. Now, I sympathize with this, I truly do; hell, I’m convinced that had he succeeded, Charlie Owens might have a new favorite wrestler. But it made no sense in the context of where we were in the match; and Masada doesn’t have a defined enough character in ROH to pull off the hyper-violent, I don’t give a shit I just want to hurt people schtick that said finish requires. He just randomly wrestles for 5 minutes and pulls out a sharp object? Uh-uh, that’s not why I watch ROH. There’s plenty of death match bullshit out there if people want to watch that sort of reasoning. So NO, you can skip this one unless you enjoy whatever that finish was.

Post-match, however, the dulcet tones of Bobby Fish are here to save this thing! “Roddy, Roddy, Roddy…vs the world!” Fish takes the position that if that’s what we’re going with, Strong might as well hope that Bobby takes up residence on another planet! Because it looks like ‘Roddy vs the world’ actually means ‘Roddy vs everyone but Bobby Fish!’ But he doesn’t blame Roddy, who wants to know what he could be blamed for; beating Fish at Final Battle? Let’s face it, Bobby – you’re an older gentleman, and your career is coming to a close soon! OOHH, SHIT. That was low, Strong. Low. Either way, they trade insults culminating in Strong’s unintentionally hilarious “Now get out of my ring!” to Bobby, upon which Strong promptly leaves the ring 10 seconds later. Oh, Roddy. You’re gold, my man. Long and short of it, Bobby wants himself a rematch for that TV title: “At this time, I’ve got no better place to be than up in your face!” Kelly points out that Fish does have one other place to be, and that’s our main event tonight, with reDRagon facing Adam Cole and Jay Lethal! But up next, it’s another first round matchup in the Top Prospect tournament! More to come….after these ads!

We’re back with a quick look back at last week’s challenge of Michael Elgin to the Briscoes; face me and Tanahashi at the 14th Anniversary! The Briscoes are down for this, and we see the graphic.

But now it’s time for the Top Prospect tournament to continue….and here’s Colby Corino! Along with BJ Whitmer, but lacking Adam Page. Interesting. And here’s the music of Punisher Martinez, who looks as though he may actually attempt to remove each of Corino’s limbs for sport.

Colby Corino (w/ BJ Whitmer) vs Punisher Martinez – Top Prospect Tournament 1st round match

Code of Honor is followed. Colby avoids the first lunge of Punisher and gets a chop, but no sale. Again Corino avoids, but this time a kick, an elbow, and another kick are all declined to be purchased by Martinez, and this may be a complete slaughter here, folks. Corino comes off with a kick that Martinez gives a grin to, and a second Corino charge is met with a GIANT leg lariat that wipes Corino out. Martinez tosses Corino into a corner (and by toss, I mean that literally), and a cross-corner whip is followed by a Punisher splash. Another! Clothesline into the corner, forearm by Punisher, and Corino is wobbly. Punisher brings him to the center of the ring, backbreaker! 1,2, NO! Oh Jesus, stay down already. Running forearm and a slam by Martinez. Martinez tries to come off the second rope, but Colby stuns him with a dropkick! Rolling kick by Corino, followed by a running kick in the corner! Jimmy Jacobs Cutter by Corino! Twisting senton by Corino, 1,2, NO! Martinez rolls out, Corino springboards off the top rope with a somersault cannonball onto Punisher! Colby goes to the ring apron, comes off with a ‘rana…but Martinez catches that and gently powerbombs him on the floor. He keeps his hands locked, though, and gets Corino up for a full-out Last Ride powerbomb against the ring apron! He picks up Colby and tosses him back in the ring like a sack of garbage. Sitout chokeslam by Punisher! Yeah, that’ll be more than enough for a 3 count. (Punisher Martinez over Colby Corino, pinfall, 3:27)

WORTH WATCHING? Just an extended squash, and while I realize that that’s the nature of the first rounders sometimes, it doesn’t make the match any good. So I’m going to go with NO on this one from a workrate perspective, but the angle that follows it is pretty good, so it may, in fact, be worth watching after all depending on your point of view.

Post-match, BJ Whitmer has a mic. Yippee. “You did good, Colby. Now ask your old man to take off that mask.” Mr. Wrestling 3 declines, and Whitmer is not surprised – would you expect anything else from someone who abandoned his family to start a new family? After all, Colby had to spend Christmas with Whitmer’s family because Steve was too busy for him! BJ stares at Mr. Wrestling 3 and tells him to take off the mask, or fate will decide for him. When Mr. Wrestling 3 opts to stay in his mask, Whitmer grabs Colby and tells him that he let BJ down! He knows that Colby snuck off to call his father at Christmas! And where BJ comes from, that is betrayal! But he forgives Colby for that; but he can’t forgive the sins of the father! And with that, he drops Colby with four exploders in a row, culminating with him dragging the beaten carcass of Corino over to the ropes and draping him in front of the announce table. Whitmer hops from the ring and goes nose to nose with Mr. Wrestling, telling him that he’s amazed that Corino was willing to sacrifice his son because of his selfishness, and that it proves that everything he ever said about Steve Corino was true! That was AWESOME, just really good drama in this feud as Corino was faced with being helpless against what was being done to his son while not being able to interfere without giving away who he was, and confronting his character flaws that he wanted to keep his job more than he wanted to save his son from a beating. And it just bugs the SHIT out of me that all this precise storytelling is being done with Corino and Whitmer, and not a couple of better workers who could really make this thing awesome. Corino can’t wrestle after surgery, so he’s going to have to get someone to represent him in the blowoff, which I assume will be Page, but damn. This got good quickly. You know what else is probably good – these ads! Let’s watch them!

We’re back with a recap from last week, with Nigel announcing the triple threat between Lethal, O’Reilly, and Adam Cole. For a recap of your recapper’s reaction, it went something like this: [email protected][email protected]?!!

Anyway, we’ve been joined at the commentator’s desk by one Nigel Mcguinness, as during the break, Mr. Wrestling 3 helped Colby Corino to the back.

And there’s the music of reDRagon! Time for a main event, folks! Kelly announces that the All-Night Express will challenge War Machine for the tag team championships next week in our main event! Following them is the music of Adam Cole, bay-bay! He make sure to walk as far away from Kyle, who’s stalking him in the ring, and poses on the opposite side as the music for his teammate, Jay Lethal hits! Lethal is accompanied by Truth and Taeler, and while they clean the streamers out of the ring, we’re going to try to get all of you to buy some stuff with these ads!

We’re back, and we’re set to go!

Adam Cole & Jay Lethal (w/ Truth Martini & Taeler Hendrix) vs reDRagon

Code of Honor is followed by Lethal and reDRagon, but Adam declines the handshake. Looks like we’re going to start with Lethal and O’Reilly here. They circle, but Kyle is having none of it; he wants Adam Cole right now, and it looks like Cole is willing to oblige! Tag to Cole, he and Kyle circle…and Cole tags Lethal back in. What a tool. Awesome. Fish jaws at Cole as O’Reilly and Lethal lock up, Kyle takes control with a short forearm and a headlock on Jay. Lethal shoots him off, Kyle with a shoulder to Jay. Lethal whips him again, Kyle hooks the top rope to stop on a dime. They lock up again, Lethal with the headlock this time and a shoulder to put Kyle down on the whip. They run the ropes and Lethal sunset flips Kyle, but O’Reilly doesn’t go over and drops into a cross-armbreaker, sending Jay scrambling for the ropes. Tag to Bobby, and they double-team Jay with knees, followed by the double arm wringer. They send Jay off the ropes, double kick by reDRagon. That gets one. Lethal takes control with a knee to Fish, but Bobby comes back with an elbow to Jay after Lethal runs the ropes. That gets a quick 2 and Bobby takes Lethal to the corner with knees and tags in Kyle. Kyle comes in and wrings Jay’s arm, takes him to the mat by transitioning into a wristlock and drops a knee on it while landing a strike to the gut. He switches sides and gets a knee to the gut and a strike to the arm, then comes off the ropes with a sliding knee to Lethal’s arm. Tag to Fish. He drops a knee on Jay’s arm. Jay gets a shot to the midsection to break and tags in Cole. They send Fish to the ropes, but Bobby stops. Jay charges and gets backdropped to the floor. Cole avoids a kick from Bobby but doesn’t avoid the second one, and Fish looks to tag Kyle; but Cole grabs him by the leg to stop the tag. Bobby stomps at Adam to get him to break, but meanwhile Lethal yanks Kyle off the apron. When Fish goes for the tag, Lethal is there, Fish avoids the first shot and sends Jay back to the floor, but Cole is ready behind him and gets the Fireman’s carry neckbreaker for two. Fish rolls to the apron on the wrong side of the ring, allowing Cole to distract the ref and Lethal to pull Bobby out and send him to the barricade. Cole tosses Fish back in and sends him to the heel corner, and they cut the ring in half and work over Fish. He gives us an ‘Adam Cole, bay-bay!’ right in the face of Lethal. This has been a crisp, excellent tag match thus far, and we’re going to take a moment for an ad break!

We’re back with Lethal tagging Cole back in as the heels continue to pound on Bobby. Snapmare by Adam followed by knees to the back of Fish. Cole decides to poke the bear and takes a wild shot at Kyle in the corner, and when that misses, he SPITS on O’Reilly. Kyle comes in and gets escorted out by the ref, allowing Lethal and Cole to double-team Fish, complete with a fake tag by Cole as he exits the ring. Lethal gets a one count on Fish, then sends him to the buckles. Clothesline in the corner, snapmare by Lethal, dropkick to the back of Bobby’s head! Nice one, too. “I’m the greatest wrestler in the world!” sayeth Jay, and the crowd approves. Tag to Cole, and Fish tries to fight out with rights. Cole sends him back to the heel corner, but Bobby catches him with a kick and turns a clothesline into a Samoan drop to separate. They crawl for the tag….Cole tags Lethal! Fish tags O’Reilly! Kyle in with a clothesline to Lethal. He takes a run at Cole on the apron, but Adam drops off and Lethal tries for a suplex, but Kyle lands on his feet. Shots from Kyle to Jay! Knees, kicks, legsweep! The World Champ is staggered. Kyle charges him in the corner, but Jay alley-oops him to the apron….which Kyle is fine with, as he comes off with a running knee to Cole on the floor! Kyle back in and Lethal charges, but O’Reilly gets a boot up and reverses a tilt-a-whirl into a DDT on Jay. 1,2, Jay kicks out….into an armbar by O’Reilly! Cole with the save before Jay can tap. Cole lays into Kyle against the ropes with kicks. Cole and Lethal with the double team on Kyle, but he puts on the brakes against the ropes. Jay eats an elbow coming in, while Cole charges and Kyle pulls down the top rope to send him to the floor. Bobby Fish is waiting there, and he picks Cole up and rams him into the barricade. Meanwhile, Kyle and Jay are trading shots in the center of the ring, Kyle attempts to whip Jay to the corner, Jay reverses; but Kyle moves out of the way on a blind charge. Fish back in….two-man Smash Machine by reDRagon on Lethal! 1,2, NO! Kyle tags Bobby into the match and they signal for Chasing the Dragon, but Lethal floats over and sends Kyle into Bobby, while Cole slides back in and hits O’Reilly with a bicycle kick to send him to the floor. Lethal catches Bobby with the Lethal Combination (with a Cole superkick thrown in for good measure), followed by a Shining Wizard from Cole. Lethal covers, 1,2, NO! And with that, we’re going to send this match to a third segment by watching these great ads!

We’re back with Lethal climbing to the top rope…Hail to the King elbow on Fish! 1,2, Kyle makes the save! An exhausted Fish and Lethal trade rights in the middle of the ring, with Fish grabbing Lethal’s legs and getting knee strikes and a dragon-screw legwhip to put both guys down. They reach for the tags…both make it! And now we’re down to Cole and O’Reilly. They meet in the center of the ring and trade shots, then they grab each other’s hair and fire with more intense ones. The feud is just ridiculously awesome. Jay is still in there, Kyle comes off the ropes ducking a double clothesline, big kick to Lethal! He tries the same to Cole, but Adam grabs the leg and avoids the enzuigiri by Kyle. Waistlock by Cole, German Suplex to Kyle, who landed on the top of his HEAD. Fucking OUCH. But Kyle pops up and gets a spinning forearm to Cole, who responds with a superkick to Kyle. Kyle bounces off the ropes, Ambrose-style, but Cole ducks the clothesline and Lethal takes it. O’Reilly turns around…into an Adam Cole superkick! Once again, I remind all of you that no one in the business does a better superkick than Adam Cole. No one. He tries to give Fish the same treatment, but Bobby catches the foot and gets an Exploder in the corner. Fish comes out of the corner, but eats a Lethal bicycle kick as Kyle struggles to his feet. He fires forearms at Lethal, but Jay jumps the legsweep and gets an enzuigiri to Kyle. Jay superkicks Kyle and signals for the Lethal Injection, but Bobby pushes Cole into Kyle, and Adam Cole takes the Lethal Injection instead! Fish and O’Reilly proceed to toss Lethal, and Chasing the Dragon on the limp carcass of Adam Cole is enough to finish this one off with the 1,2,3. (reDRagon over Adam Cole & Jay Lethal, pinfall, 13:22)

WORTH WATCHING? Well, first off, YES, this was an excellent tag team match. But this was also wrestling booking 101 in one match. Let’s examine everything they did here; they kept O’Reilly and Cole apart outside of brief skirmishes until the last few minutes of the match, keeping their feud alive and special. Lethal was the odd man out but still got a ton of offense and looked good. Fish, the only guy not in the World title match, was the face in peril to make Lethal and Cole look good. O’Reilly got all the hot tags and looked like he belonged in there with Cole and Lethal, and he got the winning pinfall over Cole….after Lethal hit the move that incapacitated Cole to allow reDRagon to get their finisher to win. Everyone looked good, Cole can claim that it wasn’t O’Reilly that beat him, Lethal doesn’t get pinned, and Kyle gets the win. There was some really, really great booking in there.

Post-match, reDRagon celebrates while Kelly pimps the tag title match for next week, and we’re out.

FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Better show than last week, but it was again a very angle driven show. The biggest problem with the Strong stuff is that I’m just never buying any of these challengers as a serious threat to his belt – when Cena was doing this angle, there was always the thought in the back of your mind that he could lose, whereas I don’t get that with Roddy. The Corino/Whitmer stuff was good, but the match sucked as a match, and I really like the angle but have no idea how they’re going to pay it off unless Adam Page turns; even then, I’m just not sure that will work as well. The main event was awesome, as you might expect when you put 4 good wrestlers in the ring together and let them have a match and once again, the main event is the thing that makes the show worth watching. But what a main event, so there is that; once again, ROH absolutely sets the standard for tag wrestling in North America right now.

As always, thanks for reading this thing that I wrote,
Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter