Ring of Honor – February 24th, 2016

Howdy!

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

Notable news from around the world of ROH this week:

— Obviously, the big one is that we have a new World Television Champ, as Tomohiro Ishii defeated Roderick Strong to win the title in the main event of Night 1 of Honor Rising. It looks as though ROH will react to the title change, which apparently was planned, by making Ishii defend the belt against Strong and Bobby Fish at the 14th on Friday.

Both nights of Honor Rising were reviewed by yours truly, and the verdict was ‘watch, but don’t rush out to do it’. Very decent stuff, but nothing that blew me away by any stretch. On the other hand, the NJPW folks will be heading to Vegas on Friday for a little ROH PPV action, so we’ll see how that goes. My PPV Preview for the 14th Anniversary will go live on Thursday, so check it out! And tell your friends!

Speaking of that PPV, we have a go-home show to watch! So let’s get on that!

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

Ring of Honor TV – 2/24/16

We are TAPED from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee! Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness. Your main event tonight is ACH/Alex Shelley vs The Briscoes! But we’re starting with the music of Roderick Strong, and we’ve gone back in time (the MAGIC of pre-tapes!) as he still has the World TV Title around his waist! And we await his challenger….that’s Jonathan Gresham! Awesome, I like Gresham a lot, and I think there’s a chance these guys will mesh together well.

Roderick Strong vs Jonathan Gresham – World Television Title match

Gosh, I WONDER who will win? As Bobby makes the ring announcements, we see Veda Scott running to the ring, which is not exactly unpleasant. Scott has a mic of her own: “Hold on a second, Bobby Cruse!” Veda turns to Gresham and makes him an offer: since she and Cedric got a lot of money in their ‘settlement’ with Ring of Honor, she’ll give him a check with more zeros on it than he’s ever seen, if he does two things; first, give up his title shot to Cedric, and second, go away and never be seen again in ROH!  Gresham does not find the offer all that intriguing, though, and he sends Veda packing! Now, I’m not one to question the finances of the Indy wrestler, but surely he could have at least HEARD what the amount was, right? Oh well.

Code of Honor is followed, albeit with Strong being a dick about it by slapping the hand of Gresham. Test of strength to start, won by Strong, which seems obvious. Because of his name. His name is Strong. Anyway, Gresham transitions out into a wristlock and pulls the fingers of Strong backwards, which always makes me wince. I have this weird thing about fingers, any time they’re abused in a match it eeks me out. Strong moves into a double-leg, looking for the Stronghold, but Gresham uses his leg to power out as Strong just cartwheels and we have a stalemate. Strong struts as even Nigel is pointing out how confident he seems. Lockup and Strong takes Gresham to the corner, then the other one, and he and Gresham have a chop battle. Strong with a knee to break that up, and he sends Gresham to the corner and comes in with another knee. Gresham avoids a Roddy charge in the other corner, but Strong catches him; Jonathan manages to kick his way to the apron. He shoulders Strong and looks to come in with a sunset flip, but Strong was playing possum and moves, catching him Gresham with a backbreaker as he comes in that gets two. This has been a great story, as Strong the veteran just keeps countering the overly aggressive Gresham and turning his own offense against him. Roddy stomps away and gets another backbreaker on the shoulder as we need to watch some ads!

We’re back with Strong still in control, putting Gresham down after he tries a desperation shot. He sets Jonathan on the top and looks for the superplex, but Gresham goes to the fingers again and shoves Roddy off. My goodness, all this psychology is making me think that I’m watching professional wrestling or something! Gresham tries to come off the top but Strong is recovered enough to dropkick him as he does, thereby continuing the story of Gresham getting too eager and fucking up a big move. That gets two and now Strong is getting a little pissed. Vertical suplex into a throw by Roddy. He gets set up for a charge in the corner, but he takes forever, and Gresham avoids it. He gets a back elbow to Strong and boots him when Strong charges him in the corner. Gresham goes up but Strong yanks him off the top rope into a suplex position, and Gresham goes to the fingers again to break! Strong tries to chop him with the bad hand, but Gresham catches it and wraps his arm up in an armwringer, then transitions that into a hammerlock on the mat, grabbing the hand YANKING the fingers apart! Even Nigel and Kevin are stunned! The ref finally gets after Gresham for the continued abuse of Strong’s fingers, as he’s apparently a fan of Strong’s piano playing. I hear that Roddy does a great Mozart backstage for the boys. Roddy tries to chop Gresham, but that just hurts the fingers more, and Jon keeps throwing shoulders at Strong’s midsection, sliding underneath a reversed Irish whip and getting a kneelift to take Strong over. Gresham kicks Strong’s arm on the mat. Armdrag by Gresham. Gresham goes for the Octopus, but he can’t quite lock it in and Strong uses his core strength to lift Gresham into a fireman’s carry. He goes for the double-knee gutbuster, but Gresham floats over and chains Strong on the mat into an anklelock! Strong stretches for the ropes, so Gresham jumps up and stomps the knee, and then kicks the arm of Strong. That whole sequence was just spectacularly done, and was fantastic pro wrestling. Another armdrag by Gresham, which is great psychology at this point, and he grapevines the other arm with his leg and rolls Strong over for a crucifix! 1,2, NO! That looked REALLY close. Gresham keeps trying to grab the arm of Strong and Strong keeps breaking with chops that are hurting his injured hand. One more time, but Gresham misses and Roddy catches him with a big jumping knee to the face! 1,2,3. What a great match. (Roderick Strong over Jonathan Gresham, pinfall, 6:09)

WORTH WATCHING? Oh my goodness, this was so MUCH FUN. YES, you should seek this one out, seriously. The match had all of the following components as a story: Strong doesn’t take the challenger seriously, Gresham uses unique offense and is willing to do anything to win, Strong outsmarts him as a veteran for the first part of the match but falls prey to a flurry of offense that almost beats him, Gresham focuses on a body part that makes sense since he wins with a submission that punishes that body part, Strong keeps hurting himself by using the arm because he doesn’t know what to do, Strong gets the win out of nowhere with a vicious move that makes it look like either of them could have won…..need I say more? This was an outstanding professional wrestling match, and one that is a testament to how good Roderick Strong and Jonathan Gresham are. I cannot praise them enough, except to say that I wish I could have watched 10 or so more minutes of it. I LOVED this.

Post-match, Bobby Fish comes out of the crowd and yanks the TV title out of Strong’s hands, and Strong is less than pleased with that, and they brawl with each other until security separates the two of them. They’re still in that match, but now they’ve got to contend with the new World TV champ, Ishii, in a triple threat! Ponder that while we ponder these ads!

We’re back with the music of Brutal Bob Evans, who’s out with Tim Hughes. They are Tough Guy, Inc! And there’s the music of War Machine! All of a sudden, I feel for the families of Evans and Hughes, since there’s a decent chance that this match may, in fact, be legal homicide.

War Machine vs Tough Guy Inc. (Brutal Bob Evans & Tim Hughes)

Code of Honor is sort of followed again, as Evans and Hughes slap the outstretched hands of War Machine. Oh, good idea, make Hanson and Rowe angry. May as well go play in traffic, guys. Rowe and Hughes start, and Rowe manhandles Tim, who immediately tags Bob in. Evans doesn’t look thrilled by that. He comes in and gets taken down in a double leg by Rowe, and now he tags Tim back in. Off the ropes and Evans comes in for a double team; Hanson attempts to even things up but gets escorted out by the ref. Rowe doesn’t exactly look to be sweating here, as he takes Evans down with a straight shot. Hughes picks him up for the delayed sideslam, but Rowe breaks that too. Rowe with an Exploder on Evans, and now he tags in Hanson as poor Tim Hughes is all alone in there. Hughes gets whipped into the corner and splashed by Hanson, then Rowe follows in with some SHOTGUN KNEES~! Broncobuster by Hanson, but Hughes tries to sunset flip Hanson; that doesn’t go well as Hanson tries to deadlift him into a front suplex. He almost makes it, but Hughes floats out and shoves Hanson off the ropes, and Hanson comes off and gets Tim up for a giant sideslam. Evans comes back in to break up the pinfall as even the announcers are questioning the wisdom of stopping the inevitable. Hanson cartwheels past Bob and destroys him with a lariat. Hughes tries to attack from behind, but Hanson rightly no-sells that and that’ll be the end of poor Tim Hughes, as Rowe comes in and the double-team backbreaker into a gutbuster into a powerbomb is followed by Hanson coming off the top rope with a splash to finish the slaughter. I hope that they at least left enough teeth for the remains to be identified by the dental records. (War Machine over Tough Guy Inc., pinfall, 3:06)

WORTH WATCHING? This match was definitely a match that happened. NO, you don’t need to watch it, as it was a straight squash to make the champs look strong before the PPV.

Post-match, however, the All-Night Express is here, armed with a few weapons! And they’ve got something they want to say! “War Machine! Tick-tock!” That sound is the time counting down that War Machine has left with the ANX’s titles! They stroll down to the ring, trash-talking the champs the whole time, with King calling them ‘bitches’, and I’m thinking that may be a mistake later. They tell War Machine that they’re not going to wreck them tonight, but what they’ve got planned for Ray Rowe? Well, that’s going to make that motorcycle accident look like a picnic! OOOHHHH, shit. You know, ANX is pretty damn good on the mic, aren’t they? Up next, the Young Bucks! Contain your excitement and watch these ads!

We’re back to the face of Silas Young, who warns the Boys that he’s been patient with them for a long time, but his patience is wearing thin, to say the least.

And now, we go to Kevin Kelly, who’s ringside with the Young Bucks. Kelly asks the Bucks to talk about the man they’re bringing to the 14th Anniversary, the Cleaner, Kenny Omega! The crowd chants for Omega as Nick talks about wrestling being a dirty business, but they know a guy who has the best cleaning skills in the industry, and his name is Kenny Omega! Matt chimes in to call the Bucks and Omega the Elite of the Bullet Club, and they’re coming to Las Vegas to throw the world’s biggest superkick party! And we’re done, as the whole promo was designed to put Omega over as a big deal, and that’s what they did.

Let’s go back to last week on ROH TV, and we see video of Steve Corino telling BJ Whitmer that he knows someone who wants to take him out! That man, of course, was Adam Page, and we see him and Whitmer in a pull-apart brawl. And we’re back to live action, as for the first time in several months, BJ Whitmer makes his way to the ring in wrestling gear. As his opponent, Chase Brown, is from the ubiquitous ‘already in the ring’, I don’t have a lot of hope for Mr. Brown.

BJ Whitmer vs Chase Brown

This angle has been handled tremendously, so I’m hoping that BJ can bring some of the goods that are needed to make it work. I’ve come around a bit to the idea that while the ideal would have been Corino, if they use Whitmer to put Adam Page over strongly, that should work just as well since Page is the guy with the career ahead. Chase Brown is….not fooling anyone with that combover. Code of Honor is declined by Whitmer. Lockup, and Whitmer takes him to the corner and washes his face with forearms, then a straight right hand. He pounds away with Brown down on his hands and knees; Chase tries a feeble comeback with some rights, but BJ cuts that off and gets a jumping Exploder for the pin. (BJ Whitmer over Chase Brown, pinfall, 0:58)

WORTH WATCHING? What, are you kidding me? NOPE.

Post-match, BJ gives Brown another Exploder and grabs a mic, but there’s the music of Steve Corino! Before he can speak, however, Whitmer cuts him off and tells him that Corino doesn’t get to talk tonight; instead, he wants Adam Page! He knows Page is back there, but that’s not quite right, as Page is actually coming through the crowd to attack BJ from behind! They go toe to toe with right hands and the brawl is on, while we’re promised that up next, we get Adam Cole! So that means the ad break is on!

We’re back to the music of Adam Cole, Bay-Bay! “Who’s ready for storytime with Adam Cole, bay-bay?” I would like to volunteer my readiness, Mr. Cole. What do you have to say? “I’ve been very, very patient, and finally, I get my rematch for the Ring of Honor World Championship!” He tells us that at the 14th Anniversary, you’re going to see some of the best professional wrestling on the planet, and you’re going to see Kyle O’Reilly and Jay Lethal trying to catch up to Adam Cole. He runs down Kyle, once again promising that Kyle will NEVER win the ROH World title, and speaking of World titles, that brings us to the champ himself, Jay Lethal. He promises that Jay will not like the outcome of the 14th Anniversary, because there will be a new champ and his name is Adam Cole, bay-bay! That brings out the House of Truth, with Lethal, Truth Martini, and Taeler Hendrix making their way to the ring. Lethal: “I think I heard my name, so I think that was my cue to come out here, correct?” Lethal dismisses Kyle as a ‘good kid’, but he’s never held the ROH World title; Adam Cole has, so let’s leave the kids at home and let the adults talk; at the 14th, he’s going to prove to Adam Cole that in Vegas, the House always wins. But he doesn’t want to wait; let’s finish this tonight! And that’ll cue the music of Kyle O’Reilly, the ambassador of ass-kickassador himself, who comes to the ring with a mic in hand. He looks down at it, shrugs, and kicks Lethal in the chest as the brawl is on! O’Reilly taking it to Cole, but Lethal cuts that off and sends Kyle to the buckle, but turns into an Adam Cole superkick and brainbuster across the knee. That leaves him wide open for Kyle to nail Cole with a brainbuster of his own, and O’Reilly stands tall with the title as we check out some ads!

We’re back and that’s the music of ACH, so it’s time for me to dance! That’s followed by the music of his partner, Alex Shelley. We find out that Christopher Daniels has joined the commentary team, as he will be facing off against Alex Shelley at the 14th. “Reach for the sky, boy!” And that means only one thing, as the Briscoes make their way to the ring, accompanied this week by ODB. We’re reminded that the Briscoes will face off against Elgin and Tanahashi at the 14th in what should be a great match.

The Briscoes (w/ ODB) vs ACH & Alex Shelley

Code of Honor is followed, and it looks like Mark and ACH are going to start us off. Lockup, Mark takes ACH to the corner, but ACH jumps over Mark after a cross-corner whip. He tries to run the ropes, but Mark knees him in the gut. They come off the ropes and do a few dodges before ACH does his backflip into a dropkick on Mark. Jay comes in and takes a dropkick as well, with ACH doing his imaginary basketball shot afterwards. Man, every time he does that, I can just HEAR Jesse Ventura in my ear being pissed off about all this showboating. ACH splashes Mark in the corner, but his cross-corner whip is reversed and Jay sneaks in, grabbing ACH and whipping him from the buckles into a clothesline by Mark. Chops by Mark in the Briscoe corner, tag to Jay. Jay comes in with headbutts and shots to ACH, thoroughly dominating. ACH reverses a whip and breaks up Jay’s momentum with a leg lariat, and there’s the tag to Shelley. Alex comes in with a crossbody on Jay and a shot to Mark on the apron. Shelley baseball slides into Mark on the outside off a Jay Irish whip, then springboards over the top rope with a crossbody onto Mark on the outside. Shelley goes up and comes back into the ring with a double axehandle on Jay Briscoe. Alex with shots to Jay, but Mark blind tags himself in and gets a clothesline on Shelley as we’ve just GOT to watch these ads!

We’re back with Jay kicking Alex in the face and tagging in Mark. The Briscoes go for a double clothesline, but Alex kicks Jay and elbows Mark after ducking it. Discus punch to Jay and there’s the tag to ACH, who come in and clotheslines Jay to the floor. Mark charges, but eats a boot from ACH which sends ACH to the apron, where he gets the big running kick to Jay on the floor. ACH back in with the Get Over Here on Mark, but he takes too much time and gets hit with a boot in the face on a blind charge. Mark goes up, but ACH recovers to bicycle kick Mark on the top rope and he runs the ropes to hit his big Air Jordan dive onto Jay on the outside, and he ends up going over Jay’s back, but Briscoe is kind enough to sell it anyway. What a guy, that Jay Briscoe. Back in, Shelley takes Mark off the top rope face first, and ACH springs back into the ring with a cutter on Mark. 1,2, Jay makes the save! Shelley and Jay go at it now, trading shots in the middle of the ring; Briscoe wins that and gets a back elbow and a discus forearm on Shelley to put him down. ACH and Jay hook it up next, with ACH reversing the Machine Gun neckbreaker into a brainbuster. Mark back in, and it looks like we’re going to have a martial arts duel here, as ACH squares up. Palm strikes by Mark, and it looks like Redneck Kung-Fu is indeed the stronger discipline as ACH gets taken down against the ropes and Alex Shelley eats a kick to knock him from the ring. Briscoe counters an ACH backdrop attempt into an Exploder suplex, but charges into 2 straight boots from Shelley in the corner. 3rd time is not the charm, as Shelley catches Mark and gets a Flatliner on Mark into the 2nd buckle. Jay charges and eats a superkick, as we may have a lost tooth here. Combination clothesline/enzuigiri in the corner on Mark Briscoe, and ACH goes to the top rope, but Daniels has gotten up from commentary. He goes to the apron to distract Shelley, and ACH misses the Midnight Star, landing on his feet right into a clothesline from Jay. Daniels grabs the leg of Alex Shelley to stop him from getting into the ring, and that allows the Briscoes to get a Doomsday Device and score the pinfall. (Briscoes over Shelley/ACH, pinfall, 6:58)

WORTH WATCHING? No resting, fun offense, and the usual good stuff from the ROH tag division. YES, you can check this one out, as it isn’t anything to break new ground, but it’s a decent example of why the ROH tag division is so great. Good stuff for the main this week.

Post-match, Kazarian and Sabin slide in to the ring, tossing ACH while Daniels and Kaz go to work on Shelley. Sabin noticeably does not participate in the beatdown of his former tag partner. Daniels tells Sabin to get in there as he and Kaz hold Shelley up for Sabin to take a shot, but Sabin won’t do it as ACH has recovered enough to pull Alex to safety. The Addiction and Sabin bicker with each other as the PPV promo runs down the matches to end the show this week.

FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: This was a good show, probably the best they’ve done in awhile. The first match with Strong and Gresham was great, the main was good, and everything else furthered angles that will be settled at the PPV as part of the hard sell. ROH is worth your time this week. Yes, even BJ Whitmer.

I’ll be back with the PPV preview.

Thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter