Ring of Honor – April 20th, 2016


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

Notable news from around the world of ROH:

–ROH TV is coming to Canada! The Fight Network is the place, as they’re going to be carrying ROH TV starting on Tuesday, April 26th. While you could always watch the shows online on Thursday, now you Canadians will get the chance to watch ROH every week on Tuesday; Scott Keith, ready to try it out?

–Global Wars is coming up. Taking place from Chicago, current signed matchups are:

Jay Lethal defends the ROH World title against Colt Cabana
War Machine defends the ROH World tag titles against the Briscoes
Tomohiro Ishii defends the ROH World TV title against Bobby Fish
The Addiction vs Jushin Liger and Cheeseburger

More matches are expected to be announced soon. The PPV is set for Sunday, May 8th, one week after Payback.

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

Ring of Honor TV – 4/20/16

For the next few weeks, we’re going to be watching matches that took place at the Honor Rising events from Japan. These matches aired on NJPWworld a few months ago, and some of them are quite good. Others, not as much. I reviewed both shows for the blog, so let’s see if my opinions on any of the matches have changed; we do have commentary from Kelly and Corino to work with, whereas there wasn’t any English commentary that I could find while watching the shows live. So let’s see what happens. Of note: I’m reviewing the TV show here, so I’m only going to review what they put on the air, not the whole match from the original event.

We are TAPED from Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan! Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino III. Tonight, our main event will be Roderick Strong against Tomohiro Ishii for the World TV title! But we’re going to get started with a tag team match! And it’s the music of Dalton Castle that starts us off, as he makes his way to the ring with some different Boys! And right behind him is his partner, Ryusuke Taguchi! Castle does his usual entrance, complete with his peacock wings, but Taguchi isn’t going to be outdone, as he has some Dragon wings of his own! And now Matt Sydal makes his way to the ring, led by Jushin Liger!

Dalton Castle & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Matt Sydal & Jushin “Thunder” Liger

Code of Honor is declined. Liger and Dalton are going to start us off. Kelly reminds us that these events were recorded back in February, but slips in a promo for Global Wars in the same breath. Well done, Kev. Castle with an armwringer, but Liger trips him into a headlock. Castle gets to his feet, but Liger goes to the arm now and trips him again, this time rolling him over into a surfboard. He rocks it back and puts on a chinlock, but Castle escapes. He goes to the ropes and gets fanned off by the Boys. They lockup again and go to the ropes, clean break by Castle. He does his post and Liger tries to clothesline him, but Castle ducks and dropkicks him to the floor. Castle looks to fly, but Liger moves, so Castle just comes off the ropes with his walk, and the Boys come in for another pose. Liger comes back in, and Castle attacks with forearms and chops. Castle off the ropes, but Liger tosses him and does a handspring off the ropes, landing in the center of the ring. He calls in the Boys and mocks the Castle pose. But I’ll tell you what’s not to be mocked; these ads!

We’re back with Taguchi in now, against Matt Sydal. Sydal with a headlock and they run the ropes, Taguchi with a dropdown and a leapfrog. Sydal goes for a sunset flip and avoids a shot from Taguchi, he comes off the ropes but Taguchi with the leaping butt to the face. Corino calls it a hip attack, but it was an ass to the face. Taguchi keeps it up, firing ‘hips’ to Sydal’s head on the mat. Irish whip and Taguchi goes for it again, but Sydal catches the top rope and fires kicks. He tries to kick him in the ‘hip’, but it hurts his leg. And we’re going for a straight-up comedy match here. Taguchi comes off the ropes, but Sydal puts him back down with a leaping spinkick. Tag to Liger, double Irish whip, but Taguchi ducks the double clothesline and catches Sydal with the hip attack to put him down again. He tries to hit Liger with it, but Liger drops the knee and it’s an atomic drop. Taguchi tries again, same result. Liger off the ropes, but now Castle comes in with a hip attack of his own! Taguchi is thrilled and he and Dalton…ahem…bump hips together in celebration. Corino gets a good line on commentary about Taguchi’s hips being like a Samoan’s head. Tag to Castle, and he comes in with a slam on Jushin. Dalton off the ropes with a stomping splash on Liger for two. Tag back to Taguchi and they send Liger to the corner, Taguchi with a hip attack to Liger. Taguchi leaps into Dalton’s arms and Dalton runs him, ‘hip’ first into Liger. Considering the power of Taguchi’s hips, Liger should probably be legally deceased. That gets two. Taguchi sends Liger to the other corner and charges, but Liger gets the boot up to stun him, then Liger gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He rolls over and tags in Matt, who comes in and ‘ranas Taguchi. Sydal with the kicks, but when Taguchi sticks out his ass to block (I can’t believe I’m typing this), Sydal kicks him in the back of the head instead and covers for two. Taguchi ducks a Sydal kick and tries one of his own, but Matt catches it and takes him down with a legsweep, followed by a standing moonsault. 1,2, no! Matt wants the brainbuster, but Taguchi escapes with an enzugiri. Taguchi makes the tag to Dalton and he runs wild on Matt in the corner with a forearm and a knee, but he runs right into a jumping knee from Sydal. Matt goes up, but Castle catches him and gets an overhead throw. Sydal is on the apron, but Dalton brings him back in with the deadlift German for two before Liger saves it. Taguchi comes back in, but Liger tosses him and hits him with a bodypress from the apron to the floor. Castle looks for the Bangarang on Sydal, but Sydal gets out and hits him with a high kick, then a reverse ‘rana from Sydal that PLANTS Castle on his head. Ow. Sydal wastes no time, running to the top and hitting a Shooting Star Press. Liger holds back Taguchi, and that’ll do it. 1,2,3. (Matt Sydal and Jushin Liger over Dalton Castle and Ryusuke Taguchi, pinfall, 9:01)

WORTH WATCHING? Completely depends on your context. This was a comedy match on every level designed to showcase Dalton Castle in his first match in Japan. I’ll say YES, worth a look, so long as you’re prepared for the match to be fun and nothing else. I had it at about ** in my original review, but in the context of the match, I’d give it a bump to **1/2 if you just view it as a comedy match.

Post-match, Sydal celebrates while the announcers tell us that up next, we have Delirious against Gedo! Until then, let’s check out these ads!

We’re back with a quick video of the ROH guys in Japan, which will be a theme for tonight. We see the ring getting set up as Dalton Castle marvels at the ‘red cones instead of orange ones?’ upon seeing some Japanese traffic cones.

There’s the music of Gedo, as we get ready for the two bookers to face off against each other. I remember hating this match upon initial viewing. Delirious is out next, and here we go.

Delirious vs Gedo

Delirious does his usual goofy shit on his entrance, running around the ring and spitting on the camera while chanting something that sounded like ‘eggplant’. I got nothing. I got over Delirious a LONG time ago. Love him as a booker, though. Delirious is sitting down in the corner, and Gedo doesn’t really know what to do, but he approaches and gingerly ‘shakes’ one of his hands, so I suppose that the Code of Honor was followed? Bell rings and Delirious runs all over the ring while Gedo just stands and watches him. Gedo’s facial expressions are priceless here. Delirious continues to roll around the ring and run around, and we’re over a minute since the bell rang and there’s been zero contact. Sigh. Finally, we get a lockup. Gedo with the side headlock, Delirious tries to pull his hair but there’s nothing there. Delirious shoves him off and rolls underneath, takes him over with a headlock that Gedo counters with a headscissors. Gedo with the side headlock takeover and Delirious with the headscissors now. Gedo is pleased and tells Delirious that he can wrestle. They exchange a fist bump, and Delirious kicks him in the gut. Delirious comes after him with a devastating array of scratches, first to the back, then to the front, then to the back again. Somebody’s been studying their 80s Hogan matches. He sends Gedo to the corner and bites him on the fingers. Gedo mouths ‘fuck!’ as we decide to watch some ads!

We’re back with footage from ROH visiting Japan with a look at Moose visiting Japan, complete with the crowd doing his hand motions. Man, Moose towers over some of these guys. Anyway, Moose had a great time and the fans loved him! But let’s get back to the match!

Back with Delirious mocking Gedo screaming in pain. Delirious bites the middle rope and grabs a wristlock in the corner and bites Gedo in the arm. Joy. He sends Gedo to the other buckle and charges, but Gedo gets a boot up. Another try, and Gedo gets both feet up. Gedo comes out with a basement dropkick to put Delirious on the mat and puts him in a figure-four. Delirious rolls to the ropes to break. Gedo with strikes and he puts Delirious on the mat with a big one. Jawbreaker by Gedo, and he superkicks Delirious on his knees. 1,2, no! Another sliding dropkick by Gedo, but Delirious trips him up from behind with a double leg. Gedo charges but eats an elbow from Delirious, who comes out with a spinning elbow and strikes. Kicks from Delirious and a clothesline for two. Fireman’s carry by Delirious, and he just drops Gedo on his face. Delirious goes up for the splash, but he misses and Gedo rolls him up for two with the tights. Delirious goes through the legs and they do an actual wrestling sequence with Delirious getting a crucifix for the pin. (Delirious over Gedo, pinfall, 8:24)

WORTH WATCHING? Grumpy Old Man alert: This sucked balls. I get what they were trying to do here, with both of them cheating, but it was boring as hell. I’m admittedly not a fan of Delirious these days, but the amount of non-wrestling in this match is truly astounding from both guys. NO, skip this one. In my original review, I had it at *. I was right on the ball there.

Let’s go to the back and hear from Roderick Strong! “Tonight’s the night! Roddy vs the world!” But right next to him is one Bobby Fish, who taunts him about their faceoff in Vegas. Spoiler alert – there’s gonna be a third guy in that match. Fish tells him that he needs to be worried, because his executioner is standing right next to him. But now, they’re telling us that we need to watch some ads!

We’re back with a HILARIOUS commercial for Cheeseburger’s t-shirt. Appearances from Jay Lethal, Delirious, and KUSHIDA amongst others, and KUSHIDA tells us that his shirt is very popular in Japan more than once! Buy it today!

More from the ROH goes to Japan videos, as we’re with Dalton Castle signing autographs and walking the streets of Japan. This is all actually pretty funny, as Castle is really charismatic in pretty much every aspect of his life. And how else could it end but with the words “C’mon Boys, shower time!”

Time for our main event! Ishii is already in the ring, and here comes the World TV champion, Roderick Strong! Once again, a helpful graphic in the upper corner reminds us that this was previously taped.

Roderick Strong vs Tomohiro Ishii – World TV title match

Ref calls for the Code of Honor, so Ishii comes out and they go chest to chest with Ishii backing Roddy into a corner. I’ll call that declining the Code of Honor there. Strong dances around Ishii, refusing a lockup for awhile. They finally lockup against the ropes, and Ishii gives Roddy a break with a little shove. Lockup again, and Roddy goes to the arm, Ishii reverses and they go to the ropes. Roddy gives the break and fire a chop. Ishii looks mildly annoyed, and Roddy backs off. He goes to the ropes and hides, Ishii pursues and Roddy goes all the way to the floor. He stalls for a bit and comes back in, greeted with a kick by Ishii, who takes him to the corner. They exchange forearms and Strong tries another chop, which Ishii no-sells. Big forearm by Ishii sends Strong back to the buckle, another one. Strong gets out of the corner and kicks Ishii in the mid-section, chop is no-sold again. Strong sends him to the corner, reversed by Ishii. Strong goes over the top of him and comes off the ropes, but Ishii rocks him with a left hand. Strong tries forearms, but Ishii shrugs them off, so Strong stomps on his foot. He comes off the ropes, but Ishii knocks him on his ass with a shoulder, and we’re going to take a break!

We’re back with Roddy on the floor, and he grabs Ishii by the leg as the latter tries to come out. Ishii slaps him away and goes to the apron, but Strong yanks him off and tosses him back first into the ring apron. Strong with a backbreaker on the railing. Ishii is back in the ring at 10, and Roddy stomps away, choking him with the knee against the ropes. More stomps by Roddy, he comes off the ropes with a kick to Ishii’s head. That gets two, and Strong goes to a chinlock. Ishii breaks that with punches. Strong chops him, but Ishii doesn’t think much of that and spits on him. Strong with a running kick to the head, and he goes to a camel clutch position, fishhooking Ishii a few times. Strong with more stomps as Ishii gets to his feet, and we’ve got a chop battle. Strong wins that, surprisingly, and puts on a seated abdominal stretch. Ishii gets to his feet and hiptosses out of it. Strong comes back with a knee and an Olympic Slam. That gets two. More chops from Strong, then forearms, but Ishii catches him coming off with a powerslam to put both guys down. Ishii back up, and he takes Strong to the corner and destroys him with chops and elbows. Cross-corner whip is reversed by Strong, but Ishii comes roaring out of the corner and levels Strong with a shoulderblock. Saito suplex for two, and you can see the blood on Strong’s chest from the chops of Ishii. Wonder if there’s something in these upcoming ads that can help with that?

We’re back with Ishii attempting to suplex Roddy back into the ring, but Strong is blocking it. He brings Ishii over the top and now they’re fighting for it on the apron, but Roddy goes behind and gets a backbreaker from the apron to the floor, dropping Ishii straight down! Awesome spot. Strong rolls him back in the ring at 12 and covers. 1,2, NO! Roddy picks Ishii up and goes for a fireman’s carry, but Ishii stops that with elbows. Strong fires back with chops, but he shoves Ishii and tells him to ‘come on’, and that activates Ishii’s secret powers, because he starts no-selling EVERYTHING that Roddy does, from chops to forearms to elbows. Finally, he just nails Strong with an elbow to send him to the mat in the corner. Corner clothesline and Ishii puts him on the top, delayed superplex by Ishii! That move is so cool. 1,2, NO! Big powerbomb by Ishii, he stacks Strong up but only gets two. Ishii runs the ropes and Strong gets a roaring elbow for no effect, but a jumping knee does knock Ishii down. Both guys down again. Strong back up and he puts Ishii on the top now, Ishii tries to fight him off, but Strong won’t be denied and he gets the superplex this time. Double-knee gutbuster follows that up, followed by the Sick Kick….for two! And that’s where I realized that Strong might actually be in real trouble this match. Roddy pulls down the knee pad and goes for the jumping knee, Ishii avoids the first one but a second attempt hits Ishii in the arm. Strong comes off the ropes, but Ishii kills him with a lariat. Another one gets two for Ishii as Strong is running out of tricks. Sliding Lariat misses Strong, Roddy with a jumping knee that gets blocked. Second one hits, then elbows, but Ishii is still on his feet. Another shot from Strong is blocked with a VICIOUS headbutt by Ishii. Ishii sets him up, sliding lariat hits! 1,2, NO! But Strong’s got nothing left and Ishii just calmly loads him up and hits the brainbuster. 1,2,3. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a NEW World TV Champion! (Tomohiro Ishii over Roderick Strong, pinfall, 16:18)

WORTH WATCHING? Okay, short answer: YES, this one’s worth a look. Ishii is a beast and I like watching him wrestle. Kyle Warne had this match right on, as Roddy ran like a chickenshit at every opportunity to keep putting himself over as the heel in the match. That story only went so far, though, and they sort of lost the thread of that story midway through the match and didn’t recover it. But that didn’t matter that much, as it was still two excellent wrestlers doing good, although not great, work. I had this at ***3/4 on my original watch, ***1/2 on my rewatch; I’d be comfortable with either of those ratings. I did not have it as a **** match, but it is worth a look.

Post-match, both guys are still down on the mat as Kevin Kelly bids us goodbye for the week!

FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: One good match, one fun match, and one garbage match. Not a bad batting average this week for ROH TV, but not the best either. A solid, decent show, much like most of the Honor Rising stuff was. And we’ll see more of that….next week!

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter