Ring of Honor – May 4th, 2016

Howdy!

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

Notable news from around the world of ROH this week:

–Global Wars is THIS Sunday! The card looks to pretty much be done, as this week we added:

ACH vs Adam Page vs Dalton Castle vs Roderick Strong (#1 Contender’s match for the TV title)

That match joins the following lineup:

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
Kyle O’Reilly vs IWGP Champion Tetsuya Naito (Non-Title)
Michael Elgin/Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada/Moose
The Motor City Machine Guns/Matt Sydal/KUSHIDA vs The Young Bucks/Guerillas of Destiny

As you might expect, I’m psyched up for this one. Your PPV preview will go LIVE on the Blog of Doom at some point either on Saturday or early Sunday, depending on how work treats me. Look for it!

–ROH COO Joe Koff was once again the media this week, saying two things of note; one, ROH probably doesn’t have the content for their own ‘network’ per se, and that he has no specific knowledge of any Sinclair plans to buy TNA. Basically kicking the can down the road there, Joe.

–NJPW had a PPV this past weekend, Wrestling Dontaku; during said PPV, they announced the lineup for the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, and it is loaded with ROH talent. From Block A, we’ve got Kyle O’Reilly, Matt Jackson, Matt Sydal, and Rocky Romero. Block B has Bobby Fish, Nick Jackson, and Trent Baretta. Basically the Bucks, reDRagon, Roppongi Vice, and Matt Sydal have all been put into the tourney. It should rule the earth. If ever you needed an incentive to order NJPWworld and you’re an ROH fan, the BOSJ should do it for you. The best match of last year, KUSHIDA/Kyle O’Reilly came from the finals of the 2015 version of this event and they’ll meet again this year in Block competition.

Alright, we’ve got a PPV to build for!

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

Ring of Honor TV – 5/4/2016

We’re on our 3rd and final(?) week of replays from the Honor Rising event in Japan. I’m making the assumption that this is going to be our last week on these shows, but we’ll have to see.

We are TAPED from Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan! Our hosts are Kevin Kelly and Mr. Steve the third. Tonight, our main event will see The Briscoes against The Bullet Club! But we’re getting started with the dulcet tones of Moose’s music! He makes his way to the ring as the fans are pumping the fist along with him for Moose’s Japan debut! Up next, Michael Elgin makes his way to the ring, followed by Tomoaki Honma, then Hiroshi Tanahashi. This is going to be an 8-man tag folks, and here comes the opponents; the Bullet Club! Tama Tonga, Cody Hall, Bad Luck Fale, & Yujiro Takahashi make their way to the ring, and let’s do this!

Moose, Michael Elgin, Tomoaki Honma & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs The Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Cody Hall, Bad Luck Fale, & Yujiro Takahashi)

Code of Honor? Please, it’s the Bullet Club. I’m not the biggest fan of this iteration of the Bullet Club, although I have an admitted soft spot for Takahashi. He’s got a weird charisma about him that I just like. The crowd chants for Moose to start. Tana looks to start, but he does the Moose chant along with the rest of the faces and tags Moose in instead. He’ll start with Fale. They both come off the ropes with shoulderblocks, nobody moves. Moose tries again, same result. Fale tries this time, same result. Fale fires forearms to get us going, but comes off the ropes and Moose hits him with a standing dropkick, which still impresses me every time I see it. Fale hits Moose with a knee and tags in Tama, while Moose tags in Honma. Tonga comes in with a running dropkick and we’ve got to take a break for these ads!

We’re back with Tonga missing an elbow drop on Honma, allowing the tag to Tanahashi. Double shoulderblock on Tama, and that brings everyone in the ring as it’s breaking loose in Tokyo. The faces clear the ring and pose while the Bullet Club regroups on the outside. Tonga comes back and Tanahashi is ready for him, firing shots until an Irish whip is reversed and Takahashi knees him from the apron and pulls him to the floor. He sends Hiroshi to the barricade a few times and grabs a chair, hitting Tana in the midsection and across the back with it. Everyone else is brawling as Hall gets a forearm to put down Honma while Yujiro chokes Tanahashi with the chair on the outside. Tonga is back in the ring and mocks the Moose arm gesture. Tana finally rolls back in at 16, and Fale comes in now. Fale steps on Hiroshi as there’s no one for Tana to tag. This match is much more boring than I remember it. Fale picks Hiroshi up into the air for more choking and tosses him into the BC corner. Tag to Hall, and he comes in with an elbow and shoulder to Hiroshi. He drapes Hiroshi’s arm across the top rope and kicks it. To say this match has a deliberate pace would probably be misusing the term ‘deliberate’. Also, it would be insulting said term. Hall hits Tana across the chest with a forearm and covers for two. Tonga back, and he’s firing forearms at Hiroshi; Tana reverses an Irish whip, but Tonga goes around the backdrop attempt and dropkicks him. Tag to Yujiro and Tana tries to fight back, but Takahashi goes to the eyes to put a stop to that. Big boot attempt is blocked by Hiroshi and Tana gets a dragon-screw legwhip to buy some time. Tag to Michael Elgin, and he comes in with a flying shoulderblock from the top rope to put Takahashi down. Corner clothesline by Elgin and he hits Taka with a German suplex. He looks for another one, but Tonga comes in to stop that. He gets gorilla pressed and dropped with one hand by Elgin for his troubles, and all that excitement cannot stand without another ad break!

We’re back with Elgin suplexing Takahashi, Cody comes in with a kick to stop it, but Elgin hangs on and keeps Yujiro in the air. Hall pulls Yujiro down by his feet and they attempt to double-suplex Elgin, but Elgin double-suplexes both of them instead! Nice spot. Deadlift German by Elgin on Takahashi gets two. Taka tries to put a stop to Elgin with a kick to the midsection, but Mike no-sells it and they trade go-behinds, with Elgin looking to German Yujiro again, so Yujiro grabs the ref; when he drops the ref he gets a low blow with the back kick on Elgin. Tags are made on both sides to Moose and Cody, and Moose gets punches on Cody. He winds up for the last one, but Cody ducks it and gets a Samoan drop. Moose pops right back up and hits Cody with a discus lariat. 1,2, no! Moose looks for the spear but Hall blocks it with an awkward knee lift. Moose goes over the top when Cody attempts a Razor’s Edge, but Hall is there with a discus lariat of his own. That looked even more awkward there, guys. The rest of the Bullet Club rushes the ring and takes the faces off the apron, and it’s quad-team time on Moose. Takahashi with a big boot in the corner on Moose, Fale with a big splash, Tonga with a running splash of his own, and now Cody Hall signals for the chokeslam; hits it! 1,2, NO! Hall tries for the Razor’s Edge again, but Honma comes back in with a running headbutt. He gets a Fisherman’s Buster from Yujiro for his troubles, who in turn eats a giant lariat from Elgin. Tonga back in, but Elgin catches him and puts him on his shoulders, followed by him picking up Taka and getting a fallaway slam/Samoan drop combo on both guys. Tanahashi knocks Fale to the floor with a dropkick, and Elgin follows that up by pressing Hiroshi onto all three guys on the outside. That leaves us with Moose and Hall. Moose splashes Hall in the corner, Hall reverses a cross-corner whip and goes to the top, coming off with a bodypress onto Hall. Spear from Moose! That’ll do it here. (Moose, Elgin, Honma, Tanahashi over Bullet Club, pinfall, 13:07)

WORTH WATCHING? My goodness, this match was one of the more boring 8-man tags I can remember seeing. Moose and Hall were both pretty exposed here, as this was the first time I’d seen the match since the original show and they both looked as green as they are. NO, you can skip this one and miss nothing. Moose has a lot of potential, but he’s got a long way to go; his transitions were awkward, he was moving slowly, and there were moments where he looked confused about what to do next. Not a great match. Quick look at my original shows that I had it at about **3/4, but I’d probably drop it down to **1/2 on rewatch.

Post-match, the faces celebrate as Moose gets most of the attention, with the crowd doing his hand gesture in unison. Up next, we’ll look at the results of Supercard of Honor weekend in Dallas! Hey, I was there! But right now, I’m here….watching these ads!

We’re back with Jay Lethal and Truth Martini on the streets of Japan, planning to get massages with those endings that are “kind of happy!” Jay checks his pocket change, but Truth tells him that he doesn’t have enough. Not to worry though, this one’s on Truth!

Let’s go back to Dallas and take a look at Supercard of Honor 10! We start by recapping the Top Prospect tournament, as we see Lio Rush winning the whole thing, as he should have. By winning the event, Rush should have received a TV title shot on Supercard weekend; but since the champ, Ishii, was already committed to NJPW that weekend, they upgraded Mr. Rush and he got a shot at Jay Lethal’s World title instead. We see the ending of that match here, as Lethal countered a top rope Rush Hour attempt into a cutter, followed by the Lethal Injection for the pinfall. After the match, Lethal says that there’s no one left for him to beat in the back….and COLT CABANA walks out! Between him and Kenny King coming back, I think we should just sit Delirious down in a room with the Israelis and the Palestinians, because he could have that whole thing knocked out by lunchtime. Colt gives a speech about his legacy, about what he wants to be known as; he loves who he is, he loves that he’s an independent wrestler! No one tells Colt what to do, and these people still want to chant his name! Lethal says that Colt hasn’t been in ROH for five years, and the reason for that is that Jay Lethal is the greatest, and that none of the locker room wants him there! Colt likes that he travels all over the world, and it’s not because of the money or the tv, he’s back because he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he didn’t wear the ROH title around his waist!

Let’s go to Night 2 of Supercard of Honor, where we see Lethal defeat the serious challenge posed by the one and only Cheeseburger! After the match, Colt made his way to the ring and challenged Lethal on the spot, winning by rolling him up on a Lethal Injection attempt. I should point out here that a lot of us that were there thought that Colt had actually won the TITLE, as it was never specifically announced as a non-title match. But that was enough to earn him a title shot this Sunday at Global Wars. And that’s the story of how we got our main event for Sunday! And here’s the story of some great products you’ll learn about in these ads!

We’re back with more wacky hijinks from Truth and Jay in Japan, as Jay seems a little concerned about this place Truth has led them to, but he really wants that massage. He opens the door….and Delirious walks out, looking, well, pretty happy! Truth notes this, and they head in.

Up next, the guys hit the NJPW store, where Lethal is offended that they have a banner for Okada but not one for him. Lethal says that he’s going to go in and break all of Okada’s merch, but Truth asks him to wait until he gets a pack of cigarettes from the machine.

Cut to Dalton Castle standing outside a store called “Peacock”. Okay, that’s funny.

Jay Briscoe asks a random Japanese guy about training.

Back to Dalton, who starts doing martial arts poses in front of the store.

Lethal and Truth are in the store now, and the brief glimpses are kind of awesome and I want to go there now. Lethal names off all the Japanese wrestlers he’s beaten by looking at their masks. Delirious is hanging out with his head propped up against the shelf, blending in.

Castle is still posing outside the store. Still funny.

Moose takes some photos with some passersby as we see some shots of Japan and the subway with Dalton.

Back to Truth and Jay, who recap the events so far. Truth attempts to light up, but Jay points out a no-smoking icon, to which Truth shrugs and says that he doesn’t read Japanese.

More shots of the ROH guys at what looks like Ribera.

And finally, we wind it up with Dalton Castle at a cat café. Somehow, that seems appropriate. And that’ll do it for ROH’s wacky adventures in Japan. Back to the action!

And we’re met with the music of the Bullet Club once again, this time for Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows! “I love this place.” sayeth Karl as he makes his way to the ring, making sure that he pointed out his hot asian wife on the way. This would be the second to last appearance in Japan for these two, as it turns out. “Reach for the sky, boy!” That can only mean one thing, and that’s the Briscoes, and dem boys are on the way to the ring. Kelly reminds us that this was taped in February, which accounts for the Briscoes still having the NEVER open six-man tag belts. They get into the ring and the Bullet Club attacks!

The Briscoes (Mark & Jay Briscoe) vs The Bullet Club (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows)

Bullet Club is all over the Briscoes to start this thing. Jay tosses Karl and follows him outside, leaving us with Doc and Mark in the ring. Mark takes a few shots but gets a knee to put Doc up against the ropes, and Jay comes flying back in with a cactus clothesline to take Doc to the outside. Mark takes that opportunity to dropkick Karl through the ropes and he follows that up with a blockbuster from the apron to the floor! And with that, we better take a break for some great ads!

We’re back with Gallows sending Jay to the barricade as all 4 guys are still on the floor. Mark tosses Karl back in and takes him to the corner with shots. Cross-corner whip by Mark, reversed by Karl, but Mark goes over the top and stops Anderson in his tracks with the crane style. He does a backflip when Karl catches the foot and a dropkick puts Karl down. Mark tosses him to the Briscoes’ corner and tags in Jay. Headbutt and a suplex by Jay for one, while Kevin Kelly tells us that next week, we’re going to get a preview for the big event right here on ROH TV!

And now, I’m going to go off on a rant for a moment. Yes, ROH TV is in syndication all over the country on Sinclair…..at different times on different stations. One of the reasons that I wait to do these recaps is to wait until the show airs on Comet. You know, that station that is in 150 million homes and gives them a chance to actually be seen on a more consistent basis. Now, I understand that a lot of people don’t even know that they get Comet, but why in the name of holy HELL would you put a PPV preview on when it’s going to air after the damned event on one of the biggest ways that your product can be seen? Why not emphasize that you have this avenue for most of the country to watch your show by making it your focal point? I love this company, I truly do, but if they really put on a PPV preview next Wednesday on Comet 3 days after the PPV in question actually airs, I’m gonna lose my mind.

I hope that doesn’t happen. There’s so little left to lose.

Anyway, back to the match. Tag back to Mark, and he gets a side Russian legsweep on Karl for one. Mark fire forearms, but he attempts to come off the ropes and gets caught by Gallows and pulled to the outside as Anderson elbows Jay off the apron. Big boot by Gallows with Mark prone on the apron and Karl follows that up with a legdrop on the apron. Jay comes over to try to help, but that results in both Briscoes being sent to the barricade. Gallows sends Mark further down the entranceway and hits him with a chair. Jay takes a couple of shots from Gallows as well, and we start the count. Mark makes it back in at 11, and he’s promptly sent to the Bullet Club corner by Anderson. Karl rips away at the eyes of Mark and tags in Doc. He comes in and rains down punches to keep Mark in the corner, then runs across the ring to take a shot at Jay on the apron. Mark tries to fight up, but a headbutt puts him back down. Gallows comes off the ropes with an elbow and covers for two. Doc slaps on a chinlock and this match will continue….after these ads!

We’re back with Mark trying to fight out of the corner with an enzugiri on Gallows, then a necksnap on Anderson. Mark charges Doc and flips over the top of him, landing on his feet and tagging in Jay. Jay comes in and ducks a Gallows clothesline, hitting Anderson with a big boot. Jay tees off on Doc, running forearms and a big kick putting Gallows down. Death Valley Driver by Jay on Gallows. 1,2, no! Jay with a headbutt, but his Irish whip is reversed by Doc who catches him coming off with a superkick. Gallows tags in Karl, who elbows Mark off the apron and gets a jumping kick to Jay in the corner, which is followed by a Gallows splash in the corner. Suplex/Neckbreaker combo gets two for Anderson, but Mark is there to make the save. Gallows tosses Mark back out, and Anderson gets the fireman’s carry into a cutter on Jay. 1,2, no! Magic Killer attempt is broken up by Mark; Doc charges him but Mark pulls down the top rope and Gallows goes flying. Gun Stun attempt by Anderson on Jay is shrugged off, second attempt is also blocked and Briscoe goes for the Jaydriller. Gallows is back in to break that up, but he turns around into a springboard dropkick from Mark that we’ll generously say ‘grazed’ him. Back to Jay and Karl, and they exchange reversals until Jay gets a lariat to put Anderson on the mat. Machine gun neckbreaker by Jay is followed by a Mark froggybow, and that’ll actually be enough to get the pinfall. (The Briscoes over Anderson/Gallows, pinfall, 8:16)

WORTH WATCHING? Call me crazy, but I enjoyed the truncated version of this match more than the longer version. I’ll give this one a YES, worth watching, and I’d probably slightly bump my rating for the match from **1/2 to ***. I enjoyed this one more the second time out.

Post-match, the Briscoes pose as Kelly tells us that the wrestlers of ROH very much enjoyed Japan, so let’s take a quick look back!

He tosses us to a video package showing the fans lining up to get in the show, showing the autograph sections, etc. And that’ll do it for this week on ROH TV.

FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: I have several. First off, see my rant above about the order in which these shows air. Second off, I don’t understand the match order at all from the last few weeks. Why end the whole thing with a relatively pedestrian tag match, especially considering that you’re probably not going to see Gallows or Anderson again in an ROH ring anytime soon? Why not end it on the six-man tag from last week, or better yet, the Lethal/Naito vs Okada/Hashi tag from the first week? For a lot of your customers, this is the last show they’re going to see before Global Wars; why not end it with guys that are going to be at the PPV? Third, why are we showing the funny video packages from Japan on the week of the go-home show? Why not use that time for interviews and video packages that highlight the event you’re trying to get people to buy this Sunday, especially since none of this is new content and it might behoove you to produce some before a big show?

I dunno, man. This show just sort of bugged me, because it didn’t feel as though the PPV occupied the type of urgency that PPVs need to occupy, especially for a company that needs revenue from those shows. I would have liked to have seen more emphasis on that part of the product, as opposed to just kind of mentioning it in passing like they seemingly did.

I mean, Dalton Castle at a cat café is adorable and all, but let’s have a little perspective.

As always, thanks for reading this thing that I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter