Ring of Honor – June 1st, 2016


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

So, last week, I did intend to recap the show. I knew that it was a ‘Best-of’ show featuring the Bullet Club, but I still intended to check it out. But I missed the syndicated airing over the weekend, then the show didn’t record for whatever reason on Comet. I figured that this wasn’t a problem, I could just catch it on the ROH website the next day….but it didn’t get put up until late Sunday night/early Monday morning. And at that point, it didn’t seem like it was worth recapping what amounted to a clip show, so sorry for that.

As for what that says about ROH’s commitment to getting their shows up on the website the day after it airs on Comet….no comment.

Notable news from around the world of ROH:

–We’re 3 weeks away from Best in the World, and we’ve got some matches announced as the card gets fleshed out. So far, we’re looking at the following:

Jay Lethal vs Jay Briscoe – ROH World Championship
Bobby Fish vs Dalton Castle – ROH World Television Championship
The Addiction vs The Motor City Machine Guns – ROH World Tag Team Championship
Mark Briscoe & Kyle O’Reilly vs The Young Bucks (depending on the Bucks’ injury status)
BJ Whitmer vs Steve Corino – Fight Without Honor
Donovan Dijak (w/ Prince Nana) vs Lio Rush
Adam Cole vs Roderick Strong vs Colt Cabana – #1 Contender’s match for the ROH World Championship

Decent card to say the least, especially if Lethal and Briscoe match their magic from last year. The #1 Contender’s 3-way also has potential to be a show-stealer. We’ll see if any more matches get added over the next few weeks.

–The Young Bucks have stated that their expected recovery time is 4-6 weeks from their broken hand and broken ribs, respectively. With that time frame, their status for Best in the World should probably be considered ‘hopeful’ at this point; the PPV would be taking place just outside the 4 week window that they’ve given themselves. Not sure where they’re at in their rehab, and I’d expect they will indeed wrestle, but they also did take themselves out of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament to heal, so we’ll see.

So, there was a wrestling match that happened this week in Japan that made everyone happy/angry/joyful/sad/aroused/flaccid/whatever. Now, I’ve certainly gone on record that I’m a grumpy old man who is not really a fan of the ‘no-sell flip flop’ style that some wrestlers (BUCKS) tend to work in. That having been said, this was a superb match because of the story that it told and how they worked that story into the match. The ‘flippy’ stuff gave way to them just leveling each other with forearms while selling the accumulated damage of the match as they went along, finally culminating in big moves done out of adrenaline-fueled moments that ended with Ospreay getting the pin after one such move. That is the definition of storytelling in wrestling, no matter what Vader thinks.

For a more astute analysis, I point you to Ioan Morris’ usual stellar review right here on this very blog: https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/05/27/njpw-best-of-the-super-juniors-day-6/#more-21915

Enough pontificating! Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

Ring of Honor TV – 6/1/16

After SIX weeks of shows that had no new action (3 weeks of Honor Rising recaps, PPV preview, Best of Jay Lethal, Best of the Bullet Club) we’re finally back to getting some new Ring of Honor this week, as we hit the fallout from Global Wars! Speaking of that….

We open with a recap of the ending of Global Wars, with the Bullet Club attack and subsequent reveal of Adam Cole being the newest Bullet Club member, followed by the ringside beatdown of everyone and the Club mugging for the camera as the PPV went off the air. Once again, I must point out that the whole thing makes Adam Cole look like the biggest star in the company by a mile. We get the video intro and go to the show proper.

We are TAPED from the Ted Reeve Arena in Toronto, Ontario Canada! Your hosts are Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness. Tonight, our main event is a 6-man tag with the Bullet Club Elite (Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks) taking on Michael Elgin, Yoshi Tatsu, & Hiroshi Tanahashi! We’ll also see footage from Michigan, where the Bullet Club committed shenanigans! Lots of shenanigans!

But first, I hear the music of the 2016 Top Prospect winner, Lio Rush! And because they know that Rick needed himself a living room dance party, his opponent is the one and only ACH! Me thinks there’ll be some high-flying in this one!

Lio Rush vs ACH

Let’s take you to Michigan, where ACH tells Matt Sydal that he appreciates everything that Sydal has done for him, but it’s time for ACH to do things on his own, so he’s ending their partnership. They shake hands, hug, and go their separate ways, Sydal to Japan for what is amounting to a HELL of a run in the BOSJ tournament. Aw, that was a nice tag team breakup!

Code of Honor is followed. Before the match begins, we’ve been joined by Silas Young on commentary! They trade side headlocks to start, shoulderblock from Rush doesn’t move ACH. Rush sweeps ACH’s leg out from under, they run the ropes, and ACH cartwheels into the dropkick as Silas is complaining about ACH playing video games in the back. Rush charges ACH in the corner and eats a boot. Rush does a Matrix dodge on an ACH clothesline and gets a second rope springboard ‘rana, followed by a kick to the midsection and an enzugiri. That sends ACH to the floor, and Rush follows him out with a plancha. He tosses ACH back in and springs in over him, taking him down with a cradle and a kick. Rush off the ropes, he flips around ACH and gets a DDT for two. Cross-corner whip by Rush, ACH does his slide to stop and catches Rush coming in with a kick, followed by a forearm and a lariat that turns Rush inside-out. Young is Vadering it up on commentary, tearing down Rush for his flips and for trying to impress the fans. I mean, I know that this show was taped awhile ago, but they backed into something pretty timely this week. They trade gutwrenches and ACH sends Rush off the ropes and gets a snap German for two. Meanwhile, Kelly just casually drops the news on commentary that Briscoe and Lethal will face off again, what he calls ‘the biggest rematch in ROH history’. ACH looks for Get Over Here, but Rush counters it with strikes and a kick to the head for two. Lio goes for Rush Hour, but ACH blocks it and gets a superkick. Brainbuster from ACH, and the Midnight Star is going to finish for him here. (ACH over Lio Rush, pinfall, 4:02)

WORTH WATCHING? They had basically no time here to build anything or tell any kind of story, so they just hit moves on each other. NO, this one is a skip, which is sad because I’m a fan of both guys. But the match was pretty much nothing, and they couldn’t do much with barely over 4 minutes. I’ve seen worse, but that isn’t a ringing endorsement.

Post-match, Silas comes into the ring and puts the badmouth on Lio, which causes ACH to take umbrage. Young goes to leave the ring peacefully while ACH goes to check on Rush; once ACH’s back is turned, of course, Silas hits the ring and delivers the beatdown to him. Rush gets tossed and Young gets Misery on ACH. But here’s something not full of Misery; some great ads!

We’re back with footage from Michigan, where The Addiction regained the World Tag Team titles from War Machine after Kazarian hit Rowe with his belt of bullets and Daniels fell on top of him for the pin.

“Worship us!” And here come the brand new World Tag Team Champions….of the World! Kelly tells us that War Machine lost the straps after 3 title defenses in 24 hours; I know they’re going for the ‘fighting champions’ motif, but what a couple of dumbasses. Kaz and Daniels run down Toronto for awhile, proclaiming themselves undefeated in Ring of Honor (which draws a hilarious look to the camera from Kevin Kelly), and out comes the Motor City Machine Guns. Sabin: “Wow! Wow, huh? Motor City in the house!” He calls the Addiction a couple of sad, middle-aged douchebags; well, if the shoe fits. He reminds them that the last few times the Guns and the Addiction have been in the same ring together, the Guns have come out on top. So if it’s okay with Toronto, why not have a title match right here tonight? Crowd voices approval of this idea. But wait; that’s the music of Roppongi Vice! Romero and Baretta are on their way to the ring; Romero: “Hold up just a second. There’s no way you think you’re going to have a party in Toronto without Roppongi Vice!” Baretta says that this is the part where they say that they deserve title shots too, unless the Addiction is scared! But they have good reason to be scared; after all, Vice is the hot new team, while the Addiction is just getting, well, old. Christopher Daniels has had it! He’s had it with the disrespect. So right NOW, let’s do this! All 3 teams, and if any of them can beat the Addiction, they’ll get a title shot at Best in the World! Well, that sets us up nicely, I will say! And here’s another thing I say – it’s time for some great ads!

We’re back! The bell rings and this one is underway!

The Addiction vs The Motor City Machine Guns vs Roppongi Vice

Sabin and Rocky look to start us off. They trade wristlocks, then they trade armdrags. Standoff, but the Addiction attacks from behind and takes out everyone. They toss Sabin into their corner and Kaz makes a legal ‘tag’ to him, so now it’s Kaz and Romero. Rocky reverses a corner whip into the Forever clotheslines, Kaz ducks one of them, but Rocky turns around and clotheslines both members of the Addiction. Snapmare on Kaz and there’s a tag to Baretta, who runs the apron and teases jumping in on Frankie before just coming in and raking his eyes with his boot, drawing massive cheers from the crowd. Kevin starts talking again about how ‘heroic’ War Machine was in putting up the belts for the 3rd time in 24 hours, and I just sigh; look, heroic and stupid are NOT synonyms, no matter how you want to put it. I mean, seriously. Kaz reverses an Irish whip and Shelley tags himself into the match off Baretta; Kaz charges but eats a back elbow from Shelley. Daniels comes in, as does Sabin, and it’s a Motor City beatdown. Nigel is at least talking some sense on the commentary, saying that it was a mistake for War Machine to put the belts up; no s---. The Guns keep pounding away on Kaz, splashing him in the corner and catching him coming off the top with double kicks, followed by a front and back with Kaz on his knees. Shelley trips Frankie up coming off the ropes and ends up on the apron, where he sends Daniels to the floor. He flips back in over a bent-over Kazarian, but Daniels catches him coming off the ropes, which allows Kaz to get a swinging neckbreaker. Ground and pound on Shelley as Kaz spits at Baretta on the apron; Trent comes in, distracting the ref and allowing Kaz to switch off with Daniels. Stomps by Chris, tag back to Frankie as they’ve cut the ring in half on Alex here. Frankie chokes away as Kelly shills the Michigan event being available on demand; man, they’re doing a hell of a job promoting that show that happened weeks ago! Kaz runs Shelley into Daniels’ boot, and here comes the Fallen Angel. Double team from the Addiction, including an inverted atomic drop, followed by a facebuster onto Daniels’ knee, and Chris finishes with an STO. 1,2 Sabin with the save! Daniels stomps a mudhole in Alex in the corner and chokes him with the boot. Daniels applies a chinlock, and we’re going to apply ourselves into learning about goods and services from these fine ads!

We’re back as Shelley fights out with elbows to Chris, but Daniels gets a leg lariat to put him back down, and Shelley ends up back in the Addiction corner. Tag and now both members are in, but Daniels eats boots from Shelley on a charge and Kazarian gets sidestepped and he splashes the buckles. Alex rolls up Daniels, but Chris kicks out, sending Alex into the midsection of Kazarian with a shoulder. Daniels charges, Alex gets a drop-toehold to send Daniels face first into Kaz’s junk. Hot tag to Chris Sabin! He comes in and takes out both member of Roppongi on the apron, then gets an enzuigiri on Daniels. He monkeyflips Kaz out of the corner onto Daniels, but Vice are back in to attack. Sabin ducks a double clothesline and gets one of his own, putting Roppongi down. Shelley jumps on the second rope and Sabin goes through his legs, hitting a tope onto both Addiction members on the floor. Sabin tosses Daniels back in, but gets jaw-jacked by Daniels and stumbles into the Roppongi corner, allowing Baretta to tag himself in. He gets a huge German suplex on Kaz as soon as he hits the ring, then a big elbow on Daniels in the corner. He hangs Daniels on the top rope and Rocky comes off with a dropkick followed by a Baretta Shining Wizard. 1,2, Shelley in to make the save. Vice tosses Shelley and Daniels tries to fight out, but he eats a double knee coming off the ropes. Strong Zero attempt is broken up by Kaz, so Rocky comes in and puts him down with a kick to the face. Uranage by Daniels on Romero and he hits the Best Moonsault Ever, but the Guns are lying in wait. Inverted atomic drop on Daniels, followed by a drop toehold into the chinlock dropkick by the Guns. Double kicks to the head of Daniels in the corner, and Skull and Bones hits to give the Guns the win and the title shot. (Motor City Machine Guns over Roppongi Vice & The Addiction, pinfall, 10:02)

WORTH WATCHING? I liked it, so I’ll go with a mild YES, you should check it out. It has some slow spots and there are a few problems here and there, but I generally like all of these teams and everyone got time to get in there (although with the extended heat segment on Alex, Roppongi didn’t get to show off too much here), and it was a very decent, if not great, triple threat match.

Post-match the Machine Guns celebrate while Kelly tells us that up next, we’re going to get a special announcement about Best in the World, followed by more footage of the Bullet Club getting even stronger. But for now, these ads!

We’re back and the announcers have been joined by one Matt Taven at ringside. But first, Nigel has made another match for Best in the World; since BJ Whitmer posted footage of Steve Corino’s wife and son on Youtube, he’s gone too far. Yeah! Youtube is truly the line, and BJ has CROSSED IT, MOTHERFUCKERS! Anyway, Nigel tells us that at Best in the World, it’s going to be BJ Whitmer vs Steve Corino in a Fight Without Honor!

Hey, that’s all well and good, but we also need to see what the Bullet Club was up to in Dearborn, Michigan, which was apparently the center of the ROH universe a few weeks ago. We see Adam Page volunteering to join up with team ROH against the Bullet Club, then we later see that he hasn’t shown up as the BC intimate that Page may have gotten an invite to an early superkick party. No worries though, as Colt Cabana runs out to take his place. We see highlights from the match and we see the Bullet Club surrounding Jay Briscoe until Adam Page storms out from the back with a chair, causing the Club to scatter to the floor; now, if you’ve ever watched wrestling before ever, you’ll know what’s coming. Jay Briscoe apparently doesn’t watch wrestling, because he gives Page the handshake and turns his back on him, and Page lowblows him, because Adam Page is Bullet Club! Well, that should shake the very foundations of this company for sure. Page gets Briscoe up, Rite of Passage onto a ringside table that doesn’t break! F------ OUCH. The faces all get zip-tied to the ropes and posts, and Page gets a hangman’s noose and hangs Chris Sabin over the top rope with it as the Bullet Club stands tall.

“Bullet Club!” That’s the music of those dastardly fiends! I’m sure that the fans will….never mind, they gave them a monster pop instead. Not really sure that the Bullet Club being a top heel stable is going to work at this point unless they try something different. The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega make their way to the ring. And here comes their opponents as the music of Hiroshi Tanahashi hits! Yoshi-Tatsu, Michael Elgin, & Tanahashi make their way to the ring! Up next, it’s our main event of the evening; but how about these main event ads? Let’s check them out!

We’re back!

The Bullet Club Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson) vs Michael Elgin, Yoshi-Tatsu, & Hiroshi Tanahashi

Call for the Code of Honor is met with a synchronized ‘Suck it’ from the Elite and they attack, but they get sent to the floor in relatively short order by the faces. Tatsu does a crossbody over the top rope onto Omega while Elgin presses Hiroshi into the Bucks on the floor. Big Mike runs the ropes and somersaults over the top onto everyone while Taven is actually being pretty fun on commentary, asking how you know if you’re an elite member of the Bullet Club? Elgin tosses Matt Jackson back in and holds him up for the delayed suplex; Nick comes in and kicks at Elgin to break it up, but Big Mike hangs on. Nick finally grabs his brother’s legs and pulls him down, but Elgin just suplexes them both! Omega comes in with a crossbody that Mike catches, Kenny wiggles out but eats a STIFF elbow from Elgin. Mike goes for a lariat, but Omega ducks and gets his nasty snap dragon suplex. Yoshi is back on the apron, so the Bucks come in and dropkick him back to the floor. Tanahashi in now and he makes a go of it, but there’s three of them and one of him. Double whip to the corner, but Hiroshi dodges Nick Jackson, then Omega, then dropkicks the knee of Matt Jackson! Dragon-screw legwhip on Omega by Tanahashi! Taven: “Do you think they share the merchandising money from the Elite with the rest of the Bullet Club?” Ooh, I’m not sure that’s okay to say, Matthew. Tana looks for the cloverleaf, but a double superkick by the Bucks put him to the floor. Terminator claps by the crowd and Omega rises, stereo topes by the Bullet Club onto all three members of the other team on the floor! The Jacksons stop to pose for the crowd; now, look. This isn’t a Young Bucks rant, it’s more about the Bullet Club in general. Why do you treat them like heels yet continually have them do crowd-pleasing spots and play to said crowd at every opportunity? I mean, seriously, they’re NEVER going to get over as heels, especially with the way they wrestle. Anyhoo, Omega tosses Tanahashi back in and they get a triple kick to the head with the Bucks on the apron and Omega charging him in the corner. Forward roll into the moonsault gets two for Kenny. Omega runs Hiroshi into the feet of the Bucks in the corner and tags in Matt. He does a tumbling routine in the ring with cartwheels and flips, finishing by scratching the back of Tanahashi in the corner while the crowd goes WILD. Sigh. Maybe Vader had a point after all. They actually get a two-count off that as the mugging for the crowd continues, and Matt slaps on a chinlock. Tana tries to fight out as we’re out….for these ads!

We’re back with Tanahashi getting backscratches of his own on Matt, then Omega, then Nick. The crowd thinks this is awesome. You’re objectively wrong, crowd. Go drunk, you’re home. Hot tag to Big Mike, and he comes in with clotheslines to Matt in the corner. German suplex on Matt and he keeps the hold on. Nick tries to stop it, so Elgin just suplexes both at the same time, which was admittedly damned impressive. Elgin looks to go over the top rope, but Kenny stops that; Elgin slingshots him into the ring and catches him with a powerslam in a damned smooth motion. Elgin goes the corner and gets on the second rope, grabbing Matt on the apron; deadlift Falcon Arrow from outside the ring to the inside! Awesome. 1,2, Omega springs in with a dropkick to make the save! Tana back in and Elgin looks to drop him on top of Matt, but Nick breaks that up with a superkick on Elgin. Superkick to Tatsu! Tanahashi is upside-down in position for the Meltzer Driver, but Elgin catches him mid flip and tosses him in a powerbomb on top of Omega on the outside, and I’m pretty sure that that’s where his ribs got broken. Back in, Elgin turns Matt inside-out with a lariat and tags in Tatsu. They triple-team Matt in the corner, with Elgin whipping first Tatsu, then Hiroshi at him, followed by Elgin hitting a splash of his own and Tatsu getting a knee to the face of Matt. 1,2, Omega makes the save again, and now all six guys are back in the ring. Tatsu looks for the pedigree, but Matt Jackson somehow got his hands on the cold spray and sprays Yoshi in the face with it. Meanwhile, Tana and Elgin both get pulled to the floor and sent to the barricade while Taven gets the line of the night: “How many fat dorks do you think are in their mom’s basement spraying hairspray in the air thinking they’re cool?” BWAHAHAHA. Triple superkick on Tatsu gets….two. Oh, come on. The Bucks cut off Elgin and Tanahashi, and Omega finishes with the One-Winged Angel. 1,2,3. (The Bullet Club Elite over Michael Elgin, Hiroshi Tanahashi, & Yoshi-Tatsu, pinfall, 9:04)

WORTH WATCHING? This was pretty mediocre stuff. I don’t know if I’ve been spoiled by New Japan or the ROH PPVs, but this is nowhere near the level of work these guys can and have hit before. I’m saying NO, you can find better matches in this exact combination. Go seek one of those out.

Post-match, the Bullet Club celebrates with the Guerillas of Destiny & Adam Page (although Taven points out that Adam Cole doesn’t come out, probably because he’s there), as we’re told that next week, it’ll be Jay Lethal vs Donovan Dijak. Oh, boy.

FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Hey, you know that there’s a PPV in a few weeks, right? Guess how many guys in the main event of this week’s show are currently booked for that PPV?

TWO. (And they may still be too injured to work it, who knows?)

Yes, with only a few episodes to build up to asking for your money, ROH once again handed over the main event to NJPW essentially, showcasing 4 guys that are not booked for said PPV and two other guys who work both feds. And, as Kevin Kelly says, we’re going to see the stars of ROH and NJPW wrestle each other over the next few weeks, so expect more of the same!
Look, I’m not asking for much, am I? You’ve got less than 4 hours of TV time to build a 7 match PPV. Shouldn’t pretty much ALL that time be spent on the PPV? Shouldn’t the main events of the TV show at LEAST be spent on building that PPV?

The wrestling this week was fine, if mediocre. The main was like a light version of what these guys can actually do, and it suffered in that comparison. They moved the chains a little bit regarding the tag title match, so there is that to look forward to. But when you’re talking about the ‘biggest rematch in ROH history!’ and none of the competitors are there to promote it, it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it’s the biggest rematch in ROH history. And yes, they have a few more weeks of TV time to do that, but even just a brief Briscoe promo or SOMETHING would have been nice. Replay Briscoe challenging Jay instead of just having Kelly causally drop it as info in the opening match of the week. But this was the first new episode of ROH in a month and a half – where was Dalton Castle? Where was Jay Briscoe? These are the guys challenging for belts, they should be out there.

I was less than impressed with this week’s episode, and that’s rare for me to say. But they didn’t blow my doors off by any stretch of the imagination.

Thanks for reading this thing that I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter