Ring of Honor – July 20th, 2016

Howdy!

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

Notable news from around the world of ROH this week:

–Cody Rhodes is coming to Ring of Honor! Today, it was announced that Rhodes will make his ROH debut at Final Battle 2016, with no named opponent yet. This is not an indication that he has signed with the company, but there have been some discussions. More to come, I’m sure.

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

Ring of Honor TV – July 20th, 2016

We are TAPED from the Cabarrus Center in Concord, North Carolina! Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness. Your main event tonight is Dalton Castle against Roderick Strong! This is also Strong’s last night in Ring of Honor, a fact not touched on by the announce team. We’ll also hear from BJ Whitmer and Kevin Sullivan! Yay? But first up, it’s the music of one Kamaitachi, who’s being accompanied to the ring by Christopher Daniels and is announced as representing the Addiction! Highlights from Best in the World play as we see Kamaitachi drag Jay White over the barricade and help the Addiction retain the tag titles against the Machine Guns. And here comes Jay White, accompanied by no one! This is his Ring of Honor debut, so let’s see how it goes!

Jay White vs Kamaitachi

Jay extends his hand for the Code of Honor, but Kama throws his (admittedly bitching) coat into Jay’s face and attacks! I suppose that counts as declining the Code of Honor, then.

Kama lays in with stomps to Jay against the ropes. Jay tries to fight back, but Kama stomps that mudhole dry in the corner and chokes away with his boot. Jay comes back with forearms, but Kama catches him with a back elbow off the ropes to stop that. White returns the favor with a jumping forearm and he tosses Kama. White goes after him on the outside, but Kama slides back in the ring and shoulders him off the apron to the floor. Kama runs off the apron, dropkick to White on the outside! He tosses Jay to the barricade, then into some chairs. He tries another, but White reverses and this time Kama eats the barricade. White tries a running knee, but Kama moves and Jay knees the barricade. Kama with stomps to the knee now. Kama rolls back in, and Daniels takes the chance to clothesline White on the outside. Jay rolls back in and Kama keeps on the knee, dragging him to the corner and wrapping the knee around the post. And we need to wrap up for a moment to check out these fine ads!

We’re back with Kama catching a kick attempt from White and turning it into a Dragon-Screw legwhip. Kama puts on a Figure-Four variation, but White makes the ropes. Kama goes for the leg again, but White slaps him to stop that, and hits a DDT to buy some time. White does a decent sell job, trying to get some feeling back in the leg, and he gets a forearm and they run the ropes, with Jay flattening Kama with a back elbow. White with a running European uppercut in the corner, then a running suplex. He looks to kip up, but thinks better of it with his knee hurt. Nice touch there. Jay goes up, missile dropkick! 1,2, no! Jay looks for a Uranage, but Kama elbows out. Another try and White turns it into a rollup for two. Kelly tells us that we have news about next week’s ROH title match, and while I’m actually enjoying this match quite a bit, let’s hear that! Nigel says that next week, they’re going to give O’Reilly/Lethal the entire hour! Woohoo! Oh yeah, there’s a match going on right now. Kama catches White with a kick to the head to put him down, then hits a Falcon Arrow. He goes up, double kneedrop from the top! 1,2, NO! They trade elbows as they counter each other’s moves, Kama runs the ropes right into a dropkick from White! Uranage by White! 1,2,NO! Kama goes to the apron and White suplexes him back in, but he gets tripped by Daniels and Kama falls on top for two. Jay has had enough and grabs Daniels, pulling him up to the apron as Kama charges, Jay moves and Kama hits Chris! Rollup by Jay, Kama rolls through and Jay hoists him up, Kiwi Crusher (Fisherman’s Driver) is good for the 1,2,3. (Jay White over Kamaitachi, pinfall, 8:50)

WORTH WATCHING? I dug the match quite a bit. YES, check this one out, as it was good debut for White. He sold well and looked good, with Kama getting some good old-fashioned North American cheating in there as well. Fun match.

Post-match, Kazarian hits the ring with Daniels, and they proceed to dish out a beating to young Mr. White. The Machine Guns make the save, and Sabin has a mic! “I am sick of the two of you sticking your stupid noses where they don’t belong!” He tells Kamaitachi that these two guys are nothing but a ‘bad influence!’ Oh, Chris Sabin. I see what you did there, you lovable scamp. Anyway, Sabin says that since there’s six of them out there, why not have a six-man tag right now? Well, I would assume that Jay White may want to have a say in this after he just wrestled, but he seems up for it! Nigel asks Concord if they want to see a six-man tag, and they seem enthused about the prospect! Funny little bit here as Daniels throws his shirt from off-screen and it hits Bobby Cruise in the face. Well, I suppose that with Nigel channeling his inner Teddy Long, we’re going to have a six-man tag match! And that will happen after these great ads!

We’re back and the match has already begun!

The Addiction (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, & Kamaitachi) vs Jay White & The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley)

The Addiction are teeing off on poor Chris Sabin as we return, forcing him to his knees and following with a Daniels clothesline to the back of the head and a double stomp from Frankie, with Daniels covering for two. Off the ropes, tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Daniels, and he goes to a chinlock with the knee squarely on the back of Chris. Sabin makes the ropes, and there’s a tag to Kama, who comes in with some stomps. Off the ropes and Kama nails Sabin with a back elbow, following that with a seated dropkick. That gets two. Kama runs Sabin into the feet of Frankie and tags Kaz into the match. Apparently White and Alex were taken out early in the match and are just now getting back to the apron as Frankie hits a running Side Russian legsweep for two on Sabin. Sabin tries to fight out, but Frankie sends him to the heel corner and tags in Daniels, as they have the ring completely cut in half on Sabin. Sabin tries to fight out again, but gets double-teamed as the Addiction hit the powerbomb/neckbreaker combo for two, forcing Shelley to save it. And now everyone is in as Kama takes out White and the Addiction double-team Shelley with a Daniels Flatliner leading to a Kazarian spinning legdrop. Daniels tosses Sabin back into the heel corner and there’s some quality cheatin’ from Kaz and Kama while Daniels distracts the ref. Sabin fights out of the corner with a Tornado DDT attempt on Daniels, trying to use Kaz and Kama to spring off of; he doesn’t quite hit it, but manages to DDT Daniels anyway. Sabin dives for the tag, makes the tag to White! White comes in and hits everyone with forearms, including Frankie and Kama in the corner! He knocks Daniels down with an elbow and hits a running European uppercut in the corner. White goes up, missile dropkick on Daniels! 1,2, NO! Suplex into a powerslam by White, 1,2, Kaz and Kama make the save. And it’s breaking loose in Concord, with everyone in now. The Guns tee off on Kama with kicks, then Daniels with the inverted atomic drop into the knee dropkick into the chinlock dropkick. They springboard over the top rope onto Kaz and Kama on the outside, and we’re left with Daniels and Jay in the ring. Jay charges him in the corner but eats a boot, and Daniels follows that with an STO. White hiptosses out of a Daniels backbreaker attempt, then catches Daniels with a dropkick off an Irish whip. White gets him up, Kiwi Crusher! 1,2,3! (The Motor City Machine Guns & Jay White over the Addiction, pinfall, 5:37 aired)

WORTH WATCHING? Now this was awesome, as they did everything they could in those matches to make Jay White look like a star. Lumping it in with the previous match, I’m going with another YES, since they were basically two halves of a whole. White looked great out there; I had only ever seen him wrestle David Finlay in the Young Lions matches in NJPW. He was excellent here.

Post-match, White gets his hands raised by the Guns as Kevin tells us that up next we’ll see the debut of Shane Taylor and Keith Lee! And we’ll be hearing from Whitmer and Sullivan!

Let’s go to the Bullet Club! Adam Cole and the Bucks are standing by! Cole has something to say. “Of all the matches, all the matches that Nigel decided to go with, he goes with Kyle O’Reilly versus Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship?” Is Nigel trying to piss him off at this point? Lethal has been ducking Cole because he knows that Cole is going to take the ROH World Title from him, and how many times does Cole have to prove that he’s better than Kyle O’Reilly? That he’s in another league! You know what’s funny – people think that the Bullet Club is going to get involved in this matchup! Well, they didn’t get involved at Best in the World, and they told you they wouldn’t! And Adam Cole made a promise, and that was that Kyle O’Reilly will NEVER be ROH World Champion, and that’s a promise that he intends to keep!

Okay, so I don’t want to get too excited here, but they’re laying some great, great groundwork for Cole to take the strap from Lethal and then finally drop it to Kyle; after all, nowhere in that promo did they promise not to interfere next week when Lethal and Kyle face off. I have to admit that my spider-senses are tingling about that. Also, my ad senses are tingling, so let’s watch some!

We’re back with the music of Shane Taylor and Keith Lee! I saw these guys wrestle the preliminary match on Night 2 of Supercard of Honor in Dallas this year, and they’re pretty agile big men. Let’s see what they’ve got! We see footage from a Columbus show with War Machine looking like they were going to get the tag titles back from the Addiction, until these boys hit the ring and destroy War Machine with powerbombs and the like.

Shane Taylor & Keith Lee vs Victor Andrews & James Anthony

Oh, these poor bastards might as well have just been called Victim 1 and Victim 2. Code of Honor is mostly followed, but Taylor holds onto Anthony’s hand; he finally does let go and just levels him with a right, which James sells like he’s been killed. Andrews comes in and gets leveled with a lariat by Taylor, who tosses Victor to the corner and tags in Lee. James is showing some signs of life, so Lee puts a stop to that by bowling him over with a shoulder, sending him to the floor. Lee with some overhand chops to Andrews in the corner; crowd wants one more time, but Lee says no and hits him in the throat instead. Tag to Taylor, and they hit consecutive running splashes on Victor in the corner to turn him to jelly. Double splash in the middle of the ring and Taylor goes up. Sitout powerbomb by Lee, second rope splash by Taylor to end the slaughter. (Shane Taylor & Keith Lee over Victor Andrews & James Anthony, pinfall, 1:33)

WORTH WATCHING? Total squash here. NO.

Post-match, War Machine hits the ring for the big brawl, Everyone ends up on the floor except for Lee, who does an INSANE flipping dive over the top rope, clearing it no hands style. Damn, that was cool. Lee turns to the camera and says “I am limitless.”

And now here’s an extended version of Kyle’s promo from last week, with some rebuttal from Mr. Lethal. Lethal acknowledges that Kyle is a great wrestler, that Kyle O’Reilly can do whatever he wants except win the ROH World title, because Jay Lethal has it! He knows that Kyle is thinking about his past victories over Jay Lethal, but he’s thinking about the wrong thing; he should be thinking about the fact that Jay Lethal has been the ROH World Champ for the past year! For the past year, he’s walked in with the belt and he’s walked out with it, and next week, he’s walking out STILL the Ring of Honor World champion!

We’re back and oh good, BJ Whitmer and Kevin Sullivan are making their way to the ring. We see some black and white stills from the match as BJ grabs a mic and a chair. “Since Best in the World I’ve been bombarded with question after question, and of course BJ Whitmer always has the answers.” But tonight is about Steve’s question – how is BJ Whitmer aligned with the Prince of Darkness, Kevin Sullivan? Well, it all started with BJ sitting at home with his neck injury and Kevin Sullivan was going to pass on the legacy of evil to him and Corino and blah, blah, blah. This SUCKS. Sullivan blathers on about Corino needing to accept the fact that he’s an EVIL man, or chaos is going to reign over Ring of Honor. Oh, for the love of God this is so stupid. BJ hits the catchphrase that his name is BJ Whitmer, and he’s an evil man! Fuck this. This type of crap is exactly what I don’t want from ROH. I’m gonna try to forget that it happened during these ads.

We’re back to the music of Roderick Strong, one more time! Strong appears to briefly wipe his eyes on the ramp, and then says “One more time!” to the camera, and STILL the announcers don’t mention that this is the last match for Roddy in ROH. Inexcusable. We even see a “Thank you Roddy” sign as Cary Silkin stands and applauds. And there’s the music of Dalton Castle! He heads out with the Boys, and it’s time to say goodbye to Roderick Strong. I’m even a little weirded out to type that.

Roderick Strong vs Dalton Castle

Castle with a go-behind, they go to the corner, Roddy with a cross-corner whip that Castle reverses, Strong goes over the top and they run the ropes into a stalemate. Wristlock by Castle, Strong goes to the hair to break it and traps the arm into a hammerlock. Dalton gets a front facelock off of that and takes Strong over into a suplex. Castle gets a waistlock on the mat that Strong elbows out of, so Castle just picks him up and throws him down, and they do a wrestling sequence with Castle maintaining the waistlock, so Strong makes the ropes for a break. Strong with knee to the midsection and he hangs Castle on the top rope with a suplex. Strong drops a couple of knees and a hits a running kick to the chest of Dalton. Corner to corner with chops from Strong, then a double underhook suplex gets two for Roddy. And we’re going to take two, minutes that is, for these great ads!

We’re back with Castle charging Strong and eating some boot when Roddy gets the foot up in the corner. Strong comes off the top but Castle catches him. Strong tries to suplex Castle outside, but Dalton lands on the apron, where a jumping knee from Strong puts him to the floor. The Boys fan Castle off, but Roddy jumps through the ropes and dropkicks one of the Boys to the barricade! He goes to clothesline Castle, but Dalton ducks and Strong takes out the other Boy! And now, Dalton Castle is pissed. He fires strikes at Strong against the barricade, Strong reverses a whip to the apron and ducks when Castle tries to do his pivot off the apron into a ‘rana. Strong gets Castle up, Angle Slam into the ring post! Yikes. Strong tosses Castle back in and gets two. Strong rains forearms on Castle, but Castle gets a back elbow out of nowhere and a side German suplex. Castle looks for the deadlift German, Strong with a nasty elbow to put a stop to that, Castle tries for a Bangarang now, but Strong grabs the top rope. Castle charges at Roddy against the ropes, but runs into a few stiff kicks from Strong. Reverse belly-to-back suplex from Strong gets two. Roddy just decimates Dalton in the corner with chops now and sets Castle on the top rope. Dalton knocks him down with a right, but Strong nails him on the top rope from the mat with a big kick. Very nice. Strong goes up for a superplex, but Castle fires rights and slips underneath Strong. Strong catches Castle with a kick and jumps off, but Dalton catches him and tosses him in an overhead throw, sending Strong to the floor. Tope from Dalton and both guys are down! Strong tosses Castle at the apron, but this time the pivot ‘rana hits! Dalton again with a tope to send Strong to the barricade. Castle tosses Strong back in, deadlift German hits! 1,2, NO! Strong tries to push Castle away, but Dalton keeps coming and hits a delayed exploder. He tosses Strong to the buckles, then hits a delayed backdrop driver. Castle gets him up, snap exploder this time as Castle is showing off his suplexes very well here. Deadlift German again, Roddy tries to grab the top rope but Castle pulls him off, completing the move and stacking Strong up for two. Castle charges Strong in the corner and Roddy gets a jumping knee that knocks Castle loopy, putting both guys down. And now Roddy is back on the offense, with a running knee to Castle in the corner, following with 3 straight running forearms to Dalton. He puts Castle on top, Superplex! Fireman’s Carry by Roddy into the double-knee gutbuster, Strong off the ropes, Sick Kick! 1,2, NO! Strong is frustrated now and pulls down his kneepad to deliver the final blow, but Castle catches the jumping knee attempt and hits the Bangarang! 1,2,3! (Dalton Castle over Roderick Strong, pinfall, 12:46)

WORTH WATCHING? It’s Roderick Strong’s last match in ROH, so YES, I’m going to say watch it; the match was pretty fun and well worth a look. Strong putting Castle over on his way out was good of him to do. Here’s the thing: I get that Roddy isn’t retiring or anything, and who knows? He might be back in ROH anytime in the future. But the man has been a true pillar of ROH since pretty much the first year of the company, and if anyone deserved a real sendoff, it was him. After all, it’s not like the ROH website didn’t acknowledge that this was going to be Strong’s last taping with the company, so there’s no egregious kayfabe breach or anything here; why not acknowledge it on television? Yes, it’s not normally done, but this wasn’t a typical situation. They should have said something.

Post-match, Castle and Strong both look exhausted as Kevin Kelly reminds us that next week, we’re turning the whole hour over to O’Reilly/Lethal! I already can’t wait. And we’re out.

FINAL THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: A decidedly mediocre hour this week. Decent enough with the opener, as Jay White looked strong in his debut and a good main event, but the tag squash in the middle and that god awful Whitmer promo dragged the rest down for me. Thumbs in the middle, I guess, but skip the middle part of the show.

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter