Ring of Honor – August 24th, 2016

Howdy!

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

Well, I was going to do a full review of Death Before Dishonor XIV, but WordPress managed to swallow almost 2 and a half hours of work right as the tag title match was finishing, so you get quick and dirty instead:

Dijak/Rush/White/Kamaitachi – This was the #1 Contender’s match for the TV title, and it was your basic spotfest with a lot of fast action to pop the crowd early. The star was easily Rush, who moves like a jackrabbit and is going to be a big star if he can overcome his size problems. Dijak goes over, which is fine, as he’ll be a good challenger. **3/4

Katsuyori Shibata over Silas Young – SHIBATA~! Young actually got a pretty decent amount of offense in on Shibata, but the outcome was never in doubt, which hurt any drama the match had. **

CHAOS (Roppongi Vice/Toru Yano) over Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi, Tama Tonga, & Tonga Loa) – Typical NJPW six-man tag, with Yano getting the fun spots and the pin after a low blow. Match was mostly played for comedy, but I did laugh, especially at Yano’s turnbuckle antics. **1/2

Adam Page over Jay Briscoe – A brutal, bloody brawl that had enough intensity in it to more than live up to the hype of a no holds barred fight. Crazy spots, including Page getting the Rite of Passage through the table and ending up with a chunk of it still in his knee, and finally defeating Briscoe. Intense match that stood out strongly and featured good work all around. ***1/2

Kazuchika Okada over Dalton Castle – Match was mostly played for fun, as there was very little chance that Okada was doing the job in the midcard. Castle is tremendous and NEEDS to be pushed tomorrow; he was just as over as Okada was, which is no small feat in ROH land. The Boys’ infatuation with Okada was fun, and Okada did Castle a solid and rolled out of the ring rather than kick out of Castle’s finisher – a little thing, but still respectful. The most fun match on the card, and it was placed well as a comedown from the violence of Briscoe/Page. ***1/4

Bobby Fish over Mark Briscoe to retain the ROH World TV title – Match revolved around Briscoe having a bad back and Fish exploiting that along with the knee of Mark, while Mark tried to prove that he was more than just Jay’s little brother by pulling out all the stops, which ended up probably contributing to his loss. Rock-solid ringwork by both guys. ***1/2

The Addiction over Naito/EVIL & Michael Elgin/Hiroshi Tanahashi to retain the ROH World Tag Team titles – strong triple threat tag match here, with one of the more innovative finishes I’ve seen in awhile; as Hiroshi went up for the High Fly Flow, Daniels reached out and lightly tapped him on the boot without Tana noticing, making Chris the legal man and allowing him to jackknife the pin over Tana. Great, great finish with great work before it. Superb. ***3/4

Adam Cole over Jay Lethal to become the NEW ROH World Champion – It was the right time and the right opponent, as Jay Lethal’s yearlong + title reign came to an end here. Props to Jay for an absolutely outstanding run, but Cole deserves the strap and will hopefully give it a decent run before dropping it to Kyle O’Reilly at Final Battle (Hint, hint). Match was absolutely fantastic, from Cole producing Lethal’s dreads before the match to taunt him, to the great ringwork and crazy false finishes, but most importantly the story being told, as Lethal finally wrestled for revenge instead of being cerebral about his title defenses, and that is what cost him the belt; he gave into passion instead of being smart and cunning, and it cost him everything against an opponent who suckered him in and got exactly what he wanted in doing so. The bad guy won, and it was so very, very good. ****1/2

Probably the best PPV that ROH has produced this year, with multiple matches at ***1/2 or more and an ROH MOTY contender from Cole and Lethal. Very worth your time to check it out.

Of course, my favorite part was when Kyle O’Reilly returned and laid Cole out, but that goes without saying, doesn’t it?

Notable news from around the world of ROH this week:

–Marty Scurll is coming to Ring of Honor! Although no dates have been announced as of yet, it’s expected that Scurll will make his debut during the ROH tour of the United Kingdom, which will also be the tour where Will Ospreay is making his ROH debut. Scurll is a tremendous talent, one of my favorites on the independent scene, and has appeared for PWG & EVOLVE in North America. I cannot sing his praises enough; the “Villain” should be awesome in ROH. More details when they announce dates.

We’re amazingly late this week! I spend most of the time I would spend recapping this show doing a PPV recap that….well, you read what I wrote above. No use crying over it. Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

Ring of Honor TV – 8/24/16

We are TAPED from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! Your hosts are Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness. And we’re not wasting any time as we already hear the dulcet tones of….Jonathan Gresham! Yeah! I was hoping he’d be back. You’ll hear from him in the future somewhere, he’s awesome. And there’s the music of the Bullet Club, and here comes “Hangman” Adam Page! And god bless him, because he ignores the fans who want to get a “Too Sweet” at ringside, because he’s a HEEL. Nice to know that some of the Bullet Club members remember that.

“Hangman” Adam Page vs Jonathan Gresham

Gresham offers the Code of Honor, and Page is more than willing to accept….after spitting in his own hand. Jon is less than willing to shake hands now, and Page is offended enough to attack before the bell. Page charges Gresham in the corner after a few quick shots, but Jon goes through the legs and they run the ropes in an extended sequence, with Gresham finally getting a springboard ‘rana on Page. Dropkick from Jon sends Page to the floor, Gresham looks to fly, but Page moves. Jon to the apron and he attempts to come off, but Adam catches him in a fireman’s carry position and gets a running start before hurling Gresham into the post. Ouch, that looked nasty. You know what isn’t nasty? The products you’ll see watching the following great ads!

We’re back with Adam hitting Gresham against the ropes with a shoulder. Jon tries to come off the opposite rope with a choke, but Page manages to hang onto it and powers him over with a suplex for two. Page charges Gresham in the corner, but only tastes boot. Again, this time Page catches the leg and Gresham lowers the foot slowly, taking Page down with him, then sunset flipping Adam and rolling through. That sequence was a little awkward. Single-leg takedown by Jon leads to a kick to Adam’s arm, and Gresham follows that with an armdrag to work it a bit more. Gresham with a shot in the corner, cross-corner whip by Gresham is reversed by Page, Gresham hangs onto the arm and hits a Stunner to Adam. Step-up Enzuigiri by Gresham is followed by a German suplex with a bridge. 1,2, no! Whip attempt by Gresham is blocked by Page, who sends Jon the corner. Charge from Adam, but Gresham moves and Page spears the post. The dodge shots with Page on the apron, then Gresham brings Page back in the Curt Hennig way, and follows that with a kick to the arm and another armdrag, rolled through by Gresham into a headscissors. Tilt-a-whirl Bulldog by Gresham, and he gets La Magistral for two, then floats over into a crossface. Page gets back up with power, getting Gresham into a fireman’s carry and dumping him to the apron, then sending him to the floor with a boot. Page gets a head of steam but Gresham comes back into the ring as Adam hits the apron, so Adam turns around and does his flip into the ring clothesline on Gresham, who’s kind enough to throw in a somersault sell for Page. What a guy! Rite of Passage follows from Page, and that’s enough to put Gresham away. (Adam Page over Jonathan Gresham, pinfall, 5:25)

WORTH WATCHING? – Wasn’t feeling this one. I’m a big fan of Gresham and I think that Page certainly has potential, but they were just doing moves as Gresham tried to do a little to ‘work’ Page’s arm that led nowhere in the match, either with a false finish or with Page selling it. I’m going with a NO on this one, even though I like both guys; there just wasn’t much here.

Replays of the Rite of Passage show that, well, that move still scares the s--- out of me. He drops the guy at the wrong moment? It’s all over. Kelly tells us that next week, The Addiction will defend the tag team titles against the Young Bucks, but up next, Stuka Jr from CMLL will make his debut on ROH TV against Kamaitachi!

But first, here’s a message from the Cabinet. Coleman blabbers for awhile about ‘access being granted’ and tell us that next week, there’s going to be a six-man tag match, with the Cabinet taking on Dalton Castle and the Boys! Rhett Titus, the secretary of shoulders, wants us to know that he picks up dumbbells the size of each of the Boys and presses them over his head! Kenny King tells us that Dalton Castle is against everything the Cabinet is for, and that the Cabinet will win and they’ll make wrestling great again!

Sigh. What a waste of three relatively talented pro wrestlers. Don’t waste any more time watching anything other than these great ads!

We’re back with Kelly telling us that in addition to the other matches announced for next week, we’ll also see War Machine face off against Keith Lee & Shane Taylor. Footage airs of Lee and Taylor attacking War Machine in various matches and backstage, and they’ll finally get it on next week on ROH TV.

Also next week on ROH TV; the aforementioned World Tag Team title match between the Addiction and the Young Bucks! Let’s hear from those scamps that don’t know they’re heels, the Young Bucks! Matt:”Addiction. Christopher Daniels. Frankie Kazarian. Hey old guys, I think you have our championship title belts!” It’s a ‘rib’ that the Bucks are only one-time ROH tag team champs, and they’re going to fix that next week with a Superkick Party! Nick superkicks the camera to black thereafter.

And those are some horns! Here comes Stuka Jr! Nigel namedrops being in the ECW arena, where guys like Psychosis and Rey Mysterio Jr were first brought to the US. And here comes Kamaitachi! One Mr. Christopher Daniels is along with Kama as he comes to the ring, but I’m sure he’ll behave himself….right?

Kamaitachi (w/ Christopher Daniels) vs Stuka Jr

Code of Honor is declined by Kama. Sequence to start ends with Stuka getting an armdrag, another sequence ends much the same way, and a third one ends with a ‘rana by Stuka to send Kama to the floor. Stuka looks to fly, but Kama is back in and they do another reversal sequence that ends with Stuka doing a backflip off the ropes. Kama bails to the floor on the next one, but Stuka is still running and follows him out with a tope to send Kama to the barricade. Again! “One more time!” from the crowd switches to “Uno Mas!” – Hee. Stuka goes for a moonsault, but Daniels is in the area and, while waving hi to someone in the crowd, completely by accident happens to pull Stuka to the floor. I hate it when that happens. Kama tries to talk to the ref about his shoulder and Daniels’ arm gets in the way AGAIN, this time accidentally sending Stuka to the barricade; I feel sorry for Chris, people might get the wrong idea after all these accidents. And that’ll send us to watch these great ads!

We’re back with Kama stomping away at the knee of Stuka in the ring. Kama puts Stuka on the top rope and tries to pull his mask off, but can’t do it. Kama sends Stuka to the floor and chops him, then sends him to the barricade, then grinds away at Kama’s knee with a chair. Daniels approves. Back in now, and Kama covers for two. Snapmare by Kama and he goes for the mask again. This match is really, really boring. More stomps by Kama, then an overhand chop. Slaps from Kama. I may take a nap. Kama drops an elbow on the leg and grinds his fist into it. Stuka grabs the ropes to escape, and Kama fires open-handed slaps to the chest of Stuka when they get back to their feet. Kama wraps the injured knee around the middle rope and pulls at it. THIS MATCH BLOWS. Choking in the corner from the boot of Kama. The announcers are fed up with Daniels at ringside, with Nigel saying that he’s going to go to the board of directors and get his ‘manager’s license’ revoked. Wait, what? Daniels has a manager’s license? Why am I spending so much time on this? Probably to avoid the match. Stuka reverses a cross-corner whip and sends Kama sliding outside the ring, then avoids a shot from Kama on the outside and gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, a sloppy one at that, to finally mount some offense. Stuka goes up now and hits a moonsault that glances off Kama, I suppose. He barely touched Kama there. Back in and Stuka gets two off that, then gets a spinning back kick and a swinging neckbreaker for two. Stuka goes up for the moonsault, but it hits the feet of Kama, who rolls him up off that for two. Stuka reverses Kama in the corner and fires some overhanded slaps, then hangs him up on the 2nd buckle in a sitting position and dropkicks him just above the groin for two. Stuka goes up, but Daniels stops him, even with the ref just watching it happen. Kama meets him at the top and brings him down in a victory roll, 1,2, no! Standing switch and Stuka rolls him up for two, then a reversal by Kama rolls Stuka up for two. ‘Rana by Stuka, but Kama rolls through that for two. Stuka charges at Kama in the corner, but he moves and the ref (who literally had NO earthly reason to be where he was) gets splashed instead. Goody, a ref bump. No ref now and Stuka gets another tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Kama. Stuka goes to the top and dives onto Christopher Daniels on the outside! Stuka back up, top rope splash by Stuka! No ref, though. Stuka goes over to the ref, but turns around and Kama rips off his mask, because lord knows that we needed THAT for the finish here, and rolls Stuka up in a small package for the pin. Blech. (Kamaitachi over Stuka Jr, pinfall, 12:41)

WORTH WATCHING? – A star is very much not born. This was that term that’s the opposite of good, you know, whaddyacallit…..a dumpster fire. They didn’t seem to mesh very well out there, despite the commentators saying that they had wrestled before. The middle portion of the match was exceptionally boring with no heat and it seemed to go on forever, while they resorted to almost every cliche that exists in wrestling to try to get the match over near the end with the ref bump and the ripping off of the mask. Stuka didn’t look particularly….well, anything out there. Not sure if he’s good or bad, but this was not the debut he wanted and it was WAY too long. That would be a big time NO on this one. 

Kevin Kelly tells us that this showed some of the greats from CMLL, and we’ll see more in the future! God, I hope that it’s a different “more”. Our main event is next, with Jay Briscoe taking on Jay White! Aw damnit, I thought I was done with the whole Jay/Jay thing as a recapper when Briscoe was done with Lethal! I’ll cry in my cornflakes while watching these great ads; maybe there’ll be some about my cornflakes!

We’re back with a video package on Whitmer/Sullivan/Corino. I’d recap it, but I absolutely refuse to dignify it with even MY words. And I recap transition holds, for God’s sake! Anyway, a bunch of vague stuff about darkness and the 13th Step are said and the word ‘evil’ is said a bunch. Nothing else.

And there’s the music of one Jay White! He’s got some company with him, as the Motor City Machine Guns come out with him. “Reach for the sky, boy!” Jay Briscoe is out now, with his brother Mark and their IWGP heavyweight tag title belts with them. I hope these guys can save this show, because there’s been nothin’ so far.

Jay White (w/ The Motor City Machine Guns) vs Jay Briscoe (w/ Mark Briscoe)

Code of Honor is followed. Lockup and Briscoe gives a clean break, and then goes to a wristlock on the next one. Briscoe rides him down and cranks on it, but White escapes and throws him over, then rolls Briscoe up for a quick two. Side headlock by Briscoe, who runs right through White with a shoulder, but White pops right back up! They trade go-behinds and Briscoe goes back to the headlock, then catches White with a back elbow after White shoots him off and charges. Irish whip by Briscoe, who levels White with a forearm and gets one. Big uppercut from Briscoe. Briscoe with a whip to the corner and a splash follows to White. White is hanging tough despite being in a little over his head here. Snapmare and a seated kick by Briscoe gets two, and let’s watch at least two of these great ads in celebration of that!

We’re back as Briscoe levels White with a forearm as the Guns cheer White on from ringside. Irish whip, dropkick by Briscoe, who’s had all the offense here. Briscoe with a stomp, then he gets White back up and uppercuts him, then a fireman’s carry slam, followed by a double stomp. 1,2, no. Chinlock from Briscoe, and White fires elbows from underneath to escape. Off the ropes, running elbow by White knocks Briscoe down! Another one! A third time! Briscoe tosses White to the floor and hits a crazy tope to White, sending White crashing back to the barricade. Briscoe tosses White back in after a few uppercuts, following that up with the Time Bomb neckbreaker for two. Briscoe beats on White some more, Death Valley Driver by Briscoe! 1,2, NO! Briscoe looks for the driller to finish, but White slips out and hits a high angle German Suplex on Briscoe. White drapes Briscoe on the apron and fires uppercuts at Briscoe, then brings him out with a suplex on the floor! White has the advantage and so do we; the advantage of these great ads!

We’re back with both guys down in opposite corners. White charges with a European uppercut, then a suplex on Briscoe, and White goes up. Missile dropkick by White, who shouts “Man up!” while coming off the top. 1,2, no! Uranage attempt is countered with back elbows from Briscoe, who comes off the ropes and runs right into a beautiful dropkick from White. Uranage hits this time for two, and White floats the kickout over into a crossface. Briscoe reaches for the ropes and White cuts the arm off, but Briscoe is able to put his leg out and make the rope anyway. White is busted open by the eye, but he waves off the ref and goes to Briscoe, who fires a big headbutt at White and follows that with a discus forearm to put White down. Briscoe puts him on the top, but White catches Briscoe coming in and traps his arms against the ropes, then rains elbows down on Briscoe. Kicks from White now and he’s free, but he gets down and wanders into a huge lariat from Briscoe! Briscoe puts White on top again and goes for the superplex. White tries to fight Briscoe off, but Briscoe fires headbutts and gets the superplex, and both guys are down. They manage to get back to their knees and trade punches from there, which Briscoe gets the better of….and the bell rings? “Ladies and Gentlemen, television time has expired; the official decision of this match is a draw!” (Jay Briscoe draws with Jay White, 20:00)

WORTH WATCHING? – And we’re 0 for 3 this week. I know what they were going for here, with White surviving the beating from Briscoe and hanging on for the draw as a way to prove his toughness, but the body of the match itself was dreadfully dull without a lot of spots to invest the crowd. White never even got near his finisher and neither did Briscoe, and there just wasn’t much drama to the match with the finish coming out of nowhere. The ringwork was fine, good even in spots; but I wasn’t feeling this one at all. NO, I’d skip it, although that’s the only hard one this week, as there was almost enough good stuff to turn me the other way.

Kelly tells us that next week, we get the Bucks challenging for the tag belts! And we’re out.

FINAL THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: For the first time in a long time, I’ve got nothing for ROH TV this week. The show was a pile; the wrestling wasn’t great, there was zero mention of the PPV (while I know that the PPV happened after this was taped, it’s not really that difficult to ADR some after the fact stuff in there), and I was bored with it. Thumbs way, way down – go watch Death Before Dishonor again instead. Skip this.

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter