Ring of Honor Wrestling Television Episode #200 Review
Get ready for another wild Wednesday of wrestling action as we once again tune in to Ring of Honor wrestling. This week is a milestone episode for the little promotion that could as ROH reaches its 200th televised episode. The main event was announced last week and will be an 8 person tag match and while it sounded a little underwhelming I’m hoping ROH pulls off something big tonight to make the 200th episode a memorable one. ROH also has to sell their upcoming iPPV Death before Dishonor. The iPPV will air on Friday and is shaping up to be a solid show.
We’re back in Terminal 5 in New York City for this episode. This is a good venue with a great crowd and has helped the look of the show in the last few weeks. Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino welcome us as usual as they talk about the upcoming main event and we get a graphic showing the participants. Kevin Kelly then talks about important events that have happened on ROH TV and sets the stage for our first look back of the night to some of those events
Flashback #1: Tag Team title match reDRagon © v The Addiction 4/25/2015
Pretty recent highlight here as we cut to the middle of this match with Daniels and O’Reilly getting hot tags. O’Reilly hits a flurry of offense to take down Daniels but Kazarian gets in the ring for a little double team action. O’Reilly gets an arm bar on Daniels and refuses to let go even as Kazarian stomps him. O’Reilly ties up Kazarian’s foot but Daniels gets to the ropes to force a break. Everyone gets involved and reDragon comes out on top and does their gyrating pose. Daniels hits a double clothesline but can’t overcome the double team. Daniels hits an STO on Fish and Kazarian hits a cutter on O’Reilly. Daniels covers but only gets a 2. Combo move and another near fall by Daniels. Fish gets involved takes down Daniels before Kazarian springs over the top rope and hits a DDT. O’Reilly hits some of that stiff offense on Kazarian and takes him down with kicks and chops but Daniels recovers to send O’Reilly to the ground. All men are down now as we get a passionate “this is wrestling” chant from the hot crowd. Fish and Kazarian get to their feet first and Fish gets the upper hand hitting an exploder suplex into the turnbuckle. Cd gets a rear waistlock on fish as the camera cuts to a red masked figure in the crowd. Fish dives over the top to take out Kazarian as O’Reilly tries a pin on Daniels. O’Reilly checks on his partner and Daniels takes advantage before the masked man runs in the ring to superkick O’Reilly only to be taken out by Kazarian. Addiction hits celebrity rehab on O’Reilly and we have new tag team champions! Streamers fly as the two veterans celebrate the latest title win in their storied careers. Fish grabs the masked man and throws him in the ring. He is revealed to be Chris Sabin, and is quickly joined by the new tag champs as they take down reDragon.
My take: This was the best tag match I’ve seen all year and was a great inclusion in what is shaping up to be a highlight episode. I’m a sucker for a good mystery man angle and I was genuinely surprised by the reveal here when it occurred. These two teams had a great feud Seek this one out wrestling fans you won’t regret it.
We then get a Kevin Kelly voice over as a graphic of the upcoming four team match for the tag titles at the iPPV. I’ll run down the full announced card at the end of the review.
Flashback #2: Steel Cage Warfare ROH TV 7/27/13
In this match the founder of the heel group SCUM Kevin Steen aka Kevin Owens turns on his former partners and defeats the group forcing them to disband in this match that was very pivotal in the history of ROH. Steve Corino douses Kevin Steen in lighter fluid and attempts to set him ablaze. ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness makes the save and Steen is able to hit his Package Piledriver on Jimmy Jacobs and score the victory.
My take: If you have just recently become a fan of Kevin Steen I definitely recommend watching some of his earlier ROH work. It’s a great idea to let anyone who may be a new viewer know that the new guy in WWE who recently beat John Cena clean was headlining in ROH just a couple of years prior. ROH does an excellent job of acknowledging history and this is a great example.
Flashback #3: Top Prospect 2015 Tournament Donovan Dijak v Will Ferrara 3/7/15
They open with short clips of both men’s journey through the tournament which was very entertaining. We cut in the middle of the match again and Dijak is in charge as he shows off his athleticism. For a big man this guy can really move. Dijak goes for his finisher but Will slips out and hits a tornado DDT for a 2 count. Pretty much all the ROH managers are around the ring watching the match.
Ferrara tries a sunset flip powerbomb to the floor but Dijak powers out. Dijak hits a springboard moonsault to the floor and wipes out Will. Big ROH chants here. Dijak goes for Feast your Eyes but Ferrara again escapes and gets a two count. He hits a sonic boom and only gets a 2 count. “This is awesome” chant as Ferrara slowly gets up. He slaps Dijak but Dijak takes control and hits his finisher for the 3.
My take: I love tournaments in wrestling. You get built-in, logical storylines and can build complex matches around injuries sustained in earlier matches and if the winning the tournament is made to mean something it gives wrestling an effortless yet realistic feel that is lacking all too often in the current product as a whole. Both of these wrestlers have caught my eye and if Dijak’s in ring ability and promo work ever catches up with his raw athleticism and size then we are going to have a bona fide superstar on our hands.
Flashback #4: Tag Wars 2014 ROH Tag Team champions reDRagon defeats ACH and Matt Sydal
We tune in to see ACH dive over the top rope to take out all of reDragon. He throws O’Reilly in the ring and misses the 450, putting himself at the mercy of reDragon. Sydal makes the save and fights off all of reDragon for a moment before the numbers game catches up. Fish hits a big Saito suplex and reDragon hits Chasing the Dragon for the win.
My take: I like the emphasis on the tag division in the flashbacks so far. ROH has some excellent tag teams and should be making this division a top priority going forward. It’s called differentiation and ROH needs to do more of it to stand out from the pack and avoid being perceived as a bush league WWE in any way possible to a potential new fan. Tag wrestling can be very exciting and produce some dynamic matches that only work when you have a team fighting in unison and it just looks different to anyone who is only used to the WWE’s brand of sports entertainment.
Flashback #5: AJ Styles v Hanson 11/22/14
Hanson uses his power to take control of the match and hits a butterfly powerbomb but the wily veteran AJ Styles kicks out of a pin fall attempt at the last second. Hanson heads to the top rope but AJ has enough in the tank to knock him down. Styles zeros in on Hanson and goes for a Fireman’s Carry but Hanson powers out and pounds on AJ from a seated position on the top turnbuckle. AJ hits a Pele out of nowhere and transitions into a Styles Clash for the win
My take: They had to showcase someone like AJ Styles and this was an okay way to do it. We haven’t seen War Machine in a while and just being in the ring with AJ Styles makes Hanson look good. He was dominating until he made the ill-advised decision to try a high risk maneuver. AJ has name value and is still a damn good worker and should be plugged till the cows come home. He’s had better matches on ROH TV but this may signal bigger plans for War Machine moving forward.
Flashback #6: Michael Bennett v Lance Storm
We go way back in ROH TV history for this one. Storm hits his single leg crab but Michael Bennett gets to the ropes. Storm goes for a Superplex but Brutal Bob gets in his way. Bennett hits a top rope neckbreaker but Storm kicks out. Maria distracts the ref and Bennett hits Storm with a chair and a Photo Finish to get a cheap victory.
My take: Lance Storm perfectly embodies what ROH is all about and he was one of my favorites in the dying days of WCW and his WWE work after the buyout. He’s a superb technician and underrated as an entertainer. He came in to WCW and outwrestled everyone, won all the mid card belts, and renamed them. He covered them with stickers and called the US title the Canadian title, the Hardcore title the Saskatchewan Invitational, and the Cruiserweight title the 100 Kilos and under title. His “If I can be serious for a minute” run was great too as he poked fun at his own monotone style. Bennett isn’t a guy I get excited about but he’s a good hand to have around and is a solid worker.
The House of Truth (Jay Lethal, Truth Martini, J. Diesel & Donovan Dijak) v Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, Roderick Strong & ODB
We’re not going to get an awkward handshake in our one match for this week as the House of Truth walks away from the display of the Code of Honor. Truth Martini and OBD start this off as Truth hits a big Spinarooni a la Booker T and moonwalks his way into a tag to Lethal. ODB tags Strong and Lethal tags Dijak to avoid his challenger. Dijak and Strong tie up as Dijak shows his power. Strong is able to fight out a bit and hits a big leg lariat to get a slight advantage. Jay Briscoe gets the tag and works Dijak before tagging in his brother who hits a suplex and an elbow before the break.
We’re back with Dijak slinging Mark across the ring. He tags Jay Lethal who puts the boots to Mark in the neutral corner. Lethal takes mark to the House of Truth’s corner and gets the quick tag to J. Diesel. We see another quick tag to Dijak who takes down Mark and gets a 2 count. Dijak gets a front face lock and knees Mark in the face before tagging in Lethal who comes off the second rope. Yet another quick tag to Dijak who hits an elbow drop for another 2 count. Mark is really taking a beating but he gets a brief bit of offense and gets the hot tag to his brother who takes down Dijak with a big boot and hits a neckbreaker for 2. Jay Briscoe sets up a Jay Driller but Dijak drives him into House of Truth’s corner where he gets hit by everyone. Lethal gets the tag and the two Jays brawl in the middle of the ring before Lethal drives him back into the House of Truth’s corner. J. Diesel gets the tag and hits a Fall Away Slam on Jay Briscoe. Much better team work shown by the House of Truth as even Truth Martini gets back in the action for a quick kick to jay Briscoe. Lethal gets the tag again and uses a modified cobra clutch on jay Briscoe before taking him down with a clothesline.
Jay Briscoe hits a Death Valley Driver out of nowhere to set up a hot tag to Roderick Strong as he and the champ square off in a preview of the upcoming iPPV main event. Strong is firmly in control as the match breaks down into pandemonium. ODB gets a blind tag on Strong and gets a taken down by Truth Martini and is cornered by the entire opposing team. “ODB” chants as she slowly gets up, takes a swig from her flask, and decks everyone. The numbers eventually catch up to her but her partners recover as an all-out brawl erupts in the ring. Both Briscoes dive over the top rope and Truth rolls up ODB for a 2 count. ODB sprays her liquid courage in the eyes of Truth and gets a pin.
My take: This was an okay match. It was fun and closes the show with a feel good baby face win.
We get a final run down of the iPPV card before the end of the show. I’ll post it at the end of the column.
The current ROH fans that have been around for a while are buying all the iPPVs and merchandise that they are going to. To grow, ROH has to bring in new fans. Since moving to Destination America in June ROH is doing everything right to bring in that elusive new business. They have given us a big time world title change, a showcase of their best stars and the best of NJPW, and now a recap of some of their most memorable moments in recent history. I can see how a diehard ROH fan wouldn’t be crazy about this episode but this show was great for a new viewer or someone who just casually watches the product which has to be the target audience at this crucial point in time for the company. It is time for ROH to make that next leap forward as their product has more exposure than ever before. Just keep doing what you’re doing ROH you’re on the right track!
Death Before Dishonor XIII on iPPV
Friday, July 24th 2015 in Baltimore, MD
Main Event: ROH World Championship Match: Jay Lethal © v Roderick Strong
4 Corner Survival Match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Addiction © v War Machine v reDRagon v The Kingdom
No DQ Match: ACH v Adam Page
First Time Ever: The Briscoes v RPG Vice
Grudge Match: Moose v Cedric Alexander
First time Ever: Adam Cole v Dalton Castle
Will Ferrara v Silas Young
What did you think of the show? Feel free to email me [email protected] or follow me on twitter @webbanderson2 or reply in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!