Ring of Honor
Air Date: March 28, 2015
In real life, Ring of Honor is coming off of Supercard of Honor IX, which happened this past week during WrestleMania festivities. As we know, however, pro wrestling television does not always comport with the realities of time. I was concerned during the review of last week’s episode that there was no build whatsoever for SCOH. You would think ROH would want to use its TV to attract buys for its shows. But when we learned that ROH would not even have SCOH available for VOD until Wednesday at the earliest (it is still not available on VOD as of the writing of this review), it seemed that ROH was not all that concerned with the buys for the show. This week’s episode shed a strange light on that topic as the commentary and the previews for upcoming episodes insinuated that some SCOH matches will be shown on TV. That seems odd but I guess we will find out.
As for what is going on within the realm of ROH TV, two weeks ago we saw the Knights of the Rising Dawn interfere in most of the matches. Last week, the only KRD appearance was an apparent hacking of a promo video. Also, Jimmy Jacobs appeared to begin his farewell tour as he wrestled Jay Briscoe for the ROH World Championship but came up short.
This week’s episode starts with a promo package for the return of Samoa Joe. Tonight’s main event will be Joe facing Kyle O’Reilly.
Moose vs. Caprice Coleman: This match is a good example of what often plagues ROH TV: cold matches. Before the match, Veda Scott refuses to allow Moose or Stokely Hathaway to shake hands with Caprice Coleman. Moose has shown improvement lately as he continues with mostly squash matches. They went a different way with this match and it definitely exposed that Moose still has quite a long way to go. Coleman was on offense for probably 90% of this match. Moose’s ability to sell is not quite up to par with his ability to dominate a match. There was a particularly awful spot where Coleman attempted to send Moose to the outside with a hurricanrana. Coleman put Moose in a headscissor but instead of Moose helping Caprice out, he just stood there. Coleman fell to the mat and after he did so, Moose ran through the ropes to the outside. Other than that, the rest of the match featured very slow work. Caprice did not appear terribly motivated here. Eventually, Coleman made his way up to the top rope where Moose caught him with a drop kick. Moose waited for Coleman to get up then hit him with a spear for the victory. *
Stokely goes to check on Caprice, which Veda does not like, putting those two further at odds. This was just a bad match. It did not make a lot of sense for Coleman to be on offense most of the time and while Coleman did not seem to be giving it his all, Moose failed miserably at trying to make Coleman look good. Moose still has a ton of work to do, especially if the rumors are true and he ends up in NXT.
The Decade (BJ Whitmer & Adam Page) vs. Leon St. Giovanni & Shaheem Ali: The Decade is on the lookout for a new young boy and these two are apparently up for consideration. But instead of giving them much thought, Page and Whitmer attack before the bell rings. They proceed to hit the All Seeing Eye within about 1 minute and Page pins Giovanni to end the match. NR
BJ Whitmer then hops on the mic to tell Adam Page that Whitmer has found The Decade’s new young boy. It’s Steve Corino’s son, Colby! This angers Steve, who takes off his jacket and jumps up into the ring. He and Whitmer get into each other’s faces, which brings out Jimmy Jacobs. Jacobs is pissed at Whitmer too. Corino leaves the ring and skips providing commentary for the next match.
The House of Truth (Donovan Dijak & J. Diesel) vs. Brutal Burgers (Cheeseburger and Brutal Bob Evans): Before the match starts, we get a promo for the ROH CodeLine! This week, you can call and find out whether Veda Scott or Bobby Cruse has a law degree! Someone will have to explain to me what benefit a toll-free phone line is providing to ROH. As for the match itself, what is there to say? Cheeseburger sold for awhile before giving the hot tag to Brutal Bob. Bob regained offense for his team before getting greedy and inviting Cheeseburger into the ring for a tag team move. However, Dijak counters the move and hits Cheesburger with the Feast Your Eyes. Dijak covers Cheeseburger for the three count. *1/4
After the match, Brutal Bob lays out Cheeseburger with a brutal clothesline!
We get the beginning of a Jay Briscoe promo but, again, the KRD breaks into the feed and we hear a few vague sentences from them instead of a dispatch from the World Champion.
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Samoa Joe: Corino is back for this match. “Joe’s Gonna Kill You” chants begin before Joe’s music hits. Still, Joe seems to get a relatively tepid pop. But he did get drowned in streamers! Corino notes that Samoa Joe will be going to Supercard of Honor to face Jay Briscoe in… two weeks!
There is a long feeling out process that obviously leads to a “this is wrestling” chant. Eventually, Joe gains the advantage and is working O’Reilly over in the corner. Bobby Fish, brilliant as always, screams at the ref: “how ’bout a count, Todd?” But instead of a count, we get a commercial break. Back from the break, O’Reilly is suddenly in control. This is another problem with ROH TV; seemingly important parts of matches are cut out. God forbid we get to see this full match instead of a squash of Cheeseburger and Brutal Bob.
Throughout the entire match, O’Reilly focuses on Joe’s left arm and shoulder. This is obviously a build to O’Reilly’s cross armbreaker but also smartly attacks Joe’s ability to strike and to lift O’Reilly for power moves. That, of course, comprises the large majority of the type of offense Joe would use in this match. Though perhaps an attack on Joe’s legs would be more successful since Joe laid some brutal kicks into O’Reilly during this one. O’Reilly is devoted to working the arm, including striking the left arm and even hitting a dropkick off the apron into Joe’s left arm. Unfortunately, Joe didn’t go the distance on selling the arm. For instance, he attempts to pick O’Reilly up for a powerbomb but fails due to the damage to his arm. However, immediately after the failed powerbomb, Joe locks in an STF without issue.
O’Reilly finally gets a shot at the cross armbreaker he’d been working all match. However, Joe is too smart for that and was able to keep his hands clenched to defend himself. This probably would’ve been a good time for Joe’s arm/shoulder to fail him. Instead, Joe gets to the ropes and escapes. After the two make it to their feet, Joe gets in a few offensive moves but almost immediately hits the Muscle Buster, and gets the win, with minimal build to the climax. ***1/4
What we got of this match was very good. I would suggest that everyone check this out. It’s too bad Joe isn’t sticking around in ROH long because I think these two could have very good matches if given a few chances. In my opinion, O’Reilly benefits from the loss here as he comes out looking like someone who can really stand toe-to-toe with the great Samoa Joe.
To close the show, Corino and Kelly tell us that we will see AJ Styles vs. Mark Briscoe in the main event next week and that Supercard of Honor IX “is in two weeks.” I can’t think of any other way to interpret that other than that some of the matches will make TV.
Final Thoughts: This was a completely skippable episode of ROH TV other than the Joe/O’Reilly match. Nothing else was even OK; it was all actively bad. Last week, I heavily criticized the lack of a build for Supercard of Honor but with ROH not rushing to get the show up on VOD and appearing to be planning to air SCOH shows on their TV, I guess it makes more sense. Still, I think this show could really benefit from less cold matches, more build from week to week, and more of an attempt to use this show to boost the PPV cards. Obviously, right now, NXT is the blueprint for the weekly one hour TV show. I suppose I simply struggle to understand what ROH’s goals are with this TV show. A little focus would go a long way.