Ring of Honor
Episode 191
Air Date: May 16, 2015

Ring of Honor TV is coming off of an episode I could describe only as “meh.”  Coming into this week, I was just hoping for something watchable.  With a scheduled main event of The Briscoes vs. War Machine, I felt confident this episode would far surpass last week’s.

Adam Page vs. ACH: This match has been set up over several weeks, starting with an Adam Page promo questioning why ACH gets so many opportunities to wrestle the big names (El Patron, Styles, Samoa Joe), when he always loses. Page and ACH were in the ring together on Episode 188, when BJ Whitmer helped Page to get the advantage on ACH. Page then absolutely brutalized ACH. Now they face off in a one-on-one contest and BJ Whitmer is not at ringside.

Kelly and Corino note Whitmer’s absence. Corino posits that Whitmer “may be in a secret dojo with my kid.” I like the story of this match and feud. It is completely reasonable that other young wrestlers would resent that ACH always gets booked to work with the big stars. At Global Wars Night 1, Adam Page worked with Takaaki Watanabe and ACH worked with Shinsuke Nakamura. So not only does it make sense that young wrestlers would resent ACH, it makes sense that Adam Page, specifically, would resent ACH. The problem, storyline-wise, is that Page isn’t on ACH’s level. Page probably needs to go over in the feud but that would seem a poor idea in the big picture.

Regardless, this match proved why Ring of Honor showcases ACH in big ticket matches instead of Adam Page. Page is a completely reasonable pro wrestler who is improving but this was a tale of two matches: fun and exciting when ACH was on offense and slow and plodding when Adam Page was in control. I suppose that was intentional but if Page is going to work this style, he needs to become more physical on offense. However, that doesn’t play to his strengths, as he showed in this match with that fantastic Shooting Star Press he does off the apron.

There was some excitement to be found as Page and ACH traded near-falls toward the end of the match. Page was certainly portrayed as ACH’s equal for the majority of the bout. Alas, the match ended with a low blow that Todd Sinclair missed but allowed Page to get the victory. ***

Page offered his hand to ACH after the match but instead ACH took Page down and assaulted him with a flurry of strikes. They were eventually separated with some assistance from backstage.

Next up is another promo video recounting The Addiction’s title win and the KRD angle. Afterward, Kyle O’Reilly cuts a promo about his match next week with Jay Lethal. That sounds like a great one.

In preparation for our main event, we get a promo package showing War Machine/Briscoes highlights interspersed with a Briscoes promo. This wasn’t as good as most Jay Briscoe promos but I’m jazzed for this match anyway.

War Machine (Ray Rowe & Hanson) vs. The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe): Jay Briscoe appears to have hung out with Bo Dallas before making his entrance; his shirt is completely soaked. The guy doesn’t even have hair to wet before the match. What happened here?

ROH’s production is often maligned and I generally stand up for it. But this week’s episode is embarrassing production-wise. The commentary track occasionally sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom. The cheesy ROH Codeline bits that are inserted in post-production were here this episode, as usual. However, ROH didn’t take out the commentary track while the Codeline track was playing. The commentary track was turned down slightly so you could still hear it under the Codeline gimmick. And they sent this out for television!

This was a normal tag team match. War Machine got the heat on Mark Briscoe for awhile, then The Briscoes got the heat on Ray Rowe. After that, the teams traded offense. There was an exciting showdown in the middle of the ring featuring all four participants. Then, it was time for the near-falls portion of the match. This actually got very fun, including Hanson kicking out of a Jay Driller. Ultimately, a second Jay Driller was too much for Hanson to overcome. ***1/2

I’m not sure I understand the point of having War Machine lose so quickly after Rowe’s return. In fact, why pair them up with The Briscoes at all? However, seeing them in the ring together did get me excited for a potential Jay Briscoe/Ray Rowe match. I definitely see Rowe as the Shawn Michaels of this team.

Final Thoughts: This episode featured two good, extended matches and nothing bad. I understand that a lot of my complaints with ROH TV are more complaints with their whole business model. They use house shows to fill up their TV time. The house shows need good, long matches with established ROH names going against each other. That’s totally fine as someone who enjoys going to their house shows. But as a way to build storylines and construct a universe through their television, it leaves something to be desired. Despite that, watch this episode if you want to watch two good pro wrestling matches. There’s nothing here you can’t miss but you won’t regret the time you spend watching it.