Ring of Honor
Air Date: May 23, 2015
Last week’s episode featured a very good match between The Briscoes and War Machine. All in all, it was a a worthwhile watch. This week promises to be much more, with an advertised main event of Jay Lethal versus Kyle O’Reilly for the ROH World Television Championship.
Michael Elgin vs. Caprice Coleman: As Elgin enters the ring to a nonexistent reaction, Steve Corino notes that Elgin was “once one of the most popular wrestlers in Ring of Honor. Now the fans seem indifferent.” Way to put the guy over, Steve! At least he’s honest, I suppose.
The match itself, in a vacuum, was totally acceptable. However, Coleman got in way too much offense for what he is and for where ROH positions Michael Elgin. Of course, that is owed to the realities of ROH television tapings, as I discussed last week. So, putting that aside for the moment, there were fun moments of offense for Coleman and Caprice sold like a madman for Elgin’s power-based offense. **1/2
There was a video package on last week’s Briscoes/War Machine match that I mentioned earlier. The voiceover puts over that it took Jay Briscoe two Jay Drillers to beat Hanson. The relative brutality of the match would come into play later.
Truth Martini and Jay Lethal cut a backstage promo to set up the Television Championship match tonight. Kyle O’Reilly gets his own backstage promo to respond and shows why he’s much better at doing his talking in the ring.
ROH has done such a great job building up the Jay Lethal TV title run. At this point, though, I wonder how they can pay it off. The biggest possible payoff would be for Lethal to defeat Jay Briscoe for the World Championship at Best in the World next month. But it doesn’t really feel like Jay Lethal is the best way to use Briscoe’s two-year unpinned streak. That streak can be absolute gold if it’s broken in the correct way. It seems like Moose is where they are going and I wouldn’t argue with that choice if he can be ready before it loses its juice.
But that doesn’t answer what to do with Jay Lethal. Other than just using him to regularly have wonderful matches on television and pay-per-views. Not that there’s anything at all wrong with that.
ROH World Television Championship Match – Jay Lethal (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly: For the first portion of this match, O’Reilly campaigned for mayor of Headlock City. O’Reilly won’t ever get to NXT if he doesn’t figure out that only heels use headlocks. And honestly, as much as I love reDRagon, a Kyle O’Reilly/Hideo Itami tag team sounds like A LOT of fun. But I was shaken out of my Kyle & KENTA daydream by a vicious strike, followed by some Vintage O’Reilly arm work.
Then these guys easily overcame that relatively slow beginning. This match was fantastic. O’Reilly controlled most of the contest. And all of that was great. But when it came time for the back-and-forth/ tease us with near-falls segment, O’Reilly and Lethal took things to another level. As always, O’Reilly was on the hunt for any sort of armbar in his quest to take home the title. He and Lethal came up with several interesting ways to get into various armbars.
And the finish… I was on the edge of my seat. O’Reilly blocked Lethal several times from hitting the Lethal Injection. However, just when it looked like Lethal had taken O’Reilly’s best and was ready to finish him off, O’Reilly locked in Armageddon in the center of the ring. The only thing that could stop a title change was the bell ringing to signal the expiration of the 30-minute time limit. While that sounds like a lame finish, it worked here. ****
After the bell, the crowd changed for “Five More Minutes” to be added to the match. Apparently, all that needed to happen was for Lethal to agree for the match to continue. He grabbed the mic but before he could speak, in a seemingly organic moment, the crowd erupted into a “Man up!” chant. Lethal was infuriated and informed the crowd he would have continued if they hadn’t invoked that cretin, Jay Briscoe.
However, as Lethal walked to the back, the cretin himself made an appearance. He walked past Briscoe and into the ring. Scarlett handed Jay a mic and he announced that since he had gone through a war too (the aforementioned Briscoes/War Machine battle), he thought he and O’Reilly were on an even playing field. Therefore, in the spirit of being a fighting champion, and in contrast to Lethal, he challenged O’Reilly to a bout for the ROH World Championship starting… RIGHT NOW. Of course, it never actually got started as Lethal ran back down to the ring and laid out both competitors.
I’m not sure the Lethal/O’Reilly match made sense, in the same way the Elgin/Coleman match didn’t. As a singles competitor in ROH, O’Reilly isn’t on the same level as Lethal and Lethal really needs a strong build to be taken seriously in his upcoming match with Jay Briscoe. I mention that mainly to be consistent because, regardless of that, I enjoyed the hell out of this match. While I love O’Reilly with Bobby Fish, a singles run for KOR would be right up my alley.
Final Thoughts: Watch the Lethal/O’Reilly match! Immediately! The Elgin/Coleman match was completely inoffensive but nothing you have to see. Still, this was another solid episode of ROH TV. I often complain about the direction of the show but it rarely fails to at least be an entertaining hour of television. The build to Lethal/Briscoe has legitimately gotten me hyped for their eventual showdown and this episode continued that. Even if I didn’t write ROH reviews for this site, Best in the World would be an easy purchase for me based on the main event alone.