Ring of Honor
Episode 195
Air Date: June 17, 2015

Before ROH’s deal with Destination America, the final television episode before a pay-per-view would randomly air on either Saturday or Sunday in Sinclair markets and make it online after the PPV had already aired. Now, ROH has the proper vehicle for a go-home show. Unfortunately, that means ROH must actually use it as a means to build.

So, tonight, we find out if ROH can use the hour to get people to buy this Friday’s Best in the World show.

The hard sell is off to a shaky start as the show begins with BJ Whitmer, Adam Page, and Colby Corino of The Decade heading to the ring. Whitmer grabs a mic and recaps Corino’s destruction at the hands of Moose last week. This week, Whitmer wants to give Colby another chance to teach Steve Corino a lesson by having Colby tag with Page to face War Machine.

The Decade (Adam Page & Colby Corino) vs. War Machine (Raymond Rowe & Hanson)

Page and Whitmer end up leaving Corino to fight War Machine on his own. Rowe throwing Corino around is actually pretty fun. In his attempt to seem somewhat upset about what’s happening to his son, Steve Corino half-heartedly yells at referee Gino Colluci. To do what, he never says. War Machine finishes Colby off quickly and we go to break with Steve and Whitmer yelling at each other. NR

Cedric Alexander comes out and cuts a 100% meh promo about how he needs to turn the tide. Developing some mic skills would be helpful in that endeavor. But instead of announcing that he’s going to turn the tide by taking promo classes, he challenges Moose to a match… right now!

Moose vs. Cedric Alexander

The story here was that Moose got caught in a tough battle for the first time. To ensure the continuation of The Streak, Veda Scott handed Moose a wrench. Moose attempted to turn down Veda’s offer of a foreign object but as he tried, Cedric Alexander grabbed the wrench from Moose, knocked Moose out with it, and grabbed a pinfall to end The Streak. **1/2

I didn’t get anything about this segment. Maybe it’s a way to free Moose from the Veda/Stokely albatross but surely there was a better way than a loss to Cedric Alexander.

Mandy Leon shows us some video of the build to The Addiction vs. reDRagon for Best in the World. But before she can finish, Adam Cole kicks her out of her own set piece and tells us all about The Kingdom’s BITW match with AJ Styles and The Young Bucks. This was a quick, effective way to get over two matches that they don’t have time to focus on with this week’s episode.

ACH & Matt Sydal vs. Tetsuya Naito & Hiroshi Tanahashi

Much to my surprise, this had a pretty boring start. Perhaps Naito and Tanahashi were exhausted as this was from the fourth night of the ROH/NJPW shows. Sydal was fresh and it showed here as he worked very hard. However, about halfway through the match, the excitement picked up. The highlight was when Sydal attempted a standing moonsault but Tanahashi caught him in midair and countered into a german suplex. The rest of the match was spotty and filled with fun, ending with a Tanahashi High Fly Flow. ***

Folks, we’ve got seven minutes left to sell this pay-per-view. What should we do? Contract signing? Contract signing!

I doubt Ring of Honor will ever be a legitimate competitor to WWE but main eventing shows with the same lame segments WWE uses certainly isn’t going to get them any closer. Luckily, Jay Lethal and Jay Briscoe are compelling as hell and so is this matchup. Nothing really happened here other than a sick Jay Briscoe burn that he would beat Lethal so badly that Lethal would have go back to being Black Machismo. I appreciated the line and it was only slightly awkward coming from a guy who has Confederate flags on his custom title.

Speaking of that uncomfortable accessory, Jay Briscoe was clearly holding the normal ROH World Championship belt in this segment. I noticed that he was also holding that version of the belt in the Best in the World promo pics. I can’t imagine that’s a dictate from Destination American considering the other programming on that network. Is it simply that ROH realized the awkwardness that would manifest from a black champion holding up a belt with Confederate flags on it?

Final Thoughts: Other than the final segment, this was not an effective way to sell Friday’s pay-per-view. I don’t recall The Decade or War Machine’s Best in the World matches being mentioned during their match. Nor was ACH & Matt Sydal’s match (against The Decade). I suppose ROH is in a strange spot due to an already set schedule, debuting on national TV only a few weeks before a big PPV. And hell, the build to Briscoe/Lethal has been so good I’m not going to hold anything else against them. On the strength of that match alone, I’ll plop down my $34.95. I would suggest you all do too.