Ring of Honor
Episode 199
July 15, 2015

If you’re a regular reader of these reviews, you know I often allege that Ring of Honor is not accomplishing what it needs to accomplish on a weekly basis. So perhaps it would be helpful to erect some goalposts. There is only one episode left after this one before ROH’s Death Before Dishonor iPPV on July 24. Obviously, a company’s television should drive fans to attend live events and purchase PPVs. Live event attendance is driven by hot programs and well-built stars. PPV buys are similarly motivated, though with more of a focus on the build of specific matches. I regularly comment on the building of long-term programs and of specific stars but with Death Before Dishonor quickly approaching, I will focus tonight on how they are building toward that show.

Here are the matches that are currently scheduled:

  • Jay Lethal vs. Roderick Strong for the ROH World Championship
  • The Addiction vs. War Machine vs. The Kingdom vs. reDRagon for the ROH World Tag Team Championships
  • ACH vs. Adam Page
  • Moose vs. Cedric Alexander
  • Adam Cole vs. Dalton Castle

We just aren’t going to get much of a build for the 4-way tag match. There is an ongoing Addiction/reDRagon feud so perhaps this match is a way to set that aside and put the belts somewhere else without reDRagon having to take the pin. I will discuss that more when it comes time to preview Death Before Dishonor.

For the ACH/Page match, we need something more to get invested in this match. Page and ACH cut some good promos many weeks ago about Page’s envy at ACH’s continued big match opportunities. But whatever heat that created has fizzled out. It would be good tonight to create some more juice for that match.

Adam Cole vs. Dalton Castle… Well, they could just give us any idea why this match is happening.

Moose and Cedric Alexander already have the foundation for a compelling match. There is the Veda-switching-sides factor and Alexander’s attack on Moose at Best in the World. Veda is the only one of the three that has even a hint of the ability to talk someone into a building. So let’s see if they use her tonight or next week to get this match over.

Lethal and Strong’s title match will surely receive some attention in tonight’s main event featuring Lethal vs. Mark Briscoe for the ROH World Television title. We know Strong is having a great year but there hasn’t been any other motivation for us to root for either guy to emerge victorious.

OK, we’ve set some marks for ROH to hit over the next two weeks. Now, The Decade’s music is hitting in just enough time to ruin any excitement I’d built up for myself in gearing up to watch this show.

Adam Page vs. Matt Sydal

This match is a follow-up to Sydal & ACH’s match against Page and BJ Whitmer at Best in the World, which happened almost a month ago. Adam Page and The Decade entered to zero crowd reaction. But once this got going, it was a good little match. Adam Page is starting to get over with me. I’m not sure he has any charisma at all but he is turning into a good worker. I don’t think he yet understands how his offense fits his character. His shooting star off the ring apron always looks good but I’m not sure it makes sense relative to the rest of his repertoire. It also might not be the best thing to use that move in a match where you’re opponent’s finish is a shooting star press and you know he’s going over. For his part, Sydal did normal Sydal things here, which is always good. Eventually, Sydal was able to create an opportunity for a shooting star press to get the win. ***

BJ Whitmer attacked Sydal after the bell, which brought out ACH. Whitmer was able to hold ACH down and made him watch as Page demolished ACH with chairs. This definitely added something extra to the ACH/Page match at Death Before Dishonor. I’m not sure it’s enough but I definitely give them credit for trying to inject something.

Next, Veda Scott came out to cut a promo on Moose in the aftermath of their split at Best in the World. I heard someone suggest this might be a good idea! Kevin Kelly made some really bad “ambulance chaser” jokes, as he always does when Veda comes out. Someone who isn’t a personal injury lawyer should tell me if Kelly’s comments are as lame as I think they are. Regardless, Veda cut a pretty good promo to sell Moose vs. Alexander. That is a match that makes sense based on their pre-Best in the World match and their interaction at that pay-per-view. It’s also an easy choice to put over Moose and continue his momentum. As I argued earlier this week here at Voices of Wrestling, in my breakdown of the contenders to become the next ROH World Champion, ROH needs to start plans to make Moose that guy. A win over Cedric Alexander to start his babyface run is a fine way to begin.

Silas Young vs. Will Ferrara

Just as this match was starting to pick up, Dalton Castle’s “boys” came out and jumped up on the apron. The distraction allowed Ferrara to get a roll-up win. **

The Castle/Young program is continuing, as I hoped it would after their very good match at Best in the World. But instead of a rematch at Death Before Dishonor, Dalton Castle is scheduled to wrestle Adam Cole, while Silas Young is not currently booked. I suppose Young could get involved in that match but Cole needs some clean wins for momentum. I like the ongoing build of the Castle/Young feud but we still have no explanation for why Castle will be in a match with Adam Cole.

ROH World Television Championship Match: Jay Lethal (c) vs. Mark Briscoe

This started out so slowly that I thought they were just giving Lethal the night off, with this match having been filmed the night after his war with Jay Briscoe. Not only did we seem to be stuck in Resthold City but we were also getting shortcuts galore, with J. Diesel, Truth Martini, and ODB all getting involved. But the contest picked up about halfway through with some fun exchanges between Lethal and Briscoe. There was still a lot of silliness, with Donovan Dijak and Jay Briscoe eventually being added to the mix. Lethal needed the help of a J. Diesel low blow to recover from Mark’s offensive outburst long enough to hit the Lethal Injection for the win. **1/4

Following Lethal’s win, Jay Briscoe and Lethal got into a momentary staredown before the House of Truth attacked Briscoe. Of course, with everyone else already at ringside, and Roderick Strong having been on commentary, a full-blown brawl commenced. In the end, the brawlers compromised by scheduling an eight-person match for next week’s show, the 200th episode of ROH TV: Roderick Strong, Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, and ODB vs. Jay Lethal, Donovan Dijak, J. Diesel, and… Truth Martini.

Final Thoughts

Of the five matches that have been announced for Death Before Dishonor, this week’s episode advanced three of those matches and did so in a compelling way. Though it got the least time, this episode most increased my anticipation for Moose/Alexander. Now, ROH has one more week to heat up Lethal vs. Strong and add a few more matches to the card. As for this episode as a standalone product, there aren’t any matches you can’t miss but it was solid on the whole. If you regularly watch and enjoy ROH TV, make time for this episode.