Ring of Honor
July 29, 2015
The news came out this week that Ring of Honor’s television show on Destination America will now only appear at 11 pm on Wednesdays, instead of the 11 pm showing serving as a replay for an earlier 8 pm broadcast. The show was doing OK ratings-wise, save the episode from two weeks ago, but apparently random programming at 8 pm was more profitable. That is obviously bad news for Ring of Honor’s continued presence on Destination America. Considering the hilarious reports coming out of TNA’s most recent taping, wrestling in general may not be long for Destination America.
This episode is also the first since ROH’s Death Before Dishonor iPPV from July 24. Most of the talk coming out of that show surrounded the main event, in which World Champion Jay Lethal and challenger Roderick Strong wrestled to a 60-minute time limit. I, along with many others, hated the match, not only because it was slow, boring, and without narrative, but because it was a poor way to begin the title reign of Jay Lethal. Lethal has been built up fantastically over the last year but was generally a chickenshit-type heel, who often maintained his ROH Television Championship via House of Truth shenanigans. Lethal’s decisive victory over Jay Briscoe, who had not been pinned or submitted in nearly three years, signaled that Lethal would be booked as a very strong champion. In fact, if he wasn’t, what was the point of building Briscoe and having him put over Lethal? Despite that, there was a seemingly 50/50 reaction to the match, with many loving the match itself and the story it told with regard to Lethal’s run as World Champion. But, as is customary, Lethal did not appear on this show and there was no mention of the pay-per-view results.
Alas, as fun as it would be to spend an hour discussing the fantastic talents of Jay Lethal and Roderick Strong, Episode 201 started with The Kingdom making their way to the ring.
The Kingdom vs. Corey Hollis & Jonathan Gresham
The main point of this match was to have Maria on commentary to talk about the issues between Adam Cole and the remaining members of The Kingdom. She assured us that everything is fine. There wasn’t much to the match itself. Gresham and Hollis are southern indie guys who I am familiar with by name but not by their work. They weren’t given a chance to show much here, in a short match where they got little offense. I was mainly struck by how small Gresham is! At one point he knocked Bennett to his knees and Bennett was still nearly as tall as Gresham. I suppose that’s beside the point. This was just a squash match. Nothing to see here. **
Six-Man Mayhem – Brutal Bob Evans vs. Cheeseburger vs. Caprice Coleman vs. Silas Young vs. Moose vs. Dalton Castle
I spent this match trying to decide if I’d rather watch something involving The Kingdom, Brutal Bob & Cheeseburger, or The Decade. God, there are a lot of awful acts in Ring of Honor. Obviously, this was not the best lineup for a six-man mayhem match. Dalton Castle worked the hardest and was easily the most entertaining. Moose came in toward the end and worked at something approaching half speed. The whole final stretch was tough to watch as there was a lot of waiting for guys to get into position for the next spot. Eventually, Moose hit Brutal Bob with a spear and secured the win. **
Friends, my existential inquiry is going to be answered on this episode of Ring of Honor. We’ve seen The Kingdom; we’ve seen Brutal Bob Evans & Cheeseburger; and now The Decade is in the ring. BJ Whitmer, who went back in time to before his ACL injury, announced that Colby Corino would wrestle four wrestlers from the most recent ROH tryout camp.
After the four men came out but before the match could being, Steve Corino ran into the ring to confront Whitmer. In response, Whitmer suggested that Corino would abandon his wife and baby the way he abandoned Colby. There was a pull-apart and the segment was mercifully over. I mean, was the build here to a Steve Corino/BJ Whitmer match? I think I would rather watch The Kingdom and Brutal Bob/Cheeseburger go Broadway.
As a result of all the inanity that preceded it, we are left with ten minutes for what had the chance to be a great main event.
ACH vs. Bobby Fish
I sense we got a clipped match here. Bobby Fish apparently spent some time working ACH’s ribs, which played into the match later but none of that made tape. For a sub-ten minute, clipped match, this was really good. ACH & Fish told a coherent story and worked several different styles throughout the course of the bout. Toward the end, Fish had done some damage to ACH’s leg, which ACH tried to fight through since much of his offense is air-based. But, finally, too much. My only complaint was that the leg didn’t factor into the finish but the super-Falcon Arrow was fun anyway. ***1/4
Final Thoughts: Thanks to Episode 200, which has to be on the list of all-time bad wrestling television episodes, this show shines by comparison. Unfortunately, it’s only by comparison because this was another dud. The show featured two of the worst, pushed acts in the promotion, The Kingdom and the Decade, and shoved in a six-man mayhem match filled with guys who had no business working that gimmick. It’s always hard to tell what Ring of Honor hopes to accomplish with its television and this week was no different. The main event saw a guy pick up a win who has lost three times in a row to Adam Page, of all people. Someone tweeted last night that if you only watched ROH TV, you’d think The Decade is a main event act. The scarier thought is that ROH might view them as somewhere near that level. Next week, the main event will feature Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly. O’Reilly’s future in Ring of Honor is the source of much discussion between my VoW colleague Rob Reid and me. Let’s talk about that next week.