Ring of Honor
September 2, 2015
There are only two episodes of Ring of Honor TV left before ROH returns to pay-per-view for All-Star Extravaganza on September 18. The show is set to be headlined by Jay Lethal defending the ROH World Television Championship against Bobby Fish and, in the same show, defending his World Championship against Kyle O’Reilly. I would expect that to continue to get a major focus on tonight’s show. ROH is actually doing a pretty good job of setting the stage for that card. Here’s hoping that continues on this episode.
Adam Page vs. Jay Briscoe
Page started a few weeks ago randomly calling out Jay Briscoe and, for some unexplained reason, Briscoe agreed to get in the ring with Page. The match started with Jay twice offering his hand for the Code of Honor and twice getting slapped in the face by Page. From there, Briscoe dominated until Page threw a chair at Briscoe to earn a disqualification. Page hit Briscoe with the Rite of Passage directly on a pile of chairs before Mark Briscoe came out to clear the ring.
Since this episode aired, ROH has announced that Page and Briscoe will wrestle in a No Holds Barred match at the television tapings the night after All-Star Extravaganza. ROH seems to go to this gimmick too often and too quickly in feuds. There isn’t nearly enough heat built up between Page and Briscoe to need a No DQ match. NR
The Boys on a Pole Match
In an effort to build to the pay-per-view on September 18, there was a replay of Silas Young suggesting that he and Castle wrestle with The Boys on the line. If Silas wins, he gets The Boys; If Castle wins; Silas joins The Boys. In response, in a pre-taped promo, Castle went through his usual histrionics. I love the matches between these two but Castle’s character work and promos all get a big cringe out of me.
Cedric Alexander vs. Caprice Coleman
Whenever ROH sends Caprice to the ring, that pretty much tells me I don’t need to care. As usual, this was a competent wrestling match but it was intended only to further the Alexander/Moose feud. Alexander controlled the match and, signaling the end, Veda Scott passed to Cedric her infamous wrench. But before Cedric could use it, Stokely Hathway came out to pick Veda up and subsequently drop her, which gave Moose time to steal the wrench from Alexander. Left without his weapon of choice, and hopelessly distracted, Caprice was able to hit The Sky Splitta and pick up the win.
The Alexander/Moose program has gone on too long and done too much damage to Moose for my liking. Even if Moose goes over at All-Star Extravaganza, it doesn’t feel like he will have anywhere near the momentum he did before his first match with Alexander. **
Cheeseburger vs. Bob Evans
Who could possibly care? This is the second time in the past several weeks they’ve used television time to showcase this program. Neither guy has any business being on TV. After a Cheeseburger palm strike that caused Bob to fall through a table, Cheeseburger won by countout. OK. *
ROH World Television Championship Match – Jay Lethal (c) vs. Hanson
The actual booking of this match is based on a previous upset win Hanson holds over Lethal. But the macro story with Lethal right now is that holding the TV title and World title is wearing on him because it’s causing him to be pulled in so many different directions. I’ve come around to the idea that this is obviously intended to set up Lethal to lose to O’Reilly in San Antonio. That seems even more obvious with the slow build of Adam Cole and O’Reilly, which is likely to be a future World title pairing.
This was a fine match with Hanson holding control in several segments of the match until Lethal would use some sort of nefarious means to gain the advantage. Hanson is kind of boring to me but there were a couple of fun spots here. The finish was hot with Hanson and Lethal going to a callback spot from Hanson’s victory over Lethal, when Hanson hit a moonsault from the top rope. This time, however, Lethal was able to get his knees up to block. That gave him enough space to hit the Lethal Injection, though he had to hit it twice to get the win. I’m not sure I understand giving Hanson that kind of protection but it’s clear Lethal isn’t the guy ROH wants to have on top for a substantial period of time so I guess it’s not terribly important.
After the match, Bobby Fish, who had been on commentary, and Jay Lethal started jawing at each other, which brought out Kyle O’Reilly. And this was the perfect example of why Kyle O’Reilly is not ready to be a World Champion in this promotion: for this relatively hot angle where there is a backstory of these guys not liking each other, O’Reilly came to the ring in flip-flops. Flip-flops! How am I supposed to take a guy seriously when he looks like a frat boy on his way to his 10 AM class?
Roddy Strong would eventually join the group as Strong, Fish, and O’Reilly are Lethal’s next three challengers. **3/4
Final Thoughts: This was a completely acceptable episode, apart from the Cheeseburger/Bob Evans match. Bizarrely, it’s like ROH has already built well enough the programs they focused on tonight (Lethal vs. reDRagon, Moose vs. Alexander, and Castle vs. Young) so the show didn’t feel like it progressed anything. It certainly didn’t raise the stakes for any of the future matches. Of course, if ROH wants to keep people’s attention, it has to continue escalating these feuds so that they have real juice going into the PPV. They still have two weeks to go but I don’t think there’s many more places for these programs to go. I don’t want to criticize them for not building and then criticize them for building at a poor pace but there is a sweet spot to hit and the Lethal/reDRagon and Moose/Alexander pairings, in particular, feel like they peaked way too soon.