Ring of Honor TV
October 21, 2015
The Ring of Honor TV Review returns to Voices of Wrestling after a one-week hiatus. Unfortunately, I was unable to review Episode 212 last week after my beloved dog passed away a few days prior. Most people who have dogs would understand that I treated mine like she was my daughter and I certainly felt like she was. So it has not been an easy time. I had no interest in watching wrestling, let alone forming thoughts that were capable of being shared with an audience. I mostly sat around and thought about all the things I missed about my beautiful pup, imagined what we would be doing if she were still at home, and, in all honesty, just cried a lot. It was not a place that lent itself to grappling with the world of professional wrestling.
It eventually did make me realize that I’d left out a group a couple of weeks ago when I talked about the different types of people that are drawn to professional wrestling. I discussed people that are drawn to the stories and people that are drawn to the athleticism. I left out the group of people that is drawn to pro wrestling (like any other entertainment) because it can be a fantastic escape from life. I’m sure I am one of those people, though I didn’t necessarily realize it. There is a lot of overlap between those three groups, and there are parts of each that draw me to wrestling, but I definitely look to entertainment as a way to focus on something that isn’t always so arbitrary. Something that, whether you always understand it, seems to be designed with a plan in mind. And, maybe most importantly, something that can let you get excited or upset about something that matters so little in the grand scheme of things and lose all sense of perspective. That’s important.
When something happens like what happened in my life, your perspective changes. Or it recalibrates. Whether I caught NXT before Twitter was awash with spoilers was immaterial to me. Hell, Twitter was immaterial to me for a week or so and I’m the kind of guy who constantly refreshes his Twitter feed. Last Thursday night, I did sit down to watch my Kentucky Wildcats football team lose to Auburn. Usually, Kentucky sports make me lose all sense of perspective. Win or lose, I end up acting like a child. Instead, I just watched that game and let it wash over me. There would be another game and my Charlotte would not be there to see it.
At some point, I realized that I missed wrestling. I had, luckily it turned out, planned a small vacation for this past weekend and the early part of this week. It was a nice getaway but when that desire to watch wrestling started to creep up again, I was unable to satisfy it. Eventually, I found the time to sit down and start watching this year’s Battle of Los Angeles. I started to remember what it felt like to set my perspective aside and really enjoy something that did not matter at all. There were moments of guilt, for sure. I’m not always sure if I should ever allow myself to enjoy anything again. Many months ago I told Rich Kraetsch I would review Ring of Honor TV every week that I could. Sometimes it feels like work. And that’s a good way to continue to ease myself back into wrestling and continue on the long journey to being comfortable with getting on with life.
So here we go…
The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs. All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus)
King & Titus had a very hard time getting the crowd interested. There was a slight moment of excitement when King took the hot tag and disposed of Daniels & Kazarian. Unfortunately, it was short-lived. In the aftermath of the hot tag, all four competitors battled until they were all down on the mat, spent. And the crowd was nearly completely silent.
It got worse. The finish of the match involved someone in KRD gear getting involved to cost The Addiction the match, similarly to how they lost the titles at All-Star Extravaganza. The announcers played up that it appeared to be Chris Sabin, who had been ejected from ringside toward the beginning of the match. However, the crowd literally did not react at all to the angle. They did applaud when it was over but perhaps only because it was. **
I really wanted to make this review a piece about loss and how wrestling can help to fill a void in our lives. Clearly, this show is not going to provide that vehicle. Maybe the fact that Ring of Honor’s booking is truly bumming me out tells me that even bad wrestling can again make me feel things that allow me to leave less and less room for the real life things that tear at my happiness.
A Mike Bennett Promo… An Adam Cole Promo
Speaking of less real things that tear at my happiness, The Kingdom came out next. Mike Bennett cut a promo so bad that ROH editors had to insert a highlight package before Maria Kanellis spoke so she wouldn’t have (any more of) Bennett’s stench on her. Adam Cole looked intently at Bennett during the promo, trying to get across how clever a point he thought Bennett was making. And maybe it’s projection, but Cole’s eyes seemed to be screaming that he was cringing so hard on the inside that he wanted to crawl under the ring.
Luckily, the segment eventually led to an Adam Cole promo. Cole explained that he turned on Kyle O’Reilly because O’Reilly had no business being near the ROH World Title. In fact, Cole had been waiting for his moment ever since Kyle O’Reilly was mentioned as a title contender while Cole was not. Cole did get a great shot in on Big Mike Elgin, saying Mike was such a mess he had to go to Japan to become relevant again.
O’Reilly and Bobby Fish made their way out to answer Cole but were slightly undermanned. Big Mike came out to even the odds. We’ll be getting a six-man tag next week.
The Strange Case of Big Mike
This was maybe the saddest part of the show for me. Elgin’s entrance got no reaction. Maybe this crowd just sucked. These post-pay-per-view crowds often do. Elgin has generally gotten poor reactions at ROH shows since he returned from his outstanding G1 performance. Clearly, ROH crowds are aware of New Japan Pro Wrestling because they react appropriately to Nakamura, Okada, and Tanahashi, etc. What is the explanation for Elgin? Was he so dead as a character before G1 that there was no saving him?
Adam Cole cut a promo to set up his match with AJ Styles in two week on ROH TV. Poor Cole can’t get any momentum because matchups with Styles keep derailing him.
Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Page – No Disqualification Match
This was a bizarrely booked match. The story early on seemed to be that Adam Page had so angered Jay Briscoe with his antics that Briscoe was going to annihilate Page. And based on who Briscoe is in ROH and who Page is, that seemed like a completely reasonable outcome. Suddenly the story became about Page’s ability to survive. He took everything Briscoe had to dish out and here and there would marshal just enough offense to stay alive. The whole match was worked slowly, in a nearly WWE style, perhaps due to Page’s injured shoulder.
As his final stand, Page appeared set to reverse a Jay Driller and put Briscoe through a table with a Rite of Passage. Briscoe was able to grab a chair and hit Page with it to regain the advantage. Page then suffered a Jay Driller through the table and was rolled into the ring to end the massacre. Except he kicked out. He looked poised to take advantage of his newfound momentum when his stablemate BJ Whitmer began to bicker with Steve Corino. The distraction was enough to allow Briscoe to hit Page with a vicious clothesline and follow that up with a second Jay Driller to end the match.
Page being booked as the babyface here was quite a surprise. And it was even more of a surprise that a character of Page’s standing was able to go toe-to-toe with Jay Briscoe and require two Jay Drillers to be vanquished. In front of a better crowd, this might have been a star-making performance for Adam Page. And despite the crowd, it may signal a Page/Whitmer split. After seeing this match, I have some interest in a babyface Adam Page run. I don’t understand quite what was going on here but I do find it intriguing. ***1/2
After the match, BJ Whitmer came into attack Jay Briscoe. Steve Corino had enough and entered the ring to stop the attack. Whitmer dared Corino to hit him, which Corino obliged. Corino then played the moment as if he knew he would be fired as a result. I must say that the crowd seemed to care. I, however, did not.
Final Thoughts: I’m glad to see ROH focused again on ROH stories. No, the matches weren’t nearly as good as when the New Japan guys show up but everything that happened here can lead to something. And that’s what I’m here for. The main event is worth seeking out and I can’t help but recommend the Mike Bennett promo! It’s something that has to be seen to fully appreciate. Mostly, I want to thank everyone for reading. I was working through something here and I’m glad any of you would allow yourself to be a part of it. If nothing else, I hope you’ll give a little extra love to your pet this evening, or consider adopting a dog from your local shelter or rescue organization. Honestly, I look forward to being here next week. I’ll see you then.