Ring of Honor TV
October 28, 2015
Ring of Honor TV is coming off last week’s episode where the promotion returned to its own stories. It seemed that months of TV had been filled with matches featuring New Japan Pro Wrestling stars, which was great for the quality of the wrestling, but didn’t require ROH to use its television to advance its own characters. This week’s main event, however, was set up last week as the Adam Cole/Kyle O’Reilly feud continues with a six-man tag match featuring The Kingdom against reDRagon and Mike Elgin. Let’s see if tonight’s episode will begin the momentum for any other ROH programs.
Donovan Dijak vs. Moose
Moose is finally clear of Cedric Alexander and can thankfully focus again on his trek to the ROH World Championship. But is Moose is a better place than he was before his program with Alexander? He and Cedric had a fantastic blow off match at All-Star Extravaganza but I don’t think Moose came out any stronger. It was nice to see Moose handle a longer match and deliver in a big spot; the feud was admittedly good for the performer. The character, however, has been running in place for several months.
The match itself was slightly too long, with Dijak getting way too much offense. Dijak is obviously someone they should be able to get a lot out of in the future, so I understand some protection of him, but he is much farther away from contributing at the top of the card than Moose. Despite that, he worked much harder from bell-to-bell than Moose did, and ended up looking like the better performer. Moose appeared to be going through the motions while Dijak was clearly ensuring that he took advantage of the opportunity.
Moose did show his incredible athleticism with his normal array of moves but only seemed interested when one of his high spots neared. I don’t want to hammer on him too much for that since it isn’t something I’ve seen consistently in his work. Regardless, Moose was able to hit a poor looking Spear (and I usually like his flourish on the Spear) to get the victory. **1/4
Cedric Alexander vs. Dalton Castle
As I was writing about Moose’s character stalling during his feud with Cedric Alexander, I was thinking that, despite losing that feud, Cedric Alexander was actually in the better position. In that program, Alexander seemed more interesting than he had been in a long time and he was wrestling at a higher level than usual. Then, Dalton Castle entered as Alexander’s opponent, and it seemed apparent that Ring of Honor is not as fond of Alexander’s recent work as I am. Castle, coming off a loss to Silas Young and clearly having the better chance to become a star, could hardly afford a loss here.
Alexander and Castle ended up having a match that was similar to the Moose/Dijak opener. Alexander controlled most of the match, which made more sense than Dijak controlling the advantage against Moose, but did not have enough in the end to overcome Castle, who hit the Bang-a-Rang for the win. **1/2
Just In Case We Don’t Sign The Young Bucks…
Since this episode was taped before ROH was absolutely certain they would sign the Bucks to an exclusive deal, The Lizard Man had to do something to turn up the heat in this company. And he did! After Alexander lost to Castle, Veda Scott grabbed the mic to let us know that as a result of Nigel McGuinness placing Alexander in a No Disqualification match at All-Star Extravaganza, Veda and Cedric will be filing a lawsuit against Ring of Honor!
Friends, I don’t try to pretend in this review that I could book Ring of Honor to its former glory. But I know some things about booking a pro wrestling show. And one of the main things I know is that if you are in a place where you have the capacity and the infrastructure to handle the consequences of lighting your territory on fire, then you have an option that not all promoters have. You have the option of booking the only time-tested, guaranteed draw in wrestling history: the lawsuit angle! Find a new building in Dearborn, brothers, because Ring of Honor is about to easily outdraw any two-bit show NXT puts together.
“I Beat Ya A Thousand Times!”
Mercifully, we were treated next to a Truth Martini/Jay Lethal ring visit. Unfortunately, Truth didn’t get much out before Roderick Strong came out to interrupt. Roddy wanted yet another rematch but Lethal rightly pointed out that he’d beaten Roddy a number of times so the line for a title shot should form somewhere far ahead of Mr. ROH. Lethal was so confident in his position that he invited Nigel into the ring to confirm this truth for Roderick. However, Nigel decided that there was not a number one contender for the ROH Television Championship so Strong could have a shot at that, which we will see on an upcoming episode of ROH TV.
Other than the actual silliness that is Strong getting another shot at Lethal, this was a great segment. This was some of Strong’s best non-PWG mic work and Lethal was outstanding as always. I would recommend everyone watch this segment, if for nothing else, to see Lethal’s reaction after Nigel makes the rematch. There just aren’t many better performers in pro wrestling today. Obviously, despite the nonsensical kayfabe aspect, I can’t wait to see Lethal and Strong wrestle again.
The Kingdom (Adam Cole, Michael Bennett & Matt Taven) vs. reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) and Michael Elgin
Have you ever seen a 6-man match featuring The Kingdom? Yeah, that’s what most of this match was. But it did pick up after a hot tag to Big Mike, where he ran through most of his power spots. Michael Bennett tried to ruin it with his laughable offense but Big Mike could not be deterred. That segment of the match eventually necessitated a Kyle O’Reilly hot tag, which flowed right through to the everybody is in the ring and let’s all get our shit in segment. And that part was fun. Michael Bennett found himself the recipient of a buckle bomb into Matt Taven, who was draped across the turnbuckle. As he stumbled back to the center of the ring, a Chasing the Dragon from the reDRagon cohorts was enough to finish the match. ***
Adam Cole attacked after the match but Elgin and reDRagon were able to clear the ring. O’Reilly got a mic and demanded a match with Cole. Nigel ultimately granted O’Reilly the opportunity to intervene in next week’s scheduled Cole/AJ Styles match, rendering it a three-way.
This was a good O’Reilly promo; it’s good to see him show some fire instead of being so goofy. But he had a really unfortunate line about Cole and his Kingdom brethren being “butt buddies.” Casual homophobia is never ideal but O’Reilly’s “joke” particularly concerned me after a moment during New Japan’s G1 Climax when a mic clearly caught Bobby Fish commenting, “we’ve got a fucking gay referee” as the ref patted him down before the match. That kind of stuff is obviously unacceptable but we are dealing with a company who ran with a guy as champion who threatened violence against gay people. Here’s a radical opinion: avoid language that casually mocks people for who they are.
Final Thoughts: This was an OK episode. If you were only going to watch one thing on this show, I’d recommend the Lethal/Strong segment. None of the matches are anything you have to seek out and no stories were really advanced here. One notable thing about the episode was how poorly it was mixed. The commentary was often impossibly low while the mic in the ring was so loud you could hear lots of things clearly that you normally barely hear at all. Of course, ROH is nearly synonymous with editing and mixing issues and not hearing Kevin Kelly isn’t a real negative. But the new viewers who saw this episode probably weren’t too impressed.