Hello everyone! My name is Sean Sedor (@SASedor2994) and I’m the new reviewer for Ring of Honor TV here on Voices of Wrestling!
I’ve been watching ROH since around 2009-2010 during the HD Net Era. While that and the current era under SBG are the only versions of ROH that I’ve watched as an active fan, I’ve really grown to appreciate and admire the golden years of ROH. If you’re interested in my other work, I have a reviews blog of my own, where I’ve reviewed shows not only from ROH but a host of other promotions as well.
Ring of Honor TV
March 26, 2016
Sam’s Town Casino – Las Vegas, Nevada
Four-Corner Survival Match
Roderick Strong def. Adam Page, Moose & Matt Sydal
The show starts off with a Four-Corner Survival Match. What’s interesting about this particular match is that all four of these men are coming off losses at the 14th Anniversary Show, so each is looking to rebound and get back on the winning track. On a quick side note, seeing Sydal come out with his half of the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles, along commentary making mention of Ricochet as his tag team partner in New Japan, is a sad reminder that we’ll likely never see Ricochet in ROH. I know the old saying in wrestling is “never say never”, but his Lucha Underground commitments make any potential appearances in ROH, at least right now, highly unlikely.
With regards to Roderick Strong, commentary also mentioned how Strong got into an unseen “backstage altercation” with Bobby Fish prior to Strong’s match with Tomohiro Ishii at Honor Rising: Night 1, which may have played a part in Strong’s loss to Ishii. Honestly, I could have do without that. I understand that they’re trying to further the Fish/Strong feud, but it’s not really necessary. Plus, it doesn’t really make sense in this scenario anyway, because Strong is technically a heel, and that situation (at least I think) is something that’s better used to explain why a babyface lost a match. Adding that explanation was just a very strange decision.
As far as this match goes, for the most part, I thought it was a relatively solid opener. My enjoyment of Four-Corner Survival Matches can vary depending on who is in the match, and in this particular case, it worked out pretty well. There were some fun exchanges throughout, and I think all four guys got a chance to shine here. It’s not a match you’ll remember six months from now, but as a TV opener this week, I thought it was perfectly fine. Towards the end of the match, BJ Whitmer, who seems to be on almost every episode of ROH TV these days (which is incredibly annoying), comes down and distracts Adam Page, which would end up costing him the match. It looked like Sydal was going to advantage of Page being distracted, but Strong swooped in, taking out Sydal with an Orange Crush/End of Heartache Backbreaker, before putting Page down with a jumping knee for the win. I think it’s really interesting that Strong has been picking up a lot of wins on TV over the last few months with that jumping knee. We know it’s not one of his primary finishers, but building up that move can certainly add some juice in later (and bigger) matches when someone kicks out of it. ***
Up next, it’s Story Time with Adam Cole Bay Bay! Cole comes out with a cool new shirt with “I’ve Got Something For You” written on the front (a reference to a line from his theme music). He talks about how he’s still the best wrestler on the planet, despite rumors that he’s been on a downward spiral as of late (with a recent loss to Matt Sydal on ROH TV, and being pinned by Jay Lethal in the ROH World Title Triple Threat Match at the 14th Anniversary Show). Cole reiterates that O’Reilly will never be ROH World Champion, and that he can beat Jay Lethal in a one-on-one match. He also mentions how, unlike Lethal & O’Reilly, he no longer has any backup, which brings out Matt Taven, who is still on crutches after suffering a severe knee injury at Final Battle 2015. Taven that says that, when he’s back, The Kingdom will pick up where they left off, both in ROH and in New Japan, but he says they’ll do it without Adam Cole. He mentions how Cole has blown his recent title opportunities, and that he joined The Kingdom because of Cole, but then had to keep Cole relevant when he got hurt. Taven claims that he was the only star in The Kingdom, and says that he’ll rebuild it his own image, making sure to mention once again, that Cole won’t be part of it.
So there were a lot of things going on here. Based on this promo, it appears that Matt Taven is staying with ROH once he’s fully recovered from this injury (I know there had been talk that Taven would be jumping to TNA with Michael Bennett & Maria Kanellis when his deal with ROH expired). Personally, while I know a lot of people weren’t high on The Kingdom, specifically the Bennett/Taven combination and their run in New Japan, I’m totally fine with the idea of Taven staying in ROH. Obviously he’s not a main eventer by any stretch, but I think he’s a good, solid hand to have in the mid-card as a singles guy. Based on this promo, however, it seems like Taven wants to reform The Kingdom with himself as its leader. I’m honestly not sure how that would turn out. Of course, Taven’s comments about him being “the star” of The Kingdom are absolutely delusional, but I just can’t see a Taven-led Kingdom being anything more than mid-card act, regardless of who would be put with him. Additionally, I expected that Taven would return as a babyface (as most people who are out for several months with injury usually do) to have a short feud with Cole. Though based on the tone of his promo, and his desire to reform The Kingdom, I’m really not sure if he will be a face or a heel. This whole segment left me really confused as to what Taven’s future will be in ROH. It did set up a future match with Adam Cole, which I think was bound to happen, but I guess we’ll have to wait & see if Taven does indeed reform The Kingdom.
After the commercial break, Kevin Kelly & Mr. Wrestling III questioned how Cole could become ROH World Champion again without The Kingdom. What’s so funny about that is that when Cole won the ROH World Title in 2013, he did all by himself, without help from a stable.
We then get a quick Dalton Castle promo hyping up his Fight Without Honor against Silas Young in two week. Castle says he’s a man who doesn’t like rules, adding that he’s a “clothing optional” man, and that rules won’t be able to protect Silas Young in two weeks. How can anyone not like Dalton Castle? He’s so entertaining.
Foxx Vinyer def. Cheeseburger (DQ)
Foxx Vinyer has an “interesting” look, to say the least. He actually participated in a Top Prospect Tournament qualifying match, which was an internet exclusive, earlier this year. This match goes for about a minute or two until The All-Night Express come out and attack Foxx Vinyer, which technically, means that Cheeseburger loses this match via DQ.
The All-Night Express corner Cheeseburger in the ring, but it turns into an attempt by Kenny King & Rhett Titus to try to get Cheeseburger to turn on the fans, by explaining that the fans don’t care about him putting his body on the line every show. King brings up how the fans didn’t care when he & Titus were being destroyed by War Machine at the 14th Anniversary Show, even with King’s daughter crying in the front row during the match. They mentioned how the fans loved ANX years ago when the won the ROH World Tag Team Titles, but they don’t now. King & Titus then do “Wrestlers Read Mean Tweets”, and whine about how the fans cheer people like The Young Bucks, The Briscoes, War Machine, and even Cheeseburger, over them. They then jump Cheeseburger and beat him up until War Machine & The Briscoes come out to make the save. This then leads to stare down between The Briscoes & War Machine, presumably building up a future title match between the two teams.
I liked, and understood, what this segment set out to accomplish, but I think it went much longer than it needed to. Based on the reaction they got at Final Battle 2015 in Philadelphia, it was only a matter of time before ANX turned heel, and they had been subtly building it for the past month or two. I’m glad they went that direction, and I really liked that fact that did incorporate the crowd’s apathy to the ANX/War Machine No DQ Match from the 14th Anniversary Show into the heel turn. Plus, if anything will turn you heel, it’s beating up poor Cheeseburger. The clear tease of a future ROH World Tag Team Title Match between War Machine & The Briscoes was fine, but again, I feel like this segment just went too long for my liking.
ROH World Title
Jay Lethal © def. Hirooki Goto
It finally feels like Lethal’s ROH World Title reign is starting to pick up some steam, in terms of number of defenses. He didn’t have a lot of defenses in those first few months, but I’d say that had more to do with the fact that was still holding the ROH World TV Title at the time. Since he lost that title to Roderick Strong, he’s begun to accumulate more defense of the ROH World Title, including two in New Japan against Michael Elgin & Tomoaki Honma, as well as several title defenses in the UK, with promotions like PCW and Revolution Pro. This match (at the time it was taped), is Lethal’s 13th defense.
Now, going into this match, I was really looking forward to it. Now only did I expect it to be a good match, but Lethal retaining would help continue the narrative of Goto not being able to get the job done in title matches (which Kevin Kelly & Mr. Wrestling III mentioned a number of times).
Unfortunately, this match was an absolute disappointment. A big part of that had to do with the amount of time the match got. It was just under eight minutes, which is not something you expect out of a match for the ROH World Title. At the same time, time wasn’t the sole issue with this match. It’s definitely possible to have a great seven to eight minute television match, especially in a main event spot, but in that case, the match should be worked like a mad sprint, and that’s not how this particular match turned out. Lethal spent most of the match in control, working a slow, methodical pace until the finish of the match came, when interference from The House of Truth led to Lethal getting the win.
That’s the exactly the wrong thing to do in a match that’s going to be under eight minutes, especially if it’s a title match like it was here. It honestly felt like the first 1/3rd of a match that could have been great, if it was going to go around twenty minutes. In this case, I’d put the blame squarely on Lethal here. It was the wrong kind of match for the time given, and it was easily one of the most disappointing ROH World Title matches that I can remember. **
As Lethal celebrates with The House of Truth, Donovan Dijak comes out with Prince Nana, and confronts Lethal. The two start brawling, and Dijak tosses Lethal out of the ring. Truth Martini tries to attack Dijak with The Book of Truth, but it backfires, and Dijak hits a massive boot to the face of Truth Martini. Dijak celebrates with Prince Nana as commentary exclaims that Truth Martini is seriously hurt.
It was cool to see Dijak return here, and I’m excited to see what he can do now that he’s finally away from The House of Truth. It’s also nice to see Prince Nana again, especially for those who have been longtime fans of ROH. It’ll be interesting to see Lethal vs. Dijak when it eventually happens.
As a whole, I’d say this particular episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling Television was pretty forgettable. Jay Lethal vs. Hirooki Goto for the ROH World Title was a massive disappointment, and arguably the worst match of Lethal’s reign (and I think the blame falls on the time the match was given as well as the champ himself). The Four-Corner Survival Match that opened things up was easily the best match on the episode, but it’s not one you’ll remember in the long run. This episode also had a number of segments, featuring the return of Donovan Dijak, ANX going fully heel, and a strange new direction for Matt Taven. This definitely was a disappointing outing from ROH this week.