Ring of Honor TV
May 28, 2016
Ted Reeve Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
So this was the first fresh episode of ROH TV in well over SIX WEEKS (the last fresh episode was on April 9), which is absolutely ludicrous. I can somewhat understand the decision to show stuff from the Korakuen Hall show in February in the lead up to the Global Wars PPV, but that fact that the last two weeks had been “Best Of” episodes is just insane. I’ve been craving for fresh content, and I’m so relieved that we’re finally getting it.
ACH def. Lio Rush
I feel like I say this in all of my reviews of matches involving ACH during this tour with New Japan, but his One Piece entrance gear is pretty cool! Speaking of ACH, he’s now firmly back in the singles division, as he ended his tag team with Matt Sydal (amicably) at the ROH/NJPW War Of The Worlds ’16: Night 1 in Dearborn, which was shown in a clip and discussed by Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness. Silas Young comes out right at the start of the match to join commentary, and immediately complains about the fact that ACH plays video games backstage. As far as this match goes, there were a lot of complaints about this match when the results of the TV Tapings were first coming in (specifically the amount of time the match went, which was around five minutes or so), and while I would have certainly liked to have seen this match get more time, it was still a decent TV opener. Again, with more time, it could have been a lot better, but for what it was, it was a fine match. Rush got some offense in, but this was mainly a showcase for ACH, who would score the victory after hitting the Midnight Star. **3/4
After the match, Silas Young (who also complained on commentary about neither ACH or Lio Rush being real men) got in the ring to berate Lio Rush. ACH appeared to send Young away, by Young turned about and attacked both ACH & Lio Rush. He tossed Rush out of the ring, before hitting ACH with Misery. I like the fact that both ACH & Silas Young are getting some form of direction. It should a fun mid-card program for Best In The World, and hopefully the winner gets inserted into the title picture (either the ROH World Title or ROH World TV Title) after the fact.
I should also add that during this match (and at other points throughout the show), commentary put over the fact that Jay Lethal vs. Jay Briscoe for the ROH World Title, which Kevin Kelly claimed was the “biggest rematch in the history” (a claim which I would dispute), was signed as the Main Event for Best In The World 2016.
We get highlights of The Addiction winning the ROH World Tag Team Titles from War Machine at War Of The Worlds ’16: Night 1 in Dearborn, which lead right into The Addiction coming out to the ring. Daniels says that everything is right with the world, as The Addiction are once again the ROH World Tag Team Champions….of the world. He lists all of the teams that they’re better than, and that they’re the undisputed and undefeated champions. I guess The Addiction’s new gimmick is that they’re delusional, given the fact that Daniels & Kazarian hadn’t won a tag team match in a few months, and that Daniels was pinned by Cheeseburger at Global Wars 2016. This brings out The Motor City Machine Guns. Chris Sabin makes fun of The Addiction, calling “sad, middle-aged douchebags” and makes a comment about them having male-pattern baldness. He also reminds them that The Motor City Machine Guns have beaten The Addiction twice in recent months. Sabin suggest that they challenges Daniels & Kazarian for their titles tonight, before being interrupted by Roppongi Vice. Romero says that you can’t have a party in Toronto without them, before Beretta calls The Addiction “old” (a simple insult, but Beretta delivered the line pretty well). This enrages Daniels, who calls for a match right now, adding the stipulation that if either The Motor City Machine Guns or Roppongi Vice beat The Addiction, then they get a shot at the ROH World Tag Team Titles at Best In The World.
Non-Title Three-Wag Tag Team Match
The Motor City Machine Guns def.The Addiction & Roppongi Vice
Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness reiterate the stipulations for this match on commentary. I thought this was a pretty solid three-way tag team match. It didn’t set the world on fire by any means, but much like the opener, this was a perfectly acceptable TV match. There really isn’t anything else to say about the match itself, other than the result, as Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley got the win, and a shot at the ROH World Tag Team Titles at Best In The World 2016, after pinning Daniels. ***1/4
I find it very interesting that War Machine, the team who The Addiction beat for the ROH World Tag Team Titles, are, for the moment, pretty much being removed from the ROH World Tag Team Title picture. You would think that, after what happened at Dearborn, a rematch on PPV would be an easy match to make, but I guess there are other plans in the works. Commentary did put over War Machine very strong during this match, but they were nowhere to be seen on this episode (and I don’t think they were even at these TV Tapings at all). I should mention that War Machine is challenging The Addiction in a No DQ Match for the ROH World Tag Team Titles at their Road To “Best In The World ‘16” Live Event in Columbus, Ohio this coming weekend, but again, it’s very strange to see War Machine seemingly moved away from the titles so quickly after losing them.
Up next we get a really good promo from Roderick Strong, hyping up his match in Jay Briscoe, which will be the Main Event of the aforementioned Road To “Best In The World ‘16” Live Event in Columbus, Ohio. I for one am super excited for this singles match. Jay Briscoe & Roderick Strong have really great chemistry with each other. Their singles encounter at Stylin’ & Profilin’ in March 2009 is one of the best opening matches in the history of ROH, and their ROH World Title Match from Only The Strong Survive in January 2011 (back when Strong was ROH World Champion) is not only a very underrated ROH World Title Match, but honestly one of my all-time favorite ROH matches. In a Main Event spot, these two can deliver, and I can’t wait to see what they do in Columbus!
Following that backstage promo, we have another backstage promo, this time with The Bullet Club’s Adam Cole & The Young Bucks. They talk about their massive Superkick Party and the general carnage they caused at the Global Wars PPV, and Cole welcomes ROH to “their world”. Cole claims that The Bullet Club is new, improved, and hotter than ever. I’m sure there are a lot of people who would dispute that claim (myself included, to a degree), but their merchandise sales and the sheer amount of Bullet Club T-Shirts you see in wrestling crowds in general these days seem to suggest otherwise. Cole adds that they will break every single rule and there is nothing ROH can do to stop them. He concludes by saying that ROH belongs to them and that the chaos has only just begun.
Before the Main Event, Nigel McGuinness announces on commentary that BJ Whitmer vs. Steve Corino in a Fight Without Honor will take place at Best In The World 2016. Apparently the final straw was when Whitmer started filming himself stalking Corino’s wife. Hey, at least it seems like the feud will FINALLY come to an end in less than a month.
We also get a highlight package of Adam Page joining The Bullet Club at War Of The World ’16: Night 1 in Dearborn, with Kevin Kelly adding after the fact that they couldn’t show all of the footage because it was too gruesome for TV. ROH has done a good job on this episode of putting over the VOD of the show from Dearborn. I wish they would do this kind of thing more often (when they’re not using stuff from the VOD Live Events for Road Rage Episodes).
In an interesting note, Matt Taven joined commentary for this upcoming Main Event Match. He seemed to continue his feud with Adam Cole & The Bullet Club in general, making fun of them every chance he had (including referencing n.W.o. Wolfpac and the Latino World Order, when talking about The Elite). He did reiterate that his new version of The Kingdom would be coming one he’s back from injury. I’m really intrigued to see what happens once Taven comes back and brings in his “Kingdom”. Based on how he spoke on commentary, Taven definitely came off as a heel, though he’s feuding Cole & The Bullet Club, who are being pushed as heels despite being extremely popular in North America. It’s all very strange. You really don’t know who is supposed to be the face or the heel in this feud (I was thinking Cole was turning face when they did that segment on TV with Taven a few months ago, but that was before Cole joined The Bullet Club), but I guess we’ll see what happens when Taven comes back.
The Elite def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin & Yoshitatsu
I have absolutely no idea why Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks aren’t defending their NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Titles in this match. This is a New Japan/ROH joint show, the match itself is a continuation of a feud from New Japan over these same titles, and the fact that The Elite won this match means the titles wouldn’t have changed hands anyway. The fact that titles weren’t on the line here is just lazy, in my opinion. As far as the match is concerned, I thought this was pretty good, and easily the best match of the show. Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks are so entertaining as a trio. What I think is really interesting about them is that, in my view at least, they’ve managed to tweak things around enough that their trio feels different that the AJ Styles/Young Bucks trio, even though it’s all part of the same group (It’s mainly the fact that The Elite has inserted more comedy into the act, both in and out of the ring, but still, my point stands). Michael Elgin was by far the workhorse on the babyface side. Tanahashi was involved, but wasn’t as active as Elgin was. Yoshi Tatsu was a complete non-factor, who did absolutely nothing in this match. He was literally just there to take the pinfall at the end. You could replaced Yoshi Tatsu with pretty much anyone else, and it wouldn’t have made a difference in this match. On another note, this was the match where The Young Bucks both got injured in the span of a minute (Matt broke his hand, while Nick broke a number of ribs), and those injuries would end up keeping both out of this year’s Best Of The Super Juniors Tournament.
Adam Page & The Guerrillas of Destiny celebrate with Kenny Omega as The Young Bucks in the ring, while Kevin Kelly promotes next week’s Main Event, ROH World Champion Jay Lethal vs. Donovan Dijak to close the show. ***1/2
For the most part, I thought this was a pretty solid episode of ROH TV. There weren’t any outstanding matches on this show, but none of the matches were bad either. The first two matches were mainly catalysts for either the beginning of a storyline (ACH vs. Silas Young), or the continuation of a storyline (The Addiction vs. The Motor City Machine Guns), while the Main Event proved to be a fun New Japan Showcase. We also got some matches announced for Best In The World 2016, and in general, it was simply refreshing to actually see a brand new episode. Hopefully we don’t have one of those long stretches without any fresh content ever again.