Ring Of Honor TV
June 4, 2016
Ted Reeve Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
We start off the show with a video package hyping up tonight’s main event, which will see ROH World Champion Jay Lethal take on former House of Truth member Donovan Dijak. It included promos from both men, as well as words from Prince Nana & Taeler Hendrix. The important takeaway from the promos is that they pretty much confirmed that Jay Lethal was being booked as the babyface in this feud. I’m still not sure why they felt the need to make Dijak the heel, and Lethal the babyface (when I think it should have been the other way around), but regardless, I’m intrigued to see the match.
“Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada def. Matt Sydal
I’m very jealous of the fans of Toronto. When the lineups for these War Of The Worlds events were announced, it seemed like Toronto got two of the best singles matches on the entire tour. One of those matches, KUSHIDA vs. Kyle O’Reilly, is on next week’s episode, but this week, we’re getting Okada vs. Matt Sydal! Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness made a few interesting comments on commentary right at the start of the match. The first was that they actually name-dropped The Big Show & Mark Henry, using them as examples of giant obstacles Sydal has had to overcome in his career. They also mentioned that this match came about because, apparently, Matt Sydal felt “slighted” (in Kevin Kelly’s words) that Okada picked Will Ospreay to be the newest member of CHAOS over him. I don’t entirely buy that statement, but they did make sure to mention that Okada handpicked Ospreay. Plus, it’s good to hear Will Ospreay’s name mentioned on ROH TV (especially with recent rumors that ROH is trying to bring him in for the Field Of Honor show this August in Brooklyn, NY).
As for the match itself, I thought it was great! In my opinion, it was easily better than anything on last week’s show. These two are just so good, and they worked really well with each other here. For me, the word that comes to mind is “smooth”. This was a very smooth match with some cool spots and almost no rough patches. It wasn’t a long match, but they packed enough in here that it was an enjoyable match from start to finish. Okada picks up the win here with The Rainmaker (as one would expect) and the two shook hands after the match. ***3/4
Up next, we get a promo from The Bullet Club, specifically Adam Cole & The Young Bucks. Cole is baffled that Jay Lethal vs. Jay Briscoe is the main event of Best In The World 2015 (I’d have to agree with him, especially when you consider how Global Wars ended), but says that the winner will just be keeping the ROH World Title warm for him. He then says that The Bullet Club might come out and say “hello” to Lethal during the Main Event. Hey, at least we know that The Bullet Club is going to interfere in the Main Event….
We then get an advertisement for the Women of Honor and the new Women of Honor T-Shirt. I usually don’t mention these little merchandise ads, but I feel like this one is a little more relevant, since it was just announced this past week that there will be a standalone Women of Honor show taking place in Baltimore, Maryland on July 8, in conjunction with a regular ROH live event that same day. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of that, as it appears that they’re really pushing forward with the Women of Honor.
After that, we have a promo from Silas Young, who says that his seven year-old son is more of a man with ACH. He says ACH might think he has a problem with him, but notes that he’s just trying to teach ACH some lessons on how to be a real man, calling out ACH’s father in the process.
Colt Cabana def. “The Hangman” Adam Page
I really like Colt Cabana’s entrance graphics on the “Cary-Tron”. They look very cool. In an interesting note, this is Colt Cabana’s first appearance on ROH TV since the company was bought by SBG (He actually left the company right before the first set of SBG Tapings in 2011, which took place, ironically enough, in Chicago Ridge, Illinois). Here, he’s taking on Adam Page, who joined The Bullet Club at War Of The Worlds ’16: Night 1 in Dearborn, Michigan. I thought this was a pretty solid match. It wasn’t spectacular by any means, but it was perfectly fine for what it was. Cabana got to showcase some of his unique offense, and it’s always a nice change of pace to see him be more serious. Page was good here as well. I know there are some who aren’t really that fond of Page, but in ROH, I’ve always seem him as a solid mid-card wrestler, and on this show, he had a solid mid-card match with Colt Cabana. There’s nothing wrong with that. Anyway, Cabana gets the victory with one of his unique pinning combinations. I find it really interesting that they had this big angle with Adam Page joining The Bullet Club, and he’s already losing (and he apparently lost a lot during last weekend’s live events in the Midwest as well). Albeit, Cabana didn’t definitively win this match, as he beat Page on a flash pin, but still, the point is valid. ***1/4
Almost immediately after the match, The Guerrillas of Destiny come out and attack Colt Cabana. Adam Page gets his noose out, and it looks like they’re going to hang Cabana like they did to Chris Sabin in Dearborn, but they quickly cut the cameras and go to commercial break (again pushing the idea that it’s too violent to show on TV).
On a quick side note, the Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness noted during the match that Cabana would be competing in Italy the day of Best In The World 2016, and will be missing the PPV (he’s also doing an OTT show in Ireland that weekend, if I recall correctly).
We then get a segment with The All-Night Express, who are wearing suits, and are apparently doing a “Make Wrestling Great Again” gimmick (It seems like a number of people in wrestling have been borrowing from Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign in recent months, particularly the “Make [blank] Great Again” tagline. They basically make fun of Jushin “Thunder” Liger for teaming up with Cheeseburger, and compare him to older athletes of recent vintage (Brett Favre & Allen Iverson) who stayed in the game way past their prime. ANX will be facing Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Cheeseburger on next week’s episode.
This isn’t the exact same promo, but here’s a sample of what they’re up to:
When then have an in-ring promo with BJ Whitmer, who says that while Steve Corino says that he’s gone too far, Corino only has himself to blame. He’s says that at Best In The World 2016, they face off in the Ultimate Fight Without Honor, and tells Corino to make sure he says goodbye to his family beforehand, because he’s going to “steal his soul”. Corino comes out through the crowd, and Whitmer says that he wants to fight Corino right now. Of course, as soon as Corino hits the ring, Whitmer bails. This was basically a shorter version of the segment they did at War Of The Worlds ’16: Night 3 in NYC. I really hope that Whitmer is done with ROH after this feud with Corino FINALLY ends, because honestly, I don’t want to see him anymore. Frankly, I think everyone just wants him to go away.
Up next we get an ACH promo. He says that his father told him to just do your own thing, as long as you’re not taking food off of someone else’s place. ACH says that Young obviously has a problem with him, and thinks Young is not only jealous, but insecure. ACH calls out Young for bringing up his father, and says that the only reason why Young’s son may be more of a man than him is because Young can’t hold down his own household.
ROH World Champion Jay Lethal def. Donovan Dijak
Nigel McGuinness notes on commentary that the reason why the ROH World Title isn’t on the line here is because Dijak hasn’t earned a shot, but he could if he beats Lethal tonight. For the most part, I really enjoyed this match. Despite the weird babyface/heel alignments in this feud, this match had a fair amount of intensity (with Lethal going right after Dijak before the bell even rang), and there was a lot of really good action both inside and outside the ring. Lethal looked like a man possessed who wanted to destroy Dijak. At the same time, Dijak was really impressive in this match. He slammed Lethal hard on the outside numerous times, and even busted out a Fosbury Flop to the outside! Make no mistake about it, Donovan Dijak is going to be in WWE sooner or later. For a guy of his size, he super-athletic, and does some incredibly things in the ring. Not sure how far he’ll go in WWE once he gets there, but he’s got the potential to do some great things there. There were some great back & forth exchanges towards the end. At one point, I think Lethal attempted to reverse a chokeslam into a rollup, but dropped Dijak head first into the mat (it actually looked pretty nasty).
Towards the end of the match, referee Todd Sinclair got distracted when Prince Nana & Taeler Hendrix started arguing on the outside. This distraction allowed Kenny Omega & Matt Jackson to slip into the ring. They go to double superkick Jay Lethal, but Lethal dodges it, and they end up superkicking Dijak instead. Lethal shoves the two Bullet Club members out of the ring, and hits the Lethal Injection on Dijak for the win. See, here’s a great example of why, sometimes, things looked better when you watch it on TV than they do when reading spoilers. As results were coming in, I remember a number of people were baffled by The Bullet Club seemingly targeting Dijak and helping Lethal win (and reports from the TV Tapings, at the time, seem to suggest that they intentionally went after Dijak). Watching this episode, however, clears a lot of things up, as The Bullet Club’s attack on Lethal backfired, and Lethal simply took advantage of the situation.
The match itself, like I said earlier, was actually really good. I’ve love to see these two match up again, with the ROH World Title on the line. However, I honestly feel like ROH really botched this whole Donovan Dijak storyline, and that mainly had to do with the babyface/heel alignments. Why wasn’t Dijak the babyface in this feud, as he should have been? Usually when a guy breaks away from a heel stable (like The House of Truth in this case), he becomes a face. I know he’s with Prince Nana (who’s historically been a heel for most of his ROH tenure), but Dijak being the heel in the feud shouldn’t have been the way this went down. Lethal seemingly turning face made no sense, especially when Lethal was still a heel in pretty much all other situations. Not only was that an issue, but this new storyline with The Bullet Club targeting Jay Lethal pretty much makes this match, and this feud, between Lethal & Dijak totally secondary. The tease made earlier of Bullet Club interference made this match seem like a WWE PPV Main Event during the height of The Authority’s power, where no matter how good the match was, you knew there would be shenanigans by the time the match was coming to a close. The fact that Lethal is now apparently feuding with The Bullet Club made Dijak just seem like an afterthought, which is really sad, as he’s got a ton of potential. I hope they don’t waste him. ***3/4
After the match, The Guerrillas of Destiny come out and attack Jay Lethal, but then The Briscoes come out to make the save. Mark Briscoe dives onto The Guerrillas of Destiny, while Jay Briscoe hands Jay Lethal the ROH World Title and has words with him to close the show. Now it was during this particular moment that some people on Twitter brought up the fact that ROH piped in pretty loud “One More Time!” chants (in reference to Briscoe & Lethal), as the people in view of the camera really weren’t reacting at all. What’s also interesting is that, during the Lethal/Dijak match, there was a moment where Lethal cornered Prince Nana in the ring, and during that bit in the match, you could hear very loud “This Is Awesome!” chants, which is a very odd point for that chant to occur, and it just felt so out-of-place. Now I really hope ROH isn’t piping in crowd noise, but if they are, I’m very disappointed. I’d like to think that ROH is above doing that sort of thing. It’s something that just doesn’t belong here.
For the most part, I enjoyed this week’s episode of ROH TV. From a match quality perspective, it was solid from top to bottom. Okada vs. Sydal was a great opener, Cabana vs. Page was a fine middle-of-the-show match, and Lethal/Dijak, despite my issues with the booking, was actually really good. There was a BJ Whitmer promo, but that was the only major blemish that wasn’t an actual match. The build towards Best In The World 2016 on last week’s episode, and now this week’s episode, has been good, but not spectacular by any means (at least they’re building up the PPV with fresh TV content, unlike Global Wars). I know Lethal/Briscoe II should be great, but there are issues. Not only does the built this time around pale in comparison to their match last year, but based on what happened at Global Wars, logic would tell you that Adam Cole should be challenging for the title here. Instead, Jay Briscoe getting his rematch now seems totally out-of-sync with current storylines. With that being said, hopefully they do continue to build more towards the PPV in the coming weeks.