Ring of Honor TV
June 11th, 2016
Ted Reeve Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Tetsuya Naito def. Moose
Mark Briscoe joins Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness on commentary for this opening match, and we’re reminded of Mark’s high IQ (which might be one of the most entertaining “fun facts” of ROH I’ve ever heard). He did talk a little bit about his upcoming match at Best In The World with Roderick Strong (more on that later).
This has been a pretty big tour for Moose. He teamed with Okada against Elgin & Tanahashi at Global Wars, faced Tomohiro Ishii at War of The Worlds ’16: Night 1, and now, is going up against the IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tetsuya Naito (speaking of which, we got a really close look at Naito’s mask during his entrance. It’s so cool!). I thought this was a great match! While I’d still say the match Moose had with Ishii was a tad better, this was pretty close to matching it. I’m restating the obvious here, but Naito has been fantastic in this new role, and showed that here by actually spitting in the face of Moose early on (Naito is truly ungovernable)! He was great in this match, but it has to be said just how good Moose was here. I think this match, and his match with Ishii, have easily been some of his best outings to date. It’s a shame that Moose appears to be (or, at least, is heavily rumored to be) bound for NXT, because I would love to see what he could do with a run in New Japan, particularly in a G1 setting. The IWGP Heavyweight Champion picks up the win in this non-title affair (as you would expect), but as I said, another great showing from Moose. ****
Up next we get an All-Night Express “Make Wrestling Great Again” Promo. It’s the exact same promo I shared in my review last week, though with regards to ANX, I’ll have more to say about them after this next match…
The All-Night Express def. Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Cheeseburger
Kenny King & Rhett Titus come down to the ring with Mini-Megaphones, which are part of their “campaign”. If they were going to use megaphones, I don’t know why they didn’t actually use normal-sized megaphones. That way we can actually hear them (and I think that would probably give them more heat, with people becoming annoyed with their super-loud megaphones). We get a highlight package taking us back to the TV Tapings in Las Vegas, where Kenny King & Rhett Titus solidified their heel turn by attacking Cheeseburger, which has led us to this match. Commentary does note that the team of Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Cheeseburger is on a winning streak, after their victory over The Addiction at Global Wars. I thought this was a decent match. It was a fine for it’s spot on the show, but it wasn’t anything special (it wasn’t better than Adam Page vs. Colt Cabana from last week, which was in the same spot). ANX played good heels, while Liger & Cheeseburger got to hit some of their signature spots. At one point, Liger actually hits a superplex (not sure if he regularly does that or not, but for his age, it was impressive). ANX would eventually get the victory, which theoretically, means that they should get a future ROH World Tag Team Title Match, since they beat the team that beat the current titleholders. **1/2
It’s honestly a little weird to see the position that ANX are in right now. They beat The Briscoes on their return, had a lackluster (that’s the first word that comes to mind for me) feud with War Machine, and have done almost nothing of note since. To go along with that, I think people just aren’t high on them in general. It’s hard to believe that they might have been one of the most over acts in the entire company in 2011, during their blood feud with The Briscoes. I guess it just shows how much things can change in only a few years. One has to wonder how things may have been different if Kenny King didn’t jump to TNA in mid-2012.
Up next we get an ad promoting the Jay Lethal/Jay Briscoe rematch for the ROH World Title at Best In The World. I mentioned this a little bit in my review last week, but the build to this match pales in comparison to the build towards their title vs. title match last year. That first match had been building for several months, perhaps even a little longer than people realize (the first real tease occurred in October of 2014 during that year’s Champions vs. All-Stars Match). It was slow, and gradual, but it worked so well, to the point that when the match eventually happened, it had an amazing big-fight feel to it. This time around, there’s practically been no build. Jay Briscoe being announced as the challenger at Best In The World seemingly came out of left field (especially if you’re someone who just watches the TV Show). He did have an eight-second visual pin on Lethal during a Six-Man Mayhem Match at a live event in San Antonio back in April, but if you don’t follow the live events, you wouldn’t have known about it.
He’s also spent pretty much the last year in the tag team division with his brother Mark, and never once lobbied for a rematch with Lethal. He was seemingly content with moving back to the tag team ranks. Speaking of which, The Briscoes have lost tag team matches on the last four ROH PPV’s, which just raises further questions. Why is Jay Briscoe only asking for his rematch now? How can you justify Jay Briscoe getting a title shot when he’s lost his last four matches on ROH PPV (granted, he never took the fall in any of those matches, but still)? It would have made more sense if, for instance, Lethal had been dodging Jay Briscoe’s request for a rematch over the past year, but that’s not the case. Don’t get me wrong, I think this will be a great match, but it just feels like they’re doing it just because it’s the one-year anniversary of their first match, and that’s not even taking into account the fact that Adam Cole should be the one getting this title shot, based on what happened at Global Wars.
It’s announced on commentary that Jay Lethal, Roderick Strong, The Briscoes vs. The Bullet Club team of The Young Bucks & The Guerrillas of Destiny will be the Main Event for next week’s TV show. Roderick Strong then comes out to complain about being in the match, saying that Mark Briscoe is the “Briscoe who doesn’t matter”. The story here, which has been mentioned on commentary throughout the episode, is that Mark doesn’t like the way Strong has been treating him as of late. These two will be facing off in a singles match at Best In The World.
Speaking of what, I think this is a good time to briefly run down the card, with all of the matches that have been announced as I write this review:
- Jay Lethal vs. Jay Briscoe for the ROH World Title
- The Addiction vs. The Motor City Machine Guns for the ROH World Tag Team Titles
- Bobby Fish vs. Dalton Castle for the ROH World TV Title
- BJ Whitmer vs. Steve Corino in an Unsanctioned Fight Without Honor
- The Bullet Club (Adam Cole & The Young Bucks) vs. Moose & War Machine in a Six-Man Tornado Tag Team Match
- Roderick Strong vs. Mark Briscoe
- Kyle O’Reilly vs. Kamaitachi
- ACH vs. Silas Young
Donovan Dijak, The All-Night Express, & Caprice Coleman have also been announced for the show. It’s a very interesting card. They have been building up the show on the TV show over the past few weeks (and that continues in a little bit), but as a whole, I get the feeling that the hype just isn’t there for this show. At the same time, however, I think it has the potential to be (at the very least) a good show. I’ll be very intrigued to see how this show does, as it’s the first PPV this year that really won’t have any major New Japan influence.
Up next, we have a Bullet Club promo backstage with Adam Cole & The Young Bucks. Matt Jackson talks about what happened in the Main Event last week (when he & Kenny Omega tried to attack Jay Lethal). Cole says that what made last week even worse was the fact that Lethal & Briscoe squared off to end the show, calling them the two “chosen ones” of ROH. Cole again says he should be in that ROH World Title Match (again, I don’t disagree with him). Then they take the camera equipment from the cameraman, and Cole says that The Bullet Club will show the world who the best really is at Best In The World.
Before we can get to the Main Event, Silas Young comes out. He says that things that are acceptable for a man in 2016 make him sick. He makes fun of ACH for playing video games and believing that he’s a superhero from a Japanese Cartoon. Young says ACH will have a hard fall back to reality at Best In The World. He’ll know why they call him a real man, and says ACH is a child living in a make believe world. Young then goes around ringside, and starts arguing with a fan in an ACH T-Shirt. Security has to pull Young away from this fan, but it appears that this was all a setup, as ACH sneaks into the ring, and nails his Air Jordan dive on Silas Young. ACH attempts to crowd surf as they go to commercial. I’m just happy these two actually have a program, and are getting something to do.
We then have a backstage promo with Kyle O’Reilly. He talks about losing to KUSHIDA in the Finals of the 2015 Best Of The Super Juniors Tournament. He said that he vowed after that loss that he would not only get better, but that he’d never lose to KUSHIDA again.
Kyle O’Reilly def. KUSHIDA
It’s hard to believe that, with this match, these two will have wrestled each other on three different continents. That’s crazy. As far as this match goes, while I wasn’t as brilliant as some of their other matches, this was still pretty awesome!! These two just work so well together, that it’s almost impossible for them to have anything less than a great match. The first part of the match had a lot of really good back & forth exchanges. The action definitely picked up a bit in the second half, where we got “KUSHIDA countering O’Reilly’s apron dropkick into an cross armbreaker” spot, which technically, was the first time they had done that spot (this match took place before their encounter in this year’s Best Of The Super Juniors Tournament). O’Reilly would score the victory here in a manner that was a little anti-climactic, as he countered a submission attempt by KUSHIDA into a pinning combination, but still, this was a great match, without question.
What’s interesting to note is that, when you look back at his pre-match promo, O’Reilly has actually kept his word. Since losing to KUSHIDA in the Best Of The Super Juniors Finals in 2015, O’Reilly has won all of their subsequent singles encounters, whether that be in Revolution Pro Wrestling in the UK, New Japan, or here in ROH. KUSHIDA might have gotten the biggest victory, but O’Reilly has really been running away with the rivalry, as he now boasts a 3-1 record over KUSHIDA in singles matches. ****1/4
In a way, when you’re looking at match quality, this episode was very similar to last week’s episode, with two great matches bookending a decent match in the middle of the show. However, this week was different in that the opener and the Main Event were both better than last week, while the match in the middle of the show wasn’t quite as good as the Adam Page/Colt Cabana match from last week. Moose vs. Tetsuya Naito & KUSHIDA vs. Kyle O’Reilly are definitely worth checking out. We also got a little more build towards Best In The World, mainly with Roderick Strong vs. Mark Briscoe & ACH vs. Silas Young, though we did get a promo for Jay Lethal vs. Jay Briscoe. As a whole, I’d say that this episode was little more enjoyable than last week. You really can’t go wrong with two legitimately great matches.