Ring Of Honor TV
June 18, 2016
Ted Reeve Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Episode 248 began with a quick rundown of the entire Ring of Honor Best In The World 2016 PPV card (save for Kyle O’Reilly vs. Kamaitachi) from Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness while the two men in this opening contest make their entrances.
Dalton Castle def. Gedo
I honestly don’t have much to say about this match. It was a relatively short TV match that mainly served to give Castle a victory right before he challenges for the ROH World TV Title at the PPV. The only real notable thing here was Gedo’s interactions with The Boys. At one point, The Boys offered to fan Gedo, but they both got thumbed in the eye. This actually did play into the finish a little bit, as The Boys got a measure of revenge by thumbing Gedo in his eyes, which allowed Castle to get the win following the Bang-A-Rang. **
A brief video package (with a voiceover from Kevin Kelly) is shown next, highlighting the Steve Corino/BJ Whitmer feud. It really doesn’t cover the whole feud, as it starts with Corino’s suspension after attacking Whitmer in San Antonio last before, before mentioning the appearance of Mr. Wrestling III, Whitmer abusing Colby Corino, and Whitmer stalking Corino and his family at their home and in public. We’ll be hearing from Steve Corino later on in this episode.
Up next, we get a backstage promo from Adam Cole. He says everyone’s been asking him is if he is going to get involved in the Jay Lethal/Jay Briscoe ROH World Title Match at Best In The World. Cole says he’s not, because he’s going to “pick up the scraps” after Lethal & Briscoe are done beat the crap out of each other. He promises that he will be the next ROH World Champion. I have a hard time believing that The Bullet Club aren’t going to get involved in the ROH World Title Match at Best In The World. Because of this, Lethal/Briscoe II honestly feels like a WWE PPV main event from when The Authority were at the height of their power (again, this is something I’ve mentioned previously), in the sense that you’re just waiting for the interference to happen. I hope we get a clean match on Friday, but I have my doubts.
We’re shown the closing moments of the Jay Briscoe/Jay Lethal match from Best In The World 2015, where Lethal captured the ROH World Title (which serves as a reminder that the build towards last year’s match was significantly better). We then get highlights of the closing moments from a Six-Man Mayhem Match that was the main event of a live event from San Antonio, Texas back in April. It was during this match where, after the referee was knocked down, Jay Briscoe had an eight-second visual pinfall on After the match, Lethal says there’s nobody left to beat, but is interrupted by Jay Briscoe, who reminds him of what just happened, and asks for his rematch. As soon as he does this, Lethal (almost instantaneously) blows him off, and bails, seemingly dodging the question. See, what they did in San Antonio is what they should have been doing over the past year!!! If they had, maybe this rematch would actually have more intrigue.
Tomohiro Ishii def. Will Ferrara
I still can’t believe that this was actually a match that was booked in 2016. It’s nice to see Ferrara get this opportunity, but he just feels so out of place facing a guy like Ishii. Ferrara faced KUSHIDA last year, but that was more fitting (since, if we’re taking New Japan weight divisions, Ferrara would certainly be a Junior Heavyweight). This was a painfully average TV match. I had hopes that I would see Ishii totally dominate here, but that’s not what we got. Ferrara actually DOMINATES the early portions of the match. Ishii would eventually get the win in a back & forth match that went about four minutes. Look, if you’re going to book this match, then Ishii should have squashed Ferrara in two minutes flat. This was a total waste of Tomohiro Ishii. The fact that this match also features two guys who aren’t even on the upcoming PPV also works against it. *3/4
We get a quick promo from The Briscoes, hyping up the eight-Man tag team main event. The highlight of this short promo came from (of course) Jay Briscoe. When talking about The Guerrillas of Destiny, he says that The Briscoes are the “Monkeys of Sandy Fork” that will eat their faces off. I truly believe that Jay Briscoe is easily one of the best promos in all of wrestling. Now this particular promo wasn’t the best example, since it was so short, but when you get those longer promo videos from The Briscoes, Jay is always fantastic. As others have said many times before, he’s just got this aura about him makes him come off as so believable and so real. The promo he cut before he and his brother Mark challenged The Guerrillas of Destiny for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles at New Japan Dominion (which took place this past Sunday) is another prime example of this (even though it’s technically outdated, it’s still worth seeking out). We’ll be hearing more from Jay Briscoe a little later on.
Steve Corino comes out next to talk about his upcoming battle with BJ Whitmer at Best In The World in an Unsanctioned Fight Without Honor. Corino says that he is an evil man, but that he is who he is. He talked about some of the evil things he’s done over the course of his career, including attacking Terry Funk with barbed wire, manipulating Kevin Steen to turn on El Generico (he doesn’t mention them by name, but when he says what he did, you know who he’s talking about), and even accusing Dusty Rhodes of causing the accident that ended the career of Magnum T.A. Corino says that he did these things for many different reasons (which were all selfish in one form or another), but he’s never once apologized for being who he was. He says that he tried to change his ways, but Whitmer kept antagonizing him. Corino calls Whitmer the biggest piece of trash he’s ever seen, and that Whitmer will pay for bringing his family into this. However, Corino does give Whitmer credit, saying that he does wear a mask, but he’s not referring to Mr. Wrestling III. He says he wears a mask in the form of a suit and glasses that he wears at commentary, and his hair, which he dyed black so he could fit in. He says that he’s already going to hell, and that he’s going to drag Whitmer to hell with him, before adding that Whitmer will never set foot in ROH again after Best In The World.
I’m not exactly sure what the overall consensus is on Steve Corino as a promo guy, but I’ve always enjoyed the promos from him that I’ve seen in ROH, and this one is no different. You can really get the sense of hatred that Corino has for Whitmer. I also like the fact that Corino spent a lot of time actually looking right into the camera, which is something that you really don’t see a lot in backstage WWE promos these days (and that’s been a complaint for what seems like forever). As far as the whole Corino/Whitmer feud is concerned, I liked the idea when it first came about in 2013 (it actually goes back to when Corino was a heel, and when Whitmer was a face), but at this point, it’s just dragged out for such a long time (much longer than it needed to be). Granted, this match was apparently scheduled to take place at Final Battle 2015, before Corino found out he needed neck surgery, but still, it’s just gone on forever. With that being said, I’d actually like to direct you to some interesting promos that were cut by both BJ Whitmer & Steve Corino a few days ago, which are now up on YouTube. They’re very interesting promos, to say the least (and even feature, of all people, Kevin Sullivan):
Before the main event, we get two quick promos from Jay Lethal & Roderick Strong. In his promo, Lethal says that The Bullet Club has had strength in numbers in the past, but tonight, the sides are even. He says that he doesn’t like his partners, but he knows they can go, and questions whether The Bullet Club can go. Strong’s promo is along similar lines. He says that an attack on ROH is an attack on Mr. ROH, and adds that any personal differences he has with his partners would be set aside for this match.
ROH World Champion Jay Lethal, Roderick Strong & The Briscoes def. The Bullet Club (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, & The Guerrillas of Destiny)
Nick Jackson was originally scheduled to be in this match, but as he broke his ribs in a match earlier in this set of TV Tapings, he was unable to complete. So “The Cleaner” took his spot in this match. The Bullet Club is facing a team that’s made up of two singles matches that are taking place at Best In The World (Jay Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal & Mark Briscoe vs. Roderick Strong). I actually liked that they did that, to be honest. It adds a bit of intrigue on this last episode of TV before the PPV.
I would say this was easily the best match on this week’s episode, and that’s not really saying much. For those looking for a comparison, it was nowhere near the incredible Bullet Club vs. Team ROH Ten Man Tag from Global Wars 2015. This was a good TV main event, but nothing much more than that. One thing that’s very noticeable during this match is just how OVER Kenny Omega is. The crowd really got excited when he teased facing off against Jay Lethal early on, though he immediately tagged out. He then had an exchange with Lethal towards the end that, I would say, was the best part of this match by far (and that exchange easily got the biggest reaction of the whole match). Based on this little interaction, I really hope that, once Omega gets whatever issues he has with his U.S. Visa sorted out, we do get a Jay Lethal vs. Kenny Omega singles match, because that could be great. The only other notable thing about this eight-man tag was that, towards the end of the match, Jay Lethal inadvertently saved Jay Briscoe from a double superkick from Kenny Omega & Nick Jackson. This allowed Jay Briscoe to take advantage of the situation, and score the win for Team ROH after a Jay Driller on Tanga Loa. When then get some bickering between Roderick Strong & Mark Briscoe, and a standoff between Jay Lethal & Jay Briscoe, after the match. ***
The in-ring action actually ends a little early, as the remaining five minutes of the episode are devoted to showing short promos from some of the competitors involved in big matches at Best In The World. We heard from ROH World TV Champion Bobby Fish, Dalton Castle, Roderick Strong, Mark Briscoe, The Motor City Machine Guns, ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction, Jay Briscoe, and ROH World Champion Jay Lethal. Interesting enough, it is during the Lethal/Briscoe promo that we FINALLY get the reason why Jay Briscoe has waited a full year to ask for his rematch. He says that he wanted Lethal to “eat a little”, and enjoy his title reign for a bit (including the larger championship purse that comes with it). I could by that excuse if it was still the first month of two of Lethal’s title reign, but nearly a year later? That excuse doesn’t cut it. Aside from that, I actually really liked the fire and passion that both Jay Lethal & Jay Briscoe showed in their promos here. Despite the lackluster build for their second encounter, these short promos actually did a good job getting me excited for the match. I guess that says a lot about just how good both guys have become with their promos.
While this wasn’t the worst go-home show for a PPV in the world, I would definitely say that it was pretty weak, at least from a match-quality perspective. The first two matches really aren’t worth your time, and the second match in particular proved to be an absolute waste and misuse of Tomohiro Ishii (nothing against Will Ferrara, of course, as he just wasn’t the right opponent for Ishii). The main event, thankfully, was relatively good, and did help build towards Best In The World. Speaking of which, we saw even more build in this episode in the form of several backstage promos, a video package or two, and an in-ring promo from Steve Corino. As a whole, the second half of the episode is the only part that’s worth watching, if you’re going to watch it at all. The build towards Best In The World hasn’t been spectacular, but they’ve certainly put forth some effort, and that’s something (especially compared to Global Wars).