This week’s edition of ROH TV saw The Bullet Club inserting themselves, once again, into the ROH World Title picture.

The original plan was to give the entire hour of television time to the ROH World Title Match between Jay Lethal & Kyle O’Reilly, hence why the latter came out right at the start of the show. Before Lethal could come out, Adam Cole makes his way onto the stage, reiterating that as long as he is in ROH, O’Reilly will never be ROH World Champion.

This leads to The Young Bucks sneaking up from behind and hitting O’Reilly with a pair of superkicks. Cole would soon join in, attacking O’Reilly first with a series of steel chair shots to the back, and then proceeded to “Pillmanize” O’Reilly’s left arm & shoulder with another chair. I’m just happy that The Bullet Club didn’t do this attack during the match. This does advance the Cole/O’Reilly storyline, but I think it would have been great if they actually gave Lethal vs. O’Reilly the full hour of TV time. Alas, it wasn’t to be, evidently.

To follow up on what just occurred, a backstage segment was shown, where Bobby Fish and a doctor were tending to an injured Kyle O’Reilly. The doctor, while he was taping up O’Reilly’s left arm & shoulder, advised him not to compete, as did Bobby Fish, but O’Reilly was adamant that he would be challenging for the ROH World Title tonight.

Following the attack, Kevin Kelly announced that Nigel McGuinness was scrambling to put together “standby” matches, and it was later noted by McGuinness that they had one or two matches planned in case the ROH World Title Match didn’t go the full hour. I actually kind of liked this. It added a bit of unpredictability, in the sense that you got the idea that they really weren’t planning on actually having these standby matches and, as you will see momentarily, what we ended up getting for standby matches really reflects that.

The first standby match of the night saw War Machine defeat “Brutal” Bob Evans & Tim Hughes (yep, they’re still around) in a quick squash match. Afterwards, Keith Lee & Shane Taylor ran out and attacked War Machine, but unlike last week’s episode, War Machine got the upper hand. I didn’t mind this segment that much. It continued to build towards the eventual clash between these two teams, and honestly, I can’t wait to watch it, just to see how Keith Lee & Shane Taylor do in a longer match.

Our second standby match of the night was a singles match between Cheeseburger & Will Ferrara. The match lasted about thirty seconds before The Cabinet (The All-Night Express & Caprice Coleman) came out, with an entourage of security and loyal “supporters”, to interrupt them. All three now have political-based nicknames (Coleman is the “Minister of Information”, Titus is the “Secretary of Shoulders”, & King is the “Chairman of Championships”). They basically make fun of both Cheeseburger & Will Ferrara, saying that they’re too small to be pro-wrestlers. King would add that Cheeseburger & Ferrara don’t look like pro-wrestlers, because they don’t look like ANX & Caprice Coleman (I feel like The Cabinet might be representing, in this “argument”, the longstanding belief held by people like Vince McMahon, regarding how wrestlers should look). I didn’t mind the idea of this stable, but the fact that they did that horrible and unnecessary skit on the Best In The World PPV has already soured me on them. Plus, I just don’t think that ANX & Caprice Coleman are a good combination for a stable (I’d rather if Coleman was replaced with somebody else). Anyway, this leads to Moose coming out, setting up a Six-Man Tag between The Cabinet and the trio of Moose, Cheeseburger, & Will Ferrara. This was an extremely average TV match that was overshadowed by the commotion happening on commentary regarding the ROH World Title Match. Titus would win the match for his team after pinning Cheeseburger.

In the backstage promo department, The Briscoes cut a promo hyping up their match next week on ROH TV against The Young Bucks. It’s actually a very interesting match, not because it’s a first-time ever encounter (these two teams have faced off numerous times over the years), but because it’s a battle between the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions & the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. I’m sure this has happened at least once before, but it’s surely a very rare occurrence. Jay Briscoe also made a comment where he seemed very annoyed by The Young Bucks always pointing at their crotched telling people to “Suck It”. The Young Bucks cut their own backstage promo in response, saying that they’re the #1 Tag Team in pro-wrestling, and proceeded to kiss Adam Cole on the cheeks.

It turned out that ROH World Title Match would go on as scheduled, as O’Reilly demanded that the match still take place as scheduled. A visibly concerned Jay Lethal comes down to the ring for the match, and after the introductions, says that O’Reilly doesn’t need to wrestle tonight, adding that he respects him, and that he has nothing to prove, since he came out ready to fight despite what happened to him earlier. O’Reilly once again insists the match take place, and they would go forward with it. As I said earlier, I would have preferred if we actually got a 45+ minute title match between these two. However, despite the shenanigans from earlier, these two still put on a pretty good match, that told a really good story, with Lethal showing genuine concern for O’Reilly throughout, but being forced to fight back when O’Reilly really took it to him. In a sense, the injury storyline with O’Reilly simultaneously helped and hindered the match. It was very solid, all things considered, but these two have had better matches.

After retaining the title, Lethal immediately leaves ringside in frustration. Adam Cole & The Young Bucks reappear and resumed their attack on O’Reilly. This eventually led to The Young Bucks giving O’Reilly an IndyTaker onto several chairs. Jay Lethal & Bobby Fish would make the save, and Nigel McGuinness then announced that as long as he was ROH matchmaker, Adam Cole would never receive another title shot.

There’s a number of things about this segment that I need to discuss.

Firstly, Kevin Kelly commentary during both Bullet Club attacks on this episode sounded like such bad acting. It seemed like he was trying to be really serious, but it came across as if he was really overdoing it. Secondly, after what happened at the start of the episode, why wasn’t Bobby Fish at ringside with O’Reilly during the ROH World Title Match. It’s a small detail, but it makes no sense that Fish wouldn’t be out there to protect his tag team partner after what happened earlier. Finally, the most egregious thing of all is that after Nigel McGuinness barred Adam Cole from ever challenging for the ROH World Title, it was announced earlier this week that Cole would, in fact, be challenging Jay Lethal for the ROH World Title at the Death Before Dishonor XIV PPV in Las Vegas. The announcement of this match on ROH’s website would go on to spoil the next few weeks of television, particular what happens next week. This was just a case of extremely poor planning on ROH’s part. I understand that they probably want to push the main event for the next PPV, but even a person who doesn’t understand wrestling at all would look at this and call it out for being dumb.

As a whole, the episode-long story with The Bullet Club, Kyle O’Reilly, & Jay Lethal made this an…..interesting episode, to say the least. The standby matches at the start of the show can easily be skipped.

Here are my match ratings for this week’s episode of ROH TV:

  • War Machine vs. “Brutal” Bob Evans & Tim Hughes: N/R
  • The Cabinet (The All-Night Express & Caprice Coleman) vs. Will Ferrara, Cheeseburger, & Moose (with Stokely Hathaway): **
  • ROH World Title – Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly: ***1/2

ROH News & Notes

• Jay Lethal will make one more ROH World Title defense before Death Before Dishonor XIV, as he returns to New Japan to take on Satoshi Kojima on the final night of the G1 Climax 26 in Sumo Hall on August 14. This has the potential to be a really good match. Even though I’ve only been actively watching New Japan for three years, Kojima has quickly become one of my favorites, and I’m sure he’ll have a great match here with Lethal.

• Following the announcement of Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole for the ROH World Title at Death Before Dishonor XIV, a ROH World Tag Team Title Match has been officially added to the PPV. The Addiction will be defending their titles in a Triple Threat Match against IWGP Intercontinental Champion Michael Elgin & Hiroshi Tanahashi and the Los Ingobernables de Japon tandem of Tetsuya Naito & EVIL. Despite my qualms about The Addiction, I think this has the chance to be a really good match. If anything, it’s something different on these joint shows between ROH & NJPW, which is definitely a good thing (especially this year). I think the big question here is who comes out victories. Who takes the pinfall here? I don’t think the winner of this match is obvious, and honestly, I think that helps a lot. Personally, I would love for Elgin & Tanahashi or Los Ingobernables de Japon to take the titles here, just so they can take them off The Addiction. Now some might be weary of the idea of putting the ROH World Tag Team Titles on a New Japan team, but I think I could work. The reason I say that is because the ROH PPV at the end of September, All-Star Extravaganza VIII, is also going to feature New Japan Talent. One of the two New Japan teams could easily win the titles in Las Vegas, and them lose them a little over a month later in Lowell, Massachusetts. I wouldn’t mind that. As long as The Addiction are no longer ROH World Tag Team Champions.

• Also just added to the Death Before Dishonor XIV PPV in Las Vegas is a first-time ever encounter between IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada & Dalton Castle. I’m pretty excited about this one! It’s obviously a HUGE opportunity for Dalton Castle, and I think he’ll do very well here against (arguably) one of the best wrestlers in the world. Of course, I think we all know that Castle will be eating a Rainmaker at the end, but I still have high hopes that this could be one of the best matches on the PPV.

• We also got some more announcements for ROH’s return to MCU Park in Brooklyn, New York for Field of Honor 2016 on August 27th. That show will be headlined by a STACKED Four-Corner Survival Match for the ROH World Title, featuring Jay Lethal, Adam Cole, Hiroshi Tanahashi, & Tetsuya Naito. I really like this match. Not only does it have the potential to be one of the best matches of the night (though I imagine it’ll be hard to top Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kyle O’Reilly), but because it features both Jay Lethal & Adam Cole, it doesn’t spoil the outcome of their singles match for the ROH World Title at Death Before Dishonor XIV a week prior. We also had a ROH World TV Title Match announced, as Bobby Fish (if he retains against Mark Briscoe in Las Vegas) will defend against EVIL. This also has the potential to be a really good match, and I’ll be intrigued to see how these two match up. EVIL, during this series of shows in late-August, is making his return to ROH after an excursion that was, to say the least, lackluster. I’m very interested to see how the fans in Las Vegas & Brooklyn react to the man formerly-known as Takaaki Watanabe. Finally, and Eight-Man Tag was added, which will see ACH, Lio Rush, & The Motor City Machine Guns taking on The Young Bucks, “The Hangman” Adam Page, and Yujiro Takahashi (representing The Bullet Club). I expect that this match will get out-of-control pretty quickly, considering who’s involved. Nobody likes Yujiro these days (myself included), but thankfully he’s in a match where he shouldn’t be involved for very long.

• Another interesting note regarding Field of Honor 2016 concerns some of the talents signed to appear. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Michael Elgin, IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA, & Toru Yano are listed as appearing, but IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, Roppongi Vice, and The Guerrillas of Destiny, who will be appearing at Death Before Dishonor XIV in Las Vegas, aren’t listed for this show. Additionally, Triton from CMLL has apparently been added to, and removed from, the list of talent several times. At this point, I have no idea if he’s scheduled to appear or not.

• Jushin “Thunder” Liger will be appearing at the Reloaded Tour ’16 Live Event in Duluth, Georgia on September 24th. This seems odd at first (even I was caught off guard by it initially), but when you consider the fact that there will be another ROH PPV with New Japan talents the following week (All-Star Extravaganza VIII), it makes a little more sense. Honestly, I think stuff like this is more along the lines of what the ROH/New Japan relationship should be like. We don’t need a ton of New Japan talents coming in for four PPV weekends (or around ten to twelve shows) a year. Save the month of May for the big annual joint shows, and then sprinkle in a few select appearances here and there (like KUSHIDA in Philadelphia back in month, or in this case with Liger in Duluth). It makes the shows feel more special, as opposed to this year, where a lot of these joint shows have lost that unique feeling since they do them so often.

• Tickets went on sale this week for ROH’s Reach For The Sky Tour, which is ROH’s first standalone tour of England since 2007. They’ll be running Liverpool on November 18th (in the same venue where ROH ran their famous “Unified” event in 2006, and the last leg of the “5th Year Festival” in 2007), Leicester on November 19th, and London on November 20th. Jay Lethal, The Briscoes, and The Bullet Club’s Adam Cole & The Young Bucks are the first set of talents signed to appear. I think it’s pretty cool that we’re going to be getting proper ROH shows in the UK almost a decade after those famous shows in 2006 & 2007.

• Finally, ROH posted a video on their YouTube page that featured a verbal confrontation between Candice LeRae & Veda Scott that took place following the recent Women of Honor show in Baltimore, which I assume will lead to a future match. This is actually pretty exciting. The Women of Honor Division has been lacking a (relatively) big name to get people truly invested in it, and if Candice LeRae sticks around in ROH, she could definitely fill that role.